Finding My Path As the Children Get Older
Have you every heard the question, “What would you choose, if you could do anything for one year and get paid for it?” I’ve been questioning myself about “finding my path,” for the last several years. I have 5 children, ranging in age from 24 to 11 years-old. I’ve had many wonderful years of pregnancy, breastfeeding, and homeschooling. We moved at full-throttle here at the little cottage for about 21 years, until my youngest daughter turned 8. Suddenly (it seemed sudden to me), I had a little bit of extra time on my hands at certain times of the year.
How was I going to use my bonus time? Because of my belief in Titus 2:5, I didn’t look outside my home to fill the additional hours, or consider frivolous pastimes. I wanted to apply my efforts towards something that I loved, and that I could do from home. I’ve always loved reading and writing. That first summer, I wrote a 26,000 word middle grade book. However, my writing was filled with too much telling, and not enough showing. I received at least 30 rejections from literary agents. Then, I began another middle grade book that I work on here and there. I put the first book aside, and am still waiting for confirmation from the Lord as to whether or not I should edit that book and write more query letters afterwards.
When I’m questioning myself about writing, I’ll say things like, “Gee, Kristie, if you were going to be a writer, wouldn’t you be one by now?” Or, “Maybe if I was trapped somewhere, like John Bunyan, I could write the second greatest book known to the western world.” Does anyone else talk to themselves like that?
During my next “phase,” I sold vintage dishes in my eBay store, The Little Dish Cottage (There is link to the items in my store at the bottom of every post). That was fun for about 6 months. All I thought about (and talked about) was vintage dishware. My walking partner can vouch for that. She patiently listened as I gave her a play-by-play description of everything I boxed up, and shipped out. My husband and I began every Friday night date at Goodwill, or some other thrift store. Bless his heart. Gradually, my enthusiasm began to die. First, I felt as though the dishes were taking over my house. Then, I sighed as my school mornings with the girls were spent packing boxes. Finally, I started to blog about dishes, and REALLY liked that. Blogging about things like Depression glass and and restaurant ware was the beginning of the end of lucrative dish-selling- not that it was ever THAT lucrative.
I actually began blogging at the end of 2016, but didn’t post more than once per week, and generally posted less than that-until I began writing about dishes. I didn’t even buy my own domain or have my Mailchimp account set up properly until about 6 months ago. Then, I discovered DIY blogs and linky parties. What fun! Now I’m motivated to decorate, cook, paint, and make things because I get to share them with my blogging friends, and also see the things they’ve made.
So what benefits have I gleaned from writing middle grade books, selling dishes, and blogging during the past 3 years? Writing the middle grade book was something I always wanted to do. I don’t ever have to feel like I didn’t try, or that I didn’t finish. I sent my query letter to every middle grade agent I could find.
I also learned lots from buying and selling vintage glass and dinnerware. I see identifiable dish patterns nearly every time I watch an older movie. For example, in Throw Mama From the Train, Danny Devito’s Mom is drinking from a Royal Albert Old Country Roses cup when he tries to poison her. As an added bonus, I saved up my dish money last August, and took the family on a trip to Asheville, North Carolina. I’m still very interested in learning about vintage tableware, and using it to decorate. When I buy things to use in a vignette, or on one of my tablescapes, I put them in my store afterwards.
During the last 8 months of blogging I’ve learned to adhere to a writing schedule, and to plan, shop, and create with an eye toward the future. Bloggers begin creating projects 6 weeks to a month or more before an event actually arrives. People are thinking about Back to School. (or homeschool) right now. I’ve been ordering lots of books and buying school supplies this month for my own homeschool. When school starts in August, folks will be thinking ahead towards the autumn season, and that’s what they’ll want to read about.
I have told my children, “I don’t love any of this more than you, or more than I love raising you, or spending time with you. I’m just trying to fill my extra time in a positive way.” I want to be available for my family at ALL times. Teaching my 14 year-old and 11 year-old is a breeze compared to homeschooling 3 kids-along with a toddler on the move, and another baby on my hip. We’re having BIG fun, and I don’t want to miss it. I am soaking up every moment of school, because I know the last two whippersnappers will graduate before I can say, “Jack Robinson.”
I don’t know where the Lord will lead me, or how He plans to use my blog. I know that I am enjoying creating, decorating, painting, and writing about all of it. I especially love getting to know other bloggers, and sharing their joys and struggles. Their ideas, and execution of those ideas, inspire and motivate me every day. If you’re a blogger, I would love to hear how you began this journey, and if you’ve found your path. If your home is emptying out, I would love to hear how you’re spending that extra time.
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