Monday

Holidays & thoughts on blogging

I thought I would give you a peek inside my Holiday weekend.

We had 21 folks for Thanksgiving dinner, and 15 over later in the evening for seconds. Mark cooks a really good turkey and I think this year was the best. We order the turkey from a local farm each year in the summer, they grow and prepare it and we pick it up on the Tuesday before Thanksgiving. This year's turkey was 28 pounds. Nothing but the carcass remains, which I laid out in the forest to become part of the natural circle of life.

We always do Tex-Mex stuffing, mashed potatoes (this year we did cauliflower mashed potatoes as it seems many of our friends are South Beaching it), my favorite vegetable ~ peas, a huge cheese platter and other decadent appetizers. Everyone else brings multiple dishes and together we make a feast. Thanksgiving ~ good food, company, music and conversation.


For most Thanksgivings we have friends over, but this year Mark's dad and step mom were here from Tulsa. It was the first time that we had actual family here for Thanksgiving dinner! That was nice for the kids to have family here and good for us to catch up on family news. 

As soon as Thanksgiving was over we  turned our attention to Christmas. The women's group at our church is having their Christmas tea in my house, so I needed to go ahead and get the place decorated. So, while I missed out on the whole Black Friday shopping thing (seriously, what kind of name is that?) on Saturday we went ornament shopping at World Market. The kids went to town picking the most lovely (expensive/breakable!) ornaments until I calmly directed them to the cheaper/non-breakable ones. 



It is funny watching myself do this ~ prepare for holidays just like everyone else ~ because I am so not a holiday person. I have never really like tradition or the silliness of shopping and all that. I don't like being artificially told to think about Christ's birth, I prefer to mediate on that in my own time, when it seems organic. But I have children so I do it for them. I do it for the memories we are creating in their minds. I grew up with Christmas carols and hymns and dinner and presents and all that, so I don't want to deny that for my kids (and my husband who LOVES holidays and abundant gift giving!).


Anyhow, after shopping we then came home and decorated the tree in the living room. And Laura decided to decorate herself:






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I have been thinking about blogging a lot lately ~ thinking about it's purpose, my place in it all, my voice, the hugeness of marketing via blogging. I have visited so many successful blogs and love to see how committed folks are to their vision and the process of art and blogging. I know, unfortunately, that I can't compete. I am just not that fired up as I feel I need to be to be truly successful. I have made some changes around here and some folks kindly told me that my blog looks more professional now. But 1) my traffic has not increased for the effort and 2) my very closest friend told me that my blog no longer sounds like 'Shona'. So what is the point of it? For the discipline of coming up with ideas? To market my book? To please others & get kudos? To record my life? To cast a vision of the Artistic Mother? To be really me?

If I want to do posts that are interesting to others then I feel that I need to come up with something new. I don't like to do things that everyone else is doing. I am a starter and when I find that what I am doing is being done over and over I loose my motivation and want to go on to something new, this has always been an issue for me. Also to create good posts I think that they need to be interesting! And you know, a lot of my life is just not that interesting/exciting/artful.

So to come up with new/interesting ideas for blog posts it takes time and effort. And with a young toddler, who has taken to opening and emptying every kitchen cupboard, that is just plain hard to do. I am pretty good at ordering my day so I can see exactly what I am spending my time on. And I have been wondering ~ is this really how I want to spend my limited free time? What about my art and writing? I know that every minute I am blogging I am not spending time creating. And when I am not creating then, as my husband pointed out, I get in a funk. I need to have a project. I need to have something new going on, something to create.

So this December I am going to challenge myself to make a piece of art everyday. It is going to be some combo of photography, poetry and mixed media collage (my big three). I will post my findings here, everyday for the month of December and then see how I am doing. But I won't be doing a whole lot of talking here. I will be posting without words. Focusing on the art and not the blogging.

I hope to have more blogging focused discussions with fellow bloggers on Dec 8 at La Madeleine's in The Woodlands, Texas at 7pm. There is a good group coming. It is going to be fun to be around people who like to talk about a topic that is interesting to all of us. If you live anywhere near Houston, you are invited to come. Let me know if I can expect you.

23 comments:

  1. I love how you are using your home! Visitors feel so welcome in your home. And tell Mark "good job" on the whole turkey thing. I'm impressed. He's come a long way. I was telling our friend Carol Glass Slover we had gotten to see you and about your beautiful family and home and she said ... "my favorite Mark memory is in college when he decided he could save money by only washing his clothes in water and not adding detergent". SO funny.

    Totally understand your thoughts on blogging and appreciate that Mark understands your need to create. Enjoy your crafting this month!!

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  2. Shona, it looks like you had a lovely time Thanksgiving. If we didn't have family in town, your home for Thanksgiving would be our choice.

    Laura looks so adorable all wrapped up in tinsel. My kiddos wrapped themselves up in Christmas lights. Decorating is so much fun with children. They are so spontaneous.

    It is so easy to lose our focus and vision when blogging and get all caught up in the numbers and trying to please our readers. I think we would enjoy the process so much more if we didn't worry about the numbers and just blogged about what is important to us.

    Just be yourself and blog about whatever you have going on and blog when you can. Do not feel you are a slave to the blog or blogging world. Let it be free and flow. Let it ebb and flow as you ebb and flow. Let it fit into your life. It is your servant, not the other way around.

    Let this blog be an expression of Shona, your little spot in blogosphere, your voice to the world. It is a blank pallet for you to write on as you see fit. You have so much to offer just being you. Whoever finds your blog is very fortunate indeed and will come away with much. Thank you for all you do for artistic mothers everywhere. The plan for December sounds like a good one.

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  3. Dearest Shona, First..I LOVE your photos!!! Oh my, I have to say that of all your children, dear Laura is my favorite. We bonded in nursery all those years ago and I've never forgotten it. She is SOOoo like my Rebekah. You have to earn her smiles..she doesn't just drop them on everyone. Laura is so amazingly ethereal and dramatic! Wow, you really captured her spirit and beauty.

    Shona, I love you so much and I love what you do.You are unique and what you do is fascinating!!! and lovely!! Please, don't worry about the stats and all that. We love your blog--whatever you do and whatever it looks like or whenever you post.

    Be real and do what you can when you can, and we will all be thrilled to get to see a little part of it. :o) Blog the overflow and trust that your readers love you and will keep following whenever you post even if you don't do tutorials or giveaways.

    This times with your little ones is a special season of life and this time of developing your talents and skills are important ones..not to be short-changed. We love peeking over your shoulder and just watching and admiring what you do. As Elisabeth Elliott put it so well, "Do what you know is right..and leave the results (stats) up to God." Letting your light shine is what this is all about. If you blog, as unto Him, he will bring the right people to you and you will bless many and the will bless you back.

    My favorite part of your blog is your gorgeous photos...and your poetry.. I always feel like I am entering another world when I come to visit you... Whatever you do, if you feel peace about it, is going to be wonderful. Ask Mark what he thinks...and trust your instincts. If you blog the way you think others expect, you will hate it-- and you'll quit, and then we will all miss you!

    Give yourself permission to just be you, post when you can..and give the stats to God. I love you dear friend. :o)

    xoxo
    Donna @ Comin' Home

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  4. PS. LOVE the Thanksgiving day and shopping photos and stories! Thanks for sharing them!

    Wish I had been there. :o)

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  5. Wow--Well said Trudy!

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  6. Donna couldn't have said it better. I am so in agreement with her:
    "Do what you know is right..and leave the results (stats) up to God." Letting your light shine is what this is all about. If you blog, as unto Him, he will bring the right people to you and you will bless many and the will bless you back.

    Just be you, Shona. We love you. We love being a part of your world and seeing those little snippets of your life. I learn so much from you, and it helps me in my daily life more than you'll ever know. I think of you each day and how you live your life and see if I can somehow emulate it in some small way. I refer to your book and blog each week as a guide. And as Donna stated, when I read your poetry and view your photographs, they transport me to another world; and they make me want to reach out and be more than I am. If you have made a difference in just one life, if you have changed just one life, pulled one life from the depths of despair and depression just by being you and sharing your life and your art, isn't that enough? You don't realize what a difference you are making. God is using you.

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  7. Blogging is a passion of mine and I have to be careful...otherwise I get all caught up in stuff...trying to gain more traffic, more readers, etc. I blog because I love meeting the people and I love to inspire and be inspired.

    Please keep doing what you do. Creating then sharing it here with us!:)

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  8. It's hard to please everyone isn't it? I'm new to your blog so I haven't seen what others have. All I know is that I am inspired by you and I love your book. Good luck creating art EVERY day with a toddler - in December. If you have fun with it, it's do-able. If you have to force it just to keep your word/goal then you may want to revisit your goal in the new year. Looking forward to your posts! Check out my latest if you have a moment. I think you will like it.

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  9. I think your first piece of art for the day are the photographs ofyour little girl! they are absolutely charming.

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  10. Shona, you are so right. That's why I haven't paid much attention to my own blog; I'm *rightfully* too busy doing the things I'd be blogging about! One day I will learn to merge the very different activities of creating and blogging about it, but for now I'd much rather be making than writing about it. Thanks, as always, for being real.

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  11. Please, don't do what everyone else is doing! I have been slowly but surely deleting the blogs that just get too big... to giveaway driven... to BLAH. I think getting too many advertisers hinders creativity as well.

    Keep it real sistah!

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  12. Hi Shona
    I do find your new blog layout less confusing or less cluttered, easier to navigate and as I have said before when I finally get around to working on mine, you are my inspiration.
    I find the technical stuff really hard. I might be getting a new camera for christmas so I can take more successful photos of my art but I really don't have an interest in photography so I am letting my Mark help me pick out what I need.
    I have a 16month old who is always getting into cuboards, drawers and everything that is not her toys too, I can be absorbed in my studio and next thing I know she is eating paper!
    Art every day just sounds stressful to me, kids turn my world upside down so I don't really expect to plan and feel grateful if the washing is done and everyone is fed.
    Anyway, so just be you.
    Love Deb

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  13. thank you for your encouragement, it is good to have folks to identify with, I appreciate you weighing in. I have been working on some art with my family grandfather's war photos. Recently, I have been watching lots of WWII movies, and been thinking about that era... we'll see what comes out of my musings.

    Darla, I love when you share stories of Mark when he was younger. For anyone reading Darla's comment - Mark went to Baylor Uni with my husband back in the 80's.

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  14. Heard and understood. I think what I love about your blog the most is the way you give inspiration and make it look like anyone can do that. ( Take care of you and your family first, the rest will fall into place)
    You are so real and talented, thankyou for sharing.
    I live a very ordinary life, and blog just for me. I do limit my internet 'time stealer'

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  15. Shona,
    The re-design of your blog does look beautiful, but I totally hear you about time spent blogging vs. other creative pursuits. This wonderful medium (blogging) connects us to so many, but on the other hand disconnects us in a lot of ways by taking our time away from engaging with what's right in front of us. Quite often, our children (or the mess they just made)! Try not to worry about what others are doing and do what is best for you at this moment. There will always be opportunities that abound in the future as well! (This is the same advice I give myself daily with a 2 1/2 year old and a 9 month old. Many of my plans are currently in a holding pattern.) Anyway, people will buy your book regardless of your social media marketing efforts because it is fabulous! Keep up the great work you are doing...xo!

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  16. Oh Oui! Looking forward to your "big three" month. My blog is all about my art and my daughter but when I post the art, I never write... Posting without words... lovely

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  17. Look forward to seeing more of your art this month!

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  18. Love the photos of Laura...so gorgeous!

    Also, I think you should do whatever feels right to you. If you don't have a lot of time (who does?) then you should use it in whichever way will make you feel the most fulfilled at the end of the day. Art makes you a huge part of who you are Shona, and that's why I bought your book and joined the Artistic Mothers group. You helped me realize how important it is for me to make time to create or I get very grumpy! So if your blog is taking away from that then...well maybe don't create such a rigid schedule...we'll all still love you and i'm sure we'll all benefit from you staying true to yourself and your needs. And thank you for sharing your gifts ...and being so honest, it's nice to know you're human! : )

    xoEsther

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  19. great thanksgiving pictures and laura is an ideal model! I am just thinking with the blogging thing that you might not be exhausted and putting too much pressure on yourself! Having a young family is really tough and often I just want to curl up and do nothing. Why not limit yourself to an hour a day blogging then you have the rest of the time to family and a bit of time for creating..thats what I try to do. wish you luck whatever you choose to do..I think you need a bit of "me time".

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  20. i relatively new to understanding stats, etc...and to your blog. i just thought i'd mention that i'm totally impressed with all that you are able to offer up considering everything else you have going on. i have one child, and i find it exceptionally difficult some days to keep groceries in the house. :)

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  21. You have posted some very thoight provoking words about the nature of and purpose of blogging. Thank you - they have me thinking!

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  22. I love your blog and your book and I always find your posts interesting and your photos lovely.

    You will never please everyone, just please yourself andvsee who comes along for the ride.

    I would love to see your daily art, that woukd definitely be inspiring! But whatever is best for you. I appreciate your blog and am just happy to read it.

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  23. This is my first time visiting your blog. Being a mother and an artist for over 30 yrs now I understand how precious time is. Your photos are beautiful. Your poetry is lovely to read.

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