New Year, New Thoughts + My Word of the Year

'Tis the season for fresh starts, resolutions and thoughts about the year going forward, isn't it? I've got a few things to share today that have been rolling around in my head and heart: some blogging-related, some project-related and some house-related. It's a bit of a mish mash, but I'll try to be concise :).

Over the past year, I've been feeling especially frazzled and frenzied when it comes to writing this blog. I wouldn't exactly call it stress, but it has made this whole thing less enjoyable that I'd like it to be. There have been times this year when I've felt totally uninspired while feeling pressured to publish/produce content, and even thought about giving the whole thing up. I was feeling that way when we were living in DC (we left in May, for those of who are new around here), but I thought it was due to the fact that I had run out of projects to do in our itty bitty apartment and that we would be homeless for three months over the summer (not literally, but we were living in other people's houses and therefore no real projects/decorating/DIYing could happen), but the feelings continued when we got to Philly even when I had a whole.new.house to decorate.

Obviously, something else was going on.

When I took some time to reflect on why I was feeling that way, I realized a couple of things:

  • The year I started worrying more about page views, creating "Pinterest-worthy" content and how I would monetize the blog than enjoying it for the reasons I started the blog in the first place - as a creative outlet.
  • Posting felt more like a grind than anything else, which sapped my energy and sucked the fun out of writing and making things. I often wondered if what I was doing was a waste of time.
  • I wasn't getting as much feedback from readers as I would've liked. It's hard to keep something like this up when you feel like you're speaking to an empty room. I'm not speaking to an empty room based on the page views I have, but when all I hear are crickets after hitting the publish button, that can make me a little sad. 
Yuck, right? Aren't you glad you're reading today's post so far? ;) Told you we'd be getting into the nitty gritty today.

Ok, so rather than just push forward and discard these thoughts as "just a phase," I've been assessing why, despite all the reasons above, I love being in this place for a few days each week. 

Here are a few reasons why I want to stick around:
  • Creating things gives me such pleasure, and I love contributing my creativity to the blogging world. 
  • Connecting with y'all, my dear readers, is a major highlight, even if it doesn't happen as often as I would wish. A recent encounter reminded me of how important that connection is to me. On our road trip back home on Saturday, my husband and I stopped at Chick Fil A. While we were waiting for our food, I heard someone say, "Excuse me, sorry to interrupt..." from behind me and it turns out it was a gal who follows May Richer Fuller Be (Hi Erin!) and recognized me from my picture. She introduced herself and told me that she really loved my blog. That totally made my day! Of course meeting "in real life" is an anomaly, but the excitement of meeting her reminded me of the importance of y'all.
  • Connecting with other bloggers is really, really fun too. I collaborated more with others in 2014 than ever, and some of my favorite projects and posts came out of those times.
  • Posting here keeps me accountable on getting things done. I'm pretty sure I wouldn't do half the projects, organizing or decorating I do now if I didn't have a blog.
  • Blogging also forces me to flex my creative muscles. I love learning new skills and I want to grow as a designer/DIYer/writer - being here enables that.
So, what's happening at MRFB in 2015 you might be asking?

First and foremost, I want to be purposeful in the projects I do and the posts I write. I don't want to do projects just to have something to post or write just so that it looks like I'm posting a bunch. I want to be authentic and enjoy what I'm doing. This may mean fewer posts, or maybe more? I'm not going to be prescriptive on that one. I want to remain consistent, but I really want to avoid making this place feel like a grind. Fun is the name of the game here :).

Also, quality over quantity is the idea I keep coming back to - and I'm sure that's something y'all appreciate as well! 

When it comes to content, a big theme will be continue to be making our little row house into a place we love and a place that functions well. I want to get rid of clutter and simplify things, so get ready for some posts on organization. I also want to make things pretty along the way, so there will be plenty of decor posts as well. And finally, a skill I want to continue to work on and share here on the blog is graphic design. I've learned so, so much, and I just got a new toy that will hopefully give me even more freedom and help me grow in that area. More to come on that!

I'm going to try and be patient and let things evolve as slowly as they need to. Since my husband's a student for the next 18 months (and we rent), disposable income for projects is small. We'll see how things go! Ultimately, home isn't about how magazine-worthy it is, it's about how it feels and how we welcome others into it. In the words of the Nester: it doesn't have to be perfect to be beautiful. I don't want to fret about how good or bad something looks - I want to enjoy it for what it is. And I want our home to be a comfortable place where people feel like they can put their feet up and relax. 

This brings me to my word of the year: wonder.

A feeling of surprise mingled with admiration, caused by something beautiful, unexpected, unfamiliar, or inexplicable (as defined by Google dictionary).

Last year, things moved too quickly and there was always too much going on in my brain. This year, I want to carve time out to just sit back and observe - both in blog land and offline. I'm excited to breathe life and the world around me in and let the beauty of those things both surprise and inspire me.

I think I'll leave it at that today, friends. I wish I could give you each a big hug and thank you for being here. Onto more projects next week! Slowly. Er. We'll see how it goes!

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  1. Thanks for sharing Chaney, I have definitely had some of those exact same thoughts myself. It sounds like it is going to be a great year for MRFB!

  2. a to the men, my friend! you know i agree! good for you!

  3. I complete understand about writing for the joy of it. While I've set my goals at 2-3 posts per month min (I'm still new and this would be a great step for me), I feel like the blogging should be a joyful outlet. I hope that you find your sense of wonder - a GREAT word BTW! - it seems to get harder to see things through "those eyes" as we get older - at least for me!
    TAF (theappreciationfactor@yahoo.com)

  4. I think your blog is refreshing and God-filled. Don't worry about turning out x number of posts per week. Do it as the inspiration moves you or as the mood strikes! After YHL went down, I think I got "Blogged out." You can certainly understand where they were coming from when they made their decision. The few that I read now are not about how many projects they turn out. I go there because I like what they have to say. In other words, they are the type of people that I would be friends with..... I like the word you chose. My word is "praise." God bless you, and may you make choices that embrace the abundant life. " I have come that they may have life, and have it abundantly." John 10:10

    1. Thanks, Sherri! You always leave the sweetest, scripture-filled comments! It's great having you here. I agree with how you felt about YHL going down. They were one of my faves, so losing them was sad in a lot of ways (almost felt like losing a friend!).

  5. you know, you never did share (or maybe you did and I missed it?) which trash can you ended up picking out for the kitchen! :)

    Can't wait to see what 2015 brings from MRFB! Always a fan!! :)

    1. Ah, you're so right! We ended up going with the white, rectangular Simple Human one - my mom actually gave it to us as a house-warming gift! After a few months of use, we've been very happy with the quality and the look!

      Thanks, as always, for stopping in!

  6. Chaney I love your blog, and as a twenty-something fellow renter I feel like I connect with you and relate to you much more than all the homeowner DIY bloggers out there. You've really inspired me and given me a stronger desire to make my home beautiful now, even though it won't be permanent. I love reading your posts and hearing what you have to say. I am not one to comment on blogs a lot, but I feel that it would be helpful to make you aware that I left a somewhat lengthy comment on one of your posts about your trip to France and was hoping I'd hear back from you on it since you say you read each comment and try to respond to comments through email. But when I never got any response from you, I assumed that you were too busy to really go through with that. Which is totally fine and your call, but in the spirit of honest feedback, as a reader I have to let you know that I won't feel like making an effort to comment and share my opinion on your blog posts unless I get a response from you and feel that my time was at least acknowledged. I'm just making the point that it goes both ways--if readers don't feel appreciated when they do make an effort to connect with you on a personal level, they'll be less likely to make that effort again. Anyways, I really enjoy reading your blog, so please don't stop anytime soon! Just be yourself and do what works for you. I know I'll keep checking in on your blog even if you don't post as often in the future. :)

    1. Hi there!

      Thanks so much for stopping by and taking time to comment here- it really does mean so much! And hearing from a fellow renter is always a treat - things can be a little more of a challenge for us than most DIY enthusiasts, can't they?

      I appreciate your feedback on the lack of response to one of your comments on our Paris trip. It was so thoughtful and I loved reason about your grandpa's experiences there. I'm usually really good about replying via email, so I have no idea how I missed your comment and didn't acknowledge it! It must have slipped through the cracks and I'm really sorry about that. One other thing I noticed when I received your comment on this post is that I can't reply to you via email because your account is set up to not receive email replies. (Google 'no-reply commenter' for more details on that.) I'm glad you're planning on sticking around MRFB - glad to have you always!!

    2. Whoops, I didn't realize I couldn't receive comment replies with my email! I'll have to look into that and try to switch it! Thanks and I hope I didn't come across as too critical--I truly love reading your blog!

  7. Dear Chaney ~ I wanted to let you know how much I enjoy your blog. You probably have a silent audience of admirers (like me). I read your blog a few times a month to see what creative ideas or problem solving approaches you are using. I admire what you do and it gives me pleasure to read it. If you are feeling a bit stuck, perhaps, you might think of expanding outside of your house, a bit. I noticed you moved to Philly - a wonderfully interesting place. Maybe you might consider pictures of what you have found out that you like about Philly - sort of the beautiful, the quirky, or the interesting. For inspiration -- here is a lifestyle blogger I follow: https://chuzailiving.wordpress.com/. Best of luck and many thanks for putting such effort and thought into your blog. ~Lee

  8. Go chaney go! So inspired by you and your courage and dedication to making this blog happen!

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