Sometimes life hands us incredibly full seasons, and our own Melissa Michaels is in the midst of one of those right now. We hope you’ll join us in praying for her and her family as she dedicates time to finishing some beautiful projects, co-hosting a small blogging conference, moving to a new house, and all the other wonderfully, gloriously ordinary tasks that fill her days.
When we saw this post of hers from 2007, we fell in love and wanted to share it with you today because 8 years later, authenticity is still a very good thing.
So, being totally new to blogging and not really knowing the first thing about it, I decided to take a little tour today around other people’s blogs. Just to see what this is all about. I found quite by accident an old friend Alicia’s blog (hello, Alicia!) and from there I was thrust into a world of fantastic blogs that were so wonderful and beautiful and created by such immensely talented people, I contemplated just hanging it all up, saying “Good-bye, World!” and ending it all right now. “All” meaning the blog, of course.
I moped around for the rest of the afternoon, thinking to myself: How in the world would I ever be able to put together something so colorful, so insightful, so helpful and impressive to measure up to these talented people? I don’t sew my own aprons or design cute little baby clothes. I don’t make my own pasta. I hardly ever make tartlets (Ok, I never do). I don’t have time to take fabulous photos of my backyard parties and include step by step instructions (with photos) for my famous smoked pork shoulder. I’ve never even made smoked pork shoulder. We have Costco top sirloin burgers. With ketchup.
As I wandered through my house, with two 7-year-old boys running wildly and loudly through a sea of over-turned couch cushions, every blanket in the house now piled in my kitchen, and peanut butter sandwich crusts still on plates from lunchtime, it hit me. HELLO!? What are those little words right after my blog and business name? Refining Your Home for Authentic Living™. AUTHENTIC LIVING? Oh my gosh. I did it again.
I profess authentic living and designing one’s home to be beautifully inspired by who you really are . . . yet I got distracted by beautiful and amazing things I just can’t do right now (or will never do) and felt a momentary twinge of “blog-and-life-envy.”
I had to counsel myself back to my life. We all have different circumstances, different abilities, different likes and dislikes, and different objectives.
We are at different places in our life and in our blogs! But, of course, that is what makes us unique.
If we can just harness our uniqueness and create our life and home (and blogs!) to reflect who we REALLY are and what we want to accomplish, we would be so much happier!
We can be inspired by all these lovely things that we see. We can stretch ourselves to see new beauty, apply what is appropriate for us. and just enjoy that other people have Martha Stewart all covered in the creative department. We don’t have to be Martha (or Alicia, or any of the other amazing women out there) to be happy, to have beautiful homes, or to have something to offer the world. Beauty and wisdom can come from our reality.
My reality is children ranging from ages 7 to 19 and all their friends running happily through my hallways and eating our food non-stop, parents who are living with us while they are remodeling their home, a husband who is a great help in the home but would really rather watch a movie than make hand-made paper, running my own decorating consulting business, a 4700 square foot 1930s fixer-upper on a limited budget (yes, I know, what was I thinking!) and a love for a beautiful home.
Somehow I have to put all that reality in a blender, mix it up with some inspiration from other talented people, and create something beautiful for my own happiness and for my family and friends’ well-being. That is creating an authentically beautiful life & home (or blog!). And that’s a good thing 🙂
Update September 2015: EIGHT years later, I’m still blogging and loving every minute of it! I never would have imagined I’d still be here, but I have found so much joy just learning to be who God created me to be and finding contentment right where I am. As only God can do, He has used my humble creative offering in each season of life in a new way. If authenticity and loving the home you have right now resonates with you, you might enjoy my first book, Love the Home You Have, which became a a New York Times Bestseller (I can’t believe it!). God has a great sense of humor, but I know without a doubt He takes great delight in giving us each good gifts we can use for His glory.
Bev @ Walking Well With God says
I just have lo love and chuckle at the pictures of the hallway. That was my life when my kids were young. The bonus room carpet is so worn from hours of knee hockey. There are remnants of nail polish sleep overs in my daughter’s room. There was evidence of life well lived all over the marked and scuffed walls. But you know, fresh paint covers up the walls, and new carpet will hopefully be next on the “to do” list. I wouldn’t trade those chaotic and beautiful years for the world. That was authentic living for that season in my life. With my children, now grown, my house pretty much stays in tact. This is my season now. I’m glad that God taught me to live life…even in the midst of the mess, because this too, does pass all too quickly…
Thanks for a blast from the past 🙂
Melissa @ The Inspired Room says
Amen, Bev! And you are welcome for the chuckle, I love seeing those reminders too. 🙂
I and my family live in my childhood home where I grew up; a home my father built for his family with his own two hands (with a little help from my grandfather’s two hands too!) The house is, of course, filled with memories from a wonderful childhood (mine), and when I first told our three children we were “moving to Mom Mom’s house”, I got more blank stares than excited smiles. My husband and I lured them in with the promise of making it our own and adding a pool…..which we did. We have been there 15 years, and it has taken a long time but the house has evolved to look less like my mother’s decorating and more like our own. We moved from big house to small 1950’s fieldstone ranch, but it has more character, individuality and charm than our development home. Also more items joy-rigged by my depression era father that figured why buy new when you can fix it with tape and rubber bands. We are slowly upgrading those items as we go….
While I do not enjoy decorating in the slightest (my sister got that gene) I am thankful that I can surround my kids with a rich heritage of memories from their childhood, too. It’s a continual work in progress but I wouldn’t want to be anywhere else.
Melissa @ The Inspired Room says
That sounds like a dream to live in a family home surrounded by family memories, what a wonderful place to raise your kids!
Melissa, your post made me smile. The pictures? Yeah, those were me a few years ago. Still are me and my home some days. I so appreciate your reminder to embrace where I am now. I don’t have to have Pinterest-perfect home decorations, perfect-acting boys (like they could . . . ?! Like I could!), the blog that reaches millions. If I am obedient where God has me now, that is enough. If I’m seeking Him first in my days, that is enough. Thanks for making me think about this. 🙂
And congratulations on making the NYT bestseller list. 🙂
melissa @ the inspired room says
Hi Jeanne, I can’t help but smile at those photos, too. What fun those boys had in that long hall! And thank you, God is a giver of unexpected and often undeserved gifts but it is fun to celebrate what He has done with so little :).
I so needed to read this today. Thank you, Melissa, for your encouragement. How funny, that I was just have similar thoughts, playing the comparison game, then I clicked over to read this. God bless you.
Melissa @ The Inspired Room says
Thank you Dawn! Yes, we don’t need more of what everyone else has, we just need more Jesus working through us to empower us to give what we already have. It is enough! Blessings to you!
Joanne Peterson says
Oh My Goodness, that is my home now…….again. I had about two years of picked up. We started all over again. I have a cottage that was added on three times, no place is square, the floors are uneven, all the carpeting is worn, it needs repainting again, it still needs a lot of work. When we bought this home, we prayed hard about it, and God said yes we’re to buy this home. It’s simply our home.
I am far from a decorator, but we like the woods, the wildflowers, the wildlife, the change of seasons, and a shallow river in our backyard and Lake Michigan a half mile away. Last night I relished hearing two owls calling to each other in our backyard for the longest time. At other times I’ve seen and heard the magnificent great blue heron. Once a heron landed in our backyard. My friend and I didn’t breathe so we could watch this beautiful bird up close as long as we could before it flew away. Such colors! We have deer, otters, muskrats, other waterfowl, songbirds, foxes, coyotes, raccoons, opossums, etc. My boys stop everything they are doing to watch a doe and their fawn(s) so tiny and growing up. We see these creatures and enjoy watching them act like themselves. My boys dig for worms, and play in the backyard. They fish in our shallow river, and watch the trout and salmon spawn in the fall. They camp out in tents in our backyard with their dad. I supply the food and they roast things over the fire and devour the fire roasted food.
This is all part of our home.
Thank you Melissa to help me realize this is my life and I can be content. When we do entertain, no one minds the state of disrepair our house is in. This is not what makes our home. Our people is what makes our home.
I love the giraffe, I could see my 4 and 5 year old boys playing with it.
Brenda Meyer says
I loved this and could identify with it so much….But here’s something to think about….I have raised my three kiddos…they are now parents themselves….and guess what? The house has gone full circle….it is now cluttered AGAIN with toys, clothes, etc….the grandkids have made this their wonderful “home away from home!” 🙂 I have had a motto ever since my kids were little (and now I remind myself of it these days again….) “People are the only thing that matters, the only thing you can take to heaven with you…so invest in what matters!” Have a wonderful day, and I am so proud of your “bestseller!”. It sounds like a book I’d love! Blessings on your day!
Rebecca Jones says
I’ve worked with children my entire life, including home day care. Even so, my house was pretty good, decorated seasonally and though it was lot of work, I know that I made a difference. I’m new to blogging, and Pinterest but I am trying to bless others, even if the house is messy now, and it is, I’m not longer stressed by a cleaning schedule. What’s a few dirty clothes or dishes in comparison to lightening someone else’s burden?
Regina Gibson says
What you wrote definitely resonates with me. I have had revelations that I want to share in a blog and have done so 4 times. I start and get discouraged or think who am I to talk about such things and then delete them. Luckily I had someone who copied some of my articles and I have some in my notebook that I am in the process of starting over yet again. Thanks for the encouragement to know that even if no one reads them I am being creative with what God gave me and wisdom can come from my reality.
Rachel Kathrine says
Love This! Just what I needed to read this morning! Thank you x
Beth Williams says
I am no decorator! Don’t care about that stuff just want everything to look nice and lived in. I believe people should stop looking at Pinterest, other social media and quit comparing themselves to others. You are who God made you to be faults and all!!! I love looking out the kitchen window and seeing deer, turkeys, and groundhogs in our back yard. It is fun to live out in the country away from the big city!!!
Prayers for you now as you co-hosting a blogging conference and moving!! May God give you the strength to endure each day and keep on!! I pray the move goes smoothly and everyone is happy!
Nancy Ruegg says
Just for fun, I looked up “authentic” in the dictionary. The first definition reads: “conforming to fact, therefore worthy of trust and reliance.” Oh, my. As we seek to impact our world for Jesus, authenticity is a must. Honesty about the mess and craziness of our lives (but wrapped in layers of joy and grace–not complaints) surely adds to the genuineness of our testimonies: “My life isn’t perfect, and I don’t have all the answers, but this I know. Jesus loves us and he’s made a way for imperfect people like me to know him and experience his peace and joy.” Thank you, Melissa, for reminding us of the importance of authenticity!