Hi friends – I hope you’re all doing well. Guess what? Today is my birthday! So I hope you’ll bear with me a moment, because there is something I want to talk about really quick before getting to this week’s 3 Things (I’ll consider it a gift if you make it through this whole post and leave a comment!).
Some things have been going around the internet about bloggers (again…) being inauthentic, portraying perfect lives, and basically being money-grabbing. Thankfully, I hear from many of you and know you don’t think of me or AOC in this way, but for newer readers I do want to make sure you know these things about me & this blog:
- I am just a normal person with all the normal problems we all have in life. Since I want this space to be an uplifting, “you can do it” kind of place that educates, motivates, and inspires you to live your lives to the fullest wherever you are, I don’t share a lot of problems, ranting, or complaining (though I know those type of posts tend to go viral). If you read regularly, you may know we’ve lost loved ones, have hearts breaking over a prodigal child, and have gone through a prolonged period of underemployment. Sometimes I have to be careful what I share, since it involves other people. I hope you understand that this is not because I’m trying to be inauthentic, but just to be sensitive and keep this a place of uplifting encouragement.
- Perfection? Ha! It’s part of AOC’s tagline for a reason- imperfection is the only reason I had the courage to start DIY-ing (and I use that term for all the main areas of the blog- cooking, gardening & home decor/crafts) in the first place. I’ve also put it out there that it’s taken 4 years to finish a set of chairs and 6+ years to get the laundry room painted. I have too much stuff and am prepared to take you all on the journey of our downsizing and moving, no matter how it looks. It may not always be pretty, but sharing life and all that comes from it, with the ultimate goal of being an encourager, is what makes this space different from a magazine site.
- Money. I think many of you know the amount of time it takes to create recipes or projects, take photos, edit them, write articles, and then share them constantly on a schedule – all the things I have to do to keep bringing you real food recipes (that people actually eat), easy gardening, and do-able projects. There are also hours of behind-the-scenes work on the blog, learning new techniques, and collaborating with others. I could easily work 50+ hours a week going down what I call the “black hole of blogging.” I can honestly say I would not still be here, 7 years later, if there wasn’t a way to make money from the blog – it just wouldn’t be sustainable for our family. Which I’m sure you get! Many things that have seemed to come easy to other bloggers haven’t for me – I don’t know why, but there it is. So, yes, I need to run ads on the site (I’m always juggling how to make them less intrusive…), I share products with you that I may make some money or credit on (but only because I think they’re great), and I occasionally run posts that have been sponsored by brands. But I do not share just anything – I want it to be useful to you, so any article I write, no matter who backed it or what affiliate links are included, would be an article I normally would write and will provide you with something you can make, cook, or learn from- pinky-swear promise.
Whew, sorry that went long. Maybe I should’ve made a whole separate post on this! You guys have encouraged me SO much over the years through your comments and emails and they usually come right when I’m ready to throw in the towel. I’m beyond happy that making some money here allows me to continue to have this space on the internet with you guys – I’m blessed by you and just want you to know my heart on these things. And that you can always trust what you see here.
Okay – finally on to this week’s things I’m loving – and the links I think you’ll love (some of the links I provide are affiliate links- I sure appreciate your support if you use them!):
Our completed French chairs – finally! Yep, they are both done, done, done and I haven’t felt this much relief over a project in awhile. I guess 4 years waiting will do that to you, huh? So, they are not perfect (a-hem) and there are a LOT of things I wish I had done differently, but I love them anyway. Bonus? They’re super comfortable, too!
Look for a whole post on them and what choices I made (and those I wouldn’t make again) soon – I just wanted to give you a sneak peek early!
Money for gold. You guys, I had NO idea! You know all those thin gold chains that are twisted, knotted, or broken, and the single earrings you have stashed away? It’s money!!
While the picture above isn’t the actual gold we sold this week (these are the rejects, but I forgot to take a picture at the jeweler’s), it’s a fair representation of what the pile looked like – meaning, not that big. Guess what our pile of gold about that size netted us? $524.00!! Seriously, go look through your drawers, find a local jeweler who will buy it, and cash in if it’s unusable or has no meaning to you – it’s a lot of fun to see what you’ll get.
Four more books read! That’s 18 books this year already, almost 4 books a month and if I can finish 2 more before June, it will be! So fun. Here’s what I read (and listened to – audiobooks have been perfect for all the gardening I’ve been doing):
Essentialism by Greg McKeown – this has been on my to-read list for almost a year. I just keep hearing over and over how it changed people’s thinking. I was able to snag a free 3-month trial of Audible that allows me to have 1 free book a month and this was my first month’s listen (that offer is over, but you can get a free month with 2 free books by clicking here: Try Audible and Get Two Free Audiobooks). It was really good and challenged me on a number of levels both business and personal to work toward letting go of busywork in order to do the best work. This and The Best Yes are helping me to really think about things before I just jump in. Have you read it? Did it challenge you?
A Praying Life by Paul Miller was suggested in the comments of She Reads Truth and I’m so glad I found it on Hoopla to listen to, it has really helped my prayer life! You know those prayer books you read where all the prayers are answered, no matter how big and miraculous? If you just prayed like that, you think, then your prayers will be answered to? This book is about real life with some prayers answered- and some not. Some take years and years. And there are terrific practical tips to help your prayer life that I have adopted, like using prayer cards to actually remember to pray for people instead of just saying “I’ll pray for you” and then forgetting about it. I’ve already recommended this book to a number of people.
Fervent by Priscilla Shirer is sort of connected to The War Room movie, since it’s written by the female lead, but she’s been a speaker and writer for years before that and has a lot of wisdom and encouragement around the area of prayer. The best thing about this book are the many scriptures to pray over all kinds of topics that are part of all our lives.
The More of Less by Joshua Becker. I’m not sure what I was expecting of this book – it’s new and I was happy to find it on Hoopla to listen to – but I was a little underwhelmed. He had some good advice to getting started on the road to living with less and his story is fun to hear, but maybe I’m farther along down the road and this just didn’t give me anything new I haven’t heard before? And I was disappointed that he really watered down his faith and seemed to claim that minimalism was the way to have the best, most meaningful life – which just seemed kinda shallow to me. Whatever it is, it’s a good book – just not one that will be in my top books of the year, if you know what I mean.
Links To Check Out:
Grilled shrimp and pineapple spiced up with habanero. Yum.
I’d have to find something other than mango, but this salad looks amazing – especially the red curry dressing!
The garlic-herb coating on these rolls is calling to me -though I doubt I’d take the time to make knots – I’d just do rolls, ha!
A good guide to the difference between baking soda and baking powder.
Some realistic tips to set daily routines and free printables.
20 ways to simplify travel and see the world – I’m ordering an elastic travel clothes line right now!
Most free printables are created with a computer but these recipe binder printables were hand-painted- SO pretty.
Like these links? I’m always pinning these and lots more – follow me on Pinterest for more inspiration and ideas!
Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links and by clicking on them you help support AOC at no extra cost to you – thanks so much! Plus you can trust I’ll only share what I love. (You can always read our entire disclosure page here.)