To My Dear Readers - A Letter of Honesty & Changes

So, I have had so many things swirling around in my heart and mind lately in regards to this little blog. I have taken a long time to stop, ponder, and really work through my feelings and thoughts the past few months. So, I wanted to take a few minutes to be very honest with you and share my heart. I love Oh Simple Thoughts. This blog means so much to me and has served to mold and shape me in so many ways since it's beginning. This space has allowed me to share my life and passions with so many people I may never meet face to face, and that is amazing. I have been doing this a little over two years now and cannot express the joy that this hobby brings me.

Don't worry...this is not my "I am quitting the Internet post".

I began blogging to document mine and Ben's life together, but quickly this space grew into something so much bigger. It has become a place for me to share my passions for food and handmade goods and to share openly and honestly about how the Lord is shaping me and teaching me. 

However, lately I have been coming to this blog worn down, empty and lacking the words and inspiration I have had in the past. I have been spinning in a million directions and feeling as if I am being pulled in a human tug of war match. I have felt inadequate, overwhelmed, and honestly like a disappointment. I have found myself sinking in the notion that "blogging success" must be quantified by x, y, and z...when in all honesty I am not sure x, y, and z are what I want this blog to be about. 

I went through a season of being totally consumed with the numbers, the stats, the profitability, and the followers of my blog...when, in all reality, none of these things make my blog successful in my book. I blog because I love sharing my life with you as my readers. I read other blogs because of the writer's honesty and life-giving words they share. I desire to grow this blog in order to see my mission of encouraging women to use their unique gifts for the Lord embraced by more readers. I truly want the Lord to bring more and more eyes to this little blog...but not at the expense of my sanity. 

When I stress about likes on Instagram, Twitter followers, page views, sponsors, comments, and how much money I am making...my blog is no longer accomplishing the goal for which it was created. When these things become my focus, then my blog has become about my own pride and my own vanity. I wrongly make this space all about me, myself, and I...and y'all, that is just not why I set out to write. 

So I have seen that the Internet can be such a life giving place, but that comes with boundaries and a balance. The constant pull to pour over Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, and Bloglovin' day after day has drained me, and the Lord has made it very clear this is not what he is calling Oh Simple Thoughts to (though he may be calling you and your blog to that! Praise the Lord! I am behind you, and praying alongside you and cheering you on!). I naturally struggle to say no to good things...and blogging, and sponsorship, and promoting bloggers we believe in are all GOOD THINGS! However...I am in desperate need of saying YES to just a few really great things right now. 

I have just launched my Etsy shop, Oh Simple Joys, and have such fresh vision for this store. I have so many ideas and awesome products that will be rolling out in the months ahead, and I want to be able to focus my time and energy wholeheartedly in that venture. Also, Ben and I are part of new church plant that is wading through so many big, exciting changes...changes that require me to be fully present in our church member's lives on a daily basis. And when it comes down to it, I want to be living a full life, so that I can share that fullness with others virtually and in real life. The Lord fills me so that I can pour more out, and when I am not at a place of fullness or thriving, I cannot use this blog the way I feel the Lord desires me to. 

I am saying all this to say, I am stepping back, taking some deep breaths, and setting out to find myself again in a place of thriving. I have eluded to little changes and feeling overwhelmed here and there the past few months, but here I am laying it all out and truly walking in the way I feel the Lord calling me to walk right now.

I will be changing my sponsorships to fit what I feel the Lord is asking of me. I will still offer sponsorship spots, however they will no longer include things such as tweets, pins from pinterest, and the like. They will simply be a sidebar ad, plain and simple. I will do one post a month on all my sponsors, and I will keep offering this option as long as interest in the spot is around. For all current sponsors things will remain the same and the new sponsorship spots will be available beginning January 1st, 2015. There will no longer be monthly giveaways, just simply the occasional collab giveaway and giveaways to support businesses I believe in. I hope this all makes sense.

Nothing will change for sponsors that are lined up right now; everything will change in January. I am hoping this can be one little step I am able to take toward a place of refreshment, fullness, and thriving. I am saying

no

to some really awesome things in order to say

yes

to hopefully even better things. This may not make sense, but all I can say is that I am fully convinced this is what the Lord is asking of me, and so, therefore, I am walking in obedience to his calling as best I know how.

I praise the Lord for each of you that comes to this place and reads my words, comments, and follows along with our life. I pray you stick around, bear with me, and continue to seek out Christ in this space!

-Rachel

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