inspiration

When Fear Leads to Freedom

"You are often paralyzed by fear. Instead of taking action on the things that keep pulling at your heart, you get out your phone and look at what other people are doing..." - Lara Casey, Make It Happen

These feelings were different than the "blogging burn out" so many talk about and warn against. No, after many days, weeks, and months of trying to figure out why in the world I could not write consistently, I have come to this realization. The uneasiness, the lack of motivation, the doubt, the questions...these seemed to be the Holy Spirit pulling on my heart. 

The past few weeks, well months really, if I am being honest, I have felt paralyzed when it comes to writing. I am sure many of you noticed I have been inconsistent with my posting and in and out here on the blog. I have had the hardest time articulating what has been happening within my heart and mind. For so long, I have been tormented with one question.

WHAT IS THE POINT OF MY BLOG? 

This question (and my inability to answer it) has haunted me. In a fearful panic, I began chasing after anything and everything to make my blog feel put together and official. I would be a "cooking/helpful tips" blog...or no, I could be a "handmade/small business" blog...or wait, maybe I could be a "design/inspiration" blog. Yet, still I was uneasy, refusing to sit down and write out my thoughts for days on end because, honestly, I did not know what to say. I could not move forward into those "things that keep pulling at my heart" as Lara Casey says in her new book, Make it Happen

These feelings were different than the "blogging burn out" so many talk about and warn against. No, after many days, weeks, and months of trying to figure out why in the world I could not write consistently, I have come to this realization. The uneasiness, the lack of motivation, the doubt, the questions...these seemed to be the Holy Spirit pulling on my heart. 

I began to see that I needed to step away and critically think through the purpose of my blog and presence on the Internet before I could move forward. As I have spent concentrated time thinking this through and talking with my husband and several others, here are a few things I have found to be true...

First, I struggle with desiring affirmation from others, so, naturally, in this online world that is closely affiliated with likes, followers, stats, and page views, I tend to fall into my flesh and sin.

First, I struggle with desiring affirmation from others, so, naturally, in this online world that is closely affiliated with likes, followers, stats, and page views, I tend to fall into my flesh and sin.

I have realized I need to posture my blog in such a way that doesn't allow me to feed that affirmation-craving beast hidden deep within me. I love reading how-to blogs, design blogs, food blogs, and business blogs, yet I have seen that, if Oh Simple Thoughts were solely one of these blogs, I would be able to justify my selfish desire for more followers, more likes, higher stats, and more page views...those are part of the business blog world, after all, right? This is a necessary part of these blogs, so it is not bad in itself, yet it feeds a sin in me with which I struggle. So lesson learned, I cannot allow my blog to become driven by numbers, or I will undoubtedly fall into a pattern that I see as unhealthy for my spiritual, emotional, and mental well being. 

Second, I have realized that my online and offline life must be balanced in a healthy way and that my offline life needs to take first priority. 

Community is a big buzz word online and in real life. We all desire to experience community, be in community, and share community with others. Yet, true community is about life on life. It is messy and inconvenient at times, and, most importantly, true community takes away our ability to have total control. This is scary, but necessary, to experience deep, real, family-like community. It is about people showing up unannounced and seeing our messy houses, imperfect marriages, and our sin...community has to see it all in order to truly be what it is, a family. 

When it comes to blogging and the internet, I often see the opposite of this. We say we are pursuing online community, yet, in reality, everything is under our total control. We dictate when we show up and when we shut the door, we filter what is put out there, we edit our words and images to fit our "brands". So while I believe elements of community can exist online, I am not sure that true Biblical community can ever fully be experienced on the Internet alone. 

Don't get me wrong. I have been blessed to meet so many amazing and inspirational women through the internet (honestly, some of my very best friends), yet I am learning something very important about online community....it is, by default, limited. This is why I feel my biggest priority must be placed on my physical community and then on my online community. 

Yet, true community is about life on life. It is messy and inconvenient at times, and, most importantly, true community takes away our ability to have total control. This is scary, but necessary, to experience deep, real, family-like community. It is about people showing up unannounced and seeing our messy houses, imperfect marriages, and our sin...community has to see it all in order to truly be what it is, a family. 

Finally, I have learned that my deep desire is to write, blog, instagram, tweet, share, and all the other social verb words for Jesus' name. 

Oh Simple Thoughts is about Jesus. I do not want it to be about me or my amazing recipes or my perfect marriage or my great fashion sense or my successful small business. Can I let you in on a little secret? None of those things exist...so why would I make an entire blog about fake things? I mess up in the kitchen on a regular basis. I fight with my husband and sin against him. I struggle to prevent my love for fashion and handmade business from mushrooming into discontentment and materialism. I struggle to keep my small business surrendered to the will of Jesus. I am soo far from perfect, and that is what Oh Simple Thoughts is about. 

This blog is a place to share real life. The good, the inspiring, the messy, the convicting, the challenging, and, sometimes, the stylish, yummy, and handmade. 

There has been a lot of learning happening within my heart the past month, but now I am here. I am ready to commit myself to this space and to show up here regularly, for the Lord's glory. I will be posting only 3 times a week and focusing on our community here in Starkville with more of my free time. But I am here friends, and I am eager to see the Lord make much of himself here at Oh Simple Thoughts. 

I have a heart so see the Internet used as a tool to bring glory to the Lord, and want to encourage others who have an online presence to consider the same thing. Will you join me tonight for my second #ohsimplechat on Twitter to talk about these things? I will be hanging out asking some questions for whoever wants to join in from 7-8pm CST tonight. 


Christmas Card Picture Inspiration

Some of you may remember several months ago when I posted pictures of a picnic photoshoot I was hoping to do for mine and Ben's one year anniversary...well somehow time got away from us and that never happened. So here we are...almost to Thanksgiving and no good pictures of our little family other than those taken professionally at our wedding.

Well that presents a problem seeing as we used wedding photos last year for our Christmas cards, and it has been over a year since the wedding. So I got to thinking, dreaming, and brainstorming ideas for our pictures, and then randomly text Lauren of Sincerely, Lo about taking the pictures for us. You see, Lauren lives just minutes outside of the city my in laws live in, and Ben and I are spending Thanksgiving with his family...so we will be right down the road from Lauren! I thought it was a shot in the dark, but had my fingers crossed hoping we could make something happen in the little window of time we would be in town. 

Well, a few texts and lots of emojis later, we were all set with a price, locations ideas and a date! EEEKKK! So then of course my wheels really started turning, and I wanted to share some inspiration I have pulled. We are hoping to do our session outside, and include Piper of course. We really want to incorporate traditional Christmas colors, and some coziness as well. 

Can you tell I am a tad bit excited? 


I have so many plans. I am hoping to include a pretty quilt or blanket, some cozy white mugs and my heart shaped marshmallows, a big read bow for Piper, and some red lipstick of course for myself! 


Do you do Christmas cards? What are you and your family doing for pictures this year? 

5 Ways to Inspire the Uninspired

Hello friends! I am blogging over at Simply Sweet Melissa today about being inspired! I don't know about you but as a blogger there always seems to be so much pressure on me to stay inspired. I am always searching for ideas for my next "big post"...it seems never ending sometimes. For me, the pressure of it all often leaves me so far from feeling inspired. So today I wanted to share with you some methods I turn to when I am running low on inspiration. Head over to Melissa's blog and check out my tips when it comes to getting inspired. 


What inspires you the most?

Also, if you follow me on Instagram you have probably already seen this, but for those of you who do not! The talented Elizabeth of HardInk Calligraphy has graciously given one of her calligraphy prints as well as a "ridiculously good ideas" notepad to me for one special winner! Head over to my IG feed @mrsrachelcox for more info on how to enter! Winner will be announced Saturday at noon!



Much Love, 

Rachel