In the process of remodeling the blog (isn't it beautiful?!), I realized something quite profound – I'm growing up.
I was twenty-four when I started this blog. That was almost a decade ago (as just last week we celebrated my thirty-third birthday). In that time, we've moved across the country twice, had three more babies, started two farms from the ground up, got through college, paid off the debt from college, achieved Blue Diamond in dōTERRA, shot a Food Network pilot, and published three books (and self-published a fourth). Years ago, you were likely to find me rambling on about food politics or celebrating a newly acquired skill (I baked my first loaf of bread at age 25). It's funny now to consider.
Ten years ago, I didn't understand style. My closet was compiled completely of hand-me-downs from my sisters. I didn't understand my body shape, my physical strengths, or my taste. I was also blond – for what it's worth.
In those early years, I shared about pregnancy, birth, and the unmet expectations that often accompany those realities. I was a new mom, learning to cloth diaper a baby and breastfeed. I fumbled around naps schedules and diaper bags and car seats.
I was also a new wife – we were married just a year before we got pregnant. Stuart's first day of college was the day Georgia was born. We set out with low-paying jobs, terrible work schedules, college classes, and a newborn to care for. Our rental house gave me a place to practice hosting, decorating, and homemaking. Here's a hint: it didn't go that great. Growing up can sometimes be a bit messy.
A decade is a short time in terms of history, but in my world, it's changed everything. Perhaps you've seen that throughout the many pages of writings here on the blog.
Now, at thirty-three, I'm a mom of four. 8, 6, 4, and 3. Stuart and I have been married for just over a decade – in fact, my ring is currently at the jeweler's getting re-engraved and cleaned. Turns out, a lot of life has happened in those ten years and my ring showed every bit of it.
Though far from finished, I'm certainly a great deal older, wiser, and sure of myself than I was ten years ago. I know life seems great when you're nineteen and your breasts are perky and your skin is glowing. But let me let you in on a little secret: life is even better when you've traveled more of the journey (perky breasts be damned).
I wouldn't trade the progress of the last ten years for youth. I wouldn't trade growing up for anything.
Though far from perfect, I know who I am as a mother. I know my tendencies, strengths, weakness, and shortcomings. If nothing else, I know how to pave the way to the cross for my children – showing them daily how to ask for forgiveness from the one place it's found.
I know who I am as a wife. Again. Far from perfect. But after ten years with a partner, there have been plenty of opportunities to share, laugh, cry, argue, ask for forgiveness, forgive, die to self, encourage, challenge, and love. Lustful, young love is gone – only to be replaced by something far richer. Like panna cotta versus creme brulee. Know what I'm saying?
I'm no longer blond, lest you missed that. I let that go with my youth. What I am now is an (almost) natural redhead with a taste for wellies, vintage clothing, classic cuts, tailored jeans, perfect plaid shirts, knee-length skirts, and high heels. I wear red lipstick every day and darken in my eyebrows (something I NEVER though I'd do). I know how to take care of my skin. I know how to style my hair far beyond a messy bun. It takes me less than two minutes to get dressed in the morning because I keep less than twenty items of clothing and I know each one serves me well. Point being: I know what works (mainly from years of what didn't work… read: bangs).
Perhaps most significantly, these days, I'm much more interested in people. I'm not as interested in forcing them to understand my point of view or getting them agree with me. I'm not interested in arguing or pushing. Rather, I'm interested in knowing. Seeing. Discussing. I'm interested in opening our home and our table – come one, come all.
I'm interested in savoring life – the people, the food, the places, the problems, the challenges, the experiences, and the discussions that make it colorful.
I'm interested in cultivating a space that is inspiring, content, safe, vibrant, confident, and positively fraying with life. And sharing that space with others – be it physically or digitally.
I suppose the point of these words is this: I'm very much looking forward to our next decade together, my dear reader. Who will we be after the next ten?
PS: For a tour of the gardens that grow these beautiful flowers, check out our YouTube video on just that: