Tell us a little bit about yourself and your family life?
I feel so Blessed by the Lord, to have a husband that is TRULY my Best Friend. Together we have 6 Beautiful children from 18yrs – 9mths old. Our time as a family is so VERY precious to us. Our children adore each other and consider themselves each others Best Friends. We began homeschooling our children 9 yrs ago and it was one of the BEST decisions we ever made. We have been fortunate to take several Motor Home trips and we are currently planning another one. Which I am sure will make it into my blogging.
What’s the name of your blog/website? What is the significance of the name, and how long have you been blogging?
Blogging wasn’t something that I actually set out to do. I had a Children’s Clothing Line and was constantly asked if I was online. I am so Computer and Technically Challenged, that I was afraid of even venturing online ( that is, to work ). Buying and Window shopping online was easy, it was all the Technical stuff and terms that scared me. However the more I was asked, the more I began to consider it. I had seen a few Etsy Shop owners use Blogs to help promote their products and business. I went with the FREE WordPress site and heard how easy it was to set it up..UMMM!! Maybe for them, it was anything but easy for me. So I quickly jumped on Blogger. It was still a bit difficult but the Tutorials were a lot more user friendly ( for me, at least ). I found a Graphics Designer who was going to Brand my Blog and Etsy Shop. I paid and almost a Year later still no graphics. In the meantime I was playing around with another blog, I started, so I could get familiar while the other was (supposedly) being built. I called it “Ruby Jean”. It was just a spontaneous name, that we grabbed from one of the Dolls I had made for my daughter. There was no intention for it to grow or become anything. It was just a means for me to get familiar with this online world.Everyday it seemed to be growing legs of its own and I found myself loosing interest in even considering selling and continuing with my children’s clothing line.
“Ruby Jean” became my Blog Home, but the name didn’t have my heart. Last year I decided to take the chance and rename my blog. I thought it was going to be something I had to start from Scratch, only to find it was a VERY simple and easy transition. Over night, “JoJo and Eloise” was born. It was and is a reflection of my family, with the tagline “Simply Sweet Things”. I now feel that, I truly have a Home in this Blog World and my space represents and is filled with all the, Simply Sweet Things in my life. My family.
As a kid, I was always looking at ways to make and create things. I remember one day grabbing my moms glue gun and making my own ruffle socks. I wanted them to match my outfits. Little did I know that Hot Gluing the Ribbon to the top of my ankle socks, was not all there was to it. I cut a piece of ribbon the EXACT measurement of the sock opening. They looked so CUTE when I was finished and I couldn’t wait to try them on. In my mind I thought the whole school was sure to be jealous and they would just simply, have to know where I got my socks. Well, I couldn’t get them on. It was like one Cinderella’s step sisters trying to squeeze into her tiny shoe. What I failed to realize was I needed to Stretch the Sock and Glue the ribbon accordingly, to allow for stretch and give. However I was determined to get my foot in these ADORABLE things. In the end they were lifeless socks, from all of determination you could hear the elastic Snap, Crackling and Popping!!! My craft fail, finally ended up being a success, 6 pairs of socks later.
I have learned that being Creative and trying new things, doesn’t always mean SUCCESS. It’s the determination and the not giving up that is TRUE Success.
Working inside or outside of the home (or running a blog or website on a part to full time basis) can be especially tough because of the difficult choices we have to make with how to divide our time between work and family. Have you ever felt guilty about the choices you’ve made, and what advice would you give to someone struggling with those same types of feelings?
Balancing Church, Family and Blogging, has proven to be a job in and of itself. I find that when Blogging becomes my first thought, when I wake up in the morning, then something is wrong. It has been a simple way for me to gauge what my priority is and how things are balancing out. When Blogging ends up being my first thoughts, I know it’s time to slow down and reevaluate things. It’s a method that has worked for me and keeps me accountable to God and Family.
For most moms, multitasking is synonymous with motherhood. What’s been your biggest personal challenge with juggling so many things? Have you found a way to stay balanced? If so, what are some of your strategies?
I am thankful that I never knew what blogging was, when we first started homeschooling. I honestly don’t think I could of managed learning how to Homeschool and Blog at the same time. I have been blogging for about 2 solid yrs now, which gave our family plenty of time to find our way through managing family and homeschooling, before ever throwing blogging into the mix. My family plays such a huge part in my blogging that it really is more of a family blog then just my own. They help with making and setting up my post, they are involved with coming up with ideas and help out tremendously when it comes to picture taking. I am truly grateful for all the helping hands.
What’s the best mom advice you’ve ever received?
STOP!!! saying it and do it!! It is far too easy for many of us to say those words. Doing it is a whole other story, STOPPING and evaluating your time and your direction is so important. Not just on a Yearly or Monthly basis, but on a DAILY basis. It’s amazing how quickly THINGS can come in and suck up and consume your time. I find making Daily assessments has worked best for me. I am not perfect at it, but it sure does keep me from going head long in the other direction.
In terms of family, career and motherhood, how do you define success?
I have to say that my outlook on success has changed quite a bit. Almost a year ago our oldest son woke up YELLOW from head to toe. There were no outward or ailments that would of led any of us to believe something was wrong. He went from Normal to Not Normal in a matter of a nights sleep. My husband rushed him to the emergency and we didn’t see him again for almost 3 weeks. He was in ICU with out any diagnosis. They ran several different tests on him, to finally conclude that he has Autoimmune Hepatitis. It’s where the immune system doesn’t recognize his Liver as his own body and attacks it ( to destroy, what his immune system believes to be foreign) They said some sort of Bacteria got into his body (probably from eating out) and it continued to grow only for him to wake up YELLOW. His liver had been SEVERELY damaged in the process and they said it was beyond repair. They put him on the Liver Transplant list and we were waiting for the phone call. It was one of the hardest times of our lives. We struggled with this Life altering but possibly Life saving surgery. We prayed as a family, like we have never prayed before. He was released on a watch list and we had to get his blood drawn once a week. We have always eaten Organic and Juiced in the mornings. But this really caused us to consider and take our Nutrition a lot more seriously, at the same time we contacted a Nutritionist. One week out of the hospital he had his first blood work and we also had our first meeting with the Liver Transplant team. The Head Doctor walked in with a solemn look on her face, ( talk about your Heart and Stomach Dropping to the floor) She was so amazed and couldn’t believe that in ONE weeks time, his numbers had improved so Dramatically that they HAD TO take him off the Transplant list, because he was no longer eligible. We couldn’t thank and praise the Lord enough. We knew that is was by His hand that our son was on the road to recovery.
Through this experience my Goals and Definition of success were greatly changed. And the Tagline in my Blogs name took on GREATER meaning. “Simply Sweet Things”. Being able to STOP, Letting things go and Taking in the SWEET moments of our daily lives has become the TRUE success of my Days, Months and Lord willing the Years of my life.
Our son still has a road of healing to travel, but we still can’t believe How we went from the Doctors giving us no hope but a Liver Transplant, to them now talking about his Liver Regenerating in about 2yrs time ( which we were told by his team of doctors, was NOT ever going to happen and we shouldn’t even hope for that, because the damage was so severe).
How has being a mom changed your life perspective?
My life once consisted of Me and Me only. When my husband and I married and began having children I quickly realized life wasn’t just about ME! The Lord opened my eyes to His Love and the Love of others. For that I am Eternally grateful.
Join us tomorrow for Day 36 of Moms Know Moms and our interview with Tracy from 181ReUp.
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