I have a voice.

Dear Ashley,

I will never read your blog again….

I come for craft ideas, not lessons in parenting…

Could you only post photo tips, I really don’t care how your house is decorated…

Get over yourself….

The way you said that, well it disgusts me….

I want to read about all the cute things your kids do, not foster care or orphans….

I get that your faith is important to you, but do you have to talk about it….

I don’t agree with your decision to…..

Not to be rude, but I just want you to know because of…..I will never read your blog again.

Ouch. Double Ouch. Dagger to the heart. Yep, I get it. I don’t write a blog that everyone likes. I don’t write on topics that everyone likes. I can’t please all people at all times…good thing that is not my aim. Honestly, I usually just delete emails and try my best not to give them a second thought (and call a good friend to remind me that I am not a horrible person). However, recently there was a very polite comment offering a suggestion that I might consider creating a separate blog for my charitable work. The comment was not written in a mean fashion, just an honest thought presented. I deleted it out of respect for the commentor since I am addressing it publicly and don’t want anyone to go searching for it. I’ve thought about that comment for a week now. It is a valid ‘question’ a lot of people have presented to me in one way or another.

I didn’t intend on writing about it, discussing it here. But, I feel like I need to address it. I’ve rewritten this post in my head a million times the past week. Words can come across misunderstood when you write them…void of being in the speaker’s presence. I’ve already learned that lesson several times. I hope you can hear my heart on this.

There are a lot of blogs written for specific audiences. You can find countless sites that determine content based on what the readers enjoy. Sites that I frequently visit like Design*Sponge, Apartment Therapy, Martha Stewart.com. Great sites loved by their audiences. There are parenting blogs, crafting blogs, photography blogs, cooking blogs, etc. My blog does not fall into those categories.

This is just a blog full of all the random things I enjoy. It isn’t written to make a specific group happy. It is quite simply a creative outlet for me to document all the things that I enjoy.

These things and more make me who I am. These things, that are so much a part of me, can come together in one place ~ my blog. To take one of those things away, would mean taking a big part of me away. And I won’t do that. Blogging is a creative outlet for me. My mind never slows down, I am so grateful to have discovered the personal joy of writing a blog ~ of recording the randomness that fills my racing mind.

My mind is full of craft related things, projects, photography, but also just life stuff. While I will probably always sing the praises of my hot glue gun, I’ll also write about the more personal stuff that goes on in my heart. You see, amid all the crafting and photo taking, I have four little people I am raising. They will learn far more from my actions than my words. I am haunted and challenged by that. If I want them to see beyond their own interests, I have to model it. And while I learn how to do that, I share about the journey here.

When I watch my children drink water, my mind goes to those moms that watch their children drink disease filled water.
When I tuck my kids in their beds, my mind goes to those moms who have lost their kids to famine.
When I pray for my little one in China, my heart aches for all those that will never know the love of a family.
When my kids ask for help, my heart breaks for the millions of children that no longer cry because their voices are not heard.

I’ve been given a voice in my home, in my family…and I’ve been given a voice on this blog.

For as long as I am able, I will raise my voice for those that do not have one.

I will cry out INJUSTICE for those that cry silently.

I will fight for those that feel forgotten by a selfish world.

I will raise my voice.

I will use my blog.

I will believe that change can happen.

And though my feelings get hurt by others and my skin is way too thin, I will not stop because those without a voice are worth it. Yes, I will post on the cute antics of my kids and my latest unfinished project, but I won’t stop there. Harsh emails and comments are hard for me to swallow…and I don’t even get all that many of them. I kind of think if you don’t like a blog, just don’t read it. Sometimes it feels like it would be easier just to stop blogging than to read the mean words of others. However, that would be robbing myself of something I love just because someone doesn’t like me. Isn’t that life though…allowing the mean words of others to sink in and rob us of joy? Some of the greatest encouragements I have ever received have been from individuals I’ve met through this blog. The good blows the bad out of the water….and I am so, so, so very grateful for that. Thank you sweet, encouraging online friends.

So, yeah, I have a voice. I don’t want to waste it.

You have a voice too and I hope you don’t allow others to keep you from using it.

floral illustrations by Katie Daisy, poster by Jon Contino (40% of profits go to Smile Train – an organization that repairs clefts for those in developing countries.)

SnapShop Online Photography School exists to help others gain the tools they need to be able to capture the beauty if their days through photography. Whether you recently purchased your very first DSLR and aren't even sure how to turn it on or if you have a little bit of a grasp on terms like aperture and shutter speed - SnapShop courses and lessons will propel you forward on your photography journey.

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