WOW! I cannot believe that this little corner of the web has belonged to Heart, Home, and Hope for 1 whole year now! 60 blog posts and counting! I’d say that’s pretty good for a “hobby!”
The first half of this post is my thoughts about my first year of blogging, but if you’re not in the mood to read those ramblings, be sure to scroll to the bottom of the page for a super rad GIVEAWAY to celebrate Heart Home and Hope’s first birthday!!
The First Year…
When I began blogging, I had no idea the pleasure I would derive from getting my thoughts out of my head and onto a page. Journaling always seemed too “aimless” for my practical personality, but blogging gave me an audience (even if it was an imaginary one!) Writing posts for this site gave me a reason to process the thoughts swirling in my mind.
I thoroughly enjoy writing. What I don’t enjoy is promoting what I write. The internet is a really big place, and Heart Home and Hope is the tiniest little corner of it. After starting this blog, I had to play “catch-up” as I learned the ins and outs of blogging. (Major shoutout to my fellow bloggers in the Parent Bloggers Elite FB Group! And hello, Pinterest!) I haven’t followed every piece of advice I’ve received about blogging, but I did implement a lot of great strategies – there were many things that helped me and a few things that didn’t work. However, it seemed that every time I focused more attention on promoting my blog, I spent less and less time writing. This led to burnout.
When my blog was about 9 months old, I was in major burnout mode. I felt like I was drowning in all of the “to-dos” I needed to focus on. Meanwhile, I was still a SAHM with 2 kids under 2. At the time I was tempted to shut down my blog and focus more of my attention on “real” life. Although I wanted to throw in the towel and quit completely, there was a part of me that just couldn’t let it go. Instead, I scaled back on the time I spent blogging until I felt my motivation return.
And guess what? My motivation HAS returned. But I’ve also had to be extremely realistic with my goals and expectations too. Going into this new year, I’m reminding myself of what I said from the very beginning: “Perhaps the things I write can help someone. Perhaps God can touch a heart. It will be worth it, even if just one person is blessed by this whole endeavor.”
The way I am choosing to measure success is not by numbers or followers or shares or likes, but rather through maintaining authenticity, building relationships, experiencing growth in my own heart, and living excellently in “real” life.
When I keep my mind and perspective on these truly important successes, I am motivated and excited to keep on pressing forward into year two of blogging! What will this next year look like? Only God knows! But I’m excited to press on in this journey and I hope that you will continue with me!
I would not have persevered with this blog if it wasn’t for all of you who (for some crazy reason!) kept coming back to read these humble ramblings of mine! I can’t thank you enough for the encouragement and love that you show – time and time again! I don’t think I have much originality to offer to this world, but I pray that God has used something to bless someone. And may that pattern continue! So today I celebrate this blog and I celebrate YOU for making Heart Home and Hope what it is today!
Some blog posts may include affiliate links to products that I love and trust. I may earn a small commission off of these links, but this does not affect the cost for you. (Read more here.)
In keeping with the festivities, I have 2 exciting announcements for you….
Heart Home and Hope Happenings – First, I am offering an option to subscribe to a new feature called Heart Home and Hope Happenings! This email group will help you and me to engage on a more intimate level! This may mean an occasional newsletter or (even better!) freebies for all subscribers. Would you be so kind as to add your email to my list? (Even if you’ve already subscribed to this blog be sure to add your name to this new list to stay in-the-know with updates and occasional freebies!)
Blog-iversary Giveaway – Second, it’s time for a G I V E A W A Y*!!!! I would not be writing this post if it wasn’t for YOU who have supported me day in and day out in this endeavor!! To thank you, I am so excited to announce that I am hosting my first giveaway! The prize will be two books for a lucky mama and her kids!
- For Mama: Treasuring Christ When Your Hands Are Full has blessed me so much in this journey of motherhood! It is a great book to return to for fresh perspective when it feels like I’m drowning in tantrums and Cheerios. Through reading it, I have been challenged to continually realign my priorities and focus in life. This book has been a huge blessing to me and I hope it will be for you too!
- For The Kids: The second book is The Jesus Storybook Bible. My children are too young to really understand these stories yet, but this book is an excellent children’s Bible that consistently points to Jesus. Even my 2 year old daughter turns through the pages and recognizes certain characters and events! I can’t wait until she is old enough to sit through an entire story! In my childhood, early exposure to Bible stories helped to ground my faith at an early age. This Bible will be an excellent resource to a lucky family!
To enter the giveaway for these books, there are 2 options (or do both for extra entries!)
1) Sign up for my new email list mentioned above. (This counts for 5 entries!)
2) Visit this Instagram post and follow the instructions (there are opportunities for multiple entries through that IG post!)**
That’s it! One lucky winner will get both of these prizes! I can’t wait to hear what you think about them! (More rules and guidelines are at the bottom of this post!)
Thank you again for all that you do in supporting my efforts in this blog! I love you guys dearly, and I love it even more when we connect on a personal level! One of the most fun things about blogging is making friendships along the way! Please feel free to reach out anytime! I’d love a good ol’ chat or to pray with you!
I also felt like a year in, I ought to change up my personal photos on all of my social media accounts… So don’t be alarmed if you don’t see my normal profile photo! ♥
And now for a bit of reminiscing…
My first blog post:
Top 5 blog posts (by popularity):
- An (Unplanned) Home Birth
- Maternity Fashion Week
- Beauty as God Sees It
- When You’re not Enough
All of my older posts can also be found here!
Grace and peace!
– Alex ✌️
And don’t forget – if you never want to miss a blog post or other piece of exciting news…
You can sign up here to get updates and stay in-the-know! Have a lovely day! ♥
* This giveaway is not sponsored by any entity other than Heart, Home and Hope. The contest will last from 0000 EST, Thursday, June 29th- 2359 EST, July 5th, 2017. By entering, contestants affirm that they are 18 years of age or older and reside within the Unites States. Each contestant must follow all instructions for their entry to be counted. Multiple entries are allowed per instructions contained on this page and on this Instagram post. The winner will be contacted by email on Saturday, July 8th and this post (and the Instagram post) will be updated when the contest is closed and the winner is notified. Thanks for entering and good luck!
** This contest/promotion is in no way sponsored, endorsed, or administered by, or associated with, Instagram. This contest/promotion includes a complete release of Instagram by each entrant or participant.