Tag Archives: honesty

I Want to Inspire and Encourage, but Am I?

Last week I decided to take the plunge and create an Instagram account dedicated to my love of decorating. Putting together rooms brings me great joy, but I realize this isn’t the case for everyone. For some people it is daunting, overwhelming, not practical and completely unnecessary.

And for many it probably falls somewhere in the middle of these two extremes.

I don’t aspire to turn decorating haters into decorating lovers. Not everyone needs to enjoy mixing and matching pieces of furniture and the beauty of colorful fabrics. What I do hope, is to show people that you can make just about anything pretty – if you so desire. I also want people to understand it doesn’t have to cost a lot of money to transform a room. A lot of times what you need is already hiding somewhere in your home; it just hasn’t found the right place to maximize its potential.

I have enjoyed posting my pictures on Instagram, but had a moment the other week when I started to question if those pictures, that I had hoped were inspiring, may actually have more of a negative affect than a positive.

I know I want to inspire and encourage, but could these photos actually be doing the opposite?

What happens when we scroll through Instagram and Pinterest and see perfectly decorated homes covered in shiplap and barnwood? (neither of which I have by the way, but a girl can always dream.) What happens when we see kitchen after kitchen adorning incredible backsplashes, amazing lighting and not a dirty dish in site?

How does that affect the lens with which we view our own homes?  As we look around, instead of seeing the life and the joy that lives there – do we begin to think, “Yuck! My home will never look like that!”?

Do these pictures of perfectly decorated, well-lit rooms with everything in its proper place, make us think, “I can’t have anyone over. No way. Not until my house is way more clean, a lot more organized and resembles the house in these pictures. Until then, it’s just too embarrassing.”?

In the age of social media, we are bombarded with “perfection” like no generation prior. Consequently, we have to begin the process of learning how to filter what we see. What is truth? Is this how most people live? Or is this merely highlighting this individual’s unique gifts and talents? 

Not everyone is an incredible cook creating mouth-watering dishes that look like they could be entered in the next Chopped competition. Nor is everyone the king or queen of organization with the ability to open a closet, or drawer, and find the perfect spot for every item. Not everyone can take an old home in disrepair and turn it into the next picturesque whitewashed farmhouse. Nor is everyone a body builder or a marathon runner.

This is the lens we need to use when scrolling through our feeds. They are a reflection of that person’s unique gifts and talents, not necessarily ours.

How can we celebrate each other’s talents? How can we use our talents to inspire and encourage others without making them feel bad about themselves in the process?

I think part of the answer lies in remembering the beautiful pictures we see are what someone wants us to see. They are a celebration of something that brings that person joy – and it’s okay if we aren’t good at whatever that something is.

We aren’t meant to be good at everything.

In regards to decorating sites, even the most perfect looking kitchen still has dirty dishes in the sink and spaghetti sauce on the backsplash on occasion (or maybe even lots of the time.) Even the most inviting living room complete with roaring fire, impeccable pillows and a perfectly placed throw blanket still has stuff strewn about at one point in time or another. And the tray that is sitting caddy corner on the crisp duvet sporting a cup of coffee, open book and pastry – most definitely is not on that bed on a daily basis.

Home are meant to be lived in. Your space is a reflexion of you and your family. It tells a story about each of the people that live in it. Your home is special because it is your home and it is where your life is unfolding. Living life to the best of your ability with your people each and every day – that is really and truly what matters. Not how much your home resembles the pins on Pinterest or your Instagram feed.

Does this mean I am going to stop my newly created Instagram account? No.

What it does mean is that I am going to try to be mindful. Maybe in addition to showing the pretty stuff in my house, I will throw in a photo of the drawers in my kids rooms? Or the ring around my bathtub that I just can’t seem to get rid of? (On second thought, you probably don’t want to see that.) Or the overstuffed bins piled on top of each other in our garage? I am going to try to sprinkle in some of the not so pretty stuff with the pretty stuff.

I want the pictures in my Instagram feed to be as real as the words I write in my blog posts. Real life is clean and dirty. Messy and put together. It is loud and quiet. Happy and sad. It’s a little bit of everything mixed in one and you never know what you are going to get from one day to the next. It’s an adventure. It’s constantly changing. One day it’s an immaculate table set to feed a house full of guests and the next day it’s spaghettiOs on the kitchen island. It’s a beautifully decorated room and a well worn sofa. And that’s what makes it exciting. And that’s what makes it beautiful.

And that is what I hope to share.


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Fake News

Last week, as I was preparing dinner, I found myself admiring the lovely pot of vegetables cooking on the stovetop. It was so lovely, that I couldn’t help but to grab my phone and snap a picture.

“This will look pretty on Instagram,” I thought to myself as I stirred. “Or maybe Facebook? I should familiarize myself with Snapchat. That may really be the best.”

Next, I sent a picture to my husband so he could see the healthy and visually-appealing meal we would be having that evening. I was completely tickled with myself.

As I was mentally preparing the words to go with this scrumptious post, it hit me – this was fake news!

This in no way, shape, or form represents the majority of the meals I put on the table. The night before, I made cream cheese and chicken stuffed crescent rolls. Prepackaged crescent rolls that I can’t imagine are horribly good for you. The meal was great and the kids gobbled it up, but not once did I think to snap a picture of the chicken squares to post on any, or all, forms of social media.

This got me thinking. Why not the chicken squares? Why the pot filled with a variety of delicious veggies? 

Because it’s about appearance – isn’t it? Social media is a platform for showing the people in our lives what we want them to see. We get to choose. Are they going to see the good? The bad? Or the in-between?

My guess is that most of us default toward the good – whether we realize it, or not.

I never once thought to take a picture of my chicken squares, but immediately thought to snap a shot of the veggie pot.

I also have never thought to snap pictures of myself when I’m bed-heady and puffy-eyed after a full night of sleep. Who would want to see that? No, thank you. The pictures I post are usually of something I have deemed exciting and worthy of sharing.

And if you think for one moment that I haven’t scrolled through every picture snapped in those few seconds to find the one where I think I look the best – you are wrong. I always choose the picture I think looks best.

Isn’t that why we hold the camera (or phone – excuse me) up (never down!) when we take pictures – because it supposedly makes us look more slender? Or why some people put their hands on their hips and lift a leg the minute someone says, “Cheese!”?

We want the best version of ourselves on display. That means the best-looking, most kind, healthy-eating, most amazing parent, brilliant, buttoned-up version of ourselves.

And that’s okay. This isn’t meant to shame all of you on social media who post your most beautiful pictures. Post away! You can bet your bottom dollar I’m doing the same. Remember how I started? I completely do this. In some ways, I have to imagine we all do.

I don’t think the problem is that we want to share pretty pictures – the problem is when we start to believe the pretty pictures completely and accurately portray every part of a person’s life.

Someone can look absolutely incredible through the lens of social media – and still have some major issues. Or minor. I mean – who doesn’t have issues? (If you responded with “Me,” that may be an issue. Just saying.)

I believe we need to guard our hearts and minds when we scroll through our feeds. And I believe we need to teach our children the same. What we see isn’t the full picture. We see what people want us to see. And there is a whole lot that goes on in the blank space – in those moments when nothing is being shared.

The most perfect looking couple still argues. The most beautiful looking woman still gets pimples. The most accomplished children still whine. The best cook still serves her children boxed mac and cheese (or at least I hope so – that stuff is good.) The person on a luxurious vacation had to spend a lot of money, and time, to get there.

Nobody is perfect. Sure, on social media, some people may look pretty close to perfect – but it’s just not true. We all fall short. We all mess up. We wake up bed-heady and puffy-eyed, without an ounce of make-up on (unless we forgot to take it off – and in that case it may be smeared all over your face.)

(Case in point – This is me, right now. I haven’t showered or brushed my hair and I am still in my pajamas. And it’s almost 2 in the afternoon.)

My pot of veggies nearly turned social media post reminded me of this truth. I need to be careful of how I view social media. And I also want to be authentic in how I portray myself. Does this mean I’m going to stop posting my favorite pictures? Um. No.

But what it does mean is that I am going to try to start sprinkling in some of the not-so-pretty stuff, too.

The stuff that says, “Hey. I’m human. I just burnt my toast and yelled at my kids. Some days I’m rocking it. And some days…..well, some days not so much.”

Because some days are prepackaged crescent roll days. And others are beautiful veggie pot days. It’s time to remember that both exist. For me, it’s time to start showing both.



(Disclaimer – I love the yummy looking, healthy meals that people post. They make me want to eat healthier and are super pretty, too. This is in no way saying those posts are bad. They are awesome. Keep doing your healthy food post thing. I just realized for me, in that moment, it wasn’t an accurate portrayal of who I am. That’s all.)

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