Do you buy yourself birthday gifts? I do.
Some years it's something big or a little more expensive and some years it costs $0. It started when I was in my early twenties. I was in college, and my boyfriend (now husband) was working so I took myself to Target. Now, I was not the kind of person to spend a lot on myself, and I definitely wasn't the kind of person to put a ton of money on a credit card so this was a special thing for me. I wandered the aisles aimlessly. To this day, I still remember what I bought myself: a large, green, 3-wick candle for my coffee table; a coffee-table book of van Gogh paintings; 2 decorative items for my desk (wooden balls and leather dice); a DiGiorno pizza; and a six-pack of Rolling Rock. These were all things that brought me joy even though they seem pretty insignificant on their own.
Last year around my birthday, I was starting to feel like my old self again after having two babies (now 6 and 2) and changing jobs a few times. I was finally starting to feel the spark to cook and decorate my home again. I always loved to cook...and am pretty good at it. And, up until having kids, was always doing some sort of home reno project or redecorating a room. The house we lived in was a 30-year old fixer-upper that still had the original carpet, light fixtures, and clam shell sinks. Almost everyday after work, I painted cabinets and trim, scraped popcorn ceilings, hung pictures, you name it. But after kids, your priorities change a bit. Plus my husband was going to grad school so I took on more household and childcare duties while working full time. So it wasn't until last September that I started to feel the spark again. My present to myself was a FitBit (hoping it would encourage me to be more active) and some new sconces for the living room. I had big plans to start refreshing the house.
A couple of weeks later, after I installed those new sconces, my husband tells me that we're going to move to Alabama in the Spring. There was a job opportunity for him that was too good to pass up. While I was excited about the change and am fortunate that I can work from anywhere, I was admittedly a bit frustrated. I mean, what's the point in refreshing your home when you're just going to move away.
So I put those plans on hold and, after an extremely frustrating day with clients, I started to build my website. To give a bit of backstory, over the last ten years, I would play with the idea of writing a blog but never started. Mostly out of fear (Why would anyone want to read what I write? Why write into a void? You don't have anything important to say....the mean girl in my head can be pretty awful....). On this particular day, something changed. I settled on a name (which ended up being all too perfect once you see the picture below) but never published anything. I let it sit here...my little secret in my little corner of the internet. I let it sit knowing that it would be here when I'm ready.
Well, I've decided, at least for now, that I'm ready to turn to my little corner. My birthday was last week and my present to myself this year is to write. To create a warm, welcoming home. To cook yummy food for people to enjoy. And to take better care of myself, emotionally, physically and spiritually.
And if anyone wants to join along for the ride, welcome to The Cedar Shingle!