Remember when I...

was a blogger? I do, and every part of me is screaming "Go back to it! Blog your heart out. Blog because you love it. Blog because you need it. Blog because it makes you who you are!"

Last night at 2:12 am, I finished reading Kelle Hampton's memoir, Bloom - finding beauty in the unexpected. It's a wonderful book. Her description of how her life changed the second she saw her newborn baby's almond shaped eye was almost as touching now as the first time I read it nearly 3 years ago...when she was just a blogger. The fancy hardcover and beautiful ecru pages didn't make her story any more touching today than when I read it at midnight in front of my computer screen all those months ago. As I read Kelle's story & about a million posts after it that night, I felt an immediate connection. We both loved sharing stories and photos from a wonderful life. Different in so many ways yet we still felt compelled to publish our stories online for the world to see, with the main purpose being gratitude and intention.  After that late night I was hooked on Hampton. I used to read her blog and comment occasionally (which I hardly ever did to anyone else), I'd listen to her playlist while I wrote stories sharing my thoughts on life & family. I'd rock out while I uploaded photos of my kids to put with the silly, sad or sarcastic post I'd written imagining this is probably how Kelle does it. I'd show Sophia photos of sweet Nella and tell her about my old friend Aurora who was beautifully different the same way Nella was. Our family donated to Nella's ONEder Fund on her behalf.  Kelle Hampton and her way of blogging felt natural to me. She was like an old friend to me then...when I was a blogger.

I believe the most amazing part of her book was the way she didn't let this huge, hectic new stage in her life take her away from who she was and what she did best. Sure, she has written a book, done amazing things for Down syndrome awareness and probably a truck load of other things she doesn't share in her posts, but mainly she continues to post about the loveliness that is her perfectly imperfect life. That's where she continues to share her gifts. She makes time to maintain her blog because it makes her happy, allows for reflection, and gives appreciation for the small things. Over the last year I've lost touch with the adventures of Kelle, Lainey & Nella, and the rest of the Hamptons, as well as the lovely little blogging life I had, because things got hectic. The combination of the job loss, a budding photography business, subbing at school, passing a referendum, writing a cookbook and being elected to the school board pushed From The Compound far from my sight.  I lost my blog...and as it turns out a bit of myself.

I have done a lot of awesome things in the last year, but the thing I love and want to do most has taken a back seat again. I want to share my imperfect life with my readers. I want my kids to be the bulk of the material on my memory cards. Not just on a photo or two in between family shoots and weddings. Photography on a professional level carried me through last fall when I was scared and unsure about what I needed to do to contribute to our household's security and for that I'm grateful, but I paid a price too. It is a price I have no intention of paying this year. Emotionally and spiritually there was no return on my investment, and I'm not going to choose safe & secure over unhappy and searching. Reading Kelle's story showed me that I still have a choice in being daring & bold. She and so many others like her don't. The choice was made for them. As a "professional" photographer I'm not filling a void. When I stop taking photos someone is there to fill the space. But when I don't blog the space remains hollow and vacant. The void that needs filling is the entry less weeks and months on this blog. I'm the only one with my voice. My readers find something here that they enjoy and that they can't quite find anywhere else.

Most importantly, I find myself here. Hidden in between the grammatical errors and the occasional f-bombs I find clarity and strength on this blog. When I share thoughts here I feel alive and vibrant and gifted and more funny than I do anywhere else. Best of all I feel connected to those like me - people who are living perfectly imperfect lives.

Kelle mentions a quote by Mary Oliver in her book and it has been in my head ever since I read it: “Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?”  Great question, huh? Stay tuned because I promise the answer will be documented right here.