The Fan Thank You Heather Bailey Wished She Never Recieved

11:38 AM

It's been over two weeks ago, but Sewing Summit was amazing.

The final minutes of the conference were somewhat grotesque, or I guess I was grotesque.

I have never really met a celebrity.
 Heather Bailey was the key-note speaker, and as I was getting ready to leave, I noticed the line of her fans getting pictures with her across the room was dwindling to nothing.  I had to leave to start the trek home, but thought on my way out, I needed to thank her for her speech.

I walked over there, planning just to say: "Thanks for what you said tonight, it was what I needed to hear." and walk away and go home.

So.
I walk up to the amazing, tall, sewing celebrity and got about "I just wanted to tell you how much I appreci...ated..{cry voice}.what..{sniff}...you..{tear}said. {full out horrible sobbing with Clair Danes-ugly-cry- face} tonight."  WHAT THE CRAP???  Heather was so nice, "are you OK?" she asks as I wipe my eyes and nose with my huge man hand, all the while thinking "abort! abort!  what am I doing?  Why the crap can't I stop crying???"  I tried to explain, but the crying is starting to gush and I can barely talk.  She was really great and kind, and I just stammered some dumb things and said thanks and kind of left, apologizing and completely embarrassed.  I can't imagine how awkward it would be to have a total stranger come up and just break down for no reason and then leave.  I hope she could forget the blubbering weirdo in a cobalt velvet jacket, but I think that interaction may be hard to forget anytime soon.

So the reason behind my Heather Bailey blubbering.
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Womanhood is sacrifice.

My husband and I were married young.  I met him when I was 18 my freshman year of college and it seemed the heaven's aligned to bring us together and we were married the following summer, I was 19 years old.  He's a few years older, so when he graduated with his bachelors degree I graduated my associates degree.  He chose to further his education, and so I quit college to support us while he went to school--we lived in a rotting farmhouse while I worked nights...details of rotting ground hog pups under our bed here.  Education and academics had always been important to me, so it was hard to quit, but we definitely couldn't afford for both of us to be in school and someone had to support our little family.

Fast forward to this spring he finally graduated, we now have 3 kids.  I've survived the sacrifice of being a mother with a really busy husband through blogging, sewing, learning to build furniture and creating.  We moved to a tiny desert town this summer.  Only one stop light tiny.  My husband had mentioned it might be a good time for me to go back to school now he was finally done.   In August I attended my 10 year high school reunion and thought of how motivated I was in high school academically, and here I was a decade later and hadn't even finished a bachelors degree.  A state university has a distance site in our town a few blocks away. So this August I went back to college.

It's kicking my trash.

My brain is out of shape.  My last college course was 7 years ago.  I'm taking upper division statistics and my last math class was 11 years ago--AP Calculus my junior year of high school.  These last weeks have been crazy trying to do homework, get my class ready for Sewing Summit, decorate my husband's new office,  and fulfill teaching assignments at my church, and of course taking care of my family.  I'm grateful for the opportunity to pursue my education, for myself and to set an example for my kids, but it has been really challenging.  A few nights trying to remember calculus in order to complete a statistics assignment I was just sitting there crying out of frustration, stress, lack of sleep, etc.  So something needs to give.

For almost a year I've been deciding whether or not I should stop blogging.  I'm a hobby blogger, I've been blogging for around 6 years and it's not a business.  I started this blog to share photos with my mom when we lived in that rotting farm house. Essentially all these years later, I still blog for the same reasons, just to share ideas with other people who might be interested and to selfishly document my creative life.  I got the chance to take a blogging/ social media class taught by Tauni Everett at Sewing Summit and kind of felt embarrassed for having blogged over half a decade, and to realize just how crappy I am at the blogging side of things.  Having three kids has also rocked my world (Izzie is 9 months this week) and just killing the blog has been something I've been considering for months in order to simplify my life, but then going back to school made me decide it's time for another sacrifice.


Motherhood trashes your body, your sleep, your memory, your time, and some days your sanity.  But like any sacrifice, the definition of the word indicates you give something good for something better.  So to be able to be a student mom for the next two years, I realized giving up blogging also needed to be giving up sewing and creating in general.

I was obligated to teach at Sewing Summit, and my beloved Bernina sewing machine is on its last leg.  I had to sew things as I was drafting my pattern, so I bought an affordable machine as a backup in case mine tanked, and never opened the box so I could return it if I didn't use it.

My plan:
Sewing Summit would be my last creative venture for the next few years.  I left for Salt Lake with the plan to enjoy the weekend as much as I could, then come home, return the back up sewing machine, pack up all my fabric and supplies, say goodbye to blogging and be grateful I got the chance to meet some of the actual women who had inspired me all these years right before I shut it all down.

As much as I love sewing, creating, and sharing it on my blog, I value education and feel its important for myself and as an example for my kids that I earn my degree. Things have just not been working with so much on my plate. Classes take what "personal" time I have, and there's no room for anything creative.  I just felt nothing in my life was being done well, being stretched too thin made everything suffer.

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So sitting there in ballroom B at the end of a really amazing weekend, I was feeling kind of heart broken, realizing sacrificing my creative self for a while was the best thing for my family right now.  As much as I'll miss sewing and creating, I don't have room in my life for it now and the time would be too selfish.  I hadn't told anyone my plan, but felt it was the best choice.

So after I finished my multiple mini desserts, we got to hear Heather Bailey's key note speech to wrap up the conference.  She talked about creativity as a human need.  She suggested even though we're leaving the conference with a lot of inspiration, that we just don't run home and jump into something like start a blog.  She encouraged us to take a while and have a quiet space to decide what we should do--that we shouldn't ruin something in our lives that already works because we're in a hurry.  In the context of her remarks I think she meant you may have huge ideas, but don't let the inspiration lead to a bad choice in the moment of excitement.  But for me, as I sat there, I thought maybe I needed to take a minute to re-evaluate my own situation.  Maybe sewing is something that really works for me and even though it may only be a little here, it's better than nothing.  I hadn't really had any quiet time, but had been so rushed in the few months prior I just decided there was no way I could keep this up.

A friend I had just met that weekend at Sewing Summit was near when I fell apart with the crying snot fest in front of Heather Bailey, and gave me really great advice, telling me "God gave you talents, and if you just kill a dream what will that teach your kids?"  She went on to tell me about her mom and how a lot of valuable lessons to pass on aren't just by playing with toys on the ground every day, but showing your kids what you can accomplish for your own personal fulfillment.  I thought of my own mom and recognized much of my own independence and confidence was learned through her example of constantly learning and growing, and trying new things.  She was a mom but she was also a woman with talents, gifts, and had personal fulfillment.
The night before I met an amazing girl and we didn't get a chance to talk too long, but during our short conversation, I realized how much I've gained from the blogging experience and kind of how you can have an influence or help inspire other people.

The whole Sewing Summit weekend was just an inspiring experience for me to meet and connect with so many other women passionate about sewing, kids clothing, blogging, or just being a tall woman.  I realized other than my mom and sister, I've never really had friends in real life who love sewing and it was so great to feel a part of that network, and to meet the real women behind other blogs I've been inspired by.

So this was my back story leading up to the Heather Bailey melt down and I was glad to have a few hours to drive home that night, thinking about not just what's important and priorities, but more what kind of woman do I want to be.  What kind of woman will my kids consider me to be.  I guess I never connected being a creative person as an attribute that could contribute to helping me be a good mother, but my kids have learned to be creative, or find accomplishment in their own creative pursuits.   I thought how it really makes me happy to create things with my hands and express myself through creative ideas, and it may be something that may not happen very often now, but creativity is something that rejuvenates my spirit.  In the end the thought of sacrificing all my creative outlets for something I thought was better may actually make it harder to be the wife and mom I want to be.

So.
My plan changed.

I haven't figured it out, and don't think I will ever find true balance where I feel everything works the way I would like.  I am just shooting to pass my classes, if I get A's that is a bonus.  I am not a successful blogger, just a woman who likes to make stuff and share it with anyone who would like to check it out.  I'm trying to dedicate my best hours to my family and my church.  So I'm not sure how much will make it on here, but I have the blouse pattern I made for SS that is really close to being ready for release, a whole stack of fabric with ideas I wish I had time to sew, and a new sewing machine I've decided to keep.  I may not post much, but do hope here and there I'll get a minute to make something.  I just concluded I can still contribute something even if I don't post regularly or consistently.  I've felt my blog has experienced a slow death since I became pregnant with Izzie, but it's not quite dead yet.

Thanks so much for all the comments, emails, encouragement, and inspiration I've gained these last 6 years.  It's been a blessing to be able to share things I've created and I appreciate all the relationships that have come through this blog.

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Thank you so much for all your responses!  I didn't expect it and was so blown away by all your support, advice, and understanding.  It's one of those amazing things about blogging and the connections you can make with people you've never met.  Many of your kind comments brought me to tears and were so encouraging.  I think many of you manage much more than I am struggling too, with full time jobs, more than 3 kids, and many of you do have beautiful successful blogs.  So I look up to those who have greater capacity than I currently do.  It seems the common thread we all relate with no matter how much is on our plate is the common understanding of sacrificing and having the creative flame in ourselves.  It's humbling to be able to be part of this grander network of creative women.  Thanks so much.

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90 comments

  1. A girl needs to do what a girl needs to do. . . I understand this balance-problem. Your readers understand and (I hope) behind you. Good luck and take care of yourself. But, I really think you *need* the creative part of life. Just "knowing" you through this blog, it seems to be the fuel that keeps you going.
    Good luck and thanks for your honesty. It helps the rest of us (or me, at least,) who also struggle with the juggle of being a modern woman.

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  2. Your post was lovely. Thank you for sharing. It reminded me of this idea I've thought about for some time.

    "Heavenly Father is able to accomplish these two great goals—the immortality and eternal life of man—because He is a God of creation and compassion. Creating and being compassionate are two objectives that contribute to our Heavenly Father’s perfect happiness. Creating and being compassionate are two activities that we as His spirit children can and should emulate." -Dieter F. Uchtdorf (more from this talk found here: https://www.lds.org/general-conference/2008/10/happiness-your-heritage?lang=eng).

    I love the idea that God is a creator and as I strive to be more like him, I also need to create.

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    1. Thanks, that quote is always a good reminder!

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  3. I think you're really awesome. I love your honest heart, your desire to be a good mom, and your talent. I too feel like it's so hard to squish everything I want to do and be into my life, but it's so good to know that life is full of so many good things. Your creativity is definitely a big part of you and can't be ignored...but it can also fit into all parts of your life - your school, your marriage, your motherhood, your church work. I'm glad you're not totally signing off, though! I'll check in anytime you have something to say or share :)

    Cheri

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  4. I don't sew as much as I wish I did (I actually follow your blog as part of an effort to get inspired) but I am creative in other ways also, and I have gone through seasons where I craft less, and it is difficult and different to live without the creative outlet. I hope you are able to find an ebb and flow (not really a balance?) that works for you during this time. Please continue to blog, even if it is a 'coming up for air' post!

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    1. Thanks, that is a good idea to look forward to the ebb of making something and being ok when life flows in the way and I can't.

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  5. wow, that was intense. i think that you've come to the right conclusion. Don't quit sewing and creating (or blogging), but also don't see it as a must. When you have time and feel good, do it and when it's also too much, just sit on the couch and do nothing (as far as you are able to do nothing with 3 kids and college...). I'm happy that you'll - at least - sporadically continue to blog. I follow your blog since you competed in PRaP and I have found so much inspiration. Don't feel a pressure to post each week or so. You'll post when you can and I (and I'm sure most of your other readers) will come and read whenever that is ;)
    Btw: I'm a geophysicist working at the University of Munich. So, who knows, if you have a maths question I might be able to answer it. Feel free to contact me ;)

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    1. Thanks so much Annika! I am hopefully getting the hang of statistics, but don't be surprised if you get a panic email so day needing math help! Thanks for your advice, sitting on the couch doing nothing is important for everyone.

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  6. It may be that as you continue on your educational journey, you discover that you need the creative outlet more than ever before. It may take a different form -- more sewing simple projects, less blogging, whatever -- but I think there's a lot to be said for creativity as a counterweight to the structure of educational and professional life. And even though it's One More Thing to manage and find time for, sometimes more can actually be better.

    Good luck, wherever this journey leads you!

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    1. That is a great point. I had a few hours last weekend to whip up a quick little dress and it was therapeutic. That's where it will be interesting to see what happens. Not only the artistic freedom, but it was nice just to do something I felt confident in, school can be discouraging for me at least now in the beginning where I'm trying to get my mushy mom brain back in gear!

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  7. You are an amazing inspiration Jess, know how much we love and appreciate you. Thank you for sharing your touching story, and know that you are on the journey. Always heading up, with some minor dips in between :)

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  8. Thank you so much for sharing! I'm sure whatever form your journey takes it will be right. Just be a blogger when you want to and not when you don't want to. And good for you for getting back in school. Though I'm sure my brain has half melted since my last class...

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  9. You're amazing. I feel the same way most days, as I too am a mom and student, crafter and full-time microbiologist. Sometimes there aren't enough hours in the day, but you do know how many hours there are, so prioritize and fit in what you can. There will be more hours tomorrow. Good luck with all you do, and I'll keep checking in.

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  10. I am just a random stranger/reader. But wanted to comment. I have followed your blog for I don't even know how long. I don't usually ever comment as I feel like a random stranger. But know that the work that you do inspires me and many others. I am not a talented seamstress. But seeing your blog posts always inspires me to keep trying. My kids are totally fooled and have no idea how much time I have spent with a seam ripper while they are sleeping. I don't give up because your pics always make me want to try harder. I can't imagine what your life is like right now, but know whenever it gets hard- You don't need to be perfect. You just need to keep trying. I like to picture Dory saying "Just keep swimming", but then I am a dork. ;0

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    1. not a dork, Disney has lots of good advice! I'm not good at commenting either, so we can be lurker buddies. :) Thanks so much Kelly!

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  11. Jessica: I am so proud of you! I have watched you ever since you and Valerie were beautiful ballerinas and your mother and I were doing the "mom" thing trying to support you through the ballet guild. I think it is wonderful that you have shared so much of what you are doing. You are totally on the right track and Heavenly Father will help you with the decisions you need to make. I echo every one of the comments that have been made. You are an amazing woman, even if you choose to sit on the couch and do nothing as Annika suggests. Thank you for sharing these past years--your influence is exponentially greater than you know! Someday you will know how many lives you have touched and you will be stunned!

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  12. Oh friend, I can't believe all that was on your heart while we were having Sewing Summit fun! I hope you've found an answer that brings you peace, so you can be all your want to be, as best as you can.

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  13. OH, how I love this. I look forward to seeing what excitement your changing plans bring! :)

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    1. Thanks Jodi, I don't think we officially met at Sewing Summit, but I was always impressed at how good your cute baby was!

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  14. This is a beautiful post, thank you for sharing:)
    It can be incredibly difficult to find a balance.

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  15. Jessica what a great post, have fun with what every road you take. I think so many of us learned new and exciting things while at the Sewing Summit. There is something to be said about being with so many great ladies who all have a love for sewing and are willing to share their stories of how to juggle so much in our lives and still find sometime to still create.

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  16. I have loved your blog. And whether or not you continue, I will have it on my reader so I will be notified when something new comes up. Thanks for sharing this. I have been feeling inspired to create more, but I also feel the desire to go back to school. Thank you for writing down what I was thinking.
    I love what you create, you amaze me with all you do.

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  17. You don't know me, and I don't really know you, except having followed your blog for a while (being a fellow sewer), but I do know your husband actually, even though I didn't discover that until a few months ago. I grew up in Oak City and went to Delta High and was friends with him then. I just learned from my parents that he opened a practice there recently. So, congrats and small world! But I mostly wanted to say that I enjoyed your post. It's so hard to balance everything as women. I am glad that you are not giving up your creative pursuits entirely, but I am inspired that you were willing to in order to make other things work. It's made me think about what I should give up to do the same. I saw that someone quoted Pres. Uchtdorf, and I think it's important to remember that being creative encompasses more than sewing or crafts; it includes creating children, creating a loving home environment, creating memories, creating joy, etc. Those things are just as important.

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    1. Riki! You need to email me, I'm pretty sure I know who you are! Rhett said he always kind of had a crush on a girl in band called Riki but he never did anything about it...I assume it's you as there are probably not that many Riki's. Small world! I do like your reminder of finding areas of creativity in simple things that already happen in life as a mom that I may not recognize as using the creative part of myself. I think I get caught up in having a tangible product, I forget to appreciate my natural creative self.

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  18. I feel like I can relate to your story, even if only a little bit. I'm a mother with two kids (finally both in grade school, yay!) and after 5 years out of school, I went back to graduate school a few years ago. I don't blog, even though I've toyed with the idea, but my sewing gives me a moment of creativity that is really important in my science-centered life. I read your words that you were going to put your art away, and wanted to cry out, no! We need that break from everything else, to focus on the creative part of life.
    School is hard, but raising kids is harder, and you will get through this! I'll miss seeing your stories, but thank you so much for sharing with us these past years and good luck with your schooling!
    If you figure out the mommy-school balance, let me know :)

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    1. I don't think there is much of a balance here, maybe some day! Kind of feel like I'm in survival mode. Congrats on your own graduation! I'm hoping it will get easier as I get used to the change!

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  19. I'm so thankful to read this today... I think I've sewed a total of 5 things since June. My husband and I are helping build an orphan care ministry in our church and we decided to homeschool our daughters this year, ages 5 and 6. I also have a high school son and a 20 month old daughter. I haven't blogged since August and my sewing machine sits collecting dust. I look at it every day and miss that time I get to just create. I had been thinking of packing it up, selling off most of my fabric and extras since I can't seem to fit sewing into my life right now... I took my blog off line since I don't ever seem to have time for that.... you've inspired me to rethink it... I probably would have walked up to her and cried as well... :)

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    1. Wow, you are busy lady! Good luck on your ministry, I can't imagine all the must go into that. Blogs are a hard thing, because it can take time, rather than just making things. Sometimes I wish I had a little fairy to photograph and blog for me.

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  20. This was just the thing I needed to read today as I work to find my own balance. There are no easy answers, but don't let your own or anyone else's arbitrary expectations make you hurry down the wrong path. I'm glad you aren't shutting down the blog. I love your posts and will be here to read them, no matter how infrequent. Good luck in school!

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  21. Jessica - Thanks so much for sharing this. I've loved reading your blog and was even more delighted to get to know you a bit at SS. I know that Heather's words about the essential-ness of creativity spoke to so many of us there, and I really appreciate you sharing your personal journey and why they were particularly poignant to you at this moment. I'm delighted to hear that you've come to the point of realizing that you can't leave behind your creative pursuits and still remain a whole person, because I think it is so true for so many of us. But I'm sorry that your life has you in a position where you've had to consider it for right now. I look forward to seeing what you make and share, when you feel able to make and share it. And I send love and support in you making a healthy balance for all of the various things pulling at your energies right now. And, if you ever need help with biology or chemistry classes, I'd love to help - you know how to get a hold of me.

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  22. so proud of you for going back to school! I think we all struggle with balance. Just know that we support you no matter what! BTW, I made a blubbering fool out of myself when I met Dana from made-- I still cringe when I think of it, and it was months ago!

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  23. Thank you for sharing your story, Jessica. Your post is filled with so much inspiration! My blog is not a business either, so I sometimes struggle with the fact that I don't bring any real income to my family right now. I am a licensed professional engineer and worked in airport design for 14 years, but I hated pretty much every moment of it. It took me two years after I quit my job to rediscover my crafty side, but being able to create, craft, and sew has made me so happy and introduced me to so many more people that I've become friends with that I know I made the right decision. I'd rather my children see me happy than working a job that makes me miserable. Stay strong and positive and most of all--happy!

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  24. I believe you have hit on every mothers dilemma of how to be a mother, wife, daughter, sister, aunt ect. without giving up the parts of creativity that they love. I don't know how any of it will work but I hope that you can find some joy in your creations along with a release from stress. whenever you post I will read because I enjoy you being you even if there are no tutorials or new patterns!
    Good luck Jessica!

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    1. Thanks Stantel! Thanks for understanding-- I know! I haven't had a tutorial for ages!

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  25. Jessica- Thank you for sharing your thoughts in this post. I know it resonates with every mother out there who wants to do it all. I think that you are making the right decision to create/blog when you can, and to not worry when you can't. When you need that extra bit of fulfillment... it will be there waiting. I think it is so amazing that you are finishing school! What an accomplishment. You are such a great example of strength, creativity and endurance for your children- you should be so proud!

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  26. First off: Congrats on being able to go back to school. I think that is awesome that you are doing that! I hope that you get the hang of it soon. I can't imagine having to juggle all you are doing right now. I can relate to you in trying to find a good balance with everything going on. I hope that you are able to figure it out soon. Know that we are here and love seeing the things that you make when you have time to share. Also know that we understand and respect your decisions.

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  27. Just beautiful, Jessica. Beautiful!

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  28. thank you. well, I would say from the number of comments that you have certainly touched an important nerve. THANK YOU. I have found that scheduling small increments of time for all the many aspects of life is a huge means of success. no,, I do not always dogmatically insist on the right to have the sched. be fulfilled but it does help me insist to myself that I have those creative moments. sometimes it is like do I really want to have all this stuff dragged out only to have to stop before I have finished something. permission given to having a spot where things can rest waiting for me to get back.
    I must say that I read the message today without breathing hoping that it would not end differently. thank you for continuing to create and inspire the rest of us to do the same. Only one thing, be kinder to Jessica in thought and description.<3

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  29. Your family comes first, and thanks for having the courage and honesty to share this post. I too struggle with balancing all the different parts of my life. I love seeing the projects you create and will still read your blog whenever you are able to post!

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  30. Congratulations on your increased flexibility. It can be about our own expectations and standards, can't it? May we all become more familiar with the amiable world of "good enough".

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  31. I'm glad you decided to keep your creative outlet, and I totally get questioning whether or not you should. I've wondered myself at times, over the last few years, particularly since my busy crazy middle child was born and we started a business around the same time. My husband won't let me though! Even if I mention the possibility of downsizing my craft room to a closet to give us more room in a small house with a medium sized family, he won't hear of it, he insists that sewing and stuff is 'my thing' and that we all need a 'thing.'
    I hope you manage to juggle it all without going nuts! :) I haven't finished my schooling either, we weren't supposed to be able to have kids so when I got pregnant right after we got married it was a surprise and we decided I'd stay home, take courses part time when she was in preschool and full time when she was in school. Well now we have three and it doesn't look like that will happen any time soon, but I don't feel like school has an expiry date. My mom is 47 and went back to school after all her kids were in school (all six of us!) and became a TA, then loved it so much that she went and got her BofA and is now well on her way to her Bachelor of Education!!! I know other women who have done the kids first, further education second thing with no regrets. It's hard but so worth it to have those sweet babies!!! So don't sweat the small stuff, do your mom thing and your you thing and your school thing and your blog thing, even if you can't do them all at the exact same time and they need to take turns sometimes. And don't forget, sometimes it is faster to sew something than do a load of laundry! ;)
    {{{And thus ends the most disjointed but well meaning comment of all time.}}}

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    1. Thanks so much for your story Laura, that is really inspiring that your mom accomplished all of that! It can be so hard to go back to school. I keep telling myself it's worth it and to just keep pushing forward. Love your laundry point, I know I'd rather sew a new garment than wash the old!

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  32. I have been missing in action a lot too. I am sad to see you go since I enjoyed your blog so much. It is true though, I am a hobby blogger too and not very good at it. I am starting to paint with watercolors again and began last week. It will take a lot of time and balance is important to me too. Best of luck getting your degree. I finished mine just six years ago at the age of 56. it is a lot of work but so worth it!

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    1. Thanks for your story! Congratulations on your degree, that is inspiring for me!

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  33. I've always enjoyed reading you and seeing what you do with/for your family. Best wishes whichever way you decide to go!

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  34. these thoughts are ever present in a lot of bloggers minds, I'm sure. You are not alone! But, I'm glad you are not totally cutting out sewing and blogging. Scaling back always helps me when I get freaking stressed out. I hope you can find a better balance with everything you are doing, you are amazing!!

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  35. No, it's not dead yet...and even if it was nothing is ever final...and you already know everything else I think about the subject...
    -liZ

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  36. I have been meaning to meet up with you. If you ever want to, please let me know! Thank you for being so brave and awesome. I relate to and appreciate your story so much. I am impressed you went back to school. I imagine that is SO hard. You are an incredibly creative person who contributes amazing, amazing things to this blogging community. There are only a few people in blogland who can continue to make things that are so clever, you are convinced no one would have thought up those projects otherwise. And you are one of those people. Blogland is better with you in it, in whatever capacity you can join in at this time. Hugs to you girl!

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    1. Oh thanks Delia, I hope we do somehow cross paths sometime! Well school has been really hard for me, but maybe for others it wouldn't stress them out as much! Thanks so much for your comment, you are always so generous and kind!

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  37. this is a great post, and very inspirational. you will never regret going back to school, so major props for working to complete that goal! as for the sewing/crafting/blogging... those things are for you, and we're lucky that you share it with us. sometimes that means posting sporadically, but that's life! of course i love reading your posts, and you have amazing creativity, but hobby bloggers should never feel an obligation to keep a blog alive. i think sometimes we put unreasonable demands on ourselves and it only drives us crazy; we can't do all the things all the time. for myself, i think i would have to keep some sort of creative outlet, even if it's only a little bit here and there. best wishes as you work out the balance!

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    1. Thanks Lisa, I think that's what I am trying to change, these hidden feelings that a blog should be a certain way and trying to accept and appreciate the lesser version of different aspects of my life.

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  38. This post was really amazing! It reminds me of me a little as a busy mom trying to decide what to squeeze in;what to leave out. I myself have only a year of college to my name and would someday love to go back for more. For us its not going to be until my kids are older. It is such a hard thing to accomplish-trying to figure how how to be a good mom and your own person! Your blog has been a great inspiration to me...on a creative level and a mommy one! I love your sewing projects and style and I love reading your blog. I definitly understand the need to cut some things out but if you blog, ill read! :) Amy

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  39. Hey, you need a hug (((())))
    It's hard to find that balance - my guess is that our idea of balance changes day by day, week by week and it's hard to put a stake in the ground and say "this is how things should be". Sounds like your life will wibble and wobble along until you get a feel for all the exciting new stuff that's come into your life lately. I'd be sad to see you disappear from the world of blogging, but I'm perfectly happy to catch up with you whenever you're able.
    I totally get the blubbing thing - I'm fighting back tears even when I tell a teacher that my kids have had a good year - goodness knows what sort of waterworks I'd put on in front of someone hugely inspiring on a particularly stressful day ...
    Take care of yourself and your little family. And, enjoy it all :) X

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    1. Thanks for the hug! It will be kind of a crazy time as I get used to the changes. That's cute about you telling the kids teachers, we haven't had that yet, next spring will be our first!

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  40. To quote my favorite and first blogger, "projects created between the more important things in life." You inspired me to start sewing and I thank you so. I will miss your inspiration as well as watching your little brood grow. Your courage and honesty are amazing. Take care beautiful lady.

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  41. Do what's best for you and your family ~ all the best to you on your new adventure!!!

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  42. Jessica you are an inspiration! Thank you. Good luck on your new endeavor and don't forget us completely. I was a single mom with 3 kids, no support from my ex and managed to go to school at night and work during the day. Family always came first but we also needed a roof over our heads. It may have taken 5 years instead of the usual 2 to get an associate degree, but it happened.
    You can do anything you set your mind to do. You are brilliant, strong, thoughtful, loving, a great wife and wonderful mother. You just have to be what you want to be.
    Like I said, Thanks for the inspiration! Love you. Enjoy family, they grow up and move out before you know it.

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    1. Wow! That is amazing you accomplished so much, gives me hope. Thanks for your comment and motivation!

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  43. my youngest daughter worked hard in the insurance industry (following her mom) for ten years after high school, then woke up and realized that she didn't want to work in an office, she wanted to teach - whats more, she wanted to teach Jr. Hi - she cashed out her 401K and became a starving student - finishing off her first 4 years in 3 and getting her masters in 18 mo - she became a great English teacher and her Jr. Hi students love her. She is currently mother to 2 y/o triplets (an adventure in itself) and plans to go back to teaching in a few years. Needless to say, sometimes we have to work a little harder to discover what makes us whole, but the end result can be very fulfilling.

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    1. wow that is an awesome story about your daughter! I will probably finish a year later rather than a year earlier! Triplets! I can't even imagine!!!

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  44. Hi Jessica. This blog you keep is so inspiring: I read it for the wonderful projects but also for the personality behind the projects. Your sense of humour and your general outlook on life make this blog a delightful place to visit. I wouldn't like to think that it had stopped being fun for you. Go out and enjoy yourself, be with your beautiful family, nurture old ambitions, discover new interests and keep that creative side happy, in whatever way and in whatever balance feels best. No matter how frequently or infrequently you write, it will always be a joy to see how you are doing and what you are up to now.

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    1. Thanks so much, your comment means so much to me!

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  45. Definitely an amazing post! Thank you for sharing; as someone once said to me, vulnerability is strength. Success has many different forms and you started by wanting to share, document and inspire, which you accomplished! To me that is success. I'm an occupational therapist by trade, and in my studies both in and out of the classroom, those that have a hobby and something they find satisfaction in are healthier people. Maybe sewing, crafting, creating will take a bit of a back seat for a while until you accomplish other things or your kids are older, but you need the outlet that makes you happy even during those times or you will find yourself an unhappy person. Being a mom, being a wife, being a woman, does not mean you can not have something for yourself because as I said, when it's all gone, the kids are grown and married, because you have a hobby, because you have something that inspires you, works your brain, you will be a healthier person overall, spiritually, emotionally, and physically. It's finding a balance that works for you and your life, but your readers will be here no matter what! Now I will read this back to myself and take the advice as well! :)

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    1. wow, that is something I never thought about, how creativity or hobbies can help us be healthier. Thanks for your comment and insight! Sewing has got me through hard times in the past.

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  46. Thank you for sharing.. I want to tell you how inspired I was by the dollhouse that you posted awhile back. I have 5 young grandchildren, 3 girls, and just fell in love with your dollhouse and dolls. I shared your plans with my father-in-law last year (he turned 90 a few weeks ago) and thought what a wonderful legacy for him to leave for his great grandchildren. I told him if he's make the house I would decorate it and make the dolls (loved those too that you made). So the dollhouse is finished, I'm working on the decorating, bought the dolls but haven't painted them yet. Thank you for sharing your ideas and contributing what I'm sure will be a family heirloom for many generations!

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    1. Betty, that is such a cool story! I love that they can have something he built with his hands! That makes me so happy to think it inspired a dollhouse of your own. I would love to see it if you ever take pictures. Those little dolls are so fun, they will love them!

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  47. Oh gosh I feel like I could have written this (everything except back to school- I want to do that again but I'm nervous with the littles! Go you!) Blogs can wait but I think it's important to keep making and learning, trying new things that are for you, even if it's just quickie projects. I struggle with these things too, I think all women do! You are doing great- just trust yourself and know that life is long, even if it just feels like the days are long right now!

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    1. Thanks so much for the reminder Anne, I keep wondering if maybe it would be easier in the future to go back to school! But we'll at least get through this semester.

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  48. Thank you for this post! I love your blog and wish you all the best for striking a balance. Since you have only been in your classes for a couple of months, it's early days. It's my rule of thumb that any move or change takes at least 6 months. I'm sure you'll find a happy medium that includes enough creative time to keep you energized without being a drain. I work full time, have a long commute and a 2 year old, when I moved house recently my sewing machine stayed packed away (as have many boxes I haven't gotten to!) and while I dearly miss it, I know it'll be back in service for snippets of action when the time is right. Till then I am a spectating seamstress, watching my favorite blogs to see what incredible sewing they'll turn out next. Thanks for sharing so many wonderful projects and good luck!

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    1. That is good advice to not freak out for the first 6 months! My husband is my "take a chill pill" and relax reminder. Good luck getting your own machine back out when the time is right! I can't imagine working full time, it's probably obvious I couldn't handle it that well!

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  49. I started following your blog because I find your posts inspirational and admire you as a person. If you are not happy then neither am I. I think that most of us in the sewing community will feel the same way, that you need to do what is right for you. We will be here if you decide to continue blogging and will support and understand you if you do not. With either decision keep that creative spark (even if it is only doing fun crafts with your kids); it would be a shame for it to die away.

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  50. Ohh I understand the balance thing too, With my second born, I know I've barely blogged as well, but I realized that I can't leave the sewing behind, but I will just sew less and blog less, and thats ok. So glad we'll still see you, even if it's only occasionally, and yes you must do what makes you happiest!!! Yours was one of the first blogs I ever followed and loved! And you gave my a chance to pattern test and the pattern to make one of the first things in knit I ever sewed! (hipster hoodie) hugs and good luck with school!

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    1. Thanks so much Johanna! Oh the hipster hoodies, I was putting summer clothes away and saw the first one recently and it brought back good memories! It's always nice to connect with other moms who have to slow down and do less as more kids come along.

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  51. Jessica,
    I thoroughly enjoy living vicariously through your DIY adventures and admire you tremendously as you describe your tools and techniques for woodworking and everything else, really. I sew, but would be lost in a wood-shop. But you are fearless! And I have read with interest all the items you have created and sewn for your son, especially, as I am more at home sewing for females. I have learned much from you. I have not commented before but I feel so compelled now as you search for the right direction at this juncture in your life. I married young, too, and finished my degree after marriage and a term of summer school and at about 31/2 months pregnant. All career plans were put on hold as I stayed home with my daughter, and then son. When I went back to school to get enough credits to renew my teaching certificate, my children were in middle school. I never put so much pressure on myself to do well! I got my A's because I had to get them to show my children I could do it! But the beauty of returning to school when they were in school meant we went to school together, and did homework together, and shared our knowledge like never before. Maybe it would work for you to wait 4 more years to work on a degree and do the school thing at the same time? I once had a job that was all consuming and I packed away all my craft supplies to avoid torturing myself. I liked the job okay, but it wasn't me. I found a new job, got out my projects, and began working on them a little at a time, breaking the work down into manageable segments and learned that things actually did get finished without working zealously on them hours at a time. This was hard for me because I am a product person, not a process person. I want to see the end result! But I have finished lots of projects and feel far less stressed in doing so, and am enjoying the process more than ever. Only you know what your intuition, head, and heart are telling you and this is not a dress rehearsal, it is your life, so do what is right for you and yours. Best of luck and happiness.

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    1. I am so impressed you were a student so close to the end of your pregnancy! That is such a great example to your kids to get high grades, I'm hoping they don't ask at least this first semester! I like your comment about life not being a dress rehearsal!

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  52. Good luck Jessica!!! I have loved your blog and am currently making a Minion costume for my toddler thanks to it. I am sure you will succeed in whatever you decide to do. Thank you for the blog.

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  53. I have read a LOT of posts about sewing summit, recaps, the good the bad and the crazy. And this, BY FAR(!!!) is the best post I've read. And I am so glad that you were inspired not to give up on sewing and creating with fabric. I know you will still be creating through lots of other outlets, being a mom just does that, and now creating homework answers will be added to your list. Don't be afraid to take a break... I do that all the time. Sometimes without even knowing it. I have been making a quilt every two weeks this whole year, 26 to date, but I realized just today I accidentally took two solid months off. Didn't complete a single thing. And that's OK. I did make dinner on Tuesday, and this week that just has to be enough.

    I wish I would have been able to take your class at sewing summit. I love that blouse pattern and have so many ideas that use it's same shape and lines to make tunics and dresses and and and and... and of course stacks of fabric with plans, but no time to make them. And yet, thinking about combos and pattern and fabric and color keeps me from feeling too deeply the things in my life that are not going well. In fact, sometimes things just suck but a pretty stack of happy colors makes those sucky things not seem so overwhelming. Even if I don't do anything with that stack, just the 3 minutes of pulling that stack out and folding them up and taking a picture of it makes me feel like something is going not totally wrong. Maybe just a little wrong ;)

    Great post Jessica, seriously. Brought tears to my eyes because I totally know how you feel. Good luck with all the things!

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  54. Oh Jessica! I just got back from a trip to visit our family on the East Coast, and didn't read this until today.
    I am so very happy you are still creating. It is therapeutic and can help you to decompress- at least that is how it works for me. You are an inspiration and way too talented to stop. I enjoy reading about what you come up with.
    Congratulations on going back to school!
    Glad to have you in the "family" of blogging a little while longer.
    I hope to attend a Sewing Summit one day and get to take ones of your classes!
    ~Michelle

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  55. Jessica, thank you for this beautiful post! It's such an insight into what an amazing woman and mother you are. I'm so excited that you're going back to school and pursuing new dreams, but I'm also selfishly glad that you aren't leaving us in the blogging world yet! It was such a pleasure getting to know you a bit at Sewing Summit. No matter how much you blog, even if it's just a little here and there, is enough. Thank you so much for sharing this!

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  56. I am so very glad that you decided to continue to sew and post ! I know exactly what you must be going through - it's so very tough to balance . I graduated at the top of my class in college , got a great job and then gave it all up to raise a family. And of course , there was an occasional tinge of regret. But it was a choice I had made myself. And now , at 35 , my kids dont need me as much any more , so I am back to hitting the books , trying to do my CCIE . But all I can think of is sewing the latest peplum blouse for my 7 year old :) , when I should be hard studying. You are such an inspiration to all of us , I know you can pull it off. Here's wishing you the best of luck in your academic and your creative pursuits!

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  57. Hello new friend!! Meeting you at Sewing Summit, and discovering all we have in common was one of my highlights. I am so glad I stopped by to read your post. You were so amazing to me inside and out. Even though I don't know you as well as I wish I did, I can just tell you are so amazing, and I felt of your amazing strength as I was around you!! It's so good to hear that you're not killing your blog off. I think our situations are so similar! I used to blog a lot more (for money), but recently I was able to decide to back off a little. I am just a hobby blogger now, not stressing about sticking to a schedule. For what its worth, here's my philosophy... the harder I work during the day as a mother and wife, the more I deserve a little quiet time either early in the morning or at night to sew. Blog posts and tutorials will come with the completion of sewing projects, but I'm really trying not to worry about posting regularly. Rewarding myself with some sewing time really motivates me to clean and take care of my family even better. I know you're juggling school on top of that, but just think, the more you work and study, maybe you can reward yourself with an hour or two of sewing here and there. I just think you are fantastic. xoxo!!

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  58. I'm so so grateful for this post. I stop by here occasionally and I'm so glad I did just now. I have recently had a heaping added to my plateful and I haven't been able to do much of anything creative lately. As I've gone longer and longer without sewing (or even unpacknig my machine from a recent move!) I have just been getting more and more ornery and I'm starting to realize that sewing and creative pursuits are important for me to be mentally balanced. Having the dishes done is good (and sort of necessary) and all, but if I don't carve out some time here and there (sometimes at the expense of the dishes being done...and the laundry too, who am I kidding)to do something creative then I'll just be a big grump the whole time I'm keeping up with my other tasks and no one wants a grumpy me. At least I don't. I've been struggling with this for a few months now, and trying to not feel guilty about choosing to create and it's still a struggle, but I'm beginning to see that I shouldn't. Thanks for the reminder of creative necessity, and thanks for reminding me that there are so many of us with similar battles. I wish you luck in all your endeavors!

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  59. Hi Jessica, I can't imagine doing all that you do, and I don't have any advice on juggling, although I do think it's true that everything goes better when we feel fulfilled, and it sounds like you need at least a little sewing for that! But I did want to say that school will get easier! When I was in graduate school, I went on medical leave for a year, and when I came back I couldn't believe how hard it was to think! Fortunately, I had a professor who'd had the same experience and reassured me that the mind is like a muscle and mine would get back in shape. You're like a marathon runner who's been stuck on the couch with an injury. Starting out again is so, so hard, but you still have the talent, and studying will get easier in no time!

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  60. I am so glad you are not going to stop blogging even if it won't be very often. you have often inspired me, or made me feel like I was not so alone in my mothering creating life. Education is a wonderful thing to aspire to. I wish you ALL the best in your new direction of life.

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  61. Hi Jessica! I've been reading your blog off and on over the past few years and I always get so inspired by your creations.

    I just wanted to let you know I completely understand where you are coming from because I returned to college after 12 years this past summer. I originally earned my Associates degree in 2001 and thought I had a BA that I had earned from an online college in 2004. Although my previous employer and I both checked them out before I attended, I found out last winter that the "online school" was no longer in business and my degree was a fake!

    Last year at this time I was just about to become a full-time employee only to discover this little mishap in the hiring process! At least my employer has let me stay on as a contractor and God is so good! He has allowed me to be able to return to the university I started my college career at, its only a few blocks from where I work, AND my employer allows me to take time out of my day to take classes. If you'd have told me a year ago this is where I would be I wouldn't have believed you. I am so thankful and humbled to be where I'm at but my little blog has suffered, so I completely understand about the sacrifices you have to make. In the end your sacrifices will be worth it. I certainly want my little guy to know that his mommy has a REAL degree from a real college and once I hopefully ever get hired on here at this job, I will know there won't be any hangups in the hiring process this time!

    Good Luck and keep up the great work!

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  62. I hear you loud and clear! I've enjoyed your blog, I've always found inspiration and have been amazed by your abilities. I know all to well the need to be creative, and the search for finishing a higher education.
    I have an associates and I'm doing the pathways course through BYU-I to get my bachelors. It too is kicking my trash but I know it will pay off in the future.

    See my husband has been out of work for 2 years now and I've gone back to work, but the only thing I'm qualified to do is watch kids (thank you motherhood, and nursery) and I get to teach kids spanish (thank you mission) It's been incredibly hard, and soon I fear I'm going to crack. But my husband just accepted a job back in his home state of Arizona (a place I swore I would never live in again, -the whole experience was very much like the rotting farm house you mentioned) but the Lord has softened my heart and it truly is an answer to prayer.

    As you walk your path there will be lots of gives and takes, along with huge sacrifices. if the blog has to sit on the shelf for a while, we (your faithful and adoring readers) will all be here for whenever the mood strikes you to share something. You might even be surprised that it morphs into something else. Either way do what you have to do so nobody cracks. Kids are hard, school is hard, and projects can be hard, but when done with the aid of the Holy ghost anything is possible.

    I wish you the best of luck, and hope you are able to do/be what you want to be.

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  63. I just came across your blog, thanks to a slightly sick baby who wants me next to him as he sleeps. I've been reading it for the last couple of hours. I love it, I think you are super duper talented. I have three kids too, but you definitely seem to find more time for sewing than I do! Anyway, I'm glad you're not stopping the blog, since I just found it! :)

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