Sincerely, Shantelle

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Hey y'all! This blog is a few years overdue, but I believe that it is better late than never. (Okay...sometimes I believe that it's too late and no point in bothering to do something, but that's neither here nor there.)

Welcome to my blog. That sounds like such an odd sentence as I repeat it back to myself. For starters, I never thought I would actually start writing. Secondly, although I would say that I am generally a warm and welcoming person by nature—I'm southern—I'm also a pretty introverted being, so welcoming people into my life comes fully loaded with emotions. There is happiness, reluctance, ANXIETY, but most of all, hope that what I share with y'all will be well received.

When contemplating to join the blogosphere, I had no clue exactly how to go about doing so. Each time I decided was "the time," I came up with a new reason for it not to be. I suffered from a multilayer problem that I struggled to find a solution for. Blogging was the thing to do that everyone and their mama, brother, sister, auntie, and uncle was doing, and it felt intimidating to become "one of them." I was overwhelmed by the hundreds, even thousands of great blogs out there, and I felt like none of my thoughts would be written as eloquently as some posts that I recalled reading. I told myself that I'm too boring. What could I write or say that hadn't already been done and done again? I had spent so long second-guessing my abilities and likability and discounting myself, that I had put off starting a blog for years (roughly two...this domain name was purchased ages ago). A slightly smaller issue I had was that most blogs that I had read were centered and focused on something: beauty, crafting, parenting, fashion, natural hair, etc. I love so many things and was having a hard time deciding on what topic to buckle down on.

Over the past couple of weeks, I have come to realize that we all have our own story to tell. I have my own opinions about life and parenting. I have learned how to DIY a lot of cool things. I like teaching myself photography. I can't allow a false sense of inadequacy to dictate what I do or don't do. Why must I limit myself to writing about one thing, simply to be like everyone else? To that question, I had no answer. Like I often say to my daughter, "if you don't know why you're doing it, don't do it." I simply had to take heed to my own advice.

This is the start of listening to myself. Friends of mine on Facebook know that I'm a fairly candid person. I speak openly about my battle with mental health issues, child loss, difficulties raising a rambunctious little girl, and a lot of my other personal struggles and joys. I also share crafty things (some which come from Pinterest), things I cook, places we visit, and overall random things I do or like. My goal in blogging is not to paint a picture-perfect vision of what my life is like or to glorify myself for the world to see. It's not to receive thousands of dollars a month in sponsorship to try and compete with anyone. My goal is, in fact, to be open and honest about what life is like for many of us—perfectly imperfect in all its glory! My house is often messy and disorganized, I fold laundry and leave it on the couch for a week, I hardly ever wear makeup, some days my kid spends two hours on her iPad, and some nights I decide to run through the Taco Bell drive-thru for dinner because it's too hot or I'm too lazy to cook. I spend most of my time in school, running around to craft and thrift stores, or at home with my family being a mom, drinking coffee, and laying on the couch reading library books or watching ridiculously cheesy Lifetime movies or reality TV. I dream often of living to be 100 years old, and about how scary and amazing that would be. I'm accidentally funny sometimes. I have a hard time focusing on one thing at a time. I'm super random. As plain and simple as my life is, I enjoy EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT. I'm happy.

I appreciate my simple life. All of our lives are amazing in their own ways. My hope is that through my posts, everyone else can be reminded that we aren't perfect. We are all still works in progress...and that's okay. I will share with y'all inspiration, tips on things I've figured out, stories to remind you that you aren't screwing everything up, and my own recommendations on products, places to go, and things to do!

Even if no one reads anything I write, my blog becomes my journal and leaves my mark in the cyberworld so that when I find myself looking back to this experience (when I am 100), all of the thoughts that have long since escaped my mind will still be here. This journey is new and exciting and scary...but my adrenaline is pumping and I am ready to go. I can't promise that it will be perfect, because weather can be unpredictable, but I will attempt to make the trip worthwhile. If you're daring enough, the door's unlocked. Hop in. Ride shotgun, if you wish—just make sure to buckle up!