I have no problem facing change.
I welcome it.
I embrace it.
If it ever comes at a time when I am not ready for it, I usually stress a little, but never to the point where it overwhelms me.
Change takes place a lot here on my blog.
The name (Fancy Kimmie to Live Fancy to Sugar and Dots), the look, the font size, the font color, the entire layout...it has all changed.
There are two things that haven't; my writing style (single sentence line breaks/sentence fragments/sarcasm), and being transparent.
I have never ever kept this blog as a happy zone.
I wish I was that blog.
I wish so much that my blog name was the answer when people asked, "What blog do you LOVE reading?"
But I accept that it can't be that way.
Writing about my miscarriages, my daughter's time as a burn victim, my husband's life-threatening injury, and every struggle in-between has brought me an audience that I was in need of.
I needed people to relate.
To join me in my cry for help.
To pray over me and send me words of encouragement.
I need this blog for all that it brings me.
Unfortunately, it is also so very selfish.
This is not my blog.
That's all I kept hearing during Blog Sugar yesterday.
The words were never said, but the message was clear.
Everyone walked away from their panels with their own interpretations.
My panels were all very different, yet the message was the same for me.
Your blog is not for yourself.
Without you, my blog is nothing.
Without your kindness to subscribe to my words-
Without your sweet comments-
Without your encouragement, your suggestions, your ideas-
Without your participation during my little linky party-
Without all that you do, this blog would be nothing.
My words would mean nothing if you didn't choose to read them and connect with their meaning.
Think about it.
Blogging is such a scary thing.
It can make you so vulnerable.
I have always tackled my vulnerability.
In doing so, I have made friends that I would have never made otherwise.
My whole life has been affected by blogging.
My home is full of projects that are created from reading your ideas.
My family eats meals from the recipes that you share.
My children wear clothes that have been sewn from tutorials that you have posted.
I have been on date nights with my husband at places that you recommend.
I spend my evenings talking/texting/tweeting/emailing with women that bring me immense joy.
All of them being women I would have never met without my blog.
What an amazing thing that is.
My life is how it is because of you.
Arriving to Blog Sugar yesterday, I saw two women walking towards the conference who greeted me with a smile.
They introduced themselves as Brittany and Amy.
I said, "Hi. I'm Kimmie."
Amy said, "Kimmie from Sugar and Dots?"
At that moment, I felt like I had made it.
I felt so...so...alive.
I assume people read the words.
I never thought I would say my name and have someone automatically know where I write.
Or continue to tell someone else in line for a blog conference that I refer to my children as "The Boy" and "The Girl".
Amy knew my blog.
She told me she linked up to What I Whipped Up Wednesdays and loved the links.
She validated me without knowing.
It was the best feeling in the world.
I begged Alissa, Jacqui, and Meagan to let me sit at their table.
The other ladies were so very welcoming and so great to meet.
(My number was off by one-digit for an amazing giveaway. Amy won it. (Remember we walked in together.) I was thrilled for her. She was so kind and so deserving.)
It was a lovely evening with the socializing and the sugar.
My best friend couldn't attend, so I made a Flat Stanley-esque project and brought her with me.
And here I am with the lovely Meagan who took our picture:
And then I attended my panels.
Maggie was adorable.
She answered my question with such grace and courtesy.
To be able to ask her face to face, "How did you create a name for yourself?" and have her respond after pausing to answer with intent and honesty, it was lovely.
Then Julie spoke.
If you read her blog, you have to know that her words online are just as beautiful in-person.
I actually cried while listening to her.
And at the end, I got to tell her that I am here because of her.
She commented on a photographer's blog and said, "Start a blog cute family!"
And I did.
I didn't know what I was doing, but I thought, "If Julie said to start a blog, I will do it."
I think she was my 10th follower.
If I really sit and think about it, I am where I am because of Julie.
I got to tell her that.
In front of a large group of women.
With a shaky voice.
And tears in my eyes.
I got to thank her for her comment that changed my life.
It meant the world to me.
Jeannett's message was the one that connected with me the most.
I took notes like I was about to be given an exam on her speech.
I listened with my entire being.
I opened my heart and tried to feel the words that she was passionately expressing.
My favorite part of her time was her powerful message.
"You are not one-dimensional; neither is your blog."
"What does your heart break for?"
"It wasn't that long ago that women had no voice."
"There are over 153 million blogs in the world. Your readers choose to read YOURS. Don't waste the resource- you have a captive audience! Use your blog for good."
"If you can't read my blog because I mention a scripture, then find another blog."
What a powerful message that is.
Which brings me to my confession...
I don't know how to be religious.
I know that looks like the most absurd sentence in the world.
But here's the thing...
I wasn't raised with any kind of religious background.
I think we went to church on Christmas every year, but to be honest, I don't think that's true.
Nor do I know if that was the correct holiday.
I really don't remember it enough to know any details at all.
When I was 18, I decided to find a church and attend.
I went often.
Four days a week.
I tried to soak up as much information as I could.
I did this for about 6 months.
It was very fast-paced and confusing.
The "college group" I was in spent a lot of time saying memorized scriptures in unison.
I sat alone, flipping through my Bible trying desperately look like I knew what I was looking for.
I even got reading glasses in hopes that I could say I forgot them occassionally when I was really lost.
I would simply hold my closed Bible and mouth, "I forgot my glasses."
(Sorry for that $200.00 eye doctor bill, Mom. I still feel guilty about that. Every.Single.Day.)
I eventually gave up on trying to understand where I fit in.
I just assumed that I didn't have whatever it was that religious people had.
A special faith that I couldn't grasp?
I didn't know what it was.
I stopped going to church.
I eventually became a pregnant 19-year-old.
I was certain that I shouldn't even attempt to seek the God that I so desperately wanted to connect with.
I told people I was "spiritual but not religious".
And here I am 9 years after my first visit to a church on my own.
After my amazing time at a faith-based blog conference.
I always want to post about it.
Not necessarily all of the details I just gave you...
But there are times when I feel the need to type things that I don't know how to say.
I want to say, "Today I felt so blessed. God is amazing."
And then I think, "Oh, wait. These women are here for crafts and inspiration. Not to read about the day that Kimmie felt like God was hearing all of her prayers."
Or I'll think, "How great for this blogger who just quoted a scripture and had a zillion comments about how that scripture changed people's perspective- their day- their mood- their life."
But I don't know where to begin.
I pray all.the.time.
My faith is imbedded deep into my soul and with every ounce of my being.
But mentioning any of that to you never seemed fitting.
And then I read Casey's post.
I've said it before.
I won't apologize for the words I've written.
This blog is me.
It is real.
It is honest.
I can't be sorry if I am not who you want me to be.
But I can stop hiding.
I don't need to turn this space into a Sunday service, but I had never mentioned it before and felt the timing to be perfect...
Hi. My name is Kimmie, and I believe in God.
I don't know anything about the Bible.
I have never memorized His word.
But I believe.
And I don't want to leave this Earth with a blog that never revealed that.
That is all.