Pondering a Brave Grown Home

Since the day I first typed the words "Brave Grown Home" into the title bar of this space I've been pondering-- perhaps even wrestling with-- the true definition of a brave grown home. It seems it could be a very broad concept if one did not sit down and contemplate it for theirself. But seeing as it's a space I created, it only seems necessary for me to narrow the concept to that which I deem fitting so that this online extension of my heart and home serves its purpose justly and hopefully sparks some wonder and inspiration into passers by.

Firstly, I felt it of most importance to determine what this space is NOT. Because much of the attraction to my site is my shop, I've felt somewhat bound to the idea that this must be a business space only, and therefore I should take the necessary steps to 'business-fy' every nook and cranny. But the more videos I've watched, worksheets I've filled out, and lessons I've taken on such practice, the more cold and empty the whole process felt. Hollow paralysis set in as I tried to figure out what type of business like things I should say to constantly be selling myself and my work.

However... Truth is, I did not create this space with the intention of opening a business. It was opened instead as a sort of treasure chest, a place for me to store my most treasured thoughts as I journey my way down the winding road of motherhood and beyond. Remembering and rekindling this purpose, I've made the relief laden decision that the business has become an unintentional but fun sprinkling atop my original purpose.

So with that decision made, I've finally regained the ability to think warmly of this space as a place to pour out and share. But there are a few intentions I feel necessary to outline in order to decide for myself... what exactly is a Brave Grown Home? Mind you, the answers to the questions concerning that outline are birthed from a place of highest ideals and hopes, while the reality is most certainly less romantic or full of splendid ease. So if you read them and think them much too lofty for such a small person as me or space like mine, I do hope you'll forgive me of my zeal. But it seems that possessing such high hopes is the best way to keep that kindling aflame in a soul so eager to be brave and better.

What is a Brave Grown Home?

 A home culture built contrary to the world. A family striving to center upon God's Word rather than the earthly standards swirling just off the front porch. A place where peace, tradition, and belonging are practiced as paramount. An intentionally crafted haven guarded against the angry spinning of the world.

What does a Brave Grown Home look like? 

FULL. Full of life. Full of adventure. Full of healthy ambition. Full of wonder. Full of acceptance. Full of gift honing. Full of creative pursuits. Full of discussion. Full of forgiveness.

Who can cultivate a Brave Grown Home?

Anyone with the deep set intention, really. My perspective will be that of a long term homeschooling and homemaking mother of 4 boys, married to a police officer and living in the suburbs. However, any sweet soul will do just right if their heart so allows. Whether she be married or single, young or old, mother or not, city gal or country girl, or even, dare I say, a gentleman with deep seeded and true intentions himself.

Who may want to share in this Growing Brave journey?

Families or individuals intent on more life and less world. Those who long for their home to be a mini-retreat and not a burden. Those seeking peace and purpose, not material emptiness.

What is the spirit behind Brave Grown Home?

A wonder-seeking spirit. A hope-filled spirit. A Jesus-adoring spirit. An imagination-drenched spirit.

What will my central focus be on my end, as the crafter of this Brave Grown place?

My meager yet whole-hearted attempts at the expansion of our 'fullness' of life within the walls of our home. My tripping and stumbling journey down the path of wonder in the here and now. Our family's hopeful seeking of peace and hope as we try ever so intently to build and better our family culture.

...And that's that.

As much as I sometimes wish I could create a space of practical solutions, or delightful tutorials, or ingenious business savvy, I'm afraid that's just not a gift of my personality. But I am somewhat gifted at spilling my heart and scribbling my thoughts and seeing life through my unique lens. So those are the things I'm best suited to share.

I do hope as I become braver in sharing that you'll find some morsels of encouragement to ponder now and then.

I'm very hopeful for the future here and my prayer is that God will use this small corner as He will.

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Goodbye 2017.

Here I sit, this last day of 2017, facing my computer with a bowl full of chocolate chips. There are many things on my mind as this year draws to a close, and I'm juggling my feelings of pride and disappointment as I ponder our successes and my perceived failures over the past year. 

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In no particular order, this year was full of so many triumphs... 

  • My husband graduated from the police academy and found his professional calling as a police officer.
  • We lived our first full year in the most beautiful rental home we've ever lived in.
  • We clawed our way out of the pit of financial poverty and can now look back on our darkest years with humility, wisdom, and gratefulness.
  • We ushered in ages 32, 29, 11, 9, 5, and 2.
  • We began our 7th year of homeschooling.
  • I opened up my first successful online shop.
  • We completed several book series, including Harry Potter, The Chronicles of Narnia and (almost) The Lord of the Rings.
  • Our oldest boy has grown leaps and bounds in his academic independence.
  • Our second boy has taught me that school can be laid back and he will still absorb everything like a sponge.
  • Our third boy started Kindergarten and reminded me how eager the littlest souls are to learn.
  • Our fourth boy has started unwrapping his unmatched personality in the funniest ways.

I am overwhelmed by the growth we've made this year and also eager to move forward. Like most people I have many expectations for the days ahead but I'm wrestling with myself to make them practical and attainable.

My hopes for the upcoming year include...

  • Reading more for my personal growth.
  • Expanding our frontiers as a family by taking our boys camping.
  • Honing my skills as a home maker and practicing the art of home with passion and grace.
  • Practicing and refining my craft as an artist... not being afraid to take risks and try new mediums.
  • Diving head first back into the world of writing, to fill my blog with my heart.
  • To avoid commercialism in my online space... to pour out my heart and keep this space pure and free of impractical quick fix schemes, overrated tutorials, or unnecessary pop ups or affiliate links.
  • To find my voice and understand my audience more deeply.
  • To leave fear in 2017 and move bravely and boldly into 2018.

I've not been able to write much in this online space because I have struggled so much with not knowing what to say. What do I have to share? What do my readers want to hear?

I thought I would know the answer by the end of the year but it still seems to elude me. But I'm afraid I'll just have to accept that if I don't start somewhere, it will never go anywhere.

At this point in time I feel like I am on the brink of something, but what is over the edge I just cannot say. So I will end 2017 with the hope that I can boldly capture my voice and my path in 2018. And I hope that by this time next year I will be shocked at the distance I have come.

If you've read this far this year, you're probably one of very few. But let's meet back up this time next year and compare notes... my guess is you and I both will have come a long, long way.

Happy New Year, friend.

-Ashley