giving up on perfect

When I started this blog nearly three years ago, I had no idea the journey I’d begun.

My life had somewhat abruptly morphed into something I barely recognized, complete with a newborn, an entry-level job that [I was quite sure] could be done by a monkey and husband who worked evenings. I was still reeling from all the changes, and I wasn’t exactly comfortable with any of them. And, honestly, I was bored and lonely.

A blog seemed like the perfect way to practice the art of writing, connect with old friends – and new ones, collect my thoughts and record my memories, and, moreover, to talk to someone, anyone.

And you know what? A blog was the perfect place for all that.

But as I’ve grown and changed, so has my blog. Many of you noticed last summer when I started experimenting with monetization, also known as advertising. Some of you weren’t thrilled, and a few of you were brave enough to tell me about it.

That was when I began to understand the impact my blog has and the community that we’ve built. This blog may belong to me, but I’m not the only one affected by what it written – or posted – in this place.


Weeks before I attended my first blogging conference, I somehow ran across a few blogs written by women who were passionate about feeding the hungry. They had gone on mission trips with Compassion International, and their blog posts about those trips changed my heart forever.

When I had the opportunity to meet one of those bloggers at Blissdom in 2009, I made a fool of myself – not surprisingly – by crying as I tried to tell her, “Your blog changed me. And I want to do what you did.”

I managed to get the words out, despite my tears and embarrassment. And Shannon of Rocks in My Dryer was kind and gracious and encouraging.


A few months later, I began rebranding my blog as Giving Up on Perfect, and I was blown away by the response I received over and over. It hadn’t even been a real conscious effort on my part, and somehow I’d chosen a phrase that struck a nerve with almost every woman I met. (At least the women I told my blog about. At that point, I was still a secret blogger, afraid that people would laugh when I told them what I did on my computer every single night.)

What had started with a quote from Anna Quindlen, given to me by a manager a few years earlier, turned into a mission statement that I have learned is truly needed by women just like me. Women struggling to find a balance among perfectionism, procrastination and apathy. Women fighting to be recognized, heard, encouraged, forgiven, motivated, refreshed. Women aching for someone to tell them that they are enough, they are good, they are loved.


And then? After deciding that I wanted to help those in poverty with the power of my blog? After realizing that I’m not the only woman who needs to give up on perfect but do it in a healthy way? After feeling absolutely called to doing something real, something important, something big with this online space I’ve carved?

I’ve done nothing.

Okay, in true giving up on perfect fashion, I have to admit that’s not entirely true. In the past three years, I’ve sponsored a child through Compassion and written about that program and a few others that are making a difference in the poorest corners of the earth. I’ve written about my mistakes and fears, with the hopes that not only will sharing it release me from the guilt and shame, but that it will encourage others who just might have gone through something similar.

But more often, I’ve written about my favorite TV shows, the latest recipe I’ve attempted and my top ten list of whatever’s on my mind that week.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. I’m serious. I might be talking about children going hungry and women who need encouragement today, but, people, I’m still me. And I still love my shows . . . and food . . . and top ten lists.

I’m not shutting down this blog or “going dark” for a month or even putting a moratorium on posts about pop culture. No, this post really is what I called it from the beginning: a state of the blog address.

You – my readers, my friends – are important to me and crucial to this blog. And I wanted to let you know what I’ve been thinking about and explain why things may feel a little bit different around here from now on.

What does that mean? I’m not sure yet. In part, it’s giving myself permission to not post every day – and to only post when I’ve got something good, something real to say. It’s also giving myself permission – and motivation – to write more often about things that actually reflect my blog’s title, to write more often about things that really matter in the long run.

I’ll tell you more about the specifics of these changes soon. But for now, here’s glimpse into my heart (from a guest post I wrote at Alli-n-Son last month):

My theme for 2011 is stewardship. Everything I’m working on – health, parenting, marriage, writing, finances – is on my list because I want to take better care of the blessings I’ve been given.

Now, that wasn’t so hard, was it?

Okay, it actually kind of was. I’ve had the same basic resolutions for, oh, the last decade. At least. But it’s only been the past few months that I’ve recognized the theme in my goals.

Nerdy side note: I wasn’t sold on the word “theme” to describe what I meant, so I tried all night to figure out another way to say it. A few synonyms that I found were motive, purpose, issue, burden, core, crux, essence, gist and heart.

And really, that’s what this is about. Remembering what the purpose, what the heart of this blog is – and then following it.

Thoughts? Concerns? Questions? Ideas? Share them in the comments or send me a private message through my contact page!

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