I am but a work in progress.

I will never forget the first time I heard the term blog. I was going to school full time, hubs was working 80+ hours a week, and it was all I could do to keep the kids in clean socks. I was working on some kind of dental research paper when I decided to take a break. There sitting in my inbox was a note from my sister telling me I was tagged on her blog.

Blog? Tagged? I sat there with a blank stare. How does one respond to what they don’t know? Under normal circumstances I would have consulted my handy friend mr google, but time was not my friend. And there were deadlines to be made. And hungry kids to feed.

Fast forward 4 years.

Here I sit at my computer for the 4th straight day this week thinking about a blog. More specifically, my blog. The thing that seems to have taken on a life force all its own; that somehow forged its way into the forefront of my life. That same thing I was absolutely clueless about just a few short years ago. Strangely enough, I have written in it for nearly 2 years now on an almost daily basis and am just as confused about what a blog is as that first time I saw it in my inbox.

What started out as a way to connect with loved ones far away morphed into my daily project 365. Then along with what appeared to be a midlife crisis came a redirected purpose and name change for my blog. A Beautiful Mess: Project Alicia.

Then I found SITS. Those four little letters altered my blog. And certainly changed my life. At least the life that I had once known.

I now had followers and comments. Comments from fellow bloggers that weren’t family. I was awakened to an entirely new world I was oblivious to prior.

I learned that there were millions upon millions of bloggers out there, some like myself just trying to find their voice in a noisy world. Others were in it for fame and notoriety. Or monetary reasons. And they came in all genres… couponing, religion, crafting, book reviews, giveaways, foodies, motherhood, photography…

I learned about the rules and etiquette of commenting. The dos and don’ts of blogging. The social media requirements to stay connected. Oh, and the vocabulary. Who knew blogging had a language all it's own?

It was intimidating and overwhelming. It was about that time that I asked this question in the SITS community.

I admit there was a time I, myself, was intoxicated by the sheer idea of making money from blogging.

I do it regardless. It was something I enjoyed. What a novel concept. A perk.

Then hubs put me in my place. He has a knack of doing that. But the words he spoke rung true. “If you are good enough the sponsors will come to you.”

Now fast-forward to present day.

Somewhere, somehow in all the craziness that is the blogging world, I lost my focus. My initial direction and purpose. My reason for doing this. Because this should NOT take precedence over the finer things of life, particularly my family. Or feel like a chore.

Initially I was never in it for fame or fortune. Or numbers.

So, what went wrong? When did I make this detour? Because this is not who I am. Nor is it who I want to be.

I am not an idiot. I know that I’m not a writer. Sure I can spell and throw together fragmented thoughts, but I am not a writing blogger, I am a blogger who writes. I will never get any book signing or publication in my lifetime. But I know enough to appreciate a great read when I see it.

And although I love photography, I’m not a photographer. I am an amateur at best who shares her passion.

I’m not even a foodie, although I have thoroughly enjoyed finding new recipes with my Tasty Tuesday's meme.

But my blog has allowed me an outlet to express my thoughts and share my interests. It has stretched me creatively. And helped me discover myself in the process.

And the most amazing gift is the connections I have made with such talented, inspiring individuals who move me and drive me to be better. I hope you know who you are. Your friendship was unexpected and a wonderful surprise, something I will always treasure.

But I was also under the false assumption that the blogging community was this tight-knit group of women and mothers that were there to bolster each other up in the spirit of camaraderie. To offer kind words and support. Turns out I was wrong, disillusioned perhaps. I'm sad to learn that there are many out there that are also cut-throat. Driven merely by numbers. And willing to sell their soul to get there.

Perhaps I am too trusting or accept too readily. Perhaps I should have been more cautious on this blogging expedition. Perhaps I should have never allowed myself to go down this bumpy road at all. I was perfectly content with my 2 comments per day on average. After all, I was blogging with purpose. I was blogging for me.

But as I've stated before, if we only stay where it is comfortable and never take risks we will never progress to our truest potential. So, I ventured out on a limb and made my blog public and put myself out there, opening myself up to critics and fans alike.

It all seemed to happen in the blink of an eye. I went from 12 followers to 350 just like that. You may remember my vlog from back then- the only way I could think to say thanks. Now there are days I can barely keep up with my emails. Don't get me wrong, I love them all.

But as much as I want to always reciprocate, I am a wife and mother first and foremost. Soccer, pukey kids, frog hunts, matching socks, wiping tears, hunting down bullies, figuring out what's for dinner, math homework... these are just a few of the things that fill my mundane days. You know, the real stuff blog posts are made up of.

So I have to continually remind myself that I am but one person and that "life is not a sprint, but a marathon".

This transcends to all aspects of my life, including my blog.

So, I've made some mistakes along the way. Encountered a few hiccups.

As we mature and grow, we evolve. This is an inevitability that comes only from the culmination of life's experiences. Some good, some bad. This is not a process that happens over night.

And 4 years ago I would have never thought I'd even be contemplating the purpose of my blog today. It's a confusing place to be.

I don't know much, but I can tell you this with certainty... I am but a work in progress. And blogging is not for wussies.

I don't need to win any races. Or set any records. I just want to find a happy steady pace so I can enjoy the ride. And regardless of what obstacles I may encounter I will always try to stay true to who I am.

My blog is merely a reflection of my journey.

For those of you who are reading this or have been following me I thank you. You seemed to believe in me even when I had my own doubts about myself.

I'm still not sure what I want from my blog, but rest assured that I do it for me and will never be driven by the voices of the blogging community or the world. I strive to be a girl with integrity.


  1. I dont think you need to KNOW what you want from your blog, as long as doing it is a joy to you and helps you vent or cope along the way. We dont *NEED* to know why we do what we do- as long as it makes us happy.

    I have my blog and I love that my friends read it- but im not going to beat around the bush- I ADORE comments from people I am not related to. lol. It makes me happy knowing that someone is reading because they find what I have to say interesting or entertaining in someway- and not because im related to them.

    HOWEVER- if I had a gagillion more emails a day than I already do- I dont know if I would feel quite the same way. As much as I would still enjoy the comments...

    anyway- I love reading your blog and seeing your pictures. I think youre REAL. and open and honest. and thats refreshing among this world of falseness, backstabbing, and snotty people.

  2. I love your blog, your photography, and the recipes you share. Thanks for blogging!

  3. You offer a beautiful look into your mess (we all have a mess don't let anyone fool you). Thank you for sharing. You seem to be quite thoughtful lately...I hope you are well.

  4. Alicia, I just love this post. I love your hinesty. A lot of what you are aying is things I have thought.
    I love that you blog with integrity.
    That's why I love your blog so much and feel like we have a connection - freinds across the miles.

  5. Oh dear. bad spelling. that's what happens when u type in the dark.
    HONESTY. that's what I love. your HONESTY.

  6. Lish I have been loving your blog since I started reading it a few weeks ago. Your words ring so true. Words I have thought of myself of late.

    Am I blogging for me? Or am I trying to blog to win more followers and have people think I am clever or funny? There has been a definite shift in my focus of late, particularly when I compare to 3 years ago when I first started blogging just as a weekly update for our family scattered around the world.

    But I guess we have to think back to why we REALLY blog, and loving the creative outlet blogging gives us is all that would be left if we were the only ones who ever read our words. I do keep trying and reminding myself of that, but it is hard sometimes too not to get lost in the sea of trying to constantly improve what I'm offering up to readers whether they're family, friends or total strangers.

    Very wise words and reflection girl. You've inspired to keep my perspective in check too :-)

  7. congrats on the 4 years! forget the haters and blog as you like. we'll always be here for you :D

    ~ash's mum

  8. I think most of us would consider ourselves a work in progress especially with blogging.

  9. Alicia, I'm 48 and I feel that with bloggiing and my own business (selling barbies and stuff) that I'm just refinding myself too. I had such a bright future, being an inner city teacher, and then I got the opportunity to be a stay at home mom for our baby. Little did I know that being "just a mom" would cause my husband such anxiety and eventually make our relationship go down hill. Now we coexist and try to survive and I try to not let his anger and other negative emotions affect me. After having the baby I had post partum depression and just when I thought I was on the road again I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. It's hard enough to give up your own dreams or modify them. It's extremely hard when you know that what has happened has affected your child and caused distain with others.

    We all are on our journeys and just remember that I love that someone else out there admits she's human too.


  10. me stopping by here for the first time…
    you got a Cool blog where you seem to give wings to your thoughts and aspirations…
    Blog s been a wonderful podium to express myself too

  11. Blogging with integrity is a noble thing, and I'm trying to do it as well! You journey sounds a bit like mine: blogging for myself, then stumbling upon a whole great big community out there!

  12. Ditto on all the comments above - I love your blog and your honesty too. Just blog about what you want to blog about and you can't go wrong!

  13. I'm new to this blogging world also, I started as you to communicate freely with friends and family on my passions, living life in another country and "my way" of designing and photography.it's turned my life around and yes.priorities!Love your blog and your creativity..glad to have found your "Beautiful Mess" Yvette x

  14. I think the blog forces you to reevaluate everything - on a regular basis. Because it's such a time suck sometimes, it forces you to reprioritize regularly. It's a great thing but a dangerous thing. If you weren't reevaluating at some point, I'd be more worried about you.

    Hugs to you and yours. Enjoy your weekend.

  15. Love your blog and your honesty. You write what I am feeling at times. My blog is a journal about life - and I want my great-great grandkids to read about it and know what we were like. I have to keep reminding myself of that - especially when other blogs have 48 comments & I only have 2. It shouldn't matter - what matters is that someday someone will read this and see what life was like for the realatives.
    I suck at spelling, my grammer is sometimes poor, I was not an english major - but i write what is on my heart or in my life.
    I don't plan on winning awards, or having a book deal offered - I write and share what I am going through and that has helped me get through this journey.
    I have "met" wonderful friends - and wouldn't trade it for anything - and for me what started out as just a journal for family - has become so much more.
    I love your photos and your recipes -keep it up - there are so many of us out there !!!

  16. I'm going to be dead honest with you. The reason I keep coming back is because of your integrity and honesty. I love your view on life and your candid admissions when things are...crap. I identify with your journey and I am literally pulled into a different world with your photography. Truly, you have a gift.

    And I think you're wrong...you could easily be a "working" photographer...if you so chose... and you ARE a writer that blogs. You write from the heart and present your thoughts and your life in a way that people connect with. THAT's the kind of writing I want to read!

    There is one thing you have found great success with and I recognize it because I have yet to find it myself...it's this...

    You have a large following, yes, BUT you have many hearfelt comments on every post. You're making a CONNECTION. People comment when they can't click away WITHOUT responding. That is huge in my opinion.

    I respect your path and your journey and I'm so very glad you let us take a glance everyday so we can connect. hugs...

  17. Wonderfully written Alicia!! I'm finally on my journey to outside followers and friends, and it's a wonderful feeling to felt loved in the blogging world!!

    I have an award for ya - come check it out http://corisbigmouth.com/?p=1248

  18. Wow! I think you took some of the things that have been stewing about in my brain and put them together here so perfectly! I was thinking, "yes", "yes", "me too!" Just a few short weeks ago I stopped checking numbers and stopped caring how many people read or what so and so would think if I wrote this. When things happen in your life that slap you back into reality it is the people that are still standing, still supporting, and still loving no matter what happens that mean the most. Getting to "know" you and a couple of others makes this blogging experience for me so worth while. You guys actually mean quite a bit to me and I say screw the others especially after a recent post I read from someone whose perspective I thought I knew. Lish, you are a true, genuine, and caring person that I love getting supportive notes from. I'm so glad that you are that way and I am so glad that you blog the way you do! I think you put just the right touch of "I'm not perfect, but I'm doing a pretty damn good job" in to this blog with you personally and with your writing. I admire you in so many different ways. Keep on truckin, girl!

  19. I'm not sure what I want with my blog, either. I haven't come across the cut throat bloggers that you mentioned, thankfully. I am just doing what I want and trying to keep up. It's hard, and sometimes exhausting. But I love blogging and will continue to do it my way...like you.

    Love ya, my friend!

  20. And thats why I love you girl. You have more passion and soul in your pinky nail than most do in their entire bodies. Your blog is a magical safe haven for me, where I can read soothing words and look at amamzing photography. I appreciate it more than you know!

  21. is everything alright? did i miss something? i feel like i did. i hope you are doing OK, alicia.

  22. Thank YOU for your beautiful expresion of validation! I am NOT going to think about numbers, but I do often think, what if someone in my community read "this" or "that"... In addition, I'd like to think there are not cut throats out there in blogging; I mean why would they feel the need to and how would I know it when I see it anyway :( ? I am a new blogger and just want to network with other like minded individuals. I am so glad I found you.

  23. Great post. I wrote something similar when I was mad a little while ago.


    You did it much more gracefully. Your thoughts are exactly what I have been thinking. I think I have let blogging get a little out of hand. I need to spend more time with the boys and less time on the computer. Thank you for this.

  24. Alicia you are wonderful and I think everyone knows that you are first and foremost mother/wife/many other things. One thing I've learned from blogging (about as long as you have) is that you need to blog for YOURSELF - not anyone else. I think of my blog as a sort of online journal. It's about ME, it's a release and I don't care if I have 2 followers or 2000. I guess once you get to a certain age you realize that you need to live your life for you, not others.

    But you are wonderful - a great writer, a great photographer and truly an inspiration.

  25. My sweet friend, I feel like this comment will be a redundant mess since I've already told you how I feel about your blog, etc. However, I'm going to do it again. lol
    You are an amazing talent. You write from the heart and your photography opens up a whole new world. The way you're able to connect the two is absolutely beautiful. It's not something that can be learned. I wish you realized that you really, truly have a gift. Clearly, I'm not alone in saying so. We continue to visit and comment because we like you. We like your honesty, your integrity and because we relate to your story. We continue to visit because we enjoy your writing and your photography. We love your "voice". :)
    Have a great weekend, Lish. Know that you're loved...

    Kristi, Live and Love...Out Loud

  26. I just started mine about a year ago and I enjoy connecting with others and I love to comment and get comments! It IS hard to keep up the way I would like! The blogging world HAS changed a lot! Keep up what you're doing! We're reading!

  27. Congrats, Lish! 4 years are quite a journey and I love your honesty, your voice, your take in life, and your pictures. You are one of those blogger that I would love to hang out with in real life. Keep on writing and taking pictures, lady! :D

  28. Congrats on four years! I think your blog is wonderful, and I am sorry that there are haters out there I don't understand some people. I look forward to reading about your adventures and I think your photography is beautiful! Contrary to what you think you are a photographer you just don't do it professionally.

  29. Hey Alicia - I read through this post the other night (another blogger and I were discussing this very thing) so it was very relevant. You have such a way with words and photos and I think this whole journey is very personal for each of us. Thanks for putting things into perspective. I also wanted to thank you for your question to me. I always admire your work so for you to tell me that I have a talent is quite special. Thank you.

  30. Stopping by to let you know I have an award for you on my blog - http://mymommyadventure.blogspot.com/2010/09/awards.html

  31. Your bloggy voice rings true each and every time I visit, Lish. I come and visit for the pictures, the honest girl/mom chat, the stories, and everything you loosely define as your "mess". If it changes and evolves with you, the followers like me who are just interested in what you have to say and post will follow along. But I understand exactly what you are saying, and I feel the same way.

  32. It’s so true that blogs have a life of their own! I love your reflections, your honesty, your photography, and Project Smile. I gave you an award at http://livingmontessorinow.com/2010/09/28/versatile-blogger-award-and-sunshine-award-to-happily-pass-on/

  33. You and I are in the exact same spot right now.

    I hear you. I know what you are saying. I see you.

    And, exactly.

    No more needs to be said, but I am with you, even if you don't hear from me, I am with you.