For years, as I’ve introduced myself as a blogger and shared my website the response is almost always the same. A wide-eyed stare, a slight chuckle, followed by the inevitable question: “How many kids do you have?”
“Just two,” I reply.
Two is plenty, believe me. In some countries it is a lot. I guess here in the states it’s about average. Compare it to my church congregation and we’re severely under quota.
It’s not that I didn’t think the name of my blog through when I chose it all those years ago. I remember the moment quite vividly. I was lying in my apartment, yearning for a new project. An escape from the mundane cycle of work, home, sleep. A feeling came over me that I needed an outlet, and I needed to act on that now.
I had been thinking about having children someday, and the name “Baby Making Machine” came to mind. Without much more thought, I created a Blogspot account and started writing.
Nearly 9 years later, I haven’t stopped.
For some reason, I interpreted that as a reason to start a baby blog years before having a baby.
As I reflect on those words today I’m stuck with chills at how this journey has come full circle.
I’m laughing because back then I was struggling with cooking more, eating better and exercising… Not much has changed in that regard. But my heart has grown tenfold.
And now I’m crying. Crying because for the first time in more than 8 years I just re-read the talk that inspired this blog, and it speaks to the very essence of it’s core.
“I believe that among the greatest lessons we are to learn in this short sojourn upon the earth are lessons that help us distinguish between what is important and what is not. I plead with you not to let those most important things pass you by as you plan for that illusive and nonexistent future when you will have time to do all that you want to do. Instead, find joy in the journey—now.”
Find joy in the journey. Cherish every day.
January 1st last year, on a whim (most of my decisions seem to be made this way) I decided I might have another 365 project in me. I did one with my daughter when she was a toddler, and one documenting my son’s first year. I was trying to think of hashtags I could use. I’d already decided I wanted to slow down work-wise, and express more gratitude. My word of the year was “Cherish”. A quick search revealed no one had snagged what I thought to be a quite clever hashtag… #Cherish365.
I used it for a week, and received some kind responses. Something told me to check the domain and see what came up.
A quick godaddy search revealed it was available. I couldn’t believe it. I bought the domain, and forwarded it to BabyMakingMachine.com until I could think of a way to get my instagram feed to populate there, or something else clever like that.
A week later I turned 30. At my dream board birthday party I flipped through a friend’s scrapbook cards. I was stunned to see the word “Cherish”.
I pulled it out and set it aside, along with the numbers 3, 6, and 5.
It was meant to be a reminder to cherish every day. But that hashtag, that phrase, stuck in my mind. I saw it daily, next to my desk. It started back at me and silently drew me in.
“Maybe one day I’ll rebrand to Cherish 365,” I told a few friends. The statement was never met with the enthusiastic response I had imagined, so I let the idea go.
Eight years was a long time as the Baby Making Machine. Maybe it was a bad idea to try to start over, and change it. And not only that, this blog has become a full-time job and business for my family. I didn’t want to mess that up.
I re-worked my taglines to make my name make sense. “Making Memories” “Make a Difference”, all in line with my mission and the feeling I want to convey, but it never felt quite right.
See, the thing is… The tagline wasn’t the problem. It was the name.
For months I toyed with the idea of creating a Facebook group for my blog community to come together and discuss photography, making videos, and silly memories with our kids. I dreamt of a podcast where I’d share personal stories with a token of advice at the end. Every time I got stuck at what to call it.
On another whim, earlier this month, I decided to dive into creating content for YouTube. I was hitting a major writers block with my blog and I needed to jump into something entirely new. I needed to challenge myself. Really push myself. So I started a daily vlog. Yes, DAILY.
This personal challenge has been so difficult, but it’s truly opened my eyes to see things differently. Then one night, while editing another video, it hit me.
It’s time to say goodbye to Baby Making Machine.
And everything is going to be ok.
There was absolutely no question what the name of my blog would become. It had been staring me in my face for the last year.
Another quote from the talk that inspired the start of it all stuck out to me as I re-read just now. It speaks to the exact place I am.
“If you are still in the process of raising children, be aware that the tiny fingerprints that show up on almost every newly cleaned surface, the toys scattered about the house, the piles and piles of laundry to be tackled will disappear all too soon and that you will—to your surprise—miss them profoundly.”
A line I likely glossed over eight years ago for lack of understanding now brings me to tears.
There may be more babies in our future. There may not. Or there may be children who come into our home by other means. Regardless, there was no longer a need to be tethered to a name that–I can see now–had clearly been holding me back.
While I am the curator, I feel this blog has been lead by a force much stronger than me. I have truly cherished this journey and while I’m ending one chapter and beginning another, I can’t help but feel this story is just getting started.
As far as technicalities go, all of my old posts and archives are still here. Here’s I’ll still share the same kinds of stories with the same message and passion, its just accompanied by new look and a new name.
Months ago I did a reader survey and I was blown away by so many of you. So talented and interested in all sorts of things. From sewing to photography, travel and beyond. Because of you, I’ve just started the Facebook Group I’ve been dreaming of. Please join us over at #Cherish365. I envision it being a place where we can chat photography and video tips, as well as just talk about marriage, our favorite books, podcasts, and reality TV shows. It’s been a one-way street for a long time and I’d really love to get to know you more, as well as for you all to get to know each other.
As if everything incredible is happening all at once.–I didn’t plan it this way, but I feel extremely blessed. Tomorrow, I’m leaving on my first trip abroad, as a part of a tour group sponsored by a nonprofit. I’m one of five bloggers (one of two from the United States) traveling to Israel as a part of a Vibe Israel Mom Bloggers tour.
I don’t mean to just drop this bomb on you then bounce out of hear for a week, but the timing worked out that way. I was initially planning to wait until April 1st to launch this new site but when my awesome designer said she could get it done now, something told me to just do it.
I’m still planning to upload a daily vlog while there, and I’m hoping to share a lot on my Instagram stories. Perhaps every couple of days I’ll post a quick microblog here too.
I’ll be back to my regularly scheduled posts soon, and just to keep your mouth watering, I’ll let you in on something in the works. To celebrate this re-band, I’ll be giving away an L-series Canon lens. So wait for me ok? And tell your friends! Maybe now it won’t be as embarrassing to be spotted reading my blog or liking my fanpage. I’ll be doing a Facebook Live video over there around lunchtime to discuss this, so please pop in and say hi!