If you've been a reader of Sweet Lavender Bake Shoppe for some time, you've most definitely heard me talk (or read me write?) about my love for community. Not only that, but you've most likely known all about how surprised I was to find such a loving community through blogging! If you would have told me 4+ years ago that I'd end up with some seriously amazing friends through this blogging journey, I honestly wouldn't have believed you.
Case in point- Beth, from Oak + Oats. We "met" purely through blogging, decided each other was pretty swell, and now consider one another friends. We've never actually hung out and never gone to get a cup of coffee (although that would be dreamy!) but through the years of reading about each other through blog posts and emails- it's like we live right next to each other.
She's funny and charming, cute and geeky (in a really good way) and loves herself some Jesus. Woman after my own heart. I'm extremely happy to introduce you all to her today (although I'm sure a lot of you already know her well!)
Tell us a little about yourself! What are some of your passions outside of blogging?
Blogging has awakened so many passions in me so I feel like I do a lot of "blog related" things like all the time (photography, decorating, making things by hand) - but besides all that, I love to spend time with people. Investing in relationships is one of my favorite things of all time. I care deeply about people and living in community. I am passionate about my Bible Study and the group of us that meet each week and living authentically.
Where did your love of blogging come from? What kind of pushed you in that direction?
I have always loved writing. My dad is a writer/editor and has been encouraging and developing my desire to write since I was a little girl. I also love to create, decorate, try new things, and push myself. All those things collided when I started blogging four years ago and it became and outlet for all my dreams, desires, thoughts, passions, and also pushed me to never stop learning more about it all!
What encouraged you to start Oak & Oats?
I started this little blog while I was studying abroad in Northern Ireland with most of my BFFs in college. One of my friends literally set up my whole blog for me because she thought I would love having my own blog (good idea Brit!) Talk about #timeofmylife. This is my first post and it is pretty silly because I had no idea what I was getting into! In 2013 I took a plunge and started taking my blog seriously. I changed this blog name from "Until Only Love Remains" to "Oak + Oats" and went through a whole rebranding. I wanted to put purpose and thought into my blog that started out as an online diary! I started organizing posts, learning how to use a camera, and exploring my creative side!
When and how did you decide you wanted to make a business out of this passion?
I think everyone loves the idea of making money while doing what they love! It has only been recently that any income has been one of the rewards of the work that I put into my blog but with each random check I get, Bruce always reminds me that I don't do this for the money. It would be wonderful if one day I am able to quit my day job and stay at home with my kids and make a significant amount of money but I still want it to be filled with the passion of authenticity and the knowledge that even if all the income stopped, I would still do it. I just figured it I could make money doing what I love, I should go for it!
Are there any specific bloggers or sites out there that help keep you motivated and inspired?
I love and have always been inspired by MAIEDAE over the years and also A Beautiful Mess. They are both blogs by girls who just desired to pursue their dreams and never stopped learning. Both have a history of changes, failures, successes, and just years of blogging & improving. I love that idea! It reminds me that every step is beautiful and it is important to never stop learning and discovering new things about yourself!
Also, I meet via google hangouts with Samantha of Elah Tree and Megs of Rivers and Roads twice a month to chat blog stuff. Those ladies have encouraged me to really be brave and bold.
Do you ever struggle with or feel the blogging competition rise around you? If so, where do you find the encouragement to keep going on those "hard" and "discouraging" blog days?
Shoot- on bad days everything can get me down. I know a lot of people get down on blog comparison (including me) but the temptation is everywhere. The days I am comparing my blog to others that I love, I am also comparing my cooking to one friend and glaring at the laundry on the floor thinking my other friend would never have her home look like this. Then we go out to eat and I see all these pretty girls and wonder why Bruce picked me and I hear my coworkers talking about fancy outdoor gear and Patagonia Jackets they got over the weekend and I get sad that I am poor. That is a bit much but it is everywhere. I need to keep my heart in check not just when I am in my blog world but in my real world too. And when I let some of Satan's lies in, they just go everywhere.
I find encouragement in the Lord and His truth. I turn back to who he says I am and where my identity comes from. When I spend time with the Lord every morning, I find it easier to pull a Taylor Swift and Shake Satan's little lies off! I also take a hot shower when I am sad- it always helps me take a step back from the situation!
I love when bloggers write about Jesus and their faith in their posts, and you're one of them! Do you find it hard to share about your faith openly and publicly on your blog?
This is a fun question! The truthful answer is not really. I started the blog as more of a personal journal / a place to share my favorite verses, quotes, and songs. So it was His from the beginning! My blog is based off Philippians 4:8 (Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things) and I replaced "think" with "blog." I wanted my blog to be a place where yes, I talked about my relationship with the Lord, but I also talked about other lovely, pure, just, excellent, true, commendable things. My blog is a lifestyle blog because there is so much beauty in the everyday. I wanted to post about clothing and encourage people to be confident in the "normal" clothing they have. I wanted to share decorating & hosting tips and the little things that help make my home welcoming for guests. My daily life includes a whole lot of Jesus but also a whole lot of real life. I wanted to reflect both!
Take us through a typical work day! Do you work in an office, living room, comfy bed, etc? How do you go about writing and creating your beautiful posts?
I try to wake up at 6:30 for some quiet time in the morning and then I start my commute at 7:30. I work at a local Non-Profit pregnancy center from 8-4 everyday. I come home at 4:30, make dinner, and head out to small group (or whatever we have planned for the evening.) AH! I know. I haven't even started working on my blog yet. Having a full time job and blogging can be pretty crazy!
One night during the week we try to have computer night where we sit in our office and I blog and my husband plays video games. This is when I get a lot of posts scheduled. I also try to knock out a bunch of posts on Saturday morning. I love (and hate) waking up early and getting some me time. Then I just work on posts- sometimes in a coffee shop, sometimes on my couch, sometimes in my office. I am always thinking of blog ideas and so I try to write them all down so when I have time, I can focus on them. That is why I love google calendar- I can get it on my phone and at work so anytime a post idea comes into my head, I just jot it down!
What is your favorite thing to blog about?
I love blogging about blogging! It is so fun for me to write posts in my Blog It series! I am wired to enjoy sharing information and things I have learned. It is so life giving to pass on information! I also love style posts because they have stretched me the most as a blogger!
Describe yourself in three words.
Bright, Encouraging, and Passionate
What do you enjoy doing in your free time?
Bruce and I love having people over for games (we play a lot of games in this home: video games, board games, nerdy games, group games, etc) I also love watching Broncos football (with people is best), meeting friends for coffee, getting together with other couples for meals, drinking wine on girls nights, and anything outdoors (we love going on hikes after dinner!)
Any new or exciting news you can share with Oak & Oats?
Coming up this holiday season will be another wonderful Great Christmas Exchange! So that is always exiting. There is also a secret Blog Mentorship Project brewing over here that will be coming to you by 2015- now that is NEW & EXCITING!
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