Wife to my high school sweetheart, boy mama to sweet baby boy Macrae, and two fur babies Shiloh and Milo, a full time high school history teacher, and overall enthusiast for life. Avid podcast listener, iced coffee drinker, and organized chaos manager. My passion is to encourage and inspire. To cultivate an intentional life, a life full of joy and an abundance of grace.
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When I first created this blog, I sat down and filled several pages of a journal with all the ideas of posts I had. I organized it by season and month and created one of the more ambitious lists that I ever have created. It shouldn’t surprise you that I made a list, and it also shouldn’t surprise you that over a year has gone by and only a tenth of those posts were actually written. And of the posts that were actually written, less than were published!
I get in my own head a lot and I absolutely get in my own way! On the daily, I struggle with feeling all the feelings, the feelings of not doing enough, not cultivating a community in the correct way, saying that I don’t care about the numbers or the views, yet absolutely caring and wondering why a blog and Instagram for so many can be so easy and natural, and for me, so difficult!
And then as I am thinking these thoughts, and going down this road, I start to question where I am in this content creator/blogger/influencer journey and question the entire thing. My thoughts usually include something along the lines of, “Haley, you already have a full-time job, you coach a sport, teach barre classes, try (try is used loosely) here to run a Young Living team and grow that business (Another passion I constantly feel inadequate at) so why are you even bothering trying to do something else. Something that on MOST days, I don’t feel good at. Most days, I feel like I suck.
Woah. Yes went there. Why? Because I want to be real with you 100% of the time. I want to be honest. I created gracefulandfree as a writer, a storyteller. I love words. Words are magical, powerful, and truly life-giving. Words are life to me, and I feel like I usually have a gift in putting different words together to make it into something worthwhile (or at least I have been told).
Yet, despite all these thoughts, there is still a voice in my head that says stay. Don’t go. A voice that I haven’t quite figured out where it is coming from yet. Whether the voice is my own pride, out of stubbornness, or an actual calling of the heart. I am going to stick it out, this season of crazy, and give you my all as real and raw as it can get.
Sometimes, I feel like so much of these spaces, these spaces that so many of us can admire or look up to as a standard or expectation to live by are too filtered. Too put together. So maybe the reason I am here in the space is to be the opposite. To be the clutter, the chaos, the confused and sometimes lonely voice to help reach all those who also feel lost in the clutter, the chaos and the noise.
Because deep down all of us, I truly believe, are just trying to do our best, be the best possible version of ourselves. We try to work as hard as we can, rest when we feel like we can’t go on without and give as much of ourselves away to our passions. And I think that it’s great for us to partake in this marathon of an internal battle, one that is fought against the ills of perfection and comparison and one that is wrought with all the exhaustion, yet the greatest intentions! But, I think we are missing something if we can’t just be who we really are. And show are true colors and our true spaces!
When thinking about this fall, I knew that things were going to be messy. And I had an idea that the messy would be kind of the theme of what I posted and shared to keep things as real as possible and to take you with me along the way of all the 4:00 am wake-up calls, the 14-hour work-days, and the never-ending to-do lists. And I promise you to keep doing that.
I PROMISE THAT THIS SPACE IS YOUR SPACE AND GRACEFULANDFREE IS NOT JUST A BRAND OR A STORY, BUT A COMMUNITY. A COMMUNITY TO SUPPORT ONE ANOTHER AND FEEL WITH ONE ANOTHER. TO LIVE WITH THE GRACE AND FREEDOM TO BE OURSELVES, AWAY FROM ANY AND ALL EXPECTATION OF ANY OTHER WAY IT SHOULD BE!
So if you are reading this, THANK YOU! Thank you for finding value in my words and appreciating my heart in the work of all this! And if this is a space you enjoy, I would love for you to share in the comments below, because I want this to be about you, a community for all of us, to be inspired and encouraged to truly live lives we can be proud of, but not by the expectation of our world, our the society that we live in, but by the standard written in our hearts of heart!