New Beginnings

Today is a very special day for two reasons!

One, it is the one year anniversary of She Holds Dearly. On January 12, 2016, I hit the publish button with fear and trembling and made what has been one of the best decisions I have ever made.

Two, it is officially the first day of the Finding Time to Hold Dearly online course.

This summer I was talking my friend, Abby Lawson from Just a Girl and Her Blog about the creation of the course and her advice was to launch on January 12, 2017 (!). I remember just smiling inside knowing already how special that day was to me.

Perfect!

A comprehensive course intentional living and time management

But, before I get into today’s celebration, I want to take a stroll down memory lane.

 The first year of blogging was a full on roller coaster ride and I hear that is the nature of business in general.

Things that were hard in the beginning, like writing a post and dealing with technical difficulties are no longer very intimidating. But, launching a course can still make me want to curl up in a ball somedays.

The numbers game is non-stop! Social media is constantly changing.

Things that you think are going to work out suddenly fall through and then out of the blue, a company hires you to shoot photos for their website or you win some award!

There were surprises like how dear my readers would become to me and sadly, that peers can be tough on each other in this industry.  I had no idea how much God was going to stretch me and bless me personally because of this blog.

In the beginning, it was such a leap of faith to be vulnerable at all on the internet. Just talking about decorating and farmhouses was about all I could do.

But, trust is something that is earned over time and over this last year, I have felt something deeper taking shape for this blog.

She Holds Dearly is now more than restoring dignity to the forgotten things. It is a lifestyle of living slow enough, simply enough to cherish the life you have and the people who grace it. The way I imagine it was 100 years ago.

It’s an entire philosophy, one that is desperately needed in our day in age . So those topics will be more common here in 2017.

In fact, they are the heart of the entire e-course, really.

Speaking of e-courses, that was definitely one thing that blindsided me last year!

I knew for sure I was supposed to create it on the way home from a blogging conference in August. I had an eight hour flight all night from Atlanta to Seattle and in that dark airplane with people sleeping all around me, I opened my laptop and began to write. I wrote straight through the night, the words poured out of me. That’s often how it works when God asks you to do something.

By the time we landed, I had all 24 classes outlined and started, with a fully detailed roadmap of everything that needed to be done.

Over the next five months, what I thought would take me 100 hours, turned into 1,000 as it grew bigger and better!  My family went into full on survival mode, which we agreed to in advance. The kids were in charge of all the housework, laundry and dishes, we ate way too much cereal and the kids watched a boatload of Heartland.

Twenty hour work days were not uncommon. I wrote the equivalent of 80 blog posts just for the course.

I am very proud of the finished product and what it represents for She Holds Dearly.

A comprehensive course intentional living and time management

Click here for more details

There was another surprising shift, as well.

Part way through last year, I ran the demographics on my site and was shocked to discover that 70% of the women reading my blog were age 45 and up!

I had no idea.

I choked.  Stunned, I just sat there thinking “how in the world am I supposed to speak to women whose shoes I have never walked in?”

I should be learning from THEM!

But, when I started trying to break it down, it went something like this. .

The average reader is. . . (and forgive me for totally over stereotyping here, but. . .)

  1. dealing with older parents
  2. inheriting antique furniture, black and white photos and vintage linens
  3. fairly proficient in sewing, gardening and baking
  4. a dog owner and grandmother, maybe
  5. frustrated with a lifetime of clutter in the home
  6. getting more tired and struggling to be consistent with exercise and health
  7. financially settled
  8. still dreaming of some things to do in life
  9. not worrying so much what people think anymore
  10. really serious about living fully and enjoying life

So, on second thought, I think I absolutely hit the jack pot as far as readers go!

Between decluttering our homes, repurposing / restoring antiques, talking home and garden design, we can talk about intentional living and, well, “holding dearly”!

So, here is to 2017 and my beautiful readers.

Click here to view Finding Time to Hold Dearly!

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24 Comments

  1. January 12, 2017 / 3:04 PM

    I must admit that this is my first year reading blogs. I picked yours because being over 55 years, your Blog

    had maturing look and feel of those quiet times in my life. I send you CONGRADS. Your First year keeps

    me reading your Blog the most. I have stored some post I want to remember.

    Thank you and God Bless.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:29 PM

      Oh Linda, that means so much to me. I am so glad you are here!
      Hugs!

  2. January 12, 2017 / 4:39 PM

    Happy Blogaversary! I love your blog, your photos and your posts-so encouraging. Keep it up and know we all love seeing your life here.
    Hugs,
    Noreen

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:30 PM

      Thank you so much, Noreen! You are such an encouragement to me!

  3. JaneEllen
    January 12, 2017 / 10:50 PM

    Happy, happy, happy Blogaversary, so happy for you. You made it to 1st. year end, how exciting for you. Yeah guess could say am an older blog reader, was 76 last July but believe can learn things from younger women, a lot actually. Glad I found your blog, you have a lot of heart in your blog and it reads that way.
    We live few miles west from bigger town, I am bit isolated due to hearing loss. Tend to not put myself in situations where I can’t hear people. At least on internet don’t have to worry about hearing, what a relief.
    Cheering you on to new ideas and your new course, hope it goes as you’ve planned.
    Have a wonderful weekend and good for you,, extending yourself. Good luck

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:31 PM

      Wow! I am so impressed! And I am so very pleased that you are here, thank you for commenting. We will benefit from my many years of wisdom, no doubt.

  4. January 13, 2017 / 3:18 AM

    Congratulations on your first blogiversary and on creating an e-course! Those are both huge accomplishments. All demographics have wonderful points to them, and it’s so good that you’ve identified yours. Best of luck on the course, and here’s to a fabulous 2017!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:33 PM

      Thank you so much, Leslie! It has been quite the year over here, but really good. Looking forward to 2017!

  5. January 13, 2017 / 9:11 AM

    You mention inheriting furniture and such…oh how our house has become what we fondly call “The Archive” and has in places become in disarray with daily life going on around it. I have become so aware of changes in society looking at things we have inherited…and rarely use…but are still so beautiful….It is next to impossible to get rid of them….
    Your course sounds interesting….
    Nancy
    wildoakdesigns.blogspot.com

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:35 PM

      It is really hard to get rid of family pieces for sure. Sometimes if I can remake something and put it in a good home, I can have peace about letting go. And then there are the pieces that I will never let go of! 😉

  6. Sue M.
    January 13, 2017 / 12:25 PM

    Congrats on your first year anniversary, Sarah! It made me laugh…as I soooo am the description of your “average” reader. Looking forward to many more posts. =)

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:36 PM

      Oh Sue, you are awesome! So glad you are here!

  7. January 13, 2017 / 7:39 PM

    Sarah, I’ve watched you grow over the past year and it’s truly been amazing. You are doing something so special here with your blog, I absolutely LOVE it. Keep up all the hard work! By the way, I am so excited about your e-course. I am a few classes in now and I am already obsessed. I loved reading about how your dream for the class started on the airplane back from the blogging conference. You nailed it. So many amazing tips and ideas, I can’t wait to finish!

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:37 PM

      Hey sweet Sarah! You don’t know how much this means to me, I have the deepest respect for you as a blogger, I have learned a lot from you this past year. Thank you so much and I hope you continue to be impacted by the course!
      xoxo

  8. Tanya Hulbert
    January 14, 2017 / 9:13 PM

    Dearest Sarah,
    The heart you put into your blog and now this course is so evident. You are blessing so many people, me included! I read the comments above and am amazed at the different ages and women you are reaching out to, touching their lives. Anyway, I love you and may God continue blessing the lovely work of your hands.

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 15, 2017 / 5:39 PM

      Thank you, Tanya. You are such a blessing to me!!
      xoxo

  9. January 16, 2017 / 5:22 PM

    I too love your blog and this course looks/sounds amazing. Unfortunately I’m currently unemployed (although now working at least part time) and also trying to redo my own blog (and inspire) – but I certainly a huge fan and amazed at what all you have done and continue to do! Hopefully I can take the course at a later date, but still will be a follower.

    Congratulations and you inspire even bloggers like myself who have been ‘trying’ to do this for also a year. If you ever host workshops in your lovely home, please let me know – I would love to attend and bring other friends as well (whom I know need the inspirations and thoughtful words).

    Hugs from Kirkland

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 25, 2017 / 8:01 AM

      Hi Sweet Laura,
      I remember you from Haven! You are the sweetest, I’m so sorry to hear you are struggling right now. Praying for you right now.
      xoxo

  10. January 19, 2017 / 8:43 AM

    Congratulations, Sarah! Amazing, amazing what you can do when God is breathing over it and your hands are faithful to do it. This blog is beautiful, and your course looks incredible and timely (no pun intended), just seriously a needed emphasis this day and age. So well done! I’ve been in this blogging adventure for a year and a half but had to significantly slow down last year because of a pregnancy, a move and a newborn. 🙂 But I’m hoping to get back in the full swing of things. I really love everything about it. So I’m looking forward to seeing you around blogland a little more.
    <3
    Cheryl

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 25, 2017 / 8:05 AM

      Thank you for showering me with compliments, Cheryl. You are such an encouragement! Yes, babies and moves require dramatic cutting back, you are wise. How to fun to meet another blogger! I know exactly what you mean about loving blogging!
      xoxo

  11. January 19, 2017 / 9:04 AM

    Ive been so blessed by how our paths crossed just 8 months into your blogging journey. The calm grace that you live and blog about is a beautiful gift that spans generations with it’s truth and hope. Congratulations on your 1st year and your 1st course and I’m looking forward to what’s to come! 😘

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 25, 2017 / 8:05 AM

      Love you, Beth! Your words go deep.

  12. January 20, 2017 / 7:08 PM

    First, this is amazing. Second, I can’t believe you’ve only been blogging for one year! It seems like you have been doing this forever. Third, you live in Seattle? I live in Vancouver. Fourth, you went to Haven last year?? Abby’s a blog friend of mine too and we all have dinner together each year at Haven! I’ve been 4 years in a row. I know we follow each other on IG but it’s been great to read more of your blog posts and get to know you more.
    Hugs, Jamie

    • Sarah | She Holds Dearly
      January 25, 2017 / 8:11 AM

      Oh Jamie, I just know we are kindred spirits. Thank you for such a wonderful comment!

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