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My Journey To Simplicity

Whether you’re in a season of hoping and praying to one day be called “mommy”; a season of long nights, filled with scents of diaper cream, lullabies, and baby snuggles; or a season of dodging dinos, jamming out to Cocomelon and whipping up the best PB&J this side of the Mississippi, I think we all can agree Motherhood can be downright overwhelming & exhausting.

This is where I slide on scene like Lorelei Gilmore with a coffee for you and a coffee for me, & a light-hearted witty story to break the tension.  Consider me your newest BFF and simplicity guru who’s just trying to figure out this crazy, amazing, wonderful thing called life right along with you. 

Simply put (pun intended) I’m here to encourage you during your journey to and through motherhood, and help you create simplified systems in your life and home so you can savor this sweet season and enjoy the moments that matter most to you.

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I Believe In Simple Moments…

I believe in real moments and heartfelt conversations shared over a plate of warm  cookies.  In the kinds of traditions that remind you of the joy that can be found in the simplest of moments together.  I believe in capturing photos that are itching to be printed, placed in beautiful frames, and hung on the walls of your home for years to come. And, you just may find me from time to time outside dodging raindrops or driving to the perfect spot to get just the right view of a colorful rainbow or a gorgeous sunset. 

I believe there is something magical that happens when we sip lattes and enjoy some quiet time on the front porch in the morning while we watch the sun come up, when we catch the scent of freshly bloomed lilacs and the feeling of sun rays warming our skin during a leisurely bike ride in the early days of June, or when we hum sweet lullabies while cradling our baby in our arms as we rock them to sleep….feeling their every rhythmic breath, twirling a curl of their hair between our fingers, taking in all their sweet smells.  These are the moments we’ll remember and long for again as the seasons of our life quickly pass.  

There truly is beauty in the small, simple and often times overlooked, mundane moments of life.  And, this is why I believe it’s never too late to slow down, cherish these moments, and lock them into our memory for the rest of time.  

But, you see, it wasn’t always like this for me and I’m certainly far from perfect.  Hi!  My name is Stephanie and I’m a recovering chronic overcomplicater.  In fact, I used to wear exhaustion like a badge of honor thinking that if I just did all the things, strived for perfection, and never said “no” I’d find true happiness. Instead, I found guilt, anxiety, and severe burn out.  

Does this sound familiar?  

I hear ya, friend.  But, it’s never too late to hit “pause” and reclaim your everyday.  Here’s how my journey to a more simplified life began…


Nursing School Is Where My Journey To Simplicity Began…

I graduated from nursing school in 2007, after spending 6 very hectic and busy years in college, and then promptly began working what I thought was my dream job on a Pediatric Burn Unit at a large Children’s Hospital in downtown Detroit.  Suddenly I was thrust into this role of being a caregiver to these patients and families that desperately needed help, but I felt inadequate and unprepared even in this role that I longed for, planned for, and prepared for for years of my life.  

I received a quick lesson during those short years as a pediatric nurse on the fragility of life and the importance of finding simple joys even in the midst of chaos thanks to my patients and their families who were dealing at that very moment with some the worst days of their own lives.  Suddenly my worries and stressors seemed minuscule compared to the pain and strife they were forced to deal with.  And it was a wake up call.  

I remember in those early days of my nursing career, I truly began to understand that our time isn’t guaranteed and that life can change in an instant.  I will forever be grateful for this lesson, although it often left me with a lump in my throat during my tearful drives home after exhausting night shifts that I soothed over a big plate chocolate chip pancakes at a local diner before diving into bed.  However difficult those days were, they began shaping my life and my perspective for the better.  

Newlywed Life Was More Complicated Then I Imagined…

When I married my high school sweetheart on a little island in Northern Michigan a couple years later, we dreamt of starting a family and filling our home with laughter and memories.  I quickly learned that for someone who was obsessed with reading Martha Stewart homemaking books and Parents magazines even in my early teenage years (yep that was me, #supercool) I hadn’t the foggiest idea what I was doing setting up a home and starting a family.  

As soon as we were handed the keys to our first home, I felt overly excited to get in there and start ripping out the carpet and painting the walls.  I was not prepared for how rocky this transition of “setting up our home” was actually going to be.  I suddenly felt like I needed degrees in food prep, stain removal, picking out furniture, and budgeting.  Neither of us had lived on our own before, and we hadn’t lived with each other.  It was like diving into the deep end of the pool and being unsure of the way up.  I felt like I was drowning and that I would never catch my breath, even though these were all things I couldn’t wait to do when I was 14, apparently.  #stepasidemartha

I even remember crying as I cleaned our shower for the first time, suddenly missing the comforts of familiarity and wondering how this place was ever going to feel like home.  I wondered, “why the heck didn’t I take Home EC class in high school?”, you know that class where they make you pretend an egg is your baby. That class would’ve really saved my sanity at this point.  But, yet I remember thinking, “I could certainly use that guidance and knowledge now as we have to quickly figure out a family budget, meal plan, stock a pantry, learn how to do laundry and fold like Kon Mari, and do all the things.”  My rant was semi-warranted, I guess.  I just wanted to prove that I could be a “good” wife, which of course I thought meant making homemade chicken pot pie like his mom always did, and planting the most beautiful flower garden even though I didn’t have a green thumb at all.   

I quickly learned that none of that really mattered to my new groom, and that we were literally just figuring this out together and that it was, shockingly, supposed to be fun.  But, my perfectionism and expectations shaded many of those bright first days of newlywed life because of my sheer overwhelm and panic at not already knowing how to do it all.  Have you been there?  

I realized that honestly nobody has it all together.  Instagram and Pinterest, while fun, are just a highlight reel.  No one shares their shower cry sessions like I am today or the recipes they spend hours on that were utterly gross (cue the gagging reflux when I think of my first attempt at making short ribs…barf).  

Truth is, we’re all just trying to figure this out and we can do it together, we can show ourselves the same grace we extend to our friends and family, and we can hold ourselves to a different standard than that of perfection.  Do ya feel me?  Can I get a praise hands emoji or a confetti shower?  

Bottom line is, it took me years to hone in on simplified systems and routines that helped us conquer that overwhelm. I’m certainly not perfect. There are weeks and sometimes months where the wheels fall off this bus, if you catch my drift, and things spin out of control as real life happens.  But, at least now, we have a plan and system that works for us and I hope it works for your home and life too.  

Once we thought we had it all figured out and we were on our way to marital bliss, life through another curve ball.  

A Season of Grief Led To Simplicity…

It wasn’t until my first season of deep dark grief following a miscarriage that I was truly thankful for simplicity and these lessons that I’d learned along the way.  

We found out we were having a baby, a little firecracker, due on the 4th of July, after dealing with 7 years of infertility.  I never in a million years would’ve thought that we’d deal with years and years of struggle to start a family. That journey alone left me in a puddle of mess as months, and years, and holidays went by with empty arms.  The countless number of doctors appointments, lab tests, ultrasounds, ovulation sticks, pokes and prods, and negative pregnancy tests (and of course hundreds of people praying for us for years on end), we were finally ecstatic to learn that we were going to be a family.   

We shared the news with our friends and families is super Pinterest-y creative ways, began clearing out the room that would quickly become a nursery where we’d spend those sleepless night rocking our baby and watching over him nervously, and made plans and had dreams for what was to come, just like all new to be parents do.  Little did we know, that this elation would soon be traded in for desperation and pleads for mercy over the life of our child that we already loved so deeply.  

The day we found out we would lose our baby was a line in the sand moment for me.  One of those days when no matter how hard you try, you just can’t cross that line anymore and go back to the life or the person you once were.  Trust me I’ve tried.  I would close my eyes and pray to just have time rewind even for just 24 hours so I could experience the joy and innocence once again.  Have you ever experienced a moment like that?  

Losing our first baby, and later our second baby, have been moments in my life that changed and shaped me in ways I can’t even express. It was during that darkest season of my life when I really embraced the art of simplicity and celebrating the everyday happenings of my life that brought me joy, out of desperation as I fought the battle of depression and anxiety. 

I had never experienced such deep grief before in my life, and it knocked me off my feet.  If I had to describe it, I’d say this “line in the sand moment” was much like having the rug pulled out from underneath you.  One moment your happy and planning and dreaming, and the next moment you’re lying flat on your back, the wind knocked out of you, gasping for breath as you watch your life quickly change in an instant and there’s nothing you can do to stop it.  

In fact, it was in those months following our first miscarriage, that I discovered blogging.  I found online communities and women willing to share their stories of infertility and miscarriage, during late night Pinterest searches as I longed to feel not so alone anymore in this struggle.  I decided to turn my pain into a purpose, and began LL&L with the hopes of reaching and encouraging women all around the globe

Flash forward years later, I now have this space on the internet to call home where I can encourage women who are struggling with infertility and miscarriage and boldly proclaim, you are not alone!  When I get to connect with these women via comments on posts or in emails, it is my absolute favorite thing and makes my day because it reminds me where I started and the true power and purpose of this space. 

And, as I’ve cultivated this community over the past several years I’ve discovered something…that we all crave and need simplicity in our lives.  It doesn’t matter if you’re in a season of grief, a season of great change that you’ve anticipated or that caught you by surprise, or in a season a happiness or contentment…we all can benefit from slowing down and enjoying the simpler things in life.  

I’m passionate about helping women find that joy and rest again.   I want to help you set up your home so that it’s a safe-haven of rest and comfort for you and your family.  I want to help you build a capsule wardrobe, share some clean beauty finds and other fun stuff that brightens your day, and encourage you to find the routines and rhythms that make you tick.  And, lastly, I want to help you in any stage of motherhood…whether you’re dealing with infertility or loss as I did, whether you’re in the early days of motherhood that can seem so long but yet or so fleeting, or are knee deep into the mini-van, soccer mom life, I hope you find something here that inspires and encourages you to embrace a simplified life.  

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