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August 2018

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My Online Photography Workshop


This is how I learned to edit my photos

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Annie

Reading blogs sometimes do make me feel bad, but reading yours always makes me smile and wish I had met you when you lived in the St. Helens area. Thanks for always making me smile!

Annie

And my first comment ever should read does and not do...I guess none of us are perfect ;)

lindsay

Please don't give up on your blog just yet. I read it because you aren't trying to pretend like your life is perfect, you show that its normal and when I read it, it doesn't make me feel inadequate, it makes me feel normal TOO! I have learned that no ones life is perfect and if they pretend it is they have bigger problems than the rest of us. Type on!

karen eyink

While you were wasting time reading every perfect persons blog.... yesterday I spent about an hour reading your blog from the beginning...... when you were pregnant, when you talked about your friend who died and left behind an adopted child, your best friend in the whole wide world (Jill), how Josh says we are good together Karen Russell, Annie's, baby pictures...... and on and on. I didn't feel crappy once and sure there was many other things I could be doing, but I wasn't. You are real, and I know you don't write entries so people tell you these things, I think it is just kismet how it was yesterday I was wasting time on your blog and feeling inspired. P.s. I am a flunky on your class.... but that is a different story.

Marlene

I'm more of a reader than a commenter, but the line about being close to God and your life getting crazy hit close to home. I've felt the same way and I'm fully convinced that He knew things were about to get messy and I'd need him more than ever. Anyway, thought I'd let you know that I really enjoy your blog, warts and all. :)

jen

delurking to say I'm glad you're still blogging. and even if you're not perfect, you're real ... and none of us are perfect!

Lisa Wyckoff

Karen,
Please don't stop blogging!! I love it and have been reading it for a long time. I love hearing about your troubles and your triumphs. You are real and I love it! I take my kids to Mcdonald too!! I love how you are posting more about the Lord, He is the center of my life. Real people love God, we don't have to be perfect, we just have to believe. You have made me smile, laugh and cry. I love you blog!!

Cyndi

The only way your blog could make me feel like crap is if you stopped writing it. You use your photo skills and writing skills and transparency to show us all just how beautiful an imperfect life can be. (I can't crochet either, but I can order the hell out of some things on etsy. It takes all kinds.)

susan l

I love reading your blog, your family is adorable and I think you are terrific.......you don't have to be perfect; perfect people are boring. :-)

Alicia

I love reading your blog! I sometimes wonder why because I feel kinda creepy when something I've read on your blog pertains to my life such as when my sister was doing some training in Grants Pass and went to a restaurant that I had just read about on your blog right before she told me about it and I told her about how it was "this person's favorite restaurant who I don't really know, but I read about her life on her blog...and..." But I keep coming back because I don't really open up to people and when I read about your struggles, I feel normal. When you succeed, I feel inspired. I keep coming back because I know that when you sit down to type a post, there's a real person on the other side, not just a front you want to put up. And I love that you talk about GOD!

Geny

I can't crochet either...

Geny

And my kids eat McDonalds more than I care to admit...

Geny

But reading your blog makes me feel normal and happy, so thank you for writing it and sharing your life!

Kathy C.

Please don't stop blogging! I love your blog and others that are REAL! YOU are REAL! I do crochet, but my life is NO WHERE near perfect and that's OK, it's just the way I like it...sometimes messy, sometimes unorganized, but it's mine and it's all good!

Hang in there and know that so many of us out here love your creative goodness and are praying for you and your family... ;)

I also LOVE that you talk about God...not preaching, but keeping it REAL!

Lacey

Please don't stop blogging... your honesty has always what has drawn me to here! I definitely always try to do this in my blogging, too. :)

And regarding your closeness to God + things falling apart ... he lets that happen so we fall even more into HIM. You know? He doesn't do that to us, but wants us to be sure we know how incredibly much we need him. His loving, everlasting grace. :) Thanks for sharing your life with us, Karen!

kristen ohran

I only follow maybe 5 blogs, and yours is always the one I look forward to reading the most! I feel a little silly posting this, because I only know you "online" ... from your photographer's workshop and making the shot lessons, but I have to say that the fact that you are so transparent and open and honest is what makes me love your blog so much. I absolutely love what Lacey wrote about God allowing things in life to fall apart so we fall more into Him. I so agree! So know that from this "online-only-friend" and devoted blog reader, you are loved and prayed for. Jeremiah 29:11

Nicole

I read your blog all the time!!! I dont always comment, but I cherish how open and honest you are with us your readers. I am a single mom and I love that you share the good and not so sunshine moments. that is what everyday real life is. Love ya for who you are!!! xo

mandy friend

don't stop karen. you are a breathe of fresh air in blogdom. you have a MINISTRY here now girl. seriously. whne i first met you at a class at scrapbook connection, you were delightful and witty. but, i have 'seen' through this blog the Holy Spirit deepen you greatly. yes! that comes across to those of us that have followed your journey. it has been a blessing to watch!


on a totally seperate note,give robyn and i the heads up if you have another yard sale !

Shelbie

I must say that I love reading your blog because you aren't perfect and you don't pretend to be perfect. I love that. You share your real life with your readers and I, for one, love that. You help me to remember that good moms sometimes take their kids through the drive-thru for dinner and it's ok. Or that wearing PJ's all day long is ok too. :) I hope you decide to continue writing your blog. You've brought so much inspiration to my life through your writing and photographs. Thank you for sharing just a little bit of you. Take care. PS~I love how you end all of your posts with a special note to your Josh Downs. Very cool.

melissa

I started reading your blog back when you were pregnant with Annie. I've never once felt like crap after reading your words. I appreciate your honesty and your transparency. My life is not picture perfect, I struggle, I'm socially awkward, I have sausage legs, I'm working on my faith, I'm looking for inner peace and joy, I yell at my kids sometimes and I immediately feel bad, and it makes me feel better to know that there is someone else out there in the blog world that I can relate to. I'm not saying you are all those things :o) just that you put yourself, the good and the bad, out there. I think you're wonderful and so appreciate you sharing your life, insights and experiences.

Phyllis B.

I haven't read your blog as long as some of the other commenters have. I am really busy but when I pop in to my google reader, I always look to see if you have posted! I will read yours and a couple of other blogs and delete all the rest if I don't get to them in a few days. Just wanted to let you know that I read your blog because you are real and alot of what you think/talk about is something that is common to females.

Hugs and prayers.

Helena

I believe your blog is your ministry. The posts that you made recently about prayer really hit home. It's been quite awhile since I have read it but daily I have told myself to invite God into the mundane stuff. You reminded me what I already knew but had forgotten. Life is insanely hard right now and I find myself as the head of household and all the pressures that involves with a blended four kid family. Since praying and thanking God all day long in the big and small I have found a sense of peace that I did not recognize when all was well. I believe your blog post was the ministry that reached out to me and others when we needed it the most.

Stephanie

Your blog is fantastic. I don't feel like crap when I read it. I love that you keep it real. Thanks for that.

Charlene Austin

Yes, I've been to those fake blogs of a perfect world and they do make me feel bad even though I know they are FAKE! But your blog? Your blog makes me laugh and smile! I love your pics, I love your notes to Josh Downs, I love your everyday life. I found you while I was looking to take an online photography class (which I have not had the guts to actually do) and I stayed because you are so funny and so real!! Just be you. It's why we are here.

Nichole Czajkowski

Before I fall asleep every night, I lay in my hand-me-down bed with my boyfriend of 7.5 years (who reaaaally needs to put a ring on this), and use my phone to browse the blogs I follow - some about cooking, some about fitness, some about crafts, and some that are just about life. Your blog isn't about how to stitch the perfect blanket or make the most AMAZINGLY decorated cookies. It's understood, going into this, that your blog is primarily your digital journal, to help you cope with a husband in the military, and to perhaps communicate your everyday life with family and friends, and especially Josh when he's away. That's why I am a follower - you're real, I can relate to you, and you're hilarious. Oh, and beautiful, but that should go without saying.

After reading this post, I felt compelled to get out of bed, walk through my dark hallway, almost trip over my fighting cats (because cats. are. jerks.), and get on my laptop to write you my first comment. The intention isn't to change your perspective or to be some sort of Godsend, but just to let you know that you're not alone. It kinda grosses me out how much I *sadly* worship a lot of the bloggers out there who seem to have these amazing talents and amazing homes and amazing lives - while I sit in a closet of an office in the basement of a hospital in Tacoma, WA, loathing my life because I can't have let my creative soul live the way I see these other bloggers allow theirs to live. It kills me - I cry because of it (pathetic!), but it's true.

In the perhaps 1.5/2 years that I've followed your blog, I keep coming back because:
- You and Josh Downs L.O.V.E. each other so much that it makes me cry (because I'm emotional, and pathetic...and a hopeless romantic)
-Annie takes the GREATEST photos - I will literally LAUGH OUT LOUD at her faces. She is adorable!
- Cole seems to be a pretty mellow kid, but he also seems to have a good head on his shoulders - but can be a total goof when he needs to.
-Courtney Lee is probably one of the most stunning young women I've seen. Some of the pictures you takes, her eyes look like they hold all the knowledge in the world. She has such an exciting future ahead of her - I can feel it!
- I hope Ross and Calie stay together forever - they are so disgustingly adorable. Could she HAVE A BETTER SMILE?! Ugh...life isn't fair, sometimes.

Your life is perfect because it's the life you were given, and you're living it to it's fullest potential. You're raising some outstanding little people (and one that while in their 20s, is still your baby), while trying to maintain your sanity with your husband in a land of sand far, far away. That's enough to make anyone crazy (I know, I've helped a friend through the two tours her husband was on).

You don't need fancy crafting skills, or a giant portfolio of perfectly executed photographs, or a closet full of conveniently coordinating clothes because the one store you bought them ALL from planned it to work out that way (I'm lookin' at you, Anthropologie!) - because you're human. You're not some digital facade edited down to some creepily perfect version of your true self.

Hell, you're so awesome, I'd follow any circus you choose to join. <3

Rachel Dallaire

can i just say that i REALLY appreciate your honesty!!! it is so refreshing to know that i'm not the only one that has very crappy days or messes up constantly. and it's so awesome that you share that with us, because, honestly, i'd rather read about things that are real and messy and filled with grace and love and life than things that are "perfect" (when we all know they can't possibly be that perfect). those messy moments are what cause us to grow and learn and lean on God and His grace more and more. so, thank-you for sharing the good AND the messy because life is beautiful and crappy all at once sometimes. and i know that if i met you, i'd like you immediately (although i'd be way to shy to say hi because of the stupid social anxiety that i have to battle constantly-you know, one of the messy parts of life). :-)

louise fortune

I am with you on this blog post, the only difference is I can crochet (sorry) and I don't have god in my life ( I may be the worse for it) There are days when I am still in my PJ's when my husband gets home from work and my kids will be eating junk watching TV whilst I am on the computer and he will look around taking it all in, having just driven 125 miles back from work (which he does every day) and he sighs and right there and then I know I am not doing my best - but just like you I do have my moments and these are the ones that count.

Being real is better than being perfect even if the ideal is what we wish for

AllisonKimball

You are wonderful pajamas and all. What you have written is exactly why I come back.

Anna

I had to laugh reading your description of the perfect lives of blogging people. It's so true. But hello, you are a photographer, you know ALL about editing - of COURSE their lives are not like that all the time, they only show the good stuff. I read a lot of blogs, but there are only a handful where you feel you have some idea of the reality of peoples lives. Thank you for sharing your lives with us - warts and all. (And please don't stop)

Karen

I think I know the pastel coloured blog and the impossibly slim lady with the belt. I read some blogs where they have like 7 kids under 5, all from different ethnics. And they are bringing "home" another one from china. All while running a photography business and mentoring.
It definitely is an American bloggers disease. And I have read up on it and part of the blame is a certain religion, because no negativity can be expressed outwardly. And those people largely control the scrapping world.
But I have one blog I read, where her perfect world is being destroyed by cancer. I read every post and sat here crying with my sons girlfriend crying as we watched her newly posted video of her having her hair shaved off. Out there are some "real" blogs and some that only put out what they want people to see. I hope I'm one of the real ones, like you. I mean I even put a picture of my bare arse on mine after I'd wet myself after an epidural for my back pain.

Kristy

Hi Karen

This is the first time I have ever commented on a blog. We love wearing our PJs in this house! I love to read your blog. Your honesty is refreshing and I love that you are authentic. I think most of all that is what God calls us to be (aside from like Jesus of course!:) and something that is so very precious. By allowing your struggles to be seen, others can learn and be encouraged. They see grace and maybe they too will take some risks and grow from that. Your blog makes me laugh, encourages me and makes me cry at times. It reminds me that other mums struggle at times too, and have moments that they are not proud of. I try to tell myself that actually I probably am a good mom and that I get it 'right' more of the time than I get it 'wrong'. And I figure most people do the best they can with the resources (physical, emotional etc) that they have at time, so even though we may not do things as well as we would like (or even if we do a terrible job of something) that we do the best we can. I think you probably do the best you can and that is still a good thing, even if it is not perfection. All that being said, I still have times where I feel guilty and think about things far too much! I also think that things have different importance in our lives at different times, and that it is ok to allow things to change too. If you do stop blogging, I will miss sharing a little of your life.

Jean

Karen, I've been reading your blog for years. I have never once thought I was wasting my time. I look forward to hearing about your family, the good times and the not so good times, your honest opinions and your sometimes cynical humor. I too have suffered from depression since I was a young girl and it's refreshing to hear that I'm not the only one who has struggles, works at it everyday and even succeeds at being happy alot of the time. I would truly miss you if you stopped writing your blog. Thanks for being honest and being you.

Sue

I love your blog Karen, it is definitely in my top favourites. Please don't stop.

Sandra

Oh my, Karen, I know exactly what you mean (not about the kids, but about the blogs and feeling like crap)...but I think there are two kind of blogs: some (and as you said, often with awesome etsy shops) try to sell themselves and what they do. And they think they can only sell if they seem to be perfect, not allowing reality to peek through (because noone's life is perfect, the perfect people often have the biggest bad secrets in their families)... And there are some who just keep it real - like you. Blogging started as kind of an online diary to simply document life and life consists of ups and downs, that's just like it is... And as you pointed out, which kind of blogs do you enjoy reading? The real ones.. because they leave you with a feeling of "I know how you feel" and "she's just human, too", you know? These are the blogs we really connect with. I've been following your blog for years now and it seems like I know your family already..I saw your kids grow older from your pictures and stories and I saw the love for each other shine through each of that pictures! I just LOVE that! You have an amazing family and you know that and you can do anything you settle your mind on (think about the running thing!). Don't you ever forget that, Karen!
Hugs Sandra

colleen

Thanks for sharing, feel better soon! And hang in there, 'This too shall pass.'

susan

That was beautiful. Thank you. And keep writing when you can. Your sharing is so encouraging. :)

Heidi Sharpe

We all need down days to reflect, and maybe make changes.

Your inspiration has changed my life. I'm on my 3rd year of a photography degree at ahermm 45! I love it, i've come alive, it's something that you have given me without even knowing it, and I want to say a huge THANK YOU. (must say tho' your online course has taught me more about how to use my camera - it is FANTASTIC, BRAVO CLEVER LADY - I am so full of deserved admiration for you)

Nobody gets it right 100% of the time. How boring life would be then.

You are real, you don't pretend, you have a wonderful, beautiful, fun family, and their happiness and joy is largely down to you kiddo, and that's not an easy job

Do what YOU need to do.......chocolate usually works for me!

Keep Calm and Carry On

Vera

I totally get the feeling crappy bit after reading some blogs. What I love most about your blog is the fact that you don't only paint the sunshine and roses. You talk about the ups and downs. You keep it real. I do realize that there are probably things you don't write about, both good and not so good, but the things that you do write make me keep believing that there are still some real people in this world. That and the fact that how you met Josh Downs tells me that the you really, truly never know when you'll meet "the one." I'll say a prayer for you tonight!

Young Nanny

You do know that the closer you get with God the more things are going to screw up around you ... right? Because that's just what the devil does! Stay close to God Karen, He knows what He's doing and the path He has you on and it's a great one! Bless you :D

Jenny Schimak

Please don't stop blogging. I appreciate your honesty and you write from the heart. You are a good woman. And you are deeply loved by those around you. Reading your post made me think of an old John Denver song 'some days are diamonds and some days are stones' ........... The photo of you and your sister is just lovely.

Kimberly

I have been reading your blog for years. Blog reading in the early AM is my time. You are right. Reading blogs is a time killer. But this time, YOU WERE SPOT ON! With all of your postings and photos...this was the best! So, I am thinking Josh Downs needs to put on his clown shoes! Thank you for seeing and finally telling how I feel about the "flowing skirt, high heeled, perfect mother, that makes homemade everything while perfectly displaying her coiffer with a smile all the while photographing it herself."

MichelleB

I for one, love this blog. I love the pictures. I love your stories. I love that you are real. I have a few blog stops I make every day - and this is one. I hope you continue to share with us - because you got a gift Girl. Don't stop what you are good at :)

allyson

Thanks for being authentic. I think when we acknowledge the gaps in our lives that's when HE really shines through us. If our lives were perfect we wouldn't need HIM. I know HE uses you to encourage others like me.

Corri C

Your blog is one of the few that I read that doesn't make me feel like that. While all blogs tend to present the skimmed cream off the top, yours seems real. And yet full of your joy and fun. It's the first blog I read when it pops up on my reader and it serves as motivation and a bright spot in my day. That doesn't mean your photos aren't so much better than I could ever hope mine to be or that I wouldn't let you come decorate my house in a heartbeat. But somehow you manage to present your wow in such a way that it doesn't feel showy and competitive. And that is why I love your blog.

Susan from Maryland

I'm glad you're not perfect. Makes me feel better about my own life. You're a real person, with real issues, real triumphs, real failures. You're normal and true. Please stay that way. I personally get sick reading those floaty-sicky-sweet blogs where hair is perfect, children are perfect, waistlines are perfect. (No dig at your waistline, please!). Keep up the effort for all of us other not-so-perfect readers out here. We truly appreciate it and have true empathy.

Lisa

Please don't stop writing your blog. This post just proved why I like coming here. Because you are real - no chandeliers or coffee cozies. I can't relate to that. I'm too busy working a 60 hour work week, raising a 15 year old soccer player on a traveling team, taking care of a 90-year-old FIL, spending what little time that is left with my husband. And still trying to feel good about myself. Hang in there. You are awesome. Even without the photos!!!

Kelly

Karen, your blog is my favourite, by far. I have been reading it for years and have loved watching your children grow. You as a person, the love that you have for Josh Downs and your gorgeous blended family and your photographic skills are inspirational to me. I love that you are not perfect. I love that you are normal! You and your family are a part of my day xo

Catriona

You are a very strong,feisty person who does an amazing job with your blended family and a husband deployed on duties to keep us all safe. You don't need to be perfect,Karen-just be the best that you can be. I have been a driven perfectionist since I was a wee girl and only now in retirement (62) have I really enjoyed my life fully. Yes, material things are fewer but the quality of life with a man who has loved me for 41 years despite my faults makes everything worthwhile. Keep the faith and all will be well.

Brenda Weaver

Karen, don't stop blogging! I love your blog because you are real! I do read lots of blogs and I know just the kind you're talking about. And sometimes they do make me feel inadequate. But I like to just use those as inspiration, knowing that nobody's life is perfect like that all the time. Anyone can choose to just show the pretty stuff. I think sometimes it's a fine line for bloggers to follow. Do they keep it real knowing that people may not like that, or do they choose to only show the good stuff. the stuff they know their readers want to see. After all, everyone has enough crap in their lives without reading about it everywhere else too. I love it when a blogger does both. Inspires with the good stuff and keeps it real with the other. I think you're doing a great job! Keep it up, girl!
P.S. I love a good pajama day and my kids think it's a treat to have dinner at McDonald's. :)

jeny

Does writing the blog make you feel good? If yes then I say that is all that matters. I write a blog that hardly a soul reads, but I like doing it and some months I don't. I want to be awesome, well liked, popular, take the best photos and have the time to design outdoor vignettes for my blog post- but then I remember that I am human. I work, I am a wife, I am pregnant and sometimes I just want to lay on my couch until 9:30PM eating teddy grahams and watching ABC Family teen melodrama. I read your blog first always because you keep it real and that makes me feel pretty good. Truth be told if you didn't blog- I would miss you and there is only a handful of blogs I feel that way about.

stephanie

oh Karen..you are amazing. I love your words, your heart, your blog..and your transparency...and I am sure GOD is smiling on you..and Josh downs for the amazing things you do for people you do not even know.
Keep on doing what you are doing because you have a purpose and you are workin it!!

karen young

I sometimes joke about running away with the circus and sometimes I'm not joking either. I love reading about your family and your imperfectness. We all are imperfect, even those bloggie princesses who try not to show it. It's ok. And it's ok to feel inadequate sometimes. I think that helps us give ourselves a kick to get motivated again. Keep doing what you do. You're great!

Corrine A.

Karen,

So many of the commenters have said all the things I was thinking as I read your latest post. You've got great readers! ;)

I too read blogs sometimes that make me feel bad...and now that you have pointed out that fact to me I am vowing to stop reading the blogs that make me feel that way...which leaves me your blog, because it NEVER makes me feel bad. I totally understand what it's like to not feel like you are "good enough" but the truth is that if we are living our lives in the best way we can then we are absolutely "GOOD ENOUGH"!

Your blog makes me laugh, cry and always inspires me to love as deeply as I can and to get up and keep trying...even when I don't feel like taking my pajamas off!

Thank you for sharing yourself...I hope you never stop blogging.

janel

Ditto Nichole!! Ditto, ditto, ditto!!! LOVE you K.R.

Cathy

I follow two blogs - yours and Tara Whitney's. And it can be a time killer. But let me tell you, what I gain from your beautiful, sometimes nitty-gritty, life more than makes up for it! It's January and I just lost my dear mother. And, honestly, if I thought you were going to give up blogging, I would feel like a light has gone out. (No pressure, of course!)
As a hobby photographer, I would look at and learn from your photos even without your words. But your words are great and I would dearly miss them.
I love seeing your journey - now moving closer to God. And I do think we move closer during the hardest times of our lives.
I have sat in person in one of your classes in Texas and I have done your on-line seminar and I have read your blog for about four years. I realize that I don't "know" you in a traditional way. But I pray for you and Josh and your family. And I feel a connection with you in this always full, but always imperfect world.
By the way, I quit reading those "other" blogs because I always felt like I had eaten too much candy and needed to go brush my teeth!
Hang in there, girl. You make a difference in this big old world!
B

Robin

Just keep swimming! -Dory

Shaina

I love your blog because it's real. It's because of that, pictures secondary, that I am a follower of your blog and read every post. People who only blog the 'sunshine streaming through the leafy treetops' kind of scenerios aren't blogging real life. In real life, ups and downs happen, and it's often times more downs than ups. Every day is a struggle. It's refreshing to see honesty in a blog.
Keep writing. I'll keep reading.

Gayle Shrader

I agree with all of the above comments! You and your blog are so real to all of us. It's definitely nice to be able to read about a total stranger and relate to them. To laugh when they do something funny, cry when things aren't so good and just most of all enjoy life - the good, bad and ugly of it all.
I feel that I know your family through your blog and it's amazing to see your kids grow up before our eyes. I love how you don't sugarcoat anything! Please keep this blog going! If anything it is a great outlet for you! Oh and yesterday was a pajama day for me and my kids too! It was great to have a nice lazy day at home! I would have loooovvedd some McDonald's for dinner but sincewe had that the day before for lunch it wouldn't work!

Annie

Please don't stop writing this blog. I find it both entertaining and inspiring. I like that you tell it like it is and we all have things that we struggle with from time to time. I can't say that your blog has ever made me feel bad. Thanks for sharing your life with us.

Kim S.

EVERY mom I know...
feeds their kiddos McD's, sometimes stays in pj's all day, lets a swear-word slip occasioanlly, locks themselves in a room now and then...and definitely raises her voice daily. You're just keepin' it real!
You are not perfect, and that's why we lurkers love you. You "say" what we're feeling. And you actually exercise, which I admire tremendously. Don't go off the deep end. We'd all miss your love story and your adorable, very real children. Not to mention your fabulous photos. If you do go off with the circus, I hope it comes to my town!

betsy sammarco

love this post Karen! must say that your blog never made me feel as if i wasn't enough. somehow, real life shows through. i try to be real on my blog also, but try to focus on the positive. documenting the positive keeps me grateful for the good in life.

Shannon Laux

Your blog is my get away and a savior to me. It helps me feel normal or at least that I'm not the only one who feels this way. While I understand if you need a break from blogging or just give it up..I will miss you and your blog very much. You are fabulous in your own imperfect way and I think you (and me and many of these women who commented) need to make a pact that you/we will be way less critical of yourself/themselves because we are all just trying to figure out this life. Hugs to you! Thank you for keeping it real and thank you for being you!

dana

Karen, if you discontinue this blog, you'd definitely hurt me :))) You ARE awesome and unique and beautiful! And of course, you must have faults...but EVERYONE does. I believe you are on the cusp of joy not failure! Have faith sister-friend!

LaceyS

Please don't stop blogging. Your blog is one of the amazingly "real" ones. And because of you, I have signed up for my first triathlon! I CAN do hard things too!

Leslie @ {Tiny Wings}

I'd trade ALL of the "perfect" blogs for your honest and genuine one, Karen! Please don't stop!! I'm inspired with every entry you write, no matter what the subject material . . . and I've never, ever come away feeling bad. You're exactly the kind of person I'd choose as a close friend, and I'd miss you so much if you stopped blogging about yourself and that sweet family of yours!! (I often forget that we really don't know each other - because I feel like we should! LOL!) Love you!

Jennifer C

Hang in there Karen... it does get better. Sometimes we have to find the joy and it's not always easy to find... but it IS there!

I love your blog, because it's real. I have over time whittled my blog reading down because your right they are a time suck. I mostly whittled the "perfect" people and kept the real people (like YOU!).

P.S. I can't crochet either :)

P.S.S. And if your reading this Josh Downs.... Thank You!

Julie

Karen yet again you prove why I absolutely adore your blog. As someone else has said I do feel a bit strange as I've only ever met you once (at a scrap class in the UK) but I've followed your blog and done your workshop because of the person you are. I have 3 girls one of whom is the same age as Annie and you make me feel normal. I love hearing about how your day isn't always great and its not a sugar coated cotton candy unreal land. I live in a messy (currently covered in kids washing) house that many many times makes me feel like leaving to join the circus. I thought you should know that I crochet (well not very well) but it doesn't make me a better person it just makes me messier as I have wool all over the place! Keep going Karen!!! Because of you I am continuing with my running. Managing 2 miles without stopping now!

Lisa Adair

Girl, don't you dare stop writing this blog!

I don't remember how I found you, I'm sure it was something with photography, but I'm glad I did find you. I don't think I've ever left a comment, but I do read your posts, word for word, because it's real!

A lot of the blogs I look at, I don't read, I just look at the pretty pictures...because some of them do seem to have it 'all', and that their life is perfect and trouble free... which makes it hard for me to believe. I mean please... no one has a life as perfect as some of these people make it sound.

You are real, and in a non-stalking way... I can feel your joy and your pain... and I love that about you! You are someone I could be friends with, and that's big for me! Even if you don't realize it... you are pretty awesome and an inspiration to many!

Plus, the circus would be too much work and you couldn't stay in your pajamas all day!

Lou

I just have to say I LOVE your blog. LOOOVE it. Specifically because you DON'T live in a pastel-hued world of perfect curls and tree chandeliers. You keep it real and I - and I'm sure most of your readers - appreciate that. Those other blogs are pretty to look at but there is absolutely no substance there. It's all a one-dimensional magazine world. I love that you talk about the good and the bad. Your blog has made me laugh AND cry (and sometimes laugh 'til I cry). I love when you talk about your perfectly imperfect life because it makes me think "hey, someone like me!" We all go through the "should I continue?" feelings when we blog. Heck, I feel that way at least once a week. But then I think that if just one thing I post can make someone think "hey, she's like me," then it's worth the effort.

Anyway, I hope you won't give it up altogether because I think you're pretty awesome. =)

alyssa

you are the only blog I read of someone I don't know personally. I think that is saying something. I feel like we could be the same person sometimes! keep it up. I know I'll keep reading.

sarahnewton

I really needed this one today......because I feel like I'm headed off the deep end any moment now.

I hope you don't stop blogging.....because you make me laugh at a time in my life when not much else can.......

ana roat

"Tis a gift to be simple, tis a gift to be free. Tis a gift to come down where we ought to be. And when we find ourselves in the place just right, twill be in the valley of love and delight!"

I rather have my valley than anyone elses and that includes McDonald's, a good cry and spending time reading your blog!

Lisa

Ah, Karen! Once again you said what I was thinking and you helped me realize something I hadn't realized I was needing direction on.

I blogged for five years. Recently quit, and even more recently started again anew because I missed it. I missed the daily documentation of my life. Trying to go back and scrapbook my daughter's first year of life (she's almost 2 now) I wouldn't have any way to remember the special times without my blog and flickr.

I am rambling, but my point is, do what you do... FOR YOU! If you like it, do it. If you don't, stop for awhile and see how that feels. I know exactly how you feel about seeing other blogs, but there are so many others out there just like yours. Real. Honest. Loving. Transparent.

Yours is the only one I make sure I read every time it appears in my google reader. I never comment, but I am always here. Learning, enjoying, listening. Your faith, your realness with your kids, you make me feel like I can do it, to.

It's ok to go off the deepend. Sometimes it's necessary so when you climb back to the top you appreciate the view so much more.

Remember, you are loved. You are an inspiration. And you can conquer the world!

kimberly

I have been reading your blog for many years. I don't know how I first got here but I'm glad. You have inspired me to photograph daily events better. As a photographer I often put the camera down when I'm with my family and then later wish I hadn't. As with everything, it's all about finding the balance. I hope you will find your balance and keep blogging. I prefer your "real" blog to a whole mess of others.

Ingrid from the Netherlands

Yes, some blogs can make me feel bad (a lousy mother, a terrible wife, a lazy housekeeper) but your blog isn't. It is the blog that I look at first thing when I start my computer. So please, don't stop blogging. I need a blog that tells me that my life is okay too. That I'm not the only one who sometimes wants to run with the circus. So, lots of love and courage from a soulmate in the Netherlands. xxx Ingrid

ana roat

...my husband decided to give up his civil engineer job to become a truck driver. I haven't seen him in almost a month. The chihuahua pooped in the hallway and I found it--I didn't have my slippers on either. I didn't rake up the leaves in our half acre yard and it's going to rain. I'm now a half hour behind on getting ready for work because I was reading your blog AND I still need to take a picture of something worthy today for project life.

Now...my husband is really happy and time spent at home is awesome. Thank goodness it was just the 6 pound chihuahua and not the 70 pound boxer that pooped. That reminds me, I got new slippers for chhristmas. I work for a cardiologist and wear scrubs to work--easy to get ready to go AND every minute of my simple but exciting life is worth documenting because it is God's gift to me
AND...
seriously a coffee cozy???? OH MY-LANTA!!!!!
:)

Candy

One of the reasons that your blog survived the "great Google Reader purge of 2011" is that your blog never makes me feel like crap. You have the amazing gift of making me feel like we're just having coffee and chatting. Only you don't know me and I don't drink coffee.

I hope you don't stop blogging. I think the blogosphere suffers every time a truly authentic and real blogger decides to give up. It's like letting the sunshine, unicorns, and glitter crowd win.

And apparently I can't spell authentic or unicorns.

Sandy

Thank you for not being one of those annoyingly perfect blogs. While your house always looks amazing and your pictures are so awesome it makes me crazy, I read your blog because you are transparent. Because you don't try to make your life seem perfect.

I need to follow your lead and read fewer blogs. I posted awhile ago about how "comparison is the thief of joy," and I need to remember that too much blog reading leads to that type of thinking. Thanks for this post, and for very selfish reasons, I really hope you don't stop writing here!

p.s. I am an English teacher, and I can't spell to save my life!

cathy

Karen your blog is so inspirational! I love how you are so real and so true. I think that is what makes your blog so amazing!

Casie

I've been reading your blog forever it seems. I like that you are REAL, and not sugar coated like so many other bloggers. Blogs are getting to be like all the other media out there, only the reality that they want to show us, but that really isn't reality is it. I can relate to your posts so much more than those perfect mom's who have wonderful children and bake cookies after school and run the PTA and go to all the kid's games and still have romantic date nights with their husbands. Sure they may post some good tutorials and have giveaways, but they aren't the best friend type of blog that I feel like here. Yes, we all get that feeling like we really "know" you from being here even when the majority of us have never met. But I do have that, "I can tell you anything" best friend type of vibe here. Just keeping it real and that's perfect for me!

Claudine

A hundred times ditto, ditto, ditto!! My girls and I all read your blog because it makes us happy,and it inspires us, and it makes us feel like we're not alone. We've never met you in real life, but you are part of our lives. Thanks for the laughs, the tears, the hope, the faith and the determination. Keep it coming!! please.

Dawn

Please, please, please continue to blog...I come here for a dose of reality and authenticity and ALWAYS find it. I love reading about the good the bad and the ugly. And I, of course, absolutely adore seeing and being inspired by your work. Thank you for your honesty...they blog world could use a lot more of it :)

Krys72599

I stopped reading the comments at Nichole Czajkowsi's - that's exactly why we come back day after day to read your blog.
You're real. Your blog is real. Your family is real. Your life is real.
Real. Real interesting. Real loving. Realistic.
Sometimes real sad.
Your life is full and sometimes you don't have time to... You pick and choose what to share with us, and sometimes you choose to share sad things.
You have a beautiful family, a beautiful home, and what you give us through your blog is a glimpse at real life...
Hope you don't stop blogging. We would miss you terribly!

KJ

Well, Karen, if you read your comments you can tell your virtual friends are the true type who love you despite your imperfections. I agree with what so many of them have said - I read your blog because it resonates as being a true represenation of you. I like to look at the pretty blogs too but if I skip them, I don't really "miss" them. I "miss" you when I can't check in for a while. Your perspective and honesty is what keeps us all coming back. The photos are appreciated, but your journaling is what I truly appreciate. I like the way you share your struggle to be the best you. I like how you don't hide behind platitudes and share both the good and not-so-good in your life. We will stick with you if you stick with us!

leslie williams

I've never visited your blog before today (someone (positively) referenced this post on the smack blog). I think you communicated what so many women are too embarrassed to say.

I think most people would consider my life to be pretty awesome, but I still manage to feel crappy after reading "those" blogs. I start to feel crappy because I'm 30 and no closer to finding my soul mate and having kids than I was 10 years ago. But I'm a skinny, I'm in grad school at an ivy league school, and I have an awesome job. My point is that no one is perfect, and everyone has things that they are insecure about. I guarantee those bloggers have their own set of problems. The perfection is a facade.

Jamie K

I could go on and on about how much I TOTALLY agree with everything you've said above....but instead...I figured "YOU ROCK KAREN RUSSELL" just about sums it up instead. ROCK ON!

janet w

Karen, I LOVE YOUR Blog! There are very few places I spend the few minutes I have but your blog is a favorite place to enjoy your beautiful photos, get a bit of inspiration to continue the photo journey cuz occasionally I have a great photo, too, and laugh and remember the fun times I had with my girls as they were growing up while you enjoy your kids! Don't stop! Those times you take a break I understand, but life without your blog just wouldn't be as much fun!
Don't forget-only when you are your weakest can He be strong! Otherwise we just have no idea how amazing God really is!

PS Where are you developing photos now that scrapbookpictures.com is gone???? I can't believe the best place in the world had to close its doors! tears....sadness....

Amy

LOL on the circus comment...I tell my husband all the time we should runaway from home together and join the circus...sometimes I say become Carnies!!

Cori

your blog is good because you keep it real! Keep blogging! I know God is using you for good :)

Lisa

One thing I love about your blog is that it seems really real...I loved the storey of you locking yourself out of the house...and who the heck wants to put a crochet cozy on a coffee mug...that is weird.

Thanks for the clarification on your photos...I thought they all turned out beautiful:)

Karen H

I love your blog. Thank you for sharing your life with us:) It is a gift.

molly

oh please don't stop blogging!
you are inspiring and wonderful and never had made me feel like crap.
and you're an amazing teacher....

Kelli

I love you! I hope you don't stop blogging, I know it's work. But seriously, there are 5 blogs I check daily, yours, Nora Griffin, Erin Cobb, Betsy King, and a pound of glue. I love them because none of them have perfect lives. They are real. I can relate to them. Sure, you have by awesome photos of some seriously photogenic kids, but that's what you love to do. That's part of your life, I don't feel intimidated by them. I do want lighter coloured walls in my house though.
There's love here and I come to read about it!

Susan

I love your blog...you make my day!

Sue

Don't you dare stop blogging - I absolutely love your blog and everything you write about - you are real & honest about everything and I love that about you! Who wants to read those so called "perfect" blogs anyway - I know I don't!

Shelby A.

I just wanted to say how much I enjoy reading your blog. You are HONEST with who you are and the journey of your life. Life isn't perfect, but it's human nature to want people to think the best of us...which I think is the reason so many blogs only post the perfect moments. I don't want people to think that I sit around in my bathrobe all day while I search endlessly on the internet about how to be a better person...but sometimes that's how it goes.

I just wanted to give you some encouragement and tell you that I truly hope you continue with your blog. Your blog makes me see that everyone out there has struggles in their lives, and I'm not the only one that has off-days. Thanks so much for sharing these true moments in your life. I would miss it if you stopped writing!

Katein\

Just wanted to pop in and say what so many other women have said. I hope you don't stop blogging ... I truly enjoy your blog and it's one of few that don;t make me wish I had another life. Your blog makes me stop and think and be thankful for my perfectly imperfect life. I would greatly miss you and your family and the genuine, transparency of it all.

Rachelle S

Okay. So I was going to write this great comment but the lady above me, Nichole Czajkowski, just knocked it out of the park. So I"m just going to say "ditto her".

Hugs.

Melanie

I'm sorry that the past year has been so tough on you Karen. I think sometimes we have these hard patches to make us appreciate the good ones. Who cares if you can't crochet...that's why Etsy is so popular, so all of us that can't crochet can buy coffee cozies! :-) I hope you will continue writing this blog because I love how real you are, I am inspired by your writing and your pictures, and I would really miss coming here to read about what you're up to. Even though we've never met in real life, I feel like I know you from your blog and I would miss you if you stopped writing it. I hope that last statement doesn't sound weird or like I'm a stalker! lol :-)

Addie

Karen Russell don't you dare stop writing on this blog! I have been lucky enough to meet you in person a few times and have spent a few days listening to you ramble on about photography! I love your blog because when I read it, I feel just like I'm there listening to you talk. Your blog is you, whether is all pretty pastels or not! I love seeing a blog update from you! Sometimes it puts a smile on my face right before bed and other times first thing in the morning! Nobodys life is perfect and you know that! I love you just the way you are and love reading all your updates, no matter what the content!

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