Paying Attention. A life update.

May 3, 2019

It would be much easier to glaze over real parts of our life. It would be easier to just continue to share on specific curated topics. However, I have always believed we were supposed to maintain a level of honesty and community here, and so today I felt like it was time to go a little more in depth about the change that has happened in our life. It indirectly and directly affects the course of where we are headed….

I have been blogging since Gabriel was a toddler. If I tried to calculate the amount of hours I have dedicated to this blog over the years it would probably blow my mind. In the beginning it was a creative outlet. A much needed place to develop design skills and feed the creative side of my brain. It developed into a part of my life I didn’t have to think much about. I was bubbling over with ideas I wanted to share. As our family grew, so did the demands of keeping this blog going. Social media came to the scene and added on an extra layer of content we had to create for. I was so deeply engrained at the habit of blogging that I just adapted. It grew to the point where I could no longer juggle both family life and design work on my own and as you know, Gabe was already becoming a big part of the work here. We made the choice to jump in together. We signed with an agency to help us manage contracts with brands, and give us some bigger opportunities we were dreaming about. We started juggling everything at a 50/50 pace. Raising kids, renovating a home, sharing it all along the way.

Party prep helpers
Veronica’s 8th birthday

I have always loved my work. I love creating and I love the challenge of making the most of the life in front of you. I love connecting with all of you who are walking both similar and different paths. I loved it even more getting to do it alongside Gabe. However, life can often start to shift and bend faster than you can keep up with, and something eventually will give way underneath you. The stress and anxiety that came with producing content at the pace our agency was wanting, was something I couldn’t even recognize at first. It took a series of hard personal experiences to halt the brakes, and a take a good hard look at what was unfolding before us. As I was navigating grief over the loss of our baby, I felt my interior crumbling to pieces, I was forced to take a good hard look at my life. Well guess what? Even for the movers and shakers, you can’t force internal, spiritual, and mental shifts to peacefully move forward at the pace you desire. It has to happen in it’s own time. So I let go, and paid attention.

Soaking my swollen feet in epsom salt while the kids take a bath. Multi-tasking.

I wanted to listen to what God was trying to reveal, and what He was was trying to breathe into my life. Well you know what happens when you actually take time to listen? God becomes loud and clear. I could see He was trying so hard to rescue me. Rescue me from a do it all, have it all culture that can so easily seep into our mindsets. As the layers peeled back, and I felt more raw and exposed than I ever have, I started to see myself through a painful, but truthful reality. I had to face that I had become a slave to productivity and perfection. I desired to be a 110% mother and also reach goals at a 110% rate. So much so that I become accustomed to sleep deprivation, anxiety, and feeling blue. No matter how good we are at checking off to-do lists, this isn’t a life anyone should every grow accustomed to. My children are in the golden years. I didn’t want to miss any of it, and yet I felt like it was slipping through my fingers.

As you may or may not have noticed, over the last year, I took some much needed time off. I scaled way back on the amount of posts we were sharing both here and on instagram. As I have done my best to continue to share the honest and hard parts of our lives along with the good, I had a growing disconnect with the work that once brought me fulfillment. Creating, capturing, styling…it started to feel forced and staged. I think it is a result of this new pair of lenses I have been wearing lately…the ones you receive after going through loss, heartbreak, and rebuilding. I am grateful for the perspective these lenses have given me as hard as they were to receive, because for the first time in my womanhood I feel like I can actually SEE. I can see my children, my husband, and myself with much greater depth and appreciation.


I would say that there are a good portion of us who struggle every day with the guilt of the imbalanced scale of our lives. We go to bed wondering if we were emotionally there for our kids the way they needed us to. We wake up with a looming list longer than we know is possible to achieve. We put in a days work, struggle to get dinner on the table, and stay present and cheerful for bedtime routine. We struggle to keep the dang floors clutter-free for all of ten minutes. So this year has been the year of self forgiveness. It’s about recognizing my strengths and weaknesses and paying attention to them. It’s about re-building and restructuring mindsets I was once dedicated to. It has been the year of letting go and lowering expectations. It’s a year of growing a little life inside of me. It’s a year of feeding my mind, body, and soul so that I can pour into my children and my spouse the way I have always wanted. It’s a year of being okay with not having all the answers. We don’t always have the luxury of taking time to breathe, so I am grateful for the chance to do so.
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Where we are going from here…
All of this to say, both Gabe and I have had almost daily conversations about our little big family. We are re-structuring our goals for this space and where we hope to be in 5 years. We are going to be taking a step back in home design projects as well as blogging. (Laughing out loud at this ambitious New Years list.) We will continue doing both, but just at a slower pace. We parted ways with our agency. We have a few partnerships we committed to for this summer we are excited to share with you, but hope to step away from sponsored content all together eventually. We will continue to share weekly here, just not as frequently. We will also continue to be active on instagram, where we would like to continue to post family life, home updates, and just for fun videos for you there. The perfectly staged and curated holds no weight to me anymore. I appreciated it as art form for a long time, and still do, but it is a fine line to walk. I am seeing it affect too many women I know in a negative way, and I want to be so careful not to contribute to the damaging culture it can produce. I think we are all still navigating this newer age of media, and I still have hope it can be used for good! We have been working on side projects such as photography presets (coming soon!) and our shop. I trust taking a step back with blogging will give us more space to go a more intentional direction. I hope you will stick around for it!

We wanted to update you here since you have been such a supportive part of this blog for us through the years, and we look forward to staying in touch through this simpler direction! I am going to close with a quote I read in Daring Greatly this year that has stuck with me as we navigate so much of our lives. I hope you’ll carry it with you too….

The Man in the Arena

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause; who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.” – Theodore Roosevelt

Leave a Comment

  • Carrie

    “We go to bed wondering if we were emotionally there for our kids they way they needed us to. We wake up with a looming list longer than we know is possible to achieve. We put in a days work, struggle to get dinner on the table, and stay present and cheerful for bedtime routine. We struggle to keep the dang floors clutter-free for all of ten minutes. So this year has been the year of self forgiveness.”

    That is so me this year. I feel like I’m blindfolded on a high speed train with no breaks and no idea where I’m going. But since I know stress won’t help I’m focusing on what I need to and accepting what needs to be a mess or put on the back burner. I hate saying no or disappointing people but at this phase of life I’m being forced to overcome those fears.

    As always can’t wait to see what you do next.

    • I know the feeling all too well. I couldn’t volunteer for a single thing at my children’s school for the last few years, we did the bare minimum in sports, and I had to turn down many travel opportunities or time with friends. It’s good to be reminded that we often are much harder on ourselves than our own children however. You are doing the best you can!

  • Good for you! Many of us get caught up, at some point in our life, in something that takes us away from where we really should be. It was a new adventure, full of fun and then next thing you know, it no longer is. I commend you for listening to that inner voice that pulls you back and helps you to SEE what is really important.You are stepping back and taking a breath and that is wonderful. Everyone who has enjoyed your talents will still be around. Peace to you and your beautiful family.

    • I appreciate your words so much Tammy – thank you!

    • Grace and beauty comes into this word through special souls like those in the Liesemeyer family. This post proves it. Thank you for being so filled with authentic truth and love❤️

  • Rachel Magree

    I loved this post, Anna. And this quote has hung in my dad’s office for as long as I’ve been alive! Much love to you and Gabe and your wondrous pursuit of wholesome, Jesus-centered living.

  • Kristina Bailey

    I never click on blogs anymore bc … mom life too… but I knew where your post was going. I can imagine how you feel missing moments and being pushed to unexpected expectations. You listened to God and he will lead you and your family in the right direction. His faithfulness and goodness will shine through your obedience. Enjoy every moment away from perfection of social media. It’s too much for even readers like me to take in sometimes.

    • Anna Liesemeyer

      Kristina, I appreciate you reading, and for your encouragement. I agree. I know it will continue to lead me to the wholeness that I so desire!

  • (applause)
    🙌

  • This touched me. I quit following a large number of lifestyle bloggers and women’s groups bc I could not relate to the seemingly perfect scenes they would post day after day. I don’t blame them–we all crave beauty and perfection, but after tragedy hit, I understood that pursuit of perfection was pointless anyway. Time to find beauty in the beautifully marred. I quit instagram (as much as I love looking…and I still look) bc I wanted to quit contributing to to these addictive little squares of eye candy. I went back to a flip phone and was content with posting occasional slightly blurred photos of my life when I wanted to update friends and family. It drove me nuts at first in this age to see the blurriness when technology is so capable of capturing the most crisp of images. But I let my heart sit with this discomfort so I would turn away from this artificial cultivation.

    I hope you find what God wants your beautiful family to seek. Thank you for acknowledging unhealthy habit we all tend towards.

    • Anna Liesemeyer

      Yung- Thank you for reading, and for sharing your perspective. I admire and respect you for seeing where you wanted to cut back on the social media and opt for the flip phone! I will always love and appreciate good imagery just as much as I love styling one, but I also recognize how hard it is to keep it from blurring reality or affecting the distracted state of the mind! I will continue to seek a balance for what we do share, but I hope a step back will allow me to continue to see where I can change!

  • Kimberly

    Over the last several years I have been so encouraged by and grateful for the way in which you lovingly create beauty in this space. It has never felt forced rather authentic and full of grace. I can’t imagine the demands of keeping up with all of this in the midst of being a wife and mama; so I’m happy for you guys to be able to step back and pour your energy into the areas you mentioned. Hoping you continue to find rest and refreshment as you embrace this new season.

    • Anna Liesemeyer

      Kimberly – this means so much to hear! I am so happy you have felt that way. My goal has always been to share the more positive aspects of every day life, but with truth and honesty. I continue to be encouraged by other women that do the same. I hope we are able to share here in the ways that are life giving to ourselves and others!

  • I am so grateful for you – you are such a light in the blog/social media world. My heart appreciates the encouragement and the honesty. I’m overjoyed that you are choosing to relish these golden years. Thanks for inspiring me to do the same, to be brave and to follow God’s will.

    • Anna Liesemeyer

      Garin- I appreciate so deeply! Thank you for your kindness!

  • Can only imagine how much love and reflection went into this post and life change. Cheers! Blogging back in the day opened up a lot of doors for me professionally & creatively, but shortly before becoming a mom I realized how much social media had become a consuming part of my life. So I stepped WAY back, although the pull is still sometimes there. The want to share and to curate…it’s a designer’s dream, but the line between art and reality is so easily blurred in the formats we’ve become accustomed to. Sending prayers as you navigate this new path and continue to grow your fam!

    • Anna Liesemeyer

      How true it is Alli! I love the design and styling aspect of it all, and hope to share updates still, but it feels good to take more control of what and how we share. I have found a freedom in all of it! Thanks for the encouragement. x

  • This brought me to tears, Anna! Thank you so much for your honesty and reflections – I am finding myself in a similar place. There is truly so much joy found when we surrender our plans to the Lord and pause long enough to hear His voice. I am praying for continued blessings on you and your sweet family. Thank you for sharing your wisdom and encouragement. Xx

    • Anna Liesemeyer

      Crystal – thank you for always being such a kind support to me. I know you will continue to find the right steps for your family because of how much heart you put into all you do!

  • Thank you for so vulnerably sharing about your journey! I am excited to see where God takes you guys on this endeavor. I have always loved your blog (I struggle with anything related to home design, and I love seeing how you do things!), and I’m stoked to see what’s to come.

    I also really appreciate that you’re opening this conversation about pursuing dreams and making time for family and personal pursuits. Sometimes, it feels like we have to either go full force on personal goals OR pull back completely from those to spend time with our families. So it’s refreshing to hear about people who are figuring out the juggling act of all this 🙂

    • Thank you so much for your words, for your support over the years, and reading our blog! This was such an encouraging note. It is true – I have always been an all or nothing girl, so learning what true harmony and peace looks like in family and work life is a big learning curve for me.

  • Jeanne

    Anna and Gabe, it occured to me that while I enjoy reading people’s posts, I rarely comment on them, and then I wonder… if I don’t comment, how will they KNOW something they wrote or posted resonated? Honestly, I feel funny commenting on blogging sites because we don’t know each other, we’ve never met and our lives seem so different. But, when we get right down to it, we aren’t so different after all. We’re parents, trying to do what’s best for ourselves and our families. All that to say, I appreciate your honesty. I appreciate your vulnerability. I especially appreciate what you said about feeling like you’re missing out on milestones with your family because you were too busy keeping up with the Joneses (btw, who are the Joneses anyway?!) So, thank you. I hope this season of slowing down and listening to the world around you is just the beginning of wonderful things for you and your family.

    • Jeanne, I sure appreciate the thoughtful comment! It’s true that it’s hard to gauge who is reading so we always love when people take the time to leave a note.

      Thank you for the kind words – I am so grateful for the chance to re-evaluate a few things and find a better routine for our family.

  • Alicia

    The pull to have everything in your life perfectly balanced and look perfectly beautiful is so real. I know I struggle with this on a daily basis. Just wanted to share a word of encouragement here and say that I believe God will abundantly bless your efforts in the changes you are making for your family!

  • You are my spirit idol. I loved this post and even cried. I feel it. I feel ya and you are so powerful to do what you need to do for you and your family. This “race” is truly debilitating strong women and we do, we need to support our spirit health. LOVE YOU!!! So sad I will miss you this weekend at START Love Your conference this weekend. Got my tickets in the Fall, but last minute this week I just couldn’t miss 5 year old’s Tap recital / and 2 hockey games. I just needed to be here. xo

    • Ahh you are the best Keki! So sad to miss you at the conference! I would say you have no regrets though with that choice! Your kiddos are lucky. I am hoping we get the chance to catch each other again soon. x

  • Dearest Anna – I love you and Gabe and your darling family no matter what you are doing! The things that resonate with me most are the posts and pictures of your family and how you are navigating that and your faith life as a parent and in your marriage. So keep doing what you’re doing and I will continue to follow and keep up!

  • Canaan

    So, so proud of you for recognizing the need and taking the steps necessary to focus on your sweet self and precious family. God bless you, my friend!

  • so.much.respect. Well done 👍🏻

  • Thanks so much for sharing, Anna! Have loved your blog for several years and I appreciate your honesty and vulnerability. I’ve slowly started noticing how this culture of perfectly curated content is so damaging to my self esteem and is messing with my priorities in life and I think it’s so awesome that your trying to steer away from that. Kudos 🙂

  • Diana Frank

    Love this post and love you! I think so many woman can relate to what you have shared, including myself! Thanks for sharing your heart!

  • Beautiful!

  • I really appreciate this! I’m looking forward to follow along with your new posts both here and on Instagram!

  • Nicole McKee

    I have been following your blog from almost the very beginning so I am accustomed to you making shifts. With each shift you’ve made, I’ve grown to love you and your blog even more. Maybe that’s because you are so honest with yourself, your family, and your readers and that is a bold thing to be in this period of time. Thank you for being so honest and open and brave enough to stand for what you believe in and what you feel God has for you! My husband and I just learned that we are expecting our first and even though it’s still very early on, I’ve already felt the tug to really consider what is meant for me, us, and our upcoming new family and not let the outside world dictate what that should be. And I don’t even have a blog! 😉 Having said all that, I’m looking forward to your new adventures and will be sticking around for the slower pace.

  • Jessica Kench

    Absolutely beautiful and nothing but blessings to you and your family! Cheers to the slow life.

  • […] Paying Attention. A life update. from In Honor of Design […]

  • Chrissy K

    Thanks for the honest post. Life is messy and it’s okay to be vulnerable. People appreciate genuine honesty when it comes to bloggers. We want to know that you are relatable and have struggles just like every other human. I’m sure God will honor the choices you make today that will bless your path in the future. We all get one lifetime and one family to care for. Enjoy this time with those you love & cherish.

  • Lakiesh

    This is so beautiful. I wish you all many blessings and yes, I’ll stick around. It’s something about sincere people who make the world amazing! 🙂

  • Shauna DG

    Hello Anna,
    I just wanted to tell you I’m in the thick of wishing I could turn back the clock now, they grow SO fast, life goes by too fast. Wishing I would’ve/could’ve slowed down earlier. Smelled their lil baby heads longer, cuddled more, just soaked it in. Most of us just don’t realize until that time has passed. God whispered in your ear and you listened. Follow his plan, enjoy your lil blessings. Soak it in… every single minute! I’m really truly wishing you you and your family nothing but happiness, health, and a ton of love in this new slower pace. ❤️
    Ps… don’t fall for any tricks and fall back into the race pace, it’s easy for us Mom’s to do with out even realizing it! 😉

  • LOVE EVERY WORD. Sounds like a beautiful chapter is unfolding for you guys and I can’t wait to see all it brings. Your kids are so lucky to have a mama like you my dear. Xo

  • Hello, Anna!
    This was one of the best posts I read at IHOD, at least most cordial..from deep of the heart. We truly understand your decision and support it in any way! Being a mom and wife is the most challenging yet highly ROI project (return on investment project). Me too, sometimes I feel that I would be happier giving up all the works and just sticking to my kids..

    Best regards, Alex

  • It is so good to see someone sharing their process for prioritizing! It is NOT easy and it can be tempting to fold to every pressure rather than mindfully discerning what God is calling you to do. I appreciate more than anything your witness of creating beauty while raising a family. Many of us are busy too so we prefer quality over quantity content anyway!

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