the "florkens"

July 19, 2016

The Evolution of a Blog

On August 1st, 2013, with this (somewhat embarrassing) post, Adam and I launched this blog.  It is hard to believe that was almost three years ago. So much has changed in our lives since then. We've gotten married (#AVeryFlorkenWedding), we bought a house (#FlorkenFirstHome), and we have brought the most perfect little girl into the world (#LittleLadyHolland). We have also apparently overused personalized hashtags, but I digress.

The blog itself has changed quite a bit. There used to be a new post five days a week. FIVE DAYS A WEEK! I remember feeling guilty if I took a day off and just had four for the week. Since Holland's birth, I have posted a grand total of sixteen times. That's it. And you know what? There has been no guilt.

This blog used to be full of link-ups, sponsorships, sponsored posts, blogger features, and other paid or promotional content. I won't lie -- at one point I drank the Kool-Aid and thought that I too could become internet famous and rake in loads of extra cash every month just by showing up in this space and dazzling the world with my unique personality. That "reality" isn't a total lie. At the height of our blogging, we probably made an extra $200-$500 every month off blog income. It was nice. It also was not sustainable. The blog felt like a full-time gig, and I had a full-time gig being a lawyer. When I clocked out, I just wanted to enjoy time with my husband. The blog interfered with that desire.
In November of 2014, I started to back off the strict "blogging schedule" I had imposed upon myself. I did however, still accept "sponsors" and still found myself constantly checking to see how many comments our posts received. Learning not to watch my page views and check my stats was a slow process. It honestly wasn't until I got pregnant with Holland, and found myself constantly sick, that I truly decided to give up the pipe dream of running the blog like a business.

This blog is not a business.

But it is a part of our lives. 

That last statement is even more true now that Holland is here. I have a constant craving to document our lives. Each day she gets older and I become even more aware that time passes almost too quickly to properly capture. But I want to capture it... I want to remember what life was like for our little family of three.

I also want to do more than just document our lives. Watching Holland grow has impressed upon me a real sense of duty. A duty to help shape the world that she will grow up in. A duty to speak up when I see wrong. A duty to praise when I see right. That sense of duty is helping evolve this blog once again.

There was once a time where I steered clear of any political commentary or other controversial topic on this blog. I would think, "I cannot offend. I do not want to lose readers! I need their page views! I want them to like me!" That time has passed.

It's true -- I do still want my readers to like me, but what is even more important to me is that my readers know the real me. The real me does not hesitate to talk to friends about controversial issues. The real me is passionate about politics. The real me does not want to sit idly by and not contribute to meaningful conversation in our world.

There will still be posts here about parenting, home renovation and decorating, and other light-hearted topics. I'll document mundane trips to the farmer's market and share Holland's milestones. Heck, I might even still throw in a fashion post on occasion. However, there will also be posts here about politics and issues that I believe are shaping the world that my precious daughter will grow up to inherit. That means posts about climate change, gun control, and equality. It means posts about topics with no "easy answers" and posts that will likely offend some readers.

I know that many long-time readers may be very disheartened by this evolved blog focus. There was once a time where blogs were my escape from those "heavy" topics so I understand the sentiment. It is however, more important for me to be a voice for bettering the world my daughter will grow up in than to rake in page views or decrease my bounce rate.

If you decide to stick around, I'm thrilled to have you -- even if we do not always agree on those controversial topics. If you decide to unfollow, I will not take it personally. I do promise to be honest and as entertaining as I can in this space and more importantly, to ensure that this blog accurately reflects our little family of three and all the things we hold dear and believe.

Change is not always comfortable, but it is often necessary. So let's do this.

July 15, 2016

I will remember tomorrow...

It feels like the news cycle has been heavy lately. I am sure there are good stories, but my online feed is overwhelmed with the bad. 

It is full of innocent black men dying. 

It is full of innocent law enforcement dying. 

It is full of sick and missing children. 

It is full of terrorists attacks. 

It is full of people enraged at the world.

It is full of senators and representatives who won't do their jobs. 

It is full of judgment rather than compassion. 

It is full of violence instead of peace. 

Each day, I see a new mantra: Remember Alton Sterling. Remember Orlando. Remember Nice. 

I will remember. I promise. But I'll remember tomorrow. Today, I need to forget.
I need a break from remembering all the sorrow. I need a break from the heavy.

Today, I need to remember the sound of my daughter's giggle when she claps her hands together. Today, I need to remember her smile when she wakes up in the morning. Today, I need to remember that I'm alive and free and that I'm trying damn hard to get through a real crappy week.

Today, I need to forget the sad and remember the good. 
I will remember the sad tomorrow. It will cross my mind as I sip my morning tea and watch the headlines. It will follow me around all day and I won't be able to avoid all the "what if's" that it brings. It will make me pick up my phone and call my Congressmen... again

But today, I just want to forget. I'm sorry. But today, I just can't remember...

I will remember tomorrow.

June 09, 2016

A Realized Obligation

Just the other morning, I was settling down to work and sipping my first cup of hot tea. My head was still in a bit of a fog from the three-day weekend and my thoughts were somewhat preoccupied by the thought of the workers that were in my home repairing my water-damaged ceiling. I had guests coming into town and my mind started listing all the things I needed to have done in time for their arrival.

In my absent mindedness, I grabbed my cell phone and started flipping through my Facebook feed as I sometimes do. Most days, my mind doesn't read close enough for context. My Facebook feed is  merely a placeholder that keeps my hands busy while my brain thinks of other things. But on this morning, while my mind was thinking about life stresses and the woes of being back at work instead of at the pool with Holland, my eyes stumbled across a picture of a man on a boat cradling a young child. I follow Think Progress on Facebook and this story, was one of many on my feed that morning. I clicked over to read the full story, suddenly curious as to why this man was cradling this baby, but I was simply not prepared.
After reading just the first few sentences of the story I realized that the child in the photo was dead... a refugee lost in the Mediterranean Sea. My heart leap into my throat and my inner voice screamed: "Hurry! Close out of this! It is too sad!!!" Fighting the urge, I didn't. Instead, I scrolled back up and stared harder at the photo. The child's tiny hands were clasped, his eyes closed. He could easily be mistaken for sleeping but he was not. In a way, he reminded me of my own Holland. Soft skin and softer features... tiny perfection with so much potential. As I moved to studying the man holding him -- a rescuer that was simply too late -- my heart officially shattered.

I found myself wondering where this baby's mother was... did she survive? If she did, does she know that her precious son did not? I found myself imaging how tightly she must have clung to him in those waters if she was there. Were they cold? Scared? At what point did she know it was the end? Was the child crying? I found myself wondering if she was one of many mothers that could not afford passage for themselves so they made the ultimate sacrifice and sent their children away in hopes of a better life. If that was the case, the child perished without his mother by his side and somehow, that made the situation even more horrifying to me. My mind was quickly descending into a deep, dark place. I stared at the photo and found myself crying. I was crying for that boy. I was crying for all the children like him. I was crying for the mothers and fathers that lost them. I cried for the families ripped apart by war, famine, disease.

After awhile, I was able to find some composure and I proceeded to read the rest of the story... Think Progress did a good job of summarizing the horrifying situation people are finding themselves in on the Mediterranean Sea. It truly is gut wrenching. The options are limited; Stay in your homelands to starve or be killed or flee only to face closed borders, hunger, and death.

My biggest worry (most days) is exactly how much time I'll have with Holland in between picking her up from daycare and her bedtime. And while over the last nearly 8 months I have worried about her sleep patterns, an occasional fever, and a bump or bruise here or there, I have never once had to worry about starvation or death. I am forever grateful those choices are not my reality. Still, I do not want my lack of experience to turn into a lack of empathy... of compassion.

I am lucky. You are lucky. Our children will grow up playing tag and learning to dive in neighborhood pools instead of fleeing across borders or swimming for their lives. We are blessed. But that blessing obligates us to open our eyes, see the rest of the world, and give a voice to the voiceless.

My soul tells me that the good in this world far outweighs the bad. My faith tells me that there justice and righteousness and more importantly, a reason, for everything. When I looked at that photo, I did not see a reason. I did not see righteousness or justice. I did see however, a baby that deserves to have my attention. And yours.

I don't know the solution. But I know it starts with acknowledging an obligation to help.
I have an obligation. You have an obligation. We all do.