HELLO!!! Alanna here, today we are so excited for our Take over Tuesday Blogger!!! The Papernook! Have you ever found yourself reading through blogs and you have one that simply breathes so much love, light, and inspiration into your life that you feel like the entire world should know about this special person? Well that is how I feel about my sweet friends Hayley. I met her about 8 years ago and I automatically knew she was going to achieve and touch others for the good. Not only is her sense of style impeccable but her soul is incredible. I love you Hayley so much and THANK YOU for being a brave soul to help others. With that being said, take it over Girl….
Hi friends! I’m Hayley Richards… an (almost) 32 year old creative soul who dabbles in life lessons, interior design, cosmetology, and being overly candid on social media. I started my blog exactly six months ago, and sweet Alanna immediately reached out and asked me to share a little something here. I was honored, flattered, and intimidated… and let’s just say procrastination took hold like nobody’s business. (she’s been sooooo patient!) I’m still new to this world of blogging, and have been really trying to find my voice and my message. It initially began as a way to warm up your home. I wanted to allow readers to follow my journey as I renovated and decorated nooks in my own little home. I have a passion for doing things on the affordable side, and wanted to share those thoughts and ideas with anyone interested. And share those things, I do!
However, it wasn’t enough. I felt stifled and artificial. I can’t connect unless I’m being vulnerable and true…and if I’m going to share myself at all with strangers, then I want to be authentic and purposeful. There is nothing wrong with a design blog. But for me, I needed more.
Last month, I finally opened up about my separation from my husband of eight years. Most people didn’t know that the real reason I was back in Utah and back in a home that needed fixing up was just that. In February, my little family’s world imploded. We moved home from the San Francisco Bay area, threw our three daughters into a new school mid year, and attempted to live life as securely and safely as we could, while bouncing them from dad’s house to my house every few days.
And I guess that leaves me with the message I want to share, what I have found to be a prominent part of my new life. I want to talk about the HOPE that each of us have been given access to. I have a testimony this hope comes directly from Jesus Christ. I am a member of the LDS faith, and the knowledge I have from His teachings has kept me going. However, I know that not everyone shares these same beliefs. That’s okay. You can feel this hope from another source. Our belief systems can vary…but we can gain strength together all the same.
I just got back from a run. I have always been a thin person- I have NEVER been a fit person. I WANT to be fit. I set out tonight with expectations higher than I should have. I don’t exercise regularly- but somehow felt like I should be able to just sprint out my door and up our hilly streets like it was nothing. About half a mile up- I began to lag. My negative thoughts begged to convince me to quit, to go home. “If I can’t even run one measly mile…what’s the point?” Negative thoughts guys- they have the power to dam us from our potential, to hinder us from our greatness, to straight up stop our progression.
Luckily, I did NOT quit. BUT, I also chose to stop running. I chose to briskly walk the rest of the hill while telling myself how FANTASTIC I was for even being out there. I gave myself a freaking well deserved pat on the back that I was simply DOING. This is not to say we should all lower our expectations. Heavens no! But, I was gently reminded that progress, improvement, and refining take TIME. I proceeded to spend the next three miles ENJOYING the night time air. The summer filled dusk that only lasts a few short weeks here. I started to notice people around me. Others who were also DOING. I didn’t notice their sizes or their speed. Some were biking, some were sprinting… what I did notice was their HOPE. It is because of hope that we all found ourselves outside tonight. Hope we would feel refreshed, hope we would strengthen our bodies, hope our minds might be set right. And that is how it is with any action we take. Great or small. There is a piece inside of each of us that drives us to DO.
These last seven months have been full of the deepest pain. And, I am no stranger to pain. I grew up in an unconventional household. My father was an alcoholic and in prison for many years. We moved 47 times in my childhood alone. I have been plagued with chronic migraines for years that control much of what I do. I have had to quit jobs, drop out of school, and leave my LDS mission early because of this. I have watched my new born twins fight for their lives during months in the NICU with heart surgeries and endless nights of unknowns. I have struggled with secondary infertility for 4.5 years. And now I find myself in the darkest of all places I could have ever seen myself knowing. A single mom of three learning to let go of anger and deal with my kids not always being HOME.
I share these experiences with you, not for pity or sorrow. I share them because we all know them. We are all the same. We could all list our top five trials that have caused warm tears to burn our cheeks and experiences that have challenged our souls. They may not look the same. They may be disguised in any form of dress. There are pains you have known that I never will. And they are given to us to REFINE. To make us dig within ourselves and find that HOPE. No matter how big or small they may seem, no matter how unfair you may feel they are. IF we allow ourselves to cling to God, and to fill our lives with light, they will be worth it.
Let’s all trust Elder Holland’s words “If you are lonely, please know you can find comfort. If you are discouraged, please know you can find hope. If you are poor in spirit, please know you can be strengthened. If you feel you are broken, please know you can be mended.”
This world we live in is full of pain. But it is also full of light, and hope, and SO MUCH HAPPINESS. Let’s all find the good together. Let’s all see the good in each other. Let’s all be the one to lift the fallen.
I am not quite at the point where I am “thankful” for this trial. I am not jumping out of bed each day declaring “let me be refined! yea for loneliness and heartache!” I still have many nights filled with grief and confusion. My pillow is still wet many nights with hot tears of anger.
BUT i cannot deny the hope I feel either. I know that tomorrow if I go and DO…I will be lifted. I know that next time I run, I will make it a little further. I know that people are GOOD. I know that God lives.
SO, there you have it. A girl who loves interior design, but can’t stop rambling about heartbreak and faith. But that’s just it guys- we are all REAL people. My home is clean and bright, my nooks are coming together one by one, my house is transforming into a home. My body looks thin and fit. My children seem joyful and innocent. My pictures portray all of these things. And they should because they are REALITY…but let’s all remember it is not the whole reality. My house will never be the same without a husband, my body is often times debilitated by blinding pain, and my girls innocence is being challenged as they watch their family unit fracture.
I AM REAL. You are REAL. and there is an undeniable hope that we can all become better. NOT BETTER THAN EACH OTHER… but better than we were the day before. I admire people. Their goodness, their light, and their individual strengths. How boring our world would be without differences and without hardships.
So let’s all take this day and DO. Let’s DO with the hope of a little more change. A little more joy, a little more faith. Let’s pat ourselves on the back. Let’s recognize how FANTASTIC we are. And let’s celebrate that we are ENOUGH.
You guys can follow Hayley over on her blog HERE!
or on Instagram HERE!
Alanna, Natalie, & Lyndsie