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Amy’s Manifesto

I received some amazing e-mails a couple of days ago in response to my “Overwhelmed” post.  Women wanted to share their stories with me and while all of the stories are different, the idea was the same.  They were churning through life and finally got tired of it.  (I shared my own tired-of-churning experience in my post about losing & finding myself.)

One e-mail that stood out to me was from Amy of AttaGirlSays.  In that e-mail she shared with me the moment when she realized she was just churning through her life and decided to write a manifesto.  I immediately thought of the moment in Jerry Maguire where he stayed up all night and wrote that huge memo that got him fired, but changed his life.  I’m not suggesting everyone flip out and steal the office goldfish, but I think it’s an awesome idea to take stock of your life, put pen to paper and write about what inspires you and who you want to be.  (Like the Switchfoot song says, “This is your life.  Are you who you want to be?”)


Here’s Amy’s manifesto…

“I have a vision for my life, but I’m not really living it. I’m so overwhelmed with work lately and not really enjoying it as I once did. Things that should excite me – getting a client featured in House Beautiful or on the Nate Berkus show – don’t. Blah. So what! I’m tired of mile-long to-do lists and never feeling finished. I’m tired of feeling that my family is keeping me from my work, when really it is the other way around.

I’m not sure I’m completely ready to let go of my old life or to quit my job. To do so would mean giving up half of our household income. I know you’ve each done that, but it’s scary for me, and I don’t know how manageable/feasible it is.

But I need to do something to shift my priorities and efforts – to find a way to contribute to the family financially that also enriches me personally and creatively and doesn’t zap so much of my time and energy.

So, what is my vision for myself?

I can honestly say I am lucky to be living in my dream house, but I’m not enjoying it the way I’d hope. It is hard to maintain and to create the atmosphere here I envisioned when I’m so busy with work responsibilities. I’m finding I cannot tend to them in the 9-1 hours when Jackson is in school, and I doubt it will be any different next year when he is in real school, 5 days a week. There still won’t be enough time.

I dream of being able to wear sweats and comfy clothes more often. Of being able to attend to household chores in a planned and organized manner, not as an afterthought. I want time to devote to creative pursuits that I enjoy during daytime hours, not at midnight. I want to be able to play and read and be with Jackson in the afternoons without feeling that something is hanging over me. I want time to plan and cook dinner. I don’t want to crash every night exhausted, yet still feeling like there is still so much yet to do. I don’t want this constant feeling that I’m disappointing someone, not fulfilling my obligations or this constant barrage of deadlines. I’m tired of feeling “bothered” every time the phone rings or I get an email. What is it now that someone needs from me? That I feel that way in so many areas of life tells me I’m not enjoying my job or being fulfilled by it. But being dragged down by it.

I want to wake up every morning rested and excited about what the world has in store for me. I want to create things of beauty.

I have always enjoyed crafting, and I’m finally beginning to realize and appreciate my own skill in it. And those of the people around me. The things we can do, others can’t. And that’s something to be proud of. There are still some who would look at what we create/make and say, “They obviously have too much time on their hands.” But there are so many more who appreciate our talents and value them. It’s time we start doing the same.

I want time to breathe. I want to make things. But I can’t keep everything I make, nor do I want to. I want to contribute to our family’s financial well-being (though maybe not in the way I currently am). I want to build a brand. I want to follow my bliss. I want ownership of something and pride in something. I want to look back on my life and realize I lived it on my own terms, and that I enjoyed it….”


Inspiring, right?  And now she’s doing it.  She’s making changes in her life to fulfill the vision she has for it.  Awesome stuff.

Now, writing a manifesto doesn’t mean you ditch your family or leave everyone in your life in the dust, so YOU can do everything YOU want to do.  (Well, maybe you need to leave some people in the dust if they’re people who aren’t good for you, but you know what I mean.)  It doesn’t mean your routine life of carpooling to soccer games, washing slipcovers and cooking dinner can’t fit into your dreams.  Your manifesto may be about being a better mom or serving others more or being healthy.  It may be about building brand that’s sold in Target or singing on Broadway or writing for a magazine.  The point is, it’s your manifesto and it can be whatever you envision for your life and it can be done in balance with all of the other important people and things in your life.

So, I want to leave you with a challenge to write your own manifesto.  And, here’s the scary part, share it with someone else.  Share it with your husband, your best friend, your blog readers, me, Amy, whoever, all of the above.  Just share it with at least one person who will encourage you and tell you that your dreams, no matter how big or small, aren’t silly or something you need to stuff down inside until you burst.  It’s something you can work towards one step at a time.

It’s so easy to get stuck in a rut in life.  Let’s not do that.  Let’s go for it…knowing not every door will be opened and we may hear some (or a lot) of “no’s”, but we’ll keep going for it, because the joy is in the journey, not just the destination.

If you do want to share your manifesto with me, you can e-mail it to [email protected] (and I will read it and probably cry and maybe ask to share it on my blog!)  Thanks to Amy for being inspiring and for letting me share this publicly.

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  1. This is EXACTLY what I need to do right now. I should probably just sit down and write it but … I’m a rules follower, any templates or tips? Oh heck, I’m gonna go sit down and write it …. tomorrow. I’m gonna think and pray and sleep on it first.

  2. Fabulous post Marian! I think we all have been or are in such a situation. Its nice to know we are not alone in our feelings.

  3. This is a very heartfelt manifesto! While I don’t have a manifesto to share, I believe I can share my experiences as an older, (I hope wiser woman!) who is the mother of four and grandmother of three. Marian, I have read your story and the stories of other women your age. I want to say this in the most gentle manner, and I hope that you, Amy and others will take it as such. Please remember that this time of child rearing is the most precious time there is, and that it goes so quickly! I feel that many young women feel that life is passing them by when it really is the here and now which should fulfill them. I am not saying that dreams, plans, and manifestos are not important. But what I am saying is that life goes so quickly that we must guard ourselves from looking so far in the future that we forget what is right in front of us now.

    I understand what moms and families go through. We have mortgages, jobs, dental work to pay for etc. (I myself am college educated but still had four children by age 25.) There have been many ups and downs for us, losses and gains. Amy has her dream house, but I suspect the burdens of maintaining it has robbed some of the joy. Work, family obligations, long to-do lists have left her fatigued. I’m convinced that dreams are often what sustain us ( I have met some of mine!), but I also believe that there is a season and time for everything, including our dreams.

    • Kiki said it so well. I’m 51 and I miss my babies so much. My youngest is 18 1/2 and I now have all day to create and follow my heart. Please, young women, spend time with your family as it goes much too fast.

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      Wise words indeed. Thanks so much for sharing!

    • Barbara in CT says:

      Another grandmother here without a manifesto but I sure did have one when I was much younger. It was that my daughter would have more opportunities than I did. When I went to college in the early 60’s, a woman could be a secretary, a nurse, or a teacher. I was allowed to be a business major because I planned on teaching business subjects. That lasted one year because I got pregnant and pregnant women were not allowed to appear pregnant in the classroom. I also didn’t forsee what a dilemma I was creating. I, naively presumed that men would divide the responsibilities of keeping the home and raising the children equally. That will probably happen when women achieve equal pay for equal work and the glass ceiling has been broken permanently. I believe that we are getting closer.

      Don’t feel sorry for me though. My great grandparents lost two of their five children to childhood illnesses that are easily cured today. They, themselves, died at a much earlier age because of pneumonia because antibiotics had not been discovered. If you don’t enjoy laundry now, imagine yourself using a washboard and hanging your laundry outside in all kinds of weather and doing your ironing with an iron heated on your stove.

      Every generation has their frustrations and your children’s will be different from yours.

  4. Thanks for the post, Marian! It’s just what I am feeling at this very moment as I sit in the airport club again waiting to return home from another week away. Time is flying . . . what matters most?

  5. Wow, Marian, this was such an awesome post. Thanks for sharing my story/manifesto. Journaling my feelings and giving voice to my dreams/goals was such an important step for me. It helped me give voice to some things that had been nagging at me for some time and sharing it spurred me to action. For anyone wanting a template, there is none. Just write. Stream of consciousness is fine. But do share it with someone who will encourage you and support you. In may case, I showed it to my husband and two girlfriends — and later Marian because reading her blog was one of the things to inspire me.

    And Kiki, your point is well taken. One thing I realized was that my work was dragging me down. I was trying to do too much. I was essentially trying to fit a 60-hour workweek into part-time hours and it was dragging me down. Robbing me of time with my family and zapping my creativity. Now, I’m making time for those things and being more selective about the PR and freelance writing jobs I take. This summer, I plan to make lots of time for lazy days at the pool with my son and for play dates and fun. But I am also setting aside time to make things and be creative.

  6. missy says:

    I agree with all of the comments so far! My babies are 20 and 15, and I have found that they still need us as they get older, but we must realize that they need us in a different way. At times we moms may have to put our own dreams on the back burner when our families need us most. But, that being said, having our own dreams sometimes will help to get us through the rough patches. It was such a revelation to my oldest, to see that she needs to find the balance in her life, no matter what she is pursuing. How cool to hear her say what I have just really discovered at age 50! That was yesterday’s life lesson for both her and I.

  7. Billie Meyer says:

    Who knew being a Mom was going to be so challenging and rewarding? You don’t know until you become one.

  8. Thank you so much for sharing this wisdom. Maybe this is something that just happens to women? Do men ever feel like this, that life is slipping away and the stuff we really want to do isn’t what we’re doing?

    • Amen!

    • I cannot speak for all men, but I do feel this way. I have lately been working 6 days/week (to pay down student loans.) I have a great job and a profession that a lot of people would envy. But it’s not what I’m passionate about at all. I have a beautiful wife and four beautiful boys including 2 year old identical twins who are so fun. I feel like I’m missing out on time with them for a job I don’t love. But, just as someone else said, I feel that my dreams and passions need to be on hold for a little while until I can financially afford to chase my dreams. My family needs me now and I need them so my first priority is getting that one more day off so I can be with them and eventually, maybe I can change careers or at least engage in a hobby that includes my true interests!

      I do want to encourage all you wonderful mothers whether you work, stay at home or do a hybrid of both. No job is greater, or more important or more challenging than raising your sweet children. I know when we all look back on our lives, we really won’t care about what we’ve accomplished professionally when compared to what we’ve accomplished within the walls of our own homes. Move mountains, guys (and gals!)

      • Jared,
        WOW!!!! I think we forget the “Men in our life” also are feeling the same way we women do. My husband has a great job, he has worked for the same company for 25 years…..he hates going to work everyday. I have a job I love, and have taken up new interests. I take that for granted, that he has not gotten to do what he wants due to his work schedule. Thank you for posting the “guy side” of this. Being a great Dad, family provider is alot to shoulder. We are putting our 18 year old daughter through college and have a HS Senior this year. It went fast…..too fast. Enjoy your boys as much as possible. I had my children at 23, so I am seeing that I am still young enough to pursue my dreams. Those children leave home all too soon,


      • It’s great to get a perspective from a guy. I totally agree that there are times for run for your dream at full speed and time to wait and prepare for it. Sometimes working 6 days/week to pay off a student loan is a part of moving towards your dreams. (I actually took the leap into my own business BECAUSE of a student loan we needed to pay off!) Anyway, I wish you the best and thanks so much for taking the time to share.

  9. Starla says:

    I love following your blog and finding out all the things you are doing and all you’re up to.
    I , like you, am so encouraged by the wise women who have commented on the precious family time that is so valuable.
    As a child, i remember playing in my grandparents house. We had the privilege of living next door to them. My grandfather (and great-grandfather and father) were ministers.
    There was a dutch painted plaque that I remember always being on the wall. I would see it as I ran to the piano or to the kitchen to cook with my grandmother (who made the best chicken and dumplings in the world!).
    The plaque simply read,

    Only one life – twill soon be passed
    Only what’s done for Christ will last.

    Those are some of the wisest words I know. My manifesto is to try to remember this as I use the talents He has given me. No matter how many coffee tables or hutches I improve, it will never begin to compare to the time I devote to raising the children He has blessed us with. I desire to bring them up in a Godly home that relies on God as our source. Even though I am able to contribute to the family income, I always want to be looking at the Creator and not the hands He gave me to create. I choose to ultimately look at the Artist and follow the manifesto that He has laid out for all of us.
    Thank you so much for honoring the Lord. I believe he has given you this platform to speak into women’s lives and I’m so glad you have.

    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      John Piper (an awesome pastor) refers to that saying in his series called “don’t waste your life.” He had it hanging in his kitchen as he was growing up. It’s so true that only the things done for Christ will last and I know that all of the dressers I paint and the pillows I make will some day be gone. What’s been amazing to me, though, is how God has used those things, those temporal things, to encourage others. You just never know what God will use for His glory…

      • Absolutely!! Years ago I started selling Longaberger Baskets because God led me to do that. We are spiritual people and so much happens in realms we know nothing about. It always amazed me that women would fork over big dollars for products and profusely thank me. I always prayed that I would be a reflection of Jesus when I stood in front of women. And that the women would sense that they were valued. I know I planted lots of seeds. Which no doubt someone else watered and cultivated.

        You are incredibly talented Marian…how pleased God must be to have one of his creations being creative just like her heavenly Father.

  10. Great. I’m crying 😉 You all have given me a LOT to think about…I used to write mini-manifestos all the time, almost like monthly resolutions, and I stopped making time for it somewhere along the way..time to reopen that notebook..

  11. the day i became pregnant with my first child was an open doorway into a totally different life. i never wanted to be a mom that much, but it became such a passionate voice for me. finally, i was allowed to do what i was good at. who knew? i could stay at home and manage the kids and bake for them and make quilts and other stuff that had been on my back burner for a really long time.
    i tried one time to actually ply my own education as an architect to redesign my own kitchen. my then 3 year old, first born tipped my pencil shavings onto that drawing. to my mind, it was a ruined drawing. it was also the very last time i tried to practice on my own. after that , i did some freelance drawing for a development firm. when my second child was born, i washed my hands of the whole thing.
    i have not looked back since… the choice to follow a dream i had no idea i was harboring, suddenly and clearly became a dream to follow. i baked for a living for 12ish years, and have been making my own brand of jewelry since then. my kids have been able to thrive and grow appropriately in almost every way since that. they beg for brussel sprouts for dinner, love when i turn on the oven for their interests, and help me at shows or updating my computer graphic needs. we have all become interactive in ways i never would have been able to be, if i had continued to ignore my own passions.
    i agree that it is hard to see how little kidlets will ever become old enough to be out of your home, but it happens in the blink of an eye. i traded regular haircuts, a professional wardrobe, and many other things that i once thought i needed, to spend a wonderful life with my beasts.
    i am so happy with what i do these days… i never would have expected that to have come my way. don’t think that i have not suffered without adequate money to serve our family consistently or huge personal frustrations, but i feel like i can brag honestly about my little posse of wise-acres. it is not at all a bad trade-off. now my life is more my own and i am able to tentatively and boldly reach out to make a personal stand in the world… doing things i truly love.

    marian, i thank you for your many, many encouragements and your postings on varied topics. i like the crossing over of your experiences and how i can integrate some of your world into my own creative journey.


    • Miss Mustard Seed says:

      What a wonderful comment and I had no idea you were once an architect! There was a time I though I would only be happy on Broadway, but things changed and I’m so fulfilled and thankful. I’m able to do something from home with my boys and also something that gives me the flexibility I need to work with my husband in youth ministry. It’s really awesome.

  12. Marian, you are starting to sound like our friend Funky Junk Donna, who is always exhorting us to jump out of our comfort zones. You are going to be inundated with everyone’s manifestos!. You are going to need a Mini 2.0 to help out. I don’t think the scary part is sharing it with someone else. I think the scary part is saying no to lots of activities and commitments that don’t matter. I don’t think kids need a sport every season until they are in high school. Fall soccer, or is it the Spring soccer that is the secondary season?, shouldn’t hold the entire family hostage for a third grader that is probably not even going to play in high school. You don’t have to travel to every family recital, eighth grade graduation, First Communion, etc. You don’t have to go to every free town Festival and Ice Cream Social. You need to dance in the kitchen, make ice cream with your kids and sleep in the backyard in a tent. Kiki was right, it goes so fast. You are making your kids’ memories, so be sure they don’t revolve around racing somewhere in the car every day. Ann

  13. Marian, I have been wanting to comment on your blog for so long. Now I’m finally going to do so!

    I have wanted to create for as long as I can remember. I come from a long line of creative women. I grew up watching my mother sew beautiful French heirloom dresses. She would sew them (she came up with her own designs and patterns) and her mother would hand embroider them. I was mesmerized by her talent. When I had my own daughter I began sewing for her (nothing like my mother did) and I loved it! She’s gotten older and no longer wants me to sew her clothes :( but there still is a great desire for me to create.

    Lately, after starting my blog I had this intense yearning to do something. It sounds strange but it was so powerful and I didn’t know what to do about it. I’m the type that puts myself last always. My life is totally consumed with my children (in a good way). I remember talking to my husband and sharing with him the guilt I was feeling over having a blog and decorating and painting. He said I NEED something just for me. I remember praying so hard to GOD, crying and asking Him to show me the answer. Is it okay for me to blog and paint furniture, sew, decorate….? If He said no that was it. I was going to stop. Shortly after these tearful prayers I stumbled on this post Darlene, from Fieldstone Design was writing about decorating paralysis. She shared the best email from Angela from the Painted House. I read just a few sentences and started crying. She said it so beautifully. All I had to read were the words “The world began with an Artist before a blank canvas…” This is an excerpt from her email “The joy he felt in creating the intricacies of our world in perfection, He instilled in us–and that becomes manifest in a bajillion different ways…architect, artist, baker, decorator, musician, writer, etc, etc. So that when a human is instilled with this talent, this creativity, there is no denying its existence because denying its existence is like denying part of His image and denying ourselves and the PLEASURE of creating.”

    I felt like I was getting permission to be creative and spend time doing what I LOVE! In the past I have had a small business sewing purses, drapes, and home decor. I knew I wanted a business again but not sewing. While shopping in some antique stores I got the courage to ask about booths. My favorite antique store moved some things around and made room for me to have my own booth! I worked for a week on my hutch I bought on Craigslist getting it “perfect”. I officially moved in my booth the same day as the Lucketts fair. A lady was trying to buy the hutch/buffet as we were wheeling it in before we even put it together! It was an awesome feeling. And to top it all off my kids ( 10 and 15) are ecstatic about me having my own business. They are genuinely so happy for me. The only thing I regret is wasting so many years worrying about having something just for me. I would have never got up the courage to get a booth if it weren’t for this blog. I was reading about you getting ready for the Lucketts fair and I was so excited. It gave me just the boost I needed to carve out my little 5 X 12 space in this world. Thank you Marian!

  14. Brandie says:

    Everyone is called to something specific, gifted by God to do it…I have no doubt in my mind that Marian Mustard Seed is walking in her calling! I have poured over the content of this blog and found it to be a wellspring of encouragement, information, and a catalyst to get going on my dreams! I was invited to a MOPS group by a friend I told her I wasn’t going because I was sure everyone there were breastfeeding nazis and that while I adored being a mother that was just one part of who I was- she convinced me to go… I spent the entire meeting trying not to burst into tears during the video we were watching where a famous christian singer shared about coming to a place of being torn between what she was doing, who she was and her role as a wife and mother. She spoke with her mom about this and I will never as long as I live forget what her mom said to her her….she told her daughter “one day your kids will have a dream and it will be very important that they saw someone in their life pursue their dream” This touched me so deeply and made me reflect on my own single parent moms bravery in pursuing her dreams and how that had impacted how I felt about my ability to pursue the seemingly impossible (she started a commercial cleaning company and successfully bid on and was awarded the contract on the largest building in town all while we didn’t even own our own vaccuum!-she went on to have substantial growth and a very successful company for 18yrs until she retired) The singer then went on to say the next thing which also greatly impacted me-She told God she just wanted to be normal-to be a normal mom and a normal wife etc. God just spoke to her heart and said “I will define what is NORMAL FOR YOU” I think we must have balance, we must have our priorities solidly anchored in our hearts and minds, and last but not least we must let God define what our normal is.

  15. Whoa.. really cool that you shared that Marian… it’s an extremely powerful message…


  16. Dear Marian, thanks for this post.
    I am embarking in a total unexpected journey… painting furniture and treasure hunting. lol
    I am a planner and I NEVER planned this. I am a PR by profession and was laid off from my job as a fundraiser/community relations job feb 2011. As a way to find what to do (my son is 17 and I am 45), since my son doesn’t need me as much as when he was little, I started watching Nate Show, reading blogs about decoration on a budget, etc. Found ASCP, took a workshop in my local supplier. Met wonderful people that inspired me, including YOU. Started my blog Feb 2012, Decided to start my business end of March. Tomorrow I will be part of my first school fair, and end of June my first Vintage Fair. Inspired by you, I have written goals and already achieved some of them… But I wanted to say that none of this was planned. And I remember one day I went to church and I was desperate (a long time ago, when I was married to my ex and having problems) and I was trying to understand what God was trying to tell me (English is my second language, so it is hard to understand the priest. even in my own language is hard for me to understand the priest). Anyway, I got out of the mass with one word: SURRENDER. At first, I did not get it… I kept saying: does HE want me to give up??? And I am getting emotional now because YES, it MAKES SENSE NOW!!! Surrender!!!! I am finally understanding and going with the flow… and I AM AMAZED by God’s grace with me. For my New Years resolution, which I wrote end of January, I said I wanted to be CONTENT. And I AM. Content and so excited with the possibilities… It took me YEARS to SURRENDER… but look at what happened!!! I have never being happier. Thank you so much again for taking the time to write so many inspiring posts. Have a great weekend!

  17. JaneEllen Jones says:

    This is one of the many reasons I love reading the blogs and keep subscribing to many more. I am almost 72 and of a very different generation. When I wanted to do my crafts I was told by my Mother I was selfish, I should be thinking of what my family (husband and 4 kids) needed and wanted. My first duty was to them. Duty I thought, why is being the woman a duty?

    Before I met my husband now, when I was divorced with 3 small children, my Mother asked me who I thought was going to want to marry me with 3 kids. What were we, chopped liver? She was just talking in her generation but it made me madder than all get out at her. She had always told me I couldn’t do this or that ( I was born with a birth defect). She was trying to protect me but it just made me want to prove to myself I could do alot more than she ever gave me credit for. I realized later on in life that maybe she was a little jealous that I had the courage to try things.
    I didn’t drive til I was 27 yrs. old due to my ex and Mother. I bought an old car from a close friend and taught myself how to drive stick shift (in 1967).I had been divorced for 2 years already.

    I met my husband at a laundry/dry cleaners where I was working by Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tucson, AZ. Our first date was Oct. 18, 1968, we got married Nov. 30, 1968. He asked me to marry him the first night we went out. After over 43 years and alot of hard times and moves, we’re still married and he supports my crafting and being me. He says he loves how I shine when my mind is going 2/40 with ideas to make something. Guess we weren’t chopped liver after all huh?

    It gives me such pleasure to see what you gals make and how you do it. It takes courage to put your creativity out there. It makes my heart so glad to see what you’re all doing. Nobody says it’s easy to take care of children, a husband, a home and then making time to create, maintaining a blog, cause it’s not. Too often there just isn’t enough left of yourself to keep going but you do. Stop once in awhile, take a few days or extra breaths. you need it and deserve it.

    I’m so darned proud of your generation of women. I have two daughters and it makes me so proud to see what they’ve done with their lives, my two sons also. I couldn’t give my kids “things” but when I was raising them I wanted to give them all values, courage, honesty, to be good people. I married a man that had the same ideas. GO FOR IT GIRLS. Nobody said it wouldn’t be hard but do it anyway. Think about how you want to feel when you get to the point in life I’m at. It really does matter.

    Just think about how this topic is getting women to think about their lives. I couldn’t be happier for all of you. Thanks for reading what I had to say. Just another perspective. Ain’t the internet great?

  18. JaneEllen Jones says:

    When my kids were maybe 6 yrs old, middle school age, one in high school, we had an old truck and lived in East County of San Diego, a town called Santee. Whenever I could I took almost the whole darned neighborhood of kids/friends of my kids to the beach for the day. We had rules of conduct and they all knew they’d better obey them, but did we have fun. That to me was alot more important than cleaning the house or whatever other domestic chore I should have been doing. They went with us to yard sales to find items to redo, even the neighborhood kids. They said they were learning alot and would buy their own treasures. I didn’t know most of the Mothers of these kids but I had to have a phone call from each one so I knew it was ok for their kids to go with us. Giving yourself permission to enjoy your kids and others is a gift. I learned so much from all those kids.

    • You are a great lady, Jane Ellen!

    • You are very wise!
      My son is 17 and I was telling him the other day: ” I hope you remember all the great times we have had just driving together – the times I was driving you here and there were the BEST in my life” I told him we used to sing out loud with the Backstreet Boys and he laughed: “I grew a taste since then!! LOL!
      I agree with you, we need to CHERISH the times we have with our kids.

  19. Oh Marilyn, thank you for sharing this. And thank you so much to Amy! I am one of those women whose creativity and inner-self have been awakened by your blog. I have written to you before to share how grateful I am to you for this.

    I have much to be thankful for in my life, and I am not discounting the need to rely on God to fulfill my needs and to give me the inner-strength to do what I have to do – as a wife and mum who works away from home. My life has felt increasingly overwhelming over the last year, especially since my husband’s diagnosis of terminal cancer, so this blog-post has come at a time when I really do need to try and filter through what is truly important, and what I need to do to be the best that I can be.

    You are such a blessing Marilyn, thank you for everything that you do!

    Love and God bless! Shirley (Australia)

  20. ….definitely someone to whom I can relate, and the words are given so well…..

  21. Ack!! Write it down?? Scary! But a great idea! I will have to work on this and share it as well. What a wonderful way to hone in on what you are really all about!

  22. Thanks for posting this, and thanks to Amy who was able to put such lovely thoughts down. You know how you have a nagging feeling, but aren’t really sure how you feel, then you read something like that and realize that’s exactly what you are feeling!

    I love the paragraph that starts with wearing comfy pants. That really best describes me. I work a full time job, out of the house and started this painting, furniture makeover stuff as an outlet and hobby for myself. Now, it’s morphed into something busier—I still enjoy it, but am constantly feeling pulled in a million different directions and ultimately, I’m not doing much of anything right.

    I’m lucky, I have two different perspectives, I have a 22 year old and a 4 year old, so I have the knowledge of how fast childhood passes, but also know that because of that, we must also do for ourselves, instead of placing the burden of our lives on our children. I have many mommy friends who only do for thier kids and sacrifice themselves, they most certainly do it out of love, but ultimately, isn’t what children need.

    Finding balance is key…not quite sure how to do that yet though!

    • :) Hey Rebecca! I agree. The saying “If momma’s not happy, nobody’s happy” popped into my mind. I think we must be careful to nuture ourselves and our desires too or we can start being resentful of our kids or dissappointed with our lives…..not because we don’t love ALL of it but because we are denying and depriving a part of ourselves, which can make us feel ucky, off balanced, lacking, and just plain weird. Since I’ve decided to act on my creative desires (that I had mostly had to out away since high school) I now need to find a way to balance the non-negotiables in my life!! And, it has been fun figuring out ways to include my 3 year old daughter. I want to be better about that so we can spend quality time together…that we both enjoy…while gettting stuff done! This week Elise got to help paint the Mod Podge onto the coffee and end table set. I’m hoping to find as many ways as I an to let her create too!

      • Yes, I think that’s where I was! When my entire day was about cleaning the house, changing diapers, cooking food, grocery shopping, etc., it was so easy for me to get in a slump and feel overwhelmed. Every day it’s the same. You clean something and it’s dirty again. You change a diaper and it’s dirty again. You do the laundry and then you have to do it again the next day. I started to see my family as mess-makers and I felt like I was lost in it all. Having an outlet for me took the focus off of the messes and daily routines. I still do all of those things, but I also have tasks I can accomplish and check off the to-do list. I have things I’m excited about and love doing. It’s made me enjoy my family even more, because my day isn’t just about cleaning up after the mess. I don’t mind it all as much and I am enjoying myself and the people in my life so much more.

  23. Rhonda says:

    I to have felt as though I lost myself. I would love to work out more, create more crafts, rest more and have house chores done more. I am only 40 so I cant say that I have gained a ton of wisdom through life. Right I am still young to say with age comes wisdom cause I am still to young. Here is what I have learned about trying to make since of my life and finding balance. I often feel like I am running in circles not accomplishing anything, I often feel as though my efforts to provide and love are not noticed. Sometimes I feel like just giving up because no one will notice if I dont do all the things that I do. I go though stages of feeling like I too am lost and have somehow gotten on the wrong track. I even got a tattoo just below my neck that is the symbol of peace and balance, what I always strive for! This was my 40 th birthday splurge, totally out of character for me. Sometimes you gotta do the unexpected. It is my reminder of what I strive for daily. Most of the time I feel like a failure at it…….but something happens to remind me I am right where I want to be on the exact path I intended at just the right spot and I think God for that. Here are some of my moments that help with this. Growning up all my friends wanted to be at my house… dinner with my parents. When they were struggling with life issues talk to them and recieve their comfort. I remember in my early 20’s thinking I want a house like that for my kids. Now my kids are junior high and high school and all the friends always want to hang out here. They eat dinner with us and talk about their day. Moms often comment to me. “Tyler” always wants to be at your house, all he talks about is your dinners or “Brandon” wants to eat with you guys because he says you always cook different stuff and he likes to try it. We even have been called to pick a friend up whose parents were going through a divorce and aguing and they wanted to come to our house to get away from it. My parents experienced the same. So sometimes I have to remind myself I my not be achieving everything but I am achieving the most import one. That is to have a loving home that people feel safe to be their self to laugh, to cry, to act silly, and rest! I often see people on facebook post what is my legacy. I can say at the age of 40 I figured out mine and my parents. Their legacy is that they raised a daughter who dreamed of on day providing a home that they did. This is also my legacy, I hope one day my kids dream the same dream to raise their children in a home like they grew up in. I do at times desire more time to decorate, work out, and pamper myself. What I have also learned is to be patient. It all happens in moments, just like the moments that remind me I am on the right path, the moments that remind me I am appreciated. These are the moments that give my life worth and meaning and I cherish that.

  24. I have to say that I am finding what Rebecca says about sacrificing our lives for our childrens’ lives to be true. See, I wanted all that Amy wanted, and I got it…but what I realized is this:I struggle to find balance between it all. I seemingly have the “perfect life”. I work about 15 hours a week, which is rewarding(but can get tiring when the appoinments are slightly random), I volunteer for my kids’ school which is fun and fulfilling(but can become a monster because people want more of my time often), I have time to spend quality time with my kids, which I love!(except for maybe when my kids are tired/bored/difficult and slightly mean) and really I could go on, but the point I am getting to is this: even though I am doing exactly what I want, it really is a balancing act that can become tedious if I don’t remember to throw myself into the important things to do and take care of. I have packed on a lot of pounds by putting everyone else first(I am an emotional eater) and it was like I woke up one day and took stock of all of the things around me, forcing me to make myself important. My kids need to have me do less for them sometimes so that they realize I am important too. I love doing the things I do, but sometimes it can be more damaging than good…and it isn’t just my kids, it’s the school, my clients, and the random person that I help. Me helping everyone is not always the answer and if I grudgingly feel like helping someone, then I probably shouldn’t. Marian, you are exactly right, I have left some people behind throughout my years and I usually find they were huge energy suckers, not that I am leaving my kids behind, but instead of leaving me behind, I need to put myself on that same level with everyone else. This is so random but like the broken record I am, you really are awesome for putting things out there Marian, and I appreciate your words, Amy’s word and all the others’s words. I think we all appreciate what we have, but as women and mothers, finding a balance, remembering ourselves and trying to do everything else keeps us in a state of off balance that we all work to regain/maintain. I hope that makes sense. Anyhow, this post couldn’t have happened at a better time, because I too have prayed and this post helps answer that prayer in ways that are hard to explain. Reaffirmation of a common bond, ie, we are never the only ones with the same feelings is comforting and calming. Thank you for all that you do and share Marian, and thank you for the people you expose us to! Much Love!

    • Oh, I’m ALWAYS praying for balance in my life! I agree that there are times when I am going in so many different directions and I become the “mommy monster” and everything is a burden or something I’m resenting (even great blessings) and I have to pull myself back, say no to some things and take stock of what’s important. It is such a delicate balance to care for your family without totally neglecting yourself. It’s not good for our families if we’re meeting all of their needs, but we’re tired, unhealthy, resentful, bitter or frazzled all the time. What kind of example does that set?

      Great comment!

    • Yes, even us full time moms have trouble balancing it all!

  25. Maybee's Mom says:

    I loved your thought….but please remember that raising children is the most important work we will ever do….I agree with KIKI….I too am a 57 year old mother of 3 adult, college educated, employed, adults……one or more are here at the homestead daily….I had an antique booth for over 20 years….did crafts…..worked part time….I was a stay-at-home mom…..had zero help with my children……as I was walking through it…I felt trapped…..overwhelmed…..wanted something for myself…..antique booth helped…that was my hobby and loved that financially I could pay a few bills and change my furniture weekly….now I could do what I please….have all the time in the world….I realize it is only stuff I thought I was missing out on… children…are kind, thoughtful, funny,responsible, adults….the creation of their lives that I helped mold….the reward of them wanting to still be home, visit mom & dad…laugh, share their highs and lows…asking our thoughts & opinions or important matters…something has to “give” I choose raising children as my priority….I gave up my antique booth a few years ago…still sell vintage clothing on Etsy and still buy and store furniture to change my house around…..if you do not invest time, energy and raise children up right…nothing else really matters……just my thoughts….Love your wisdom for such a young gal…enjoy today…and what you are walking through….in a blink of the eye… kids are gone and you will have time for all your dreams…Karen

    • I totally agree. My husband and I talked about me taking a retail job at the local outlet mall, but decided starting a business would be a better way for me to earn money and stay at home with my boys. It’s important for me to be there with them, so I love that I can do something I enjoy and be there with them, so I don’t miss out on those few short years before they go off into the world.

  26. beverlee says:

    what inspiring reading…thank you all for sharing your joy and your struggles..

  27. Denise says:

    Wow, what a perfect timing it is. Great post, Marian. Thanks to Amy and Marian. I am crying! . I am really overwhelmed with work and I feel like it is taking over my life. I agree with Amy’s in regards to the vision and J Piper’s comments – don’t waste your life. Balance is the most important aspect of life. Want to regroup and use the gifts that God gives (to everyone including me) . For the past three years, it opens up my heart and eyes , I know that I need to follow my heart. Thanks to Miss Mustard Seed blog, it has encouraged and inspired me in a big way.

  28. Marian, you have inspired so many people! I just have to say thank you for putting yourself out there and for sharing so much with all of us. I will email you at some point to tell you how you have inspired me personally and how you have helped me get my business off the ground. I’m still in the beginning stages, still a little scared, fearful no one will buy anything when my etsy shop opens, and daily turning it back over to God. Going back and reading your story has been a huge help to me!

  29. All the comments are true and from the heart. I worked most of 40 years, just retired end of 2011 and immediately started a business.I’ve always been a creative type and always have had something going on the side…sometimes for pleasure, sometimes for extra money. I painted and stained furniture way back in the 70’s and 80’s and always enjoyed it. Also had an antique booth for a few years, just for fun.

    I think no matter which road you choose when you are a young mother, it’s possible you will look back with a few regrets. I worked, got too enamored with the challenge of accomplishment, and should have been home with my children more. Had I not worked and been a stay at home mother, I likely would have looked back and regretted not having a career. Who knows?

    What I want to contribute to this conversation is this….I read once that most of us end up falling into a workplace, business, job and then have to figure out all the hard stuff about how to fit a real life around that work/job. When, the thing we should have done was figure out FIRST what we wanted our LIFE to be like…how we want to live every day….then design our work/job around THAT. Not the other way around.

    I encourage young, middle-age, and old…’s never too late to design your life to be the way you want it. I have found in my life that once a person (me, you) starts truly focusing on something… will happen because you are thinking about it all the time. :) Go for it!

  30. Thanks so much for sharing, Marion! So inspiring! I recently had a similar epiphany when I quit what I was doing and started my blog 6 months ago. It’s been the best decision I’ve ever made, and the reward is truly the journey! Thanks so much for sharing!
    Virginia @ LiveLoveDIY

  31. Very powerful words. It is often so hard to juggle all that we put on ourselves or life throws our way. I guess all of us can relate in whatever stage of life we are in. Thank you for the inspiration as usual. :)

  32. Martha says:

    Dear Marion:

    What an interesting post. Its a bit like therapy, anyway, I admire everyone who writes and pours out their feelings and dreams. Its very exciting.

    I have been a teacher since I graduated from College, I worked 9 months and had the summers off. I traveled a lot while I was single, and enjoyed it.
    I got married, had two girls by the time I was 30. I worked non stop to put my husband through a lot of schooling. He got a great corporate job in NY, we had the house in Ct, great friends, family and a great church.

    One day, my husband felt he needed to go in another direction in his life. My hole entire world was upside down. We sold the entire house and part of our furniture, and moved from the East Coast to
    the West Coast . He heard a call to Ministry, so he enrolled in a Seminary for a degree in theology.
    My baby was 8 months, and he acknowledged my wishes of not working because I helped him with this
    huge “dream”.
    He worked all night at a bank, and study during the day. We only had his income, but I stayed home
    with my two daughters, did all the mom things, and the wife things, and I was so happy. Those five years
    that took him to complete his studies were very happy. However, I had to can vegetables, I had to learn
    how to sew, I had to budget very careful. You could say “life wasn’t a dream”

    I’m saying it like it was. Eventually he got his first church and they pay him little money. So, I took a teaching job again, did the duties of a teacher, mom, wife, but now I had another duty, I was the Minister’s
    wife. 7 days, a week.

    I taught school and did the mom, wife, and minister’s wife thing because my husband had a dream, I personally didn’t think of my dreams. I love to craft, love antiques, love to decorate, but its funny that
    I don’t think of “my dream” because I was so involve in my family dream.

    I spent every free moment with my girls, all summer at the beach with them, I read to them everynight,
    I took them to every activity within reason. They are great girls, in college and straight A.

    I am thinking about why didn’t I think about me, its because maybe I’m different but to me my home and my family after God, is number one, and I love it.

    Marion, I think you are “super” talented, and cann do so many things, I could never survive a week like
    “Lucketts” however, this world needs woman like you and like me.

    May GOd bless you always,



    I guess,

  33. Aimee says:

    While I understand the whole “churning” through life thing, I’m not there. I wish I was there. “Churning” indicates some type of movement. Right now I feel as if I’m going nowhere. I feel stuck. I’m young, graduated college a few years ago, married to the best man I’ve ever met, but somehow something is missing. I’ve been with the same company for 9 years, which also happens to be the same company that my husband has been with for 13 years. I feel guilty that I don’t love it. It provides everything that we have, but I’m growing to resent it and hate it, which doesn’t help on the marriage side of things. I want to find a passion, a hobby, something. I tried my hand at a few things, but never got much enjoyment, nor was I really any good at any of them. My husband has several hobbies that he is fiercely passionate about. All I feel is jealous that I don’t have that same kind of release that one gets from doing something they love. I love my family and friends but I have the need to do something selfish that is only for myself. The only problem is, I don’t know what that is.

    I don’t mean to sound ungrateful. I know I am truly blessed more than I ever could have imagined. But have you ever felt that way? Just stuck? On the way back from somewhere awesome, but not yet to what you imagine life could be. Stuck somewhere in the middle trying to find yourself, but you don’t know what you’re looking for.

    • I’ve always been someone with lots of hobbies and passions and I’ve almost always known what I want and I go for it. I do know people, though, who are in the same place you are. It definitely sounds like you need to write a manifesto…even if it’s just expressing the desire to find something to be passionate about.

      Start somewhere simple. Where are the you happiest? When are you the happiest? What moves you? What challenges you? What pushes you? What do you think about when your mind starts to wander? What do you want to be known for? Answering some of those questions may help you find a direction. Even ask them of your husband and other people who know you well to see what they see in you. I’m sure there are passions there that have yet to be discovered.

  34. I enjoyed this beyond measure. Your blog provides so much, far from just decorating ideas and furniture refinishing. For me it also provides a warm embrace of what I know God intended our homes to provide — for our families and indeed ourselves. thank you ♥ and Amy :)

  35. Kimberly Mathews says:

    Thank you for this!

  36. I loved Amy’s writing and feel as though I wrote it myself. I think it’s okay to know you are beyond blessed with many things and yet still be honest enough with yourself that something is missing. My Mom passed away 11 months ago. My life and self have changed more than I ever could have imagined. Personally, I have realized how short life is, and by recently reading old letters my Mom wrote to people that I had never read before, I learned so much about her and how she put everything but herself and wishes and dreams first. She was so talented in so many ways but probably never did most of what she wanted to do or try or experience because she was too selfless. Now, I commend her for her devotion and she was the best Mom ever, don’t get me wrong, but you could just tell in all of her letters how there was another woman in there screaming to get out. I love my children and husband more than anything, but I can give the greatest love by loving myself the most first, and that means letting my passions be ignited and letting my wishes and dreams not just be mere thoughts and fears. Thank you for sharing Amy’s Manifesto! I will be writing my own.

  37. Hi Marian
    After I read this post I pressed publish on a post I’d written but was a little scared to send out into the world. It’s part manifesto, part goals, dreams, and inspirations.

    Its here…

    Thank you for encouraging us all to be brave and dream.

  38. Wow! This sounds really familiar. I always feel better know I am not alone but it sure doesn’t help me make the changes I need to make. I will definitely be writing my manifesto very soon & sharing it on my blog. Thanks for the challenge!

  39. Just sharing my journey, via blog post…

    Well done, Miss Mustard Seed, you are good and faithful. You make Him smile. Thank you for all that you do.

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  1. […] readers. Of course, I said yes! Marian’s post — which includes my manifesto — is here. Now, I’m overwhelmed. Miss Mustard Seed has given me another gift — the chance to […]

  2. […] Amy’s Manifesto @ Miss Mustard Seed […]

  3. […] Amy’s Manifesto @ Miss Mustard Seed […]

  4. […] Amy’s Manifesto @ Miss Mustard Seed […]

  5. […] the opportunity to meet people like Miss Mustard Seed, who earlier this week so kindly shared the manifesto that led to the founding of Atta Girl Says. I was so inspired by what I saw there and the talented […]

  6. […] it all on Miss Mustard Seed…. In a good way! She is so inspiring and doggone it she posted Amy’s manifesto from AttaGirlSays the other day and it cut straight to my heart I MEAN STRAIGHT TO IT! I love […]

  7. […] sweet and supportive Shirley at Housepitality Designs, who first reached out to me when Marian at Miss Mustard Seed shared my […]

  8. […] for work and other obligations. It caused me to rethink my life, to set some goals, to write a manifesto, to start this blog with Laura, to realize a long-held desire to open a retail […]

  9. […] blog and her story was one of the things that inspired me to write a manifesto, which you can read here, to start a blog and to pursue my creativity by opening a booth in an antique […]

  10. […] to start Atta Girl Says. Little did I know when I wrote my blogging manifesto, which you can read here, that I would not only start my own furniture-painting business but also that I would become one of […]

  11. […] saw this post at Miss Mustard Seed’s blog, “Amy’s Manifesto”, and Marian asked, challenged us, to write one of our own and share it with someone. Since I share […]

  12. […] morning, Marian, at Miss Mustard Seed has one of her amazing, heartfelt posts, that include a personal “manifesto” by a […]

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