I don’t know if it is this perfect rainy fall-ish weather or the lack of sleep I run on during this stage of life, but I have been really contemplative and really over daily self-promotion on social media. Anyone who uses social media primarily as a business platform can surely relate; sometimes you are legitimately excited about whatever you’re marketing, but sometimes you are purely feeding the algorithm so you can try to make a living of some kind.
The great part of social media is that it can help you feel connected to people when you’re feeling isolated. Unfortunately, this connection can prove to be pretty superficial, especially from a business perspective, because you are trying to sell a product. After a while, you look up and have to honestly come to grips with the fact that this product includes you: your life. Your thoughts. Your spouse. Your kids. All part of this "brand."
This has been a struggle for me, one I have to reevaluate often, because I love my product! I wouldn’t advertise it if I didn’t truly believe it held something besides just monetary value, as in, helping me real financial goals for my family. Frankly, it hasn’t been a secret that my biggest goal for Simply Stated is doing my part in encouraging others to get into Scripture, so I try to be transparent in how Scripture affects how I look at my life and hopefully how I engage with others. However, even this can become self-promotion. Social media blurs every line it seems that I set. Social media, like any tool, has an intended purpose. Sometimes you can get creative, but if you aren’t careful, it will do damage.
There are moments where God speaks clearly enough that I post it on that little cell phone screen because I’m hoping that against all odds it will cut through the flood of products that myself and others keep pouring out there to help someone else take a breath, too; that in some kind of ironic feat reverse-psychology, a post on social media will help us take a break from social media. The daily self-promotion is draining, and is a strain on me and my family. So, full disclosure, I am stepping back from that; however, I don’t want to step back from the parts of social media that have happily surprised me, like when some of you either pull me aside in real life or message me on here that something I shared encouraged you.
So, I hope you love my products, because I love them. But more importantly, I want for you and for myself to keep striving to find intimacy with Christ through His word, and community through actual transparency. I have been challenging myself to start my day with Scripture, even if it’s just 15 minutes of using the Bible app on my phone instead of starting with scrolling through Instagram. I’ve been finding that when I do that, the compulsion to mindlessly scroll is not as strong.
I plan on sharing my products, but I think I have established the integrity of my brand enough to breathe and not post every single day that you should definitely buy something from me. Maybe that’s the dumbest business move, but practically speaking, daily pictures of my product don’t alter your budget. However, there is value in the posts that hopefully point you to Christ. I’m going to start a hashtag, #simplystatedIRL (as in, “in real life”), for these types of posts. If you want to participate in this...whatever it is (I’m leaving it open to where God is taking this, because I’m not entirely sure yet). When my posts inevitably begin to disappear from your feed because my infrequent posting doesn't please the Instagram algorithm, you can just search for that hashtag and find us. By "us," I mean my posts, and hopefully yours as well.
If you are struggling with something or feel like God has shown you something that could cut through another’s darkness, use this hashtag so we can all find each other when we’re feeling isolated. Hopefully, this will lead to in-real-life connection, and you might be surprised how someone feeling just as alone and isolated as you are lives in THE SAME FREAKING TOWN. I don’t know if you are an overwhelmed college student, a SAHM flicking someone else’s boogers off of you constantly, or what the deal is, but I hope this can help us use social media as a springboard to real connection and not a hole to dig ourselves deeper into when we are feeling crappy.
The reality of the necessity of making money is obvious; but I hope that if transparency gains followers, it is to foster relationships, not sales. Buy my stuff if you like it, but not because it will intrinsically make either of us a better person.
Levi Paul Compton was born via emergency C-section on Friday, July 7, 2017, at 9:09pm. He was 7lb 5oz and 20in. long.
Thursday night, July 6, at about 10:30pm, I started to have regular, long contractions. After an hour of timing them, we contacted our midwife, Gail Brown. To have a home birth, the pregnancy must be at 37 weeks; we were short just 30 minutes, but Gail okayed the home birth and our other midwife, Hannah, came over about an hour later. We had the house clean and perfect for the ideal home birth, for Levi's arrival, and for family to come and stay.
The contractions grew stronger steadily, and I was first measured at a 3, an hour later progressed to a 4, then about two hours after that to a 5.
My parents, my brother and his wife arrived at the house Friday morning to stay with Addie while I labored. Blake was a source of constant encouragement as I tried every labor position I could think of, many of which involved Blake's help.
Then, for almost 10 hours, I stayed at a 5, in spite of increased and more intense contractions. At this point, we tried everything. We even tried to stop the contractions, thinking maybe my body wasn't actually ready to bring my son into the world. However, nothing worked. Finally, I progressed to a six, and stayed at a six for four hours. At this point we tried everything to naturally progress contractions, including using a breast pump. I had transition-strength contractions for an hour and a half, but still measured at a six. This was when my water broke, and the midwives could finally feel what we thought was Levi's head--only, it wasn't his head, but his hip.
We immediately left for St. Anthony's. As I was helped into a wheelchair and rushed through the emergency room, patients waiting were showering me with kind words: "You got this, Mama!" "You're strong, girl!" In the agony of trying not to push, the encouragement of strangers helped me get through the longest wheelchair ride down a hallway and up an elevator that I imagine exists. Once in the room, the nurses quickly checked me - still a six. The ultrasound tech came in and confirmed that Levi was indeed bottom down, and couldn't turn. They prepped me for a C=section right away. In all of this, Blake was my rock. Thanks to nursing school, he could tell me exactly what was going to happen with the C-section and ease so much of my anxiety, especially in the midst of very intense contractions where I couldn't do the one thing I wanted to do, which was push!
Levi was just as steady as his Daddy. In all of this, his heart rate maintained a perfect beat.
In the meantime, my parents, Blake's parents, our midwives, and my sister-in-law waited patiently with Addie in the waiting room. Addie made sure to entertain everyone with magic and dance shows.
Even though I was scared of the C-section (I have never had any kind of hospitalization other than a very bad stomach virus my first year of college where I thought my appendix had burst....because I was a wimp), I had peace. Our families were there. I even got to see Addie before they prepped me. Our midwives assured me that this was the best and ONLY option for Levi's birth. Blake was right beside me all the way. And, most importantly, I had complete confidence in God's faithfulness. I knew this would be yet another story where God's plan was completely different and completely better than ours.
The doctors and nurses who did my C-section were absolutely amazing. They were calm, reassuring, and cared for Levi and me so well. Once out, Levi was perfect. He cried immediately. Soon, I heard the doctor tell Blake to look at Levi: about 6 inches from his belly button was a true knot in the umbilical cord. Had Levi delivered any later, or dropped more during his labor, the problems the knotted cord could have caused are too many (and too dangerous) to list here.
Dr. Jennings came out to update the family on Levi and me, and pretty soon after Blake came out to tell them more about the birth. Telling them about the knot in Levi's cord refreshed the reality of how God had protected our son, bringing Blake to tears.
To summarize, the more I reflect on Levi's birthday, the more I reflect on how good our God is. While in the middle of a hard and what I was beginning to believe was a fruitless labor, all I could think was, "Why is this so hard? Is this really the labor God wants for my son? What am I doing wrong?" I joked that his seeming refusal to leave my womb was that his name is Levi, which means "joined" or "attached;" he was too attached to his Mommy! I actually do believe his name played a large role in this event. I believe God attached Himself firmly to my son, and to every aspect of his birth.
So, to all who prayed for us, especially during those agonizing labor hours, thank you. I truly believe your prayers played a valuable role in what God was doing in unseen places. I am overwhelmed by your love and support, and by how God's goodness shines through even our darkest doubts.
I want to say thank you to everyone who has supported Simply Stated with their business this past month, and to those who have been so understanding of my scheduling. My family and I are heading to Colorado at the end of the week for my brother-in-law's wedding, and I will be slowly cutting back on orders after that in preparation for our son's arrival! Levi Paul is due July 28th, however we will be slowing down to prepare in case he comes early as well. He's a big dude! He's measuring three weeks ahead! I am planning on taking about a month off for maternity, and basically starting Simply Stated back up close to the beginning of the school semester as we swing back into Blake's nursing school schedule and Addie's homeschool schedule (whatever that actually is).
My family and I enjoyed the opportunity to go on vacation to Gulf Shores, AL, for a week at the end of May. We had a great time getting our fill of sand and sun, and it was a perfect "reset" after a very full year of Blake being in full time nursing school. While most of us can certainly relate to the truth that summer can be busier than the rest of the year, we are looking forward to July being a time for us to revel in a slower pace as we welcome the newest member of our family. This includes the likelihood of no blog update for July, so I want to go ahead and let you know about some things to look forward to from Simply Stated in the coming few months.
Simply Stated has been flexing a lot of creative muscles lately with custom orders, invitations and invitation suites, and less traditional takes on wedding calligraphy; but my favorite projects have been prayer journals and hand painted Bibles we have been working on. My goal is to have more of these in inventory to list on Etsy and take to upcoming fall craft shows. I love fulfilling custom requests for these items, but am dreaming and scheming designs that can be ordered as is, or ordered as a semi-custom design with room for a verse of the customer's choice.
Finally, we are currently researching and preparing for collaborative work to help raise support for a family's adoption efforts. This will hopefully include a beginner's calligraphy class taught by yours truly, and other items for sale whose profits will directly fund the adoption. While I am grateful for whatever work we take on, and how faithful God has been to grow Simply Stated, these are the sort of projects that have always been my passion: products that lead people deeper into Scripture, and projects that ultimately serve others.
I can't say enough how much I love my job, and how thankful I am for your continued support. Hopefully the next time you hear from me here, it will be for a birth announcement!
I will be completely honest with you: I am not 100% set on the objective of these blog posts at this time. For now, my intent is to write a monthly blog. For this month's blog, I am going to show you some of the fun, creative work I have had the opportunity to do since this website's launch!
The past month has been a very busy one for Simply Stated! Since the launching of our new website, I've been busy with styled shoots, custom orders, and wedding shower invitations, just to name a few things. First, here are some photos by Lauren Beauregard Photography of Weatherford, OK, who organized a French-inspired Wedding styled shoot at the State Capitol. I am personally swooning over the marble, the minimalism of the invitation suite, and of course the cake. I'm in my third trimester of pregnancy, and have literally dreamt about these cakes.
Calligraphy | Simply Stated
Florals | The Wild Mother
Food | The Roundhouse Bakery
Jewelry | Kelly Jewelers
Photography | Lauren Beauregard Photography
Rentals | Ruby's Vintage Rentals
Wardrobe | Chantilly Couture Bridal
If you are engaged and planning a wedding for the fall or winter, we would love to talk to you about our wedding calligraphy packages! Or, if you are getting married this summer and have some last minute needs (maybe reception signs, a hand painted Bible to use as a unique guestbook or ring "pillow" idea, or vow books), you can check out our Etsy page to see what we have or email us to get a price quote. Click the button below to take a look at our pricing guide, or email us at email@example.com to get started. If you are near Shawnee or Oklahoma City, I would love to meet you for coffee to discuss your vision for your big day!
Here are a few custom projects we worked on this past month. They included a birthday sign, a devotional cover, graduation gifts, and a wedding reception sign. To see pricing for our custom hand painted journaling Bibles, click the button below to visit our Etsy shop! For additional inquiries, you can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I cannot emphasize enough how much I absolutely love my job. The projects I have completed this month were especially fun for me because I was given a lot of creative freedom. When you choose to shop small and handmade, I hope you know you are allowing businessmakers' dreams to come true. Thank you for your business!
We are so excited to be launching the Simply Stated website! While you cannot directly purchase through this site, it has lots of information you may need regarding custom orders. To shop our current inventory, please click the button below to visit our Etsy shop. To keep up with what goes on behind the scenes of Simply Stated, you can visit our Facebook and Instagram profiles - @simplystateok