Feature writer of the week   www.herviewfromhome.comTell me a little about yourself.
I’m a 31-year-old single, mostly stay-at-home mom to two amazing kids. McLaine is my 6-year-old darling girl. When she was unexpectedly born with special needs, it rocked my world. Little did I know she would truly alter the course of my life, change me as a person, give me renewed purpose, and ultimately steer me back to my relationship with God. Beckett is my 4-year-old wild child. He’s charming, witty, funny, smart as a whip and the biggest ball of energy you’ve ever seen. Not only does he keep me on my toes, he also helps to lighten my mood when things are tough. It’s hard to stay sad or anxious when he’s playing comedian.
Last year I decided to move to Nashville from Florida to be closer to family, and it’s definitely been an adventure. Big change is tough for me, but I truly love it here! My boyfriend and I both come from close-knit families, so it’s been a great experience and change of pace having so much support close by.
When did you start blogging and why?
The many facets of people have always fascinated me. It’s incredibly easy for me to get completely absorbed in other people’s stories. Equally, I love sharing my stories with others. I thrive on human connection. The online special needs community has been a huge part of my life for 6 years now. That is how I originally found out blogging was even a thing, and I discovered I loved tucking myself into someone else’s real life for just a few minutes at a time. Writing just sort of happened upon me earlier this year, though. Being a creative type, I enjoy finding different ways of expressing that creativity, but I never really considered myself a writer. A friend of mine writes for a local blog and during a conversation about it, something clicked and I asked her about submitting. It was totally on a whim and I don’t think I had any real expectation of being chosen. Imagine my surprise when I was. The rest is history. 
What are some of your favorite sites on the ‘net?  
Seeing as I enjoy other people’s stories, naturally social media and blogs are at the top of my list. I’m an avid Facebook-er and Instagram-er. My favorite bloggers are authentic, honest, and unapologetic-ally themselves. Some of my favorite blogs/pages are The MightyMomastery,  the Humans of New York Facebook page, Diary of a Mom, and Mommies of Miracles
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What does a typical day look like for you? (Ha – what’s typical!)
Chaos from beginning to end? Kidding. Kind of. Several months ago I was diagnosed with ADHD, so sometimes I feel like even I don’t know what’s going on. Ha! I’m keeping three children (in addition to my two!) this summer. I generally wake up, fix a cup of coffee, and just prepare myself to keep up with 5 kids. We have been exploring the kid-friendly parts of Nashville quite a bit this summer, so our day usually includes some type of excursion whether it’s the library, the zoo, or the local park. I definitely stay busy from sun up to bedtime. My day is usually finished relaxing on my couch with a glass of wine once the kids are in bed. 
What advice do you have for someone who wants to blog or share her/his story?
Just do it. Don’t worry about what anyone will think, don’t second guess yourself, and don’t waste time waiting for the “perfect moment.” Heck, I don’t even have my own blog yet. I’m just writing my truth, submitting to different sites and seeing what sticks. The best feeling is when what you write resonates with someone and you hear “Me too.” or they tell you that reading your words helped them in some way. 
What story are you most proud of?  
Can I have two? My first post ever and my most recent post, I feel, fully encompass the complex emotions that come along with special needs parenting. Until you’ve lived it, it’s difficult to fully understand. With my writing, I hope to shed some light on this unique life I lead to those who haven’t experienced it and let others in my shoes know that they aren’t alone. 
How can people follow you?
Since I don’t have my own blog “home” yet, you can follow me on Facebook where I share all of my posts that are featured on various sites (please choose the “follow” option rather than friend request). You can also find me on Instagram @honestyandgrace. 

Lauren Cootes

A mostly stay-at-home mom to a spunky six year old diva with an unknown genetic syndrome and a four year old, wild tornado of a boy, Lauren is passionate about faith, family, food, fitness, social media and all things special needs. She prides herself on being awkwardly honest, is a lover of people and immensely enjoys their stories. Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lauren.cootes Instagram: https://instagram.com/HonestyandGrace

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