So about 46 days ago….February 8th…I officially decided to start blogging.
We created this blog on December, 12 2008. It would’ve been our daughter Selah’s first birthday. On average I posted maybe 1 or 2 times a month (with huge gaps in between) until February of this year. Most of the time, I shared photos of the kiddos or something I’d written for a different scenario…mostly it was an online chronicle of our journey through our daughter Selah’s death and the adoption of our youngest daughter, Lydia.
But since the beginning of February, I have been trying to write on a regular basis.
For a Few Reasons:
#1) I enjoy writing. It helps me process life. When I write, I slow down and try to see how God is working and what He is teaching me.
#2) My husband’s job often requires him to work from home in the evenings. We are very thankful for his steady, secure job (especially in this economy) and so instead of wasting time watching mind-numbing TV shows and wandering the halls of Facebook–blogging has been a good alternative activity for when he is working and the kiddos are asleep.
#3) I have had people share that they’ve been encouraged by our experiences. I’m not able to offer a great example to follow…but I can share how God is convicting me, working on my heart, and the things that we are learning along the way.
#4) Blogging has been a treasure hunting map, where the treasure has been finding other blogs that encourage and inspire me to be a better mom and wife and to walk closer with the Lord.
Things I Have Learned In the Past 46 Days of Blogging:
#1) How to sign into my own account (yes–this is how basic my starting place was). I couldn’t even remember my own password.
#2) How to link, comment and edit a post (yes–that’s just how new I am to all of this).
#3) Posts that I deem uninteresting and unimportant are often the ones that God chooses to use the most.
#4) It’s okay (no–even good) to be real and share my failures, because creating a pretense that all is perfect in our home is far less glorifying to Him than sharing about God’s mercy and redemption amidst my mess.
#5) It’s easy to get caught up in the numbers. Once I learned how to find my “page views” (the number of blog pages viewed each day)…I could see how caring too much about daily visitors might become a potential negative. And that is not at all why I decided to enter the world of blogging. Yesterday we had 872 page views. I don’t know if that is a little or a lot in the world of blogging…but for our blog, that is a huge increase. But honestly–I don’t want to care. I want to write about what God puts on my heart. And leave it at that.
#6) On the flip side, it’s okay to be encouraged by the numbers. Anyone who writes a book hopes that someone will read it. I wouldn’t be honest if I didn’t admit to how supported I feel when people faithfully stop by, take time to comment, follow the blog, or subscribe to the posts. I am genuinely thankful for you. And I end up feeling thankful to God when someone comes along and offers comfort or wisdom or feedback. There have also been several seasoned bloggers who have really reached out with encouragement. Thank you.
Mistakes I Have Made in the Past 46 Days of Blogging:
#1) I have commented too freely. Forgetting that many others will read my comments.
#2) I have commented too freely. Not realizing whose blog I’m reading (nice of me to offer my parenting input to a blogger who I later find out is 62 and has raised 12 children and who is famous and who is speaking at one of the most nationally recognized blogging conferences). Wow.
#3) I have probably maintained too casual and intimate a voice…that kind of hit me yesterday when I realized how much traffic had crossed our blog, but in some ways…I’m okay with it. I want to communicate effectively, but I also want to sound like myself. It’s going to be difficult for me to not share– that on Friday I had to call Poison Control because our youngest drank part of a bottle of mouthwash. And I was even tempted to write about the signs to look for when evaluating if your “toddler is intoxicated” (which is what the lady at Poison Control said to me)…well..she actually used the term “drunk”. Thankfully, Lydi poured most of it on her shirt and the floor and now has a gate on her door so she can’t roam the house before we are up and moving. And the big kids know not to leave the mouthwash on the counter.
#4) I have written too much…as in… quantity (all of those long-timers are probably shaking their heads at this newbie who shares too freely and too often). I’m still figuring all that out.
#5) I panicked over a news story where Internet photos were used for vile purposes and so I spent this afternoon going through old posts to make sure we are comfortable with all the family photos that are posted on the blog. I never really even considered that worry. In writing, I wanted to share our lives and God’s work in our lives. I never even thought to worry about the scary side of being open. But–now that will be a constant in my mind whenever I post.
#6) I chose our dog as my profile photo. …Really? At what point did that seem like a good idea? Now I have changed it in some places, but still haven’t figured out how to change it in others.
So–just know–while we do love our muppet-like-mess-of-a-dog….she ate banana peels two mornings ago and then vomited on the carpet…she is clearly not blog-profile-photo worthy.
Things I Have Loved About the Last 46 Days of Blogging:
#1) It keeps me writing. I have missed consistent writing. And blogging gives me a goal.
#2) I have an ever-present sense of “what is God teaching me through this”…much like a photographer who savors the daily images of life.
#3) I have met several new friends who I think would be genuine friends in “real life” if we lived closer.
#4) I have wasted less time on other media outlets (Facebook, television, eBay, Craigslist).
#5) I have constant accountability. It is difficult to write a post about “being a good mommy” if I’m barking orders at our kiddos on the sidelines. I get the irony of that. And it’s convicting.
#6) I have to be honest about my computer skills. Someday I may get around to an up-to-date-state-of-the-art blog-site with my own “button” and “banner” –but it’s only going to be if someone comes along side and offers assistance, because my learning curve is a bit slow when it comes to technology. It’s good for me to just focus on the writing.
#7) It’s fun for me to share ideas…for example, our big spring break trip yesterday involved driving 1.2 miles to a nearby hotel where we gained access to a swimming pool for 24 hours. The kiddos rarely get to stay at a hotel and they were just as thrilled with our 1.2 mile get-a-way as if we’d driven for 2 days to a luxury vacation spot. Can I just say…? Try this sometime. We had so much fun together!
Things That Are Both Good and Bad About the Past 46 Days of Blogging:
#1) I have had friends tell me that they feel like they know what’s going on in our lives just from reading our blog. Good–I love that they care enough to read and feel like it helps us keep in touch. Bad–it’s a one-sided conversation where I do all the talking…unless they comment and I can respond.
#2) I’m not “in” the blogging world enough yet to recognize or be impressed by certain names and sites. Good–I comment honestly and feel okay about entering into a conversation with the blog author. Bad–my expectations about dialogue may not be realistic, considering that they have a-bazillion other readers I don’t know about. Good–I care about the blog author because they just seem like a normal person to me…and really…they are. Bad–my communication may be too familiar and casual for speaking with someone who is actually a professional blogger.
#3) When people comment on a post in a way that presents an unbiblical viewpoint…I have to figure out how to respond. Bad–I don’t like to hurt anyone’s feelings so I’m tempted to just ignore those comments. Good–I’m forced to figure out a kind, loving, response rooted in a biblical worldview.
#4) I’ve had to confront (once again) my people pleasing tendencies. When I push “publish” do I spend too much time wondering what others will think? Even knowing that God put it on my heart to share about the humbling aspects of parenting, do I worry about my parenting reputation? Do I check my stats too often? Am I discouraged when my page views go down? Or elated when they increase? Is there too much delight when I see our site listed among “Favorite Blogs” on another website? Is my delight for His name…or for mine? But this is a good thing…to wrestle with.
So…I decided it was time to claim a verse for this blog…before I go any farther…or is it further?
For some who have been in the blogging world for years…
This may all just seem very over-thought.
But for me (between me and God)…it’s important.
I am loving this. This medium for writing. And for sharing.
And I know He has me writing for a reason.
And I want to keep writing because of His reasons.
So here is my verse:
O Lord–let this be the true, real, genuine, honest, overwhelming purpose of my heart in whatever I share on this blog…
And to those of you who actually spend time reading this…thank you.
It is an encouragement to me as I muddle down this path of life.