Monday, July 15, 2013

{Blog}-i-ver-sary and {7 Things I've Been Learning}

String up the banners and bring out the balloons!

It's an official celebration around here.

Conservative estimates, suggest, that there are over 240 million blogs, currently out there in the blogosphere.

So, adding my voice to all the on-line noise with the masses, just seems crazy, even today. 

I'd go so far as to say, it was a little bit like running and then swinging off a rope, into the large, cold lake of faith and landing with a splash!

Here are some reflections on what I've been learning from blogging, writing and all that has come with that. 

1. Sometimes in life, you have to just go for it: 
The world of blogging is vast. My knowledge is small. To get this little home on the web up and running was an act of God really. The details and the design and the how-to's and the what-next, of it all. If I had waited until I had it all figured out.... well you would not be reading this. :]

Do you have something in your life you need to quit over-thinking and just step out into the swirling unknown water and do? Can I give you a small encouraging push? 

I wasn't really ready. There was no seven point plan or long range written goals. 

Some days I think there is absolutely not another thing to say, but then ideas and words start bubbling out of my heart and head, which causes me to scribble notes onto crumpled slips of paper and talk in to my phone notes, which looks like I'm talking to myself. And really. I am. 

2. I've been living and dreaming out loud:
It really wasn't me, stating  in so many words, "Hey, I have this dream, to have a blog, to write about hard touchy things, happy silly things, and what all Grace has done in my life so far."


Like most of you, I'd really rather keep all the messy stuff to myself. And honestly, I'd rather be comfortable and do what is easy. All. the. time.   I did however, have a burning, relentless idea, that I was suppose to weave words into stories and for several years fought the drag and pull to a blog, as a way that could happen. 

3. Story is important: 
E-v-e-r-y-o-n-e has a story and I believe that stories are to be shared. I also believe that the things we live through, well, they are important. There is this ridiculous idea that we present our good face to the world. On social media it is easy to only post the cool stuff. Where we are eating at amazing places, going to beautiful locations and editing our photos so only our best side is public.

But when we talk about the real stuff. The raw stuff. When we are transparent about the reality of our lives and what we are learning, there is someone who can relate and we can process the lessons. There is someone who needs to hear some honest things to put salve on their own souls.

So many times, I have wrestled with a post or subject matter. Once it was written I'd shake my head and think how I did not want to write about that thing. Within minutes of pushing "publish" the e-mails would come or comments posted, saying how they "needed to hear that today".

Who wants a friend that has it all together? You and I both need friends that can walk this messy often times hard life, together. Each of us is living a story. My prayer is that we each live a better story because we are doing it together. 

4. Writing is risky:
Yes. Some people don't like me or get what this place is for.
That is SO okay! Because for every one of those people, there are others that do get it and walk away encouraged in their everyday sort of life. This writing has made me more bold. It has made me more courageous. It has made me feel more alive. It has been worth the risk.  

5. There is a cost and a process:
Blogging has cost me more than I bargained for most days.

There is a price tag of time, talent, and resources.

I've stayed up half the night and gotten up in the middle of the night to write. I've locked myself in my office for hours, I've prayed hard, and I've lined the keyboard with Kleenex and cried hard.  So often I will feel the writing is flat, unimportant and silly, then suddenly things will spill out onto the screen that surprise me. There is a sense when it is done. So then I release it to the world wide web. The goal is try not to think about, who will read it, or how they will receive it.

I have to trust that it is not mine anymore. There have been times when I go back and read something I've written, to marvel that I could have ever been the one to tap that out on a computer. 

God is about the journey. God is about the process.

There is time and beauty in the learning and the heart change process. To embrace each day, each post, each soul-lesson is what this is about for me. 

6. This blog is a God-thing not a networking thing: 
Mary DeMuth  said this: "Theologian Frederick Buechner wrote: “Vocation is where our greatest passion meets the world’s greatest need.” I would add to that: our ministry is the intersection of our passion and the world’s greatest need." 

Yes. I believe that women (and a few brave men here) need to hear more real things about what Jesus is doing in the world. 

Many people know who I was and what I was like. Then I met Jesus. Now I am unapologetic about my passion for Him. 

Because of that encounter I have been on the the craziest wild ride of my life, embracing freedom, joy and the reality that all His promises are yes in that beautiful name. Jesus.  

My passion is for women seeing themselves beautiful, to walk in freedom and to live the life God designed us for. 

I'm passionate about living a good story in my real life.

7. My tribe.. my people... my readers... :

That's you. 

(imagine... me grinning at you)

Imagine too, how shocked I am every time I happen to notice the stats. Numbers are not my thing, but they are there.

My beginning hope was that someone would read the words. No one could have prepared me for the fact that thousands of people would read my blog every single month. 

That melts my heart. 

Hearing from you. Meeting you. Knowing you.

It has made my world bigger.

It has made my world smaller.

Meeting some of you in person and many of you virtually. You beautiful women from other towns, states, providences and countries has amazed me. Gifted, tender, humble, women, reaching across invisible lines of technology, through the veil of the computer screen
-to connect hearts.

Each one of you are so unique. Each of us have so much common ground. Wanting to be less of who we were and more of what God intends us to be. 

You are the reason I stepped out into the big crazy blogosphere. It has less to do with me and more to do with how much Jesus loves you and wants to wrap His arms around you. 

I pray you always feel that kind of love and embrace here. 

And can I just thank you?

This blog home, this writing here, this thing that you have been part of with me, it has served to wake up part of my soul.

It has helped me process some hard things and live my faith more vibrantly.

Thank you for your kindness and deep grace.

Thank you for reading, for commenting and for loving me.

You have made, coming out of my little blog closet and waking up the writer in my soul easier. 

Yes. Thank you.

Thank you.... for walking with me these days here at my little happy blog home on the web. 

The home of my heart.

→  ♥  ←

So with no further a-do and a small happy drum roll please.......

I'm so excited that I'm having a giveaway!

To be entered, just subscribe to blog updates.

So easy!

On the sidebar labeled "follow by e-mail!" -----→

 That's it.

 Here are the cool things I'm giving away this week!

Photo Credit

Day Spring Photo

Signed copy from Emily T. Wierenga

Shauna Niequist

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