Sunday, August 27, 2017

Sunday Afternoon Tea - 11 Years of Coffee Tea Books & Me

Every August, just as Summer is waning and the shadows are changing... I enter a new year.  Sometimes I remember on time, as I did this year.  Other years we are well into Autumn before it suddenly hits me... Coffee Tea Books & Me is one year older!

To be starting the twelfth year is practically prehistoric in blog years. I have shared how it was my daughter who encouraged me to begin blogging, thinking it would save me time from the email updates I sent to a small group of friends and family.  (Yes, you can laugh with me.) I had no idea what a blog was although I wasn't new to the Internet, having been an Admin on a preparedness site in the 1990s.

Her encouragement came at the same time I knew God wanted me to start writing again.  I'd started a book and set it aside.  I thought about magazine articles but set that idea aside.  Each time I prayed, the only answer I heard from Him was... JUST WRITE.  I mean, really... except for keeping a journal, does anyone JUST WRITE?

As per usual, I should not have doubted hearing from God even if I didn't understand it at the time.  For that is what blogging provided an opportunity to do.  Write.  Bloggers at that time tended to be writing more for community, few were monetized back then.  There was no pressure to be perfect as long as we ran Spell Check and didn't lose our blog post before publishing (Blogger, in the old days, wasn't as sophisticated as it is now and posts were lost before saving quite often).

There was no way to guess what would happen once the blog design had been accomplished and the name I wanted was actually available.  However, I did have a few goals for this new writing effort.  They were:
  1. Share that it is possible to live a life of Beauty in the midst of adversity.
  2. Continue my old preparedness goals of sharing the importance of stocking a pantry.
  3. Most importantly... through my own story let people know that Jesus is real and peace is a Person.
  4. To openly share my own flaws and follies while protecting the privacy of family.

Otherwise, I've winged it for eleven years and almost 2,000,000 page views.  I told God that I would continue writing as long as He gave me something to write about each week.  Except for the need to give up the mid-week blog post (My World this Week, which I loved but took a whole lot of time)... He has made that possible.

I think the secret to blogging so long is that I kept to the original message and, perhaps more importantly, I decided each post did not have to be perfect.  If that was necessary, CTB&Me would have lasted a few months before I was worn out and all creativity had gone astray.

I have had a lot of opportunities to expand, to bring the blog into a more elite circle.  If I made it "less Christian", if I concentrated only on preparedness, if I talked only about books, etc.  But that is not what I wanted at all.  This blog is about my life and how God has led and the good days and the bad days and those times which have led me to the corner of the sofa with a pint of ice cream and a British flick on the DVD player.

It is about answers to prayer and prayers that were not answered as I expected.  It is about having to create because we all are formed in the image of the Master Creator.  Never perfectly, of course, or creating would no longer be fun.

It is about sharing books and my love for reading and learning from you wonderful authors I had no idea even existed.  It has been about cats I have known and loved.  Sasha.  Stormi.  Victoria.  Florentine, the reigning furry princess.  All having lived during this time, three now gone to Heaven where I am convinced I will see them again. 

When I started blogging, we were still in the midst of homeschooling high school and I was gone away from home many days and numerous evenings.  Books were read at the Community College library as I waited on my son to finish classes, on a bench next to the room where my son was fencing, at a coffee shop waiting for debate practice to end, at the McDonald's across from the Engineering Building at the University... all over town.

These days I'm at home most of the time but thankful to still be here when doctors thought otherwise.  Only God knows when our reasons for walking this planet are over. If we are breathing, He is not done with us.

You were there when Christopher graduated homeschool high school, went to the Community College full time, transferred to the University, graduated with a degree in Computer Science, got married, and became a father.  You were there when my daughter went from being a mom to littles to having her older two kids being teenagers (which I still can't believe). 

The best part of blogging is all the friends I have made from over the world.  I believe there will be many instances in Eternity when we will meet in person, enjoy a cup of perfectly brewed Heavenly tea and a scone, and chat about how we met virtually but formed strong bonds of friendship.

I think as most people now spend more time on Instagram and Facebook, there are less comments and less building of Community through blogging.  However, I am thankful for the friendships developed here. 

So here is to a new year of blogging.  Never ever perfectly.  Sometimes with grammar errors (I tend to make up my own grammar, anyway) and typos if my eyes are wonky.  But friendships are not built on perfection but shared within our mutual flaws.  You do not have to be perfect here.  Which is a very good thing.

Image:  Nostalgia-Mini by Clement Micarelli

27 comments:

Vee said...

Yes, my friend, I did laugh with you as you described Stephanie's thoughts that blogging would be easier...blogging is NOT easy, which is why I thank you so very much for keeping on. God is always going to provide you with the words to say. This I firmly believe. Happy Blogiversary! Your twelfth year and two million visitors...amazing! What church can say that? Think about it... God has given you an incredible platform.

Angela said...

Congrats dear Brenda on your anniversary! And let me say how thankful too I am that you are still here and writing. So many times the words you give seem to be just the right thing needed at the time- like they were written just for me! I do look forward to that cup of tea and a scone!

Anonymous said...

Congratulations on another year of "blogdom". Have been loving CTBM for years and hope He keeps you supplied with words for many more! Especially liked the "pint of ice cream" part! Truly you have been a blessing to me and so many others. Many blessings to you, my friend, Sharon D.

Bess said...

Congratulations to you Brenda, on beginning your 12th year of blogging! That's a tremendous achievement, and I feel blessed to have been reading your blog for maybe 8 or 9 years now.
You express yourself so beautifully. You are right: a blog is a part-time job and even a full-time job for some. I do miss your My World posts, but I know the photography part of blogging is a lot of work. We'll take new photos of Florentine any time you can share them, tho! :O) May God richly bless you, Bess

Cheri said...

Oh, Brenda! Congratulations on your longevity in blogdom! And for not selling out. Your blog is always a breath of fresh air and I have been a faithful reader for years. Quite possibly most of the years you've blogged! My internet issues here in the middle of no where have often prevented me from commenting but those issues are gradually going away.

Thank you for being a faithful voice for Christ in the Internet wilderness. I have recommended your blog to many - you are on my sidebar. :)

I had no idea how long I have blogged. Checking back, I discovered I started in 2004! What?!

The last few years I have kind of lost my 'voice' perhaps intimidated by the shiny, fancy, professional blogs. But your purpose is very close to mine, and I think I will sharpen up my mission, keep calm and carry on.

Thank you, thank you. Happy blogiversary!

lejmom said...

Congrats on your blog anniversary! I am not a frequent commenter, but a constant reader! I look so forward to the 2 days in a row posts...Saturday pantry and Sunday thoughts. Both are so meaningful to me. I agree with the others who say that your words minister to my soul...you cannot know how important you are to us who need to hear your words. The midweek book reviews are good as well. I love it when you include pictures. Thank you for being YOU. Stay healthy...
Hugs from Jane in Florida...

Deanna Rabe said...

Happy blogaversary! I'm thankful you started blogging all those years ago! I love having you for a friend!

Keri said...

Oh, I do look forward to sharing that tea and scone with you in heaven, Brenda! Congratulations on 11 years of encouraging, comforting, and delighting your readers. I count myself blessed to have stumbled upon your blog many years ago!

Alayne said...

Lovely to see your goals in blogging and to have enjoyed so many of your blogs over the years.! Thank you and congratulations! I enjoy your creativity, your photos, am encouraged by your trust in God, and appreciate your honesty about your health and dealing with difficulties and trust in God.

Anonymous said...

Happy Blog Anniversary! I'm so happy I found you just a few years ago, but wished I would have found you so much earlier! And I'm so thankful you decided to keep blogging! It's your realness, honesty and sharing from the heart that has kept me reading your blog and recommending you to my husband and friends. Not to mention, I love Jesus, books, kitties, and tea, too! Looking forward to that heavenly tea and a scone someday!!😊
Hugs and Blessings,
Laura C.(WA)

Anonymous said...

I am yet one more reader who is so grateful for the step of obedience you took by saying "Yes" to God's direction to just write! Your words have taught, inspired, and encouraged me! I am thankful that you did not "expand" and lose sight of your vision and your calling. If you had changed your approach at all, how much we would have missed! I will add that I also loved the "My World This Week" posts ... but no pressure! Your pantry posts, book reviews, and deeper, more reflective posts have all been wonderful. I've even made some of your recipes! (-: I also look forward to joining you with that cup of tea and scone in eternity someday. My, you are going to be busy! -Joy

Carol said...

Brenda: What a blessing you and your blog are!!! (MD)

coleen said...

Happy Blog Anniversary! I'm a faithful reader, just not a frequent commenter......

MaidenLady said...

I'm relatively new to your blog and am enjoying it very much. Congratulations on your 12th year and I hope many more. I don't comment on blogs very often but 12 years deserves one. Have a bless day. ~ carol

Sandy said...

Wow! Eleven years. That is truly amazing in blog land. I love reading even though I don't comment nearly enough. So glad you have stayed with it. I will always love blogs more than a quick picture on Instagram, and I don't touch Facebook.

l hoov said...

Blessings on your Blog-a-Versary! I've only been here for about 1/2 those years, but caught up on older posts as time permitted. You are a favorite, and I can Thank God He led you to do this :-). As stated by another commentor, I truly miss the "My world this week" posts, with pictures of Kitties. Alas... you must do what you can, not what you feel pressured to do!
Heres to you, and your blog...a toast with a perfectly steeped cup o' tea.
LynneinWI

Thickethouse.wordpress said...

Congratulations, dear Brenda! Your blog has been a blessing to so many, and, I hope, also to you.....

Denise Altman said...

I am new-only reading for a couple of months. Keep writing, there are many of us here that want more than an instagram picture.

Little Penpen said...

Happy Blog-versary! I enjoy reading your blog and am glad you are here!!

Heather LeFebvre said...

Yay for 12 years!!!! So thankful for all your writing over the years and how it has encouraged me! I've been reading your blog for 1/4 of my life!!! :) That's a little scary....

Amy said...

Dear Brenda! What a milestone--12 years! Your words and prayers have grounded me and brought me back to truth many, many times, especially over the last year after being diagnosed with breast cancer. God bless you with health and words of truth for years to come!

Marie said...

Happy birthday!!! I don't get to read every day (family responsibilities), but what a joy to catch up on my favorite blog. Please keep writing! You are a dear friend, even at such a distance.

Melissa said...

Yes, thank you for sharing what's on your heart. You have provided us with many new authors in books and Blogs to read. What an encouragement for this life!

Sue said...

I, too, am a long time reader, and very infrequent commenter. You have stayed true to your blog and that is one of the reasons I'm still reading. So many have gone commercial, and to each his own, but I enjoy the blogs that are just about everyday life. I read very few nowadays, but still enjoy yours very much. Thank you Brenda.

Anonymous said...



Brenda, I think I once remarked that you would make up my group (outside of family)as "one of the ten people you would invite to be with you on a desert island" That classic quiz question. Well, I'm getting along in years and desert islands are not on the agenda..... nice about meeting our friends in Eternity! Mairin

Brenda @ Its A Beautiful Life said...

I've been a follower for a few years now. I've enjoyed your posts as you shared your view of life from your corner of the world. Congratulations on your blog anniversary -- it's a milestone.

I also appreciated reading your latest post of your look back on your blogging journey. I did a little shout out of your blog on my latest post.

Wishing you a beautiful day and continued grace in all your endeavours. Purry hugs to your new kitty.

Brenda L.

Deb said...

congratulations on your blogiversary!!! And kudos for continuing on! I am probably one of your original readers but have been behind on reading blogs lately. Glad i scrolled back far enough to find your birthday blog! Keep up the good work!