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:
- Share that it is possible to live a life of Beauty in the midst of adversity.
- Continue my old preparedness goals of sharing the importance of stocking a pantry.
- Most importantly... through my own story let people know that Jesus is real and peace is a Person.
- 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