Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Eleven Years and Counting

So here we are.  Eleven years after I started blogging in June of 2004.  It's not one of those things I sit around and think about so typing that out seems, odd, somehow.  Has it really been 11 years since I sat down and thought up a name for my blog (that wasn't easy but it stuck, and I'm still happy with it), and began to journal my daily thoughts?  Yes, it really has, although daily posts stopped several years ago once I began to work full time.

As I've thought about it over the last few days as I decided if I wanted to mark this personal milestone event (or not) with a post, I thought about all the changes that have taken place not only with the blog, but with me, social media, and blogging in general.  In all areas really, there have been some pretty big changes.

IN THE BEGINNING

Before I started blogging myself, I had a friend who'd started a blog and in his first post he said something about leaving a digital footprint for his newborn son.  He wanted to leave something of a written legacy (his own writings about life and what everything means) for his son and future children to someday read and understand who he was as an adult, as a deep thinker, and not just "dad".  I was rather impressed with that motive for blogging and thought I'd like to do the same.  I've kept diaries and journals since I was about 10 years old so this just felt like the natural progression of things.

Since that first post, I think I've probably covered more topics than I can even remember ever writing about.  Everything from parenting, to phobias, pretty much every Christian doctrine, society, entertainment, politics, traditions, recipes, cats, lions, tigers and bears.  Oh my!  At one time, I had a rather large daily readership (and was on the "blog rolls" of several well known, BIG TIME bloggers, which was very humbling) and I was thankful for their interest and the comments they'd leave.  Often challenged by questions or ideas I hadn't considered previously (or ones I had, and had a lot to say about, because let's be honest, I have a big mouth and usually have a lot to say about a lot of things) blogging became a tremendously exciting way to engage with people on such a wide variety of topics.  I loved it!

Over the years there are a handful of posts I've written that (for a variety of reasons I'm sure) people just keep looking for & reading & commenting on.  Another blogger recently celebrating his own 10 years of blogging calls those his "evergreens".  Those posts that remain timely, relevant, and serve to encourage and bless those reading many years after the fact.  I have those evergreens as well and I'm really glad in-between all the other "stuff" I've gone on about over the years, those posts still matter to a fairly wide audience.

AS TIME GOES BY

Several years ago we stopped homeschooling and I went to work full-time (at home, but still full time) on my graphic design.  As I began to channel my creativity into design, I began to blog less, and less.  Not that I still didn't have plenty to say, but at the end of the day being at the computer all day I didn't really have the energy to sit and blog.  I missed it, and I still miss it, but that's just the way it goes.

The funny thing is, as weeks rolled into months and months into years of blogging less, I found myself far more circumspect about the way I would write when I did decide to sit down and blog.  Instead of essentially dying on every hill, I found less hills.  Instead of being so black and white on so many issues, I saw much more gray.  There is much gray in our world and everything does not have a neat little answer and a neat little label.  Instead of being so critical of everything I found wrong with people/issues/worldviews, I found myself trying to be more compassionate and really seek to understand what they're dealing with that makes them the way they are.  Instead of just firing off one of those "and THIS is the way it is!" posts, about whatever was in the news or what have you, I found myself not blogging about it but actually thinking more about it and researching it and simply keeping my opinions to myself.  One does not always need to express their opinion, just because one can.  I have found the older I get and the more I see and the more I experience in my own life, there is much that must simply be covered by prayer, compassion and much grace.

When I go back now from time to time and read some of my earliest blog posts, sometimes I cringe.  Sometimes that old saying comes to mind that goes something like "what would the 50 year old you say to the younger you?".  I have no doubt in my mind, the 50 year old me would tell the younger me to discover the fine art of shutting up, and thinking more.  But, I leave those posts up as a testament to how far the Lord has brought me from those days.

FUTURE BLOGGER

I have thought of deleting my blog completely.  I think I've had that thought once, probably in the midst of some self-absorbed moment of utter frustration with being misunderstood. If there's one thing I cannot stand, it's being misunderstood, or having someone read into what I said while not hearing at all what I meant.  I'm pretty sure everyone goes through that from time to time.  It's even easier in this digital world of words on a screen without the facial expressions, body language, fluctuations in voice patterns, and all else that goes along with face-to-face communication and discussion.

I have no intention of deleting my blog.  Like a favorite old pair of jeans, I come back over and over again to share my thoughts on this, that, or some other.  I still have recipes to share (like that Taco Lasagna I made last night! Oh my WORD that was insanely delicious!!), and I still enjoy writing too much to not have a place to do that & encourage or inspire or challenge others to think a little deeper about things.  Social media is all well and good, and I'm there nearly every day but this is still my favorite place to let my thoughts sort of roam.  I may not blog every day anymore (or even every week, or every month!) and I may not even have any readers anymore (I haven't ever checked, I think it would make me sad), but I'm still here, and if the Lord wills, will continue to blog until I run out of things to say.

So, happy 11 years to me.

Now, who wants that recipe?