Why I blog. . . (a.k.a. the blog hop)
I have been away from home for a week while traveling with the Boy Wonder, who had an amazing opportunity to attend an academy in my hometown for a week. While he was away on daring missions, I was blessed to visit with some family and friends. Anyone who knows me also knows that I enjoyed every morsel of good Southern eats because unless I make them, I’m not getting them in Minnesota. During my stay with my 90-year-old Mama (pronounced maw-maw), I received a message from a friend that I had been tagged in a blog hop. My quick response back to her was to let her know that I would definitely participate, but my internet was spotty – read: zero bars – so I would have to get back to it when I had better service.
When I did, I was off on adventures with my mom and daddy whom I have waited to have to myself for a while – 1973 to be exact. My children know I have a saying, “Unless Jesus or Reed are calling, I’m not missing hanging out with peeps right here in front of me.” So, dear sweet readers, this blog could wait until today.
I met my friend, Nancy, who nominated me for this blog hop on a plane. Wait a minute. That last sentence looks like she nominated me on a plane. No, no. This won’t do. She actually met me on a plane, but nominated me when I was hanging out in Alabama. Part of the story of that first encounter can be found here. She became more than comfort in my not finest hour, but rather a true friend. We don’t get to see each other as often as we would like, but when we do, it always seems we just pick right up where we left off. She is the kind of friend, who shares my sense of humor, but more importantly shares my awe and wonder at how Jesus loves completely flawed girls like us. Her writing often leaves me in stitches, and knowing her like I do, at times in tears, because her writing is real and refreshing!
Why do I write what I write?
Before I answer that directly (and since when do I ever do that?), I want to say that I am amazed that anyone would ever want to know that about me. As a science and math teacher by trade, English was my worst subject. Yes, I am old enough to call the class “English”, not “Language Arts”, where I am certain I would have been an abysmal failure. Seriously, I grew up in Florida during a period of time where if you used a contraction in an essay, you were automatically marked as an “F”. C’mon y’all ? Does anyone else see the problem with that? Although, I did earn excellent grades, more than once I had to de-Southernize my papers to bring my grade up. I still shudder thinking of those red F’s on my paper.
One of my all-time favorite quotes is this one by Anne Frank
“I can shake off everything as I write; my sorrows disappear, my courage is reborn.”
My writing sprang up from a well of deep pain and sorrow. Following the bus crash that claimed Reed’s life and injured Sawyer and Erin, I wrote on their CaringBridge sites to tell people what our prayer needs were. From there, people began to come out of the woodwork telling me that they looked forward to my writings and to the honesty with which I shared our struggles. (They weren’t kicking us when we were down, but something in my writing stirred their hearts.) The more I wrote, the less the burden of our reality seemed to bog us down. As time wore on, I dabbled in blogging and realized that the things that God lays on my heart on a variety of subjects resonate with others. If what I write helps anyone in any way, then the bearing of my heart is worth every re-write.
How does my writing process work?
Now that my deep dark confession of being terribly afraid of writing is out there, I will also confess that my knowledge of the writing process is probably less than my knowledge of a hole in the ground. But I have also learned over time that I know way more than I often give myself credit for. Way back in high school, my daddy and his buddies were enrolled in an FFA judging contest. When they arrived at the competition, the advisor told them that they had been entered in the soil judging because he needed someone to do it. They were rock solid on their other competition, but soils – what do we know about soils? They were given clipboards, judging forms, and pencils, and then escorted to (I’M NOT MAKING THIS UP) holes in the ground. They scratched away their best thoughts on each hole, and lo and behold, they ended up taking first place.
While I have made public apologies in my blog to former English teachers, I write just like I think and speak. The story ideas; however, come from God. Most often it is something from my everyday life that moves me. Many times I sit on it, but it will just keep popping back up in my thoughts. That is when I know that God truly wants me to write about it – even if it isn’t something that I would have chosen to share. One hundred percent of the time I get a private message from someone after posting one of those gut-wrenching blogs that my words were EXACTLY the encouragement they needed to get through a hurdle.
If that is how God works, I am delighted to be his vessel – even if I use contractions. Carving out the time to write and faithfully listening to God seem to be my largest hurdles.
I also read and re-read my writing trying to catch all the little mistakes. That can sometimes be an exhausting experience.
What am I working on right now?
The honest answer is just trying to be the best me, wife, momma and writer I can be. I am so glad that God’s grace covers all of that! Amen! Since I know this is about writing projects, I won’t give a litany of all the things I see I need to do around here.
My number one writing focus has been this blog and my books. I have a contract to publish my first book. (Again, finding time to write is my largest obstacle.) There have been road blocks along the way, but I truly feel that the finished product is one that is better than if I had hurried through.
I have written for some writing contests, and I have enjoyed the challenge. I won one of the contests, earning a major award. Daniel didn’t like the fish net stocking lamp. Oh wait, that was in a movie. In actuality, I won a Google tablet and a signed copy of a new novel, by one of my favorite authors.
Recently, I was asked to begin working on articles for the Minnesota Bridging the Gap’s website. I am honored to have been chosen, and am looking forward to getting to know the other ladies and to write God’s story of my life for a broader audience.
My writing also opens doors for speaking opportunities – which I L.O.V.E. (I mean absolutely love). So I have been working with a web designer and a long-time friend to get our ministry out there. We are “this close” to launching our own website, which tickles me to no end.
What other writers would I like to introduce to you?
I read quite a few blogs. I enjoy them all. Some move me to tears with their writing gifts, like tony, who never wishes his name to be capitalized in the blog-o-sphere. His shares about his life, mostly centered on his career as a musician and song-writer. If heaven has sirens like in Greek mythology, I think tony’s words would be a part of their repertoire. I have never heard him perform, but I will consider myself blessed if I ever do.
Others amaze me with the way that they see God in the every day.
One such “friend”(as we have never met) is Daisy. She writes over at www.adaisygarden.com. I will tell you that she, too, writes from her everyday experiences, and she posts the most amazing pictures. There are days that I envy her eyeballs. Some of her pictures make me want to just follow her around for a day, taking in the beauty that she shares on her blog. Her recent post would be a good example of what I mean. What I enjoy most outside of her pictures is the heart she has for finding the blessings in the ordinary. A girl after my own heart! She follows my blog as well, and I am always amazed at her heart for prayer. And I, for one, need all the prayer warriors I can get!
This last blog is from someone whom I have gotten to know in “real life”. We didn’t always know each other personally, but our blogs connected us. We chose to meet one day for coffee (okay, I ordered a smoothie since I don’t drink coffee. AND sweet tea wasn’t offered there). When our food arrived, Missy wanted to take a picture of the beautiful muffin on her plate. I laughed, not because that was a silly notion, but because it is exactly what I would do. This blogging friend is a warrior. She truthfully, honestly, and sometimes very poignantly raw shares her life through her words. Our connection originally was one of deep and profound loss, but our mutual decision to trust in the Lord’s plan of hope is what keeps us connected. I am amazed at her persistence to find the good in life – even if it is a beautiful muffin on a café plate. Her words resonate with my soul, and I am proud to call her my friend.
Daisy, Missy, and tony – you are welcome to jump on the blog hop, and I hope you do. I would love to know more about your writing process, but I understand that life pulls us in many different directions. Sometimes all at once! If you are able to participate, then I want you to know that I admire your writings, along with Nancy’s who nominated me. You, my dears, are sweet balm to my soul.
For any aspiring writers out there, the best advice I can give is to write from your heart, especially if it is something God lays there. You can never go wrong with that.