Five Years of Writing

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Logo Final
Five years.
Five years of writing in this space.IMG_2529
Much has happened in five years.
Our family has moved.
We have doubled our number of children.
We have lost loved ones and gained many more.
My writing has improved; I grow more and more into my own writing-self as I write each week.
My blog has grown, slowly rather than by giant leaps and I find that this is how it should be. I am, after all, a mommy to four very little girls.
I find that I am content with my smallness, content simply to write with no expectations for more. Yet sometimes I wonder if God is calling me to more.
It is a fine balance, this staying content. To not feel greedy for more while also not being fearful of the same possibility. How well I achieve this high wire act depends on my day and how much sleep I had the night before.
In honor of this five year mark, and in preparation for sending out my book to be read and judged, next week I will begin a quest for more subscribers, a quest in which I hope you will join me. (It will involve giveaways…a few of my favorite things!)
Perhaps God has more public spaces prepared for these words I write; perhaps He desires for me to continue writing for just a few. While I suspect that I will feel a bit of relief if smallness is His choice, I only want to remain faithful to Him.
In the meantime, and regardless of the result, I will continue to practice my art, being faithful to cultivate whatever talent has been given. I will continue to learn how to craft my words, enjoying the beauty of weaving words and visual art together and enjoying the search for wisdom and understanding that I pray lies beneath my weavings. I will continue to explore this small life around me as well as the larger culture of the world in an attempt to love God better.
I will write, as I have written every week for five years, of the way that God makes all things sacred. I hope that you will continue with me and I pray that you will be helped by these words.
As I end every blogging year, I finish with this prayer:
Whatever the reason for my writing, here I am in this space.  I will continue to obey, even though it is hard and often causes my heart to feel fear.  I will write.  God will listen.  I pray He will continue to be pleased.

My Capricious Heart

I’m back.
Tentatively, yet determinedly back.
I’ve been a little paralyzed, waiting for the perfect post to form itself before writing. I’ve been a little hesitant, thinking I should have time to dig deep into books before pouring forth out of my emptiness. I’ve been a little prideful, believing that my troubles are not of value to others because they do not deal with death or poverty or persecution.
I will cast off these lies and write. I will write and pray that God will use what is inside of me whether or not it is perfect or brought from research or developed from great suffering.
Since when can God only use greatness for His purpose?

Moving

Packing

Still Packing

Unpacking

Swimming in Packing Paper

Drowning in Packing Paper

Moving is hard.
There is a loneliness that comes from knowing that deep, local friendships lie months, even years away. There is fear in the understanding that your introverted self is going to have to be bold and take risks in order to find those new friends. There is a sadness when grieving the friendships you left behind.
There is the ache of watching your children struggle, seeing them cry before trudging off to a new school and holding them when they rant and rage with an anger that is really stress they don’t know how to handle. It hurts to hear them talk about what they miss from our old home.
There is the exhaustion of too many sleepless nights. Sleepless from a six month old baby who still wakes up multiple times a night, sleepless from older sisters who wake with nightmares or because they can’t find the bathroom in their new place, sleepless from your own desire to unpack just one more box and try to make this house a home.
And?
Moving has within it a hope for future grace.
There is the freedom of a house in which your children have the space to spread out a bit, a house big enough to host a gathering without sitting in each other’s laps, a house with room for you to grow.
There is the excitement of a town you know you can enjoy, a town that’s just the right size for you, a town with potential for serving and for fun.
There is the joy of being near my brother and his family, the joy of good neighbors who might become good friends, the joy of a job my husband enjoys and doesn’t dread every day.
Underneath it all there is the peace, when I look for it, of knowing that we are where God wants us to be. My heart is capricious and ever-changing; the loneliness and grieving will not always be so strong. Until my emotions catch up, I will know that God has purpose for us here. I will know that He will use us in beautiful ways we don’t yet see and that this is what will make us happy.
Until that happens, I will trust Him and cling to Him even when my heart would tell me otherwise. The joy and peace will come. This I know and this I hold on to.

Four Years of Writing

I have been writing here in this space for four years now.
Four years of writing and hitting “publish” once a week, every week.
Four years is a long time in the world of blogs. Not many make it this long.
To be honest, just last month I was afraid I would have to take a break.
This fourth baby has been, well, difficult.
This year of beginning to homeschool and being pregnant and then caring for an extra fussy newborn has threatened to sink me at times.
Since I couldn’t give back the baby (don’t worry…I didn’t really want to…mostly…except every once in a while at two in the morning…) or quit educating my child or let my house return to nature, it seemed as though my writing was the only thing I could let go.
Except that God wouldn’t allow me to let it go. There was always something in my heart that He wanted me to say.
Often it was pounded out in five minute spaces and published even though it didn’t feel polished or very well crafted. Yet every time I was obedient to hit that publish button, even when I felt the most inadequate, I heard back from someone about how those words were exactly what they needed to hear.
So I keep writing.
I keep writing and I keep publishing in this little space of mine.
Except it isn’t really mine, is it?
It belongs to God and has always belonged to God, so as long as He keeps asking me to write, even when I don’t have the time to perfectly craft each word to make it sing, I will continue to obey.
Someday I’ll have more time. Someday these little ones won’t be quite so dependent on me and I’ll be able to pursue those bigger writing dreams of mine.
Until then, I’ll be faithful in this season of my life. I’ll hold those tiny, sturdy, beautiful bodies extra close and then snatch a few minutes here and there to jot down what I have in my heart. I’ll enjoy this season of writing in between nursing and playing dollhouse and reading aloud.
I hope you’ll continue to read and be encouraged, even when the words don’t flow as well as they used to.
I’m grateful that God has chosen me to be their mommy and I’m grateful that God has chosen me to write in this space.
So here is where I live: trying my best to be faithful in all that God has given me.
I will end this year, as I have each year of blogging, with this:
Whatever the reason for my writing, here I am in this space.  I will continue to obey, even though it is hard and often causes my heart to feel fear.  I will write.  God will listen.  I pray He will continue to be pleased.

Two Years of Writing

I am a writer.
I think I can say that now.
I have always been an artist and I have always been a reader, but writing?  Writing I have only toyed with.  Until now.
Two years.
Two years of steady writing.
Two years of writing several times a week, sharing a new essay or poem every single week.
I have worked hard and have come a long way in the practice of my craft.  I still have a long way to go.
I began this blog as a result of a stirring of the Holy Spirit.   I felt that God was asking me to write and to share what I wrote.  I don’t yet feel released from that request, so I will continue to share what I write.
Besides, it’s kind of fun.
I love words and I love visual art, and I love crafting the two together to form my own kind of art.  I also love studying and learning.
So I will continue to write for myself.
I love when what I write connects with someone else.  I love when I hear that I have touched someone or helped someone with the words that I have put down.  We are made in the image of a relational God.
So I will continue to write for others.
I love that this studying and writing process has helped me grow closer to my God.  I love how much I have learned about Him and how my learning makes me fall more in love with Him.
So I will continue to write for God.
I still have much fear in my heart.  I am afraid that my writing is not very beautiful.  I am afraid that people will not like it or, perhaps still worse, will not even read it.  I am afraid that I will get something wrong and God will be disappointed.  I am afraid that I will reveal my heart and people will turn away.
This kind of fear is not from God.
I still have big dreams.  I have dreams of publishing articles.  I have a book written that I don’t know what to do with.  Yet my time is mostly taken with these little ones that have been entrusted to me and there is little time left after my writing to pursue publishing.  So perhaps this is a season of practice, of preparation.
Chances are that God has something in mind for me.  Chances are that it is not what I expect.
This is where I am after two years.  Still writing.  Still hoping that my writing will help others.  Still pursuing God through my writing.
I will end this second year as I began:
Whatever the reason for my writing, here I am in this space.  I will continue to obey, even though it is hard and often causes my heart to feel fear.  I will write.  God will listen.  I pray He will continue to be pleased.

Welcome

Welcome to my new space!
If this is your first time to join me, I’m so glad you’re here. I hope you’ll stick around and explore just a bit.
If you are here from my Blogger space, what do you think?
I’ve discovered over the years that friends are an amazing gift.
Friends
I have the good fortune to be married to a man with good friends.
Good friends who also happen to be very talented in the world of design and websites! All credit and praise and admiration go to Porter for my design.
I also am blessed to have many good friends on my own.
Good friends who also happen to be very wise and who are, at the same time, accomplished writers.
For the next few weeks, I’m going to step back and spend some time enjoying our newly expanded family.
Samantha
Sisters
New Family
 While I’m loving on my husband and some sweet little girls, you get the privilege of reading a few beautiful thoughts from several of my wise friends.
I hope you’ll enjoy them. Will you make them all feel welcome?

A Year of Writing

One year.

That’s how long I’ve been here at this space, writing about life and culture, things in our daily lives and in the world around us, pain and death and ugliness, life and hope and beauty, and how God resides in all of these things and fills them up with Himself. 

Here is what I wrote in my very first post:

Writing is a difficult thing. It requires one to be vulnerable, to trust the world with a piece of oneself while knowing that the world can be a cruel place.

Perhaps this is why I have declined to join the world of blogging until now. 


Perhaps, too, it seems as though everyone is a blogger. Everyone has something to say and not many wish to listen. Perhaps no one will wish to listen to me. 

Yet I still feel that God is asking me to write. Not to write and hide but also to share. 

I have resisted this for quite a while now. Why? Partly due to the work involved.

Even now, I am only agreeing to write once a week. 

A large part, however, is that I don’t feel that I have anything new to say. To add to the over-quoting of Solomon, “There is nothing new under the sun”. (Ecc. 1.9) Who am I to think that I could say something new or even to say something old in an improved way? 

Perhaps God is simply asking me to restate old things for a single reader.

Perhaps God is even more simply asking me to write so that I can grow to be more like Him as I think through various ideas aloud.

 
Whatever the reason, here I am. Obeying, even though afraid. I will write. God will listen. I pray He will be pleased.

There is not much about these thoughts that I would change, even after a year. It is still difficult to send out my thoughts and ideas, my hurts and my hopes. I still feel almost silly telling anyone that I have a blog. 

And I still feel that God is still asking me to keep writing.

There is a lot that I have learned this year. 

I have discovered that there is a huge world out there called the blogosphere. It is, mostly, a world that I don’t interact with very often. Partly because I only write once a week and haven’t yet made the space for interacting with other blogs. Partly, too, because many in this world have begun their blogs to make money, mostly for very beautiful reasons, yet I have decided that I don’t want to clutter up my space with advertisements and buttons. Not that there is anything at all wrong with any of that. I simply want something different, something more simple for this place.

I have discovered that the more I write, the better I am at this art. The more I write, the more my heart craves to create. The more I write, the more ideas that flood into my mind.

I have discovered that I love the art of writing in this sort of a place, love how I am able to craft and mold my words together with other arts. Photographs, paintings, sculptures, music…it fills something inside of me to bring them together to make words even more beautiful than before.

One of the most beautiful things I have discovered is how my love for God has grown with my writing. When I committed to writing once a week, I was also, inadvertently, committing to continue reading, studying, listening, pursuing God and the things of God. This has expanded my heart and mind and caused my view and knowledge of God to hugely grow. 

Perhaps this is why God asked me to write. 

I still wish to have others read what I write. I still have a dream of being published. 

Yet if all that happens through my writing is that I become more like Christ, I am satisfied.

So. I will close this first year as I began: 

Whatever the reason for my writing, here am I in this space. I will continue to obey, even though it is hard and often causes my heart to feel fear. I will write. God will listen. I pray He will continue to be pleased.





(By the way, I will be changing things around here fairly soon and moving to my truly very own space. I’ll let you know when that time comes, but I pray and hope that you will continue to join me on my journey.)