Tuesday, April 18, 2006

on blogging (part one of three)

This past weekend was Easter weekend. It was also my "blogiversary" - one year ago today (which due to Easter's strange calendar was not Easter), I started my blog. Both Easter and my blogiversary seem to be a good time for me to reflect on the practice of blogging.

This first part (of three) will be about the joys and benefits of blogging, the second part will be about the drawbacks and concerns I have with blogging, and the third part will be my conclusion.

The photos in this post are all from a glorious summery Easter weekend downstate with my side of the family. The aerial photos were taken (by kite) by Daniel and my dad; the photo of me and Chickie was taken by Kim.

My sister has been blogging for a few years now, but I never considered it for myself until one of Daniel's co-workers first put the thought in my head. He suggested a "team blog" at work, actually, with staff and spouses contributing. Though his idea never caught on with the rest of the team, it started me thinking about blogging and the purposes of blogging - whether or not blogging could be in itself a spiritual activity, a way in which to honor God.

I looked at religious blogs. I read political blogs. I read funny slice-of-life blogs.

And then I found craft blogs. I was smitten.

Here were other smart, witty, creative stay-at-home moms (as well as single working women, college students, grandmas and working moms) who thought about life and beauty and joy. Women who delighted in everything from wildflowers to Kool-aid dyed yarn, women who celebrated their three-year-old's first watercolor paintings and the cute cookies they made for their second-grader's class, women who made stunning quilts and adorable felt stuffed animals.

Here was a community, and I wanted to belong. Not only to belong, but to be a follower of Christ in this community. To rejoice in the creator of the crocus and not just the flower itself. To celebrate the maker of colors and seasons, to delight in the one who gave us our children and our gardens and our skill with the needle or paintbrush. To see that all of life points back to a creator who loves beauty and detail and color and design.

A year ago, then --after a gentle push from another friend who assured me that I didn't need to spend all my writing time trying unsuccessfully to write "meaningful" things -- I started a blog, and gave myself a manifesto - a purpose statement. That long-winded manifesto has been distilled over time: to blog about things that bring me joy.

It's been a wonderful year. Blogging has given me the excuse to lay on the ground next to my flowers with my camera, even in the slush, to capture their beauty. It has given me the extra 'push' I needed to finish several unfinished craft projects. It has reminded me to stop whining and to "count my blessings" - everything from the sunshine to the funny things my children say.

Blogging has made me look over my shoulder, several times a week, to see the gems God has dropped in my path which I had been too busy or preoccupied to notice. The beauty of a rainy window, or of beads in a bucket, or of a not-quite-opened flower in my garden.

Writing about my babies becoming toddlers, or my oldest son losing his front teeth, or my daughter learning to bake has made these ordinary things the milestones they truly are. Looking for "something joyful to blog about" in the midst of a dreary week or after a disappointment has sometimes turned my grumbling to heartfelt praise (And, admittedly, sometimes not. I'm often stubborn and unrepentant!)

Blogging has also fulfilled my urge to write during a year when "real" writing has been nearly impossible. Click a button and I'm published - that's an accomplishment, it's something tangible I have done today. I have written five coherent sentences, and I have remembered to celebrate the beauty in today. For a day that is otherwise occupied in laundry and dishes - or breaking up fights between kids, or taking care of sick children, or paying bills - it is nice to feel like I have done -- or at least brought to my own and others' attention -- something "real" or something of beauty.

Though I haven't been able to invest enough time to make my blog "all that it could be" in terms of both writing and photos, it has been not only a way to remember my joys and accomplishments, but itself a source of joy and satisfaction.

One of the hardest years of my life thus far (infant twins becoming toddlers, huge changes and tensions at Daniel's workplace which is also our main community, losing Dan's dad) has also been a year of joy, and that's good to remember.

If I had the past year to do over, I believe I would still choose to blog. It's been a good thing.


Blogger Beathag said...

Dear Kelly,

You just gave me a nice opportunity to thank you for your lovely blog! I found it a couple of months ago through a link on a crafting site, and immediately fell in love with your joyful approach to motherhood, creative work, and writing (and the fulfilling ways they can tangle up together).

You've inspired me to be more conscious of the moments that bring me joy. I often stop and think, "now THAT's what I'd be writing about if I kept a blog like her's," and it makes me slow down and be mindful, which is really good for me and for my whole family. You've also given me some fun ideas for things to do with my little boy.

So, thank you so very much! I thought you might like to know that what you do here is greatly appreciated and admired by a total stranger.

With best wishes,

4/18/2006 8:36 PM  
Blogger Wool Winder said...

Congratulations on one year of blogging! You've done a great job of sharing your joy.

4/19/2006 10:13 AM  
Anonymous fleur said...

Hi Kelly, I am exactly on the same mood! Except in France people don't talk that much of God, which is pittyfull. I like also to thank Him for all the beautiful things we have been given!

4/22/2006 3:47 PM  
Blogger KarbonKountyMoos said...

Happy Belated Blogiversary, Kelly. Having a blog has helped me through some very rough places this last year. I have met "in real life" a few of my blogger & commenter friends - and they've all been wonderfully supportive.

4/23/2006 2:33 PM  
Blogger Logtar said...

I know for a fact that I would not have gotten through very difficult times in my life as well as I have without my blog. It has provided free therapy in many levels. I like the way you look at your blog as a way to honor God. Very commendable, glad I found your blog!

5/04/2006 2:32 PM  

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