Once upon a time I started a blog to keep my friends and family updated after we moved from Nashville to Indiana. I didn't know anything about blogging, only that it seemed like a fun little hobby. And for a long time, it was simply that – a hobby. Somewhere along the way I found that I loved the writing. I loved taking a picture and weaving a story around it. I loved being honest, even if it didn't paint the very best picture of me as a mother or a wife. I found validation here, through your comments and kind e-mails. There were days I felt like Sally Field winning her Oscar.
Somewhere along the way I found that there was a slim chance I could put my heart and soul into this little blog and maybe it would help my family out a little, too. In case you haven't heard, there are a few opportunities out there for those of us willing to wear the term "mommyblogger" with pride. I thought, and I still do, that I could have this space and fill it with the mish-mash that is me (family, photography, food, my obsession with Peyton Manning) and sprinkle in some affiliations I feel good about and it would somehow fit together and work.
Sometimes it does, and sometimes it doesn't. Nearly 4 years later, and I'm still learning here. Learning what fits and what doesn't, what works and what falls flat with a giant thud. And in this process, especially within the last few months, I've found that I've put all my energy into thinking about the blog and not nearly enough energy into the actual writing. I've become so paralyzed with how the blog looks, with how it's being perceived, with who's reading and who's commenting and what will my readers think about this? So paralyzed that I have lost the ability to simply sit down and write and send it out there without worrying about whether I'm doing it right. As if anybody really knows the right way to do this silly blogging stuff anyways.
I have analyzed and edited myself right out of the reason I fell in love with blogging in the first place: to simply tell my story.
In the midst of all this hand-wringing and self-analysis, I learned about a new campaign at my church. In conjunction with Cami Walker's book 29 Gifts: How a Month of Giving Can Change Your Life, we're being encouraged to participate in 29 Days of Giving. Beginning today, we're being asked to think of one thing we can give each day. We're to reflect on what we've given, and also on what we've received.
I'm challenging myself to participate fully in the 29 Days of Giving and to journal my experience here. I'll be posting every day for the next 29 days, in an effort both to share my reflections of the campaign in my life and to get me back to writing for the sake of writing. I don't foresee that every single post will only be about my 29 Days experience, but it will always be a component of the writing.
It might work. It might fall flat with a giant thud. Kind of like how I felt when I started writing in the first place. I had no idea where I was going, but it's sure been a lot of fun getting here. I hope the next 29 Days will be like that, too.
Today I Gave: Some extra care and attention to Mike. I was on my way home from Nashville today when he called to tell me he sprained his ankle while playing basketball. I hate to say, my initial reaction was not so kind. After a weekend filled with lots of running around and not enough sleep, I was looking forward to coming home and turning the kids loose on him. I had my petulant moment when I got home, and then reminded myself about the spirit of the 29 Days. For the rest of the evening I resolved to be the cheeriest ice pack-maker and gopher that I could be.
Today I Received: In return for not being ugly about something that was totally out of Mike's control, he was as helpful with the kids as he could be, hobbling up the stairs to help with bath, reading to both kids before bed, even loading the dishwasher in his best flamingo stance. I'm blessed with a good husband, who thinks of me even when he's not feeling his best.