For the past few years I’ve participated in a blogging challenge, called write31 Days. The Nester started this, and eventually invited other bloggers to join her in choosing a topic and writing on that topic every day each day during the month of October.
Each year I enjoyed pushing myself to publish a post every day, and it was fun to be introduced to other blogs during that month who were doing the same thing. My writing was challenged, I learned a lot through each series, and it stretched me to try and communicate what was in my heart.
But the biggest thing that I came away with from those series was a shift in why I was blogging. My first series, 31 Days of Fall from the Kitchen, fell in line perfectly with the name of my blog. In fact, I began blogging because I wanted to share recipes and projects around my home that we were doing ‘from scratch’. I enjoyed finding new recipes, taking pictures and hitting publish on those posts.
Then our son was born in 2012, and things changed. God was working in my heart in ways that were hard, but good, and He was showing me the importance of my faith in Him as daily sustenance for facing the issues of life. My heart was full and it was out of this fullness that I felt the need to share how God was using Mason’s life to change me.
I published this post on September 28, 2012, publicly sharing, for the first time, about Mason’s Down syndrome. I knew I was going to spend the month of October following that post, writing about some of the things God had taught me during the first 6 months of his life.
What I didn’t know was that my desire to blog would shift from cooking and home decor to sharing about God’s Word and the impact that having a relationship with Jesus had on my life.
If you’ve followed my blog for any amount of time, most likely you’ve noticed this shift. I even changed my profile “about” section to reflect that ‘Only From Scratch’ was not just about food, it was about many aspects of my life, but I still didn’t feel completely comfortable breaking away from recipes and projects. I don’t always know who reads my posts and I wasn't sure why people were reading my blog, for the recipes or for the posts from my heart.
Over the last year or so, I have prayed about where to go with my blog. I don’t earn an income, and other than the occasional review I might do for a book or product, there are no financial benefits for me. I simply write because I enjoy it, it’s an online journal for our family, and it’s helpful for me to process the things that God is doing in my heart.
Because it’s not for profit, I’ve often wondered if I should keep it up. If this little corner of the Internet ever produces an income, I’d be very grateful. But, I’m not actively pursuing that.
I also struggle with continuing to blog when I compare myself with other bloggers. The number of followers, the amount of likes on a post or picture on Instagram, the number of times something was pinned on Pinterest, comments--all these things that I see other people getting in mass volumes can be discouraging. Social media is a wonderful tool, but it can also be handled wrongly, and I struggle to maintain a proper balance. When I compare myself to others, I rob myself of the joy that blogging has been for me.
When I reach these points of discouragement, I often say to Bradley, “I’m going to quit my blog. What’s the point of this?” And, then, when I’m down and having a silly pity party for myself, I receive an email or a comment or a Facebook message from someone who says that what I shared was an encouragement, or that they could totally relate to what I had written that day, and ‘thank you’. Bradley gently reminds me that even if the numbers aren’t enormous, being able to encourage just one person is worth it.
Knowing that God is using what I share to encourage others is certainly a blessing, but in the last few months, specifically, I have discovered that writing about my walk with the Lord energizes me. That might sound strange to some of you, but I'm finding that this is how God has wired me. I've been journalling for the past 18 years. I process what He's teaching me by writing it out. Yes, I like to cook and decorate our home. But I love Jesus. I love studying God’s Word, and I love to write out how God’s truth powerfully affects every aspect of my life. If you had asked me a year ago what I liked to do when I had time alone, it would usually be to go run errands alone, sew, work on a project around the house, or try to take a nap. Now, when Bradley offers to watch the kids for me, I get excited because that means I will have an opportunity to write out some of the thoughts that have been swirling around in my head. I may browse a store or two, but then I'll end up at a coffee shop with my Bible, laptop, journal, and some books.
What's the exciting news?
What's the exciting news?
Bradley and I have been working for the past few months on creating a new blog. A new look, a new name, a logo...it’s pretty exciting. We're working with a designer, and I'll be switching blogging platforms, so it's been a lot of work, and there is much more to do! I seriously underestimated what it would take to launch a new website. But we're in the final stages (I think) of development, and once I get things organized on the new site I'll let you know.
While I’m excited about the new name and face lift for my blog, I’m most excited because I’ll have a space where I can write about things for which I’m most passionate.
There may be an occasional recipe or project thrown in, because those are also elements of my life, but the majority of what I’ll write will come from how God’s Word is shaping every moment of my life.As for the 31 Days series, I have gone back and forth about whether or not to participate this year. I'd love to challenge myself to try and write and publish a post every day this month, but I don't know if it's going to happen. I realize that sounds like 'breaking the rules' (read some of the tips on write31days), but I'm just trying to be realistic.
Tomorrow I'll be back with my first post, but for now, here's my topic:
This post has ended up being a lot longer than I had anticipated, so if you've hung in this long:
THANK YOU! Thank you, for reading, for commenting, for praying for our family, and for sharing in the exciting things that God has been doing in the life of my family over the years.
And, thank you to the Nester, for starting write31days, and for inspiring me to push myself in my writing. God used that little nudge to uncover something in my soul.