Today, January 13, 2017, is exactly 10 years from when I started this blog. Here are the two posts I wrote on January 13, 2007.
I know. You are impressed. I started with a bang. If you look at the time stamps, it actually took me ten minutes to write those two posts.
I have been blogging now for a quarter of my life. I had just turned 30 when I started, Grace had been home for a little over two months, and we had lived in Tanzania for only three years. A lot has changed in ten years.
I think I had an audience of maybe....200 people?...for the first several years. I was okay with that, as I saw this blog as primary a place to communicate with our supporters and friends. But as the years went on, I remembered how much I loved to write. I was an avid journal writer in my younger years, and those kind of thoughts starting flowing out onto this screen.
The post that changed it all was this one from four years ago:
The rest is here. It was a response to the Sandy Hook school shooting. It was the first time I wrote something that I really wanted people to read, so it was the first post I ever shared to Facebook. My former college professor, Dr. Adams, shared it with Tim Challies, one of the biggest Christian bloggers out there, who shared the link on his blog. Suddenly I was getting thousands of hits from around the world. And suddenly, I had an audience.
I've now grown to about 30,000 hits a month. That is still very small potatoes in the blogging world, but hey--I have an audience, and that is significant to me. Other writing opportunities have come my way, especially this year, when I started writing monthly for A Life Overseas. And perhaps most exciting was when a magazine bought this article to print in their magazine last October. I got published for the first time!
Earlier this year I did a lot of thinking of whether I wanted (or God wanted) to take my writing to the next level--whatever that might be. Like, for example, buying my own web domain and taking advertisers, that kind of thing. Or submitting articles for other publications. In the end, I decided, Nah. For now, that's not what I want. If my audience grows, then great. If it doesn't, that's fine. I like being able to write without pressure; I like being able to post pictures of mundane things and my kids' activities and not feel like I have to keep my numbers up. Because honestly? This is the main reason I blog:
Every year I take my posts and turn them into a book. It's like having a combination of a scrapbook and journal, and I hope that one day my kids will read them and know their mom's heart. So really, if no one else reads what I write, it's worth it to me if it will one day be important to my kids.
That's not to say that I don't appreciate you--my readers. I am incredibly grateful for you. I love when you share my posts, or interact with them. My favorite is when you email me to say that something resonated with you. You spur me on to keep going and become a better writer.
Blogging is one of the ways that the internet has changed the world for so many people. Now anyone can be a photographer, or sell their handmade products to the entire country, or be a writer and find an audience. It's a tremendous opportunity.
To commemorate the occasion, here are some of my favorite or significant posts from over the last ten years:
Little Grace: That time my two-year-old got stuck in the house by herself, or that time when she sang Amazing Grace in front of the whole school or she was just really, really cute.
Bringing home Josiah: The Sad and The Hope and The Joy. How this boy made me smitten and how his visa caused us much grief.
That time when everything flooded.
The story of Gil and Amy (how we ended up in Tanzania is mixed in there too)
Meeting Lily and waiting for Lily and waiting some more and finally bringing her home and that hard transition.
Struggling with electricity problems (I wrote a LOT of posts about this!), struggling with the lack of permanency in my life, struggling with the death of my friend's baby, struggling with fear and safety.
Moving back to the States for a year, and reflections from a week in culture shock.
The miracle of Apartment #14.
Why I believe something as astonishing as the Resurrection.
Tanzanian worldview: Evil Spirits and Electricity Problems, Witchdoctors and Football, Murdering Albinos, The Witchdoctor's Goats.
Finally, finally, bringing Johnny home.
If I had to choose my all-time favorites, I think they would be When I Am Not Sane and Anarchy is Loosed Upon the World.
Thank you for reading and for being a part of my story!