For as much as I love to write an talk about parenting, you would think writing here—in this space—would be easy. But for a reason I have struggled to understand, it hasn't come easily. Oh, the ideas and thoughts are there. They are always there. But the desire to sit and write them (and the time to sit and write them!)has been hard to come by. Parenting, both in the specific ways it pertains to me and in the general ways it affects everyone, is a topic almost sacred to my soul. Not much ignites my heart and mind as much as talking about the trust that God has given us in raising these little ones. And yet, sharing those thoughts has been a struggle.
For the past few weeks, I have really put time into thinking about the why of the struggle. A number of reasons surfaced, a lot of excuses were made, and a few gems of real enlightenment shone. I believe my biggest struggle in writing here is that there is a lot of "me" missing.
I know that blogs are "supposed" to be focus- and topic-driven. I know that all the "rules" of blogging say that you need to know who your target audience is, where your niche is, and what subjects you will cover. Everything else can be ignored. However, there is one big problem with the "rules" I was trying to follow:
They aren't me.
I started blogging in 2006. I had been scrapbooking for about 8 months and it just seemed like a fun thing to do. After all, other people in the scrapbooking world were doing it. I shared a little about our life (living in Malaysia at the time) and our role as dorm parents. Over time, especially as we returned to the States and I became more involved in the scrapping world, my blog was much more focused on scrapbooking, with a lot of real life thrown in. In January 2007 I decided to start blogging every day, Monday to Friday. I did that for 18 months. I shared so much of real our day-to-day life, while keeping private matters private. Some posts were serious and thought-provoking while others were just recounts of our day. There was no blogging schedule, no "niche" I was trying to fit into, no "rules" that I felt like I had to follow. And I loved it.
And then this past summer, the Lord laid it on my heart to start Preparing the Soil. I had a clear vision and motivation and the excitement was high. I read a lot about blogging and the do's and don'ts of the online world. I decided to narrow my focus, provide useful information, and let personal stuff take a 3rd row seat. But there was a problem.
That isn't me.
I have a creative and passionate heart and by trying to draw out a narrow path for this blog, I have felt confined and trapped.
Imagine you are on a beautiful path in the forest. You have been wanting to take this particular route for some time and you know from the little you have seen that you are going to love it. Next to this gently winding path are fields of flowers, birds of extraordinary color, and skies stretching above you that are so blue they almost look fake. You know you should stay on the path but those wildflowers just over there are too beautiful to walk past. The sky screams for you to sit down for a while and just stare. The flight of the birds has your head moving so fast you don't even realize you have stepped off the trail. The goal of the day is to walk the path, but the full enjoyment can only be had to slowing down and stepping off from time to time.
Now that's how I feel. I am walking a path of parenting that I love so much and want to talk about almost every chance that I get. But there are also other things in my life, other songs that my heart sings, other questions about faith and family and finances that are all part of the role I play as mom.
And so, throwing all blogging rules out the window, I am going to step off the path from time to time and share a little more me. The goal is the same: to share about my heart for parenting and to encourage your heart in your own parenting. However, I am going to loosen the reigns and share more about my family, about our real life and our real struggles. I want to share about life in Indonesia, about my love for photography and memory keeping, about my love for baking, about our transition back to America in June, and about the ways that God is working in my heart and soul.
I want to share a little more me. And if the blogging police come to get me, I'll plead guilty. In order to understand my heart as a mother then you need to see my heart as a child of God. Only then does any of it start to make sense.
And the picture? A friend snapped it this weekend. I hadn't showered, had no make-up on, and didn't know he was taking it. The real me.