One year ago, I started this blog. I followed some tutorials, listened to a lot of podcasts, and waded through HTML talk that I still don’t understand. All for the love of sharing this journey of sanctification. I have grown over the past year as a writer and entrepreneur (what the what!). Words like tribe, branding, and platform hold meaning now.
What does a writer do when they reach such a significantly insignificant milestone? We write about it, of course! I am going to celebrate this blogiversary with a little top five list, Letterman-style. Here goes!
Five Things I Love About Blogging
5. I am friends with the quiet of 4:00 a.m. Being intentional about writing consistently led to a 4:00 a.m. wake time. It is brutal at times, and there are days that I have to give it a rest. I savor the quiet of the morning when the sun is fresh and my ears hear only the tapping of the keys.
4. I have a space to put my words. I have written for years. Usually personal journals, but also Bible studies, retreat material, and VBS curriculums. Blogging gives me a parking space for my collection of words. They are sitting here for anyone to test drive, kick the tires, and maybe even take home.
3. Learning new things. To say this has been a learning experience would be an understatement! I have read books and blogs about business, marketing, and writing because those concepts are new to me. Let’s not even talk about all this tech stuff! I have to kiss my brain every once in a while to thank it for all the hard work it has been up to lately. The greatest learning of all, however, occurs in the pages of God’s word as I dig for truths to share with you.
2. Building community. Community is so vital to me. I made the best writer friends over the past year. I have real-life friends and a whole team of eFriends that support, encourage, and cheer me along.
1. I am doing my Gospel thing. I know this is what I am supposed to do right now. This dream developed over years and here I am, doing that thing which I was created to do. It is not work. It is not a business. It is my ministry. I am happily walking along, following wherever God decides to take me.
I need to say, “thank you,” to YOU! You are my absolute favorite part of this last year. Each comment, share, and like thrills me. It is a tangible moment of connection. I hope that something in the last year resonated with you. I pray that the highs and lows I share each week challenge or encourage you on your journey.
Here are the most read posts of the last year, just in case you want to catch up.
Five Most Popular Posts of 2015
At the start of the year, I revamped my goals. I added blogging to my busy life of wife, mother, small group leader, and part time Occupational Therapist. I felt like I needed a road map or I would get lost. I read Crystal Paine’s, Say Goodbye to Survival Mode and it was like the clouds parted and the light came through. I started down the road of 2015 with clear direction and a plan.
Half-way through the year, my road map resembled the one in the glove box of the family station wagon–the one with tattered edges, resistant to being folded the same way twice. Rebellion in the form of paper. I found myself disappointed with the lack of progress I made toward my goals when I reviewed them each month. I lacked direction.
Crystal Paine to the rescue again! Crystal recently released Make Over Your Mornings, a 14 day online course designed to help participants “revolutionize your morning productivity, learn how to set (and achieve) goals, prioritize filling your soul before launching your day, and more” (Crystal Paine, Make Over Your Mornings).
I completed the course, took notes, scribbled in my planner, and I now offer the three mainstays of my morning routine. (Read more here.)
My sweet little Baby Bear is a pretty good sleeper. He likes to lay down at night and roll onto his tummy, bury his head down like a hedgehog, and snuggle with Pappy and Snuggie. He prefers to lay in the bed instead of being rocked to sleep. A little white noise and he’s out.
Unless it is 2 a.m. Then he wants his Pappy, Snuggie, and his mama. In the rocker, please.
Several months ago, Mama had enough snuggle time. At least the 2 a.m. kind. I thought about his bedtime routine and what I could do to give him more independence with it at 2 a.m. Eureka! A night light! You would think this was a given in a child’s room, but I somehow neglected to think of it when setting up his nursery. I blame it on my third child brain–it’s a little slow at times.
Plug in a dollar store night light. Throw an extra Pappy in there. That night he cried for a few minutes, found his Pappy (thank you, night light!) and Baby Bear resumed his nightly hibernation.
The heart of a child is much like Baby Bear’s dark room. They are born into sin and darkness. That isn’t your first thought when you see a sweet, squishy baby. They seem so innocent. About a year later, you begin to see that sin nature creeping up. Before you know it, you have a sassy 10-year-old on your hands and you know without a doubt that foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child (Proverbs 22:15). (Read more HERE.)
I had the privilege to serve on the book launch team for Jessica Turner’s book, The Fringe Hours. The subtitle is “Making Time for You.” Before I even opened it, I had this idea that I might not gain much from reading it. I did not see the need–much less have the time–for me to do something for me.
I am so glad I was so wrong.
Reading this book challenged one of my tightly held beliefs. I am an all work, no play girl. Since high school, I put an emphasis on a job well done at the expense of enjoyment. Case in point, I graduated from college with a 4.0 GPA and 4.0 friends (a bit of a stretch, but not by much).
As a wife and mother, I continued that trend. I faced housework and parenting with a work first, play later (or never) mentality. I sat in judgment over my husband for being the fun one in the relationship. He always found time for hobbies and I resented him for it.
Enter The Fringe Hours. My highlighter glided across the pages as I argued in my head with some of the things Jessica wrote. But, deep down, I knew she was right. If she was right, then I had been wrong all of these years. (Read more HERE.)
Several years ago, I met a special little boy who, through the years, transformed my understanding of God’s love for me and my adoption into God’s family. Brody Griffin is a dark-eyed, mocha-skinned beauty. His words are few and his challenges are great.
Brody has Fragile X Syndrome, “a genetic condition that causes intellectual disability, behavioral and learning challenges and various physical characteristics.”¹. Fragile X presents enough challenges for one lifetime. Brody also deals with Autism, ADHD, Sensory Processing Disorder, and both hearing and visual impairment. And, he was once an orphan.
My precious friends, Wendy and Bubba, adopted three children from Guatemala. Brody came home with a mama, a papa, a sister, and a brother. Instant family for a boy facing a lifetime of need. (Read more HERE.)
To my 10-year-old self,
I get it. I get the pain and devastation. I understand the betrayal and despair. The sadness and anger are overwhelming. I get it. You are angry, Brandy! So angry! I’ve learned a few things over the past 24 years and one of them is that anger is a secondary emotion. That means that the anger is on the surface, reacting to every feeling in an attempt to hide the real emotion underneath. Hiding the primary emotion. Sadness. Brokenness. Sorrow.
You are going to hide the hurt for several years, pretending you are not the least bit affected by her actions. But you are. You are incredibly affected. To say that you are not is a lie to yourself.
You should be affected, Brandy. She was your mom. Moms do not kill themselves. A mom does not plan for her ten-year-old daughter to find her mom’s lifeless body in such a traumatic fashion. Moms do not leave a brief note saying ‘goodbye and be good.’ Moms don’t do that, Brandy. (Read more HERE.)
Thank you from the very bottom of my heart for coming here to share life with me. Please, come back often to walk with me in the shadow of the cross.
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