Tag Archives: blogging

The reason for blogging

12 Feb

I’m back from my baby shower in Minnesota! The weekend was a lot of fun and not without a few incidents that kept us on our toes. But I’ll blog about that later this week. I’ll also do my 32 week pregnancy update once I take a bump pic.

Today, I wanted to share some thoughts that I’ve had for quite a while now. And please understand that I’m not judging anyone. This is meant to inspire discussion, not condemnation.

……………..

Blogging is kind of a strange thing when you think about it. I don’t read celebrity gossip magazines because I don’t want to spend more time finding out what’s going on with Lindsay Lohan or Kim Kardashian than living my own life, and yet, by reading blogs, I know what a girl who lives out in California had for dinner last night.

Now, that’s not necessarily a bad thing – either for me to know what she ate, or for her to share. Blogs are personal and the author can post about anything they want. If I have a problem with it, I can just stop reading.

But it’s funny how that works. Blogs can get sort of addicting. I find myself wondering how Person X did in their race. I see something at the grocery store that reminds me of Person Y. Or the reverse happens – I’m out on a run and start writing out my blog post in my head. I take pictures of random things “for the blog.” I share more details about my life on this blog than I do with some of my friends (because I’m the only one talking here!).

I think blogging touches on a desire in every human soul. C.S. Lewis said it best (as always): “All enjoyment spontaneously overflows into praise. … The world rings with praise — lovers praising their mistresses, readers their favorite poet, walkers praising the countryside, players praising their favorite game. … I think we delight to praise what we enjoy because the praise not merely expresses but completes the enjoyment; it is its appointed consummation. It is not out of compliment that lovers keep on telling one another how beautiful they are; the delight is incomplete till it is expressed. It is frustrating to have discovered a new author and not to be able to tell anyone how good he is; to come suddenly, at the turn of the road, upon some mountain valley of unexpected grandeur and then to have to keep silent because the people with you care for it no more than for a tin can in the ditch; to hear a good joke and find no one to share it with. . . .”

We want to share experiences.

What once went unshared or was only shared with the closest of relatives or friends – the parking ticket you just got, how traffic was on your evening commute, what kind of peanut butter you think is the best, what you did on the weekend – can now be shared with the entire world.

That’s the aspect about blogging that I love the most: being able to connect with other people who share my same interests and experiences. When I was training for my marathon last year, I was inspired by reading running blogs. Since getting pregnant, I’ve added about a dozen pregnancy or motherhood blogs to my Reader list. If no one in your “real life” circle shares your interests or is going through the same thing, someone in blogland does or is!

But just like with any online community, I think there is a line. Do I know more about a girl I will never meet than I do about a girl in my care group? Do I share things on my blog to serve and inspire others, or just to talk about myself?

From time to time, I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking that my blog “should be” a certain way or I “should be” a certain kind of blogger.  I should post once a day, document everything with pictures, be on Twitter and Daily Mile and Pinterest and go to blogger retreats. Or I read a certain blog because they read mine, or because I’ve been reading it for months. But the truth is, I don’t want to be more connected than I am now. I should read only those blogs that uplift and inspire me. And I want to be more engaged in living my own life than I am in reading about others’.

I really do benefit from the blogging world and don’t have any foreseeable plans of discontinuing my blog (though that is a question I’ve also wondered – what is the lifespan of a blog?) or of not reading others’ blogs. But I do think I’ve come to the conclusion that I need to accept that I won’t ever be a “conventional” blogger. I can’t post quality thoughts every day. I don’t want to share every detail about my life. I won’t be buying an expensive camera to take pictures of my food in natural lighting.

But I will share my life journey and what I’ve discovered brings joy. I will reveal what God is teaching me. I will point to Jesus as the only way to heaven. I will share my love for endurance sports again someday.

All that said, I hope that my blog is a blessing to all of my readers. And I hope that you are out there, living your own life with gusto.

If you blog, why do you blog? Why do you read others’ blogs? 

Setting the Record Straight

26 Jan

A little-known tidbit about me: I can’t read cooking blogs. The pictures are fun to look at and the recipes look delicious but they just make me overwhelmed. I even feel slightly intimidated by the cookbooks I own. Some people thrive on options; I do not. They just make me feel like there’s too much to do, and too little time.

I also felt overwhelmed yesterday while reading the blogs I regularly follow. Reading about productive weekends full of baking, cleaning, organizing, family time, long runs, Crossfit workouts, and fun dates instantly brings back an old familiar feeling: I’m not doing enough.

I’ve been thinking about this lately because a good (IRL) friend of mine who occasionally reads my blog remarked that I seem to have a lot of things going on in an effort to improve my life (like not eating sweets for a month, limiting my laziness, reading 25 books, and training for a marathon). I dismissed her comment saying, “It’s really not that much; it probably seems like more on the blog.”

I don’t really consider myself an ambitious person. In high school and college, I did what was required of me with excellence (I did graduate from both with honors) but I didn’t go above or beyond that.

Instead of being an overachiever, I guess I was just an achiever. I never had an internship. I never volunteered or got involved in any kind of club. In fact, I somehow graduated as a member of the National Honors Society in high school, even though I never attended a meeting and only did 2 volunteer hours (I think something like 30 were required?). In my defense, I tried to return my medal but they wouldn’t take it from me.

I’m fairly certain that I’ve gotten where I am in life by being anal, not ambitious. While fellow classmates in high school were reading Cliff’s Notes in lieu of The Scarlet Letter and The Grapes of Wrath, I read every single page of every single book, including the Foreword if there was one. Partly because I actually enjoyed reading and partly because I couldn’t live with myself knowing that I hadn’t actually read the book.

Until recently, I had to finish every book I started reading, even if it was crap, just because “it bothered me” to start and not finish. (Now I know that life is too short to read bad books.)

My house is clean and organized because my personality can’t stand clutter and mess.

I don’t stop in the middle of a project, even if it’s mindnumbingly tedious, because I am stubborn.

When we first moved into our apartment in Boulder, I refused to let Travis store stuff under our bed and futon because not storing stuff in an actual closet bothered me. After a couple hours trying to cram things into the 3 tiny closets of our apartment, I saw the folly of my ways. (Although, I have to admit that storing things under the bed still bothers me. If you’re wondering if I’m annoying to live with, my husband would say no, but really mean yes.)

So why am I explaining this to you?

Well, you’ve probably heard people discussing the effects of social media on relationships today. It’s easy to project this perfect image of your life, because you get to pick and choose what people see and what people don’t. I think the same thing goes for blogs. It’s easy to post only the positive, happy things that happen in your life in the name of “making your blog positive” because people “come there to be entertained.” I personally don’t agree with that philosophy but I think it can happen without our realizing. It’s human nature to want to share happy news with others, but shrink back with bad news. You don’t want to blog just to complain, or tell about pathetically boring your day was, or relay how you behaved in a way you’re ashamed of (like throwing something at your husband or eating an entire box of cereal in one sitting).

So I just want to set the record straight: I haven’t checked off an item on my daily To-Do list all week until today (and that only because I had an appointment to get a new passport), I’m feeling slightly sick and majorly lazy, I haven’t walked my dogs in a few days, last night I ate my way through the cupboard before eating dinner trying to fill the chocolate-shaped hole in my heart, I’m having a hard time adjusting to having actual work to do at work, and my big toe is sticking out of the sock I’m wearing. I’m not perfect. I don’t have it all together. I have lots of big ideas and want to live my life intentionally but sometimes (or perhaps, often), I just need a glass of wine, Desperate Housewives, and a night on the couch. And I’m pretty sure other bloggers do too.

Would you consider yourself ambitious? Do you tend to be productive or relaxed with your free time?

To blog or not to blog?

18 Oct

I am going to warn you now that this post could be scattered and random, since I have quite a few thoughts in my head and they are not all completely related… Also, I am using my laptop to type this and for some reason, it thinks that I want to search for something on the web page every time I want to insert an apostrophe. So I will not be using many contractions, even thought it makes me sound kinda stuffy.

I started my blog back in January because I love to write. I double-majored in Journalism and Spanish in college so pretty much all I did in college was write. I learned that to really hone your writing skills and produce any work worth reading, you need to constantly practice. Writers need to force themselves to write, even if it is one of those days that putting words on paper seems like pulling teeth.

Well, with a full-time job to work, a house to clean and manage, church activities to attend, and House episodes to watch, I do not have much time to write. I am toying with the idea of working 4 10-hour days (my work changed the HR policy for hourly employees to allow them to do that). I could use that day off to write and volunteer at a pregnancy center. But with my old boss leaving and a lot of stuff going on right now at work, it does not seem like I am going to be approved for that work situation anytime soon.

All that to say, I started a blog so that I would have some outlet to write, with some chance that other people would see and read it besides me. I had also planned to post my memoir on my blog pages. That has not really happened yet…

When I first started my blog, no one but my husband knew about it (but he did not even read it–and still does not!!) I used to frequent the Nest message boards a lot (not anymore) and put a link to my blog in my board signature, as well as my email signature. So people found and read my blog that way. But I did not physically tell anyone that I had a blog.

I have recently discovered that I am not the only person who did not tell anyone about their blog. The reasons for not doing so are different for each person. For my blogger friend Leah, she did not tell anyone because she wanted to maintain face-to-face communication. For my real-life friend (and I just discovered, also blogger) Katie, she was afraid to tell anyone because of what they would think about what she REALLY thinks. For me, I just could not figure out a way to tell people I knew about my blog without feeling like I was saying “Check me out! I am sooooo awesome!”

I never had the intention that my blog would be the blow-by-blow of my life (some people have blogs like that, that is their prerogative). Instead, I wanted to muse on the random NESS of life and the different things I was learning about God. And I think (and hope!) that for the most part, my blog has not been a bunch of fluff and description about what I actually DO every day, but rather deep (or at least deepER) thoughts about life, love, and God.

So this morning, when I was thinking about where I have been lately with the whole eating/exercise thing, I thought about blogging about it. But then, I was scared about my friends back in Minnesota reading about it. Because for some reason, I have always felt the need to keep secret my struggle with body image, eating, exercise, etc. I do know that I have talked about it with a few girls (and I talk about it with Travis, who tries to understand as well as he can as a guy) but by and large, I keep it to myself.

There are quite a few people at my work, men and women both, who openly and frequently talk about their efforts to be healthier, lose weight, exercise, train for an event, etc. It seems strange to me that it is like that, since I am so the opposite. Maybe I feel that way because I have been told so many times before when I even mention something of trying to lose weight/tone/eat better “You do NOT need to lose weight!! You are already skinny!” Or maybe it is because I feel like I struggle to make it not an idol, rather than, like other people, struggle to make it even remotely a priority. Whatever the reason is, I never chime in on what I am currently doing to “maintain my physique” because I would just feel exposed.

As I had all those thoughts, I realized that my intention for blogging had slowly been morphing without my knowledge or consent. I read somewhere online, when researching a better blog name (which I finally came up with!), that you can’t write anything without thinking about a certain audience. (Side note: I just discovered that my apostrophe button has now decided it will work and give me an apostrophe! YAY!! ””””’ Look at all those!) I have been tempted to filter what I blog about according to my audience. That defeats the whole point of my blog!!

So, in the name of not filtering my blog, I will write about what I’m tempted to not write about: my struggle with eating/exercise/body image.

I will first of qualify this by saying that I know that I’m not fat. I would like to lose a few pounds but I’m sure the majority of women fall into that category with me.

My biggest struggle lately has been eating horribly. My parents were out here for a weekend and then Travis parents just left yesterday after being out here for a whole week. For some inexplicable reason, I eat like a horse around my family. Thanksgiving and Christmas last year were anomalies in my holiday eating habits (in that I didn’t eat like a pig). I know that a lot of people struggle with eating around the holidays–but me, I just struggle with eating around my family. (Doesn’t help either that the exercise is pretty much non-existent when I’m around them).

When I eat horribly, I get bloated and feel gross. So I wear baggy clothes, which makes it easy for me to continue to eat horribly. And when I already feel gross, I feel like “Well, why not eat another bowl of ice cream?”

I envy those people who are even-keeled, who eat the same way all the time, who respect their internal fullness mechanism and stop when they don’t need anymore. I tend to be more of an emotional and spastic eater. I will eat a huge dessert when I’m already stuffed to the gills because I want dessert. I will eat ice cream, chocolate, and sweets even when I’ve decided not to (anyone who has read my blog consistently knows that!) because I have this puny little willpower. I eat when I’m bored or especially when I’m tired. I love cereal so much that I’m tempted (but lately have refrained from) eating 2 big bowls for breakfast.

I don’t really struggle a whole ton with the exercise part. I really do enjoy exercising (except for when I’m in a funk…then doing anything but lie on the couch seems like an extraordinary amount of effort). I have been going to aerobics classes at the Wheat Ridge Rec Center. I love them. They are challenging (exertion-wise AND routine-wise) but fun, the time goes really fast, and I push myself more than I would if I were by myself. I just need to get my eating under control.

Back in Sept, I had written a post about imposing a no-sweet rule on myself for the rest of Sept. Well, if you couldn’t tell, that didn’t really happen. After a week-long gaffe, I got back on track…for a while. But the end of Sept and early Oct have been pretty pathetic. But last night, I decided that I was sick of feeling nasty. I know that it affects the way I feel about myself and it affects my marriage (when you don’t feel sexy, it’s hard to act like you do!!) And I know that God doesn’t want me to beat myself up all the time over the way I look–He doesn’t want me to disrespect or abuse my body either, through under-training and overeating, or even the reverse.

There have been periods of time when I felt very in control (in a good way!!) of myself–what and how much I ate, how much I exercised, etc. I felt great being in control–but it’s the time when I drive myself into the ground and get discouraged that seem to be the hardest to get out of. I don’t want diet and exercise to rule my life–I want it to be a natural part of it. I don’t want to throw caution to the wind but I don’t want to be a Nazi about it either. Only the Lord can help me find the happy medium–because I can’t do anything loving for a body that I hate. I need to believe that I am beautiful the way I am but that God has called me to something better–He has called me to ENJOY the body that I have been given. I know that I enjoy my body the most when I take the best care of it–by feeding it healthy foods and moving it through exercise.

I also have been researching ways to prevent breast cancer, osteoporosis and heart disease–very real threats to women. I want to live long and be able to move around a lot when I’m older. So that is also motivation for being healthy now.

I guess my motivations for staying healthy are morphing as I get older and grow in my Christian walk. I keep hoping for the day when I wake up and I no longer struggle with wanting to be thinner. It hasn’t come yet. So I guess I will have to just keep on moving forward in faith, asking the Lord to free me from this idol and struggle, and give me life in His ways.

There! I blogged about it. I don’t feel better–it’s still a nasty struggle–but i don’t feel worse either. Because I know other women have this struggle. And if you have any advice or tips, I’d love to hear them!

Am I a big hypocrite?

17 Oct

When I was in college, Facebook became the rage. Now there’s myspace too and a bunch of other social networks like Friendster and what-have-you. But back in 2005 and 2006, Facebook was the top dawg.

Almost all of my friends had it. They had their profiles and their friends and spent hours and hours of time on Facebook, reading about other people’s lives without actually talking to them at all. It was possible to know everything about a person–what they did every day, what bands they liked, who they were dating, etc–without actually ever talking to them!

I have yet to meet a person (besides my husband) who has a Facebook account and hasn’t gotten sucked in to spending hours a day on it. Plenty of my close friends in college even admitted to the fact that Facebook was/is addicting.

Which is why I steered clear of Facebook and all its social network relatives. I never signed up for it, despite the fact that many people pressured me to join. “You should get Facebook,” they’d say. “Um, how about you just call and talk to me to find out what I’m up to? Unless you really don’t care about ME, you care about seeing what I’m DOING…which would just be weird.” 

To be honest, I’m still kind of proud of the fact that I’ve never had a Facebook page. People of my kind are few and far between. Seems like everyone and their grandma has fallen prey to the social networking phenomenon.

Anyway…

So I have found recently that many of my good friends from back home have started blogs. This is so excited for me, as a member of the blogging world as well. I love reading about what my old friends are up to and the struggles/joys they’re going through. It’s fun seeing pictures of them, their family, and their activities.

As I was pondering this after finding my friend Katie‘s blog today, it hit me: am I now a Facebooker without having Facebook? The whole reason why I despised Facebook (and sinfully/playfully felt myself superior to those who had it) was because of the “Look at me, look at me” and peeping tom-NESS. But now, I am reading about people’s lives and not calling them. What’s happening to me?!?!?!?

I could defend myself by saying I only read my friends-in-real-life’s blogs… But I don’t.

I could defend myself by saying I actually talk to the people whose blogs I read… But I don’t.

But I can defend myself by saying that I don’t know what their favorite bands are or what their favorite life quote is. And no one can poke me or write on my wall in my blog!!

Although, they can comment on my posts…

What do you think? Is blogging like Facebook, in that I am being a sorta-kinda-peeping tom?