This post is in response to Linda's "Growin' with It" blog - she tagged me and asked to hear my responses, so here you go:
1. I've realized (once again) just how therapeutic writing out my thoughts and feelings is for me. I used to journal extensively, but once the kids were born, that stopped happening. While the two are not the same for me (journalling was strictly meant for conversation with God) - they are both forms of expressing myself and putting on paper, or on the computer screen, some of the things that I feel, am thankful for, or are really struggling with.
2. In light of that, blogging has helped me to process my thoughts through my head enough so that by the time they are recorded in cyberspace, they have hopefully become somewhat refined to reflect a person who's been humbled, or convicted, or struggling (in regards to the deep posts). In some ways, because I find myself anticipating what folks might think when they read my posts, it forces me to grapple with those responses before writing and recognize what might cause offense, or hurt feelings, or even reflect a heart that is not right before God. Especially when I lay in bed at night thinking through "deep post topics" I find myself much more capable of looking at "the big picture". I think blogging has broadened my horizons and forced me to be more aware of other people's viewpoints and perspectives (and hopefully helped me mature as a Christian by helping me to walk through some of the "reasons why" with God).
3. Blogging has forced me to evaluate both my pride and my feelings of failure as I adjust to what folks comment over and sometimes don't comment on at all. There are a few posts that I won't even put in the "published book form" because the tangent I went off on through my blog was just not that important to be preserved as a family keepsake.
4. Blogging has given me an amazing outlet to recognize one of my major drives in life. "To create and preserve family memories". One time, when John and I went to a dinner (that I admit I dreaded) with a couple about 15 years older than us - involved in ministry, and not parents, the woman (who you just wouldn't look at and say - "Oh, her and Steph would hit it off great!") was adamant about trying to get an answer from me about what I loved to do with my time. She took some of my expressions of interest in scrapbooking and the outdoors as clues to what "I lived to do". I've thought a lot about that conversation over the years and realized, #1) she just didn't "get it" as to what life is like as a mom - and how little time you have to actively pursue your own passions, but also #2) much of my passion IS actually what I do as a mom - within my little mom/friend/family community and trying to make that life as abundant as possible. This blog has truly been my accountabiltiy toward that goal as well as record of history of our efforts to that end. I am a bit obsessive about keeping track of what I've done with my life and this blog has become truly a delight for me vs. the efforts I've made in the past at "family history recording" (scrapbooking, baby books, etc.) that I've always fallen behind on, have never been good enough, and perpetually feel guilt over.
5. Blogging has made me very aware of what a small world we all live in and how connected the internet can make us. When I go to one of the more widely publicized blogs such as "Confessions of a CF Husband" or "Bring the Rain" and I see hundreds or even thousands of comments I am overwhelmed at the power of prayer and love extended through this medium of internet. There is a whole lot of evil that exists in this realm and blogging has helped me see the light of all of the victories there are through the internet as well. Amazing, glorious, testimonial victories that inspire, encourage and fill my heart with hope. Not to mention, the depth of friendship that can exist so fast with people you've never met - that I can feel like I know a gal in Colorado with her little girl and job that is lackluster - and she feels like she knows me. Or, I can gain a relationship with someone right here in my church that chances are would never have developed otherwise. It's awesome, and sometimes a bit scary, but mostly awesome!
So, to wrap it all up. As for me and this blog - because of the primary reasons why I do it - chances are it won't be going away for a long time. It's been a very good thing in my life!
And, to end with a deep question, what is a "meme"?
(A couple things I want to add, blogging has helped me to recognize I'm pretty comfortable being me. While I try not to offend others, I hope folks recognize that I'm not writing for them, and if you get bored reading my rambling..... well, this ain't the blog for you. I love my little family, and my little life with all of its quirks and I hope that others who read it will recognize that we are learning and growing and making mistakes just like the rest of the world...... and while there are a few things I don't admit in public blog-land, and usually just post the pictures I think are flattering of me, if you really begged for more mistakes or more ugliness - I probably would be willing to oblige. I'm just not as afraid anymore to try and look good all the time.....
And, one more - I'm realizing, that even though I've prided myself on being a good speller - there are a lot of words that I've had to edit over time because that little red line comes up underneath, and if I just can't manage by trial and error to figure out the right spelling - I find a new word (instead of looking it up). Yes, I'm that lazy......)