Thursday, January 2, 2014

My 500 Words: Day 2 - A Goal for 2014

Yesterday I kicked off a writing challenge.  It's called My 500 Words.  The purpose of this particular challenge is to write - you guessed it - 500 words each day during the month of January.  You can read my first post HERE.

My 500 Words is something that I came upon just yesterday.  It was actually just what I was needing.  You see, as 2014 was approaching, I was beginning to reflect on the things in my life where I wanted to see change.  I hesitate to call these items "resolutions" as that word carries such an enormous burden - especially that of guilt when the resolve to change something fails after a few weeks.  So, whether I call them changes or goals, I do have a list of a few things where I desire something different.

I wrote my first blog post on March 5, 2010.  This brief post expressed my desire to share my family life with other family members and friends to keep them up to date on the health and progress of our daughter, Peyton, who had multiple special needs and was medically fragile.  I was chronicling her life story on another "health update" type of platform and it really wasn't working for me.  It didn't look the way I wanted it to look and it just wasn't as user friendly as I wanted it to be.  A blog, to me, was a platform that I could make my own and get the word out more easily about her health updates.

I didn't realize that there was a whole blogging community out there.  I didn't realize then that I would be able to connect with so many women around the world, sharing in the stories of each other lives.  I didn't realize the power of the blogging community.  That word "power" means many things to me as I write this right now, but I'll leave that topic alone for now.

Over time, my blog began to gain some traction and actually started to gain a few followers - people I didn't even know!  People were reading my blog and it meant a lot to me!  My blog gained some momentum and I gained followers.  The "numbers" began to fascinate me.  I've always said that it isn't about the numbers, but there sure was something about those numbers.  If you've been blogging a while, maybe you understand what I mean.  I never wanted it to be about the numbers.  I was sharing my life journey.  I was sharing a lot regarding my daughter especially.  I was sharing my faith and my walk with the Lord.

Fast forward to 2013, we experienced the rapidly declining health of Peyton.  I actually set up a blog specifically for her.  You can find that HERE.  Outside of those updates, I was finding very little material to write about.  I wasn't feeling it as much as I had been.  Real life was the priority.  To be clear, blogging has never been my #1 priority, but at this time, it was becoming even less of one.  The support I gained during this season of medical crisis after medical crisis and, ultimately, Peyton's passing was incredible.  No, her story didn't go "viral" or anything like that - and that's fine.  But a lot of people knew her story and were touched enough by it to offer their prayers, support and encouragement.

After Peyton passed away in May 2013, I felt like I had nothing left in me to write about.  I don't believe her story is over even though she has left this world.  I just haven't been able to write like I used to.  I shared a bit about that yesterday.  These past months, I have been struggling with writing in a way that has had me questioning where I want to go with this.  What's the point?  What do I want to do with this blog?  Do I give up?  Do I continue?  To what end?  These are all things that have crossed my mind.

It has been a long time since I really thought about the numbers.  Major life changes have a way of altering your perspective.  The truth is, the numbers just don't matter.  I love stat trackers to see where people are coming from.  I find that fascinating.  I always have.  Yes, I have a little section in my right sidebar where you can follow - and I can see that number.  I can see how many people are following this blog's Facebook page too.  I glance at those numbers occasionally and the reaction I have is more of a casual nod of the head.  The rise and fall of numbers no longer makes my heart skip a beat or cause my blood pressure to rise.  The numbers aren't the point at all.

As 2014 begins, I consider where I want to take this blog.  I decided I'm not giving it up.  I wasn't really seriously considering it anyway, though it crossed my mind.  I don't ever want this space to be a place where I feel an obligation to write.  There will always be Thankful Thursday.  That is something near and dear to my heart.  I think we should all take time to reflect on our days and give thanks for the things in life we have been given.  I move ahead into this new year with thoughts of how this space can honor God.  How can I be more intentional about my writing?  How can I use my story to honor a God who has stood beside me through all the trials?  How can I be an encouragement to others?  After all, it is often through our trials where we can find some of life's greatest blessings.

This is one my my goals for 2014.

All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.  God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort.  He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others.  When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us.  {2 Corinthians 1:4, NLT}

If you are looking for my weekly Thankful Thursday post, you can find that over HERE today!

{if you're counting - that was 1,042 words for my second 500 Word post!}
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