Today is my four-year blogging anniversary. It was September 25, 2009 that I decided to try my hand at sharing my writing with the world. That first day I posted four different posts, I was so excited for the new adventure. Over the past four years I have:
- Published 988 posts (plus this one, which makes 989)
- Completed a post-a-day challenge in 2011, actually publishing more than 365 posts that year
- Had over 110,000 page views, starting with an average of 17 per day that first month and reaching a high average of 167 per day for March 2013
- I’ve had page views from 171 countries out of the 195 countries in the world since February 25, 2012, when WordPress started tracking these stats
- Gained 300 blog followers, plus 39 Twitter followers and 188 people who read my posts from Facebook links
- Made a bunch of blogging friends who have blogs I love to read when I have time
- Talked with numerous family and friends about my blog and been encouraged by their appreciation for what I write
- Had 6,241 comments posted, though probably a third of those are me responding to comments
- Started writing poetry, including a 40-poems-for-Lent session in 2013, and a total of 285 poems
- Been invited to contribute to two other blogs, one of which (Broken Believers) is still in operation
- Participated in a bunch of Open Link Nights and other poetry challenges at dVerse Poets Pub
- Boldly shared the Gospel with the hopes of bringing the Light of Christ to as many people as I can
- Based on hits for my recipes, helped a lot of people with their Traeger cooking
- Taken one three-month sabbatical from blogging, though it wasn’t planned, it just happened
- And thoroughly enjoyed myself so much that I am truly looking forward to my next four years of blogging and beyond
When I started, I could never have imagined the journey I’ve been on. I have no idea where God will take this blog in the future, but I have no doubt that He is in control of it every step of the way and that the rest of the journey is going to be awesome.
Next week I am going to see Dwight Yoakam in concert. I love Dwight for the way that he writes and sings of lost love in such a way that it makes me truly appreciate the love of my life. I’ve been thinking this week about a post on this topic, then today the Form for All lesson over at dVerse Poets Pub was a challenge to write Twitter poetry, in which each stanza is exactly 140 characters. It seemed like a good medium for my thoughts on Dwight’s music.
Living with Regrets
At the end of this long life
no one will regret that
their life wasn’t more like
a Dwight Yoakam song,
sad and lonelier, -
1000 miles of misery
stem from pride,
love lost and heartache found
leaving that sweet face behind
watching clouds, engines roar
Knowing love will never return
feeling emptiness and loss
stems from neglect of love
not reaching out or being there-
Needing words of hope.
I missed another Form For All at dVerse Poets Pub while I was taking a blogging break, but the great thing about blogs is you can always read older posts, and so I didn’t really miss the lesson at all. I missed getting to link my poem to that particular post’s Mr. Linky, but I can still try the new form I learned. This time it’s the rondelet and the lesson was offered by Tony Maude. A rondelet is a 7-line poem with lines 1, 3, and 7 being a repeated refrain, much like my favorite triolet. Expanding on the theme of my essay earlier this week I decided to write a poem in this form about trust. I modified the third repetition of the refrain just slightly, but otherwise tried to keep true to the form.
Can trust be found
midst deceitful everyday men?
Can trust be found
in the people I see around?
But if I choose to trust again,
suffer hurt, I’ll trust God and then
trust can be found.
While I was taking a break from blogging I missed a number of Form For All lessons at dVerse Poets Pub, so I decided yesterday to go check out the lessons I had missed to see if there was a new poetry form I could try. Sam Peralta—one of my favorite dVerse teachers—offered a lesson on the Japanese poetry form called the sedoka that consists of two tercets with lines of 5, 7, and 7 syllables each. Sam wrote, “The poem’s two verses usually provide two perspectives on the theme, with a sharp division after the third line, and a soft turn after line five, before the conclusion.” I decided to give it a try with one of my favorite themes.
Savior, then Lord
He died on the cross
Saving the souls of mankind
A free gift of salvation
We accept His gift
But this is not quite enough
For true change He must be Lord
The last time I posted was on March 30, the day before Easter, at the end of my 40 poems for Lent challenge. I never intended to go three months without posting, but I guess I needed the break. A lot has happened this year to keep me otherwise occupied, and I’ve spent a lot of time just listening to God. But I’ve really missed blogging so now the break’s over.
It’s funny how the longer I went without blogging, the harder it has been to get back to it. I think I just put so much pressure on myself to make this post so profound that I couldn’t come up with something I thought was worth writing about. So I finally decided to just start with a simple poem about how sometimes it’s more important to listen than to speak. In the coming weeks perhaps I’ll share what I’ve been hearing.
The Silence Speaks
Sometimes I feel compelled to speak
Often, truth be told,
I talk too much,
afraid of the silence
But when I stop, perfectly still
the silence speaks
His love and grace
7/2/13 update: I decided to share this poem at dVerse Poets Pub Open Link Night, which I’ve also missed over the past 3 months.
shed with love
offering my soul salvation.
This short poem is an elfje. I followed the link of a blogger who liked one of my posts, and then followed a link on her site to another blogger who had posted a lesson on how to write this little gem of a poetry form. I decided to give it a try.
With the approach of Lent, I’ve been pondering whether I would give something up this year or add a daily habit as I have done in the past. I thought about blogging every day for Lent, like I did in 2010, but I have a lot going on right now and have been enjoying the freedom of not feeling like I have to post something every day. Then I thought about taking an extended break from blogging, including not checking my blog stats or reading other blogs, so that I would have more time to focus on the new Bible Study Fellowship study I am starting tonight. I was leaning towards the latter option.
Then yesterday in church the sermon was based on Acts 17:16-34 (NIV) about Paul’s missionary efforts in Athens. Verse 17 says “So he [Paul] reasoned in the synagogue with the Jews and the God-fearing Greeks, as well as in the marketplace day by day with those who happened to be there.” I decided then that I would blog every day instead of giving up blogging for Lent.
But still I was concerned about how I was going to accomplish this. Then last night as I was trying to go to sleep a poem started forming in my mind, keeping me awake. I recently placed a small notebook and pen next to my bed to write down poems or other blog ideas so that they would not get lost like the poem that was the subject of a recent poem of mine titled A Poem Lost. So I flipped on the light, scribbled down the beginning and ending of this poem so that I could finish it later (I will be posting it tomorrow). I turned out the light and as I again tried to sleep it occurred to me that I could write a short poem every day for Lent. It will require the power and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to accomplish this task, but with His help I can.
So beginning on Wednesday, which is Ash Wednesday and the first day of Lent, I will be posting 40 new poems, one for each day of Lent (not counting Sundays). As Paul did, I will be sharing God’s love day by day as we approach Holy Week and the blessed death and resurrection of Jesus.
The Meeting at the Bar prompt over at dVerse Poets Pub today is to write about creativity in some way. Host Anne Montgomery asks us “to think about a time when you’ve experienced or championed the immersion of creative flow; the agony, disappointment, or rejuvenation of a creative U-turn; how you incubate new ideas or divergent thinking; or examine creativity as a subject in your poem.” It made me think of the many poems that I’ve lost because I didn’t want to get out of bed and let creativity flow.
A Poem Lost
I lie in bed, curl up for sleep
Eyes closed, blankets pulled tight
Sleep eludes me, I lie awake
Words swirling in my head
There’s a poem forming line by line
The culmination of thoughts of the day
It’s a pretty good one, too
I should get up, write it down
I peak a hand out from under the covers
I’m reminded of how cold it is
Too cold – this poem will have to wait
I will write it down in the morning light
Still the words swirl and form stanzas
Stubbornly I refuse to rise and write
My poem is no more
It is lost in the night
Perhaps it went in search of warmer climes
I don't usually reblog posts from other blogs, but this one really touched me today. Bryan Lowe has written a great many encouraging and helpful posts, this is but one. I always appreciate his perspective as one who struggles himself with bipolar disorder and some anxiety issues as well. He shares today from what he knows of another great writer who shared from what he knew of the spiritual and emotional battle many face.
Many people desire fame. They want to shine brightly like a star and they will do almost anything to chase the lure of fame. Just look at “reality TV” and you will see the ridiculous things some people will do for fame. Movie stars, sports figures, politicians, scientists, and novelists all seek fame and the fortune that sometimes accompanies it.
But it takes a lot of energy for a star to shine brightly and eventually every star will use up its available fuel and die out. For human “stars” the length they will shine varies. For some fame lasts a lifetime, but it is a lifetime of stress and misery being hounded by paparazzi and fans. For others it amounts to only the proverbial “15 minutes of fame” before they fade into oblivion.
Last weekend on our drive down the Columbia River Gorge to visit family for a belated Christmas celebration, the full moon shone brightly in front of us in the night sky. Occasionally it would go behind a dark cloud but would always emerge on the other side still shining brightly and beautifully. I realized as I gazed up at it that I’d rather be the moon than a star, even a star as bright as our sun. The moon doesn’t use energy to generate light, but rather reflects the light generated by the sun. This is most evident during a full moon, but even during a new moon when we cannot see it, the moon is reflecting the light of the sun on the opposite side.
Rather than have fame of my own, I’d rather reflect the glory and light of the Son of God. If my name be known, I want it to be known as one devoted to Christ, one who reflects His love and mercy into this dark world. His is a light source that will never die and I will be able to reflect that light for much longer than 15 minutes—I can reflect His light for an eternity.
The Word gave life to everything that was created, and his life brought light to everyone. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness can never extinguish it.
God sent a man, John the Baptist,to tell about the light so that everyone might believe because of his testimony. John himself was not the light; he was simply a witness to tell about the light. The one who is the true light, who gives light to everyone, was coming into the world. John 1:4-9 (NLT).
This is my goal for 2013—to reflect the Light of the Son of God into the world, believing that the darkness can never extinguish it.