A Year Of…?

Today marks one year since I started this crazy journey called blogging.  Last night, in honor of this anniversary, I sat and read through all my Northwoods Adventures posts.  Partly to see how I have grown and changed, partly just to remind myself of the good times we had last year at our little northern Michigan hideaway. (This has been an awfully long winter, I needed to remind myself that spring and summer really DO come!)

To be honest, I’m not sure how I feel about the past year as far as blogging is concerned.

I certainly haven’t set the world on fire with my writing.  I haven’t gained very many followers – and most of those that supposedly do “follow” me I think are fellow bloggers who merely follow hoping to gain more traffic for their own blogs.  Heck, even after a year I’m still not at all sure what I want my blog to be when it grows up.  Most days I consider throwing in the towel and giving it all up.

I know what I’m not.

I’m not a photographer.  I have a nice little camera that takes nice pictures that I and my friends enjoy, but I don’t have expensive equipment or professional training.

I’m not a philosopher.  I don’t feel right giving anyone else advice or acting like an expert on anything when most days I’m lucky to remember how to tie my own shoes.

I’m not a debater.  Even though I have strong opinions and beliefs, I don’t share them easily in an open forum because I hate confrontation and debate.  As much as I would love to receive more comments on my posts, I do not want to have any long, drawn out virtual arguments with people I don’t even know.

Yeah, I know what I’m NOT, but I’m still not sure I know what I AM.

Okay, I’m a preschool teacher who barely has time to get meat out for dinner in the mornings and who comes home feeling like the zombies have sucked my brain out of my skull, which doesn’t leave much energy for creative blogging content.

I’m a pseudo-writer who has self-published six books with limited success – maybe just a tad more than what I’ve gained with my blog.

I’m an avid reader who enjoys doing book reviews but seriously, I don’t think anyone really cares.

I’m a lover of my beagles, the outdoors, birds, up-north Michigan, hiking, hockey, cooking.  I think I’m a pretty interesting person with lots of different interests, someone who loves learning new things, compassionate and understanding and a pretty good listener to other peoples’ stories.  But does anyone want to read about my day?  And seriously, when would I have time to write it all down??

So, what to do about this blog?  I really don’t know.  The truth is, I have learned a few things through this process.  My “techo-dumbness” has improved significantly since I have been forced to learn new things through this experience.  For example, I learned that you should not ever delete photos from your archives because if you do they will disappear from the posts you inserted them into and that will just look majorly stupid!

I have gained a few good friends through this blog – especially Jerry at Quiet Solo Pursuits, Bob at Texas Tweeties, and H.J. at Avian 101.  I’ve also received encouragement at times when I was really down and feeling like it’s all pretty pointless and futile.  Some good friends have come alongside me and bumped my confidence when I was feeling pretty low.  Sometimes I’ve even been told I helped someone with my writing on here.

I still don’t know what I want this blog to be when it grows up.  I don’t even know if it matters one way or another if this blog continues.

In a perfect world I would have more time.  I would have more witty things to say.  I would take better photos and inspire people with my wisdom and creativity.  Well, as we all know, this world is far from perfect so the truth is I will probably just keep stumbling along, wishing for the time to write more and better posts that people would actually care about.  In less than two months school will be out for the summer and I will have more time. (I hope!)  We will soon be resuming our trips to the northwoods and that will give me more interesting things to write about.  That place is what truly inspires me.

The past year has been a year of learning, a year of challenges, a year of examining my life and trying to decide what I want.  (That’s one thing I still haven’t figured out.)  It has been a year of making new friends, overcoming sickness, publishing a new book, and pressing on when I wanted to quit (just about everything!).

Thank you to all of you that have joined me on this journey called blogging, who have supported and encouraged and followed me.  I appreciate your friendship, your patience, your loyalty and the time you take to read my meanderings.  With your help, and the Lord, I will eventually find my way!

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19 Responses to A Year Of…?

  1. Bob Zeller says:

    Amy, I for one do enjoy reading your posts. I know that I don’t always comment, but I don’t like to say something, just to be saying something. If I can’t say something meaningful, I tend to keep quiet. I enjoy your stories about your outdoor adventures up there in my home state of Michigan. I enjoyed this particular post, as I understand what you are trying to say. I sometimes feel the same thing about my blog. I’ve been blogging for about five years now, I can’t believe that I thought of something to say in over 700 posts. I do appreciate that you think of me as such a good friend. So keep it going and I’ll be along with you somewhere. 🙂

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    • Thank you, Bob! You have no idea what this means to me. Your blog has been such an encouragement to me and I try to take from your fine example when I can! I think part of my struggle is that I’m not sure what my blog should be about. You and Jerry and H.J. have a definitive category for your blogs, where I keep feeling like my is a bit haphazard.

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      • Bob Zeller says:

        Amy, Amy, I had no idea that you had so much interest in my blog. I will try to keep you in mind when I am writing. It is nice to hear such nice things from my readers. It makes me feel that I am doing something constructive and really meaningful.

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      • 🙂 Your blog was the first or second one I began following after I learned about WordPress – I can’t remember if yours or Jerry’s was first, but they were close together in my discovery. I was immediately taken with your gorgeous photography and your wit! I have since loved going on your birding adventures, reading your life story, and reading about your great love for your wife. You are a talented and terrific person and I’m so glad WordPress suggested your blog to me as one I might like!

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  2. My heart identifies with so much of this post!
    My job as a Content Writer has increased so that I don’t have much time to write for myself anymore, and when I do have the time, I wonder if it matters. But, in some way some where to some one, I believe it does. And so does your blog!

    I read this quote a few days ago: “God has a plan for your life. The enemy has a plan for your life. Be ready for both. Just be wise enough to know which one to battle, and which one to embrace.” Don’t stop writing, Amy, God is using you!

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  3. Thank you, Jodi! I love your blog, also, and you have been an inspiration to me. It’s also wonderful to have a sister in Christ sharing the blogosphere with me!! It’s good to know I’m not alone in my struggles of wondering if what I’m doing matters.

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  4. Carolynn says:

    Amy, you have a gift for words and you bless others in sharing your heart and your life. If readers don’t leave a comment, please don’t take it personally. It does not necessarily mean your post hasn’t been meaningful or been a bright spot for someone. I know I always enjoy your blog. There are likely other people like me, who hesitate to comment. They may not be sure how to articulate their thoughts, or they may feel there is not much to add. Keep on keeping on, sweet friend. You are a light in a world that truly needs more light.

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    • Carolynn, you have been a continual encouragement to me on this journey. I appreciate the gift of your friendship beyond what my words can express. Thank you for your support and love through this!

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  5. Debe Carigon says:

    I want to comment a few additions to who you are: 1. You are super listener. From the first day I met you, on that cold, windy, Elk Fest Day, you care about what other people have to say and you take it to heart. ( Imagine my surprise when I opened a pkg to find two Amish fiction books from you, I know I mentioned my like of it but didn’t think we discussed it in length.)
    2. You are real, you put your good side out, add in a little crazy, toss in those typical “everyone has them flaws” and it is you: relatable, like a best friend or sister a true delight to know.

    I enjoy your blogs, I can relate to your Northwoods blogs lol!! I’ve even been mentioned in a few!! I hope you find time to keep them going!! I wish I had your ease and gift of writing!!!

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    • Debe, your friendship has been such a gift to me! I enjoy our time together up north, and how we can share so many laughs. Thank you for your encouraging words! I do try to “keep it real”. What you see (read) is what you get! LOL I still remember bending poor TC’s ear for an hour at Elk Fest, that poor guy! He probably wondered what the heck he had gotten into, stopping to get a book for his wife!! 😀

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  6. First, thanks for the shout out!

    If it helps, I think that all bloggers get to the spot that you’re at right now, some give up, some continue on.

    When I got there about two years ago, I decided that I would write what I felt at the time, and gave up worrying about the stats, followers, or anything else. It has become the outdoor journal that I always meant to keep, but never did. I enjoy going back through my earlier posts to prompt the memories that I would have otherwise forgotten, and that’s enough for me.

    But, we’re all different, and blog for different reasons. I hope that you find the direction that you would like to take in your blog, as I do enjoy reading your posts from up north, and would miss them if you gave them up.

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    • Thanks, Jerry! I think direction is exactly what I feel I am missing. I have done a lot of thinking about it, wondering if I should just leave this blog for my up-north journaling. Should I start a different blog for book reviews, or just leave it out? Or keep doing what I’m doing if I’m happy with it? These are the questions I keep considering. I find I really enjoy the blogs that have a specific focus and I know – at least from what I’ve read – you are more likely to get regular followers if you have a specific focus. So, it’s all part of the learning process. I envy you (in a good way) having found your niche and you excel at it. Your blog has really been an inspiration for me and has also helped me learn. I know you are right, I can’t be concerned with numbers, that really isn’t the point of this journey.

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  7. Juli Wink says:

    Amy,
    I love to read your blog. It gives me a better understanding of you as my friend. I love to hear about up north because it lets me live vicariously; with our responsibilities on the farm, I will probably never have a place like that to go to. I also like how you are open and real with your feelings and struggles, we all struggle with things and it helps to talk about them and it gives other people specific ways that they can bless you with their prayers and we feel as though we are not alone, because we all have similar struggles.
    Pleasing the LORD is your first priority, don’t worry about how many people are commenting or following, the LORD knows what you are doing and what is in your heart and the reasons why you are blogging and he will use it to bring glory to himself. That is our purpose.

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    • Thank you for that wonderful reminder, Juli! This morning I was thinking about this and that is exactly what the Spirit brought to my mind – not what do I want this blog to be about but what does the Lord want it to be about?! Of course, I still haven’t gotten a real answer to that question! 🙂 I must keep praying about it. Michele Howe is the one who suggested a start a blog, but I don’t have her gift for writing devotional content or uplifting people. I need to stop worrying about what other people are and concentrate on what the Lord has made me to do and be. (If I could just figure it out. LOL)

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      • Juli Wink says:

        That’s right stop worrying. I disagree with your statement that you don’t have a gift for uplifting people! YOU ABSOLUTELY uplift people! You especially have a gift of listening to people and praying just the right thing. Remember when you prayed for me last month? You made me, through the power of the Holy Spirit, feel so much better and then I saw the Lord working to make ME respond differently to my situation which made all the difference. Everyone has different abilities and talents, we have to. Its like Paul said, we can’t have a body full of eyes, how will we hear? Just rest in the Lord, do what you are good at and let Him worry about the results. You plant, he grows. You are still in the race, it doesn’t matter what the timeline is, just run it, finish it and finish well. -HUGS!!

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  8. avian101 says:

    Dear Amy,
    The way life works is very complex and tricky. When you think that you’re sliding down the slope of boredom about your accomplishments, just look around you, your home, your husband, your children, your pets, you’ve been a very important factor in each of their lives!
    I’ve been through those dry periods myself but then I realized that we’re not to wait for changes to come to us instead you have to go make them! That’s how I’ve learned so many things throughout my life, Thus you will always have something to talk about or fill any little extra time with your creative repertoire. You’re a good, decent person that has been bitten by the cold bug of the Cabin Syndrome! Cheer up, Spring will be there soon! 🙂

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    • Thank you, H.J.! You are probably right, a lot of my problem right now is most likely just WINTER! LOL I never meant to sound self-pitying in my post, but I guess now that I look on it, I probably do sound like I’m whining. I think it’s a continual struggle for me, not knowing what I want to really do, what I’m really passionate about. I will be 51 years old in less than 2 months and I still don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! 🙂 Thank you for the reminder that spring will be here soon!

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  9. tootlepedal says:

    Who needs direction? I just bounce about off the side cushions of life like a billiard ball and wait to see what happens next. Keep writing to please yourself and I am sure that you will continue to please other people too.

    Like

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