I'm blogging! Ready? OK!

So, this blog is a new venture, but writing is not. I have always enjoyed writing. (Side note - I did not claim any excellence in writing. I said I have always enjoyed writing. Please don't crucify me for grammatical or spelling errors... there are bound to be some.) In middle school I had to start writing reports and one teacher in particular gave some great feedback. He thought my writing content was good, but, apparently, I kept switching up the tense of my verbs (past, present, future tense). It had never occurred to me to proofread my writing for verb tense agreement, but after that I started seeing ways to improve and make changes and reword things. It was like my eyes were opened to being intentional about what I wrote.  

At one point I thought I would be a career newspaper journalist. I even studied it in college for a while and wrote for the Ball State Daily News (one of few daily college newspapers in the country). But writing for a newspaper is hard work, especially for an introvert like me. Back in the dark ages when I was in college, email existed but it wasn't yet a means for regular communication. You still had to call people and talk on the phone if you wanted to get in touch with them. Thinking about that now makes me want to put a hot poker in my eye. Chasing people down for interviews using the phone and leaving messages was so painful. The writing pace at a daily paper was fast and it exhausted me before my freshman year was over. The idea of becoming a newspaper journalist quickly lost its luster.

As the years of adult life rolled by, I have had the opportunity to write here and there for various jobs (newsletter here, church bulletin there, admin for social media accounts, etc.) but nothing that gave me an opportunity to write my thoughts and feelings. I've tossed around the idea of blogging for a LONG time (like YEARS), but it always seemed like there would be a reason NOT to do it.... market is saturated, no time to write, nothing to write about, no one would read it, what if people that do read it end up hating it, etc. Recently, I read something that Lysa Terkeurst posted on Instagram...
"There's enough space for all of us to thrive in our gifts. Whether you paint, do lettering, take photos, sing, write, speak, dance, decorate, give fashion advice, or any other artistic expression... Do you? The world needs your brand of beautiful. And the world needs the best version of you. Don't listen to the enemy's wicked whispers. The enemy wants you to feel threatened, suspicious, and skeptical. Resistant to cheer another on who does the same thing as you. But here's what I know for sure. When we don't love and cheer on others, we start to shrink. We have less to give. We hold back. And we become wilted and withered. It's in the cheering on of another that we ourselves bloom and blossom and show we can be trusted with more beauty."

When I read her words, I realized that it didn't matter if I developed a big following or if people validated the content or style of my writing. My soul wanted to write and create something and I needed to honor that. I mulled it over for a little while longer and when it really became something I was seriously considering I asked my husband what he thought. He was immediately supportive and immediately excited. He didn't hesitate for one moment to think about it (maybe in retrospect he wishes he had!) But, I was so thankful that he understood my heart's longing to express something outside our small little world.

I forgot my phone at home the other day when we we were at my mom's house, so I asked my husband to use his phone to check on something. When I tapped to pull up a new Safari page, I saw the screen where his bookmarked websites were listed and there on the screen was my blog. I hadn't even posted anything yet and was still trying to figure out how to set it up and my husband had already bookmarked my blog site and was ready to follow along. The knowledge that he had done that blessed me so much.

Just like Lysa said, don't we all want a cheerleader? Someone who will be up in the stands and watch intently and cheer us as we run the race. Someone who is there before the race starts to pump us up and give us words of encouragement and then be there after the race is over to high-five us when we've set a personal best (or won the race!) or hold us close when we've lost by a mile and feel like a complete failure. (Please don't mistake this metaphor to mean that I'm a runner. I am not. The end. I just thought the running analogy made sense.)

I am so blessed to have a handful of cheerleaders in my life. My husband is #1. My mom is another. And I have some dear, dear friends who will cheer me on for all of my races. Sandy has been my cheerleader specifically as I start this blogging/writing journey. The tricky part about having a cheerleader is that, then, its a blessing for my cheerleaders if I will cheer for them in return. But, sometimes I forget that it's not all about me and act dumb.

For example, I have a super awesome cheerleader friend, Su, who never fails to get excited about my stuff, but when she announces something new in her life, all I can think about is how that might impact me and how it might change things in our friendship. I am so dumb. On more than one occasion I have had to apologize to her for being dumb. Thankfully, I can SEE how dumb I am because she has so often been my cheerleader. If I didn't have any cheerleaders in my life I wouldn't be able to see how self-centered I was being and I would COMPLETELY miss the opportunity to support my friends and family in their dreams and new adventures. At least I can go back after apologizing for being dumb and be a cheerleader! Lysa said, "It's in the cheering on of another that we ourselves bloom and blossom and show we can be trusted with more beauty." Baby steps. Self-awareness is a key part of adulting and IT. IS. HARD.

So, I'm trying to see the opportunities to be a cheerleader when they rise up in front of me. I would hate to look back on my life and think I had left someone running along the track all alone when I could have made their day by waving my pom poms and jumping up and down with excitement for them. (Have I taken this cheer leading metaphor too far???) Did I mention I was an actual cheerleader in high school. No? Well, I'm off the basement to dig out my pom poms.

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