Wednesday, March 4, 2015

How Blogging Has Changed My Life


I never really wanted to write a blog. 

But this month marks three years of writing my blog and I'm not sure I'll ever get over being surprised at how it has changed my life.

A friend {that I met through blogging} recently asked me what aspirations I had for my blog and I had to admit that I’ve never had any goals for it. Writing a blog kind of happened unexpectedly. 

With a degree in journalism, I'm a writer of corporate communications  -- speeches and electronic bulletin boards and content for my company's intranet -- not personal stories. I was a reader of blogs but I had no desire to write my own. I wasn’t much of a user of social media. I had a Facebook page but I deactivated it for a year because I cringed when I posted anything about myself.

Then I found myself wanting to write a guest post for the website incourage but I noticed that the guests all had blogs. I told a friend what I wanted to do and did she think I should just give up the idea since I didn’t have a blog? 



While I sort of hoped she would tell me to forget the whole thing, she instead said, “Let’s create a blog for you. You could write about all the stuff in your house.” 

{She was right. I guess I did have a lot of stuff I could write about.}

She opened a template and told me to think up a name for my blog. Before I knew it, I was hitting the publish button on my first post.

And I didn't quite know what to do after that. So I bought a camera.

I took some photos and wrote about my family traditions and thought that even if no one was reading, I could keep the posts for my niece and nephew to help them know our family's history.

Six weeks after starting my blog, I sent off my guest post to incourage and to my amazement it was accepted.





Now three years later, I think that writing a blog is one of the hardest things I’ve ever done. But it's also changed me in ways I never expected.

It has inspired me to think more deeply, motivated me to do things I never thought I could do, and stirred in my heart a desire to know God better than I ever have.

And that’s why I keep writing my blog.

Blogging has taken the neat little corners of my life, which were pretty close and contained, and flung them out and stretched them wide.

Instead of drawing me inward to the world online, blogging has expanded my perspective of God, broadened my corner of the world, and connected me with others I'm not sure I would have met any other way.


It’s lifted my eyes upward. 

Writing about my life has prompted me to take steps of faith. I used to think my life was just fine the way it was, but I realized I was living a life that was too small. 

Motivated by finding content for my blog, I took a six-week culinary course. I traveled to New York City and took a pastry class in a bakery in Manhattan. 

Determined to overcome a bunch of little fears that had accumulated over time, I crossed the ocean for the first time and traveled to Paris. 



Ignoring the little voice that constantly told me I didn’t really know what I was doing, I jumped in to co-lead a small group for incourage on Facebook, joined a group of writers helping an author launch a new book, and become a part of the blogger review team for Revell publishers. 

And this summer, to connect with other writers and artists and take leaps outside my comfort zone, I’m traveling to Italy for a faith and art retreat in Lake Como. 

I wouldn’t have even known this trip existed if it weren’t for the connections I've made with my fellow bloggers.



It’s taken my soul deeper. 

Writing my blog is more of an artful and personal partnership with God. 

When I think I have no words to write, I contemplate his words. These words reveal and renew, while he rearranges my life, stirs up desires long buried, and holds out his hand saying, there’s more here for you.

As much as I’d like to know what’s ahead so I could plan for it, I know God often reveals the next step only when I move forward in faith. 

Trusting that he is working in my circumstances even when I can’t see it makes me aware of him in my life. 



It’s fixed my focus outward. 

A few weeks ago, I followed the trip of several bloggers traveling to the Dominican Republic with Compassion International. Last year I followed their trip to the Philippines and thought about sponsoring a child, but I never did. 

This year, as I read the stories by the bloggers, I scrolled through the photos of children waiting. Waiting for hope and a chance to dream and a place where they can get to know God.

So I decided to sponsor a girl the same age as my niece. 

Akshika is eight and lives in Sri Lanka. Her name means the one with beautiful eyes. She’d been waiting almost a year for a sponsor. 

But actually, I think I’ve been waiting a year for her.





I'm linking up with my friends at Holley Gerth's place at Coffee for your Heart and with Bonnie Gray at the Faith Barista. Click the images for posts from my blogging friends.





28 comments:

  1. Valerie I am so blessed that you blog. I am always refreshed and encouraged by your candidness and honesty. Please keep it up!!! I love you :)

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    1. Thank you Summer! You are one of the friends I most cherish meeting on this blogging journey! Love your encouragement and I love reading your thoughts on your blog, too! :)

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  2. Valerie- this was so neat to read- thank you! I enjoyed learning about your blogging journey. Being new to it myself, it was comforting to hear how the Lord has worked out the details of it all in your life, and is still using your openness and eye for beauty to bless others (me:) )!!! Thank you for your wonderful blog and for your willingness to be follow his amazingl call on your life! I always love coming here and feel refreshed every time- thank you :)

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    1. Susie,
      Your sweet awards are so encouraging! They mean more than you know! And I treasure our connection -- yet another friend I wouldn't have met except through blogging! :)

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  3. Valerie, I teared up when I read about the child you are sponsoring! What a beautiful heart you have! It is quite amazing and inspiring to read about how much your blog has changed your life. My favorite line: " As much as I’d like to know what’s ahead so I could plan for it, I know God often reveals the next step only when I move forward in faith." Those are words that I needed to hear.I can't wait to read about your trip to Italy. That will be here before you know it!! - Shawna

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    1. Shawna,
      Getting to know you has been a sheer joy! Italy will be here before I know it and I can't wait to see the adventure God has in store for me! Thank you for reading and thank you for having one of the most encouraging hearts I've ever met!

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  4. Valerie, This is a beautiful post. I held my heart as I read it. Seriously! I love your insight on blogging as it is similar to my own. We do spread wide our introverted selves with beauty of our unique design...God's design. I pray you continue to blog and are blessed by your new Compassion child! :) Jenn

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    1. Jenn,
      To think I wouldn't have met you if it weren't for the (in)courage real-life event! I enjoy your words on your blog and seeing your beautiful family and yes, our introverted selves are really stretched aren't they by sharing our lives on our blogs? :) Grateful for you!

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  5. Val - congratuations on hitting 3 years of blogging - I have enjoyed every post you've made. The depth of your thinking amazes and blesses me - I look forward to your weekly posts!

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    1. Sharon,
      What fun it has been to reconnect with you and share my blogging journey from the very beginning with you! Your encouragement means so much!

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  6. Congratulations on three wonderful years! This blog has become such a shining achievement. You should be proud of all that your have accomplished and all who you have encouraged through Grace with Silk. Now your inspiring words will travel all of the way to Sri Lanka to the heart of Akshika!

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    1. Brittany,
      You are an integral part of this blogging journey with your technical expertise! I really couldn't do it without you -- you are more of a gift than you know! And it's awfully fun to have you along for the ride, too! :)

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  7. Oh Valerie!! I'm in awe of all your beautiful words my friend!! : ) Such truth! I'm so glad you shared and I'm so thankful you "fell" into blogging : ) Your niece looks like a sassy one! And your nephew looks like a smart little guy! Such blessings! I also love your Gone with the Wind book in the stack...it took me most of my life to get to it, but I've read it twice in the past few years and finally saw the movie a few years back. Keep on stretching girl! You're such an inspiration ♥

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    1. Heather,
      I love that Gone with the Wind book too (a nice find at a vintage shop!) and thank you for all your kind words about my writing, my blog and my family. I enjoy our long-distance correspondence and I'm so glad to have met you!

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  8. Your words always touch me and I am so glad you started writing your blog. Congratulations on 3 years!

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    1. Sarah,
      Blogging has introduced me to you and I love getting to know you and your beautiful family! :)

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  9. Congratulations on three years of blogging, Valerie! I love what you share what you are learning through this. Blessings further to you as you write and travel! I am glad I am your neighbor at Bonnie's. :)

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    1. Trudy,
      Thank you for your very sweet words and I have enjoyed every minute of getting to know you through your blog!

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  10. Amen Valerie! I've only been blogging about a year and a half. Oh, how my world has been opened! I observe more now (and trust me, I was an observer before I blogged!), I'm looking outward, and the ordinary occurrences of life suddenly take on deeper meaning! Beautiful post, thank you!

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    1. Ellen,
      I so relate! I was an observer too before I blogged but it really does change how you see things, doesn't it? So happy to have met you on this blogging journey, friend!

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  11. Sweet Valerie, this blog post is truly a Beloved Brew! Thank you for sharing it in the linkup! my heart was just beaming with joy reading your blog post... and to hear your journey of blogging and how God has used this virtual space to become a spiritual whitespace -- where you can connect with kindreds, connect with your soul, what inspires you, feeds your soul and brings out Gods' art work in YOU -- and to know that our blogging journey has been intertwined, it just makes my heart flow with happiness. I am SSSSOOO excited to hear you're going on the Italy trip for faith and art retreat. Can you pack me in your suitcase with you? I WANT TO GO! :) lol seriously, so, so amazing I know it will be. can't wait to hear all about it through your blog: I love this: "It’s taken my soul deeper.

    Writing my blog is more of an artful and personal partnership with God.

    When I think I have no words to write, I contemplate his words. These words reveal and renew, while he rearranges my life, stirs up desires long buried, and holds out his hand saying, there’s more here for you.

    As much as I’d like to know what’s ahead so I could plan for it, I know God often reveals the next step only when I move forward in faith.

    Trusting that he is working in my circumstances even when I can’t see it makes me aware of him in my life. "

    I feel the same way!

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    1. Bonnie,
      I'm so honored that you would share these beautiful thoughts here and I'm thrilled beyond words to know you on my blogging journey! You are the inspiration behind my heart wanting to sponsor a child with Compassion. Your words and willingness to share your life with those of you've met along the way is beyond beautiful. Thank you, friend!

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  12. Valerie, I just loved everything about this post. I could relate in so many ways to what you shared about writing and having a blog. Just beautiful!
    And congrats on sponsoring a child through Compassion. We made the decision to sponsor a child last year and it has been such a blessing.
    God bless.

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    1. Beth,
      Thank you so much for your wonderful caring words! And I'm so glad to hear that your decision to sponsor a child through Compassion has been a blessing!

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  13. What a beautiful story of how God brought you into this online space. I love it! Thanks for encouraging us all to be authentic and follow the desire in our hearts to write. Great post Valerie. And I LOVE that necklace you have in your pic up on the left. Very fun! :)

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    1. Hi Nicki,
      Thank you for reading and I'm so grateful for your nice words -- yes isn't that necklace fun? :)

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  14. Valerie, I'm behind in my blog reading and am only seeing this now -- but I just wanted to add my voice to the chorus: I'm so glad you started this blog! I've loved the opportunity to get to know you here and through (in)courage, and I love the passion, thoughtfulness and courage that infuses your writing here and the way that you take on new challenges and opportunities. Congratulations on three years of blogging -- can't wait to see where the next three years take you!! :)

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    1. Kristen,
      Oh your words are so appreciated, friend! You are just a gem I've been blessed to get to know on this journey, and I admire all you do at your online home -- the Lydia Life! :)

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