If you’ve been following along the story of my blog journey, this is the concluding episode of this series ( thus far, our stories are always being written, so eventually I will have more to tell). If you are just joining me now, I encourage you to get caught up here with Part 1 | What’s in Your Hands, Part 2 | Believers, Building and Beginnings, and Part 3 | When Life Invades the Process.
The Blogging Journey
In short, I shared how a dream of a blog became a reality, the working out of that practically, and then finally how life invaded the process of my dreams and it looked different than I planned.
After beginning the blog, and then two years of hard life issues, in November of 2017, it felt as though things were shifting. My health was on the upswing, and my daughter was past the infant stage, I was able to devote more time and energy to projects, writing and the blog. Suddenly, I was getting more interaction than ever before. The momentum felt as if I was finally going somewhere again, after over a year of slowly slogging through a stagnant marsh I never intended to encounter. I was super excited about the interactions and inspiration taking place. I started to dream about the future again, wondering where the blog would continue to take me.
I suppose that was where I got hung up a little bit. Caught in this mixture of living out my calling and destiny while hopefully impacting other’s lives. This blog has set the stage for me to be able to pour out creativity and truths of God’s Word in one place, often intertwined, connected every bit as much as it is in my life. It’s been a beautiful outlet. But sometimes, I get sidetracked. I forget. My calling, my destiny isn’t about me. It’s about Him, it’s about reflection, it’s about Him receiving the glory He shared in the first place!
On a cold December day, my husband calls, “Well,” he pauses a bit, “we got the grant.”
Grants aren’t unusual in his line of work. In fact, a rehab center would be impossible to run well without the help of substantial grants picking up the pieces to help the broken become beautiful again. But this grant was different. This grant wasn’t as much about the agency (although it is), but it’s impact would be on our family. The grant is for a sabbatical, to take months away, to refocus, recharge, to reconnect with family in a greater way. The foundation giving the grant recognizes the data supporting the fact that CEOs need a sabbatical away from the fast pace life of leading and steering a non-profit agency, and that it is good for the agency as well. This phone call was about the sabbatical grant.
While most people would be jumping up and down at the idea of a 2-6 month vacation, the reality was my heart sank a little. Don’t get me wrong, I know it will be good, I know it will be enriching, I know it will be refreshing. But I am a home-body, and nearly 4 months away from home sounds scary to this introvert. I told my husband I was happy for him, and I knew it would be good, but I was again counting the cost of it not being in my nice and tidy, close-to-home plans.
Going on a Road Trip (and the Land Down Under)
We had already talked about our dream sabbatical with a family. It would be in two parts. My husband and I are both doers, we aren’t the type that can lie on a beach all day or even half a day. So we knew Hawaii was out of the question. But exploring the East Coast and the history of America? That sounded interesting and fun. After we explore America’s history (this includes antiquing of course), we will take our family of seven and journey across the Pacific Ocean to the Land Down Under to see a brand new country and visit my sister and her family.
So as I process the vastness of this trip, an opportunity of a life time, I’ll be honest, it’s been a wrestle. Knowing it’s good, but at the same time setting aside my comforts, my ambitions for the sake of the family. I am immensely excited about the time with our family, about seeing history along the east coast (about antiquing – I’m gonna die at all the furniture I’ll have to pass up), about seeing my family in Australia. I’m excited to experience summer! You guys, I am buying summer clothes for the first time since my honeymoon. I’m excited for our kids to experience summer that gets dark at night, to hear crickets, to feel warm (or hot) and not wear winter clothes through the summer. The thing I am anticipating with the greatest joy is encountering the richness of different cultures and communities around the nation and Australia. It’s so easy for us to get narrow-minded about how we view the world and the Church and God, and I love, love, love tasting and seeing the Creative God reveal Himself in other people and places that look different from my experience.
The Future of the Blog
So if you’re wondering if I am going to start a travel blog, the short answer is no. Two months ago I spent a lot of time and energy trying to get ahead with posts that I could continue putting out there as we travel along. Then life got really stressful, lots of sickness and stuff at our house, and already, my supply of posts has dwindled. My plan was to continue to plow through, to not lose the momentum that was building again. Blogs don’t do well when they pause for a season.
But as I start ordering summer clothes to pack, and organize backpacks with coloring books, sunscreen and good reads, I feel this recognizable voice. The voice that’s small, that’s caring and always wise. I tell God my plan, to maintain this blog as we go, as good as I can, finding hot spots and coffee shops to keep up with a spinning world. And I feel Him ask me why? Why would I compromise the gift of a sabbatical for our family with stressing myself out to keep posting? Why would I divert my attention from what God is saying in an oasis of time to chatter myself? Why do I feel the responsibility to faithfully post to a blog when he has given us an opportunity of a lifetime to just be?
So, while I know I will write, I will get downloads, I will have so much to share with you, from things learned to sun dresses I made for my daughter and myself, all the while I don’t want to compromise our time with the distraction of a spinning world. I may come on from time to time and post, I don’t know for sure what it will look like. But know, that if you don’t hear from me until August, it’s all good. I’m just practicing being present with my family in the moment.
Also, if you don’t already, follow me on Instagram. If I do post anything, it will most likely be from that platform, although, there are no guarantees.
The Journey Becomes the Destination
Back in December when I was wrestling with the reality of an unsettled life for four months, for wandering much of it with an RV trailer, pouting a bit because I don’t like change and because I like my home. I like a destination, I like a sense of being acquainted with my surroundings, perhaps to create a sense of comfort in my own self-made controlled environment. That’s when God reminded me of my very first post three years ago, “life is more about the journey than the destination.” I started laughing out loud. “So, you’re gonna make me live it?” Most journeys have a destination to unpack, to settle just a while. Not this one.
So I go back to reading my first post three years ago, “The unsettling reality is, God didn’t wait for the Israelites to get to their destination. He invaded their nomadic wandering with intentional beauty and holy wonder…. And yet, He is ever beckoning us to embrace the journey, to become in the process. He is inviting us to be all who we are, not when we arrive” but today, in the midst of the journey.
And so, with that I hit the pause button. I know, it is all things blog and social media suicide to disengage for a summer. I feel a bittersweet reality in sharing this post today. I love this blog, I love the creativity it represents, and a place to encourage and inspire you, I love the interactions with you all. But I also love my family and the gift God has given us this summer. Who knows what will come out on the other side?
Sometimes God asks us to put something in our hands down for a bit to receive the gift of another. I look forward to being back with you all! Thank you all for your comments, love, follows, and encouragement. Without you, this wouldn’t be a blog. You have been a gift to me in this journey of blogging. Thank you.
Until next time, many blessings,