I suppose it’s a little funny to take a break from a blogging break in order to announce a blogging break. But here goes… (And then I shall swiftly return to the blogging break, which I am quite sure will be a relief to you after reading these first few sentences.)
I’ve had several friends lately ask about my long lost blog. I was rather touched by these inquiries and thank each of you who have asked, being heretofore convinced no one noticed my absence. You are all so very kind. Here is your answer:
Although I never stated this, I have been taking (and will continue to take) a self-imposed blogging break for an indefinite amount of time. I think it will extend at least until the end of seminary (which is rapidly approaching this coming May!) but we shall see how life goes. Thank you for your loyal readership (yes, all 4 of you!) Your encouragement thus far means so much to me!
Here’s a photo of a cute puppy for the road:
Loaded baked potatoes (with the proper fixin’s)
Sautéed green beans and shallots
Crusty french baguette
Coconut milk ice cream for dessert
Actually, it was dinner for two, but celebrating three. Three years that is, on 3/14/12. I prepped, baked, and sautéed. He grilled to perfection. We ate over candlelight and three fuschia roses which had greeted me upon my return home from picking up ingredients for our little celebration. It was another low-budget night in, in our beloved, little one-bedroom, just us. Being together, sharing a meal, was simple and good.
(And food-coma inducing.)
This is DSC_0001, the first shot taken with my new(ish) Nikon DSLR camera. It’s far from perfect, but it has permanently entered my photographing history, and therefore must be shared. I had been saving for oh-so-long, and finally bought my very own big girl camera back in November. I was then still in the midst of my blogging break, but I nevertheless had plans to share my first shot here one day. My original idea was to take a photo of the new camera itself. Then I thought how sad that would be, that my blog’s camera intro would not display any of its own fine features. I dare not enter the Canon/Nikon debate, but even this first photo shows something I’ve noticed and like about Nikons: there’s always something about the blues. They seem richer somehow. Maybe I’m splitting visual hairs, but silly as it is, that notion was one part of my ultimate choosing process in deciding on Nikon. The blues.
Ruby the puppy will forever be my DSC_0001. She was the perfect contrast to her mama’s jeans, whose indigo confirmed my decision with the first frame. I was grateful for my first subject, who was the most adoring little dog. (Thanks Kori!)
The blues were worth the wait.
We’re experiencing this little part of our vows now, as I’m “in between jobs” at the moment. But this Valentines Day was the best yet, even though we’re pinching pennies. We made each other homemade cards, free of charge. I cut a quite imperfect heart out of some old blue stationary, and doodled some embellishments on the front. He typed and printed a note for me (being the technology guy he is) then burned the edges to make it look old and nostalgic. He knows I love that kind of thing. He even found a little pink image of a rose somewhere and copy-pasted it into the note’s corner. After I read his sweet words, he said, “See? I got you a pink flower.” He seemed proud to remember how much I love them. My digital bouquet meant more than I could say. We listened to our wedding playlist while I cooked one of our favorite meals with on-hand ingredients. We watched “our show.” We even slow-danced for a minute in the middle of our little one-bedroom apartment. I’ve always heard the cliche, “we’re living on love,” and now I think I know what it means. It was a sweet day.
As difficult as these types of seasons can be, I’m convinced more and more that they can also be the best. We may be “for poorer” for a moment, but I feel rich and highly blessed.
This photo represents the end of one of the most jam-packed 6 months of my life. I snapped it at a rest stop on the long drive between my current southern home and my northern hometown, two days after arriving home from my second overseas trip in as many months. Although we had been on planes for a total of 20 hours only days prior to this snapshot, the 8-hour car trip meant rest and peace after months of seemingly non-stop action. It seems that my blogging break was wise, and even if I hadn’t stepped away from social media on purpose, I probably would have been forced to do so by sheer lack of time anyways. We had a full semester of classes as per usual, but sandwiched into our Fall were two excursions out of the country: Germany in October, and Kenya in December. We were so fortunate to afford the opportunities to go on these trips, but we’ve already decided that going out of the country during school (much less twice in the same semester) will not be attempted again.
Much has changed within my time away. In retrospect it seems that the choices we needed to make demanded much of my mental attention which may have been otherwise diverted had I not taken an internet break. The most notable change is that I left my previous job (with heavy heart to be sure) and am figuring out another possible one. I have more time now to scrape the eggs off dishes and attempt to climb mount laundry, which is a blessing. Yet we are in a period of waiting, a “limbo” of figuring out details, but as a dear friend reminded me this morning, limbo is sometimes the best place to be. Isn’t there a cliche saying, something like “When you have money, there’s no time; when you have time there’s no money?” Well, if not, consider it coined.
I come back to my little corner of the web a bit tentatively. I enjoyed the disconnectedness. I wondered aloud in my previous post (all the way back in August!) how I would fare intentionally abstaining from social media for a time. I stepped away from it all, the constant give and take of information that is part and parcel of the current digital age. I did not blog nor tweet. I kept my general internet reading at a minimum, and didn’t check my Twitter feed once. And I loved it. I loved it more than I thought I would, which is why my foray back into blogging is bittersweet. As a sidenote, I have noticed a change in my attention span: it lasts far longer than it once did. I have no scientific data, only experience. I find my mind is able to focus and rest more than before, and that’s what I’ve enjoyed most: the mental rest. There is a speed at which information is produced online that makes it impossible to ever catch up or keep up. I have greatly enjoyed not worrying about that so much. Now I use the internet rather than the internet using me, and isn’t that the way it should be? I digress… Anyways, I like my mind better this way. It seems more reliable these days. At least for my time in seminary, I will keep things such as they are now: blogging a little, pinning a little, when it suits me. (I do love Pinterest, and all its attendant loveliness. Perhaps it is less of a mental stressor becuase it’s more visual than informational; I can walk away from it without all manner of sound bite information still swimming around up there.)
I have missed writing. (And by that I mean writing for pleasure as opposed to pedagogy. There was plenty of the latter.) A few weeks ago I dove into my blog archives and got all warm and fuzzy inside, remembering things I would not have if it weren’t for my blog. I was grateful for the trip down memory lane. And it reminded me that, as a creative/artsy type, having such an outlet during graduate school is a good thing. And I’ve heard from more than one source recently, if you want to be a better writer you should… write!
So, with minor trepidation, I write on. I’m making no promises–mostly to myself!–of frequency or obligatory digital expectation. I will use my blog, my blog will not use me.
I’m re-posting a blog entry from not long ago, as it reveals what is still fluttering around in my mind concerning technology & me. I do so with both a pit in my stomach and a half-smile on my face, as my husband just made me aware that his blog somehow got deleted last week. He doesn’t know how it happened, and I am in shock. How do you delete an entire blog? I don’t even know how to delete mine on purpose… and his happened by accident. It should definitely not be quite that easy to do such a thing. Yet it makes some of the questions I ask in “Posterity 2.0” a little more interesting I suppose…
The other reason I’m re-posting is because I am taking a break from social media that will last at least this coming semester, if not indefinitely. It will be an experiment of sorts. I look forward to discerning how the lack of Twitter and blogging begging for my consistent attention will affect my student brain. We shall see. This post was one of my more enjoyable ones to write, so I thought it fitting for the occasion.
Originally posted on April 6, 2011
Maybe this idea hails from movies and books, or perhaps it lies in family stories from of old, but I often imagine my kids one day discovering a dusty attic chest filled with letters and writings of mine/my husband’s. They would acquaint them with us in ways which speech would not allow. An organizational bin is already home to piles of journals filled with my own penned chronicles of life. We have some letters from our first few years together. I hope to have more.
But what of our “online life”?
Last week I spent some time scrolling through my personal Twitter feed. I feel a little sheepish (and rather vain) to admit that reading through many of my tweets caused me to laugh aloud. Not unlike poring over pages of handwritten scrawl in old journals, my tweets evoked memories galore. Yet unlike the allowance of a physical diary, tweeting forces this apologetically verbose, wannabe blogger (oughtta-be grad school wordsmith) into dire straits of brevity. 140 characters constrains my usual uninhibited vernacular eruptions–which are being exhibited this very moment–into a tiny compartment. Happy remembrances of life have been kindled in looking back upon stores of writing and typing alike. I can pull one repository down from a shelf, while the other sits on a ginormous server out there… somewhere? They are both me, are they not?
Although I have many handwritten journals filled with much pondering, prayer, and processing (which would give my children glimpses into their mother’s life) I also have a blog. My husband has one too. What of them?
Blogging and tweeting may be generally less transparent, while journals and letters delve into recesses of myself I wouldn’t dare share online. But they are both personal (albeit in different ways), both aesthetically expressive of their creator.
My grandparents, my parents, didn’t blog. Didn’t tweet. Will their dusty attic chests filled with letters be our dusty terabyte hard drives backed up with blog posts?
Could I make both? Could I leave both for future generations to one day find?
I dearly love the sadly waning medium of handwritten letters. Mail. I daresay I enjoy Twitter and blogging too, however. One medium uses pen and ink, limited only by the number of pages in a journal’s binding. The other employs Helvetica font, and allows for infinite scrolling.
Maybe I will print out our tweets. Perhaps I will tea-stain the papers impressed by our modern Canon printer’s CMYK color ink. I could burn the edges with a candle. Then they could be thrown into the attic chest to collect their own dust. Would that fill our digital discourse with nostalgia?
Will the medium matter? Or will the writer’s content [his/her faults and foibles, digitizations and delights, joys and jaunts] found in the dusty attic chest effect heartwarming insight, regardless of cursive or typeface?
- Yesterday evening, after a particularly full, event to next event-to next event-to next event etc. few days, my husband and I collapsed on our couch. He stretched out on one end, propping his feet upon me as I sat on the couch’s opposite end. Tiredness had befallen us quickly. I absentmindedly began kneading my fatigued spouse’s feet as we chatted. Perhaps it was because I was quite so drowsy, but my mind began to wander as I studied my husband’s feet.
- As I scrutinized, I began to consider them. I had never noticed their shape, really. It was like I was looking at the feet of someone with whom I was newly acquainted. For some reason, looking at his feet made me realize I have much yet to learn of my husband. 2+ years of marriage (prayerfully many more to come) and I don’t yet know my husband’s feet. His hands, yes. Their strength and masculinity I noticed the first weekend we met. I wonder what new things of him and his life I have yet to discover.
- He asked–smiling at me in the way only he does–what I was doing, perusing so diligently his lowermost extremities. I simply told him what was swimming through my head. He laughed a little, continuing that me-only smile, and continued his rest.
- The 6 y.o. has a friend who’ll be with us all this week. We had decided last week we’d have a day to paint nails soon. After playing imaginatively upstairs for a bit, with hot pink and sparkly purple shellac in hand, they bounded downstairs and shyly asked me to paint their nails. The glee appeared on their faces when I agreed.
- As I played mani-pedicurist for the last half hour, they mused back and forth about whether or not I should paint a heart on their big toes, or maybe purple polka dots on top of the pink base, or stripes! When they beheld the lovely sheen of the fuchsia’s second coat, they decided to leave their toes plain.
- As for their hands, something must have compelled them to branch out a bit…