2015 State of the Blog Address

2015 State of the Blog - Giving Up on Perfect

This April I will have been blogging for seven years. Seven years! That’s considerably longer than I’ve held any one job, which is interesting. (To me. It’s interesting to me.) For the bloggers who began this journey around the same time as me, I think many of us have gone through similar stages:

Beginning blogger: *whispers* I’m, um, a blogger? I guess?
Blogger with some experience: *shouts* I love being a blogger! Here’s my card!
Seasoned blogger: *says with confidence* I’m a writer/artist, and I have a blog!
Veteran blogger: *says with resignation* Yeah…I’m a blogger. HEAVY SIGH.

Many of us seem to be gathering in corners of the internet, grumbling about this trend and that, railing against the forces of evil (Fine. I mean Facebook.), and generally telling those pesky kids to get off our lawns.

Not that there’s anything wrong with that. But as we begin this new year and I head into my seventh year of blogging, I’m feeling something different. I’m feeling hopeful and even peaceful. Contentment may even be close behind.

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Over the weekend I was holding Adrienne and feeding her some dry breakfast cereal. If you must know, I was alternating cheerios with Reese’s Puffs because they are delicious, because she is adorable, and because I am weak.

But that’s not the point.

I held my hand out to her with one puff on it, and she gave me five. Not five puffs, but “gimme five!” five. It’s a new trick and an understandable mistake, since my hand was held out like I wanted her to give me five. However, it meant that puff went flying and landed on the floor.

You may find this shocking, but my floors aren’t the cleanest thing in the world, so I quickly grabbed a handful of new puffs to offer her.

But no. Oh no. That determined (as we’re calling her, because “obstinate” and “bull-headed” seem a bit premature and, well, not nice to call a one-year-old) little girl insisted on dive-bombing herself to the floor to get the not-so-clean puff.

As I wrangled her in an attempt to keep her head from banging into our hardwoods, I thought, “Good grief, kid! Why on earth would you want THAT ONE when you could have something so much better [aka, cleaner] up here?!”

And then I thought of all the times I’ve done the very same thing.

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This year of blogging, for me, will be about getting back to the reasons I began blogging in the first place. I started this blog to write and to find community. And while that’s remained the most important in my heart, I’ve gotten distracted by the new, the shiny, the bigger and the better too many times.

In short, I’ve dive-bombed off the couch for the dusty cereal when the fresh, clean snack is right in front of me.

So, my plan is to get back to basics. What does that look like for this blog?
More and less, I hope.

More posting to encourage and inspire (and entertain).
Less posting to meet deadlines. Less posting that requires disclosures.
More posting after giving my words time to simmer and take shape.
Less posting just because I haven’t posted anything in a while.
Regular (weekly? maybe.) posts where we simply chat about life.
Hosting Works for Me Wednesday and sharing tips for a real, imperfect life.
More talking about books and TV, because you seem to like that. (And so do I.)
More honesty, more humor, more heart. (And always, always, more alliteration.)

And I hope we’ll have more conversation. Let’s talk, huh? I love hearing about your life – or favorite books or recipe ideas or feelings about our favorite TV shows – more than I love telling you about mine. I love learning about you and getting to know you and sharing life with you.

That’s the state of this blog, this year. Will I do all this perfectly? No. Of course not. After all, we’re not about perfect here. But these are my goals for this blog, and I’m looking forward to Year Seven being a little bit different than the last few.

A few of my friends have written wise, well-researched and well-thought-out posts about the state of the blog in general and the state of their individual blogs. Good reads, all.

State of the Blog Address, 2015 – The Art of Simple
How to Stay Sane on the Internet – Chatting at the Sky
What You Can Expect to Find at This Corner of the Internet – Chasing Blue Skies

Let’s have some of that conversation now.

What would you like to see more and less of here?
And if you blog, what’s the state of your blog?

{Photos by Kristina Servant and Stacy Spensley }

Subscribers Win DaySpring Pitchers!!

dayspring pitcher

Good morning, happy Monday and a BIG THANK YOU to all of you who subscribe to Giving Up on Perfect. Knowing that you all will join me in this place is one of the biggest blessings of blogging. I couldn’t and wouldn’t do this on my own!

Last month I partnered with DaySpring to give away five Daily Grace pitchers to subscribers (one each week). I drew names using Random.org, and was excited to contact the winners this morning. I’d hoped to announce the winners here, but as it turns out, I have email addresses for most of you but not names.

So, an email has been sent. If you subscribe, check your email for a bonus message! :)

Have a great day, friends!

Looking for Lemonade Stories

31 Days of Making Lemonade

October is just around the corner, and you know what that means!

No, I’m not referring to pumpkin everything, Annalyn’s birthday, Halloween or the anniversary of my first date with Mark. Those things are coming, but today I’m talking about 31 Days.

Every fall, hundreds of bloggers take the challenge to write (and post) about one topic every day in the month of October. It’s Nester’s idea, and I fully anticipate cursing her “brilliance” by about the third week of this insanity. But not for long, because writing daily on one topic for a full month has benefits that last way longer than 31 days of blogging stress and chaos!

In 2012, I wrote 31 Days of Giving Up on Perfect.
In 2013, I wrote 31 Days of Giving Up on Fairy Tales.
In 2014, I’ll write 31 Days of Making Lemonade.

As in, when life gives you lemons… And I need your help. Do you have a story about a time in your life when life handed you lemons but you turned it around (made lemonade) into a positive situation? I’d love to hear it and possibly share it with everyone here as a guest post.

If you’d like to submit a guest post for my 31 Days series, please email it to me by Friday, September 26.

Will you participate in 31 Days this year?

Weekend Links, 12.21.13

This will be the last Weekend Links post for a while. My very tentative plan is to share something year-end or best-of next weekend and then What I’m Into the following weekend. But from there on out, I’m going to have to take a break.

After all, a baby is coming in just a few weeks! And even though I can barely remember life with a newborn (it WAS six whole years ago!), I suspect I’ll be a bit too busy – or tired – to read and record the very best blog posts in the ‘sphere.

{Can we do that? Shorten “blogosphere” to “sphere”? I don’t know. It felt right, but it could still be wrong…}

Anyway, I didn’t even read many posts this week – and many of these I shared on my Facebook page. I might still do that during my kinda, sorta maternity break – so join us on Facebook, why don’t ya? (Because hello! We talk about all sorts of fun things over there, not just our favorite blog posts!)

Here are my favorite posts from the past several days:

And a couple places I wrote this past week outside this blog:

What are the best posts YOU’ve read and written lately?

Weekend Links, 12.14.13

Considering I just “marked all as read” for about 150 unread blog posts sitting in my Feedly reader, I might NOT be the best person to turn to for the latest and greatest of the blogosphere.

And then there’s the fact that I haven’t shared a links post the past few weekends . . . which means I have a big old long list of bookmarks saved in my Delicious account.

But I’m going to share anyway. Because I know how much I love links posts from other bloggers. I always find something awesome to read, something I missed or never would have found. So just in case you missed these great posts . . . just in case something here can move you, inspire you, comfort you or entertain you . . . I’m going to share.

Some Posts Making Me Think:

To the Mamas of Littles During the Holidays :: Vita Familiae
You have all the reasons in the world (imagine me pointing to those sticky little fingers that even now are exploring your nose while you read) to say “no” right now, even to yourself when you want to do something fun. If it makes you yell, it’s a No. Every time.

The Rhythm of Thanksgiving :: Kayla Aimee at (in)courage
Many thanksgivings have left my lips but none so full of truth than the day that I whispered it over you softly, so as not to overburden your yet unformed ears with the sound. Then they draped a blanket back over your isolette and I couldn’t see you, but I could see your heartbeats on a monitor and I counted every one in thanksgiving to its unsteady rhythm.

What My Mother Taught Me :: Shauna Niequist
Watching my mother while I as a young teenager gave me a front row seat to a hard, messy, important, beautiful transformation. I watched my mother become herself. I watched her come alive. I watched her discover her gifts. I watched her eyes sparkle when she returned from a meeting or a trip. I listened to her bubbling over with passion about what she was reading or learning.

Consumerism, Christmas & #FairTuesday :: Amy J. Bennett
And it’s not just chocolate. It’s our coffee, our clothes, our shoes, our purses—so many things. And y’all, it makes my heart so, so much. My purchases are hurting God’s people. I don’t care if I never look them in the face or know a name. My purchases matter. We hold so much power in our hands as consumers and what is our power doing? Making slaves of others. There is no other way to say it. It’s not being dramatic. It’s not guilt-tripping anyone. That is the truth.

Why Putting Christ in Christmas is Ridiculous :: Loved Like the Church
Celebrating Christmas isn’t a command. Nowhere does God tell us to celebrate Jesus’s birth with a holiday. Nowhere does God say that Jesus is the reason for the season. Actually, if we want to become pedantic, Jesus is the reason for ALL seasons. Perhaps {and this is a super radical thought} rather than harping about celebrating Jesus at Christmas, we could, I don’t know, celebrate Him all the time? Whoa. Mind-blown.

Some Posts Taking Care of Business:

Some Posts Making Me Laugh:

Some Posts Featuring or Written by Yours Truly:

Some Videos You Might Like as Much as I Did:

Danny & Mindy (from The Mindy Project) and Harry & Sally (from, well, you know) – SO CUTE. Almost as adorable as Danny’s gift of dance in the Christmas episode. (What? You missed it? WATCH IT NOW.)

You Shall Not Pass, Dog. And this is why I feel so safe at night. I have not just one, but two, fierce guard cats. (What’s that, real-life friends? You want to talk about the other night when I freaked out because my cats heard something – or SOMEONE – making noise in the backyard? HUSH. Just…hush. Go watch the kitty video.)

I get it. Some of you weirdos might not love cats or FOX sitcoms as much as I do. So tell me what videos…or posts…you’re loving right now! Share your favorites in the comments!