Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Other Side of Blogging. And a "See You Later"...

Can I open my heart to you?

A while ago, I shared some of the reasons why I blog. These were the positive, motivational forces that have kept me going for almost three years now. There are some aspects of blogging that I didn't delve into. These things have been on my mind more and more, and I think it's healthy to express both the good as well as the difficult (I won't go far enough to say "bad" or "ugly") in this world of blogging.

I do hesitate to address this topic. Sharing these feelings and frustrations of mine might come across in a negative light. Overall, I've wanted this space to be portioned glimpses of my personal life and inner thoughts, my family and home day- to- day living, a little corner of the world where one might find inspiration and peace. I wanted my readers to come away feeling uplifted. But in all of that, I've always wanted to honestly portray the real Emily. I consider myself an open person. I try to keep it real with those who know me. What you see or feel from me, is basically what you get.

I'll be honest. There are parts to me that you don't see, parts that I care not to portray and that I won't share here. And that's okay. I've never shown you the piles and piles of "dirty laundry", the stacks of dirty dishes sitting in the sink, the weedy, neglected flower beds, the cluttered corners. Most of you don't know the details of family and personal struggles, worries, and inadequacies.

Lately, blogging has become a chore. It isn't nourishing me joyfully like it was when it was fresh and new. I'm finding it hard to share, to pull things out of me. I'm seriously questioning if all these emotional, time, and effort investments are really worth it. Especially lately. In my already state of feeling very inadequate in some important facets of my life, finding myself questioning and re-thinking, doubting some things about myself and my life, I find it even more discouraging when I see (from my limited point of view) not a whole lot of interest and dialogue in what I have to say in this space. I know that having more numbers on my "stats", whether it's the number of followers I have, or in your comments or thoughtful feedback, or Abide With Me's "popularity" and readership -all of this shouldn't and wouldn't have to matter if I was in a different emotional place. In all truthfulness, I'm finding all this just a little hard on my self- esteem. That's alarming. And disheartening.

With all this, I will frankly tell you that I find myself often "lurking" in my own personal blog reading. I have faithfully followed lots of blogs over the years and seldom make comments. It's only recently, and with very few blogs, that I've decided to make the effort (and I do understand that it takes valuable time, especially on hosts like Blogger.) and extend myself this way.

When one is feeling inadequate or down, it's a hard thing to see the images of perfection inadvertently portrayed of happy, loving families, creative energies put into all those fun sewing and craft projects, wonderful offerings lovingly and freshly made from the kitchen, clean and tidy homes, and talented, beautiful, organized women and mothers who seem to get it all right. It can often lead to feelings of dissatisfaction, envy, and frustration:

"She seems to have it all together."

"If only I was a better photographer."

"Or had a nicer (more expensive) camera."

"I wish I could write better. Or maybe express myself better."

"Maybe my blog isn't as "informational" and "purposeful" as so many other are for my readers. Maybe it's just not worth people's time."

"My life is so normal. No one would be interested or care about the things I have to say."

"Is this moment/thing 'blog worthy'?"

"Why is the blog preoccupying my thoughts so much?"

"Am I showing a balanced portrayal of my life?" (to as not to create feelings of discontent in myself and others.)

These are some of the things that have filled my mind. This is where I'm at. I'm sincerely sorry for the definitely negative tone that today's theme has been conveyed. My goal is not to host a pity party. Striving to prove myself with perfection, fighting for approval and acceptance, and then dealing with the subsequent disappointment of imperfection seem to be one of the biggest challenges and themes of my life. I'm seeing that more and more in myself.

I'll be pulling back from this space for a while. I've not determined, at this point, if I'll continue this blog. But whether I do or I don't make it back here, I'm still me. And I'm still here (well, maybe not at the Abide With Me blog, but in my real, live blue house in my real life town, at my real life email address, too.) Real, genuine conversation, mutual sharing, and interest in relationships and friendships is what I'm after.

Thank you to all who've taken the time to follow this aspect of me. Your presence, your interest, your comments, the outpouring of love and friendship have meant so much to me. I've appreciated each and every one of you...

Wherever you are in the world.


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

running up hills

she looked through her eyes
at others
they made it look easy
they even looked like
enjoyed it
she couldn't do it
she despised the simpler thing
she could not imagine doing the harder thing
and liking it
was certainly
there was something
something deep down inside her
that seemed...
to say...
she could

where did that something come from?
that deep down inside of her
who put it there?

there was so much around her telling her
showing her that she couldn't
yet there was that Something
that said she could

so she tried
it wasn't easy
she wanted to give up
but still that Something
told her
what she really wanted
not to give up
kept on
made a little progress and
she made a little more
until again
she looked through her eyes
those same two eyes
but this time
at herself
same two eyes
but same self?
she made it
and what's more
she had
enjoyed it

what else
is there
look upon?

~Keith Crofts

Monday, May 2, 2011

Happy Birthday, Dear Eliza

My little 'Liza Lou.
My little Puppy Love.
What a blessing you are in my life.

Your entry into this world those 13 years ago was such an easy one.

Just one push and out you slipped...

You have brought so much joy,

love, and smiles into our home.

I love your sensitive, quiet, creative nature.
I love the way you show care for the things you love.

You bring a spirit of harmony to our family.
I'm in awe of the gifts and talents you've been given.
Given before you came into this world.

It makes me glad, seeing how you are exploring new interests and hobbies. I'm excited to go out and shoot hoops with you. That'll be so much fun.

I'm glad you still like it when I can bring yellow polka dot balloons and strawberry cupcakes to your class. (And not be embarrassed.) That made me happy today.

I love you so much, sweetie.
Hope your day is special.
Hope you know how much you're loved.

xo forever and always,

Sunday, May 1, 2011

bucket fillers

My, it's been a full weekend. Filling my bucket to the brim with goodness. What was sought, was found. That and more.


~headed to the conference. Since I was visiting the campus where I attended college 20 years ago, I thought I'd do some research about completing my education sometime in the future. I got a copy of my transcript. Also took some time to get information on independent study, degree and program options I'm considering. Came to the conclusion that for the next few years, I might possibly squeeze in one or two independent study classes a year that I can work on at home. Would really like to complete my education, but not sure how I can pay for this while providing for the kid's college and missions at the same time. Also don't want to take my focus and energies off the needs of my children still at home. Kind of a dilemma and I'm still trying to figure out the answers.

~attended classes such as "Rising Above Depression", "Choosing Joy", and "Education: Latchkey to Success". Very inspiring and thought provoking.

~navigated the sea of women everywhere I went. The energy of all those beautiful ladies was electric, I tell you.

~participated in a "Night of Service". That was really fun. Here's some numbers of just a few of the completed projects: 34,315 humanitarian newborn, school, and hygiene kits, 1,020 fleece blankets for children, 5,219 newborn caps, 277 children's Christmas stockings, 355 stuffed toy caterpillars for autistic children. That's one of the things that I chose to work on. (see above)

~gleaned lots of ideas for my family from the Sharing Station booths.

~decided to call it a day (my feet said enough) and drove to the Sleep Inn. Crashed on the bed and watched Michael Scott's last Office appearance. Sniff... Felt like a lady of leisure alone in that hotel room. Just me, the remote, my books, my thoughts, and that bed. That was nice, I'm telling you.


~headed back to the conference. Loved hearing Sister Beck's (general Relief Society president for the church) powerful opening session remarks.

~browsed the bookstore after missing my first class. Oh, well.

~sessions included "He Has Born Our Griefs and Carried Our Sorrows: The Power of the Atonement" and "Gathering in the Kitchen: Healthy Eating and Happy Memories". So nourishing.

~traffic congestion like no other. Stopped at the mall to pick up Jane's prom dress.

~welcomed home to sweet,"we sure missed you, Mom" family. Heard all about Isaac and dad's fun field trip outing.

~sat down with Gary at the computer and watched a BBC rebroadcast of the entire royal wedding proceedings. (He's a hard core Anglophile, too. Stayed up from 1 am to 6 am watching all the coverage. How cute is that.) God Save the Queen...


~woke up to behold this wonder. Oh. My. Gosh.

~the roads weren't packed and it was actually not very cold. Headed out to run 12 or so miles (2 hours.) Longest I've ran since my marathon last May. Felt great.

~took Jane to her state solo and ensemble violin competition. Grocery shopping, hair up-do appointment for her, as well.

~sent Strom and Jane off. Don't they look cute together?

~date night with Keith. Went out for Peruvian food (we get the same thing every time. The vegetarian adaptation was yum-o.) and saw a late night showing of this (PG 13 version) inspirational movie. So glad we saw this. Can't get enough of all this royal stuff, don't you know.