‘Tis the season of commencement. A time when graduates close one chapter of their lives to begin the next.
I started this blog in 2006. I blogged consistently for awhile, then hit a few snags. As is often the case, life got in the way. Not in a bad way, though. Demands changed. Priorities shifted. Then writing ceased. For years.
There were a few disingenuous false attempts to return. Yet, it wasn’t the time. I felt like I was forcing myself to live in a space where I didn’t belong. So while I missed writing, I had to stay on the sidelines.
Yet it is now Commencement time not only for high school and college graduates, but for me as well. I am returning to my blog, writing here at Women Walking In Wisdom’s Footsteps™. And I’m excited about the direction I sense God is taking me.
The tagline to this blog is “For women who are humble enough to seek wisdom, yet sensible enough to impart it.” So first, while anyone can read my blog, I direct my writing toward women, because I am one, and I know much more about women than I do men.
Second, I anticipate women other than me will contribute to this blog. In no way do I profess to be an expert on anything. However, I do believe that I can take the steps of women whose feet have been where I’ve been and have achieved some success in areas in which I’ve struggled.
I’ve often felt like I’m the only one who struggles in so many areas of life. Before I got married, I failed in my relationships. And those failures followed me. I should say, I packed those failures in a bag and carried them around with me every day. Just like Erykah Badu’s song entitled “Bag Lady.” She sings:
Bag lady you gone hurt your back
Dragging all them bags like that
I guess nobody ever told you
All you must hold on to
Is you, is you, is you
One day all them bags gone get in your way
One day all them bags gone get in your way
I said one day all them bags gone get in your way
One Day all them bags gone get in your way
I know a lot about those bags. But while I once believed I was the only one who experienced the pain of carrying that baggage, I now know, as I’ve worked through ridding myself of some of those bags, that I’m not the only one. I’ve learned some things as I’ve thrown away baggage, and I’d like to talk about some of that on this blog in an effort to help others.
As I share my experiences in the areas of relationship/marriage, parenting, health and body image, emotional intelligence, and spirituality, I hope my readers will also share not only their own struggles, but advice as well.
In full disclosure, I am a Christian. The foundation of my writings is God and Jesus Christ. However, I do believe that no matter your faith tradition, you can glean something from the writing here. I don’t say that to be arrogant at all. I just think that the wisdom imparted here through the women who read and comment can help others if we can all keep an open mind.
I’m excited to be back. I’ll post once weekly on Tuesdays. If I feel the urge to write a second post, I’ll do so. But for now, look for the first post this Tuesday.
In the meantime, click here to learn a little more about me. I look forward to getting to know more about you.
(If you like what you’ve read, please click here or enter your email address in the SUBSCRIBE BY EMAIL box in the sidebar to receive my blog posts by email.)
I remember when I first started blogging back in November 2006. It was fun. It was exciting. It was draining. It allowed me to uncover a writing voice I didn’t know existed. I have been grateful for the opportunities it has given me to get to know a few people out in the blogosphere that have given so much of themselves, people I’ve learned alot from.
Nonetheless, I experienced a block, and I neglected posting for a significant period of time. I thought about whether I had anything of any significance to say, and discovered that I really didn’t at the time. So instead of trying to post something of no value, I sort of disappeared. I sputtered a little here and there, attempting to make a comeback. But it just wasn’t there for me.
Part of me was dealing with the fact that I didn’t feel I had anything to say. But a large part of what I was doing was helping my husband get his book published. And while I posted back in December “It’s Here!” to celebrate his completion of the book, we experienced some production issues that took a minute to resolve.
Well, this time, it’s here!!! The book has been published and it has been released. Below is the new cover image:
Steppin’ Out Of The Darkness, “When Good People Become Great,” is an introspective, inspirational story about “personal leadership.” The premise is that it’s not what happens to you that matters most; it’s how you choose to respond after adversity strikes when life happens and after bad things begin to happen when least expected.
Moreover, Steppin’ Out Of The Darkness is a family friendly book containing lessons lived and learned by three generations of men.Not once did the author disclose the ethnicity of the characters in the story because he wanted each reader’s life experiences to color the faces of the characters.He did this to avoid forcing the characters to fit into a mold that may not apply to each person reading this literary legacy of faith, hope, and love. The book is 272 pages. It is only available through Generation Y™ Publishing, and you can purchase it through my husband’s blog, “When Least Expected.”
Well, I now have something to say. To celebrate, I have a new look for my blog (for those who were past readers here)! And what I’ve decided to do was write some reflections around Steppin’ Out Of The Darkness. To give you a little flavor before I get started in a couple of days:
“When life happens and the invisible fist of Adversity strikes, always expect the ‘Giver of Gifts’ to do the unexpected when least expected.“
To get a little flavor of the tasty nuggets my husband has cooked up in the past, take a look at his blog. Purchase the book. And let me know how you like (or don’t like) the new look of my site!!!
As we all know, an horrific tragedy occurred on the campus of Virginia Tech on Monday, April 16th. I cannot imagine being the parent of any of the children who lost their lives that day. I can only extend condolences and prayers to the families of the victims, to those still fighting for their lives, and to those with wounds who are now recovering. I can try to understand that the professors and students who were in classes that day are experiencing pain, yet I cannot say I understand that pain. If I were there, I could extend support by lending my presence if needed or wanted.
I cannot imagine, though, people preying on those students who chose to share their horrendous experiences on their own blogs that day and days following. I’m referring to some journalists who just have to get the story. Journalists who must be first on the scene.
I’m not knocking journalists. Without journalists, we wouldn’t have access to information about the world and around the world to which we have access now. And, in fact, I’m sure being a journalist is tough; I surely wouldn’t want to be one. I discovered a quote from CNN Student News, regarding the role of the journalist, which stated:
“(A journalist has the) inescapably impossible task of providing every week a first rough draft of a history that will never be completed about a world we can never understand.” – Phil Graham, late chairman of the board of the Washington Post Company
And surely, there is no understanding the massacre one man imposed upon dozens of people. Yet, one must question the motives of journalists who use these students’ tragedies to get a story.
As has been reported, many students recorded the incident, as they saw it and experienced it, on their personal blogs, whether on Facebook, MySpace, LiveJournal, Friendster, etc. Surely, their entries were not meant for public consumption. Robin Hamman of cybersoc.com wrote about this phenomenon in his post, “virginia tech bloggers: approach and confirm or link and disclaim?” He refers to Robert Andrews at journalism.co.uk who reports of one blogger in his post, “Reporters turn to blogs for shooting witnesses,”
“Bryce Carter, who reported hearing gunshots at the university campus, subsequently wrote of his mixed emotions after his posts were picked up by Fox News: ‘Each time I hear something else, I get a brief moment of selfish joy before I am stabbed in the heart, realising that I deserve no credit and that lives are gone, destroyed and in pain.
“‘What is the significance of all this? My postings are simply what I always do, except I left my thoughts for the public instead of just my friends.’”
It seems some journalists are getting their stories about the massacre by perusing blogs to find authors who wrote posts on their personal blogs about the incident from their own perspectives. Hamman discovered one reporter’s approach:
“Sorry to hear about this. CBC Newsworld is doing live interviews with people who are affected by the shooting. Can you please drop me a line at [email] when you have a moment? THANKS”
There are many more of these types of inquiries Hamman writes about in his post. And to me, it seems sad. Young people are experiencing tremendous tragedy, and reporters, wanting to get a good story, pounce upon these students in their time of grief and pain. I just think there is a problem with attempting to capitalize on the tragedy of others. There is something unethical about it, borderline inhumane. I recognize that journalists have a job to do. But isn’t there a better way of obtaining a story than obtrusively gaining access to people’s lives by scouring blogs? I understand that by putting your personal information on a blog you’re out there in the open for the entire world to see. But do we not, in our own souls, understand that people are going through intense tragedy? Can journalists put themselves in the shoes of the victims and ask themselves, “Would I want to be barraged by people who I don’t even know to suck a story out of me?”
We need to know that there are unethical journalists out there. And Hamman lays out the truth of the situation. But in recognizing and acknowledging the truth that some journalists are using “underhanded” methods to get their information, there is opportunity for those journalists to redeem themselves. Hamman states,
“…yesterday’s events, and the ensuing media frenzy in the comments of a LiveJournal user and elsewhere, show that where mainstream media does use – and yes, that word was chosen deliberately – content created by bloggers, that the journalists, researchers and reporters do it with sensitivity.
“Think when you link. Understand that some content published in public was never intended to be seen by a mass audience.
I am thankful for people like Robin Hamman who have exposed the truth about this type of reporting. It allows me to see the reporting of incidents like that which occurred at Virginia Tech in a different light.
How do you feel about the reporting of the Virginia Tech massacre?
(Disclaimer: This post didn’t really go where I wanted it to – but this is where it ended up. Sorry if it doesn’t make much sense; yet, I hope it is of some value.)
One of the great things about being here in the world of blogging is I’ve been able to begin developing my voice to attempt to talk about some things that are important to women (and men too!). Since I’ve started, I’ve met so many great people who’ve encouraged me along the way, tagged me for memes, wrote great comments, linked to my blog, joined my MyBlogLog community, interviewed me for their blogs, featured me on their blogs, and added me to their blogrolls. To be mentioned in some way in this world is an incredible honor to me.
Well, there’s more!
Crunchy Carpets and Keith have graciously chosen to bless me with the Thinking Blogger Award started by Ilker at The Thinking Blog. Thank you for “thinking” so highly of me; it’s hard to know what to say. Nevertheless, in light of their honor, I’d like to pass it on to the following five folks who make me think (this list is not comprehensive!!!):
Thinking Blogger Award #1 goes to Manchild at When Least Expected™ – Sure, he’s my husband, but to see the thought that goes into everything he says really just blows my mind. I see it firsthand and I know that what he writes is from his heart and soul. He’s never afraid of what people will think about him, he doesn’t care about the status quo – he just challenges just about everyone who reads his blog. He genuinely cares about people and their own personal and spiritual growth, not only in the blogging world, but in the physical world as a whole.
Thinking Blogger Award #2 goes to Camille at Now – Camille is a wonderfully gifted writer who writes with incredible insight. A person with so many gifts and talents, it comes out in her writing. She offers some very raw and revealing moments at times, but it’s not soupey or necessarily sentimental. It’s just very real.
Thinking Blogger Award #3 goes to Alexander at B.I.D.E.: Spiritual Commentary on Current Events – B.I.D.E. stands for Benevolence In Dharmic Exploration. Alexander, a veteran of the U.S. Navy, really takes the time to discover what’s going on in the world and writes about spirituality and faith related to the world’s current events. He even covers those tough stories about “ugly” issues that many people don’t want to talk about.
Thinking Blogger Award #4 goes to Jennifer at Goodness Graciousness – Jennifer writes with incredible grace. I really can’t describe what she does over there. Her “desire is to put thoughts of goodness and graciousness into the universe.” All I know is every time I visit, I come away with something thoughtful and beautiful.
Thinking Blogger Award #5 goes to The New Parent – For those of you who are parents, I recently discovered this wonderful place where we can learn how to educate ourselves to raise thoughtful, well-behaved children. I’ve not really come upon a parenting site like this one. The father of this site is a new parent (hence the name), but somehow, he has a wealth of wisdom on how to change the world by changing our children.
Final thoughts – for my winners of this award, if you want to nominate your own “thinkers,” here are the rules of engagement:
If, and only if, you get tagged, Write a post with links to 5 blogs that make you think,
Link to Ilker’s post so that people can easily find the exact origin of the meme,
Optional: Proudly display the ‘Thinking Blogger Award’ with a link to the post that you wrote (here is an alternative silver version if gold doesn’t fit your blog).
Manchild, Camille, Jennifer, Alexander, and the New Parent – thank you for making me think!
Isn’t technology the most wonderful “thing”? I tried to upgrade to the latest version of WordPress, and voila! My whole blog disappeared, along with most of the comments my wonderful readers left here Wednesday, April 11th. Moreover, this “guffaw” affected my husband Manchild‘s blog as well; many comments left for him on Wednesday disappeared as well. I had to call my host provider who restored everything…well, almost everything…
If you left a comment for me (here) or my husband (at When Least Expected™) Wednesday, April 11 between midnite and 5:00pm, it probably disappeared since the provider had to use a backup as a restore point. I am so sorry, because those comments were so great…
If you notice a comment you left does not appear on a post and you want to resubmit it, PLEASE do it! I highly value your feedback, and would love to see it back here again. If you don’t get a chance to do it, I will attempt to reclaim them from my emails, but it might take awhile.
So please don’t think I’ve deleted your comments!!!
I am learning so much about meeting people in the world of blogging. Mostly, I am humbled by the comments I receive to my posts. You all have let me know that you value the content that I produce here. I am so appreciative that you all come to see me here.
I’m saying this because it seems I responded to the “Simply Successful Secrets” meme but didn’t realize more than one person tagged me for it. I responded here to Laura’s tag, but forgot that Ophelia at Breathing Prosperity and Sania Wyatt tagged me for the same meme. And now, I’m feeling a bit awkward, somewhat penitent, that I didn’t acknowledge Ophelia and Sania for tagging me.
What that means is some great people read my blog, and I overlooked two people who do (and I hope will continue to do so). So Ophelia, I apologize to you for not acknowledging your tag. And Sania, I apologize to you as well for not acknowledging your tag. I appreciate you thinking so much of me to include me and I hope you will continue to consider me when good things like that come down the paths of the blogging world.
The best thing I love about blogging is the potential for learning from the wisdom and insight of other people. I can imagine how long it would’ve taken to “meet” the wonderful people I’ve met since I began back in November. And through this fabulous community, I’ve grown a little, if not more. I remember just recently reading a post by Madena at Soul To Soul entitled “Visioncasting,” where she asked,
“What have you done to encourage people in your life? What kind of vision are you casting for them? Are you surrounding them with positive comments or are you beating them down with negative discouraging statements?”
As soon as I read those questions, I called my husband and said, “Sweetheart, I believe in you!” It was completely unexpected for him, yet he appreciated the encouragement. I know I need to do a better job casting that vision with and for him.
“Love and Fear,” a fabulous presentation Camille placed on her site Now really made me reflect on what love really is. I’ve always looked at the definition of love from 1 Corinthians 13, which describes love as “being” something, “acting” a certain way. Notwithstanding that, this presentation gave a bit more life to what being patient, kind, bearing all things, and believing all things means. It’s beautiful!
I say all this to say I’ve learned a lot from lots of people in the blogging community (is there a better way to say “blogging community”?). The opportunity to grow and change for the better is always present. And so I’ve been presented with another opportunity to grow and change. Laura from WritingThoughts has tagged me for a meme (if anyone really wants to know what this means, head on over to Now where Camille provides a detailed explanation – no need to do any additional research!) which, as Laura describes,
“…calls for each blogger to share those little secrets that have helped them to succeed. The purpose of the meme is simple. To help each other.”
The originator of this meme, Aaron Potts at Today Is That Day, is conducting an “interactive research project” in which he is compiling those activities bloggers engage in daily that helps them be successful. Take a look here to get further details.
Okay. I’ve stalled enough. I’ll give you what works for me when I’m consistent with these activities! Keep in mind that success for me means doing that which God has called me to do. This doesn’t just mean on a grand scale – it really has to do with day-to-day activities. And so, to get to where I am doing what God would have me do daily (which is something for which I strive – I don’t get it as often as I’d like), there are a few things that are key.
#1 – Praying and journal writing is the number one thing I must do if I am to remain anywhere near centered. Writing my prayers down in a journal helps me to see what I’m praying for and what answers I’m receiving. Sometimes I get answers right away, more often not. But seeing it on paper helps me to clarify things and sometimes put things into perspective.
#2 – Having a grateful attitude and staying positive is absolutely essential. If I’m complaining about things, I am not focusing on the incredible blessings God has absolutely poured out on me (and He has absolutely rained down wonderful favor upon me!). In fact, if I’m not grateful, my memory tends to stay short (which does not work well for me at all).
#3 – Reading constantly is a must. I love books! I learn so much from books! There is much out there that can help us grow into the people God has called us to become by picking up a book. I tend to read books that cause me to look deep inside myself, books on relationships/marriage, as well as some fiction, such as The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston. I plan to try to read Beloved by Toni Morrison this summer.
#4 – Staying organized helps me focus. When my desk is cluttered, when my house is cluttered, my mind is cluttered. It is amazing that when I’m organized at school and at home, my mind is clearer. (It took me years to figure this out!)
#5 – Eating properly and working out a little each day does wonders for me – again, when I’m consistent. It’s been a little while since I’ve been in this spot though, but when I am, I feel lighter and more peaceful (definitely more joyful that I don’t look like a cow in my clothes!), which allows me to be less focused on that fact that I’m overweight.
Wow, what an incredible exercise! I plan to print this post out myself and place it someplace where I can see it everyday!
Now I’d like to tag Rachel at The Challenge of Life and Jennifer at Goodness Graciousness for the next round.
Yvonne at Grow Your Writing Business recently tagged me for a great meme that, with your feedback, will help me better understand and focus on the folks for whom I write in this blog. The “original” first question of the meme is “To Whom Do You Blog?” Yvonne reworded the question to read “Whom Do I Write For?” because she views blogging “as a collaborative conversation.” I absolutely agree with this point because blogging isn’t (or shouldn’t be) done in a vacuum. If it is, what’s the point? Isn’t that why we crave comments? We love the conversation!
Whom Do I Write For?
When I began blogging, I looked at it as a vehicle to begin my ministry. When I say “ministry,” I’m not talking about preaching in a pulpit. I tried that, actually, and discovered that I’m not a good preacher – because that’s not my gift! One of the things God gifted me to do is teach. So while I was teaching Bible study for a time, I’m now teaching biblical studies at a Christian, college-prep high school.
Nevertheless, I had always known my ministry extended beyond the high school classroom; I just didn’t know in what way. I also know that as a woman who has experienced and grown through lots of pain in my own life that many other women could relate to those experiences. So my “ministry” (blog), while not limited to women, is primarily to women who are (as stated in the “Welcome!” section of my blog) seeking wisdom in the areas primarily of relationships, parenting, personal development, and spiritual growth. Keep in mind that while I am informed by my experiences as well as formal and informal research, I know there are others out there (women and men) who have wisdom to share as well, and my readers want to hear that wisdom (THIS IS A CALL FOR LOTS AND LOTS OF COMMENTS! ).
But to what “genre” of woman do I write? This is an interesting question to me, because there are varieties of women out there. There is the WAHM, the homeschooling mom, the SAHM, the “professional” woman, the Christian woman, the cooking woman, and on and on and on and on. One of the things I do know is that, while I am a mother, I am not inspired to write about any great recipes or journal about my daughter’s daily accomplishments (although I’ll talk about my daughter from time to time). While those activities are important, it’s not my regular cup of tea. Nor am I much of a political pundit (I leave that up to Danielle at Modern Musings), although I have some political views that I think are well-informed.
Moreover, while I am a Christian and my Christian beliefs inform who I am, I don’t feel the need to talk about my Christianity to make a point every day. Therefore, I don’t target my writings to Christian women specifically. I don’t feel comfortable with a primarily Christian audience because I’m not the best Christian myself. I don’t have it all right. I target my writings to women as a whole because Christian or not, women share unique experiences that we, no matter what faith tradition is held, can all learn from.
Furthermore, although I target women, pain and the need for healing and renewal is universal. Women are my target, but a lot of what I discuss can relate to men as well. And with many issues, men can provide interesting perspectives women may not think of. So I absolutely welcome the male voice!
Am I Talking To You?
The second question of this meme can only be answered by you. As you can see, I think I know who I’m writing for, but I could be wrong. I’d like to invite you into this “collaborative conversation.” I’ve included some questions below that will help me understand who my audience really is (not who I claim them to be). I’D LOVE TO KNOW FROM YOU:
Whom do you think I’m talking to?
Who are you?
Why are you here?
Why do you come back to my blog?
What do you want to read here?
What do you think is missing?
What is the one thing you truly don’t like about this blog?
I’d love to hear your honest feedback. Please – don’t hold back!
This was such a valuable meme! Thanks Yvonne! I’d now like to pass the baton on to Madena at Soul to Soul, Danielle at Modern Musings, Jim at Black in Business, and Camille at Now.
I love books! I am a book hound! I enjoy being in places where I am surrounded by literary works of all types. (That, in fact, is how I met my husband – at Border’s Books in Atlanta, GA). I had the opportunity to spend some time in our high school library today, so I walked to the section where the inspirational collection is housed and discovered a few books I had heard about but had never picked up. One of those books was The World According to Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers, a small book with great, warm, encouraging wisdom.
As a child I seldom watched Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood. I thought, in fact, the show was a bit corny. I didn’t get why he would come in the house and take off his coat, only to put on a sweater. I thought he was too soft-spoken. I didn’t care for his songs because they were too slow-paced. And because I couldn’t get past these small details, I never really learned much about what he had to say about “the neighborhood.”
I learned that the material contained in The World According to Mister Rogers was derived from the actual show. One of the “precepts” from the show and included in this gem of a work says,
“If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet; how important you can be to the people you may never even dream of. There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.”
I want to offer all of you whose blog I’ve visited (and will visit) and to those who have visited mine (who have commented or not), you all have made a great impact on me. I have met many people since I’ve begun this blog, and I’ve learned alot. So if I didn’t learn anything about “the neighborhood” watching Mister Rogers when I was young, I believe I certainly have the opportunity to learn now. Thank you all for all the work you do to encourage, inspire, and help us all grow in new and different ways.
Thanks, all of you, who have moved into “my neighborhood.”