Tuesday, May 12, 2009

A Starting Point For Gratitude

At the time I began creating this blog I was trying hard to find a voice. I needed to regain some sense of myself. I'd been swallowed whole by the passions and responsibilities of motherhood. I was fading and I was falling apart.

In the beginning I ranted and wondered out loud about things that I couldn't really say to anyone. I wrote stream of thought. I purged myself of personal reflections so that I could float back into my real life world of caring for for the whims of others and not feel bitter. I really just needed to be heard.

Having this blog opened up an opportunity for me with The Old Schoolhouse Magazine to review products on the TOS Crew. It opened doors.
Writing homeschool reviews was an amazing blessing.

For one, it allowed me to write. But beyond that, it required me to spend time with my kids to really use and explore the products. I couldn't have done it without them. It taught me how to balance my dreams with my family life and taught my family to honor and respect my writing time because they had something tangible to gain from it. It was a win win.

My family began to view me as writer. My confidence grew and my life began to round out.

Before long I started a second blog to focus more on our homeschooling adventures. My time quickly centered around homeschooling and writing thorough reviews of the many products I was blessed to obtain. Some of the reviews where posted here too.

Then I started a third blog to serve as a hot spot for my writing samples. It's sort of like an online writing portfolio.

Shortly after that I heard about an opportunity to write devotions for moms of toddlers at Totally Tots and I was thrilled when I was welcomed on board.

I also began blogging about my experiences as a Pastor's Wife at Christian Women Take Root.

Through all the contacts I was making in the blog world I decided to start another blog and try to do some affiliate marketing. I'll be honest, I haven't received a cent for it. It's just fun and I enjoy learning about companies and spotlighting items I use.

Once the TOS Crew year began to wind down some of us got a little antsy about a review free future and began seeking out opportunities. That's how I got involved in blogging for books programs. I currently review for Crossway, NavPress, Thomas Nelson. Zondervan, and Waterbrook. I love reading. My most exciting moments of this opportunity so far are the complimentary comments left by an author regarding my review of his book, and the excitement of reviewing a book written by my favorite author (Robin Jones Gunn).

On top of that, I get to stay connected to The Old Schoolhouse Magazine to write product reviews for print.

If that wasn't enough, God paved the way for me to begin the work to publish my first novel. It's in the editing process now. The joy and excitement of seeing my cover and discussing elements of the publishing process gives me goose bumps.

It all started here. It all started with a pain in my stomach, a burning for something more and the tug of war feeling in my heart. God knew how much I valued my family and how unwilling I was to lay them aside for my own aspirations. He picked up the hopes I'd laid at his feet at He brought them to my house. He weaved my personal aspirations into the fabric of my everyday life and made it possible for me to have it all. I am so blessed.
In the Bible when something really big and important happened at a location Gods people would mark the area with an altar. The altar served as a marking point. It was a place to remember what God had done.

I can tell you that when I began pouring my heart out here I was in a pretty desperate place. In the last two years I've faced a major move, the birth of a child, the loss of two houses, forclosure, bankruptcy, my husband's job loss, wounded feelings from our former church, suicidal feelings due to postpardum depression, two more moves, my teenage cousin moving in, her moving out, and then . . . .blessing. This is the altar I'm building, the place I remember God's provision. He settled my family, gave my husband a wonderful job, provided a beautiful home for our family, fulfilled my ambitions, replaced my depression with joy, healed my hurts, met our financial needs, reconciled my cousin to her parents and to God (she was called to ministry while she was here), and blessed me more than I could imagine. He parted the sea for me. He blew my mind.

My next three posts here will be about beginnings. They will be thank you notes to God in a way. I hope you'll visit again as I reflect on the firsts that have occured in my home recently. I'll leave lots of room for you to comment too. I hope you'll join me as, together, we recognize the ground we've gained as children of the King.

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