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How to thrive in family life

What I’ve Learned in My Five Years of Blogging

I turned 45 this past Friday. Woo-hoo!

And since I launched my blog on my birthday back in 2010, it got me to thinking about my blogging experience over the past 5 years.

blogging anniversary

So, here’s what I’ve learned about blogging…
1. The internet is like a newspaper on steroids. 

I started this blog to be more effective in evangelism and discipleship.  I remember when I would pass out gospel tracts in public and there would be no effective follow-up, or I would give out tracts with a family centered message, but there would be no instruction beyond what could fit on an 8 1/2 x 11 piece of paper.  I knew that the internet was a very effective way to get out the message of the Gospel and its relationship to family life; a place where women could always visit to get encouragement.  Thanks to this website, I’m reaching people beyond my limited physical reach with the message of hope that only Jesus Christ offers, and it feels great!

2. God has to teach me how to blog, what to say, and when to say it . . .

and even then, when I think I got it right, I get it wrong!  Some members of my family are private, while others have a broadcast me to the world personality (like their mom).  And I’ve made a mistake or two or three or four in trying to figure out who was who. What’s acceptable for one kid would make another dive under the bed in sheer embarrassment – or call me to express their complete and utter disdain: “Dang it, Mom!”  I’ve posted pictures that I said I wouldn’t (but in my defense, she was soooo pretty – even with the forbidden, green swim cap).  And I’ve been told by my husband to “Edit that post – now!”  Yes, I’ve had to learn some things the hard way.  Thank God for His grace.

3. I miss my late-night couch-time.

I like to sit on the couch late at night to decompress, eating ice cream and brownies while watching the news (and growing my waist line), but because of blogging that life for the most part is OVER.  I grind and hustle all day keeping a regimented schedule and homeschooling the kids and by the evening I’m more than ready to let my hair down.  But I’ve since traded that in to spend time writing and developing content for this website.  I have to steal time from somewhere to blog – and I’d rather steal it from watching the nightly news than from my family time.

4. God has to continually help me not to want to be popular or famous, or blog just to drive traffic.

While I’m certain that it’s God’s will for my life to teach about faith and family life – and I’m grateful that blogging affords me that opportunity – when I write a post and press “publish” I don’t want to feel like I’m blogging for just one person: I want a ton of people to read my stuff and I want to be loved and affirmed by the masses and penetrate the inner circles of popular mommy bloggers – whomever they may be (THERE ARE SO MANY!).

There’s a monster in me that craves fame and glory, and I’m constantly having to allow the Holy Spirit to check me on my motives for why I do what I do: Did I sacrifice 2 hours of sleep because I need the applause of men or did I offer my sleep-time up to the Lord so that He can be glorified?  It all comes down to motives.  The Lord has had to check and correct me on this more than once. Because of this, I’m constantly tweaking this website so that it reflects more of Christ and less of me.

5. I lie to myself about what I’d be doing if I weren’t blogging.

I tell myself I’d read more if I had the time.  It’s a lie!  I barely finished a book before I began blogging – but I blame that on homeschooling! – and it happens even less now, since this blog. Don’t think that stops me from amassing a lovely book collection (which collects dust on my shelves), or starting books (and not making it past the first chapter).  In this post I romanticized the idea of taking on possibly the toughest read of my life yet: Pride and Prejudice. I’d update you on my progress but I have to go now . . . THE MAILMAN IS RINGING MY BELL!

6. Social media is an all-consuming beast! 

Trying to keep up with social media can consume you and suck the very life out of you.  The only reason I started a Pinterest, Instagram and Welcome Home Ministry Facebook account is because it’s one of the best ways to keep readers connected and to grow your blog.  But I’m sick of trying to keep up with all of these social media platforms! I honestly don’t know how other mommy bloggers do it.  For me, finding the balance between communicating what God has put on my heart AND THEN blasting it out through multiple social media platforms is like walking a spiritual tightrope!

7. It’s OK to be less plugged in (I hope).

I’ve let my Pinterest and Instagram accounts fall by the wayside (they are there, but I haven’t updated them in some time) and I’ve removed my Facebook app (and Messenger!) from my smartphone.  And I couldn’t feel better!  In an age when being “connected” is seen as something favorable, I’m finding that hearing from many voices clouds how well I hear from the Lord.  Being less connected doesn’t mean I’m more spiritual.  Perhaps this is a season I’m passing through.  All I’m saying is that I was way too plugged in for my own good.

Can God really use a blog that has limited reach or is not on top of social media?  I guess we’ll have to wait and see.

8. Blogging is Hard WORK! 

HARD WORK…Ah-Choo!!!!  {Gesundheit.}  Thank you!  I’m allergic to hard work. Even the very word makes me itch and sneeze.  Yes, I truly enjoy blogging, but finding the balance between blogging and tending to the needs of my family is not (always) easy.  When I’m blogging in my spare time it feels great, but when I’m writing a blog post at 12 am and I’m delirious from sleep deprivation, it just feels forced – it feels like WORK!

I once wrote a blog post on this very topic, about my struggle to post regularly and be a “good” mom.  I was whinny, and grumpy and semi-incoherent from writing it after midnight, when everything in me wanted to run for my covers – and it went viral!  (Which means that 10 people read it.)  Go figure!

So yeah, blogging requires a sacrifice – a sacrifice of my time: I can be reading or blogging; washing dishes or blogging; sleeping or blogging.  I can rub my husband’s feet or blog.  (I hope my hubby doesn’t read this because I don’t actually rub his feet, but he may want me to start.) :o)

9. Finding your own voice is not easy!

There are several bloggers whom I love and adore. Bloggers who give me a daily dose of happy.  Bloggers to offer an unapologetic view of why homeschooling is for everyone, even if it’s not.  But God designed me to be uniquely me, and I can’t be anyone else – no matter how much I try.  It took me a while to find my own voice; and honestly, I’m still finding it. Fellow blogger Holly Gerth said, “Everyday, try to write in a way that scares you a little.”  I think that’s great advice.  It’s not easy being transparent and vulnerable and putting yourself out there for everyone to judge.  I wrote this post and was shaking in my boots before I pressed publish. My husband had to finally tell me, “It’s OK, Tiff – just do it!”  And every day, I’m still trying to Just Do It!

***

So whether you’ve stuck around here for the past 5 years (that’s mostly just me!) or for the past 5 months, I want to say Thank you.  Thank you for posting comments when I feel like I’m only writing for myself.  Thank you for letting me know you’re out there somewhere – somewhere out there in cyberspace.

**Holla Back!**

Even five years in I feel relatively new and I’d love your feedback about Welcome Home Ministry.  Is there anything that I can do to improve it?  What do you like most about it?  What’s your favorite flavor of ice cream?  Should I highlight my hair again?  I don’t know, just holla back!

Comments

  1. Hi Tiffiney, I followed you from Melanie’s recent post. I appreciate your sincerity. Don’t work yourself up over who is reading….You may be shocked to have a few people who read consistently but they probably don’t leave comments.
    Funny thing is I go over and read my articles and sometimes it encourages me too!
    Don’t give up! Keep pressing on!
    Sweet Blessings to you

    • Hi Ifeoma, It’s good to hear from you again! Thanks so much for your encouragement and sage words or wisdom. So much has changed since I even wrote the post about what I’ve learned over the past 5 years. I’ve discovered that I’m still finding my voice and what I even cared about when I wrote that post has changed. I find that I’m writing for an audience of one these days: The Lord. Anyway, the Lord is sooo good. God bless you!

  2. I can relate to most of what you’ve written about. It can be discouraging–I often feel that way when it seems like no one reads. But then there are the encouraging, fun moments when writing flows and you know you’ve written a message God wants to get out there. When I’m discouraged I bring that to the Lord, remembering that it isn’t about my reputation or success. That’s a hard one in this environment, but when I can release all that, there is such freedom. You have a lovely blog. I’m going to enjoy looking around. Happy to link with you at Grace and Truth today. Be encouraged, God works through the small things to show His glory:)

    • Hi Ginger! You are as funny as all get out! I had a great time peeping around your website and your Christmas video and your “How Not to Worship”video is super funny. Really made me laugh and I always appreciate a good laugh.

      Thanks for stopping by and I hope you come back soon.
      Blessings,
      Tiffiney :o)

  3. I know just how you feel about lots of these things! (And to be honest, a few of them worried me. Will blogging get that much harder when I have kids??) I was just talking to my husband today about how much time blogging takes and I often look at the stats of how many people have viewed my blog and get discouraged, wondering if it is even worth it.

    I just always have to remind myself that I am doing what I do for the glory of God and that He is the One who is working through it as much as He chooses. I have to work so hard to keep that perspective, but it makes blogging so much more fulfilling when I do : )

    And just so you know, I have read a few of your other blog posts too and they are always so encouraging and challenging to me, so I hope that you’ll stay encouraged and keep on with your hard work! And thanks for this post too!

    • Hi Meredith! Your comments are soooo encouraging. Thanks for stopping by Welcome Home and dropping a comment so that I know I’m not alone. :o) You have a lovely blog as well, you and your hubby. I wish you much success on your podcast journey. Yes, it will get tougher when the kids come along. One thing I’ve learned is to allow yourself seasons of rest…we’ll all be here waiting for you when you resurface from being a busy new mom.

      Be blessed!
      Tiffiney

  4. Tiffany, As I read this post I could relate to EVERYTHING about it! It was as if I found my twin blogger! lol. And, of course, I agree with everything you stated. 🙂 And I’ve only been blogging since January! lol. We are so similar in how we approach blogging, the time we put into it, our motivation to blog and our struggles between blogging for the Lord and enjoying attention.

    But the most stunning similarity! I too just started reading Pride and Prejudice! I am about halfway through! I have vowed I am going to finish it and the Kindle app on my phone is certainly helping me to read at random times when I otherwise wouldn’t have because I am not in the habit of carrying a hardcover book around with me everywhere I go. lol. I too have trouble finishing books and buying books and never reading them. lol

    Your post was a breath of fresh air and an encouragement to this newbie blogger. It was a blessing to visit you today!

    • Well, hello to my bloggy twin! OK…where to start???? There are so many similarities between the two of us, but I can tell that mom likes you best because you’re actually reading the book (Pride and Prejudice). I am so jealous (I’m going to pull out your hair when mom’s not looking).

      Seriously though, thank you so much for your kind words. I’m really looking forward to checking out my twin’s site. I already love the hymn you share over there. Congrats on starting your own blog. And please drop me a line when you finish the book. :o)

      Blessings,
      Tiffiney

      • Tiffiney,

        Guess what?! On New Year’s Day I finally finished Pride & Prejudice!! lol. I can’t believe it took me since the summer to finish it. (I confess I went weeks and probably months without reading it.)

        My husband surprised me with a Kindle for Christmas and I took great joy in using it which spurred me on to finish the book!

        The ending is well worth getting to. lol. I hope you have been able to finish it as well. 🙂

        Happy New Year!

        Karen

        • Hi Karen! Happy New Year!

          Are you serious? You finished Pride and Prejudice?! Does that mean I’m like the only person in the world who started it, but hasn’t read it yet? Oy! I”m sooo alone. :o)

          So glad that you accomplished that milestone. One to scratch off of your literary bucket list. :o)

          Thanks for stopping by!

          Love,
          Tiffiney

    • Hey Onesia! Thank you for commenting! Now where are the other two people who regularly read my blog? (I know you’re out there!) Let’s see, if only 10 more people read this I will break my record! :o)

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