Blogiversary

blogiversary

I like to commemorate the little things. Tim and I have acknowledged, if not celebrated, every monthiversary since we got married. {We’re up to ten this month!} I’ll probably be the parent who says her child is 26 months old just so she can blow up balloons and have cupcakes every four weeks.

Though it’s not the one year mark, Primitive Roads is celebrating a blogiversary today – SIX months of navigating life’s unpaved paths. This is rather hard for me to believe for two reasons: 1. I’ve been blogging in my head for years, so it seems like I’ve had this home on the interwebs way longer and 2. This blogiversary coincides with our movaversary (I’m clearly okay with made-up words) which means we’ve lived in Idaho for six months. That is unreal.

Primitive Roads was born out of need – a need for an occupation and an outlet. I wanted a place to share how God was walking alongside me every step of this rather rustic and uncharted season in my life. I process though writing and strongly believe that being honest and open about what we’re processing is a huge part of developing authentic community.

I appreciate the community that has developed here and am thankful for the connections being built. Thank you for the reading, commenting, sharing, linking, emailing, and prayers that make me feel supported and encouraged.

In honor of this little milestone in the life of Primitive Roads, I wanted to do a mini retrospective of the past six months. Thank you for joining me on the journey thus far.

September: My first post, aptly titled “The Next Chapter“, written in the wee hours of the morning before Tim and I started our drive to Idaho.

Letter To My Teenage Self

I jumped into the Christian blogosphere by writing a Letter To My Teenage Self to help launch Emily P. Freeman’s book, Graceful: Letting Go of Your Try Hard Life. I began to share my love of food/cooking with recipes. Christmas-Eve Salad was the first one I got featured on Tastespotting and Food Gawker.

October: Another jump into the blogosphere was my last minute (read – night before) decision to participate in The Nester’s 31 Day Challenge. I chose my theme of writing letters for the next 31 days based on a letter I wanted to write to my husband’s ex-girlfriend (Dear Jackie). You can find links to all the letters here, but some of my favorite were: Dear Eustace, Dear Southwest (which they featured on their blog), Dear Jen Hatmaker, and Dear H.S. Gals.

Sincerely, Emily

November: I read a couple great books in November. I reviewed 7: An Experimental Mutiny Against Excess by Jen Hatmaker and had a major epiphany the day I started One Thousand Gifts by Ann Voskamp. I wrote my first guest post about The Six Things I’ve Learned In Six Months of Marriage for Kayse Pratt’s delightful blog.

I’m obsessed with granola and developed a Gingerbread Granola recipe that I found way too addicting.

dsc_02291

December: I decided to transfer my blog from WordPress {dot} com to WordPress {dot} org in order to have more control over design and to utilize some affiliate programs, like Amazon, to raise funds to support Primitive Roads. The process was technically challenging and beyond frustrating at times. Finally, I just laid hands on my computer and prayed for my blog. I should have done that from the beginning.

I did a series near and dear to my heart about how to have a Mary Christmas. My favorite projects from a week of crafts I featured were the Paper Bag Christmas Card and the beautiful wedding memories ornaments that my mom made. My mom also wrote a poignant guest post about God being sovereign in all seasons.

Mary Christmas

January: I introduced my one word (intentional) and started a series on community. My husband wrote an awesome post about Jane Austen and community. Speaking of Jane Austen, I discovered how much I resembled her characters from Sanditon. I finally got a warm coat which prompted me to write 7 Ways To Get Through Winter. I figured out how to replicate the Rosemary Currant Bread from my favorite breakfast place (Julienne in San Marino, CA). I confessed that it’s hard for me to graciously share baking territory with other people who are gifted in that area.

CupcakeFebruary: Four other bloggers and I did a collaborative series called How To Maintain Your High Maintenance Marriage. We wrote about communication, service, laughter, and sex. {Sex seemed to be a popular topic with y’all.} I gave some style advice in 5 Essential Earrings Ever Woman Should Own (and may have shocked people with the amount of earrings I posses). Valentines month was a good excuse for me to bake Rosemary Lemon Sugar Cookies and Cream Filled Chocolate Sandwich Cookies. Enough said.

earringsI wrote a Valentine from God for Kindred Grace, a blog I contribute to, and made my first craft tutorial. I’m a competitive person and had to stop playing games with Tim before I discovered these six ways to curb my competitiveness. Inspired by one of my favorite blogs, Cardigan Way, I did a what I’m into post called Primitive Pleasures that I will continue to do at the end of every month.

Six months have been full of primitive roads. I’m excited about tackling the unpaved paths ahead.

I would love to hear from you! Email me at emgardner8@gmail.com with any questions, comments, ideas or feedback…

{balloon photo credit: stephanie ★ via photopin cc}

Pray For A Blog?

I finally did it, an act of surrender that God was prompting with very vivid lessons in patience and perseverance.

I prayed over my blog.

Where fingers usually skim across the black keys, taping out words as quick as they come to mind, my hand rested with fingers still on the keyboard. Where eyes are usually trained with focus and attention, my head bowed with eyes closed before the opened screen.

I felt pretty silly sitting there, silent and unseeing, with laptop on my knees. I was secretly pleased Tim wasn’t there to observe my unusual posture.

That posture was long in coming, and I regret that it had not been executed earlier.

I was finally praying that Primitive Roads would be completely placed in God’s hands.  I view this blog as ministry just as much as I view it as a hobby.  I so want it to be a space where people experience and know God, not just read about Him.

It took the process of switching Primitive Roads from wordpress.com to wordpress.org for me to realize that my blog had become just that – MY blog.

Though I am pleased that Primitive Roads has survived the migration, it has certainly endured much troubleshooting, adjusting, and overall technical fine tuning in the process.

I spent hours on Live Chat with Host Gator (PS – they are awesome!) fixing URL problems on top of the hours I spent manually (I now realize there are plugins that can do these things…) redirecting links and minimizing photo file sizes.

If I wasn’t wanting to throw a brick through my computer when I first started the transfer, by the end I was sending my blood pressure sky-high with frustration at my lack of blogging tech-savvy.  My mind would not turn off with updates and corrections I needed to make, and I was so disheartened as traffic began to drop.

As feelings of defeat crept in, the biggest problem became apparent – I was striving for success, success for myself.

Primitive Roads had become all about me. I wanted people to read MY words and make MY recipes and subscribe to MY blog.

And that’s why I found myself with palms open on my keyboard, praying for Primitive Roads.

This is a little of how my prayer went:

Primitive Roads is YOURS!  Do with my words as YOU please.  Let my striving be for YOUR glory.  If I boast in anything, let me boast in YOU and what YOU have done.

Lord, Primitive Roads isn’t about me.  It’s about YOU.  May my choices, time, and words in blogging reflect my love for You and Your love for us.

Help me to maintain good boundaries and priorities.  You first. Tim second.  Ministry third.

Please continue to give me Your vision as we navigate these primitive roads together!

Your daughter,

Emily

It may be weird, to pray for a blog, to pray with hands laid on a computer, but I will continue to be weird.

How do you keep your ministry surrendered to God?