I started this blog two years and one month ago today. Actually, this minute, with time-change. (I was in England.)
I wrote nothing of consequence when I first started out. Over the years--including and especially that time I nearly quit and walked away from blogging entirely--with the frequency of Wordpress changes, importing and exporting, buying my own domain name, the imported archives say that my first post was actually a bit earlier than two years and one month ago, but my steady and true iCal says otherwise. In fact, I don't even know what my first post was. It's been lost in all that importing and exporting.
I'm sure it was nothing profound.
I started writing in this space when I was in England, having boarded a plane for London mid-May after ending a cataclysmic relationship with my then-best friend and breaking up with a girl I had at one point considered I might marry. (At some point, I wrote about that latter bit, vaguely and without a lot of description, but someone from her family found the post and commented anonymously that it was all my fault.) I remember standing in the boarding line in Newark for the latest evening flight--which is my favorite, since you fall asleep on the plane over and wake up midmorning in London--thinking that what I was doing was getting on that plane to escape. My Rome was burning and I needed to flee. So I got on a plane and left the country, lived on the northeast coast of England for two and half months, served a church full of the most gracious people I have ever had the privilege to serve, and slowly rebuilt a life.
And I wrote.
And no one was reading. Except my Mother. (Hi Mom!)
So I didn't write so much. In fact, I wrote a total of sixteen posts between August and December 2010.
In December, I decided that I was going to do this blogging thing for real. I started bolding crap. All kinds of crap. If I thought it was vaguely important, I bolded it. Because that helps people read you, right? That's what the blogging gurus tell you to do. So I bolded.
I still didn't have many readers except my Mother. To be fair, I wasn't turning out anything special content-wise. But somewhere in February 2011, as we rolled into Lent, a few faces started popping up in the comment box. The gift of Margaret Felice, Amy Nabors, the ever wonderful Anna Blanch, and a handful of anonymous others let me know that my Mother wasn't the only person reading my blog, that I had something to say that people were willing to listen to, and that I should keep going.
So I kept going.
I stopped bolding things in my posts, except when absolutely necessary. I stopped worrying about my blog traffic. I stopped worrying about my themes or posting schedule. I fell into a rhythm, and in falling into the rhythm, I met you. You, wonderful community of readers, you.
I can't even begin to make the lists of people who have filled this space with their grace. Can you imagine, with me, that this time last year I didn't have a book deal? That this time last year I had only guest posted somewhere once? That this time last year I was ready to throw in the towel and stop blogging altogether, because I wanted to be a writer but I had no idea what that meant?
(Or that this time last year I was writing a letter to my future wife? ... Let's just not even go there.)
It was this time last year that I sat in the living room of my house in Conroe, home for the summer between term, that I felt ready to give it all up and walk away. But then came a voice, so soft and whispering, "It will not be like this next year."
I didn't really know what that meant, but I did know it meant not to give up just yet. So I kept writing. I kept toiling in this dirt of a heart. I kept trying to see what would grow.
And slow, always slow, you came into this land of person and planted your own seeds of grace. You let me sit in your words and at your table. You tilled my fields for me and told me to rest awhile. You uplifted, you encouraged, you told me to just try. You believed.
And goodness, it's been a year.
My own sort of year of what if thinking. It was in this year that I signed a book contract, published a short story collection, became a contributor to the four blogs I had huge, gigantic crushes on, met in real life writing friends who are extraordinarily talented beyond words--looking at you, Elora and Micha, had my book change topics to a memoir about the silence of God and learning to rehear, and was surrounded by a community of readers and writers that challenge me, push me, and drive me deep into the heart of our Saviour.
We've had a time, haven't we? There were a few times things got heated, like the whole Proverbs 31 fiasco, but then there were absurd moments of grace, like the series At the Lord's Table, which I curated but you created. That's really been the story around here, hasn't it? I've had a little idea, ran it past you, and you've so often simply said, Try.
Which brings us to the real point of this post. I couldn't have gotten this far without you, but I also couldn't have even imagined what could be possible with you. It was Elora and Tamára who told me to go for it when I floated the idea of launching a Kickstarter to help fund my book while I quit the States yet again for a year in Scotland at graduate school.
I set the clock for forty days, because it's me and that's how I do, and sat back. Nervous. Nervous the whole time. Nervous because it seemed a ridiculous thing to ever ask of a person, to ever ask of you. Your gracious words have sustained me more than I could say, why should I think to ask you for money. But I asked. I asked and I hoped. I crossed fingers and prayed awkward half-prayers.
Who are you people?
At 2 PM CST this Monday afternoon, my book project shall be officially overfunded. (See, I only bold important things now.)
I don't know how to say thank you for this kind of generosity. I should like to bake for every single one of you and, if I had a farm, I would invite you over to have a Pinterest-esque party under starlight. Alas, I do not. I'm also quite poor, which was the point of the Kickstarter, but I would certainly offer you a cup of coffee and a bit of a chat.
I started this blog two years and one month ago today and my Mother is now not the only person reading it. I love each and every one of you, I am thankful for each and every one of you, and I pray for you, often en masse, each morning and night.
Thank you, Nish, Elora, Sarah, Melissa, Tamára, Amy, KT, Ally, Lauren, Joy, Elizabeth, Rachel, Dianna, Anna, Bev, Diane, Margaret, Antonia, Hilary.
Thank you, Jerry, Grant, Samuel, Mason, Max, Seth, Matt, Darrel, Cole.
Thank you, each and every one of you, named and unnamed.
Thank you for coming alongside, a bric-a-brac collection of friends for the journey.