Blogiversary #2

I love fall. The student in me thinks of September, not January, as the beginning of the year. As the weather gets cooler, I get an almost Pavlovian excitement for office supplies, pumpkin spice lattes, and new beginnings.

Photo credit: Jason A. Samfield

But what almost took me by surprise is that this approaching fall season also marks my second blogiversary. I went to write this week’s blog post and realized it’ll be two years on Sunday! Which prompts a bit of reflection.

It’s a little harder to track this year’s progress than it was last year. I do know that I’ve published a total of 95 posts and accumulated nearly 20,000 page views since starting this blog in 2011 (numbers which thrill, startle, and humble me by turns). Sometimes numbers help me step back and get some perspective on the small routines I perform regularly.

This year I have branched out to share a wider variety of art forms, including poetry, photography, and excerpts from my novel-in-progress.

Speaking of which, that novel is in its 4th (and hopefully final) draft! Sometimes not losing vision in the last stage is the hardest part. I’m both eager and nervous to set out on the road to publication.

I struck the words “recent college graduate” from my Blogger profile. Now that I’m 2+ years out of academia, I think I’m really beginning to consider myself a working adult.

Which is beginning to make sense, now that my weeks are full with 15 tutoring students, regular freelance editing projects, novel revisions, and some very dear relationships that make my life full and sweet. Sometimes living has been so sweet that I’ve clean forgotten about blogging (that’s why there’s no December under the 2012 tab).

I had a chance to share my life story with some peers a few weeks ago and it gave me a chance to realize what this blog has done for me. Not only has it kept my writing muscles limber in busy times when other writing projects have gone into hibernation, but it’s been cathartic for me as well. Sometimes it’s easier to blurt out the truth in a public forum (especially online) than it is to be honest with your close friends and family.

Here I’ve reached new levels of honesty as I’ve broached subjects like vulnerability, loss, and lament poetry. What’s even better is that some of you have come to me and shared that my halting admissions of hurt, confusion, and failure have made you feel freer to admit your own struggles. And that makes it worth it.

It’s also been joyful to celebrate new beginnings throughout the year, noticing small magic, overflowing like popcorn, and cooing over adorable hedgehogs. It’s wonderful to celebrate fullness and joy. I think honesty about the empty and the hard makes this part even sweeter.

And with that, I commence celebrating blogiversary #2. No pumpkin spice lattes in my local Starbucks yet, but I’m waiting. Oh yes, I’m waiting.

Photo credit: brina_head

In the meanwhile, let this changing season give you a chance to reflect. What milestones are you celebrating? What are you looking forward to this school year? 


Ever popped popcorn in a hot air popper? It’s pretty fun. In fact, I maybe do it more for the entertainment than for the popcorn.

You have to position the implements carefully, though, or you can end up with a popcorn explosion on your hands. You start with so little–just a handful of hard kernels–that if you hadn’t seen it happen before, you’d never expect what happens to them. 

They whirl around in the popper, getting blasted with hot air and doing mostly nothing for a long time. Then–just when you’re about to lose interest and determine that you’ve got a dud batch of kernels on your hands–something happens.

One at a time, a few kernels start to inflate like parachutes, turning from hard pellets to fluffy, cloud-like pillows. 


Then a few rapidly turns into a lot

…until your popper is so full that it looks like it’s going to explode. If that bowl in the picture weren’t squeezed right under the chute, there would be popcorn all over the kitchen floor. (Sometimes a few rogue kernels still get away.) 
I look back at my posts of the last few months, and I kind of see my life going through the popcorn popper, too. A few months ago–a very few–I was writing empty posts, hard posts: how to speak to the suffering, grieving through song lyricsthe confusion of being a twentysomething. But my life today is so full that it threatens to overflow all over the floor. While I still ask unanswered questions and find a constant need for direction, I am also brimming over with gratitude. In just a few months, I’ve gone from a career stalemate, consuming loneliness, and paralysis about future decisions, to career doors opening, an assembly of breathtakingly wonderful people in my life, and hope for the future ahead. Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning (Psalm 30:5). 

Joy that overflows like popcorn.

What are you thankful for in your life today? How have you seen fullness grow out of emptiness?