Starting a blog has challenged me in numerous ways. It’s been humbling, mostly.
Many times, I’ve made that final correction in editing a post and thought to myself, “Oh yes, this is the one!” This is the fabulous post that will finally launch my readership to astronomical heights. Then I get a few likes and a comment from my mom (which, of course, I love).
The past year has been a string of humbling beginnings for me. I started an entry-level job, got married, adopted pets, and became a volunteer.
That means, I’m learning to put myself last.
For most of us, work, like marriage, is an expression of serving others. Whether you answer phones or create art, the goal is always, ultimately to provide a service or product for the improvement of others’ lives. I am thankful for the onset of this process, slowing laying down my own desires to advance another. It’s a hard lesson, but one molding me in character, discipline, and strength.
Sometimes, the hardest thing is to find value and worth in myself when I feel last. I think I’m a good person, a hard worker, an important asset. I think I write well and try to always serve in love. But, when I feel like others aren’t noticing, I can get bogged down by the fear that I’m not good enough.
Growing up I was good at a lot of things. I made the best grades, I excelled in sports and art and just about everything but music. I won all kinds of awards. People constantly encouraged me.
I left college with medals clinking around my neck.
And then I joined the greater, realer world. I got the opportunity to see myself without the crutches of accolades. Instead of believing I am valuable because everyone says so, now I have to learn I am valuable even when no one says anything.
I’m valuable even if I have no measure to calculate it. I’m valuable even if I have no money or physical beauty. I am valuable even if I get fired, even if I get fat, even if I have no decent clothes to wear. I am valuable despite the car I drive or house in which I reside. I am valuable even if I have an ugly history, even if I’ve made some tragic mistakes and hurt the people I love. I am valuable if I can’t quite talk or write or sing or cook or clean or compute right. If I never get 100 followers. If I have no class or taste. Even if it turns out everyone was wrong and actually, I have no talent either…
I am valuable still.
If we don’t already believe we’re valuable without an award, then we might be tempted to believe we’re valuable because of an award.
In accepting The Liebster Blog Award from sweet Katie over at Brave Juice and The Very Inspiring Blogger Award from the kind heart behind Coop Poop, I am deeply grateful for the encouragement while also mindful that my worth and the worth of my blog are not dependent.
I think blog awards are a lovely expression of appreciation for the bloggers we love. They give us, as readers, the precious opportunity to honor the people who inspire, enlighten, motivate, move and shape us.
I want to thank Brave Juice for the blogosphere friend and fan she’s been to me. Katie’s writing is a delicate flower with the soul of a wild storm! Her words are pretty but she will stretch and challenge your perspective in thunderous ways. I love her honesty in Introversion and her flexibility in Priorities, but don’t miss the beautiful Minnesota landscape in The Beastly Month. Here, here!
I’d also like to extend The Liebster Blog Award to a few of my new favorite blogs:
Little Dutch Wife: “I’m Erin. I write and I cook. I observe and I philosophize. I am a collector and a conversationalist. And I like to document all things bright and beautiful. Be it food, God’s green earth, love, books, funny happenings, wishes + hopes, to-do lists, scribbles or poems, it will hopefully bring joy and serve as a reminder that, yes, we are blessed.”
Erin’s blog is beautiful collage of food and photos! She has a slew of delicious, healthful recipes and lots of must-have tips for eating a traditional diet. I also love her Around Here posts on Friday, she gives us all a little peek into her newlywed, paleo-infused lifestyle
Hunting for Bliss: “The great Joseph Campbell said, ‘Follow your bliss and the universe with open doors where there were only walls.’ I think this is another way of saying: Cultivate the things that make you tick, that make you feel alive and like your life has meaning…Do those things and doors will open left and right for you, because you are following what’s in your heart–what God has put in your heart. Hunting for bliss is a blog about my search for bliss in life through food, relationships, God, travel, nature, photography, writing, and all the other things that make my heart full.”
Red Terrain: “I needed to absorb nature again and this blog has given me a great platform to share the beauty around us… We are currently helping on a 10,000 acre property, that farms sheep and cattle, that also does some cropping. The heat, flies, fires…all add to experience. There is something about living off the land, meeting the people, and enjoying a good days hard work that makes this place really feel like home to us.”
Although she and her partner, Mike, are preparing for a big change, Holly is still taking beautiful photos from Western Australia. She gives us a sneak peak into farm life and all the sweet animals she encounters there. Her full portfolio can be seen here.
And to complete my duties as an award recipient, I offer you these random nuggets about myself:
1. Shopping at thrift stores is my favorite pastime.
2. Every morning I drink one cup of coffee. I fill the bottom of my to-go cup almost 1/3 full with milk, heat in the microwave for 38 seconds, top with coffee, and stir with a spoonful of agave. Can’t start a day any other way!
3. I’ve been teased my whole life for being rather short, like just shy of 5’0. But I more or less stuck it to the haters when I went to college on a softball scholarship so WHAT NOW.
4. My husband and I eat nearly every evening meal off tray tables in our living room. We cook together so whence the actual eating commences, we like to pair it with a little good TV.
5. One might describe the decor in my home as “funky.” Anything colored olive green or mustard yellow is basically a shew-in.
6. A full, black stout with chocolate or coffee undertones is my favorite beer/liquid in general.
7. I also relish a nice, cheap red wine.
8. If it is a baby animal, I love it. Especially kittens, otters, kola bears, regular bears, hippos, and anything else you can conceivably think of.
9. My favorite dessert is fruit pie or cobbler. Any kind of berry and especially peach! We don’t really eat grains in my house, but I’ll ditch any diet for a fat piece of pie. I like to heat mine up extra hot and top with a little bit of milk.
10. I loath spiders and most anything with more than four legs except lady bugs, but I usually practice catch and release if I find something in the house. I mean I don’t want to hurt it.
11. I dream about one day running a retreat center with my husband. I imagine a big plot of land to cultivate and a sprawling kitchen to gather in. My heart’s desire is to create and sustain a wilderness sanctuary where people can experience peace, fellowship, nature and really good food!
Happy blogging, people.
What are a few fabulous things you value about yourself? Post ’em in the comment section below!