Humbling Beginnings and Blog Awards

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.

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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.”

Tobi will make you smile with her grateful heart and contagious joy! She has a few precious pups, an inspiring passion for Africa, and an endearing fascination with love-shaped rocks.

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.


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What are a few fabulous things you value about yourself? Post ’em in the comment section below!

 


 

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21 comments

  1. Pingback: Feeling the love | hunting for bliss

  2. Your ?I’m valuable even…” paragraph brought tears to my eyes. I also feel terrible when I do everything right and it all goes unnoticed. Maybe that’s what growing up is all about: learning to feel valuable even if we don’t reach our goals and other people’s expectations of what we should be. great way to accept an award. I received a few but never found a way to write a coherent post about them 🙂

  3. Congrats on the blog awards! I can relate to writing posts and then waiting, although when I finally realized tagging my posts would help, I felt a bit more in the blogging community. Blogging has been a lesson in being humble as there are so many of us blogging, weaving our words so eloquently as well as the fact that if I don’t validate myself in my writing how can I expect others to feel me through my words. We all have wonderful stories to share, we all live messy blessed lives and express uniquely. I enjoyed learning more about you with the nuggets you shared. I too like thrift stores as well as flea markets or antique shops with my decor more like traditional country modern, coffee is a morning ritual with a splash of cream, I make mistakes but have learned some of the best lessons by falling on my face-I just wish sometimes it didn’t hurt so much, I’m a hopeful romantic, I love ice cream and I dream of us all living into our dreams. Sounds corny, but true; the collective whole of us and our stories tell the tale of being human, what a wonderful shift it would be if we all tapped into our potential and lived out our dreams, following our bliss.

  4. Just like Sara Foley said above, you really did take this opportunity to write a compelling and beautiful post (I’m not surprised, of course). What a refreshing spin on what could have been cookie-cutter! Your line, “Instead of believing I am valuable because everyone says so, now I have to learn I am valuable even when no one says anything” resonates so strongly with me. Thank you for the reminder that we’re all simply working to realize our worth and contribute our skills.

  5. I can really relate to this post! So much of our value seems to be about what we do, earn and accomplish. It’s important to remember that that is not how it should be. Thanks for including me in your list of beloved blogs 🙂 xo, Tobi

  6. I really enjoyed the reasoning behind this post. We don’t always need validation, but when we get it, it can surprise us and bring us great joy. Thank you for writing about my blog. I found it really selfless and nice! I too enjoy all babe animals, and love the colour mustard, but it doesn’t suit me in clothes).

    I also avoid the awards, but I do appreciate them. I will write a blog soon and share my interests, as I believe it is good to spread the love. There is always someone writing something worthwhile on WP.

    In total contrast to my avoiding awards, I secretly strived to be freshly pressed for over a year and a half, even at the end I told myself I hated the freshly pressed idea (secret confession here!). I thought my writing might be dull and my photography uninspiring. I channeled my doubts and kept at it, and used my own criticisms to push me to write and photograph in a more interesting way. When I was freshly pressed I got a migraine. ahahah it was unbelievable.

    I’m currently enjoying my big cuppa coffee just as you do (minus the agave?) is that a type of sugar?

    Have a great day.

    • Mustard does not suit my skin tone either! And I secretly share precisely the same ambitions over being Freshly Pressed. So excited for you that it happened! Given the high quality of your blog, it’s encouraging to know it took you a year and a half… I’ve been at it since October and I’m like, I guess it’s never gonna happen. But your attitude is perfect, channel the doubts and keep at it.

      Agave is a nectar derived from the sap of the agave plant. So yes, it is essentially another form of sugar.

  7. Thank you for writing this! Writing and sharing is definitely a humbling experience. I don’t know how a blog award feels (one day maybe and congrats to you!) but I have that joy when I see lots of hits or know people are reading. Other days I’m just content with the fact of being able to write and share, even if no one reads! Yes, everyone is valuable and has something to offer, even when they are not noticed. Which brings me to my things I wanted to share about ME: I love to notice people, acknowledge people, encourage people and help people. This comes from being a middle child, being a loner and feeling very ignored in the past… until I realized I was valuable despite other people’s approval or lack of attention. So I consciously make an effort to acknowledge what I see as good in others on a daily basis and try to remember I don’t need that same attention in order to understand my value as a human being. I love your blog!

    • O I love this! Thank you for sharing about yourself! My husband and mother are middle children and this quality is also evident in them. It is so beautiful and I’ve often been envious of their finely tuned attention for the care of others.

      It is a blessing to recognize our value does not depend on the world or its opinions. I’m moved to hear about this realization in you and the choice you’ve made to acknowledge the goodness in others, so inspiring! We all want to be heard and noticed, your commitment to hear and notice others is an amazing service to humanity.

  8. I felt the same way about the awards for awhile until one very sweet and incredible blogger called it “sharing the love” and all of a sudden I grasped the meaning of it all. It is a different way to communicate, but how wonderful that one blogger can appreciate another and pass it on to another until it travels to who knows where and to how many different places and hearts. I appreciate you. You have touched my heart …and there are many out there that may read your posts, but be too intimidated to comment.

    Remember it is good to be last…to be a servant…let God lift you up and let Him magnify the gifts He has given you. My daughter is reading a book called “The Freedom of Self-forgetfulness.” I love the title. I don’t even know if I’ll read the book, but the title speaks to me in a thousand ways.

    Now I’m inspired to go work on my new blogger award that I’ve been putting off…and sharing some more love and appreciation. 🙂 Great post!

    • Your comments are always so encouraging to me. I think blog awards are a wonderful way to share love! And I think it’s important that the blogging community uplift and encourage each other as a physical community would. We are all just people and we all just want to be loved.

      Thank you for the reminder that God’s Kingdom is not like the world. It works opposite, doesn’t it? Our maturation is reversed, we are humbled rather than exalted. I also love the title of that book, a very good mantra to keep!

      Spread the love!

  9. Csavage308

    All well said and written!, Love you, Dad

  10. First time reader here, following a tip from our mutual friend at Brave Juice. Your post resonates with me, and I look forward to reading more!

  11. I really loved this post – your discussion about value, the links to great blogs and the interesting little facts about yourself. I normally can’t don’t like to read the blog award posts – they are so dull! And although I have been nominated for a few awards I don’t participate – not because I am surly or ungrateful, but because I haven’t found a way to be inspired or engage with the whole process. But you have, and I loved it! Thanks 🙂

    • O Sara thank you! I’ve felt precisely the same way about these awards. It’s a nice gesture and everything, but a little silly. Then yes, I felt inspired to take a different approach, so glad that it resonated with you!

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