Wednesday, February 19, 2014

First Love Blogging


 Every now and then, I trudge downstairs, my heart somewhere down around my ankles, feeling a bit adrift. It usually happens when I've been in my writing cave. It's the nagging feeling that I can't capture what my mind is feeling, I can't find the right words. I grasp them like slippery river stones and wonder why they're unmoldable, why it's so impossible to turn them inside out and shape them into the exact right thing.

Sometimes, if I'm not careful, or even if I am, this frustration rises until it jumps the bank, flooding over into my blog, this place that is all mine. I forget it's a sanctuary, on those nights. I forget it's a safe place, a gift given to myself. I forget that I own it. I don't have bosses, no one dictating or demanding. I lose all those truths in this wide sky of perplexity, where people and friends come to read what I have to say, to my great, head-scratching wonderment.



Back when we had extra money lying around, we worried we would lose it. The more we had, the more we stewed, holding guard, obsessively checking balances and interest rates and making plans for the future that ultimately combusted, drifting away in a thin curl of smoke.

It can be the same with you guys. (And it's totally not your fault.)

I'm no stranger to the numbers. Beyond the sheer impossibility of pinning everything down on a tidy line, I have a decent grasp on what draws you here, and what makes you stay.

But there are factions, and they compete.


On those nights when I tell Cory through tired eyes that I'm having an identity crises, I allow myself to fall victim to the lie that my job is to make everyone happy, to keep this machine fed, the joints greased and limber.

But my husband, this dream of a partner who listens to me and cares about things I care about, tells me the truth again - You started blogging so we would remember all of this. 

How did I possibly forget?

I didn't start blogging because I had the urge to share the new throw pillows I bought at Target for 75% off. I didn't even start blogging because I was a writer. I started blogging because I want to remember the way Silas makes Olympic sport out of switching his nightlights from room to room, rewarding our good behavior with "the brightest one". I want to remember Ruby dressing herself for school in four kinds of stripes and the way Calvin's hair now requires its own zip code.

I don't want to forget the ways I felt when Robert was locked up, then moved in, then back out. I want to be reminded of how my love for my husband grew when he hung up his suits and ties, signing most of his paycheck away to work at the county jail.

This is my journal, a detailed account of many of my feelings across a continuum of deep personal growth and a time of whip-lashing change.

It's also where I delight my own soul with close-ups of every flower that graces the land and grainy shots of dinner, often after I've already taken the first bite.

I have opinions and ideas, yes, but I don't have many answers. I'm not wired to be relevant and I'm usually not interested in changing anyone's mind or being the loudest, snappiest voice in the room.

I'm a deep thinker, but I hold disproportionate care for celebrities.
I get lost inside my own head at least fifteen times a day, but I also like to pattern mix and plunk daisies in a can.

Maybe many of you connect with my family's journey out of security and into some grungy places and some risk. Or maybe you wait for my words on adoption or God. Some of you just happen to like my curtains and wish I'd stop talking and show you our new couch.

I've had folks tell me I've become too preachy, too weird about God. Others find my media preferences troubling and worry over my occasional margarita.

Some wish I'd share more about the little kids, more about the big kids, more about adoption or advocating for the poor. Some of you even wish I'd return to the days of yore when I detailed my entire grocery list, to the profound confusion of most of the people in all the land.

The good news is, with my wildly unpredictable carefree blogging style, I'm usually satisfying someone.

The better news is, I don't mind disappointing everyone, if it means I'm being authentic to myself and my family, holding whatever happens to be most dear, capturing a moment and preserving it behind glass.

I just needed to be reminded, that's all. After nearly 6 years, I needed to take a look back.

So, things aren't going to change around here. Not really.
As usual, any change has been set free in me. And as a writer is prone to do, I'm figuring it out as I tap these keys.

All I ever want is to be true to my creator and myself. I want to continue to write about the hard things with great sensitivity and conviction. I want to listen and be led.

More than anything, I want to remember - always - that small things are often the biggest things.

Ever yours,
FPFG



92 comments:

  1. Well. This is lovely and I like it a lot :)

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  2. "All I ever want is to be true to my creator and myself." ~and so you are!! I love your words, your honesty, your beautiful family and your absolute love for others. I love how you say what you feel and you know what, it's usually what others are thinking yet don't say...don't ever change your true, authentic, joyful self!! Blessings, Heather

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  3. Whenever I see a new FPFG post pop up in my Feedly...I smile. I like the authentic you. I like real organic posts based on what you're feeling at that moment. Thank you for keeping on!

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  4. Sounds perfect - I really look forward to things not changing around here....just the way I like it. ;-)

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  5. Last night I watched a show on PBS about the "Like Generation" on PBS. It said that this generation is all about being "liked" not deep meaningful relations ships or anything past the clicking of a button. Sad news!! You are more than liked...be ok w/ it!!

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  6. As long as you keep sharing you....in whatever form it takes that day, I'll be here to read. The journey of YOU is a beautiful story, thank you for continuing to share.

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  7. Idea..email address for each child. Send letters, pictures and notes. Give them address and password when they are18 and they will have the best online journal. You share your heart and keep it real. I appreciate you.

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    1. This is a fun idea! I like it for the grandbabies :)

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    2. This is the best idea I have ever heard! Seriously! I am setting up an acct for each child tonight! Thank you!

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  8. i'm a fan of your carefree blogging style! write on, fpfg!

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  9. Carry on, FPFG. Your writing is great and I love the mix.

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  10. Oh, Shannan, I loved this post. I have the exact same feelings about blogging, and I could have written your second paragraph myself...but probably not as eloquently. ;o) Being a random blogger myself, with a diverse audience that includes family members, co-workers, and "friends" I've never met, means I get caught up sometimes with wondering what everyone else wants to read. I have to remind myself, as you've done here, that my blog is for me - no one's the boss of me there - and it's cool when some of the people like what I write some of the time. Thing is, I love writing it all of the time and that's the whole point.

    I do enjoy your blog, Shannon. And I love the random nature of it too. So IF I was the boss of you I'd tell you to not change a thing. xo!

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  11. I love this...i am a new reader and really enjoy what you have to say!
    Thank you!

    Stephanie

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  12. I secretly suspect that the people who rag on gals who love Jesus and the occasional margarita are just worried that we're somehow having more fun than they are.

    Maybe I'm wrong?

    I love your stories, and your realness. And more than anything how your story, your life, it preaches and encourages whether you know it or not. I think that's why God made stories and why he motivates us to write them down, even when it's not about him, it really is.

    Thank you for sharing you with us-I'd gladly sit down any day over chips and salsa and icy margaritas to share more stories with you.

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  13. I just want to say that I like you for you (now I have that Blessed Union of the Souls song stuck in my head). And that is why I come here every day :) I like all of the posts because of your heart behind them. So thanks for not changing to please the masses. <3

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  14. Perfect. Could I email you? I've tried to comment like a bazillion times but I do have some questions on a certain big kid that's been hanging around our house that insists on leaving every time it gets hard and going back to a 2/1 with 7 kids and three adults.

    Please?
    Amber

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  15. I recently commented to my friend and fellow FPFG follower (after reading your Valentine post) how much MORE I've enjoyed your blog over the last year. I am not a writer - but you are able to articulate perfectly the same things I think and feel but figured no one else could ever understand. It's been a relief, really. And a joy. I appreciate all the life-things you comment on too because every day is different but I'm convinced it all matters to God. Thank you!

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  16. I think Mark Darcy said it best to Bridget Jones, "I like you just the way you are!" Keep writing for yourself and your family, we are just privileged to take a peek into your life. Plus I never will understand how people who strongly profess to imitate Christ are the most judgmental people and have no qualms about sharing their judgements. Ignore the naysayers!

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  17. I've been reading here since the fall and have slowly been making my way through the archives, like savoring one of my favorite books (up to November 2012 so far) I could count on one hand how many times I've commented on a blog in my life, yet here I am. Just wanting to say thank you for your words - all of them - all of the random and the profound. You've said things I wrestle with in my own mind and have made me laugh/smile like a great girlfriend does. I'm a homeschooling mom of an only in a small/medium size town in the south - but I've been your direction to see family before - LOVED the Amish area of northern Indiana. I miss Amish cheese..... : ) Anyway, I just wanted to make this connection and let you know you have a newish fan - one who appreciates that as much as we love it you're not writing for me or anyone else - for there really is only an Audience of One, that matters.
    Nicole

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  18. I dig the eclecticness of it all.
    :)
    -Angie

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  19. The lovely mix that God created in you occasionally spills over in this space and we get to lap up the leftovers.

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  20. Well I just come here because (said in my best Slingblade voice) "I like 'eh way you talk." About anything. About all the things. Whatever strikes your fancy, I'm in. Much love, FPFG!

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    1. Yes, what Abby said. Carry on pretty lady.

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  21. You are the bomb diggity!! I seriously get giddy when I see you've posted!! I love every word you write...no matter the topic!! Keep up the perfectly random, perfectly Shannan style you've got goin!!! XOXOXO

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  22. You are one of my very favorite bloggers! Even though I hardly ever comment, I read every post you write. I love the variety. It makes you real and it makes it seem more like we're just having a conversation. One sided, of course, since I rarely comment, but I like this conversation you have going here. Keep it up, please.

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  23. I'm with you no matter what you write! I love that you are a Christian trying to do ministry, yet down to earth in liking decorations, cooking and mothering! I love reading it all and then praying for you.

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  24. you write my heart.

    thanks for opening your journal and inviting us all in.

    xo.

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  25. I just love to come here and be. With you. And all your everythings. I may have a weird admiration of your pattern mixing and your curtains are cool. But. It's you. And all your flowers. All your many flowers. Such a kick ass metaphor.

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  26. Do you really have a periodic table? How have I missed that? We have an old roll-down Electron Shell System of the Elements table that my husband salvaged from the trash at his high school and it is one of my favorite things in our house!

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  27. Don't change a thing. We're here because of wonderful you!

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  28. Please don't change a thing. It is your blog and of course you must be true to yourself. And I love it. I get excited when I see you've posted! Carry on!

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  29. I love the variety here. I'm here because the way you write makes me think I would love to sit and chat with you about everything from your grocery list to your deep thoughts on salsa and following Jesus into hard places. I like that you're not compartmentalized. I like you. (says the stranger from Kansas) Keep on keeping on. And listen to your hubby - he knows what he's talking about. :)

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  30. Just about as perfect a reason to blog as I can imagine. And exactly why I love you.

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  31. I also read every post but rarely comment on anyone's blog. You are a great writer, teller of stories, truth seeker and shining example of love for others. Keep on keeping it real. I love your randomness and secretly want to come and be friends because you are cool and you make me think.

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  32. I love your unpredictability! I love your writing and I always look forward to reading. You are living and sharing such an authentic life. I tend to forget that eternity is right here and now AND will continue in heaven. To me, you seem to live like you never forget this. You are a great role model/witness for who I want to be and how I want to live (never mind that I'm sure I'm 10 years older than you :) ). You rock!

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  33. Shannan, I keep showing up to read because you keep showing up to write. I want to read because it feels real. You are brave enough to just show up as Shannan and trust that will be enough. I'm grateful for this little spot where it always feels kind and honest. it's something I feel pretty strongly about anymore. Life is short and can turn on a dime. Radical change can sneak up behind you and change your life in a single breath and single heartbeat. There is no time to be anything other than what God made us to be. Don't worry a single second about pleasing anyone but Him. Sending my love to you and your family. Mary Beth

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  34. And that's why I keep stopping by here. I appreciate your warmth and authenticity. It's one of the few blogs that I read that is just fun (and deep at times). It's not always a how to, or pushing a product, or trying to get me to tweet every other sentence. For that reason, I'll keep coming around.

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  35. I've never commented before, but I've followed your blog for several years. The fact that you don't focus on one topic is the reason that I prefer your blog over all of the others that I follow. I love everything, from your kids to your home to your thoughts on God to pictures of your outfits. Keep it up and don't change a thing!

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  36. i'm very contemplative these days about blogging…
    questioning why i'm still doing it…
    wishing so bad we could sit down over a margarita and talk for hours about all of it.
    could use that bad about right now.

    i've learned so much about myself through blogging…learned so much about others, too.
    there's something so sweet about it and something so crazy weird strange about it at the same time.

    i'm grateful for you…for your voice..for your lack of concern to please others and get their approval…thankful you know who you are and who you belong to…thankful your worth comes from Jesus alone.
    and SO dang thankful for your husband who calms you when the gremlin voices taunt you.

    husbands rock.

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  37. I'm here. I'm staying. I'm reading every last word.

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  38. I come for the words. Whether they are about kiddos, little or big, about God or curtains, I am here for the words. Thank you. Keep spitting em' out!

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  39. As my husband tells me, "Be you, you're the only one who can be." We only get one chance at this life, and I for one, find it exhausting to try to make others happy or pleased with me. Your blog has been a place of inspiration and fellowship for me. Your words ring true and speak to who you are.

    I love God. I also enjoy whiskey and a cigar now and then....I don't see what's wrong with having both :)

    Also, just finished New Girl per your recommendation and LOVED it!

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  40. I look forward to your posts - I never quite know what to expect but you never disappoint.

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  41. Thank you for writing this post. My heart has been heavy for reasons still unknown to me at the moment :) but as I was half way through reading I realized that my heart was calming down, your authenticity was like a warm blanket on a chilly day. This was just what I needed to be reminded of

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  42. Keep up the good work is all that I can say! the days that you don't write, I find myself checking your blog as often as I can to see if you had a chance to pen a few lines! You encourage, you make it real, you make me dig deep into who I am, why I believe what I believe and remind me that God is real, He is mighty to save and He cares when we hang up the "stuff" to do the hard -core work for Him. Hang in there..you are loved, appreciated and prayed for more often than you know!

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  43. well ain't this a nice post?
    seriously!
    i just so love reading your writing.
    it's so easy, effortless and enjoyable.
    i love the snippets into your life...
    i love your photos.
    i love your BIG heart!!!
    it encourages me to open mine.
    you're all kinds of lovely.
    keep sharing whatever you want to share.
    i enjoy it all.
    i enjoy you!
    xo

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  44. Kindred spirit here. I blog in much the same way, however the spirit is moving, or the wind is blowing. If others come along for the journey, it's an honor.

    Keep doing what you do.

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  45. You write my heart into words.
    Bring back the grocery list.
    Long live #gingham style.

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  46. Well I just love everything you write from the deep to the post about buying pants and all the in between. I for one find life to be pretty random i know my mind bounces around from one subject to the next and maybe that's why I love your writing so much, it makes my life make a little more sense.

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  48. when i pop in here, and i've been obsessively poppy since the move, i don't have much of an agenda. (that's mostly because i lack the organization required for an agenda, but let's pretend it's a refection on my laid-back, carefree self. ha.) i just want to see what you're thinking about and feel like we've chatted for a bit and remember a little bit of what i'm about.

    blog anyoldthing you want, my dear. i'll be here. also: as i type i am wearing dark grey chinos, marbled grey tee, b&w plaid flannel, teal cardigan. people here give me a wide berth, but i'm all: shannan. shannan would understand.

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  49. This post is the first I've read on this blog. I found it refreshing--an affirmation of taking a breath and identifying one's inspiration for action. Is my present motivation consistent with my initial intention? If it's changed, do I still want to continue on the same path, or did I just forget my purpose, getting overwhelmed with everyday distractions? It's an opportunity to rediscover mislaid joy or start something new. I've been in limbo for some time now and appreciate the shot of inspiration. Thank you, Shannan.

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  50. Hi Shannon, I read your blog because it makes me happy- no matter what you're talking about- food, family, home decor, public school, church, etc. etc. etc. I love it. You encourage me and make me think and smile. I'd be very sad if you ever decided to stop blogging!

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  51. I love this blog and I'm so glad I found it during our Polar Vortex. I love opening my email to find that you've written a new post. I love all your fabulous photos. This is YOUR blog. That means you write YOU.

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  52. I LOVE your all over the board blogging. By some stroke of luck (or divine intervention) your posts always seem to be just what I need on that given day. Keep on doing YOU because we love YOU!

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  53. Shannon, I love your blog. This year I have narrowed down what reading and have kept yours in my inbox, because you make me smile. I love your style, your thoughts, your challenges, your ramblings. Thanks for sharing,

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  54. Whew, so glad to hear that you aren't going to change :) I would have expected that from you - awesome. And I have found that people who think someone is "being weird about God" would just prefer that we never mention Him...too bad, huh? I agree with commenter Sarah that no matter how random your post is, it seems to be what I needed to hear that day. Keep on, keepin' on girl :)

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  55. Keep on keeping on, and those who mind don't matter, and those that matter, don't mind. :)

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  56. Just be yourself, that's who we all love! Be as hodge-podgy as you want to be, it suits me just fine! Love you in all your different ways of encouragement!

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  57. Shannon, I'm just another voice...but please know how your style and your story have encouraged me. In the ordinary extraordinariness of the words and images you decide to share with us, I feel a kindred spirit come welcoming me across blog land. In that strange and crazy way the internet has of bonding one sided friendships. I look forward to perhaps meeting you at Hope Spoken!?

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  58. This is a good post, Shannan, and it's such a good thing to look back and re-evaluate and stay true to yourself and your purpose. I found myself getting caught up in hot topics, recently, and my angry posts on ISSUES were among my most popular. But I realized: I don't want to write those sorts of things. I don't even want to THINK ABOUT those sorts of things.

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    1. Ladies like us just can't be penned in. :)
      Sometimes we need to get a little angry, but sometimes we need to talk about pretty flowers and call it a day!
      Love!!

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  59. Dang girl, this is beautiful. Love, love, love.

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  60. Shannan, Guess what? Every time I receive your posts, I know it will be a gift (without wasting the wrapping paper). Its like birthday joy! The way you string together your words, in just the sequence I need to hear and with just the cadence that sometimes makes me laugh... but it is always so unbelievably thoughtful and true. Even the tough topics that make squirm a little are such a gift. I hope and pray that you know how beloved your gift is... I believe there is a ripple effect of light in the world - inspired by you! Shine on! p.s. Can I pre-order the fiction book?

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  61. I'm so sad that anyone has said you're "too preachy, too weird about God." Doesn't it just make you wonder why they're reading here in the first place?? I only had to read one of your posts (linked by. . .someone? A couple years ago?) to know who you are, and that is a deeply spiritual person. Everyone, spiritual or not, has many interests and facets, and i love the variety in your topic choices. Yep, i'm totally one of those weirdos who loved when you posted your grocery lists and menu plans (because we have that in common, i'm also a mom to littles trying to make dinner every day without breaking the bank or being bored to tears). But the bottom line is, whatever your taste in home decorating or clothes, it is very clear that the defining characteristic of your personality is your sprituality, your relationship with God. So i would just assume most of your readers would have that in common with you too (i do!). . .otherwise i'm not sure why they'd want to hang out here. So sad that anyone would say that to you rather than just not reading if it's not their thing.

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  62. I like you.
    And, although I have not met him, I like that Cory guy.
    He speaks truth.
    :)

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  63. I come here because I simply adore you. I love watching our God work out His plan in your life, you make me braver, you grow my faith, you make me long for heaven, you are always real, and it is like a drink of cool water. Thank you for coming back here to write, I know it's hard, but reading your words is one of the best parts of my day.

    xo, jenny

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  64. don't you ever change, FPFG.

    not ever.

    xoxo

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  65. Your blog has touched me in the most profound way. I love everything you write, because you actually care about what you write--whatever the content. I love your authenticity. Love the way your live your life.

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  66. Your lovely variety is what I love about your blog. It's like a box of Cracker Jacks - you never know what the prize is inside, but you do know it is in there and every one is a gift!

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  67. Just keep on being amazing! And ALWAYS be true to who you are! Thank you for many hours of inspiration & soul-searching through the years---

    Tamarie

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  68. New around here, but feel like I've been welcomed home into a place of honesty, beauty and humility. Thank you for letting me peek into your journal which reminds me I am called to live intentionally, love sacrificially, and savor beautiful bits of Kingdom on earth. Honored to read along, sister.

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  69. What I enjoy about your blog is that you are real, honest, and random. While I read plenty (too many) blogs that are just cooking, or decorating, or obsessive naval gazing, I appreciate that I never can predict what I'm going to see when I pop over here to read. I know that whatever you write will be honest, what is on your mind, and is not designed to satisfy readers, or get your blog stats up. And I truly value that. And that is why I keep coming back.

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  70. In a world where it's all about having a niche, a brand, a carved out platform, girls like you and me can feel a little schizophrenic. Try as I might, I know I'm going to keep dishing up a little bit of everything over at my place...even if that means I'm a girl without a niche. I'm so glad you do the same thing. I love that it's random at your place too. I've been reading your blog for a few years now and I'm still totally in love. {In the oft-given words of my mom, "You be you."} Keep writing the overflow of your brain and your heart. It's real and so good.

    Also? It's hard for me to imagine you struggling for the just-right words. Every time I read a post, I'm like, "Dang. I wish I could spin words like Farmgirl." You've got such a gift.

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  71. I'm glad you shared this with us.

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  72. I know why people keep coming back... you're funny. you could be talkin about grocery lists up in here and i'd be reading cuz I know you're gonna say something that makes me laugh. And you spin words with absolute ease which makes it so enjoyable to read what you've written.

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  73. Yep, just be true to you. You will grow and change. Your readers will ebb and flow. It's organic.
    And, the super good news? Even though I'm hepped up on cold meds and typing this at 5:16 in the a.m., I know I won't wake you up with a "new comment alert"...because your phone is as dumb as mine is :)

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  74. Wait, did you say you got a new couch?!?!?!
    LOL.... looks like your thoughts on this stirred up a lot of comments. I wanted to just say that I have really wanted to start blogging (for over a year actually) but I haven't typed a first post yet, because I want to make sure of WHY I am doing it and what my 'voice' is... because as much as I KNOW I want it to be a record or diary of sorts, the whole idea of publishing it publicly is that SOMEONE is hopefully going to read it and engage, right? I actually like all the parts of your blog - kids (big & little), God stuff, curtain stuff, and your thoughts and perspective. HOW DARE anyone critique your content?! that's just silly....

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  75. You MUST read this SHORT blurb by Seth Godin on why, as an artist (and you are), you cannot appeal to the masses. I found it so relevant to my blogging because I shared some of your hangups as well. We are appealing to the "weird." :) http://sethgodin.typepad.com/seths_blog/2014/01/the-humility-of-the-artist.html

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  76. Thank you for being you. I appreciate that I can identify with your words, your heart and your calling. Thank.you.

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  77. every so often I have to give myself this very same pep talk. Keep it up sister.

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  78. Wow, this, THIS:
    "All I ever want is to be true to my creator and myself. I want to continue to write about the hard things with great sensitivity and conviction. I want to listen and be led."

    Yes! Thanks so much for this great post. I also blog to share the story but to _remember_ is key. Love your blog, Shannon!

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