Then I turned my attention toward teachers and librarians thinking the activities or lesson plans I found that coordinated with each book would be helpful. The end result? Lengthy book reports and basically assigning myself to homework for the rest of my life, which, as a writer, I have already done. I'll always post about our favorite books we read, but now I won't drag on with a long-winded bio that includes everything about the author and illustrator down to whether or not they had natural child birth or not and if they like one sugar or two in their coffee.
Of course, after I took a chance and started to open my heart, everything changed. The Re|Engage class that poured all of our marital struggles out on the table and forced us to change our horrible habits garnered attention that I wasn't prepared for...AT ALL. The traffic on this blog had me scrambling to write more and more about our experience, to answer tons and tons of emails, to dry many a cyber tear, and ultimately, to crash. I know I didn't reveal anything too shocking but it was all very emotional for me to share and it took a toll.
Enter: the critics.
Up until recently I was a say-what-I-think-no-apologies kind of girl. I thought I was living an honest life. I tricked myself into thinking I didn't care what other people thought of me and there was no topic off limits. I was a fool. Over the past year I realized that some thought I was abrasive and confrontational. Funnily enough, I used to like that about myself. But once the critical comments and hurtful gossip started to swirl, I was hurt. My heart was bruised and I was shocked and disappointed in myself for giving a damn. I did my very best to be a lady and not retaliate. It is much easier to hear nasty remarks from people hiding behind their computers than it is to know that someone who used to know your heart, your mistakes, and your triumphs, would so quickly change their opinion of you and broadcast it so loudly.
Yet again, during my time off, I reflected and finally recovered. Now I really don't give a damn- not because I don't value other people's opinions, criticisms, and insults or think I'm "above it all" (puke) but because no one can really know what's happening in my home, my brain, and my soul except me. I can't blame anyone for not understanding or misconstruing something if they don't really know all my truths. Besides, if Re|Engage taught me anything, it taught me we really aren't all that different. You can draw as many lines in the sand as you want. We're all still baking in the desert sun, trying to figure out what to do next and where to turn.
Enter: Enlightenment, again!
Not since my very first blog post, when I wrote about feeling like I was entering a phase of enlightenment, have I felt this refreshed and spirited. Thanks to all the support from my followers and friends and family, I realize I should focus more time on writing some kind of book about myself. I'm being vague because I haven't really figured it out yet. Who am I to write an autobiography when I'm a nobody?? I could write my stories as someone else's and call it fiction. But that is a bit more challenging. I've been pre-writing and jotting down memories as they spring to mind for well over a year. I just don't know how I'll turn it all into a book, especially when I have so many children's books I must finish. As long as I'm doing this all for myself, because I must, because my light wanes when I'm not thinking about, dreaming of, and finally doing what I must to put a bow on all these ideas, and because I have the support and the ability, I think I'll be ok. I'll figure it out eventually.
In the meantime, I'm going to be less lengthy in my posts, hand forgiveness and love out like candy (even to myself when summer is over and I never followed through with my extensive to-do list including things like setting up a Little Free Library or bugging my church to let me lead an online Re|Engage class), and try and stay under the radar for a while. I previously posted a stat counter so the leaders at my church could join in the excitement of God working in so many lives. I had to take it down. I could spend most of my days going through ads and offers from those trying to spread the word about their own products. In the same fashion I think sports venues should still have iconic names like "Texas Stadium" and its name not include yet another product to sit on our credit card bill for months, I would like to keep this blog ad-free. (And that is the extent you will ever hear me speak of sports. Ha.) Not to say I would/will turn down another author whom sends me a book that my girls and I genuinely enjoy, or another mom writing a guest post and sharing her area of expertise. I just want to keep this blog clean and focused.