One Down

Do you have a dream? Something you’ve always wanted to do, become or experience?
I did. All my life I wanted to be a writer. I didn’t share my dream with many people because I believed it was a lofty ambition that suggested confidence in one’s creativity, talent, and intelligence. Confidence I definitely didn’t have. It seemed pointless to admit to such a high calling when I was unlikely to fulfill it in any real way.
But then, in a burst of optimism and excitement, I started this blog.
This post marks my first blogiversary (spellcheck doesn’t like the word but apparently it’s real; you can Google it).
A friend recently reread my first post To Begin Again, and asked if I had any regrets about following my calling to write.
Not one.
It’s been frightening and yet wholly satisfying to see my writing in print.
Blogging has also taken me on a roller coaster of other emotions as well. Surprise and excitement when a new idea arrived in a flash of inspiration, frustration when the words just didn’t flow, satisfaction when they did, joy when I completed a piece and whenever I read encouraging comments, and embarrassment when I revealed something unflattering about myself.
My friend also asked what I’d learned about myself in the process.
Great question. Actually quite a bit.
I’ve learned that you don’t know if you can do something until you try it. I probably learned this in kindergarten but somehow forgot it along the way.
I’ve learned that inspiration and ideas come when I least expect them. Sometimes it’s necessary to drop everything and reach for pen and paper lest the idea vanish like a wisp of smoke. It might seem rude, but fortunately I’m surrounded by family and friends that are patient and supportive.
I’ve learned that you’re never to old to learn something new if you give yourself enough time and grace. The technological aspects of blogging intimidated me at first, and it’s been a bit of an uphill climb, but I’m getting there!
I’ve learned that it’s ok to ask for help when you need it. See above. When I don’t have the patience to read through a tutorial, or I can’t make heads or tails of it even when I do, it’s time to call in the expert. That would be my husband.
I learned that even the simplest topic is filled with nuances that reveal themselves the more I think and write. Sometimes I wasn’t sure what I thought about a topic until I started to write. Appreciating the nuances made me think deeper and consider new possibilities and perspectives.
Most importantly, I learned to see almost every topic through the lens of faith and that helped me appreciate God’s hand in all aspects of my life. And that’s no small lesson.
When I started the blog, I made a commitment to publish weekly and came close. There were 43 posts published over 52 weeks. I gave myself permission to skip a week here and there after I signed up for a writing program, and am glad I did. Life gets busy, and I wanted to keep the writing something I enjoy, rather than feel stress over a self-imposed deadline. Another lesson learned; give yourself a break once in a while.
I also committed to writing with honesty and tried my best to embrace vulnerability, even when it scared me. I truly believe our life experiences, imparted through words and stories, have tremendous power to bond people together. Stories help us realize how much we have in common. Stories beckon us to enter another’s experience, even for a moment, which then enhances our ability to feel compassion for others. Empathy and compassion are the gateways to love, and isn’t that what Jesus calls us to do? But all of this hinges first on whether or not we can be authentic with each other.
I’ve enjoyed this first year and especially want to thank each and every one of you for reading these posts. I am deeply grateful for your support, encouragement, comments, and more than anything else, for your company on this adventure.
Stay tuned for season 2!
Do you have a dream that you’ve tucked away in the back of your busy life? A dream that calls you, but you hesitate to follow for one reason or another? Maybe, just maybe, it’s your turn to take the leap.

  • Kelly Noll
    March 27, 2017

    I can’t believe it’s been a whole year already! Thank you for continuing to share your writing and thoughts with all of us – I always get really excited when I see you have a new post!

    • Jo-Ann
      March 28, 2017

      Thank you so much Kelly! You’ve been a loyal reader and supporter from the beginning and I truly appreciate it. Glad you’re enjoying the U.K. Can’t wait to hear YOUR stories! 😊

  • Tom
    March 29, 2017

    Happy Blogiversary!! This is soooo exciting! Before opening this post I was going to make a joke about pre-prepared foods and bananas based on your prior post and my actual life, however after reading this I cannot… Jo-Ann, I am so very happy for you. Seeing you fulfill a life long dream and in the mean time encouraging others with your life, its successes and struggles has truly been an inspiration to me. How you’ve learned about yourself through the way the Lord sees you is wonderful.

    With each writing I try to find the statement or thought that most relates to me and how I envision myself. This time it was “empathy and compassion are gateways to love..”. Generally I see myself as a compassionate, caring person. However, I’ve been falling short in that area lately and this writing was a reminder of what Jesus calls us to do and be – an ambassador to Him, not part time, all the time. I’ve got a few changes to make!

    Jo-Ann, keep dreaming and keep writing – looking forward to year 2!

    • Jo-Ann
      March 29, 2017

      A million thank yous for such a heartfelt message and for your ongoing encouragement and support. The fact that you take precious time to read my posts means the world to me. You are a true and faithful friend!

  • Mary Ellen
    March 29, 2017

    Well Jo, you are an inspiration. Fear did not stop you and the outcome this year has been 40+ truly thoughtful and thought provoking pieces. I have enjoyed them all, and like Tom, have learned something about myself. Your seeing all through the lens of faith reminds me to do the same. Love you.

    • Jo-Ann
      March 30, 2017

      Thank you for those kind words Mary Ellen, and for supporting my ambition by faithfully reading these posts. YOUR strong faith and ministry to others always inspires me. Love you back. 🙂

  • Maureen
    March 30, 2017

    Love this post. Well, I love all your posts but this one really spoke to me. Yes, there is an aspiration that I harbor and toy with. Perhaps it is time to leap.

    • Jo-Ann
      March 30, 2017

      Yes! Do!! And I’ll be right there cheering you on just like you’ve done for me this year. You’re brave and more than capable so GO FOR IT!

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