Can we all just agree that blogging is a little weird? It’s this tucked-away bit of space where we allow parts of ourselves to spill out on to the keys, striving to share our stories and be better for it. I think this little corner of the Internet is at its best when I’m honest, authentic, and hopefully encouraging. What a profound privilege that I live in a time and place where I have the ability to freely write and share — I know so many women — in history and today — do not have the ability or privilege to do this. I’m truly grateful.
Looking ahead, I want to tell more stories in 2015. I’m learning that I identify more as a writer-writer and less as a blogger-writer. The lines between blogger/freelancer/editor/writer blur easily, and I want to create margin and find balance with Many Sparrows. It can be challenging for me to take my experience in media and journalism, continue to freelance write/edit, balance the “blogger” side of Many Sparrows (keywords, SEO, promotion, sponsors, reviews, affiliates), and the heart-spilled-out type of storytelling that I truly love.
There are so many different types of blogs and six years in, I’m still finding my voice with Many Sparrows. I’m so grateful for each of you who have joined me on this little adventure. Thank you for your encouragement and for sharing glimpses into your hearts, too.
I’ve chatted with families interested in adoption and connected new friends who are looking to become houseparents to old friends who already are. I’ve felt encouraged as you’ve shared your parenting woes with me and humbled as you’ve allowed me into just a small part of your faith journeys. We spent a month diving into what it might look like to be women who live free. And don’t forget — together, we used the Internet for good and raised $700 dollars for a Nigerian-American family to adopt two waiting daughters from an orphanage in Nigeria.
I’m not a numbers person, but some how, in some way, the numbers have mounted and I now will include this little blog of mine in my taxes this year. (How did that happen?!) I’m grateful for companies that took a chance on me and for businesses who valued my perspective. I’m thankful for my partnerships with companies that give back, especially Prosperity Candle, who helped me attend The Influence Conference this fall. I was honored to be able to stand in front a room brimming with mamas of young kids and remind them that their stories matter. And I was surprised when a local arts group asked me to sit on a writer’s panel to reflect my writing process. (I really am thankful, but I just re-read this paragraph and maybe it sounds like a humble brag. Gah! I’m sorry. That’s gross. I’m just thankful that somehow, in some way, I get to write and some people actually read it, and some fraction of those people actually like it.)
I think part of being a great writer (I’m not) is being able to find people living really great stories (so many of you are) — so I’m thrilled that so many of you have allowed me to share your stories this year. So many of these guest features have been the most popular posts of 2014. Straight up, straight down — you guys rock. You have thrown stones into the lake and the ripples reach further than any of us can fathom.
Below are the most-read posts written in 2014.
Thanks, Google Analytics, for the stats! Are you surprised at #1? (I’m not!)
10. Behind the Scenes of a Working Mom Shelley shared her journey of navigating work-life balance with such honesty and love.
9. Being a Parent of a Child with Sickle Cell As most of you know now, our son Joseph has sickle cell. This was a small glimpse of what it looks like to parent a child with this scary chronic illness.
8. When My Little World Goes Quiet Motherhood. Sometimes I find myself wishing for bedtime, only to miss them when they’re asleep.
7. January’s Story More often than not, we hear a lot from adoptive mothers, but not from adult adoptees. My childhood best friend, January, was adopted as a toddler from the Philippines, and allowed me to share her story.
6. Style Inspiration for the Rest of Us A friend of mine created a style blog for “average” women. I did a little Q&A with her, and her perspective clearly resonated with many of us!
5. The Kimball Family: From Zero to Three Kristen and Derek (remember him?) are our people. They have big hearts where there’s always room for more. She shared their international and domestic adoption experience.
4. Shop My Closet Adoption Fundraiser This was definitely a highlight this year! So many times, we think we’re too small to make a difference. I cleaned out my closet and we banded together to do something fun (shop!) for a Nigerian family near and dear to my heart.
3. The Way of Tea and Justice I receive many books for review, but this part-memoir, part-history lesson was a clear front-runner on my favorite reads. And, I was able to team up with my favorite local coffee shop to offer a giveaway. So much fun!
2. Words Matter I’ve been a lurker on the (in)courage blog and only community for a while, and I was honored to be able join them to share why words matter to me.
1. A Real Foster Care Adoption Story And here it is, the most-read post written this year! Kaia is hilarious and humble and her writing makes me want to be a better mom. I loved this post, and clearly, all of you did, too!