Those Old Posts I’d Rather You Not Read

Those Old Posts I'd Rather You Not Read -- growing in Christ is sometimes painful | RaisingArrows.netBecause I have been blogging for 9 years, I have a lot of old posts hanging out in the archives of my site.  Every now and then someone finds one of those old posts and leaves a comment.  Most of the time, it’s not a big deal, but occasionally, someone finds a buried post I was sort of hoping would stay buried.

Why?

Because a lot has changed in 9 years.

1.) Some things I thought were essentials are actually nonessentials. 

“In essentials unity, in non-essentials liberty,
in all things charity.”
~attributed to Augustine

There are a lot of things I used to think required unity.  I had a skewed sense of what the essentials are.  I think this happens to a lot of Christians, and I think it is very prevalent in the homeschooling community.  There are things I am very passionate about, but not everything I am passionate about is a hill to die on.  Not everyone has to agree with me.

As I’ve matured, I find I have a better sense of what things are essentials are what things are nonessentials based on my opinions, my convictions, and the Lord’s leading in my life.

2.) Some of my opinions were borrowed. 

Over the years, I formed opinions based on what other Christians said and did.  I tried to remember to test everything against Scripture, but sometimes I lost my way and held onto an opinion simply because someone else said it was right…or I thought they thought it was right.

This is very much a “new homeschooler” thing.  New homeschoolers, in their quest to do everything right, look to other homeschool moms to emulate.  The problem with this is that we often make assumptions of what a person is like and what that person must believe based on exteriors or passing comments.  From there, we borrow their opinions, never realizing their opinions might be flawed and/or we might have misunderstood what they were really saying.

It’s sort of like the homeschool mom “denim jumper” generalization (you know, ALL homeschool moms wear denim jumpers).  You see a mom in a denim jumper at the homeschool conference every year, so you assume she wears a denim jumper all year long.  You “borrow” this way of dress, assuming this is what homeschool moms do.  Sadly, some of my opinions were wearing denim jumpers they borrowed from someone else.

3.)  I have a better understanding of liberty in Christ.

This is still a work in progress.  I became a Christian in 1999 and spent many years running away from my former life and anything that resembled that life.  I ran straight into the arms of rules.

It has taken a lot of years and a lot of discernment to come to a place where I can sort out what things are essentials and what are nonessentials, what things are harmful and what things are harmless, what things are convictions the Holy Spirit has placed in my life and what things are convictions that belong to other people.

I also feel I am finally understanding what a church made up of hands and feet, eyes and ears all coming together as the Body of Christ actually looks like.  It goes way beyond acknowledging there are no cookie-cutter Christians.  It acknowledges that every single difference we have in Christ allows each of us to do the work the Lord has laid before us.  Liberty in Christ isn’t about us…it’s about HIM.

4.)  I’ve learned better how to speak the truth in love.

There is a time to speak out.  We can’t help how our message is taken, but we can help the heart behind the message.  My goal should be to have everything that comes from my mouth (or from my blog) be said because I truly LOVE Jesus and don’t want anyone to miss His gospel.  My motives haven’t always been the best, and I’m sure this will continue to be one I need to work on.

5.)  I am simply at a different place in life.

You’ve probably heard someone say,

“I was the perfect parent…until I became one.”

Years ago, I made a rather curt comment to a mother with teens.  (If I remember correctly, I used the words, “I would never…” <eek!> )  Well, I wasn’t a mother with teens, and I was wrong.  Things change.  Circumstances change.  We grow and change, and so do those around us.  Grace is a beautiful thing.

Perhaps you are wondering why I don’t just take those posts down.  I guess it’s because I see them as part of the “growing in Christ” process.  If I had the time, I’d put a disclaimer on all older posts that says something like –

Written by an imperfect Christian.

But, I figure people already know that.  And if they don’t, the comments left on those old posts keep me humble.

How Blogging is Changing (and why I think that’s a good thing for you and me!)

It took me about 10 minutes to create this graphic:

The concept of blogging is changing.  Here are my thoughts on what that changes are and how they will affect readers and bloggers. | RaisingArrows.net

I did that so you could easily pin it on Pinterest.  It’s not what is considered the “perfect” dimensions for Pinterest, but I don’t have time to do any better than this.

When this post comes out, I’ll tweet it on Twitter and post it on Facebook…I hope.  If I was really doing things “right”, I’d post to Google+ and figure out some cute way to Instagram it. (Instead, I think I’ll just post cute pics of my kids and our homeschool day.)

It would be great if I could work into the post a way to ask you to subscribe to the blog or buy my ebook, but the baby is crying, so that will have to wait for another day.

Oh, and I really ought to work at making sure this post has great SEO (that means search engines like Google like it), and I really should try to meet the needs of every single person in cyberspace, whether they loyally read my blog or not.

Phew!

There’s a reason I wrote a post last year saying I was done knocking myself out with this blogging thing!  I had just moved and just found out I was pregnant with baby #9, and I was at a crossroads with my blogging.  In fact, I wasn’t even sure I was going to continue to blog at all.  I felt I had run out of words and steam.  After several years of professionally blogging, all of its rules had worn me down.

Ty and I prayed over the blog and decided to change how I was doing things, even if it meant less pageviews, less income opportunities, and less growth for Raising Arrows.  We decided it was time to go back to my blogging roots and just write.

And I wasn’t the only one…

I began to notice a change in the blogging world.  Crystal of Money Saving Mom announced she was going back to a more personal feel on her blog as she shared her real life with her readers.  Jeni at The Blog Maven started focusing on how to blog AND have a life by blogging smarter.  Bloggers who had been around a long time were coming full circle and letting go of many of the expectations of professional blogging in favor of reaching out with real life and real content.  They started telling stories, being real and candid, and giving you the kind of content you need without overwhelming their schedule and your inbox.

For me, this means blogging has become more enjoyable because it has stopped being about doing everything “right” and has gone back to sharing, mentoring, and fellowshipping.

In fact, this is so near and dear to my heart that this October, I’ll be speaking at the 2:1 Conference in Kitty Hawk on the topic of how you can build a blog without losing yourself.  I’ll be sharing a lot of my own journey as I encourage bloggers to do what works for them.

2:1 Conference 2015

I want readers to come to Raising Arrows because what they find here is useful.  I want them to stay because they’ve found a friend.  I hope as more bloggers recognize a need to slow down and offer better content, the internet will become less noisy.  But, even more than that, I pray that bloggers and readers will have more time to live their offline lives in a manner that is pleasing to the Lord!

Some questions for you as readers…
1)  How many posts per week do you like to see on a blog?
2)  Do you like posts coming to your inbox or are you more apt to read randomly?
3)  On which social media platform are you most likely to interact with a blogger?
4)  What are some of your favorite blogs and why?

Thank you to those of you who take the time to answer these questions!  Your answers will help with my session at 2:1!  If you are interested in attending the 2:1 Conference this fall, click HERE to learn more!

2014 Raising Arrows Review

2014 Raising Arrows Review

Every year, I like to do a year-end review of posts from Raising Arrows.  It’s a fun way for me to remember the past year, and to recap any posts you may have missed.  When I do these posts, I am always amazed at how quickly my year has passed.

This year saw some big changes for us, including 2 moves and a new baby!  What a ride 2014 was!  I hope you enjoy the recap…

January 2014

I introduced you to Christian Healthcare Ministries - the non-insurance option we have used for years.

Christian Healthcare Ministries

I told you how we use Little House on the Prairie resources to homeschool.

Plus, I gave you my favorite All-Natural, All-Purpose Cleaner and we talked candidly about being messy mommies.

February 2014

We moved!

I told you about my postpartum depression with baby #7.

I asked the question, “Does it matter what time a mom/homemaker wakes up?

And I talked about my struggle to build Trim Healthy Mama meals (and offered a FREE THM veggie guide!).

March 2014

I gave you our family recipes for Whole Wheat Rolls and Whole Wheat Pastry Crust.

Homemade Whole Wheat Rolls/Buns that are Quick and Tasty! | RaisingArrows.net

I talked about how to keep a kitchen clean and also how to make meal times more leisurely and stress-free (plus I shared a subscriber freebie of Family Dinner Games!).

I shared more of my Birthing Journey in a Part 2 of a post I had written 5 years earlier.

And I gave new homeschool moms 7 things they needed to think about as they get started.

April 2014

I shared how we handle television consumption in our home, and I offered tips on learning to love every age and stage your children are in.

I asked a hard hitting question about whether or not we really want Titus2 women in our lives.

I shared how we homeschool with Pinterest and what to do if you hate (or struggle) with the subjects you are teaching.

I asked you to tell me why you love having a large family, and I made the decision to stop trying to be a top blogger.

No More Knocking Myself Out! Why I'm done trying to be a top blogger | RaisingArrows.net

May 2014

After some major blows to the homeschooling community, I wrote a post on being discerning homeschoolers.

I also answered questions about homeschooling year round.

I shared how well-meaning people unintentionally hurt people who are grieving, and I told you the secret to being the perfect mom.

I also shared Part 3 of my Birthing Journey and announced that a new little blessing was on the way, due in December!

June 2014

In June, morning sickness hit hard, and all I managed was to update you on my pregnancy:
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14

14 weeks with Baby #9

July 2014

I shared how we feed our family of 9 with only 2 pounds of hamburger, and gave you the recipe for our favorite homemade Taco Seasoning

I told you how I got the kids to stop opening all the peanut butter jars in the house.

How to stop the kids (and dad) from opening brand new food containers when there is one already open | RaisingArrows.net

I introduced you to our newest addition – a puppy!

Plus, I told you how to plan your homeschool day in 30 minute snippets and how we were weaning our children from screen time that had taken over while I was sick.

August 2014

I hit the halfway mark of my pregnancy, and shared how to celebrate your pregnancy month by month.

I rocked a few boats when I suggested education was not about getting a job, and I told you that winning the homeschool argument wasn’t your objective either.

I also shared some of the canning recipes we were using that season.

2014 Canning Season - so far, we've made salsa, spaghetti sauce, pickles and pickled green beans, freezer green beans, and sandhill plum jelly!

September 2014

We settled the homeschool socialization question, and I shared our curriculum choices for preschool and kindergarten, elementary, and jr. high and high school.

I told you how to create a finger food lunch and gave you an easy recipe for oven pancakes.

I shared how I shop for maternity clothes, how I flagged my Trim Healthy Mama book, and how our Keepers of the Faith club runs.

October 2014

Sheri Graham and I started our 12 week Preparing for a Peaceful Christmas series.

I shared a yummy Bacon Gravy recipe as well as a THM-ified Cookie Dough Dip.

Cookie Dough Dip (a Trim Healthy Mama Makeover Recipe - S) | RaisingArrows.net

I talked about not stigmatizing your child based on their learning pace.

I also wrote Part 1 of having a minimalist kitchen as a large family.

November 2014

I shared Part 2 of my minimalist kitchen.

I gave you ideas for arranging bedrooms for a lot of kids.  I offered all my Thanksgiving resources in one post, and I shared the news that we were moving again!

December 2014

I told you how to have a Christmas Decorating Party with your family, and how I’ve learned to have a peaceful Christmas when life is a mess.

I shared a very difficult post about how it feels when baby is not the gender you had hoped for, and finally, I introduced our newest blessing, our first girl since Emily’s death, Baby Aspen!

Baby Aspen

Here’s to a blessed 2015!

 

 

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No More Knocking Myself Out!

No More Knocking Myself Out!  Why I'm done trying to be a top blogger | RaisingArrows.net

When I started blogging there wasn’t such a thing as social media.

Yes, I’m a dinosaur in blog years.

I’ve sort of “grown up” with blogging.  I watched things change at the speed of the internet, and I’ve had to adjust how I do things to accommodate the ever-changing online world.  In the process, it sucked the joy right out of it.

When I started blogging, no one had Pinterest-friendly images.  When I started blogging, there was no right time of day to post to Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.  When I started blogging no one was trying to be better at blogging than the next guy (or gal).  Blogging was just writing, and most people happened upon your blog by accident.  If they stayed, it was because of your content, not because you spoke the loudest or the longest or because you were seen in all the right social media platforms.

I’m not against change.  And I’m definitely not against reaching out to people.  But I am against knocking myself out to do so.

So, I am done with the rat race to be a top blogger.

Social media is a great tool, but I am no longer going to bend over backward so Facebook will see my posts (which means it can’t contain any links or say any words like “blog”, “giveaway”, or “post”.)  I won’t be pinning my posts on Pinterest at the “right time” or begging Google to see my posts as important.  I won’t be stalking all the blogging gurus trying to figure out all the latest tips and tricks to make my blog bigger and better.

I just don’t care any more.

I’m ready to get back to writing for MY audience, not searching for someone else’s.  I’m ready to get back to the heart of blogging – sharing information meant to edify, encourage, endure.  Sharing my heart with my faithful readers and those who happen upon Raising Arrows and stay because they find a home here.

You’ll still see me around social media, but it will be on MY time.  And you can always get Raising Arrows in your inbox and read it on YOUR time.

God has some big things going on in our family, and I am excited to share the journey with you!  I am so thankful He brought me to the understanding that knocking myself out to be a top blogger wasn’t a part of this journey.

For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.
Galatians 1:10