Tuesday, June 30, 2020

A Few Thoughts About Blogging As My Fifth Blog Anniversary Draws Near

Musing About Blogging

Hello everyone!  So, as I write this, we are still a few days away from the beginning of July which happens to be the birthday month for my blogging! I feel that it is a good time to muse a bit about blogging, my particular blog and what I feel about being a blogger at this time in our world. Today will most likely be more words than pictures, but I'll try to add some photos in for interest as this post evolves. 

This is the very first picture I posted five years ago on July 30, 2015. It was a poorly taken selfie but I thought I had done something amazing to take a picture and post it to my shiny new blog! For those who are newer readers, my blog at that time was called, "Debbie This And That" and then, as now, used the Blogger platform. Along the way I changed my blog name to "Debbie Styles Life."

Over the years, I've gotten better at taking my own photos both of myself....

and other objects. And I have to admit that I am proud of the progress I have made with photography...at least most of the time. Working on better photography skills continues to be a personal goal. 

Blogging is about writing, though, although photography is often an important part of blogging and the writing is what I enjoy most. I guess I hoped at the beginning that my writing would lead to the great American novel and would be so engrossing that my posts would go viral and inspire the world. Hmmmm...that didn't happen! Now, as then, I continue to be a fairly small-time blogger. I earn every follower one person at a time and am thrilled when someone new decides to follow, subscribe and/or leave a comment! I also am blessed to have a group of very faithful readers and commenters. Sometimes the comments are left on the blog itself, sometimes on Facebook and sometimes just a personal email to me. I treasure them all and am grateful that in this world of blogging there are people who actually want to read something I write! And, to comment on it, even better!

When I first began blogging, I really didn't have a clear cut plan in mind for my blog. In many ways, I still don't. I like watching my blog evolve with each passing year. I knew, back in 2015, that there were many blogs that I personally enjoyed reading and I kind of wanted to "be like them" when I first started. The blogs I enjoyed most were the ones that offered a little bit of everything in their posts-daily life vignettes, pictures of travel and, of course, fashion. I was able to get to know about these bloggers and their daily lives as I eagerly read their posts. Some posts came daily, some came two or three times per week. Because I was so new to reading blogs, there were plenty of archived posts for me to catch up on during the "off days" when new posts were not offered. So, as I began blogging with "Debbie This And That" I decided to not set a particular posting schedule other than to try to post 3-5 times per week and to share a little bit of everything in my posts. Soon, I was sharing about daily life, where we traveled, foods we ate, books I was reading, writing devotionals that shared my faith and even a bit of fashion. Hence, the "this and that" part of my blog! It was fun and I felt a bit giddy being one of the crowd that had their own blog!

Blogs, like people, tend to evolve over the years and many of the blogs I started out reading I only follow sporadically or not at all now because they either no longer exist or have changed into a blog that doesn't fit my interests that much anymore. That is the nature of blogging, I guess, and I'm sure that folks have gravitated either toward or away from my blog for the same reasons. One blog does not fit all! I'm still not committed to particular days for my blog posts, but try to blog at least once per week now, a big change from the 3-5 times per week I started out doing. Each week can be a bit different though, depending on what is happening or what I have to share.

I find that I struggle, at times, to have something to say that I feel is worthwhile to put out there for people to read or look at. Especially now, with the world so inundated with the Global Pandemic of Covid-19 and its repercussions, our country split with many divisions over politics, racial justice, civil unrest and more. All of this has weighed heavily on my heart in recent months and has definitely affected my blogging. Like everyone else, I miss life the way it was before Covid and long for the time to come when there are treatments that work to cure it and a vaccine available that prevents catching it. I am well aware that the world has been here before. Pandemics have happened for others in the world before me. Life during these times wasn't easy for those people either. But knowing that doesn't make life in today's times easier, especially when the cold hand of fear grabs hold of me when I think of someone I love getting sick and/or dying. Or even of myself getting sick and/or dying. It's scary for everyone. Nobody knows how they will react to Covid until they get it. 

That doesn't mean the Mr. and I have barred the doors and aren't going anywhere. But, we do so carefully taking wipes, wearing masks, doing our best to social distance and washing our hands. But even so, I find life a bit exhausting right now and certainly not what I envisioned our time of retirement would be. The trips we planned, visits with family, going out to eat at different restaurants, lunch with a dear friend, a fun shopping outing...all of these are on hold right now as caution is practiced. And, yes, we can meet in a small group with masks and chairs six feet apart but it. is. not. the. same. We can go to a store or restaurant if we dare but it. is. not. the. same.

As a Christian, I know that ultimately God is in control. I have not forgotten that. I have written many devotions on this blog and will continue to do so. But, God doesn't promise that we will never have hard times or suffering. God does promise that He will be with us and walk with us through whatever life brings. Knowing this does not mean that I will act foolishly and refuse to wear a mask or willingly put myself in harms way. It means that I will do all I can to protect myself, my loved ones and others all the while trusting that God will take care of me, and them, no matter what.  The following words from Deuteronomy 31:6 really resonate with me:

"Be strong and courageous. Do not be afraid or terrified because of them, for the Lord your God goes with you; He will never leave you or forsake you." 

But, being the human that I am, I can still get down and allow worry and concern and disappointment to get to me. And, it affects my blogging. I did not expect that the fifth year of my blogging would find me wondering if what I have to write about or say is still interesting, relevant and worthy of print. I guess at this point in my blogging, I'm focusing a bit more on what I want to say to people than on just putting myself out there 'cause it's fun. It may be that future posts will have a bit more of exactly what Debbie thinks about things. I don't plan on turning all political on the blog, but I do plan to speak my mind when I want to a bit more. 

One of the things about my blog that is most important to me, and has been from the start, is that this blog is all mine. I get to make the decisions about posts and pictures. I get to design the way the blog looks from the width of the pages to the type of print to the size of the photos and the header at the top. I love that this blog is my creation and I can change it at will. Over the last five years I have changed blog names, owned my own domain with each name, and spent countless hours creating what I wanted the blog to look like. I have been told my blog looked "outdated" and that I should change from Blogger to Wordpress. I have been told that I should buy a design for my blog from a company that designs blogs to look "modern." Each time, I have resisted doing this because I did not want to lose my own creative decisions. I also did not like the way some of these new designs looked. I read more "modern" blogs that I have a hard time navigating because I can't find the post I am looking for on the blog. I find my current Blogger template design to be quite easy to work on and navigate. So, as a blogger, I have to be bold at times and take criticism with a grain of salt. I like being in control both in life and on my blog and I'm happy with things as they are with the way my blog looks and works. 

So, here I sit five years into blogging looking to the future when hopefully life will resume more normalcy. My plans for the blog are simply this; to continue blogging, being myself and providing for others what I hope are interesting, informative, fun and creative posts about a variety of topics and events in my daily life. I hope to offer a sliver of respite for other people from their daily worries and concerns and to offer hope that God, through Christ, is always present with us and for us. We never walk alone. I hope to continue to improve with both my photography and my writing. I hope to continue to style life and to share life with my readers in a way that offers smiles, inspiration and joy. 

I'll be celebrating five years of blogging throughout the month of July so this won't be the only post that talks about my blog anniversary. I am prone to introspection, though, and starting out the month with a few thoughts about five years of blogging is a good way to start the celebration! 

I hope you will leave a comment about this post, other posts you have read, things you enjoy reading about on the blog or something you would like to read about or...anything else you would like to share! 

In the meantime, I'll continue to provide posts about...

Styling Life
with heart, soul, creativity 
and....oh yeah
A Little Bit Of This And That!

gif from Canva.com
Bye, Bye, Until Next Time,


eva@ StyleMyThrift said...

debbie, i love this blog post for many reasons...all the reasons you mentioned you blog and why you blog and how you blog...as someone who is new in the game (january 2020) i have already experienced all these feelings, introspections, creative challenges, photography issues....but what really is the best part of it all, is that it's mine...all mine....free to do what i want....write 2000+ words and know no one is reading it, because i like to write.....it's my home away from home...it's where i want to be as my 18 & 16 year old daughters start leaving the house....so i commend you dear debbie...
and congrats to 5 years!!
xo eva

Lay said...

This is a wonderful post, Debbie. I cannot believe five years have passed since your first post! I clearly remember you telling us about your blog when you first started. Way to hang in there.

As I have told you before, one of the things I like most about your blog is all that I learn above you that I would not otherwise know. I so admire your courage to put yourself out there in spite of criticism and opinions that you should change for one reason or another. You truly have inspired me to do the same with endeavors in my life (GUMC devotionals, Bessie the Bear to name my most recent efforts). I am more likely to not dismiss my ideas as “whatever” because of your courage. Thank you.

And then there are

Sharon said...

Congratulations on five years of blogging! I am so glad you have your own blog because it is really a joy for me to read each and every blog post you write. I'm also glad that you have kept your blog the way you want it to be. I think that makes it unique and speaks to who you are. So once again, congrats on your five years, and please keep writing!!

Karen said...

Congratulations on five years Debbie! I LOVE the little kitty at the end! SO cute!!! I enjoy your blog posts very much, whether it be your house, your travels and hikes, your outfits, your decorating, it's all been so much fun! I am currently staying far away from social media due to all the nastiness out there, and really hope things here don't get political. I realize it's your personal space and yes, you get to do whatever you want. Politics is such a great divider and I understand there are those who agree with me and those who don't, and that's fine. I'm just staying away from those discussions because it gets so contentious. But of course, it's your blog and I get that. I really enjoy your faith posts too, should have mentioned that earlier. I think that's something that the world needs more of right now.

Iris said...

Debbie - I so enjoy your blog and I totally agree about it being ALL yours. Congratulations on five years. I feel like each blogger must write what she/he wants on their blog. If I don't agree or don't like what they say, I'm free to move on.

I have no idea how bloggers find the time to write several posts in a week. I have trouble finding time to write one a week. I have also had a number of previous blogs, but have been more faithful to my current one - which is about a little bit of every thing.

So, keep up the good work (and btw I loved your Biblical quote), I have Det. 31:8 at the bottom of mine, says virtually the same thing!).
Grace & Peace,Iris