October 8th 2006, was a Sunday. I remember it like it was yesterday.
After church Ryan and I dropped by Barnes & Noble. We ordered our favorite coffees and perused the store aimlessly because this is what couples without children do on a Sunday after church. Without an agenda or a reason to go home we let hours pass as we read without buying. At one point, as we meandered together, we came across a table where a book practically jumped off the table at me. The title’s subtlety begged me to turn its pages.
“No One Cares What You Had For Lunch” by Margaret Mason, newly published at the time, was front and center chock full of ideas for the new blogger.
I picked it up and told Ryan how Angela wanted me to start a blog with her. I didn’t really understand what a blog was and as Ryan explained I would be writing a lot I almost dismissed the idea completely. But Ryan, as my resident tech guru, encouraged me to go ahead and start one. You know, just to see.
My first post was titled “No One Cares What I Ate For Lunch Today” and it posted live the very same day same day I saw the book, October 8, 2016.
Little did I know, 10 years later, this little blog thing would be such a defining part of my life.
first picture posted on kellynewcom.com
10 Thoughts From 10 years of Storytelling:
I learned a lot about the actual craft of writing. As a gal with a science degree, writing was never my strong suit. If you read my earlier posts, you know. It’s bad.
I think about my Senior English teacher, Betty Borquien, ALL THE TIME as I strive to improve willing myself to remember the things she taught me. I hope I’d make her proud.
I’ve learned so much about writing and grew such a love for it, I’m now writing a book. This would have never happened if not for this blog. Or without Angela, the book was always her dream but with one short text in January 2015 she transferred that dream to me.
The “highlight reel” actually helps when I feel low. I always question my motives with my posts: am I posting a highlight reel for people to see? However, when I feel like an awful parent, friend, or human being I go back and remind myself through my own writing and pictures just how much the Lord has done for me. The highlight reel reminds me how good life really is. I generally snap back to gratitude instantly.
A well documented 10 years gives amazing perspective. When I look back at the pictures and stories of (for example) taking on a baby 10 months old, the Medical Center Walgreens, remodeling the little house, and the early days of our second adoption – I am quickly reminded how hard, strenuous, and sometimes painful these BIG things were. But hindsight can be a beautiful thing. I can see now how God was (and is) so much BIGGER than all these BIG things.
Movements can happen. I have publicly shared my journey through 9 years of the Foster Care System. When we first started I thought we were on an island, completely isolated and starving for people who understood. I prayed and begged God to use us to start a movement of foster/adoption. I don’t know how much – if any – part we played in this but there is a movement happening. It is beautiful and amazing. And children are being rescued.
In case of tragedy, a documented life is a treasure. My sweet friend, Angela, prompted me to start this blog. We blogged together, about one another, and for one another. It was our thing, both separate and personal, yet we did it together. My readers were her readers and vice versa. Even after her passing, her spirit and influence are still so tangible on the pages and pages of stories. And when I long desperately for her friendship, I go to her blog, read her words, and cherish every minute she dedicated to sharing her life with others.
Never, ever underestimate the power of the people God puts in your life. Angela was a customer of mine at Walgreens. We became friends because of scrapbooking. We shared a love for Jesus. She convinced me to start a blog. This blog now has over 1,000 unique visitors per month (I find this amazing.) Now I’m speaking and writing for Brave Parenting as a job (albeit, second and mostly unpaid job.) If the blog never got started, life would look very different right now. God gave me one person who would change my entire trajectory: Angela.
You know people are blog readers when they refer to your children as X & E. I’ve been out in public twice and been stopped and asked if I was Kelly from kellynewcom.com. Weird. The rest of the time, I know who the readers are when they don’t know X’s name and simply refer to her as “X.” I secretly love it.
Now that I have kids who are “aware” they are sort of obsessed with the blog. When kids in their classes google their names (because this is what kids do these days), they think my children must be famous. Otherwise how would so many pictures and links appear as the top results. 10 years of indexing folks. This is how. And now I certainly have to be more careful about maintaining their privacy (or posting pictures they don’t like.) However, if I take a picture where they look awesome of buff (or “swol” as they say) you’d better believe they ask me to post it on the blog.
I question myself every year whether or not I should continue. Perhaps this year more than ever as working (almost) full time, 6 active kids, Ryan’s growing business, and running Brave Parenting has me struggling to find time. I’m always praying and seeking the Lord’s direction, ensuring this is a good use of my time. The moment He says stop, I’m done. So far He hasn’t.
What it all boils down to is this:
IF I inspired you to….
Take more pictures
Eat Gluten Free
Drink more coffee
Run a marathon (or run at all)
Read Redeeming Love
Downsize your home
Do a Daniel Fast
Sell/Give away your possessions
Choose ONE WORD for the year
Date your children
that’s fantastic and I’m honored.
However, all of this means nothing unless I pointed to Jesus.
If I didn’t shine His light, I’ve wasted my time.
I always pray the words I SPEAK through this blog build you up, encourage you, or at least make you feel normal – all the while giving Jesus the glory for what He is doing in my life.
I hope you have grown in faith right alongside me over the past 10 years.
What an amazing journey it has been.