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My blog is three years old today. I wrote my first post in this place when my third baby was three days old.  (Woah, that’s a lot of three’s.) Sadie had her birthday over the weekend, with a two layer cake, baked now sort of effortlessly in our wood fired oven, and one gift, wrapped in a paper grocery bag. She was thrilled.

 

It’s hard to recall the early days of this blog, for a lot of reasons, not least of which that everything is different. My life is different. My kids are different. My writing is different. Blogging as a whole is different. Then again, sometimes I look at my old posts and I hope nobody actually reads everything I write because I say the same things over and over again. I just keeping walking through the same territory. More faith, less fear. More trust, less criticism. More courage, less anxiety.

 

More Jesus.

 

Some days I think I’m switching over to YouTube. I think I’ll just hang it up over here and go be a vlogger, which is a word my spell check still corrects. (i.e. NOT ACTUALLY A WORD.) Other days, I remember that I have only four solar panels and nothing draws power more than movie editing. Talk about luxuries, in an off grid life, now I’m going to edit movies? But of course that’s a slippery slope that starts right here.

 

I can’t lie to you. (You know, I never do.) I’m having a very different experience this #write31days than I’ve had before. I had already begun the rhythm of the month of daily writing when I fell into a new round of edits on the book manuscript probably to be known as “What Falls From the Sky.” Something that has worked for me about blogging in general and #write31days in particular is that a daily outpouring causes me to be less careful with my self image. It undercuts the weight of self awareness. It doesn’t bring my stats up, by any way of measuring, but it brings my courage up. I become more authentic and more honest as layers of self-consciousness slip away.

 

But this time that isn’t entirely working. How is that supposed to work when I’m vlogging and editing a book at the same time? The layers of self consciousness are being built faster than I can strip them. How is this supposed to make me more free? And more myself? When it’s also setting expectations that I am then obligated to meet?

 

As a very shy, introverted person, I spend an inordinate amount of time being afraid of revealing myself to other people. As a person who blogs and now vlogs my life, I spend an inordinate amount of time doing exactly that.

 

What is UP WITH THAT, Esther?

 

A wise-beyond-his-years friend of ours likes say, “People are messy.”

 

^THAT.

 

Happy birthday, Church in the Canyon. For three years, you’ve been a perfectly shaped container for my mess. You’ve tolerated my mood swings, showcased my discoveries, and made me a lot of not-very-scary-after-all true friends. You connected my in-crisis friend in Taiwan with an angel. You connected me to a whole community of Jesus loving Christian outliers right when I was ready to give up on the church. Also, you got me a book deal. Or, at least, you really helped.

 

You’ve shown me the limits of my vulnerability, and the awkwardness of stepping out and trying to do hard things. You’ve taught me to listen before I speak, but also to speak freely, from the heart. You’ve taught me that different people are looking for different things, and that is not my problem.

 

Most of all, you’ve taught me that the world is bigger than I thought it was. Who knew that I would write about so many things? So many crazy things, all in one place? And I would NEVER, EVER, EVER write something that was so unique or so out there it didn’t resonate with anybody else ever at all. Who knew? That on our insides we were all so much made of the same stuff?

 

I might be slowing down my #write31days this year. But that’s not because I see no value in the repetition and the structure of a daily-posting blog. I might be shifting a bit over to vlogging (which I STILL need to enter in my spell check), but that is not because I no longer love the various beauty of words in pixels on a computer screen. I might be tired, and I might be faltering. But that is not for any shortage of community, or recognition, or plain and simple love. I have been rich, these last three years, in support, and opportunities, and love.

 

You know who you are. Thanks for being here with me.

 

All my love,

 

Esther

 

Here’s this week’s episode of Mountain Dream Home, which includes a little gratuitous clip of Sadie’s birthday. Enjoy.