Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pondering the Purpose: Six Years of Blogging

Believe it or not, this past December 14 marked the six-year "anniversary" (or bloggiversary??) of our little corner of the so-called World Wide Web. According to some sources, we are even considered "long time bloggers" (just check out this page on Missionary-Blogs.com!)

So being that I am in a contemplative mood tonight, I've taken to pondering the current purpose of our family/ministry blog.

I began writing when we were busy blissful parents to two children: Eva, then age 3 (going on 4) and Isabel, then age 2 1/2 years old. In that entire first year, from December 2004 - December 2005 I wrote a grand total of eleven posts. Most of these were short and sweet, due in part to our crazy schedule of working part-time and traveling nearly full-time. Another factor was the blessed addition of our third child, Owen, just four months into my blogging career - as well as an utter lack of pictures since we had not yet moved into the digital generation.

The number of posts skyrocketed to 165 during my second full year of blogging (January - December 2006.) This was the year I began posting our prayer letters online. It was also the year we moved to Texas for language study; the year we started the process to adopt again (though this would not be fulfilled for four long years) and the year we lost a child to early miscarriage. Also, Eva started Kindergarten; Owen at age 19 months had surgery to remove his adenoids and correct his sleep apnea; and we enjoyed special times with the Garcia grandparents while Pedro toiled through his first semester of language school.

Apparently I had too much time on my hands during year three! From January - December 2007 I wrote 481 posts which detailed our final farewells to Texas and family; the unexpected visit we paid to Canada en route to our long-awaited destination of Chile to formally begin our missionary career; and those first months of adjustment and transition to a new country, culture, and its customs for all of us. Many joyful memories were recorded of moments spent with the Rubin cousins, an extra-special blessing of our time in Santiago. On the adoption front doors closed both stateside and in Chile, but the longing to add to our family remained.

With 566 posts, year four (January - December 2008) was a record year. It was the year of beginning our Haiti adoption, compiling dossier paperwork, and fundraising through the sale of our adoption t-shirts and my poetry books. It was the year we first visited the countries of Colombia and Haiti. It was the year we first met our two new sons, and also the year our oldest son gave us plenty of gray hairs with no less than three overnight hospitalizations! We closed the year with the craziness of directing a Christmas program, squeezing in another family vacation with the cousins, and the chaos of packing up our house for yet another move 24 hours away.

Year five (January - December 2009) began with a major cross-country move to the northern city of Iquique. Over the course of 414 posts I recorded our family's adjustment to life in the city that never sleeps; to Chilean schools and the consequent process of intense language acquisition for our kiddos. It was the year of two car accidents; two robberies; and two solo trips to Haiti. It was also the year we learned that living in a beach city in northern Chile results in lots of visitors, which was for the most part great fun! More importantly, it was the year God truly began to prick out hearts for the needs of Iquique and reveal to us our part in the ministry here.

And finally ... year six (January - December 2010.) With the long-awaited arrival of Ian and Alec from Haiti, posts dropped dramatically to only 183 but the time away from the computer was well spent in getting to know these two unique personalities and integrating them into our family unit. Without argument highlights from year six were visits from both sets of grandparents, as well as visits with the Rubin cousins both in Iquique and Santiago. Finding our place in ministry and growing in our new relationships, especially those we prayed would become "redemptive" relationships with the opportunity to share Christ, was also very important. This year was intense and challenging, yet rewarding and miraculous!

As I find myself on the brink of my 7th year of blogging, there have been moments of questioning whether taking the time to continue is really worth it or not. Some days I am discouraged by the lack of feedback or comments on the blog. I wonder if I am fulfilling the original purpose of this blog - which I would characterize as keeping friends and family informed of our personal and ministry happenings across the oceans and miles - if no one is actually reading it. With the advent of Facebook, so many more of our pictures and snippets of activities are easily read and recorded there. On days when I am tired, it is much quicker to write a status update and upload pictures to an album than to write and edit an entire blog post.

Yet as I've taken the time (over many days and several weeks) to write this particular post summarizing our blogging years, I've come to realize something. More than a record of the Garcias' goings-on for others to read, this is a journal of and for us. It is all the little stories of our family: from lost teeth to adoption conversations to frustrating parenting moments to tearful times of transition to joyful family vacations. It is a treasure of memories that would have been lost if I had not taken the time to remember, type and publish them in an otherwise possibly insignificant little blog. :)

And so I will keep blogging. Perhaps I'll never match my record year with number of posts, but what I do write I hope to write even more intentionally. I want to capture moments that will hold significance one, two, even thirty years down the road - defining moments in our family and in our ministry as well.

If you come along for the ride, welcome! And if not, that's okay too. We'll still be here ... living "la vida loca," and trying our best to do it all for the glory of God. :)

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

I just want you to know that your dear old dad lives for your blogs. I certainly don't respond to each but I've read each and every one over the last 6 years. It keeps in touch with all that is going on with the family, helps us to pray, and makes the many miles between us more "aguantable!" Please don't stop! Love, Dad

Terri Fisher said...

I echo our "dear old Dad", Steph! I check your blog multiple times a day to see if there are any updates! It's a great way to keep in touch with you guys over the distance. Don't stop! (And I guess I had better ratchet up the posts when we move halfway across the country in a few months!) We love you!

Anonymous said...

OK Steph, my turn to put in my two cents. I sure don't want you to stop writing. I find everything you say to be fascinating and I would miss terribly the laughter and the tears that come when I'm reading about our family in Iquique. I agree with Dad, please don't stop as long as you are willing to keep it up. Love you, Mom

sea salt MOSAIC said...

Amen and Amen! The purpose of blogging often seems redundant. . . family and friends. . . updating. . .decompressing. . . .expressing. . .but, WHY do we do this!?!? I mean, really - WHY!?!

For some reason or another I think God gives us this opportunity to give Him glory in ways we couldn't otherwise. Some days He draws us into His haven of rest through it and other days He delights in us telling others about His work in our personal lives as well as the lives of those little ones He's entrusted us with. Through it all He bonds together some of His people in a very unique way - praise Him for His creativity!

So, all of that to say - I'm delighted and blessed beyond measure by your blogging and am eager to continue on your journey with you!

panim said...

So I know I pretty much talk to you every day, but I also check your blog daily. So definitely keep it up!

Melissa said...

I read every entry, I have you on google reader so I don't miss anything. I know I don't comment much, (I don't even make comments hardly on my own blog) but I read and when I do I don't feel like there are thousands of miles between us. I am awful at keeping up on FB. I am glad that you are not quitting the blog! Love, Melissa

Anonymous said...

Stranger delurking here...

I have followed your blog fairly regularly since at least 2006. You and your family are such an inspiration! As a single mom of two, one by the miracle of adoption, your stories and glory to God give me strength to continue.
I enjoy reading of your adventures, especially related to the missionary field. My sister and her family are missionaries in Papua New Guinea. Reading of your day to day life gives me better understanding of how to pray for my sister.
As time allows, keep blogging, I know there are many that read but do not comment...

Blessings,
-M

Anonymous said...

Stephanie- as the mother of sea salt mosaic, have been reading your blog and others on her site - more opportunities to pray and yes learn...

Andrea Eldred said...

Steph, I don't often respond to posts (anywhere for that matter), but I do read your blog and would miss keeping in touch with you without it. I so enjoy seeing your family grow and hearing what you are up to!
Andrea

ness said...

Stephanie,
I hope you don't stop blogging. There is something about what you write and how you write that is so simple. Which is remarkable considering the complexity you face on a regular basis. You draw a clear picture of what ministry really is...and you do it so modestly...while when I read between the lines, I know your days are full of hard work, but good, good, good work.

Also, I have brought Charleigh to the computer screen several times when she doubts her place in this "20 percent hispanic family" of ours. It helps her so much to know that you don't have to have the same color skin to be a real family. I have a mother's gratitude to you for that. And mother's gratitude is heavy stuff.

I read often...most every day. You aren't alone in the world, even if it is summer there when it is winter here!

StacyandChad said...

I echo the sentiments of the others! I "met" you online at Stepping Stones when we first started our adoption journey and have followed you for a while now. It's one of the highlights of my day to log in and read the many adventures of your family and the work you're doing in Chile. I don't comment as much as I'd like to but I'm trying to get better at that! Please don't stop!
Stacy