In the days before Instagram, I was a blogger. The old kind of blogger– a lonely homeschool mom rambling about her days as a way to connect with other moms. I was the only homeschool mom in my town. Families in the ‘local’ homeschool groups lived half an hour drive away. I needed community. I would type and type and type anything and everything about our days, imagining another mom reading and feeling like she could relate to my days and that she herself was not alone. I didn’t care that my audience was largely formed out of my imagination! There were in reality only a small handful of dear humans who read my ramblings, and that was enough.
Then I was told about Instagram, way back when it was for iPhone only. It felt like a fun little club and a great place to meet more homeschool families more quickly. I would search the #homeschool and #cmhomeschool tags daily and catch glimpses into other families like my own and felt like I had found more community– and I had!! I remember distinctly picking and choosing who I was drawn to and who would be my friend. I am not even kidding. I started engaging and commenting on posts of the families I felt connected to and guess what? Some of those women are very dear friends and we have met in person and even stayed in each other’s homes. It was truly the work of providence. What was blogging to me then? merely a fading memory.
There was a short intervention of an embarrassment named Periscope. But God used even that catastrophe to bring about good! I met some very dear women through Periscope. I think my old Periscope videos are lingering somewhere on YouTube even now. I have a very neglected Facebook and have often considered deleting it, but Marketplace keep me there. For the most part, I have stayed on Instagram for internet based social interaction. But I have always looked for the MORE, for the real connection and friendships through the tool of the Instagram platform.
Years later, my instagram community has continued to be an unbelievable blessing and inspiration to me. I have to work to keep it that way and keep my focus on the good and beautiful, the friends I have come to know through the years there, and to use it wisely. 2020 definitely put some dampers on my enthusiasm for being ‘out there’ on social media– not the pandemic, but something else. (I have typed up thoughts about that and my heart aches just too much to share that right now in any other way than face to face with loved ones.) And the latest happenings of so many getting off social media is just the last of many changes since its beginning. For me, ever since they stopped the chronological posts Instagram has been on a downward spiral– less and less personal, more and more forced. There are many who are working to redeem the space for GOOD, for which I am very grateful! I am staying on in my own little square space sharing little bits of my life. But it just doesn’t feel the same, because it is not.
In my search to get back that feeling of being able to share from the overflow of my heart and mind, in a comfortable place, I am here in this space. I can’t share my life in a detached way, when I share its with transparency and simplicity. When I typed up Instagram posts or my old blog posts, I imagined a friend is sitting on the couch in my parlor beside of me, cup of tea in hand and book in lap, just chatting about our lives as women, moms, homemakers. I am a dreamy idealist, and hopeless romantic and day dreamer. Yet— I am having trouble transitioning to the blogging life again. I see other blogs and they are so eloquently written and so moving and deep, and meaningful, sometimes vision forming! — And here I am just about to share my latest thrift store find, or my struggles with the Insta-pot and inadequacies in the kitchen, or my plans for this old house, or books books books books! And I laugh at myself. I am NOT and never will be an ‘influencer’. And I don’t feel like I have a meaningful message burning in my heart I am compelled to share. But my hope is that opening up my home and life in this way will be accepted as an act of hospitality, and the women who do visit with here feel welcomed and appreciated and like they have had a good visit with a friend.
Instagram is just so quick and easy. I still haven’t completely learned how to load pictures in the simplest way here and wonder how I ever had the patience to plug up a camera and wait for uploading in those old blogger days! I need to work out the rustiness in my typing fingers and share more of the patchwork pieces of my days. We are nearing the end of my thoughts here and it just popped in my mind that what I should do is to sit down to this page and treat it like a living journal. And we will just see what happens next…
Let’s give this a try– and I will tell you about a day with my neighbor, and expound on a recent Instagram post. I don’t remember how it started. A text message or a wave from the front porch or returning something borrowed, but somehow I ended up over at my neighbor’s house and she was showing me all the projects they had going and I could tell she was in that place I have been in numerous times before: too many plates spinning at once and not able to keep them all from tumbling– and overnight company expected soon. Because the burden of work was not on my shoulders I was able to step back and asses the situation as she told me what she wanted to accomplish and help her prioritize, problem solve, and roll up my sleeves and pitch in with practical help. Marco wandered over to visit and he set to work trouble shooting a kitchen sink DIY project that was proving difficult and needed a bit of McGyver ingenuity, which he has in abundance. We ended up spending the majority of the day with our neighbors, working and enjoying each other’s fellowship and breaking bread together. It was a beautiful and blessed day, spent thriving in our little community. We help each other, sharing our skills and resources. For instance, my neighbor always adds the ONE grocery item I get at Walmart to her pick up order and jars of almond butter magically appear at my doorstep. I feel like the woman with the jar of oil that never runs out!
One of the more fun projects I helped her with was with home decor. They have a little breakfast nook/laundry room set off from the kitchen. Since they have now become a dog family, that area is now a laundry room/dog bedroom — more of a utility space than living space. These bits of coffee themed art were spread around that room and didn’t fit the space any more. Some of these were given to her from her sweet mother, for her Hope Chest, when she was as young as 15 years old. We pulled them all down and I arranged them for her in a collage to fit in the only available wall space in her kitchen: beside her coffee. She absolutely LOVES the way it turned out. She said that hanging pictures on the wall has always been a struggle for her because she can not envision the end result. I understand that completely, it is a skill I have worked to develop for years. I have been working and reworking the collage going up my stairway for years and have just recently gotten it close to what I had first dreamed up in my mind’s eye. I am no expert, and I still have to take a deep breath before hammering a nail into a freshly painted wall, but I am glad my years of trial and error have helped develop my eye and I was able to help her so quickly!
It was Marco’s birthday yesterday, and our dear daughter just arrived to cook us all a meal and spend time with her dad… I am off to get a hug from my only girl, and pet my granddogs! And I will hopefully come back to journal here soon….