The Proverbial {blog-break}


I have inwardly smirked at people who take “blog breaks.”  And then tell us they are going to.  Then start blogging again 3 days later. 

I always thought, “Why announce you are taking a break?  Just take it and come back, already!”  I truly wondered why they’d need a break from something as easy as blogging anyway, I just couldn’t comprehend the big deal?  I can just be so mean sometimes.

Kinda mean, but kinda funny, too??

This may sound haughty at first…

I started blogging November 29, 2006 and have never taken a break.  Not that there haven’t been “breaks” since I don’t blog every single day, but because I never set a quota for myself of how often to blog (some bloggers feel intense responsibility over this), there is never really any particular pressure.  In fact, I have to withhold from blogging, actually, because I could post a lot, probably 10-14 times a week, without batting an eye.  But I try not to, because I really do know that not everything has value to anyone other than me, maybe.  Most of it really just is part of the brain-collage that is swirling in my head: random thoughts, silly observances, ideas strung together like Family Circus’ Billy running an errand for his mom (a “Billy-path” as it were). 

And I have written  my head off for 4 solid years without ever wanting a break!

“If I don’t write to empty my mind, I go mad.”  Lord Byron  English romantic poet 1788-1824

I had always “written,” loved writing, but I ventured into blog-land (my first real public offering other than a couple of published magazine pieces or church newsletter contributions),  because my mom wanted to hear from me and letters had gotten few and far between.  I began because I couldn’t fathom how to say aloud the things in my broken heart after a devastation, but knew God was working something there and I wanted to be able to share it with my family, my children, my closest friends.  I wanted to somehow be able to explain, when the spoken word was too too too much.  

I started it when I couldn’t even say certain things out loud because of all I had just lost; when the know-it-all part of me had had the wind completely knocked from her lungs.  Yet, I knew there were important things to record for posterity, for my children and theirs, but also for me: to expose the unfruitful works of darkness against my soul for the purpose of complete and utter freedom from the bondages sent to destroy me.  I started it as I was barely crawling back onto solid ground from a soul-tsunami that nearly swept me out to the depths of a sea from which there might have been no recovery.  I started it to say, regardless at how inept the attempt might have been, “I am weak.  But God, as always, has been faithful.  And He is strong.”

And I had to write.  I had to.  Songs and writing are my love languages (even though no one has ever identified those two things as “official” love languages – they mean love to me and are how I communicate love, too, so if I sing you a song or write you words…) and sometime leading up to the meltdown of ’06, I had lost my song.  And my courage.  And my ability to say words out loud without bursting into tears.  So, writing was a must.  I HAD to write.  And blog.  And post maniacally.

What a lot we lost when we stopped writing letters.  You can’t reread a phone call.”  ~Liz Carpenter

And I still write for my mom and so the kids will have volumes to remember me by when I am gone; so the grandbebes can read and realize “Oh THAT’S why our family [insert whatever behavior-mystery makes them wonder here]”.  I write now to save the memories.  For understanding, for explanation (sometimes sharing an old recollection suddenly brings light!).  And I write because sometimes God gives me things to share and there are some people who follow what I have written because they are the intended recipients (and recognize that).  Humbling.

In the end, to me at least, these swirling bits and pieces Mod-Podging themselves to my brain in free-form collage make a whole thought.  But getting there, can be, well….multi-faceted.  Yes, I think I will let that word describe my meanderings.  Multi-faceted.


About halfway through the year just past my mom said, “You sure aren’t writing much,” which immediately aroused my defenses.

“How can you say that?” I asked her.  “I posted 8 times this week.  There are pictures of my garden, of the grandkids in the backyard, reports on Heaven Fest.  I write constantly.”   I mean, I posted more than 275 blogs in 2010 (not counting yet-unpublished drafts).  I reached my 1000th blog post on my birthday in October.  I am the most grapho-maniacal person I know.  I LOVE to write.  I think about writing constantly.  I love pen to paper or a brand new Word.doc., a very sharp No. 2 pencil and lined notebook paper are an invitation to delight… time to open the admin area of my blog is luscious to me.  There they are ~all these opportunities ~ just waiting for me to word them up. 

Still my mom continued to hold that I wasn’t “writing” like I used to.  She brought it up several times.  I ignored it because I currently have 38 drafts in my folder of things waiting-to-be-shared.   That, I told myself, is proof that I am writing.  I am recording the events and celebrations of our lives.  I am journaling the very thoughts collaged (as opposed to to neatly filed)  in my mind.  I am opining and editorializing the mundane and the majestic.  I AM writing.


Yet, inspired by another blogger who gathered her “favorite posts” into an end-of-the-year list, I started scrolling through my posts.  2010?  Lean.  There just isn’t much.  It is pretty bare.  I could hardly find anything written from my guts (from where it is most intensely satisfying).  Yes, I like referencing other writers in this blog, most all of whom say everything better than I do, and yes, the romantic in me is in love with papering my blog space with garden photos and quotes from true literary artists and deep thinkers.  I am even glad, for my own remembrances, to have shared other websites and links, exciting discoveries, funny videos and good reading.  But there is just hardly anything here of me {the real part}, these recent past months, a year, maybe more…Oh, yes, I am glad to have written birthday love letters to my familia.  Yes, I am happy I didn’t just quit since this is the best I have ever done at journal-keeping.  

There were a couple of posts that I remember writing from my heart, but you could count them on one hand:

  • On Mother’s Day  I got to write an ode to my biggest cheerleader, my best friend, my momma
  • One month later, on June 8, which was very coincidentally my mom’s birthday, I wrote a post called Digging In that I like in the re-read.
  • Way back in January, the 22nd to be exact, I referenced my 800th blog post and remembered “aloud” why I write.
  • Song for a Sunday ~ “Make You Feel My Love” that came tumbling from a deep place in my heart.
  • Maybe the one that did mean the most to me personally, was “The Crushing” on July 26

But it is not like it was.  I have allowed myself to go in to hiding, to write around the things in my heart.  I have built walls around hard things and drawn the curtains on personal stuff.  I have been ever-so-glad to invite you in for a planned soiree, but only in a very carefully orchestrated fashion, tables set with my chip-free dishes.

I am feeling like a preacher rummaging through old sermon notes and dusty illustration books on a Saturday night, but what once bowled him over with gratitude, what once changed him forever, but is now neatly repeated with three points and a poem.

My blog. 

I love my blog.  I love blogging.  I love going in through the back door where the admin secrets are revealed and just pecking away.  I love writing about things important and  not-so-important because in the scope of the whole, they mean something.  But one thing I always wanted it to be was honest, transparency keeping me from glossing over what’s real. 

But I haven’t been doing that very well.

Just kinda faking it…

So, I am taking a break.  From blogging.

A break.

There.  I said it.  {are you rolling your eyes at me?  no, of course not – you are not as haughty as me}

I want to write my real stuff.  I want to be true.  I want to be telling the truth and I don’t want to be so prideful, so afraid to let you see the real me in all my weak, disdainful, muddled ridiculousness.

Saying out loud to Dave (let alone myself) that I would be taking a break, was petrifying.  I don’t want to put a time-frame, but for…awhile. 

It won’t be a break from life, for life shall rattle loudly (joyously and maybe even sorrowfully) on.  Of course I will post something for Averi’s 3rd birthday coming up soon.  And behind-the-scenes, I plan to ponder the blog and probably throw quite a few of the unfinished drafts into the trash – at least any of them that were smokescreens, attempts at painting pretty, but less-than-whole pictures.  But it is a fast of sorts, I guess.  Yes.  I am fasting my blog.  To “feast on” my life*, the imperfect, messy, just-plain-folks day-to-day existance granted to me by a loving God. 

It is a fast.

“I lived to write and wrote to live.”  Samuel Rogers, English poet 1763-1855

Hunter is displaying his negative-space mosaic from art fun with Nonna!

Recently, hanging out with Hunter Magoo, he asked me “What is so special about your blog anyway?”  And though I tried to explain that it would be the record of our familia, that it would explain things to him about where he came from and what our whole family was about, even as I communicated the importance God places on one generation proclaiming his faithfulness to the next, that like the apostles, I write for the joy, those things~

“…which WE HAVE HEARD, which WE HAVE SEEN with our eyes, which WE HAVE LOOKED AT  and OUR HANDS HAVE TOUCHED—this we proclaim concerning the Word of life. 2 The life appeared; we have SEEN IT and TESTIFY TO IT, and we proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and has appeared to us. 3 We proclaim to you WHAT WE HAVE SEEN AND HEARD, so that you also may have fellowship with us. And our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son, Jesus Christ. 4 WE WRITE this to make our joy complete.”  1 John 1 

Or at least that was the original intention.  Maybe this “blog fast” is time to reflect on Hunter’s question: What’s so special about your blog anyway?  And figure that out.

And then, grapho-maniacal as I am, I will be back, maybe even  “with a veangance?”    I hope you will come back and read, too.

*Feast on your life.”  A phrase suggested by the poem by Derreck Walcott , which I found inside the front cover of Audrey Niffenegger’s book, The Time Traveler’s Wife

14 thoughts on “The Proverbial {blog-break}

  1. Wow!! Didn’t see that coming, but it makes sense. Now, having heard what Grandma said, I guess I would agree. I will DEFINITELY come back when you’re ready. I love reading the chronicle of our lives. I hope you that you receive everything from this fast that’s needed. Love you, momma!

  2. I ove that you’re fasting. Sometimes it’s just necessary. I felt so renewed after fasting from blogging, after figuring out why I needed to fast from blogging. I hope you get rest, renewal, rejuvenation, and reinspiration from your fasting. I will be here to read when you’re back!

  3. Okay, like Dessa I didn’t see that coming. I was reading merrily along and was quite taken by surprise. I’m sad, I’m glad. I’m sad for us that read your blog but glad for you to get all the things Stephanie wrote from your fast. And I’m glad because I have something sweet to look forward too. Like when you have a sweet lucious fresh pineapple all cut up in the fridge and you look forward to eating it later. And you enjoying the knowing of how good it is going to be…later. I know your future stories, and soul-sharing and whimsies will be sweet, delicious and fresh. Thank you for all the sharing you have done so far. It has touched me and inspired me.
    And the thought that came before I was shocked by the forth coming fast was…when you called your meanderings multi-faceted. I was just conteplating the other day how God is multi-faceted. Just when I think I know something about him I find out something new. I know him but I don’t know him. Anyway, saying all that to say dear friend that we are to be Christ-like. Muti-faceted is being Christ-like and that shines through in your writings… He shines through.

  4. While you are fasting, I will be praying over you – over your time with Him, over your thoughts, your mind and your heart. I cannot wait to see what the next chapter in this blog look likes, I cannot wait to see what the Lord reveals to you and I am so blessed to just be along for the ride. Sweet Mentor of mine- I LOVE YOU! I love the blog, but I love you more. Praise Jesus for obidence, a wise woman that I enjoy coffee with once told me that!

  5. I totally understand the need to step away. I personally just needed to not spend the time sitting in front of the computer. I know you’ll be back as will I someday. I’ll keep checking back. I do have one concern, how will I keep your tomato addiction in check? I’ll figure out something. HMMMM… If you hear your doorbell ring and all that is out there is a flaming bag of rotten tomatoes…. It wasn’t me!!!

  6. I LOVE all of you people. Thanks for the emails and sweet notes. I will still be reading YOU!

    Donna-I remember why, even though I have not seen you in 25 years, I adore you! You are such an encourager!

  7. I love your blogs and will miss them. I do understand that you need a break and how hard it will be for you at first. I will definately be praying for you. Please know what a blessing you are to many people. Love you Jeanie.

  8. Dear Editor—

    I am 8 years old. Some of my little friends say there is no Santa Claus. Papa says, “If you see it in The Sun, it’s so.” Please tell me the truth, is there a Santa Claus?

    Virginia O’Hanlon

    Yes, My Honey, a break. I take a break every day, usually at 10am and at 2:15pm but only when the student’s eyes are glassing over. For you it is a necessary evil, a bittersweet need; a sense that you are at rest in both your mind and body. The breaks are imperative, without them, our bladders would explode! But remember that a break is just that, a sense that you must be drawn aways momentarily in order to come back to the best work process you can. I know that that is what you are doing. Retooling, refueling, refining, refiring and reloading and you will be (to quote Gene Autry) “Back in the Saddle Again. I love you, honey, I will be sad not to read you for a while also but I know that you will return. You will return for all of us that receive life from you, for all of us out here that love you and love the way that you express yourself, for all of us that need you.
    So, like Virginia O’Hanlon we will say once again: “If you see it in Thought Collage, it’s so”

  9. A few other nice comments I have received from people {kind friends and family} I love….
    “You’re taking a break?! Well, for how long?”

    “I’ll be praying for you. God will give you the desires of your heart.”

    “What…? ? ? ? You’re not writing. ? ? ? ~~~How can this be.? Really….. I’m kiddin’ with ya.! If “anyone”
    deserves a break~~~~It’s You, my Love. But of course You will be missed….like Peanut Butter with no Jelly.!
    Corn on the cob with no hot butter.! Strawberry Short Cake with no whip cream…..and Mom and Dad’s place
    with no Jeanie.! I know all about “that one.” ~ my mama

    “I will pray for you, Jeanie. I read your blog and I understand. You win the golden globe for writing as far as I am concerned. Words definately are your love language and they should not be tucked away too long. But, God may be doing something here. People need to hear more from you and in time, I believe, God will open that door for you.” ~ From one of my most trusted allies, and a sister sent by God.

    “Journal the journey, or take notes. Not only will that help
    fill the void, but you’ll remember what you learn. Plus you LOVE ink and paper!”

    “I started blogging under your insistence but you have not commented on it, what’s up?” {Roger, you crack me up}

    “I’ll definitely be praying for you! May you come back with a renewed purpose and with the answers of what you are looking for and seeking after.”

    “Powerful stuff….I will totally pray for you Jeanie. I am so grateful that you opened up your heart through that blog. It’s such a beautiful work of art!! …Love you. I hope you can walk this out with the Lord & find what He has for you!”

    “Enjoy your rest for blogging! You are such an incredible, BEAUTIFUL woman of God and when He calls you back to blogging, I CANT WAIT to read your posts. Love you dearly my friend!”

    “I will, OF COURSE, pray for you while you’re on your blog break. And if you need to blab your head off in person, I’m so there. :)”

    “I’m so glad you told me. You know, I’m there checking each morning. ;)
    And I will so be praying for you. I’m so thankful to know if I need a Jeannie fix, I can just ask if we can meet for coffee.
    Take care and enjoy the break. I’m sure it could turn into another thing on the ever growing list of things to do in life none of us need yet another thing to do. ”

    Here is my blog address I have another blog that I am getting together. Of course I will pray for and with you. I’m going to spend eternity with you. God Bless, Roger

  10. I think I understand dear Momma. We will miss your insightful, meaningful depth of words! I will pray for you during this break time. God will begin to uncover hidden places of your heart that NEED and ought to be in your blog for the rest of us to learn from. Love you TONS!

  11. Think of it as a nice, long soak in a hot bubble bath. Breathe in the humidity. Close your eyes, let the water soak into your thirsty pores. Be refreshed! Sweet Jeanie, so full of love and light and life… You will be better, having had this fast, if you embrace it as voraciously as you have blogged in the past! God, fill this precious writer-lady with ALL she can hold! Give her the rest and inspiration she seeks from You, and bless her with even more honesty, fanciful wonderings, and keep-worthy images to share with the rest of us when she returns!

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