It's been six years since I started this little blog.
Six years. I will spare you the list of things we have accomplished or changed or whatever, as I tend to skim that part of all other blogs, because a lot happens to a lot of people in even one year's time.
Anyway, six years have passed, over six hundred posts have been written, lots of friends (virtual and IRL...in real life (I learned this term via blogging, too!)) have been made, some posts have been shared and allowed me opportunities I never thought I would have, others, let's just forget them, okay?
I have been so lucky to have this platform. While it's still pretty small in the scope of blogging, I have been able to document our journey as farmers, a family, an advocate, a mother, a working mom; the list goes on and on.
Looking back at older posts is fun. There are so many funny memories, times when I got uber passionate about weird things, and some times cringe at my candor. If there is one thing that I have maintained as I have evolved as a writer, it is that I clearly have the "real" factor. If you meet me in person, my voice is the same as what I write. The End.
However, I have evolved. Looking back, I tended to be quite defensive (some of you are raising your eyebrows at my past tense verb). I felt like agriculture needed to be defended, and I was just the gal to do it. Front lines. Livestock. Little kids. Trendy boots. I could do it. What I have learned, however, in my later years of blogging is that no one wants to read something with a defensive tone. I take that back, only crazy commenters who will attack you and all that you stand for, are the ones who want to have a defensive post be shared all over the Internet. Reading some of my earlier posts makes me cringe at my tone, and I am still working on it. I want people to know our story. Hear our story, and will ultimately understand our story. However, where I live is completely different from where you may live, so how in the world can you understand my life with a freezer full of beef that was once named by my kids (sorry newbies, I know, ewww). How can I do anything but sound judgmental to those of you who have chosen a different way of eating, living, believing when I am just sitting here in my house in rural Illinois. My point is, I have been trying to perfect the art of advocating through understanding. It's hard, but I'm working on it.
My early blogging life had me reacting to every story in agriculture that had anything negative or bad or whatever. While it is important to keep all bad press at the forefront, bad press is sometimes just press. Slow news day, knee jerk reactions to what's going on in the first world problem filled world we live in. Maybe it's because I have one year old twins who are currently trying to type with me and/or unload the desk at where I am seated (yikes), or maybe it's because I just can't keep up, but I am trying to listen, react appropriately, and pose a response that is specific to our life and can be applied to others without seeming too obnoxious. Does this make sense? Life is too short to be offended by everything, so if you ever disagree with me, please know that I hear you, and I have my beliefs, and you have yours. If you leave a negative comment, thanks for reading, but I will not necessarily respond because Mama doesn't have time for negativity. My early blogging self would take this to heart, worry for days, and pose a crazy response that would end up sounding grouchy. Now, whatevs, friends. Let's all stand underneath the umbrella of peace.
Finally, I am trying to use my (very limited) power for good. I have been asked to write or speak or respond to many, many things. I like that my blog is pretty organic (for lack of a better term). I would love for someone to come to me and offer me piles of cash so that I can write for a living, but I will share with you that (thanks also to the wise counsel of my blogging friends), I have learned to say "no" to those who are not in line with my beliefs and values, and enjoy and embrace the voice I have. I remember an early conversation with my brother in law about what my goal was with my blog. "The Today Show?" I remember him asking. Don't get me wrong, YES TODAY SHOW, please have me come on and be a part of your group, but that's not necessarily the ultimate goal. I am still unsure of my goal. A book? Yes. A regular podcast? Yes. A better website? YES! It's coming soon. All these things, but I will share with you that this voice I have uncovered has helped me navigate just being a mom, figuring out the ag world, and understanding people and how our relationships have evolved since the dawn of the digital age.
So, I can look back without cringing. I love posts about my babies who were not born. I love reading about our life with calves in our gross basement (which is now quite lovely). I love the friendships I have forged, the people who share and are fans, and I thank you so much for these six wonderful blogging years.
Here's to six or sixteen or sixty cringe-less years more!