A year ago today, I started this blog. I prayed and sweated and celebrated and finally made my little project public to the world. So much has happened since then. Thank you to everyone who has been along for the ride, whether it’s been all year or you’re jumping in today: thank you.
In November, I quoted CS Lewis from the Chronicles of Narnia, proclaiming that this blog was an adventure “further up and further in.” I said no to my fears of rejection and said yes to following the call Jesus placed on my heart, the call to write.
“That’s what we’re doing here- trusting Jesus, climbing up, racing through the fields of further up and further in. There’s more to see than what’s in front of us, there’s more to Jesus than what we know, there’s more to ourselves than we’re willing to believe. I want to chase that, the land I have been looking for all my life. Further up and further in.”
In January, I introduced Throwback Thursday, a short lived series featuring journal entries from my angsty preteen years (I was a no doubt a more talented writer at 12 than I am now). I both wallowed in andcelebrated my singleness (okay so not that much has changed in a year…) I attempted to live in the present while entering my last semester of college, hoping to set aside my workaholic nature, I dreamed “to live in the present, in the fragile promise that lies between January and May.” I published some more TBTs, swooning over the boyfriends of 2003 (they were so cute and sweet). Lastly, of course, I talked about Wilderness some more, celebrating the newest class of backpacking guides.
In February, I published some more TBTs and started another shortly lived project called Chasing Dreams. This was the time full of trial & error, figuring out what kind of writing I wanted to do. A year in, I think I’m still trying to figure it out. I was also in a powerful season of reconciliation that led me into approaching Lent in a new way. I spent a lot of time talking about things that I’m bad at (like sharing and being nice.)
In March, I swallowed my pride for the first of many times, and told you how hard college was for me, and I gushed some more about how much I love the mountains, hoping to prepare campers for the best week of their lives. And then, something significant happened. I figured out that I actually wanted to be a teacher. After months of hating my teaching internships, I finally had a new placement at a new school (s/o to UT Elementary), my heart for teaching developed. I realized this was where I wanted to be. This was the beginning of something big.
In April, people actually started to read this blog. I Wish I Didn’t Want to be a Teacher went viral, and the Huffington Post reached out and asked if they could publish my piece as well. I spent days and weeks just watching my stats rise to unimaginable numbers. Previously, I had been pumped when 600 people read a post. 150,000 people started reading my writing. All of the sudden, the pressure of having a blog that people read hit me. It was hard to keep writing after writing something successful. How could anything else reach those kind of views? My next post had maybe 100 views and 0 comments. What a rollercoaster of emotions.
In May, the plethora of negative comments (along with many encouraging comments) still rolling in from I Wish I Didn’t Want to be a Teacher led me to write Why I Write in the Classroom, which still rates as my second most read piece, only because it links directly from the first successful post. I then told you about some books and my thoughts on graduation, and peaced out for summer.
In June, I was traveling through Europe and was outraged about the way my Christian friends were speaking about Caitlyn Jenner. I got political and edgy and used the word shit online for the first time. It was the only thing I wrote this summer, and it was a turning point in my writing. I published it on the Huffington Post as well, taking advantage of the new and exciting platform I had available.
As I walk away from Wilderness and into “real life,” (although I am convinced that there will never be any life more real than what’s lived on a mountain), I walk away as a woman of confidence and courage, ready to live life to the fullest. Because life is not lived on the peak, but rather, in the valleys. And as I tearfully descend back into the lower regions, I am better because of it. Because I know what is above, and my eyes will forever see through new lenses. Because I know what it is like to be afraid, and to be brave, and to live in true community, and lessons learned here are not easily forgotten.
In August, I started a new job and moved into a new apartment and started a new and foreign way of life. I wrote a grand total of 0 blog posts. Whoops.
In September, I wrote about some of those struggles that I’m still facing. Post-grad life is hard and confusing and overwhelming, no matter how much I love my new job and all of my students. I’m in a new phase of life, and I’m still trying to figure out the balance of writing and teaching and finding a community and prioritizing my time with Jesus. The number of blog posts has significantly decreased, but the rewards of being a teacher are immense.
In October, I agin wrote nothing on this blog. I spent a big portion of my semester sharing all of my teaching adventures and ideas on my teaching blog.
Now, here we are, full circle, back to November. This past year has been an adventure and a rollercoaster. I cannot express how thankful I am for all of the support and encouragement I have received. I am overwhelmed. Thank you thank you thank you.