Since writing that post, I feel like I have learned a LOT. Not just about cleaning up poop (ha!), but about life. And about writing in this blog. And about myself. And about YOU.
Here are a few things I've learned and some of the challenges I've faced in the past year:
(1) I'M MARRIED TO SUPERMAN
I don't know how I did it, but I unintentionally created a flawless online image of my husband. HAHA! This resulted in an online, flawless image of our relationship.
I only know this because YOU told me. I still hear it. And I kind of cringe inside because I don't know how to correct it.
Creating an image of the "ideal" us was never my intention. I want a "real" us.
Communicating that is actually really hard to do online. First reason being, Trent is awesome. He is genuinely my favorite person on earth. He is funny and patient and kind and so generous to me. I feel like I have a reason to brag every once in a while :-)
The controversy comes when I choose to not talk about HIS faults. Part of my job as a wife is NOT to call out his faults publicly. In fact, calling him out in front of others is literally one of the most destructive things you can do to a man.
That being said, I'm always willing to talk about OUR relationship and the things we go through as a couple (which is definitely not perfect). What I will probably never do is call him out individually for something that has nothing to do with our relationship.
....Unless it's his obsession with Dr. Pepper or how much candy he eats. You can always count on me sharing those details.
Actually, while we are on the topic of Trent's eating habits, I will go ahead and share a little tid bit of our conversation last night....
Trent (eating an apple)
Me: "You forgot to take the sticker off your apple."
Trent: "Oh...I don't really ever take the sticker off."
Me: "YOU EAT THE STICKER!?!?"
Trent: "Ya, you can't even taste it."
Me: "That doesn't mean you just eat it!!"
Trent: "Done it for years."
It reminded me of the time he did this:
"It's a lot of work getting those bottles out of that thing."
He is perfect.....except not.
(2) I'M ONLY PARTIALLY CONSISTENT
Some of you know me from high school. Or church. Some of you know me from college. Or work. Or playing sports together. Some of you have never actually met me. Blogging has challenged me to be a more consistent person regardless of circumstance.
When I was in my teens I was sort of a different person at church than I was at school. It wasn't an intentional decision, but one I realized much later in life. Since realizing this years ago, I have had to make an intentional effort to be authentic, as stupid as that may sound. When I think of Jesus, I think of a man who is never changing, firm, constant, STEADFAST. He doesn't change who He is based on those around Him. I want that.
There is a specific instance I recall from this past summer when I felt like a total fraud. I was at a grocery store in Kansas City. I was on my phone, frustrated about something while checking out. I put my phone down to pay. The girl checking me out said "Hey! I read your blog!"
We had never met. I should have been flattered. Instead I felt shocked. Worried. Embarrassed.
Surely she heard my frustration. Later I thought "Wow, it could have been much worse than that." What if I would have never put my phone down? Ignored her? Continued to talk rudely over the phone? What would her perception of me be then? When she goes home that night and reads this blog talking about God and His grace. Yet, my actions did not speak the same message.
That girl has come to mind several times in the past 6 months. I feel like God placed her there as a reminder to me.
The reality is, I NEVER know who I'm writing to. Which makes the importance of consistency that much more important. Whether I'm at church, having a glass of wine with a friend, checking out at the store, driving, or eating at a restaurant. I have been challenged to be like Jesus AT ALL TIMES. Not just when I want to.
(3) I'M FUNNY...SORT OF
Someone asked me to retell the story of the day I almost became a mechanic. So I did. And no one laughed. Not a single chuckle.
I realized in that moment that I am not nearly as funny in real life as I am on paper. I have no idea why that is. But honestly, I had never really tried to be funny on paper until writing this blog. In what high school or college course are you encouraged to write with a little bit of humor? None that I ever took.
I should start one. It could be called "Write however you want, kids" and they would be graded based on my length of laughter. And I laugh a lot, so everyone would probably get A's.
(4) I HAVE BAD GRAMMAR
I actually don't have bad grammar. I can write well when I want to. I just don't want to. I like choppy, run-on sentences with lots of "...." and "-" and CAPITALIZED LETTERS and "!!"
I feel like I created my own "personality", sort of unintentionally, just by writing "wrong". And now I just can't stop.
....I just started a sentence with "And". SUCK IT GRAMMAR NAZIS!
Since we are talking about proper writing, I might as well share an embarrassing blog moment with you guys from this past year. Because that's what I do.
In the post Cha Cha Changes, I talked about how I am a tweaker, and frequently swap home decor items room to room.
Well....I accidentally spelled it "tweeker" instead of "tweaker".....
Urban dictionary description of a tweeker: "A methamphetamine user. Tweekers are known for their extreme paranoia, flagrant dishonesty, and lack of non-tweeker friends. A tweeker will steal your stuff and then help you look for it."
Fortunately a friend on Facebook caught the error a few hours later and I switched the spelling ASAP.
(5) I NEED ATTENTION
There was a while when I was pretty obsessed with the amount of views this blog brought in. I had a general estimate on how many people would read this thing, and it definitely exceeded those expectations. So I watched it all the time, shocked at which got lots of views and which got average or few.
I started to think of what I should do to keep up the views. How do I keep interest? How do I gain more followers? Be unique? How do I eventually make money off of this?
After I started talking through these thoughts with Trent, God quickly reminded me that the success was never due to me. He revealed to me that I am seeking attention in places that will never satisfy. That this blog will never bring me "happiness". That making money off posts was never His plan for me. That my goal is not to please others, but to follow HIS direction and bring glory to HIM ALONE. That I am just a vessel of His goodness. That my vision for this blog is MUCH different than what God had planned all along (Isaiah 55:8-9).
A lot of that is really embarrassing to admit. There is freedom in knowing I am responsible for following His direction alone. I'm thankful He revealed this to me and I am no longer burdened with the responsibility of growth.
Sharing my faith in Jesus is hard to do sometimes. There are times I don't really want to. There are times I would MUCH rather talk about something light hearted and easy because it takes less thoughtful consideration.
When I first started this blog I was very careful about how I wrote about God. I wanted to be able to state my beliefs without sounding too "churchy" and religious. I dulled my language to not come off too strong and only chose to talk about God on occasion, as to not overwhelm those that do not believe in Him.
I have come to a conclusion recently. It is this: GOD CANNOT BE DULLED.
This realization hit me like a freakin' brick! It was just before I finished the post Redemption. I sat there thinking "No one is going to be able to relate to this. It's completely unfiltered. I used "churchy" language and the feelings I talk about are going to be so foreign to those that don't believe in God or know Him. And they will think I'm crazy to be able to 'hear' God. I will absolutely be judged for this." I hit publish anyway. Because I really felt like God wanted me to share. Not because I wanted to.
What happened after this post absolutely shocked me. I received email after email, Facebook message after Facebook message of those of you who RELATED. Who felt far away from God. Who didn't know how to find Him or see Him working in your life. From those of you who felt lost. Without purpose. No direction.
I was humbled.
A month later and I am still writing some of you back.
I don't have all the answers to life or why God chooses to do what He does, but I do know that He is consistent. Ever present. Healing. Loving regardless of you loving Him back.
He can beat any difficult circumstance. Just like He beat my attempts to tame Him. He is powerful. And He CANNOT and WILL NOT be dulled.
(6) YOU ARE HURTING
This ties right into the above. You are hurting.
A lot of you are going through extremely difficult situations, and have not talked to anyone about them. You aren't alone, I used to do that. I used to hide things from everyone but myself. I have learned by experience that choosing to keep these struggles to ourselves is harmful.
I opened up a Prayer Box at the end of November to pray for you. I wish I could tell you I DID pray every single day, but I admit there are days I forgot :-( For those of you that submitted a prayer request, I see you. I thank you for opening up, even if you chose to stay anonymous. But you are not anonymous to God. He knows you well. And I know He will provide for you, if you choose to give Him your burden.
If you would like to submit to the prayer box, I still check it regularly. Or you can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
(7) YOU ARE KIND
Being vulnerable to the criticisms of others is not always a comfortable position for me, but you all have made it so easy with your encouragement and support.
It's not just my faith that is hard to talk about, but even things like makeup.
When others have a different opinion than I do, it's uncomfortable to share publicly. I've learned through blogging that I have an irrational fear of controversy. Or maybe just a fear of straight up criticism. Ha. Blogging has stretched me to be confident in my opinions, and I want to thank you for being open to those opinions, even if they differ from yours. I am so appreciative of you!!
I also want to thank my husband, who has been so supportive of me and the time I dedicate to blogging. I would have quit 100 times if it wasn't for you.
(8) GRACIE BELLE RAINES
I didn't know I had the worst dog in the world until I wrote this blog. When I started to compile the bad things she did, it got ridiculous quick.
There's really nothing more to add here. My dog is terrible.
I thought it would be fun to do a "best of" list. I linked all the posts below so you can read them if you want.
TRENT'S FAVORITE POST: Hubsand Hack! Five things you should know about Katie
BIGGEST PINTEREST FAIL: Green Pepper Disaster (Close second Crockpot Chicken Fail)
MOST POINTLESS POST: Gracie Belle's Portrait of the Day
FAVORITE HOME PROJECT: Home Makeover: Book Shelves!
#1 MOST VIEWED: DIY Couples Halloween Costume Ideas
MOST TIME CONSUMING POST: Survey Followup: answers to your anonymous questions
MY MOST EMBARRASSING MOMENT: The Day I Delivered Diapers to the WRONG HOUSE
WORST GRACIE MOMENT: The Day My Dog Made Me Cry
WEIRDEST THING TYPED IN GOOGLE THAT LED TO THIS BLOG: "Underwear on the porch" (which led to Underwear ON MY PORCH)
This concludes my one year reflection! You guys are awesome for reading about this little ol life of mine. I am thankful and blessed.