The Problem with Blogging

We always love to hear from readers, and this little note is no exception:

“I was catching up on Golden Hours today and I was inspired by Lanier writing about her mom having tea with her and her sister everyday. So I had tea with the girls when they got home from school. It was such a sweet time. I was surprised by how much my oldest enjoyed it. Being that she is 14, I expected her to not be very keen on the idea. I figured she would want to rest after school or get started on her homework. Instead she was all about it.

Thanks so much for Golden Hours. It has been a blessing and an inspiration! I have to admit that you and Lanier have created a life that I had dreamed as a teenager that I would have created for myself by now—houses full of character, love of old things, tradition, and entertaining. I have completely failed in that, maybe because of my depression or lack of seeing it through or our busy lives. Anyway Golden Hours has inspired me to try to get back in touch with the things I love and to encourage my girls to know what they love and to see it through.”

I am humbled to hear when Golden Hours provides “a blessing and an inspiration.” For me, one of the joys of writing in this space is sharing the overflow of my heart—and the small rituals and discoveries that serve as evidence that, despite hard things, we’ve been granted lovely lives.

When someone is wistful or expresses regret about what their world looks like versus what they thought it would look like, I can relate. Herein lies the rub, especially for a romantic like yours truly: reality versus ideals.

But here is also where I struggle with the whole concept of blogging—I never want to make anyone feel less than.

I wish I had the pluck or the inclination to post pictures of my dust bunnies and bad hair days. But I don’t, for a number of reasons—or rationalizations:

1. Plain and simple, I worry about what other folks think. I am working on this. In that spirit: Sometimes I find dog fur inside the refrigerator. Once I unearthed a tiny mushroom growing out of the tile in my daughters’ tub. My hair, neither curly nor perfectly straight, is decidedly not wash-and-go. Concealer and Spanx are my best friends. You should see the weeds in our yard—”as long as it’s green it’s all good” is our mantra—or the rotting windows on the shady side of the house. If you came over, I would not let you go in our basement. I would stand in front of the door and bar your way. Also: I am, in more ways than one, ugly on the inside. You should hear me yell at my kids or snap at the spouse. When I am visiting with my parents, often I revert to adolescence. And these are only the things I’m willing to admit online! In general, I am overly dramatic, selfish, vain, fussy, and a control freak. Which leads me to number 2…

2. We all have our quirks—one of mine is mild OCD. I find it more than a little difficult to let things go, which, truth be told, is one of the banes of my existence. I fuss and fix and fidget. I cannot leave my house without making the bed or come back to it without doing a quick cleanup—I am a whirlwind, straightening a picture here, a stack of magazines there. I wish I was more adept at sit still and be. I wish I found it easier to focus more on people and less on tasks. I am sure my family also wishes so. But we are individuals, with our strengths and weaknesses— overemphasizing both at times—and growing and backpedaling and making messes. God bless us, every one.

I caught myself ironing this t-shirt. Iron-y.

3. I have a penchant for pretty. Posting on Golden Hours is like playing “magazine” when I was a kid, drawing and cutting out pictures and creating articles to go with them. Photography is not my forte, but Lanier and her Philip are skilled with a camera, and I adore the images they add to Golden Hours. Beauty is my love language. It awakens something in me like nothing else does.

4. Golden Hours is purposefully not a particularly angst-y website. Oh, but if you could be a fly on the wall when Lanier and I get to talking! There’s plenty of angst, regret, fear, and grappling with hard, hard things. Sometimes we share those things here; sometimes we don’t. In a way, Golden Hours reflects the way I want to see the world, with grace goggles. Seeking the splendor of the ordinary softens the blow of life’s slings and arrows, making the days more palatable—and turning my default mode, discontent, into something akin to gratitude.

All that being said, I still have misgivings. I want to lift up readers, encourage them. There is a hint of the writer of the note above being encouraged, as she mentions she had tea with her daughters and longs to inspire them to know their affinities and see them through.

But the word “failed” hurts my heart. We are so unkind to ourselves. Why do we do that—compare our lives to others’? Isn’t that the crux of the problem with blogs and social media?

I am not going anywhere, I’m just thinking out loud. I want to be real. Thoughts, anyone?

My hair after getting caught in the rain with no umbrella.

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7 thoughts on “The Problem with Blogging

  1. Hope is a gift of grace, and I think what you and Lanier are doing with Golden Hours is showing us the possibility that moments, precious hours even, can, and do, shine with the fulfillment of golden hope.

    Because we live broken by sin – redeemed yet being redeemed – every lovely peek into beauty can be enjoyed as inspiration, or spoiled by the petty jealousies that steal into our hearts. Philippians 4:8 calls us to think about what is lovely, true, noble, pure, admirable and praise-worthy and isn’t that what it means to see with ‘grace goggles’? These things do not represent the whole world as it is, but to focus on them is a way into peace.

    In seeking to ensure you are kind to your readers, there is a risk you may be a little to hard on yourself, taking responsibility beyond what is reasonable, for our comfort. Yes, there is a risk that we might momentarily stumble in the shadows of our less than perfect lives, in the light of one of your lovely reflections, but it is a small price to pay for the gifts of inspiration and hope.

  2. I think it is how you view things, Laura. The beginning of the biography, Joy of the Snow, talks about how Elizabeth Goudge purposely made her books ‘happy’ while discussing deep struggles in them. It’s a matter of focus. We *all* have giant struggles in our lives and in seasons of our lives. None of us, unless they have a full time maid, can keep one’s house clean all the time or have it beautiful all the time. My priest in Ottawa once counseled me to have ‘one spot in my house clean’ so that when I would get overwhelmed by all the mess, I could look at the ‘one orderly spot’ and gain courage!!! 🙂 I think that by showing what is beautiful in the midst of the mess of our lives gives others and ourselves courage. And it changes our perspective from stress/discontent to a bit more peace/contentment. When I look at my own blog or Instagram account, it helps me see the beauty in my life, even when everything seems overwhelming/messy/exhausting etc. Looking back at a blog and seeing the beauty in the midst of mess or even deep sorrow, can give new light. If we were to focus only on the mess or the dark places, we could be feeding this mess or darkness within ourselves… instead of feeding beauty and allowing the light of God to come in. I am finding this song, this week, to be doing that in great measures – hope it is a blessing to you too: https://youtu.be/UkLzIeztC3c

  3. I hear you. I’ve blogged for 10 years. I long to encourage, offer hospitality and friendship. I hope I don’t discourage anyone.

    That said, it is so important to find hope and inspiration and Golden Hours does that well!

    Reading here is like finding new kindreds. I can totally relate on the dog fur in the fridge, your hair, knowing that you are a work in progress.

    Keep at it Laura. You’re real, and so is Lanier and you are both appreciated!

  4. I stumbled upon this site because I saw an article by Laura in Guideposts. When I saw she was from Alpharetta, where I grew up, I thought, I wonder if she’s married to Luke Boggs? Then after reading more I see that Lanier is married to Phillip! My husband and I graduated from Milton with Phillip! Needless to say I LOVE the blog! And look forward to reading more! I am a novice blogger myself.

  5. I always look forward to your & Lanier’s thoughtful posts – and, serendipitously, I was just recently wondering what thoughts you two might have about blogging & social media in general.

    We all have our particular crosses to bear, and for me personally, it’s generally not blogging that weights me down – rather, it’s social media, with its tendency toward non-linear thought and its emphasis on ‘reward’ systems (those little red flags and number tallies of all our ‘likes’!) I struggle in finding a balance with social media, especially because it has been such a valuable tool in helping me to share my art and in connecting me with other kindred spirits all over the world…so for all the good it helps to facilitate, all the sharing of inspiration, I find that if I’m not mindful, I can easily just ‘zone out’ while scrolling through a myriad of Instagram posts, farther and farther down the rabbit hole. Likewise, when I post something myself, there’s a silly compulsion that encourages me to check back far too often to see how many likes & comments I may have accrued. 😉

    At any rate, since I also adore beautifully curated glimpses of life – looking at the ordinary through those ‘grace-goggles’! – and since I love being able to share my art with a wider audience, I’ve been trying to find a way to keep social media but turn away from the dangers it brings. I’ve had to ask myself if these online platforms are working for me, or if I’m working for them.

    Social media is so fast-paced – there is such an ease of being able to post something, check for updates (just one quick check, of course! But then down the rabbit hole…), etc. In pondering this, and in trying to find a happy medium, I feel like I at least need to treat my posts and my online usage with much more mindfulness, precisely because it is so, SO accessible. This isn’t a burden that everyone deals with, of course, but for me personally, it’s an issue. I’m making an effort to make posts with more intention & mindfulness, rather than just slapping them up and then waiting for ‘likes’ to appear; likewise, I’m trying to be a more mindful consumer of social media, by limiting when I check, and trying not to get lost in the unending flood of updates. I succeed here and there, but fail plenty, too. 😉

    Thank you for your inspirational blog – it’s truly a little sanctuary of thought that I’m so thankful for. I understand the predicament of your reader, in that the online world – where we can more easily curate what we share with others – can be a tricky place. That’s why I’m so grateful to folks like you for both embracing your beautiful blog and simultaneously promoting mindfulness about blogging and social media in general. 🙂

    1. Well said, Kristin! I think how much social media we choose to digest is a personal choice–but mindfulness (like you said) that it is indeed a choice is always good. I was inspired in the fall when my 18-year-old daughter decided to opt out of all social media. Though I am a sucker for the beautiful snapshots of people’s doings and observations, I pretty much followed suit, though I post for Golden Hours. For certain personalities, it really is good mental hygiene. And I spend so much time staring at a screen with my writing, my eyes (and mind) need breaks! I’m still a Pinterest junkie, but I’m trying now to limit that, too, and focus on the stack of unread books sitting on my nightstand.

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