Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Grace-filled Tuesdays (Book Club "Meeting" #34): a Re-run, Mostly, with Some Sheenazing Thoughts Added

Popular blogger and IG personality Bonnie Engstrom is hosting her Sheenazing Awards over at her website, A Knotted Life.  If you'd like to cast your votes for your favorites in the world of Catholic social media (blogging, Instagam, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter), head on over.  (Personally, there are so many of my favorites on the lists that I had trouble voting for just one in each category!)  Named for Archbishop Fulton Sheen, who used any media sources available to him during his era to spread the Word of Christ, Bonnie's Sheenazing awards have been a delight to the Catholic blogging world over the years.

Okay so head on over and vote...and when you get back, I have some thoughts to share about this crazy new (well, not really so new, I guess!) Internet world, where people who feel like they have something to say and share through the written word --even “little” bloggers and ’grammers, such as I, who do not have legions of followers--can find a voice.

These days, I don’t seem to have as much time to write here at String of Pearls as I did back in my early days as a newbie blogger—or at least I don’t feel like I do, because...well, because GRANDBABIES.  But honestly, even as busy as my precious darlings keep me, I have to admit that I could make time, if I tried harder.  When I published my first blog post in 2011, I was absolutely on fire for blogging.  Every morning, my first thought (after the coffee was brewing, of course) was, "I can hardly wait to crack open my laptop and write a post!"  I would like to have that flame burning in me again, I really would.

I am so in awe of so many bloggers (Bonnie, to name one, along with many of the gals on her list of Sheenazing Award finalists).  These talented writers have found large audiences and are touching the hearts, minds, and souls of countless grateful followers.  What I need to remember, though, is that if I compare myself to others who are more prolific and more popular, I will never enjoy the process the way I should.  I got into blogging thinking that no one would ever read my posts, and I didn't care a bit. I was blogging to fulfill my need to write, and also to make a kind of scrapbook of memories for my kids and grandkids.  I didn't even know, at first, that you could check to see how many people had seen your posts!  But as time went on, I started to lose confidence and couldn't help but wonder now and again: does the blogosphere really need me in it, when there aren't too many readers who know about or stop by my little blog?  This is a question that I've asked myself several times over the years, and I think this post of Bonnie's about little blogs perfectly explains what has kept me coming back here, even after the occasional lengthy hiatus.  As she says in this post, "If you love your little blog with its little following and your little creative space where you can come and go as needed then keep going.  It will be good."   Thanks for that, Bonnie.  It's good advice--Sheenazing advice, even.  Because I do love this little old blog of mine, and even though I don't come back here as often as I used to, it always makes me happy when I do.  So come back I shall!

Anyway, I really wish I'd blogged yesterday, because it was the 45th anniversary of the day my husband first asked me to be his steady girlfriend--way, way back when we were just a couple of fresh-faced 15-year-old kids.  We're not so fresh-faced anymore, and these days we're the grandparents of 13-going-on-14 small humans.  But we're still pretty crazy about each other.  We decided to celebrate the significance of August 6 by taking a gondola ride up Whiteface Mountain, where we used to ski all the time in high school and where our boys also learned to ski.
In honor of this special anniversary, I was going to write an original post about how our love story began back in 1973.  But then I realized that I talked about this very topic in a former Grace-filled Tuesdays Book Club post, and I thought I'd share it again (I hope you don't mind re-runs!).  I mean, it is Tuesday, after all...

So hey, welcome to the club!
And here's that old post from January of this year--which is not only about the early days of my romance with my husband, but also about blogging (how apropos!).  Enjoy!

Grace-filled Tuesdays (Book Club "Meeting" #32): I Think I Was Always a Blogger at Heart

There was no such thing as blogging back when I was in high school (back in the Stone Age, as it were).  There was no such thing as blogging because there was no such thing as a personal computer that you had in your house, or this magical entity called the Internet that has become such an integral part of 21st-century existence.

Back then, if you had a burning desire to write about your life the way bloggers do nowadays, you could either use a typewriter or just good old reliable pen-and-paper and keep your musings in a journal or a diary. (I did keep diaries for a while in my girlhood--until I had to destroy one in junior high, after my best friend found and read it and I realized that no one should be writing down their deepest thoughts unless they wanted the whole world to know them.)

The other thing you could do, aside from the "Dear Diary" routine, was to keep scrapbooks.  And starting at the end of 8th grade, that is what I did: I kept simple scrapbooks that were filled with oversized construction paper pages, wherein I taped all the little bits and pieces of memorabilia that seemed of utmost importance to my teenage self (we're talking things like paper napkins and still-full sugar packets from restaurant meals with my then-boyfriend/now-husband, and popsicle sticks with traces of his DNA still on them, I'll bet!).
My high school scrapbooks were stored away in boxes in my parents' attic when I left for college.  I didn't take them with me when I got married in 1980, and when my parents sold my childhood home several years later, I assumed those boxes had gotten thrown out.  It made me a little sad at first, to think that I'd lost all my precious memories of days gone by; but eventually, I forgot all about the scrapbooks.  I was busy raising my boys, keeping up their baby books, and making photo albums and scrapbooks for them, filled with their boyhood memorabilia.  Then in 2002, my decades-old boxes were unearthed in a storage unit on my youngest sister's property and my long-lost scrapbooks were returned to me.  The scotch tape I'd used had disintegrated and they were a mildewed mess, but with the tape marks to guide me I painstakingly put them back together.

Oh my, the memories that came flooding back to me!  And the things I'd kept!   Things like gum wrappers, movie ticket stubs, newspaper clippings, dried flowers.  But along with my taped-in memorabilia, I also wrote about all my activities and feelings during that time.  (I think I was always a blogger at heart, though I didn't know it yet!)

What is so funny to me is to see pages like this one, from July 1973, when my high school boyfriend and I were just beginning to realize that we like-liked each other, and we rode on some rides together at the County Fair:
Or this one, from the first time he and I ever went to a movie together (not alone, but at least we sat next to each other):
I love how I wrote, "I really like him but I doubt he'll like me for long."  Ever the confident one, I didn't believe it would last.  Then about a week later, he asked me to "go with" him (that was the early-70's term for going steady, at least in our neck of the woods).
Aug. 6, 1973, a date I'll never forget!  It was the beginning of a long life together, but at 15 we really couldn't know that yet.  (Although I tell you, by 16, I was as sure as I've ever been of anything that he was the only one for me.)  Well, my dear readers, here's how it turned out: seven-and-a-half years later, we would get married. And now we have celebrated our 37th wedding anniversary...so I would say that my fears that he wouldn't like me for long were all for naught.  :)

It goes on some more...If you'd like to read (or re-read) the full post, you'll find it here.  Either way, I'll be back again--sooner rather than later, I hope.  :)

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