We just got back from our holiday out of town yesterday and I am so ready to be back home. Not to leave family, but to get my toddler back into her comfortable environment. I didn't blog much while I was gone, which was a welcome break for me and probably a pretty decent idea anyway since it seems no one is online over the holidays (for good reason). If you haven't stopped by in the past two weeks, here are the posts you missed: Why You Rarely See Streams of Consciousness (on the blog) These Days, my guest post at ::Meditatio:: about how we're bringing back new old holiday traditions, and my thoughts on Breastfeeding, Mothering Guilt, and Letting Go.
Anyway, I've been going back and forth on whether to just do some random quick takes about our holiday and our trip or to do a "best of 2013" post and I ultimately decided on the latter. Our trip was nice and our holiday as well, and we got some sweet gifts, but I'm thinking no one will feel like they missed out too much if they didn't get the blow-by-blow. And I didn't get the required family picture (in front of the tree or otherwise) on Christmas day, so that post just won't work out anyway.
There are some other "best of" blog post formats and link ups floating around the internet right now, but I've done this same "best of" post for 2011 and 2012 and figured I'd stick with my original format. If you are a newish reader, you might want to check out those past posts as well.
1. Most beautiful post: When Our Good and Holy Plans Fall Through
I don't know if this is cheating or not, but this was a guest post I wrote for Carrots for Michaelmas about my increased faith after losing a child to miscarriage. Writing this helped give meaning to my sorrow and come to peace with our loss.
2. Most popular post: This is not the post it was supposed to be.
I will admit that I added a few caveats to this - I chose a new post written in 2013 (the most popular post by tens of thousands of page views for the second year in a row continued to be 25 Activities for Older Babies thanks to Pinterest) and one written by me (this guest post by Haley of Carrots for Michaelmas received more views). It meant a lot to me that this post, my miscarriage announcement in place of the pregnancy announcement I was so looking forward to sharing, was one of the most read this year. It is so very important to me that others recognize the life of my baby even though he/she never will have the chance to walk upon this earth and the the best way I knew to share about that tiny life was through my blog. I received many comments and emails with condolences and promises to pray for my family in response to this post as well as some thanking me for sharing what is often a very private matter. In retrospect, I am so grateful that I decided to share our loss.
3. Most controversial post: Nursing in Church: Yay or Nay? and 12 Reasons We Don't Use Contraception
I didn't receive many dissenting opinions on either of these posts (I'm well aware that the majority of my readers share most of my views) but these are, in general, controversial topics. I usually stay away from controversy, partially out of fear and partially because I know my own limitations and arguing a position clearly is one of them.
4. Most helpful post: Pregnancy Loss: My Grief To-Do List
I wrote this post to share the support I needed (and continue to need), not as a "what to do if someone you know experienced a pregnancy loss" post. However, I do think it's a helpful post to use as a starting point for someone who would like to support a friend during the difficult time after a pregnancy loss or for someone who experienced a loss to help pinpoint the types of support they would like. It is by no means a comprehensive list and everyone have different grieving needs anyway, but I hope it does spark some thought and conversations.
5. Post whose success surprised you most: either Spacing Babies or We're doing it backwards, but we're ok with that.
In the past, my most viewed posts tended to me "How To" types of writing. Those posts are fun to write sometimes, but the posts I enjoy writing most are the heartfelt ones. The ones about the struggles we are going through or the beauty of our everyday life. When the posts I enjoy writing, the ones that truly come from my heart and soul, are also popular posts, it surprises the heck out of me.
I'm not really surprised this post didn't get more attention (refer to the part above about expecting the heartfelt posts to be flops), but I wish more women had seen it. Because worrying, at the least stress-inducing worry that I constantly hear about in mom circles, is not obligatory and all mothers deserve to be freed from that.
What Parenting a Sick Baby Taught Me about the Heart of God
The post I'm most proud of is probably one of the ones above, but for the sake of not repeating, this one is another favorite. This past year has been one of huge spiritual growth for me, especially when it comes to realizing how motherhood has taught me so much about Who God is. This post was one of the first I'd written on the topic and it still warms my heart when I read it. An honorable mention is this category is the post I wrote just this week (though still last year) about breastfeeding, guilt, and realizing it's time to let go of my "perfect family". It was a really hard one to write because I was so ashamed about the whole topic and incredibly proud (and relieved) that I forced myself to get my thoughts out there.
Another thing I noticed: my "great posts" tended to come in clumps. Certain months are filled with deep, meaningful, content posts, while others were filled with fluff. Almost like I had a week or two of frenzied inspiration and then...nada.
For more Quick Takes, visit Jen at Conversion Diary!