Saturday, February 21, 2009

Happy Aniversary!

I want you to pretend that this post is written tomorrow.

You see, tomorrow is Sunday, and I hate getting on the computer on Sunday unless I absolutely have to. That's the day I let my computer sleep.

But tomorrow is also February 22, and something post-worthy happened on that day last year.

Any guesses?

On February 22, 2008, my voice was heard for the first time in blog land!

Before June 2007, I didn't even know what a blog was. But that month someone gave me a book written by Crystal Paine, and on the last page was an invitation to visit her "blog"...whatever that was. So I hopped on over to Crystal's blog.

I was hooked. I visited her site every day, and browsed the archives on the days when she didn't post anything. For several months I didn't realize that there were thousands of other people out there writing blogs. Then one day the realization hit me - there were other young ladies out there who were a lot like me, and I could get to know them through blog land!

That's when I started doing some serious blog searching. During that time in my life I was feeling very lonely, and sensing very keenly what it's like to be a counter-cultural young person. Meeting young ladies through their blogs satisfied, in a sense, my longing for friendships with like-minded girls. Several of you now read my blog. I want you to know I appreciate you!

It wasn't too long before I started wanting a blog of my own. The first time I mentioned it, Mom and Dad weren't too keen on the idea. I even had to explain to them what a blog was. In the face of their lack of interest and approval, I decided to honor them by not getting a blog. But I kept hoping.

Then, in February of 2008, Dad became interested in the money-making aspect of blog land. I had already researched this side of the topic some, and guess who Dad asked to tell him about blogs? Me! I was more than happy to tell him what little I knew.

Dad ended up deciding not to pursue blogging at that time - at least not his own blog - but the research and browsing he did then made him comfortable and open to the idea of me having a blog. He and Mom gave me the go-ahead!

When I finally started to plan a blog, it was then I realized what an opportunity it is. What I could do with a blog! But what to do? What focus should it have? It's pretty pointless to write just to write. I'm purpose-driven. Everything in life must have a reason. What reason would be behind my blog?

Well, I don't like admitting it, but when I started, money was part of my reason. I wanted to gain enough readers to be able to generate income through selling advertising space on my blog (only to good companies!). Through this year, though, that goal has faded quite a bit. My readers aren't numbers to me now - I still want a lot of readers, but for a totally different reason; I've learned to value you for your interaction, your caring spirit, your humor, your kind comments, and the way special things become even more special when I share them with you.

But money wasn't everything. I wanted to create a place that helped like-minded ladies. Something like the blogs that had helped me so much, yet was unique...a place that was me.

I love to work with my hands; sewing, cooking, gardening, knitting, crocheting, quilting, baking, cleaning, teaching, playing instruments...I love to be busy with my hands. I also love finding a blog or website that fosters that love. You've seen them; sites packed with info, tales of victories and failures, photos of completed or in-process projects, recipes, know.

I wanted to create a place like that. A place that vibrated with life and happiness. A place that proved working with our hands is something God created us to excel at, to thrive in doing, and to use as an avenue of worship and praise. A Proverbs 31 type of place. A Fruit of Her Hands type of place.

So The Fruit of Her Hands was born. I launched it on a Friday night, full of dreams and hopes. Those first weeks I knew (ahem) a lot more about blogging, writing, and giving advice than I do now. (Note: read that sentence with sarcasm, please.) Despite my confidence that I could write no wrong, I've made plenty of mistakes along the way. But none of that was in my mind that first Friday.

Family Friday! I wanted to write about family first thing on my blog - and with pizza smells filling the air, and family swirling about, preparing the house for our family night, what better topic could I chose than family pizza night at our house?

Yesterday afternoon, as I worked my hands in the pizza dough, I remembered that Sunday would be my blog's anniversary, and I remembered that first Friday post. In that post, I estimated that I had made about 128 pizzas in the past 4 months. Now I estimate I've made about two-hundred ninety-four pizzas since that time.

I believe I could mix up a batch of pizzas in my sleep. I love it!

God has blessed me so much. I've learned a ton from interacting with friends in blog land. I don't have the huge readership I dreamed of when I started blogging - I've gone from averaging 1 visitor a day to 12 visitors a day - but the readers I have are faithful, enthusiastic, kind, and an inspiration and challenge (in a good way!) to me. Thank you all!

Now....what I have been waiting for for months.......

...One of those things I've learned from blog land is that when it is my anniversary, I am allowed to "demand" a little extra gift from my readers. I can ask every single one of them to leave a comment, giving such information as I shall ask for, be it the color of your toothbrush, or your favorite kind of drink.

I've been anticipating this day for many, many long months. I have often wondered if I have lurkers. I want to meet you! So today I make my kind but firm "demand." *grin*

Please - whether you read this blog once a day or once a month - if you get even the weensiest little thing out of it, or even if it just gives you something upon which to sharpen your criticism muscles, leave me a comment. I'd love to know you.

Please tell me what your name is, how you found my blog, and...let's see now....Ah. I have it. Tell me who your favorite Bible character is - apart from the Lord. If you really can't decide on one, you can pick two; one from the Old Testament, and one from the New Testament. (That's what I have to do!)

I'd also greatly value any opinions you have regarding this blog. Please tell me honestly what types of posts your enjoy most, and what kind bore you. Tell me if there are things I've never mentioned, that you'd like to hear about.

Wow. I think I get the prize for the longest anniversary please-leave-me-a-comment-beg. Ah well. Y'all already knew I'm long winded, didn't you?

Y'all are the best readers ever. Thanks for being there!

And please do leave a comment.

...Yes, Mom. Even you. *grin*


Marie said...

Happy blog-birthday! I love your blog, it was one of the first that I found. It was also the one I showed my parents when I asked if I could start my own. Your posts are encouraging. I'm not sure what I like best, probably hearing that there is someone else out there that likes to create their own recipes, both victories and flops. Thanks for blogging!

Oh yes, my favorite Bible character, does the Proverbs 31 woman count? I soooooooo want to be just a little like her! :)

Alethea Jordan said...

I like David as a writer. But for character, maybe Job. I haven't read all the way through the Bible, so I don't know every character, and of course this is likely to change. I also like Ruth. And you know I've been reading your blog. =D

Ruth Ann said...

Happy Birthday! I have enjoyed your blog so am glad you had a birthday. It's funny, Crystal's blog over at Biblical Womanhood was the first blog I started reading, and checked it so often, till I ended up finding other blogs too. :)

My favorite Bible character...that's really hard. Let me say Esther...but if you asked tomorrow, it might be someone else.

Can't wait to see what will happen this next year! :)

Ruth Ann said...

yes, it was a long post but I enjoyed it. :) And also, I too like to let my computer 'sleep' on Sunday so I can focus more on God and resting...away from the cares of the world and to honor His day. :) Made me smile to know you do the same thing!

Adelheide said...

Okay, I'll obey and come out from the shadows and comment!
I think I found your blog from the Sensibility forum, or perhaps I followed a link from someone else's blog. I visit once in a while and am always inspired. You are such a talented writer, you make every little detail of your family's life interesting.

My favorite bible character is Nehemiah. His incredible faith, and perserverance in finishing projects are inspirations to me.

hannah said...

Interesting to hear your story of how you began blogging! I really have just started reading in the last few days, actually, after hearing my sister Sarah talk about your blog. :)Looking forward to getting to know you more....

Sarah G. said...

Happy anniversary Amber! :) I already said in another comment how I found your blog - through your comments on my friend Alli's blog. I can't remember how many months I've been reading was last summer I think.

I enjoy reading all your posts, but especially your sewing posts and family updates.

Hmm...favorite Bible character...don't know that I have a FAVORITE exactly. I do admire Mary, so that's who I'll pick. :)

*Anna* said...

I remember when I first came here ( I think it was off of Bethany Wissmann's blog :) and I love dropping by for a visit to your's so encouraging, thought-provoking, full of virtue and biblical womanhood and *bursting* with JOY! :) Thanks for making you're blog such a *friendly* place! Love it!
Oh, my favorite bible character...that's SUCH a hard question for me :), hmmm, I love Ruth, David and Job, oh yes and Noah and Esther...oh wait, did you say only 2?! :) There's too many for me to number! :)

Blessings on your blog's "Birthday"! :)


Sandra said...

Amber, it seems like I've been reading your blog for so long. I love coming here, it gives me a feeling of solace and a calm feeling in my spirit, that you not only write about all the good things going on, but you also share mistakes with us, which makes you "human"
I love all your posts!!! but the ones I like the least are probably the gardening ones, since I don't garden and I'm a little lost on the terms and stuff. But I still like it.

Two Bible characters... Leah and Job. I'll have to write you sometime and tell you why I love Leah sooo much.

Happy blog birthday and hope you have many more!!! :)

Leah said...

Amber, I didn't realize that you have only been blogging for a year. (Only... ha!) I guess I never looked, but I thought you had been blogging for a looong time! :) It must be because you write so well and know how to 'connect' with your readers.

I found your blog through a comment you left on Sarah's blog at, As Lilies Sewing and I have enjoyed it ever since. I have been greatly encouraged by you Amber! Thank you for being a friend! :)

For favorite Bible characters, I will have to say, Paul and Moses, though it is hard to pick. Are you going to tell us which ones are your favorites?

Please know that God is using you sister and I am very grateful to have "met" you (and would love to meet you in real life some day! I don't know how that would happen, but ya never know! :).

Love in Christ,

Jenny P. said...

Happy Aniversary! Thanks for sharing these thoughts, and all your thoughts on a regular basis. They've encouraged me a lot over the past few weeks.

I think I got here through the S&S boards but don't hold me to that! I just stumbled across you one day, saved the link, and have enjoyed coming back ever since.

As for favorite Bible characters, like everyone else, I have a problem pinning it down. I think today it's Moses. I've been rereading his story lately and the man complains so much! "No, God, I can't talk, what if they don't believe me, please send someone else!" I can totally relate. And even with all his objections, God used him to change the course of the entire world.

Sarah said...

I have been meaning to comment on this post, Amber, and I apologize for taking so long! Anyway, I first found your blog through the e-mail that you sent us, and since then, I have enjoyed stopping by from time to time to read your posts. My favorites are probably the Handmaidens of the Lord series and gardening posts.

Hmm . . . my favorite Bible character would be nearly impossible to identify, but some that have especially stood out to me are: Anna, Dorcas (Tabitha), the Proverbs 31 woman, Priscilla, Ezekiel, Ezra, Paul and Peter. :)

Karen Gunter said...

Happy Anniversary, Amber! I've been reading your blog for about a year now and I enjoy every post. Although I'm not a young lady anymore (I turned 45 on February 22nd), I've learned so much from you. I look forward to reading more and gleaning from the wisdom you share.

My favorite Bible characters are Ruth in the OT and Peter in the NT.