Blogging – Graffiti with Punctuation or Real Writing?

In the recently released movie “Contagion”, a researcher is being harassed by a blogger who wants a story. The researcher turns to the blogger and says “Alan, blogging is not writing. It’s graffiti with punctuation!” And there the conversation ends.

It’s a fair point. To those who have had formal training (and informal struggle) with writing, taking courses and perfecting a craft, writing and then rewriting sentences, forming ideas and then tearing them apart, it is galling to have bloggers throw up a 500 word post with little thought.

But what if the blogger does think carefully about it? What if the blogger gets that idea, ponders it, forms a post, rethinks it, restructures, finds a picture, hears more information, adds another paragraph, and so on? Even if the blogger hasn’t had much formal training in writing, they are working hard at developing their craft – it’s just a different sort of craft. It’s a soundbite craft of sorts – give people a couple short paragraphs with hopes that they will think about it and go find out more.

So readers, what do you think? Is blogging real writing? Or is graffiti with punctuation an apt description? Would love to hear your thoughts in the comment section. And I promise – your views are welcome, whether you like blogs or not!

Lastly – a Happy Saturday to you – may your weekend be a weekend of rest and peace.

Check out these photos taken by my daughter of graffiti near our house! Makes me want to blog :)

A New Kind of Mommy Blog

The Myth of Perfect Parenting....

There are some great mommy blogs out in the blogosphere. There is My Baby Experience blog – A mother of one shares baby advice; the How To Mommy – Making Mom’s Life Easier One Post at a Time; there is even Mommy Adventures – a mom with two kids with her latest feature “Hannah Sings the ABC’s.  They are creative, show amazing pictures of picture-perfect children, feature moms who cook, moms who sew, moms who relay clever anecdotes about said children, and moms who make money off these stories. I am not being totally facetious…some of these blogs are remarkable. They are also a means for women to stay at home, while successfully creating a blogging business that helps support their families, and that is no small feat.

But what we need in addition to these blogs is a new kind of mommy blog. Something in the genre of Erma Bombeck. The blog that tells it like it is when those amazing and beautiful toddlers begin to dress themselves, pick their own friends and noses, say things like “you’re ruining my life!” and break their mommies hearts. Erma Bombeck is the mommy that said: “Never lend your car to anyone to whom you have given birth.” and “When a child is locked in the bathroom with water running and he says he’s doing nothing but the dog is barking, call 911.” and “Being a child at home alone in the summer is a high-risk occupation. If you call your mother at work thirteen times an hour, she can hurt you.”

Once our kids get to a certain age, we are confronted with the fact that they aren’t perfect, nor are we, and it is a vulnerable position. We know in our heads that neither party ever was perfect, but the way we live belies that knowledge. When we get to those stages, the idea of publicly blogging some of our stories sends chills down my spine.

I call the stories from those toddler years the “Let me go, let me jump, let me hit my lip” stories, they are cute stories without far-reaching consequences.  But when the stories become “Let me go, Let me drink, let me hurt myself” or “Let me go, let me drop out of college” or “Let me go, let me fail calculus” (and the list goes on) we are suddenly in this place of “Who is this person and what have they done with my child?” Not so easy to share those stories.

But those are the stories that need to be shared. Those are the stories that show that God is faithful and big and good and in control. Every time we are willing to open up about what’s really going on with our kids – their hearts, their jobs, their struggles, we find that we are not alone. We recognize that just as we were seemingly hopeless once ourselves, sleeping on couches with minimum wage jobs, making choices that were questionable and had far-reaching consequences, so go our kids. And God did not abandon us. And God will not abandon them.

About a year ago I read an article called the “Myth of the Perfect Parent”. While I usually scan cynically over parenting articles this one was different. From the first paragraph and the authors’ description of being “in the muddy trenches of parenthood” she had me.  One of the points made in the article was that the question “Am I parenting successfully?” needs to be changed to “Am I parenting faithfully?” She goes on to say “Faithfulness, after all, is God’s highest requirement for us”. Changing that one word changes the inner dialogue that often sends accusations, and ‘should haves’ reverberating through the brain like sounds in an echo chamber. The question is no longer about success, a culturally based fleeting variable, and becomes about our relationship with, and dependence on, God.

So about the new kind of mommy blog – maybe a blog is not where these conversations and stories belong. But they do belong with friends we know and trust.

Your faithfulness continues through all generations; you established the earth, and it endures! psalm 19:90

Check out this article – The Myth of Perfect Parenting and weigh in on the conversation!

Stale Bread;Fresh Press

The comment said it all: “Loved your post and of course you made Freshly Pressed which gives you almost God like status in blog world!Keep it up…”  It was from a complete stranger who blogs at and has a talent for beautiful abstract art. That short comment summed up the affirmation of yesterdays status of Freshly Pressed.

The bread in my house may be stale, my coffee table a clutter, I am behind on a major project at work but here I sit making sure I check in with my daily post in this new blog world of mine and enjoy my 15 minutes of being in this ‘almost God like status’ in my world of blogging.

As those who know me well are fully aware – this new world, opened up to me at this stage of my life, has been a great mixture of discipline, affirmation, and humility all wrapped up in a package that says “I blog”.

So this is short and sweet as it really does matter that I am behind in other things in life. But I look forward to continuing to post and, though I know most of those who read yesterday may not be back, there are others of you that keep on coming and commenting and you have no clue how much I love that!

Blog Talk

Monkeys Blogging
Image via Wikipedia

I’m new at blogging and am encouraged that people are actually reading the blog!  So for readers here’s what to expect from this novice –

  • I’ll be blogging every week day compiling reader responses into one blog post on some Saturdays.
  • Occasionally there will be a series because of my passion for a topic.  I’ll always link these together so when you decide to take a look you’ll be able to read the complete series.
  • I have realized how much bloggers want comments and feedback in the short time I’ve been at this – so thanks to those of you who have commented, those who haven’t please feel free to give your take and your ideas.  It gives me and other readers more to think about and lets me know where readers opinions and thoughts lie.
  • My posts will rarely be more than 500 words long to make them easily scanned.  The Pakistan Series was a different story – so much to communicate, and so much more I’d like to communicate.  Other  posts are, and will  be, shorter.
  • I welcome guest authors, so if you like to write, have cross-cultural experiences and communication stories or other thoughts you want to share but don’t want your own blog – have at it!   I want  your stories and will make sure they get on the blog. Make sure you include a brief bio with the piece and send to
  • Upcoming topics to look for:  Refugees, Invisible and Visible Immigrants, , more on Pakistan, Egypt, healthcare, Cross-cultural adjustment in all its various forms and more!
  • Remember if you subscribe – you can choose the way to receive these in your inbox – instantly, daily or weekly.

So thanks for reading – if you think there’s material on here that is worth sharing I’m honored!

Yes – I blog

A trip to Pakistan in October sparked my desire to write.  While writing has always been fun for me and I have learned how to write “killer” letters to school systems through the years, I have never placed serious attention on the art of writing.  This changed during my travels primarily because I wanted to communicate much of what I was feeling and experiencing.   This blog is my attempt at learning more about communicating through the written word.

A Rabbi in an essay on writing in Ode Magazine  said this:

Don’t write what you know. You can’t write what you don’t know. You have to write!

and so in response to the question “Do you blog?” I can now answer honestly “Yes – I blog!”