Random weekday. School. 7:30 am. To my classroom from the elevator in an otherwise quiet corridor, my most comfy shoes squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Squeak. Each irksome footfall makes me feel meek. How many times have I met a student's eyes? Felt compelled to apologize? Something like: “Good morning. (insert name), I’m wearing my squeaky shoes today.” Finally, one said, “Mrs. B., that was me yesterday. Just embrace it.” My smile spread wide from cheek to cheek. And when my most comfy shoes inevitably squeak, I stand a little taller, embrace it, and squeak on and on and on...
Back in January, as other people made resolutions, I told myself I would write one blog post per week, an unspoken promise of sorts. I never told anyone until now or recorded that thought anywhere. It was just one of the many conversations I have with myself.
Instead, I issued myself a proclamation in a single word—GRACE. Sometimes life comes at you in heavy ways. Not everything must be written or even discussed. Some problems take time. The intensity of other difficulties interferes with the inevitable daily good. And while I’ve shed some recent tears, I remind myself that flowers don’t bloom every day. I remind myself of the ancient wisdom: “For everything there is a season, and a time for every purpose under heaven: a time to be born, and a time to die; a time to plant, and a time to pluck up that which is planted; a time to kill, and a time to heal; a time to break down, and a time to build up; a time to weep, and a time to laugh; a time to mourn, and a time to dance; a time to cast away stones, and a time to gather stones together; a time to embrace, and a time to refrain from embracing; a time to seek, and a time to lose; a time to keep, and a time to cast away; a time to rend, and a time to sew; a time to keep silence, and a time to speak; a time to love, and a time to hate; a time for war, and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8). Good, right?
Somehow, I’ve pulled off that weekly post. Sometimes, it’s about sitting at your computer and just doing it. Sometimes, it’s about having enough GRACE for yourself to move forward differently than planned.
I’m no SEO expert. When I started blogging back in 2017, I didn’t know a thing about search engine optimization. Since then, I’ve learned to check off search categories and tag key words before posting, and my blog has grown. Humble bloggers tend to say they don’t care about the numbers. Call me Not Humble. I can’t help noticing. And now for the January 2nd moment I’m sure you’ve all been waiting for…
Crystal Byers Top 10 Blogs of All Time
10. S is for Siblings (2020)
An ode to my sister and brother who shaped me more than they know.
- Blogging Categories: Family, Gratitude
- Tags: A to Z Challenge
9. Thirty Years in the Blink of an Eye (2019)
Some birthday love for the guy who made me a mother.
- Blogging Categories: Family, Happiness, Love, Strength
- Tags: Love Shack, B-52s
8. On Life and Writing (2021)
A little pep talk to myself about creating my thoughts, intentions, and reality.
- Blogging Categories: Believe, Gratitude, Inspiration, Life, Progress, Writing
- Tags: Dr. Wayne Dyer, Narayan Kaudinya, Wordsworth
7. Butterfly, Butterfly (2020)
A love note from my second-grade self to my mother.
- Blogging Categories: Alzheimer’s, Family, Love
- Tags: None
6. I Have a Secret (on Anti-Aging) (2019)
The time I met up with my second-grade friend and came home a younger person.
- Blogging Categories: Friendship, Happiness, Health
- Tags: anti-aging, collagen peptides, collagen protein, dental health, hair health, joint pain, liver detoxification, nail health, Plexus, skin health, Starla, weight loss
5. Purging and Mental Health (2021)
The time I admitted to the hoarding problem in my home and took a 30 day purging challenge.
- Blogging Categories: Hope, Mental Health, Purge
- Tags: 30 Day Challenge, Less Is More
4. Actinomycosis (2020)
The time a severe sore throat traveled into my jawbone.
- Blogging Categories: Prayer
- Tags: “The Death of a Clerk,” Anton Chekhov
3.That Time When I Met Harvey (2017)
The time when a hurricane flooded our home and the piece that compelled me to start a blog.
- Blogging Categories: Faith, Gratitude, Hope, Inspiration, Peace
- Tags: None
2. Tale of the Unwanted Letter Jacket (2020)
The time my letter jacket met its demise.
- Blogging Categories: introverts, writing
- Tags: None
1. Making Macbeth Memorable (2019)
The first time I taught Macbeth. I admit to posting this one on a Facebook English teacher page where it continues to bring viewers.
- Blogging Categories: High School English, Learning, Life Lessons, school
- Tags: Shakespeare
If you’re still with me, Thank You!! I had a recent conversation with a fellow blogger (Hey Rhonda!) about the Me, Me, Me obnoxiousness of blogging. She admitted to having a “full-blown complex about coming across as self-centered, self-involved and driven solely by self-interest,” and I totally relate. I have no answers, but I’ve come to feel unsettled if I’m not writing a little here and there. Not that I must post it, or must I?
I published my first ever blog post on September 12, 2017, and tapped out 13 posts total that year. 30 posts in 2018. 35 in 2019. From 2017 to 2018, my views doubled. Those stats align with how my number of posts doubled. From 2018 to 2019, my views tripled, and I only wrote a few extra posts. Maybe I started using more tags and categories that year?? From 2019 to 2020, views doubled again. My blog hit a growth spurt when I wrote 26 posts in April for my first A-Z challenge. Then again, I wrote 89 posts that year. In 2021, I wrote 74. The views on my blog plateaued. Still my followers grew. If you’re still reading this post, THANK YOU!!
Bloggers come and go. Many of those first followers no longer log in to their WordPress accounts. Some followers follow as a strategy for growing their readership. Looking back on the years of more prolific blogging, I realize I wasn’t working during that time. Instead, I was home for most of the pandemic, which gave me some extra time and freedom to blog.
What does this mean for my 2022 blog? I honestly have no clue. After a two-week vacation, I go back to teaching the children tomorrow, and they are my priority. With the new job, I have a spring semester of curriculum to flesh out still. I perpetually reflect upon what is and isn’t working and consider what to change for next year. The adjustments are major, a post for another time.
My reflection spills over and onto the blog. I think about what’s working and what is not. Not that I have the answers. I suppose, I’ll continue to take each year as a new year and each day as a new day and reserve the right to change my mind about everything. And, I suppose, if I have one goal or one word for myself this year, I’m leaning toward GRACE. GRACE when I want to beat myself up. GRACE when I want to beat someone else up. 😊 And if you’re still with me, you probably wondered where all of this was going. Trust me, I did, too. Thanks again for hanging with me ’til the end. (Or is this the beginning?)