What I Have Learned About Blogging

Posted: April 25, 2011 at 8:41 am

I hope you all had fabulous weekends! Mine was superb. Thanks to everyone who weighed in on my special decisions. I will have to get to the date night one in my next post, because in today’s post it’s all about recapping the special holiday. 🙂

Sunday morning, we all got purtied up for church service.

makenzie easter

As I expected, going to worship on such a special day had me all emotional. I can’t remember the last time I didn’t tear up at an Easter service. I take that back – I actually tear up in many worship services. What can I say? God’s love never ceases to amaze me.

After church, we went out for brunch with my family.

easter 1

We had coupons my family wanted to use to save some money. For IHOP. I never really had a problem with IHOP before, but it’s been awhile since I have eaten there. Let’s just say my tastes have changed. I hated it! I ordered the Nutella crepe which came with banana and topped with strawberries according to the menu. This is what I got…

ihop crepe

The crepe may have tasted good. I don’t really know because all I tasted was strawberry juice with unnecessary whipped topping. Plus flimsy bacon with cold, dry eggs. Sound delicious? I ate it because it was 12:30 by this point and all I had eaten was a small bowl of cheerios 5 hours earlier. I just know that, from now on, I will go with my gut to pay the extra $10 for brunch at The Flying Biscuit. At least I had time with family!

An early dinner with Peter’s family made up for it all though. We did the normal Italian thing there with a large get together and copious amounts of pasta, salad, and sweets. I had some ravioli, garlic bread, half a spicy sausage, and some salad for my meal.

ravioli easter dinner

Then, we let things digest for awhile with lots of chatting, goofing around, and preparing for fun with the kiddies. More egg hunts! M has certainly caught on and was on a mission to fill her basket.

m egg hunt

The day finally finished off with sweet treats. I ended up making the triple layer cookies & cream bars per Peter’s request and they seemed to be a hit again. I nabbed one for my plate, along with a vanilla cupcake with lemon frosting (courtesy of my sis-in-law), and a small bite of lemon cake.

easter sweets

I was actually happy that I didn’t overstuff myself with the sweets, which I can easily do on special occasions. I know I would have if sweets were what I had given up for Lent!Speaking of which, I wanted to finally share some things with you all.

For Lent, I gave up some of my morning “me time” and viewing blogging as more than a hobby. What does that mean? For starters, instead of waking up around 6 am to type up a morning blog post for the day, I traded in the blog writing for time in prayer or to read my Bible and devotional. That meant only having time during naps to prep posts…which in turn meant me dropping to posting typically only once per day instead of twice per day like often before.

During Lent I also gave up checking any and all blog stats. Page views, subscribers, ad revenue, etc. I had come to a place where I no longer cared about “building my blog” and I wanted to make certain my actions reflected that. My view of blog success had changed – because I admit to getting caught in the appeal of growing my readership - and I took the 40 days of Lent to solidify that change in perspective. To me, blog success has nothing to do with popularity and page views. Blog success for me is the following:

  • having the opportunity to share my passions
  • creating mutually beneficial relationships with readers/bloggers
  • perhaps motivate someone in the process – to care for their health, grow closer in their relationship with God & Jesus, take on pregnancy with a fun approach, adopt a more positive daily attitude, etc

The past 40 days confirmed for me even more that while my path does involve blogging and sharing my story (from overcoming binging to my faith to motherhood to my weight loss), it is no longer my GOAL. My goal is to ever grow closer to the God who loves me. My goal is to have the strongest relationship I can with all my loved ones.

braedon easter

My goal is to live a healthy, fun-filled life. My goal is to inspire others to health and hopefully one day pursue something along the lines of personal training. Instead of trying to one day reach the point to blog for some income, I hope to continue living my life and fit blogging in where it will. The money it brings can simply add to my life – you know…funding things like races and blog conferences and dinners out. 😉

I guess what I’m trying to share is that Lent means so much more to me than going 40 days without something. It means sacrificing something so you can learn and grow during that time. I know I did. I hope, with or without Lent, you have strived to learn and grow personally too. And that you always strive for the most fulfilling life possible – whatever that may be to you!

  • Heavy: What’s something important you have learned recently?
  • Light: What was the best thing you ate this weekend?

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63 Comments to “What I Have Learned About Blogging”
  1. We actually made sushi at home this weekend… It was amazing!!! I always tear up during worship too 🙂

  2. I am an oddball and almost never think to look at stats. For the longest time I couldn’t even remember how to find them LOL.

  3. Susan says:

    Love this. Lovelovelovelove. It’s funny because for the longest time I never cared about blog stats. Living my life to the fullest came first, and blogging was just a fun hobby I did on the side. When I saw my stats go up I started to think that maybe I could do more with blogging. Okay, I really just wanted to be one of those people who played on the internet in their pajamas everyday and get paid for it.

    Somewhere along the way though, I think my blog content started to reflect that shift. And now I’m left with a product I’m not as proud of anymore. I too have just decided to give up obsessing over stats (again!) and making life my number one priority again. It seems blogging comes more naturally when it’s just a by-product of living life to the fullest, instead of forcing it to be something else.

    • Tina says:

      Yep! When I started making a bit more from blogging I thought it would be cool to work more towards it to help out the family. Then, I realized it wasn’t what I would want as “work” and the perspective changed again. It’s easy to get sucked into that frame of mind though. But I would much rather have the bit I make from it go towards fun things and not be a “job”. 🙂

  4. What a beautiful lesson learned. I think an important thing blogging in particular has taught me recently is to have tough skin because there are some mean people out there. This stems from a mean comment I received this weekend. And the best thing I ate was probably my corn curry! YUM! Have a good one 🙂

  5. Erica says:

    Glad you had a nice Easter 🙂 Josh and I feel the same way about IHOP. Once you’ve had an awesome brunch at a more local spot, its hard to go back. Dinner sounds pretty fabulous though. Gotta love Italian food. I love that one of your goals was to view blogging more as a hobby. A while back, I struggled with trying to post every day and always trying to comment on every blog I normally read. Now I do every other day and post comments when I really enjoy the content of the blog and can. Its a great lesson 🙂

  6. Heavy: That perhaps others are better judges of emotional issues than I am for myself. (nice and vague, right?)

    Light: We went to Easter brunch, and what did I get 2 servings of? Their mixed fresh fruit. In season and so yummy!

  7. I love this! It is hard not to get caught up in stats and all of that, but it is so much more rewarding when you blog because you LOVE it! And I agree, Flying Biscuit is the best! 😉

  8. Angela says:

    Your kiddies are so adorable! I love M’s dress and it looks like you guys had a great Easter long weekend. The best thing I ate was probably the fish dinner my family went to on Friday night. There were all sorts of types of fish available, and I went for seared ahi tuna which was phenomenal!

  9. Tina I love that giving up the pageviews, etc for Lent gave you good perspective on the whole blogging thing. I also have not checked my stats for days — I get too caught up in the “obviously no one wants to read about X because views were down”. I enjoy this process, but getting caught up in the numbers it not enjoyable!

    Heavy: that I need to just relax when it comes to Jason looking for a new job. Me putting pressure on him is not helping and I need to let him go at his own pace. I “thought” I was doing this but I can do better and I need to do better.

    Best thing I ate: sweet potato casserole!

    • Tina says:

      It’s a tough line between encouraging and hounding a spouse. I can relate!

      Love sweet potato casserole. I haven’t had any since Christmas.

  10. Sounds like you enjoyed some great family time yesterday! It was beautiful out. If you went to the IHOP in Cumming…it is the worst one I’ve ever been to. From the day it opened it has never been anything, but horrible. I hope you have an incredible week!

    • Tina says:

      Nope. We went to one by Satellite and Suwanee. I just can now tell how mediocre the food is at so many of the HUGE chain restaurants. Crazy because I used to crave an love that stuff awhile ago.

  11. Jess says:

    I think it’s so great that you took the last 40 days to rethink your approach to blogging. You really dug deep it seems and I love where you came out – it is admittedly SO easy to get caught up in the “hype” of blogging and soon forgetting our real reason for starting a blog to begin with. You’ve worked so hard to build your following, and trust me when I say this, none of us will stray just because you spend a little bit less time on it. You’re still an excellent blogger and I can honestly say I’ve learned so much from you since starting to read!

  12. I love your take on using Lent to step back from getting caught up in blog stats. I think its hard sometimes NOT to let those things affect how you see your blog’s success, so taking 40 days off from that is a good thing!

    The best thing I ate this weekend was a ricotta cheesecake last night!

  13. I just posted today about something I have recently learned…and that was that I have to make myself happy and not look to others in hopes that they can do it for me. I went through some tough times and realized that I my unhappiness was affecting every one in my life and I knew I needed to make a change!

    And…the best thing I ate this weekend was my grandma’s infamous lamb cake for Easter! 🙂

  14. I love how introspective this post is. I’ll be the first to admit that I sometimes get wrapped up in the stats/growth part of blogging, and while I think it’s natural to want to be successful in something I’m so passionate about, I know that the best content always comes when I’m genuinely happiest and out there LIVING life. Lately I’m learning more and more what makes me genuinely happy, and it’s a wonderful feeling!!

    • Tina says:

      I agree. I’m certainly passionate about it and want it in my life. I want to see something I care about develop…but I also don’t want it to become “work”. I know you understand! It should be fun and we can enjoy any benefits that may come with it. I know I wouldn’t be traveling to Fitbloggin or signing up for races to travel to if not for this little hobby’s extra spending $$. But I have to remember to keep it for the fun part of life too. It’s definitely tough to all balance with the right perspective!

  15. Great post — you have such a great view on life Tina! I frequently tear up at Sunday service as well. There’s something about Sunday morning services that gives me tingles down my spine!

    I ate so many amazing things this weekend I can’t possibly narrow it down to one 🙂 I went to a 6:15 a.m. spin class this morning to start knocking off some of the calories I consumed this weekend — but the indulgence was so worth it!

  16. Tina, such wonderful and inspiring words! Thank you so much for sharing how you’ve learned and grown throughout Lent.

  17. wow what a great post and what a great idea to give up looking at your stats for Lent. It’s so true that we bloggers can get so caught up in writing for the stats.

    It was actually somewhat recently that I realized how simple my true life goals were and they’re pretty much the same as yours-live a happy healthy live and raise a happy healthy family. Additionally, but secondary, I want to help others do the same! 🙂

    Thanks so much for sharing! 🙂

  18. Easter service is an extra special one! You had an amazing day! Your precious babies looked too sweet 🙂

  19. jobo says:

    Isn’t it refreshing when you get back to WHY you really blog? Beyond numbers and comments etc? I find myself going back to that premise so often, and it refreshes my mindset on why I do what I do. And btw, bummer about IHOP. I’d be bummed out too and want a better meal!!

  20. Sarah says:

    I love the perspective you talk about here. I’m thinking, yes, yes, yes! The content tends to be of higher quality when bloggers blog for the great reasons you mentioned.

    Best food? Oh, my goodness, so many good things went in my mouth. Some of my favorites were fresh berries, homemade quiche, peanut butter eggs, and hot white bean dip mixed with sundried tomatoes and parmesan.

  21. Thank you so much for sharing! I look forward to reading your posts each day because of what your goals are. 😀

  22. Fresh pineapple was my favorite food over the weekend. It’s one of my very favorites.

    I tear up at church too, especially during Lent and Easter. God’s love is just so amazing.

  23. LauraJayne says:

    I’ve learned that money can only go so far in making a miserable job less miserable – and that sometimes the intangibles are more important than the bottom line! It was a tough lesson (and I suspect that it’ll continue to be tought), but I’m hoping that the rewards in happiness, time spent with family and friends, and overall healthy will be worth it!

    Best food this weekend? My mother’s Rhubarb Crisp! Wonderful!

  24. Great reflection on the Lent season. You truly amaze me. While I do love getting my voice out there to others and I do enjoy making a little moolah from blogging, having the biggest and the best blog is not my ultimate goal. I love writing and having a creative outlet, but having XXXXXX amount of views per day is not the most important thing!

  25. Oh, that is the BEST picture of B!! I love it!!

    I’m in the process of figuring out how big of a role I want my blog to have in my life; it’s interesting to read from someone’s perspective who’s been at it a bit longer. I’m finding that blogging can be all-consuming and I don’t want that. But I do love blogging, so I need to find a balance.

    Best thing I ate all weekend: chocolate cake.

  26. Mama Pea says:

    I’m so glad I’m not the only one who cries at Easter services! Everyone else is so jubilant, I feel silly blubbering like a baby, but I’m so moved by His sacrifice for us!

  27. Sounds like you had a wonderful Easter!

    Blog stats can be so draining! What a great idea to give them up for Lent. I have a small confession (most of my confessions are in comment-form – ha!). Sometimes I wish my blog didn’t get many hits at all. I know, that sounds weird, but I feel like the more viewers I have, the less I stay true to myself. I get nervous about hitting publish on heavy topics and true feelings. Sometimes I wish I could limit my blog to just a few of my blogging friends. Crazy, isn’t it? But not really 🙂

  28. I loved this blog post, Tina! Just because blogging can turn into a job doesn’t mean that it always should – it’s not the right career for everyone. Having a creative outlet and sharing your passions are great and worthy goals in and of themselves!

  29. Awesome post. I know I let the stats sometimes tell me too much about what others think of my posting. I mean, maybe people just aren’t reading this week or are too busy, or are reading and not commenting. Either way, writing what you want is most important.

  30. Ela says:

    Happy Easter.

    Thanks for such a profound post. It sounds like you really learned a lot about yourself. And your goals sound just so awesome and inspiring.

    Something important I’ve learned recently is that I need to be really clear about what I want, and then I need to focus my positive attention on it. Sounds so obvious, but I seem to be just finally learning it.

    Best thing I ate? Probably my carrot-coconut bars…

  31. Lisa says:

    I’m sorry your IHOP experience wasn’t good. 🙁 I usually really like IHOP! I always get chocolate chip pancakes, but then again how do you mess that up!? But it looks like you had an overall good Easter. I love the pics!

  32. Wendi says:

    Thank you so much for being so open, honest, and real. That is what I love about your blog…regardless if I get to read one or two posts a day. I am always encouraged by your posts and to me, that means you have been successful as a blogger.

    Best thing I ate all weekend: Yummy Carrot Cake from my neighbor!

  33. Naomi says:

    well I have definately learned that you should NEVER give up what you truly love and what makes you happy for someone else. You always need to be the owner and main runner in your life. Don’;t ever let anyone tell you what to do, how to dress, what to wear and how to act. I had to get out of a controlling relationship and for the first time in 2 years…I feel FREE. I am so happy and lovin life 🙂

    5 days and I get to STRUT your heels on stage!!! I feel a piece of you with me!!! xoxox

  34. I love this post. And that picture of your baby boy is priceless!

    Heavy: I have learned that if I want to achieve success, I need to be willing to step out of my comfort zones even if I don’t want to.

    Light: Probably the brownie/cookie bar things I made for Easter.

  35. Excellent post and thanks so much for sharing! This weekend I learned how important it is to spend time with your family. The best thing I ate: Easter Cupcakes 🙂

  36. Bethany says:

    Heavy: God knows what He’s doing. I took a huge leap of faith about three and a half months ago when, against all of my better judgment, I decided to spend this semester off-campus doing an internship. I didn’t at all understand why God was ripping me away from people at school that were helping me grow as a person and as a Christian, but I did it anyway. Literally from Day One in this city I’m in now, God has come through in ways I never imagined possible. From phenomenal roommates to a perfect internship, I have been blessed far, far more than I deserve. Even though it made no sense at the time, I understand why God wanted me here, and there are no words to express my gratitude for Him pushing me to come here.

    Light: cheesy potatoes. There is nothing better <3

  37. Maura says:

    Easy – Mama Pea’s Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Dough Balls. A-may-zing.

  38. I loooooooooooooved this post Tina!! Everything seems to be right on! I appreciate and admire the new focus you shared with us. 😀 And I love how you mentioned that next to giving up something, you filled it in with prayer and special time with the Lord–because that’s what it truly is about~as Isaiah says you know? What good is it to give up something when we don’t care about justice and God’s heart? In the end, He wants our hearts. *stepping off the soapbox* 😛

  39. Tina, I love reading your blog & I’m so proud of your accomplishments & realizations. You are an inspiration to me & to many others, too. Also, I, too, am a worship crier. 😉 The best thing I ate this weekend? My MIL’s homemade scalloped potatoes: just potatoes, onions, cream, salt & pepper. YUM!

  40. Allie says:

    Yuuup, this post pretty much made my day. I love you 🙂
    I love seeing little M in her Easter dress and Baby B looked so handsome! This post was just SO awesome Tina!!!! Your heart is right where it needs to be 🙂 God’s love never ceases to amaze me either. I hope you have a great day!

  41. Errign says:

    Okay, seriously, could M & B GET any cuter?

    I learned that: everything will work out. I was getting so stressed about Asheville – what will happen, who will I meet, where will I work, etc, and I just KNOW it will be fine. I’m strong & confident & I like new places & challenges, so why stress about this minor adventure? 🙂

    Reading your blog really makes me happy – you’re so positive and REAL!

  42. Lee says:

    Good thing you didn’t win the IHOP gift card at the Run the River!

  43. Wow, what a great and inspiring post Tina.
    Taking time for yourself and finding the aspects of life that give you pleasure instead of unneeded stress and anxiety, is they key to a fulfilling life. You are such a positive person, and I honestly look forward to reading your blog everyday!
    One thing I have more realized than learned is just how important my loving family is to me. Each of them, mom, dad, and brothers and have contributed something powerful for me recently and I love them even more for it.
    Best thing I ate this weekend, plain old grilled chicken, cooked by my dad with his special bbq sauce 🙂

  44. Becca says:

    I’ve only ever eaten at an IHOP like once, and I don’t remember being super-impressed by it. =\

    Glad you had a great weekend! I got to spend time playing with a little (like, barely-walking) girl on Sunday afternoon. I started by just smiling at her and saying “hi” and stuff, and then she decided to toddle right on over and shove her blanket in my face and crawl all over me. Super cute!!
    On the kiddie note, M & B just get cuter every day! LOVE that photo of B!

    Not sure what the best thing I ate this weekend was. I really liked this microwave veggie-pasta stuff my aunt had. It was really warm and actually tasted sorta buttery… Not homemade, but yummy! 🙂 And of course cupcakes and brownies and stuff… Can’t forget those. 😉

  45. Karolina says:

    I love seeing all the cute little Easter outfits on Sunday morning! Your pictures are cute:) I love IHOP, but they certainly aren’t healthy at all… Happy Easter to you a day late! I’m glad that the time you spent during Lent was helpful and beneficial:)

  46. Dorry says:

    I cry at church just about everytime! Ha. If the sermon doesn’t do it, the music usually does. I love what you’ve learned about blogging. I feel similarly. I don’t have a whole lot of readers, but the ones I do have leave amazing comments and we make a real connection!

  47. I have quit checking my stats as often lately too as I’ve vowed to disconnect more often and live life… and it’s been glorious. I love my blog and my readers and friendships built from it, but I also love being present in the “real world!” 🙂

  48. Kristi says:

    I love this post, and I have to admit that when you write about church, or devotions, or praying, or God’s love I want to know more. I believe in God. I believe he’s up there looking out for me, but I have yet to find how to make that connection with him as you have.

  49. Thank you for being so candid about your faith. I’ve been working to make mine more evident on my blog, but sometimes its so hard to do. I really appreciate you sharing these reflections.

  50. Beautiful, candid post! Thank you so much for this.

    Also: I would have been horribly disappointed by the nutella crepe. Nutella is basically my favorite childhood food — I’d be so mad if someone messed it up!!

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