Thursday, June 16, 2016

Every So Often . . .

I think most Christian bloggers go through this . . . a time of reflection on what their blog is for, why they are blogging, is it time well spent, and is this use of time and the end result pleasing to the Lord?  It does take a lot of time, and so it's good to often consider if this time is honoring to the Lord and serving others in any way.  And lastly, is it of eternal value?

Our blog was started back in 2008 (actually earlier with two other blogs) as an easy, all-in-one-place to post pictures and updates for our family back in Arizona.  It is also a journal for our family, and keepsaking of all our pictures and memories.  I've also hoped that perhaps the Lord would use it to encourage someone toward Christ and Godly living out there in wi-fi land. (It is encouraging to me that folks from all over the world stop by here.)  I've also wanted it to be a public place where we can praise His name and give Him glory.  But the flip-side to being on the internet, is that it is hard for me to share more of the personal things in our journal that are going on in our family.  I'm also not a very good writer, so it's hard for me to express my thoughts and feelings here.  When I do, it feels a bit awkward, and I feel vulnerable and like retreating. 

I'm currently going through another season of ponderings about all of this.  I can see why facebook and other social media sites are so popular with the instant feedback and interaction one receives while sharing their lives with others. And I can see why a family journal maybe needs to not be so public.  I wonder if the public family journal truly is touching anyone, reaching anyone, making a difference for Christ in anyone's lives?   Is the time vs. benefit ratio worth it?  Or should it just be a private journal, with more personal writing about what the Lord is doing in our lives for the family's generations to come?

Okay, I feel like I'm getting too personal, and it's feeling a bit awkward. ;-) So  I think I'll sign-off for now and continue praying about this.  If the journal goes "private" in the near future, at least you'll know why!


Victoria said...

Thank you for sharing a little bit of your heart Mrs. Bowes! I just want you to know that I love watching your blog! I haven't been around for very much of the time considering how long you've had it but I'm enjoying it so much and am having a great time looking back and reading old posts. The pictures are just priceless and I really hope that you don't stop! I've been checking it every day and love how often you post something new! Your posts are never boring and you do an amazing job capturing the fun of being a part of a big family!

Thank you, thank you! And I look forward to your next post!

Faith H

Janet Tevis said...

I've been sitting at my keyboard for ten minutes trying to formulate a comment telling you how much I appreciate your blog, your wonderful writing, and the joy of living for God that you share through electronic media. I totally get your concerns, and do quite a bit of pondering myself about cost vs. benefit of social media. I also totally get the "awkward" thing too, obviously. So I think I'll just make a date with you soon to chat in person, maybe at DeGoede's flower shop, over coffee. I'll bring the chocolate!

Meemom said...

Well it has meant so much to me to be able to follow the Bowes family and enjoy with you all the good times the family has encountered. The pictures help keep me in close contact and I love that. I appreciate that it does take alot of time and effort to do these posts. I also realize that you will need to follow your own feelings regarding the continuation of the blog. My vote would be to keep it going because I love it.(purely selfish, I know) I love seeing the pictures of the family since I am not able to see them all the time. Love to you all, Meemom

AZDonna said...

My own personal blog has fallen by the wayside, and I only write a few times a year anymore. But I love to go back and reread my posts to recapture the memories, so I keep up my annual reviews at the very least. Now I've started a separate blog for my RV adventures, and it's for the very same reason... I didn't want my personal family stories intermingled with my RV adventures, which may get more traffic from strangers.

If you're feeling conflicted, my advice to you is to branch your blog. Create a more personal one that is open to invited and/or approved readers only, and keep the family one going as a means of sharing the daily (or monthly or semi-annual) happenings with your loved ones near and far (and also to document those events for yourself). If the time-intensive posts are becoming burdensome, you can always shorten them and add fewer pictures (which can take a long time to upload, caption and arrange). That might relieve some of the overwhelming feeling of work that it has become.

And by the way, you're wrong. You are a fantastic writer! I love reading your posts, though I don't always comment. They are always well composed, thoughtful, uplifting, funny, tender, full of love and a great reflection of your wonderful family's life of faith.

Whatever you decide, I hope we will find a way to continue to stay in touch.

The Bowes Family said...

Dear Faith,
Thank you so very much for taking time to leave such a sweet and thoughtful comment. I sure appreciate it! Your words of encouragement sure meant a lot to me. I'm so glad that you have been enjoying the blog!
Thanks for being such a sweet friend to all of us!
Mrs. Bowes

Hi Janet,
Thank you so very much for your thoughtful, encouraging words. It is awesome knowing you enjoy the blog so much and also understand the dilemma I'm pondering with social media. I so enjoy our visits and would love to get together at DeGoede's for coffee and chocolate! : -) You are so kind, and I am so blessed by your loving, caring friendship! Thank you!

To the Best Commentor in the world,
Thank you, Mom, for your constant show of support and for always cheering me on. It means the world to all of us to know you enjoy the blog so much and being a part of our lives in that way. If it wasn't for knowing you are always there, waiting, watching and wishing you were here with us :-), I would have quit a long time ago!!! We have always really appreciated all the time you take to stop and comment. And you usually make us laugh! But for sure, you always brighten our days. Thank you so much for ALL the ways you love us. We love you sooo much!

Hi Donna,
Thanks so much for your faithful friendship for 30ish years! You're always so encouraging and supportive. Thanks for the great advice on blogging. I imagine you're really enjoying retirement, and I look forward to catching up on your RV adventures!
We'll definitely always keep in touch!
Lots of love,

Elanee said...

I appreciate you sharing your thoughts and struggles Mrs. Bowes. It is hard sometimes to know what to do as it relates to sharing personal information, and blogging. I've struggled with that a lot on my own blog, and have almost ceased posting as a result because I just don't know if I'm quite ready to open up my life to the world.

But please let me say that your blog is very special, and very amazing! I read every post you share, and even though I don't always comment, I'm always impressed by the organization of your thoughts, and how you are able to document events so well with pictures. You definitely have a gift, and it is such a blessing to see you using it for God's glory. Sometimes we don't see the results or impact of what we have written and shared until much later. I know that people are being impacted by your blog, and it has been such a blessing to read and be a part of. May God give you wisdom as you proceed ahead, and may He help you to know the right path to take. We look forward to reading more posts, and seeing more pictures in the future, Lord willing. Many blessings to you!


The Bowes Family said...

Dear Precious Elanee,
You are, and have always been the sweetest of encouragers!! :-) You are ALWAYS blessing others SO much with your selfless love and care. Thank you so much for taking time to share your thoughts and such kind encouragement. My heart is truly uplifted!!!

I think YOUR writing is definitely a gift, and one that others are really blessed by! So, don't give it up! Maybe you could have a more personal journal on the side, for sharing your more private thoughts (and include some by invitation only if you wanted to), and keep up writing as a more public ministry on your current blog. Your brothers and sisters in the Lord are surely blessed by your spiritual reflections and exhortations there. And like you said, often times we don't even know all the ways the Lord could be using your life and words to encourage someone or lead them to Christ over the internet. I know that all you do is for Him and His glory, and so He will bless your efforts in always serving Him and others.

Thank you again for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful, encouraging note. It sure meant a lot to me!!! You are such a dear, sweet sister and friend in the Lord! I thank God for you!
Mrs. Bowes

Kyle Bowes said...

Oh my goodness,I just lost my long, thought out comment because I got out of range of the internet when I clicked post. :( I just wanted to let you know That I love you sooo much and love thus blog and will support your decision with it. Though I of course would vote for not going private, I know your decision will be heartfelt and glorifying to your heavenly Father! I will talk more in person! Love you, Kyle

Gracie Smith said...

Oh Mrs. Bowes! You have done such a lovely job posting for so many years! I have looked at this entire blog and was so blessed to see how the Lord has blessed your family through the years! The joys of new children being added to the family, the way you give God glory for everything is such a beautiful thing to see! I love hearing my Savior praised and you do that so well on here! I totally agree with everyone else who commented!
I know you will make a good choice because you are trying so hard honoring the Lord with this blog:)
I just want to say thank you so much for all the time you've put into it so far, it's truly amazing!

And I love how you write, so cheerfully, heartfelt and funny too!

Much love,

The Bowes Family said...

Oh, Dear Sweet Gracie! Thank you soooooooo much for your heartfelt note and kind words. Wow, that blessed my heart tremendously, and has given me great encouragement!!!!

YOU are always so joyful, thoughtful, and Godly and have such a sweet servant's heart. YOU are such a special blessing to all those who know you!

Thanks again for taking the time to leave such a wonderful note of encouragement. It sure meant a lot to me!
I thank God for you!
Mrs. Bowes

Hannah V said...

I love reading your blog, it's a great way to stay in contact. I understand why you might want to go private, but I would vote for it to stay. I really enjoy it!


The Bowes Family said...

Hi Hannah!
Thank you so much for leaving an encouraging note here. I sure appreciate it! It does make me feel real good knowing that you're enjoying it, and vote for it to stay! I'm still wrestling with the decision, so thanks again for taking the time to comment. It means a lot to me!
Mrs. Bowes

Hannah Gardner said...

Dear Mrs. Bowes.. I know it has been a long while since we've spoken, but I must say it doesn't feel like forever when I am able to see how you all are doing on here. Ever since I met your family when we first moved here ..your blog has been an encouragement. I completely understand how you feel though about thinking about going private. At the same time it would be sad to see you go. Hope we can keep in touch no matter what decision the Lord leads you to make . God bless - love Hannah (Sympson )

The Bowes Family said...

Hi Hannah G.!
Loved hearing from you! Thanks a bunch for stopping to leave a comment. It's such a blessing to be in touch again! Thanks for all your encouragement and kind words about the blog. I sure appreciate it! I'm still not sure what to do, so still praying!

How are you doing? Would LOVE to hear updates on you and your growing family!
God bless you!
Mrs. Bowes

Hannah Gardner said...

We are doing wonderful :-) Our hands are a little full these days.... but gladly they are full of 2 little blessings. Lol I will have to get your email again :-) so we can keep in touch. Maybe one of these days we all can get together again too. :-)

Shiloh said...

Hi Mrs. Bowes!
I love your blog and love seeing all the pictures and reading everything you write about. Rather than leaving a long comment right now.... I'm jus going to say that I totally agree with what Faith said up there a ways. :)


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