Saturday, September 8, 2012

Life Through a Blog Lens: Why I Write and Why You Can Read it Here (or not)!

Almost four years ago I began blogging.  I started out with a different blog with a different name.  I was a mom blogger.  I blogged about my days with a baby who hardly slept and who thought that seven hour marathon nursing sessions should be the norm, and occasionally wrote about baby products that I thought were helpful, to pass on what I’d learned to other new moms.  Mostly I blogged so that our family, which is spread from the Northeast to California could read about what was going on with our little cuddle bunny.  It was as simple as that. 

But I began to realize that I had more to say than I could fit on my “mom blog” blog.  I was learning more about my new found faith, and I wanted to talk about religion and politics, recipes and baby products.  Sure I still wanted to talk about day to day life and post updates with baby growth stats, but I also wanted to explore my thoughts on the issues that I was pondering, and I found that juggling two blogs just didn’t fit into my sleep deprived schedule. 

My new blog (which happens to be the blog that you’re reading today), which was a top-secret blog at the time, won out.  You see, in the beginning, I wasn’t sure what the people who knew me would think of my rather radical conversion.  I didn’t even tell Paul about it right away, although that was for a different reason altogether.  I was hoping to flesh out the blog a bit more, so that I would have something substantial to show him when I unveiled the new web address, instead of a single introductory post.  After all, he was spending his spare time reading theology texts for his graduate program, and the majority of our discussions revolved around theological topics as we both absorbed all the knowledge that we could cram into our sleepy minds. 

Thus I used the nickname “Cam,” which no one other than Paul had used since I’d spent a semester in South Africa junior year in college, and began to write about whatever was on my mind on any given day. 

In the beginning, I wanted desperately to be sweet.  If a commentor wrote a long comment about how I was an idiot and how he read the blog after a friend emailed it to him so that he could have a good laugh, I would hide my reaction to the comment behind sugary sweetness, although the comment would have bothered me far more in those days (these days you’re more likely to get a sharp response, but I’m less likely to lose a moments sleep over whatever was written).  

I was more likely to hide my struggles back then too.  You might get little bits and pieces of the imperfections that were bound to shine through in my day to day writing, but I was painting a picture of Catholic womanhood, as much for myself as for anyone else, and I didn’t want to muck things up with my less than saintly qualities.  Of course, that meant that my readers only got half of the picture, because as hard as I’ve tried at times (and as lazy as I’ve been at others) I still fall far short of sainthood, and so the picture that I created was artificial and lacking in substance. 

Over time my writing has changed.  I’ve written posts when I was upset.  I’ve shared the struggles of the past years, because, in many ways, this blog has changed from a place where I painted a certain picture intentionally, to a place where I shared my thoughts as I progressed on my own faith journey.    

There have been posts, in the past, that I’ve been tempted to take down.  Yet I’ve done that very rarely, because I haven’t wanted to return to an artificial picture of perfection that doesn’t reflect reality.  I don’t think that’s helpful for anyone. 

As a result, in many ways, this blog has become a journal of my life and a window into the lives of my family.  Many of you have been here through the ups and downs of life, through the joy of pregnancies and pain of loss.  I candidly shared our excitement when we learned that we were expecting our third child, and the heartbreak that followed when we learned that his little heart was struggling and later that he was a little saint, praying for us in heaven.  I appreciated the prayers we received, and the encouragement to get a second and then third opinion, in the weeks and then months that followed the miscarriage, until we found out what was wrong and I went in for surgery (I’m not sure I would have pushed so hard if I hadn’t received so many emails telling me that these doctors were clearly wrong and that I needed to find someone who cared enough to help). 

Yes, in the last year, many of you have been here for the ups and downs as I struggled as a first year law school wife, attempting to create a new life with our little family, thousands of miles away from our closest family members.  And the blog has surely changed as a result of my experiences, just as I’ve changed since I first began writing this blog. 

Some of you have probably liked the changes.  Some have hated them and have let me know that I’m apparently not whatever it was that I was when they first began reading.  I’m not as fun, or insightful or uplifting on any given day.  And I’m sure you’re right.  Life has changed me and when you open my page today you’re not seeing the exact same personality shine through that would have shone through a year ago… because I’m a real person, and real people aren’t static. 

Actually, if you loved my blog at the very beginning you'd probably think I was a raging liberal heretic now.  Because, as is often the case, the pendulum swung very far in the other direction after my rather radical conversion (as it sometimes needs to do) and I was way, way more over the top in my actual beliefs than I am nowadays.  Did any of you ever get into those modesty debates or headcovering debates with me on CAF in the 2009-ish time period?  If so, let me say I'm very sorry.  And if you've "read me for years" and are only offended now... then I think you must missed the good old days when I was truly obnoxiously offensive.  

Ultimately I guess the only promise I can make (which isn’t much of a promise at all) is that I plan on continuing to write.  Writing is what I do.  It’s how I’ve worked through things for as long as I can remember.  Sometimes its pretty and sometimes its not.  And I imagine, just as you may have noticed in the past year, there will be times when I feel as if I’m spiritually sprinting along and times when I struggle to say my most basic prayers.  Because unfortunately, the human part of me is still... well… human… and I find myself stumbling in the dust and grim that is life at times when everything feels as if it should be easy. 

This blog has changed from what it was when it began and it’s likely to continue to change.  At least I hope it does.  I have a long way to go towards sainthood, but I’d really, really like to get there. 

If my writing helps you, or you enjoy it, or you find it interesting, than that’s great.  If it hurts you, feel free to click away for as long as you like.  You’re not obligated to read my random thoughts. 

And to the many friends I’ve made along the way during this crazy blog journey: Thank You.  I’ve learned so much from you guys and the support of your prayers have very much been felt during this past year. 

Now to get some sleep.  It’s been a long day and while there are quite a few words that I’d still like to write, my eyes lids are already too heavy to lift.  I guess I should save something for tomorrow.


  1. Hi Cam! I've only been reading maybe a year around the time you found out were preggers with #3 and then miscarried. At the time I was recently preggers with #3 too.... a boy after 2 girls and I felt guilty in a way that my pregnancy was going well while you were suffering. I don't comment too often but I do read and enjoy hearing what your thoughts are. I'm a 'cradle Catholic ' so it's great to hear others journey from a different path to mine. Keep it up! :) xo

  2. This is a GREAT entry. I feel like I could've written it our experiences (and responses to situations as we've endured the metamorphosis of conversion) are so similar.

    However, you've definitely handled things more politely than I think I could have, and your writing style reflects a very genuine, wise and down-to-earth mindset. The reason I still keep coming back to follow along is because you are unabashedly honest with your trials and triumphs.

    That sort of honesty is hard to come by in a world where we can photoshop away wrinkles, delete entries that don't get enough "likes" or simply lie about daily life in order to make ourselves look to others as if we're the models of "awesome living."

    Keep doing what you're doing because you speak to so many people. Your experiences and your responses to those experiences have (and will continue to) shape the experiences of others.


    Because your responses are so genuine and heartfelt that we can't help but take your lessons to heart. We can't help but learn from you and look to model your example.

    And I mean that in all sincerity.

    Don't let the monkeys throw a wrench into a good thing. Your blog - THIS blog - is a good thing. A great thing, even. :)

    Blessings! {hugs}

  3. There is nothing wrong with your blog. In fact I love it and look forward to every new post. Your blog makes me realize it's normal for our vocation as wives to be both joyful and pain-filled. You've inspired me to learn to sew (something I've never thought I'd enjoy), and helped me to realize that it's ok that I have made the choice not to use that master's degree I worked very hard to get but don't feel the need to use in the exact spirit in which it was originally pursued. I feel like we are friends and I loved meeting you in person. As I've said before you guys are always welcome in our home. Maybe by the next time you guys swing by in this direction we will have more little ones around. Thanks for inspiring me to follow my vocation out to the fullest of my abilities, and for affirming me in the life style I have chosen. I aspire to be just like you when I become a grown-up (that's someone with kids right?) hehe. The Baron and I both love you and your family.

  4. I've been reading for years and I still really enjoy your blog. :) I'm glad you'll keep writing! I'd miss your blog if you ever quit!

  5. Most blogs that I follow have to do w/food or fashion - but I do follw yours because I find what you have to say interesting. You write well, your family is beautiful, and you clearly are a nice person.
    Don't let some closet "mean girls" (and males) hurt your feelings.

  6. What everyone else says! As well, I get you. Just over a year ago I was a pretty liberal Buddhist investigating the Catholic Church because my parents-in-law are cradle Catholics. And here we are! I just started RCIA. Cam, YOU were a BIG reason I kept learning about the Church. I found your 'blog early on. It seemed sometimes that questions I had, or just some in-the-trenches practices were addressed by your 'blog just when I thought about them.
    Also, if I had a record kept by my mother, like a 'blog, of when my younger sister and I were little.. What a treasure! Your kids are going to LOVE having this.
    You're not here for others' amusement. You're a real person. And you've made such a difference to others. We love you, and we love that your girlies dress up like nuns!!! (I did as a kid, and I was a little Southern Baptist girl in a town of 600--but I still wanted to be Maria von Trapp!) ;)

  7. Cam,
    It has been a pleasure following your blog from the very beginning. Yours is one of the few blogs I read on a daily basis, as time allows. Keep up the good work.

  8. I absolutely love your blog and will definitely keep on reading. :) I appreciate how you "keep it real" and share what's on your mind and heart.

    And know that I have been praying much for you and your family over this past year.

    God bless.

  9. Your blog is the first one I look to each day, and I think I enjoy it because you remind me of my own sweet daughters. Phooey on those who get offended so easily, or don't like your opinions; they can write their own blogs.


  10. I've been reading your blog since...probably since before you found out you were pregnant with Mae Bae. I remember I found your blog while looking for reviews of Garlands of Grace products and thinking "well, I don't agree with some of what she's saying, but some of it I agree with a lot and she writes it all so well that I can't help but keep reading more!".

    So don't stop on account of some nastiness--all the greatest writers have critics :)

  11. I've been reading your blog for many years. Actually, like a previous commentor, I found your blog when you were pregnant with Mae Bae.
    I had a great desire to understand my faith more deeply. Reading about your experiences through your blog has been a great aid, challenges and all (perhaps most of all).
    So! Bless you and your family. ^_^

  12. I've been meaning to comment since you posted this but blogger and my phone were having hiccups.

    I really like your blog. It's been on the top of my blogger list for a long time and I have no intention of changing that. The biggest reasons why I like your blog is that you're Catholic and you share your family's way of being Catholic. You also are not shy of sharing your hardships and how you are dealing with them. I find other blogs difficult to read because they are all sugary sweet with no troubles. That's not life. I need examples to follow or not. Blogs should be there to help others with making decisions by sharing experiences, ideas, and plans. You do this well.

    I would also hope to see you change. Not changing is not growing. Each year, each child, move us onto new paths of discovery and we change accordingly.

    Thank-you for your blog. Please keep writing. I love your stuff.


I love comments and I read every single comment that comes in (and I try to respond when the little ones aren't distracting me to the point that it's impossible!). Please show kindness to each other and our family in the comment box. After all, we're all real people on the other side of the screen!