"For my birthday I just want a blog post. You haven't written one for ages!"
What a sweet request—it made me cry and laugh at the same time. Oh, I have loved writing blog posts! They've been love letters to my grandkids about things I remember, and things I know I will remember, in case some day you want to know about me.
Here's a little hint: on the right side of my blog (the sidebar) you'll see a list of quotes with pictures. Click on each picture and you'll find a post that tells you something I want you to know, about my family, what life was like when I was little, how I met Opa, or what I think about important things like being a writer and being a Mormon and being a mom.
Toward the bottom of the sidebar is a section called Special Collections. I've written more than a thousand essays explaining what I've learned about being happy. Of course I wasn't happy in every single post—nobody is happy all the time. But you'll notice that a few days later I was always happy again. Usually it was because of something I remembered, or something funny that happened, or because adorable grandkids cheered me up with their kidspeak.
There are many posts on how to strengthen the family in fun ways. Those ideas came as answers to prayers, so I can promise you they are good ideas. I didn't think them up! Maybe you can turn them into traditions some day.
Lately I haven't been able to write often. It's not because nothing's happening to me, or because I have nothing to say. My energy is just going a different direction. I write a blog about my neighborhood and I have some editing jobs—it's fun to get paid for my writing skills! Blogging gave me lots and lots of practice, and I think I've gotten better at it over the years. You're already such a good writer—I hope you practice by writing something every day.
Mostly I don't blog because I'm the Relief Society president. It's like having a fabulous full time job. (Except I'm paid in blessings.) I spend hours listening to incredible stories, but since they're not my stories, and since they're usually pretty private, I can't write about them. I wish I could. I wish you could know these wonderful, wise women—all 216 of them—who are teaching me what they've learned about being happy and unhappy. We talk about how living the gospel of Jesus Christ brings peace and happiness. I believe that more than ever!
I totally miss writing a post every day. It was good therapy, and helped me work through confusion and frustration. It helped me count my blessings and understand myself better. At first I felt guilty about not writing my blog, and sad that I had to sacrifice something I loved so much. I don't feel that way anymore. Life is made up of seasons: learning, teaching, giving, taking, rushing, wandering, wondering, discovering. Heavenly Father is in charge of when the seasons change, and every season is uniquely beautiful.
For sure I'll write again, but maybe not for a while. In the meantime, I've written you hundreds and hundreds of letters on TravelinOma. And they were written with tons and tons of love! It will probably take you years to read them all!
Happy Birthday, Chloë!