Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Blogging About Blogging

EDIT: To clarify, I'm not finished blogging forever. This isn't the end of Emily is Smiling. However, for the time being, I need a break.

This is all a big ramble and definitely breaking the unspoken rule of "Never Blog About Blogging," but if you read my blog regularly at all, I hope you'll take a moment to read.

As you may have noticed, I haven't been posting as frequently on this blog in recent months, and when I have, they have not been as thoughtfully written or as in-depth as they were before. I have been blogging for 5 years now. The New Year is about to begin, and I thought I would outline a little about what my blogging priorities look like for the year 2015.

I love to write. I always have. One of the things that I love to write about the most is my faith in Jesus, because it is the most important thing in my life. It is the most significant piece of my identity and a huge part of who I am. Let me reassure any readers that even when my posts on this blog consist of pictures from Instagram or lists of books that I'm reading, it isn't because I'm wearying of my faith. It's because I'm wearying of blogging.

This is in part because the world's response to blogging is also changing. In the year 2014, online audiences have been moving largely out of the blogging sphere to share their thoughts in other places. Posting comments on blogs is practically a thing of the past, which means conversations between bloggers and readers are almost nonexistent now. This isn't only happening to me. Nearly every blog on the Internet has taken a hit in both readership and, especially, comments in the last year or two.

While view-count isn't the sole reason why anyone should blog, it does play a part. Since I began blogging 5 years ago, I've considered my blog as both a journal and a ministry, a way to reach out to people who are looking for encouragement as they walk with Jesus. With less people taking the time to read blogs or join in conversation, the time I put into writing thoughtful blog posts is affected. I desire to put my effort into forms of ministry where people are receiving and giving back, where community can be found.

Also, the amount of time I choose to put into blogging these days is changing, regardless of who is reading. I've found ministries that have impacted my heart more in this season, like Deaf ministry. I'm a busy college student. My grandma was in the hospital for almost the entire month of December, which focused my thoughts and intentions recently more on family than on the Internet.

A day may come in the future where I sit down and re-shape Emily is Smiling into what it was before. I treasure some of the blog posts I've written. This place is forever special to me. But for right now, most of my attention is straying to other places and other ministries.

I'm not ready to give up this blog completely yet, so don't think I'm never going to post again after January 1, but I will be posting less. Many of my intimate thoughts about faith and about Jesus are being journaled right now instead of blogged, and sometimes I may share them on here, but quite often, I won't. The things I've blogged about in seasons past are still heavy on my heart, and I'm still working hard to implant them in my life, but Emily is Smiling is not a big priority for me in this moment. There is a season for everything, and my season of frequent blogging may be coming to a close. At least for now.

I'm still happy to talk with anyone who reads this blog, and I'll be back now and then to share both silly and serious things. But here's an update of what's going on in my life right now. I hope this long tangle of words makes some kind of sense.

I love you all,


Monday, December 15, 2014


On December 15, 2007, I lost a friend to suicide. A few years later, I wrote this poem about the shock and grief one feels after losing a loved one this way.


when you left i stood still
frozen in time.
you became ageless and i tried.
the spinning world was a thorn
as if people did not see
the hole
you left behind.
stepping over the place where you were
they forgot
as i stood still.
in time i knew the taste
of voices and smiles
i moved, i lived, but
like a creature shedding its skin
i left a shell, a piece
of myself behind
standing with you.

Three years ago: City Lights
Four years ago: Three Years
Five years ago: Rockin' Up There

Friday, December 12, 2014

Psalm 100: Joy

The reason I've intermingled a psalm from the Bible with these pictures is because as I remember this night from a few weeks ago, I feel so much joy and I am thankful for God's grace in allowing me to have a strong community and happy memories. The Lord given my heart this joy.

Psalm 100 is one of my favorite joyful psalms, so I thought I would share it along with a few of these happy photos.

Psalm 100

Shout for joy to the Lord, all the earth.
Worship the Lord with gladness;
come before him with joyful songs.

Know that the Lord is God.
It is he who made us, and we are his;
we are his people, the sheep of his pasture.

Enter his gates with thanksgiving
and his courts with praise;
give thanks to him and praise his name.

For the Lord is good and his love endures forever;
his faithfulness continues through all generations.

Three years ago: A Puppy-Less Life
Four years ago: Postmodernism: A Poem
Five years ago: Excerpt of "Because"

Friday, December 5, 2014

The Corn Maze

I don't know why, but few things carry the feel of autumn better than a field of ripe corn.

In early November, my friends and I traveled an hour away from our home until we found a corn maze. We arrived before dark, just in time to take a few autumn-style pictures with the tall, golden stalks of corn.

As the sun set, a creepy Children of the Corn vibe fell over us. We jumped into character, posing as eerily as we could among the dying plants.

Later that week, Sam and I actually watched the Children of the Corn film for the very first time. We are big scary movie fans, but we weren't impressed by that Stephen King movie at all. Not even for an old film. But we did enjoy acting out the parts of the creepy farm children.

Being strange sometimes comes more naturally to me and my friends than it does to be normal.

But we had fun.

A corn maze is full of twists and turns. As we maneuvered our way through the darkness, we managed to get ourselves completely lost. We found our way out eventually, but we considered giving up for the night and sleeping on the hard-packed dirt paths. Maybe we would have better luck in the daylight.

It's my final year of college. Looking into the future is impossible, especially when a change is approaching that I haven't experienced before. I don't know what it will be like to live completely on my own, with new friends yet again, a new home, and a life without studying and looming exams.

Although I am excited for what's to come, I am trying to treasure these last few months of college instead of wishing them away.

So I am thankful for nights of running through tangled corn mazes. I'm thankful for autumn. I'm thankful for roommates. I'm thankful for warm jackets on cold nights.

When I was in high school, going through a corn maze in the fall was a tradition for me and my friends. We went every year, bringing more people each time as our tradition grew. I managed to gather a group to go to the corn maze my freshman year of college, but I haven't been since.

Returning to an old tradition is a happy, peaceful feeling.

It was a good day.

Four years ago: Wonderful
Five years ago: The Stairs that Lead to Nowhere