There once was a girl who loved to write.
I’m Joy. 30 something. Wife. Mama of three. Jesus follower. Stay-at-home-mom. Literacy consultant. Zumba instructor. Chef. Baker. Reader. Writer. Lover of new notebooks, October, and goat cheese. Hater of traffic, scary movies, and overcooked asparagus.
It took me years to work up the courage to start a blog. I have always loved to write, but that writing was contained to personal journals. I had not shared my writing publicly, and it seemed a bit ridiculous that anyone would want to read what I had to say. I was late to the blogging game, and everything I read told me personal blogs were a dying art. This wasn’t great news, but I plowed forward anyways; I have always been a few years behind the trends. I also read that I needed a niche; I had to be focused or I would never find my audience. That wasn’t great news either because I didn’t have a focus; I loved to write about a lot of things - food, Jesus, my family, teaching, faith, friendship, anything that made a good story. It seemed cruel to make me pick just one.
And then there was the daunting fact that all things internet take me four times longer than the average person. Whenever I googled How To Start A Blog, I saw words like image hosting sites, HTML codes, widget, favicon, and Java Script. I’d quickly x out of that page, shut my laptop and try again later, longing for the day I had enough money to pay someone else to do it all for me.
In 2015, after much trial and even more error, I started 44 & Oxford, my first blog named after the rural state road where I taught first grade and the charming little college town I loved calling home. Three and half years and 56 essays later, I retired that name and space to create this new writing home. I still don’t have a niche, and I still know shockingly little about Java Script, but I do still love to write.
And this corner of the internet is a place for me to keep writing.
a public declaration of intentions, opinions, objectives, or motives
Say it out loud. It’s such a fun word.
There is a voice inside every writers’ head, whispering - even shouting from time to time - You don’t really have a story to tell. No one but your mother is going to read this. There are so many people writing, what do you really have to contribute? On those days, I will need this manifesto to remind myself what I’m doing and why I’m doing it.
For the love of writing.
1. The purpose of this blog is to provide a beautiful space for me to write. I believe God made me to be a writer, not a best selling author or journalist, but a girl who tastes the fullness of all God created her to be when she sits down to write.
2. I love writing because it forces me to turn off TV shows I don’t really care about and articulate my thinking. It helps me remember snippets of life I’d forget come next week, and savor moments that otherwise may be lost in a pile of laundry. Writing is my attempt to process the confusing, uncover truth in the frustrating, and joyfully plant myself right in the midst of chaos. Writing makes me stop everything else, and I need that.
3. If at any time this blog hinders my ability to be joyfully present in the lives of my friends or family, continually cuts into my 7 hours of sleep, or becomes a looming item on my to-do list, I will step back.
4. This blog is intended to encourage, amuse, and challenge the wives, the mamas, the teachers, the readers, the writers, the food lovers and everyone in between. If you find it to do none of these three things, please move on. There is too much good stuff out there for you to waste time.
5. This blog is limited to words and pictures that cannot possibly tell the full story of Joy. It is a selective slice of my life, but I intend to be real and even vulnerable when appropriate, not attempting to depict my life as something it is not.
And then try some these favorites.
I’m glad you’re here.