blogreportOur little blog had over 10,000 views in 2015!

I published 77 posts this year and people from over 100 countries found their way to Grace Notes. You came by way of Facebook, Twitter, various search engines, and a number of other blogs. While I am quite clear my mom is still my most faithful reader, many of you who are not even my mom kept coming back time and again.

I am incredibly grateful for EVERY SINGLE VISIT.

I am honored you would share a few minutes here with me and my other readers. Because I want this place to be about community, encouragement and the sharing of ideas, I thought I would end 2015 today by looking back over some of our favorite “conversations” this year here at Grace Notes.

Top 5 posts of 2015

Losing Myself The most read post of this year was something I wrote in response to other people’s great ideas! Part of the great joy of 2015 was developing relationships with a number of other bloggers. Two of my favorite blogging communities simultaneously suggested the idea of writing letters to our younger selves. What do I know now that I didn’t know then? Inspired by my recently empty nest, I wrote a letter to my 31 year old self at the moment I was about to quit work prior to the birth of our second daughter. This ode to my parenting journey clearly struck a cord with many of you and you shared it generously with others.

Careful with Rainbows was my second most read and shared post. I wrote this post in response to the Supreme Court decision in July to make marriage equality the law of the land. A difficult conversation for many in the Christian community, I felt it important to address this issue with respect and love for those on both sides of the issue. While my public views on these issues have cost me at least one speaking opportunity at a local church, I have decided authenticity and grace are character traits I value more with each passing year. If I can’t be honest and vulnerable here, my choice to share my thoughts in this forum is a waste of all of our time. Many of you told me this post gave voice to your feelings on these issues.

Tears comes in 3rd place as my most read post. I found this surprising until I noticed in my end of year report the word “tears” is by far and away the search term used in search engines most likely to bring people to me. Because of some combination of Google magic and fancy analytics which I don’t remotely understand, people who type “tears” into their personal google machine often find themselves here with us. As I read back over this post, it makes me smile to think my simple story of redemption, grace and the privilege of being Jesus to someone at a moment of vulnerability might fall unexpectedly into the lap of someone typing the word tears into a search engine on their computer. I love how the Holy Spirit works!

In case you are curious, the second most frequent search term guiding people here is “be brave.” As this was our primary theme this year, I was thrilled to see being brave on the list!

For the Love of Jesus, Laughter and Instagram Filters was my 4th most read post. If you would have told me this time last year 2015 would include visiting Jen Hatmaker’s home with a bunch of other bloggers, I would have laughed out loud. In fact, the whole crazy serendipitous journey still makes me giggle as 2015 comes to a close. One of the great joys of this year was the privilege of serving on Jen’s For the Love launch team and meeting my fellow FTL buddies. A satellite group of launch team members formed a group of aspiring writers and bloggers and these ladies have become an integral part of my unfolding search for the answer to “what’s next?” in relation to my writing and speaking ministry. My writing sisters read my work, provide feedback, offer encouragement, share their struggles and inspire me with their stories. Through this group, I have been connected to several other exciting opportunities to grow as a writer and speaker. One brave step forward this year, applying to the launch team, led to innumerable opportunities. A gift that keeps on giving as we begin 2016!

Still NJ, my 5th most popular post, is about my mother-in-law Norma Jean and our family’s journey with Alzheimer’s. As I re-read this post now, I am struck by how quickly things have progressed since I wrote it back in February. She is now safely in Houston with the rest of our family and settling in well in her new home, in spite of the continuing advancement of her disease. She is still our NJ and still my hero. The popularity of this post reminded me how much we all enjoy the opportunity to peek into each other’s worlds and find the ways we connect, especially in the broken places.

As I look at these 5 posts, I am struck by how well they represent my experiences in 2015 and reflect the lives of many of my friends. In just these 5 posts, we talked about some of these challenging questions: How does our identity as Christians inform the way we view current events? How do we juggle our continually changing role as parents with our responsibilities to our aging parents? How does God speak to us in our local churches and through the larger community of faith we now access through social media?

Where does my unique voice fit into the big picture? Does it truly matter when we each share our story?

Here are a few other favorites of mine from this year which many of you also found meaningful:

The Power of Me Too

A Spacious Place

Set Free

How The Bible Wrecked My Life

Queen of Someday

Struggling for the Good Stuff

Speaking of Struggling

Would love to have your end-of-year feedback! Which of my posts resonated with you the most? What topic would you like to see us discuss more frequently? How could I make this place more welcoming to new visitors?

Happy New Year, my friends! Thank you again for sharing this sacred space with me.