Wednesday, February 16, 2005


Thanks, Mudville Gazette!

Blogs caught my attention a year ago or more, and got me wanting to do a blog too. They inspired me. I've been posting some since mobilization, but not much, but a lot more since getting to Iraq and having time in the evenings, and after all, my best posts are just copies of the letters I send to family and friends.

Posting a couple of stories about the Iraqi election, as well as the experiences of some of our soldiers got me thinking it was time to try to join the MILBLOG and see if I could get listed on as one of the official MILBLOGs.

Within minutes of my email to Greyhawk, he responds, and tells me all the steps I need to do to edit my HTML and link to the other blogs on the network (and they could link to me).

While I was exchanging emails with Greyhawk -- I had some trouble figuring out the programming, which is made as easy as such things can be made but it can still be very confusing -- every time I went back to my page to check out my changes, I noticed my Site Meter (this is an add on I installed from a free service that counts the number of times someone checks out my page online) started increasing.

It went from 30, to then 40, then over 50 and even up to about 80 just as we were exchanging emails. I was wondering what happened, but Greyhawk said in one of his emails, "I just linked to your site." Little did I know what he meant. I didn't get it all fixed that night -- and I stayed up WAY too late -- so I figured I'd finish in the morning.

The next day (maybe 6 or 7 hours later), my site meter was around 380. I went to Mudville Gazette, and at first couldn't find the link to my site (I hadn't fixed the programming). But when I scrolled down the site, all of a sudden found out Greyhawk had linked to my blog.

...And in my email, I have 7 or 8 emails from people who posted nice encouraging comments on my site! Later that day I fixed my HTML code, and I am now an official MILBLOG blogger, and listed on Mudville and other MILBLOG sites. Just two days in, my Site Counter is over 800. (Exciting to me as I don't think I had an audience previously!)

So here is the moral of the story.

I am trying very hard to let God use me and my writings to help friends and family stay connected and encouraged while I am away, as well as give me a positive outlet for my feelings and experiences. Secondarily, it's a hobby, and blogging gives me a chance for literary expression. But I always want it to be honest and not about me, but about how God can work through us when we let Him. (If I can develop an enthusiastic audience at the same time, then I am blessed by the work He does through me.)

But here's the greatest part of all of this. By reaching an audience out via the Internet, who knows how many people are exposed to what I write? Maybe it's family and friends of people who say, "Guess what I read today?" Or maybe it is someone struggling with an issue or in despair, and maybe found something hopeful or inspirational in one of my posts?

Many Christians and Evangelicals are discovering blogs, and allowing this great new medium allow them access to the entire Internet world (larger every day). My reader could be a dissident in China, or a Pastor in Africa (John Okinda, if you are out there, drop me a line!), or at the South Pole (Dave, thanks for the great Patriots photo at the pole!).

My friends share in this exciting venture in a very special way. In addition to their prayers, well wishes and encouragement, they are often the target for my inspiration as God leads me. I work best when I stop and think about "what would Jackie want to hear about?" "What would Ronnie think of this?" "Sharon will want to share this with the kids at AWANA," or "Peg and Justin will think this is cool."

Its just that now I get to meet a whole lot more people, and they get to meet me. And that's WAY cool.

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