Tag Archives: blogging

A thousand lesser lights.

Last time I posted an article on my blog, WordPress exclaimed, “You’ve published your 999th blog post!” or something like that, so I know that today will be my 1,000th post. I did some calculating, and that works out to an average of 2-3 per week over almost seven years. Sounds about right.

The milestone calls for some recognition, so I am hearkening back to the beginning, or actually to my first commentary on the beginning, when I marked one year of blogging and explained the name “Gladsome Lights.” At every Vespers we Orthodox sing a hymn that is more often translated, “O Joyous Light,” but when I first came into the Church our choir was using the word “gladsome.” I am putting that blog post up again, after this little intro.

If no one were reading my posts, would they be as satisfying? I think not. So I thank you all again for being an audience and sounding board and for cheering me on. I know that some of you who read rarely or never tell me that you do, and I invite you at this historic moment to write me a line. If you don’t want to go through the bother of leaving a comment, I always welcome e-mails and my address is on the About page.

Who knows what tomorrow will bring? It’s hard to believe I’ve composed a thousand posts, and harder to imagine that I would do that many more in the future, if I live that long. I’m not the same person who started blogging back then. But in church tonight we sang a refrain that spoke to me encouragingly of the main thing I need to know about the future:

O God, Thou art my Helper;
Thy mercy shall go before me.

cross border yellow[February 2010] Today marks a year that I have been blogging, and that seems like an opportunity to tell the origin of my blog’s name. I only now looked on Wikipedia for the vesperal hymn “O Gladsome Light,” which, when I hear or sing it, always imparts something of the reality of the Holy Trinity of which it tells. When I first thought of writing a blog, there was no other name that ever came to mind, even though I feared it might be presumptuous, to put it mildly, to take that title for my own.

But just as we Christians are to be “little Christs,” so I see that all the gifts I write about come from Him, and anything good that comes from me is a lesser light emanating from God. So I post a candle picture in thanks to Him. I like the little dot at the bottom, a lesser, mirrored light. My tiny candle, or reflection of a candle.

As we are reminded in the first chapter of James: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

O Gladsome Light of the holy glory
Of the Immortal, heavenly, holy, blessed Father,
O Jesus Christ….

More Writing and Friends


The last year flew by, and now my blog is TWO years old. I feel like giving a party for all my blogging friends, to celebrate. But that kind of thing does not belong to Blogland, so the best idea I can come up with to mark the occasion is — what else? — to write a long and possibly boring blog post.

What did I ever do before I started writing a blog? I wrote long e-mails, and real letters with ink, and articles about this and that which hardly anyone read. (And there was a homeschool newsletter.)

When I started Gladsome Lights I expected it would give me a convenient format for sharing recipes and garden happenings and such like with my longtime friends and family. At the time I did already have a manila folder full of scraps of paper on which I’d written thoughts that might turn into something, if I ever took the time to sit and ponder over them with pen in hand, but the potential was for more thinking with myself.

Suddenly I was connected with people who for various reasons actually take time out of their day to read what I write, or at least to check in and look at my garden or pie pictures, and it’s not just because they are my children or feel otherwise obligated. I’ve always had several real-life friends like this, but there wasn’t an easy platform for sharing. I’ve also had the third kind of friend, the authors with whom I interact, but reciprocity is lacking in that case.

If you are reading this, you might be one of these people who has been wonderfully stimulating to my mind and heart, just by offering occasional feedback. At some level you know me better, from reading my ramblings, than my nearby friends who aren’t the blog-reading type, because it’s a rare personal encounter in which I can find the words to express the things I do in writing.

Of course, words aren’t everything. It might be wise to ease off, and spend less time exulting in the fun of working to crank out a few decent paragraphs every week. But my manila folder has only been getting fatter, and my Blogger drafts folder is virtually overflowing. Reading other blogs of homeschoolers, philosophers, gardeners and homemakers (some of you are all of those together) gives me even more things to think about, to read, to try and to do.

It feels like I’m just getting into the swing of this writing life, and I don’t think I’ll stop anytime soon — unless God makes it clear contrariwise. It’s an inestimable gift from Him, this time I have to think and to enjoy all the things I do, and to write. And if you are still reading this, know that you are a gift to me, too.

Blogs and Babies

Before I was married I didn’t keep a journal, at least not after the 5-year diary attempt in adolescence. And newly married, before children, I limited my writing to letters and sermon notes. It was only after having a child or two that I wanted to write at all, and I don’t understand all the reasons for the delay, but I used to think it had something to do with types of mental or creative energy.

I noticed after two or three pregnancies that I had no urge to write while I was pregnant. There are five long blank periods in the recorded history of my thoughts, scrawled in a mishmash of notebooks and stored in a box on a shelf. Much of my journaling over the years was filled with angst over church tensions or worries about whether I was being lazy about finding a “ministry” other than my family. I wrote long lists of what I had accomplished in a typical day followed by the lament, “And it wasn’t enough!”

What was it about carrying a child in my womb that eliminated the need for hashing everything out with pen and ink? Perhaps it wasn’t anything to do with the creative aspect of my participation in a magnificent process of nurturing a new and unique person–though my writing had been potentially creative in helping me to make sense of my world.

I started to write this blog about the similarities with my current life, where I am participating in a months-long creative work–thank God it isn’t nine months–and don’t have the thinking power to devote to any questions other than towel racks and paint colors. It’s only with great faith that I can imagine having anything significant to say ever again.

The idea I started with when I sat down just now doesn’t stand up to more scrutiny. Maybe my intellectual life 30 years down the road is entirely different. In the former time it was in a somewhat dormant stage, really, as I reminded myself in a recent post. The simple reality is that being with child made me happy and content. Maybe it was hormones. In any case, I didn’t need to write.

Now it’s that I can’t think well, that prevents me writing as I’ve become accustomed to. I hope it’s just a matter of distraction and overload, and that I will return to a version of my old self within another month or two. Already I have started sleeping better; it happened when I got the appliances into the kitchen. Family get-togethers and summer vacations will delay putting everything else back in place, but when the day comes that I don’t have to be ready at 8:00 in the morning for invading construction workers, it will be the beginning of my full return.

No, no, I mean the beginning of the next phase of my life. I know I can’t even return to last week, much less last year, intellectually or creatively or any other way. There’s always something new replacing something old, some loss and some gain. Today we moved the old furniture on to the new wood floors, and it all looks pretty, but we have lost some quietness from having (dirty) carpeted stairs.

The disruption has forced me to thin out my belongings, and take stock of how I actually use my kitchen. Having canisters of flour and sugar on the counter doesn’t make sense for someone who rarely bakes anymore. Maybe stress and insomnia and change will blow some cobwebs out of my mind as well, to make room for fresher and clearer thoughts that I can type into blogs on my computer when it is re-installed in the room with the pretty new floor.

Lights and a Birthday

Today marks a year that I have been blogging, and that seems like an opportunity to tell the origin of my blog’s name. I only now looked on Wikipedia for the vesperal hymn “O Gladsome Light,” which when I hear or sing it always imparts something of the reality of the Trinity of which it tells. When I first thought of writing a blog, there was no other name that ever came to mind, even though I feared it might be presumptuous, to put it mildly, to take that title for my own.

But just as we Christians are to be “little Christs,” so I see that all the gifts I write about come from Him, and anything good that comes from me is a lesser light emanating from God. So I post a candle picture in thanks to Him. I like the little dot at the bottom, a lesser, mirrored light. My tiny candle, or reflection of a candle.

As we are reminded in the first chapter of James: “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.”

O Gladsome Light of the holy glory
Of the Immortal, heavenly, holy, blessed Father,
O Jesus Christ….