Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Four Years, Four Lessons

It was four years ago Monday, July 14, that I posted my very first blog entry. I believe it was read a total of three times:
Twice by me and once by Momma, who drove to my house to use the internet to view the story. 
Strangely, I'm too embarrassed now to go back and read it. I know it was about a pet cemetery. 
I don't even like cats. 
You have to begin somewhere, right? 

At the end of my "Freshman Year" of blogging, the photos easily told the story of my newfound passion for photography. 
I ran with it. 
And still do, I suppose. 

And while I'd rather celebrate Jean's Boots 4th birthday with a trip to The Dairy for a dipped ice-cream cone, I realize I'll be happier with myself tomorrow if I simply sit down and write. 

There are a lot of things I've learned while opening my life to complete strangers and best friends by committing to this blog
once a week
for four years. 
I've made myself vulnerable, to be laughed at and criticized. 
I've also found a piece of myself I'd forgotten, met strangers who laugh with me and learned to combat criticism with confidence
I've learned a lot. 

1. Appreciated Familiarity Can Be Found In Routine

Once I whole-heartedly found a reason why I'd post at a certain time on a specific day, it was easy to maintain.

When I moved to Washington, DC, I made a commitment to write a letter (the kind delivered in an envelope that gives you a paper cut on your tongue with a real stamp that will one day be collected) to my Grandma and Granddad every Wednesday at 7:00 a.m. 
And I stuck with it, every single Wednesday. 
I always looked forward to those quiet Wednesday mornings when I could sit down and express myself with ink and paper; it was then that I could thank Grandma and Granddad for instilling such deep agricultural roots in me. Those traditional hand-written mornings made Wednesday, without a doubt, my favorite day of the week. 
Though Granddad is gone and I’m out of the big city, you now know why I post this blog every Wednesday morning at 7:00. And because I can still share my life stories with all of you, Wednesdays are still my favorite. 

What do - or can - you do 
on a regular basis that allows for 
familiarity in your days, weeks or months?

2. Don't Downplay Or Forget Your Personal Talents

I was married to Cody for nearly a year before I complimented his mother on a large oil on canvas hanging in she and my father-in-law's bedroom. 
"Oh thank you. It is one of my favorites," she remarked, watching me admire it. "Do you know who painted that?"
I walked to the wall and took a closer look: C. Sankey
My husband. 

Throughout my June solo-stay with the in-laws, they continued to show me several things that Cody had created over the years that adorned their walls or home. Drawings, paintings and even vases and perfect platters that now (thankfully) rest in our home. 

When I asked Cody about the artistic talent he'd buried over the years with ruminant nutritional studies and black-hided pedigree passions, he simply responded:

"I was young and had the time, I guess."

Being the good wife that I try to be, I won't show him some of my works of art that Momma still has at BSG:

No need to compete with your husband, I remind myself. 
(Mine is a cute blue-eyed mouse holding flowers, in case you can't visualize it)

Learning of Cody's young art ability reminded me of the release felt when I began writing again, by way of Jean's Boots. Forgotten was the comfort found in applying a talent. Even if it was discovered when younger. 

What have you forgotten - or pushed aside - because of age, time or the demands of life? 
Growing something?
Political discussions?
Motivating others?
H.O.R.S.E. on the court?

Revisit that. 
You don't have to share it with the world. 
Do what makes you happy. 

3. Never Over-Commit And Under-Deliver. 

This is so simple. 
Only you can determine your priorities.
You know the demands on your life's schedule. 
You know your boundaries, your limits and your heart.  
You know what matters in your own life. 
You know what you're comfortable with.
Do not commit to others what you may not be able to do, well
Because, frankly, (ear muffs Momma!) life is too short to do half-assed.

4. Be Unique, Not Self-Centered

When I developed my theme for the blog (not a mommy blog,  not a fashion blog (unless Mom Jeans are coming back around, right Rachel?) and not a recipe blog), I told an established blogger that I was going to simply tell stories of growing up with very conservative parents on a cattle operation and all of the funny things that life throws my way. 
The gal politely shot me down.

But I thought my life was funny and relatable?
I mean, hadn't everyone been given 8-year-old aspirin as a child, and survived it?

"Out of curiosity, I checked the label: EXP 3/1980. No wonder it burned; using it in 1991 was like applying kerosene to an open wound using a lit match."

The experienced blogger was right. 
The longer I blog, subjecting my - our - life to anyone's opinion, the more I learn that readers need to gain something by reading Jean's Boots every Wednesday morning. 
A lesson. 
A laugh. 
An idea. 
The same can be applied to life. 

Do those you interact with leave as better people for knowing you?
Are you pleasant?
Do they leave with a new idea or insight?
Or are they exhausted hearing about you?
Do they leave feeling good about themselves?
No? Then click here. 

  • Appreciated Familiarity Can Be Found In Routine
  • Don't Downplay Or Forget Your Personal Talents
  • Never Over-Commit And Under-Deliver 
  • Be Unique, Not Self-Centered
Four Years, Four Lessons. 
Thank goodness I rediscovered how much I enjoy writing. 
Because if I hadn't, I have a real concern that I may still be trying to perfect the eye color on ceramic bunnies. 


  1. Happy 4th Blogiversary, Lindsay! Keep up the fantastic blog.

    1. Thank you for reading from so many states away, Robyn!