Saturday, May 3, 2014

How My Blog 'Works'

I am asked from time to time about the different ‘columns’ I do on my blog. So it got me to thinking recently, “Hey, my very first post back in January of 2013 tells of the ‘why’ I do this, and I ended up putting it on my masthead by the title Why this Blog? Maybe it’d be helpful to somebody if I wrote a simple primer about the ‘how,’ and put that on the masthead as well. So that’s what I’m doing this week – I’ll share a simple explanation of how my blog works, and then insert it as a tab. I have a five Saturday month anyway, Saturday being my typical posting day. Next week I’ll get back to God’s
 good creation and I can still get four posts in      
during May.                                                             

If you’re new to this blog, the following may be helpful in order to understand my general approach; it can also help you navigate the site and know what you’re seeing. I utilize four main ‘features,’ each of which is usually done once per month, but not necessarily in this order:

This monthly column features essays from an actual nature journal I have kept over the past several years. When I see something in nature that reminds me of a spiritual parallel, I like to write about it, keeping many of these pieces written out in longhand in a handmade, old fashioned leather-covered journal I bought at a craft sale -- have actually filled the old thing up by now, so the 
newer ones stay on my computer. I guess some 
of them might be akin to the parables of the Gospels, and though certainly not as pithy as Jesus’ stories, the practice becomes a way for me to be attentive to the messages the Creator sends through his creation.

This feature takes little explanation; it’s usually just a photo (or several) of something my wife Gail or I have taken recently, or one we took in the past about the same time of year. On extremely rare occasions I may use something someone else took, especially if it’s a famous photo, but then I will always reference it. I will also say something about the photo’s subject or context.

The most eclectic of my columns, Blowin’ in the Wind is a regular feature consisting of an assortment of nature writings – hymns, songs, excerpts, prayers, Bible readings, poems or other things – pieces I may not have written but that inspire me. I trust they will do the same for you. As with my photo of the month, I will usually include some commentary as well.

Again quite self-explanatory, approximately once per month I’ll put up a simple quote I’ve gathered over the years from things I’ve read, with a comment about the person quoted or the context from which they spoke. This column will also usually include a photo of the person that I have found online, another time when I use photos that are not our own.

And the tabs? Well, these instructions here will make it onto a tab called How it ‘Works.’ As I said earlier, Why this Blog?  brings a reader back to my very first post, in which I explain my reasons for writing. About the Author is the barest of bios, but which can still personalize the writing in such a way as to bring a personality to the page. Resources will include the posts I write or share that offer some sort of a spiritual exercise, or devotional practice, that may be experienced by an individual or a group; there are not many at this point, but I expect to be putting others up in the months ahead. (Feel free to copy and use them whenever and wherever you’d like.) Index is something I update every post, adding minimal key words that can help someone go back and find a post they’re interested in seeing again. And The Music is something of a specialized index for posts that have combined a love for nature with a love for music.

Finally, beyond all this, each blog usually contains links (always bolded and colored) that can be hit to go deeper into a blog’s subject, and the photographs I include can be enlarged for greater clarity by clicking on them.

There you have it, a pretty pedestrian little intro on the methods to my madness. But for me, it's all about this:

I lift my eyes to the mountains -- where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord who made heaven and earth. (Psalm 121:1, 2)

~~RGM, May 2, 2014

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