God Has Plans for the PERSON that is Me
We’re going to have a moment of honesty here.
I entered into writing this post this morning prayerfully and I have already committed to publishing it no matter what. My husband is keeping me accountable to that. Here’s why:
Writing this post creates a feeling of enormous emotional vulnerability for me. Exposing that vulnerability actually has me shedding tears as I write, because the way I feel is this: I feel very emotionally invested in my readers and I think that I finally realized, that with very few exceptions, my readers are not largely emotionally invested in me as a PERSON. The majority of my readers see me as a website, a blog, or a handy reference.
I honestly didn’t think this time last week that this blog would still be a going thing today. As a person, a human being, I was really turned off about posting on it and just kind of put off about it in general. In truth, I’ve been avoiding it.
Something about me some of you may know is that since 1999, I’ve always been a writer. If you had to box me up and label me, you could just slap a big label above me that simply said, “WRITER” and move on to labeling someone else. Between New Year’s Day 1999 and September 11, 2001, I wrote 11 novels. Post 9-11, my divorce, my remarriage, Gregg’s deployment, Scott’s traumatic birth, our move to Kentucky, Jeb’s high risk pregnancy and traumatic birth, Gregg’s working in Afghanistan while I had three kids at home, Scott’s developing issues — all of those things took away from my ability to write novels. And, I really think that subconsciously, this blog fed that desire to create with the the written word.
But I always had a “fan base” of people (like my grandmother, which is awesome) who, every time I saw them or spoke to them, would ask me when I was going to get published or if I’d written another book. My friend Donna was in a bookstore one day and chit-chatting with someone else there, and somehow, the conversation went to the best books they’d ever read. Donna said, “Oh, I know exactly who you should read. Her books are amazing, and you’ll never forget the characters…oh, wait. She’s not published yet.”
So, writing has always been my identity, and the people in my life are SO happy I’m finally pursuing it, and so excited to see the success I’m having with it.
And then there’s my blog readers, who, for the most part, ignore it. Silly me, for assuming that something important to me would or should garner some reply from people who have read me for the better part of four years. Here, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ — anywhere I associate myself as Hallee the Homemaker that I have talked about my writing creates cricket-chirping silence.
Because I’m a person, a human being, and because I’m a woman with a woman’s brain and a woman’s emotions, I take the silence as rejection. Plain and simple, I’ve felt like I was being rejected by the very crowd with whom and to whom I have ministered for four years.
I did have some expectations, but not like you may think. I did not, nor do I, expect my thousands of readers to run out and buy my books, because I didn’t and I don’t. But, I did expect there to be at least SOME sort of response, even possibly some sort of encouragement like, “Hey, this is awesome!” “Congratulations!” “Wow! Awesome cover!”
But, instead, there’s a deafening silence.
And when there wasn’t silence, there was a barrage of rather ignorant criticism for daring to write a book that actually talked at great length about how Christ can free us from our bonds of sin which I had, rather cleverly to those who bother to get the punch line, wrapped up in the shape of a gravy cookbook.
And, truly, a giveaway worth $50 that has only 7 people entered to win it? Seriously?
I started to feel like I was nothing more than a resource to people, a website — a handy reference when someone needs to pasteurize an egg or learn about a Levitical diet — a neat blog for recipes or party ideas — and no longer a person.
That feeling was brought home very vividly to me last week. I was making pico de gallo when I accidentally cut my finger. It was BAD! I sliced through the fingernail and into a good portion of my fingertip. I was about one more bandaid away from getting stitches and said something on my Hallee the Homemaker Facebook about it. The only and I mean the only reply I received was to ask for the pico de gallo recipe.
Which is not something one asks a person. It’s not the first thing one asks a human being in which one is emotionally invested. It’s the first thing one asks a blog or a website or a reference resource which is absent things like emotions and a soul.
So, I thought, I’ll just close it down. They don’t like this part of me, they’re not going to get the rest. I won’t blog about Kaylee driving, or juggling spring volleyball season with tennis season, or the fact that Scott, in all of his obsessive compulsiveness, wore shorts today for the first time in three years. I won’t post the hundred or so recipes I’ve prepped over the last year, or talk about my garden or the giant blackberry bush I found behind a dead tree in my yard. I won’t write about all of that because I’ve been rejected and I feel rejected.
And then God stepped in.
Last week, I got a Twitter message from a local blogger, Amy at The Happy Homemaker. She said that there wasn’t a big blogging community in Lexington, and did I want to get together and meet. I contacted my friend Sarah of SMASH – Save Money & Stay Home and we all met for lunch yesterday. I had THE BEST time fellowshipping with these two amazing women. Amy talked about a blogging community in Louisville and how they meet and do, and bounced around the idea of forming something local to us that would have some sort of service community type thing attached to it. Brilliant idea, something I’d totally jump on, and would completely love.
As I drove away from that lunch, I was excited about possibly meeting even more bloggers in my area and tying it into serving when it occurred to me: I’d have to be a blogger for that to be. And I felt God’s nudge and acknowledged that feeling rejected, especially as a woman, doesn’t always mean rejection.
So, I apologize for reacting to feelings based on my expectations. I apologize for any kind of absence or lack of quality that likely result of these feelings. I will go forward from this day with a feeling of restoration and renewal. I will continue to be emotionally invested in my readers because that is who I am. But I am still a writer and that is still a major part of my life.
I’m so grateful for your visit, today.
You would bless me if you added me to your feed reader or subscribed via email.
You can also become a fan on Facebook or follow me on Twitter. I would love to see more of you!
Love you, Hallee. Even if you never wrote another word. But I’m glad you do…
I must apologize for being an infrequent reader, and just read about your finger and then read more posts to see if you were ok and what the outcome was. I will not ask for your recipe I promise ;)
I also have to apologize for not reading your books yet I have purchase the Jewel trilogy but they sit on my ipad waiting for me to have free time. I however am taking my first vacation in 4 years and my son is not coming along so I will have lots of time to sit by the pool and read at our hotel while my husband works next week! Your books are on the top of my list to read.
I am a work from home mom to a teenager son with Asperger’s syndrome. I work around 80 hours a week and have enjoyed your season through writing and learning how to still keep your home and family organized. Your blog always gives me encouragement. I want you to know that you are loved out here….. I just wish I could keep up with you on a daily basis!
I pray that people start seeing you as a person not a faceless blog…… Praying that your renewal of spirit and mind keeps your focused and not frustrated by the world you write in.
Oh Hallee! I think I understand what you mean. You know, I “knew” you first as a person. All the homemaker stuff came later (and I love it). I think you can never tell which of your gifts or talents are going to speak to certain people. For some it might be your novels, others your homemaking skills, and probably to many (like me), you as a wife and mother. But you know what? You’re a cool chick. Don’t ever forget it.
You’re rather cool yourself, my friend. I’m so happy God placed you in my life.
Love you, my friend. Even if you never designed another cover for me. But I’m glad you will. :)
Okay… I’m bad. I don’t always comment. But I always read. I read every blog you put out that I catch. Yes. I come her for your recipes. Often. But I care more about YOU than your recipes. I love hearing about your children and their ups and downs. And you know I ADORE your books! I have them all. So far. LOL And as to why I didn’t enter the giveaway… it’s because I already had the books! :) Hallee, even thought people are not always responding to your posts, in my heart I am. Even if I don’t do any more than ‘like’ it on FB.
Bless your heart, gal! Your post has truly touched me for several reasons. I know how hard it is to feel the isolation of being just someone people read online without any feedback. It’s frustrating, it’s demeaning, it’s rude. However, it’s also the unfortunate truth in today’s world.
I, too, am a frustrated writer. I felt led of the Lord several years ago to put together a book of devotions for women. I started it…and my computer crashed without me backing it up. Same thing happened again, but I had backed up my files on CD’s and what happened? They got broke (long story). And it continued with one catastrophe after another preventing me from getting the book written that the Lord was giving me.
To simplify it a bit here and make a long story a bit shorter, I had a long talk with the Lord about it while I was in the hospital with congestive heart failure. After praying and studying the Word and listening to His still, small voice, I realized that I had been focusing on a lot of “what if’s”….what if I couldn’t find a publisher? what if no one bought it? what if I ended up looking like a fool? In other words, I was focusing more on my own vanity than I what He had for me to do.
So now I’ve stepped back and taken a break. No writing, no blogging to speak of, nothing. Just me and God chit-chatting and focusing on Him. He’s allowed me to live 18 months when the doctors said I wouldn’t live 6 hours. Why? Because He isn’t finished with me yet! He still has work for me to do and He’s still purifying and refining me to do it. I may not even live to see its publication, but it will be published, whether I’m here or not.
So rest assured….even when you don’t “hear” any comments, people are reading. But its the people the Lord sends who need to read what He gives you to write and He’s receiving the glory for it all.
Much love, many hugs, and peace with you this day….CynthiaRobin
I think I fall into the crowd of ‘a reader, but not a responder’ I wish I could jump through the computer screen and give you a hug.
FWIW – You are an inspiration to me…
and I”m sorry I don’t reply or respond more often…
First, of all I hope you are ok. I cut my finger this year too. My 2 yo Son grabbed for my kitchen knife while I was chopping potatoes. Instead of cutting him, I moved the knife out of range of his tiny fingers and cut my thumb instead. Part of the nail, finger tip, etc came clean off. It did grow back and looks completely normal lol. I pray you heal quickly and that it doesn’t cause you too much pain!
Second, Congrats on the books. I can’t imagine how much time that took! It is certainly a ginormous accomplishment. You should feel relieved that you pushed through and excited about your accomplishment. I can’t imagine putting the time and energy required to write even one book on top of wrangling toddlers. Well done. :-)
I really and truly needed that. Thank you, and God bless you, sister.
Hallee, you have an amazing fanbase, particularly for someone whose writing is geared for a particular reading audience. We are each only a small part of this huge world and even our fans have busy days. Relax. I think that many of us writers write because this is the way that we feel comfortable reaching people and when we don’t see a response it is much like screaming into the wind, but you never know who you reach with your words. Just be content. None of us are alone.
You don’t know me, but I do read your blog from time to time and I want to say thanks for all you do. Your post is a good reminder to offer kindness and attention to others, even if you will never meet them in person. I hope you have a great day!
Hallee, I’m so sorry you have been feeling rejected. I read your blog or FB every day and have bought all your books; I feel bad for not posting reviews. For me, not being Christian, in my mind I am not actually in your normal fan base and that keeps me from responding very often.
I’ve noticed that you have over 2000 fans, and at the same time you get few responses on many posts. I think part of the reason for that is that you ARE viewed as a writer. I’m not sure if I can say this clearly, but I’m guessing that when people see few personal responses (out of such a large fan base) they view that as the norm, maybe the polite thing. Imagine that you were giving a talk to a large auditorium full of people; only a few people would get up the nerve to speak out and ask questions. The expectation is that they are there as listeners, even if they are moved by your words and interested in the talk. It’s not a give-and-take relationship the way it would be in a small group. My guess is that people DO see you as a person, and are interested in what you say, and care about you. It’s the very fact that you are seen as a writer, almost like an interesting voice from a podium, that people might not be responding. Also when people do comment, they are often the same people, and often they are people who seem to know you well IRL, so again people who only know you from the blog might feel shy or hesitant to speak up. And when more people do comment, the cautious ones might feel that there is no need to add their voices with similar comments. (Of course I could be wrong about all this, as always.)
Thank you for the reminder, Hallee, that you need encouragement and love, too!! You’re not just an iPhone, or laptop that delivers us magic messages for our enjoyment and fulfillment! You are a person with real needs!! One other blogger (Missy, at It’s Almost Naptime) says something to the affect that comments are her love language, in order to encourage people to comment. We, the readers, tend to forget this, and need the wake up call. I always think, “Oh, I should say____, but my boys are fighting again. Gotta go – I’m sure someone else will comment.” Instead, I should come back (after breaking up the boys) and take the minute to quick give a comment. You’ve taken the time to put you’re heart and soul into your writing; the least we can do is respond.
You are a fantastic writer, homemaker, mother, and wife! I first found your blog for the food/recipes (which I love!!) and discovered an amazing author in my favorite genre. Thank you for all of your writing, Hallee – your blog and your books! I feel like I have gotten to know you and your family, little by little over the last 9 months. Thank you for that gift. – Christin
I’m glad God stepped in and renewed you. It amazes me when that happens to me. Love you, Hallee. Keep seeking Him. We appreciate you. <3
Hallee my friend you are a blessed woman, a fabulous writer, an amazing cook and I could go on and on singing your praises. Your honesty, sincerity, an openness are at times unparalleled. You lay yourself out there vulnerable daily, I do not know many women(or men for that matter) that could do what you do and still after 4 years be standing!! You are truly blessed by God and I am even more blessed to call you friend. I’m very thankful for your calling. I too read every day.I just don’t always comment on some posts honestly I am led to pray. I love you my amazing friend
I am so sorry you felt this way. I understand! The blogging community can be a tricky one sometimes. I really enjoy your blog!
Aww Mama. Big hugs. I am a devoted reader of your books and blog and twitter. I just dont always comment. I am terrible at it! But even if I dont, know i am always reading or recommending sonething of yours to others. I am personally excited for the “bread” book you previewed earlier this week. I truly enjoy reading about your kids, family and day to day mundane things :-) if i commented everyday, i would feel like your stalker in Cincinnati. You are inspiring and wanted and appreciated. I wish I lived closer.
Sometimes when you only blog once a week, i have to remind myself that you have a life outside of blogging. Maybe thats why i wasnt aware? You have my contact info, never hesitate to reach out.
ok, i concur with many of the women who have responded previously. i’ve only been following your blog for a couple of months since i read your trilogy. i read you almost every day but don’t usually respond because i am definitely not a writer. i rarely even comment on fb – it is so easy just to hit the “like” button. i do so admire the women, especially the Christian women, who blog almost every day, who listen to the Lord’s leading and have the gift to write and then DO IT. anyway, God’s blessings to you, hallee.
Hallee, I believe that something wonderful was born at that table yesterday. I look forward to taking that journey with you and Sarah. I can’t wait to see what He has in store for us!
I am a relatively new reader to your blog. I think I have been following you for a year. I have read every post you have published since then. I also follow you on Facebook and I never saw the status update about your finger. I have noticed, with my own fan page, that only about 1/3 of the people see my postings. That is probably why you have noticed a decrease in commenting. Facebook has been changing how posts are seen so much that I miss a lot. I think giveaways are tough. I hadn’t noticed the recent giveaway but through my business I have had several bloggers with a large following run giveaways of my product for me. They didn’t garner large entries either. I rarely enter giveaways unless it is a one or two step process. I think that is just the trend right now. I also think you need not be discouraged. My interests are learning more about Homemaking, parenting, etc… and I rarely read fiction books because of my limited time. Maybe there are others that follow your blog in the same boat as I am. It doesn’t mean we don’t support you but lack of time prevents us from reading your books. Keep on keeping on! I would be sad if you didn’t continue writing here!
I love your blog and all of your info! I’ve especially loved all of your very personal posts on your journey to build your family, your son’s challenges, and most recently your disclosure of your awful trauma when you were in high school.
I can’t imagine the transparency that’s involved in hosting a blog. It must make one feel incredibly vulnerable. I’ll try to give more feedback. I appreciate you even though I don’t know you. Keep up the good work and best of luck with all of the writing. You’re a busy lady for sure!
I’m so sorry you’ve been feeling this way. I wish I had great words of wisdom, comfort or encouragement, but I’m not sure that I do. I can tell you that I did not enter the giveaway because I already have purchased and read all of the books. I don’t comment often (anywhere), and I am not on Facebook (my conscious choice), but yours is one of the few blogs where I have left comments here and on the writer’s blog. (I’m the one who reported the typo in the excerpt / introduction to one of the Jewel Trilogy … with great trepidation, because I didn’t want to offend, but I would have wanted someone to tell me if the positions were reversed). I love that you are a writer and are now seeing your work published.
I don’t have a lot of time to leave thoughtful comments, and I don’t like half-baked ones, so I don’t comment often. I think you are quite brave to put yourself out there the way that you do, but I really appreciate it.
I guess mostly I just want to say that I’ve never met you in person (although I like to think that we would be friends if we lived in the same area), but I do care about you as a person. In fact, it is those personal aspects that matter to me, and make your work so special … much more so than the “resource” material.
Oh girl – I hope I didn’t contribute to that. :( But yes, I know where you are coming from…and you have my support. I’ll try harder to show it. <3
A few of many reasons I love you reading your blog…. HONESTY, ENCOURAGEMENT and HELP (spiritual life, recipes, cleaning and finances, etc.). I honestly I read your blog ALL the time (I’m a subscriber), just don’t always respond. My job, kids and church I am so busy I don’t always read them the exact day they are posted. Lately I’ve been feeling lazy and struggling with spending time with God like I use to. Know in my head, but for some reason the body won’t follow through. Its usually when its 11-12 at night and I’m tired that I think why didn’t I take a few minutes other than a little prayer to connect with the Life Giver. Also, I usually don’t enter giveaways ’cause when I do it seems I never win. I have all your books on my “To Read” list. I am so sorry for taking you and your for granted. So p-l-e-a-s-e accept my apologies and know that I am reading and loving this blog.
I have a concern that I can easily become an Internet junkie. Consequently, I limit my time there. I subscribe to your newsletter, and read your updates on my email. That’s about it. I have Facebook, but mostly to keep an eye on my kids. I don’t enter contests, and only use recipe search engines for specific things I plan to make. I have, although, bought several of your books…which is unusual for me. I read your newsletters because I like you. Love and blessings to you.
When I started blogging, I got very excited about it and subscribed to many blogs, I got interested in the first place as I was researching how to change my lifestyle of eating. I am a Christian as well and was intrigued by bloggers that also claimed to be and seemed to be honest in their writing. I was led to yours and have read all your blog posts. I also wrote on my own blog, I am not a writer but enjoyed blogging. I don’t have many followers and that’s okay. I used to comment all over the place on blogs, but since I very rarely got a response, I gave up doing the comments because I believe if a person comments and the blogger responds, then you can build a friendship, but with people not responding it gets discouraging. I responded to every single comment I received on my blogs and felt like I was making a few friends which I had desperately needed. I realize people get busy, so I accepted not getting responses to my comments on other blogs, until when I asked a few questions and still didn’t get responses, I gave up again. I would ask for responses on my own blog and very rarely get them, I got some likes and would go to those blogs and like theirs as well, I felt it would help, but it didn’t. Well since all this I have stopped blogging for a while and I am not sure if I would go back to it, my blog is just a little one, and nothing big like yours and others I follow, it can be very discouraging for the little guy. Also since I have stopped, not one other blogger, even the ones I thought I had made friends with have even questioned why or if I was coming back. I really need real friends not just polite people. ( I am not being rude here, just not sure how to word it.) I don’t do face book and I also cant afford to buy anything on line so I am unable to purchase anything anyone offers, even though I might like to. So, all this to say that I appreciate that you are honest and keep going anyway, I have learned a great deal from you, yes your blog is a resource, and you have wonderful recipes, but I also know you are a person and although you don’t know me or know that when I read something that concerns you I have prayed for you as I even have prayed for your encouragement after reading this post. It is spring and I am sure people are busier than usual, I know I am in getting things ready for planting and such. Your blog is an inspiration to me, and I have been able to change so many things in my lifestyle of whole food eating and such, my health is improving, from using many of your ideas and others as well. God will bless you for the posts you write even if you don’t know it now, our rewards, the ones that count, are in heaven waiting for you and all the people you influence that don’t respond, those rewards are waiting too. So please be encouraged and know that you are making a difference in lives like mine. Thank you and God bless you.
Hi Hallee! I’m so sorry that you have not felt that people love YOU. We do. And just like the “real” people in your life, we will disappoint you. I am not a social media fan and I do not follow anyone on Facebook that I do not have a face to face relationship with. I’m just not comfortable with those types of insincere (to me) relationships. I don’t have a Twitter account or any other social media site. It’s not me. So, unfortunately, I didn’t know that you cut your finger. If I lived near you would I be the first person in line to bring you a Band-Aid? You betcha!
Unfortunately, the world of blogging is very one-sided. I love reading about you and your family and how successful you have been. But I don’t get the opportunity to share in return. I believe it is that sharing, the ability to talk about our children, our lives, etc. that make a friendship and make us care about one another. It is the one-on-one relationship that forges a bond and creates empathy and sympathy. I don’t feel like we can really feel “that” from reading a blog (no matter how much we like the person doing the writing and we relate to them). There is something lost in translation. It doesn’t really mean we don’t care, but writing a quick response to ask about your finger seems so empty when what we would really like to do is give you a hug.
Just wanted you to know that you are a real person to me and I like reading about your family as well as your recipes on your blog. I was only disappointed by the giveaway, because I already have all 4 of those books on my kindle app. (And they are some of the ones that get re-read often.) I have read a lot of fiction both Christian (my mom was a church librarian with a pretty good book budget) and non-Christian and your books and characters are some of the best I’ve read in a long time. I am looking forward to downloading your next book series. Thanks for all you do, and know that even if you get silence, you have impacted many lives including mine through both your blog and your books. Thanks and Dio vi benedica! (God bless you in Italian. My husband and I have done some mission work on the island of Sicily)
I have enoyed your blog for years. I don’t do the facebook, etc. I have read enough of your life to know you are one strong lady. The thing that impressed me the most was how you handled your life while your husband was gone so long.
I’m sorry that you feel people don’t care. I know I do and I wish you and your family the best!
Hi Hallee, I read everything that comes in your feed. I probably don’t comment enough but I do tell eveyone you are one of my top favorite bloggers. I love your complexity, your faith, and all your super hero powers. I would miss you dearly if you shut down. HUGS GIRL. Love Shelley
Hallee, I honestly assumed you had so much feedback that any comment from me would be insignificant. Thanks for setting us straight and being so transparent.
Ugh, I’m Sorry Hallee. I have been at your place so many times it isn’t funny. Only I’m not a writer or blogger. I work with children. I educate and I love and often I find at the end of the day I am lonely and feel rejected as though I were just filling a roll for those kids but was not important beyond that. So I understand the struggle. I do read most of your posts and my heart did go out to you when you cut your finger. I just don’t tend to take time to comment. Maybe I am as selfish as those whose kids I teach… hmm. I have always loved reading your posts. They have encouraged me in my role as wife and mother. I have been thrilled over your books and really hope to have time to read them, but right now in my life I am too busy trying to run our homestead and keep my house and nurture my two year old son. Not to mention the church and homeschool activities I try to take part in. But Rest Assured. I DO LOVE TO READ YOUR BLOG! I really do. Thank you for taking the time to post. And for tying it into facebook since that is the only way I know that you’ve posted something new.
Again, thank you and please hang in there.
I am so glad that you did not “throw in the towel” and shut your blog down!!! I haven’t been a follower for too long, but I love reading about your life, your family, your struggles, and your successes. You are always so real, and that is something I truly appreciate. You speak your mind and you are not afraid to do so. I have learned so much from you and I can’t wait to learn more. Although I have read every post since discovering your blog, I have only commented on one of them, I think. It has to do more with lack of time than wanting to. Please do not base the worth of your blog on comments or lack of them. We love you and love reading your posts! Please keep them coming. (I will “like” you on Facebook, now that I know you have a page!)
I’m so happy that you are going to continue to blog. I just found your blog a few days ago and I am enjoying it!
I just saw this post today and thought that I should send you a reply. I don’t remember exactly when I found you online, and since then Facebook has undergone some changes to what I actually see in my newsfeed, so I don’t seem to get all of your posts. ( I am not enjoying Facebook’s new format!! Blah.) I don’t follow you for your food or recipes,but rather for your honesty and willingness to share the tough and/or controversial subjects from a Christian perspective. A sane voice in an insane world.
Anyway, I wanted to apologize for NOT giving you feedback on your Jewel Trilogy novels……..I had NO IDEA that it would mean that much to you. DUH. Double Duh.
Here’s the scoop: I LOVED the Jewel novels………they were very well written, clean but not “fluffy” with plot lines that flowed and drew me in; great characters, and I loved the continuation of the story-line from one book to another. I fell in love with all of the characters. I laughed. I cried. I couldn’t put them down until they were finished. I’m not sure if you had hard copies available or not, but I bought the ebooks, which is how I read most books these days.( Hopefully, you get decent royalties from them; one of my friends has mentioned that authors don’t always receive much from ebooks sold through Amazon.)The only thing I didn’t like was that there were only three in the series!!
If I could write as well as you, I’d write all the time, too! :)
Thank you, for both your contribution as a blog writer AND a novelist. May our Lord Jesus Christ bless you immensely and beyond your wildest dreams.