One Year Blogging Reflections And A Confession

cheers-839865_640

I can hardly believe it’s a year ago today that I timidly pressed “Publish” on my first post here on this blog.  I had no idea what I was doing, or what to expect, and I wasn’t sure if I would stick with it.  I just felt led to write, so I signed up to join a group studying the book “On Being A Writer” by Ann Kroeker and Charity Singleton Craig, which seems a bit presumptuous, given that almost all of my writing until that point had been journalling, which I had never shared with anyone!

Despite that, the group welcomed me with open arms, and 365 days and 157 posts later, it seems I’m sticking with writing!

This year of blogging has presented so many great opportunities.  I’ve loved taking part in some amazing blogging communities like Five Minute Friday, and having the chance to be part of the book launch team for Jennifer Dukes Lee’s book The Happiness Dare.  A year ago I didn’t even know what a book launch team was!

I’ve also had the chance to contribute to a book- a compilation of Five Minute Friday posts which will be released on September 26th.

Its-a-Five-Minute-FridayBOOK1-600x503

The most amazing part of blogging has definitely been the community.  When I started this I had no idea if anyone would even read anything I wrote.  I certainly didn’t expect to make actual friendships, and I have been so blessed by your encouragement, your comments and your wonderful posts too.

All of this brings me to a confession. Some of you may have worked this out, and this feels a bit weird and awkward, but I feel the time is right to tell you.

Carly Benson is not my real name.

As I said, I was basically clueless about blogging when I began writing here.  I decided to write under a different name partly because of the work I do with young people.  I didn’t want them to be able to find the blog and discover information which I didn’t necessarily want to share.  But also, if I’m honest, it was a form of self-protection.  It was scary for me to put my words out there, not knowing who would read them or how they would be received, and so it seemed safer to do it under a different name.

As connections have deepened and friendships have formed I have felt increasingly bad about not being open about my real identity.  I actually had a post ready to explain all this about six months ago but the day before I was planning to publish it, I felt that God was saying it wasn’t time yet.

I think it is time now.  If you’ve been following this blog, you’ll know that my word for the year is “Surrender” and I think that God is calling me to surrender this protection- that I need to own my words, own my story, be myself and not be ashamed.

I should make it clear that everything I have shared on this blog is true- all of my experiences, opinions etc.  The person you have got to know is the real me- I was just writing under a different name.  If I knew then what I know now, I would have used my real name from the start, and I wish I had.  I feel that the longer I leave it, the more difficult it is going to become, so I am going to make the switch and write under my real name from now on.

I still don’t want to attach my full name to this blog because of my concern about young people I work with discovering it, but I am going to write under my real first name, which is Lesley, and I’m happy for people to know my full name in other contexts (email, Facebook etc.)  I just don’t want to put it on here.

I thought I’d make a short video to introduce myself to you properly.

So, that’s the awkward bit over.  I hope you’ll continue joining me here over the coming year.

Just to finish, if you want to catch up on some highlights of the year, here are the top 5 posts with the most views and comments:

  1. Fervent Prayer– reflections on the book “Fervent” by Priscilla Shirer
  2. What Do You Do When You’ve Done All You Can?– reflections on supporting a friend with mental health issues.  This was a post from the heart and, although it’s a post I wish I didn’t have the knowledge to write, I was blown away by the response- that God used it to help other people and to enable them to share their stories.
  3. Stories to Bring You Cheer– funny stories of children’s responses to Bible stories.  Most of my posts are pretty serious so I’m quite glad that this more light-hearted one has made the top 5.
  4. What Makes You Happy?– reflections on The Happiness Dare by Jennifer Dukes Lee and the different styles of happiness- take the test to find out yours here.
  5. Protecting Our Children From Sexual Abuse– another post that I wish wasn’t necessary, but at the same time I’m glad a lot of people read it as it has links to some useful resources  that can help to protect children.

          purposefulfaith.com        Holly Barrett #FridayFiveV2 300px_Glimpses

 

Advertisements

56 thoughts on “One Year Blogging Reflections And A Confession

  1. Loved hearing your voice. My family’s roots are Scottish on both sides. I completely understand your hesitance to use your real name but also think you can be proud of the courageous step you’ve taken. I’ve really enjoyed visiting you and have learnt a lot from you too. May God bless this coming year of blogging for you. Thank you for all you do to encourage others.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love love your video Carly….or Lesley😘😉
    This was a huge surprise….I like your accent too.
    Congratulations friend.
    Can I offer you my New Book as a small gift?
    Keep shining for Jesus, friend

    Liked by 1 person

  3. First time on your blog so I will only know you as Lesley. I think there is some wisdom in what you did, I have blog met several who have done exactly the same and still do. I know a country gospel singer who wrote a book under another name for protection. What a step of courage on your part. I’ll be back Lesley for more insight.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Happy anniversary! You encourage me. I started blogging in June sharing your feelings of wonder. Will anyone read what I write? Thank you for sharing your story. Your victory is laid as a stepping stone toward mine. Blessings to you.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Happy one year!!! What a treat to be able to read your words and to get to know you a bit better. I’m not sure if I knew you were part of the FMF community but I have not been present as much since January even though it is my favorite group of online people. I am praying the second year is a beautiful journey as you continue to open up to God, His words and to all of us, your community.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Mary. I have loved getting to know you and reading your words too. I’m not sure if I’ve seen you at FMF either but I’ve been taking part almost every week since I began blogging.

      Like

  6. Happy one year of blogging Lesley! I too love FMF community, even though I haven’t been a part of it for over a year. I hope to begin writing and interacting there soon. I love your accent. I always wish I had one. Thanks for sharing your beautiful blog over at the Glimpses link up this week.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Congrats on reaching this milestone! Oh, I remember when I started too. I was just as clueless as you. I’ve changed my layout many times and even my blog name.

    I can say your blog has come a long way.

    Thanks for blessing the internet with your presence.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Lesley, reading and listening to this makes me happy for so many reasons … not the least of which is hearing your lovely accent! I love the thought you’ve put into each decision and step you’ve made, including this last one to reveal your real first name. Congratulations on a year well written, and here’s to many more!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Love your accent, Lesley. And congratulations on finishing your first year blogging. I think many of us start out timid, not sure what to share and what not to share. We get more sure-footed as we go, but still have LOTS of those moments where we question what we’re writing. 🙂 But we keep doing it anyway. Hope you will too!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I love your accent! I have only been writing faithfully on a blog a little over a year and am also amazed at how wonderful the community has been. This is my first time visiting here but I am glad I found ya. God bless, friend.

    Visiting from Holley Gerth’s place.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are wearing brave beautifully! And congrats on your ‘blog-a-versary’. I don’t even know if that is a word, or right or…well, bloggers can be like Shakespeare and make up words, right? 🙂

    I also appreciate the authenticity, it makes you relational and real and that is one of the best things that we can do with our words and our hearts here in the world of writing. I have the same book (and a few others) and you are reminding me to open them up again.
    Blessings!
    Dawn

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Dawn. I was thinking of using blog-a-versary, but also didn’t know if it was a real word or how to spell it!
      I totally agree that authenticity is important, and as everything I have put on here has been authentic anyway I think it was time for the name to match up. Blessings to you too!

      Like

  12. I find the line of vulnerability the trickiest to navigate in this blogging world. Somehow the idea of a blog is so personal…so diary like. Yet, this is public information. That’s a lot to take in. And yet here we are, writing. Each of us has our own journey in this writing world (even my blog name is about that), but that doesn’t make any path more or less than another. So glad you’re finding your way on your path at your time!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Hi, Lesley! This is my first time visiting you, but as a fellow blogger and Christ follower, I am thrilled to have come here (visiting from the Glimpses link-up at Barbie’s blog). You have had such a full and amazing first year, too! I am going to check out “The Happiness Dare” that you were a part of the book launch team. My word for 2016 is “Happiness” and I have been reading and reviewing a book by Randy Alcorn called “Happiness”. I also have recently been a part of a book launch team…my first time being on one. The book is “Hope Prevails” by Michelle Bengtson. I have also read Fervent – we may have even been in the same online study group. I agree that the most rewarding part of blogging is becoming a part of such a wonderful community of people who share similar interests. I look forward to reading more of your posts and getting to know you better! (Bless you for opening yourself up to us and sharing about your identity. Honestly, it makes no difference to me who you say your name is, but I am sure the confession has released that burden and given you peace. I wish you God’s wisdom, grace, and joy, as He guides you in another year of blogging.) I also love your video…LOVE your Scottish accent, which I had no problem understanding! 🙂
    Blessings, Ann

    Like

    1. Nice to meet you, Ann, and thanks for commenting. I would definitely recommend The Happiness Dare, especially since that’s your word of the year. I have heard good things about Hope Prevails too.
      I’ll be over to read your post at some point over the weekend and look forward to getting to know you more too.

      Like

  14. Oh, Lesley! The video is so wonderful. I’m a teary, smiling mess watching it and my sons want to know – “why are you grinning and crying, mom, over something on your computer screen?” haha! I think it’s a bit of wonder at how the internet can be such a powerful tool of good, good growth in our lives. But — it’s also so wonderful to see your face and hear your voice and put it all together with the words you’ve written – your real name matches your words!

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Thank you Lesley for telling your story – I know it must have taken a lot of courage for you to make your confession. I also respect the fact that your decision was based on a desire to protect the young people you work with …. That shows great character.

    Congratulations on your blogging milestone!

    Liked by 1 person

  16. When I saw “Lesley” attached to your comment this morning, I paused and questioned my memory. I can understand the reason to write as Carly and all of your reasons to write as Lesley. I’m just glad you are writing! One year!! What an accomplishment! Congratulations!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s