Tuesday, December 20, 2022

a couple of my favorite Christmas songs and the story of how my blog came to be


Happy Tuesday, friends! I have a funny story about this picture above. I saw my sister post it last year on Instagram and when I enlarged it, I realized that those were my words that I'd written in an online devotional for Tirzah Magazine. The image is one they created, but the words were mine. She had no idea! Isn't that hilarious? And so crazy that the huge internet can sometimes feel small. 

I thought I'd share a few favorite Christmas songs I love today and the story of how my blog came to be a thing. I hope you enjoy reading this post!

First up is Come Thou Long Expected Jesus by Meredith Andrews. 

Next up is an old favorite: Heaven Everywhere by Francesca Battestelli.

I believe that music is an excellent thing to use in your home. It fills the quiet spaces, it brightens the mood and the right kind is relaxing to dogs, at least according to Dad and me. I've taken to leaving some on for them when I leave the house. One day last week, I even left a YouTube screensaver going for them, one for dogs. It was Christmas-y and there were birds chirping and flitting about. I'm not sure how much they enjoyed it, but it never hurts to have something to distract them with. 

I can't remember if I've ever shared the story of how my blog title came to be. I started it in 2007 with my first post, as I mentioned last week, but I didn't come back to write much that year. I really started posting faithfully in 2008, at a time in life when I was in the throes of raising young boys. Life was busy and complicated, but the exact day that I started this blog was on a day when I had a panic attack over all that my husband had going on right then. It was in the winter or the spring of that year and he was in the hospital recovering from a major abdominal surgery and a hernia repair. He had a tumor in his stomach that everyone thought was cancerous, but it was caused by the acid in his stomach. They were never fully sure it wasn't cancer until they were able to get in and do a biopsy. It wasn't, but I remember being overwhelmed at all that an abdominal surgery is—very difficult on the patient and with lots of iv's going in and out of everywhere, including an NG tube. 

As a young 30 year old mom with four boys aged 4-8 years old, all of this was hugely overwhelming. I wasn't able to leave his side hardly at all, but at the insistence of both him and one of his nurses, I left one day and came home to take a shower and to see the boys. I don't remember them being here, though...I guess they were staying with grandparents at the time, but while I was at home and in what was then an office upstairs, the phone rang. I answered it and it was the mom of one of his friends that volunteered on the fire department with him. I'll never forget her not asking about him, but asking about me and how I was coping. (She had recently lost her own husband to cancer.) I probably wasn't truthful at first and probably replied with the standard, "I'm fine, how are you?", but she wouldn't accept it. She told me that it was okay to let my guard down with her and that I could NOT be strong for a few minutes. I immediately burst into tears! We ended up being on the phone for close to an hour, and after I hung up, I wrote and published my first blog post. I wish I could find it for you, but I have tried several times and can't go back that far. 

Anyway, Todd turned out just fine, he eventually got to come home from the hospital after a seven day stay, he recovered well and life went on. I was overwhelmingly grateful for all of this and feeling all the things when I came across a couple of Bible verses in my quiet time one day. These are Colossians 2:6-7 in the NLT translation. I'll write them out for you.

And now, just as you accepted Christ Jesus as your Lord, you must continue to follow him. Let your roots grown down into him, and let your lives be built on him. Then your faith will grow strong in the truth you were taught, and you will overflow with thankfulness. 

I changed the title once or twice, but I always came back to those verses. Even if things had turned out vastly different, I can honestly say that God has been incredibly good and faithful to our family. He has carried us through countless things and several health scares, like the one I shared about Todd in the early days of our family. I can promise you that I mean every single word I say when I say that I am thankful for the goodness of God and all that He is to me. I literally cannot even imagine what my life without Him would look like, and it's something I don't want to even think about. One of my sayings is that even for a believer, life is hard, but without Jesus it would feel impossible. What those verses say above is true—He has made my faith strong through His word and He has caused me to overflow with thankfulness. I hope that my blog always reflects Jesus and the love He offers. 

Many of you have blogs. How did your blog and title come about? I would genuinely love to hear this story. I probably know a few of the stories already, but I love to share and read this kind of thing. Thanks for reading my blog today, friends! Love to all. 


  1. I love music too and am posting about some of my favorites tomorrow. I need to share my how my blog came about story in 2023. I am so thankful for people who allow us to be ourselves and glad you had a friend at that hard time of life.

  2. What a scary time when your husband was in the hospital! How nice of your friend to insist that you really share what was going on with you. Doesn't blogger let you go back to every post you've written? I can go into "Posts" and find every post I've written or go to the first year of my blog from the sidebar and find posts. My blog came to be when my friend Cory told me that she was starting a blog. I had never heard the term before though this was probably 2008 so they had definitely been around. I found myself enjoying reading the posts about her little boys. Here is the kicker- I saw Cory every day that the weather was nice because she was my neighbor and our kids played together in the cul- de-sac while we chatted. So, I didn't need to read her blog to find out what was going on with her family. I knew that from seeing her just about every day. But I love the written word so much that I enjoyed reading about the family's happenings even though I already knew everything! I always enjoyed writing so I decided to start my own. I had no idea so many other blogs existed and didn't start reading others' blogs for years and years. Fun question to think about! Have a great day!

  3. I had no idea about Todd - this is a little hard to read because my Dad died at 76 from cancer that was found in the stomach with a hernia wrapped around it or the tumors wrapped around the hernia. Well, we aren't sure which came first - the hernia or the cancer. He went in for the hernia repair November 5 and was gone by December 18. It was a very hard time.
    I love that the woman asked about you. It is very hard to forget about the person supporting the person going through the medical stuff.
    I will have to find my blog post about how I started blogging. I think I started in 2017.

  4. Marilyn, I'll have to check your post out! I love any and all music. You and me both, my friend. I couldn't even tell you her name today, because we never really talked before or after that, though I remember her son's name is Wes. It was like a gift from God!

  5. Maria, I know! We were so young. I can go back, but since I changed the layout of my blog, I have to just scroll and scroll to go back to that year. There's no way to filter it, and spent an hour trying to do that last night. I have written literally thousands of posts! I did find one of the earliest posts from 2008, but that was it. I'll have to keep trying.

    That's so funny about your neighbor! I am like you- I love the written word and I have always loved an inside glimpse of how people do life. I think my sister in law is the one who gave me the idea to start. I think...that part is fuzzy.

  6. Amy, I guess this was hard for you to read! I had no idea that was what your dad died from. That is so fast between the times of his surgery and his death. I am so sorry. I know you miss him! ❤

    I would love to hear how your blog first started too! I always love a good backstory.

  7. I love music too. I like to turn on YouTube videos on Sunday mornings while getting ready for church. Sometimes though I get a little distracted by the music I love and forget to get ready. lol
    I love the story of how the name for your blog came to be. I'm so glad your husband fully recovered. "Come Thou Long Expected Jesus" is what our Advent study is based on this year. It has such beautiful words.
    I started my blog in September of 2008. I had a co-worker/friend that started a blog and she kept telling me about it and challenging me to start one. So finally I did. The name Tales of the TCKK Family came because a lot of posts were about my girls and hubby and I and what was happening in our lives at that time. TCKK are the first initials of us. Tracy (my husband), Cathy (me), Kelli (oldest daughter), Kerri (youngest daughter). I've thought about changing it, but after this many years, I think I will just keep it. Even though the girls don't live close any more, I still write about things in our lives and sometimes theirs.

  8. Wow Jennifer! What a scary time for you. I love that the lady called to check on you. We need to check on people more often.

    My original blog was A Million Skies and I had it for many years, here on Blogger. I named it that because I would tell my boys that I loved them "a million skies". I still say it to my family sometimes.

    My current blog name came from what my grand babies call me...Millie. We recently bought this little house we are living in and a friend came over and kept calling it a cottage, which I loved. So when I decided to start a new blog, I thought of putting all of those elements together to form what I want my home to feel like, which is a cozy cottage. That's how Millie's Cozy Cottage Life came to be :)

    Thanks for sharing your story.

  9. This was so beautiful to read Jennifer-thank you for sharing. You reminded me of all of his goodness and how many times he has carried us through life. God is truly good. You are blessed XO

  10. Cathy, I laughed when I read that you're distracted by your music and forget to get ready. I can do that same thing! I also love to do that with the YouTube videos. I always wondered what the initials were- now I know! Thanks for sharing that with me! One of the names I had changed my own blog to at one time was "A Day in the Life- Tales of a Busy Mom to Four Boys"...but it was too long and too "busy". I like this name better now.

  11. Debbie, I love that name A Million Skies! I love that it's original, creative and meaningful. I know you would love to have that to look back on, but it sounds like you live out life each day with your family, so that's even better. I also love your blog name right now and it's part of what caught my eye when I first "found" you. Thanks for sharing that!

    As I wrote this post last night, I was reminded of the importance of calling people to check in. We do need to do that and it's something I try to remember. I reached out to a friend who's been hospitalized for two weeks as a result of this reminder...I just wanted her to know I missed seeing her at church and that I was praying for her. I also asked if I could visit her as soon as she's out of isolation and she said she would love that, so I plan on going as soon as she gives me the okay. We never know what people go through!

    Oftentimes the enemy messes with us when we're alone and going through the trenches.

  12. Holly- thank you for that, sweet friend. Yes He is.

  13. Thank you for sharing about your blog title. That sounds like such a hard time in your life, especially with little ones, and I'm glad you had a friend who checked in on you. I have had many times like that when I'm "holding it all together" and then someone says just the right words and I burst into tears. I need to do a blog post about my blog title...great idea!

  14. Thanks for that encouragement, Tanya! It was hard, but the Lord is faithful. I am always thankful for reminders to check on people. We never know what someone goes through in life. I would love to hear how your blog name and actual blog came about! I'd also love to hear about your years spent living abroad- like what sent you there in the first place. I hope you have a great day, friend! ❤️

  15. I love hearing stories of how blog names come together.

    Mine actually started because I was just going to be a Knitting blog... & I was early in my youth ministry teaching years (here I am over 20 years later) & the title just worked for my knitting & my church life. I still like my name.

    Thats too funny that your words came back around to you!

  16. I do too, Rebecca Jo! And I love your blog name. How perfectly fitting! Don't our words have a way of doing just that?! 😂

  17. I love hearing the stories behind blog titles. I'm from Missouri (Show Me state) and moved to Kentucky because that is where my husband is from and started working here...sweet tea is southern, so I combined the two for blog title :)

  18. Me too, Jen! And I love your blog title. I wondered what the "show me" was about. Thanks for sharing that!


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