Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Navel gazing, Africa, and blogging

I've been wanting to do a post like this for some time now. You know, why do I blog, what's the point, why I blog what I do. And then someone recently left a comment on one of my old posts that ended with these words: "then maybe you should just feel lucky, rather than navel gazing and wondering why you aren't a poor starving African." So I decided to go for it.

I fully had to look up the term "navel gazing" because I had no clue what it meant. (Surely they didn't mean me literally staring at my navel--I've birthed two babies and I can assure you it is NOT a pretty sight--or site!) Then I had to laugh, because I think a lot of blogs are for the PURPOSE of navel gazing, so you probably shouldn't read them if you don't like hearing other peoples' introspections or reflections.

Here's a little secret about my blog--are you ready for this? I'm not saying anything here that people aren't saying better on any number of blogs. My whole reason for taking up blogging in the first place was to chronicle our sons' adoption from Ethiopia. There were very few Ethiopian adoption blogs at that time, so then I wanted to be a resource for others in-process. Now there are TONS of blogs by Ethiopian adoptive parents. My sons' adoptions are complete. I'm well aware that my written words are not particularly unique or overly important. But I continue blogging because it's fun. It makes the world smaller. I'm addicted to my friends' blogs.

And I blog what I know. You won't find stuff like crafts or artwork or political opinions or celebrity gossip on here because those aren't things I can write about. (Sadly) I'm not crafty, I'm a terrible artist, politics drives me nuts, I'm not really enamored with celebrity culture. I'm a wife, a homemaker, I have four small children, two are adopted, I spent a week in Ethiopia, I love Jesus, I like to read. So I post about my life, my thoughts, my kids, Africa.

I do feel quite "lucky" to have been born into the comforts of America. I also feel a responsibility to help those that were not blessed in this way, to be real and open about what is reality for so many people in our world. (Because most of us are pretty sheltered, myself included.) Two of my kids were born into this reality, so I don't really have the whole option of just forgetting about it. When we watch old videos of my daughter being born and my son asks why we don't have a video of HIS birth, I don't get to just turn off my brain and emotions. When my daughter asks why my sons' birth mom couldn't keep them and who is helping her while she's sick, I have to come up with an answer. Maybe my blog IS too introspective, but that's why you don't have to read it. Maybe part of why I feel the need to work through some of life's questions is because my kids are asking them, and they're asking me.

I can assure you our home is filled with laughter, joy, and fun. No one sits around wringing their hands over why we were born here and not there. A day or two will go by where there's no mention of Africa. But hopefully we're fostering a sense of compassion in our children and teaching them to care about others and to thank God for His provision in their lives. And that if we see somebody (or millions of somebodies) in need, instead of worrying about or debating it to death, to take action and pray and give of our resources. You can sit and complain about world hunger or the AIDS crisis all day long, but unless you're ultimately seeking to meet those needs, you're wasting your time.

The comment itself didn't bother me, I just wanted to take the opportunity to address what my blog is, and what it isn't. One last thing--the other part of the comment was suggesting that life is left to chance, that maybe there is no God. I don't consider this to be a "religious blog" in the sense that I'm not purposing to evangelize anybody. A lot of people read it who are NOT Christians. As for myself, I DO put my hope in Jesus Christ. I DO have faith and hope that one day, all will be made right. And that God's in the process of making things right today.

So I'll keep "adding to the noise", and you can keep reading if you like.

Voice, thanks for sharing your perspective. Hopefully this better explains mine.


Stacey said...

You go girl! Very well written!

Anonymous said...

I've commented a few times mentioning how much I enjoy your blog and I want to send you a little note letting you know just how much :)
What is refershing about you, is you see that life isn't fair, that we DO have a responsibility as women, mothers, Christians and humans to help others. The people I have met, who have a problem with that, are the ones who know deep down that they don't do enough to help others, to follow as Christ lead in helping those in the most desperate of situations. There is a well known Christian blog (not related to adoption) that I have had to stop reading because I felt (though never voiced) that there was NO understanding or compassion or love for those less fortunate, instead there is a feeling of blame - and look at us we are wealthy because we are good Christians.
Your blog is upbeat, refreshing and wonderful. I am sure you are the better mother to your boys (& girls) for having such respect for their first mom, their culture and the suffering that exists.
As I say each and every day if Christ walked the earth right now, he wouldn't be sitting with the lawyers in Church, He'd be in the slums, in the HIV clinics, visiting with prostitutes and those dying, comforting the orphans and children in war zones. We have to follow His lead.
Many blessings,
Kate in England

Mark, Rebecca and Sophia said...

I enjoy your blog as well. It is simle, real, silly and introspective. Thanks for sharing yourself. Keep blogging!

Lisa, Pierre, Marika,Karelle & ??? said...

I don't post comments often but I also followed your blog from when you were in the process of adopting your sons and have never stopped checking in as I really enjoy your blog!

We adopted our two daughters from Ethiopia in 2007, they are 1 and 2 now and we are now expecting our first biological child so I love to read about your days having lots of little ones as we plan to grow our family still as well and hopefully adopt again someday !

And we are also the same age !


Meg said...

you said this really well- really really well......keep writing.


Keep being you. That's why I read your blog.


Stephanie Strand said...

I read your blog often, and enjoy it thoroughly. Unlike many blogs I read, you have a wonderful mix of daily life, and your own personal introspection about various issues. On more than one occassion, something you have written about in your blog has caused me to stop and think about my own feelings on a particular issue. I hope that you will keep writing in exactly the same way that you have been- I find your writing refreshing, honest and fun. Best wishes.

sarah said...

Brianna, you have so much class. You could have handled that "navel grazing" comment differently, but you turned it around and made a positive blog post out of it.

I know you're busy being a mom but i really think you should consider writing some sort of article on your adoption experiences, or most anything that goes on in your life. It's all interesting and beautifully written! (Do you have a journalism degree or is this a natural talent?)

sarah said...

I meant, "navel GAZING," hee hee.

Kristen Borland said...

i missed that photographer post the first time around. that picture makes me sick. that is just so, so awful. do you know if the photographer helped her to the aid station??? that's driving me crazy!

i rest in knowing God is in control and His sovereign plan is way beyond my understand (gee, isn't that the definition of finite being?). you are right--He will make all things right.

and i'm addicted to your blog too.

Emily B. said...

Thank you! Thank you for opening your life up to us and allowing us to learn from one another. I read your blog because I appreciate your insight and experiences. And (like you said) it makes the world smaller. As a future adoptive parent, it is so wonderful to catch a glipse of what my life may include a year from now!

I know that sometimes my blog entries are mundane or insignificant to some people, but others (family/friends out of town) really appreciate the silly diary entries. And I hope that the readers I don't personaly know will keep coming back to catch the entries that are relevant to them. I can't be relevant to everyone all of the time :)

We can only write what we know... Keep writing and I'll keep reading!

Angela said...

you go girl...

Anonymous said...

I worked at orphanages in Addis for awhile, and found your blog as a link on the blog of one of the kids I worked with who was adopted. I check in and read your writing sometimes because I think you have a very worldly, open-minded, and educated perspective on issues which are very real and affect so many people in many different ways. I guess I particularly like your blog BECAUSE it is introspective. At the same time, you are easy to relate to as a caring mom and someone who seems like a very sweet person. I say rock on!

Emily said...

Awesome. As a young mom of two little girls in my home and one at home with Jesus who has just begun the process to adopt, your blog blesses me! So thanks for that. :)

darci said...

hey brianna, just reading back and catching up on the lost 6 months of new babyness. I so enjoy reading your blog..keep on writing and we will keep on reading. you know it's so interesting how critical some people can be. i LOVE the term navel gazing! I am a real navel gazer myself and now i know the term. teehee :) I loved this post. "if you ignore the cry of the hungry, you yourself will call and not be heard." (somewhere in Proverbs..) I am right now seeking to find the balance as I teach my little ones about the whole wide world out there, and how blessed and lucky we/they are, and how there is suffering, and yet that God is good. That we have been given much and so much will be required. Ok, rambling finished. I really appreciate your blog. darci :)


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