Ten Years of Blogging, and I Almost Missed It

January 20, 2015 @ 9:52 am | Filed under: ,


I entered the year aware that Bonny Glen’s ten-year anniversary was approaching on Jan. 20, and I had thoughts of all sorts of retrospective posts leading up to the occasion. Then, on Jan. 4, I started a new gig—the kind of steady behind-the-scenes work that makes the children’s-book-writing, homeschooling life possible. I went from Cybils-reading-load busyness to new-assignment busyness, and since I thrive on busy and new (oh especially new), I’ve spent the first weeks of the year in a satisfying whirr of learning and doing.

And I forgot all about the anniversary until I saw Melanie’s post this morning. We began on the same day—a coincidence; we hadn’t met yet; we met through the blogs—and her post puzzled me. Oh, she’s celebrating early, I thought. And then, hang on

The first kid-photo ever to appear on this blog, posted July 2005

The first kid-photo ever to appear on this blog, posted July 2005

Not early; Melanie is timely, I am tardy. It’s no wonder I lost track of the date; Scott is away for a few days on an adventure with his brothers, and on the rare occasions when he goes away, I always turn the house upside down for some kind of grand-scale cleaning/purging endeavor. This time, because I had resolved to sort through ALL THE BOOKS in January, I’m ignoring books entirely and overhauling the clothes situation. Ugh, clothes. Yesterday, up to our ears in piles, we were pondering the merits of Laura and Mary’s two dresses each. In a few minutes I have to get up and return to the fabric mountain. We’ve just gotten Wonderboy off to school, and Bean and Huck are on a “fog walk” (it’s a rare misty, moisty morning here), and Rose and Rilla are taking advantage of the topsy-turvy schedule to sleep in a bit.

Wonderboy and Rilla, June 2006

Wonderboy and Rilla, June 2006

And here I am in the old familiar text window. Ten years of writing here. I began at Typepad in 2005 and migrated to this WordPress site in 2007. I’m always surprised by how short a span of time Bonny Glen resided at Typepad; so much happened in those two years, and I met made so many friends in the blog world, both homeschooling and kidlitosphere, that it seems a much longer period. I’d been blogging for about 16 months when Rilla was born, the first baby whose blog name I settled upon even before we’d chosen her real name. A month later, I was offered a job as one of ClubMom’s regular bloggers, so I set up camp at a second site, The Lilting House, and posted there about three times a week for a year or so. ClubMom shuttered the MomBlog program in 2007 and I folded Lilting House into my archives here. I still have some broken image links from those days that need cleaning up—a Someday project.

In those first years, I wrote a lot about homeschooling—not just the daily glimpses I continue to share here now, but also a lot of theory, a lot of methodology discussion. I was sorting out my ideas and I do that best by writing them down. After a while I had discerned that I would probably never fit entirely into any one camp—unschoolish but not unschooling, Charlotte Mason-inspired but not pure CM, etc—and I coined a term to describe what it is we actually do. I’ve written a good deal more about tidal homeschooling since then, but much more casually than I addressed education method in the first years of this blog. I smile sometimes over the difference between me in my 30s, with a houseful of pretty young kids, and me in my 40s, with a range from college to kindergarten. (Oh my heavens, when you put it like that.) I was so full of helpful advice back then! 🙂 Now, with a lot more experience under my belt, I probably have better advice, but I dish it out sparingly.

view from point loma lighthouse

2007, the year after we moved to San Diego. Photos got bigger after I moved to WordPress!

2007 was the year I joined Twitter, and I can’t remember if Facebook came before or after for me. Either way, I experienced, like everyone else, a shift in blogging and combox conversation after the social media boom. There was a very good discussion of this topic over at Sarah’s last week, and in the course of it I had a little epiphany: even though social networks have had a dampening effect on the amount of conversation that happens in blog comments—what with so many readers preferring to do their chatting on Facebook or Twitter or elsewhere—it’s the humble blog that keeps such discourse lively. I might write a post here that draws a handful of responses from my most faithful readers, who by this time have become dear friends!—but the very same post will generate multiple long threads of discussion over on Facebook. It struck me what an important role the blog post still plays in our online conversation. In Sarah’s comments, I said:

…even though the ease of conversation at Facebook (with reply notifications, user tagging, all the bells and whistles that keep people tuned into the discussion) seems to have given it an edge in the comment department, it’s the *blog* that makes it possible—one permanent link for the original post, easily shared across a variety of networks, with embedded images and links. I couldn’t post a full Downton recap at FB, say, let alone Twitter or Instagram or anywhere else. So no matter what platforms we all drift to for our *discussions*, we still value the blog format for its completeness, its portability, its whole package. Truly, we can’t do without it!

Generating discussions isn’t the only thing I cherish my blog for. I’ve written before about how important it has become for my family—the primary archive of our adventures. I don’t scrapbook, I haven’t compiled a photo album in years, I don’t update baby books. Most of the kids don’t even have them. But I’ve chronicled our stories here for a decade, and we all enjoy laughing over the kid quips in the archives. I didn’t realize just how much it meant to the kids until recently when Bean and Rose told me how often they go back into old posts “to read about our childhood.” They know I pull back on posting kid-stories as they get older, out of respect for their privacy, but they tell me they miss being able to read about the hilarious thing that happened last week. Food for thought, for this blogging mom!

August, 2008. Heart in my throat, looking at this photo today—now I'm reading that same book to this wee girl!

August, 2008. Heart in my throat, looking at this photo today—now I’m reading that same book to this wee girl!

A challenge of blogging has been how to meld the personal and the private—how to share these family stories without saddling my children with a complicated Google history. And how to blend writing as the frank, flawed homeschooling mom I am with a more professional presentation as a children’s author some readers (students, teachers, editors) are looking to connect with. It’s complicated! I mostly muddle through it. I yam what I yam and all that.

But blogging is more than the sum of its parts—more than simple family chronicle, more than author portal, more than a place to engage in the kind of show-and-tell resource-sharing I love so very much—it’s a crucible for friendships. I get a little choked up when I think about all the very real, dear relationships that were born in the comments here. You, my friends. Some of you I’ve had the fun of meeting in person, and some of you live so far away our non-virtual paths may never cross (sob!), but the friendships run deep nonetheless. In the end, I write to share—and it’s you, the friends at the end of the page, I’m thinking of when I sit down and click “Add New.” Thank you—really, from the bottom of my heart—thank you for keeping me company on this journey. I’m so happy to have my own little house on the internet where you can come and visit.

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26 Reponses | Comments Feed
  1. Julie says:

    My 10 year blog-o-versary was this month too! January 5 (15 days ahead of you). I have always enjoyed your blog, your homeschooling advice, your family stories, your uncanny knack at recalling the exact words your children utter, and the happy hilarity of your exchanges over social media with Scott…one room over from you.

    Hoping we meet and hug in person one day.


    • Melissa Wiley says:

      “uncanny knack at recalling the exact words your children utter” << a characteristic I'm told makes me a challenging spouse. Poor Scott... Julie, I have you to thank for sparking my Jan 20, 2005 decision to blog! You offered to link to other homeschooling blogs in your sidebar, and I thought, "Homeschooling blogs? I must have one!: I too hope we'll see each other in person one of these days!

      • Susanne Barrett says:

        We’ll need to drag Julie back out to San Diego soon! 🙂 I haven’t seen her in so long despite chatting on the phone (usually when I’ve run into a wall at BW), and you two definitely need to meet! 🙂

        Both of you inspired me to start blogging as well; my 9th blog-versary will come in August.

        Susanne, scraping ice off her windshield in shivery Pine Valley

  2. monica says:

    aww, yours was one of my first blogs to faithfully read and it is still one of my faves. You mean we havent really met in real life? gosh, it feels like it. happy blogiversary!

  3. Smallest Leaf says:

    Oh, wow! I (and we) have been with you for most of those ten years. Although I’ve missed a bit here and there – would you call that “tidal blog-reading”? 😉 – I have loved every minute of my time here at the Bonny Glen. Such a warm, welcoming, inspired place to stop in for a visit. Always worth the moments out of my busy day. You have put so much of yourself into this blog, and it is pure gift to those of us privileged to tag along.

    Bonny Glen was the VERY FIRST blog I began following. I must have found you pretty early in your blogging career, since I remember expectantly waiting for your next post at the same time as I was expecting one of my children (born not too long after you started).

    I love what you wrote about the changes in our lives as mothers over the last decade:

    “I smile sometimes over the difference between me in my 30s, with a houseful of pretty young kids, and me in my 40s, with a range from college to kindergarten. (Oh my heavens, when you put it like that.) I was so full of helpful advice back then! 🙂 Now, with a lot more experience under my belt, I probably have better advice, but I dish it out sparingly.”

    The more we learn, the more we realize {humbly} that we just don’t know. Your advice, however, dear Lissa, whether written by the 30-something you or the you a decade older, has always been written humbly and beautifully.

    I’m sure that through the archives of this happy blog, and through the new posts you will write, that you will continue to bless others as they make their own journeys through life.

    In celebration of your happy 10th year blog anniversary, I’d like to share a poem with you that was published in the National Federation of State Poetry Societies’ anthology “Encore 2013”. Keep blogging, Lissa. You may never know in “whose hearts’ corners your words will be carefully tucked”.


    Dreaming in black and white,
    I see myself as poet:
    my folded words
    carefully tucked
    into corners
    of hearts I do not know;
    the familiar light of my soul
    shining in their eyes.

    © Lisa Salinas

    • Melissa Wiley says:

      Lisa, this poem is so beautiful! Carefully folded words tucked into the corners of their hearts–oh!!! Perfect image, perfectly described. I’m so glad you shared this.

  4. Penny says:

    Lissa, your words have meant so much to me and mine. Whether bog or book – you have really made a difference in our lives. Thank you from the bottom of my heart… xo

  5. sarah says:

    Big hugs to you! I began reading you at The Lilting House, I think. At first it was your charm which captured me, but to be honest over the years your writing and sharing informed and strengthened my homeschooling practice like no other. I adored the various methods out there – but you made it real. Tidal Homeschooling absolutely encaspulated that real. (Oh, and your books added great value to the Year of Laura – the biggest, best unit study we ever did!)

    But as well as your homeschool writing and your books, there’s been your breadmaking, reading recommendations, the quiet steady strength of your spirituality … I have even started looking at comics in a new way. Thank you for all the wonderful things you have given me.

    Because I’ve moved around so much with my own blog, I can’t say exactly how long I’ve been at it – about nine years, I think. I often miss the good old days (I mistyped that as gold, funnily enough) of more open and innocent homeschool blogging. We all had so much fun! People are more careful now, probably because their kids are older, and that’s a good thing of course. And other people have made their blogs into businesses, which is a good thing for them. But much of the spirit of camaraderie and shared adventure has gone, I think. I’m endlessly grateful that you are still writing.

    Here’s to another ten years!

  6. Mama Squirrel says:

    Congratulations! Our own it’s-a-decade party will be in February.

  7. Sheila says:

    What an EXCELLENT post! I was thinking the very same thing about Facebook and blogs the other day, when a friend of mine said “why do you keep on with that old-fashioned blog format? haven’t you heard about Facebook yet?” Which I have (I’ve posted on your Downton wrapups under ASJones), but I really love the long essays we can put on our blogs, essays we can go back to without having to scroll, scroll, and scroll some more, past all those endless inane photos and updates (and in my case, random photographic evidence of things in the house that caught my eye). When I open up a New Post window I feel as though I have leave to write until I no longer want to write, whereas in Facebook I feel compelled to be brief, as though the attention spans are shorter (because I know mine is).


  8. tanita says:

    Aww. Congratulations. It’s … a reminder that our first blog post was in 2005 as well… February. Sheeesh. What a long time to be a part of a community… no wonder we’ve all started to feel like extended family.

    ♥ Keep writing.

  9. Selvi says:

    Happy Anniversary! I love your blog! I’m glad that it sounds like it gives you as much pleasure as it does to all of your readers. You can kind of tell, just by reading your posts, but still, it’s lovely to hear you say it.

  10. sarah says:

    Happy Anniversary, Lissa! I didn’t even know what the word “blog” meant until you invited me to check yours out! It has been wonderful to keep up with your journey. Each time I see a new post is like a burst of sunshine coming through the screen. O happy day.

  11. Ellie says:

    Well, you know this, or least, I’ve mentioned it before, no worries if you don’t, actually, know or remember!, but yours was one of the blogs that inspired me to begin blogging, in the Spring of 2006. And my first post was about 4yo Joshua saying that he wanted to be a fire truck when he grew up. Bless. So that means next year will be my ten … Honestly, I Felt so shy about it, blogging I mean, that I sat on the notion like a hen with an egg she won’t let go. … My kids adore it when ai read back through the funny things they’d say, the fun things we’d do, what they were learnin, what their favorite picture books were … Now that they are in or will soon be entering the teen years, they love hearing me read about their brother as a teen, as written on the blog 8-9 years ago …. I am so glad I have written all those years’ of words …


  12. COD says:

    I started blogging in Jan 2001. However I’ve never really noted the anniversary. I celebrate 12/31/95, the NYE I spent teaching myself HTML while my very pregnant wife went to bed early. Shortly before midnight I figured out ftp and put ODonnellWeb online. It was 3 hours later when I figured out server permissions so that the site was visible, but it was on the Internet in 95!

    Congrats on sticking with it. Sadly, we are a rare breed.

  13. Amy C. says:

    Happy anniversary! Of all the little houses on the internet, yours is the coziest. Thanks for many years of your writing, which always gives me a lift . . . and here’s to many more.

  14. Melissa Wiley says:

    Thank you all for these wonderful comments! I spent most of the day yesterday cleaning out closets, and it was a delight to come back here late in the evening and read all your kind words. So appreciated!

  15. lesley austin says:

    Oh! Feeling so…grateful, I suppose. That we met all those years ago (right? I know you’ve told me so, but those early show days were such a blur for this introvert, I can’t quite remember), for all you’ve shared over the years, that you will be going on….

    • Melissa Wiley says:

      Leslie, yes, we met in person at a Virginia Home Educators Convention at the Science Center (or Children’s Museum?) in Richmond. I’m trying to think if it was before Wonderboy came along (i.e. 2003), or after. I’m sure I could find the date, since I gave a couple of talks at that conference. I was strolling the vendor hall with my friend Lisa Jones and we happened upon your booth. It was love at first sight! I bought myself a print and snuck back later to buy one for Lisa’s birthday. And you were so lovely to chat with. 🙂

      When I was exploring the archives I saw that you were one of the first resources I shared here, back in Feb 2005. https://melissawiley.com/blog/2005/02/17/how-far-that-little-candle/ <-- a rave review of Small Meadow Press. Also, I keep meaning to tell you what I found in my files! The Small Meadow calendar pages I kept in 2004. Several months of them, full of little drawings and notes about what we'd done. So many tiny events I'd forgotten! That was pre-blog and the calendar was my memory bank back then. I ought to scan them to share--so much fun to revisit the details of those days. Major events included Wonderboy getting his first pair of hearing aids!

  16. Karen Edmisten says:

    Oh, ten years! It’s ten years for me this year, too, although my anniversary will be weird (I joined Blogger in March, 2005, started exploring the world of blogs, then almost didn’t jump in. My first post actually came in September. I’m always slow, and always late to parties.) 🙂

    But, oh … ten years! 🙂 Congrats and hugs, and here’s to ages more that we can spend together on the interwebs.

  17. BettyDuffy says:


  18. BettyDuffy says:

    Oh, say, speaking of the years passing…my gravitar is ten years old, and I don’t remember how to change it. embarassing.

  19. jep says:

    I don’t comment often, but do so enjoy reading your blog.
    Thank you for all the great advice!

  20. maria says:

    A bit late to the party(sorry), but a wholehearted CONGRADULATIONS ON YOUR BLOG DECADE-AVERSARY!!!!!!!!!! Whoooooohooooo!

  21. Isabella says:

    I have been following your blog for years. so happy blog verasary! Thank you for all the wonderful suggestions for books, games, etc over the years.

    oh, and just checked out angrychicken’s blog and she has a post about peg dolls, like downton abbey and it reminded me of you.

  22. Erica Sanchez says:

    Congratulations,Lissa! I am not totally sure if I read your blog since the very beginning, but pretty close, I think. I thought you were a rock star and I still do. Your blog has been a blessing and your in-real-life friendship even more so! Love you.