Thursday, October 16, 2014

sometimes you're washing rocks in the rain and your blog goes viral

One night in late September, Andrew and I were bouncing the boys to sleep in their room. I don't know if it's the darkness, the whir of that white noise machine, or the sleepy sweet baby in my arms that does it, but that's the time when I often start fashioning blog posts in my head. Most of the time, the good ideas vaporize the second I set that baby down, but prayer was something I'd been thinking about a lot, something I really wanted to write about, so after I put Louie in his crib and tiptoed out of there, I sat down at the computer for about five minutes and outlined a post about praying for the parents of the babies that might someday marry my kids. At 5:00 the next morning, I filled in the missing pieces, and later that morning, I put it up on my blog.

I always post my writing on Facebook for my friends and family to see. My mom always shares it. My husband often shares it. Occasionally another friend or two. But that day, maybe eight people shared it, and from there, it just kept going and going. It was exciting and fun to watch my view counter hit 1,000 then 5,000. I was shocked when it hit the big numbers - 10,000 then 50,000 and eventually 100,000. That's when I started freaking out a bit and considered taking the post down altogether. But I knew that people would ask why and I didn't have a good excuse besides, "It was stressing me out."

Emails started rolling in - from grandpas and grandmas, pregnant mothers, seasoned fathers, new moms struggling with postpartum, other twin parents. People were commenting like crazy. And then ABC contacted me. They wanted to post If My Child Marries Yours on their website. I gave them permission to post it, just as I did for few other websites (including one in Spanish and one in Portuguese) and my favorite - a church bulletin.

That's when it really blew up. The boys were napping and I was in the backyard with Harriet, picking rocks out of the grass and helping her wash them under the drain spout. The rain was soaking my hair and the sweatshirt I was borrowing from my husband. A pink rain slicker with legs was giving me instructions, "More rocks, Mom! Here, can you put them in a pile?" I was on a quiet mission to fill a plastic bucket with backyard rocks and all the while, the world was reading my heart.



At one point that drizzly morning, my post was getting 10,000 views about every four minutes. (Andrew kept me grounded by reminding me that half of those were probably my mom.) I could no longer follow all of the shares, likes and comments on Facebook. It felt bigger than I was, certainly must faster, and it was leaving me dizzy. As my audience broadened, the negative comments started coming in. Some were one hundred percent correct, pointing out the fact that my post promoted gender stereotypes. Some comments were downright mean and unfounded. Most were somewhere in between.

I was struck by the fact that people were judging me as a parent, as a Christian and as a person based solely on this one piece of writing - a simple blog post that was really the electronic equivalent of scrawling something on a napkin, written in an unfiltered manner and for a very small audience.

The most common criticisms I got for the post were often posed in the form of a question - What if your child is gay? What if your child doesn't get married? What if your child marries someone with a background that's different from yours? What if your child doesn't have children? A few even questioned whether I would still love my kids if they didn't follow the path my post seemed to lay out for them. While I will not respond to all of the negative comments I received, I very much want to respond to this one, so please listen carefully...

My ultimate dream for my children is not that they are heterosexual, that they marry or that they have children. My ultimate dream for my children is that they will know God and follow Him. Not because I want them to follow in my steps but because I want them to follow in Christ's. Because I know the hope, freedom and transformation that comes only by trusting Him, and the thought of them living and dying without Jesus is more than I can bear.

My prayers for my babies are not dominated by thoughts of their spouses, but rather by thoughts of their character. My main prayer for them, the one I recite over and over again is that they will seek justice, love mercy, and walk humbly with their God (Micah 6:8). That they will stand up for those whose voices aren't heard. That they will be kind down to their core. That humility and selflessness will define them. And that most of all, they will walk with God. This, I'm not budging on. This, I will battle all of hell for.

But like I said, at night when I sometimes feel alone, my thoughts go to those other parents who are perhaps doing the same tasks I am doing and to that larger legacy that we might be building together. That vision is something that helps me see past that mile-high stack of dirty diapers and the seemingly endless string of sleepless nights. It helps me remember that the menial tasks I'm doing right now...are important.

I don't moderate comments. You are all welcome to say whatever you want here. A comment would really have to cross the line in order for me to delete it. But a lot of the comments did sting...more than I thought they would have. Those first few days after the post went viral, I kept telling Andrew that I wished it never would have happened. I felt bruised by unkind words and I felt like so many assumptions were being made about me that weren't true. I also felt like my blog had been overexposed and was struggling to feel welcome in my own space. It is going to be a challenge for me to find my true voice again without examining every word for fear of either offending or being judged. In my last post, I wrote Harriet had been drinking a lot of kool-aid...and then deleted it because I didn't want people to point out the fact that she shouldn't be drinking something so sugary and artificial. That made me sad because if I'm censoring myself all the time, this blog is worthless to all of us.

On the other end of the spectrum, some of my very favorite comments were from people who identified themselves as atheists. They said that although they don't pray or believe in the God I follow, they still loved the heart of my post. They picked out things in my post to celebrate rather than nit-picking things that they didn't agree with. I am so sad that all of these commenters were anonymous because I would love to write to them and thank them for choosing to be so positive. I so wish that more Christians would do that. So, my dear readers, if you are a Christ-follower, can you make me a promise? When you read something online, written from a worldview that's different from yours, can you please look for the good? Can you please choose to encourage rather than argue, to find common ground rather than pointing out differences? A friend of mine recently told me that her husband said that he hopes he's never the type of person who clicks "dislike" on youtube. Amen, Nathan. I hope the same thing for myself and my children.

Having a post go viral was a crazy experience. At times, I felt like I was flying and at other times, I felt like I was sinking. What kept my head up? The comments and emails I got from struggling parents saying that the post was exactly what they needed to help them get through that particular day.

Also, I am humbled and grateful that a string of simple words got so many people dialoging about prayer...prayers for our children. And no matter how big that particular post got on that random Tuesday or how absolutely itsy bitsy it will be in the near future...because that's how the internet works...I hope that our prayers for our kids will stay big...and bold...and uncensored.




Two quick things...

1. If you are a "no reply commenter" or always comment as "anonymous," please consider claiming your comments and giving bloggers an opportunity to respond to you directly. There were so many comments - both positive and negative - that I would have loved to respond to, but I wanted to do it via email to assure that they'd read my response and to avoid a public argument when a private discussion would be more appropriate. It was a bummer to not be able to connect with readers more directly.

2. If you are one of the many who stated that you disagree with letting babies cry it out, know that I'm right there with you. Please read these two posts, not because I'm trying to convince you of anything, but because I want you to know the sleep journey that we've been on (or at least part of it).

lullaby and goodnight

sweet dreams

45 comments:

  1. I found your blog when it showed up on my Facebook. I immediately started following because I LOVE your writing! Thanks for the great post and don't stop being awesome :)

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  2. Ditto to Jackie above. Your post showed up in my FB news feed more than once and I finally caved to read it. After I read it I became a follower as well! Keep fighting the good fight Mommy. Sometimes babies just need to cry a little bit, I know it always makes me feel better. I'll pray for yours if you'll pray for mine! I love your writing!

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  3. I'm not sure if you would consider this negative, I guess I would just say that I understand your intense desire for your children to "know Jesus" as you put it and to follow him, even as a staunch aetheist I understand that. I would just say, though, that if your children do not choose to follow that path, please know that they can still have a life guided by love, forgiveness and self-sacrifice. That they can do good toward others, fight for justice and support people without following God. They can still, in so many important ways, live the life you want for them and be the people you hope them to be.

    I only say this because as someone who was raised in the Catholic faith, and then left, it can be hard to feel from family (in my case extended) that my life is lacking, or that I personally am lacking, because I don't believe in God. It sometimes hurts, a lot, to know that family who loves me thinks those things about me, and judged me and my life as less than it would be if I would just follow God. I know it breaks my grandmothers heart and that it turn causes me a lot of grief. It's just hard.

    I don't know exactly what I'm trying to say by writing this. Clearly your children believing in God is of the utmost importance to you, and I don't want to say that shouldn't be the case. I guess it just makes me scared for you, and for your children, because I know what it feels like to be the person who doesn't meet that expectation. And I know how hard it is.

    I have always loved you and your writing (this is Esperanza by the way, not sure if you followed my move and name change) and I don't want to offend. As an aetheist I admit to not fully understand the importance of Christ in other people's lives and I don't want to speak disparagingly of that. I guess I just want to voice the other side.

    I know you will love your kids no matter what. That is who you are. Please don't think I would ever imagine that you wouldn't.

    I'm sorry you don't feel safe in your space. I know that feeling and it is horrible. I hope yor blog feels like home again soon.

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  4. What a crazy ride!!! It shocked me the first few times I saw it shared by my friends that don't "know" you-- I was like HEY THAT'S MY FRIEND THERE!!!! But I totally see how the excitement quickly turns to dread and anxiety when you feel like your 'space' is being exposed to the whole world. I hope you are able to continue being authentic and real.

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    1. I'm with Erika on all of this! I was super excited to see it on FB...and super sad when I saw some negative comments. Just remember there are 10 or 20 people who loved it, for every 1 who had something mean or negative to say. And all of your old, regular followers are still here, knowing you're the kind, sweet, compassionate person you always were - I truly hope you're able to hold onto your authenticity with these new changes, and think it's certainly a mixed bag when it comes to things going viral! It's still a beautiful post, and absolutely worthy of being viral and all the positive comments that have come from it.

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  5. I hope you know that all of those positive comments you received mean so much more than the negative ones.. even if the negative ones are the ones that strung. You are an amazing writer, mother and person and I have loved your posts since the first time I read them (before you were famous!! ;) ). I can't even imagine how odd it is to have soooo many people reading your words.. it is weird for me that people on my Facebook (non-blog related friends) read and shared your post so if I find that weird, yours is a whole other level!!! :) You should be very proud of all the souls you touched with your word and I hope you know that you really have done that. Keep writing. I'll be reading.

    Oh and I know it isn't the main point of all of this...but think about how much Koolaid you consumed yourself as a kid? (I know I consumed A TON!! It was 'the drink' for kids back then. When I think of a hot summer's day, it contains me chugging back a cup of kool aid when I come in from riding my bike because I am sooo darn thirsty.) Not a single person ever said a thing about it or even would have back then. I don't think it would have crossed anyone's mind to judge a parent on a kid drinking koolaid. Sometimes I just wish people could remember those days a bit more.

    ... And now I want some Koolaid ;)

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  6. I was amazed at how many times I saw your post shared but I thought it was awesome! At the same time I hated seeing the negatives comments, most likely from people who this was their first time visiting your blog. I just don't get why people have to be so negative, I would never think to write about someone like that, especially someone I don't even know. Anyway, I think you handled yourself very well and I hope you feel comfortable in this place still to use this blog for it's intended purpose.

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  7. Em, you are an amazing writer, and clearly, a wonderful mom. When I read your viral post, I immediately shared it with my niece, because I knew she would have the same reaction I had. We both bawled like babies reading your beautiful words. She, like you, is a young mother doing an amazing job with her two little girls.

    Your post really touched me, and now I'm a follower of your blog. I have been longing for my blog to get more exposure, but reading your words here, I can see how that could quickly become a case of "be careful what you wish for." My kids are older, so my stories and experiences are different. I will gratefully read your posts to be remind of those wonderful, exhausting early years.

    Please know that you touched a lot of people, that there was infinitely more positive than negative, and that some people just aren't happy unless they are complaining and putting someone else down.

    Keep up the good work. You're inspiring. And as Carrie said above, I'll pray for yours if you'll pray for mine! We can all use the extra help!

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  8. Another beautifully well written piece! I found this blog last year through hopeforababybump/Suzanne - the infertility world. When your 'prayer' blog started popping up on my fb newsfeed I was ssurprised and happy for you because - you ARE an amazing writer. Whether you reach one or many know that your words and thoughts are meaningful :)

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  9. You reached out to me in a comment last August and I've followed your wonderful posts since then. I don't know why some people say negative things but I hope you will feel this space is still somewhere special to write the words God lays on your heart.

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  10. Em,
    One of my best friend's from high school, her mom shared your blog post with me (our babies are weeks apart hers a girl, mine a boy). I saw it and said AH that's Em! I "know" her. I read your post and teared up, I probably would have ugly cried had I not been at work when I read it. You have always written beautiful posts. I'm so excited for you that it went viral, but stay strong and keep your voice! There will always be people who say mean things, hopefully they can see how hypocritical it is to be rude to you for thinking you are being rude (if that makes sense). You are a sweetheart, keep it up!

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  11. I found your blog through a friend sharing that post on facebook as well. I blog as well and cannot imagine how awful it would feel to lose the freedom I feel in writing honestly. Your post was an encouragement to me as a first time mom with a new baby in the home. I actually read it while I was feeding her in the middle of the night. It helped me through that night and was a blessing. It reminded me that those sleepless hours could be a blessing for others - through prayer.
    I will be following your blog I'm sure for a long time to come. I pray you are blessed through it and continue to write with the heartfelt honesty I see in just these two short posts. Thank you. God bless.

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  12. So well said, Em. As much as I love my semi-private infertility blog and my decent following, I would definitely freak out a bit if a post actually went viral! Like you said - when you throw a post up intending for a small audience to read it and then it goes viral...eek! I'm so glad you ultimately decided to leave it up though - it's a powerful post, and one that SO many of your fellow Christian parents (myself included) can identify with.

    I find Noemi's comment above a little tough to handle. One one hand, I would never want my children to feel "less than" because they believe differently than me, and I find it sad that she has felt that from her extended family....but that being said, I'm not sure how you can teach the importance of Faith in your life without it being clear that you'd be disappointed if they didn't Believe as well. I mean, I will do everything I can to impress upon my kids the importance of believing in God and Jesus and trusting in Them. How do you live by example and teach what you believe is vitally important in life without it being clear that your heart would be sad if they turned away from that? To me, I don't care if they're Protestant or Jewish or whatever, but it IS important to me that they believe in a higher power. I don't know what the right answer is here, but I'm just saying I get where you're coming from, 100%.

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  13. Can I give you some advice? Now you should monetize your blog!! ;-) hehe...
    Honestly, when I read that post I thought to myself, "this is the kind of blog post that goes crazy viral." I'm so glad I was right. :-)

    I can't imagine what it was like!

    I think it's great you post so straight from the heart. I never understand why people that disagree with something on the internet have to post why they disagree about it. You are SO right about those anonymous posters! Also, how awesome that ABC wanted to post it! Yay! I hope they paid you! :-) You deserve it!

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  14. I've been wondering how you've been holding up since your post went viral. Lavendarluz had a similar post to this one after one of her's got a lot of attention. A lot of what you say ere she echos.

    My two cents (for what they are worth) is recognizing that though blogging can be a freeing experience, we lose control of our words once we set them loose on the Internet. This doesn't mean that everyone should censor what they say, but we need to be mindful that one person's interpretation of a piece can vary wildly from the next person's. So even though your intentions are genuinely good (that's how I choose to see them), others will get prickly because you are bringing personal believes and morals into the equation.

    My hope is that in the years to come, you are able to look back on this piece and the experience that came with it in a positive light. That you grow from it, finding your voice again and trusting that what comes from your heart will come through. Because it does Em.

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  15. I'm so happy to read your thoughts since you became famous!! ;). None of my posts have made me famous but going from infertile to mommy, I find it very hard to continue to write. Almost as if my voice has been taken away. So I guess I can relate to you in some way with how your viral post and then the comments made you feel. I so look forward to continuing to read your beautiful thoughts on your posts. XO

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  16. As always, I loved this peek into your heart. Please don't censor yourself. Your unapologetically genuine insights are what make your writing shine.

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  17. Emily,
    Girl, keep shining! There's so much I'd like to say here, but basically just remember that Christ told us that the world would hate us because they first hated him. Count it all joy when you are persecuted. Sounds overly simple and not much like an advertisement to become a Christian lol, but those in Christ know exactly what I'm getting at.
    For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all (2 Cor 4:17).
    I would be upset too if I put my heart out there and had such horrible responses. Before you read anything, put on your "armor." When you realize it's really Satan trying to tear you down, it sort of changes your perspective on the comments.
    OK, summary: You are beautiful inside-out, and if God is for you, who can really be against you ?
    Rachel Dahlin

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  18. Your blog that went viral was actually the first blog of yours that I read. It appeared on my Facebook and the title peaked my interest:) While I am not yet a wife or mother I hope to one day be just that, and in everything I do now and then I pray that I will honor and glorify my God:) I started following your blog the day I read that post and I always look forward to new posts. God has gifted you with the ability to write and I want to encourage you the way that I hope people reading my blogs will encourage me when leaving comments. So, my sister in Christ, may the Lord bless you and keep you! May He make His face to shine upon you! I pray that when the darkness of the world surrounds you and tries to put out the beautiful light that Christ has put in you, God will shine brighter! In Him there is light and there is no darkness at all! If you are filled with light with no dark corners than your whole life will be radiant as though a floodlight were filling you with light (Luke 11:36). Oh how I pray that the Lord will speak so clearly to you constantly throughout the day my sister:) I pray that He will overwhelm your heart more and more every second of every minute of every day! May your mind be stayed on Him because those whose minds are stayed on Him will be kept in perfect peace! May He bless you richly beyond all that you could ever hope or imagine my sweet sister in Christ!!! =D

    I know that you are a busy mom and I respect that completely, but if you ever get the chance and would like to do so, please feel free to email me! I always love a good God conversation with a sister in Christ:) Keep honoring Him in all you do!

    In Christ,
    Kelcy=)

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  19. Mike (tmtbcomments@outlook.com)October 16, 2014 at 7:30 PM

    First off, let me state the obvious - as a guy, I'm probably not part of your "target audience" for your blog. With that said, as someone about to be a father for the first time in a few months, I found myself drawn to your writings when I saw your viral post linked to on K-Love. But it wasn't that actual post that drew me in - it was the one before. As someone who was always hesitant about having kids at all (and, in my younger days, swore I wouldn't ever have any), it was comforting to me to see that it's OK for me to not be the same type of parent my wife will be.

    Which brings me to this post. I am someone who wholeheartedly believes that Christ died to forgive my sins (and I need a LOT of forgiveness). But what struck me wasn't anything in particular about what was written, but about the verse from Micah - because my church did a 3 week series centered around that very verse earlier this year. Rather than trying to reiterate everything that was taught, I'll just give you the link so you can watch the talks yourself if you're interested. http://northridgechurch.com/talks/the-line/justice/

    Not one of us is perfect on this Earth. We all fall short of the glory of God. And, while the wages of our sin is death, Jesus died on the cross so that we wouldn't have to pay that price. And didn't Jesus also say to those who wished to judge the adultress that he who was without sin should cast the first stone? Those who nitpick this or that about how we live our lives and try to impress their version of right vs. wrong on us often fail to see the big picture - they're just as much sinners as we are and have no right to condemn us for our failings.

    As a father-to-be, I hope that I am more than just a father to my son - I hope to truly be a Dad. I hope to be the Dad I didn't have growing up (he was present, but not someone you would look at as a role model). And I hope he sees just how good living in God's grace and mercy is. And just know, Em, that you are playing a small role in encouraging me to be that person, even with the faults I have. The negative commenters will find something else to complain about soon; those of us who appreciate what you're doing here will be here long after the complainers are gone.

    Living in God's grace and mercy!

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  20. I'm sorry if my comment was inappropriate. I shouldn't have written it. And I don't want you to think that I meant you shouldn't be disappointed or not try very hard to have your children grow grow up in your faith. I guess I just read your words and heard my grandmother and aunts and felt that stab of, I don't know, pain. And I didn't want that to be a part of your life. But the reality is the chance of that happening is not great, so I should just keep my experience to myself.

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  21. I also found your article on Facebook and have been following your blog since. I have been very encouraged by reading your posts...thank you!

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  22. I believe I read your blog when a link was included in an Attachment newsletter for adoptive parents. I understand and love the heart you share from as we pray for our children to be blessed to have the walk with God that we have.

    I am a Christian woman who never knew what marriage was but God blessed me forever with the gift of my DD from China! I pray for her heart to walk closely with Him!

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  23. I LOVED your post and am very sad and shocked that people could find anything wrong with it. And it did remind me to pray for my children and their futures. I think it is easy to get caught up in praying for the things we need and want NOW and I appreciated the reminder to pray for my boy's futures. I do pray that they get married one day and that the person they marry brings peace and happiness to their lives. I pray also that I will raise them to be men that lead their families in Christ and bring peace and love to their homes. Thank you for reminding us to pray for them and I am so sorry that you had any negative comments. I shared that post on facebook with tears in my eyes and was so touched by your words.

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  24. I can totally understand why having a viral post made you anxious. Honestly, if it was me I probably would have freaked out and taken it down! So good for you for being strong enough to continue to share it!

    I never share my posts on Facebook, so when I write, I imagine I'm just writing to the girls - the same group of blogging friends who I've known for so long. I'm sure if you wrote that post knowing it would go viral, you would have maybe written it differently... but then it wouldn't have been as good or as authentic!

    I love your writing and I'm so glad you still find the time to write when you are as busy as you are!

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  25. Being a spiritual, but not necessarily Christian person (I believe in God, but am not convinced of the rest of it and am perfectly happy and fulfilled there), I absolutely loved your post. I pray for my kids, I have hopes and dreams for them, and yes... There are some expectations for them too. Will I love them just the same if they don't meet those expectations (and we're talking college, marriage, great character, being kind, etc here)? Of course! But those expectations are there, because it's NORMAL to dream about and for your children! My inlaws had zero expectations for their kids (truly... Just told them to be happy) and now support (financially, emotionally, etc) 3 of the 4 of them because they have no expectations for themselves. I won't make that mistake, and neither will you!

    I agreed with so many of the atheist comments, and felt stung by many of the judgy Christian ones, and I don't identify with either of those groups. If I was a Christian, I would have likely been heartbroken by those comments. I was raised Catholic, and those comments were far from living the Christian values that we were told to live. Sigh.

    Your post will live on. It is very special!

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  26. I didn't even think of that end of the spectrum Em. Thanks for sharing your heart with us.I'm glad you continue you writing.It always surprises me that non-Christians or atheist would take the time to read a Christian blog, ya know? And, then take the time to offer their comments - even stranger. I feel like the reason they do it is because they must be curious! Keep writing and let Christ shine through you. I love what you said, the most important thing is that your kids know Jesus!!!

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  27. I cannot even imagine having a blog post go viral! It seems so far from reality. I'm sure you felt the same way, but then.... You are such a gifted writer and I LOVE how you are always so "real" in your posts. I never saw any of the negative comments myself, but when I heard there were some, it flabbergast me! It's amazing how people can look at things so negatively. We all have ideals of how we want our children to grow up. Sometimes those ideals will happen and sometimes they won't. We want our kids to be athletic and love sports, but that doesn't mean we will love them any less if they are clumsy and gifted musically instead. A negative person could read that statement and question why can't they be both. Of course they can! You can't spend your time nit picking through everything you want to write. PLEASE continue just being you Em, because you are an amazingly warm hearted, Christ loving woman that connects with so many of us.

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  28. I bet this was a difficult post to write. You are going a GREAT job. Keep on doing what you are doing...including the red kool-aid :)

    Also thanks for sharing those links to your earlier posts about sleep. Dixie does okay at night some times ("okay" meaning only waking up 1-2 times) and sometimes goes to bed without crying (other times there is lots of screaming). But her naps are a struggle right now. I'm feeling exhausted physically but also mentally from trying so hard to find "the trick" to get her to sleep more/better during the day. Thanks for sharing your struggle too!

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  29. Em, I found your blog a bit before your boys were born (threw another blog, don't remember which anymore) and what drew me back was your "realness". Literally, within a week after finding your blog, I had read through all your archives :)

    I'm not a Christian, although I am a religious person and didn't see anything wrong with your post. Your love for your children and your sincerity clearly came through through your post. I'm sorry people were rude and nasty to you.

    Please don't censor yourself. EVER. I love how real you are. And it's okay for Harriet to have koolaid once a while (I drank 1 or 3 every day in the summer as a kid...)

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  30. I'm so sorry that you experienced such hatefulness and judgement. My most well read post yielded several comments that were so mean-spirited, they still bring me to tears. That is the most unfortunate thing about opening our hearts in these spaces of ours. But there are a small number of haters compared to the people we are able to touch through our thoughts and words. Keep writing, me friend…and don't censor yourself. You have a beautiful soul and sharing that could never be wrong. Haters gonna hate!

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  31. I'm not surprised it went viral. It was beautifully written. It can speak to every parent, religious or not (I'm not and it pulled me out of non-comment mode to tell you how beautiful it was). But I am shocked by how quickly that can happen. Not that I would ever imagine to have that happen with one of my posts, but it makes me want to take down my blog to think of the chance. My blog is very very private (ironic, I know), so I just can't imagine how you must be feeling being inundated with so many eyes when you never intended to reach so many. Whew. Anyhow, keep writing. Be brave. Your words are hitting home with a lot of people!

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  32. Haters gonna hate, especially online where people can be anonymous and not have to confront or defend their statements face to face. Your blog was beautifully written, and there isn't enough time in the world (or in one single blog) to address every single person's "what if's" so they will just have to use their imagination to answer hypothetical questions that happen to bother them on an individual basis. lol Keep on keeping on Em. Glad your message was read by so many people. Crazy indeed!

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  33. I definitely saw the good in your post. You are REAL and you are YOU. That's what drew me to your letter... that's what drew me to read your other entries. Your strength and faith and love are all things I admire.

    I hope you continue to share yourself with your readers. As a hopeful future mother, I find your blog endearing. Sending love and good thoughts your way. <3, Sarah

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  34. I've been reading this blog for a couple years now and absolutely love your writing. I am not a person of faith but the way you write about it is beautiful and encouraging. I did not realize your "if my child marries yours" post went viral and how cool that it did, because what a wonderful post. I may not be raising my kiddo in a world of faith but I completely felt the sentiment and appreciated it. Lovely. Thank you for sharing, from the bottom of my heart. You are a gem.

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  35. Blah blah blah and YUCK to mean commenters! I hate that a post you intended to be read by an audience who has followed you for years and knows your heart got taken out of context and used as a battering ram for individual, stupid, unrelated arguments. I want to scream, "hello, OF COURSE, she recognizes that her children might not have children... she one of the 1 in 8. she knows all too well that babies are a blessing that not everyone gets." Thankfully, I reigned myself in and remembered that they stopped reading at the end of the post... they have no idea what you went through to get to that day. Thankfully, everything I saw on Facebook was EXTREMELY positive, or I'd have gone to bat for you in a heartbeat. The funniest/cutest comment was about the blog title, something like, "I wonder why she can't braid." from a friend's mom. Made me chuckle. I shared your story behind the title with her.

    Keep your honesty and vulnerability at the forefront, Em. Your love for Christ and your family is what draws so many of us to you. We love you no matter what the crazies say, and SO many people loved your words too!

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  36. Craziness Em! I would totally panic if my blog went viral, but I'm pretty sure I will never have to worry about that. Anyway, I loved your post so so much. Totally bawled, especially since I often wonder how Elodie's future might look. Thank you for writing it, sharing it, and keeping it out there. Of course there will be those who find fault in it, but you don't need to defend yourself. Those of us who have followed you for a while know that you never meant to imply all of the things you were accused of implying.

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  37. Oh Mama! I have been in your shoes. I have a small blog (that I haven't been very good at updating this last month!) for my family who is scattered all across the US. Some of the things that weigh heavily on me are not mainstream and I question myself whether I should write on those ideas or just let them simmer inside myself. In the end, we all must be true to ourselves. We all must honor the truth that is within us. What happens when we don't? What kind of legacy to we leave behind?

    While I'm not a religious individual, I am extremely spiritual. My beliefs come from all walks of life and stem from Jesus' teaching "Do unto me as I would do unto you." Kindness. Love. Compassion. Your prayers to other parents was beautiful and truthful. As much as the naysayers words can hurt our ego, you spoke your truth and that will always outshine the negativity.

    Keep holding onto and honoring your truth and life will always be a more beautiful place to live.

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  38. I saw your post on Facebook and saved it to my own page to read again. What you wrote was beautiful, I didn't really notice what was and wasn't politically correct, what I did notice was the love and empathy you have for your own children and for those others who are raising their own precious children. I found your page and read this post and again you wrote beautifully and graciously. I am a christian and when I read what you wrote about character and your hearts desire for your children to know God it rang true as this is my hearts desire for my children. We have 3 boys, the youngest is named Micah because of Micah 6:8. Your writing is beautiful, such a blessing and encouragement. Michelle

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  39. Thanks for sharing your thoughts as you processed this crazy experience. A blog post going viral is one of my worst nightmares so I sympathize with your emotions. I'm not a particularly private person, but I like to hold things closely when it comes to the internet because the internet is kinda crazy! People feel safe writing disparaging things because of the distance the internet provides, both physically and emotionally. I'm sorry you had to experience that kind of stress. At any rate, I respect your bravery for moving forward from this and for choosing to continue writing the reflections Jesus places on your heart!

    Also, I read the posts about CIO and couldn't help but laugh at the truth that every kid is different when it comes to sleep! We made our first baby CIO and it worked like a charm, so when baby #2 came along we decided to do the same. But it did NOT work! We literally tried half a dozen times, multiple nights each time, and that kid simply would not catch on to the idea of sleeping through the night. We eventually gave up and now he's finally figuring it out on his own. No two kids are alike! They keep us on our toes :)

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  40. When you put your heart on your sleeve you open up and allow us to see an amazing view of your soul and heart. The bad thing is that it allows people to hurt you not necessary because they are mean but because of their person belief in what is right. By allowing us a chance to see you as you truly are you show us amazing honesty, courage and love. Please don't let what other people think of you stand in the way of being honest. My thoughts and prayers are with you. Jerry wrenchpuller@gmail.com

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  41. Em, a friend posted your blog on Fb. Rarely do I follow those, but this time I did. (excellent post by the way) Then I read some of the comments and noted one in particular from another female blogger, who was pretty unkind in her comments. Enough to upset you. Then I saw your reply and thought, "this is where Em will put her in her place (rightly so)," but you didn't. Stunned. I SAW Christ in you. Such a gracious reply, a reply that you didn't have to make at all. Then a gracious reply by her. You two ended "friends" and talked about meeting someday at a blogger event. If more people could respond to criticism as you did, "what a wonderful world" it would be indeed. You must have a huge heart full of Christ's love and your parents must be so proud of the daughter they raised. Good for you and God bless you. Rick

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  42. I was introduced to your blog by that post showing up on my newsfeed. I just recently started my own blog and you have been an inspiration to me! Keep posting and God bless!

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