Love explains things – Why this man is attending Blissdom

by Craig on January 21, 2011

If you’d like the short answer instead of the all 959 words, it’s this:

It’s the heart in the words,

between the words,

the soul that you all write with

in this special and powerful community you have formed

that makes me want to read your words, and write like you.

You can stop there if you’d like – but there is more…

For my readers who don’t know what Blissdom is – that little button over on the right tells you everything. But I’d like you to read this too.

Back before I began blogging – way back – 9 or 10 weeks ago, I wrote something like this to three writers whose words were pure inspiration to me. Three names everybody knows.

Amber Haines, Robin Dance, Ann Voskamp.

There was a time before I began reading in this community that all I could write was written in blah blah.

Faith does blah.

The Bible says blah.

The Greek word for this is blah

and this means blah.

Blah blah theology.

Blah blah preaching.

Blah blah I’m so smart.

Then I started reading words you all have written.

You all are moms. I’ve never been one – or a dad. In preparation for beginning a blog I read every Christian blog I could find. I went to Technorati and started at #1 and worked my way down. Not a one touched my heart – and I read oodles of them – all written by men.

Then, in prep for a writer’s conference I thought I might attend, I read Holley Gerth, because I was going to pitch a project. Her words touched my heart in a way none of the male blogs did. I thought,

“This is what I want to write!”

I followed her blogroll to find what inspired her. Then followed the next one and so on. Suddenly all I was reading were Christian “mommy bloggers”. The heart and soul poured out on their blogs was something I’d never read before.

Then I read Amber Haines and Ann Voskamp – and that was it.

I had found a new way of writing – by reading.

I wanted to write like the women in this community wrote

with heart

and soul

and depth

and love.

The male blogs I’ve read are good, insightful, but not words that slice through the intellect and find a home in the heart.

I read.
I tear up.
My heart grows like the Grinch.

I don’t know what y’all know.
Degrees only fill the head, not the soul.
I can’t say what you say with such elegance.

I thought I could write, but you all are presenting me a course on heart writing instead of head writing. I feel – really, really, feel – rescued, and so absolutely blessed that God led me to you all.

I read,
and absorb,
and transform with every post.

I’m gladly off of the throne, and sitting obediently at feet, and just in awe,

And I’m not a poet, I’m a prose guy. I write paragraphs indented, or in straightforward and even blocks. If I write poetry it’s “one fish two fish red fish blue fish”. But you guys, you women “guys”, are teaching me a new language. I’m being morphed into a tiny poet fledgling that’s being ooopsed out of the nest.

And sometimes I freeze as I read.

And doubt springs up everywhere, like a water balloon prancing on pins.

“I can’t do that!” my head screams. And that’s the way it needs doing!

But faith is sister to hope.
And hope whispers to me that God is still refining
always refining the gold.

You all make me “selah”
and teach me to line up my words like bunny prints in the snow
instead of squares of concrete on the sidewalk.

I may never,
be able
to thank you

That’s what I wrote. You can stop here now if you’d like, but there is more…

Before reading so many of you, I realized that I never understood the depth of the love, emotion, and power, of moms.

I never got how you live and breath,

only and deeply,

every second of every minute

your family.

I’ve never wanted to pray and pull for so many marriages to stay strong and healthy and vibrant before in my life. Before all of this I never appreciated that the hub at the heart of everything

is the love of moms.

I read how moms create nests in the home, or don’t,

and cook, or don’t,

and teach at home, or don’t,

but the thread of it all,

through it all

and in it all,

is the thing I heart most

it’s love.

You can stop here if you’d like, but there’s more…

I didn’t at first understand what a special and protected and bonded sisterhood you all have created. It was the blog “niche” in which I wanted to be, but didn’t know how to be. I know now, that in many ways, this map crossing, spirit filled, charmed circle, which you all have birthed, is a place where I can be but a guest. To those who have welcomed this guest I say thank you.

You can stop here, but there’s the tiniest bit more…

So I wrote Alli Worthington. I asked if I could attend. She said yes. I registered that day. I’m coming to Blissdom to learn how to do this blog thing right. I am coming to meet people in this community I heart. When you see me, please know, I will be walking a very fine line between being outgoing so I can meet everyone, and yet not overstep any bounds. I will be petrified.

I would like to leave Blissdom armed with knowledge, motivation, inspiration…

…and a bunch of new sisters.

{ 54 comments… read them below or add one }

Michelle January 21, 2011 at 5:03 am

And connection. You will connect, not only in the physical, but the spiritual level as well. I am so looking forward to reading what God gives you out of Blissdom. If I were in the US, I would love to be in the room with so many people I admire (and I don’t write, well I do, but I don’t blog, and only occasionally journal), just to soak it in. So, I can’t be there, but you can, and I await your growing and connecting.

(Just as an aside, I commented on Loralee’s de-lurking post that I began to follow you after reading some of your comments on her blog. It’s all about connecting. 😀 )


Craig January 21, 2011 at 12:51 pm

Thank you Michelle. Lots. About the soaking in – I plan to be very spongy. And I’m packing your advice away in my puter backpack. :)


Sharon @ Hiking Toward Home January 21, 2011 at 7:50 am

I would love to go to Blissdom… maybe next year. Write about what you learn and pass it on to those of us who are prevented, at this time, from going. Thanks!


Craig January 21, 2011 at 12:55 pm

Sharon I wish you were going – I’m terrified. You have been reading me from the start and I so appreciate that – and I heart your words too – such a gifted writer – and such a heart for Our Lord. I’ll share – I might ask people if they want it first though. I’ve already interrupted poor Jeanne’s letter twice this week – feel bad about that.

thank you for reading Sharon.


Julie January 21, 2011 at 10:41 am

So glad that you made the decision to come to Blissdom! It really is going to be a great week! See you there! :)


Craig January 21, 2011 at 12:56 pm

I am glad we have “met” before meeting – am looking forward to seeing you – the conference still scares me – being a guy and all – but it will help having you there – and your tribe :)


Debbie January 21, 2011 at 10:55 am

You are brave and I’m so glad you are going! God bless your time at Blissdom, the new friendships that come about and what He desires you to learn there! :) You can do this!


Craig January 21, 2011 at 12:57 pm

Deb it would help me be brave if you would go too – seriously – just pack up and come along:) You are a blessing. Thank you.


tracy January 21, 2011 at 12:43 pm

What a beautiful post. You are a gifted writer. I cannot wait to meet you.
Aunt Tracy


Craig January 21, 2011 at 12:59 pm

Aunt Tracy – so nice to see you here (that’s an inside joke everybone – Tracy is young enough to be my very much younger sister) . Looking forward to seeing you too.


Angela January 21, 2011 at 5:14 pm

Craig, I said to myself, “Oh wow, where did the guy come from :)”

I love your post! You should consider going to … ah shucks, can’t think of the name. It’s an online publication with sisters. Their accepting men writers. I’ll check on the name of the pub (I’ve written for them before)

Very nice post!


Angela January 21, 2011 at 5:17 pm

Sanctified together is the name of the publication.

Hope I’m spelling everything ok. I don’t have my glasses on :)


HopefulLeigh January 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm

I love this, Craig! I love learning about how you came to blogging in the first place and all that is inspiring you. Blissdom is going to knock our socks off!


Craig January 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm

Leigh – Blissdom still terrifies me a little – but knowing you makes it much easier. Thank you for reading. I’m glad we met and are going to meet :)

God bless


Craig January 21, 2011 at 5:34 pm

Angela, thank you so much. I just looked at their site – after Blissdom I’ll look into it more. I really appreciate you reading – and your kind words. God Bless


Joyce L Gibson January 21, 2011 at 11:25 pm

Go with confidence in who you are.
Be full of expectation of what you will receive.
Return invigorated—
filled with expectation of what GOD will do in and through you.
The best is yet to be for you, my dear grandson.


Craig January 21, 2011 at 11:36 pm

Strangly enough Grandma Joyce, – even at my advanced age :)
I get inklings that that God is only beginning
having waited until I became the man I should have been long ago
I do so love having you read my words.

somebody’s grandson :)


Crayon Wrangler January 21, 2011 at 11:43 pm

This is so powerfully raw. I am so encouraged by what I have read here. That when we talk about our kids and the feelings are so intense that we really can’t find the words…you get it. When we talk about a failed dinner and our frustration within ourselves…you get it. When we dream with wings and claw towards a resolution…you get it.
I am truly honored to have met you and humbled that you allowed yourself to “get it”.


Craig January 22, 2011 at 12:00 am

CW – that is IT

THAT. IS. IT!!!!

How could I not get it? How could anyone read and NOT get – I DON”T GET THAT!

“When we dream with wings and claw towards a resolution” – I get that – it’s so clear, it’s so strong and full of love – there’s no other writing on the web like this – and I looked – i looked hard.

It’s me who’s honored that I get to understand – you hit it right on.

Thank you for getting me.

I’m the one encouraged – thank you.


Anonymuss January 22, 2011 at 1:31 am

Craig, I will pray for your time at Blissdom. I cannot imagine it being anything other than an incredibly rich fellowship feast for you!


Missy @ Wonder, Friend January 22, 2011 at 10:17 am

This is great, Craig. I cannot wait to meet you next week!

Blog Bliss is absolutely not relegated to moms – or women – only. Finding your spot in this giant blogosphere is key for everyone. I’m just glad our virtual paths crossed, and that you took the leap to sign up for Blissdom. :)


Craig January 22, 2011 at 10:26 am

Missy – thank you for reading this. I heart your stuff. Can’t wait to meet you too.


Living the Balanced Life January 22, 2011 at 11:04 am

From what I can see here, you are an awesome writer. You must have already absorbed quite a bit from all you have ben reading. But I think it is awesome that you want to come learn even more. I haven’t been to Blissdom before (only one other conf, Type A Mom) so I am very excited about meeting lots of bloggers I met there, plus many more that I have met on twitter since then. Like you! I am glad I’ll get to meet you!


Craig January 22, 2011 at 11:09 am

Bernice – thank you. Looking forward to seeing you. You don’t seem too terrifying :)

P.S. Laska the Love kitty says he hopes your dogs – just yours because he really has little use for dogs – he hopes your dogs have some peace about you leaving for blissdom :)


Babybloomr January 22, 2011 at 1:01 pm

Ok, I loved this post so much!
Having spent all of my adult life in ‘professional Christianity’, I totally understand the blahblahblah aspect of talking/writing/preaching/singing about something as intensely personal and individualistic as faith– but I also totally understand the deep need to do so. I am a Christian who’s not really a Christian blogger, a mother who’s not really a mommy blogger, a woman who likes to save money and make things and change things around in her home but is not really a frugal/crafting/decorating blogger… You get the idea.
Blissdom always reminds me (this is my third) that I don’t need a specific label in order to find my tribe– and that just about every blogger I met didn’t neatly fit into descriptive parameters, either. I think you are going to have a fabulous time!
I’ll keep an eye out for you and we can do one of those awkward Christian side-hugs.


Anonymuss January 22, 2011 at 1:09 pm

Craig, you will just have to have Laska write your posts while you are gone. Put her back at the keyboard. She is really good! :)


Craig January 22, 2011 at 1:18 pm

But alas, the laptop will be with me, and Laska the love kitty will be with my sister – good idea, but can’t happen :)


Craig January 22, 2011 at 1:16 pm

Tori, the “awkward Christian side hug” – amen – both funny and a good idea :)

Thank you for reading this. If I were at Blissdom I’d want to know why the GUY over there is at OUR conference. This is why.

I’m like you in the fact that I love the foodie blogs, the prep, the pictures, the knowledge, the skill and the fun and love in the cooking – even though for me cooking is three minutes, a microwave and some Spaghettios.

I heart the home blogs because these moms go through all of that, cutting, sewing, flea markets, painting, thrift stores, planning, designing, just to make the nest a home, but I can only hammer a thumb and fabric? What’s that?

And the “mommy blogs” about being a mom – just total awe at what you guys do and feel – and I know I’m not a mom and can never truly understand the depth of it. And so when I read those, I have nothing to contribute, so I just read, smile, and go.

Fashion blogs – fashion? What is this strange word? I know not from where it comes or what the meaning of it is?

Tech – I write words they appear on the screen – and magic is how it happens – I know that much.

And the Christian mommy blogs, they fill my spirit, the words have gold lined wings – straight to my soul.

There are so many – I don’t fit in any of the niches – but this niche, the one you women have created, is the most special and powerful one on the web. Labels or no. Thank you for explaining, thank you for reading. Just thanks. God Bless. I’ll practice the side hug with my sister when she comes over later today – just to make sure I have it down. :)


Babybloomr January 22, 2011 at 1:27 pm

1. Always approach slowly, as not to spook the hug-ee. It is often a good idea to announce your intention with appropriate hearty-yet-harmless enthusiasm, i.e. “Well praise the Lord, Sister (or Brother as the case may be)– let me give you a big ol’ hug!”

2. Lining up in the side-by-side/onward-Christian-soldiers position, your right arm encircles shoulder of hug-ee, squeezes lightly once, quickly releases. Left arm remains at your side. AVOID double-arm encircling or full frontal unless you are a) related b) been a member of the same Bible study or small group for at least 6 years or c) have obtained written permission beforehand.

I hope this helps. I just want to be a blessing.


Craig January 22, 2011 at 1:30 pm

Amen! :)

So true – and such a blessing. Big smiles. And the picture of the birds in the tree – like Christmas ornaments – beautiful. And your 100’s list – just peeked and will read later – can hardly wait.

God Bless.


Shell January 22, 2011 at 2:13 pm

I absolutely cannot wait to meet you. Your heart shines through in your words and I smile whenever I see that you link up for Pour Your Heart Out.


Craig January 22, 2011 at 2:42 pm

Thank you shell. I’m glad we blog met – and am really looking forward to meeting you at Blissdom. BTW, whenever I see the little NOT sign in my comment section – makes my day.


Laura (@chambanalaura) January 22, 2011 at 2:32 pm

I’m looking forward to meeting you at Blissdom. Your presence will add a richness to the conference, indeed.


Craig January 22, 2011 at 2:44 pm

Laura, thank you. Hearing things like that make this a much less terrifying prospect. Really, thank you.


Sophie S January 22, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Awww, this is the coolest post about Blissdom that I have read. I really really wanted to go because like you said, mommy bloggers are awesome women, but I knew my sister would need me at the same time.

I am not a mommy blogger, or a mom either, though I feel like one sometimes. My mommy blogger friends have really supported me, guided me, advised me over the last two and a half years though when I came back home to help care for my sisters.


Craig January 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

I look so forward to hearing that story. Please catch me and tell me all the details at Blissdom. Gracias por los cumplidos. Dios le Bendice.


Kathy @ House of Hills January 22, 2011 at 4:32 pm

Great post Craig and thanks for stopping by the House of Hills. Can’t wait to meet you at Blissdom!!


Craig January 22, 2011 at 4:54 pm

Thank you Kathy. Thank you for reading. I’m glad I have one more person I can look forward to meeting. See you in a few days.


Erica Mueller January 23, 2011 at 1:09 pm

I love this! And really, don’t let the number of women intimidate you. Yes, there will be a lot of hugging and squeals, and giggles and laughter, but there will also be business conversations, talk about what we do, and you’ll enjoy it! I saw a few men last year, and I’m expecting more this year. Sometimes men come with their wives to see what this is really all about, (or as a way to get away with the wife without the kids!) and some men come for the community. Trust me, each one is greeted, talked to, and made to feel comfortable.

Personally, I enjoy a mixed company conference. I feel each of us has something to learn from the other and mixing it up a bit only enriches the experience!!


Craig January 23, 2011 at 1:15 pm

Erica – thank you for reading. I cannot wait to sit and glom up every bit of tech knowledge you talk about in Nashville – so. much. to. learn. And thank you for being nice.


Elaine January 23, 2011 at 10:33 pm

I have to say, it’s really nice to hear it from a male that you are reading and “getting” it. :) I think you’re a diamond in the “bloggy” rough Craig (if that makes sense!) and that your perspective after reading our “mom blogs” is a great advantage to you. See you soon!

p.s. fabulous post.


Craig January 23, 2011 at 10:49 pm

Thank you Elaine. The appreciation for you “mom bloggers” that happened really quickly. The figuring how to fit in to this community that is so unique and important? That is taking, and will take time. The road would be so much easier if I would just get all eggheady theological and go blog in communities where although my content might match – the heart of the community doesn’t hit me. There’s no time for that. I want to be where my heart gets filed.

Thanks Elaine – see you soon. God Bless.


Joe January 24, 2011 at 10:34 am

Hi Craig,
Wow! You’ve made some great connections. I’ve wondered about a man going to blissdom. I’ve been interested myself, but was unsure if men were allowed or if I would be the only one. Looks like tickets are still available. Maybe I should go.


Craig January 24, 2011 at 10:38 am

Joe, at first I didn’t know it was a conference for women. I just saw the badges on blogs. When found out I emailed Alli Worthington to ask permission, she said yes – the rest is history. Leaving tomorrow. God Bless.


Joe January 24, 2011 at 10:49 am

Have fun! Can’t wait to see how it goes.


Kimberly Hartke January 28, 2011 at 6:26 pm

Hi Craig, I met you at Blissdom, you write beautifully. I love the artwork. The Joan of Arc story is amazing. Glad you came, and thanks for daring to blog.

See you tonite at the Crysal Bowersocks (sp?) concert.


Nacole March 17, 2011 at 8:49 pm

this is awesome, Craig! i really loved reading this! wow, you are really being taken in. you must be one special guy to this group of women, and so i think your desire is coming to fruition! i, too, have found your blog to be really straightforward and thoughtful, yet you made me feel light-hearted and i was sucked in. you were one of the first bloggers i added, and im a little picky. great writing! and thanks so much for the explanation about bunny prints in the snow. really, this post was heart-melting. i too, have wanted to tell Ann how much she has changed my life, just with her writing and to thank her! maybe one day i will. have a great time at this conference!


Craig March 18, 2011 at 9:55 am

Nacole, thank you for the truly kind words. I am part of the community now. I used to say I was entering in – well – now I’m actually part. I’m an unusual part. I sill have to be very prudent in how I act and what I say. I am not a woman and blog in an almost entirely female community. I’m in the middle of Christian “mommy blog” territory. But as I said, I’ve read every major Christian male written blog and none have the heart of this community. This is where I’ll stay. I am honored that you would choose to add me to your blog list. I’ll make sure I keep the level of writing – on both blogs – worthy of your choice. Thank you again. God bless.


Layla Payton June 29, 2011 at 12:18 am

This. Is. Amazing. I found this blog post via your 100s list (yes, I had to read the comments from that post, on this blog).

A little over a year ago, I wasn’t REALLY sure what a blog was. I thought they were annoying little online journal entries. I had not read any, just heard about them. Then I met a group of women (yes, on Facebook) who became my “sisters.” I have met most of them in person. They are from all over the U.S., with one living in India (I will be meeting her soon!!!). One even goes to my church! This is the group that introduced me to the blogging world. But before I had read very many, I decided to try one out (ha-ha) on my own. I was in the Kindergarten class of blogging, so I did what all moms do…enlisted my teenager to help me set up an account. It has been a bit over a year, since that first blog post…I still don’t know what I am doing. Thank heavens for tech savvy sons!!! I can type though. I also learned how to post pics, about two months ago. I think I just graduated the 1st grade in blogging. LOL! I have no idea why I am telling you all of this. Sorry. Anyhoo…

…back to “bunny tracks.” I didn’t even realize this was a “thing,” until I started doing it. Then I discovered Ann Voskamp’s book. I. Fell. In. Love. Now, HERE was a woman who spoke my language! Then, I found her blog…





Until I read your take on the bunny tracks, I never made the connection that you did. You are SO RIGHT! How interesting that this is a mom/woman thing. Fascinating. Truly fascinating. Of course, guys can learn this too!

And let me tell you, brother…you have the gift! You do! I hope you won’t mind me sharing this post with my friends. It’s really insightful, and poetic.

Don’t you LOVE the blog world? You can make the dearest friends. :)

Let the night bring you peace…

…as the One who holds the stars…

…whispers lullabies of Grace to your soul.


Craig June 29, 2011 at 3:39 pm

yes, it was and Ann Ann Voskamp – and Amber Haines – those two whose words are so spectacular – they changed everything. And I never expected the blog world to be what it is – a whole lot of really lovely people – people like you. A community. God bless you Layla.


Layla Payton June 29, 2011 at 4:03 pm
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Djemila Macklin August 16, 2013 at 2:25 am

I feel blessed to have found your “blog” is it…lol…, Craig? I know nothing of blogs, have maybe one follower on Twitter, probably my cat…but I do have so many gifts I don’t know how to share with the world. I just wanted to say, what you are describing here, and I don’t know the date of this, but it’s like when I finally found the right therapist.
I have been to dozens, at least, of therapists in my life, and have never gotten much help. One or two stood out enough to remember them fondly, but not really make an impact on my life. Then this past year I found a therapist, a man btw, and I’m a “mom”, lol, that “spoke my language”. I instantly felt connected to him. I understood what he was trying to explain, and most importantly, he understood me, which not a lot of people take the time to do, or want to do.
So in the end, you found people that “speak your language” and that’s a wonderful feeling isn’t it?


Djemila Macklin August 16, 2013 at 2:26 am



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