Adventuring through the forest when I was a teen always meant that at some stage I would look down and find that I was covered with burs. Their hooked little arms wrapped into my clothing daring me to let them loose without damaging the fabric they held onto. It seems as though dreams and ideas latch onto different parts of me as I walk through life. At times I look down and see just one that is easily picked off, considered and then tossed away. At other times I look down to see that there are so many in one area that they cannot be dislodged. Eventually they beg for attention. Here are just a few that led me to write:
Bur: When living in Switzerland in 2001/2 I found myself finally having the motivation to learn to type so I could send emails back and forth to family and friends. I sent out group emails to those who wanted to keep up with my adventures. I had one friend ask me to always let her know what I could see out my window. Suddenly my world, revealed only on the pages of journals, became alive for others to experience with me. Having been inspired in my own journaling by the diary of Samuel Pepys (Pepys Diary), I wrote descriptions of what I saw and heard. The only real glimpse into my inner world was in the language used to paint pictures of my life across the world.
Bur: Back in Canada I was never one to write Christmas updates or cards for people but I found myself returning to the computer every few months to just say hello to friends and let them know about the adventure life was taking me on – even if it wasn’t really interesting at the time.
Bur: My first official “newsletter” came out as a paper copy in May 2005. It was a Publisher template. My emails remained informal and personal while my 200 paper copies being sent out quarterly were far more official. Blogspot was a fairly recent invention at the time. After hearing a friend speak about using it I decided to sign up to see if it could be used for updates. For the next two years both my blogspot and wordpress sign ups sat dormant as I couldn’t be bothered learning the codes to make them look good. My paper letters became increasingly more representative of my whole life. As a good missionary I followed the pattern of those before me and began titling my letters with alliteration: Liesel’s Letters. Eventually this just grated on me so on a whim they were changed to The Life of Liesel. I have thought of renaming them … and renaming my blog, but I nothing seems to represent what I write better than that title. It really is just about my life and the things that fill it. It is pieces of me.
Bur: I started to blog. It was a journal and a place to share my thoughts. At random, I would let people know that I kept a blog. It wasn’t until we had a team join us at DCM one summer that I realised people actually read it. The team leader had started reading Lent posts in their lead up to coming. He read them as devotionals to the team and decided that if the work on the ground in Dublin actually contained the heart behind my posts then it was the real deal. He told me this near the end of their month with us and affirmed the accurate picture of the passion in faith and life portrayed in my words. I felt completely exposed and humbled. People were interested in more than just my stories. They were interested in my heart.
Bur: I moved as many of my paper newsletter contacts to email as I could begin to use my blog stories as running commentary on my life here. A couple of years later I was able to use Mailchimp to help me put those together. Increasingly I had people encourage me in my writing. I have not been the best at making sure my writing is of high quality in terms of grammar and spelling. I was never planning on being a “writer”. Over the past few years I have become more aware of how I write and the stories that are for me to share and the stories that aren’t. It hasn’t always been smooth running – what is when you risk sharing anything with your name attached to it?
Bur: This year I have finally been challenged to pursue purposeful writing. I can’t ignore it. I kept thinking about what I should write about and then couldn’t get the scene from Anne of Green Gables out of my head where Anne is told to write what she knows. So here it is: my attempt at writing instead of just posting. I am an adventurer, a career missionary, a creator, a dreamer, a child of God, a world changer, a learner, a daughter-sister-mother. And this is my life.