Callum asked me for a lift to town. As we drove along, we chatted.

“So what have you been doing since you gave up blogging for Lent?” he asked me.

“Well… actually… I’m still blogging,” I admitted. And then I told Callum the whole sad story about the recent adverse comment. “I’m considering deleting my blogs,” I said. I explained how I was worried about the online safety of my children. "A mother's first duty is to protect her children.”

Soon we were discussing all aspects of blogging and the safety issue, including the comments I received on this blog.

“How do you feel about having your stories and photos on the Internet?” I asked.

“I don’t mind,” Callum replied. “Even if you deleted your blogs, my photos are still on Facebook and they are only as secure as my friends’ privacy settings… which probably means they aren’t very safe at all.”

But Callum is an adult and my thoughts returned to my younger children whom I am still responsible for. “Why didn’t I give everyone false names?” I asked. And then the answer to that question dawned on me. I set up my blog primarily to promote my grief book and connect with bereaved parents. All my children are named in the book. It seemed silly to disguise them on my blog when their real names are so accessible. 

Then something else occurred to me. “If I delete my blogs, all the girls will have to delete their blogs too. They are using their real names and post photos of themselves.”

“You should continue writing, Mum,” encouraged Callum. “It’s what you do.” But is it what God wants me to do? 

Ever since I was a child I’ve wanted to write. Then when Thomas died, I did start writing in an organised manner. Writing seemed to make sense of his short life. Somehow I branched out and now I write about all kinds of things. I love writing and blogging. Yes, I don’t really want to delete my blogs. But, I know my children have to come first. I cannot ‘use’ them in any way that threatens their safety. My stories wouldn't be the same if I didn't have the freedom to be so personal, but that doesn't justify placing them at risk.

Callum and I chatted some more and as we neared town, I said, “Trust… that was brought up in one of the comments on my blog. If we feel we're doing God’s will, we have to trust He will look after us all.”

And then I arrived at a blogging decision...

For the last few days, I have been thinking and praying, and my heart has been aching a bit too. And finally... I have decided to trust all will be well.

So I am back to blogging. Oh yes, I know:  I’m supposed to be on a blogging break. Funny how our best laid plans often fall apart. I did so well keeping away from the Internet, for... a whole 4 days. I was starting to feel very virtuous because of my self-control. And then I received ‘that’ comment, and suddenly I forgot about my blogging break. I felt compelled to write a response (or two) and there I was blogging again. All I can say is that sometimes God has different plans from those we make ourselves.

It might have been nice if I could have said, “I survived 6 weeks without the Internet.” I might have felt very self-satisfied too. I could try for 5 weeks away from blogging, I suppose. I could keep running towards Easter as planned. But no. I have decided to change my Lenten sacrifice. What am I going to do? I think I will keep that secret just in case God once again has different plans for me than the new plan I’m busily making.

When we reached town, I dropped Callum off at the car workshop. He was smiling. One of his beloved cars had been repaired and was ready to be put 'back on the road’. Callum headed into the office to pay for the work, and I set off for home. I was smiling too. I was thinking of writing and blogging and kind friends who stop by with encouraging words.

Now what shall I write about next? Lots of ideas are floating through my head... But first I must stop by and visit my blogging friends. It must be more than a week since I last caught up with you all. Anything could have happened in all that time. I will see you soon!

Thank you everyone for taking the time to help me make the right blogging decision. I really appreciated receiving all your helpful and encouraging comments. May God bless you all.

PS What has a raccoon got to do with Internet safety? I've no idea. I put the word 'safety' into the image search engine and this photo came up. I rather like it so I shall use it!

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  1. Hi Sue,
    Maybe God allows our Lenten fasts to fail on purpose? Anyway, I'm glad you are staying :) (The raccoon picture is really cute!)

    1. Mary,

      Sometimes it's harder to accept the failure of our plans than make the hoped for sacrifices. I would probably have been most unbearable if I'd achieved my goal! Funny how we think a 'good' Lent only comes from us sticking doggedly to our prayers and fasts and sacrifices, and living a life where everything falls into its neat place. Well, I hope I can still have a good Lent despite my failure! Still five weeks to go!

      I'm glad you like the raccoon. He is much nicer than all those safety road signs and other such images that appeared while I was searching for a picture.

      Mary, thank you for always stopping to encourage me along. It is so good to have blogging friends!

      God bless!

  2. Sue, I think the raccoon with his slightly cautious expression is the perfect match for this post! And I have to say I'm selfishly very glad you're still going to be here. Whew!

    1. Nancy,

      I suppose that raccoon is sitting in his... what is he sitting in?...hole? out of the way of danger. Maybe it's good to be slightly cautious. I'm glad I am still here too, and able to share with you. Now I will be able to come over to your parlor and escape into the peace of your blog whenever I like.

      Thank you for your kind words.

      God bless!

  3. Why don't you make your favourite stories into a book? It would make great reading. Just remember to include a chapter on the time you gave up blogging. Hmm...maybe, that should be two chapters... Or three... Or....


    1. Vicky,

      I was thinking, "What a nice comment"... until you started talking about the chapters on giving up blogging. No, I'd have to leave writing about such things to those with more experience!

      Just as well we are sisters and know each other. Love you! Glad to be blogging with you again.

      God bless!

  4. Actually, I really meant the bit about the book - I've been thinking that for ages - but, then, my silly side got carried away with a poor attempt at humour...

    So, when are you going to write the book?

    Love you, too:-) xxx

    PS. What do you mean about experience? You have plenty - and plenty of positive feedback, too.

    1. Vicky,

      I don't mind your humour! When am I going to write the book? I do like that idea but now I'm blogging again, I probably won't have time. Blogging somehow takes over all of my writing time. One day I will do it though.

      Experience? I was talking about how some people have more experience with giving up blogging such as ex-ex-ex bloggers, and they could write a far better chapter on that than me!!!

      God bless!

  5. I have to say that selfishly I am glad that you are blogging again. I am a catholic homeschooling mama too and we were excited to learn that after a time of secondary infertility I was expecting our third child. Six weeks ago my life turned upside down when I had a routine ultrasound in my second trimester and learned we had lost our beloved son Frances Gabriel. Your posts on grief are really the only words that speak to how I am feeling. I am grieving the loss of our unique child but also fear that our family may not turn out the way we had been planning. It is so hard to trust the Lord in the midst of our suffering. I really appreciate what you have written and I am so sorry that someone commented the way they did on the pictures of your dear Thomas. I too have pictures with our family holding our son and cherish them because unfortunately they are the only pictures we will ever have. My husband and I have been having a debate on whether or not to put them up in our house as we too fear harsh reactions.

    1. Sarah,

      I am so sorry you lost your precious son Frances Gabriel. Sometimes life just doesn't seem to make any sense at all. We lose our children and all our dreams for the future, and I think we lose our confidence too. It can be so hard to remain hopeful, and accepting. Secondary infertility is such a big suffering. I remember falling pregnant after Thomas died, and I thought my time of suffering was over. I was going to be blessed with another child and the pain would heal. But that baby died too. Being plunged into grief time after time hurts so much.

      Thank you for your kind words about Thomas and his photos. I have his best photo on display in our home. No one realises he is dead in the picture. Once I told someone and she physically stepped back as if that was hard to deal with.

      I have a friend whose grandchild died prematurely. She has the baby's photo on her wall despite family members saying it is inappropriate. My friend just says, "She is ours and she belongs on the wall with all the other grandchildren. It's my home and everyone will just have to accept that."

      But I know that other parents protect themselves by not displaying photos of their lost children. They are afraid of the harsh reactions you mentioned. It would hurt too much. I guess it would be just like me receiving that awful comment the other day. Sarah, I hope you and your husband can make a decision you feel at peace with. You could always display Frances' photos in your bedroom or other place where visitors don't go, at least until you feel better able to deal with criticism.

      Sarah, I am so glad you stopped by to say hello. Please feel welcome to visit my blog to read and chat, whenever you need to. You could always email me privately if you'd like a friend to talk to.

      May God bless you and your family.

  6. I'm so happy to have you back, and yes confidence in God and His plan is, I suppose the meaning of lent.
    The raccoon is cute, I never saw one in real life except for Zoo, but searching for pictures on the Internet is a study in serendipity ;)
    I did not name my children with their true names because I wanted my blog mostly to be a gardening/cooking/ DIY-blog. It has developed into a more family centered blog, but I'm not going th change now, and anybody who knows our family will be able to immediately tell who's who.

    And I think it strange that so many people are averse to pictures of dead people. Death masks are exhibited in museums, if they were taken, and the daily news is overflowing with dead bodies. But maybe it is the concreteness the personalness of it. It happened to your dear Thomas, it might happen to me ...
    The big news in one of our papers yesterday was that a minister's grown up daughter died from cancer. "It is not meant to be like this - parents should not bury their children" was the headline. But that's very narrow-minded/provincial/near-sighted (help, I need a word). It IS like that in the greater part of the world, and it WAS like that for everybody up until not even a century ago. We are all going to loose people dear to us. The only thing we can do, is to hope and pray that they - and we - will be ready for it.

    Sorry for rambling, I hope it makes sense as I feel rather stuffed in the head this morning. I'm just so happy that you're back. I was tempted to travel all the way to Australia to give you a hug, when I read about that stupid comment, but you'll have to only have my "verbal hugs" as it is too far away - and way too expensive a trip.

    I wish you a grace-filled Lent with your new Lenten sacrifice.

    1. Uglemor,

      I think your online family names give a very special touch to your blog. I really love how you tell the stories of your everyday lives, using those names. You have a very unique style.

      "But maybe it is the concreteness the personalness of it. It happened to your dear Thomas, it might happen to me ... " That is such a good observation! We can deal with death when it is nowhere near us. Knowing someone who has personally lost a baby brings death too close to home for comfort.

      ""It is not meant to be like this - parents should not bury their children" was the headline. " That brings us to our modern expectations about life. We expect to live long lives and be healthy, and if we get sick, we expect a doctor to cure us. I suppose it is a shock when we aren't cured and have to face death... unless we have faith and realise what life is really all about.

      I have been amazed at the lengths people will go to to regain their health, and even after a lot of money has been spent, they still might die. But they try anyway. I was thinking about this with Thomas. If we'd been able to fly across the world to a specialist surgeon who might have been able to save Thomas, would we have done that, despite the expense? The answer is no. We would have done anything reasonable, but there comes a time when we have to pass things over to God. Death isn't the disaster most people think it is. Thomas is fine. It's just us who grieve. And maybe that's the important point. Most people want do anything to avoid suffering. It can be very frightening indeed. But sometimes we can't...

      Yes, people in the past, when medicine wasn't so advanced and money was in shorter supply... they accepted death. Can you imagine how strong those mothers must have been, burying child after child? I often muse over that when we go to the cemetery because there is a huge grave where many children of the same family lie. They died days, weeks or months apart. Their mother must have watched them all die one after the other, and not been able to do anything about it.

      You didn't ramble, Uglemor! You gave me so much to think about, I've written a long reply of my own!

      I am so grateful for your verbal hugs coming across the blogosphere. Thank you! One day we will meet and have a real one. It is so lovely to be wanted. I really am very blessed. Now I shall go and find that tissue box again. It must be nearly empty by now!

      God bless you!

    2. Your story of the cemetery makes me think of someting, I once read. I'll make you need the tissue box again I'm afraid. This story has stayed with me for many years now.
      My husband is a historian, one of his subjects was the plague in Denmark, and he brought home a parish register (a copy) from 1853-1870. I looked in it, and saw many entries like "Baptized and buried XX's premature child who lived for two hours". I then realized that many of those entries concerned the same family (M) and started following their story. They had a baby every year, sometimes twice a year, all except one either stillborn or premature, dying within days. M's parents died during the plague, but these three survived. Then there were no more babies born to the M family, the plague ended, and I read on througt normal times. One of the very last entries was for the M family: "Today I buried M's daugther aged 15, after she fell down the stairs". I closed the register, and cried with that mother across the centuries.

    3. Uglemor,

      Oh, that is so sad! Yes, as mothers we can really feel the pain. It makes me wonder how people survive such suffering.

      When I visit the cemetery, I often read the inscriptions on the headstones. They all tell a story. And I really feel a bond with those parents who also lost children. I wrote a chapter about this in my book. I don't think I ever published it here on my blog. I shall hunt it out. I was connected with that mother who lost her children despite the separation of time. I guess we are all still connected together in the communion of saints.

      Thank you for telling me your story.

      God bless.

  7. I'm also glad you are blogging, Sue! And I love the raccoon!

    1. Ellen,

      Thank you! I appreciate you stopping to tell me that.

      I'm glad I posted the raccoon photo as everyone likes it so much. I've never seen a raccoon. I don't even think I've seen one in a zoo like Uglemor. Do you have raccoons in Canada?

      God bless!

  8. HI Sue - I'm so glad you've decided to continue! It's such a delicate thing sometimes - to be responsible, but to also place our trust in God.

    I love the raccoon, too! :)

    1. Linda,

      My heart really did feel heavy the day I wondered whether to continue blogging or not. Nothing is worth putting our children at risk for. But I'm going to trust all will be well. Actually, though this recent adverse comment hurt, it has also resulted in much good. Isn't it wonderful how God works things out so well?

      I think the raccoon is proving more popular than my post. How could anything compete with something so cute?

      Thank you so much for your support. I appreciate it, and am glad I'll still be blogging with you.

      God bless!


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