Friday, April 27, 2012

X Marks the Spot

A Devotional by Margot Cioccio

X Marks the Spot where I should tell you a little about my blogging adventure so far.
I started this blog July 6th of 2011. I had felt for several years that I wanted to write a year long daily devotional. I had made a stab at it during the National Novel Writing Month Challenge in 2009. It wasn't a novel but I was writing. I managed at that time 30,000 of the 50,000 word goal some of the 20 unpublished post are left over from that challenge. I've used a few as back ups on days when I was not able to write something new. I am a pretty scattered type of person. I have bunches of things going on and my life is often like that circus act where the clown is standing on a ball and holding poles while spinning plates on the ends of poles. At the same time I am careful to protect time for the things that are important to me. I love to write and have journaled for as long as I can remember 
but those stacks of journals were only benefiting me.  I have about 20 blogs that I have started and most of them have a small handfull of posts before I got busy with something else. Some of them I post to periodically as I am inspired but most just contain the remains of abandoned projects.

Going into this adventure I had to bust past my self doubt and fears of not being able to keep up with a  daily writing schedule. What if I couldn't think of anything to write, what if I got too busy or sick?
I worried about really being open and sharing my private thoughts and beliefs. I had to bust past my feelings of imperfection and failures but more than that I had to be willing to share bits of those stories. I knew if I just wrote daily in a word processing file that I would not have any built in accountability. Accountability is important for me it helps keep me on track.  I had a when I started a very small handful of friends who were reading what I was writing. The feedback I was getting from them was that they were indeed finding my posts helpful and were looking forward to them.   As my confidence and number of posts grew a bit I began to let my facebook friends know about my postings. I'm still small potatoes compared to a lot of the A-Z blogs that I have visited but one should not despise small beginnings. 

So here's where I am at this point.

2611 pageviews - since I started July 6, 2011 and I have posted M-F since that time.

237 posts, last published on Apr 26, 2012 (217 have been published)
 11 followers + another 11 that follow by e-mail 
I have people I know stop me in person or or on facebook who make a point to tell me they are 
enjoying my posts and they are not among the official followers in my stats.  

The Beloved project
The Tree of Life
I guess I have not really been terribly concerned by the stats. It does help me to have the accountability of knowing that people are reading. I suppose the world would not end if I missed posting one day. I found in dieting that if you take a diet vacation it usually takes longer than you planned is a lot harder to get back on track. So I prefer to stick to the plan which is to write and post Monday though Friday. It is for me an indicator that God's hand is upon me and helping me to accomplish this task. I have found of late that God gives me visions of big things that from the starting point seem to be well beyond me to accomplish. I have learned that little by little I get from here  - to there. Often my original idea is just some thing I see in my head and its usually kind of sketchy or whispy. I can see it but not totally and I don't usually have it all figured out at the beginning. I just make a point to experiment and work on it and little by little things like the Beloved project go from a sketch on a piece of paper to a finished project.

This blog adventure has taught me the discipline of writing daily. It has taught me how to write regardless of how inspired I am feeling. I find myself wondering what I will do when I get to 356 posts. Will I continue? I know I have a lot of editing that will need to happen before I can do published versions of this project. I guess at this point  - I can't see beyond the goal of completing 365 posts. I suppose I will know what to do once I get there so for now I will be busy about the task at hand.  I have found that I really enjoy the time that I spend writing each day and I am glad that people are enjoying what I write. I know when I finished the Beloved project I felt at loose ends for a little bit. One thing I did find out by posting progress photos on facebook was that I had gained a following of people interested in my art. So I asked them what they would like me to do next. I put up a poll with several suggested ideas for people to vote on. Little did I know that they would add their own ideas and people would vote on those too. So they voted on a project called The Tree of Life which was not one of my own ideas. I originally thought it would be a big project like the Beloved project
Butterfly Project
Lighthouse Project

The River Project
but never got to the place of feeling like I could see and understand the project and in the interest of getting on with something I chose to do a smaller project and posted those project photos. While I was trying to figure out that project I did a Butterfly project that someone requested. I did a bunch of jewelry and pins that can all be seen in my Artfire tab above. Then I did a 3 dimensional Lighthouse project. Then the River Project a big interactive prayer area at my church.   So I have been busy in the midst of this devotional writing project I have done a number of projects. I have large painting project that I've been asked to do and I posted some of the design ideas for that in my W post.  That one is a challenge because I have not really done any serious painting in probably 30 years. It seems it is God's plan that I dust off my brushes. I will be posting progress photos for that once I get started. There is a Facebook badge on the right of this page if you would like to follow my projects. It probably gets the most frequent project up-dates on the things I am working on.  I will also be posting to The Bits and Pieces Blog tab at that top of this page.

My friend Ryan wrote a great blog post yesterday about why art is important to God  - Link to Ryans Post   I guess one thing I have seen increase massively as I have daily grown to make spending quiet time each day with the Lord a priority in my life. I find I have incredible amounts of creative energy. I have no shortage of ideas for writing, and mosaic and music projects. I am finding what the word says to be true. If we abide in the vine  - we can't help but bear fruit. After about a year of being pretty consistent about spending daily time with the Lord. Something changed in me about a year ago. God healed some deep stuff and it has allowed me to somehow move steadily from project idea to project reality in many areas of my life. Its kind of all a big wild adventure and I'm not always sure where we will stop next but I'm having fun daily walking with the Lord. 

So X Marks the post where I have rambled on and on probably not in an x-ceptional way. I guess I just needed to x-press more about what I have seen God doing in my life.  I hope you have found it interesting. At this point it will have to do I have run out of time. 
I'm writing this on Thursday and I need to get kids to school, I work all day in the church office today, pick up kids from school and then leave on a 6 hour road trip to a ministry conference with with Rob, my pastor and Ryan, our pastoral intern. Should be interesting and is likely to create some wonderful blog fodder for future posts. Stay tuned. 

My friend Donnie has stayed up all night working on tuning my car up for the trip. He's a blessing  - Perhaps you will add him to your prayers that God would bless him for all that he does to help around the church and all the little things he does to help here at the house. He needs physical healing from seizures that result from a brain injury.  It would mean a lot to me if you would add him to your prayer list today.

I pray that what ever God wanted you to see in this post will jump out and inspire, motivate, compel you forward towards His plans and purposes for your life. I pray that somehow you will be encouraged and that you will have found some nugget of hope and that faith would rise up in you to take that step into the journey that God has planted in your heart. I pray you will find the courage to take the first step, or the next step. That you will push past the self doubt and fear of failure and run a good race that He has specially marked out and created just for you. 


  1. beautiful, insightful post. I, too, want to write to inspire people, or help them to lighten up, or find peace, etc. Beautiful prayer. So glad you are feeling God's direction.

  2. HI Mare,
    Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment. I just went and visited your blog and will enjoy following your writing.


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