A New Thing

It was a few months back, when I did not have large spaces of silence for meditation and reflection like I still do not have, that I began to think about this blog, my humble little plot of internet "space" in the universal, bustling blogosphere.

The Coffee Cottage was begun back during a time that is presently very foggy to me. I was caring for a newly-turned one year old son and a newly born daughter. The idea of a blog was new to me, but since I did not scrapbook, sing in a choir or sew burping cloths, I thought writing in this way would be an easy outlet for me. As it turns out, it was that and a detailed "baby book" spanning the very early lives of all of our children. In the process, I earned a few more wonderful and loyal readers outside of my sisters and mother. It (and you, my dear reader) has been nothing but a bright spot in my world.

It was as I was thinking how bright it has been, that I sensed that perhaps the light was a bit dimmer now than it was, and that The Coffee Cottage either needed new life, no life or that perhaps I was to go another direction entirely. How He did it in the midst of the deafening whirlwind of noise and motion that is my landscape is beyond me, but not Him. That He can speak through the craziness is encouraging, and I know HE did because of the beautiful way it has unfolded.

Here it is what I knew:

I did not want to "upgrade" my blog as it was.

I did not want to start a new blog and go about promoting myself. I know it can be done with tact and humility, as I have seen others do it just right, but for me, it honestly just felt self-promotional. Bottom line: I just wasn't that into me (or my writing) and did not want to go at it alone.

That is when the idea of "Neighborlies" came to me. I wanted to create a type of online neighborhood I am nostalgic for (even as I live in one close to it!). The name was derived from the nostalgia of watching I Love Lucy episodes in which Ethel would burst through Lucy's back kitchen door in her bathrobe and kerchief around her head, no knock, just a knowing that she could walk through her friend's door without a thought to looking kept. Lucy never seemed alarmed that she, too, was in her bathrobe and one of her schemes was unraveling at the point Ethel drops in. Neither had to "have it together" to extend empathy and offer support. It was, in my way of thinking, a neighborly way to live. That kind of lifestyle is worth recreating. In BOTH the virtual and the real world.

 Over a day or two, the faces of nine truly beautiful friends kept slipping themselves into the God-inspired ideas taking shape. Most of these women did not know the other, and all of them come out of unique backgrounds. All have walked through enough valleys to make them incredibly real. None of them are what you would guess on the surface, but then isn't that the truth with all of us? It also happens that they each possess a clear ability to write out their thoughts the same way the live their lives--honestly {and with a healthy dose of humor}.

I called each one of them, quickly trying to share the idea that had been given to me before all heck broke loose with children at my feet. Even with just the bare bones of the plan spelled out for them, as well as a 110% "no obligation" to agree to join in this venture disclaimer, they all, each and every beautiful one, agreed with enthusiasm. As we have gathered several times since then, we realize that this, indeed, is a good thing God has started among women who are flawed, in the middle of life, not masters of it.

This will not be a blog, but rather an online "magazine", delivered just once-a-week to your "doorstep" (inbox, but I like doorstep better. work with me). You can get to it right away or whenever you have a moment to spend a little time with women you will come to wish lived right next door. Each neighbor will have her own page, with an over-arching theme to her writings. There will be beautiful photography, desirable print-outs (quotes! recipes! beauty tips!) and honest sharing by three different "neighbors" and myself contributing each week. My contribution will be weekly posts that will be what you are used to here at The Coffee Cottage.

We hope to have the website up and running by early February. For now, you can visit our site to read a bit more of what we are about and to be among our first subscribers. Also check out our page on Facebook. By "liking" us, you will hopefully come to actually know us a little better, as we will weekly introduce our contributors and give more insight on the particulars of what you can look forward to reading about.

While there are plenty of books to read, blogs to hop and pictures to pin, 
we are humbly grateful and just a little excited to begin this venture that began in the middle of one woman's very real {loud} life. Thank you for being my very, very, very special readers and, if you're so inclined, joining me on this next leg of the journey.
We'll stay close, but now there will be a bunch of new neighbors I cannot wait for you to meet and make your own.


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