Sunday, October 30, 2011

The 20 Year Old Snowman (Thoughts on blogging and the power of Story)

At this very moment, there is a crumpled snowman made of construction paper hidden away in a water-tight box under our bed.  Mr. Snowman wears a faded green scarf and has poorly cut, crooked square buttons on his mid section.  He has a dozen or so tiny puncture wounds in his head to match the number of years he spent hanging from a tack that held him on my childhood cork-board.  I made him when I was in first grade, and he doesn't have a lot of significance except that... I made him in first grade.  The crumpling of his edges began my freshman year of college; the year he was freed from the tyranny of the tack and began living a gypsy life in a box that traveled from one location to the next.

As we moved out of our first home together and into our first apartment last month, I found myself ruthlessly throwing away things I no longer cared or had need for.  That is, until I began searching through the Beloved Box in our basement that held all of the things that have very little 'place' or 'purpose' in my current life... things like Mr. Snowman.  I sat on a cold cement floor for two hours (which is also apparently how long it takes for my toosh to go numb from sitting on cold surfaces). I was scouring for traces of my past, and often found myself caught off guard after rediscovering something that touched me deeply, and calling out to Josh to tell him the story - my stories - that are connected to it.  In the middle of a transition where many of my more 'practical' belongings were given (or thrown) away, most of the contents of that box survived yet another move, and some have even been officially upgraded to 'permanent storage'. 

If you're anything like me, you have a lot of "snowmen".  Artifacts from your past that are impossible to get rid of, but hold no real meaning to anyone other than you (not even your future children).  I think the significance of these fragments of life is something to consider, though. Why do I continue to keep these seemingly meaningless items?

As I've pondered this, I've figured out why I keep them and also why I enjoy blogging so much.  I need the contents of that Box to trigger memories that remind me of who I am and where I've come from.  I have seasons of life and entire memories that would be completely forgotten if it weren't for those small trinkets I seem to find only when I'm moving to a new home (and isn't it interesting how, especially in the midst of change, it sure is nice to be rooted to something?) Even if it is a lot of work to haul this Beloved Box from home to home, it is worth the effort so that I might have the privilege of searching through it and finding the almost-forgotten stories that are mine and mine alone.

This, I've realized, is also why I blog. Because on a regular basis I make memories with my sisters, go on fun dates with my husband, take silly pictures, and learn lessons about marriage and friendship. What's more, is that most of those experiences have nothing tangible to accompany them; nothing that I could place in a water-tight box under my bed for safe keeping and future inspiration.  So I write. I write to remember. I've finally realized that this blog is a type of Beloved Box, as well.

Because I want to remember the silly and the thought provoking moments of my life.  I want to remember what Josh and I did with our time before we had children.  I want to be able to go to my archives and be reminded of how I felt when I learned a valuable lesson that strengthened our marriage, or took a trip that changed the direction of our lives.

This is how I remember.  This is how I give meaning to the mundane and to the magnificent.  This is how I am reminded of the stories that could easily be forgotten.  Show the Wonder is a space for me to stand in awe of the life I have been given and the God I love, and I hope that it's a space that inspires you to stand in awe of the life you've been given as well.  I hope that you hang on to the snowmen and the blankies and the teddy bears and the burnt cds that remind you of the life you've lived.  And I hope that you are able to find an avenue to tell the stories - your stories - the ones that will beckon you to look back, put your hand on your heart in fondness, and remember the journey that has brought you to where you are today.


  1. You are definitely an inspiration to me to record various Snowmen in my life through my blog!

  2. hehe. I was just being born when you were in first grade. ;)

    On a more serious note. I have been cleaning and throwing out lately too. I have so many memories attached to little keepsakes but they help me remember and that is exactly why I blog. I want to remember where I was and where we came from. The good times and the bad.


  3. thanks for sharing this! a moving tale of why we all spend hours on this website. :) thanks for writing it down so eloquently.

  4. Ah, this is so spot-on, Leslie! Love your heart, and the clarity of your perspective. You inspire me, girl, and I feel so blessed that I get to learn from you (online *and* in person! Booyah!)

  5. Well, I've read two posts by you today (I'm coming over from The Shine Project) and I'm hooked. I'm definitely going to be your newest follower!

    Check out my blog too if you'd like:

  6. Thanks for posting back on my blog! I am looking for guest bloggers for a new series I'm calling "Thanks for Sharing" where you can write a post about anything that you have a passion for! Would you be interested in writing a post? I have one more Thursday in November available and then every Thursday in December is open except for the first!

    If you're interested feel free to leave a comment on my blog OR shoot me an email at!

    So excited to make a new friend!

  7. What a great story, an amazing perspective, and a cool reminder! I am TOTALLY one of those people who has all types of "snowmen", at this point in a couple different countries. They keep me sane in some way....and my blog...does the same! Thank you for showing us the value!

    Great to meet you at Relevant!

  8. Excellent post. I love it when an obscure reference (like a 20 yr old snowman) can become a the perfect anchor point for a more abstract thought. I blog for all the same reasons. And, true confession, I love going back and reading stories from my archives--things I would have forgotten if they hadn't been written down. Good job. Keep going.