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    Welcome to 2016!

    January 1, 2016 by Brandy Vencel

    I feel sort of funny publishing this after you all were so kind when I announced my blogoversary on Facebook! I guess this the long version. 🙂

    In late December of 2005, just 10 years (and a lifetime) ago, my sweet friend from college, Gracie, asked what turned out to be a fateful question: Why don’t you start a blog? I remember pausing to think about it. I had been an active blog reader since blogging was first born — from the time when they were called “web logs” (some of you might be old enough to remember those days). And I’d had a habit of almost-daily writing since I was a child.

    For me, blogging made sense. In fact, deep inside, I’d been wanting to start one. Gracie gave me the permission I needed. She helped me be brave.

    And so here I am.

    Afterthoughts is the equivalent of a centenarian in the blog world, for it is ten years old.

    A whole decade!

    It’s hard to believe.


    After deciding to start a blog, I spent a week wallowing on my couch, agonizing over a name. It had to be perfect, I told my husband. I might get stuck with it! (And I have, and that’s okay.)

    It was he who suggested Afterthoughts. I was slightly obsessed with Johannes Kepler’s concept that astronomers were thinking God’s thoughts after Him, and I kept telling my husband that I thought that was true about everything — that any time we discovered something that was good or true or beautiful, it was like we were discovering a piece of God’s mind. Through that conversation, we got the name and the tagline — because all good thoughts first belonged to God.

    This idea has only become more true to me over the years.

    So all the good thoughts around here originate in the mind of God, but I’m responsible for any of the bad ones you see floating around. 😉

    In the beginning, I wrote almost every single day. The blog was typical of its time — I talked about whatever was on my mind, completely stream-of-consciousness. When I look through the archives, I find they are full of memories. E-Age-Thirteen was three and A-Age-Ten was only 10-months. My other children were still hopes and dreams.

    Over the years, I’ve grown up. I’m no longer a 20-something with babies. Afterthoughts has grown up, too. I’ve had people tell me they want to go back and read “everything” and I warn them — don’t do it! This blog has over 2000 entries! It will take you a lifetime.

    A lifetime.

    In many ways, it has been a lifetime.

    It’s as if the whole thing has taken on a life of its own.

    I’m not much for describing my feelings, but let me take a moment to thank all of you. For reading. For commenting. For emailing. For asking the hard questions.

    One of the things I quickly learned about blogging is that it is oh so different from writing privately in your journal. When people read your stuff, they push back. They ask you to elaborate. They point out your inconsistencies. Because of this, blogging is  not for everyone, but to me it has meant life and growth. I love getting a reader’s perspective. Comments are by far the easiest, quickest way to get outside myself and see ideas from someone else’s vantage point. Some of you have read here for years and years and have repeatedly forced me to refine my thoughts — you know who you are — and I feel like I should send you thank you cards, because what an honor to be refined by such wonderful people!

    Afterthoughts has the best readers on the Internets, if I do say so myself (and I do). I say this because there have been many times when you all have disagreed with me, or each other, in the comments, and yet I cannot recall an unkind word. I’ve seen you challenge one another (and me) not because you insist on being right, but because you long to know truth. This year has been the first time that I’ve gotten to meet some of you in person, and while it slightly overwhelmed my introverted self, it was such a delight.

    You are as wonderful as I imagined.

    On Monday, if all goes as planned, we’ll start the big, huge, giant giveaway to celebrate this 10th blogoversary, but for today, I just want to say thank you. Afterthoughts wouldn’t be what it is without you … and honestly, I wouldn’t either.

    I won’t belabor this.

    Here’s to another ten years of reading, writing, thinking — of searching for truth, goodness, and beauty.


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  • Reply SarahD January 5, 2016 at 7:32 am

    You have the best readers, because you are one of the best writers, Brandy.

    One of my favorite movie lines of all time comes from the Horatio Hornblower series in which Horatio says, “Why must he speak when he has nothing to say?” I laughed triumphantly at that one because that’s exactly how I feel about “saying” stuff. 🙂

    You have something to say, something of value.

    Thank you for blogging.

  • Reply Brandy Vencel January 4, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I just wanted to thank you all for the sweet comments. I treasure each one. 🙂

  • Reply Sam January 3, 2016 at 8:02 am

    Love your blog! It is one of my regular “stops” on the internet and has been such a wonderful resource – thank you so much for all that you do.

  • Reply Erika January 3, 2016 at 2:28 am

    I am new to your blog this past year and it is my number one blog to come read. I am inspired, I am learning so much, I love the community you mentioned. It is, indeed, one that challenges and pushes, but always with the best of intentions and never an unkind word. It takes a special person and voice to allow such a space to flourish. Congratulations on your ten years blogging and thank you!!!

  • Reply Ann-Marie January 2, 2016 at 3:44 pm

    Happy Anniversary and Happy New Year, Brandy! Love the name, the blog and all that you have blessed me with by all of the sharing and honesty you bring to all of us! You were the very first one who introduced me to the concept of Circle Time and it has truly blessed my children.

  • Reply Amie January 1, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    I have been “lurking” on and off for years. Thank you for sharing with us. <3

  • Reply Kim D. January 1, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    Congrats! I love your blog AND its name❤️

  • Reply Julie Z January 1, 2016 at 1:40 pm

    You are one of my very favorite places to read. Thank you for your faithfulness to this blog and to providing wonderful resources and taking me higher up and further in to all things Charlotte Mason, etc. Grateful for you!

  • Reply Kelly January 1, 2016 at 9:10 am

    Congratulations! Your blog’s name really is perfect. 🙂

  • Reply Melissa January 1, 2016 at 8:34 am

    Congratulations Brandy!…looking forward to many more years to come 🙂

  • Reply Anna January 1, 2016 at 7:29 am

    Congrats, Brandy! Your writing has been a blessing to me. 🙂

  • Reply Heather January 1, 2016 at 7:12 am

    Congrats & thank you for all you do here! I’m a newer reader but I’ve been so encouraged!

  • Reply dawn January 1, 2016 at 4:55 am

    Hear, hear!

    Congratulations on 10 years, dear friend! Many many more!

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