If you haven't guessed it simply by the picture, I've hit what I consider to be somewhat of a major event: 200 entries...

Rather than writing a Lenten entry today, I just wanted to, well, write. Let some things off my chest. Most of all, I want to say thank you.

The past few years have been a whirlwind. Initially, I began blogging shortly after Frankie and I started dating. He had his own Wordpress blog, and I thought it was time for a change. I'd previously kept an online journal at both Xanga and Livejournal, both of which I now look back on with a certain degree of laughter and disdain (both for my persistent gushing to a non-existent audience and my infantile writing style). Now, many years later, writing is something that brings me joy, helps me process, and gives me a forum for dialoguing with others. Sure, I still often have a confessional tone to my writing (thanks Steve for hammering this point home often), but I always try to offer something tangible, even practical, for my readers.

Since I started the blog, I've changed careers (from social work to ministry), gotten married, suffered a major loss, gained, lost, gained, and lost weight, quit smoking (more than once with the most recent hopefully being my last) survived seminary, and found my vocational niche in hospital chaplaincy. New friendships have been forged, and old ones have faded into the background.

Since I started the blog, my faith and theology have both changed drastically. My understanding of God is so far from what it was in my youth that I sometimes have to stop and remind myself, "Yes, this really is me, and this really is what I believe." I've learned how to express my emotions without feeling horrified. I've seen a therapist for nearly 7 years, and the man I am now looks back on the journey and is thankful. I've embraced my own form of brilliance... and baldness. I own the moniker of "cub" more than I do "Christian," not because I've denounced Christ, but because my experiences and encounters with Jesus happen more often outside the walls of the church.

Since I started the blog, I haven't stopped biting my nails or lost all my anxiety when someone doesn't respond to a text. I still deal with the internal voice telling me I'm not important, but I'm more able to recognize it and keep it from being internalized. I still love coffee, but I enjoy wine just as much, especially when shared with a friend over a home cooked meal. My obsession with Dr. Who has grown (proven in its being referred to in several academic papers), as has my love for Spotify. I'm still a firebug who spends too much on candles. And I'm still a cuddle whore who almost never refuses a hug, even from a complete stranger.

Only time will tell what will become of this site. I can't imagine not writing, nor can I imagine ever not finding significant joy and meaning in having conversations with others about faith, sexuality, culture, justice, and countless other topics. As I've heard from other friends on the blogosphere, every blogger, every writer, wants to feel heard, wants to feel as if their words, their thoughts on paper, have and will continue to make a difference. So thank you to each and everyone of you who has made me feel this way, who help me internalize my ability to make a difference in the world around me. Sure, sometimes I write because I'm a narcissistic only child in recovery. But most of the time, it's because I want to start a conversation or make someone think or give someone the words to express their own emotions or experiences.

But for now, it's time to pour a glass of wine, make some dinner, and snuggle up with the kitty. Again, thank you all for supporting me on this journey and making me a better man.

Love & grace, Michael