Fred’s Pages is by most standards a very modest blog.
When I read the posts of some of the people I follow I could be envious of the way they can produce blogs, some daily, other almost daily; some lengthy, some very brief, some opening up a subject, others giving just a quick thought, a sort of tweet. The variety is rich: entertaining, humorous, lively, racy, informative, reflective, uplifting, deeply personal, profound, spiritual, alternative, original… I won’t go on. And I’m not really the jealous type.
My posts reflect me, and the way they are is a good reflection of how God shaped me. They’re usually not short, not lively or humorous, not very Christian or outrageously alternative. I am no raconteur, not an intellectual, don’t care much for the newsworthy team sports. And yet in my own areas I feel quite at ease doing things many people (past and present) value and respect, and yes, I do feel loved and honoured.
During 2013 I hope I’ll be able to continue to blog as I have in the past two years: not always weekly but whenever I have something on my heart and can find time and energy to write about it (and I do love writing).
I’ve been encouraged that Fred’s Pages did make progress in 2012, albeit of the very lowly variety. I started blogging late in 2010, soon after I retired from full-time work. During the first 14 months to the end of 2011 I posted 46 times and had an average of 6 daily “visits”. Last year I posted less (29 times) but the daily visits rose to 9 on average: some 3,300 views during 2012.
WordPress (which hosts this blogsite and seems to be adopted by many bloggers) gives lots of feedback of interest and value. It has told me that my most-read blogs were those about my love of ships, which to me is no surprise really. What I write about ships is of interest to a small but very committed circle. The photos of ships I have made over many years also get by far the highest number of “hits” on Flickr, the #1 photographic website.
Some early reflections I posted on being the child of a Christian preacher and my own response to God calling me to that area of service were also warmly greeted, with increased visits and some excellent comments and interactions by email. A post on Tasmania was also among the 5 most read; I only lived in Tasmania for 5 years – but these were among my most formative.
WordPress has also informed me that the greatest number of my readers were Australian, followed by friends in the USA and the Netherlands. But to remind us that the world is becoming part of “my village”, I was surprised that last year’s readers came from no less than 87 countries.
Some readers may know that I also write a weekly blog about the issues arising from infant pyloric stenosis: this medical condition led to a surgical operation, the first crisis I had to deal with after my birth, and it’s had lifelong consequences for me – and I have discovered, for many others also. Surviving Infant Surgery had more than 18,000 “hits” during 2012, an average of 50 each day, with many supportive, revealing and instructive online and emailed responses.
I am deeply grateful and owe a great debt to my loving and loyal wife, Helen, who puts up with her retired best friend spending a lot of time at the computer, reading and writing. When I think of some folk I know, I am so thankful that God has given me a lifelong partner who not only loves me but also understands and accepts me with my loves, gifts and passions.