I hit play on my answering machine (yes, we still have one) and a woman robot tells me not to hang up because this could be the most important call of my life.

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Then “she” says her records indicate I may not have health insurance.

And then she promises help is on the way if only I will press one now.

But I should be prepared to experience a short wait due to the tremendous response.

So basically, a robot wants to change my life, but I’m going to have to be patient.

Say it with me now – Ain’t nobody got time for that.

Needless to say, I didn’t press one. I wouldn’t have pressed one even if I didn’t have health insurance. Even if I needed the thing the robot was offering, I wouldn’t have wanted it that way. One, because I’m not a fool. Two, I have no respect for a robot on my answering machine (which is essentially robots leaving messages for robots if you really get down to it).

I want to talk with people, not robots. And especially not a robot who is also a telemarketer.

When I started a blog back in 2007, I started it for one reason: I loved to write. People start blogs for all kinds of reasons, but that was mine. I still love to write, but now writing is also my job. And in this business, you’re supposed to have a blog because it’s part of your platform.

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You already know my inner conflict with the word platform. I feel the same way about networking (hello colorful wires all tangled up). I wrote about the day networking died because here’s the thing: I don’t see writing on a blog that way.

Having a platform and creating a network aren’t bad things to do – I think they can be necessary. But I also think those words have some baggage attached to them, extra weight that isn’t welcome here in this space.

The kind of community writing we do on our blogs – you and me, writing on the internet and having people read it – is powerful. You share your joys and your losses, your favorite books and the funny thing your kids say. We write what moves us, what grieves us, what scares us, what delights. You share photos of your homes, your families, your favorite recipes. You show us what you wore on Wednesday, what you ate on Sunday, what daily gifts are saving your life.

We celebrate the small graces of the everyday and we have a community here who celebrates with us.

Some of you make money from your blog, a lot of money, and I applaud you and cheer you on and I will click on your ads so you’ll make more. I want to support you and help you pay for your kids’ braces or buy those cute pillows from Target or build that school for the children in Haiti.

Your work is beautiful and important.

Some of you write in quiet spaces with words you don’t think anyone reads, but you keep writing because writing makes you come alive. And I cheer you on because you’re doing what you love, you’re pushing through and finding your voice and sharing your words as an offering.

Your work is beautiful and important, too.

What you write is deeply personal to you. And what I write is deeply personal to me. And sometimes my writing touches your life in a way neither one of us expected and yours does that for me, too.

That is why words like platform and networking are hard for me. Because this feels like a community, not a conference. It feels like a letter, not a business card.

I hope it feels that way for you, too. I apologize for the times when it doesn’t.

I hope you’ll subscribe to Chatting at the Sky because that means you want to come back. Even as I write it, I know that subscribe is another one of those words with baggage (hello magazine salesman at my door who is going to promise me something he isn’t going to deliver).

But that’s the word they use on the internet for people who sign up to get your writing for free. And I realize I’m not sure I have ever formally invited you to subscribe because it feels a little like asking you to press one now.

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But I want to fight through that baggage and reclaim the subscription for what I think it really is:

I hope you see something human here, something hopeful, something that calls courage out from places within you that maybe you forgot were there, something that resonates with you as a person. I hope you see something here that reminds you that you’re not alone.

Those are the kinds of blogs I subscribe to and I hope to be that kind of place for you, too.

I would love it if you signed up to receive these blog posts in your inbox and I want to take a minute to tell you how you can do that if you’d like.

How to subscribe to Chatting at the Sky for free:

I’ve recently switched to Mail Chimp for my email subscribers which means the blog posts look a lot like the blog itself, with the header and everything right there in the email. It will average out to be about 3 posts a week because that’s about how often I’m posting these days.

You can sign up to get blog posts delivered straight into your inbox by entering your email address here and checking the button next to “blog posts.” It asks for your name but you don’t have to put that. All I need is your email address. It’s free and it’s easy.

But writing these posts isn’t the only thing I’m doing these days.

How to sign up for my newsletter for free:

Tomorrow I’m going to send out another newsletter. What? She still does that?

She does. Not very often, but she does.

The newsletter is something different from the blog posts. My goal is to send these out monthly, but so far it’s been more like quarterly. Ish. It’s free to sign up, and it’s where I share writing I won’t publish anywhere else.

I also share links to books I’m reading and favorite posts from around the internet. But mostly, the newsletter is just me, sharing a little something of myself with you and hoping it inspires courage for your day. It’s just another way to connect with you and have you connect with me.

If you’re interested in signing up for the newsletter, you can do that here and check the button next to “newsletter.”

I know a lot of people visit the blog straight from the internet and want to reduce email clutter so you don’t plan to subscribe. No explanation needed, of course. But for those of you who like having everything in one place, I wanted to let you know about the option to subscribe by email and also let you know a little more about the newsletter.

Finally, I hope you know I’m thankful for you. My husband and I pray in the mornings together, and it’s normal for him to bring you up, the community of readers who stop by here. We pray you will be encouraged and see hope in dark places. We pray for courage and for endurance. And we thank God that you come at all.

Thank you for reading, for commenting, or for reading and not commenting. I would write even if nobody read, but it’s much more fun this way.