Today I’m excited to introduce you to one of my contributing writers, who also has her own blog. Anni Harry is a relatively new blogger but I love the way her blog title captures who she is and what she writes about. Enough from me—I’ll let Anni tell you more about herself and her blog!
TKM: Tell us a bit about Anni Harry.
Anni: Simply, I am a proud Army wife, mother, and social worker turned SAHM. In a past life, I was a clinician and specialized in working with families and military veterans. I am a cradle Catholic, who leans heavily on Adoration and my faith to get me through my days as a wife and mother!
TKM: When and why did you start blogging?
Anni: My initial blog was set up prior to our family’s move to Hawaii. It was a way for us to keep in touch with extended family and to share our stories and travels. I did not, however, truly commit to blogging while we lived in Hawaii. We had welcomed our first child there. I was too busy adjusting to being a parent and living the Hawaiian lifestyle experience to take time to write.
My current blog, Beautiful Camouflage, came into existence during Holy Week this past Lent. I really felt a calling to bring my experience as a former social-worker turned stay-at-home-mom to the blogosphere. I wanted to bring encouragement to other mothers, especially Catholic mothers, who may struggle to take their children to Mass, and those women who may find they put their faith on the back burner while trying to be “everything to everyone.” I want to encourage wives and mothers to live their vocation to the fullest, knowing that they may not put their faith to action in the same way as others. That is okay—the entire purpose of living a vocation is to live it to the best of our ability, given our roles in life.
I want other women to feel emotionally validated as wives and mothers. We all struggle. I believe it is what we do in the midst of our challenges that truly define the women we want to be. And, I want to give Catholic women other ways to view their faith—for me, it’s not enough to follow the straight “black and white” of the Catholic faith, without understanding the intricacies involved in the rubrics. Instead, it’s about recognizing and understanding there is a grey area. It is okay to question and ponder things about our faith, since that is how we grow in faith.
TKM: How did you come up with your blog name?
Anni: As I defined my theme of “faith and its daily application, parenthood, and Army life from a wife’s perspective,” I realized I needed a name that would encapsulate almost every facet of my life. One day, while writing a blog post, working on two projects for the chapel we were attending, and making dinner, I looked around my kitchen and realized it was an absolute mess.
Instead of being overwhelmed, I realized the majority of the mess was for chapel-related activities. In God’s eyes, what I thought was an absolute mess, was probably beautiful to Him. I distinctly recall surveying the kitchen thinking, “This has got to be a beautiful mess in God’s eyes!” Then I realized I am a beautiful mess in God’s eyes—the life I am leading is a beautiful mess to Him, when I live my life for His glory and in accordance with His will. The Camouflaged part is a nod to the lens through which I view all my experiences—the Army life my husband leads.
Hence, the name “A Beautiful, Camouflaged Mess of A Life”!
TKM: Do you have a blog schedule or do you post when you feel like it?
Anni: When I first started getting serious about blogging, some other fantastic bloggers recommended blogging daily. I decided to curtail that, and try to do a post every day Monday through Friday. That said, now that I have gained a little bit of traction, I am thinking of scaling back to three days a week after the beginning of the year. I would say if I made New Year resolutions, my resolution would be to post a new post three times a week.
The topics, though, range from current events, to pre-planned topics, to questions readers pose to me. So the actual topic is not usually planned too far in advance!
TKM: What is your favourite part of blogging? your least favourite part?
Anni: My favorite part of blogging is seeing how my message is conveyed. I have always loved writing, and truly enjoy putting the words on the screen, and then going back and coming up with ways to condense the point, be more succinct or precise, and still make an impact. I love hearing from my readers—what they enjoyed, what they disagreed with, how the piece touched them.
My least favorite part is trying to gain readers. I don’t like having to promote myself and my writing. I truly believe that, if my stories or posts can encourage one person, then I have “done my job,” but in order to ensure my posts make their way into other people’s desktops and hearts, I need to do some promotion to get the posts out there!
TKM: What advice would you offer other bloggers?
Anni: Pray. Pray for guidance on what to say and how to say it. Keep in mind the reason behind why you are writing—if you are like me, and want to spread encouragement to others, keep in mind that you may not get the feedback that you are hoping to get. Your readers may digest what you say, and it is okay if you don’t hear back! You don’t know how your words may touch another person, but they will (hopefully) have a positive impact. And, be patient… very, very patient, because this isn’t a “get rich quick” or “get rich at all” activity—it’s an activity (hopefully) borne out of love for others.
TKM: What is your favourite social media platform and why?
Anni: I prefer Facebook over other media platforms precisely because I spend the most time on that social media outlet. I “know” Facebook—I know how to schedule posts, I can share and quote other articles easily, and I have the ability to know how many people I have “reached” each time I post. I am trying to learn to love Twitter and Instagram, but that is a slow learning curve for me. I have heard Pinterest is a great way to grow readers, but unfortunately, I have tried Pinterest a handful of times in the past few years (before blogging and since I really committed to blogging this past spring), and I just don’t feel comfortable with that specific platform.
So I am on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram—and, for a while I was trying to post different material to each different platform. Now I just do three similar posts on those three outlets!