Sweet Sixteen

It's Facing The Mountain's 16th birthday or Blogoversary today.

Who would have thought that when we started this back in 2004 that we'd still be in South Africa, never mind still running this blog!

Much has changed over the years, especially with this blog. We used to post via dial-up internet so had to keep posts short and generally without photos. Today we have a decent fibre optic connection and have no concerns about the size of what we post. Probably the biggest change to the blog though was the name change in 2010 (I've previously posted about that here).

Back in 2004 Facebook was a fledgling internet startup which only opened to the general public in 2006, so no one took it too seriously. That changed somewhere along the line and for the last 10+ years Facing The Mountain has also had its own page over there which can also be accessed via the "Follow" tab at the top right of the blog. Facebook was also the biggest threat to the existence of this blog (see our 10th Blogoversary post) and following some lean years of blogging (from 2011 onward with real lows in '18 & '19) I considered abandoning it altogether, but I'm glad we pushed on through. We were also on Twitter briefly but gave that up thankfully.

There are other changes too, physical ones for our family; back when we started blogging Joel wasn't even walking and Eli wasn't even thought of. Today Joel is in his Matric year with a view to going to college in the New Year and Eli is larger than life. Whilst we are both a lot greyer than we were back in the day. Then there are changes to the blog, such as our prayerletters being available on the "Updates" tab above the title. For a time this contained every update we've published since we took control of them in November 2011, but now you'll just find our most recent offering embedded as a PDF on that page, which I think looks quite smart.

Aside from all the technical stuff of how the blog looks, there are some real joys of blogging. One of the greatest joys is keeping a very real and tangible journal of our time here in South Africa. Not being the diary keeping, journaling type of person many in mission seem to be, this blog doubles up nicely in that respect.

Recently, thanks to the time afforded me by #lockdown, I've been able to do some serious housekeeping on the blog. I've restored every picture that was lost (2009 seemed to be a bad year for missing photos) and I've backed them all up (see Farting Wellies below) as well as resurrecting many broken links (see Create Your Own Zoo - It Must Be Friday). I've tidied the blog up and standardised the look of each post and done a few other bits such as tidying up the Pages that are available through the tabs at the top. Please feel free to dig around for yourself. As well as losing many of our photos, Blogger also changed/lost one of our account logins so many of the posts were posted by 'Anonymous' when they were actually posted by me.

I have also added a random post widget (above right) with three random posts that change each time the page is loaded. This also required a lot of work because so many photos weren't showing up on it, so I had to remove each photo and reload it to make them work, which meant going through almost every post.Now the only posts with missing photos never had a photo in the first place.

As I've gone through the posts it's been fun and at times painful reflecting on certain events and it's been a joy to reflect on some of them together. Some posts have been proper memory joggers, some have recalled events we'd rather forget, but we decided to leave all the posts there for the integrity of the blog and as a complete story of our missionary journey over those years..

Who knows where this blog will go from here, but one thing we know is that it's been fun to focus on it again through the coronavirus lockdown and we'll continue to be more intentional in blogging than we have been over the last few years. It helps that I'm losing interest in Facebook.

We previously celebrated our 5th Blogoversary and our 10th Blogoversary but missed our 15th so we're celebrating our 16th instead.

Farting Wellies was just one of many posts in which the original photo had somehow disappeared.

Farting Wellies restored. It was a time consuming mission restoring the original photos to so many posts but it was definitely worth it!


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