Survey results: Oh MY!

Brain things / Tuesday, July 16th, 2019

Wow. There are a lot of quiet people in this space.

Thank you so much for taking me seriously enough to respond. Writing my survey and receiving your responses was enormously fun. It put me back in the rush of that first-time-writer feeling.

I created the questions, hit publish Sunday night before going to bed, and waited to see if a few people would oblige me. Within an hour, I got an email from SurveyMonkey. “Congratulations! You’ve just received your first survey response!” So I logged in to look. There appeared to be 44 responses. Well, that can’t be right, I thought. But it was. And I started grinning as I read your words. Forty-four little windows had opened in my space, and I could see you and know you were listening, and real.

The next morning, I had another email from SurveyMonkey. “Maximum Response Limit: You’ve reached your limit of 100 survey responses. To see all 191 responses, upgrade your plan today.” They are smart, those old codgers.

By that evening, there were 314. I upgraded.

Don’t you get squeamish on me about numbers now, because yours mattered. Thank you.

On the positive side, because of the upgrade I get to write another survey at any time in the next month, on any topic I choose (and it’s going to be a doozy) (even though I don’t know in what way specifically).

Now I am going to close the survey before I lose my mind. Wasn’t that fun? Final count is 437 responses, more input than I ever expected, or received with another post.

From this I must deduce one of three things:

  1. You are painfully shy, or
  2. You adore surveys, or
  3. I need to adopt my patronizing tone a LOT more often.

If you’d like to see graph results of the multiple choice questions, click here to view a summary. Of course, I will not be sharing the individual comments. But I will be thinking them over for some time. In fact, it is difficult to stop thinking them over. In fact, last night I sat reading them until my head spun and I felt overwhelmed and cornered, and then suddenly I hit one that tipped me into hysterical giggles, and I was free again and could go to bed.

Relax – it is statistically unlikely to be yours.

Or do you want it to be?

Okay. Several observations.


No big surprises in terms of your location, your age, and how long you’ve been reading. Interesting stuff, though!


I was pleasantly surprised to find that apparently, a variety of topics is working for us. You gave me a nice spread of interest, and the “Other” category leaned heavily toward two topics I forgot to put on the list of options: Marriage and Books. My marriage was kind of squeaky at the moment, so writing about it wasn’t on my radar. I will need to get better at it so I have something to share.

Public commenting

Well well well. How many creative reasons we have for not sharing our thoughts aloud! I see that a big part of my job going forward is to convince the human race that its words matter, and should be shared when possible.

I’m relieved to find that disorientation, disappointment, and disagreement play a comparatively tiny role – though to those who feel them, I am very sorry. I would change this if I could.

Technical difficulties I do understand – usually your filter, not my end – and vulnerability I am sympathetic to – to a point – although I will be savage enough to note that you enjoy experiencing it in other people. But plain down inertia? Come now. You have beautiful things to say. Wasn’t it fun to add them in?

In short, you have a place here. It’s a public forum. I welcome (that is, accept with pleasure/ await/ enjoy/ anticipate/ savor) all comments. I am delighted to hear from people both among and outside my usual readership: people who’ve never commented, strangers who haven’t introduced themselves, and anomalies by reason of faith, age, gender, skin color, experience, and location. I LOVE THIS. Jump right in. Novelty and surprise are some of my favorite things in the world.

Though I admit again that the comments closest to my heart come from my real life friends, who cannot comment too often.

So everybody please breathe. And say what you want to say.


Thank you for your supremely kind words and insights. I am taking them as seriously as I can.

You shared some great topics for future posts, which I’m excited to peruse and select from. I noted a stiff slant toward interest in reading more about relationships, especially difficult relationships, especially relationships between women, and I’m going to unpack that soon and ask you some questions.

I know I shouldn’t have favorite entries, but whoever coined the phrase “high end sarcasm” has my undying love.

And to a particular 14-year-old reader, who happens to live upstairs, hi son. Your response was the best.

Taking votes now for the survey that’s coming soon: Should we use it to examine church relationships, lady friendships, or marital bliss?

54 Replies to “Survey results: Oh MY!”

    1. Marital bliss would have to be interesting but of course those readers who aren’t married would likely choose either of the three will work…your line ” my marriage was a bit squeaky at the moment ” made me laugh out loud…I can identify….perhaps we need our “oil” of love to take care of the squeaks..🤭

  1. thanks for sharing the graphs with results! I found them quite interesting! Did you run to your inbox like a delighted child opening his birthday gift to see what had arrived?

    1. I honestly feel that on my best days I’d be graded at about a “C” in any of the above categories. Which means I’d savor insight on any of them…. but may ignore surveys about them. 😄 Marriage is the least negotiable of the 3; and yet our marriage can’t handle the strain of being each other’s only friend, so the others are important too. BTW…the only reason I read what you have to say about marriage is because you write about the “sqeakiness”. In Anabaptist groups to admit that you don’t have it all together maritally isn’t a great conversation starter. Hmm….maybe I should try it as a social experiment!

  2. Lady friendships. Though church relationships would be quite interesting too. So great the quiet masses let you know they’re out there, eagerly anticipating the next post! 🙂

    1. Marital bliss, especially in times of stress, like moving from VA to OH, landing in a fractured church, and battling postpartum depression. What if all you hear is squeaking?

      1. Risking redundancy, (yes, that one bothers me a lot)😝 I would vote for lady relationships, with a side note that I think they are a huge factor in church relationships. Somehow marriage feels different to me, squeaks and all… Maybe cause only one of us has feminine emotions??😉

  3. Lady friendships in the church.
    Squeaky marriage…as in, squeaky clean? or squeaky wheel wherein married life is going round and round and at that one spot in every rotation it always grates in the same annoying way? or squeaky toy – when you get pressured in a certain way you startle everyone with your response, but then they laugh?

  4. Lady Relationships, my first vote! Marital bliss, next up! But maybe I need marital advice and encouragement the most. A 4 yr old, 2 yr old, and a 4 week old can help add to “squeakiness”! 😉

  5. None of the above ( the three deductions). For me it was an easy way to interact with you, someone I don’t know. And I think , maybe, the survey opened a door to more interactions with more people. I’m glad you did it. And see- I’m replying today. 😃

  6. So I didn’t get to the survey in time. . . should I feel guilty? (I don’t). And I don’t usually comment, so be blessed. 😄 But I HAVE been mulling over your post on the Power of Blessing, and I’m going to be brave enough to suggest that these other topics which folks are trying to decide are of most importance to them?? . . .actually all fall under the topic of our thoughts and our words being taken captive and being used for God’s glory.
    (Scuttles back to the safety of her hidey-hole).

  7. Church relationships.
    I mulled over your survey this week and finally went back to the blog to post. I’m terribly disappointed I was Too Late. Oh well. You have an overwhelming amount of input, though, and I will love hearing from you!

  8. Can I buck the trend here and say marital bliss, please? I’m so beyond outvoted that I’m not sure why I’m saying anything except that you insisted that it matters. 😄 I’m interested and impacted by all of the above so it doesn’t matter much.

  9. Definitely all three, sorry! Also… isn’t it squeaky things that give the most inspiration to write about? Why brainstorm and wrestle and write through something that’s running like a well-oiled machine??

  10. Whoa! This is intimidating. Over 400 people answered your survey, and there might be as many more, who, like me, didn’t see the survey until after it was closed. That means a very large number of people might read the comment section of your blog. I have been commenting now and then, but I will be a lot more cautious from now on. I never thought about it carefully, but I always had the feeling that I was commenting to you, Shari, and perhaps a dozen friends would listen in. But over 400 people, oh my, I feel a lot more shy knowing what a crowd I am speaking up in.
    As for subject matter, please talk about church relationships and also about marriage, and most of all, please do talk about how those two subjects mix. Thank you.

    1. Oh dear, that is not the takeaway I was going for!

      It’s okay – you are commenting to me. The internet is a big place, but person-to-person connection does exist there, and trumps that. In my opinion, it’s far more important than reaching the masses.

      1. Now I’m sad I missed the survey! I have been too busy to keep up with my “fun reading,” and am only now catching up.

        I would love a survey on marriage.

  11. Write on all 3. You won’t go wrong. And don’t wait till you’re perfect either :). The Spirituality of Imperfection. A topic that enters into these subjects…

  12. I missed the survey and I’m sorry (not apologizing, just sorry for myself!) I’d love to hear about church relationships and lady friendships.

  13. I missed it too, and would have loved to raise my voice along with the others! 🙂 Looking forward to the next one. Any of these topics are of interest to me, though marital bliss and church relationships are my top picks!

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