If you’re reading this on the heels of my last post and thinking, “What witchery is this that Hannah’s posting twice within a week?!?” I assure you: everything is okay. Plus also, summer break.
To really answer that question well, however, I direct you to the title of this post one more time. And now, I’ll be sharing more context than you wanted to know about what I started my last post with: on the loss to Internet oblivion of my old posts from 2013-2016. And for the handful of you who might subscribe to my posts, my MOST PROFUSE apologies for the onslaught of notifications you may have received over the weekend at the recovery of those posts! If the #sorrynotsorry sentiment ever applies, I feel like it’s in this case because, out of said Internet oblivion, MY MISSING POSTS REAPPEARED. It’s actually kind of a miracle. And I’m a realist, so in “Hannah speak,” I think that means it’s a legitimate miracle.
The short version? They’re BACK! And it’s a huge and literal answer to prayer.
The long version? Read on, if you so choose! (This is kind of like one of those Choose Your Own Adventure Books, which, btw, I hated because I didn’t like the pressure to choose correctly or the idea of missing out on other possible storylines. My aversion to these books and the choices they proffered probably offers a window into my still-strong reticence at making decisions and saying no to other alternatives…but I digress). If you choose the short version, jump down to below the line break.
The long version:
Context: I took over control of my website from my publisher last November for a couple of reasons—financial-related, more autonomy, etc. In the transfer, my old domain name lapsed, so I lost old posts (except for my posts on my original BlogSpot from 2008-2012, which are thankfully still around). When my publisher transferred the rights of my website to me and I changed the domain name to simply hannahmcginnis.org, my publisher shared a zipped file with my old website files, so I wasn’t super concerned about losing old posts, but I also knew it was possible.
Then I unzipped the file and searched every nook and cranny of it, and I found it contained all design and structural elements for my old website but none of my posts. At that point, my previous domain had lapsed, so after some calls to my publisher about archives or if they had some access to my old posts, I hit a dead end. I called my IT-awarded friend Trip for help, and he directed me to a few avenues, including scouring cached versions of my website, but the only Internet archives I found were of each main page (or menu option) of my website, but again, not of the individual posts.
I searched my Word documents on my computer because after my post commemorating a year of my book being published with a year since my grandma’s death had disappeared a few years ago, I had started writing posts in Word first and then importing them so I had another backup. But apparently I wasn’t super faithful in that because only a handful of posts were in that folder on my computer. I was still missing 10 or more posts, including my post last year reflecting on the super challenging year I’d had going through various losses, focusing especially on my Aunt Debi.
Upon hitting those dead ends and with my website in shambles aesthetically and content-wise, I left it alone from November until last week. As explained in my previous post, it’s not like I had a ton of spare time to write anyway, and after spending 8 hours on my website to fix it this past weekend, I couldn’t have focused on cleaning it up and polishing it off anyway until now. Thus, with freedom and time at hand, I sat down last week to write, and I published my first post in over a year.
Then, I went to respond to a comment on my post (thank you for those, by the way!), and my laptop was running slowly (shoutout to my 8 year old Sony Vaio, which has far outlived the average laptop age as well as Sony’s actual computer division). So I turned to my iPad WordPress app, which is the service I use for my blog. I hadn’t used the app in over a year, and just last week as I was deleting apps from my space-strapped iPad, I nearly deleted it.
Inside of the app were three websites belonging to my account: this one, and two different hannahmcginnisbook.com sites (the address for my old, publisher-driven website). Why 2 versions of the same site? I cannot tell you. It literally makes no sense. To further prove that, I’d never had the WordPress app on my phone until this past week, so I downloaded it, and tied to my account are only 2 websites: this one, and one hannahmcginnisbook.com site. More on why that’s significant in a moment, though.
Hannahmcginnisbook.com is gone–it’s 100% not a website anymore. Try going to it, and you’ll find that it’s available to buy. Why? Because it’s NOT A WEBSITE. I need you to understand that point. It makes the reappearing posts that much more mysterious and monumental. But back to the iPad app.
Upon clicking on the first hannahmcginnisbook.com site, I found nothing under “blog posts,” “drafts” or even “deleted drafts.” This is as expected because it’s NOT A WEBSITE anymore. So I went back and clicked on the second hannahmcginnisbook.com site. And guess what? Under “blog posts” were all but 9 of my missing posts. Why? I have no idea. There should not be two hannahmcginnisbook.com options. Remember the recently downloaded iPhone version of this app? Yeah, it only has the first hannahmcginnisbook.com option, the one without any posts.
So there’s this other, second, phantom hannahmcginnisbook.com account just on my iPad app that happens to have editable drafts of all but 9 of my old posts. Pausing all music and noise and hardly breathing, I copy/pasted every one of those posts to notes in my iPad as fast as I could in case the app woke up and realized that not only is hannahmcginnisbook.com NOT A WEBSITE but that there deffffinitely shouldn’t be two of them, much less one with phantom posts that are on a former website lost to the Internet void.
Amazing. I was still sad about the missing 9 posts, but then I went to my Facebook page for my book, and I was at least able to see the (now-defunct) links to old posts as well as the titles for them, the first 5-6 words before an ellipsis, and when I had posted them. I learned from this search that I was still missing 9 posts and which ones they were. But remember the handful of posts in my Documents folder on my computer? Those were 7 of the missing 9.
So now, I was just down to missing 2 posts, one of which was the Aunt Debi post, so as elated as I was at recovering all but 2 of my posts (!!!), I was sad about that one because it especially meant a lot to me. I could see the title of that and the other missing post from my Facebook page, as well as what date I posted them and those first 5-6 words, but if you think my steel-trap mind can remember exactly what I wrote to recreate them, then you’re my new best friend. (I can’t.)
I went back to the app to explore, and I clicked on the “Reader” button. I’ve never used it before, and I don’t actually know what the heck it’s for, except that maybe it lets you view posts in a more “reader-friendly” way on a device (??), but I clicked on it anyway.
Y’all. It had exactly 2 readings available to click on.
(I just want to give you a moment to connect the dots here)
Time’s up. What were the only 2 available things to click on and read?
MY TWO FINAL MISSING POSTS. (I’m shouting but not at you; I’m shouting for joy). And yes, it included the Aunt Debi post. The two posts weren’t in an editable form like all of the others had been, but that’s why God created the Screenshot. So I screenshotted those babies with bated breath and all of my prayers pleading that the app wouldn’t come to its senses and realize it was being duped by a non-website, or even more by the unexplainable presence of two different listings of that non-website.
I realize this was all probably more than you wanted to know. It’s a little technical, and there’s a chance many of you will find this a “ya had to be there” post (or at least a “ya had to have the app” post) to understand at all why this is so cool. I did, at least, warn you to choose wisely, however.
All of those details are to say that every post—EVERY. SINGLE. POST.—has returned. I want to say it’s a miracle, but in our post-Enlightenment America, that might sound crazy, plus the smartest of readers will have real reasons for why those posts were found on a now-defunct website with somehow editable drafts of posts in a link that only exists anywhere on one iPad app.
I will at least say with full confidence that the mysterious reappearance of my old, missing posts is absolutely an answered prayer—a seven month answered prayer, no less. Who knew that when I prayed again and again in November for the recovery of my old posts, God had already answered that prayer! I am techy; I’m not an idiot. I searched high and low for those posts, and I could not find them on my computer or accounts.
Had I looked in the iPad app back in November, I would have saved myself seven months of mourning their loss. But over those seven months, I didn’t have time to re-engage with my book or my heart for this website or even to be able to sit down, collect my thoughts, and write. And also, maybe seven months ago I didn’t need as much of a reminder of God’s timing and plan, so maybe that delayed gratification was God’s perfect timing, reminding me that He’s in the details and He answers our prayers in Internet-defying ways and on His own timetable.
That last one is a needed lesson for me right now. I want a job, and I want it now, please. I want to have everything sorted out, and I’d like it ASAP, if that’s okay. I know from time and time again that God’s timing is perfect and His plans are good, but it’s the in-between time—the waiting time—during which I would just like to go ahead and get to the good plan and clarity and perspective and stuff already. But God shows up in the waiting—not always with job offers or answers, but with reminders that He’s at work, He’s doing good things, and He’s not hampered by our time cards or day planners.
I saw that again today as I met with a guy regarding the new dream I’ve found (Tangled reference included for free. You’re welcome, Disney. Also, hire me?). I’m so excited for it, and I definitely want to share more, but I want things to be a little more official first, so I’ll be posting with a vengeance when that happens in the next few weeks, hopefully.
It’s time for this post to wrap things up (I don’t want to be one of those awkward wedding toasts that goes on and on without self-awareness or any reading of the crowd).
To recap: in The Case of the Reappearing Posts, there are still many unsolved questions: Why are there two hannahmcginnisbook.com options in my iPad app? Why does the second one that only exists in my iPad app contain almost ALL of my missing posts? Why is there even one hannahmcginnisbook.com option when it’s NOT A WEBSITE? Why were two posts missing, and why were those same two found in that random “Reader” tab all by themselves? Why did I just discover all of this 7 months later, after mourning their loss, praying for them to be recovered, and coming to dead ends after dead ends after dead ends?
I’m not sure, except I know that God is good and He answers prayers—even seemingly mundane ones that are about words typed on a computer and uploaded to the Interwebs—in unexpected ways and on His timeline. But because He is the Faithful One, I’m going to go with His timeline and ways rather than mine.