When Blogging World Meets Real World

Butchart Gardens
A magical evening at Butchart Gardens.

I was very moved by a recent comment I received on my blog.

I was asked whether “all was well” since I had been silent for more than a month in the blogosphere. 

Life Happens, To All Of Us

There are many reasons we may hit the pause button or stop blogging for a period of time.

  • We may need to be quiet to divert our time and energy to pressing concerns.
  • We may have health complications.
  • We may need to replenish our body and our spirit. 
  • We may not need a specific reason.  Just time for a break.
  • In my personal life?  An unexpected family crisis.  Then Christmas came along.

After all, blogging should be a fun part of our lives.  Not a self-imposed chore with a strict timeline.  

Yet, I respect how many bloggers set different writing goals and parameters.

Butchart Gardens

The First Post I Read in 2020

I read Shelley’s recent candid post  Quaint Revival   on why and how she continues to blog.  She brought up the concept of clicks as “fly-by clicker types” and other categories of superficial followers. Not a new topic in the blogosphere.

Shelley’s wisdom helped me reflect on the blogging friends I have made and the reasons I blog.

Are they Real People who treat me like a Real Person?  Do they  actually read my stories?  Do they read my comments on their site?  

My Aha Moment

Just like in Real Life, I prefer to hang out with Real People who genuinely share and care.  Blogging friends who truly make a difference.

You impact the Real World in more ways than you may realize.

Five Ways The Blogging World Entered My Real World This Past Month

1.   Thank you, Donna and Richard, for a fun lunch date.  Retirement Reflections    We are long past the introductory Blind Date  (Link)  stage when we met last Spring.  It feels as if we have been friends for a very long time.  It was also a real treat to meet your son and his girlfriend visiting from overseas.  We look forward to many more future get-togethers.

It feels as if we have been friends for a very long time.

 

2.   Thank you, Annika,  Annika Perry  for writing a beautiful children’s book.  I received “Oskar’s Quest” just in time for my granddaughter, Abby’s fourth birthday.  A beautifully illustrated book sharing a message of courage, kindness and friendship.  Abby loves to follow along and she is already reading (memorized) part of the book, especially the sound effects.

 

 

3.    I met Joanne Tracey on her blog  andanyways.com   Joanne’s book, “Happy Ever After” was a finalist in the 2019 Romance Writers of Australia Romantic Book of the Year (Ruby) Awards. I can see why Joanne won this honour.  “Happy Ever After” is an engaging and compelling story about the nuances and challenges of relationships, marriage and happiness. Suspense, too.  I am almost finished reading this book and I still have no idea how the story will end.   

 

 

4.   Thank you, Yvette,  priorhouse blog  for your inspiration on my title for this post.  I have always remembered a sentence on your blog that resonated with me.  “Don’t you love it when blog world meets the real world?”

5.   Thank you, Suzanne,  Picture Retirement  for commenting on my “radio silence”  and “hoping all was well.”  You entered my Real World and you touched my heart.  

An evening stroll at Butchart Gardens.

I Appreciate The Blogging Community and The Friends I Have Made

  • I learn something new from every post I read.
  • I have the opportunity to vicariously experience parts of our planet through your adventures.
  • I see the world through your lens.
  • I am informed and I am entertained.
  • I learn lessons when you share your vulnerabilities.    
  • I appreciate when you share your wisdom.

Most of all, thank you for your Humanity. You make a difference.

Especially, when you touch someone’s heart.

   

Have you ever been emotionally moved by a comment on your blog?

Have you ever hit the “pause” button and taken a break from blogging?

Please Join Me At SMARTLiving365 “Ten Things We Should Have Known Before We Started Blogging”

I love Kathy Gottberg’s sentence on how the “Ten Things We Should Have Known Before We Started Blogging” “….offer a glimpse into our personalities and how we approach both our blogs AND the world around us.”  This past year I was surprised to learn how blogging is actually a team sport.  I greatly appreciate all of the interesting, kind, supportive members of the team from all parts of the Globe. 

I am especially grateful for the privilege of meeting these amazing ladies.  I know you will appreciate the candor, insights and gems found in this post.

What things would you add to the list?

via Ten Things We Should Have Known Before We Started Blogging

 

 

My Husband Returns Without His Pants On! We Were In For A Fun Time!

Chuck:  “What do you want for your birthday this year?”  Me: “Go for a Weekend Getaway and attend a Blogger’s Meet Up.”

Chuck gives me a puzzled look.  He does not roll his eyes at me.  One of the reasons we have been married forty plus years.  

Weekend Getaway

Donna and Richard  Blind Date   had kindly invited us to their home this Summer.  Donna had Blogging Buddies, Friends, arriving from out of town.  It would give us all a great opportunity to Meet Up and share many of the thoughts and challenges specific to the blogging and writing community.

I was excited!  I felt like I had already met these ladies, although not In Real Life. I had met them through following and reading their blogs. I already respected and admired them a great deal.  I knew we had lots to talk about.  It was a privilege to be in the company of these inspirational women.

My concern was that my husband had not met anyone in this group.  He was out of his comfort zone.  This Meet Up was his unselfish birthday gift to me.

My worries were all for nothing.  My husband had a great time, too! 

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Saturday Morning

We arrived early in the morning to a warm welcome.  The ladies began setting up in the dining room to begin the meeting, our laptops and itineraries placed in front of us.

Chuck went to meet the men in another area of the house.  We heard lots of chatter and laughter.  Five minutes later, Chuck returned with the group and they headed out the door.

                Chuck’s tear away cargo pants had become shorts.  It was the beginning of a fun day!

 

The Meet Up

Thoughtful, organized Donna led the meeting.  We covered many topics and shared a great deal of information.  I will write a separate post on my takeaways and specific gems.  Right now, my mind is spinning and my brain is full.

                  More importantly, my heart is full.

I had the privilege of being surrounded by smart, kind, supportive women. Mentors.   At all times, I felt accepted and heard.  Opposing opinions were welcome.  Constructive advice given.  We were in a safe place amidst like-minded people, bloggers, friends.  

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I could also feel the energy in the room.  Everyone was passionate about how they spend their time.  They care a great deal about their families, their goals, their new endeavours, their life.  A common thread in our conversation was 

                     Life First, Blogging and Writing Second.  

 

IMG_3228                                        Donna, Ann, Erica, Judith, Janis, Kathy

Sunday Morning Gratitude

Thank you to Judith and Rob for inviting all of us to their home on Sunday morning.  Another opportunity for great food, West Coast scenery and especially for enjoying each other’s company

 

 

 

Thank you to Donna and Richard for all of their preparation and wonderful hospitality.  A common response to Donna’s last post  Blogging Buddies Visit    was how Donna has a knack for noticing the good in people, bringing out the best in them and bringing people together.

                           We all had an amazing time!

Thank you to my husband, Chuck, for his unselfish gift of time with me and the gift of the Blogger’s Meet Up, time with my New Friends.

                          Thank You To Everyone for the Best Birthday Gift!

 

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Blogger’s Meet Up – Vancouver Island – July 20-21, 2019

Donna:   https://retirementreflections.com

Jude:   http://gideonsockpuppet.blogspot.com

Jude’s Art:   https://www.notchhillart.com

Kathy:    https://www.smartliving365.com

Janis:    https://retirementallychallenged.com

Ann:    https://theunretired.life

Erica:    https://behindthesceneryphoto.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Have you ever been on a Blind Date?

I was slightly nervous.  My hands were a little clammy.  I was out of my comfort zone.

I was also curious and looking forward to this Blind Date 

I have had the opportunity to meet many new people in my life.  This was different.  This was a first for me.  I was meeting someone face to face when we had only communicated in cyberspace.  

          Spoiler alert:  Donna is even nicer and more interesting In Real Life!

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Donna   Retirement Reflections  and I initially met last Fall, when I was reading anniversary stories on WordPress blogs.  I was deeply moved by her beautiful letter to her husband, a gift of words.   A Love Letter    When I found out that Donna and Richard lived on Vancouver Island, I knew we were destined to meet.  I believe that our paths were meant to cross.  I believe in synchronicity.

As many of you know, Donna and her husband Richard are preparing to hike   La Via Francigena   this Summer.   Monday nights include a two hour drive each way into Victoria to attend Italian lessons.

Donna and I had arranged to meet before the class at a restaurant called “Victoria Sushi.”  

An initial big, warm hug was followed by over an hour of non-stop talking about many topics. 

We talked about blogging in general.  Bloggers know the challenges of writing, editing, revising and critiques.  We know the feeling of vulnerability when we share our stories.  

We shared personal stories.  Donna has led a varied and interesting life with adventures in many exotic locations. I always look forward to opening my inbox and reading Donna’s stories. They make me laugh.   Bear Attack!!    They inspire me to be a better person and a better writer.

Early on I recognized Donna’s warmth, kindness, intelligence and wit through her posts and her comments. Donna has a supportive and kind comment for everyone.  She has a gift for recognizing and validating the core message and underlying emotions in a story.

I know that Donna has a large following of bloggers that admire and respect her.  I am one of the lucky few that have had the privilege of meeting Donna In Real Life.

 I had the opportunity to see her face light up when she talks about her family.  I saw how she smiled at Richard when he entered the room.  I can see why they will be celebrating their twentieth anniversary next year.

 

 

 

I enjoy this positive corner of the internet.  I have met many like-minded individuals.  I have also met people with diverse interests and different perspectives. You have enriched my life on many levels.  I live vicariously through your adventures and photos.  You make me laugh. You inspire me with your stories, your writing, your wisdom. 

I have also made friends along the way.

If you have the opportunity, I highly recommend you go on a Blind Date with a fellow blogger.  You will not regret it.  

Especially when you meet someone as genuine and kind as Donna.

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Postscript:   “Outtakes” 

I always have a lot of material to condense when I write. Since I enjoy watching outtakes, I decided to add a few notes.  aka “my inside voice 

  • Donna sent me links to past meet ups with fellow bloggers.  In the photos I see bottles of wine on the table and glowing cheeks on the bloggers.  Thank goodness for Marty’s timely wine post.   Snakes in the Grass   We can stay within a budget. fullsizeoutput_7768
  • Do I warn my husband about my computer history?  I did research “blind dates” and “what are the ten best dating sites in Canada?”
  • Re: IRL.  Susan’s   Swooning Grace   comment on Donna’s Retirement Reflections blog  made me smile. “Is IRL a secret code word among bloggers? ha ha.”  I am naive about the blogosphere, too.  I saw IRL a few times before I figured out the meaning.  Susan, you also made me cry on the same day you made me smile.  I read your beautiful post,   Tribute to a Father
  • In the age of Marvel comics and superheroes, Kindness is a quality that supersedes all of the other powers.  Thank you Donna, and all of the bloggers that continue to make this community fun. 

I wish I could go back in time and thank that stranger

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They just seemed to appear.  I did not know their names.  It was a gentle touch or a kind word.  It may have been only a small gesture to them although it made a big impact in my day and in my life.

The tow truck driver who came to the rescue when my car broke down on a busy highway, smoke coming out of the hood of my car.  I had two very young girls with me, one who made sure her precious “Mr. Bear” was tossed out of the car first, saved from certain peril.  While transporting the three of us and our vehicle to the garage, this kind man first stopped to buy the girls treats, snacks and drinks.  He turned a stressful day into a fun adventure, especially for these two little girls.

The lady sitting next to us at the Michael Jackson 3D show.  Many hours of  nonstop amusement park rides resulted in our 7 year old having an upset stomach.  To our little girl’s embarrassment, she became ill on the lady sitting beside us.  This very kind lady discretely joined us in the bathroom to tidy herself and help us.  She was thoughtful and concerned.  She helped turn an awkward, embarrassing moment into something minor and now it is a funny story we continue to share.  

The lady that seemed to appear out of nowhere when I had a meltdown in the school washroom and I could not stop crying.  It was the first trimester of an intensive school year. I was overwhelmed with the demands of school work, homework, lack of sleep and raising a young family. No words were exchanged. She stopped and gave me a big hug. I will never forget that hug and how it made me feel.  I could now pick myself up and go on with my day, my morale bolstered by that spontaneous act of love from someone I had never met before and whose name I will never  know.

 Many strangers have made a difference in my life.  Their acts of kindness have strengthened and renewed my spirit, oftentimes when I needed it the most. 

Since I cannot go back in time, I can thank them by remembering, sharing and paying it forward.  Hopefully, I will make the difference in someone’s day and ultimately in their life. 

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I did not know it had a name

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A woman I really like and respect asked me how I was doing. The response I would normally give is, “good, how are you?”  Only the two of us were in the room.  I decided to share with her a challenge I was facing, causing increased worry and sleepless nights.  She looked at me and listened quietly to my story.  When I was finished, she said “I will hold space for you”.

I paused.  I had not heard this phrase before, although it felt right.  She did not interrupt me or give me any guidance.  She had silently listened to me.  I immediately felt better.

We all have challenging parts of our life and worries that keep us awake at night.  We all benefit from a safe place, a friend, where we can share our story.  

When someone shares their struggles with me, I often want to jump in, give advice, fix it.  There are times where possible solutions and other perspectives are welcome.  

Often, what we need most is a kind, loving presence, someone who will be there to give us unconditional support.  I now know that it has a name.  “I will hold space for you.”

The 5 W’s – How do YOU harness your Monkey Mind?

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WHAT?  Writing –  thoughts, observations, pervasive feelings, lessons that begin in whispers……lessons that get louder and louder, stories just for fun

WHERE?  Everywhere

WHEN?  Always

WHO?  6 year old me, the now me…..and everything in-between

WHY?  Creativity, many notes, paying attention, stories wanting to burst out of me, my constant attempt to be succinct, KISS, obtain some clarity……. my goal to Harness the Monkey Mind.  WHY?  Sharing:   your thoughts, opinions, perspectives greatly matter.  You always inspire me.  I am a work in progress, constantly learning, evolving, recreating.  We are in this life together

The Challenge?  Requires courage, overcoming fear, taking risks, increased vulnerability..….…..the rest is fun

How do YOU harness your Monkey Mind?