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Tis My 5th Blogaversary

Yes, hearts and stars, it was five years ago I began my blogging career . Truly, besides birthing children, it is the second largest miracle in my life. That I gave my love of writing the respect that it was due and entered into a contract with myself to get better by blogging regularly, that was huge. This, the bottom line, the why of my blog, was solid.

But the how of my blogging would be the journey worth traveling. I almost stopped, as many bloggers do, after 6 months, but then bettering my writing was my goal, my give a shoot, so I focused solely on that. I had no idea what I was doing otherwise. turnbridge point porch on shalavee.com

Dealing with the technology threatened to undo me several times too. I nearly lost my mind to the fear and anxiety with just installing the mechanics and the upkeep of the blog. But I kept on keeping on. And because I knew it was what you were supposed to do, I joined Facebook and Instagram and to my amazement, discovered that there were wonderful like-minded people all over the world.

However, the biggest discoveries were the ones I found had happened inside of me. I gained a truer understanding of who I was, what was important for me to be, and that I could count on myself. I separated the real me from the one I imagined I should be but wasn’t. And the person I am today is completely due to to his blogging journey I’m on. I have been able to peel back such layers of me and show the world that it’s possible to be authentic without too much reprisal. Yes there are trolls out here but they only make you stronger.My 5th Blogaversary on Shalavee.com

So I’m in for the long haul for this blog. I intend for there to be some changes to it for the better sooner than later. But my voice and my clear intention to be me and continue to grow and learn unapologetically will remain. I love each and every one of you my devoted readers so much because you know I mean it when I say I do this for both of us.

Read my thoughts from my 4th Blogaversary here.

Read what I said on my 2nd Blogaversary here.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Sorting Out Blogging and Kory Woodard’s Advice

Starting something that you’ve never done before takes courage. When I began this blog I had no idea why I was doing it except that I would have to write more. The technical stuff was terrifying and draining. It takes time and energy to worry. But I could only take it one step at a time. And fortune favors the bold.

Little by little I’ve learned about how to do this online blogging thing. I’ve had to sort out what everyone else is doing from what felt right for me. I took two online blogging courses from Decor8 creator Holly Becker to understand more of the basics and build the aesthetic of my blog. My first online friends, people I’m still in touch with, I met through those courses. (Hi Jennifer, Jane, Sheryl, Seraphina, Sandra, Wendy, and Mariana.) The more I watched, the more I wanted to do it “right”. at the grocery store on Shalavee.com

There were blogging events and conferences people were attending that I thought I needed to go and find myself at. I felt alone and sad that I could not afford to join. There were people making money promoting stuff on their blogs. Maybe I needed to do that. My contemporaries were suddenly creating projects and groups and communities and I felt like I was standing still for lack of inspiration or courage to do the same. But I was growing up. And I am finding that all of this has been just as it should be.

In taking your time to choose your path, you listen to your own needs and not those “choices” forced upon you by society or family or peer pressure. When I acknowledged that my strong unique voice was more important than any other element in my blog, I felt sooo much better. When I recognized that I didn’t want to sell or promote anything on my blog, I felt better. I would if it was something I adored but those offers haven’t come.

When I recognized that I was using the blog to find myself, have fun and connect with people, make community, find out what my purpose was, and what all that exactly feels like, I gave myself permission to go at my pace and do it in my way. That numbers can’t always show the truth of a situation. Thousands of followers doesn’t mean they all get you. find yourself, be that on Shalavee.com

And attendance to those conferences is great if you know your niche and want to connect with like-minded bloggers to work on future collaborations. But nobody there was going to be able to tell me who I was. There’s no like-minded until I have a mind. This may not be the best activity for me now or ever. I’ve taken the conference attendance off my goal list until I have another great reason to go. Like I’m speaking at one.

I have never wanted to feel like I was forcing my thoughts upon anyone, selling them on something. The online world constantly says you need an email list to use to sell future stuff. But when I was invited to comment on this subject by Kory Woodard, a very smart young woman who coaches online strategies, I noted she’d mentioned “build a community”. She wrote back and said yes and then wrote a follow-up post that was brilliant. Art comes in all forms on Shalavee.com

Kory says that she doesn’t think everyone needs a list. It’s up to you and here are a few reasons you may want one other than building a psycho sales tunnel. Number one was ,”Help you build a community around your blog or business. It’s sort of cool to feel like you’re part of this group of people who are seeing exclusive content. It’s even cooler when you realize that many of your current followers want even more from you. They want to support you and learn more. Having an email list allows you to create a great community of people who want to be active with your content.” I liked her vision much better.

And number two was ,”Allow your audience to get a greater glimpse of who you are – thus leading them to trust you even more.” delivering more information about yourself makes your community stronger by allowing for trust. I disclose so much anyway that I don’t mind doing it. I have sent out only a few newsletters to my subscribers with positive results. So I think I’m now encouraged by this young woman’s sage wisdom in that I won’t feel like I’m invading as much as offering more of what people already like about me. Finding a how to solidifying my community feels righteous. Saturday morning with a happy clementine on Shalavee.com

On blogging Kory’s advice is,”Above all, be yourself. The blogging world is literally packed with thousands of blogs – really great ones and terrible ones. However, you’ll never stand out or gain ground if you’re just copying what other blogs do. Instead, be yourself. Write about things you love and are passionate about, and people will like what you have to share and follow your blog because they like you and your take on things.”

I feel privileged to borrow the wisdom of such smart and intuitive young women online. My younger self had such a hard time that it feels so healing to receive needed wisdom from young women. Because when a thought feels like home, you need to adopt it. Especially when it leads you to community. I am ever grateful for the ones I am involved in and credit much of my climbing out of my dark secluded hole to these people, mostly “strangers” who have given the gifts of self sight and esteem I never realized I was missing.

And If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter orPinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Blogging For Self-Esteem

My husband has an event lighting company and we were at a wedding vendor ‘meet and greet’ recently. He introduced me to a professional woman who spoke about her event venue very seriously and pragmatically. And as the subject turned to social media, maybe I mentioned my blog, I spoke of how I’d entered into the social media world having no idea what it was about, mostly dreading it. And that I was surprised to find my self-esteem had bloomed through its use. And her stoic face spread in a smile and she said, “Good for you.” It was an unexpected response and that’s why I valued it. Because she knew the value of adding to one’s self-esteem. And I liked her.

See there’s a lot of us “older generation” who’ve resisted this social media “trend”. We’ve needed to be beaten over the head to consider our use of  social media. It was “new fangled” and we never even had a problem with rotary dial phones. But some of us had to concede to its use as necessary. I had a blog that needed promoting. Some others have books or personal causes that need exposure and support by sharing. But those are truly small whys compared to the bigger benefit. When you are on social media, community is almost inevitable.

===Fear Fears Community”===

— Jon Acuff —

We are community oriented beings. We get a sense of worth and gratitude and grounding when we are in a community. All of my life, I had never truly felt a part of one or maybe I didn’t believe I was deserving of one. And I totally did not expect to find mine online ! Yet it turns out there are so many like-minded people all over the world and if you speak honestly and from your soul-truth, you’ll bump right into them.

I’m loud and talkative when you meet me but I wasn’t like that online at first. So when I got a little less shy and began to ask questions and comment and speak up, I became a student of socialization. I saw that most people were nice to you and would respond. I saw that if you were truly kind to people they appreciated it. And I saw that the only way to have a friend was to be one.

cobalt door in Annapolis for Blogging for self-esteem post on Shalavee.com

And the gift I received in return was the knowledge that I have value and am worthy just because I’m here. Because I’m nice and have valuable points and views to add to the world. The people who aren’t invested in me, who aren’t my blood or need something from me, but have willingly given me validation, support, and kudos? They have been the blessing to my self-esteem and pulled me up off the ground. Them and a good therapist have taken me from a 4 to a 7 on the self-rating scale of self-esteem.

I’m at a place now where I’m ready to step out a bit more. I’d like to continue to inspire and spread kindness and support. If there’s a cause I should know and lend my support to, let me know. If there’s a question I can answer, ask. If there’s a community I can create or a service I can provide, I’d love to hear about it. I am stacking my aspirations up and next year promises to be an even better one. Thank you for reading dear people.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Perhaps It’s Permission Not Purpose You Seek

For my first couple of years as a blogger, I was barraged with information about what the career online people, including bloggers, were doing. They had goals and purpose. They had widgets and conferences. They had tribes and elevator speeches. And I said “Me Too”. Being a “make it my way” kinda gal didn’t make that feel any easier either.

I was wowed when there were e-courses and email subscriptions I could pay for to beef me and my online stuff up. Build platforms to shout out my purposeful branded stand. So I could be in the ocean and swim with the big fish.

I did enroll in a few courses and enjoyed a few educational tools. But I was still overwhelmed and continually unfulfilled. And as I looked at another e-course last year around the Holidays knowing we didn’t have the money, I said “Stop” ! There’s something up here.Drawing with Daddy on Shalavee.com

What was I really looking for ?” I asked myself. Because while I said I wanted to “find myself” , I suspected what I really wanted was someone to tell me what I was good at and to spell my life out for me. Tell me what to do. And that probably isn’t going to happen ever from anyone online or off. It’s not up to “them” to find your purpose out for you and then dissuade you from taking their course. You need to dig deep and decide what you truly need to discover. If you discover that what they’re offering is the exact final piece to your puzzle, well then have at it. My gut told me that wasn’t happening with this course or any other then or ever.butter buliding with Eamon on Shalavee.com

Seems my life has been more about proving what I’m not than finding out what I am. So much energy spent reacting to others and seeking approval from others that I never truly knew myself. And I further suspect that, until I have permission to do so, I’m not allowed to find a purpose. And I suspect that this may be a problem many other women experience.

If we are raised by a society that asks us to be caretakers then we may completely dismiss our own desires as unpurposeful. Figuring out who we want to be may be the first thing we blow off in figuring out our life goals. This sounds selfish, superfluous, and silly because we don’t have permission to consider this. If we’re “good girls”, we do as we’re told and care-take the people with more reasonable purposes and dreams (our husbands). Or we care-take our helpless loved ones (our babies and our elders). Not that those aren’t noble purposes, they just might not have been chosen by us intentionally. 

So then considering ones life’s purpose and goals is like jumping the shark.  It makes no sense within the context of what we and our clans may expect of us. And if we do choose to head there and away from these expectations, we may need a lot of support and positive mirroring and permission to even consider this a possibility.Architecture with butter on SHalavee.com

I can tell you that I’ve felt rather like a blind bird flailing about in a dark cage. As if I’m searching for the opening by using the Force. My intuition and what others have to say are often my guides to changing some of my first beliefs about myself from “Not enough” and “Can’t” to Talented Girl with Purposeful Possibilities ahead. And that this process of establishing purpose and identity takes as long as it takes. One step at a time.

If you missed it, I sussed out my Why in this recent post. And I think your Why is interchangeable with your Purpose. So what’s yours? And is the method by which you’re achieving it satisfactory or frustrating? And is that because you are asking the wrong job to fulfill that purpose? And what if I had the power to tell yourself you could do what you really wanted to, what would you say/feel then?

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

Liebster Blog Award

When I started blogging, I really had no concept of what a blog was. I just started and kept going, watching and learning as I went. Somewhere after the first year, I noted bloggers often give other bloggers love in the form of award nominations. I’d seen the badges on their side bars and thought how wonderful to be nominated and celebrated and acknowledged like this. And secretly, I guess I thought it would never happen to me.

The trick to having friends is to be one. The key to being a part of a community is to join them and value whatever comes your way while showing up and being a friend. I have committed to those practices as much as I have to writing a blog. That these were and still are necessary to my soul development is undeniable. And behold, last week Claire HM, poet and blogger of the Claireylove blog, nominated me for a Liebster blog award. She’s very talented, sweet, and wise. Soul sisters from different mothers.liebster award on Shalavee.com

The mechanics of this passing of the Liebster Award torch are as follows. Claire has asked me ten questions which I answer and then I return the karmic blog love and nominate 10 more bloggers for the award asking them ten questions of my own.

Or simply, here are The Liebster rules:

  • Link back and recognize the blogger who nominated me
  • Answer 10 questions asked by the person who nominated me.
  • Nominate 10 inspirational bloggers for the award.
  • Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  • Notify your nominees

Claire’s Questions For Me

  1. What is your first memory of writing?I think my first true writing memory was the pen pal letters to my friend Nalisa who had moved away to Tennessee after fourth grade. I so looked forward to receiving her letters and to decorating the envelopes with rainbows colored with markers and sending them off. My journal writing started later at 12 and I became an avid journaller for the rest of my life. My natural voice evolves into my writing style just like that in the letters speaking about what I’m thinking and what excites me. The intimate space between friends.
  2. What is the one book you wish you’d written?I was immediately frozen by this question. My husband answered for me with, “The Color Purple” by Alice Walker, as I have made reference to one particular scene several times. And I thought that was as good an answer as I could ever come up with. The themes of humanity, cruelty, and the endurance of the human spirit tied in with some of the richest characters ever. Genius.
  1. Is there a line of poetry that blows you away every time you read it? I am regularly impressed by many things in life that I read but honestly, I haven’t any time to read much but blog posts, some social media and group posts. Having my blog and a two year-old restrains my time terribly. I imagine my elder years will be spent catching up on all the soul expanding poetry I’ve missed all my life.
  2. Do you pray?Not in the traditional sense. I like to take time to consider and write about what I think about life and self betterment, humanity, hope and my faith in the future. My feeling is that however and whatever you pour your thoughts into is praying so my consideration of the well-being of my life and my children’s lives is a type of prayer.Fiona in the playhouse on Shalavee.com
  3. Tell me about five scents that are heavenly. – Coffee brewing in the morning means hope and renewal– An apple pie baking in the oven is always my birthday wish

    – Bread baking, even just a stroll down the bread aisle at the store, is like a forbidden high

    – Fresh pine boughs when the Christmas seasonal magic has finally settled into my heart

    – Coconut suntan oil reminds me of my teen years “laying out” and obsessing over boys

  4. What’s the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you – in a library ? I discovered I was a writer. I walked in looking for a way to connect with myself, with the world, intimidated by all those voices of published people around me. And I told myself to keep going. I was on a mission. Within the stack of books I checked out that day, I found a particular book that gave me permission to write what I had to say in my voice. And that was the moment I was empowered enough to be a writer, something I had been dying to be inside for many years.
  5. What do you think is most surprising about your reading habits? That I no longer read. Where I once always had a book going, I can no longer find the time or permission to pick one up and become enthralled. Baby’s bring very stringent routines and that mindset is hard to break. One day I keep saying.
  6. Winter boots or summer sandals? Discuss. Being so pale and needing a pedicure to enjoy my feet is a drawback to naked toes and legs. That plus shaving. But I never wear pantyhose because I’d rather the breeze on me than my legs to feel suffocated. Conversely, tights and cute boots hide all the flaws of humanity and age and can make even an old lady look kinda cute and youthful. Can’t decide.
  7. How are you planning to spend your winter evenings? Probably no differently than we do now. Making food and eating at the table with the family. Then watching movies or reading books to my two-year old. Grabbing a few minutes to write or enjoy a few tv or blog reading moments for myself ALONE before I pass out and do it all over again.
  1. Which song best reflects how the year is turning out for you so far?

    The Beatles’ Getting Better

    I used to be cruel to my woman I beat her
    And kept her apart from the things that she loved
    Man, I was mean but I’m changing my scene
    And I’m doing the best that I can”

 

Fiona's painted butterfly face on Shalavee.comAnd here’s my questions for my nominees:

 

1.) Did you have that point at almost a year into blogging when you thought of giving up but then chose to keep blogging? If yes, why did you continue?

 

2.) How many posts do you like to have written and scheduled ahead of time? Or do you?

 

3.) When do you do your best writing?

 

4.) Are you really irked when you are told you have a typo published in your piece? Do you tell other people when you see one in their posts?

 

5.) Is there a book that you’ve read twice ?

 

6.) What habit would you like to give up that impedes your creativity?

 

7.) How has the blogging/online community given you?

 

8.) Do you have a muse or a furry friend that is a part of your writing routine?

 

9.) What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

 

10.) What would you tell your younger self?

Fiona reading books on Shalavee.com

And without much more adieu, here are my nominees for the Liebster Blog Award.

  • Jennifer Mullin of The Fiery Redhead blog –  Living in New York, Veggie, cat lover, Food, Wine, Photography, Joy

 

  • Tori Mears of the Toris Tales blog – A regular gal writing extraordinary things from her heart and building a community called the Kindred Soul Village.

 

  • Sam Wheatley of the Wheatley Writer blog – Mama, writer, and a life coach in training, she’s all about Empowerment. And self-love.

 

 

  • Kathy Bosin from her A Chesapeake Journal blog. Living on the Chesapeake Bay in Maryland in a community on the water and photographing and writing her life. My first blogger bestie.

 

 

  • Bethany Brooke from Bethanibrooke.com – Mama, souls speaker,writer,  family and Kindred Soul Village community maker.

 

  • Heather Serody from her Big Girl Life Blog . Mama, yoga lover, healthy living, writer, Philosopher, and soul sister. Florida.

 

  • Sabrina Wolf from her Wolves in London blog . Mama, photographer, sewer, knitter, and landscape and plants enthusiast. London.

 

 

I owe a lot to these women on this list. The’ve shown up for me and recognized me and generally are all really devoted amazing ladies. So visit them and tell them I sent you. Congratulations to all for the wonderful jobs that you all do.

Wanna see the whole month of posts? Start here.Yesterday’s post, go here.

If you enjoyed what you read, subscribe, via the subscription box in the sidebar, to my thrice weekly posts via your emailbox. And visit me on Instagram to see my daily pictures, friend me or like my page on Facebook. Or come find me on Twitter or Pinterest too. I am always practicing Intentional Intouchness so chat at me please. I live for conversations.

And, as always, Thanks to you for your visit.

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