Recognition and Kudos and a Big Thank You

I’ve read a lot of good blogs lately. Good because they got me thinking. Good because they answered some questions I didn’t even know I had. Good because they made me laugh or cry. Or both.

Recognition and kudos and a big thank you to:

Andrea Read America for 8 Great Literary, Book Nerd, and Storytelling Podcasts. I’ve wanted to learn more about podcasts and how to get started listening to them. While her blog didn’t go into the bare basics that I needed, it inspired me to finally get it figured out. Plus, she was helpful in answering my questions and steering me in the right direction. Since starting to blog, I’ve struggled with balancing my time between reading, writing, and exercise. After reading her blog, I feel like I can perhaps combine exercise with the intake of information.

The Belle Jar for When Getting Better Is No Longer An Option. My daughter has struggled a lot lately with her depression. I’ve written a couple posts about it and have been overwhelmed with the support I’ve gotten from family, local friends, online friends, and the blogging community. The Clocktower Sunset referred me to this particular post at The Belle Jar and, wow, what she wrote really resonates with my current understanding of what depression is and what it means to have it. And so beautifully written to boot.

We were also referred to The Bloggess, specifically her post where she talks about how depression lies. My daughter and I watched the video on this post together and, like almost everything we hear or read about this condition, it furthered our understanding.

And speaking of depression, Nerd in the Brain, who writes all sorts of fun nerdy stuff, was kind enough, with The Spectacular Blog Award: A String of Pearls, to help spread the understanding about this frustrating disorder by bringing more attention and traffic to my posts.

On a happier note, while I was in the middle of a 12-day road trip with my teenage daughters, Daniel at National Parks [and More] somehow found my blog and casually mentioned that, if possible, we should try to incorporate Valley of Fire State Park in Nevada into our trip. I looked him up and found 40 Places to See in the Western United States That Will Blow Your Mind and because of his obvious  knowledge of amazingly cool places, I trusted him and we went to Valley of Fire. Now, I just need to write about the day we spent there.

So, thank you all, and keep up the good work!

With love,

Your fellow blogger,


About a week ago, with a heavy heart and some trepidation about sharing such a personal topic, I posted The Struggle is Real. The blogging community, my family, local friends, and other online readers responded–overwhelmingly–with support, cyber hugs, words of wisdom, analogous feelings and struggles, and names of books, articles, and blogs that we should read.

One friend commented with "Depression Lies" and pointed us toward The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson.

One friend commented with “Depression Lies” and pointed us toward The Bloggess, Jenny Lawson.

I couldn’t believe the response. Not just the support, but the fact that no one seemed to think it was weird that my daughter and I wanted to share what she’s going through. So, thank you, everyone–you da bomb.

On top of her depression, my daughter was physically sick. I listened to her cough all night long, though I was sure she was sleeping through it. She emerged from her bedroom every morning for more than a week with her hand cupped below her mouth, wakened each morning by coughing up phlegm. She slept a lot and said she didn’t feel well and stay bundled up in a blanket, even on warm afternoons. She didn’t talk much at all. Of course, I thought all the latter–sleeping, bundling, silence–were related to the depression, which they were, but there was more. As it turned out, she had strep throat.

More mom guilt. First, I don’t understand her depression as well as I want to and I don’t know exactly how to help her. Worse, she was quite sick for more than a week before I took her to the doctor. And the only reason I took her was because she said to me (finally), “Hey, mom, wanna see what I’ve been dealing with for the past week?” and opened her mouth in my face, shining her cell phone on the back of her throat.

It was the most disgusting throat I’ve ever seen. Hugely swollen, bright red, coated in pus, sides almost touching, just a tiny opening.

Wow, I remember thinking, she really is sick. It’s not just a fantastic notion of her depressed imagination.

Anyway, the transformation I saw in my baby was amazing as an increased dosage of Zoloft kicked in right about the same time the Amoxicillin did. Mentally and physically healed all at once. Her vibrant self returned.

I was taking an art class after work when my phone rang. I picked up because it was her. “Mama, whatever you do, don’t eat. I’m cooking dinner.”

More like whatever else I had planned for the evening, just cancel it. Cooking dinner? Out of her bedroom? Moving around? Planning and following through with something? Inviting me, ahead of time? There was no way I was going to miss this.

I hurried home after class and found both daughters and the family dog on the couch, starting a movie, waiting for me. It just happened to be one of my favorite movies–What’s Eating Gilbert Grape? I dropped my things and sat right down. Addy said that we were having dinner in the living room. The dinner that she had made was layered dip and chips. Perfect!

I watched Addy just as much as I watched the movie. She was the happiest I’d seen her in weeks. Carefree, playing with the dog, able to sit through the entire movie without retreating to her room. My daughter is healthy and happy, I kept thinking to myself.

By the time the movie ended, it was dark. The girls were tired and said good night. “That was a fun family night,” said Amy, who I know has been concerned about her sister.

Once alone, the floodgates opened. Tears streamed down my cheeks. No wailing, no sobbing. Just silent tears. Not tears of fear or pain or frustration. Tears of relief. And they just kept coming.

I guess I was carting around a bit of stress these past few weeks. I don’t recognize it at the time. I just keep pressing on. Do what needs to be done. But then, when there’s a break in the action, it all comes out. This time, luckily, it came out as relief. Relief that my daughter is healing. Healing before things got worse, healing before something terrible happened.

In the morning, I told Addy about my tears, about how relieved I was to see her acting like her old self again, to see her happy.

“Mom, I just want to do things now. Before, I had to try to talk myself into doing the most basic things–getting up, washing a load of laundry, talking to people. It would take like a half hour to talk myself into something and I’d be exhausted before I even did it.”

I didn’t say anything. Just listened. I need to learn. Learn to understand how this disorder operates, how it affects my daughter. By understanding, perhaps I can be a better support system for her.

“There were, like, several days in there where I was convinced you and Amy hated me. I knew you didn’t. You wouldn’t do everything you do if you didn’t care about me. But, still. I had to put so much energy into telling myself that it wasn’t true.”

This comment made me remember something. “Oh! I made you something in my class.” I went and got the oil craypas water-color relief on fabric. Depression Lies, it said.

“Ha! Good one, Mom! I’ll hang it my dorm room.” She paused and I’m pretty sure she was thinking about the same thing I was:  Yep, you’re going to make it to that dorm room.

“Man, I didn’t realize how sick I was. I don’t really get it until I come out of it. I feel so liberated! I feel happier than I’ve felt in a long time!”

“Well, if wanting to cook dinner is a measure of happiness, then you’re way ahead of me,” I told her, laughing.

“Oh, Mom,” she said, “you da bomb. Dot com.”


**A special thanks to Nerd in the Brain on for reading that first post and bringing more attention to it and this important topic.





The Relentless Follower

I hesitate, but not for long, not longer than a second really.

Then I do it. I click on the + and there I am, relentlessly following yet another blogger.

(And to think that, for the majority of my life, I considered myself a leader, not a follower.)

I don’t go searching for blogs to follow. I’ve never clicked on Recommended Blogs.

What I do do, though, is check out the blogs of anyone who shows evidence of visiting my blog. If they “liked” a post or left a comment, then I in turn go to their blog and see what they’re writing about. That’s what the blogging community is all about.

But here’s the trouble–almost every blog I visit is respectable, unique in both appearance and content. Worthy. Worthy of my time and attention. And thus I click on the +.

And I am following yet another blog and that means there will be even more reading material coming into my life on a daily basis.

When I follow a blog, I follow it. Wholeheartedly. I don’t want to miss any posts. I want to read what is being written, ponder it, and try to make a comment or get involved in the conversation. I want to nurture the community and build relationships.

There have been blogs that I’ve followed and then un-followed once I realized that they weren’t my style, weren’t on a topic that interested me. So far I haven’t un-followed any blog just because I feel I’m following too many blogs. If it’s a good blog, I want to recognize that by becoming a faithful follower.

Currently I am following (only?) 61 blogs, but last week at this time it was 54. What is there, something like 500,000,000 WordPress blogs? I’m in so much trouble.Image

There’s only so much time in the day. Only so much time for reading, only so much time for writing. Every time I decide to follow another blogger, I am cutting into my writing time because I have to devote more of my daily WordPress time to reading. Weird how that works. I started blogging to write, not to read more, but one cannot happen without the other. Reciprocity. I am learning from these other blogs, not just content, but how to become a better writer. It would be foolish to not keep up with my reading.

So, as you can see, or as you may very well know, it’s a dilemma. What is your experience? How many blogs are you following? How do you balance reading and writing time?

Daily Blogging – What I’ve Learned

After a few months of blogging and getting the hang of it and becoming involved in the community and thoroughly enjoying it all, I committed to posting something every day for the entire month of October.

It wasn’t just that I was digging the process of writing so much, it’s that my student teacher was in the thick of his nine weeks of total teaching, and I needed a project to focus on to keep myself from going crazy. To go from lesson planning and creating materials and delivering instruction eight hours a day to just sitting and observing and providing feedback is a big change. I needed a distraction.

So, anyway, here it is October 31st and I am happy to say that I did, indeed, post every day. This post is about what I learned as I went along.


More on Community

After a couple of months of blogging, I wrote a piece about the community I discovered here at ( Having never blogged before, I didn’t know that I should expect to meet new people and get so involved. I feel the need to check in several times a day, to let my fellow bloggers know I am reading and appreciating their posts. And I have this urge to post something daily, to contribute enthusiasm and fodder, to do my part to keep the machine running.

As I mentioned in the post I linked to above:  Whether school, work, family, online, or a sports team, it (community) feeds us and we feed it. Synergy.

In that spirit, today I would like to mention two blogging friends I have met in this community. Not only do I follow their blogs (because they are well-tended and have a unique quality about them), but I commend them for taking the time and energy to pay it forward with a couple of blogging awards/recognitions that get passed around in this community.

First, ashlynsmom99 over at passed the Liebster Award on to me. Ashlynnsmom99, I Liebster Awardgraciously accept! Thank you! 

And then, Christina, at, presented–just a few days later–the same award to me along with another one called The Versatile Blogger Award. Thank you, Christina! I recommend checking out her blog because she is all about girliness, gratefulness, and good vibes. Her blog will put you in a better mood and give you a better outlook for the day.

And, now, I am passing the Liebster Award on to two others. First, I present it to the author of a blog called Conversations – Take a peek at her wonderful blog when you have time. I will also pay the Liebster Award forward to Vanessa at Her blog is fun to read and she is awesome about reading other blogs and commenting and getting conversations going. And that, of course, is great for the community.Versatile Blogger Award

The Liebster Award is intended to go to a blogger who has fewer than 200 followers but who deserves a lot more traffic. It’s possible that these two have already received this award; if so, they get it again!

To accept the Liebster Award, and to pass it on, you must*

1. Create a link back to the person who nominated you.

2. Nominate other bloggers who have fewer than 200 followers.

3. Answer the questions given to you.

4. Create another set of questions for the nominees.

5. Notify the bloggers you have nominated them.

*There are different rules and regulations associated with the Liebster Award. These are the ones I chose to copy and forward on. Also, the award can be passed on to 1-15 other bloggers.

I must answer these questions:

1. What author would you most like to emulate?

Me! I have lots of favorites, but I don’t want to write just like them, and I couldn’t possibly anyway. It makes sense to find my own voice.

2. If you could spend 24 hours doing whatever you want, what would it be?

I think the hours would look similar to what I do every day – some exercise, some contributing to society (teaching), reading, writing, being a parent, connecting with others, and spending some time outside. I would cut out sleep if I could.

3. What is the song that best describes your teenage years?

Aye yi yi, that’s a hard one.

4. Whose poster was on your wall as a child?

Some of the cuties from Teen Beat Magazine. I can’t remember any of their names. Is that bad?

5. What is your favorite movie of all time?

“What’s Eating Gilbert Grape?” comes to mind.

6. Are you an animal lover?

Yes, but not to the point that I have a bunch of them. I grew up on a farm and, at one point, had 42 “pets.” Now, I have just one dog.

7. Do you prefer an artificial or real Christmas tree?

Artificial, because I am always worried about making stupid mistakes, like letting a real one catch on fire.

8. Candy corn: love it or hate it?

Love it for about half a bag. Then I’m good until the next October.

9. Are you athletic?

Coordinated, but slow as all get out on my feet. I play racquetball, run, swim, hike, and ride my bike to work some days.

10. Who would play you in the LIfetime movie of your life?

Aye yi yi again. I had to Google Lifetime movies and check out some actresses. I know I’ve seen some Lifetime movies, but I didn’t realize it was an entire genre. I don’t watch much t.v. or many movies.

And, I have questions for you to answer when you blog about getting the award.

1. What did you cut out of your life as you started to write/blog more?

2. What do you like best about the blogging community?

3. What frustrates you about the blogging community?

4. How has your family reacted to you spending time writing?

5. What is the most rewarding thing about writing?

Here’s to community! Love you guys!





Community – Who Knew?

Community. What a concept. Whether school, work, family, online, or a sports team, it feeds us and we feed it. Synergy.

I started blogging just a few months ago. I knew nothing about blogging. All I knew was that I enjoyed writing and I needed a platform. I established my blog on hoping it would urge me to write on a more regular basis. I had never read anyone’s blog—who has time for that?—let alone write posts for one. If there was a blogging culture, expectations, etiquette, I was oblivious. More