Friday, May 31, 2013

The W(h)IP IT GOOD Blogfest!

Yup.  It's blogfest week...didn't realize how close together they were until the reminders started coming.  This party is hosted by the amazing D.L Hammons, fellow co-host of the A-Z and my super supportive blogger buddy, and Elise Fallson, whom I met today!

WIP Title:  Worlds Colliding

Word Count (projected/actual so far): 
8500/50,000 (doing BuNoWriMo in June. Again. And did a NaNo...but it will probably end up being longer. I'm a pantser.)

Space opera meets Tom Clancy

How long have you been working on it?: 
Since February 2011

Elevator Pitch (if you came across an agent in an elevator ride, what couple of lines would you use to summarize your book): 
Leah has been slowly infiltrating the government agency responsible for her brother's death. Living on one of the new floating colonies orbiting Second Earth, she's lonely, out of energy and hope, and on the brink of losing control of her mission. Being a double agent isn't turning out to be as easy as she had thought.

Brief Synopsis (250 words or less): 
In 2149, technological advances have made life better for the inhabitants of Second Earth and its many orbiting colonies. However, corruption in government agencies, especially in the top levels, has not changed at all.

Leah has been slowly building a cover and infiltrating the TIA, as a double agent. Her mission is classified, and very personal.

With Ian as her lifeline to the FBI on First Earth, she's getting closer to the truth, and closer to the top rungs of the Titan Patrol.

Can she hold on? She's slowly succumbing to the pressure, and some of her old demons are coming back to haunt her. Will she be able to control her personal issues long enough to complete her assignment?

Are you looking for a Critique Partner?: 
not yet...

Are you looking for a Beta Reader?: 
Once it's done...

Now that I've said all this in public, I've got no more excuses for not putting some serious time into this project. My family is on board, and as I told you, I'm doing BuNoWriMo in June. As in tomorrow. Please hold me accountable...I really do want to finish this. It started as a short story, in a writing contest, in February of 2011. I never finished it, just ran out of time. Then when I tried to finish it, I realized I couldn't because it was a novel and not a short story. If you want to read the few installments I did manage to write, they start here.

Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Getting Myself Back

Maybe I'm the absolute last person you should listen to about getting healthy, what with all my whining and complaining and seemingly never-ending medical issues. OR, now that I AM getting healthy, maybe you should. Oh what the heck, read the damn post anyway!

My getting healthy journey started with Feldenkrais Therapy. I found this method through a friend who is studying to become a practitioner herself. I thought, "Well, I've tried some weird stuff over the years...what could it hurt except my wallet."  Wow. So glad I listened to her. (Thank darlin', even though you don't read my blog ;-)

This method of physical therapy retrains your nervous system to function in its most efficient way (which is different for each body) and the effects are simply amazing. I went from having to have my hip replaced and barely able to walk around my house due to the stabbing pain, to being able to, at last measurement, hike a mile and a half.

Not only did it improve my overall well-being and the functionality of all the parts I harmed over the years with gymnastics, long distance running, and poor nutrition (see Careless Words), it also, finally, after eleven long years of chronic regional pain syndrome  -I'll leave you to follow the link if you want more info, but basically I had pain because my nerves weren't talking to each other correctly, but fixing NERVOUS system means fixing nerves, so all the stuff that helped my arthritis, helped that, too.  My practitioner, whom I adore, had told me that it would, but after eleven years of being handed one kooky remedy after another, I didn't believe him. Until it happened.

So since starting Feldenkrais therapy, I've achieved:
  • not needing a hip replacement
  • normal functionality in all my parts
  • ditched Chronic Regional Pain Syndrome
  • ditched my pain doctor and all the expensive and mind-numbing though necessary at the time narcotics
  • can garden, hike, ride a bike, carry laundry up and down stairs
  • gained self-esteem back, and thereby ditched one of my anti-depressants
  • and found my magic shoes

I've gotten myself back.

This blog hop is hosted by Alex J. Cavanaugh, Stephen Tremp, L. Diane Wolfe, and Michael Di Gesu,  Thanks to all of you!

Monday, May 27, 2013

In Remembrance

We are flying our flag proudly today, in the gorgeous, bright Colorado sunshine.  Later we will attend a family barbeque - typical Memorial Day behavior.  I don’t want today to just be that, though.  A token sign, then family fun.  I want to remember, and honor those who have given themselves so that I may enjoy freedom.

Today lots of families are mourning loved ones lost so I can freely go anywhere I want and do anything I want.  The police aren’t looking for me because I went to church yesterday.  They aren’t going to come and take my Bible.  I can run across the street and talk about something I learned studying that Bible, and SMK and I do not have to whisper, or have that conversation behind closed doors, in the basement. 

You, reading this blog, may or may not share my faith, but you’re not going to report me to anyone.  You may share about your faith on your blog, and I can read it or not read it, agree or disagree, we can have a discussion in the comments, and there’s nobody watching us, looking for keywords, trying to trace our identities and prosecute us.

I am free live my life, because of the many men and women who gave their lives to purchase that freedom on my behalf.  While I stayed safe and sound far out of harm’s way, they crawled into fox holes, through jungles, and up beaches under constant, unrelenting fire power.  They lived in tents, in the hills, in the sand, in the sweltering heat, in the cold, cold night. 

They did this because of their own choice. No one came to their house and dragged them away in the middle of the night, into the armed forces.  They chose this sacrifice.  For me, and for you.

Thank you to all the men and women of the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard.  Thanks also go to the families of these amazing men and women. THANK YOU for my freedom.  Thank you for your sacrifice.  We remember, and we honor you all today.

 (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)  for the blog, go here.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Can I Just Have My Mac Back?

Some of you may recall how OYT drowned my beloved mac in milk. The Engineer then surprised me with a new Windows 8 laptop, lightning fast, and I was happy because I had a computer.

I am no longer happy. Today I spent 2:42:17 with Microsoft tech support. Tricia (in Costa Rica) was delightful, helpful, sweet, understanding, intelligent, and listened carefully. However, I had not planned on the call taking over 45 minutes (I had planned ahead...) so at one point I had to hand the phone to The Engineer while I drove the carpool to the last day of school. When I returned, the scan which had taken almost 40 minutes was done, the corrupted files found, the problem “fixed”, and it was time to check results.

Nothing was fixed. I won't bore you (further...) with all that's wrong with Windows 8, but basically I have to load web pages MULTIPLE times to get all the functionality, and NONE of my apps work. Windows 8 has all those tiles you've seen in the commercials. They're all apps. I've become particularly fond of the EMAIL app. I find email a rather convenient form of communication, and having my personal, and the email for the A-Z info@, accessible from one application without logging in and out of two google identities convenient. It hates me, though. It also hates Tricia and all her clever attempts to make it listen to us.

So there we were, 14 restarts of my machine and hours later, and still no closer to a solution. So I asked her if SHE was on a Windows 8 machine. “We can solve problems for any of our operating systems. I can help you with XP, Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.” “But are YOU on a Windows 8 machine?” She repeated that same answer. Suspicious if you ask me. Later, I did finally get her to admit (we had plenty of time for chit-chat as my pedaling-as-fast-as-it-could machine downloaded one update after another) that she was on Windows 8 since that was what my problem was, but it wasn't her usual machine.

In the end though, my apps still didn't work, websites still wouldn't load, AND my personal email account was no longer visible on the mail app. See, even though I couldn't DO anything with my email on that app, I could at least READ the back emails I'm desperately trying to catch up on. Well, until the app just decides I'm done and flips back to the opening screen. I was making progress in the back-log, though.

So after all that time, I'm actually in WORSE shape than when I started, and I've now been escalated to another department which has “more tools” to help me solve my problems. Yeah, I really need more “tools” in my life...sigh.


There were two gems that came out of the conversation. She repeatedly, and I'm pretty sure accidentally, referred to the "preferred" browser as “Internet EXPLODEr”. Since it kept living up to its name, we did our work with Chrome ;-)

She also said that I knew the most about Windows 8 of any customer she had worked with. Truly frightening. If I've managed to learn the most about this crappy POS OS, then how is ANYONE coping? I mean, their own tech people run Windows 7...

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Rites of Passage

SMK's oldest, SoccerBoy, is graduating this weekend and I'm just as emotional as if he were my own son. This is the boy who has spent the last twelve years running in and out my house. Spending nights and days on end, eating me out of said house and home, always saying please and thank you, and never drinking my last green tea. He has been The Transporter's constant companion, from the sandbox with sippy cups, to gaming buddy, nerf-war team-mate, Pokemon trader, run-to-7-11 for snacks and stay up all night with friend. He's always been around. He's leaving.

Summer job beckons, and he'll be out of town during the week. Then he's off to school over two hours away, on a much deserved soccer scholarship. He'll be GONE. I can't imagine our house without him. We gave up on knocking years ago, so I'll be doing something, door opens, no one seeks me out, and next thing I know, there's a deep-voiced, almost so tall he has to duck into rooms, friendly boy hanging out. Note to self: double what you're making for dinner.

We have certain rules about friends being over when we're gone. He's always the exception. “Well no friends except SoccerBoy, of course.” He IS exceptional. It's not often these days that you're blessed with your son's best friend being a (now) man of integrity and tremendous work ethic, who encourages those with slightly less ambition to DO stuff. “C'mon, let's clean up your room. Your mom will be happy and I can fit a chair in here and actually sit down.” “Dude! Do your laundry! I can't find the headphones!”

SoccerBoy, I wish you all the best as you begin the next chapter in you life. My door is always unlocked for you, I'll probably have some left-over pizza, and your favorite burrito filling. Thanks for the years of joy and fun you've brought to our house. Aim high, travel safe, and let yourself in when you're home visiting.


P.S If you don't know who SMK is, check out the nicknames tab above.

Monday, May 20, 2013

5 Things That Make Me Happy!

I got tagged, which is almost as cool as an award, so I'm a happy camper. JoJo of Tahoma Beadworks and Photography tagged me in this "5 Things That Make Me Happy" thing. Yes, you recognize her name, she is one of my Tina's Terrific Team members. So here's my 5:

God, family, friends are a given, and I love them immensely. However, I'm going to share five less obvious choices, because that's the mood I'm in.

This is my current project. 

It's a baby blanket for my cousin, GorgeousGirl who is having her first baby. She's a Patriots fan, which I tolerate, and her husband, who has very good taste in football teams, is a Bronco fan, as we are trying to convince her is her logical choice. She (wisely) choose two skeins of Bronco yarn, a skein of Patriots yarn, followed by two more Bronco ones. This yarn is really fun, as you can see, because it makes the same side look like both inside and outside - not the proper terms, but Farmor taught me knitting, and that was in Swedish and I don't know the proper words...  

I love knitting because it totally relaxes me. I can zone out (except on row three...) and watch TV (great excuse, eh?) without feeling guilty that I'm not cleaning up the clutter which constantly plagues our house. But you've heard all about that before...

I've written lots of words about them, which you can read here, and see lots of pictures of all my sunflower stuff, including my ankle tattoo.

I'm always too hot, so I HATE summer. Autumn is my favorite season, and October is the best month of all. Here in Colorado, we get an amazing variety of colors when the leaves change. The sun slants differently, giving afternoons a special glow. Leaves crunch under your feet. The weather becomes bearable! Campers become more scarce, so we have more privacy when we head for the hills.

I know it's almost cliché, and that it's a polarizing “like” but THEY MAKE ME HAPPY. I have flamingos in my car, because The Engineer has slowly, over the years, convinced me to remove other flamingo decorations in the house by just plain wearing me down. 

I'm not proud of it, but some battles aren't worth it. Save your ammo for the biggies. Like he cooks on weekends. Period.

These Shoes

Yes, they are ugly. I don't care. They are the most comfortable shoes on the planet and because of them, I can walk and hike and do stairs and be a mobile person. I have severe arthritis. I was supposed to have a hip replacement. I refused. I searched for another solution. I tried Feldenkrais Therapy, which is curing me, and my practitioner recommended these shoes.  

They line up your feet as if you were barefoot, which is how our bodies were designed to walk, and in turn that lines up all the knee-bone connected to the thigh-bone stuff and your hip stops hurting. Seriously. Magic shoes.


I'm tagging these bloggers, who are encouraged but not forced, to mention their own 5 Things That Make Them Happy.

What things make YOU happy?

Friday, May 17, 2013

How to Pack: Swedish Grandmother Style

I'm a pretty good packer. It doesn't matter if it's a quick weekend or a week's stay, I make it all fit in my rolling, fits-in-the-overhead-bins bag. It's the stand-by thing – don't take more than you can carry on. I think packing well is genetic, though, because no one will ever beat Farmor (Father's mother) at packing.

She didn't just pack, she “prov packade” which translates from Swedish to “try packing”, as in a full dry run. I think part of her (some may say overkill) method was due to their long trips to the US throughout my childhood. “Must fit as much as possible, I'm going to be gone a long time.” The other was that she spent all those trips carefully bringing us our heirloom china, one precious, carefully packed piece at a time.

To “prov packa” she'd get out everything she was going to be bringing, and then spend HOURS trying different ways to make it all fit her suitcases. Shoes always contained something breakable, inside a sock or stocking, rolled up, and shoved into the toe. A pair of underwear might fill the rest of the shoe. Shoes were nestle-wrapped in pajamas. Farfar's shirts were meticulously folded to preserve the careful ironing she'd done.

When she had it all the way she wanted it, she'd make notes, sometimes a quick sketch, before she put everything back. I think all this work that we might see as unnecessary also made her feel more in control. She had fibromyalgia and traveling was very hard on her body, as was the climate change to the US. Being prepared was something she did in every facet of her life, but it came out in spades when traveling.

She also knew the carry-on rules by heart. They were different back then (thanks a lot TSA...) and she took full advantage of all she was allowed. One of her carry-ons would contain precious china, meticulously wrapped. Her traveling purse was always the biggest she owned. More china. One was also allowed a small bag of reading material. She loved her magazines, and knew that I did too, and missed them, so she'd fill that “small bag” as full as she could. Of course one could carry on a coat. Pockets were full. Farfar was of course similarly outfitted.

I learned a lot from her. When I travel, my suitcase contains more than you would imagine could fit. Not quite Harry Potter walking into the small tent at the Quidditch World's Cup and discovering an entire apartment, but it's impressive.

I've also given up on the “big purse” idea and take a very large laptop bag (on wheels, thanks DataBoy for upgrading and giving me this treasure – it's Swiss Army – LOTS of pockets) instead. My very small purse is IN the laptop bag. Laptop bag fits easily under the seat in front of me.

I do enjoy traveling. I don't enjoy the rude travelers I so often encounter. But if you're well packed, once you reach your destination you can put that behind you and enjoy your vacation.

Do you do a trial run of packing? Have you ever heard of it before? What bothers you about traveling today? What's your favorite thing about traveling? Did your grandmother pass on some neat skills to you?

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yippee! I got The Sunshine Award!

My friends know I like to win. That I'm hyper competitive. That I don't like games of chance because then winning didn't take anything on my part except rolling a dice. I LOVE BLOG AWARDS. I think they're such a great way of spreading community around the blogosphere – we get to know tidbits about the recipient, we get to meet some of his or her friends as the award/love is passed on, and the giver gets a big THANK YOU.

Thank you goes to Click of Click's Clan

for this Sunshine award.  OK, some have said it's creepy, but a friend of mine is making me watch The Walking Dead, so I can deal with a baby burning up...
I just met this lovely lady from Scotland through the A-Z Challenge. Please pay her a visit. She is a delight!  

Here are the 11 Questions I'm to Answer

What inspired you to start blogging?
I've loved writing for as long as I can remember. To write a book has been a life goal since my teen years. I was getting old, you know, over I decided I needed a place where I'd be accountable. People would expect content, they could critique the content, and I'd improve my writing skills. I think it's working. What I had never counted on is the amazing companionship and love and support that's out there as we interact with other bloggers. That more than anything has helped me grow, enter writing contests, join blog hops, and explore many genres of writing I hadn't even heard of before.

How did you come up with the name of your blog?
I've been working on the whole gratitude and contentment thing for a while. I've needed to, or my medical issues might have done me in. So I try to be grateful for each day, look on the bright side, and find something good in whatever happens. I fail at this daily, but having a focus gives me at least a chance to succeed.

What is your favorite blog to read?
Impossible question, seriously. There are so many fantastic blogs out there, but I guess I do have to answer it, so I'll say WaystationOne. Brian Miller is an amazing poet and observer of the human condition. His little slice of life pieces are so vivid you can see the person, empathize, and step out of your own little safe world for a bit. He's also been an amazing friend. He reads EVERY blog post I write, and has been doing so since I started in 2010. I find him everywhere I go. He's got a bazillion followers, yet return visits every comment. Amazing guy with an amazing heart. Go say hi!

Tell us about your dream job.
Probably doesn't sound dreamy to most of you, but I'd like to go back to working as an office manager/HR head. That was a fun, varied, never a dull moment job and I miss it.

Is your glass half full or half empty?
It's kids are behind on dishes as they finish end of the year projects and study for finals. Can't find my favorite, either. Seriously though, my glass is usually empty because it's hard to stay hydrated in Colorado, and I drink my chardonnay too fast ;-)

If you could go anywhere for a week’s vacation, where would you go?
I'd go to my family's property on the waterfront near Annapolis. We've owned this place since the 60s and it's nostalgic and wonderful. There's nothing better than spending a day on the water sailing, or crabbing to have dinner, or watching your kids being dragged behind the motor boat on various flotation devices and learning centripetal force...

What food can you positively not eat?
Lima beans. Ugh. Chalky and mealy and flavorless. It's about the texture.

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
Neither, hypoglycemic. But before I knew that, I'd pick dark. Swedish dark chocolate is amazing, and my favorite is the orange infused.

How much time do you spend blogging?
If you ask my family, too much. In my opinion, not enough. I do try to block out two hours a day to visit others, return comments, and write my posts. Of course, during the Challenge, it was pretty much a full time job...but I loved it.

Do you watch t.v. and if so, what are your favorite shows?
I do watch TV, but only about an hour a day. I'm addicted to Food Network, so that's what I'd pick for by myself, and I usually allow myself a show while having lunch. Lately it's Chopped and Hell's Kitchen. When The Engineer and I watch, we alternate between Warehouse 13, The Walking Dead, and Torchwood. We were extremely sad when Eureka ended, and will never forgive them for canceling Firefly...


I'm passing this award on to the 6 members of Tina's Terrific Team! I could not have survived the Challenge without your amazing help! You made my days sunnier! Thank you.

AJ Lauer of  Naturally Sweet


Jolie Du Pre of Precious Monsters

PV Ariel, aka Philip of philipscom

Your turn, team. Pass this on to 6 fellow bloggers who make your days sunnier. Here are the questions for them. 

What inspired you to start blogging?
How did you come up with the name of your blog?
What is your favorite blog to read?
Tell us about your dream job.
Is your glass half full or half empty?
If you could go anywhere for a week’s vacation, where would you go?
What food can you positively not eat?
Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?
How much time do you spend blogging?
Do you watch t.v. and if so, what are your favorite shows?

Thanks to all my readers and blogging friends for making this world such a supportive place!  I'd give you all an award!


Monday, May 13, 2013

Stolen Chances

How many chances should he get?
I think he's already used them up
Whether it's knives and shelves
or heating systems and pills
Call the cops, take him away


Bail out, help out
Give him another chance
Give him money to start
and over and over again

Forgive and forget
Open your heart
Have it stomped on

An endless cycle
meth and madness
self-medicate the

Can't stand jail
No privacy
Easy answer -
don't steal

Don't steal from us,
our patience is gone,
our money is gone,
your chances are gone

But you don't see,
That you're the one
Who took it all.
We have a close family member who has spent most of his life homeless, by his choice, and in and out of jail, always “someone else's fault”. I'm done enabling, but the rest of the family is not, and my voice isn't loud enough on Mother's Day to be heard among all the love and “second” chances. This is an example of the venting part of my tagline...

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Blessed to be a Mom

This is by far my favorite picture of my miracle boys. We were on our way home from somewhere way south, and they were getting cranky and were ready to be home. They did NOT want to go stand in a field of sunflowers for their mother to take a picture. But they obeyed. They even posed nicely for me. “Can we at least shade our eyes?”

Happy Mother's Day to all the mothers out there. And to those of you desperately wanting/trying to be mothers, I cry for you this morning. My road to motherhood was a long and windy one with three lost angels along the way. I didn't think I'd ever be a mom, and mother's day was the hardest day of the year for me.

Yet here are these beautiful gifts from God, The Transporter born almost dead (9 pounds 10.5 ounces, I'm 5'3”) and in NICU for 5 days. Our Youngest Teen (OYT) a preemie, but still a healthy 7 pounds 10 ounces, after a high-risk pregnancy which I spent on the couch, verbally chasing my toddler around the house...

They give my life purpose, and joy, yet frustration and hurt.    It's the old "without the rain, we can't enjoy the sun" - an adventure I'm blessed to be a part of.

The best advice I ever got is, “The days will seem long, but the years are so very short.” It got me through the bodily fluid years, and now it makes me cry when I consider how soon my house will be empty.

Savor the moments.

P.S It was taken in 2006, so The Tranporter is 9 and OYT 6 1/2.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Be Careful Out There with "Tech Support"...

Long time readers know that The Engineer is no ordinary, geeky, anti-social, one-track mind “normal” engineer. He's also an inventor. My house looks the Chitty Chitty Bang does my backyard. It's all good though. We are SO going to win the zombie-apocalypse! I did find out another fun character trait just this week though, which is rather amazing since we'll be celebrating 30 years together come December.

He likes to mess with telemarketers. He especially likes to mess with fraudulent ones. Me, when I smell a scam, I hang up, and not so politely. The Engineer? He likes to play along, then try to get them off script, and then smother them with technical questions.

He got a phone call last week from a “Microsoft” tech support guy in India kindly letting him know that his computer had been scanned and contained some malware, but all he had to do was go to their website, download the solution, and it would remove it. Not being an idiot, The Engineer began asking a LOT of questions. To his credit, this fake tech guy COULD keep up with most of them, until he asked, “So what kind of system am I running?” The guy said, “Well sir, it doesn't matter. Our software works with any system.” “Well if you know so much about me, why can't you answer this simple question?” Mr. Tech, of course didn't know anything, and when called on it, went on to explain that they were actually NOT from Microsoft tech support, but an independent company trying to sell their software. The Engineer left the conversation with a polite, “I don't need your service, thanks for your time.”

He then looked it up, and it's the latest scam going around. IF you've accidentally fallen for it and gone to the website and downloaded anything, you should shut off your computer and call all your financial institutions immediately. Good luck – you're identity has just been stolen.

I guess they don't give up easily, or there are multiple scammers out there using the same strategy, because of course he gets another call. This time, he interrupts very quickly with, “So what you're asking me to do is go to your website, download a virus that will give you access to all my personal information and then you'll use that information to steal my identity.” The guy ACTUALLY SAID, “Well yes, and WTF are you going to do about it?” The Engineer calmly says, “Hang up on you and tell as many people as I can about this.”

So he asked me to write this post and tell all ya'lls. You're welcome.

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

A Little Blogiquette

Now that the dust has settled from the whirlwind of April, I'd like to talk about an issue that has come up in almost all the Reflections Posts I've read: Not enough time for visiting other participants.

Almost everyone said, “I didn't get as much time to visit others as I wanted.” Many also said that commenting was down this year. Guess what? Cause and effect. Many bloggers go by the rule of, “If you comment on my blog, I'll go visit you and comment back.” That's the way I feel is polite and correct blogiquette. Do you see the problem though? If no one has time to visit, no one is getting comments, and no one is going to visit those who have commented. Everyone is stuck in their own little world waiting for something to happen. As I've said before, this isn't, “If you write it, they will come.” NO. It's, “If you visit, they will come.”

Please don't get me wrong - I'm not criticizing anyone - I had very little visiting time myself and have just begun to return visits and make my way through the Reflections posts. It's just life – we all have more to our lives than blogging. We all wish for more time in our days. We all make compromises of how our time is used.

I do have a “solution” for you, though. There's no need to quit visiting just because April is over! The big, long list's links will remain live until April 2014! Visit away! In fact, we have a Road Trip you can join. 

This badge is yours for the grabbing if you're joining us!

Many of us will continue visiting for as long as we want – that's all there is too it. We've just created a group for you to join for support and encouragement along the way. Head on over to the Road Trip invitation at the A-Z Blog. I'm co-hosting this after-Challenge gig with Shannon, from The Warrior Muse as usual (our third year now) and we're lucky to have the amazing Nicole, from The Madlab Post with us! More drivers is great! We hope you'll join us.  After all, you want more visitors, right?


P.S What other blogiquette do you think is key to success? What's your blogging pet peeve? If you check out my sidebar, I think you can guess mine...

Monday, May 6, 2013

And the Winner Is...

Nope, I didn't forget. I needed some time to breathe! Plus, my “normal” Life is Good schedule is to post M-W-F. Normal should be taken as a goal, not a given. Life is also busy and unpredictable...

Without further ado, I announce the winner of the $25 IKEA gift card:
Gregg Metcalf who blogs at Gospel Driven Disciples. Please pay him a visit and say congrats!

For you mathematical types, here's how the winner was chosen. (I always like to know...) I added up all the comments I got during the A-Z. 704! Unbelievable. Wonderful! Thank you! (And thank you to all my new followers – I'm in the process of visiting...I will get to you...) Then picked a number for me (10) and Gregg had the 10th comment in my series.

Now that the dust has settled, how are you doing? What's your blogging schedule going to be like? Going on vacation from all the work or are you excited and feeling great about a re-energized blog with more followers?

Thursday, May 2, 2013

A-Z Reflections 2013

Time to reflect. I HAVE time to reflect! Wow, what a month! I won't bore you with the details, but in addition to participating in the Challenge, co-hosting the Challenge, wrangling my wonderful Terrific Team of assistants who helped me manage the Challenge, it was also a very challenging time for me medically. But I survived! The badge - you have picked yours up, right? It's at the A-Z Blog, or right there in the top corner of my sidebar - really fits me this year. I was in survival mode.

I went back and read my reflections from my first two challenges, and realized that this year's reflections would be very different. No sex analogies. No sports analogies. Just the truth, in plain format.

While Life is Good, sometimes life is very hard. Sometimes God puts us through ordeals that seem insurmountable, un-doable, unconquerable, UNPLEASANT, and unending. However, He also gives us an out. This year, The Challenge was my escape. I needed it to survive. I needed the distraction. I needed the camaraderie that this community provides. I needed YOU.

I am humbled and awed and grateful for the way you responded to my stories of my first year as an immigrant. You empathized with me, you understood me, you told your  own stories in the comments, you held me up when I felt like falling down. You encouraged me. You kept me going. I had some posts pre-scheduled, but there were times I was writing my post at 4:30 am while shoveling scrambled eggs into my gut so that I could be picked up by The Swede to go to the hospital to be tortured, um, tested, for the root cause of my asthma.

I also needed my co-hosts. They came through for me as they always do, even though it was a year where many of them had challenges far worse than mine. Still, they were there, ready to help out. Of course, Tina's Terrific Team proved why they're terrific. The behind the scenes work they accomplished was phenomenal!

I suppose I should also talk about some pros and cons of the set up of the Challenge. The categories thing...dying to hear what you all thought of it, because it was last year's Reflections that prompted that change. From a co-host's perspective, that caused more grief than it was worth, in my opinion. Alex deserves a giant round of applause, and to be flown by private jet to some remote island with his wonderful wife for some R&R. How he managed that long list and all our emails about what to fix simply amazes me. All hail the Ninja Captain!

Please don't miss our annual Road Trip announcement post coming on Wednesday May 8. The Road Trip is simply those of us who aren't giving up on the visiting, and will continue to visit the participants using whatever schedule fits our lives. Please join us – it's a great way to stay in touch with friends you've made, and there are more friends out there just waiting. They may turn out to be just the friend you need to get you through the tough times. I'm blessed to have friends like that in you, dear readers. Thanks for holding me up.