The Journey of a Blog

From 0 to 2000 Followers

I’ve had one eye on my stats lately, watching the number of Followers slowly creeping up to 2000. I wanted to mark the occasion but while I was busy with other things this week, my newest followers vaulted over the magic number. Still, here’s my planned celebration and a few historical notes.

Fireworks.pink cropped

2000+ Party

I’m Too Tech-Dense to Blog!

Back in January of 2012 a friend and fellow writer was talking about her blog, and the usefulness of blogs in general as a platform for one’s writing. I already had a website, set up by someone who knew what they were doing, and was enjoying posting on it. But I told my friend, “I could never BLOG. Not me! I could never figure out all that tech stuff.”

She said, “Blogging isn’t hard at all.”

And I said, “Well… Okay. Tell me how and I’ll try setting one up. If I can manage it with my limited technical smarts, anyone can.”

So she rattled off instructions, I wrote them down, I came home and started my blog. And it actually WASN’T hard. And now, 6 ½ years later, over 2000 readers have clicked my Follow button. Who’d’a thunk it!

I’m thankful for all those votes of confidence, and I really appreciate those of you who have stayed, liked my posts, left comments, and helped me to become a more dedicated writer. To those of you who make up my readership today, thanks so much and bless your dear hearts. 🙂

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Through the years I’ve learned a lot about blogging. Here are some things I wished I’d known when I started out:

#1. For my first blog address I picked christineevelynvance, which made a too-long web address. It’s getting tough to find short-and-simple names; the easy ones were taken by bloggers years ago. And so many wannabes only posted once or twice, then quit. But newcomers who choose themotherofjosephsabrinaandcrystal or theavidreaderofhistoricalromances as their web address aren’t doing themselves any favours. Fine for a blog title, but for a web address, stay as simple as possible. Be creative if necessary. I called my last blog “Waverations.” Simple; easy to remember.

My second blog, set up to divide my longer prose from short anecdotes and poetry, was “Swallow in the Wind.” In time I merged it with my first. My third blog was “Tree Top Haiku”, which is still going — when I get over there. After trying to keep up with three blogs for awhile, I saw the error of my ways.

#2. You don’t need a separate blog for every genre. Keeping up several blogs can be mega-stress. (Plus I got leukemia, so was dealing with that for several years.) My first blog fell by the wayside and I started “Christine’s Reflections”, with my domain name as the address. Two years ago I renamed my first blog “Friday Tales” and posted flash fiction when I was doing the Friday Fictioneers challenges.

Waverations I set up as a private site to try out new themes without messing up the look of my active blogs. It has morphed into this one. I applied my domain name to this and had the folks at WordPress beam the Friday Tales and Christine’s Reflections subscribers this way.

#3. Use proper categories and tags from day one. A subject all its own — I’ve written about it HERE — and the reason why I felt the need to start over from scratch. Now I’m in the slow process of reblogging all those past posts into this blog. Tree Top Haiku will stay as is.

Over the years I’ve tried to “share the love” by letting my readers know about other great blogs and posts. I could — and plan to — do more of this. Which is why I got enthused about the new “From the Heart” blogging award. You can tell your readers about other interesting sites without putting any obligations on those bloggers. (In fact, my brain is concocting another idea along these lines as I’m writing this. 😉 )

Since I started out, my husband has also gotten enthused and now has his own blogs, one in English and one in French.

And now…here’s my virtual Happy 2000 cake. Cut yourself a piece (it’s zero-calorie, no preservatives 🙂 ) and celebrate with me.

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From the Heart of a Hospital Chaplain

I just read Pastor J S Park’s latest post and realized that NO ONE blogs from the heart more than he does. Chaplain in a Florida hospital, he deals with life and death and grief every day, and writes about it in an open, compassionate way.

This morning’s post is a perfect example. We Say Goodbye, One More Time. What does a parent finally do when the prodigal child refuses to give up a life-threatening habit? Take a moment and read it — it will definitely touch your heart.

Then read his post Five Husbands. All the loving words we wanted to say! One day it will be too late to express affection and appreciation.

Note: Be sure there’s a box of of tissues handy before you start.

From the Heart Award

Blogger Kristian Fogarty bestowed this award on me. apparently there are NO requirements, but I’d like to pass it on, so will take this opportunity to mention some other bloggers I find interesting and you might, too.

WHAT IS IT?

This award goes to bloggers who primarily focus on personal writing. These posts are often from the writer to the world at large, or from the writer to the writer themselves and they just allow us access to their mind.

RULES:

There are no rules, no questions, no participation requirements for this award. It is given from bloggers to other bloggers. It was designed by the Haunted Wordsmith and is given to other bloggers as a gesture of thanks and appreciation for their work.

I won’t do this all in one session — I know quite a few bloggers who write really interesting posts — but will start with a few.

Alistair at dralimanonlife, tells us a bit more about himself every weekend, doing Cee’s Share Your World Writing challenge. He also likes doing Flash Fiction with a neat little twist at the end. Here’s one of his stories.

Keith at keithsramblings.net is another devotee of flash fiction with a bit of humor woven in, like this tale of a poor Cassidy missing his leg.

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields at rochellewisoff.com is the lady who hosts Friday Fictioneers and sends out the photos for writers to concoct stories about. she herself is a history buff. She likes presenting neat biographical background info about well-known people.

By now this post is full of links and my coffee’s getting cold, so I’d better quit. Wishing you all a great weekend.

The Comfort of A Garden

IN THE GARDEN

by Edgar Guest

I sometimes get weary of people
and weary of being polite;
I sometimes grow tired of the dull man,
and sometimes am bored by the bright.
And then when my nerves are a-tingle,
I walk in the yard that is ours,
And I thank the good Lord for the comfort
of songbirds and blue skies and flowers.

I never grow tired of the martens
which circle about overhead;
I never grow weary of robins —
there is nothing about them I dread.
I smile when I see them returning,
I sigh when at last they depart,
and perhaps it’s because they are never
vindictive or petty or smart.

And the trees don’t expect to be talked to.
I can lie there and dream in the shade
and not have to think up an answer
to some dreary question that’s made.
So I often slip into my garden
when I’m weary of hearing things said,
and thank the good Lord for my roses
and trees and the birds overhead.

.Walk-edged-daylilies
From the book, Collected Verse of Edgar A. Guest,
© 1934 by the Reilly & Lee Company

My Response to Fandango’s FOWC prompt: COMFORTABLE

Mirth & Melancholy

In June a pair of barn swallows started a nest on one of the rafters in our garage. Since they’re a threatened species — if not endangered by now — and since they consume huge amounts of mosquitoes, we let them stay. They’re with us such a short time. So I spread an old plastic tablecloth under their nest, we shut the garage door, and left them to it.

Those babies are trying their wings now; I’ve enjoyed stepping into the garage this week to see their progress. First little eyes and open beaks poked over the edge of the nest, now the little guys are out and around. I think some have been outdoor already; you can see their mirth as they discover the joy of flying. They’ll come back to the nest for a few nights, but soon we’ll only see them as they swoop and soar over our yard, foraging.

We’ve enjoyed their visit, but will be glad to see them gone from the garage; the hot summer days are upon us and there were a few times I worried if they could take the heat in that shut up building, even though the sides are all open where the rafters overhang the actual garage. (We need to put on siding yet.)

It brings a bit of melancholy to my mind as I see how fast summer’s passing. I’ll try to enjoy the beauty of all our seasons, but I do find the short, colorless days of winter rather depressing. So I will delight in today while it’s here. Today is the gold in our lives, the hours we’re adding to our treasure of memories. Tomorrow’s coin we haven’t seen yet.

Now I must run along. I’m cooking at the Villa again today, and tomorrow we hope to be off on a nice vacation. We plan to visit friends in the Peace River Country; we haven’t had a trip like this for a long time. Seems there’s so much to do in preparation!

One of the things I’m going to do is shut off all notifications from WordPress so I don’t have dozens of blog post announcements and comments filling my e-mail box while I’m away. I appreciate you all, my fellow bloggers and enjoy reading your posts. My apologies if you get no LIKES or comments from me for a good while.

Have a great rest-of-July. Happy blogging. Or happy traveling, if that’s your plan for this month.

Fandango’s FOWC: MELANCHOLY
Ragtag Daily Prompt: GOLD
Word of the Day prompt: MIRTH
Your Daily Word prompt: APPRECIATION

The Poet and the Goose

This sad sight seen yesterday on my way to town
has turned into a verse:

The Poor Goose!

Along the highway hurrying
to errands of my own
my eye is arrested—
and my heart is wrenched—
to see a snow goose thrashing,
wildly, its head snagged on fence wire.

I grieve for the terrified captive
flailing, struggling to be free
and think how it will die there
finally exhausted,
all alone.
Nature, how cruel you are!
And mankind worse,
to put up this barbed wire!

Rescue options futile, I realize;
desperate as this creature is,
my help would not be welcome.
Car tires with their steady hum
propel me along the rural road until
I approach the flapping bird.

I stifle a groan.
Dry up, O bleeding heart.
It’s just a plastic bag.

Oh, well. Surely
a poem can be wrung
from this ragged, fluttering “goose”
its handles snagged on a fence wire.
🙂

Fandango’s one-word challengeSTEADY
Ragtag Daily Prompt wordWELCOME