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Wednesday, February 29, 2012

5 Things to Grow On

So I was just minding my own business hanging out over at Thistlewood Farm, enjoying all the pretty pictures and humor, when Karianne posed a question to Blogland. She and some other gals are having a little get together where everyone is discussing their blogs...more specifically, what they want their blogs to be when they grow up. They've asked that we think of five things that we are working on to grow and fine tune our little piece of the blog universe. Our hopes and aspirations...here are some of my thoughts.


I've been blogging for almost three years, so some might say I don't qualify. But my blog is always growing and changing so I think that hopefully, I can manage to sneak in. This post may be a little more retrospective than most. I guess I'm sorta sharing the things I've learned along the way.

1. Be Yourself.
That one is probably tops on most bloggers list...or it should be. OK, so I don't really like broadcasting my age across the Internet, but it's safe to say that not only have I been around in blogdom for a few years, but I have a few years under my belt in life too. Don't be afraid to let others know that. Age and experience does bring a few perks, and a little more to the table. I've been there and done that so many times my head can swim. I've raised two daughters that are as old as many of you, yet I don't feel "old". Inside I'm still the young mom that always had a project going, while trying to keep all the plates spinning.
I've learned not to try to keep up with all the Joneses out here. I can't do it all, and hey, there are some things that I just plain don't want to do...I'm not a gourmet cook, I don't do tablescapes on a weekly basis, and I think I'm the only person on earth who hasn't tried chalk paint.

Listen to the still small voice in your heart...I call it God. I promise that ultimately you won't go wrong.


2. Don't be afraid of change.
We all have some awesome ideas. I can tell you that it's easy to be fearful about stepping out there to do something different; in blogging just like in life. This is something I need to work on a little more. It's easy to get in a rut. Whether it's a project, or sharing your thoughts on a subject, or just changing up your blog a little, we need to not be afraid of change. So what if it doesn't work out like you hoped...how can we improve and grow if we're afraid to put ourselves out there.


3. Expand your horizons.
I never knew how much I would love photography until I bought my first little digital camera. Yeh, I'd taken the family photos for years, and an occasional vacation pic, but I'd never had much of an interest until I saw what was out here in some of the blogs. Magazine quality photos don't come easy, but hey, it's still fun trying.
I've never had much trouble in a crowd. It's always awkward when you have to put yourself out there, but making new friends in blogland is critical for not only growth, but survival. Sorry to say there are cliques here just like anywhere, but don't be afraid to comment or email someone you admire and want to get to know, that's how I've made some amazing "real life" friendships.



4. Be willing to help others.
When I first started blogging it was because someone I admired took a minute to read an email I sent them, and to reply. She read my first blog post and put my blog on her sidebar. She gave me a chance to "join the club" so to speak. Because of that, and as my blog has evolved, I now realize how important it is to reach out to others and offer encouragement and exposure. Nothing brings satisfaction like seeing other people being recognized for their talent and creativity. Do unto others as you would have them do unto you...good advice that has stood the test of time. Blessings will always come back around.


5. Know your priorities
This is a toughy out there for so many of us who blog. Many of us came to blogging because we wanted to make connections with other women; that we needed to have a community of which to be a part of. Because of that we feel the importance of maintaining friendships and communication. This one thing that is so very vital to growing a blog, can at the same time wreck havoc on our personal lives. Knowing our priorities in blogging, like everything we do, takes time to learn.
I'm at a place in my life right now where I have time to blog, sometimes posting everyday, but not everyone can or wants to do that. We have husbands, children, parents...responsibilities and obligations. Learn your boundaries early on to avoid guilt and upset. When I started blogging there were only a handful of blogs as compared to today. You could visit each person, and know them personally. There was a written rule somewhere in a bogus blog handbook that said you had to return each comment that you received...in a perfect world. Having said that I know there are so many of you who leave the sweetest comments, just know how much I appreciate you and read each one. (some days, I actually CAN return comments)
If you want to maintain a marriage and make sure your personal hygiene is maintained you have to realize you just can't spend all your time on the computer. I think we all know this by now, it's just important to not let guilt eat us up. In all things find balance.

OK, those are some highlights of how I grow my blog...maybe not the post someone else might write, but it's what was in my heart. Join in at Thistlewood Farm this Friday for the linky party. I'm posting early because of Vintage Inspiration Friday. (Hope you'll come by and join in the party at my place, too!)

xoxo,

46 comments:

  1. you took the words right out of my mouth!!

    a good post for my link party heehee

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  2. Love what you have to say. I have been blogging for a year but have really not found my way yet. I do not make friends easily and I find being on the computer is not much easier. What you have said here gives me hope that I will be able to grow and gain confidence. Believe me I am not young either, I have two grown up kids and one at home. Feel like you do though, still young. Great post

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  3. You make it sound so simple.
    I have been blogging for one year.
    I'm having a blast and I don't mind
    that I am to be 65 years young this May. I have 11 grandchildren and I don't feel a day older than 55.
    I have yet to use chalk paint.
    Maybe never will.
    As you said I have many years under my belt.

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  4. Thanks for sharing your top five. I am just beginning my third year of blogging, as well. That went quickly. (time flies when you are having fun.)

    Fondly,
    Glenda

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  5. You said it all so perfectly, Debra! I might add that we are all unique and this will shine through on your blog, whether you realize it or not. And I haven't tried the chalk paint yer either! ;-D

    XO,
    Jane

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  6. Very wise information! As a newby, I appreciate you sharing. Thank you Debra!

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  7. Debra,
    Thank you for sharing your thoughts! As a new blogger it isn't always easy to find your "fit"! I was encouraged by a friend that lives in my town. The friendships of the amazing Christian blog friends has enriched my life beyond belief...but I agree balance is the key! I treasure your blog friendship!
    Fondly,
    Pat

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  8. What a wonderful post Debra. I have been blogging for almost three years and I'm still learning how to grow my blog. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and have a wonderful evening, Gail

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  9. Well said Debra! I completely agree with all five of your blogging tips.
    There have been a few times when I've asked myself... "What am I doing putting myself out there in the blogging world?" and it's only because of my personal relationship with God that I know I'm doing exactly what I'm supposed to be doing. (Humm... does that make sense?) At any rate, I'm excited about what lies ahead and love that I'm getting to learn something new every single day!
    Geneva

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  10. Thank you Debra as a new blogger it is good to hear this.I have to say when I started getting my first comments I wanted to thank everyone.But it would just say Thank you,Thank you ,Thank you.I don't want to sound repetitive so I don't respond to each and everyone.If someone asks a question or has a different response to my blog I do reply.But I put at the bottom of my post how much I appreciate them visiting.I do read each and everyone.As my blog grows and the responses grow I will still read all of them.I hope I am using good manners even though I don't respond to each one.

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  11. I so enjoyed this post Debra,I think I am very similar.
    I'm not sure I know how I want my blog to grow,I just keep coming back and muddling through. I enjoy it so much,I feel I know all of you out there personally. love it.
    x jeanetteann

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  12. Thanks so much for that! I go to bed every night feeling guilty for not visiting everyone who has come by to see me. I know that when our daughter goes to college this summer, that's all I'll have time to do, but for now it's just not possible. But I will say that blogging is one of the best things that has happened to me in a long time, and I'm so glad that when I do have an empty nest, I will have y'all to hang out with :)
    xo, Andrea

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  13. Yay! We 'women of a certain age' have a lot to offer blogland, but we know that it isn't really crucial that we get the numbers--it's about how we connect with others. And we are NEVER too old to learn!

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  14. I have not used chalk paint either. You excel at #3. Thank you for encouraging me and others. It is a spiritual gift I believe. When I first saw Olive Out on your blog roll two years ago I was thrilled beyond words-kind of like today btw.

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  15. What a great post! To those of us new to Blogland the help that I have received is so important! The friendships that I am developing are also vital to surviving out here in cyberspace.
    XO Cindy

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  16. I like all the things you mentioned. Since I'm fairly new to blogging, I can learn from them. I particularly liked #5. I have kids living at home and most of the household duties fall on me to get done. I don't have as much time as an empty nester to devote to my blog. I also want it to have interesting content, so I really don't blog but a few days a week. I don't know if I'd have enough good stuff to share! Ha! I always enjoy reading your blog.

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  17. I have often read a post and get a "picture" in my mind of the author, her age, etc. I have been surprised numerous times by a young woman who is wise beyond her years, or a trend setting senior. I follow some blogs for the visual beauty they offer and others for their content. I think we just need to find out what makes us "shine". Not everybody will be a star, but we all play a part.

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  18. Hi Debra,
    You wrote a great post! I think you made some excellent points that will be helpful to both new bloggers and those that have been at it for awhile. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.
    Jane
    P.S. I haven't tried chalk paint either :)

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  19. Debra, I stopped by to return the "hello" of your visit and was rewarded with this great post. I wonder sometimes about blog etiquette and coming off rude like everyone else. You have been the friendliest blogger to me and I appreciate it very much. You are always very quick to visit a new post and that means a lot too. Thanks for all of it!

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  20. Debra, this is an interesting post. I was just talking with my sister last weekend about how I wanted to write some goals, objectives, etc. about my blog and website for the coming year.
    Hugs,
    Mary

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  21. Debra,

    This is such a wonderful post! I agree so much with the balancing act of blogging. I am so blessed to have met you in blogland.

    blessings,
    karianne

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  22. My fav is #1. More like to thine own self be true. Without that, the fruits of our labors probably wouldn't be as sweet.

    ~Bliss~
    (I'm really liking the chalk paint......)

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  23. Some very nice points you've made Debra. All we can be is ourselves right? I love blogging and the whole bloggy world. I think I just like journaling and blabbing!
    Although I have not made myself a schedule to blog, I am a little willy nilly with it. sometimes more, sometimes less, I never feel guilty when I am abscent from it. I see it as a fun hobby. I figure stuff gets in the way for all of us. I did try the chaulk paint and I think I may be wearing that out... My arm I mean. I love it and am painting everything in site! Love coming to your blog, and thanks for the etsy monday marketplace. Girl you are so clever!

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  24. I have much to learn, but I sure enjoy learning so much from you. Just saying, I tried chalk paint because everyone raved about it. I wasn't impressed. It tried to quickly was just what it's called, "Chalky." I prefer the miss-mixed one that are at a discount. Thanks for sharing. Hopeyou'll visit and give me some pointers on my blog.

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  25. great post...it does take awhile to sort this all out...
    Rene'
    PS...I haven't tried chalk paint yet...so you're not the ONLY one:)

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  26. Debra,
    There is so much good advice in this post...thanks so much for sharing what you have learned. I often suffer from the guilt you mentioned about not having time to respond to every comment...I love reading them and then, sometimes, life (and a full time job) just get in the way of keeping up with every one personally. Blogging is so much fun that I never want to let it become just one more thing I "have to do". Great post!
    Cheryl

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  27. so true! great post! thanks for sharing this!

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  28. Enjoyed this post especially the part about age. I'm of a different generation than most of the bloggers I follow. I feel as though I have a little different outlook on things just because of the different phases of life I have been through. I hope that shows through on my blog. I always enjoy your take on things. Sally

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  29. I have only been a blogger for a few short months,it has been a great source of encouragement!So many talented kind & giving women to share thoughts and experiences with.Thanks for Sharing:)

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  30. Sage advice. And I say a three year old blog does qualify. Hopefully, we never stop growing.

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  31. hi debra!
    sage words! i've met/read so many wonderful Christian bloggers this winter! i keep adding more & more to my list!! i would like to KUDOS all your responders for their comments!! i may be visiting them too! i've been blogging off/on for almost 10 yrs! my first blog i'm unable to access since we changed providers. anyone know how to gain access to that dashboard again? i have two blogs going now... i hope you'll stop by. http://hawknitr13-laceonstone.blogspot.com/
    and
    http://heartofthehawkeyes-simplegifts.blogspot.com/
    i'm a retired public middle school band director from Iowa so i have a lot of 'seat'time at my laptop!!
    Blessings to you and your followers
    ^)^linda

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  32. Thank you for taking the time to share the wisdom you have gained from you blog.


    Sharon @ mrs. hines class

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  33. Debra,

    I'm so glad you stopped by and linked up to our shindig! There's always room to grow and goals continue to need to be set and reevaluated and reset ... so that you can maintain that flexibility you speak of and embrace change (with that said I'm still avoiding Twitter)!

    And I haven't chalk painted anything yet ... maybe we should embrace that change together!

    And I laughed out loud at your personal hygiene comment ... I too need to strike a better balance.

    :)

    Linda

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  34. You have such very great "words of wisdom" for the bloggers out there...I like the fact that you stated that you should not feel like you have to "keep up with the Joneses"..I think you are so right...and most of all.......To help one another. I too had an experience of someone taking the time to answer my little email when others don't bother...it shows that you are genuine..and I thank that person(s) every day that they were kind to a little fledgling blogger...

    Thanks for the inspiration...

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  35. Debra
    I often find my personal hygiene lacking since I started blogging! Need to work on that!

    You are so welcoming to us new bloggers - such a great inspiration for us!

    Here's to embracing change - I really need to work on my photography skills too!

    So glad you joined our party.
    Kelly

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  36. applause. applause.
    t.xoxooxoxo

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  37. beautiful post I'm your newest fan from the blog party

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  38. Yes, just be yourself! I agree that finding balance can be hard, thank you for the reminder that it is important to keep the rest of our lived in mind when we approach blogging.

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  39. debra, these are fabulous goals! i agree that being yourself is number one when it comes to blogging- do what comes naturally and be YOU!

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  40. I love EVERYTHING that you said!! I use to wonder when I was young what "your conscience" was and now I know that it is God. That is what spoke to me first! The others are all on my goal list, and the other one that jumped out at me is #5. I have really become serious about my blog in the last few months (although I have seriously loved it since day 1) and balancing it with my family has been a struggle. One that I have really been trying to get better at! Thanks so much for your advice! Your newest follower! These are my goals
    http://iknowtheplansihave4you.blogspot.com/2012/03/what-do-you-want-your-blog-to-be-when.html

    ~jill

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  41. I have so enjoyed reading this! Thanks for sharing this. Everything you said is so true. Thanks for sharing from your heart. Hugs and blessings, Cindy

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  42. Thank you so much for linking up to our party, so sorry it has taken me so long to come by.

    I really enjoyed reading your goals, embracing change is key...as well as balance...still working on that one myself. :)
    Karah @ thespacebtweenblog

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  43. Debra, I love your wise words about balance -- it's my word of the year for 2012 and something I struggle with regularly. Your goals and suggestions are just what this blogger needed to read, so thanks for sharing!
    Heidi @ Decor & More

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  44. Hi Debra,

    Love this post! By the date of my comment, you can see that I am not a regular blogger/reader because I do follow #5 pretty closely. :-))

    When I DO visit? I am always so happy I did :-)

    Thanks for so much wisdom over the years,
    Big hug
    Elizabeth :-)

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