Have You Met So and So?

On a whim, I added The BlogFrog to my sidebar. I love the idea of a forum on my blog where we can talk. I answer a lot of the same emails and tell so and so what so and so said about a certain DIY project or a potty training resource.
So. Now all my so and so’s can get together in one place.
It’s all very high tech. 
But obviously easy enough for this Internet-wizard to figure out. If you link to my blog, you’re already a member. If not, it’s easy to join.
We are THAT family Community
Have a burning question about the yellow leaves on your strawberry and bean plants? (oh, wait, that’s me) or a plea for help in keeping your toddler in bed (again, me), then click on the We are THAT family Community link to start a discussion. You can also answer other people’s questions (like mine!!)
I’ll pop on regularly too, but I think it will be a fun place to dish. 
Ya know, with so and so.


The deeper I delve into this blogging community, the more I realize that I belong here. 

But I have also discovered that this online world is a powerful vortex that is enticing and time-consuming.   And as much it enhances my real life, I cannot let it become my life.    
I need to blog. I need to write. I need to use my voice. But I do not want my children to remember being raised from behind my computer.   
This is the work I want to pursue. I decided recently I need “work hours.” I wrote down a schedule for allotted computer time. I posted the hours near my laptop as a constant reminder of my goals. It’s going to take some discipline but I’m giving myself an E for effort. 
In my journey, I’ve learned that many others struggle with finding the same balance. Pampering Beki issued an Unplugged challenge encouraging bloggers and readers to unplug one day a week. I decided to join in and rearranged my blog posting schedule to six days a week instead of seven. I’m encouraging our entire family to unplug all the screens in our house one day a week! 
And on the heels of that decision, I learned that Kimba declared Friday (tomorrow) a day to unplug and catch up on life. I’ll be joining her and turning off my computer for 24 hours starting tonight. Look for my DIY post late Friday night (it’s a fun one!). 
I love the Internet. I think it is a valuable tool and it has taken this stay-at-home Mom on an amazing journey and I look forward to the future. But striking a balance is crucial to truly healthy living. 
How do you strike a balance? Do you ever feel the need to unplug?

When Bloggers Don’t Blog

I jumped into the blog community this time last year. 
My blog was unknown and mostly unread.
There were a few people who believed in me from the beginning:  my first commenters. 
Strangers, who made my day.
And nearly every one of the blogs who welcomed me into this community and made me feel loved, have stopped blogging. 
There are different reasons, some I know, others I don’t. I stay in contact with a couple through email, but others have deleted their blogs and I haven’t heard a word.
It’s like a friend moved away.
Which feels strange, just typing those words. How can I miss people I’ve never met in real life or spoken to in person? 
I just experienced my first blogging conference where I put faces with names. It makes it all more real. Because (news flash) REAL people write blogs!
I’ve been thinking about why bloggers stop blogging. Do they run out of words because they’ve said it all? Are they compromised in some way?  Too busy? Or just simply burned out from too much of an online life? There are probably a million different reasons.
If you blog, please remember that your words are powerful. They are read. The good and the bad. And when you leave this parallel world, you are missed.
I know many bloggers stop out of disappointment or because they don’t feel their blog is successful. 
I think this is why commenting is so important. It’s not about receiving a hundred comments a day, it’s about the affirmation, the companionship that you receive. I make it a point to comment on several new blogs every week. Someone I don’t know, never heard of, because I want to be someone’s first commenter. 
Why do you blog? Do you ever want to stop? 
I have to say, I hope I’m never done.
(I know many of my readers do not have a blog, but I’m still very glad you’re a part of my world. How would you feel if you clicked to your favorite blog and it was gone?)

Who Needs a Comfort Zone: Blissdom

I did it, y’all!

I packed my bags, boarded a tiny airplane (about the size of a Hot Wheels vehicle), steered clear of engine-loving geese and landed in Nashville for Blissdom.

My comfort zone was but a memory.
Now, I’ll be the first to tell you, it was hard.

And probably one of the most difficult social situations I’ve endured.
And I had some awkward moments, like having to stop for band-aids before I even registered for the conference and then having to return for my wallet.

Um, yeah. I carry all that class with me.

It’s a heavy burden.

But I was determined not to be THAT family among 300 bloggers.

I’ll admit that immediately after I walked into the conference, I turned around and dashed back to my room where I gave myself an excellent pep talk.

I’m glad I did because I learned so much. My brain is completely full. I can only mumble short sentences now. I’m really hoping that wears off soon.
Even more amazing than all the blogging info, was meeting so many other bloggers.
It was the highlight of Blissdom (well, besides the kiddie portion of chocolate chip pancakes I ordered from Room Service).
One word describes the experience: surreal.
There were a few rock star moments. I took this picture for my son, who thinks Rocks in My Dryer is a real rock star:

I respect Shannon so much and I see her as a mentor. And let me tell y’all, she is more lovely in person than on her amazing blog! So, yes, son, she is a real star!
I met dozens and dozens of others (I wish I had time to link to you all, but I’m afraid I’d leave some out).

It was very humbling when other bloggers sought me out and said they wanted to meet me because they saw me as their mentor.

Oh. My. Nothing makes you want to blog your best more than that. It was fabulous to chat with some of my readers and put names with faces.

Blissdom was a classy, fast-paced, well-planned blogging conference with awesome hosts. I was very impressed and hope to meet you the next time I leave my comfort zone!

Will you be there?
I feel like I grew as a blogger and as a person this weekend. Stretching to a point of discomfort is hard, but it’s good.

Plus, I only peed my pants once.

So, if there’s something you’ve always wanted to do, (attend a blogging conference, start a blog, write a book, parachute from a plane) give it a try! Except for the parachuting thing. Think that one through.
Because really, who needs a comfort zone?

Stepping Out of My Comfort Zone

I like my comfort zone.
It’s nice and well, comfortable. And I try to keep it nearby.
But I will be leaving it for a few short days (the first weekend of February) and that makes me very uncomfortable.
im_going_yall Badges
Um, yes, that would be a real live blogging conference. With people. In real life.
All by myself. Without knowing another person face-to-face.
Comfort zone? Completely obliterated.
I have a couple of really good friends (yes, I’m talking about you, Cheryl & Jen) and we take a girl’s weekend trip every year.  I emailed them and suggested they attend the conference with me. They don’t have a blog, but both of my creative friends need one and I thought this would be the perfect start!
{See how nice and thoughtful I am to think of them?}
Except I wasn’t banking on the fact that these girls know me very well.
They saw my desperate plan and said, “We love you and we think that you should go alone. This will be good for you. You need to get out of your comfort zone. This will help you grow.”
So, now I have two openings for real life friends.
Oh, I kid.
As much as I hate to admit it, those girls are right! Just getting on that plane and actually showing up will be huge for me. Not to mention taking this introverted body and meeting other people I read in the real world.
I feel faint.
So, I need your advice. What’s the best two cents you can give me? I’m seriously nervous about the whole thing. And I’m resisting the urge for a full body makeover. {Can you get those on clearance?}
How often do you leave your comfort zone and do you take your favorite blankie?
Secondly, what does one wear to a blogging cocktail party? Is it the same thing I would wear to a sweet tea party?
And finally, would y’all pray that when I enter the plane, there are no birds in sight?
Because if I so much as see a feather, I might just get back in my car and spend the weekend in the fetal position.

How Blogging has Given Me More Confidence

I’ve never thought of myself as having a lack of confidence.
Or low self esteem.
Until I started blogging.
And went through the awkward first months of sharing my thoughts and ideas and hoping I’d have a comment or some validation from perfect strangers {smile}.
It didn’t take me long to discover that I like this world where no one really sees me or dislikes what I’m wearing or judges me based on my appearance. There are no preconceived ideas because of the neighborhood I live in or the label on my clothes. 
I am comfortable in this parallel world because it is not based on appearance, house-size, position on the PTA or athletic ability.
And my comfort here has increased my confidence there.
Blogging has made me more confident in the real world.
It’s not about the way I look
Did you know that over 50% of women do not like the way they look? Demands of society have placed too much emphasis on our outward appearance. I’ve gotten to know women in this cyber world where vanity isn’t the ruler we measure by. I read words written by beautiful women whom I’ve never seen. When I bare my soul and read your touching comments, I feel beautiful (even if I’m lounging in sweatpants) and it has nothing to do with the way I look.
I have a voice
Blogging has given me a platform, a voice, a place to share my thoughts and feelings. I weigh in on issues I normally would leave alone. I research, read and educate myself more.  Sometimes in my real life, my screaming voice is like a whisper. It’s lost in the roar of the noise around me. But I know I have a place to share my struggles, my questions and my resolve. And I feel heard.
I am bold
In the real world, I am quiet. I am not shy, but I am not vocal either. But I can say whatever I want on my blog. Because it’s mine. If it’s too personal, too private, too much of me, than the reader can choose to stay or go. I can be outlandish and quirky.  I can find the extrovert inside of this introvert. This has effected my real life assertiveness. I find myself becoming more and more the bold woman you think I am.
I have a secret
Sometimes, especially in awkward situations when I’m uncomfortable, I find comfort in knowing that I have a secret corner of the internet. It’s like a home-away-from-home. I think it would surprise some of the people who think they know me. But I don’t tell everyone because I like saving it for people who really get to know me.
I am supposed to be doing this
Becoming a mother 9 years ago was the most amazing moment of my life. It left me fulfilled and isolated. I quit my job, transferred my energy to my home and tried to make the new little person happy. I got lost in motherhood and it took me awhile to sort out my identity. I longed for friendships and a community. Motherhood matured me, but nothing has completed me like writing.  I was created to write. I am confident that I am supposed to be doing this
I know who I am
Before I started blogging, I thought I knew me. And as a Christian woman, I know who I am in Christ. But I have learned that this journey has led to a greater discovery of me. Writing my thoughts about my children, my fears, my joy has solidified who I am. I’ve formulated opinions, dealt with deep struggles and stood my ground on issues of the heart. I know who I am.  And I’m learning to really like her.
I know who I want to be
More than ever before, I am confident in who I want to become. I have met amazing women and been inspired in the blogworld. I have learned so much and I have goals for myself and dreams that wouldn’t have been birthed without being in this community.
I am being stretched and challenged. I feel creative and alive at my keypad. I am a better me. 
Because of you.
Blogging has given me more confidence {even if no one leaves a comment on this post!}
How about you? Has blogging changed you? Enhanced you?
Food for the Soul:
Jeremiah 29:11 “I know the plans that I have for you, declares the LORD. They are plans for peace and not disaster, plans to give you a future filled with hope. 
Blogging is helping me see the real beauty. Visit The Inspired Room to read about more beautiful lives and Hooked on Houses to see what’s important to people.


The blog world is an enormous place.

And one of my readers, Mom Most Traveled, ask me to use my blogfluence (a mixture of my blog and influence) to share this touching story about a woman looking for her family. 
You can read it here.
I couldn’t pass up the chance to play even a small role in helping this woman find a piece of home.

A Parallel World

The blog world fascinates me.

Pretty much because less than a year ago, I didn’t even know it existed
I mean, I’d heard of blogs, but I assumed they were mainly for business’ or for sharing photos of your kids to extended family members.
I didn’t know there were mom blogs.  I didn’t know there were giveaways.  I didn’t know you could subscribe, leave comments and meet interesting people.
I certainly didn’t know that I would cry and pray for people I’d never met or laughed until I peed.
Oh, I lie about the pee part.  

Sort of.
I didn’t know I would be so moved by others circumstances, that it would make my problems, well, funny, in comparison.  
I didn’t know my perspective would change.
The blog world is an amazing place. But, sometimes I feel a little funny telling people in real life about it. Because their reaction is similar to the one I had. “Oh.
And then I get that strange look.
And I want to say, “Hey, you make think it’s weird, but I know at least 2 people in the bloggy world, who think I’m a big deal.”  
That makes me feel better.  In my head.
I literally stumbled into the blogosphere and it took me months to sort out the basics.  
How did you enter this parallel world?  Did you read blogs and then decide to start one? Were you invited or did you stumble?  Or did you start one like me and then discover you weren’t the only mom blog out there?  (I know that sounds insanely vain, but I thought I was on to something! I was that naive!)  Do people in your real life know you blog and read it?  
Sometimes I read something so touching, I tell my mom or a friend.  And they are like, “who?” I’m like, “Oh, a friend, I’ve never met.  She doesn’t know me either.  But we are like this (and I cross my fingers to indicate closeness)!
Am I nuts?
Don’t answer that.
But I’d love to hear how you entered this parallel world.
I made this post a part of the Blog Train