I’m a blogger and a winner!

the-winner

A surprise!

It took me a while to check in with my blog and reply to comments after returning home from my trip to Switzerland. When I finally did, I discovered a gift was waiting for me. Evita from EvolvingScenes.com had awarded me with this Kreativ Blogger Award.  It made my day!

The Kreativ Blogger Award

blogger_awardI was surprised and touched by receiving this award. I have always enjoyed Evita’s blog. Her photographs and the words she writes to accompany them take my breath away. For her to send me this award is quite an honor, even if it does come with strings attached!

As Evita said in her post when she received this award, the subtitle should be “The 7-7-7 Award” because the number 7 is prominent in the following acceptance guidelines.

The Seven Guidelines for the Kreativ Blogger Award:

1. Thank the person who nominated you for this award.
2. Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
3. Link to the person who nominated you for this award.
4. Name 7 things about yourself that people might find interesting.
5. Nominate 7 Kreativ Bloggers.
6. Post links to the 7 blogs you nominate.
7. Leave a comment on each of the seven blogs letting them know they have been nominated.

Seven Interesting Things about Me

When I came to this part of the award guidelines, I sat and stared at the empty white screen on my computer for some time. I thought to myself, “What on earth would other people find interesting about ME?” Okay, it wasn’t long before I realized this was Gertrude talking.

Gertrude is the part of me who believes I’m boring and uninteresting. She’s always telling me to be quiet and to not talk so much about myself. To be honest, I’m tired of Gertrude and I WANT this award! So, this time I told her to go and take a very long walk (maybe to Timbuktu!).

With Gertrude out my head, I was able to think of seven things that someone might find interesting about me:

1. I almost died when I was an infant. I had been sick and evidently stopped breathing. Fortunately for me, my father was a doctor and was able to revive me.

2. I like happy endings. Therefore, I frequently check the endings of movies and books to be sure they end well. No one likes to go to a sad movie with me because I cry very easily and not quietly!

3. I have lived in Florida my whole life; my great grandparents moved to Florida in the early 1800s. My grandfather served as bugler in the Spanish American war. I still have his bugle.

4. There are times when I just “know” things about people that turn out to be true, even if I don’t know them very well. I have also dreamt about people and events that have come true. While I definitely would NOT classify myself as a “medium”, some things I’ve known intuitively have surprised me.

5. I met my boyfriend online through Match.com. My online profile was titled, “Make me laugh.” He has done that and more. He’s a partner willing to grow and explore with me.

6. I have always wanted to be a healer – to help others find their balance in life. One area of interest I have been exploring is intuitive healing. I believe very strongly that we have amazing powers to help each other by using our personal energy, as well as the synergy created by a healing group.

7. I am proof that you can learn to change at any age. I’ll be 57 on July 11th. In the last four or five years, I’ve become much happier, calmer and more comfortable with my life. I am really enjoying who I am and my own unique path in this world.

My Seven Nominees for the Kreative Blogger Award

This was tough as there are many people and blogs I wanted to select, but I had to keep it to seven.

Davina at ShadesofCrimson

Positively Present (Dani) at Positively Present

Caroline at The Zen in You and Whimsical Whispers

Tony Single at Trottersville

Lance at The Jungle of Life

Talon at Talon

Tabitha at Fresh Mommy Blog

I hope my nominees will feel as proud as I did and enjoy the challenge of this award :~)

Story Photo Day: Contest Winners

picturestorycontest

Last week, I put up this photo as my first entry to my new Monday Story Photo post.  I decided the first post would be a photo contest and asked people to submit a story about this photograph. Each story had to be 100 words or less.

I want to thank everyone who submitted a story. I enjoyed all the entries and regret that I could only pick three.

And now without further ado, (drum roll) I am pleased to present the three randomly selected photo contest winners!  I hope you enjoy their stories as much as I did.  Also, I highly recommend visiting their sites. Each has a different and unique way of sharing their thoughts!

Sterling Okura submitted this entry. You can learn more about Sterling at his blog, Bizlift Blog , which focuses on small business growth.  There is always something to learn about helping small businesses grow and improve. I enjoyed his beginner tips!

This secluded shore of the South Pacific island Taha’anui is a historical battleground.  Natives used the branches of this tree to create a giant slingshot with which they lobbed coconuts at the canoes of an invading enemy.

Spearheads and other artifacts of the battle can still be found if you sift through the sand.

Evita Ochel from Evolving Scenes, submitted this entry. Evita’s blog is a place where she shares her passion for nature and our world with inspirational words.  If you visit Evita’s blog, you’ll be in for a treat.  She uses her unique and beautiful photography to express her thoughts about the world.

There once was an Arctic moose who had the most unique antlers in the entire world. He would often walk around with his friends the woolly mammoth and saber tooth tiger, posing for all to see his unique antlers that were like no other. The arctic moose was in fact a little too full of himself, as he thought only his antlers were worth looking at.

One day the arctic moose was busy admiring his antlers in a nearby mirror glacier, when the Ice Age hit. This was all that was left of him:)

Julie, from Random Meanderings submitted this entry.  Her blog tag is moseying, observing, pondering… and finding little gems in the oddest ordinary places. Welcome to my world!  I encourage you to visit Julie’s blog…you will not regret it. She shares her world and her words in a wonderfully calm, peaceful and loving way!

The ancient one quietly remembered how when young she gently opened to release seeds to the wind, scattering young far and wide.  How her form was sculpted by the events of wind, water, and sand.  How her roots kept her firmly grounded and gave her strength as she rose tall to meet the sky, branches proudly spread wide…  She contemplated how she is now, old and bared clean, still happily contributing to life as the perfect perch for children playing games of searching for pirate ships, their giggling and laughter adding continued strength as she patiently waits to return Home.

Is the term Lurkers a bad word?

lurker

Another name for lurker

I’ve been noticing a lot of bloggers encouraging their “lurkers” to come out of the closet and leave comments.

For those of you who may not know, lurkers are defined as people who visit blogs and don’t interact by leaving comments.

I don’t like this term.

Perhaps I’m old-fashioned, but I still remember when a lurker was described as a person who waited and watched from a hidden place. It conveys the idea of a person watching someone through a window at night. It’s a scary term for me.

I prefer to call these people “visitors.”

Post a comment – it’s your choice

I hope the visitors who stop by my blog will enjoy what they read and then choose whether or not they want to leave their calling card by posting a comment. If they choose not to, that’s okay with me. I still welcome them…as Visitors.

I can’t help but wonder why some bloggers push their visitors to leave comments. What’s wrong with someone just visiting, without commenting?

Don’t get me wrong, I love getting comments on my blog and responding to them. I understand why bloggers enjoy receiving comments. It’s an opportunity to connect with their readers and get a sense of what they are thinking and how the post impacted them.

But I also believe that readers should have a choice of leaving a comment or remaining invisible. If a reader wants to use a service offered by a blogger, there are other ways to make contact. Comment sections provide an option for readers to express their thoughts about a post, if they choose to.

Therefore, I challenge bloggers to consider these questions:

What are we saying about our “visitors” when we use the term “lurkers?”

What are our reasons for wanting our “visitors” to leave comments?

What role do blog stats play into our need for our “visitors” to leave comments?

Blogging: Choosing Your Avatar

illustration

No more blank default avatar

Since I’ve been blogging and leaving comments on other blogs, I’ve noticed I didn’t have an avatar.  An avatar is a person’s online alter ego that is represented by an icon.  While other bloggers used a photo of themselves, a symbol or something else unique, the default picture that showed up with my comments was a generic blank face.  BORING!

Well, I got tired of that boring blank face and decided it was time to choose my own avatar.

My first step was to visit Barbara at Blogging Without A Blog, because her posts are helpful when it comes to a new blogging activity. Sure enough I found a great post, How To Get and/or Add A Gravatar To Your Post Comments, which had excellent and clear instructions.

Unfortunately, the only instruction she couldn’t give me was which avatar to choose.

Free avatars

I started searching the site she recommended as well as different sites advertising FREE AVATARS, but nothing felt right.  I tried to create my own, without much success.  Let’s just say I’m glad I didn’t use one of those!

Then I realized I was going about this the wrong way.  While watching a friend’s daughter play dress-up, I asked her who she was. She told me she was a doctor, specifically a cardiac specialist!  My first thought was that things have really changed since I played dress-up! Then I realized this young girl was pretending to be the person she wanted to become.

And it hit me; this is what I needed to do to find my avatar.  If the avatar was going to represent me, I needed to pick one that expressed who I wanted to become.

I spent some time thinking about this.  What did I want my avatar to say about me? I wrote down some words reflecting the person I wanted to become.  They included intuitive, healing, open-hearted, caring, and compassionate.

When I went back to my search, I used these words to guide me and let the avatars speak to me.  I returned to the site Barbara recommended, www.allavatars.com.  While I had previously searched this site without success, this time I quickly found THE ONE.

She’s called Tree that grows hearts and I absolutely love her name and her picture. The illustrator, kyrn, has created quite a few avatars all of which are beautiful, but this one felt right for me!

The rest of the process was easy.  Now when I leave a comment, I see my avatar and think about how much I like being the Tree that grows hearts.

Thank you kyrn for your beautiful illustration!