Tuesday, April 3, 2012

What I've Found


I am not really sure I can articulate, even to myself, why I started blogging exactly…what I hoped to gain or share or find by doing so.  I don’t even really remember what was going on in my head those days right before I started blogging—what made me just take the plunge and share so much of myself online.  I know it had something to do with the fact I’ve always been a writer.  I’ve got notebook and journals going back to my childhood.  I’ve always enjoyed stringing together words. 

I know it also had something to do with my general dissatisfaction with Facebook—which is the main form of online communication amongst my peers.  I wasn’t sold on it though.  It seemed to me so quick and trivial.  It wasn’t a way of sharing like I wanted my communication with friends and family to be.  I also imagine starting to blog had something to do with the fact that in researching on the web I frequently found myself on blogs for years.  Knitting, sewing, baking, cooking, gardening, green cleaning, and on and on and on.  I’ve found loads of blogs which have always been a great resource for all those things, even before I knew what a blog was.   But, I was only a voyeur, not a participant at that time.

Or maybe I could subconsciously sense that a community was secreted away in there, somewhere.
One thing is for sure though, I did NOT in a million years expect to make such meaningful connections with people…dare I say friendships.   I never expected to be so happy for the triumphs of people a state or an ocean away.  But I am.  When one’s husband was waiting to hear about a long-awaited job prospect I could not have expected to feel so hopeful and excited for them, but I did.   I’ve genuinely grown to treasure these people—my readers and those whose blogs I read.  In an admittedly limited way I feel I know them.  I know about their favorite seasons and favorite foods, favorite birds and favorite holidays.  We recommend books and products that past the test of time and sustainability and I trust in their advice on these things because they are not just strangers offering their review.  These are people I’ve grown to know.  We share births and deaths and anniversaries and the correlating emotions that ride along with them.  We relate advice and tips for running a home or managing a garden—sharing in all the challenges, frustrations, and joys and successes.  I admire the people who are willing to share their challenges so openly, in addition to their joys, because we all have our struggles and it feels good to be reminded we’re not alone in that—even if the challenges we’re reminded of are about getting green tomatoes to ripen when frost comes early or having knitting projects come out a little “wonky.”  The mixture of ups and downs makes their blogs so real, so honest, and so valuable.   Those are probably my favorites. 

I also guess that I could also say that I also never really expected anyone would read what I wrote.  I mean, it is pretty every-day sort of stuff and I am no expert on any of it.  Why would they?  It all goes back to the first paragraph and my confusion over why I started blogging in the first place; I didn’t really think anyone would read it.  I wasn’t sure if I should write it, but for some reason it felt right.  (Maybe the fact I didn’t think anyone would read it was a factor that actually encouraged me to start writing it).  None the less, people did start to read it.  I was quite surprised by how many members of my extended family have told me how much they enjoy my posts.  That they like to know what I am up to.  That I inspire them with how happy I seem to be living my life.  That they tried out a recipe I suggested.  I figured my sisters would read, I thought my parents might.  Maybe I should have expected my aunts and cousins would be my readers too, but I didn’t.  But even more shocking than my family was how many total strangers from all over the world started reading and commenting, creating a dialog with me.

I felt like I was actually making a (perhaps small) positive difference in other people’s lives, which to me is the height of success or accomplishment.   I already knew that the blogs I was reading were a positive influence on my life.  But, giving is even better than receiving.

That said, I have gotten SO much from my blog-friends (yes, that is what I call you).  I’ve learned about exotic fruits and vegetables that I’d never even heard of and of places where snorkeling and raging tropical storms are regular occurrences.  I’ve learned about making your own household products from beer to calendulla balm to vanilla extract to laundry soap.  I’ve learned that Coinstar machines generally have a few coins left behind in the tray, and it’s worth checking if you happen to pass by one.  I’ve learned about all sorts of things that are fascinating, but that I’ve no interest in personally, like making cheese and how to successfully make and utilize cloth diapers for babies.  I’ve learned about foreign cultures—foods, holidays, houses, traditions, hobbies.  I get a real kick out of the difference between UK and US English.  I couldn’t begin to count all the things my blog-friends have taught me. 
So, where is all this going?  Mostly I just wanted to express my gratitude I suppose.  I am so thankful for finding all of you and so thankful to those of you who have found me.  The sense of community I've found through blogging was beyond the scope of what I could have hoped for when I published my first post.

And I also wanted to offer a very specific thank you to the kind and gifted Pen from Kindred of the Quiet Way for the parcel, coming from all the way across the Atlantic, which waiting on my doorstep when I returned from the library yesterday.    The apron fits perfect and I am so thrilled to use it.   And the autographed books were an absolutely delightful surprise and am sure I'll enjoy them greatly, as I did In Celebration of Simplicity.  And then there was the handwritten note.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t receive many of those.  That note was so sweet, just a simple little snapshot of another simple, extraordinary life.  And I felt so very blessed.   Thanks, Pen.  It made my day.
 

21 comments:

  1. AWESOME! I couldn't have said it any better... thats for sure! I love "Blogland"!

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    1. Yup. I love it. Who would'a thought!?

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  2. Thank you, Beth, for sharing your life with us in this special space you've created :) I started blogging as a kind of outlet and journal of sorts, and was also (pleasantly) surprised by how many lovely people I now know because of it! Crazy to think, but so true!
    -Jaime

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  3. Beth,
    Last week, I gave you The Versatile Blogger Award. Check out the post and follow the rules.

    Your family can read my blog, too. LOL Look at his site for the award.

    http://practical-parsimony.blogspot.com/2012/03/three-awards-for-me.html

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    1. Ha! I'm a tad behind in reading and comments. I just commented on your post though. Thanks so much, Linda!

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  4. Wow! I so have to agree with you. I have a blog friend in Australia, we share a love of knitting and she has mailed me a knitting pattern, I think we will keep up a snail mail connection outside of blog world. Another blog friend in NJ who is having health issues, I keep her in my daily prayers. Another blog friend in Canada who is having to make some drastic life changes and isn't blogging right now, but I keep both her and her husband in my prayers. Another in England who is just simply fun!
    The funny thing is that these blog friends do become part of us, we do care about their daily challenges, as they probably care about ours, it is really, really a cool thing.
    Glad you commented on it.

    Bean
    (linked to you from Kindred of the Quiet Way - I just love Penelope's (Ember) blog)

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    1. Thanks Bean, you clearly see what I am talking about!

      I have a little something brewing in my mind to send to Penelope, but it is tricky because I know she is moving towards less. I think I've got just the thing though. She is so kind.

      Have a great day!

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  5. And I think of you as my blog-friend too. I often include something from your blog posts in my face-to-face conversations.

    Just yesterday I was wondering if you would want the leftover stuff we have after we finished a tie dying experiment for homeschooling. (Because I won't be using it again. It made me really appreciate your craft business. And want to buy from you instead.)

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    1. I had to coin the term blog-friend because I kept wanting to share little tidbits with Matt and others. I'm honored that you'd find something I post worth mentioning to others.

      Any time you need a tie-dye you just let me know and I bet we can work something out. Barter, or just the friend discount!

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    2. I use the term blog-friend with my husband, too.

      I may have to get a shirt for each of the kids. They were so proud of the ones they made, and would love to have some with strong colors. (Ours faded.)

      Amazingly, I find much more "community" in blog land than on FB.

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    3. Yes, practice makes perfect as the saying goes. I love to look back at our first dyes. We were so rightfully proud of them, but now with 5+years of practice the old ones just can't hold a candle as far as brightness and patterns go.

      And I've found socks are tricky to keep bright no matter what. The polyester portion just doesn't dye.

      They should be proud. They had fun and they learned a new art that they can wear around and show off to their friends. It made me happy to see your photos.

      I really don't find community on FB at all. Communication perhaps, but more like texting rather than conversing. But, that's just my opinion.

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    4. No, I agree with you completely. FB is exactly as you describe it.

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  6. I call my girls my bloggy-girlfriends! :) That's awesome! Blogging is seriously the greatest community ever. I wish I had more time to do it, especially since I actually pay for a domain name and all that jazz hahaha! That apron is TOO CUTE and totally right up your alley. you look beautiful sis! :)

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  7. I call my girls my bloggy girlfriends! :) The blogosphere is such a great community - I love it. Also, we are the best surprise love-bomb gifters, which is pretty fun. :) That apron is adorable, sis! it is right up your alley - very cute! :)

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  8. Yay! That apron is just right for you! Also, did you notice, if you haven't already binned it or used it for lighting the fire, you can turn that box I packed the things in inside out so it turns into a pretty box for storing things in. Neat, I thought! We got shoes in it originally :0)

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    1. It IS just right for me!

      And yes, I noticed and had a real good chuckle that one of the suggested reuses was to "bury your dead pet hamster." It is neat, I agree.

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  9. If you'll send me your snail mail to mysterycollector at gmail dot com, I will send you this kit with the extra dyes and fixative I have.

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    1. Thanks for the generous offer! I will get on my email here in the next couple of days and shoot you a message. I hope you are having a great day!

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  10. I'm with you, Beth. Blogging is a joy and the friendships are precious.
    People read and enjoy your blog because you are such a joyful person who enjoys the simple things of life.
    What a wonderful apron you received! I like aprons and the love of home they represent.
    Blessings to you from..........Denise

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    1. Yeah, as far as a material object goes I am kind of in love with that apron, I must say. It has a charm and makes me happy to wear it. But, as you said, I just appreciate aprons in general and the "love of home they represent." Its pretty true that you don't find one wearing an apron who doesn't care for her home and family. And vice versa I suppose.

      I am so glad to have met you though the blogs. Thanks for your kinds words, on this post and always. I hope you are having a wonderful day! It was all rainy this morning, but now the sun is out and I am really looking forward to the bicycle ride home.

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Thanks for taking the time to share your thoughts and ideas. I value the advice and friendship that you share with me!