Tag Archives: writing

10 Things I Am Thankful For

Today’s Blogtober assignment is to compile a list of ten things I am thankful for. Despite all of my rants and complaints, I do have many things for which I am grateful. I think I will start my list with the most obvious but the rest is in no particular order.

I am thankful for: 

1) … Charlie and that she survived.

2) … growing older. It’s a privilege denied to many.

3) …the people in life who carry out random acts of kindness. The ones who take a moment from their lives to go out of their way for other people. Like the gentleman who offered his seat to me on the Metro, the people who hold doors open, the neighbors who make meals for practical strangers, and the countless others who contribute their time, talent, or money. Whether the act is big or small, every act is significant.

4) … for the outdoors. It has been a substantial part of my healing process. No matter how overwhelmed, sick, defeated, or hurt I may feel, being outdoors is a panacea.

5) … my friends and husband. I am blessed with extraordinary friends. I am fortunate to receive their love, understanding, kindness, support, encouragement, and time.

6) …writers, authors, bloggers, and anyone brave enough to write down their thoughts and ideas for others to read. Almost every night, I wind down before bed with a book. I can’t imagine the world without the written word.

7) …my Share Your Story people. I would be walking this post NICU journey alone without them.

8) …music. Through singing, playing, listening, and dancing, it has the power to commiserate, inspire, celebrate, immortalize a moment, transform, and heal.

9) …my animals. I am not sure who rescued whom.

10) …the world. There is never a shortage of places to visit, languages to learn, music to hear, new ideas to discover, people to meet, new foods to eat, and experiences to enjoy. I am incredibly lucky to be an infinitesimal and minute quark in the midst of it all.

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My Five Blogging Tips For The New Blogger

Day six of the DC Ladies Blogtober is here. Today’s challenge is to share my top five blogging tips for a new blogger. This is what I’ve managed to figure out thus far.

1) Get connected. Get to know other bloggers. These bloggers don’t necessarily have to be in your niche or write about your topic. Other bloggers can be a fantastic resource for ideas, second opinions, opportunities, support, encouragement, and trouble shooting.

How does one meet other bloggers? Comment on their blogs, connect on twitter, or send an email. Every blogger was new to the game at some point and most are willing to at least say hello.

2) Be Yourself. My favorite blogs to read are the ones in which an author is genuine. Faults and all, I enjoy when a blogger’s personality, thoughts, and feelings are conveyed through clever writing.

Keep in mind that the internet is a vast resource. Most of the information that you have to offer can be found elsewhere. What makes your blog unique is you. Some of my most popular posts made me feel very vulnerable when I hit publish.

On the other hand, don’t try to be something you are not. I stop reading as soon as I feel the author is being phony or trying too hard to push a desired image.

3) Decide in the beginning what you want from your blog. Do you want to advertise on your blog? Is your blog an extension of your company’s website? Are you trying to connect with others in your field or interest? Or, maybe you just want to write for your own purposes?

Knowing these things before hand will help you decide on the appropriate blogging platform, find your reader base, and will assist in planning a strategy. It’s easier to deal with these things in the beginning than have to shuffle everything around later.

For me, I determined that I wanted my blog to be a place to vent and connect with other parents like myself. I knew that I didn’t want to blog for a long term and wanted Charlie to have her privacy as she grew. This information impacted my choices.

Things like advertising, paid posts, and so forth did not feel right for what I wanted from my blog. Plus, I know I want to wrap up my blog when Charlie turns three.

4) Social media matters. Blogging is social. A social media presence is key to increasing your blog readership. Interact with your readers and let future readers know that your blog is out there.

This is an area that I could improve quite a bit. If I had the time, energy, and drive, I would use Facebook like a mini blog and post pictures, updates, and questions unique to that account. In addition, I would update Twitter a few times a day with something funny or thought provoking.  Finally, I would have lovely Instagram images and Pinterest worthy graphics.

Social media accounts shouldn’t be entirely self promotional. Share other articles, news items, blogs, or things of interest to your readers or followers.

5) Be creative and experiment. Almost every website, book, or article on blogging will attempt to discuss SEO, click bait, and successful blog post formats. Yes, these things do work in driving traffic. But, it doesn’t necessarily build readership if someone visits your blog once for click bait.

Use the blogging basics as tools and build on them, change them, and make them your own.  Don’t be afraid to write a post that doesn’t follow popular post format. Take chances and try something new.

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Blogtober Challenge: A Piece Of Advice For My Younger Self

As you may already know, I’m shaking things up a bit this month and participating in the DC Ladies Blogtober. Today’s challenge asks “What is one piece of advice you’d give your younger self?”

It’s quite simple really.

I would tell my younger self that the great ones make others feel that they, too, can be great. Surround yourself with those people and try to be one of them.

I wish I would have known earlier that the people worth letting into your world help you feel good about yourself and your life, re-energize you, and being with them relieves stress. Not the opposite.

I’ve had the honor of knowing quite a few people who have filled me with hope, given me direction, held my hand during tough times, inspired me, challenged me to think, gently pushed me out of my comfort zone, rooted for me, and (because of all that) have made me a better person.

Out of everything I learned over the course of my life, I think that lesson may be the most important and the one I wish I knew when I was much younger.

I think I would tack on: You become what surrounds you. Surround yourself with the type of people you’d like to grow into and the things that make you happy. Don’t waste precious time with the other stuff.

Before music therapy yesterday, Charlie played in the lovely fall weather.

Before music therapy yesterday, Charlie played in the lovely fall weather.


Where To Draw The Line

Many moms have a favorite website. For some, it is Pinterest. In my case, I am a Stumble Upon addict. Last January, I was stumbling and enjoying the late night silence when I came across the article titled Mommy Bloggers: A Child’s Right To Online Privacy.

The article raises some valid concerns and compelled me to question where I should draw the line. When is refreshing honesty crossing into careless parenting?

As the article notes, what is written online has the potential to exist indefinitely. To me, the idea that Charlie may one day read what I write about her is my biggest concern. With this in mind, I try to write each post as if she may read it later.

I feel honesty and integrity are important but I think discretion becomes key when the subject broadens beyond the scope of myself. Do I want Charlie to know THAT about me? How will what I write make her feel if she reads it? Do I want the people in her future to know that about her?

Privacy is another important concern. Before my foray into blogging, I strove to maintain a low profile. I enjoyed the freedom that anonymity allowed me. I want that to be an option for Charlie should she choose it.

Currently, we are a March of Dimes ambassador family, I keep a blog, and sometimes, I speak to groups. I plan to slowly move Charlie out of the spotlight around the time she ages out of Early Intervention and my blogging adventure will end. I am not sure what will happen after that point. I plan one thing but life happens. Ideally, it will be up to her.

To the parents who blog, I ask this: Where do you draw the line? What are your concerns?

This was taken yesterday.

This was taken yesterday.


Why I Blog

Why do I keep a blog? It is important to ask myself this question from time to time (especially when others are asking me). By answering it, I remind myself of where things started and assess where I want it to go.

The origins of my blog can be traced back to Charlie’s first NICU. A few days passed before I stopped crying in front of Charlie’s isolette. After which, I wandered into a NICU scrap booking class offered by March of Dimes NICU Family Support. Despite that I am the last person in the world that anyone would expect to see in a scrap booking class (and incredibly socially awkward), there I was.

I suppose that I needed a break from my reading at Charlie’s bed side (it was a teaching hospital with an amazing library). Or maybe, I was desperate to understand and become involved in the new world into which I was tossed. I am unsure of the reason, but I got more than a scrap book out of it.

I was so heart broken, bewildered, saddened, and despondent that I barely said a word the first class. I mostly listened. Hearing the other NICU moms’ discussions somehow made things seem a little bit normal. With each scrap I pasted, things seemed to get better for me.

I learned about what to expect, the way the NICU works, the language, and I started to understand. I began to process what was happening. I would hear other moms talk about how they felt. In my head I would respond, “That is precisely what I feel.” or “I don’t agree. This is how I feel…” It enabled me to comprehend my own feelings. By the end of Charlie’s stay at that NICU (she transfered to a second NICU), I had become one of those chatty moms and had made a very good NICU mom friend.

After Charlie was transferred to a NICU with private rooms, I scrap booked at her bedside in between hands on care times. Once Charlie came home, I completed the scrap book and abandoned scrap booking all together. By then, I was able to combine a few words with the pictures and logged our journey on Facebook.

After we moved, I had graduated to Tumblr. It did not take long until I had a WordPress blog.

I realized that I had no idea what I was doing (the last thing I had written was a tedious technical paper on Dendrimers as Nanocontainers) and started an informal blogging/writing education. In some of my free time, I read about my new blogging and writing hobby through websites and books. My blog is still in that stage where I imitate the sites that I admire or learn from. Eventually, this will evolve it’s own unique identity.

Will I have paid advertising? No (with the exception of advertising that WordPress itself may include because I have a free site), I’ve decided to keep this experiment a hobby. When will I stop blogging? I’ve decided to give Charlie her privacy in a couple years and discontinue this blog.

I blog because, in some way, I still need that scrap booking class experience. I need to see how far we’ve come and to process what is occurring in our daily lives. I want to hear those other moms’ discussions. I wish to express the fact that this (post NICU life) is really challenging and not be pressured to be optimistic all the time. I desire to contribute honest dialogue so that other parents do not feel alone. It is my hopes that all of this will at least help someone other than just myself.

In a nutshell, this is why I blog.

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Charlie at the park earlier today.


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