I started blogging in 2008. That’s hard to believe. I tend to flit around from one thing to another. But something about blogging has stuck with me. While I believe we’re close to having worn out the word “community” so that it is threadbare and patina’d, community is the key to why I keep renewing my web-hosting account when I don’t even really know what web-hosting is.
Some say blogging is changing and that it won’t last much longer. Perhaps that’s true. But while it’s still here, I’ll be here. I may even be here after the Great Blogging Apocalypse. (Don’t panic. I just made that up.)
I’d been writing for a few months with a few spammy comments, or a “Nice job!” from my mom or my dad. Fortunately, I liked blogging, so I kept at it. And then one day, I got a “real” comment. I remember staring at the comment for about twenty minutes. I read it and reread it, and clicked through it to find out more about the person who wrote it. I resisted the urge to take out a full-page ad in our local newspaper, announcing to all of Lincoln, NE that I had received a bona fide comment on my personal blog, thank you very much.
In the days and weeks that followed, a small group of women visited my blog regularly and left sweet, encouraging comments on my feeble blog posts. I visited their blogs and left feeble comments on their amazing blog posts. These women are incredibly talented, warm-hearted, generous with their affirmation, and consistently friendly and thoughtful in every way. I call them “The Firsts” because they were the first people not obligated by DNA to support me in my blogging. Every now and then, I like to give them a shout-out because they are the very first people (not related or married to me) who truly believed in me.
You can find Kwana Jackson at Kwana.com. She’s the author of “Through The Lens.” It’s a romance novel (ooh-la-la), and we all followed along with Kwana as she wrote the novel, pursued publishing, and released the book. Kwana has twins in college, and she lives in New York. She’s hilarious. She keeps me in the loop with all things reality TV. When I had a panic attack after an earlier episode of this season of Downton Abbey, she held my hand and talked me through it (although who could have known the tragedy that was to come?). Kwana’s sidekick is Jack, aka Cutest Dog Ever.
Patricia van Essche (aka PVE) is an artist. She paints beautiful watercolors with bright, fresh colors that pull you right into the scene. One day, a few years ago, I received a package in the mail. It was from Patricia, and it was a painting of my house! She’d used a picture that I posted on my blog and, from sheer kindness and generosity, she painted a picture of my house and sent it to me in the mail. It is a gift I treasure with all my heart. Way back then, I did a blog series called “12 Days to Christmas Peace” and Patricia designed my blog button for me. Then, just because, she had magnets made of that blog button design and sent those to me, too! You can purchase Patricia’s art in her Etsy shop. Trust me. There is something there for everyone! (Patricia also designed the blog header at Kwana’s place.)
My friend Joyce is one of the sweetest people I have ever met — online, or in real life. She shares her life with us at her blog, A Perfect Beginning. She’s a photographer, and she’s got amazing taste. You should follow her on Pinterest. Go ahead. I’ll wait. I am forever repinning something Joyce has pinned, without realizing it’s from Joyce. I see it, love it, pin it, and then I read that Joyce pinned it first and I say to myself, “Well, of course!” You should also check out Joyce’s Etsy shop. She donates 15% from every order to North Chicago Animals In Need.Two years ago, when my blog disappeared from the internet, Joyce was the person who told me my blog was missing. She sent me the sweetest email, and she held my virtual hand through that entire, awful, heart wrenching experience. I can’t think of a better person to deliver that kind of news to me. And…Patricia designed Joyce’s blog header, too.
Ina J. Offret lives in Alaska. She is a lover of life and people and animals and the beautiful state of Alaska. With her pink-streaked hair and camera in hand, she takes me on one adventure after another. From snow-capped mountains down the road from her house to champagne lunches with her good friends at the club, there is never a dull moment with Ina. And I haven’t even mentioned her posse of puppies — Ginger, Jeter, Toby, and Halle (the diva). No matter what, Ina makes me smile. You know those people who always find the silver lining and always see the glass as half full? Yeah. Those people learned about positivity from Ina.
Kathy West writes at West Family Adventures. When I first met Kathy, she was living in Germany, along with her husband, daughter, and sweet puppy. Back then, her online name was Frau. I was instantly in awe of Kathy. She wrote bravely and honestly about the highs and lows of living as an expat. She didn’t try to make it glamourous or something beautiful when it wasn’t. She told the truth, and I instantly connected with her. Kathy lives in upstate New York now, and she continues to share the honest truth about living life. Her daughter started college last year, and we all followed along as Kathy’s family transitioned to an empty nest. Kathy is cool people. For real.
You also need to meet Lecia Phinney. She blogs at A Day That Is Dessert and she takes beautiful photos. I can’t show them to you here, because her images are copyrighted. So, you should go there to see for yourself. Just know that I put her last in this lineup because there’s a good chance you may get stuck over there. It’s that beautiful. Lecia Phinney’s blog is one of the places I go when I need to find a bit of breathing space. Her heart matches her blog. Simply beautiful.
Do you remember the first comment you received? Who was it? How did it make you feel? It can be a game-changer, can’t it? Have you ever left a “first comment” for someone else?