As much as many of us would wish it to be true, there isn't always the opportunity to spend a block of time reading. Daily schedules and obligations quickly fill our calendars, family members have needs and priorities, chores, errands, household tasks can seem to take forever, and when the weather is nice, even the climate can make it difficult for us to want to do inside, quiet things. Perhaps, this is why the Blog was invented. Tidbits, inklings, reflections, perceptions, convictions, thoughts, ideas and ruminations all found in a nutshell and most, easily read in just a few minutes. In addition to how quickly they can often be read, I find the best part of reading a blog for me is that I most often finish the last word having been moved or stirred or lifted to a place I had no idea I would be visiting that day. Each blog is unique, but all contain elements of relevancy, are thoughtful, encouraging, uplifting, informative, mixed with elements of humor, and often contain a challenge, of sorts, to explore how we perceive the world around us. So, on the heel of my list of favorite books, I'd like to share a few of my most anticipated blogs:
The Ottaway Family | A Blog About Microcephaly
I've had the most wonderful pleasure of knowing Amy for the past few years. When she shared, one day, that she, and her husband were expecting a baby, I could barely contain my excitement as I had always sensed she would be a most amazing mother. I watched as she glowed in anticipation of the birth of her son, Jack, and then, again, as she eagerly waited for Dylan. In writing The Ottaway Family blog, Amy has graced her readers with a journal of this journey she and her family are traveling as they raise their two, beautiful boys, Jack and Dylan. Soon after birth, Dylan was diagnosed with Microcephaly and while the yardstick used to measure his successes may differ from the one used to measure Jack's, Dylan will have successes and he will cause an extreme amount of joy to flood to the surface of anyone who has the opportunity to see his smile, catch a glimpse of his enthusiasm, or witness his will to succeed. Amy, with tenderness and candor, has allowed her readers to share her fears, joys, set-backs and triumphs in this beautifully written blog, and tribute, to all that is possible within Dylan, and ultimately, within each of us.
Caroline Miller's Write Away Blog
As many look to coffee to begin their day, I look to this blog written by author and playwright, Caroline Miller, to begin my own. Most often, Caroline writes a response to an article, short story, essay, book or perhaps, even an instruction manual she might have recently made every effort to decipher. Each weekday morning the topic is different, always a surprise, always relevant and is sparingly written, always comprised of facts, quotations and references, and combined with Ms. Miller's personal thoughts. Her insight is guided by a lifetime of opportunities, experiences and passions while her writing style is succinct and clear, and often filled with humor, allowing even the most complicated issues to be mulled over, appreciated and understood with clarity. Very often, after I've finished reading her blog, I'm left knowing exactly how I feel about that which has been written; other times, I ponder her thoughts and ideas throughout the day, mulling them over as I try to understand their impact on my own life. Caroline's blogs encourage her readers to think, to stretch, to open their minds to a variety of issues, titles and events, and, yes, to write. Her passion for writing, for language and for being able to clearly share a thought is so beautifully expressed here as she wrote in a February, 2014, blog:
" I admire that spareness, the habit of treating words as if they were chips of gold, not feathers to be blown in the wind. But to be spare is not to be simple. To be simple is to be flat. To be spare is to squeeze the last juice of meaning from a word—mining it for its image, its sound, its rhythm and location in the sentence in an effort to reveal the nugget of intent."
It's with this love for language, a desire to share that which is relevant, a quick wit and an
undeniable sense of humor that Caroline writes her daily blog.
Until the presses stopped rolling in 2007 and "House and Garden" ceased its publication, Dominique Browning had been the Editor in Chief of this very popular magazine. There had never really been a time throughout her adult life she had not worked, but when the Magazine closed its doors for the last time, Ms. Browning, now jobless, had to begin reconstructing her life from the ground up. She did so, in part, by learning to slow down and to enjoy all the world around her. In this blog, she is inviting each of us to take this journey with her, to take a moment to take a breath, to live life at a more gentle pace. She does so with moments of humor, reflection and in candor, reminding us to see beauty in even the most unexpected places. Ms. Browning is also actively involved with the Environmental Defense Fund and in 2011, founded the Moms Clean Air Force which encourages mothers to recognize air pollution as a children's health issue. I enjoy Ms. Browning's blogs, and her style of writing and find them as an extension of her book, "Slow Love, How I Lost my Job, Put on My Pajamas, and found happiness."
While reading Jody's blogs, I have a sense that I'm sitting with others around a campfire, listening to stories as warm, cuddly and unpredictable as a new litter of pups. I don't know Ms. Seay personally, but I imagine she has a heart about the size of Texas which overflows on a regular basis with generosity, compassion, and a love of everything around her. Her blogs, again, are a reflection of the books she has written in that her writing style is more of story telling, filled with personal experiences and lessons learned from a life filled to the brim. Ms. Seay was born and raised in Texas; however, she has found her way to the northwest and currently lives in Oregon. It's impossible to read any of her work without smiling, chuckling to oneself, or actually laughing out loud. Ms. Seay finds humor even during the more tender, sensitive moments, and I appreciate this so very much.
A TSP OF THOUGHTS
I know there are mothers everywhere who love their families, dearly, but one would be hard pressed to find a woman anywhere who has a greater sense of love for those around her than Tamara and it is this love and devotion that shines through this blog she has chosen to write, highlighting various milestones in her life and that of her family. A little over a year ago, Tamara and her husband were blessed with Hannah and it has been a joy watching this family of two grow together into a family of three. Heartfelt thoughts and experiences are shared in this little blog along with pictures highlighting some of the cutest headbands I've ever seen. This blog is simply to be enjoyed as Tamara shares the joys, and a few of the less joyful aspects, of motherhood as a young woman.
Tamera Smith Allred
Creating a Life You Love | A Woman's Guide to Peace, Joy ...
Although I'm a new reader to this blog written by Ms. Allred, I've enjoyed finding it very much. Creating a life we love is within reach for each of us and throughout these blogs, one will find they are not only filled with anecdotes and experiences, but also suggestions that are easily incorporated into ones daily routine. For instance, Ms. Allred invites each of us to create a "daybook" in which one takes a moment, daily, to record answers to these four questions: "When, today, did I create a moment of peace? When today did I created a moment of joy? When, today, did I create a moment of empowerment? When today did I create a moment of love? Seems simple enough, but the impact of completing this one task can be so meaningful and affect so many others in ones life. I've found this blog to be uplifting, encouraging and effective, and continue looking forward to reading new entries.
With thousands of blogs available, the secret seems to be to find the blog that speaks directly to one's self, whether that be through humor, revelation, instruction, or other methods of sharing. I enjoy these blogs because they touch a cord. They are all truly bits and pieces of wisdom in a nutshell that have made a difference in my life.
Painting by Leonid Afremov