Follow the Leader, Finding New Blogs to Follow

 

Today is day five of the Fall Cozy Challenge and the prompt is “Favorite Follow.” So why not play Follow the Leader? I’ll start and share some of the bloggers and Facebook people I enjoy following. You can share some of your favorites in the comments. Maybe we’ll all “meet” someone new.  Since my interests are varied, so is my list.

 

 

WRITERS

Since I belong to three writing groups I know plenty of writers, and sometimes I follow their blogs. However, it’s easier to post to a couple of writing groups. The Prosateurs Writers, a group of writers who meet monthly in person, and online to prompt and encourage each other. Each writer’s blog is listed on the blog. Their tagline is; Writers Write. We  write. We are writers.

Prosateurs (2)

I also belong to Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc. (OWFI). This is a multi-state writers organization made up of individual authors, and writing groups. The have a newsletter and an annual conference.

owfi

Their website says, “. . . Oklahoma Writers’ Federation, Inc. (OWFI) is a non‑profit federation of writers’ groups dedicated to promoting higher standards for the written word. We believe that the literary profession has come of age and merits a fair share of the critical acclaim so generously lavished on other worthwhile arts. OWFI shall seek to coordinate and encourage professional writing within and without its organization and promote the recognition of outstanding contributions to the written language.”

McAlester McSherry Writers doesn’t have a blog, but do have a Facebook page. They are a critique writing group and meet the first and third Saturday of the month.

SEWING/QUILTING

I follow sewists and quilters sporadically. A couple of my favorite are: Becky at Patchwork Posse. She has an online store, as well as a brick and mortar store here in Oklahoma. She offers tutorials, tips, patterns and encouragement.

Also, Prairie Notions, run by a mother/daughter duo, Pam Price and Paula Nelson. I call it “my” store since it is only fifteen miles from my house. They have a Facebook page, and a brick and mortar store. They sponsor our monthly quilt group meeting, and often include a technique for us.

There are several others , but that’s a good start. Next up, cooking and food. I don’t especially enjoy cooking but I’m working on it. In the meantime, these bloggers are fun to read.

COOKING/FOOD

The Blond Cook, she has these scrumptious looking apple pie bites (this is a picture from her blog.) I’m going to have to try them at the next gathering.

apple-pie-bites-2

The names of the other food bloggers I follow are evading me at the moment. Not to mention, many times I just click on a link on Facebook, Pinterest, or someone else’s blog and presto, interesting food blog.

MARKETING/BUSINESS

As an Indie author, and beginning coach marketing is an important aspect.  Here are a couple of my favorites.

Joan Stewart also known as the Publicity Hound. Joans tag line is, “Tips, Tools, and Tricks for Free Publicity.”  helps writers find their readers with her marketing ideas and plans. Even before indie publishing (authors publishing their own work) writers had to find ways to promote themselves and their books. Joan has been around and helping writers find their readers. Her newsletters have great information and ideas and always a cute something about a dog.

Publicity Hound

Marisa Murgatroyd (yes, that’s her real name) of Live Your Message 

is small but mighty. She helps others find and use their entrepreneurial super power. She also has a Facebook page.

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That’s a smattering of some of the bloggers I follow sporadically. Hope you found someone new in the bunch.

FITNESS

Almost forgot. I’m not big on exercise, this is my feeling on exercise:

EXERCISE MEME

While I love this definition of exercise,  it is not original with me. I don’t know who came up with it. Still, it defines the word perfectly. I have found an exercise that is doable, inexpensive, and I almost enjoy it, Walking. Most of the time I walk on the road in front of my house, a walking track in town, or the pasture. However there are days when walking outside isn’t on my radar. That’s when I turn to Leslie Sansone on YouTube.

 

Who is your favorite blogger to follow?

Have you been following any one person for more than a year?

Who is the newest blogger you’ve found?

 

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When You Don’t Have What You Need, Use What You Have – Day 4 UBC

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It’s day four for the Ultimate Blog Challenge and the #CozyFallHome Challenge. So far, posts four consecutive days in a row, on a roll here.

The Cozy Fall Home Challenge prompt is stripes for today. I had several ideas, unfortunately all of them required a trip to town. A trip to town is a two hour event, minimum. Instead, I revamped my thinking.

I started with my rocking chair with a stripped cushion. The problem is, the cushion is more summer than fall. Which makes sense, it’s actually meant to be a cushion on an outdoor chair.

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Covering the chair with an orange fabric, no sewing needed, gave it the fall look. Still missing some stripes though.

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I toyed with a couple of ideas for adding stripes to the chair. In the end, I went with the log cabin patterned pillow borrowed from the bedroom. A log cabin pattern is stripes, in a way.

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Finally a plaid (more stripes) flannel throw, in browns and golds was added to the mix. The color picture did do it justice, or look as much like stripes as I’d like, so the picture in black and white shows more of the stripes.

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There you have it, using items available the wooden rocker went from a summer chair to a fall sitting area.

Sometimes we have to find a different way to accomplish our goal. My first idea was a great one, except none of the essentials were available. There was no way to get the look I wanted with what was available.

Next idea, what else could be done to work with the challenge?

The summery colors of the cushion made me smile and it’s like I have a little bit of summer hidden under the fall blankets and throws. The little sitting area turned out nice, and fall like with a secret.

Do you use stripes when you decorate?

What is your favorite way of using what you have when you don’t have what you need?

What is  your favorite fall color?

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Creativity, Good for the Soul, No Need to be Neat and Tidy Too

Creative people don't have a mess they have ideas

It is day 3 of the Ultimate Blog Challenge (UBC). Also, the third day for the cozy fall decorating challenge. On the UBC the suggestion is to blog about what we do during this season that’s different.

Since I encourage women to follow their heart and do the activities that bring them joy, I take my own advice and sew and/or attend quilt shows. While I did check out the quilts at both the county fair and state fair, there were no pictures taken. Also, have not attended a Quilt Show yet this season.

Since I haven’t been to a show, I have been sewing, which is why my dinning room table is a collection of sewing ideas.

Dining-Sewing Table Collage

When I run out of room of the table for my projects, or projects to be, the living room furniture makes a perfect stand-in. Currently the rocking chair holds a quilt project and most of the fabrics that will be added to it.

rocking chair fabric holder

In an attempt to “decorate” and fully participate in the Cozy Fall Challenge, I decided to work on the table in the corner. Technically it’s a sewing table, it used to house a Singer Treadle sewing machine. Now, it’s more decoration than anything. I topped it with a quilt of mostly fall fabrics, a candle holder, my fall flowers, and the bear. The grandboys called my husband Bear, and I have several bears scattered throughout the house in his memory.

sewing table decorated

Later the toppings will change, but for now, for this challenge, this is it. Oh, by the way, the railing behind the table isn’t really a rail of any kind. It’s part of my quilting frame, which may get put up later this month. After all, fall and winter are perfect quilting seasons.

Do you decorate for fall or a fall event?

What is your favorite thing about fall?

What hobby do you enjoy as the weather turns cold?

 

 

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Visiting the Tulsa State Fair and Fall Décor Collections

Tonight I had the opportunity to do something I’d never done before, attend the swine sale at the Tulsa State Fair. I believe our children showed at Tulsa, but someone had to care for the animals still at home, that was mom’s job. Yesterday though, due to some miscalculations on my part, I missed seeing our first grandson show his gilt (female pig.)

Spencer showing Tulsa 2018

Like most show kids, he grabbed some rest when he could. Glad someone had a phone and took this picture of him taking a break.

Spencer taking a break Tulsa 2018Although the sale was streamed live, something new from back in the day when our kids showed, I chose not to watch the sale on my computer, but in person.

Spencer's pig on the big screen Tulsa 2018

Okay, in truth, I didn’t know they’d be streaming the sale. However, it wouldn’t have mattered. Our boy made the sale, I wanted to be there to support him.  I was a little sad his grandpa wasn’t there. Although, my beautiful daughter-in-law reminded me grandpa was there in spirit, and in the sale ring with our boy.

Spencer in the sale ring 2 Tulsa 2018

All in all it was a great traveling day. Next time though, I’ll go earlier to spend some time at the fair. There will be a next time. He still has a whole show season before he graduates and we have two more grands showing.

Traveling to stock shows is still travel, and supporting my grands is a fabulous way to spend a day, or weekend.

Cozy Fall

The prompt for the Cozy Fall photo Challenge today is collection. I have two. Does two make a collection? The first is this stack of burlap sacks. I bought them a couple of years ago with a project in mind.

burlap sacks

The project bit the dust, and the collection of burlap bags remains. Maybe I’ll find something to do with them during this challenge.

The second “collection” are these fall flowers that are bundled together in a vase. Yes, I did use some of the burlap to make the vase more fallish.

 

 

UBC Challenge Prompt

As part of the UBC challenge, they offer us prompts or ideas for blog posts. That way, if we can’t think of anything we can simply blog about their suggestion. As  you can see, I don’t have trouble coming up with things to talk (write) about. However, sometimes using their suggestion is nice.

Today the suggestion was to tell why we blog about what we blog about. I blog about a little of everything because my interests are so scattered. At the heart of everything though, are widows. I share ideas for widows, offer suggestions for issues, encourage widows to live intentional. I write for and about widows because I am one. Simple as that.

 

Do you enjoy traveling?

Do you consider attending a function for the grandchildren travel?

Do you have a fall collection?

 

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Challenges, Challenges, Challenges, Why Take a Challenge?

It’s time again for the Ultimate Blog Post Challenge. I have participated in this challenge upteen times (I don’t know really) and have finished it maybe three times. I keep getting off track.

Sometimes life gets in my way, a friend or family member is ill and needs help. I get sick and don’t feel like posting, or some other event happens.

Sometimes technology gets in my way, the computer crashes, electricity goes out (usually that’s a winter thing) or my internet stops. Yes, I can write with a pen and paper, and actually enjoy that sometimes. However, it’s hard to post a blog written on paper. By the time the technology is working with me again, I’ve lost interest in that particular blog post, and then just never get back on track.

However, the biggest obstacle to daily blogging is me. I over think the posts, or want to over edit them. By the time I think they might, possibly, maybe, be ready to post, they are not longer relevant.

Which means, let’s try something new. As this new challenge begins, I have two other challenges to include, which will make the posts easier to write.

The first is an Instagram challenge #MyCozyFallHome  hosted by The Nester.  Of course, she’s, and the others, are actually using Instagram. Me? Nah, I’m going to post here and on my Facebook page (maybe). Since I’ve never been much of a decorator, and I figure why not stretch a little and decorate my home for fall. I can share the meager attempts with you and maybe encourage you to welcome fall with a little décor.

The first part of the challenge is to post the image below. Got it. One down, thirty to go. Have no clue what picture I’ll post tomorrow for a collection. But, hey, I have a few hours.

 

Image.

The second challenge being incorporated in this blog challenge, is the experiment started way back in April. That is when the Blogging Alphabetically Challenge is held, The A to Z Challenge.  My goal was to blog about living intentionally alphabetically. So far, I’ve gotten up to I for Inspired, Inspiring, or Inspiration. Next up will be J. Stay tuned, with any luck by combining my personal alphabet challenge with this ultimate blog challenge I’ll get at least to M and maybe finish the alphabet.

This is the best thing about the Ultimate Blog Challenge. It encourages me, and hopefully other bloggers, to keep going, keep trying, never give up.

Life is about living, not quitting.

 

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Six Tips for Finding Purpose

Have you ever felt like life has no purpose? You’re just on the treadmill of life, not going anywhere or making a difference? Sometimes life feels like a search puzzle, except I’m not sure what I’m searching for.

It’s not like I’m trying to find Nemo, or Waldo. Those characters have a definite look and I know when I find them. It’s not even like a word or picture search puzzle. Not only do I know when I find what I’m looking for, I know for sure the searched item is where I’m looking.

No. Finding my purpose is more like playing hide-and-seek, except again, I’m not really sure what I’m looking for. Also, there are no hard, defined perimeters when searching for purpose. Games and puzzles all have borders, or boundary lines.

Finding purpose doesn’t follow any of those rules. So how are we supposed to find who we are and what our purpose is? Many of us knew at one time. We had a definite purpose.

Except life changed, and what we once knew is no longer true. What to do.

No one knows the answer, possibly because it’s different for everyone. Here are some ideas to help.

Declutter your space and your mind.

It’s hard to think or see beyond a cluttered area. Clearing your living/working space may be all you need. I’m currently working on decluttering my space, again. Every little section that gets cleared out makes me feel more accomplished. Once the clutter is out of my space, there is room to work on other projects. Projects that make me feel useful and needed.

Practice gratitude 

I started practicing daily gratitudes a year or so after my husband’s death. They don’t necessarily help me see a purpose. However, by paying attention to some of my blessings I am able to see more clearly were I am.

Collect the good and happy events and occasions
Have you ever noticed how difficult it is to remember something good that happened a week, a month, or a year afterwards? Some events we remember, but there are many more good days that just float on by. Writing down pleasant events help us remember them, which makes us smile and increases our joy. It’s easier to find purpose when we are happy. I wrote about collecting happy events in a joy jar here

Track accomplishments

Just as a Joy Jar, or list helps us remember the good times, an accomplishment journal reminds us how smart, talented, and capable we are. We might even turn one, or more, of our capabilities into an asset and part of our purpose. Writing down our accomplishments help us remember them, otherwise like some of our joys, they sink to the bottom of our memory. Having proof in black and white that we have accomplished something, gives courage to try something new. Anything can be listed as an accomplishment, from changing that light bulb in an awkward location, to remembering to have the oil changed in the car, or anything that is new to us goes on the accomplishment list.

Join others

Although, not normally a joiner, I have commitment issues, I did find that joining a couple of organizations gave my life structure and purpose. One group I enjoy, although it has no meetings, is Quilts of Valor. Making a quilt top (I don’t quilt them, someone else does) and then presenting a quilt to a veteran, makes me feel accomplished and purposeful.

Abolish a knee-jerk objection attitude

I’ll admit I have trouble with this one. When someone offers a suggestion, if it’s not something familiar to me, my first reaction is, “that won’t work for me because.” I’m trying to remember to use the word “however” when objection is the first thing to come out of my mouth. I wrote about using “however” instead of “because,” as in “it won’t work, or I can’t because,” here

What is one of your go-to tactics when struggling to find purpose?

Have you tried any of these tactics? Did they help you?

When do you struggle most with having a purpose?

 

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A Little Laughter Goes a Long Way

Today is Wordy Wednesday where you are encouraged to share a story about yourself, a loved one, or the two of you. Sharing stories about our past, and those who have gone on not only helps keep their memory alive, it helps others know them.

In my case, three of our grandchildren weren’t even born when my husband died. One child was four months old, somehow I doubt he remembers much about his grandpa Bear. The former four year old is now 18 and sometimes shares stories he remembers about his Bear. It warms my heart to hear him speak about his times with his grandpa. The former five year old is now 19 and hasn’t shared how much he remembers about his grandpa Bear.

I write the stories to help them know him, and maybe help our children know their dad from a different perspective.

Today’s story is about laughter. He had a great sense of humor and he kept it through his illness. He loved to make people laugh, and it was his sense of humor that first attracted me to him. Once I got to know him, I learned about some of his other great qualities. Today though, it’s humor.

He loved to prank people, especially me. Although, sometimes he included me in his pranks. Which is the case in both of these stories about the births of our children.

Our first child was born while we were attending college. To be totally correct, he was attending college, I was just there and very pregnant.

One night, towards the end of my pregnancy we had gone for a walk. By the time we returned to our second floor apartment I was huffing and puffing. He said, “let’s call Gary and Carolyn and tell them you’re in labor and I’m in the lab.”

I agreed it would be a great joke and dialed the number of our friends. Carolyn picked up on the second ring.

“Carolyn this is Nita.” I said, taking a breath after each word. “I think I’m in labor and David isn’t here.”

“Oh my gosh.” Holding the phone away from her she spoke to her  husband, “Gary, get dressed.” She then came back on the line to me, “Nita, where is David?”

“In the lab.”

“Do you want Gary to go get him?” Because this was before cell phones, and the only way to reach him was to physically go to the lab.

“No. I’m scared Carolyn.”

“Hang on Nita. Gary’s coming. ” To her husband she said, “hurry up, don’t put your socks on, just get your shoes on and let’s go.”

At this point my composure slipped. “Carolyn, are you and Gary coming over?”

“No, Gary’s coming alone. I’ll stay on the phone with you until he gets there.”

Now I couldn’t hold back the laughter any longer. “Don’t do that. I’m not in labor and David’s right here.”

“Oh, you two.” She sputtered and hung up the phone.

When our daughter was born a few days later Carolyn refused to believe David when he tried to tell her of the birth. Gary had to convince her it was true, our daughter had arrived. Remembering the experience entertained us both for several years.

Just before our second baby was born we decided to prank his parents. We had taken our daughter to their house until after the birth of the baby. One night, missing her, and feeling playful he said, “let’s call mom and dad and tell them you had the baby.”

“Okay, but you have to do the talking. I don’t think I can pull it off. What are we going to tell them we had?”

This was before ultra sounds and other tests designed to determine the gender of a baby before birth. We had no idea what I was carrying, although we both suspected it was a boy.

“Let’s tell them it was twins.”

“Okay.” Sounded plausible to me.

He made the call. His dad answered the phone. David told him I’d gone to the hospital earlier that day and had the baby. I was okay, everything was fine, except there were two babies.

“We haven’t named them yet.” He said before giving me a look of panic.

“What do they weigh?” he whispered.

“I don’t know.”

The jig was up. He had to admit to his dad it was all a prank. I hadn’t had the baby, much less twins and everything was fine.

The prank was on us though, a week later I did give birth. To twins. Two tiny little boys that grew into strong, healthy men who look just like their daddy.

What about you? What’s your favorite attribute of someone you love?

Have you shared a story with anyone about your loved one?

Are you a prankster?

 

 

 

 

 

 

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