Fellow Blogger – Carol Balawyder

ImageJoining me this evening is Carol Balawyer – Writer.  Carol is currently three novels that she has been working on for some years. Two of these are crime novels and one is women’s fiction. She has already self published Mourning Has Broken and Missy’s Dating Adventures. Information and links for these books is available on Carol’s home page. An excerpt from Carol’s book Mourning has Broken can be found in the post Book Cover Design. Carol has many sections on her blog including Women’s fiction, memoir, photography and Short Stories. There is certainly much to read and to learn on Carol’s blog.

Welcome to the couch tonight Carol. I’m pleased to have you here to discuss blogging. Can you tell me what drew you to blogging?

Curiosity. I wanted to learn what the buzz was about and wanted a platform for my writing. So, my initial reason was one of marketing but has evolved into connecting with incredibly talented people. I honestly, at times, prefer blogging than working on my novels. Is that a bad sign?

I was only just telling someone the other day how my blogging has evolved in the same way. And I don’t think that is a bad sign. I think it means that when we blog, we don’t have to worry about sentence structure and plot lines 😉 How long have you been blogging now?

I started blogging in 2010 with a blog title Writing Scales on the Art and Craft of Writing where I began to write about my year of mourning after my sister died. This turned into a book Mourning has Broken. Then I did another blog titled A Girl Called Brenda on my online disastrous dates. I did that for a year then stopped because of a teaching contract in Asia. I’m back to blogging since September 2013.

So you are not new to the world of blogging at all. Your other blogs had themes, so does your current blog also have a theme?

Yes. I write about writing. It could be about writing techniques, writing blogs I like, workshops I attend, authors I admire. Anything about writing. I am now writing a series of famous writers’ desks as a fun part of my blog.

That sounds great. As there are many budding authors out there in the WordPress family, I’m sure there are many who would find your experiences invaluable. Have you found that by blogging you have gained anything?

Blogging has put me in contact with incredibly creative people and helped me direct my writing career. Eventually, I plan to use some bloggers as Beta readers for my novels. I am from a French province and most of my friends are French speaking so it’s a treasure for me to be able to communicate with English writers.

Isn’t it wonderful how helpful and creative many of the people out there are? Many of those I have had on the couch have had challenges in their lives that blogging has assisted them in dealing with. Do you feel that blogging has helped you in dealing with challenges at all?

The main challenge has been connecting with people with the same interest as I have. Blogging has given me the opportunity to meet these people and continue to do so. I am always so thrilled when I write a new post and someone new responds to it. There are so many creative people out there that I want to connect with.

Connecting with others is certainly heart warming. How often do you find yourself at the computer working on a blog post?

Twice a week. Mondays and Fridays, although I am thinking of changing my Monday blog to Wednesday because Monday is heavy blog traffic and maybe my Friday blog to Saturday.

It’s difficult at times finding what works for us isn’t it? I hope you work this out. Where do you find the inspiration for your blog posts?

Everywhere. It’s just a question of paying attention. Sometimes it’s reading someone else’s blog and it brings a spark. I had the idea of writing a blog on Thy Own Self Be True which came from one of the essays in my book Mourning Has Broken. Then I read Kristen Lamb’s post on something similar so I’ll connect my idea with hers. I like to plug bloggers I admire in my posts. I plan my blogs days in advance, sometimes weeks. My dashboard posts are full of drafts.

That’s awesome. I pat myself on the back if I can have two posts scheduled 😉
Do you have a quote or mantra that is important to you?

Accept.

I like that. Simple and direct and so full of meaning. I know I follow a lot of blogs that differ to mine. What draws you to other blogs?

Blogs I follow are very diverse. I am not a poet but I follow a lot of poets because I find I have much to gain in terms of making my writing richer. Also I find photography inspiring. There are some amazing blogs on gardening and relationships and music. I am very open. Of course, I also follow a lot of blogs on writing.

There are a wealth of blogs on so many different topics out there. You would be spoiled for choice I am sure. In closing, is there anything else that you would like to share?

Yes, I think your post is wonderful. It gives people opportunity to know about other bloggers. Thank you for this.

Thank YOU for taking part and for your kind words. Currently, I am only running this until the end of January but I’m hoping to put another together in a couple of months time. I’m glad you have enjoyed it.

Fellow Blogger – Patty from petitemagique

ImageBefore I begin, I really would like to share my apologies with Patty for not posting this at my usual time. Selfishly, we decided that an extra night at the beach would be great for us! 🙂 All of my other posts had been written and scheduled for the nights we were going to be away but that one extra night we decided to stay threw out my schedule. Sorry.

Tonight, we are speaking with Patty. I met Patty through the Facebook group “Share Your WordPress blogs” set up by the pretty cool and humorous Shauny from Looking For a Reason to a Complicated World. Patty writes poetry and shares photography on her blog petitemagique. Patty shares a little about herself in her post Hardest post for me ever in which she jokingly states that her parents should have kept the receipt when they got her. Patty has medical issues that affect her life in a big way. Patty’s poetry is presented uniquely as it is written within a photo. An example of this is her post Do You Remember my Name? Patty is a brave woman who blogs to save her sanity. (Don’t we all)?

Hi Patty. Welcome to the couch. Sorry about the sand. It gets into everything. Just brush it off and take a seat. It’s so great to meet you and have the opportunity to learn a little more about you. Can you tell me what drew you to blogging?

I have been writing ever since I was a kid. After my big brother died, I started to compose poetry, but I never shared it with anyone. When I was forced to stay at home and recover last year, I decided I wanted to share my writing with the world.

I’m sorry for your loss sweetie. It hurts to lose a brother. It’s a good thing that you found an outlet through writing though. I often say that writing is one of the cheapest forms of therapy around. How long have you been blogging?

I am blogging since March 2013

It will soon be your blogging birthday. How wonderful 😀 Tell me about your writing. Do you have a particular theme for your blog?

My blog is mostly about writing. I share a lot of my own poetry, which is dark poetry for the most part. My poetry is combined with photos or drawing I make and edit. I also share some tutorials about photography from time to time.

I have read a lot of your poetry and enjoyed your words very much. I like your photos also. Have you gained anything from blogging?

Yes! I have met some incredible people through blogging and even some very close friends.

It is certainly true that there are many wonderful people out there. You mentioned the loss of your brother. Are there any other challenges that you have faced that blogging has helped you in dealing with. 🙂

Yes I have. I have severe PTSD and blogging about this has made me understand myself better. I also met some people who are also dealing with this and it has been very good for me to talk to them. It made me grow and accept myself.

To know and accept oneself is a true blessing. I am so pleased you have found that you are not alone in dealing with this. How often do you take the time to blog?

Almost every day.

Wonderful. And where do you find the inspiration for your posts?

Everywhere! All around me, in my past, in my future. In the words of others. Inspiration is not a problem!

So very true. Inspiration is there if our eyes are opened to it. Many people have a quote or mantra that they feel especially drawn to in their lives. Do you have one?

I have two actually: What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, and

Enjoy Life, Stay Yourself And Never Ever Give Up!

Great quotes there. I now have Kelly Clarkson belting out “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” in my head. It’s so funny how I can put music to just about anything… sorry, I digress. Since this is all about you, I should ask my next question shouldn’t I?  Tell me what draws you to other blogs?

The stories behind the people for the most part. I also love to read poetry!

I dabble in poetry just a little too but it’s not always serious. (If you want a giggle you can read my Gorilla Swimming post). lol Okay, we are coming to the end of the questions I have for you and unfortunately our chat will be over. Is there anything else that you would like to share with us all?

Lots of love to you all!

Come here for a big hug (((hug))).

Fellow Blogger – Cricket from Cricket’s Corner of Australia

ImageCricket is a fairly new blogger to me and her blog Cricket’s Corner of Australia is a lot of fun. Cricket’s by-line on her blog is “A Yank’s Adventure in Australia”. During my chats with Cricket prior to this, she mentioned her love of sport and I asked her if she gets lots of questions or jokes about her name here in Australia since one of our national sports is cricket! She said that she did but she takes it in good humour. Cricket also has another blog Cricket’s Road through Wool Projects in which she posts her progress on completing her knitting and crocheting. Her main love is her NFL and this can be seen in her post NFL:49’ers and Green Bay.  Her other passion (apart from her husband) is baseball. You can read more about Cricket in her About Me page.

Hi Cricket. Thanks for stopping by my couch. I hear the weather is extreme right now in your part of Australia. Hope you are coping okay with it. Are you ready to chat about blogging? Tell me, what drew you to begin blogging?

My Husband Pj had an accident 7 years ago this coming August and I needed an outlet to deal with things.

That’s not good. I can understand your desire to have an outlet though. How long have you been blogging?

My whole life, but seriously working the last 3 years, it’s something that has paid off with a lot of hard work

It can be hard work at times but I agree that the benefits outweigh the hardships. Do you have a particular theme for your blog?

My daughter called it Chicken soup for the soul crossed with life experiences.

I like that. It sounds as if you have your daughter’s support with your blogging. That’s very cool. 🙂 Have you gained anything by blogging?

Heaps. New mates. I am writing for 2 sports web sites. One in England and one in the USA. The inspiration to write a book which I will start later in 2014.

“Mates” is such an Aussie word. 🙂 I love that you’ve used it. Yes, mates are good.
Congratulations on your writing as well. That must give you such a great sense of satisfaction.
I know you mentioned your husband’s accident before. How has blogging assisted you in dealing with challenges such as this?

After Pj’s accident I was on my own quite a bit. It was a way of dealing with feeling and frustrations. Learning to really be independent, take care of me. It’s also help with losing friends, finding strength and confidence.

I’m sure your would have found great strength from those online who follow your blog. How often do you find the time to blog?

I have a goal of 2 pieces a day. With 4 blogs going I can usually get that without a problem. Anything after that is a plus.

Wow! That is an effort to be proud of. Good for you. 🙂
Where do you find the inspiration to be so prolific in your writing?

Life experience. Attending Mass. From an event I have attended. I always have writers brain going. I have trouble turning it off at times and just enjoying.

I do feel your pain on that one. That’s why I always have my phone or a notebook and pen with me 😉
Now to my favourite question – do you have a particular quote or mantra that you believe is perfect for your life?

Gary taught me when I get up to enjoy the sunrise. God will only give you what you need to handle for the day. Make the choice what needs your attention and what is a time waster. When the sun goes down you can’t do anything else. It’s time to take care of you and recharge your battery’s for another day. Just take care of you.

I like the concept of letting go of the day when the sun goes down. That is such a profound thought. Thank you. Not sure if you find the time to read other blogs with all your writing, however what draws you to other blogs?

Similar interest. Knitting or Crocheting. Sports (mainly baseball and gridiron.)

I think I have a couple of followers here that have the same interests as you. I hope you find each other. Before we close, is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

I love what I am doing. Living the dream. I always knew I would be a writer but now, I am actually doing it. I know my stuff is getting read and that is great. Right?

Right!!
Thanks so much for chatting with me Cricket! I’ve loved getting to know you a little better.

Fellow Blogger – Vera from Ilghepardo

ImageVera writes as ilghepardo. Il Gherphardo is Italian for Cheetah and a photo of a cheetah adorns the front page of Vera’s blog. She is a a well educated and well travelled woman. Her About page includes extensive information about her life and her writings. Vera’s posts are accompanied by lovely, vibrant photographs such as the ones in the post Winter weeds and sticks and Il Cafe. She provides an index to her posts at the side of her blog in order to find what you are looking for more quickly. Please hop on over and check out Vera’s blog.

Hi Vera. It’s nice of you to join me this evening to discuss blogging. What drew you to begin blogging?

I don’t know exactly. The novelty of it I guess, novelty to me, that is. And I very much like to write : this is a chance to write. FYI: I write in American English, an acquired language for me.

As long as you are enjoying the process. How long have you been blogging?

Since the 24th of March, 2012

A little over 18 months then. I have noticed quite a lot of content on your site. Do you have any particular theme that you write about?

No theme. I write or show what comes to my mind. I am too restless : a theme would bore me. Too many things interest me to be restricted by any one single subject.

I guess having a theme would restrict you somewhat. Do you think you have gained anything by blogging?

Lots of fun from seeing how people react to what I post. Lots of fun writing. And I also found a few new friends. But blogging for me is essentially a self-centered activity.

I guess there is a certain amount of enjoyment in the reactions and comments of others. Many of those who follow my blog, blog  to assist in coping with challenges in their lives. Do you have any challenges that blogging has helped you with?

I live in my daughter’s house but I am essentially alone. Blogging has given me a new activity where learning – always interesting – was involved to begin with, and where friends were found eventually.

I think that finding people you can connect with through your writing is something worthwhile. I am pleased you have been able to achieve this. How often do you blog?

It depends on my mood. If good, even two or three times in a day. But when I am running low, as now in Winter, I may go several days without posting anything. I feel under no obligation to do “a schedule” since I dislike schedules as much as repetitive things like themes.

I guess the great thing about a blog is that it is something we create our own paremeters for. Where do you find the inspiration for your blog posts?

In my own head mostly. Ideas flow into my mind generally very early in the morning before I fully wake up, or as I fall asleep. A window opens then into other realities. In nature often. In my pets, past and present. In objects sometimes. In photos on other blogs. In memories. In things I wrote years ago. In what I read, at times.

I am finding  a pattern in these interviews of where inspiration strikes. There are many out there who gain inspiration early in the morning or when they are in nature. I guess there is inspiration all around us every day when we take the time to look for it. Many others find inspiration from quotes or mantras. Do you have one quote that you find inspires you right now?

Yes. I have a few, but this is my motto now: “I’ll mature when I am dead”. As age advances it becomes more and more appropriate.

That is a priceless quote. I like it very much. Apart from writing, I assume you read the blogs of others. What draws you to other blogs?

Variety, spontaneity, vivacity, sincerity, interesting photography, good writing style. I do not follow preachy and goody-goody blogs, those that want to tell me how to improve my life, and I don’t follow fashionista blogs either !

The majority of bloggers are very sincere. I’m sure you would find many blogs that you enjoy. In closing, is there anything else that you would like to share?

Not really. I do not consider my blog an open-mike confessional. There are things that are private, and must remain untouched by others. I enjoy blogging in and of itself. Anybody that has the patience to follow my blog and also read some of the older posts will get to know me fairly well. Does it surprise you that in this list of questions I did not learn anything that I did not already know about myself ?

I think that is a sign of someone who is comfortable within themselves. Thanks so much for participating in this series Vera. I appreciate the time you have taken to speak with me.

Fellow Blogger – Val from Find Your Middle Ground

ImageThis evening, I am introducing Val Boyko who writes as Find Your Middle Ground. Val is a Scot living near Philadelphia. She is a yogi and life coach and utilises her experience in both of these fields in writing her blog. I love the photos that Val chooses for her posts – particularly the photo on the post Do you Want Things to Change about changing perspective. Val discusses the Practice of Being Present (not perfect) and Beginning to Find your Middle Ground. Her blog is a wealth of information and tranquility and is perfect for those of us looking to find our way in this scary world.

Hi Val. Welcome to the couch this evening. I’m looking forward to getting to know you a little better. Can you tell me what drew you to blogging?

Great question – I’m not a writer, poet, photographer or creative spirit … but I am drawn to share my experience and knowledge with others. Blogging gives me a voice. Or rather, it has helped me find my voice and get clear about my thoughts! Its also a place where I can share some of the insights and tools that have helped me in my own life and as a career and leadership coach and yoga teacher. I’m drawn to communicating and helping others.

Many of us blame the internet for so many things however we can thank it for giving us the opportunity of sharing with others. That truly is a blessing. How long have you been blogging?

I started my first blog www.motherwhisperers.com back in 2010. I created it to help daughters find peace in their relationships with their mothers. It was an important part of my own journey in my relationship with my narcissist Mum! After 2 years I felt I had travelled the road and really found peace of mind. I accept her for the way she is and have let go of the pains from the past. I wouldn’t be who I am if it wasn’t for her that’s for sure!Anyway, that blog is retired, but is still there with posts, resources and links to help other daughters and mothers who have difficulties. My current blog www.FindYourMiddleGround came into being in October 2013.

So you are fairly new to the Word Press family. Welcome 🙂 Does your blog have a particular theme that you write about?

Find Your Middle Ground is about finding peace in the ups and downs of life.
One day I was thinking about what I do as a coach, and how I could upgrade my coaching website. I realised I love to help people come to a place where they can get to know themselves, find peace, get clear and be inspired to do whatever feeds their soul. The next morning I woke up with these words so clear in my mind I never forgot them:“Life is a series of highs and lows. Be grateful for the highs. Be graceful in the lows. And find contentment in the middle ground.”
As I wrote them down, I wondered if the domain name had been taken … and it was available. So I registered it and then saw a great deal on wordpress … which meant that it would be a blog! It was so clear that this was the space to explore where coaching and yoga come together and for me to find my new voice.  It has been so easy, I knew it was meant to be!

As George Peppard would say (in the A-Team) “I love it when a plan comes together”. All things conspired to be in alignment on that day then. I guess as a life coach, you would have many tools at your disposal to deal with issues in your life. Do you believe that you have gained anything from blogging?

Blogging is so inspiring and is transformational for me. Not only do I get to share the awesome ideas and things I come across, but it connects me with other bloggers who are expressing themselves…. Often a lot better than I ever could. 🙂  Its like being connected to a bigger infinite world! Its also has the benefits of journaling – working through things, dealing with difficult issues, relationships and internal struggles. Its about self expression and connection – which I see as fundamental needs in all of us!

I agree wholeheartedly with this. 🙂 So many of us face challenges in our lives. I believe that blogging is a great way for many of us to deal with these things. Do you find that blogging has helped you in dealing with challenges in your own life?

This is such a good question – it really gets to the core of why we do it doesn’t it? Of course, it has been huge in resolving my mother relationship. It has helped me to be an observer of my self and let go of judgement. It has helped me accept myself and feel good about what I have to say. It has healed childhood wounds and opened up a part of me that was suppressed for many years. It has allowed me to be forgiving and compassionate. It encourages me to be open and curious and to keep learning. It is the vehicle where I can be myself and find myself.

I think your last sentence is the biggest thing here. Being ourselves and finding the real us is so important to lasting contentment. Thanks for the reminder to me this evening.  How often do you take the opportunity to blog?

I post every couple of days….. although I have so many thoughts brewing at one time, I could do lots more! I admire people who post a lot and those who take their time. I’m finding my own way here.

It’s difficult to find the balance between how often you should post sometimes. Like you, I am finding my way in that regard. And where do you find the inspiration for all these thoughts brewing in your mind?

Everywhere! Other blogs, the internet and life. Ideas pop up within me … usually around 5am!

You too? What is it with these early morning starts?? lol
Now to my favourite question of all – quotes or mantras! Do you have one that you find is perfect for your life right now?

To paraphrase Gandhi “Be the change you wish to see in the world” … and of course my own phrase has become an inspiration to me (shucks) – I’m a Middle Ground role model and guide after all!! LOL

Finding your middle ground is certainly an interesting concept and one well worth exploring.
No doubt you have trawled through blog land and found many wonderful sites. What draws you to blogs and their posters?

Photos that catch my eye. Reflections and thoughts. New perspectives. People being themselves. (That would be exactly what attracted me to you Sue!)

😳 Thank you for the kind words Val. They are truly appreciated. Is there anything else that you would like to share before we vacate the couch this evening?

Thank you Sue for letting me share and grow here! I love how you write the interviews on your blog. Its so welcoming and easy to read, and a treat to get to know other bloggers. …. Now take a deep breath in and let out a long sigh. Come here are get a big hug!

(((hugs))) Thank you. How did you know that is exactly what I need right now? It’s been wonderful having you Val.

Fellow Blogger – Me – Who am I?

ImageTake Two….. 😀

Today I want to introduce another special lady to you. Mewhoami is a great online friend. She is someone I know will always support and encourage me. I love reading her posts that are a mixture of observation and personal experiences. This lady has a son with a disability however refuses to treat him any differently to her other children and never gives up on him – even when others have. I had this post all written out last night and then lost it. I think the universe wanted me to give up last night because this morning I read the most amazing post from mewhoami about her son What is Success? She paints a realistic picture of parenting a child with autism. Of course she can write about the funny times as well When Eye Contact Goes Awry. Mewhoami writes anonymously and explains some of her reasoning for this in her post Spying Eyes. I also love that she observes life and writes social commentary. You can find examples of this in the posts Who’s the Boss? and Sexy Teachers?

Welcome my friend to the couch. I’m so pleased to have you here to chat about blogging. I am asking everyone (and you are no exception) what drew them to blogging in the first place.

I had gotten to a point where I felt lost; questioning life, who I was and who I want to be. Initially, I started blogging in an effort to learn myself better and to share with others what I learn along the way. Also, I felt that blogging would be a fun way to open up to others, as I tend to keep most of my thoughts to myself.

I don’t think you are the only person out there who began blogging for those reasons. I think that there are so many people out there who know more about my mind and thought processes than those who are closest to me do.
So how long have you been blogging?

I began my first blog about 4 years ago, but the site I was using was rather boring, because there was no community involvement. So I didn’t keep up with it for too long. As for WP, I’ve been blogging for one year as of yesterday.  (that would have been Jan 8 – Suz).

I think the community involvement is the big factor here. It is what keeps those who blog motivated and inspired. It’s sort of like an extended family if you like. I’ve already commented on the type of posts you do in my intro however does your blog have any particular theme?

If I were to have a theme it would be based off my tagline, “Life – How it changes you. Where you go. Who you become.” Since that theme includes a range of topics, I write about anything that inspires me.

I’m sure you would have no shortage of writing materials with that theme. I’m wondering though if you feel you have gained anything by blogging?

The experience has been very therapeutic and most of all, highly enjoyable. I’ve met a lot of wonderful people from across the world, with stories and lives similar to my own and others who have inspired me to be a better person. The community makes blogging so much more alive.

I agree. 🙂 Apart from the obvious challenge of trying to stay two steps ahead of your children, are there any challenges that you feel blogging has assisted you in dealing with?

Although I am around people constantly in the physical sense, mentally I am often alone. That is of my own choosing. There are less than a handful of people I trust enough to talk to and no single person, do I tell everything. However, I’ve learned that in order for me to grow and learn, I must be able to share my thoughts with others and gain their insight. Blogging has been very therapeutic and has opened my eyes to many perspectives that I would have never known otherwise.

There are so many differing personalities and experiences behind those who blog that I can understand why your eyes become opened and you have gained a greater perspective on issues. How often do you find the time to blog?

I try to blog every day Monday through Friday. Weekends are very hectic. So, if you ever notice that I’m off the radar on the weekends, just know that I’m running around like a chicken with its head cut off.

Too funny. My mum used to say that all the time 😀 (the chicken thing lol) Where do you find the inspiration for your posts?

My inspiration comes mostly from conversations I have with others, people I see throughout the day, my son and my own personal experiences. Occasionally, I toss in a short fiction story to test the waters, as I’ve always loved the idea of writing a book.

Go with your dream. I believe many of those who follow my blog also love to write.
I love asking this next question, because I am a quote collector at heart. Do you have any quotes or mantras that you feel suit your life right now?

I have two. The first is, “A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” The second is, “Time is a companion who reminds us to cherish every moment because it will never come again.”

I have that first quote by Lao Tzu in a poster on the wall beside me. It’s excellent. I love your second quote also.
I often see you pop up in the comments on other blogs so I was wondering what it is that draws you to other blogs?

Honesty and openness draw me in immediately. I highly respect a person who is brave enough to reveal themselves to the world. Humour also attracts me. There’s nothing like a good laugh, especially first thing in the morning over a cup of coffee.

Humour is always good – not so good if you’ve got a mouthful of tea though!! 😉
I’ve loved chatting with you and learning more about you. Do you have anything else that you would like to share?

I would like to express my sincere gratitude to all those who read, follow and comment on my blog. There are not words to describe how much it means to me, that someone takes time out of their day to read my words. Thank you. Also, a special thanks to you, Sue, for giving me this wonderful opportunity to join in on your Fellow Blogger Series.

It has been an absolute pleasure to do this with you. 🙂

Fellow Blogger – April from Finding Beauty in Spite of Myself

ImageTonight, I am introducing you to another wonderful human being who I am blessed to call my online blogging friend. April (momof3isnuts) shares her life on the blog Finding Beauty in Spite of Myself. April has the amazing ability to look at her life and laugh some days. On other days she wants to cry. But that is the nature of the beast when you have a mental illness and you are a cancer survivor. On her About page, April describes herself as an empty-nester however her recent post The Vampires in the Basement lets you know that she has at least one of her kids back home right now. April writes honestly about her depression and many of her blog posts reflect this. She allows us inside her mind and shares her struggles. She shares her grief at losing siblings and this is reflected in her post Forever Young. April is a survivor who believes that beauty can be found all around us if we look.

Welcome to the couch my friend. I am so pleased that you accepted my invitation to join me. (Maybe one day we can do it for real). I want to talk about your blogging adventure. What drew you to start your blog?

First of all, I want to thank you for talking with me today.

Survival is what drew me to blogging. To make it short, or maybe not so short, it all started with a move from the western United States to the southern United States. After being a resident of the Pacific Northwest for about 47 years, we uprooted, due to a job promotion for my husband. Starting all over in a foreign state, among an unfamiliar culture, was not easy. After the move, a series of events occurred which created a lot of angst.

Through writing, I have been able to sort through some of the thoughts I have rolling around my head. I never expected anybody to read what I stumble through, except my family.

I’m glad your expectations were exceeded in that respect. There are many of us who love what you write. How long have you been blogging?

Since June 2011

That’s quite a while now. What do you blog about mostly? Does your blog have a theme?

Oh my. Actually, it does have a theme, and that is to record what I find beautiful, funny, or inspiring.

After the loss of my sister this past March, and another severe experience with depression, my posts changed a bit—well, quite a bit.

Just as lung cancer has a stigma attached to it – I smoked, therefore I deserve it type of thinking – depression also has a stigma attached to it.

I believe that more of us need to discuss what it is like inside the mind of a depressed person. A lot of us hold down jobs, become mothers, fathers—live just like everybody else, but we struggle more to keep it together. We are not like the sensational news stories which only discuss the untreated. I believe that we need a world-wide effort to learn more about depression, and how it is treated. Many don’t know where to turn, or are ashamed to seek help. Many find suicide, self-harm, alcohol, or street drugs as an answer to the torture in their minds.

So I change what I blog about depending upon what’s on my mind. Is there a theme? I’m not so sure any more.

That is quite a lot you have been through in the past couple of years. It must have really coloured your view on life. Have you found that you have gained anything by blogging?

Other than the new WordPress friends, I have found my true self. I don’t sugar coat anything I say, or write. While I still take a moment each day to find something beautiful, I found that sometimes life has to be faced head on. No avoiding what I don’t want to feel.

Wow! That is wonderful. I am truly blessed by you. I know you have shared some of the speedbumps in your life already, but have you found that blogging has assisted you in dealing with challenges?

A year and a half after the major move, we lost my mom’s step-dad, my mom’s mom, my dad, and my brother—all within a three month time frame. My older two kids left the nest shortly after that. I grieved, as expected, but I made a point of taking a moment each day to find something beautiful. It helped me through the grief.

In 2011, after some measly health problems, a small nodule was accidentally found on my left lung. Turned out to be cancerous, but the doctors have told me I’m one of the “lucky” ones. Apparently, I was cured by surgery.

I didn’t know it at the time, but that is when my grief turned to depression. I believed that I could think away the depression. Finding something beautiful had worked before; I had to try it again. So, with the encouragement, and tutoring of my daughter, I started blogging to record what I found beautiful. When I felt bad, I could go back and read what I had found to lift me back up.

Blogging kind of distracted me, but I was overwhelmed with anxiety over my health. I find some of my earlier ramblings a bit funny and naïve. While I believe that grief can be managed by thought processes, depression can’t—at least in my experience.

I honestly believe that writing is a wonderful way to deal with many things. I’m pleased it has helped you.
How often do you take the opportunity to blog?

Oh. There are times I blog daily. Then I let my insecurities take over and don’t blog for a while.

And where do you find the inspiration for your blog posts?

Everywhere. More times than not, it is usually the first thought I have when I wake up.

That’s just a strange coincidence right there…. I often wake up with a blog post in mind myself 😉 I am asking everyone this question and now it’s your turn…. do you have any particular quotes or mantras that you feel suit your life?

Finish each day and be done with it. You have done what you could. Some blunders and absurdities no doubt crept in; forget them as soon as you can. Tomorrow is a new day; begin it well and serenely and with too high a spirit to be encumbered with your old nonsense. – Ralph Waldo Emerson

I have many others, but that is probably my number one

That is true enough. We can’t keep moving forward if we keep on looking back over our shoulders.
I know you are a reader of other blogs. What draws you to these blogs?

More times than not, humor. (I see that my spell-check is trying to tell me my spelling of humor, the Americanized way, is incorrect—same with Americanized) haha! I’m easily amused.

I love to read things that create new ideas, and show me different ways to look at something. I also like finding I’m not alone.

My most favorite, are blogs from other countries, especially when photographs are included. It’s like taking a vacation without the terror of flying through the air in a tin tube—over oceans, and mountains, and deserts.

I know you’ve mentioned your fear of tin tubes with wings to me before 😀 I also love looking at the photos of others however it makes me want to get into one of the tin tubes and go and see it in real life lol
Time is running out again and we must get back to real life. In parting, do you wish to share anything else?

Hrm. There are a lot of writers out there, something I’m not, and I feel a bit intimidated. Blogging has encouraged me to move outside of my comfort zone. Through blogging I believe I have grown up a lot—now I just need to figure out what I want to do.

You don’t ever need to feel intimidated April whilst you write from the heart. 🙂
Thank you for visiting with us tonight and sharing your life.

Fellow Blogger – Don Charisma

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I am having the best fun doing these Fellow Blogger posts. In the fifteen days I have been running this series, I have shared many fellow bloggers with you. Some of these bloggers I have known since the beginning of my blogging and some are relative newcomers to my corner of the blog world. However, each is wonderful in their own way. This week, I have been enjoying featuring some of my closest blogging friends and tonight is no exception. I am pleased to count this man amongst that group. His support and friendship has meant a lot to me.
Tonight, I introduce to you Don Charisma. For those of you who don’t know Don, he is a British expat living in Thailand who loves using his iPhone to take photos. He once went to a place he nicknamed Big Buddha Hill and took almost 300 photos. You can find his gallery of these photos in the post Big Buddha Hill – The Final Gallery. He recently ran a series of posts entitled Whose Blog is it Anyway where several bloggers (including myself) were invited to write on a topic. This was a lot of fun to do and plans are under way for WBIIA2 right now. Don has built his blog up to having almost 10, 000 followers and believes that anything is possible with Charisma 🙂

Welcome my friend. Pull up a pew on the couch. I hope you’re ready for a few questions. 🙂 Let’s talk about blogging. What drew you to blogging?

One of my bubbles burst as they do in life, and it was the next logical step.

So the decision was made for you by circumstances then? How long have you had your blog?

I started in July-2013, although I had quite a lot of experience with web sites prior.

Another candidate for the July/August club!! That’s just too funny. I guess your prior experience would have helped in your blogging as it can be so confusing at first.
Does your blog have any particular theme?

MY guiding principles are strength, persistence and using my brain creatively for positivity. Some call it Charisma, that’s my blog’s guiding theme.

I have always found your blog to be a lot of fun and a place to enjoy the scenery. 🙂 Do you believe you have gained anything by blogging?

I’ve met a lot of friends here on WordPress, that’s mainly why I blog, the 99.9% of cool friendly people.

I have heard the same thing from so many people. WordPress appears to be a gathering place for wonderful souls. I also believe that the sense of community helps those of us who are going through tough times. Has blogging assisted you in dealing with any of life’s hiccups?

I think blogging can help to improve one’s life in all areas, if one’s happy doing it. Happiness feeds into everything we are.

I love your very philosophical answer. Happiness is an important aspect of life that’s for sure. How often do you find yourself blogging?

Anywhere from every few days, up to the busiest which was 21 posts in one day.

That’s a lot of posts! 🙂 I think I remember them. With so many posts, it must be difficult to find constant inspiration. Where do you manage to find that?

A lot of it comes from inside, get the creative forces flowing and I can achieve almost anything. Other charismatic people around me can act as a catalyst.

I agree. Many of us inspire each other.  Some of us have quotes or mantras that also inspire us. Do you have a quote or mantra that you would like to share?

Would be my first ever post on my blog which is a Quote from Tarentino’s Kill Bill vol.2 “It’s the wood that should fear your hand, not the other way around. No wonder you can’t do it, you acquiesce to defeat before you even begin.” Pai Mei http://doncharisma.org/2013/07/01/doncharisma-strength/ To me this encompasses strength, persistence and creatively positive thinking. Foundation principles of Charisma.

That is not a quote I believe I’ve heard but then I’ve never watched the movie. I also agree that positive thinking is important. Although you spend so much time on your own blog, I know that you also visit other blogs. What is it about other blogs that draws you to them?

The bloggers themselves, finding the cool ones makes me happy.

There is certainly an abundance of them out there, that’s for sure.
Well our time is running out. It’s been wonderful chatting with you. In closing, do you have anything further you would like to add?

I think that’s it Suz.
Thanks for having me and thank you for being my friend, it does mean a lot to me.
You are so very welcome. 🙂 Thanks so much for your support also 🙂