Saturday, January 9, 2016

Nine Reasons Everyone Should Write a Blog

This morning, as I laid in bed trying to go back to sleep, I thought about blogging. Actually, I think about blogging a lot! :) Thus, I decided to write a blog post listing my reasons I think everyone should create and maintain their own blog. My reasons are in no particular order, so one reason isn't more important than another. Here we go!
  1. Blogging is therapeutic. Over the years, I've read multiple articles that all say the same thing: there is immense value in writing about our lives. Whatever life issues we may have truly diminish as we write down our feelings.
  2. Blogging makes me happy, thus, I think blogging will make everyone happy! :) It's true. I legitimately feel better when I'm blogging. If I ever feel not at my best, i.e., cranky, sad, frustrated, etc., I realize I haven't blogged in a long while—refer back to point one. :)
  3. Blogging stimulates the creative side of our brains. I honestly believe creativity is vital in keeping our brains healthy. :) Even if someone doesn't like writing, per se, they could still have a blog about art, or cooking, or sewing, or home improvement projects, or photography. A blog with photos and a brief description is so easy to create, and there isn't much writing required. :)
  4. Blogging is a window to our souls. We can tell a lot about a person through their consistent writing. It really is so much fun to "get inside" someone else's head—well, to the point that someone is willing to share!
  5. Blogging creates understanding, which may lead to unity. Each of us have unique life experiences. No one is a clone of anyone else—not even identical twins. Even if we are involved in the same life situation, each of us has a different perspective of what did or didn't happen. Thus, it really is so good to share our thoughts and feelings with others. Think of blogging like a town hall meeting where we can freely and safely present our thoughts to others without fear of retaliation. *Of course, that depends on the good social etiquette of others. There are many blog commenters in the world who aren't supportive and can be downright mean and ugly with their words. I hope everyone chooses to be uplifting in their comments, or remain silent!
  6. Blogging tells our stories best! There are many ways to express ourselves with the various social media outlets, but I truly believe blogging does the best job of telling our stories. Yes, there are people who aren't wordy and may like Twitter better, but even Twitter just extended their character limits to 10,000. Yet for those of us who are more wordy, Twitter probably still doesn't have enough space! Ha ha. Instagram is so lovely for photos and users can leave a description, but I feel everyone's stories still get somewhat lost on Instagram. Plus, even though we can view Instagram on any device, users can only create content from cell phones, which is definitely limiting. Now onto Facebook...well, don't even get me started! Ha ha. If you'd like to know my position about FB, feel free to read my posts, "My Facebook Experiment," "Unfriending vs. Unfollowing" and "Farewell, Facebook!" Google+ is okay, but I honestly don't really use it for anything other than sharing my blog links and keeping my name searchable in Google—see reason eight for clarification. Pinterest is okay, but it only shares what a user is interested in through a link to a website or blog! Again, users have to create their content if they want someone to really know what they're about. In fact, I mostly share my blog's content on Pinterest and Instagram! I'm not on Reddit, Snapchat, Twitch, LinkedIn, or any of the other social media sites I've never heard of. Ha ha. Yes, I'm sticking with blogging!
  7. Blogs can be viewed without others having to sign up with an account of their own. This is very helpful for anyone who doesn't want to have a large social media presence. People can happily view blogs without the pain of having to sign up with their own account—unlike other social media websites. *Granted, this only applies to public blogs. If someone has a private blog, they must invite their desired readers to create an account with their blog hosting service. Chances are, if someone we care about wants to invite us into their world, I'm certain we'd be willing to create an account—I know I would. :)
  8. Blogging helps eliminate public confusion as to who we are. There are many websites based on "public records" that claim to have all the information anyone would ever desire. After searching for myself over the years, I still can't believe the gross inaccuracies available on multiple websites. Those ridiculous websites created off of public real estate records, credit information and generic mailing lists (that are totally outdated), aren't helpful to anyone! Professionals who want to keep their name in the positive areas of the internet should most definitely write their own blog. We must own our names! Don't allow anyone else to define your name or your values! Sorry if it seems like I'm "screaming," I'm really not. I'm just very passionate about keeping the internet honest!
  9. Blogging helps create our legacy. No one likes to talk about dying and death, but the fact is, we will all die one day. I have many loved ones who have passed on that I would love to know more about. I cherish the writings of my little sister and dearly wish she had written more! I think there is nothing better than to have a place to go remember our loved ones—which is why cemeteries are not scary places to me, they're sacred. *Having a blog to go "visit" our departed loved ones is a gift I wish more of my extended family members would participate in. Hey, I would love it if everyone wrote books because I love paper so very much(!), but publishing a book is expensive! Thus, writing a blog on a free web service is amazing and awesome! No offense meant to anyone, but why isn't everyone blogging for free to leave their legacy?! Um, that totally rhymed and I didn't even mean to! Ha ha.
Now, I'd like to share my opinion as to why Blogger is the best blogging platform. *To clarify, no one has asked me to write this, and no one is paying me to promote my buddy, Blogger!

Before I created Enthusiastic Fantastic I researched Wordpress. I have nothing against Wordpress and I have many friends who use (or have used) Wordpress—it's a perfectly nice place to share your life on the www. Yet after studying Wordpress for a few hours, I realized I simply like the features of Blogger better. In fact, I used Blogger for my Adrie World blog for five years and thoroughly enjoyed it.

The best news about Blogger came in 2015: Google, who owns Blogger, began hosting individual domain names again! Thus, I instantly dropped GoDaddy and switched to Google as my host of Enthusiastic Fantastic! There was nothing wrong with GoDaddy, they were perfectly fine, and kind, and all those good things. I just like the convenience of having my blog easily connected to my domain name—I went through quite an extensive amount of researching hours to connect my Blogger blog to GoDaddy. Plus, Google is cheap! My website is good to go until like 2020! :)

That said, Blogger allows anyone to create a blog for free through their address. I began Enthusiastic Fantastic with a address and changed to my own web address only one year and three months ago. Setting up a blog on Blogger is seriously so easy and they have all sorts of forums to help with questions. Granted, creating a blog takes time, but anything worth doing takes time!!

I also really like the fact that Blogger is connected directly to Google (It's right inside Google! Yeah yeah!), which is helpful if you're trying to get your blog noticed. My blog hasn't really taken off, and I'm okay with that. I don't know if my blog will ever take off in the sense that I could make a lot of money at it, and I'm okay with that. I just love blogging, so it doesn't matter if I'm noticed, or not. :)

A few weeks ago, I repeatedly thought, "Should I quit my blog? I spend so much precious time and energy blogging, but is it really worth my efforts?" I've had those feelings before—read "I Shall Continue!" to know more. Thus, I found it utterly hilarious when I awoke one morning to a bird literally tapping on my window. I was like, "That darn bird woke me up! And on a Saturday when I could have been sleeping in!!!" I was so sleepily annoyed, you have no idea! ;)

Because I was already awake, I laid there, wondering. I debated with myself again about quitting my blog. Yet after rolling over, I checked my email and saw I had gained another couple followers on my Google+ account. (Thank you friends, you know who you are!) In that moment, I instantly knew that my answer was no, I should most definitely not quit blogging...I know because a little birdy told me so! Ha ha. I rolled back over and saw that my husband was awake. I told Greg about what happened and he thoroughly agreed with me! Yay! :)

Lastly, this is my happy motto for everyone: "Choose To Write!" It's a play on words of one of my church's favorite themes: Choose the Right. :) I think of my motto often and take notes whenever I'm inspired with a new blog topic—I hope you'll do the same!

Yes, I'm telling the world: that little bird wants you to blog, too! Thus, go forth with greatness and write your story!

P.S. I just realized I wrote and published my "nine reasons" on the ninth of January! I so did not plan this! :)

Saturday, January 2, 2016

I Bid You Adieu, 2015!

In years past, I've been utterly happy to say "Goodbye!" to bad years, but 2015 is different. 2015 was a pretty good year for my little family and me. Yes, we had our challenges, but in comparison to other years, 2015 felt really good! :) I'm so very grateful for having had two-and-a-half good years in a row—my heart is so happy!

When I really stop and think about it, I'm almost in disbelief that we've lived in our lovely 70s house for two years, six months and 18 days! Yes, I'm the dorkiest because I still count how many days we've lived here! In my defense, this is literally the longest I've lived in one place consistently, at one time, since I've been married (remember, we lived here from 2008-2010, too). Our happy anniversary is truly cause for celebration!

Yesterday morning, I enjoyed looking back on my smart phone's calendar. Reminiscing about everything I did in 2015 was a lot of fun! Here are some of my calendar items from 2015—not everything I've listed here was actually scheduled on my phone, but I remember those items, too!
  • exercise dates with myself (Yes, I schedule every exercise day to keep myself on track and accountable! And I totally rescheduled my exercising times if something truly urgent came up, but that wasn't very often.)
  • soccer and basketball games for my boys
  • extended family parties
  • teaching piano lessons seven times per week
  • movie nights
  • church—including: the three-hour Sunday block; Young Women activities/meetings/lessons; and choir practices
  • daily driving my kids to/from school
  • breakfast/brunch/lunch/dinner dates with friends and family
  • all kinds of shopping
  • praying and fasting for others in need
  • babysitting children of family and friends
  • paying bills
  • attending musicals and plays
  • blogging (!)
  • Instagramming (I enjoy every bit of that fun app! Well, except for the occasional inappropriate photo—I completely despise those!)
  • parent–teacher conferences
  • date nights with my husband
  • housework and home improvements
  • get-togethers with friends
  • reading and researching
  • being a "single mom" while my husband traveled for work...
Speaking of my husband traveling... 2015 was filled with my husband's work travels! Now that this difficult year of my husband traveling is over (Hopefully, we won't have a repeat in 2016!), I must say that it was really hard having my beloved Gregor gone for eight weeks last year! Thankfully, the weeks he traveled for business weren't all right in a row, but there were a few consecutive weeks when we were in each other's company only other every-other week! It was rough.

Experiencing such extended time apart from Greg really reminded me of what single mothers go through—I experienced that in 2008 for three months when Greg was working in Utah, and I was living in CO with our three children, waiting for our house to sell. My heart truly aches for single mothers and their difficult situations. Granted, I know some single mothers have set up their lives that way on purpose—they don't want to be in a relationship. But for me, living without Greg when he's traveling is not something I enjoy! I would not be a good single mother! Of course, I could be a single mother if I absolutely had no other choice, but single motherhood is most definitely not something I would ever choose. Ever!

If I remember right, I believe it was after the third week Greg traveled for work that I felt like I was really getting the hang of being a "single mother." I realized how vitally important it was for me to get enough sleep every night. If I didn't get a good night of sleep, the rest of my day was shot!

I was also pretty diligent at getting my schedule going and sticking to it...which if you know me well, you know that I extremely dislike being scheduled! I LOVE being random! I love waking up and just seeing where the day takes me! I love surprising myself and others with what I choose to do with my days! Thus, when I have to be scheduled and stick to time-frames that are the furthest thing from my natural tendencies, well, let me assure you, it is a struggle for my free-bird random soul! :) 

That said, I must state how pleased I am that I was able to conquer my annoyances with schedules! Ha ha. I love that I really did what needed to be done! "Yay me!" Did I do it all perfectly when Greg was working in Texas, or Tennessee, or Arizona, or Ohio? Goodness, no! I wasn't perfect, but I did my best and that is something that will make me smile forever! :)

The two benefits of Greg's extended travels were this:
  1. I had to make only my side of the bed! Ha ha.
  2. Greg and I appreciated each other so much more when he returned home!
Oh, how Greg's and my love blossomed this past year because of being forced to spend so much time apart from each other! If you're a regular reader of my blog, you know that Greg and I have a truly great love for each other—our marriage is as solid as durable as indestructible as a diamond! Thus, the fact that our relationship became even stronger—even when we had to be apart for so many weeks—well, it makes me unbelievably happy and grateful for what we've been able to accomplish. :)

All of that said, I do not want a repeat of 2015 in the work-travel department! I want to see my husband in his comfy-cozy clothes, working at his basement desk for hours on end! :) I want to eat lunch with him every day! I want to be able to hear his savvy business sense as he talks with his employees and clients on the phone. I want to give Greg a kiss anytime my heart desires it! (If you can't tell, for much of my life, I feel like I live in a really awesome romantic movie! Ha ha.)

It's worth mentioning that what used to be a simmering frustration when I had to be quiet for Greg's daily conference calls has turned into gratitude that my husband has a job he can do successfully from the comfort of our disco dandy 70s home! Yes, I learned a lot in 2015!

Here is my favorite photo of Greg and me from our lovely 2015 Christmas season. We took the photo at my darling mom's house the day of our extended family Christmas party.

Oh, how I love this glorious man of mine! I'm so grateful I have Greg for eternity!

I'd like to thank 2015 for all of the wonderful lessons I learned while in its care. I will fondly remember 2015 forever! And now, I bid you adieu, 2015—may 2016 be as good to my family as you were! :)

P.S. Just as a reminder: while I would truly love to share updated photos of my three beautiful children here on Enthusiastic Fantastic (My children mean everything to me!), I purposely don't post any on my blog for safety's sake. I know the majority of humanity is good, but I'm a mama who wants to keep her babies safe from the dangerous weirdos of our world! (The one photo I've shared of my children in my "Paramount Parents" post is from eight years ago, so I think I'm okay sharing that one.)