Jennifer’s Journal is Turning Three

Birthday Cupcake

Happy Birthday to my little blog!

Actually, my blog will turn three years old on New Year’s Eve, but I thought I’d get a jump on marking the occasion with  questions and answers about my experience as a blogger.

1. Did you think you’d still be blogging after three years?

I didn’t think about it in the beginning. I only knew I was willing to see where it would take me.

2. Can you describe your blogging experience in one word?

Rewarding! This post tells why.

3. How has your blog changed from the time you started until now?

At first its purpose was to practise more writing of poetry and short prose to better prepare myself for the discipline of novel-writing. But my posts broadened quickly to include photography, still in keeping with my blog’s central theme of sharing what I love.

4. Are you a better writer three years later?

I believe I am. I think my ability has been honed, while my curiosity about everything has expanded tenfold. Writing a couple of novels definitely helped too. I hope my research and editing skills have improved as well.

5. What do you dislike most about blogging?

I keep wishing I could meet some of the wonderful people I’ve found here on WordPress. Or at least hear their voices. Come on, everyone, let’s vlog! (video-blog) :)

6. What do you love most about blogging?

It’s hard to choose only one thing, but I love to create something that readers can identify with and moves them to share their comments. Posting photos that others like as much as I do is gratifying too.

7. What advice would you give to someone starting a blog today?

Commit to a schedule and blog regularly. Be consistent and be yourself; in other words don’t try to be everything to all people. Don’t choose a theme with a white text on a dark background, or too many bells and whistles. Most people find it hard to read those kinds, including me.

8. What has surprised you the most?

Connecting with people who are like-minded, as well as those who have different interests and opinions. Besides it being an education, it is a great way to cultivate an open mind and form new friendships – even if they are the virtual kind.

9. What have you learned about blogging?

Most people are visual creatures. An image catches my eye and invites me to read in a way a block of text alone can’t. The writing still has to be engaging, of course.

10. Who was your first follower?

Carla from Seasons Change and So Do I. We started our blogs on the same day and we still follow each other. We’ve both been through a lot in our lives, and just as her blog name suggests, we have gone through significant changes since we began blogging. I’m grateful for her support. She feels like an old friend.

11. What are the most popular posts of the past three years?

I will qualify this answer with the reminder that I had fewer followers in the first couple of years, so the lists reflecting the most popular posts as also the most recent.

By reader views:

Greenspond – Part II
Friday Bouquet #11
Hello, December – Goodbye, Nano!
Christmas Renewed
Imagine (and a Birthday)
Wildlife of Newfoundland & Labrador
A Walking Trail, Bergy-Bits, and Other Pretty Things
About Me
To Sea by Virtue
Relics of Rome

By reader likes:

 About Me
Unexpected
Photo Challenge: Threes
Battered
Summer Lovin’
Cat Dreams
Vivian’s Room
Photo Challenge: Up
Remembering Rhonda
Is There Room* in Your Book for Me?

12. What are your ten personal favorites?

Thinking Out Loud
My “Backyard” – Part 1My “Backyard” – Part 2: The Beach
A Spanish Purr Sounds Just As Sweet
The Day We Met
If Only
She Writes
“That’s my father”…
Hey, Little Girl
Vivian’s View From Here
Autumn Walk on the East Coast

13. Anything you’d do differently?

I should have started blogging sooner. I have a vague memory of wondering why anyone would want to have a blog. Now I know.

14. Anyone you want to thank?

I’d like to thank everyone who has taken the time to read Jennifer’s Journal. I especially want to thank those who have liked, commented, followed, signed up for emails, reblogged on WordPress, retweeted on Twitter, or shared my posts on Facebook. You all know who you are. :)

I also thank the lovely bloggers who shared their stories, advice and talent with me, supported me in my writing, and those who nominated me for blogging awards.

15. What will the next year look like for the blog?

I have three chief areas I hope to work on:

a. more opinion pieces, poetry, and short fiction to develop my skills for writing articles and short stories
b. better photography, thanks to a new DSLR camera for Christmas – providing I learn how to use it ;)
c. articles about writing, while periodically sharing what is going on with my pursuit of the craft.

~ J.K.P.

Is there anything you’d like to see more of in future?
Jennifer’s Journal would love to hear your suggestions.

Friday Bouquet #11

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I’ve been following Elizabeth from Almost Spring nearly as long as I’ve been blogging. She writes eloquently as a woman blindsided when her husband leaves their marriage, and tells how her life is transforming from “We to Me.”

In her own words:

I am a 59-year-old woman surviving the pain of the collapse of my 37 year marriage that occurred suddenly through no choice of my own. I survived the first six months by living in today and enjoying the moments of a glorious summer.

…When that first summer ended, when the days became shorter, the mornings colder and I could see the winter approaching, I began to wonder how I would survive the darkness, the cold, the grey skies and the impending gloom of winter. Then I thought to myself – ‘why?’ It is almost spring… So too with my current life situation.”

I chose one of her posts from last month because it illustrates how far Elizabeth has come on her emotional journey. You might like to follow her too, if you’re in a similar situation. Click on the link below to read about her, and don’t forget to mention Jennifer sent you.

From Trauma to Transformation

Comments are disabled here in hopes you will visit and comment on her blog.

Have a wonderful weekend, everyone.
<3

*Image:Courtesy[StuartMiles]FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Christmas Renewed

 

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As the busy days of December flurry past and we march through our calendars to Christmas, I ponder on the many elements of the season. The dictionary gives us the literal definition:

a. the annual commemoration by Christians of the birth of Jesus Christ on Dec 25
  b. observed as a day of secular celebrations when gifts and greetings are exchanged

Reflecting on most of my Christmases, I feel a warm glow around my heart. But does that feeling come from observing the season as defined above, or from somewhere else? What is my common denominator, the origin of these warm, fuzzy, though sometimes bittersweet, emotions?images (4)For me, it is Family. My most precious memories are intertwined with the love of close family through the years, especially the early reminiscences of my mom and dad, bless their souls, who helped create the tinseled childhood magic I hold so synonymous with Christmas.

Then came the low period. For years, more precisely since my mother became ill, I was the Scrooge who just wanted Christmas to go away. Putting up a tree, cooking and baking, the shopping, I only wanted to get it over with. Nothing seemed the same anymore after Mom got sick and passed away. I missed Dad too, of course, but to me, my mother epitomized Christmas, with her Nancy squares, her sumptuous turkey dinner, and her selfless but fun-loving spirit. I couldn’t look at a tree without thinking of the time I couldn’t get home, and she kept hers up and decorated for my visit on January 15th. Without my mom, my heart was no longer in it.

Mom - Christmas 1967

Mom – Christmas 1967

But somehow, this year feels different. At last, I can say I’m not going through the motions of the season. There is a sleigh full of love, too, in the shiny new memories I forge these days with my children and their significant others, and with our two beloved grandchildren. There is a renewed love, baked into the Christmas cookies I prepare (and the ones I buy), and in the gifts I wrap for them (yes, that includes gift cards!). There is love and wonder in our hearts seeing our grandson sing in his Grade One Christmas concert. There is laughter again while watching TV shows with the kids, including How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and silly Mr. Bean’s version of the holiday.images (2)There is revived anticipation of traveling back to see our loved ones in a couple of weeks, a fresh gratitude when we gather round with our extended families, to eat and celebrate together. And when we return, there are the New Year’s festivities with friends here, who always make us feel like family.

Until I am with my grandbabies again, I will hang their pictures of the Grinch they drew for us this past weekend.

"What if Christmas, he thought, doesn't come from a store?"

“What if Christmas, he thought, doesn’t come from a store?”

"What if Christmas...perhaps...means a little bit more!”

“What if Christmas…perhaps…means a little bit more!”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will gaze at my grandson’s Kindergarten portrait…

10570415_10152599057065395_8728658344258524675_n…and remember the conversation we had on Saturday morning. He imagined being so tall his head touched the clouds. We joked about it, and then I said:

“If you’re that tall, people wouldn’t be able to talk to you. Not even your girlfriend could talk to you.”

“I don’t want one,” he said.

“A girlfriend?”

“No,” he said, giving me a hug. “I only want you, Nanny.”

Me: {{{heart melting}}} “Awww!” <3

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What do you love about this time of year? Celebrating with family? Giving to the less fortunate?
The church services? The carols? The decorations?

Or is it all “Bah Humbug”? Has it been overshadowed by loss in your life?

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Please share: what does Christmas mean to you? 

The Daily Post: Getting Seasonal

Hello, December – Goodbye, Nano!

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Where did November go, people? Don’t get me wrong, I am happy – but a little surprised – that December is already here. You see, I’ve been busy: for the first time, I have successfully completed the National Novel Writing Month Challenge, and I did it two days before the end-of-the-month deadline.

Was it difficult to write 50 thousand words in 28 days, you may ask?

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What do you think?

After sitting still for so long, it was wonderful to have the freedom to get up and move around again. But I have to confess: I felt a tad wobbly at first.

This is how I walked Friday evening when I finished:

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Arthritis? What arthritis?

Joking aside, I am super happy I took on the challenge, and would recommend Nanowrimo to anyone who wants to see results in a short period of time. It is an effective way to kick procrastination and writer’s block to the curb, especially if you have a writing buddy who is as determined as you are. Wendy kept me accountable, and we both finished with days to spare.

So now I have a first draft of the Calmer Girls sequel, minus a couple of concluding chapters that I will finish this month. Those chapters, along with the additions that will go in when I begin editing in January, should bring the word count up to 70 thousand plus.

The Nano website suggested I treat myself to a T-shirt showing off their logo, but I did better than that. Being Black Friday, I got Santa to order me a new camera online for Christmas, saving himself over $200 in the process.

This is me now:

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A new camera for my blog! Yes!!!

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Did you take part in Nanowrimo this year?

Have you ever challenged yourself with a creative deadline and won?

Please share your experience with me. :)

To Sea by Virtue

One sunny afternoon last month, we accompanied friends aboard the Virtue, their Beneteau 400 sailing vessel.
We were only too happy to share in the enjoyment of the October sea and sky.

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Rowing in the little boat to the big boat

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Our hosts

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Loving it – let’s go!

020“Throw off the bowlines. Sail away from safe harbor. Catch the wind in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” – Mark Twain

070“I never get tired of the blue sky.” – Vincent Van Gogh

048“Roll on, deep and dark blue ocean, roll… Man marks the earth with ruin, but his control stops with the shore.” – Lord Byron

046“Long may your big jib draw.” – legendary Newfoundland saying meaning good wishes for the future

057“I wanted freedom, open air and adventure. I found it on the sea.” – Alaine Gerbault

056“How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.”
– Arthur C. Clarke

031“The pessimist complains about the wind; the optimist expects it to change; the realist adjusts the sails.”
– William Arthur Ward

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050“When you realize how perfect everything is you will tilt your head back and laugh at the sky.” – Buddha

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062“The sea, once it casts its spell, holds one in its net of wonder forever.” – Jacques Yves Cousteau
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The Virtue 

  “I must go down to the sea again, to the lonely sea and sky; and all I ask is a tall ship and a star to steer her by.” – John Masefield

Have you ever gone sailing on a beautiful day such as this?

Smiling at Death

Jennifer's Journal:

I’m too tired from novel writing to come up with anything of my own this week, so I’m sharing a post from Journey Into Poetry. Christine is one of my favorite bloggers for the poems she writes.
Here is one I found especially moving. Love and miss you, Dad. x

Originally posted on journeyintopoetry:

Your whole life was wrapped around you
on that day,
propped up on a pillowy white cloud,
a few extra ones, cool, crisp
arranged in a special way,
a privilege for the dying.

How could your tiny fragile frame
have carried so much,
braved storms at sea,
ministered prayers from pulpit.
The swimming lessons you gave me;
you had the patience of Job.
And the turnip faces you carved
for Halloween, they were perfect;
(you would have cringed at pumpkins.)
But then you could do everything in my eyes;
you knew everything too.
I remember you trying to
show me how to use a slide rule;
I still haven’t a clue.

And there,
on a warm day, early May
in a special bed for the dying,
lay all of that,
your whole life in a cradle of time,
and it weighed next to nothing –

except for your smile.
Your…

View original 82 more words

Imagine (and a Birthday)

This is the last in the series of my best loved Peace Songs.

It’s also my beautiful sister’s birthday. Happy Birthday, Lynn. Love you lots! <3

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Imagine there’s no heaven
It’s easy if you try
No hell below us
Above us only sky

Imagine all the people
Living for today

Imagine there’s no countries
It isn’t hard to do
Nothing to kill or die for
And no religion, too

Imagine all the people
Living life in peace

You may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will be as one

Imagine no possessions
I wonder if you can
No need for greed or hunger
A brotherhood of man

Imagine all the people
Sharing all the world

You, you may say I’m a dreamer
But I’m not the only one
I hope someday you will join us
And the world will live as one

written by John Lennon

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(What’s So Funny ‘Bout) Peace, Love & Understanding

Carry Me

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Mmm-mmm Mmm-mmm

Carry me
Home to Birmingham
To my Sarah-Ann
To where I grew a man

Mmm-mmm carry me

Away from this old war
I don’t wanna fight no more
I just wish it would end
Mmm-mmm

[Chorus:]
Here I’m tied down and homesick
And that old wind just blows so freely
Why can’t it take me along

Mmm-mmm carry me
With you ramblin’ wind
It’s the place you’ve been
I wish I was home again

Mmm-mmm Mmm-mmm

[Break:] (humming on top)

[Chorus:]
Here I’m tied down and homesick
And that old wind just blows so freely
Why can’t it take me along

Mmm-mmm carry me
Home to Alabam
To Sarah’s homemade jam
To old red mountain land

Mmm-mmm carry me
With you ramblin’ wind
It’s the place you’ve been
I wish I was home again

Mmm-mmm Mmm-mmm

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written by Rich Dodson of the Stampeders

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