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Posts tagged ‘Blog Awards’

It’s an Honor to Be Nominated!

inspiring blog awardJust the other day, Deborah from Around Dusty Roads honored me by nominating me for the Most Inspiring Blogger Award.  I am delighted to have been nominated, especially by Deborah.  She and I have a lot in common.  We are both women of “a certain age” who enjoy traveling and sharing our stories about travel, life and work.  We both also post photographs.  But Deborah is committed to posting much for often than I, even while currently on vacation in Tennessee.  And her photographs cover a range of topics and are available for purchase through several other sites that she hosts.  She is truly inspiring, so be nominated by her is quite an honor.  Make sure you visit her site!

There are rules that govern being nominated for the Most Inspiring Blogger Award.  Just like other awards of this type, the rules basically say acknowledge the one who nominated you, share some new information about yourself, and then share the honor by nominating others.  Here are the official rules:

  1. Thank and link to the amazing person who nominated you.
  2. List the rules and display the award.
  3. Share seven facts about yourself.
  4.  Nominate fifteen other amazing blogs and comment on their posts to let them know they have been nominated.
  5. Optional: Proudly display the award logo on your blog and follow the blogger who nominated you.

The hardest part about being nominated, for me, is having to share some new details about myself. On my blog, I typically focus on books I’ve read, trips I’ve taken, and whatever I’m grateful for.  I am not usually the subject matter, for the sake of sharing information about myself.  But here goes:

1.  About six months out of each year, I teach online writing classes for the American Public University System.  My first class for this year started on Monday, 2 June.  I love working with the students, but—no surprise here!—I am still not crazy about grading papers.

2.  About a year ago, I broke down and bought myself a Kindle.  I like it more than I expected to.  But I tend to use it for both reading novels and watching old television shows.  It’s a fun little gadget!

murphy3.  It’s been over 20 years since I’ve owned a dog, but I still see myself as a “dog person” and think it is a terrific idea to have a dog as a pet, especially if there are kids in the household.

4.  My mom died in 2012, and my dad died earlier this year. Some days, I do not initially remember that they are gone. In fact, many mornings I think for a split second that I could just give them a call or jump in the car and go visit them.  When the truth re-asserts itself, it hurts all over again.  I miss them.

Mom and Dad kevin's wedding

5.  This spring I took a driving trip that I’ve already shared some numbers about.  My initial expectation was that I would travel about 4,000 miles over 24 days.  By the end of the trip, I actually traveled 6,568.2 miles.  Surprised me too!

IMG_34226.  Most people who follow my blog know that I love elephants and therefore have a collection of elephants all over the house as jewelry, knick-knacks, carved shells, paintings, pillows, mugs, and general do-dads.  But I also love and collect birds.  One of my favorite birds is a ceramic knick-knack with several birds sitting on a branch.  Dad gave it to Mom as a gift—and years ago my dog managed to break it one time when my parents where babysitting him.  Mom paid to have it effectively repaired, telling me about the incident years after it happened.  These little birds hold a lot of memories.

7.  Since I was in 6th grade, I’ve always had a camera to capture life’s moments.  My first camera was a little brownie box camera that took 127 film.  Most recently, I impulsively bought myself a Canon PowerShot A2500 to use on my recent trip.  I had not realized how slow and clunky my old digital camera was, but since it was purchased in 2004, I’m sure you can imagine!  This little Canon was inexpensive and works great!

The last rule I need to follow is nominating others to receive this Most Inspiring Blogger Award.  I follow too many blogs to count, so you’d think selecting 15 to honor would be easy.  I try to keep up with not only reading but responding to all blogs I subscribe too, but that is an overwhelming task.  For most, if I do not get around to reading them within a day or two of notification, I delete them and wait for the next posting.  But there are a handful—ten not fifteen—that I make a point to read whenever they pop into my email.  Each one has its own strengths and thus inspires in a different way.  But collectively, they make me want to be a better blogger and encourage me to stay connected to this great blogging community.  I list them below (in no special order) and encourage you to visit them to see how they—and Around Dusty Roads—will inspire you.


The Lantern Room:  This blog captures wondrous photos of natural details that most of us might easily overlook.  The author inspires me to be more attentive and appreciative of nature.

A Frank Angle:  This blog offers wit and charm while sharing insights about science, religion, music and his busy, busy life. The author inspires me to be more engaged in my community through his actions and insights.

Slouching towards Thatcham:  This blog offers a dad’s perspective on being a dad and sharing is world with his wife and their three children.  The author reminds me that there are good dads out there—and that his children are very lucky to have him.

Flourish!:  This blog shares from the heart, offering experiences and insights about life and its peculiarities.  Through the author’s words, readers are inspired to find their own answers as they wander through life.  The point is to keep on meeting the challenges.

de Wets Wild:  This blog takes the author’s readers along on his many journeys through South Africa, capturing images of the area and the animals.  His readers are inspired to visit the locales themselves and to help preserve the animals for future generations.

The Monster in Your Closet:  This blog shares the author’s path through the trials and triumphs of life, offering thoughtful insight and understanding along the way.  She inspires me to me more engaged in my community and more willing to speak out against injustice.

The Pink Underbelly: This blog documents the life and ongoing battle with cancer of a wonderful woman in Texas.  The author’s honesty, wit, and insights inspire me to value life in all its complexities and to fight for survival no matter what.  She is a survivor!

Classroom as Microcosm:  This blog offers one teacher’s experiences, problems and insights from the classroom.  The author is always willing to explore new strategies and ways to improve connecting with students.  She is honest and thoughtful in her comments and inspires me to be a better teacher.

Tricia Booker Photography:  This blog chronicles the life and work of a professional photographer and mother.  The author is an artist who uses her talent to showcase horses as her job but also her son and the world around her.  She is always looking to improve her artistry and craft and thus inspires me to keep learning as well.

Year-Struck:  This blog always provokes me into thinking as well as laughter.  The author shares lessons of her life from current events as well as memories and past activities and inspires me to be more creative.

I trust you will enjoy visiting these blogs I have nominated.  They will entertain and inspire!  

inspiring blog award


I am blessed to be a member of a terrific blogging community.  The other bloggers are supportive and responsive.  Being part of this community is one of the best aspects of writing a blog.  I started writing mainly to have a place to practice my writing and to share a few insights on an occasional basis.  Having regular readers is a definite bonus!  And some of them are very gracious about sending award notifications my way.  I was initially awarded the Versatile Blogger Award in June by Deborah at The Monster in Your Closet and then again in August by Michelle at Steadily Skipping Stones.  If you are not reading these two blogs, take a look–they are great.

Then a couple weeks ago, I was awarded the Versatile Blogger honor again.  This time, the nomination came from Travel Spirit, Fabulous at Fifty.  Her work is tremendous: full of honesty, insight and lots of photos.  The rules for the award are the same as they have been—but each winner modifies them a bit as needed:

First, THANK the blogger who sends the award your way!  I feel honored that a blogger whose work I so enjoy thought to send the award my way.  You really need to visit Travel Spirit’s work!  If she were not the one nominating me, I would forward the award to her.

Second is the most challenging rule that rests at the heart of the Versatile Blogger Award: IDENTIFY the blogs on which to bestow the award.  The rules say to name fifteen blogs, but that is a large number.  In the past, I did name fifteen and then another five.  This time around, I will name five that fit the extra criterion that I place on myself before I recommend a site to someone else:  that I have enjoyed the site enough to subscribe for at least several weeks.  There are some that I am following off and on that I expect I will eventually subscribe to and thus be able to nominate in the future, but for right now, these are the five I will share, listed in no specific order.

Charles Ford’s Warped PrismCharles shares wondrous and beautiful photos, but more than that, his photos present subjects in a new perspective. I see more when I peruse his site! His photos offer a range of topics from airshows to neon signs, from musicians to buildings and reflections.  You are in for a visual treat when you visit his blog.

Shivya’s The Shooting Star:  Shivya’s travel blog takes you to great places through India, Southeastern Asia, and Western Europe. She shares her adventures with words and photos, visiting typical tourist scenes as well as more out of the way places, sharing travel tips and book recommendations, and introducing individuals she meets along the way.  Her approach adds a great level of humanity and caring to her travel blog.  Go traveling with Shivya; you do not need shots or a passport but have a great time.

Mackenzie’s Red Roan Chronicles:  Mackenzie’s main focus is horses, which is delightful.  But she also talks about her travels, change, feature creatures and life experiences—like learning about herself while training her horse and shaving her head to raise money for cancer research.  Her photos add to the presentation.  She is detailed, direct, honest.  You will enjoy the site.

Siobahn Curious’ Classroom as Microcosm:  Siobahn is a teacher of college writing who shares stories and insights about reading, writing, and life. Some of her topics include class size, cheating, failure as a learning tool, and the usefulness of games in the classroom. She also listens, asking readers for topics and insights.  Recently she shared a series of blogs written by students who shared what changes are needed in education.  This blog shows the art and craft of teaching.

Atoms of Thought:  This blog is thoughtful and thought-provoking.  The topics are philosophical in nature but cover such subjects as travel, shared gestures, quiet heroes, and lessons learned from life.  Each post is carefully crafted and often punctuated with terrific photos.  This blog is worth a visit.

Third, SHARE seven details about yourself that you have not divulged before.  This is one rule that gets harder and harder to address, if you receive the award more than once.  I have shared details in the past, twice.  But I will add some more details to the list now.

  1. I was watching TV the other day and The Real Housewives of New Jersey came on—and I did not get the channel changed and ended up watching the show.  And the episode that came on right after it! OMG.  How can those women do what they do and decide to broadcast it to the world?  And I hate to say, I watched it.  Yikes. It feels sort of like slowing down to observe an accident—it is really hard not to do!
  2. I recently was scheduled to see a doctor and she would not let me bring someone into the exam with me—by office policy. No exceptions.  I was not thrilled with or trusting of this doctor anyway—long story—but this just seemed odd.  Has anyone else ever experienced such a thing?
  3. My laptop crashed several weeks ago.  I always have various virus scanning protections on my computer.  A report popped up, saying “a problem has been detected.”  It also said, “click here to see the details and how to correct.”  I clicked and the whole thing went to blue screen.  I know that it is important to back up documents, etc., but that does not mean that I had followed my own advice.  Learn from my mistake:  Back up everything!
  4. I have been reading a lot lately.  Even re-reading some books off my shelves. Two I have re-read lately are by Susan Trott:  The Holy Man and The Holy Man’s Journey.  They work as a pair and emphasize the need to look for the good in others, to be honest with yourself, and to keep learning how to live the simple life.  Each book is short, a quick deceptively simple read that introduces the reader to a range of characters and many of life’s foibles.  According to the LA Times, Trott’s novels offer “a particular brand of spirituality where old and new jibe in mutual tolerance and kindness. Westernized Buddhism mingles freely with Christianity.”  These books are worth a read!
  5. I am not married.  Never have been.  In looking back on my life—now that I am over 55!—I am certain I made the right decisions when I said no to various wedding proposals.  My life is far from perfect—whose isn’t?  But I am basically happy and content.
  6. The other day I stumbled upon a recipe for Baked Stuffed Jalapenos.  I have not tried it yet but will soon.  I am deciding how to modify the recipe to use ingredients I have in and avoid those I do not particularly like, like cilantro.  My sister worried that it might be too hot, but I really like hot and spicy! If it turns out, I will share the results.
  7. Words I hate to see on items I am buying from a catalog?  “Some assembly required!”  Right this minute a neighbor and his son are assembling a couple of chairs that were delivered today.  As they sit on the floor and ponder the directions—screw A into Part B, etc.—I am glad I have hired them to tackle the task.

I am honored and humbled to have received the Versatile Blogger Award again.  But I am most appreciative of the blogging community that supporters and applauds all bloggers.  Please take the time to explore the blogs I have identfied above and in the past–they are great writers!

What a Delightful Surprise: Blog Awards

The other day when reading one of the blogs I am subscribed too, I noticed that the blog’s host was the recipient of three blog awards:  The Stylish Blogger, The Versatile Blogger, and The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award.   The recipient was Deborah @ The Monster in Your Closet—and her wit and careful observation of the world around her, including her delightful little boy, are truly deserving of the awards.  You should check out her blog!

These awards are given by bloggers to other bloggers.  There are some basic rules.  First, each recipient needs to identify the one who bestowed the award on him or her–and share extensive thanks.  Second, the blogger receiving the award needs to share seven details not readily known about him or herself.  Third, the recipient passes the award along to 15 other bloggers.  Fourth, be sure to alert the new award recipients they are winners!  Receiving one of the awards is a great honor as well as a chance to champion the bloggers each recipient reads and enjoys on a regular basis.  Everyone gets a chance to broaden their interactions.

I am telling you all this, because Deborah named me as one of her recipients of all three awards.  I had to reread to be sure I saw correctly.  I have not been blogging very long, so this does indeed feel like a great honor.  My first thought was thanks and appreciation to Deborah for awarding these honors on my blog.  My second thought was really a worry:  How can I identify 15 bloggers to pass these awards on to?  I do subscribe to a handful of blogs—and I add more every week mostly from reading freshly pressed blogs—but naming 15 quality these-are-great-to-highlight-and-share blogs?  I felt overwhelmed.  But then I started reviewing all of my subscriptions, noting which ones I especially like to see pop into my email, which ones routinely make me laugh or think or nod in agreement.  All of a sudden, finding only 15 did not seem so easy.  So I made myself a new criteria—I would nominate from those I had been following for more than three weeks or so. 

Rather than giving all three awards to all on my truly-read-and-appreciate list, I have identified at least one person for each award, but most are getting “The Versatile Blogger” Award.   The list is given below.  Keep in mind that my short synopsis of each site does not do the site justice.  You need to see them for yourself, so please follow the links . . . and enjoy.  I am not sure if this is following or breaking the rules, but I have named two website/blogs that are not housed at WordPress.  The following list is not presented in any special order.

Malinda @ Dendrochronology:  Her subtitle is “The rings of life, thought, and action.”  Her postings are always honest, perceptive, and provocative as she shares life’s insights about many things, such as blogging, summer schedules or her daughter’s foray into the world of volunteerism.  She is also starting to share photos that capture the world around her.  Enjoy!

Tricia @ Tricia Booker Photography:  Her home page is headed with this great Emerson quote:  “Nothing great was ever achieved without enthusiasm.”  She presents photographs each day—often just one—that captures that quote’s appreciation of life.  The first image of hers I saw was a flower, but she also shares views of birds and kids and dogs and horses and many other things.  Her work captures the wonder of life.  Enjoy!

Lisa @ The Big Sheep Blog:  Her subtitle is “Where imagination, business and life collide.” She sees (and shares) humor in life’s irritations and looks for balance, sharing entries on a range of topics from the evolution of bathing suits to shopping mall horrors, from eating fast food to insights on today’s media.  She’s a freelance writer who also shares her insights about life in her world.  Enjoy!

Phil @ Strange Bird:  His subtitle is “Paying attention to every moment . . . right now.”  His postings offer a consistent format:  a provocative juxtaposition of vivid image, poetry and video that helps his readers see things from a new perspective.  His versatility comes from the range of topics he explores from birth to dance to liminality.  He always surprises me. . . and makes me think.  Enjoy!

Dusty @ Around Dusty Roads:  She is “a woman of a certain age” who narrates her travels—near home and afar—with attention to all the details: vistas and tour logistics as well as local flora and fauna. She gives you a chance to be there too.  I first started traveling with her when she was visiting Sedona, but now that she is back home she has also explored local area forts and museums.  Enjoy!

Susan @ Creative Procrastination: She is a wife and mother who lives in the shadows of the Blue Ridge Mountains, VA.  She is a great storyteller who writes about writing, nature, country life, and the antics of her Jack Russell Terrier; her posts often culminate in lessons from the homestead.  As an added bonus, she is an expert on Dr. Suess and shares some of his quotes periodically.  Enjoy! 

Lee @ Lee Rentz Photography:  As a professional photographer, his postings include terrific photos that document his life and travels.  Whether he is on a birding trip, out camping or hiking, visiting a flower show, or capturing the wonders of city life, his artistic eye captures the wonder of his subjects through a focus on color, form, and texture.  Enjoy!

Darice @ Grown Up for Real!  Her postings share her realizations about career, family, and relationships as she tries to balance the grown-up stuff in her life.  She shares wit, wisdom, and keen observations as she provides book referrals, thoughtful quotes, and insights about life.  Her postings are often direct and to the point, especially on Wordless Wednesdays and Post-It Note Tuesdays.  Enjoy!

Jesse @ Succincity:  His subtitle is “Business, Marketing, and How People Work.”  Succinct is a great adjective for his ability to clarify and simplify the elements of marketing and business—but his insights are most often applicable to all of life, especially since his main focus is on people.  Whether he is talking about culture and honesty or personal breweries and 7-11, he makes me think and appreciate in new ways.  Enjoy!

Tim @ Slouching towards Thatcham:  His subtitle is “Tales from the front-line of life, fatherhood and the living room sofa.”  He offers thoughtful often imaginative comments on varying aspects of fatherhood and society, questioning—for example—who is really disabled and whether little boys should wear pink.  He also offers reviews on film, video and TV shows such as “The Apprentice,” “Dr. Who,” and “American Idol.”  Enjoy!

Cheryl & Ismail @ Honest Course:  The subtitle of this website/blog is “Celebrating honesty and integrity in society, government, and individuals.”  This is a relatively new site that is not hosted by WordPress.  Much like Superman and his alter ego Clark Kent, this site can seem unassuming, but it is dedicated to truth, justice, and perhaps even the American Way.  It’s worth a look.  Enjoy!

Emily @ The Heart of the Artist:   This is another non-WordPress website/blog that is worth some attention.  This site is dedicated to celebrating the creative process and giving glimpses into the artists as well as their work.  Some of the artists named on the above list might want to sign up as one of the artists to be showcased.  Enjoy!

Jean @ Jean of All Trades:  She first caught my eye when she shared photos of the art and fashion she encountered in Santa Fe, NM.  Since then, she has been intriguing, sharing fashion shots with flair and passion. But her postings also offer insightful comments on such topics as feminism in the media.  Enjoy!


Nana @ Inside NanaBread’s Head: Her subtitle explains that her blog is a lot like her junk drawers, full of “tidbits, trash, and treasures.” Her friendly, cheerful postings comment on many aspects of life, including family, crafts, and travel, but she also willingly shares recipes and photos that make you think you can create these dishes as well.  Her recipes range from oatmeal cookies and tart cherry dark chocolate bark to smoky baby back ribs.  Enjoy!

Natalie @ While I Breathe, I Hope: Her open, honest, witty postings share insights about her life and family in Pittsburgh—and that family includes a great Great Dane.  On top of that, she makes cooking look easy as she shares recipes and photos that literally make you hungry.  Enjoy!

Now comes the really hard part:  Sharing seven details about myself that most people probably don’t know.  As you can see, I have added my own qualifiers so I can stop worrying if I mentioned some aspect of these details already somewhere on my blog.  I suppose one of my items could be that I do not always remember everything I write, but I do tend to remember what I read! 

Here are the details:

  1. When I was little, maybe 4 or 5, I flew with an older cousin in a small two-seater plane.  He had gotten his pilot license and was showing off.  My memory is not real clear, but my general sense if that I had a great time just barely being able to really see out the windows.  He is now a retired engineering professor living in Canada who will be in CA for a meeting and for visits with family this weekend. I plan to get more details from him to help my memory.  But I think it is this experience that has me hoping to eventually go up in a hot air balloon and maybe even skydive!
  2. I really like elephants.  I imagine I have said that before in a blog entry or two.  But when I was a kid, again maybe about 5, I was taken to the zoo and there was a baby elephant there. I fell in love.  We lived in Chicago at the time, and I was determined to have a baby elephant as a birthday present.  I did not get what I wanted, but I did have a plan:  she would live in the basement, eat cheerios, and play in the back yard.  Made sense to me—and started my fascination with these gentle giants.
  3. When I first went to graduate school, I was an English major—in fact, I specialized in American Literature.  Of course, I have read the classics.  Except Moby Dick.  I started that tome several times, wrote papers on it, took tests on it, refer to it when teaching, enjoy the references to it in Star Trek, but I have not read it from cover-to-cover.  Ssh.  Don’t tell anyone.
  4. I have read pretty much all the works of Robert Frost and Walt Whitman.  They, in fact, are my two favorite poets.  In so many ways they are not alike, but they have a core appreciation of nature, life, and its cycles that comes through in their work.  They are both apt to write about fences and roads and wandering the fields—and I think in part my love of nature comes from their vivid presentations that so capture the mind and imagination. 
  5. If asked, I am quick to point out that I am NOT a watcher of Reality TV.  How can anyone enjoy (or waste their time) on such shows as The Jersey Shore or The Real Housewives of Whereever?  I can get fairly snooty about this fact.  So it is rather embarrassing to admit that I do watch shows such as Judge Judy, People’s Court, and Ramsey’s Kitchen Nightmares.  I swear, I managed to keep myself from realizing they too are Reality TV.  See, you can get people to believe anything!
  6. Did I mention that I really, really like elephants?  Over 10 years ago now, I had a great experience through a weekend class.  I was part of a group that toured a wild animal ranch housing animals who were all movie stars.  The best part of the day was being able to give Nellie, a 7.5 year old African elephant, a bath.  She loved it!  We all got drenched. Rather than sponges, we used brushes and hoses—but it was great fun!  I would do it again in an instant.
  7. I am a cancer survivor.  In February 2012 it will be five years since I had the full complete hysterectomy that got all the cancer.  I did not even need radiation or chemo-therapy. I felt very blessed, especially given what suffering so many cancer patients have to contend with.  I do not talk about this much, but the awareness of being that close to death and surviving changed my perspective.  That experience urged me to be more vigilant in appreciating life, going out to play, and telling people how much they mean to me. 

That’s it!  That’s my seven things most people probably did not know about me!  Please take a minute to visit the blogs I listed above as blog award recipients—they are cherishing and reporting on life in great ways.  We all should go out and play!

Thanks for reading.

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