Learn Something New Every Day!

Posts tagged ‘Blogging Community’

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

Part of a Great Community (blogging award)


I feel truly blessed.  I started my blog several years ago and was immediately impressed with the caring and support that were evident as part of the WordPress blogging community.  I follow many fellow bloggers and appreciate those who follow me as well.  I have been given blogging awards in the past and was even fresh pressed onceLast month, I was honored again when Fat Purple Figs named me a recipient of the Liebester Award.    

liebester award

This award is dedicated to building the blogging community by showcasing blogs that are valued and visited, so others can discover them as well.  If you have not visited Fat Purple Figs yet, please do so as she shares some creative and thoughtful comments about life.  As a nominee for the Liebester Award, I need to answer questions, share some facts about myself, and name eleven other bloggers as nominees. 


1.  What’s in a name…tell me about the name of your blog and what/who inspired it?

My blog’s name—Learn More Everyday—is actually the theme for my life.  I have always considered myself a life-long learner and encouraged learning in others.  In fact, I have been involved in education my whole life, first as a student, then as a teacher and administrator.  However, I always recognized that the best learning takes place everywhere, not just in the classroom.  You can learn from experience, people, books, problems, opportunities, everything!  In fact, if you stop learning, you stop living life to the fullest.  Thus, my motto:  Learn More Everyday!

2.  Do you blog anonymously or openly under your name? Why did you make that choice?

I blog openly under my name.  I am basically a private person, so the decision to blog included some thought about what sorts of things I would write about.  If anything were so private that I would consider not attaching my name, then it would not be something I would post at all.

3.  Is your blog secret from your friends and family? Why did you make that choice?

My blog is not a secret from anyone.  Most of my close friends and family know about my blog and read it, at least occasionally.  If others do not, it is their choice not my decision to keep my blog a secret.  Since I am not writing anything that is incredibly private, I welcome anyone to read my blog and see any photos I post.  I include a link to my blog as part of my signature line on my email, so anyone I communicate with can decide to explore my blog or not.

4.  What is your favorite word and why?

When I was nine years old and saw Mary Poppins for the first time my favorite word was Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious. Heck, I even knew the lyrics for all three verses!  But now that I am older and maybe a little wiser, I have a simpler view of the world.  Now, I cannot help but think how much better off our world would be if we all practiced a little more kindness everyday.  Thus, my favorite word is KINDNESS.

5.  What is your least favorite word and why?

Well, this is not an easy question.  I think, for me, it is a tie:  HATRED & IGNORANCE.  Many of the problems in our world—prejudice, intolerance, injustice, even war—are often an outcome of hatred or ignorance.

6.  What is your favorite smell and why?

The lovely fragrance of fresh flowers always catches my attention, especially lilacs now because those flowers remind me of my mom. Or at this time of year, burning leaves, a Christmas tree, or even the waft of cinnamon from a fresh-baked apple pie are welcomed scents. However, freshly baked bread is still my favorite, as of today anyway.

7.  What is your least favorite smell and why?

Several smells compete for this title too.  A kid’s poopy diapers, a wet dirty dog or a dead fish that is a bit too old are smells I try to avoid.  But the worst is burned popcorn!

8.  What is your favorite taste and why?

A good quality piece of sweet and luscious dark chocolate as it slowly melts in my mouth.  Yummy!

9.  What is your least favorite taste and why?

Well, people who know me might think that my answer would be bananas or peas, because I really do hate eating those.  But it is as much the texture of those items combined with the taste that has them on my do-not-eat list.  But others are even worse:  cod liver oil, the taste of a fish oil capsule when it breaks open in your mouth, that chalky junk you need to drink in the hospital before tests are run, liver and onions even though I like onions!  I am not sure which is the worst.  You pick one.

10.  Who you are you when are not blogging?

I think who I am in my blog is basically who I am.  I am always an educator—it is just a habit of mind to seek out learning and to encourage it in others.  But I am also a friend, daughter, sister, niece, lover of animals and nature, and a helper whenever possible.  I am also a reader, writer, photographer, teacher, and a care giver.  I think these different aspects of myself surface periodically in my blog.

11.  Tell me a secret that nobody would know about you?

Well, it is not a secret really, as some folks know about it.  But it is not something I scream from the roof tops or write about on my blog.  The last 3.5 years have been a challenge for many reasons, including long term recovery from surgery and the death of my mother.  But these years have also been a challenge financially.  But matters are improving, I avoided bankruptcy, am expecting a great 2014, and am better able to give gifts and donations this holiday season.  So I am very grateful—the last three plus years make me value the good times right now even more!

HERE ARE ELEVEN OTHER THINGS YOU MIGHT NOT KNOW ABOUT ME, shared in no special order.  Please note that no one said you wanted to know these things:

1.  Some days, I get my news from The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.  Well, and sometimes The Onion.  Not so good, I know—but at least the news is not so depressing that way.  A little saving grace: At least they are not my only sources for a full week! 

2.  I recently took a Quiz that answered the question, “How Millenial Are You?”  I am not sure what it means, but my score on a 1-100 scale was 54. 

3.  I watch TV too much.  Well, I have it on a lot, always have, ever since I was a kid and enjoyed watching it in the afternoons after school.  But even now, as an adult, if I am home, the set is on.  I do not literally watch it all the time, but I like the sound of it and use it as background for whatever else I am doing. 

4.  I like science fiction enough to watch (and enjoy!) tacky movies such as Godzilla and The Adventures of Buckaroo Bonzai across the 8th Dimension.  A few weeks ago I even watched the end of Star Trek: The Movie.  Now, that’s pretty bad!

5.  Unlike Penny from The Big Bang Theory who exclaims there is no difference between Star Trek and Star Wars, I prefer Star Trek.  In fact, lately I have been watching episodes of Star Trek Voyager every night on my Kindle, to help me fall asleep. 

6.  Eating healthy all the time is not easy!  Are we sure that bacon, pizza, ice cream, and fried chicken are not recommended food groups? After all, wine and dark chocolate are really good for us, right?  I think the scientists are keeping things from us again.

7.  Back in May, I started teaching writing part-time for the American Public University System. I am loving it.  Well, not the grading so much, but the interaction with students again, so directly, is marvelous.  It is enough fun that I am figuring I will keep at it even though I am officially contemplating early retirement. 

8.  I love Christmas and pull out decorations each year, but I have not put up a tree since my tree and lots of ornaments were damaged in the Northridge Earthquake (January 17, 1994).  Yeah, my tree was still up!  What’s it to you?! 

9.  I like playing games.  I am also fairly tech-savvy.  Still, the only electronic game I play is Solitaire.  It is much better than having to re-shuffle the deck all the time.   

10.  It seemed like a simple little task at first.  I needed to move and box and sort my books, so I could replace two of my bookcases with better ones, albeit one that were a bit smaller.  But then I found books I had not touched in about 30 years, and it seemed easy enough to give some away.  Well, I ended up giving away 20 boxes of books!  OMG.  I still have five bookcases full of books, and my kindle is filling up quickly.  I prefer to think that the books I gave away are really just finding new homes, as well as raising some money for the library via an upcoming Friends of the Library sale.  My home seems a little bit empty at times, but I am adjusting.

11.  Christmas is coming!  And the holidays are enhanced with all the great songs celebrating the joy of the season.  When I was 12, Christmas with Ed Ames was my favorite album.  Somehow—even back then—I really loved that a Jewish guy who played a Cherokee called Mingo on the television show Daniel Boone had created a terrific Christmas album.  “The Ballad of the Christmas Donkey” is still one of my favorites!


As Fat Purple Figs’ nomination blog explains, there are a couple rules involved with this Liebester Award:

As Nominees, if you “choose to play along, then please include the award photo in your post, answer the eleven questions I ask you below, share eleven other facts about yourself, nominate eleven bloggers for the award, and give them eleven questions to answer. If you don’t want to participate, that is fine. Just know that I am so grateful to have found all of your blogs.” If you do participate, provide a link back to the blogger who nominated you when you share the answers and comments that will help others get to know you a bit better.

I follow many, many blogs.  Some I found when I first started blogging and enjoy them whenever they post, no matter how frequently.  Others I find as each week brings me new visitors and comments on other posts as well as fresh-pressed picks.  Not every blogger will accept nomination, and that is okay.  What matters is that others may find their way to these blogs for a visit because of the nomination.  Enjoy!

In no special order, here are my nominees:

A Frank Angle, always thoughtful, provocative and funny with thoughts on science and religion as well as great videos and post series.

Around Dusty Roads, shares travel memories of locations near and far.

Flourish!  gives a positive view on life.

The Lantern Room, shares some great photos that help you see the wonder that is always there but often overlooked.

The Monster in Your Closet, thoughtful, insightful, and never afraid to tackle topics that touch on social concerns with compassion and courage.

Slouching towards Thatcham, provides insights of a proud dad watching his kids grow up as well as some thoughtful reviews of television and film.

de Wets Wild, offers great nature shots of animals in the wild from someone who cares.

Year-Struck, insights on life that are witty and thoughtful and always make me smile

Coming East, insights on life and family disguised as musings on everyday matters

Tricia Booker Photography, terrific photography of horses, nature, and her son

Explore Newness, some tips on how to add a fresh outlook or activity into your life


  1. What’s in a name?  Tell me about the name of your blog and what/who inspired it?
  2. How do you quickly describe your blog to others?  You know, the elevator talk for your blog.
  3. Do you have any tricks or tips that help keep you writing every day/week/whenever?  If so, please share some advice.
  4. When not blogging, what do you do?
  5. One way I try to find balance in my life is to keep a gratitude journal.  It keeps me focused on the good around me.  How do you maintain balance/sanity in life?  Share some advice for the rest of us!
  6. What is your favorite or least favorite book, and why?
  7. What is your favorite or least favorite movie or television show, and why?
  8. What was your favorite or least favorite birthday present, and why?
  9. What is your favorite or least favorite food, and why?
  10. What is your favorite or least favorite animal, and why?
  11. What is your favorite or least favorite anything, and why?  You know, keep this mini-series going.







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!

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