New Year, New Look

Well, I’ve done it… I hope. After four years of blogging (I published my first post on September 5, 2013) and hundreds of posts, I’ve finally changed the look and feel of my blog… somewhat. I was pretty happy with the simplicity of my old theme so I wasn’t interested in making any radical changes, but I wanted to make a few updates and add a feature or two. If you are reading this, I guess that means the transition worked. Yay!

I read somewhere that most blogs last an average of 18 months before withering on the vine. Maintaining a blog is harder and more time-consuming than most people realize. A few of my favorite bloggers have taken a “break” never to return, and I can’t say that I blame them. That I have been at this – albeit with varying intensity – long enough to celebrate my four-year blogoversary is amazing to me.

What keeps me motivated, besides that I enjoy writing and sharing stories and photographs, is the blogging community. Like most bloggers, I like the “Likes,” but I love the comments. The fun begins when a dialog is started, especially when conversing with a group as generous, smart, and supportive as you all are.

And, speaking of being “generous, smart, and supportive,” if you see anything wonky with my new blog design, please let me know. I’m sure it will be a work in progress for a while.

GratiTuesday: Another blogger meet-up

As I wrote about in an earlier post, I have had the special privilege of meeting several of my favorite bloggers face-to-face. Virtual friendships can form in the blogging community as we get to know each other by reading the bits and pieces we share over time. When the opportunity presents itself to actually meet, it is a real treat.

From the moment I “met” Donna via her blog, Retirement Reflections, I knew I liked her. In addition to having several things in common (we are about the same age, retired a few years ago, are active and enjoy traveling, and tend to view life through an optimistic lens), our differences were also interesting to me. For instance, she’s Canadian, a grandmother, and has lived overseas (I’m not, not, and haven’t).

When I learned that Donna, her husband, and dog, Cody would be staying for a month in a desert community not too far from where I live, I jumped at the chance to arrange a meet-up. Fortunately for me she was also interested and, after some back and forth picking a date, we finally managed to meet yesterday for a nice, long lunch.

So, what did we talk about? Blogging, of course!

We both agreed how nice it was to be able to talk about all the ins and outs and ups and downs of blogging with someone who was actually interested. We shared ideas, tips, frustrations, suggestions, and stories. We talked about the many bloggers we follow (were your ears burning yesterday?) and how much we appreciated everyone’s varied focus and writing styles.

We also gave each other encouragement. When I mentioned that I hadn’t been posting as often lately, Donna said that she had noticed and had been missing me (wow!). She is newer to the blogosphere than I am and is still brimming over with ideas. I, on the other hand, sometimes feel that my writing well can get a little dry. Donna helped me realize that I may have a few more things to say before Retirementally Challenged is tossed on the ever-expanding ash heap of long-forgotten blogs.

donna

If you don’t already follow Donna’s blog, I hope you will check it out… and follow… and comment (we both agreed that we love comments and interacting with our readers). It’s well-written, openhearted, and always interesting. After meeting her, I can say that her blog reflects her personality perfectly.

I am so grateful that I, once again, had the opportunity to meet a fellow blogger face-to-face. It is so gratifying to be able to transform a two-dimensional writer of a blog I follow into a three-dimensional friend.