piano

September Gratitude: Part One

September – the month for some signifies the coming of autumn; for others (like Sonel’s Corner) the season of spring.

Some readers know, every day I (make the attempt) highlight a daily ☼Grateful 4 list on my sidebar. At the end of the month, I compile the list as a gratitude post feature.

Because it takes a good amount of time to compile and time, as we all know, is never enough, I decided it would easier for me to break up my monthly post into two parts.

In this first half, let me say, I love September – and for many reasons. Here, the weather is cooling down, many are returning to school after summer break and on September 14, 1814, Francis Scott Key wrote my country’s national anthem, The Star Spangled Banner.

Cover of sheet music for "The Star-Spangl...

September finds me grateful for: Nourishment and comfort that comes with food…

– snack pack yogurt – crock pot cooking –  sub sandwich fully loaded – baby carrots – leftovers for dinner – carbonated drinks – after dinner mints – fresh pineapple – thick crusted pizza – finding a dry dog food my dog actually likes to eat – raw garlic – healthy dog bone treats – oatmeal and flax-seed mush for my dog to eat…hope it helps the skin condition – beef brisket dinner (not burned and really tasty!) fresh cantaloupe

Grateful for: Special days within the month…Monday – Labor Day – getting big dog washed – early morning prayer time – gorgeous sunrises – joyful random singing out loud days…

Autumn Photo credit: decafinata via flickr

Grateful for…the coming of autumn season – thirty days this month to find gratitude…

Little surprises…old coffee pot with lid almost coming off but still works – Epsom salt foot soak to wind down a busy day – finding a shady parking stall – locating a package lost in the mail – not running over baby armadillo or the little squirrel crossing highway…

– truck hood that opens, thanks to auto mechanic who fixed it without charge – piano music – new walking shoes – petite jeans that fit in length…finally ♥ the body’s pancreas…must never abuse it with too much alcohol consumption – chrysanthemums – a healthy spinal cord

– bumping into people in town while running errands then chit-chatting to catch up on latest gossip ☺

Grateful for: Kindness found with those lending hands, passionate people…community food/spiritual outreach center – WP Support team – happiness engineers ☺ honest auto mechanics – eye doctors – Sonel’s tip to help Chuckle with dry elbow syndrome – honest used car dealers – Steve Biko’s freedom fighting work – youth pastors that inspire with genuine personalities – NEW SUBSCRIBERS  –

piano

Weekly Photo Challenge: Unusual POV

Grateful for: Convenience of modern life, entertainment and…window spray cleaner – computer printers – National Public Radio – telephone books – sharp cutting scissors – masking tape that sticks – weekly curbside trash pick-up – classic pearl jewelry designs – US Postal Service – garden clippers – BLOG life – garden hoses that do not kink up – small shoe box that house cat finds to squeeze in for a cat nap – wonderful offerings by Celestine | ReadinPleasure

…and for all of you who have stopped by, left your thoughts or just left liking a post – thank you for your valuable time. I really appreciate the support. ☼

Blavatar…Small Yet Mighty

One of my goals as an amateur (charming, of course) blog fanatic lover is to gain wisdom on the craft of blogging. Sometimes it is easy to overlook little items our readers see as they scroll through our blog pages.

If you use an iPhone to follow favorite blogs or web sites, adding their blog icon to your phone’s home screen avoids unnecessary repetitive search time when you want to return to their sites.

As I added favorite blog sites to my phone, I noticed something interesting.

WordPress blog sites that upload with a custom blog image icon distinguish themselves over the ones using just the general WordPress icon – small yet mighty…

Photo credit: herzogbr via flickr

A lovely image but common, yes?

Well, you know, in my ignorance, I too sported the general WP icon, but not anymore. Thanks to WordPress Support and One Cool Site – Gravatar, Avatar, Blavatar, I discovered (took me long enough), the Blavatar.

The following is a brief look on the term, Blavatar, its usage, and how to upload a custom image for your site.

First, a blavatar is a WordPress term that combines two words:

Blog + Avatar=Blavatar.

A Blavatar appears in the following places:

1. Browser’s address bar and browser tabs
2. When you send a pingback, it appears in the blog’s comment section
3. As a bookmark and icon on iPhone/iPad home screen

Whether you choose to customize your Blavatar is purely your call. If you want your blog site to stand out, however, this is a small step in that direction.

Feel brave…Upload your custom Blavatar:

(Time saver tip – have an image in your computer file ready to load. The recommendation is 128 x 128 pixels image. There is a crop image feature if your selection is not perfect before the upload.)

1. Go to the side bar of your Dashboard→ Settings→General
2. Once in General, you should see: Blog Picture/Icon
3. Click on button: Choose File or Browse (depends on your browser)
4. Find the image from your computer file
5. Click: Upload Image ~ Congratulations!

What are your thoughts on the small yet mighty, Blavatar?

♥♥♥

Summer Time Blog Upkeep: #1 Redesign the Floor Plan

Time is a Tickin'

Time…need more time!  ~Photo credit: im elsewhere via flickr

As far as time management goes, the ability to quickly find on-line resources is vitally important from a busy blogger’s viewpoint.

Have you visited blog sites that feature items you would love to include in your blog; or, you discover a great challenge they are participating in, but somehow, link information seems obscurely hidden?

It may not happen too often for you, but when it does, spending time hunting for information within a blog site does burn up precious time and is highly frustrating as well.

Well, then again, perhaps my impatience to search for things is showing. Moreover, maybe I should stop my complaining, and instead, make sure I have a page featuring all the super handy reference resources I find valuable and worth sharing with other bloggers.

Now many of you may know of blogger extraordinaire, Sonel, over at Sonel’s Corner. (If not, you’re missing greatness!) ☺

Her post, Online Fun Photo Effects features her photographs altered in different editing on-line sites. Sonel shares her creative editing skills, as well as, include the link sites she uses and lists them in a separate Links and Resources blog page.

You have to agree, sharing your on-line resources is not only helpful, but a kind “gesture gift” to give graciously to fellow bloggers–especially because  it saves them precious time.

In the past, to give a kindly “gesture gift” to blog friends, I created a page called, Charming Featured Blog/Post Crushes. It started as a blogroll then later became a spot to highlight blog sites and or posts I thought  interesting enough to share with my readers.

Unfortunately, the traffic to the page was minimal; it took incredible amounts of time to prepare every post; link sites were often ignored and worse, broken links popped up because featured bloggers occasionally decided to shut down their blog site.

While pondering what to do about this problem, I remembered my experience while working in a profitable retail fashion business.

The obsessed retail management team constantly monitored sales per square inch (or so it seemed). If an area of the store did not produce to projected sales quota, they would brainstorm and alter, in a crazy whirlwind sort of way, everything in that area to boost sales to meet the quota.

Well, like my past retail training example, since my old page lacked interest for whatever reasons, it is now time to:

REDESIGN THE FLOOR PLAN!

As I Strip away the old, and lay down the new…here is the latest floor design:

☼sunROOM: reference resources

I hope this work in progress room can be useful for those looking for some of  the blog resources used here. I also hope it helps you be inspired and be a real time-saver.

Here is the preview for the new, ☼sunROOM! 

Stay Inspired & Stay Happy, Blog friends! ☺

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Blog Challenges:

These are a few general type blog challenges. General to mean, you meet the challenge in your unique style. The links to each challenge is found when you click on the image for more information.

GENERAL:

aFrankAngle's Challenge

Bloggers for peace
B4Peace Monthly Challenge
Sunday Post 2013
Sunday Post| Jakesprinters
Island Traveler
This Man’s Journey| Weekly Images of Life

PHOTOGRAPHY Challenge:

The Daily Post| Weekly Challenges

WRITING Challenges:

100 word challenge
Friday Fictioneers 100 Word Writing Challenge
220 word haibun and haiku writing challenge
Ligo Haibun Weekly Challenge

On-line Resources:

Flag Counter

Photo Editor| PicMonkey

Tagxedo: Word Cloud Maker

On WordPress Resources:

Lorelle on WordPress

One Cool Site

WordPress Support

Boredom Buster List

I am bored with you

“I’m so bored today.”
Photo credit: Wikipedia

If someone you know says, “I’m so bored today,” I may have a simple remedy.

Simply flash your beautiful smile, gently take their hands and sit them in front of your blog site. As you dazzle them with your WordPress home, take hold of their chin, move their head slowly to make eye contact and firmly say:

“Boredom is a choice and life is too short to waste on frivolous nothings!”

“When you are born again into the blog-o-sphere world, (preferably WordPress) your boredom will instantly disappear.”

Simple remedy.

Most avid bloggers know, once a blog is up and running, there is basically, as the old cliché goes, “Never a dull moment.” 

Maddie Cochere, from Breezy Books, aptly wrote recently in a comment thread, “…Sometimes putting up a blog post and reading blogs is like a full-time job.”

You and I both know how true Maddie’s words are. Choosing a blogger’s life, for most bloggers, is like having a full-time, “labor-of-love,” type of  job.

There is always something to do. Work starts from post preparation involving research and editing, to keeping on top of blog sites you follow, to your own blog site comment responses, and least we forget, overall general blog housekeeping to keep your home blog site refreshed and updated.

For example, where I live, summer means taking breaks from normal routine. I decided, since it’s summer, to set aside a few days for some blog site upkeep. Like housekeeping chores, if I don’t prioritize to make time to clean and reorganize, it does not get done. Ever.

Same goes with my blog. I am not finished reorganizing my blogroll page yet and what got completed took a more than a few days to complete.

So, as a blogger, who has time to be bored?

If someone ever utters, “I’m so bored today,” the only suggestion I can make as a blogger is:

“Get yourself a free blog site. It can cure, pronto, the dreaded boredom disease. Once you get started, however, you may even wish you could add more time to your day.”

Here is a  Boredom Buster list I plan to hand over to any friend stricken with the dreaded, “I’m so bored today” disease. Check it:

Boredom Buster List:

#1: Visit the Fitting Room 

Bored person: With 216  WordPress Themes to try for a perfect blog site fit, you can spend hours (and hours) lost in the theme fitting room.

It can become addicting as well.

Boredom, busted.

#2: Visit and Hangout at the Playground

Photo credit: juanpol via flickr

“Wow, I’m not bored anymore!”
photo source: juanpol via flickr

Bored person: You  may not want to create a single post and instead, follow blogs in your WordPress Reader. You will find an infinite source of entertainment by reading all the variety of blog post constantly streaming 24/7.

Boredom, busted.

#3. Take Educational Visits

Bored person: Every theme comes loaded with many blog options to spruce up a blog site. Take for instance, my wanting to know how to create a drop down list feature to give my readers an easier navigation process within my blog home.

You may be a very smart bored person and figure this feature out snappy, but, unfortunately, I sat in the dark awhile trying to figure it all out. Finally I visited Custom Menus–WordPress Support and the video instruction easily got me back into the light of things.

Just know, bored person, it takes time to build your blog home just as you envision it. Use your time getting WordPress educated.

Boredom, busted!

#4. Stay in Shape: Visit the Gym

Bored person: I like to think of blog challenges as gym work. Nothing gets you in shape quicker than frequent and consistent visits to an exercise gym. Weekly blog Challenges and Daily Prompts can help you stay on target with blog goals, challenging exercises, inspiration and definitely keep your boredom disease at bay.

Boredom, busted!

Did I miss anything on the Boredom Buster list?

Please, share…and if you hear the, “I’m so bored today,” words slipping from a friend’s mouth, you know the secret:

Be a good friend, get them a free WordPress blog site and hand them the Boredom Buster list. 🙂

A Love Affair Changed My Life

Oh, COOL!  I love the updated My Blogs page with the WordPress New icon button. Did you see how a push on the Inspire icon leads to a…voila, a question just like this one:

What was the one experience that completely changed your life? What happened? How did it change your life?

* * *

Are you kidding me?? You know the ONE experience that turned my life upside down and inside out as– blogging! Yah, it rocks your world too, huh?

For me, everything before WordPress was like the famous nursery rhyme so common long ago–hehehehe. (Hey, is this nursery rhyme still sung to young kids today?)

Row, row, row your boat, gently down the stream, merrily, merrily, merrily, life is but a (dreary) dream. 

I guess having a dreary dreamy routine type of life is okay, to a certain point; however, at some crazy moment, you need to hop off the dream boat and wake up to something more, and I mean more than the…drag out of bed, go to work, come home, crash, and get up and do it all again…and again…and again…and…

STOP the dreary!

Anyway, for me, I think blogging can foster the brain into a deeper thought process. It definitely helps to exercise the creative side of ourselves and for some, a fun way to add self-help therapy into their lives. Blogging dropped the whole world in front of me as I sent out post after post after post. Online friendships soon began and now, my journey down the stream turned from dreary to simply, dreamy!

nature's water source

The (dreary) dream life sunk to the bottom of the stream and instead, a renewed love life floated back up…oh, I still have to drag myself out to make a living, but my brain feels very much in the beginning stages of a passionate love affair.

Is your day filled with thoughts about your blog and does it run a bit like mine…”What can I share with my readers today?” “What photos should I use…is my grammar/spelling correct?”  “How do I add this…when should I post…what tags to use”…and on, and on…!

One thing I do know, if this love affair should fade in time, I experienced a dream life…even if for a moment.

Now, that is something to smile about, eh?

Wait, before you go…

* * *

Curtain Call: Featured Blog:

Confession time. Sometimes I am plain lazy. Take for instance when I visit a new blog, instead of leaving a comment, I simply read the post, press the Like icon and dash out quickly!

*my head hangs in shame*

Thankfully, some time ago, I decided to stop my lazy, despicable behavior and leave comments starting with the blog:  Pencil Pilot.  I thought nothing of it until Emma, from Pencil Pilot, returned to thank me for making her day better after reading my comment. Can you believe it? It was a memorable moment in my blog life.

Like most of us, Emma’s life runs with some smooth to turbulent moments and she finds writing “lesson the stress and sting” when confronted with these life upheavals.

By writing and creatively posting, however, is half of the process of releasing stress. The other half comes when readers decide to share some “love” and leave a comment behind. Pure bliss, my friends!

Basically, what I am telling you is, do not follow in my lazy footsteps and please, take a few minutes to add a bit of chit-chat in a blogger’s comment box…you never know who will find your thoughts exactly what they needed to get through their day.

Emma, recently decided to post more often, YAY,  and deals with fear here: 1984 Daily Prompt.

* * *

My Love Affair Lesson:

Some love affairs imprint deeply into a person’s soul and even if circumstances draws the heart away in a season or two, the experiences gained will live on forever like a perfect life dream.

As Kozo from Everyday Gurus would say:

{{{HUGS}}}

 

Embrace Ephemeral Friendships

Today, as I looked over the WordPress 2012 yearly report as compared to my 2011 report, I noticed an interesting change. It was not the increase in posts, views, or the countries most of my readers came from, since I posted pretty much everyday during the first half of 2012, but due to outside personal demands, decreased the frequency to at least three to four times a week.

No, the interesting change came from the top commentators section…then it hit me: Most of the names changed from last year! 

Of the five from 2011, three are actively blogging and we remain in touch as time permits. Another blogger seems to have gone into semi-blogging retirement and only one has remained my top commentator in both years. 

She is a top-notch, queen of blogging, none other than, Elizabeth– Mirth and Motivation!

This is what I think.

Friendships, whether it is long-term or just for a moment, is precious.

Every moment we spend together with a friend, whether in person, a phone conversation or sharing thoughts through blog commentaries is time given to us to be grateful.

Not every friendship is capable to last, unfortunately, just one of those glitches in the circle of life, and like the dayflowers that bloom for a day; some friendships are just those…ephemeral beauties.

Embrace beautiful ephemeral friendships in deep gratitude.

To everyone who has been kind enough to subscribe, visit and chat, thank you so much. You made my 2012 the happiest ever and I cannot think of better words to leave you with than Marcel Proust’s quote:

“Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our soul blossom.”

If you are curious to see my other four top commentators for 2012, you can read my gratitude post to them here:

Group Hug

* * *

What interesting thing did you find over at your WordPress Yearly report?

But wait…

Curtain Call: Featured Blog

long road

“No road is long with good company.”

~Turkish Proverb

Good company is always great to have on your blog journey and Implicado, shares his world through his camera. You not only learn many things about his home country, Mexico, like death and life or Bullfighting, but he is all heart.

This is my favorite Cedric @ Implicado mantra:

 “All is well, everything is working out for my highest good, and out of this situation only good will come. I am safe” 

He says he does not like cats…only this kind of Jellicle Cat.  Haha…cheers to great company and to great blog friendships!