gratitude, postaday, spider, list, photograph, nature

September’s Reflection: Everyday Give Thanks

life, gratitude, wplongform, list, September, reflection

♥Everyday give thanks. ♥

In a blink of a moment, life can come to a complete halt. Sometimes luck may warn us ahead of time but what if tomorrow never comes?

Since time is ephemeral, I make it a serious habit of finding at least four blessings everyday to be thankful for.

Also, I know how I fail big time staying in touch with both my long time readers and new subscribers, but please know my effusive heart thanks you all –

Thank you for your unfailing support and love.

In September, I am grateful for…Kindness, comfort and little things I often miss in my busy days…

– recycled hand-me-down clothing – fresh aroma of just washed clothes – comfortable shoe gel inserts – time spent streamlining clothes to give away – getting bills paid on time – peaceful visits to church sanctuary – small family farms…

– dedicated volunteers helping recovering substance abuse people stay on track

an opportunity serving over forty families at community food bank… 

– dedicated health care workers – a smiling four-month baby girl in church nursery – morning sunlight streaming through the window – watching leaves starting to fall – invention of the desk stapler – portable plastic storage bins – door knobs – brick homes – soft carpet floors – our human cervical spine – foaming hand soap…

– good works inspired by St. Vincent de Paul

gratitude, postaday, spider, list, photograph, nature

Busy worker wrapping up a McSpider Happy Meal…

– lip gloss – movie night with J. Depp’s Public Enemy – last few days of September… 

– finding assorted bugs to feed giant garden spiders 

I am grateful for…Nourishment and…crock pot steel-cut oatmeal breakfast – homemade pearl tapioca pudding – leftover beef brisket compiled over fried corn tortilla, melted cheese, sour cream, salsa and lettuce…

– extra-large supreme pizza– homemade buttermilk banana bread – peppermint tea – homemade Indian Taco – fresh sweet pineapple salad – buttermilk…

– crock-pot beef stew – sharp cheddar cheese – mocha ice coffee – after dinner mints…

– community food bank volunteers working hard rain or shine 

I am grateful for…Happy moments, surprises that delight and…a big Great Dane dog seeks your protection when it fears – fingernails…

– peace found in God – hand lotion – early morning rainfall – large size at low-cost dog shampoo

two years flying with WordPress

– thankful for a quick recovery from disastrous blog theme change back to original theme…whew!

– festivals that honor the dead…like Obon celebrations – parent(s) that stay focused on raising mindful and respectful children – God’s sustaining love and much-needed rainfall this morning…

Jack Russel Terrier puppy

Grateful for a Jack Russel Terrier playful spirit – and no, this is only an Internet look-alike version of the pup I know. ☺

 

I am grateful for…Convenience found…in aromatic fabric softener – a two kitchen sink feature – remembering to pick up toilet paper from store…

– dirt roads with little to no dips or holes to mess up your truck tires

 – digital photo frames – electricity – sharp scissors – empty cardboard boxes to refill and reuse…

…and one more thing, a haiku of course:

In silence
September days bid farewell
bows in gratitude

☼HUGS!

 

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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?

♥♥♥

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. 🙂

Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

For the Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures

Thank you, readers, for sharing a part of you this past year with me…I am grateful, deeply, for the time you spent making this tiny spot in the vast WordPress universe a big success.

May the Divine One bless us with lasting peace, joy and love.

If you click on the first photo, it will take you on a mini tour highlighting a few cherished moments I shared throughout 2012. Enjoy!

If you want a quick peek at more fine entries to the Weekly Photo Challenge: My 2012 in Pictures…see below:

 

I Get Emails From Tyler Perry!!!

Dear Readers,

What do you love about emails?

Me? Well, I love getting personalized male mail delivered right into my electronic mailbox. Of course, like most of you, I do get my share of spam mail, you know, the ones advertising Viagra and other, “oh come on, does anyone actually order from these places?” type email.

Despite all those garbage type emails, however, I do receive a few meaningful emails like the ones that tell me that you, dear readers, liked one of my posts or when I happen to find a personalized mail from the male gender. You know the day gets happier when you receive notes from the gender that grabs your attention. (I am guessing it is the simple force of nature at work.)

Anyway, my recent “happy” mail came from one of my favorite celebrities. See if you can guess who this mystery person is.

My mysterious celebrity is a tall male American actor, 6 feet 5 inches, he occasionally performs in drag; is a director, screenwriter, and author who has written many stage plays and to top it all off, is a songwriter.

If you guessed this celebrity as Tyler Perry, you so guessed right!

I get emails from Tyler Perry!!!

Of course, you can too, but please, for the moment, leave me to the dream that the email in my box is only between Mr. Perry and me.

I tell you, if you ever receive an email from Mr. Perry, you would think he was like your best friend. First, he always addresses your email by your name and second, as a best friend would do, he writes on things that should matter to you in life.

For example, probably one of you reading this post may have gotten this same email from Mr. Perry. As you read it, you would think, like I have, that you are the only thing that matters in Mr. Perry’s world and how he lovingly implores you to search out exactly “what kind of person you are” in the sphere of life.

Check it out:

* * *

Tyler Perry mixes it up with the media on the ...

Tyler Perry mixes it up with the media on the red carpet at the 82nd Academy Awards. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Hey Sunshine,

I said this in a play once as Madea… LOL. But I thought I’d revisit it as Tyler for those of you who may not have heard it 🙂

I have this tree analogy when I think of people in my life, be it friends, family, acquaintances, employees, co-workers, whomever…They are all placed inside what I call my tree test. It goes like this:

LEAF PEOPLE

Some people come into your life and they are like leaves on a tree. They are only there for a season. You can’t depend on them or count on them because they are weak and only there to give you shade. Like leaves, they are there to take what they need and as soon as it gets cold or a wind blows in your life they are gone. You can’t be angry at them, it’s just who they are.

BRANCH PEOPLE

There are some people who come into your life and they are like branches on a tree. They are stronger than leaves, but you have to be careful with them. They will stick around through most seasons, but if you go through a storm or two in your life it’s possible that you could lose them. Most times they break away when it’s tough. Although they are stronger than leaves, you have to test them out before you run out there and put all your weight on them. In most cases they can’t handle too much weight. But again, you can’t be mad with them, it’s just who they are.

ROOT PEOPLE

If you can find some people in your life who are like the roots of a tree then you have found something special. Like the roots of a tree, they are hard to find because they are not trying to be seen. Their only job is to hold you up and help you live a strong and healthy life. If you thrive, they are happy. They stay low-key and don’t let the world know that they are there. And if you go through an awful storm they will hold you up. Their job is to hold you up, come what may, and to nourish you, feed you and water you.

Just as a tree has many limbs and many leaves, there are few roots. Look at your own life.

How many leaves, branches and roots do you have?

What are you in other people’s lives?

THANK GOD FOR YOUR ROOTS! You may want to call them today or share this message with them and attach your own note saying, “thanks for being my root”.

By the way, don’t waste your time sending this to a leaf, they won’t get it anyway.

Love you,

Tyler

* * *

(Did you see that? He said he loved me!!!) Okay, I probably never will meet in this lifetime , Mr. Perry, ever, but receiving his thought-filled emails every so often makes me feel so darn important and I hope it is whipping me into a better person. Specifically, from this email, I hope I am (becoming) a root, and not just a leaf or branch, in your blogosphere world.

In any case, let me just end by saying to all of you faithful readers, “thanks for being my root.”

Love you,
Sunshine xoxo

This week’s Weekly Writing Challenge: Mail It In | The Daily Post at WordPress.com really was a challenge…who knew one could actually send a post from your email!?!

Thanks, WordPress!

I Have Been Categorizing and Tagging While Blindfolded!!

It is true; I have posted in my ignorance. This, no-excuse behavior, is equal to blogging while being blindfolded.

How this can be, you ask. Well, let me explain.

When I started blogging, like most some of you, I was like a fish out of water. Everything about blogging was new for me. (Uh, still is.!?!) Starting with the writing for an audience; the learning of the WordPress system, and prior to pressing the publish button; checking the proper category boxes and tags for the post.

Things moved in the direction I had expected, although the shaky beginning posts became worrisome when nobody came around. As you know, eventually readers came and some even chose to stay, yay, and I thank you!!!

I Think, Therefore I BLOG - (Being Normal is n...

Photo credit: marsmet451

The blogging life was good; however, the one area that stayed so elusive to my understanding was categories and tags (C&T). The main reason is I did not educate myself on this subject, up until yesterday. As I was getting ready to put the final addition of C&Ts to my post, it suddenly dawned on me that using the same tags as my categories did not seem proper.

I dismissed my questioning mind, closed my eyes; secured the blindfold, and randomly categorized and tagged my post and hit the publish button.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

Random tagging and poor categorizing truly showed my total ignorance. For example, if my post were about the current heat wave we are going through, I would check in my category boxes the following:

Post a Day 2012
Writing
Uncategorized
Sunday Post or Weekly Photo Challenge (if applicable)

Then, for the tags, I would add words that applied to the post and then go crazy n’ wild. Here are some ‘wild’ tags I would throw in even if it did not apply to the topic in my post:

Write
Writer
Woman
Blog
Blogger
Journal
WordPress
Journey
Blogging
Coffee (I wanted to use this one just because I wrote the post while drinking coffee!!)

Moreover, I believe I had more tags that are random and not mentioned here that would find its way out on a published post. I would also *gasp* repeat some of the checked categories in the tag section. The classic ones were, Weekly Photo Challenge, Sunday Post and 5- Minute Friday. They would be in both my category and tag section!

This behavior was a dumb and ignorant move on my part.

Thank goodness, my fairy blog mother came by yesterday and whispered,

“Girl, you need to get some help over at WordPress Forum/Support and pronto!”

As I had expected, the message I received by my fairy blog mother’s very speedy helper, Time Thief, indicated it was time to stop posting while blindfolded and get edu-blogmacated!

Here is my question and my quick answer from forum:

Me: Is it better not to repeat a category title when tagging a post?

Forum:

Don’t do it! Never use the same keyword or keyword phrase as both a category and a tag. Search engines treat the two in exactly the same way so it looks like you are spamming to them. Worse still, if you do that you will create an editing mess in your blog.”

Therefore, you all know what I spent most of my free time doing yesterday, and it is still incomplete! I am now in the process of cleaning up my category section by merging some categories into others and creating categories that are more concise and on target for each post after this.

(This is a fine example of the consequences of not having a clear mission statement formed as you begin in the blogging adventure.)

As I understood from the brief research on C&T, a category is like the table of contents of a book; it should tell your readers exactly what your blog focuses on as a good table of contents would do. For example, if my blog was about nature photography, then my categories should reflect this and not have a random category like couture fashion.

Tags, however, are words or several key words that should reflect what is in your post. I guess my choice of using the tag ‘coffee’ just because I was drinking coffee when I wrote my post can no longer find its way as a tag, unless I happen to be writing about coffee.

When tagging, stick to key words that apply to your post.

Finally, most of us want our post seen by many people, and I was in the same mind frame when I wildly attached any tags that came to my head prior to publishing. My thinking on tags were, the more you used, the better chance of exposure for your post.

Wrong. If a post has too many C&T attached to it, the post usually does not even make it into the Topic section of WordPress (fewer people finding you) and possibly, your post be considered as spam! The recommended number of C&T combined should be around 15, total.

As I slowly take off my blindfold, I am squinting from the light of all this new knowledge and I would love to hear how C&T play out in your blog life. As I continue to learn more about blogging more effectively, I have included other sites below that I find explains C&T far better than I have here.

Do you have any interesting trivia on how to handle Categories and Tags properly?

How did you go about creating your own categories for your own blog?