Blogging & Social Media

unexaminedlifeAn unexamined life is not worth living, as the saying goes. I ran across that quote recently and, for some reason, it made me think about blogging.

With my curiosity aroused, I pulled up my blog and realized that I haven’t posted anything to date in 2014, and that in 2013 I published a total of just 5 posts.

So where have I been?

Actually, I have been adjusting to what feels like a whole new life. I have switched from a part-time to a full-time work schedule, become separated and now divorced from my husband of twenty years, moved from a house to an apartment, been diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome, helped my son (who is also on the spectrum) adjust to a new school, put down roots in a new church, and even gotten a kitten.

I have maintained some friendships and let others go, sought out some new kindred spirits and reconnected with some who were lost along the way. It has been a whirlwind and a roller coaster all at the same time.

Through it all, I have missed a lot of things about blogging – the chance to control your own soapbox, the interactions with readers and fellow bloggers, and the way it makes you think about what is going on in your life and try to distill some meaning out of it.

At various points along the way, I have identified myself primarily as a special needs parent and later as a book reviewer, but for now I just want to be me and see where that road takes me. I make no promises about keeping to a schedule of posts or sticking to a particular topic, and I reserve the right to change my mind and contradict my earlier opinions at will!

My hope is that by searching through the jumble that is my brain, I will occasionally unearth some insights worth sharing, or at least help me clarify the questions that I need to be asking myself.

{ 1 comment }

soleprovisions

Sole Provisions is an online retailer specializing in shoes that combine fashion and comfort. I recently had the opportunity to check out their website and receive a pair from either their Orthaheel or FitFlop line to review.

Of course, being the detail-oriented person that I am, I immediately spent quite a bit of time browsing their website to see what their products were all about. I was quite impressed by the selection of styles, ranging from cute flats to functional sandals to even boots.

Also being a casual dress kind of girl, I was definitely interested in the comfort aspect. The FitFlop shoes all feature a patent pending Microwobbleboard midsole that not only redistributes pressure more evenly along the bottom of the foot, but also provides excellent stability and support for amazing walking comfort, while the Orthaheel styles feature a built-in, lightweight biomechanical footbed that supports the feet while helping to realign the lower legs and improve posture.

The Sole Provisions website is extremely easy to navigate, with great search filters to narrow down your choices until you find the perfect pair for you. I chose an adorable pair of flats in a pretty teal color. This exact style is no longer available, unfortunately, but they are introducing new styles all the time, so I am sure you would be able to find something that suits you. Here’s a picture of the shoes I got:

sophia

Personally, I found the orthotic footbed to be incredibly comfortable and supportive. The only drawback for me was that, due to my fairly narrow heels, I had difficulty keeping the shoes on when walking. This is not an uncommon occurrence for me, and adding a pair of heel cushions helped somewhat, although I may end up gifting these shoes to a friend with more normal width feet so that they can be enjoyed to their full potential. Despite this issue, I would definitely visit their site again for the large variety of sandals and other shoes with adjustable straps at the heel.

So I’m sitting in my quiet apartment, listening to the the dryer tumble and thinking that I should be continuing with my cleaning or getting ready to go to my friend’s house this afternoon to work on a couple of projects with her. Before I do either of those things, however, I’m going to attempt to update my blog with something more than a book review.

I have been seeing a lot of posting about the uncertainty of what is going on with Feedburner, and after much thought decided to switch over to Feedblitz. It appears that both my site feed and my Feedblitz feed are coming through to both Google Reader and email okay, and the people who were subscribed directly to Feedburner are getting a message to update their reader. (Let me know if you are seeing anything different, please!) I’m happy about the switch, especially because my Feedburner account still reflects my old blog name in the URL as I didn’t want to lose people when I switched to a different domain a couple of years ago.

In the midst of this, I also decided to stop using Networked Blogs and also not to have Feedblitz post to Facebook, as the posts get grouped together instead of staying as individual posts. Instead, I plan to just manually update Facebook when I want to share a post, which will allow me to personalize it more anyway. I feel like I’ve lost touch with who is reading my blog somewhat, as I’ve pulled back from posting about personal stuff a lot over the last few months.

I have been reading a ton lately, as you’ve probably noticed from the number of reviews posted, and I was looking over my Fall Into Reading goals to see where I’m at with those. I guess I’ve gotten a bit sidetracked in my reading, because I haven’t make too much progress:

  • I have read 4 of the 6 review books. One I decided to pass on, and the other I haven’t received yet.
  • I haven’t read any of the nonfiction books, all of which are still sitting on the shelf looking a bit forlorn.
  • I am going to the library today to see what I can find from the fiction list, as well as to re-check out The Night Circus, which I got halfway through and had to return to the library. It is really a very good book, and I am eager to continue with the story.

So, only 4 out of 24 completed, so it’s time to stop letting myself get distracted by whatever comes along and stay focused on my list.

On the personal front, I have been working on connecting more with other people and on dealing with the emotional issues the separation from my husband has raised. I joined a community group at my church, which is sort of like a life group or small group except that it is more focused on Bible study. We are going through the book of Job together, which I love. It’s so interesting that most of the people at this church have come from different church backgrounds and are finding healing and community here despite some variations in theology and style of worship.

I am also attending a Divorce Care group, at another church nearby, and am attempting to admit and deal with some of the intense emotions I have been stuffing for a long time. It’s a difficult thing, especially as I don’t really know what to do with the feelings or how to process them. But at least it’s a start.

Well, the dryer has stopped turning, so I had better keep the laundry going and attend to some of the other domestic chores on my list for today. Michael will be home from his dad’s at 6, and we already have an epic Pokemon battle planned for this evening, along with his favorite brand of chicken nuggets for dinner. I hope everyone reading is having a good weekend and will be blessed this week with all the grace and strength you need.

Ultimate Blog Party 2012

So, here we are again, time for the Ultimate Blog Party at 5 Minutes for Mom. Always such a great way to make new friends and expand your horizons!

My only dilemma is figuring out which linky list to put my name on – I’m such a black-and-white thinker that it’s hard for me to pick just one category. :)

So, who am I and where do I fit in? First and foremost, I’m a mom. I have one son, Michael, who is 10 years old and in 3rd grade. Because my husband and I are recently separated, Michael and I have just moved into an apartment and are working on making it a home. He will be switching schools in the fall, so we are also preparing for that big transition.

Product Reviews and Giveaways? Well, I am a major bookworm and love to share books with others, so I often write reviews of books that I have been given for free. Additionally, I am part of the team at 5 Minutes for Books and love writing reviews for that site as well. I don’t really do other product reviews, however, so I guess I don’t exactly fit on that list.

Christian and Religious Blogs? I am a born-again Christian and am deeply in love with Jesus. My faith informs and colors everything I do, including how I read a book or look at a disability issue, but it’s not the primary focus of most blog posts, so maybe that’s not the best place either.

Special Needs Blogs? My son Michael has autism, and I was diagnosed last November with Asperger’s, so we definitely qualify for this category. I used to write about this topic quite a lot, but haven’t written as much on it lately. I am passionate about advocacy and would love someday to make that a bigger part of my life’s work.

Specialty Blogs? Hmm, this one is a possibility, especially if you look at how heavily weighted my recent posts have been towards books. I do write about other things, though, so I’m just not ready to commit here.

Business Blogs? No, although I make a (very) small amount of money from blogging, I do it because I love it! Daily Life and Opinion Blogs? No, not really, although I do have plenty of opinions about daily life. Dad Blogs? No, this one I know the answer to for sure!

So, where DO I fit? Since what I blog about varies with the seasons of my life, I guess it ultimately comes down to the reason I go to 5 Minutes for Mom. It’s because I’m a mom who has lots of different stuff going on in her life and likes to take a little bit of time each day to learn something new or be inspired by someone else’s story.

If that’s you, too, and you don’t mind a little bit of rambling and a whole lot of reading along the way, I’d love to have you stick around and see how we can learn from and inspire each other. Subscribe to my feed or sign up by email to get connected.

I’d also love for you to leave a comment and let me know you stopped by – I’ll be giving away a prize package with some of my favorite reads* this year to one lucky reader (US addresses only). Simply leave a comment below to enter, and I’ll announce the winner on April 23rd.

*Books may include some uncorrected proofs and possibly a bit of highlighting or a few notes in the margins.

Blog awards are so much fun! And this one is so pretty, too; I love it!

Here are the rules that came along with it:

  1. Thank the person who gave you the award and link back to them in your post.
  2. Share 7 things about yourself.
  3. Pass this award along to 15 recently discovered blogs (contact them to let them know).

So, here’s a big thank you to Melissa at Someday, When I’m Famous… for thinking of me. Melissa is a great blogger and also an author, so check her out at her blog or on Goodreads.

And a few things about me (hopefully interesting ones!)

  1. I haven’t eaten potatoes in over a year, since I was found to be allergic to them, and I occasionally dream about ordering a big plate and scarfing them down before remembering that I’m not supposed to.
  2. I have become addicted to Netflix and have worked my way through several TV series, even though I’m sure the time could have been used much more productively.
  3. I haven’t been to church hardly at all this summer because we have run out of volunteers for Michael and I don’t enjoy children’s church any more now than I did when I was a kid myself.
  4. I am grateful that my friend Kelli has started a blog about reading through the Bible chronologically, because it gives me a bit of spiritual connection that I have been missing. (It’s called The Exhorter Reads if you want to check it out – we just started reading on September 1st, so you haven’t missed too much!)
  5. I haven’t used any of my stamping supplies in ages and have even bought the last several birthday cards I needed at the store (gasp!). My friend and I got together yesterday to talk about getting back to it on a more regular basis again, which should be a lot of fun.
  6. I have found that even a good school meeting leaves me drained and stressed, although at least without the residual anger and frustration that comes from a bad one.
  7. I am looking forward to cooler weather – especially since I am so tired of having allergy and sinus problems.

Now, onto some (relatively) recent blog finds. This is a bit of a mix, although all of these bloggers have some connection to autism. Some I read for enjoyment and comraderie, while others make me think and even challenge some of my previously-held ideas – and some do both!

A note to those of you I have passed this award on to – you are under absolutely no obligation to follow any of the rules that come with the award or even to acknowledge it in any way. You can choose to participate in any way you wish or to ignore it completely. I have listed your blog simply because it has given something to me over the last few months and I wanted to let you know.