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State of the Blog Address

I swore I wasn’t going to write this post. Blogging about blogging is so annoying. On the other hand, who else cares about the state of the blog than those who read it?

ANYWAY.

I’ve been blogging for almost five years. Next month will mark my five-year “blogiversary”. With as many as four posts a day at times, I’ve said A LOT over the years (and the people say amen!)

Sometimes I sit down and start to write and get this overwhelming sense of déjà vu. As we cycle through the seasons, many themes begin to repeat themselves. There are only so many times I can complain about the pokey onset of springtime in the northeast or put out a holiday gift guide before people will start to click away.

Sometimes I think I’ve said all there is to say.

Although more often than not, I actually have things I want to say; but when I sit down at the computer, I feel like I’m writing with one hand tied behind my back. Whatever I say, I’m afraid it will offend someone somewhere, or someone will feel like I am writing specifically about them, even when I’m not (and would never do that intentionally).

When I started my blog, it was fairly anonymous. I did share it with some distant friends and family, but most people in my life did not even know about it. Now, just about EVERYONE I remotely know or ever have known at least KNOWS about my blog, whether or not they read regularly — neighbors, school parents, church members, long lost college and high school friends that rediscovered me on Facebook . . . Hello! Yes, I’m talking about YOU!

So many issues that would be excellent blog fodder feel taboo, based on the wide variety of friends and acquaintances who read my blog. It’s not that what I have to say is inappropriate, it’s just that I fear something I write will be misunderstood, or someone will mistakenly think I’m writing a post about or to them. Or sometimes I actually DO want to write a post about something that happened that involves someone else, but it’s not appropriate to discuss it in a public forum.

In the past five years, my kids have changed a lot too. When I started blogging, I had a newborn, a 3-year-old, and a 6-year-old. They were oblivious to anything I was putting out in cyberspace. Nowadays they are 5, 8, and 11. They are very much aware of what I put on my blog. Parenting issues that I’m struggling with are suddenly not appropriate to discuss in this space.

As a result, I’m starting to feel like my content is getting watered down, and quite frankly, I’m losing interest. It’s easier to write for Eat Local Philly or Therapon or All Things Chic — at least those sites offer a service of some sort.

Sometimes I wish I could start over and write anonymously. It would be so freeing to write whatever is on my heart and mind and not worry about someone taking it the wrong way. Does anyone else feel this way?

I suppose I could focus on the more informative type of posts — like the one I did recently on car seat safety, the fashion ones, blogging tips and such — but that’s not the heart of my blog.

Tell me, what do you come here for? Which types of posts are your favorites? What about this blog keeps you coming back?

In the end, I don’t have any plans to change anything, although posting may be less frequent than it once was (as they breathe a collective sigh of relief) and there are a lot of things I will just have to leave unsaid. I just figured I’d share what is on my mind.

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106 thoughts on “State of the Blog Address

  1. Boy, do I know how you feel! I was just thinking along these lines this weekend. There are some things I would love to write abt concerning my past but some people don’t know what happened to me (my parents) ands they would have a million questions. It would start a whole “thing” so I just don’t say anyhthing.

    I have been more open abt some issues in the last couple of months and have been confronted on it. That makes me want to clam up. But all those things are my reality right now.

    I have thot abt an anonymous blog as well. But I wouldn’t be able to stay that way. I havew a big mouth and would give myself away in no time.

    So i’m with ya! You are not alone.

    Pam

  2. Yup I know how you feel. I’ve had mine for about 3 years now? Certainly not as fun and informative as here. I started it to stay in touch with my family when my husband and I got married and I began the thrill ride of the military life. You know travel and such, then I had my pity rants during deployment. But I’ve always been careful about how I word it so I’m not “complaining” or giving TOO much information away. Anonymous blog – how fun. Just “blOg” it out there.
    Because I’m new to you – its all NEW to me, and I find myself following random buttons. Catching up on your photo tips and laughing with the way you write…

  3. thinking similarly as well – what keeps me coming back though is the personal-ness of it – the glimpse into someone’s (whom I feel is similar to me) life. I almost always prefer blogs with original photos to stock photos – and stories that involve their own personal life and all it’s struggles and triumphs.

    just my 2 cents – =)
    Hillary

  4. I know how you feel, too! I always come here and read because you are so real. Your content is so real. It’s practical for moms, women, and parents in general. Besides – who else is going to tell me what color polish to wear this spring or how on earth I cook with health and kids in mind. You are a rockstar blogger and, while you might not feel like you can speak of certain things, know that we would all still listen and encourage if you ever chose to go down that road.

    1. Thank you. And really, I’m not talking about anything deep or earth shattering – just daily stuff that I’d like to discuss that might hit a little too close to home with some of my friends.

  5. Check check and check and I have not even been writing for a year!
    I read other people’s deep moving posts about their lives, but I am not ready to share … its not just my story alone, so how can I and how will it affect the people around me – my family.
    My blog ideas can feel like clothes in a box, thoughts neatly folded inside but no one can wear them just now, so they stay packed away … or something like that. One day …

    I enjoy what you have to say, I love your style, your reviews and information -you are a wealth of information! Maybe coming back from blogging conferences makes us second guess ourselves, thinking we should be doing more, or something new or different?

  6. Maybe I’m weird, but I like when bloggers blog about blogging. I’ve been blogging 5 years as of last month and a lot has changed, indeed. The dejavu feeling as the seasons roll around again is super familiar. It makes sense for things to change and morph along with life – some people would say “Just write your truth! Who cares what people think!” But I’m not one of those. I think we do have to get creative and be respectful of the people who read, and I think you’re wise for thinking that way.

    1. Emily, I have followed both your and Jo-Lynne’s blogs for awhile now, and I love them both. You seem to write what’s on your heart, and that kind of honesty is so refreshing. When I first started blogging, I found myself writing for an audience (even though I didn’t have a large one), and it seemed “forced”. Recently, I rededicated my blogging to God first and myself second, and now the words just seem to flow. It was very claustrophobic for me to try to write “with one hand tied behind my back”, second guessing what everyone’s possible response would be to the words I chose. I think people read other people’s blogs not strictly for the information contained within, but the feeling of community, of “someone *gets* me”. I enjoy both of your blogs so much. Don’t change a thing!

  7. I guess I just love reading about you living your life. It doesn’t have to be anything earth-shattering. Like the whole foods journey — that was incredibly interesting to watch you do that (just like it’s interesting watching you do the gluten-free thing), and it also had a great influence on me and changes I began making on my end. I also love your fashion posts and, above all, your down-to-earth voice. You write with a “real-ness” that says, “Look, this is my life. This is what interests me. If you don’t like it, don’t feel pressured to hang around.” I also agree with a previous comment that your blog holds appeal for me because I share a lot of the same interests as you. So, I can always relate to what you write.

    1. Yeah, but even with that, I feel that some may feel judged b/c they do not share my passion for whole foods and healthy living. I feel like some of my friends are afraid to feed my kids or feel the need to apologize when they feed them something I may not like or ask permission before feeding them. I appreciate their thoughtfulness, but it makes me feel badly that they feel bad, lol. I fear that some people are afraid to invite us over for a meal or make us a meal because it may not be “healthy enough.” So even with topics as non-personal as our food choices, it can get awkward. KWIM?

      1. I get this, but also- you can be a great tool to educate others. Be real and mention that you will eat whatever a host offers you – even the most die hards usually do- you can break some of the barriers maybe ? Bring light to the myths? 🙂

        Steph

      2. Jo-Lynne – I don’t share your passion for whole foods and healthy living… at least not to the extent that you do. 🙂 But I still read every post because I like the way you write about it, and it is informative and helpful and real. It is you. That’s what makes it great. I’m never offended. You don’t write in a judgy “you should do this or you are a horrible person” manner. You just write about what works for you and your family. I have NEVER picked up a negative connotation from it. If I had I wouldn’t have come back.

  8. Jo-Lynne, I’m new to the whole world of blogging and while I’ve not experienced it personally, I certainly understand what you’re saying. With that said, your blog is a fave of mine. I enjoy hearing about your day, your world, your family or just what’s on your mind. For the last year and a half I’ve been a “stay-at-home Nana” after 25+ years in the work force and I’ve often felt a bit isolated. That may be a bit hard to believe in a world where we are so connected (via cell phones, Twitter, FB) but it’s true. Reading blogs like yours is like a breath of fresh air (especially during the long & very snowy winter here in WV!). You’re a kindred spirit who really cares about the same things as me. I hope you’ll stay around & I wish you & your sweet family all the best!

    1. See now, there’s another thing. I know that some people are struggling to make ends meet and I would never want to flaunt.

      Maybe I’m over-thinking this.

  9. It’s funny, a lot of people are saying things like this right now. We’ve all been bloggging about the same amount of time and after a while it just seems like you run out of things to say. I am sometimes down to only a post or two a month because frankly I’m just not interested and don’t have the audience. I have another friend who is all over the internet (for work) and about pulled the plug on his blog the other day (of course, now he’s back more than ever). Ebb and flow. Ebb and flow.

    1. Yeah, I’ve always struggled with this to some extent. But lately it’s gotten even more pronounced. I think it happened when I started sharing my blog posts on Facebook, and suddenly EVERYONE knew about it. It was bound to happen, but it really does put a damper on things at times.

  10. I keep coming back because you are the first blog I really got “hooked” on. I enjoy reading anything you write. But, really enjoy the “family” stuff a lot.

    I haven’t been writing my blog for long at all….and very few people know about it or read it yet, but I already feel somewhat stifled. I am afraid to write about some stuff for fear of certain people reading it and not agreeing with me or thinking badly of me or knowing it’s about them, lol!

    So I can imagine after five years and knowing so many people do read yours that it would be hard!

    But, keep plugging away! I know you have lots of fans!

  11. I’ve been thinking the EXACT SAME THINGS lately! Honestly, I come back to blogs to hear about how people take the mundane things of life and make them interesting. I wrote a post the other day about car shopping and my husband rushed to my desk and said, “Hey, if you don’t want to find a car, I will totally do that for you. I had no idea you didn’t like doing that stuff!” I laughed and told him that no, I didn’t mind it at all, and that what I wrote was just a way to make a very boring subject interesting. I told him blogging (at least for me) is about making mundane experiences entertaining. Even I’m entertained by them when I go back and read months or years later.

    1. OMG, you nailed it. That is SO why I blog.

      I often find myself laughing at life and that’s where I find inspiration for many of my posts. Thanks for reminding me what I love to do most. 🙂

  12. I also just crossed the five year threshold last month, and I can so identify with what you are saying. I also mourn the fact that nothing I write is anonymous anymore. There are many MANY posts written in my head that never make it to the screen because there is no way I could write it and deal with the fall-out offline.

    That said, I’ve been reading here a long time, sister! Most recently, I have LOVED your real/whole foods emphasis. I have always loved your fashion tips; even though I rarely comment on them, I really do rely on them to at least have some sense of what is “in.” I am not fashion-y at all, so I am not going to pick up a fashion magazine, but if I can get a little heads-up on a new trend from a fellow mama – love it!

    Thanks for sharing your heart and thoughts with us.

  13. I sometimes I wish I started out anonymous, but then I wouldn’t have a lot of relationships I have now if I had… among other things and opportunities. I think we can’t have it all. We’ve been around long enough to see so many changes and I think I am finally finding contentment with just “being”. When I need to write about something too personal or possibly offensive I try to be cryptic or I just write about my feelings, not necessarily facts, but feelings are totally legitimate- whether you’re in the right or wrong. I come here because you’re my friend and I want to keep up with what’s going on in your life. 🙂

    Steph

    1. I probably need to learn to be more cryptic. But then again, when I do try to write a cryptic post, I always find that the comments are full of misunderstanding and I want to SCREAM.

      You do cryptic well. But I think I do better to stick to storytelling. 🙂 Trying to explain my thoughts and feelings often does not work for me.

      1. Still so many people don’t get me a lot of the time, but I do, and it’s so therapeutic.

        I put the words out there, how people receive them is not on me. This is a hard thing to let go. And of course I don’t put words out to hurt people or make them feel insecure- I think some of us have more words than others… that’s why so many people say “I feel the same way but I didn’t have the words…” So those of us *with* al the words just have to put them out there. Now I am getting too deep for the morning. 🙂

        Steph

  14. I like the personal part of your blogging and I dont mind if you complain every year about this time of year because I agree with you. I also dont mind you repeating stuff each year like the gift giving guide, your chocolate peanut balls (known in Ohio as buckeyes). Not repeating some things would be like having Christmas without the Christmas songs…..just part of the season and we expect it.

    While i think you are a positive person I dont think you are a pollyanna and I am glad. I like reading about your ups and downs and really enjoy reading about your parenting and things you do with your kids….gives me ideas. I enjoyed reading about your health food journal but I gotta admit I did have a thought along the way that oh no….there go the good recipes. I enjoy reading your menu plan and getting recipe ideas.

    Well kids have another snow day today because of ice on the roads. Started out as a two hour delay but changed into a full fledged day number 6 snow day….the kids are thrilled….mom not so much we just had a three day weekend.lol

    1. We have a 2-hour delay and yesterday was a snow day makeup day so fortunately I’m not in the same boat. Which reminds me – I need to get off this computer and pack lunches!!!

  15. I visit because you make me laugh and teach me something all at the same time. Your sense of humor comes through in your posts – and it’s obvious that you’re real here.

    I definitely understand the limitations, but will continue to check in as often as you write!

  16. I talk about your blog to my husband a lot as yours is one of my favorites. He knows you as ‘the Philly mom who stabbed her thumb with an epi-pen’ and as the lady who opened my eyes to a more healthy diet. So I guess for me your personal posts and the “healthy” ones are what I look for the most.

    I tried to stop reading you at one point because I didn’t get the whole ‘blogging as a business’ thing. It didn’t last long because I found I missed reading you. Your passion is inspiring, even when it’s not something I personally identify with. Your struggle with the end of winter blahs made me realize it’s not just me and that it’s ok to feel that way. You come across as very honest in everything you post where some I’ve read seem to just be pushing another product. You blog about what’s important to you and that keeps me coming back.

    1. OMG! LOL. The Epi Pen. What a trip. ONLY ME.

      I soon learned that the “blogging as a business” did not interest the majority of my readers. It was a big turning point for me and hard not to talk about, but now I have All Things Chic and Eat Local Philly to be my business blogs, and this one I keep personal for the most part. I still enjoy reviewing products and getting ad revenue and whatever comes to me is great, but I think I’ve found a balance there. 🙂

  17. Jo-Lynne, I feel the same way and I think a lot of moms that started blogging back in the day (9 years for me) who now have older kids are feeling this way too. We’ve talked about all our favorite things and funny stories and the kid stories aren’t even that cutesy anymore, they’re just real and private and well, not blog-worthy. Just a few days ago I asked my 6yo’s permission to share something. She was all for it but idk, I kind of feel like they are entering into a stage where I need to really protect them from prying eyes. I’ve closed my facebook to the general audience and have been battling what to share going forward. So, all that rambling to say I feel you.

    I enjoy just reading what you did for the day or what you bought that you love. I like hearing about YOU. I know it seems narcissistic to blog about yourself all the time but really, it’s you we love. Not that we don’t care about your family because we do and they are a part of you but sharing your thoughts, feelings, passionate things are what keeps me coming back.

    1. It does feel narcissistic sometimes, and I think that’s another thing about it that bothers me — that people will realize how self-absorbed I really am. Heh. 😉

  18. I TOTALLY understand it, which is honestly why I SUCKED at blogging. I never felt I could be myself because I live in a fishbowl.

    I come to you for fashion and food advice, books you are reading, and large-ish to very large dollar product reviews (large meaning $100 allll the way up to that new car in your garage 🙂 ).

    1. Speaking of which, I’ve been debating. Since I did test drive just about every non-minivan 7-seater vehicle on the market, do you think ppl would be interested in review posts about each one? Or maybe one post that kind of points out the positive and negatives of each? I know that a lot of people don’t like cars as much as I do, but then again, they are pretty much a necessity and love ’em or hate ’em, my research and test driving experiences could help those who may not want to put all that time in? Thoughts??

      1. As popular as those type of vehicles are I think there really is a need. I know for us, we are not car shoppers, we know what we like and basically have lucked out. But ya know, when you are looking at 30-50k for a car, “lucking out” is nerve wracking.

        And men know what to look for under the hood and the tires and you know “man” stuff but the inside is what will kill a joyful ride / vacation traveling. As much as I love our Denali I do not like to travel with it, it’s a PITA for luggage storage (we bought an enclosed luggage carrier that sits on our hitch, which seems ridiculous).

      2. I would love to hear about your research and test drives, too! We were just in the market for the same type of car. We ended up buying a minivan (ugh… I know) but I would love to hear your thoughts so I can second guess myself like I always do! 🙂

        1. Hahaha. OMG. I have been second guessing myself all week.

          “We should have gotten the Honda Pilot. It’s bigger inside.”

          “Should have at least gone back and test driven that Mazda cx-9 one more time.”

          “I should have held out for a red one. I really wanted the red one.”

          “We should have been sensible and gotten the ’08 V6 for the same amount of money as this ’07 V8 Sport.”

          LOL! LOL!

          But I really do love it and I get a little bit giddy every time I look outside and see it sitting in my driveway. And driving it is a dream! 🙂

          I am working on a post about our car hunt. I probably won’t post it till next week.

  19. I like the personal stuff on your blog, as well as recipes you share and your experiences with finding food locally. Now that we’re expecting our first child, I’m really paying attention to the parent topics on the many blogs I follow. We’re going to need all the advice we can get, I believe.

    I have the same feeling about my blog – I wish it was anonymous and I could post without offending someone.

    I think you should blog what you like, and when it comes naturally. Don’t force the blog posts. We’ll still be here for you no matter how frequently (or infrequently) you update us. 🙂

  20. I totally feel you, Jo-Lynne. I think we kinda talked about this at Blissdom (for about 2.4 seconds) that blogging this long gives you a kind of responsibility to really SHARE and GIVE and WRITE. You can’t just throw something up there as a placeholder. And yet, you can’t just write a post about “today I went to the store” and expect people to be excited about that day after day. Then again moving away from your original self doesn’t always work either. I say all that randomness to say–I know what you mean!

    Just before Blissdom I wrote a post that said, “I’m not going to post 6 days a week anymore” and everyone was like, “UH. WHY DO YOU THINK YOU HAVE TO POST 6 DAYS A WEEK?” And I don’t know why but I did. Like no one would come back if I didn’t. Then after Blissdom I decided to only post “awesome” things. And some weeks I post 2x and others 4. But they are all posts that I *REALLY* like and consider “awesome”. And I feel no pressure to get something up there. It has been so freeing.

    I don’t even know what I’m saying. I’m just agreeing with you. And let you know I’ve never been bored with your blog–you have a great personable voice, one that draws people in. You make people feel they are in your circle of bffs and you DO always have something great to offer!

    love you, girlfriend!
    a

    ps: I LOVE posts about blogging! 😉

    1. Yeah, when I gave up my ad network (wow, that was over a year ago, now!!) I lost that feeling of responsibility to blog daily. My posting got spotty for a while (realize, spotty for ME is 5 times a week rather than 20, lol) and I finally settled into the habit of only posting when I really had something I wanted to say. But lately there are SO many topics I WANT to write about and feel like I can’t. It kinda sucks. But I’m not going anywhere anytime soon. 🙂

  21. Like the others, I get this too – having new things to say, having to be careful bc everyone knows about The Blog. I stepped away in 2010 and cut back posting dramatically. Now I’m doing a re-design of the site in hopes of coming out with, maybe not a new voice or a new focus (not sure I had a voice and clearly, I didn’t have a focus! before) but new inspiration, and a new lease to talk about things I’ve been worried about talking about.

    Somehow a redesign feels like a do-over! I can have new catagories, I can say different things. Or possibly, I’m just weird.

    I’m a serial lurker here but I love your blog. You are one of the bloggers I wish lived next door to me. You are inspiring. There is a lot of crap in the mommy blogosphere now, to be perfectly honest, and I think your site is a “best practice” site I would point to as definitely the way things should be done.

    1. Well aren’t you sweet. I loved meeting you at Blissdom ’10 and felt an instant connection. I wish you lived next door too!!

      I’ve been feeling like I need a redesign lately. Maybe that would help perk me up. 🙂

  22. i’m fairly new here… so have enjoyed all of your posts as they’re new to me! 🙂 i’ve been blogging for a couple of years and i find myself going through the “season cycle” you spoke of. natural. and i really don’t think people remember that much from season to season. a repeat now and then is natural {and as you approach fifty like me…CHOKE… repeating becomes standard issue!}
    lucky for me, no one really reads my blog and i’m free to ramble on about whatever without hurting feelings, but i know what you mean. when my crusty brother was a regular reader of mine, i used to second-guess what i would post. but all of the “jesus talk” frightened him away and he no longer reads. sad that is what probably drove him away, but to each his own, right?
    don’t stop writing. i think it’s completely normal to be feeling this way. i just went through a why-do-i-bother-blogging time myself. i write because i’m a WAHM and i’d go stark-raving-mad if i didn’t have an outlet.
    love you and keep up the awesome blogging!

  23. I found your blog through an interview with Kelly the Kitchen Kop. I was totally hooked because you not only talked about real food, but real fashion, parenting and just plain fun stuff. I think we are at an interesting age–young enough to have a decent exposure to, “all things techy” but old enough to still spell out most of our words and feel a little odd sharing every little thought for the entire world to see and respond to/ comment about. I mean, could you imagine being a teenager right now? I think I would curl up into the fetal position under a rock.

    I think it’s been said before, but I like your posts because you are real, and I can relate. Sure, I can call a friend to commiserate, but while I have a decent amount of friends here, they just don’t get why we eat the way we do or why I love my new purse so much and certainly not BOTH of those things together!

    I don’t really read or comment on many other blogs. I get myself in trouble on Facebook or blog comments, thinking, “Oh dear, that sounds offensive…I didn’t mean it that way.. Blah blah.” I’ve kept myself up at night worried about a stupid Facebook comment. Ridiculous. One thing I’ve learned from my wise husband is that you absolutely cannot control how people react to what you say, write, or do. I’ve become much quieter on Facebook and in commenting on blogs recently because if my emotions get fired up by seeing people be hurtful or misunderstood then I throw myself in there thinking all of my wisdom can diffuse the situation and everyone may even praise my sage advice. Obviously, the true wise thing to do is to keep quiet. That’s from a reader/commenter’s point-of-view. We can’t depend on you or other commenters for validation just as you can’t depend on your readers for validation. That’s when things go awry. Most of us like when you share from your heart or what’s happening in your life–whether it’s parenting or car shopping. Your intentions are never snotty, mean, or flaunty so how others respond is their responsibility. I’ve seen you handle things with humor and grace seems that’s about all you can do as a blogger in sticky situations. Yikes, caffeine-induced stream of consciousness. Snack time is over, back to school!!!

  24. I’ll be honest. I miss hearing about what is going on in your life and with your kids. I very rarely read the reviews or postings about blog events. I can understand that you don’t want your personal life on display, but I can read consumer reports for a carseat review. Just sayin’…

  25. Boy, YOU just opened up a can of worms! And just when you thought you didn’t have anything left to say!! haha!

    I know exactly what you mean. I think this every day. There’s tons I’d love to write about – spiritually, relationally, emotionally, but everyone’s reading. And in my case, my husband is a pastor, looking for a church to work at, and he’s given my blog address to prospective search committees.

    Uh, yeah. Pressure.

    But I’ll say this. The constant tension between “what I can’t say” and “what I long to say” causes us writers to be circumspect and careful in how we phrase things, and that’s EXACTLY what we should be doing. It prevents us from vomiting online. But don’t let the fear factor make your blog bland, okay? Don’t avoid issues that need to be addressed, just because people’s toes are out there. That’s the very reason the issues need to be addressed in the first place — they’re sensitive, and important.

    Not that eye liner and hem lines and raw milk and potty training aren’t important. But those kinds of posts don’t resonate in readers as much as issues of the heart. I try to turn the specific, private issues that seem taboo, into more general, universal issues that people need to hear. Then I can write them, without embarrassment.

  26. This is exactly why I don’t blog! I’m surprised this wasn’t covered at Blissdom – seems like a common problem with long-time bloggers. Some of my favorite blogs started out as “personal” blogs and over time developed such a following that the blogging became a full-time job and a source of income. They lost some readers due to that shift, but gained others. It seems the key to the blogs that did a reboot and redesign and were a success was a narrow focus – they knew exactly who their audience was and what they came to read about. They had mission statements and a brand. Some people hate the idea of “branding” but knowing exactly what your goal is for this blog is really the key. I have said goodbye to some old favorite blogs once they lost their mojo and started drifting. That’s just my two cents as a reader. Hope you find the right path for your blog.

  27. I haven’t the faintest idea how I found your blog, but I thoroughly enjoy each and every post I’ve read! I think I like the variety between reviews, personal family sharing, your shopping finds and reviews and your travels.

    I started my blog as a way to document my thoughts and our memories for my children and I’m glad my family, friends and strangers can enjoy reading it as well, but sometimes I have thoughts or situations I’d love to process through a blog post (I find the writing therapeutic and helpful for clarifying my mind and heart) and am frustrated when I realize I can’t really share them on the blog for fear of offending or hurting someone’s feelings. I also wonder how the things that I DO share have changed or affected the way people see me or perceive me.

    I hope you’ll continue writing on here – whatever you find inspired by you know we’ll love to read it!

  28. I didn’t read any of the previous comments because I wanted to leave my own without being influenced at all.

    I read blogs for the heart. I think the very best thing about blogging is the connections you make with other women that are going through some of the same things you are. Motherhood, womanhood can be so lonely sometimes. I’ve written and read things in the last two years that let me know I’m not the only one in this struggle.

    I write from the heart and always will. If you ever meet me in person (ahem, like maybe BlogHer this year) you will see that I’m the exact same online as I am in real life. So my vote is for the heart.

    I think it is time for us to quit worrying about who we are going to offend and just be ourselves. “Those that matter don’t mind, and those that mind don’t matter.” Or something like that.

  29. I’ll be honest, I come here because you are real! You share joys, fun stories, real things about all sorts of topics and I check in with you so often because I need that ‘step away’ from my two little boys who are my new world. 🙂 I like your styles of writing and don’t find you cycling or repetitive! (Could just be the lack of remembering I now suffer from!) But maybe it was just time for me to thank you for your work and posts! 🙂 You inspire me to get my blog up and going sometime soon!!!

  30. We are in the market for a new car…..family of 5 and i would love to see your reviews. Even if you dont post them on your blog…..could you email them to me?

      1. LOL. I think I’ll write up a post, and do it from a personal perspective – my journey to this decision, so to speak. 🙂 Stay tuned…

  31. Agreed. I have these same exact thoughts. At first I wanted everyone to come to my blog so I advertised the mess out of it. Now, I’m finding myself having to self edit so much I would love to say if I weren’t worried about who was reading. *sigh* It’s that catch 22.

  32. I like the day to day info, just life happenings. I really enjoy hearing about whole foods and learning about gluten free living. I suppose that there is enough randomness in this blog that I don’t get over-whelmed with one topic. I do visit your other blogs, but there’s just something about this one.

    I’m a little disappointed when you skip a day. I look forward to seeing what’s been going on.

  33. Jo Lynne, thanks for putting this out there. I know personally that I was literally nodding my head while reading. (Big Dork,) Sometimes just saying it out loud (or by posting) it helps you figure things out and encourages you to keep pursuing the positive ways you encourage so many!
    I’m rooting for you!

  34. First off, thanks for being so honest with your readers. THAT is what keeps people coming back, time and time again.

    For me, since I’m not a mom, I keep coming back for the yummy recipes and food advice. I LOVED Menu Monday. What happened to that? I haven’t seen it in quite awhile.

    Keep it up!

    Jessica

    1. Yeah, I need to get back to my menu planning! I’ve been lax, and it’s getting harder and harder to come up with dinner ideas.

  35. I love your posts about parenting, healthy eating , recipes. Anything , really.
    Just write about whatever you feel like sharing 🙂

  36. I loved reading through your journey to a whole foods approach to eating. I have grown up that way and try to do my best to feed my family a whole foods diet so I love getting ideas from you!

  37. Dearest Jo-Lynn, you are wise to weigh your words. It’s so easy to speak, or write, without considering the consequences of our words…and there are consequences, for good or for ill (sometimes just for fun!). You are wise to carefully consider your family and friends before sharing stories. My kids are teenagers. I’m gathering some great stories from these years of “adventure”, but most will not be told until they’re older…That’s why the blog world needs some older moms to join in the fun! They can share their wisdom without compromising their kids privacy! Having said that, the phrase, “I’m offended” has been an affective weapon most often used by those that are afraid of honest dialogue and debate. The world would be such an incredibly boring place if everyone agreed with each other! I hope you’ll stay in the “fight” and keep blogging your thoughts, ideas and fashion tips! Pass your words through the filter of Wisdom and then hit the ‘publish’ button!

  38. I’m fairly new to your blog, but I found myself coming back because I liked your sense of balance. You aren’t too much of one thing or another, don’t write horribly opinionated posts; you just seem like a nice normal person who is interested in staying healthy, current and educated… the blogger next door, if you will.
    I enjoy fashion, health and organization posts.

  39. Jo Lynne….i have followed you from almost the beginning, but honestly, when you write informative blogs i just skim over them! i love your personal stories. i guess i am a one of those nosey types who just loves to stick my nose into other peoples lives! i feel i know you & your kiddos…i have grown up with them, followed your walk into a healthier lifestyle, i am invested in your family sort of, if that makes any sense. in some weird cyber twisted way i count you as a friend i will never meet this side of heaven. i have checked out your other blogs, but i come here at least once a week, which is religiously for me. 😉

    1. Awwwww… thanks. It is really fun to think of the people I’ve “met” through this medium that I never would have met any other way.

  40. I’ve been reading your blog for years, and it still one of my favorites! I love reading your thoughts about healthy eating, recipes, fashion, and just your funny day-to-day life. I understand if you want to back off though. It seems to be a common thread these days. I wonder if blogging will start to become a thing of the past since it is not as “exciting” as when it first began.

    1. I’ve noticed the “backing off” thing is getting to be kind of a theme, and I was specifically trying NOT to make this post about that. I think I *have* backed off some, but I also know myself well enough to know that I have the tendency to ebb and flow.

      Actually, something about this post has unleashed the floodgates because suddenly I have about four or five posts I suddenly want to write! Hopefully my blogging funk is a thing of the past!

  41. Longtime reader, here. I personally, do not care for the informative blogs. I really appreciate the parent-oriented ones! I have two kids, similar in age to yours. And we struggle with many of the same issues. I enjoy your blog very much!

  42. WOW…Look at all these comments and I’m proud to say I read every single one of them. You are a very popular lady! You were one of the first blogs in my reader and even through my ups and down with my own blogging journey I’ve always made time to come visit you here. I enjoy the personal stories about you, the family, and parenting the most. Your shopping and fashion posts follows closely behind. As for the real foods, I admit that for a bit there it seemed that was your whole focus so I found myself just skimming over posts and not really paying too much attention. While I am interested in healthy eating, I’m just not on the whole real foods wagon so I felt a little left out of all those posts. Lately though it seems like you have went back to the good ol posts about your life. You are beautiful person, inside and out, and I’ve enjoyed sharing your life these past many years! Keep on blogging girl!!

    1. I am sure you are not the only one who felt left out of those posts. And while I am still passionate about the topic, I really have nothing new to add, and I’ve seen some “old faces” popping up more in the comments, so I’m glad about that! 🙂

      You are one of my very longest (notice I didn’t say oldest) blogging buddies. I remember when I realized you lived nearby!! I’m glad you stuck around even though you didn’t relate to a lot of what I wrote there for a while. ((hug))

  43. I live miles away, and outside of a very small town on a farm. While on the surface it would seem that we would have nothing in common, I immensely enjoy your site because it connects me to the rest of the world, and lets me know that people have similar issues and struggles all over. I enjoy the peek into the suburban world your blog gives, and especially appreciated following your journey regarding food and health. Since I don’t blog I obviously can’t share your concerns, but all I know is that I hope you do continue writing about life today.

  44. I found your blog through Metropolitan Mama and I love reading about your everyday life. I love the meal planning/recipes/whole foods journey. I also think you have a great sense of style so I enjoy the fashion posts.

  45. I found your blog while I was trying to think of a blog name for my own blog. This first blog posts that I saw were of the summer vacation when you went to Williamsburg. I’d love to go there one day! The previous blog was about Frankenfish, and I thought, “Wow a blog that actually talks about current events!” Especially with whole foods that you’re passionate about. The next blog post was on TV shows, which I kinda like the pop culture stuff once in a while. I’ve been looking through your archives and I liked some ideas you had with Works for Me Wednesday, Tried and True, and even the fashion stuff is kinda interesting. Your style seems to be closer to what I’d actually buy myself, so it’s nice to know what it more fashionable for a mom and what not. I’d miss your blog if you decide to call it quits, but I do know it’s easier to write about more specific topics with your other blogs.

    1. Oh, I forgot! I found Not Just Cute through your blog! I love that blog (she lives in the same state as me, too). I’d love more posts about acid-reflux friendly recipes and maybe ones about your education background?

      1. Yeah I need to work on finding more acid-reflux friendly recipes. Generally staying with the low-carb ones help, but also, tomato sauce seems to bother me so that’s a pain. 🙁

  46. The short vehicle reviews would be great. Personally, I love reviews of all kinds as they help narrow the selection when I’m on the hunt for a purchase. I enjoy the Monday Menu posts b/c I can use the inspiration and some of my new family faves have come from you! The fashion posts are great mainly because you don’t pay $500 for a new purse or a pair of shoes…or both…so your outfits don’t add up to $1500 like some sites. And I like your vacation posts and dream of going to Maine in the summer…ha!

    Most of all I appreciate your Christian influence. I don’t have to skip over immodest clothing, four letter words or read about questionable (irreverent) subjects. You like your husband, your kids and you enjoy making a home for your family. These days it takes more effort than ever to be proud of those priorities! So refreshing and so appreciated!

    1. Thanks, it’s nice to know that those facts don’t make me boring! Sometimes I think those blogs are more interesting, but I know that’s not me.

  47. So many comments since I first read this post earlier!

    I’m just about to hit for 4 year mark myself. I wouldn’t have missed any of it. My blog started as a way to share my digi-scrapping, then my photography, then my life! Now I share the jewellery I create, lots of photos, the very occasional digi-scrap layout and still lots about my life here in N Ireland.

    I blogged something very similar to this in early January – a kind of mid-life-blog-crisis!!! (Jan 13 – Blogging – more questions than answers)

    My conclusion following that questioning post, so far, seems to be to remember I am primarily blogging for ME, as a record of this time of my life. I look forward to sharing it with my kids when they are older. However, I also love the connections and community of friends, readers and fellow bloggers, so there is more to it than “all about me”.

    I remember being so thrilled when you first replied to a comment I left on your blog, and being so chuffed when you first commented on my own blog! I was in awe!!!

    However with daughters now 13 and 11, I rarely blog about them at all, and any words or images are heavily censored before I get to hit the publish button. There are also some issues I still don’t share, and I just recently blogged about my hyperparathyroidism and upcoming surgery.

    I try not to worry (so much) about the guilt of NOT blogging some times, and i know if I stopped altogether I would really miss it.

    I think you are right about the impact of FaceBook. So many friends and relatives now have access to my blog who had no clue that I blogged, and while that is not a problem, it maybe effects how I write and what I write about. However my pastor has read my blog almost from the beginning, so that is a BIG factor in what I blog about!

    I do still love your personal from the heart posts. Whilst I find your healthy eating admirable, I don’t I confess read most of the content of those posts. But keep on sharing ….because it is part of who YOU are.

    I love your honesty and integrity – my advice would be to blog about the issues that matter to you, don’t try to please all of the rest of us!

    The friends/family views on your blog is tricky, but if you are being true to you, and you aren’t blogging anything you wouldn’t say in front of them, then I would just go for it!

    Anyway, finally, for as long as you keep blogging, I’ll keep following 🙂 You are still an inspiration to me!

  48. I think we all can relate. I started writing to document my marathon training. Only a few family members knew of the blog. There were times I wanted to stop or felt I didn’t have anything worth saying but then my Dad (my faithful reader) would remark on how much “he loves my blog” so I keep on. I do have times where I would love to write about things that are on a personal level sort of in a therapeutic way, I suppose but can’t because it is no longer anonymous.
    I think I bumped into your blog by way of a recipe. Salmon Cakes, I think. The recipe did not dissapoint and neither does your blog. (if you have never posted a salmon cake recipe well then chalk that up to me being over 40 and starting to turn forgetful – LOL).

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