If I Had An Extra Hour. . .

Flowers & a bee at the botanical gardens in Richmond, Virginia
Drumstick allium (allium sphaerocephalon) and a bee at the botanical gardens in Richmond, Virginia

Today’s question is – if I had an extra hour in the day, I would:

  • Work on my photography skills
  • Read
  • Clean the house more frequently (it gets way too dirty for my tastes before we clean it again)

I would not:

  • Cook more – cooking once or twice a month works just fine for me.  Eating a fresh cooked meal each day is not important anymore.

I found today’s question from 30 Days of Lists causing me to think more carefully about the constant wish for more time in my day, mostly – is an extra hour a day enough time to make a difference?

Birthday present from my daughter (because I'd admired hers so much)
Birthday present from my daughter (because I’d admired hers so much)

Not surprisingly, the answer is yes and no.

Yes – I’ve gotten a surprisingly number of big projects done by devoting 30 minute a day most days of the week to it.  I get frustrated feeling that I’m barely chipping away, but then one day it’s done or done enough to move on.

No – It takes me forever to get anything meaningful done.  I’d be more satisfied if I could devote big chunks of time to my passions and interests outside of work.  And by big chunks of time, I mean high quality time, not the leftover time when I’m too tired to really enjoy what I’m doing.

I also wonder if I could find an extra hour in the day, right now.  For example, being more disciplined after work to work on my photography skills or sit and read instead of mindlessly watching television.  If I am somewhat successful to find 30 minutes a day to work on a crummy project, can I expand that to 60 minutes and do something more worthwhile?  Or spend it half on the crummy project and half on my photography?

That’s easy to write, but I’m not so sure about execution between coming home late from work most nights and being so tired by 9 pm – which is normal to be tired that late in the evening.  It’s hard to complain about being tired after a good and productive day at work.

But it’s worth thinking about and seeing if I can tinker with my routines more (here’s a post from several years ago on why I think routines are so important in my life).

Of course, I could spend an extra hour a day cuddling a miniature pinscher and letting him use me as his very own pillow.
Of course, I could spend an extra hour a day cuddling a miniature pinscher and letting him use me as his very own pillow.

Changing topics – I haven’t responded yet to the comments from yesterday (thank you so much for taking time to write me something!), but after I wrote yesterday’s post, I wondered why I cared so much about sharing my list.  Is this interesting enough to bother with posting each day or should I just keep it in my journal?

Several years ago, I wrote a good post about why I blog.  I’d been working my way back from some major discouragement over the whole blogging thing and laid out why I was blogging and keeping on with it.

Those reasons are still true two years later.  I blog:

  • To remember my life for myself;
  • To share my life with family and friends, including the many friends I’ve made here through our blogs;
  • To be an encouragement to others;
  • Because I need to write;
  • To point out beauty and happiness everywhere.

Yesterday’s post did all those things.  Some of you hooted with laughter because you would have had the same items on your list.  Ya’ll thought it was pretty good that you weren’t the only ones that couldn’t pass by those things!  For me, much of that list is the same as it was when I was a child and young adult.  The things I loved then, I still love now.  And as always, you enjoyed my pictures, even though they were slices of life instead of pretty flowers.

I’m enjoying the challenge and the questions.  I’m also making some new friends at WordPress who are also participating in this.

So yes, it’s worth my time to write this up and share it.  I hope you do too and thanks, as always, for the likes, your words of encouragement and the laughter you share in the comments.

#30Lists

Acknowledging Milestones

I’ve enjoyed sharing my accomplishments and victories with all of you.  It’s been important to me to make a record of them for rereading later and the comments you’ve left have been icing on the cake.

Along with enjoying my accomplishments, I also want to acknowledge some milestones that happened recently.

Five Years With My Employer

Late last year, I received a five year recognition certificate and a beautiful lapel pin from my employer.  It’s been a while since I’ve stayed somewhere for that length of time, having had several opportunities for a better career, coupled with a bankruptcy and financial insolvency of a few employers.  I was pleased to receive a recoginition, although I’m still trying to figure out how five years went by so quickly.

When my VP gave me the certificate, he asked what were some of the more memorable things of the last five years.  The team was my first response – we have a good team and the department does well together.  We take care of each other and enjoy working together.

The second was settling the U.S Supreme Court case that we were involved in.  Unfortunately, while my employer won the issue, they still paid the state a large sum of money to actually go away.  I was part of all the negotiations, calculations and settlement.

Richmond skyline, where I work
Richmond skyline, where I work

500 Posts On WordPress

Also towards the end of last year, I posted my 500th entry on my blog!  Woohoo!  This particular blog was created in 2008, the I couldn’t figure out what to do with it nor was WordPress as advanced as it is today.  In early 2011, I started blogging consistently and here I am now, 500+ posts later.  My favorite posts for 2012 are listed here and for 2011, listed here.

What have I learned with blogging?  It’s hard work building a following.  People come by one at a time and there is no magic way to suddenly build a large following unless I become famous somehow.

I’ve also made a lot of very good friends through blogging.  Their friendships was totally unexpected and very much enjoyed.  I love the comments, getting to know people, and the E-mails on the side where we encourage each other and offer advice / feedback.

I also have old friends and family members who are enjoying my blog.  It’s been a wonderful way to stay in touch with them, show them what I’ve been up to and hear about their lives in return when they call or write.

Blog Achievements

I have 170 subscribers!  That is so cool!  I’m working at having a relationship with everyone who reads my blog, but it’s a struggle some days.  I always cringe when I leave a comment at the blog of someone who follows me, as I wonder if I’ve left a comment there before or not.  And yeah, sometimes I embarrass myself when I find out that I was not as attentive to my subscribers as I should be.  Thankfully you all are pretty understanding about it.

I’ve had over 14,000 views since starting my blog.  I find that incredible and am not sure how to relate to it.  That’s a lot of people looking at my stuff!

The most viewed blog post is from January 1, 2012 and was about the robins I observed on New Year’s Day.  I have no idea why that’s the most viewed post.  It was a good post, but not as good as others that I’ve done.

My most commented page is my About Me page.  That’s not a big surprise since it’s the easiest page to consistently find in my blog.

My companion when I blog.  Does he look content?
My companion when I blog. Does he look content?

Commenters

Ya’ll are wonderful leaving comments.  I enjoy them so much and they’ve helped me clarify what I’m writing and / or thinking.  It’s been a great help especially when I’m struggling with something or I’m meandering around and not sure what I’m trying to say.

I try to respond to each comment, so it’s not a big surprise that I was the biggest commenter.  But who were my blogging friends that commented the most?  If you get a chance, please visit their blogs and leave them a note or a “like”.  That is, of course, provided that you don’t already follow them!

The top commenter on my blog?  Patti from A New Day Dawns.  Patti posts about a mix of things, including the squirrel mafia that lives in her yard.  Patti and I met when I commented on a comment she left on a different blog.  We have a number of blogging friends in common and often see each other in the comments of other blogs.

The #2 spot was a tie between Judith from Diabetic Redemption and Darlene at Darlene Foster’s Blog.  Judith is working at improving her health and happiness and in the last few months, her blog has really changed and evolved.  I particularly like her Gratitude Saturdays and seeing what went right in her week.

Darlene is the author of a pre-teen book series featuring a 12-year-old girl named Amanda.  I’ve bought and read them all and really enjoyed them.  Darlene explores local cultures with twists and turns to keep her readers interested, yet without being racy or profane as so many books are these days.  I was impressed with Darlene at how she spends two hours a night writing and marketing herself.  I thought I can do that, but have not yet followed up on it!  She has a recent interview on how she got herself started writing.

Other top commenters were Phil, Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge; Kathleen at The Course of Our Seasons; and Derek at No Throwaways.

The Philosopher Mouse of the Hedge writes about a write variety of things, from the German Shepherd who stayed at their house temporarily to how a stalker’s object of attention becomes the loser.  Phil may couch the post with humor and sarcasm, but often has a point that is thought provoking and a commentary on our society.

Kathleen write the most gorgeous poetry.  I often feel that I’m right there with her, whether she’s writing about waking up slowly in the morning or her observations about nature.  Last year, Kathleen gave me permission to reprint one of her poems in my blog, when I wrote a Valentine’s letter to my husband.

Derek is a youth pastor with four small children.  Shortly before the shootings in Newton, his church was burned to the ground by an arsonist who was just mad at the world.  He had no real connection to the church or beef with it, he just felt like burning it.  One of Derek’s most memorable posts was looking through the pictures with his children of good memories from the church.  Derek’s Saturday posts are about funny things the kids did during the week.  Guess who’s three-year-old cut his own hair with the scissors that Dad handed him to hold onto?

Or maybe the word is comfortable.  He looks comfortable.
Or maybe the word is comfortable.
He looks comfortable.

Hugs & Kisses To All

THANK YOU ALL OF YOU.  I appreciate the generosity of your comments, thoughts, and friendship.  My blog has been a wonderful outlet for my writing and photography, a great place to meet with friends, and it’s given me valuable feedback not only on what I’m doing here, but on life in general.

And unlike my beagle, I love hugs and kisses and am sending them out to you as well.

Have a good week!

Special Photo Challenge: Inspiration

WordPress has a special photo challenge this week, in which they pose the question:

What inspires you to blog?

Earlier this year, I wrote a blog post here in which I explored the reasons why I blog.  But what is it that inspires me to keep blogging and photographing?

Self-portrait in sepia tones

Capturing Beauty

I find beauty everywhere I look, whether downtown during my lunchtime walks or when I take a field trip to seek out photographs.  Not only am I enthused about recording the beauty that I see, but my readers have been enthused about it as well.

Because of the comments I’ve gotten about how pretty my pictures are, the joy they’ve brought for a few minutes, and how much ya’all love them, I’ve been switching my blog over to more photos.  I’m still writing commentary, but keeping it shorter.

Hummingbird moth taken at Colonial Williamsburg

Bringing Laughter

Along with capturing beauty, I also find laughter worth sharing.  Much of it involves the dogs and my favorite boy toy, but then again, that’s where my life is lived outside the workplace.

The great thing about laughter is that it relaxes me to edit my photos for sharing and my readers get a smile for starting their day.  Finding something we can all laugh at inspires my blogging.

To understand this picture better, click here to see the sequence of playing ball that leads to the beagle howling at the other dog.

No no no! That was MY ball!

Staying In Touch

My photographs and blog are a place where I can stay in touch with family and friends.  My Mother enjoys seeing my posts and what’s happening in my life, particularly since she lives so far away and neither of us travel by air anymore.

Photo of my Mother taken last Christmas by my sister (used with permission)

My blog also helps me stay in touch with old friends and make new ones.  It’s like a penpal letter, but written more frequently.  Like my Mother, my friends enjoy seeing my news and hearing what’s going on in my life.  It’s a way for me to maintain that connection with important people whom I no longer see due to distance.

My friend’s youngest daughter – she especially loves seeing the dogs and photos that have movement in them. The photo was taken by her mother and is used with permission

Recording My Life

A year ago in August, I was lamenting how fast the year was going.  In it, I wrote:

My diaries and photos give me some control over time passing so swifly.  I reread the events that happened, look at the photos, and savor it again.  Being able to remember helps slow the time down for me.  My diaries also help me prioritize my time, solve problems, and make lists of what needs to be done, remembered, or appreciated.  They help me focus on living in the present of what happened today or happened this week.

My blog has replaced much of my personal journals and I use it for the same things mentioned above.  It’s not particularly sexy to write about decluttering the house, but recording it up helps me remember that yes, I am accomplishing things that need to be done.

It’s much more fun though to go read on the deck and watch a dog chasing bees

Outlet for My Creativity

Editing and processing my photographs and writing up a blog post are all outlets for my creativity.  They take my mind off work, relax me (most days!), get me outside, and encourage me to notice more than the latest tax law changes that I need for my job.

I’ve enjoyed my day trips to take photos and then sharing it with everyone.  It gives me satisfaction and encourages me to keep on blogging.

The greenhouse at Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens;
I love visiting here and it’s only minutes from my house

What reasons are important change from day to day, but at the end of it, I have plenty of inspiration to blog and share my life.  Thanks to all of you who have subscribed, left comments, and created friendships through our blogs.  I appreciate you all!

Where Have I Been?

I sit here with a jumble of thoughts and am not sure where to even start this.  No, I’m not giving up the blog.  But I have enjoyed not posting so frequently and doing other things.  I’ve really, really enjoyed it.  But I am concerned that the longer I’m away, the more I will not want to bother keeping it up.

I’ve also not been taking many pictures.  I’m not taking camera each time I leave the house.  I’ve enjoyed a break from the camera, but I’m also missing not taking pictures and looking at them later.

I’m still finishing off my class with Sheila Bender.  I’ve submitted my last essay, and am behind by two weeks in commenting on the essays of my fellow participants.  I’m not the only one that has fallen behind.  The critiques in general have slowed way down.

Mostly though, I’m dealing with a major load of discouragement about everything.

  • Why write?  There are so many good authors out there who beg for recognition already.
  • Why blog?  Everyone’s too busy to be bothered reading them anyhow.
  • Why cook?  It takes 20 minutes to eat, but there’s so much effort to get the groceries, assemble a meal, then clean up afterwards.
  • Why exercise?  I don’t feel better, I’m not losing weight, and it just makes me achy and sore.
  • Here’s a real good one – why do daily devotions?  I’m not much enjoying Jesus Calling by Sarah Young, but nothing is appealing to me for a replacement.  It’s one more thing I don’t have time for – the devotions themselves and finding something else I’d enjoy more.

I can apply that attitude to pretty much everything going on in my life right now.  It’s sucked the joy out of my days more frequently than it should.  I feel I’m back to where I was at the beginning of 2011 when I worked on having more gratitude in my life.  Well THAT didn’t take long to backslide.

I am working though on identifying some of what is making me unhappy.  By identifying it, I can decide if there’s something that can be changed, make it more acceptable, or eliminate the pressure point.

I’ve enjoyed the Sheila Bender class, but I don’t see myself writing a book of essays for publication at any time in the future.  I’m not liking the longer pieces, to read or to write.  I will likely use what I’ve learned in working on some family photo albums, but I don’t think I want to invest the effort into a self-published book of essays.

For the same reason, I no longer see myself working on fiction.  I sit at a computer all day for my job and I don’t want to do the same at night either.  An hour for a blog relaxes me and is enjoyable.  I try to write the best blog posts that I can, but not all succeed.  That’s okay.  Tomorrow’s another day.  At the end of 2011, I had a number of posts to be proud of, many more than to cringe at.  But I’m not writing and rewriting them for hours on end as I would have to do on a book.

I’m working slowly on a how-to book on doing a daily challenge and been enjoying it.  I’ll probably continue with it for now as for some reason, it doesn’t bother me as much as the personal essays or fiction.

Other changes in my routine?  I’m only swimming one day a week.  It still helps me.  I wish I was doing more, but I’m not fitting it in my schedule.  Oh yeah, I’m also working late most nights.  I come home, eat, watch a little TV and off to beddy bye.  I’ve gone back to my walks during lunch instead, especially on the days I think I’ll be too tired or getting home too late to go to the gym.  By not taking the camera, I can do a more vigorous walk and not take as long.

I’m enjoying doing more cooking.  My favorite boy toy is on his art fair circuit, so I’ve also taken back the grocery shopping, but that is only for a few weeks.  We’ve also been enjoying our homemade pizzas.  It’s still taking longer than it should, but it’s been fun doing them together.  I’ll do another post soon on what we’ve been learning.  The ultimate compliment?  A fellow blogger making her own pizza a few days later because mine looked so good.  She did a Chicago-Style Pan Pizza, so check it out.

I generally don’t like to apologize in my blog posts.  It’s a personal preference – if I need to apologize, I shouldn’t be posting it to start with.  But I am sorry to be whining.  So why am I letting this post go?

Because I’m not the only one who struggles with these things or who is struggling with them now.  It comforts me when my fellow bloggers share their problems, discouragements, and solutions.  I appreciate when they identify what they are struggling with and why.  It helps me put my own life in better perspective or try something I had not thought of.

Laughter helps a lot when I’m feeling this way.  So here’s something for you to laugh about.  SOMEBODY missed the lecture on the evils of smoking.  He’s not exactly Fred MacMurray with a pipe, although he’s still a handsome boy.

© 2012 dogear6 llc

Over at A Daily Life, I updated the link to the May Joy Dare from Ann Voskamp, author of the book “One Thousand Gifts”.  The links to the earlier months are also on this post.

Saturday Errands

My sweetie and I woke up Saturday to a gray and dreary day.  Although it was icy on the trees, the deck and the windshield, the roads were warm enough to be safe.

maple tree in our backyard

After breakfast at Cracker Barrel (my favorite place for breakfast!), we decided to do some errands.    My sweetie has been doing most of our cooking this last year and lately has decided I was right about the better flavor from fresh ground pepper.

love all those things to try!

Not only that, I discovered that we were out of most of our Italian seasonings that I buy bulk at Penzey’s.  I don’t know how it got used up from the freezer without me making a note to replace it, but it was gone.

I loved all the reds from the various paprika's

When I first started shopping at the local Penzey’s, they asked if I’d shopped there before.  No, I replied, but I have mail ordered from you for years.  They said a number of their customers said that and they were pleasantly surprised at how many former catalog customers now came in to buy.  The last time I’d referred to Penzey’s, KittyHere mentioned that she was a mail order customer of theirs also.  They really are good.

Don’t you love the old brickwork in this building?  It’s a nice complement to the wooden shelving.

there is so much to look at and pick from

It was so gray and dreary out that we took our time to look at each type of peppercorn, read the labels, and decide what we felt like bringing home.  We checked out most of the shelves, opening the jars and smelling all the herbs and spices.  It was a fun and lazy way to spend Saturday morning.

view of Cary Street from inside the store

At this point, my sweetie discovered he didn’t have his wallet.  Rather than stay downtown to grab lunch, we headed home to make sure it was on the counter and let the dogs out for a few minutes.  Shortly after bringing them back in again, my sweetie noticed that the big oak tree outside our fence had a new batch of dead leaves – yep, the hawk was back again, blending into the scenery.

taken through the window and a screen

It was positioned in the tree in such a way that from our back door, its head was behind some branches.  From the window there was a screen, which made the resolution poor.  Plus it was still gray and raining out.

surprisingly, it didn't hear the squirrels scrabbling at the fence

Although I thought the weather was a bit nasty for the hawk to be hunting, the prey was out.  The squirrels ran along the back fence, sideways on the crossbeams.  I thought they were trying to hide, but my sweetie thought there was some . . . ummm. . . nookie involved and that they oblivious to the hawk.  The hawk didn’t react to them either.

When I stepped onto the deck, being careful to not make eye contact, the hawk silently slid away and I got no further shots.

the hawk was still there when this guy stopped

So we went out, got some lunch and did a few more errands.  A few years back, I’d bought some Bose headphones which recently a) broke and b) quit transmitting sound in the one ear.  The Bose shop gave me a very good trade-in towards a new set of headphones.  I was glad I found out they did this before I threw out the broken pair.

he's facing the fireplace!

We finally got home late in the afternoon.  I ran the fire for a while (no dogs cuddled with me on the couch!) and took a nap.  We decided to skip being productive and spent the evening watching our favorite BBC detectives in Midsomer Murders.

his back is to the fire so he can get as much heat as possible

Have a good week!  I hope you enjoyed spending some time with us.

Have you visited A Daily Life recently?  It has a new look to give it more color and make it more visually appealing.  The categories are across the top and make it easier to find something.

Recent posts include an idea for writing about knowing you are loved, a book review on writing about your life, and all kinds of challenges and prompts.

dogear6.com has relaunched

This evening was the official relaunching of my old blog at www.dogear6.com.  It’s new name is A Daily Life and it’s mission statement says:

Need help?  Not sure what to write about today?  Interested in a good book to stoke your writing?  Looking for ideas for special days, special events or just to try something different?

You’ve come to the right place.  This blog is for bloggers, diarists, and writers.  Its purpose is to provide writing prompts, book reviews, journal jar ideas, and encouragement on creativity. It will be a mix of original material, links and reposted material, and guest bloggers.

My heart is for diaries, having kept them for over 25 years. So much of what happens with blogs is similar. There are many excellent things out in cyberspace, but no consistent way of finding it. My hope is that you find this a one-stop resource for your blogging / diary needs.

If you are interested in contributing, please leave a comment.

I posted my first article out there on how to add awards / badges to your sidebar.  I’ve been answering this quite a lot lately for my fellow bloggers, so I thought I’d memorialize it in the first post.

It is a work in progress, so be patient as it gets going.  If you’re not subscribed and think you’d be interested in occasional help with your creative ventures, please consider subscribing.

2011 Blog Review

Wow, I cannot believe New Year’s Eve is here already.  So, how did I do with my blog?  Here’s an interview with myself:

Why did you start the random word challenge?  One of my personal goals this year was to write, write, write,  Seriously, that’s how I set the goal.  I’d tried on-line journaling before in a different forum, but never got any traction.  I was impressed with the quality of the blogs I’d been following and wanted to try it again.  When I found the random word challenge, it appealed to me as a way to start blogging and have to show up every day.

Describe the state of your blog at the time you started the challenge.  I’d set up “Living The Seasons” in 2008 but never did anything with it.  Prior to starting the challenge, I’d done a few posts in early 2011 but nothing consistent.

How did your blog evolve over the course of the random word challenge?  My first posts were mostly a definition of the word and a picture, with maybe a paragraph as to why I picked that picture.  Slowly I began writing better content to where the posts meant something to me and were something I wanted to share to encourage others, amuse them, or point out beauty.  I got really discouraged in early July because I had so much I wanted to share but the random words restricted my choices so badly.  I realized that I had to be more creative in using the words while posting the topics I wanted.

Did you post as often as you had hoped?  I never expected to post every  day and was thrilled that I did so.

What type of blogging strategy works best for you?  I like to do some research on my topics.  It gives me ideas to expand my own thoughts and helps me ensure better accuracy.  I didn’t research extensively, but I often did research several times as I wrote each post.

If you could go back to the beginning, what would you do differently?  Oh man, there are so many things I’d have done different.  I’d have started right away at Living The Seasons, instead of thinking that My Life In Photos at dogear6 would be a throwaway.  I’d have purchased the domain name at the start, instead of later.  Also, I’d have been more careful on the categories and tags, especially when labeling the family stories.  It’s hard now to go back and find things.  I need to redo them one of these days.

What are you most proud of accomplishing this year?  That I wrote as much as I did.  I’m also proud that my family subscribes to and reads my blog, and that my blog has been a way to stay in touch with old friends and make new ones as well.  I never dreamt that my Jaimie, my friend’s daughter, would be so enthralled with my blog and its photos.

What surprised you about the challenge?  That as I improved my content, it took me so long to write each night.  My longer posts needed about two hours each to develop, write and edit.  It was a great way to end the day, but my reading and other hobbies have fallen way off.  The housework is behind too :)  I was also surprised at how some field trips helped not only my photography, but also gave me content to write about.  I didn’t expect that.

What advice would you give to others who want to blog regularly?  A challenge is a great way to get consistency and there are many of them out there.  The daily prompts from WordPress are another great way to get ideas until your own muse becomes more reliable.  I did not use them, but many of my fellow bloggers did and I think they helped a lot.

Any favorite posts from 2011?  I am really proud of my body of work, so it’s hard to pick just several.  I’d say three favorites would include Culture Norms Are A Pile of Moose Muffins (about my cousin who had Down’s syndrome), Phase of the Summer (about fleeting days), and Come To Me & Leave Happier (making other’s days a little brighter).

What are your blogging goals for 2012?  I’m reducing my frequency and do not plan to post on the weekends unless I’m doing a challenge.  I have several challenges lined up for next year, including the 2012 River of Stones which starts tomorrow.

Thank you everyone for reading my blog, leaving comments, liking my posts, and giving me encouragement!

Happy New Year Everyone!

This picture was taken at dusk tonight.  The sunset was non-existent; I found these clouds when I looked behind myself to the northeast.

© 2011 dogear6 llc

Vouch Tomorrow Is The Last Day For Random Words

It’s hard to believe, but I will vouch that tomorrow is the last day for the random word challenge.  Interested in seeing all the words used?  Check the tab above.

Here’s what I wrote back in February when I took this over:

The challenge is to post a photo each day that matches the randomly selected word.  The purpose is to stretch your creativity and practice your photography.

It’s fun!  Everyone has a different idea how to interpret the day’s selection.  What’s the most fun is to post your interpretation in the comments so we can see the variety of ideas out there.

Better yet, there is only one rule – BE POLITE.  This is for fun and it is meant to be fun for everyone.

Otherwise – do it daily.  Or not.  Or catch up on the weekends.  Use your own photos.   Or found photos.  There are links on the sidebar to see what others are doing as well as some articles on why a challenge can help your photography and creativity.

Have fun!

Of course, it became more than that.  After a while, my challenge was to use the word in my blog and post a photograph that might or might not relate to the blog post.  Tomorrow I will write more about my experience in doing this.

I do want to acknowledge the other participants in this and give out some awards.

Kitty has been in on this since January 1.  She’s posted every day, from taking pictures to match the word to going through her stash and showing us all kinds of great pictures from her travels and home.  Her blog posts became much more descriptive as the year went.  For 2012, she’s spreading her wings and evolving her blog even more.

Kitty, here is a badge for your blog.  You’re a winner and I enjoyed doing the challenge with you.  I am most appreciative of your encouragement and inspiration to see this through to the end.  It’s so funny that at first, we were just two gals doing a challenge and have now become good friends.

I Posted Daily in The Random Word Challenge!

There were other participants that came and went.  Patti recently joined the challenge.  Hugmamma participated when she was looking for inspiration.  Some participants at the beginning dropped when it became too much, including Trisha, Sharlene & Jen (who originally started it).  Here is a badge for your blogs – thank you for your friendships, comments, and encouragement.

I Participated in The 2011 Random Word Challenge!

Part of the fun of doing challenges is being able to put a badge on your blog that you succeeded.  It never occurred to me until recently to do that, so I designed these for you as appreciation for the joy on the journey.

As for today’s photo, I can vouch for the fact that it took a lot to tire this little guy out.  Unfortunately, it didn’t take much time to recharge for him to go again.  At 9 weeks old, he’s already a moose.  He’ll probably be about 100 lbs. when he’s full-grown.

© 2011 dogear6 llc

Word for tomorrow – BLOGGER’S CHOICE.

Scared To Change in 2012

I’ve decided to not redo the random word challenge in 2012.  I’d like less restrictions with my topics, although I don’t expect the content to change much.

I’m a bit scared though to let it go.  I’ve written about things I’d never have picked for a topic.  My creativity stretched and overall, I’m very pleased with how well I used the random words and yet expressed what I wanted.  I wonder if I’ll do as well when I can pick my own topics and write over several days if needed.

Of course, I can continue with the random word.  But there are other things I’d like to try, such as this 95 Questions and the A to Z Challenge in April (thanks Lynda K!).  I’d also like to try NaNoWriMo in November.  My journal jar of ideas is pretty full and could take me a while to get through.

My plans are to post Monday through Friday, with Friday being wordless, i.e. photo only.  I don’t plan to do a daily photo challenge in 2012, but I plan to continue taking plenty of pictures.

KittyHere had a great post about how she plans to structure her blog next year.  She’s got some great ideas and I might use a few of those also.  And of course, there are the daily prompts from WordPress.

So those are my thoughts for today.  This will be my 344th post this year.  I’ve written everyday since I started the random word challenge in February.  One of my goals for this year was to write, write, write and I have done that.

As an aside – there are two readers who might be persuaded to take it on for next year.  If anyone else is interested, please leave me a comment.

The beagle is scared that his powers of telepathy have failed since I am not moving to the pantry to give him a treat.  Or let him out in the yard to check the perimeter for squirrels.  Beagles have such expressive eyes – is this a pitiful dog or what?

© 2011 dogear6 llc

Word for tomorrow – VOUCH.  If you prefer to work ahead, see the list for the week under “A Word A Day”.