I was truly surprised and honored when my blogger friend at Bohemian Geeky Girl…a friend of a friend who encountered my blog even though we’ve never met…selected me for The Liebster Award. I’ve enjoyed following her blog, which explores topics that range from feminist theory to pop culture to reviews, always in an accessible style that doesn’t intimidate. I actually went to every single blog that geekyg1rl had included in her own list, and I had fun encountering even more writers out there. A blog by a woman named Jen whose husband has a brain tumor especially spoke to me. Playing the “cancer card” is not far removed from the “I’m sorry officer I didn’t see that stop sign I’m on my way home from the hospital where I was visiting my mother who is on a ventilator would you like to see a picture of her trach?” (finally take a breath) card.
The Liebster Award is a way of recognizing bloggers who don’t have huge followings and major platforms, as we attempt to put our thoughts out there into the blogosphere. When I first started this blog, I really didn’t expect many people to encounter it, but given that I plan to write a book eventually, I figured that I should start writing publicly on a more regular basis. I had tried blogging quite a few years ago, but because I wasn’t ready to share my thoughts with the world, it was password-protected with only a handful of friends who could view it. Times have changed, though, and I think more of us are starting to see the value in sharing our musings with the world.
The coolest part about this award is that I now get to select 5 recipients and tell you a little about why I follow them. I tried to select a variety of folks to highlight the diversity of perspectives that I encounter on a regular basis.
1. My first pick is my friend Sue, whom I met last summer through a mutual friend. Sue’s posts at Sueprises are always contemplative, especially when she is focused on her spirituality, yet her anecdotes about her mother who has Alzheimer’s are both poignant and humorous. Sue has a quiet wisdom about her while seeming to marvel at the unexpected in life.
2. Natalie is a friend from graduate school–and a fellow flutist–who went back to school for her BSN. Her blog Flutist2Nurse explores her transition from Army musician to Army nurse. Her adventures in nursing school, especially when she started doing more advanced tasks in her clinicals, resonated with my experiences as a caregiver for my mother. I’m looking forward to reading about what’s next for Natalie as she rediscovers her love of yoga and all things active and outdoorsy now that she’s finished with school.
3. My old college friend Joe Hinojosa writes a lot about writing, especially related to a novel that he is working on. Anyone who has ever worked on a creative project will relate to Joe’s enthusiasm and occasional frustrations. He’s the one male on my list, which made me realize that most of the bloggers I follow are female. I do have a couple of other male friends who blog, but their writings are less frequent, more focused on work or professional development, and tend to be for a larger forum (one of the guidelines for the Liebster Award is that the author have 200 or fewer subscribers). Be sure to check out Joe’s poetry as well, which is linked on his blog site.
4. Starr is a former colleague who went on to become a librarian and is now living abroad where her husband is on an extended work assignment. She blogs at Geeky Artist Librarian about her expat and travel adventures, general quirky-artistic-geeky topics, and her Ph.D. dissertation progress. If you ever encounter Starr in person, you’ll immediately detect her über-coolness, but even online, you’ll get a sense of what a breath of fresh air she is.
5. I decided to give a shout-out to a friend who writes a different sort of blog because it’s one that I follow religiously. It’s a CaringBridge page maintained by Tracey, another friend I met in grad school. Tracey’s sweet, funny daughter Julie has leukemia, and like other CaringBridge pages, the blog shares news about Julie’s progress. When Mom was ill, I chose not to maintain a blog about her because Mom was pretty private, and I was often too exhausted to post updates. The remarkable thing about Julie’s CaringBridge page is that I’ve watched Tracey step into her nurturing power as a mother and become increasingly assertive about her daughter’s needs (not to mention remaining attuned to her younger daughter as well). Tracey is an inspiration, and I’m proud to call her my friend.
Bonus blog: I wrote this late last night, but in reading over it now, I realized that I left out one of the most influential blogs that I follow. I’m not sure how many subscribers Ben at Web of Enlightenment has, especially because he blogs regularly at Elephant Journal, but I strongly believe that more people should read his writings. He is a profound thinker…in fact, I’d venture to say one of the most (if not the absolute most) profound people I’ve ever met in my life. We had been communicating online for several months when I had the opportunity to meet him for tea while passing through Shreveport on the way to my family farm last Thanksgiving. That conversation still pops up in my mind quite frequently because I was blown away by how this incredibly tall man with a Southern accent could sound like the Buddha incarnate. Truly one of the greatest minds I’ve been blessed to encounter, and so incredibly humble as well.
Well, there ya have it. There are many more blog sites that I could have listed here, but I do think this cross-section provides a nice variety. Happy reading, and if you’ve been thinking about starting a blog…just do it already!