When Life Gives You Lemons, You Just Might Find You Like Lemonade

Thursday, April 6, 2017

It began in April of 2014, a hobby, a passion, an outlet, a therapy, a drug of sorts.  That's when Life As I See It began.  At the time I saw the blog mostly as a means of distraction, a way to heal a pain, something to divert my attention away from the void that was impossible to ignore.  I didn't know if anyone would read this compilation of photos and stories, but it didn't matter because back then just the act of putting together a post served its purpose.  It filled my time, and occupied my focus and attention, and gave me a reason to be excited instead of lonely.  That first month I wrote 11 posts beginning with some of my favorite places:  Beardslee Castle, Vischer Ferry Nature Preserve, Grafton State Park, Fitch Road and then I took my first chance at a post of a more editorial nature, Changing How We See.  Today that remains one of my all-time favorite posts.

In May I penned a total of 12 posts - some of our favorite destinations and a couple about some intriguing people, and again a couple editorials.  June followed with 11, July with a whopping 18  and on and on for the next three years.  Today I've written a total of 289 posts!!!  Over time I'd collected posts that fit into a couple handfuls of categories and I decided it was time to organize the blog in a way so my readers could hang around and browse effectively through subjects that interested them. Thus my Category bar on the top of the blog was born.  That was a nice way to just read through every post in a category, but recognizing that some folks wouldn't want to read every post in a category, I created a Directory where folks could scan each category listing and pick one post or two and get to it by going to the month it was posted.  All this was housekeeping for me, (and my blog designer) but hopefully it was also a tool to help readers get more out of the blog and also read posts that came before their first visit. I knew the Directory was long....but it wasn't until I printed it that I saw just how long it was!

While it is pretty satisfying and somewhat validating to see in black and white how prolific this little blog has become, it was a little frustrating knowing that new readers may never see much of what already existed on the blog.  A solution for that came last week and I'll share that later.  We won't even discuss how many thousands of photos I've taken in these three years - just for the blog. HaHa...but that's another addiction for another day.

The thing I've loved most about the blog is the amazing people it has brought into my universe.  From every farm owner to shop owner, artist and gardener, blog readers to fellow photographers and bloggers....to name just a few, my heart and my life are so much fuller thanks to the friendships I've made along this journey.  You all know who you are.
My circumstances have changed along the way. A year ago our Indy family moved back home (down the street) and our family has added one more granddaughter and a grandson will be joining the family soon. While it took a little bit of adjustment to still make time for blog travel and writing, it wasn't long before I figured out a way to carve out time for something so important to me. Honestly, I really can't see my life without it now.  They say that ..
At a time when I was feeling a little lost, a little idea became something huge, something that gave me a voice, a purpose and a project.  I am lucky enough to have family and friends to spend time with and to love, and certainly grandbabies can easily fill one's hearts and time with plenty of happiness, but this blog has given me something extra, that something extra that one sometimes misses after retirement.  It's something John and I enjoy together...the car rides, the people we meet, the scenery along the way.  While I get excited when a post gets read by record numbers of people, or telling someone's story makes their day, or searching for new places to write about gets us out of the house and sometimes out of our comfort zone, the true satisfaction that comes from this blog is the concrete, black and white history it has created for my grandkids of who their grandma is and what she was all about.  The stories I've written about family members, life lessons, stories of encouragement and compassion will hopefully be around long after I'm gone for them to understand who I was as an individual.  Hopefully it'll be a story they're proud of.
I thank you - each and every one of you, whether you've read all of my posts or just a few.  Your support, your comments, your sharing of the blog mean so much.  While I began with no expectation of success (believe me I am by no means a 'real' or 'famous' or money-making blogger) and while I probably would have continued regardless of whether or not it caught on and developed a following.....I'm glad it has and it's been much more fun having you all along for the ride.  I'm shocked to see my Facebook blog followers have reached almost 800.  Equally moving was an email I received from the Director of the Easton Library asking to exhibit photos from my Easton blogs. Helen was born, brought up and spent all but 6 yrs of her life in Easton.  As she prepares to retire from a 30 yr career as the Director of the library, I could tell that sharing the photos of her hometown meant something to her and believe me....being able to be a part of that meant more to me than I can describe.
As I've traveled this journey and created something much bigger than even I imagined, it occurred to me that for the most part, to my readers, the blog consists primarily of my current post.  In today's busy world, people often see social media on their phones and the blog looks much different on a mobile device.  That makes exploring the blog less likely and even a bit confusing.  For that reason, I've just added a page called Finding Your Way Around - Your Life As I See It GPS.  On this page you'll find a really simple map of finding your way around the blog...here's a peek at what I mean.

 Along with written, simple, step-by-step instructions, it gives readers, old and new, a simple way to find out what's on the blog and how to find it and hopefully read it.  I hope you'll check it out and maybe find a topic or a post you missed or would like to share with a friend.
The next time life throws you some lemons and you find yourself feeling lost, empty, longing for more....open your mind, open your eyes and open your heart.  Life is full of all sorts of wonderful things for us to explore.  Your passion might be just beyond your view....probably a little outside of your comfort zone.  With a little courage and a lot of determination, you can find that thing that you knew was missing from your life.  When you find it - you'll know and you'll wonder how you did without it all these years.  Now thanks for reading and go out there and enjoy a glass of lemonade!
Note:  Thanks to Pattie Garrett, food photographer extraordinaire, for loaning me the fabulous lemon photo for today's post!!  Check out her great food blog at: http://www.mysaratogakitchentable.com/

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