Seriously, Sarah?
29. 07. 2014

why you should make blog friends

 

I know you’ve read this before. Blogging becomes an online community. However, when I hit publish on my first blog post, I had no idea how it would impact me. Now, I would advise all new bloggers to jump in there and make blog friends!

I think that aside from just writing blogs, bloggers have a lot in common. We respect the power of the written word. We want to share with other people. We want to learn from other people. We want to connect. If we didn’t, we would never have started Googling “How to Start a Blog,” or in my case, getting my husband to set it up for me.

Why You Should Have Blog Friends

These are smart women. You can bounce blogging ideas off of them. You can ask for personal advice. You get a chance to know women from across the country with which you would normally never interact.

You make friends. Who doesn’t like more friends? I even have a very good real life friend, who is a joy to see, and it’s always a joy to read her thoughts.

Local blogging groups! Look for a group of bloggers in your area who meet up regularly. I don’t always get to make it because of my health, but it’s always fun to meet new people, especially ones whose blogs you haven’t read yet, in your local community.

Networking. Your blog friends will have other blog friends. When you have a fun idea, it’s great to be able to get people interested. There is a lot more behind the scenes of every blog than the posts that you see.

Blogging opportunities. Now that I’ve made blog friends, the opportunity to guest post and participate in other blogging related activities are open to me.

How to Make Blog Friends

Start commenting and participating on blogs you like. If you are reading a blog and like the content, you should let the author know! Think about the time that you put into your own blog.

Be active on other social media. Respond to tweets, share posts on Facebook, and like those Instagram photos. There is more to blogging than just the daily(ish) posts.

Swap ads. I know that not everyone wants to deal with some of the work that comes with running a sponsorship program, but simply reaching out to another blogger to let her know that you would like to swap ads is a great way to start a friendship.

Join a blogging community, like the Southern Girl Blogging Community. Through their private Facebook page, we promote each other’s posts, ask for blogging advice, and people share great information.

 

Now, go forth and make some blog friends!


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25. 07. 2014
All The Joys Friday Favorites
On Faith:

Faith in Times of Stress//Sage the Blog
Cassie writes about how her faith has transformed how she handles stress, including how it affected her just last week!

Chronic Illness:

Reimagining Work with Chronic Illness//Ariane
This post is so powerful for anyone who has had to change their dreams because of illness or life circumstances beyond their control.

Sharing What is Scary:

Dear Nina in a Prom Dress//Wear Flowers in Your Hair
Nina bravely shares her experiences with an abusive relationship. It made my heart hurt to read, but her follow up post, About Yesterday, is a touching reflection that everyone needs to read!

Blogging:

No More Ads: How Sponsorships Made Me Hate Blogging//Mr. Thomas and Me
This post was a great reflection on something that seems to be a major part of being considered a successful blog these days.

DIY:

Anthro Inspired Mugs//Rachel Rewritten
Y’all, I want to make these so much! Going to get the husband to help me because I’m afraid my tremor will mess them up, but they’re so, so cute! Obviously, I’ll buy the biggest mug possible.


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24. 07. 2014

I just wanted to throw up a quick post today to thank everyone for their kind words on my “shot day.”

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I’ve been having “shot day,” now for several years. It never gets any easier, but I was encouraged by all of the comments, texts, emails, and tweets that I received. My friends know that I get my shots and that they hurt, but I’ve never sat down and laid out what the day looks or feels like before.

My life revolves around these shots. I live my life relative to when my last set was and when my next set will be. I even scheduled my wedding so that my neck would be at its best. I’m not kidding about people asking “how much longer until your next set?” when they see me feeling unwell.

Mostly, though, what really helped me on Monday was the extra encouragement. I think that when I’ve asked friends to pray for me, they don’t know much about what they’re praying for. I hope they read Monday’s post because I want people to know what dystonia does to those who are affected. Botox is a wonderful help, but it doesn’t work perfectly and it’s a painful process. It only reduces pain. Nothing can eliminate it.

Again, thank you from the bottom of my heart to every single person who has reached out to me this week.


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23. 07. 2014

I woke up the other morning. I woke up, which was pretty amazing because I felt pretty awful.

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Once I finally dragged myself out of bed, just long enough to grab a bite to eat, my alpha stim machine, and an audiobook, I slid right back between the covers.

I listened to Sherlock Holmes. I listened to CS Lewis’s The Problem of Pain, hoping to understand more about my problem of pain. I didn’t. Pain is universal, which I already knew. Honestly, the intellectual understanding of suffering does next to nothing to change how my pain receptors, nerves, and body functions. I still felt terrible.

I could feel the depression creeping into my thoughts, as my husband left with his brother to enjoy a day that I had planned for all of us. It’s not his fault. It’s not my fault. I’m not angry anymore. I’m sad. I am so very sad.

At my age, I should have boundless energy. I should be able to live life on my own terms. In fact, I used to stay up all night, get up early, and generally enjoy life. Now I dread going to bed because I hate the time between laying down and falling asleep. I hate waking up because I know that I will hurt. No matter what, I can’t get comfortable.

I can’t make plans in advance anymore. We had purchased tickets to a local minor league baseball game for that day, but I inadvertently bought the tickets for the wrong time–not that I felt like going anyway. My husband and his brother ended up going to a local amusement park without me.

I purchased tickets to see my favorite band several months ago, but when the concert came, I wasn’t able to go. That was the 4th time this year that I missed a concert that I purchased advanced tickets for–and everyone knows that I don’t like to miss a good concert. There are retreats that I want to attend, but with the deadlines looming, I have no idea on August 1 how I’ll fell at the end of October.

Life doesn’t feel quite right anymore. Life hurts. I’ve tried adjusting to the new normal, but it sucks. The new normal is full of pain, anticipated pain, and sometimes new pains that can’t be explained, yet.

Now I sit here, typing, because writing is my only form of therapy that works, emotionally at least. I don’t know if I’ll ever hit publish on this, but if I do, it’s because I want other people to know that they’re not alone. I have no answers. None. The only thing that I’ve figured out is that if I don’t take care of myself it only gets worse. I haven’t figured out how to make anything better–just not to aggravate anything.

I want to pick up my coffee and drink it, but the tremor in my hand, which is making typing painfully slow–yet easier than handwriting–is preventing me. There is nothing more frustrating than not controlling your own body. Millions of people live with movement disorders. My heart hurts when I think about all of the people who can’t pick up their own version of the coffee cup because their brains are telling their bodies to move without their consent.

I don’t know what to do anymore. Life doesn’t bear even the slightest resemblance to anything that I imagined for myself. Yet, there are the unexpected joys that I wouldn’t have, if I wasn’t sick. I wouldn’t be looking at the two sweetest dogs in the world right now. I wouldn’t value my family the way that I do. Also, I may never have met Brian. I feel like a drain on him, but he still smiles at me. He loves me. I don’t know why.

Again, I know that life is not living up to expectations is a part of the human experience, not just for those who are sick. I have perfectly healthy friends who are in unhappy marriages, jobs they hate, or haven’t met the right person yet. They all went to college with ideas of weddings after graduation, white picket fences, and dream jobs. Disappointment, like pain, is universal. I know I have written about hope. Hope that God is making all things new. He makes the broken things beautiful (cue Gungor), but being content with timing is so hard


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22. 07. 2014

cinnamon cold coffee

It’s summertime, and I love cinnamon cold coffee. I’ve been experimenting with different flavors all summer, but I decided to take it to the next level this week.

Ingredients:

Black coffee
Cinnamon
Hazelnut Creamer or Hazelnut Syrup and Milk

Directions:

Prepare the coffee grounds as normal, but add a generous amount of cinnamon to the grounds. The amount will vary, depending on how much coffee you are preparing.
Brew the coffee as normal.
Put the coffee in airtight containers to refrigerate overnight.
In the morning–or afternoon–combine the cold coffee with the Hazelnut creamer and sweetener of your choice, over ice.

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Again, you can customize this anyway you want, but you need to try cinnamon cold coffee! I love my hazelnut creamer in it, but I’ve added vanilla almond milk before, too. I think that next up might be cinnamon cold coffee with caramel syrup! Honestly, the best part for me, is that I can make this at home for pennies and it’s completely customizable. Plus, no driving in the heat!

Are you going to try cinnamon cold coffee with hazelnut? What’s your favorite summer coffee drink?


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21. 07. 2014

Today, I will be getting my shots. In one way, I’m happy because that means pain relief in a few weeks. In another way, I’m extremely terrified because I’m already in pain, the shots hurt, and it takes several weeks for the shots to take effect.

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shots

I would like to start this post off with a great quotation that I read from an open letter from a person with chronic pain:

Please understand the difference between “happy” and “healthy”. When you’ve got the flu, you probably feel miserable with it, but I’ve been sick for years. I can’t be miserable all the time. In fact, I work hard at not being miserable. So, if you’re talking to me and I sound happy, it means I’m happy. that’s all. It doesn’t mean that I’m not in a lot of pain, or extremely tired, or that I’m getting better, or any of those things. Please don’t say, “Oh, you’re sounding better!” or “But you look so healthy!” I am merely coping. I am sounding happy and trying to look normal. If you want to comment on that, you’re welcome.

Awhile ago, I wrote a post about how irritating it can be for people with chronic illnesses to be given unsolicited advice, especially when the advice giver doesn’t even begin to understand the illness.

I have secondary Cervical Dystonia, which is brain damage to the basal ganglia. Cervical Dystonia is NOT a muscular problem. It’s a fairly long explanation to describe how the damage causes movement and pain, but it’s painful and absolutely ruins your life. I’ve heard it described as a life sentence, rather than a death sentence.

While I am a huge advocate of reducing pain through non-drug methods (especially since medication caused my cervical dystonia), stretching, herbal supplements, and witch-doctors will never cure it. At most, things like local anesthetics, alpha stim machines, and ice might offer pain relief, but at the end of the day, I need Botox shots every 12 weeks.

That being said, I thought I would give the world a glimpse of Shot Day.

Preparation:

Taking ibuprofen every 8 hours for 2 days prior to the shots, so that the inflammation from getting the shots won’t hurt as much.

The Day Of:

The shots are only given every 12 weeks because the body can build up antibodies, if one gets the shots too often.
The shots only last about 8-10 weeks for me, so by the time I wake up on shot day, I am in excruciating pain.
I have to travel an hour and a half to get to my neurologist, so riding in the car makes me extremely uncomfortable.

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By the time that I get to the hospital, I am almost in tears because the knowledge of the pain that is about to come is terrifying.
The needles are longer than I can stand to look at. The doctor stabs (that’s the most accurate description that I can come up with) me around 20 times in the tightest muscles on the right side of my neck and upper part of my shoulder.
Since I go while I am in a lot of pain and barely able to walk after my shots, I am always dependent on a family member to drive me to the shots. It’s sad to be in my mid-20′s and have to depend on someone to take you.

Post-Shots:

The few days after the shots, my neck hurts terribly. It’s almost impossible to get comfortable enough to sleep.
Flu-like symptoms usually accompany the shots.
After about a week, my neck and shoulder are extremely weak and it takes a few weeks to regain use of my neck and shoulder.

So, please bear with me if I am MIA for the next few days!


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20. 07. 2014

Sew My Soul | Just a little bit Louder | Seriously, Sarah? | Robyn’s Nest

the giveaway is run via rafflecopter & will be open for one week. it is open internationally – Robyn will mail the giftcard anywhere! you may enter as much or as little as you like! if you already follow, you are entitled to a free entry! enter using the rafflecopter below & good luck! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway


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19. 07. 2014

I was provided a bottle of the serum in exchange for my honest review.

I know I’m only 26, but I get worried about aging–that’s why I own so much sunscreen and sunless tanners! A few weeks ago, I started using Radical Skincare Advanced Peptide Antioidant Serum. While I haven’t noticed any difference in my own skin, especially because I’ve been having stress breakouts, I did really like the packaging.

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I hate when I pack my favorite beauty products, only to find them spilled all over my non-beauty products. Case in point: the time my facial oil got all over my journal #fail.

This bottle has an awesome pump that twists up when you want to pump some out and then you can simply twist it the other way for travel. If you’re as absent minded as me, you might lose the caps to everything. No need to worry here!

face serum

Click HERE to go to Radical Skincare’s website.


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18. 07. 2014

hi! my name is Robyn & i blog over at Robyn’s Nest – a blog founded as a creative outlet & a place of rest. i love blogging because it helps me process life & it gives me a place to let my right brain side have some fun! you will find a variety of topics covered on Robyn’s Nest including faith, marriage, crafts, recipes, and just the everyday moments of life! i absolutely love connecting with other bloggers & making new friends, so pop on over and say hello!

i am a new reader of Sarah’s blog, but can already tell how awesome she is! i was so excited when i read through these questions because they are so fun! i had a lot of fun answering them & hope that you enjoy reading them! :)

What is one of the best movies that you’ve ever seen?

oh gosh! it is always hard for me to pick favorites! i would say some of the best movies i’ve seen are the first 3 Star Wars movies! i know there are movies that are made better & have better effects, but i really enjoy the story line of Star Wars. as a kid, my family would watch these 3 movies on New Years Eve and i always looked forward to it! the story captured me like few movies do!

What is one of the worst movies that you’ve ever seen (go ahead and be controversial!)?

i don’t watch a whole lot of movies, but there have been a few that i didn’t really enjoy. i am having a hard time thinking of them, but the first one that sticks out in my mind is Revolutionary Road. have you seen it? it came out in 2008 and i had high hopes because it had the stars of Titanic in it. i love when movies have the same stars as a prior movie. i can’t even remember the story line of this movie, but i just couldn’t get into it. i remember it seemed really slow and i kept waiting for it to pick up and it never did.

What was one of the most memorable weddings (other than your own) that you have attended?

believe it or not, a lot of my friends have yet to get married! so i haven’t been to many weddings! but i was in my sisters wedding when i was 15! it was the first wedding i was actually in & it was my sister…. so i think that makes it most memorable to me! it was just a classic wedding – before pinterest & etsy so nothing huge! but she is my only sibling so it was still a huge deal that she was getting married & leaving home!

if you’re like me & you love seeing other people’s weddings, i did briefly blog about mine! you can find the posts on my love story page! :)

Do you have any collections? Did you collect anything as a child?

i collected 2 things as a teenager. one was poptart boxes (because i was SO cool!) and that lasted until we moved to a new house and my dad made me throw them away “because what are we going to do with all of that cardboard?”

another was foreign money. i don’t know about you, but every single bill being green is just boring – i noticed that foreign money was always so pretty & unique so i loved it! my dad had some bills that he gave me & i started collecting whenever i found some! i worked at a grocery store & found quite a few foreign coins throughout my years there so that added a lot to my collection! plus i went to Europe after high school and collected some of my own!

If you could own and operate your own business (and be guaranteed of its success), what would it be?

well, my answer isn’t really a business. but i have always been intrigued by adoption and foster care. so if i could do absolutely anything in the world, i would want to own an adoption center! i know the work would be hard & you would be so exposed to the evil and hardship in this world…. but it would be so rewarding as well!

What was your favorite childhood tv show or cartoon?

i think all i did when i was a kid is watch tv… because there are SO many shows that come to mind! i used to love Doug on Nickelodeon. i probably liked it so much because he was always journaling! and i loved Porkchop’s igloo doghouse! my dog actually has an Igloo doghouse now and it is awesome!

i also loved Boy Meets World and Sabrina the Teenage Witch! Boy Meets World seemed like any situation in my life i could relate to an episode on that show. even though it was sometimes cheesy, i love watching it sill! Sabrina the Teenage Witch was cool because i wished that i had magic powers!

Who is the most joyful person you know?

this question is so easy! my dad! he will take any situation or conversation and find the positive in it. not only that, but he will constantly remind you of the positives! he is nice to every single person he meets, even if he doesn’t particularly care for them! he is basically amazing! :)

“It is more blessed to give than to receive.” What is a gift that gave you a lot of satisfaction in giving?

i absolutely love giving gifts! i will buy gifts months in advance and then be so anxious to be able to give the gift and see the person open it! it is one of my favorite things! i always have fun picking out gifts for my husband because we have so many inside jokes and we know each other so well! i love finding something that he wouldn’t buy for himself but wants, or something that shows i pay attention to the little details!

one of my favorite gifts i’ve ever given him was a book i made for him on Shutterfly! i put pictures of us all throughout our relationship in it and added some quotes or inside jokes or just letters to him! he really loved getting it & loves reading through it still today! i love personalized gift and this book was all us!

In retrospect, what is something that your parents were wise in doing in raising you?

the first thing that comes to mind is that if me or my sister were dating a guy, my parents would have him come over for dinner. it was super awkward when i was a teenager and my dad would have the “trust & responsibility” talk with the guy right there at the dinner table. but it’s wise because they got to know the people i was spending my time with and knew that i wasn’t getting mixed up in a bunch of stuff!

If you could take a course in any subject right now, what type of course would it be?

i always said that i loved school except for the homework & tests! if you could eliminate those and just learn i am all for it! :) i went to a Christian school and there were some classes focused on missions that i would have loved to take! so i think a class on missions would be cool to take now! either that or a photography class because i would love to learn more about cameras!

thank you so much Sarah for having me & thank you for taking the time to get to know me! these questions were a lot of fun to answer & i kinda feel like we were just sitting down having a conversation! please pop on over & say hello! i would love to meet you & hear your answers to these questions!


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18. 07. 2014

I’m here to link up with Meagan of All the Joys today! I’m so excited for this new link up!

All The Joys Friday Favorites

 

Here are my five favorite blog posts that I read this week!

Chronic Illness & Body Image by Ariane
My favorite part: Should my pants match my level of pain?

Welcome to My Bookshelf by Kate the (Almost) Great
You all know how much I love to read!

How to Be Nice on the Internet by Jessica Lawlor
Everyone wants more friends!

Beauty on a Rocky Path by Emily at Ember Grey
Emily is such a lovely writer, who happened to guest post on my blog! Check her out!

What to Buy at Costco by Fun Cheap or Free
My new official job is meal planner, and my husband has a Costco membership–I can’t grocery shop on my own because I can’t lift things, so after reading this article, I know what I should have him get at Walmart and what he should get at Costco. We still tend to buy our meat at Costco because of our large freezer.

And in honor of my brother’s wedding tomorrow, please enjoy a song that I’ve been rocking out to in the car a lot–and I will during my roadtrip!

What are your favorite reads from this week?


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