My Mind is Blown! (A “Blogging Wallflower’s” Review)

Okay, my dear friends and followers, here’s the scoop. I feel like I am a bit overloaded with this new learning adventure. It has been quite the roller coaster ride, taming this technology thing. I now see random things and think… oooh, I should snap a photo for the blog… or how could I write about that?! I go to bed dreaming of post topics and thinking of ways to increase my followers. Did you know that every magazine you read in the dentist’s office has some teeny, tiny printed stuff in the beginning that lists who to contact in case you want to write them?! It’s like finding the hidden pictures in one of those puzzle books — and I am making lists! I’m afraid I kinda get like this when I take on a new project. Jump in with both feet and discover it consumes me. Only I’m super loving it ! What started out as a whim… has become a new passion! My family is devastated. Rolling their eyes with the knowledge that mom is excited about another adventure. *Ack*

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Come join me on this adventure! (Photo: Pexels)

That being said, this post is going to be relatively short and to the point. Partially because I am packing for a big scrapbooking retreat this weekend and won’t have much time for editing (yeah! clap my hands! for crafting all weekend with no dishes to do!) and partially because I still have no great insights. My mind is blown at how vast this world wide web blogging community is and how vast the diversity is among us. I have only scratched the surface. Barely a dent in this huge monstrosity. I am going to need a lot of help. Help to learn this “thing”, and help to keep me balanced as mom, wife and friend.

Admittedly, I am not social. I’m not good at connecting with others. I have not learned to articulate my words well verbally. I build up walls often, and don’t say what I think… or at least what I say doesn’t always come out the way I want it to.

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I am much better in black and white. I am a “texter”, not a phone caller. I read about another blogger that refers to herself as a “wallflower blogger”. That’s me. Hiding in the shadows a bit, blooming, but not showing off in all my brilliance in the middle of the meadow. Perhaps this is why blogging has become a new and exciting thing. It is giving me boldness. A bit of anonymity to share things without really knowing who may hear it. Hopefully, this is a good thing. I am learning to be <a href="http://Authentic“>authentic, honest and trustworthy. My intention is to challenge and inspire. This includes my bible based references and faith. It is an important part of me that connects with the “rest of me”. I trust my readers will respect that.

So. It’s been almost 3 full months since I launched mittonmusings. Consider this my “new job” probationary review. I am learning all kinds of marketing strategies, new techno lingo, connected with other bloggers, and have challenged myself on so many new fronts. I am still learning and hope to grow even more. I am thankful for the few of you who have boosted me by being instant followers. Would you consider helping me by sharing? I’m not sure how God might use this platform yet, but am excited to see what the future holds! (I am working on some new and exciting things…. )

Want to encourage me? If you are just visiting, please follow me! If you’ve already decided you like my muses, please Share my link with your friends! If you want to learn with me, sign up and follow me on my social sites. (Trust me, this techno thing is not as hard as you think) Do you see those little icon things? Up at the top of the page…. hmmmn ….wish I knew how to make an arrow in HTML code…. Those are the ways blogging wallflowers like me make friends ūüôā Or — simply drop me a note on my contact page! I promise to write back!2
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Need a Niche?

Still learning to do this blog thing.¬† Trying to get my media in better condition too.¬† Suggestions?¬† Leave me a comment. Would¬†love¬†to hear how to get those pics edited and transformed!¬† But… this is not what I wanted to write about today.


 

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Niche. It’s a wonderful little word.¬† I like it.¬† As a scientist, I learned a niche meant where you fit in the food chain. Where you belonged in the big wide world.¬† Eat or be eaten.¬† The French origin means a safe spot or kennel.¬† A place where you “fit” to be sheltered and kept from harm.¬† That crevice in the rock where Moses was sheltered from all the Glory of God (Exodus 33:22).¬† ¬†It’s a good word — but a useless one.

Niche.¬† It’s a wonderful little word.¬† I like it.

Does anyone really¬† fit in a niche?¬† The great blog gurus say that you should have a “niche” for your blog.¬† This way people will follow you based on your theme… where you fit in the blog food chain.¬† I don’t think I fit.¬† I like my animals.¬† I like photography.¬† I like learning.¬† I like crafts, I like travel, I like baking, I like eating my baking, and sometimes I even like my kids and my husband.¬† Why can’t I write about all those things?!¬† That classifies me as a “lifestyle” blogger according to the experts.¬† I found another blogger who feels the same way.¬† Chelsie, from Hey There Chelsie wrote about her views on the subject in this post from 2015.¬† For now I am taking her advice and writing about whatever tickles my fancy.

I say this because I truly don’t think anyone really fits into this perfect little square.¬† As much as I love it when all my pieces fit in a row and I am fully in control of my world, it never stays that way for long.¬† Life is just like that.¬† When I was younger, I had my life planned: I wanted to go to vet school, be married by a certain age, have my first house, my first kid by such and such and live and die — done.¬† Of course a failing Chemistry mark and a cute boyfriend changed some of those plans.¬† Only now, as a (ahem) middle aged grown up, do I recognize that God’s plans and timing are always perfect.¬† Even if I don’t like them.

Recently I attended a high school parent-teacher interview.¬† My eldest son is a kind-hearted, smart kid.¬† He loves people and is social like his dad.¬† He wants to serve the world in youth ministry after high school.¬† His teachers assured me that grade 12 math is not necessary for this plan.¬† I panicked.¬† You need math!¬† What if he wants other options? What if he doesn’t get in to the program he wants, or changes his mind and needs that prerequisite later? How do

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How do we let go of the plans we have for our kids and let them choose the path that is right for them? (Photo credit: Pexels)

¬†we let go of the plans we have for our kids and let them choose the path that is right for them? Parenting often teaches us that we cannot mold our kids into the direction we want them to go.¬† Sometimes we have to do all that we can and hope for the best! I’ve been learning a lot about learning styles lately… which is a topic for another blog post … but it assures me that we are not all the same.¬† And that this is okay.¬† The world would be pretty boring if it was.

We never really are safe in this world.¬† It changes so rapidly.¬† We can hide in that cleft of the rock sometimes and God will certainly protect us there.¬† But eventually He kicks us out and makes us go back to a bunch of lost desert dwellers to do our jobs.¬† We can’t protect our children or our families from this churning whirlpool we call life.¬† We strategise and study and attempt to make plans and learn and fail and try again.¬† We have faith that God is in control and do our best to wander in the desert.¬† It’s just the way it is.

The bigger (and better) thing to do with our niche is to love it.¬† To learn to love the “fit” and enjoy where we are at.¬† It seems like I am counter arguing myself… I don’t mean we should be boxed in… I mean we should love our box! Create the passions and desires within us and then go with them!¬† Use them to the fullest… help others… do your best… learn a new skill… try, fail and try again!¬† Yeah, we might get eaten as part of the food chain… but maybe it fulfils a bigger picture and plan that we don’t understand quite yet.¬† It’s something huge we can teach each other:¬† to work together with our strengths and weaknesses to make this world a better place.¬† If each of us accepted our role, our “niche”, if you will… wouldn’t we fight and argue less?¬† It’s not saying one is better than the other… it simply fits like pieces of the puzzle.¬† Links on the chain.¬† Part of the plan.¬† Niche.¬† Yup… it is a wonderful little word.¬† I like it.¬† A lot.

Who’s in Control?

jason-blackeye-198848¬† So kind of freaking out right now!¬† The Blog launched about a week ago and I am still in a major learning curve about what creating a website is all about.¬† I am a big Pinterest ¬†junkie so I created a new board in hopes to learn more about the blogging world.¬† Bam!¬† Hundreds of posts about getting rich quick ideas and how to make money on your blog.¬† Now don’t get me wrong, I would love to earn some cash from this learning experience…. but I want to be in charge of who and what gets on my website.¬† Is this too much to ask?¬† Am I just scared of the big, wide world?¬† I want people to read the blog (or I would have just stuck to my pen and paper journal….) but how do I gain those readers without compromising my beliefs and views?¬† I don’t want a hundred pop-ups to flash up saying “join me”.¬† (Okay, maybe I do….) But good Canadians don’t really want to offend anybody.¬† And this goodie-two-shoes girl certainly doesn’t want to rock the boat.

Then things like “Is your blog illegal?” start showing up.¬† Illegal?! Oh no… now I have entered a life of crime! Copyrights and credits to worry about. We are trained early on in school to give credit where credit is due.¬† Remember all those bibliographies you had to write?! Now you have to “turn it in” before you turn it in...to make sure you haven’t plagiarized someone else’s work.¬† Okay, Okay… confession time.¬† My cute little girl at the top of this page is not me.¬† ¬†Her name is Lucy Doris and she’s from MelonHeadz¬†and I think she kind of looks like me… so I used her.¬† But she was a freebie on the site!¬† Can I do that?!¬† I did.

But what about all those cool photos on the websites I see everyday?¬† Awk!¬† I discovered things called “stock photos” (the website designers all just died laughing… hey, I am a beginner, remember?!)¬† Wonderful photographers donate their photos to sites for people to pick and choose! Random places to find great photos!¬† Who knew?! WordPress has one.¬† I like Unsplash … they give you a chance to credit their photographers.¬† Which I will.¬† Because I am good like that.¬† Well trained.¬† No stealing credits here.¬† I must admit I was a little deflated though, that those super cool blogs I have been reading are faked with stock photos. *Sigh* disillusionment is part of learning too, I suppose.

security-protection-anti-virus-software-60504.jpeg¬†But why are we so afraid of the security of the web?¬† Maybe some of you are not afraid at all… you post willy-nilly and don’t care what happens.¬† I, for one, want to know what our kids are watching.¬† Our computer is in the living room so everyone can see what’s on the screen.¬† It’s hard now that our screens are in the palms of our hands.¬† Why did I update our virus protection and check passwords last week?¬† So many of our actions are “online” now.¬† Who’s in control?¬† I certainly don’t know all the ins and outs of the computer.¬† I am learning.¬† But I might get hacked.¬† I might get hate mail from a post. Maybe a few of you will read mittonmusings and appreciate my thoughts…even follow me! (Click the follow button on the right!) But for now I will continue learning… and be cautious and be “websmart” as they say.

Oh… and those stock photos from today’s post?¬† Jason Blackeye (Unsplash) and WordPress Media.

Why Start a Blog?

pexels-photo-459688.jpeg“A Blog?!” That was the hubby’s first response.¬† “Being married to you, I should have lots to write about!” was my response.¬† We had a blog a long time ago… he started it and I continued it when I needed a place to post homemade cards for online contests.¬† But recently I started thinking about it again and all the potential it held.¬† So, I did what anyone else might do…. I googled it.¬† Lots of ideas.¬† Then I narrowed it down…. I posted my inquiry on Facebook.¬† I asked my “technical” friends what they thought. It sparked a slight debate on security issues and user-friendly vs. business options on good website platforms.¬† I am still confused.¬† However, I am going to embrace the adventure with an open mind.

Technology is a wonderful thing.¬† And a dangerous one.¬† Our world is so full of apps, clicks, widgets and what-nots, it can all be pretty confusing for a mom who barely knew what an icon was some years ago.¬† You pretty much can find anything on the internet now, and our fast paced world encourages you to keep up.¬† Social media is a way we connect now.¬† “Fear of Missing Out (FoMO)” is a real thing. Cyber bullying is studied and documented just like any other form of bullying.¬† You can hardly buy a wooden spoon these days without going online to check out the reviews… let alone travel or start a business.¬† WhooBoy!…and don’t get me started on government forms!¬† Try getting passports for a family of six.

And yet, our children are embracing it as much as we embraced banana-seat bicycles!¬† Our seniors are learning video chatting to keep in touch with their grandchildren.¬† We thought the world was going to end when my mom learned how to text!¬† But the world-wide web comes with a price.¬† It eats our time.¬† It demands our attention.¬† It keeps us from smelling the roses sometimes.¬† And it is often hard to manoeuver. It has a “learning curve” as one of my friends put it.¬† One very big thing I think we need to be teaching is FILTERING.¬† Not everything we read or watch is¬† the information we need… or need to be seeing.¬† How do we plug-in a “search engine optimization” word (Hehe..that’s something I learned when I started studying blogging!) and get what we need?¬† Filter. Filter. Filter.¬† Who do we trust?¬† What is relevent information?

When my eldest was in about grade four, she chose to do a school project on “mustangs” — the wild horses roaming free and romantic in the wide open planes.¬† When she began researching it: CARS.¬† Nice cars, with pretty girls showing them off.¬† Not what we were looking for.¬† I remember sitting for hours with her in front of the computer screen, painstakingly filtering information until we got what we needed.¬† When I asked the teacher later about it, she indicated that “filtering”¬†was not part of the curriculum.¬† How can proper researching not be part of the project?! But that is a post for another day.¬† The point is, we should constantly be learning.¬† We should be embracing new ideas and thoughts, and working through the answers.¬† Technology is no exception.

And so I begin this blogging journey… with “a learning curve” included.¬† Hey!¬† I might be the next chewbacca mom! She’s now famous and getting to sing the national anthem somewhere (hmmn… wait, no, I can’t sing) or maybe I will make some big money with my blog (lots of those posts out there!!).¬† However, my real hope is to learn.¬† To try, and fail, and try again.¬† To filter, and work my brain, and grow and change.¬† ¬†To share and connect and make new friends.¬† Let the adventure begin!