She kept a list of names, revisited from time to time. In her naivete, she reviewed her enumerations with a dangerous, misplaced sense of pride. Accomplishment ~ almost. It was her way of keeping the reality of her life in good stead with how she wished to explain it, accept it, justify (twist it?) to herself. The truth, however, was a deceit. She did not, could not, know. Decades later, she is more tender and forgiving of her earlier transgressions although she can scarcely believe the same being – inside of her now – had done those things all those years ago.

Maybe everyone is able to relate, she thought. Perhaps others own similar cringeworthy moments but she doubts – no, she knows – that those in her circle cannot possibly share this same history of regret, of disappointment of self. How is it that she’s recovered so well? Maybe she never really has. Or does she simply possess no conscience whatsoever? Then again, maybe she’s just pragmatic and understands that that was then, this is now.

People can and do change. They are changing all the time.

Who will she be tomorrow?

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I am a seeker of delicious new words.
Old and decrepit to some, perhaps
But well-suited at times when nothing else will do.
Words that have long graced many a page (or conversation) but are newly discovered and now mine to make use of as I see fit.

Words can be fanciful, ornate, economical and stout. Even exotic.
Chunky, elegant, gregarious, preposterous or ill-fitting.
It’s the manner of speaking them, using them to convey thoughts, ideas, emotions.
Or in how they are written, often beautifully, sometimes awkwardly, to illustrate an action, a theme, a person, place or event.

I am a seeker of scrumptious new worlds.
Havens of comfort, thresholds of inspiration, venues of wonder.
Environments to stimulate thought or to aid in the cessation of an uncomfortably constant stream of mental chaos and angst: a refuge.
Color and light and nature: birthplaces of history, art, literature, religion and countless cultures and civilizations.
Places, both ingress and egress, that bear witness to human growth and development.

And sadly – and far too frequently – human destruction, as well.

I am a seeker of peace, of harmony, well-being and community.
Searching out the best in others, and myself.
This, first and foremost…
Mindful, always, that this is a continuous process. A task never quite finished.

I am a seeker of the here and now. I choose, simply, to be.

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Hello everyone! My name is Julie – I go by JulieAllyn in The Land of Blog – and I’ve been a WordPress blogger since June 2014.  Like many of you, I suspect, I was curious as to whether I had a story in me or not – or at least one that might connect with others.

The experience thus far has been most satisfying.  I love being able to meld both photography and my thoughts, views and ramblings into a public forum AND getting to meet some pretty amazing and talented bloggers from all across the globe.

I recently discovered the world of photo challenges here on WordPress and love it.  Posting old favorites and hunting for interesting and appropriate new shots to fulfill the assignment themes has been great fun.  And participating in these photo challenges has boosted my traffic stats as well!

While I greatly enjoy the photography aspect of posting to my blog, however, I want to focus on and strengthen my writing and storytelling abilities.  So here I am.  I’m looking forward to stretching and expanding and being challenged to grow my skills and to also making some new friends along the way!

Assignment: Blogging 101: Introduce Yourself

I read somewhere once that to be a good writer it is helpful – encouraged even – to read as much as you can. Reading increases your vocabulary and sharpens critical thinking which are certainly useful tools for expressing oneself via the written word.

And so while I just haven’t felt like blogging much the last couple of days (NO idea where that came from) I’m going to stock up on a few brain cells by way of the engrossing Into Thin Air, quite apropos given the wintry blast that’s shaken up the heartland this mid-November weekend. Feet up, warm cup o’chai close at hand, a crock pot of chili simmering away for the evening meal and I’m good.

Inspiration: my vessel awaits!

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To write ~

Start with an idea, ponder it awhile, flesh it out and approach it from different angles and perspectives. Try it on for size; you’ll know when it fits. Next (or more appropriately, throughout) add passion to the mix, modulated by the voice only you possess, the one that announces to all that this is who and what you are. Sift it, shake it up, sit on it awhile, revisit as needed. When it feels right (write?), begin.

If it has momentum, the task is a pleasant, satisfying chore. The words and thoughts and essence of your message will fly from your fingertips, the keyboard barely able to keep up. Success does not necessarily follow but if it is a joy and genuinely represents your soul, your very core, then that is its own reward.

Should, however, the completed effort require more than you were quickly and easily able to give but you stretched beyond what you thought you knew to be your limits, very likely then, the warm glow of achievement, of a job well done will honor what was extracted.

This, I believe, is why we write.

As adventures go, my foray into The Land of Blog has been fairly low key. No racing pulse, no sweaty brow nor dangers posed to life or limb. Instead of physical exertion or a challenge of stamina, employing words and images to convey the musings of my mind in a way that inspires and entertains is a summoning of intestinal fortitude on an entirely different plane.

I don’t know when the seed was first planted but for many years I have given thought to writing a book. The problem I faced was lack of a story. I knew that I enjoyed writing. Sometimes thoughts and phrases would pop into my head and I wanted to create a vehicle in which these random words could travel. I’ve given thought to writing about growing up in a family of six daughters and even came up with the literary names I’d give to each of us in the fictionalized account I might someday write. That, however, was the extent of it.

Then I began to learn about something called a blog. Wikipedia defines a blog as ‘a discussion or informational site’ on the internet ‘consisting of discrete entries (“posts”) typically displayed in reverse chronological order’. There are several posting web sites and web publishing tools available to get started with the process and for hosting your blog. As I started to research the mechanics of creating and assembling a blog I also pondered what it was I wanted to say, what I wanted to write about.

Just as there is a learning curve to the intricacies of blog development within the hosting tool of choice it is perhaps even more of a challenge trying to figure out writing style, blog statistics and methods for reaching out to (and retaining!) new followers and increasing the number of views and visitors to your blog let alone deciding what it is you want to post about every day.

One thing I’ve discovered in just these short three months (to be precise two months, twelve days)  is that it sure is difficult to know what will ‘connect’ with my readers. I’ve written some posts that I am certain will elicit several views, ‘likes’ and comments and get nothing but crickets. On the flip side, other posts send my site stats soaring and while I am always ecstatic to see my numbers going up, up, UP it is sometimes puzzling to understand why this post and not the other. Go figure. Lesson One: You write for yourself and not for the kudos and congratulatory comments that may (or may not) come your way. I have several posts on my blog that, while I was sure they would trigger positive reactions but didn’t, I am nonetheless quite proud of them and happy with the results.

Writing is scary. You’re putting yourself out there – proverbial warts and all – and really exposing yourself in an entirely new way. Many people post on Facebook and other social media but writing on a blog – and saying what it is that’s on your mind in a more expanded fashion – opens you up to rejection, reader comments that can be either welcoming or bruising, and perhaps worst of all indifference.

Still, we bloggers continue on because we love the words, we love the images and we enjoy the writing. Whether it be the clunk and growl and rattle of the written word or the luster and shimmer of a well-orchestrated symphony of letters arranged in a precise manner to convey the stories we wish to tell we blog because it makes us happy. Perhaps our pulses do actually race a bit. And while our brows may not be sweaty, at times our palms are! To us this is adventure of the highest order. This we must do.