Posts Tagged With: WordPress

Celebration of 7 Years of Blogging

As of Valentine’s day of 2020, I finished up my 7th year of blogging. It has been a wonderful journey, I had no idea I would still be here writing. I hope this post helps me refocus my need to write and share about West Virginia. This blog was created because of my personal disappointment and anger over comments that were made by national newscasters about my state and the people who call it home in 2013.

That was a long time ago and overall the image outside the state still seems to be about the same, but community members like myself are trying to change that. I am only one voice that is trying to give our state a #Newstory. There are organizations throughout the state that continually try to let the world know that we are working hard to make my State better. One of the organizations that share my passion is The West Virginia Community Development HUB. They continue to share wonderful stories about our progress and efforts to change for the better. I have written for them several times and will continue to share what I think is wonderful about our home.

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Window Mural inside the Golden Rule 

So let’s Celebrate what I have learned over the past seven years and share some of my favorite posts and the ones that readers have liked the best. My favorite may not be the same as my readers but they are good and they mean something to me.

I started my blog on a very cold and snowy afternoon in February 2013. As of today, I have had 242,790 visitors to my site and 91,000 of then stop into this website in 2016. I have written a lot over the 7 years, but only published 279 posts, this post makes 280. I found that my readers love ghost stories and Appalachian history. So I am not surprised that my post The Lost Soul of Loveberry Church is one of my top two posts being viewed 12,670 times. The other is about Marker’s Mark Bourbon and the distillery tour in Loretto Ky. Both seem to strike at the heart of what is wonderful about Appalachian culture. It seems that a story that has a little mystery or myth gets people reading.

St Bernard Church Weston West Virginia

St Bernard Church Weston West Virginia

My favorite stories about my life are read often also but might not reflect the mystic of the mountain state as well. All of the stories I wrote about my experience with the Barnwood Builders are fun but the last one the Completed DIY project and the last visit with the Barnwood Builders, is maybe my favorite. But, the story I am most proud of on the blog is Why a Life of Service is Not a Job but a Lifestyle. Because the post shows my intentional shift in thinking about my future. Now 4 years later I am still living a life of service. I still work for Non-profits and still work in the Community Development field. AmeriCorps changed the direction of my whole life and I am so glad to still be part of their program as a member of the Board of Directors of The Appalachian Forest National Heritage Area and a liaison between the Americorps Service Members, the Staff, and Board of Directors. I hope to continue to part of the National Service for many more years to come.

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25 Americorps members visit me in Barbour County to do tours. 

The best part of my Blog Celebration is that writing often and from the heart has had major benefits for me. I have not only improved my writing and spelling skills, I learned to have my own writer’s voice and be more confident with that voice.  I have found a place where I can share my feelings, be curious, and learn from other bloggers. It has always been a surprise to me that there are others out there that are interested in my stories and take time to read them. WordPress is a place I call home with supportive readers and writers all around me.

The very most important lessons I have learned as a Blogger are

1.”We have Power”! As writers, we have the power to make or break our communities, our country, and our lives. Our stories are a reflection of our beliefs and by sharing those beliefs we influence others to believe the same way. So make sure you are shaping a world that you want to live in.

2. Being creative is a need not an option! For me being creative keeps me from feeling stuck in my life, in my relationships, and in my mind. So Blogging is one of my favorite pressure releases. Some people play sport to relieve stress, I create thoughts and put them on paper to save me from myself. When I can I draw and paint too!

3. I am a change-maker! Because of this blog, I have helped others from all over the world change their way of thinking about my country and state. That would have never happened any other way!

So here is to another seven years of writing and reading. Let the magic of words continue and I hope I still have positive stories to tell you!

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My friends celebrating life with me!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Categories: About me, blogging, celebration, Life Changes, looking back, nostalgic, writing | Tags: , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Holidays Without Our Parents

So,every adult child has to go through this at least once and some of us have to face it 4 or more times if you are married. It is the day you realize that you will not have a Mother or Father around for the holidays.That you are grown up and you have lost the one or two people in your life that you look up too.  This is the first full year after losing my Mother In Law and one of many years since Tom and I have both lost fathers. The Holidays feel different without them and we feel that we have lost the key to our holiday celebrations.

I think I was in shock last Thanksgiving.I do not even remember what we eat and even if we did  eat… some how I just blanked it all out from Oct 22nd to New Years day. I remember the tree and the kids opening gifts and making breakfast for my family but not much more. I was a stay at home mom then… what did I do for three months??

It seems that this fall the reminder of the loss is tangible. It is harder this year, I can’t call up and ask a questions about how to make stuffing, from the father who has been gone 25 years. The holiday craft making for Sunday School kids is just a distant memory. Christmas cookies and candy over flowing from my mother’s kitchen is no more and I wonder how we will continue as adults. Children suffer deeply with the loss of a grandparent or step grandparent,but I wonder if they feel the loss as long as the adults.The pain lingers for years as we share dinners, gifts and reminders that the person is gone. They are not replaced by thoughts of a new toy,an exciting movie or by the first boy friend or girl friend.

The reply to my heart-break most often is “make  your own memories and traditions” share them with the children. The logic seems to work until you realize how many of us do not have children or have only one.The family dynamic has changed and we don’t always have younger siblings or children share the traditions with.

In my case shopping at the mall is nothing compared to the years I spent making cookies with my mother in our kitchen.Tom still misses opening day of deer season with his Dad and Thanksgiving is not the same without having everyone together for dinner at his parents house. My husband and I still continue to share both of those traditions with our own children and try to pass down those memories to them so nothing is lost.

It is tough doing “Adult”sometimes.I guess we keep moving forward the best we can and at times just fall apart when we finally realize that times change and we can’t stop them.Loss is part of living and being a grown up is all we can do. As Dory says” Just Keep Swimming”.

I am finding it hard to be excited for the Holidays this year,even with the little ones around. I will do my best to make our home warm and inviting and we will have friends and family here.The kids will spend time together and we will eat well. But in my heart there will still be an empty chair at our table. I will spend a few minutes remembering and giving thanks for those we have been lucky to know and love,but Thanksgiving is going to be tough this year. empty-chair-at-thanksgiving

 

Categories: About me, childhood memories, Colorado, Family, grandma, Thanksgiving | Tags: , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

Back to school with WordPress and class #201 Branding,Traffic and Growth

I never really thought that I would be blogging ( with dyslexia), let alone trying to increase my readership, stats, or trying to get together enough information for a book. So I am happy to announce that I  have rejoined the learning world and signed up for WordPress class. I will spend the next few weeks working on assignments that should make my blog  a better place for you the reader. I hope to gain some insight and knowledge on how to better focus my goals and increase my readership.antique-typewriter2 The assignment for this today is to explain to all of you what my goals are for this blog and where I want to be at the end of the year. My goals are pretty simple and are two-fold. First I want to highlight, inform, share and raise awareness of the wonders of the place that I live. West Virginia gets pretty bad rap from other states. It was quite offensive when WVU’s  Mountaineers Played in the big twelve, Orange bowl last year and on National TV a sports caster had terrible things to say about our state. Second I would like to at some point publish a regional cooking/ canning book. I find that regional foods from my area are not talked about much and the art of canning/ food preservation is a passion of mine. I want to combine the two and in some way and share great food/ great photos/ and a regional feel to my story.

Route 55 Seneca Rocks, WV

Route 55 Seneca Rocks, WV

The  things that I hope to accomplish with this class are: To increase my Followers to 500 by July… about an increase of about 200. To increase my amount of canning and food posts to 15 over the next three months. To take more and better regional photos.  Then finally to get freshly pressed… this a WordPress.com  goal.

Home made apple butter

Home made apple butter

I also want to learn if I need to use a different Theme for this blog so that I could post my cooking and canning under one heading and my photos, stories and family adventurer under other headings. what do you think? I will need all of your help along the way. I will need your feed back and support and maybe one day you all will be able to say that you got to see the before and after of what my blog becomes. So the new adventure begins and I will tag all of my class posts with  the numbers 201. So that they will be easy to fallow and I can track them from today to the end of the year when I get to write about what I actually did accomplish. Thanks  for following and I hope to post something about my assignment every week so you can see what we are learning.

Categories: About me, blogging, Class 201, West Virginia, writing | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 17 Comments

Happy Anniversary to me twice

Funny how a life time slowly unfolds. I would  have never guessed the my WordPress blog anniversary  and my wedding anniversary would fall on the same day. I never planned it to happen like this but it is a great way to remember the  things in my life that I enjoy the most.

This year Tom and are officially married 22 years but  I do tend to think of it as 23 years mainly because I was pregnant with our first child  most of that year. We were unable to get married  because Tom was off fighting in the Gulf War and only returned a few days before my oldest sons birth in April of 1991.  We finally made it official and chose to get married on Valentines Day of 1992. I could have picked any day and Tom would not have complained as long as we were all together. I chose this day because like this year it was a holiday that fell on a Friday and we could get married and have a long weekend and the court-house was open and Tom was able to get the day off work. Real romantic? Well, we were young and broke and had a baby to take care of so it was  great fun for us even if it was not fancy, huge and expensive. It was a perfect start to a wonderful life together and some how it  foreshadows our lives and how we would live them the next twenty years.

Tom and JoLynn Powers first wedding kiss 2-14 -1992

Tom and JoLynn Powers first wedding kiss 2-14 -1992

Over the years we have spent most of our time and money on outdoor adventures. We have traveled many miles to hunt, fish, camp, trail ride, and farm over 23 years. It has never been about who has the biggest house or nicest car it was always about learning and trying some thing  new. I am so glad that I have found someone who, like me, loves to focus on what the next mountain has to offer and what we can learn from it. Life is a Journey not a Destination.

The other thing that I am so happy about is being  a part of is the WordPress world. I actually started blogging a full year before I moved to Word Press. I found that the other web sites hard to manage and they did not have the space for large photos . I moved and never looked back . I have  met so many wonderful writers and bloggers, that now just like my marriage, I can’t imagine my life with out all of you as part of it. I continue to work on writing better blog posts and learn more about writing. I have a dream that one day I will fill a canning cook book with stories and memories and recipes the you all help me to compose. I would have never known that their were people out their who love and live the same quite, deliberate way that we do with out my blog.

Word press anniversary-1

Word press anniversary-1

So thank you WordPress, it has been a great 1st year and I hope to keep working towards my dreams and sharing them here. Who knows, in  about 20 more years Valentines day will fall on a Friday again and I will be a published author, a great Grandmother, a wife and a woman who is still trying some thing new!

Categories: About me, blogging, family memories, Marriage, Valintines | Tags: , , , , , , | 6 Comments

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