|Six-Year Blog Anniversary Giveaway ~ Click to enlarge pic.|
This month marks six years that I've been writing here. It was only a mere six months ago, though, that I made the blog public and findable by online search engines. I Struggle with Shyness: A post for another day. :) It was especially fun and rewarding this past fall and early winter, then, to find comments from new readers in my email inbox--I have all comments emailed to me--and to notice each time another person had found the blog and hit the "Follow" button. When I learned that big-hearted at Vicki over at 2 Bags Full would be hosting an online blog party today, right before my blogging anniversary, to express her thanks for what blogging has brought into her own life and to help other bloggers meet, I asked to be added to the virtual guest list. Blogging, even if I've done it quietly and kind of under-the-radar for so many years, has been a sweet thing in my life too, and I share her appreciation of it. Thank you to Vicki ♥ and welcome to everyone who's visiting here via her party. :)
You know how people joke about visiting someone only to have to sit through his/her slide shows of vacations, pets, and family outings? I'm a person who is thrilled by such things. Tell me about your best friend from elementary school, your best friend now, the first person who broke your heart, the work you do and the work you want to do, the language you'd love to learn and the lesson you need to learn, the last movie you loved and didn't want to end and the last book you hated too much to finish, the flowers that most remind you of your grandmother, the birthday cake you always bake or buy for your wife, your funniest memory of your grandfather, the dress you'll save forever because you once had a perfect day wearing it, those songs that take you back to high school, that one dog who was your Best Dog EVER, the craziest neighbors you've ever had, and the kindness a stranger showed you the day your child died. Give me your tired, your poor, your fridges covered in magnet-held family pictures and your scrapbooks bursting open with saved mementos. . . . ♥ Where did you find the piece of driftwood shaped like a seal?! I love it. ♥ Is that photo you and your sister when you were kids?! ♥ Oh! Your dog by the fireplace Christmas morning! Look at his FACE! ♥ Is that sketch of the house that you told me about? ♥ That has to be your mom's photo above your chair--You look just like her. ♥ My seventh-grade English teacher always had us spend one class period a week writing journal entries that we would hand in to her to read. She said that we could write about absolutely anything and that that there was really nothing she didn't think was interesting. I remember thinking, when I heard her say that, "Well, yeah, I'm the same way." I hadn't known it until she articulated it, so that realization stuck in my memory. And now I live in the Age of the Internet and get to see your slide shows and hear your stories this way, and every day, I find someone--and something--else that interests me. And I love that.
To celebrate six years here and to thank you for following along, I'm hosting my first-ever giveaway. Everything (but my beloved old green check tablecloth) in this post's photos will be packed-up and shipped to the winner after I draw his/her name February 1st. I had fun shopping for all the prizes and love putting care packages together, so this has already added some fun to my own week. ♥
The winner will receive:
- Real Simple magazine's hardcover book Celebrations: Easy Entertaining for Every Occasion, a big book that's full of ideas for gifts, meals, parties, invitations, and just thoughtful ways to make "everydays" into holidays and "special" occasions even more special
- one of my favorite books, Betty Smith's A Tree Grows in Brooklyn ~ If you've read it, you know what a treasure it is, and if you haven't, I envy you the fact that you still have your first reading of it ahead of you. Follow Francie as she grows from an eleven-year-old girl to a post-high school young woman. I love this girl and her story.
- the "love issue" of Sandra Lee's magazine, filled with recipes, tablescape and party ideas, Valentine-ey thoughts, and the most beautiful photos ~ Her magazine is always a feast for the eyes and heart.
- a little book of 23 friendship-related stickers
- 20 paper napkins covered in cupcakes-decorated-with-hearts
- 8 heart paper plates, also perfect for either Valentine's Day or any day
- 48 pink and red floral die-cut cupcake wrappers
- 4 packets of hot chocolate, each a different flavor
- 3 thinking-of-you-type cards with envelopes
- 3 Valentine cards with envelopes
- and 2 red-ink pens because, as some of you guys already know, I add red hearts to almost every piece of personal mail I send. It's not just a "blog-thing." ♥ :)
To see larger versions of the photos here, just click on them. A reader mentioned the other day that it would be helpful if my blog's photos were bigger, but when I post extra-large versions of photos with this blog design/layout, their sides get cut off a little bit--and I really love this design/layout. (I tried, Jenny!)
To enter, just leave a comment on this post--and please make sure that either your comment or profile gives me a way to contact you if you should win. Any comment with a date of January19th-January 31st will count, and I'll randomly choose a name and announce the winner here on February 1st. You don't need to "follow" to enter. I hope you'll follow if you want to, though, of course. :)
Good luck! And a truly warm welcome to you new readers and an equally-heartfelt thank you to those who have been with me either from my very first post in 2007 or since earlier this week. I've loved sharing the past six years here. Keep telling your own stories. Make time for your friends. Finish and mail the letter you keep meaning to write. Offer a piece of gum to the person sharing the elevator with you. Keep putting yourself out there. Say thank you. And remember that even when it's rough, life is good and beautiful and worth the effort. Ride it out. Find the silver lining. Go hug your cat. ♥