Saturday, January 19, 2013

A Giveaway and Six Years of Pretty Little Rough Patches

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. 
xox, Val

51 comments:

Tania said...

Hi Val! What a beautiful, cheery post to mark six years! Congratulations! Wow...six years...that is a long time to inspire, document, and share your life and loves with others. I have followed your blog for some time now, and adore it! This post is brimming with optimism, a great reminder not to forget the wonderful moments that gets stored in our 'happy place' deep inside. It's like smelling a familiar perfume, that takes you back to a time and a place in the past which evokes deep sentiments. Thank you for sharing! And...what a fabulous giveaway! I shall now have fingers and toes crossed until February! Here's to the next six years of 'Pretty little rough patches!'
Blessings, Tania ♥

Val said...

Tania, thank you for such a kind (and beautifully written!) comment. Thank you, thank you. :)

Annabelle said...

Hi Val, I really REALLY loved this post. It shows what a sweet person you are and the whole title of your blog is so inspiring. I love the things you are offering (but do not want to win - they would cost a fortune to post to UK) but so enjoyed reading about your generosity - there are at least four giveaway prizes here! x

Val said...

Annabelle, thank you. And I am willing to mail the package anywhere, though, so consider your comment "counted." :)

Lisa said...

Val, I would love to win these lovely prizes! Happy Anniversary to you. :)

(I hug Dolly more than I should - Henry is more standoffish.)

Rev. Jim said...

Val, I am always amazed at your generousity! This is a great giveaway package!
And I can't believe how long I've been following your blog! And blessed by it every time!
I didn't know Sandra Lee had her own magazine. Maybe I should look into that. :)
Keep Blogging!!!
Rev. Jim

Val said...

Lisa and Jim, thank you both. :)

And Lisa, you'll be especially happy to hear that I managed to get another video of Stuffed last night. 'Will share it this next week. :)

Girl About Chelts said...

Congratulations on your six years of blogging, I hope one day that will be me :) and the giveaway is a lovely idea xx

Carol said...

Hey Val,

I have something to give to YOU, that will go perfectly with your pink Christmas theme--so drop me an e-mail with your address (lost it, figures) and I will get them to you.

If Stuffed would like some cat pics to look at, I occasionally post photos of Beowulf at mrbeowulf.tumblr.com--with Jean back in Russia until June, I've been told I have to post them daily so Stuffed will be entertained for a good while.

Love and hugs, and congrats on your blogiversary!


Carol

The Sage Butterfly said...

You have such a lovely blog, and your giveaway is a wonderful idea. So glad to meet you here through the Grow Your Blog party.

Amy said...

When I was 16, (and after 11 years of pleading) I finally was given a dog for my birthday. A little cockapoo that I named BooBoo. He was my BEST DOG EVER. The dog that every dog I will ever have gets compared to... the dog that was my first love, my first child, my first real best friend. He passed away 13 years ago and I have never been the same. When my husband and I got married forever ago, he told me he knew better than to try any 'It's me or the dog." mess because he knew it was always gonna be 'the dog'. I love him so much and miss him terribly still....

Hollywood forever, Kevin said...

Hi Val, Thanks for dropping by Hollywood forever, Kevin. It's always nice to get a new follower and know people are out there. I will drop by as well. And tell your mother is has good taste! K

Debra Lee said...

There is nothing better than random acts of kindness!

Beth @ E. lizard Breath Speaks said...

wow, what a great giveaway. so fun. i am really enjoying this blog hop. finding so many great blogs i have to keep up with. wishing you a great weekend. take care. please stop by my blog when you get a chance. ( :

Nellie said...

You have been blogging a long time, Val! I feel like such a novice. This is a great giveaway! Love "A Tree Grows in Brooklyn." You are a gifted writer yourself!

Art and Sand said...

I did the same thing. I started a blog and did 2 posts then deleted everything. A year or so later I wrote a post and it is still there, but I did not go back for 6 months. Now I have been posting regularly.

What caught my attention was your comment that you envied the person who has not yet read A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I can still recall the summer I first read the book - and it has been more than 50 years.

Carola Bartz said...

Unfortunately I don't have a cat to hug (darn allergies)but neighborhood cats usually find their way into my yard sooner or later. Some come back over and over again.
I like the way you write, it feels like sitting in a little cafe and chatting along, really nice. Your give away, needless to say, is gorgeous.
I'm your newest follower.

Maggie said...

Hi Val--SO glad I stopped by. You have an absolutely charming style of writing. So very sweet and insightful and it just made me smile! I'm going to start following.

And what a wonderful giveaway!! I'd love to have you stop by my blog, too.

Fat Dormouse said...

Hello Val, what a beautiful charming blog post you have written...and a very generous giveaway too. You sound as though you are a "très sympa" person!

I'd love to see you over at my 2 blogs if you care to visit - www.dormouse.wibsite.com or fatdormouse.blogspot.com

Bernadett Rauski said...

Hello,

Nice to meet you in this event.
I have a giveaway on my blog,too.
I am your new follower.
http://petite-armoire.blogspot.com/
betikarauski@gmail.com

Greetings.
Bernadett

Val said...

Wow! Thank you all much. :) It's been a work-filled weekend and I'm now off to my job again....I'll catch up more tomorrow on my day off and will absolutely be visiting all your blogs. :) ♥

Thank you. :)

Thistle Cove Farm said...

Hi Val, memory is a poor servant and I haven't a clue how we "found" each other but you've added so much LIFE to my life...bless and thank you! Your kind words, often frighteningly wise, have bolstered me, especially this last year since Dave died. You've been such a *blessing* in my life, thank you. You're thought of often, in this season of giving/selling/throwing away...ahem, perhaps not so much 'throwing' as that's too h.a.r.s.h. for me to contemplate -smile- but I remember your wise advice...should have printed it out so as to nudge me daily...ahem. Or, perhaps not -LOL-
Thank you for your blog, it's cheerful, clever, cute and a blessing to me and so many others.
God's blessings on you, yours and the work of your hands and heart.

Terri said...

Hello, I am visiting for Grow Your Blog, and I am happy to meet you!
You have a lovely blog, you are very inspiring!
Hugs,
Terri
artfulaffirmations.blogpspot.com

Lesa said...

Congratulations! I'm a new follower, well, as soon as I click that button. If you have a moment, stop by my blog and I think, from my blog party post, you'll see we have something in common...that interest! Isn't it wonderful! I'll go hug my dog now (as, much as I love them, I'm allergic to cats). Have a great week!

Di Lewis said...

HI Val! I love your post, what a wonderful person you are! You'd be surprised at how many of us are shy. We just fake it :) My goodness I wish you were my next store neighbor. You are just sweet , not to mention well spoken.Your generosity is amazing, as well. Stop by for I have a giveaway too. Have a beautiful week. I m your newest follower and email subscriber. Dianna

Diana Stirling said...

Congratulations on six years of inspiring blogging! You are awesome! I'm also so impressed that you're including A Tree Grows In Brooklyn in your giveaway :-). Here's to the next six years . . . xoxox Diana

EvalinaMaria said...

You have a lovely blog. I'm new follower and 'Grow Your Blog' participant. Have fun in at the party!
Evalina, This and that...

Marie said...

Hi Val, thank you so much for leaving your comment on my page which allowed me to come back here and visit you. First of all congratulations on six years of blogging. I am looking forward to reading back through your posts. I loved this post. Like you I am really interested in the things that others share and I adore people watching. When I see something I think it pretty or unusual I want to know the story behind it. I think everything has a story, short or long, but a story nonetheless. I love the set up of your blog too, by the way. I think if your blog pleases you, it can't help but please others. To thine own self be true and all that! I, too, am from the UK, and would not want you to go to the expense of having to send your goodies over here, so don't count me in on the giveaway. I am a new follower! So glad we've met! xxoo

Val said...

Marie, I just emailed you. :)

Thank you all so much. It's been fun visiting all your blogs and meeting you. :)

Carol, I'll email you my address again, sure. Thank you. :)

Trudy said...

Hi Val
I'm your newest follower (tried the other day, but for some reason couldn't? anyway I'm here now!) Thanks so much for following mine too : -) Congratulations on six years of blogging. Wow, that's something. And what a gorgeous package of goodies. Please pop me in your giveaway!!

Donna Heber said...

Hi Val,

It is so nice to meet you. Thank you for the chance to win your generous giveaway. I'm still making my way through visiting everyone from Vicki's Grow Your Blog party. I hope you will stop by to say hello.

pippirose said...

You have a lovely blog, and I'm anxious to read more of it (though, it may be a little while, seeing as there are over 400 to visit).
Oh, and congrats on the 6 years of blogging!
:o)
Rose
pippirose59 at gmail dot com

hueisei said...

Hello :D
Nice to meet you at the party!.
Great blog! Happy 6 years blogging!
Thanks for the chance to win your giveaway.

nonniescedarchest said...

Hi Val,

Thank you for the warm welcome to your blog. I felt right at home. You have a wonderful writing style. Will drop back by soon to see what you are up to!

It is great to meet you through Vicki's GYB party.

If you have a chance, please drop by nonniescedarchest.wordpress.com

Gabriela said...

what a lovely fun blog! I look forward to reading your posts!I will now follow..come visit mine!

Kathy H said...

Fun post. Aim looking forward to following your blog. Congratulations on 6 years. Wow!

DreamgirlLisa said...

Hi Val! What a sweet post! Can't believe you've been blogging for 6 years! Can't remember exactly how I first found your blog, but something I read grabbed me :) I have been very busy, but I got your email & will respond with details soon :). One thing coming up this year is that BOTH my girls are graduating, one from high school & the other from College! I can't believe it & I can't believe I'm that old!!! Lol well, you know how to reach me, & Congrats on 6 years here!

Derrith said...

Well, I just love your blog. It is so cheerful and fun to explore! I am happy to be a new follower. Your give away is so generous and downright exciting! Please enter me. Thanks for sharing your talents! -Derrith

Laurie said...

What a generous giveaway! Happy blogaversary!

Val said...

Thank you all. :)

Kathy said...

I know we lost touch when I went through some pretty turbulent times and my shyness kept me in my turtle shell. I'm so glad your still 'here'! Six years - wow! You have such a great giveaway going on, congratulations on 6 years!!!

La Table De Nana said...

Please cont me out of the give away also..the expense is too $.
But I wanted to say ..it's charming here.
Some of your thoughts reflect mine:-)
Your soul shines through here.
I
I too am looking forward to reading more.
Cuteness abounds in your home:-)

Wendy Wirth said...

I read your blog last week when I visited for the Grow Your Own Blog Party, and my mind kept wandering back to it. So, I have now signed up to be a follower. Can't wait to see what other exciting things you post.

Whimsey Creations said...

It's so nice to meet you Val! I love all the thoughts about great moments that bring back memories. You don't ever realize that you, yourself, are making memories for other people - at least I'd never thought much about it. I had worn the same perfume for probably over 20 years and then last year decided to try a new one. One day in a phone conversation my daughter, who is 32, mentioned that she remembers me smelling so good when she would lay her head on my shoulder (we adopted her at age 7). So now I make it a point to wear that perfume whenever I know I will be seeing her. Who would have thought? I'll be reading more of your blog - you have a great way with words.

kareninkenai said...

What a lovely post and such exciting giveaways - very fun. Glad that you joined Vicki's Party. Hugs from Alaska. Please stop by and sign up for my giveaway, too. Karen

www.alaskabluemoose.blogspot.com

mybearsnme said...

What an amazing give away! Congrats on 6 years - I'm working on...um...27 days? lol found you through the blog party - I'm over at http://leftoverchocolatestitches.blogspot.ca/

liz said...

Happy blogiversary!!!

Tracy said...

Hi Val,
Lovely post. I struggle with shyness too.
Tracy

Val said...

Thank you all. I will visit all the new-to-me blogs as soon as I can. :)

Sherrie {Bird Lady} said...

What a fun little giveaway you are hosting Val. The GYB party has been so fun. I'm popping by from Bird Lady Blog.

~ Sherrie (Bird Lady)

http://www.birdladyblog.blogspot.com

Val said...

Thank you, Sherrie. Thank you, everyone. :)