Saturday, December 28, 2013

In which I reflect on a year of blogging


A year ago tomorrow, I hit the little orange button on my first post to this blog. I began because I loved reading blogs and thought I might have interesting things to share too. I'm a proud, devoted parent, I love to make things, and I enjoy decorating and sprucing up my home. Using my free time in productive ways is really important to me. I felt I could share all of these things if I had my own space.

More than this, I hoped to increase my sense of mindfulness about my little world. I wanted to create a record. I have always loved to write and I kept notes about daily minutae from an early age. I now understand this was, in part, a response to certain difficulties in my life. But it stuck: in adulthood, and especially in parenthood, order is a tenet of my life. Some might call me a control freak. I prefer to think of myself as hyper-organized - I know where everything is, I know how to get more if I need it, I know what's coming next. Blogging, for me, has been a healthier outlet for these tendencies - healthier than obsessive list-making, for example. Blogging helps me rein in anxiety in a positive way. I believe this is one of the most important exercises in personal growth that I have ever undertaken.

I'm very pleased, yet a little surprised, that people have greeted my blog so warmly - people are actually reading this! People are actually reading this? - it see-saws in my head sometimes. I'm a quiet person; I mostly keep to myself. The response to my blog has taken some getting used to, but I am immensely grateful, and I have made true friends through this blog, which is definitely unexpected. I've won generous giveaways and received surprise gifts and cards in the mail. I appreciate every person who takes the time to visit and offer insights and support. You've helped me gain self-confidence.

Blogging is now an integral part of my life. I love having the opportunity to enhance my writing skills, and what was once a lukewarm interest in photography has become a true passion! I adore taking photos. I would be crafting anyway, but what a wonderful platform for sharing my creations - with like-minded people who really appreciate the time and dedication which go into finished projects. I'm getting more comfortable with sharing my family life too; I'm very proud of my family and I love sharing what we do and how we live. I'm happiest at home, and that was always the main idea behind my blog, which I plan to continue to emphasize and share.

Thank you all for being here over the past year. I am so glad you found me and that you've stuck around. You're lovely and sweet, every one of you, and I can't wait to see what this year brings for our wonderful blogging community.

51 comments:

  1. Congratulations on you're one year blog birthday, it's alway a great pleasure reading your post.
    Clare xx

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  2. Jennifer, I love this post! -I enjoy coming along on your blogging adventure. I'm so happy that I have had the opportunity to meet you in this wonderful blogging community. I can't wait to see what's in store for next year. :)

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  3. You have my wholehearted agreement on every word you have written about the pleasure of blogging. "Yes!" to the self discipline, the practice in writing, the kind friendships and prizes unexpectedly won - and one more - the best one yet.....the fact that your beautiful children will always be able to read your words and enjoy revisiting how they were brought up in a loving, peaceful, creative, supportive environment that allowed them to become the best they could be!
    Happy Anniversary, Jennifer. My time restraints do not allow me to read every blog I've subscribed to, so I am forced to pass over many of them. Yours, however......well, you know I'm always here, looking forward to being charmed just one more time!

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  4. Congratulations on your one year blogging anniversary! I just recently stumbled on your blog but I have enjoyed reading your posts.

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  5. Happy blog birthday Jennifer. I think blogging is wonderful too! :) So many great people to share with and whose blogs i adore reading. I love your spot, and am so glad i found you.

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  6. Yes, Jennifer! Blogging is an exciting medium of communication for me as well. It combines my interests in domestic arts and my passion for communicating in a loving way...highlighting beauty if I can. I am still a point and shoot photographer, although I have read articles about the finer points of light levels and focus :) Happy First Anniversary for Thistlebear! May you enjoy creating many more beautiful posts! By the way, have you read The Gentle Art of Domesticity by Jane Brocket? I can't remember whether you have typed about her books or not, but I have been collecting them because I enjoy her blog, photography, and all round creativity and can imagine you enjoying them as well. xx

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  7. Congrats on one year! I'm so glad I found you. :)

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  8. Hello Jennifer. Thank you for visiting my blog and becoming a follower. I am now following you as well and gave your latest few posts a quick glance and see that I have been missing out on some interesting stuff going on in your corner of the world. This is going to be your first anniversary of blogging and this is about the time 2 years ago that I got brave and took the plunge. I love it, it has been a God-send to me especially since my husband passed away this past January. Blogger friends/buddies are the best, and in many cases they are more loyal than actual people you might know. I hope you come back and visit me when you can. I will be sure to stop by and check what is new with you. Hope your Christmas was a good one, Happy New Year to you and your loved ones.
    (((HUGS))) Susanne :)

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  9. Congratulations on one year of blogging. You are so much more talented at this medium than I am. I'm a so-so writer, a horrible photographer and only began blogging to document my trip to Japan to work in the shelters after the earthquake/tsunami. To my amazement people actually wanted me to continue. My little life was interesting? You must be kidding! But through this blogging world I've made so many friends and I'm very thankful for it.
    I hope you enjoy many more years of blogging.
    Blessings,
    Betsy

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  10. Isn't it great to look back and see where you were on post # 1 and what you are writing about a year later ! I love blogging for many of the same ways you love it. I find it a way to stay focused, reflect on what is good, stay connected even when times are very tough. Thanks for your post today.
    Joy

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  11. You are a wonderful writer, and I enjoy reading each and every post! And your photos are always so lovely. I am so glad I found your blog. I always come away feeling calm, and relaxed, and thankful after reading. Congrats on your one year anniversary! And I wish you and your family a very happy and healthy New Year!

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  12. I found you just a few weeks ago by googling crochet patterns (can't remember which one, offhand!) and was charmed by your blog, and am now following you. Do please keep on writing, I enjoy it very much!! (I've been blogging since 2006 but am behind at the moment. I'm using the winter holidays to catch up!)

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  14. Hi Jennifer, gosh I just did a big heartfelt comment, hit post, then saw a typo, copied my text and deleted it... and it wouldn't paste! Argh! LOL! Anyway, I'm glad we're friends and I enjoy learning more about you in each post.

    *:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*
      *H*A*P*P*Y* *N*E*W* *Y*E*A*R*!*
    *:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*~*:._.:*

    ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

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  15. Very insightful post, Jennifer, and congratulations on a year of blogging. I can identify with much of what you say, and I think the personal growth factor is very real for me, too. Looking forward to many more posts from you, and I am glad we found each other's blogs! Happy New Year for 2014!

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  16. Hi Jennifer, So glad I found your blog and happy 1st anniversary!!!! Blogging has really made the world such a small friendly and supportive place to be in!!!! Have a fab day!!!
    Love
    AMarie

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  17. A whole year, well done! I love reading your blog so much, it's a huge treat when I see a post from you. Thank you for all of the effort you put into making it such an enjoyable place to visit. Here's to the next year!

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  18. It's been such a pleasure getting to know you Jennifer, and sharing your world with you. It's been great watching your blog grow and I'm looking forward to another year. X

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  19. Have just found your lovely blog Jennifer and I look forward to following you in 2014 xo

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  20. Happy Anniversary. It's been lovely getting to know you a little. Looking forward to sharing 2014. X

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  21. ....and I am really glad you hit that orange button. Reading blogs from all over the world seems to make it a friendlier, safer place. Keep on blogging!

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  22. Congrats on your first bloggiversary ! I for one am really glad you decided to start it, I so enjoy your blog and wish you many more happy years ahead. Love & hugs, Gilly xx

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  23. What a beautiful Post Jennifer, it's always a pleasure popping over here to read your Posts and I can't believe you have only been blogging for 12 months - Congratulations on a wonderful year of blogging and all the best for the year ahead. Mel xxx

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  24. Congratulations on your first blog anniversary. Here's to many more.

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  25. Hello Jennifer. I have enjoyed reading your blog over the last year and looking at all your wonderful creations.. The ginger bread house was great.. Well done. Congratulation on your first year of blogging. I wish you many more... I would like to wish you and your family a Very Happy and healthy New Year. Hugs Judy

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  26. maybe we can follow each other? let me know! <3
    shootingdiamond.blogspot.com/

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  27. Jennifer, your blog has grown by leaps and bounds and I love to read it. I think we all feel a little weird about people reading our thoughts, but the way you write is perfect and the sharing you do with your family is just enough that we feel connected but it is not invasive to those you love. A perfect combination for a perfect blog. Oh and by the way I am a bit shy myself, putting myself out there in the blogging community is not easy for me.
    Hugs,
    Meredith

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  28. Happy blog anniversary Jennifer. Your blog is always a joy to visit. Yes it does take some getting used to when realizing that people want to follow and read our words but you have such a lovely way of writing. Have a happy New year x

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  29. Happy anniversary, I really feel weird about sharing my thoughts and I have not had the courage to write honestly but I've become a bit braver and have today for the first time ever decided to share my thoughts .It is a painful post and I'm frightened and worried that perhaps I should have kept it to myself. I am a very private person so I have taken a big gamble. Thank you for inspiring me.

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  30. Congratulations on your blogging anniversary. Love reading your posts, hope they continue for many more anniversaries. Happy new Year :)

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  31. Congrats on your first year of blogging! Your blog is a delight to read, and I look forward to seeing how your family grows and what crafting projects you undertake in the New Year, Jennifer. :-)

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  32. Congratulations on your 1st anniversary Jennifer. Its always a pleasure to read your posts and you're so right you meet such wonderful like minded people here in the blogging world. I've abandoned my own blog for some months now as my life has taken a huge turn this year and left me with no spare brain power, but I will come back to it once I move house in the new year. All the very best to you and your lovely family x

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  33. Kudos on one year of entertainingly heartfelt posts, Jennifer! I've so enjoyed reading your words, and always look forward to your news around Thistlebear Home!

    Wishing you and your family a very Happy and Healthy 2014!

    xo
    Poppy

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  34. I'm not quite sure how or when we discovered each other's blogs, but I'm so glad we did. I truly enjoy hearing about your family, your crafts and your crochet. I'm getting better and hope to get in a lot more practice.

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  35. Happy blog anniversary Jennifer. I really enjoy reading your blog and look forward to another year. Julie x

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  36. Congratulations on your blogaversary Jennifer, and for your thoughful posts and friendship. You have created a lovely blog and I look forward to reading it next year and beyond. I hope that you continue to enjoy it. Can't wait to see some more!! xx

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  37. I thought you had been at this for longer than one year!
    I always enjoy what you have to say...and seeing your crafty handiwork...
    Your photographs are always wonderful...and your family stories are charming♥️
    Can you tell that I am a fan? Ha!
    I do enjoy when the blogger answers their comments.....but,that is just me!
    Happy blogging, Jen....
    The best is yet to come.....
    Cheers!
    Linda :o)

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  38. Hey Jennifer,
    A wonderful post. I have loved being witness to your personal journey. You have shared your wonderful family and home with real integrity and candour. You should be proud of them and your personal acheivements too. Here's to more adventures here at Thistlebear!
    Leanne xx

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  39. I always love catching up with your news. blogging is truly great isn't it. happy new Year to you and your family. Thanks for always dropping by my blog and making my day. Jo x

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  40. I am a very little part of this community and I really like it. My blog it's not very known....maybe some day....anyway, thanks for sharing your words, as usual I have enjoyed

    Lluisa xx

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  41. I have only recently 'found' you and so glad I did! Wishing another year of blogging and a happy 2014 xxx

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  42. Dearest Jennifer
    You have captured the real heart of what blogging can do foe you in this post, really beautifully put too. I am a bit of an introvert, but meeting such wonderful like minded people is what's kept me going. Well done for your first year of blogging, here's to many more. Wishing you and your family a very beautiful 2014 xox Penny

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  43. Happy Anniversary! I just love popping in and read your news, Jennifer. I feel very much at home in your space and visit frequently. Cx

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  44. Congrats on your first year of blogging. I started blogging to have a venue for sharing my love of vintage linens. However, I am not a writer. I really admire your ability to captivate us with your wonderful posts. Please keep sharing and happy blogiversary! (a made up word I learned in blogland)

    :) Pam

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  45. Congrats on your one year blogging milestone! I am so glad you started - you definitely have a gift for writing and photography that draws me into your stories and makes me feel like I "know" you and your family. All the best for 2014.... :-)

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  46. congratulations on hitting one Jennifer, I've just joined your blog and hope to enjoy many more here reading! I like the photos you take- they are lovely!

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  47. Congratulations on your blogging milestone, Jennifer. i'm so glad I found your blog and thoroughly enjoy the glimpses it gives me of your happy family life and your creative skills. Here's to many more happy years of blogging. :-)

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  48. love your blog Jennifer - looking forward to your posts in 2014

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  49. Congratulations on your 1st Anniversary of blogging it's always lovely to visit you.
    Sarah x

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  50. Congratulations on your first year of blogging! I really enjoy visiting your blog and always really enjoy your posts.
    Marianne xx

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  51. Congratulations!! I'd forgotten that your blog is only a year old it seems so established and interesting!! Well done you - genuinely. I've read this post twice now and actually can 100% relate to the reason you started blogging. It's like I've written this post - just with better use of words and phrasing!! Wishing you lots of moments to treasure in 2014 and I look forward to reading about them on your blog!! J9 x

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