The Ultimate Blog Challenge lessons, and a lightning strike!

Well, Gentle Readers, you’ve been very good to stick with me throughout this month of October. Against my better judgment, I signed up for the Ultimate Blog Challenge, committing to write a new post every day of the month, not to mention share it with others in the group, and read their posts as well. It took a LOT of time, and I learned a TON from it. This is what I’ve learned from this month of writing, posting, picture-taking, and reading:

Thing 1:ย Sitting down to write about things that I am learning in my life intensifies the experiences themselves. It makes me reflect a bit before downing my morning cup of bulletproof coffee, for example, or making another batch of olive bread. When a batch of “So Long, Summer” Ratatouille turns out especially delicious, I have a quiver of excitement that I have something new to share with my Gentle Readers. When I spend an afternoon with my darling granddaughter Anya, I enjoy it all the more for savoring how I’ll share it with my friends through my blog. My life is already pretty doggone rich, but being able to share it with others makes it even richer. So, thank you, thank you, thank you, for being an audience to my ideas and stories and ramblings.

Thing Two. I can get up pretty darn early if I really want to. In order to keep up with teaching the kids’ school in the morning and errands and music lessons in the afternoons and garden work and occasional cleaning and all the animal-, and people-feeding that I do each day, I’ve got to get up very early to get my writing in. Granted, I no longer have a baby who wakes me up during the night or that I tote around on my hip all day long, so getting up early is not the trick it used to be. What am I saying–getting up at all during those years was quite a challenge! I love to write, and I love to build this blog, so I can get up early to do it. I wake up before my alarm goes off, thinking of the exciting things I’m going to share with you, my Gentle Reader.



If I were, say, trying to have the cleanest house or the best-maintained checkbook, or the best-trained flea circus, I’d never be able to get up extra-early to do those things. But writing? It’s what I love to do. I would say this might be a test for those of you who are trying to decide whether to write a blog, or invite a new doodad, or make paintings for a living, or go into drapery-making, or whatever. Does it excite you enough to wake you up early (or stay up late?) to do it? If not, then maybe you’d better consider doing something else.

Thing Three: I get very very sleepy by 9:00 p.m., so writing a blog does make me a very dull companion (indeed) in the late evening. That’s the trade-off, I suppose. But that’s okay, I guess.

Thing Three: That candied ginger I’ve gone kind of crazy about making? It’s absolutely delicious chopped up and added to my tea. When you get to the bottom of the cup, you can chew on all those ginger bites. Yum. I thought you might want to know that. It’s an important life tip, don’t you think? By the way, the tea I’ve been drinking is ginger-lemon. Yum.

Thing Four: Bloggers are a helpful bunch. This is what happens: I write about something that is exciting to me, and people from all over the world read what I have to say, and sometimes even care enough to make a helpful comment. When I wrote about my sudden and surprising discovery that I had high blood pressure and wrote about wanting to bring the numbers down naturally, I received suggestions from all over, which was pretty cool, really. I appreciate having my eyes opened to new things. For example, did you know that licorice tea can raise your blood pressure? Until a fellow blogger mentioned it to me, I was blissfully unaware of this fact and also downing several cups a day. (Thanks again, Sara!) It’s my favorite tea. snif. Or was my favorite tea. Double-snif.

Thing Five: Though I have a professional hackstar (that really is his title at the computer design firm where he works) as a son, I’ve learned that if you keep pushing buttons and poking about and asking questions and pushing more buttons, that figuring out the tech aspects of building a blog are just not rocket science. Honest. (Can I say Honest Injun here? I suppose not.) Am I’m not a tech person. At All. I still have to ask Timothy for help now and then, but he is probably quite relieved that I’m figuring out how to do it on my own. Of course you might counter that my blog is pretty simple, and you would be right about that. It’s not got a lot of complicated doodads and whatnots, but still. Still.

Here is a picture of our carrot harvest. Why? Good question.

Here is a picture of our carrot harvest. Why post it? Because I can, I guess. I know how to post a picture of carrots in the proper place, huzzah!

Thing Six: That said. It took a crack of lightning very very close by (literally) to get me to move from our old reliable, ancient ‘pooter to the slick and intuitive and beautiful Apple desktop that my husband recently purchased for home use. I was doggedly working away on our old DELL (it’s in the Guinness Book of World Records for being Oldest Running Computer), though the monitor was so shot that the words on the screen were actually fuzzy; that made a sound like a freight train when it got tired; that was slower . . . than . . . molasses. . . on a good day, just because I knew how to use it. I just didn’t want to take the time to figure out how to use that new Apple (please don’t start lobbing rotten eggs at me, Mac-lovers!). Perhaps I was a bit scared of it. It’s so . . . . new . . . and shiny.

Then one dark and stormy afternoon, as I was typing away on our old ‘pooter (we called it The Dinosaur) there was a crack of lightning so sudden and so loud and evidently so close by, that all of the lights went out. Those of us who were at home screamed like startled children, (well, some of us were startled children) jumped, and ran to find each other, our mouths hanging open like gasping fish. Once we confirmed that all of us were okay, we ran outside to see if our roof was on fire. I really did think our house got hit. But no, within a few minutes our electricity went back on. The only casualty (wait for it) was the Dinosaur. We could get it turned on, but we couldn’t do a thing with it. It still doesn’t work, as a matter of fact. I personally think it was just God’s way to jar me from my computer-related-stubbornness. It worked.

That afternoon, my patient and supportive and beautiful daught Amalia sat me right down and taught me how to use the shiny new Apple, and I haven’t looked back longingly at the Dinosaur once, yet. Although there are still some photos trapped in its outdated maw that I need to extricate. . .

ultimate blog challenge

Pleeeease can’t I take these shoes off, Mom?

So those are six things that I’ve learned from October’s Ultimate Blog Challenge. It’s been a good month. I can’t say that I’m not thankful that it’s over. I’ve got a musical melodrama coming up to produce, and of course Thanksgiving, and Christmas, and so many many things to look forward to. I want to have more time to spend with my family, especially the little ones who are growing up too fast. But I’ll be continuing to write and make posts, but not every day.

I have actually three books now that are in the works (one at a time, Amy, one at a time!) and a big stack of books that I need to read, and I hope to spend some of the time that I’ve been writing to work on those books until they are finished. I’m really excited about it, and I’ve been putting off finishing them too long, so here I go . . .

Again, thank you, my Gentle Reader, for being so good to me, for reading, and sharing, and encouraging me. You add a lot of fun to my day! Could I ask a favor? If you’ve enjoyed any of the posts in particular during this month, could you do me the favor of sharing them with your friends? Just pull up your favorite post from the Archives and share it with your Facebook friends, or your Twitter feed, or whatever you like to do when you read something worth sharing. Type it out on your telegraph machine. Just kidding. I’m the only one that still has one of those. And then if you’d like, I’d love to have you join the fun over at my Facebook page, too. You can find it right here.

Until next time, baby!



17 thoughts on “The Ultimate Blog Challenge lessons, and a lightning strike!

  1. Nate

    Hello Amy,

    Good to see that you stuck through the blog challenge till the end. It’s not the most exciting thing in the world but it does have it’s benefits. Depending what you’re passionate about or type of interests that you have, you can share it with the world. Thanks for sharing the pics!

  2. Francene Stanley

    I love your optimistic approach to life, Amy. Thank you for sharing your days with your readers. You have much to offer.
    As for lightening, a year or so ago, it struck inside our living room, sending terror into the greyhound dog, who never recovered from his fear. It also knocked out my old computer. I had to buy a new one.
    Sometimes, life forces us to move on.

  3. Chef William

    We close one door and we open another. I have books that need to be written as well. So get to it because you know in another 3 months we will be invited to another challenge. Before I can sigh on to a blog a day, I must take care of business. Like you, that includes many things, some of which I will post about. I think I will commit to two blog posts a week for the next 90 days. We need to keep in contact. My wife and I head back to Wisconsin in early March and would love to stop by and say Hi.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Absolutely, Chef! I’m already planning what I’m going to prepare for you and your lovely wife when you come to visit in MARCH! I can’t wait for that!

  4. Andrea

    Well done for getting to the end of the challenge with your sanity intact! I’ve enjoyed reading your posts, and I love your positive outlook on life. It’s always refreshing and a joy to read what you’ve written. And you learned lots of things to boot! Woo-hoo!

  5. Carolyn Morrison

    You have no idea how *relieved* I am to find that your daily bloggings were part of a challenge! ๐Ÿ™‚ Having just discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago, I was feeling rather (very?) insufficient in my own posting frequency. Although I have an abundance of material yammering at me from my desk (and no kiddies left at home), I am also uptotheeyeballs in managing the affairs of an elderly parent-in-law, with occasional health issues of my own thrown in for good measure. ๐Ÿ™ At least now if you miss a day now and then, I won’t feel quite so inadequate. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Oh Carolyn, none of that! I usually don’t post nearly as often, only during occasional daily blog challenges. If you want to kick up your blogging frequency, you ought to do it some time. You get pretty fast and pretty creative about coming up with posts when you’ve committed to doing it every day!

  6. Alana (@RamblinGarden)

    Now you can leave off blogging for November. Only kidding! As one of the bloggers responsible for your October month of insanity, I have to say that I enjoyed reading your daily posts and I will miss them! You have to be like a superwoman with everything you get done in your life. I stand (no, sprawl on the sofa) in awe of you.

    1. dramamamafive Post author

      Alana, you make me laugh! Sprawling on the sofa, no less, whilst you type out your Great American Memoir, I suppose? I’m glad you gave me the encouragement to do the UBC again. I really enjoyed it, though it pushed me a tad!

  7. Pam

    Thank you for sharing your life and beautiful writings with us, your Gentle Readers (I can’t explain it, but I love being called that!) You are a dear. I’m so glad that writing energizes you, because you are very gifted at it.

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