A Six Year Blogging Journey

Volume One and Two!

A few weeks ago I celebrated my 60th birthday. My sisters were here and made it so special. They gave me a wonderful gift-  a two volume compilation of all of my Katherine’s Daughter blog posts! The second book arrived today and it’s beautiful.

Six years of blogging? Could it really be? Two hundred and fifty nine posts. What have I learned? A whole lot about myself and blogging.

Initially I began a blog because I had a desire to write a book. Not a fiction book but a non fiction book about grace. As I explored this more, the research I found said if you have a blog and develop a following, your book will have an audience. As if the universe conspired to help me, I then began a full time job that was very busy but not very imaginative. I loved my boss and co worker but I had come from an events planning environment where every day was something different.

Enter my blogging journey. I started Katherine’s Daughter six years ago today on December 11, 2011. I remember being a bit scared of the technical side of a blog, and inspired by the sheer excitement of it. Blogging is fun! I met lots of other wonderful writers too numerous here to name. They showed me the way and taught me many things.

Are you thinking of blogging or writing? Here’s a few awesome things I’ve learned:

  1. Don’t strive for perfection. If you think every post has to come out like a Vanity Fair or New York Times article, think again. Anyone with a desire and basic knowledge of their language can write. My way of writing is to think about what I want to say for a few days then sit at the keyboard. Usually my posts will tumble out and I edit them a couple of times. I resist the temptation to revise over and over again. That drives me insane.
  2. Practice makes it easier. When I look at my first post and look at my last post, I’m kind of proud. I think my writing is a little better since the beginning and I will tell you that each time I post I worry a bit less. I just let it happen.
  3. Writing a blog is a creative outlet. Do you have something to say? Photography to showcase? A zillion recipes to share? A family life that is outrageously humorous? Blogging is a chance to share your magic with the world. I like to tell stories that show ordinary life as extraordinary. It does help to have a central theme in mind.
  4. If you have a business, blogging will broadcast it. I have an events blog tied to my wedding business. I do very little paid advertising. But I do wedding posts on a regular basis and I can’t tell you how many brides have found those posts and hired me as their coordinator.
  5. Be yourself. You can be a swearing, outrageous blogger that showcases your daily struggle with mental illness or a major momma in the kitchen with amazing recipe magic. Either way, be respectful to yourself and others and have a good time with it.

What’s yet to come? My sister Mary wrote me a beautiful letter when she gave me volume one. I want to share it with you.

Happy 60th Jo!

I’m writing this note three days after your 60th birthday. The Fed Ex package due to arrive on your birthday arrived instead at 10:38am this morning. I suppose that means your birthday is meant to live on at least a few more days, if not more.

I’ve thought about this present for you for quite some time. Cally initially rejected the idea of creating a book/s of all your posts. But I knew this would be the perfect gift for you. Mostly for selfish reasons—because my hope is that this year you’ll think about creating a compilation book of the best of your blog posts. It’s not my place to decide which ones are the best. But I knew what I could do was print every blog post you’ve written (or at least those on the katherine’s daughter site) as a book and also as pdfs to make it easier for you to read and select your version of Anne Lamott’s Traveling Mercies orGrace (Eventually) or Hallelujah Anyway. 

Sometimes I wonder if you realize what a gifted writer you really are. Your blog will always be something I can return to again and again to remind me of mom, of what it was like to grow up in our family, to remember how sweet life can be, and to be grateful for the big and little things that happen in our lives.

So my hope is that when I turn 60, your present to me is a published copy of your “best of katherine’s daughter.”

Happy 60th big sister.

Love you Jo.

Mary

Ok Mary, I accept your challenge! I will do my best to have the Best of Katherine’s Daughter published by December of 2019!

To all of my supporters and faithful readers- Thank you so much for all of your love and encouragement. Your comments, likes, and shares of my posts lift me up on my writing journey. Here’s to many more years!!

 

Join me on my graceful journey.
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Going to Carolina

My sister Cally and her husband, Raymond
My sister Cally and her husband, Raymond

In my mind I’m going to Carolina. Can’t you see the sunshine, can’t you just feel the moonshine? James Taylor, from Going to Carolina In My Mind

It’s been a melancholy week. My youngest sister Cally, who has been here in the Pittsburgh area practically all her life, has decided to accept a position in Brevard, North Carolina. She is the new Director of Marketing and Communications at the Brevard Music Center.

Here’s what the website says about this beautiful place:

Brevard Music Center is, at once, a place, a summer institute, and a festival.

The Music Center is situated on a wooded 180-acre campus in the beautiful Blue Ridge Mountains of western North Carolina. Founded in 1936, the Music Center has matured into one of this country’s premier summer training programs and festivals. More than 400 gifted students, ages 14 through post-college, come to the Music Center to study with members of a distinguished artist faculty and with renowned guest artists. For seven weeks, students participate in a vigorous program of instruction that includes ensembles, private lessons, and chamber music.

I am alternately so excited and sad to see her and Raymond go. We will see them in a few months I’m sure, after the music festival but until then, we will skype, talk and text. Thanks goodness for technology.

Years ago, Cally was the first and only person who took me to see James Taylor live. It was a beautiful concert downtown and he performed with The Dixie Chicks. It was amazing. The cherry on top was that, through a mutual friend, we found out James was staying at the Renaissance Hotel. We went for a drink before the show and Cally got to say hello and meet James!

I will never forget that she took me to this concert. In honor of Cally’s departure, I wanted to share this video.

Cally and Raymond, I wish you the best in your new home and success in all your endeavors. See you soon!

xo Joanne

Join me on my graceful journey.
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The Graces of Sisterhood

Graces

1.Greek & Roman Mythology Three sister goddesses, known in Greek mythology as Aglaia, Euphrosyne, and Thalia, who dispense charm and beauty.

2. Divine love and protection bestowed freely on people.

3.The state of being protected or sanctified by the favor of God.

4. An excellence or power granted by God.

 I have been wanting to write about my two sisters for some time now. There are those ideas, as I’m sure other writers will attest to, that are just challenging to put into words. But here and now I’m going to try and describe the feelings I have for my two sisters.

L to R, Joanne, Mary, Cally

First, just bit of background. Mary is two years younger than me. When we were growing up, she and I played Batman together, rode Schwinn bikes together, fought and protected each other. Today she is an entrepreneurial, forward thinking, loving woman who makes time for anyone and any good mission or project. Cally is four years younger than me. I remember her as a child, but just barely. I am sure I protected her, watched over her, as my father often reminded me of my caretaker and role model responsibilities. Cally is soft and quiet but that doesn’t mean she doesn’t step up to the plate. She is quite the leader, eloquent writer and artistic creator.

I think the three of us are a blend of my father’s outstanding leadership qualities and our mother’s (Katherine) wisdom, strength and great Grecian- inherited event planning skills. How very lucky we are to have been so blessed!

It was not until the three of us left for college that I felt how really close we were. Though separated by distance, we would come together at holidays and on special occasions. As we got older, we shared our life experiences, our trials and tribulations of growing up. We have not agreed upon everything but we respect and support each other. I think we make a great team, bouncing ideas off each other and managing some good retail therapy when we have a chance to be together.

There is no denying that now, the relationship between us is very strong. I found a quote by Susan Ripps in which she says “There is no outsider anywhere who wouldn’t appreciate and even envy the tremendous advantage that sisters have, if properly utilized, against all odds”. How true!

At the Base of the Acropolis!

God must certainly have Grace in mind when he creates sisters.  Divine love, the state of being protected, and power to support, love and care for each other. When I found the definition of Graces in Wikipedia (in my opening), somehow it was just perfect for describing my relationship to my sisters.

Do you have a sister? Whether she is blood related or not, sisterly bonds can last forever. I can think of several people who I feel special enough about to call them sisters. Tell me in comments below what your sister(s) mean to you. I’d love to hear about it!

Join me on my graceful journey.
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