Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Favorite Blog Posts (March 2017)

It was back in January that I took a major step in my life. I decided to embrace a part of myself that had always been in the background, there and worthy and talented and with a knack for using words to touch others.

I've been an independently published romance novelist now for just over four years (I first published in December 2012), and in that time, my entire life has changed. I still love romance, and I'm still working EVER. SO. SLOWLY. on my next novel, but ...

With splitting from the kids's dad, needing to grow my income faster, and wanting to stay home with my kids (mostly because of the way my PTSD issues had grown, but also partly in hopes of avoiding doubling the sense of abandonment my children have suffered), I rediscovered a new outlet - my love for the blog format.

I love the non-fiction, down-to-earth reality of a blog, and I love the quick, simple delivery. I love that it feels like an infinite magazine full of articles on every topic, where I can pick and choose who/what I think is worth reading based on where I am in life. I can read about parenting, mental health, crafting, whatever! And I have loved that through taking my blog into the "lifestyle" category, I can now write all of those topics myself.

It has been a joy, and through this new avenue I've gotten in touch with some great people, discovered some amazing content, and learned so very very much. Today I'd like to share some of that content with you, right here on Top Ten Tuesday.

(in no particular order)

This post on DaishaRenee.com reads like a peek into my own heart. Each and every item on this list of goals was something I could relate closely to, and it felt personal in a really beautiful way. I loved literally everything about it. Made me want one of these SO. BAD:

This post from souledontea.com. You guys, I swear. I just ... I can't even. I can't even tell you what it says, what it's about, what it means, what it ... just ... go read it. Because I can't express what it made me feel. Just go. Go read it right now.

This letter from Ana (FadedSpring.co.uk) to her Aunt really struck a chord with me, because it rings true for the girl I was as a child, targeted by step-parents who saw me as a hassle and a burden, not as adequately protected by my parents as I needed to be ... never CHOSEN over the drama and the hassle. I never felt prioritized, and am left now with a lot of very sour memories of being directly NOT prioritized. Like Ana, I had to grow up too fast, had to learn so many of life's lessons too soon and in the hardest possible ways. But like Ana, I had someone beside me, someone to encourage me, someone to balance out my softness, someone to understand. Not an Aunty - growing up, I didn't often feel like I had a strong authority figure (other than my Grandmother, who I wasn't actually close with until the last ten years or so) - but a cousin. I had my friends who became my family over the years, people who mean so much to me because they are so much a part of who I am. But I had this one little bit of family too, this cousin who became my truest and closest friend. Love you, Dana.

This post from Caitlyn over at BlondeSeekingAmbition.com seriously got me right in the Nostalgia. A list of songs from my era? Uh, yes, please. I was like fifteen when these songs were hits, and there was literally not one song on this list that I don't still know. So many of them are songs I actually still love! Except that last one. Because it was bad. So, so bad.

5.) "TREND ALERT - How To Host A Pink Ninja Party For Girls"
Oh. My. Gosh. Seriously, you guys? I WANT to go to this party that I found on Soiree-EventDesign.com. But the thing is, I don't just want to go, I want to be a kid so I can really enjoy it without looking weird. Even better, I want to be the kid who is the birthday girl. The "stealth entry required" thing? I love it! And the blades, and the creative party chair, and the ... all of it. The fortune cookies!?

You can't see me right now but I'm totally in whine mode. My desk is lifted today so I can type standing up, and I'm stomping my feet. "I wanna go to the parrrtyyyyyy .... uuuuhhhnnnn!"

BONUS: Check out this party too, which also made me pout a little. Also, if you're local and you have one of these parties, please please PLEASE invite me. I really wanna come!

6.) "Italy"
This post about Italy from DeesignPlay.com made me feel like I was there, walking through the romantic streets of Italy's most famous and beautiful cities, enjoying quiet moments by the water, taking in the sights and the culture. I have such a longing for this type of travel that I took over an hour reading and rereading parts of this post, exploring what's shown in the photos.

7.) "I'm Fat. And My Body Is OK."
This post from Divya at EatTeachBlog.com is a serious gem. It's empowering in its message of self-acceptance and positive recognition of what is, and you guys know that couldn't be more perfectly aligned with the kinds of things that like to post and share here. So much of this post so perfectly describes my own youth, and then so much of it perfectly describes me now. In addition to that, it's the kind of blog post that would have reduced Cass from Fat Chance to tears. It's everything about what her journey was as she lived her story, and everything about the things she had to learn and accept along the way.

8.) "How To Get The World To Send You Love Notes & Birthday Wishes"
I'm not sure I've ever seen anything quite like the concept described in this post by Jasmine from JazzOnTheRun.com ... but it made me smile, and it made my heart leap a little with happiness. What a beautiful thing for people to be doing!

Okay, seriously. David from SingleDadsGuideToLife.WordPress.com is such a delight. His blog is infused with a certain self-deprecating humor that I can totally relate to (it's the same sense of humor that I filled Cass with in Fat Chance, making her hilarious to some and actually a bit depressing to others who didn't "get it.") He talks a bit about his daughter, his life, the local sights (California, USA), and his efforts to get his fitness under better control. But recently he wrote a more personal post that skipped over the usual "Ten Facts About Me" (my favorite color is blue, my best friend's name is Sarah, booorring) and went A LOT deeper. Sure, he included some superficial things and a dash of humor to keep things light, but he also stepped into a vulnerable place of sharing that stole words I didn't even know I had right out of my heart. Click over and check out items 1, 3, 4, 8, & 10, with special emphasis on those last few to see what I mean.

10.) "Enraged"
This post from Hyla (HylaAndPeterEchols.com) really struck a nerve with me when I read it. I'm not sure the effect it had is exactly in line with what Hyla's intent seemed to be, as the post felt to me like a lesson in forgiveness ... but it gave me a new sense of understanding with myself. Something my therapist has brought up somewhat tentatively with me lately is my inner child - the part of me that stayed frozen in childhood, in response to what happened in my childhood and the things I saw and experienced. I don't put an awful lot of stock in the "inner child" concept (not yet, at least), but something DID strike me just in the moment of reading this.

PTSD is an anxiety disorder; it's like being stuck permanently in the fight/flight/freeze cycle, unable to escape even the reactions of your own mind. Anything can set it off - the beeping of the microwave (yes, even if you expected it), someone standing too close to you (yes, even if you know them), even certain scents (yes, even if there's a part of you that likes the scent) - but nothing really shuts it down. The problem with it, particularly for me, is that it keeps me so anxious, always. Anxiety is my constant companion - it's there when I eat, when I shower, when I'm walking the dog, when I'm alone in the quiet. It's there in the night - sometimes I even wake up in a panic for "no reason." Anxiety is frustrating though - it makes every sound louder, every experience more jarring, every light brighter, every emotion stronger.

The constant sense of OVERWHELM ... well, it pisses me off sometimes. Leaves me SO ANGRY. For "no reason." It isn't (usually) there because I'm offended in the moment, or because I've got hurt feelings in the moment, or because I'm sick or sad or anything. It's just there, like a sleeping lion inside me, and I never know when something's going to wake it.

Until I read Hyla's post, it never clicked for me why the lion was there, either. Until.

And that's where I come back around to that inner child. The little girl who felt left behind, the little girl who felt unprotected, the little girl was chosen last and didn't feel prioritized, who had to be "placed" in a children's home because her "home" wasn't safe enough to stay in and she had already begun to show the signs of psychological trauma. The kid who moved too much to build lasting friendships, the kid who saw things no kid should ever see.

And now I understand the lion - he's there to protect the little girl, from her own sense of justified anger. And maybe, maybe now that the little girl and I are coming to an understanding ... maybe now, together, she and I can learn to put the lion to rest.

BONUS: I've done this type of Top Ten before! You can check out some other great posts I've found by looking at Top Ten Tuesday: My Top Ten Favorite Blog Posts (January 2017)!

And there you have it, my most recent Top Ten Blog Posts (to read). I hope you'll click through and read some of these, and if you love them as much as I did, make sure to leave a comment! We bloggers love our readers, and we especially love comments!

For access to the audio version of this blog, please click here.

Questions for the Comments Section:
  • Did you end up going over to read any of these posts (or do you think you will)? If so, which one(s), and why?


  1. Ooo these all sound like wonderful posts. I'll be sure to check them out. I have read some of them, but a few I haven't yet.

  2. I am so excited to read all of these! What a cool idea for a blog post!

  3. Blogs are such a wonderful source of information. Whenever I need inspiration or am looking to learn more about something, I always end up reading a post from a popular blog. Thank you for linking these!

  4. Blogs are such a wonderful source of information. Whenever I need inspiration or am looking to learn more about something, I always end up reading a post from a popular blog. Thank you for linking these!

  5. I love that you do this. I read a couple of these on my own, but I am off to check out the rest now.

  6. Wow- thank you for putting together this list of posts! A lot of them sound like they will be really timely for me, can't wait to,check them all out!

  7. i love this idea! It's always so good to reflect and look back - will read a few of these now x

  8. I love your "Dear Future Self" post! I need to do something like this on my blog!

  9. These all seem really great. I am always looking for some new blogs to read, so I will have to go check them out.

  10. I love the "Dear future self" post. I wrote something similar a while ago: http://katnapped.com/2016/09/02/friday-feature-dear-future-me-a-letter-to-myself/
    Katja xxx

  11. I found some blog posts that I'm interested to check out. Time to go read more posts!

  12. You are so right about blogging and how it can be cathartic! I'm going to have to check out these other posts they sound REALLY good.

  13. So many great posts! Thank you for sharing!

  14. These all sound interesting! I need to check out the post "Dear Future Self!"

  15. Great and informational post. Thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I will check out a few blog suggestions that you have provided.

  16. That is nice you put together your top 10 posts. They all sound great and interesting. Will check them out.

  17. I have to check out some of these blogs, Im really intrigued about the "Dear Future Self" post. I am also intrigued by the talk on anxiety, as someone who suffers from it, it is a difficult thing to deal with and it is extremely important to find the root of where it's coming from. Great post!


  18. Wow these all look like they have some great info! I saved this to make sure I come back and check them out !! Ty for sharing

  19. Blogging has been a solid outlet for me for a long time and I usually don't make my blog public, I just keep it to myself and whoever comes across it. I love discovering other bloggers though.

  20. I love this! I started my blog back in 2009 and I have been loving it ever since. I don't earn though, I just like writing my thoughts and sharing about my life. I think it has helped me a lot. These blogs are fab! They're all worth checking out.

  21. These are really great blog posts. I especially love the 'I'm Fat and my body is OK" blog post. I love blogging because you get to know all of these interesting people and read such great posts!


Like this post? Leave me a comment - and don't forget to check "notify me" so you'll get an alert when I reply!