Category Archives: blogging

my relationship with my blog

Hiatus Continued

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I am Italian. I cannot keep calm.

I have no goals. 

That’s what I told my husband. I’m Italian. Melodrama runs high.

“You do have goals,” he said. “You wanted to move back to North Carolina and you did.”

“Yes, but now what?”

Good question. You’d think I’d have figured out that detail in advance.

I love blogging, but my husband’s consulting business is growing. He needs me to take on a more public role in the company, at least for the next few months. Officially, I’m a Managing Partner.

So what becomes of the blog and the 50 other business and writing ideas I have rolling around in my head. Lots of women do both, work for pay and blog for free. Can I? Should I?

Blogging carries with it the urgency of social media to publish. Publish. Publish. Post something already. It reminds me of the toddler in the grocery store who must have the grossly overpriced, cartoon themed, neon colored fruit pops. NOW. How would the wise parent respond to said toddler?

In a word: no. In two words: not now. 

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frozen foods aisle

Easy advice to give, but following through feels like a huge, scary risk. It’s so stressful that I had to eat NC barbecue twice already this week as comfort food. I’ll be crowned queen of the Lexington Barbecue Festival come October.

What if you say no and the toddler throws a fit on the floor of the frozen foods aisle? What if she holds her breath until she passes out? What if she hates you?

What if she ignores you and you become irrelevant?

So be it. The wise parent remains in control. The smart mom thinks to herself, “That child’s not the boss of me!

The adult in the situation is able to say no, not now. Everyone survives and is usually better off for it.

What do people really get for all their hard work? I have seen the burden God has placed on us all. Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. Ecclesiastes 3:9-11 NLT

The Zombies Tell Her No.

Have you mastered the art of saying no?

in His time

in His time

FYI: I plan to continue blogging as a monthly contributor for Project Underblog. Please read my August post The What’s Next? Crisis of Blogging.

I also hope to continue to blog here, but I’m not telling you when because I don’t know when. The best way to see the stories I don’t know when I’ll publish is to subscribe for free updates on email. Follow the prompts in the top right sidebar to subscribe. Just do it.

photo credit: Storm Crypt via photopin cc
photo credit: shiilo75 via photopin cc

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Chasing Fireflies: A Midsummer Blogging Update

“I assumed everyone had fireflies,” said my friend. We stood on her porch at dusk watching my son spin and dart around her yard, chasing the tiny, mid-air pulses of light. “But they don’t. People are surprised to see them here.”

tree canopy

tree canopy

Growing up in the Piedmont region of North Carolina, I assumed the same. Fireflies are a given of summer. Since we moved back from the Midwest last month, I realize everyone doesn’t have them. Not the way we do here.

We didn’t have fireflies like this during our 16 years away. Chicagoland drowns them out with stronger, artificial lights. I vaguely remember them flickering in our yard in St. Louis, but that was rare. And their floating courtship didn’t stand a chance against the winds of Wichita.

Here they flourish. Waves of them parade through the night in the deep woods near our little rental house. We walk the trails in daylight and find them dark and hiding in the cool of the forest.

The first week we arrived, we walked those trails like destitute people who’d happened upon a cathedral. The rich green of thick vegetation flooded us. We took shelter under the canopy of tall trees. We breathed it in. An enchanted forest, steps away from our front door.

The dog refused to come into the house that first week. She would go out, but she wouldn’t come back in. The disruption of movers followed by driving across the country with my husband only to be met with movers again didn’t sit well with her. She’s adjusting; I still carry her back into the house some days.

Corinth

Corinth

My son and I made the drive incrementally from Wichita to North Carolina alone. We stopped along the way in interesting, important places: Oklahoma City, Little Rock, Memphis, Corinth and Shiloh, Chattanooga. People have asked if I was scared driving all that way by myself with a child. No, I wasn’t scared. I was thankful I could do it.

Once we were moved in, my husband hit the ground running with his consulting work. He’s very busy, and we’re grateful.

My son and I are taking things slower, exploring our way through the summer and adjusting much like the dog. I’ve seen only a  fraction of the many people I want to see. Sixteen years is a long time to make up for being gone. Some things have changed. Others haven’t.

“Do you have a to-go cup I can pour this Coke into?” I asked the man at the counter of the barbecue restaurant. I love North Carolina barbecue. Eaten it twice already since we arrived. It’s comfort food to me. Makes everything better.

“No, we don’t have no to-go cups.” The whites of his eyes flashed up at me from his downturned, brown face.

“Oh,” I said. Just like the city. No margin for courtesies. Then I caught his smile.

“Here you go,” he said, handing me a cup, punctuated with a belly laugh.

“You have quite a poker face,” I said and laughed with him.

“I also work in drug and alcohol law enforcement,” he said. “I need a poker face.”

Later that day, my son and I took to the woods again, this time on our bikes.

forest path

forest path

We zipped through the forest in late afternoon, cutting the humidity like a boat cuts water. Rain from the night before had overflowed the creek banks and shifted the sandy trails. We ducked off the path to maneuver around fallen trees whose soggy roots had given way. Our wheels spewed flecks of gravel as they spun around.

Soaked with sweat and water, we reached the turn to go back to the house.

“Do we have to go in?” said my son.

“We can ride more tomorrow,” I said.

Today is only the beginning.

 Yet God has made everything beautiful for its own time. He has planted eternity in the human heart, but even so, people cannot see the whole scope of God’s work from beginning to end. Eccesiastes 3:11 NLT

For King and Country, Middle of Your Heart.

What has your summer held for you?

Like fireflies in a city, my posts have been rare this summer. Thank you for your readership and your patience as my family makes this major relocation.

Martha Stewart, image credit David Shankbone

Martha Stewart, image credit David Shankbone

My work as a Project Underblog contributor continues. In June, Martha, May I? was published, and in July, A Clinique Conspiracy Theory was published. A third post is on tap for August. I invite you to click on the titles to read these stories. If you blog, consider stepping out and submitting a story to Project Underblog for publication. They are a supportive, safe community of writers~#smallandmighty!

I plan to attend the BlogHer conference in Chicago next week. It promises to be a fun time with my blogger sisters. If you’re there, please contact me @AimeeWhetstine on Twitter so we can connect IRL.

You may remember Listening to the Women of Monsanto was published this past May as a BlogHer Original Post. It was a well-read story for me. What’s next? That’s the question I’ll ponder at the conference and beyond. I must remind myself, as do we all, today is only the beginning.

photo credit: david_shankbone via photopin cc

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Filed under America, blogging, family & friends, life, writing & reading

Monsanto Who?

“So I’m writing this story about Monsanto,” I said to my friend.

corn field, image credit: James Jordan

corn field, image credit: James Jordan

“Who?”

“Monsanto.”

“Never heard of them.”

My husband’s career in agriculture spans nearly 30 years. I take it as a given that everyone’s heard of Monsanto.

The company is one of the big dogs in farming and biotechnology. If you live in St. Louis, as I did for almost 13 years, you know Monsanto. If you eat food raised in the United States, it’s possible Monsanto has been involved in the production of that food in some way.

But I discovered from talking with my friend that there are people who don’t know Monsanto or what they do. And then there are a lot of people who only know what they’ve heard from activists and Food, Inc.

With that in mind and with the guidance from my editors at BlogHer, I tried to write a story that gives readers some context for what Monsanto does and communicates the thoughts of four women I interviewed who work there.

Please click over to read Listening to the Women of Monsanto on BlogHer. Your classy comments and shares are appreciated. 

Listening to the Women of Monsanto

Megan Brown & Janice Person at Monsanto Research Plot, image credit Janice Person

Click to read Listening to the Women of Monsanto. Megan Brown (L) and Janice Person (R) at a Monsanto research plot, image credit: Janice Person

Have a great weekend!

photo credit: James Jordan via photopin cc

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Filed under blogging, food & farm, women's studies

I’ve Joined the Underblog

While many websites with clever names compete for attention in the blogosphere, Project Underblog speaks to my heart. 

Project Underblog

Project Underblog honors the small and mighty blogging voices. The Underblog is more interested in your words than your page views. Novel concept these days. Underbloggers are resilient, determined, thoughtful. They’re genuinely nice people. Low on snark, high on encouragement.

Content for Project Underblog comes from a pool of submissions along with posts from a core group of monthly contributors.

Guess who’s the newest monthly contributor?

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image credit: The J Train

My first post as a Project Underblog contributor is live today. It’s a humorous look at Debunking Eight Rules of Blogging. Those of you who blog know there are a lot more than eight “rules,” but I was already waaay over my word count and had to stop. That’s your cue to pick up the ball and run with it. Go, read the post, and comment on your favorite (or least favorite) blogging “rules.”

As a contributor, I’ll be on the lookout for great posts. Don’t be surprised if I encourage you to submit a post for consideration on Project Underblog. I’ve suspected all along that several of you are superhero material. Perhaps you are an Underblogger?

We shall see. I might even let you borrow my cape. 

Do not despise these small beginnings, for the Lord rejoices to see the work begin… Zechariah 4:10 NLT

Please click to read:

Debunking Eight Rules of Blogging

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image credit: Gord McKenna. Click to read Debunking Eight Rules of Blogging on Project Underblog

From the girl with the Hello Kitty kitchen, here’s a link to Underdog by Lisa Loeb. BONUS link: Ride your inchworm down memory lane with the theme song from the cartoon Underdog.

photo credit: The J Train via photopin cc
photo credit: Gord McKenna via photopin cc

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Bullfighting on Twitter

This past Monday, I’d had it with Twitter. Rather than give up, I took the bull by the horns. Because that’s what we do here.

I deactivated my Twitter account @everydayepistle. Please follow me now @AimeeWhetstine if you like. 

matador, as seen in the Plaza, Kansas City

matador, as seen in the Plaza, Kansas City

Inquiring minds want to know. Why this change? Why now? Here’s the skinny:

1. Forgive me for being undiplomatic, but I hate Twitter.
Maybe I just don’t get it. People have explained Twitter to me as a cocktail party where you can chat with absolutely anyone. How cool is that?!

Eh. There’s something to be said for hanging out at a barbecue with people I already know. Dear Mr. Zuckerberg’s endless string of arbitrary changes is tiresome, but Facebook is more my speed. There’s context to Facebook—mutual friends, profiles, photos, a virtual paper trail of posts, comments, likes. Yes, some people present falsely, but only the hopelessly diabolical can keep up a Facebook farce for long. True colors shine through.

Meanwhile, Twitter is context-free. Commitment-free. A breeding ground for trolls and propaganda. It’s easy to hide behind 140 characters. Olé!

Unless you have a gazillion tweeting friends or followers, Twitter is also like an echo chamber. It’s you, standing alone in the arena, waiting for the bull to rush you. Your tweets disappear into the chaos of the crowd. Who knows where they’ve gone or who’ll read them? Who knows if anyone will read them at all or if you’ve just wasted two precious minutes of your life distilling a profound thought into an acceptable tweet. There isn’t enough time in the day, folks.

And yet, if I want to write, if I want to participate in social media, if I want to connect with people in the 21st century, Twitter is a necessary evil.

2. If I write it, my byline needs to be on it.
Ross Douthat has more than 21,000 followers on Twitter and follows 110. Peggy Noonan has nearly 75,000 followers and follows 85. Beth Moore has more than 300,000 followers and follows 50. Seth Godin has more than 260,000 followers and follows no one.

These are a few of my favorite writers. They don’t follow. They tweet and leave the following to others. They invest their time doing what they’re obviously good at and what I suspect they enjoy most. Notice it’s not Twitter.

They tweet with their own names—except for Seth who uses @ThisIsSethsBlog. It’s rather spiffy to use a cool Twitter handle, brand name, or blog title. It’s just that for me, for now, I want ownership and accountability. I’m no Peggy or Beth, but I want you to know who’s speaking and who you’re speaking to.

3. It’s time to clean house. 
The terrorist attack in Boston was less than two hours old this past Monday afternoon when a writer I was following tweeted something beyond irresponsible. I’ve told you here before that if you so much as breathe the wrong way on my child, Momma Bear will make an appearance. Well, kicking my country when it’s down isn’t a good idea either.

Liberal news outlets have carelessly, callously promoted inappropriate ideas since the bombing, but this writer was first to do it on my feed. I’d mistaken her for someone she isn’t. I’d been gored.

I've heard Spain is nice. Photo credit: Contando Estrelas

I’ve heard Spain is nice. Photo credit: Contando Estrelas

And you know what? It’s my bad. I’d assumed without knowing. I’d trusted without verifying. Her response to my calling her on the insensitive tweet showed she clearly couldn’t care less who I am or what I think or even how her tweet insulted citizens who still love America and emboldened those who hate us. (By the way, if you live in America and hate America, please consider moving. Abroad. Think of how much happier we’d all you’d be.)

That was the last straw. Within 24 hours, I’d closed my old Twitter account and started over, determined to make a fresh start. Ah, catharsis.

Between you, me, and the fencepost, I’d like to continue writing about things that are important to me, but life isn’t a popularity contest and Twitter doesn’t have to be a blood sport. Read and follow if you like. Block me if you don’t. I’ve got work to do. As myself. As Aimee Whetstine.

God bless America.

“Forget the former things;
do not dwell on the past.
See, I am doing a new thing!
Now it springs up; do you not perceive it?
I am making a way in the wilderness
and streams in the wasteland.” Isaiah 43:18-19 NIV

Pasodobles Españoles by Pepe El Trumpeta.

I cannot be the only person out there with Twitter malaise. Can you relate? Or if you love Twitter, won’t you kindly share a tip or two?

photo credit: Contando Estrelas via photopin cc

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Filed under America, blogging

10 Things I Learned on My Spring Blogging Break

Hi. How you been?

solution focused

solution focused

My spring blogging break lasted longer than expected. Lots to tell you. Where to start?

Amy at Using Our Words writes a regular column of 10 things she’s learned each week. She’s the boss of this format, which I am not—and she’s funny, which I am occasionally. In homage to Amy, here’s my list of 10 things I learned while I wasn’t blogging.

  1. “Vacation” doesn’t capture the magic of a trip to Disney World. “Triathlon” would be closer.
  2. Sometimes the answer is as simple as giving the dog a new toy.
  3. There are a lot of mean people on the internet.
  4. Two and a half hours is a looong way to drive to the nearest Loft.
  5. Moms don’t exist until they’re on the phone, applying their makeup, or sneaking a nap at which time they’re indispensable and needed right away.
  6. When your stress level reaches a certain point, you can actually feel your axons and dendrites ache.
  7. Writing takes time. Writing well takes time and editing.
  8. Opportunity costs stink.
  9. Skype rocks.
  10. A good pair of khaki shorts never die.
still kicking

still kicking

Carry on.

Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance. 1 Corinthians 13:7 NLT

Something good this way comes.

Guess what? (No spoilers if you know what.)

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Filed under blogging, humor, life

Happy Birthday, Blog

How do you wish a blog a happy birthday?
Let’s bring in the birds for an avian rhapsody soiree.

image by wili_hybrid via flickr

Click to read “Birds on a Ledge.” Image by will_hybrid.

April 23, 2012

Click to read “Nestful of Blessings.”

parrot by rotorod creative commons license

Click to read “Parrot Island.” Image by rotorod.

Flowers are essential.

single pink peony

Click to read “An Unexpected Post.”

lamb's ear, iris and Baptista in J's garden last spring

Click to read “Paper Weight.”

dillon's daffodil

Click to read “Missing Alex.”

And we must put up a sign.

sit up get God

Click to read “Everyday Q&A.”

private property

Click to read “Privacy Schmivacy.”

power mom sign

Click to read “The Lie of Having It All.”

Happy Birthday, everyday epistle.
Thank you for two fun, adventurous, unexpected years.

The Lord has done great things for us,
and we are filled with joy. Psalm 126:3 NIV

hair model

Gonna get my hair done for this occasion. Click to read “Gray.”

Music flashback: The Sign by Ace of Base.

What will you celebrate today?

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