My husband Jeff Whetstine is the eternal optimist.
me and Jeff
Consider the three reasons he gave for his selection:
1. We planted those seeds.
2. They were among the few living things we found to thrive in the harsh, arid conditions of Wichita.
3. They were beautiful.
Yes, they were. And we were there to see them. Hope does a lot more than float.
Jeff’s Reader’s Choice is:
click to read Hope Blooms
This post concludes our Reader’s Choice 2012 series. I hope you enjoyed meeting the readers and revisiting their selections as much as I did. Special thanks to everyone who participated. On to 2013!
Pam Thompson knows timing is everything.
The mother of six children (six!), Pam’s blog is understandably called It’s Time for More Coffee! Pam makes every second count.
You may recall the battle boiling back in the sweltering heat of July. Gay rights activists sniped at Chick-fil-A’s founding family for personal contributions they made to organizations that support the traditional definition of marriage between one man and one woman. The activists’ irritation with the Cathy family had been building for years. Last July it reached a fevered pitch.
BlogHer published an op-ed from a woman who was boycotting Chick-fil-A and the Boy Scouts. I watched for the rebuttal post. I waited and waited to see the other side of the story. When no alternative response came, I pitched BlogHer my own.
First published here as Why I Will Eat Mor Chikin, BlogHer accepted my story and syndicated it the week of the BlogHer Conference in New York, vaulting the post to my most-read story this year.
The BlogHer audience came unglued with its publication. Many readers dialogued with civility, but many did not. I received hateful comments and tweets from strangers. More importantly, I received messages of support and solidarity from strangers, too. People were reading, relating, agreeing, and praying. One message of courage came from a pastor in North Dakota whom I’d never met. Soon I connected with his wife online. She is Pam Thompson.
Timing is everything, and everything belongs to God.
Pam’s Reader’s Choice is:
Standing Up for Chick-fil-A
click to read Standing Up for Chick-fil-A on BlogHer
Lisen Stromberg and Anissa Ward Hutchins are worlds apart.
Lisen is my co-blogger on Finding (Un)Common Ground. She and I met this year at the BlogHer Conference in New York. Lisen is a self-described progressive humanist living on the Left Coast with her family. Her writing has been featured in countless major media outlets. Steve Jobs was her neighbor.
Anissa is my childhood friend. She and I went to the same schools, cheered on the same squads, and ran in the same circles. This year, I was tickled to learn she was reading my blog. Anissa lives with her family near the town where we were raised in the most beautiful Old North State. She is a Christian.
Both women chose the same post for their Reader’s Choice. Normally, I would have asked one of them choose something different, but I was intrigued by their responses to this story. When it was first published on November 8, both women shared the story with their Facebook networks. Lisen wrote:
Please take a moment out of your crazy day to read this beautifully written post by my friend and co-blogger Aimee Whetstine. Her words are gracious salve to the “losing” side of this election. Her faith and her call to others to remember their faith in a time that might lead them to believe they have been forsaken speaks to her own wisdom. I may not come from her world, but I understand the beauty of her words.
At the same time, Anissa wrote:
When I woke up this morning I was feeling just a little anxious and nervous about what the future may hold for our country, but as I was going through my emails, this blog post came up. Aimee Whetstine is a friend from middle school and high school. Her wonderful post just soothed my soul, my nerves calmed, my anxiety diminished. Thank you, Aimee, for reminding me that my future holds promise. My hope is in my saviour JESUS and my stand is the Word of God.
Two women. One post. Lisen and Anissa’s Reader’s Choice is:
click to read Chicago Songs
Filed under America, faith, life
Nothing ages me faster than calling my niece “Dr. Whetstine.”
Jena Whetstine (right) with sister Jessica Whetstine Brotherton at Jessica’s wedding
Professor Jena Whetstine has her Ph.D. in chemistry. My collegiate career, on the other hand, did not include one hour of chemistry. Does psychology still count as a science?
Our family is exceedingly proud of this accomplished young woman, all her siblings, and cousins. She is, and they are, beautiful on the inside and out with the easy-going, never-met-a-stranger warmth and sense of humor my husband’s family exudes.
Jena picked this post because as a chemist she found it “very entertaining.” Humor wasn’t exactly what I was going for, but you never know with chemists.
Jena’s Reader’s Choice is:
What Organic Food Is and Is Not
click to read What Organic Food Is and Is Not
Like poetry, Corey Turner is an old friend of mine.
Corey’s quip about turning 40 inspired last year’s most-read post, I Like My Bike. He’s a poet the same way I’m a poet—unpaid, part-time, hobbyist. We have a thing for words.
It should come as no surprise when I asked him for his Reader’s Choice post, Corey delivered it along with the words for its introduction. And so I yield the floor to the gentleman from South Carolina.
Aimee and I shared a classroom once, a rogue’s gallery of earnest and earnestly irreverent undergraduates who each of us thought perhaps we might have something to do with Poetry. Someday, anyhow.
But in the intervening years, many of us from that classroom have fallen sadly out of touch with the stanzas that spoke so powerfully to us when we were younger.
April of this past year stood duty as National Poetry Month. And via the magic of the internet, that month rapidly became something of an opportunity to reconnect with those all manner of old familiar friends on the page. Aimee’s post here was part and parcel of that, her readers sharing poems that had leapt off the page for them.
Long ago, some. More recently, others. Regardless, it was immediately apparent if they had ever leapt once, they are still leaping, those poems.
And so sharing good poetry is still, as it always was, a dangerous game. What leapt for one reader will often strike another. Sometimes in unexpected, usually in exceptional, and almost always in provocative ways.
But then again, that’s why we read and share these sorts of things in the first place, isn’t it?
Save the date, everyone. Come April, you’re all invited to a party. Corey’s Reader’s Choice is:
Poetry Slam Party
click to read Poetry Slam Party
Anne Burkholder and her husband Matt are the only two Dartmouth graduates who live in rural Nebraska.
Anne and Matt have worked his family’s diversified farm for 15 years. He farms 5,000 acres of alfalfa and she is “boss lady” of a 3,000-head feedyard.
This past June, the Burkholder’s farm was featured in BusinessWeek, and earlier this month, Anne appeared on RFD-TV. Her blog Feedyard Foodie is a steady, intelligent voice in today’s turbulent conversations about animal welfare and ranching.
Anne carefully selected her Reader’s Choice post. “I love it because being alone with God and nature is my favorite thing to do,” she said. “It soothes the soul—centers your perspective—and lends itself to feelings of hope and promise.”
Oh, how I long for that this Christmas. Anne’s Reader’s Choice is:
click to read Moon Walk
Amy Heinz is the girl next door… and then some.
Besides having a very cool first name, Amy is a mommy blogger extraordinaire. Her blog Using Our Words was named Best NorCal Mom Blog by Circle of Moms this year and was a finalist in the Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Awards. You can catch Amy’s parenting posts on Disney Baby, too.
I got to know Amy online through a mutual friend, and this year I had the privilege of meeting her in person at the BlogHer Conference in New York. When she saw me sitting in front of her in a session, she texted me. Repeatedly. Only she was texting the wrong number.
Chalk up accidental cyber stalker to her list of accomplishments. Amy and her winning sense of humor have had a big year.
Amy’s Reader’s Choice is:
Bellies on Vacation
click to read Bellies on Vacation