Friday, November 4, 2022

10 Years of Blogging for Ballast

 On November 1, 2012 I began blogging here on Across the Way.

It's brought me so much joy, the joy of creating and the joy of friendships and the joy of glimpses into other women's lives. 

It's helped me to recognize myself when at times I believed no one else did. And now, at an age when so many seniors feel invisible, that can be even more true.

And so I hope to continue blogging as long as I can. This is not another post under my Blogging label used 13 times that is to announce some foolish change. I'm not announcing a blogging break or that I'm blogging but turning off comments like I've done ad nauseam here and at Dewena's Window over the years.

As I read back through my previous posts under the Blogging label, I was so embarrassed. What nonsense! There was only one post under the Blogging label that still rings true, March 1, 2013's Blogging for Ballast. [Here.] The three reasons for blogging I gave there are still true for me.

So many who left comments agreed with me and had their own experience to share. Last night I took the time to go to the blog of each one if they had a blog and found that of the 26 people, only 9 seemed still to be currently blogging. So it seems likely that each one assessed their own relationship with blogging and moved on to accommodate their own needs. Probably many are now on Instagram. 

I'm on Instagram but I only follow others. I love watching some of the reels that are of movie production quality but have you seen the hundreds of thumbs down that even the best get? What is wrong with people? I just can't quite get up my nerve to begin posting, or the know how to do it.

I didn't lead an exciting life to blog about when I began blogging 10 years ago. And I lead an even less exciting life now, thank God. 

When I post pictures on my blogs now you may spot a cobweb or a dusty lamp. I don't vacuum anymore, RH does every couple of weeks and he spends hours doing it thoroughly. I rotate through the house, polishing at least one piece of furniture a day because I love polished furniture, I ordered wonderful long handled tools by Oxo that help seniors clean that I love to use, I love to putter around the house and try to follow the Mount Vernon method of cleaning so that eventually everything gets done (RH doing the lower regions). 

I cook a whole lot! I like to cook and I like to eat and I like to eat at a pretty table. And I've learned to make it easy on myself by washing up as I go, and I start the dishwasher every night even if it's half empty. 

I don't attempt to do seasonal decorating in whatever new style is being done online. If anything, it has now become Granny Style, and not even Granny Chic.

 A bagful of fake fall leaves garland, etc. that I was given go out on the front porch with our collection of primitive crocks and chairs. And they didn't even get dusted this fall.

I'm not going to embarrass myself or you and go on in this slant because that would be further ad nauseam. The truth is, I love my life! I love my life at this stage, even with revolving trips to a physical therapist needed. 

I am so thankful to be alive! I'm so thankful for my husband and family and this home we've been at six years. I love the garden RH has made here and the fall colors in it now.

We both get so much enjoyment from all our wildlife, the birds we feed, the possums, skunks, groundhogs, rabbits, a fox or two, geese who come to the pond and our yard from January to July and the deer who visit for the apples RH cuts up for them.

Yesterday there were our regular mamas with their young but the shyer bucks came too and RH managed to get pictures of this handsome guy.


 And of course, our lives are wrapped around two very special people who live with us, James Mason...

And BreeBree...

They're at the groomers this morning while I'm writing this. They have a standing three months appointment now because it's so much easier than us trying to shampoo them. The house is so quiet today while they're gone!

All their nests are out in the sun and their blankets are in the wash. They'll want a couple of green beans for treats when they come home and then a good nap, snuggling together as always, never a cross word between them. 

And if we all go to bed tonight knowing our eight children, eight grandchildren, and four great-grandchildren are safe, it will be a triumph of a day.

I hope yours is too.




  1. Wow! What a wonderful post!! I went to the link, and left a comment there. I was such a different person in 2012. You began the blog a few weeks after Tom's father died, after a couple years of Tom tending to him (though not a caretaker) with his Alzheimer's. His passing was not sad or anguished. About six months later Margaret was pregnant, and a bit after Michael's wife was. And we were off! Now the kids are almost 9, 8, and 7. One couple is breaking up, thankfully. Tom's mother has been in a state of change for five years now, and it has taken it out of us. Friends have died, others have faced very difficult troubles. Life has been "too much with us". I told someone the other day that we are diminished. I haven't had the energy to blog or read blogs very much. And I do miss it dearly. I am working hard to come back because as you put it so perfectly, "It's helped me to recognize myself when at times I believed no one else did". The other thing about blogging that is good, so good for me is that when I've written about something in my life, I have felt more whole, more real somehow. And I so miss my blogging friends, and they are indeed friends. I have lost contact with so many. As so often happens you have written my thoughts. And you have bolstered me in my thoughts of getting back. Thank you, dear one.

    1. I found your comment at the old post, Nan! I appreciate so much your sharing here today too. I've worried that you had gone awhile without posting and was glad to see you back recently. We all go through those times when we must tend to our own life, when as you said "life has been 'too much with us'." And then comes a point when we realize how much we miss blogging and yes, I too feel more real, substantial, when I include blogging in my life again.

      Here's a truth I've never written here before. Blogging helped me realize, those ten years ago, that I actually liked myself, respected myself. And that is a good thing to know.

      Please keep sending those Letters from a Hill Farm, dear Nan!

  2. I'm not surprised that only nine of your 26 blogger friends from your comments 10 years ago are still blogging. Seems it gets fewer each year. And I might be one of them - not sure yet. I've been saying that the past couple of years. And now I'm saying it to myself again...that maybe this year is it? It's much easier to keep up with Instagram and just write a short blurb. I also have privacy concerns with my blog. My IG page is on private.

    It is so easy to post on IG! Just open the app, click on the + sign at the top of your screen, which bring up the photos on your phone. Click on the photo you want and it will say "new post" at the top with an arrow in the right hand corner. Click on the arrow, then choose your edit options (if you want them), then click the arrow again. Write your post in the little box, then click the "check mark" in the right hand corner. Voila! It really is user-friendly - go ahead and play around with it.

    It's interesting you mentioned you don't lead an exciting life, because I've been thinking along those same lines these past few days. A bunch of my cousins and an aunt and uncle (26 people in all) on my dad's side of the family are in Jamaica right now at a family reunion. Brian and I were invited and we declined for various reasons. When I first started seeing photos on FB, I first had what they call "FOMO" - Fear Of Missing Out. But then as the week went on, I realized that I was glad I wasn't there. Would I really be wanting to spend an entire week with my extended family whom I barely even know? And to be doing activities with them every day? I think I'm way too introverted for that. It wouldn't be pleasurable for me. So I got to thinking of my tiny little life and the simple pleasures I now have ~ and that's what makes me happy. It might be boring to other people, but that's OK. And guess what - I'm now back at the physical therapist again too, this time for a hamstring tear. The good news is, it is healing nicely and I only have three more times to go and I should be set. Of course, I'll continue doing the exercises at home.

    Before I totally hog your comment section and end up writing a novel, I will hit the publish button - but not before I tell you to give your precious pups a hug for me. They are just too cute!

    1. Melanie, your ending with a hug for my pups made me smile, such a reminder of what my dear friend Tammy used to do. Thank you for that and for the simple step by step instructions for IG. One of my daughters-in-law showed me how one time but without anything written down the instructions soon left by mind. I may just try it one of these days.
      Too me, your days are very exciting! All the little day trips you and Brian take to neighboring cities with the darling shops and your walking adventures seem like such fun and I can see why you enjoy these more than you would large group travel. A hug back to your sweet Clementine from me!

  3. Oh Dewena, what a wonderful post! I began blogging in 2007 (had to go back to look), because I was looking for like-minded women who loved creating a beautiful life. I have so enjoyed blogging, and like you, have become more settled in who I am. Perhaps it's a phase of life, too, as we get older.
    I am on IG, but I don't really like it. It's so impersonal. Leaving comments on blogs is more conversational. I dislike the fast-paced reels that keep showing up in my IG feed. I would give it up in a heartbeat if I had to choose between the two.
    There are some former bloggers on IG and I'm glad to stay in touch with them via that medium, but blogging will always have my heart. I'm going to read your post from long ago now.

    1. Thank you, Lorrie! It's funny that I didn't even know there was such a thing as blogging until 2011. When I stumbled on three of them then it was like opening up a wonderful world and I spent months just reading them, not realizing that you could click on names of comments left and visit others. Visiting them was my daily treat during my rest breaks from housework tasks.
      Your view on IG makes me think I would probably feel the same way but please keep up with your presence there. I hope there is publishing in the future for you and after reading Alexandra Stoddard's newsletter November 1st where she tells about her literary agent getting rejections from publishers for Stoddard's last book manuscript simply because they now only publish books from authors with a large social media presence, it is clear that it is a must now. It floors me that a prolific author such as Stoddard can no longer get published because she chooses to spend her time writing and living instead of posting to social media!

  4. Me, again. I loved your Blogging for Ballast post. I didn't read your blog way back then, and so I'm looking forward to going back to your beginning and read forward, as I have time.

    1. Why, what a nice thing to do! I used to always go back and read first posts of bloggers I discovered when I only followed a few and must remember to do that more often. But I also hesitate for you to explore my early posts because some of them embarrass me now and I'm like "what were you thinking, Dewena!"

  5. Such a lovely post.
    Many congratulations on the many years of blogging.

    Like you when I go to bed at night, I say thank you for our family our wonderful children and grandchildren.
    God bless.

    All the best Jan

    1. Thank you, Jan! And God bless you and your family too! We have so much to be thankful for!

  6. Happy Anniversary, Dewena! I loved every word of this fabulous post celebrating your wonderful 10 years of blogging, and what it's meant to YOU, personally, emotionally, socially, and intellectually. But, I must declare: ditto for US, your adoring and devoted readers!!

    You won't believe this, but the fact that I am specifically here two weeks and a day after this post was published, once again, proves how truly connected we are, despite living on two different continents and in different time zones. Let me explain.

    This morning, before visiting you here, I chose to prepare a lesson on FOMO and JOMO, the fear of missing out, and the joy of missing out, respectively. I recalled an early memory, which visits me occasionally, of a day in the fourth grade, when we had library time. Making my way to a secluded corner, seeking a quiet space away from my chatty classmates, I nestled into a cozy nook, the winter sunlight warming my shoulders, as I turned the pages of a tiny book about a tiny house in the big mountains. I remember suddenly being overcome with so much joy, excited curiosity, and anticipation, at the thought of one day living a quiet, small, and simple life in nature, which was very strange for a little girl who was completely immersed in city activities.

    Thirty-five years later, that memory was the inspiration for my choice to build our home on a hilltop of a tiny village surrounded by orchards, pine and cypress trees, with hazy views to the Aegean sea, where I had dreamed of leading a quiet, low-key life, away from the bustle of the city, despite the latter's many amenities. The 'fear of missing out' on popular urban activities - a good portion, frequently based on overconsumption - never applied to me. My heart yearned for neighbourhoods populated by dwellers of nature, where vast skies and fresh air lift one's spirits. I was 'consumed' by the idyllic features of country life, and I wanted to share this with others. In May 2012, our first spring at the house, I started PoppyView.

    With re: to JOMO, you proudly state that you 'didn't lead an exciting life to blog about when [you] began blogging 10 years ago, 'and lead an even less exciting life now, thank God.' How lovely it must be to sit on your porch, surrounded by all that leafy luxury, taking in the sights and sounds and smells of fall! With wildlife visitors and resident cuties, you and your hubby are surely in good company, to celebrate your decennary anniversary of Across the Way! If I, (and Tam in heaven), could have been there with you, to joyfully mark this milestone, I believe we all would have agreed that we formed our cherished friendship, partly due to our JOMO-type tendencies. Thank God for that, as we might not otherwise have crossed paths, in blogland, if we had FOMO personalities. That frightening thought is enough to spark FOMO feelings in me, so I'll stop there!

    Sending you love and hugs,

    1. Thank you, dear Poppy! I do like to picture Tam in heaven joining in with us to mark this 10 year milestone. She was always our cheerleader, wasn't she? But I confess to complete ignorance of FOMO and JOMO! A sure sign that I'm far behind the times. And your students study this...this whatever it is? Oh my, I feel I'm from the Dark Ages! But I'm not going to Google it because your explanation here is utterly beautiful, and very clear. A clear sign also why you are such an amazing teacher. I envy your students! However, I wish they gave you enough time to create more at Instagram and, what would be so much joy for me, to return to writing at Poppy View! Graduate them all and return to us, please.
      Love and hugs back to you!