The Liebster Award: Celebrating noteworthy bloggers

I have been blogging here at Human In Recovery, on and off, since December 2011. During that time I have participated in The Ultimate Blog Challenge, as I am doing this month.

Something which seems to happen during these challenges is bloggers giving each other blogging awards. These awards build community and networks. It boosts traffic and is an opportunity for bloggers to connect to a greater audience. It’s a way build their platform.

I have been nominated for the Liebster Award, both when I participated in my first UBC (read about it here) and again during this cycle, by Vidya Tiru at Lady in Read Writes (read about it here).

The Liebster’s criteria and process has evolved over the past five years. Here’s the details of its current incarnation:

  • Acknowledge the blog(s) that gave it to you and display the award
  • Answer the 11 questions that the blogger gives you
  • Give 11 random facts about yourself
  • Nominate 11 blogs and notify them of their nomination
  • Give the bloggers 11 questions to answer

I will name 11 noteworthy blogs to explore. However, I am not requiring or expecting a Liebster acceptance post.

Noteworthy blogs:
Marc Alan Schelske, “a writer, speaker, hobbyist theologian, recovering fundamentalist, tea drinker & motorcycle rider.”

Sean Paul Mahoney, “a writer, playwright, blogger, tweeter, critic, podcaster and smartass for hire.” https://seanologues.com/

Sarah Fader, “the CEO and Founder of Stigma Fighters, a non-profit organization that encourages individuals with mental illness to share their personal stories. “ http://www.sarahfader.com/

Dan, “Having written his whole life, he blogs because he has to write…he can’t help it.” https://dan4kent.wordpress.com/

Mary, “a music lover who finally got off her duff (or on it, I suppose) and started sharing her opinions about music.” https://myelectronicjukebox.wordpress.com/

Robert Kennedy III, he loves “helping people create hope, generate excitement and belief in their capacity to change lives, starting with their own.” http://www.robertkennedy3.com/

Steve Austin, “focuses on everyday faith, mental wellness, and embracing wonder to encourage, educate, and empower audiences from every walk of life.http://iamsteveaustin.net/

Daniela Pesconi-Arthur, Founder and editor of The Might Women ezine is “a Brazilian who adopted Wales as “home”’

Martha DeMeo “writes product and book reviews” at http://themarthareview.com/

Sovann Penis a licensed professional counselor, who loves “counseling because it offers healing and freedom” by “helping families with parenting challenges and with the stresses of communication, conflict and disconnection in marriage.”

Steven Shomler, a Pyrocatalyst, Author, Culinary Storyteller, Consultant, Entrepreneur & Speaker

If they choose to participate, here are my questions:

1. Is your blog personal or professional and what is its primary focus and/or topic?

2. Do you have a YouTube channel or podcast? If so, please provide the title or link.

3. Are you a contributing blogger/writer elsewhere?

4. What is the most valuable, free product/app/service you have found as a blogger?

5. What piece of information or advice would you have found invaluable as a beginning blogger?

6. What social media sites do use use for public interaction and how do we connect to you?

7. Are you an introvert, extrovert, or an ambivert (both to varying degrees)?

8. What core value do you try to live by?

9. If you had to choose an anthem song, what would it be? If possible, please provide a YouTube link.

10. If you had to choose, would you consider yourself an advocate or activist?

11. What is your favorite quote?

Now, for those interested, we enter the “All About Me” part.

* If you could take a vacation anywhere in the world, where would it be?

* What is your favorite food to eat?
Depends on the moment.

* What advice would you give your younger self if you could go back in time ten years?
This line from the song, Dear Younger Me, says it all: “do I go deep and try to change the choices that you’ll make ‘cause they’re choices that made me.” What I want to say would change my life in unimaginable ways. However, it would also cost me my youngest child and my grandchildren. So, I have no advice, just, “you’ll get through this, too.”

* What would be the first thing you’d do if you won the lottery?
Pay off my student loan.

* Night owl or early bird?
There’s a difference?

* What superpower would you like to have?
The ability to clone myself and experience the memories of all the clones while they share each other’s and mine.

* Your favorite way to relax?
Water aerobics or swimming followed by a soak in the hot tub, chatting with the people around me.

* eBook or the printed book or audio book or no books at all?
If conditions allow a book at all, paper.

* What four words would you use to describe yourself?
Survivor, empathetic, committed, wounded

* Who is the most influential person in your life?
Currently it is my youngest daughter, in the sense that pretty much all my decisions and conditions are made with her in mind and affected by her.

* Do you make resolutions? If yes, what is your top resolution for 2018?
Not anymore. However, my personal goal is to transition my eating to be primarily whole food, plant-based by 2019.

11 random facts about me:

1. I am a 48 year old grandmother of three.

2. I have three children ages 31, 24, 9.

3. I am parenting a child who experiences the world through the Autism Spectrum.

4. My 31 year old stopped being legally my child in 2012. He went through an adoption process, as an adult, and legally became another mother’s child. Our estrangement has been reconciled.

5. I earned two diplomas and a GED.

6. I have the debt of one who earned a Bachelors degree.

7. I have no college degrees.

8. I have experienced two major nervous breakdowns.

9. I have a Bipolar brain impacted by PTSD.

10. I am married but have not seen my husband since December 12, 1988.

11. I am half Mexican.


Mindful Monday: Informational Pet Peeves

Why does it seem like everyone online is a “Snake Oil Salesman“?

• Life Coaching
• Consulting
• Earn Residual Income
• Affiliate Marketing
• Work less, earn more
• Eat more, weigh less
• Destress and feel better
. . . but wait . . . There’s more!

Now, I’m not saying these things aren’t valid or that the people behind them are charlatans. Not at all. I truly believe that the majority of people who are doing and promoting these things genuinely believe in them and want to be of help to others while being able to support themselves and their families.

I guess I’m just tired of being hyped at All. The. Time.

Going online these days feels like walking through an old time carnival midway with the game tenders and sideshow callers all yelling out to, “Win this prize!” and “Don’t miss this unbelievable and limited time opportunity!” exhortations to leave your money in their pockets. I guess, I’m just an old-fashioned “Lookie Lou” looking at everything I can, not parting with a dime.

I get it, I really do. This economy sucks and often working for others can suck as well. Trying to find a living wage job that won’t suck the life out of you in this economy is virtually impossible. So, you become an entrepreneur selling your own service or product, an affiliate marketer, or sign up for an MLM. Then, it seems everything you say and do from that moment forward becomes about self-promotion in order to raise awareness and build your business.

There isn’t really anything wrong with any of that. I just get tired of feeling like every time I am doing research or just looking for something interesting to read, I’m being asked to fill out a form and sign up for newsletters and email updates. 99% of my emails are from these types of things and I just haven’t taken the time to unsubscribe. Mostly the emails in my inbox just sit until I can scan through them and bulk delete them.

I think what bothers me most is how often reading the email or blog post with the eye-grabbing title often leaves me feeling like I opened a bag of my favorite potato chips to discover the contents had settled so much that the bag contained 3/4 air. I really hate that.

As a writer trying to figure out how to make the transition from writing for solely personal reasons to writing for an income, I am interested in learning from others, but am not in a position to pay for consultation or instruction.

Which is another thing that truly bothers me. There’s this sales technique/mindset/belief system that basically states that if a person isn’t “investing” in her/himself, then he or she isn’t serious, committed, confident, or any number of adjectives that are the foundation that supposedly assures success. Money isn’t the only investment and if it ain’t there, it ain’t there.

I don’t have an income of my own due to health and family circumstances. The income my family does have is barely keeping us afloat. For all intents and purposes, I am an orphan with no family – the family that I do have is in the same rickety financial boat as I am. Because of health and life circumstances (including poor money management skills) my credit is trashed and I don’t have a credit card. I guess you could say I have confidence issues. But they are based in reality. The reality that says, that there is never a guaranteed return and I care too much about asking anyone I know to risk their money on a venture I am interested in and believe I am capable of doing but cannot realistically commit to paying them back, even if they had the money in the first place.

I recently watched a video on recruiting in an MLM business, where the speaker spoke of this very mindset and how it inspired him as an 18 year old, to use his mother’s credit card, without her permission, after her telling him she wouldn’t give him the money, in order to invest in himself and invest in the business. It turned out well and he was able to pay her back with interest. Now he looks and sounds like he’s very well off, financially and loving his life. Yet, I was left with the question of integrity: “Did the ends justify the means?” Is any amount of financial gain worth risking the relationship damage that lying and stealing from a loved one would engender, even if I could pay that person back? Not in my book.

Sorry for the digression. Where were we?

That’s right, I feel like I opened a bag of air, instead of potato chips.

As a writer in transition, I like to read and learn from others who have made the transition. I like to see how they write, what they write about, and what they have to say on the subject of writing. So, a blog post offering writing tips that dropped the name of a well known novelist, caught my attention. I was anticipating the post author excerpting examples of the novelist’s work and identifying the specifics of why she thought it had worked.

Instead, it was a fluff piece where she shared that she’d spent a few days at someone’s old beach house, reading a novel. Her advice? Write an interesting story that grabs people’s attention and engages the readers.

Hmm, well, of course that’s what every writer wants to do. How about some specific, concrete examples of what made that particular novelist’s book so interesting, attention grabbing, and interesting?

It was a pleasant post to read. It was formatted well and she told her beach trip story in an interesting and engaging way. However, it didn’t offer the content the packaging implied would be found within.

Looking up symptoms and trying to research treatment options that I can afford and are realistic, is the same way, only worse.

Did you ever see, “Man on the Moon,” the movie where Jim Carrey portrayed Andy Kauffman? *Spoiler Alert* Kauffman has become deathly ill and the prognosis is not good. He winds up going to a third world country for a miracle healing and watches the person working on him get his hands bloody and fake like he had pulled the thing that was making Kauffman sick from his body. The look of profound, sorrowful realization that he’d been taken for a sucker, was intense.

There are too many people promising cures and solutions to physical and psychological conditions to those who are desperately and genuinely seeking information and methods to obtain relief. We think we’ve found a site that offers solid information, only to realize it’s just another offer to spend money on another proprietary blend or formula, buy their book, or sign up for their treatment services and the information being offered is yet another rehash of what we already know.

In the path to health, happiness, and joyful living, helping others is often identified as a component in living a fulfilling and relevant life. Somehow, I don’t think that means telling people you are helping them only to give them false hope and take them for everything they’ve got, except for cab fare home.

As I move forward in my plan to become a writing entrepreneur, I want to make sure that the content I write about here is relevant, informative, and constructive. I don’t want to repackage or rehash the information you already know and sell it in a new way. I don’t want to hype myself and my writing up to be what we aren’t just to get traffic or get a sale.

On the flip side of that remains the task of identifying what it is I have to offer, how to offer it, and develop ways to interact with readers and others that are about more than the sale. I prefer the model of a storekeeper who knows how to help his customers figure out what they need and offering them more affordable solutions and alternatives.

Are there sites you visit repeatedly for content value that also market a product or service?