Please Pray for Maggie

Hi, this is Maggie’s mom, Valerie. You might know me from my blog, Living Lighter in Atlanta, but I haven’t been on it much this summer, so you might not… Anyway, she gave me permission to post here today when I asked her because she is really sick with strep throat and I would love if you guys would pray for her and maybe send her some virtual hugs.

She has been sick since last Monday but it was finally obvious that she needed a doctor on Thursday. We had a crazy week with her youngest brother who needed to go to multiple places (pediatrician, ER, and the children’s hospital in Atlanta) to rule out appendicitis and then her other brother got sick. Ugh! But she has been such a trooper. She babysat her sister (for many hours!) when we needed her, even though she felt awful.

When we went to her doctor on Thursday, she tested positive for strep so we thought she’d be feeling better soon after getting on antibiotics but that hasn’t been the case. Unfortunately, even after taking six doses of amoxicillin, she seems to be getting worse, not better. 😦 I’m not sure, but we’ll probably end up back at the doctor tomorrow…and now her little sister has a fever, too, so they both might need to be seen.

Maggie had her blog posts from this week ready to go before getting sick and I don’t think she mentioned not feeling well (she likes being cheery and positive) but she is doing ROUGH. Please pray that we get things sorted and she starts feeling better.

Oh, and any tips for dealing with the pain of strep throat? She’s really hurting and Tylenol doesn’t help. :/

Thanks so much. 🙂

Blog Comparison: The Thief of Our Joy

Blog Comparison: The Thief of Our Joy

I have fewer followers than she does. They get more comments than I do. That blogger’s content looks better than mine.

Have you ever had any of those thoughts? If so, you are one of the masses that struggle with blogger comparison.

Here in the wonderful world of blogging, just like in any other community or group of people, there is comparison. We recognize that there are others who are more accomplished, and less accomplished, than we are. We look to see, often without even meaning to, if we’re better than those around us, and when we come up with a negative, it really rains on our parade.

When looking directly at our own blogs, not taking into consideration what others’ blogs are like, we usually see wonderful content, a great theme and setup, a nice amount of followers, and good comment counts. Our behind-the-scene stats are satisfying, too – there’s always so many cool statistics to be found there! When we turn our attention to others, however, whether it’s their numbers or content that gets to us, it’s hard to accept that there will always be bloggers who have it more “together” than we do.

Because, in truth, we struggle to accept that we’re not always on top. It’s hard to go from being content with what we have, to wanting and needing more because it isn’t exactly what others have. We see all the comments they get, the multiple-digit follower count, whatever it might be, knowing that they have more than we do.

Sometimes, I’ve been envious of blogger statuses I’ve seen that I wouldn’t even personally want for myself! It’s really the fact that they have more than I do that makes me jealous, which I know is wrong. I don’t desire to harbor this irritation in my heart, and starting here recently, I’m taking the steps to be content with my blog as it is, and to slowly work toward being exactly where I want to be.

Below, I have compiled some different things I think will help you combat these negative feelings. It would bless me so much to know that I could help just one person!

First, I’d like to establish that there are two main groups of bloggers: the ones who would love to grow in the community, and the ones who are blogging for themselves and are happy wherever their stats are.

Over the years, I’ve fit into both of these groups. I have run blogs that I was writing on solely for myself – those were really online journals, to tell you the truth. Then, with other blogs, I wanted to get to know people, receive comments and get feedback – you know. Dreaming of Guatemala is the main one I’ve wanted to cultivate and write for myself, as well as others.

I find it quite easy to blog when it’s just for you. There isn’t the pressure of keeping up to date with your audience, blogging consistently, etc – it feels much more relaxed, because it is. When anything we do online involves others, we like to keep up with our friends and talk to them on a regular basis. I understand that, and I don’t think there’s a thing wrong with either way of online interacting.

When we’re blogging to grow, however, the weight we put on ourselves can be excruciating sometimes.

Weekly posts. Blog reading. Comment responding. Social media promoting. Blog maintenance. The list is usually endless! When we’re not careful, blogging can become a full-time side job.

+ To the full-time bloggers, especially the ones who get paid: I realize that all of that is quite necessary to keep up with, and I admire all the time you wonderful bloggers put into your blogs!! I can’t see myself ever doing that, as I love blogging as a hobby, but man. Y’all are pretty awesome people.

+ To the small-audience bloggers who are happy where they are: I applaud you!! I have always seen the appeal in writing for yourself, as well as having a few friends who keep up with your blog, too – I’ve been there before, and I have quite enjoyed it. Keep doing what you love, and do it for as long as it makes you happy. When you feel it’s time to move on, whether that’s to switch blogs, stop blogging for a while, or begin growing your audience, chase after what’s on your heart to accomplish! 💗

+ To the small-audience bloggers who desire to grow: I was right where you are this past winter. In the whole month of January, I had gotten just over 500 total views and 105 comments. This month, at about my six-month blogging mark, I hit 5,000 comments and got my 800th follower. It’s hard to figure out how to grow if you’ve never done it before, or if you’ve tried and your tactics didn’t work. We all meet stumbling blocks in our blogging lives, no matter how popular our blogs might be.

If you are looking for ways to grow your blog, I’ll share my tactics with you. They’re actually very simple.

First, be a consistent part of the community. If that means blogging every day for you, or once or twice a week, follow your heart. That aside, read your friends blogs and, as you’re in the mood, browse tags in the Reader and reach out to others with similar interests. Make connections in my personal favorite way to build your audience: through friendships. Respond to the comments you receive on your blog, hold conversations with others; be open to getting to know people.

Second, write the kind of posts that YOU would want to read. If at any point in your time of blogging you feel like you’re writing too many obligatory posts, or if you’ve become discontent with that series you’ve been keeping up with, switch things up. Make an inspiration board on Pinterest. Brainstorm new post topic ideas. Take a week off, if you need it.

Third, include others on your blog. I wouldn’t say that this is crucial to your standing in the community, but I do believe that it’s a great way to connect with others and bring some sunshine into other bloggers’ day! Invite them to participate in conversation by ending posts with a prompt question that relates to the post itself. Interview other bloggers and share them on your blog,  visually interesting. Host reader-submitted stories and make it a series, invite others to leave you questions for a Q&A post or video, or nominate your favorite bloggers in your next award/tag post! It blesses bloggers to be included; I know how happy I always feel to be part of something – anything! – on others’ blogs.

+ To the bloggers who struggle with envy, regardless of what their blogs are like: chase after what makes you happy. Focus on the joy your blog brings you and leave jealous feelings behind. They’re only bringing you down; they accomplish nothing. Although, if nothing else, they’re an encouragement to grow your blog, and/or make positive changes to it. Learn to accept that their are bloggers who run bigger and smaller blogs than yours. That doesn’t in any way alter the fact that your blog is a masterpiece just the way it is!! 💚

Did this post help you? I’d love to know! It surely encouraged me. xx

Discovering Our Passions: A Guest Post By Maggie✨

Discovering Our Passions: A Guest Post By Maggie✨

Hello everyone! Yesterday, I got to guest post on my friend Lee’s blog! If you’d like to read ‘Discovering Our Passions,’ you can read an excerpt below. xx

Are you all ready to read Maggie’s excellent guest post?! I’m sure you are but before you can get to it I have to say how much I enjoyed reading this when she sent it! All of you should know Maggie already but if you don’t, please check her blog out after reading! She blogs over at Dreaming Of Guatemala and she is honestly one of the sweetest persons I have met here, you won’t regret giving her a follow and maybe becoming friends? 💛

Her guest post made me do a lot of thinking and realizing that I am in fact on the right path. I’ve always loved writing, creating, and inspiring others but I also always questioned if that was really my true passion, if it was just a few hobbies I enjoy, or just a distraction until figuring out what I really want to do with my life. I…

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