Notes toward a Blogger’s Bible (Saving a BlogRoll, Redeeming a Meme)

I’ve been remiss. I’ve committed a cardinal sin against the blog gods—one that would not necessarily threaten access to the pearly gates of Freshly Pressed, but one that might alienate other pilgrims posting their way along the writing road to blogging bliss.

What have I done?

I’ve neglected the sacrament of blogroll. I’ve neglected it by not adding writers who have come to mean the most to me. I won’t mention how long it’s been since I have done the “write” thing. I don’t even know—don’t want to know.

However, last week my friend Lisa over at “Notes from Africa” gave me an opportunity to make amends. She gave me (and you) a gift.

She gave me one of those blogging awards—

—the memes we all abhor.

However, this one is different. The Seven Links Award not only allows me to inventory my archive and direct readers, new and old alike, to posts of mine they might have missed, it also gives me a chance to pass the prize along to blogs that frankly I adore but have not acknowledged publicly before.

So today I offer links to seven posts of mine you might enjoy and highlight a number of brilliant blogs you simply must explore.

(Note to recipients: You have a chance to do your own Seven Links post and pass the award to other deserving bloggers, or you can simply sit back and enjoy the attention—bask in the glory. This award obligates you to nothing.)

The Seven Blogging Virtues and Seven Posts that Model them:

  1. Most Beautiful:

The Seven Links Award asks me to share what I consider my most “beautiful” post. However, I’m struggling right out of the gate—not knowing which one to select. I’ll suggest you read “Surviving the Port-au-Prince Airport: A Shining Example,” not because the bulk of it lovely, but because it ends with a poetic twist.

This post describes my arrival in Haiti during the first week the national airport reopened following the earthquake. It describes the disaster of a country in chaos (as manifest upon arrival), narrates my struggle to get through immigration, and shares what that experience means to me.

  1. Most Popular:

This is easier to identify, since only three weeks into my blog’s existence “A Tale of Miserable Failure: Moanings of a Second Language Learner” was Freshly Pressed. Long after its spot of honor on the WordPress home page, this post, about my struggle to learn French—Haiti’s second language—as well as my own—continues to get a lot of attention and more hits than it, quite possibly, deserves.

  1. Most Controversial:

Just before moving home to the US, I had a chance to interview the former Haitian dictator, Jean-Claude Duvalier, known to many as “Baby Doc.” I write about this in a series of three posts: “What Does One Wear to Meet a Former Dictator,” “What Does One Wear to Meet a Former Dictator (Part 2),” and “Variations on Exile (Baby Doc, Part 3).” This series describes a semi-secret night-time rendezvous and visit to Duvalier’s home in the hills overlooking Port-au-Prince, as well as my unexpected response to meeting the man.

  1. Most Helpful:

It’s also difficult to identify this post, as my blog does not focus on advice or try to share information meant to make life easier. Rather it tells stories.

However, the two posts I did about trying to celebrate Thanksgiving in Haiti, may help you appreciate some of the creature comforts available to us in the US, not only on holidays, but everyday as well. Read “Figuring out Thanksgiving from Port-au-Prince” and “Thanksgiving Haitian Style: A Shopping List” to understand the challenges we faced trying to first track down the ingredients necessary for a Thanksgiving feast, and then prepare the meal itself in an oven without a thermostat and a kitchen with only a few hours of electricity a day.

  1. Most Surprisingly Successful :

I was exceedingly surprised by reader response to “It’s Official. I’m Fat.” This post describes, in a way I think most women can relate to, the agonizing effort to weigh oneself, sharing the ridiculous and outrageous things I do to weight as little as possible. This post might make you laugh, if not at yourself, at least at me.

  1. Most Under-Rated:

Lisa specifically asked me to not omit from this survey the posts I did when we were living in Vietnam two years ago. Babeled by it All” shares the culture shock I experienced during my first weekend alone in Saigon—not only my laughable efforts to use the language—but more importantly, my complete dismay at how different it all was—how lost I felt, drowning in a sea of strangeness, on a planet I thought might not be my own.

  1. Most Worthy of Pride:

On this blog I’ve shared the story of my ongoing struggle to recover from bipolar disorder—an effort that has largely been successful, as no one who met me now would ever guess how sick I once was. Leaving the Seclusion Room: Some Not-So-Crazy Notes on Recovering from Mental Illness” was picked up by my local news paper, the Lexington Herald Leader, and used as an op-ed for Mental Health Awareness Month. It describes an experience of in-patient psychiatric care and how I overcame the challenge that involved.

Some Seriously Brilliant Blogs whose Archives you should also Explore (Seven Links Award Winners):

1. Woman Wielding Words:

Lisa is one of my favorite bloggers. A theater professor, a wife, a mother, Lisa is first and foremost a seeker. In her blog she shares, she vents, she makes peace, she makes meaning happen. You can’t help but love her. Please read especially Lisa’s post about doing a drama project with developmentally disabled adults.

2. Mark my Words:

My friend Mark is a father and free-lance writer, about to publish his first book. “Mark my Words” will make you laugh, will make you laugh hard. From Portland, Oregon, Mark writes about everything from cross-country trips to haunted houses, from VCRs to cow appreciation on perfect summer days.

3. A Mind Divided:

Sandy writes about mental illness, especially her ongoing battle with bipolar disorder. Though “divided,” her mind is brilliant, as she shares with humor her efforts to live fully and with passion, even with a chronic illness. Sandy is also an artist, who includes collages in most posts. What she writes about gratitude will move and inspire you.

4. Life Re-Connected:

Penny is also a brilliant blogger with a wicked sense of humor. From Ireland, Penny writes about efforts to recreate her life, following the painful end of a relationship with another woman—a relationship she says was her “single greatest achievement”—being willing to risk for the sake of love.

5. Zona Pellucida:

Dana blogs about living and working on beautiful Vancouver Island with her artist husband, Marty. The “zona pelllucida” is the outside covering of a female egg that selects which sperm will pass through her membrane and which will not. In this regard Dana blogs about choices and how they make us who we are, who we aren’t, and who we want to be.

6. A Mother’s Tonic:

From British Columbia, Deanna dedicates her blog to her father, who died of cancer when she was only 22. Now, a stay-at-home mom in middle age, Deanna recently lost her brother to the same disease. I especially enjoy her Motivational Monday posts and ones about her brother. Deanna writes about loving large even when it means losing big.

7. These are Days:

Terri is a kidney donor from Minnesota, who titles her blog after the 10,000 Maniacs song of the same name. As such, she writes, not only about bowling and the challenges she faces at work, but also about being a mother and enjoying each precious moment we are given with the ones we love.

8. Grandeurvision:

Marianne writes about her journey to find meaning, a grander, more magnificent life. Because she struggles with the pain and inflammation of rheumatoid arthritis, Marianne also addresses a number of healing modalities that might interest you.

9. Life in the Bogs:

From northeast Ohio, Robin blogs about her love of nature, sharing stunning photographs of her adventures living on 8 soggy, boggy acres near Lake Erie. She’s engaged in a year-long challenge to spend time outdoors each day and share her discoveries with readers. Her photos are, indeed, amazing!

10. The odd ramblings of a mind that does not quite fit:

As the brother of Lisa (Woman Wielding Words), Steve nicely rounds out this list. A brilliant and insightful mind, Steve is, like his sister, a seeker who shares deeply and meaningfully. You’ll want to read Steve’s blog and have him read yours, as he leaves staggeringly insightful comments that will make you think in new and exciting ways.


There you have it, folks—seven posts of mine enduring the indignity of archival obscurity and a number of deserving blogs whose archives also merit your perusal.

I may have been a lazy blogger, but I hereby confess the sin of sloth, hoping the sacrament of Seven Links will absolve me of my sin and encourage the recipients of this most spiritual award to forgive my error, as well. This may not get me past the pearly gates of Freshly Pressed, it may not impact positively my Technorati rating, but now I can, at least, stand clean before the blog gods, knowing I have done the “write” thing by the bible that is blogroll.

Long live the purity of blogging. Long live the sacrament of Seven Links. May it redeem the Meme!

(Thanks to my friend Heather at “2 Summers” for sharing the Seven Links concept.)

44 thoughts on “Notes toward a Blogger’s Bible (Saving a BlogRoll, Redeeming a Meme)

  1. Oh my goodness (again!) and yes it does all make sense now! Thank you so so much Kathy – it is an honour just to be added to your blogroll never mind selected for a 7 link award – especially amongst such esteemed bloggers! There is so much reading to be done here – off to make my lunch and plan a very delectable afternoon reading, writing and selecting 🙂 I’ll have much more to say when I’m done but thanks again in the meantime!


  2. These are great picks for your 7 links, Kathy. I’d already read them all, and agree that these posts were definitely highlights.

    I’ve put a link to my 7 Links in my “About me” page so that newcomers to my blog can get a taste of what my blog is about, and read the best of the archives first. I really think you should do something similar – it would be a pity for people not to read these posts.

    Your nominees all sound very interesting, so I’ve got some new blogs to check out!


  3. Pingback: 7 Links: A Peek Into My Archives | Notes from Africa

  4. Kathy,
    I am so honored by your words, I’m not sure what to say. I have a lot of reading to do as I meet these new bloggers because I’m sure they are wonderful if you like them. Thank you so much. I actually did the 7 link award a little back, but was remiss and lazy about selecting other bloggers . . . I kind of offered it to anyone who was interested because I couldn’t decide who of the many bloggers I adore I should point out. So I guess I too have sinned to the gods of blogging. Here’s the link to mine

    Thanks again, Kathy. You are one of the most beautiful bloggers/women/people I know, inside and out, so this means more than you can imagine.


    • Selecting who to pass the award to was hard for me too. But you were one of the first on my list. I will check out your post. Thanks for including it. By the way, I’m so sorry it has taken me so long to add you to my blogroll, Lisa!


      • I really don’t pay much attention to blogrolls. I tend to go to links when someone mentions them in a post.


  5. Congrats on the award! That concept is awesome. I know exactly how you feel, I often completely forget about updating the blogroll and don’t realize it for months…. We need to be thrown into blogging prison!! I sure hope they have satellite TV in blogging prison…. 🙂


    • How funny, Mark. Somehow you have managed to be on my blogroll for a long while, but still so many others hadn’t been added–sheer laziness on my part. Good God, they better have TV in blogging prison!

      Stay cool!



  6. Hey Kathy, thank you so much for the Seven Links Award and the link on your blogroll. I agree with Lisa, great choices for the Seven Blogging Virtues.
    Also, thanks for pointing me to other bloggers. I know Robin at Life in the Bogs and her amazing photography and I’ll definitely check out the others.

    I’ve quite enjoyed following your blog and look forward to more. Hope you have a wonderful Wednesday.


  7. Love the idea of Seven Links, and I’m glad you posted yours – I’ll be sure to go back and check out some that you recommended. Particularly when you were in Vietnam, as that country interests me greatly.

    And, thanks for the award! I appreciate that! 🙂


    • Great–I’m glad you think it’s a good idea. It’s a fun opportunity to review some of things you’ve written and highlight posts others might have missed.

      I hope you will check out the Vietnam posts. I’d love you to!


  8. Wow, Kathy, thank you. I’m honored and verklempt to be One of the Chosen. I absolutely love the Seven Links idea, and Lisa’s solution about putting those links in her About page. I’ll be stealing that idea.
    Now, how to pass this award on. . .


    • You’re too funny, Sandy! I’m actually honored to have YOU on my blogroll and to have had a spot on yours, as well.

      I agree. I think Lisa’s idea is terrific. But then Lisa is known for her many brilliant ideas! Truly she always has the best suggestions!

      (Sorry, Lisa, I had to sing your praises just a bit! No blushing allowed!)


  9. WOW! I am not sure I belong in such an elite group, but I am honored that YOU think I do. I will have to think long and hard about my own possible 7 links. I am not sure I can easily choose. Nor easily choose others to pass this on too. My own blogroll is severely lacking too. My own experience is that even if not “well written” in a traditional sense, everyone who choses to share has something valuable to say, because they are sharing a little bit of themselves. What more beautiful thing is there than that? I look forward to being inspired by the many you have pointed us to, as well as whatever your amazing soul comes up with next. Thanks again!!


    • Now don’t you dare be humble, Steve! You deserve way more than this, my friend!

      However, I understand what you mean about not knowing who to select. There is so much great stuff out there! I included the blogs I read that I wanted to add to my blogroll–such a deserving group–and so, so long over-due!

      I’m honored to have you on my blogroll and to have had a spot on yours! Hope your day is going well————–


  10. This is a great post and such a wonderful concept, too– way more interesting than a lot of the other memes that go around. 😉 I also like the idea of putting 7 Links in the About page, too.

    I’m humbled to be a part of your blog circle, especially with so many fabulous blogs and bloggers around. I can’t wait to do a 7 links post some time in the future… wait for it…. now wait for it some more! 🙂 Thanks so much, Kathy– I appreciate you sticking around during the months of sporadic/infrequent posts.


    • Oh, Dana, I know this is a crazy time of year for you. Don’t worry about doing one of these. If you find time to post, I’d actually prefer to hear about what’s happening in your life on the Harbor. Maybe next winter you can take us on a tour of your archives! In the meantime, blessings to you and Marty. I’m so happy and honored to know the blogging you and the brilliant writing you produce! Hugs, my friend!


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  12. Kathy, Thank you so much for the recognition! Yours has quickly become one of my favorite blogs since we “met” and I look forward to your new insights each day, as well as your visits to my blog.

    As for keeping a blogroll updated, you have probably noticed I do not even have one. After several years of blogging, I came to learn that blogs come and go, change names and switch locations (I’m guilty of all of the above) so often that I found it nearly impossible to keep my blogroll current. I keep all my favorites in Google Reader. But considering this post, I may have to reconsider posting a blogroll on my site.

    Thank you!


    • I so, so, so understand not even bothering with a blogrool. That’s one way to manage the complication that hadn’t even occured to me. Not a bad option.

      I’m so pleased you enjoy my blog and honored that you take the time to read my rambling!


  13. You crack me up. I love the tongue-in-cheek way you went about this. It was so good that I won’t get crabby over being a recipient. Instead, I’ll do as you suggested and bask in the glory. 😉

    (For the record, I really don’t get crabby about memes and/or blog awards. I always feel honored when one of my blogmates feels my blog is worthy of recognition and an award.)

    I might (might, mind you) even do something with the award once things settle down here in the Bogs.

    Thank you so much for both the award and the link love. I’m going to save the email notification so I can come back and visit some of the other recipients, and read the one or two posts of yours listed that I might have missed.


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  15. Pingback: Gratitude, a good way to end the year « Life in the Bogs

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