10th Anniversary

organizing our toilet lidToday marks the 10th anniversary of blogging for yours truly.

I’ve enjoyed the journey and hope that you have too.

Celebrate with me by reading a few posts from those years…

1. Here’s a post from that first month: The bouquet that can never be.

2. Here’s a post from my second blog: Fun watching.

3. Here’s a post from my toothpaste blog: Bamboo Charcoal Mouthguard Toothpaste.

4. And here’s a post from this blog, a few years back: People are different.

And I’d urge you to create your own blog, to join in the fun. My recommendation of the best free way to do that is WordPress.


Yearning for human connection

three plugs entering an electrical outletI love blogs.

I’ve been blogging since 2005. (You can visit my first month of blogging if you like.) I still put up a blog post almost every week. And I enjoy reading blogs by other people. But there are few real blogs left. By “real,” I mean where someone shares what’s on their heart.

One friend who used to blog about life rarely blogs that way anymore. His blog has evolved into thoughtful reflections in his area of work.

Several friends just stopped altogether. Other friends only blog occasionally.

Don’t think I’m saying I am a “from the heart” blogger – most of my posts are just reflections on shiny bits of life. But I do like reading posts where people bare their souls – even if I don’t often write such posts.

Are there any blogs that you still enjoy visiting regularly? Share them with me and other Shiny Bits readers in the comments. Thanks.



connection - fingers touchingWhy do I blog? Why do you read my blog? Read on…

Listening to a sermon by Tim Soots today carried me on a long train of thoughts. He talked about how we all buy things to reflect or enhance our identity. Seeing someone drive past in a new car often makes me want a newer set of wheels. Our old Corolla works fine – but oh, how much nicer it would be to have a newer [whatever].

I put someone into a category by looking at the clothes they wear or the vehicle they drive. We all know that people are more than what we see. That lady driving a pink VW Beetle with eyelashes around the headlights may shoot her Magnum pistol very accurately. That little guy driving a gigantic truck may need it to haul water heaters to remote mountain cabins.

Just as our possessions are sometimes glimpses into who we are, so are blogs. When you read a blog, you only get a small look at who the writer is. Even when you’ve been blogging as long as I have (more than eight years), blogs only show a small slice of who you are. My blogging friend Elizabeth wrote about how adopting children drastically reduced what she could reveal online.

Similarly, I am reluctant to share some of my more deeply-held beliefs, not because of fear, but rather because I want my readers to listen to what I say. If I intensely delved into a subject that is very close to their hearts, in the opposite direction of their belief system, they might shut me out forever. I want to keep connections open.

Why do you read this blog? I can’t answer that. But I can tell you why I read other blogs. I like to read words from people I find both real and interesting. I enjoy finding out what makes actual humans tick. Today, there are few such blogs anymore. Many people used to be writing in that space, but countless dropped out or went commercial. I’m sad.



Along the trail to Hanging Lake, ColoradoSo, I wrote a post over at Medium. It’s a new blogging platform that has some great posts by a huge variety of people. What do you think?

A really cool thing is that you can comment on individual paragraphs, rather than waiting to the end of the post. (However, you must create an account.)


Blogs are dying

1972 bicycleYes, I really do believe blogs are dying.

One major reason for this change is the many faster and easier ways to put personal content up on the web, such as Instagram and Facebook. And I think a lot of people are getting burned out on posting to and reading blogs.

But I still love blogging, similar to how I love my 1972 Gitane road bike. Some old things are still worth hanging on to.


How to kill feedback

how to kill feedbackWhenever I comment on a blog and see this message, I am probably not going to comment again.

I understand the need to filter out spam, but there are better ways to do that. If an editor has to approve every comment, they are afraid of negative feedback, which is not a good fear to keep. Negative feedback is a good thing! When we are criticized, we can make positive course corrections. We just need to receive comments with an open mind.

Editor approval for every comment also makes a lot of work for the editor(s).

There are, of course, some reasonable exceptions to this.


Top Ten List of Shiny Bits of Life

Hey there! My name’s Johanna. I’m a fellow reader of SBOL. It’s Paul’s birthday today — be sure to wish him a happy birthday.

I missed mailing Paul a package of analog shiny bits of life, so I decided to go digital this year, highjacking his blog. Enjoy my curated list of the best of Shiny Bits of Life. Enjoy!

10. Really, really sweet
9. A little whine for you
8. Mom & me
7. Hidden beauty inside
6. My longest-owned thing
5. Space invaders
4. The ultimate photographic project
3. Happy halloween
2. Fun Friday picture
1. Closed captioning for music

What’s a favorite post of yours?


Fun way to add spice to your website

letter f - as artwork. copyright JESSICA HISCHEun. Sometimes our blogs need just a little injection of life.

I found this great site by Jessica Hische called Daily Drop Cap. If you know just a tiny bit of html, you can add fun drop caps to any of your blog posts. (Thanks, Jessica!)

Now I’ll add some lorem ipsum text, courtesy of Hipster Ipsum, just so you can see what another of the drop caps look like.

ella mixtape american apparel, marfa raw denim flexitarian brooklyn. Viral semiotics bicycle rights, polaroid master cleanse chambray cardigan. Mustache aesthetic messenger bag, pickled yr you probably haven’t heard of them mlkshk Austin brooklyn cliche bushwick fixie tattooed trust fund wayfarers. Salvia hoodie pinterest cred, single-origin coffee.

And if you need regular lorem ipsum, here’s a great site to get that from: Digital.com’s Lorem Ipsum Generator.