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.

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Connection

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.

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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.

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Pause

Pause buttonI am sorry to say that I have to pause this blog for a while. I’m not sure how long. At the moment, there are too many irons in my fire, and something had to go.

Stay tuned. I promise I’ll be back.

Update: This point in my blogging simply turned into my giving myself the freedom to post less often. Again. Thanks for your patience with me as I keep changing my personal blogging experience.

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Blogging inspiration

The inspiration fairyA friend and I had a discussion about inspiration and blogging. Sometimes the spark of creativity has left. Sometimes I wait for the inspiration fairy to touch me, and sometimes that just doesn’t happen.

My friend asked if my move from 5 posts a week to 2-3 had been good for my traffic and engagement. I replied that Shiny Bits is my personal sharing with interested people – and I don’t mind that much if traffic and engagement result.

Sure, I’d love for thousands to enjoy what I put up here. But I won’t water down my posts to try to bring those thousands to my fold. Instead, it’s gratifying when a real connection is made and lasts. That makes it all worthwhile.

Thanks for enjoying what Shiny Bits offers. And thanks for sometimes being my inspiration fairy.

By the way, this great fairy painting is from Dover Publications. They have lots of copyright-free images for your blogging pleasure. And they didn’t share who the painter was.

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Six years ago today

My former blogsI started blogging on August 24, 2005. My first personal blog was My Part of Nairobi. My second was My Part of Colorado. My third? It’s what you are holding in your hands now.

Blogging, it has been good to me. And hopefully to you too. If you’ve been with me since Nairobi, you deserve a loyalty card! If you’ve arrived since then, Check out some of that old stuff. You will enjoy the ride, I promise.

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What is Alltop?

AlltopIf you have never heard of Alltop, I urge you to visit. Guy Kawasaki started the site, and my friend Neenz keeps it running quite well.

Alltop is a library. You start by looking within a huge variety of categories. Each category’s page links to some of the finest websites and blogs within that realm. I’m on the “Life” page. You can also find ballroom dancing and Pacific Northwest street food.

And it’s not just for fun – Alltop is a very useful tool for work, if your job involves spending much time online.

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A new look

I changed themes for my website again. This time I went with a real pro theme (though I am not a WordPress pro!): Genesis.

So pardon the dust, while I get everything worked out. (At the moment, it’s pretty boring. That’s one of the things I hope to fix!)

If you notice anything that is broken, send me a message via a comment on this post. Thanks!

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Great little idea starter

Plinky is a service WordPress just bought. Go there to get a question that will give you ideas for your next blog post.

(And my answer to that question? A way for all of the villages in Africa to have clean water within a year.)

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Small audience

When I visit a rockstar’s blog, in the back of my head is the thought, “Is it worth blogging for the small audience who read my blog?”

The big names have their ideas broadcast to maybe millions. They actually get some revenue from their ads. Some of them even maintain authenticity in the process.

Since I know that a few of my readers really enjoy my blog, I continue. I picture being in the same room with them and hearing their chuckle at one of my observations. And I know that hearing a room of 5,000 laugh at the same observation would not bring me any more pleasure than that single friend enjoying my thought.

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