The Guest Post That Wasn’t (or, 3 books and 3 blogs)

The following blog post was written as a potential guest post for a fellow blogger, Lorna, over at Gin & Lemonade. She had a segment called “3 books and 3 blogs,” that highlighted, well, books and blogs – guest bloggers could share some of their favorites. As it turns out, I submitted my post during a transition period for Lorna – 2018 brought a fresh new look to her blog, and my submission no longer fits. Not to worry! I’m posting it on my own site this week, because it highlights some awesome books and bloggers that I want to share with my own readers. (Do take a moment to check out Lorna’s new site, too…it’s terrific!).

Beautiful & Rich (but not in the way you think)

Because Lorna’s Gin & Lemonade was the first awesome blog I discovered in the Big Up Your Blog community, I’m thrilled to have the opportunity to guest post for her!

Hello! I’m Allison…a writer, educator, and seeker. I write a weekly inspirational blog but have been known to veer off topic a bit when ranting about educational issues. Books and blogs are some of my favorite things! So, without further ado…

Most writers I know are also avid readers. Although we tend to read a LOT, our tastes may change with the circumstances or seasons of our lives. As a child, for example, I sat on the floor of the grocery store, reading comic books while my mother shopped. It was a win-win! Mom didn’t have to deal with tantrums, and I got to read comic books for free. She obviously wasn’t worried about my being abducted…but, I digress. As a teen, I devoured fiction books, particularly romance (Danielle Steele) and horror (Stephen King). During my child-bearing years, I read anything and everything that would help me prepare for parenthood, even though nothing really can.

In this stage of my life, I’m drawn towards (mostly non-fiction) books and blogs that inspire me, teach me, and help me consider new perspectives. That being said, I also appreciate authors who can make me laugh! If I were to pick a theme for this guest post – 3 books and 3 blogs – I’d have to say that the focus is on beautiful writing, enmeshed with rich content. Now, I realize that this post is called 3 books and 3 blogs, but I’m going to start with the blogs….’cause Lorna said there were ‘no rules!’

The bloggers I’ve selected have unique, (dare I say it again?) beautiful voices, coupled with compelling stories, either their own or of someone they’ve encountered along the way. Fortunately for their readers, they are not only engaging but engaged – interacting with their audience in an authentic, meaningful way. Whether they are commenting on the blogs of others or in response to their own readers, these authors provide substantive, thought-provoking commentary, the kind that allows for relationship-building.

First up is Angela Noel of You Are Awesome, a blog dedicated to “celebrating inspiring people and interesting ideas!” Angela has been instrumental in helping me – a ‘newish’ blogger – understand the importance of building relationships with readers. In fact, she even wrote a piece about it – What Matters More: Numbers or Relationships? Angela’s posts are filed under categories like Inspiration, Love Letters, and Tiny Truths. Her writing makes me happy and leaves me feeling nourished. Through her writing, Angela manages to impart little droplets of love everywhere she goes!

Next, is Gabe Burkhardt of Almost Unsalvageable. Gabe, a self-proclaimed househusband, opens up to his readers, exposing his vulnerability in an attempt “to inspire, entertain, and/or educate an engaged community in the art of living outrageously despite the baggage we’ve picked up along the way.” An avid outdoorsman (well, he likes to hike and enjoys nature), Gabe writes skillfully and poignantly on everything from hiking to homelessness. In fact, his piece entitled Life Lessons and Other Perks as a Homeless Hiker was featured on WordPress Discover. As an added bonus, he pairs his writing with some original digital paintings – simply gorgeous!

Last but not least, is Alice at Lutheranliar (Looks at Life), who supplies me with my daily dose of comedic relief, like a junkie who craves a “fix.” Alice – the love child of Nora Ephron and Garrison Keillor* – regales her readers with hysterical (true) tales of life, love, and (madcap) adventure, from the Midwest to the Big Apple. Sprinkled throughout her posts are equally funny family photos, proving that this New York City gal isn’t too big-for-her-britches! Whether she’s dishing on her (almost) naked boss or riffing on her gobsmackingly handsome hubby (aka, The Dude), Alice will have you doubled-over with laughter (or wait…is that constipation?)

*disclaimer: Alice is not really related to Nora Ephron or Garrison Keillor

On to books!

My first selection, The Art of Possibility – Transforming Professional and Personal Life, by Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander, was actually recommended by fellow blogger, Angela Noel. Roz, a psychotherapist, and Ben, an orchestra conductor, merge their disparate backgrounds to eloquently guide readers through 12 powerful practices that change the way we think about our lives and our relationships. This is a fantastic book for anyone seeking to positively challenge the status quo and create new paradigms of possibility.

My second selection, Big Magic: Creative Living beyond Fear, by Elizabeth Gilbert, singlehandedly redefined the way I view my writing. Until then, I characterized myself as an educator who happened to be good at writing – I didn’t consider myself to be “creative,” per se. I now know otherwise. Gilbert explains that, even if we never publish a book or sell a painting, our creative endeavors have value in and of themselves. In fact, she claims, because we are all creative beings at our very core, we need to create – simply as a form of release and for no one but ourselves. “Getting it out” is critical to our sense of well-being!

My final selection is Born Survivors: Three Young Mothers and Their Extraordinary Story of Courage, Defiance, and Hope, by Wendy Holden. I found this book while researching the story of Hana, a baby who had been born in the Mauthausen concentration camp shortly before its liberation. This past summer, my family and I learned of Hana while touring Mauthausen, situated two hours west of Vienna, Austria. As it turns out, there were – amazingly – three babies born in the camp around that same time! This book is the fascinating account of their lives and the lives of their incredibly determined mothers, three stories you will not soon forget.

So, there you have it…3 books and 3 blogs! In closing, I’d like to thank Lorna for the guest blogging opportunity, as well as you’all, Lorna’s loyal readers, for allowing me to share this space with you!

Best wishes! Allison Brown