Savor the Moment

22 02 2014

Savor is the best word to describe yesterday’s lunch. I would not have guessed that my writing would have led me to a little French bistro in New Orleans to meet with friends I did not know when I started this blog.

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I stumbled onto a bloghop on Huffington Post last fall. It was from a group of midlife women bloggers, I was intrigued and looked up this group and soon became a part of it. Chloe was a founder of this group and I became a fan of her blog. I was always amazed by how open and honest she was in her writing. I work at a woman’s specialty hospital and she is an OB/GYN nurse, so I also felt a connection because of our day jobs. This midlife group grew and became an online zine and Chloe and I continued to get to know each other when she interviewed me in a video.

I love the magic of when you meet someone and instantly connect. She and the other women I met in this online group were the main reason I attended BlogHer in Chicago last summer. That’s where I met Cheryl, much to my delight, a blogger from my part of the world. Cheryl and I connected again in New Orleans and after a bloody mary (or two) we knew we had found a new friend in each other.

87776577-2When Chloe and her husband planned a New Orleans vacation, we conspired to steal a few hours for a girlfriend-only visit. I drove the 90 miles to Cheryl’s classic, stately historic home and Chloe arrived by streetcar a short walk from Cheryl’s pleasant house.  We chose the French bistro, Café Degas for lunch in a lovely non-touristy part of town. We drove through streets that were preparing for the onslaught of Mardi Gras parades, but were still quiet. Cheryl and I both shared our love of this city as we drove through it on this almost-spring day. There had been a loud thunderstorm the night before and the raindrops that still clung to the trees made the tender spring green leaves brighter and the Japanese Magnolias’ blooms were a little bigger. 465585553-1

The next few hours was spent in smart and insightful conversation. We were equally as interested in what each other had to say as we were in sharing our own thoughts. The conversation ranged in topics as we are all women who have lived full, well-traveled lives. If we did not solve all the world’s problems, our talking about them left us hopeful of the world our children and their future children will live in. The big takeaway we ended with was, how lucky we felt to be women living in this country at this moment in time.

What a remarkable time we live in, right now and right here. Cheryl, Chloe and I would never have met without social media and blogging. Things that simply did not exist a few years ago. The three of us do not earn a living as writers and yet our writing is now published. People from around the world that we will never know, read our words and connect to us. Individual voices are being heard in a way that has never before been experienced. That’s real power.

It was a lunch full of delicious wit, intellect and friendship. It was a great connection for a few short hours before we left to continue our separate journeys. I’ll continue to savor that lunch for a long time.

Chloe, Cheryl and me

Chloe, Cheryl and me

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The Blogosphere

29 12 2013

Year’s end is a natural time to stop and look where I’ve been. I started my blog because I needed a place to express my creative voice, which is why I call it My Creative Journey. All journeys have twists and turns that lead us to unexpected places. My blogging journey is no exception.

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It was last year on Huffington Post that I stumbled on a bloghop by a group of midlife women. I then found this group on Facebook, and in what was a bold move by me, asked to join. It was through this warm and accepting group of fabulous women that I became comfortable calling myself a writer.

More importantly, I developed new friends over the last year and I want to introduce you to some of them. Each has a unique and authentic voice that I admire.

Midlife Boulevard is a great group of women with a great website. It’s is run by friends, Sharon Greenthal of Empty House Full Mind  and Anne “Not a Super Mom” Parris.  I’m thrilled to be a part of this group and their monthly bloghops have both pushed and challenged my writing.

Generation Fabulous is now organized by Chloe Jeffreys, an OB/GYN nurse. My day job is at a woman’s specialty hospital; the challenges in today’s healthcare market are something we both care about. Her journey has taken her to Haiti this year and she brings her readers on her life journey at Chloe of the Mountain.  

Another group that I discovered and now write for is Better After 50 (BA50). This is yet another group of powerful women writers. Their tagline is real women, real stories.

It was because of the connections to these groups that I went to BlogHer in Chicago this summer to meet my new friends IRL. I roomed with someone I had never met and only knew through blogging. Virginia Sullivan and I became instant BFFs. Virginia can be found at First Class Woman.  She writes from the point of view of being a professional woman in corporate world.  I know we have something that we are going to do together in the future; we’re not sure what it’s going to be, but look out when it happens!!

I have several friends who have health blogs and the following three have all been nominated for a prestigious award, the Wego Health Activist Award. Check them out (the award link is on their name) and give them a vote.

Cathy Chester is one of the kindest women I’ve ever met. An Empowered Spirit is about life and about living with MS. Her sweet spirit shines through her words in every post.

Ruth Curran writes Cranium Crunches.  It’s about keeping your brain active and in shape. She was inspired by my post on New Orleans as a way to keep your senses fully engaged.

Walker Thornton is another fascinating writer I’ve come to know who writes about sex at The Diva of Dating. I admire how she puts her life’s experience out to the world over a subject she believes all women should embrace and enjoy fully.

Lois Alter Mark is another new friend. She just won Blogger Idol, Woot! Midlife at the Oasis always brings a smile to my face. (She also went with Oprah to Australia—how cool is that.)

I’ve become friends with women who live far away from my little Louisiana world. I enjoy the words of Karen and Wendy Irving, sisters who share writing duties at After the Kids Leave. One sister lives in Canada and the other one in England.

Amanda Fox of The Fur Flies is another Canadian with whom I’ve connected through the blogosphere. While we live miles apart, we share a similar sense of humor and have discovered unexpected similarities.

I made an instant friend at BlogHer from New Orleans, Cheryl at A Pleasant House. I’ve had the great pleasure of visiting Cheryl’s beautiful and very pleasant house. I know my love of New Orleans and cocktails will bring us on adventures in the near future.

I love when synchronicity happens. While I’ve developed friends near and far from blogging, it’s the two women in my own backyard that have been the best gifts this year.

Lisa Froman and Melinda Walsh and I have all had similar career paths, are close to the same age, live in the same town—where all of us advertising types know each other. And even though we have many of the same friends, we somehow didn’t know each other. It was the blogosphere that connected us in a way that our careers never did. We now don’t let many weeks go by without getting together (and we are overdue).

Lisa has written an insightful book, Tao Flashes. Her blog is a continuation of the book’s insights.  She looks at the Tao through the eyes of midlife and writes of how to bring the Tao’s age-old lessons into our lives. We even guest blogged on each other’s sites.

Melinda is a storyteller and her blog is how we are in charge of our own story.  It’s called Love Applied and if you go to her blog you can see the pictures from her recent wedding!

I’ve made so many blog friends this year that this post would go on for days if I listed them all. I look forward to where this journey will take me in the New Year. One thing for sure is that there will be unexpected twists in this journey that will lead to new adventures that will lead to new stories to tell.

If you like My Creative Journey, I’d love for you to follow me. My posts will then arrive in your email and I promise no spam.