About this time last year, I was reading Country Living Magazine, one of my favorites, when I came across an article profiling the winners of their first annual blog contest. Intrigued, I logged on to each of the winning sites, and even those of some of the runners up. Huh. Cool stuff.
I liked the winning blogs, but imagined how I would do things differently. I loved the idea of working on my photography, and a blog would be a great excuse to finally get around to some home improvement projects and seek out inspiring people and places -all in the name of the research! Brilliant!
I decided to give it a try, and set off into the blogsphere like a pioneer with fresh horses and a vague idea of how to claim my land and riches. That was in December. Yee-haw and giddyup! (To steal a line from wildly successful blogger, The Pioneer Woman. Okay, actually, I just imagine she says stuff like that...but I digress.)
Six months and more than 100 blog posts later I entered my own efforts into the magazine's 2nd Annual Blog Contest in the lifestyle category and waited. And waited. No phone call, no one at the door with balloons and an over sized check -oh right, different contest. Still, nothing. Except for that creeping sense of knowing something you don't want to admit.
But no one enters a contest to lose, and I clung to hope with what some may describe as stubborn willfulness, but I like to think of as faith in miracles.
Two days ago, however, while skimming through my Twitter feed I was forced to face reality in 140 characters or less. Time was running out to vote for the finalists of the blog contest, tweeted the folks at Country Living. Finalists.
I went to the site and clicked on the links of the finalists with a mixture of dread and jealousy. Confirming my fears, and to my complete horror, the finalists were nothing short of amazing. Beautiful. Something snapped. I immediately sought escape and found myself staring into the cool recesses of the freezer contemplating ice cream before lunch. Luckily, however, as the cool air rushed out at me, the voice of my Weight Watcher leader intervened in my head, and I took the dog for a walk instead. Daisy was thrilled. In my next life I want to be a Goldendoodle.
As Daisy pranced through our route and I trudged along behind, I thought about something I read years ago about how jealousy should be used as a tool to discover what you really want out of life. The author proposed that when we feel the green-eyed monster make our stomach turn leaden and our darker sides emerge, we should take note of exactly what it is that is making us feel that way because that is the direction of our own heart's desire. Then we can plan and act accordingly to achieve something similar. It's advice I have never forgotten.
Thankfully, jealousy doesn't strike me too often, so as I considered the winning bloggers I thought about what they had that I wanted and how I could make that happen.
Looking at the websites of the finalists, I realized that there are many ways to improve This American Home. I just wish the process were easier. Learn new ways to utilize my computer, think creatively and work hard? Okay. What's my other option?
Seriously, though, I'm going to give it a try. Back on the horse.
In the weeks ahead keep an eye out for tweaks, updates and experimentation with format and content. If you like a change, let me know, and if you don't, let me know that too.
We're in this together. Win or lose -let's enjoy the journey.
P.S.: Country Living is going to be announcing the winners in November, so stay tuned, I'll be sure to post them here!
Photography: Courtesy of the Country Living Magazine website