Poetry & Words

The Place Where Time Can’t Find You

A Place Where Time Can't Find You

Everyone needs a place where time can’t find you, where the landscape swallows time the way the water gulps up the shoreline every second of the day. This corner of the world is detached from time, wholly present, endlessly still, yet always in motion. The water sees to that.

It’s good to disappear sometimes.

Continue reading “The Place Where Time Can’t Find You”

Homeschooling, Life in Photos, Poetry & Words

Books, Books, Books: the Evolution of the Oaxacaborn Blog

Books, Books Books: The Evolution of the Oaxacaborn blog

When I started blogging publicly — over at Xanga, fourteen years ago! — I was in college, and blogged too many song lyrics and homework details. Then over the years, I moved back and forth across the country, working at sheet metal factory, a juvenile detention center, and an IT department, and wrote about all the ups and downs. When I became a mother, I even went through a phase where I predictably blogged about cloth diapers (I am so sorry). I’ve written about death, beauty, brokenness, joy — and interior design. And you’ve likely noticed that in the last few months, I’ve written a few longer pieces about homeschooling.

My blogging “methodology”, if you can call it that, hardly follows all the blogging advice. It’s always just followed the seasons of my life. But that’s the beautiful thing about life, too — it’s not stagnant.  It moves like a current. It flows, it goes through seasons, through changeable states of being. Way down at the bottom of this blog, in the footer, Anaïs Nin reminds me, “Life is a process of becoming, a combination of states we have to go through. Where people fail is that they wish to elect a state and remain in it. This is a kind of death.”

Books, Books Books: The Evolution of the Oaxacaborn blog

I kind of feel like things are coming full circle for me, and it all has to do with books. As a girl, I devoured books, and read everything I could get my hands on. Now, it’s only April, and Aveline’s already read 130 books since the beginning of the year. So, you’ll probably be seeing a lot more posts about literature and children’s books, and more posts about homeschooling. (Although, this is no surprise if you follow me on Instagram @oaxacaborn). I have so many good books to share with you all, but I’ve been holding back, thinking for some reason that this isn’t the right place for it, and worried about losing followers. Well, that’s kind of ridiculous. Because when it comes right down to, perhaps, like Margaret Atwood said, “Perhaps, I write for no one. Perhaps for the same person children are writing for when they scrawl their names in the snow.”

I’m just thankful some of you keep following along as I scrawl in the snow.

Books, Books Books: The Evolution of the Oaxacaborn blog

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Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: Reevaluating and rethinking my approach to blogging

Finding a new approach to bloggingIt’s January, so like millions of other Americans, I have all sorts of ideas in my head about things I need to organize. My need to de-clutter kicks into overdrive every year when I’m putting away the Christmas decorations. (Which I haven’t actually started yet, by the way. But I haven’t even been home for a full week yet, so I think that excuses me. For now.)

My desire to organize and rearrange spills over into the digital realm. I need to clean out files I don’t need anymore, because my poor iMac is choking and needs more space. (Anyone else notice that it’s way harder to organize virtual file folders than it is to clean out a junk drawer? Or is it just me?)

And, I feel the itch to reevaluate — and redesign — this blog. During 2012, this blog grew by leaps and bounds, a dramatic jump up from the year before. But then, throughout 2013, traffic remained exactly the same as 2012, almost to the digit. Sure, I maintained the growth this blog saw in 2012, but I feel like I didn’t really build on it throughout 2013. So that’s kind of discouraging — to get to the end of the year and look back and realize this blog didn’t reach the kind of growth I wanted it to.

Interestingly, though, engagement across social media skyrocketed during that time — with Instagram, Twitter and Facebook chatter climbing up the charts. I think a lot of that has to do with how we spend our time online these days. Blogs are evolving as the internet becomes more and more saturated with content, and I am constantly trying to figure out what the “it” factor is that makes some blogs really take off while others remain stagnant.

So, in addition to doing a little visual spruce up in the coming weeks, I’m thinking hard about how I’m going to approach this blog and its content in 2014. I’m not going anywhere. I’ve been blogging since 2004 and couldn’t imagine NOT doing this. But I want to set some big, yet realistic, goals for Oaxacaborn in 2014.

I’m just not sure yet what they are.

What do you love most about this blog? What do you want more of? What types of posts could you do without? I’m all ears!

Inspiration

INSPIRATION :: How to keep reading Oaxacaborn after Google Reader dies July 1

It’s true, Google Reader is disappearing on July 1.

Are you still reading this blog in Google Reader? Eep! I’d hate for you to be suddenly disconnected from Oaxacaborn when Google Reader is no more. (Each of you is so important to me! It’s sounds cheesy, but it’s true.)

Fortunately, you don’t have to start over from scratch. You can easily move all the content you currently have in Google Reader — all the blogs and RSS feeds you already follow — into Feedly! Feedly offers a one-click Google Reader import.

Alright Google Reader users, I’ll give you a moment to switch over to Feedly now….What to use instead of Google Reader

…well, that was quick and painless, wasn’t it?

Oh, wait. Maybe the above didn’t apply to you.

Oh dear. Was it all really THAT boring?

Changing to Feedly once Google Reader dies isn't THAT boring

Inspiration

INSPIRATION :: Facebook is Deciding What Updates You See From My Page (And How You Can Change Your Settings)

I’m going to make a wild assumption here. I’m going to jump to the conclusion that if you have liked the Oaxacaborn page on Facebook, you actually want to see the updates I post there.

Facebook did not make the same assumption, and as it stands now, they decide what you get to read from me. Hey, at least it’s not the NSA deciding, right?

Bad joke aside, here’s how you can change a simple Facebook setting to see all updates, and make sure you’re not missing out on any posts!

How to Change Your Facebook Settings so You See All Business Page Updates

Once you’re on the Oaxacaborn Facebook page

  1. Click on LIKED
  2. Click on SETTINGS
  3. Click on ALL UPDATES.

That’s it!

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Poetry & Words

POETRY & WORDS :: What Bloggers Knew 10 Years Ago That We Forget

What Bloggers Knew 10 Years Ago That We Forget

I’ve been blogging for ten years. TEN! Well, I’ve been writing online for longer than that, because I was posting in garish-colored fonts on antique website before I even had a blog. But I’ve been blogging continuously for an entire decade now. (Yikes!)

And you know? While I don’t miss the animated clipart or MIDI sound files, I do miss the blogging world from ten years ago. Why? Precisely because it wasn’t a blogging world. It wasn’t a popularity contest.

Bloggers then was people with things to say, and plain little weblogs which gave them the space to spell out the words. Blogging then was writing. You could type as much or as little as you wanted. You didn’t have to promote it anywhere, because there was no social media.

Perhaps nostalgia is clouding my eyes, but I feel like back then, “Content is king” wasn’t just a good bit of blogging advice. Content actually was king. And it was something you had to create yourself, otherwise you didn’t have anything to post. There were no themed weekly series or linkups or duckface selfies. There were no #OOTD posts or shopping roundups.

And the mystery of how to drive engagement? There was no mystery. It was simple. If a reader had something to say, he or she manually typed it out in the comment box. There simply weren’t any other options (well, except for Xanga e-props). No one could star your post on Twitter or click the thumbs-up on Facebook because neither of those websites existed.

I’m not being a Luddite. I love the internet. I love the possibilities and opportunities the internet provides. I’m a technology — and social media — junkie. I think it’s nothing short of incredible that I can sit here with the world at my fingertips and plan out marketing strategy and email people the world over about a business idea. I think the global connectivity made possible by technology is incredible. I don’t think we should ditch our laptops and plug our land lines back in. I love my WiFi and my laptop and my Netflix and my camera and my phone and my iPod Touch. I don’t think we should all start buying wheat berries, churn our own butter, and learn Morse Code.

But I do think that those of us who have been blogging for a long time need to look back on why we first picked up a keyboard and a URL.

For me, it was the same drive that always caused me to pick up a pen and notebook — an insatiable urge to pour words out of ink, and push and twist them into life on the page.

As bloggers, maybe it’s time we injected a little more of that life back into our blogs.

I don’t mean we have to lose the themed weekly series and the linkups and the OOTDs and the roundups (although it would be nice if profile pictures were duckface-free). But let’s keep perspective. Let’s not become so crazed chasing higher follower numbers and obsessing over stats and wishing big blogs would invite us over to play that we forget why it is we started to blog once upon a time.

I’m typing this in the fullscreen mode of the WordPress editor, and each time I pause, a prompt appears on the screen.

It’s simple.

It’s powerful.

It was the driving force of the early blogging movement.

And imagine what would happen today if we did more of it!

What Bloggers Knew 10 Years Ago That We Forget

Inspiration

INSPIRATION :: How Holly Becker’s Post “Trends + Exclusive Content” is Changing the Way I Blog

How Holly Becker's Post on Trends + Exclusive Content is Changing the Way I Blog

This post by Holly Becker of decor8 has absolutely re-energized the way I look at blogging.

Too often lately, I’ve had a misplaced sense of pressure to produce 100% original content for this space. I’ve pulled back from sharing the incredible creativity of others, because of the incorrect notion that I’d be perceived as a copycat for showing you something amazing someone else has already made (despite the fact it would be attributed to the original source, credited, and linked).

Holly writes, “Some blogs only accept exclusive content. Other blogs won’t share what another blogger posted no matter how much they loved it because they are scared to upset someone or appear like a copycat. I’ve been teaching blogging classes online and workshops for over 4 years and most of my students are terrified to blog about something if another blogger already covered it. This can ultimately lead to the death of blogs as influencers and early adopters. Really gang. While I’m all for columns, exclusive stuff, taking your own photos, etc. I think balance and caution is needed.

How can we influence something or adopt it if we fear writing about it because another blogger already covered it?  How can we discuss trends if no one has images to share supporting those discussions unless they take these images themselves – and because they don’t have the images they clam up?…If we all become fearful or run our blogs like they are magazines where only exclusive content is featured and we refuse to share something another blogger covered, what will that mean for blogging?”

To me, what Holly says is even more impactful and powerful because she’s an incredibly creative individual who has loads of original content to her name. I mean, she’s the author of two books (both of which are in my living room at this very moment) and has a terrific blog with an active and engaged community of readers.

If you blog, or are any other sort of content creator, I highly urge you to read the entire article, as well as her responses in the comments section.  It will challenge you and free you, I think.

As for me, I’m done being scared to blog about a trend, a photograph, a brand, or another creative just because a big-name blogger has already pinned it to Pinterest. This space should be where I can share what I love, without fear.

I have a feeling you might be seeing a lot more of inspiration here in the coming weeks.

Handmade

Custom Striped Elephant Hat for Baby :: Or, The Blog Post which Took Months to Publish

I know some of you blogging whiz kids craft your posts weeks in advance and neatly schedule them so *poof!* a shiny new post magically appears every morning.

And then some of you scribble your post ideas on a piece of paper, write a grocery list on the other side of the paper and then accidentally toss the whole thing after shopping. (Right? Please tell me I’m not the only one?) Well, the idea for this particular post was lost on the back of that grocery list. It’s truly, truly, embarrassing.

So long ago that he’s probably outgrown it, I made a custom elephant hat for a sweet friend’s son. My design drew heavily from this painting which is on his bedroom wall.

Elephant painting in boy's nursery

Elephant Hat - Striped Boys Hat

The little man’s momma sent me the sweetest handwritten thank you card, and some adorable (ahem, handsome) photos of her son modeling the hat.
Elephant Hat Modeled by Little Boy
Elephant Hat Modeled by Little Boy I’m fairly confident the incredible squeezable-ness of his cheeks makes up for how long it took me to post this. ;-)