Why Do We Blog?

Why Do We Blog?

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That was the question Donald Driver presented to us in the afternoon session at the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration. It sounds like a simple question right? Why did I begin blogging? I started it because a friend of mine Danielle started a blog called Live, Run, Grow. I work with her cousin and her cousin told me about it. I knew Danielle had participated in Disney races and that’s where I was first introduced to the idea of running runDisney races. This was before the runDisney community exploded and the races weren’t a huge sellout like they are now. Danielle started her blog to document her training and to also share her stories about the runDisney races.

When I first heard of blogs about 8-10 years ago I thought they were stupid, honestly. I always considered them a soapbox for people to get up and blab on and on about their opinions. I never thought that one day I would have a blog. And the fact, that the blog might make me money as well, was a major stretch of my imagination. As we were boarding our plane today and I looked back and told my husband I didn’t want to leave, he asked me. Is it because you don’t want to go back to work? I didn’t think that was it, but when I thought about it, it kind of was. I mean who really wants to go to work? I don’t hate working; but I would much rather be doing things I enjoy like vacationing with my kids, taking them on field trips to learn, blogging on a more regular schedule, helping others find their happiness, doing things that make me happy.

So why do I blog? Well I started my blog back in 2012 to do what Danielle was doing. I wanted to use it as my online running journal. I used it to document my first races, my training, and to hopefully network with others. I didn’t know anything about how to write a blog, I just knew that you could host one for free with Word Press. So I took out a domain name and started blogging. The name Wife, Mother, Runner came to me very easily. I wanted the blog to cover many areas of my life, my life as a mom, my life as a runner, and my life as a wife and an individual.

Fastforward a few years and I have learned so much more. I attended the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration on the Road in Philadelphia last year and have educated myself on how to self host my blog, get ads going with Google AdWords and there is still so much more I want to learn.

So back to the question from Donald Driver, “Why do we blog?” We all have a story to tell. The story we tell may inspire others. I didn’t realize it when I started my blog, but it does inspire others. People have come up to me and told me that the races that I run and the posts that I post about my training show my dedication and perserverance and they are inspired by that. My mother has told me she was inspired by my marathon training. Friends have told me they wanted to start running the Disney races beceause it looks like so much fun and they loved the pictures and stories I shared on my blog.

I choose to blog about most things positive. I will tell the truth; however. If something happens at a race or during my training or even in a life situation; I will blog about it. Donald said use your blog to share your pain or to share your success. It is a good way to let others know the struggles you have been through to get to where you are now. It helps them realize that maybe what you are going through might be something they are also feeling and they aren’t alone in that situation.

I have an illness called kidney vasculitis caused by Honoch-Schloen Purpura that usually strikes children. For me, it happened when I was 30 and it has caused a disruption in my life when I first got married 13 years ago. It took many years for the doctor to figure out what was wrong with me and it also caused my husband and I to have to put our dream of having children on hold for 5 years while I was treated with a chemotherapy-type medication. I was not blogging at that time; but now I want to share in my blog what I had gone through. It is a part of me and made me who I am today. It also made me the runner I am today. You can read more about it on my About Me page.

Donald said, “at then end of the day when you post something, how do you want people to feel about it?” I hadn’t thought about that when I write my blog posts. I usually write because I want to share news or even look back on my own life to see how I overcame something or what steps I took towards an accomplishment or goal I was reaching for.

What do I want my blog to become? I’d love for it to become a source of income for me so that maybe we could move and I could continue to make it a full time thing for me. Who knows? I hadn’t considered it; because I don’t know how to make an income off of my blog. Perhaps those of you who do, can we network and you can help me learn more about this possibility?

Why do you blog? I’d love to hear your story!

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When Did It Begin For You

Something that I heard when I was attending the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration was a question of “When did it begin for you?”  That question has been on my mind since I heard it.  I have been vacationing here in Walt Disney World for a little over a week and have been enjoying every minute here with my family.  We have done many of our favorite things, and have also tried some new things that we haven’t done yet.

So when did it begin for me?  When I was young, my best friend who lived next door went to Florida on vacation.  Her grandmother lived in Florida so when they went to visit her they went to Disney World.  I never understood what Disney World was, but it always sounded so interesting and magical and special.  She would go to this amazing place and come home with cute souvenirs.  I most envied her Mickey Mouse dangle earrings.  She did give them to me when we got older and I have to see if I still have them somewhere.

Then when I was 14 my parents said they were going to take us to Disney World!  They have friends in Lakeland, Florida so we were going to rent a car and drive to Florida and visit them, go to Daytona Beach, Universal and Disney World.  It is a fuzzy memory for me; but I’ll never forget the looong drive, the South Of The Border signs that seemed to appear for days, the sunburns, shopping for new clothes and brand new sneakers just prior to going away, and piling into the back seat of a car for the longest car ride of my life.

But it was worth it.  From what I can recall, I remember driving to the parking lot of Magic Kingdom and seeing the gates welcoming us to the Magic Kingdom park.  That now is still one of my favorite things to take a picture of during my marathon and half marathon races because it stems back to that time when I saw it for the first time as a kid. I also remember seeing the castle, walking down Main Street, the Barber Shop Quartet, the horse and carriage, the 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea, the Skyway Ride (gondolas in the back of the park), the lines in the roped off ques that zigged and zagged forever, the cinnamon rolls on Main Street and the smell coming from the bakery, and the building for Space Mountain stands out strong in my memory.  I also remember fondly the Electric Light Parade at night and standing on Main Street seeing these amazing floats going by all lit up and the music playing loudly throughout the park.  It was something I had never seen anywhere else before.

Fantasyland-Skyway

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As I write this post and think hard of the memories, they are coming bac to me in bits and pieces.  Is that when it began for me?  Or is it when I started to come to the parks with my husband before we were married.  He and I began coming to the parks together in August of 1998.  We had a blast coming here together for the first time.  Then we made it a yearly tradition, and sometimes we came twice during a year for a long weekend getaway.  Each time we came we learned more and more about Disney and people would often ask us why we kept going to Disney.  They didn’t understand that each time you go there is always something different you can do or something new to see, or a restaurant to eat at that you haven’t gone to before, shopping to be had and much, much more!  The same holds true when you come here with your children. First, when they are younger, you do the children’s rides with them, they as they grow bigger you can do more of the thrill rides with them, you can take them to more restaurants and the water parks.  You can stay out later with them!

Then of course, my husband and I met with a wedding planner in 2001 and he secretly booked our wedding date after we left our meeting with them.  So then the magic continued as we had our wedding at the wedding chapel 13 years ago today, and our reception in Epcot at the French pavilion outside for the Illuminations show.  So when did it begin for me?  It may have been that time when I was 14 and saw the Magic Kingdom for my first time and got a taste of it.  Only to have more and more exposure each time we came.  I couldn’t get enough of it and I still can’t!  We have to leave this amazing vacation tomorrow and we will always be looking forward to the next return trip back.

When did it begin for you?

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration “On The Road” – Part 4

Huggies Panelists

Huggies Mom Inspired Panelists

The last part of my Disney Social Media Moms Celebration “On The Road” series is about what I personally got out of the seminars towards my own personal growth.  This year is about the one word resolution I made to “Grow”.  The speakers in this segment talked about some good information regarding being a mom-entrepreneur and also about being working/blogging moms.  We live and work in a world where we juggle a lot of things (women especially).   The speakers were:

Lessons Learned, Experiences Shared – The Life of Mom Business Owners
Amy Bradley, @toydozer, Toydozer
Kristi Gorinas, Dad Pack
Jen Groover, @jengroover, Butler Bag

You Can Be Do and Have It All How?
Debi Silber, @TheMojoCoach, Author and Founder of The Mojo Coach

When the three panelist of the Huggies Mom Inspired Grant Winners were discussing their lives and what they went through to get a product to market one thing that really stood out to me was when Amy Bradley from Toydozer said she missed several years of her children s’ lives.  To me, nothing is worth missing time with the family.  It took us a long time to have our babies and I want to be a part of everything in their life.  I am glad that I have the ability to work from home some days during the week, because I feel more connected and part of their lives that way.  Next year when both my kids are in school five full days a week it’s going to be a huge change for me.  I think I am going to feel a loss because both of them will be away from me for 38 hours a week!  Time is going by far too quickly for me.  I love seeing the growth in my children and how much they have learned in the past school year, but it also means they are spreading their wings a little bit more and I’m not ready for that.  I try to take as many pictures as I can and capture the moments as much as possible.  My son always tells his friends “my mom likes to take a lot of pictures”.  They will thank me one day.

A great question from the audience was “How do you shut if off?”  I think we are all guilty of juggling many things.  But there should be a time that is off-limits to the outside world (business, social media, etc.) to allow you to be present 100% to your family.  There is the ability with the iPhone to set do not disturb hours.  That’s a good tool you can implement.  Another one is to implement office hours so the people you interface with understand that you will be available certain hours of the day but then after that time or during the weekend you will not get back to them so they don’t expect that from you.

Maria Bailey added something to the answer to that question by saying “Look at the whites of your child’s eye when you’re talking to them.”  That was brilliant.  That was my ah-ha moment that I took out of the entire seminar.  How many times are we washing dishes, looking at our phones, driving the car, doing laundry, cleaning, answering emails, blogging, etc. and talking to the children with half of our attention?  I know I am guilty of this.  I have been making an effort to turn off my devices and setting aside time at night after dinner/dishes/cleanup to go outside and play with the kids.  They crave our attention every day.  My kids have each other to play with and that’s great, but they really want US.  We are apart for so many hours of the day so they want to spend time with us.  The dishes will always be there.  The house will never be clean.  The electronic world can wait.  Our children cannot.  I am working on putting them first.  That may sound stupid, that it may be common sense, but think about how often we put the other things before them.  It’s a shame, in my opinion that the cleanliness of the house comes before the happiness of my children, or the message that needs to be answered comes before them.  With the world becoming in such need of immediate gratification or fast response, we are (or at least I am) falling victim to always being available to others before my family.  When I work from home I tend to never take a lunch break.  This summer I will be taking my lunch break when I am home with my kids and doing something fun with them.

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Debi Sibler, The Mojo Coach

Some other pieces of advice I gained was about the support of our families and our spouses.  I know my husband is very supportive of my running “habit” and my racing and I need to acknowledge that to him “out loud” to let him know how much I appreciate his support.  Debi Sibler, the Mojo Coach, gave us the advice of getting rid of toxic relationships and trying to be everything for everyone.  When we do this, we tend to forget about taking care of ourselves and that stress can cause physical damage to your body resulting in illness.  It is important to take care of your Body, Mindset and Lifestyle.  Every choice we make takes us farther or closer to the body we want.  Are you not losing weight because of mindless eating?  This is something I had been struggling with lately, but when I became conscious of what I was doing, and logging everything I ate, I have lost 6 pounds in two weeks.  Jeff Galloway has also been helpful in making me think this way.  He is my running coach, but he is also an educator in all things life.  He just helped me “get it”.   I believe we do many things in life in autopilot and aren’t 100% present.

20140624-081813-29893800.jpgTake care of your body.  Think about how often we sit.  We sit at our computer at home, we sit in the car to drive to and from work or school.  We sit at work for our office jobs.  We sit on the couch if/when we do get to watch TV.  I have back problems, so that is one thing my chiropractor and I talk about a lot and I have made a change in my life to be aware of how much I am sitting and how that compresses my spine.  I have a sit/stand work station at work so that when I realize I am sitting too long, I change my position and stand.  It’s also important to get up and move around.  When I am working from home, I work at a counter top where I stand.  Today I started to keep track of my steps “old school style” using a digital pedometer.  There are so many gadgets out there these days but I don’t have a Fitbit yet and I want to be “aware” of how much movement I have during a typical working day from home.  I also do something that Debi recommends, and I have an appointment with myself for my workouts.  They are important to me so I always make them a priority in my schedule.  No matter how tired or unmotivated I am, I always get my workout done.  After the Seminar, Kim and I drove home and despite being awake at 3 a.m. I still went for my scheduled run that evening.  It was not my best run, but it was better than no run at all!  My husband asked me if I could just skip it that night, but I couldn’t.  My schedule for the rest of the week wouldn’t allow for it and it was already on my schedule and I am diligent about that.

Changing your mindset means to believe in yourself.  You can’t change what you are not aware of.  If you always say “On I’ll never be able to do that”, then find a way to do it – create a new response.  If a belief doesn’t serve you, shed that belief.  Just like if a relationship is toxic to you, get rid of that relationship.  It is important to believe in yourself and talk to yourself in a positive way.  Debi also said that Your belief system is no more than the repetition of an idea from someone you trust.  That is a strong statement that you have to sit on and think about.  If you always stay in your comfort zone, you may never try something to broaden your skills and challenge yourself.

Change your lifestyle if something is causing you stress.  It makes us sick, fat and tired.  Chronic stress kills you in the long-term.  Your body responds to stress like you are being attacked so it is always on alert and in that mode of protection.  When you feel that way most or all of the time, the chemical reaction is not good for you.  Work/life balance – is there such a thing?  It’s best to be 100% in the space you are in.  But really, how many of us can do that?  Right now I am writing my blog post, but my kids have just woken up for the first day of their summer vacation and I am about to begin my work day.  Yes,  I am giving 100% to writing this blog post, but after that I have to be mom, an employee and I also see the mess in my kitchen that needs attention.  That’s a hard thing to do!

Some closing remarks Debi left us with are “Do the people you spend the most time with inspire you?”  and “Live in the present.”  I have been chewing on these remarks since last week.  There has been a lot of great information I took out of the seminar and I am glad I was able to experience it and share it with my readers.  I hope something I wrote about impacts your life.

As they seminar came to a close, prizes were given out. I was a lucky winner of this cute Cinderella Madame Alexander doll!  My daughter and I are going to have to fight over who gets to keep it!  As  I type this, I think to myself that I’d like to keep it and keep it in the box so it stays clean.  Then the other part of me says, give it to my daughter so it will make her happy.  What’s the sense of keeping a doll in a box when it can bring happiness to my daughter!  So there’s the answer!

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So that’s my final recap of the Disney Social Media Moms Celebration “On The Road”.  I was so glad to be a part of the experience.  I enjoyed what I learned from it, the gifts I received, and the new people I met.  I look forward to reading all of the blogs of everyone I collected business cards for and I hope to also connect with others through Facebook that I was not able to get a card from.  I enjoy experiences where I can meet new people who share the same interest as me (especially Disney!), and where I can take away something to help me grow as a person, wife and mother.

Disney Social Media Moms Celebration “On The Road” – Part 2

As Part 2 to the Disney Social Medial Moms Celebration “On The Road”, I wanted to share with you some of the fun stuff and the videos that were shown during Gary Buchanan and Jenn Fickley-Baker’s presentations. Gary shared with us the contest information for becoming the 8th miner and all of the fun associated with the opening of the Seven Dwarf’s Mine train on May 28th.

Jenn Fickley-Baker, Walt Disney World Social Media Manager shared with us a video gathering up all of the Disney Characters in one location for one photograph. It is the behind the scenes footage of the “Ultimate Tweet” that launched the Rock Your Disney Side campaign.

We were also given swag bags when we picked up our name badges.  Here are the awesome goodies that were inside our bags. 2014-06-19 17.19.10Also placed on our tables were Vinylmation characters!  We were treated to nice treats, sweets and surprises during this awesome conference!2014-06-20 09.08.56 Stay tuned for Part 3 of the Conference with information from the other guest speakers!  If you haven’t seen Part 1, read it now!