Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging and a Giveaway

Celebrating 5 Years of Blogging and a Giveaway

 In spite of illness, in spite even of the archenemy sorrow, one can remain alive long past the usual date of disintegration if one is unafraid of change, insatiable in intellectual curiosity, interested in big things, and happy in small ways. – Edith Wharton, novelist (1862 – 1937)

 

Five years ago, in November of 2008, I wrote my first blog post and called this little niche of cyberspace The View Through My Lens. Much has changed in the 5 years since then, but many things have stayed the same.

To celebrate these 5 Years of Blogging, I have 2 sets of photography greeting cards to give away (see below), a donation to send a girl to school for a year, as well as the opportunity to share some funny little-known fact about you here to help me celebrate and to enter for a chance to win. I hope you’ll help me celebrate by leaving a quick comment. Thank you!

But first, a list …

5 Changes in the past 5 years

1. a Studio

For the first time ever, I have a dedicated place to work. The windows stretch floor to ceiling, face East, and get morning sun, and the room has space for an easel, a writing chair, a desk, and rows of mounted bookshelves. Though it’s situated near the action in my house (with 3 growing boys, it’s loud!), my studio has doors that close. If you can picture my writing chair in a corner of my son’s room for the past 4 years in Prague, with my easel set up just beside my bed, then you can understand that now I’m quite truly in heaven.

2. Always a Work-in-Progress

A couple of years ago, my wonderful Dutch friend showed me around Amsterdam and the Van Gogh museum. I’ve sometimes had trouble with the blank canvas and page, thinking what I might paint or write is not worthwhile or important or necessary. But since I’ve stood face-to-face with Van Gogh’s work, I’ve realized that all artists aren’t great when they begin. The important thing is to do the work. And so I now always have a work-in-progress, a novel going and a canvas going on the easel, which fuel me onward.

My biggest painting yet, 36" x 24", The View of Tuscany from Siena's Walls

My biggest painting yet, 36″ x 24″, a color-drenched canvas of The View of Tuscany from Siena’s Walls

“Just slap anything on when you see a blank canvas staring you in the face like some imbecile. You don’t know how paralyzing that is, that stare of a blank canvas is, which says to the painter, ‘You can’t do a thing’. The canvas has an idiotic stare and mesmerizes some painters so much that they turn into idiots themselves. Many painters are afraid in front of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas is afraid of the real, passionate painter who dares and who has broken the spell of `you can’t’ once and for all.” – Vincent Van Gogh

3. Popelka

Poppy, we call her. A mini-Labradoodle, she is my constant shadow, my writing companion, my always-smiling dog. She was born in Prague and her name means Cinderella in Czech, because when she was 8 weeks, with the exception of 2 white paws, she was all black. Now, she’s wonderful in every way. Meet Poppy.

Me with Popelka

4. Mořic and the Birds

I’ve never had a cat. This one, pronounced More-zhitz, a traditional Czech name of a Lobkowicz prince, has a story about his name, his history. We tell his stories at dinner with friends and we all laugh for hours. He’s a character, and mostly not a nice one. But that’s okay. We all love him. He’s the other immigrant in our family.

Moric

The birds belong to my middle son (12 years old) who has always been an animal and bird lover, and a basketball player. We had to leave our beloved Buddy the parakeet behind in Prague with friends, and, as these things go, we have 2 birds in Buddy’s place now. Their primary occupation? Playing basketball with their mini-hoop toy. It’s very annoying entertaining. :) Yes, I live in a zoo…

5. Wine and Coffee

Those years of European friends and influence changed me a bit. 5 years ago, I didn’t like coffee. 5 years ago, I didn’t appreciate wine. Now, I’ll just say the day is not complete without a great cup of coffee to start, and a great glass of wine with dinner.

So, I have changed in these 5 years, and change, I think, is good…

Jennifer Lyn KingAt Montecchia, tasting wine; one of my favorite wineries in Italy

What’s Happened Here in 5 Years

I’ve written 1 post per week for 5 years (= over 260 posts!). I still love to write and sit down daily for a few hours to work, still enjoy photography and painting and sharing here. And though I started out at Blogger.com (free), I switched to WordPress.org several years ago with much frustration, but learned a lot and love it now.

The Goods

I’ve recently found an art-production site to partner with for my photography and art: RedBubble, a website which prints high-quality greeting cards, framed images, and gallery wrapped canvas. Here is a sample– I love love love the product.

Jennifer Lyn King Red Bubble Portfolio

I’ll be giving away 1 set of 5 greeting cards (of your choice) to each winner…

Jennifer Lyn King's photography asGreeting cards from RedBubble

Greeting cards from RedBubble

The cards arrive wrapped in clear cellophane

The cards arrive wrapped in clear cellophane

And RedBubble.com greeting cards arrive in an elegant package which made me laugh with its wit and charm...

And RedBubble.com greeting cards arrive in an elegant package (witty and charming, too…)

Like the package says, above, the cards are so nice you’ll want to send them to yourself.

And I’ll make a donation to one of my favorite charitable causes, sending a girl in an impoverished country to school for a year.

How to Win

So, help me celebrate these 5 years by leaving a comment with the best little-known fact about yourself that is new within the last 5 years. (Fiction is okay, too :) ) Extra points for humor.

On Saturday, November 9, I’ll draw 2 winners (randomly). Both will win a set of 5 greeting cards of my photography at RedBubble.com and I will make a donation to send a girl to school in an impoverished country.

Thank you for celebrating with me! I’ll email the winners on Saturday. Now, click on the comments and leave a little tidbit about you. Thanks! xo Jennifer

 

36 Comments

  1. This makes me smile for so many reasons. (And my Lord, the painting! The color!!!)

    Like you, over the past five years, I have grown to love of coffee and wine! We are kindred in so many ways.

    Happy Blogaversary!

    • Thank you, Erika! Yes, we are kindreds, for sure. Thanks for helping me celebrate the occasion!

  2. Congratulations on 5 years Jennifer! You continue to inspire me with each post.

    • I appreciate your kind words, and you taking the time to stop by, Regan. Thank you!

  3. I love that painting! Will you have prints made of it? :-) BTW, I’ve got my prize from last year, a snowy Polish scene, hanging to the left of the computer where I’m typing this. I think of you all the time! :-)

    Change in five years–I hated coffee years ago. I drink it now almost every day myself.

    Blessings to you, Jennifer. I enjoy your blog

    • Thank you, re: the painting! I’m keeping it close for now, as sometimes it’s nice to keep them as a single entity. I’m so glad you have the Polish winter scene printed and hanging nearby!

      Coffee is going to have to be its own separate post sometime. Yes, I’m convinced that once we grow into it, a great coffee is one of life’s simplest and greatest pleasures.

      Thank you so much, Michelle. I appreciate you stopping by and helping me celebrate!

  4. What a wonderful way to celebrate 5 years. Of course such a lovely person as you would think to make a donation like that. It’s a reminder to me that one of the big things that’s changed for me since 2008 (and for most people) are the new friendships formed online (and at writing conferences!) that were once not possible.
    I’m having a hard time thinking of a “little known” fact, so maybe I’ll post one little known to you: I’m a rabid, groupie, tour-following Mumford & Sons fan. (Sometimes I embarrass even myself.)

    • Oh, thank you, Jess! WorldVision inspires me, because for a tangible amount, we as normal people can help make a huge difference in others’ lives. My boys really get into it, too.

      Friendship is truly one of the best parts of life for me, and I treasure yours, as well as everyone commenting here. And the GreatNewBooks.org team ladies are some of the friends I hold most dear. Thank you! I LOVE that you’re a Mumford and Sons groupie. I can only imagine the sort of embarrassing moments concert-going Jess has…

      Thank you for stopping by and helping me to celebrate!

  5. I am in love with your new painting. It’s fabulous! And I think it’s fair to say that from the moment I first saw photos of Poppy and Morris, I’ve been smitten! Congratulations on five years of terrific blog posts, Jennifer. I always look forward to them.

    As for a little-known fact about me … well, I have this “thing” for bedsheets. They must be white, preferably percale (never sateen), extremely soft with hemstitch detail, and … I change my bedsheets every day. Yes, every…single…day. I know this whole thing sounds odd, but it’s a tiny luxury that I look forward to each evening.

    • Oh, thank you, thank you, thank you, Beth! That means so much.

      And, WOW, about your “thing” for bedsheets! That is fabulous. I have some stories to tell you sometime … But for sure, the little luxuries are the absolute best.

      Thank you so much for stopping by to help me celebrate, Beth!

  6. It’s inspiring that you posted weekly blogs for five years, including while living overseas. Congratulations. I’m nearing a one-year mark and feeling proud to have made this milestone. Let’s see if I can keep it up for five years.

    Love the colors in your painting and admire your choice to celebrate your anniversary with a gift to keep a girl in school–so important.

    A little known fact about me is that I used to love to listen to Black Sabbath (Iron Man, anyone?). If you met me today, you’d never guess that I was once a hard-rocker (and such a rebel to boot).

    • Congrats, Jagoda! One year blogging is probably the hardest milestone to reach, I think, because it takes time to find what you want to share and how you want to say it. And, like our own lives, our blogs evolve. I’m so grateful you’ve come along to my little niche so often. I appreciate it!

      And, thank you for stopping by to help me celebrate! I love that you’re a Black Sabbath kind of gal. Thanks for sharing!

  7. I love this. Happy five years!

    In the last five years, I’ve become a huge Muppet fan. I grew up on Sesame Street, but the Muppet movies and The Muppet Show are a more recent addiction. I especially adore Kermit. (And I’m reading the new Jim Henson biography right now.)

    • Thank you, Katie! Muppets are delightful, and I’d heard about the Henson biography. Sounds like a great book. Thank you for coming by to help me celebrate!

  8. Congratulations on 5 years!! Bravo. I’m so glad you’re here. Little known fact that’s new in the last 5 years … I finally started flossing every day … ? xoxo

    • Thank you, Lindsey! You’ve been a pillar in the blogging community for how many years now? I’m always so inspired by your thoughtful posts. As for flossing– that’s a hard one — that’s a great, positive change! Thanks for stopping by to help me celebrate!

    • Lindsey! I finally started flossing every day, too! I think the moment I realized I’m finally an adult was a few months ago when I went out with friends, had too much to drink, but still flossed before bed.

  9. I always enjoy your posts!

    I have a new BFF! He is 89 years old. Quite a crazy and fun guy. I enjoy visiting him every day. Boy what a gift he has been to me this past year. My life is abundantly rich!

    One day early in our relationship he told me that I am the most naturally beautiful person he knows. That was touching…and funny since he has limited sight due to macular degeneration. Maurice is certainly entertaining.

    • I love that fun fact about you, Elizabeth. Some of my most cherished times are with those a few decades older than me. Thank you for stopping by and helping me to celebrate!

  10. Jennifer, it looks like I should not only envy your travels, but your many, many talents! I can’t even draw a stick figure! Congratulations on five years.

    I can’t think of many little-known facts about me, but in the past five years, I began volunteering with a nonprofit organization committed to empowering girls through rock music. The girls’ bravery inspired me to begin taking guitar lessons and to reconnect with my creativity.

    • Wow. Now that sounds like a cool organization. Empowering girls through rock and guitar. That is incredible! I’d love to hear more!

      Thank you for stopping by to help me celebrate, Alison, and thank you for your kind words!

  11. Love your blog most exciting event son just got engaged to wonderful girl.pop some champagne

    • That is wonderful news, Rhonda … congrats! Thank you so much for stopping by to celebrate with us!

  12. I stumbled upon your blog quite by accident when I was looking for great literary quotes. I’ve loved seeing life “through your lens.” Congratulations on your five-year anniversary.

    In the last five years I’ve grown older yet ran faster than the previous five years (not necessarily by choice.) I’m looking forward to more “quiet” in my life.

    Little known fact: I’ve always thought it would be fun to run a bed and breakfast.

    • Hi Kim, I didn’t realize you’d first come upon finding me by accident. I love that. I’m so delighted you want to continue to come by!

      What a great little known fact. I, too, love bed and breakfasts, the most recent one I’ve stayed at was the infinitely charming Riverside Inn B&B in Kentucky. It was a perfect place to settle into quiet and write.

      Thank you for stopping by and helping me celebrate!

  13. Photography, Painting, writing and reading…. + travel… we are activity sisters… grin… All the things I love… painting is my newest endeavour…Not sure where the canvases will take me… I’m in love with abstracts… and have begun to understand them just a little better. Congrats on your blogging history… I hope to join the fray soon.

    • I love that you also enjoy similar things, Christine! I hope your painting and abstracts continue to grow on you. And, thank you for stopping by and celebrating with me!

  14. Wonderful cards. How creative and very special. Love your talent. I was diagnosed with breast cancer last year and am now recovering and hopefully will be back to normal very soon. Best wishes and much happiness.

    • Oh, thank you, Sharon. I’ll be thinking of you and praying you’re feeling well soon. Thank you for sharing and for your thoughtfulness and for helping me to celebrate here. It means so much.

  15. Hi Everyone, it’s Saturday and I’m back to announce the winners of the photography cards. My 11-year-old helper drew names and Beth Hoffman and Lindsey Mead are the winners! I’ll contact you via email and we’ll arrange the cards and I’ll look forward to making the donation to World Vision for the schooling for the girl in need in all of your names.

    Thank you so very much for coming by and helping me celebrate. Life is much richer with friends. xo Jennifer

  16. I know I’m too late for the giveaway, but wanted to congratulate you on five years of great writ ing, photography, and painting. What an accomplishment! I’m so glad our blogging paths crossed and now we are teammates and friends. I admire your leadership, forethought, and talent.

    • What compliments, from a friend I so admire. Thank you, Nina! Here’s to the next 5!

  17. I’m late to this too but wanted to say congratulations on 5 years! I really enjoyed reading how you changed during this time. I love that you always have a painting in progress as well as writing, and that Van Gogh quote is one I’ll definitely have to remember. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Things that’ve changed for me in the last 5 years? I finally found a way to bring exercise into my life without it feeling like a chore, and I’m so much more confident in general than I was I was 5 or even 3 years ago.

    • Thank you! I love that– exercise in your life without it feeling like a chore. Wonderful! Yes, exercise is one of the things I look forward to in each day. And, your confidence shows, Natalia. Beautiful. Looking forward to your new book!

  18. Congratulations Jennifer! I popped back in and realized my post wasn’t there. Maybe it was lost some where in bloggspace… My non secret but big for me is that I lived in 3 different countries in 5 years! With all challanges as you know. Good luck with art, writing and everything you do!
    Margareta

    • Hi Margareta! I always love hearing from you, and am so happy that you all are settled in at yet another country. Yes, your 3 countries in 5 years is HUGE. And with 3 kids along, to boot. You are wonderful with the challenges, and always are an inspiration to me. Thank you for coming by to help me celebrate 5 years blogging! Hugs to you all. xo

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