Musings and Amusings

Posts tagged ‘A to Z Challenge’

Sunflowers for Tina



“Turn your face to the sun,
and the shadows fall behind you”
Maori Proverb

I am participating in a memorial tribute to Tina Downey, a well-known and beloved blogger who recently passed away. Tina’s favorite flower was the Sunflower, and today we are all honoring Tina with our Sunflower Blogfest.

How fitting: Tina and Sunflowers

A flower whose face seeks the sun in all its vibrant warmth and blazing glory.


A flower that towers in the fields; whose stalk is sturdy; and whose face is perpetually open to the world.

Sometimes bent; rarely broken; swaying with the blustery wind; standing strong against the rages of crackling lightning, booming thunder and pounding hail.

Hearty souls dwelling on the high plains under crisp blue skies and towering Colorado mountains.

Tina and Sunflowers

Forever linked.

Singing their spirit chorus, blessing Heaven and Earth:

Life Is Good


A Blogging Star Dims – Tina Downey

We unexpectedly lost a member of our blogging community over the weekend. Tina Downey, who blogged at Life is Good, died Saturday evening in Longmont, Colorado. Tina was a wife, mother, daughter, sister and friend whose life ended far too soon.

I met Tina in February shortly after I heard about the April A-to-Z Challenge. I was a new blogger, was intrigued by the Challenge, and was scrolling through the list of those organizing the Challenge, and came upon the blogname: Life Is Good.

What’s not to like about a blog with that name? It was “a sign”. Hub and I drink from Life Is Good mugs, and wear Life Is Good hats, and I wear Life is Good knee sox all winter long.

Somewhat timidly, since I had barely ventured into the blogworld, I left Tina a comment on her “About” page. The next thing I knew, I had a four-paragraph response from Tina exuding personality, enthusiasm, humor and encouragement – “join the Challenge!”, she said. “You won’t be sorry, and I will help you every step of the way.”

And she did. Not only was she a consistent commenter, but she and I exchanged numerous emails throughout the Challenge – all while Tina was tirelessly carrying out her duties as one of the Challenge captains and making sure her team of minions was fulfilling their tasks.

Tina wrote lovingly about her Swedish family, culture and traditions during the Challenge, and her regular blog was a meld of memories, family tales, opinions and humor. Tina was a strong presence in the blogworld; she wrote boldly, had a large following, and made newcomers feel like longtime members of “the club”.

Maggie, another of my favorite bloggers, wrote recently about Connectors. Tina was the quintessential Connector. I don’t think I would have joined the A to Z Challenge if Tina hadn’t welcomed me as she did. Which means I wouldn’t have met most of you. That is one small example of the many ways Tina touched YOUR lives, even though you might not know her or have followed her blog. I blog, in part, because Tina made me feel like I belonged.

I am so saddened at Tina’s death, and for the loss her family now has to live with. I am glad her suffering is over, but she was taken far too soon, and that is difficult to understand. My prayers go out to all who knew and loved Tina, and I will keep her with me always in my writing.

Even if you didn’t know Tina, please visit Life is Good and leave a comment for her family. Our blogging community has lost a valuable and cherished friend.



The Last I Heard, He Was Slurping a Daiquiri

I have a confession.



I have committed the ultimate blogging sin.

I lust after another blogger’s muse.

Morpheus Source: Wikipedia Dream (comics)

Source: Wikipedia Dream (comics)


In my defense, I don’t have a muse. Every writer ought to have a muse, and we ARE a sharing community, right?


Fine, I might have overstepped on the “sharing” boundary, but honestly I think Kirsten has kicked Morpheus to the curb.

The last I heard, Morpheus was slurping daiquiris and chiding Kirsten for blogging when she should have been working on her novel.

He’s either lying in the gutter in a drunken stupor or Kirsten has committed Morpheus-murder.

Don’t we owe it to muses everywhere to grill Kirsten on Morpheus’s whereabouts?

(Seriously, folks, Kirsten is a talented writer worth a look-see.)

May I Introduce You To

Please meet Marci at Fuzzy Undertones, whom I adore!

She’s what I’m not – a roller derby competitor, a belly dancer … I have so much fun learning who she is and expanding my horizons.

Marci’s A to Z Challenge Theme was Ladies I Love.

I fell in love with Marci and every Lady she featured!

Click on her April archives and scroll through her headers. She has written a veritable feast of alluring ladies. You won’t be able to resist meeting them.

I had trouble picking a favorite, but Xochiquetzal was especially exotic (check the boob grab in the illustration).

Enjoy, enjoy, enjoy!

Lions, Tigers and Tangles – Oh My!

I finally found her again!

All you bloggers & readers who expressed interest in patterns, doodles and tangles – you might want to visit Alphabet Salad.

I found Alphabet Salad in late March on the A to Z Challenge list; followed her for a couple weeks; lost her in the frenzy of my follows; then finally found her today. Click on “Artsy Craftsy” in her Categories link; scroll through those posts; and you will find 3 patterns for each day of A to Z, plus her ongoing Tangled Tuesdays.

Have fun exploring 🙂


May I Introduce You to

Yesterday I counted the bloggers I met during the 2014 A to Z Challenge with whom I will continue building relationships. You number in the 50’s!

I met Linda in February, and she claims I inspired her to join the Challenge – inspiration enough that she committed to the Challenge on both her sites! Can you believe now that April is over, she’s still my friend?

Linda blogs at Crone-ing and Sow, Hoe, Grow and Know

She’s a wise woman, spinner, weaver, knitter, gardener, and blogger. Her Croneing A-Z posts included gorgeous artsy alphas and a library of word prompts. I read her gardening post and imagine years with Dad in his vegetable garden.

A few of my favorite posts are:
Her L from the Challenge

Her T from the Challenge

Beans, Bok Choy, Beets and Broccoli

Linda spins, weaves and knits

A to Z April 2014 – A Fond Look Back




“Blessed are the weird people: poets, misfits, writers, mystics, painters, troubadours; For they teach us to see the world through different eyes.”

by Jacob Nordby (shared by Happy Holly)

That is one of my blogging goals – to see the world through different eyes. April brought me that, and more.

I used March to “pre-visit” blogs on the linky list of bloggers with <100 followers and compile a list of “follows” for April. Being a new blogger myself, I wanted to give most of my attention to newbies.

In early April, I did additional bloghopping to accumulate 85 blogs I regularly visited. I spent several hours morning and evening to visit, read and comment, as well as respond to comments on my own blog.

Would I use that approach again?


Of the 85 I followed, 83 completed the Challenge. Not all visited my blog; not all responded to my comments, and not all are blogs I follow now that the Challenge is over. However, more than a handful of very talented, interesting people have become my cherished blogging buddies. We  laughed, cried, learned and supported. I have every confidence our relationships will flourish, and our blogging passions will be richer because of our connections.

In addition to my treasured blogging buddies, my Challenge rewards are:

My new library. Every blogger I followed has not only 26 excellent A to Z posts which are worth re-visiting, but an accumulation of posts I’ve never read. And they will publish future valuable posts. I can travel, eat, garden, paint, think, imagine – knowing I’ll enjoy where-ever I meander in my library.

My referral system. Each blogger I follow has a treasure trove of bloggers they follow. That’s a rich reservoir of talent, and the potential for broadening my horizons is immeasurable.

Material for my future posts. My buddy bloggers have triggered so many memories, questions, emotions, curiosities, musings during my April visits that I have a notebook full of triggers and prompts. It’s impossible in this post to say how uniquely each of you has touched my heart and energized my brain, but my future posts will pay tribute to your individual talents and your cumulative impact on how I view my world. I think about each of you every day, and feel so blessed that you have come into my life.

What I liked:

I pre-wrote 95% of my posts. I couldn’t possibly “wing it”.

The support from Co-hosts and Minions!  A bucket load of Thank You’s to each of you who worked tirelessly and cheerfully to support this Challenge. I  cannot imagine participating AND performing your functions. Kudos to all for your stamina and dedication!

The pre-Challenge instructional posts by Co-hosts and Minions. Very helpful.

What was difficult:

Sticking to my theme. I’m not sure I’ll pick one next year.

The (no one’s fault) snafus between blogging platforms: My WordPress Reader only intermittently picked up non-WP bloggers I followed, so I had to refer to my list and visit them manually. Commenting on Blogspot was a time-consuming process – even with Captcha turned off. I can only assume it was the same hassle for Blogspotters to comment on a WP blog.

Suggestions for next year:

Perhaps Z to A Challenge (backwards) for a change of pace? People seemed to burn out just as the toughest letters came up.

A  few bloggers suggested we drop Q and X. I disagree. We’re a creative bunch; if we can’t take “literary license” during the Challenge, what’s the point?

During March instruction period, please clarify when “how-to” instructions pertain specifically to Blogspot platform. I finally figured out it was Blogspot bloggers hosting A to Z, and the instructions were written accordingly. But I wasted a lot of time, as a WordPress blogger, trying to figure out what those instructions meant.

Will I do this Challenge in 2015?  Sign Me Up!

Click here to return to the Reflections List for other A to Z Bloggers


Never underestimate the power of a question

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