Tag Archives: WordPress

Bluebells in woodland

Making More Thyme for blogging …

I can hardly believe it is 10 whole months since blogging was unwillingly squeezed out of my life by other competing priorities.

As a parent, my children always come first. As a home-educating family, we find education is not so much a 6-hours-a-day activity as a way of life. So, last April, when one of our boys needed extra input to achieve what he had suddenly decided was his lifetime’s ambition, my responsibility as ‘education facilitator’ became much more intensive.

I don’t resent the fact that I was suddenly so much in demand. I was secretly rather happy … at least with the Damascene moment one lunchtime that possessed my son with an ambitious drive to learn whatever was needed to get him where he wants to be. But, his new learning momentum meant I too had to work at a corresponding pace to provide the necessary support.

I’m one of those people who always likes to try and ‘do everything’, so for a few months I persevered with my blog, burning the midnight oil and then watching the sunrise … but the limitation of time is always the factor that frustrates and sleep really is a necessity.

Thus it was that I took a reluctant sabbatical from blogging. I missed my blogging and all the wonderful WordPress folk. I thought wistfully about it for a while, but, no. I had to be firm with myself – sleep won the argument! Though, I knew I’d be back at some point – the question was only ever, “When?”

We love walking in our local beechwoods in Springtime when the new leaves are just bursting from their tightly rolled buds
We love walking in our local beechwoods in Springtime when the new leaves are just bursting from their tightly rolled buds

Spring has now well and truly begun springing here in our corner of the UK and I happened to be sowing another pinch of Thyme this week. That same day, a comment on a gardening post I wrote two years ago arrived in my inbox and I went to my blog to reply.

Sowing another pinch of Thyme
Sowing another pinch of Thyme

I saw everyone’s new posts in my Reader when I logged in. The yearning to start blogging again welled up inside of me, like tree sap in Spring. ‘Time’ and ‘thyme’ spun puns together in my head as I sowed my herb seeds and I thought, “Shall I? Can I?”. “Making More Thyme for blogging” germinated, like a little thyme seed.

Mole, Spring cleaning - The opening chapter of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. This special centenary edition is illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk.
Mole, Spring cleaning – The opening chapter of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame. This special centenary edition is illustrated by Charles van Sandwyk.

Just like Mole in Wind in the Willows, Spring always tempts me to get ‘out there’ and explore the wider world – but this time, it’s the virtual world of blogging. So here I am! It’s good to be back – I’ll be dropping by to see you all soon 🙂

J Peggy Taylor

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First blog-iversary: a reflection

sprouting acorn in fallen oak leaves
Sprouting acorn

When I started this blog way back on 31 December 2013 I didn’t really know much about blogging. I didn’t even know how to load an image! I thought I’d probably be OK at the writing part – though writing a blog post would be much different to the sort of writing I normally do. This blog wasn’t going to be about complaints or campaigning. This was to be my creative outlet – accentuating the positive aspects of life, particularly around creative projects and sharing my love of our amazing natural world.

Also, not being much of a dabbler in the demonstrative arts of the online social universe, I didn’t know what to do or what to expect from others. Should I leave a ‘like’ on a post? What about a comment? What should I say?

To pick up clues, I studied posts from those helpful people at WordPress. Amazingly, I found Michelle’s very first WordPress Zero to Hero in 30 days. A beginners’ blogging course – just what I needed! Within days I’d learned how to load images! In the days that followed, I learned much more too, including some excellent hints and tips on interactions in the blogosphere. Zero to Hero definitely eased my journey into blogging. I remain grateful 🙂

“If you don’t know where you are going, you will probably end up somewhere else!”

This is a quotation I have often found myself repeating over many years in diverse circumstances. For this post I rechecked its originator: Laurence J Peter (1919-1990), a Canadian educator and management theorist. You may have heard of his famous “Peter Principle”. I recalled this useful quotation when I re-read my very first live blog post here on Oak Trees Studio. I had written,

“This blog is definitely a work in progress. I’m thinking that’s really the nature of all blogs. A blog starts like a tiny seed and as we nurture it, it grows. As it grows it develops all kinds of branching off-shoots, reflecting the blogger’s interests and inspirations.

But I think also a blog needs to have strong roots to steady it and hold it firm. I think those roots are borne out of the blogger’s initial purpose for the blog. From the initial inspiration – the ‘why I am doing this blog’ – the blog needs to develop its own persona, its own style and voice.”

I think I was right with my “work in progress” notion of blogging. A blog is like an ongoing ‘live event’. We add further ‘acts’ to it on a regular basis. I think trying to keep in mind the question, “Why am I doing this blog?” has helped me put down the roots of my blog and helped me shape its own persona. Some things I have tried and then changed – different themes, different posting techniques. Other things I have adopted as more regular features of my blog: I aim to join in at least one photo challenge a week (Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge is my favourite 🙂 ); I aim to write at least one post a week on a current creative project – from crochet to gardening; nature’s art usually features strongly in my weekly offerings too.

Through the Zero to Hero course I learned that as well as writing posts, there was another Very Important Element to blogging – other people! I have really enjoyed visiting your blogs, reading your posts and looking at your photographs. I have learned so many new things, seen some amazing nature close-up and ‘visited’ so many new places. It’s been fabulous!

Suddenly, here I am, a year of blogging later. My 142 posts have collectively received over 6,000 views! “Thank you”, to all my regular visitors and, if you’ve maybe just dropped by to learn how to turn a shirt collar, “Thank you also – I hope you found what you needed”. (Did you know 4 people needed to know how to turn a shirt collar on Christmas Day! Wow! 😀 ) I want to thank you all so much for joining me on my blogging journey. I truly appreciate your support.

Winter-walk-in-woodland
Winter reflections

Here’s to another productive year of blogging in 2015!

Happy New Year 😀

J Peggy Taylor

Net Neutrality

Now is the time to fight to preserve the free and open internet we have all come to know and rely upon. The mega-internet-service-providers in the US are lobbying the Federal Communications Commission so they can charge internet companies for access to the ISPs’ customers. In his WordPress News blog post this morning, Paul Sieminski explains,

This means there could be “fast lanes” for companies who are able to pay providers for preferred internet access, while everyone else gets stuck in the “slow lane”…which means applications won’t perform as quickly, webpages will load slowly, and of course, buffering. A slow “still loading” spinner will be an unfortunate, but common sight on the new, closed internet that the big providers want.

WordPress have devised a plugin for our blogs that demonstrates how the loss of Net Neutrality would affect us as we try and use the sites we love. I have just enabled this plugin so occasionally you might experience just how it will feel if Net Neutrality is lost … the dreaded “Still Loading” spinner – going round and round and round …

If you have not done so already, please support this important cause. These giant internet service providers should not be able to hold the internet – and us – to ransom!
Join the Fight for Net Neutrality.

J Peggy Taylor

Support Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang

Can You Help Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang?

Since I started my blog just two short months ago I have had the pleasure of meeting some creative and inspiring people here in the WordPress blogosphere. I am writing this post to help one particular inspirational blogging friend spread the word about an amazing campaign she is currently running.

Megan S - My Chronic Life Journey
Megan herself suffers from a combination of invisible chronic illnesses

Starting this Sunday (2nd March) something special is happening that can help those who suffer with invisible illnesses. I learned about Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang from their creator, Megan, of My Chronic Life Journey.

Approximately 1 in every 5 people around the world suffers from some form of chronic pain but most people haven’t even heard of the illnesses causing it. Megan herself suffers from a combination of these chronic illnesses. Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang was developed as Megan’s way of putting some distance between herself and her symptoms and for describing these symptoms to those that asked about them. When she couldn’t find any simple picture books about her illnesses, Megan decided it was time to share Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang’s story. Since their creation, Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang have been used by multiple people suffering from chronic illnesses like Fibromyalgia and Myalgic Encephalomyelitis (Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) to describe their symptoms to their loved ones.

Megan is now reaching out to the community to help bring her unique picture book, Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang, to the world. On Sunday, 2 March 2014 at 2 pm CST (Adelaide), a Kickstarter campaign will be launched to raise the $7,500 necessary to publish and distribute Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang worldwide to those who need help explaining or understanding the symptoms faced by those with invisible illnesses. Once launched the campaign has only 27 days to raise the $7,500 or they won’t receive any of the money. So if you can, please help by visiting http://bit.ly/FoggyFrog after the launch on Sunday 2nd March to pledge your support and share the project through your social networks.

Support Foggy Frog on Kickstarter

All people deserve to have their story heard, and those suffering invisible illnesses deserve to have theirs heard too. This picture book tells the first part of that story without leaving people out because their illness isn’t recognised or they don’t have a name for it.

Let’s help Megan get this book out there! I have known people who suffer from one of these chronic conditions, ME (Myalgic Encephalomyelitis) and I have seen first hand the devastating effect it has on their lives. I feel many communities would find Megan’s book very beneficial, and it would assist many people with gaining a better understanding of invisible illnesses. The more coverage and support we can generate for the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang Campaign, the more likely it is this book will reach the world-wide audience who could really benefit from it.

To follow the campaign, be sure to find them on Twitter (@ChronicMeg) and Facebook and please do spread the word to your social media networks. Even donating as little as $1 can help to bring Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang to the world. Please do support the Foggy Frog and the Pain Gang Campaign if you can.

Many thanks.
J Peggy Taylor