One Year of Epiphanies!

24 May
I love this. Apples still clinging to a tree in December in Washington State.

One year ago today I began an adventure. One which I was wary of, but also excited to begin. One which I had avoided – being a person who tends towards hearths and comfy chairs as opposed to mountain climbing and exploration.

It’s not that I dislike exploration – on the contrary – it’s just that I like my bed, and my favorite mug and my books all around me, beckoning to me with their promises of entertainment and comfort.

I have always said that, rather than comfort food, I have comfort books.

Okay, some of my favorite pictures from the past year. This is my mom and sisters many moons ago – shot taken by my father.

But I’ve gotten off my topic – which, if you’ve read me much over the past year, you know is not unusual.

Several years ago a friend of mine told me that I ought to start a blog. She said this quite a few times over the following months and each time I told her, “No way. I already don’t have enough time to do what I’m supposed to do as it is. If I start to write more, I’ll be even more behind.”

I sometimes wonder if she questions now just what it is that she unleashed.

Winter a few years back.

Because, finally, I looked seriously into blogging and, on May 24, 2011, I posted my first post!

For many years now I’ve enjoyed writing my family’s annual Christmas letter – and I’ve often gotten nice comments from those who receive it. I look at this blog like a giant, year-long Christmas letter. Like the Christmas letter I never have enough time or space to write. I once met the new husband of my husband’s cousin’s ex-wife – did you get that?!! – and he said, upon meeting me, “Oh, the person who writes novels every Christmas.” Yep. That’s me. And now I don’t have to stuff my novels into envelopes once a year – instead I post them for the world to see!

There is beauty to be found on the prairie.

I began with the intention of posting once a week. “Tuesdays with Gretchen” was my catch phrase. But gradually I began to up that to twice a week. That’s a good amount for me, especially when, in January, my local newspaper asked me to begin a blog for them as well. That blog The View From my Window is a wee bit more local in flavor, though not, by any means, always. It’s really just more of the same epiphanies I have here, just more…Minnesota-centric. So anyway, posting on that blog approximately three times a week makes for five times in all and that’s more than enough for me. It was such an honor to be asked by The Daily Globe to be a part of their blogging world, and they print my articles in the newspaper once a month (or more) which has been fabulous.

I live in a small community and it’s such a hoot to have people comment to me almost every time I go to town about reading my posts in the newspaper or on-line. Today, for the first time ever, a salesperson saw my name on my bankcard as I handed it to her and she said, “Oh, are you the Gretchen O’Donnell who writes the blog for the paper?”

“Why yes, yes I am.”

Just a cool fall picture from the neighborhood.

I began to blog because I love to write and, as such, I’ve been working on a writing a book for the past four years. It’s hard to get much work done with three children, the youngest of whom is five years old. But it’s coming along and writing for this blog, while perhaps taking time away from the book, has also been a tremendous encouragement to me as a writer.

And so I continue to write – both the book and the blogs – and who knew, one year ago, where I’d be today?! I’m looking forward to what the year ahead holds.

Star Magnolia – my parent’s garden, a couple years ago.

I am thrilled to be a part of your world.

Thank you, from the bottom of my heart, for being a part of mine.

Here’s some more of my favorite shots that I’ve posted over the past year…

The Great Amaryllis Experiment.

Two of our kittens – as seen in The View From my Window!

The Sioux Falls waterfalls – on the Big Sioux River in South Dakota – from a post on my second blog.

I didn’t take this shot, but it was part of my story on my knitting fiend friend Sheri Hall…

One of my favorite pictures of all time. Meep washing dolly clothes, several years ago.

I love the angles. Vancouver, British Colombia, Canada, December 2011.

Notre Dame Cathedral, Paris.

Love the angles. Love the buildings. Paris, February 2011.

The Brandenburg Gate in Berlin. This photo was taken by my husband, exactly one year after our trip to my old hometown of Berlin.

There’s nothing like a lucky shot. Hoar Frost (Galaverna!) on the trees and some birds I unknowingly scared up.

Seining in SW Minnesota – a photo from my other blog.

Cascade Falls, Orcas Island, Washington

A brave rose in December. Orcas Island, Washington.

P.S. – I just double checked and apparently I BEGAN working on my blog on the 24th…but actually posted my first post on the 31st. Oh, well. Math never was my strong suit…


32 Responses to “One Year of Epiphanies!”

  1. treadlemusic May 24, 2012 at 8:06 am #

    What a great post and how far you have come! Am so thankful to have come across your little corner of the world, also……..And, we are practically neighbors (if you subtract about 350 miles—–Oh! that’s right, math isn’t your strong suit!!!!! LOL!).

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 24, 2012 at 8:24 am #

      Thank you so much! I too, am glad to be connected with you – by a few miles! 🙂 I really enjoy my fellow Minnesotan bloggers!

  2. ceciliag May 24, 2012 at 8:09 am #

    how wonderful a year if working on your lovely blog, that shot is your mother and sisters is so beautiful it is breathtaking! have a great day and congrats on doing a year, it is hard work but very good for the writing i think! c

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 24, 2012 at 8:21 am #

      Thank you Celi! Yes, it definitely takes discipline – which never has been my strong suit, but when it comes to writing I’m more willing to work at it! Yes, that picture is great, isn’t it? My dad does a great job behind the lense!

  3. Minnesota Prairie Roots May 24, 2012 at 8:36 am #

    Congratulations on celebrating one year of blogging. (Math most definitely is not my strong suit either.) I’m so glad that your friend persuaded you to enter the world of blogging because you bring a voice that is honest and kind, uplifting and passionate… You write with such ease, with the skills of a seasoned storyteller and with a trademark humor that always, always, makes me smile.

    I am very much looking forward to meeting you and your family in a few weeks.

    Here’s to many more years of blogging and eventual publication of that book. Then I can say, “I know that author, Gretchen O’Donnell, the one who blogs.”

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 24, 2012 at 9:25 am #

      Thank you – you are always so encouraging! We are definitely looking forward to meeting you, too! Nice that you’re in southern MN and not way north. You will be among the first to know when the book publishing happens!

  4. marimann May 24, 2012 at 9:14 am #

    Fete anniversaire!

  5. Shirley Dykstra May 24, 2012 at 9:20 am #

    Thanks for making my day(s) weeks fun!!!!!!!!!Now go make some rhubarb crisp and some nice sauce and enjoy!!!!!!!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 24, 2012 at 9:43 am #

      You are so very welcome! 🙂 I’m so glad that you enjoy it. And yes, I’d totally make the rhubarb things except that I’m leaving today for 4 days…so perhaps I’ll go freeze it instead! Unless I can convince my husband to make something with it while I’m gone…yeah, probably not so much.

  6. Jeanne Mammen May 24, 2012 at 10:04 am #

    Happy anniversary, Gretchen! Your blog entries are a breath of fresh air! Thank you for sharing with all of us 🙂

  7. jcsservant May 24, 2012 at 2:28 pm #

    You remain such an inspiration to me. Congratulations dear one, on this important milestone! Here’s to many more years of writing epiphanies from you.

  8. cravesadventure May 24, 2012 at 4:00 pm #

    Congrats – YAY!!! I love that I get to stay connected to my MN roots through your blogs – ha! Not many people get me or my sense of humor out here on the West Coast and know right away if I encounter someone from the Midwest because we get each other – pretty funny. Loving your blog, so keep at it girl:) Have an AWESOME Day of Celebrations!!!

  9. gardenfreshtomatoes May 25, 2012 at 5:41 am #

    Happy Blogiversary, Gretchen! Looking foreward to many more years with you and your family!

  10. hotlyspiced May 25, 2012 at 6:11 pm #

    Congratulations Gretchen! I can’t believe it’s only been a year. I thought you’d been around so much longer than that. Unbelievable coincidence but I was also inspired to start a blog because I used to write (and still write) a family newsletter that I’d send with my Christmas cards, spilling all my families sins and secrets. The response was amazing and I’d bump into people on the street and they’d say, ‘We’ve moved, can I give you my new address? Don’t leave me off your Christmas list’. And I couldn’t believe how much people liked it. That’s when I started thinking about a blog. Amazing that all the way over in Minnesota, there you are doing the exact same thing and getting the same response and getting the same inspiration! Amazing!!! Here’s to a great second year of blogging for you Gretchen xx

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 27, 2012 at 11:31 am #

      That’s awesome! How fun that we had the same inspiration! I love it! The funny thing is, when it was time to write my Christmas letter this year I felt uninspired – and I’m not sure it was as “good” as usual – apparently now all my writing energy is spent in the blog!

  11. Carol Owens May 26, 2012 at 10:41 am #

    Hi, Gretchen: I find your blog absorbing, you pics inspiring,and your writing engaging.
    Do you live on Orcas now? I do..near Mt Baker Rd. Found your blog while googling Mt. Baker cemetery for the American Legion ceremony on Memorial Day…
    I’m a fellow writer, and having a fascinating time with my compulsion. Have you ever attended the Writer’s Roundtable at the Orcas Library? If not , you might enjoy it…not your usual group, but writers of many species who scribble for n…looking forward to Tuesdays with Gretchen!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 27, 2012 at 11:33 am #

      Oh, how fantastic to connect with you! I don’t live on Orcas now, though my sister still does. I’ll be there for Kindlingsfest in July, though! I bet that roundtable is wonderful!!! I’d love something like that – wish I could go! I am so glad that you commented and enjoyed what you found here – thank you! I grew up not far off of Mt. Baker road – out in Buckhorn. I often, often, often wish I was back! I look forward to connecting with you more!

  12. whatimeant2say May 26, 2012 at 10:52 am #

    I love all of your pics, and I love your blog. Happy Anniversary!

  13. Emily May 26, 2012 at 6:28 pm #

    Congrats, Gretchen. No small accomplishment!

  14. bitsandbreadcrumbs May 29, 2012 at 4:13 pm #

    I’m behind on my reading, but congratulations Gretchen! That’s wonderful and while I didn’t know about you a year ago, I’m so happy to have “found” you during that time. Blogging 5 times a week seems nearly impossible to me, but I bow to your ability to do so, and I always enjoy your posts. Your pictures here are lovely, too. Cheers to you and here’s to the next year!

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 29, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

      Thank you so very much! I don’t always achieve 5 times a week – but almost always at least 4! I am so glad to be a part of the blogging world.

  15. rutheh May 30, 2012 at 5:43 am #

    I enjoy following you very much and love the dolly washing photo especially. Congrats on the milestone reached.

    • Gretchen O'Donnell May 30, 2012 at 9:28 am #

      Thank you so so much! I love that photo, too – I’m not good with people photos, but that one turned out well!

  16. ljhlaura June 1, 2012 at 9:05 pm #

    Just found your blog, and it’s been a really great read so far! Beautiful photo of the prairie … Congratulations on a year of epiphanies. 🙂

    • Gretchen O'Donnell June 2, 2012 at 12:08 pm #

      Thank you so much! I’m so glad you stopped by and commented. Now I’ll go check out your blog!

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