Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The Two Shall Become One!

Jakes Creek/Cucumber Gap Trails Intersection - GSMNP
Smaller path meets larger trail and arrow points to way forward
February 20, 2012

It seems to be a recurring pattern for me to begin a Monday blog post saying, "whew, what a week!"  But it's always true and I find myself arriving at Sunday evening thinking, "whoops, haven't begun my blog post."  This week brought even more pressure as there is so much about which I want to write.  I mentioned "surprises" in my last post and most of you know that this year, for me, is ALL about surprises.  You couldn't handle all this in one post, so I'll keep some things in suspense.  

I'm heading out Tuesday afternoon on a solo (sort of!!) hiking roadtrip and am so excited.  I'll be gone five days and my hope is that on off-hiking i.e. "rest" days, I'll have some time in solitude to spend writing and getting everything caught up the way I envision.  Much more about the trip with details to follow as it happens.

May 14 will mark the two-year anniversary of this blog.  I find this incredibly amazing when thinking back over the rewards I never imagined and the friends I'd never have had otherwise.  As year two draws to a close, I've decided to make some changes that I am sharing with you first, but that I also sincerely hope you will find make Gains and Losses better.  Something that compels you to return post after post not because it pops up in your reader, but because you find something in my ramblings (both literal and written) that you find encouraging, fun and with which you identify. 

Today, I want to share with you a major change and next post, I hope to share a goal that was born not too long after I began the blog, but am just now feeling is the "right time" to talk about it.  And somewhere in all of that, I'll find time to share my adventures from last week which involve more Blog Friends who have become real world friends.  Oh, then there's NEXT week which brings even MORE adventures with Blog friends jumping off the page and into real life!  This one will involve the longest journey yet JUST TO MEET ME!!   Well, not exactly...................

When I began this blog, I struggled with the decision of whether or not to tell any of my real life friends or family members about the blog.  With help from lots of you, I chose not to do that as it left me the freedom to journal about my inner thoughts without fear of offending anyone by the things that challenged me.  Two years ago, that was the best decision and one which I've never regretted.  But as I near my goal weight for the final time armed with a new attitude and a much more settled feeling of confidence that I'll be able to maintain my goal weight, I'm finding the desire to share this blog with others.  

Many of you know that I also maintain a travel blog that was begun primarily to keep family and friends updated when we travel.  Maintaining both blogs has increasingly become a source of frustration and I've come to realize that the frustration lies not in maintaining two blogs, but in trying to keep them separate.  The two blogs represent LIFE THROUGH MY EYES and it just no longer feels comfortable trying to decide what to put where and when to post on which. 

I began this blog with the goal of having it become a complete lifestyle blog once I reached my goal weight and was successfully maintaining it.  That is reflected in the title I originally gave GAINS AND LOSSES: LIFE THROUGH SHARON'S EYES.  Now that I am within ten pounds of goal, a place I plan to stay forever, I have made the decision to go ahead and combine the two blogs.  In this blog, you'll see very little, if any, change.  In fact, what I hope you will see is a return to more frequent posting about a wide variety of topics, adventures, opinions, etc.  As I fold the travel blog into this one, you'll see more posts dedicated to a hiking day, a place I've visited or some other travel adventure.  Over time, lots of you have told me that's the type of writing you prefer and have styled your own blogs in that same fashion.  However, I am well aware that some of you read strictly for the purpose of finding encouragement for your own weight loss and healthy eating efforts and have no interest in reading material on any other subjects.  But I do hope the relationships we've established will keep you reading even on days when the writing has nothing to do with any of those things.  

What the writing will reflect is a happy, healthy 50-something women looking forward to years of living life at a healthy weight doing things one couldn't have imagined 65 pounds ago.  

Even as I write these words, I'm feeling a sense of relief in finally having made this decision.  For almost a year, I have felt unable to give EITHER blog the attention it deserved simply because I;ve been so divided over the time it was taking to maintain both in the way I desired.  The transition will be seamless - I'll simply write a post on the Travel Blog explaining the change and then redirecting all traffic to this one!  Easy as pie.................

On to this weeks adventure................

Blog Friends, now Real Life Friends, Judi and Gene, live full-time in their beautiful RV.  I've been reading their blog for so long I can't remember how I first discovered it!  We have a Tennessee connection and a shared love for hiking and travel, so it was inevitable that the friendship jump off the written page into time spent together.  Judi blogs at Blue Roads To Hiking Trails and we met for the first time last fall for a day of hiking as I made my way to Little Rock for a blogger meet-up.  After an amazing trip to Alaska last year, they will be spending a much quieter summer in the mountains of East Tennessee and Western North Carolina.  I am looking forward to many days of hiking.  We began that in fine style last week hiking two days which Judi writes about here and here.  (FYI - If you enjoy pictures of spring wildflowers, check out both these posts.  Her photography is beautiful.)  They have now moved over to the Cataloochee area of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park and I'm headed that way this afternoon to spend some time hiking with them.  Cataloochee is at slightly higher elevation levels than the areas in which we've been hiking, so the wildflowers which are waning on our side of the park, should be at peak!  

More blog goals and exciting challenges (for me!!) to come, but for now, I've got lots to do this morning before leaving.  The community college at which Mr. B teaches, is inaugurating their new President today and I will attend that ceremony just before heading towards North Carolina.  Their new President is a good friends of ours (as was the now President Emeritus) and we are both so excitied about the future of the college!  

As always, thanks so much for reading.  Almost two years ago, when I hit "publish" for the first time, I HAD NO IDEA...............And it just keeps getting better!

How do you describe your blog to other people?


  1. Blogging is a great way to make friends. I too have had blogging friends turn into real life friends. It's amazing. I describe my blog as my motivator. My family and friends don't care about every little detail of my weight loss. Blogging allows me share these details with someone else and gain motivation from others going through the same thing. I also keep a writing blog, and it has taught me a lot about the writing business.

  2. Wait a minute. You mean there are going to be *travel people* hanging out over here now? Do we have room for all their luggage amongst all our baggage? :)

    Actually, it sounds like a great idea. You're going to tell us about your travels anyway, so why not streamline things? So I'll be a big girl (in more ways than one) and share. So...Welcome, travel people!

  3. Oh, I'm glad you will be combining them. I like reading travel blogs. Does this mean we will get more than one dose of Sharon a week? (I hope!)

  4. I think it's wonderful that you're going to combine your blogs and get rid of the secrecy. I really think the secrecy is a burden... always worrying whether someone will find out. I try to write my blog without shame... knowing that it's quite possible people in my life will find it. Right now, there are very few people who know about it at all, and I find that a burden. It feels like I'm hiding something when it's nothing that should be hidden at all. I find myself torn between two directions --- 1. keeping it public and telling people; or 2. making it totally password protected and only share it with the about ten people I really want to share it with.

    So I feel a real sense of accomplishment and pride in yourself coming from you in this post and your decision to "go public." When we were together just a few months ago, you were quite adamant about the separateness. I see going public as tremendous progress... at least for me, I think it's telling the world we're proud of who we are... and that where we've come from is a part of that journey.

  5. I'm excited for you and your blog:) I don't describe mine to other people! There are maybe two people who I have said something obscure like "I spend a lot of time on a blog" with no more information than that. Honestly, I'd be embarrassed for most people IRL to read what I write; I feel very exposed and honest in sharing my struggles. But I have wondered if someday I would also evolve into something different, like you are. Maybe.

  6. Great idea! I have separate blogs but I don't post a whole lot in my other blogs. I have shared my weight loss blog w/ close friends who understand weight issues and others who are truthworthy and encouraging to me in this journey. If someone I know finds my blog, I'm fine with that, but I don't tell everyone about it, just a preference...
    It does make sense to combine both, especially if you feel you are ready, and maybe I will be ready one day also, I don't know.

  7. Interesting post, Sharon. I surely hope that we can meet up with you sometime... I know you will enjoy Cataloochie.. We LOVE that area--and it's never as crowded as Cades Cove. I'll be anxious to see your pictures..

    I had no idea you had two blogs. I have a hard enough time keeping up with one. I think you have made the right decision to combine them. About family, I wish I had a blog sometimes where I could talk more about personal feelings and things. BUT--since my family reads my blog, I stay away from family issues... One part of me wishes that family didn't read it --so that I could be more free to say what I want to at times... Oh Well!!!

    It's hard to describe my blog... It's more of a gardening (flowers), travel, hiking, birding blog I guess.... I try to keep it different from one post to the next...


  8. I don't share my blog with my "real life" friends. A few know about it, and my mother (!) found it.. but other than that it's private. I need that to vent properly and fully. :)

  9. I don't share. I get enough of others in real life. I come here to be with another group entirely.

    I enjoy hearing of your travels here, so I'm looking forward to the merging of the two. And I'm so happy to hear your health plan is going so well.

  10. I have talked about my weight loss blog with some people and even my students. In the case of my students, I pulled up my page when I was talking about my own emerging health when we did the unit on nutrition and health. It was actually a relief to share this with them. I doubt any of them will ever look it up, just like my family, but they know that I have a blog and it is about ruminations, or something like that. I wrote about it too in my sabbatical report to our provost. So, I guess I am out in the open, but I really don't think they would ever read it. If they do, no problem. My own adult children and their wives occasionally read it, but that is rare. So, mostly I do not think about who is reading my blog. They know I have it and can easily find it if they really want to. I write for me, first, anyway.

    I will enjoy the new and varied posts that will be part of your blog (this one the one I read). I enjoy your writing and love stopping by when you have a new post. I think it is terrific that you have met and continue to meet more, blogger friends in real life. Have a great hiking trip!

  11. As you know, I share my with very few people I know. I've become a bit more open about it lately, but still like knowing that I have the freedom to say what I need to say without worrying that certain people (who shall remain nameless) might read and judge me. Maybe I'm just paranoid, but for me, my blog is my special place...all mine!

    I don't know if you got my email or not, but thank you again for your amazing comment the other day. You are truly thoughtful and I can't wait to get together again!

    I'm looking forward to you blog changes...so glad you've made the decision!

    Blesings sweet friend!

  12. I think this really marks a turning point for you Sharon!

    You have come along way on this journey and I am so proud of your success. :)

    When I first started my blog I did announce it to family and friends who could read my facebook. Of course other bloggers followed me back after I would leave comments on their blogs.

    I don't usually tell anyone else about the blog but my hubby loves to show people my blog! He has told people that I would rather not have know, like our dentist, his business friends and so on. Seriously do these people need to know about my struggle to keep my weight at a healthy number! I think not, but what is done is done.

    Sometimes I wish my extended family didn't know about the blog. I might talk about some topics that I feel are off limits due to the fact I know who from my extended family reads the blog. My mother reads the blog and she worries so much about me that I have to be careful what I write. She will read things into it that aren't there!

    Blessings to you and congratulations on how far you have come.

  13. I usually describe my blogs as "my weight-loss blog" and "my writing blog." Never the two shall meet ... well, that's not entirely true. I do from time to time mention one on the other in passing.

    I doubt I'd ever combine the two, because my writer friends probably don't want to read every last detail of my diet (and my weight-loss blog friends could care less about progress in my writing career).

    But I'm excited to see the new direction your blog takes. I always enjoy reading your posts, even when I don't comment.

  14. I'm glad you've decided to combine yours!! I'm thinking of doing the same. I started a hiking blog a while back and have abandoned it to continue my now one.

    The funny thing is, I always say "my weight loss blog"...but it's not really. It's a "healthier, active lifestyle blog"

    I didn't know your husband teaches at PS (from the context of what is written above I figured it out...ha!)...I thought he was up at the other large, orange university. My husband is an adjunct at PS but teaches mostly at the Blount Campus (though as I type this he is subbing for a bio-lab at the main campus).

    So proud of you and all you have done for your health, and for the richness of your life! Great job Sharon!!

  15. When people ask what do you write about, my answer (which has evolved) is "my life." I focus on things going on in New York City, but it's always as I see it. I have shared my blog with many people in "real life" but very few of them have chosen to stop by. I enjoy writing and I have met wonderful people while blogging, and yes, now these "blog" friends are friends.

  16. Hi Sharon! I am SO VERY HAPPY about your news that you are so close to goal weight!!! Very Very very very very very very very very very etc... happy for you! Perhaps you can sometime put a comment on my blog about the "why" that helped you succeed. I'd really like to know.

    :-) Marion