In a blog-eat-blog world, why do writers keep at it? I’m putting the spotlight on a few bloggers who are sharing their words, lives and/or passions in cyberspace, and over the next few weeks, I’ll be asking them why they write, what they hope to offer others, and even what gives them hope. I trust you’ll enjoy their answers as much as I have—and maybe even hop on over to their digs and take a look around.
THIS WEEK’S “BECAUSE SHE BLOGS” SPOTLIGHT:
Chocolate Covered Daydreams
I met Simone Dankenbring of Chocolate Covered Daydreams at Faith and Culture Writers Conference this past spring. She had such an openness and friendliness to her, a light in her face that was contagious. I’m so glad to have met her and been introduced in that way to her writing as well.
So, who is she? In her own words, Simone is a lover of God, her husband (Pastor J), her kids, bonus kids, “furkids” and chocolate. She says, “I’m a writer, with a passion for anything creative. I am silly, clumsy, honest, faithful and often times pathetic but so thankful that God loves me just as I am.” Simone has been blogging for 9 years, writing about family, marriage, parenting, faith, health, food, race—I’ve noticed, scanning years of her posts, that she writes about life and whatever it holds that day (or that year) for her.
Me: What made you want to start blogging?
Simone: Blogging was more inviting for me than Myspace or other social media at that time, and I just wanted to connect and reach out to people in some way. I had started a small forum called Words from the Heart, when AOL and a few others were popular. I envisioned a “big group” of people/bloggers doing the same thing, establishing friendships and having my voice and their voices heard. My daughter threw out the idea to start a blog. My biggest question wasn’t, “How?” it was, “What do I call it?” I prayed about a name and one day I was lying on the bed, looking out the window at the clouds and thought, “If only clouds were made of chocolate …” then it hit me, “only in my daydreams.” Then Chocolate Covered Day Dreams was born.
Me: You’ve been blogging almost a decade. How have you seen the blogging world change over the years?
Blogging wasn’t easily understood in the early days. When I would mention a “blogging friend” to someone I was talking with, I’d get this “are you nuts?” look in return. I’d hear the ramblings of, “That’s not very safe, sharing things on the internet.” Also, the writing styles have changed quite a bit. The blog genre wasn’t as broad as it is now. It was very easy to hang out in a small circle of bloggers, you know, “You follow me and I’ll follow you” but now, it’s next to impossible to follow and read every blog that you’re following and is following you. It’s never been about how many followers I’ve had. In fact, the very first time I had someone follow my blog who wasn’t a relative, I was shocked. I wondered, “Why would anyone want to follow my silly, sometimes sad, honest musings?”
Me: What would you like to offer your readers?
Simone: The REAL me. I made a promise to myself that I would show the real me in my posts. I saw how blogging, for some, was a way to reinvent themselves, but aside from keeping my name and my family’s names private, I let the good, the bad and the silly come out in my writing. I often say on my blog, “Everyone has a story to tell,” and I feel that blogging is the perfect way to tell that story.
Me: What gives you HOPE in your day-to-day life?
Simone: There have been times in my life where I just wanted to curl up in a ball and scream. Life can sometimes be so chaotic and loud and busy, but what changed my perspective was when I almost died two years ago, while in the hospital. I saw a glimpse of what heaven and eternity is all about. I saw that earth is just a quick stomping place for the real and eternal reward. I no longer sweat the small stuff the same way I used to. I do have freak out moments when the dog is barfing on the floor, the bonus daughter is rearranging the furniture at 3 am, and I forget to take something out to cook for dinner, but my hope is to be pleasing to my heavenly Father and after a busy day, that’s all that matters. I like what Romans 15:13 says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.” I keep my eyes on joy and peace that only He provides and which provides a deeper, stronger hope in my life.
READ SIMONE AT CHOCOLATE COVERED DAYDREAMS
MY FAVORITE POST: My favorite of Simone’s posts that I’ve been able to read (she’s got years of posts, people!), and one that she feels shares her heart the most, is Vulnerable. I love these words: “I want others to know that they are ‘safe’ with me in telling their stuff.” (I told you, you’d like Simone!)
FROM HER MOST RECENT POST: “I’m Here”
I was looking in the mirror the other day and I asked, ‘Where did all this gray hair come from and why does it seem like it grew in overnight?’ Then, I stared at my reflection and thought, ‘Who are you? Where are you?’ Instantly, a few things popped in my thoughts …