Tag: Blogger of the Month

Miss October 2017 – Keri Bucci

Hey, Y’all, I’m Keri, a food blogger over at My Table of Three, and believe it or not, I am your Mrs. October!

When I opened the email invitation for blogger of the month, I thought “Oh my word, what were they thinking; don’t they know I’m a hot mess over here?” Seriously, have you guys seen the talent around this site? These women are an inspiration and I wasn’t sure I could hold up to the wonderful bar they have set! But, after a couple of pep talks to myself, the honor of being able to share with all of you sank in and I convinced myself that you guys could handle a small peek into this wacky brain of mine.

First things first! I am a native Arkansan and though I have lived in a few other states for work, I have always known this beautiful state would be my home and where I would raise my family. I grew up in Camden, a small town in South Arkansas, where on a quick trip to WalMart, you were sure to see everyone you knew. Oh, and like other small towns, their parking lot was the popular hangout throughout my teenage years. You know, we were so cool back then! 

I was born to two amazing parents who taught me so much about living an honest and good life. The love and support they offered me growing up spurred me through my college years at Southwestern AG University in Waxahachie, TX and well into my years of building my career, working for a company that I had gotten very familiar with over the years, WalMart!

I enjoyed a 16-year career with them, before meeting and falling in love with the most wonderful man. We married and were blessed with a handsome son who has changed our life for the better. Soon after he was born I traded my high heels and busy work schedule for a chance to stay at home with my sweet boy. Over the last few years, my weeks consist of days where homeschooling, household chores, and blogging come crashing head first into my days working part-time as a real estate assistant. This world of mine is often a place where a well-planned day is only a small hiccup away from many hours of mom chaos.

Some days I can just go with the flow and come out smiling and other days I need to drink coffee by the gallon to keep my head above water. You know that saying, “fake it till you make it”, right? Well, that’s my motto on those days. Who am I kidding, it’s my motto for most days!  But no matter how hectic my schedule is or how dirty my apron gets while cleaning up all the messes, I wouldn’t trade this life for any other (she says as she pours yet another cup of coffee).

I began blogging two years ago as a way to keep track of the healthier recipes I was creating for my family. You see, I have struggled with my weight all my life, and I decided that if I was going to have a long and happy life with my husband and son, I had to make some changes. So the blog was a great way for me to share my story, hold myself accountable, and reach out to other women walking the same path.
At the time, when I started,  I never dreamed blogging would take me where it has. In all honesty, I wasn’t even sure I how long I would be able to keep it up with it with all I had going on. But, fast forward two years and here I am still blogging and working on getting healthier by the day. I have met some amazing people and been blessed by them all.
I am so glad I took that leap and decided to start blogging that day because the friendships that I have made and the wonderful lessons I have learned along the way are priceless.  Oh, and look at me now, a calendar girl, Mrs. October! Who would have ever thought I would say that? Certainly now, this girl. I am grateful for this chance to share more with you all as the month goes along.

Miss February 2016 – Jeanetta Darley

Hello there, I’m Jeanetta:  an artist, writer, and sometimes homesteader (yes, totally made that last title up myself). Arkansas Women Bloggers (and the other state communities it has birthed) have been an amazing support to me over the past few years and I am thrilled to share some things with you here.

Jeanetta Darley artist, writter, sometimes homesteader

So if I’m being completely honest, when I was asked to wear the crown of Blogger of the Month my first reaction was, “What took so long?!” I can be a little full of myself. Then my second reaction was, “CRAP! Now I’ve got a lot of work to do!”  I am also a procrastinator. Here’s a quick overview. I drink coffee. A lot. All day. I can be bribed with boxed chocolates. I’m a Whovian-Star Wars-Harry Potter fanatic.   love my garden, good food, good beer, and a good fireside.

I am a maker (I honestly have no idea how to turn that off). I believe all humans really are no matter how loudly they protest. We were made in the image of the Great Creator after all how can we not be driven to create.  I have been doodling and painting and creating little things out of anything I could get my hands on since I can remember.  My subjects range from whatever catches my fancy — vegetables in my garden to mythological beasts. My style may change with my mediums or just what I am feeling at the time. I dislike the concept that artists must box themselves into one particular “style” or way of creating art. Being creative is an outpouring of ourselves. Why would we want to contain that!

Artwork by Jeanetta Darley

I write about the day to day victories and failures (many of them) with my art, family, farming, gardening and life in general. So nailing what I blog about down to a couple of words as a description can be difficult sometimes. Writing is not my first avenue of expression. But there are times that the words and stories just bottle neck in my brain and scream to be let out. Thank goodness for blogging because talking about the voices in my head might have committed me in those early years of motherhood.

I say I’m a “sometimes homesteader.” Sometimes I get things right more often than I get things wrong but I keep trying. I am passionate about the self- sustainability movement and am fully embraced in the struggle to implement the practices in my day- to- day life. Growing, raising and preserving the food my family needs means a lot to me. I believe reviving the knowledge of craftsmanship and sustainable skills can bring everyone to a better understanding of what is important such as becoming better stewards, innovative problem solvers, and resourceful citizens of the world.

Sometimes homesteading Collage

Ten years ago this coming summer I started blogging.  It was such a different world on the wide web back then.  My blog was for getting thoughts out of my head and selling the things I made at the time while I stayed home with the kids.  Actually, not a lot has changed.  Other than the kids are almost on autopilot and comment regularly that such and such friend found pictures of them doing some craft project online from some old blog post of mine.  If I had to boil down what I like to blog about to one word, it would be “try.”  Just try the things that interest. Try to draw or cook or grow your own food or raise chickens.  Okay, that last one might be a bit more involved but if it’s something you wish and dream about more than a few times a day, then do it.

All of my snarky comments aside, I really am honored to be representing Arkansas Women Bloggers this month.  I promise to “try” to be on my best behavior during my reign (I’m working on my wave just in case there’s a parade.)

Connect with me online:


Real Community

by Jenny Marrs, Miss August 2015

JMarrs Community Post

Sunday nights have been set aside. We have stumbled through two years of finding sitters, preparing meals, and rushing {the Marrs’ are perpetually running late, it’s our thing} to show up by 5 o’clock. 

Each week, one of us opens our home and the others arrive bearing salad or bread or brownies. The kitchen becomes a flurry of activity and lighthearted chatter as we work around one another reaching for plates, stirring pots of soup, or pouring drinks. We share a meal while catching up on the new home or the teething baby or the teen going off to college in a few weeks. 

These evenings have become sacred. We have walked through the storms of life together, we have celebrated together, we have prayed mightily for one another. Within the safety of four walls and these people, tender stories have been shared. We have laughed and cried and sang and rejoiced. These evenings can’t be manufactured. The deep well of friendship that exists among these people, my people, is as real as anything I’ve ever experienced. 

Some nights find us watching football or sharing stories that leave us on the floor doubled up in laughter {in my case, I mean that literally. As in, I literally fall on the floor laughing}. Some nights, we sit quietly as one shares heartache or betrayal or fear. We pray. We hold one another up. 

During our two-year adoption journey, while our sick daughter was prevented from coming home, these friends carried Dave and I through the pain and the unknowns and the fear. They were our steadfast rocks. I will forever be grateful for the ways they fought alongside us, held us while we sobbed and prayed for miracles. 

Here’s the thing: this is special. I get that. This little tribe of ours is unique. Yet, we all need this type of community. When this world gets turned upside down and the noise is deafening, we need to step away from the clamor and enter in to real relationships with real people. We need to sacrifice our time and our energy in order to make relationships a priority. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve thought it would just be easier to stay home on Sunday night. Yet, every single week, I’m grateful I stepped out of my door and made the time to connect and listen and share. I walk away refreshed for the week ahead. 

Jen Hatmaker says it so well in her new book For the Love, “We live in a strange, unprecedented time when face-to-face relationships are becoming optional. It’s tricky, this new online connectivity, because it can become meaningful and true; it has given way to actual friendships I treasure. But it can also steal from friends on porches, the ones who truly know you, who talk about real life over nachos. Online life is no substitute for practiced, physical presence, and it will never replace someone looking you in the eye, padding around your kitchen in bare feet, making you take a blind taste test on various olives, walking in your front door without knocking.” 

Please hear my heart on this: I adore this online community here at ARWB. It is meaningful. It has a real place in our lives. Yet, it is no substitute for in-the-flesh friends that we can walk through life with. 

Even if it’s scary, invite someone over. Set a day of the week. Prepare a simple meal and connect across the table. If you’re new to your city or town, invite a couple of people that you think would make good friends. There’s no special formula here. Sometimes, the chemistry just won’t be there. Sometimes, the conversation will be awkward and the silences will not be the comfortable kind and that’s okay. Just keep at it. Keep on opening your door and placing food on your table and asking others in. You will find that the effort to make relationships a priority will absolutely be worth it. 

And most importantly, be real. Share your heart. Be honest. Be authentic. Don’t try to make a complicated Pinterest-worthy meal or ensure your house is perfect before opening your door. Real is refreshing. Real says, you’re welcome here. 

Jenny Marrs Miss August 2015

I’ll be honest with you all, I’m feeling equally grateful and vastly under-qualified for this honor of Arkansas Women Bloggers’ August Blogger of the Month.

jenny marrsJust like many of the best things in my life, I find the title of blogger to be incredibly unexpected. I didn’t set out to blog or build a platform or share my deepest, darkest, most vulnerable thoughts with whoever happens upon my little corner of the internet; I simply wanted to keep a journal of our family’s adoption journey for close friends and family to read. As our straightforward adoption journey became anything but straightforward, Blessings & Raindrops became a place for my emotions to pour forth and a way for God to speak to my own heart through the written word. As I chronicled my desire to seek God in the dark valley of our waiting, I found a refreshing community and soul-refueling encouragement through many of my fellow ARWB blogging gals.

This online journal of mine has evolved alongside my own life. Since that first post, I left my corporate job and my photography business in order to stay home with my twin boys, moved from downtown Bentonville into a 100+ year-old farmhouse in the country {that we literally picked up and moved– we are simply crazy, no other explanation}, founded a non-profit, planted our blueberry farm, and added two girls to our brood.

Needless to say, my life is busy, chaotic, and messy {the computer I’m typing on was recently thrown up on – need I say more?}. More than anything, it is abundantly joyful and full of laughter {and impromptu dance parties – which, incidentally, are the key to my sanity. It’s a proven fact: no one can fight or cry or whine while dancing in the kitchen. It just isn’t possible}.

My posts these days document all of my current unexpected titles: orphan and vulnerable child advocate, historic home renovator and decorator, adoptive momma, mom to four little people ages five and under and seeker of joy in the midst the mundane.

Thanks for this opportunity to share a slice of my world. I’m so looking forward to our month together!

Where you can find me online:
My blog:http://www.blessingsandraindrops.com
Instagram: https://instagram.com/jennymarrs/

Chaos is my Love Language

by Rhonda Bramell, Miss January 2015


As some of you know, I am the mother of twins. It’s the number one topic of conversation when I meet new people, and often with those I already know. I think people are just naturally curious about twins, and that’s OK. Most people want to know how they are alike, how hard they are to parent and how I manage a household with kids and a full-time job. Now, I’m no expert—at parenting or anything else—but I can share a little bit of what our crazy life is like.


My twins are a boy and a girl, age four. They are twins, but they aren’t a whole lot alike. She is clearly the boss of the duo and he will do whatever mischievous thing that she cons him into doing. He is 100% mama’s boy and gives the best kisses I’ve ever had. She thinks she’s Princess Elsa and lives a “clothing optional” lifestyle. He is obsessed with superheroes and will talk about Batman until your ears bleed. The twins fight with each other like they are in a WWE cage match, but are just as quick to curl up together on the couch and spoon while they nap. The bond that those kids have is very real and so very cool.  I’m glad that I get to witness it every day.


Parenting itself is hard; doesn’t matter if you have twins or not. Sure, having double diaper duty and double potty training was not a walk in the park, but I quickly realized I had to laugh to keep from crying. It’s hard being outnumbered (I also have a seven-year-old daughter); it’s hard not having enough hands to hold everyone as we cross a busy parking lot. It’s hard picking up ALL. THE. SOCKS!

I work all day and come home to chaos, but it works for us. Also, my house is a wreck, but I’m this close to not even caring about that anymore. If I can keep everyone healthy, fed and clean clothes in the closet, that’s what counts. It also helps that I have a rock star hubby who totally picks up my slack. Overall, I’d say the best description of our home is chaotic. It’s loud, rowdy and messy until about 9:30pm. Then, finally, the silence comes and I start to think maybe we can do this after all.  

Miss January 2015 – Rhonda Bramell


Hello and Happy New Year! First, let’s all just take a big, deep breath….ahhh. If you are like me, you are happy to have survived the holiday season. I work in retail marketing, so I’m just coming off our busiest time of the year and I’m ready to slow it down for a little while.

I’m so happy to be the blogger of the month for January; I’m hoping it will give me fresh motivation to accomplish some big things on my blog and in my home. And, of course, I’ll share it with you right here!

Let me tell a little bit about myself. I grew up in Wynne, on the east side of the state. I came to Northwest Arkansas for college in the early 90s, and just decided to stay! I’ve had a career in public relations/event planning/marketing for the nearly 20 years since then.  The most fun job I had was my first one–I spent almost 10 years working for a radio station, which led me to meet tons of country singers and celebrities.  Catch me sometime and I can share some pretty good stories with you.

I have been married to my husband, Lee, for 10 years. We are parents to our seven-year-old daughter and a couple of rowdy four-year-old twins (boy and girl).  I started blogging in 2007 as a way to keep a virtual scrapbook for our family far away. I just couldn’t handle the incessant bellowing for more baby pictures, so I set up the blog. I never really intended for anyone other than my mom to read it, though. Alas, seven years later, here I am.

My blogging hasn’t changed much over the years; it’s still a collection of family memories. But, just like everyone else, sometimes I slack off.  I’ve learned that my kids will always provide me with material that I want to capture. I want to remember all the cute, funny and annoying things they do and say to each other. I also want them to look back on it when they are adults and not accuse me of over-sharing with the internet.  Ahh, the pressure!  

If you want to check out my blog, it’s Bramell, Party of Five. I’m currently working on a total blog makeover, to be revealed in the next few weeks.  My other social media links are below:

Twitter:   https://twitter.com/RhondaBramell 

Facebook:  https://www.facebook.com/BramellPartyOfFive

Instagram:  http://instagram.com/mamabramell

The Elusive Sand Dollar {Blogger of the Month}

By Miss July 2014, Dorothy Johnson


Today is Terry’s and my 40th wedding anniversary. We’re spending it at our favorite place, Navarre Beach, Florida. As I look back over all the years our family has come to the panhandle, it’s the small pleasures like early morning walks and watching the children play in the surf that come to mind.

I usually return from my treks with several small shells in hand. I’m told the big ones end up on sandbars farther out from shore. However, one summer, people were finding an abundance of shells, large and small. Inspired by a showy collection a man had excavated from an embankment nearby, I sought out the spot to hunt for my own buried treasure. My digging turned up lots of interesting and less common specimens, but none as nice as his. I was hopeful though, and each day, I continued my search.


One morning, I stopped by a tidal pool lying directly behind our condo where I spied a small white sand dollar, glinting in the sun. The tiny orb was no larger than a quarter and flawless. A Keeper. But where to stash it? I had no pocket, and it would take ten minutes to carry it back to the condo. Ten minutes I didn’t want to burn because I had bigger things on my mind. So I dropped that perfect little sand dollar into my plastic Winn Dixie bag and continued down the beach, intent on scoring one of those big conchs. While I found some interesting medium-sized shells and added them to my sack, once again, the Big One eluded me.

sand dollar

Hot and tired, I trudged back home where I rinsed the shells, one by one. When I reached the bottom of the bag, there was no sand dollar in sight. Perhaps it was caught in a fold of the sack. When I turned the bag inside out to look, a shower of tiny granules littered the counter. My perfect little sand dollar had been crushed by all the mediocre shells I had piled on top of it. It was gone. I was crushed—and dogged by if-only thoughts. If only I’d worn shorts with pockets. If only I’d carried it back to the condo. Ten minutes didn’t seem so long, retrospectively. Every morning, I returned to the tidal pool, hoping for another prize, but to my disappointment, none appeared.

That incident happened at least four years ago, and I must admit, I’ve been searching for that elusive sand dollar ever since. Along the way, I’ve spent lots of time reflecting on my experience. Although I was surprised at the depth of my grief, I knew it reflected how foolish I felt for not appreciating and protecting that perfect little gift—which brings me to the point of this confession.

Sometimes a seemingly small but special moment or opportunity surprises us in the midst of important-feeling pursuits. When that happens, we need to recognize it and cherish the moment or pursue the opportunity because it is precious and perhaps, singular.

This year, I’ve resolved to give up my search for a replacement to that prize. Instead I’m attempting to be grateful for every little offering I encounter on the beach. My prayer has become that I’ll recognize each small blessing and when necessary, change my plans so I can truly savor the moment. I’ve learned the hard way that once it’s gone, there are no guarantees it will ever come again.


I wanted to show you how lovely that little sand dollar was, so today I purchased several at a shell store for 29 cents apiece. Twenty-nine cents—I could have bought a bowlful, but I didn’t. For how could they compare to the priceless experience of discovering that one perfect little sand dollar? But I’m not sad anymore because I learned a valuable lesson from my folly. And it’s past time for me to move on so I won’t miss the next blessing that’s sure to come my way. Besides, I’m an optimist, and you never know when another little creature might wash up with the tide.

Today, I wish you many Perfect-Sand-Dollar Moments. They are precious. Handle them with care.

If this story struck a chord with you, drop by Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge on Thursday where I’ll be sharing a few more thoughts about my experience. Yes, I have lots more, because as I mentioned, I’ve had plenty of time to think about it.

Do not despise this small beginning, for the eyes of the Lord rejoice to see the work begin…
Zech. 4:10 (LB)

Follow Dorothy at





Miss July 2014 Dorothy Johnson {Blogger of the Month}

by Dorothy Johnson, Miss July
Reflections from Dorothy’s Ridge

I love July.  I know it’s Hot, Hot, Hot, but the prospect of celebrating our country’s birthday and our wedding anniversary makes it one of my favorite months. Serving as Miss July for Arkansas Women Bloggers tops it off like a fireworks’ grand finale.

Steve's Fireworks3bCourtesy of Steve Rucker

The invitation for this gig was a wonderful surprise. However, I must confess I feel a bit like I did on my wedding day—beyond happy yet just a little afraid of stumbling as I walked down the aisle. Even though I’ve been blogging for two years, I must confess that I’m still a novice at navigating social media. You probably already know that because I’m fairly certain my unwitting gaffs pop up on a regular basis. Thank you, Arkansas Women Bloggers, for your wonderfully inclusive platform.

I love this phase of my life (except for the way my body has begun to betray me). My husband, Terry, and I are enjoying the freedom of retirement. He encourages me in my writing while I support his pursuits in music and radio-controlled airplanes. We have three wonderful children and eight fabulous grandchildren. How could I not love it?

I had worked as a writer and editor but had been out of publishing a long time when I attended my first Hemingway-Pfeiffer writers’ retreat several years ago. That’s where I met our Miss May, Talya Boerner of Grace Grits and Gardening. We became friends and she encouraged me to start a blog. But I had lots of excuses. Life was busy. I knew nothing about the process and wasn’t sure I’d even enjoy it. Talya was persistent though, so I eventually chose a name, watched a YouTube video and set up an unimpressive page that slept in my computer until I saw her again, At the next retreat, she took me by the hand, tweaked the design and pushed me out into the ether. I’m happy to report that I was hooked almost immediately, and I’ll be forever grateful for my friend’s mentoring. So, Fellow Bloggers, never underestimate the value of your encouragement and assistance to other writers.

Last year, I joined ARWB and attended my first conference which provided encouragement and more information than my brain could contain. Our Facebook forum is expanding my knowledge, too. I’m hoping to meet the online friends I’ve connected with there at this year’s conference. If you haven’t registered, do it now. It’s definitely worth the time, money and travel.

But back to the joys of this month, July 7 is Terry’s and my 40th wedding anniversary. By the time you read this, we’ll be on our way to one of our favorite destinations, Navarre Beach, for ten days. We discovered Florida’s Emerald Coast shortly before we married and have returned nearly every year on vacation. There’s no better spot to celebrate our life together.

Beaches Signs

We love beach sitting. For us, a canopy, comfortable chairs, gulf breezes, a good book and lots of sunscreen add up to contentment. When the beach gets too hot, we escape to the cool of the condo or take in a movie. Sometimes I crank up the car air conditioner and check out the flea markets and shops. Part of the appeal of the beach is being spontaneous.

This Fourth of July, we’ll be watching fireworks from our balcony. Then,  on Monday, we’ll go out for an anniversary dinner at a special restaurant. You’re bound to read about it here.

I’m so grateful for my life with this good man. We married when my son was ten, my daughter was eight, and his son was three. Early on, they became our children. As with all families, we’ve had our rough patches. But, as I look back, I can sum it all up with a simple quote from my favorite T-shirt. Life is Good. And I must add, God is good. I know it could change in an instant, but right now, that’s how it feels. Maybe my growing collection of those shirts has something to do with their message. When I see a new color and design, I just can’t help buying it. (I often find them for half price mixed in with the exercise apparel at TJMaxx.)

Life is Good shirt4

I hope life feels good to you today and that you mark the Fourth of July with your own celebration. For all our troubling issues, our country is still the best place in the world to live. I’m thankful I was born here.


May God bless the United States of America.

And you, too, my friends.

The boundary lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
surely I have a delightful inheritance.
Ps. 16:6

Decorate With Maps During Your Staycation {Blogger of the Month}

 By Miss June 2014, Laurie Marshall of Junque Rethunque and See Laurie Write

Summer is here, and many of you may be planning memorable vacations, but I’m betting a whole bunch of you are desperately trying to think of ways to keep kids busy over the next couple of months without the help of Mickey & Minnie or a white-sand beach. I have gathered a few project ideas that use road maps and atlases that I hope will appeal to all of you!

Old road maps and atlases are something of an addiction for me, and I had begun to amass a pretty substantial collection when I realized that I was going to have to find a way to use them if I was going to avoid the “hoarder” label. There’s just something kind of lovely about the dream of travel that is evoked by a map, or the way that maps change with the times… cities appear and disappear, roads are paved, lakes are formed where once there were only rolling hills. If I see them, I usually buy them.

Collection of Maps

The first thing I did with my stash was cover a wall in my entryway. I had seen similar projects online, but those required pasting the maps to the walls. I didn’t want to lose them completely, and wanted to be able to remove them easily if I redecorated or moved, so I simply used thumbtacks. (I may also be way too impatient to deal with the pasting part…)

Wall of Maps

Once they were up, we marked cities we have visited with colored tacks. You can use maps of states or cities you visit often and let the kids help locate grandma’s house or your favorite park or campsite. You could use thumbtacks of one color for places you’ve been and another for places you want to go. Aside from being fun to look at, map walls can teach kids about cardinal direction and measuring distance, and provide reading practice.

If you have taken some memorable trips you can also use maps to create one-of-a-kind photo frames to keep those memories on your desk or bookshelf. These would also be sweet gifts for newlyweds planning a destination wedding, or your favorite high school graduate headed off to college.

Picture Frames

For this project I love the look and feel of old maps, but newer ones are often easier to find in decent shape. Thrift stores are my favorite source for picture frames. I buy frames that are completely flat on the front – the more space around the frame, the better (more space = more map). You can paint the frame or not.

Remove the glass and backing and lay the frame face down on the map. Adjust it carefully to be sure that the cities or landmarks you want to see on the frame are not in the space that will be cut out over the photo. Lightly trace the edges of the frame with a pencil and double check the location when you lift the frame. Cut out the part of the map that will go on the frame, and use a craft knife to trim the center out where the photo will be.

Frame on Map 2

Using a craft glue like Mod Podge, brush a thin coat on the surface of the frame and on the back of your cut out map. Lay the map on the frame, taking care to check orientation of your frame so you don’t glue the map on upside down. Gently flatten the map onto the surface of the frame using a cloth. If you get a crease you can’t get rid of, just rub it down until it’s flattened out, it will create an interesting texture in the end.

Let the glue dry for 30 minutes or so, then lightly sand the frame and the surface of the map with fine sandpaper. This will create a little distressing that will make a newer map look worn, and helps you trim any uneven edges of the map on the frame. Once you’ve sanded it to the look you want, brush another coat (or two) of glue over the top and edges of the frame to seal it.

For more ideas for using maps during your Staycation this summer, check out my All the Maps! Pinterest board. Have fun – and be sure to share pictures of the projects you create!

Today is your day.
You’re off to Great Places!
You’re off and away!” — Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

Filtered (Does not equal) Fake

Filtered (does not equal) Fake
Written by Jody Dilday, Miss February 2014
An observation: there seem to be two distinct camps in the vast virtual world. You’re either completely RAW – as in say anything, share everything, push the envelope, “how shocking can I be?” or .  . . you’re “practically perfect in every way” (read in your beat Mary Poppins impersonator voice) – which makes people simultaneously loathe you and want to be you! (Or at least have your gorgeous home, your perfect family, your zany sense of humor, your impeccable style, your way with words, etc., etc. etc.) 
Many people have complimented me for my sunny disposition on Facebook, but I would venture to guess that an equal number of acquaintances roll their eyes and mutter under their breath when they read some of my posts. I’m no dummy. I’ve heard acquaintances criticizing others for being too positive  (otherwise known as fake) online. Some are accused of cultivating an online image of perfection, of only posting blissfully happy family photos, of staging their recipe photos in a kitchen worthy to be featured in Better Homes and Garden, or simply “blowing sunshine” (to put it politely).  
Call me old fashioned, but I try to follow the advice of all our moms and grandmas who who said, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all.”  (As opposed to Clairee Belcher in Steel Magnolias who said, “If you can’t say something nice, come and sit by me!”)
I’m not Pollyanna. It’s not that I don’t THINK not-so-nice things and I don’t have really lousy days.  Life at casa Dilday ain’t perfect. Kids get bad grades, they get grounded, I burn dinner, and sometimes we have cereal for supper. (Sometimes life is MUCH harder than that but, even now,  I choose not to say more.)   So just because I’m not airing all of the not-so-good stuff via social media, that doesn’t mean I’m not “keeping it real.”  I just happen to believe that there is enough crapola, mean-spiritedness and negativity out there without me adding to it. 
So I CHOOSE to look on the bright side and share only what I think will be uplifting. I believe that among my gifts is that of being an encourager. I feel compelled to intentionally use my voice for good. I’m not trying to appear to be something I am not. I am, however, doing what my mother taught me, and hopefully I am teaching my kids the same through my example. 
So while my home decor/marriage/career/life is not perfect, I will focus on what is good and share it. That doesn’t mean I am fake, it means I have a filter and I know how to use it!