99 effin' posts on the blog, 99 posts on the site! (sung to the tune of 99 bottles of beer on the wall...unfortunately)
After this post, I will reach a milestone that seemed so elusive when I began. In all honesty, I know that 100 should have been reached quite awhile ago. I've gone back and reread alot of what I've written since May 22 of this year and for the first time I've realized just how many unfortunate events have happened in my life since I began.
Before TNB, for the whole of my life, I've had three significant deaths in my circle of family and friends. Since I started writing I've had two more. We've struggled through miscarriages, medical issues with our son, and watched as my sister's ex-husband was able to wrestle custody of their daughter away from her.
It's not an excuse for having posted so little in comparison to others but there have been many times that I've had to break away both physically and mentally to be with my family during these times. I don't regret it, it's just unfortunate that string of bad luck. And I know from reading other sites that many of us have lost loved ones, gone through job woes, and experienced circumstances beyond our control lately. Mine are no worse than anyone else.
Some days I look back and wish that I hadn't let those things hinder my writing here. And then other days I reminisce and am proud that I was able to keep my priorities in order and be where I needed to be doing what I need to do for those people in my life that needed me by their side.
I would absolutely be amiss to say that it was just the emails and comments of support that kept me going through these rough patches in my life. YES, they did help my family more than most will know, but there were other factors that helped me stay focused until those times were past.
One of those things was a blog.
In my line of work, whether I'm at the store or at home, whether I'm on vacation or not, whether I'm even scheduled that day or not, I check my restaurant's web based emails. I don't get a "day off". Ever. Yes, I'm scheduled to be off two days a week but it's imperative that I say abreast of what's going on at my store even when I'm not present. I have to answer for ALL aspects of what occurs at the restaurant at ALL times.
When I've taken "sabbaticals" from writing here, the same has applied. I read everyone's post in Google Reader daily. In those times when I didn't have the drive to write for myself, I've lived vicariously through your work. I've never felt that I need to post the breaking news of anything but I feel like I always need to know said news at all times. Plus, I'm addicted to card blogs now. Anyone know of a good support group?
When I've been down, depressed, and just plain heartbroken over the last few months, there was one blog that inspired me to keep going. It wasn't necessarily the words or the topics that the author posted, it's the spirit in which they post them. It's the outlook on life that is evident in their words. It's the unfailing devotion to what's most important.
I was watching kid shows with Connor yesterday, Between the Lions to be exact, and there was a short mini cartoon during one of the episodes. I missed most of it because I was in the middle of checking my sales at eBay but I did catch the beginning and end of the cartoon. Near the end, the protagonist ended up right back where he began, hanging precariously from a branch protruding from the edge of a cliff.
"Cliff Hanger" always ends up right back where he began. Dangling from the edge, looking down, preparing himself to land when it becomes evident that he's about to fall. In a weird sort of way, I equate this to the #1 most influential blog to me as both a person and a blogger.
The girls at Dinged Corners may not attempt to present themselves to be anything like I've described. I hope that my personal opinion of Dinged Corners doesn't offend them or anyone. It's my intention to glorify, not to debase, this wonderful blog maintained by what seems to me to be wonderful people.
There is an overwhelming love for our hobby in the posts that they produce. Whether it's posts about oversized and antiquated cell phones, mid air acrobatics, or ear to ear grins, DC is an open book, a conduit to a world that you might have visited in the past, but never looked at it in quite the right light without their commentary.
Humor is one thing. Fun is another. I can personally sense that these ladies enjoy what they do. I've written posts in the past in which I attempted to make people laugh. But, when I was finally finished typing, I thought to myself, "I'm glad I'm finished with that one." Funny and Fun, aren't always synonymous.
It's not all smiles and giggles, however. Dinged Corners has gone after issues within the hobby that have irked them, just like everyone else. They have problems with things, as we all do from time to time, but they never fail to return to what they are. A family with strong ties that are evident in not only their words but the sentiment in which it is written.
How do I possibly compare these gals to the above mentioned cartoon?
There is no hobby more time consuming than ours. From the constant collation to the preposterous pricing, it can be a full time job if you let it. I don't think they let it.
I feel that there is an underlying sense of priority in this family as evident through their blog. I feel that they know what's important and that they know where to draw the line on things that are not. I also feel that if they were forced to discard the cards tomorrow and walk away without looking back, they would do it. Not only that they would do it, but they would know how to.
I can't say I've always been the same. There are times that I've let this hobby consume me, let it take away from who I am and what's most important to me. Somehow I've always managed to reconfigure my priorities, but I'll be honest, there were alot of times that it took their blog to make me realize I should.
I don't know these people very well, and I'm not advocating that they're considering packing up anytime soon. That's not the picture I'm trying to paint. But, I envision Patricia, dangling from a cliff. There are moments when she regains her grip and hangs on a little longer. And there are times another finger slips and she contemplates the rest of them coming lose, one by one.
But it doesn't concern me whether or not she knows to hang on or let go. I have faith that she has her head on straight about what's important in life and that she would make the right decision.
I have a feeling it wouldn't be so much of a question of priority or love of the hobby, as much as it would be a question of,
"Where is Lucy?"
At the bottom of the cliff, or on top of the mountain, I have a feeling that that's where Patricia will always be.
Thank you, Patricia, for helping me to keep my focus, to reset myself as needed, and to love deeper those things in my life that need it the most.
AND THERE YOU HAVE IT!
The three most influential blogs in my life and in my work.
Mario was the first to recognize that I could do this. He was the first to show faith in my work and he opened the door to this world for me. He continues to support me daily through his blog by allowing me the opportunity to maintain a position on the top 7 in his blogroll. I hope that my work here continues to warrant that status in the future.
Dave has inspired me to be something I'm not. Optimistic. Something I diligently pursue every day. It's hard for me not to see the bad first, and the good second, if I see the good at all. Dave's professionalism and demeanor, and honest to God, the way he disagrees with me on topics has helped to mold my way of thinking. It has helped me to be more positive in my own work.
Patricia's love for her family first and her collection second has helped me to stay focused on the right things. It has helped me to realize that I could set all of my cards in the yard and roast marshmallows over the burning mass if I had to. It has helped me to strive towards being an even better father than I already consider myself to be.
Please don't take this wrong way, but I've received numerous emails and comments by people stating that I've inspired them towards this or that end. I would assume that most bloggers would be able to say this. And, while I've tried to do this, I can assure that it's a two way street. Most every post that I've completed has been because of someone else in this genre. Most every post has been influenced by someone else that was here long before I was, and occasionally, by someone that has arrived after me.
I have become a better person since I found this world. I have become a better person by reading each of your blogs and I have grown because of it.
To everyone that has commented here, maintains a blog elsewhere, or that has emailed me in regards to Treasure Never Buried, thank you. You have all been influential in my life.
You have all made me a better person.