I am excited to be attending to BlogHer’14 this July in San Jose, CA! I have already bought my ticket to the conference, reserved a hotel room and booked airfare. This will be my third BlogHer annual and I look forward to what will make this year’s experience unique and wonderful in its own way. I hope to see and spend time with old and new blogging friends, as well as other loved ones that live in the area while I am on the West Coast.
There are many other things I will do between now and then to prepare for my trip. Each year I have gone to BlogHer conferences has taught me a lot about myself, especially as a writer. One thing I have dared to do over the past three years is to submit one or more of my blog posts to BlogHer’s Voices of the Year (VOTY) for consideration.
The first year I submitted one post, to the Op/Ed category, despite encouragement to include additional entries. I was confident that it was one of my best from 2011 and felt that it had great potential to be chosen.
I wrote this post last year, on August 17, the day of a funeral for a fellow blogger’s husband who had died unexpectedly. One of the widow and my mutual friend’s “live tweeted” the funeral and my post talks about my experience following her tweets. I was very honored to have this post syndicated on BlogHer in September. That version is called Tweeting a Funeral: A Step Too Far or a Space for Comfort? The new title reflects the differing views on this topic and there was a very interesting discussion that went on in the comment section.
I appreciate why “live tweeting” a funeral is controversial and appreciate the varying perspectives the commenters shared. That said, I stand by what I wrote in my post about why I believe that live tweeting a funeral, at least in this instance, was an incredibly beautiful, thoughtful and compassionate thing for my friend to do for her friend and a fellow blogger.
I hope my blog post will encourage those who think there is no place for social media in an event such as a funeral (as I did when I first heard about this), to consider the ways it can bring comfort, peace and healing to those who are grieving the loss of their loved one(s)
The second year I also only submitted one post, to the Inspiration category. Again I felt very good about my choice and believed it was my blog entry from 2012 that most deserved to be honored as a voice of the year.
A post about taking my daughter to watch/show our support for a fallen marine and his family during the motorcade returning his body to our Chicago neighborhood. It was incredibly moving to experience as member of the community where Marine Corporal Connor Lowry was raised, as well as being a bereaved mother myself.
This year I decided up the ante and submit nine of my top ten posts from 2013. Interestingly they all fit into two of the four categories: Heart and OpEd. I have no idea if entering multiple times will impact whether any of mine are chosen, but I am proud of my writing and it seems worth it to me to try.
Here are the blog entries I chose. If you missed any of them the first time around, want to circle back and/or vote for one or more for the VOTY 2014 people’s choice award, click on the links below to do so. Thank you for reading and for your support.
Heart: Feel It.
A bittersweet post, written to my three children (two living and one who died soon after she was born), on the eve of the first day of school last year, in which I share about their experience with kindergarten: past, present and future.
A letter to my oldest child/only son Sean on his tenth birthday, reflecting on his first decade of life and sharing some of my hopes for his future.
A letter to my youngest child/second daughter Abby on her fourth birthday, sharing what a blessing she has been for our family, especially after her sister/my first daughter died soon after she was born.
A letter to my middle child/first daughter Molly, who left this world too soon, on the fifth anniversary of her birth and death.
Op/Ed: Explain It.
A post that I wrote explaining how I changed my mind about marriage equality and encouraging others, who may not be comfortable with the idea, to keep an open mind and heart about this issue.
This post was also featured on BlogHer with a new title: How I Changed My Mind About Marriage Equality
A post that I wrote after BlogHer’13, in Chicago, inspired by a quote from Vikki, of Up Popped a Fox, in her Anatomy of a Story panel. I share about the roles we as bloggers play, trying to help those around us understand our unique circumstances and give them a glimpse of what it feels like to walk in our shoes (whether we are someone who is gay, an infertile, a bereaved parent, someone with mental illness, a parent of a child with special needs, a friend who has cancer, etc.). I also ask readers to share what blogging voices they are willing to be for others.
This post was also syndicated on BlogHer with a new name: What Blogging Voice Need Do You Fill?
A post that I wrote during National Infertility Awareness Week about the importance of supporting and trying to understand what life and parenting is like for those dealing with secondary infertility. I share some of my experience and what I wish more loved ones of those struggling with secondary infertility knew about our journeys trying to expand our families.
A post written on the day that Pope Francis was elected to lead the Catholic Church. I share about my personal faith, as a progressive catholic, including my hope for the future of the church. I also talk about why I choose to continue to be catholic, in spite of some of the things I disagree with that the Catholic Church teaches.
My letter to the editor of the New York Times regarding an OpEd piece they ran about a family who chose to abort their fetus who had a life-limiting diagnosis and prognosis. I share about the concept of Perinatal Hospice, which my family chose to use with the delivery of our second child, after we received a life-limiting diagnosis and prognosis. Though she died soon after she was born, we are grateful for the gift of time we had with her and want other families to know about Perinatal Hospice.