My Blog Story: 8 Years of Blogging

February marks my 8th blogoversary and each year, I do a recap of my blogging year and this one is no exception.  It’s fun to look back and document my online journey and this time, I thought I’d share the most important things I’ve learned about blogging over these last 8 years.  This will be long, so get ready to read.  After this many years blogging, I do have some things to share and keep in mind, these are my thoughts and opinions and what I’ve experienced in blogging. Eight years in blogland is ancient, in case you haven’t figured that out yet.  Sure, there were many bloggers who started 10 years ago, but they are not that plentiful and the niche group that I’m in was practically in infancy back then.  It’s been quite the ride and I’m still so very grateful that I have had the pleasure of traveling this road.

1.  Getting an early start in blogging was crucial. 

This is definitely one of the things that I’m so happy about.  The fact that I got in early was a big part of taking my blog to the fulltime level it is now.  There are so many factors in what makes a blog successful, but without a doubt, the early start was one of the biggest factors for me.  Little did I know how things would change and GROW over the years.  Now there are no doubt millions of blogs out there now.  The internet has grown into a big world wide web of information and everything is at our fingertips now.  Back in 2007, it didn’t seem nearly as big and vast as it is now (and it wasn’t!), but the community back then was small and friendly.  Community is still a big part of blogging, but with the tremendous amount of blogs out there, it’s just not possible to get to know everyone these days.  I still enjoy the relationships so much though, that is one of the best things about blogging to this day.  Little did I know where a whim would take me.  It was a very good whim!

2.  Blogging is a constantly changing venue.

Without a doubt, blogging is a machine that constantly changes.  The changes can be good and bad and this is probably the biggest thing that I’ve had to adjust and grow with.  What started off as a fun hobby and turned into a business is a phenomena that I didn’t have a clue would happen, but the steady growth and change made it possible to wrap my head around it all a bit at a time. If you jump into something like this and try to learn it all at one time, your head will explode!  No kidding.  Those first couple of years were constant learning opportunities and back then, we didn’t even know what we didn’t know.  Not to mention, we had no idea the big changes that would eventually come, creating growth and learning spurts all along the way.

If you don’t want to learn new things, then I definitely would tell you NOT to get into blogging.  You always have to be on your toes and open your mind to learning new things and going with the flow.  Change is inevitable with something as fluid as the internet and there will always be something new and better and the latest and greatest gadget or application process to help make blogging easier.  Finding those things that work are crucial for every blogger.  I still don’t know it all, but I’ve had to adapt and change along the way, just to stay in the mainstream of blogging.  Collaborating with long-time blog friends has been crucial for me to stay in the know about all things blogging.  If you don’t have a group of friends to bounce things off of, do that immediately.  It’s a very important part of blogging and one that has helped me tremendously.  Find folks who are at your level and above your level, ask questions and learn from them.

3.  Social Media has totally changed the landscape of blogging.

Word.  This is SO true.  Social media was almost non-existent back in 2007 when I started blogging. Facebook began in 2004 (I had to look that up), but originally it was a personal space and the business page part of it grew later. Twitter began to take off in 2007, after launching in 2006.   Back then, there was no Instagram, , Google + or the BIG world of Pinterest.  Pinterest is the biggest game changer in social media that has come along to date.  I still have a love/hate relationship with Pinterest.  I do love that it sends me traffic and keeps my old posts and content in constant circulation.  It brings me about 25 to 30% of my traffic these days and it is a great tool and definitely has its place.  The thing that I hate about Pinterest is the constant frantic feelings that come from keeping up with Pinterest, putting beautiful pin-worthy posts together, as well as graphically beautifully pictures with captions that now most ALL bloggers strive for.  Before Pinterest, there was not a need to get into all of this.  We blogged and we put our content out the best we could.  And people came to our blogs.  But now, it’s a mad race to pin, pin, and pin some more.  And it works.  That’s why everyone is so into Pinterest and capturing all that traffic back to their blogs.  It just takes some of the fun out of blogging for me, I’ll admit it.  I sort of miss the good ole’ days of blogging, but change is part of it.

I still love blogging for the pure pleasure, my wonderful readers, sharing creativity, and all the reasons why I started blogging to begin with.  I still love all of that!  What I don’t love is the pace of social media and how it has put all bloggers who are successful and trying to make this a fulltime business into a hamster-wheel of craziness.  We all want to maintain the growth we’ve accomplished and not slide backwards.  It’s not my imagination either, this is the way it is in blogland now.  And this is the part I really don’t love.  Social media is wonderful and it works, but it is a never-ending crazy cycle of me, me,  and more me for bloggers.  That drives me a little crazy.  But, it is not likely to change and I do realize the advantage of social media.  It has lots of perks, but a few side effects that I just don’t enjoy.  I see so many bloggers totally stressed out trying to keep up with it all.  That’s the downside that I really don’t like to see.  I do the best I can and try not to let it stress me out. Blogger burnout is real, I’m afraid.  I do my best to continue to write the best blog I can and try not to stress myself out about doing it all.  Because none of us can do it all.

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4.  Being authentic is one of the keys to success. 

Blogging for me started as a way for me to share my creative ideas with other women who loved home as much as I do.  There were not many of us back in those early days and I loved getting to know all of those out there who were blogging about home and garden topics.  Sharing and being creative has been the focus for me all these years and it hasn’t slowed down at all.  I love when people tell me when they meet me in person that I am just as they thought I would be from reading my blog.  THAT’S what I want to be, an authentic person whose personality come through in the words and ideas that I share on my blog.

I dearly love to inspire others into trying things from my blog and giving women the shot in the arm they need to try something themselves. With all I’ve been through in life, I have learned so much about living my life in an authentic way and showing my heart has been such a rewarding part of blogging too.  Authenticity is key, I think to having a successful blog and letting people see the real you on the pages of your blog is a good thing.  I will continue to blog that way and share my life and family in the same way I’ve done all these years.  Life is a wonderful blessing and I don’t take it for granted.  Being able to share my life with others is a privilege too and I’m grateful that somehow, my core readers have connected with me in the last 8 years and continue to support my blog.  I’m blessed in that regard too!

As one of the older bloggers in my niche group, I’m happy that there are many older readers who relate to me and my lifestyle.  Even though I’m single, I have many married women who read and follow my blog and most of my readers are over 40, all the way up to seniors.  I will never capture the younger audience on the internet and there are plenty of young bloggers who do that so well, but I know there are plenty of baby boomers out there too who need inspiration from one of their peers.  They relate to me because of my age, not in spite of it.

Be aware of WHO your audience is as a blogger.  Don’t try to be like everyone else who you see as successful.  It would be ridiculous for me to try to blog like a 30 year old, since I’m almost double that age.  Not everyone will like my decorating style (and they don’t), but there are enough people who do like and relate to my style to make my blog work.

5.  Continued hard work is necessary to keep a blog successful. 

I think some people who are not involved in an online business may not realize just how much work goes into running a successful blog.  It is work, no doubt about it.  Fun work, but work nonetheless.  All of us who do this for a living work constantly behind the scenes to make our blogs what they are.  Blogs don’t write themselves, nor do pictures get taken and edited all by themselves.  We have so much to do behind the scenes to write those blog posts and keep our blogs going.  It’s a never-ending endeavor to run a blog.  It never stops, but we all have to take time off sometimes and recharge the batteries.  I have to say, I never get completely tired of blogging ever.  It’s still fun for me and I do enjoy the work, the challenge of running this blog.

Working with brands is another perk of having a blog like this and all of that has gotten better and better each year.  Eight years ago, that wasn’t even on the horizon as a possibility of making money and having a blog be a fulltime business.  But, little by little, it grew and grew into what it is today.  Eight years of evolution has seen many growth spurts in working with brands and finding out what works for both of us.  That has been a huge learning curve too for both sides, for both bloggers and brands.  I’m happy that it has evolved in this manner, as it has opened up so many doors for all of us to do what we do.  The great thing is there is room for lots of folks to be successful.  Nowadays, there are blogs for every topic.  It just amazes me that there are so many different blogs out there and I’m constantly discovering new to me blogs that are humming along, doing their thing too, just like I am.  From home blogs, to food, travel and fashion blogs, it’s an explosion of personalities and information out there at your fingertips.  I feel privileged to be in this group and I’m so happy I didn’t let my age hold me back.  I’d definitely say that I’m one of the older bloggers out there doing what I do.  Most bloggers these days are way younger, in their 20’s through 40’s.  I’m happy to represent the baby boomer generation!

6.  Be prepared to learn about technical topics and to keep learning, over and over. 

Learning html that first year of blogging, just about blew my mind.  Luckily, I didn’t have to really learn it and I never have moved much past my rudimentary knowledge of html and the back end of a blog.  I’ve been fortunate to hire blog designers and graphics people who can help me with what I need help with.  Making a blog pretty is one of those things that we all wanted to do when I started blogging back then.  All of that has grown too and now there are countless blog designers and technical people who can help (thank goodness!).  I’m so glad for that as the technical side of blogging is not my strong suit.  I know enough to be dangerous, but if I get stuck or if my blog breaks, I have to call in the big guns, those guys who know how to fix things.  Luckily, it’s been awhile since I had any major blog problems, but rest assured, if you blog, you will have issues sometimes.  Whether it is behind the scenes of your blog with a plug-in problem or your host and server going down, it will happen and you have to roll with the punches.  I’ve been fortunate to find a great ad guy too who handles all my ad networks. That’s something that is way over my head and I am so glad I don’t have to deal with it.  The internet and blogging has created many technical jobs that never existed before.

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7.  Learn to become a decent photographer.  

Photography was one of those things we all embraced early on too. I started with a point and shoot camera and didn’t upgrade to my DSLR until 2010, 3 1/2 years into blogging and when I was making part-time money to afford it.  Creating pretty pictures is a big part of blogging in this niche group and I’m happy that my photos have improved a lot.  I’m still not a natural born photographer, but I have improved so much.

I see bloggers now getting caught up in which camera to buy, best lenses to use, and investing in expensive camera equipment, but really, it’s all about how you use the camera you have.  Having a fancy camera will not make you a better blogger.  There’s a lot more to it than that, but it is a tool to help your blog and people do respond to pretty pics.  I still have my original Canon DSLR and don’t feel the need to buy a new one yet.  But photography has definitely become a hot topic in blogging. Beautiful pics feed into the competitive feeling too in blogging.  But, honestly, I think readers don’t care nearly as much about perfect pictures as we do.  They love pretty pictures, but they come to a blog to see YOU, the blogger.

8.  There is a feeling of competition in blogging. 

We don’t like to admit this, but it’s true.  I’ll say it.  Early on, as most of us got started blogging, I think many of us felt the competitive edge of blogging.  If so-and-so got more visits and clicks, then what was she doing that was different from me?   I would watch others grow their blogs and wonder why mine wasn’t growing at the same pace.  But, about 2 or 3 years in, I started realizing that we are all on our own journey and being successful looks different for all of us.  We will not all grow at the same pace, nor will we all get the same opportunities.

I struggled with that for a few years, but finally came to peace with it all.  It feels competitive out there for a reason.  There are TONS of blogs, so it’s only natural to want to compare yourself to others in your niche group.  But, as we all know, comparison is the thief of joy and it will definitely steal your joy if you let it.  Don’t let it!  Be yourself, be authentic, be kind to your community and it will come back to you tenfold.  I always tried from the beginning to help bloggers coming after me to learn and do their best and that’s what I’ve always tried to do.  Once you can get over the feelings of competition and you can relax and just be YOU, things will go a lot better for you.

9.   Being kind and embracing your community will be beneficial to a blogger. 

Once you realize that embracing community is a good thing, it really does make things a lot better. There are so many wonderful women out there in this niche group and I’m privileged to have met many of them out there in person.  I feel like I have friends all over the country now and that has completely changed my life.  My life is so much more full and rich than it’s ever been and I can’t even describe how much that means to me.  It’s an amazing journey and I’m so grateful that I got to take this journey and be a part of this incredible online community.  I say it all the time.  Blogging has truly changed my life in so many ways that I never even imagined.  Not only is it the most fun job I’ve ever had, it’s the most rewarding.

10.  Not everyone will make it big in blogging.

This one is a little hard to swallow too, but I truly believe that not everyone will “make it” in blogging.  The potential is certainly wide open for sure, but with all the blogs out there now, only a few will rise to the top and make it big as far as making money from blogging or getting a lot of recognition.  Success looks different for all of us, so we do have to define what we see as success and what we want out of our blogs.  For me, success meant that I could sustain myself financially with my blog.  We all have to define that for ourselves and decide what we want out of blogging.  Some are content to keep blogging as a hobby, sharing themselves with the world and just enjoying the day to day journey.  For others, you might want to make a part-time income from blogging and for others, it means making a full-time income.  I do think with a lot of hard work, that many can be successful at it, but I would imagine that from a percentage standpoint, only some blogs are going to rise to the top.  Mine is certainly not the biggest or best out there, but I’m so very grateful that it has been successful for me.  I know I was in the right place at the right time when I started blogging and that one thing contributed greatly to my success, but hard work has sustained me.  God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams.

Everyone has to look at this for themselves and decide how hard they want to work and what level they want to achieve in blogging.  I’m not trying to burst anyone’s bubble, but these are the facts as I see them.  Work hard, do your best and I do think some level of success will come.  I am part of many groups in blogging and I’ve heard many say that they are working very hard and not being rewarded nearly as much as they thought they would.  I’m not sure what to tell anyone on that, but to keep following your dream and work hard at making your blog the best it can be.

11. Not everyone will like you and your blog. 

It’s true. Not everyone will like you or your blog or how you blog or your home.  That’s just a part of life and we all have to find our core audience and realize that we are not going to appeal to everyone.  That’s true in all avenues of life. We are not going to connect with everyone out there.  I know I don’t completely appeal to a younger group of women and there are plenty in that age group who are blogging about home and fashion topics.  And I’ve had my share of snarky commenters and stalkers who just do not like me.  That’s part of putting yourself out on the internet.  Some will like you and some will not.  You have to develop a somewhat thick skin in blogging and realize that fact and then just get on with doing your thing.  The blogging world brings out the worst in some folks and people will sometimes post the ugliest comments behind their anonymous computer screens that they would never dream of saying to someone in person.  That’s another downside to blogging.  But, fortunately the positive and encouraging people far outnumber the grumblers out there and that makes it easy to ignore the nay-sayers.

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12. It’s the best job I’ve ever had. 

Amen!  This is the absolute truth.  I wouldn’t trade what I have now for anything I’ve done previously.  I did work hard for 30 years in the corporate world and hope I never have to go back to that again.  Being creative and sharing ideas online is still so rewarding and fun.  Meeting and collaborating with so many other creative people out there is also a blast.  I feel so incredibly blessed to be doing what I love to do and to get paid for it and make a living from my endeavors.  That’s the best feeling in the world and I do tell people that I have a dream job.  We have no idea if this will all last or not (and I say that every year), but I will continue to pursue my dreams in blogging as long as I possibly can.  It’s been such a fun journey and I look forward to the next 8 years.  Who knows what changes will be in store for us by then?!

The internet has opened so many doors for so many people and making a living online these days is not unusual.  From online shops, to bloggers, to writers, to technical people, the internet is wide open with opportunities.  I’m thrilled that I’m part of that and didn’t stop being willing to learn and grow.  That has helped me more than anything, to not accept age as a barrier, but to continue to work hard at what I do, being the best I can be.  Blogging has given me more confidence too than anything I’ve ever done.  Starting from scratch and growing nothing to something is the best feeling in the world. I wish all of you out there in blogland much success in blogging too, no matter how you define that success.

If you want to start at the beginning of my blog story, make yourself comfortable and start at the first, how this all got started from Part One through Part 7 (scroll to the bottom of that page and click Next page to start at Part One) and catch up to this post.  

Last year’s My Blog Story, Part 7 really broke down the financial side of blogging and how I make a living doing this.  Scroll to the bottom of the post for lots of good information about that part.  

Last year, 2014 was a wonderful blog year for me as well, with so many great opportunities and trips along the way.  Each year holds so much mystery and fun and it’s always exciting to see what’s around the next corner.

These are the highlights from my blogging year of 2014, from trips, to projects, to family time.

Tybee-beach-collage_thumb.jpgIn February, I headed to Tybee Island for a very fun blogger’s retreat and we had the best time, exploring that tiny island and enjoying the sunshine and beach cottages. 

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On February 17th, our baby girl, Parker, was born and it’s been one exciting year of watching her grow and change.  She has truly changed our family forever and we are so happy to have her.

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We also had a huge snow jam in Atlanta last February and that made for a few exciting days around here.  The conversations on Facebook were priceless and I thought another war was going break out between the North and South over that fiasco.

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In March, I headed to NYC for a brand event with Birch Lane and that was such a fun and exciting experience, from having dinner in a beautiful and elegant NYC loft, to seeing this new brand up close and personal, traveling to New York is always a fun time for this Southern girl.

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Also in March, the Spring edition of Better Homes and Gardens came out with MY kitchen featured in their Makeovers magazine.  Dream come true, people, dream come true!

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In April, I got to visited the famed Grove Park Inn for the first time for a Southern Living Plant collection event and that was a blast.

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Also in April, I visited the HGTV Smart house in Nashville with many of my blog friends.  Fun and inspiring, yes it certainly was!

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In May, we celebrated Mothers Day with my sweet mama and it was so fun to take a pic with the new baby that made her a great grandmother.  She is relishing that title.

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Also in May, the entire exterior of my house was painted and that was a big, big day for me.  Two years of waiting paid off and I finally got the exterior I had dreamed of.

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In June, I had the thrill of seeing my front yard come alive with the addition of plants from the Southern Living Plant collection.  It was a pinch me moment, for sure!  The before and after pics are amazing and I still can’t get over the changes.

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During the summer, my dad and I worked on the Billy bookshelf project and that was a wonderful thing to see happen as well.  One of those things I envisioned coming to life once again!

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In July, we celebrated my dad’s 87th birthday and I’m so grateful to still have both he and my mom with us.  They are my rocks!

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Also in July, the Haven team put together Haven 2014 and it was another huge success, for the 3rd year in a row.  We are in the planning stages now for this year’s Haven Conference 2015 and it is sure to be another banner year.  Another blessing that I get to be a part of!

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In July, I toured the Southern Living offices in Birmingham with a small group of bloggers and that was fun to see it all over again.

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In August, I went to Nashville for more blog stuff and got my first TV interview. You can see the recorded interview here if you want (it’s all about blogging). That was fun!

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Also in August, I spoke at the Becoming Conference in Asheville (with Jen and Kari), another highlight for me last year.

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In September, I flew back to NYC for a style event with Better Homes and Gardens, along with about 75 other bloggers who were invited.  That was such a highlight of the year!

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In October, I was asked to speak on stage at the Country Living Fair, so I shared my ideas on decorating with thrifty items and shopping at yardsales.  That was a blast too!

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In October, I headed to St. Simons Island, GA for a media trip and what a blast that was.  I’m still in awe of all the things I’m asked to participate in and am so grateful for each one.

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In November, I headed back to Asheville with my niece, Lauren, and had the pleasure to be invited to be a judge at the Grove Park Inn’s national Gingerbread house contest.  Another dream come true and such a fun event!

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I did a whole recap post of my house after being in it for 2 years and all the changes we have made, in Before and After photos of each room, including the exterior.  Quite the post of my house journey!

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I got to tour the Atlanta Home for the Holidays show house again last year during Christmas and that was so fun to do as well.  I love getting to tour so many beautiful homes. 

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In December, I went back to Nashville to tour 4 beautiful decked out homes in the Holiday Parade of Homes. 

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And in December, I participated in 2 Christmas Home tours (Part 1 and Part 2) for the season and that wrapped up 2014.  It was a great year and I feel so blessed when I look back and see all I’ve been able to experience last year.  Each year holds many blessings.

I hope this was a post that you could learn from and enjoy reading.  It is always my hope and desire that I share good things with folks that read my blog and my blog story is part of that too.  I have learned more than I ever dreamed I could learn on this blog journey and it’s been amazing.

Thank you all for hanging out with me these last 8 years (some of you have been with me that long!) and here’s to 8 more years!  I can’t wait to see what this new year of 2015 holds.  


- Rhoda

Comments

  1. Beth in the City says:

    I’ve been reading you for years and enjoy your blog so much. I have no idea how or when I found you but your ability to be real and positive and share your life and family appeals to me so much. I love the south but live in the north, so I enjoy that as well. Blessings to you, and I’m thankful for your success in this arena.

  2. Wonderful blessings you’ve both received and bestowed, Rhoda! Happy blogiversary, and here’s to many more!
    Rita

  3. Donna Whisnant says:

    Happy Blog Anniversary!!! Thank you for sharing with us. I have gotten so many ideas from you and look so forward to every post via email or facebook. You do great work and you do it so well. Thank You!

  4. Rhoda,

    Congrats on 8 years! I’ve been here most of those years. 🙂 Here’s to many more years and great opportunities for you–you deserve it!

    gail
    ps looking forward to another great conference Haven 2015!

  5. I always love reading your blog recaps! And man, you’ve been a busy girl this year! Here’s to a fantastic 9th year of blogging (picture me holding up my glass of wine to you 🙂

  6. As I’ve said before, yours was the first blog I had ever come across! I was looking for laundry room deas on Google, and found a picture of your cute green laundry room at your old house. That was the summer of 2009, I’ve been hooked ever since! Congratulations on all you have accomplished in your 8 years…such a great success story. Through it all, I agree, you have kept your voice and your “real” – which makes your blog such a treasure. My little blog is just that…little. I am ok with that, it works for me! I have tinkered it at for a few years, and I think I’ve improved from where I started. I always aim to make it better and that is a mission for 2015. It is great to have blogging role models such as yourself..even though I am happy being little, it is still nice to try to improve and glean inspiration from your blog. Best wishes on many more successful years of blogging! It will be fun to see where your journey goes. Jane

  7. I am not sure how long I have been reading your blog but it has been on my blog roll for at least six years. I am glad you have been able to make a living with your blog but I guess I wax nostalgic for the early days of blogging when it was just different people sharing their lives with no real agenda. It just seemed more intimate then. I still read your blog every day but I do not comment as much as I used to because I know you have so many commenters now and I do not feel as necessary as I did in the old days. My favorite posts of yours are the ones about your family…your daddy and mama are so precious. And that baby Parker is so sweet! I hope you keep blogging for years to come.

    • Arlene, I hear you, I do miss the good ole’ days of blogging too. But, it was inevitable that it would change and it’s been good changes, so I can’t complain. I try to do my best to still keep it real and not have the sponsored things take over, but they are a part of blogging too. Believe me, I still love getting comments, so I hope you all know that too!

  8. Congrats, Rhoda! I loved reading this!!! I mean, I’m a rookie with 2 years under my belt and I feel like things are changing faster than I can keep up with them! I can only imagine what the landscape has been like with 8 years under your belt! Quite an accomplishment!! xx

  9. Rhoda, your blog was one of the first ones I found, and I have been hooked ever since. It is your authenticity that has always drawn me to you. You are the REAL DEAL, and I feel so fortunate to have met you in person several times. May God continue to bless you and your family abundantly!

  10. Congratulations Rhoda. I enjoy reading your blog. The story of your journey is very inspiring. Your blog was the first one I found about 3 years ago when I suddenly had more time on my hands after the company I worked for closed. Although I read other blogs, yours is the one I read regularly. I am new at this and your blogging tips are so helpful. Thanks!

  11. Your blog was my very first blog 3 years ago! What drew me into your blog was that you were real and were upfront about life’s struggles. You actually showed me that one could decorate their home on very little money. The blogs that look like they shopped at the standard retail stores just don’t do it for me. I like the yard sale finds, the diy projects. To me anyone can go into a retail store and throw money at something and it look good, but it takes someone like you who gets your decorations from all different places and it looks stunning! Here’s to 8 more years!!!

  12. Thank you for sharing, Rhoda. You have been such an inspiration for me. I look forward to following you for many years to come! ~Julie

  13. Hi Rhoda, I’ve enjoyed this post! I always enjoy reading your blog, although I didn’t really discover it until I found out you would be the keynote speaker at the Southern Bloggers Conference in Raleigh, NC, a few years ago. I met you there in person, but my blog was so small then, Kari and Shirley @ Houspitality Designs were the only people there who had even seen my blog. 🙂 My blog has grown a little since then, but it’s still very small. I worked so hard on the blog last year, and I did see an increase in my page views for sure, but I definitely haven’t mastered the art of social media.

    I have REALLY enjoyed seeing the transformation of your house — love reading about every project you’ve done and looking at the different rooms in the house. I also enjoy your family posts; it’s great that you’re such a close, close family in this day and age. Congrats on your successes and I look forward to reading your blog in the future!

    Denise
    House at Forest Manor blog

  14. Sally Petermann says:

    Yours is one of the first blogs I started reading many years ago. And I have to say you are still one of my favorites. Thank you for staying true to yourself . You are a great inspiration and you have helped me stay positive and encouraged in my own life. Please keep up the great work Rhoda.

    God bless you, Rhoda!
    Sally

  15. Congratulations on 8 successful and inspirational years as a blogger! You are a cornerstone of the “DIY” blogging niche and your leadership, talent, integrity and drive is truly admirable. Thank you for doing what you do and sharing so much!
    XO,
    Amy

  16. Hi Rhoda and what a post! I still remember so many years ago finding your blog and just loved it! It will be seven years for me this summer. I’m so proud of you and all you have achieved and thank you for taking us along on your journey. I love your decorating posts and am so proud for your that you’ve gotten to be involved in so many wonderful things and how you’ve inspired so many of us! I had to giggle when I read not everyone will like your blog or you. I had someone email me once and told me I was just too happy and wasn’t real enough! Okay! 🙂 Anyway, blessings to you in this new year and I’m glad to know you in blogland.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia 😉

  17. Your blog is #1 on my favorites list. I’ve been following you for years. You are a real inspiration for me even though I could never accomplish what you have. Congratulations on 8 years!

  18. Rhoda, I have been a daily reader for about 6 of your 8 years and have loved following your journey. However, I have a question….. I do not have a blog, have no interest in writing a blog, nor have any real ideas how people make money from them…. Can you do a post someday that would explain to someone like me, since I would love to help my favorite bloggers, but don’t really know how it all works. Does just reading help you? Or do you have to buy things from your blog?

    • Hi, Patti, if you look at Part 7 of my blog story, I talked a lot in detail about the different ways I make money. Advertising networks are a big part of that and just coming and clicking on my blog every day is a big way to support my blog. Every time you visit my blog, it counts with the ad networks I have running, so just being a faithful reader is a BIG help to me. You don’t have to buy anything, but if you see an ad that catches your eye, click it and check it out. Other than that, thank you for reading faithfully! That’s a huge reason why I’m still going after 8 years, faithful readers like you.

  19. Congratulations on 8 wonderful years of blogging. I don’t know how I found your blog years ago but I am so glad that I did. You have been given a wonderful platform and you use it so well. You are a wonderful example for all of the younger bloggers. Keep up the good work!

  20. I remember so well, when you began Rhoda…and before. It wasn’t long until I decided to give blogging a try. I can’t believe it has been 8 years! I know, personally, how much of a lifeline blogging can be. It continues to help me through life’s ups and downs.

    Congratulations on 8 years. Thank you for your encouragement over these years!

  21. Congratulations Rhoda on your anniversary. It has been great watching your journey and being inspired by your success. The words you shared in this post are great and will be beneficial to so many bloggers.
    Continued success and happiness.
    Shelly

  22. I started following a year or two ago, and I am slightly younger than your core group of followers 🙂 Although our styles are somewhat different, I love your attitude on tackling projects and that inspires me to be confident in my own diys. I love that you are a strong, independent woman who has been challenged, and has overcome and accomplished so much. You are also authentic and honest – all things I appreciate!! Congrats on your success.

    • Judy Clark says:

      Rho,

      It goes without saying how proud I am of you. We have known each other for almost thirty years. We have worked together in the corporate setting for two separate companies. Blogging and sharing your love of family home is what you do best.

      You came from a very dark place a few years ago. God has truly blessed you, and now you share that blessing with all of us.

      Love you friend. I cannot wait to see what 2015 brings.
      Judy

  23. Rhoda, I love your blog. I’m one of the ‘seniors.’ Your style is a little different from mine, but so what! I LOVE reading about (and looking at pictures of) what comes out of your creative soul! Keep up the great work!!

  24. Congrats! I am new to your blog and loving it. I have really enjoyed combing through all your past posts. You are now at the top of my “blog favorites” list. 🙂

  25. Sandra mosolgo says:

    Love your blog, even though I have a plainer decorating style.really appreciate your honesty and ability to be real. Your attention to gardening is also a real plus. As my parents and in-laws are deceased, I enjoy your special family time w your parents. Keep going!

  26. Happy Anniversary!!! I’ve been following along for quite a few years and always enjoy your posts and sharing your world. Keep it up.

  27. Rhonda Key says:

    I feel like we are personal friends. I’ve been following your blog for years and we have so much in common. I have one sister also and we are very close. We still have our parents and I enjoy your blogs about your mom and dad. We live in south Arkansas and have a garden every year. We are also very involved in our church. My sister, mother, and I love to shop. I love to have a project going all the time. I love to paint furniture, walls, or whatever and work in the yard. Keep on doing what you are doing and congratulations on 8 years of blogging!

  28. Rhoda, I came to your blog at least 4 years ago, and just like the honest content so much. Even though I am not a big commenter, I DO love reading every time you post!

  29. Congratulations on 8 years! I found your blog shortly after you started in the spring of 2007. I love your fresh ideas & the way you’ve opened your heart to us! You’ve been down quite a journey! What treasured memories with your parents on your new home! Best wishes in 2015!

  30. Lady Delores LeBoeuf says:

    AWESOME

  31. Thanks for this post. I am a new blogger, and I constantly walk the line between being totally overwhelmed with all there is to learn and ecstatic that I am spending my days doing what I love. Your insight is so helpful, I especially love your comment about your head exploding! I feel that sometimes. You pointed out some things I know I need to work on- the tech stuff especially. It is easy to get discouraged when I read all the great blogs out there, but you reminded me that ” we are all on our own journey.”

    Wishing you many more years, and I look forward to reading more!

  32. Becky in 'Bama says:

    Rhoda your blog is my daily go-to when I’m drinking that first cup of coffee at my desk. Five minutes scanning your site gets my day off on the right foot. Happy 2015. God bless you. You are a true Proverbs 31 woman.

  33. Segreto Secrets says:

    Cheers to you and your continued blogging success! Congratulations on your blogging anniversary – 8 years is quite the accomplishment!
    xo. Leslie
    Segreto Finishes

  34. Amazing adventures Rhoda, you have had and wishing you many more blessings. Truly you are an inspiration and I appreciate you. Thank you for sharing your story and your advise. I appreciate it very much.

  35. Congratulations on 8 wonderful years of blogging! I followed your decorating advice way back in the days of the help forums on BHG. Eventually that disappeared, and a gap of some time ensued. I don’t remember what made me go looking online, but I googled something and up came your blog! I felt as though I’d found a long-lost friend, and you’ve been in my readers ever since! Please keep doing what you’re doing; your story is an inspiration to many. Best wishes, Tina

  36. Rhoda, I vividly remember finding your blog for the first time. I am a teacher, and during spring break in 2007 I was home alone without my children for a day or longer, and I was on a mission to go online and look up information to book a family cruise for the summer. Somehow, I found your blog and Nester’s. I was hooked. Those blogs were so very entertaining to me at the time, and I was thrilled to have discovered this new thing called a blog. I still enjoy the oldies but goodies. I feel blessed that God directed me to that genre of blog, rather than something of less quality. Reading blogs is very fun and helpful to me. Some folks love tv or movies or read books. I tell people I would rather read blogs. Yours is probably my favorite, and I have used your tips, recipes, and more, countless times. Oh, I suggested something you liked, the James Macdonald series Lord Change my Attitude ,for a Sunday school series. It went over very well. I appreciate you, and I am thankful for your positive influence on me and I am happy for your success. I got to meet you at Becoming last fall, and enjoyed your presentation there. Bless you and your beautiful family.

    • Hi, Melanie, thanks for sharing that! I love hearing how people found my blog and how long they’ve been reading. I love that you’ve been with me almost from the beginning. Thank you!

  37. Hello Rhoda
    I wanted to pop back in and say, I really enjoy reading different facets of your blog. I also appreciate all of the tips about blogging and how you have come to do it full time. I am not a full timer, but you visited my fashion blog, ( as I am in the fashion over 40 category) and told me you have enjoyed posting in this category recently. I love styling outfits, so I enjoy seeing this part of your blog as well. I found your info on blogging and how it has changed over the years,, very interesting reading, as the social media aspect can be very time consuming, but crucial as well. Would love it if you get a chance to stop on by. I am another Southerner!
    jess xx
    http://www.elegantlydressedandstylish.com

  38. Rhoda, I’m one of your newer followers. I was searching for how to improve basement stairs & found your great tutorial. Your blog is my favorite. Your photos, subject content & fresh ideas keep my interest & I especially enjoy reading about your parents, baby Parker & other family members. Family is important to this baby boomer, too. I’ll be 66 next month but I enjoy dressing fashionably & enjoy your fashion series. Thanks for all your hard work in putting together a great blog. God bless you & your family. I wish you many more years of blogging.

  39. Carolyn Ericson says:

    I have been a reader of your Blog for probably 6 years or so. Right around the time you were going through a life changing event, whenever that was. Besides your obvious talents and creativity, I am so inspired by your, seemingly, untiring energy. I love that you and your Dad are able to work together on some of your projects, even though you may disagree at times, that is your individual creativity coming to the forefront. More importantly, the memories you are making will sustain at times in the future.
    You have made fabulous improvements in your new Home and you were so kind to share the how to with us. You should be so pleased and proud of what you have built for yourself over the past 8 years. I am 71 years old and though I don’t do many projects anymore, I still get much pleasure following your adventures and you do inspire me. Thank You Rhoda for one of my favorite Blogs. Keep up the good job as long as it still excites you. Sincerely, Carolyn Ericson, Charlotte, NC

  40. Patty Lucas says:

    I went back and listened to your interview and you are absolutely correct. After reading your blog for so many years I truly feel like I know you and your family. I love reading about the improvements you make and the recipes you share. You are truly down to earth and you don’t speak down to us. I still would like to borrow your parents but I guess that is out of the question. I will enjoy reading about them. Here’s to many, many, many more years.

  41. Mary in Idaho says:

    So happy for you. It’s exciting to watch some one be rewarded for their hard work. Our decorating style isn’t really the same, but I love learning so many interesting & creative things from your blog. Even when I’m in a hurry I open your blog in the hope it helps your numbers. If I’m wrong don’t correct me! I like feeling I help my favorite bloggers.!!! I enjoy reading your blog story/journey every January. Even though I’m a western girl, I find it interesting that most of my favorite decorating bloggers are in the southern states. You gals really get it right. I’m sorry for any mean spirited comments you receive, but proud of the strength of character you show in dealing with them. Lord bless you, your blog and your sweet family.

  42. …what a wonderfully generous post…but then…that is what hospitality is all about…and you do it so well rhoda…both from your home…and your heart…blessings laney

  43. What a year full of blessings you’ve had, Rhoda! And such wonderful advice and observations on the blogging world. Hope to see you soon ~
    xo Heidi

  44. Hi Rhoda… Congrats on 8 years blogging. I don’t know how I first discovered you in 2009, perhaps via a link, I think. Blogs were relatively new and fewer back then. I discovered you when I quit my job to stay home to raise my baby.
    I feel nostalgia toward you because I would read your posts during the middle of the night feedings.

    I am currently 44, live in Colorado, have NO social media accounts, rarely go on Pinterest, and view your blog SOLELY on my iPhone screen. I rarely do any DIY projects, but love being creative at home. I love the south and the emphasis on hospitality and friendliness.

    I appreciate you and your blog so much. You have given Me loads of inspiration. I’m so glad you’ve been reaping the rewards of all the good seeds you’ve sown. You deserve every blessing and good thing that comes your way.
    I must admit–due to feeling overwhelmed by my email inbox back- log, I unsubscribed from about 70% of blog subscriptions, but missed you so much those few months… I re-subscribed!!! I had to go back and review all the posts I missed, ha! I had to make sure you were okay, along with your parents and had to see how that darling baby Parker was doing! Keep up the good work and disregard those snarky commenters! You are a treasure and so many gals are blessed by your authenticity, hard work and devotion to the blog.

  45. Thanks for being you! Whenever there is an event you attend, I know I can always count on you to make me feel as if I were there, too. You are very generous with information! And age is not a factor. You are genuine and I would love to be friends with you, so instead, I make sure I keep up with what you are doing here on the blog!

  46. Rhoda – yours was one of the first blogs for me to find and enjoy! You have always seemed so down to earth and I love your decorating style. Happy 8 years blogging and I look forward to visiting your blog for many more years!

  47. Barbara Redwine says:

    Happy blogiversay Rhoda! I’m one of your “senior” followers and I enjoy your blog so much as well as the pics and stories of your family. You have done an incredible job of keeping your blog fresh and interesting. I love your decorating style, I could sure use your help on my living room! As an aside, I just realized this morning as I was clicking around on your blog looking at pictures that Lauren appears to favor you more than your sister. You all have good genes as your mom is a very lovely lady. Keep up the good work!

  48. Rhoda, congrats on all of your success!

  49. I just have to disagree with one thing you said. I’m 35. I’ve been following you since the very beginning, 8 years ago when I was 27. I honestly find your blog to be timeless and full of true southern hospitality. I think you have lots of younger viewers than you know. 🙂

  50. You’re such an inspiration, Rhoda! This big blogosphere really is huge, but it’s bloggers like you who are lighthouses for those of us who are trying to stay on the right course. Thank you for sharing your journey, and happy anniversary! 🙂

  51. Rhoda you are a blessing. I have been a fan for 2 hours. I found you through a Pinterest pin that sent me to Indulgy, that sent me to Southern Hospitality! I have been blogging for 1 day and boy am I glad I found you. Congratulations on your 8 years! If the least can become the first like you have done, then I have hope. You had me at Southern. I am a Carolina (North and South) transplant living on the Central Coast of California. Your pictures of your yard made me homesick. I will be back again and again, I’ve got 8 years of catching up to do!

  52. Rhoda
    You were the first blogger in home dec that I found on the Internet. You inspired me to start my own blog which I absolutely love doing. It is my hobby and I have made so many friends thanks to your inspiration. I love your honest encouragement, to those considering blogging and your advice allowed me to set reasonable expectations. I never planned to make money and I probably never will, but I have a rewarding, stress free hobby that keeps me looking for fresh ideas and introduces me to friends I would not otherwise have met. Many Thanks!

    • Thank you, Eva! You are always such a sweet supporter and I appreciate that. Enjoy your blog and journey too, it truly is so much fun!

  53. Rhoda, thanks so much for sharing your 8th blogoversary story! I’m just starting out with my blog and am trying to absorb as much information and inspiration as I can. I especially appreciate your advise to be true to oneself and to focus on your own journey. I can also appreciate your comment about the age thing, since I have also passed the half-century mark…

    Thanks again!

  54. Hello Rhoda. I came across your blog from a link on the Home Goods site. What a treat to meet you. I am absolutely inspired by all the work you put into making the fixer-upper into a home. What creativity! I appreciate your ‘starting over’ story as I am on a similar (slightly scary, yet exciting) path. I especially adore the painting of the ceiling and the overall vision for transformation. What does a less creatively inclined person do, I wonder? For now I just want to say that going through your blog has lifted my spirits and lit a lamp down the road that I can focus on. Thanks for sharing your journey. It has made a difference for me. Happy New Year (2016)!

    • Hi, Nini, oh what a great note to read! Thank you so much, I’m so glad you found me and got inspired by my story. I feel so blessed to be where I am now, 5 years later. It’s been such a grace filled journey and I’m glad it touched you too. Blessings to you as you start over on your new chapter too.

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