10 Years of Blogging

I never imagined that I’d be blogging for 10 years. But then again, I had no idea where it was headed when I started this blog back then early in 2007.  None of us did.  It’s been the most amazing journey I could ever have dreamed and I’m still so very grateful for the path that brought me here.  I’ve been thinking back on the last 10 years looking at my life in the rear view mirror.  It’s good to do that sometimes.  We can see things so much more clearly doing that, I think.  Life has much more clarity to me now that it did 10 years ago as far as what’s important, where I want to go in life and how I want to live my life.  Going through some trials will do that to you and with age, comes more wisdom.

So, today I want to share what I’ve learned about life and blogging in these last 10 years.  Since these 10 years have involved blogging and my life, it’s all intertwined and I can’t really talk about one without the other.  If you are really a glutton for reading and want to know my whole 10 year blogging journey, go here to get started. I’ve written posts starting with year one up til now to document my blogging life in detail.  Scroll back one page to start at the beginning.


I was living in Birmingham when I started this blog and many  people then didn’t really know that my roots are in Georgia, so when 4 years into blogging, the life that started this blog fell apart in a pretty devastating divorce, I went back home to the safety and comfort of my family.  That was when my blog was completely jumpstarted (2011) and I was in a position to move forward and grow my blog into the business it is today. I had nothing to lose by trying it at that point and it just happened to be the right timing in blog world when things were really taking off with ad networks and working with brands.  It was the perfect time to blog as a business with the opportunity to make money.  We grew into becoming influencers by sharing our lives online and those two things went hand in hand with bloggers.


Blogging sure has changed in 10 years time.

It looks nothing like it did when we all started back then.  It truly is like dog years.  Every year of blogging is like 7 years and the changes plus knowledge gained over that length of time is tremendous and mind-boggling.  I had no idea what I didn’t know back then and thank goodness for on the job training.  My brain couldn’t have handled all the things that are out there now regarding how to start a blog, how to sustain a blog and grow a blog into a business.  Those that are starting a blog now have much more to contemplate on how to blog the right way.  All bloggers are on their own path and there really isn’t a handbook that shows you just how to do it, although there are plenty of courses out there now.  I blog my way and everyone else who blogs has to figure out their own journey.

Now, you have to know SO much more it seems just to launch a blog and try to do it the “right” way and the “brand” way.  Everyone is into branding themselves right off the bat.  We knew nothing about branding back then, but let our brands evolve with time and I guess that was a pretty good thing for me. We were just being ourselves, having fun, and sharing online.  Little did we know where that would lead all these years later.  We were blazing the trail to where blogging is today, but we really had no earthly idea where it would lead.

Some days I feel like a complete dinosaur in blogging and that things are changing at such a rapid pace that I can’t possibly keep up.  But, I still love blogging for the pure sharing and creativity that it brings and I so enjoy the audience I have cultivated here, so I continue to blog. I just have to do it my own way.


Bloggers are Writers, Editors, Photographers, Social Media experts.

Those are the many hats that a blogger wears these days.  Gone are the blissful days of just blogging for fun and doing what we want to do, although I’m sure there are many bloggers out there that still just do it for fun.  But now, there are millions of new blogs out there and many are trying to make it a business.  I still run my blog pretty much the way I always have and ignore the rules, but the rules are out there for sure.  There are so many “experts” these days on all things blogging and I take it all with a grain of salt.  There are countless ebooks and courses on how to blog and how to set up a blog and maintain a blog technically.

There are courses and books for every topic you can imagine with blogging, from How to start a Blog, to learning SEO, to affiliate marketing, email marketing.  You name it about blogging and someone has written about it. You can literally learn it all from a course or book, but everyone has different opinions on how to do it the right way.  So much to know and learn when you are a blogger!  Not to mention it constantly changes.  What was learned 5 years ago is not at all current now.  It changes every single year in how things are done or what is a best practice in blogging.  Everyone has to figure out their own path in blogging and I’ve found mine just by doing it.  I follow the beat of my own drum and like it that way.  Even thought there are necessary things to do in blogging to grow and maintain a blog, I am still very old school in the way I approach my blog. Might not be the best way to do it or the professional way to do it, but it’s what works for me and what I’m comfortable with. With every new thing that comes along, there is a learning curve on implementing those things for a blog. I love to learn, but sometimes it’s a challenge to get my brain in gear on the technical side of things, so I do what I can and hire an expert when I need one. I don’t try to learn it all.

I’m getting older and at 60, I don’t get too hung up on doing it all the right way in social media.  I do what I want to do and leave the rest. Early on, social media barely even existed.  Now it’s a hamster wheel of “doing” and “performing” that you can’t get off of if you’re a blogger.  More on that in a minute.  Back when I first started we all had so much to learn about photography and writing.  I still am not an expert on any of that.  I write the way I talk, conversationally and you all still seem to like that I just talk to you like friends.  That’s what has worked for me, so I’m not about to change it 10 years in.  I’m still not an expert with my camera either, but I do the best I can with what I’ve got.  Gone are the days of putting out crappy pictures and getting noticed out there.  Everyone has to be a stylist and photographer and learn how to take decent pics.  The competition is fierce to be noticed and recognized and someone is always going to do it better.  The talent in blogging is never ending, always growing, and truly amazing!  At times, I fear I will be left behind, but I just have to keep plugging along and doing this thing my own way.  Blogs have practically taken the place of magazines, so there is a lot of competition to get loyal readers and keep people coming back to your blog day after day.  The conversations in blogland are ongoing in regards to getting readers and keeping pageviews up.  How do you keep a blog popular and always fresh?  It’s not an easy task, that’s for sure!  Blogs are getting to be more and more professional.  Shiny publications with perfectly staged rooms and pictures.  Big sigh…at times it’s totally exhausting to keep up with.



It’s Easy to Feel Insignificant in Blogging.

Yep, that is one I have struggled with along the way.  I’m a fairly confident woman, but blogging definitely will humble you and make you feel less than if you let it.  I think all bloggers struggle with this to some degree.  As I mentioned above, there are always going to be a whole slew of bloggers who do it ALL way better than I could ever dream of, from decorating a beautiful house, to photography, writing, styling, perfecting a beautiful blog, all of that.  And if you let it, it can get to you and make you feel insignificant.  Not to mention that most bloggers out there in my niche are WAY younger than I am.  If I look around the blogosphere at the young and beautiful, it can be very depressing.  I wish I could say that I rise above those feelings all the time, but they are real and I just have to keep pushing them away and know that I have my own talents to share and that you all come here for a reason. Y’all like that I’m an older blogger because most of you are too! I have an audience of my peers and I’m grateful for all of you who come by here day after day and spend time with me.

I know that I can represent the Baby Boomer generation well, since I’m quite a bit older than the average blogger out there.  My age was earned, every year of it with wisdom and growth, so for that I’m grateful.  I’m wiser now than I was 10 years ago.  I’m more comfortable in my own skin and hopefully that shows too.  There will always be feelings of competition in blogging to some extent, but I still treasure the community as a whole and know that we are all better because of each other’s success.  I’m very honored to have been one of the pioneers in this niche group and that makes me very proud as well, to be one of the bloggers to blaze the trail for all the bloggers who have come after us.  We had no guidebook to follow back then.  Now there are countless guidebooks out there that anyone can buy and study on how to blog.  I’ve never done any of the “how to blog better” courses and can’t see me doing that now. Doing it my way has worked for me and I’m going to continue on my own path. I’ve always tried to be a blogger who helps other bloggers along the way and I think that has been to my benefit.  People appreciate an approachable person on a blog.


Social Media will take over your life if you let it.

This is one of my pet peeves and has been for awhile.  As noted above, I do march to my own drum though and don’t do everything I’m “supposed” to do to get ahead and grow my blog.  I don’t hire Virtual Assistants, although maybe I should.  I still want to be in control of my content and my blog and want my voice to be there all along the way, so I don’t use contributors on my blog either.  I figure you all come by here to hear from ME and not a stand in, so I just keep it real with me being the writer. So many of my friends have assistants and it’s great for them, it’s just not what I want at this time of life.  I don’t strive for my blog to grow so big I have to hire contributors and VA’s and pay others to do it for me.  That’s completely the norm in blogging now and I get it, it’s just not for me.  I know many bloggers hire photographers to take pictures for them, but I do all of that myself too.

So I continue to do my own thing and run my blog as a one-woman show.  That works for me.  I’ll never conquer social media and all the facets of it, but that’s OK with me. I do what I can and let the rest fall by the wayside.  I don’t want to just be someone who has a phone glued to her face all the time, I want to live life and enjoy it to the fullest and that means not being plugged in 24/7.  It’s bad enough as it is and all of it can take over your life if you let it! Think about it.  Ten years ago Social Media was a small blip in our lives and was just getting started. Now it’s taken over the world!  It can be a really good tool for bloggers, but also a double edge sword and a complete time waster.  Keeping up with Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, Google+ and Pinterest will completely take the fun out of it if we are not careful.  I get completely worn out when I spend too much time on them. Those are never-ending social media sites that want to be fed continuously and doing that can be so tiring and give you the feeling that it’s never enough.  I feed social media as much as I can, but don’t obsess over it nor do I constantly analyze things that I’m doing.  That’s where I draw the line and back off from the “right” way to do things.  I don’t want to spend my time analyzing and being strategic about everything I do online.  Because the truth is, there is never enough time in the day to do it all!  Blogging means you are never caught up with anything and that is the truth.  It’s a never ending cycle of do, do, and more do!


People Think Blogging is Easy.

Have you heard that one before?  Oh yeah, that is the perception out there.  Blogging is an easy job!  Well, I’m here to tell you, it’s the best job I’ve ever had that’s for sure.  But it has its up and downs, just like any job you could have as a self-employed person.  It’s scary sometimes with me being the only bread winner, to think that this is my full-time job, but it’s been earning for me for 6 years now, so I’m not about to quit!  I have had some of the most amazing opportunities come my way, have met some incredible friends through blogging, and gotten to do things I would never have dreamed in a million years! It has been the most joy filled job and journey that I could ever imagine, so now I don’t ever want to do anything different, until I retire that is.  And I’m not planning to do that anytime soon.  This job can go with me all the way into my Golden years, so that’s what I see for the future. Of course, none of us who blog know what the future holds, but it doesn’t seem to be going away in spite of those rumors that have been around for years, that blogging is dead.  As long as it’s sustainable and still growing and evolving, I’ll keep on blogging!  It’s been so much fun to share my home, family, and life with all of you and I’m forever grateful that you all somehow find that interesting.  That in itself boggles my mind sometimes!  I’m really an ordinary woman with limited talents (see Insignificant paragraph above!) and to still have an audience out there 10 years later is really humbling and makes me so thankful!

Keeping up with it all is the hard part.  We work with brands and have to make sure we make them happy and fulfill obligations that we’ve agreed to. That’s part of blogging now and most everyone gets that.  But, it is work and it does take a lot of time and effort to churn out content day after day, week after week, year after year.  It’s exhausting sometimes to keep coming up with new ideas to share on the blog.  So far, I haven’t completely run out of ideas and inspiration so I keep plugging along, but it’s not as easy as it may look to those outside of blogging. Anyone who is doing this full-time knows just what I’m talking about!  There are those who plan and strategize their blog goals, who have things detailed and figured out for their blogs.  I’m a blogger who really flies by the seat of her pants and just shares what is going on in my life.  I don’t have a complete “editorial calendar” which is a big buzzword in blogging.  Many bloggers plot out seasons and how they are going to write posts and have things way more structured than I do.  I’m probably missing out by not being more strategic, but it’s nice to just share what I want when I want to. Blogging has always been fun for me and I don’t want to take the fun out of it by making it so much work.


Haters Gonna Hate

I don’t talk about this side of blogging very much, because it really is not fun to dwell on, but there are haters out there. Not everyone loves my decorating style, I get that. There are so many blog styles out there for anyone to choose to follow and be inspired and I get that I’m not everyone’s cup of tea. We can’t please everyone, but there are people who love to criticize bloggers and tear them down. I’ll never understand why people don’t just choose NOT to read a blog if they don’t like it. After all, there are millions of blogs out there now.  I guess they think it’s fun to talk about and make assumptions about someone’s personal life and blog, to speculate and make things up about people they don’t know at all, but no one knows my journey and the path I’ve had to walk but me and my close friends and family.  Criticism is going to happen if you put yourself out there and the world wide web is a big one.  After 10 years of blogging, I know this comes with the territory and my skin is thicker than ever.  The trolls are real and mean-spirited, but the way I look at it is this.  Haters are such a small percentage of people out there (thank goodness!) and the positive, uplifting, supportive readers like all of you and people who take the time to get to know me far outweigh any nasty and mean comments.  They don’t affect my personal life at all and I refuse to lose my joy over haters!  Thank goodness I don’t have to deal with that on my blog. I always use the delete button in those cases!


Blogging and Money

This is a long and rambling topic, so hang on……

This is a topic that has been brewing on my heart for awhile and I figured this was as good a time and place to talk about it as any.  Back when I started blogging, no one was making money or at least no one I knew was making money.  I joined an ad network after blogging for a year and made part time income those first 4 years, but it was very minimal.  Now money seems to be the #1 motivator in blogging and it’s grown voraciously over the last 2 to 3 years.  I don’t want to come across as negative and judgmental, it’s just something I’ve been observing for awhile now.  Each year this seems to be getting more pervasive in the blog world.  Consumerism is taking over and I fear that it’s making people do whatever they have to do to make more money.   That seems to be the climate of blogging now.  I work with brands and sponsors and have been doing that for years on my blog. That’s part of blogging and making it a business.   Most of my readers are very supportive of that concept and I appreciate it very much.  I have to decide who I work with and who I turn down and that’s something that I’ve taken seriously over the years.  I don’t take everything that comes along just to make a buck.  Believe me, I turn down plenty of things that I don’t feel would be a good fit for me and my blog.  I really try to protect my reputation and what I’m comfortable sharing with all of you.  Sure, we all want to make money, that’s a big part of this blog thing.  But I fear that consumerism and selling stuff has permeated blogworld to a large extent and now making money trumps everything.

It hasn’t always been this way, but it’s something that I’ve seen slowly creep into blogging and every year it seems to grow.  There are so many bloggers out there now trying to make this a business and I totally get that.  Everyone works hard for their money.  I’m right there with them.  I think it’s a wonderful thing that so many women (and men) now get to stay home and run their home businesses.  It’s been a God-send for me and the biggest blessing.  But, I just want to make sure I continue to blog authentically and not get caught up in the “more is more” mentality.  There are all different ways to make money online and selling things seems to be taking over in a big way.  I know that is the nature of this online world and it’s just getting to be more saturated with selling.  I’m part of it too to a much lesser extent and I share affiliate links when I can in my fashion posts especially and sharing products I use and things I love is part of that.  I’ve bought my share of products that other bloggers were promoting, so I totally get it. Really, I do!

It’s not that I think selling and sharing products is necessarily a bad thing, for me it’s a matter of being authentic.  I don’t want you, my readers, to feel like I’m always hawking products and links at you to buy, buy, buy. You are all savvy women and can buy what you want as often as you want. You don’t need me to tell you what all to buy (or anyone else telling you for that matter…you’re all smart women!).  I do share clothing and shoes that I buy and link them for you when I can, because many of you enjoy that, but it’s not excessive. If I depended on making a living off what I sell, I’d have to close my blog doors.  I do think the younger generation is used to this online world and that they come to expect that people are going to sell them something and they are probably fine with that. Maybe it doesn’t bother other people, but somehow I think it may.  Maybe it’s my age and the fact that I’m slowing down with buying more, I’m not sure, but it doesn’t always sit well with me.

I’d love to hear your opinion on this, what do readers really think about the direction of blogging and all the selling going on? 

Being online and looking at all the gorgeous homes and clothes that are out there can really create a feeling of trying to keep up and measure up to what’s beautiful and trendy.  Even 10 years ago, it wasn’t at all in your face like it is now.  That’s changed dramatically. It’s so easy to feel like our homes don’t measure up or even our closet doesn’t measure up to the picture perfect world we see on Pinterest and Instagram.  I know mine doesn’t measure up to a lot of what I see out there online. I see so many gorgeous homes every single day that I’ll never have.  Kitchen envy and luxury kitchens have become the status symbol of blogland. Let me remind us all that Pinterest and Instagram is not real life. It’s a facet of real life, but not at all a true picture of how most people really live.  Everyone has a budget to work with and seeing what everyone else is doing or what they have can create feelings of discontentment.  That’s no way to live and I want balance in my life.

The older I get the more I want to live a true and authentic life.  I’m sure some may be thinking who am I to say anything, because I have chosen to pursue this as a business and I do have ads and work with sponsors and even share affiliate links along the way.  But, we all have to take a look at what’s important in life and for me, it’s more about contentment.  It’s my family and friends that matter the most to me, I’ve been blessed with a wonderful family and friends.  I don’t want to look back and regret how I’ve used my influence on this blog. Really and truly, my goal is to be real.

Yes, I make money and need to make money, but I try my best to stay true to myself in how I use this blog. I don’t ever want it to be about only chasing the money.  I know others out there have similar feelings because I’ve read some other blogs who are talking about the same thing, so I know I’m not alone in my feelings.  Life is so short and I know as I’ve gotten older, I look at things differently, so that’s why I’m thinking about these things.  And I know if I’ve thought about it, many of you have as well.  My intention is not to judge or point fingers at anyone, it’s to spark thoughtful conversations.  Sometimes I just have to back away from all the constant in your face selling on social media and just get away from it all.  I don’t spend a lot of time on Instagram or Pinterest for that very reason.  It’s just too much at times. Overload on the pretty perfectly staged pics and the “buy this new thing“.  All I’m saying is let’s be wise in all we do in this blogworld.  Everyone has to set their own boundaries and figure things out in their own business and moderation in selling things is what I’ve determined for mine. Maybe not the best business decision I’ve made, but it’s what I’ve decided is best for me at this stage of life. Just because everyone else is doing something doesn’t mean I need to do it too.


This post was a thought provoking way for me to look back at my 10 years of blogging and comment on all the ways I’ve seen it change and evolve.  Some really good and some not so good.  It can feel like a rat race and difficult to maneuver and at times it can feel very competitive.  It made me stop and think about how this journey has been and where it might be going.  I hope this post was enjoyable to you and I certainly don’t want to come off as a know it all or like I have it all together.  I certainly do not. I just have to look back at 10 years and see where I’ve been to look ahead and figure out where I’m going.  I still love what I do and that I am blessed to do this as a job.  So so grateful for that, it’s truly been the best thing that’s happened to me job wise, being able to make a living with my blog.  I just want to do it well, with authenticity, integrity, and good will.  I wish every single blogger out there success and happiness in their own blog experience and I will continue my own journey with lots of pondering on how I can do it better with emphasis on always trying to stay true to myself.

This past year has been another wonderful year of blogging.  I went on several trips, but this post is getting so long that I’m not going to break it down like I did last year.  We had a new baby in the family last year, as little Iris joined our family.  Those are the things in life that make me the most happy and fulfilled.  I announced on my post last year that I had a new boyfriend and I’m happy to say we are doing great, looking forward to what this year brings.  My parents are still doing pretty well for their age, but I know that the future could change that at any time and I want to be there for them in whatever they may need. Working at home gives me so much more freedom than ever to be available for them.

I’m so very grateful and blessed for this life that the Lord has given me.  I still give him 100% of the glory for where I am in life now.  I’m forever thankful for His grace and mercy in my life and this blog is a gift to me that I don’t take for granted!

Thank you for being with me for as long as you have, it truly means the world to me. You come by here faithfully and encourage me along the way. Can I say it’s just crazy that many of you have been with me for the whole 10 years?! Thank you from the bottom of my Southern heart! 

One day, I may fade out into the bloggy sunset and I hope that I’m remembered fondly as one who just wanted to make a positive difference in this online world.

{all photos from Pixabay}

- Rhoda


  1. Wow Rhoda! Your readers are so supportive! I’m so glad they continue to let you know how much they appreciate your blog. Your story is very inspiring to anyone who has experienced loss and great disappointment. But…God has restored you and you give Him all the glory for your success! What a blessing! As your very long time friend who knew you back in the day, it has been a joy to see you come to this pinnacle in your profession while staying grounded and true to your values and your authentic self. That is what separates you from “the pack”. Keep on my friend! Sixty is only a number and we have lots of living, laughing and loving to do still. I’m thankful I’ve been along for the ride of your journey, a journey of a lifetime. May God bless you as you press on! Love you, Vic

  2. Hi Ronda,

    I just recently stumbled across your blog and actually it was this post that caught my attention. I’m new to blogging, and although I’ve wanted to get my blog up and running since 2012, I’ve just gotten it going this year. I can’t tell you how much this post resonated with me! You’ve addressed so many of the fears and issues I have about getting into blogging- sometimes I feel like I’m way behind when I’ve only just started. I’ve already felt the pressure to do what all the other blogs are doing to keep up, or find myself seeing a beautiful blog and thinking that mine can’t compare. Reading your post was just the shot of confidence that I needed to remember why I wanted to do this in the first place and to just relax and enjoy it.
    In reading the comments, its obvious you have many long-time and loyal readers and regardless of whether your style is my style, you now have a new one!

  3. I saw your picture on the Thistlewood Farms blog as a Haven Mentor today and decided to check out the blogs I’d never seen…I’m so glad I did! Wow, what a journey. I’m a very new blogger (like a month and a half) and loved reading this post. I am truly amazed at your 10 year mark – incredible. I hope I get to meet you in person at Haven. I love your authenticity, your great advice and your love of the Lord. I guess the most exciting part is we are sisters in Christ! Pretty Cool!

    • Hi, Cindy, thank you for stopping by and I’m so glad you are coming to Haven. I actually started Haven and am one of the team members who put it on every year, so you’ll definitely meet me. You’re going to enjoy it so much!

  4. Hi Rhoda:

    This is the first time I have ever commented on a blog. I just read yours for the first time today. First of all, I love that you are not embarrassed to express your faith in our Lord. That, above all, inspires me the most, and the love of your family and friends. You are just so real. Very encouraging for me, since I will be starting a blog on my new website, and I have absolutely no idea what I’m doing. I think I’ll follow your example, and just be myself and do the best that I can. I’ve always been a rebel, perhaps without a cause, but being down to earth and being honest most definitely has to count for something. Thank you for an absolutely wonderful article, I’ve already learned so much from it. I look forward to stopping by again and again for more updates and education. Whether you are aware of it or not, this article was quite educational for someone new to this entire blog world! May God Bless You and your family and keep up the awesome work!

    • HI, Peggy, thank you for stopping by! I’m so glad you got some inspiration from this post as that was my intent. My blogging journey has been the best thing that ever happened to me and I’m so grateful that I get to do this for a living. The Lord has blessed me so much! I wish you the best with your new site too, have fun with it.

  5. P.S. You do not look anywhere near the age of 60! I’m right behind you. ha ha.

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