Welcome to the second Blogger Focus session at B-A-R, everyone!
Today, I am very pleased to host Carol Graham at the B-A-R. The first set of questions are from me, the B-A-R tender and the ones following those are from the fellow B-A-R members. Thank you for doing this, my dear friend.
B-A-R Tender Asks:
Q: Your Name/ Name of your Blog/s:
Carol Graham. I blog at Never…Ever…Give Up Hope
Q: What do you blog about?
Lifestyle, Dogs, Inspiring Stories, Family
Q: Why did you start blogging?
My blog started as a way to promote my memoir and I quickly realized I had much more to offer. I love sharing emotional stories, including many about about dogs but also to encourage and inspire my readers to look a little deeper into themselves. As a result of blogging I have done numerous radio interviews which is now turning into a weekly broadcast on Saturday mornings. I will be sharing my own thoughts but also interviewing people who have motivating and inspiring stories. I believe we all need a bit more of that in our lives. I also travel as an inspirational speaker and share my story in a variety of venues. It is a story of perseverance, hope and faith by a woman who does not know how to quit.
Q: How often do you blog? Do you set aside time for blogging regularly?
As often as possible – at least once a week. Because of various other commitments, I blog when my calendar allows it. But I am constantly making notes and jotting down ideas.
Q: List one/more blogs that you enjoy reading:
There are so many blogs that I follow regularly. Many of them are in BAR and several in Women of Midlife. I have made some wonderful friends in the blogosphere. Diary of a Alzheimer’s Care Giver is one of MANY.
Q: List one/more bloggers who inspire you:
Karen Baking in a Tornado, Judy Yaron, Rena McDaniel, Laurel Regan, Debbie Doglady, Susan F, Janice Wald, Elly Stornebink, Diane Tolley, Inderpreet Kaur, Suzi T, Vidya Sury, Carol Cassara and Donna Tagliaferri.
Q: Is there a blogger whom you admire? If so, for what feature? Share a link to a post by her/him.
Yes, Rena McDaniel.She blogs from her heart http://www.thediaryofanalzheimerscaregiver.com/blog.html/
Q: Advice for new and upcoming bloggers:
There is so much advice out there. Do your research, ask for input, get critiques.
Q: Who do you count as your biggest supporters offline, who help you make blogging a pleasurable activity?
I have many supporters on and off line. Off line would be my friends and family. The people who comment on my posts bring me the most pleasure in blogging. I love the comments, especially when they respond to my response!
Q: Do you think Blogging communities( like B-A-R) have something valuable to offer the Blogging world? How so?Blogging world? How so?
Yes, it is form of support and friendship. It is a place to ask questions and get answers without feeling ignorant. It is an opportunity to gain followers.
B-A-R Members ask:
Q: Tell us a bit more about your memoir, Carol. Why do you think it is a story that needed to be told?
To answer your question, I will direct you to my post. It explains why it took me so long to write it but even longer to get started! http://batteredhope.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-miniature-dachshund-who-started-me.html
Q: Most people would have given up with all that you have gone through Carol. What kept you alive? I ask that ’cause if I were in your shoes, I might have wanted to quit, i.e., die (many times over)!
I have been asked your question my whole life. There is no easy answer. When you read my memoir ,you will understand that whatever life threw in my path, I dealt with it as it came. For many years I thought that something really great was about to happen because so many awful things were happening. Many wonderful things did happen in my life and looking on the bright side, looking to a brighter tomorrow and maintaining an attitude free of anger and bitterness is what keeps you afloat.
Q: When reading your posts, I never felt you are bitter or anything. You are a strong lady. Tell me, how do you keep the bitterness away?
Keeping bitterness away is easy because it is a choice. When I say that some people will respond by saying — “Sure, that is easy for YOU to say but you have no idea what I have gone through.” My response could be that they have no idea what I have gone through. If I choose not to forgive or to be bitter, I am the loser – not them. It is not always easy to forget when someone has wronged you but when you forgive them, it makes the forgetting easier. It is strictly a choice – nothing more or less. Bitterness will cause disease, sleepless nights, loss of friends or family and many other negative things in your life. I chose to not dwell on what people did to me or that I was a victim — rather to dwell on how to be a victor in a situation.
Q:Carol, tell me, where do you get all that strength from, my dear? The strength to keep getting up every time you fall, and keep going at it, no matter what! I would only like to salute you, Carol, for the super woman that you are! Wish I could ask you for a little bit of your resilience. Can you pass it on here?
That is a difficult question — where do I get my strength? Three things, I think. First and foremost is my faith. My trust in God has sustained me and kept me on the right thinking path all my life. Secondly, since I won over cancer 40 years ago, I determined to help other people stay healthy and live life well and strong. I haven’t even had a cold or the flu in 4 decades. I became a health coach and this is what I teach. And lastly, is attitude. No matter what happens, I try to maintain a good attitude. This does NOT mean that you stick you head in the sand and pretend it did not happen — NO — but to be rational, find a solution and move forward.
Q: How do you manage doing so much at such a ripe age Carol? What is your secret that kept you going for things you always wished to do all along?
You made me laugh out loud — more than once. I suppose when you are young, you look at someone like me as being of a ripe old age. I may be ripe, but I will never be old. My whole family is like that. We don’t retire, ever. We just keep going and it makes us younger every day. I am rarely tired, I just don’t allow that to happen, I guess. I keep going until the job is done, even if it takes all night. I don’t quit, ever. It is not in my vocabulary. Many times I listen to women who are half my age and they talk, look and even walk — much less THINK like an old woman — they are old already. My mom-in-law died at 95 and I never heard her complain about being old — in other words — you are what you think. I think I am young – so be it!
Q: When writing your book, did anybody tell you not to include something as they find it offending / embarrassing?
You asked a very difficult question. Two things that happend in my life almost pushed me over the edge. They are more traumatic than anything I shared in my story. I had to leave them out because they would have hurt too many innocent people. Many of the memoirs I have read the author bashes people – friends or family. I refused to go there. Yes, those things played a major part of my life and I would love to shout from the rooftops that they deserve something awful to happen to them. But I will not do that. So, I left them out of the book.
Q: As you know, I’ve read your book, Carol and am in awe of your fortitude and resilience. As someone else said, you are a super woman! 🙂 My question is two-fold: Are you planning to write a sequel? How about a movie script? Your story is more spellbinding than any fictional story!
Thank you for your kind words about my book. I am not super woman — I am just a survivor with a good attitude. That sounds like a bumper sticker, doesn’t it? Sequel? I would love to but don’t know how or when to fit it into my crazy life. Movie? Before I ever wrote my book I knew it would make a great movie. I am more sure of that than ever. I have had a few companies approach me wanting to do that — but they want big bucks up front. I am also aware that the chances are pretty slim of being “found” by the right person at the right time to say “Hey – let’s make a movie of your remarkable story.” But, I DO believe that will happen — maybe I am just blonde and naive.
Q: How did the thought of of writing a book come to your mind, Carol?How much time did you take in completing it?
I answered your question above and will paste it here: I will direct you to my post. It explains why it took me so long to write it but even longer to get started! http://batteredhope.blogspot.ca/2013/12/the-miniature-dachshund-who-started-me.html
Q: Carol, your book is inspirational and highly recommended for everyone to read. I also read your post on how you started writing and there you write that revisiting those difficult parts of your life was therapeutic. What did you feel when you put that last word and full stop on the page?
In a word, TERRIFIED! I assumed I would lose friends.
Q: What a wonderful Q &A this has been! Carol, your answers are inspirational in so many ways. I loved this line of yours – “Maybe I am blonde and naive.” And that brings me to my question, which has nothing to do with blogging by the way — how do you feel about all those blonde jokes? 🙂 Now of course there is a follow-up question – are you naturally blonde? 🙂 And then there is the follow-follow-up question, the real question – in what ways has your great sense of humor helped you develop such a positive outlook and a wonderfully optimistic outlook on life?
I love blonde jokes. Yes, I am a natural blonde. Responding to in what ways has humor helped? I believe the answer would be a ‘quick wit’ No matter how tough something is I usually see a funny side to it quickly. That does not take away from being compassionate or empathetic, just lightens the moment and helps bring a different perspective sometimes. I met with Elly Stornebrink today — what a delightful time we had. So nice to meet her in person and when she said good-bye she said something to me that I will never forget — she said “your strength has come from your laughter”
Q: Carol, you said you give motivational talks. How did your talks help others?
What I am told after I speak by many people is that they ‘finally’ realize that there is HOPE. They may have gone through something that they did not realize someone else made it through the same thing and came out a victor. The reason it affects to many in so many different ways is that I have had such a variety of trauma in my life. There are 12 chapters in my book and each chapter has at least one huge hurdle to overcome. Bottom line: If I can do – so can they!What I am told after I speak by many people is that they ‘finally’ realize that there is HOPE. They may have gone through something that they did not realize someone else made it through the same thing and came out a victor. The reason it affects to many in so many different ways is that I have had such a variety of trauma in my life. There are 12 chapters in my book and each chapter has at least one huge hurdle to overcome.
Bottom line: If I can do – so can they!
Thank you note
All of us at B-A-R as well are truly grateful to Carol for answering our questions with such patience and warmth. Thank you so much, Carol. It has been a wonderful session and we are so glad to have hosted you on B-A-R for this Blogger Focus Session!
Dear readers, you are welcome to ask other questions in the comments below 🙂