Monday, January 27, 2014

Be honest!

This morning I received an email I wasn't expecting.  It was from a reader asking if there was a way on my blog to "skip all the fluff about my life and just get to the Zendala Dare".  It was polite and very complimentary about my templates but the wording caught me off guard a bit.  I am fluffy but I didn't think my blog was! (Chris G., I know you are laughing out loud right now about the fluffy comment) 

When I started this blog I never hid the fact that it was about my life.  I always loved how the Diva, Laura Harms would tell us about her week when I would check in for her weekly challenge.  It made the Zentangle portion of her blog so much more personal and relevent for me.  It made her challenges about a person and not just about a tile.  Plus, her kids are freakin adorable!  So when I started my blog I was trying to keep that type of spirit in mind.  It was roughly a  50/50 split between Zentangle and me.  Once I developed the Zendala Dare the blog became more Zentangle heavy.  People were regularly asking about which tangles I used, how to transfer templates and what type of materials I like best.  It became obvious that it would be easier to create some reference pages on my blog rather than answer each email individually (although I still gladly answer all emails).  Next thing I knew my blog was being referred to as a "great reference", a title I did not expect but was extremely proud of.  

What never changed however is that this was a blog about my life.  While I may not be the most interesting person in the world, I think that the things I buy, places I travel to, and recipes I try are sometimes interesting.  That is why I post about them.  I see my life through this blog as part of a bigger community.  A community that encompasses lots of creative people, personal struggles, exciting triumphs and tons of information to share.  Zentangle is just a small but awesome part of it.

So now you are thinking "why is she telling us all this"? Because I am looking for some honest feedback.  I have plans in the near future to include some other non-Zentangle adventures on this blog and I am just wondering if that is something that interests my readers.  I usually get a lot of positive comments about my pictures and stories but if that does not interest you, this is your chance to say so.  I cannot promise that the direction of this blog will change based on the comments you submit but I may choose to edit my posts a little differently.  My personal thought on blog content is that if I don't like it, I just skip it, but hey thats just me.

So let me know in the comments below.  Do you like hearing the personal stuff/recipes/pictures etc.  or would you prefer that I just post the Zendala Dare and nothing else?  I am interested to read your comments and please be honest, I promise not to take it personally.


I hope you all have a wonderful week.

63 comments:

  1. It's your blog, write about what is important to you. I mean we are all capable of scrolling past any info we are not interested in. You get positive feedback for your other posts so they are obviously of interest to people. If that person had the energy to write that message to you they can surely find the extra min to scroll past 'fluff'. I honestly think people are getting so freaking lazy they'd ask some one to wipe their butts for them if they could!

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    1. Thanks Christine, those were sir of my thoughts too. I just didn't want to put the extra time and energy into the blog if the "fluff" wasnt of any interest to anyone. Thanks for responding!

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    2. If that reader doesn't want to read the "fluff" she can simply scroll down...it really doesn't take long! But no, she had to tell you. I don't think she meant well at all.

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  2. That email was from a troll--they're never happy unless they are making someone else unhappy. As others have already said, it is easy enough to scroll down to the templates they don't want to read.
    If people were ignoring what you read, and didn't want to read it, they wouldn't worry when you don't post for a while. No one would discuss and people would skip your dares.
    Do what you enjoy. The enjoyment shows, and that is what people of the non-troll variety will respond to.

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  3. That should be 'scroll down to the template 'if' they don't want to read your personal notes'.

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  4. Erin - I love the peeks inside your life. On occasion I may not be in the mood to read details but then I know to just scroll down to the template. Do whatever you think is right for you.

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  5. I think a blog should be personal if you want it to be. After all it takes considerable time and effort to put the templates out there and share your work. I like knowing more about the people who are giving so much to me... your templates are awesome and I enjoy sharing. Zentangle is a community. I wish I had more time to visit each and every tangle blog and comment on every shared piece of art. Carry on!

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  6. I love your blog. I feel blogs like yours help to connect us as a community.

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  7. Oh Erin, just be yourself. I am a totally functional, non-fluf person, but would fight to defend your right to be fluffy (or any other word you want to substitute in here). Do you know how I look at it - are you breaking the law? No. Other than that, it is your blog, and it's your party & you'll cry if you want to. And good on you for allowing others express themselves here, including tell you that your posts are fluffy.
    Hey, I'm looking forward to some of these other adventures you talk about.

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  8. Oh yes, I'll be honest, we Dutch are known to be straight forward:
    Erin, I do hope you will just go on the way you are doing now. By reading about your life, I get to know you a bit and I like that. This personal thing gives me so much more then just a 'template'.
    So, thanks for all the Dares and a big thank you for letting me in to a small part of your life!!!

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  9. I am laughing as I read this for a number of reasons...but I do hope you're not too bothered by the comment you received..sometimes even comments by ignorant dolts can be hurtful! I'm laughing because I LOVE the life bits on your blog. I have two blogs because I found so many Zentangle blogs were often just the work people had done. I struggle to separate things - I'm holistic or nothing! But a few blogs allow a glimpse of the person and yours and Laura's are two such - as well as being 'reference' points for Zentangle and all it entangles - and all the better for it, I say!! Do keep it personal - I love it all and never, ever just skip to the Dare...however itchy my tangling fingers are!
    I can't actually believe that the comment came from one of the lovely Zentangle community that I've met since discovering Zentangle just a few months ago. But you're right to ask our opinion in a way - just read what everyone has written and that should really convince you that we LOVE your blog!!!
    Sorry for going on - I'm a bit on the fluffy side myself.
    Axxx

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  10. How rude!!! I look forward to reading all things fluffy and seeing your photos. Sometimes I don't get around to the dare but I know they are there for when time allows. Your blog - your choice. Carry on as you were Erin and take no notice of others that don't really wish to get involved. ;)

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  11. I don't often manage to post 'fluff' for I tangle myself up in details but I certainly respect those who can strike the balance like you & Laura. You're people not robots. It's your blog & you should make it what you want it to be - It's easy to scroll past anything that you don't have the time to read. Personally I value info such as how to resuscitate ……. there may be a time when I'll need to know.
    Paula (PEP)

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  12. Hi Erin, I love hearing about your life! That is part of what draws me to your blog. While I love getting the templates, it's just as much fun to hear what you are up to. Don't let that person discourage you.

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  13. Hi Erin, One more thing I recently learned that might be of help to you: trolls and spammers often write on older posts, so having moderation on posts more than 10 days old may stop some of that. I started doing that a couple of months ago and it cut down on a lot of dubious comments.

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  14. Let em be. Im sure the person who complained hasnt heard of 'scrolling down' and is just an unhappy soul who enjoys spreading negativity. What a question to even ask you! Its YOUR blog and you have every right to write whatever suits you and we as readers have the same right to either read through them or skip them. No one is holding a gun to our heads as readers. So dont take all this to heart....

    You have all of us here who enjoy not just your templates but also that peek into your life. Yes there are times when I do scroll through myself. But on other days I read through it all.

    We love you Erin and love the effort you take to give us these templates every week despite your hectic schedule. Keep it going luv... XOXO

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  15. Isn't that kind of like saying, "I want to be your friend when you bake brownies, but if you aren't baking brownies, then don't bother me"?

    You need to be you and put whatever suits you on your blog. In the blogs I follow, I don't read every single thing. But I like getting sneak peeks into other people's lives. You never know what will click, what will jump out at you. So keep doing what you are doing, know that you've got people that love what you are sharing.

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  16. Incredibly selfish for a troll to come here on YOUR blog and tell you what to post. But that is what trolls do. I have always been so proud of the Zentangle Community and their love for the art and each other. This person does not embody that. You post about your life whenever you want to! We are here for the sneek peek into your life and also the zentangle. Keep up the great work. And Trolls be damned!!!!

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  17. I love your life, I love your blog, and have been following from the very first post. Don't change a thing! ♥

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  18. good morning, erin, wow! this was a surprise post to read. of course, YES!, a resounding 'YES!' - i want to hear your personal stories. you are a 'person' that i like. a lot. so i want to hear what's going on in your life. and i believe what's going on in your life affects the zendala dare each week. it affects the design you give us - based on how you're feeling, how busy you've been, how creative you are feeling - it all makes a difference in what you post for us to work with. so why shouldn't we get the behind the scenes story, too, if you are willing to give it? i think you should stick to what you are doing. it's your blog that you very graciously share with us. and we love you for it! don't change that part of it at all, dear lady, you are a blessing to me!

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  19. How rude!! If they don't want to read that part haven't they ever heard of SCROLL? I'm surprised that people can still startle me with their selfishness...and LAZINESS!! But then so many cannot see past their own nose, so we have to make allowances for the poor things.

    It's your blog. I like to hear about you and your family. You are not a public servant or being rated by Nielsen. Ignore the riff-raff. They are not worth a moment's thought. Go Fluff!! (My entire blog is fluff--lol!)

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  20. I always believed that a person's blog was whatever and however that person chose to write. If someone is not interested, then as everyone has posted, 'just scroll down'. I personally enjoy the personal tidbits about the author and the followers that post to the blog, as that makes us all friends, no matter where we live, what we do for a living, and where our life happens to be at that moment. For some people, blogs may be their only contact to the outside world. Please keep on keepin' on as you choose.
    Thanks for all the Zentangle inspiration. It has become a positive part of my daily life.

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  21. Erin, Just keep on being yourself and being so generous as to share your life so openly. Goodness knows, the scroll feature on any mouse is not hard to use. Do not be discouraged and know that there are many folks who love you and all of your anecdotes as well as the dare! XOXO, Jennifer

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  22. This blog is yours. It's a personal blog with a zentangle flair. This is your platform to share what pleases you. I'm thrilled that you share your templates and many lovely pieces of art. It doesn't bother me in the least that you share other things as well.

    If this was a professional or business blog, the 'skip all the fluff' comment would be a more reasonable critique. However, even if this blog was primarily business, some of the most charming entrepreneurial blogs share lots of tidbits from the owner's life. I think it's much easier to support a small business or artist by purchasing their work when you know more about them and have had a chance to develop a long distance 'relationship' that helps build trust. It's just not the same as dealing with huge companies like Amazon. Skipping the 'fluff' could very well be a mistake, although, depending on the fluff content, careful editing would be required.

    You said the commenter was polite and complimentary. Admittedly, I don't know the entire content of the email but it seems almost as if they held out a pretty distraction so that you wouldn't notice the knife sliding out from under the sleeve. Referring to anything they didn't want to read on your personal blog as 'fluff' is most definitely an insult and I would categorize that comment alone as not-so-subtle bullying. Perhaps, an attempt to manipulate you to do what they want. Likely a desire to cause you some stress. Of course, I have no idea about the commenter's true motivation so this is just my opinion.

    Your personal blog = your content choice. Do what pleases you. I'm sure you know that the vast majority of your followers appreciate your contributions to the zentangle community, tidbits of your life and personality included. Community... yup. That's what we have. Complete with all manner of contributers and lurkers. How boring would it be if there wasn't any 'fluff?' Good on you for laughing about being fluffy. I shall continue to be lumpy, squishy, gooey, frazzled... I could go on but I think it's time to do a Diva Dance.

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  23. I agree with everyone else's comments. It's very easy to go directly to the dare if that's what you want. I haven't done the dare in quite awhile as I've been forcing myself to do some projects that have been put off too long. However, I always read your blog and look at all the lovely responses to the dare. So keep doing what you want and know that there are many people enjoying all parts of the dare!

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  24. This is your blog and your bit of cyberspace. Do what you want with it. There are those that will read all of it, those that will read some of it, those that will just look at the photos, those that will just search for the dare. You can't please all of the people all of the time and you should never try to please anyone but yourself.

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  25. Erin, your blog is wonderful, informative, and allows us a peek into your life and process. I'm so sorry to hear that someone doesn't get that. You put so much of yourself into your blog and your challenges, thanks for doing what you do and being a part of this Wonderful, non-judgmental, Zentangle community! You do a fabulous job!

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  26. I imagine the people complaining about your 'fluff' are the uptight ones who rush through Zentangles and through life. I LOVE hearing about your adventures and also seeing the weekly dares. I do not know where you get the time to do all you do, but I'm rooting for you every time I read of your challenges. Keep doing what you're doing; it's your blog and life to celebrate.

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  27. I, for one, love keeping up with you and your family. I think of the Zentangle community as one big family and we all care about each other. That being said, I agree, how hard is it for someone to just scroll down to the template if that's all you want? Your blog, do it YOUR way!

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  28. I won't repeat everything that has been stated so well here already, but will add a point or two. Firstly, please don't validate that person's purposeless negativity by giving them anymore of your time, or space in your thoughts( although i know that is easier said than done).
    Secondly, I don't even DO your dares, as I'm just not ready for that step yet. I do, however, come here to see them and read your non-fluff, because as a (mostly) retired former ER nurse, it pleases me to read about your enthusiasm and excitement about entering a new career. I think you should continue as you are doing and ignore the naysayer(s).

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  29. Hey Chris G., do you know how to scroll down? I love reading people's blogs. And you are right about Laura's blog. I love keeping up with her and her family. Keep doing what your doing, I enjoy reading it.

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  30. HI, I enjoy your blog exactly the way it is. I get your updates through email. I did originally sign up for them because of the Zentangle aspect but enjoy hearing everything else, in particular as I live in northern CA too. I skip the parts I may not be interested in reading at any give point. So from me, keep up the good work! I really enjoy the Zendala challenges.

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  31. Please dont change your blog, I love it just the way it is, fluff and all. It makes you human.

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  32. Your blog is your personal magazine. The most interesting publications are those with all sorts of content. I love reading about other people's adventures. I like getting to know them. It's what separates us from faceless corporate machines. I think you should do what feels right, and don't let anyone suggest that you become someone else. It's astonishing and incredibly self-centered for someone to expect you to change to keep them happy. With friends like that, who needs enemies?

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  33. Love your blog just the way it is. It has enriched my life! Thank you

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  34. As everyone else said above (ok, honestly, I didn't read all the comments but I skimmed :-) ), it's your blog. I don't mind the life bits.

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  35. Just had another thought... I specifically come to your blog because of the Zendala dare. Sometimes I read the personal stuff, sometimes I don't. But that person's request would be like asking the NY Times to just publish the cross word puzzle cause I can't be bothered with all that news crap. You post what you want. He can scroll if he wants.

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  36. Well Erin, what else should I say, everything is said above, be yourself, and if you want to share those things please do. Most of the time I read it and I have great respect of what your a doing, besides a lifesaving job, making al those dares for us. Peaking into your life makes me feel a bit like family, so I want to be part of that.

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  37. I love personal stuff in a blog. 'Technical resources' abound but a personal touch is hard to find. I enjoy hearing about your week, kids, recipes, adentures or the just plain 'craziness' that enters life at times. Blog away and as you said...if it doesn't interest someone, they are free to skip a post now and then but it would certainly be their loss!

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  38. This is YOUR blog - I think a blog should be how the creator - you in this case - intended it to be. Love your blog - keep it as you like it!

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  39. Erin, Your sharing is often inspiring and moving. I love that part of your blog! Keep sharing, as far as I'm concerned!!! I also appreciate your creating a new and interesting Zendala every week. You're right -- if someone doesn't want to read the personal part of the blog, just skip over it. Keep up the great work!

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  40. I would echo the comments of the what seems to be a unanimous opinion that it is your blog and you can decide what to put on it. It is hard to tell what motivated the comments and I am not sure that it is worth trying to figure it out. My two cents is that some people seem to think that everything in the world should revolve around them. If it doesn't, then they feel offended and feel that someone should change it to what they want. Hopefully the person will read some of these comments and will get the idea that they need to relax and learn how to scroll.

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  41. I love your blog and all your stories, I actually seldom do the challenge, but one of these days I'll jump in.....

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  42. I love your blog and appreciate the challenge every week. Please keep up the GREAT work! Cheryl

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  43. I love all things on your blog. Its interesting to hear about other peoples lives in general, and your templates are of course awesome :-)
    Don't change a thing. If people only want the template then they just have to scroll to that!!!

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  44. It's your blog so you can write about whatever you want. If a reader doesn't want to read the "fluff", they can scroll right past it without being obligated to read it. And if an entire post has nothing to do with Zentangle they totally don't have to read it. And if they're not ok with not reading a whole post, or skipping one entirely, maybe they can unsubscribe to your blog. Silly people. Blogs are for the writers, not necessarily for the readers. :-)

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  45. Read what you like to read, draw what yiu like to draw!
    To be or not to be that is the question. lol.
    It is your blog....enjoy what you doing becouse it is a lot of work!!!!!!!!
    Whene people dont like it .......they can move on!
    A dutch drawing greeting!

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  46. I have to admit, that I open your blog to get the template, BUT I do read about your life and find it interesting (maybe because life in the US is so different from life in Europe), so please keep the mix!

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  47. I think what makes Zentangling fun, challenging and rewarding is community. If you just supplied a challenge to the public then you would be doing a disservice to the community. ~ I like what you do. Keep it up. ~

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  48. I have to say, it's your blog and you should feel free to post whatever you want. My only comment/feedback is this: I would dearly love to see the step outs of the tangles you have created... I think there are nine on your tangle links page that aren't in the sidebar yet. Socc is my new favorite pattern and I am dying to learn more! Pretty please, with sugar on top.

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    1. Wow! Thanks for publically calling me out about my procrastination! Which is actually sort of ironic since I am sitting in a time management lecture right now for nursing school. But seriously, I'm actually glad you said something. I didn't realize I was that behind on the step outs. Let me see what I can do. I know it's a bummer when you want to use a tangle but dont have a step out plus you did put sugar on top. lol
      Thanks for the reminder and for your comments.

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    2. when I'm looking for a step-out and can't find it on the author's blog, my next step is Sandra Strait's blog...she announces nearly every single new tangle (and doodle) that's out there. There's a search and find option that will 9 times out of 10 list where you can find the tangle's step-out. Visit Sandra's blog @ www.lifeimitatesdoodles.blogspot.com/

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  49. Erin, I love your blog just the way it is. One critical opinion is certainly not representative of all the people who read your blog. Blog on!

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  50. Whoever wrote that is probably resentful of a lot more than your blog, jealous, and needs to reassess his own position in the world! Your blog is part of your life, just as drawing and communicating are. I expect it's too much to expect of this person to read comments. Maybe he has a blog we could all "have a go" at. Whoever this person is, he expects to be served! I expect he expects his mom (or partner) to put his food (prechewed?) in front of him, wash his socks, make his bed etc. I could be wrong. Maybe it's just some little prig (=jerk) letting off steam:-)

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  51. As "papercracker" above said, "it's your blog, do what you want to do" Sing that to the Isley Brothers' song, "It's your thing"!
    I very rarely leave a comment...but if someone is in personal conflict, I definitely give some words of encouragement. So here you go...
    Seriously, blogs are journals ... I am one who will read every single word, I laugh at the humor, hurt a little for the sadness and/or personal challenges, and enjoy the moments that are shared. If I'm doing a quick check on your zendala challenge of the week, I will come back later to read what you've shared. Life is about events, challenging and/or hum-drum. Some will live vicariously through your events, others will learn. A journal is a life's story...that's why we read novels...that's why we visit blogs.

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  52. Erin - just ignore the naysayers! The rest of us love your blog as it is and we'll read whatever you write. If for some reason I don't want to read what you are talking about (never happened so far) I'll skip a paragraph. As Genevieve said - BLOG ON!

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  53. I have been offline for a while. But I have to add that I LOVE YOUR BLOG! Please don't change it!!

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  54. Nooo, don't change, I love your Blog and It's nice to have some kind of a connection with the Blogger, it makes it more real, personal. Sure we don't always have time to read everything, and we all have different interests - so, just skip it and go to the specific section you are wanting - its as simple as that. Its your Blog and you can do what you want :)

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  55. Your blog is YOURS! If someone wants just zentangle stuff they can buy a book. And scrolling down is of course always an option. I look forward to your blog on Saturdays and just so you know, I'm quietly cheering you on through nursing school. You go girl! Thanks for giving me another blog to enjoy!

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  56. I enjoy reading about the different aspects of your life and hope you continue to share.

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  57. I enjoy reading about the different aspects of your life and hope you continue to share.

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  58. What the lady above me said.... I enjoy your thoughts on your life, nieces and nephews and the ambulance/nursing student part. I used to ride when I was way young and the memories make me smile. Enjoy your blog and we know what we've signed up for when we signed up! hugs from MD!

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