My first blogging award: The Liebster


A blogging award, oh my!

Most people who blog do so because they want share what they write with others.  Hopefully, bloggers also get something out of it.   That something is usually related to an emotional need to put idea to (virtual) paper, or to have a record of our innermost thoughts that we hope someone else in the Internet universe will enjoy.  We have many choices and probably thousands and thousands of blogs to read.  I watched my readership rise slowly, from onesies and twosies, to dozens.   So, I was surprised and pleased to be nominated for The Liebster by Laura Bruno Lilly at   I love to read Laura’s blog.  She feels like a kindred spirit.  Her artistic pursuits and deep faith resonate with me.  She has a curiosity about people and places that I love.

Thanks Laura for nominating me!  I’m glad you found something in my blog that spoke to you.

Since anything worthily requires effort, there is work involved.   I have a list of rules for the award, and nominate others for it.  It’s a chance for me . . . and my awardees, for some self-reflection.


The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award 

If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:

1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.

2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)

3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.

4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.

5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)

6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.

7. list these rules in your post (You can copy and paste from here.) Once you have written and published it, you then have to:

8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)

Laura’s questions and my answers:

1. Do you read several books at the same time or one at a time?   —  Only one.  I listen to a lot of books on tape.  I find that if I try to read more than one book I lose track of the story.

2. What makes you break into your ‘happy dance’?   —  Snow!  I love snow.  To me it’s magical.   As a child I loved to make snow forts.  Later I made snowmen with my kids.  I also get excited about rain, especially after a long dry spell.  Probably due to my time in Africa during a drought.DSCN0437

3. Describe yourself in 3 words.   —  Hmmm . . . .  persistent, caring, and innovative.  My friends and family know that once I put my mind to something I don’t give up.  I have a strong belief in right and wrong and fight like hell when I believe I’ve been treated unfairly.  I care a lot for my friends and family and and work hard to ensure that the people around me are cared for and loved.  Lastly, I am all about creativity and new ideas.  My mantra is not, if something isn’t broken don’t fix it, but how can we make it better.  I’m always looking for ways to make my everyday life more efficient, and to make the world a more compassionate place.  My heart breaks when I hear about people suffering, and as a result I volunteer a lot and regularly give money to charities.  Larry knows that I find it hard to say no and my checkbook is always on the ready for a worthy cause.

4. What do you wish outsiders understood about the struggles you are facing right now?   —  I am still struggling with not being myself after a concussion in a car accident in August.  To most, I seem the same, but inside I am still healing.  DSCN0132Brain injuries don’t show up on the outside.    For example, writing this blog has taken me a month.  The writing, finding the words, getting the discipline to sit down and do it, are all difficult for me now.

5. Where/what would you like to go/do that you have not yet explored/done?   —  I love exploring  islands.  I would like to visit the Hebrides and Shetlands in Scotland, Greenland, Easter Island, the Galapagos . . . you get the message.  Island people have to be tough and face obstacles and challenges that others do not.  They have to endure and overcome wind, storms and isolation.  Add to that the inability to travel easily, dependence on imports, and lack of exposure to outside influences.  Then there is the vulnerability to attacks by outsiders.

6. Which of your blog posts is your favorite and why? Please provide a link.   —  his one:  Gender equality is something I support wholeheartedly.  While women have made many strides, we still have a long way to go.  We have won a number of battles, but the war is still ongoing.  I would like to be looked at as a person, not someone who has a family, or children, or even someone else’s name.  While in Iceland I learned that the Icelandic women working hard to get to true gender equality. They recently went on strike to fight for wage equality.  They are tough, independent women.

7. Imagine you have superpowers. What would your power be? How about your ‘new’ name?   —  I would like the power to protect the vulnerable from oppression.  Right now I wish I could be in North Dakota supporting the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe.  Yes, I’m a bit of a rebel, especially for the underdog .  My name could be “SuperMarla.”  Sorry, that’s the best I can come up with!  Update:  the North Dakota standoff is over!  Hip hip!!

8. What 3 traits do you look for in a friend?   —  Ability to give and love, sense of humor, and shared interests.  This probably sounds like qualities in a partner or boyfriend as well!  Seriously though, I have many friends of all shapes, sizes, and backgrounds.  What they have in common it the ability to show affection for others, laugh at the world and themselves, and share some basic values, like a belief in the goodness of others and an optimism that through human effort the world can become a better place for everyone.

9. How is your life making an impact on the next generation?   —  I work with several non-profits and also give talks and coach on topics such as leadership skills.  My goal is to help people build capacity, whether it is in learning how to develop a strategic plan or better manage stress.  I especially like to work with women on confidence building and projecting gravitas.  I hope I have some impact on my own children, in helping them find their inner strength and heart, and to become better people.  

10. What is your favorite color, flower, tree, dessert?   —  I love birch trees.  They seem majestic and kind to me. I don’t really have a favorite flower, though I love the varieties and colors of lilies.   As far as desserts go, anything with dark chocolate works for me.

11. Coffee, tea, or????   —  Coffee, except when I’m sad, and then it’s herbal tea.  I had to give up caffeine about ten years ago and found that if you don’t have it, you don’t really need it.  For me, coffee and tea are associated with feelings.  When I was a volunteer in Africa I lived with British volunteers.  For them, tea was a useful drink for any IMG_1746circumstance.  Frustrations at work?  Have a cup of tea.  Tired?  Have a cuppa.  Need a break?  A cup of tea will do it for you.  I loved how tea was a cure for anything that ailed you.  Coffee has a different connotation.  It’s the drink for mornings.  Sometimes I’ll get my cup of (decaf) coffee before breakfast, or sometimes instead of breakfast.  It goes great with a decadent sweet treat and is a conversation opener with a stranger.  Going to a networking event?  Have a cup of coffee.  Meeting someone for a first date?  Coffee will do just fine.  Study group?  Coffee please.  I break this habit in winter when I make hot chocolate from scratch.  I refuse to drink hot chocolate from the packet, as it’s really just sugar with some chocolate flavor.  I warm milk in a pan, and add a mixture of cocoa powder with just enough sugar to cut the bitterness.  Then stir until hot and drink.  A dash of vanilla or cinnamon is nice too.


Eleven randoms facts about myself:

  1.  I was named after my grandfather who passed away before I was born.  His name was Milton.
  2. My favorite color is blue.
  3. Rain makes me happy.  See above for my feelings about dry seasons.  When you have lived in a drought stricken country, rain equals happiness.
  4. Throughout my life I have volunteered for many things, big and small.
  5. I know how to make cheese and own a cheese press.
  6. Lifting weights is one of my preferred ways to keep fit.
  7. I love watching historical romances on PBS with hunky heroes, like Outlander and Poldark.  Big sigh.
  8. I cannot stand Brussel sprouts.  I blame my mother for forcing me to eat them as a child.  I won’t buy them, prepare them, or eat them.  Yuck.
  9. I won’t live anywhere that is not within walking distance of a store.  Maybe it’s a thing about being stuck in a snowstorm and not being able to get a carton of milk or a chocolate bar.
  10. Which brings me to . . . I have an addiction to dark chocolate and there is rarely a day that goes by when I don’t eat a square or two or three . . .  I hope it helps keep me healthy.  It definitely adds to my well-being.
  11. I use mindfulness practices to find calm in a chaotic world.dscn1687


My Awardees and Questions:

I am going to alter the rules slightly to fewer awardees.  Many of the blogs I read have thousands of followers, so in the spirit of awarding this to smaller blogs,  I am nominating the followers blogs for the Liebster Award:

  1. The Cricket Pages.   This is a blog written by Rachel Markowitz.  Rachel is a young person who has a passion for her little white dogs Cricket and Butterfly, and for making the world a better place.   I really enjoy how her writing connects her daily life with her thoughts about how we can do a better job of making sure we protect and support all people.    I enjoy joining her on her journeys in social work and life. You can find Rachel at
  2. Maybe there will be cupcakes:  an optimistic journey toward creative sanity.   This blog is written by Ginny Bartalone, an actor and writer.  Ginny takes us on a journey through the trials and tribulations of trying to earn a living in the creative arts.   She also addresses some tough issues and isn’t afraid to put herself out there.  I like that Ginny isn’t content to stay in one emotional space.  You can find her at:
  3. RalieTravels.  This blog is written by Ray and Alie Ralie and documents their travels.  As they say on their blog, they especially enjoy traveling “back roads to find unusual sights and experiences.”    What I like most about their blog is that it is so varied.  One day they are in Wyoming and the next on the Shetland Islands.   Their posts have lots of photos so it’s like you’re there with them.  Find them at:
  4. Culinary Mosaic.  Leyla writes this cooking blog that provides recipes for yummy dishes with lots of photos and hand holding, but also talks about where to buy food (Pike Place Market), travel, and interesting food discoveries, like Teff.  And the recipes . . . White Chocolate Pumpkin Bars, what can I say about that!  For a relatively new blogger and a relatively small following, she has one terrific blog.  You can find her at:
  5. And last but not least, BJFabricartist.  My dear friend B. J. is a master quilter.  You have probably seen her work on prior blog posts.   Her blog documents her “adventures in fabric art.”  It’s a great place to get inspiration and to learn more about quilting  and some advanced techniques.  Everything is dished up with lots of photos to walk you through it.  If you’re into quilting or just want some eye candy, take a look.  You can find her at:

Here are the questions:

  1.  What is your favorite newspaper or magazine that you read on a regular basis and why?
  2. How did you start blogging?
  3. If you could go anywhere you wanted for a weekend getaway, where would you go an what would you do?
  4. What would you like to change about yourself (that’s not physical)?
  5. What artist or piece of art do you admire?
  6. Are you a leader or a follower?  How does this shape who you are?
  7. If you were an animal, what animal would be you and why?
  8. What do you like to do when you have a free day/afternoon?
  9. If you had to leave quickly and you could take three things with you, what would they be?
  10. What’s your favorite comfort food?
  11. When was the last time you felt truly at peace/happy?  How did you get to that place?

Thanks to the blogosphere and to my readers for making this happen.  I’ll leave you now with a peaceful moment in the woods.


Barkley looking for something to chase during a recent walk in the woods.


2 thoughts on “My first blogging award: The Liebster

  1. Thank **you** Marla for those kind words…so glad to see this post. It is a post that requires more reflection, more time to compose as you now know!
    I am so sorry about your accident and consequent concussion. That is really hard to go through since like you said brain injuries often manifest themselves in odd ways and at delayed times. I pray for your steady healing.
    Your comment about the British and their tea was hilarious…I’m with you, though, I’ll take dark chocolate over a cuppa to make things right in my world. HA!


    • Hi Laura, yes, it was a tough post to write and it took me a while. When I looked at it today I realized I had made over a dozen revisions. Yikes! Times to get moving . . . seriously, though, it made me think about a lot of things and that’s good. I guess if you get an award, you ought to work for it, right?


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