Posts Tagged ‘Blogging’

comittment www.anniesgoathill.com

The most prominent virtue I gained in 2012 was the ability to be flexible without looking back.

Life and business thrives with an acceptance of change – one that allows us to merely become fluid any time it is necessary.

In 2012, I shut down my soap business and goat farm. It was not an easy shift, but to this day it is providing opportunities that I never imagined could exist.

I started The Creative Entrepreneur blog series in 2012. With the pivoting of business and writing gears, I found I could not devote myself to both my personal and series commitments.

In 2012, I also began writing several books, co-authored with Melissa Middleton of Vintage Body Spa. We published the first book of our series, Essential Soap Making, as an e-Book. We recently re-submitted the book to editing. It is being re-formatted as a book in print. The newly formatted book is within weeks of a publish date.

I have committed (myself) to publishing eight books in 2013. If you are raising your eyebrows at my lofty goal, trust me, so am I. Being flexible, as life continues to take amazing twists and turns, will lead to greater success. But committing to the writing goal, by just tying the knot that won’t come undone, is how it will be accomplished.

I hope you stay and witness my exciting journey ahead!

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Making the decision to stop selling soap and lotion was not easy, but it became easier as I realized it was part of a big picture, much bigger than myself.

Making the decision to sell the goats was not easy at all. I still cannot look at photographs of goats.  And I do not look at my barn, nor the empty fenced in pastures. I even feed the cats at the house now. My heart flip-flops when I walk inside the barn.

I was, and still am, excited about traveling, meeting new people, and writing, but recently something was not making sense. Something felt all wrong. Big chunks were missing.

Today, after many prayers, and after one comment my husband made to me (thank goodness we love each other and can work well together), all of the pieces began to fit.

I am not going to stop writing this blog.

Why would I?

My plan is to make Annie’s blog a DIY (Do It Yourself) type of product blog. I still will make soap occasionally, and I definitely make my own lotions and creams. And there are other products, including natural perfume blends, that I work on from time to time.

Not to mention the goats that I can write about (I have oodles of stories to tell), books to write, aromatherapy projects to do (I practice on myself and my husband only), and a huge interest (still) in country life. I have a lot to offer.  I have a lot to write about.

And, there will be goats again someday, just years down the road. And only two, just two! Someday, when I have kids again, it will not only be up to me, but it will be up to you too, to remind me, “Sell those kids!”

Just today, the last person that bought goats called.  He wanted to know how I was doing. I told him that I cannot walk, I have torn ligaments, a badly sprained ankle. He proceeded to tell me that he was on his way to the doctor, with what he thinks is pneumonia. He asked me, “Aren’t you glad I bought the last of your goats?” Yes, I am. When a person can only shuffle from room to room, they cannot walk down a hill and take care of goats. And then, he is a sweet young man, with a growing family. He needed the goats in his life. My time will come again.

For now, my time is here, and at the new site that I am still building, Pen And Ink Spot.

I told you, I am not going anywhere. Only the platform under my feet has changed.


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I have been weighing out the pro’s and con’s of starting a new blog for a very long time.

My longing is to write about anything and everything that I feel passionate about. Most of those thoughts have nothing to do with the soap business.

The Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted soap website will be re-designed in the future, with the link to this blog located on the main navigation page of the new site.  It only makes sense to me to ensure a big portion of  the blog content is related to soap, products, the soap business, the farm (milk wouldn’t exist without it), and bits and pieces of me (who I am).

One of the joys that I have come to know as a business owner is the reality that I can be myself.  I love it! I have the capability and power to make my own decisions, to guide my own ship(s).  And writing is a boat that has sat at the dock.

So, the decision was made to start a new blog, www.Mary-Humphrey.com, geared towards writing, and link to it and the posts here (for a while).  For those of you that have expressed your enjoyment of my posts, I would love for you to follow me over!

Marching forward!


Annie’s Goat Hill Handcrafted Soaps – where you can Smell and Feel the Goodness!

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Creativity, like life itself, seems to have its cycles. I find it interesting.

Blog writing has been difficult for me recently.  What has worked from time to time is to tote my laptop when I am away from the shop and the farm.  I will then hear or see something that totally inspires writing.

Soaping follows the same type of path.  Creativity does not always happen in the shop.  Fresh ideas pop up after I smell, read, hear, away from the soap studio itself.  Nature often does it.

A person cannot force creative thoughts.

What inspires you to write or try something new (or perhaps crafty)?

When are you most creative?

Do you find creativity to be an important need in  your life?

Before I hit the publish button, I’ll throw in one more thought.  Sound sleep.  Do your creative juices wane or flow when snoozing has been plentiful? What about the idea of sleeping with a pad of paper and pencil nearby, so those 2 AM brainstorms can be penned?

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Mr. Yellow Tom At It Again

Mr. Yellow Tom At It Again

Mr. Yellow Tom becomes my subject matter from time to time.  He has an agenda, so do I.  More on that boy in a bit…

One word sums up my week so far, busy!

This blog is a communication tool that I treasure.  I publish business information, farm updates, and occasionally personal tidbits.  I do Facebook and Twitter, and I love those connections as well, but the glue that bonds me to everyone is much stickier in this blog.  My website is a good communication tool, as well as the newsletter, but again, this blog is the creme’ of it all.

I do not pre-plan a lot of blog posts, well, one or two, here or there.  I prefer to pop in and say, “Hey…this is what is going on!” When I am too busy to do that, I feel a bit disconnected.

I do not know if the disconnected feeling is good or bad.  Shoot, it does not matter! What matters is I am back and reconnecting.  I am still working on cleaning up my email in-basket, amongst some other connections.  So…if you get a message that says, “I am busy, have to keep this short for now…,” it’s true.  I care immensely, just going at rabbit speed instead of turtle mode.

I was watching Mr. Yellow Tom as I milked the girls this evening.  How can it be that the meanest young adult cat in the barn be the mother to all of the kittens? A kitten will come up and bat at Mr. Tom, he bats back, and then he starts licking.  In this photo he licked the young kitten to sleep.  Yes, Mr. Tom walked away, and the kitten did not stir.  She was out of it!! Funny stuff! And this is the same Mr. Yellow Tom that still looks for that yellow cat in the bumper of my truck.  And guess what? He has taught the kittens to line up below the truck and watch with him.  The farm clown, Mr. Yellow Tom.

And what does he have to do with busyness? He has an agenda, and he gets it done, and he still makes his connections, obviously! Perhaps I should hire him? I could use a part-time helper, one that loves like he does.  Only the best.

Enjoy your day!

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Color From The Flower Garden

Color From The Flower Garden


Today I am talking about a blog that inspires me, The Lylah Blog – Simple Home Living

I could not tweak my own words to suit the purpose, so here are Lylah’s own words, “The Lylah Blog is about encouraging women to apply the Simple Home Principles to become great wives, loving mothers and on purpose home makers who learn the value of creating sanctuary.”

In my own words, there are a lot of blessings in life, and Lylah is one of them!

In her post, Being an On Purpose Home Keeper, Lylah wrote:  See, I am in no way perfect. I have not arrived. I am in process. And, when I write what I know is true, what I know is Biblical, what I know works and what I know honors God – I get reminded. I get to be challenged all over again. I don’t know about you, but I need that. I need the kick in the pants – as I run this race . . . as God develops character (His) in me – for the sake of the Kingdom and That Day (2 Corinthians 5:7-11).


In her post, A Farm on Every Floor, an article embracing vertical farming and gardening, Lylah captioned a photo with:  And, what would happen if we raised our kids on a farm? Think things might change?

Lylah surprised me in that post as well with a link to my own Annie’s Goat Hill blog. 

Thank you to her post, My Friend LaRue.  I finally have an idea how to display my grand-mothers colorful aprons! You need to go see!

Lylah authors more than one blog, her French inspired blog is:  La Maison Et La Jardin . I drool over that one!

I lived in France for a couple of years as a young child.  Now I have a few French-related blog posts in my drafts! My memory has been incredibly sparked! Life is good!

I think I met Lylah on Twitter.  At this point, I do not remember, and it does not matter. 






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Blog Writing Rules

typewriterBlogs…are there really any rules?

First of all, I feel there are way too “experts” stumbling upon each other,  publishing general rules about writing blogs.

In my own estimation, a blog should be an enjoyment to the writer.  Why write if the content is something the author is not passionate about? I agree that the blog creator is not writing for themselves, they are truly writing for their readers, but there has to be a level of interest for the writer to even turn out good copy.

Does it really matter if the print is left or right aligned.  One blog that I visit is normally center aligned.  I love what the writer does! I find her blog refreshing. 

If a person is writing a business blog, does content always have to be business related? Absolutely not! We are living in a period where marketing and business is returning to an “olden times way of thinking.”  Meaning, trust is so very important.  It is like going back to the era when mom and pop stores were popular.  It is important for the customer to know who they are buying from, know the integrity of the business, and to know what the business is all about.  All of this means so much more to a potential customer than putting out 100 ads a day that say, “Buy my spectacular product!” Blah, blah, blah…we get enough of that nonsense!

I agree, blogs should hold a certain level of professionalism and quality, even if the blog is simply written for family enjoyment. 

A blog should also contain valid information.  If statements are copied, credit must be given to the writer, and credit must be given to the original article.  Validity in an article is crucial!

I want to tell you a funny story.  A story about a piece of my writing.  I use a milking machine when I milk my goats.  For years I have called the cups that fit on the goat’s teats an inflator.  At one point, if you did a Google search for goat inflators you would have found blog posts, and a few articles, written my moi, yes me (tee hee).  Why just me? Because I assumed the cups were called inflators…oops…they are inflations.  Now do a search for goat inflations.  There are more articles out there than those written by Ms. Mary!!!!

Are there solid blog writing rules? Not per se’, but I do think we need to be responsible.  I love the variety in our blogs.  I love it that I have the opportunity, for example, to write as freely as I want.  This is MY opportunity to write, something that I always dreamed of doing.  I do not have to submit my work to my boss, nor do I have to submit to a publisher, but I am responsible for editing, and I am responsible for making sure my work is accurate.

Happy blogging…and please, do not get so hung up on the “rules.”  Who in the world wrote the rules on blogging anyhow? To my knowledge there weren’t/aren’t any! So, as Cheryl Phillips (The Daily Blonde, a writer that many of us associate with) said, “Just be yourself!”

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Marigolds 001

Marigolds are beautiful this season (of course, nothing to do with editing)!

Those that write blogs, letters, website updates, email, or even people that are in a profession that involves writing, all know how difficult it is to edit their own work. 

The dictionary definition of edit:  prepare for publishing.  And on that same dictionary page I see the word encyst: defined as an enclosure.  Flip to the “I’s” and find insist (pronounced exactly the same as encyst).  We all know what happens with “sounds like words,” the mind thinks one word and easily writes another.

Recently I wrote a blog post regarding shipping and handling charges.  I left out one extremely important word, which made a huge difference in interpretation.  Had I not corrected the error, I would have been paying money out my nose.  Did I proofread my work? Oh yes! First I read the original copy, a few minutes later I read the preview.  Hours later I printed the preview and read it again.    As a last check I read the final published copy on my phone.  The finished product made sense to me.  I did not see any typos. 


So, how do you edit? Perhaps you are one of the extremely blessed ones that write exactly what you are thinking, smooth as silk.  But, like me, you may write what you think, and hear what you think, but you cannot see the obvious once in print.  I listed my editing steps in the paragraph above.  What I am doing differently today is reading the post out loud.  Wow, what a difference it makes! If you do not take this step already, and if you need help with editing, try it!

Credits:  Webster’s Dictionary (1981 Thumb-Ease version, well worn), and Lynnanne (thank you) for asking questions and pointing out what was not clear.

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Updated Photos

I am not a person that likes to share my photo.  Perhaps it comes from my childhood.  I was one of those extremely shy kids that wanted to hide behind her mother’s skirts.  Those days have pretty much evaporated.  No, I am not one that likes to display myself very easily.  I am still very modest.  But I am a far cry from who I was a number of years back!

I thank my prior boss, Wendy, for chipping the remainder of that shyness away from me.  I recently met back up with Wendy, online, and we are both overjoyed to have our connections again.  She was, and still is, very inspirational to me.   Inspirations in our lives is one of my upcoming blog post topics.

Anyhow…out with the old…in with the new.  The 5 year old photo that I use on all of my accounts is going to go “poof,” and I am determined to keep up with the new.  Love my salt and pepper hair, ladies (and gents)…I no longer color.  And I am proud of it!



Mary Humphrey 006

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Google Reader & Blog Roll

I am working on adding my blog roll. Wouldn’t you know, we now have storms moving through, I lost satellite signal, and I have more blogs still to add. Technology…:)

So I am on my Samsung Smart Phone plugging away. I can publish posts from the phone but I cannot completely edit the blog from here as I would like to.

You may already use this service, I love Google Reader. I have used it for well over a year to keep track of the blogs that I follow and subscriptions (feeds) as well.

Google Reader has many different options, one of which is viewing snippets of blog posts. It really is a nice service. Saves time and helps me to stay organized. And I can use all of the free help I can get in that area!

I also use Google Reader for blog topics that I search for. It lists blog posts that contain that particular topic, a continual list, valuable to me.

I hope to have the new blog roll finished up by this time tomorrow!

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