I’m number 44!

award

I received a message from Feedbot, that they named Picnic with Ants one of the top 100 chronic illness blogs.

You can see all of the blogs and websites who are honored to be listed in the top 100 here. 

This is the introduction from Feedbot explaining their ranking criteria:

“Chronic Illness Blogs List

chronic illness is a human health condition or disease that is persistent or otherwise long-lasting in its effects or a disease that comes with time. The term chronicis often applied when the course of the disease lasts for more than three months.

These are the Best Chronic Illness blogs from thousands of top Chronic Illness blogs in our index using search and social metrics. Data will be refreshed once a week.

These blogs are ranked based on following criteria

  • Google reputation and Google search ranking
  • Influence and popularity on Facebook, twitter and other social media sites
  • Quality and consistency of posts.
  • Feedspot’s editorial team and expert review”

 

There are some great blogs listed, so be sure to check the 100 Best Chronic Illness Blogs according to Feedbot.

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BraveHeart Award!

braveheartawardI have been nominated for the Brave Heart Award by former winner, Madelyn Griffith-Haynie, MCC, SCAC of ADD and so much more.  Madelyn is an ADD Advocate, ADD Coach and Mentor, and ADD Poster Girl”, but she is so much more!  Madelyn not only helps those with ADD, she helps others (like me) who live with someone who has ADD…and again, she does So Much More!  Madelyn is not only a survivor of abuse from many people who just don’t understand living with ADD…and more, she is also a survivor of a vicious attack.  She and a friend were mugged at gunpoint.  With bones and bodies healing; it was time for a realization that these attackers hurt more than her body, her mental health was also hurt.  She is a strong survivor of abuse!!  Please read more about this wonderful woman, how she has been dealing with the aftermath of her attack, and how she helps so many with ADD world…and so much more!  Thank you Madelyn, you are a great inspiration!

Remember you can find Madelyn at http://addandsomuchmore.com

Rules for Accepting the Award

  1. Thank the person who nominated you.
  2. Take the 12 question interview and share it on your blog. (see my interview below)
  3. Nominate 12 blogs.  (my list of nominees are at the bottom of the post)
  4. You cannot nominate blogs that have already won the Brave Heart Award.
  5. Share your 12 nominees website/blog links on your blog page. 
  6. Include the Quote below with the notification to your nominees.

Madelyn formatted this to be ADD-friendly – it has “shorter paragraphs and (is) slightly adapted” — I used this version to be able to nominate those dealing with chronic illnesses (both physical and mental) – “abuse that results from the actions and comments from the many who simply don’t understand. The original version contained the word “abuse” alone, which has a more specific meaning to those who have been physically or sexually abused – or to those diagnosed with PTSD.”  The original version can be found at the bottom of this post, right before the list of my nominees.  (the words in quotations are Madelyn’s words.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Stand Strong You Are Not Alone

I call you a survivor, because that is what you are. There are days when you don’t feel like a survivor and there are days when the memories trigger your past and it feels like you are losing the fight – but you are not. Take the past and heal with it. You are strong.

I want you to know that any abuse you experience as a result of your diagnosis is not your fault. It does not matter what age it happened. You did not deserve it, you did not cause it, and you did not bring it on yourself. You own no shame, guilt, or remorse.

In your life, you have faced many demons, but look around you and you will see there is hope and there is beauty. You are beautiful, You are loved, there is hope.

You deserve to be loved and treated with respect. You deserve peace and joy in your life. Don’t settle for anything less than that. God has plans for you. Your future does not have to be dictated by your past.

Each step you take you are not alone. Stand Strong.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

12 Interview Questions:

1.Tell us a little bit about your blog. Who designed it?
2. What is the title and description of your blog?
3. Who is your intended audience?
4. How did you come up with the title of your blog?
5. Give us an interesting fun fact about your blog.
6. What other blogs do you own and what makes them alike?
7. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?
8. How can we contact you or find out more about your blog?
9. What can we expect from you in the future?
10. What can readers who enjoy your blog do to help make your blog more successful?
11. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers/bloggers?
12. Before you go, could you share a snippet from your blog?

First – Thank you Madelyn for nominating me!

 The answers to my interview questions:

1.Tell us a little bit about your blog. Who designed it?

I used a template from WordPress to design my blog.  It takes me forever to go through all the Themes and find just the right one that I think fits just right.  I don’t want my blog to be too busy.  I like a Custom Header of some size, and a Custom Background.  I update the look of my blog about once a year.  Right now I’m using the Yoko theme.  I found an black and white image on line that was free to use and changed it up a bit with Photoshop. (I cropped it, changed small things in the image, changed the background color, and added the ants).  At some point I may pay to change this to my own domain instead of using the free WordPress options, but right now, this works for me.  (when working on changing the look of my blog I have a private blog that looks like this one and do all the tweaking there, then I change things on my real blog easily and no one is bothered by my constant changing to get it just right.)

2. What is the title and description of your blog?

The title of my blog is Picnic With Ants.    When I first started my blog it was just to help me deal with what was happening to me.  (the rapid progression of Meniere’s disease.)  I also wanted to talk about the other chronic illnesses I have.  There are a few Tabs at the top of my blog that you can check out to learn more about what my blog is all about.  This blog has grown because I found I was reaching people who suddenly found they were not alone.  Just helping one person not feel alone when dealing with chronic illnesses, is worth all the work I put into this blog.

3. Who is your intended audience?

Oops, I kind of answered this in the last question…..but I’ll be more specific.  My intended audience is anyone who has a chronic illness (physical or mental), even if it isn’t one of the illness I have, there is a comradeship found with those who deal with illnesses on a daily basis.  Hopefully, this blog can also help those who care for and love people with chronic illnesses.  Truthfully, I started this blog to help me, I was the intended audience.  That has grown, still I write to not only help others, but to help me deal with my every day struggles as a person with chronic illnesses.  I invite others to join me on my journey and share their stories with me.

4. How did you come up with the title of your blog?

I came up with many titles before sticking with this one.  I actually got suggestions from friends and had a poll for the most liked name, and Picnic With Ants won.  It was too difficult to come up with a name that covered everything that I wanted to talk about on my blog.  As I tell in the sidelines, I like to think of my life as a wonderful picnic, then the ants come and bite me in the butt!  (the “Ants” are my chronic illnesses).

5. Give us an interesting fun fact about your blog.

Let me think……an interesting fun fact.  I laugh a lot and share this with my readers.  I share the good, the bad, and the very ugly.  I think some people are shocked at some of the things I’m willing to share, but that’s a part of this life.  A fun fact…despite being disabled due to my chronic illnesses, and at times mostly house bound, I normally find humor in every day.  I share much of this with my readers.  My husband and I have the most loving and amazing relationship!  We giggle and laugh…A LOT!  There is much miscommunication due to my hearing loss….for example, I once thought I heard him say that Jesus was Jimmy Buffett!

6. What other blogs do you own and what makes them alike?

I have 2 other blogs that I used to keep up with very diligently, but as I have had to start dealing more with my health, I have let the other blogs go.  One is called Create to Heal…it is about being creative to help in the healing process.  I am a trained artist, and I believe creating makes people feel better.  Often it can help you say things that you can’t say with words.  I still create art and write, but I do not have the energy to work on blog posts to share this with others.  My other blog is called Wendy Cooks….it’s about cooking while have Fructose Malabsorption and Gluten Intolerance.  I haven’t been posting in this blog because my balance issues and vertigo have made it impossible for me to cook on a regular basis (I hate to admit I’m not cooking any more because I love it)   How are these blogs alike???  They all deal with illnesses and healing.  Reaching out to others and sharing how I deal with being sick.

7. Do you have any unique talents or hobbies?

I’m an artist.  I can’t do everything I used to, but I still draw in pencil and ink, I also paint.  My husband says I have many talents that I just don’t think I see….so perhaps he’d be better at answering this question…..hummm that might be a Too Much Information Moment.  *giggle*  Hobbies…I love to read, write with dip calligraphy pens….I’m trying to learn more about calligraphy, make up silly songs about our cat and things around the house, watching cartoons……let’s say I try to stay busy.

8. How can we contact you or find out more about your blog?

I guess the best way to find out more about my blog is to just look around.  Comment, and ask questions.  If you want to contact me directly check out my About Me page and for more information.  I’m always happy to hear from people.

9. What can we expect from you in the future?

Hopefully a lot more posts.  I want to talk more about the different chronic illnesses I deal with, instead of focusing primarily (almost exclusively) on Meniere’s Disease.  More of my artwork to go with posts.  Hopefully, more guest writers who can share their stories and give hints on how they handle day-to-day life.  I also plan to talk more about how people with any type of illness can deal with life in general.  (Hygiene, Oral Hygiene, Sex, Food, Stress Reduction…..ect.)  If there is any subject anyone wants me to cover please drop me a line and let me know.

10. What can readers who enjoy your blog do to help make your blog more successful?

Make sure and let me know what you enjoy the most.  Tell me what you would like to read more about.  If you have something to share, please reach out and do a guest post.  Share with others that you found a blog you really like.  : )  Mostly, just keep me informed, if I start to be boring don’t just drift away, tell me…..I may need a kick in the pants!  Who knows I may just need to know someone out there cares about what I have to say!  And always click LIKE if you like a post.  Comment if you want to hear more on the subject.  Share with others so I know many are interested.

11. Do you have any tips for readers or advice for other writers/bloggers?

Speak from your heart.  Even if you have a humor blog, make sure you are sharing humor that touches you.  Read.  If you like to write, you have to love to read.  If you want to grow your blog, visit many blogs, like a post so the writers knows you were there, follow blogs that interest you….it all comes back to you.  The biggest advice I have for writers is to reread your posts and edit your grammar and spelling.  (this is something I think is very important, but something I often don’t find myself doing….I promise to do better)  If your blog is important to you, that should be all that counts.  I write because it helps me.  I continue to write publicly because I feel my writing has helped others in some small way.  Just as other blogs have helped me.

12. Before you go, could you share a snippet from your blog?

One post on my blog that has meant so much to me is My Songs Of Silence.
This was part of the WEGO Health Activist Writers Month Challenge in 2012.  At the time I was losing my hearing pretty fast (I’m deaf now), the challenge for the day was to create a song for your health focus or your blog.  I could no longer hear music….but I must say, I think a friend of mine and I came up with a pretty cleaver theme song.  I hope you enjoy it.

The original version of Stand Strong You Are Not Alone

Stand Strong You Are Not Alone

I call you a survivor, because that is what you are. There are days when you don’t feel like a survivor and there are days when the memories trigger your past and it feels like you are losing the fight – but you are not. Take the past and heal with it. You are strong. I want you to know that the abuse was not your fault. It does not matter what age it happened. You did not deserve it, you did not cause it, and you did not bring it on yourself. You own no shame, guilt, or remorse. In your life, you have faced many demons but look around you and you will see there is hope, and there is beauty. You are beautiful, You are loved, there is hope. You deserve to be loved and treated with respect. You deserve peace and joy in your life. Don’t settle for anything less than that. God has plans for you. Your future does not have to be dictated by your past.

Each step you take you are not alone. Stand Strong.

My Nominees

In no particular order.

To all my nominees:  You are some of the bravest people I know!  I am honored to know each and every one of you.  I know many of you may not be able to do everything required to receive this award, but know, in my heart, you are all Brave Warriors!!

  1. Phylor’s Blog: Pain, Poetry, Bipolar, Prose (and a little bit of whimsy..)
  2. Soul Comfort’s Corner: This lovely lady deserves this award.  I have learned so much about her over the time we have followed each others blogs and emailed each other.  I know she won’t accept this award, because she doesn’t do things like this….but I wanted her to know how much I think she is a BRAVE HEART!
  3. Hibernationnow’s Blog: Life with Fibromyalgia, and so much more….
  4. Bipolar BarbieQ : Writing about Bipolar, and life
  5. Lipreading Mom : Hard of Hearing, Deaf, Bullies….
  6. Another Boomer’s Blog : Hard of Hearing, Deaf, ASL…..
  7. Extraordinary Spin-ster!: Meniere’s, Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and ADD
  8. Meniere’s Warrior :  Life with Meniere’s Disease
  9. Miss Crabby Ass : A Bipolar Lady
  10. Adventures of a Deaf Adult : Deaf, Hard of Hearing, Cochlear Implants
  11. Sunshine and Chaos: Living with Invisible Chronic Illness
  12. Taking Life for a Spin : Living with Vertigo and Chronic Illness

I’m so very honored! I’m a Finalist for the TMI- Wego Health Blog Award!

I’ve been chosen a finalist for the TMI (Too Much Information) Wego Health Blog Award.    I was thrilled and humbled when I was nominated, I couldn’t have asked for more.  Today I spent the entire day at Duke..running between clinics, and getting an MRI…today was long and often painful.  When I got home I collapsed in a tub, and finally around 10pm checked my email, and found 2 friends congratulating me on being named a finalist.  I was stunned.  Speechless – yes, I know that’s hard to believe, don’t worry it didn’t last long.  More than anything, I feel so honored.

I’ve been so busy the past few days I completely forgot they were going to be announcing the finalist, so this was a huge shock!

Please be sure to go to the WEGO Health Blog to find out all the finalist in each category!  Including my friend Kelly Wahle with her blog Fly With Hope, is a finalist for the Health Activist Hero Award!!  I’m so proud of you Kelly, for all you do!  You are such an amazing woman!

The other finalist for the TMI award are:

Mo- Mommy Odyssey

Jacquie Wojcik – Bad Pancreas

Sara – A Girl With Guts

Jenni Schaeffer – Jenni’s Guts

Brynn Hultquist – Lupus Interrupted

Be sure to check out these awesome Health Advocates.

But, beware, we are finalist for the TMI (Too Much Information) Award.  We “always goes there – no matter how personal or embarrassing the story.”

Why did I decide to tell it all, no matter how personal or embarrassing?  I was going through a very rough time with one of my chronic illnesses (Meniere’s Disease), I searched and searched to find out more about it.  I wanted to know if other’s were experiencing the same things I was.  I couldn’t find the ugly details.  People would mention having an attack, but no one ever gave any real details other than, having vertigo and vomiting for hours.  I talked to a few people privately and found that many were having some of the same things I was experiencing happen to them, but they were uncomfortable talking about it.

I was sure there had to be other’s like me, who want to know all the nitty-gritty details, to know they are not alone with what they are going through.  I then decided, I wanted to tell it all!  I want people to feel they can talk about what goes on behind closed doors, when we are alone with our illnesses.

After a few posts detailing the dark and ugly side of my illnesses, I was praised by my readers for being so open and honest.  When I wrote in detail about one of my vertigo attacks, I heard from many who were relieved to hear, they were not the only one who went through these things.  One very special reader, who fights her own battles with chronic illnesses, told me that post was the most terrifying thing she’d ever read.  I cried and cried after reading that.  I felt validated.  I was so relieved that people could understand, even people who do not suffer from Meniere’s Disease could read that post and “get it”.

I knew then, I needed to be a voice to this illness, and the other chronic issues I have.  I wanted to break down the stigma of telling it like it is.

No matter what the outcome of this award….I can not be happier than I am right now.  Being nominated by a reader, then after a very detailed process to pick the finalists…I am just so humbled to be in the same category as the bloggers mentioned above.

And I will continue to tell it all, the good, the bad, and the very ugly.  I hope you will keep me company along the way.


The Versatile Blogger Award

My friend, Maureen (otherwise known as Mo) from Day by Day with the Addison Girl, awarded me the Versatile Blogger Award!

As recipient of The Versatile Blogger Award, you must tell 7 things about yourself that your readers might not know.  Then pass the award along to 5 other deserving bloggers.

Whew….both of these things are tough.  The first part because, I’m kind of an open book.  There isn’t much I haven’t told on this blog at some point.  But I’ll try to think of something, hope I can keep your interest.

The second part is very tough, because I read some amazing blogs, to narrow it down to just 5…that’s tough.  Some have been narrowed down for me because I see they’ve won the award before, so to be fair I won’t pass it along to them.  But still, I read some amazing blogs, this is just a sample.

Seven Things You May Not Know About Me.

1. I sleep with a stuffed Monkey.  His name is Monkey Monkey Monkey…no really it is, I have his birth certificate and everything.

Monkey Monkey Monkey!

2.  I wear a size 4 in Boys Converse All Stars.  My favorite kind of shoes!  My hubby says I have baby feet.  I say that’s the real reason I can’t balance very well, my feet are too small to keep me steady.

I wore shoes just like these at my wedding reception. (I was barefoot during the ceremony) The entire wedding party wore Converse!

3. I have been known to snort and pee my pants when I can’t stop laughing.  Well, sometimes I’ll just snort when I laugh and it makes me laugh harder and harder, often while saying….”did you hear me snort?”   So glad I can laugh at myself now.  When I was a kid that horrified me.  (it’s still quite embarrassing to pee your pants though).

4. I didn’t fly in a commercial plane until I was in my 30’s.  I did fly in a little two-seater once before that, but for just a quick jaunt, I also went up in a helicopter before flying in a commercial plane!  (my father worked for the SC State Forestry, you know Smokey Bear, and he got me these rides in the plane and helicopter that they used for fighting fires.)

5.  As a rule, I hate to drive with other people in the car.  However, there are a few people who scare really scare me to ride with, so I always drive when we go places.

6.   I’m a huge Vincent Price Fan, and own an original Dr. Phibes Action Figure.  (The Abominable Dr. Phibes was Vincent Price’s 100th movie.)

7.  As you may know, I have a degree in art.  What you probably didn’t know, is that I was originally a math major.

So, how many of those things did you know about me?  It’s not fair if you know me in person!

I will now pass this award on to 5 bloggers…..and here they are, in no particular order….

  • Sunshine and Chaos – Maureen (a different Maureen than the one who awarded this to me) sums up her blog as:  “Things that amuse and bemuse me as I wander the wilderness that is invisible chronic illness.”   I love her description, and don’t think I could add a thing.
  • Fly with Hope – Kelly shows tremendous courage in her blog.  She doesn’t hide, she opens her heart and shows people what it’s like to live how she has to live.  Kelly has a deep relationship with God, that helps her deal with many chronic illnesses.  She describes her blog as “The thoughts of a woman who loves Jesus and is navigating her way through chronic illness.”   Be prepared when you read Kelly’s blog to see the dark side of her illnesses and feel the light she keeps shining to get through each day.
  • Creativity to the Max – Judith/Judy is an extremely talented and giving woman who lives with chronic illness and helps others.  Her posts can be very funny, poignant, sad, instructive, loving….  Even when her post have a touch of sadness, you can feel her sense of humor.  She makes me laugh nearly every day, either by one of her post, or from comment’s she has left on mine.  (of course, I should mention, that she’s really just Max’s human, and he is the real brains behind this blog.)
  • SoulComfort’s Corner – Rita is a creative, high spirited woman who is housebound due to health issues.  She “talk(s) about any art or craft project (she’s) currently involved in, the weather, movies, books, health, spirit, life, and (her) cat Karma.”  Her blog is comfortable, once you start reading it you feel you have found a friend…and you have.
  • A Day In The Life With Meniere’s – As the title says, Angelea, tells about her life with Meniere’s.  She also talks about life in general.  Angelea has a positive outlook, Is a great support and reminds us to live in the moment.

 

If you would like to pass your award along and participate in the Versatile Blogger Award, just tell us about yourself and let us know about five of your favorite blogs.  If not, that’s OK too.