31 January 2013

Thankful Thursday: Followers Have Become My New Muse

Devon Geiszler Lee and Penny Brown Geiszler
I missed my number one fan: Penny Geiszler
Today I'm feeling a bit of gratitude for those who follow my blog. When a person is filled with such gratitude, they should share. This post is for those wonderful people who follow my blog, leave comments, or just read anything of interest to them.

Some of you may know that my number one fan, my mother, passed away in December. I knew that her loss would be hard for a number of reasons. One of those reasons keep returning again and again, and it deals with this blog.

Last May, I went on an amazing trip to Ohio. If you missed those posts, click this label (Research Trip) to see how things went. My mother LOVED hearing about my research trip and how much information I acquired. She's the reason I got into family history and I have continued her research. Time and desire have made processing the mountain of new information a challenge. Let's just say I have barely started scratching the surface. Yet I wanted to get to it, so she could read it.

My mother enjoyed my photographing heritage artifact series a lot. So much, that when she visited me last August, she brought with her a ton of jewelry and such for me to photograph. I'm still struggling to take nice photos of bracelets, but I'll manage someday. Little did I know that these would become my inheritance.

Mom also enjoyed the heritage scrapbook series. She received the book about her for Christmas one year with a streaming trail of gratitude tears when she opened it. Since then, she shared that book with anyone and everyone. Creating that book without a guide on how to do it, inspired me to write a book Create a Family History Scrapbook Digitally in 12 Simple Steps. The book has sold a number of copies. I hope it has benefited those who struggle to piece together a heritage scrapbook that would meet some genealogy standards by sharing the wonderful stories of our ancestors in a beautiful format. Had I not created the original scrapbook for her, I would never have a treasure for my family nor a book that I can say I published.

In November, I began writing about the research I had acquired in May. I started sharing these posts in December staring with Agnes Anderson. Agnes was my mother's biological grandmother who died after her mother Louise was born. I read these posts to mom when she was in ICU. I knew she wasn't going to live but it didn't hit me how much it would hurt.

The sadness comes from this month's series of posts.I had written and post dated a series about my mother's father Lewis Brown. They started appearing in January and then it hit me. Mom wouldn't be reading these posts. Mom rarely left a common, but she'd always talk about the posts with me when we spoke by phone. Or she's tell me about it on Facebook.

To look at my follower's feed and not see her name, breaks my heart. I've often thought, why do I post these things? Who cares? Without my number one fan reading them, who really cares?

And then, a funny thing happened. In December, the follower number increased from 40 something to 50 something. It seems someone does care. And I keep hearing momma say, "Write. Even if it's just for your children. Please write. Share your talents and your research." And in continuing to write, I've found more followers. And I hear her also saying, "Write a Thank You Note." Well, I this is my thank you note.

To those who find my blog with a 'unique' name, I thank you. My blog's name was chosen as a reminder for myself to be patient as research can be slow in coming. It reminds me, that the two year mountain of information can be patiently sorted through. It now reminds me to be patient as I grieve the loss of my mother who I had hoped to share everything with.

Both of my parents are now deceased and my only brother rarely calls me. So, it's just me, my husband, my children, and you wonderful followers who get the benefit of this information. Thank you for reading, and thank you for commenting when I write a post that inspires you.

10 comments:

  1. Your post touched me very much, Devon. How sad for you to have lost your mother, who was such a supporter and booster of your research. She must have been very proud of you!

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    1. Yvonne. Thanks for the sentiment. I can say mom was proud of me. That was the one thing people said at her funeral over and over again. My grandmother passed away last January. My aunt, whom Grannie lived with 9 years before she died, said little things will remind me of mom. I have a lot of peace at her passing, but yeah, my aunt's right. Thanks for letting me know I touched you. It lifted my low spirits.

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  2. Thanks for this post, Devon. It reminded me to be patient and that I should also thank my followers. What a difference a comment can make on a blog you've worked hard on. I love blogging. It gives me a chance to sort and organize my thoughts.

    Regards, Grant

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    1. Grant... So true. What a difference a comment makes. And yes, we need to be patient. But, I wanted to thank you for you comment. It means a lot.

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  3. You recognize that your mom would have wanted you to continue blogging, because I'm sure she recognized that you enjoyed sharing your stories and your knowledge about photography and scrapbooking. Keep up the good work!

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    1. Elizabeth, your comment means so much to me. I follow your avidly, though I forget to write sometime. Sorry. In any case, thanks for recognizing my talents and encouraging me to work. I do think mom would have said exactly what you did.

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  4. Devon, what a heartfelt story. You are very generous to share it, as many of us can relate to your experience.

    We may never truly know who will benefit from the information and stories we share. True, your husband and children will be the primary beneficiaries today. Others whom you would expect to benefit from your blog may not be interested today, but who knows about tomorrow?

    One thing I’ve learned is that not everyone shares our interest in genealogy and family history. (Hard to believe, but true!) That is okay. Some may eventually become curious in time or on the heels of a life-changing event. Others – your descendants or “collateral” relatives – may one day stumble on your writing, long after you are gone. (More followers!) And those to whom it WILL matter will be grateful to you for all you’ve done.

    I’d also venture to say that they’ll thank your mother for instilling in you such a deep love of family. Maybe she is guiding your hand from Heaven even now as you write these wonderful stories.

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    1. Linda... your comments take the cake for giving me tears of comfort. I can't thank you enough. Responses should be specific, but your whole comment touched me so deeply. Thank you. I was a bit low and started to feel lifted up by the other comments. Not to compare at all. I will say, the summation of all the comments plus yours made me feel so much better. I am glad I shared what was on my heavy hear today. I received so much back. Thank you.

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  5. Oh Devon,

    I'm so sorry to hear about your mom. Please accept my condolences.

    This post is very sweet. It sounds like you brought much joy to your mom through your family history efforts. She must have been so proud of you.

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    1. Jana... thank you for the condolences and taking time to comment. You're such a busy blogger and it really means a lot. I think I did bring a lot of joy to mom as she knew I would continue what she started.

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