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Today is the one year anniversary of my first blog post on A Thousand Shades of Gray. When I pressed the publish button that first time, I had no idea where this was headed or what it would become, I just knew I had to start, I had to do it. And that’s exactly what the initial post was all about–the starting, the beginning, and how hard it could be. And yet, as I said then, “That wish, first whispered when I was in the second grade, was still there: I want to be a writer.”

Fortune on my computer monitor

the picture from that first post

Even though a year ago, I felt uneasy saying it, I have since claimed it.

I am a writer.

But what came first is “I am a blogger.” This first year was about starting, about maintaining a writing practice in a public space, connecting with an audience of kind and gentle readers as well as a community of like-minded and like-hearted bloggers, developing my craft, finding my voice.

In the next year, I would like to continue these things, but I also have a few new goals. I’d like to get professional pictures taken. When I met Andrea Scher for the first time in person this summer, she said something like “you should get new pictures taken for your blog, the ones you have don’t show how beautiful you really are.” I agree that someone who knows what they are doing would do a better job capturing my likeness than my attempts at self-portraits. And almost every picture that Eric tries to take of me turns out terrible, makes me look older, angrier, tireder, and heavier. I’d like to have some better shots of me to use “professionally.”

I’d also like, in the next year, to have a “real” site. I want to design, build, and host my own blog, so that it is more individual, unique to me than is possible with a WordPress template, to learn those things, develop my skill set, and make my blog more professional, (there’s that word again). I aspire some day to no longer need my paid work at CSU because I am instead writing and publishing, teaching ecourses, running workshops and retreats, teaching writing and meditation and yoga, helping people discover a wholehearted life. I’d like to build a robust platform for my work, a place I can grow into as I develop such offerings.

our fortunes from last night’s dinner

And yet, the most important things will continue on as my priorities: the writing, my readers, my mission to remind all of us of basic goodness, to inspire us all to live wholehearted lives, supporting that aspiration in any way I can, and continuing to connect with a larger community that shares these goals.

The most important thing to recognize on this anniversary: You, my kind and gentle readers. Without you, this would be a worthwhile exercise, a valuable effort and practice, but emptier and certainly lonelier. I feel so much gratitude and so much love for you, am so thankful that you continue to show up, to listen and respond, to encourage and allow me to sometimes do the same for you. Thank you, thank you, thank you.