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Ohio, United States
Happily married for lots of years to great guy, mother of one wonderful daughter. I have lots of interests and wished I had more time to explore them all.

Monday, May 4, 2015

A-Z Reflections Post.

I've recently changed the badge in the right sidebar from Challenge to Survivor!  Meaning I made it.  Not everyone does so they make us a new badge.  Bridge and Beyond was #856, meaning I was the 856th blog to sign up for the challenge.  When the challenge finished there were 1516 on the linky list, but Bridge and Beyond was then #681.  That indicates how many blogs left the challenge or were deleted when it was noticed there were non compliant.  There are others in the 1516 that didn't finish, but there's no way to really know that number.

As part of the tradition we're asked to write a reflection post and again sign up on a linky.  The day to post to the linky starts today and runs through the 8th.

Each year I've done this I've pretty much said the same thing, because my experience has pretty much been the same thing.  Part of the reason to write the reflection is to tweak the way the challenge operates, though in all honesty, I can't see that's there's been any changes in it since I first started doing this 4 or 5 years ago.  Though I know many people do write good suggestions in their reflection post.  Most suggest eliminating frustration.

I'm also always disappointed in the people who really don't participate, in that they list their blog for links, but don't really visit other blogs.  Disappointed in that far too many bloggers don't reciprocate the visits and comments.  I always make tons more then I receive back; but........this might be the first year I actually thought  participating  was beneficial.  I really hadn't plan to do it again because of previous years negative feelings.  But, this blog is not one I'd used before, in fact didn't think I could make it work.

I was a bit down, because donations, visits, and comments had all fallen off and I'd pretty much run out of ideas of ways to promote the blog and it's mission, Helping the Homeless; and thought I'd give it one last try.  I'm glad I did.  I wanted to help spread the word about the need, wanted to help educate people how sad the plight of a homeless person truly is.  I believe I did that, based on the comments I received.  I know several bloggers said they were getting out knitting needles and crochet hooks to see what they could do.  Most indicated they were going to see what they might do locally, as oppose to helping Bridge and Beyond per sey, but..........there are many people in need.  The fact that they now want to help, that they know more now then they did before April is in fact a success in my book.  I gained a few additional followers.  Believe Bridge and Beyond had 294 followers when the challenge began and it now has 317.  Not a huge growth, I know some blogs gained hundreds; but every additional follower is a potential pair of helping hands, each person who visited and comment the same, and so...I call it worthwhile.  Yes, again this year I spent lots of time writing the posts, visiting other blogs far more then were reciprocated; but.......my primary goal, I believe was attained.

I'll mention changes I've mentioned before, things I think would vastly improve frustration with the challenge.  I think once someone signs up, the blog needs to be checked vs waiting until the challenge begins.  Elementing link seekers from the get go would improve everyone's experience.  If they don't post the badge with the link after signing on, they're probably not going to.  If their blog is one that you must join something to leave a comment, they probably aren't going to participate, if they have comments closed...we know they have no attention of participating.  If blog comments can only be made through google+ it waste enormous amounts of time for those who visit them.  I also think the badge needs to be above the fold, not clear at the bottom of a very very long blog.  Much like the scenario of writing our reflection post BEFORE we link, I think the badge should appear and the other requirements fulfilled right after signing up, if not before.  Checking as people sign up, would surely be much easier then trying to check after the fact.  I also think it should be mandatory that people actually use the link to their blog not their profile pages both in the linky and when they make blog visits.

Here's my ABC listing of Challenge Posts.  The top comments were for The C, F, and L posts, with 30-28-and 27 comments including my responses to peoples comments.  A couple I considered to be some of the more important posts would be B, F, O, P, and T

A=Afghans, Family Heirlooms
B= Bridge and Beyond, Behind the Scenes
C=What is Crochet
D=Donations
E=Exposure Kills Homeless Vet
F= Crying and Homeless and Freezing Temperature
G= Gubbio, A Homeless Project, St. Boniface Church
H=Hobo and Homelessness
I= Inspiration
J= What is Joy
K=Knitting
L=Knitting Looms
M=Mittens, Knitted, Crocheted or Loomed
N=Caring for the Needy
O=Jack Otis, Classmate, Homeless
P=Policing the Homeless
Q=Quilting Can Warm Those in Need
R=Helping Homeless with Rain Poncho's and Recycling
S=Shelter Living and the Homeless
T=Tent Cities for Homeless
U=Living Under the Underpasses
V=Homeless Veterans, Rest in Peace
W=Water in Doorways, Sprays Homeless
X=Xenophobia
Y=Yarn Helps Homeless
Z=Finding Zen


All donations regardless of size and number are valued. All donations are appreciated. The Power of One is awesome, and when we work together The Power of One becomes The Power of Many.

48 comments:

  1. CONGRATULATIONS ON A WONDERFUL JOB SANDY.your dedication to the cause shines through and as usual you are doing well to support the things you believe in. I so enjoyed reading all of the pieces you wrote and the comments you received. If everyone who participated fulfills the good thoughts of the day you did a good job(if not, you did everything possible to make people aware) spreading the word and getting people fired up to help not only on the Bridge, but in their own communities, the need is great no matter where you live.
    Storms tore through our area last night with the biggest hail I have ever seen. Going out today to look at the damage, hope my new things poking through the ground survived. Had just moved some houseplants etc. out on the front porch yesterday, kind of a dissapointment after the warm beautiful days we had all experienced here. Worry about how the homeless survive such a diluge. I was cowering in the house worrying about my yard and windows. For those who had no yard or windows I am sure it was a horrifying experience. GOD BLESS THE HOMELESS. marj in minnesota

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  2. Thank you Marj, your sweet comments always make me smile. I so deeply appreciate your consistent loving support.

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  3. Thank you for thoughtful reflection. My experiences of the administrative side were slightly different, but I’ve been also participating for the first time. It was interesting to read a reflection from somebody who has been participating for many years.

    As I mentioned on my blog: I really like and appreciate your blog and your A2Z theme. I’m a bit confused right now, I’m pretty sure I read (and commented on) some of your posts, but I can’t find them now. But you were the only blog about homeless people, weren’t you? I recall e.g. an article about gift bags that were always in (your?) car.

    I understand your frustration that many don’t visit as many blogs as you did. I’ve to confess that I was one of them. I wrote in my reflection that I really regret that I didn’t prewrite my posts. I didn’t have as much time to visit as many blogs as I wanted to. However, I revisit everybody who has been visiting my blog (Ok, may happen that I missed one accidentally). First and most important, I’m curious about my visitors, I want to know what they’re thinking and blogging about. Second, it’s also a matter of courtesy.

    I wish you all the best and thank you for all you’re doing!

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    1. No, don't believe you were here before. I wrote about alot of things, but not gift bags, so there must have been another homeless blog; though I never came across one. If you think about who it was, please let me know.

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    2. Hah! I found it! Her A2Z theme was An Intimate Look at the Homeless and Mental Health Epidemic in America. http://doreenmcgettigan.com/ :)

      I added your blog to my RSS feed, because I really appreciate your effort! I'm quite sensibel to the homeless topic. I was writing for a homeless magazine in my teens. During the last 3 years, I've been also very aware of how 'easy' it is to become homeless. If I hadn't had a supportive family that was able to help me with my rent, I wouldn't have had the life I'm having now. I was very ill (mentally), and didn't manage my life at all.

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    3. Thank you for the follow up, truly appreciated. Will hop over to her blog. So sorry you had trouble, but thankful you had help and got through it all.

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    4. Thank you! :) All the best to you and your family

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  4. Thank you for commenting on my reflections post. I'll reply to you there soon. This is a great blog with an important purpose. I am in the UK, but share an interest in knitting and crochet. There are projects such as @knitforpeace and local ones over here. Congratulations on completing the challenge and increasing your readership. Sue’s Trifles

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    1. Thank you Sue for the visit, nice to know you're a fellow knitter and are able to participate in good causes on your side of the ocean.

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  5. I also left more comments than I received, but it seems that the sites that did not comment back were new, so maybe they just weren't in the practice of returning all comments yet. I know when I first started blogging, I didn't automatically know the courtesies of good blogging. I also read many blogs and then couldn't find the comment button.

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    1. The sites I visited weren't new, in fact just the opposite those with lots of followers and lots of comments were the ones I had issues with. But, like you the ones you tried to leave a comment on and couldn't were also frustrating. But, very happy to have met you.

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  6. Good reflections post! You brought up some good points about making sure blogs were participating by displaying the badge at the top of the blog, etc. Like I said before, my biggest frustration was leaving comments and after a bit if it wasn't easy to leave one, I didn't take a lot of time trying to figure it out. I averaged about 20% of return visits from blogs I visited, but did try to visit every blog that visited me. I'm sure I probably missed a few but I was following lots of blogs and helping out, etc., so it was a bit hectic at times :)

    I gained followers, but I don't take much stock in followers because some I gained never commented on a single post of mine so makes me wonder did they follow me so I would follow them back?

    betty

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    1. Good point on the following Betty. I am so glad to have found you and look forward to on going reading.

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  7. Congrats! on finishing A to Z. You had a great theme dealing with a social, economic, and spiritual problem this country has. Awareness is the first step. Action is the next,

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    1. Thank you Stephen, I appreciate your support.

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  8. Thank you for your thoughts on A to Z. I'm glad to hear the positive reports.

    Like you say the negatives are mostly the same and not just for this Challenge. As I've said elsewhere, I see this Challenge as a sort of microcosmic reflection on life, blogging , and people as they are. You can't depend on a lot of folks to play by rules or be considerate of others. The management of the list is a huge chore that has been placed in the hands of volunteers who receive nothing from their efforts other than the satisfaction of doing it and for whatever recognition they receive from doing it. Each volunteer has their own circumstances that affect how they can participate. With the list divided up as it is some parts will be closely attended to while other parts might not receive adequate attention. It just kind of the way things are and under the circumstances we do our best with the time we have.

    There is an almost ideal solution of having an automated list, but that would probably be tremendously expensive to create. I've know this for a while but have yet to figure out how to do this. It's on my someday wish list.

    In any case, we do what we can and blogging is what it is. The Challenge has a lot of benefits but it also magnifies and intensifies some of the flaws within blogging and social media. We're dealing with people and you know how that can go sometimes.

    Thanks for your patience and continued support. And thanks for an excellent Reflections report.

    Arlee Bird
    A to Z Challenge Co-host
    Tossing It

    Out

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    1. Right you are Arlene, people are people. Thanks to all the volunteers for participating, a huge job.

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  9. Thanks for visiting my blog today Sandy. I have wondered where you went. Interesting blog!

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    1. So nice of you to stop by, glad to be re-connected Paula.

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  10. I've learnt a lot from the whole experience, both from visiting other blogs and from the process itself. The main thing I'm taking away is to prepare well in advance - and not to decide to take part at the last minute on a whim.

    Thanks for all your visits and support, Sandy.

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    1. Right you are Sheila, writing all the posts ahead is a huge plus, it still takes a good deal of time to make all the visitis.

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  11. I enjoyed reading your reflection. I never knew what a job it is to have a blog and keep it up. I have enjoyed reading all the comments that have been posted.

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    1. I tell people running Bridge and Beyond is my job, there isn't a day that I'm not writing blog posts, opening boxes, sending thank you's, taking photo's, promoting the blog via visiting other blogs, returning blog comments...and sometimes I actually get to knit or crochet, lol. Thank you for your visits, comments, and donations...I value your support.

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  12. Congrats for nailing it and enjoyed reading your reflection.
    Cheerz

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    1. Thanks for your visit, appreciate it, hope to see you here again.

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  13. I get your frustration with people not participating even though they signed up or doing things like linking to Google+ that makes it difficult to comment. The hosts try to clean up the list for bad links before April starts and then police it as the month goes on but we also want to encourage people before just zapping them off the list. Your suggestions are excellent and show your thoughtfulness in how the challenge could be improved.

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    1. Actually I was told they don't clean up the links before the challenge starts. I sent several problems to them and was told they would review the list once the challenge begins. I think doing things before hand would be a HUGE improvement.

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    2. I'm not sure who gave you that information because we were removing or fixing a number of bad links prior to the Challenge. I know my team and I were checking links almost from the beginning as were some of the other co-hosts.

      Arlee Bird
      A to Z Challenge Co-host

      Tossing It Out

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    3. Good to know Arleen, many thanks for the follow up. I don't remember whom I was talking to at the point, but I'm glad to know that info was wrong.

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  14. this challenge is quite an extensive undertaking - i was a minion and we are assigned a set of numbers to check on before and during the challenge. we note those who look like they may not participate, then revisit them and see if they do. Arlee was cutting blogs out daily, chop chop!

    but meeting folks like you makes the lack of responses worth it!

    re: the homeless, i've often wondered what circumstances bring them to that place. if i was a reporter, i'd try to interview some of them and ask. thanks for all you do for them!

    hope we can meet someday =)

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    1. Thanks so much Tara, would love to meet, sing out next time you're here. I'm with you on the interviewing, I think if we could gain more insight it would be helpful.

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  15. Yay! We did it!! I need to change my side bar graphic, too. This is my fourth year to participate in the challenge, but I have never written a reflection post. That's probably because I never really have a theme, other than photos.

    This year I didn't visit as much as I did in the past. I have some family things going on that take a lot of my free time, and by the time I got home around 10 p.m., I was too tired to do anything else. And working full time besides...there just wasn't enough time do do all I would have liked to do.

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    1. Right you are, life sometimes gets in the way, we just plug away as best we can.

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  16. You did it! Thank you so much for commenting on my blog and I think your blog is valuable. If you reach one person you have succeeded. One person can give so much more to others in their area or donate to what you do. I have no idea how you put your link under your comment. I am not saavy that way but I like that and wish i knew how to do that. I will be writing my reflections post tomorrow with the Insecure Writers support group(even though i am not a writer)

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    1. Will hop over and help you with the hyperlink thing. It's a handy tool to have. I so agree with you about reaching even just one, but am pleased we reached a good number.

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  17. We do check the links before we begin and catch some of those site. Some still slip through the cracks though. We did eliminate almost four hundred non-participants.
    I think low return comments has been a common issue this year. Which is a shame.
    Glad this year you had a positive experience and brought traffic to your site and to your cause.

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    1. Thank you Alex, this cause is near and dear to my heart. Thanks too for the follow up on the fixing links etc.

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  18. I'm sorry that I fell behind during the challenge, and didn't get to visit you as often as I would've liked. Thanks for all of the good you do, and I'm glad I met you through A to Z!

    Julie

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    1. Thank you Julie, hope you'll pop in often and support us with visits and comments. We always need cheerleaders to keep our knitters and crocheters going.

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  19. You are doing a great job for the homeless Sandy! Good luck with your work! I was unable to comment on many blogs as they permitted comments only via Google+. I think some fatigue sets in the third week of the challenge. I received fewer comments than I made but my theme was city focused which may not appeal to international readers...

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    1. Know what you mean about the google+, I wish folks realized how they're cutting people off by doing that. Fatigue...surely does play a roll.

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  20. Hello there.
    Congratulations on completing the challenge!
    This was my second year taking part. Much of what you said is pretty much what I mentioned in my gripey reflections post as well. I started out visiting those bloggers immediately below me on the linky list, as per the instructions. I've only managed 450+ so far and I probably haven't gotten around to reading any of your posts as yet. It does appear that the early linkers always seem to get the most comments and those in the lower half of the list basically miss out. Considering how many bloggers signed up, there's definitely a lack of commenting throughout the challenge. It's really sad that many bloggers just can't be bothered to return comments or take the initiative to leave any comments.

    On to a brighter note: Homelessness has emerged as a major social issue in most developed nations (as opposed to being limited to developing lands or those battered by war or economic depression). Many are worried about tomorrow, but did you know that considering what the Bible says about the future can actually lessen anxiety? The Bible tells of a time when poverty and suffering will cease to exist and will be replaced by true peace and security (Psalms 37:10, 11). This will not come about by any human efforts or wishy washy man-made promises, but by means of a perfect government called God's Kingdom (Daniel 7:13, 14). Jesus is the King of that Kingdom - just think of how compassionate he was to the poor while he was on earth as a man (Luke 7:22; 14:13). He even taught us to pray for that Kingdom in the Lord's Prayer at Matthew 6:9, 10. When that Kingdom is in full control of the earth, life will be so different for everyone, including the homeless and downtrodden. Please take a moment to read Isaiah 65 ;21, 22 and Micah 4:4 - those scriptures confirm everyone will have a home.That's a solid hope that can prop us up during our trials. At the same time, Bible principles can help us to live meaningful and satisfying lives now while we patiently await God's promises. God has given us this guarantee: "But the one listening to me will dwell in security and be undisturbed by the dread of calamity." (Proverbs 1:33) May those words prove to be true in your life!
    Wishing you all the best.

    Entrepreneurial Goddess

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    1. Thank you for your visit and thoughtful comments. I knew, without the specific scriptures you noted the future to be brighter, but in the meantime I feel like we who have more need to help those who do not. Being cold, being hungry and knowing sometime...perhaps after you gone things will be better, I just don't know how much peace that gives folks.

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  21. Found you through your helpful reflection. What an ambitious under taking you created during the Challenge. Congrats on taking a chance on love....that all your creativity and caring would be catching. Congrats on finishing. I always learn something new and try to put it to work on my blog post coming up.

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    1. Thank you Stepheny for your lovely comments, appreciate your visit. Hope to see you again.

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  22. Congrats on completing the A to Z Challenge! Looking forward to next year! See you on the Road Trip!

    Mary @ Jingle Jangle Jungle

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  23. A to Z to me is a cumulative experience. This was my 4th year, and as you said, it felt suddenly a lot more successful than the 3 previous years. For one, I was a co-host, so that was probably a plus, but there were other changes as well. I think part of it was that I visited a huge number of blogs this year through co-hosting, and built more lasting visiting relationships.
    I hope you'll return next year! Thank you for your observations!

    @TarkabarkaHolgy from
    Multicolored Diary
    MopDog

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  24. Loving your theme :) I think it's really interesting seeing what everyone chose for their themes!
    Popping by on the A to Z Road Trip
    Debbie
    www.myrandommusings.blogspot.com

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