Challenge Interview Series: Bird Weekly Photo Challenge

Hi friends,

Welcome to Challenge Interview #12 with Lisa Coleman the hostess of the Bird Weekly Photo Challenge. I met Lisa through Terri Webster Schrandt hostess of Sunday Stills. Lisa has been collaborating with me to help me and any of you to organize our digital photos both in and out of WordPress.

We have been chatting through Zoom and on the phone. I did not record our conversations, so my apologies for the paraphrased answers come from my lack of note taking ability when I’m having fun chatting.

When I began this series last summer, I wanted to find out what makes challenges successful. I love to know the back stories the history of the challenge and why they work. In 2012 when I first started blogging, I thought if I put up a Photo Challenge page on my blog everyone would flock to my blog and respond to my challenge. Of course, that didn’t happen, and I realized so much more went into being a host or hostess.

Now I love interviewing these lovely bloggers to honor their work and learn from them. I hope you enjoy them as well.

Welcome Lisa Coleman.

History of Bird Weekly

Lisa started blogging in July of 2019, about the same time that Granny started her Bird of the Day challenge. As a new blogger, Lisa loved responding two or three times a week to the Bird of the Day Challenge hosted by Granny Shot It. I tried unsuccessfully to look Granny up, then Google found my friend Cee Neuner, the record keeper of all things challenging and of course, she had a link to Bird of the Day challenge.

When BOTD stopped on November 4, 2019, no one carried it on. In May, 2020, after Lisa lost her job due to COVID 19, she made plans to pick up the challenge and make it her own.

“It kept me sane. Mostly I love birds and this gave me a way to share that and to teach people about birds.”

Lisa Coleman

After spending a month building her page, Lisa posted her first challenge on June 12, 2020.

She laughed as she talked about how many people responded. “Here let me count, five.”

Lisa did something on her Bird Weekly Challenge Page that helped. She started a list with the first post linked at the top instead of the most current.

“That way when people went to my page they could immediately click on that first post. They liked what they saw and started responding.”

Lisa Coleman

Helping Photographers

After we hung up from our phone conversation, I immediate went to my page for Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays Writing Challenge and reversed the order of my list. Thanks for the tip, Lisa.

Snowy Egret by Lisa Coleman

As you read Lisa’s posts each week, of course she has stunning phots but you also learn tidbits about different birds. In her most recent post, Birds Starting with the Letter E right off the bat you learn, “The feature image is a Snowy Egret in breeding colors. You can tell by the pink color near the eye called the lore. The lore is the region between the eye and the bill on the side of a bird’s head.”

Challenges motivate people to help each other. In her post Lisa tells about an encounter she had with another photographer.

“I met an up and coming birder on our birding trip to the Viera Wetlands last Thursday. We were on the driving trail and pulled up next to her and she was looking for a Painted Bunting in some bushes. I wasn’t too optimistic and after some conversation, we moved on. A bit down the road, I got out of the car and started taking some photos. The woman pulled up and started talking again, asking all kinds of questions. She had captured a bird on her camera and needed help identifying. I was able to do to that quickly. She had just seen and photographed her first Eastern Phoebe. I thought to myself, “E” birds are coming up, but I have one in my yard so no need to backtrack. I did, however, tell her about Ebird.org and the blog. I hope she finds as much joy in her new found passion as we all have.

Lisa Coleman
Lisa Coleman's photo of an Eastern Peoebe.
Eastern Phoebe by Lisa Coleman

She also helps bloggers each week by posting a “Round-up” of pictures from each blogger that joins the challenge for that week. Almost all challenges have links to all or some of the blog posts of those who participated. Here is Lisa’s link list from a recent post.

Those links and encouraging participants to visit each other are essential for forming community. I cut and paste links to others in the community into my blogging journal to make it easier for me to visit everyone in the community that week. I have been starting to publish a short list of participants on my own posts an idea I got from Donna from Retirement Reflections.

Lisa takes roundups to a new level. She publishes her favorite picture from their link along with the link. FYI, this process takes her about two hours because she revisits all her participant’s posts and picks out one picture she wants to use. She also opts for a higher WordPress plan to cover the cost of having extra images in her media file.

Gaining Participants

Lisa gives all the credit to Cee Neuner for her Love of Challenges Page. Once Cee published the Bird Weekly Challenge in her list of challenges, Lisa’s participation levels rose. Each week she averages about 15 participants as you can see from the links above. Many of these people are active in other photo challenges or are challenge hosts themselves. Terri Webster Schrandt often links her topics to follow Lisa’s. Bloggers seeing Cee Neuner or Becky from Becky’s Squares participatory posts also alert their followers that Bird Weekly is a challenge of interest.

Like many of the challenge hosts, Lisa designed a beautiful badge for participants to bling up their sidebars or in their posts. This draws additional interest to her blog and builds her community.

Bird Weekly Badge

Conclusion

In our hour or two phone call (I lost track of time.) Lisa managed to answer all my questions and even give me some photographic advice. Blogging for Lisa is a hobby. A graphic artist, she also has an Etsy shop which she opened after she lost her job. The provides essential income as the Pandemic continues and unemployment runs out and jobs don’t open up.

Lisa has two published books. If you are interested in learning more about Florida, she has written two Images of America books, one about Tampa and one about Clearwater.

Thank you for your time, Lisa. It was fabulous talking to you and getting to know you better. I’m looking forward to our next collaboration Organizing Digital Photos in WordPress coming up soon.

Don’t Forget

Writer’s Quotes Weekly Writing Challenge “Citizenship” This is women’s history month. Share a quote from your favorite woman in history.

Writer’s Quotes upcoming topic – “Family” Share a favorite quote about family or from your family.

Story Chat – There’s still time to stop in and discuss “Wanda Lust” with author A. Kid from Carrot Ranch Saddle Up Saloon and all the others in the Story Chat gathering. Who kidnapped Wanda?

Shorty began. “’Cause Carrot Ranch is a safe space fer real folks, but the fictional fact a this story is— Wanda’s been kidnapped.”

At that proclamation Ernie howled like a sad ol’ coyote. Ain’t gonna lie ta ya. First thought was Wanda’d done wandered away agin, ‘count a her nut-orious Wanda-lust. But some folks figgered Wanda an’ Ernie was back permanent since he give up drink an’ was workin’ on his inner calm.

“Whut makes ya think it were a kidnappin’?” Pal asked.

“She’s been gone a while, an’ nowhere’s ta go,” says Ernie. “An’ if it were her Wanda-lust she’d a left a note; she always leaves a note.”

“Really? What’s her notes say?”

“Say, ‘I’m wand’rin’ off ta pick up a nuther man.’ She kin do thet too, she’s mighty strong. Kin haul full kegs a corn liquor ‘thout no hep.”

A. Kid

Have a great week, and I’ll look forward to your comments and links. 🙂

Author: Marsha

Hi, I'm Marsha Ingrao, a retired educator and wife of a retired realtor. My all-consuming hobby is blogging and it has changed my life. My friends live all over the world. For thirty-five years, I lived in the most beautiful area in Central Valley of California in the foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains minutes from the Sequoia National Park. As a child I moved from Indiana to Oregon. With my first husband I moved from Oregon to Colorado to California. Every time we moved, it hurt so much to leave friends. I never wanted to move again. After Mark passed, I married again. I told Vince that I could never budge from my roots in California. He said he loved the high desert. I don't think he ever thought he would realize his dream. In November, 2020, we sold everything and retired to the mile-high desert of Prescott, AZ. We live less than five miles from the Granite Dells, four lakes and hundreds of trails with our dog, Kalev, and two cats, Moji and Nutter Butter. Vince's sister came with us and lives close by. Every day is a new adventure.

106 thoughts on “Challenge Interview Series: Bird Weekly Photo Challenge”

    1. Thanks, Becky. She is a wealth of information. It’s been so much fun meeting all of you and learning from you. If you’d ever be interested in getting together with Lisa and me on Zoom let me know – if that’s even a possibility.

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  1. Wow, a great deal of ‘good vibes’ and information in this post, Marsha! I am familiar with some of the blogging friends, yet, many new to me. I will reread this post to absorb the info and visit the links you highlight here. I LOVED last week’s post where I learned many gems from Lisa especially about organizing and saving photos. I appreciate your generosity, Marsha, sharing your wealth of information.🙂 The photos in this post are absolutely stunning!

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    1. Thank you Erica for the kind words. I sometimes think I’m a Jack (Jill) of many trades, master of none. Birding is a passion and keeps me going, plus I love photography, especially since I can’t see my grandkids at this time. I haven’t seen them in over a year. 🙂

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      1. Hi again, Lisa. I subscribed to your visually beautiful and interesting blog. I am sorry to hear about you not seeing the grandkids. I ‘get it.’ Hopefully, this will change soon. I look forward to connecting and reading more. 🙂 Erica

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Thank you for subscribing! My grandkids are only in Tampa, 3 1/2 hours away but they are in school and my daughter and son work and are around a lot of people. I can’t do it when they are going to want to me hugging all over me and me hugging all over them. Gosh I miss that! 🙂

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          1. I hope so. Of course Spring Breakers are already flocking towards us and our Governor is clueless! At least we haven’t done what Texas has done. Stupidity! I just found out a couple of days ago that I’m eligible. All veterans, active duty and reservists are eligible for the shot. Problem is, the VA only has a few and are not taking appointments yet. No thank you! I’d have to drive to Gainesville, 1 1/2 hours away to stand in line and maybe get the shot. Um NO. The state age requirement is dropping soon so I’ll wait. 🙂

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          2. I watched Biden’s 15 minute speech last night and it is reassuring that it will be available for everyone by May 1st. I’ll give Biden the benefit of the doubt and a bit longer than that date because our governor is an idiot!

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          3. I hope you can get it soon. If not, come here. You can have Vince’s shot. He doesn’t want one. That’s going to happen all over, too. Some people will not want to get the shot for whatever reason.

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          4. Well many people are concerned over the side effects. I am too and after hearing about the AstraZeneca shots being suspended in the UK because of possible blood clots, it is scary. But the virus is scarier. I get very sick from the flu shot so I anticipate a reaction to these shots. I’ll get it eventually. 😊

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          5. Wow! And we have to fight tooth and nail because our governor is an idiot control freak! If I had been in charge, the college students would have been in the mix of getting the shot because they are the superspreaders. Spring break is upon us and DeSantis is full steam ahead. OPEN EVERYTHING! That’s how we got caught with our pants down last year. History repeats itself. 🙂

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          6. I’m not going anywhere near those spring breakers. We don’t go in the same social circles. They go to the bars and clubs and beaches. They are not found in the Wildlife Management areas so my pants will stay intact. LOL! Doesn’t change what is going to happen to a lot of innocent stupid people. 🙂

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          7. You are going to be fine. I am going to be fine. Those are not our circles either. Young people will be mostly fine. The worrisome group that die from it mostly are older people like my age and older. We are mostly getting shots and being careful. When I go out on the trails, there aren’t that many people – YET. Our wave of tourists will hit in June. We will see what kind of brave song I sing then! LOL

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          8. Yes we will be fine. We avoid them, however their irresponsibility and lack of respect for people our age ticks me off. They go and spread it and the next thing you know, their mom or grandma has it and dies or spreads it to others unaware. I’m not worried about me, it’s the fact that the more they do it, the longer it will take to get back to a somewhat normal life. I want to go out to eat, dang it! 🙂

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          9. I understand. We do go out to eat once in a while. Restaurants are open. We wear our masks in and then take them off at the table. We’ve done that since November when we got here. So far we’ve fared ok. Vitamins help, I think. Lots of walks in the outdoors. We’ve stayed healthy in a fairly open atmosphere here in AZ.

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          10. Yeah, we’ve stayed safe in the open atmosphere here in at the beach and at the refuges. We’ve stayed away from more popular trails that are narrow or have more people. We don’t really go on the weekends when everyone else out there and off work. There are ways! 🙂

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          11. OMG! Wait until you see my Song Lyric Sunday for tomorrow. I kinda went off on a tangent about it. Party goers don’t go to our state park beach, but a Nor’easter came in today so it is cold and windy – No beach today. Didn’t even go to Best Buy. Will go tomorrow.

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          12. We didn’t go to the beach either, LOL. We did go lease Vince a Jeep so we have a place for our bikes and kayaks when it is not windy. It is super windy here.

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          13. Nice! New jeep! I didn’t know you two kayaked. That is another great revelation. We have a double inflatable Sea Eagle White Water grade kayak that we kayaked the Yellowstone River in. We used to have hard situpons but we forgot to get them from the condo when we moved and the property manager got rid of them. I want a Hobie so I can be hands free to take photos while still moving.

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          14. Cool. We haven’t researched what kayaks to buy yet. Our neighbors showed us theirs. Their seats were made of fabric on a steel frame and could be removed to sit in the sand on the beach. I’ve only been a few times, and I’m surprised that Vince wants to learn because he doesn’t like being on boats. I went with our neighbors in CA. It was glorious until I tried to get out of the boat two or more hours later. I couldn’t. I had to roll into the water until I could stand up after having my legs at a 90 degree angle from my body for so long. I’m glad no one took pictures! 🙂

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          15. Wish I had been there! I would have got it all on camera. LOL! We like the sit upons. I’m claustrophobic so I don’t know if I could sit in the ones where your body goes into the boat. UMMM….not thanks! The Hobie have the foot pedals but you have to make sure you are in at least 12-18″ of water when the pedals are in the down position. We can’t take our Sea Eagle to too many places here in Florida because of the Oyster beds. We had an Ocean Kayak that was a double and it was awesome! It will be interesting to see if I can get in and out of one right now with my knees. LOL! 🙂

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          16. Yes he was and the water was freezing. It’s was September. The air temp was about 65 but it was sunny. He used to swim in the cold water temps in Washington years ago. He didn’t stay in long. 😊

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        1. I’ve been tossing a lot of pictures recently. One was a group of four or five birds on a telephone pole. They were the size of a pen point. So I cropped the photo to a tiny box about a half inch in size around the birds. They almost disappeared into the sky! I finally threw out those pictures. 🙂

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  2. I so enjoyed our phone conversation the other day. I appreciate you interviewing me for your project and getting Bird Weekly out there to other bloggers. Hope there are some passionate birders or bird enthusiast out there who might benefit or offer their expertise from their world of avian friends. Wonderful post! 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks, Lisa, I had fun writing it. It was fun to hear your voice as I wrote your comments. We’re going to have to make this a regular thing, for sure. Terri is up for your idea. BTW did I tell you that my parents used to bring us to spend Dad’s summer vacations in Punta Gorda, FL where her best friend lived?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It was fun again and we can make it a regular thing. I haven’t talked to Terri but I kinda thought she might. I did not know you used to come to Punta Gorda but you had mentioned you had been to Clearwater when I mentioned my book. 😊

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          1. Yeah there’s that! I’m sure there was a gator not far behind too. I know as a kid growing up in Texas that we swam with water moccasins. Luckily, I never got struck in the water. I did get struck by one while riding my cousins motorcycle. I was 19 at home on leave, had my cowboy boots on and it struck me through the leather and barely nicked my skin. I was lucky! Turned out it had babies and I was riding on the dirt road near the nest. The road was on the way to the lake where no one ever goes.

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          2. Wow, that was close. Did you have to have any treatment? That sounds super scary – lonely road no one around. In your young pictures you look like a little pixie who probably was quite mischievous.

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          3. Nope. Barely broke the skin like a scrape. No poison was injected by my boots had the two fang marks permanently embedded in them. Made quite the tall Texas tale when I got back to base. I was a tomboy and mischievous doesn’t even come close to describing me. I had 4 boy cousins who led the way. I had to survive anyway I could. LOL!

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          4. You did a good job. I’m not sure I would have survived four boys. One younger brother was plenty annoying. I was used to being the boss. 🙂 God has a sense of humor. My husband was the oldest in his family and a big tease to his younger sister. After living with her for a few months, I’m convinced that her two older brothers taught her to burp and then laughed like crazy. 🙂

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          5. Thanks! I got tough quick and actually preferred playing football to playing with dolls. I’m the oldest but it is just me and my sister so my cousins were like brothers. 😊

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  3. Reblogged this on Our Eyes Open and commented:
    Marsha with Always Write interviewed me last Saturday on the Bird Weekly challenge. The participants from the White Feathered birds challenge were featured in this post with pingbacks to your blogs. I so enjoy seeing you, your photos and knowledge every week!

    Thank you Marsha for a wonderful, well written post. Thank you to Terri with Sunday Stills, Cee with Cee’s Photo Challenge and Becky with Squares who inspired me to host my own challenge in a subject that I’m passionate about and can continue to learn and enjoy from others. Y’all ROCK!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Another reason for Lisa’s success is probably that she really loves the birds. Even though I post for her challenge irregularly, I always read them because I love to see all the the birds, from all over the world, and read her commentary.

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    1. I have been too as I prepared for this post especially since we are still new friends, and I’m not a bird photographer by nature. The fact that she knows so much is interesting. And if I don’t retain it, I know where I can go for more information when I need it. She’s like a mini wikipedia. 🙂

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  5. Lisa is such a fun person and a wonderful host. She has such great enthusiasm and been a joy to follow this past during year during the pandemic. I love how her blog is upbeat. And she is a fantastic bird photographer too! 😀

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    1. She has amazing talents and we talked a lot about photography. I’ve picked up several tips. She’s also like you about making photography fun and not being intimidating. I found out she has an astigmatism like I do, which makes it super hard to focus manually. For me it’s impossible. I also can’t blink my right eye, which handicaps me looking through a camera lens. I felt so much better about being human after talking to her. 🙂

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      1. I have real bad astigmatism too. I never thought about it, but I always use auto focus. I will move my camera to get it focus on what I want. I’ve tried manual and I just can get it right.

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        1. Then there were three! I’m sure a lot of people suffer with that problem. It goes to show, you can still get fabulous photos. So that pops the bubble in my excuses for not fabulous photos! LOL

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  6. This is great to learn more about Lisa, Marsha. Her birding hobby and amazing photography talents make her the perfect host for bird weekly. I’ve learned so much about birds which has sparked my own interests in birding and the photography of such. I am so down for a IRL meet up some day.

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      1. Oh the comment went through! I’m tapping away on my phone while Hans is driving us to a brunch at my niece’s and WP wanted me to log in and other silly stuff.i definitely have spring fever and am enjoying a sunny warm day as we speak!

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        1. Ours is sunny, but we are getting spoiled. Now it’s windy and we don’t want to go out because it’s too cold. I’m embarrassed. It’s 60 and sunny. We should be out hiking and taking photos. 🙂 Instead I sit at my computer with Nutter Butter’s back against the laptop thinking about writing my post for tomorrow. He’s become a 100% indoor cat now. I tried a leash on him two days ago. It was a no-go. He pulled it off as soon as I tried to get him to go outside. He was semi-ok with it until I pulled on him to MAKE him go outside. That was just enough pressure that he slid out of the harness. So much for that great idea. The home owner’s association blocked our ability to screen in the back patio for the cats, so we’re stuck with inside cats all night when we used to put lock them in their gated patio outside with a doggie door into the garage and their heated cage. They loved it.

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          1. That’s no fun, Marsha, to deal with your kitties that way. I suppose cats get used to being indoors. We have to walk or dogs several times a day, which I don’t mind. There will be some creative fencing once we move in, while we wait for the garage/polebarn to be built.

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          2. I need a barn! LOL That’s the only complaint I have about my home here in Prescott. Did I tell you about the bobcat that our neighbor videoed right outside our front door? They are not safe outside. To look at the cats right now, they don’t look like they even want to go out. I give them a treat every time the dog goes out and they stay inside. 🙂

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          3. We planned for months on how much land to have and how big the shop would be. Our property has minimum HOAs for parking vehicles in a garage and the RV under a similar structure. Ours will be 30×50, 14 feet high. Vince will have shop envy if you tell him, lol! Mfg homes don’t come with garages like a site built home has. Everyone has these barns up here, even in suburbia. We both live in wildlife areas so we need to protect our fur babies!

            Liked by 1 person

          4. You bet Vince is going to have shop envy! That is huge! So that will be for cars, RVs, fur babies, shop, everything? That’s bigger than our house and one and a half times as high! 🙂

            Liked by 1 person

  7. I didn’t realise Lisa had been blogging for such a short time. The badge/logo she designed is great. I remember I wrongly credited it to Brian (Bushboy), who’s very fond of birds too. Is your blogging journal a personal site you use on Google? The link denied me access. I was just curious, Marsha.

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    1. It is, Jo but I don’t know why Google does that. I will go in and give you access. individually. The template is not fancy, but it helps me keep organized. If you have a Google Drive, you just save it with a new name to your drive. That way it is private and not part of my Google Drive anymore. 🙂

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        1. Drifting is fine. You are much more successful at drifting than I am at organization. By nature I’m chaotic. I’m sure I have a split personality, and it’s not pretty!!! My organized side is always complaining about my messy side. My organized side is not fun. She can’t stop until she has totally cleaned up everything that Ms. Chaos has done. But then she goes away, her work done, and leaves a tidy shack to Ms. Chaos, who plays and has fun and doesn’t care a whit for organization. She laughs and shoots pictures of mud puddles if she wants. She never knows when her tidy side will return with a vengeance and tear apart all her playthings. 🙂 And to think I’ve managed to survive under the same roof with these two for almost 70 years and running. So drift happily. You’re doing fine., more than fine. You’re an amazing blogger. 🙂 Love you Jo.

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    1. It will grow, Frank. We have a lot of growing communities here, don’t we? Which reminds me, are you still on board to host Writer’s Quotes Wednesdays in a week.? The topic is spring. There should be some great quotes for spring! I’ll stop by and catch up with you tomorrow. I’m a bit behind on my reading!

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  8. Great post Marsha! I’ve enjoyed participating in Lisa’s challenges a few times. It’s nice to learn a little more about her. She’d taught me a few birding tidbits along the way too! Kudos to the both of you, nice teamwork! 😊

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I loved reading this – so much useful info about running a challenge (useful should I decide one day to host one, that is) but also about blogging in general. I learn so much from reading about how others approach their blogs 🙂 I love photographing birds but probably don’t have enough to contribute to a weekly challenge, however I’ll certainly make a point of popping in from time to time and giving it a go!

    I’m curious about your blogging journal but when I clicked on your link I got an access denied message. Are you able to tell me more about it – you seem so organised and as I start to blog more and connect with more people that’s something I’d like to emulate 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Sarah. I sent it by Google Docs. If you send me an email marshaalwayswrite@tchistorygal.net, I will send you a different link. I always have trouble with Google for some reason. Then save a copy of the doc in your drive and you will be good to go. Once you email me, then we can talk by chat or phone if you have questions. 🙂 I’m sorry about the issues.

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    1. Wow, the news talked about a birding group that have helped the bald eagle in Arizona increase its numbers. They observe, take data, keep people from getting too close, and provide numerous other services. So camera, or none, bird watchers provide great services. 🙂

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