Happy birthday to BreatheLighter–if I do say so myself!

Friends ask me how long I intend to keep up the effort that goes into blogging.

I have an easy answer–“Until it’s no longer fun!”

I started blogging two years ago this week and sometimes I wonder if I had understood the time and mental resources required in the care and feeding of overall blog maintenance, would I have been as eager to begin?

I probably would have thought it impossible.

In 2011 two good friends and I were researching the steps towards creating a local hospital chapter in support of  the Biller Family Center at  City of Hope National Medical Center. The Center offers an impressive array of support and palliative care resources to both Cancer patients and their families, and we were interested in highlighting the Center and the volunteer opportunities available.

Our primary focus was interest in connecting caregivers to the resources–yoga and exercise classes, nutrition care, support groups–breathing lighter!

A blog seemed one way towards highlighting some of our communication goals, but at that point the only blog I’d followed was Getchen Rubin’s “Happiness Project.”

In other words, I knew nothing at all!

But just for fun I started playing with the WordPress tools, and before I knew what I was doing, I’d managed to create a theme, write a mock post, and whoosh! I’d published it!

Two hours later I figured out how to retrieve that particular test post, but by then I had navigated all over the dashboard and started learning the tools of the trade. I was hooked.

My two friends experienced big changes in their lives before we launched our goal project, so I simply took the opportunity to create a personal space to BreatheLighter.

And because I have met wonderful people from all over the world, I now realize that if I had to stop writing, I would continue reading. I would miss you all entirely too much to just fade away.

So thank you for reading BreatheLighter and coming by to leave comments, keeping the dialogue open. It means a lot to me that I can share my two darling granddaughters along with the misadventures of Darwin the Amazing African Sulcata, and of course, my Southern California field trips.

There is a sense of reciprocity in blogging that has been an unanticipated bonus. I’m more aware of my surroundings because of you. I notice detail differently, thinking that what I’m experiencing may translate as interesting to others.

So, thank you!

And I will have more to share later this week from my local corner of the world. I’ll leave you with a few teaser images, and we can continue the dialogue then.

Curious? I hope you’ll be back. Until that time, have a wonderful week, my friends.

85 thoughts on “Happy birthday to BreatheLighter–if I do say so myself!

  1. Kathy

    Hi Debra,
    I’m so glad to keep in touch with you through Breathelighter. I feel like we are sitting together having tea when I read your adventures and information each week. Thank you for your time and devotion to your post. I know it means so much to me. Keep it up if you can!!
    Love, Kathy

    1. It is such a sweet surprise to me how much you enjoy following along, Kathy. You have been such an encouragement from the very beginning. I do hope to continue, as at this point in my life it is a very nice hobby/full-time commitment. LOL! I won’t openly admit how much of my time goes in this direction, but it’s significant. So to have it mean something to others, in particular family like you, is the cherry on top! I’ll be seeing you “youngest” later tonight. I give him a hug and think of you, too! 🙂

  2. Everything you say is so true. Sometimes I forgot that I haven’t actually met my my blogging buddies because I feel I know them so well. You always bring a touch of sunshine especially during the winter. I love when you say it’s cold. Heavens! That’s not cold! Your pictures are beautiful and I love, love, love the flowers and gardens. (and I love the critters too…especially Darwin) Hope you stay blogging a long time!

    1. Hahaha! You’re so right about my comments regarding the cold, Kate. I have actually struggled in my writing at times thinking very, very carefully about what words I should use. I am keenly aware of how some of my remarks must sound. I try to cover that base by just admitting up front that I am a wimp when it comes to weather. I am not sure I would survive REAL cold. I have found meeting you and fellow bloggers so rewarding, and I realized how much I cared about “you all” when the storms hits this past year and I really was greatly concerned! It’s somewhat amazing to me, but lovely! 🙂 Thank you for sharing in my interests and family, Kate.

    1. Thank you so much, Kristy. I feel the same way about your and delight in knowing you and your sweet family. This blogging commitment is huge, but I have found it worthwhile. I don’t know how you do it with a young family, however, although lately taking a few “breaks” seems absolutely necessary. I hope we all take care of ourselves and don’t burn out, then we can indeed be active bloggers for many years to come. 🙂

    1. I have enjoyed your comments from time to time when you’ve mentioned that something I’ve shared about Los Angeles looks a little different to you after I’ve given some background. I am a firm believer in making the most out of what I have at my disposal. I would gladly live in a less congested part of the world–if I could get my kids and grandchildren to come with me! There’s the problem! 🙂 So I have taken a real interest in finding the things about Southern California that keep me mentally engaged and I am finding I have a whole new enthusiasm myself that I think has developed more because of the sharing. So I appreciate the interest more than you know! I have learned a lot from you, too, Fiona….your ability to share so honestly within the very complex realities of life, perseverance in challenging times and so often with humor, have made me come to think of you as my long distance friend. I hope we can continue to blog for a long time to come. It’s so nice to share back and forth. Thank you!

    1. I was so glad when Dee suggested I come knock on your door, Inger. That’s another facet of the blogging world that truly makes me smile. We take friends and want to introduce our other friends to a widening circle. Thanks for all you offer on your own site, and being a kind and interested bogging friend. 🙂

  3. Happy second birthday to your blog, Debra, and I’m so glad I found it and you. 🙂 My blog predates yours by just 2 months and I agree with everything you say about the sheer fun of blogging, the friendships it creates and the sense of being connected to a much wider world. Yes, it takes time and effort, but it’s SO worthwhile.

    1. Thanks so much, Perpetua. I think the blogging friendships that are being formed delight me in a way that defies description to anyone not actively involved. I think a few of my friends probably think I’ve gone off the deep end a bit! And some days when I’m planning my time so that I can sit down for a few HOURS to read and get caught up I wonder about myself, too. Yet I’m hooked. LOL! I so enjoy reading your posts, and miss you when you travel and can’t stay connected with the same regularity. But when we compare our climates as well as the openness of your environment versus the congestion that I live in, I really do smile at how big and diverse our world is, and the beauty and opportunities that we each enjoy–just very differently! 🙂 You are a dear blogging friend, Perpetua. Thank you for always having a kind and interested response. 🙂

  4. I’m with you 100% . . . blogging is more play than work for me (but it is a time consuming hobby). And it does change the way I look at the world. Before blogging, for example, I never photographed my food in restaurants.

    I remember when your blog was set up for 3 writers, and I called someone Debra who wasn’t you.

    1. Hahaha! You made me laugh with your recollection of calling “one of us” by the wrong name. In the beginning it was just so confusing! Had I any idea what I was doing when we started I wouldn’t have set it up quite the same way, but the other truth is that I didn’t have the courage to start all by myself. I was lacking the confidence that anyone would be interested in “little old me”–I gave the others more credit than myself. That’s part of the lesson learned over the last two years. I was the one with the most interest and drive, yet I gave some of that away, and in the end made it more complicated for myself. Ah….learning across the lifespan. Thank you for being such a confident guide in many ways, Nancy. I really think about the things you share, and you make a difference. ox

      1. Thanks . . . that’s my favorite thing about blogging. Looking at things and thinking about them in a slightly different way because of all the differing perspectives.

        And I’m so GLAD you’re HERE! 😀

  5. Congratulations on turning two. I too, had no clue what I was doing when I started a blog and mine is two-years old too and I still have plenty more to learn. Hasn’t Gretchen been super-successful with her Happiness Project! xx

    1. I am learning that others are also saying they really didn’t understand what they were doing when they started blogging, Charlie. I really thought everyone else seemed so much more polished and prepared, but perhaps we were all just figuring it out together. Makes me even more amazed at the phenomenon of the medium, simply because whatever gave us the push and the courage in the first place. LOL! I have been so glad to have met you along the way. I can almost not talk to you without wanting to giggle at some of the stories that come to mind with Arabella, Archie and Alfie. You haven’t shared about the dogs recently. LOL! You are such an amazing dynamo…thank you, as always, for following along on some of my little journeys, too. 🙂 ox

  6. OMG, two years? It seems like longer as I reflect on the conversation we had at Paseo Colorado when you told me of the initial idea. Thank YOU, Debra, for letting me grab your tail feathers and hold on. Those bloggers I now follow through your introductions are informative, fun and so creative. Happy, happy blogging! ~E

    1. It probably seems like it’s been more than two years because I never stop talking about it, Ellen. LOL! You are a patient listener. Hahaha! And I’m thrilled that I’ve introduced you to some of my wonderful blogging friends. I smile when I see your comments on another blog and realize we are forming some of the same online friendships. One of these days you’ll get back to your own blogging efforts. I do understand the commitment and why sometimes it’s just necessary to let it rest! Thank you, my friend. ox

  7. Congratulations and Happy Birthday Debra! What a milestone… I understand entirely what you say about blogging and thank you for sharing, and commenting on my blog too. Have a wonderful third blogging year!

    1. Thank you, Cathy. I have teased my family that I really need to quit my job so I can keep up better with my blog reading and responding. It’s not even about my writing. I can fit that in a few times a week, but I am so genuinely interested in what others are sharing, I really feel frustrated when I fall behind. LOL! I could never have imagined that! You have so much loveliness to share, and the beauty and grace that comes with your gardening is always an oasis for me. I appreciate the well wishes, and getting to know you even better. Debra

  8. Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday to you! Happy Birthday, BreatheLighter! Happy Birthday to you!

    I’m so glad to have met you in the Blogosphere, and I’m looking forward to giving you a big hug later in 2013.

    1. I am so looking forward to seeing you later this year, Andra. I almost giggle thinking about it! You have become such a special friend, and you, probably more than any other blogger, have made me both laugh and cry on multiple occasions. You are both honest and vulnerable, with an intelligence and wealth of experience that makes you such a strong communicator and writer. I feel very honored that you have chosen to also follow me. Thank you! ox

  9. Happy Birthday. I hope you have a great celebration. The first time I sat down to write a post, I panicked! I hadn’t written anything in years … well since I left school. Now I have two blogs, not much of a writer but I enjoy celeb gossip and funny stuff.

    1. I love stopping by your blogs! We need the laughter and the amusement to moderate all the nonsense that pulls at us throughout each day! You have a funny perspective on so many topics and I love the visual images and captioned photos you share. When I first “met you” there was a lot going on in your old job. I remember reading what you were saying and wondering what it would be like to be able to use the power of social media to share your concerns and frustrations. Never before in our lives has this been a possibility. Won’t it be interesting to see what changes in social media over the next few years? I hope we can all just keep up and ride that wave. It will be fun, I’m sure! Thank you for being a good blogging buddy! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much, Kelly! I find myself in such agreement with everything you share, that I don’t always leave a comment! LOL! I feel like saying, “Amen” to every one. One of the things that makes blogging the most enjoyable to me is the aspect of expanding my knowledge on such a wide variety of issues and topics. We have such a wonderful opportunity to learn and encourage one another to just do better in taking care of ourselves and our world. You are so devoted to that and I admire the work you do. THank you for being a good blogging friend. And yes, at times I get so busy with what I jokingly say is my “real life” that it’s incredibly hard to keep up. We do the best we can. Sometimes when I fall behind more than I’d like I find a day when I’m really in the mood to go back and fill in a great many gaps. That can be fun, too! ox

      1. Aww you’re the sweetest! I feel terrible because my life has gotten so busy lately that I hardly have time to read any of your blogs or anyone else’s. I have to make myself after a few weeks to actually give myself 15 minutes to try to read of some of my fellow bloggers! Love your posts too. Absolutely love your photos. I love photography! I took too long of a break from it and I’m trying to reteach myself bc I love it so much. (technical side) I do love the health stuff, I’m glad it’s making someone feel better. I think somedays most people think I am crazy!! Glad to hear from you! Wish we could do tea together!! XO

  10. Congratulations on your second blog anniversary. I have to admit I so look forward to your posts and your comments. I adore Darwin, I am so impressed with how your grandchildren are such a significant part of your life and I am learning so much about Southern California through your articles and beautiful photographs. What resonates the most for me is the pride, caring and intelligence that you have for everything that you write about. Looking forward to year three! ~Thea

    1. Thank you for such a kind response and congratulatory message, Thea. It has been such a delight for me to find that my enthusiasm and curiosity about where I live translates at all to anyone else! I can’t tell you how much fun that has been for me–and a surprise! I know that it has been the responses, good questions and additional information that I’ve learned from others that fuels my curiosity and keeps me engaged. What could be better! Thank you for your following along and I think it is the give and take that makes blogging so nurturing. I learn from you, too, and find it so wonderful when our circles expand to include new friends. Thank you!

  11. So glad i met you Debra … your posts are always interesting and photographs are just lovely …happy birthday to breathe lighter!!! this teaser is tempting … is that a very decorative chimney of some kind??

    1. Thank you so much for always being such a positive light, Christine. I always know I WILL breathe lighter after I come by your beautiful space. It’s been a joy to find people around the world with similar outlooks. I love both the differences in our environments as well as finding the similarities. You have quickly become a friend! 🙂

  12. Congratulations! Two years is a grand achievement in blogging, my friend, and I’m so glad I can consider you one of my friends, Debra, something that never would have happened had it not been for your blogging. It is a lot of work, putting words and images “out there”, but, the rewards and growth we experience are many, aren’t they? I’ve been wondering lately if the State of California knows what a treasure you are for your state’s tourism.

    I’ll be anxiously awaiting word on what this tower is.

    1. I remember when I first met you, Penny. I think I left a comment on one of your posts, probably finding you initially through Kate. That’s my memory. I liked your comments to her. LOL! And then not long after I mentioned supporting a family friend in raising money for Juvenile Diabetes, and you responded telling me about Tom. That probably wasn’t more than a year and half ago, but I feel like I’ve known you for ages! It’s a delight to have friends across the country and the world and yet feel like they are neighbors I can talk to any time I want to. It’s a blessing in my life, really. And thank you for the thoughts about CA tourism…one of our local PBS heroes passed away unexpectedly. His “fame” was the California Gold series that highlighted interesting spots up and down the state. My family keeps kidding me that I’m auditioning for his job. 🙂 Were I about 20 years younger, you never know! ox

  13. Your blog is an incentive to continue reading it… your posts draw my interest in other places and keep me looking out for the next post..
    I started to blog out of a need to keep myself busy whilst my software was encoded.. it gave me a manner to let the kids and grand kids, spread far and wide, keep up with the photos I was taking… I never expected to become so involved, and interested in what others were up to… yet my interest continued to be tweaked by others posts… the interaction became more educational and it grew to me reading every comment made by others on the posts, as they can be as educational as the post itself…
    It is like a drug (not that I have ever taken any) habit forming, yet now I have realised how time consuming, specially now that the software is ready for sale and I’m out and about… yet I keep coming back and trying to make time, as everyone I follow, is now like a family member and one wishes not to loose contact… what would I do without my dose of breathing lighter..??

    1. You are just so kind, BD. I do chuckle at the comment about blogging being like a drug–that’s the perfect analogy! I agree. I find myself planning my evenings and forecasting time to sit down and if I don’t hear from someone for a while, it isn’t that my feelings are “hurt” that they haven’t stopped by, it’s my concern for them! The idea that I would care about people I have never met still surprises me, except for the fact that in our sharing we do come to know one another. Prior to starting the blog I didn’t really have a sense of what “social media” really involved. It is a phenomenon. I feel very similarly when I come to your site. Your photography has introduced me to such a beautiful part of the world, and my thinking and awareness has expanded. I think I first found you when you were talking about the Rhodesian Bush War. It troubled me that I had absolutely NO knowledge of this long and protracted civil war.This is just one of the examples of how much I have learned through blogging. I am sure that your time is so compressed right now with the roll out of the software, and I’ll always look forward to hearing from you, but I do understand how hard it is. We also need to be kind to ourselves when we just can’t keep up! 🙂

  14. Happy anniversary, Debra! I don’t think any of us really knew what was in store when we hit “publish” for the first time. But what a rewarding ride! I’ve certainly enjoyed getting to know you and learning about California through your eyes. I look forward to seeing what your next 2 years will have in store.

    1. Thank you so much, John. I wish I could accurately remember how the different connections have been made. The first year I was happy with just a few readers and it took me a while to begin to see how the circles just continue to widen. I have probably bored many of my friends with information and stories I have acquired through my time in the blogosphere, but my enthusiasm continues to move in a positive direction, and sometimes I am not good at restraining myself. LOL! I am always grateful that I have blogging friends with which not just to swap stories, but to share the blogging experience. We each know how much time goes into keeping those relationships active. I can’t really foresee putting this hobby down, as it brings so much, but I do wonder what the future holds for technology. It would be wonderful if one day I could just think my thoughts and have them put to print–as long as I can still edit! 🙂

    1. Thank you so much! I remember finding your blog through Fiona’s, and my first level of interest was I loved the name of your blog! 🙂 I think these small connections are so delightful. Thank you always for your interest. ox Debra

  15. Happy 2nd Blogoversary, Debra! As a relatively recent subscriber, it’s good to read a little background information on how and why the blog was started ~ great name choice! Looking forward to getting to know you a little better through your writing and to finding out more about your teaser images! With Love, Jacqueline 🙂

    1. Thank you so much Jacqueline. It’s been my pleasure to meet you through blogging, too. I believe I first knocked on your door, attracted by the name of your blog! It’s all a very interesting formula, isn’t it? ox

  16. Happy Birthday to this place – and a steady two years is quite the accomplishment.

    Believe it or not, I think I recall the first post I read here. You were in a park …. the post was something about space or astronauts … and I believe I mentioned being from Ohio, the home of John Glenn and Neil Armstrong. … well, at least that’s what is flashing in my mind at the moment.

    Thanks for your kindness and effort here!

    1. Thank you for this very nice message, Frank. I also recall meeting you at least very close to the time we went to an event commemorating John Glenn’s contribution to space exploration, and I also remember in an early stage of blogging talking to you about my college encounter with Jane Fonda and we talked a little bit about Ohio State. I have learned a lot from reading your blog and really enjoy your links and suggested readings. I am a great on-line list keeper. My bookmarks are a little out of control, but since our electronic devices are almost always with us, I gradually make my way through a great many of them!Thank you!

  17. Dear Debra, congratulations on this anniversary. It predates my blog beginnings by just a month as I started in the last week of May in 2011. Not realizing what blogging represented–not only the writing of posts but the reading of the blogs of others and commenting on them–I started with three postings a week. This has now decreased to one!

    Like you, Debra, I’ve found the blogging world so accepting and so willing to share stories and lives. And so supportive at times when I’ve needed the knowledge that others care what’s happening in my life. I feel that I have friends far and wide–like you out there in California. As Penny says, the tourism board should take you on staff! I’ve learned so much about California and would like now, for the first time ever, to visit there.

    Your blog is one I follow as faithfully as I can because I always learn new things. But besides that your attitude toward life and living is such a positive one. So filled with energy and enthusiasm and curiosity that I come away from reading your postings with a resurgence of my belief that “All shall be well. And all shall be well. And all manner of things shall be exceedingly well.” (Julian of Norwich). Thank you for simply being and for being simply. Peace.

    1. Oh Dee, that is just the nicest comment! I really appreciate your friendship. In some ways I don’t think of you as clear across the country. 🙂 I do hope that you are doing well. I know that you have really been struggling with your health, and that translates also into the difficulty in having the time to follow any blogs at all, so I’m tremendously honored that you enjoy coming by to visit me on a regular basis. You are someone I consider a very special friend. 🙂 ox

  18. Congratulations not just on your anniversary Debra, but your wonderful community of “blogging buddies”. There’s so much love and friendship in all these comments. 😀

    I’m glad you felt confident enough to carry on blogging without your two “silent partners” so I was able to meet you. Though I don’t remember when (do you?) I know it was after Munchow nominated both of us for the same award that I came to see who you were.

    What I enjoy most about your blog is your love of the history of your neighborhood. Ask someone who’s never been to L.A. to describe the city in a few words and I’m sure they’d include: “crazy – traffic jams – Hollywood – Venice/Malibu…”. You show us that there’s so much more.

    I’m also intrigued to know the what and why of those towers …

  19. It’s a lovely blog you have here! A true breath of fresh air . No pun intended 🙂
    It’s interesting to notice your photo playing on reflection…Just yesterday I worked on the same theme.
    One can feel the easiness with which you enjoy blogging and to my opinion is the keys to success in any domain.
    Looking forwards to your posts!

    1. Thank you very much for such a lovely comment. I appreciate the compliment and I am so glad you stopped by. I enjoy the process of writing, but I am most happy with the opportunity to have conversations with others. It’s a lovely blogging community. 🙂

  20. Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you,….. 🙂
    I don’t think any of us realised what blogging was really about, and it is the people the connections and the sharing, and yes quite some time out of our personal lives. But it is wondrous and I’m so happy to have met you and shared your corner of the world – its precious isn’t it this life of ours !

    1. I just love your comment, Claire. I do think the joys of blogging far outweigh the few times I’ve managed to be a little overwhelmed. I have been so happy to have met you, too. I think we have a very lovely blogging community. ox

  21. Debra, Happy Blogday!! What a fabulous achievement. I love my visits here and have learnt so much through your blog. May there be many more happy years of Breathelighter.

    1. Thank you so much for the very nice comment, Kate. The sharing back and forth, learning about new geographical and historical contexts has been the most enlightening. Let’s all try to keep it up without flaming out! LOL!

  22. Happy Belated Anniversary, Debra! I remember meeting you as Three Well Beings. I was juuust thinking before catching up with WP posts tonight that staying connected with my favorite bloggers (which includes you) is important to me no matter how busy I get. It’s like coming home in the cyber world. I have been working on creating a second Ebay business where I use the art of writing as my product. It’s a lot of fun, but time consuming. Perhaps, I will blog about this in the future. 🙂

  23. So very glad that you pressed that publish button Debra! Congratulations on reaching this milestone. Looking forward to the next decade’s worth (I’m so sure that you will still be writing interesting posts, and that you will still find it fun!).

  24. Happy Blogday! I’m nearing my second anniversary too, and I feel like you do about the terrific blogging community I’ve become a part of. I love having new friends all over the world, and often when I repeat a story I’ve read, someone will ask me who I’m talking about. Oh, my blogging friend in Great Britain, or Austrailia, or where ever. Something I couldn’t have imagined 2 years ago!

    1. You gave me a chuckle, Terri, commenting that sometimes when you share with your friends you reference your blogging friends and something you’ve learned or read. I do, too, and I think some of my friends think I’m a little crazy. They may wonder if I have “imaginary friends,” too. LOL! But we know better, don’t we? Hahaha! I look forward to celebrating your two-year anniversary with you, too! 🙂

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