Welcome to Following the Whispers blog

Thank you so much for taking the time to visit. Hope you enjoy your stay. I blog here whenever I feel the need. This blog was created at the time my memoir came out, in February, 2009. Its motto was: creating a life of inner peace and self-acceptance from the depths of despair. Now, my focus is sharing this journey we call life.

“Only one thing is more frightening than speaking your truth, and that is not speaking it.” Naomi Wolf

“We are called human beings, not human doings.” Wes Nisker, Buddhist teacher

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs…(And) if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.” Theodore Roosevelt

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Telling the Truth Tuesday - Keeping my priorities straight

If I tell the absolute truth, I'm exhausted. And so grateful the a-z challenge is over. I had stopped blogging every day because it took too much out of me in terms of time and energy. So I am going back to three days per week and hope that doesn't diminish followers and comments on the blog. Because I absolutely love getting feedback on posts. Writing is such a lonely endeavor and the only way a writer knows someone is paying attention is through email or comments on blogs. So thank you thank you thank you for all those thoughtful, loving messages.

My singing group, Sugartime, had our annual house concert for family and friends yesterday. I have become fearless when I sing at retirement communities and hospitals, but when it's for people I know - the heart palpitates fiercely and doesn't stop till the dang concert is over. At least this year I sang okay - only a few bloopers. But I was so into connecting with the audience, I didn't care.

I guess what I've learned is if you are doing something you are passionate about, it really shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks of it or you. You have to be content with who you are and what you do. As long as we're not hurting anyone else.

Well, I'm off to rest now...I will try to catch up with the rest of you later today and tomorrow.


Liz Fichera said...

I think it's lovely that you sing at retirement homes and hospitals! :-) Music is such a great way to connect with people and bring them joy.

Francine Howarth said...


Love it "Telling the Truth Tuesday"!

I've never been able to keep up with daily bloggers and only visit them once a week unless a particular post is of great interest.

As for Telling Truth Tuesday: I didn't get past the first week of A-Z. A WIP beckoned, the garden beckoned, and there were blogging buddies who hadn't joined and whom I felt loyalty toward. Being extra truthful, I was only really interested in meeting fellow scribes, not knitting moms, arty-crafties and mechanics unless writers also. ;)


Unknown said...

I do hope you get the rest you need. The book should come today I am hoping. Has Sugartime ever had anything show up on youtube? Just wondering. Don't worry about cutting back, I'll be here waiting patiently for whatever you send my way. Have a wonderful day.

Ellen Brickley said...

I'll certainly be reading! I'll be returning to a reduced posting schedule myself, once I figure out what - if anything - will replace Microfiction Monday.

Oregon Gifts of Comfort and Joy said...

Hi Karen, thank you for this post. I work so hard on my blog, and sometimes I get comments, but often I don't. Sometimes I wonder why I even do it, but I can't stop; it is so much a part of me now. So I guess that I blog for myself, but positive feedback is always a great pat on the back.

That is wonderful that you have blessed your family and friends with your singing! Good for you.

Have a wonderful week,

Kathy M.

Paula Martin said...

One of my big regrets is that I can't sing. My head knows the tune but doesn't relay that information to my voice! So I really envy you that gift!


I love music but alas have not got a singing voice,it must give you great pleasure to be able to sing and make someone happy with the talent God has given you.


Unknown said...

Karen, I am really glad to have 'met' you through the A to Z challenge. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts. I look forward to continuing to read your words.
Kylie :)

Unknown said...

Ooh, I know what you mean! A cousin of mine holds a music concert ever Christmas for family and friends and I've participated a few times (playing the flute). And I do get pretty nervous!

baygirl32 said...

3 posts a week is great! I'll be waiting lol

Anonymous said...

It's a good thing I'm not passionate about my singing because its not that good. I'll stick to writing, the silent songs of my heart.

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I'm more nervous when I have to speak in front of people I know. Usually fades after I begin. And I'm going back to three posts a week, too.

Karen Walker said...

Liz, yes, music awakens even those with Alzheimer's who don't remember anything else, but they might remember song lyrics.
Francine, yes, that was a dilemma with the challenge - finding blogs with similar interests - good for you for knowing what works and doesn't for you.
Odie, you are such a sweetheart!
Ellen, yeah, I was a bit lost without the letters of the alphabet to guide me.
Kathy, yes, I think ultimately, we do do this for ourselves and then we receive a great gift if someone is touched by our words. As for my singing voice, well, it's not a gift. I am not that talented. I just love it.
Paula, trust me, I don't have a good voice - it's okay and it's pitchy at times. I bring me to the table, which is a bundle of energy when I'm singing.
Yvonne, yes, isn't it nice when we can share ourselves, whatever creative outlet we're talking about - like your wonderful poems.
Kylie, thanks so much. Looking forward to staying connected.
Rachel, I've always wanted to play an instrument, which is why, at 62, I'm learning piano. Oy!
Babygirl, yup back to 3. Whew!
Stephen, yeah I guess we need to be careful what we become passionate about. Your passion for physics sure comes through.

Karen Walker said...

Diane, yeah for us!

The Old Silly said...

Good for you, get some rest. It was as awesome challenge, and very well done by so many great bloggers, yourself included!

Darlene said...

Yes, that is so true about music and alzheimer's. My MIL will start singing with a song from way back when. "I always loved that music", she says.

I'm glad A-Z challenge is over, too. Time for some R & R, or R & C (reading and commenting!)

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Always do what you enjoy, Karen!

Karen Walker said...

Thanks, Old Silly
Darlene, the elders in my life respond the same way.
Alex, yes, I am working on that.

Melissa Ann Goodwin said...

You do so many things that are helpful to others! I'm only going to post once or twice a week. The challenge made me realize that I want to use the majority of my writing energy for my larger projects, and have my blog be more of a fun writing release. I look forward to going back to posting on whatever swells up in my heart and mind and needs release. And, I think there is some degree of overwhelming followers - do we really have something important to say every day? I know I don't! You won't lose me - I look forward to whatever you have to say>

Julie Flanders said...

Wonderful post as always. I'm sure the house concert was fabulous. You're so right about doing something you're passionate about.
Take care, and get the rest you need! I will definitely still be following your blog no matter how many days a week you post. :)

Hilary Melton-Butcher said...

Hi Karen .. I'm not surprised that you're exhausted The Challenge was great fun .. but a challenge (with a little 'c'!) .. and with everything else that's going on ...

Your group, Sugartime, and singing concerts sound fun .. it must give so many so much pleasure ... I can imagine doing things for family is so much more difficult! Well done ..

You're so right .. enjoy what you do .. cheers Hilary

Claudia Moser said...

If you feel you should blog 3 times per day then just do that! Follow your heart!

Karen Walker said...

Melissa, thanks so much - I really appreciate that.
Julie, wow,thanks - and right back at ya.
Hilary, Sugartime is such a blessing in my life, but I don't know if any more house concerts are in the wings - my heart can't take it.
Claudia, oops, I'm sure you meant 3 times a week,not 3 times a day. Want to kill me? LOL.

Unknown said...

Wow, a lot of comments. I hope you get this. I got my book today and it looks like new even though it is supposed to be used. It has an inscription written on the inside page that says, Dear Ann, Sorry it took 11 years for our hearts to connect. Blessings & Love, Karen
So far I am really liking it.

Susan Flett Swiderski said...

Posting every day is like trying to shovel dirt into a bottomless pit. It's just too darned demanding! I started out posting six days a week, but am down to three now. (And sometimes THAT'S pushing it!) So I certainly understand you wanting to cut back a bit. Whenever you choose to write, we'll be here to read.

On singing in a retirement home, the last time I did that was on a St. Patrick's Day. Natch, I sang a lot of standard Irish songs, but I also threw in some old-timey songs and hymns. During the hymns, one of the gentlemen cried. His mouth would move ... while tears rolled down his cheeks. Concerned that I'd somehow upset him, I spoke with him later, and found out that he was a retired minister. He said he hadn't heard those old hymns in many many years, and told me how much it meant to him to hear them again. Said he wasn't much of a singer, though. As he put it, "He made a joyful noise." So he was happy to just mouth the words.

Southpaw said...

Being happy means doing what brings you joy. Good for you.

Karen Walker said...

Odie, wow, thanks for sharing that.
Susan, so you know exactly how we feel!
Holly, yes, so true. And in so doing, I think we bring joy to others as well.

Bethe77 said...

Karen thank you for stopping by my blog. Yes! i would say this A-Z challenge was very exhausting. I just started blogging back on Nov 27th of 10. So this was a huge leap of faith ofr me. I have enjoyed it and as many am exhausted. I have had fun lerning and meeting new people and skills in writing. i didnt even know I had I guess. I still have many to get through and am trying. But .... I work outside the home so this only leaves days off and weekends. Family doesnt always like it when one lives on the computer. I think I have grown personal and as a rambling writer who knew nothing at all.

Paul Anthony Shortt said...

It was exhausting for me too, and I think I share your fear that follower and commenter numbers might drop off now that the challenge is over. But I'm going to make sure to keep track of the blogs I've found throughout April.

Tracy Moore said...

I'll keep reading! Love your blog. Sounds like you have a great time getting out there singing. Good for you! :) What you said about doing things we truly love to do is so true. It doesn't matter what anyone else really thinks, it's important that we live with passion.

K.C. Woolf said...

It's so true what you say about writing being a lonely endeavour, and the importance of comments and responses on blog posts to show that someone cares! :-)

Arlee Bird said...

I agree that performing before people you know is more nerve wracking than before strangers. I guess we figure if we make a mistake we'll be more likely to hear about it later.
Glad you're regrouping back into normalcy.

Tossing It Out

Elizabeth Spann Craig said...

The connection with the audience is something I think is more important than anything. Sounds like you've got it downpat!

Mary Aalgaard said...

I am right there with you when it comes to performing. I'm great in my own house and in smaller venues, but shake like a leaf other times. Still, if you can loose yourself in the music/moment, and do like you said, connect with the audience, it's a bigger rush than anything you can imagine.

Anonymous said...

Sometimes I'm strapped with unnecessary concern for what others think about the thing I love so dearly, and that's writing. But you're right. If we're doing what we love we shouldn't be concerned about what others think.
Right now I think I have to find a happy medium for my blogging, because 6 days a week was a great challenge!

Julie Musil said...

All you a-z bloggers blew me away. I don't know how you did it. You all deserve a lazy day at the beach or something.

Duncan D. Horne - the Kuantan blogger said...

I'm all for doing what one is passionate about, though sometimes it can get to the stage where you just need to make money to survive!

Thanks for dropping by my blog and hope to see you around again!

Duncan In Kuantan

Linda Austin said...

Congratulations for finishing the challenge. I know how you feel; I took the poem-a-day challenge last month, posting a few paragraphs and a poem on my blog everyday and am wiped out! For me, back to blogging once a week.

Ellie Garratt said...

I agree with what you say about being content with yourself and what you do. If you don't enjoy something what is the point?

I think blogging three times a week is fine. People will still visit your blog and you'll have more time to visit others and for your writing. You'll be happier for it!

Ellie Garratt

Jules said...

Rest, Follow your heart and I'll be here no matter what your schedule. Went back to mine immediately ;)
Jules @ Trying To Get Over The Rainbow

Melissa Sarno said...

I'm back to blogging 3 days a week too. Actually, I think I'll get more comments because now I have the time to stop and read and comment on other people's blogs! I agree with you, if you put your heart into everything you do, it doesn't matter what people think.

Karen Walker said...

Bethe77, all we can do is the best we can in any given moment. Let's all decide to be more gentle with ourselves.
Paul, that's my goal, too - stay connected to those bloggers whom I felt a kinship with
Pixiebaby, I have to keep reminding myself not to worry what others think - it's so hard.
K.C. Yes, I have to make sure I get out to see people several times a week or I am extremely lonely.
Melissa, that's a good point.
Linda, it was a great experience, but I'm glad to be back to normal.

Duncan, so true about needing to make money to survive. Sometimes we have to do the things we're passionate about on on the side.

Julie, lazy day at the beach sounds lovely - if only there was a beach in the desert.

Wisdomvirtueandrubies, yes, it is a constant struggle, isn't it?

Mary, I would have felt great about Sunday's concert if I hadn't listened to the recorded version. Oy!

Elizabeth, I think connecting with others is the key to everything.

Arlee, so true, friends and family will definitely tell you what they think - good or bad!
Ellie, thanks, I hope so.
Jules, I know I can count on you - and vice versa

LL Cool Joe said...

I just popped over from Tab's blog and just had to comment about what you said about performing.

"I guess what I've learned is if you are doing something you are passionate about, it really shouldn't matter what anyone else thinks of it or you. You have to be content with who you are and what you do. As long as we're not hurting anyone else."

I'm a dj and sometimes I get so worried that I'm playing the wrong music, or I have the wrong image, but I think your attitude is so right. Good for you.

Nice blog btw.

Karen Walker said...

LL Cool Joe,
Thanks so much for this comment and for the visit. Really appreciate the feedback.

Donea Lee said...

I bet your concert was a blast! :) I totally agree - if you're passionate about something, that's all that really matters sometimes.

Julie Flanders said...

Hi Karen!

I just wanted to let you know that I have given you the Stylish Blogger Award on my blog:


Tabitha Bird said...

Fearless at being yourself- yes- I am still working on this. Isn't it funny how we can be more like our true selves sometimes in the company of complete strangers than we can our own families. I would say the blogging community knows more about me than most of my family. How sad is that?

Thanks for your encouraging comment on my blog 'Mom'. I always like to imagine you sitting me down with a cuppa and saying what you type in the comments section :)