Thursday, April 13, 2017

How the Last Year has Changed My Life

This post contains referral links which means that if you purchase from one of my links, I will receive a small percentage of the sale.  

I did it!

I survived a year of blogging at Sunshine and Spoons and have loved every minute of it!  It's been more amazing and successful than I ever imagined it would be.  The highlight of the last year of blogging has definitely been the emails I've received, telling me how a post I wrote helped someone.

To celebrate my first year of blogging at Sunshine and Spoons, I'm taking a cue from Mama @ Heart who also recently celebrated her first blogiversary.

How It All Got Started
I'd been blogging at Supermommy!...Or Not for about seven years.  It started as an online scrapbook of my family and it was fun to have an outlet for writing.  But in 2015, I started rethinking it.  I wanted to blog professionally, and I wanted to help people who were going through some of the same things I was.  I had gotten to the point that if something was taking a lot of my time, but wasn't necessarily benefitting my family, it was time to cut it out.  Rather than convert Supermommy!...Or Not, I decided to start fresh.  You can read about how I chose the name "Sunshine and Spoons" here.

A Look Back at Some of My Favorite Blog Posts
This is my 102nd post.  Yes, I know...I've been busy :)  I've written about everything from chronic illness to parenting hacks to gift guides.  In one year, my blog has been viewed over 270,000 times which is more pageviews than my first blog received in 7 years of blogging.

The one where it all started: How It All Began

My first guest post: I submitted my post describing my first time tube feeding Davy in a public place to The Mighty for publication, and it was then picked up by Woman's World, and First For Women.

My personal favorite: My favorite post is probably the one I wrote about receiving my Ehlers Danlos Syndrome diagnosis.

My most emotional post: This open letter that I wrote to the public health nurse who went above and beyond for my family was one that I cried while writing.  A close second is another open letter I wrote to a friend of mine when she became a tubie momma.

My viral post: The post I wrote about 30 random acts of kindness you can do with your kids that included a free printable has been viewed over 130,000 times and shared countless times on social media.

My best "hack" post: I wrote about how I inspire my kids to love reading with reading parties and explained how you can do it too.

My funniest post: This list of 10 rookie parenting mistakes I still make after 8+ years of parenting apparently made a lot of people laugh since so many could relate.

My most controversial post: Apparently, I'm not a terribly controversial person because this open letter I wrote to the doctor who stole my hope is the only one that fits into this category.  I got a few comments on social media defending the doctor's choice to give me the worst case scenario.  Regardless, I stand by what I said.

How I Monetize My blog
This can be somewhat controversial among bloggers as some feel that monetizing your blog is "selling out."  However, I look at my blog as my job since I put SO much time and effort into it and I expect my jobs to bring me at least a little income.  It hasn't been much as I'm still working to build my pageviews and social media followings on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Pinterest, but there is definitely potential for this blog to bring in a decent income in the near future.

My favorite way to earn money is with my affiliate programs.  I love ShareASale and A Win which both allow you to work with a number of companies, rather than having to apply with each company separately.  I also like Amazon's affiliate program because, let's face can buy ANYTHING on Amazon.

I've done a few sponsored posts through Linqia and love that you don't have to keep checking the site for opportunities-they're sent right to your email.

I also own the Sunshine and Spoons Shop which is my apparel shop connected to my blog where I design and sell different styles and sizes of shirts with an emphasis on special needs and chronic illnesses.

Blogs that Inspire Me
Life Unplanned-Darci has a chronic illness, but still manages to run a successful blog and is dedicated to helping others in so many aspects of life.

Heaven Not Harvard-Jen writes from the heart and isn't afraid to be open and honest.  She struggles with a chronic hip injury, but doesn't let it stop her from encouraging others.

Tales From the Mommy Trenches-This beautiful mama recently had her fifth baby girl who just happens to have Down Syndrome.  I've been reading her blog for several years now and love every heartfelt, humorous, down-to-earth post.

The Wheelchair Mom-Priscilla parents her three young sons from her wheelchair and makes it look completely effortless.  She inspires me to keep going on my bad days.

A Southern Celiac-Brittany's tagline for her blog is "Food. Fashion. Fainting." She has Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, Celiac Disease, and some of the other "fun" stuff that comes with those disorders.

Beautiful in His Time-Aprille is a special needs mom with chronic health problems of her own.  Her posts are beautifully written, inspiring, and uplifting.

As I close this post, I want to thank each and every person who has helped this blog grow over the last year. Your continued support means more than you will ever know!  I can't wait to see where this next year takes us!

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