Sunday, November 3, 2019

5 Easy Blogging Tips for Keeping It Real!

Thinking Back

I want you to think back to the last time you had to write a story, a research paper, anything along those lines.

Go ahead and remember how you approached the project...Did you zoom right through it? Procrastinate, then write at warp speed?

If you had to come up with your own topic, did that step alone take forever?

And...ding, ding ding! We have a winner! That is SO me!!! πŸ‘ˆπŸ˜•✋πŸ˜•

Overthinking everything, writer's block, you name it! You will notice that it has been a little while since my last post.

The researcher in me can't just look at 1 or 2 sources for ideas to improve her blog. No, she has to check out about 4-5 books, ask people in her FB blogging groups for advice, etc.

When you look to so many places for advice, your head starts swimming! Use professional photos, write shorter posts, use numbers in your title, more this, less that... aaahhhh!!!!

It's like the blogger's equivalent of this golfer's swing! LOL

Golfer trying to take everyone's
advice on his swing.

It took me a little while to decide to quiet all the additional voices, and just concentrate on listening to my inner voice. I chose to start this blog in the first place to be able to write publicly, and to provide encouragement for anyone following their dreams.

I cannot provide you with encouragement, if I am being my own worst critic, correct?

So, in the spirit of what the Fledgling Endeavors blog is all about, I am providing a few blogging tips of my own!

Disclaimer: I am not a blogging expert, by any means! But, after blogging for 7 years (this blog) and keeping a 2nd family history blog active for 2 1/2 years, I have a few tips that may be just the thing you need to hear!

Diane's Blogging Tips (Follow at your own peril!)

  • Be Yourself! You have a voice all your own that someone needs to hear.
  • Small Steps are Fine. You write one post at a time, and can build from that. Ten years ago or so, I started following a fairly new blog called The Pioneer Woman.  And, look at her now! 
  • Do What You Can, with What You Have. I have an older Samsung phone & take most of my photos with that, or  I use the free stock photo websites. I use the free Blogger hosting site for the blog itself.
  • Just Keep Posting! The internet is filled with blogs that have been abandoned less than a year old. Even if it is just short posts, just keep posting. This is what I need to work on the most. So that will be my blogging goal for the new year: to just keep posting more often!
  • Check In With Your Readers! Stay true to yourself, but keep in mind what your readers would like to see more of, also. If they keep reading, they will keep following you...and bring in more followers. They started following you for a reason, so remember to listen to them!

Now, Readers (yes, You!!)...I am following my own advice. I would like to hear from all of you! You can tell me what you like about this blog, what you would like to see more of, etc. I will take it all to heart, even as I continue to be the me you like to read! Lol

All kinds of ways to talk to me: πŸ’¬πŸ’­πŸ’¬

  • Comment at the end of the post! Blogger has changed some things recently, and I am not sure all comments are getting through. If you are having trouble with comments, please use one of the other ways to get a hold of me. If there are issues, I want to be able to fix them for you! So, please let me know!
  • Email Me using the Contact Form on the right side of your screen.
  • Share the posts you like by using the Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest icons at the end of each post.
  • Follow FLEDGLING ENDEAVORS on my Facebook, Instagram and Twitter pages, and leave comments on those posts.
Can't wait to hear from you soon! πŸ˜€πŸ˜€πŸ˜€

Friday, September 27, 2019

Blessings of Long-Lasting Friendships

Friends, Tribe, BFF's,..A friend by any other name!

No matter what you call them, the people that have been there for you for a lifetime are one of life's best blessings.

But, before we go any further, let's define some of these terms. It helps to make sure we all see things from the same perspective.


  • Merriam-Webster defines the word "blessing" as "something that provides happiness or does good for a person"
  • Urban Dictionary defines "tribe" as "A group of friends that would do anything for each other, at just about any time. Friends that have been together for a decade or a day, but are loyal, loving, honest, and fun-loving. The Tribe consists of people that you expect to grow old together with."

My Story

When I was about 10 years old, a little girl named Vicki became my best friend. And, at around the same time, I flipped to the back of a Tiger Beat magazine and discovered you could send away for a pen pal. That is how I met Amy.

In middle school, I expanded my best friend base to include Susan and Doneta, and then Wendy once I reached high school.

These seemingly small decisions have blessed my life in so many ways over the years! These ladies have provided happiness, laughter, comfort and love just when I needed it for over four decades.

As Urban Dictionary defines it, we are most definitely a "tribe"! We would do anything for each other. We have seen each other through weddings, births, deaths, divorces and so much more.

Class Reunion Insights

But, this past weekend, I discovered there was so much more to our friendships than meets the eye. It was class reunion night, and  these women friends (and some of our guy friends, too) met for dinner before heading over to the reunion.

We laughed, we hugged, we talked...we had a ball!
In between bites, we surprised each other with little insights that left the others with their jaws hanging open. I mentioned that I enjoyed being Doneta's friend partly, I think, because she was her own person. She didn't care what others thought, and I wished I could be more like her.

The other ladies were shocked, because that was not the person I was in school. I was always concerned about what others thought of me!

Doneta, on the other hand, valued our friendship more than I realized, for the opposite reason. To her, I was the voice of reason and kept her actions reined in more than I knew.

Who would have ever guessed that I was the voice of reason!! LOL

...And this leads me to the whole reason for this post...and that is to fill you in on the 5 Biggest Blessings for you and your tribe.

5 Biggest Blessings for You & Your Tribe

1.  Support, whenever you need it. No matter the time or distance!

2.  Insights about you that you'd never even imagine. These friends
     know you better than you know yourself.

3. Unflinching honesty. They only want what's best for you, and will
    be honest with you for your own benefit.

4. A shorthand that only you and your friends will understand. The
    kind where you can just give each other "the look", and a whole
    conversation just happened.

5. And, most importantly, to trust each other so thoroughly that you
    can just be yourself.


It is my hope that you have friends like this! A tribe of friends that provides you with all of these blessings, and so much more!!

Saturday, August 31, 2019

5 Great Resources for Learning New Skills

Have you ever wanted to learn a new skill? Teach yourself a new language? Pick up a new hobby?

I am always trying to learn new things, and over the years I have found great resources that I turn to again and again.

Today, I am sharing 5 Great Resources that will put you on the path to learning all kinds of new skills in no time

1. The Library

        I am a librarian, and I am here to tell you that libraries are one of the best free resources you can find for learning just about anything you want. Free wifi, classes, books, magazines...the list goes on and on!

        For example, the hubby and I are living in a small (almost tiny house) and are trying to be as off-the-grid as possible. Not only can we check out Mother News Earth magazines, but also these fantastic books with lots of knowledge and skills to help us.

      How to Survive Off the
by Tim MacWelc
The Doable Off-grid
by Stewart
& Sharon Stonger

2.   YouTube Videos

      If you are a more visual learner, this is an excellent way to learn new skills. Auto maintenance, home repairs, DIY and tiny house projects are some of the more popular topics that we watched and learned from some of the pros.

      Beware, though not everyone is a pro! For every legitimate,  honest-to-goodness skilled person you find, I will guarantee there is also someone who assuredly is not. Just be careful!

3.  Magazines

     Even though the printing world seems to be changing daily, magazines still seem to be here for a little while longer. Whether in print or electronic form, you can find magazines on just about any topic. Art, blogging, photography, cooking are all skills you can learn more about from magazines. Prices range from free (@ your local library) to under $10, which is still much cheaper than the cost of a book.

4.   Classes

     Free classes are an excellent way to learn new skills! And the best part is that you can find many for free or cost of materials only. I just recently took a series of photography classes at my local library. Also, I teach genealogy classes at the nearby public library where I work. 

      Local independent businesses many times will offer free classes to get customers to come in their doors. Many large chain stores also offer free classes to try to entice you into buying their products: Lowes, Home Depot, Michael's and Hobby Lobby are just a few that come to mind. 

5.  Social Media Communities

       To learn from a friend or mentor, taking classes, or any kind of hands-on type of learning will almost always be the best way to learn a new skill. However, that is not always possible. You may be learning plenty from videos, books and magazines, but you would still like to talk to others in the same position as you.

       And this is where social media communities are a blessing! In addition to the help individuals have given to me on Twitter and Instagram, I have learned so very much on topics of interest to me in my Facebook Groups. 

       I also have a genealogy blog and talk with leading bloggers in the field weekly in my Geneabloggers Tribe group. I can receive the same support, camadarie and rapport in my Tiny House, Shed-to-House Living and Self-Sufficient groups.


 Start learning now! You have the interest in learning a new skill. With these resources, you have free, or inexpensive, ways to learn more, and follow your passion. Now that you have a way, the only thing you do not have any more is an excuse!

Sunday, August 11, 2019

Did You Know the Seven Rules of Photography?

That's fine! Before this summer, I had never heard of them myself. But then, my local library offered a series of photography classes πŸ“ΈπŸ“·πŸ“Έ and changed that.

I have always been passionate about taking photos, but not too confident in my abilities. So, these classes sounded like a perfect way to spend a few summer evenings.

Our instructor, Brooke, is a professional photographer. She took the time to get to know us, and our specific goals for the class.  She did a fantastic job, and taught me a lot!

A quote from class that will stay in my mind, "Once you know the Rules of Photography, then the rules can be broken."

So, I set about learning as much as I could about these Rules of Photography. First stop was Pinterest, so that I could see some visuals of these rules.

Afterwards, I stepped outside, and practiced, practiced, practiced!

I'm not too sure of how I did. I am going to let all of you help critique my photos. So, let me know what you think!

So, I give to you the rules of photography on the top,...and my attempt at using each rule right below.


Rule of Thirds

Negative Space

Leading Lines


Left to Right Rule


The next photography class will be in a few weeks. Can't wait!

Until then, you will find me outside snapping away! πŸ“ΈπŸ“ΈπŸ“Έ Practice makes perfect!!!

And always, if you want to learn something new, just go for it!!!

Monday, July 29, 2019

Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum Iron Pour ~ Art Fun for Everyone @ Greene County, Indiana

It is late July, and you are looking for something fun to do with the whole family πŸ‘ͺ before school starts.

Something fun, but maybe educational also, if at all possible...

Look no further than the Iron Pour @ the Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum ( in Greene County, Indiana!

Even when there are no special events, the Sculpture Trails is a sight to see all on its own. The sculpture trails are always available to the public. You pick up a guide at the beginning, and walk along the trails that house over 100 sculpture installations.

They have done a fantastic job of adding the artwork to the already beautiful countryside. Everything fits together quite well!  Artists come from all over the world to do internships, help host Iron & Aluminum Pours, create artwork,  teach the public about art, and so much more!

However, the real fun  πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰ comes at special events, such as the Aluminum Pour and the Iron Pour, held in July!  πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰πŸŽ‰

You can see in the photo below that they can get quite the crowd. This photo was taken at last night's Iron Pour. Before the evening was over, this crowd had doubled. People of all ages, families and friends, and they all appeared to have a great time!

People come from all over Indiana to
enjoy the Iron Pour! 
The artists and interns come from all over the United States, and other countries as well. Before all the action starts, they take the time to answer any questions you may have.

Hopefully my photo journal of the evening will help answer some of the questions you may have. If you would like to know more, please visit their website, or visit their FB page: Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum. 

Artist, Andrew Marsh, answering
questions from visitors
The "Sand Zone", where the scratch blocks
are made from sand & resin.
These are the scratch blocks in
which you carve your own cool design!
One of the artists carving on
a large scratch block.
Everyone has a job to do as
preparations get underway!
"Lady D", the larger foundry named
after the founder's mother.
The smaller foundry was brought
all the way from England!
"Let's light 'em up!"
The crucible & gantry crane
carry the molten iron.
A line of poured scratch blocks
makes for an interesting photo!
This chained log is actually hiding a design
created by one of the artists.
The "chained log" design made quite
a spectacular spectacle when poured!

What a great evening! Beautiful sculptures to see, very educational, and hand-on creative designing. Thank you, Gerry (the founder), for another phenomenal evening of fun, family and Fire @ Night!! 

Although this hidden gem is tucked back off the main road, don't keep it a secret!  Help us spread the word and tell your friends! Share this post with everyone you know! 

Leave a comment below, and let me know what you think of Sculpture Trails Outdoor Museum! 

Monday, May 27, 2019

A Few Of My Favorite Things

Like many good husbands, my hubby is very good about often saying those three words 😍 all wives love to hear: "Are you happy?" ☺And, he really waits for my answer, too.

One evening, after assuring him that I was very content, I went to bed πŸ’€ thinking about it. If you get to spend life mostly doing what makes you happy, then the question is:  "What makes you happy?"

And, it made me ponder, "What does make me content when I get time to do them?

And, so I started making a list...πŸ“

πŸ‘ˆ This is where I wrote my Happy List!

πŸ‘ˆ Doesn't the cover even make you

What makes me happy?

  • Being with Family
  • Being with Friends
  • Reading
  • Genealogy
  • Writing
  • Photography
  • Scrapbooking
  • Libraries
  • Learning New Things
  • Travel ~ Near and Far
  • Meeting New People
  • Peaceful Country Life
    • Walking on our Property
    • Watching the Deer/Wildlife in General
    • Fishing
    • Learning to identify plants, animals, etc.
    • Helping to make house & property take shape

My hubby is now working a different shift, and we don't get to spend as much time together. So, we cherish the time that we both have off work.

Even though the hubby is still asleepπŸ’€, this photo showcases how a recent day started. Hubby and CallieCat snuggled up to me, sleeping in late, and then reading a good book.

Snuggled under the covers with Hubby,
CallieCat and Grandma Gatewood

In beautiful weather, I just love spending time outdoors at our place. I love walking around our property, looking out for the wildlife. πŸŒ³πŸŒ»πŸΎπŸ°πŸΈπŸπŸŒΌπŸƒ

But, sometimes I don't need to go hunting for it. These two beauties flew in front of me, and then landed literally at my feet on our driveway!
Aren't these Eastern Tiger Swallowtails gorgeous?
Do you ever feel like someone is watching you? πŸ‘€ I looked up one night recently, and I caught Bob 🐸 watching me! 

Bob, the Tree Frog, Checking Up on Me!

Now, one of the last things on that list above is πŸ‘‰ Learning to identify plants, animals, etc.

So, I am off to crack open the books (or websites) to discover if I am correct in my identification attempts for this post. πŸ“šπŸ”πŸ“’

And remember to fit whatever makes you happy into the little and big moments! 😍😍😍😍😍😍😍

Make your own Happy List πŸ’žπŸ“‹πŸ’ž, and Live It Everyday!!

Saturday, May 4, 2019

How Books Can Change Your Life!

I am a self-proclaimed bookworm, I can admit that! πŸ“–πŸ“šπŸ“–

I am even a librarian in a small town library.

In fact, I love books and reading so much, you can still find me perusing the shelves of others of other libraries on my days off work.

A few days ago, I came across the book, You've Got to Read This Book by Jack Canfield and Gay Hendricks.

Canfield and Hendricks asked invited notable people to share their story of how a book changed their life. I found most of the stories interesting, and even wrote down a few titles so far.

However, it was the story written by Bernie Siegel, M.D., that captivated my attention.

His opening paragraph explains so very well how books can change our lives. I couldn't have said it any better!

 ~  "To be honest, I really don't believe any book can change 
your life - only you can. Look, two people read the same 
book: One is inspired, while the other is bored. It's 
the person - not the book ~ that creates the transformation. 
That power lies within each of us. That said, I do believe 
that an author's insights, when combined with the 
reader's inspiration and desire to change, can lead to a 
new life for the reader." (p. 137)   ~

For Dr. Siegel, this book was The Human Comedy by William Saroyan. I have never read this book myself yet, but it has now been put on my must-read shelf.

Siegel describes the book as a coming-of-age tale that reminds us "to enjoy, to laugh, and to use our experience for growth, and for good." (Siegel)

And he goes on..."Saroyan says this beautifully in what to me are perhaps the most important words in his book:

William Saroyan quote
As a genealogist, I am constantly looking backwards at how my parents and other ancestors lived their lives. I look at how I should be living my life, and hope I am making a difference in this world.

This quote from Saroyan struck me like a lightning bolt! It not only describes my parents and grandparents, but gives me a look at what I also can pass on to my child.

πŸ‘‰ I also have a book that changed my life....  πŸ“•πŸ“–πŸ“•
The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch

Randy Pausch was asked to give a Last Lecture as part of a lecture series on what they would like to present as a last lecture of their life. The ironic twist to Randy's lecture is that as he was planning his lecture, he discovered he had an incurable cancer.

His parting wisdom is  all about making a life, not just a living. He made everyday count and just enjoyed where life was leading him.

I had just started reading this book when my 79-year-old father became hospitalized with pneumonia. As his health declined, I was continuing to read and contemplate. I think my father had been content with his life and his place in it, much like Randy Pausch.

And just like Siegel describes above, reading Pausch's insights in The Last Lecture during my father's hospitalization and passing, provided the impetus for me to make some big life-altering changes in my life.

So, now, share with us, please:

~ What book has made a huge impact on your life?


  • Canfield, Jack and Hendricks, Gay. You've Got to Read This Book!: Inspiring Stories about the Life-Changing Power of Books. HarperCollins, 2006, p.137-139.
  • Pausch, Randy, and Jeffrey Zaslow. The Last Lecture. New York: Hyperion, 2008.