Friday, December 18, 2015

Comm:unity



It is very bittersweet for me to announce that this is the final posting for the "By Invitation Only" group, who have been getting together from all over the world to blog about a common theme for five years now. This project was the idea of Marsha Harris at Splenderosa and involves some spectacularly talented women - truly, I was honored to have been asked to participate, especially as I was one of the only members to have a "small" blog when I joined. I have loved linking up with everyone's different perspectives each month and often tried to come up with something special for BIO in a bendy twisty way that sort of matched the theme - not always easy as I stubbornly make all of my own content! But the result was that some of my favorite, favorite posts have come out of this collaboration such as:
http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2012/09/the-weight-of-cricket.html
http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2013/09/the-jangle-of-times-keys.html
http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2014/04/ten-things-to-take-on-cruise-for-by.html
and just because the timing is so appropriate
http://lostinarles.blogspot.fr/2013/12/snow-on-lavender-fields-christmas.html

For this month, the ever-talented Vicki Archer suggested that we talk about blogging...the highs and the lows...where it is at and where we feel that it is going. 


At the end of last October, before my fifth anniversary of blogging here at Lost in Arles, I gave a lot of thought to this subject. I shared some of my thoughts then and was so overwhelmed by your generous responses that I still haven't caught my breath. You are all most certainly the "high"s (and the "low"s too when you leave, I admit it is something that I will never take lightly) but so is the thrill of a great afternoon passing in the blink of an eye until I wake up after having hit "publish."


I realize very well that blogging has evolved enormously in these past five years...but at such a rapid rate that I am fairly sure that my "old-school" style of publishing when I want and what I want is also boomeranging back to what is appealing as well. At least those of you that are here - that goes without saying! Authenticity is such an important word to me. A friend recently jokingly called me a "phony" and I thought that my head was going to explode! Being sincere is never out of fashion in my book...


...because through direct (even while virtual) communication we can find unity together. 

And I don't know about you but in this crazy beautiful world I need you all more and more. We are none of us invisible or unimportant.


So finally, a blog that has a sense of community is what is interesting to me today and I honestly think that is the direction that we are headed towards, no matter what the subject matter is finally...


...and I can share a few examples of people who I feel are doing this effortlessly and meaningfully:

In each of these blogs, the readers not only react to the author but also to each other in a really wonderful way. I have always been something of an outsider but being able to make connections through the mind-boggling big-small world is something that I still can't wrap my head around. But my heart? I am all in.


So as this door is closing, I would just like to say thank you to all of those who have supported or been a part of By Invitation Only. I am extremely proud to have created in the midst of such a fine comm:unity and that I have made quite a friendships out of it too is just the icing on what was a very delicious cake.


To read all of the fantastic posts from my amazing colleagues (and Marsha has requested that we all chime in for this final post), please do click:
Thank you, Marsha for an amazing run and Brava!


But you know how the saying goes, yes? When one door closes...another opens...
What about the door above? Curious?
Then stay tuned...

79 comments:

  1. Perfect, Heather and just the right word.. ."community". Community is what blogging is all about and what it will be in the future. There are no right or wrong ways to be in this game and that's what I love... we are our own bosses.. ;) xxv

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    1. And thank goodness for that! I swoon to think of anyone trying to boss either of us around... ;)

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  2. As always, gorgeous words and photos and you hit the nail on the head about being part of an online community -- something you have so skillfully developed here. Happy holidays!

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    1. Thanks to wonderful, loyal people such as yourself, Judith...Wishing you a wonderful end to 2015! xo

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  3. I have CHILLS ALL over my BODY!This was THE BEST and YES COMMUNITY........is what it's all about!If you go to my comments today an ELLIE READER is ASKING me to TWIRL on CHRISTMAS EVE for ELLIE!!!!!!!OF COURSE< I will be TWIRLING.......................I love the conversations that the responses bring from the COMMENT section!I said, just recently to someone that the COMMeNTS are almost better then the POST on some of my POSTINGS!!!OF COURSE, we have YOU and STEPHEN to THANK for A LOT of it on HAVE SOME DECORUM.Let's hope MORE people will chime in..................and I will GO PEEK at those other TWO BLOGGERS as I do not know them!!!
    NOW< where OH where does that DOOR LEAD......................................YOUR PHOTOS HERE ARE BEYOND!
    MERRY CHRISTMAS!!!!
    XOXOXO

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    1. Merry Christmas my beautiful friend! And of course I will be twirling...I think it is such a beautiful idea!!!

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  4. Dear Heather, for one awful moment, I thought you were retiring your blog. I'm over the moon that you are still going to write your beautiful words and post your heart-stopping photographs. Thank you!

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    1. Ooh, I am so sorry for the false alarm, Jo-Anne and thank you for your very kind compliment!!

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  5. The community is the best part of blogging, and isn't it wonderful that we can redirect as we feel is right to have that certain connection. Your images are beautiful, especially the blue wooden door and the blue berries, just lovely.

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    1. Absolutely. I agree with Vicki...there is room for so many ways of creating a real contact...something you know quite a bit about as well, Emily... ;)

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  6. Dear Heather, my blog friends ( including you!) have been here for me in so many ways, the encouragement, the support, even meeting many of you from coast to coast. We are indeed an incredible group of women who come together in a uniquely special community!

    xoxo
    Karena
    The Arts by Karena
    The Reason for the Season

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    1. I agree with you and feel really grateful for it as well. Now, we just need to get you over here to meet all of your fans in France!

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  7. Oh Heather ..... I am SO sad that our BIO series has ended .... I loved reading everyones take on our monthly given subject and doing my own.
    But, I absolutely LOVE your final paragraph and look forward to seeing what's behind all of our new opening doors !!
    Here's to continued blogging friendship and I wish you and yours a happy, healthy and magical Christmas. Much love from the UK. XXXX

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    1. Sending it right back to you from Provence, Jackie!! And to the beautiful wishes as well...I agree, it is only partially an ending...BIO lives on in our friendships.

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  8. Hi Heather, like you I am sad and hate change and am often amazed at the world of blogging and how it brings perfect strangers together and keeps us connected, bravo to Marsha! All the best to you this holiday season and cheers to a fabulous 2016!!!!

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    1. Gosh, I detest change too Tina. Wishing you a fabulous 2016. Time to open the bubbly, cheers!

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  9. OK, the thing that struck me when I opened your page were the photographs!!!! You have out done yourself. Gorgeous photos. Gorgeous photos, just gorgeous. As a reader I am very sorry to see this group dissolve. Is there no one who wants to take over???????

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    1. It is just the right time for it to end, Sandy. It feels that way at least. But I will miss it.

      And thank you for the compliments on the photos - I am always "chuffed" when such a fine artist as yourself says something so kind about them.

      Bisous.

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  10. I feel privileged that I can freely partake of such beauty that you offer here in your community. Perhaps the love of beauty, the timeworn patina of the old and ancient, the blessings of nature, and, of course, dogs are what bind us in common unity. That photo of the blue shutters and blue berries is fabulous. Wishing you a magical Christmas.

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    1. I think you pretty much defined the essence of this blog and our connection right there, Carolyn! You really did. Thank you SO much for your kindness and the wish for a magical Christmas. The attacks in Paris are still really present, so I appreciate that wish so much and am sending it back to you and yours ten-fold.

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  11. P.S. Oh, forgot to say, coming from a dog person, that is a very pretty kitty.

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    1. Right? I thought so too and so foolishly tried to pet it but kitty pulled away, immediately knowing that I am a dog person as if to say, "who do you think you are fooling?" ;)

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  12. Onward, Upward, Forward .. always being thankful for past pleasures. Wishing you continued positivity in your future, Heather.

    Aloha,
    Bill

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    1. Much Mahalo for that particular wish, Bill. I am trying to stay on track. Hoping your wings keep reaching...
      Aloha,
      Heather

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  13. Kitty!!! This was a lovely post - lovely to look at and read. It strikes me that we haven't seen much of your new village; or am I wrong about that?? At any rate, we Heather-lovers were starving for your Provence-y images and they did not disappoint. I'm so glad that you have this community to be a part of - it really has been so wonderful for you, especially being on "foreign soil"! But I echo another's statement - can't the series continue with someone else at the helm? You, maybe?? Either way you are absolutely right that one ending is the beginning of something else and that is an exciting thought! Thank you for this post! (and yes - blue shutters + blueberries = heaven!).

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    1. Merci, Soeur! ;) As I said above, I respect Marsha's decision for BIO to stop and think it is time. As for the village? I did a lot of posts when we first moved here and then thought that I had covered the ground (as it really is tiny) but I guess I was wrong?
      Love you so much!!

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  14. Lovely, thoughtful, gifted Heather... "old-school," authentic, sincere, creative, ORIGINAL content... This is very much what we expect of you, what we appreciate in you, and why we come back over and over again and savor this experience. I cannot help but think of Tish's book at this moment, and her observations on Frenchwomen and their pragmatism, coexisting with attention to details AS THEY ARE -- not necessarily as we would like to pretend they are. There is so much beauty in the real world, just as you capture it in your gorgeously decaying surfaces and your exquisitely "twisty bendy" interpretations of subjects and language.

    All of this is poetry, and while we know it when we see it and read it.

    As I've contemplated moving (even more) into the "newer" world of blogging, I've resisted. It doesn't feel authentic. It doesn't feel valuable. It may be right for others and both authentic and valuable to and for them; I like to think that as we mature, we come to know who we are and what we care about.

    Your following is here because of who you are and what you do. "Old school" may also be interpreted as classic and very high quality. I love what you do, and the way you do it.

    xo

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    1. You already know what my response to this beautiful commentary was. But thank you again with all of my heart...and I am glad to know that I am not alone in the "resistance" too! To each his own and we will just have to keep finding our way...
      With much Love and Gratitude,
      H

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  15. I really enjoy both your writing and your photos that you craft together so beautifully! :)
    Will be back to take a look at your earlier posts....just have to walk the dog first...!!!

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    1. Of course, the pupper is always, always the priority Gretel...and merci...

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  16. I think the wonderful thing about blogging--in both the new and old styles are the windows it provides the readers and the author. I think that old school blogging allows the author to invite readers in and look out the author's windows for themselves. Whereas the newer way of blogging is more of a framed window viewed from the outside in. Is this making any sense? Thank goodness I haven't poured any wine yet.
    I much prefer the "old" to the new, even though it can be awkward and raw at times. I think you're completely correct--your style builds community with its "come in, sit down, something to drink?" Hospitality versus the "you are like so lucky to be reading this" nature of many blogs.

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    1. I LIKE this comparison.........by my blog comment you were drinking something with THREE initials?Help me OUT STEPHEN what were YOU drinking?................and brie on baguette." SLATHERED" I MIGHT ADD!!!

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    2. Haha! Well I commented here first! Then by the time I had done most of my chopping and cleaning for dinner and popped over to your blog I had poured some CDR=Côtes du Rhône :)

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    3. Thanks for the translation. I could not figure it out either.

      Ali

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    4. GOT IT!
      I need some about NOW!
      35 people tonight and here I sit!!!!!!!!!!

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    5. Stephen? I think this is an absolutely brilliant description of where the two blogging modes are right now and both work, that is thing - it just depends on what is of interest to each reader. I love it! And...I love me a bit of CDR (although I would not have known what you were talking about either and I live here!)...Which is reason 4830 why you need to come over to visit...Hello? Wine tasting!!
      xo

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  17. Also, I love the way your photographs always tell a story through color.

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    1. On a good day they might. I really am happy when both text and photos go together. And am crazily particular about the layout, even if I usually do include more photos than I should...!

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  18. I am so pleased you will still be writing your blog, Heather. You have a unique, intelligent perspective on things, coupled with a talented photographer's/artist's aesthetic. We need some beauty to counteract the unsettling state of the world right now. I am grateful for all you have to offer...AND, like La Contessa, I plan on twirling for Ellie on Christmas Eve as well. XOXO, Victoria

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    1. Hooray! So we will be a happy band of twirlers then!

      Victoria, thank you SO much for your really kind compliments here, they mean so much to me. You have been stopping by for quite some time now and I appreciate that quite a lot. We all need to stick together right now...xo
      H

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  19. Heather...like all the above comments, we are all here because of you. You my dear are the Real Deal...a class act.

    A Merry Happy Christmas to you and Remi and the boys.

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  20. It is sad to see the end of our BIO community. Marsha brought together some of the very best. Your writing and images always move me!! Have a wonderful holiday.
    Xx Jennifer

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  21. Heather, I agree that the community we bloggers have created is indeed the best thing about this whole endeavor. I truly hope we can meet someday in person. Happy Holidays and have a wonderful 2016!

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    1. Wouldn't we all have a fantastic time if we could get together in the same...say, giant villa on Lake Como? ;) Eh oui, one can dream but you have already met some of my favorite people so that means it is possible...
      Wishing you a beautiful holiday season as well and yes...onwards to a great 2016!

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  22. Yes, add me to the list of folks who think the community of friends that has developed as result of my blogging far exceeds anything I ever expected. Often times it is a friend in this community who says just the right thing at the right time and quite frequently provides more support than real-time friends and family (some of whom don't even look at my blog). Will miss 'By Invitation Only. . ."

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    1. It is true, isn't it Jackie? I think that you and I both have really been fortunate to have been found by such wonderful, genuine people...
      Will miss BIO too...

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  23. I often wish there were a like icon. Again and again, a person comments just what I was thinking, often better said. I hate to reply "me too, me too! "

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    1. Joan, I feel that way all the time on my friends blogs! Just know that I am so happy that you are here and that you feel this is worth your time. That is more than enough.

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  24. Dear Heather, what a wonderful post and what you write is so very true! I just love blogging because of our blog we are able to meet people from around the world, with who we can share our passion, whatever it might be, interior design, fashion, photography,... We do meet kindred spirits or people who just love what we share on our blog. Thank you for your wonderful blogpost this year! I am always delighted by your beautiful and wellthought posts. And I just love the way you write.
    Thank you for your friendship, it means a lot to me.
    Wishing you wonderful Christmas days!
    Warm hug,
    Greet

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    1. Oh my, your friendship means a lot to me too, Greet! There are times when I forget that we haven't actually met in person after these past years...hopefully we will take care of that one of these days. And thank you for your lovely compliments...I always look forward to what you offer on your blog (this despite your heavy workload) so if I can return the favor a bit that is wonderful.
      Wishing you and your family very Happy Holidays,
      Bisous
      H

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  25. Heather -- these shots are glorious. concluding with a photographic bang, I'd say.

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  26. Heather,
    Reading your blog is more than pet, people, and photo therapy enjoyed. Your words are always thought provoking and illuminating in the spiritual sense. Simply put, I like being here. I am sad to see the group end, and that nobody is taking up the helm to continue on.
    Your style of blogging does have a way of evolving into a community whether the reader comments or not. Bravo!

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    1. I am glad that you like being here! And I am sad too but it seems like it was just naturally at its ending point as well.
      I am still trying to take in that my words might be spiritually illuminating. That is an amazing compliment and I thank you for that.

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  27. dear Heather, as always I appreciate your blog, your thoughts , your pictures and your style of writing. I wish you
    and Remy a silent Xmas eve but at most a healthy, happy and peaceful 2016 where I am looking forward to
    enjoy your blog again.

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    1. Merci R, I am sending you and yours wishes for a very peaceful and beauty-filled holiday season.

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  28. You see, ALL the comments !!! I knew you belonged to our lovely group, and it has been a blessing to me that you said yes way back then. This post is so evocative, I can tell how much thought you put into it, our finale. Community. Yep, exactly !!! Merry Merry Merry Christmas, darlings, all 4 of you...

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    1. Thank you, beautiful Marsha...for everything. Do you remember that when you invited me it was with the condition that I make my photos bigger on the page? I didn't know before then that you could! And that alone has changed so much, plus I found so many friends and colleagues through BIO...many new readers came my way and some stayed...and I always enjoyed finding my way through the themes as I could!
      Know that I am sending you a lot of love and wishes for an excellent 2016!

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  29. Your photos and text flourish as they flow down the stream. Each of your thoughts that you published is unique.

    "When one door closes...another opens…"
    I’m curious.






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    1. Good! I am glad to hear that you are! It is more design-oriented than what I usually share here but a good story nonetheless. Thank you always Edgar for your support...

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  30. You are a very special person with amazing talents, writing and photography - just incredible today! But, even more importantly, you have been there for me so many times, I can't tell you how much it has meant to me. I just am going to scoot back up and look again at your photos today, they are luscious. Your writing is so poetic and so real, it touches my heart.

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    1. You are a wonderful woman Judi. I am so grateful for our friendship.
      xo
      h

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    2. Heather, I feel the same way about you! Good friendship is worth its weight in gold! Hope you had a lovely Christmas!

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  31. Dear Heather,
    Very thoughtful "final" post! Final because 5 years of an unique BIO blog-event comes to an end, to a bittersweet one, I agree.
    Marsha has made such an effort to bring successfully "the world" together.
    Although I have reduced blogging/posting to some extend, it was - and still is - uplifting to read all posts, to enjoy each one.
    Yes, this "special door" is closing.
    But as Hermann Hesse wrote: "Jedem Abschied wohnt ein neuer Angang inne" -

    "At life's each call the heart must be
    prepared to take its leave and to commence afresh,
    courageously and with no hint of grief
    submit itself to other, newer ties.
    A magic dwells in each beginning and
    protecting us it telss us how to live."

    Amicalement, Karin

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    1. Thank you for the gorgeous gift of this beautiful Herman Hesse quote as well as your friendship Karin. Wishing you much beauty for this holiday season. And yes, like you, I was always very proud to be a part of the world community that BIO represented!
      xo

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  32. Sorry - I mean "Anfang" (beginning), not 'Angang'! Typing mistake!xk

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  33. only when you want and what you want. that's how it should be. xox
    do you know the name of the plant with the blue berries. I would like to plant this in my garden. I wanted blue berries on this year's wreath. Instead I painted some red ones blue.

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    1. I don't Jackie...I am hopeless for that sort of thing! I would think a type of currant but truly have no idea.
      PS. Didn't I tempt you by telling you that house is for sale? I tried! ;)

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    2. you did tempt me! i asked if you had a link. a girl can dream.

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    3. I'm pretty sure they are the berries of Boston Ivy.

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    4. Merci SAJ, I owe you a bottle of CDR. ;) !

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  34. Your photos just scream Provence. It looks so serene and pretty.I love your blog because you have remained true to yourself. I think that readers can tell which blogs are genuine and which are out there to make some quick money. I am also noticing a loss in subscribers (not that I have many) and I am wondering whether people are actually un-subscribing or whether Blogger has stopped supporting readers who are not on Blogspot.

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    1. Loree, I can't imagine why any of your readers would ever want to leave, truly, so I think that you are quite right in wondering about the Blogger Only business which I have had complaints of myself. But I will say that there is no "quick money" to be made in blogging. My friends who treat their blogs as a business work 500 times harder than I do to make it happen! More! But I like that we are arriving at a place where blogs like yours and mine that are smaller and personal are also appreciated for what they are too. We need to keep going! Sending wishes for a very Merry Christmas to you and your family on Malte from Provence,
      xo
      H

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  35. Such beautiful photos, Heather! The good, old "Heather takes us along to let us dream"-thing. That house on the first image, wow.
    The choice of colours, the cats blue eyes, the blue berries of that plant, just wonderful.
    I hope you'll give us all a Christmas gift with another post before Chrismas Eve. Even only a small one. That would be gorgeous! (;

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    1. I am going to try, Silke! I have a whole series that I am struggling to put together that is fun and definitely made for dreaming! Thank you as always for your wonderful support, dear friend.

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