I love serendipity, compassionate people and the beauty of blogging. This is a story about all three things.
My friend Michelle recently marked the first anniversary of launching her super-awesome, happy-making blog, Following Your Joy. To celebrate, she held a giveaway for her readers: simply comment and one person would receive $50 to donate to a favorite charity or cause. A lovely gesture, I thought, but not the reason I posted a comment on her blog that day. I simply wanted to let her know how much fun it’s been to watch her amazing journey into the blogosphere.
A couple of days later, I was visiting a few of my favorite blogs including Katherine Stone’s Postpartum Progress. It is the most-read blog about perinatal mood disorders and is such an amazing resource for the millions of new moms who quietly, often very privately, struggle with mental health issues after giving birth. I’ve been there, Katherine’s been there and she celebrates other women who have been there and are now living life to the fullest again. It is possible!
When I visited Postpartum Progress that day, Katherine was giddy about an upcoming postpartum health conference in Spain and wishing like crazy that she could somehow afford to attend. I told my husband about the post and mentioned that I’d love to donate some money to Katherine to help her afford her dreams and find a way to tell you, my readers, about the amazing work she does. I was excited by the idea of reaching out to this fellow blogger and supporting her work beyond the occasional comment I’d leave on her site. Plus, I wanted to find a way to share my excitement with you so that you might be inspired to help Katherine or someone like her – a blogger, friend, stranger.
I trusted the answer would come to me. And it did when Michelle emailed me a couple of days later with great news: I’d been chosen at random to receive her $50 donation to the cause of my choice. How cool! Truth be told, we both felt a little funny about it, since we’re friends and promote each others’ work, but she said she trusted the powers that be picked my number for a reason. I knew right away what to do with it: I wanted to send the money to Katherine and match the donation. No, Postpartum Progress doesn’t have non-profit status; it’s technically not a charity or even a company. But it’s a blog – a resource available to anybody with internet access – that champions a cause I am passionate about, in a way no other does. Katherine’s blog is a safe haven for so many women searching for a path that leads them out of the darkness, and provides insights for researchers and doctors who can make real changes and real progress in this arena.
So, this is the card and $100 check that should be arriving in Katherine’s mailbox any day now to go towards whatever she needs – travel money, software, cups of coffee – to support the work she’s doing. If there’s a blog you love, that inspires and empowers you on a regular basis, I encourage you to let the person behind it know how much it matters to you. You don’t have to send a check, but simple gestures – a kind comment, a thank you note, telling your friends to “like” them on Facebook, nominating them for blog awards, following their blog – are all lovely ways to let your favorite bloggers know that all those hours spent typing away or creating art or doing research are worth it to someone out there in the blogosphere. The same goes for people you see on a regular basis who lift you up – a great teacher, a friendly parking attendant, a chipper receptionist. Follow your joy, spread a little love and brighten someone’s day today.