The good news is that I am no longer behind because of my vacation… It’s been three weeks so I can’t use that excuse anymore.  The bad news is I am still behind.  Ah, well, par for the course, eh?

Somewhere in the craziness of my life I realized that this past weekend actually saw the one year anniversary since I began this blog.  This set me to thinking.  What have I learned from fifty-one posts, two hundred and forty-four comments (approved at least) and three hundred and forty tags?

You’d be surprised, actually.  I was.  It wasn’t what I would have thought.

I have learned we largely take from the Internet that which we bring to it.  In my day-to-day life I value family, friends and a sense of community above all else.  So, it comes as no surprise then that the Internet has helped me reconnect with old friends, strengthen relationships with current ones and make new friends, primarily other bloggers.

Blogging requires consistency.  One needs to keep posting or interest fades.  I am not always consistent in all I undertake, so this is good practice for me.

Hostess once had a character named Chauncey the Chocodile.  Who knew?

Another thing I’m finding I need to practice in regards to my blog is restraint.  A couple of my blogs have generated their fair share of controversy (take the piece on Swankville or the one on home schooling) and I have received my quota of blistering comments.  My general rule of thumb is to put up any comment, even if it rips me to shreds, provided it uses relatively clean language and does not contain too vicious a personal attack.  The temptation to reply to some of these is huge, but it serves no one to engage the true believers.  I am not going to change their mind.  No need to fuel the fire.  Let me assure you, this is very un-Erika.  Usually I have to have the last word.

Speaking of true believers, here’s another something I’ve learned, sometimes the delete button is your friend.

As “American as apple pie” started as a Depression era marketing campaign to aid apple farmers.  I’d say it worked.

Don’t give up on people.  Most people will try to do the right thing most of the time.

I’ve learned a few interesting things about myself.  As outspoken as I have been, I’m not as fearless as I would like to think myself to be.   I’ve had a piece on our local schools sitting in my drafts folder for months now, but I haven’t hit the publish button.  I’m not sure how it would impact my kids.  Prudence or cowardice?  Hard to say.

I realized I could never be a vampire.  Will I ever need this knowledge? Likely not, but it’s good to know anyway.

I have found out I am not alone.  Others out there are just as passionate on topics close to my heart.  Of course, I also know there are lots who as equally passionate in the opposite direction.  Somehow, knowing there are people like me outweighs the thought of those who are not.  This isn’t limited to the big things like women’s reproductive rights, teen bullying or civil liberties; it works on the more mundane.  For instance, other people miss Ronnie James Dio and mark May 16th as a sad day, too.

I like jelly donuts, I never knew that before, and I like the “jelly” in my friends even more.

I never want to stop writing.  I never want to stop running.

Sometimes the life we end up with is not the life we dreamed of as children.  Sometimes, it is even better.

I firmly believe that happiness is a choice and this past year has reaffirmed that for me.  Thank you, my friends, for a wonderful year.

Five reasons to be so happy- the four of them and all of you!