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Time to stop and give honor where honor is due

Cheers-To-Barbara-SwaffordUsually I write about how to Think Like A Black Belt. Today I want to introduce you to someone who Lives Like A Black Belt in heart and deed. This is a “Cheers!” to one of my favorite, most honorable blog authors.

One of the reasons I keep “the blogging faith” is that I’ve met wonderful people online — bloggers and writers — who have the gift of encouragement. These are people willing to help newcomers or long-time blog authors with information, connections, or a simple “You go, Girl!”

Such a person is Barbara Swafford of Blogging Without a Blog. She launched her first post in March of 2007–long ago in blog time–so she knows blogging. She also knows people.

One of her many goals is to help other bloggers with information freely given. As a teacher and mentor, she offers up posts that can guide newcomers, make long-time blog writers ponder creatively, or gather from readers a list of options for trouble-shooting the how-to of blogging.

Barbara also enjoys networking people together. She writes on her site, “As a blog author, I love to meet and promote other bloggers. Additionally, I love to introduce bloggers to each other.”

And don’t mistake this as a gimmick. She is one of those rare types who walks the walk. As she noted in a 2008 interview,

“I don’t think of it as being generous, as much as just being helpful and considerate. With the blogging community being a group of kind and caring people (minus the bad eggs), we need a way to find each other. It’s just a small contribution on my part.”

In her earlier blog days, she showcased a number of other blogs. She picked some amazing  people to promote. Many of the people she highlighted have made a difference in my life in how I live, write, and approach blogging. Here are a few:

Life’s Little Inspirations — Wendi

Abundance Blog — Marelisa

MomGrind — Vered

The Jungle of Life — Lance

Urban Panther (now blogging at Silver and Grace) — Eliza

Writer Dad — Sean

Passing Thru — Betsy

Loving Pulse (now blogging at Shades of Crimson) — Davina

These bloggers represent the good guys and gals in the blog world. They have a track record of integrity, helping, and pushing their own envelope in creative ways.
Cervantes wrote, “Tell me what company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are.” Barbara’s community speaks volumes on who and what she is.

If you want to learn how to treat your blog audience, Barbara can help, too. Like Whoopi Goldberg’s Guinan character on the TV show Star Trek, The Next Generation, Barbara has a unique knack of reflective listening few can match.

And just recently Barbara launched yet another way to help her online community, specifically the writers among us. In her recent post Help Me Help You, she writes of her new project, “‘Writers’ Blogk’ would be a gathering place where writers can share and promote themselves and their blogs via their writings AND receive feedback from other writers.”

So if you need a boost of blogging faith or just a great community of bloggers to hang with, visit Barbara’s blog today and say “Hi!”

And to Barbara — Thank you so much for being a shining light to so many. Here’s to you!


Lori Hoeck

— Many thanks to Patricia of Patriciaswisdom.com for helping make this day a special one for our friend and teacher, Barbara. —

Photo: Melalouise

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • Betsy Wuebker September 23, 2010, 7:06 am

    Hi Lori –
    “Cervantes wrote, ‘Tell me what company you keep and I’ll tell you what you are.’ Barbara’s community speaks volumes on who and what she is.”

    Amen! This tribute has been too long overdue! Salut!

  • Hilary September 23, 2010, 7:56 am

    HI Lori .. never a truer word said .. excellent post .. and you’ve encapsulated things I didn’t know .. and I’m popping over now for that glass of champers!! Barbara has been extraordinary to everyone who asks a question .. and as you say helps us all ..

    Black Belt – master of the class … Cheers to you Lori .. and Barbara .. happy days .. Hilary

  • Jannie Funster September 23, 2010, 11:11 am

    I’ll never ever forget the day Barbara said she’d like to feature me as New Blog Of The Week. — I totally did a Wayne & Garth before Alice Cooper “We’re not worthy, we’re not worthy” routine! 🙂

    But really, you have hit so many nails right on the head about Barbara — giving, sincere, considerate — I could go on and on. She is a special, special lady.

    And she led me to you — another special wonderful lady!!


  • Davina Haisell September 23, 2010, 11:51 am

    Hi Lori.
    I’m enjoying reading everyone’s posts and how they write with their voice of their blog. This is perfectly Think Like a Black Belt. I loved how you used the analogy of living like a black belt in heart and deed — that is Barbara to a “T” as is “Barbara has a unique knack of reflective listening few can match.”

    I agree with Betsy, this tribute has been long overdue. And thank you for including me in the list. I’m honoured knowing that our blogging connection has made a difference for you. Hugs to you.

  • Patricia September 23, 2010, 1:42 pm

    A lovely tribute Lori – You have a way with words….Thank you so much for sharing this great tribute and toast…

    I we all owe Barbara so much and it is nice to share her with others today…

    Happy First Day of Autumn…
    I am getting a bit misty now
    My comment Luv is not working – need to check Barbara’s archives! I did put up a post too in her honor

  • Lance September 23, 2010, 2:42 pm

    What a sweet, sweet post to honor such a caring and integrity-filled person in Barbara! She has been a beacon of light for so many people – and it is truly an honor to know her!

    And – Lori – I also want to thank you deeply for your kind words here to me and so many others, too. Your heart shines! And it is truly an honor for me to know you, too!!!

    Many blessing to you…always…

  • Sara September 23, 2010, 4:23 pm

    Lori — I liked that you focused on the community that Barbara has created and passed on to many of us. Your mention of the kind and caring communities that Barbara promotes, even without thinking was perfect.

    I remember feeling like I had come home when I found Barbara’s site. It felt gentle and giving…something you don’t see with a lot of the larger bloggers. She taught me, like you mentioned, that blogging can be a loving and compassionate activity.

    Thanks for this post. Also, I appreciate youreminding me that if weren’t for Barbara, I might be stuck in some deadly political community where everyone is fighting with each other…my nightmare!!!

  • Lori Hoeck September 23, 2010, 5:22 pm

    Thanks to all who commented and contributed to Barbara’s special day!

    Hi Betsy,
    Yes, long overdue. So glad we could all make it happen.

    Hi Hilary,
    Happy Day Today for sure! It’s so nice to honor those who so deserve it.

    Hi Jannie,
    I did a bit of the same when she featured this site as well. Always the encourager and supportive one, she is.

    Thank you! I’m glad we share the good space in cyberspace.

    Hi Davina,
    Hugs back to you! I may not get around to blogs as much as I used to, but you and the others certainly posted many a gem along the way that helped me grow. Kudos to Barbara for drawing us all into her circle.

    Hi Patricia,
    Happy Autumn to you! Thank you for being the catalyst today. It’s a pleasure to join in.

    Hi Lance,
    Thank you, Lance, and many blessings to you!
    When I think of those bloggers I listed and Barbara, I feel happy to know such fine company.

    Hi Sara,
    I know what you mean about being glad to have found the good and happy side of blogging, instead of the darker, bickering side. Compassionate is a good word to describe Barbara’s approach.

  • Talon September 23, 2010, 10:46 pm

    Lori, I love the name of your blog!

    What a lovely tribute to a wise and wonderful and generous blogger! That is the neatest thing about blogging – the amazing people you get to meet and befriend.

  • Lori Hoeck September 24, 2010, 8:02 am

    Hi Talon,
    Thank you for stopping by and commenting. And yes, the blogosphere is filled with strangers just waiting to become friends.

  • Eliza September 26, 2010, 5:45 pm

    Seems like just yesterday that Barbara paid me the honour of showcasing The Urban Panther as New Blog Of The Week. And I too have met awesome people through Barbara. She truly does bring people together and builds a wonderful sense of community.

    And thank you so much for the incredible compliment. You too, are one of the good gals in the blogging world.

  • Lori Hoeck September 27, 2010, 4:30 pm

    Hi Eliza,
    Barbara’s community building skills are something, aren’t they?

    Thank you for your kind words.

  • Barbara Swafford September 28, 2010, 10:23 pm

    Thank you Lori,

    My eyes are puddling with tears of joy as I read your kind words and the comments on this post.

    To come back to blogosphere after taking a week off and find my blogging friends paying tribute to me has left me speechless and humbled. Although it was always my intent to draw to my blog others who thought similarly, I never dreamed I’d meet so many wonderful people who truly care about one another; people who are there to support others both on and off the blog; people whom I now consider friends.

    To you Lori, again I say thank you.

    And to those who commented, know you words have touched my heart and I will be forever grateful.

    Love and ((hugs)) to all.


  • Lori Hoeck September 29, 2010, 8:07 am

    Hi Barbara,
    Hopefully we didn’t shock you too much after a week away!

    I’m glad you had the time off and could come back to a tribute. It’s been an honor to be a part of it.

  • Amy October 11, 2010, 2:03 am

    Thank you, Lori, for validating my suspicions. Barbara is authentic. Good. I have subscribed as I have with you. I like your attitude towards supporting and appreciating someone who is willing to put out a hand to those of us who are new and wobbly. And finally, I love the name of your blog.