Friday, September 11, 2015

You've got questions...we've got answers!

It was six years ago this fall that my mother fell in between the piles of trash, treasures and trinkets in her home, leading to the most difficult season in my life thus far. I wandered through that period with few resources and guides. It wasn't that no one else had been in a similar situation. It was that so many families and individuals were keeping the hoarding secret held so closely and tightly that I did not have access to their knowledge, their experience, their wisdom.

Swirling Question, courtesy of flickr
But no more! More and more families are sharing their secrets and offering advice. My brothers and sisters from the hoard (along with myself) are finding our voices and helping others find their way through these tough situations.

If today you find yourself on the brink of a forced hoarding intervention, or if you simply know that someday you may find yourself there, I hope you will head over and check out this list of questions I've put together. Helping out a parent who hoards in any intervention is extremely challenging. I simply can't stress that enough. I believe that armed with a little forethought, planning, and knowledge it can be easier for you than it was for me!

Five Questions to Ask Yourself Before Confronting a Hoarding Parent

While you're there, don't forget to sign up to get my new blog, Hoarding Hope, delivered to your inbox! Please and thank you!

Monday, May 18, 2015

3 Reasons to Consider Moving Your Blog

Blogging has really evolved over the last five years. Although there are still many who blog for purely hobby or family, most blogs today are an affordable way to begin creating a platform to reach others who need the information you already possess. If you started blogging years ago for personal, family, or as a hobby, you may find that your current efforts to build a regular readership, find new clients, or recruit new business partnerships seem to be limited by the noise from these previous efforts. It may be time to consider a move.

courtesy of Nathan O'Nions at flickr

When I began writing here nearly six years ago, my journey was much like that of Hansel and Gretel. I was wandering through the dark wood of my childhood, leaving breadcrumbs in case I lost my way. There were many times I came back here to revisit my journey, rechecking that I was not, in fact, lost along my way. Somewhere along my journey, however, I realized that I was no longer headed toward the witch's gingerbread house. I wasn't looking back as often to see if the crumbs were still there. My focus, my needs, and my goals for writing have changed tremendously.

I find myself considering doing something intimidating: MOVING my blog. I realize that this little blog doesn't fit the big dreams that I have today. It has served a purpose, and it will continue to serve that purpose for other COHs looking to find a place to feel understood. I won't obliterate it, just as we don't tear down houses because we've found a new place to live.

So how do you decide if you should move your blog? Here are several points to consider:

Is your blog currently filled with anecdotes about your family and hobbies? Although I am a huge advocate for some appropriate crossover between the business self and the non-business self, posts about your family vacation including pictures of Aunt Bertha with sunburn on the beach last summer are probably best shared with family and close friends only. If you are attempting to establish professional credibility and set yourself apart from the crowd, you may want to consider a move to a new, business-focused blog setting.

Is your blog running under a cookie-cutter hosted blog site? Although there is nothing wrong with these types of blogs (this is, in fact, one such hosted blog), they have some significant drawbacks. Among these drawbacks are such limitations as:
  • Long site addresses: If you look above, my site is One Wee Spark, however the address is If your purpose for blogging is to establish your personal brand, you want the power of a custom domain name.
  • Limits to customization: Even with a myriad of templates available, your hosted blog may feel bland. Moving to a self-hosted blog allows tweaks, customizations, and add-ons that a hosted blog may thwart. (Be wary of some of the low-cost business website building programs as well for the same reason--lesson learned the hard way!)
Has your topic changed dramatically? If you are like me, you've entertained many different paths in your journey. Some were good, some were not. If your focus topic has changed dramatically, it may be confusing to new readers, as well as established ones, to read on widely varied topics. This might be another time when a move, or expansion to separate blogs, is necessary.

But wait!!! you say. 

If you have established some business-related readers on your current blog, consider a period of transition. Write and post to your new blog as well as to the established one for a period of time. During this time, close each post with the address of the new blog. Be sure that once readers click from one blog to the next, they receive a request to sign up for updates at your new location. The length of time necessary to post at both blogs is variable based upon how often you posted at the original blog and how often you plan to post at the new one as well as how many readers you had at the previous location. 

Like a move from one beloved home to a new one, there is a period of adjustment, some fear, and probably also some anticipation. A move may be necessary, however, to get you to your goals.

What is your biggest reason for considering moving to a new (self-hosted) blog? Share your reasons in the comments.

Oh, and before I forget, check out my NEW BLOG, Hoarding Hope. When you get there, please don't forget to sign up to get new posts in your Inbox!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Looking Back, Growing Forward

When I first offered the Buried in Treasures Workshop in May 2012, I had a shortsighted view of what we were doing. My goal initially was to educate myself on hoarding behaviors and learn to help my mother. I fell into the group process accidentally--because the structure for help was a group format, and because as I tried to make sense of my life in relation to my mother's hoarding behaviors I had gone public. I became the most accessible point of hoarding information in Spokane.

My focus was on the "now," and did not extend beyond the 20 weeks it would take to hold the workshop by much. I knew I needed to make ongoing, long-term support after the workshop available but my vision into the future didn't extend very far.
(Borrowed from the Internet, original source unknown)

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Does it matter? Do I?

That old question came back to me today: Why am I here? Is there a reason for this life of mine? It's not a question rooted in anxiety or depression today, but rather is rooted in a perspective of looking back, reflecting on what has been so far.

Borrowed from

This life, my life, has not been easy. I suppose, most of us would say that if we were asked. It's not something special or unique to me. Life, it turns out, is tough for most of us in some way.