My Blogging Story, Part II: Beware the 3-Day Weekend

Blogging is truly a wondrous thing.  Never in the history of the world have we been able to so easily communicate and share the things we love with other like-minded souls.  I never take it for granted and even today, after blogging for almost 4 years, I am still amazed and thrilled each time I log on and read your comments, your blog posts and your e-mails.  I just realized BNOTP turns 4 years old on Saturday!  Wow, it’s been a fast four years.

Image Source

 So, when I last left you, a not-so-nice comment had been left on a tablescape I had posted to the HGTV site, Rate My Space.  It was my first real encounter with a “troll” at RMS.  If you missed the first part of my Blogging Story, you’ll find it here: My Blogging Story: How It All Began . This will make a lot more sense if you read that part first.

As I mentioned in the earlier post, you can’t delete a comment at RMS and I didn’t reply to it for several reasons.  One reason was I had seen what happened to other posters at RMS when they attempted to defend themselves or reason with a troll.  It never worked and usually a big battle ensued with the troll leaving more mean comments and well-meaning RMS friends coming to the aid of the person who had been attacked, leaving their comments.  Before long, no one was looking at the post anymore.  Instead, everyone was focused on the “Jerry Springer” feud that was happening in the comments.  That’s the direction these troll attacks normally take.

So, I went on about my way having fun and visiting my RMS friends, kind of hoping no one would notice the troll-licious comment left on my tablescape.  I really didn’t want a troll war on one of my posts.

Then the nicest thing happened.  You know how there are good people in this world, the kind who see you on the side of the road with a flat tire and they pull over to help you when they don’t even know you.  Or, they notice you’re trying to be Rachel Ray in the grocery store and carry 5000 things in your arms at once (love how she does that :) )  instead of getting a buggy like you really should have, and they offer to help.  One of those dearhearts came along.

BJ, who blogs at the blog, Sweet Nothings, didn’t really know me from Adam’s housecat, but somehow she saw that mean ole comment and left her own comment right after it.  What she said planted a seed in my heart, one that wouldn’t grow for another couple of months, but took strong roots nonetheless.

I looked to see if I could find the comment she left but I don’t remember now which post it was on.  Plus, I’ve deleted several tablescapes on RMS since I began blogging so, I’ll have to paraphrase.  BJ simply said, “You don’t have to put up with this!  Start a blog and come join us in Blogland!”

I remember thinking how brave (and kind) she was to leave that comment because often a troll will come back to eagerly read what others are saying in response to their nasty words…they thrive on that.  And usually, they turn on anyone who dares to defend the person they’ve attacked.


BJ’s words were like a big old band-aid on that mean-spirited comment.  Just goes to show, you never, ever know what small act of kindness or words of encouragement will be just the push someone needs to grow.  Words have power; they fuel ideas and often lead to action.

I need to mention another dearheart who kept us all sane during the “troll war” days.  Michael who blogs at Rattlebridge Farm, did the sweetest thing.

Let me back up a sec.  When Michael first began her blog, which back then was called Designs by Gollum, she was blogging anonymously.   She was/is a well-known author and at the time, she wasn’t sure she wanted that out there.  I was first introduced to her blog by another RMS poster who warned me in my early RMS euphoric days, that RMS had a seedy side.  Michael had written a post about some of the ugliness that was occurring at RMS, giving us all some much needed perspective and wisdom.  In addition, she was the Florence Nightingale of blogging, working to undo some of the meanness she saw on RMS.

Michael would find the RMS posts of those who were being attacked on RMS and she would often “feature” those pictures on her blog.  To have one of your pictures featured on her blog was beyond exciting and it went a long way toward undoing a lot of the harm and pain the trolls had caused.

It’s so funny now to think back on those days.  RMS/Blogland was buzzing with folks trying their best to figure out who this good samaritan blogger was who was posting our troll-abused pictures on her beautiful blog, along with her wonderful comments and words of encouragement.  No one even knew if she was a man or a woman.  Who was she/he?  Had this person been a poster on RMS, they wondered?   It was soooo funny watching everyone trying to figure it all out.  I didn’t know either…just knew whoever it was, they were amazingly big hearted and kind.

Eventually, Michael (who we were calling Gollum) humored some of her readers and posted a picture of herself on her blog.  Some well-read readers recognized her and the rest is history.   There are some mighty fine folks in Blogland, I tell ya.  Mighty fine!


The 3-Day Weekend:

Beware the 3-day weekend! I do crazeeee things on 3-day weekends…like start blogs. ;)  The weekend of August16-18, 2008 was a 3-day weekend for me.  Don’t remember why I had that Monday off, but I did.  I knew absolutely nothing about blogging or websites or any of that stuff.  I could Google and that was about it.

When I visited a blog, I was in awe.  I thought the blogger was a genius who had mad tech skills!  Who knew Blogger made it so easy.  Blogger leads you step-by-step in starting a blog.  It couldn’t possibly be any easier to start a blog than it is today.   Now, coming up with content that draws readers day after day and staying motivated to blog regularly…that can be a tad harder to come by.  That is, unless you absolutely love it.  Then you jump out of bed and three hours later you snap out of your blogging trance to find you’re still sitting behind your computer, teeth not brushed, no breakfast and the cat is saying, “Feed Me!”   What???   I just sat down 15 minutes ago, I’m sure of it!

On that long weekend, I clicked on the button and followed the easy “Blogger” instructions and began this amazing journey.  One of the first things you have to do is come up with a name for your blog.  Of course, the first few names you think of are always taken.   I made a list of about 6-8 names and e-mailed them out to several friends and family, asking which one they liked.  I remember one name I came up with was, “Confessions of a Southern Belle.”  My sister was not impressed.  She thought it sounded completely scandalous.   I told her it was working pretty well for the Pioneer Woman. ;)   Ha!  Scratch that one off the list.  In the end, someone suggested, Between Naps on the Porch and it felt just right.  I had just added the porch on to the back of my home a few months before and it had fast become my fave place to be.


I could go on and talk about how I blogged for two years while working 7:30-5:oo each day as an Adult Protective Services Worker, investigating abuse, neglect and exploitation of the elderly and disabled.  It was challenging working full-time and blogging, but blogging was so much fun that it never felt like work.   I never talked about my job during the time I was working, but about a month after I served my last day, I shared the huge change in my life with my readers.  You’ll find that post here:  For the Past Two Years, I’ve Been Leading a Double Life.   Blogging really has changed my life!

I still remember when the first soon-to-be Sponsor asked if I would open my blog up to advertising.  I didn’t even know how to place an ad on the sidebar.   Wow, what a journey this has been!  I don’t know how much more you want to hear.  Does there need to be a Part III to this story?

Okay, I have a Tablescape Thursday post to get ready.  I better get cracking, it’s almost 8 PM.  I’ll try to answer any questions you might have, so throw ‘em at me.  Or, if you have a suggestion for a future post, let me hear it.  I can’t promise I’ll be able to cover it, but I’ll try.

If you missed the first part of this story, you’ll find it here: My Blogging Story: How It All Began

As always, thanks for being the very best part of BNOTP.  Without you, there would not be a Between Naps on the Porch!



  1. Oh, Susan, you’ve brought back so many memories! I do remember the Troll days on RMS and how so many were deleting their posts. I deleted a lot of mine but left up a few and they are still there today. So glad you found a way to show us your talents.
    Be a sweetie,
    Shelia ;)

  2. It’s been such a pleasure to follow your blog for the past four years! I too started on RMS and loved the community, but hated some of the anonymous meanness of it! I loved your pictures on RMS and your kindness in always visiting the ‘little guys’. Your kindness has been so appreciated!
    Happy 4th Anniversary! You definitely make the world a better place!

  3. Enjoyed the rest of your story Susan. You really are talented in so many areas!!!

  4. Thanks for sharing your “bloggie land story.” I keep toying iwth the idea of starting a blog but after taking care of my mother with Alzheimer’s for years, I just can’t commit to the time and energy that I know a blog will entail. One of the greatet parts of reading you “story,” was going back and reading about your dual life. I used to teach public school and had some heart-breaking experiences and dealt with some threats from teens but never anything like what you endured. Like many others commmenting earlier, yours is the first blog I began to read several years ago. I check this blog out among the first things I do each day. Thank you for sharing your beautiful heart and soul here on you place of beauty–as someone said this in a similar way before, you are “a beautiful person, inside and out.” Di

  5. Tracy Bayle says:

    YES!!!! I want a part three! I want to know how you figured everything out, How you started and continue to make a living at blogging, and are all the posts from your own house (surely not, unless you are spending all your money re-doing things every month! Susan???? You’re not doing that, are you?????) Anyway, I want ALL the details! Better yet, school starts Friday and I will be home alone all day. Newly remodeled ancient farmhouse home here in Central Louisiana-and I’m so full of all my ideas I implemented in the renovation!
    Come spend a few days with me and we’ll have a blast setting up a blog for me!!!!!

    • Tracy, you just figure it out a little more each day from Googling stuff and talking with other Bloggers. I still don’t have it all figured out. Every day I learn something new that I wish I had known years ago. For example, I have just started trying to make my posts more SEO friendly. If you Google Blogging Tips, you’ll find soooo many tutorials about how to do so many things. Blogger is very different from WordPress.
      About which pics are from my home: if I’m showing photos from someone else’s house, I’ll always mention that in the post. So that’s how you’ll know if it’s something in my home or a friend or fellow blogger’s home. Regarding, making a living from blogging, several bloggers have done some really detailed posts on that. Here’s a whole series Kristi put together on her blog detailing ways Bloggers can make money, blogging:

    • Ditto on Tracy’s comments. :)

  6. I absolutely LOVE your blog, LOVE your porch and want to build one onto the back of my house. Or maybe I can just come visit yours! Thanks for sharing your story. I’m sorry you had to face “The Troll” but sometimes we have to face the yucky to get to the great! I’ll be coming back often. God Bless! ~ Linda

  7. So glad you didn’t keep us in suspense too long. Yes, please to part three.
    I know there have to be other new bloggers out there who would like to hear how you opened your awesome blog up to advertisers. Thanks for your help with my button today, Susan.
    Love your screened-in porch…looks like a perfect place to nap!

  8. Oh such an inspiring story Susan, reminds me of the quote “Some people come in your life as blessings, others come in your life as lessons. Michael was your blessing and now you have a fabulous blog.

  9. Oh, Susan!
    Thank goodness there are not only trolls in this world but also good souls, like BJ and Michael!
    And thank goodness we have BNOTP! Although I have to admit “Confessions of a Southern Belle” sounds nice, too… But maybe your sister was right: Max wouldn’t have had his important part in that name, right?

  10. Yes thanks to you Susan we have BNOTP. A Big thanks for letting us be part of your blogging story.

  11. I am delighted you began blogging! Your blog opened my eyes to a new world of fellow dish lovers. I am forever grateful for finding your blog which led me to many other wonderful blogs and eventually to create my own. Thank you and happy anniversary!!

  12. Allison Hancock says:

    I love your blog and your porch! It is always perfect and I get lots of inspiration from your tablescapes! I have a question regarding your tablescapes – do you actually eat on the beautiful dishes? I have started to add a couple of things that I find at tag sales and Goodwill and am looking forward to incorporating them into my everyday table settings.
    Keep the inspiration coming!

    • Hi Allison, yes, often the table settings are used. Sometimes they have been created for friends or family, but I also create them just to share here at BNOTP for TT, too. Goodwill and thrift stores are great places to find pretty pieces! You’re so smart to shop those!

  13. Very cool Susan! I love the details of how you got motivated!
    That’s is the neatest story about Michael!
    I love the name of your blog! I’m glad you chose it!
    I will have to read your story about your previous double life!
    You are a hard worker that’s for sure!

  14. Anna Starner says:

    Love your posts about starting a blog. I was drawn in last spring. Yes it is like an addiction. I had spent many hours on RMS but the Trolls as you called them were taking the pleasure out of it. I stumbled onto Debbie Doo’s and was hooked. Very soon after that I was jumping all around reading these things called blogs. I soon found yours and have been coming back to read regularly. You have beautiful tablescapes. I enjoy your beautiful porch and the blue hour skies as background. I took the plunge one afternoon and started a blog before I knew enough about what I wanted to do or how to go about it. I will be posting again very soon at A creative start.

  15. Thanks so much for sharing your story. I was never part of RMS and glad I was not after reading about so many others having a not so pleasant experience there over the years. :( It is unfortunate that trolls and others in the same category don’t use that same amount of time and energy doing positive/good things instead of negative.
    Thanks for your words of encouragement when I started blogging. My blog has sorta wandered off in another direction than I had originally planned – who knows where it will end up.

  16. debbiedoos says:

    Leave it to sweet Bj, to be the blog angel you needed! Gosh, I adore that lady. Happy she did Susan. You have been having a great run and I wish you continued success.

  17. Part 3,yes please…I have enjoyed spending my time reading, and so happy to be a follower.You have lifted my spirits and give us hope that “ALL’S WELL,THAT ENDS WELL”,I for one am tickled,I love to blog and it is lots of enjoyment …I may not be as dedicated at times but I’m only here strictly for fun and the excitement of seeing such creative bloggers,writer’s,photographers,and just pure down right great folks,sometimes there is a little meanness along the way but it seems to work out purty quick,after all that is the way it is,can’t have it ALL good,guess some folks just feel the need to keep us on our toes,and remind us of the “GOLDEN RULE”.Thanks for enjoyable peaceful evening!!…Now let me go check out that Tablescape!!!

  18. I cracked up when you said you still weren’t dressed and the cat had not been fed. Yes time goes by way too fast when you start looking at blogs or preparing your posts!

  19. Thanks for sharing your blog with us. I appreciate your honesty and your willingness to inspire us with your wonderful ideas. I am still developing my blog after some time and I hope I can get more focus and build my readership. You have given us so many wonderful ideas!

  20. Hi Susan! Glad I stopped by – what a treat to read your story. I’m at a crossroads of deciding whether to keep blogging (and make money) or to stop and get back into “real life.” I’d love to know more so yes, part three please! Remember when I asked you if all your Pottery Barn Office posts were paid reviews…. can’t believe they weren’t. You’re an inspiration!

    • Nan, I do remember that! I remember you thought they had given me the furniture. No, none were paid reviews and no free furniture. :) Actually I’m sort of glad about that…would feel obligated to them in some way if that were the case. No, I just included their name in my post title hoping to catch some traffic for folks looking for the Bedford line for their office.

  21. I’ve just loved reading this story of how you started your beautiful blog. You bring such good vibes into my day!

  22. Susan,
    Please don’t ever stop blogging!!! Yours is one of the VERY first that I followed on a regular basis! I love your voice, your photos and Max! I’m thrilled to read how it all began for you. Happy Fourth Blog Anniversary!!! Looking ahead to many more years!!!

  23. SoonerLaura says:

    I’m still such a “Newbie” having started blogging in 2012. I really enjoyed your story. And I drool over your porch. If anyone has a duplicator machine for porches, please whip me up one just like Susan’s! If you have time pop over to my blog and take a look at the Lazy Susan I posted today (sorry, I didn’t make up this name). With all your tablescapes maybe you could tell me more about this lovely piece than I already know.

  24. What a great story! While it’s fun, I don’t know how you did it working full time!…in an emotionally draining field, no less! Blogging can feel like a full time job sometimes! The biggest challenge for me is to not compare my self to other bloggers who are ginormous, like you!
    Continued success,

  25. Susan,
    I absolutely adored this story. I have always been intriged by stories of chance, serendipity, and the unusual segue’s of life. Thank You for Sharing, Geri

  26. Definitely want a part three—and four, lol. Love reading about your beginnings in blogland. I am still on the fence about starting one. I think I will, except I need a decent camera first. I have an excellent camera, but it is a 35mm, only have a very cheap digital. I have plenty of time to devote to it. Or I will if I stop spending it reading all the great blogs already out there!

    • Sandra, my first camera wasn’t that hot, but it ended up taking some pretty good pics. I just didn’t know how to use it correctly. So dive in…even before you get the camera you ultimately want!

  27. Boo to those trolls! I find your blogging story fascinating and yes, I’d like to hear more! Your blog was one of the first ones I ever read. That was when I was a lurker and didn’t even comment. I would love it if you wrote Part 3 and addressed how you have monetized your blog. I would be most interested in hearing you opinions on the subject.

  28. Susan
    As I read this…I hurt with you, laughed with you and cried with you. I am so VERY touched by your telling this story. Thankyou for sharing this all with us. You have been my number one mentor before I ever started my blog and you still are. Thankyou. And Happy 4th anniversary. May you have many many more.

    Blessings to you,


  29. This was so much fun, Susan, walking down your “memory lane!” I think it’s so much fun learning what lead some bloggers to this fun world. I started after accidentally running across “The Pioneer Woman,” & hearing how she got started. She said “If I can do it, anyone can,” and I believed her! Thanks for sharing your story!

  30. Happy 4th Anniversary! Thanks for sharing your story, Susan. Like so many others, BNOTP was the first blog I really read and followed. Then you introduced me to Debbie and the two of you encouraged me to start my own. That was three years ago this August, so I’m following along behind you. ;-) Your were so generous with your time and suggestions and helped me in more ways than I can name. You even linked up my first post to TT for me because I was going to be out of town. Friendships in the world of Blog are the best part. Thank you for being such a caring, sharing friend, Susan.
    All the best as you continue forward with BNOTP. Love the name!
    ~ Sarah

  31. It has been so interesting reading about the beginnings of Between Naps on the Porch. It is such a beautiful blog with so many inspiring ideas. It’s easy to forget that you had a beginning just like many of us who have just started. I would love to hear Part III and more about how your blog has become the wonderful place it is today!


  32. I love Michael’s stories and I’m so glad to know she is also a nice person! I have a blog too, but write in it as I find time, which is not as often as I would like… I’ve thought about opening up to ads after I’ve received a few inquiries from a couple of local food companies, but not sure if I want to tie myself down to doing that…I probably would have to blog more often for them to justify investing in me LOL

    I enjoy your blog very much. You and Mary Mc of Lake Norman, NC (Home is Where the Boat is…) are my two favorites!

  33. Those were the days, weren’t they? I never posted to RMS, but that is how I ‘met’ a lot of bloggers. I was always fascinated by Gollum’s blog. Happy 4th anniversary! Sure doesn’t seem like 4 years!

  34. Well, what can I say….? Love your blog…you are much better at this than I am. I took a blogging class to get started. I started about the same time as you but because of many things my blog is a wonderful outlet but has not been something I tried to “grow” so to speak. I really enjoyed hearing how you got started. It is the human stories that attract me…..well, and all of the other beautiful things that go with blogging.. the inspiration, the pictures, the growth. My blog might have not grown, but I have. Thank you for sharing your life! CeCe

  35. Thank you Susan! I am new…just looking at and reading blogs, not very tech savy, and fasinated with all that you do! Not to mention…finding like minded people…that LOVE to set tables…and do some of the other things I love to do too! Fun and plesant people, interesting, and what BEAUTIFUL pictures!
    I enjoyed your stories very much, was fasinated! I too hope you share more, as mentioned, how did you set up, how did you know what to do? Need fancy equipment? Advertising? All things one wonders about. And…what one might write about every day…every day?? I am in awe, thank you very much.

    • Sue, no fancy equipment needed, although a good camera does help. Just click on the orange B in the left hand corner of any Blogger blog and it will take you to a screen where you can start your own blog. Just follow the prompts…it is super easy. Think of a name for your blog first though…several in case your first few choices are taken.

      • Thank you Susan for addressing “newbie” questions, and thank you too for the way you set up your comment section [it doesn't show my full name]. This is so nice!

  36. Sharla Lumpkin says:

    I am so glad I stumbled on your blog one day. I always enjoy your post and pictures. Thank you for sharing and blessing. :)

  37. Greetings, Susan, and Happy Blogaversary! Yours was the first blog that I ever subscribed to and have thoroughly enjoyed the inspiration and entertainment! Thank you for giving so much of you in your blog! Looking forward to many more years of Between Naps on the Porch.

  38. Susan, yes to Part 3! I remember the post of your double life and thought it amazing you could also run a blog. The saying “sometimes you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find a Prince” was true in your instance, if you had not met the Trolls, you would not have been rescued and taken the road to Blogland. We are the ones who have benefited by your creativity and the Trolls are still…..well Trolls!!!
    Oh and Susan…don’t forget to feed Mr. Max!!!! :)

  39. Thank you so much, Susan, for sharing your story! It was nice to know I wasn’t the only one who had never heard of blogging! I’m only at 8mos now but can’t imagine not blogging. I only wish I had found blogland earlier. Thanks again . . .,

  40. Hi Susan,
    Your blogging story is really interesting. It is proof that if you have a passion for something, you can make it happen. You have a wonderful ability to capture people’s interest and constantly supply them with fascination facts and ideas. I admire your commitment to BNOTP and happy anniversary. Since I used your camera at Haven to snap a picture of you and Jane, I remain one of your biggest fans.

  41. Susan,
    Your blog was the first one I discovered several years back through Google, and I quickly added it to my bookmark list and I visit your blog everyday now. Thank you for all your hard work and dedication and for being a role model. Yes, please do a part 3, would love to know more.
    A faithful follower,

  42. Dear Susan,
    I am new to your website and I love it! Your porch is so beautiful and your blogs and stories are so sweet and inspiring. I have learned a lot about so many things related to painting and decorating. I get up at 0500 everyday and spending time “traveling around” on your website as it is where I enjoy drinking my coffee before I have to get ready to go to work. While at work so much of my day is spent dealing with difficult and challenging situations but your website allows me to forget about those things and focus on fun, pretty, beautiful, happy things! Thank you! I am going to try to start my own blog as soon as I figure out what I have to tell people that they would actually be interested in reading!!! LOL !!!

  43. Susan, I love your blog! In fact it was the very first blog I read. It didn’t know about the world of blogs, didn’t even know what a blog was. I happened upon your porch on RMS and fell in love with it. From there I found your blog and was addicted ! I don’t have a blog but love reading decorating and quilting blogs and it all began with BNOP I rarely leave a comment but faithfully read blogs and admire the time and work that everyone puts into them. I have gotten such inspiration from all of you. Hope you will continue for a long time.

  44. Penny Boden says:

    I love your blog. I have learnt what a troll is other than the ones that challenged the three billy goats gruff. However, I have no idea what RMS is. Please can you explain this to me.

    • Penny, just google Rate My Space on HGTV and you’ll find it. It’s just a site where people can upload a picture of a room in their home and folks will “rate” it. It can be a bit brutal, though…but mostly folks are really nice.

  45. Please part III.
    I love a backstory as much as the story. I read a lot of food blogs and I want to know what type of pan that food was baked in maybe more so than the recipe.

    I would like to know how to monetize my blog. I write for therapy, but it would be nice if I could work it out to make it pay something. It’s is not about the money because I will continue to write no matter what, but I would like to surprise a few people that think this is really crazy.

    My two cents: If you go blogger you at least buy a domain name in case you want to expand in the future – sometimes people buy up your name betting the domain name will be worth something.

    Oh, and one more thing. Rachel Ray should invent a tray to carry her mise en place to match her garbage bowl because when she carries her ingredients I get very nervous.

    • Madonna, check out this great series Kristi put together on her blog explaining how you can monetize your blog: It explains way better than I could. Yup, wish I had know that about buying the domain name early! LOL I love how she does that! She cracks me up! :)

  46. Susan,
    Thank you for sharing your story.I had a similar situation a few months ago.I too felt the same as you.But I posted about it and was thrilled and surprised at the support of my followers.

  47. Dolores Tipton says:

    Thank you Susan! BNOP has been an inspiration and your blogging tips very helpful. I’m an event planner but because of family situations I made the decision to cut way back on my work load. I terribly miss the connection with the event world but feel like blogland has saved me! It all started with me stumbling across BNOP several months ago. Now I am totally absorbed in the blogging world!!! I’ve been toying with my own blog, trying to learn the tech part. It’s still very much in it’s fledging stage, but one day soon I hope to be ready to join some linky parties. What fun!!! Dolores

  48. Mary from Virginia says:

    Susan, Loved part 2 ! Isn’t it nice to know that when something bad happens, goodness usually comes along?!

    I wonder where your Troll is now?

    Glad I found you, I love your blog!

  49. Debbie Burden says:

    I love your blog AND it’s name! Thanks so much for sharing your life with us.

  50. MariaElena says:

    Susan, your story is amazing and so touching! Thank you for sharing it. I am very happy you decided to start blogging. I have enjoyed your blog for so long now and reading your post has become part of my daily routine. You are an inspiration to all of us. Now, I do wonder, do you still get the “troll” comments? LOL Well, I am asking because I have only been blogging for a little while and haven’t gotten too far, but, believe or not, I also had some of the trolls come visit me! Ha!

  51. Michele from Finch Rest says:

    Well, wow- Happy 4 year bloggaversary! That is truly amazing!

    To give creds right back to you, Susan, YOU were very instrumental to ME to start my blog in January. Between my daughter’s help and your encouragement I too joined the ranks and have had such fun and already have met AMAZING people.

    I wish you another 4 years of wonderful posts, I will always be one of your biggest fans! Was a stalker for all these 4 years!

    My best to you – neat posts about your history…and especially about BJ and Michael, two wonderful gals to be sure!

  52. “When I visited a blog, I was in awe.” ( Quote from part 2) This is how I have felt about you for the past year since I retired and dicovered you, my only blog. I am always talking to my daughter-in-law about my “friend” Susan.


  53. Susan, I have enjoyed reading your blog for a couple of years now (since finding home decorating blogs yours has been one of my favorites). I often spend a free afternoon virtually sitting on your porch and “visiting” with you through your posts. After reading your blog and others I decided I would love to share my own experiences and home as well. I began a blog earlier this year. I was quite shocked when I received some rather “hateful” comments from one reader. She or he really managed to get under my skin with the negative comments each time I posted. I began to feel like a foolish, old lady and stopped writing on the blog. I even decided not to attend Haven because of this troll.
    The thing is …. I miss writing it. Everytime I start a new project I am mentally writing and sharing in my blog. I allowed this one person, this troll to “ahem” pee in my cheerios. Maybe I should say rain on my parade… much more lady-like! After reading your posts on your experience with a troll I have decided to dust off the blog and try again. I am sure there is a way I can block this particular troll from responding and if not…. I will grow a thicker skin and continue on.
    Thank you for sharing, and writing and posting often, always improving your blog as it brings so many of us pleasure, inspiration and a great porch to just go and hang out in when we need a little sunshine after a bad day!

  54. I loved your history.
    Funny how things are. You started 4 years ago. I must’ve visited you first 2 years ago and you’re so great, with so much and faithful fans that I thought you’d have been at it so much longer.
    Cheers to many and more sucessful more year of BNOP. Blogging wouldn’t be the same without you or with a different you. Because you bring the right inspiration the right time. Always.
    And Blessed those generous hearts who bring us out of the gloom those trolls or unapreciative people drag us to…

  55. Thanks, Michele! I hope you are having fun with your blog. I know you are meeting some wonderful sweethearts in Blogland!

  56. Susan,
    Love BNOTP and have found it to be just the tonic I need to reclaim my creativity in several arenas.
    Can’t wait for Part III of your A d v e n t u r e s A s A B l o g g e r. . .
    Sheila C

  57. Thank you, Susan, for sharing your endearing blogging story. I enjoyed reading it and would love to see a part III. You’re so right – you never ever know when a kind word or deed will be the very thing that someone else needs!

  58. Thanks so much for sharing. I just started blogging Aug 1, and still have a lot to learn. It is very scary starting out, but I am quickly becoming addicted. I have learned so much from reading other blogs and have been so inspired that I had to try it. It really stimulates my creativity and pushes me to accomplish much more than I normally would. Your blog is on my top 10 list!

  59. In the spring of 2007, I had just left the work force after 37 years and was beyond excited to experience the joy of being a full-time “Susie Homemaker” for the first time in my married life. Much like you, I Googled something (“coffee filter roses”) and found my first blog (Cindy @ My Romantic Home) and I was completed mesmerized…and hooked! Not long after that I found RMS and befittingly chose “SusieHomemaker” as my screen name. I clearly remember your posts on RMS, the mystery surrounding “Gollum,” as well as the trolls and the havoc they constantly created. I hate conflict so I tried my best to lay low and stay out of the storms. I was fairly successful in avoiding their wrath until… unbeknowst to me, RMS featured one of my rooms as “Room of the Month” in their on-line newsletter and it ended up on the front page due to all the hits it was receiving. All of sudden my in-box was flooded with comments faster than I could read them. Most were kind and positive, but I got my fair share of snarky ones from the trolls too. It always irritated me that without fail, the people who left the nastiest, meanest comments never had any rooms posted to validate their know-it-all attitude, opinions and advice. I primarily stopped going to RMS because the site became so painfully slooooooow to navigate. Every now and then, I’ll pop over there just to see what’s going on. Unfortunately, not much has changed–not even the trolls.

    Anyway, when I saw many of our RMS contemporaries were leaving and starting blogs, I knew you would be a great blogger and hoped you would start one too. I’ve been reading BNOTP since Day 1 and four years later, it has remained one of my favorite blogs. Although I don’t comment often, I come here almost daily and appreciate the hard work you put into each post. Thanks… and happy 4th anniversary. I hope you continue blogging for many more years. :)

  60. I love hearing about how and why people started their blogs! You learn so much about them :)

    Thank goodness for 3 day weekends! ;)

  61. Hi Susan, What a beautiful post. I love your blog. Right up there in my top 3. So glad I’ve gotten to know you through blogland. Wishing you many more years of blogging success.

  62. Part Three soon, please. As I commented after Part One, yours was one of the first blogs I found so I need the whole story. Plus, I love the way you write, you have a very down to earth, “every- woman” style that is very attractive to so many of us.

  63. As an adoptive mom, I’ve a few trolls and some ugly comments on other blogs. It hurts but when you put yourself out there you open yourself up to criticism. I appreciate your story so much as it encourages other little bloggers like me that there is kindness and joy to gained from blogging if you have the guts to endure! So glad everything worked out for you for the best!

  64. Susan,
    I love your blog and I loved reading how it began. I have been a follower of yours for almost 3 years!! I can’t belive it.
    I often think I would love to start a blog reading your story has made it seem possible. I thought for sure I would need to be a computer genious but I guess not! Thanks for sharing your story,

  65. Thanks so much for sharing how you got started and your vulnerability! I just started blogging this year and was so nervous to hit the publish button for the first time. I’m not sure how I found you, but you certainly were a huge inspiration to me. You have touched more lives than you probably know!! Blogging has filled a creative void I was feeling and am so happy that did finally hit that publish button even though I still have a lot to learn. So it was nice to hear you say you learned as you went along. Happy Anniversary and Best wishes for many happy blogging years to come!!!

  66. I have been reading your blog for while and just loved your posts about the beginning! How wonderful for us all to read and get a glimpse into how you started and some of the difficulties encountered. I have been struggling with a name for my blog for awhile now, nothing seems to “click”. I don’t know why it seems so hard! I’m a girl from south Alabama and love all things southern! You have given me some inspiration and hope that my blog will one day come together. Keep up the great work…everything you post is beautiful! :)

  67. Rose Broadway...... says:

    I’ve been a lurker of yours for a long, long time and thought I had read every inch of your blog, but I had never read the story of your work with the State of GA until today.

    Bless your heart, I’m so glad you “made it out.” I once had a neighbor who was a case worker also, but she dealt with neglected and abused children. She said many times she was held at gunpoint when she entered a home to take the little ones to safety.

    I love your blog, and your outlook on life. I never miss a day of reading you! I wish you many successful years of entertaining and teaching us with your beautiful BNOTP! ……..Rosie

  68. Susan, I was directed to your blog a few years ago by a friend and have been a faithful reader ever since. It was fascinating to hear the story of how yours evolved from your initial experience at RMS. Your tablescapes are beautiful and decorating is inspiring, but best of all I loved the story of Max. Thanks for all your online efforts.

  69. Wow, Susan, you’re brought back so many memories. I spend many hours on RMS 2oo8…I remember the Trolls, late at night. I lay low and stay out of the storms on RMS. I’ve been reading your blog from day one….I’m sorry I don’t comment often (sorry). I love your porch and your awesome home on RMS. It was lots of fun at first. I remember the wonderful ladies, Bj, Gollum (beautiful home) Buffie, Tootsie sooo many wonder ladies….Those were the days…I’m still lurker and I don’t comment often but I’m here. Thanks for sharing your wonderful home and blog with us…thanks again for sharing…Pat H

    • Pat, it’s so good to hear from you! We did have fun, didn’t we! Thanks so much for being here, reading. That makes me happy to know you are still out there whether you comment or not. :)

  70. I’m so sorry that happened to you, Susan, but as you said there was a very big silver lining! I think the internet emboldens people to say things they would never have the nerve of saying to a person’s face, and it enables some people to be rude without feeling they’ll be held accountable. But you’re right: the highest insult we can pay to people like that is to ignore them.

  71. Hi, Susan. Your story is lovely, and I take this opportunity to shout it out through Blogland that you had your “angel” in Gollum, but I had YOU. I don’t know if you remember that when I found BNOTP (I was looking for tablescaping ideas on the internet) I actually EMAILED YOU!!! and asked—”What is this?! Do you just set beautiful tables and post them out there, or do you do these tables because you’re having guests over?! You were so kind to respond and explain…. And as our communication continued you were kind enough to make it far easier to start my own blog, with your patient answers and easy-to-follow instructions. YOU, my friend, are the friend and angel to many a blogger. You’ve inspired us, you’ve led us, you’ve given us the “go ahead, you can do it.” I hope that somewhere out in Blogland, either through HGTV or any other source, you are fully recognized for what you have given to the world of blogging. Congratulations, and here’s wishing you many, many more posts and wonderful experiences. My best to you, with much appreciation, ~Zuni

  72. If you could only look through the computer screen & see all the smiles & pleasure you bring to all of us lucky readers, you would know that you are doing a good thing! I just love reading your blog, drooling over the pictures, can almost smell the beautiful flowers, love the creativity & fun you bring into my life. Your welcoming porch is one of the pictures that is engraved into my mind. One day, I hope to have a special porch, too. May God grant you many days of happiness & grace ~ you make my day so very often!

  73. What a wonderful post! LOL I remember those first days of blogging as well and honestly I haven’t gotten nearly as good at it as others have, but thank you so much for sharing your heart with us :)

  74. Great story, so much of it sounded like mine. Yes we need a part 3.

  75. Thank you so much for such a wonderful story. I have been too afraid of doing a blog or website. For the past 4 years I just visit others and drool. I keep taking photos and doing my projects, but I’m to scared to start one of my own, darn trolls! I think you have inspired me that I just might pull up my big girl pants and the next 3 day weekend just jump in. Oh no where do I start? See I’m already doubting myself. Thank you for wonderful visual vacation in blogland.

  76. Susan, loved hearing your ‘blogging’ story. Now, I would love to hear how you got into ‘tablescaping’ and if you actually serve meals to your family/friends with those tablescapes. Also, how in the world do you store all of those dishes and accessories that you use for the tablescapes? I want to add that I am in awe of your decorating skills, your tablescaping and your photography and writing skills. You are a very talented lady. Any talk of you having your own show on HGTV? I would certainly watch anything that you were to be involved with. Also, I often wish you could come and help me decorate my home. A show starring you and your ideas would be the next best thing!

    • Paula, thank you so much! You are a sweetheart! Tablescaping just sort of happened by accident. I’ve always loved setting the table with a pretty centerpiece for dinner parties or family gatherings. After I added the porch, I wanted some dishware just for the porch so I purchased some “beach” themed china…it just felt light-heartened and casual. I set the table on the porch to see how it looked, decided to take pictures of it for Rate My Space since I had just discovered that site a few months before. It received some positive comments and I had so much fun creating it, I decided to create additional tablescapes. I started BNOTP about 4 months later and thought it might be fun to have a tablescape party each week. That’s how Tablescape Thursday got started. Check out the FAQ at the top of the sidebar for information about where I store my dishware and for answers to your other questions. The FAQ tab and it will give you a link to a page where you’ll find more information about where I store my dishware. Yep, definitely use a lot of my tablescapes with dinners for family and friends. I also create them just to share with those who visit/read BNOTP each week. About two years ago, I was able to leave my job to blog full time and I am love it! You can read more about that transition in this post: Thanks again, Paula! Appreciate your sweet words so much! :)

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