Monday, January 26, 2009

A Powerful Way with Words ...

I've always admired people who just naturally "have a way with words," and I believe this is a God-given talent. Some of the greatest speeches in history were written by people blessed with this talent, as well as lyrics to some of the most awe-inspiring songs, poems, and books. And then there are the great sermons written by ministers like Peter Marshall and Billy Graham, that transcend language barriers and touch the hearts of mankind all over the world.

Since I've been writing my blog, I have come to appreciate and enjoy the different styles of writing of you, my blogging friends. I am constantly inspired by your eloquence ... entertained by your wit and humor ... encouraged and comforted by your grace and steadfast faith in the face of adversity ... and always, always feel your most heartfelt emotions as you share them through your words, stories, and pictures.

The sheer power of words is boundless ... and writers have that power literally at their fingertips. Their words enable them to evoke strong emotions, both good and bad, from their readers. When used in a positive manner, words can inspire, assure, elate, encourage, incite, excite, and comfort. On the other hand, they can also depress, torment, sadden, discourage, distress, and inflict anguish.

A relatively insignificant example of the impact of negative words is my personal experience with the popular Rate My Space web site. I discovered Rate My Space a couple of years ago and, after a while, posted pictures of several rooms of my house and also my yard. I received many very gracious and complimentary comments about them, but soon discovered there was another side of RMS. Not all the members were taught by their mamas that if you can't say something nice about something, just don't say anything at all!

It didn't take me long to realize that I was way too sensitive and was letting even the slightest critical comment wipe out all the positive ones. I began to look at my house differently and found myself doubting my choices in furniture and rugs and accessories ... all because someone made an unkind negative comment.

And then one day when I was "visiting" one of my favorite RMS sites which belonged to a sweet lady in Texas named BJ, I read that BJ had a "blog" called Sweet Nothings, and was inviting everyone to visit her there. Now that was the first time I had ever heard the term "blog," so, of course, I had to go see what BJ was up to ... and it was "love at first sight!" I became a regular follower of her Sweet Nothings, which led me to our friend Dot's Picket Fences blog, and ... well, I think you know the "rest of the story" ... I've been hooked on blogging ever since!

And do you know what amazes me? ... I have received only ONE negative comment about my posts (this will be my 164th), and that was from an "anonymous" person who made a very rude comment about my recent tribute to President Bush.

Just as negative words can tear down, positive words can uplift ... and I've witnessed this time after time in the poignant, sometimes funny, and always-inspiring stories and life experiences shared through your blogs. I feel honored and blessed to be a part of a wonderful circle of blogging friends whose way with words is always positive, uplifting, and powerful ... whether sharing life and death experiences, requesting prayers for a loved one, or passing along recipes and decorating tips.

I have come to know and admire each of you ... not only for your accomplishments as decorators, or quilters, or gardeners, or homemakers, or photographers, or teachers ... but also for the compassion, grace, sincerity, and kindness reflected through ... your powerful way with words.


Diane@A Picture is Worth.... said...

Hi Janie,
I enjoyed reading about how you began blogging. I've heard little bits and pieces of negativity on RMS but have no personal experience with the site. And don't think I care too from what I've heard!

I'm so glad you decided to blog and were encouraged by friendly bloggers like BJ, and Dot! They have both been extra kind to me too and made me feel very welcome!

I have only had one negative experience with blogging, and was able to resolve that easily.

It is so true about the power of words! Whoever said the old saying about sticks and stones was not being honest were they?

Your post is a great reminder to all of us to chose our words wisely not just in cyberspace but everywhere!

Thanks for another wonderful post!

southerninspiration said...

Here, here, sister!! What a wonderfully written post! I couldn't agree more! I'm coming up on my 100th! There's going to be a giveaway to celebrate!!
Come see me!


Stacey said...

You have just described the path that I followed to blogging. I was never brave enough to post pictures of my own home on RMS, but I found blogs the same way. I'm so glad I did!!

beth at aunties said...


You are one of those poignant writers who knows the power of words and knows the right ones to use, and when.
I enjoy visiting you because I know I will come away feeling better and uplifted.
I am so sorry you had to encounter some unpleasantness because after visiting you for some time, I feel it was undeserved.
You have inpecable taste and I love when you share your home, family and thoughts!


Jon said...

Lot of food for thought in your post. How right you are that some people were "not raised right" and can be rude and crude and cruel with their spoken and written words. My parents insisted that "if it goes without saying, then let it". My grandfather always taught me to think carefully before blurting out a comment or opinion because I should be prepared to back up anything I said. He taught me the wisdom of the expression: "It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to open your mouth and prove it."
Some of those generations from the "Old School" knew from their experiences how to give valuable life lessons and good advice, and I will always be grateful.
Jon at Mississippi Garden

Anonymous said...

Morning Janie! Your way with words is one of the reasons I kept coming back to your blog dear!!! You are right on about RMS; the negative comments I read on many homes were so hurtful and I can't imagine anyone negatively commenting on your beautiful home; in fact your kitchen was the very first one I viewed when I began looking on RMS! I went back to it many many times and drooled!!!lol I never imagined then that you and I would cross paths! I hesitantly put my bedroom on and removed it within a couple days out of fear (realizing I also am "sensitive"). You found BJ and I found blogging through Dot; so I guess RMS did serve us all a purpose: led us to blogging! I've enjoyed your blog immensely and have learned many things from your posts and have had fun watching you transform it into a place of beauty through your creativity, photo AND writing skills! It will continue to be one of my favorite places to start my day because I know with the click of a mouse a friend is waiting!! Sincerely, Jeannette

Kittrell Media said...

Hey, Janie,
Being a journalist myself, I understand you exactly. When I write I try to be the point.
I like the story I heard once about a writing class in which the teacher told the students that he wanted them to write a story succinctly.
"Now, let's make this story succinct and also interesting," the teacher said. "I want your story to include certain elements. Throw in some mystery, mention religion, have it include royalty and, what the heck, let it a little sex. But above all, it must be succinct!"
The winning entry:

"My God, the queen's pregnant! Who did it?"

Now that's how I like to write!

Tonja said...

A beautiful post to read this fine morning. So true, the power of words. I've had some negative comments through my blogging years, but have decided that if they have a valid argument AND leave their name, I'll let it stay. BUT, if it is mean-spirited, and anonymous, with no link..bye!bye! I just delete it and let it be gone to the bloggy neverland. I never mind differences of opinion...that is how we learn of other viewpoints than ours. But, it can be done it a considerate manner.

I also try to think carefully about the words I use. I look back on some of my first posts and kind of cringe...hopefully, I have learned since then and I can choose my words more carefully.

You are a delight to read, and I am glad you joined the blogging world! You will probably be interested in a post I am making today of another blogger. She's great!

The Quintessential Magpie said...

Janie, that really makes me upset. Of all people to receive a rude comment, it shouldn't be someone whom I consider the essence of kindness and politeness. And your home and your blog (words and pictures) are GORGEOUS by anyone's standards. I love them and YOU!

I have enjoyed your blog SO much, and I always race to read what you post. I hope this doesn't spoil things for you. Please know your blog is high on my favorites list!

Thanks for sharing this. I think it serves as an excellent reminder.
Maybe anon will read it and learn something about courtesy.


Sheila :-)

StitchinByTheLake said...

I know this sounds kind of pious and self-righteous, which I hope I'm not! but the best way I've found to curb my tongue (and it often needs curbing) is to ask myself if Jesus would have said it. If not, then neither do I. Most of the time. :) blessings, marlene

Anonymous said...

You my dear have the gift !!! I LOVE coming here, your blog is always so interesting, I can't wait to see what your post will be about !!!

I would never do RMS, I have always been one to follow what I don't get me wrong to each his own !!

I so agree the people here in Blogland are so nice...even to little ole annonymous ME lol

Kathy :)

PS the post above me from Kittrell Media was a hoot !!!

Denise said...

I agree with everything you said. I don't understand why some people have to be so hurtful. You wonder if they live their lives that way.

Bo said...

This is such a touching commentary.
Blogland has seemed to be a safe & happy place for bloggers to share photos, comments & feelings without being afraid to express ourselves. I am so sorry you had to encounter a negative person... but just know the majority of us in Blogland appreciate you!
;-) Bo

YaYa's Funhouse said...

Once again, a wonderful post. I enjoy reading very much. Thanks

Barbara said...

Janie, I am in awe of your writing skills, makes me want to redo all my post. Love to come to your blog...come by mine and register for my giveaway.

bj said...

Thank you for the kind words, Janie. I so remember the first time I saw your kitchen posted...I nearly fell our of my computer chair; it is so beautiful.
Yes, I love blogging and have had only ONE mean comment and it was on the post of my tribute to Pres. Bush, also. I appreciate the fact that everyone has a difference of opinion...and I knew when I posted that subject that it was open to remarks that I might not like. The comment left wasn't actually I left it. I should have closed comments on that post...but, then, again, maybe not. is wonderful to have a place such as Blogland to play in....without worry of the ugliness that occured on RMS.'
hugs, bj

Linda's Blue Gate said...

Well you sure started blogging with the best... BJ.... I think she is the heart and soul of our little blog world.
You are so right about words ...... and nothing make me madder than when some one leaves a rude hurtful comment on a blog..... I think we women need encouragement and kindness.. NOT meanness... there is enough of that in the real world and it doesn't belong in The Land of Blog