The old saying goes “It takes a village to raise a child”. Well, it takes a network to raise up those with chronic illness and I am very happy to be part of The Chronic Illness Bloggers Network (CIB).
The network, started by Julie Ryan of Counting My Spoons and now helmed by Jenna Farmer of A Balanced Belly, is a place where bloggers with chronic conditions can feel safe and encouraged to talk about problems whether it be with their writing or their health. But there are so many more benefits.
- The group consists of people with a wide variety of chronic/invisible physical and mental challenges who blog about their conditions and how they affect their lives.
- We have opportunities to review products and services that may help us either on the road to health or find even a bit of relief.
- Members recruit other members for guest posts, projects based on awareness campaigns, giveaways, and more.
- We learn how others run their blogs and find tips and tricks to get our message out there.
- The group schedules members’ posts throughout each day on the public Facebook page. Members are encouraged to add one post per week.
- The Network not only helps get the message that each blogger has out, but it has become a “village” where we can lift each other up.
- Several other groups have formed by people within the networks. These groups touch more specific topics and introduce network members to other circles of people.
Numbers 4 and 5 are probably the most important to me. A year or so ago I answered a post in the main group for someone to join the scheduling team. This is a very close-knit group who are willing to help each other at the drop of a hat. This is not to say that isn’t the case with the whole network; however, this small group has become like family to me. I recently had to step back from my responsibilities due to my health issues and I was overwhelmed with the response and care I received.
Okay, now I am ready to tie in the picture of the pendant with the map inside.
A short time ago a young woman from our scheduling group, Jenn Heater of Tales of a Medical Oddity, asked me for my address. I thought maybe she was sending me a card and thought nothing more of it. Yesterday I checked the mail and sure enough, there was a card-sized envelope from Jenn.
It was a beautiful card with a spring theme of birds, flowers, and a watering can. Inside was a note and a little sack with a dog pin and a heart containing an Oliver Wendell Holmes Sr. quote.
Where we love is home –
home that our feet may leave,
but not our hearts.
In the pouch was the pendant above. inside the magnifying clear cover is a map with a dot showing Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada. This is what I list as my hometown. Just in the last few years, I have realized how much it really IS my hometown even though I was born in and finished high school in another province.
On the back is another map showing Langley, BC, Canada. This is where my husband and I recently moved and are so happy here. It is where part of his lives and where we all migrate when other family members come to town. I love Langley, but Port Coquitlam will always be the place in my heart I call home. This summer we are having a huge celebration there for a monumental birthday we are all celebrating! I can’t wait to wear my pendant there!
But I digress. Jenn says she makes these gifts as part of what she calls “The Hometown Project”. I was in a very low point yesterday and this could not have come at a better time. It is a reminder that I need to tap into the ties I still have with my hometown and that CIB is another place I can call home.
While neither Port Coquitlam nor Langley can be classified as “small towns,” this John Mellencamp classic has the right sentiment.
Oh, the little bag also contained six tiny spoon decorations… but that is a whole other story!