Share your feedback about blog!

Recently I’ve chosen to post more superficially and less frequently than I have in the past – I have so many things I’d like to share about, things that are more consequential than what I’ve been sharing about lately. I’ve missed posting about what is on my heart and mind, but I’ve had a lot of ambivalence about blogging recently. My concession is to post about things that don’t require as much mental energy from me.

I started this blog back in Aug. 2006 as a way to help young mothers who didn’t have any one in real life to turn to with parenting issues. I’ve been blessed with a lot of joy in arena of family life and wanted to help others experience it, too. Unlike most people who start a blog, I didn’t tell anyone I was blogging until two and a half years after I started, when friends said I should make my thoughts and experiences available to others, and I told them I already was, right here on the blog! It’s amazing to me how many of you have somehow found this blog despite my low key approach; the growth seems to be mostly through word of mouth and I appreciate that so many of you have shared my blog with friends.

I’ve expanded from the original topic of parenting – in response to new things I learned about and implemented as well as questions, I gradually shared more about frugality, homemaking, homeschooling, nutrition, preserving and growing our own food, and other topics. I’ve enjoyed having a way to share what we were doing and offering information that was of practical help, inspiration, or interest to others.

What has motivated me to use my limited time to write here for four years was the joy I got out of being able to share with all of you. People used to ask me what I did for ‘self time’, and I told them that’s what my blog was. Those of you who have taken time from your busy lives to share your feedback have been a big part of why I’ve posted as much as I have – no one wants to feel they’re writing to an empty audience! I’ve been touched by those of you who have told me the ways this blog has changed your perspective or life for the better, and this has been my main encouragement in continuing. But bit by bit the joy of blogging has been draining out and without that, I’ve been less motivated to share.

Why am I feeling like this? One big reason is I’m increasingly concerned that if something is inelegantly written or poorly expressed, something I write will be taken out of context or misunderstood. It takes a lot of time and energy to write for publication because ideas have to be so clearly fleshed out. My most recent published article took over three hours to write – a typical blog post takes less about an hour. The difference in time is clarifying and reclarifying the way something is expressed to avoid misunderstanding. But I’m already spending a significant amount of time blogging and clearly it would be a poor use of time to spend triple that to ensure every post is the quality of a published article! However, I’m reluctant to share about topics that are the most meaningful to me since I don’t want to be misunderstood and can’t spend hours composing every sentence for the small minority of readers who may take offense.

There are some other reasons, but the biggest one is that at this point I’m doing some serious reevaluating of where my life energies are being spent. I have to determine where my energy is best spent, and as enjoyable as blogging has for the most part been, I’m really questioning if this blog is of sufficient value that it continues to justify my time. Hundreds of you are reading here every day, and knowing the size of my readership are has always been very encouraging. But at this point I’d appreciate more direct feedback.

(Suddenly a recent event with the rabbi of our synagogue popped into mind. He started this synagogue almost a quarter of a century ago, and fairly recently decided to leave to go to another synagogue. Why would he leave something he had put so much of his heart and soul into establishing? Because he was putting in so much time and effort with so little feedback, and it was discouraging to the extreme to feel he was working on his own. People were happy to take what was offered but took what was offered for granted, and weren’t willing to engage in more participatory roles of giving. In the end, when the congregation realized what they’d be losing, there was an outpouring of support and commitments to be more involved, and the rabbi decided to stay. We tend to underestimate the importance of appreciation.)

If you’ve been reading here on a regular basis, I’d love to hear why you keep coming back. What have you gained? What do you most appreciate about this blog, and why?

In the next couple of weeks I plan to meet with advisers to get their advice and feedback on life direction/time investment. I’ll be keeping all feedback in mind as I determine what to do or not do. For those who are willing to share their thoughts here regarding the blog, I’d very much appreciate hearing them! (I’d rather that thoughts were shared in the comments section, but for those who prefer to contact me directly, you can email me at avivahwerner at yahoo dot com.)


30 thoughts on “Share your feedback about blog!

  1. I’ve found your blog about 6 months ago and since then have really enjoyed reading your blog…I am not jewish but have a very strong love of Israel and all things jewish so i’ve really enjoyed your recipes. I do hope you continue I look forward to reading your posts and have learned many useful tips in the few months i have been following your blog. I’ve been married for 7 years and have three children (so far)! So your posts have been greatly appreciated and helpful!

  2. I’ve really enjoyed learning about different herbs like elderberry.

    Also, blogging is supposed to be a pleasure for you, primarily. If it gives you satisfaction, keep doing it. If it doesn’t, stop (although I hope that you won’t). Or take a break for a while. We are not entitled to read your thoughts, although we so enjoy it, and it doesn’t have to be polished or perfect, or consistently updated. Whatever you write is interesting, however often you choose.

  3. I found your blog a few months ago and really enjoy reading it.
    It has encouraged me to eat healthier and cheaper.
    I am trying out some of the recipes , and I hope to try out many more.
    Where I live, homeschooling is not really an option but I love hearing about how you do it, and how much your children gain in so many ways.
    Your parenting posts are very insightful , and even though your kids are much older than mine, I find it has given me insight even for young children.

    Thank you for blogging! I would love to see more, but obviously you have to be gaining from it.

  4. I suppose I first found interest in your blog because I was homeschooling at the time and found your blog a pleasure to read. Later I had ( still have ) disipline issues with my children and found you have such a beautiful way of handling these issues. I keep comming back to try and try again to absorb your parenting stratagies. I admire you and enjoy your facinating blog.

  5. I read your blog because it’s always interesting, and often truly and *practically* inspiring. There’s more to say, but that covers the basics.

  6. Hi Avivah,

    Although I can’t imagine how much thought and work goes into blogging, I truly appreciate you doing it. I love reading your frugal strategies, your best buys, and your parenting advice. It really helps me save money and learn I am not alone. I really hope you continue!

  7. Avivah, you mean more to me than someone I don’t know in “real” life should and your blog has improved the quality of my life. I found your blog while searching for Jewish homeschooling advice when I knew that leaving my screaming two year-old at camp was not the right thing, although, everyone in my family and community, advised me that it was perfectly normal. So, I found you one night after nursing my five week old and read through the archives for hours, which since I was already sleep-deprived was a testament to how much I instantly loved your blog! You became my unofficial mentor that night.
    I had been looking into Weston Price’s theories for six months when I found your blog and your meal plans and nutritional advice resonated with all the research and dietary changes our family was in the process of making.
    I could go on and on, I love your parenting advice, your marital advice, your alternative medicine remedies, your knoweldge on many types of holistic therapies, your frugality, hearing about your incredible family (K”AH).
    Oh, Avivah, I would/will miss you, I kind of already do as I feel the content has shifted from your more personal, revealing entries. Also, where are the menu plans, I need your primal menu plans!!!! I also think you need to do what is best for YOU, whether or not this blog is meaningful to readers or not, whic how could it NOT be? I personally have cut down signifigantly from the time I spend on the computer each day to try and be more present for my family, I cannot imagine where you even find the time.
    Either way, tour blog has moved me to tears, moved me to better myself and my family in myriad ways and for that I love you and your blog! Love, Dina

  8. Avivah,
    Its interesting that you started out blogging about parenting, and then branched into other areas. What I found most attracting to your blog was the information about homeschooling, and about food (everything related to food). What really has kept me here is the deep respect and honour that you offer to your children, how you listen to them. I may not agree with the specifics of your parenting style, but I see that the way you treat your children is stellar. Recently, I have been thinking that there needs to be a blog or website specific to homeschooling… perhaps there could be a place where you could write but with lots of other writers, so you are not the sole author? That would mean you wouldn’t have to dedicate so much time to this? And that would meld well with the conference you organize. I’d like to get some long time observant unschoolers to write something somewhere, as there isn’t much of anything I’ve found to read.

    That would mean that you could make this blog more about the less controversial topics, which you enjoy more and take less time (frugality, preserving, gardening, your kid’s lives, etc).

  9. Avivah, I first came to your blog by following links for Real Food. I’ve stayed for a number of reasons. I love to read your take on real food, cooking and frugality. I also enjoy reading about parenting, collecting tips for future usage. I especially enjoy reading about being observant Jews, as I’ve been moved to increase my own observance these past few years.

  10. for me this blog is a touch stone of sanity- it keeps things in perspective. i know how hard you try to convey that you are not a superhero (even though we all think you are!) and that what you do just takes hard work and discipline- so reading your posts on saving money and teaching your family helps me to remember that i can do those things too. in spite of challenges, i can apply myself to the task at hand- often seriously asking, “what would avivah do?” and go ahead and handle it. i think that would kind of unravel without your blog. this is my daily dose of inspiration to stay on the right track and to remind myself of where my priorities are. this is my chizuk for doing the right thing in spite of what “everyone” else is doing. this is how i treat myself well and kindly when things in real life are getting hairy scary- i read and re-read your blog. so- is there anything we can do to give back to you so you don’t feel so burnt out or unappreciated???????

  11. Aviva, I found your blog just a couple of months ago when someone sent me a link about homeschooling and have been following it ever since! My husband makes fun of how often I talk about my new “friend” Aviva :-) Your views on parenting, homeschooling, home managing, economics, life…everything really I find inspirational. Reading about how you handle your life in almost all aspects enriches how I handle my life. I have only one 3 month old son and learning how to juggle being his mother, cooking nutrient dense food for my family, and respecting the money my husband earns for us is easier when I have you to guide me! Don’t stop blogging because I need you!!

  12. I believe I found your blog looking for information on Jewish homeschooling. I enjoy reading your posts on homeschooling and parenting issues. I enjoy seeing weekly menu plans. I don’t share your take on medicine or nutrition, but I’ve still picked up some great receipes especially the Chickpea-Peanut(butter) stew. Yum. It is part of our regular lineup.

  13. B”H
    I found your blog through another one several months ago, since then I have read all of the archives and check back often, whenever I need information I use the search function. I enjoy your posts and learn a lot from them I sincerely hope you keep the blog up, perhaps like someone else mentioned, take a blog-ation…

  14. I read your blog almost every day, even if I don’t have much to say on homeschooling, gardening, etc — aspects that are not currently part of my life.

    I enjoy reading your nutritional menus for ideas. I love your perspective on almost every thing. I especially enjoy your parenting posts to give me encouragement that with time, kids do appreciate all the love and discipline we give our kids.


  15. i’m so happy i stumbled across your blog! i’ve been looking for inspiration for years and only wish i found it sooner! you are living a life i hope to one day be living- from how you raise your kids to how you cook and everything in between. i admire that you believe in something and live it, b’simcha. i just wish i knew how you had all the energy to do it! maybe my only request is that you talk more about your little kids. i have 3 under the age of 4 and one on the way and need inspiration in these diaper changing, tantrum throwing, mess all the time days. i love how you have a good relationship with your older kids and i love reading about them. my parents, like so many, treated me like a rebellious teenager (even with straight A’s and i was always a good, clean kid). it’s this unfortunate mindset that everyone thinks that those are the years we have to spend fighting with our kids. but your approach is fantastic and i give you so much credit for shaping such amazing human beings. everyone relies on someone else (the rabbi, teacher, etc) to shape our kids and what about the parents? the average home-life is falling apart (high divorce rate) and you are a living example of someone living in the 21st century who nurtures her family. bringing the good ole’ traditions back into reality. it’s refreshing. very refreshing! i’m an outcast where i live, keeping my kids with me and cooking 3 hot meals a day. so keep blogging, especially about what’s really on your mind, don’t worry if you offend people (in my humble opinion people who get offended have their own insecurities…) but speak your mind and let it come from the heart. looking forward to future posts! (ps- i’m very curious about how the dynamics of your household are going to change when your 2 older kids leave- almost like a TV drama for me, ha ha).

  16. Hi Aviva,

    A friend of mine sent a link to your blog just over a year ago. At the time I was just a bit overdue with our fourth child and reading how you handled being overdue at the time gave me so much perspective and brought so much calmness and clarity in my life! Since then I’ve read your blog daily. Recenlty I was asked to speak at a women’s gathering and I spoke about you a lot. I spoke about how much I admire you and hope that somehow I will be able to raise my children to be the kind of People you are raising yours.
    I find your blog very inspiring in terms of parenting advise, recepies, natural remedies and much more. The healthy chocolates (in the form of lolipops) were a hit for our shalach manos, my kids had elderberry syrop every day this winter and yey – not one cold the whole winter! Oh, and the megadoses of vitamin C, very very interesting! I basically can keep on going : )
    I often find myself thinking – what would Aviva do?
    So, please write, I really enjoy reading your blog.
    And thank you!

  17. Avivah, you are my touchstone. I read your blog daily. Several years ago I realized that I would have to reach very far outside of my community in order to find like-minded friends and role models for our alternative lifestyle. You have inspired me in countless ways. I understand your hesitancy to take on subjects that are too touchy or others might not agree with. But I think that the blog world is rather self-selecting. You know who your audience is and if you write to us then you will be successful. And you know what your internal voice is telling you and what it takes to be truthful to yourself and your values. If everyone doesn’t agree, then so be it. They can either keep reading and try to challenge themselves a bit, or they can just not click on your blog. Simple as that. I have never read a single post on your blog (and I have read them all!) in which the tone or the message was disrespectful or distainful of choices different from your own. So, if your time and energy permit I would hope that you keep writing. I would miss you and your thoughts very much and would feel that something very precious had disappeared. All the best as you move forward… :)

  18. Avivah, though I donĀ“t comment often, your blog is so so inspiring to me. I have a friend who reads as well and we regularly discuss your blog. I have learned so much about frugality and food choices from you, and mostly admire admire the example you set with such a large and beautiful family ka”h.

  19. Avivah,

    While I certainly would understand it if you decide the blog no longer works for you, I do very much enjoy reading your blog (and I get wonderful recipes too!). I get a lot of chizuk from reading ideas from someone who takes parenting seriously in all aspects (spiritual, nutritional, educational, etc.). I also appreciate you sharing the results of your extensive reseach with us so we get the benefits quickly. (We also did elderberry syrup this winter!)
    I am sure you will do what is best for you but you will be missed if you stop!

  20. I could echo all the sentiments expressed eloquently by all the preceding posters. I found you through Imamother, but started reading your blog almost daily after my dear friend Dina recommended Oceans of Joy. your blog has been a lifeline for me in so many ways.

  21. I am sorry I haven’t been able to comment until now — being on the road for the summer has prevented me from being on the internet too much.

    I wish to add my gratitude to you and your blog. In being way, way OOT Jewishly and then on top of that being generally counter-cultural from the Orthodox Jewish world, I was amazed and awed that someone uses their time and effort (mental/spiritual/physical) to give over some of their wisdom through a blog. For the longest time I though bloggers a bunch of vain blowhards. You changed my mind — although I still read very few blogs. I feel an attachment to you and your readers even if many of us have not met in real life. If you choose to discontinue your blog I understand but my life would be a bit less full.

  22. I have been reading your blog for the past year and a half. I try to come on at least once a week. It is the only blog which read on a regular basis.
    I love your positive attitude. You are a role model in parenting. I am fascinated by your homeschooling and would love more articles on that as we are homeschooling but not in the traditional way. At one point I have even thought of emailing you to get some advice on a particular issue.I also love your post about frugal living

  23. I originally found you blog and started reading because of the similar household/life views that you hold regarding thrift, cooking, family, gardening etc. An unexpected aspect was about all things Jewish as I have no real contact with anyone Jewish and I’ve found hearing about your religion and life very interesting although I don’t share the same beliefs. I’ve also been surprised to see how critical some of the responses to previous articles have been, they seemed almost like personal attacks on you, which I think is inappropriate.

  24. Avivah, your blog has been life changing for me, as you probably know. You’ve inspired me to be a better me, gave me a role model when it comes to deciding how to raise my kids, convinced me that homeschooling is the right decision for my kids, taught me so much about frugality and health and combining the two, have changed my whole view on what foods are healthy and what is not, and about natural healing, etc. This list goes on and on. I may not comment much anymore because I’m so busy with my website, but I view your blog as a very important resource and actually miss the older more meaningful style of your posts.
    You do what you need to do for your family and self and sanity, but just know that you’ve made a huge difference in many people’s lives.

  25. Avivah,

    I started reading your blog a few years ago when you mentioned it after “knowing” you from Torch-d for years and agreeing with so much of what you wrote there. Being a “crunchy-con” and frum Jew I especially enjoy the health/hashkafa aspects of the blog. Thanks to your inspiration, I got a dehydrator and am growing and drying teas and herbs.

    I’m just ending my 17th year of homeschooling (started with my 32 year old and my 12 yr. old is going to yeshiva next year; 15 year old is at yeshiva) and now really enjoy all the other parts of the blog. As we are planning a move to the city/eruv soon, I admire how you homestead in the city and I plan to continue that there as well, IY”H. Yiddle house in the Big City!

    What ever you decide, you have enriched my life and that of my family through your efforts. Hatzlacha and blessings, michelle

  26. Dear Avivah,
    I have been following your blog for quite a while now though I have never commented before. You have been such an inspiration to me! We all tend to go with the flow these days and unfortunately that means to take things easy and to go the easier albeit not better way. You have encouraged me to do more and to be more. Even if it’s hard. I love all your parenting advice and your wisdom in all areas of life. I have never read a post that was disrespectful to anyone, you have just been your true self and we love you for it. I would be sad if you stopped blogging but you have to do what’s right for you and your family. With that being said, I would like to thank you for all the wonderful information you have shared with us in the past. May you have much hatzlochoh in the future with whatever you do.

  27. Aviva, I have never commented before but I read your blog regularly. I’m the friend of Chana. I really enjoy reading and learning new things. Most of all I am inspired by your attitude towards parenting and life in general.

    I read your post that you will probably continue and I’m so happy. I would really appreciate hearing how you came to be the amazing parent you are. I find myself agreeing with almost everything you write but many times I just don’t know how to implement it in my life. You mention that it was a process. If possible can you share that?

  28. I’ve been intending to respond to this post for, well, a month it looks like! :) In that month, we lost our computer keyboard to an errant spray bottle intended for the hermit crabs, and moved down the street, and survived a few bouts of different viruses. SO… didn’t get to the computer much at all.

    I just had to add that I love your blog, and I’m so glad you have continued to share your wisdom. My personal favorite subjects include menus and recipes (always trying new things!), homesteading ideas, your personal experiences with homeschooling and various educational opportunities out there, anecdotes about you and your family, frugal tips… Those are the things that come immediately to mind, anyway. Thank you for taking the time to do it. It’s a lot to put out there! Thank you so much for all you do.

  29. This is from months ago, and I came late to the game, but I read your blog because you have a perspective that I find valuable. I have twin girls, just born, and a three year old son. We unschool, and we have a very laid back parenting approach, but your perspective gives us a different view.

    We’re sort of ‘winging it’, both in the parenting and in the real life department, since we (neither my husband nor myself) have any ‘training’ (read life experiences) in parenting, frugal living, or (most importantly) in how to be social and self-reliant people.

    You’re inspirational in the way you point out how to prioritize your life- it sounds like obvious advice, but the point you made about knowing what you want, what your priorities are, and what you want to see and what’s important was a life-changing revelation for us. You inspire us to think, really -think- about what we want in life, what we want our children to understand, what’s really, actually important.

    We’re not Jewish. We’re not a huge family. We’re not much like your family at all- except that we want our children to love each other, we want them to be respectful, and we want most of all to keep their joy in life alive and thriving! And in that way, you are an inspiration and a force to be reckoned with.

    Thank you for your work- and we appreciate everything you do!

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