The happy thing. Part 2.

Dear friends,

Yesterday I told you about readers Karen and Wendy over at After the Kids Leave and their shout-out for Debt of Gratitude. As part of paying it forward, I’m delighted to tell you about 7 blogs I adore.

First this: I don’t read very many blogs. I’m ashamed, really, because being a good citizen of the blogosphere means reading widely and commenting frequently. Thing is, I’m a slow and tortured writer. Keeping up with my day job and composing almost-daily posts is about all I can manage. So despite my shallow knowledge of the best and brightest bloggers out there, here are 7 writers I follow, week in and week out, no matter how busy I get.

Ree @ Pioneer Woman — Yeah she’s blogging royalty and everybody knows her. But did you know I know her in real life? Her mother grew up in my hometown and is dear friends with my first cousin, Betty Marie. (Betty Marie, Joan-Marie, we like our Maries in my family.) I have memories of Ree  — who by the way is really named Ann Marie — from the time she was a pipsqueak hanging out with my younger cousin. As cool as Ree is, she’s not the most amazing woman in her family. I adore her mother (a kindred spirit in many ways) and I idolized her grandmother, a teacher that I always thought embodied grace and kindness. Several years ago, before Facebook, my cousin Betty Marie set up a “family and friends” website where we could all post photographs and exchange news. Ree joined us every now and then until one day she posted a message saying she had started a thing called a blog and invited us all over to the Pioneer Woman. I remember her very first post. And the rest, they say, is history.

Kate @ SweetSalty — She is the writer I aspire to be. Her exquisitely undulating prose startles me with its beauty like none I have ever read and leaves me breathless. There is nothing more to say except read her. Start with this.

Glennon @ Momastery — More blogging royalty and now under book contract and appearing regularly on HuffPost. I’m convinced Glennon can single-handedly change the world. She’s funny and she’s real and she’s the most moving female voice in the blogosphere. And, she manages to writes zealously about God without making me want to run screaming from the room. For that alone, I love her.

Yoona @ Yoonanimous — She’s a young working mother with a whip-smart sense of humor and crushing sense of style, who I suspect is a little left-leaning and therefore my kind of gal. Yoona is the only writer I know who can be both wickedly funny and sweetly earnest at the same time. She’s such a clear, fresh voice in the crowded blogosphere.

Sizzle @ Sizzle Speaks — I have no idea how I tripped across Sizz years ago, but I did and I’ve been reading her forever. We’re even connected on Facebook now and though I’ve never met her, I consider her my friend. When I first found her, she was single and living the kind of urban, hip life I imagined I could have if I weren’t, you know, old and uncool and stuck in the Midwest. Now she’s about to be married and she and Mr. Darcy have bought a house in the ‘burbs. I’ve loved tagging along on her journey and I’m standing firmly behind her and sending her love and light as she navigates a cancer diagnosis.

Kristin @ Going Country — She’s another woman I tripped across long ago. She lives on a small farm with her husband, mother-in-law and two children in the kind of pastoral fantasy I always dreamed about. In fact, when Mr. Mom and I were living on a postage-stamp lot in the middle of town, we used to talk about Kristen’s Blackrock and how we could so live their lives. Several years later, we’re on a acreage larger than Kristen’s, but there are no tomatoes, no sheep, no chickens, no cisterns of any kind. Turned out, we just like reading about Kristen’s Green Acres rather than cultivating our own. Go with God, Kristen, and keep sending us updates.

CJ’s Mom @ Raising my Rainbow — CJ’s Mom is the mother of all mothers, a smart, composed, my-God-she’s-a-saint of a woman writing about the “adventures of raising a fabulously gender creative son.” I hope you’ll open your heart to her and her family.

So that’s it. Seven women, seven fabulous blogs, seven ways to spend a few minutes in the company of virtual friends who will sustain and delight you. Give them a shout.

With gratitude {for writers who inspire and entertain me},

Joan, who loves her some good words and has been squirreled away writing some new stories of her own


  1. “And, she manages to writes zealously about God without making me want to run screaming from the room.”
    That is EXACTLY how I feel about Anne Lamott.
    I’ve kind of fallen away from reading blogs. But every time you link to one of the above bloggers, I have thoroughly enjoyed their writing.

  2. You know how you have that one friend who is such a voracious reader and she always seems to know just what book you need to read next? And sometimes you get that book and read the cover blurb and think to yourself, “whaaa?” but then you read a few paragraphs and suddenly you’ve read the first three chapters and then you think, “ohhhh” and, finally “thank you!”.

    This post is a treasure trove so much like those books you were promised you needed to read. Please people, do not think you are too busy or too tired or too distracted or too anything to check out these wonderful bloggers/blogs. The voices listed here all deserve to be heard, and shared. A huge HUG to you Joan Marie, for riding out and putting these banners on display this way.

    • Deb — I’ve noticed you’ve been sending your own love and light to Sizzle during her health crisis. And your messages to her are a wonder of love and encouragement. You are the best, most affirming reader/commenter/friend I’ve ever witnessed. Your daily presence here uplifts me more than you know.

  3. afterthekidsleave says:

    Fantastic choices! And now we have our day’s reading cut out for us. When we can lay hands on our glasses, that is.

  4. Thank you, Joan. Your appreciation is coming at a time when I could really use it.

    And now for the requested update: The tomatoes are growing in spite of the weeds; the sheep are providing us with meat on a regular basis–which has the added benefit of reducing the flock and subsequently the number of animals that escape regularly–the chickens are still laying eggs wherever the heck they feel like it but have produced three chicks all on their own which are thriving; and the cisterns are filled with water. So, you know, everything’s cool.

  5. hey joan. thanks for the shout out and the lead to the other blogs, some of which i have read at various points through your blog. now here’s what i love about your blog: you are not scared to shy away from naked emotion, whether it is despair (the mountain), joy (looking great in a fab dress), or something in between (your daughter, going to college). and at the same time, your writing is disciplined about those emotions. keep writing, and being awesome.

  6. I’m behind in my reading and commenting. I am so very touched you included me on this prestigious list! Thank you.

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