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liebster award

Yes, there is such a thing. It’s akin to what to do when someone compliments you. You can say thank you and move on. Or you can say thank you and compliment back. Or you can start pointing out negative things about yourself, essentially declining the compliment. Or you can completely blow the compliment off by just walking away without saying anything. See, there’s an art to doing things just right.

And so it is when it comes to these awards. You can make it what you want to be. You can view it as a compliment, say thank you, accept, and move on. You can see it as an opportunity to recognize other blogs, accept, follow the rules and pass it on. Or you can treat it like an annoying chain-letter spam, and ignore it like it never happened. The choice is yours.

Lara of NomsTheWord has kindly nominated me for the Liebster Award. I’ve come to know her only of late. I plan to dig in deeper into her blog and get to know her better. It’s taken me a while to get around to accepting it because I just received 2 other awards in the same week. Plus this one comes with questions to answer and questions to pose. And to be honest, at first I thought it was starting to get a little silly getting all these awards. At first.

But, then, it dawned on me. Why did I blog? Sure, it was just for fun, just for the heck of it. I already had an account, and a few entries, but kept private. Then one day, my finger got itchy and decided to push the “publish” button. No harm done, I thought, for the first few days. Then, comments appeared, and conversations flowed. Then, followers dribbled in. Then, more ideas formed and more posts published. Like they say, you’re in too deep to back out now.

Some of you may have had the same thing happened to you. You are what you call yourself “accidental bloggers.” You didn’t mean to be full-blown ones, you just wanted to test the waters and things progressed beyond your control. So, now you have a hard time accepting awards, because  

a) You don’t think you deserve it or
b) You don’t know what to say. You barely even understand what blogging is all about, let alone accept awards.

Then, there are those who say that they blog because they wanted to make a record of all their recipes, their harvests, their thoughts and observations, their daily musings, etc. I, too, include myself here. But I could have done it privately or publicly to only select audience if I wanted to. But, no, I pushed the “publish” button for everyone to see and read, didn’t I? There’s no going back. With those first two words I uttered, “hello world!” I’ve invited the entire internet universe into my life. Ask WordPress or Tiger Woods if you don’t believe that.

Going public means that I want the world to know me, perhaps anonymously for now, but I’ve invited it in nonetheless. And I want it to recognize and acknowledge me. I want readers. I want them to take a good look at my work, and tell me: well done, bravo, keep up the good work! (Criticism will be deleted! Just kidding! I welcome conversations, pleasant or not, as long as it’s done without malice.) I remember how happy I was when I received my first likes, comments, and followers.

Now, isn’t getting awards similar to that? Isn’t it just someone telling me: well done, bravo, keep up the good work? Well then, if that’s the case, why refuse the awards? Is it because it entails extra work, like copying and pasting? Is it because it was too hard to select more nominees? Yes and yes happen to be my answers, too.

It feels like a chore having to do these tasks, because they were forced on me. I wanted to write about my garden and my food, gosh darn it, not another acceptance speech. But to be fair, the person who nominated you just went through the same trouble. The least you can do is extend her or him the same precious hour of copying and pasting. Is it really that hard?

And what if that person was just doing it to get publicity? Using your blog as a way to gain more readership. Well, this is what I’d say,”If it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, then it’s probably a duck.” Use your judgment and go with your gut feeling. Besides, weren’t you just given the same opportunity to gain publicity by being nominated? And unless you’re Martha  Stewart or Ashton Kutcher with millions of followers, you need the publicity.

So, make what you want out of these awards. In the end, though, my advice to you is to accept. Accept these awards as part and parcel of the blogging world, the one you entered of your own accord.

But, if you’re not convinced, then I’d suggest that you just sit on it. Thank the person giving you the award and then just sit on it for a while. If you still feel opposed to accepting it after several days or weeks of thinking about it, then by all means, decline the awards.

But in those several days or weeks, you might change your mind. You might come across a blog that so impresses and inspires you that you too feel like giving that blog an award. Here’s your chance.

Maybe during those days and weeks, you might come across a start-up blog that you feel has potential and you want to encourage it to keep going. What better way to do it than including it in your list of nominees.

Maybe there are bloggers you’ve come to connect with in a powerful way, and you wanted to tell them how much you delight in that connection. Include them in your list.

See, how wonderful it is to be able to pass on the awards to these people in your list? That’s why I called it spreading the love around or pay it forward. Doesn’t it feel good to do it? Trust me, you’ll feel that way.

Having said all that (Whew, that was long. I hope it didn’t read like a rant.), here are my nominees for the Liebster award, in alphabetical order:

1. Alongthegrapevine
2. Gardenblog2013
3. Gardening with John Steedman
4. Jalan Jalan with Bu Cathy
5. Lavish Living
6. MyFoodTapestry
7. Mkununu
8. Pay Dirt
9. tasteandlight
10. The Green Thumb 2.0

No pressure at all to accept, by the way. I was just giving you my take on these awards. That’s all. Feel free to not accept or do anything about it. Like I’ve said before, I just wanted you to know I’m thinking of you and appreciate your work, your readership, and above all your friendship. That’s it!

Liebster rules:
1. Thank the person that nominated you and link back up to their blog.
2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
3. Nominate 10 other bloggers for this award who have less than 200 followers.
4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Lara’s questions and my answers:
1. I’m sure it says in your “about” page, but remind me and your other readers.  Why are you writing your blog? I think I’ve already answered this in my long acceptance speech.

2. What does your ideal evening look like? Husband cooking dinner for me, consisting of finger food. Then, he’ll pour me a glass of wine, put on a movie (he gets bonus points if it’s a comedy or musical), and then we watch and eat. Hey, I’m a simple girl with simple pleasures! But it’ll never happen, ’cause he doesn’t cook.

3. I know I’m stealing this one, but what is your favorite cocktail? Apple martini, margarita, mojito, sangria, shandy … oh, just one?

4. What is your #1 comfort food? French Fries.

5. It’s summer time, what would you most like to be doing? Gardening and traveling.

6. What was your most memorable vacation or travel experience? Bali, 2009.

7. If you could make one change towards self-betterment, what would it be? Be more patient, more organized, more hard-working, less impulsive, less argumentative … oh, just one? But I have so many flaws!

8. What do you want to be when you grow up? Pass. As fickle as I am, I change daily. My answer today will not stand tomorrow.

9. Do you get out of bed when your alarm goes off, or are you a hit the snooze kind of person? This is easy. The second one.

10. You’re attending a pot luck dinner, what are you bringing? Appetizers, 2 kinds

My questions to you:
1. Tell me something about yourself that is not obvious from your blog.
2. Tell me more.
3. Which do you consider is your best post, the one you’re most proud of, the one you worked the hardest on, and you think it deserves more attention than it got. I will read it and tell you what I think.
4. Can’t pick just one? Pick 2 more.
5. A relative once said to my mother that I had a wild streak in me because I peppered my wall with Gauguin, unnecessarily worrying her. Can you all agree with me that he was crazy?
6. Do you have any hidden talent that you haven’t shared with us? (Mine is making jewelry, believe it or not.)
7. Tell me, who is more inspiring? Mahatma Gandhi, Martin Luther King Jr., or Mother Theresa, and why?
8. Coffee or tea?
9. Red or white?
10. Five Guys, In-n-Out, or Shake Shack? If neither, name your favorite burger joint. 

See, I gave you easy questions to answer, didn’t I? Now, make what you want of the award. Or tell me your own take on these blogging awards. I’d love to hear it.

Link: Daily Prompt: I’d Like to Thank My Cats