Website Turns 1: Top 10 + New Addition

card Linda Leier Thomason’s website is celebrating 1 year in business on the Internet.

Thank you for following, reading, sharing, commenting, letting me tell your stories, and allowing me do what I love each and every day.

Some of you I’ve known since childhood, others I met along the way, and some I only know online. However you came into my life, know you’ve enriched mine with your presence.

I’m grateful you’re here.

Wisconsin Sept 2015 inc Haley wedding 037I named my website and blog,Hauling Rocks from Prairie to Shore™for a very specific reason. I was reared on a North Dakota (ND) farm where hauling rocks improved crop efficiency. As the second oldest child in a family of 11, I was a rock hauler. I cleared land. Therefore, I use rocks as a symbol for barriers in life-things that challenge us and things we need to overcome to reach our full potential. I’ve also been fortunate enough to live on the prairie and on the shore. Eight states later, I’m back in the Midwest.

I have never believed I cannot achieve what I set out to do. I’ve always had the mindset that “I can!” I envision what I want, and go for it. That, quite simply, is my lifelong mantra. If I’m stuck in life, I own it and change it. Some see me as a restless gypsy. I see myself as a curious adventurer.

This whole website/blog thing has been a growth-filled adventure.

Here are my TOP 10 highlights of the past year:

Thank you for sharing this year with me.

  1. One month after getting on the Internet and creating a website and blog with no formal training, my family relocated to Omaha, NE where we lived in a hotel for 7 weeks while house searching. I created categories, posted articles and pretended I knew what I was doing. The technical aspects of this venture were stretching me.
  2. While living in the hotel and looking for a house, I enrolled in an on-line course to learn more about writing for the Internet. It required discipline to complete homework and pass tests. It’d been a long time since I was a student; I learned a whole lot.
  3. Bonnie Schantz was my first guest contributor. She wrote about her life as a mother and grandmother on their North Dakota farm. Readers responded favorably and since then many others have contributed their stories, with much acclaim.
  4. I found a website consultant 12 time zones away to reduce some of the many technical challenges I faced with a growing website.
  5. Courtney was my 1st niece to marry. Returning from Fargo ND, I published my 1st undercover piece. It earned nearly 500 Facebook shares. I understood readers like objective travel posts. I also became active on Twitter.
  6. Readers wanted to purchase my photographs; thus, Alex and his girlfriend, Brittany, created “Linda’s Store” allowing all to use my photography on a whole selection of products. Check it out on the above link.
  7. The Kearney, Nebraska Visitors Bureau and I cooperated on an undercover visit to their outstanding community. To date, it’s the most widely read page on my site. Thank you Kearney!
  8.  Alan Jackson and the Sioux City, IA Convention & Visitor’s Bureau deemed my website worthy of donating two concert tickets for me to give away to readers & followers. Thank you Alan Jackson & Sioux City!
  9. I am consistently humbled with the stories readers are willing to share and allow me to publish. There is a piece of me in each of these postings. Some days I literally weep at my desk while writing. I struggle to honor their journeys and to inform, educate and inspire all.
  10. welcome riccoWorking as a freelance writer is a tad lonely. I sit at my desk communicating online with people all day, but rarely in person. I visited a fabulous Marshall, Minnesota antique store when attending the 1st nephew’s wedding on April 2, 2016. I bought this monkey, since named, Rico. All joked he’s my new office companion. He is! Succeeding as a freelance writer and blogger takes not only discipline but also a sense of humor. I’m thankful I have that, and Rico-my mascot?

Talk to me.

Here’s your chance to tell me what you’ve liked & how to improve.

  •  What stories had the greatest impact on you?
  • What recipes have you tried?
  • What category of stories would you like to see more of?
  • Are you following my Facebook blogger page? It’s separate from my personal page. The blogger page is where I post photos and other life happenings. Have you subscribed to the website by leaving your email on the homepage? Occasionally, I’ll share “secrets,” but only with email subscribers.
  • I also post on Instagram and Twitter.

Let’s have another growth-filled 365 days. Let’s haul rocks together.

Leave your comments below, or feel free to message me on Facebook or send me an email.

I’ll respond.

 © Copyright. April 2016. Linda Leier Thomason

All Rights Reserved.



Do My Stretch Marks Gross You Out?

I never got stretch marks when I was pregnant. In fact, I lost so much weight during the pregnancy I weighed less at Alex’s birth than I did in high school. That’s a whole ‘nother story. But, I definitely got more stretch marks in 2015 than in any other recent year. These marks I’m proud to show and tell about

What stretched you in 2015? What’s on your 2016 list for your personal growth and development? I prefer the term stretch marks to resolutions. How about you?

2015 Stretch Marks
1. I learned how to swim-a lifelong goal and one I blogged about in May 2015 under the category “scoliosis.” Nothing gave me more confidence up to that point in 2015 than this achievement. Many thanks to swim instructor, Tonya, for the training, coaching and motivation.
2. I birthed a website and blog in 2015. Like first time parents, this experience stretched me in all kinds of ways. Some days I rejoiced; others I cowered, and yet others I questioned my sanity for thinking I was cut out for this technical adventure. I love written expression and helping others share their stories through written words. For the most part, it’s been a tremendous success. What I quickly learned is writing is only a small part of having a successful website and blog. The technical and marketing aspects are equally, if not greater, in importance. And, I thank you for joining me on this journey and appreciate all the shares, comments and contributions you’ve made along the way. Keep up the good work, and I will do my best too.
3. Along with the website and technical challenges came learning to trust “remote” support professionals, including those in other countries whom I’ve never met or spoken to. It’s amazing how small our world is when one agrees to meet virtually.
4. I took my first online course on writing for the Internet in 2015. And, I did it in the midst of a major family transition. I missed direct interaction with the instructor and students. However, I enjoyed being able to log in when it was most convenient for me and I thoroughly enjoyed the teaching methods. Taking quizzes, contributing to discussion boards and preparing for a final-well those required dusting off cobwebs. Great fun! Great stretch mark. “A” on final.
5. Linda’s store on the website is major stretch mark. First, I had to shoot all the images and prepare them technically so they could be uploaded and then printed on products. Uff-da! That was a lot of work, but worth all of it. I hope you enjoy viewing the images and will consider placing an order through the store. It’s my small business at work and I thank you for supporting it and all other small businesses.
6. Contacting tourism agencies was another noteworthy stretch mark. As the year progressed, it became quite clear that my passion is visiting and promoting mid to small town America. More than that, I thrive on assessing the culture and heartbeat of a community and promoting it to followers who want to venture to and explore off-the-beaten-path places. This requires my cold calling or contacting tourism agencies and chamber of commerce organizations to collaborate with me. If you’d like me to visit your town and promote it to future tourists, tell me whom to contact. I will. I love travel. I love promotion. I love writing and I certainly enjoy seeing small towns gain additional revenue from visitors.
7. My palate was stretched in 2015. I tried Indian and Ethiopian food along with cuisine from Afghanistan and authentic Mexican fare. Thankfully my husband eats what I prepare and we’ve been enjoying expanding our food selections and preparing it in healthier ways. Recipes can be found under that tab on the website.
8. I was able to work with my husband, Ken, again for one night in 2015 as we shared red carpet interviewer roles for a corporate event. microphoneWe’d worked together for over 20 years before the business was purchased. This one night confirmed my passion for helping others tell their stories, even if only in sound bites on the red carpet. I hadn’t done this type of work in years and the preparation stretched me more than the event did. Once I hit the red carpet, I felt like I was home. I want to do it again!
9. Relocating stretched me in so many ways. I had to let go of “things” to simplify the move and re-learn that what matters most are the people in the room, not the room or the things in it. I’m afraid to say moving was “fun” for fear it will happen sooner rather than later, but approaching another move in 2015 with a different mindset completely de-stressed the process.
10. Home and furnishing purchases considerably stretched me in 2015. Realizing this may be the last time I purchase a house or furnishings touched me at my core. It took longer to find the ideal house because certain features like ranch style were not a choice, but a necessity. Understanding one’s own aging is not for the lighthearted.
11. Other than my own family perhaps, nothing opened my heart more or gave me greater joy in 2015 than being randomly boyzcalled out to dance with BoyzIIMen during their Las Vegas concert. Despite hosting a website and writing a blog, I am a private person who dances in the kitchen with the curtains drawn. I shun the spotlight at all cost. So, to accept the offer to dance in front of a sold out crowd and have my moves projected on big screens for all to analyze, was definitely a stretchable moment. Accepting the invitation on the spur of the moment rather than waving it off is more meaningful to me than the dancing, though I relished every part of that too.
12. The role shift as a mother stretched me most in 2015. Part of me grieves the loss of nurturing while the other part is purely at peace knowing our son, Alex, has found a partner who loves him equally as his parents.britt The calls for information, support and conversation have dwindled. I know these now go to the “other woman” in his life. We love her for what she is in Alex’s life and we celebrate the times we share together. Without speaking about it in technical terms, we all know and accept the role shifts, sometimes with more grace than others. My days of caretaking for a son will one day perhaps be reversed and that’s a role shift that will stretch me too.

I’m starting to create my 2016 list. So far I’ve listed: learn to play pickle ball, travel to the Pacific Northwest and visit at least 8 small to mid-sized towns to promote on my blog. Do you have any other suggestions to add? What would you like me to do and then blog about? Please share. I’m open to hearing your suggestions and trying new things, except skydiving that is.

Linda Leier Thomason is a former CEO who writes freelance business and travel stories, along with feature articles. Her work experiences include a Fortune 500 corporation, federal government, entrepreneurship and small business. Find out more about Linda by clicking the “Meet Linda” tab above. Interested in working together? Complete this form below.

©Copyright. December 2015. Linda Leier Thomason
All Rights Reserved.