Thursday, September 27, 2007


There is no such thing as a small act of kindness. Each act of kindness that flows through the heart, hand and mind of a human being, birthing itself into the world, is a miracle. Is a gift. Is a pebble dropped in the center of a pond. An act of kindness is an opportunity for more light and goodness and love to be showered on the world, even a tiny corner of it. This is no small thing.
An act of kindness can change the life of the recipient. It can bring hope into despair, light into darkness. It can shift and open the mind of the recipient in ways that are unknowable prior to the act. It can be the long-awaited seed that nestles in the soil of a barren heart and gently coaxes a life into bloom.
An act of kindness can be as simple as listening to someone who is usually overlooked. As simple as making eye contact and smiling. As simple as a sincere compliment. It can be a plate full of homemade cookies or a warm hand placed on a spine. Whatever the chosen act of kindness, it is a statement that honors the value and inherent worthiness of the recipient. It affirms and confirms the they are deserving of peace and joy, love and help. It is a tip-of-the-hat to the God-essence within them.
Vow to be a bringer of miracles into the world. Vow to give more gifts that money can't buy. Vow to drop more pebbles into more ponds. Vow to be kind at every possible turn. To yourself, to your loved ones, to your neighbors, to the woman who passes you on the down escalator as you are riding up. There are no small acts of kindness. And there is no small need for more of them.
Words and photograph copyright(c) 2007 Graciel
Thank you for the gracious invitation to join this blog. The honor is mine.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007


Thanks for the invitation. Just let it be known I'm taking anatomy and physiology 205 and algebra 2 this quarter so I might not be quite as active as normal. I am determined to get an A in anatomy and that will take about 20 hours of study weekly. I just need a 2.0 in math so I'll work at it but it doesn't count to me getting into the BSN program.

For those who don't know me~I'm irreverent, facetious, silly and sometimes I'm even funny. I have 2 teenage boys and 1 one middle aged boy. I'm in college for the second time to become a nurse in my old age. I wasn't even the oldest one in my A&P cool.

Have a terrific day and enjoy your evening w/o algebra 2. My class is from 6:16pm-8:45pm. I'll be home just in time for my favvvvvvvvvvvvvvv show HOUSE!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Do Not Wish Your Life Away

(Thank You Ron Davison of RWrld. and thanks to your sister too.)

What "Do Not Wish Your life away." tells me on this pleasant Thursday Morning:

Live in the moment.
Focus on the positives.
Let the pains be "good pains"
-that which we learn from
-that which we grow stronger from
-that which we can look back with some sort of sense of accomplishment.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Welcome Co-Authors

Welcome Original Blue Ribbon Blogger Co-Authors!

To understand your journey here please read Welcome To Blue Ribbon Bloggers! from Gracie Belle The Blog Fairy II.

The Original Blue Ribbon Bloggers is “In loving memory of our beloved Blog Fairy the 1st, Francesca” A place for all who love The Blog Fairy.

“There will be memorials here and remembrances. We welcome and encourage all People who would like to contribute their remembrance, memorials, or thoughts about this wonderfully loving Lady, "The Blog Fairy" to contribute their posts here at The Original Blue Ribbon Bloggers.

Also here at The Original Blue Ribbon Bloggers, all Co-Authors are encouraged and welcome to promote your posts and blogs that The Blog Fairy Francesca Faerie found commendable of her Blue Ribbon Blogger Award.

Again Welcome to The Original Blue Ribbon Bloggers and Thank You for being apart of the legacy, Francesca Faerie The Blog Fairy.

Please note, the sidebar list of Blue Ribbon Bloggers will be updated as soon as possible to include all your names that are Original Blue Ribbon recipients.

Related Posts: Greetings Blue Ribbon Bloggers from Gracie Belle The Blog Fairy.

Where am I? Who are You? What am I Doing Here?

The Frogster here. I feel a little like a vegetarian in a BBQ joint on this blog. Nah, that's not it, I mean, I don't feel grossed out. Maybe I feel like a big tobacco lawyer in church. No, I don't feel particularly guilty. I'm not sure exactly how I feel. I feel like if you put my avatar up on the screen with some of yours on one of those Sesame Street things where they sing "One of these things is not like the others," mine would be the one left at the end.

Most of the members of The Blog Fairy community are kind, thoughful people who are quick to compliment, give blog awards, etc. Most of you write sweet posts about happy things or touching posts about sad things. This is fine. This is good. This is better than the bloggers who rant and rant and call everyone who doesn't agree with them stupid.

But that's not what I write about. I write about installing a Real-Time Nekkid Blogging Voyeur Webcam so you can watch me blog in the nuddy. I write about the devil's music. I write about winning the love of an already married commentor. I am absolutely HORRIBLE about passing those award thingies that people give me along to others. I have a guilt-inducing pile of them sitting on my computer, and they cause me no end of distress by the very nature of their, well, just sitting there. So I believe I was mistaken by The Blog Fairy as Blog Fairy material. The Blog Fairy (bless her heart) stopped by my place right after my father passed away almost three months ago. She saw my tribute post to him and, I assume, was touched. She wrongly assumed that I was a touching blogger, and sprinkled Fairy Dust on me. While I was grateful for her acknowledgement, I felt a little like I should give it back before she discovered I was a fraud.

I do know a few things. I know that moving all the way across the country (as I did almost a year ago) is really, really hard. I know that making new friends in new places is hard. I know that the best friends I've made since my adorable wife (who, for some reason, continues to put up with me) and I moved are fellow bloggers. I know that I love it when you put up a funny comment on my site. I know that when one of you gives me one of those awards, mixed in with the guilt and uncertainty is a measure of gratitude and pride. I know that when I've finished with my other daily duties, I look forward to your comments and emails. I look forward to visiting you and seeing what's going on.

Huh. That last paragraph seemed almost Blog-Fairyesque. Maybe I do belong here after all.

Friday, September 7, 2007

The BenSpark: An Introduction...

Hi my name is Drew and I run a blog called The BenSpark. I was named a Blue Ribbon Blogger a while ago but never really understood the full impact of that honor. Seriously with a ton of meme's and awards and tags and whatnot I missed out in fully understanding that The Blog Fairy was something more. But she saw something in my blog and for that I am grateful. I will try even harder to live up to that honor. I feel that I missed something very special not knowing Francesca.

So this blog is for the Blue Ribbon bloggers to use to promote what they are working on so I'm going to give you an introduction to me and to what I am working on. My name is Drew or BenSpark, some people call me Ben and that is okay too. I started my love affair with the Internet back in 1995 when I started e-mailing friends and participating in text based MUSHes. I think that was what they were called, basically chat rooms that were all text based on UNIX. In 1996 in the last two months of my senior year of college my roommate, a computer science major, brought home two photocopied pages of HTML code. I became one of the only non Comp Sci majors to have their own Internet (Unix) account, I think we all got 100KB of space to use to make our own home pages. I quickly filled that with scans of comic books and WildStorm CCG cards. I had a webpage and I loved it.

When Geocities came about I signed up for them and moved my website to that platform. I did many things with that site and then completely abandoned it. I dabbled in web design and in 1997 was the webmaster for my alma mater. I did that for a few years and then got a job at a web design company. I did that for one year, I would work mainly on taking the graphics that the designer made and then hand coding it so that it worked on the different web browsers. Then the dot com bubble busted and I was laid off.

In September of 2001 I took a job at a company that makes medical software. I would travel the country teaching our customers how to use the software. While on my trips I took a camera with me everywhere. I took photos of every place I ever went. The job was a good one but wasn't very creative so I needed and outlet for my own creativity. I learned about blogging and thought it would be a great way to use my coding expertise and my love for design as well as a way to showcase my photography. So I started a blog on Blogger with a BlogSpot Plus account. I called it The BenSpark because that was an amalgam of my last name and that of my girlfriend, later fiance , now wife. We would use the blog to tell our friends about the cool things we had done. That was in 2003.

The blog was sporadically updated from 2003-2004. I finally settled into something I really could get behind when I learned about a project called Photo-A-Day. One of my favorite folk singer/songwriters, Christopher Williams did a Photo-A-Day project for the year of 2002. He chronicled one year in his life. On April 9th 2005 I decided to chronicle my 31st year of life. I started on my birthday and I haven't stopped yet. I became addicted to taking photos and posting them each and every day.

I'm not sure exactly when I thought of it but I decided that I would ask bloggers to host Photo-A-Day on their blogs. So I created a little widget that they could use to display on their blogs. Thus getting my photos out and about and seen all over. When I hit 500 consecutive Photo-A-Day days I took those images and made 5 posters that had 100 thumbnails on each, I entered those in an art show at work and will try to make 5 more when I hit 1000 photos.

The Photo-A-Day widget has become a way in which I do link exchanges with other bloggers. Users who host the widget get a link in my Photo-A-Day Host blogroll on my right sidebar. Through this project I have met many great people and it has certainly improved my photography. And the great thing about taking a photo-a-day is that I can see the progression of my skills. Also as a blogger I always have a daily catalyst for new content.

Photo-A-Day has exploded for me in that now I post the Photo-A-Day on Buzznet (That is where the photo for the widget comes from) Flickr (I participate in a Photo-A-Day group and submit my Photo-A-Day to that group each day) and my best of the best goes to Zooomr.

I monetized my blog in 2006 by starting working with PayPerPost and although I got some initial messages about selling my soul and whatnot I found that by working with PayPerPost my blogging improved. I moved my blog from blogspot to my own domain. I retained the old blog and also started two others. So now I have four blogs in my cap and am thinking about starting a fifth one. My main blog is still called The BenSpark and the old BenSpark was renamed to BenSpark 2: Electric Boogaloo and became all about entertainment. I started a blog about all the books I read and called that Flatwater Bookstore because it was supposed to be about kayaking books. I changed that one to Flatwater Tech and write a bunch about technology and gadgets on that blog.

Then I decided on a theme for podcasting and combining that with my love of gadgets as well as kayaking. So I started The Wired Kayaker. I filmed 5 podcasts and produced 3 of them for general viewing so far. Then my trusted video camera died on me. I have many more ideas but I just need a new camera and possibly a sponsor.

Because of the connections I was making online and new hobbies that I was getting into like podcasting I learned about great things like Photowalking. I was also introduced to a great blogger's resource site called FuelMyBlog. Because of those things I am now a writer for FuelMyBlog's Blog (I do a weekly post called Tech Tuesdays with Benspark which I also repost on Flatwater Tech) and I just submitted my first recap of a Photowalk for And now I get to write for Blue Ribbon Bloggers and I was added to Blogging Den. Also my photos are frequently featured on the Wallhogs Blog.

Blogging has been really beneficial for me as it is a great way to express myself, meet friends, and make a few bucks here and there, get my photography out there.

Then I discovered contests and I started hosting them. I have run three very successful contests on The BenSpark and September looks to be a good one as well. This month I am partnered with to give away cash prizes for the best photos taken while using their XShot. My partnership with XShot started because of my blogs. I was approached by to receive a free sample XShot and to tell people about it. We ran a contest back in June or July and it worked so well that Michael from wanted to do another contest.

Sure I like the small income from my blog but the friendships and contacts and feedback from all the people I have met has meant more to me than anything else. I hope to continue to provide great content and live up to the title of Blue Ribbon Blogger.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Fairy Poem

By William Allingham (1824 - 1889)

When you feel a little breeze,
or notice a tickle, or need to sneeze
or find your things are rearranged
or something seems a little strange
Look very closely and you might see
sparkly dust, or a buzzing bee:
Behold! a fairy with gossamer wings
has come to show you wondrous things!