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    « Another summer reading roundup: Three more books for kids | Main | Happy Fourth of July »

    What I learned this week: Our voices matter

    child's drawing

    I used to sing, now I mostly whistle. For as long as I can remember, I've enjoyed accompanying music of all varieties, from big bands to little bands, from songs that rock to those that roll classically or otherwise. That accompaniment most often came by way of singing along.

    Then I started losing my voice on a regular basis. Year after year — afteryearafteryearafteryear — I would get a bad cold that would quickly become laryngitis and I couldn't speak at all for days on end, much less sing. So I whistled.

    Whistling came in handy when I had no voice, at least for carrying a tune. It didn't help a bit, though, when I needed to speak. For one long stretch of years, the years when I was a writer then editor at the newspaper, the loss of my voice every couple of months frustrated me to no end. I'd have interviews to conduct, people I'd have to speak to on the phone.

    I'd gargle lemon juice in the morning before going to work, gargle lemon juice in the restroom at work, gargle it (or sometimes straight vinegar) before conducting an interview. The sour juices would cut through whatever rendered my vocal cords silent and and I could speak... for at least a few moments.

    Sometimes, when the lack of a voice made it impossible for me to conduct my editorial business as I should, I had to ask my coworkers at times to return phone calls on important matters or I had to resort to emailing those who needed to talk to me. And this was before the days when folks checked their email on a regular basis — and long before texting was an option.

    When my newspaper department was cut and my associates and I were left surviving on freelancing gigs, the loss of a voice still tripped me up now and again. I clearly recall one horrendous interview for a freelance article, a time when Froggy from Little Rascals had nothing on me and my croaking voice, yet the show, er, interview had to go on. I was so embarrassed listening to myself later as I transcribed that interview. So painful it was to hear, and so painful for my poor interviewee.

    Soon after that interview, I started my blog. I've not lost my voice since.

    As silly and new-agey as it may seem, I do believe in the mind-body connection, and the connection to losing my voice was this: I wasn't saying what I needed to say, the things I needed to let out, the things I wanted people to know about me and hear from me. My blog allowed me to make my voice heard. I was saying the things I needed to say, so no longer would I lose my voice.

    Because I've been sick many, many times since starting my blog but have not once lost my voice, I firmly believe that through my blog I found my voice.

    Through my blog others have found my voice, too. My voice seems to have resonated with the grandmas and others who have read Grandma's Briefs during the past four years. And this week I learned that my voice has resonated with others beyond grandmas, too.

    See, back last year, there was a moment when I was incredibly frustrated by the manner in which I felt grandma bloggers were treated (or ignored) in the bloggy world. So I wrote a post about it, called it The Grandma in a Box. The post was so well received by the readers of Grandma's Briefs that I decided to enter it in the 2013 BlogHer Voices of the Year, which is a pretty big honor for the bloggers chosen.

    And this week I learned that post of mine was named — out of the 2,600 entries — not only a Voices of the Year honoree, but the People's Choice selection in the humor category. (The other categories were Inspiration, Heart and OpEd.)

    My voice... among the 100 chosen. My voice... one of four People's Choice winners. My voice... now officially a voice that mattered.

    So unexpected, so humbling, so exciting.

    BlogHer 2013All 100 bloggers selected in the 2013 BlogHer Voices of the Year — including several other midlife voices such as my Generation Fabulous friends Lois Alter Mark, Sandra Sallin, Janie Emaus (a Grilled Grandma!) and Shannon Bradley-Colleary — will be honored at the BlogHer conference July 26 in Chicago. The honor is a big deal, for me and for all the other bloggers named for their voices.

    But the honor is a big deal for all grandparent bloggers, too, because my voice — a grandma voice — apparently mattered to folks who are not grandmas, folks who selected the Voices of the Year. Which is huge! That means grandma (and grandpa!) bloggers are finally getting noticed, finally being heard, finally, I hope, being let out of the box.

    Not only does my voice matter, our voices matter. And that is what I learned this week, courtesy the 2013 BlogHer Voices of the Year.

    I'm over and out for the week, but I look forward to seeing you again Monday here for the GRAND Social link party for grandparents. It's where you can share your posts — your voice — so I hope you'll join me.

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Today's question:

    What did you learn this week?

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    Reader Comments (17)

    I'm over the moon happy and proud of you for winning this incredible win. I can't wait to meet you IRL and chat the day away with my newfound friend.

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterCathy

    Congratulations... and many thanks to you and all the grandparent bloggers who speak out for those of us who don't blog. I think it's going to take many voices speaking all at once to change society's grandparent stereotype. Case in point, the Grandparent's Day play at my granddaughter's school this year...two people in a rocking chair. Head <-- Wall.

    This week (ok, this morning) I've learned that it's possible to have a hangover without a drop of alcohol.

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterNonnieKelly

    ~*~*~*~*~ CONGRATULATIONS~*~*~*~*~

    I love your VOICE!

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenterchristine

    Congratulations on your win!

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGinger Kay

    Congratulations Lisa and thanks so much for helping all of us grandparents to be heard!

    As for what I learned this week... I think I learned what it would feel like to live in a third world country! The city we live in allows for fireworks for 3 days but this year was different! I don't know if it is a result of an improving economy or what but there were LOTS more fireworks than ever in the past and I have to admit the noise got to me! My nerves were shattered. I can't imagine what it would be like where you dealt with that day in and day out.....

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterGrandma Kc

    How wonderful! Congratulations Lisa! Your blog is one of the first places I check in on in the morning.

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterLeeAnn


    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterKristi

    Your blog is the FIRST thing I open every morning--actually miss it on Saturdays and Sundays but am soo glad you have taken those off for the summer!

    I'm so happy and proud of your placing so high among grandma bloggers; I'm sure in my heart that you, my daughter, are the best at everything you do! Again, Congratulations!

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnn

    Congratulations, Lisa! I just finished reading "Grandma in a Box" and you SO deserve this recognition. Like LeeAnn, I look every day to see what you have given us...and then I feel a little guilty because it has been weeks since I've produced anything for Things my Grandkids Should Know
    Thank you for being a grandma who just won't stay in the box.

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered Commenteraxiesdad

    Not only are we all proud of your's huge, Lisa for sure!
    But I love that you are talking about our writing voices! This was a term I used as a writing coach before I retired.....(both students and teachers) It was actually the kids who grasped it quicker than the adults! I love to share my voice via writing and am thankful that "Grandma in a Box" was recognized for that as well. The cliché....wonderful way with what it is! You paint pictures, describe in unusual ways and have fun with words!
    WELL DONE! Soon we'll all be telling you hot spots in Chicago! LOL

    Joan @ gramcracker crumbs

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoan Stommen

    Congratulations, go you! The past few years I too have been loosing my voice ,I loose it then I have a chest infection. In January it was awful I actually could hardly be heard and it was so much effort to speak,exhausting . I garbled with everything,except vinegar, I couldn't do it, I had to phone for taxis a few times,what an experience. Im glad it's not happened to you for a while,take away my voice and I don't know who I am. Well done again Lisa for your great blog.

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterAnne Mackle

    You guys are wonderful. Thank you so much for your kind words and your support! I truly believe I have the very best readers/visitors/commenters/friends anywhere online.

    Grandma Kc: Geez... that would drive me nuts. And my dogs, too. We heard a few pops last night and the dogs freaked out. Fortunately it was just a few. I hope that's the end of them for you.

    Oh, and Anne, I feel your pain! What a horrendous situation for you. Best of luck with your poor voice. Stay well, my friend!

    Lisa, CONGRATULATIONS! Absolutely! I certainly remember "Grandma in a Box" - read it twice and commented once! Like this post, it kept me on the edge of my chair wondering what was going to happen next. Your writing is excellent - all of it - but that one was an all time favorite!
    You will love Chicago!

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJoyce

    Congratulations! That is truly awesome!

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterBeth Zimmerman

    Many congratulations on a well-deserved honor! Yes, once we strike a "certain age," we are often overlooked and shut out. But bloggers like you won't let that happen!

    July 5, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterSusan Adcox

    Congratulations. I was happy to see your name on the list and look forward to seeing you in Chicago.

    July 6, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterDenise

    Congratulations, what a great honor! I just started a long distance grandmother blog and when I searched for others I hardly found a thing on the web. I am very excited to have found your blog and please visit mine at

    July 7, 2013 | Unregistered CommenterJanice
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