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Where in the world are the Northern Mariana Islands and why would you care?

January 6, 2014

I’ve been blogging a little over a year. Ring the bell.


Finding Harmony was launched January 1, 2013. I remember the giddiness I felt when I pushed “publish” for the first time—like I somehow was more in control of my own destiny instead of a distant editor or publisher or company. I could be as brash or as personal as I wanted to be, no one editing over my shoulder. (Wherein of course lies the danger in personal blogs—no one editing.)

I’ve discovered I enjoy it more than I thought I would, like a hobby, instead of knitting or just reading in my free time. It is a new world. I’ve made new cyber friends, received at least one phone call out of the blue from a reader (who it turns out works at the same place as my second cousin, who I only knew in childhood), and am learning the importance of connecting with other bloggers to make even more connections.

One of the things I’ve enjoyed the most are looking at the stats or statistics, which can stroke the ego or dash one into despair, if you take them too seriously. Occasionally there is a wild surprise, and you hit 10 times your average views in a day, and you never know when one of those days will hit. My top post of the year, not such a surprise and not good news, was one about the suicide of Rick Warren’s son (it was picked up by Mennonite World Review). On a happier note, the ones about the births of my first two grandsons (here and here) were of course popular. The biggest “high hit” surprise for me was a recipe for homemade sugar cookies that mentioned my Mennonite/Amish connections as well as Presbyterian.


Occasionally a stat takes you to another world … to the other side of the world, to be exact. One day, three hits from Northern Mariana Islands showed up, as one of the countries from where someone had viewed/read my blog. What? I’d never even heard of that as a country. A quick look at Wikipedia fills me in as it being a group of islands in the Pacific, where over 90 percent live on the island of Saipan, where my father-in-law served in World War II. A personal connection.

In all visitors from something like 89 countries have dropped by. Most of those visitors probably bounced quickly elsewhere.

The stats climbed steadily and nicely throughout the year, helped of course by my two blog devotional series, one for Lent and one for Advent. Hmm, do I go for another Lent series? Can I keep them original and fresh?

It is also fascinating to see what people use for search terms and end up at my blog. Two posts last winter have brought frequent visitors all year: one was about soaking up the gorgeous and unusual flowers at the U.S. Botanic Gardens (I used the words “endangered plants,” which brought numerous seekers during the year).  Another post on a sad farewell to our dear dog, (for whom we fretted many weeks about “how to know when to put a pet down”) turns out to be a frequent question of many other web surfers. It was sad but reassuring to feel that camaraderie.

The top search terms at my blog were:

  1. Endangered plants (link above)
  2. Amish homemade noodles (and numerous variations of that, about which I wrote 3 times)
  3. Stayman apple pie recipe (and variations)

Some search terms I love that were used often enough to show up in year long summary of frequently used terms:

  1. Why do my homemade noodles fall apart
  2. Mennonite New Years Cookies (I never wrote on this)
  3. I am the rose of Sharon and the lily of the valley Mennonite (don’t ask, I have no idea!)

Regarding content, this blog is a mix of family stories, devotional reflections, family type recipes, occasional book reviews, exploration of faith roots (Mennonite, Presbyterian), and, occasionally, tips and inside stories for other writers (from my perspective as an editor myself).

Overall, I’ve found that here, recipes tend to bring the most hits. From my own experience reading other blogs, I feel that blogs that give us useful information (or just help us know there’s another soul out there going through the same thing) are what many of us look for.

So what do you like at Finding Harmony Blog? Take a second to check my simple poll. Or not. I may or may not do more of whatever people like, or I may get rid of things people don’t like.


Thanks for following along, whenever and however you do. Subscribing (free) is one of the best ways to keep in touch. Or shoot me an email or leave a comment.


A rare personal appearance on this blog: my husband and me at a summer wedding.
Thanks, Stuart, for supporting me as I share of our lives in this way.

  1. Caro - Claire Wiles permalink

    Dear Melodie
    Congratulations on your first anniversary of blogging.
    I have always enjoyed your regular writings in Another Way but the blogs have been very interesting too and it has been good to have been able to communicate with one another through the responses back and forth.
    Thank you ..
    Although I could only post one choice, I really like all of them!

  2. You are too sweet–but you are right, the poll is limiting (like all polls). I was kind of wanting to try one out. Thx.

  3. I feel the same as Caro – I like everything you blog about.

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