For a long now

by mssinglemama on March 25, 2010

Between playing with our shadows, Benjamin squeezes my hand as we walk in the alley behind our little apartment.

Shadows

We are relieved it’s finally Spring, so we can get back outside every day – into our alley, the alley that leads us on all of our walking adventures. Being outside is an antidote to feeling completely cramped in our apartment.

I can’t figure it out. But our apartment seems to be growing smaller every day. Could it be because Benjamin is growing, literally growing. Whatever the reason, I feel like Alice. And I can tell you, outgrowing your space (imagined or not) is not a comfortable feeling.

There was plenty of room on the hot summer day three years ago when we first moved in. I hadn’t been able to find a spot in the packed truck for my cowboy hat so I had slapped it on my head before jumping into the driver’s seat of the massive U-Haul. Everything I owned had been in storage for a year while I lived at my mom’s with newborn Benjamin, trying to re-build my career and my finances after leaving my ex-husband.

When I had told him I was leaving, he refused to leave our apartment. So I had to leave, to pack up everything and move in with my mother. Anything I couldn’t fit in our two rooms at her place would have to go into a cold, dark storage shed.

“Don’t worry,” Mom told me into the phone as I was sobbing at the thought, “You’ll forget you had all of this stuff and then when you unpack it, you’ll be in your new place, and it will feel like it’s all new. It will be one of the best days of your life.”

Her words had echoed over that year, something to hang on to – this idea of actually surviving this mess and finding our own place. And now it was happening. Now as I drove this stinky U-Haul with music blaring, a high school buddy who needed a lift in the passenger seat and the pleasant  sound of all of my stuff, my forgotten possessions now found, bouncing around in the back of the truck.

I had left Benjamin behind with his sitter, giving me one afternoon, one night and one morning to unpack as much as I could. The next day when she brought him through the front door he toddled into the living room and then started squealing with excitement. He was only 17-months-old, but he knew. He knew this was our place, just ours.

It didn’t take us long to discover the alley behind our apartment. At first I would have to carry Benjamin most of the way to the park or the coffee shop, then I’d watch him peddle there on his tricycle, next his bike and now we are walking – side by side. He is usually running ahead of me, teasing me and stopping only at a street crossing. But today he is holding my hand, listening and talking.

Maybe because we are headed to somewhere absolutely magical – we are heading to John’s apartment. We are going to hang out with a man we have both fallen deeply and madly in love with. I have proclaimed on this blog for quite some time that we don’t need men, we only want them. This is true for material reasons. We don’t need men to survive or even to thrive. But I have found that I do need John.

I need him to balance my ferocious passion with calm.

I need him to guide me as I create this business on my own, his counsel is the only one I trust with everything.

I need him because he is my true love, my best friend.

I want him for a million other reasons.

And I also need and want this blog. I am not going to quit writing.

I completely changed my mind. But I am going to go back through the archives and delete quite a bit. (So get your fill now before it’s all gone.) I am also going to give Ms. Single Mama.com a complete make over. Need to clean this place up in more ways than one.

I didn’t do this to tease all of you, as my haters will quickly say, I just changed my mind. Which, if you ask John Bear, I do a lot. I just can’t let go yet. And I can’t let fear be one of the reasons why. Your comments, your outpouring of e-mails and support also nudged me in this direction.

Two comments were particularly striking and they were two of dozens from non single moms.

Samantha wrote:

I hope that you trust that you’ve raised a son that is an independent thinker, that knows who he is and that he knows who is his Mama is and what’s she done for him. Even the cruelest and most disgusting words by strangers won’t influence him when he’s old enough to Google. It just won’t happen… you didn’t raise your son that way.

And then Bear wrote:

I’m glad that you’re moving to another stage; if you’ve outgrown this blog, so be it and best wishes for the next one.

I do think there’s something fundamental about this one that you might have overlooked, though: this blog, like most others, not only serves its primary purpose (to disseminate wisdom or knowledge on a particular topic) but serves as a Rorschach test for its readers. The patterns we see in your life as you tell it reflect our own experiences; our responses tell you more about us than they do about you. And your comment section paints a picture of a pretty fascinating world. Many people will sign in just to send along random kind thoughts. A lot of people have been hurt, some in truly devastating ways. Many are achingly lonely, and some have experienced grievous loss. But, crucially, very very few have abandoned hope. And the number who sign in just to be anonymously hurtful is actually relatively small.

I realize it’s difficult to discount that last group, especially when safety is an issue. But I’d offer, as something to consider over the course of the next year, the thought that the snapshot of the world that you’ve captured here might actually not be such a bad thing, on the whole, to pass along to your son.

So, I am staying – for now. For a long now. And when I do decide to permanently throw in the towel on Ms. Single Mama, there will be no fear involved.

Thanks for all of you for being patient. I hope you stick around for my makeover.

Definitely time for a new chapter.

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{ 65 comments… read them below or add one }

Phyllis March 25, 2010 at 7:30 am

Great news! Can I just say I love love love makeovers!

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Gitte March 25, 2010 at 7:35 am

I am so excited that you’ve decided to keep writing and I can’t wait for the makeover!

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Libby March 25, 2010 at 7:40 am

Introspection is good and you have listened to your inner voice. Looking forward to more!

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Rebecca March 25, 2010 at 7:42 am

So glad you are staying. Love reading your blog!

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Canadian Bald Guy March 25, 2010 at 7:49 am

This is good news. Welcome back.

:-)

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Danielle March 25, 2010 at 7:51 am

Yay..glad you changed your mind! I love reading your blog even though I am not single

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Jen @ follow my bliss March 25, 2010 at 8:05 am

GREAT news. And I love the two comments that helped you to change your mind. What strong, positive perspectives. So glad you’re back!!

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Michelle, Maverick & Radley March 25, 2010 at 8:25 am

Love the comments that you quote above. They capture perfectly what your blog offers to everyone, single or not, however they arrive here. I, for one, love that you will be sticking around. No matter what they say, it is a mama’s perogative to simply change her mind. And I am pretty sure 99% of the people who visit this site agree. Dont pay any mind to the stupidly vocal, judgemental, self-righteous 1% that may comment otherwise. So good to know you are back!

Michelle

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Lori March 25, 2010 at 8:38 am

I’ve been hoding my breath. Thank you for changing your mind = ) I was going to miss hearing about the adventures of Ms (Not So) Single Mama, John Bear, and Benjamin. And I want an update from Mia too. If she’s up to it…
Thanks for making my day!

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Leanna March 25, 2010 at 8:41 am

I’m thrilled to read that there will in fact, be more to read!
And your alley reminds me of all the best parts of the first five years…

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Kim March 25, 2010 at 8:58 am

This is wonderful news and your commentor is so correct! You have raised and are raising Benjamin to know right from wrong, and if he is anything lke his wonderful Mama(which I am sure he will be) a very independent thinker. I could not be more pleased to know you will be here still. To my virtual friend~I applaud you!~

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BriBedell March 25, 2010 at 9:11 am

Good to hear. There are always going to be people who don’t like you and will do nothing but put you down. But know that there are far more people who like you and do want you to continue on your blog journey!

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April March 25, 2010 at 9:27 am

This is exciting.

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fraizerbaz March 25, 2010 at 9:37 am

Yay, you’re back! Right on!

I am so glad you changed your mind! :-)

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Alexis March 25, 2010 at 9:49 am

YYYEAHHH! I really had a tear in my eye reading that Bear comment…very true, and what a wonderful surprise. We need you. We really do.

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Gem March 25, 2010 at 9:50 am

I found your blog this week and I was so sad to think that you’d not be posting anymore! I look forward to your new posts and catching up on all of the ones that I missed. Thank you for being you and sharing that with the world.

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Mary March 25, 2010 at 10:02 am

Yay! I’m so glad you’re staying! I’m not a “single” mom (I’m not married, but I am dating/living with (for 6 years) my son’s father.), but I love coming here for wisdom and insight and wonderful stories of Benjamin and John Bear. SO glad to be able to keep reading!

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The Dumbest Smart Girl You Know March 25, 2010 at 10:08 am

Such good news! I can’t wait to see the next chapter unfold!

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Melissa March 25, 2010 at 10:20 am

yay! Glad your sticking around. :)

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Meagan March 25, 2010 at 10:39 am

I’m so happy you’re back. We’ve missed your beautiful words.

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mommybella March 25, 2010 at 11:06 am

I am sooo happy to hear this. You and your blog have made life as a single mother a little less lonely. It has made me feel like I actually have friends…

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Kristen March 25, 2010 at 11:35 am

Yay. This is who you are. You obviously love to share your life with lots of people. So you should, unapologetically. Thanks for sticking around.

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Teria March 25, 2010 at 11:43 am

I never comment. But I have been reading your blog since I became a single mom two years ago and I love your blog. It gives me advice and makes me not feel alone and with you and John it gives me something to look forward to. I am glad that you are staying. I love the other blogs you have introduced me to as well. You all make more of a positive difference more than I think you know. Thank you for staying!

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Caryn March 25, 2010 at 11:53 am

This is one of those blog posts where you can kind of see the sparkle in someone even over technology. This was a shining blog post that made me feel very happy inside. I’m glad you’re back….shine on!

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Samantha March 25, 2010 at 12:05 pm

As I said in my original post, I absolutely never comment on blogs. I take more of a passive approach to reading them. However, in this case, I’m so glad I said something!

Now, Benjamin will look back on THIS and think, “My mom was strong, proud and did something that made HER happy.” What better example is there than that?

Welcome back :)

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Kris March 25, 2010 at 12:17 pm

Yay….so excited to hear. You truly give me hope that I will be able to parent my little one AND possibly find a new life that includes another in our “circle”.

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noringsattached March 25, 2010 at 12:19 pm

YEAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!! What great news!! I look forward to the blog makeover and to being a part of this wonderful community you created :)

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Abby Carter March 25, 2010 at 12:24 pm

Yes, hope. That perhaps is the fundamental element that we bloggers provide, both for ourselves and our readers. Good for you for continuing to take the risk.

And here perhaps is some further justification:

There is an artistic movement brewing, Shields writes. Among its hallmarks are the incorporation of “seemingly unprocessed” material; “randomness, openness to accident and serendipity; . . . criticism as autobiography; self-reflexivity; . . . a blurring (to the point of invisibility) of any distinction between fiction and nonfiction.”

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/03/14/books/review/Sante-t.html

Some interesting thoughts anyway.

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Single Mom in New England March 25, 2010 at 12:38 pm

From one Frequently-Changing-My-Mind person to another — Hooray!!! I totally get it and understand your change in direction! I’m so happy to keep reading. Thanks!!!!!!!!!!

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mssinglemama March 25, 2010 at 1:08 pm

Oh… I LOVE you all. I definitely have THE coolest blog readers ever. Hands down. No argument. Thanks for the sweet comments. Making my day as I sit here nervous as hell about a presentation I have to give in an hour. Oh holy hell, the things I get myself into.

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Jamie March 25, 2010 at 1:10 pm

YAY! You just made my no good, very bad day….a VERY VERY good day! I’m so glad you changed your mind! Those comments were awesome. I can’t wait for the makeover!

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KW March 25, 2010 at 1:15 pm

I’m so glad to hear you plan to continue with this blog, sharing your on-going trials & tribulations of being a single mama and finding love after divorce.
Bear really hit the nail on the head on this:”The patterns we see in your life as you tell it reflect our own experiences; our responses tell you more about us than they do about you.”
So true.

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Erin March 25, 2010 at 1:39 pm

Alaina, I can’t tell you how excited I am to see that you’re staying, for now. My hope would be that you’d create a comprehensive “Divorce Survival and Renewal Guide” of some sort to contain all the pearls of wisdom contained here – edited of course to protect you and Ben. Maybe you could tell a “story” that you wouldn’t share typically in a fictional form at the beginning of each chapter? I have read hundreds of books, but few have your honesty and spirit. Your blog helped me through that first year and is even helping my new boyfriend learn “how to date me” – lol. Just a thought. :)

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Melissa March 25, 2010 at 2:54 pm

I am so happy that you have decided to say. I have come here everyday in hopes that there would be at least one more post that would inspire me or just help me get through a long day.

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christine March 25, 2010 at 3:19 pm
Sheila March 25, 2010 at 4:16 pm

Reinvention is amazing and I’m so glad to hear the news!

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Stephanie March 25, 2010 at 4:58 pm

woowoo!

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lovelock&co March 25, 2010 at 5:08 pm

love your pictures!!!

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eb March 25, 2010 at 7:19 pm

YAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I kept checking to see if you were still around… I got really happy when I saw a new blog post, so thank you again! This single mama needs you!

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Chana March 25, 2010 at 7:20 pm

I have been reading your blog for about a year now! And although I’m not a single “mama” I’m still a mama and found your insight to be so refreshing and addicting! It even prompted me to begin my own little mommy blog. I’m beyond thrilled that you are staying! Your voice is so important to so many, and most important to your son…who I know will one day read your work and be amazed he has such a strong and loving mother. Don’t EVER doubt that whisper in your heart girl! And as for your “haters”, I wish all of us mama’s could get our kids together, find those jerks and have our “rebel” children wipe boogers on them! Love you to pieces lady!

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Amy March 25, 2010 at 8:42 pm

Completely thrilled that you’ve changed your mind! As I’ve said before, I don’t have much in common with you…I’m not single, I’m not a mama. But, I completely admire your strength and dedication to your son so I keep coming back to read more. I am a Kindergarten teacher at an inner city school in Atlanta. Almost every single one of my students have a single mom. They are struggling. Badly, in some cases. I know it can’t be easy, but I know it’s possible to be successful at being a single mom because you’re doing it. That gives me hope for my students’ situations.

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Jennifer March 25, 2010 at 10:22 pm

I love your raw emotions and truth – I think that is the essence of this blog. You’re so honest, so insightful which makes you vulnerable. We’ve all changed our mind at some point and you’ve written about it – admitted it here – for all of us to read. Thank you! Honesty and truth seem to be harder to find these days.

I am thrilled that you’ve decided to keep plugging along – HOORAY for YOU!

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this is ridiculous! March 25, 2010 at 11:21 pm

you love the drama, don’t you alaina? you’re a phony. no wonder you have so many haters.

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laura March 27, 2010 at 12:52 pm

Normally, I don’t participate in the kind of negative garbage people feel that they can say when responding to blogs because I think it fosters a negative attention that a few are shallow enough to wallow in. However, if you haven’t noticed the outpouring of happiness people are sharing that this blog will continue then you are ignoring the positive. I don’t think this post is dramatic, I think this blog will be going under a radical change that is likely to alter is look, tone, and subject–maybe even the spirit in which it is written and that is it’s core–and that will make it very much like a brand new blog. I think Alaina made it clear that she has out grown the identity of “Ms Single Mama” and, though she is continuing writing, she isn’t going to be writing the same blog. That is what she was trying to convey to the readers–a change, a radical change has happened and will happen here. The plea for drama is exactly what I think the negative comments are doing–pleading for attention of any kind. I do wonder what propels you to read this blog and spend the time to write a comment about it if you disagree with its content or its writer? I guess I’m hardwired differently, because I prefer to spend my time doing things that I enjoy (as opposed to things spending time on stuff that drive me nuts) and I feel happier that way.

To Alaina, its amazing the way the your own mentality shifts and also the way that people–even people you don’t and perhaps never will personally know–can change your life. I’m happy that you will be continuing to write publicly because people love what you have to say and how you say it, your “voice.” I love your voice and happy that you changed your mind. How very brave of you. Also, how very brave that you can change your mind and still be settled enough with yourself and your readership to share that.

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A March 25, 2010 at 11:23 pm

yayyyy… *tear* that post got me emotional lol

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AFresh March 26, 2010 at 2:24 am

Yay! So so happy you’ve changed your mind. Now on the topic of those annoying hater posts, looks like they seek the drama they claim to dislike by posting here. Can’t those posts be deleted? Clearly they are outnumbered here… Keep up the great writing Alaina, you rock!

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mssinglemama March 26, 2010 at 6:31 am

I try to never delete comments, unless they are completely and absolutely over the line, offensive to my readers (ie insulting single motherhood), or filled with expletives. IF it’s an attack on me, I leave it up because I can (most often) handle it.

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Emily March 26, 2010 at 8:29 pm

OMG, you’re so full of crap. Whatever.

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Jane March 30, 2010 at 4:57 pm

What an absolute CROCK! You censor EVERYTHING on this site. You’re not protecting your readers, you’re trying to be something that you’re not. People who know you understand that this entire blog is a fabrication. You routinely delete posts that don’t help perpetuate this continuous lie. It’s censorship, plain and simple.

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Donna March 26, 2010 at 9:56 am

Yay!!

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Jennifer March 26, 2010 at 12:23 pm

Yippee! Glad you are sticking around! I kept coming back to your page everyday hoping you’d still post. Good job and have a great weekend!

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Barbara March 26, 2010 at 6:57 pm

I am another one of those that rarely posts but I feel that you have become a dear friend over the last couple of years as I have “grown” into being a single mother myself. I am so thankful that you changed your mind. I am even more grateful for your honesty. You have shown the world that it is okay to change your mind. We need to remember how important it is to be flexible to the things that life brings us and be willing to change our course when we see the need. This life is a never ending growing process and I, and so many others, appreciate your invitation to join in with you as you journey on yours. Never forget that your openess is helping all of us grow too.

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Cleo March 26, 2010 at 9:35 pm

Yay Yay Yay! Your back AND a makeover. I am so happy you changed your mind. Came back to check your website just in case ….. so glad I did.

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Anonymous March 26, 2010 at 9:39 pm

If only your readers knew you as well as people who you’ve treated like garbage, they’d drop you in a NY minute

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Ellie March 26, 2010 at 11:22 pm

Hey Alaina,
I kind of knew you’d come back. I am a mind changer too :)
As I said before I am not single or a mother but I love your blog. It is interesting to be invited to someones life like you invites your readers to yours. I am trying to start my own blog and you are a great inspiration!
As for the haters, I heard mixed things about Alaina but I guess nobody can be loved by everyone. Anyway, you know you can just stop reading the blog if it pisses you off so much…
So good luck and keep on writing coz I’ll keep on reading :)

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Cibele March 27, 2010 at 12:12 am

I am so excited that you are staying! I am looking forward to the makeover

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Rose March 27, 2010 at 2:21 pm

The blog ‘Sweetney’ has recently started moderating her comments. I think you should too, that way these sad negative people might go away and get lives of their own. Very glad you’re going to continue your blog!

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Mercedes March 27, 2010 at 4:44 pm

YAAA! I’m so glad you are staying! I love reading your blog and gleaning advise from your stories! Thanks! And I look forward to reading more!
Mercedes

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Sara March 29, 2010 at 12:16 pm

Hi Alaina!
I am so glad you’re back and that you’re on your journey to Re-Vamp your blog to the new step in your life. You’re such a fantastic writer, (heck you could blog about paper clips and I would still read it. :) Keep on Inspiring!

Sara

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Katherine SOLO dot MOM March 29, 2010 at 9:02 pm

Welcome back! Glad I checked back…

Looking forward to the makeover and the ‘next’ chapter.

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Glenda March 30, 2010 at 3:36 pm

Can’t wait to hear about your next chapter! Best of luck and don’t let the haters bring you down. Keep doing what you’re doing!

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Ari March 30, 2010 at 6:10 pm

Who are these people that keep wasting so much time and energy on hating you and your blog?

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Jacob Stoops March 30, 2010 at 7:33 pm

I’m glad you’ve decided not to stop. I totally understand where you’re coming from. I have a hard time maintaining a blog as well, as I struggle with whether I want to do it too. Can’t wait to see what’s in store for the future :-)

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Lesha March 31, 2010 at 3:37 pm

Well, this is what I get for reading posts out of order….
I’m so glad you’re sticking around!

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Shannon Kieta April 4, 2010 at 2:50 pm

Alaina…
I was VERY Excited to see your e-mail in my box. What a relief. I am glad you changes your mind. Next time, IF you decide to leave, let it be because YOU want to, NOT because of some lame-ass, jealous, smart-ass, comment from a reader who has nothing better to do but put you down. I get it, everybody has a right to their opinion, so that should go for you too, right? So, it YOUR blog. If they want to bash and trash…start your OWN blog! Keep up your fantastic work. Eenthough I may not check in everyday, It’s nice knowing the security of your being here when I have time to “stop by’. Luv Ya! And always remember…I got your back!!! Shannon

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