I am beyond thankful for every single one of you reading this right now. Every single instance where you have taken the time out of your busy days to pop over to my blog and read a post, every time you have "liked," commented on, or shared something of mine on social media, every time you spend your hard-earned money in my TpT store-- every single instance encourages me to keep going. I'm just one little fish in a sea of many incredibly creative and talented SLPs, and to know that my ideas are inspiring others and being used all over the country (the world?) is inspiring to ME! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU for all of your support, no matter how large or how small of a gesture!
I wouldn't have started this journey without my husband. He has been 100% supportive and believed in me every single step of the way, even when I didn't believe in myself. He was the one who, ever so slightly, kept nudging me towards stepping outside my comfort zone and going for it. He refuted every argument I had until I had no more, and convinced me that what I had to contribute to the SLP world was worthwhile. He is and always has been my #1 fan! Words would never do justice to the gratitude I have for him being my personal cheerleader and always pushing me to do more, even when I think I can't! Both of our families have been super supportive, too, and my little sister tells every SLP-to-be she meets at college about my blog, for which I am also very grateful! :)
Right around the time I was almost/kinda/pretty sure I maybe wanted to start a blog, the School-Based SLP Facebook page was started, and in the thread for introductions, I said I had a TpT store (I had started about 6 months prior to that), and that I was contemplating blogging. Mia from Putting Words in your Mouth, said she found me on TpT and was following me <insert excited squeal and total fangirl moment> and encouraged me to start a blog if I was already thinking about it. I loved Mia's blog already, so her encouragement helped nudge me in the right direction. Rachel from Queen's Speech, whose blog I also had already been following, was really supportive in that thread, too, and gave me advice on starting a Facebook page for TpT/blogging (I was probably just fan-girling all night throughout that thread, talking to all of those "big-timers" I had followed for a while!) I'm sure Mia and Rachel have no idea that I still think about their encouragement from that thread from time to time... but I do!
"A Rising Tide Lifts All Ships"If you happened to watch the Lucky Little Learners/Schroeder's Shenanigans in Second periscopes from TpT Vegas this past summer, they used this quote several times to talk about the importance of supporting others. Helping other fellow bloggers/TpTers be their best in turn helps you be your best. Keeping in line with this, I have to give shoutouts to some other SLP bloggers that have helped me along in the journey, whether they realized it or not!
1. Jenn from Crazy Speech World: My very first blog post was participating in her "Show me the Data" link up. She was so sweet responding to my post, saying she felt lucky that I linked up with her for my first post, related to my being chronically messy, and welcomed me to the blogging world! Having another one of my favorite bloggers take the time to read through my post and acknowledge various things I said in there was SO COOL! (I was ecstatic when she commented on my post... another fan girl moment. Don't judge.) It was another little nudge in the right direction-- this time, to keep going, rather than just beginning.
2. Jenna at Speech Room News: About 4-5 months after I started blogging, Jenna messaged me on Facebook to tell me she'd nominated me for "Best New Blog" in the Edublog awards! (I simultaneously celebrated and, you guessed it-- fan-girled out again at the same time. Are you noticing a trend here?) I was ecstatic and so honored that a well-established blogger with thousands of followers took notice of my blog! That was probably a major turning point for me, when I thought, "Hey! I really CAN do this!" Words would not do justice to the amount of gratitude I have for giving me that moment. THANK YOU, Jenna!
Jenn & Jenna are also two people whose "voice" and personalities really come through in their writing through blog posts and posts to Facebook/Instagram--something I am always striving to do more of! I really admire their ability to do this with such ease.
3. The ladies that are a part of the Frenzied SLPs: I was genuinely honored to be asked to join your group of other great bloggers over the summer! I've been struggling to keep a balance this school year, trying to juggle my workload + TpT + blogging + social media for blogging + keeping the non-SLP parts of my life alive, and I probably would not be as motivated to keep blogging as consistently without the topic ideas and support from all of you! <3 You are all wonderful, talented women and I have so much respect and admiration for what each of you do!
4. Everyone who has asked me to guest post, join their blog/Instagram/Twitter/Facebook hop, or join their giveaway... Manda & Shanda at Twin Speech, Felice from Thedabblingspeechie, Danielle from Sublime Speech, Elizabeth from The Speech Owl, Lyndsey from Speech to the Core, Jessica from Figuratively Speeching, and Maria from Communication Station. There are hundreds of other bloggers you could have asked instead of me, so I have always been grateful for the opportunity to join in the fun! I've had the opportunity to get to know Felice and Danielle a bit more, too, and they are both hilarious-- grateful for the SLP friendships this blog has opened up for me!
Starting a blog/TpT store was a risk--a risk in the sense that I was putting myself out there to be judged and was making myself vulnerable. Heck, it still is a risk! Every time I create something new or write a new post, or am about to share a therapy idea on social media, that little voice of insecurity comes back to rear its ugly head. As we all know, though, without risk, there is no reward, so I'm much better now at silencing that voice than I was when I first began. And speaking of rewards....
One of my Instagram posts was featured in the August issue of the ASHA Leader a couple months ago!! THE ASHA LEADER that is sent out to over 150,000 SLPs every month!! (#nobigdeal #famous) I decided last January that making it into the ASHA Leader via my blog would be one of my goals for 2015. #REALTALK: Honestly-- I was way too scared to put it in writing in my 2015 SLP Resolutions blog post because I thought it was maybe too far of a stretch or that other people reading would think that was a dumb, unrealistic idea. But, referencing Lucky Little Learners' Periscope sessions from the summer again... "If your dreams don't scare you, they're not big enough." Despite that inner voice of insecurity, I continually put myself out there over and over via this blog, and the rewards have been greater than I could have imagined! One of my coworkers is good friends with someone on our school board, so she passed on the article link to the Board member, and it then made its way to my superintendent, director of special education, and principal. I mean, really, how cool is that?! And it's all because I have had support from my husband, all of you readers, various bloggers, and other friends/family!
In closing... Blogging has made me a better therapist. It pushes me to try to think outside the box and be more creative with my students in order to have material to blog about or share on social media, which benefits all parties involved! Blogging has also allowed me to connect with others who are passionate about what they do, and I am inspired by them every single day. I am SO thankful for this avenue and for every opportunity I've had to connect with other SLPs, both bloggers and non-bloggers alike.
If you're still with me (I know, I'm sorry this was long.. I just have a lot to be thankful for!), thank you. Thank you for all of your support over the last two and a half years. I wouldn't be here without you! xoxo.
Here is my letter for you to collect along the hop: