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Thoughts on Blogging

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This week has been really hard for so many people; many weeks are hard for so many people.

With all the hardship in the world, it’s sometimes tough to figure out how to strike the right balance on the blog. We always strive to make Cup of Jo feel like an escape from daily stress, a place where people can come for a fun break during their busy days. We talk about weddings, or careers, or newborn babies, or beautiful words, or, if we’re lucky, how a key works! And yet we try not to shy away from tougher parts of life, including loss and grief, infertility and stillbirth, anxiety and depression, heartbreak and wholeness.

Right now, as people in France, Lebanon, Syria and all over the world are struggling, it can be a challenge to find the right mix on the blog. Even though we are a lifestyle blog, we read the news every day, and as we scour the web, we are always coming across stories and images in real time. It can feel counterintuitive to write about lighter things during a week like this, and yet that’s often what we need and crave most when life feels bleak. We think all the time about how to approach blogging, and there’s never an exact answer.

Today we’re making a donation from Cup of Jo to Unicef, the UN agency helping Syrian children by providing healthcare, nutrition, immunization, water, sanitation and classes. (And if you have other organizations you feel passionate about, please let us know in the comments.) Thank you so much for reading Cup of Jo, and hope everyone is hanging in there.

(Photo by Alpha Smoot)

  1. This is a little late, but how about this foundation?? http://www.chadtough.org/
    I’ve been following the story because of my Michigan connection, and found out the sweet boy passed away today. xo

  2. Hanne says...

    I’m so glad you wrote this post. Thank you for donating. The world is surely a strange place these days, and we are all affected in some way.

    Save the children is doing an important job for children fleeing war. Not only in Syria and neighboring countries, but all along the refugee routes, and in the countries these children and families are seeking asylum.

    I’ve been volunteering in my local Save the children group since 2010, making activities for asylum seeking children who are living at asylum reception centers, waiting for their applications to be processed. Some wait for years, while their childhood pass by. Through activities, contact and play we make their wait a little better. It’s been so rewarding and so, so heartbreaking and I’m forever and ever a Save the children member. They are doing a great job here in Europe!! I’ve seen it up close, and I know we make a difference.

    When i put my son to bed in his safe and comfortably room, I think about the mothers who are fleeing with their small children, getting lost from them in the chaos and suffering all kinds of grief and frights. I’m bracing my self every time I open a newspaper but we need to read and understand.

    Hanne

  3. Dear Joanna. Such an honest & true post. As I was scrolling through my Twitter feed & the attack in Mali today, I felt almost paralyzed. But then I realised that it is ok (& necessary) to still surround ourselves with beautiful & quirky things!

  4. Marte says...

    Thanks, Joanna. This post makes me like A cup of Jo even more. So thoughtful and true. And thanks for making a donation to the UNHRC – and using your platform to remind us that there’s people in need and ways to help. In the end, acts of kindness make us feel better immediately. Especially in dark times – and with thanksgiving around the corner. Here’s to being grateful for living in freedom and being healthy.

  5. Rue says...

    Thank you for continuing to be the least preachy lifestyle blog I know! You’ve ruined me from reading almost any other.

  6. Bibi says...

    Thank you!!! I’m a follower living in Paris, your kind words and thoughts always speak to me. A week after the shootings I come back to the lighter internet world and find your post. Thank you again for being sensitive without being judgemental or sentimental. Love, Bernadette

  7. Couldn’t have said it better! I do my best to remain respectful to all readers of my blog, and create an escape from the barrage of polarizing political opinions we’re inundated with these days. But there are times when I can’t ignore what’s going on in the world. My heart aches for everyone who suffers in this fragile world of ours. But, Paris definitely hit a nerve. Paris holds a special place in my heart. It was a healing place for me. It is an inspiring place to me. It will continue to be a place that I dream of. So, this week, I couldn’t not reflect on a piece of my experience there.

    https://yearofmonths.wordpress.com/2015/11/18/wanderlust-wednesday-paris/

  8. Sybil says...

    Thank you so for your thoughtfulness with this post. I really appreciate it.

  9. Amy says...

    As always, you strike exactly the right note. Well said and bravo for the donation!

  10. Thank you for addressing this issue! I experience the same on my own blog, and I ask myself, should I act as if nothing has happened? Or should I write a post so people don’t think I’m insensitive? As lifestyle bloggers, we try to keep things light, entertain our readers, and act as a diversion to the realities of the insane world we live in. That’s who we are and what we do best. But also, I think it’s important for people to know how much we care. We feel sadness and despair when tragedies like Paris or Beirut or anywhere else in the world occur. Writing about these unfortunate events shows our human side, and you do it so well. Peace to all!

  11. Patricia says...

    I heartily recommend Mom’s Clean Air Force. The ever-awesome Dominique Browning is a co-founder. The way they describe their organization says it all: “a community of parents fighting air pollution to protect the health of our children.”

  12. Lamia says...

    Thank you for this post. We all need a reprieve from the stresses of daily life and your blog is all about the beauty of daily life, daily tasks, and other stuff. But we can’t shut out the world and having a thought for people suffering in other parts of the world just makes our daily stop on A Cup of Jo more human. Merci.

  13. Elise says...

    I love how candid and open this blog is about everything from weddings to disaster. It’s always refreshing to stop here for a few minutes a day. Keep on keepin on :)

  14. A short but truly inspirational post Jo – thanks for covering every aspect of life from the dark to the light.

    Nat Lewis
    Rocky Mountain Decals – Cute Wall Decals for kids, and kids at heart!
    http://www.rockymountaindecals.ca

  15. LB says...

    I’ve been reading your blog for years now, and just wanted to echo others comments. It’s comforting to hear that others are feeling equally upset and troubled by the world’s events, but also find your blog really comforting. Serves as a reminder that we can and should partake in a little “brain break” and enjoy the lovely little things in life. thank you!

  16. Dana S. says...

    My small voice sending a very loud thank you. You and your staff are thoughtful, lovely and fantastic writers/researchers. Keep up the good fight.
    xoxo
    Dana S.
    Minneapolis, MN

  17. Lise says...

    Thank you. I needed that. I have been so overwhelmed with sadness lately and I feel so helpless. I’ll admit I came to Cup of Jo for a bit of an escape today, but when I saw this post it was exactly what I needed.

  18. Erin Cochran says...

    Another organization who has been on the frontlines of the Syrian conflict is the World Food Programme. They’ve been in Syria for many, many years and is feeding families and children both inside Syria and in host countries like Jordan and Lebanon.

    http://www.wfp.org

  19. Christi says...

    This post is precisely why I read your blog. Love your heart, Joanna.

  20. Liz P. says...

    Thank you for addressing this. I went looking for acknowledgement and a common sense of mourn this past week but it seemed like most of the blogs I follow didn’t want to bring up the ugly, messy reality of what happened on Friday. Thank you for not glossing over real life.

  21. My Fiancé and I have such a close relationship to Paris, this tragety breaks my heart for all those living there. We are planning our wedding there is coming summer and currently have an AuPair from Paris living with us and watching our daughter. Experiencing her panic, frustration and sadness over being so far away from her loved ones during this time is so hard. It is times like these when she feels most like part of our family as well! Thank you for this post and your donation!

    http://www.touchofcurl.com

  22. Erika says...

    I work for a major news organization and it’s a constant struggle to absorb all that’s happening in the world while making room for optimism. I’m inundated at every turn with the worst of the worst, and sometimes I just need five minutes to stare at a pretty photo or read a book review. It helps me peel off the day before getting home to my family, and your blog has consistently provided me with the means to make that happen. At the same time, I so appreciate you addressing the issues instead of glossing over them. It’s a delicate balance to strike, and I think you and your team do it very well. Here’s to standing together in the light during dark days.

  23. Hi Joanna,

    I live in Paris at the moment, as I am studying here for the semester. Although I take a very ‘let’s all unite and keep living our lives’-approach myself, I know many of my (international) friends here are frightened and disoriented. Half of the people in my uni were not attending class today. Anyway, I think your blog is just perfect when it comes to sensitive and up-lifting topics. You’re definitely thinking about it the right way, and I very much appreciate all the things you and Caroline share.

    xx B
    PS: If anyone of your readers is interested in “my story” about what happened Friday they can read about it on my blog.

  24. DT says...

    yes, the current events in Beirut & Paris are horrific & tragic…there’s so much KILLING going on everywhere – from schools & in the streets to Iraq where an estimated 14,000 civilians were killed in 2014… ALL LIVES MATTER

  25. Ashlyn says...

    This post gave me chills. Thank you for being thoughtful human beings.

  26. Ashlyn says...

    This post just gave me chills. Thank you for being thoughtful human beings.

  27. Matilde says...

    Dear Joanna, although i’ve been following your blog for the past 3 years, this is my first comment ever. It is strange for me to comment or share my thoughts online, it’s not quite “my nature”, but your blog gives me mixed feelings on this and i always feel a bit in dept with it because i love to see you do it and i understand that your readers feedback must be quite important for you to keep going with your job. Anyway, today i really feel i must congrat you for this post. For doing it so smoothly and still not forgetting to do it. And to do it thinking of all nations going through bad times. I also recently made an UNICEF donative to syrian children and i truly believe difference is made upon little gestures as we are not all supposed to be political leaders ourselves. It’s good enough that we can vote and choose them, we are lucky for that. Thank you for doing this post and to keep on with your sweet blog where i come almost everyday when i feel like i need to see some tenderness and some beauty in the world. I wish you all the best! A big portuguese hug from Lisbon.

  28. Laney says...

    Thank you for using your influential voice and wide reaching platform here in this way. This blog is at its best when it gives a voice to the overlooked and forgotten.

  29. Jess M says...

    Thank you for addressing this.

  30. Kristen Tymeson says...

    I work at FilmAid, which is an incredible organization that works with refugees to tell their own stories, which is so important right now. We’re currently working in East Africa, Southeast Asia, and are starting a project in Jordan to work with Syrian refugees (whom we’ve worked with on short-term projects in the past) in the new year. Here’s more information about FilmAid here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jQg272nnOuE

  31. Katherine A-E says...

    This blog is a light for me. I have been reading it every single day for five years and I really feel like I know you (I’m sure you get that all the time!). Thank you for managing the difficult balance of fun escapism with real, raw…life.

  32. nohatnogloves says...

    Well posted. I am new to blogging but. like you, felt the last week’s events had to be noted in some way – but not to make my blog a place of either a. bigotry b. ingnorance c. sentimentality.
    I reckon you got it exactly right. And you reminded people about a continuing theatre of horror that will not abate, no matter how many capital cities become a temporary focus. But our European cities are very old and we will bend, not break.

  33. Kate says...

    Thank you.

  34. Greta says...

    Joanna, thank you so much for acknowledging Paris and all the other awful acts of terror happening arround us! I read a number of US lifestyle blogs and non of them has mentioned anything on that. I realise that the point of these blogs, including yours, is to create a safe heaven for the readers where beauty, intellect and wit can be easily found when needed BUT… ignoring the resent events made me feels as if the US bloggers are not concerned with what’s going on in Europe… And I feel that we are all in this together and we need to stick together. Let’s all pray that the horror will stop.

  35. Ana says...

    Everybody said everything I wanted to say, so I’ll just thank you for the thought and note. Very needed, and very sweet.

  36. I just started writing a blog of my own and found myself in the exact same dilemma. Thank you this; your thoughtfulness and sensibility are truly inspiring, and the reason why I keep coming back. (I’m a longtime reader, but I think this is my first comment here. Big fan!)

  37. Mariana Braga says...

    Hello Joanna. Thank you so much for this post. I really expected and needed it. We’re living trully hard days here in Europe.
    Big kiss from Portugal.

  38. Marie says...

    Love from Paris.

  39. Big thanks for writings this post from Paris! I thinks it’s great you’re making this donation.

  40. Stacey says...

    Bravo ladies.

  41. Thank you for writing this as you did Johanna. Being an american living in Europe it’s been eye opening and crazy to see how the US responds to these things, and I don’t mean like the gov’t I mean the news reaching people and how they react.

    A friend and I are headed to the Greek Islands the second week in December delivering needed medical supplies and extra hands to help with the influx of refugees. I have crisis experience after hurricane Sandy hit BK I hope can be useful. We’re heading to some of the smaller islands (some which the refugees out number the local population!). We’re fundraising the trip currently just under half way there. For more info or to support http://www.kirbyamour.com/leros

  42. Rachel says...

    I love the balance you have here on A Cup of Jo – yes, it should be a place of fun, frivolity, fashion, food, but so many of the more serious issues (relationships, grief, loss, parenting challenges, mental illness) affect us too, and I think it’s also important that we know we’re not the only ones facing difficulties, and that it’s important to have a platform for discussion and a resource.

  43. Alex says...

    Thank you for this post.
    I’m French, I live in Paris. I was born here and always lived here. I met my husband here, we’re raising our children here. Two boys, almost same ages as yours. I regularly read your posts and I love the way you put words on feelings and worries I share. I also like the idea of having so much in common (lifestyle, thoughts, questions, desires, etc.) with someone living so far. My life is changing because of what is happening but I don’t know how for now. I don’t know yet if I’m going to change and get tired of the (not so) light things you write so well about. Hopefully I won’t.
    Thank you for this post and all the others to come!

  44. Erin says...

    As a professional in international development who has been working in response to the Syrian crisis in a Turkish border town for the past 2 years(abroad for 5), I find this comment heartwarming. Each refugee story is tragic and equally as heart wrenching. We could all do a little more to show compassion. Thank you :)
    Ps. I’ve been reading your blog for several years as a way to connect to home! Keep up the good work.

  45. Maria says...

    Dear Joanna, thank you so much for this. I already loved Cup of Jo and now even more…thank you!

  46. I also find it hard to strike a balance but have donated to charities through various blogging projects throughout the past few years. UNICEF is my favorite charity, and I applaud you for making that gesture. xo

  47. Amy says...

    You’re doing a wonderful job of striking the right balance. Thoughtful, thought provoking, lighthearted and offbeat- your blog brightens my day but doesn’t feel like mindless fluff. Thank you!