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Through a Blogger’s Eyes: A Series of Perspectives – Wining Wife

Last month, I began this spotlight series to share some of my favorite blogs with you all. Ronda of the Wining Wife is a friend of mine and quite the professional inspiration to me. Ronda caught my attention with the diligence that she puts into her work. When I need to buckle down and get myself in gear to work, I contact Ronda. She seems to have mastered being a work at home mother to multiple children!

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1. Tell us a little bit about you and your blog.

Well, for Wining Wife®, I actually had started a blog called “Not Quite Ally McBeal” in May or June or so of 2011. I was thinking about going back to graduate school, and had this elaborate plan in mind of what I was going to do – Get an MFA in creative writing and social justice, and go through a joint social justice Ph.D. and law program. Now…`anyone who knows me knows that it’s kind of nuts since I’d spent 14 years working toward a Ph.D. in philosophy I decided to not finish for a variety of reasons, but that’s where I was. I’d just had my divorce from my ex finalized, and I was ready to start over. The blog was going to be an outlet for me to talk about that whole educational journey as well as my life as I started over and built back up. And start over I did – a couple weeks later, I did a firewalk and a couple days after that, I met my now husband. I wound up not going for more education. Instead, we got married less than a year later, and we started going to a lot of wine tastings. The blog was becoming more of a chronicle of the tastings we’d go to, our relationship, my thoughts on life in general, and things I was up to, so I decided to change the name to Wining Wife®, go through the trademarking process for that, and put the social justice/community involvement stuff on a separate blog, Activism My Way. Wining Wife® has developed into a lifestyle blog where I share recipes, wine reviews, thoughts on body positivity and life as a parent, thoughts on marriage and relationships, crafts and sewing (though a lot of those posts will now go on my handmade site), and being fabulous in general.

2. How did you get into blogging?

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. In fact, even before I started my writing and editing business, more people knew me as a writer than they did as an academic philosopher. I would participate in poetry workshops and open mic nights as often as possible, and I was always sending out my short stories to try to get them published. So, when MySpace came out, while I was in my MA program in grad school, I started making snarky posts about MTV shows, silly list posts, and posts about how life was going so I could keep in touch with friends. By the time I was in my Ph.D. program, I also started a small accountability-style blog to track my son’s homeschooling progress, and I was thinking about doing a communal blog to make academic subjects more accessible to non-academics. When I left my Ph.D. program, in 2008 when the economy was really tanking, I couldn’t find a job in the San Francisco Bay Area – I was either overqualified for everything or I didn’t have a degree in the right field. So, I started my own business. I’d always enjoyed writing. I put together a website and I had a blog talking about writing, editing, researching, and books. That was the beginning of my blogging as part of my professional life.

3. What is your favorite thing about blogging?

I enjoy being able to speak candidly with an audience about a topic. It’s funny, because in real life, I’m rather introverted and shy and awkward, but when I write, I feel like I can be myself in front of others and that I can worry less about saying or doing the right thing all the time.

4. What do you find most challenging?

I’ll be honest. Being consistent for the past little while has been challenging. There was a lot of change from 2013-now. I was pregnant with my daughter – and sick that entire pregnancy. Then I had terrible, soul-crushing PPD after she was born. Then I got over it, and I got pregnant again, and that was the pregnancy of extreme fatigue. I was convinced I was having like five babies because I could not stay awake for anything. And while I was pregnant, we moved from California to Kansas, and so there was that. And the townhouse we rented when we first got here was falling apart – literally! Right after I had my younger son, the townhouse started to violently shake, and things would topple over. So, we decided to accelerate our home buying plans, and moved again. And now, I’m pregnant again. All three of those pregnancies were planned, but they all affect the body differently, and of course, writing about wine while pregnant – that’s a bit difficult to do, and there was a long stream of just one thing happening after another. I cannot tell you how glad I am that we have finally settled down. It’s made it so I can be a lot more consistent – even with my very sweet Velcro baby.

5.  How do you come up with content for your blog?

Ideas come from everywhere. I keep idea files in Microsoft OneNote so I can keep track of them. I read a lot, so there’s that. I use what happens in life. Sometimes there’s a blog tour or a pattern review I’m participating in. Sometimes there’s a product or wine review to do. I have way more ideas than I have time.

What inspires you? Gosh. There are lots of things that inspire me. It’s going to sound really, really hokey, but in the dark age between the divorce from my ex and meeting my current husband, I found my relationship with God and Jesus and began attending the church I still miss very much. I had been an atheist for a long time, and then I was going to convert to Judaism, which didn’t work out so well because I had this strong visceral reaction to denying that Jesus was a miracle worker. I couldn’t do it! And then, I had a transformational experience when I was attacked. So every day, I wake up, I go to sleep, I count those things I’m grateful for – my safety, my life, the ability to do what I love for a living, my husband, my kids, the ability to help other women who are in rotten situations, the voice I have to help others through my writing – I thank God for them, and as I go to sleep, I put my faith and life and future in God’s hands. And most mornings, I wake up feeling ready to get things done. So I mean…all of the little things in life, the wisps of hair that fall across my daughter’s forehead as she sleeps, my little guy’s soft snores, the feeling of hugging a teenager who was once a little baby…these are the things that inspire me. “God is in the detail.” Love. Love inspires me. And To-Do lists LOL those inspire me in their own way too.

6. What makes your blog unique?

The fact that it’s me writing it, I’m such a quirky person, and it’s not just another wine blog or another food blog or another crafting blog. It’s a blog that’s partly a chronicle of my life over the past four and a half years, but also, I hope, a source of inspiration for other women.

7. Where do you picture yourself and your blog in five years?

In five years. Well, in five years, that will be almost a decade of running Wining Wife®. I have plans for some books I need to finish that are associated with the blog, and I’d really like to be able to pay another writer or two to help out with it. It would be super-mega awesome if I’ve got everything together in five years and my businesses are at a point where I can hire other work at home moms to help out with administrative tasks, writing tasks, graphic design, etc. In 5 years, I’ll be 44. I’ll probably have my pregnancy days behind me by then. It would be awesome to be on my path to the bigger vision I have with all of this blogging stuff. I hope to also finally have my magazine out and other business projects I have in mind. I’m also really hoping to get more involved with my local community again. I really love giving back, and with small people and not much free time, that’s been relegated to armchair activism and donating to causes I’m passionate about.

8. How do you keep motivated and make time for blogging?

I’m going to be honest – the making time thing right now is a challenge. I have intricate lists for tracking my projects and where I want to be going and what I need to be doing to get there. The lists are really good at lighting a fire under my butt. So is talking about my plans with other people. The last thing I want to do is eat crow and have to tell someone that I slacked on something I said I’d do.

9. What are your favorite things to do when you’re not blogging?

Oh boy. I love to cook and bake. I really enjoy playing board games with my teenager and husband. I’m looking forward to introducing the world of board games with my younger kids as they get older. I like to play Mario Kart and some of the classic Nintendo games (though we don’t really have my game systems hooked up yet). I love doing reno projects and diy stuff with my house. I craft and sew. I like to go for hikes, I used to be a runner too, and I miss that. I’m looking forward to getting back into that. I like serving my community – another thing I haven’t done as much as I’d like. I love movies and classic TV shows. I really like to read whenever I get the chance to do so. And playing with my kids. I like to just get on the floor with them and play with them. They’re only little for so long, and it just makes their day. Plus, I mean, why else do I get them the cool toys? Oh, and I love to take photographs. I’m trying to learn the manual settings on my camera.

10. Tell us about your proudest achievement

Well, my dad went to trade school after being in the Navy. My mom, she dropped out of high school then got her GED later, and then got an AA degree. Both of my brothers dropped out of high school, and my older brother got his GED a few years before he passed away last year. I took the California High School Proficiency Exam shortly before my 17th birthday when I was a junior in high school. I “graduated” and started in junior college immediately after that. My proudest achievement is my oldest son. I bet you thought I was going somewhere else with that. But seriously, when I knew I was pregnant with him, I knew I needed him to have better opportunities than I’d be able to give him as I was at 20. I went on to get my BA degree and my MA degree. I went on to work on a Ph.D. I started a business from home so I could be there for him as he grew up. He’s turned into an amazing young man at 18. He’s got a lot on his plate with his last year of high school and all of the things he’s involved in, but he’ll be the first person in the nuclear unit I was born into, other than my Dad, to not leave high school early and to go straight into a traditional college. I couldn’t be prouder. I mean, a lot of it is on him, but I think I did an awesome job given everything we went through together. Of course, my small people are proud achievements too – but I have help with them. It was he and I against the world for most of his life until he was almost 14 (my ex and I were only together for a couple of years).

11. Where is your favorite place to go or visit?

New Orleans is my favorite place I’ve been to so far. I can’t wait to get back down there as soon as possible to visit my family.

12. What’s your personal philosophy or motto?

No regrets. Look, I’ve messed up a lot in life. We all have. But I’ve also taken a lot from those mistakes, learned from them, grown from them. If I didn’t have those experiences, I wouldn’t be where I am now. I wouldn’t be the person I am, and I probably wouldn’t have the compassion and empathy for helping others that fires me up.

13. What would you do if you won the lottery?

I’d pay off our house and the little bit of debt we have. Put money back in our savings accounts for the future if we need to help ourselves out. The rest of it? I’d use to start a foundation to help women needing to rebuild their lives after domestic violence. It is so hard for women to get out of violent situations in the first place, but then to rebuild and go on to be successful and safe and thriving is also a challenge. I’d want to use the money to help them get the counseling, education, and new grasp on life for themselves, their children, their pets. I want to take “what happens after I leave?” away from the calculus on staying or going. I want to facilitate that transition. There are many organizations that help women get out, but then the rebuilding of a life – that is hard! I know. I’ve been through it a few times now.

14. You’re stuck on a deserted island with three things, what are they?

Hmmmmm…a box of emergency flares, a saw, and a hammer.

15. Share a link to your two favorite posts.

I wrote this one in response to someone who felt the need to send me an invite to like a dieting page when I shared photos of myself in a dress/skirt I made. It went viral, and a lot of people said they felt really inspired by it. Because so many women got something out of it, it’s my favorite post.

I also like this article I wrote about not going to bed angry with your spouse. I wrote it not too terribly long after we got married, and I was just re-reading it the other night. It’s important to let go of the anger in your heart and not hold a grudge against your spouse -even if you’re still trying to resolve a conflict.

Is there anything else you’d like to share with us? I have a lot of stuff going on, and I’m really looking forward to expanding my blog as the months go on. 🙂

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