July 19, 2011

Local Blogger Highlight—Knoxville Mamabelle

knoxville mamabelle for blog button Last week I never made it back to the blog long enough to post a local blogger highlight, and I didn’t want another day to pass before I added one.  These have been so fun to write because the women whom I have highlighted have made such a profound impact on me.  One with perhaps the most profound of impacts on my blogging life has been Knoxville Mamabelle.

Years ago when I started couponing at a large scale with our church, I hosted my first coupon workshop.  It was entitled Couponing in Critical Times and there were about 50-60 people present.  It was such a fun day, and I didn’t know at the time that it would be the start of a God driven, wild and wonderful journey.  At that workshop was Isha (Knoxville Mamabelle) whom I had met a few times before through the Knoxville chapter of the Holistic Moms Network and storytime at the library.  She and I chatted about couponing and mothering after the event, but at the time I had no idea how she would change my life later that day.

Hubby had set up a blog, this blog, which we entitled CICT because of the name of the workshop.  The original purpose of the blog was to just post a few of the worksheets and resources I had mentioned at the class.  I had always joked to my friend Coupon Mommie that I wasn’t a blogger and would never be.  Well, never say never!  When I arrived home that evening, I saw that Isha had signed up as my very first follower. I remember thinking to myself, “I have a follower—guess I better write something.”  And, as they say in the books, the rest is history. 

Isha doesn’t just have a special place in my heart because of her presence at that coupon workshop and her encouragement to start blogging.  She is one of the kindest of people, and I’m so honored to call her my friend.  She’s the type of mother I aspire to be.  She’s the type of person we all want to be.  When you read her blog you see that she has many interests and works to support local business, healthy lifestyles, gardening and crafting.   She models the importance of openness and diversity awareness and writes on subjects as complex as the sorrow of miscarriage and as sweet as the story of the Loving Family.  Plus, she’s really great at saving money—one of my favorite past times!

Not only is Isha a blogger, but she is one crafty cookie.  You can see and purchase her beautiful flower bows and jewelry creations at her Etsy page: www.etsy.com/shop/ishasflowergarden  She has made a few bows for our daughter, and they are BIG hits!  Not only that, but you can also see her at our church (Faith UMC) on September 15th at the Ladies Night Out event.  More details of that night will be posted soon, and it will be a fun, relaxing night that you won’t want to miss!

Below is my interview with Isha.  I hope you’ll stop by her blog and her Etsy site to see why she is one of my favorite local bloggers:

CICT:  Tell us a little bit about how you started blogging.

Isha:  I began blogging in May 2009, so it's been two years now. I had always been a person who enjoyed trying to be helpful, so with the advent of MySpace and later, Facebook, I started sharing information and blogging on those platforms. After attending a coupon seminar out of a woman's home late in 2008 and beginning to coupon on my own, I took the plunge to start my own blog. Partly I felt it was important to keep up my writing, but mostly, I knew I'd enjoy sharing with readers. Though my main focus is saving money, I've kept the blog general so that I can write about other things that interest me as well.  

CICT:  What do you like the most about blogging?

Isha:  I like that it keeps me on my toes and in touch with what's going on around Knoxville. Blogging also does a great deal to keep me inspired because I try to keep up with the many other area bloggers.

CICT: What are some of your favorite posts that you’ve written or types of posts that you write?

My favorite posts are definitely the somewhat personal ones where I share how something saved my family money or is keeping us headed toward our goals. Unfortunately, I don't have time to write many detailed posts.

CICT: What are some things that you’ve learned through blogging? 

Isha: I've learned that I don't have time to really write high quality, content-rich posts every week like I thought I would. I'd be lucky to write something substantial once a month! I've also met tons of great people through blogging and am continually growing as a person.

CICT: What do you hope that your readers get out of your blog and your work?

Isha: Mostly, I just hope someone out there runs across something that inspires them to save a little more money here or there, or that a family answers that tough question: can we afford to live on one income? with a "yes." For my family, couponing and being more careful with our money has really changed our life for the better ten fold. When I first quit my job, I remember thinking, if only we had more money, and now, I mostly just wish for more time. Our income is smaller, but we have so much more!

Blogging and being a mostly stay-at-home-mom has inspired me to do more things than I once thought possible. For example, I just opened an Etsy shop to sell hair flower clips I began making a few months ago. That's not something I would've had to courage to try a few years ago.

CICT: It is so true what you said about your income being smaller but having so much more.  The important things in life are not things that you can buy.  Couponing and being thrifty switches your focus to look not for stuff but for value, and by value, I’m not referring to price tags! 

Thanks so much to Isha for her willingness to be highlighted on the blog.  Thank you for having made my life a lot sweeter!  I hope all of you will check out Knoxville Mamabelle’s blog and crafts and will join us for the Ladies Night Out event!

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