Liebster Awards!


posted by Beret

Back in July, we were honored to discover that LobeStir had been nominated for a Liebster Award. The title comes from the German word for favorite, or beloved, as in “Ach, mein liebster!”which is occasionally accompanied by rosy cheeks and lederhosen, and, if you’re lucky, a big squeeze. The Liebster is generally given to newer bloggers–preferably with fewer than 200 subscribers–who are just carving out their niche in the blog-o-sphere.

Our first nomination was from Janice Spina, who writes children’s books and two blogs: Jemsbooks and Published Indie Authors. Ms. Spina nurtures writers of all sorts. Like many others, I am grateful for her support and encouragement.    

Before we could turn around and pass the Liebster along, however, one of our potential nominees tagged us again. Emily Schleiger writes Don’t Repeat This in Preschool, a blog I’ve been following and enjoying for some time. Contrary to your category tag, Ms. Schleiger, (i.e., “Awards Probably Mistakenly Given”) you deserve your Liebster, and I’m a little disappointed that I didn’t get to give it to you myself.

Many thanks to both of you!

Now we have the chance to return the favor. In order to accept the award, we agreed to answer a few questions sent by the nominating parties, as well as to nominate other up-and-coming blogs. Take note nominees:  THOSE ARE THE RULES.

1. Did you ever want to change your name when you were little? If so, to what?

On class lists everywhere, I was assumed to be a misspelled boy–Brett or Brent or Bert, perhaps. I was accidentally put on the boys’ basketball team, and frequently called by military recruiters. After the initial gender surprise, teachers’ pronunciation veered toward the French hat, but my elementary school classmates got it right. And, since my name rhymes with carrot and ferret, they got plenty of mileage out of it.

Though it was occasionally embarrassing or annoying, I never imagined having any other name as a child.

As an adult, however, I do not appreciate endlessly repeating my name to confused baristas–especially when I really need a hot, brown beverage before civil conversation kicks in. So, now I pick a coffee name to coincide with my alter-ego du jour.

Gina says: Although it never occurred to me to change my name, I desperately wanted a nickname.  At seven, I informed my mother that she was henceforth to refer to me as “my little watermelon.”  For about a week in 5th grade I tried to convince my peers to call me “Bubbles.”  I have no idea what I was thinking in either case.

Weirdly, baristas have the same issue with “Gina” as with “Beret” – endless repeating, never correct.  My coffee name is “Allison.”

2. What is the household chore you most love and why?

Say what? Not so into household chores. I love cooking, but not when it has be done, which probably defies the definition of chore. If pressed for an answer, I might go for sweeping. It’s quick and easy, and sometimes clears the cobwebs in my mind as an added bonus.

Gina says: There’s no love here.  None.  I hate vacuuming, taking out the trash, and cleaning the litterbox.  I can tolerate doing the dishes.  I also love the cooking, but since I don’t have kids, that’s a hobby rather than a have to. 

3. Dogs or cats?

Cats. No question. I attribute many failed relationships to trying to date dog people.

Gina says: WORD.

4. Favorite word:  sure.

Gina says.  PANTIES.  (See below for hilarity.) It’s so innocent and so smutty at the same time.  And fun to say.

I make it a practice to ask everyone I meet what their favorite word is and keep a running list.  It’s several pages long by now, but some of the highlights are: pontificate, rigolo, bifurcate, scrumptious, genius, snack, windowsill, ameliorate, appropo, fo’shizzle, bequeath, fancy, spandex, monkeys, bamboozled, hootenanny, bananas, snorkel, potato, corpulent, and feckless. 

One year, when my classroom had lovely large windows across an entire wall, I bought some window markers and covered them with words off the list.  This led to some fabulous conversations.

5. Least favorite word:  panties.

Gina says: Delish. Ugh. Horrible. 

Our mutual friend Christopher’s least favorite word is ‘slacks.’  He says it makes his skin crawl.  I think this is fascinating.

6. I was asked to pick an inspirational quote. I picked: “When I write, I feel like an armless, legless man with a crayon in my mouth.” -Kurt Vonnegut. It’s reassuring to know that I’m in good company.

Gina says: “Give me a place to stand, and I will move the world.” – Archimedes

7. What turns you on creatively?

Clear deadlines and a decent chunk of unchaperoned time. Also, climbing hills with a view.

Gina says: Hearing what other people are doing and good conversations.

8. Creative turn-offs:

The word no. Chaos. 90% of the voices in my head.

Gina says: Exhaustion and time limits.  Deadlines. 

9. If Heaven exists, what would you like to hear God say when you arrive at the Pearly Gates? This question surprised me.

I went to a delightfully hippy chiropractor for a while, and she had a little stack of papers on the front desk. They were copies of a dream she had had, in which she died and went to Heaven. Upon reaching the Pearly Gates, St. Peter looked down at her and asked, “SO…DID YOU HAVE A GOOD TIME?”

I try to remember this every time I get bogged down in life’s minutiae.

Gina says: Funnily enough, my list of favorite words started when my best friend and I decided that we should have our answers prepared in case we unexpectedly found ourselves on “Inside the Actors Studio.”  The question about heaven is another one from the show.  We both thought that Harrison Ford’s “You did good,” reply couldn’t really be topped.

Now, for the nominees:

Finding a bunch of awesome blogs is not particularly difficult. Finding grassroots education blogs was, however. Consequently, the blogs below reflect a wide variety of genres and topics. If you, dear reader, know of any up-and-coming education blogs, please post links in the comments.

1. Lucy’s Football. It’s possible Amy is out of the running for a Liebster, since she’s been Freshly Pressed twice. Still, I would like to let her know how much I loved her piece about growing up. Hey, I’m trying to be “cookies,” too. (You’ll just have to read her post to know what I mean.)

2. Wordbowl. Readers suggest words, the author draws one at random, and writes a short essay or fictional piece. Great stuff.

3. King of States. F-bomb alert. Short. Funny. Political. Irreverent. Sometimes simply inane.

4. Mom at Work, by Anna Spanos. I’ve been following her for ages because she writes very honestly about how parenting changes your life completely.

5. The Sloppy Buddhist has translations of Buddha paired with photographs; it is a delight to behold. He probably has loads of followers, but I’ll give him props anyhow.

6. Going to the Dogs//A Three Dog Life. Such a beautiful piece about dementia and loss. ..and I’m not even a dog person.

7. Idle Musings by someone who likes duck pajamas. Who else will inform the world about the squirrels’ evil plot to take over the world?

8. Momaste. A mom blog. Great piece on being “touched out” from tiny people’s constant physical contact.

9. Letters to Pomona. Five women who live in rural Oregon and write about all sorts of things. Lovely.

10. I Pledge Allegiance. Whoops. Well, he just hit 3,000 readers, so I suppose he doesn’t fit the Liebster category at all. I don’t always see eye to eye–and some of his columns make me squirm–but I so admire his fearlessness to write passionately about everything from baseball to politics, and teaching, and religion. Inspiring.

Honorable Mention: Some blogs deserve nominations simply for having perfect names. My pick: Everyone Is Entitled to My Opinion. I laugh every single time I think those words, and for some reason, it makes it easier to write my own posts.

Congratulations to all of you!

I had a hard time following the Liebster rules, and I definitely did not answer all of the questions I was asked. Feel free to proceed as you see fit, but if you have a moment, I would love to know:

*What is your writing routine/ritual like?

*What do you do when you get stuck?

*What is your favorite sentence that you wrote this year?

And most importantly:

*Do you know any good jokes?

Gina adds: We cannot stress the importance of this question enough.

So let’s see: answer a few questions, pick some great blogs to nominate, and don’t forget to link back to LobeStir, so we can check out the blogs you nominate, too. After all, Liebster is all about creating a community of readers for our solitary endeavors.


Author: Beret Olsen

Beret Olsen is a writer, teacher, and photo editor for 100 Word Story. She loves toast, the Oxford comma, and all your comments and questions.

3 thoughts on “Liebster Awards!”

  1. Hey! Thank you for the nomination. I am so complimented. Great questions. I will have to try to come up with answers. And thanks also for directing me to other great blogs. There is so much to read, so little time. Especially with Rosemary’s Puppy gnawing on my shoe as I type.


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