The Liebster Award

liebster2I just learned that this blog has received the Liebster Award– Thanks to thrutheseeyes1 for nominating me. Her blog, The Direction Not the Destination is a wonderful blend of her personal and professional reflections on life and her work as a social worker–I recommend that you check it out!

Of course, the first thing I did upon being notified of this award was to Google “Liebster Award.” I discovered that the main purpose of the award is to discover and recognize new blogs. A wonderful summary of the award and it’s iterations can be found in this comprehensive post by Lorraine Reguly.

Here are the rules to the Liebster Award:

  • Thank your Liebster Blog Award presenter on your blog and link back to the blogger who presented this award to you.
  • Answer the 10 questions from the nominator
  • Nominate 10 blogs and create 10 questions for your nominees.

My task now is to answer the 10 questions put to me in the nomination, nominate 10 blogs for this award, and then ask the 10 questions I would like to have my nominees answer if they accept the award.

1) How would you describe yourself in 3 words?

Curious, innovative, persistent (stubborn!)

2) What inspired you to blog?

I really enjoy writing–it’s as much an exploration in thinking for me as it is in communicating. I’ve done quite a bit of academic writing, but there are many aspects of that type of writing that I find frustrating, most notably the time lag from the time you write to the time you publish and the formal voice. What I enjoy about blogging is the way that blog posts can serve as a starting point for interesting discussions (my recent post on SMS Interventions is a great example of this…check out the comments) and that a piece of writing can connect via hyperlinks to other material on the internet, providing readers who are interested with other resources.

I first started blogging on Livejournal back in 2003 after being introduced to blogging by one of my psychotherapy clients; she kept her personal journal in a Livejournal blog and wanted me to read it. I became interested in the process and blogged in Livejournal with a community of bloggers for quite a few years. However, it wasn’t until I started Virtual Connections that I started “public” blogging, that is, blog posts that were open to the entire internet.

3) What is your happiest moment to date?

I find this kind of question so hard to answer, because I guess I don’t measure happiness well across time–I find that recalling a feeling is not the same as when I was there having it. So I would have to say I have had many happy moments and that I don’t know a way to really measure them against each other.  Many of those moments were with family and friends just enjoying each other’s company.  However, one moment that stands out was when I was cross-country skiing in the Adirondacks and I stopped in a clearing, by myself, and just listened to the silence and watched the snow fall. I felt entirely present and connected to life. I think that is probably what people mean by a “peak experience.”

4) Who currently inspires you?

I find inspiration in so many places and interactions. Two sources stand out at the moment:

  • The members of our Social Work and Technology Google+ community. They are exploring so many cool ideas and translating this into their teaching, research, and practice.
  • Learning from my mom’s legacy. She passed away suddenly a few months ago and I started a blog to capture some of her legacy and to build support for a scholarship in her name. As I have collected stories from some of her former students I have learned so much more about her, including how she taught me her love of ideas.

5) What accomplishment are you most proud of?

Making a difference in the world by increasing the understanding of the impact of overwhelming events–psychological trauma–on people’s lives, especially their mental health. I’ve incorporated this into my teaching, my psychotherapy practice, and my work at the University at Buffalo School of Social Work (UBSSW), by advocating for our school to develop a trauma-counseling certificate, and eventually, working with our entire faculty and staff to transform our masters in social work (MSW) curriculum into one that incorporates a trauma-informed and human rights perspective. But please be clear, the work at UBSSW has not been a result of me, but of a whole team and community working, learning, and struggling together. I am proud to be a part of it.

6) What do you do to practice self-care?

I take time to be alone, breathe, and notice what’s around me. Also, journaling and reading fiction.

7) What’s something you wish everyone knew about you?

That I’m an introvert. I can be very outgoing and interactive, and in my job, I am often called upon to be in the public eye, speak publicly, etc. While I found all of those things enjoyable I also find them exhausting afterwards. If I don’t take some alone time to replenish, I will quickly become depleted, depressed and sick.

8) How would you explain your basic life philosophy?

I look at life as mostly about the journey, not the destination.What’s most important is to show up and to keep learning. I’ve never been good at answering those questions that ask “What do you want to achieve five years from now?” I have sometimes pictured life’s journey as a spiral, meaning that we circle back to the same issues, only at higher level. And I believe that everything we send out into the world (e.g., thoughts, actions) has consequences, and comes back to us..karma in the true sense, I guess. I try to live by “paying it forward” in some way everyday.

10) What is one of your most awkward moments?

I can thing of many awkward moments, especially as a child and as a teenager, because I used to stutter fairly frequently when I was having to speak to authority figures or in front of group. It used to mortify me. Over the years I just kept pushing through…while it still happens sometimes now, especially when I am tired, it just doesn’t bother me the way it used to.

11) What is the funniest moment you can remember?

One of the moments that seems funniest to me now, as I remember it, didn’t seem quite so funny at the time I was experiencing it. As a way of brining our blended family together, we would take many family vacations in our motor home. On Christmas vacation, I remember singing Christmas Carols together in the motor home on one of our trips. We were singing Deck the Halls and my younger brother, Terry, kept popping out of the bathroom during the “Fa,la,la,la, lah…la, la, la, la” part and was singing it loudly and out of tune. If I recall correctly, I was really annoyed at him for doing it, but had to laugh in spite of myself.

Ten Blogs I am Nominating

  1. Social Work Career Development
  2. Gamer Therapist
  3. The Brain Alchemist
  4. Teaching Social Work
  5. Bridging the Digital Divide in Social Work
  6. The Double Parent
  7. Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.)
  8. The Political Social Worker
  9. Classroom to Capitol
  10. Gavagai Translations

Ten Questions for Nominees to Answer

  1. What are you hoping to achieve with your blog?
  2. Where do you get your ideas for blogging?
  3. What’s the hardest part of blogging for you?
  4. Which of your blog posts is your favorite, and why?
  5. What is one thing that you think people would surprised to know about you?
  6. What are your favorite ways to unwind?
  7. What are some books you are reading for fun right now?
  8. What are some of your favorite quotations?
  9. What was a significant milestone for you in 2013?
  10. What question do you wish I had asked you…and why?

15 thoughts on “The Liebster Award

  1. Thanks, Ellen! The award is simply passed on via blog nominations and acceptances…there’s no actual competition. I considered putting your wonderful blog into the nominations, but the process really requires allowing comments on the entries, so that narrowed the field. But for any readers checking out this comment, I highly recommend Ellen’s blog, Brain Leaders and Learners (


    • Well how kind you are! I think it’s a huge honor — and since I always learn from your keen ideas – I was thrilled!

      As for comments on my own blog, Nancy? I always loved to have back and forths but had to stop. Somehow spam was getting into the blog site via the comment section and my URL host suggested I turn off the comments to stop the spam. Sad!

      However – we still all have Twitter and Google+ so we can still communicate – since it is in the exchange we often find gold. Stay brilliant! Ellen


      • I’ve set my blog so that I have to approve comments before they’re posted. My blog is an obscure system but that feature is pretty common, maybe you can do that on yours? That way you can allow comments, but only the ones you allow :^)


        • Ricky – thanks for your kind suggestion. The blog was set to approve comments and rarely did spam show up.

          However, there were tens of thousands of crawlers coming through and overloading my site – and I have no idea what any of that means:-) But my URL host said it is quite common to WordPress Blogs. Since we could not resolve the issue he suggested I turn off the comments. The crawlers seemed to stop at that point.


        • That’s too bad. I take it you tried captcha as well?

          I don’t use word press but since it is so widely used there must be some solution. Hope you work it out one of these days.


        • My WordPress site uses Askimet to capture spam and it does a great job. But I am on, I don’t use on a separate server.


  2. First, congratulations on your nomination, Nancy!

    It is most well-deserved and I so enjoyed reading your responses to the required questions. What a fun award nomination…

    Second, thank you so much for your very kind nomination of my blog. I am most flattered. I will try my best on answering those obligatory questions… although they may be a bit hard for me in this public forum [I much prefer to be the one interviewing others vs being interviewed] 🙂


  3. Congratulations on your award, Nancy! I love what you wrote about life’s journey being like a spiral. And it is a huge accomplishment that you inspired your department to create a trauma-informed care degree program. More graduate programs should learn from your example.

    All the best,


  4. Pingback: Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian Receives The Liebster Award | Notes from an Aspiring Humanitarian (N.A.H.)

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