After 10 years and 2,000 blog posts, I guess you could say this one means something. Today I am not counting down my top 5 favorite hard candies or my top 5 favorite fast food desserts. No, this one is a little more significant.
This month I took time to reflect on my personal favorite Don’t Blink blog posts from the past decade. I combed through the content and engaged in spirited internal debates about which ones meant the most to me. After much deliberation, I picked an extreme short list that comprises just .2% of the posts I have written since beginning this blog in 2011.
I am proud to present my Top 10 Don’t Blink Blog Posts. This countdown is all about my personal preferences and isn’t tied to analytics or the opinions of anyone else. These are my favorite pieces. What a journey it has been…
10. My Insanely Long Hair (February 13, 2014) – We open with a shocker. If I ever want someone to spit out their coffee, I send them the link to this blog post. Back in high school I had LONG hair that was thick, curly, and UGLY. It is definitely a sight to be seen and after reading the post you might either laugh or vomit.
9. Making the Cut: My Cameo in Darius Rucker’s Music Video (September 29, 2014) – Alright, now we go from not getting my hair cut to making the cut! It was a thrilling afternoon in the office at Coastal Carolina University when Darius Rucker released his video for “Homegrown Honey” which took place exclusively on the CCU campus and in downtown Conway. Seeing my goofy mug right next to the Hootie star himself made that day that even better. Besides my starring role in a short film that was showed on a jumbotron, this post is my very brief claim to fame.
8. Hey Southern Belle, What Have You Learned After a Year? (May 12, 2021) – Some of the blog posts on this countdown go back 10 years…this one goes back three weeks. Around the anniversary of Sidney moving to Washington, I wrote this blog post chronicling some of the major themes my wife learned from her move from the South to the West. It is lighthearted and fun, but it definitely implies that Sid is a rock star and made a major transition look easy.
7. $25,000 Dollar Man (October 19, 2011) – If there is a post that my loyal readers bring up more than all the others, it is the one I wrote about my brother winning BIG at the casino. On a single hand of Paigow he snagged $25,000. Not only do I describe the hand itself but I go into detail about the INSANITY that followed. Needless to say, it was quite fun to tell the outrageous story of a 21-year-old kid who blew the roof off a sleepy bowling alley casino during the wee hours of a snowy winter night.
6. A Man of Faith: Monsignor James LeBlanc (February 26, 2017) – I love writing profile pieces and have written numerous of them for this blog, but this one about the former St. Andrew (Myrtle Beach) pastor is particularly meaningful to me. Just the fact that Msgr. James LeBlanc married us is good enough to land him a special spot in our hearts but he did so much more than just that. He gave Sid her first true introduction to the Catholic faith and strengthened my own. About six months after he officiated our wedding, the Bishop of Charleston appointed him the pastor of a couple parishes in Columbia. After hearing the news, I wrote this colorful profile on one very excellent priest.
5. Farewells (April 2014 and February 2020) – For this portion of the countdown I must cheat a bit and offer my readers a 4-in-1. This is the spot where I want to include the final posts I wrote before leaving jobs. My top 10 moment entries for the University of Montana and Coastal Carolina University serve as perfect highlight reels for my time at both stops. I also hold my “final goodbye” posts at UM and CCU in high regard because I had the opportunity to recognize the people who made my experiences as a Grizzly and a Chant so amazing.
4. Our Fierce Fighter (April 25, 2018) – At the end of April 2017, Sidney published something significant to Facebook. For the first time, a year after the fact, she made it publicly known that Sloan was critically ill with a rare condition called Pyloric Stenosis. It took us time to come to grips with the traumatic experience but on this particular night Sid wanted to speak out. Her purpose was simply to offer support to other families who might have a baby with PS.
Using Sid’s act of bravery as motivation, I followed up the next night with a blog post. I wrote about the emotions we felt as parents as we watched our baby daughter throw up all food that entered her system. I testified to the undeniable fight we watched Sloan exhibit throughout the entire frightening experience. I also made sure to offer education on what Pyloric Stenosis is and how it can be treated, heaping praise on Dr. Robert Cina (the head surgeon who performed Sloan’s procedure) and his entire crew at MUSC. This post put us in touch with parents who were going through the same thing we did with Sloan. Because I believe this blog post actually helped people (opposed to the 2,000 other posts that most people just find annoying), how couldn’t it be on this countdown?
3. My Top Ten Photos From Our Wedding Day (July 17, 2016) – It is really tough to put into words the joy you feel on your wedding day. Although I tried to do so with several different blog posts, I don’t know if it ever did our special day justice. Thank goodness for pictures. In July, I wrote this post highlighting my absolute favorite images from June 11, 2016. Each picture says so much and helps to tell the story of that day in beautiful fashion. I still feel so much happiness looking back at this post. As a blogger, some might think that placing an entry so high on a countdown that didn’t rely much on actual writing would be a disappointment. Nope. Drafting up a blog post that uses the heart more than words is always more rewarding.
2. Long, Painful Process; Beautiful, Perfect Result (March 21, 2017) – Well, what can I say? These next two blog posts are going to be about the births of my children. Let me start with my firstborn. Delivering Sloan was not easy. We went through a week-long saga to meet her once Sid was admitted into the hospital. However, the drawn-out process was 100% worth it. In this post, I take you through the curvy road that started with Sid hooked up to a machine and me almost passing out to us walking out of the hospital on a sunny morning with our beautiful baby girl. This post focuses on the strength of Sidney, the gift of Sloan, and the point in time that our lives changed for the better, making it easily one of my top blog posts of all-time.
1. Beau Meets World (February 17, 2020) – This wasn’t just my top post of 2020—it is my top post in the history of this blog. I tried to be raw and thorough as I chronicled the emotional 11-day journey from the moment Sidney’s doctor decided to operate to the Sunday afternoon that Beau was released from the NICU at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, South Carolina.
The post is special to me because it displays Sid’s courage and Beau’s grit. It also conveys the important role that faith played throughout the saga. Tough setbacks are confronted and glorious triumphs are celebrated. It isn’t saying much because I consider myself a mere novice with the pen, but from a writing aspect I think this is my finest piece. But even if most serious writers consider Beau Meets World to be garbage, it sure means a lot to Sid and I. This trumps them all.
And there you have it. After 10 years, those are the posts that stick out. Let me again extend my heartfelt gratitude to all my readers who have read my work over the years. It has been a pleasure. Don’t Blink.