Have you ever wondered why I started this blog and why I gave it the name I did? Today you shall find the answers.
Debb Stanton was used to “silent retreats” at her friend’s Catholic church. Contemplative was another way of describing them, and Debb was hooked. “Still waters run deep” had been said of her to describe her quiet curiosity and introversion. She liked the silent retreats because she could be alone with her thoughts and her Lord except for a couple of worship services and meals with the other retreatants (meals which were also silent, a woman needing to smile and point at the salt shaker in order for it to be passed to her). She could nap all afternoon in her tiny guest room, or she could pray, or journal, or whatever. At this point in Debb’s life, she was very much a perfectionist who said to herself, “I’ve got to journal every day. I must journal every day. What kind of writer can I be if I don’t write every day? I’d better journal every day…” and with white-knuckled determination she would come home from a retreat and force herself to write — for a grand total of two, maybe three days and then -poof!- she’d ease up on herself and no more writing would be done for awhile.
In August of 2012, Debb was two weeks away from her third cancer survivorship anniversary, and she went on a women’s retreat with her church friends. This retreat was not a silent retreat (in fact, anything but). Debb brought her Kindle along, and she discovered a poet who had a blog on WordPress. By the end of the retreat, Debb was convinced that her “assignment” was to start a blog, and to write on it every day. She was very thankful for her cancer recovery, and she was in a hurry to let as many people as possible know that getting a cancer diagnosis was not necessarily a death sentence — she was living proof.
WordPress was the blogging platform Debb chose, and when it came time to name the blog, she decided on “Sunshine Factor”. Sunshine because this described her personality and was the nickname she was called by many people. The ‘factor’ part came because “inner sunshine” was a big part of her life, and it was one of the factors that helped her through her cancer and beyond.
When Debb found out that Sunshine Factor is also the name of a pet and bird food and medicine company, she added a disclaimer to her blog, stating that she and they were not the same. In the last couple months she bought her own domain name; now the blog is “The Sunshine Factor”. Even though she loves animals and birds, Debb was now her own entity, not part of a company about animals, and she had her own blog.
Next up: Part Two, which discusses how the blog became something of a melting pot of ideas, encouragement and creative writing. See you next week!