A First That I Won’t Forget

by Sherry Riter in Motivation

Graves Mountain - river

People usually remember the “firsts” in life.

Your first day of school.

Your first kiss.

Your first heartbreak.

Your first job.

The first time you make love.

Your first car.

Your first funeral.

This past couple years has been filled with many firsts for me…

Some were happy.

Some were sad.

Some were devastating.

Some were triumphant.

During it all I felt that I was drowning…sinking lower and lower. I was sure that shortly I would simply disappear into oblivion.

Graves Mountain - river

I have fought a long, exhaustive battle with PTSD and a weakened will to live which brought about a myriad of stress related physical ailments. There were many times over the past year that I simply wanted to quit everything and crawl into a hole and hide. Obviously, I didn’t do that and instead, I have struggled to win the fight within me.

Those who “know” me could tell that there was a blankness in my eyes, but everyone else either didn’t notice anything or maybe thought I was a little bit sad. I guess I’m rather good at faking it. More than anything, I just wanted to be whole again. One of the things I decided to do was to occupy my mind with so much stuff that it wouldn’t be able to wander into the unhappiness that always threatened to overwhelm me.

Graves Mountain - river

Since I love my blog and find it to be the one place I can totally express myself, I decided to switch it to my own host and redesign it to fit the new person that looked back at me in the mirror. Did I know all the coding necessary? Heck no! Night after night I buried myself in code to ward away the demons of my PTSD hoping to find the me that once existed.

Where did all that effort get me? Not only have I learned a whole lot about blog design and code, but I discovered that the old me died and won’t ever return. Instead there is a new me. In many ways she is very different, but I think I like her.

Graves Mountain - river

After redesigning my blog at least ten times, I finally reached a point when my heart and mind had healed enough to agree. I disappeared online for about a week and am emerging with a blog that is easier to navigate, search, has more options and shows my face in the header.


Yeah, revealing my whole face was hard for me to do, but sitting by the James River with Alyssa taking my picture, I felt relaxed, peaceful and happy. Not faked happiness – real happiness like I used to feel. The same kind of happiness I feel when we go to the apple festival on Grave’s Mountain. Looking at my face in the blog’s header will remind me of that wonderful feeling that has been so absent in my life for many years.

Graves Mountain - river

I am actually proud of myself for not only writing diligently almost every day the past two and a half years, but also for all that I have learned and implemented on this new blog design. It has been a much needed boost to my self-esteem. Although I always knew the end goal, the path leading there was often nearly non-existent or drowning in the conflicts of life.

This is my first post to publish on my own host with my new design.

I created it.

I didn’t give up.

This helps to mark the beginning of a new me.

It is one of those monumental firsts in my life.

A first that I won’t forget.

Graves Mountain - river

So be honest and tell me what you like and don’t like about my new blog design. I’m eagerly listening and anticipating your input.


The Redhead Riter


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This post was written by...

Sherry Riter is also known as The Redhead Riter. Sherry is witty, intelligent and addictive as she writes about cooking, family, marriage, failures, blogging tips, art, humor, inspiration, travel, PTSD and aging. Her goal is to inspire, motivate, educate and to make her audience laugh. Sherry embraces being a redhead and helps others to see the redhead point of view…"In some eras redheads were worshipped while others thought us witches. Personally, I like the former and think every day is 'Love a redhead day!'" She can also be found on Facebook, Google+, Pinterest, StumbleUpon, Linkedin, tweeting as @TheRedheadRiter and you can subscribe to her free blog feed.

{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cathy Kennedy March 22, 2012 at 5:28 am

Your new layout is clean and fresh. It’s wonderful your blog writing and learning about the many facets of blog design and coding has actually helped to pull the “old you” out again. I always thought you are pretty, but just look at you. It really is obvious there is something new about you, which truly reflects in your face.

I sense how you breathe life into each post through your words and photography. It’s really a joy to be included in your world. Obviously, what you’re doing through your writing is doing something right for you. All I can say is, “Keep it up!”

Thanks for sharing of yourself once more!


2 The Redhead Riter March 22, 2012 at 5:29 am

Thanks Cathy! Writing makes me feel very alive and extremely happy. I will definitely be writing forever,but I don’t think I will be doing a major blog over haul for a long time LOL


3 Carol March 22, 2012 at 6:52 am

I just found your lovely blog a couple of weeks ago and I am enjoying everything about it. You have a wonderful spirit, that comes through your writings, that just makes my day. Thank you for sharing.


4 The Redhead Riter March 22, 2012 at 8:07 am


I’m so glad you found me and that you enjoy my blog! It is my pleasure to share it and I truly appreciate you taking the time to read it.


5 Joanne March 22, 2012 at 9:04 am

Very nice design! I love pictures of nature in blog design. And I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to show your pretty face. It’s nice getting to kniw you through your blog. I found you through blog frog and am a part of your community. I would like to learn more about code myself. It is on the to do list.


6 The Redhead Riter March 22, 2012 at 9:05 am

Thank you Joanne! I’m so glad you found me through BlogFrog!

If I can help you with code, let me know and be sure to check out my blogging tips each week. I can tailor a post for anything you want to learn. I’m always open to suggestions.


7 Carlos March 22, 2012 at 9:42 am

I really like you new Blog. Awesome fresh look….


8 The Redhead Riter March 22, 2012 at 9:43 am

Thank you Carlos! {{{hugssss}}}


9 Stéfan March 22, 2012 at 9:49 am

What a great new design. Bravo. The navigation is much easier. I am so glad you show your face… you have beautiful twinkling eyes that you should not hide.


10 The Redhead Riter March 22, 2012 at 9:50 am

I love the navigation too, Stéfan! Thank you! The other Blogger navigation was driving me nuts LOL Thanks for the compliments!


11 Skip_D March 22, 2012 at 10:58 am

No question about it – you have created something wonderful here! Kudos! I for one am very happy for you, and delighted for those of us who love your blog. thanks for doing what you do, and being who you are!


12 The Redhead Riter March 22, 2012 at 10:59 am

Thank you for all your help Skip and for the lovely comments you leave all the time. It makes my day!


13 Le'Ann March 22, 2012 at 1:52 pm

Ah, there you are. So pretty! Love the new blog design. Very clean and super easy to navigate. Great work!


14 The Redhead Riter March 22, 2012 at 1:53 pm


I’m so glad that everyone thinks it is easier to navigate!!! Thanks you so much for your sweet words.


15 Imelda March 22, 2012 at 2:12 pm

I have trouble with my blog as well. Maybe, I should follow your lead and immerse myself in codes and everything else.

I wish you all the best and happiness.
By the way, the water photos are so calming and pretty – a way to make a statement about your re-designed site. 🙂


16 The Redhead Riter March 22, 2012 at 2:13 pm


Don’t give up until your blog is doing everything you want it to do. It is well worth the time to get it right. I am so much happier now with the format.

I’m glad you like the water photos. I love water and also find it very peaceful especially the sound of rain and splashing waves. 🙂


17 mom March 22, 2012 at 4:06 pm

wow the pictures are amazing of the river, I love it. I love all of it ,and so proud of you, I have to admit I miss some of the old things about you,



18 The Redhead Riter March 22, 2012 at 4:32 pm

{{{hugssss}}} Mom,

We should go to the river together so that I can take your picture there. Let’s do it in a few weeks.

I miss some of the old things about me too. Maybe the good stuff will eventually come back. Sometimes I feel like a stranger in my own body. 🙁 But time changes everything and since I’m never getting older than 29 😉 I guess I have plenty of time to find out.


19 Patti (PJ) March 22, 2012 at 4:53 pm

Hey Red! Beautiful Blog and what a pretty young woman! Allysa is too, but I’m talking about you! I am so proud of you and what you have accomplished! As with everything that changes, your blog will take me a few days to “get used to it and find my way around, but that’s just my hang-up. LOL! I even admire you for being able to remember your “firsts”. Believe it or not, there are a lot of them I don’t remember. Such as the first time I “made love”. I remember who , but not what it was like. Does that tell you anything? haha! I remember who was my first kiss with, but not what it was like and so on. My first funeral was for my 5 year old cousin who died from leukemia when I was 7. I do remember that. I think I have a tendency to block a lot of things out. Did you ever get my e-mail I sent you a while back?
God Bless,
Love ya Bunches!


20 The Redhead Riter March 22, 2012 at 10:11 pm

Thank you very much PJ for always being so sweet. I will do a post that will help you understand my blog better – maybe Saturday combined with some blogging tips.

I did get your email AND I responded. Check your spam folder. Maybe it got thrown in there 😉


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