Welcome to my new-and-improved blog: New Name, New Look, New Content!

I am pretty excited to share this news! A lot of hard work has gone on behind the scenes over the last couple of weeks, but it was long overdue. After years of playing around with where I wanted to go with the content, I’ve finally settled on where I belong in the blogosphere and where I want this to go. So without further ado…

Welcome to my new-and-improved blog!

I will share photos of what you can expect to see from here on out.

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(The first photo is a view from our community. This is what dreams are made of!)

You may notice some new changes if you have visited in the last few weeks. If it has been awhile, here’s what you can look forward to. There are a few minor tweaks that will come down the road, but for now I can say I’ve officially launched my new site.

The new name is “Our Life After Combat: Elevated”. I chose the name because it incorporates how we’ve moved on in our lives…and how living at a high elevation has played into that success.

Another panoramic view from where we live

Another panoramic view from where we live

The new look allows you to focus only on the content that interests you instead of sifting through pages and pages of mashed-up topics. I hope the new format is navigation friendly for your interests and needs!

The new content will not only cover information on how to manage life after combat injuries by giving our own life as an example, but also include the unique aspect of living in a remote area at a high elevation. There aren’t a lot of blogs out there that cover the kind of life we live, so this one is made just for YOU.

We will be sharing more about what life is like for us, including this:

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Dan pictured with his therapy horse, Montana, a rescued wild mustang.
Me pictured with Smokey, a retired champion barrel racer. He just turned 30!

Most importantly, I want you to know about something that hasn’t changed, which is what I stand for and why I stand for it. I am “keepin’ it real” as I’ve always done.

People who know me a on a more personal level might say I am “blunt” or “candid” — but I prefer “real”

What you see is what you get with me. I don’t sugar-coat things. I say it like it is. I present the facts in the simplest way I know possible. I don’t waste time “beating around the bush”. So yes, I might be blunt or candid at times, but I say what I think and I’m always true to my beliefs. I take pride in speaking my truth and being an open book — both in real life and on this site.

Sometimes this gets me in trouble… but for the most part, I consider it an asset. My friends and family always know they can count on me to give them a REAL, honest answer — even if it might sting a bit and even if it’s not what they want to hear. I also feel strongly about the fact that people need to know they are not alone and that no one is perfect, not even me.

This site is about my real life, my real struggles, my real solutions and my real advice. I hope you continue to enjoy it as much as I do in sharing it!

Want to know more about why I made these changes? Read on…

About the new name:

Even though the website address hasn’t changed, you’ll notice the new title is “Our Life After Combat: Elevated”. I have used a number of themed names in the past, such as “Managing Life After Combat” and “Simpler Solutions for Complicated Lives”, and before that I was “Spilling the Beans.”  And, if you are one of my long-time readers, my may remember when it used to be the “Evolving Blog”.

I decided on the new name partly because I had inadvertently branded myself as having all the answers for everyone’s problems, when in reality I was only trying to share what works for us in hopes it may work for you. I had a lot of answers, so an expectation was placed on me to provide ALL the answers. This expectation created unintended consequences. People wanted answers so desperately that I was spending upwards of 60-80 hours a week trying to provide them on a one-on-one basis. Everyone’s circumstances are different and many variables need to be taken into consideration before someone can give solid advice. This dedication of my time meant I had no time left to work on our own problems – let alone live our life!

As much as I wanted to help everyone, it’s not humanly possible. 

I believe the infusion of the word “OUR” life after combat better describes what you can expect when reading content on this blog. It also refocuses on what I hope to accomplish in the long run. If I share how WE manage our life after combat, it will provide answers that you need to apply to your own life and circumstances. This allows me to focus on actually living OUR life and sharing how we are doing it.

About the new tagline

I added a description of the blog by saying “We are surviving life after (his) combat injuries – and thriving at an elevation of 9,100 feet” because, as a mentioned above, this blog really needs to be about how we are surviving and thriving so others can consider doing it too. I wanted to inspire and not lecture or dictate when I give my advice or share our stories. I am really proud to say we found a lot of answers for our own life and can say “we made it!” when looking back through it all. I feel strongly about the importance to show how we did that, and continue to do it in a way that paves a path for others.

Additionally, our living circumstances are unique. People have expressed curiosity about where we live and how we live it. Many veterans are understanding the value of living in a remote area and changing their lifestyle for the good of their own recovery. We are a testament to that benefit.

About the new content

This is probably the part that I am most excited about!

When we moved to our little mountain community, we had big dreams to do things like homesteading and carving out simplicity in our life. Well, life kind of got in the way. We were able to add a couple of horses (pictured above), but that was about it. Now we are at a point where we can reclaim those dreams. I don’t have ANY experience with homesteading, farming, home improvements or crafting, but I am going to show you how I plan to learn it…and then show you how I did it.

And I hope to show you more of these:

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And more of these:

There will definitely be more video coming to the blog!

The one thing I do have experience with is my kitchen. I am opening it up to share some of my favorite recipes and share stories about them as I go. I will also show how I had to re-learn cooking and baking at a high altitude.  Here is a botched attempt at making cupcakes from when I first moved here:

Cupcakes don't bake at this altitude!

Cupcakes don’t bake at this altitude!

But I’ve mastered other things, like pizza… because there isn’t pizza delivery out here!

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In the meantime, I am actively writing my book. I’ll share my progress and sneak peeks at the content along the way.

So that’s it in a nutshell. More content, easier navigation, and more to look forward to.

I am glad you are here. <3


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“If I promote you, will I regret it later?” My official answer to this burning question

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This topic came up today and I wanted to share some insight about my site: what I stand for, what my focus is, who I am associated with and what I will or will not do when it comes to promotion in and of my site. I feel it is helpful to lay it all out so that readers, public relations companies, potential sponsors or other nonprofits can know, in condensed form, what this site is about – and more importantly, what I am about.

The history of how this site got started

This site actually starts with a little controversy.

February 2007: My husband appeared on the front page story in the Washington Post that broke open the Walter Reed Scandal. He testified before Congress and appeared on the front page for three of the six Pulitzer Prize stories about the scandal.

Dan and I were strong veteran advocates before the scandal, but our efforts increased as a result of the scandal. I set out to help others in their quest to survive ‘life after combat’ and focus on veteran care issues, military consumer issues and a host of other quality of life issues.

September 2009: I joined Facebook in the summer of 2007 but didn’t use it until September 2009. I started sharing our life to a chosen few who had limited access.

November 2009: After someone started impersonating me on the internet, I grabbed the domain www.torreyshannon.com so that no one can use it for damaging purposes. I didn’t have a huge online presence at the time, but what little you saw of me was built on transparency, trust and a passion for helping others. What I learned from this? You haven’t become a somebody until a nobody tries to tear you down.

2009 – 2010: Dan and I are seen in multiple media outlets, so a ‘placeholder’ page on my site is created to link to the stories. I start writing for outlets like the Huffington Post, DailyStrength.org and ShareCare.com.

March 2010 to February 2011: I am recruited to be the Executive Director of a national nonprofit, working 60-80 hours a week for free. Within the year the program becomes a huge success. After I get frustrated with my name being used for other people’s agendas, I get burned out and decide that writing is more meaningful to me and to those I serve.

May 2011: I load a basic WordPress platform on my site and start blogging. I share copies of the writing I’ve done on other outlets and some of the funniest stories about our life thus far. I really start digging this whole ‘blogging’ thing.

How the site took off

Late 2010 – Early 2011: My Facebook profile has a few thousand followers by now. I start opening up more and more about our life and make it public for all to see. I also start getting questions by people in need of help. I become the go-to person in the wounded warrior community to help fix problems, whether large or small scale.

2011-2012: I write about various topics, trying to find my ‘voice’ as a writer. My site takes off by leaps and bounds. I still haven’t narrowed down a particular theme for my site. I write about anything and everything: Daily life, veteran resources, how to blog, etc. I start putting serious thought and effort into starting to write a book. I share that information as well.

I decide on a tagline of “One Voice Can Make a Difference For Many”

Early 2012: I debate whether to make the site profitable or not. I can’t afford the costs of the site, but have moral and ethical dilemmas on finding ways to get paid for my time. I insert Google Adsense on my site. I narrow down what ads are shown. I bring in enough money to buy a cup of coffee each month. I quietly start revamping my own life due to burnout and stress.

May 2012: I decide not to refrain from dropping F-Bombs on my blog for a reason. I also clarify with disclosures about my tendency to cuss, and what I will or won’t do for money on my site. My personal Facebook page now has more than 3,000 followers, so I launch my official Facebook Fan page on May 10, 2012 but don’t promote it widely. It grows to just under 700 followers in a matter of months.

Mid-to-late 2012: I revamp the site to help those with a traumatic brain injury or those with little time in their schedule to navigate the site more easily. I realize the site is a mishmash of info and needs to be narrowed down to a smaller focus and a niche audience. I primarily write for the wounded warrior community, but find a large number of visitors are civilians. I decide to bridge the gap between the wounded warrior community and civilian community by discussing topics that bring awareness and understanding. I remain constant on my efforts to over-share our life in a very transparent way. The site becomes viral and climbs the rankings in exponential ways.

Late 2012: I launch the Extreme Do-Over Experiment. I find I just muddied the waters on the purpose of my site …by accident.

I decide on a new tagline of “Simpler Solutions for Complicated Lives” to encompass both the wounded warrior and civilian readers of the site.

Late 2012 to Early 2013: My time becomes limited due to the increasing demands by individuals, nonprofits and government agencies. I hire an assistant to help me keep up with the demands of the blog and my time.

November 2012: I do the scariest thing I’ve ever done in my life and give the most transparency I’ve ever given to date.

March 2013: Up until this point, I turn away advertisers who don’t fit my criteria for bettering the lives of my readers. I decide to remove Google Ads as soon as my next $100 payout is reached, which will hopefully be soon. I turn down an offer from a publicity firm to insert a link for $200 on my site. It’s not a good fit for my readers. I won’t lower my standards for 15 minutes of my time.

Today: In speaking with my assistant, who is also the owner of a company that provides virtual assistants to businesses and owners of Fortune 500 companies, she tells me “Out of all my clients, even the Fortune 500 companies, you have the busiest schedule out of everyone I’ve ever worked with.”

Due to the lack of income on my end, I can only afford her services a few hours each month. I decide that my site needs to become profitable in some way to cover the cost of what is now a business expense.

On this schedule today is a call from a nonprofit that asks (in summary format), “What does your site stand for, who do you associate with, and will we ever regret promoting you?”

So here is the condensed version of that answer:

My site started as a fluke. It grew because I spoke the language of others like us. I provide resources, life hacks and tips on how to manage the everyday chaos. I cuss and I won’t apoligize for it, but I will give the courtesy of warning you first. If you don’t like it, you aren’t the reader I want sticking around anyway. Take it or leave it.

I haven’t posed nude anywhere, but I do have detractors. They may be so bored and adept at Photoshop that I’m bound to have something controversial show up eventually. It’s the cost of being a public figure, and the costs will continue to rise. And, let’s face it…I am very public and will continue to be transparent and speak the language of myself and others in the process.

This is not a commercial site. I may make the site profitable down the road through things like an e-book or other helpful material, but the site is not about money. It’s about helping others. I am pretty neutral about topics relating to politics, religion or any other incendiary issues. I don’t spend my time bashing the VA and government agencies, though I will speak the truth and have even been caught praising them. I simply give credit where credit is due. I am choosy about who I associate with and won’t lower my standards no matter the profit. I may split the site this year into multiple niche sites, but for now it is a mish-mash of information that people can read, or not. 

The way I see it, you’d be stupid not to promote this site. If anything, I need to be screening you first. I am not for everyone, and not everyone is for me, but my hope is that the site will continue to grow so I may reach more people and help them too.

So there you have it, folks. That’s my story and I am sticking to it.


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So what’s this blog all about?

What is this blog about?

It’s about a lot of things, really.

You can follow me as I go through the ups and downs of writing my first novel – the learning process, writing tips and hints, resources to start in your own journey, and strategies on how to deal with overcoming the obstacles that comes with life’s greatest challenges. I talk about veteran care issues, my daily life while living in the middle of nowhere in the Rocky Mountains, write short stories, and share articles I write on the internet.

I occasionally have a video camera rolling when all the crazy/hysterical/dramatic things happen to me or my family in the course of each day.  If I didn’t have evidence, no one would believe it.  My life is never dull.

We all have a story. This blog is about mine.


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And I SWORE I’d never move again – my latest digs

You may notice that this site has a new look and feel.  I got smart.  I got ambitious. The military wife in me just HAD to move one more time!

Image Credit

I will be adding some great features to this site, so keep your eyes out!  I hope to have streaming video added soon.  I will also be giving you an inside glimpse of our everyday life here in the Rocky Mountains.  All of it. Particularly the funny stuff.

Think “Reality TV, except better.

I am working as fast as I can, but I need more coffee to get through this.   Lots of coffee.


Please scroll down and leave a comment - I love to hear your thoughts!
You can also join me on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook for sneak peeks and updates.
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Coming soon!

As I build my new-and-improved site, you may find areas with no content inside it yet.  Please pardon this echo in the room while I scuttle around to fill it up with things you will enjoy!

Be sure to subscribe to my blog to be the FIRST to know if anything exciting is going on.  And for those already subscribed…

Blessings,

Torrey

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Please scroll down and leave a comment - I love to hear your thoughts!
You can also join me on Pinterest, Twitter and Facebook for sneak peeks and updates.
Dan loves Audible.com - try it free!
1 FREE Audiobook Credit RISK-FREE from Audible.com
This post is brought to you in part by: