Moving Day!

I am packed and ready to go…kinda!

The new home address for 
Beneath the Surface: Breath of Faith:

I’ll be there, doing what I did here…but just in a new .com! 
I have restored the Tabs (feel free to check out the changes) here so that the content is still accessible. This place here has been home to me for the past couple of years, and I just did not want to leave it a mess. In some ways, I’m not leaving at all, since all of the conetent will still be here- at least for the forseeable future. So, if you have a button, feel free to keep it up as my new address will be available here with all of the content we’ve shared remaining. Yay! It will be like visiting an old hangout! 
Here’s to continuing the journey!
Thank you for walking with me, I pray I see you there. 

When It’s Time to Move On…

photo credit: weegeebored via photopin cc

I am here today to say that it is official. I am moving on… from Blogger. I am still in the process. Moving is a process after all. So much to sort through, pack up and leave behind. What stays, what comes with, what’s to be released…Ah, that word “Release”, my One Word last year. But, dear ones, this year is my year of “Renewal”. How could I stay, when I am being drawn toward new horizons…can’t you smell it in the air?

But back to the topic of moving on...

Then, of course, one does get sidetracked while stumbling upon a random memory. Do you remember what it’s like to move? Can you recall the circumstances prior to the prompt that pushed you clear over the edge and destiny spoke loud and told you, clearly, “It’s time to move on.”

Well, maybe I didn’t hear a voice, but I certainly have been pondering and playing with this idea for awhile. While I love Blogger, as well as all things Google; really I don’t think I’d prefer to live without Google. And while I also adore this sweet, wonderful place I have been kicking the sand around in for the past couple of years, I’m antsy for change. Here’s a few reasons why I am moving…

1. This beautiful and lovely custom design which was gifted to me by a fellow Christian Blogger, (who is no longer available!) only a few months into blogging! It truly was like a Blogger’s dream comes true. However, it is unchangeable, beyond the minor things I can change, like sidebars and content. ACK!

2. That being said, I have wanted to elimintae and change the Tabs, as well as other features, like the width of my center bar (where the writing content goes) and am unable to do that. It is starting to feel claustrophobic to me and very limiting.

3. Some of you already know, I have only worked intermittently for the past couple of years, with Boot Camps and a couple of clients, but my Fitness Career, and income was set back since 2011 with my hip injury, and my blogging, is a non-paying, although joyous journey; it’s hard to justify spending a couple of hundred dollars on a hobby when our family has other priorities and medical bills at this point in time. I did put a shout out for a trade in services, which has often been an awesome thing for me in the past with a few local clients. But, for whatever reason, this was not received.

 However, maybe God just wants me to stretch further and learn how to do it myself…sigh. He is good and always works things together for good, so I trust Him. He has a purpose! Plus, you all believe in me. Right?

4. This year my One Word is Renewal. I feel the winds of change blowing. Plus that owl reminded me, that I would be soaring into this year on Eagle’s  Owl’s wings after all!

Some loose ends still are being worked out. I am communicationg with a couple of potential “helpers”.

 I am trying to decide whether to keep this site and content as is, with a link to my new place or to have all the content moved to WordPress ($$$?). 

 I am prayerfully seeking for the best answers and options for me! I will put up a post with the new home address tomorrow. Here it is if you want to have it now. Don’t cry…it will be fine. Really. Right?


If you have any imput, leave a comment! I value your thoughts and opinions. 

You know, moving is never easy. 

But, a girl’s gotta do what a girl’s gotta do. 



Reminders:
Friday: Coffee Talk with Barbie Swihart (join us for an interview-and coffee or tea with Barbie!) 

Saturday: Whispers of Hope Journey begins (so excited to start this journey, it’s not  to late to grab the book, and meet us here (or there) this weekend! 



Linking with:
 Cozy Reading Spot 
         photo credit: One Way Stock via photopin cc

When Your One Word Flies Into Your Life Uninvited

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I had been pondering this past month, with the coming end of 2013. Pondering that I really had not felt a nudge, or heard a word from God concerning the New Year. I let this last month drift by without much fanfare at all.
 I wrote in my journal on December 10, “Perhaps I am at a crisis of faith…but I feel nothing. No anger, no joy, no passion, no excitement, no expectation, no hope…I am in a state of limbo. A bleak existence. For further clarification, I’m not mad at God…I just no longer expect anything.” 
Limbo, indeed. The past year was like a slow starting forest fire that became an incinerator for many of the hopes, dreams and goals set in my heart. One continuous stop, drop and roll of a year putting out the fires that flared up from every side. 
I had no idea of where I would end up or what was to come with a word like Release. But it left me wordless by the end of the year. From my journal, “Last year (2012) I felt like I was drowning. This year I feel like I am hanging.”

So, as I considered and weighed what is to come, and what has passed, and sensing God’s quietness, I assumed I had no word for the year. I mean, a word like Limbo, does not catapult one into brainstorming goals and dreams for a new year. So I accepted that God was done with parading me along with my fellow bloggers for this One Word theme for 2014. Honestly, after Less and Release...I wasn’t exactly telling God to lay it on me. 
But, as I was sitting with Him one morning (or afternoon, don’t really remember), I was prompted in my reading to Romans 12:1-2. I had the sense that this was God’s “word” for me for this year-and for always – but it was a timely reminder. So, that’s not really one word, I thought to myself. Off the hook. 
I began embracing this as my verse for the year and focus…and figured, meditating on His Word is never a bad thing, so may as well embrace this leading. Next thing I’m explaining to someone about how I am not having a “word” this year, and as I reiterated my verse, the weirdest thing happened. One Word, jumped out at me and I felt my heart do a flip up into my throat, back down to my gut and back into my chest. In a good way. 
” I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. ~ Romans 12:1-2


Yup. I tried to deny it…but it was unmistakable. And merciful. Renewal. Because after Less, and Release…I mean, one does not just WALK INTO MORDOR, willingly! Renewal, seems a tad more optimistic than my previous words. I guess God knows when we are at the end of our rope!
A beautiful confirmation….
Later that evening, while walking by the Sea Wall with our dog and a friend Saturday night, God sealed this sweet deal with me. Adjacent to us, up popped what I thought was a seagull onto the wall. I said aloud, “That is one fat Gull.” But, the minute the words left my lips, my eyes and brain coordinated and I realized I was not looking at any Seagull. Before our very eyes, looking directly at us with a luminous stare, was the most beautiful White Owl. I insisted we get as close as possible. Once we approached the bird, it flew up to the streetlight. Watching it fly upward from the wall after seemingly awaiting our acknowledgement was a beautiful gift that I accepted with joy! 
Of course I went home and looked up what kind of owl that was and it happened to be a Snowy White Owl. Although I am not superstitious, I also had to look at some of the symbolism associated with owls. It made for some interesting reading, let me tell you! I will share that in another post. 

Let me just share one small word that described the symbolism of an owl:
 Renewal!
I love my God who is master of All and all creatures great and small. 
Wishing you all a Happy New Year!
Here are a few posts on my One Word from 2013-Release:





Linking with these communities of Word Pickers: 

Lessons I’ve Learned About Blogging (Part 2)




Welcome back to the second of two posts on Blogging…the first one is here: Lessons I’ve Learned About Blogging  (Part 1)…here is the wee bit rest of my lessons learned…

Lesson #3- Building Community/Link-Ups and Blog Hops- All that being said, let’s face it, we want to share our words, and how can you do that if no-one is reading them or knows you are here? Blog Hops and linkups, as well as special interest communities, are a great way to connect, mingle and meet like-minded others in the blogosphere. I will be the first to admit, I had no idea there is this amazing fellowship among Christian Bloggers, Writers, Artists. It is beautiful. I can’t tell you how much God has opened my mind and heart through His amazing Body Universal via the internet. When people say the derogatory things they say about internet usage, I feel the need to remind them that nothing in and of itself is evil. We bring to everything we do, ourselves. If we are full of light and truth, then we will reflect it. But if we are looking for trouble or unguarded and unwise in our motives, attitudes and actions then trouble will find us- and then yes, it can be negative. As with any other endeavor, ministry, activity, we must seek Him, first, and be careful how we invest our time and energy. Linking up regularly with weekly Blog Hops allows us to make some wonderful friends. We learn, and encourage one another, from wherever we are. God is not bound. He is so much more creative than we, in the means He will use to touch others, reach out, connect. Don’t limit your thinking, or yourself. I am richer from those who I have come to know through blogging! Your Challenge: Join up with a blogging community in the New Year. There are many, but find which work for you or feel like home. Sometimes I have a hard time remembering all of them, there are so many wonderful ones. But Here is a PLACE that lists many: Missional Women Blog Hops List


Lesson #4 – Everybody May LIKE Sally Field, But Don’t Lose Sleep If they Don’t Like You!
In real life, we will not be everybody’s cup of tea. Ultimately you make your grave and rest peacefully in it. OK, no- I don’t know why I just wrote that…what I mean to say, and what you know in your heart of hearts, is that as wonderful as I am, not everyone is going to see that adorableness shine through. Some might find me downright annoying. Feel free not to chime in your opinion if you agree, thanks. Same goes for you. I am not writing to please EVERYONE. I am writing as God leads and as I believe is relevant and vital from my perspective. As a matter of fact, I recently turned down what seemed to be an excellent opportunity that fell in my lap. It looked good and seemed like a big opportunity. But when I looked into it further, I realized this great by appearance opportunity was not a good fit for the heart of my blog, for me, or for those who hang out with me here. I was afraid to say no, after excitedly agreeing to this particular opportunity. But in the end, I had to explain why, although I appreciated the offer, it was not a good fit for my Faith focused blog. It just felt, wrong. And although a interviewing a well known Christian woman seemed like a great thing, the stipulations left me feeling uncomfortable on a number of levels. Although, I may never know if I missed “a great opportunity”,  and it was hard to say no, I felt that I stayed true to my conviction with this blog. I know there are other blogs who would and did jump at the chance. Guess what? I have no desire to be all things to all people. Um…well, mostly. There are enough people in the Blogosphere for everyone to express themselves as they see fit. Me? I’ve got this one gift, this one voice and I share it here…it’s all filtered through the lens of the Almighty. I’m not holier than thou, just aware that if my me-ness resonates with you, great. If not, there are a plethora of voices from which to choose. I’m not losing sleep if I’m not your cup of tea. Don’t lose sleep if you’re not mine. Your Challenge: Ask yourself, if you think your writing voice and who you are are in sync? What is your heart’s message to share? Reflect on that and write about it! Let go of the desire to please everyone!

Lesson #5- The Rhythm Is Gonna Get You~ Consistency in Blogging
I had been blogging for about 6 months, when I happened upon a blogger who shared a blog writing challenge called The Giving Thanks Challenge. It was my first 31 day challenge, and I was not on a blog writing schedule but just writing as I felt led. Something amazing happened during that first November. The challenge was to write on the theme of thankfulness for the 31 days. The fruit of that first endeavor was this, once I blogged daily that November of 2011, it sealed the deal- I became a daily blogger right then. The more I wrote, the more ideas I had. After that first challenge my blogging was pretty much daily. It worked for me. Blogging was therapeutic, and beneficial. It reminded me that even when I felt useless, rejected and unsure of the future, God could use me in ways that I hadn’t really considered fully. A blogging schedule is something you determine that works for you, your family and your real life. I have a variety of things I like to write on, so I try to connect with others who are on the same page. The beautiful thing about this blogging thing, is it’s what you make it-schedule wise. Since I blog frequently I don’t expect everyone to read all of my posts. Whoah! Way too much of me, for anyone! But, I know bloggers who post 2 days a week, or on specific days, and I like to visit on those days, expecting to see new material! There is nothing worse than unpredictability with regard to this. Whatever you decide is your Rhythm of frequency for posts, your readers will love if you are consistent. There are so many good blogs around, but it’s nice to know you can count on finding fresh words from your favorite blogger on the same day each week. Even if you  have to go into your archives and find a post that got few views, edit and re-post it, try to keep some kind of consistency. Trust me on this one. I have pulled about a dozen posts from when I first started the blog that I noticed had few views (I was not hopping all over the Blogosphere yet) and tweaked them, posted them the second time around. One of these posts has over 1400 views It is my top viewed post of 2013 (Why did I find that out? A fellow blogger on FB asked, what was your top viewed post of 2013 and BAM, there I went scouring the archives!). Point is, if you feel you can’t post fresh stuff regularly, freshen your old stuff! Get some more mileage out of those hidden treasure posts you wrote but many may have not yet read. Your Challenge: Whether you post once a week, once a month or daily- establish a plan, and stick to it. Keep it simple, but keep it, and it will not only grow your blog, proper- but grow you, too!


Linking with Barbie for The Weekend Brew!


and Create With Joy:

And Cornerstone Confessions*had trouble with button HTML 😦

Lessons I’ve Learned About Blogging (Part 1)

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    I started blogging in 2011, and make no bones about it, I was clueless. As in totally, DUH. Little did I know that I would soon be blogging daily and loving every minute of it. Blogging has provided me with so many blessings it is absolutely mind boggling. From free books, surprise gifts in the mail, connecting with published authors and others who graciously extend friendship and encouragement to newbies, to a free blog makeover and friends on every continent (yes, REAL friendships, with real people- don’t get me going with that one) blogging has been quite an amazing experience. I credit this little gift, as a Faith Life Preserver for transient times. May I say, life is a transient time, continuously, in my opinion. It ain’t stopping for us. Or as Steve Miller sings, it keeps slippin’, slippin’, slippin’ into the future. So for those who may be new to blogging or even in case you may glean something from my lessons learned stumbling through the blogosphere, here you have in these posts, all I have learned that is useful.

I have included a Challenge at the end of each lesson learned to torture prompt you in your own blogging process. You can accept these or tell me to stuff it. Either way, I’m not offended. Well, I’d prefer you don’t really tell me to stuff it, but whatever.

Lesson # 1- It Never Hurts To Ask– OK, I was out of work and injured when I started this blog, so out of my potential boredom (going from teaching numerous fitness classes a week to sitting on my duff all day and night) I got brazenly bold. I asked strangers, who I admired or thought interesting, for interviews via the internet. Why not? What have I got to lose, I thought. Really, if I make an ass of myself, who cares. I have nothing to lose and a possible yes. And Yes, happened every time. Only ONCE was I turned down, very graciously, mind you. It was an interview with Sarah Young, in 2012. I have yet to finish my yes-es, of all I have asked. Thanks to the gift of ADHD, I never run out of ideas, and everywhere I go, another story pops up before me. Which makes it hard to keep up. ASK. If you have an inkling, ask somebody. It’s how I started Random Journal Day with my dear bloggy friend, Susie of Recovering Church Lady. It was a post I saw on her site and I asked if she was going to continue, and wouldn’t it be cool to have a link up, too? My first year blogging was to get over my fear of REJECTION. No is not death. We go on, after no. And it gets easier to risk. Ask someone you admire to Guest Post. I do. Don’t be afraid to ask. Your Challenge: What is the one thing you want to try this year on the blog but haven’t yet? Try it.

Lesson #2- The Numbers Thing- OK, so when I started blogging I never even looked at the followers, views, etc. Unfortunately, as a blogger it won’t take long before you will overhear bloggers in the blogosphere talking about increasing followers, etc. Well, depending on what you are in blogging for, it may or may not matter. I am not going to be a liar, let’s face it, I used to stand on stage in a bikini competing with other women for a trophy…sigh. It’s true. And although I am not who I used to be – Praise God! – I found myself starting to compare and it became a negative thing…whether the blog or other Social Media, so I have had to work at letting God purge it out of me…this little competitive, fleshly remnant. Blogging for me is an extension of His grace in my life, uniquely shared by my perspective. It is a gift I give, because freely I have received and so, this little piece, honestly, I just continue to let Him remind me of the reasons I started: His prompting. You are not a number. I am not a number. That being said, God will grow your numbers as He sees fit, or not. It’s not my thing (personally) to make it happen. For me it is a distraction from that which is my focus. There are many others who are more business savvy who can help with that. My goal is to be careful to keep myself reflecting His grace and glory…and allowing Him to keep me from seeking my own. I am in process, friends, a mere mortal of flesh and blood. But, as far as I can, my desire is to let Him shine here-albeit imperfectly through me. And enjoy the journey! Your Challenge: Know why you are blogging. If it is for business, then do it heartily as unto the Lord. If ministry, the same. Clarify for yourself your motives, and then go after that which God leads you to do.

What lessons have you learned from blogging?

Do you have any epiphanies or tips you’d like to share? 

Please leave them in the comments, I’m all for sharing thoughts on this journey!

PS. HELP A GIRL OUT AND TAKE THE LITTLE POLL AT THE TOP LEFT CORNER OF THE BLOG- PRETTY PLEASE?

**Here is Lessons I’ve Learned From Blogging:   Part 2.

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