On Writing…and Squirrels

DugDogFromUp
Recently, I was asked to join in a Writers’  Blog Hop and answer four specific questions about my writing and then introduce and invite three others to join along. Sounds easy, right? But the reality is, there are just way too many squirrels around these days….at least from where I’m standing.

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Girls Day In- (in) RL 2014

 inrlcollage

 

I signed up to be an (in)RL Hostess this year for the first time despite not having participated ever before. Last year I had attended an educational conference which happened on the same weekend, and the year prior I believe I had just heard about it, but did not really know what it was all about. This year, I jumped right in, knowing that the (in)RL conference hosted by (in)Courage is  all about connecting…in real life. I am all about connecting. So, there you have it. More

#1000 Gifts and Counting – New Journal Reveal!

My 2014 Joy Dare- counting blessings daily. 
My (not so) Secret journal is one I began with many, along with Ann Voskamp. I dedicated a small notebook to the exclusive task of the counting. 
By my bedside is where I prefer it. But, on a bad day, or a desperate one, I’ll grab it and take it with me. I toss it in the book bag, or purse. Because when I feel least grateful, and the storms are kicking up, and when I lose sight of God. I do this one thing. I look hard and seek. I start my counting and it saves me. It is this continued practice…that keeps me, and my eyes heaven-bound, instead of bound by the things on earth that bind me. 
Yes, I’m a little late in my jumping back into this particular journal activity, but after looking at the fancier ones, I set my feet to the drugstore and once again purchased a simple Cambridge-Mead Notebook– This particular one is just the right size for me to hold and write in anywhere. It has a heavy card-stock cover which is great for my ModPodge collage cover. It also has a pocket, although I did not use it much, but one never knows. It has 140 pages and measures 7 in x 4 3/8 in. 
I actually also kept an online count separately- on Mondays, but I am unsure if I will continue. The Monday post, that is, not the counting!
I don’t do the three a day that Ann prompts, but I just count away as they come! 
Here is the first journal dedicated exclusively to the counting to 1000 and beyond. 
After perusing many fancier journals, this habit gently nudged me to stay with the simple spiral bound notebook that escorted me through my first counting of thousands…
Side by side, new and old.  

The first gifts...

My last counted gift…onward! 
Will you be keeping a Blessing or Gratitude Journal this year? 
Will you count your blessings?
Will you take this Joy Dare– right where you are?

Happy New Year and 1st Random Journal Day -Link Up of 2014!

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Welcome to the first Random Journal Day of 2014! 

Let’s get this party started…

If you are new here, please check out the DETAILS, and feel free to jump right on in. 
We are a small but faithful community who like to share our hearts on paper, and our words with one another. Please, know your heart is safe here. 
Next, if you could share this post and invite other fellow Journal Keepers who you believe might enjoy this monthly gathering, I would be grateful.
A tidbit for you all: This is the 37th gathering of this Random Journal Day Link-Up! 
Wowsa!
All kinds of Journals are welcome here. We are primarily a word loving bunch, but we so appreciate, and are inspired by those who share their Art Journals. I tend to incorporate a bit of scrap-booking, collage, doodling and all in my journal, but primarily write. We are richer in the diversity of sharing! 
Occasionally we are blessed to have Patsy from HeARTworks link up her lovely, inspiring combination of words and scripture. 
Please know that you can leave perfectionism at the door! 
We share our wonderfully imperfect pondering on paper, prose and art, here and rejoice together along the journey. 
My dear friend, Stacy from I Carried A Watermelon let me know about this wonderful project, which I am jumping in and stretching myself again. Kind of reminds me of the Daisy Yellow ICAD Challenge, I participated in! I so enjoyed making art on index cards this summer. Well this is a wonderful combination of art, creativity, writing and journal keeping so if you want to check out the Root 30 Day Journal Project, head on over there now. BUT wait…don’t forget to link up from one of your journals back here! 
Lisa Sonora Beam is hosting: Root-30 Day Journal Project
Now LINK UP YOUR JOURNAL PAGE!

Join us every First Friday of the month – link goes live at 12 AM…but since it’s the 1st gathering of the New Year, I’m gonna let it fly early. I look forward to peeking into your journals! PS, so excited it is snowing here in the East tonight! 
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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 😦

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