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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Missional Women

The Day He Remembered He Was A Dog

For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline. 
1 Timothy 1:7

He is a funny character.
He still growls when my hubby kisses me goodbye.
He makes grunt sounds as if he tries to speak at times. 
He likes to be the center of attention and makes it known in a variety of ways.
He thinks the couch makes a fine bed, although he will settle for his own when told.
He is one happy tail wagging, welcome wagon to his family members when they return home.
He gets along well with the cats and does not eat the bunny, to our great relief.
Sometimes, I wonder if he thinks he is one of us. He looks to us for his cue to where he fits in. 
Like a child at times he competes for attention. He never misses scrap opportunities while I prepare lunches. He believes he should have a taste of everything that we eat. When I walk him at the beach he is uninterested in people, and only has eyes for me. Occasionally he will look at a dog and bark to make sure they know that I am his bone. “Back off”  in doggy language is pretty easy to understand.
Until this one day.
 Something was different.

As we were coming near the end of our beach walk on a chilly afternoon.
He noticed the Piping Plovers. It’s not like they are not always there when we walk, but this time he seemed to be awake to their presence. It was as if someone knocked him upside the head and said, “Duh, hello- see the birds? You are a dog and you should chase those guys!”
But, the leash.
Ah, sweet restraint. 
I sensed his interest. 

Off the leash has led to many, frustrations and altercations.
I looked around. It was cold, and some droplets of rain were falling. The beach was pretty empty.
I paused briefly, as he sought assurance in my face. I let him loose on those birds, knowing full well he did not have a chance. I would have never done it had I thought otherwise. 
What joy I beheld, as he seemed amazingly enthralled with the idea that he should chase these creatures.
At last he remembered who he really was. I was like an overprotective mother hovering over and not trusting that some unleashed beast would suddenly appear and wreak havoc on his joyful moment. 
But the moment was not stolen away from that old pup renewed!
This dog who walks the edges of the shore and runs from the rolling in waves dashed toward those precious plovers, given to the thrill of the chase and hope of a catch. Into the wave kissed shore toward the water; not too deep. Yet. I laughed and felt the pleasure of his moment, with an ever doting presence of my own. 
Always cautious, ever suspicious the moment will be robbed. At last realizing we would enjoy this gift and momentary pleasure together. I leashed him back up as we came to the parking lot. I saw him notice the gathering of sea gulls. He glanced at them, and back at me, eyes pleading approval. I dropped the leash and watched as the gulls easily stole away.
Ah, but the joy of it.
I would not let him be deprived of it.
The fleeting moment, beautiful.
The day he remembered he was a dog.

Friend, God has spontaneous moments of joy prepared for you. He delights in you as you delight in Him and receive from him with thanksgiving each moment fearlessly. Let’s consider embracing all He gives with thanksgiving. Trusting in His goodness. Not expecting to be robbed of it, like I was in the story…suspiciously awaiting the Goliath moment; almost allowing fear to rob the present joy. 
I am learning this…even as I walk the beach with my sweet pup. 
One day at a time. 
Seeing his joy and the way he forgot his fear of the water and waves in the moment reminded me that I too, need to be fearless in embracing the future with my faithful God. 
I need to Fear Less. 
Trust more.
Embrace each moment as a gift from the Giver of good things. 
Shall we run toward the waves, fearlessly?
Will we trust, repenting and fleeing from the sins of doubt and fear of the unknown? 
Will we embrace faith running toward the everlasting arms?
Are you ready? 
On Your Mark- Let’s Go!
We all win, dear one. Of this you can be sure!
I did it at the start of the year…perhaps this is another in my lessons of Less for the year. 
For to the man that pleaseth him God giveth wisdom, and knowledge, and joy...
Ecclesiastes 2:26


Here are the pictures I snapped,  in the order of the story. 
I completely dedicate this writing to my friend Susie and her new fur baby, Layla, in light of the current growing pains the family is experiencing during their adjustment period! 

Be ready for joy in unexpected moments!
Linking up with Bonnie at Faith Barista!

A Dog-Eyed View of God?

Me and my adoring shadow. 
There is great wisdom to be found in the company of dogs. Do not be deceived by their easy going ways. Or for that matter by their charming persuasion. God often reveals himself in the mundane. Or the Great Dane. 
To those who have eyes to see, these canine counterparts hold much wisdom. Quite honestly, some of  the greatest wisdom, therapy and comfort I have received has been in the wordless exchanges with my very own “Man’s Best Friend”. 
I remember when our daughter began her full assault on us in acquisition of thus said dog. I remember my fears, having grown up in the company of cats; to this day still in the company of them. I only had one dog, growing up; a stray I hid in the garage at the apartment duplex we lived. My mother was quite surprised when the landlord inquired about our new dog, which she knew nothing about. I fed that pup potato sticks and hot dogs when I exhausted my meager allowance for dog food unbeknownst to my unsuspecting mom. That sweet dog who I named “Friend” went off to the pound promptly and I swore off dogs forever in an attempt to quench the heartache I felt. Her memory remains with my guilt ridden mother and I to this day. I’m not sure what happened to her.
I didn’t trust dogs, either. I understand cats. They are independent. Predictable in their unpredictability. I get cats. They are aloof, and affectionate on their own terms. I can handle that. But dogs always seemed…needy.  Not just “needy”, but dependently needy. Unappealing to me. I am selfish, thank you. Cleaning cat litter is as sacrificial as I wanted to get. 
But, the Queen of Everything spoke and my husband sided with her in memory of his own dog. Two against one. Unfair. I knew this would impact me more than either of these two idealistic beings. I knew who would be on diaper duty. That would be me. I shuddered at the thought. 
We looked, and sought and eventually found the dog who would become our very own fur family member.
The decision making process fell more heavily on me as time went on as I visualized what this new family member’s presence would entail. 
Having inherited the “Eeyore” gene from my mom (this is a bit of a family joke and yes, she knows!), I began imagining in my mind potential catastrophes based on  various choice outcomes. I considered a small dog and was told they were yappy and snappy. I envisioned walking the yappy small dog in our then rural, backwoods area and imagined Coyotes or Fisher Cats springing out at us in the dusk and early hours. I pictured the two neighboring giant Rottweilers chewing the little dog at the end of my leash down to collar as I screamed uncontrollably. I dreamed of the wee lad dashing in front of a car, crushed under a tire, on one of the hilly, sharp cornered roads that surrounded our community. The large breed frightened me too. I visualized my daughter crushed by the behemoth sized dog, while she slept. I pictured us walking peacefully and again approached by loose dogs, caught between hundred pound bodies of angry, thrashing beasts.
Then we saw our medium sized “beast to be”. There was nothing so wonderfully appealing about him, except his eyes looked woefully in need of a home. The rescue told us he would be a good family dog. So this is how he came to us. This would be the beginning of our terms, in my mind. We provide a safe place for you, you be a safe dog for our girl. Simple enough. I brush my hands off and smile. Check off dog from list of things acquired for Queen of Everything. 
I did not suspect there would be wisdom to glean from this mangy mutt. But therein lies the beauty and providence of God. He uses everything to reveal Himself and draw us closer to His Truth, for those who have eyes to see. Perhaps we need to take a look from our dog Banjo’s perspective. 
The Tail Wagging Truth

Those brown, unwavering eyes blink lovingly at me day after day. I seem unable to do anything wrong in the sight of this sweet mutt. You see I am the giver of good things in his eyes. He receives and expects only good things from me. Biscuits, water, food, walks, and all sorts of mouth watering scraps. Good things are all he sees when he sees me. It’s obvious when I look in his eyes. 
There is something I long to grasp in this tail wagging truth. Something for me to learn from his eager anticipation of good from me. There is a spiritual biscuit to be gained here. 
My God is the Giver of Good Things. So often I anticipate bad from His hand. So frequently I am waiting for the rug to be pulled out from under me instead of anticipating the net that catches my fall. Instead of anticipating good when he takes something away I suspect he is going to give me something less than. Something bad. I ask for good, and anticipate bad. Talk about double-mindedness. Why do I expect snakes instead of fish? Why? 
If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! Matthew 7:11

“Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?
Luke 11:11

When I call, that dog gets up and comes. Why? I am the giver of good things. 
There is no doubt. No hesitation. 
He comes expecting good things because he trusts and believes in me.
Obviously, I am not God. I fail. Yet Banjo’s love, trust and positive expectation of me does not waver. He continues to look at me with brown eyes blinking full of love. That look says that I am the tastiest, meatiest, best bone he has ever laid his doggy eyes on. His love is possessive and jealous. He still growls when my husband kisses me goodbye. He does not like anyone else near his favorite bone after all. 
God’s love never fails. Ever. He is jealous of anything that might deter me from His best for me. Unlike Banjo, God does not need anything from me. He loves me unconditionally, un-waveringly and with completely pure intentions. 
Who says you can’t teach an old dog new tricks. I’m still learning  to trust the God who is trustworthy, faithful and true. Even Banjo would have to conclude, compared to God, I’m less than a Milkbone dog biscuit crumb compared to the choicest, most satisfyingly meaty bone and so much more worthy of devotion. I suppose that is the tail wagging truth. At least perhaps the dog-eyed view. 
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me, and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.
Jeremiah 29:11-13
This post is dedicated to my friend Stacy @ A Life Lived Well who recently lost her precious fur friend Scooby and also to Susie @ Recovering Church Lady who has a her own new fur addition to the family- Layla.
May God bless both of you, right where you are, today and in the days to come with his presence, peace and love.
More Dog lessons here: Lessons From A Dog’s Ruff Life

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