Name of blog: Lorisprayercloset.blogspot.com
Your Name: Lori Heyd
Your Twitter: @LoriHeyd
Your Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/#!/lori.heyd
Why did you pick that name?
About a year or so before I started my blog, I started having a regular prayer time in my little shed in the early morning hours. During these times of prayer and reflection I discovered there was an overflow of thoughts that I felt the Lord prompting me to share with others; it was a way I could bless and encourage them by sharing how God had blessed me and how He could bless them too. I thought about the stones along the roadside when Jesus was coming into Jerusalem. It was like my thoughts were those stones that couldn’t keep silent.
I have always been intrigued with the idea of having a physical prayer closet such as the Bible describes; a place to go in the quiet and just be alone with the Lord, without interruption. From that came the idea that I could do the same thing in a blog. I wanted to create something like a little online Chapel; a little place of peace and reflection, a stopping place along the way. Our lives are all so busy, and I think it is more important than ever to slow down and create a little space, a little reflection time not just on the day of worship, but little moments throughout the week.
What prompted you to begin blogging?
I started blogging because I was writing some things that friends and family wanted to read and share. I figured blogging was the perfect vehicle to share that writing because several people could access it at once. So many people now are logging onto their computers first thing in the morning, as part of their daily devotional. I had also started to read some blogs on a daily basis that became very meaningful to me, so I figured, who not start one myself? I had some great encouragers in the beginning, my best friend and some of my co-workers, and many others. I think as someone who loves to write, it is a natural progression to blog. And also, physically, I could no longer write for long periods of time, my right hand would ache from a job I had in the past.
What kind of blogs did you first write?
I actually had some things laying around and online that I printed up and posted, along with some photos I found from different sites. Some days, I would post a favorite poem if I didn’t have anything to write about.
What mistakes did you make when you first blogged?
Oh, I had many technical mistakes, not doing spell check and having to do endless editing and reposting. The worst trouble I had was doing my own header. I am not a techie and was clueless about how to go about it. I had to go through many tutorials to find out how to do it. It was frustrating but worthwhile when I finally figured it out. Also, a couple of times I used quotes from authors still living and I didn’t realize that was taboo. I actually got a nice note from Athol Dickson, one of my favorite fiction authors who liked what I posted about his book. That was a big surprise, I was actually afraid to read what he wrote, I thought I was going to be scolded.
What was your worst blog post in the beginning?
It’s been awhile, not really sure about that one.
The most response I have had was from one I actually did a few weeks ago on Bibledude.net. Duane Scott was kind enough to ask me to write something as a guest and I wrote about caretaking and learning to love the ones who don’t love you. Instead of posting on my own site that day, I linked to that site. The response was very good, I think because I was writing out of my own personal experience and something I am dealing with right now. Many people responded because they are dealing with the very same issues.
What are your top 5 favorite blogs to read?
Oh boy, I have had some favorites “come to me” and I like to think that we all find each other for a reason, but here are the ones I go to, or at least try to, every day: Holy Experience by Ann Voskamp, Scribing the Journey by Duane Scott, Graceful by Michelle DeRusha, Peace for the Journey by Elaine Olsen, Sparrowgrass by Debra Smith, Getting Down with Jesus by Jennifer Dukes Lee, Reflections on the life of a Christian by Dusty Rayburn to name a few and of course, your own Hunting Lodge because of my love for books and your wonderful reviews, and issues of faith…… These are not the only ones of course, I list all my favorites on my sidebar, but I have a feeling I have only touched the tip of the iceberg. There are so many others out there. I don’t want to leave anyone out. I feel like they are all my friends.
What inspires you to blog?
My love of writing and my desire to share what God is doing in my life. If I can help or encourage someone else on their spiritual journey, then the rewards are tremendous. And there is a wonderful fellowship that you get with other bloggers that comes when you start exchanging words back and forth. Like neighbors visiting across the fence, we exchange information, our stories and our lives. As part of the family of God there is so much value in sharing our experiences. It strengthens us as believers when we realize others are going through the same things, or maybe they can share something that has helped them. I have also recently started getting into photography and I was getting tired of running into copyright protection issues when I tried to photos from the internet.
When do you write your posts and how long do they take?
I sometimes write them over the course of a day going back and forth into the site as I think of something else. Sometimes I sit down in the morning and post after my prayer time. If there is something God lays on my heart to write in my prayer journal, something that turns into a post. It never really happens the same way day after day. I always pray before I write because I don’t want it to be me, I want the Spirit to flow through what I write and I want what I write to be honest.
What is your brand?
Not sure about that.
What was your worst comment?
The most negative one came after I posted about the book.
Every comment is appreciated and I don’t want to single anyone out as being the best comment because I count them all having a huge value. Just the fact that they stop and read, even if it is a two word comment, means the world to me. Anytime someone says, you encouraged me, you helped me……that means everything.
When your first comments came and they weren’t family or friends, describe that feeling.
Oh, it was so gratifying, really. You want to think that is not why you write or blog, and it’s not. But the reality is, we do feel good when people respond don’t we? I used to get all upset when I didn’t get any comments, but now I try to let God handle that. When I start to write for comments or the praise of people, that is when I have to step back and get humble before God again. That keeps me on track.
Why do you blog now and how has that changed from your very beginnings?
I don’t think it is much different. I have added more of my own photos so that part has changed, but the reason why I blog is much the same. To join with the community of believers and share what God lays on my heart, in hopes that someone might be blessed by how God has blessed me. The best thing so far about my blogging experience is the people I have met that I never would have met any other way. That is something I didn’t really expect and the most rewarding thing so far. I really consider them friends. I think it is also important to spend time visiting their sites and commenting on their blogs. I try to go down my list once a week and go blog hopping.
Do you have any comments to add for people who want to start blogs? Any advice?
I would encourage anyone to start blogging. It is so easy to start one now, websites used to be so complicated, and now there are great resources and instructional videos to get started. I have never regretted it one day since I started. Take anything you love to do, and blog about it. You will be blessed beyond measure.
How many times a week do you post?
Usually about 4-5 times a week, when time allows. I feel like if I do any more than that, my posts get dry and kind of mechanical, and I want to keep them real and honest, and really say what God is directing me to say. Sometimes when I feel I have nothing much to say, I will use that. I will post about just resting in the quiet……
Are you a believer? If not, what religion do you believe in? If a believer, what denomination do you attend?
I am a Christian……Have been for about 40 years now, since I was around 13 years old. I went forward in the Baptist Church where I grew up soon after a Billy Graham crusade came to town. Since then I participated in several different denominations and really, they have all blessed me in some way, and helped to diversify my Christian worship experience. I have been in more liturgical churches, the Episcopal Church for a while, and after that I worshiped for a few years in a church I loved, Capital Christian Center, an Assembly of God congregation in Sacramento, California. After that I settled in a little non-denominational church where the Pastor had been the music director where I attended before, and more recently and a church I loved very much was right here in Mesa, Word of Grace Church with Gary Kinnamon as Pastor. Currently I attend Spring of Life Church, which is Non-denominational as well.
Do people at your church or work know about your blog? What is their reaction?
A couple of people at church know about my blog and they were moved by some things I had written about the Extraordinary Life class I volunteer for at church.
What was your family’s reaction when you wanted to begin blogging?
Oh my parents were thrilled, everyone really has been so supportive and happy about it. My Mom shares things regularly with her Bible study group and with my Aunts who don’t have computers. And my Dad keeps wanting me to print more posts out since he can’t always get online……They were my first encouragers in life and they have been reading my scribblings since I was very young. And my best friend was instrumental in encouraging me to start blogging because she believes in me more than I believe in myself.
Did you ever write a blog that made someone feel hurt? How did you reconcile that or resolve that?
Yes, an early post was about a book I had read called “I Sold my Soul on Ebay.” And some of the comments, especially one said that I really need to practice some humility, after all, he said, “how could I or any other Christian or religion for that matter, say that we were the only ones who had the market cornered on Heaven?” He went on to say that this was his main problem with Christianity and Christians in general. I tried my best to comment in what I hoped would be a reconciling way, but there is only so much you can say to someone without also compromising what is a basic part of my own belief system. After all, Christianity has some very definitive ideas about Heaven and hell…..we got them from Jesus!
What can we pray about for you?
That my blog would continue to be a blessing for others and that in reading it, they can be introduced to a God who loves them very much and wants a relationship with them. Also that I keep my focus on Him and not on myself, and comparing myself to others, just do what God wants me to do.
How many hours do you social network and/or blog per week?
Oh, I would have to say I spend about 2-3 hours a day on social media and blogging. I don’t watch a lot of TV so this is what I do in place of that.
How many readers do you get a month? Anything else you’d like to share about your blog?
It has been such a blessing to me, and it helps to keep me accountable and focused on the Lord. When I know that people are logging in and checking out my posts, it makes me feel good, but most of all, it makes me happy they are reading about how great God is, and if my little blog can shine a light out there in the darkness, I am doing what God created me to do. It humbles me and fills me with gratitude to know that God has sent people to read it. And I thank you very much for doing this project, Nikole, maybe we can encourage others to start their own blogs!
Note from Nikki: The purpose of this series is to show the heart behind some of the many blogs I read. Most of them might be Christian, but some of them aren’t believers. With all the great articles out there about social networking, building your brand, and marketing ones self in the world, I wanted to put a different spin on things. This series will make an attempt to get at the heart of the blogger. I’m not asking for submissions. So please keep your comments to prayers for Lori, questions for her, or encouragement for her as she fulfills this calling. As Bonnie Gray once said, your comments are a gift.