Name of blog: Know-Love-Obey God (http://monicasharman.wordpress.com)
Your Name: Monica Sharman
Your Twitter: @monicasharman
Your Facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/monica.sharman.5
NH: Why did you pick that name?
MS: My deepest desire is greater intimacy with God, and I think “Know-Love-Obey” is a good way to summarize that intimacy. It’s a kind of whirlpool cycle that feeds on itself: Knowing God leads to loving God. I show I love God by obeying God. Obeying God leads to knowing God better (and the cycle goes on). I wrote about this in more detail here: http://monicasharman.wordpress.com/intimacy-with-god/
NH: What prompted you to begin blogging?
MS: It was a desire to participate in the poetry community I found at High Calling Blogs (now The High Calling). Also, a friend said I should.
NH: What kind of blogs did you first write?
MS: My first posts were poetry (see above) and also thoughts that I transferred from my private quiet-time journal that I write when I spend time with God in His Word. Eventually I added community writing projects and book clubs (with The High Calling or T.S. Poetry).
NH: What mistakes did you make when you first blogged?
MS: I was embarrassed to be a writer. I didn’t even tell my husband about it until later.
NH: What was your worst blog post in the beginning? Your best?
MS: My worst posts from an internal perspective are always the ones that I write with the motive of gaining attention or being appreciated. Similarly, my best posts are the ones I write with un-selfconsciousness and eyes fixed on Christ (instead of myself).
NH: What are your top 5 favorite blogs to read?
MS: I read blogs for community, so I like to read blogs of people I know. It’s hard to mention “top” choices, but here are five that I subcribe to (either via email or Google Reader):
NH: What inspires you to blog?
MS: Poetry prompts and personal Bible reading/study times. Lately, our experience in the Waldo Canyon fire disaster inspired a few posts.
NH: When do you write your posts and how long do they take?
MS: Often, I directly transfer entries from my private (handwritten) journal that I write when I read the Bible. Other times, I write with pen and scratch paper as I’m waiting for my sons’ swimming lessons or piano lessons. Sometimes I write while backpacking. Really, it’s whenever I have a pen and paper with me (which is almost all the time!). I never know how long each one takes, but I often let a post sit for weeks or months before I look at it again and post it. Except for the poems, every post was written several days (or longer) before I posted it.
NH: What is your brand?
MS: Uh-oh, I’m not sure what this means. If it means “what defines me,” then the blog title is my brand. Truly, my greatest desire is to know God more.
NH: What was your worst comment? Your best?
MS: My blog visitors have been so gracious and generous with their words. I don’t think I have a worst comment. My best comments are the ones in which the commenter calls me “friend.”
NH: When your first comments came and they weren’t family or friends, describe that feeling.
MS: I was startled to realize the possibilities of global connection.
NH: Why do you blog now and how has that changed from your very beginnings?
MS: Poetry remains a primary reason. Also, I blog to maintain relationships with the community I’ve connected with and to remind myself of some of the things God teaches me.
NH: Do you have any comments to add for people who want to start blogs? Any advice?
MS: Funny, someone recently asked me for this same advice. I’ll just directly copy a portion of the email I sent her:
“I would suggest making your blogging purposes public (like on an “About” page or a “Why I Blog” or “Purpose Statement” page, or simply make your first post about it). This would 1) inform readers what you’re doing and why, 2) help keep you accountable to the God-directed purpose, 3) guide your every post so that the blog doesn’t become what it’s not supposed to become, 4) serve as a reminder to yourself, … (etc.)Write your posts carefully, prayerfully, and thoughtfully, knowing that anyone can read them. But at the same time, write without any expectations or assumptions that people will read them. Write as if no one but God is going to read them.”
NH: How many times a week do you post?
MS: About once a week.
NH: Are you a believer? If not, what religion do you believe in? If a believer, what denomination do you attend?
MS: I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ! Though I don’t particularly attach myself to a denomination, we are part of a fantastic church (1freechurch.org) in the Evangelical Free Church of America.
NH: Do people at your church or work know about your blog? What is their reaction?
MS: Only a few, I think, although I rarely get comments from people I regularly see in face-to-face.
NH: What was your family’s reaction when you wanted to begin blogging?
MS: Undramatic. They know about it, but it’s not a regular part of our conversations.
NH: Did you ever write a blog that made someone feel hurt? How did you reconcile that or resolve that?
MS: Oooh, I sure hope not. If so, I hope they would leave me a comment so that I can repair any relationship damage.
NH: What can we pray about for you?
MS: Wow! Really?
Pray that I will be alert to God’s direction and that I will walk in His ways. I often pray through Jeremiah 6:16 for myself:
Thus says the Lord,
“Stand by the ways and see and ask for the ancient paths,
Where the good way is,and walk in it; And you will find rest for your souls
NH: How many hours do you social network and/or blog per week?
MS: In the morning before breakfast, and here and there throughout the day. I do a lot less during the school year. (I teach home school for our sons.)
NH: How many readers do you get a month?
MS: My site stats don’t show the number of unique visitors, only the number of visitors. I would guess somewhere in the 300-500 range.
NH: Anything else you’d like to share about your blog?
MS: Blogging has been a great way to receive gems from others. I try to make sure I’m spending more time listening (reading others’ blogs) than talking (writing on my own blog).
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. On July 27, we featured author, Linda Yezak. 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 Monica, questions for her, or encouragement for her as she fulfills this calling. As Bonnie Gray once said, your comments are a gift.