A Life of Words: @kristinemac

Name of blog:  Kristine ReMixed 
 

Your Name:Kristine McGuire  

Your Twitter: kristinemac

Your Facebook page:  AuthorKristineMcguire

Why did you pick that name? 

My husband, Thom, suggested it. He used to be a nightclub DJ. He would take various pieces of original music and “remix” it to create something new. As a re-dedicated Christian I have been “remixed” by God (a Christian who was restored to Him after eight years spent in the occult). Therefore I am now—Kristine ReMixed

What prompted you to begin blogging? 

I kept my testimony to myself for two years. Frankly, I thought other Christians would be unkind about my testimony. However, during those two years I heard people talk of how they wanted a deeper connection with God. I saw how mysticism and interest in the paranormal was gaining momentum in our society. I decided it was time to share my story but wasn’t sure how. I already blogged on Myspace (just daily life stuff) so when Thom suggested I start a real blog (and offered to help set it up) I decided to go for it.

What kind of blogs did you first write?

I started with typical “Christian life stuff”. It wasn’t until October I began addressing occult issues with a post about a movie called “Paranormal Activity”…and my readership exploded.

What mistakes did you make when you first blogged?

Not including pictures  (with links to the original source), making the font too small, and not paying attention to the length of the post.

What was your worst blog post in the beginning? Your best? 

I have no idea because it can be subjective. There are posts I slaved over and believed were awesome which nobody read. There have been “throw away” posts I’ve written in a few minutes which people loved and shared.

Why did you begin blogging? 

Officially? August 2009.

What are your top 5 favorite blogs to read?

www.sarahmae.com, www.sarahmarkley.com, www.faithbarista.comtolovehonorandvacuum.com, and of course yours. :)

What inspires you to blog? 

God, life, stories I see on TV, other blog posts…sharing what I’ve learned over the course of my life (even the stuff that really hurt).

When do you write your posts and how long do they take? 

It depends on when I get inspired. I’ve been known to create a blog post as early as 6AM and as late as 11:45PM.

What is your brand?

My name and that I’m a Former Witch, Medium, Ghost Hunter. This has established me as an “authority” on occult matters for Christians.

What was your worst comment?

When I was accused of sharing my story so I could “make millions of dollars.” That truly hurt because I feel a profound burden to share God’s truth about the occult with anyone who will listen.

Your best?
The person who found peace with the past, knowing God will always forgive if we truly repent.

When your first comments came and they weren’t family or friends, describe that feeling.

Over the top excited. I may have done a happy dance. :)

Why do you blog now and how has that changed from your very beginnings? 

The motivation remains the same. God has put words on my heart which I put out there in the hope someone will be encouraged in their faith or challenged to turn their eyes to Him.

Do you have any comments to add for people who want to start blogs? Any advice?

Keep your posts to a reasonable length. If it’s going to be long, break it up into several parts. Be prepared to write something every day—even if all you do is admit how uninspired you feel or how boring life is that day. And practice your craft. A good blogger should be a good writer.

How many times a week do you post? 

I try to post something every day. When life gets busy I shoot for three or four times a week.

Are you a believer? If not, what religion do you believe in? If a believer, what denomination do you attend?

I’m a Christian. My faith community is Resurrection Life Church in Grandville, MI.

Do people at your church or work know about your blog? What is their reaction?

My church is very large but I do know there are people from there who read my blog. Everyone has been very supportive and encouraging.

What was your family’s reaction when you wanted to begin blogging? 

As far as I know my family does not read my blog but they are supportive of my writing so I assume they’d like it.

Did you ever write a blog that made someone feel hurt? How did you reconcile that or resolve that? 

The people who might feel hurt by my posts are usually involved in the occult. I never set out to be hurtful but I also do not mince the truth when it comes to the gospel. I do try to let people know they are valued and loved whether we have the same belief or not.

What can we pray about for you? 

God’s gracious favor as my book hits the market in September, and more open doors to minister to people. Daily inspiration for the blog. And as always His strength.

How many hours do you social network and/or blog per week? 

Oh goodness, probably 20 hours or so.

How many readers do you get a month?

Over 10,000

Anything else you’d like to share about your blog?

I’m blessed and humbled to have the opportunity to share faith and life with people through my blog. Thank you. :)

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 June 24, we featured Lori Heyd. 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 Kristine, questions for her, or encouragement for her as she fulfills this calling. As Bonnie Gray once said, your comments are a gift.

Changes in 2014

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As 2013 slows to an end, I am once again reassessing my time and my writing career. I am asking myself: (1) What are my goals for 2014? (2) How can I utilize my time better? So here are the changes coming in 2014. This hasn’t come without much prayer. Some things will remain the same.

  1. Blogging - Blogging can become stagnant if the writer doesn’t keep her perspective fresh. I admit to experiencing some burn out which has impacted my blogging. It’s amazing what you read into your own writing, and in January, I hope you will be pleased with a fresh perspective. I am taking a blogging sabbatical in December. If you would like to be chosen as a guest blogger in December, read the requirements here. Meanwhile, I will still be blogging three times a week in 2014 on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.
  2. Taking a Break From Social Networking and Blogging on The Fourth Week of Every Month: A family pastor takes a solitude day every once in a while to reconnect with God. I will be taking a week out of every month to not blog, social network, or write; only to read and learn. It’s important to keep up to date on the changes in social networking, blogging, writing, and the publishing industry. So I will be taking the week to stay up to date on things.
  3. No More Than Three or Four Book Reviews a Month: If I can stay true to this and not let my book addiction get the upper hand, this will be true. Mostly my books will be of the traditionally published or independent variety. Seldom will I review a self-published book or novel, giving preference to the independently or traditionally published genre instead. Preference will also be given to those self-published authors that I have reviewed before who have earned a three or larger star rating.
  4. Beginning a Speaking Tour: Stay tuned on this one. I plan on announcing very soon my plans to professionally speak. I have been speaking to groups of twenty over the past couple of years and my confidence is growing. Some would say I have a knack for it. I will allow one eight hour or two four hour speaking gigs a month for an honorarium (plus travel expenses if over an hour away). I say eight-hour because my topic has a practical application very relevant for this day and age. It’s a calling.
  5. A New Novel Will Begin: The Anomaly will be undergoing critiquing by a select few in January, corrected beginning of February and submitted to a publisher. January will find me outlining a paranormal suspense to begin writing in March.

My goal is to balance my life better in 2014, because I tend to be a workaholic. I want my life to mean something and my words to have purpose. This blogging sabbatical that I am taking in December will allow me to prepare for a new website launch, new goals, and a better sense of balance in 2014.

Are you reassessing your writing goals for 2014? Explain.

Safe Subjects

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writin...

St. Augustine writing, revising, and re-writing: Sandro Botticelli’s St. Augustine in His Cell (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I understand even more so, on a physiological level, what it means to hold yourself back or find yourself wanting to say something, but then having nothing to say because you’d rather just not speak from your soul.” – Faith Barista, “Love”

Writing is not a career choice for those who wish to hide their vulnerability. If you blog, anyone can read between the lines and figure out what you fear by what you don’t write. A person who fears revealing herself will choose safe subjects that don’t run close to the pain beneath the surface. Writing novels and blogging reveal who we are whether we give our pen permission or not.

Mary De Muth in Thin Places revealed as much in her book when she said a writer’s first novel is autobiographical. Every character we write are composites of people we’ve met or pieces of our inner selves recreated in a character. Writing is not a hiding place. It sweeps back the curtains and lets the light shine on our secrets. If we are honest, re-reading our own writing can be therapeutic. In the Christian world, we call that self-examination. I’ve always said it’s healthy to re-read your old blogs or journals to learn from our past. But some writers continue to hide behind great ability. They write intelligent blogs and quiver fearfully behind safe subjects. Although, those safe subjects are great reads and full of humor; it’s a safe subject nonetheless.

Moral of the Story: Do not be afraid!

Can you relate? Explain.

A Life of Words: @beingrudri

Last year I began a series called, A Life of Words. I wanted to talk about the heart of social networking instead of the mechanics of it. Today I am featuring a good writer named Rudri. I enjoy her blogs whenever I can find the time to read them. Her blog name is easy to remember. You can read the rest in the series here. Meanwhile, enjoy this interview that Rudri has graciously granted.

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www.BeingRudri.com                

Your Name:   Rudri               

Your Twitter: @beingrudri

Your Facebook page: Being Rudri

NH: Why did you pick that name?

BR: I wanted a short blog title that included my name and reflected ideas and thoughts that were unique to me.

NH: What prompted you to begin blogging?

BR: This blog is my mechanism of coping with life’s changes. I lost my father from a 4 year battle with cancer in 2009, I moved to Arizona after living in Texas all my life, and my mother moved in with us. Life is full of changes, mostly unexpected, so this blog is my perspective on life and everything in between.

NH: What kind of blogs did you first write?

BR: My writing, from the inception, focuses on my personal observations. The subjects that are most important to me are: loss, grief, love, and gratitude.

NH: What mistakes did you make when you first blogged?

BR: I tried to compare myself to other writers and realized that was a futile exercise. I now focus on one criteria: embracing my authenticity. When my writing is genuine, the emotion is palpable.

NH: What are your top 5 favorite blogs to read?

BR: I enjoy reading many blogs. Paring it down to five is difficult. Here are some of the blogs that I regularly frequent:

A Design So Vast, Kitchen Witch, Motherese, Only You, & Ivy League Insecurities, First Sip & Happiness Project.

NH: What inspires you to blog?

BR: Daily observations about life, my relationships, the pendulum swing of sorrow and happiness prompt my blog posts.

NH: When do you write your posts and how long do they take?

BR: I usually write my posts during the evening. My posts usually take about 20 to 45 minutes to write.

NH: When your first comments came and they weren’t family or friends, describe that feeling.

BR: Affirmation and excitement!

NH: Why do you blog now and how has that changed from your very beginnings?

BR: My blog is still about coping with loss, gratitude for the present moment, and understanding the uncertainty between happiness and sorrow.

NH: Do you have any comments to add for people who want to start blogs? Any advice?

BR: Know your voice. Determine why you want to blog. Write for yourself. Be persistent. Write back to those who comment. Enjoy the writing process.

NH: How many times a week do you post?

BR: 2 -3 posts a week.

NH: What religion do you believe in?

BR: I practice Hinduism.

NH: Do people at your church or work know about your blog? What is their reaction?

BR: Yes. Most people are quite expressive and let me know if a particular blog entry touched them in some way. There are many readers that never comment and are reluctant to let me know how they feel.

NH: What was your family’s reaction when you wanted to begin blogging?

BR: Very supportive. My husband and mom are my biggest fans.

NH: Did you ever write a blog that made someone feel hurt? How did you reconcile that or resolve that?

BR: Yes. I wrote a post that advocated walking away from toxic relationships. Even though I never mention names, the person whom I talked about figured out I was ending our relationship. I tried to talk to her prior to my writing the post, but it was not met with any resolution. I gave closure to the relationship by writing about it.

NH: How many hours do you social network and/or blog per week?

BR: I try to write 3 blogs per week.

NH: How many readers do you get a month?

BR: It varies month by month.

Life Upside Down Launch

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Life Upside Down

Welcome to Life Upside Down where everyone has a story. Through telling our stories we create community. My blog’s intentions is to create that community through authentic Christian living and talking about the people, culture, books, and movies that influence us for better or for worse.

Creating Community

My interest in re-launching my blog is to create community. Less time blogging means more time on twitter, Facebook, and social networking to talk to you.

More Writing Time

Because I am available to ghost blog and will be launching a magazine in the spring, 2013, I need to make sure I am continuing my regular writing on my novel and short stories. Blogging every day has created a unique challenge and I have discovered I yearn to write relevant posts. Relevant posts take more research. I will post Monday, Wednesday and Fridays every week. That doesn’t mean I won’t post in between times, but if I do, it’s because it’s a guest blog, interview or a book review.

Tomorrow is the first day of my posts. Please feel free to email me at nikolehahn@thehahnhuntinglodge.com if you have suggestions.

Why I Don’t Write Writers Blogs

Hand in hand

Hand in hand (Photo credit: Images by John ‘K’)

Many blogs crowd the internet talking about writing. I made a decision years ago that I would avoid talking about writing unless necessary.

Too many sites talk about writing all ready. Some of them are qualified. Others are not qualified. I do my own research through agent and publisher blogs. A smattering of authors are in there, too. What makes those authors an expert in my opinion are the books they have sold over the years.

The few self-published authors I follow are great at social networking, but since my interest is in independent and traditionally published companies I keep abreast of the publishing world with the people who have the experience in it. I subscribe to Publishers Weekly and Writers Digest. I also don’t write about writing because I feel my qualifications are lacking.

I can tell you what I have learned, but you can find this same information through diligent research. I have completed one novel and am in the midst of deciding whether to continue into book 2 or write another, separate one so I have two products to market. I have never published a novel. My resume is long with publications in small presses. I ghost blog to bring in extra money.

Writing online is about creating community. That’s also why I don’t blog about writing much.

Mike Duran said in Are Writers Too Insulated From Their Readers?, “So while we debate whether an author should blog or how much to “show v. tell,”, our real audience could care less. We get lost in feverish discussions about self-publishing vs. traditional publishing, but our potential readers couldn’t give a rip. We argue “the rules,” but the general public has no idea what rules we’re talking about. We strive to make a name for ourselves in the publishing community, but “because we’re in it, and we care about it, we incorrectly assume that because writers know who I am, readers must as well.”

I love my writer friends, but also my reader friends. I love reviewing books as a writer and reader. Like twins, you can’t separate the two. With so many self-published authors trying to fluff reviews and play with their amazon ratings, I am on the side of the reader.

Like you, I can’t afford to buy much. So when I buy a book I examine the cover and the narrative on the back. Then, I read the bad reviews before I get into the good reviews. I want to know if the money and time I am investing will be worth it. And because my blog is about creating community, I want to talk about living in this world as a Christian and the inward struggles I face everyday. Then, I want to hear from my readers. I want to know what to pray for as they struggle.

With so many blogs talking about writing, the left and right politics of self-publish versus traditional, and the ever-changing publishing world, the internet doesn’t need one more writing blog.

What are your favorite writing blogs? What do you look for in a blog?

Blog Action Day (The Power of We): How Do We Bring That Kind of Change?

In asking the question, “How do you change a church?,” the answer was the most frustrating. The answer is out of my control. You can’t depend on volunteers to greet for you, to be friendly for you, or to pray in your place for someone else. For a church to change, it requires its congregants to be changed from the inside out. How do we do this?

A year or two ago, I visited a mega church the size of a college campus. Yet, every person with or without a volunteer badge stepped up and made it feel like a small church, like a family of God. Change begins with the person. It’s taking the teachings of the Bible to heart and applying it everyday to your life; not living perfect for works, but out of love and sincerity, wanting to do the right thing. The change I seek is for people to live beyond their comfort zones, reach out to strangers, fill empty volunteer slots, but mainly, to do the first two suggestions even without a job badge pinned to your shirt. We shouldn’t leave the job of greeting to the greeter only, but do this on our own.

Guilting, lecturing, or preaching won’t change the heart or tear down the walls that exist in some churches.

Prayer will change hearts because it’s Holy Spirit powered; prayer and God’s Word will transform. Practice being authentic everyday.

Authentic is what my friend would call a buzz word. The word is everywhere nowadays. People leave a church because of wounds or due to the lack of “authentic” people. The Barna Group says, “Based on past studies of those who avoid Christian churches, one of the driving forces behind such behavior is the painful experiences endured within the local church context. In fact, one Barna study among unchurched adults shows that nearly four out of every ten non-churchgoing Americans (37%) said they avoid churches because of negative past experiences in churches or with church people.”

To each of us, the word authentic has varied meanings according to our personal preferences, but for the sake of this argument, I am saying authentic means being real, honest, and according to the dictionary, having “shared beliefs.” It’s difficult to be authentic when others get offended when you “air your dirty laundry.” We all have stories and we should share those stories, never underestimating the power of God behind them. Being authentic means leaning on one another in prayer during difficult trials. We should all do our part in being authentic. Instead of leaving that job to a prayer warrior or a greeter, we should own it. This requires forgiving our brother or sister for when they wound us. It means not living a life thinking everyone is going to hurt us.

Hurt brings walls. Walls create apathy and cliques. Instead of focusing on what isn’t filling our needs, let’s practice filing other people’s needs. I struggle with that last sentence.

My friend spoke often about long-suffering. When my needs aren’t met, I grow dysfunctional. I want to fix what’s wrong, but it’s not in my power to fix what’s wrong. That’s God’s area. I am not God. When I can’t fix what’s wrong, I get frustrated. I stop engaging. My friend has taught me much about long-suffering and because of this, I have learned through difficult trials to stay and listen to God. I am learning how to stay engaged even when I don’t feel like it.

Why Am I Bringing This Up?

Bibledude.net asked us to blog on the “Power of We” for Blog Action Day. Dan King says, “It sounds a lot like the church.”

Blog Action Day site says: “Secondly,The Power of We is a celebration of people working together to make a positive difference in the world, either for their own communities or for people they will never meet half way around the world.”

In order for churches to change Biblically, we need to remember that the responsibility on Sunday doesn’t belong solely to the volunteer. Making people feel welcome, comforting, praying with or for someone, and helping in practical ways doesn’t always require an official position or a name tag. It just requires walking in our belief even when we don’t feel like being engaged. Sometimes being other-focused tends to rejuvenate what felt dead.

Whine and Cheese Girl (NEW!)

J. P Chenet French wine, a popular UK grocery ...

J. P Chenet French wine, a popular UK grocery store brand, in a photographic collage with grapes and bread. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Whine and Cheese Girl

I am a middle class girl on a shoestring budget. Whine and Cheese Girl was created to reach out to the lay person–the person who works five plus days a week and lives on a shoestring budget like me. This economy makes it difficult to have the finer things in life like a good bottle of wine or a fine beer. Even worse, some of us are at the grocery store with a filet minon in one hand and ground beef in the other. We weigh our options as we shop. We try to make the best out of a bad situation, to create something fine at home in our kitchens because going out to eat maybe happens once a month.

If you’re like me, your grand night out is a coffee shop and board games with the hubby.

Read More…

A Life of Words: @MonicaSharman

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):

aholyexperience.com

gettingdownwithjesus.com

lauraboggess.com

simplydarlene.com

alittlesomethin.wordpress.com

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.

A Life of Words: @LisaNotes

Name of blog:  Lisa notes

Your name: Lisa Burgess

Your Twitter: @LisaNotes

Your Facebook: HideHisWord—my scripture memory group with Do Not Depart

NH: Why did you pick that name?

LB: Because I write to note where I see God, and my blog is the place I keep these notes. Thus, Lisa notes (“notes” working as both a verb and a noun—I should mention I’m a grammar geek, although I’ll delightfully break any grammar rule as needed).

NH: What prompted you to begin blogging?

LB: I was fascinated to discover a venue online where I could store my writings and share good things I was reading about God. I had then and still have now an inner urge to put into words things I feel strongly in my spirit. I process my thoughts better when I write them out.

NH: What kind of blogs did you first write?

LB: Short quotes from books and Bible passages, followed by a little commentary.

NH: What mistakes did you make when you first blogged?

LB: I wasn’t personal enough. I hesitated putting myself too “out there” and boring people to death with me.

NH: What was your worst blog post in the beginning?

LB: Those where I would cram too many random thoughts from my daily Bible reading into a single post, like this: http://lisanotes.blogspot.com/2008/08/pour-on-salt.html

NH: Your best?

LB: Still searching for that elusive one. I personally benefited by the posts I wrote journeying through my dad’s death and my mom’s Alzheimer’s. I pray those posts help others as well.

NH: What are your top 5 favorite blogs to read?

LB: I have so many favorites in my Google Reader. As an information junkie, many favorites are those that are gateways to even more information, such as:

Challies

Take Your Vitamin Z

The Gospel Coalition

Desiring God

For writing/blogging tips:

Copyblogger 

ProBlogger

Daily Blog Tips

And I try to keep up with all my friends’ personal blogs (too many to list!). Oops—I’m way over five.

NH: What inspires you to blog?

LB: Seeing God reveal his grace in so many wonderful ways.

NH: When do you write your posts and how long do they take?

LB: I wish I had a set schedule; maybe in my next season. For now it’s random—I usually write when I can’t hold something in any longer. It can take 30 minutes up to however much time I’ll allow myself. The goal is to keep it to an hour or less, but I always long for more.

NH: What are your favorite comments?

LB: I’m blessed when readers say they’re encouraged by what I’ve written, and when they leave encouragement for me when I write about hard times. Just a few words here and there can make such a difference.

NH: When your first comments came and they weren’t family or friends, describe that feeling.

LB: Weird! Strangers will take time to read what I say?

NH: Why do you blog now and how has that changed from your very beginnings?

LB: I started sharing thoughts mainly from other authors. But now I understand blogging connects all our stories. Our blogs become gathering spots to establish genuine friendships and to encourage each other to hope in Jesus. So I’ve grown to include more personal stories on my blog and to read my commenters’ stories on their own blogs as often as I can.

I also have favorite memes that I participate in regularly, such as Soli Deo Gloria and Spiritual Sundays, and reading challenges like What’s on Your Nightstand and Spring/Fall Reading Thing. I love the friendships that arise out of these communities.

NH: Do you have any advice for people who want to start blogs?

LB: Blogging is a great journey!

1. Start now. Don’t wait until you get everything perfect (you never will). Just pour out what you’re thinking—and feeling—and publish.

2. Be kind. Don’t say anything you wouldn’t want a particular “somebody” to read—you never know when your post may be forwarded to that very person.

3. Make it shorter. Mercilessly cut what might seem irrelevant to your readers. Stick with one main point per post.

NH: How many times a week do you post?

LB: Lately, 2-3 times a week, which is the lowest frequency since I started blogging in 2008 (I used to somehow post daily—and loved it). Ideally, I’d like to post 4-5 times a week. I hope to return to that schedule soon.

I also contribute a few posts a month at Do Not Depart. My favorites there are our scripture memory challenges (a new one will begin in August!).

NH: Are you a believer?

LB: By God’s grace, most definitely. I believe in Jesus as the Son of God and my rescuer. I am alive thanks to his mercy and am indwelled by His Spirit.

NH: Do people at your church or work know about your blog?

LB: Several of my friends tell me they read my blog, which both greatly encourages me and amazes me. I’m grateful. It also helps keep me accountable.

NH: What was your family’s reaction when you wanted to begin blogging?

LB: They had no clue (neither did I!) of how important it would become to me. Now they predict “This will become a blog post!” when we’re out and about. They accept my blog as an extension of who I am.

NH: What can we pray about for you?

LB: I never turn down answering this question! Please pray that I find and maintain a God-glorifying balance between writing, reading, and staying in the moment. If I fail to honor the Lord, I’ve wasted it all.

NH: How many hours do you social network and/or blog per week?

LB: I’m scared to count. Less than I used to, more than I need to, but I do enjoy it all. I’ve developed a love for many of my fellow-bloggers; they’re as real as the friends I see in “real” life so I like to spend time with them.

NH: How many readers do you get a month?

LB: More than I deserve. I try to avoid keeping track of the numbers.

NH: Anything else you’d like to share about your blog?

LB: I want it to be an instrument of God’s grace for all who stop in. Isn’t our journey easier when we help each other see the Lord? He gets the glory and we get a stronger faith, a win-win.

Thanks for asking, 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 19, we featured His FireFly. 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 Lisa, questions for her, or encouragement for her as she fulfills this calling. As Bonnie Gray once said, your comments are a gift.