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It all comes down to character. Our true heart is shown in the storms of life.
Join with me as we seek to find the
beauty in our storms along with maintaining our character through them. And let us listen for God's voice when it comes - whether a whisper on the breeze or a shout through the hurricane.....

Thursday, April 24, 2014

The Hidden Pressure We Put On Our Kids



Perfection.  Without meaning to, sometimes I think I can expect perfection out of my kids – especially as a Christian parent. 

Recently I was talking with a friend and she was sharing with me about some choices/decisions she was thinking about in her life.  She shared with me that she felt like her mom wanted her to fail because then she could point out to her that she shouldn’t have made the choices she did. She shouldn’t have headed the direction she headed in.  And that made me so sad!  That a child would feel that their parent wanted them to fail!

I realize that I have high standards for my kids. I have high standards for myself too. But I think sometimes I have put this subliminal pressure on them, (without meaning to) that they have to be perfect. That they are not allowed to make mistakes. That they can’t mess up. For if they do, they will get a huge lecture about why they shouldn’t have done that, or how it was the wrong thing to do. And that gives me huge concern!

I want my children to be able to be free to make their own mistakes. Of course as their mom, it is hard to stand by and watch, but I need to realize that mistakes are part of life. They are a part of learning.  If my children don’t make mistakes and aren’t free to test themselves out a little bit in the safety of our home environment, at some point, they will push against those boundaries they felt on their lives – whether it be in college, a marriage relationship or later on in life.

I may have put a hidden pressure on my kids that I never intended on placing on their shoulders. 

I want to be close to my kids. I want them to be able to share with me when they mess up and know that they have a loving, listening ear and shoulder. I want them to understand that no one is perfect and they certainly don’t have to be either! Yet I want them to strive to be better and stronger despite their mess-ups and flaws. I want them to propel themselves to live a life of integrity, meaning, morality, and character.

I am so thankful that the Lord spoke to my heart about these expectations my children might feel at times. I think my children are pretty spectacular and I’d hate to think that they ever felt like they were awful, or failures simply because they did something they regretted.  Instead, I want them to realize that those are the very moments where our lifelong choices are made about who we want to be.  It’s only through the tough stuff that we often get there!

Thank heavens that God doesn’t expect ME to be perfect. Thank goodness He molds and shapes me as I constantly deviate, take wrong turns, huge steps backwards, and make wrong decisions, at times. I am so blessed that HE simply and lovingly listens, loves, and guides me back in the right direction instead of condemning me.  And that’s what I long to do for my own children.

Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone messes up. It’s what we do with those times and lessons that matters the most. I hope I can help my children learn this lesson along the way.



Monday, April 21, 2014

Maybe I'm Meant To Be Uncool


It seems there are trends in what is “cool.” The trend right now seems to be getting tattoos, running marathons, and stepping aside from blogging, facebook, and the internet for awhile.

None of which I have felt called to do.

There are so many moments in my life where I have felt “uncool.” I’ve either felt awkward and clumsy in my own skin, or left out of a certain group or niche. And yet as I look back to “there,” from where I sit now in my “here,” I realize that what the world terms as “uncool” is instead simply “unique.” 

There is something that should be applauded, in the people who rebel against conforming to society. They are the “divergents” (as in the movie.) The people who think for themselves, know their boundaries, and refuse to be defined by a certain image or stereotype.  Ironically, these same people often don’t see the beauty in their ability to be one-of-a-kind and different.

I think the world is afraid of those who are different. They don’t always know what to do with someone who doesn’t drink, swear, or endorse the latest “politically correct” thing. It scares them because it makes them take a look at what they themselves are doing. It may be wrong, it may be right – but often looking deep inside is painful. And people don’t like doing that. They want to stay on the surface. Live on the surface.

So, yes. Maybe I’m meant to be uncool. I don’t see the need to do something simply just to join in, unless I simply and truly desire it for myself, or feel that God has called me to that specific thing.  And maybe there is a certain freedom that can be found in being “uncool.” A certain bit of rebellion that in today’s world….leans toward the good and narrow road instead of the risky and edgy one.

The tables have flipped.

So I’m okay with being uncool. I’m okay with being different. I want to stand out. I want to be noticed. I want to be fully me, and feel alive inside knowing that I’m living in a way and manner that I can be proud of. That doesn’t mean that just because someone else chooses something that they are wrong. Maybe they are indeed called to step off the internet for awhile to get their priorities and boundaries in focus. Maybe they really do enjoy running marathons (kudos to them!) But for me – I pray I will never simply join in on something just so that I can be a “part.”

I don’t want to conform. I don’t want to be a sheep. I want to be a lion. And I want to know my own voice when it roars.



Friday, April 18, 2014

A Night Out At Urban Taco

Thanks to the "San Antonio Bloggers," I had the opportunity to try a new place to eat last night. URBAN TACO.

Urban Taco is located over in the Quarry and has a unique niche in the mexican food industry. Their meals aren't your normal "enchilada, refried beans, and rice!" They have many different combos of foods that mix both sweet and spicy together with a flair for gourmet.

Our table got started with some chips and their "salsa trio." They have a list of salsas you can choose from to use in your trio. We chose a guacamole and lime one, some black beans and corn salsa, and a spicier rojo salsa.  The black beans and guacamole were my favorite and I loved the chips! These chips are cut into thick strips and have some kind of seasoning on them that makes you keep grabbing for more. They were yummy.

For our entree, I ordered the pollo (chicken) quesadilla. These quesadillas have 3 kinds of cheeses on them and as you can see from the photo on the left - are very lovely to look at, as well! Again, great seasoning on the chicken. I really liked it and the quesadilla was very filling. I had to box up the rest to take home!

Urban Taco is in a great spot in the Quarry. It's lively inside the restaurant and feels very festive.  When I went, it was packed full inside. I've always said, a packed restaurant means good food!  Parking can be a bit tricky though, since the other shops and restaurant customers fill up the spaces as well; but it's a pretty safe area, even if you need to walk a bit to get to the restaurant.

The menu is mostly in spanish, so be prepared to have someone translate what some of the items are if you aren't familiar with the wording.  Also, I found most of the items to be a bit on the spendier side. It would be a pricey dinner for a family of four, but the atmosphere and quality of food would be a great option for a dinner out for a husband and wife, or a night out with just the girls or guys.

If you're looking for fresh ingredients, good quality of food, a fun atmosphere, and some slightly different alterations to your normal mexican dishes - you'd probably really love Urban Taco. Give it a try and enjoy the experience!




*Disclaimer: I was given a free entree and drink by Urban Taco... but all opinions and thoughts are purely my own.



Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Living Out GREAT Faith




Some people think I have great faith. I’ve always had faith. Ever since I was a little girl, it has accompanied me in life. It is my best friend. But just because I’ve always had faith, doesn’t mean I have GREAT faith. I’d like to have great faith. But I fear, many times, I don’t.

My faith isn’t exercised as much as it should be. You see; I like to live life in safety. I want my children to be safe, I want to be safe. I’m not a risk-taker. I’m a planner. And I’m all about making sure I’m prepared in case of “what if’s.” You don’t leave a lot of room for faith in those kinds of pre-planned scenarios.

My husband, on the other hand, he is a risk taker. He is an adrenaline junkie. He loves to travel and try things he’s never tried… just for the experience of it. I know I wouldn’t have gone to many of the places I’ve been, or had the courage to try some of the things I’ve tried – without his enthusiasm tugging me along.

I sometimes think that he has a greater faith than me. For he allows himself the opportunity to truly live. Live without boundaries and boxes placed on him. Live without pre-planning the end result of everything. He lives with joy. Great joy.

It probably isn’t the wisest thing to compare my faith to someone else’s. After all, we were all created to be different and unique on purpose. I wasn’t created to be a risk-taker. I’ve learned a lot about how much I like controlled situations. And I’ve learned that I don’t give God the freedom to work in those controlled parameters.

My faith may seem great to someone else, because I haven’t always allowed it to be tested. It’s stayed in “safe zone” a lot. Only in those moments where life has seemed scary and out-of-control, have I truly gone to my knees and had to put my faith to the test. Do I really believe God? Do I believe He will do what He has told me He will do for me? Do I believe He will come through and be faithful?

I am so humbled to say that God has ALWAYS been faithful to me. And He knows how my heart has sought after Him even in my trembling “safe” zones. For God knows what stretches each one of us. And what stretches me is not the same as what stretches my adrenaline-loving husband.  So even if my faith may not always seem large and great to me? It may be just as great as someone who seems to put it all out there on the line in life. For to them, that kind of living isn’t a stretch at all. It’s who they are. And it doesn’t take much faith for them to do that.

Faith is personal. It’s unique to each of us and for ALL of us. But there isn’t one prescription that fits everyone. What works for one, may not work for another as far as exercising and relying on it goes. We each grow our faith in very personal-to-us ways.

You have a God who wants to use YOUR faith. Grow YOUR faith. He never compares your faith to someone else’s. He is focused on you. Just as He is focused on me.  And it doesn’t even always matter if our faith is GREAT, for there are times where it’s enough that our faith is simply there at all.


Let it be. Let it grow. And listen for God’s promptings on when and how He wants to use it in your life. For if you let Him, then your faith will become a GREAT faith – no matter what anyone else says.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sometimes We Just Need To Feel Understood




Have you ever felt like you must have been born on a different planet? I mean, everyone seems to treat you like you are strange and weird for feeling what you feel, liking what you like, and thinking what you think.

I’ve had those days.

I completely feel rational inside about what I’m thinking or feeling and yet I can’t shake the fact that it feels like I’m standing all alone….for no one else agrees with me. Not only do they not agree with me, they look at me as if I’m a “whack job” for just expressing those views or thoughts!

C’mon. I know it’s not just me. We’ve all been there. We’ve all longed for one word, one touch, or one suggestion from someone to help us feel like we are not alone.

We long to feel understood.

Even on the days I don’t feel weird or like I’m from planet Mars; I may be having a trial, challenge, or problem. I don’t always need someone to solve it for me. I just need someone to listen and to understand.

To understand.

We all have this innate desire to be understood. To be validated in our thoughts and feelings.  And do you know what? It’s okay to want that. It’s okay to need that. And in fact, God can supply that for us if we ask Him to.

Yes, God can give us understanding. And He DOES understand. But He can also supply someone here in our personal life to understand. He knows we need it. He created us to be there for each other!

Pray for it. Ask God to send you someone to simply understand your heart. To validate YOU. For you ARE valuable. I believe there is someone out there, who knows just what it is you’re feeling. They’ve been there. They’ve walked in those shoes. They’ve looked through that vision.

You are never alone. I promise.  God understands. And He can send you someone to help you feel understood, as well. Ask Him for it. Believe Him for it.

And wait for it.

You are not weird. You are not from another planet.


You simply need to be heard.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

I'm Ready For This



Have you ever felt like you were truly ready? Ready for that job to come along, that amazing ministry opportunity, that baby, that romance, that (fill-in-the-blank?)

You. Were. Ready.

I know the feeling well. The feeling of the thrill that might reveal itself just around the corner. The feeling of anticipation, which is usually accompanied by impatience. The feeling of “this is right for me.”

It’s a good feeling. That feeling of knowing you have put in the legwork, and you are ready. Only problem is; sometimes God doesn’t agree with us.

I then look back and wonder, just what it was that was incomplete in me. Lacking. Ill-equipped. Flawed. Why wasn’t I picked? Why wasn’t I right? Why is it so hard to get what I want, when I want it so that I can simply feel blessed, and joyful in celebration?

When I experience those feelings, the frustration and depression that comes along with them…. I realize the reason God didn’t agree with my point of view, lies in the questions I ask.

I focused on ME. 

It’s okay to have wishes and desires. It’s human. It’s natural. It’s expected.  But those wishes and dreams can grow to become too important. They become our everything. Our “all.”

I believe God is excited when my dreams come true. I believe He smiles when I’m happy and celebrating. But I also believe that He knows best. If the timing is not right for me, as frustrated and sad as I may be – the truth remains; the timing is not right for me.  If I’m not right for the position or opportunity; then I’m not right. I can’t “wish” myself into being right.  But not being right for something doesn’t mean I’m not valuable.  Oftentimes, I’ve looked back and seen just why things didn’t work out. And I’ve understood.

So, I may feel ready. And in all reality, I may BE ready.  But others may not be ready for me. God may not be ready for me to put in the time, or work that is needed, for His plan to be fulfilled.  And I have to be okay with that if I truly believe in Him and believe in what He says He wants for me.

I know there will come a day when I will be fully ready for something I’ve been waiting for, and it will all pull together flawlessly. When this happens, all the other days of incomplete dreams will come into clarity and I will feel fulfilled. I will be up to the task.


I will one day be picked; chosen; loved. For ME. And it will be worth every moment of expectation and delay.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The 2014 Ultimate Blog Party


Ultimate Blog Party 2014


I may be arriving to the party late, but I'm here! I'm joining the 2014 Ultimate Blog party. It's a fun way for bloggers to hop on around the internet and meet other bloggers.

For those of you visiting me from 5 Minutes For Mom, thank you so much for stopping by!


This Is A Peek At Me:

Two daughters, husband, and me

Stepson, daughter-in-law, and three grandkiddos



I am a proud mom of two precious, joyful, delightful, and beautiful teen daughters. I'm also a proud stepmom. My stepson and daughter-in-law have given me three precious grandchildren. I'm so blessed.  I've been married to my hard-working, handsome warrior for almost 20 years.  We just moved to Texas in September from Idaho and I just love it so far!


My Blog:

This blog is a labor of love for me. I mainly write on faith and family - but it can all be boiled down to "life." I try to be honest about the lessons I'm learning, the joys I'm blessed with, and the hurts I struggle to overcome. I've always wanted this blog to be relateable - a place where someone can come and say, "you too?" Maybe, in the process, someone gets some encouragement and hope along the way.

I had my own website/newsletter for 16 years (Emphasis On Moms). But now I focus on just enjoying being a blogger, and have stretched my wings into freelance writing a bit (something I'm really enjoying and hope to do more of).You can find me at StartMarriageRight.com, Ibelieve.com, and I do some writing for the San Antonio Marriage Initiative.


Get To Know Me Better:

I thoroughly enjoy meeting and getting to know my readers.  I am at several places where you can connect with me more personally than just this blog.







Please let me know you stopped by! I look forward to getting to know your heart and you personally. 

Do come back and visit me again. 

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Giving Up Control

I think one of the hardest things I have to deal with in life, is giving up control.  I don’t consider myself a “control freak,” but every time a circumstance comes up that I struggle with….I realize one of the common factors is that I’m struggling to give up my control over that situation.

We all set out with preconceived expectations for our lives. Maybe not intentionally, but they are there.  Marry the prince, get a good career, have perfect kids, reliable friends…and those are only the basics. Yet even with the basics, life likes to mess with us.  There is no such thing as a perfect kid, a friend that never lets us down, etc.

I have expectations. We all do. We have dreams. Wishes. Desires. And when life throws us a curveball that we never expected, it shatters all our perfectly laid-out plans.

We lose control.

The older I get, the more I’m learning that I don’t really have control over much of anything in my life. Sometimes, out of luck, or God’s grace and mercy, things DO go perfectly as I set out in my mind that they would go. But more often than naught, they go on a different course.  And there’s the internal struggle. Every. Time.

An internal tug-of-war happens when I realize that what I want is not going to happen. Sometimes, not anytime soon – other times, not any time at all. 

I grieve over the loss of what I wanted to happen. The hopes, the joys I felt I would experience if things had ended up differently. And yet, through the struggle, God often works in my heart. He molds my never-budging stubborn pride to see things from a new perspective and in a different way.

What IS normal? What IS perfect? Chances are, things wouldn’t have been normal or perfect had I gotten my way. Those too, would have had their own twists and turns in them.

That’s life.  Ups, downs, corners and hills. Valleys and mountains, sunshine and rain. It’s all a part of the process and I have control over none of it. But I do know One who does have control. He keeps me in His loving hands despite how many times I fight Him on His direction. He sees the big picture whereas I cannot.  That’s the one thing I always DO have control of. My faith.


So no matter what happens, through thick or thin, I know that even though I may go through the age-old battle and internal struggle that I so desperately want to learn how to overcome, God is with me and He is FOR me.  And that’s one thing I pray I never forget.


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Monday, April 7, 2014

RUSH



I feel the rush of life often. I feel it when I’m running out the door to get my girls to school on time.  I feel it when I’m squishing in unexpected “to do’s” into an already-packed day.  I feel the rush of life when I look at my children and realize that they are almost grown…the time of my parenting them in my home is quickly coming to an end.

The rush of life is felt in long car lines, busy grocery stores, people running in late for meetings, and the constant buzzing of our phones. It’s almost as if life wouldn’t run without a rush to it.

The rush is common to us. It’s familiar and it’s often. But I wonder how often we feel the rush of life in a different way.

How often do we feel the rush of life that comes so often when God answers prayer? How often do we feel the rush of life that blows through our hearts and minds when we relish in being in love, feeling the love from another, or holding a new life? Do we recognize the rush of life that comes in the form of celebration, exhilaration, and expectation? Or do we let it steamroll right through us, like everything else?

A “rush” doesn’t have to be bad. It doesn’t have to push, pull, drain, and demand of us. It can, instead, recharge, refuel, energize, and enlighten us…if we let it. Because life is full of “rush.” The rush of good. The rush of great. The rush of deep thankfulness and unleashed joy. It runs rampantly, freely, and randomly.

If we allow ourselves to hold our arms open to the blessings that life can give; I think we will find our lives overflowing with the bubbling joy and goodness that God gives to us.  And I want that kind of rush. Don’t you?


Life doesn’t have to be hurry and scurry all the time. It can, instead, be hit with the unseen….the “felt” things that can rush into your veins and make you feel alive.  That kind of rush I never want to miss.

Friday, April 4, 2014

Just. Try

Ever since I was a little girl, I was told (as most children were), that I could be anything I wanted to be. The sky was the limit.

As I grew up, I got disillusioned because I realized this was not the case. I could not just become what I wanted to be without hard work, luck, or connections. Life so often gets in the way of our plans.

But I remained a dreamer. The world never stole that from me. Ever the “positive” person; I dedicated my heart to believing in the impossible and hoping for the unattainable.

I call it faith.

Faith is what makes me tick. It’s what makes me believe in what can’t be seen. It’s what carries me through heartache and wraps it’s arms around me when it seems no one else will.  And faith is what fuels me to always try.

Just. Try.

So many people don’t see their dreams come true because they don’t try. They tell themselves they have failed before they’ve even tried.

I hear so often from people, that “it probably won’t happen.” And I want to tell them – “why not? Just try!” Maybe it won’t. But at least you will have tried. Why not give yourself the benefit of the doubt? Why not believe in yourself enough to give yourself a shot?

Just try.

Try to become friends with someone who you don’t think will want to be your friend back. Try for that opportunity that you think will go to someone “better” or “bigger.” TRY!

There is so much to be said for trying. So many rewards to be found in the pursuit. Joy in the journey. So by the time you get to the end result, you usually gain something in the process; whether or not you got what you set out for in the beginning.


Just try. You owe it to yourself. You are worth it.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Empathy Comes From Experience

There is a saying that says, “Hurt people, hurt people.” It is very true. But I also believe that ignorant people hurt people.

Not everyone has gone through tough things in life. Some people have had a fairly easy go of it. That’s not to say they haven’t had trials and challenges. But some of those trials and challenges just haven’t been…..as….deep.

It’s hard to offer grace and mercy to someone when you haven’t had to experience that for yourself. You can tend to think that people need to “shape up”, “get it together”, or “buck up”.  For we don’t understand. We don’t FEEL. And why would we? We haven’t experienced.

Experience in heartache, pain, hurt, grief, loss, desperation, frustration, betrayal, anger, abuse, and depression – those things are not forgotten. They are not lost on us. When we understand, it is then that we can really feel and embrace what someone else may be going through.

Empathy for someone else comes from experience.  It comes from a place that has seen, felt, heard, and understood the hard places in life. The places that we all would love to avoid.

Compassion cannot be bought. It can be learned but it can also be grown. Grown from the lessons that only life’s challenges and trials teach us. Either way you receive the gift of compassion is okay. For others will need us. They will need our strength, love, support, and understanding when they have to cross the waters that we’ve already swum through. They will need to know they will make it and that they won’t drown.


Everyone needs someone. Someone with empathy. Someone with experience. Be that someone – for someone else.

Monday, March 31, 2014

The Beauty of England, Scotland, and Ireland

Our family recently got to travel overseas for a brief stint. I am so thankful for the opportunities I’ve been given to see God’s world. It never fails to amaze me. It is so beautiful.

I find big cities beautiful. I find the countryside beautiful. I find people with their differing customs, accents, and way of living… beautiful.


And I just wanted to share a little slice of it with you.
























Friday, March 28, 2014

When You Plan In Advance To Be Upset




There are moments in life where I dread something coming up. It’s either an obligatory kind of thing or something I feel trapped into doing or going to. I hate these times for I don’t feel like I can be at my best due to my attitude.

Sometimes we plan in advance to get upset.  We know what someone is going to say, we know what action is going to be demonstrated on their part and before it even happens, we plan in our hearts to be upset about it. Without even giving them a chance to be different, or to act different. Without giving ourselves a chance to be different or act different.

I’ve done this. I’ve BEEN this. Have you? Have you planned in advance to be upset about something?

It’s as if we’re not just upset at that moment in time, but we’re upset every day leading up to that moment in time, as well. Because we know how we are going to feel about it.

I think I have pretty good instincts about people. And I’m often right about the outcome when it comes to these same people. So I have plenty of occasions to get upset, if I choose to. And sometimes, unfortunately, I do choose to. Sometimes I’m entitled to be upset. Other times, well, not so much. I can make things bigger in my head and heart because of all that time I gave myself to dwell on the issue.

It’s a lose-lose situation.

When I plan in advance to be upset about something, the other person loses because of the unfortunate choice or action they made. I also lose because of all the time I lost harping on the thing. I lose because of all the stress I put myself through and I lose because I didn’t choose (on the occasions that call for it) to not let it ruin me or affect my joy.

I can choose so many different ways in which to respond. But often, my pride wins out by telling my heart that it’s going to be upset before anything even happens!

I could do a lot better by myself.

I could choose to pray about things leading up to the moment in time that I’m focusing on. I could choose to let the issue drop at God’s feet instead of my own – thus removing the weight of the burden on my heart and shoulders. AND, I COULD choose to forgive BEFORE the offense is given. Especially if I’m expecting a predictable response or pattern.  I could even somehow set up a boundary in my heart and life so that I avoid the moment all together.

Getting all worked up is something we are good at. Especially women. Some things are indeed worth fighting for. But our frame of mind in the process is so crucial to how drama-free our lives can truly be if we want it badly enough.

We just have to want it badly enough. Bad enough to wait and see what will happen. Wait and see what God will do.

Isn’t that worth putting off the “upset” for a bit?

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

You Are Precious, You Are Priceless




A parent’s worst fear is that something will happen to their children. Illness, accidents, abductions and other kinds of harm fill our hearts and our minds.

And it’s not just worrying about our children. A parent can worry about themselves too. That something will happen so that their child has to grow up parent-less.

So many worries. So many fears.

Fear can rule my life if I let it. And it would be so easy to let it. But I have to live instead; in courage and in faith, trusting that my God will take care of my children and that He will take care of me.

I realize that life is not perfect. Not everybody gets to live through it without disease, sickness, accidents, or tragedy befalling them. In fact, very little of us get to go through it without being affected in some way.

But there is so much to be hopeful for. So much to be thankful for. There is still so much that is good.

I am thankful every time my children celebrate a birthday. Every milestone that I get to watch, I am blessed that my children get to reach it, experience it and touch it. And of course, I’m thankful that I get to be a part of it.

I think of the “what if’s.” I try to prepare my children for those possible scenarios and I pray that they will never come to pass. But if they should, then I have to trust my Almighty God that my kids knew the most important things they could know.  I have to trust that they knew how much they were loved and valued. How deeply they brought joy to my life.  And I have to trust that they saw the Lord in my life and that they too, will always seek to have Him a part of theirs.

I have to believe that they knew how precious and how priceless they were to me.

So I tell them. I tell them often. I hug them. I kiss them. I love on them with everything in me. I laugh with them and I enjoy them. I listen.

Time is so short. Every birthday shows me that.  But each year is a blessing.

I don’t know what the future holds. I pray, of course, that it holds many more blessings and joys.  But if it also holds unspeakable pain, then I will carry with me one thing – how great a blessing I was given, to be given children that were so irreplaceable and so beautiful. How lucky was I to be their mom for however long I was allowed to place my arms around them.

May I tell them often, “You are precious, you are priceless”…..  so it is always felt, always known and always carried with them.

Monday, March 24, 2014

5 Ways To Still Be "You" As You Blog



There are so many sites out there with blogging and social media advice. I’ve been writing online for a while now and I’m still learning so much. Technology is changing right and left and it can almost be a full-time job trying to keep up with it all.

One thing I’ve learned along the way, is that no matter what changes – I need to still be “me.” I need to keep my own voice. It’s too easy to see what someone else is doing and try to adapt that to fit yourself. You can do that in a way, but sometimes you have to go against the grain and simply decide that being “you” is more important than being SEEN by everyone.  For if you do this, the ones that read your words will be the right audience because they will see that you are authentic to your own life and world.

So, here are 5 ways that I’ve been able to distinctly keep my own voice and heart in my blogging and writing.


1.     Use the layout that you like.  There are trends in blogging layouts. Some only show “snippets” of a post, some have a cover page, and some are only on white backgrounds with a header.  Personally, I like to be able to scroll down a page and see the whole post. I don’t enjoy having to click to “read more.” But that’s just me. And that’s my style. So my recommendation would be to use the format that works best for you. It doesn’t matter if it’s the new trend or not. Be “you.” If you like a cute background, use a cute background! Just make sure that everyone can clearly read your words.

2.     Use the blogging platform that you find to be the easiest. In a world that says “Use Wordpress or bust,” I have stuck with blogger. I’m not great at coding or using complicated systems. Blogger is easy, simple, and it’s been reliable for me. I did purchase my own domain so that I don’t have a “blogspot.com” address – but I went through blogger to do that. Simple is what I need and simple is what I use.


3.     Write about what you love.  If you only want to write about your kids, then write about your kids! It won’t feel right to write about other topics. If you are passionate about knitting or fashion, then write about those. There is an audience out there for everything.  But, you also don’t have to stick to one topic alone. It’s YOUR blog. You can do whatever you’d like! So, if you have a cooking blog, and your heart just really feels like it needs to write on a story in the news – go for it! Your audience will enjoy getting a glimpse of you that is out of the norm. For me, I write on whatever topic is on my heart and where God prompts me with that. It usually ends up being mostly on faith and learning through life’s ups and downs with a little bit of lifestyle  and beauty thrown in from time to time. I enjoy writing on life in general.


4.     Talk to people. Let people get to know you. If people leave a comment, comment back! You don’t have to reply to every single one – but a blog is partially about relating to others. If it’s just for you, you might want to keep it private. But if it’s public, others want to get to know you and talk to you. Reply to comments if you’re on twitter or instagram. Relate to others on your facebook page. No audience wants to feel ignored all the time. It can get harder the more responses you get, but it’s important to remind others that you aren’t “above” them. You are ONE of them. You can do this on any level you feel comfortable, but it truly does reinforce who YOU are.


5.     Ignore the advice out there if it doesn’t “fit” you. If you don’t enjoy having to have an email list just to grow your blog…. don’t! If you don’t have the time to participate in different discussion groups….  don’t! If you don’t like using SEO words in your posts just so you will be listed in Google… don’t!  You will be discovered by the people who find your words meaningful, helpful, or relatable in some way. We all only have so many hours in a day. We can’t do it ALL. Use the platforms that matter to you and ignore the ones that you don’t enjoy or have trouble grasping. It’s okay.



There are definitely certain rules that seem to work for growing an online presence. But overall, I’ve found it’s important to enjoy what I do. Don’t focus on popularity or success. Focus on passion and joy and the rest will truly follow if it’s meant to be.


**I’d love to connect with you on the many different social networks I’m a part of. You can find me here:
Google Plus - +DionnaSanchez


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