Being Confident of This

Grace for the work-in-progress woman

Spring, and Fret ~ Grace and Truth Week 7

The Grace and Truth link-up was full of great reads last week, so much so that I had an unusually difficult time choosing just one to feature. So, I’m slightly bending the rules today to include at least a couple of the posts that were meaningful to me. 🙂

I really enjoyed this upbeat and hope-filled post from Cathy at Thoughts on Books about waiting for Spring. It’s full of beautiful photos and edifying scriptures.

One other post I just had to feature is Arabah Joy’s What You Really Need to Fast From This Lent. She breaks down a simple but powerful verse and wrings every bit of truth from the pieces!

I hope you take time to stop by the blogs above and be encouraged by the words there!

Jen 🙂

Thanks for linking up with us last week. If you were featured, feel free to grab a featured button below!

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Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Meet Your Hosts

Satisfaction Through Christ
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Kaylene Yoder
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The Brown Tribe
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Arabah Joy
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A Divine Encounter
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Being Confident of This
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Busy Being Blessed
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1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels. This is not mandatory, but appreciated!

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted. We also reserve the right to delete posts that don’t align with the theme or that are deemed by the hostesses to be inappropriate.

3.) Visit 1-2 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

4.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

In order to be featured next week:

5.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured.

6.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week.

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

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Welcome to the New Christian Living Link-up ~ #GraceTruth

I’m beyond excited to introduce you all to something that has been in the works for several weeks now. Faithful readers and Lofter buddies know that we’ve hosted a link-up called #TheLoft for some months now. Recently our hosting group was offered an opportunity to merge with quite a few other like-minded faith bloggers in a new, bigger weekly link-up. Although we’re sad to lose a little of the intimacy that a smaller group allows for, we are enthusiastic about the opportunities this new link-up brings for all faith bloggers.

So, without further ado, I invite you to join us for Grace & Truth, a weekly Christian link-up!

Jen 🙂

Grace & Truth : A Weekly Christian Link Up

Grace & Truth exists to point people to Jesus! We hope this link-up will be a source of encouragement each and every week. If you’re a blogger our hope is that you’ll use this space as a way to meet new friends within the Christian blogging community. If you’re a reader our hope is that you’ll meet new bloggers that love Jesus just as much as you do! Most of all, we hope you’ll meet Jesus here.

Grace&Truth-MainImage2

Satisfaction Through Christ
BLOG
| FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER |G+

Kaylene Yoder
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

The Brown Tribe
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

A Virtuous Woman
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Arabah Joy
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A Divine Encounter
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | G+ | STUMBLEUPON

Leah Adams
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | INSTAGRAM

Being Confident of This
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Busy Being Blessed
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Sharing Redemption’s Stories
BLOG | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | TWITTER | G+

Grace&Truth-Rules2

1.) Follow your hosts via their blog and/or social media channels.

2.) Leave 1-2 of your most recent CHRISTIAN LIVING posts. Please do not link DIY, Crafts, Recipes, etc. Links of this kind will be deleted.

3.) Grab a button or link back to encourage new linkers. This is not mandatory to participate, but is required to be featured next week.

4.) Visit 2-3 other links and leave a meaningful comment! We want to encourage community, so please don’t link and run!

5.) Each host will choose one link to feature and promote via their social media channels next week. See requirements above to be featured.

6.) All links are randomly sorted – feel free to link as early or as late as you’d like. The playing field is even!

7.) By linking up you agree to allow the hosts to use your featured post image if you are chosen as a feature for next week.

Grab A Button

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Happy New Year ~ #TheLoft

Faithful readers and Loft friends, I completely forgot to share this post with you containing instructions for our first Loft gathering of 2015!  It’s been unusually chaotic here lately with back-to-back viruses for the whole family, an unusual Christmas, and further health issues for me.

We would all appreciate your prayers as we are all weary of Mom being ill, especially poor Dad who has to care for everyone in the meantime! 🙂

Nevertheless, I’m excited about our first topic for #theLoft and hope to read along with you all next week. If you’re not already a “Lofter,” won’t you consider joining us?  Read how below.

 

Merry Christmas from The Loft

 

 Our next link up will be Tuesday, January 6th. We look forward to hearing about your “one word” or verse for 2015!

January 6th Topic: “One Word/Verse for 2015” (We are eager to hear what the Lord has laid on your heart for the upcoming year!)

 

About #TheLoft

 

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

 

While there are many link and leave blog hops out there, we are different in that we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic. This fosters community and conversation. It also helps us practice “topic” writing as bloggers. Please mention The Loft in your post so we can find each other. Thank you so much!


Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the linky goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

So grab your coffee mug and come on up! Hang out for a bit. We betcha you’ll be glad you did.

 

To Participate:

 

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic. But please stick to the weekly topic 🙂

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or link back in your post so we can find and share with each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

 

The Loft Link Up

 

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 4 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are: Jen, Rebekah, Leah, Arabah

 

 

 

 

 

4 Comments »

Reader Favorites ~ 2014

I’m so thankful for you, my faithful readers, my sisters in Christ (and let’s not forget the brothers, too).  You have made this space a friendly zone for sharing my most personal writings, and 2014 was just the year for it.  All year long, the Father has been challenging me to “Take Courage.” and having encouraging readers certainly helps me to do just that!

Often this space is mostly for me, a place to share what is on my heart, what I want to write about and hear about. But today I want to share YOUR favorites from 2014.  If you haven’t read these top posts before, just click on the individual pictures. Perhaps you’ll find a new favorite. 🙂

reader favorites 2014, Being Confident of This blog, top posts of 2014, number one posts, grace for the work-in-progress woman

Most time in the #1 spot:

marriage, Christian marriage, how to love an unloving spouse, feeling unloved, want to feel loved, loving a difficult spouse

“I’ll be honest. As a busy mom of four, I wrestle with this idea that God should be my sole supply. After all, God cannot help with the bedtime routine or sweep the kitchen or sign permissions slips or pay the bills, at least not in a physical sense.  I wrestle, too, with feelings of disappointment and unkind thoughts toward a husband whom I truly wish to respect.

So, how can I demonstrate love for my husband even when he’s not demonstrating love for me?”

Most comments in 2014:

confidence, fat girl insecurities, insecure, overweight, fat, trying to lose weight, obese, heavy, healthy body image, health

“I’ll never forget the first time I heard the word aimed at me.  He spewed it out like vomit, his eyes filled with disgust. “Fat,”  the boy accused me, and I believed it even though I wasn’t anywhere near “fat” back then.

I always was a…”

Runner-up for most comments in 2014:

That New Girl: Finding Confidence

confidence, finding confidence, that new girl, no condemnation, identity, loving yourself, identity in Christ, self-acceptance, imperfect progress

“Sin temporarily hijacks our child-of-God identity, the world teaches us that we will never be enough, and the pride and insecurity of self often confirms the lies. But the truth, sisters, the amazing truth is that we don’t have to be enough because He is already everything for us. It’s this Christ-confidence that sets us free!”

Most comments of all (even though it’s from 2013):

marriage, imperfect progress, perfectionism, grace, through my grace-colored glasses, work in progress

“Last night I had a little run-in with Perfectionism again.  He just won’t leave me alone.

He follows me wherever I go, pointing out flaws in my house-keeping, my parenting, my marriage relationship, even my walk with the Lord… He whispers lies to me: “you’ll never change” or “you’re never going to be good enough” or “why even bother anymore.”

I’ve been enslaved by his words before, but last night was different…”

The Top 5 written in 2014:

#1

big list of energetic indoor fun, high-energy kids, boys with energy, stuck indoors, cabin fever, school break, I'm bored, kids bored, get energy out

Are the kids driving you crazy? Do your boys have too much energy to stay cooped up indoors? Need a cure for cabin fever?  Is the weather outside frightful?  This huge list of ideas for expending pent-up energy while stuck indoors will help you stay sane!

#2

7 ways to teach bible verses to kids, teaching bible verses to kids, memory verse, preschool, toddler, children, homeschool, church, creative ways to learn memory verses, scripture

For moms, dads, Sunday School teachers, homeschooling families, Children’s Church leaders and anyone else who works with little ones – here’s how to help them hide the Word away in their hearts.

#3

dollar store deals, cheap homeschool supplies, early childhood education, preschool, toddler, preschooling with dollar store deals, what to buy at the dollar store for homeschool

This isn’t just a list of what to buy for the littles at the dollar store. It’s also a list of how to use the items you buy!  Great deals + great activities=happy learners.

#4

Saving money on kid's clothes, clothing budget, frugal, stewardship, single income family, clothing budget, tight budget, saving money, frugal living

This is part one of two posts on how to save money when buying clothes for a large family.  With three boys and one girl in the house, our tight budget really gets stretched when it comes to purchasing clothes and shoes for the kids. Over the years, I’ve learned quite a few tricks for working within our small clothing budget to make the most of it.

#5

keeping Christ in Christmas, kid friendly advent free printables, The Christmas Adventure Box, family advent activity, homeschool, church, AWANA, youth group, easy advent, flexible advent, advent fun

Kid-friendly Advent with Free Printables!  I created these as a companion to the Christmas ADVENTure Box that we do each year as an advent activity with our children. Our boys especially love the adventure aspect of it.  It’s an easy, flexible way to keep Christ in Christmas!

Thanks for making 2014 a great year for Being Confident of This!  And even though this isn’t a reader favorite (yet!), I want to leave you with one last post as you head into the new year. It’s close to my heart and really sums up what this year has been about for us.

Courage to Face a Giant

courage quote, fail or succeed, take courage in the Lord, be strong and courageous, facing a giant

Take Courage in the new year, my sisters!

Jen 🙂

Sharing with: The Pin-it Party, Grace and Truth,

6 Comments »

Courage to Face a Giant

Have you ever asked the Father for something big, something miraculous, and been so afraid that He might choose to say no that you avoid His presence altogether?

I have.

So you hide away, like the original sinners amongst the leaves in the garden, and when He calls, you cower because what if you don’t like what He has to say?  What if you don’t have the courage to face what’s coming?

Yeah, that’s me lately.

Courage, fear, cowering, hiding, avoiding

You feel this yearning to give in and stumble to His arms, yet your stubborn heart resists with questions like why? and right now?

My sisters in Christ, have you ever felt like David before Goliath,  wondering what happened to your army, praying for the courage to “fight the good fight” even if it means you’re doing it alone?

Yeah, that’s me, too.

And perhaps, like me, you feel more than a little lonely standing there with your simple slingshot in hand. Maybe you long for a superhero sidekick or two…or three.

As you stand there, wind in your face, jeers wafting through the air from the Enemy’s camp, you hear a still small voice speak, “Courage!”

“Take Courage, my daughter.”

That’s the message I’ve been receiving from the Father all year long.

He’s been sending it to me a million different ways. Through a Beth Moore simulcast.  Through Bible Study.  Through a talk He had me prepare for a MOPS group. Through prayer and quiet time.  Through facebook posts and pintrest pins… you name the method – He’s used it.

At times I’ve soared gloriously on that message, that promise.  Other times I find myself a doubting Thomas, looking for evidence, asking for proof.

And I keep looking for rescue to come in human form, but He tells me, “Courage.”

Galations 1:1-0

 For am I now seeking the favor of men, or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.

At first, I thought He meant the message for me in one specific area – that of pursuing writing and speaking.  But after a while I began to see that Courage applies to so many other areas of my life – marriage, parenting, trusting God, finances, and lately… well, this potentially life-changing  Giant.

Here’s the thing I’m learning about Courage, sisters: it’s not supposed to come from me or you or any human source.

Surprised? I was.

When you search for the word Courage in the Old Testament, you often find it used in connection with the phrase “be strong,” especially in the early years of Joshua’s leadership.

Keep in mind that Joshua was new in his leadership role, and he had some big shoes to fill. I mean, who wants to follow Moses, the man with the burning bush experience and the credit of leading the Israelites out of slavery?!

In addition, Joshua faced the enormous task of leading the people of Israel to conquer the Promised Land – hooray, right?!  Well, sure that sounds good after wandering in the desert an extra forty years, but something I didn’t realize until this year is that the Promised Land wasn’t empty.

No.

The Promised Land was filled with “giants” and well-fortified cities.  Joshua faced this very land.  No more Moses to look up to and learn from.  He was flying on his own set of wings now with a seemingly impossible task lying before him.

I’m sure Joshua was afraid. I’m sure he wasn’t completely certain that he was up to the task.

I’m positive because the Lord reassured him again and again in the first chapters of Joshua that He would be with Joshua.  He commanded Joshua four times to “be strong and courageous” in the first chapter alone!

And I’ve realized something about myself this year: I’ve taken the world’s view on Courage – you know, chin up, man up, just do it, what’s the worst that can happen, and all of the other sentiments we use to get past fear.

Maybe you have taken that view, too, without even realizing it.

But that’s just not God’s view, my sisters;  that’s not what He’s telling Joshua. It’s not what He’s telling me or you, either. Because when you look up the Hebrew for “strong and courageous,” you find both words or phrases (be strong, take courage) linked back to the Hebrew root “chazaq”  (pronounced khaw-zak’).

Last year I wrote about that root, but I was more focused on waiting patiently.

This year He’s telling me, “Take Courage!”

We must take it, you see, because “chazaq” doesn’t come from any human source. No, chazaq comes from a supernatural act: as in David’s triumph over Goliath, as in Samson pushing down the pillars, as in angel armies going before Joshua as he led the Israelites in battle for the Promised Land.

Don’t you see? The courage comes from Him, sisters!  He doesn’t expect us to muster courage up within ourselves. He offers it from His very nature, for our taking!

courage quote, fail or succeed, take courage in the Lord, be strong and courageous

It’s true. We’re destined to succeed in whatever He sets before us when “chazaq” comes into play.

So, I’m asking for some BIG things right now, Father.  And I’m a little afraid, so I’ve been hiding out, avoiding your Presence.  Hiding has only served to leave me feeling lonely and a little bit miserable. But like my friend Arabah Joy wrote, I’m asking for “rain” and I’m taking my umbrella with me.  I know I’m lacking in the courage department right now and the fear seems to be winning a little bit.  But I hear you say, “Courage, daughter,” and I know that means that You’ve got this. Chazaq – it’s Your Courage, not mine.

It’s Your battle, not mine.

Suddenly that giant doesn’t seem so big.

And I’m crying, but I’m grinning, too, ‘cause I’ve missed you, Father.

I’ve missed you.

Joshua 1:9

Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous! Do not tremble or be dismayed, for the Lordyour God is with you wherever you go.

I hear Him whisper Courage to me, and to you, too, sister.

Do you hear it?

Jen 🙂

Sharing with: #TheLoft, Cornerstone Confessions, Rich Faith Rising, Missional Women, Jennifer Dukes Lee/Tell His Story, Work in progress Wednesdays,

10 Comments »

Lessons from 2014 ~ #TheLoft

It’s that time of week again! I’ll see you all in the link-up.
Jen 🙂

 

The Loft is open, come on up!

 

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

 

This Week’s Topic: “2014 in Review” (We are getting introspective this week. Share the greatest lesson of 2014 or anything else about this year that you’d like to.)

Next Week’s Topic: “Potluck: Best of 2014” (Be prepared to link up your best post from 2014. “Best” is defined loosely 🙂 )

About #TheLoft

 

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

 

PLEASE NOTE: While there are many link and leave blog hops out there, we are different in that we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic. This fosters community and conversation. It also helps us practice “topic” writing as bloggers. Oh, and please mention The Loft in your post! Thank you so much!


Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the linky goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

So grab your coffee mug and come on up! Hang out for a bit. We betcha you’ll be glad you did.

 

To Participate:

 

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic. But please stick to the weekly topic 🙂

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or link back in your post so we can find each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

 

The Loft Link Up

 

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 4 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are: Jen, Rebekah, Leah, Arabah

 

 

Now it’s time to link up!

 

1 Comment »

Just a Closer Walk~ #TheLoft

My sisters in Christ, I’m very excited about this week’s topic for The Loft. I look forward to reading what each of you have to say about your walk with the Lord.

I know in my own life, I get easily distracted. I struggle with consistency and self-discipline so often.

And I used to believe that the sweetest times with the Lord were on the mountaintops, when I chose to abide closely in Him. I spent large chunks of time reading the Word and praying.  But lately I’m learning there is a sweetness to be found in the valleys as well because what I’m hearing from Him in the valleys would have been impossible to hear on the mountaintops.

The last few difficult years have challenged my view of God like never before.  His grace is much greater, His love much deeper than I ever could have imagined. He faithfully loves me even when I cannot love myself. Even when I loathe myself.

Perhaps it’s maturity at work in me or just life circumstances, but I find it easier to abide in Him, especially in the dark times, when I’m really honest with Him.  I realize now that much of my “young” Christian life was spent trying to please a God who was already pleased with me.  I held myself, and others, to high standards, and although I thought I understood grace, I think I was probably a little legalistic, maybe even self-righteous. I’m sure I still make that mistake sometimes even today, we all do at times. 🙂

And then came the valley of the shadow of death, or at least it felt like it, that filled these last couple of years.  At times I didn’t even want to leave my bed. At times I begged the Lord to come quickly – everyday life felt like too much to bear. I questioned the Lord like never before. I wrestled with him like Jacob as one blow after another fell upon my life. I quit trying to act the part of perfect Christian and begged for understanding. I got real with Jesus.

It was (and still is in some sense) a most difficult struggle.

Yet my faith has been strengthened!  Out of my honest conversations, out of my most desperate cries, came an understanding that I am perfectly loved, perfectly wanted, perfectly accepted.  I knew a brand new Grace, and it blew my mind – still does!

Because when I was my ugliest self, He loved me still.

He loves me still.

He loves you, too, my sisters, even at your ugliest, your most unlovely, your most unworthy.

And when we come to Him honestly, then He can begin the real work of “creating a clean heart” within us.  He gives us “grace-colored” glasses and teaches us that progress is what really matters, not perfection!

He teaches us confidence that only comes from fully understanding our Daughter-of-the-King status.

Walk with the Lord, Abiding in Him, Just a Closer Walk, Spiritual Life, Christianity, Christian Living, Growing in Christ

 

I’ve come out of that valley with a closer walk, not a perfect walk, but a closer one.  Not because I do my devotions without fail, not because I am sweet to my family, not because I serve Him at church, not because of the words I type out here.

But because I know Him more deeply.

I trust Him more deeply.

You can trust Him, too, sisters. Whatever your valley may look like, He promises to carry you through.

…For He Himself has said, “I will never desert you, nor will I ever forsake you,” so that we confidently say,

The Lord is my helper, I will not be afraid.
What will man do to me?”  Heb.13:5-6

Even this.

Even this.

Jen 🙂

Also sharing this with Tell His Story.

 

The Loft is open, come on up!

 

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

 

 

About #TheLoft

 

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

 

PLEASE NOTE: We want to foster community and transparent conversation with one another, just like we’d do if we were meeting in real life. So we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic and that you mention The Loft in your post. Thank you so much!

 

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

This Week’s Topic: “Intimacy with Jesus” (What does that look like for you? How do you abide in the vine? What barriers do you face or victories you’ve discovered in maintaining intimacy with Jesus? Let’s encourage each other!)

Get a running start on Next Week’s Topic:”Fall Recipes” (Please do share your favorite fall recipes so we can enjoy too!)

 

To Participate:

 

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic. But please stick to the weekly topic 🙂

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or link back in your post so we can find each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

 

The Loft Link Up

 

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 4 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are: Jen, Rebekah, Leah, Arabah

 

Now it’s time to link up!

 

Click to Add Your Link Below:

 

18 Comments »

Best Blogging Tips

Faithful readers, I promised you a post earlier this week and life just got in the way.  However, I do have some great tips to pass along to those of you who are bloggers, so even though I’m very late with this post, I want to be sure it gets to you.  Better late than never, right? 🙂

When I first began blogging, I really had no idea what a huge industry the blogosphere is. I never “followed” any blogs before that time. I had no idea bloggers could earn income from their posts. I hardly even knew what a blog was.  So, why create a blog?

It was purely out of obedience to the Lord, honestly. No, He did not speak in a loud clear voice saying, “Jen, I want you to create a blog.”  However, He did use the Holy Spirit to convict me of neglecting one of the gifts He had given to me.  I was too overwhelmed to imagine writing a book or for any other sort of publication right away since I had not “practiced” writing in such a long time.  Thus, from what little I knew about blogs, creating one of my own seemed a simple, inexpensive, and the least terrifying way to walk forward in obedience.

To read more about my blogging journey thus far (a year and a half in!), check out the “For the Writers” tab on my sidebar or click here.  I would suggest starting with My Monday Morning Confession as it was my first post ever!  You might also read A Blogger’s Prayer to see what I have learned so far from this faith walk online.

I think I’ve been most surprised that rather than using the material the Lord gives me to encourage others (which is what I first expected), He so often uses the writing to encourage me!  Although others might find the words here encouraging, as is my deepest desire, even if no one else read them, this journey would be well worth it solely for the lessons I’ve learned along the way.

As a “seasoned” blogger of a year and a half (ha!), I do have some more practical blogging tips to pass along to you:

Pinterest – once I learned the value of creating a somewhat “pinnable” image, I began to receive most of my traffic from pinterest. In fact, this past month, I received close to a thousand views daily from a single post (The Pumpkin Gospel) that is doing well on pinterest simply because of Halloween.  I rarely reach that number even on a good day, normally. That’s the power of pinterest, my friends!

What I know about creating “pinnable” images:

The better the lighting, the more attractive they are to the eye, as far as Pinterest goes. Lighter images tend to work more effectively than darker ones.  Also, collage-type images (several pictures together) are more eye-catching. A good description also helps the reader to click through to the actual blog post.  I recently started using hash-tags, as well.

I’m no pro at creating pinnable images, but what little I can do has helped tremendously.  Therefore, I try to always include a photo of some sort in each post for easy sharing on pinterest. Sometimes when I don’t have an image that goes along with the theme of the post, I just include something beautiful from nature.  I keep my camera in my purse to capture scenery along the way; this allows me to avoid the issue of photo rights altogether, which is just easier for me.  Lately, I’ve really enjoyed adding verses to beautiful photos using either picmonkey.com or ribbet.com (photo editing websites).  Someday I would love to learn photoshop! 🙂

Pinterest works well for me because I liked it  and used it even before I started blogging.  Twitter, on the other hand, is another story altogether…

Key-words and phrases – recently I’ve been learning more about how search engines work and am working on including more key-word phrases, especially earlier on in my blog posts.  This helps anyone who is searching for information on a specific topic to find your blog post.  I have one post in particular that does well from searches, and that is How to Love When You Feel Unloved.  I usually receive several hits daily from that post ever since I updated it with a pinnable image and some bolding on key words and phrases.

This is another area in which I have plenty of room to grow, as I’m still learning and probably always will be. 🙂

I just learned this past week NOT to include a picture before the words in your blog post.  If you’ve followed Being Confident of This for very long, you know I’ve been guilty of this, so I have many past posts to make changes to.  Apparently, google and other analytic programs scan the first words of a blog post, and when you include a picture first, they end up reading a bunch of html code rather than the topic of your post.  I read about that here.

For more practical blogging tips, I suggest pinterest as a wealth of information.  I have a board just for Blogging that contains even more information than I have shared here. Some of it I haven’t even had time to look at or use. Some of it is easy to incorporate once you know how. I’m sure some of the other hosts have similar boards, as well. 🙂

 My Best Blogging Tip

My best blogging tip, however, has nothing to do with pinterest or even with the mechanics of blogging. My best tip is to avoid getting caught up in blogging perfectionism. As I mentioned above, I knew so very little about blogging when I first began. My only desire was to have a space to write that wasn’t too intimidating, in obedience to the Lord.

However, once I learned about linky parties and began reading other blogs, I began to realize I knew literally nothing.  And after a month or so, the desire to be “successful” started to creep in. I became concerned about things that I never even knew to be concerned about before.  Blogging became a lot less about glorifying Christ and more about glorifying my own meager abilities.

Don’t get me wrong, learning how to blog well or write well isn’t wrong in and of itself, but I think it can quickly become an “idol” in our lives if we allow it to.

 

best blogging tips, tips for bloggers

 

So my best blogging tip is simply this – fix your eyes on Jesus.

If you have time and the inclination to learn some of the rest of it along the way, great.  But don’t lose the vision He’s given you to the trappings of blogging perfectionism. Write in faith instead.

Trust Him to guide you to the “right” content, my sisters in Christ. Trust Him to bring you the “right” audience.

Fix your eyes on Jesus.

Jen 🙂

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Fall Potluck ~ #TheLoft

It’s my favorite time of week again! Even though I have not been able to link-up with a post of my own the past few weeks, I’ve really enjoyed the encouragement I’ve received from those of you who have linked up. For this week’s  link-up, I’m sharing a post about Joy (look for it in the link-up). Join with us, whether you blog or not, for some encouraging words in this week’s “potluck-style edition” of #TheLoft.

Keep pressing on, sisters!
Jen 🙂

The Loft is open, come on up!

 

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

 

Hi Lofters! Today is pot-luck and I do believe this is a favorite “topic.” 🙂 Link up any post you’d love to share with us and we’ll come visit. Oh I do love this little community! Can’t wait to visit with you this week.

 

 

About #TheLoft

 

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

 

PLEASE NOTE: We want to foster community and transparent conversation with one another, just like we’d do if we were meeting in real life. So we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic and that you mention The Loft in your post. Thank you so much!


Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the linky goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

So grab your coffee mug and come on up! Hang out for a bit. We betcha you’ll be glad you did.

 

To Participate:

 

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic. But please stick to the weekly topic 🙂

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or link back in your post so we can find each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

 

The Loft Link Up

 

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 4 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are:

Jen
Rebekah
Leah
Arabah

 

 

Now it’s time to link up!

 

This Week’s Topic: “Potluck” (It’s that time again! Link up a favorite post you’ve shared on your blog and surprise us!)

Next Week’s Topic: “Blogging” (The floor is open! Some ideas are: Tell us why you started blogging, your blogging goals, needs, how we can help you. Share your favorite blogging tips and tricks. Woo-hoo!)

 

Add Your Link Here:

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Heroes and Heroines ~ #TheLoft

If you stopped by here last week looking for the The Loft link-up, I apologize. Somehow the post I had scheduled never made it live. 🙂 I haven’t had time to write my own post for this week, so I’ll share that with you all later, but for now, please join the rest of us as we discuss heroes in our lives.
Jen 🙂

The Loft is open, come on up!

The Loft: A weekly Hangout and Link Up for Christian bloggers
Graphic by Kerry Messer

Hi Lofters! We have two winners from last week’s giveaway! Sheila, who left a comment on Leah’s blog; and Trina, who sent in her comment via email. Please email Arabah Joy at arabahjoy(at)gmail.(com) with your mailing address so she can get the books out to you. Thank you!

About #TheLoft

The Loft is the place for conversation, community, networking, and Christian growth.

Each week we provide a topic to start the conversation.

PLEASE NOTE: We want to foster community and transparent conversation with one another, just like we’d do if we were meeting in real life. So we ask that your link stick to the weekly topic and that you mention The Loft in your post. Thank you so much!


Monday night, at 9pm Eastern, the linky goes live and all week you can link up your post on that week’s topic.

We’ll have fun topics, serious topics, practical, soul-ful, holiday, and so, so much more…we can’t wait to get started! This is not only a great way to connect with others, it’s also a fun and easy way to establish a writing habit. If you aren’t a blogger, you are welcome to join in by leaving your comments in the comment section.

So grab your coffee mug and come on up! Hang out for a bit. We betcha you’ll be glad you did.

To Participate:

1. Be creative. Feel free to use words, photos, video, audio, your family pet, whatever, to communicate on the weekly topic. But please stick to the weekly topic 🙂

2. Listen twice as much as you talk. If you leave one link, visit two. Trust us on this one~wink.

3. Be a community. Include #TheLoft graphic and/or link back in your post so we can find each other. Also, share the great stuff you find when you visit around…we’ll be doing the same.

The Loft Link Up

When you link up at The Loft, your link will appear on 5 blogs! We’d love for you to visit The Loft co-hosts and know who we are:

Jen
Rebekah
Leah
Kathy
Arabah

Now it’s time to link up!

This Week’s Topic: “Heroes” (Do you have a hero? Did you have one when you were growing up? Do you think it’s important to have others we look up to? Why or why not? We look forward to reading about your heroes!)

Next Week’s Topic: “Potluck” (It’s that time again! Link up a favorite post you’ve shared on your blog and surprise us!)

Add Your Link Here:

Leave a comment »