February Reflections

February seems to have flown by—and not just because it’s a shorter month. It’s been a busy month, but a good one.

Valentine’s Day is always a fun for us with some special treats. We celebrated our daughter-in-law’s birthday last weekend. We closed on the rental house that my son and daughter-in-law had been renting. My husband is so relieved not to have an extra property to take care of. My youngest son found an apartment and will be moving next month. I’m excited for him but also facing the reality of an empty nest.

February is also the time of year when winter starts getting to me: the sky is often grey, the cold seeps into my bones, and I long for spring. Thankfully we’ve had some sunshine and temperatures in the 60s this week. We still have several weeks of winter, but each day brings us closer to spring! My daffodils are blooming already!

Creating

February is a big card month for us!

Early in the month we celebrated my youngest son’s 10,000th day of life. This was the card I made for him:

It took me a while to figure out what to do—I haven’t seen any other 10,000th day cards to get ideas from. 🙂 I printed off a February calendar and had a stencil with the shape for the saying.

Then I made a card for each family member for Valentine’s Day. I had seen several variations of this idea on Pinterest and knew I just had to use it since my husband is a scientist.

I cut out the beakers using Cricut. I tried various background papers, but they made the card look too cluttered.

This was for my oldest son, Jeremy, who likes foxes:

I used a stencil for the heart. I printed off the sayings or captions and inside sentiments from the computer since my handwriting is not good. I cut out this one with decorative scissors and then outlined it in black. I had the hardest time finding the right fox. I have several stickers and looked up clip art, but none of them looked just right. I had some wooden cutouts, but I wasn’t sure if the glue would be strong enough to keep it on, especially as this one had to go through snail mail. Finally I got the idea to scan the fox cutout and print it, and that worked pretty well.

This was for Jason:

The bear was from a scrapbooking paper collection.

This was for my daughter-in-law, Mittu, who likes purple:

I printed out the tree from some free clipart I found online, then used a paper punch on various scrapbooking papers for the hearts.

This was for Timothy, my grandson:

I had seen an idea using the moon on Pinterest, and then saw this moon and stars design on the Cricut.

And this was for my youngest son, Jesse:

I had seen several variations of this idea on Pinterest using typewriters. But since he types via computer, I used that. I cut the computer out with the Cricut and positioned the caption behind the computer “screen.”

And finally, my daughter-in-law also likes sunflowers, so I was looking to use them somehow for her birthday card. In looking for something else on the computer, I stumbled across a file that I had purchased on sale some years ago from Karla Dornacher using sunflowers. Since Mittu also has blue in her home, this seemed perfect. So it wasn’t exactly handmade, except that I printed it off and cut it out. But I liked it, and I think Mittu did, too.

I just checked Karla’s site, and she doesn’t seem to carry this exact collection any more. But she did use the sunflower design in this printable card set.

I made one more birthday card for a friend. But when I double-checked to make sure I had the right date, I discovered her birthday was in June! I thought I saw somewhere recently that it was in February. Oh well—the card is now safely tucked away until June.

Watching

I’m still working my way through the Lark Rise to Candleford series while using my exercise bike. Jim and I really enjoyed the new PBS series of All Creatures Great and Small. I was sorry to hear the story had been changed from the original—but we did like this version.

Reading

Since last time I completed:

I usually read much more fiction than nonfiction, but that hasn’t held true this month.

I’m currently reading:

Blogging

Besides books reviews and almost weekly Friday Fave Fives and Laudable Linkages, I’ve shared on the blog this month:

As we turn the calendar page to March in a few days, we’ll have a busy couple of weeks with my husband’s birthday and my youngest son moving. But life should settle down a bit after that. I hope. You just never know.

How was your February? Any signs of spring yet?

(Sharing with Grace and Truth, Faith on Fire,Hearth and Soul,
Senior Salon, InstaEncouragements, Shannan’s What I’m Into)

Laudable Linkage

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Here are several good reads recently discovered:

Don’t Overthink It Book Club. Linda is hosting a three-week book club on Sunday evenings to discuss Anne Bogel’s book Don’t Overthink It. I just finished chapter four this morning, and the book is proving very helpful so far. At the moment, it’s on sale for the Kindle for $1.59—don’t know how long it will be at that price.

Be a Truth-Lover. “Your love for truth must be greater than your party, your political pre-commitments, and your agenda.”

He Is a Jealous God. “If the United States of America ceased to exist tomorrow, would that be the end of our belief in the God that we claim to hold so dear? Or do we have a faith that extends beyond the bounds of country, of comfort, of confidence in the systems of this world?

A Call for Content Creators to Cultivate Discernment, HT to Challies. “But beautiful language, by itself, does not encompass all that it means to write well as a Christian. Christian writers must labor not only to write what is true but also to write in a manner that adorns the truth.”

Remembering God’s Faithfulness in the Face of a Detour, HT to Challies. “How about you? Do you trust God’s faithfulness to deliver again in the midst of your daily detours?”

Five Key Questions for Setting Gospel-Shaped Goals, HT to The Story Warren. “It was an apt senior quote for the young perfectionist, who keenly felt her failure to ‘obtain all this,’ who knew how short she fell in every area where she longed to succeed. Sadly, that seventeen-year-old senior, who had only been a Christian for two years when she chose Philippians 3:12 to mark her life, didn’t fully understand the dynamic of grace and goals.”

Stupid and Wise People. “There will always be those with whom we cannot agree or come to a compromise. We cannot control their actions but we can control our own reactions and choices.”

Your Work Matters More Than You Think, HT to Challies. “God puts his people in some surprising places. The testimony of Obadiah can encourage Christians who have been called to serve God in dark places for His purposes.” I enjoyed this contrast between Obadiah and Elijah.

A Blog about Blogging, HT to Challies. Good overview for Christian bloggers in particular.

Tookish Bagginses. Lessons from hobbits. “Because nowness and not-yet-ness overlap and intermingle. God made us out of dust, but he also breathed eternity down our lungs. We’re a walking marriage of the sacred and the profane— the eternal and the ordinary. We’re Bagginses with the blood of Tooks who’ve been to Mordor and back again.”

This is as good a time as any for my occasional reminder that links here do not mean 100% endorsement of the blog or blogger they come from. Some of these are from blogs I read regularly, but others are from posts I happened upon or saw on other’s blogs.

Finally, to end with a smile: a cat interrupts a UK parliamentary live call:

Blog Birthdays and Musings

Blog birthday and brand musingMonday marked my blog’s 14th anniversary.

And just like any other adolescent, it’s wrestling with what it wants to be when it grows up. 🙂

When I first started blogging, bloggers were like neighbors visiting over the back fence. Blogs—at least the kind I ran into—were chatty and varied. Some were fun, some were serious, some were inspirational. But my favorites were a combination.

Then blogs became Business.

And now, while learning all I can about publishing to be ready when I get my book finished, I find writers are encouraged to develop their “brand” so readers know what to expect from them. Readers who like Amish fiction, for instance, don’t want to pick up their favorite author’s new book only to find they’ve switched to science fiction.

I see the wisdom in developing a brand. But I think it’s possible to make a brand too narrow. If someone writes only about finances, I know I can seek out their books if I have a questions about finances. But I don’t read about finances often. I love WWII fiction, but I don’t want to read only WWII fiction. I love writers like Kristy Cambron, who writes historical fiction, but in a variety of times and places. I’m told it’s hard to drum up a whole new audience if you write both fiction and nonfiction or different types within each. But I think some of the audience would follow a favorite author into different forays. I’ve read books in a different genre because an author I liked crossed over to it.

So as I consider what elements I’m passionate about and what might make up my brand, these come to mind:

  • I want to encourage women to develop their own relationship with God.
  • I want to encourage women in their walk with God in whatever stage of life they are in.
  • I want to encourage women to get into the Bible for themselves, not as an end in itself, but to get to know God better. My book-in-progress is on this topic.
  • I want to encourage women to look at everything through the lens of Scripture.

I’ve written a lot about having a quiet time with God in His Word, but that’s not all I write about. I’ve written a little about marriage, parenthood, becoming an “older” woman, caregiving—not as an expert in any of those fields, but sharing what I’ve learned along the way. Occasionally I’ll ponder current issues and try to view them through the truth of God’s Word. I love reading and love sharing good books I’ve found. When I did a blogging preference poll a couple of years ago, people’s preferences about what kinds of posts they liked best varied.

When I saw that well-known Christian blogger Tim Challies called himself a generalist, a light bulb went on in my mind. Maybe that’s what I am, too!

I’ve tried to narrow things down a bit, yet not too much, to hopefully present to a future publisher. If I needed to sum it up in one sentence, it would be that I want to encourage women in their walk with God. I don’t know if that’s catchy or original enough, but that’s my desire.

By the way, although I have women in mind as I write, I don’t mind if men read along.

Thank you all for being here. I didn’t know, when I started blogging, that I’d make so many dear friends that I’ll likely not meet in person until heaven. Your kind comments encourage me and make my day.

I’d love to know what you think about author and blogger “brands” or anything else I’ve mentioned here. Do you read or follow those who write in particular niches, or those who write generally?

(Sharing with Recharge Wednesday, Let’s Have Coffee)

A look back at the blog in 2019

I seem to be a little out of sync with the rest of the blog world. People were posting their top books of the year in mid-December, while I was still reading. People have been writing about the New Year since the day after Christmas, but I don’t usually have time to think about goals for the New Year til after the rest of the family has gone back to work in January. And people usually post retrospectives of their blogs before the end of the year, but I haven’t had a chance to do that yet. So, if you don’t mind, I’ll look back a just little more before I start looking forward.

I don’t know if anyone else gets anything from this post besides me, but I find it interesting to see what posts resonate the most with readers. Well, I can’t actually determine that, but my WordPress stats show me which posts get the most views.

As has been the case the past few years, the first several most-viewed posts are not from this year. In fact, the first hundred or so most-viewed posts of the year were from past years. I am thankful people are finding, reading, and hopefully being blessed by posts from the past. For the first time in several years, Coping When Husband is Away is not in the top spot: it has dropped down to number five. My top-viewed post from this year is from 2012: What Does it Mean to Magnify the Lord?

But as far as I can make out, the most-viewed posts that were published this year are:

  1. Just Wait: It Gets Harder.” People tend to tell tired young mothers that, but why? Instead, why not encourage them that God’s grace is sufficient for every step of the journey?
  2. Great-grandma Is Home. We had taken care of my mother-in-law at home for five years, and God released her from her fragile, silent, still body and brought her home to Himself.
  3. It’s OK to Say It Hurts. Maintaining a good testimony is not the same thing as keeping a stiff upper lip. The psalms are full of lament, and it’s okay to express grief or bewilderment.
  4. What You Miss When You Turn Your Back on Church. A lot, it turns out.
  5. A Tribute to My Mother-in-law. Written after we had gotten back and settled after the trip to take for the funeral.
  6. What If We Really Don’t Measure Up? Sometimes we feel inadequate because we actually are. We’re not enough in ourselves, but we’re complete in Him. “And God is able to make all grace abound to you, so that having all sufficiency in all things at all times, you may abound in every good work” (2 Corinthians 9:8).
  7. My Writing Journey.
  8. End-of-July Musings and a Blog Anniversary Giveaway.
  9. Remembering the Loved One Who Has Forgotten You. Sometimes people stop communicating with their elderly loved ones because “He doesn’t even know who I am any more” or “She wouldn’t even remember anyway.” But ministry and expressions of love should stop for those reasons. They might not remember us, but we need to show we remember them.
  10. Book Review: Becoming Mrs. Lewis. I highly anticipated this one, but ended up having mixed emotions.

So 2019 has officially closed, and I look forward to spending time with you in 2020. Thank you so much for coming here to read and visit. You are an immense blessing to me.

“Hitherto hath the Lord helped us.” I Samuel 7:12. “The word ‘hitherto’ seems like a hand pointing in the direction of the past. Twenty years or seventy, and yet ‘hitherto hath the Lord helped us!’ Through poverty, through wealth, through sickness, through health, at home, abroad, on the land, on the sea; in honor, in dishonor, in perplexity, in joy, in trial, in triumph, in prayer, in temptation–‘hitherto hath the Lord helped!'” Charles Spurgeon

(Sharing with Global Blogging, Hearth and Soul, Happy Now, InstaEncouragement,
Worth Beyond Rubies)

Laudable Linkage

Here are a few interesting reads found on the web lately:

Next in the Sexual Revolution: Children. HT to Proclaim and Defend. “They claim children are sexual beings too and who are we to deny a consenting child that right?” Scary and appalling.

Matthew 18 is Not Instructive for Book Reviews, But Much of the New Testament Is, HT to Challies. “‘Did you contact the author privately before you posted the review?’ . . . The question invokes the well-known, but oft-misunderstood, church discipline passage in Matthew 18:15-20.”

The Miracle That Can Happen When You’re Tired. “They were tired. They were overworked. They were hungry. Which just so happens to be the perfect time for God to display His power.”

Who Says Social Media Can’t Make You Wise? HT to True Woman. “Ten years of social media has shown me the wisdom of being slow to speak, how comparison kills joy, how in-person friendship knows no substitute. But it has also taught me the sweetness of the well-timed word of encouragement, of shared celebrations and shared losses. Used wisely, a virtual platform can actually minister. For those indwelt by the Spirit, wisdom can be unearthed from even such common soil as social media.”

14 Stunning Illustrations That Perfectly Capture the Introverts Love of Books, HT to Linda

The $8,000 Mistake All Bloggers Should Beware. I forget where I saw this one. “Copyright laws have created and enabled an industry of predatory lawyers – also known as copyright trolls. These attorneys take advantage of photographers and artists who make their images available online, as well as the bloggers who don’t know any better and post the wrong content to their sites.” Apparently they don’t have to warn you first and give you a chance to take it down. We all know (or should) that just because a photo is on the Internet doesn’t mean we can use it. But apparently some of the instances we thought were ok, like a link back to the original site, don’t justify the use of the photo.

You’re Using a Cutting Board Incorrectly, HT to Challies. I never knew! But it makes sense!

And, finally, someone on Facebook posted this video of a baby trying chocolate milk for the first time. Adorable!

Happy Saturday!

Laudable Linkage

Just a few good reads to share today:

Read Your Bible to Fight Unbelief, HT to Challies. “We stop reading it when, in our unbelief, we start living as if we were autonomous and knew well how to do this thing called life without any direction from the Holy Spirit.”

Why Paul’s Messy Churches Give Us Hope.

Walking Saints Home, HT to Challies, on “the calling to walk with men and women to the end of their earthly lives.”

Why You Shouldn’t Stop Blogging (or Why You Should Consider Starting)

And, finally, this was floating around Facebook a while back. It always cracks me up:

Happy Saturday!

Results of Your Blogging Preferences Poll

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When I first started blogging, blogs were simple with a feel of neighbors visiting over the fence. In the twelve years since then, bloggers have been urged to find their niche and develop their platforms. Certain features became musts. I had mixed emotions about some of the advice given in “how to have a successful blog” articles, so I decided to ask my readers about their own preferences in a poll. My friend Lou Ann has conducted polls with Survey Monkey a few times, so I asked her about them and then took the plunge.

I had originally planned to announce the poll on my blog, give my own readers a couple of days to have first crack at it, and then share the poll on social media. However, I decided not to do the latter for two reasons. First, I wanted the answers to just reflect readers’ preferences. I didn’t want strangers to the blog to filter in what they did or what they thought should be done. Secondly, Survey Monkey’s free plan only allows for 100 responses. I wasn’t sure what to do if I should happen to get more than 100, and I didn’t want people to get angry or upset if they couldn’t respond. In retrospect, I realize I could have said upfront that only the first 100 responses would be taken.

The poll received 51 responses in a week’s time. I’ll share the questions, results, and a few of my thoughts. The first number is the people who chose that particular answer; the second number is the percentage that answer received among total responses.

Question 1: Is it important to you that bloggers you read follow a consistent schedule?

  • Yes (1; 2%)
  • Somewhat, but it’s not the most important factor (34; 68%)
  • No (15; 30%)

I did not take the poll myself, but my answer would have been the second response. All kinds of blogging advice articles talk about setting and maintaining a schedule so readers know what to expect, but that is not all that important to me as a reader. I enjoy the rhythm of blogs who do follow a schedule or routine, but I also enjoy many with no discernible schedule.

Question 2: How do you feel about pop-up notices asking you to subscribe or offering you free booklets, printables, prayer guides, etc.?

  • I like them. They make it easy to respond. (1; 1.96%)
  • I’m ambivalent about them (3; 5.88%)
  • Hate them (23; 45.10 %)
  • I don’t mind them, but I don’t like for them to pop up the first few seconds I’m on the site or right in the middle of what I am reading. (24; 47.06%)

My answer would have been #3. I don’t care for pop-ups of any kind, but I especially dislike when they appear the first few seconds after I open the site or they block the post I came there to read. It’s almost funny to see an eager “Hey, do you want to subscribe to my blog?” pop-up when I just got there and I don’t even know anything about the blog yet. And it’s irritating when a pop-up blocks the content and has to be clicked off in some way before I can continue reading. When someone comes to our site from a link somewhere else, don’t we want them to be able to read the post they came there for first? And if they like that, they may then decide they want more. Pop-ups are less objectionable to me if they come up on the side or in a corner after several seconds, but I’d rather have offers to subscribe or sign up for free stuff at the end of a post, on a sidebar, across a top banner, etc., rather than a pop-up.

Question 3: How do you prefer for bloggers to respond to your comments?

  • I don’t expect a reply at all (18; 35.29%)
  • A response in the comments (28; 54.90%)
  • A personal email reply (2; 3.92%)
  • A visit to my blog (3; 5.88%)
  • Other (0)

This is something I have long wondered about, and I’m sorry that I have been hit-and-miss in replying. I try generally to visit the blog of everyone who comments and leave at least one comment there, but I have missed that sometimes. I’ll try to work on responding in the comments from now on as well as visiting you as well.

Question 4: How often does your ideal blogger post?

  • Every day (2; 4%)
  • 2-4 times a week (34; 68%)
  • Once a week (11; 22%)
  • Once or twice a month (3; 6%)

Someone emailed me re this question that content was more important than frequency, and I agree. What one writes is a bigger factor than how often. If a blogger writes really good stuff, I’ll read it however often they post. But my answer would have been #2. If every blogger I read posted every day, I’d only be able to read a handful of blogs. There are only a couple I follow that do post every day, and I admit I only scan some of their posts. I follow a couple of authors who post very infrequently, and that’s fine: I’d rather they spend their time on their next book. So it depends on the blog, the blogger, and the available time any given week, but it looks like a few posts a week is the clear preference here.

Question 5: How do you feel about “tweetables,” lines in a blog post designed for you to click on to post directly to Twitter?

  • I like them: they make it easy to support the blogger and share the love. (2; 3.92%)
  • I don’t care about them one way or the other. (35; 68.63%)
  • I hate them: they seem pretentious and clutter the blog. (14; 27.45%)

I admit, the first few times I saw these, I thought they were pretentious. But then I saw a commenter ask one blogger for them because it was an easy way to tweet the blog post. I know a number of bloggers now who support each other in that way, promoting each other’s blogs on social media. For monetized blogs or authors or speakers using their blogs as platforms, the more observable blog traffic, the better chance they’ll have with sponsors or publishers. The situation in publishing these days unfortunately requires an author to be somewhat self-promotional. So I understand them more now, but at this point I am not comfortable with using them myself. I have little buttons at the bottom of each post where one can share to social media if desired, and I think each one automatically puts the title of the post in when shared. Thank you to those of you who do that!

Question 6: Do you sign up for newsletters from blogs that offer them?

  • Yes. I like reading more from the bloggers I follow (2; 3.92%)
  • I have for a couple of bloggers, but not everyone. (24; 47.06%)
  • No. I have all I can do just to read blog posts. (25; 49.02%)

The few times I did sign up for a blogger’s newsletter, I unsubscribed after a while, because they were mostly an additional post and a list of their posts on the blog over the last month, which I had already seen. I get a few author newsletters to keep up with when they have something new coming out, but they either don’t have blogs or I don’t read them, so I guess for me it’s either/or but not both.

Question 7: If a blogger is writing a lot on one topic, do you prefer one long post or several shorter posts?

  • One long post so all the information is in one place. (9; 17.65%)
  • Several shorter posts in a series so I can take it in a little at a time. (22; 43.14%)
  • No preference (20; 39.22%)

So it looks like a series of shorter posts wins out. 🙂 I have mixed emotions: I have seen some blog series where I felt like I was being baited to keep coming back, and if I want to link back to the series for future reference or to share it with others, it’s nice to have just one link for that. But other times it is easier to take in a little at a time in shorter posts, and sometimes there’s just way too much information for one post.

Question 8: Do you listen to blogger podcasts?

  • Yes (1; 1.96%)
  • A few (14; 27.45%)
  • No (36; 70.59%)

Usually if I am listening to anything, it’s an audiobook or music. I’ve seen people mention a few podcasts that sound tempting, but so far I haven’t gotten into them. But I know some people love them.

Question 9: How do you prefer to follow the blogs you read?

  • Email (19; 37.25%)
  • Facebook (7, 13.73%)
  • Blog aggregator like Feedly or Bloglovin’ (9; 17.65%)
  • Other (16; 31.37%)

I should have put a comment box with “Other” to find out what other ways there are to follow blogs. Besides just remembering where it is and checking back with it periodically, the only other option I can think of is newsletters.

Question 10: What posts do you like most here at Stray Thoughts?

  • Personal and family info. (1; 2%)
  • Friday’s Fave Fives (16; 32%)
  • Devotions/Biblically based posts (4; 8%)
  • Book reviews (13; 26%)
  • Laudable linkage (5; 10%)
  • Rambling “stray thoughts” (4; 8%)
  • Other (7; 14%)

Some of you commented that you wished you had been able to choose more than one answer. I apologize: I wanted to configure it that way but I couldn’t figure out how. So in one sense these numbers aren’t totally accurate, because many of you commented that you liked several of the options. But I guess they reflect “If you had to choose one, which would you choose.” 🙂 One commented that they appreciated that there were different categories. That was gratifying to me, because I have wondered if I should narrow the blog down to one focus or niche, though I have always like the hodgepodge aspect of it.

Thank you so much for your sweet, kind comments on this last question! They touched my heart. When I started blogging, of course I hoped for readers – otherwise I would have just started a journal. And I appreciated readers all along, but you have come to mean so much to me. When you share that something I have written touched or ministered to you in some way, it encourages me that God can use me tucked away here at my desk.

One reader commented that though we’re different in many ways, we have much in common because of Christ. I have so enjoyed that bond we share together. Some of you have become dear friends; I’ve even met a couple in person! Some of you have enlarged my horizons, encouraged me, convicted me, and helped me grow. Thank you! I love and appreciate you!

And thank you for taking the time to respond to this poll. If you have any other comments, I’d love to hear them.

One quick little unsolicited plug for Survey Monkey: they allow for 10 questions and 100 responses on their free plan. They were easy to use, even though I didn’t understand quite everything. They have other features that can be unlocked with a paid plan. In my short search, I did not see any other free survey plan that allowed for more than one question. This was a learning experience for me: I’ve thought of ways I could have phrased questions better. I had more than 10 questions I wanted to ask and came up with a few more, so, who knows, maybe I’ll come up with a part 2 poll sometime.

Laudable Linkage

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It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve been able to share the interesting reads I’ve come across, so I have quite a list accumulated.

Love Is More Than a Choice.

How I Process the Moral Failures of My Historical Heroes. I’ve been pondering this for some time, with the thought of possibly writing a post about it, so I was glad to see some thoughts very similar to my own.

Pray Them Home: Three Prayers to Pray for Prodigal Children.

The Father Who Eliminates Shame.

Ecumenical vs. Evangelical, HT to Challies. A good, concise summary of the history and the issues involved.

The Not So Simple Life. “No matter where you land on this simplicity spectrum, all of these endeavors don’t satisfy the peace we hope to gain from the ‘simple life’…Even simplification is a vain pursuit when it takes up so much room in our minds and our hearts.”

Don’t Take This Personally. “We each cast ourselves as the star (and director and producer) in our own movie. All our life’s plots revolve around us. And all the people in our relationships are supporting actors. But here’s the catch: The supporting actors in our movies are actually busy starring in their own movies.”

Dear Girl: Please Don’t Marry Him. “Your fear of breaking off the relationship should be obliterated by the fear of making a foolish marital choice which is far, far worse.” I don’t know anything about this author, but thought this was a good article.

Teens Who Choose Life in Unplanned Pregnancies Need Support and Respect, Not Shame, HT to Challies. Being pro-life is not just a matter of being anti-abortion.

The Art of Days. Seeing beauty in the everyday tasks.

Let Your Kids In On Your Ministry.

Desire, Choice, Consequence: Building Character Through Stories, HT to Story Warren.

Member of the Family.

As You Grow, So Should Your Dresses.

Is the ESV Literal and the NIV Gender Neutral? HT to Challies. Very little, if any, translation from one language to another is literally word for word the same, due to differences in sentence construction, words for which there are no equals, etc.

6 Keys to Help You Be the Boss of Your Blog.

The Numbers Trap, HT to True Woman.

Is Screen Time the Enemy of Reading? I almost didn’t read this, figuring I knew where it was going to go, but I was pleasantly surprised.

To a Schoolgirl in America: Writing Advice From C. S. Lewis.

Free ebooks, HT to Worthwhile Books.

I saw this on a friend of a friend’s Facebook, and I don’t know who originated it, but I think it’s great. The OT is so much more than moralistic stories.

What the Bible's About

(Links do not imply 100% endorsement of site or author.)

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Laudable Linkage

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Here’s a short but profitable list of reads discovered this week:

Can We Really Be Free From Fear? HT to nikkipolani. “The secret to our emancipation from enslavement to our excessive fears is a fear transfer. We need to stop fearing other things more than Jesus.” “For the Christian, every storm serves the Lord Jesus and demonstrates some aspect of his sovereign power.”

Domestic Abuse: A Victim’s Story. This is far more common than realized, in homes where you’d least expect it. If you need help or know someone who does, or suspect someone does, please read this.

Seven Lies We Tell Unmarried Women, HT to True Woman.

Speak Life: How to Deal When Your Children Fight.

Royalty-free images and copyright violations. This was from a Facebook post about a blogger who had gotten in trouble for using a photo she found on the Internet without permission. This article was linked and gives clear definitions about the different kinds of licenses, sources for free photos, etc.

5 Kid-friendly Ways to Celebrate Memorial Day, HT to The Story Warren.

Speaking of Memorial Day, Laura shared some great ways to celebrate as well and included this helpful graphic:

Happy Saturday!

 

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Laudable Linkage

Before I get to another installment of my bimonthly roundup of recent noteworthy reads on the Web, I wanted to mention Write31Days. The idea is to choose a topic that you can blog about for the 31 days of October. I’ve participated the last few years with 31 Days of Missionary Stories, 31 Days of Inspirational Biographies, and 31 Days With Elisabeth Elliot. I’m still undecided about this year – and October 1 is only a week away! It is a lot of work, and I’m a little afraid of over-burdening readers with so many posts. But I enjoyed and benefited from it before and received positive feedback. So I am still praying about it. One topic foremost in my mind was one I was actually thinking about compiling into a book, and I thought doing it for Write31Days might be a good precursor for that. Then I thought – why would anyone buy a book if the info. is here already. 🙂 So I am still thinking and praying. At any rate, I wanted to let you all know about it in case you might want to participate as well. This year’s Write31Days page gives you the guidelines, a list of categories, links back to previous topics, etc.

On to this week’s links:

Is the Bible Foundation to Christianity? (Short answer: Yes! But here are good reasons why.)

Understanding your Bible—The Big Picture View.

What God Does With Your Sin.

Find a Friend to Wound You.

The Beginner’s Guide to Conflict Resolution.

A Secret to Parenting that No One Tells You: The Strength is in the Struggle.

5 Practical Guidelines for Reading the Old Testament Laws. This is probably the hardest section of the Bible to read – maybe after the genealogies – but these help put them in perspective.

Some Things That Have Helped Me in My Struggle With Anxiety.

Feed My Sheep. I wish I had thought more like this when my mother-in-law was in assisted living and a nursing home.

Christians, Cribs, and Co-Sleeping. I’m linking to this not for the discussion about where babies should sleep, but for how she applies truths here to others areas of parenting and faith and practice. There are fundamentals and then there are secondary issues, and on the latter we need to give each other grace to be different.

Beautiful Books and A Beautiful Book List.

And a couple of videos to give you a smile: an adorable three year old and her dad singing “At Last I See the Light” from Tangled.

And this:

Happy Saturday!