Friday, November 15, 2019

Reasons Why You Should and Should Not Follow My Blog

Recently I’ve noticed something going around on the blogosphere that I feel should be addressed, and that’s the subject of followers. Too many people come on and follow a blog for the wrong reasons. Sometimes they’ll do it so that you will come and check out their blog. Then, when you don’t play the game, you’re unfollowed. Or what about those who follow your blog and constantly compare themselves to you? Rather than being built up by the content that you post, they’re torn down.
Thus, this post, titled “Reasons Why You Should and Should Not Follow My Blog.” You may not agree with everything I share in this post, but that’s all right. We’re each entitled to our own thoughts and opinions, and I respect that. In the same way, please respect what I believe. If you’re of the same opinion as me, that’s great. If not, that’s fine too.

So, let’s begin!

First:


REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD NOT FOLLOW MY BLOG



·   Your walk with Christ is hampered by what I share

·   You tear yourself down when you read my posts by comparing your writing to mine, your relationship with Christ to mine, etc.

·    You think you’re obliged to follow me because I’ve followed you or left a comment on your blog

·    You want more followers for yourself



REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD FOLLOW MY BLOG



·    Your walk with Christ is strengthened by what I share

·    You’re encouraged by the content on this blog

·    You want to stay updated on the blogger’s new baby sister, or on the projects she’s currently at work upon (😊)

·    A friend has recommended following my blog

·    You’ve prayed, you’ve thought, and you’ve stalked me for a bit, finally deciding that yes, you’d like to follow me


So here are the reasons I could think of. If you have any more you’d like to offer for either section (should not or should), be sure and comment below. 
Now this is not to say that I don’t want to find other bloggers out there. I don’t mean that at all. Actually, I love encouraging new bloggers, dropping comments, and adding blogs to my follower’s list. But instead of following me for the wrong reason, I’d prefer that the blogger would simply leave a comment, telling me, “Hey, I recently started a blog. Would you mind checking it out? Here’s the link . . .” I’ve had a number of you do this, so thank you. 😊 
Okay, there’s my soapbox. Thanks so much for reading, and I’d love to hear your thoughts on this as well! You’ll find the comment section below.

Signing off for now,
Ellen

Thursday, November 14, 2019

Musing #106 - Bookmail!! (and Reviews)

Yay! I received my copies of Jem Strikes Gold and Jem's Frog Fiasco yesterday and added them to my overflowing Andi-and-Jem shelf last night. That means . . . it's review time. :-)

JEM STRIKES GOLD

Jem Strikes Gold was a fun read, and I give it four stars. I sat down with my seven-year-old brother and three of my sisters as soon as the book arrived and read aloud the first chapter. They were hooked, and I look forward to sharing more with them. I'm not the biggest fan of books centered around bullies, but I do like the lesson you can learn from this: be still and do the right thing, and God will take care of you. (Read the book, and you'll see what I mean.) 
I recommend Jem Strikes Gold for girls and boys ages 6 and up. 






JEM'S FROG FIASCO


Really enjoyed this one; I rate it five stars. Even my one-year-old sister benefited from this book! She carried it around, studying the cover and pretending to read, then brought it to Mom. Pointing to the frogs on the cover, she said, "Ribbit, ribbit!" Mom asked her to find other things in the book as well, and my sister enjoyed showing off the numerous illustrations to us both. :-) It was so sweet!
Anyway . . . more on the book: Jem takes on the job of catching frogs for the cafe owner in Goldtown, but his sister, Ellie, seems to get in his way all the time. Finally, after a big fight between the two, Ellie disappears. Where is she? Jem determines to find her and bring her home. 
Like Jem Strikes Gold, I recommend this book for girls and boys ages 6 and up. Through this book readers both young and old will learn the value of siblings . . . as well as the effect ugly words can have on people. 



So tickled to see my name in here as "Mama Coulter." ;-)


                                                                                                           



Are you excited for these books? Have you read Susan K. Marlow's "Goldtown Adventures" series? Let's talk in the comments below!

Monday, November 11, 2019

Musing #105 - More About My NaNoWriMo Project

Interested in knowing more about the novel I'm writing for NaNoWriMo? Read on for the synopsis, excerpt, genres, current word count, and a moving song that fits one of the main characters!

BACK-COVER SUMMARY:


Life is so hard to fight alone, and that’s the problem young Sophia English faces as she steps upon the soil of America for the first time ever. Having originally left her homeland with her beloved husband only a short while ago, she had never thought it would happen this way: that a freak accident would change her life forever . . . and leave her stranded on a land she knows nothing about. Sophia struggles to understand the reasons behind it all. Amid the tears and questions, her heart is stirred up with a hope: Is there truly Someone out there Who cares for her, is with her every second of her life? Or is this “Jesus” all a made-up fantasy tale? After all, if Jesus were real, why had He let all these bad things occur in her life?

EXCERPT:


“Mrs. English?” Knuckles rap on my door. “Mrs. English, we’ve arrived.”
I look up, snuggling my shawl closer around me. I watch as the door to my cabin trembles from a crew member trying in vain to get it open. 
“Mrs. English,” I cringe at the desperation in his voice, “please come out.”
Not yet, I return silently. I don’t want to see my husband’s land. I gaze again upon the pillow beside me. The pillow that, in my imagination, still feels warm from my husband’s head. The head that laid there just hours before the accident . . . two weeks ago. 
The last thing on earth I want to do is set foot on the land we always talked about together. The land where he told me we’d be happy together. The land where he told me we’d – 
I shake my head to clear the thoughts, the memories, but they only press harder at me. I shut my eyes, and a single tear leaks out. Why’d you leave me, John? Why’d you break your word? I need you! I simply can’t live without you. I can’t!

GENRES:

Young Adult, Christian

CURRENT TOTAL WORD COUNT:

17,051 words

SONG:




Did you enjoy this sneak peek? How's your NaNoWriMo project coming along? Do you think you'll make it to 50,000 words? Let's talk in the comments below! 

Friday, November 8, 2019

Musing #104 - "What If I Gave Everything?" ~ Part 1

I sit down in my chair and reach for the speaker that sits on my desk. "You want some music?" I ask my one-year-old sister, who answers, "All 'ight!" I smile and press down on the button. A moment later, and the bluetooth speaker comes to life. I connect it with my device and click the Pandora icon. It isn't long before the music begins to slip through, starting with one of my favorites, "You Are Good" by Nichole Nordeman, and evenutally turning to a song by Casting Crowns that (believe it or not) I've never heard before called "What If I Gave Everything?" Interested, I perk my ears, and my sister begins to nod her head to the beat.
The words immediately catch me:

All my life I longed to be a hero
My sword raised high, running to the battle
I was gonna take giants down
Be a man you would write about
Deep in my chest, is the heart of a warrior

So why am I still standing here
Why am I still holding back, from You
I hear You call me out into deeper waters
But I settled on a shallow end
So why am I still standing here

I was so afraid, what it might cost to follow You
I'd walk by faith if I could, get these feet to move
But I don't wanna live that way
I don't wanna look back someday
On a life that never stepped across the line

So why am I still standing here
Why am I still holding back, from You
You've given me a faith, that can move a mountain
But I'm still playing in the sand


Building little kingdoms that will never stand
I hear You call me up, into deeper waters
But I settled on a shallow end (shallow end)
I'm so tired of standing here
What if I gave everything to You

What if I gave everything
What if I stopped holding back from You
Starting now, I'm stepping out onto deeper waters
What if I gave everything
What if I stopped holding back from You
Starting now, I'm stepping out onto deeper waters
I wanna see some mountains move

Ready to give everything
Say goodbye to standing here.


The song draws to a close, and, in response to the final verse, my sister crows, "G'bye!" I smile, still contemplating the words and how they apply to my life.
God used this song to show me two things, one of which I'll be sharing in this post. The second tidbit will be coming later (so be sure and keep an eye out for "What If I Gave Everything?" ~ Part 2).
As followers of Jesus, we're called to share the good news and spread the Gospel everywhere. As followers of Jesus, we're supposed to be brave and speak up for what's right. But as weak humans and vile sinners, we draw back, finding our seats on the "shallow end" of the ocean God is pulling us to, choosing instead to play in the "sand" - what's familiar, comfy, easy
We're holding back, holding on tight to the things that don't matter.
God never promised that being a Christian and telling others about Him would be easy, but He did promise that He would be with us through it all. 
And yet, when He nudges us to reach out to unbelievers, we plant our feet. We close our lips, clamp down on our calling. 
It's time to stop holding back. It's time to jump right into that deep water - time to share our faith, see mountains move. 
Are you ready to give everything? Say "goodbye" to standing here, and plummet forward?
Go ahead - He's got you.

Thursday, November 7, 2019

Musing #103 - "Troubles of a Hog Farmer"

Hello all! Happy Thursday. :-) I've been hard at work on my NaNoWriMo project (more on that later), but, as promised, here is your short story for the week. It's called Troubles of a Hog Farmer and is written from the POV of one of the pig-herders from Mark 5:1-20. Below I've copied the passage after which it is based - I recommend reading through that before tackling Troubles of a Hog Farmer.
Enjoy!

Friday, November 1, 2019

Musing #102 - I'm Doing Camp NaNoWriMo!!

This is my first year ever, y'all, and it was kind of a last-minute decision, but . . . I'm officially participating in Camp NaNoWriMo! 
I. AM. SO. EXCITED!!!
All during the month of November, I'll be snatching up free moments to work on my novel, America. The goal is to reach 50,000 words, and I'm eager to take on the challenge. (But keep in mind that you are reading the work of a girl who has never hit 15,00 words in one book before.) I'll be wracking my brain and pounding on the keyboard for a straight month. And if I come back to the blogging world in December absolutely drained, you'll know why. ;-)
Now for another bit of news: 
While I don't plan on laying off blogging entirely, I am going to draw back a bit, and I probably won't have a good, full-length post to share for a time. Hang in there, though - you guys will be some of the first to see my book once it's written and polished. :-) And - hold up! I just remembered that I do have a couple finished stories I'd love to share with my readers. I'll copy those onto my blog and schedule them to post throughout the next few weeks. Hopefully that'll soften the blow for you all. ;-)
So, good-bye for now!!

A fun writing quote for extra inspiration. :-)

Interested in knowing more about Camp NaNoWriMo? Click HERE to visit the official site.
Are you doing Camp NaNoWriMo this year? If so, what's your username so that I can find you? 

Friday, October 25, 2019

Musing #101 - "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" by Laura Danner

Guys, I'm so excited! There's a new author amongst us! 
Laura Danner has recently published her very first book, Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. It's a novella, and it's really good. I downloaded it on my Kindle this morning and enjoyed it very much. 100% recommend. 
Here is the back cover summary:


"What have I to dread, what have I to fear, Leaning on the everlasting arms? I have blessed peace, with my Lord so near, Leaning on the everlasting arms!"
As the words float by her, Meg is bitter. "What have I to dread? Life without either of my parents!" she fumes inside. "What have I to fear? Going to live with a family we've never met!" 
Follow along as Meg Sonnenfeld is orphaned, come with her as she goes to live with a large family a few hours away, learn why Lissie, one of the girls she goes to live with, is so bitter, and see what happens when cholera strikes—again. Will Meg's sister die? Why has all this happened? Will Meg learn to "Lean On the Everlasting Arms"?

Leaning on the Everlasting Arms is the perfect read for girls both young and old - I'd say 10+. Clean, wholesome, and romance-free, Laura did an amazing job of keeping me wrapped up in the story. I can't wait to share this book with my younger sisters! I invite you, too, to hop on over to Amazon and grab your own copy of Leaning on the Everlasting Arms. Spread the word, and don't forget to give Laura @ Flowers In My Basket a follow!