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10 Things I’ve Learned About Blogging

5 Aug

Kelly is hosting a carnival today about blogging and I thought it would be fun throw a post into the mix.

For what it’s worth, there are days when I think I am the world’s worst blogger and do all the wrong things.  But I have been on this journey for 3 1/2 years and it’s been a great one.  Here is what I’ve learned!

1. If you’re not having fun – it’s just not worth it.

Blogging should only seem like a job if it is your actual full-time job.  In which case, I still think you should enjoy it!  If you are feeling overwhelmed, take some time off, re-evaluate and change your habits.  It makes a huge difference.  Don’t worry about your numbers or stats dropping while you take some time.

Sanity > Blog Stats – all the way!

2. Blog often.

You only get better at things that you do on a consistent basis.  Practice doesn’t make perfect, but practice does make your writing more concise and the process of putting together a post a little bit easier.

3. Post photos – lots of them!

Photos break up hard-to-read text and give readers lots of delicious eye candy.  There is definitely something to be said about giving the folks reading your blog something to visualize.

4. Post photos as LARGE AS POSSIBLE!

There is a huge difference between posting this:

And posting this:

Photos are eye candy – make them as big and delicious as possible!

5. Decide what type of blogging genre you fit into – and make it clear so first time visitors can quickly understand what kind of blog they’ve stumbled onto.

I noticed a huge change in my blogging when I started focusing on food.  There were many reasons for my leap into food blogger-dom (work being one of them but that’s a post for a different day), but all in all it has focused me in a way that I wasn’t before.

6. Don’t let yourself be confined by your blogging genre.

Okay, okay.  I know that counteracts what I just said – but blogging is a neat way to chronicle your life.  If you only let yourself blog about certain things, you might miss out on some neat conversations.  There may also be times when there is a lot going on in your life that will prohibit you from blogging solely within your genre.  For example – if I start posting a lot of pictures about my cat, it generally means that work is crazy and I haven’t had time to cook anything interesting. 🙂


7. Be real.

A few weeks ago, I put it all out there and wrote a post about the fact that I wasn’t taking care of myself.  I was raw, open and probably the most honest I have been in awhile.  It was hard for me to hit publish, but the out pour of love and support has been incredible.  I’ve learned through this experience that no one is perfect.  Sometimes reading other people blog about the good parts of their lives makes it seem that way – but it is not true.  Be honest about who you are – you may help someone to do them same!

8. Don’t be inappropriate.

This is my husband and I love him.  We don’t have the perfect marriage.  I don’t pretend we do.  But I also don’t hop on here and blog about every argument or disagreement we have.  It is inappropriate and an invasion of his privacy.

I think there is being open and then there is being inappropriate.  I always try to land somewhere in the middle.

9. Always seek to strike a balance between blogging in real time and letting things sit.

The Holy Book of Ecclesiastes says, “To everything there is a season.”  And that’s true for blogging.  There is a time to say, “Hey!  Look what I made for my potluck/meeting tonight!” …

… and a time to say, “Lately, I’ve been going through some things and I am finally ready to process them on here.”

If you blog too soon, you might end up saying something that you don’t want the internet to read.  And the internet doesn’t let you take things back.

10.  Tell the people who read your blog that you love them as often as possible.

There are a lot of blogs out there to read.  Love the people who read yours.  Thank them when they tell you that you’ve spelled something wrong.  Engage in respectful conversations when they don’t agree with you.  Speak with humility.  Don’t refer to them as ‘readers’ but as ‘friends’.  They are as much a part of your blog as you are.

Blogging is an awesome journey and one that has changed my life in so many positive ways.  If you’re on the fence about starting one up, I would strongly encourage you to do it!  I can still remember sitting in my first apartment in Atlanta, watching football with Bruce – the Packers lost that night 😦 – and saying, “You know what?  I’m going to try starting one of those blog thingies.”

And what do you know?  Here I am.

Beat The Heat Breakfast + Marriage Talk

22 Jul

Oh man – it was 90 degrees at 9:00 this morning.

I don’t want to talk about it.

If you need me, I’ll be in the air conditioning.

It is just toooooo hot for black coffee right now. 

I hesitated to even turn on the toaster this morning, but I didn’t have any cereal or yogurt in my fridge.

I’m starting early with ice water – stay hydrated friends!

***

So Kelly’s Korner is talking marriage advice today and I thought it would be fun to link up.  Welcome to anyone stopping by from Kelly’s blog!

Bruce and I got married on June 13, 2009.  We had been together for about 2 1/2 years prior (our engagement was about a year).

Throughout our relationship we have been through four moves, one masters degree (mine), two ER trips (one for each of us), countless plane rides, creative commuting ideas when we were a one-car family in Atlanta (him on a bike and me walking or on a scooter), and one ordination.  There really has never been a time when we have felt settled.

Until now.  And looking back on the past couple of years, I know that making it through that means we can make it through anything!

My best advice for anyone getting ready to get married or having trouble in your own marriage is to learn how to speak each other’s languages.  Everyone brings their own story, history and family system to a marriage and there are going to be times when those stories/histories/systems clash.  And that’s okay!  Don’t get worked up when that happens because it’s normal.  The key is to learn how to interpret what the other person is saying and how to help the other person interpret what you’re saying.

Over the past couple of years, Bruce and I have actually developed our own language, which really helps us communicate!

Marriage is a journey – one that you are on together.  You will never be a perfect husband or wife. You will never have the perfect marriage.  Never.  If that is what you aim for every day, you will make yourself crazy.  Be humble in who you are and in your marriage.  Count your blessings when you are feeling frustrated.  Be willing to make compromises.  Articulate what is really important you and know how to see what is important to your spouse.

Tell your spouse that you love them several times a day, even when you are having an argument.  Actually – especially when you are having an argument!

And have fun.  Because marriage SHOULD be fun!

What is your best marriage advice?!

Stay cool everyone!

Would You Like Sweet Potato Fries With That?

8 Jul

Hooray!  Kelly’s Korner is talking about side dishes today – one of my favorites!  I realized when I was putting this post together that I do not have a ton of them archived on my recipe page (I’m going to have to change that!) – but here are my favorites!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries
I wish sweet potatoes were in season year round.  Wouldn’t that be amazing?
Sweet Roasted Acorn Squash
I stand firm at the conviction that because this is squash, it is healthy.
Pop Pop’s Corn Casserole
A family favorite!
Keck Potatoes
I love learning how to make meals that my dad taught me how to make!
Southwestern Pasta Salad
Do yourself a favor and bring this to every potluck and picnic you attend this summer.  You won’t be sorry!
Thanks for stopping by!  Head over to Kelly’s blog for more recipes.  xoxo

Breakfast Love

1 Jul

I will come as a surprise to no one that I love breakfast.  I love starting the day right and I love trying new and different recipes so I’m not having the same thing every morning.  Kelly is hosting a blog hop today to share breakfast recipes and I thought it would be fun to link up.  Here are some of my favorites!

Baked Oatmeal

The raspberry sauce makes a great topping for this recipe!

PB&J Oatmeal

This is one of my favorite ways to enjoy oatmeal!  But there are several others too … 

Savory Scramble

This is a great brunch recipe – full of protein, veggies and dairy.

Breakfast Rice Bowl

 One of my favorites, especially in the winter!

Cinnamon Scones

These are so easy!  And so versatile in terms of what you put into them.

Oatmeal Cinnamon Walnut Pancakes

These are to die for!  You would never know there is OATMEAL in them!

These are just some of my favorites – check out my recipe page for all of them.  Thanks for stopping by!

***

Go here for more breakfast recipes!

Sweet Tooth

27 May

Tomorrow’s Friday!  I love Fridays!  Fridays = My Day Off, which means Fridays = The Today Show, long walks, miscellaneous cleaning, time to catch up on blogs and more time with my husband.  Pure bliss.

I had so much fun last week taking part in Kelly’s recipe swap that I thought I would link up this week as well.  The item on the agenda?  DESSERT!  Mmm … I love dessert.  Almost as much as I love Fridays.

Here are some of my favorites that have made it to the blog.  Click here for all of my recipes!




Now I’m hungry!  Head over to Kelly’s post to see other dessert recipes.

My Favorite Summer Entrees

20 May

The sun is shining!  The sun is shining!

Kelly is hosting a blog party today where bloggers are given the chance to share some of their favorite main dish recipes.  In honor of the fact that the sun is shining for the first time all week, I thought it would be fun to put some of my favorite summer recipes together in one post and link up.

Here are some of my favorites!  You can click on the photos to be brought to the recipes.  See my recipe page for everything I have archived here.

 

I hope you enjoy these dishes as much as I do!  And head over to this post to get some other delicious inspiration!
xo,
Sarah

My New Church!

1 Apr

What perfect timing! I was working on my sermon reading blogs and happened to see that Kelly is doing a Show Us Your Life about churches!  I never finished talking about my new church on here so I thought now would be a perfect time (and there are sanctuary pictures!).

For those of you coming over from Kelly’s blog, I have been called as the Senior Pastor of the Rehoboth Congregational Church in Rehoboth, Massachusetts.  My official start day is tomorrow (all of mine and my husband’s belonging are currently packed in a UHAUL ready to arrive at the parsonage!).

This is me standing in front of the church after I preached my Call Sermon and the church voted to call me.  The search process is long and complicated and this was the last step.  There were about 175 people in church that Sunday – a big crowd to preach to at a small-town Congregational Church!

My office!  I can’t wait to turn it into a zen-filled spiritual environment.  I think people should walk into a pastor’s office and feel an instant sense of calm, agreed?

One of the things that I really loved about this church when I interviewed was their commitment to their children and youth.  They actually have a paid church school director (who is amazing!) which shows how important bringing up children in a strong church environment is.
Isn’t the sanctuary beautiful?
I also love that this church is a community church.  Rehoboth is a small town and a lot of time church events = town events AND town events = church events.  Bruce and I both grew up in small towns and we’re excited to be part of a new communtiy.
The church is a member of the denomination, The United Church of Christ.  I will be ordained into the UCC on April 10th!  I started the process of ordination in June of 2007 – it feels surreal to be planning the service now!
The United Church of Christ is a progressive mainline denomination that is grounded in the statement, God is Still Speaking.  Members seek to see how God is still actively speaking in their lives.  One of my passions in ministry is to see how God can speak through ordinary, everyday life.  I actually told the search committee when I interviewed that crossing the finish line of my half marathon was one of the most spiritual experiences of my life!
I’d love to talk more about the United Church of Christ if you are intrigued by the God is Still Speaking campaign.  I know a lot of UCC clergy all around the country so I could easily help you find a church in your area.  I think having a strong, vibrant and supportive church community does more than just feed your spiritual needs.
Thanks for stopping by!  Please feel free to follow along as I start this new phase of my life and ministry!
Rehoboth folks – see you soon! xoxo