Filling My Prayer Closet

7 Must Have Blogging Resources

Blogging, Social MediaCristina 8 Comments

This week is all about blogging and social media, have you noticed?

Monday, we talked about social media and whether or not it’s really bad for you (especially for those who have given it up for Lent!). On Tuesday, I shared an ULTIMATE blogging resource, the Knowtbook. Amy Lynn Andrews is a bloggerpreneur like no other. Sorry, that didn’t really rhyme. Here are my 7 Must Have Blogging Resources (there may be more than 7 of them, because you should have more) This is not an exhaustive list. How is that even possible?

7 Must Have Blogging Resources sharing all the blogs I go to for the best blogging tips and tricks, blogging tutorials and social media tips. I even include some blogging books as a bonus! @fillpraycloset

If you want access to my Blog Crafting printable, where I share all the steps to my before and after blog post publishing process (and all the social media craziness I do!), just click on the button at the end of this post. It was released to email subscribers yesterday afternoon in a special-just-for-them email. I love you “tree of trust” people. They know what that means. And my apologies to my email friends, there was a lapse in the password changes to access my freebies page. I'll let you know about that in an email! to my  On with the show!

--1--

Blog Clarity

From her 10 minute touch ups, to her in depth tutorials that I used to update my about page (check out those pins, people!). Melissa is a true find in the bloggy space. She’s written Blog Design for Dummies, which I admit freely, I bought. We’re all dummies at some point and can all learn from the ground up and find something of value, yes? She gives online courses that are smashing, let me tell you. She is the go-to for all things Pinterest and so it was a no-brainer to sign up for her Pinning Perfect course. I HIGHLY recommend it. Can I just say, I woke up one morning this week to 63 Pinterest notifications overnight. What? What? WHAT?! Yeah. There is a new class opening up in March (Sign up closes NEXT WEDNESDAY NIGHT) That session will run from 3/8-3/20 and there are still spots left. Just be sure to tell her I sent'cha.

--2--

Blogging on the Side

Becky and Paula share tips and tricks about SEO, monetization, income reports, beating blogger burnout, you name it and they strive to balance family and faith along with that. A tall order, right? They have a thriving Facebook community where ideas are teased and virtual high fives are given for small wins. They also have an ebook out, Blogging on the Side: Where Passion and Profit Meet. I remember when they were asking their Facebook group what title worked best! These ladies are really down to earth, are willing to share all of their knowledge and love community. Can’t beat that, right?

--3--

ByRegina.com: For the Bloggers and Creativepreneurs

 She doesn’t know this, but she singlehandedly has me cleaning out local stores of their toner. I print everything she puts out. She has a strong brand, sense of humor and everything she writes, for me, makes sense. If you haven’t heard of her, you’ve been under rocks. That, and I’m sorry I didn’t mention her sooner. I should have. She put out a blog planner earlier this year titled Epic Blog: One Year Editorial Calendar and I would have purchased it myself only I have 3 planners on my desk, and use two different online calendars too. I’m a bit of a planner fiend. Actually, now that I’m talking about it, I want it. See what she does?! My favorite post this minute is, 10 Signs You’re a Creative Coach {Who Blogs} and Not a Blogger. I have purchased her Grow Your Blog Traffic with Social Media ekit . Ummm, the ebook is like 175 pages and the workbook, 125. See? My poor printer. But I cannot get enough. Sign up for her email list. She hustles and gives freebies like lollipops. Like now. I’ll wait.

--4--

Beyond Your Blog

It’s just what the title says. Do you want to reach audiences outside of your little corner of the internet? This blog is for you. Susan shares lists and other bloggers’ first hand accounts of the application process for platforms like Huffington Post, BlogHer, Babble and Scary Mommy to name a few. They also cover how and where to submit to anthologies and online magazines too. I love their tips, tricks and tools tab, their podcast with editors. They also have a Facebook Group. Sign up and grow beyond your blog!

--5--

Blog Chicka Blog

Jill is new to me. I don’t know how I found her. I think she may have found me (dreaming here). I love to read her stuff before bed. It’s like she’s talking just to me, over tea and scones. You know, because in my head, we’re fancy. She is a photographer so she shares tips on all things images to make your blog visually appealing. On my Feedly, I can’t wait to read her “This Week in Blogging”. You know what it’s like, we get all excited about our side bar, or a new app, but does anyone else you know get that? Does Nana get all cuckoo for cocoa puffs at your new hex code color you pulled from Design Seeds? Probably not. But she may raise an eyebrow at income reports! Bam, she shares them too.  I’d suggest following her on Pinterest too. Why? Because I do and I wanna say that’s where she found me. I’m such a dreamer…

--6--

Blog Legally

Ok, so let me set you up for this. I am part of Brilliant Business Mom’s Facebook Group, we talked about them before. Love Beth Anne and Sarah and uh, hello they just published a post on their top 10 podcasts on the Etsy Blog, so I can totally say I knew them when (which was like a month ago. Talk about trajectory).  The put out a quick podcast asking their listeners if they needed a real physical address at the bottom of their newsletters. I posed it to my Tribe gals and we were kerfuffled. Needless to say, Monday, Cristina picked up keys to a P.O. Box at the nearest Post Office. One of my Tribe members, Mary, mentioned Blog Legally and I.ate.it.up! We should all know the rules and regs of blogging. If you’re a blogger you’re in the biz, and you need to protect yourself. What’s up, how-to on affiliate discolsures? That’s the end of my PSA.

--7--

The Blog Maven

I’m into productivity and entrepreneurship in 2015 and when I read this, my heart melted I said all the “me too’s” . Blogging is great, it’s a whirlwind, it’s a lot to think about and do, and all the to-do lists and the questions, the page views the aaaaaaaaaah! What does the almighty Blog Maven (whose name is Jeni, by the way) say:

1. Find out what people want.
2. Give it to them.

And you don’t have to be an “expert” to do it.

I mean, we know this, right? But sometimes, we need to be given permission to relax before our shoulders slide down and chill. Know what I mean? We are not our page views. Slamacow!

I promised extras yes? I’m reading Real Moms Making Real Money Blogging, At Home, In Their Pajamas (The Mommy Blogger Next Door Book 1) as in, this is a series, y’all. I love her approach so far. I feel like she could be from Brooklyn with her sassy responses to things. I plan on doing a book review next week so be on the lookout for that.

Have you read, How to Blog for Profit Without Losing Your Soul by Ruth Ann Soukup? It’s like ProBlogger for ladies. I will say that it’s CHOCK full of so much info that you should absolutely read one chapter at a time, and then implement, implement, implement till you can’t no more, and then move on to the next chapter.

So there you have it, are there any you would like to add? Some gold nugget blog resource that you can't stop stalking, I mean, reading? Do let me know (so I can add them to my Feedly!).

And if you want to know all about my before and after blog publishing process, Blog Crafting, you know what to do.

For more Quick Takes, head over to This Ain't The Lyceum!

Still want more blogging resources?? No problem!

7 Must Have Blogging Resources sharing all the blogs I go to for the best blogging tips and tricks, blogging tutorials and social media tips. I even include some blogging books as a bonus! @fillpraycloset

There are affiliate links in this post. Thanks for supporting Filling My Prayer Closet!

Why You Want to Know about the Knowtbook

Blogging, Social MediaCristina 2 Comments

Every Saturday morning, I can't wait to receive Amy Lynn Andrew's The Useletter®. It's a list of tips she's crawled the web for and freely shares with people who sign up to receive it. The way she says it: "The Useletter® is a wildly popular, weekly, hand-curated email for bloggers, authors, freelancers, online business owners and those who want to work from home. It contains handy tips, useful tools, cool stuff I find and a behind-the-scenes look at what I’m doing in my own online business." A self proclaimed introvert, she doesn't share these tips on social media (or anywhere else), because  "the two hardest parts of online business are (1) social media and (2) building relationships." 

So why do you want to know about the Knowtbook?

Why you want to know about @amylynnandrews Knowtbook it's chock full of blogging tips and tricks, blogging resources, social media tips, and simple blogging strategies you can't be without by @fillpraycloset

 

A bit of background on what I know about Amy Lynn Andrew's content.

I've been getting The Useletter® for a long time now. There was one Useletter where she reminded me (and all the other subscribers who forgot to put it in their calendars) of an upcoming affiliate campaign for Real Housekeeping. She didn't even know how useful she was being to me personally. Her list is that indispensable that more often than not, I immediately share it with Rhonda and my Mastermind Group because there is something applicable that we should implement.

Who else thinks Amy's the bees knees?

When Amy (we're on a first name basis in my head), started sharing teasers for the release of her Knowtbook, I paid very close attention. See, people want to "pick her brain" she's been interviewed on podcasts with Brilliant Business Mom's Podcast and How They Blog and was even interviewed at ProBlogger back in December. Everyone wants in on how her brain works. She thought, about how she could provide people with the information she gathered in a way that was easy, simple and useful. 

What's in the Knowtbook?

Behold the Knowtbook. She shares everything she's scoured and found as it relates to social media, promotion, blog monetization, time management, design, content creation and more. What I find fascinating is that all of the tips are cross referenced with hashtags. Didn't I say just yesterday that the hashtag is a quick one word search that can pluck like minded individuals the world over? This is similar in it's approach. For example, the hashtags she uses are not vast, but tight and concise with just a few to direct you to exactly what you're looking for. 

  • #action - things you can take action on
  • #book - good books to read
  • #post - indicates a post on my site with more tips and info
  • #resource - helpful websites or blog posts to read
  • #source - where my information comes from
  • #tool - tools I use and recommend
  • #tweetable - great things to post on Twitter and social media
  • #useletter - these are tips I shared in the useletter

So transparent and down to earth, she states right on the landing page:

If you need to be convinced, I recommend you pass. This is not meant to be a hard sell for a product as much as it is an inside look for those with an interest in my personal process and thinking. If you’re skeptical (I get that!), subscribe to The Useletter or go through my How to Blog series to get to know me first. Both of those are free.

I went ahead and purchased it just this Saturday. I didn't need convincing. To have a resource like Amy scouring the internet saves me time and energy. I now have access to all of the tips, tricks and resources from past archives that I may have missed, and this is a database that is dynamic, as in, when she finds something else, say next week, it will be, in the Knowtbook

Can I see a preview? Of course you can!

This is just one of my go-to resources for how I blog and stay up to day on social media, time management and administration. I am a curator of content for myself and others because it brings me joy to help anyone that wants to grow online. 

A little about how my brain works. 

As an aside, I have been listening to TED Talk radio lately, and this week's show is all about The Unknown Brain. The first segment interviews a neuroanatomist, Jill Bolte-Taylor who studied brains with schiziophrenia and bipolar disorder (not that Amy has any of these, bear with me) who suffered a stroke herself. The segment is fascinating and I was captivated by this one part of her rehabilitation, after the stroke. Jill Bolte-Taylor is also an author, and inspirational public speaker :

"My mother would ask me what I wanted for lunch and it was file opening time. She would say, do you want to have a peanut butter sandwich? And I'd go hunting, where’s peanut butter? Is there a file in my brain that understands peanut butter and if there was then I would say OK…and she’d say how about tunafish? And I’d go hunting for the file in my brain that understood what tunafish was.  As soon as we hit a file that I couldn’t go in and hunt for and find some kind of association to, then we would relive that, so then she would give me tunafish, so that I would have that experience.  

I highly recommend listening to this podcast and the one just before it, "How We Love" that was incredible. I digress...

I feel like the Knowtbook is collected and displayed much like the way Jill Bolte-Taylor describes how her brain searched for information. If you purchase it, you'll see what I mean.

If you purchase the Knowtbook (you can set your price, but the suggested price is $24), do let me know so we can give each other virtual high-fives!

Why you want to know about @amylynnandrews Knowtbook it's chock full of blogging tips and tricks, blogging resources, social media tips, and simple blogging strategies you can't be without by @fillpraycloset

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Is Social Media Bad for You?

Social MediaCristina 3 Comments

 

Scrolling through my Facebook feed this weekend, I came across an update. A friend was quoting someone she'd heard on a podcast. 

"Social Media is a bunch of people that don't know anything telling each other what to do!"

My response to that was, "Eh I wouldn't go that far".

But her post had my curiosity piqued. I had to listen to the podcast in context because I think social media gets a bad rap sometimes. So I listened to it and cocked my head to the side in confusion when I heard the quote.

So what is social media? Why is there such a mass exodus during Lent? Or why is it to blame for not getting actual work done?  Is Social Media bad for you?

Is social media bad for us? Is all the social media marketing just hype? Should we take social media tips and tricks with a grain of salt? Or is it something deeper? by @fillpraycloset

Social media is communication, whether it's visual, memes or 140 characters worth of text and tags. Social media has made our vast world just a little smaller. For people, like me, who find it difficult to connect with others in real life, or within the busyness of life as a working mother, it's brought people that share my interests to my fingertips. These virtual people have become real in the interactions that we share, life's moments that we capture and exchange with a photo, more so than my extended family for the most part

The hashtag has been made fun of in all media channels. Remember that Jimmy Fallon skit with Justin Timberlake? Heck, even I've made fun of it #hashtagallthehashtags. But, the hashtag is a quick one word search that can pluck like minded individuals the world over.

The mass exodus on social media for Lent may seem like a no brainer, but what is it that you are really giving up? Is it the platform, or your attachment to the platform? If you set time limits then it shouldn't become a vice. I use social media, probably more than the average bear, and I don't think giving it up for 40 days accomplishes anything. Being more mindful and setting boundaries? Absolutely. This is more about self control than a Facebook update, or a Twitter chat. 

Imagine if Cyndi at Embedded Faith shut down for Lent. Where could we get these cool Facebook cover photos? Or Deb Gaudino's reflections about how to have a successful Lent? These are just two blogs that I know of that ramp up during Lent. They see it as an opportunity to share what they're passionate about (in this case, the Catholic faith). They see this as a time of Evangelization and not social media darkness. 

What if Regina didn't have her 33 day Creative Cleanse going? I wouldn't be sharing this time with Rhonda, my accountability partner working through this for Lent (it's really great timing too, cleansing, preparing, Lent. I can't take credit for it, it was Rhonda's idea.)

Or further, what if I didn't sign up for an online class (that I am currently taking)? I wouldn't have met this blogger who wrote a timely piece about the accidental poisoning of their child. Timely because my dear friend just had this happen to her. Turns out, the blogger writes about some of the same topics I do and I she's already writing more that I can't wait to get to this evening on my Feedly app.

And let's not forget my Tribe, or Mastermind group. These ladies have actually been pushing me this weekend to get out of my comfort zone and vlog. While I don't think I am ready yet, I did post a short video on Instagram for #fridayintroductions, a link up where you post a photo of yourself and share a bit of who you are, answering a different question each week.

Social media has it's own etiquette and best practices, just like communicating with co-workers, people at church, in an interview setting, or at the gym. There are ideal posts with pixel sizes to consider, refreshing "About Me" pages to have just enough of a playful attitude to show that you don't take yourself too seriously. We are a virtual community that requires thought, and pause before interaction. Generally, if it doesn't work in a cocktail party setting, it won't work on social media, or any venue for that matter. And that's not just me telling you what to do, that's just manners.

Social media, like anything, isn't bad for us, it's our abuse of it, that turns the thing, in this case, social media, bad.

Consider this from Pope Francis:

In a world like this, media can help us to feel closer to one another, creating a sense of unity of the human family which can in turn inspire solidarity and serious efforts to ensure a more dignified life for all. Good communication helps us to grow closer, to know one another better, and ultimately, to grow in unity. The walls which divide us can be broken down only if we are prepared to listen and learn from one another. We need to resolve our differences through forms of dialogue which help us grow in understanding and mutual respect. A culture of encounter demands that we be ready not only to give, but also to receive. Media can help us greatly in this, especially nowadays, when the networks of human communication have made unprecedented advances. The internet, in particular, offers immense possibilities for encounter and solidarity. This is something truly good, a gift from God.
— Pope Francis

What are your thoughts? Do you feel that giving up social media is something you need to do for Lent, is it more about self control, something in between? I would love to read your thoughts on this one.

And if you ever want to learn more about social media, here's where I keep all of my favorite posts on best practices, tips and tricks via Pinterest.

Is social media bad for us? Is all the social media marketing just hype? Should we take social media tips and tricks with a grain of salt? Or is it something deeper? by @fillpraycloset

7 Movies from the 80s That Kids Need to See

linkups, Working MotherCristina 14 Comments

My husband was traveling recently, and I took it as a great opportunity to take my boys education into my own hands, by way of 80s movies. Because, that's how I do. These movies are some of my absolute favorite movies to watch today. There was a time where movies were all about the underdog, the unknown hero (to himself, most times) or the fantastical princess who could rock a ballgown, but still climb trees while keeping it classy. 

7 Movies from the 80s that your kids need to see. In fact, I use them as a proper movie night entertainment education for my boys! Now you could go all out and rock 80s hair and 80s makeup, I wouldn't judge ya! by @fillpraycloset

--1--

The Goonies. "Hey you guys!!!!" Who doesn't love a real life treasure hunt? Pair that with the reason for the quest and the different character archetypes of the actual Goonies? I love it. Data has to be my favorite character with his gadgets. The insertion of little lessons like not stealing other people's wishes show that though young, the kids have integrity. We can't not talk about Chunk and Sloth. That relationship? Baby Ruth and Rocky Road forever! Yeah, that's Cindy Lauper in the picture, because she's Good Enough

7 Movies from the 80s that your kids need to see. In fact, I use them as a proper movie night entertainment education for my boys! Now you could go all out and rock 80s hair and 80s makeup, I wouldn't judge ya! by @fillpraycloset

© 1985 - Warner Bros. All rights reserved.

--2--

The Neverending Story (1984). The beginning of this is tough to watch. Alex feels marginalized at school, not to the extent that Bastien, the main character does, but you could see as Alex was watching that he could relate when Bastien was running away from the bullies and entered a book shop where his life was forever changed. Well, not that there's a magical bookshop in Alex's future. But you get what I mean. Gabriel was sad for Artax, Atreyu's (Bastien's altar ego in the story) horse when he died in the Deadly Swamps of Sadness.  But all was well when the Luck Dragon, Falcor came to fly Artax from The Deadly Swamps of Sadness to just outside of his quest's destination (9,891 miles to be exact). Can't get enough of this movie, and the theme song? I can sing that all day.

7 Movies from the 80s that your kids need to see. In fact, I use them as a proper movie night entertainment education for my boys! Now you could go all out and rock 80s hair and 80s makeup, I wouldn't judge ya! by @fillpraycloset

© 1984 Warner Bros. Ent. All Rights Reserved

--3--

The Labyrinth (1986). David Bowie, M.C. Escher, ballgowns, goblins, falling through a hole where hands hold you up (Alice and Wonderland reminiscent anyone?) I love this movie. What starts out as a complaint over a little stepbrother, turns in to a quest to save the poor thing from turning into a goblin and living forever in David Bowie's, ahem, The Goblin King's Kingdom. They explain how all the things we've ever loved and lost are in one repository, a dump if you will. These little goblins do what they can to keep the main character, Sarah to remain with her junk and forget her the urgency of saving her little stepbrother. I love how this introduces in a fantastical way, the idea of the blended family. But come on, the music? Every song is a hit!

7 Movies from the 80s that your kids need to see. In fact, I use them as a proper movie night entertainment education for my boys! Now you could go all out and rock 80s hair and 80s makeup, I wouldn't judge ya! by @fillpraycloset

© 1986 Columbia/Tri-Star

--4--

The Karate Kid (1984). Can I just say, when I was growing up, I had the perfect Ralph Macchio haircut. I have curly hair. Back then, we just didn't know, we just didn't know. Perseverance, commitment, humility, and standing up for yourself. Pat Morita? Bonsai trees? Dressing up for a dance like a shower, the kiss you didn't see that happened in there, but all the swooning I did as a girl? Priceless. And who doesn't remember "wax on, wax off", "sand the floor, side to side". And the memorable song here? You're The Best Around. My kids sing this all the time. But why couldn't I have Elizabeth Shue's haircut? Hindsight people.

7 Movies from the 80s that your kids need to see. In fact, I use them as a proper movie night entertainment education for my boys! Now you could go all out and rock 80s hair and 80s makeup, I wouldn't judge ya! by @fillpraycloset

© 1984 Columbia

--5--

The Princess Bride (1987). Granted, I have to cover my boys eyes at all the kissy stuff, just like The Grandson's character. But the sword fighting, funny voices and these inconceivable characters make the boys forget about all the romance.  There are so many memorable quotes, especially when the haggard old woman in the Princess' dream screams:

Your true love lives. And you marry another. True Love saved her in the Fire Swamp, and she treated it like garbage. And that’s what she is, the Queen of Refuse. So bow down to her if you want, bow to her. Bow to the Queen of Slime, the Queen of Filth, the Queen of Putrescence. Boo. Boo. Rubbish. Filth. Slime. Muck. Boo. Boo. Boo.

The vocabulary! The kids kept asking me the meanings and I was able to get them to even use putrescence in a sentence!

7 Movies from the 80s that your kids need to see. In fact, I use them as a proper movie night entertainment education for my boys! Now you could go all out and rock 80s hair and 80s makeup, I wouldn't judge ya! by @fillpraycloset

© 1987 - MGM

--6--

E.T. The Extra-Terrestrial (1982). Elllll-eee-ot. Elllll-eee-ot. Elliot. Remember how E.T. would say his name? The relationship, the bond that's formed between this little alien and the 10 year old boy, Elliot is so symbiotic that when E.T. falls ill, so does Elliot. Elliot's brother and sister, Gertie try to get E.T. back home and defy the task force searching for E.T. for testing. And then the glowing finger!!! WAH! I cry every time. Can you pass the Reese's Pieces please. *sniff*

7 Movies from the 80s that your kids need to see. In fact, I use them as a proper movie night entertainment education for my boys! Now you could go all out and rock 80s hair and 80s makeup, I wouldn't judge ya! by @fillpraycloset

--7--

The Secret of NIMH (1982). Lab rats living in their own little world on a farm and below ground. Just what you would imagine (as a child) mice would be doing, if you ever got to see one. Oh Mrs. Brisby, to save your son you had to go to the wisest owl that lived. But, owl's eat mice and you were almost lunch, until you shared your name. Your name changed up the meal plan and revealed the Secret of NIMH. Secret societies and dark plots and talking , reading, intelligent mice - who knew that would make such a great story?!

 
7 Movies from the 80s that your kids need to see. In fact, I use them as a proper movie night entertainment education for my boys! Now you could go all out and rock 80s hair and 80s makeup, I wouldn't judge ya! by @fillpraycloset
 

 

I have more favorites that I will be subjecting my boys to. I know that some of these movies have kissing, or little swear words that my children do not say (they don't even say stupid, jerk or idiot!) but I know these movies so well that I know when to give'em earmuffs or cover their eyes. For the most part though, these are classics that should never be forgotten. 

What about you? Which movies would you add to this 80s list?!

For more quick takes, visit This Ain't The Lyceum!

Para el Pinterest (because Pinterest sounds masculine? Even though more women use it?) La Pinterest? I don't know. Here's your pin!

7 Movies from the 80s that your kids need to see. In fact, I use them as a proper movie night entertainment education for my boys! Now you could go all out and rock 80s hair and 80s makeup, I wouldn't judge ya! by @fillpraycloset

The Ashtag Debate

Faith, Lent, Lenten ResourcesCristina 6 Comments

I know I am a day late. Isn't that always the way with working mothers? Let's talk Ash Wednesday. Let me scroll back to Tuesday night. My family was asleep and I was still awake. When this happens, I read or pray the rosary. This time, I chose to do both. I walked over to the new bookshelf I received for Christmas from my husband, and pulled a book I bought myself last year A Lenten Journey with Jesus Christ and St. Thomas Aquinas by Paul Jerome Keller OP. I thought I would read the Ash Wednesday mass readings to really prepare myself for the day ahead. I try to read the mass readings the night before I go to mass so I can spend as much time carrying the Word with me throughout the day. But this time, I walked right into The Ashtag Debate. You know what the reading is, right? 

I know I'm a day late. I'm a working mother, it happens. I was running around Ash Wednesday and I needed some motivation to write. The Ashtag Debate? Who knew there were so many views on this scripture verse?  by @fillpraycloset

Image from eCatholic.com

Matthew 6:1-6, 16-18

“Beware of practicing your piety before others in order to be seen by them; for then you have no reward from your Father in heaven.
"So whenever you give alms, do not sound a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, so that they may be praised by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward.  But when you give alms, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your alms may be done in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you. 
“And whenever you pray, do not be like the hypocrites; for they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, so that they may be seen by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward. But whenever you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you.

I don't know how I missed that before Tuesday night, or maybe it didn't grab me like it did Tuesday evening. It was particularly those last verses that struck a chord for me and it seems I wasn't alone either. Daily, I check the pinned thread on the Catholic Women's Blogging Network on Facebook to share posts that I think others would like to read (even after I've already done my required sharing part - we ladies gotta stick together, yes?). I found this post by "CajunTexasMom" at Ora et Labora et Maternitas titled Why I Am Not Taking An #ashtag Selfie. The title resonated and I immediately hopped over to see what the deal was. I found myself nodding my head yes as I read:

...drawing attention to the ashes on our foreheads feels an awful lot like “sounding a trumpet” to me.  Of course, I understand that those whom we come in contact with during the course of our day today are bound to see the ashes and think “Oh, hey. That person is a crazy Catholic.”  I just think that an ashen selfie posted to social media profoundly magnifies and calls attention to the action, which seems in direct opposition to Our Lord’s directive.  Are not the likes and the comments we receive for these photos our “reward” and “praise by men?” 

I commented because by the end of her post, I thought maybe I shouldn't post an #ashtag selfie like I did last year. Maybe I was being given insight into doing things differently this year. Still unsure and having time yet to decide (I wasn't heading to mass until 7PM that evening) I had time to consult my besties Tiffany and S. I shared with them the post by CajunTexasMom and they, too were stumped.

Tiffany posted hers on her blog yesterday and thought she was called to be more in the middle (not posting it on social media, but just on her blog) stating "we do what we're comfortable with, I guess". I sent my photo to S last night after mass and asked her what she thought, including the link and she said "Oh no, don't post! Thanks for sharing that with me". She's really sick right now and couldn't even head to mass (I made sure to lean into Monsignor's thumb and get a little extra ash for her. Won't you pray she gets better soon?).

At 6:37AM I received an email from S with a new post with a simple subject "Another Viewpoint". She's so good that, S. An avid blog reader.

This post comes from Jonathan and Amanda Teixeira of True Good and Beautiful titled In Defense of #Ashtag.

Argument Against 2: It Makes Our Fasting and Prayers Public, and Jesus Says To Not Do That (My insert: see the scripture quoted above).
So do ashes on our foreheads. Or a crucifix on our necklace. Or saying grace before eating at a restaurant. Or priests and sisters wearing their habits or clerics in public. Or having a Mary statue in your yard. I would never skip going to the gas station on Ash Wednesday because I didn’t want people to see my ashes and end up “showing off”. In a similar way that I live part of my life at the gas station, I live part of my life online, and showing my ashes there is just sharing a part of me.

I am all about social media and using it to help others learn about Christianity and more specifically, Catholicism. Of that, I have never been quiet. I don’t do it for the “likes”, “follows” and “shares” there are other topics that I write about for that purpose. When I share how I infuse my daily life with Catholicism (or is it the other way around?) I do it with the eyes, heart and mind of that newly confirmed Catholic skipping down the church aisle after receiving her very first Eucharist. I do it with joy for the Gospel and sharing the Good News.

 
Happy Lent!

Happy Lent!

 

I encourage you to read both posts and then let me know what you think or how you feel about the #ashtag.

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