I've been thinking. I can just hear you - oh boy, what's she up to now. I promise, it's good. I'll be sharing blogging goodies that I know you'll love. Presumptuous, I know.
I hope you've noticed the changes I have been making to the aesthetics of this blog. With the changes that come from without, let's hope there are also changes within too. I think I have done what I can to share those shifts in perspective and lenses with you along the way and if you've missed it, these were them (is that the proper use of English? I think I painted myself into a corner on that one, it's not).
I was recently contacted by Melanie Jean Juneau (each part of her name links to some of her writings, fun!) in a very casual way to help her update the look and flow of her blog. 58 emails, 24 comments and a couple of Google+ posts later, I hope she likes where she's settled on it. I do! I admire her content greatly (and eye spy-ed her blog since I've been blogging) and she admires my website skills.
I share ideas with anyone and everyone who will listen or ask for that matter. I have come to realize that I am an idea person, with a little hunt and gather on the side. I never worry about hoarding anything I stumble upon. Why should I? The Land of Blog is big enough for all of us. Further to that, the point of my blog is Evangelization, as I have shared with you time and again. I am so about that, I created a tree around it. If I am called to evangelize I want it to be on all fronts, at all times and from all perspectives. That's why I share. I don't have all of the key phrases, images, and posts that will resonate with you. I certainly don't have the readership of - oh the world - to get the Good News out there. What I have, I leverage - and that's relationships. Relationships of every medium: social media, my kids' school, parishioners, babysitters, people on line at the grocery store - I think you get the idea.
My point is, I am called to be a fisher of men (women too, women too). I live with a a few toes in the secular and the rest of my body in the religious, specifically, Catholic, nuancedly (again, did I just make that up?) Dominican with Carmelite rising variety. I digress. I want to be able to mix the secular and spiritual in a way that is respectful and open to both. I feel, it's the only way I know how to build up the Kingdom as I am called to do.
Without further ado. Here's what I've found that has helped me to create this little slice of what I call Filling my Prayer Closet. The point here is to click, read, take what you think works for you and implement. If you have any questions, you can always reach out. Just ask Melanie, Emily, Joe, Tiffany, Michelle, Lynn - again, you get the idea. See what I did just there? I linked to other sites. Why? Because why not?! You may love what you read and who am I to keep you!
I signed up with SITS. In my former life - years ago (circa 2009) - I was featured here in a blitz when I sold candles. Yes, I am really sharing. In one of my many sleepless nights, I checked to see if they were still around and boy are they! I don't know if I am a fan of the you scratch my back I scratch yours thang they have going on. I want to know that the people who are around are because they want to, not just for a follow back. Not at all to be snubbed, however, they have amazingly wonderful content around blog aesthetics and social media how-to. Here are a few of my favorites:
And only my personal favorite: Free Social Media Icons Look familiar? It was this post specifically (along with the 10 Design Elements post) that inspired the change for the entire look of this space. I removed the pattern and the dark purple, remember that? I loved it, but I can't imagine that it was leaving you, the reader, with a feeling of peace and welcome - which is what I wanted. Sometimes you gotta forego what you love - and compromise.
I don't know how I jumped on this bandwagon, it was a late night interweb tunnel for sure - but, it's going to be so incredible that I can hardly keep from tweeting about it, or messaging friends for input. It's called the AtoZ Blogging Challenge and I, along with 784 others will be blogging through the alphabet in April. I've blogged about this briefly before. I know what you're thinking "Cristina, this is not at all a Catholic challenge, it's not even faith based". PRECISELY! I will be blogging bite-sized, true to the Magisterium Catholicism every day, Monday through Saturday. I created an editorial calendar and have been going through the days, preparing topics for this grande dame event. Some topics will include Beatitudes, Kateri Tekakwitha and Satan, Sin, Soul or Sirach - I haven't decided on the S's yet, clearly. But you do see how fun it will be? There's even a community already on Google+, Twitter and Facebook and it's a real community all about the building up of each other and supporting all writing goals with posts dedicated on how to be a better blogger. The goal here is to make it bite sized so it's not overwhelming for me or the reader. I put the link above, just in case you'd like to join me. I really wish you would. There's so much that could be learned and shared. What a great opportunity!
I left the best for last - because, to me, it's truly the best. I've learned more here than I have anywhere else. From rethinking how you communicate with readers on social media, to how to post my blog posts the right way on Google+, I just can't. I can't! Meeting with bloggerish types much? A not too much, a much too much. Please tell me you know that reference. I think I really aged myself. Hint!
Julie DeNeen, a writer and self proclaimed tech-geek and her Fabulous Blogging website, her personal blog, the Google+ community she created recently, along with and in addition to the Bloppy Bloggers Community. I mean, really? REALLY. She's got a wicked sense of humor which is why I know it's cool that this intro comes after Ace Ventura in a tutu (A fellow tri-state area peep).
Then she posted a little gem this morning about how those bloggers in your niche are NOT your competition (AMEN to that!) - and there was the inspiration for this post.
Bloggers, take note. YOU are your brand. That is ultimately what gives you a shot at this gig more than anything else…what you bring to your writing. Don’t try to be anything other than yourself, which means you have to like yourself first.
See how it works? Share what inspires you. Share what helps you. You're not sharing the unique thumbprint God gave you. That is uniquely yours and always will be! This is a world we ALL live in. A world that shouldn't be hoarded away or kept under a bushel basket, but set on a lampstand for all of us to see and enjoy. (Matthew 5:13-16) I say, put some of your toes in, the water is fine and I promise, no one will bite you. Maybe except for the brussel sprouts that I served the family last night. Went over like a lead balloon and helped me to create this little image. My boys swore they were gross, little, green monsters with fangs that should be living under their beds and not on their dinner plates.
And a final note, pay for PicMonkey. The money you would pay is equivalent to a couple of latte's. And it makes images like this.
I hope you don't mind...I think I'd like to share more as I find it. I don't think you will though...and by all means, head over to my Google+ page and raid my circle closet. I am having a blast over there.