Savor Your Season || A 31 Day Writing Challenge

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

One challenge down, one to go! Yesterday marked the end of The Blog-tember Challenge, and today signals the beginning of the Write 31 Days Challenge. I hosted the former, a month-long blogging challenge which encouraged readers to write once a day on a provided topic. This go-around things are different. Myquillyn of The Nester has invited us into the challenge, and the goal is to write every day for thirty-one days on a specific subject. My topic: SAVOR YOUR SEASON.

It all started with a hashtag. In August I completed a summer-long cross-country move by planting roots in Oklahoma for grad school. Walking across campus I instantly began comparing buildings and the atmosphere to that of my alma mater, and caught myself in the moment. My season is new, my season is different, my season is unique. Grad school will not and should not be the same as undergrad. What would be the point? It was then that I decided I wanted to savor my season. As I began sharing about my days at OSU, I made a point to find moments and places to savor, to find the joy and blessing in along the way. It has done wonders for my outlook on life.

Therefore, when it came time to choose a topic for the #write31days challenge, it was a no-brainer. I do not pretend to be an expert at savoring my season --at enjoying and embracing my stage in life to the fullest-- but it is something I want to get better at. For the next thirty-one days, I will explore the topic and share my thoughts, as well as inspiration and encouragement for those looking to do the same. The Be You, Bravely series will pick back up, highlighting women who are savoring their seasons in unique and meaningful ways. Won't you join me?

Are any of you participating in the Write 31 Days challenge?
I would love to know so I can follow along!
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T H I R T Y | Goodbye, Blog-tember. Hello, October!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Well, ladies. That time has come. The Blog-tember Challenge is complete! I was blown away by the number of stories shared and gals linking up, and it only made me more grateful for this growing community. Writing every day was certainly a challenge, but it's one I'm proud to have accomplished!

Today's prompt: A farewell coffee date. Take some time to breath, sip a warm drink, and share with your new blogging buddies. If you'd like a prompt: how did the Blog-tember challenge go for you? Any surprises? What was your favorite prompt, or what would you like to see included next time?

Since tomorrow begins yet another challenge, #write31days with The Nester, I decided to share October's goals today. I love fresh beginnings, and the start of a new month feels like a clean slate. As far as the new challenge goes, I will be writing for the next 31 days about what it means to savor your season, exploring the idea of fully embracing your life stage and getting the most out of the here and the now without wishing life away for tomorrow. It is certainly going to be an interesting journey!

October's Goals:
Participate in the Write 31 Days Challenge. Follow along as I write this month about savoring your season. I don't pretend to be an expert, but it is an idea I want to dive into!
Take steps to savor my season. I want to put into action the things I put into words. Let's do it!
Organize/de-clutter my closet.  Oy. My closet is a hot mess right now. It needs to be organized and many items need to disappear/be donated before the month is over.
A weekend trip to Waco to see friends + Les Mis! Alex and I are road-tripping back to Texas next weekend, and I cannot wait to see my Baylor pals and check out the production of Les Mis.
A weekend trip home + First Monday Canton with Mom. Another trip home, but I am so in need of a restful, relaxing weekend with my family. Plus flea market shopping with my Mom ;)
A weekend trip to Wichita to see a Baylor friend! Adam and his family live two hours away so the visit we've been talking about for weeks is finally happening.
Start a 5k training plan. I need to get active.  Somehow. Maybe planning for a 5k will help.
Blog makeover and update. Be on the lookout! Brave Love is getting an update so soon!
Participate in the weekly #fireworkpeople Twitter chats. Guess what?! It's TUESDAY!

Okay, lovelies. How was the challenge for you? What prompts did you love? What was the most surprising challenge? I get the feeling we'll do this again next September :) So glad you all joined in this go-around. What a journey!

-------------------> BY THE WAY, next September I will be at The Influence Conference! WOOHOO! I am beyond excited! In the matter of two days I secured my ticket at the early bird rate (thanks, Mom!) and have already made plans with the sweetest roommates for the trip. Now to save and book our hotel, plus gather spending money for the market. My sponsorships are about to be revamped and I think those earnings will go straight toward the conference. Is anyone else going to be there?! If so, let me know!

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T W E N T Y - N I N E | Blogging Must-Haves

Monday, September 29, 2014

There are only two days left (today and tomorrow) of The Blog-tember Challenge! I don't know about you, but I've had a blast getting to know everyone and following along with those joining the challenge. I can't believe we're nearly finished! Now that I think about it, this prompt should have gone toward the beginning of the challenge to give new bloggers a glimpse into what we do, but oh well. Better late than never right?

Today's prompt: What are your go-to blogging resources? What would you recommend to a beginner?

Below I have included what I believe to be essential to my blogging success. When I say success I do not necessarily mean to get the most followers or to become a "celeb blogger". By success I mean these are the things I have found to take my blog in the right direction, best serving my purpose and mission behind this space and my connections online. 

Vision: I think it is SO important for having a vision for your blog. Some people write mission statements, others look at big picture goals, and I am currently working on both. Funny timing here; after my last blog everyday challenge I changed Anchored in Love Divine to Brave Love, and here I am looking at another blog refresher! Don't worry, the name will stay the same but be on the look out for a new theme and some updates. You'll find more about the vision behind Brave Love soon.

Planning & Practicalities: When it comes to blog-planning, I do this in a number of ways. I keep a running list of ideas on my phone and then plug those ideas into a calendar/schedule throughout the month. I use various sheets from Lauren Hooker, Emily Ley, and Emily Thomas. I recently purchased a blog planner from Heart and Arrow Design (pictured above) which I am eager to put to use!

I'm a Blogger girl through and through, even after giving Wordpress a try and using Squarespace for my portfolio, I recommend Blogger to anyone just starting out because I find the interface to be super user-friendly and the layouts easy to manipulate. It does take some time to get used to when it's brand new, but that goes without saying. 

Look & Layout: When I first started out, I used the standard, simple theme provided by Blogger then hunted down a free template online. After a couple years of navigating the blogosphere I invested in a theme on Etsy; there are plenty of great ones to choose from! I've got a new one on the way for later this week ;) When it comes to setting up your site, keep it simple. Don't use too many fonts, have plenty of white or grey space, and use a text size that is readable.

Keep your sidebar organized with a photo and your name at the top. Your readers and visitors will want to know right away who they are connecting with! A navigation bar across the top is always helpful, and while the coding can be tricky providing a button for snagging is a must-have in my opinion. I also think that your subscription options (e-mail, Bloglovin, and google friend connect) should be towards the top of the sidebar for easy access). I use Photoshop for any and all of my graphics and collages, an old version, but I'm sure Photoshop Elements would have the same functions I require if you're looking for a program to start.

Community: Community is the heartbeat of blogging for me. It is why I do what I do! I am part of several blogging communities and they have blessed me so much. The Peony Project is a growing group of women who seek to know Jesus more and share Him in their blogs and social media, and #fireworkpeople is a community growing from a Tuesday night Twitter chat that is launching creatives into their greatest potential!

I am also headed to a few conferences in the spring, and I cannot wait to connect with fellow bloggers! The Influence Network is an online community not solely for bloggers (nor is the conference exclusive to blogging gals), but many bloggers have joined in over the years. Some of my favorite ladies from the blogosphere are going to the conference next year and I cannot wait to meet them in person! Hope Spoken is another conference coming up in the spring (unfortunately already sold out) that I am excited to attend and meet several ladies I have gotten to know via the internet. 

Community is an aspect of blogging that surprised me, but an element that has now become the core of this area of my life. I highly recommend looking into these areas and pursuing community with other bloggers! It will make all the difference!

Your turn, friends! What are your favorite/best blogging resources?

Brave Love Blog


T W E N T Y - E I G H T | Highs & Lows

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Sundays are one of my favorite days of the week. It makes me think of a lazy afternoons after church, coming home and making lunch, listening to Ella Fitzgerald and Frank Sinatra, then napping before evening meetings. In fact, I think that is exactly what this Sunday is going to look like. Anyone else love them as much as I do?

We are also swiftly approaching the end of September and the end of The Blog-tember Challenge. I am sad to see it go, but I've loved every minute of it! This month has had it's ups and downs, so today I thought we'd share a glimpse of the journey.

Today's prompt: What were your highs and lows for this month?

High's for September:
--Seeing friends from Seattle: Whitney, Joy, Emily, and Andrea.
--Settling in to my apartment at OKState.
--Decorating my apartment at OKState.
--Phone dates with friends from Baylor.
--Winning a $50 shop credit giveaway from Val Marie Paper!
--Getting my 2015 Simplified Planner in the mail.
--Connecting with the YoungLife gals for coffee or lunch.
--Being featured in Emily Ley's Simplicity Series.
--Jumping in the #fireworkpeople chats!
--Successfully hosting The Blog-tember Challenge.
--Taking over The Peony Project's instagram for a day.
--Baylor winning four games!

Low's for September:
--Having an upper respiratory infection for a week+ and a cough for 3 weeks. Boo.
--Pulling an almost all-nighter for a paper.
--Realizing my favorite DVD's are probably lost forever.
--Injuring my back at the start of the month.
--Spending hours on the phone with FedEx about a lost package.
--Missing out on the Influence Conference (but I'll be there next year!).

I'm happy to say there weren't too many low's this month, and I could really go on and on about all the good things that happened, too! What about you, dears? How was your September?

T W E N T Y - S E V E N | Wishing for This

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Oh, glory be! It's the weekend! I hope everyone made it to Saturday safe and sound. I cannot believe The Blog-tember challenge is coming to a close next week. Time has flown by! Today's prompt is a fun round up of my Pinterest and Etsy wish lists. Christmas is only 90 days away after all ;)

Today's prompt: What's on your wish list? Be sure to include links so we can shop, too.

What's on your wish list, friends? Any Etsy shops I should know about?

Brave Love Blog

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