Monday, July 14, 2014

When Writing & Community Get Cozy ~ A Blog Hop

How fun to introduce you to Mary Geisen!  She's a teacher with a compassionate heart as wide and big as all outdoors.   And since some of my favorite people spend their days pouring their lives into the next generation, I've been drawn to her ever since she dropped by to introduce herself at May's big syncroblog.  I love that we've just kind of clicked.  Chatting with her is always a treat.

So when she invited me to jump into this blog hop, I was a bit intrigued.  It wasn't the first invitation that's come my way.  But it was the first time I could be available to say 'yep, I'm in!'  Truth be told, at first glance, it smacked a bit of one of those chain letters which I avoid like the plague.  But after tracking back the chain and reading through a few fascinating posts that have paved the way, I couldn't say no. 


The 4 big questions that have been hopping their way around online spaces in recent days ...

What am I writing or working on?

I'm in the process of adding blog coaching to the mix of what I do.  I've been a certified life coach for over a decade and have been blogging for more than five years.  And I see a huge, unmet need that we bloggers bring to the table ... a yearning for honest conversations that go deep in figuring why we're doing what we're doing online.  What's unique and irresistible about who we are and what we offer.  Taking our creative juices to the next level.  And listening to hear what God might be wanting to do in these spaces.  That kind of thing

How does my work differ from others of its genre?

I've found few blogs written by counselors / coaches that interweave the professional and personal in ways that are real and authentic, yet appropriate. I've found it to be an interesting dance, and one that has come to fit me to a T.  I'd love to see other people helpers get right in and do life with us.

My inner motto is 'just because you've got a bunch of letters after your name doesn't mean you've arrived.'  I tend to be a hope-giver, saying, 'it's ok to be where you are.  I've been there, done that, and this is what I've learned.  Now ... let's move ahead together.' 

Why do I write what I write?

I write in partnership with the Lover of my soul.  It sounds like I'm trying to be pious, but this is what's true for me.  The childhood verse, 'Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord, my strength, and my redeemer' has morphed into a steady prayer I breathe.

I feel His pleasure when I hit that orange publish button.  Great joy comes when a gentle soul quietly tells me that she loves the blog even though she's never left a comment.  I like knowing that some of what I've learned along the way through the hard times or at the knee of my counseling clients or in the study of the Word or by my training, can be redeemed in encouraging another soul. 

And even though I'm an introvert born and bred, being a community builder is in my blood.  Along the way I've had a hand in developing all kinds of cozy, safe, hope-filled groups so that people will know they're not alone, there are others in the same boat who'd just love to do life with them.  Single parents and the terminally ill, fellow counselors and courageous souls in recovery, ministry leaders and women in need of encouragement.  Envisioning, birthing, and nurturing the Creekside community with my ministry partner, Bob, has been one of the highlights of my life. 

Building this little online community, one reader at a time?  Simply put, a real sweet spot for me!  My heart's desire is that you know without a doubt, that you, my friend, are welcome here. 
How does my writing process work?

I do my best work in the morning soon after I wake up, a mug of hot tea and a little bowl of Cheerios close at hand.  I've also been known to pen whole posts in the early stages of sleep.  Really.  Through the day, I jot down weird ideas and random quotes and words of songs on the back of napkins, the last page in the checkbook, odd scraps of paper.  Wherever a stray pen can find a place to land.

Most posts take awhile to pull together.  I tend to really massage the written word over and over.  Let it sit for awhile.  Come back and stir things up a bit some more 'til I'm satisfied.  I have a real eye for detail.  It's in the gene pool.  But I have absolutely no training as a writer and little comprehension of all that grammar stuff that I should have learned along the way.  A thesaurus is my best friend. 

I don't even bother aiming for perfection, which is a total waste of time since I don't view myself as a writer, but a counselor / coach who blogs.  And perfect people are seldom happy in their skin or ever satisfied with what they put out there.  But I do aim for excellence, putting my best efforts on the table.  I think there's a huge difference.  And I'm kind of intrigued with what the Lover of my soul is doing in this season ...


A brief spotlight on the upcoming 3 bloggers on this cool little hop ... 

Community is not a buzz word for these women.  They live it vibrantly out loud, whether in the neighborhood, online world, or church.  They've been longtime faithful cheerleaders here in this online community.  And though they make their homes in places far from where I'm sitting, I am blessed to count them as friends. 

A few of them are on a bit of a blogging sabbatical, so we've agreed that all three will be picking up the blog hop somewhere 'round the 3rd week of August.  I'll be the first to let you know when they're ready to roll.  Trust me, reading a bit of their stories and their responses to those 4 questions will be well worth the wait!

Meanwhile, go ahead and sneak a peek over at their places.  And do tell them that Linda sent you!

Loralu James Conville
{better known as Lulu}

L oving

O bsessive

R edeemed

A dventuresome

L oony

U biquitous


Ceil Ryan

Writer, Connector, Faith-lover.

What's your story?


Beth Steffaniak

creative, loyal, listener,

persistent, introspective, zealous 
*   click right here to subscribe & be a full-fledged part of the Creekside community!   *

*   visiting Kristen's community   *


  1. What a lovely idea this has been and I'm so glad you've invited me, Linda, to join the party. I loved reading a bit more about you. I think we are like "two peas in a pod" so it's no wonder God knit our hearts together in the blogosphere. Well, I'm off to the courthouse for jury duty this morning. Pray that they kick me to the curb. I could really use that time back! Hugs to you!

    1. Can't wait to see how you answer those questions, my syncroblogging friend. And yes, I'd say '2 peas in a pod' is a lovely description of where we come from.

      And for that, I am thankful!


  2. Hi Linda! Thanks for the 'heads up' on the post. I really enjoyed reading about your writing process, it sounds very familiar. I know Lulu, but not your other friends, so thank you for introducing me!
    What a feeling it must be to know God is so happy with you when you publish a post. Such an intimate experience of his joy...that was beautiful.

    1. I'm excited about this community getting to know you better, my friend. Your thoughts, your heart, your writing are rich and always thought-provoking. You've taken me deeper in my faith ... and invited me to think twice about some of the deeper things of God.

      Grateful, I am, for you in my life ...

  3. Linda - you make my heart dance! Your words are too kind and I appreciate your wonderful encouragement. You know I already have a connection with Beth because she introduced me to you-yay Beth! Your other two friends are new to me but I am certain that I will come to know them. In fact Ceil already visited my blog! Hi, Ceil! Can't wait to see how your blog coaching unfolds-I am intrigued and could be contacting you in the future!!!! Happy Monday and happy writing!

    1. Cool! I'm ready to roll when you are!

      I hope your week soars!


  4. WELL, Friend---I am amazed that you would pick ME to be on your side! A wonderful reminder that God has given me a new community and such a wonderful one. Makes me thankful for the blessing and repentant for all the complaining I have done about being alone since my move. With God by my side, I will never be alone and the joy of your friendship and the blogging community is a blessing upon the blessing!

    1. I do believe God brings people together! He knows who's best to join each of us on our journey. This little online community has been a bright spark in my life, and I am thankful. When I hear that it's been some kind of encouragement to others, I know that it's been worth the investment of time and energy.

      Who would have imagined that you could have such meaningful 'iron sharpening iron' relationships spread over the world? This is the internet at its finest.

      What joy!


  5. Linda, how exciting that you are moving forward in God's plan!
    I enjoyed reading your answers. :)
    The Lord bless you in this journey!
    Live Blessed,

    1. 'moving forward in God's plan!' Yes, Heather, you've caught a glimpse of my soul. That's so what I want to do. Personally, professionally, whatever and wherever.

      Thanks for hearing me well!


  6. Thank you for your giving soul, Linda. I think many will be served by you and this space you've created, myself included. I'm an "introvert born and bred" as well. The online world has been a wonderful place for me to step out in community. I have been blessed by visiting Ceil and Beth before, but I'll definitely check out your friend Lulu. Thanks for the introduction.

    1. Ah, another introvert. You make me smile.

      Welcome to this space. I hope you find it an encouraging place to land, to be refreshed, Candace ...


  7. What a neat idea! And I love your answers! I agree that while there may be a time or way we write usually, ideas and thoughts come many other times ;)

    1. And aren't those weird wisps of ideas that come out of nowhere when walking down the street the ones that turn out to be the biggest hits?

      Go figure!

      That you're a part of this community makes me smile, Sarah. Thanks for visiting with us so often ... you make my day!

    2. You always seem like my biggest fan. I am sure you make many other women feel that way, just by being you!


Welcome to the table, friend!

This is where we gather and hang out. I'd love for you to pull up a chair and jump right into the conversation. Or simply say 'hello.'

l'll be dropping in to visit you sometime soon ...


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