Monday, August 18, 2014

Part 2 : : When Writing & Community Get Cozy ~ A Blog Hop

One of the energizing graces of blogging is that you truly can soar like a bird freed from her cage.  You get to stretch your creative little wings as you design your online home ... and can change it on a whim.  You choose what time of day or night you pick up your pen ... or not.  You follow your heart when it comes to subject matter and carefully select the images that highlight your labors of love. 

How cool is this!

Delightfully, there's no official blog police lurking close by, rulebooks in hand.  And for those of us who love Christ, we do, in essence, write for the most gracious audience of One who welcomes us with open arms, who's delighted to hear the stories that come from the depth of our souls, and is the Author Himself of any bit of creative essence, quirky whimsy, or deep wisdom that we may offer. 

The rest is sheer gift.

So when a blog hop comes along and a couple of the next participants are taking a break from writing, it's no big deal!  You simply pen When Writing & Community Get Cozy.  And five weeks later, you do a part 2!

This is it!

When you read online intros to these kind of posts, the writers often spin the most winsome of stories about when and where they met their friends.  But I can't do that, because these 3 women have been a steady presence in my life, a central part of this community for eons.  I can't for the life of me track back the details of our fledgling connections. 

And it's not important.

What matters is that they live out the radiant beauties of community done well.  And have taught me that yes, you can develop relationships online that stand the test of time.  They've reminded me that often the best life lessons are learned at the knee of another soul who's traveling a different path, but whose heart beats as one with yours.

So please welcome these 3 remarkable ladies who are taking the hop toward the next divergent pathways.  I can't wait to follow where they're leading.  Grab your hat and come with us ...


Meet Loralu James Conville, {better known as Lulu).  You'll find her navigating city life, experiencing new cultures, and enjoying fresh community celebrations.  She spots spiritual insights through her adventures and she eagerly shares them with her readers.

'Born and raised in a twenty mile radius---a small town girl for most of my life---after a life changing event, I moved to the Big City last year.  Southern—through and through---I have the twang to prove it, but there is no twang in my writing.

A retired bean counter who loves adventure, exercising, cooking, reading, volunteering, traveling, talking with friends, and working in the garden-I can be a study in motion.  Mother to three and Lulu to five-my largest blessing and greatest joy comes from the honor of being called Mom and Lulu. 

Above all I am the beloved of the Most High King who loves me faithfully and calls me His own.'

And I'm delighted to introduce Ceil Ryan, whose writings never fail to enlarge my borders and always leave me thinking deep.  Her radiant personality shines through her heart-words and is captured in the personal way she connects with her many readers.
'Ceil Ryan is a Wife, Nurse, Mom and Nana of three living in the Midwest.  After working over twenty years, she hung up her nurse’s cap to start writing and blogging full time.  Ceil enjoys nature walks, campfires and leading small groups.  She can also be found coloring, eating play food and sorting shapes with her grandchildren.

Ceil’s passion is sharing personal stories with an emphasis on faith and encouragement.  She’d love to meet you, with a ready ear to hear your story too.'
messymarriage.comLast, but certainly not least, Beth Steffaniak is the first faraway blogger I've met in person, and our sweet visit remains one of the highlights of my year.  She's built a delightful community centered on messy marriages, with her Tuesday evening link-up a big draw for marriage-lovers from all over.

'I've always had a heart for helping the hurting and discouraged.  So in my twenties, I obtained a Master's Degree in Marriage and Family Counseling and counseled for many years before transitioning to a certified life coach about two years ago. 

My husband, Gary is the Pastor of Care and Recovery at our church, where we both serve as leaders in the church's recovery ministry.  We've been married for 27 {sometimes 'messy'} years and have three handsome sons, the youngest of whom is going off to college this fall, making us empty-nesters {sniff, sniff!}!'

grab those links below


  1. This is more fun because it's the blog hop that is revisited and keeps on going! You have chosen three wonderful ladies. I love how you wrote we write for an audience of One-the Author of all! That says it all! Safe travels my friend!

    1. Writing for that beloved audience of One keeps us from penning words that aim to please our auduence ... a fruitless cause if ever there was one!

      There will always be people who will not burst into a round of applause when we walk through the door. But when our Savior casts His eyes on us, He smiles with the deepest of love, for we are the apple of His eye.

      Thanks again, Mary, for inviting me to share a bit of life with you!

  2. For some crazy reason I thought I was commenting earlier but I think I only sent you an email! ha! Well, it's not like I've been blogging for-e-ver! Such a silly mistake. :P But I am grateful here and "there" to you, Linda, for the way you encourage me and so many in our blogging community. Thanks for including me and I look forward to getting to know Ceil and Lulu too!

    1. Email, blog comment, whatever! I'm just plain thankful that you're in my life, dear friend ...

  3. I can't agree more about the creativity our blogs allow us, Linda. I'm so enjoying figuring out where mine is headed, while knowing I can change directions or start over at any time. I also love that we can take a break whenever we need to and our beautiful online community will be here when we return.
    This has been an awesome blog hop! I met you through it :). What a wonderful gift to have these ladies in your life for so long that you have forgotten how they got there.

    1. Yes, meeting you has been one of this summer's many unexpected treats, Candace. This is one of blogging's sacred gifts ... kindred spirits connecting near and far, and looking at another and exclaiming, 'oh, you, too?'

  4. Best wishes. Thank you for visiting my Blog. I'll now visit the one's you've introduced above.

    God bless you.

    1. So glad to see you again, Victor. And it's always good to have a male perspective here!

      Blessings ...

  5. This being my first year of blogging, I love that I have all these new friends who get me more than most!
    The idea that it will go on for years is, indeed, delightful. As are you Linda! :)

    1. I'm really grateful that our paths have crossed this year, Sarah. Your presence in this community is truly delightful. I am so glad you're here with us!


  6. Hi Linda, I have so enjoyed getting to know this blogging community. I love reading everyone's insights, stories, and seeing their beautiful photography. For an introvert like me, it's helped me connect more and not be quite as shy. I have to keep remembering, people can't "see" me smiling, laughing and nodding my head when I stop in...just as I can't see theirs. LOL

    I can't wait for the opportunity to meet more of these wonderful people (including you) in person as time goes by. Such inspiration everywhere.


    1. Yeah, blogging's an introvert's paradise ... in the best sense of the word. And I'm really pulled toward those posts where the author chooses just one gorgeous image. Sometimes the words that follow are simply secondary.

      It's good to see you again, Kim!

  7. Your intro to this is just fabulous and spot on. I'm making a few tweaks to my space as we speak. I do still love this blog hop idea and the chance to meet friends of friends. I adore Ceil Ryan and yes. . . having lunch with her this weekend!!!! I wish you were joining us. How lovely that would be. Now to go off and meet the two other friends you've introduced us to.
    Much love to you, friend. You bless me so.

    1. Oh, I would love to zip on out to the mid-west to join you! Ah, but wishing doesn't make it so. It would just be too wonderful. Enjoy every second together ...

      And thanks for being here, Beth. I am grateful for your presence in my life!

  8. Linda - all of you are such beautiful-hearted women who encourage God's faith, hope and love in each of us!
    My daily is sweeter because of it when I stop by at any of your/ and their places.

    I have to ask - is that a beet/pineapple juice smoothie on your bench?

    Blessings to you!

    1. That frosty treat was a tart raspberry smoothie ... and believe me it was hard to put it down to take this shot! It was one of those hot days where only something berry would do the trick.

      And your encouraging words here are so refreshing, too. Thanks for letting your kind thoughts show. It meant so much to me, Maryleigh ...

  9. It was great catching up you today, Linda! Your posts are always so inspiring. I'm looking forward to visiting your friends. Have a blessed week!

    1. May my friends become your friends, June! That's one of the beauties of blogging, isn't it ...


  10. Replies
    1. How cool that we both leave an L as our imprint along the way! Welcome, Loralee. I am truly glad you've found us today ...


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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