10 Things I’ve Learned About Moving to WordPress

  1. Life would have been a lot more simple if I would have started out on WordPress instead of Blogger. Although, truth be told, there’s a possibility little ol’ me would have given up before I ever started because at one point even Blogger confused me.
  2. Meeting bloggers through Blogger was fun. Meeting bloggers through WordPress makes me feel like a little girl trying to fit in with the big kids. It’s kinda like I’m a tiny-tot reaching up and tugging at the hem of more established WordPress blogger’s shirts, saying “Look, I’m here! Come play with me!”
  3. I don’t know as much about blogging as I thought I did. Yes, I have been blogging for four and a half years. Yes, I have published over 1,200 posts. And yes, I suddenly feel inexperienced and like I have a huge learning curve beckoning to me.
  4. Resources like my WordPress for Dummies book, Pinterest, and other blogs are going to be referenced a lot in the near future. Like, a whole lot of lot.

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  5. Although I didn’t feel 100% ready, it’s a good thing I made the leap, because there’s no way I would have ever felt completely okay with moving over. I actually tried about three years ago after a writing conference, and I literally felt like I was losing a friend and eventually gave up.
  6. WordPress feels a lot more professional than Blogger. I feel like I should have shoes and socks on as I type this. And possibly be sitting in a board room. And probably not have my rat and rabbit behind me keeping me company?
  7. My stats dropped way down, and that doesn’t feel good. Not only is it nice having a lot of people read Noveltea, but I feel quite sad about the people who haven’t joined us at my new site.
  8. It sometimes takes faith and perseverance to follow the advice of others. I’ve heard so many times, by professionals and non-professionals alike, that as an author I should move to WordPress. Logically they make sense. Logic doesn’t necessarily make something easy though.
  9. Looking forward to the future helps keep me going. Lord willing it won’t be too long until I’ve figured WordPress out. Hopefully one day in the near future I’ll know how to do things like leave the correct amount of space, change the commenting settings (or even find them, for that matter), and post pictures the way they’re supposed to be.
  10. There’s no reason to panic. At least that’s what they tell me. Thankfully nothing has to be perfect on the first try. It’s not a matter of life and death, or even of putting food on the table. So, I can relax and learn as I go. I’m even allowed to have fun with figuring everything out. And guess what? Despite everything, I have been having fun.

In all reality I’m not discouraged or stressed, BUT, it hasn’t been easy, either. (Haha. Like, that’s an understatement. Just ask anyone who’s helped me….) I’m just gonna drink coffee though (yes, it is decaf, but shhh!) and keep on blogging.

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The purpose of this post is for:

a) Those of you who have no clue what it’s like to be formatting challenged

b) Anyone who wants to get a peek behind the scenes in case you’ve seen anything crazy going on here

c) Blogger bloggers who are thinking of moving to WordPress

I’m totally not saying that it isn’t worth it, because I do think it is. It’s just not a walk in the park with daisy on one side of the path and cotton candy on the other. It’s more like a walk through the swamp with leeches on one side of the path and fire breathing dragons on the other. (I exaggerate very slightly for added effect.)

And on that happy note, make sure y’all enter the Rafflecopter Giveaway here (you can enter each day) and pass the word along!

What about you? Have you ever moved from one platform to another? How did it go for you? If you’re a WordPress blogger, what’s the best advice you could give me?

Welcome and Giveaway

Welcome! I’m excited to finally be writing my first “official” blog post on WordPress after planning and working toward this for the last couple of months. Yay!

I wanted to do a big celebration because I’ve had so much fun getting to know so many of y’all during the last four years that I was on Blogger, and I hope to have many more wonderful years on WordPress. Thank you to everyone who has read Noveltea over the years. You have been such a wonderful encouragement and I am incredibly thankful for the friendships I’ve made.

We have ten delightful prizes to giveaway this week (including a $25 Amazon Giftcard!), so yay! By the way, a HUGE thank you goes out to those of you who are helping to sponsor these giveaways. I wanted to include a little bit about each of the sponsors so y’all will hopefully go and check them out for yourself. (Really. You totally should.)

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 Click To Enter The Rafflecopter Giveaway

Free Bible Music 

Y’all. This is the link to my dad’s website for free Bible music. Ever since I can remember my dad has put Bible verses to music to help us learn how to memorize them better. This website has hundreds of Bible verses put to music, including over 250 by my adopted dad, Buddy Davis. I really enjoy listening to these songs and highly recommend y’all check them out. 🙂 Free Bible Music is sponsoring the $25 Amazon Giftcard, so yay for their generosity!

Go Teen Writers 

If you’ve hung out on Noveltea for very long, you’ve probably heard me talking about Go Teen Writers. It’s an amazingly fantastic blog (and writing community) that has helped me immensely with my writing. I am so thankful to Stephanie (the founder of GTW) for being a great mentor and always being willing to help others. Stephanie and Jill’s book is by far the best writing resource I’ve ever found. I’m so excited that they’ve agreed to give one of y’all a copy of the book. 🙂

Amanda Tero Books 

I “met” Amanda via another blogger this summer and have enjoyed corresponding with her since then. A couple months ago I had the privilege of reviewing one of her books and greatly enjoyed it. She has graciously agreed to giveaway two of any of her e-books, so yay! (See her e-books on Amazon by clicking here.)

Elisha Press

Several years ago I “met” the founders of Elisha Press when they asked if I was interested in reviewing some of their books. Over the last year and a half I’ve read and reviewed three titles from Elisha Press. My favorite one was The Sparrow Found a House, so when I was putting together this giveaway I asked Jason (the author) if he would sponsor a giveaway of that particular book, and he agreed.

Buddy Davis 

If any of y’all don’t know, Buddy Davis is my adopted dad, and also an amazing musician. I’m excited to get to share one of his CDs with y’all. He’s really talented and does a fantastic job of using his talents to bring God glory.

Bekah O’Brien 

Bekah is another friend I “met” through blogging. I won a giveaway on her blog years ago, and over time we’ve stayed in contact and become friends. She’s been incredibly encouraging, and I’m thankful to have her in my life.

I’m looking forward to celebrating my move to my very own domain name with y’all! Thank you for hanging out, and please, pass along the excitement! I’m tremendously thankful for y’all. =)

*Physical books and the CD will only be sent to US addresses

Shadow of the Storm By Connilyn Cossette – Book Review

Shadow of the Storm 

By Connilyn Cossette

Find it on: 

Third Person

Fiction

352 Pages

About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

In the Depth of the Storm’s Shadow, Only Truth Can Light Her Way 

Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mt. Sinai, upon which rests the fiery glowing Cloud containing the shekinah glory of God. When the people disobey Yahweh and build a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to learn the arts of midwifery. Although her mother wishes for her to continue in the family weaving trade, Shira’s gifts shine brightest when she assists with deliveries. In defiance of her mother, Shira pursues her heart’s calling to become an apprentice midwife.

When a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself bound to a man who betrayed her, the caretaker of three young children, and the target of a vengeful woman whose husband was killed by Shira’s people, the Levites. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira will come face-to-face with the heartbreak of her past that she has kept hidden for so long. How can she let go of all that has defined her to accept the love she’s denied herself and embrace who she truly is?

Why I Choose this Book: 

I read the first book in the series back in May and really enjoyed it. When I saw the second book was coming out, I jumped at the chance to read it, too.

What I Thought About this Book:

The book had so many beautiful descriptions in it. I savored the words and flew right into the world they were portraying. I was stuck between wanting to read the book as fast as possible to find out what happened next, and to slow down and drink in the way the words swirled together. 

I also found the first third of the storyline to be fantastically gripping. Then came a plot twist I had 100% not expected. The plot twist nearly made me drop the book. It was crazy. It’s probably my lack of mercy, but I had a really hard time with how the main character dealt with what happened. I won’t say more because of spoilers, ya know, but I’m still not sure I feel like it was adequately addressed in the rest of the book. That’s what took the book from a very solid four stars down to three stars. 

There was also a fair bit more romance in this book than I remember being in the first book, which also took the book down a little bit for me. 

Conclusion:

All in all, Shadow of the Storm was compelling, beautiful, and really helped the Exodus from Egypt come alive for me. Miss Connilyn does a fantastic job of skillfully weaving her words together and I look forward to reading the third book when it’s published. 

Rating: 

I’m giving Shadow of the Storm 3 out of 5 stars and 6 out of 10.

*I received this book free from Bethany House Publishing*

One of the Few By Jason B. Ladd – Book Review

One of the Few

By Jason B. Ladd

Find it on:

Amazon

Goodreads 

First Person Narrative

Non-Fiction

318 Pages

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About the Book (Backcover Blurb):

 

(2016 Next Generation Indie Book Award Finalist)

A US Marine fighter pilot explores life’s important questions as he prepares for combat, searches for truth, and wages spiritual warfare during his mission to become a better husband and father.

Jason B. Ladd grows up in a military family with loving parents but spends his young life filled with spiritual apathy.

Ladd enters the US Marine Corps, becomes a fighter pilot, and sees combat in Iraq before life events align to nudge him into profound spiritual inquiry. Digging deep into his quest for truth, he realizes the art and science of fighter pilot fundamentals can help him on his journey.

Filled with stories that contrast his spiritual apathy with his post-Christian worldview passion, One of the Few is the compelling life story of a spiritual seeker engaged in a thrilling profession combined with a strong, reasonable defense of Christianity.

For fans of Ravi Zacharias, Lee Strobel, and Frank Turek, Ladd’s remarkable journey shares the transformative power of faith during a time when belief in God is dismissed and religious liberty in the military is attacked.

 

Why I Choose this Book: 

 

The author contacted me via email several months ago saying he seen on my blog that I “enjoyed Christian Living titles” and wondered if I would be willing to review his book. My curiosity was peaked, because hey, helping out fellow authors is cool, but what really got me interested was his P.S. to the email where he said I could find out more about his homeschooling family of nine who lives in Alaska.
People. They live in Alaska. (For all you who don’t know, I’m pretty sure Alaska and I would be best friends if we ever got to know each other.) Mr. Ladd and I emailed back and forth a few times because I had various questions about the book, and needless to say, I agreed to review it. (Although, to be clear, the book itself has nothing to do with Alaska.)

What I Thought About this Book:

The book is divided into three parts, and the first part was most assuredly my favorite. It received a very solid four stars. Parts two and three were a bit disjoined and made it somewhat hard to follow, but in the end I also appreciated the information that was presented.
Part One has more of the story of Mr. Ladd’s life than the other two parts, and I really liked how he tied different lessons he’d learned into how they would later make sense to him spiritually. Mr. Ladd also described the world in a way that I greatly enjoyed. His word pictures and descriptions made me smile more than once.
Part Two explores a lot of various issues and sins in the world, and how they affect people, and how Christians should view those issues. Although Mr. Ladd explains in the introduction what Part Two is going to be, I was still really surprised by the sudden switch, not only in content, but also in style. Part Two took me a while to get through because I normally read in the evening, and I found it hard to focus when I was tired. I also skim-read a chapter or two because although I think the subjects presented in the chapters are very important to talk about, I don’t feel the need to personally read about them at this time.
Part Three talks about other religions and how they are different from Christianity, and also why it’s important to study things for ourselves and not just mindlessly accept what other people tell us.

Conclusion:

The book wasn’t what I was expecting, and I wish it had all been more like Part One, but all in all I’m glad I read it. Mr. Ladd didn’t grow up in a Christian environment, so it was especially neat to get to “watch” his journey toward believing the Bible and God. He obviously spent a lot of time exploring the topic before he believed, so that was really cool to see.
Although handled well, the book does talk about some subjects that aren’t suitable for kids (plus, I don’t think they’d grasp a lot of the info anyway), so I’d recommend this book for ages 17 and up.

Rating:

I’m giving One of the Few 4 out of 5 stars and 7 out of 10.

*I received this book free from the author. Find out more about Jason B. Ladd at his website.

A Post Full of Whimsy

It’s that time of year again. November has arrived and with it heavy frosts, leafless trees, brisk winds, and the end of barefoot season. Yes. You heard that correctly. I’ve had to stop going barefoot outside (at least most of the time), which is most likely my least favorite thing about the winterish months. Well, that and the lack of grass to cut.

But, as long as there’s no snow on the ground, I can still get away with going shoeless at least part of the time. I simply wear socks to help keep the chill away. It feels extremely whimsical and I often laugh at myself as I do things like walk down our country road or race out to the swing set with mis-matched socks skimming the earth. (Mis-matched socks work best because walking on gravel roads has a way of wearing holes in the socks, and that way I don’t ruin a matching pair.)

The other day we were making chocolate-covered pretzels (which happen to be one of the most yummy things ever). One of my more artistic friends offered to do the chocolate drizzling after I dipped them – you’d be surprised how easy it is to make drizzled chocolate look bad if you’re a rushing-around-non-detail-oriented-girl like me. I looked down a few minutes later to see a smiley face staring back at me. His name is Henry. (Although, in all likelihood he’s probably been eaten by now.)

Yesterday in the midst of scurrying around my non-writing job, stove full of pots, oven full of pans, and counters full of prep work, I dashed out of the kitchen and was greeted by this beautifulness. Sarah and Clara were looking through one of my books, a sight that would make any author’s heart sigh in delight.

This week has been packed full of scurrying and hurrying and craziness, yet finding moments to be thankful and smile and laugh helps take stressful situations and turn them into memories. Sometimes I find that I need to stop and breath deeply and embrace life as it’s tossing ten things at me all at once. I want to find beauty in the little things, joy in the every-day moments, and delight in the unexpected. This morning I’m thanking God for the wonderful people I have to work with, the lessons I’m learning, and the whimsy that’s surrounding me.

Thank you for taking part in my random, adventurous life. I hope y’all’s weekend is fantastic!

Yay for NaNoWriMo-ers!

Although I suppose it should be abundantly clear by now, I thought I’d go ahead and officially announce that I’m not taking part in National Novel Writing Month this year. Sadly. There’s too much other stuff happening in my life right now. Plus, I just finished writing a book in September and I’m trying to focus on getting everything ready for querying for WLHYL right now.

BUT! To all of you who are having fun scrambling madly through this month trying to achieve that happy status of 50,000 words in 30 days, yay! Way to go! I hope y’all are doing well and that your brain is working kindly along with your fingers and your story is blossoming under your dedicated care.

It’s so much fun to see a story come together, and although I’m content with my decision to stay out of the mad rush this year, I am missing it. Seeing y’all’s updates on Facebook and blogs and Twitter has made me smile many times already. (Especially the friend who got started late and her NaNo dashboard told her that if she continued at that pace she’d finish in April… Of 2085.)

So! Question of the day: Are you doing NaNo this year? If so, how’s it coming along? And, if you’re not doing NaNo, are you missing it, too?

Employees Only

This morning I walked on soggy roads, watched bronze leaves linger on winter-readied trees, gazed at the gray layered clouds filling the sky, and drank in the stillness of a new day.

When I arrived at my non-writing job I breezed through the Employees Only door to an dark and empty kitchen. One flick of a switch and the room was illuminated. This little corner of the world isn’t seen by many people, admission isn’t granted to the general population, yet to me it feels like home. I’ve spent uncounted hours rushing about the kitchen, cooking, directing, organizing, planning, and living.

If you haven’t noticed by now, I’m a bit of quirky individual who enjoys basking in the knowledge of what other people probably consider quite normal. For instance, one of my favorite things is having access to Employees Only areas. It makes me feel special and set apart. (And in reality I am…. Set apart to do extra work.) It sometimes makes me nearly giddy with joy and I literally twirl around in happiness because being allowed to simply walk through Employees Only doors without asking permission first signifies that I’m part of a team. That I belong.

This morning I wrote in my prayer journal, my thoughts, requests, worries, and thankfulness filling the pages. Prayer is a privilege, a blessing, an incomparable joy and relief, and also a command. In some ways prayer is also like going through an Employees Only door. Yet, the sign would read more like Sons and Daughters Only. 

When we become children of God, we’re given the gift of being able to communicate with Him on a deeper level than most of those who haven’t been cleansed by Him can even dream of. We are part of His team, part of His family. We belong. And that is mind boggling.

The God who literally created the universe out of nothing. The God who designed the world to spin and leaves to fall and human brains to function. The God who created billions of stars and called them each by name. The God who knows how many hairs each and every person in all of forever has ever had on their head. That same powerful, incredible, indescribable God, He loves me. And accepts me as His child. And takes time to listen to me. And that is a gift far above what I’m able to comprehend. A gift that demands action on my part, the action of communicating with Him.

From everyone who has been given much, much will be required, and from the one who has been entrusted with much, even more will be asked. -Luke 12:48b