So this morning, I got a message from a good friend of mine, former co-worker, and incredible blogger, Carrie Wisehart, notifying me that she had nominated me for the Liebster Blog award. In all honesty, my first thought was something along the lines of, “But why me? My blog isn’t like that…its just my stories and adventures as I experience them.” But I suppose there aren’t any rules for blogging. At least not rules that say “life story” blogs don’t count. My second thought was that this is pretty cool (Thus the hashtag in the title. Because who says you can’t use hashtags in titles?).
Apparently, the Liebster Award is a way of recognizing small or newer blogs, and so it works a bit like those Facebook question posts that were popular when I was in high school – where if you tag a friend, they then have to answer all of the questions that you answered, then tag more friends. The official rules are actually in Spanish, but from my best Google translation, they are:
- Answer the questions designated by the blogger who nominated you
- Nominate other new bloggers for the Liebster Award
- Give your nominees a list of questions they have to answer
That doesn’t sound too difficult.
First of all, I have to say that the beautiful woman who nominated me, Carrie, has an incredible blog over at carriewisehart.com. We are not even on the same level. In fact, just this week, her post for February and love and Valentine’s day was reposted by one of my current co-workers, and I was so shocked to see it posted by someone living in Tanzania that the following conversation ensued:
Yeah. About that #blondemoment. Haha. Still, Carrie is an amazing person and teacher and blogger. You should check her out (Not in that way, you pervs…check out HER BLOG!).
On to those questions:
How would you describe your writing process?
Process? Yes, I know I’m an English teacher, and I know that I drill the writing process into the brains of my students EVERY SINGLE DAY, but I’m sorry, I don’t have or use any writing process. I only blog when something is about to explode from my fingertips, and once I’ve written it, I don’t go back and revise it, I just hit publish.
Oh, and do you want to know a secret? *whispers* I-never-outlined-processed-revised-papers-for-university-either-I-just-wrote-them *end whispering*.
What do you wear/eat/drink/do when you write?
Absolutely whatever. Though, honestly, I would rather be in shorts and a tank top every day of my life than in any other kind of clothing. And drinking iced coffee or Red Bull ALWAYS is a good idea. But otherwise, it doesn’t matter. I’ve written blog posts down on the back of church bulletins during sermons, I’ve typed them on my phone at 40,000 feet (airplane), and I’ve sat at my desk with a laptop and written. Whenever, wherever, however.
What is your “go-to” pen brand?
PILOT G-2 07.
These are the ONLY pens worth writing with. The end.
Shameless-self-promotion: Post a link to your favorite article, book blurb, or social media post so we can check it out.
That’s hard. One of the poem’s I wrote that I’m a bit proud of is this one, called “Light.” Like any other writing, I can’t force poetry. I write it when it comes. This particular poem came to me as I was leaving the Serengeti last year and the light was absolutely sparkling over the grass. It was beautiful.
Where do you go when you need an hour of freedom?
The beach. I love the beach and the ocean and the sand and the wind.
Talk about your BFF’s.
Even this morning, I was thanking God for the place that He’s put me and the incredible people He’s surrounded me with. I am so grateful for the plethora (and I do mean plethora) of friends He’s given me–people all over the world doing all kinds of jobs in all kinds of places. But if someone asks me who my “core friends” are, I know immediately. There are two guys, Andrew and Josh, who I’ve known for about four years, maybe more. I don’t even remember how we met. But since then, we have gone rock climbing, midnight cycling, and book dumpster diving. We have tutored Burmese children, have caroled for the elderly and widows, and have worked hard together. We’ve shared our anger, fears, hopes, dreams, passions, and crazy ideas. And for all that, we’re still friends. These guys are like brothers to me (which is saying something, because my blood brothers are pretty incredible guys).
How did we meet? (You & Carrie)
Carrie and I taught together at Carroll High School in Fort Wayne for a year, just before I moved to Tanzania. At the time, though we were both teaching English, we taught on opposite ends of the school and didn’t see each other or interact very often. Then I left, and somehow, over the internet and Facebook and blogging, we reconnected. I find Carrie’s blog an encouraging and challenging space, and the real Carrie is no different. I so appreciate how she drives herself, her students, and her friends to live fuller lives, even if it means making the hard choices!
Coffee or tea? Why?
Coffee all the way. The only tea I like is the Tanzanian “chai,” which is a sort of spice tea with ginger and cardamom, and other delicious flavors. Its strong and almost always served with lots of milk. Otherwise, I’ll stick to coffee with milk (NO sugar!). My theory is that it helps me focus. It certainly doesn’t do anything to keep me awake. #ADHDproblems.
Talk about your fam.
My family is AMAZING. My parents rode over 4,000 miles on their tandem bicycle last year – that alone should tell you how incredible they are! My brother, Nathan, works at Miracle Mountain Ranch as a missionary, which is also where Hannah goes to school. Joshua is still working full time and is taking classes at Ivy Tech for welding. But those are really just the boring facts about my siblings. My siblings work hard, harder than almost anyone I’ve met, and they play hard. I love hanging out with them – whether we are playing Settlers, rock climbing, playing volleyball, or creating our own adventure (like dredging shopping carts out of raging rivers…or sleepy drainage ditches)! My siblings are also what I miss most being in Tanzania. If they all moved here, it would make life so much easier…
The book(s) that changed your life…
I’ve read an enormous amount of books, and I’d like to think that a lot of them have changed my life in one way or another. Several stand out, however, for various reasons: Life After Art: What You Forgot About Life And Faith After You Left the Art Room, by Matt Appling, Surprised By Grace: God’s Relentless Pursuit of Rebels, by Tullian Tchividjian, and the Marc Royce series by Davis Bunn. These three have all, in some way, shaped my current philosophy of life. For example, the tattoo on my shoulder says “live beautifully,” a phrase I began using after reading Life After Art. I love the idea that each one of us has a choice of what we create with our lives–and by our choices we create either beauty or ugliness. Life is art. Perhaps it is the beauty of the “unity moment” in Bunn’s novels that so attract me to the Marc Royce series. In each of the books, *spoiler alert*, he brings underground Christians, often Coptic Christians, made up of formerly warring tribes, religions, or people groups. At that moment, the glory of the power of Christ to change lives and to unify people – the idea that in Christ we are adopted into a new family – is brilliantly displayed. Its that opportunity to worship with Christians from every tongue, tribe, race, and nation that makes me think I’ve found heaven on earth – whether in Fort Wayne, Papua New Guinea, or Tanzania. And, really, that is only possible because of grace, a concept Tchividjian illustrates in his moving portrait of Jonah. But there are so many other good books too….
Now, to nominate other bloggers.
I really don’t know how many followers Amy has, but that’s irrelevant. This blog is about living. Living adoption. Living in a developing country. Living loss and hurt and brokenness. Living hope and joy and success. Amy’s stories vary between heartbreaking and roll-on-the-floor-laugh-till-you-cry hilarious. She shares her family and her heart with her readers. If you are at all interested in adoption, missions, church planting, expat life, developing countries, etc., etc., etc., this blog is a must-read. Oh, and I have the privilege of knowing Amy personally…and she’s even more amazing in real life. Just saying.
Remember that guy, Andrew, who is one of my BFFs? Yeah, he has a blog. It started as a “Fear Project” a few years ago, where he set out to face his fears in a systematic way. More lately, it has been an honest look at how he sees the world, himself, church, and so much more. (And, though I’m going to nominate him anyway, because I know Andrew, I doubt that he’ll care at all about the blog award nomination.) Regardless, if you read his blog, you will not leave the same. Andrew is real, and thinks about things in a deep and meaningful way–and forces you to do the same, even when uncomfortable.
As a hobby photographer, I appreciate the work of those photographers more talented than myself. Hana is one of those people. She is a likeminded friend who loves life and loves adventure, and isn’t afraid to think about life either. Her blog features some of her incredible photography along with the stories and travel tips that come with living the adventure lifestyle. (Oh, and Hana and I went to the same church for about four years when we were teens, which is cool).
I never thought I would enjoy reading a “lifestyle blog,” but Lindsay makes recipes and shopping and homemaking interesting. It probably helps that she lives in Indianapolis, one of the cities in my home state of Indiana, or perhaps that she’s considerate of both budget and healthy choices. At any rate, I enjoy the fun and fresh look at “adulting” on The Love Bungalow!
This is another friend of mine. Gabe and I met at Miracle Mountain Ranch years ago, and now he is in social work in Philadelphia and I’m teaching in Tanzania. I appreciate his realistic look at the world through the lens of a biblical worldview. This blog is not for the faint of heart, as the posts tend to be academic and theological in nature, yet relevant.
Beth self-titles her blog with the phrase “stumbling along after Jesus” and this is really all you need to know. Her blog is about the reality of the everyday, the mundane, and the desire to love God with our very best. She is a musician, artist, parent, and friend – and in all of that her passion for beauty and truth shines through in written form.
And, finally, for the above nominated bloggers, should they choose to accept the award, a list of questions:
- If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you go?
- If you had to recommend a book for teens/young adults, what would it be? Maybe a book that influenced you?
- Summer or winter? Why?
- What is a quote that inspires or challenges you?
- What is one dream you have for yourself, your city, or your world?
- Why do you blog?
- Current favorite song or artist?
- One worthwhile routine in your life?
- Apple or Android?
- What is one book on your to-read (or currently reading) pile? Why?
- What is one thing that makes you happy?
That’s all, folks!