5 Lessons Every New Blogger Should Know

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Ultimately there is no such thing as failure. There are lessons learned in different ways. ~ Twyla Tharp.

Lessons Learned My First Year of Blogging

One year ago today I hit ‘enter’ on my keyboard and Pure Grace Farms went from dream to reality. Little did I know the challenges and changes that would be spawned from that tiny, purposeful action.  At the time I was working full-time as an operating room nurse, managing our ever growing garden and taking care of the day to day work at home. I enjoyed help and support from Tim but still had a lot on my plate to handle.

If I’m being completely honest, when I first started off I believed I would be different. I had visions of Pure Grace Farms becoming wildly successful and saw myself skipping down the primrose path in no time. Reality has shown itself to be quite different. While I have left my full-time job, it has had nothing to do with the success of the blog. Money isn’t coming in hand over fist. I’m fortunate to have a husband that is able to care for the financial side of things, allowing me to pursue wholeheartedly this thing called blogging.

In honor of the day I would like to share with you some of the lessons learned during my first year of blogging and clear up a few questions I wish someone else had told me. My hope is that it offers a little encouragement to the newbies just starting and sprinkles in a dose of reality right along with it.

5 Lessons Every New Blogger Should Know

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Lesson 1 – Be flexible and willing to change  

When I first began blogging I was a woman on a mission. I was fortunate to have a bit of help in the technical part of setting up a blog but the design, purpose, goals etc. was left completely up to me. I had grand ideas of what my site should look like and ran with it even though I hadn’t a clue what I was doing. I was dead set on simplicity and chose what I thought to be a simple theme. It was simple alright and very dysfunctional. After struggling for several months I knew something had to be done and I made the decision to use a new theme and change the whole look of my blog, basically starting over from square one. It was the best decision I have made to date.

Don’t be afraid to change something that needs fixing; now and in the future as well. A blog  should be continually evolving just as we do. Be flexible and willing to change when needed.

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Lesson 2 – Be Authentic

As I started writing for Pure Grace Farms I was quite nervous. I wasn’t sure if what I had to say and how I said it would be considered good enough. It was my first time writing anything of significance. I sought out friends who were willing to help and asked them to edit my work. I wasn’t very secure in myself. As time went on I began to develop more confidence and began to see a rhythm in my writing. A new confidence emerged. 

It’s important to find your own style and voice when blogging. Write about what moves you, what you are passionate about and what makes you tick. Copying a formula from a successful blogger’s manual won’t work for long. If it’s not your formula, it is someone else’s and readers eventually will see right through it. If you are normally controversial, then be controversial. If you are normally wild and crazy then be wild and crazy. The point is be who you are. This will resonate with readers more than anything else and those who enjoy “your” style will be your loyal readers. That’s what we are all looking for in the first place. To tell our stories. So tell your story and not someone else’s. Be authentic.

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Lesson 3 – Don’t Compare

It’s all too simple to get sucked into the trap of comparison. Questions like, “Why them and not me?” can come all too easily if we allow it. All of us work hard and sometimes it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time, connections made, etc. There is no use in trying to figure it out. What one CAN do is celebrate the success of others. Build one another up and put the wasted energy of comparison into helping others succeed. It’s called blogger’s Karma and it will be sure to come back to you. Don’t compare.

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Lesson 4 – Stop obsessing over Analytics

I have done this and know this is a tough habit to kick. All the obsessing in the world is not going to change the bounce rate, amount of page views, or increase the visitors to your website. Instead of constantly checking the stats, focus on quality content, making great blogging connections by visiting other sites and commenting, sharing and pinning. Help others succeed. As stated earlier it’s good blogging Karma. Being a good neighbor will produce much better results than all the checking. The numbers will come naturally. Stop obsessing over analytics.

5 Lessons Every new Blogger Should Know Lesson 5 – Making money with Adsense will barely buy a cup of coffee

There I said it; the elephant in the room that no one wants to talk about. Unless you have tremendous 6 digit numbers every month Adsense ads will barely buy  a cup of coffee. Don’t get discouraged, as time goes by and your blog becomes more established other opportunities will arise. Be open to other possibilities. Join collectives like The Sits Girls or Blogher to be ready for opportunities when the time is right.

These lessons learned my first year of blogging  didn’t always come easy and I am sure I have many more lessons to learn in the coming years. Regardless, I am looking forward to seeing what’s around the bend and the progress to be made in the coming year. 

Blessings,

Shari

5 Lessons Every New Blogger Should Know shared with:

*Yesterfood: Treasure Box Tuesday *A Savory Feast: Humpday Happenings Gingerly Made: Show and Tell *Lambert’s Lately: Create it Thursday *Sweet Haute La Dolce Vita *Living Well Spending Less: *Thrifty Thursday *Organized 31: Inspire Us Thursday  *Juggling Real food and Real Life: Let’s Get Real *The Deliberate Mom: Shine Blog Hop * Nancherrow: Fridays unfolded  *Snippets of Inspiration: Weekend Wind Down Link Party *Natasha in Oz: Say G’Day Raia’s *Recipes: Savoring Saturdays *Oh My Heartsie Girl: Weekends Are Fun Party  *The Sits Girls: Share Your Favorite Post Saturday *Sadie Season Goods: Snickerdoodle Sunday *My Pinterventures: Merry Monday Link Party *Creative K Kids: Bloggers Brags * Plucky’s  Second Thought *God’s Growing Garden: Tuesdays with a Twist *Life with Garnish: Teach Me Tuesday *Yum Eating: The Yuck Stops Here

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

Happy Blogiversary To Me: My Writing Process

Happy Blogiversary to me: My Writing Process

“Dance above the surface of the world. Let your thoughts lift you into creativity that is not hampered by opinion.” 
― Red Haircrow

HAPPY BLOGIVERSARY TO ME

I love the month of August. In Boise, the heat of the whole year seems to intensify into this one month. A blazing hot inferno where temperatures soar, humidity rises and the air crackles like a powder keg just waiting to go off. The heat is not the reason why I enjoy August, the pleasure lies in knowing what comes next. The anticipation of cool nights, crisp air and the changing of the leaves from greens, to hues of gold and jeweled rubies is what excites me. I can’t stop smiling. I know that fall is surely on it’s way as soon as summer has had its say. 

I have a new reason to love August. This month marks the one year anniversary of Pure Grace Farms. During this past year connections have went from names to faces and from people to friends. I’m grateful for what God has been doing in me and through me in this small little space. I want to make this month a celebration for all that I’m thankful for.

I was asked several weeks back to participate in a question and answer session about why I do what I do. So today there will be no recipes, musings, or stories about camping. I have the privilege of sharing a little of myself with you. 

Happy Blogiversary to me: My Writing Process My Writing Process

About 5 weeks ago I was asked to participate in a blog tour that helps to put the spotlight on fellow food bloggers. I was nominated by Sandi, a gluten free mom and blogger whose blog Fearless Dining showcases amazing and beautifully photographed food. Sandi creates recipes that would make the most discriminating of foodies proud and shares great information and reviews about the gluten free lifestyle. As you can tell I enjoy her blog and appreciate her support. Fearless Dining: http://www.fearlessdining.com/

1. What am I working on?

Keeping with the theme on Pure Grace Farms one year anniversary, I must say I have seen many changes already since my first post was published last August. I am more focused on projects  I feel are important and provide help to others in the larger scheme of things. My Preserve the Harvest Series is an ongoing project that I’ll be continuing throughout the year as a regular feature. Other than that, I let inspiration from day to day life lead me.

2. How does my work differ from others of my genre?

While I enjoy gardening, cooking and sharing these special talents with my readers, I feel my real focus is on matters of the heart. It is important to me that those who come to Pure Grace Farms leave feeling better in spirit than when they arrived. This is no gimmick on my part, but a sincere appreciation of all that I have been given. My life hasn’t been a picnic by any means but I find that even in the difficult moments a little kindness and encouragement is what makes all the difference.

3. Why do I write what I do?

I write to encourage, to inspire and to share my story. There is a hope that I have deep within me that God is on His throne. I am deeply and powerfully loved and no one can ever take that away from me. It is my desire that all may know and experience this deep and abiding love. Not because of who you are or what you’ve accomplished; all those things fade and falter. It is because of who God is and how He loves us. A powerful message I feel compelled to live out in love and gratitude.

4. How does my writing process work?

I prefer not to think too much about what I will write until the moment I sit down to write it. I have a title or topic in mind and that’s about it. I write like I do just about everything else, squarely by the seat of my pants. I am an emotional writer and put my heart into every word that goes on the page. Sometimes it can get me into trouble, but for better or worse I want to be real.

So there you have it. Thank you for taking a moment to read a little about me.

Happy Blogiversary to me: My Writing Process MY NOMINATIONS

I now get to pass the torch to 3 of my favorite bloggers. I have chosen these particular three because of the support and encouragement they have shown me in the first year of Pure Grace Farms existence. I wouldn’t be where I am today without them and for this I am truly grateful. My three nominations are in no particular order.

1. Diane and her blog  Recipes for Our Daily Bread. A living breathing sweet Southern inspiration in everything she does. Her generous spirit and love for others is contagious and her pure Southern Cooking will bring you to your knees. Thanks Diane, I surely appreciate you! Recipes For Our Daily Bread: http://recipesforourdailybread.com/  

2. Kim from The Cookie Puzzle. My first contact with Kim was a comment she left on one of my posts. She left some very encouraging words for me at a moment when I was questioning what I was doing at Pure Grace Farms. She had no idea of my struggles or how deep her words penetrated my heart. Since then she has been a constant source of support, most likely without her even knowing it. I am thankful for the way God uses us to bless one another. Thank you for being a blessing Kim. The Cookie Puzzle: http://www.thecookiepuzzle.com/p/about-cookie-puzzle.html

3. Michelle and I have only recently become acquainted and I already know we will be good friends. A Dish of Daily Life offers just that. Life lived up and served as the main course with food the beautiful side dish. Michelle tirelessly esteems others highly and her servant’s heart  is evident in all she presents on her blog and throughout the social media world. A cheerleader, friend and confidant. I am honored to know her. A Dish of Daily Life: http://www.adishofdailylife.com/

Please take a moment and go by and say hello to all these wonderful ladies. Their blogs are all refreshingly different in nature but have in common something very important…a heart and soul.

Blessings, Shari  

My writing process blog tour shared with: *Crafty Allie: Worthwhile Wednesday’s *Smart Schoolhouse: Whimsy Wednesday *Juggling Real Food And Real Life: Let’s Get Real *The Diary of A Real Housewife: Foodie Friday’s

 Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.” 

Everything You Need to Know About Camping: Part 3- Let’s Get Cooking

Let's Get Cooking: Options for Cooking When Camping

Part 3 – Let’s Get Cooking

Everything you need to know about camping is a 3 5 part series presented to help calm your apprehensions about camping and get you out into the great outdoors. If you have never tried camping before, the idea of getting outdoors and next to nature can be a little overwhelming. Questions arise quickly… “Where should I go?” “What should I take?”  and “What will I eat?” are just a few that come to mind. Let’s start from the beginning and break it all down to see if we can get you outdoors and up close and personal to nature. Hopefully after reading a few of these ideas you will be out building a fire, cooking up great meals and leaving all your cares behind in no time flat.

In Part 1 we discussed 3 main topics:

  • What exactly is camping?
  • Why should I go camping?
  • Where should I go camping?

In Part 2 we discussed the 10 Must Haves When Camping; 10 of the most important little things needed to help prepare for a successful camping trip. 

Here are the links to Part 1 and Part 2 in case you missed them and would like to catch up.

Part 1: So You Want to Go Camping  

Part 2: 10 Must Haves When Camping

I had meant to wrap up the Series on Everything You Need to Know About Camping this week, but have come to realize it is impossible to cover all the aspects of cooking in only one post. So I will be extending the series for a few more weeks.

Coming up…

  • What are the options for cooking when I go camping?
  • What type of cooking gear should I bring when I go camping?
  • Healthy camp recipes and ideas for your camping trip.

Let's Get Cooking: Options for Cooking When Camping

Let’s Get Cooking

What Are The Options For Cooking When Camping?

There are many options for cooking when camping. Much depends on the facility where you will be staying. For instance, some wilderness areas and campsites do not allow wood fires during peak fire season or only allow a charcoal fire in a designated area.  It is good to check out the area and the restrictions before you head out and always have a back-up plan in the event that things change. Even when all options are available you may want to use several methods for cooking anyway.  Let’s explore some of the options.

Let's Get Cooking: Options for Cooking When Camping

Camp Stove

  • The Camp Stove is usually a two burner stove and the most commonly used cooking method when camping. Fuel for the stove can be either propane or white gas. I find this method to be the most stable for cooking. Heat can be maintained and regulated easily in comparison with a wood fire, charcoal grill or dutch oven. It is the most user friendly option; one I would recommend as a mainstay in your stable of cooking choices.

Tabletop Grill

  • Charcoal can be used in a fire pit (when allowed per facility) or a BBQ grill. Some camping areas have grills available for use right at the campsite, but this is not always the case. It is a good idea to check to make certain. One way to avoid not having a grill available is the Tabletop Grill. For this cooking method all you need is charcoal and a lighter. When cooking on the grill it is not much different from home. No need to step out of your comfort zone with this method.

Let's Get Cooking: Options for Cooking When Camping

Dutch Oven

  • The Dutch Oven takes your camp cuisine one step further. Soups and stews are only the beginning with this handy piece of equipment. Whether it is used with charcoal or sitting over a fire, the options are endless when you get the hang of how to use it. I enjoy baking and making desserts in my oven; a sure way to impress and a great tool when camping when heavy equipment is not an issue.

101 Things to Do with a Dutch Oven

Best of the Black Pot: Must-Have Dutch Oven Favorites

Let's Get Cooking: Options for Cooking When Camping

Wood Fire

  • A wood fire embodies all the charm and tradition of camping. It is a practical method with many varieties for use. Foil wrapped packages are one of the easiest methods for cooking with a wood fire. It is good to remember a cooking fire is something quite different than a fire to be enjoyed while gathering and singing kum ba yah. White hot coals are much more predictable and a steadier source of heat than red hot flames.

How to Build a Camp Fire

Pie Irons

  • Desserts are fun to eat at camp. Why not opt for a healthier version. Pie Irons broaden your horizons and give you more options than the traditional S’more (yes I agree they are a camp tradition!). The great thing about Pie Irons is they make pretty mean sandwiches and a whole lot more.

Rome’s #2011 Creative Pie Iron Cooking Book

In Summary

This is by no means an exhaustive list of the ways to cook when camping, but it is a good start to get you out and enjoying the outdoors fairly quickly. As you camp, mix it up a bit and try the various methods. Soon you may be using the camp stove at breakfast, a wood fire at lunch, and the Dutch oven at dinner. The most important thing to remember is to use what works best and fits easily within your family. If a certain method is more of a chore and takes away from your experience, skip it entirely and move on to something else.

Next Week:  What type of cooking gear should I bring when I go camping?

If you missed any of the series of Everything You Need to Know About Camping you can see them here…

 

Everything You Need to Know About Camping shared with:

New Mama Diaries: Creative Style Linkup *2 Crochet Hooks: Snickerdoodle Sunday  *Baking in Pyjamas: Sweet and Savoury Sunday *Creative K Kids: Bloggers Brags *Mrs Tee Love Life Laughter:Mommy Monday Blog Hop *Yesterfood: Treasure Box Tuesday *Lou Lou Girls: Lou Lou Girls *Mandy’s Recipe Box: Totally Talented Tuesdays *Savvy Southern Style: Wow us Wednesday *Dizzy, Busy and Hungry: Wine’d Down Wednesdays *Crafty Allie: Worthwhile Wednesdays *The Shady Porch: Party on the Porch *Smart School House: Whimsy Wednesday *Organized 31:Inspire us Thursday *Living Well Spending Less: Thrifty Thursday *The Deliberate Mom: Shine *Calm Healthy Sexy: Let’s Get Real *Nancherrows: Friday’s Unfolded *Ruffles and Rainboots: Thank Goodness it’s Thursday *Happy and Blessed Home: Family Fun Friday  *The Diary of a Real Housewife: Friday Favorites *2 Crochet Hooks: Snickerdoodle Sunday

Disclosure of Material Connection: Some of the links in the post above are “affiliate links.” This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission. Regardless, I only recommend products or services I use personally and believe will add value to my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

 

 

 

How Does Your Garden Grow?

A good garden may have some weeds.
~ Thomas Fuller

How does your garden grow? The age old question!

How Does Your Garden Grow: Pure Grace Farms This year has been a challenge getting the garden up and growing. Normally as soon as the snow melts  I am out digging in the dirt, removing straw from the beds, and laying down black plastic to warm up the soil. I set out my plants, bury my seeds, construct hoop tunnels, and baby every little plant that sprouts from the ground. This year was different.

How Does Your Garden Grow: Pure Grace Farms There were numerous factors why this year was a challenge. To begin with, last year’s early start was not at all successful. I had grown most of my plants from seed over the winter and in my exuberance planted them at what I thought to be a reasonable time. Unfortunately the weather did not cooperate. We had a severe freeze and I lost many of the plants I had grown from seed. To say I was demoralized wouldn’t be a stretch.

How Does Your Garden Grow: Pure Grace Farms Another reason I was reluctant to get the process going was the considerable amount of time and effort it takes to keep plants protected. Every evening I would be out making sure the plants were covered so they didn’t get too cold, and every morning would find me out removing the same coverings for fear the little darlings might get too hot. Choosing not to plant early this year,  I reasoned that putting a plant in the ground before the proper time would surely stunt the plants growth, at least for a time; therefore I probably was not gaining a thing by planting out early.

How Does Your Garden Grow: Pure Grace Farms And so, this year I waited. Only time will tell if it will make a difference or not. The peas are now blossoming, the spinach and lettuce is leafy and the broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower are heading! The harvest for my spring veggies has already begun!

How Does Your Garden Grow: Pure Grace Farms Today as I walk through the garden,  I find myself wondering…”How does my garden grow in the arena of life?”  and “What parallels can I apply outside of my garden? ”

How Does Your Garden Grow: Pure Grace Farms I have a tendency to want things now. I have little patience to wait on God’s timing and very often recklessly forge ahead without counting the cost. Sometimes I’m successful, but I fail often enough that He gets my attention.  All the effort and hard work gets me no further along than if I would have waited; needless time spent spinning my wheels.

How Does Your Garden Grow: Pure Grace Farms I am grateful for God’s patience with me and am certain He has a great sense of humor. He continues to pull at the weeds in my garden, allowing for greater growth and beauty in the future.

How Does Your Garden Grow: Pure Grace Farms So… How does your garden grow?

How Does Your Garden Grow: Pure Grace Farms

 

How Does your Garden Grow shared with:

Crafty Spices: Wordless Wednesday

Be There 2 Day: Wordless Wednesday

Southern Beauty Guide: Let’s Be Friends

New Mama Diaries: Turn it up Tuesday

The Shady Porch: Party on the Porch

The Crafty Wife: The Wednesday Roundup 

Easy Life Meal and Party Planning: Four Season’s Blog Hop

Sweet Haute: La Dolce Vita: Thursday Sweet Haute Share Link Party

Lambert’s Lately: Create it Thursday

Janine’s Confessions of a Mommyholic: Pin it Party

Living Well Spending Less: Thrifty Thursday

Homestead Lady: Green Thumb Thursday

Calm Healthy Sexy: Let’s Get Real

The Cookie Puzzle: Party in Your PJ’S

Coffee With Us 3: Pretty Pintastic Party

Create With Joy: Inspire Me Monday

Creative K Kids: Bloggers Brag

Ducks ‘n a Row: Plucky’s Second Though Link Party

 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”