Don’t Just Read a Blog. Comment!

Before I began blogging last year, I spent several months reading a variety of blogs. I subscribed to book review blogs, political blogs, spiritual blogs, and blogs for writers. I read posts written by those who had just entered the blogosphere, and posts written by those who had been blogging for years. I finally initiated my own blog, Pen Station, in May, 2010.

But there’s more to blogging than writing your own blog and reading those written by others. The blogosphere is a community, and community means interaction. Most blogs are not intended to be monologues. They’re meant to be part of a dialogue between writers and their readers. The ensuing “conversation” can broaden the worlds of both parties.

So how do you join the community and add to the conversation? The easiest way is to provide meaningful feedback by commenting on individual blog posts. Many bloggers make it a practice to end each blog post with a question that invites the reader to participate. What do you think? Have you had a similar experience? How have you responded to this situation? What would you do if this happened to you?

The way to answer these questions, and perhaps post one or two of your own, is by leaving a comment. Most blogs have a Comment hyperlink at the top of the post or a Comment box at the end of the post.

What kind of comment should you leave? In her book, Blogophobia Conquered, social media expert and Blogging Barista Laura Christianson notes, “When readers compliment my writing, it stokes my ego, But the comments I value most are the ones that challenge my statements, share information I forgot to include, or offer meaningful commentary.”

Laura also identified several types of commenters:

Fervent Fans – people who love the blog
Personal Promoters – people who comment to promote themselves
Happy Hecklers – people who post nasty comments just to irritate the writer
Deferential Dissenters – people who courteously disagree and open a dialogue with the intent of learning through sharing
Irrational Inciters – people who hate the blog

I would add one more type: the non-commenter or lurker. I confess I am often guilty of belonging to this last category. I slip in and out of blogs, reading but not responding. Taking, but not giving. Listening, but not adding to the discussion.

I want that to change. Community requires interaction. Conversation requires dialogue. I’m looking forward to not just learning, but also sharing what I’m learning.

Care to comment?

What type of commenter are you?

“I Love This Blog” Award

I’ve won my first blog award from Alanna Klapp, of The Chipper Writer! Alanna was instrumental in helping me start my own blog by reconnecting me with Laura Christianson, the Blogging Barista.

Here’s how it works:

1. Thank and link back to the person who gave you the award.

2. Share seven things about yourself.

3. Award up to 15 blogs that are deserving. (I’m awarding five.)

4. Contact those bloggers and let them know about the award.

Seven random facts about me:

1.  I worked in downtown Manhattan for twenty years as a Human Resources executive – just blocks from the World Trade Center.

2. I never learned to ski – water or snow skiing.

3. My first solo book project was One Year Alone with God: 366 Devotions on the Names of God (Revell Books, 2010).

4. I love to bake. One Christmas, I baked and decorated twenty-two gingerbread houses!

5. I hate rollercoasters.

6. My favorite movie is White Christmas.

7.  I put up my Christmas decorations before Thanksgiving!

I award the “I Love this Blog” award to:

1.    The MBT Ponderers

2.    Mind Chocolate

3.    Ramblings

4.    Redwood’s Medical Edge

5.    Jolene’s Journey

(Alanna, I would’ve awarded you, too, but you already have it!)

Fallen Dictators

Another ruler has fallen.

Hosni Mubarek, President of Egypt, stepped down this week after almost thirty years of rule. He joins a long list of deposed dictators throughout history. Mass unrest in his country left him few options, despite his assurances that he would not leave until later this year.

The United States is interested in seeing Egypt institute some form of democracy. But how realistic is it to expect a transition to democracy in a nation that has never known such a government?

So who will govern Egypt? The military? Activists such as Wael GhonimThe Muslim Brotherhood?

We may have a long wait for the answers. Still, while the events in Egypt are a surprise to some of us, they are not a surprise to our omniscient Creator God. He controls history, brings nations and leaders onto the world stage in His perfect time, and then removes them when they have accomplished His purposes.

The Old Testament contains numerous predictions regarding the future of the nations. Isaiah recorded many prophecies in Isaiah 28-33 related to Israel’s neighbors. Daniel recorded prophecies regarding the nations in Daniel 11. His descriptions were so specific and fulfilled in such detail that modern critics now cast doubt on the authorship of this chapter solely on the basis that it is too accurate!

The anti-government uprising that swept through Egypt has spilled beyond her borders. Iran, Bahrain, and Yemen have also experienced protests. Even in closely governed Libya, dissidents in Benghazi called for the removal of Moammar Gadhafi.

But if we belong to the Lord, we need not fear the rise and fall of rulers and nations. God is sovereign, His Son is seated on His throne, and His Holy Spirit is present in each of His children. There is much truth in the song, “He’s Got the Whole World in His Hands.” That includes us…and Egypt.

Faith Basics for Kids

I am thrilled to announce that the picture book series, Faith Basics for Kids, has been released by Standard Publishing.

This series has been an especially dear project for me for the past several years, and to hold the first two books in my hands is a true joy. I am especially grateful to Crystal Bowman for co-authoring these books and creating rhythm and rhyme that almost sings on each page!

These books are more than just picture books for children. They use lively text and age-appropriate language to present deep spiritual truths in a kid-friendly way. Each book incorporates familiar actions and experiences to help children relate to the story and understand an abstract Bible truth.

Additionally, each book also has an addendum that further explains the Bible truth to the parent or teacher. These addendums provide the biblical foundation and teaching to equip the adult to better understand the truth for themselves and to explain it to their children.

The first book in the series is Do You Love Me More?

Young children will learn that good works are not necessary to earn God’s love;
instead, our good works show gratitude to God for his grace.

The second book in the series is Will I See You Today?

Young children will learn that God is with them every day, everywhere they go.

Would you consider doing three things?
1. Rejoice with me at the release of Faith Basics for Kids!
2. Pray with me that God will use these books to plant His truth in the hearts of children and their parents.
3. Buy Do You Love Me More? and Will I See You Today? for a child you know!

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