Friday, December 20, 2013

Most! plus {7QT}

Sarah over at "Amongst Lovely Things" is holding a link-up.  So since I am coming to the end of my first full year of blogging, I thought I would do it...and are just plain fun!!

And since it is Friday, I'm also going to link up with Jen at Conversion Diary for 7 Quick Takes Friday.

So, my Most Posts for 2013, as follows:

Quick Take #1 - 1st - Post with the Most Clicks - Theme Thursday: Secret

This one surprised me the most....but it was a link up, and in hind-sight the title probably drew some clicks too...who doesn't want to know a secret...

Quick Take #2 - 2nd - Post with the Most Comments - My Bookshelves
Again, another link-up, but one of my favorites.

Quick Take #3 - 3rd - Post with the Best Picture - 7 Quick Takes
The picture quality isn't the best, but I'm voting it best because I love when my kids have fun together.

Quick Take #4 - 4th - Post that was the Hardest to Write - Where I Come From
I did a blogging challenge in September called Blogtember. The first challenge was to write a post about where you come from.  I really opened up on this and put a lot of stuff out there for all to see.  I don't regret it for a minute, and this is one of my very favorite posts.

Quick Take #5 - 5th - Post that was My Personal Favorite - Sacraments and Confession
This post and the time around when I wrote it was a spiritually charged time in my life.  I had finally come to an understanding of Confession and was able to celebrate the Sacrament fully knowing I was receiving God's Grace.  I knew without a doubt that I was doing what I should be doing, what God intended for my life.

It was a little hard to pick a favorite post.  (So that's how I am going to make this 7 Quick Takes...)

Quick Take #6 - Another Favorite Post - My Conversion Story
This is the post that I expected to the be the Most Clicks...It's second.  Anyway, this one is a favorite for a couple reasons.  First, it's the story of how I came to this beautiful Catholic faith. I can't imagine where I would be today without it. I have been given so many blessings that I wouldn't have otherwise recognized, and I wouldn't have been shown God's love in so many people that have come into my life because of it. And second, it prompted my interview on SiriusXM's Catholic Channel with Gus Lloyd. I know God wanted my story heard....I trust Him that the one who needed to hear it did.

Quick Take #7 - Another Favorite post - New Job
This one is one of favorites because it is when I really started seeing God's active plan in my life.  And I haven't stopped since.

So, that's my contribution for this weeks quick takes and also my 2013 Mosts!  Thanks for stopping by!  You are welcome anytime!

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Sunday, December 15, 2013

Feeling Proud

Today is my dad’s 76th birthday.

Growing up, he was a great example to me of a good Christian man.  He was involved in the church, helping out wherever needed, even building a church building at one time.

Anyone who reads my blog knows that I am open about becoming Catholic.  Anyone who is my Facebook friend also would easily be able to tell that I am Catholic.  I have often wondered what the people that I grew up protestant with think about that.   There are a couple of them that often ‘like’ my status updates, which makes me feel good, but I just sometimes wonder.

Since becoming Catholic, I haven’t had any conversations with him about that decision.  Part of the reason being that we don’t live near each other; the other reason is because we just don’t talk as much as we should.

I called him to wish him a Happy Birthday.  We had a really nice conversation, and I was telling him all about my recent promotion and about how many doctors’ offices I manage, and his reply was that his is proud of me but then he also said how proud he is of me for what I have been doing in the Catholic Church. 

I have always wanted to make him proud of me, and to hear him say that about my faith was one of the most beautiful moments I never expected.  In the midst of me trying to make him proud about what I have done in my career, ultimately it was my relationship with God that made him the most proud. 
It meant the world to me and I will cherish that conversation always.


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Sunday, December 1, 2013


I’m showing up a little late to the party, but I wanted to put something on here about the blessings in my life that I am Thankful for.

First and foremost, I am Thankful that God is in my life.  He has given me so many blessings and gifts that I couldn’t even begin to count them.  I try to see them every day; however I know I miss many more that he has given me.

I am Thankful for a loving family, my husband, my beautiful, smart, and caring children, and all of our extended family. That I always feel loved and appreciated, and a part of something much bigger.

I am Thankful for all of my family that live far away, that we all know that we love each other even though we don’t talk every day. 

I am Thankful for special friends who support me in my faith.  They are always there for me when I have questions or am in need of support. They always show me what good faithful people of God are like and have been wonderful examples of devout Catholic Christians to me. 

I am Thankful for my Church family. It gives me great joy to serve on the altar at our Parish and to greet the parishioners as they leave Mass.  It truly fills me with love every time I get to do it.

I am Thankful for the deacons and priests in our diocese, along with our Bishop.  We have been blessed with some wonderful men who have truly dedicated their lives to God and strive every day to be faithful shepherds to His people.  I wouldn’t be where I am today without a few of them.

I am Thankful for my co-workers (some of whom have become great friends) for all they do every day. I am proud to be their leader and I couldn’t do it without them.  I want them to know every day how much I appreciate what they do and cherish whatever extent of a connection I have with each of them.

I am Thankful for blogging.  I never could have imagined how much of impact it would have on me.  It’s been amazing to ‘meet’ lots of new friends through blogging and feel like I have a whole set of prayer warriors at my beckon call.  It has been incredibly beneficial for me to put my thoughts down in written word.  That is something I have never done before and am so glad I started.  I am Thankful for all of you who spend a little bit of time reading what I have to say.
Linking up with Cari and the others at Clan Donaldson for today's Theme Thursday!

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Friday, November 15, 2013

What a Week!!

I took this last week off just to take a week off with nothing to do, much...
My Hunter man.
This was last weekend, Hunter and I spent some time together stacking our last load of wood for the winter. 

He is so smart it scares me a little. We had a long conversation about energy.  He really knows a lot about it, and is fascinated by nuclear energy.  We talked about renewable energy sources, fuels, and what the future of energy will be.  I should say HE talked about, I just listened and tried to come up with good questions.  (Although I knew I was completely out smarted)  Now I'm not positive, but I'm pretty certain that he didn't learn all about it in school.  He has taken his own time to learn it.  Those summer days when he is home, he isn't just playing Minecraft, he is actually learning about things he finds interesting.  His future looks so bright, I might just have to wear shades... :)

Oh yeah, and an interesting gem he found out recently, Pope Frances was actually a Chemist before becoming a priest.  Hunter thought that was pretty cool.

I had a hair appointment on Wednesday to get a cut and all of my gray covered up.  Those of you who have seen me recently will agree, it was getting pretty bad.

Ohhh how I hate selfies

And then the most exciting, nerve racking thing happened,  I received an email from Sirius XM's The Catholic Channel about doing an interview with Gus Lloyd about my conversion story!  I was so surprised, it took me a little while to respond.  I mean really, I'm not sure my story is that interesting, but you never know what will capture someone's attention and maybe the simple stories are good for people to hear too. 

Anyway, emails back and forth and it has been settled that I will be doing the interview on Monday morning at 8:00 am EST.  I'm nervous as can be, but with a lot of support and prayers, I will make it through.  So please, send up your prayers for my peace and confidence and that the Holy Spirit works through me on Monday.

Thursday was a lazy day at home, but I got to spend it with my daughter Kayla.  That rarely happens anymore, but it was really nice.  She cracks me up...that kid can talk.

One last may have seen my post about the Matthew Kelly talk I attended a couple weeks ago.  I recently came into possession of an extra copy of his book "The Four Signs of a Dynamic Catholic".  So I would like to give it away to one of my blog readers.  I know I don't have much of a following yet, but I would really like to share the wealth a little bit. 

So if you are interested in winning this book, please leave me a comment below.  I will leave it open until the end of November and then draw a lucky winner.

My goal for this week was to get rested up.  There is so much going on in healthcare lately that I really needed to get some time away so that I could rest and prepare to jump back in refreshed and whole heartedly give it all my best.  I believe I have accomplished that.

Thanks for stopping by!!

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7 Quick Takes Friday: Great Posts edition

I've been accumulating these links for a little while now to share with you.  There really are some great people posting great stuff out there in the big ol' world wide web.  Please enjoy!!

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This author expresses so many of my same feelings about the Catholic Church.  It is worth a couple minutes of your time.  Hope you enjoy it as much as I did.  Click here!
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This piece is a great example of what I feel is needed in the Church today.  I would love to see more cradle Catholics be able to express their faith the way this author has.  But it takes work, I would love to figure out how to help others learn more about this beautiful, full faith that we have.  Click here!

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This is a great piece that will give hope for young men today.  Click here!

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I had written a little post a couple weeks ago about some questions some cradle Catholics had about my protestant upbringing.  One of them was about the authority they use.  Then a couple days later, I came across this blog post with a video by Fr. Robert Barron on the same topic.  Here it is!

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This is pretty interesting.  The author demonstrates twelve traits that show us the true church.  Click here!

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If you have ever wondered about your prayer life, this is a great blog post that should give you some encouragement.  Click here!

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Leila at Little Catholic Bubble recently posted this about how people come to God.  As a very intellectual person, she tended to think that people come to God through truth, however it is more usual for people to come to God through love.  Click here!
For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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Wednesday, November 13, 2013

My Bookshelves

I saw this great link-up on Modern Mrs. Darcy. If you haven't stumbled on this blog yet and you are a reader, I would recommend you go and get to know Anne. She's a sweetheart and cute as can be.

Anyway, she is doing a link-up of other peoples bookshelves. It can be really fascinating what others are reading, and it is a great way to get some good ideas about what to read next. 

I have several bookshelves in my house and often have a stack of books on the coffee table.  I also have many books on my Kindle.  Often when I hear about a book I want to read I download the sample on my Kindle.  Then I don't forget about it and I don't have to buy until I am ready to read it.

You might be able to tell by the books that these first several pictures are my bookshelf.

These are a couple stacks that I pulled out lately to read.

 And then these are the ones I have loaded on my Kindle:

 The books on this bookshelf are my husbands, but the bookshelf is mine.  It was always in our house growing up and I love it.  It also fits his small paperbacks really well.  He mostly reads soldier books or westerns.

This one is mostly my husbands hardcover books, but some Life "Year in Pictures" books we have collected.

 And this last one is a catch all of miscellaneous books, but includes a lot of the kids favorite books that I didn't want to get rid of.

I hope you found something you like, and I can't wait to see all the other linkers' bookshelves.

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Thursday, October 31, 2013

The Halloween Tree

Have you ever seen The Halloween Tree?  Or have you ever read it? 
Originally, it is a book by Ray Bradbury, however Hanna-Barbera made it into an animated film.
It's my favorite Halloween movie.  In fact it's one of my favorite movies, period.
I discovered it many years ago sitting in the emergency room waiting area at the Army hospital.  Kayla was a month and a half old and John was having some sort of stomach pain (If I remember right) which prompted our visit to the ER.
The Cartoon Network was on the TV and this movie was playing.
It captured my attention and then my heart.
Its a story of friendship and of love. With some Halloween history thrown in.
It's the story of five friends who are taken on the adventure of a lifetime.
It is Halloween night and each friend is dressed for the occasion.  Tom as a skeleton, Ralph as a mummy, Wally as a monster, and Jenny as a witch.
Four of the friends are chasing the spirit of the fifth friend, Pip, after they discover that he might be on his death bed with appendicitis. 
They follow him to a huge old mansion and meet Moundshroud who has an ulterior motive to help the four friends find Pip.  Moundshroud wants to capture his spirit in one of the pumpkins on his pumpkin tree. 
Pip's spirit has stolen the pumpkin and escaped to the past, four thousand Halloweens past.
Moundshroud asks them why they are dressed the way they are dressed.  They can't answer and so he initiates the chase for Pip and telling them they need to visit the old country to find out why they dress as skeletons, mummies, monsters, and witches.
The adventure begins as they fly through the air. 
They land in Egypt and see the spirits trying to get into the houses on the feast of ghosts.  They end up in a pyramid as the natives begin to mummify Pip.  Ralph, dressed as the mummy has to save Pip.
Pip is saved but flies away again.
This time they land in England, in the dark ages, in the middle of a broom festival.  They then get a lesson on why the witches were called witches.  The were smart, had their 'wits' about them. 
So Jenny, dressed as the witch, saves Pip this time.  She does and he flies away again.
This time they are off to the French Quarry to build Notre Dame.  Of course the Cathedral is missing the Gargoyles which have to be called by Wally, dressed as the monster.  Pip is trapped in one of the statues and only Wally can save him.
Pip is freed from the statue and flies away.  This time to Mexico on the Day of the Dead.
They see the celebrations going on but end up following Pip into the catacombs where the skeletons are.  Tom, dressed as the skeleton faces his fear for Pip saying, "If we face death eyeball to eyeball, it loses it's power over us". 
Pip is saved, however Moundshroud finally scoops in to capture Pip's spirit in his pumpkin.
The four friends had spent the evening pouring out their hearts to Pip.  About how much they need him and how supportive he is of all of them. 
So now they fear the worst for Pip.  Moundshroud has his spirit captured.  One at a time, they negotiate a year off the end of each of their lives to save Pip's life.
Moundshroud is touched by this, and it is enough to send them all flying home.
They arrive near Pip's house and go to see him.  Pip is alive and recovering from his appendicitis. Pip being the true friend to them is appreciative of all of their sacrifices.  They all wonder how he knew and he says he had some really great dreams while he was at the hospital.
The end!
Don't you love it?
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Sunday, October 27, 2013

Matthew Kelly Talk

Yesterday I attended a Matthew Kelly talk.  Have you ever heard him speak?  He does presentations all around the country and he also has many CDs and books that he has produced/written.  You can take a look around his website or there might even be some available at your local parish.

I wanted to share some of my favorite points the Matthew made during yesterday's talk.

He began talking about the qualities of people who are engaged.  The first is that they are hungry for "best practices", the second is that they are committed to continuous learning.  The got me thinking not only about my religion but also about the people who I manage.  Looking through the lens of the qualities, I can really identify the people around me who are engaged in what they are doing.  The ones who want to do the best job correctly, and constantly want to learn more.  These are the people I want to surround myself with.

Among the three areas that he talked about hearing the ordinary voice of God every day, he mentioned getting some time in the classroom of silence.  The noise of the world consumes us and we are not listening for God anymore.  The three areas where we should be listening are our legitimate needs, our talents and abilities, and our deepest desires.

One of the strongest points Matthew made that will stick with me for a long time is about what some people say about Jesus.  There's little doubt that you have heard different people and even different religions say that Jesus was only a great prophet and teacher. Here's the thing though...Jesus said he was the Son of God, so if you deny that he was the Son of God, you are saying that he was a liar.  Would you call a liar a great prophet and teacher?

Of course there were many other things that Matthew spoke about and I took a lot of notes, but these are a couple that I wanted to share.

Speaking of notes, we were given a little notebook to take notes in and on every page there were quotes and sayings by various people.  Here are some of my favorites:

“Anyone or anything that does not help you become the-best-version-of-yourself is too small for you.” ~Matthew Kelly

“Some people are going to like me and some people aren’t, so I might as well be me. Then, at least, I will know that the people who like me, like me.”  ~Hugh Prather
“The dictionary is the only place that success comes before work. Hard work is the price we must pay for success.  I think you can accomplish almost anything if you’re willing to pay the price.”  ~Vince Lombardi

“We who lived in concentration camps can remember the men who walked through the huts comforting others, giving away their last piece of bread. They may have been few in number, but they offer sufficient proof that everything can be taken from a man but one thing: The last of the human freedoms – to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances – to choose one’s own way.”  ~Victor Frankl
“The challenge life presents to each of us is to become truly ourselves – not the self we have imagined or fantasized about, not the self that our friends want us to be, not the self our ego would have us be, but the self God has ordained us to be from before we were in our mother’s womb.”  ~Matthew Kelly

“What lies behind us and what lies before us are small matters compared to what lies within us.”  ~Ralph Waldo Emerson

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Friday, October 18, 2013

The Catholic Church is So Much More

*Disclaimer: Where I refer to protestants in this post is strictly related to the experiences I had growing up in a Nazarene and then in a Southern Baptist church.  I fully know that they are not all alike.

Recently, I had a conversation with a trusted group of friends that have been there for me in my continued conversion to Catholicism.  We were talking about my background, being raised protestant, and a few things stood out to me that I hadn’t thought of from that angle before, “that angle” being how a cradle Catholic would see a protestant Christian formation.

One of the questions was what authority the protestant churches looked to.  I didn’t have an answer, but I think I didn’t have an answer because really the only authority they ever used was the bible.  The problem with that is that it is up to each denomination or worse, each individual pastor to determine the meaning of the passages in bible.  In my experience (at least not that I can remember), I was never introduced to scripture through the lens of its actual context, place in time, or its meaning in the original language it was written in. Don’t take that lightly, it makes a difference, sometimes a big difference.

This particular group of friends is very much into liturgy, I would say, more than your common cradle Catholic.  They get that a Mass is different than a church service, but I think a lot of people don’t get that.  In a church service growing up there was some good teaching, some good praying, and some great music, but it just isn’t the same as a Catholic Mass.  Obviously, the biggest reason is the Eucharist.  Actually, because the Mass Liturgy is actually two liturgies, the Liturgy of the Word and the Liturgy of the Eucharist, in a church service at other churches, it really is just the Liturgy of the Word part that you get.

Something else that seemed to catch their attention was things that I had to “unpack”.  For example, I grew up believing that Mary was a virgin when she conceived the Son of God. But I was taught that Mary wasn’t always a virgin and that Jesus had brothers and probably sisters.  When you have never thought about it any other way, it may be odd or even interesting to hear what others are taught.

And there are a lot of other things, a lot. 

Have you ever heard this or some variation of this?  “Being Catholic is basically the same as any other Christian” or “Catholics basically believe what Protestants believe”.

I have to admit, when I was brought into the Catholic Church, I said those sorts of things.  At the time, it was enough for me on such a basic level to believe that what I had learned growing up was what the Catholic Church taught.

Boy was I wrong.  And if you believe that the Catholic Church only teaches what any Protestant church teaches, you are wrong.

The Catholic Church is so much more.  It is depth, fullness, truth, tradition and authority, and it is so much more.  And part of the blessing of the Church is that there is so much that you can continue to grow and learn forever and never learn it all.  Thank God!

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The ABC's of Me

I saw this on another blog this week and I thought it was a neat idea and that I would give a whirl.  So here goes:

A. Age - 42

B. Bed size - Queen

C. Chore that you hate - Folding socks, but if I'm being honest, sweeping the floor is the worst.

D. Dogs - One, my Sophie girl

E. Essential part of your day - Coffee, duhhh

F. Favorite Color - It depends on what we are talking about, but in general I would say red.

G. Gold or Silver - Silver

H. Height - 5' 4"

I. Instruments - I played the flute in junior high and gave the piano a try too, but I didn't stick with either of them.

J. Job title - Practice Manager, Alice Hyde Outpatient Medical Services

K. Kids - Daughter Kayla and son Hunter

L. Live - Small town, single family, three bedroom, two bath home

M. Mother's name - Michelle

N. Nicknames - Ang, Angie, Angie B.

O. Overnight hospital stays - When I was little I had really bad asthma and had to spend several extended stays in the hospital, even Christmas one year.

P. Pet peeves - I hate when people drive the wrong direction in parking lot aisles, then try to pull into the parking space from the wrong direction.

Q. Quote from a movie - I'm coming up blank, sorry.

R. Right or left handed - Righty

S. Siblings - Two sisters, Kara and Christianna

Me and my sisters in 2009

T. Time you wake up - My alarm goes off at 6:00 am on work days but I don't really wake up till several minutes later at some point in the shower.  Weekends it's a lot later.

U. Underwear - Um, yes...

V. Vegetable you hate - Asparagus, that slimy gross stuff.

W. What makes you run late - When I think I have a enough time to do one more little task.

X. X-rays you've had - Hand, wrist, knee...I think that's it.

Y. Yummy food that you make - I don't love to cook, but there are few things that I do pretty well.  Chicken enchiladas, vegetable pasta dish, cream of potato soup, and a full Thanksgiving meal.

Z. Zoo animal - My favorites are the big cats.

Did you learn anything new about me?

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Friday, October 11, 2013

7 Quick Takes: Intro to Blogging and Commenting

A few weeks back our parish secretary put my blog info in the bulletin. Since then there have been a few people that have asked me questions about my blog, blogging in general, and also about commenting on a blog post. So I thought I would put together something to try and help them out.

Some of these people have never been blog readers before. I am somewhat new to the blog world myself (well, it’s been about a year, boy that went by fast!) but I think there are a few pointers I could offer that might be helpful.

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So first of all, what is my blog about? When someone asked me that recently, I pretty much just stammered though well, you know, a lot of different stuff, it doesn’t really have a theme. But later I was a little upset with myself. I should have had an answer.

So what should I have said? I should have said “it’s about me. It’s about all the different things that make up who I am. It’s a place for me to reflect on things in my life, past, present, or future. It’s also just a place for me to document whatever I want to.”

I’ll get better at my response, it'll just take some time and some self confidence.

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Now, about blogging…there really are no rules. You can find a blog about any subject you can image. There have got to be millions of them. There are blogs about cooking, fashion, family, faith, and probably just as many more like mine with no particular theme. 

There are blogs that are private, some that are run by multiple people, and others that are run as businesses. 

There are blogs to help you be a better blogger. I think you get the point.

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Blogging can really be a place of community. If you can find several blogs by people who have similar interests, similar beliefs, and in a similar place in life as you are it is easy to start to feel like you know these people, like they are your friends. And true friendships really can be formed through blogging.  I feel like I have a couple blossoming friendships started myself.

Most bloggers feature their favorite blogs in a section of their blog, usually on the side. This is a great way to find other bloggers that have the similarities like I mentioned above.

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Blogging is a lot of fun too. One of the fun things, that I have done a little bit of, are link-ups. Link-ups are a great way to discover other great blogs and bloggers. (This Quick Takes post is a link-up hosted by Jen at Conversion Diary)

Another fun thing on some blogs is give-a-ways. I have yet to win anything, but it is still fun. Usually a blogger will do a review of a product and then the company will give something away to a lucky reader. Sometimes bloggers will do give-a-ways that are not company sponsored, just something they have or something they made. It’s all fun.

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A couple things to get you acquainted with blogs:

A. Sometimes in blog posts there are hyperlinks that will take you somewhere else when you click on them. They are usually easy to see because the text is a different color.

B. A lot of bloggers can also be found on other social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. You can usually find links to ‘friend’ them on their blogs.

C. Most blogs have a ‘follow by email’ submission box. You put in your email address and you get an email when this blogger posts a new blog post. There are other ways to follow blogs but not necessary to keep up with your favorites.

D. Many blogs have tabs across the top (sometimes the side) that take you to other pages of the blog. Often times an ‘about me’ page, but there could be anything on the tabs, it’s completely up to the blogger.
Notice I don't have an About Me page -- I'm working on one -- stay tuned

E. Most blogs have a section that are quick links to past blog posts. Usually it is in a year/month format, but sometimes it is just a search box. When you find a blog you like, this is a good way to catch up and read older posts they have published.

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Now for commenting on a blog post…

The first thing you should know is that bloggers LOVE comments.

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Second, to comment you usually have to have an account with one of a few various providers. The good thing is, if you have a Gmail account, that will usually work for most blogs.

The next thing might be a little complicated, but you should know whether you are looking at the home page or an individual post. Here’s the way to tell: if you scroll down the page and you see more than one blog post, you are probably on the home page.

You can get to the comments from here, but the easier way is to click on the title of the post. This will change the page to just that one post and at the end of the post will be the comment box.

Type out your comment and then you will have to pick what account you want to use to comment as. This is what I was talking about above. If you have a Gmail account, pick Google and log in. Make sure you don’t forget to click on ‘publish’.

Depending on how the blog owner has set it up, you may have to enter letters or words from a picture. There will be some sort of message saying you have to enter it so the computer knows you are a human and not a computer. I have that feature turned off on my blog. I find them annoying.

But what I do have turned on is that I must approve all comments before they can be seen. That is so if I get spam or a nasty commenter, I can choose to not publish the comment.  If you comment on my blog, you will probably not see your comment until I approve it.

There are several different ways to comment on different blogs, but once you do it a time or two, it should be pretty easy to figure out.

So there you go! I hope this had some valuable information and that you will comment now!

P.S. Here’s an extra…if you were ever thinking about blogging yourself, here is a link to a great blogger’s post that gave me some tips when I was starting out myself.  Plus you’ll love her blog.

For more Quick Takes, visit Conversion Diary!

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