My Very First Blog Award!!

Yesterday, I received an email from Samantha Leighanne from Leighanne’s Lit.  She gave me, along with some other bloggers, the Liebster Blog Award.  Any award makes my day…especially since I am a new blogger and love to know that there are readers out there who enjoy reading my posts.  However, being the researcher that I am, I decided to find out who created this award and what is it exactly for.

This is the information I found:

1.  Rumor has it that someone in Germany, possibly someone named Liebster, created an award for new bloggers to show appreciation and thanks for their blog.

3.  Liebster means “beloved” in German and Spanish.

2.  You can only receive the award from another blogger, who has also received the award. 

3.  Awards are to be passed forward to other bloggers, 3-5 blog sites, with followers of 300 or less.

4.  Once you give the award to a fellow blogger, you are to contact the blogger and let them know.

5.  Copy and paste the award on your blog.

So, I’d like to thank Leighanne for this wonderful honor!

In no specific order, I am awarding the Liebster Blog Award to the following bloggers:

1.  Julie at Booking Mama:  Julie introduced me to one of my all time favorite books: The Paris Wife by Paula McLain.  Julie is a busy momma, like me, and has the same love of books I do in the same genre!  So, I truly enjoy reading her book reviews.  AND…while I have not won a book yet from her blog, she gives some great book giveaways, too!

2.  Michelle at Life in Review: I enjoy reading Michelle’s blog posts.  While I am Christian, I have to admit that before last summer, I just didn’t read Christian fiction.  I would go to bookstores and scan them, deciding to buy a Bible or study book instead.  However, there have been some great break-authors and their writing has been incredible!  To my amazement and delight, Christian fiction covers topics that are real life situations, aren’t drowned with “you will burn in hell” statements, and are not cheesy whatsoever!  It has been nice to read a fellow blogger’s reviews on Christian fiction books :)

P.S.  Thanks, Francine Rivers for “redeeming” the Christian fiction industry and introducing me to a genre that I quite actually enjoy!!

3.  Laurel Rain-Snow at Accidental Moments:  I first started reading Laurel’s blog when I joined The Sunday Salon.  While I have never met her, she just has this laid-back personality on her blog.  When I read her posts, I feel that it is she and I sipping coffee as she tells me about her day. She also has the same taste in books that I do!

4.  Debbie Ashley Nance at Readerbuzz:  I have had the pleasure of meeting Debbie at one of my book club meets.  She is as friendly and charming in person as she is on her blog.  I love that she is a librarian and blogs about all kinds of books.  She also weaves into her blog personal life tidbits, which is always great to read!

5.  Karen’s Sister at Coming East:  I just recently started following this blog and enjoy reading these posts!  She is witty, has some hilarious post titles, and writes about the mundane in a funny and interesting way.

Please take some time to read their blogs, too! I hope you enjoy them as much as I have.

Learning to Say No!

When I first made the decision to stay home so that I could be a full-time mom to my daughter, I didn’t realize that I would unconsciously take on more tasks (that were self-induced) to keep my mind busy.  Staying home is a true gift and I appreciate and value every day that I spend with my daughter.  However, I found myself needing “mommy time”.  So, I looked on Meetup.com and found a local book club in the area that I could join.

I absolutely loved the idea of meeting women and talking about books that we had just read.  Shortly after joining, our book club organizer decided it was time for her to step down and gave me the choice to become organizer or she could just close the group.  I have never been a part of a group of women where there is such a sense of sisterhood and joy.  I just couldn’t bear to see the group close, so I stepped up as organizer and on my way I went.

The book club naturally progressed to having causal outings, where we’ve attended movies, plays/musicals, gone shopping, painted, and even did ceramics together.  It has been so much fun and it has been so exciting to see friendships develop between members.  Now that the book club has grown, I realized I could not manage every area of the book club.  So, I created a leadership team, consisting of book members who graciously volunteer their time and help the book club continue to be personal, engaging, and fun.

Because I have been leisure reading more than I had ever read before (since I became a SAHM), I thought having a blog was just a natural progression for me a book club organizer and reader.  I wanted to write about books I had read, provide reviews, and interview authors so that readers could see the different sides to writing and learn more about the author.

I started my blog shortly after the new year, and was soon open to new and exciting adventures with books.  Through my blog, I have met incredible authors, read books I otherwise would not have read (and enjoyed!), and had opportunities to review books before their published date.  It has been an exciting journey…especially since I love to read!

With that, I have connected with various book sites for bloggers, where I can read books for free ( in exchange for a review) and have authors/publishers contact me directly requesting I read and review their book.  Well, who can turn that down???  Obviously, not me!!!  Being so excited to have these opportunities as a new blogger, I basically accepted every book to read and review (in the genres I prefer), found myself working against deadlines to publish reviews, and feeling pressured to blog regularly like other bloggers do.  I hadn’t mastered what other bloggers have learned to do: set boundaries and learn that it okay to say, “no, not now”.

Because I have a very understanding husband, he listened to me one night as I complained about everything I had to with my blog and reading.  Quietly he listened and then asked me the most basic question that I failed to ask myself, “why can’t you say no?”.  In my eagerness to read every free book available to me, meet authors who have been so generous with their time, and meet review deadlines for publishers, I forgot how to say, “no.”.  That simple word, two letters, a universal word that is understood by everyone….NO.

I realized that I have choices.  I can say no to reading every book presented to me, I do not have to write a blog entry for the sake of writing something, and I do not have to publish my reviews on every site known to man.

I remember a graduate professor once asking our class, “who are you?”.   And, today, I realize, I am a wife, mother, friend, and when I can, I love to read and write.  In that order.