My Monthly Blogging Routine Including a Promote Your Blog Checklist

Monthly Blogging Routine

This site contains affiliate links (See Full Disclosure here.)

Before you Start Your Blogging Routine

Hopfully you have already set up your blog, and now you are ready to start a regular blogging routine. If you have not set up your blog, I recommend registering your domain and setting up your blog through the hosting site Bluehost.

If you want more information on how to start a blog, you may find my post “How to Start a Blog when you are Feeling Called to Blog” helpful

Now that you have set up your blog you will need to do a few things before starting your monthly blogging routine. So here they are!

The 5 Steps You Should Take Before Starting Your Regular Blogging  Routine

Step 1

You should get a Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest Business page and link these pages to your site.

Step 2

You may also want to sign up for Tailwinds. Tailwinds is a Pinterest scheduler. This has been so helpful for me. I am able to schedule the pinning of my posts to all my pinterest boards months in advance. I am also a member of several Tailwind’s tribes. Members of the tribes basically pin each other’s pins! You can do all this through Tailwinds. You can schedule 100 pins for free. They don’t even ask for your credit card for the free trial. Click here to try Tailwinds for free. After the free trial, I decided Tailwinds was sooo worth purchasing, and I am the type of blogger who uses mostly the free plugins, themes, etc. So this is coming from a blogger who doesn’t purchase much.

Step 3

You will want to start requesting invites to Pinterest group boards. These are boards where many people pin to the same boards. We also pin each other’s pins. These boards are a great way to get your pins seen. Some group boards are open to any topic, and some are specific. For example, I am in a Pinterest group board specifically for dietitians. Are you looking for a Pinterest group board to join? I have an “any topic” group board called “Best of the Blogs”. To join my group board, just follow “Mindfulness in Faith and Food” on Pinterest and follow all the requirements listed at the Top of the “Best of the Blogs” board. To request a group board invite, just send me your Pinterest Profile URL through the “contact me” form on Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

Step 4

Next you will want to start requesting invites to Facebook blogging group boards. Like Pinterest boards, some group boards are open to any topic, and some are specific. I am a member of several faith-based blogger group boards as well as dietitian blogger group boards. I am even a member of a faith-based nutrtion group board. Talk about specific. Bloggers support each other on these boards. You can ask your questions, share blogging experiences and opportunities with each other, and read and share each other’s blog posts.

On a personal note, I try to write Facebook comments about other blogger’s posts often, instead of always talking about and promoting my blog. I know how much it means to get that comment on your blog so I try to do this for other bloggers. I noticed something interesting when I started doing this. Although I was trying to support someone else’s blog, bloggers started supporting my blog in return. So I recommend you do this as well. Don’t do it expecting someone to recipicate. Genuinely support other blogs, and eventually you will notice others supporting you as well. One of the many reason I love blogging is that other blog are not completions. Engaging and supporting each other actual helps your blog become more successful! Isn’t blogging a beautiful way to make extra income?

Step 5

If you are interested in monetizing your blog, you may want to apply to become a blogger affiliate associate. A blogger affliate associate is someone who partners with a company and promotes the company’s products on their blog. When someone buys something after clinking on the company’s link in the blog, the blogger affiliate gets a commission from the sale. The Share-A-Sale affiliate program has become one of my favorites. I like Share-a-sale because you get to pick which companies you want to partner. Because Share-a-Sale has over 4,500, you get to pick the companies and products you love and use. I only write about products I naturally talk about in my blog, and I only choose companies I actually love.  Some of the merchants include Etsy, Tailwinds, and even Share-a-sale. Yes, I said Etsy! You can feel out an application with Shareasale here. After you join Share-a-sale, browse the companies and apply to partner with the individual companies you love.

Where does he get this stuff?

I definitely don’t make enough to get a Bugatti (not even close!) and move to THE LA, like my son says, but it’s nice to be able to make a little money on the side.

So now that you have these important tools in place, you can get into a  writing and promoting routine.

What I Do the First Week of Every Month

The first week of every month, I write several blog post drafts. I keep these posts in draft form until I am ready to post. I often write 4-5 posts that are related to each other in a series.

But before I start writing each Blog post, I try to remember to pray. I pray that I am still following God and not just my own wants, and I pray that I say the things God wants me to say. I pray that my blog finds the people who need to read them and helps somehow. If you have read some of my past blogs, you know I like to practice mindfulness. I feel that pausing to pray is a way to stay mindful of God’s presence and a way to stay mindful of THAT very moment. When I pray before I blog, I focus on the joy of blogging and live in the moment.

After I have written 4-5 individual posts,  I am ready to post one blog post each week.

By the end of week one, I am ready to post one of the drafts. I pick one to post, and then I follow the steps below. I do these same steps each week for the blog posts I have pre-written.

My Weekly Routine

Step 1:

Proof read my blog post

Step 2:

Add pictures to the Blog by uploading my pictures or using ImageInject. ImageInject is a plugin on my page. With ImageInject, I am able to easily search for free images and photos and insert them into my blog.

Step 3:

Add any links to my past-related posts.

Step 4:

Add an affiliate disclaimer at the top of the post. An affiliate disclaimer just lets the reader know that you will get a small commission if someone purchases a product you mentioned in your post by clicking on the link on your site.

Step 5:

Add a Copyright note at the bottom of the post.

Step 6:

Add any affiliate links for products discussed in my post. (My affiliate program recommendation is Share-A-Sale)

Step 7:

Scroll down to the Yoast SEO notes at the bottom of the blog. I make corrections to my blog based of the Yoast SEO suggestions. Yoast SEO is a plugin that makes your post as search-friendly as possible.

Step 8:

Change my Meta Description. A Meta Description is a snippet that summarizes your blog post content. The search engine shows this description under the title when the searched phrase shows up in the description. You are more likely to pop up when someone searches for your blog topic when you have an optimized meta description.

Step 9:

Add tags to the post. Tags are a list of the specific items discussed in your post. The Tags are key words and points you have discussed in the blog post. When you are reading a blog, tags are often listed at the bottom of a post to help you see all the topics and items discussed in the individual blog post.

Step 10:

Develop Pinterest friendly graphics and Instagram friendly graphics. You want your Pinterest Graphics to be vertical images. You can create these graphics using apps like Canva. Add these graphics to your blog.

Step 11:

Hit the Publish button. Your blog post is now live!

The Next Steps Involve Promoting your Blog:

Step 12:

Share my blog on my personal and business Facebook pages

Step 13:

Remember that Pinterest image we developed in step 9? You can post that graphic straight from Canva to Pinterest. Once you have posted your Pinterent pin to a board, you have to add your link to the image. You can do this under the little edit pencil on your pin. You should add a great description while you are editing as well. Remember you can now use hashtags in your Pinterest descriptions. This will help your pin show up when people are searching in Pinterest. If you have added the pinterest image to your post, you can also pin  your blog straight from your blog.

Step 14:

Use Tailwinds to schedule your pin to be posted on additional boards.

Step 15:

Add your Pin to Tailwind’s tribes, and schedule other bloggers pins on Tailwinds.

Step 16:

Support other bloggers in your group boards by pinning their pins to your own Pinterest boards.

Step 17:

Post the image you created for Instagram on my Instagram page. Again, you can post this image directly from Canva.

Step 18:

Promote your post on all your Facebook blogger group boards. I made a list of all my Facebook group boards and all the participation threads of each group. I put this list in a clear notebook sleeve. Next, I use a dry erase marker to mark when I am finished with a Facebook group thread. The marker will wipe right off of the sleeve when I am finished so that I can use the Facebook group thread list again for the next blog posts. When I am participating in Facebook group threads, I want to genuinely support other bloggers. I try to carefully read and provide authentic and encouraging comments to other blogger posts.

You Are Finished! Now What?

Step 1-18 usually takes a whole week. When I have finished with steps 1-17, it’s time to post another blog and go through the steps again.

The ways you can promote your blog are endless. You can use Bloglovin’, Twitter, G+, Stumbleupon, and so much more. I have done a little with these, but I would like to do more at some point. My advice would be to promote on just a few Social Media sites at first. You don’t want to get too overwhelmed when you are first starting out as a blogger. You can build a following much better if you put most of your energy in just a few areas.

And there you have it, my blogging routine. I hope you have enjoyed this series. Are you interested in starting a blog? I would love to hear your thoughts and ideas!

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food. You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

This blog is hosted by Bluehost.

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How to Start a Blog When You Feel Called to Blog

Hearing and Answering God’s Call Series (Part 5)

 This site may contain affiliate links (see full disclosure here)

How to Start a Blog when You Feel Called to Blog

Starting a Blog from Scratch

In Mindfulness in Faith and Food’s call series, I have talked about finding your call by using the clues checklist. I explained how clues, signs, and circumstances lead me to believe blogging was my call. Perhaps you feel like starting a blog is your call as well, but you don’t know where to begin. Don’t worry; I can walk you through the steps I took to start a blog.

When I started blogging, I was starting from scratch. My blog facebook page and pinterest account had zero followers! I didn’t even have a personal Instagram account! I remember looking at my zero followers on my facebook and Pintertest pages and thinking, ‘how am I ever going to get people to read these blog posts? Jump to seven months later, and I am so surprised at how much the Mindfulness in Faith and Food blog has grown. Since I started from scratch, I thought a post about how to start a blog from scratch might be helpful. So here are the steps I took to start a blog from scratch:

Step 1: Pray

I believe we should remember pray before every choice we make. When I pray, I ask God to lead me and help me know what is the right thing to do. Praying before working on my blog helps me feel closer to God and helps me remember why I started blogging in the first place. I also pray that I am careful with my words and write words that God would want me to write. I am sure I mess up at this sometimes, but I hope that I focus on what God wants me to say instead of letting my emotions, insecurities, and biases rule the blog.

Step 2: Determine your Niche

Your niche is the topic you feel knowledgeable and passionate about. This is the topic you are going to discuss in your blog. Your topic can be broad like “being a mom” or specific like “how to save money with a big family.” My blog is called Mindfulness in Faith and Food, and discusses nutrition as well as what I call my personal “God Moment” stories. I also emphasize the importance of mindfulness in our eating habits and in our faith journey. See why the name fits so well? You will pick your name in the next step.

Along with figuring out your niche, you should probably think about why you want to start a blog in the first place. Knowing why you are blogging will keep you motivated during the times when you aren’t making money or getting as many likes. When you are in a blogging slump, focus on your purpose.

So why are you blogging? Do you just want a place to record your thoughts? Are you hoping to help others by teaching, inspiring, or encouraging your readers? I am hoping my blog provides tools that are helpful to other’s lives, and I hope my ‘God Moment” stories provide hope and encouragement that just maybe God REALLY IS working in our lives TODAY. When times are hard and our faith and hope is weak (I have been there), I cling to these stories. I remember God really DOES care, LOVE us, and is truly INVOLVED in our life.

Step 3: Determine your Blog Name and Domain

After you determine your niche, you need to pick a name. You may want to make a list of possible names in case your first choice is taken. You can use this name to come up with your domain name. This is the blog web address. The web address is sometimes a variation of your Blog name. Fortunately, my blog name wasn’t taken so my blog domain name is www.mindfulnessinfaithandfood.com. I registered my domain name through the hosting company, Bluehost.

Step 4: Pick Your Host Site

I picked Bluehost, and I am so happy I went with them. After researching, I felt Bluehost was the way to go. You can use free platforms, but if you even think you MIGHT monetize your blog one day, I would go with a selfhosted platform like Bluehost. Self-hosted means you own your blog and the content. I also like Bluehost because I can take care of several steps on one site. I was able to register my domain through Bluehost and install WordPress. Plus you can get your domain name for free if you decide to use Bluehost! Since I was just starting out, I picked the least expensive Bluehost package. I figured ‘why spend a bunch of money before you are making money’. If you want to look through the great Bluehost plans click here.

Step 5: Install WordPress

Next I installed WordPress. This is Wordpres.org NOT wordpress.com. WordPress is a website creation tool. In other words, you build your blog through them. You can install WordPress through Bluehost. You just need to login to your Bluehost account adn click the wordpress icon to install!

Step 6: Select a Blogging Theme

Now that you have WordPress you can play around and customize your blog. You do this on the WordPress Dashboard. I would first select a theme. Again, I didn’t want to spend a bunch of money on this blog since I wasn’t making any money yet, so I picked one of the free Themes. I picked the “Twenty Fifteen Theme.” I think this is a nice free theme and seems to work well for blog style websites.

Step 7: Pray and then Write a Post

Again, I pray for me to know what God wants me to say, and that I remember that my true purpose is helping others. Now you can write your first blog posts!  I decided to write several posts in draft form before going live with my blog. I wanted my blog to have a little substance and depth before the blog was viewable. Having 4 or 5 post already written before going live just looks nice and more established.

Step 8: Write an ‘About Me’ Page

You don’t have to do this yet, but I think having a place where readers can find out about you and your topics helps establish your blog’s identity. You can always write a short ‘About Me’ page, and go back to make changes as your blog evolves.

Step 9: Add Plugins and Play around with the Appearance of the Blog

Now you have to play with the appearance of your blog and add plugins. A Plugin is software that can add specific features to your blog. Plugins are a BIG part of creating your desired blog, and many plugins are free. I recommend adding plugins for “sharing buttons” so that readers can share, pin, and like your post by simply clicking a button. I used the “Ultimate Social Media” plugin for my sharing buttons. “ImageInject” was one of the first Plugins I added. With ImageInject, I am able to easily search for free images and photos and insert them into my blog.

I also installed a subscriber sign up form through Mailchimp. People sign up to receive email updates whenever I publish a new post. These are just three of the many plugins available.

You are Now a Blogger!

Setting up my blog takes time. I played around in the WordPress dashboard until I was satisfied enough with the blog to go live. I am still often making changes here and there as I learn more and more.

That is it! Now you have a blog! The next steps are to promote the blog and look into monetizing your blog.

So you have a blog, now what? Check out my blogging work schedule to see what things you should be doing each month, week, and day as a blogger.

 Part 6 of this series, “Monthly Blogging Routine Including a Promote Blog Checklist

 

 

 

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Are These Signs From God? A Call Story

Hearing and Answering God’s Call: Part 4

Are These Signs From God? A Call Story

This post contains affiliate links (See full disclosure here)

The Ripple Effect

I Noticed a Change in Me

After I prayed THAT prayer from part 3… the one when I told God I was ready to do what God wanted instead of what I wanted, I first noticed a change in me.

I truly wanted to know what God wanted me to do each day. Since that prayer, I TRY to remember to pray EVERY morning. Each morning I ask, “God, please help me see the needs of others today.” Do you know God did start giving me little opportunities to serve throughout my daily life? Check out the blog “We Ran Out of Gas” for one example.

I also started trying to pray in the car and pray before I entered any new environment. I started trying to be more mindful of God’s presence in every room I entered. Notice my blog is about Mindfulness? Do you see where all these circumstances are leading.

After Praying THAT Prayer

Because I am more mindful of God’s presence, I have noticed more “God Moments” in my life, and now I have even more “God moments” to share on this blog! If you read part 3, you will remember all of this started because I read a book called The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures). This is a fantastic book about a man praying and waiting for God to lead him in almost every aspect of life. I highly recommend reading The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures). Because of this book, I started incorporating prayer and listening to God in my everyday moments.  (I truly think God lead me to read this book because God knew the reaction I would have. You can see this story in Part 3)

I have many “God moments” since praying THAT prayer after reading The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures). You can read specific “God Moment” stories by clicking on the links below:

Did that Just Happen!

We Chose the Same Picture!

I prayed and then this happened!

 We Ran Out of Gas

Why Are you So Afraid?

 God Follows Through

 Should I Share My Personal “God Moment” Stories with Others?

I was so thankful that after saying the big prayer, God seemed to be showing me small ways to serve throughout my day, but I also felt like God was leading me to do something specific (see why I thought this in part 3). But what? Would I get any signs from God? While I waited..well, I became impatient so I decided to actively write down a list of some of my accomplishments and talents. ‘Maybe I can use some of my talents to serve God,’ I thought. I jotted down that I enjoy writing and had written nutrition columns for the local newspaper in the past. But how in the world could I use this to serve God? Blogging wasn’t even on my radar at the time.

Still I thought, ‘well I do have several personal God stories that may encourage others. I could somehow share some of these personal experiences I have had with God.” Could sharing these personal “God Momens” be my calling? But how would I know that this is something I should do? My goodness, I could do so many different things, how will I EVER know what God thinks I should specifically do?

Signs from God: The Answer is “Yes, Share these Stories.”

Then Sunday rolled around again, and I went to church. Guess what the sermon was about? Our pastor did a sermon on telling your personal call or God story. Well if that wasn’t an answer to my question, I don’t know what was.

In the sermon, the pastor said that a person’s personal call or God story has one of the greatest impacts when you are telling someone about God.   In fact, a person’s personal story is only 2nd to the Bible when you are trying to tell someone about God.  Well this totally spoke to me. How amazing that as soon as I thought about sharing my personal stories and experiences with God, our pastor started talking about how important it is to tell YOUR personal story! So I decided I did want to write my personal stories down in one place so that I can use them somehow later.

Another God Moment: Finding the Time to Write

The next obstacle was finding the time to write. You see, I couldn’t write while the kids slept because I slept in the bed with my 3 year old  (I know I should never have started that habit, but you mom’s know how it is. I was just so tired of the nightly sleeping battles that I just gave up. My son would go to sleep easily if I was lying with him. Sigh.)

The problem was that if I got up for anything, even to go to the bathroom, he would wake up and cry, “hold mommy, hold mommy!” How was I going to get up and begin writing again? I wanted to not only write, but also, pray and read God’s word more often. Do you know that when I decided to get up to write, my son didn’t wake up! I was able to write, pray and read about God while my son slept! Could this be yet another of the many sign’s from God?

Doubt and Fear and then More Signs from God

Now, if I was stronger I would not have needed another nudge from God, but unfortunately fears and doubt began to creep in.  I had written some of my stories, but I began to think, ‘do I really want to SHARE these stories with others?’  Just when I started backing away, God called me again.   Literally right after I started backpedaling and doubting, two of the sermons talked about answering God’s call and even emphasized telling our own personal stories.  The words and phrasing used in the sermons spoke to me so clearly that I had chills. Were all these signs and coincidences signs from God?

Finally Ready to Take Action

Okay, finally I was willing to take action. I still didn’t know what to do, but since our pastor had inspired the idea, I decided to send my written stories to our pastor. This was a total leap of faith. I don’t normally do things like this. These stories were personal, and I felt silly just sending them to someone. This was several years ago, and I still wasn’t familiar with blogging yet. In fact, the pastor was the one who mentioned blogging. (He is a lot younger and more tech than me 🙂 ) Turns out, the pastor had been contemplating starting a church blog, and he was even more encouraged after I sent in my stories that our church should start the blog. Maybe even the pastor was receiving signs from God?

And so a church blog was started. I became one of the admins for the blog. I didn’t know anything about blogging, but I wanted all the amazing stories from church members to get shared somehow. Church members would send their stories, and I would post. Now church members had a place to share their personal call story. After all, like the pastor said, “a person’s personal story is only 2nd to the Bible when you are trying to tell someone about God.”

More Coincidences: The Leap to Starting MY Personal Blog, “Mindfulness in Faith and Food”

This church blog was established years ago, but I still never considered starting my own blog. Then two things happened.

I was still writing down all my “God Moments” as well as any lessons I had learned over the years. I decided I wanted to organize all these stories for my children. So I started working on a little book that I would only give to my children. (See there I go, writing again!) I wanted my children to feel inspired and have hope that God is there even in the tough times.

“Hmmm, Should I Start a Blog?”

As I was organizing all of this for the book for my children, I thought, “hmm, some of these stories are so encouraging and give so much hope; I wish I could share them somehow. Well, I could start a personal blog. Then maybe a few more people could see all this ‘stuff’ God has done.” Just like most thoughts, at first I didn’t think much of the idea. But the next circumstance would make me think much more seriously about blogging…

Our Church Combined Faith with Nutrition

I was still working on lessons for my children’s book when one day a church staff member asked me that since I am a dietitian I would be willing to become the coordinator of a new church wellness program. The program was called FAN: Faith, Activity, and Nutrition. The goal of the FAN program is to promote, encourage, inspire, and provide opportunities for a healthier life within the church. The FAN program focused on helping the whole person- body and soul. I loved how FAN incorporated scripture, spiritual health, and physical health into their messages. I usually didn’t get to incorporate my professional background in dietetics with my faith in this way, and I loved it!

Again, “Hmmm, I Could Start a Blog”

When I became the FAN coordinator, I dusted off my nutrition materials (I was currently a stay at home mom) to see what I could use for FAN. As I was looking through all the handouts, articles, and client books I had developed, I thought ‘this information is not helping anyone just sitting on my computer or in my desk. I need to find a way people can have access to this!’ Again, I thought to myself, “hmm, I could start some kind of nutrition blog. But if I started a blog, I would also want to talk about my faith and God experiences. Would combining faith and nutrition even work as a blog? Wait! Look at the FAN program, this program incorporates both!”

Signs from God: Everything Was Falling into Place

And this is how the idea of a faith-based nutrition blog was formed. Everything seemed to be falling into place for me to start blogging. I was already organizing nutrition and faith articles for FAN and my book for my children, and I was already incorporating faith with nutrition at church. The fact if the matter was I was already writing about faith and nutrition, why not go ahead and blog? The timing just seemed right.

My Vision for the Blog Seemed so Clear

The next part might be harder to explain, but I will do my best. My vision for my blog seemed so clear. Let me explain the opposite of clear, so that you can understand what I mean. When I was trying to decide on a name for my private nutrition counseling, I struggled with finding a name and my brand. For one, I wasn’t being true to myself. I settled for something generic, but I cringed when I said the name. The name wasn’t bad; the name just didn’t ever feel right.

When I decided to blog about God and my passions, the name almost immediately fell into my mind. I wanted to call the blog, “Mindfulness in Faith and Food.” I am still relatively new to blogging. In fact, I have only been blogging for about half a year, but this blog still just feels right.

The Creation of Mindfulness in Faith and Food

So I decided to do it! I started a blog. All my past writings- journal entries, nutrition handouts, God stories, and partial books have found a home on this blog. Who knew that I was writing for this blog for so many years and didn’t even know it!

Signs From God: The Ripple Effect

Now, looking back, I can see the ripple effect from each of these events that lead to writing a faith and nutrition blog. Each by themselves may not seem like much, but you put everything together from part 1-part 4 of this series, the sheer number of signs and coincidental circumstances are impossible to ignore

A Recap of the Ripple Effect

  1. My passion for writing since childhood (See Part 2)
  2. My weight struggles as a middle school child that initiated my interest in nutrition (See About Me)
  3. Being open to following God’s call after reading The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures (Part 3)
  4. Signs from God: After I prayed THAT prayer asking God to show me my call the sermon was about hearing and answering God’s call (Part 3).
  5. Then Even more signs from God seemed to indicate I was going to hear God’s call soon (Part 3).
  6. Reading The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures) further helped me become more mindful of God and God’s call throughout the day. Thus, I was able to notice more God stories. Now I write about them in my blog! (Part 3).
  7. Even more signs from God? Just when I was contemplating that perhaps sharing all my personal “God Moment” stories is my call, the sermons were about sharing your personal God stories (Part 4).
  8. The church blog was started after I took a leap of faith and sent our pastor all of these God stories (Part 4).
  9. I started organizing all my God stories and lessons for a book for my children. This gave me the thought, “Maybe I should share these amazing stories in a blog.” (Part 4)
  10. Meanwhile I was introduced to the FAN program, which combined faith and nutrition. I loved this, and a concept of a faith-based nutrition blog was born. (Part 4)
  11. My faith and profession as a dietitian also collided when I started incorporating ‘mindful eating.’  Mindul eating lead to weight loss and lead to mindfulness of the presence of God. (See “The One Thing I Did to Lose Weight AND Strengthen My Walk With God”)
  12. Throughout my life I had already written several ‘nutrition and faith’ blog posts through writing and journaling, I just didn’t know it!
  13. The Blog name and niche seemed so clear. (Part 4)

 Feeling Called to Blog? Want More Information about How to Start a Blog?

Have you noticed any signs from God or coincidences that you think are leading you to your calling?  Are you feeling God’s call to serve in some way? Maybe you are even feeling called to blog?

Do you are feel called to blog, but don’t know where to begin? My next post goes through the steps to start your own blog. You can check it out by clicking on this link: “How to start a blog when you feel called to blog.”

 

Copyright © 2017 Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

You are free to retain any and all content here for personal use, but need permission to use it anywhere else on the internet.

This blog is hosted by Bluehost.

Please follow and like us:

Hearing & Answering God’s Call: Too Unbelievable to Just be Coincidence

Hearing and Answering God’s Call Series: Part 3

 

Unbelievable Coincidence

 

Recapping Part 1 and Part 2

As I mentioned in Part 2, writing kept creeping up in my life. Even as a child, I wanted to be a writer when I grew up. I would put the thought of writing aside, but years later I would find myself writing again. Part one of this blog series talks about the 4 clues that you are hearing God’s call. One clue is you have a God-given passion for something. Another clue is that you keep getting signs over and over… and over. Sometimes your passion keeps finding its way back into your life… over and over. I think this reoccurrence of you passion could be a sign in and of itself.

(*An important note: Just because you have a passion, does not mean you are called to pursue it. Also, every passion we have is not a calling. After all, we often have passions for not so good things. Passion is just one clue. We need to look at every clue to figure out a calling. Another clue is that your passion matches up with God’s teachings. This series looks at several pieces to “What is your Calling?”

This post may contain affiliate links (See full disclosure here)

The Call Became Stronger

True, my passion for writing was a nice little clue, but standing by itself this clue really means little.  The call became much stronger later…

We had just joined our church, and my husband and I were in the process of visiting Sunday Schools.  One Sunday, we randomly visited a Sunday school class called “Open Doors.”  During the class, the teacher off-handedly mentioned the book, The Narrow Road: Stories of Those Who Walk This Road Together (International Adventures), which was about a missionary named Brother Andrew.  I thought to myself, ‘that sounds like a good book to read.’   Almost a year later, I still remembered this specific Sunday schools comment about this ONE book, but I couldn’t remember the name of the book. It’s funny how one small comment will just stick in your mind, isn’t it? One day I saw the Sunday school teacher, and I asked her again for the name of the book.  This time I didn’t wait around. I quickly purchased the book, and my journey began…

One Book Changed the Direction of my Life

Brother Andrew’s story was inspiring.   The things that he accomplished when he listened to God’s call were amazing.  When he was truly doing something God seemed to ask him to do, God took care of every one of his needs to get THAT job done.  (I thought this was interesting because we sometimes use God as a wishing well, but when we are truly following God’s wishes to help others; then, he will help us do THAT job).  In other words, if God tells us to do something, then God will help us get it done.  If you want to read some truly amazing God moments, I strongly recommend this book.

Awesome “God Moments” from the Book, The Narrow Road

Some of the amazing things that happened in the book were: 

* Brother Andrew had an injured leg. The leg hindered the particular mission work he felt called to do. In fact, he felt the leg would nearly make the mission impossible. One day Brother Andrew talked to God about not being able to do this mission work due to his hurt leg. His leg was healed immediately!

* Brother Andrew felt strongly that he was suppose to take Bibles to persecuted countries. Bibles were not allowed in these countries, and sometimes Brother Andrew was faced with difficult situations. One time some guards stopped him. The smuggled Bibles were right on the seat of his car and the guards didn’t see them!

* Once or twice the money for missionary school was about to run out, and the exact amount came to him in peculiar ways just in time.

Mt Favorite Brother Andrew Story: This is GOOD!

One of my favorite stories took place during Brother Andrew’s time at missionary school.  Brother Andrew and the other students were asked to do local missions as an assignment.  They were given no money, food, or housing and they were told that they were not supposed to ask churches or anyone else for help. They were asked to trust that God would provide.  This was an exercise meant to teach them how to trust God completely.  This didn’t mean that the missionary school thought that people/charities should not ask for donations; the school just wanted them to practice putting all their trust in God for this particular exercise.

The students were also expected to tithe!  The students were divided into two groups. Brother Andrew’s group tithed at the beginning of each week no matter what challenges they faced.  The other group planned on tithing if they had enough after they fulfilled their own needs.  Interestingly, the group who tithed no matter what, always had enough for themselves and the missions. The other group constantly ran out of money and supplies.

They Needed Cake, and They Got a Cake in the Mail!

God seemed to always answer the needs of Brother Andrew’s group no matter how small.  For example, a church asked Brother Andrew’s group to come to a church event. The church also asked the group to bring a cake to this event. Remember, they have no money! The group panicked about how they were going to get the money for this cake.  They even considered doing something they hadn’t done yet, which was ask people for donations.  Just when the decided against asking for other’s help, they received a package in the mail.  Do you know what was inside the package? A cake, sent to them by a loved one!  The giver did not know they needed a cake; she just thought it would be a nice gesture!

The Prayer that Started it All

This book inspired me. Like Brother Andrew, I wanted to experience God’s power and presence more regularly. But was I willing to follow God’s will no matter what? Yeah, I still struggle with that questions, but I decided to pray. Instead of praying for my needs, I prayed for God to show me what God wanted me to do. I told God I wanted to follow and serve God, and I wanted my life to be about serving God and others, not myself. (Yeah, I’m still working on that.) I asked God to please tell me God’s will. I figured if I really listened AND followed, I would see some amazing things happen just like Brother Andrew.  Basically, I was asking God to call on me.  Then God started talking…

God’s Call: Signs That God Was About to Answer My Prayer

Before telling me my specific call, God seemed to be telling me that my request was heard, and is being answered. Messages about God’s call bombarded me everywhere.

In fact, RIGHT after I prayed for God to call on me, our church started “The Call” series, which was suppose to help us learn how to hear and answer God’s call! Even our church band played songs about hearing God’s call. But here is the kicker; the band did not know the sermon topics when choosing songs!

After church, I experienced another coincidence. After church, I grabbed a veggie tales movie for my son to watch not knowing that out of all the Bible stories; this movie was about Jonah trying to push away God’s call!

Finally while I was putting my son to bed, I was showing my son pictures from his Children’s Bible. He was young, so we were just looking at pictures instead of reading the words.  The bottom of each page had a one liner prayer.  I finally randomly glanced at one of the prayers.  The prayer was literally asking God to help us listen to his call!! Out of all the prayers, why was this the one I randomly read?

I asked God if God would lead me because I was ready to do what God wanted instead of what I wanted. God seemed to answer imediatly. God seemed to be saying through signs, ‘Of course, I have been waitng for you to ask this! I will lead you to what I am calling you to do.’

But the next questions was, “What IS God calling me to do?”  Check out part 4 for the answer…

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My Prayer Before a Meal that Stops Me From Overeating

Trying to Do Anything without God Never Works

Whenever I try to do anything in life without God, it never goes well. I need God in every aspect of my life. Trying to eat healthy all on my own doesn’t work well either. God should be the center of our life, and I am continuing to work on this. Prayer is one way I try to put my focus on God throughout the day.

Mindfully praying

Being Mindful of God’s Presence

I try to pray and be mindful of God’s presence when I drive, talk to my kids, clean, work, and yes, eat. If you have read some of my past post, you know that mindfulness has had a huge positive impact on my weight loss struggles. When I focus on mindfulness and particularly mindfulness of God’s presence when I eat, I do much less overeating.

When I Pray This Little Prayer Before I Eat

Now when I eat, I think about 1 Corinthians 10:31 which says, “ So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God.”

Right before I eat, I try to pray, “God, thank you so much for this food. Thank you for this time that I have to sit and enjoy the food you have given me. I want to eat for the glory of You, God.”

I remind myself that if I overeat or eat without being mindful, then I am not taking care of the body that God gave me. When I am overeating, I am not really eating for the glory of God.

This little prayer has helped me so much. I enjoy my food, and I enjoy my time eating in God’s presence.

Faithful Finish Lines

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So Excited to Find Faithful Finish Lines

Because I feel that God should be the center of our life including our weight loss journey, I love it when I find really GOOD faith-based weight loss programs. The dietitian in me loves finding weight loss programs that offer real and effective weight loss strategies instead of gimmicks. I have recently come across a great program that does both. The program is called Faithful Finish Lines. With this program, you won’t see unrealistic rules and strict diets. The developers of the program BOTH lost 100 pounds and now want to help others who are struggling with weight loss as well. The program provides guidance for those who just feel overwhelmed with their weight loss struggles, and the program provides much needed online community support. If you want to learn more about Faithful Finish Lines, you can check out their website here.

 

I hope some of you have found something in this post helpful. What are your weight loss struggles? Have you ever tried mindfulness and mindful eating? Please share your weight loss struggles and successes with me here at Mindfulness in Faith and Food.

 

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Best Promotional Products for your Health and Fitness Business

 

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When I am looking for promotional products for my blog, “Mindfulness in Faith and Food,” I go to Positive Promotions.  These are some of the best promotional products I have seen for a health and fitness or medical business. You can personalize your products with your business name and the more you buy the better the deals. So buying in bulk is a great idea! You can add your business name to anything from a pen, notebook, and t-shirts to something unique like a calorie counter jump rope.

Here are my current TOP favorite products from Positive Promotions.

  • Promotional Products for Dietitians

Food Containers

Are these food containers not perfect for a dietitian’s business? As a dietitian, I love the idea of having my blog name, “Mindfulness in Faith and Food” on portion plates.  I can handout these plates at different events. Any of these plates would be a hit at a promotional event!

Totes and Bags

These little tote and fitness bags can be used anywhere. Positive Promotions has soon many duffle bags, totes, grocery bags, yoga bags, and travel bags to choose from. You can find the perfect one for your business. Since my family is avid amusement park visitors, I really like the clear stadium bag for taking into amusement parks.

String-A-Sling Back Pack – Personalization Available

  • Price: $1.98
Positive Promotions has tons of fitness accessory options. From personalized earbuds containers or running belts to personalized yoga mats, they have so many options. I love the walk-n-wallet. You can attach this wallet to your shoe while you run.

Journals and Nutrition Guides

If you have read any of my blogs, you know that I love journals. Again, the journal options are endless on this site. I just listed a few examples. They also have several nutrition and fitness specific journals, guides, and tear-off sheets. These are great for passing out at big events.

There you have it. Just a few of my favorite Health and Fitness Positive Promotions promotional products. Which are your favorites?
If you like this “my favorite products post” you may also like “The Ultimate Health and Fitness Product Guide, “The Quiet Time Basket,” and the “My Favorite Family Time with God Products.”

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Did God Give you a Passion for a Reason?

Hearing and Answering God’s Call Series

 Part 2: Did God Give you a Passion for a Reason? If so, What is Your God-Given Passion? 

Did God give you a Passion for a Reason?

Blogging is my Passion. What is Your Passion?

 I had the hardest time picking a title. I am hoping this post will be helpful for anyone searching for their God-given passion and calling, but I also want this to help people specifically contemplating blogging. Although I talk about my passion for blogging, this post is about so much more than blogging.

Ask your Own Questions as you Read

I hope this post is helpful to you. As you read my story, I hope you can begin thinking about your passions and where God might be calling you to serve.  Although I am using my call story as an example, I really hope you to use this post to think about your call story. As you read, think about your God-given passions. Is writing one of your passions? Look back on your own life. Do you see your passion continue to pop up throughout your life? Is there a group of people your heart breaks for whom you want to help?

My Call Story

So here is my call to blog story…

When I think about my call to blog, I have to go back and I mean way back. Isn’t it funny to realize how God was putting your call into place even from childhood?

My call to blog started even before blogging existed. When I was little I would say, “I want to be a writer when I grow up.” When other kids wanted to be teachers, athletes, princesses, singers, and firemen, I wanted to be a writer. I was often reading and writing. In 5th grade my first “published” work was a short story printed in our local newspaper.

By high school, I realized becoming an author wasn’t practical so I put those thoughts aside. I started looking into more practical careers that  would still fit my interest and heart. Being a school councilor or a dietitian sounded appealing. (Read here to find out about why nutrition became important to me). Ironically, I am now a dietitian who writes about faith, nutrition, and spiritual growth. How amazing that I get to write (my passion) about my other passions!?!?

I Kept Going Back to Writing

Saying writing has always been my passion doesn’t tell the whole story. Writing feels more like a need. I have kept journals since I was little, and I have little short stories and unfinished books from childhood still sitting around my house.

I would push this God-given passion aside and say journaling is just a hobby, but I kept finding myself writing in different areas of my life.

After college, I was dealing with something difficult. I just couldn’t make peace with broken friendships and my lack of trust in men after experiencing broken promises. I just couldn’t get past this, so I asked God to help me make peace and move on. This next part is so hard to explain. Suddenly, as if a whisper in my mind, I thought, ‘write your story.’  I had not thought of writing in years, but this thought popped in my head. The thought was strong and immediate.

So I got up from my prayer position, went to the computer, and started writing everything that happened. In fact, I wrote about every experience I could think of in which I felt God’s presence.

My story started in middle school and ended after college. I not only wrote the story, but I also wrote how God helped me through different challenging times, and I wrote about the lessons I had learned, and the mistakes I had made. Writing down my story brought me peace, and writing down the moments I had felt God in my life, helped solidify those moments to my memory. After writing those stories, I was able to easily remember and share those stories with people in conversation, and I have even shared written portions of those stories in my blogging.

My Husband Based His Marriage Proposal Around my Writing!

Do you know that writing is such a part of who I am that my marriage proposal was based around it!

When I wrote this particular story, I was dating a really sweet guy (He is now my husband). I mentioned to him that I had written a story, but I hadn’t finished it yet. I told him that one part of the story was about my lack of trust, and I even told him that I had a hard time trusting even his words. After all, I explained to my boyfriend,  people say they will love you forever and then change their mind. I was scared that everything my current boyfriend said would turn out not true, and I was scared that eventually he would change his mind about the way he feels and break promises too.

My boyfriend knew I had written about this so when he proposed he had written what he said was the ending to my book. The night of the proposal, he had left  pieces of paper and a flower on a park bench. As I looked at the pieces of paper, he tells me that he knew I had not finished the story I was writing so he wrote an ending for the story. He made me read the whole thing. He wrote that I had finally found someone I can trust, and I had found someone who would be committed forever. At the end of the page he wrote, “Will you marry me?”

What is your God-given passion?

Still Writing as a Dietitian

Again I never connected my writing hobby as a possible calling. And yet, I continued to feel an urge to write. As a dietitian, I found ways to write. I wrote a full book for my weight loss clients, and I gave each of them this book when they hired me. I also wrote for a nutrition column for our local paper.

Throughout my career, I would write about nutrition just so that I could organize my thoughts and ideas.

Writing Personal “God Moment” Stories

I also wrote anytime I was humbled and awe struck by something that God did. I kept what I called “God journals,” and I would write out my prayers, my questions, and my thoughts in these journals. You can find stacks and stacks of these journals in my home. Again, it never registered that writing could be a calling.

Looking Back, Now I See It!

NOOOW that I blog, I see it! When I look back at my old journals, I realize how much writing has been a part of my life. I keep coming back to writing over and over.

My passion for writing now feels like it was the first of many clues that writing was my calling.

Why Passion Might Be The First Clue to the Question, “What is my Calling?”

So what is the lesson in this? Having a passion may be the first hint to your calling.

1 Corinthians and Romans tells us that God gives us spiritual gifts that will help us do God’s work. Knowing your gifts may help you determine your call. However, I think God not only gives us gifts and talents, but God also gives us a passion for where we are being called to serve. If we don’t have a passion, we are probably not going to give the job our best efforts. If we are not passionate, we may do something only halfway.

When we are passionate, we feel driven to do the best we can do. The Bible seems to back this up through example after example. Most people in the Bible, who were called by God, also had a passion for their calling. Moses, Paul, Mark, John, Isaiah and of course, Jesus, all were passionate about what they were called to do.

You May Have a God-Given Passion and STILL Not WANT to Do It

Passion doesn’t mean we won’t have to step out of our comfort zone. We may have a passion for something and STILL not want to do it. We may have a passion but feel too busy or too scared. Take those same people in the Bible who had a passion for their calling. Many still felt scared and even incapable at first.

Take Moses for example. He didn’t want to step out of his comfort zone and into danger by leading the Israelites out of slavery. But you could see he had a passion for helping the Israelites fight this injustice. My goodness, he even attacked a man for beating an Israelite. Luckily Moses started following God’s lead instead of JUST his passion after God called on Moses. Some had such a passion for God and others that they even gave their own life. They didn’t WANT to give their life, but their passion for God and others gave them strength.

Whew, You Mean I Don’t Have to Do Something I Despise?

Understanding that I will probably have a passion for my calling was such a comfort. Before I began to think about my calling this way, I would say ‘yes’ to everything. As crazy as it sounds, I even felt like I should be slightly miserable as I served. I felt like I should ALWAYS sacrifice my happiness since Jesus had sacrificed so much for me. What a relief to realize that God gave the people of the Bible a passion for their calling. I could really focus on a few ways to serve instead of saying ‘yes’ to everything. I could give my all to those few areas instead of spreading myself too thin. By saying yes to everything, I was not being very helpful anywhere!

Let me add here that sometimes we feel passionate to do something, but don’t love every aspect of the calling. Yet our passion drives us to push through. Maybe you feel passionate about helping the homeless, but you don’t love all the early morning hard work that goes into working at a certain organization. Your passion and calling can drive you to do the less appealing stuff. Does this make since? Jesus certainly didn’t enjoy the pain he endured on the cross, but because of Jesus’ passion and love for us, Jesus suffered the pain for us.

Blogging is my Passion. Could Blogging be Your Passion Too?

So when trying to determine your calling, first look at your spiritual gifts AND your passions. (You can see more about Spiritual Gifts in Part 1 of this series.)

So my questions for you:

  • Do you have a God-given passion?
  • Do you have a love for something? Perhaps you have a love for reading and writing? Or do you have a love for something else?
  • Is there an area or need you feel passionate towards?

Do you feel like Blogging might be a passion for you, but you are not sure how to start? Coming soon, learn about blogging in Part 4 of this series on “How to Start a Blog when you are Called to Blog” AND Part 5 of this series entitled “My Monthly Blogging Routine Including a Blog Promoting Checklist.”

Although God Gives us a Passion for Where We Are Called to Serve, Not Every Passion is from God

One more little side note. Just because you have a passion, does not mean you are called to pursue it. Also, every passion we have is not a calling. After all, we often have passions for not so good things. Passion is just one clue to look for. This series looks at several pieces to “what is your calling?” One of these pieces or clues is that your calling and passion matches up with God’s teachings. Make sure you weigh your passions against God’s teachings when trying to determine if your passion is a God-given passion.

So the take home message is that every passion is NOT a calling, but your calling MAY be one of your passions or will become a passion.

Your Calling Doesn’t Have to Be Your Job

Sometimes our jobs are different than our calling and even passion and that is okay. Some people feel called to volunteer in certain areas. I love how Bob Goff, a lawyer, looked at his job. In his book, “Love Does,” Goff said he viewed his job as fundraising for his mission. We can also view our jobs as a fundraiser for our passion to serve other.  Our calling can even be how we feel we should live our lives. For example, maybe you feel called to be an encourager, so you try to encourage others wherever you are. You encourage your co-workers, your family, or random people at a store.

Bob Goff’s book, Love Does: Discover a Secretly Incredible Life in an Ordinary World is a really good read. His wife, Maria Goff, wrote a book as well called Love Lives Here: Finding What You Need in a World Telling You What You Want. I have read and enjoyed both books.

Keeping a Jouranl May Help you Figure Out Your Passion

Even if you are not a writer, I think keeping a journal might be helpful. Sometimes writing helps us organize our thoughts. Writing your thoughts, ideas, spiritual gifts, talents, and listing your God-Given passions in a journal may help you begin to contemplate what your calling might be. I find that I am more open to hearing God’s call when I pray before I write. You can also use a journal to write your prayers and write down your awe-inspiring God experiences. I am able to remember those amazing “God moments” in my life when I write them down as soon as they happen.

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Here are a few beautiful inspiring journals.

 

Check out Part one of the Hearing and Answering God’s Call Series: “What is God Calling you to Do?

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