Archive | writing

the one about allume

IMG_0684Last month I had the pleasurable opportunity to attend The Allume Conference in Greenville, South Carolina. My mother accompanied me after rescheduling our family reunion (which includes about fifty people!) so that I wouldn’t have to miss it while I was gone. We had never taken a trip together, just the two of us, and it was odd traveling that way, but also very fun. I should give a shout-out to the nice man who brought our luggage up and down from the overhead storage during our flight. We may be independently minded, but we aren’t very tall.

First of all, Greenville was wonderful. The conference was held at the Hyatt in the middle of downtown and it was the perfect location for two women with no vehicle. We walked from the hotel to an underground coffee shop and a few lovely cafes and shops. We even strolled through Anthropologie once. The area is thick with history and sprinkled with lovely artistic touches. I really loved it and could have spent many more happy days exploring. There is even a natural spring-fed waterfall right in the middle of everything. You should go sometime.

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The conference was a bit intimidating for two (very) introverted women, but I wasn’t at all nervous the way I had been about She Speaks the past two years. The first year it was my first ever conference, I was only nineteen and all alone. The second one I pitching a book for heaven’s sake. I never knew I could be that nervous.

This time, however, it was just fun and relaxing. I had no special agenda there, just learn and make new friends. It was lovely connecting with a few women from my mastermind blogging group. I loved chatting with Shannon on multiple occasions and getting to meet the lovely Kalyn, Christin and September!

The speakers were really wonderful. Some of them I had really anticipated, others were new to me. I saw many faces I recognized and met new people I wish I had known all along. It was lovely to hear Ann speak again, but my favorite session of hers was the Pure Charity panel when no one was scripted and everyone shared the mic. It was so good, I clung at my throat and thought, “I will retain this wisdom if it’s the only thing I do this weekend.”

Ladder Bloggers, Unite!

Ladder Bloggers, Unite!

I am not paid to say this, so please know I am genuine. The conference was spirt-led. I had put on my armor and prepared myself for a commercialized, made up world of blogging bliss. I had imagined the speakers in their white jackets bringing the good word and then disappearing behind stage and onto their plane home. It was not like that. The speakers, who were not told what to speak about or what anyone else was speaking about, had so many common threads, it was amazing. The messages we truly needed to hear were there (sometimes to the surprise of the speaker) and there was no fakey-fakey.

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The worship leaders all brought some kind of prophesy or gem of wisdom that tied into what God was already teaching me. The teachers all helped me in some unique way. They didn’t stick to the schedule when they felt that God could use their time differently than planned. One of my favorite things is that there were no pedestals. The speakers and worship leaders and presidents of organizations were in the buffet line with me, sat at my table for lunch, roomed next door. They too walked the streets of Greenville and grabbed casual cups of coffee. There were no celebrities. We were all on the same page and with the same goal in mind.

Even though the past couple of weeks have had me thinking that marketing and promotion are not my gift, that mainstream publishing is not my goal and that blogging may not ever be my primary source of income, Allume continues to inspire me. I’ve had some snide remarks and funny looks since I’ve been back. “A blogging conference? Is that like a Pinterest conference?” They ask laughingly. I feel a little fire rising up in me because the men and women I had the privilege of meeting at Allume were straight-up world changers.  There is nothing hokey or selfish or silly about what they do.

And I want to be like that too.

(psst! Super early bird registration for Allume 2014 starts on Black Friday!)

Everly

6

spiritual puberty and the further chronicles

I recently wrote some advice for young bloggers. I said,

There are some downsides to starting so young. I will be writing soon about the “spiritual puberty” the whole internet watched me go through. People saw me change and go back on my words and say things that I disagree with now, and that’s uncomfortable. But it’s not wrong. I will always be changing, even in the realm of beliefs. I don’t regret having published my thoughts at such a young age.

And that’s true, I don’t regret it a bit. As a matter of fact, as awkward as (physical) puberty is, it’s not something you want to go through alone. I remember when I lived at the orphanage, telling my older sister that I felt terrible for the girls there who had to go through puberty in an orphanage. The funny part is, she looked at me and said, “We are going through puberty in an orphanage too, ya know.” This was true! However, we had our mom there. She was there when I had freakish emotional outbursts because one of the kids hurt my feelings and when I started to shave (yes-at an orphanage!) and when I got my first set of make-up in our little Petionville apartment. Puberty wasn’t something I had to go at alone, and I’m thankful for that now.

Of course, a little more privacy would’ve been nice at times (see also: eleven people sharing one bathroom.) I feel the same way about the changes you have all watched me go through online. I opened my blog with this beautiful piece of writing and I have stayed true to what I said there for the past six years: “On this blog I will ramble about random things that are on my mind or happening in my life, but I don’t think it will be unbarably boring, so stay connected.”

Has this journey ever been “unbarably” boring? No. It’s been delightful, embarrassing, educational, humbling, exciting, encouraging, frightening and frustrating but never boring.

I have started several blogs since then, submitted guest posts, become a contributor, shut down several blog, helped several other people start blogs, but Clickety-Clack was my first and I’ve never given up on her. She has grown with me. Changed, gone through many seasons, served various purposes.

Y’all have been a faithful little following, even with all the ups and downs. You were especially sweet and supportive as I prepared and pitched a book last year. That book is now tucked away, probably never to be published, but there has been nothing wasted. None of your good cheer, support, prayer, critique, patience or encouragement have come back void. I’m a better, braver writer because of your contributions.

The reason why that book is tucked away is because three publishers turned it down and then I realized it was for the best. I wasn’t entirely sure, still, what that little book was trying to say. Since then (over a year!) I’ve gone through another growth spurt. I’ve realized that my book would’ve scraped the surface of some deep issues. I’m not saying it was a failure or that it was evil or stupid, but just that it’s not what I want to write right now, not what this world needs.

I still care very much about the issues the book addressed. I still think our society needs to see some serious change in regards to feminism, legalism, education, rights and the role of the family. I think what happened is I finally read my own book. I saw that I didn’t really believe myself when I said that I supported women who left home and went to college and had a career and didn’t want kids. I had trouble swallowing that because, deep down, I still believed that those women were, in a way, feeding some sick societal brainwashing machine.

I don’t think that anymore. I’ve watched my friends go all the way through college now. I’ve seen them make decisions about who to marry and where to live and what to do. I still firmly believe that many women miss out on their true desires because of societal pressure, but that doesn’t always look like what I used to imagine. Sometimes that means not going into the mission field because you’re single or not starting a business because your friends are all having kids by now. These women are missing out too.

I still believe that the majority of women will be happiest as wives and moms and homemakers, but that there is a percentage who simply have different desires that they need to pursue. I still believe that we should all (men and women alike) think twice before going to college. It’s a big decision and there are alternatives. (No regrets there!) I still believe a lot of what I wrote, but I also believe in a certain form of feminism which really shouldn’t have to be called feminism at all. It’s a belief that every person is equal and unique and that sex, like race, should never exclude someone from freedom, education, opportunity or the global conversation.

Maybe those thoughts will become a book someday. I’d also very much like to write about eduction (my un-schooling experience) and adoption (my pineapple sibling experience) down the road. But do you know what? I’ve gone back to my first loves: blogging and writing children’s books. I hope you hear a lot more about that in the near future.

Now, if you would continue in your patterns of kindness, would you fill out this short survey for me? It will help me see what you have enjoyed about Clickety-Clack, whether you’ve been reading for years or just scrolling around today. No promises that I’ll take your advice (I’m a bit of a rebel when it comes to these things!) but I am genuinely interested to hear your feedback.

Here’s to many more years of Clickety-Clackin’!

Love to you all,

Everly

“I do not think that I will ever reach a stage when I will say, “This is what I believe. Finished.”

What I believe is alive … and open to growth” -Madeleine L’Engle

3

Advice to Young Bloggers

advice to young bloggers

Why should I give advice to young bloggers? Heaven knows I’m not a techy person. I’ve grown up in the computer age, but my experience with electronics has been a lot of trial and error, learning from mistakes (or just continuing to make them) and doing things the long, hard way.

In other words, this post couldn’t be a techy post if I wanted it to be. I started blogging in 2007 when I was fourteen years old. I used Blogger and my focus was on appearance. I now realize that blogs have innards too. There are important things to be kept up and tinkered with on the inside of a website. I really didn’t know that when I started, and I still understand very little of it. I have since made the switch to a self-hosted WordPress site (viola!) If you want to know more about getting started on WordPress, I highly recommend this series by Gretchen Louise. She is a techy person. As a matter of fact, I sometimes think she’s my guardian angel. She just knows stuff and doesn’t cry when she’s working on my blog. Unlike me, who does. Cry.

But on the other hand, I’m only twenty-one and I’m already sort of a veteran blogger. There are some downsides to starting so young. I will be writing soon about the “spiritual puberty” the whole internet watched me go through. People saw me change and go back on my words and say things that I disagree with now, and that’s uncomfortable. But it’s not wrong. I will always be changing, even in the realm of beliefs. I don’t regret having published my thoughts at such a young age.

So this post is for the young bloggers. The bloggers who think that maybe they’ll regret what they say now when they’re, ya know, old. For the bloggers who are just jumping in and feeling a little scared and very much addicted. This is my advice to young bloggers:

1. Consider using a pen name

This may seem like a funny place to start, but I really wanted to make this point. I started using a pen name because I was young and the internet was a scary place in 2007. The truth is, it’s still a scary place in many ways. Pen names, when used as actual anonymity, can help protect your identity online. Other ways to do this are to name your house (ahem, Eyrie Park) instead of listing your town and never post pictures of the front of your house, your license plate, identifying information, etc. However, this isn’t the main reason I recommend pen names! 

The reason I still use my pen name after all these years, even though most people know my real name, is because Everly is so much easier to remember. Everly catches your eye when I comment on your blog. It’s unique. If your name is already unique, you might consider using your real first name and leaving your last name off, or something like that. For me, as much as I love my real name, I know that my pen name gets me good recognition and helps create online friendships.

2. There is techy help to be had

If you have a technical question about your blog or your online presence, don’t just throw in the towel! The blogging world is made for ordinary people. You are techy enough to blog. I promise. :) You can always use the “help” bar on your blog, google your question or visit sites like gretchenlouise.com for help. You might even consider hiring a VA (virtual assistant) to get over a bump in the road. I recommend Chantel Brankshire.

3. Promotion isn’t selfish

This might be the hardest lesson I’ve had to learn as a blogger. Has God given you knowledge and wisdom on certain subjects? Does your story need to be heard? Are you unashamed of your message? Then promote it. It’s not about “me, me, me!” It can be very much about Jesus. Be prayerful and sincere in your promotion. Remember that your favorite writers promote their work. If they didn’t, you’d never have the pleasure of reading their words. Hide it under a bushel, no!

4. Think before you speak

With that said, remember that your words are very powerful, even if you feel small. They are pebbles in the great lake, creating ripples somewhere. Be careful what you say. Don’t spout off. Don’t ever address something publicly that should be addressed privately (in otherwords, your blog is not your diary, your method of revenge or a place for personal confrontation.) Anne Lamott is often quoted as saying,

“You own everything that happened to you. Tell your stories. If people wanted you to write warmly about them, they should have behaved better.”

In theory, this is true. But there’s such a thing as mercy. You don’t have to air  everyone else’s dirty laundry just because it has stunk up your own room. There is mercy and grace and forgiveness and patience. Jesus didn’t rise from the grave and go this friends and say, “Did you see what those Romans did to me?!” He moved on. Sometimes we need to do that too.

5. Controversy isn’t everything

Don’t write about something solely because it’s controversial. Controversy dies after a while. Write out of your own real passions. Write what needs to be said, yes, but don’t make a career in ruffling feathers.

6. Authenticity is gold

“Aim at authenticity, never at style, originality, or “creativity.” -Elisabeth Elliot

We want nothing more than to hear your real story, your real heart, your real message. The blog world used to be a place of facades and fake lives. We don’t want your glossy magazine life. We want you.

7. Own your work

Learn how to put a watermark on your images. Use your own graphics. I love picmonkey for this. Don’t let other writers use your words without permission or recognition. This is just common courtesy.

8. Stick with it

There is definitely a time to take a blogging break, but don’t give up entirely. Change your writing style if you want. Create a new blog. But don’t think that because of one technical issue (or a lifetime of them, if you’re me!) or one negative comment or one bout of writer’s block that you’re not meant to be a blogger. There’s room here for you. What do you have to tell us?

9. Join the beautiful community!

This is probably the #1 greatest advantage to blogging while you’re young. The community is like no other. I have developed relationships here that I would’ve never had if I hadn’t been blogging. Relationships that are strong online and then become strong offline! Older bloggers have taken me under their wings, invited me in and validated me as a writer. I have been given opportunities to learn and to teach. I have grown so much in my faith because of the words that I’ve read, spoken to the world at large and to me personally. Find a community. Do a link-up. Leave a comment. Tag a friend. Join a group. Start a mastermind group. Submit guest posts. Ask for guests posts. Offer critique. Encourage one another. You are not too young, too small, too new. Reach out and I promise, you will find a hand to grasp.

15

au revoir

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I think it’s safe to say that I’ve been busy lately. Last weekend was an exhausting end to Meggie’s stay with us. Watching her walk through security to board her plane back to the other side of the world, back to being an orphan, was difficult. However, we didn’t say “goodbye.” We said “au revoir.” Yes, to all of you guessers: my parents have started her adoption paperwork already. :)

We are very excited. Meggie just “fit” and we hate not having her here. My parents told her they’d see her in her country. We’re hoping that happens this winter.

Over that weekend, I got a bad but short-lived cold. Came out of that into our first “normal week” without Meggie. Immediately launched into some big projects (TBA) and a lot of writing on top of routine tasks. I am looking forward to finally showing y’all what I’ve been working on, but not tonight…

Then, Sunday night, I had some very emotional news and had to deal with letting go of some stuff I’d clung to for a while. That morning I had listened to a sermon on Psalm 23 in which the pastor emphasized that we are made to lie down in green pastures. I was definitely made to lie down Sunday night. I was very low, emotionally, but very satisfied by the green pastures we all find ourselves in when we know we’re humbly submitting to God’s will.

I woke up Monday morning with swollen eyes and a groggy mind, but set my mind on my work starting that afternoon and have been productive and upbeat since then. I have put Elisabeth Elliot’s “do the next thing” motto into full force and it has done me good.

If the blog stays quiet, know that all is well at Eyrie Park, we are just up to our armpits in homeschool prep, home study prep, building a house, church, friends and all the stuff I can’t tell you about yet. ;)

Leave me a comment to tell me how your summer’s winding down!

Love, Everly

5

what i’m into

Because I’m trying to do more than just allow myself to be sucked into the Internet and obsessively search for answers to all of the latest controversial topics (it’s really not healthy, guys) I’m doing something different today. I love it when other bloggers do stuff like this, so I hope YOU enjoy today’s post. Linking up with HopefulLeigh for a “what I’m into” post. About June. On the 4th of July. Yeah, I’ve been a little crazy lately…

reading:

I am reading this as part of a small group I am in this Summer. Wouldn’t have picked it up otherwise, but it has generated good group discussion.

Funny, witty and frustrating in typical Snicket fashion.

Sort of forcefully started reading this to Jubilee when she was sick last week. It’s a childhood favorite of mine that I can’t keep away from. Just…love it.

watching:

Entertaining and creative, not an instant classic for my family. Didn’t let Jubilee watch it (she’s pretty easily creeped out) and I think that was a good call. Perfect for Willin (age 11.)

Oh my, loved this one. Made in 1934 but has a modern feel. Very funny, well-done, good story. Not super silly as I expected.

Very funny. Why hadn’t I seen this before? Surprisingly clean, minus some avoidable language. Good movie.

Classic screwball comedy starring Cary Grant, later remade as Move Over Darling with Doris Day and James Garner. Great one!

listening:

Very upbeat worship album by up-and-coming Irish band. Recorded solely in homes and other non-studio locations. Enjoyable.

I was initially a little disappointed in Deschanel’s lack of vocal performance, but this is still a great album by one of my favorite bands.

loving:

stepping into the sun to warm up

iced tea with lemon

my new lamp

Sam makes some mean chocolate chip banana bars. And then we put a candle in them and let him blow it out. :)

Sam makes some mean chocolate chip banana bars. And then we put a candle in them and let him blow it out. :)

frequent(er) family reunions for Summer birthdays and graduations

having our kitchen sink back

letters from faraway but dear friends

Nice having a family full of photographers. This is my dad taking Birdie's senior pictures...they turned out great!

Nice having a family full of photographers. This is my dad taking Birdie’s senior pictures…they turned out great!

driving all over town and to the neighboring town without having panic attacks

my favorite parking spot at the grocery store

my peeps over to watch a movie and chat it up

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The world just needs this right now, yes?

the nest-full of baby wrens in the geranium right outside our front door

rabbits, armadillos, owls, squirrels, possums, raccoons, hawks—every day wildlife

new sneakers

I enjoy sidewalk counseling surrounded by babies and balloons. :)

I enjoy sidewalk counseling surrounded by babies and balloons. :)

learning, learning, every day

small group at Sterling House-nothing like it

swimming!

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Why don’t I paint more often? It’s so much fun.

linking:

I have been talking, reading and writing about modesty for a couple of months now, but this about sums things up.

(Excerpt: “Historically, women did not expect clothing from a rack to fit them perfectly,” but now “we take our bodies to the tailor instead.”)

(Excerpt: “Imagine if all the books about girls were about sexism. Imagine if female characters were generally there to give the reader a history lesson about suffragettes or a cultural critique about rape. What would that do to a little girl?”)

I love Darling Magazine and Show Hope, so this piece was a lovely find.

Amazing medical breakthrough as seen through a young cancer patient.

writing:

(and I’ve got several things in the works, just too many thoughts to make for intelligible writing yet!)

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