Tuesday, February 24, 2009

nice-to-meet-you tuesday!

One of my absolute favorite things about blogging is that I have made friends online - heart sisters I am sure I would otherwise never have "met." I am amazed at how God will use even the "www" to connect like-minded brothers and sisters together in an ever-more-fractured world!

I'd like to introduce you to a friend i've made who shares so much of my heart for Papa, for our families, and for our homes. She's featured my posts a couple times on an e-zine she writes for, Mentoring Moments (be sure to click to check it out!!) and we've "met" again in the homeschool group Our Lifestyle of Learning, as well. I decided to do an interview so you could get to know her, and I'm glad I did - I discovered all kinds of neat things about her - I can't wait for you to get to, also! (I am so pleased to know I have another email-checking, coffee-drinking, Greek yogurt loving, chocolate-addicted soul sister in the world!) Meet Molly!
(p.s. - Please read through to the end, as she has some real insight to share on wisdom and accountability in the blogging world. And take the time to click through to her links. I promise, you'll have a new "must read" for your list.)

How long have you been blogging?
I’ve only been blogging a little over a year. I started in January of 2008. When I began my first blog, CounterCultural Mom, my intention was to use it to support my speaking ministry. Often, I would speak and people would ask me for tapes. My husband and I decided that recording podcasts and posting them to a blog would be the easiest way to accommodate that.

I thought that my podcasts might be downloaded a few times a year, by those who had already heard me speak. I had no idea that it would open a new door for my ministry, that I would be asked to join a women’s e-zine staff as a writer and podcaster, that it would lead to me speaking for some national virtual conferences, or that I would start a second blog!

What are your blog(s)?
I have three blogs, actually. Counter-Cultural Mom is my ministry blog. I keep all of my podcasts available there, and I try to write articles about what the Lord is teaching me, things about parenting, devotional thoughts or articles about things that touch me as I read or worship. I started a second blog for homeschooling last summer. I have articles at Counter-Cultural School about planning for school, getting organized, scheduling, hands-on activities, historical feasts, and building a home library.

Again, I started this blog with no dreams of anything big. I wanted to accomplish two things: first, I’m not very organized when it comes to keeping track of papers. I wanted a place where I could archive recipes and directions and book lists for things we had done. Four years from now when we are studying Egypt again, I’ll know right where to find information about what we did this time around! I never lose my computer, LOL. My husband also encouraged me to start this blog to save time. I frequently get emails asking for information about using Tapestry of Grace, curriculum recommendations for Latin or spelling, or wanting directions for one of our projects. He thought this would be a way to write the answer once and then just send out a link!

Neither of us imagined that CC School would take off like it did. We were stunned and humbled when CC School won the Homeschool Blog Awards this year for Best SUPER Homeschooler. I don’t think of myself in that way....I’m just trying to give my all as I educate my children, like any other homeschooler! But I do my best to make the blog informative and encouraging. CC School really reflects my heart to help every homeschooler have an awesome experience in their homeschool. It is a privilege and a joy to serve the homeschool community even in a small way.

How often do you write?
I feel like I am writing a lot these days! I try to keep up with both of my main blogs. I don’t have time to write daily, but I try to write a few times a week on one or both of them. I also write several articles for each issue of Mentoring Moments for Christian Women, and articles for the MMCW blog. Just last month I started writing for the Georgia Home Educator’s Association, as well. And then there is the podcasting...a typical podcast is about 10 to 12 pages of material, and they take awhile to write. When I let my blogs slide for a week or so, it is usually because I am working on a new podcast or finishing a deadline for MMCW. There are many wonderful Christian women writing for Mentoring Moments. I hope your readers will check it out and subscribe to the e-zine! I do most of my writing on Sunday afternoons and late at night.

Do you receive income from your writing?
No, I do not. It is important to me to provide my podcasts free of charge, so that they are accessible to everyone. Everyone on the MMCW staff serves as a volunteer, and we all share the same philosophy of writing as a ministry to women.

What inspires you to write? Is there a particular writer who encourages, inspires, or challenges you?
I find inspiration from many sources. I am always reading, usually several books at once. I find inspiration in my Bible reading, as well, and from Sunday sermons. My children are a great source of inspiration. I think my greatest source of inspiration is my husband. He often says, “I’ve got a topic for your next post!” or “This topic would make a great podcast!” We usually spend several hours a month talking about the CC Mom blog and about future podcasts. Whenever we talk, I keep a notepad nearby, so I can jot down ideas as they come to us. He has been such an encouragement, and feels that this ministry is not just mine, but ours.

I wouldn’t say there is a particular writer that inspires me to want to write...but I am often inspired by ideas. I’ll read a quote or a particular turn of phrase and it will send my thoughts off in one direction or another. I’m also frequently inspired by hymns. Sometimes even a news byte inspires me.

Do you ever get writer’s block? How do you get back “at it?”
I feel like I often get writers block! It is hard right now, because I’m writing for several different sources, and I don’t always feel creative enough to come up with that much fresh content every month! Usually when I get writer’s block I try to step away from the computer for awhile and do something totally different.

When I have deadlines to meet, I just keep working at it until it is done. You know what they say: you eat an elephant one bite at a time. I always want to do my best, but you can’t be a perfectionist about it. When I get obsessed with making an article perfect, that is when I get writer’s block. I also bounce things off my husband and he helps me re-focus. When I feel blocked it usually helps to make an outline. Writing two word phrases about my main points and putting those in order can often get me over the hump. I also have a notebook where I write down ideas when they come to me. Often I’ll have several ideas and no time to write. When I feel blocked, I look back over the notebook for inspiration.

Tell us a little about you – kids, hubby, etc.!
My husband and I got married in college, 17 years ago. We have 4 beautiful sons, ages 4 to 12, whom we’ve always homeschooled. After graduating from college we served as missionaries with Operation Mobilization for several years, first in Hungary and eventually in the home office here in the states. We left full-time ministry in 2000 and my husband has been working in financial services since then.

All of our boys are involved in sports, so many of our evenings and Saturdays are spent at the ball fields. Several of us are avid birdwatchers, and that has become a big hobby for our family. We love to travel to places where we can see new birds, and the kids and I have spent countless hours planting and landscaping our bird garden, which is an area we designed beside our house to provide habitat for a wide variety of birds. Our family is very close knit. We love homeschooling, as it affords us a lot of time together.

What’s your favorite little indulgence?

Definitely coffee! I can’t start the day without it, and I end the day with a couple cups of decaf. My husband makes a big pot after dinner every night. I’m like one of Pavlov’s dogs when I smell it: a wave of peace washes over me, knowing the busy day is almost over and it’s time to relax a bit! My other favorite indulgences would have to be checking email, Oikos Greek yogurt and chocolate.
Any nuggets of wisdom to share?
Doing this interview with you caused me to reflect on how little we typically know about the “Blogger behind the blog”. Anyone can write their thoughts on a blog and gain an audience. As readers, we need to be careful always to test everything against God’s Word. The ministering Blogger has a responsibility, as well, to ensure that her teaching is Scriptural. I’ve written in my post Accountability in the Blogosphere about how I approach this important issue.

Thanks for coming to visit, Molly. I love knowing you're out there in the blogosphere, girlfriend!


The Ties that Bind Us said...

Counter-Cultural Mom was the very first blog that I followed. I double checked in my favorites, and there it was - before I became a blogger and started following others via my blog. I adore Molly's heart for ministry and smiled with her pictures of her kids doing projects, prayed over her suggestions and brought them to my husband, on whether or not to implement them in our family, cried when her son was in the hospital and sincerely have read every one of her posts. I'm so thankful for her. And, thanks Ang for doing this interview with one of my favorite blogging moms! Your one of my favs too. : )

momof4sweetsisters said...

I have to head over to Molly's blog. Most days I have trouble getting to the email. So it amazes me all you girls do!
Is tomorrow still on????

Beth@Pages of Our Life said...


I enjoyed reading your interview with Molly. Thanks, for doing this.