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Showing posts with label community. Show all posts
Showing posts with label community. Show all posts

Sep 17, 2020


This summer, Natalie and I started a little Instagram community through the hashtag #ItsABeautifulSummer, and we were amazed at how many of you joined in with us!  We thought it would be a fun way to document the beautiful moments of the glorious summer season, and turns out, you thought so too.  So, we chatted about not wanting the seasonal fun to end, and realized that we needed to keep it going...so #ItsABeautifulFall was born.

This hashtag is all about celebrating the beauty of this season in the everyday, whether it be in your latte or some leaves on the ground, we want to see fall through your eyes!  Hashtag your fall moments with #ItsABeautifulFall, and then check out some of the other ladies using the hashtag and make some new friends!

Oh, and just in case you can't see where this is going, we'll be hanging out on the #ItsABeautiful___ hashtag all year!  Here's the calendar for the year (we'll spend 3 months on each hashtag!)

#ItsABeautifulFall:  September-November
#ItsABeautifulWinter:  December-February
#ItsABeautifulSpring:  March-May
#ItsABeautifulSummer:  June-August

Natalie and I also feature some of our favorite posts on our own accounts from time to time, so be sure to follow both of us (@simplynatters and @betsyfick) so you'll see those in your feed! Here are some of the featured photos on my account this summer:

We hope you'll join us on this year-round journey, and celebrate the beautiful moments in your life with us!

Aug 25, 2020

Community Within The Blogging World

Well friends, I'm super excited to have one of my blogging besties taking over today while I'm continuing the last-minute wedding madness!  Emily is so sweet...I honestly don't even remember how we crossed paths, but I do remember Emily emailing me one day asking if I had any tips on how to help a link-up gain momentum, and over a year later, her Grateful Heart Mondays is kicking butt!  You definitely need to check it out if you never have.  Additionally, Em and I have spent a bunch of time emailing or tweeting or texting and she's my go-to on all things Nashville, where she currently resides with her husband and where AJ and I plan to relocate to someday!  Em's here to talk about one of my favorite things...community!  So give her a warm welcome and enjoy her super practical tips on how to find community in the world of blogging!

Hello, dear HTB readers! I'm so excited to be over here with you all while our sweet Betsy is celebrating all things MRS! 

Being a full-time blogger, I'm often asked (especially by non-bloggers) what I like the most about my "job." This, of course, after their first question: What is a blog? ;) Aside from the fact that I honestly just love to write, my response tends to always lead back to my love for the blogging community. Never in a million years did I imagine I'd make the friendships I've made in the blogging world. Was it something I hoped for? Definitely, but I didn't know just how genuine and real and close some of those friendships would be. Today, I thought I'd share some of the benefits of being part of a blogging community, as well as various ways to find it.

I took a quick poll on Twitter and asked the question, "Dear Bloggers, what is your favorite thing about the Blogging Community?" Here are some of the responses I received:






Here are three of my own personal favorite things about the Blogging Community: 
  • No explanations needed. These people, while you may not see them in person everyday (or ever, for that matter), do understand what goes into blogging, what it takes to balance it all, the frustrations you feel when you reach the blogging burnout or fall into a writing rut, as well as your excitement to write about the most random things. They get it, whereas your IRL (in real life) friends may not always understand. There are no explanations needed with your blogging community. 
  • Support/Help. Not only are these people there for you when you go through all blogging-related moments, but they are also your biggest fans, regular readers, promoters, and technical helpers. I can't tell you how many times I have emailed Anne to ask her a blogging or technical question. Half the time I swear neither of us has the answer but two is better than one and somehow we find the solution together. (I will say though, if you're ever looking for a how-to for anything blogging related, Anne's blog is your place to go.) The blogging community on Twitter is also something fierce. Within minutes of tweeting a question, you'll have many answers - case in point in my Twitter question above!
  • Self improvement. A great blogging community will make you want to be a better blogger. This is not to be confused with comparing your work to someone else's, but I believe that when you surround yourself with other creatives, especially in your field, if you can maintain a positive mindset it will only propel you to work harder, try new things, and inspire you to create from a deeper place. 

So how do you find community within the blogging world? Here are some good places to start:

  • Read other blogs, comment on posts you connect to, and respond to the comments on your own blog posts. My close friendships in the blogging world all started by reading their blogs, commenting, and responding to their own comments on my blog posts. To keep track of the blogs I aim to read on a daily or weekly basis, I use Bloglovin'. (This is also a great and easy way for others to follow your blog.)
  • Facebook groups & Twitter chats. Betsy has done an incredible job building the community in The Peony Project, a Facebook group where you can share your posts and social media, as well as get to know other bloggers. There is so much encouragement given by this group of gals! Twitter chats are also a great place to 'make new friends' within the blogging world and can be a fun way to introduce yourself as you answer the questions in the chats. 
  • Sponsor other blogs. Yes, you usually have to pay to sponsor another blog but what better way to be introduced to a group of bloggers/readers you've never "met" before than having someone else promote you? When you sponsor another blogger, your picture/ad will be sitting pretty on the side of their blog and, depending on how you're sponsoring them, you may also get your own feature/guest post. I really recommend choosing an ad spot that includes a guest post or an introduction of sorts so that the blogger can introduce you personally to her readers. This spot may also include social media shout outs, or the blogger sharing your posts with her followers throughout the month.  
  • Join/Host linkups. There are a number of fabulous linkups out there, a place where you can not only share your own posts with others but can also get to know other bloggers. Here are some of my favorites that happen weekly: 
 MONDAY- Grateful Heart (eh hem, this is my linkup so I may be biased but this one is all about starting your week out on a positive by focusing on what to be grateful for.), Meet Up Monday (share any post!)
 TUESDAY- Creative Closet (Weekly fashion prompts), Tuesday Talk (share any recent post!) 
 WEDNESDAY- Bloggers Give it 100 (join Kendra, Lora & Melissa as they provide encouragement for all things fitness), The Wednesday Showcase (link up DIY's, recipes, tips and tricks, travel inspiration and more!)  
 THURSDAY- Makeup Mixup (weekly makeup prompts)  
 FRIDAY- Blogger Love (a time for you to share your favorite posts written by other bloggers), Friday Favorites (self explanatory!) 
*There are also MONTHLY LINKUPS: The Golden Vlog (get in front of the camera to answer Faith's fun monthly questions!), The Awesome Linkup (share 10 awesome things about the past month), Conversations (share your most favorite conversation of the past month), The Guys Behind the Blog (interview your guy and share the results - so funny), Twelve Months of Bliss (also mine! ;) We're already in month two of this twelve month linkup but it's never too late to join in!), Between the Lines (a blogger's book club!) 

What do you love the most about the blogging community?

Don't be a stranger!

Dec 17, 2020

Community Brew // Be Generous Right Where You Are

today i'm joining in with madison over at wetherills say i do and rachel of oh, simple thoughts for their community brew link-up!  community brew is a monthly link-up that is designed for bloggers to be "open, honest, and vulnerable, and to build community with others."  december's prompt is generosity, so join in and tell us a little bit about what season of life you're in!

it's hard to believe that christmas is a week away.  i'm sitting in my room, looking at a pile of wrapped gifts and receipts stacked on my desk.  i can't wait to give those gifts out next week.  i love picking out something great for someone i love and i'm looking forward to handing out these carefully-picked and wrapped gifts on christmas day.

generosity is a buzz-word this time of year.  in fact, it was our theme for the month as the character-education assemblies that i help to organize through our church.  we spent a few days teaching kids that generosity is "making someone's day by giving something away", and i can't think of a better way to put it!  everywhere you look right now, you'll see examples of people being generous.  generosity in giving gifts to friends and family; supporting charities; sponsoring families in need....opportunities to be generous are all around us every day.

i love practicing generosity year round, and i'm learning to be more generous with my money so that i can be a blessing to others in that way.  you see, being generous with my time has always been easy for me.  but money, well, that's been harder to release control over.  i'm in my mid-twenties, with two degrees under my belt, which also means a decent amount of student debt.  so i've always made it a point to be as frugal as possible.

but i've learned that not only does god call us to be generous (and that being faithful in our giving to him through our tithes will return more blessings than we can imagine), but he delights in it when we show generosity!

no matter what your financial situation, there are ways to be generous with a little or with a lot.  i'm a fan of making small commitments when i can.  for example, the mocha club is an awesome organization to support...they back a myriad of different projects in africa and you can support them for just the price of two starbucks drinks a month.  i also love supporting businesses that give back or are small.  as a shop owner, i know i'm blessed by every order, and i consider each order an act of generosity!

of course, generosity isn't only about money.  there are so many other ways to be generous with your time and resources.  offer to babysit for that single mom at church; spend some time wrapping your grandmother's gifts for her; if you can make something, do it and send it to someone as a snail mail surprise!  be creative with your generosity and i bet you that you'll find it really fun.

so, how are you showing generosity this christmas season?

Nov 19, 2020

Community Brew // When Everything's Not Mapped Out

today i'm joining in with madison over at wetherills say i do and rachel of oh, simple thoughts for their community brew link-up!  community brew is a monthly link-up that is designed for bloggers to be "open, honest, and vulnerable, and to build community with others."  november's prompt is seasons, so join in and tell us a little bit about what season of life you're in!

a few weeks ago i sat at the island in my parents' kitchen crying to my mom as i described the season that i'm in right now.  because halfway through my twenties, i'm waiting, still in a season of transition, still not putting down roots, though my heart longs for them.

when i was in college, i read a book called here's the hindsight.  it was like sitting down to coffee with an older and wiser friend...the kind of book that i wrote down quotes from and hung them all over my bulletin board above my dorm room desk.  i recently pulled that book back out and flipped through it.  i had forgotten about some of the details of the author's story, and chuckled when i read these words:

i knew what she meant.  i couldn't wait to get my feet on city soil; it seemed like the move to nashville couldn't come quickly enough.  even though i knew it was looming ahead, waiting for it was like waiting for your meal to arrive at a restaurant where everyone else is eating and you're starving.  the anticipation frustrates every breath.
i was worried i had doled out too much of the "we may not know what tomorrow holds, but we know who holds tomorrow" rhetoric.  while it's true, it's a hard truth to hang on to when you want everything to be mapped out and to make sense.
-here's to hindsight, p. 57

i nearly laughed out loud reading those words because they so perfectly echo and mirror my season of life.  i know what is looming in the distance, but it's just not quite time yet.  and so i don't know the when or the why of it all, but i do know that there is a reason for where i am. 

one of my favorite books of the bible is ruth.  what i love about ruth is that she was in a season of unknown and waiting.  with her husband gone, she followed her mother-in-law to a land that she didn't know, and there, she waited.  i don't know if ruth knew that god was holding her tomorrow.  after all, she wasn't an israelite and culturally, it wasn't the norm to do what she did by following naomi.  she probably didn't plan on spending her days gathering leftover wheat, but she did anyway, waiting for what might come next; she carried on with the task at hand in faith that god had a plan..and in doing so, waited for what might be better.  and eventually, god delivered.  

god doesn't always (or ever) hand us a road map for the season of life we're in.  mostly, he just asks us to trust that he has our back, that he has a plan.  i don't know where you are right now...maybe you have it all figured out and you're settled into a life, (a job, a family, a house) that will be your season for a long, long time.  or maybe you're like me...waiting for what's next. 

i long for the road map.  to know exactly where i'm headed, exactly what god has for me, exactly when it's all going to happen.  i'm a planner (can you tell?)...i like to know the plan, i like to stick to the plan.  but i'm learning, in this season where i often feel lost and unsure and when the map looks like maybe it was stuffed in the glove compartment for too long and now it's hard to decipher where the roads are leading, i'm learning to press into jesus even more.  i'm learning to stir up the big dreams within my heart, to cover those dreams in prayer, and to pursue him even more deeply.

because if there's one thing i know about the future, it's that no matter where i go or what i do, i want people to know who sent me.  so while i wait, i can think of no better way to spend my time than getting to know him better.

so what about you...do you wish you had a road map for life?  what is your season like right now, or have you ever been where i'm standing?

Nov 14, 2020

The Trouble with Mary & Martha

i've never particularly liked the story of mary and martha.  probably because i can totally relate to martha, and yet mary is the one jesus praises.  it always feels a little like he's chastising me when he says "mary has chosen what is better" (luke 10:42).

truthfully, i feel bad for martha!  she was just trying to be a good hostess after all.  i'd do the same.  the meal needed to be prepared, the table to be set, she probably had to tidy up a little bit.  she had opened her home not to just any guy, but the lord...and i'm sure she wanted to make a good impression.

earlier this week, i attended an influence network class about hospitality taught by annie downs.  we talked a little bit about mary and martha, and her perspective changed that story for me.  you see, everyone wants to be invited in.  we've all been there...maybe you've been the new girl hoping for a friend or maybe you've seen the new girl and felt the tug to include her.  and when it comes to mary and martha, the reality is that things do need to get done.

but, in the wise words of annie, you can't keep working for people to be invited in,  if you keep washing the dishes or clearing the table, everyone else is going to feel like they need to be working too or not be included.

i don't know abut you, but i was raised to always offer to help.  and so, when i go to a party or gathering and the host stands up to start the clean-up process, my instinct is to pitch in.  and when i'm the host, i will often begin cleaning up when my guests are still around the table.

don't get me wrong...i think the conversations that happen at the sink, with one person washing dishes and another drying, can be life-giving and relationship-forming.  my mom will tell you that she bonded with her sisters-in-law over sinks full of dirty dishes after family gatherings.  and watching them in the kitchen (and joining them) is now one of my favorite things about those family dinners.

but when we look deeper at the story of mary and martha, it's not just about doing work versus sitting at the table and spending time with others.  martha comes to jesus, with mary at his feet, asking him to send her sister to help her prepare the meal.  she was so worried by the work to be done that she couldn't see the importance in what her sister had chosen.

and when i examine my own heart, it's here that i can relate the most to martha.  because often, when i'm standing at that kitchen sink and there are people at the table who haven't offered to help, my heart turns bitter.  thoughts of "why aren't they helping?" and "can't they see what work needs to be done?" run through my mind.

true hospitality is an issue of the heart.  it's not enough to just open your doors and invite people into your home.  no matter how pinterest-perfect and carefully planned a gathering is, making people feel welcome goes beyond a picturesque table setting and a delicious dinner followed by warm cups of coffee.

in reality, it doesn't matter how well you prepare, what people will remember is how well you cared.

there's beauty in sharing your home and your food.  impact in being generous with your money and your time.  inviting people into your life, no matter how messy and imperfect it may be at times, is worth it.

but it can be so much better, so much more impactful, so much more beautiful, if you "choose what is better."
choose the conversation over the task list.
choose to listen when the dishes are screaming at you.
choose to include people in the relationship instead of the work. 

i'm not sure that the story of mary and martha will ever not make me feel uncomfortable.  and that's probably the point.  because for me, it's easy to see the work to be done and do it.  it stretches me more to make the small talk and ask the good and hard questions.  but washing dishes isn't what jesus asks us to do.  he asks us to take the time to see the need, to see the person, and to be his hands and feet.

what about you?  do you identify more with mary or martha?

Nov 4, 2020

Find Your People

this post is part of the peony project's monthly link-up.

think about the last time you sat down with a good friend.  you know, the kind of friend who you can go a year without having a real, heart-to-heart, belly-laughing, dream-sharing, soul-bearing conversation with, but as soon as you're together, it's like no time passed at all.  i don't know about you, but the older i get, the less i find myself making time for those conversations.  it's not intentional; it's one of those life-gets-in-the-way types scenarios, and every time my best friends and i have dinner together, we always part ways sincerely hoping to see one another more.  

there have been a few times in my life where i've found really intentional community with friends i know will always be a part of my life.  these are the celebrate-each-other's-weddings and tell-them-big-news-in-person friends.  growing up, i went to a week-long summer camp in lancaster, pa.  as campers, we were divided into small cabin groups with others who were our age.  most of us were from pennsylvania and delaware, brought together by a common tie to a particular children's pastor who had spent time at each of our churches.

as a fourteen-year-old, i probably never would have guessed that some of the girls i spent a week with in a bug-filled cabin, riding horses, cheering on our teams at each night's challenges, and eating every meal together for a week would someday become some of my best friends.  once we all went to college and got facebook (because when we went to school, you still actually needed a .edu email address to get into facebook), we friended one another, and then one magical summer, the fates aligned (ok, it was jesus, actually), and we ended up back at that same camp...but as counselors.

and in one week, those covenant friendships, with their groundwork laid in our early teen years, were sealed.  i've celebrated each of their weddings, been there when they announced the first babies in the group, and have prayed in parking lots after laughter-filled dinners with these girls.  they know me.  no matter how much time passes.  they're my people.

alayna, becca, kassia, me, and hannah

one of the most intentional communities i've ever been a part of was a crazy group of people that i got to live with during my junior year of college.  we were all accepted into a program at gordon called the elijah project, where we took a year to really study work and vocation within a christian context.  we also lived in a house together for a year....fourteen college students, sharing dinners four nights each week, house chores, spending time in class and in fellowship together.  it was easily the most intentional community i've ever been a part of, and it was probably one of the best years of my life.  

those people became my people...and in the same way as with my camp girls, i've gotten to witness some of their milestones and we are still a part of one another's lives. 

just a few of my housemates, in front of our little white house just off-campus at gordon.

i think what makes each of these communities so beautiful is that in each of them, i was known.

colossians 3:12-14 gives us a perfect example of what community should look like:
therefore, as god's chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  forgive as the lord forgave you.  and over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.  

when we're in community with others, we're called to be gracious:  compassionate, kind, humble, gentle, and patient.  but beyond those things, we're told to love one another.  and loving a person means knowing them.  loving a person means cheering them on and getting excited for the things they get excited for.  it means encouraging and advising and challenging one another.  it means celebrating each other's wins and picking one another up after the falls.  

when you find your people, the ones who will laugh with you, cry with you, celebrate with you, and push and encourage you, hold onto them.  because that's the best kind of community.  it's the kind that lasts a lifetime and spans long distances.  it's the kind that will travel for you or celebrate from afar, and will truly mean it.  

and maybe you're reading this today, and feeling like you don't have a place where you're known.  i've been there.  because even, and especially, when you've gone through seasons of your life where you've been in close quarters with some of your best friends, you're also bound to find seasons when those friends are far away.  and those deep conversations where you don't need to explain yourself are few and far between.  i know that in those moments, it can feel really lonely.  

but i promise that there is a place for you.  i promise that there are people who want to know you and who want to be those covenant friends for you.  your people.  the ones who understand you, who you don't need to explain yourself to, who will love you and be that colossians 3 community for you.

if you're a blogger reading this, and you've been searching for a community to call home; searching for people who will understand this part of your life, who will get the blogging world and who will be those covenant friends for you in it, then i hope you'll consider joining us in the peony project.  that's our heart, after all...to be friends for the journey.

and if you just stopped by today to do a little reading, then i'm so happy you're here.  and i hope you'll either consider what community means to you and join in on our link-up, or that you'll stop by a few of the other posts below and check out what it means to some other awesome ladies. 

Oct 29, 2020

Community Brew // Invest & Invite

today i'm joining in with madison over at wetherills say i do and rachel of oh, simple thoughts for their community brew link-up!  community brew is a monthly link-up that is designed for bloggers to be "open, honest, and vulnerable, and to build community with others."  november's prompt is open-ended, so whatever is on your heart, feel free to join in!

right inside the front doors of our church's worship center atrium is a small table with a sign on it that says "invest and invite."  it's topped with invitation cards for our services and events and upcoming sermon series that our congregation can pick up and hand out to friends and family, making it easy to invite them to church.

for me, the investing part is the easy part.  i'm an extrovert; a people-person, so i can do the occasional coffee date or relationship-building texting conversation or whatever it is.  but the invite part?  that's always a little harder for me.  i've never found it easy to ask someone for help, and somehow, inviting someone to wake up early on a sunday and come to church feels like i'm asking for a favor.

but i think that the fear of asking too much of someone in inviting them somewhere...especially somewhere as important as church...is, at the heart of it, doing them a disservice.  when you consider the idea that the invitation that you're extending could save someone's life, then that invitation takes on a whole new weight.

paul starts off romans 10 with "brothers and sisters, my heart's desire and prayer to god for the israelites is that they may be saved."  i love that.  paul's heart's desire was for his brothers & sisters to be saved.  i don't know about you, but it can take work for me to have that same mindset.  it's not always at the forefront of my thoughts, but it should be!  and it doesn't take outright evangelistic conversations to practice the concept of investing and inviting.  it just takes being there, being consistent, building trust, and showing the love of christ to others through your words and actions.  

and the concept of invest & invite isn't just confined to the face-to-face parts of our lives, but our online lives too.  no matter where you're active...by writing a blog, just being present on twitter or instagram or pinterest, whatever...you have opportunities to be salt and light, and to invest and invite in those spaces too.  your words, your posts, your pins and repins...they all matter, and they all mean something.

if you're joining in on the hospitality study with she reads truth that started on monday, you know that this idea of investing and inviting is at the heart of this study.  (to be perfectly honest, that fact didn't even occur to me until i was halfway through writing this post)  yesterday, logan wolfram wrote an awesome devotion about how we need to love like jesus loved, and then follow his lead in inviting others into the journey with us.

she talked about how that love and invitation needs to stem from the heart.  a heart that is full of the love that god has for us will brim over and spread that love to others.

we posture our hearts to welcome others in response to the invitation 
we have been given through the gospel of jesus christ.
-logan wolfram

it always comes back to this, friends:
jesus loved us, so we could love others.  we often teach in our children's ministry at gt that every commandment jesus ever gave us fits into two categories:  love god, or love others.  christ made the ultimate sacrifice in death on the cross, and he didn't do it so we could keep it to ourselves.  he loved us, so we could love others.

in what ways is god asking you to invest in and invite others into his kingdom?  is it a challenge for you?  how so?

Oct 21, 2020

When Online Friendships Become Real...

there's a beauty in this online community.  it's always hard for me to talk to people in real life about the blogging world, because if you're not a blogger, then it's kind of hard to understand.  when i started the peony project back in june, i was really just looking for a common space where bloggers could find community and conversation, as well as encouragement and collaboration.  i hoped that it would breed friendships as well, but i was never really prepared for all that it has blossomed into.

natalie texted me a few weeks ago and asked if i'd be interested in attending a dinner party for a bunch of our members at the university of valley forge, where she's a senior.  i immediately said yes, and was so excited to meet some of these gals in real life!

it ended up being a gathering of eight bloggers and a baby, and we had tons of good food and great conversation.  i left feeling with a full heart, and a fresh perspective on why i'm doing this whole blogging thing.

so, meet the ladies that were there!  (i realized as i was editing these that we never got photos of jessice of the adventures of a wild thing!  so go check out her blog and her awesome adventures across the globe!)

bonnie of strong and sweet

kelly of i am kelly

natalie of a tiny traveler

tori...tori doesn't have a blog...yet.  
but i think we did a good job of convincing her she needs to start one!

me!  and since you're here, i guess you don't need the link to my blog...

these seven girls made me even more passionate about cultivating online community.  meeting them face-to-face instead of just through a computer screen brought their blogs to life and made me so exceed for the things they're dreaming about for their online spaces!  i can't wait to make more of these meet-ups happen...and if you're not a part of the peony project yet, we'd love love love to have you!

Aug 20, 2020

Blog With Purpose

call it cliche, but if you ask my why i blog, i'm going to tell you that it's because of the community.  the more this space grows, the more i find that i love meeting other bloggers!

when i first started blogging, i had no idea that there was even a blogging "community" out there!

i can't tell you how many times i've had those "friend crush" moments...when i've found another blogger who i identify with and just know that we'd be great friends, you know?  that's what it's all about for me, and i'm so blessed in the fact that i can say that i have some really great blogging friends out there who i regularly connect with!

1.  reach out // when you find another blogger that you really connect with, don't be afraid to shoot them an email to tell them that!  i can't tell you how much it means to me to get an email from someone telling me that something i wrote touched them in some way or that they enjoy my blog!  but you know what feels even better?  writing that email to someone else!  and what's just the best is when that initial email sparks a conversation.  you never know until you reach out to someone, and those bloggers that you connect with can turn into potential collaborators, mentors, and friends.  the same is true with bloggers that you want to work with...whether it be advertising with them, guest posting, or co-hosting a linkup or giveaway, you will never get a "yes!" from someone until you reach out.  just be sure to work on establishing a relationship before asking for big favors!

2.  be active // in order to get people stopping by your blog, you need to be active in the blogging community!  read and comment on other blogs (and be real with those comments!  don't just say "great post!"), respond to emails and comments that you receive, advertise on other blogs, and promote other bloggers!  i once read that you will get much more engagement when you promote others than when you promote yourself, and i totally believe that's true.

3.  join a group // this has to be one of the best pieces of advice that i can give you!  there are tons of facebook groups out there for bloggers, (in addition to other intentional communities like the influence network), and this is one of the easiest ways to actively engage in a community just for bloggers!  there are also a number of blogger networks for different genres of blogging and areas of the country!  i'm a member of the northeast blogger's network, where i'm able to connect with other bloggers in my area!  utilize these groups to grow your blog and network with other bloggers, but just like #2, remember that there's more to networking than just self-promotion!  ask questions, leave feedback, and be encouraging to other members!

4.  attend a conference or meet-up //  this is something that's on my personal blogging to-do list.  my friend natalie recently found this post that gives you a calendar of blogging conferences throughout the year!  meet-ups and conferences are a great way to meet other bloggers in person, network face-to-face, and really build relationships!  meet-ups tend to be much cheaper (sometimes even free!) compared to attending a conference, and can help you connect with other bloggers near you.  if you can't find one that's already in the works, consider starting your own!  another option to an in-person meet-up (because sometimes it can be hard to find other bloggers in your area) is to host a twitter party or google hangout.

5.  be authentic // if you're looking for organic, true community, then you need to be authentic on your blog.  this means that you need to break down the wall between you and your readers.  be vulnerable once in a while; let your readers in!  you don't need to overshare or give specifics about personal situations, but sharing your heart and letting your readers get to know you a little will create relationships.  think about some of your favorite bloggers...why are they a daily read?  chances are it's because you feel connected to them, and you probably feel that because they've let you into their lives.  even if you love reading a beauty blog or a diy blog, i'd be willing to bet that while 90% of their content might be focused on a certain topic, they still give you a peek into their personal lives the other 10% of the time!

no matter what you blog about, if you desire true community in the blogging world, you need to be you.  people want real...there are so many websites and blogs out there that it can be hard to get readers to stop by, let alone stick around!  if your main goal is to build up community around and through your blog, then you need to connect with your readers on a deeper level.

what do you think?  what are some of your best tips for engaging and building a community around your blog?

want more blogging tips?  check out some of the other posts in my blogging series here:

Jun 24, 2020

Introducing The Peony Project!

i'm so excited to be announcing the start of the peony project to you today!  lately i've been longing for a community that really understands the creative (and blogger) within, and i've been struggling to find the perfect niche community to satisfy that need.

i love the blogging world and the community that it creates, but i often feel like it's not very cohesive.  i know that there are plenty of places and spaces out there that aim to bring this blogging world together, and maybe this will just become another one.  but i hope not.

i hope not because lately, i've been feeling my heart whisper for something more.  and for the past few months, i've been saying "ok heart, i'll work on it, but it's not going to happen until it's ready, until it's perfect."  and then a few weeks ago, i wrote a post about summer goals and i started thinking that maybe starting small isn't such a bad thing after all.  maybe it doesn't have to start off with fireworks and it's own website and a whole slew of other perks for members.

maybe it can start as simply as a facebook group, a common space to share posts and get ideas and ask for advice without the fear of being laughed at.  and maybe someday, we'll be gathering all together for a conference (aka, the big dream i never talk about to anyone).

so, if you're craving community...
if you want to celebrate what jesus is doing through us in each of our little corners of the world...
if you want to partner with and encourage other bloggers...
if you're looking to make friendships over this crazy thing called the web...
...and you're committed to being intentional and honest and real...

then join the peony project!  click here, choose "The Peony Project Membership" at the bottom of my ad shop (if for some reason it's not showing up, then check out my ad options on the passionfruit site here) and finish the checkout process...joining is totally free and you'll be emailed an invitation to join the group!  i hope to see you there!
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