I’m so honored to have received a nomination for the Liebster award by Kortney over at Vulnerable Prayers. So much gratitude goes out to you, Kortney, that I can’t even begin to express.
Here was her amazing shout out that is incredibly encouraging to me: “Jennifer has helped me incredibly with blogging. She has encouraged me so much and given me that extra boost of confidence when I was so scared to start my blog. She is an amazing person and has a huge heart for those that are in need.”
For those of you unfamiliar with the Liebster award, let me explain the intent behind it. To put it into terms that make the most sense to me, it’s kind of like giving a shout out to someone who possesses a blog that you’d like to give credit to, make noticed, shed some light on…what-have-you. It’s a way that we bloggers (those of us just starting out or who have chosen to stay relatively small but would like to begin having some growth) can cheer each other on and make known our appreciation to one another.
Liebster is a German word that encompasses the following meanings: dearest, sweetest, kindest, lovely and valued.
So without wasting any more time on the semantics, I’ll dive right on into five random facts about me, as well as answering five questions that were asked by Kortney. My nominations will be at the bottom of the list…
5 Random Facts About Jennifer
1) I’ve wanted to be a writer all my life. Ok, most of my life. I’ve always loved it, but I knew I wanted to do something with it when I won an essay contest in 3rd grade. It was for the Daughters of the American Revolution and my essay was on the Statue of Liberty. Needless to say, I caught the writing bug hard – especially when someone encouraged me to continue via the accolades of a nice, shiny award.
2) As much as I love writing, I don’t do it for a living. At least, not really. I have been in several roles throughout the years where my job permitted me to do my fair share of technical writing, however I am still knee deep in project management within an IT department. While I began writing at a young age, I began programming at a young age, as well. It seemed logical at the prompting of loved ones that I continue this on through college. I got my degree in Computer Science with a minor in English Lit (my love for reading/writing was not all that far behind me at the time), but I went out into the world to get, what I thought would be a “sensible” money-making job. If I only knew then what I knew now I might’ve made some different choices along the way. However, I’ve been blessed in this field. I’ve been in the IT industry for many years now performing such duties as programming for mainframe, GUI and Web interfaces, technical writing, project management and I am now beginning to learn my way around Infrastructure and Operations. I’ve worked for a great company for nearly 10 years now and it’s truly a wonderful place to find a great balance between life and work.
And that work/life balance has been HUGE for me due to the following…
3) I am an only child who now has four children. When Jonathon (my high school sweetheart) and I were married he always said he wanted a large family as he grew up the oldest of five. I’ll admit that this sounded a little daunting at first but once we *ahem* got started, I became comfortable with the idea of a larger family than what I was accustomed. Together we now have four children, Lily (10), Henley (7), Wyatt (4) and Willow (20 months). It’s a bit of a zoo compared to what I grew up with but I certainly wouldn’t have it any other way.
4) I love tea. I must say that this statement is nothing short of an understatement. If you saw my tea cabinet (I’ll spare you the picture) you’d be in disbelief that a person could own, or manage to drink, so much tea. But I don’t just drink it – I learn all about the different areas that it’s grown, the culture, the climate, the size of the leaves, the fair trade options in those areas, etc… It is my dream to someday do something with that interest of mine. Even if it’s when I’m old and gray. 😉
5) I love the Strengths Finder tests and believe everyone should take them! You read that correctly. Everyone. As a company, we’ve taken them to identify where our talents and strengths lie and how we can make sure that we are utilizing those strengths within our own teams to better serve our mission. It’s no different in life. We are given not only Spiritual gifts in which to serve, but also talents woven into our core by our Creator. Identifying those strengths have helped me comprehend and appreciate myself in so many ways as well as to understand how to put them to the best use. I encourage you to take the test if you have not. $20 gets you a book and a code to take the test. I believe each additional test is around $10 if you’re sharing a book with others.
My strengths are: Maximizer, Belief, Input, Responsibility, Empathy
Nominees – please use these questions, as well…
1. Why do you blog? I began blogging in 2004, not long after my first child was born. It seemed I needed a bit of an outlet as it had finally begun to sink in that there were no more excuses for which to write (no term papers, short stories, poems or plays for a grade. no technical writing for my employer at the time…) I submersed myself during that time into writing fanfiction and blogging. It was fun. It served a purpose. But it certainly wasn’t my calling. I created a new blog several years later and kept it private for journaling purposes.
It wasn’t until just a few short years ago, that I bought a domain and started to get serious about sharing my experiences and my journey with coming to know Christ. But the blog was still private. Flash forward to the end of 2012 when I decided to slowly share what I’d written. And now in 2014 I’ve been stepping out to meet other bloggers, attend conferences, link-up my writing for others to read and critique. It’s been a baby-step process, but I’m excited to see the growth and to feel the encouragement of so many. Here’s to 2015 and stepping out even more!
2. Do you know what your spiritual gifts are? If so, how are you using them? Despite my persistence that my spiritual gifts were completely wrong and I’d somehow managed to flub up the test, I can honestly say that, even when you take it several times, it comes out with the same answers. 😉
Teaching is my #1 spiritual gift. This was a hard one for me to swallow because, while I am certainly not shy, speaking to a room full of people who have to keep looking at me absolutely terrifies me. However, I will cut to the chase and say that trusting God has been helping me to overcome that fear. I took some steps of faith to begin teaching high school Sunday school which has helped my confidence a lot and I hope to expand on this to women’s studies in the future. I also hope that I’m teaching through my blog. While it’s not a highly exposed blog right now, my prayer is that my experiences, my studying, my time with God and the processing I’m putting forth through the written word is teaching someone out there more about the identity of Christ. And it is my hope that it will lead them to (as well as deeper into) a relationship with Him.
Aside from teaching, my gifts are also exhortation, giving and administration.
3. What was your favorite class in college? Anything pertaining to my minor in English – as well as Applied Piano. (words and music. the best of both worlds)
4. Where does your inspiration come from for your blog posts? I think that it mostly comes from experience. I take notes all day. I have so many drafts of posts that were never finished because I type up my experiences about how God is working in my life daily. I just don’t always have time to finish them. Four kids, remember? However, I’ve been more diligent about it in 2014 and I hope to do an even better job in 2015 as I carve out more time for this purpose and as my kids grow.
5. Who do you look up to and why? This list is far too long to start prioritizing because there are so many wonderful people I look up to. So I’m making a short list of those who are impacting me greatly right now in the present.
First and foremost it would be my husband. His incredible faith does nothing short of astound me on a daily basis. I’m a details kinda girl. Jonathon is not. But in his Spiritual life he just amazes me with details. There are some days I, admittedly, get a bit jealous because I see how thoughtful he is toward others when he remembers to stop by and see them, pray for them, offer help in any thoughtful way… And I keep my focus centrally located to our immediate family so that life keeps on humming along. It’s inspiring for me and shows me that, while our family life is important and I’m grateful that God put that intentional desire in my heart, that sometimes I can be a little over the top about what is a priority and what is not. He is a true spiritual leader and I love him for it more than he will ever know.
Second, would be Kristen Welch. Long before Rhinestone Jesus ever hit the shelves I felt strangely connected to the changes in this woman’s life. I just didn’t know why I felt so connected. It took God to move my heart in an amazing way this past summer to realize that a similar change was taking place in my own heart. While my journey doesn’t look like Kristen’s, her experience serves to remind me that saying YES to God, whether big or small at the time, opens doors to something greater than I could’ve ever dreamed up on my own.
Third, would be Jennifer Dukes Lee. I could write forever when it comes to the women who truly inspire me with their words – whether it be speaking or writing. There are many. But when I read the blog of Jennifer Lee I am transformed every. single. time. Her words are so full of the breath of God and the wisdom of a woman who has witnessed His promises in a big way. The scripture from Isaiah 55:11 comes to mind when I read her words – “so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” Her words are accomplishing so much within my own life. I am grateful for her obedience to her calling of sharing such encouraging words with women everywhere.
So now that you’ve learned way more than you probably bargained for I’d like to go over the rules and nominate my individuals.
The rules are…
- Post the award on your blog.
- Offer thanks and link back to the blog/blogger that nominated you.
- Share 5 random facts about yourself.
- Nominate 5 other bloggers who you believe deserve the award and who have less than 200 followers.
- Answer the questions asked by the person nominating you and ask 5 questions of your nominees.
And now for my nominations (in no particular order):
Beth over at Simply Beth has been an amazing encourager for me. While we’ve only met once (at Declare) and have only spoken a hand full of times online but her words have lifted me up when I needed them the most. You will be highly encouraged by visiting her space and getting to know her through her words.
Amy at The Statement That Changed Our World is one of my closest RL friends. I’ve watched this woman journey through some extremely difficult times and her faith hasn’t wavered a bit. She is an incredible inspiration to me and I love her dearly. Join her over at her space to learn about the journey she and her family are on as they rebuild their lives after experiencing the trauma of her son’s brain tumor.
Karilee at Abiding Love, Abounding Grace can give an “Amen” unlike anyone I know. You can just feel it in the virtual vibes coming through social media and blog comments. So excited to get the opportunity to know this wonderful spirit a little better at Jumping Tandem in May of next year.
Jolene Underwood has been a quiet inspiration for me. I don’t know her well except through her online space, but Jolene is one of these women who’s words you read and you just…know her. She’s down to earth, funny and embraces faith in an inspiring way. You won’t be disappointed – please join her.
Karen’s words at Stooping For Manna jump off the screen and grab me up into a big, encouraging hug. I just adore her words and I adore the accolades she gives to others through those words. She is my kind of woman!
So there you have it! Difficult to narrow it down to only five ladies, but these are the ladies that come to mind whenever I need encouragement. Please visit their links and get to know them. After all…community is a wonderful place to be.
***Ladies who are nominated, if you choose to participate, please answer the 5 questions that I answered after I gave my random ones. Thanks!