Announcing Blog of the Year Winner!

Brilliant

Last year I held a contest in which I featured a different blog each month. The following blogs recieved the Brilliant Blog Award in 2016 and were in the running for the Most Brilliant Blog of all 2016:

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1. Camels and Chocolate by Kristen Luna. My favorite secular blog. It’s a travel blog and the photos and layout of this blog are impeccable.

2. Miss NiNi’s Food Blog. There’s nothing I don’t like about this baker and writer’s blog. Her writing voice is just as delicious as her delectable pastries. Meet Miss NiNi here:

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3. Zoe M. McCarthy’s Blog on Writing.  This is probably my favorite blog right now for practical, simple, easy-to-grasp advice on writing. I have printed out pages of this blog to file in my writer’s notebook, and have created graphic organizers with some of the tips she shares. I highly recommend this blog.

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4. Grace on Parade by Karen Wingate. Karen inspires me with  her fortitude and commitment to leading a life dedicated to her Savior.  Her life as a pastor’s wife is intense, but there’s a peace and serenity to her blog that I favor. Her struggle with legal blindness and the miracles attached to that experience are riveting. You really must visit this blog, and often!

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5. Kristy Cambron. This blog is not only pretty, it’s rich in encouragement and spiritual food. I fell in love with Kristy after reading her first book. I also like the way Kristy incorporates video into her blog. You’re missing out on something very special if you don’t subscribe. Kristy is a consistent blogger and you can count on her posts each week to inspire you to draw closer to Jesus.

6. Bob Hostetler’s One Prayer a Day Blog. I love getting these prayers in my emails each day. (I subscribe to his blogs by mail.) He also has other blogs you can check out here. Bob’s a former pastor and a best-selling author. I can hardly wait to dig into his latest book: The Bard and the Bible. 

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7. Books & Such Literary Agency. Everything you need to know about working with a publishing agent can be found on this blog. Read and digest!

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8. Shelley Wilburn’s Walking Healed.  Ever since Jesus healed Shelley, she can’t stop speaking and blogging about it! Her blog is delightful. And anyone who wears mismatched socks is just okay with me! You’ll love her. She now has a companion study guide to go with her book. You’ve got to check it out!

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9. Tom Threadgill’s wit and satire on his blog are second to none. I always giggle when I read Tom’s blog. He is also an editor and you can acquire his services over on his editing website, Eagle Eye Edits.

There were only nine blogs nominated because I was student teaching the last three months of the year and simply didn’t have enough time to blog about all the wonderful blogs out there. (You can read my teaching blog at KarlaTeaches.com.)

Now, I know you can hardly wait to learn who the winner is, right?

Drumroll please!

And the winner is–

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MISS NINI’S FINE DESSERTS BLOG!

Congratulations!!

Miss Nini’s blog received the most votes for Blog of the Year!

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Tweet this: The most brilliant blogs of 2016!

August’s Brilliant Blog Award Winner

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Oops. I goofed. I completely missed the Brilliant Blog Award for August, didn’t I?

Chalk it up to being overwhelmed with student teaching. For that I apologize.

My oversight in no way reflects how much I love August’s winner: Walking Healed by Shelley Willburn!

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I love Shelley Wilburn’s blog for so many reasons. Yes, I know, she’s a colleague and a dear friend, but seriously, this woman’s enthusiasm and willingness to be passionately transparent always draws me in. Watching her grow as a writer over the years has been so inspiring. I love her fearless yearning to obey Jesus and follow Him!

Be sure to check out this lady of the mis-matched socks. You’re going to be inspired by her life and healing!

And don’t forget to vote for your favorite blog by visiting it, and clicking on its brilliant blog button!

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Please tweet: Congratulations, Shelley Willburn! Your blog is brilliant!

July’s Brilliant Blog Award Winner

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I’m super happy and excited to announce July’s winner for the Brilliant Blog Award because I’ve been wanting to give this blog an award for a long time. I wish I had something funny and witty to say about it because its author, Tom Threadgill is about the most comedic blogger I know.

The thing I like about Tom’s blog, Wits’ End, is the dry humor and quick wit. Even though Tom writes suspense novels, I’ve been begging him to write a humorous novel. In fact, I look forward to the day he and I have time to collaborate on an idea I’ve shared with him.

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Congratulations, Tom!

Be sure to check him out. And if you have any editing you need done, I can highly recommend Tom. Eagle Eye is the perfect name for his editing service.

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Do you have a blog to recommend for the Brilliant Blog Award? Find out my guidelines here. Twitter_Bird_Coffee_by_Aaron_Riddleacriddledotcom

Please tweet: Congrats to @Tom_Threadgill for winning July’s Brilliant Blog Award!

The Art of Interruptions

-Interruptions remind us we are not in control.---Karla Akins

Okay, this is hilarious.

I had this post completely written and guess what?

It disappeared.

Then I wrote it again. And added pictures.

And the pictures disappeared.

Then when I added the pictures again and checked on it–saved it, published it, the original post showed up without pictures. (I was working in Blogger for a cross-post to Hoosier Ink. I gave up and decided to post it here in WordPress.)

hmm...I find this extremely ironic since I’m writing about interruptions. And I don’t believe in coincidences. Sometimes life gets so crazy and bizarre you just have to laugh. Just like God does when we make plans. I picture Him sitting beside me, jabbing me in the ribs with a loud “Got ya!” He probably isn’t, but that’s how I picture Him when things like this happen. (I mean no disrespect to God. He knows how much I admire His sense of humor.)

You’d think after having kids with autism and a mother-in-law with Alzheimer’s living with us, I’d be the Queen of Handling Interruptions. But I’m not. I have a hunch that God must be determined to make me an expert. Either that, or he enjoys a good laugh. You know the Yiddish saying, right? “We make plans and God laughs.” He is hee-hawing all over the universe with the way my summer has gone.

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You see, I’m a planner. I love to plan. I have several planners — one for home/church, one for my writing and one for my college classes. I begin student teaching in August, and I’ll have a teaching planner, too.  I also use Google Calendar to remind me of appointments and deadlines. I love to plan. I buy all sorts of stickers and tapes and tabs for my planner. Planning is my hobby.

A few of my planning toys. I keep them in a ziplock envelope inside my planner. I have many more in my office drawers!

And oh yeah, I haven’t even begun to tell you all about how I plan on Kanbanflow! I have 11 (!) planning boards there. Now, admittedly, many of them are for books and projects. But a lot of them aren’t.

This isn't my kanban, but you get the idea.

This isn’t my kanban, but you get the idea.

Here’s how my summer has gone so far. Keep in mind, this is the summer when I was going to knock out those 11 Kanbanflow lists and cure world hunger:

  • My dishwasher broke the same month of the twins’ graduation open house (mid-May)
  • The twins’ caregiver quit in May. We still don’t have a new caregiver and they require 24-7 supervision
  • Ordered new dishwasher
  • New dishwasher arrived and quit working after one week
  • Part for new dishwasher will not be here until August 12
  • Air conditioner is not acting right. And it’s only the hottest summer ever.
  • June 25 my computer crashes. Kaput. Zero. Zilch. Will cost too much of a percentage of a new one to fix.
  • Wait two weeks for new computer to arrive.
  • Can’t find my backup files on Carbonite
  • My wedding ring got an upgrade May 1. Sent it off to get it fixed. It’s still not back after it being returned twice looking like a bubble gum ring. (Does this mean I’ve been single all this time?)
  • My mother-in-law who has Alzheimer’s has been sick a lot this summer. This means a lot of attention, care and trips to the hospital. (Keep her in your prayers. Her name is Ellen.)
  • When I flew to Colorado for conference, why didn’t I expect my plane to be delayed and have three gate changes in Dallas?
  • My back went out July 22. I have a bad sacrum joint thing going on. Which means I can’t sit, stand or walk comfortably at all. The only medication that’s touching the pain is Ibuprofen which I’m not supposed to take because of a stomach condition. But, it’s Ibuprofen that’s allowed me to sit here in this awkward position and type this post.

These are just a few of the highlights of my summer saga entitled, “Interrupted Summer.” Not very original, I know, but it describes it very well. (Which means it’d do well on a Kindle search, but that’s another blog post for another day.)

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God isn't looking at the clock.He's looking at my character.--KarlaAkins.com

I believe God is bound and determined to teach me how to handle interruptions with grace. I’m obviously a slow learner. This has been a sink or swim summer. I’m treading water, but not sure I’m going anywhere.

And yet, I’m trying to embrace the interruptions as positive opportunities instead of negative experiences. They’re like when I get lost on purpose when I ride my motorcycle. I love exploring unchartered territories. Why not view interruptions in the same way?

Interruptions are actually God’s Providence. It’s Him teaching me I’m not the one in control. He is. And I can either embrace these moments or kick against them. It’s up to me how I perceive them.

In the below video I share a few more of my thoughts on the matter. If you like the video, please subscribe to my channel and hit like on the thumbs up tab! (In Youtube.)

How about you? Do you like interruptions as much as I do?

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Please tweet: Interruptions are God’s unexpected field trips.

Announcing the Brilliant Blog Winner for the Month of June

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June’s pick was a no-brainer. I love this blog so much for so many reasons, it’s hard not to gush about it. What really amazes me, though, is that this author has only been published a short time. In fact, I read her first book and loved it. I was drawn to it because of the title. As a violinist, it was a must read.

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You can read my review of it here.

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Kristy Cambron impresses me on many levels. All  young, successful writers inspire me, but when I come across a young writer like Kristy: fresh, witty, confident, productive, speaker, wife, Mom, creative blogger — I have to gush just a little.

Here’s a bit about Kristy quoted from her website:

“Kristy Cambron has a background in art and design, but she fancies life as a vintage-inspired storyteller. She is the author of The Ringmaster’s Wife, named to Publishers Weekly Spring 2016 Religion & Spirituality TOP 10. Her novels have been named to Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books and RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards Best lists, and received a 2015 INSPY Awards nomination for best debut novel. The Illusionist’s Apprentice (HarperCollins, 2017) is her fourth novel.”

Pretty impressive, eh?

But her career and success aren’t why I chose her blog. I chose it because it’s fresh, visually appealing, and I sense her desire to connect with her readers. One way she does this is through video. As writers, I realize most of us really don’t like being in front of the camera. (I’m trying to learn to not be afraid of it.) Kristy has turned YouTube to her advantage when it comes to promoting her books.

But I don’t feel like she’s pushing her books when I read her blog or watch her videos. I feel like she’s just hanging out. Which is what a really good author blog does. It helps the reader feel connected to the writer. One of her most recent videos does this brilliantly:

And she’s a lefty like me! (That’s the real reason she won this month.) (Just kidding!)

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Yes, I’m signing a contract of some kind! Can’t wait to tell you all about it!

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Please tweet: Congratulations, Kristy Cambron! Your blog is brilliant!

Do you have a brilliant blog you’d like to nominate? You can do so here. 

The May Brilliant Blog Award

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This blog award thing has proven harder than I thought!

Mainly because there are so many brilliant blogs out there. It truly is difficult to chose.

However it is with great joy I present to you the Brilliant Blog for the month of May. It is already an award-winning blog but I can’t overlook it and refuse to give it this award because of their popularity. They’ve truly earned it because they’ve encouraged me more than once on my writing journey.

Congratulations to Books & Such Literary Management!

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In my book, this blog is a definite must for Christian Writers, whether they’re just starting out or in the trenches. I’m regularly inspired by this great group of women.

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As I said, the last thing they need is another reward from me. But I hope by pointing them out, someone who hasn’t met them yet, will check them out and glean from their valuable info.

What’s your favorite blog? Do you have one I should check out? Let me know in the comments below!

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Tweet this: Congratulations to Books & Such for winning May’s Brilliant Blog Award! 

 

How did the month of May get here so fast?

No, I didn’t fall off the face of the earth.

My website has been having major problems, and I was having a difficult time getting in touch with my web people. There were (and still are a few) some glitches that made it plain ugly, so I was reluctant to post content that brought people to an unprofessional looking page.

Alas, in the meantime, I got behind on my Brilliant Blog Awards!

So here they are for the months of February, March and April:

February:

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Kristen Lamb’s Blog. This is my go-to blog for writing. I always read this one. Kristen is a machine. She writes meaningful, useful content and lots of it. I’m always learning from her!

March:

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People of One Fire. This is one of my favorite blogs, if not my very favorite, on Native American and Ancient American culture, architecture, and history. The copious amounts of information constantly blows my mind. How do people find time to write that much on one blog? It’s incredible!

April:

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Elaine Stock’s Everyone’s Story. I admire Elaine’s work ethic when it comes to blogging. She’s consistent, hardworking, and loves to promote other authors. Her blog’s new makeover is a treat for the eyes. And the content is fantastic. I’m so excited that she won this award!

So, there you go! Better late than never, I always say. <sigh> I’ll do better. I promise.

Whose blogs do you love the most? Let me know in the comments below! And stay tuned for May’s pick!

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Please tweet: Congratulations to Elaine Stock and Kristen Lamb for winning the Brilliant Blog Award!

 

 

January’s Brilliant Blog Winners!

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As you may know if you read any of my posts last week, I’ve launched a new contest this year. I’m recognizing outstanding blogs. Blogs that catch my eye. Blogs that I love.

In choosing blogs for this award, I follow the rubric below. Now, keep in mind, anytime there’s a contest that pits one thing against the other, a judge’s opinion is extremely subjective. Also, as this is my first time doing this type of thing, this rubric is subject to change. As I learn more about what works and what doesn’t in creating a great blog, and as I scrutinize blogs more carefully this year, I’m certain to figure out other important or not-so-important elements.

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But I also go with a gut reaction when I’m at the blog site. If there’s a quick intake of air, if I feel that my time has been well-spent, if I feel butterflies — chances are it’s a blog that even lines up with the rubric I’ve created.

By the way, I’m not comparing blogs with over 1000 subscribers to blogs under 1000 subscribers. All blogs are considered in this contest as separate entities apart from their popularity. I don’t choose a blog simply because it’s more popular. There are a lot of popular blogs I don’t read or don’t like. I choose them for how they appeal to me or meet my needs as a Christian writer.

Now. On to the awards! Drum roll please!

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My first pick is in the Secular Travel Blog category. I’ve chosen Camels and Chocolate by Kristen Luna. I’ve followed Kristen for quite a few years now. But when she gave her blog and website a makeover, I was mesmerized. There’s really nothing I don’t like about this blog. Copious pictures. An engaging writing style. Useful information. Not to mention the aesthetics of this blog are second to none. Congratulations, Kristen! Giving you this award is a no-brainer. Readers, if you want to know how to do a blog in an engaging way, study this one!

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Food category — The Miss Nini Blog.  Full disclosure: “Miss Nini” is a friend of mine from way back when I lived in Iowa. But we haven’t seen one another in person for more than 20 years! And we just recently (about a year ago) got back in touch via Facebook. She and her husband, a very successful sheep farmer, attended our little storefront church in Anita, Iowa years ago. And now she’s a famous baker! She’s won tons of awards at the Iowa State Fair, been a contestant on Shark Tank, and got her picture in the New York Times.

But that’s not why I love her blog. First, who doesn’t love baked goods, right? But I also love Miss Nini’s writing style. You have no idea how thrilled I was to learn she is writing a book now.  Her turns of phrase are as delicious as your kitchen concoctions, I assure you.

My next two picks are in the Christian writing category. These go to:

Zoe M. McCarthy and Karen Wingate’s, Grace on Parade Blog

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I have fallen in love with Zoe M. McCarthy’s writing advice. One of the reasons I like it so much is that it’s worthy of my time and the posts are usually moderate in length. I get a lot of info without spending a lot of time. Several of her posts I’ve bookmarked. The information is so worthy. I never delete a post that shows up in my mailbox.

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Karen Wingate’s blog, Grace on Parade, contains rich content. And I absolutely love the daisies! Her web design is lovely. But it’s the content that’s impressive. Each post is well-thought-out. Each post conveys a message. I like that.

So, tell me, Dear Reader, what are your favorite blogs so far this year? Weigh in!

And congratulations to January’s winners! Write on, ladies! I’ll be in touch with the secret code for posting the button to your blog (if I haven’t given it to you before now).

What do our winners get? Winners get to display the Brilliant Blog Button on their website. Readers can click on the button to vote for them for Blog of the Year. Fun, right?

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Tweet this: January’s Brilliant Blog Awards announced!

Do you have an award-worthy blog or know of one? Let me know in the comments below. And take time to congratulate January’s winners!

Brilliant Blog Award Button Reveal!

As I mentioned last week, this year I’m giving away Brilliant Blog Awards!

Behold the coveted button:

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Who knew running such a contest would mean so much graphic design and html? Whew.

But I think I have the kinks out.

Here’s how it works. (Refer to last week’s post for categories, etc.)

I will choose one or more blogs per month to bestow the coveted Brilliant Blog Award button to. The button is then embedded into the blogger’s website. When readers click on the button, they are taken to a survey page where they can nominate the blog for Blog of the Year.

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Cool, eh?

Blog of the Year nominees will be announced Mid-December. Winners will be announced either at the end of the December or the beginning of January.

If you’d like to nominate a blog, you may do so here.

Who will you nominate this year?

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Tweet: Nominate a blog for the Brilliant Blog Award!

Do you have an award-worthy blog?

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I love blogs. I read a lot of them, but there are only a few I dare spend precious time on. I’m rather picky. If I read your blog regularly, rest assured it’s a good one. A really good one.

This year, I’m going to share my favorites with my readers. Each month I will choose one blog in a different category. For instance, I may choose one blog in the writing category and another blog in a homeschool category. I will not choose one in every category. I don’t have enough time! I created different categories in order for there to be more chances for people to win the big yearly award in December.

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Here are the categories I have so far. If you think of any, please leave them in the comments:

Writing/Publishing

Book Review

Fashion

Food

Personal

Travel

Spiritual/Inspiration/Bible Study (Christian)

Education

Homeschooling

History

Science

Caregiving

Diet/Health

Homemaking

Autism

Special Needs Children

Of course, as I discover blogs, they very well could open up a new category. Since it’s my contest, I can do that.

Winners will be given the code to place a button in their side bar. 🙂 I haven’t settled yet on the design. Do you like the one above or this one? Let me know that, too! (I actually have another one in mind but it wasn’t ready to post yet.)

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If you have a blog that you believe is award-worthy, feel free to send it my way! Even if it’s not your blog, send me your recommendations. I have several winning blogs in mind already for January. Who knows? Yours just might usurp this month’s winner!

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Tweet this: Is your blog award-worthy? Brilliant Blog Awards 2016!