Welcome to the CMBA Newsletter!
Happy new year to everyone! May your marriages and your blogs experience many of God’s blessings in 2015 and beyond.
This issue of our monthly newsletter invites us to a blog challenge, reminds us why we write what we do, and gives us a behind-the-scenes look at Hannah from Becoming His Eve.
The following blogs joined CMBA since our last issue. Do visit their sites and share an encouraging word.
From the Forum
The CMBA Member’s Forum is a safe place for us, away from the eyes of our readers, where we can gain insight, encouragement, practical help, and prayers.
This month’s featured thread is about having guest posters for your blog.
What guidelines do you have when you’re looking for guest bloggers?
Valentine’s Day is just around the corner, so it’s a good time to think about dates–and date night!
Our Valentine’s Day 2015 Blog Challenge asks you to write a post–just one–about date nights. You can write about why date nights matter in your marriage, tell a story about one of your date nights, or share creative ideas for date nights.
Here are the rules:
- Publish one post about date nights between February 1 and February 14.
- Share a link to this post in a link-up on the February newsletter.
- Grab a button to post on your blog to let your readers know you’ve taken the challenge. Save the picture below or use this code: <div align=”center”><a href=”v” target=”_blank”><img src=”http://www.upliftingmarriage.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/VDAY_2015_button.png” width=”175px” height=”175px” border=”0″ alt=”CMBA”></a></div>
- Visit other CMBA members to read and comment on their blogs.
- At the end of the challenge, we’ll have another button for you to post to your site to show that you completed the challenge.
But wait, there’s more!
Every blogger who posts a blog challenge link will be eligible for a drawing. The winner will win his or her choice of one of these three books:
You Are a Writer (So Start Acting Like One) by Jeff Goins
Platform: Get Noticed in a Noisy World by Michael Hyatt
Writing Tools: 50 Essential Strategies for Every Writer by Roy Peter Clark
Thank you to The Marriage Bed for underwriting the prize!
If you are new to CMBA or didn’t get around to taking the newsletter survey yet, we’d still love to hear from you. How can this newsletter help you in your blogging marriage ministry? Click here to take the brief survey.
How Do I . . . ?
Why Do We Write?
By Lori Byerly, The Generous Wife
As Christian marriage bloggers, most of us write to encourage couples in their marriage relationship. We come from a Christian faith, so what we write falls within biblical standards, but …
… why do we REALLY write?
I think initially I started blogging because I felt God nudging me to write. I thought what I knew would help and encourage others and it would be fun, right?
Later I would run into writer’s block, technical problems, mean commenters, and hurting people for whom I had no answers … and to top it off, I was paying for the privilege of all this heartache!
I had to dig deeper for reasons to write. Who were the people reading my posts? What honestly could I offer them? Why was I even doing this?
Those kinds of question will drive you to your knees. You start realizing that you aren’t the Vine, that He is and that you’re a branch reaching out to people looking for help. You start caring about your readers. They become real people, not just stats that mean you are becoming “popular.”
You start seeing the tremendous need and you spend time praying for other workers.
You learn that having an ego will take you down. You learn that serving others can mean cleaning up messed up computer code or speaking before crowds or staying kind in the face of a cranky poster. You start pointing to good resources. You bust yourself learning skills and then teach others what you’ve learned. You don’t worry about someone doing better or more. You don’t feel cheated when others get an award or an interview. You’re honestly pleased that ministry is out there available to those who need it. It’s about giving it away and helping others run faster and farther.
It’s about seeking excellence to honor Him and to make it easy for people to connect with you. It’s about facing failure and lack with humility (and hopefully a bit of humor).
It’s about not worrying about your reputation or your success. It’s knowing you won’t always get applauded (is the applause really for you anyway?).
It’s about serving. It’s about dying to self. It’s about loving Him and loving others. It’s about the joy of seeing His handwork in and through and around what you do ~ marriages healed, individuals encouraged and the lost finding their way home.
So … why do I write?
Mostly it’s because He made me a writer (I get a powerful itch if I don’t have pen in hand or a nearby keyboard), but the joy of it is seeing His handiwork. I love watching His ability and His goodness reaching through to restore and heal, to teach and grow. Though sometime bumpy and challenging, it’s good to trust Him in this crazy, wonderful adventure.
Are you on social media? Follow CMBA!
- Pinterest (If you would like to be added to CMBA’s collaborative Christian Marriage and Sex board, email Bonny at firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Are you looking for some good marriage books to read this year? Several CMBA bloggers have written posts with great suggestions.
Quite a few CMBA members have posted 2014 year-end reviews with their most popular posts. Take a look at what we all have to offer each other.
Behind the Blog
It’s fun to get to know the person (or people) behind a blog. The plan is that each newsletter will feature one blog. We will provide a list of questions; it’s up to the blogger which questions (or how many) to answer.
Meet Hannah from Becoming His Eve!!
Tell us about your blog.
Becoming His Eve started as a pet project, something to do to fill my time as an unemployed newlywed. As a new wife, I wanted to learn all I could about marriage, and was reading every book, blog, and article I could get my hands on. I figured I had something to say about marriage too, even if I hadn’t been married that long. I was invited to check out the CMBA in early 2012, and that’s when Becoming His Eve really blossomed.
I married an Adam, and thus became Adam’s Eve. I became fascinated with this concept of becoming my husband’s “Eve” – his ezer kenegdo. In Hebrew, this means something way more than help-meet. The term means sustainer-beside-him. But the purpose behind the title of BHE is two-fold: to learn how to become “his” eve (your husband’s life partner) and learning to live as “His” Eve, a woman redeemed by Christ. My mission with BHE is to encourage wives and soon-to-be wives to claim passion and joy in their everyday lives, faith walk, and marriage and also to embrace who God has created them to be.
What is your favorite blog post?
It’s hard to pick a favorite post because I have so many that I really enjoyed writing. My most common blogging topics are date night ideas and embracing sensuousness and sexuality as a healthy, critically important, and God-ordained aspect of marriage. I enjoy writing on both of these topics. I’m going to fudge and share 3. One of my favorite date night ideas (which I have yet to do) is Party Like a Viking. One of my favorite posts about sex is Give Yourself Permission to Be a Sensuous Woman. I also really enjoyed writing What’s My Secret?.
What has surprised you about blogging?
I was anti-marriage until six months before I started dating Adam. God began working in my heart before this, but I had no desire to ever be married until this point. I previously been in two bad relationships, deciding that it was better to be single and safe than with someone and vulnerable. Three months before Adam and I started dating, I wrote out a values statement for an internship I had taken. In the statement, I wrote that I wanted to use my gifts, talents, and abilities to serve God, working in women’s ministry alongside my husband, modeling a Biblical marriage to young women. This completely shocked me and was totally of the Holy Spirit.
Adam came into my life and showed me a completely different way of looking at God, the world, marriage, relationships, and love. God transformed my heart and taught me what unconditional love looks like through Adam. When Adam and I got married, I found all the things I had previously had an aversion to, I suddenly embraced. Our first year of marriage wasn’t easy and was a struggle for me to adjust. However, God has been gracious and overwhelmingly has provided for and loved us through the process.
I think the thing that surprises me the most about blogging is how many people want to read my blog, especially since I haven’t been married that long. I have always been encouraged by 1 Timothy 4:12 – “Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, and in purity.” I am by no means an expert and I don’t have it altogether, but I felt God gave me a message and a purpose I couldn’t ignore. Putting me out there is hard and scary, but God doesn’t ask easy things. I am abundantly blessed by how much God has used me to reach people I never could’ve imagined connecting with and on topics I never would’ve seen myself writing about. Blogging has also made me incredibly aware of how far I’ve come and how much more I’d like to (and need to) grow in my marriage and faith walk. I’m so grateful that God’s plans are bigger than my own.
Invite us into your writing process a bit.
My writing process is a little bit of everything.
I pray over my posts after I finish them instead of before. Part of my reasoning for this is I know God is going before me, and after I’m done, I leave everything in His hands and ask for His blessing.
When I do series, I often plan ahead, doing in-depth research, outlining, and schedule posts in advance.
I don’t have a particular time of day or place I blog – I typically blog when the muse strikes me. However, I always have my beverage of choice next to my laptop – coffee.
When I have the time, I tend to barrel through and write all in one sitting which can take anywhere between an hour and two to three hours.
I often pick topics based on things I’m reading, things I’m learning in my marriage, things that are happening in the world around me, conversations with friends, or comments/search terms from my readers.
I love writing unique date night ideas so I’m frequently searching the Web for random, little-known holidays, special events, and the food of the day or month. This is where my creativity shines.
I find the hardest thing about writing is the follow-through. First, I often have grand idea for serieses but can’t always finish them due to real-life constraints. Second, I struggle with following-through in my own life and taking my own words to heart. I’ve learned to rely on God’s strength, recognize my own imperfections, and accept my own limitations.
What are your hobbies (besides blogging, of course)?
I am a coffee snob – I love my Starbucks. I enjoy date nights out with my husband and relaxing nights at home, snuggling with him, on the couch watching our favorite Netflix shows. I enjoy reading and watching crime, mystery, science fiction, fairy tales, speculative fiction, space operas, and fantasy novels, shows, and movies. I am always scribbling tidbits for fiction stories, but I have also been trying to write a historical fantasy novel for over a decade (birthed out of a dream I had when I was 15). I love music, and I’m a lead worship singer at my church. My day-time job is before-and-after school childcare. I love swings, crayons, and board games. I also really enjoy in-depth Bible study (several hours at a time), and when I can actually do this – it’s a real treat. I absolutely love baking, feeling the dough between my fingers. I enjoy setting a nice table to enjoy a nice home-cooked meal with loved ones. I enjoy beautifying my home with flowers and a touch of femininity here and there. I love homemaking.
Image courtesy of amenic181 at FreeDigitalPhotos.net