Saturday, May 19, 2018

Five Things I Wish I Would've Known When I Started Blogging


There's a first time for everything, right?
For me, first times are usually by trial-and-error, rather than a completely thought-out process.
When I first got a blog, I basically had no idea what I was getting into.
A friend of mine (now my sister-in-law) had graciously invited me to post a few times on her blog, but it wasn't exactly like having my own.
With allllll the responsibility.

5 Things I Wish I Had Known When I Started a Blog

1. The Time
At the beginning, I basically saw blogging through rose-colored glasses.
Until I was at it for a few months.
Blogging takes time, y'all.  A lot of time.
For starters, it takes me a week—give or take a few days—to figure out what to post about.  Then comes the fun part of actually sitting down and WRITING the things as opposed to reading or playing music or some other worthy occupation.  And not being distracted by Pinterest.

2. The Coming Embarrassment
Yes, I said embarrassment.  If you're a fellow blogger that has been blogging for any significant amount of time, you can probably relate to the embarrassment of the writing of your first posts (if you can't relate, kudos to you, lucky person).  Here, let's look at a bit from my first post, 'long as y'all don't laugh too hard, 'kay?

I live in the beautiful, windy state of Kansas on a farm (Hence the address of the blog), and I wouldn't have it any other way. :D
My hobbies: I love reading, writing, reading, playing instruments, reading, singing, reading, photography/cinematography, reading, crocheting, and reading.  Oh, and did I mention reading??  I also love watching KC Royals baseball, and if you are not a Royals fan, leave this blog immediately.  Ok, just kidding, just kidding. ;)

...Really?  *Cringes* not exactly the best thing I ever wrote.
So, just to clarify, I'm basically one of those winning-season fans of the Royals.  That was back when they were actually pretty good.  They won, I tracked the games, life was happy.
I couldn't tell you half of the names of the players on the team anymore.  Oops.  (although I did watch a game with my grandma at her house recently and we were both pretty near screaming with shock when they got 10 runs in the top of the 1st inning.  That was pretty fun.)
Also, what's with all the 'Hi, People!' stuff?!  Did I think I was funny, or...? *Scratches head*
All this to say, I'll probably look back on this current post years from now and cringe... but my first post is cringe-worthy enough at the moment.

3. How to Make a Blog Actually Look Good
So, I like to think that my blog looks a whole lot better now than it did at the beginning.
I know it's not perfect, by any means.
I remember when I first created the blog, I thought it was beautiful.
Really, Kaitlyn, you had a simple template with a boring, Blogger-made header, with a Blogger background.  Now I know there's lots of blogs out there that do this, and they look fabulous.  But I also had cheesy gadget titles (oh, who'm I kidding; they're still cheesy) and... I just had no idea how to blog.
But it was a start.
Also, have y'all noticed that I'm starting to make post graphics that actually sorta kinda look similar?  I'm thinking about making them for all my posts (or a good amount of them, anyway) for the sake of uniformity... but it's kind of a scary concept.  Especially when young Kaitlyn had no idea what she was doing and didn't even make graphics to begin with.
(Well... she technically still doesn't know what she's doing.  But shh, don't tell her that.)

4. The Difficulty of Posting Regularly
As you may have noticed, this is a very big problem of mine.
Back at the beginning, I thought the blogging formula was so simple.  I had post ideas, and I couldn't wait to put them to use.  I was going to have a regular posting schedule of once a week or more, and it was going to work out just like a cute lil' movie, right?
Yeah no.  I don't think I've ever done something that takes so much effort to do regularly.
Except exercise.  But that's a different story.
I think the key to posting regularly is planning and starting to write the posts weeks or days in advance.  For me, at least.  Usually when I open Blogger, I stare at my list of posts, then chicken out and convince myself that I'll do it tomorrow.
Day after day.
And yes, that's probably why it took me two months to post once.

5. The Comments
Another misconception I had when I first started was that I'd be flooded with more comments on every single post than I'd know what to do with.
Welllll... it didn't exactly happen that way.  I read a blog post once that mentioned that replying to comments would increase your page views and encourage more comments by interacting with your readers.
I tried.  I really did.  But obviously not long enough, and it kind of goes in spurts. XD So when/if you do comment, I'm not ignoring you.  Promise.  I just... don't take the time to reply.  I suppose I'll have to remedy that...

*****

So, whether you're new to the blogosphere or a veteran, I hope you found this post at least somewhat entertaining, if not even helpful (no, don't laugh)!  Can you relate to any of these?

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Character Q&A {Beloved}


Every author is always ready to share all things possible about their books (even though I'll become completely tongue-tied if you walk up to me and ask me what my book is about).  So of course I'll be doing multiple posts about Beloved, since... well... I'm a writer.  Therefore, rather than do a regular character spotlight, I thought I might do a character Q&A, since my last Q&A got a good response.
I'll put a poll up on the sidebar so y'all can vote on which character you want, and then you can comment your questions.
If you don't know exactly who these characters are, I guess you'll just have to wait until the questions are answered.
So choose wisely. B-)
Your choices are:
-Fergus
-Kade
-Cara
-Erich
-Mrs. Carlos
-Peter
-Ashley
Feel free to ask any questions you like, but I retain the right to refuse any questions for any reason.
Or, rather, the characters do.
Deadline is Sunday, March 20!

Saturday, May 5, 2018

Thanks, God


You know what, folks?
I don't deserve the life I lead.

I don't deserve a mom that will do extra work on my birthday just so I don't have to.

I don't deserve a daddy that will do almost anything for me.

I don't deserve a twin that invites me to check his cows with him every day.

I don't deserve a sister-in-law that will be silly and giggly with me instead of giving me the look.

I don't deserve a family so full of love and laughter.

I don't deserve best friends that will go with me to the ends of the earth.

I don't deserve the ladies at church that I can tease while we work in the kitchen after a funeral or potluck.

I don't deserve a church family as amazing as mine.

And I definitely don't deserve a God who would bless me with all of these things.

But y'know what?
He says I'm worth it.
Thanks, God.

Monday, April 30, 2018

A Wedding, a Conference, and Other Random Stuff {Life Update}


Contrary to what may be a popular belief, I'm not dead.
Soooo... wow, a lot has happened in the past months.  Where to start?!

-Kord's cows all had calves!  Naming them all would take more time than you or I would like, so I'll just name a few. Roxi, Cleo, Irma, Bill, Leon, Judd, Duke, Kate (yes, named after me, lucky soul), Kara, Eddy...

Meet Earl.

-It snowed.  Once or twice in February, and once in the middle of April, actually.  'Twas strange, to say the least.


-I got new cowboy boots for my brother's wedding!  *insert heart-eyes*


-The whole family took a road trip to Ohio for... that's right, my brother's wedding!  I was privileged to be a bridesmaid, and may I just say that if you ever get the chance to be a part of a wedding, JUMP ON IT.  I think all the members of the bridal party will agree with me on this. ;) Lots of hugs and laughter, and, well, having two sisters-in-law is a blast.  Just sayin'.


Braiding the unity cross
And I got my hair done and everything.  'Twas lovely, though the stylist (the bride's sister) was trying to straighten my hair to make it more workable... and it didn't work very well.  XD
But she did a fab job.

Hours after the wedding... it's a lil' messy ;)
And the venue was just beautiful.


AND THE DECORATIONS!!  We also had a doughnut board that was super cute and a fondue fountain that was epic.




-My OTHER bro and his wife got an adorable puppy!


-We vacuum-packed Kord in a trash bag.  No joke.  Kids, don't do this without adult supervision. XD


-Ice cream.  'Nuff said.


-I got introduced to these epic songs.



-Kansas wedding reception, full of doughnuts and 7-layer dip and set-up silliness, during which I had a jam session with my sister-in-law's sister, singing VeggieTales when we were supposed to be working.  Pretty sure our mothers were starting to worry about our sanity.


-For Chow's birthday, we made stromboli.  That food, y'all... <3


-Along with JessecaRebekah and a friend of Rebekah's, I ran a booth at our homeschool convention.  There were books, photos, and my specialty—crocheted book sleeves!


-I found this sign at Hobby Lobby and decided I need it someday.


-Kord and I got to take Daddy's sweet ride to check cows, so on the way home we stopped and walked out in the wheat field to snap some epic shots.


Also, he's got one cow that will let him sit on her.  He was thrilled.


Also, a couple days later, took some sunset shots.  My photography skills are improving. XD




-Mom & Kara tried candle making.  So far so good!


-Came upon these ladies that decided they were pedestrians.


And there's my life in the past few months.
Miss me? ;)
~Kaitlyn

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Love Advice from Single Guys {Feat. Chowboy & Kordell}


And now, the moment you've all been waiting for!
Due to the enormous amount of questions (32 to be exact), I've given the guys the liberty to pick & choose which ones they choose to answer.  Especially since a lot of questions are asking personal opinions rather than advice.  So, don't take it personally if any of your questions get skipped. ;P

As you will probably figure out by the punctuation, Chow is in the italics and Kord is in the bold. XD

I said I would give advice, not opinion

I agreed to giving advice not my opinion, therefore i will only answer the ones that wont incriminate me  :D:P

First off, some questions from Libby:

Why did you all agree to do this? I would never have agreed!

Because some of us do what we dont want.

Good question. I'm asking myself the same thing

Yes, poor things.  Didn't know what they were getting into when they let me rope them into this. XD

Braid or curls?

dont know, I've never braided my hair

Spoken like a true Kordell.
Now, some from our dear sister Kara:

They say that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach. Is this true?

Actually i believe the heart is above the stomach according to my sources

Some people say boys don't know anything about girls. Is this true?

Depends on the person.

Such as...?  Care to expound?

Look at Kordell.

aint he a beauty

Maybe if he was on the other side of the room. If its dark out. And there's no light with which to see him.

im so bright my father calls me son

Guys.  How did talk get from guys knowing girls to an argument about Kord's looks?!  Chow, what were you going to say before he so rudely interrupted?

I really have nothing more to add. Well, not that we have time for.

because i said it all :D

Heaven help us all.  Moving on...

Do you have any random words of advice about love and marriage?

Ooo, I look forward to hearing this. B-)

Dont Ever buy your wife a treadmill........ Just give her the money to buy it XD

O.O KORDELL KRISPENSE!  Oh goodness.

*smiles devilishly* Thats good advice. Tell her how good of a cook she is. This will not only make her feel good, but it will also prevent you from either having to cook for yourself or starving to death.

Ahh, excellent advice, Chowboy.  I'm impressed.

Dont you like my advice???

Um, actually... yes. XD
Now Faith:

Thoughts on Valentines Day in general? (Should it be a holiday, should it be outlawed, is it overrated etc.)

Dont know it aint Valentines Day yet

Okayyyy. XD
From Rebekah:

 How should a girl approach a guy that she likes if she doesn't know how he feels?

From the front, most definitely.  Straight forward, that's what I say.

...she wasn't asking which DIRECTION, brother.  *sighs*  Y'all are impossible.

Is the whole future-father-in-law / future-son-in-law talk REALLY that scary of a thought?

Well you'll never be a son-in-law so I guess you don't have to worry about that then, do you?

*snickers* good comeback, bro.

very well said

Now, from Curious in Kansas (our beloved sister-in-law.  Be nice, guys).

When it really comes down to it, does it matter to you if a girl can cook well or not?

Yes she needs to cause I sure aint gonna

I concur (but I can cook)

Do you pray often about your future spouse?

Yes. It's very important.

I'm impressed.

How does it feel to have two brothers already (or almost) married?

FREEDOM

Oh goodness XD
From Jesseca:

If you're single for Valentine's day, would you advise a pity party, or enjoying all the chocolate you can while not having to share?

Is there a 3rd choice?

Nope, sorry.

No pity parties

Good enough.

Help! I just realized the guy I like has Facebook. Should I follow him or would that be creepy?

Delete your Facebook account.  This will solve your problem.

Hmm... good idea.

I have a truck, and I've been informed that every kiss begins with someone saying the phrase, "I have a truck." How do I provide this information without getting unwanted kisses?

say "I have a VW bug"

*bursts out laughing* oh my goodness.

According to the advanced mathematical equations I have conducted in my laboratory, I've arrived at the startling realization that in the entire universe there exists only one person who can become my soulmate. Should I begin searching for said human, or be content to wait till they appear? 

God only intended for you to have a sole mate. :D

*laughs* so much for advice.

It was good advice. I advise you don't be one of those 'single ready to mingle' type of people. That's just creepy

Sometimes you get the bear, sometimes the bear gets you.  It goes both ways

Do you think George Strait's songs can be trusted as legitimate advice for romantic relationships?

There's a reason he's called King George

But he doesn't have a rubber ducky, does he?

ha ha, very funny

I know, right?  I'm so... funny. *halo* XD

A song comes to mind. "All my exes live in Texas"

...you don't have an ex.  That doesn't even make sense.

You don't know George

I do too!  I'm just saying that the said quote makes no sense in this conversation.
Anyhow.  MOVING ON.

What advice would you give to Christian singles who are seeking to glorify God as they wait to see where He leads in their life?

Pray and wait on Him. It's not easy, but it's necessary.

Mmm.  That's good.  Kord?

He said it. I agree with him. His timing may not be when you want but He will bring the right one to you if you wait on Him.

An excellent ending.  Thanks so much for doing this, guys!
~Kaitlyn

Friday, February 9, 2018

Love Advice From Single Guys: Q&A



This Valentines Day, I will have two special guests with me, ready to give some smashing advice! (Or not so smashing, depending on the question and how devious they're feeling...)
Any questions you want Chowboy and Kordell to answer?  Comment on or before the 12th (questions asked on the 13th may or may not be accepted) and come back on the 14th to see these guys' reactions!
Disclaimer:  The guys have the right to refuse any question for any reason.
If I don't get any questions, well... I have no idea what will happen. XD
Are you looking forward to this as much as I am?
~Kaitlyn

Wednesday, January 24, 2018

Beloved {My Book}


As promised, here I will tell you allll about my book.  And share lots of snippets.
And maybe a character spotlight.
So.  Without further ado, I present... my book, Beloved.

The unofficial cover ;)
Sixteen-year-old Cara Richards can't seem to figure out what she wants.
Alone and unloved—or so she believes—she decides that there's only one answer to the nightmare that's become her life.  When an unwanted intervention disrupts Cara's plans and turns her life in a direction she never imagined, she must make a decision.  Is death really the answer?
Can everyone truly be loved, no matter what?

It was a late-July evening, when I was out in the garden with a watering hose in one hand and the phone in the other, browsing Pinterest (Yes, watering the garden is BORING. XD), and I came across this pin:


So... I think, at some point in their lives, every girl (others too, but this is geared more for gals) goes through at least some insecurity.  And I, being no exception, have dealt with it, too.
But my point for writing this book is not a pity party.  
Sure, the protagonist is incredibly sorry for herself, but that's not the reason I wrote it.
I wrote this book because girls need to hear, again and again, how priceless they are in God's sight.
This isn't a love that lets us do anything and everything we want—we misbehave, and get punished for it.  But we are loved.

ANYWAY.  
On to the rest of the post.

Snippets:

His head comes up and he cocks his head.  “In a little financial trouble, are you?”
I nod.  I meet his eyes, my own filling.  “My mom kicked me out of the house, and I’m so alone, and…” I let my voice trail off, sniffing.
He rakes a hand through his hair.  “Then can I… is it all right if I pray for you?”
Oh good, I happened to pick a religious person.  “Sure.” I nod.
He folds his hands, elbows resting on his knees, and closes his eyes.  I follow suit.  “Dear Heavenly Father, Who knows all our needs and wants, I come to You today to lay your hand of protection and providence over this young lady I have sitting with me here.  Give her guidance as only You can, and show her how much You love her.  In Your Son’s name, amen.”  He sits up straight and smiles at me.  “May God bless you.”
That’s it?  No ‘let me help you pay for your ticket’ or ‘can I help you to where you’re going?’  Lovely, I’m gonna have to resort to plan B.

*****

The water laps at my feet.  Surprised by the chill, I do a little dance, then inch forward again.
The water rises to my ankles, then my shins.  My knees; my thighs; my waist.
It’s coming up to my neck.  Oh, it’s so cold.  I shiver—from both the cold and from the anticipation—and keep going.  The contrast is strange—the sun heating the top of my hair, the water chilling me to the bone under the surface.  I hold my breath.  My mouth goes under.  My nose.  My eyes…  I’m underneath, the water filling my ears and prying at my eyelids.  I keep going, though I’m half-floating.  I let myself sink.  
I’m running out of breath, and I automatically open my mouth to suck in some air but all I get is a lungful of water.  My eyes fly open while I begin to panic, inducing tears to flow from my stinging eyes and mingle with the salty water.  Is this what drowning feels like for everyone?  
The awful-tasting water slides down my throat in a painful trickle, then in gulps.  I begin to kick, despite my intentions.  I’m choking, and my arms thrash about.  Black spots appear in my vision and gradually block out everything else.  I feel my body going limp.  Yes, this is it.  I’m going to die.
I feel something grab a hold of my arm and yank it, but I can barely feel it, much less register the pain; my mind won’t focus.  Finally, I can feel myself falling into the welcoming dark abyss of unconsciousness.  Death, here I come; are you ready for me?

*****

I scream.
The visions of a bright blue, sunny sky vanish as reality—cold, freezing reality—breaks into my senses.  I scramble out of bed, nearly falling face-first to the floor in my haste to crawl out of my ice-filled bed.
“Ready to go?”  Erich’s annoyingly amused voice greets my ear.  I hop to my feet, glaring with all I’m worth.  
“I swear, Erich, I’ll—”
“—Kill me?  Yeah, I’ve gotten that reaction a time or two before.”  Erich waves my empty, unfinished threat away with the flick of his hand.  “I knew I’d never get you to church otherwise.”
I inch toward my bed, hoping my movements are subtle enough that he won’t realize I’m drawing closer to my weapon.  Suddenly I spring into my sheets, ignoring the bone-chilling cold that chills through my bare feet.  Gathering several chunks of ice in my fists, I hurl them at Erich, who tries to duck, but fails when a piece knocks him in the forehead.  I heave the blocks as hard and as fast as I can, basking in the satisfaction that most of my ammunition finds its mark.
Erich holds up his hands.  “I give, I give!”
I pause, hand cocked in midair, ready to fire at the slightest sign of hostility.
From his lying position on the floor, Erich scrambles to his knees.  “I knew it wouldn’t be easy,” he said, “but good grief, Cara, can you make this any harder?”
I raise an eyebrow.  You have no idea how hard I can make this, buddy.  I lower my arm a little, not yet willing to trust him.
With good reason.  He suddenly dives to the side, out of vision from my perch.  I crane my neck, then squeal with pain and surprise when hands suddenly clasp my arms behind my back, then bind them together with something—probably Erich’s leather belt.  
Once my hands are tied, he grabs the back of my collar and dumps ice down my spine.  My back arches involuntarily, and my body convulses at the temperature shock.  
“Give up?”  Erich’s voice hisses in my ear.
My stubborness kicks in.  “Never,” I whisper through teeth clenched to keep them from chattering.
“All right, we’ll do this the hard way.”  Another avalanche of ice slides down my nightshirt, then another.
Finally I can’t take it anymore.  “All right, all right, I’ll go to church with you!”

*****

Once they’re gone, Erich shudders.  “I hate it when she pinches my cheek.”
“That’s exactly why she does it, Brother.”  For good measure, Peter reaches over to tweak Erich’s cheek and dances out of reach.
Erich whirls.  “So help me, I’ll—” he doesn’t finish his sentence, leaving me to wonder exactly what he’ll do.  Peter just laughs and disappears into the dining room.
“That bonehead,” Erich mutters, returning to the dishes.  We work in silence for a moment, until he takes on a high-pitched voice and British accent.  “Whenever someone cooks, there’s always pots to wash.”  He scrunches his shoulders, gives a girly giggle, and shoots me an exaggerated grin.  “And that’s my job today!”  He begins to sing, “I like washing pots, that’s what I do; I scrub the food away and make them shine too!”  
I stare at him, hands poised in midair with a dripping plate dangling from my fingers.
“I hold them up for an inspection, because I like to see my own reflection in a nice, clean pot.”  He gives me one glance and throws his head back with a laugh.  “Cara, you should see the look on your face!”
No thank you, I’d prefer not to see myself looking like a gaping idiot.
“Lame, Erich.  Real lame.”  Fergus, finished with his sweeping, grabs a towel off the counter and snaps it at Erich’s behind.  Erich spins around and locks his sopping, sud-caked hands on Fergus’s hair.  “Oh yeah?  Think you can do better, huh?”
Fergus rolls his eyes and twists out of Erich’s grasp.  “Well, I can certainly do better than a little kids’ TV show song.”  He frowns, cocking his head.  “Come to think of it, how do you know that song?”
“Don’t ask.”  Erich rolls his eyes, chuckling.  

*****

Suddenly an arm slips around my middle and abruptly jerks me back under the water almost before I catch and hold my breath.  Once I rise again to the surface, I can barely keep myself from attacking Fergus.  I give him a glare that would fry eggs.  “And what was that for?”
He smirks.  “You need a little spice in your life.”
I roll my eyes and turn away, then quickly spin back around, scooping water into cupped hands.  I fling the liquid in Fergus’s face and grunt in satisfaction when he gasps in pain, rubbing the brine from his eyes.
“Don’t mess with me.”  I shoot him a heated look.
He returns the glare.  “Just because you don’t tolerate my intolerance, doesn’t mean I have to tolerate your intolerance of my intolerance.”  He pauses and frowns.  “And that… barely made sense.  But I think—I hope—I got my point across.”  Folding his arms, Fergus shifts his weight to one hip and raises an eyebrow.  “I’m going for my best irritated Cara look.  How’m I doing?”
I slug his arm—hard—and dive at his legs.
“Hey, what the—” his words are cut off as his head is submerged under the water.  The wake created nearly knocks me off my feet, and once I regain my balance he’s reemerged and launches himself at me, arms spread wide.  I scramble to get out of the way, but my feet simply slide around on the shifting sand.  Fergus’s body comes down on me like a deadweight, dragging me back under the surface.  I let out one squeal before I hold my breath.  When I resurface, something strange comes out of my mouth—something I never thought I’d hear myself do again.

*****

Yes, that’s what this is:  an unrealistic novel, written by something out to destroy me, designed by nightmares from my childhood.
Nightmares, Cara?  Really?  Since when did you have nightmares about a quirky family in California that make you actually consider laughing?
Shut up, Martha.  Correction: they try to make me consider laughing.  For the record, I don’t think it’s working very well.
Yeah, sure, go ahead and tell yourself that.  But you are changing, aren’t you?  You’re definitely not who you used to be, Cara Richards.  You can’t deny that.
Quiet, Martha; I can deny anything I want, whenever I want to.  Granted, I don’t necessarily want to kill myself any more—the boys are too amusing to keep from seeing who’s going to make a fool out of themselves next—but that hardly means that I actually like the people.
Oh yeah?  Prove it.

*****

He grabs my shoulders.  “No, Cara, that’s not true; you know that’s not true.”  He gives me a violent shake.  “I love you, y’hear me?  I love you.
I gaze at his face, his features blurred by the tears swimming in my eyes.  “But why?  Why would you love me?”
He pulls me into his embrace again.  “Because you bug me; duh.”  He chuckles.  “Actually, it’s more than that.”  His voice turns serious.  “I love you, not as a girlfriend, not even as just a friend, but as a sister—a sister in Christ.  And that makes you priceless.”
“My mother didn’t love me.”  My voice is small, betraying my insecurity.  “What kind of a girl is priceless if her own mom doesn’t love her?”
“I don’t pretend to know what goes on in the mind of your mother,” he replies, “but I know one thing: everyone is precious in the eyes of God.  We’re mortals; we can’t see what He sees.  But Cara, when He looks at you…” he breaks into a grin and studies the leaves, as if they possess the words he’s looking for.  “When He looks at you, Cara, I think He points at you and says, ‘she’s Mine, and I love her more than words can say.  I bought her, I redeemed her with My Son’s blood, and I claim her as my own.’  Words can’t even begin to describe the depth of love He has for us.  Our minds can’t fathom it.”

*****

Okay, that's all the snippets, I promise! XD

Pins from the Pinterest storyboard:


     

My sweet writing partner took this pic for me when she went to the beach! <3




Ever heard of a book's soundtrack?  It's like a movie soundtrack, only... for books. XD  When I find a song that I like and that seems to fit my book pretty well, I'll save it to my playlist.  Here's a few:

Beloved - Jordan Feliz

You are Being Loved - Steven Curtis Chapman

Drops in the Ocean - Hawk Nelson

Tears - Matt Hammitt

Priceless - For King & Country


There you are, folks!  Interested? ;)
~Kaitlyn