Sunshine Blogger Award

I’ve had the honor of being nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award—not once but twice in the last couple months.

My first nomination for this peer-recognition award came from Gia at giaknows.com. Gia is a passionate Christian and raw vegan minimalist who invites others to walk with her towards better health through the powerhouse of info she provides on her blog. Check it out and follow her social media profiles: Instagram, Facebook, Pinterest, Twitter, and YouTube.

My second nomination came from a fellow faith blogger, Stephen De La Vega. Stephen faithfully and fearlessly blogs about his pursuit of God. He shines a love of Biblical understanding and invites us to partake in the knowledge he has accumulated through his personal study. Check out his blog at www.stephendelavega.com and follow his social media profiles: Instagram, Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest.

Thank you, Gia and Stephen for the nominations! I am truly enjoying being a part of the blogging community and am excited to nominate bloggers that encourage and challenge me for the Sunshine Blogger Award.

Now…let me explain the rules:
  • Thank the blogger who nominated you and link to their blog. (Check! Check!)
  • Answer the 11 questions that were presented to you by your nominator. (I’ll answer Gia’s first and Stephen’s second.)
  • Nominate 11 bloggers. (See the end of my post for my nominations!)
  • Ask 11 questions. (These must be different from the ones you answered.)
  • List the rules. (Check. ;))
  • Display the Sunshine Blogger logo in your post or blog site. (Check.)
Okay. Here are Gia’s 11 questions!
If you could travel anywhere in the world, where would you choose and why?

This has changed many times over my life. If you had asked me 25 years ago, I would have answered England (because I was simultaneously obsessed with Paul McCartney and Sherlock Holmes). If you had asked me 15 years ago, I would have answered Rome (to visit Paul’s grave…Paul the apostle…not Paul McCartney) or Venice (because Indiana Jones is my hero). But now there are SO many more places I want to see—Ireland, Scotland, Germany, France, Greece. I want to re-travel the American North and Southwest. I blame Instagram and AncestryDNA (in no particular order) for my expanded travel list.

What are your top two favorite hobbies?

I feel this is obvious and boring. Reading and writing.

If you won the lottery, would you share the winnings? If so, with who?

Yes. Besides my immediate family? My grandma, my parents, and my brother and sister.

How do you recharge after a hectic week?

Either reading, DIY, or T.V. with my husband.

What’s your favorite thing about being a blogger?

Talking (writing) about Jesus. I specifically enjoy how this leads into new relationships with others who love Jesus.

When did something start out badly but then end up being a great thing?

Two of my most treasured friendships started out badly but ended up as blessings. Now, any time my daughter says, “So and so drives me crazy.” I say, “Keep an open mind…they might just turn into your closest friend.”

When was the last time you felt you had a new lease on life?

This summer actually. I went to the doctor for some health issues, was ordered to the radiologist, and after nerve-racking tests was given the all-clear. While I’m not afraid of dying, it did open my eyes to the fact that I still have so much I want to accomplish. Driving home from the radiologist that day, I felt as if I had been given a fresh start.

What organizational tips have you found to be the most useful as a blogger?

Oh my. I’m still working this blogging bit out…BUT…scheduling time to write is the #1 tip any writer needs to hear. I have a writing business, I write novels, and I blog. If you don’t schedule and work toward writing deadlines as faithfully as you would schedule and work toward ‘work’ or ‘professional’ deadlines, then writing will be like swimming upriver, in rapids, without a life jacket.

What good habit do you have now that you wish you started sooner?

Recording encouraging words, emails, and notes and documenting my personal motivations—no matter how small. Because there will be days, weeks, maybe months where you want to give up. To be able to look up at your bulletin board and remember, “This is why I do it, and people actually believe in me,” will give you that push you need to keep going.

What’s your secret talent?

Memorization. I have a crazy memory, which isn’t always good. I can remember phone numbers, birthdays, every president in order, and an inordinate amount of Tudor history but unfortunately it crowds out more important information from my brain—like names and faces of people I’ve actually met.

What’s the funniest joke you’ve ever heard?

I can’t point to a conventional joke. But here’s my favorite grammar meme:

 


And now for Stephen’s questions.
If you were given a totally free day where the minutes were never to be counted and time actually wouldn’t elapse, what would you do?

What?! I think my brain just broke. Especially since some days I may not get a bathroom break without someone yelling for me or sliding an impossible-to-open bag of chips under the door.

I feel like this is about to reveal how selfish I really am because I’m not about to answer, “find the solution to world peace,”….I would: sleep in, drink hot coffee that stayed hot, read, walk in the woods, take a long shower, eat Chinese take-out, watch every single David Pawson YouTube video available. Wait…can I add unending Chinese take-out and the impossibility of gaining weight to this amazing day?

Which of your own blog posts is your favorite and why?  Please provide the link.

It’s a toss-up between Open Letter to Those who have Failed Jesus and Growth through Hardship

The first because I have failed. Boy, have I failed. But failure isn’t the end of my story. As fellow blogger, Melinda Inman commented, “One of the most awesome things about Jesus’ love and grace is that he not only uses all of our mistakes and sins from before we come to him, but also all our sins and mistakes from after we come to him. We continue to sin all our lives, so it’s a good thing that he redeems, uses the lessons we learn for good in our lives and in the lives of others, and allows us to grow in our understanding of true repentance and reconciliation.”

Growth through Hardship is special to me because it’s a simple truth that changed my life. Getting saved in a church culture that said you can claim anything you want and God will give it to you never explained why I could claim myself hoarse but still have trials and suffering. That mentality brought more bondage into my life as I was taught that I wasn’t ‘believing’ enough or saying the correct magical phrase that would force God to perform my wishes. Knowing that I don’t have to ‘believe’ away or ‘claim’ away pain and struggle in my own strength tore off chains. Resting in God’s love and facing every difficulty as an opportunity to become more like the Savior I love is a gift for which I am eternally grateful.

With whom, what, or where did you shoot your strangest selfie?

It’s a tossup between scary teenage mask and mutant Ohio River duck. You be the judge.

 

What was your biggest hurdle to overcome before you began writing?

Letting family read what I write. I’m not really sure why.

What celebrity do you famously impersonate?

Upon reflection, I find that I’ve really only ever impersonated Jackie Chan impersonating an Indian prince…

What characteristic of God is most special to you?

Wow. That’s hard to answer. If I have to choose one, I would say God’s Justice. Knowing that he sees, that he knows, that he understands, that he weighs, and that someday he will deliver perfect justice gives me peace. It also shakes me to the core and spurs me to holiness.

What was your favorite extra-curricular activity during your K-12 days?

Again, I feel this is obvious and boring. Reading. Definitely reading.

Assuming you attend a local church, what do you like most about it?

The teaching, sound doctrine, and sense of community.

Besides writing, and your “day job” (if it’s not writing), what is your favorite regular activity?

Being with/talking with friends. Really talking. I’m not good at small talk. That’s an understatement. I am the worst at small talk.

With what Christian notable outside of your personal circles would you most like to have lunch?

David Pawson. He is one of my favorite pastors. His Unlocking the Bible series is incredible, his love for God is almost tangible, and I would just really like to pick his brain.

What is your favorite reality or lifestyle TV show?

I don’t really watch reality shows but I did like What Not to Wear. I think every woman should watch it. Now my daughter and I ask each other, “What would Stacy and Clinton say?”

Now for my nominations.

I am very excited to hear their answers to my questions…

Janine Rosche (@JanineRosche) http://janinerosche.com/

Alynda Long (@AlyndaLong) http://faithbeyondfear.com/

Aretha Grant (@ReeInspired) http://www.reeinspired.com/

Jessie Mattis (@JessieMattis) https://www.redirected.life/

Melinda Inman (@MelindaVInman) http://melindainman.com/

Heather Hart (@_HeatherHart) http://booksfaithandcoffee.com/

Lisa Quintana (@LisaQthinks) https://thinkdivinely.com/

Extraordinary Love (@loveblogged) http://www.extraordinarylove.co.uk/

Jennifer Michelle Greenberg (@JennMGreenberg) https://jennifergreenberg.net/

Edna Davidsen (@EdnaDavidsen) https://ourchristianbook.com/

Rachel Schmoyer (@schmoyer_rachel) https://readthehardparts.com/

And now for my questions:
  1. What fictional place would you most like to go?
  2. What’s the most annoying question people ask you?
  3. When was the last time you changed your opinion or belief about something major?
  4. Who, in your personal sphere, most inspires you to be better?
  5. If you could make one rule everyone had to follow, what would it be?
  6. Which Biblical character do you most identify with and why?
  7. What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
  8. What’s the hardest lesson you’ve ever learned?
  9. What MUST-READ book or author would you recommend (besides the Bible)?
  10. If you could go back in time and spend 24 hours there, what event would you visit?
  11. Which of your own blog posts would you like to share with a larger audience and why? (Please link)

Thanks for reading! And thank you again, Gia and Stephen for the kind encouragement your nomination brought.

14 thoughts on “Sunshine Blogger Award”

  1. So happy to read this post, Stephanie. So far, you are the only one of my nominees who officially accepted the Sunshine celebration. Congrats on getting two, and nice job in responding to 22 questions. I like your comma meme, and my most laugh-out-loud answer of yours is the Jackie Chan impersonation. Your post, Open Letter to Those Who Have Failed Jesus, may very well be my favorite of yours, too. Thank you again for your commitment to God’s Word and making it practical for your readers.

  2. Wow! Thank you for the nomination! I’m honored, and I’m looking forward to this! What fun! I feel like I know you better after reading your responses. I, too, am an Oxford comma user – always, without fail. Why not use that comma when it guarantees our clarity?

    I’m honored and grateful that you quoted me within one of those answers. Thank you so much! As a writer who also brings a theological focus into my writing, I truly appreciate the same focus in your work . I also share your Tudor obsession, so much history and so much drama in that lineage!

    Instagram and Ancestry DNA can definitely be blamed or credited with many of the travel decisions made in the world. My own travel plans would be driven by those two platforms, but it would be 23andMe in my case.

    Thanks for this fun post today! Now to get to work on my own nominations and answering those questions. Hmm? This may take me a while.

    1. Team Oxford Comma all the way! And I loved that quote, Melinda. Your writing encourages and teaches me. I cannot wait to start reading your book, Fallen. I’ve got it downloaded onto my Kindle and ready to go. I greatly appreciate your theological insights!

  3. Congratulations on the award and nominations. Recognition from Peers says something special. My God continue to bless you and many countless others through your writing.

    What a fascinating process – love all the questions and entertained by the answers – the Coma Meme being, the, one, exception.

  4. First, I totally didn’t understand this Sunshine Blogger thing until just now. When I first saw it I was so skeptical. Now I get it. Thanks!
    Second, I really appreciate your desire to see Europe and your affinity for Indiana Jones. I knew I liked you 😀
    Third, I too was raised in a Word of Faith, Name it Claim it type church. What you described bondage is spot on. It trapped me in a mentality that everything that happened to me was my doing. When I succeeded it was because I had faith. When I failed it was because I doubted. God’s grace and justice, and the Enemy we’re almost bit players on my stage. I’m glad to have learned differently. Great post and thanks for sharing.

    1. Chip, it’s been a fun award to receive and interact with.

      Second, who doesn’t like Indiana Jones?! 😂 Adventure & archaeology all the way!

      Third, I love how you say, “God’s grace and justice and the enemy were almost bit players on my stage.” That is exactly it. Name it and claim it reduces God to a bit player. How wrong. I, like you, am so glad to have learned differently.

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Congratulations, Stephanie, and what fun to learn more about you! I so appreciate your love for the Lord and the way you capture that in your writing. I’m not a big TV/movie fan, either. However, one show I have watched from time to time is What Not To Wear! I had to laugh when I read that in your bio info. There was one episode where they brought in a woman very similar to me. Then when they picked apart her wardrobe, it was as if they walked into my closet! I could not stop laughing. If you want to know what not to wear, I’m here for you! God bless you and your powerful ministry!

    1. Oh, Melissa…you should see what I’m wearing right now! Lol. Thank goodness I’m a writer and I can hide out in my home in my weird outfits. Thank you for your kind and encouraging words. They will be added to my bulletin board for sure.

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