Happy Blog Birthday to Us {Giveaway & an Opportunity to Change the World}

This month, We are THAT family is celebrating seven years of blogging.

7 years.

I’ve written more than 2500 blog posts, read more than 150,000 comments and deleted more than 1,000,000 spam.

I’ve embarrassed myself.

I’ve been wrecked. 

I’ve been inspired as you’ve helped make this a reality in the last few years.

We’ve been through a lot together. Some days, I feel like I’ve said it all. And others, I feel like I’m just getting started.

Blogging has changed my life. And it has given me the opportunity to change the lives of others.

This online journey reminds me that I’m not alone.

And it inspires me to remind others they are not forgotten.

Here’s to 7 more years!

For past blog birthday celebrations, I’ve given you gifts (thanks to generous sponsors of this blog). Today, I’m giving you the opportunity to be the gift.

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I’ve told you about our super fun (and wildly successful) Fair Trade Friday Club. Its had a waiting list since the day we launched and now has hundreds of members empowering hundreds and hundreds of women in more than a dozen countries! Today, to celebrate, I’m giving you the chance to join me in changing the world for some of the poorest women across the globe…like these beautiful Ethiopian women who are Fair Trade Friday partners who wanted to say thank you:

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We have a very exclusive number of High-End Fair Trade Friday boxes available for purchase. High-End boxes are different than our monthly boxes because they contain 4 higher priced items (think the best Christmas gifts ever!)

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Each box is valued at $137 each. We are selling them for just $84 dollars (priority shipping included). Not only can you knock out some of your Christmas list, the first 68 people who purchase one today, get this cute burlap clutch made by women in Ethiopia (additional $24 value ).

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So, that’s $161 of life-changing cuteness (which means you’re getting 5 items for around $15 each!!) well below retail.

Get yours and celebrate this amazing opportunity to make a difference in the world (and look cute while doing it!) I know that’s a lot of money and Christmas is still two months away, so I’m also giving away TWO of these fabulous boxes today. Enter below. 

Join the FTF wait list today and spread the word about Fair Trade Friday. It’s a beautiful way to change the world.

Happy blog birthday to us!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How To Start A Blog

I’ve wanted to be a published writer since I was in the 8th grade. I was in critique groups and attended writer’s conferences and kept my rejection letters in a growing folder on my desk, along with my disappointment.

Do you know how I became an author? By writing every day on this blog.

Female hands typing laptop computer keyboard, top view

If you’ve got something to say or if you just want to share cute kid pictures with Grandma, your latest recipe creation with hungry people or the DIY project that would make McGeyvor look like an amateur, I have some advice for you: go for it.

Starting a blog is great for all of the above.

Maybe you’ve thought about starting one, but it seems complicated…For years, I’ve been answering the same question in emails, at church, and once on the dairy aisle at the grocery store: How do I start a blog?

I’ve send email snippets and texted answers here and there, but I wanted to create a permanent spot to send people. So that’s what this is.  More than 8 year ago, I started my blog with one riveting story about the Tooth fairy on the wrong platform, with an iffy host and fuzzy pictures under a different name. I wish I’d read this post 8 years ago when I first hit publish.

You can start a blog in 3 easy steps. And I’m going to tell you how:

Disclaimer: Please note that a couple of these links are affiliate links and I will earn a commission if you purchase through them.

How to Start a Blog:

1. Shop: Get a domain name and a host

2. Move in:  Install WordPress

3. Decorate: Make it look good

Your domain name and host:

What do you want to call your blog? I spent days considering this question. I wrote down everything that came to me. A lot of people use their names, but I wanted something people would remember. My blog name sort of found me (after 5 visits to the ER in one month with my accident-prone family). Once you have some possible names, go to a hosting site (I think Bluehost is the best place to get started) and see if any are available.3-Domain Registartion

Once you decide on a domain name, you can pick your plan. There are several affordable options (as little at $3.95 a month)–but I think you’d be fine with the Starter Plan since you can always upgrade later if needed.

5Next, you’ll need to host your domain name. Hosting is like paying for a space for your blog on the Internet. I like Bluehost because if you host your blog with them, you get your domain for free.

Installing WordPress:

I wish I had started on WordPress. I lost hundreds of posts when I migrated from Blogger several years ago. Blogspot is a free platform that is an easy set up. But if you have ambitions of growing your blog, I wouldn’t use it. WordPress is the software you use to add your blog posts to. It’s really easy to use. If you use Bluehost, you can login to the Website Builder section and choose WordPress. Basically you hit “Install”; make sure the right domain has been chosen (with your catchy new blog name); click the Terms and Conditions box and then “Install Now.” Easy! You’re so smart.

Once it’s complete, jot down the URL, username and password under the View Credentials tab. You’ll use your username and password to log into your blog.

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Make it Look Good

I’m not going to pretend I know a thing about making a blog look good. I’ve been using Erin from Design by Insight for years to do that. She’s got reasonable rates and she fixes everything I break. Once I paid her for my initial design several years ago, now I just do some a la carte things occasionally. But if you’re willing to try on your own, WordPress has some awesome free themes. Or you can pay and get something with a little more umph, like the Genesis theme (that Erin has customized) on my blog.  Go ahead, you can move things around and make your new home look fabulous.

Six in Internet Years Makes This Blog Older Than My Dog {Special Deal}

When I started this blog six years (!) ago, I was looking for community. I desperately wanted to discover that my everyday loud, crazy life was normal.

I wanted the comfort of knowing we weren’t the only accident-prone family who had a frequent shopper card at the ER.

I wanted to connect, to spill out my heart and most of all, I wanted to find you.

I didn’t know when I hit publish on that first post half a dozen years ago, that it would change my life. I didn’t know it would bring out the dormant writer in me and I would have never dreamed it would give me the opportunity to connect moms here with moms there.

I’m glad I didn’t know how beautiful or how scary life would be for this introverted momma.

And around this time of year, I like to pause and celebrate this space with you.

My little girl is six. She feels really big, but I’m old enough to see she’s still a baby. But my dog is also six and she’s starting to sleep a lot more and leak urine when she’s excited.  We all know six in dog years is really more like 42.

I’m *this close* to 42. Do you see where this is going?

Blog years are like dog years and so let’s just hope the rest of us don’t leak, okay?

So, dear ________ (insert your name here), thank you for reading. If you didn’t, this would be a diary and not a community.

To help us celebrate, Dayspring is offering this very special, very good deal on one of my very favorite pieces of art, Rejoice in Him – Sculpted Art Panel to my readers:

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FOR ONLY $6 each. It’s enough to make you get excited (resisting the urge to make another urine comment):

I love this (heavy) carved, beautifully painted wooden piece of art! The Rejoice wooden panel regularly $48 and you can get them for nearly 87% off (affiliate link included). These would make a fantastic gift for teachers, friends and family this upcoming holiday season.

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Plus, if you spend over $50 at Dayspring, you get FREE SHIPPING. If you purchased 8 of these, you could clear out your shopping list early! The coupon will be valid for two weeks- Monday, September 30-Monday, October 14 at midnight CST.  There is no limit on how many your readers can purchase. Here’s the coupon: WATFbirthday6

So,  happy 6 blog years to me and to you!

And thanks for being such a big part of my life.

And Then My Blog Turned Five Years Old {Party!}

UPDATE: Congratulations Donna Livingston you are the lucky winner!

In the 8th grade, my Language Arts teacher, Mrs. Abernathy, a heavy, somewhat grumpy teacher, peered over her glasses and  told me  (without smiling) that I was a good writer. It took just those few words of encouragement for me to decide I wanted to grow up and be a writer someday. She was my favorite teacher–not so much for what she taught me, but for simply believing in me when I didn’t really believe in myself.

Eventually, my love for writing (many rejected manuscripts, critique groups and writer’s conferences later) morphed into blogging when I was 34 years old.

Today this space turns five years old. 5. That’s half a decade.

And the best part of blogging isn’t a platform or occasional free stuff, it’s you, the reader. Because an unread blog is just a diary. But when you take the time to laugh, cry and dream with me, we change the world, my friends.

What I’m trying to say is, I love you. We make a great team. Let’s do another 5 years, shall we?

In honor of you, I’m giving this WATF Reader Appreciation “Basket” to one blessed reader. Your comment entry:  Tell me why you read here.

Basket contents:

Valued $200

NOW SOLD OUT

AND, SUPER BIG, AMAZING DEAL in honor of 5 years, Dayspring is offering one of my top favorite items for ONLY $5<———insane price!

Ever Grateful – Memo Board with Easel for only $5!

It’s valued at $34.99 and makes a fantastic gift. {Christmas is coming!} There is no limit on how many you can purchase (while supplies last) and shipping does apply, but you get FREE shipping for spending $50 or more. So, basically, you can knock off ten people on your Christmas list for $50 and get a value of $349.90. Amazing, huh? This deal expires Oct.15 , but supplies won’t last long. Use code at checkout: WATFmemo

Don’t forget to leave a comment for the basket and then grab this deal. I just ordered 5 for $25. Merry Christmas to all the teachers in my life!

*Dayspring Affiliate links

Happy birthday to us.

Welcome Home

Well. I did it.

I moved my blog to WordPress! (Actually, Darcy of Graphically Designing, a highly qualified friend o mine did all the work with some behind-the-scenes kudos to Lisa Boyd. I just ate bonbons).

And bless her heart because did you know that moving 50 THOUSAND comments over is not an easy task? It’s is also made more difficult when the blog writer has uploaded every picture for over two years in the largest format. Oops. But let’s not talk about all my faults. Let’s focus on my new workspace.

I’m still learning the ropes, but I can already say, I love it here! Poke around and make yourself at home while I work out the bugs and update the links. Visit Darcy over at Graphically Designing, too.

My real life friends over at Eleven2 are hosting my blog. (Up until a month ago, I thought a host was someone who wears an apron. It’s a wonder I have a blog, y’all. Seriously, low tech over here). Anywho, they are an amazing homegrown business with AWESOME customer service, great attitudes and cool widgets. Okay, I made up the widget part, but it sounded high tech, didn’t it?

In honor of my switcheroo, Eleven2 is offering YOU a free month of hosting on any of their accounts. Just enter this code at checkout: wearethatfamily

It expires: Never.

xoxo