10 Things I learned at the Speak Up Conference

Last month I took a step outside my comfort zone.

More like a giant leap actually.

I had the privilege of attending Carol Kent’s Speak Up conference in Michigan.

They offer Speaker’s, Leader’s, and Writer’s tracks to sharpen your skills and meet with others in your field. They also offer one on one meetings with professionals.

10 Things I learned at the Speak Up Conference~ backtofamily.net

If you have ever wanted to attend a conference, I highly recommend this one.

Several months ago, I felt God calling me to attend. So, after dishing out excuse after excuse I finally ran out of excuses and registered. As the event grew closer, my nerves began to wreak havoc on my body. In an email to the conference director, I told her I was getting very excited for the conference but I had a major case of Butterflies in the Stomach. During the opening session, I was put at ease when I heard the beautiful host say these words:

“We won’t get rid of your butterflies, but we’ll help them fly in formation. A little nervousness is good.” ~Carol Kent

My butterflies were tamed enough for me to enjoy myself.  I took in  much information and received such inspiration that my mind is still spinning. I learned many, many things at the conference. Here are just ten:

  1. Writers have the best spouses in the whole world. It’s true. Mine made the drive to Michigan with me. I had a list of all the local sporting good outfitters and their locations ready for him. He didn’t mind the waiting on nights when the conference would go over. I learned that he was not the only husband to hang out in Grand Rapids for three days “waiting on his woman” as Mr. Paisley would say. Others stayed home and cared for the family and households while their spouse was away. One writer even returned home to a brand new office space created just for her by her husband.
  2. Mice do not run well upside down. I arrived at my very first workshop with laptop in tow ready to begin work on a One-Sheet (not really sure what a One-Sheet was but eager to find out). I plugged in my laptop and retrieved the wireless mouse. (Yes. I am mouse dependent. My days of being a Braillist broke me of the habit, but when I gave up brailling my habit returned.) I was nervous anyway but imagine my horror when the cursor was acting as if it were possessed. I moved the mouse right~it went left. I moved the mouse up~the cursor moved to the bottom of the screen. After a moment of panic followed by logical thought, I turned the mouse around and Voilà!
  3. God really does care about the little things. I asked Him to go before me and handpick a friend or two for me. I am an introvert, as I found out most writers are. When my husband first dropped me off at The Prince conference center, I wanted to jump back into the car. Instead, I took a deep breath and went inside. People were scurrying here and there. I took a notebook with my name on it (each one had been prayed over) and headed down a hall where I saw an open room. I sat beside a woman with a laptop plugged in. “Can I share your outlet?” Mandi was warm and welcoming. I immediately liked her. Then Peggy came and sat on the other side of me. She had a spirit of comfort and encouragement. Throughout the next three days I met many inspiring women and men. I truly felt blessed to be there! During our last meal together, as I was speaking to a new friend Sherry who was encouraging and uplifting, I found out I wasn’t the only woman in attendance who prayed for a friend or two. God answered both our prayers with many new friends that weekend.
    Continue reading~ 10 Things I learned at the Speak Up Conference »

10 Rules for Writing First Drafts


Mental Block.



There are many things that get in the way of writing.

I came across this infographic from Copyblogger with some great advice to get it done.

I especially like #9 to leave it alone once finished for awhile.

Stepping back helps me see my writing in a different light.

Enjoy these great tips and get started on that project!


10 Rules for Writing First Drafts
Like this infographic? Get more content marketing tips from Copyblogger.

Liebster Blog Award


Back to Family has been nominated for the The Liebster Blog Award  by Katie from The Creative Bubble.

Thank you Katie! I am truly grateful.

Friends, lets show Katie some Walton Lifestyle Love by visiting her blog and following her via facebook, twitter, email, and/or pinterest. 🙂

In case you don’t know what the Liebster Blog Award is, it’s an award given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers. It is to show new bloggers that they are appreciated, and to help spread the word about new blogs. It was created to promote appreciation and recognition among the blog world. Liebster translates to “dearest” (or favorite/best) in German. It is also known as the Love Blog Award.

What an awesome honor.

The Rules:
1. You must post 11 random things about yourself.
2. Answer the questions that the nominator set for you.
3. Create 11 questions for the people you nominate.
4. Choose 11 blogs you love (with less than 200 followers) and link them in your post.
5. No tag back (but please leave me a comment on this post with the URL to your Liebster post so I can learn more about you)!

So here are 11 random things about me:
  1. I can read and write Braille.
  2. I was a girl scout leader and Sunday School teacher.
  3. I married my high school sweetheart over 20 years ago.
  4. Dinosaurs fascinate me.
  5. Although I grew up in a major city, I am a country girl now.
  6. I dream of living on a farm. With lots of chickens.
  7. I feel closest to God in my garden. I have laid down among the beans many times talking to Him.
  8. I LOVE The Waltons!
  9. My favorite way of praising God is singing, but I can’t carry a tune in a bucket. Oh, the irony.
  10. Snow makes me happy.
  11. I could never have too many friends or cats.
And here are the questions my nominator set for me to answer:

1.  When it comes to blogging, what types of things do you enjoy: photography, writing, crafting, sharing, networking, etc.?
Blogging is first and foremost a ministry for me. I try to lead others to a relationship with God and simple living, focusing on family and faith. Blogging is also a creative outlet for me as I love photography and writing.

2.  What types of blogs do you like to follow and why?  You can list them if you want.
Faith, family, recipe, homesteading, and simple living blogs are my favorites. These are dear to my heart because our society is too fast paced and rushed for me. I like to read these types of blogs and enjoy the slower paced lifestyle where we enjoy one another’s company. Oh, I have so many I love. I’ll list just a few: Homestead Blessings,  Comfy in the Kitchen, Generation Cedar, Food Storage Made Easy, Lehman’s Country Life, Little House Living, New Life on a Homestead, Nourishing Days, The Welcoming House, Fun Home Things, The Morris Tribe, and The Time Warp Wife. Go visit with them awhile. I’ll wait… 🙂

3.  Do you think it’s difficult to find the time to blog?  Do you schedule certain times to work on your blog?
Yes I do! I am living and experiencing the very thing I want to write about! I remember an episode of The Walton’s where John-Boy was frustrated because he longed to be alone to write, yet he needed to balance his time being with his family so he would have something to write about. I work on my blog very early in the morning. I have to admit I get distracted easily with social media. I plan on scheduling my time better in the new year. I have so many things I want to share with you!

4.  What is your favorite hobby?
Reading. I always have a pile of books on loan from the local library. I have shelves of books in each room. I have given away many books. Somehow they keep multiplying!

5.  What is your favorite holiday and why?
Easter. My earliest memory of celebrating God with my family growing up is attending Easter services. Easter reminds me of how much I am dearly loved.

6.  What place would you like to visit the most?
Israel. To walk where Jesus once walked would be amazing.

7.  What’s the first thing you would grab if your house was on fire (besides pets and family members)?
A box of full sd cards & video tapes and as many photo albums as I could carry.

8.  Do you have a job in addition to blogging?  …or are you a stay at home mom?
Proud stay at home momma.

9.  What is your favorite dessert?
Chocolate anything. 🙂

10.  What are some things your dream home would have?
Acres! A winding driveway lined with a wooden fence. A pond. A barn. Lots of chickens and farm cats. A huge garden and orchard. A wrap around front porch. A sunroom. Filled with family and friends.

11.  Can you recommend any good books?  Why do you like it/them?
The Quest Study Bible. So many others!! Here are a few: The World’s Healthiest Foods, Gooseberry Patch Cookbooks, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Left Behind series, anything by Carol Kent and Bruce Wilkinson, and I Am Not But I Know I Am.

Here are questions for those whom I nominate to answer:
  1. How long have you been blogging and how did you get started?
  2. List your favorite blogs and what it is that you love about them.
  3. What is your favorite family tradition?
  4. Who is the person who inspires you the most and why?
  5. Describe your dream home.
  6. What is your most heartwarming memory from childhood?
  7. What is your favorite leisure activity?
  8. Who is your favorite Walton character and why?
  9. How did you meet your spouse if you have one? If not, who is your favorite couple?
  10. What is your favorite animal and why?
  11. What legacy do you wish to be remembered by?
And here are the 11 blogs that I nominate:

The Welcoming House

Fun Home Things

New Life Steward

Karis’ Kitchen

Teach Them Truth

Fantastic Fun and Learning

Living Simply at Maple Valley Farm

Full Heart…Full Home

Mothering From Scratch

What Joy is Mine

Lamp  on a Stand

Note to nominees: Please leave me a comment with your Liebster post, so I can read up on you. Also, please link back to this post on your blog. (Please do not be offended if you don’t have more than 200 followers…or if you do. 🙂 )




B2F’s First Blogiversary!!

Happy First Blogiversary!!


One year ago today I published my first blog post.

A poem that I’ve referred to often through the growing up years of our daughters.

Along with a picture capturing the first time they met.

This year has been a blast for me and I look forward to what God has in store yet to come.

This blogging hobby is surely a nudging from my Heavenly Father.

What else could it be?

After all, this is the same woman who purchased a computer and then left it untouched for over a month!

Avoiding it at all costs.

Never walking by it.

Never ever glancing towards it.

My friend, Crystal, came to my rescue.

She taught me how to turn it on.

And shut it down by using the Start button. I NEVER would’ve figured that one out!

She helped me over my fear of technology.

I am grateful.

I am also grateful to the One who knows me best.

How exciting it’s been learning about plug-ins and widgets and links and tags and such.

How wonderful it’s been keeping in touch with dear friends like you!

Thank you friend for a wonderful first year! 🙂

B2F is co-hosting Naptime Review’s Like Me On Facebook #20

B2F is pleased to be co-hosting The Naptime Review’s Like Me On Facebook today!!

I have found many wonderful blogs through Julie’s blog hop!

I encourage you to visit as many of them as you can. 🙂


Welcome to Like Me on

The Naptime Review

This is a link up designed for bloggers who want
to increase their facebook likes and share their facebook pages
with others. PLEASE
Come back for
Mom’s Monday Mingle to link up your blog!
Please TWEET about the





**It doesn’t count if likes come from
personal pages
***Please comment on facebook pages
so we can make sure to RETURN
1. Please follow ALL of the hosts on facebook and twitter. They are 1-6 on the
2. Like as many facebook pages as you can. Just
don’t put your name into the list hoping to gain followers. Visit pages and say
hi! Leave your facebook page so they can return the follow.
3. Please grab the blog hop
from my right side bar and provide a backlink. Together we can
help each other grow!
Would you
like to learn how you can be a co-host?

Email Naptime Review! Scheduling


Check Out This Months Sponsor:



How to Save Your FeedBurner Email List


All you Bloggers out there who use FeedBurner probably know that there is glitch.

Last week we all dropped to 0 Subscribers.

Where have all my subscribers gone?

Continue reading~ How to Save Your FeedBurner Email List »

How to Configure Pinterest for Your Blog


I am going to be completely honest here: I do not know  much about Pinterest as of today (Feb. 28, 2012).

Other than the fact that it is growing in popularity so fast my head is spinning.

As of this writing, I have not officially marketed my blog. By that I mean, I have not told more than a few people about Back To Family.

I am trying to set up and tweak it to be the best it possibly can  be before I launch it.

I have been very meticulous in keeping it a secret. I have set up a Facebook page which as of today is unpublished. I have set up as much as I can without “going public” yet.

That being said I made a HUGE mistake today. 
Continue reading~ How to Configure Pinterest for Your Blog »

How to register a domain name

Choose a name that suits your blog.

Something easy to remember. Write it out. Look good?

Many extensions are now available with .com being the most popular.

Sometimes .com is not available, as in my case. Don’t be discouraged. Pick another.

When you register a domain name, you do not own that domain. You will need to register it yearly.

You then need to purchase hosting– a place to store the information (WordPress blog) you want to access via your domain. I’ll cover that in a future post.

This actually should be the easiest step on the path to blogging. However, for me it was one of the most difficult.

Continue reading~ How to register a domain name »