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Liebster Award Paying It Forward

Blogger Norah Colvin of Norah Colvin has honored me with my second Liebster Award, reminding me that bloggers can pay it forward. It’s an opportunity to read other bloggers and to be read. As part of the acceptance, she has posed the following questions to her nominees, which I have answered:

  1. What do you value most in life? I value living in such a way that I look for beauty all around me and find good even when life’s path gets rocky. It feels like a way to live truth. Not big truths, necessarily, but my own.
  2. What activities do you enjoy and why? Since I still love to dig in the dirt, I enjoy gardening and scrounging for rocks and old bits of broken glass. Activities that connect me to living in the moment are best; simple things like cooking and writing about the birds outside my window.
  3. What is something you wish you had more time for? I used to wish I had more time for writing, and now I do. I think we fill our lives with too much busy-ness. I’ve found that by taking time to stare at a sunset or falling snowflakes, I have all the time in the world. It’s what I do with it that matters.
  4. What is one change you would like to make in the world? I’d like to contribute to world change through one beautiful book at a time. It seems we have too many books embracing darkness, and I just want to honor the hero’s journey within us all and to actualize everyday beauty.
  5. What is something you would like to change about yourself? To stop worrying whether or not people approve of what I do. It’s a deep-seated issue that I work on rooting out and some days I do better than on others.
  6. What surprises you most about your life – something good in your life that you hadn’t expected, dreamed of or thought possible? Wow, if you would have asked my three years ago when I was going to take on the “writer’s life” I would have said, maybe in 20 years. Little did I know that an upheaval in my life would open the door for me to step into that writer’s life. It isn’t easy, but it is what I’ve dreamed of doing and I’m doing it.
  7. What ‘big” question do you often ponder? How do I listen to God’s calling and live in the light?
  8. What sorts of things amuse you? Silly little things amuse the daylights out of me. I have a quirky sense of humor that’s easily triggered. I laugh at things like realizing that my hubby and I forgot to drop off our trash at the dump before we drove into the mountains to fish. I laugh at the knowledge that it’s going to summon every grizzly bear in the region and I’m so scared of bears. All I can do is find amusement in the juxtaposition of garbage vs. bear-fear.
  9. What do you like to collect? Stuff from the ground that’s old–rocks, fossils, arrowheads, purple glass. I have a keen eye for these things. I have a large glass vase filled with old glass, buttons, marbles, tokens that I find while gardening or walking the pastures around the house. I have bowls and clusters of river rocks, fossils and Lake Superior agates and beach pebbles. Oh, and books!
  10. If you could talk with anyone and ask them to explain their ideas and/or actions, who would it be, and why? I’d love to talk to my 5th-great grandfather, James McCanless, and ask him why he left North Carolina. He was a poet and wrote such sad verse about leaving those mountains as an old man. I’d like to have coffee with him and talk about why we feel compelled to seek other places beyond what is familiar.
  11. What is something you can’t do without? Internet! Awful to admit, but I’d go crazy as an isolated writer in the Rocky Mountains without human connection, and the Internet provides that daily touch. Also, I’m not only compelled to write, I’m compelled to share what I write and read and comment on what others write.
  12. What is something important you learned about life, and how did you learn it? A life of truth is not an easy one. Some truths are scary, others humiliating, yet  truth sets us free. But many people cling to lies that they use to cover up truth. I’m drawn to people, artists and writers willing to be vulnerable in seeking their truth. This is why I’m drawn to  write fiction–I seek the truth that is revealed in the hero’s journey. I learned this the hardest way, being a survivor of incest. Such families are masterful at deceit. Seeking a different way became my own hero’s journey, and I successfully raised three children away from that family, thus breaking the cycle of lies and ugliness. But it’s hard, not to have a family of origin that I can trust.
  13. What is your earliest memory? One of my earliest memories is of a black cat that I coaxed into being a pet on a ranch where I lived the first seven years of my life. That cat made me feel safe.

The purpose of the Liebster award is to help discover new blogs. In keeping the engagement dynamic, I’d like to offer this nomination to the following bloggers who I’ve recently discovered their poetry and short stories, something that inspires me in pursuit of my own fiction. You can read their work at:

I Am A Writer, That’s What I Am is a terrific blog with stories, thought, photos and quotes. Truly it’s a well of inspiration. I’ve learned that creativity is a pool we swim in; if you don’t dive into its waters, you’ll never know. This is a blog that you can dive into and find out about yourself and your own writing.

A Little Bit of Poetry is a new blog by seasoned blogger, Susan Zutautas. This blogger is multi-talented from the kitchen to her writing space. She inspires me daily with her posts, recipes and poems. I have fun every Sunday with her on another blog (she’s prolific) but this new blog of hers is new and deserves discovering.

The Well Tempered Bards is an amazing blog of poetry. It’s the kind of poetry that seeps into your bones. You’ll discover many poets who make guest appearances so it offers a variety.

Squirrels in the Doohickey is great fun. I started grinning at the title and went into full-blown belly laughs as I read entries. This is a new blog to me, but I hope other will discover it too–sharp writing, well-branded and spot-on humor.

The Real Housewife is neither fiction nor poetry, but is so funny it should either be chick lit or a series of life’s limericks. Kelly finds funny anywhere, and her humor is scathing. She’s such a character she might show up in my fiction (just kidding…sort of…).

If you have been nominated you can choose to accept to play along, or not. No pressure. It’s a bit of fun, an opportunity to connect and can help spread knowledge of your blog. If I nominated you, it is because I do read your blog! If you accept, here are The Liebster Award Rules adapted from Wording Well:

  1. Each nominee should link back to the person who nominated them.
  2. Answer the 10 questions which are given to you by the nominator.
  3. Nominate 5-11 other bloggers for this award who have less than 1,000 followers.
  4. Create 10 questions for your nominees to answer.
  5. Let the nominees know that they have been nominated by going to their blog and notifying them.

Questions for my Liebster Award Nominees:

  1. Congratulations! You just won a Liebster Award. What award do you dream about winning?
  2. What compelled you to start a blog?
  3. How did you come up with the blog’s name?
  4. What else do you write?
  5. Why are you drawn to writing fiction?
  6. What is your favorite genre to read?
  7. What is your favorite writing snack?
  8. What is your strongest writing strength?
  9. How do you keep focused on your writing?
  10. Who is your favorite book character and why?


  1. […] Liebster Award — Paying it Forward Response […]

  2. Norah says:

    Hi Charli,
    Thank you for taking the time to answer my questions so thoughtfully. I very much enjoyed reading your responses. I especially appreciate the honesty of your comment about truth. It is a very difficult thing to be most vulnerable where one should feel most safe. You obviously made some very important, but probably difficult, decisions to free yourself and protect your children from what you considered to be an multi-generational cycle of abuse.
    I love your view of time. I think it’s something important that I must try to remember in my busy-ness: there is plenty of time, it’s just choosing what to do with it.
    Thank you for paying forward to your nominees. I look forward to checking out their blogs (some I already follow) and their responses, should they choose to “play”!
    Thank you for playing!

    • Charli Mills says:

      Thank you so much, Norah! I had already answered, then read your blog post about empowering children with voice and it just really made me glad that you are in education. Teachers and even just mentors in my life, made cycle-breaking possible because they helped me cultivate my own voice. It’s a great blog community out there, I’m just discovering!

      • Norah says:

        I agree. I have met some wonderful people, yourself included. Thanks so much for joining in and sharing.

  3. susanzutautas says:

    Thank you so much Charli for nominating my blog A Little Bit of Poetry. I’m honored and you’ve made my day so much brighter.

    • Charli Mills says:

      Well, thank you for overlooking my failed attempt to respond to the “Sisterhood.” And thank you for being such a great friend and supporter! I’m just getting all this blogging down and I’m in awe that you manage so many blogs and write for other markets and respond so graciously and write fiction and write poetry and create splendid recipes and have such a kicking talent for suspense. Whew! You are one awesome writer! Oh–and you rock at Scrabble!

  4. Charli! Thank you so much I am so honored!

    I love your responses to the questions for the Liebster and you are amazing!! Funny and sensitive and well so cool because your so REAL!

    • Charli Mills says:

      You are so welcome! I enjoy your real-life wit and humor greatly. I also appreciate being called “real,” that really touches me. Thank you! If you post answers, let me know, although I think I’m figuring out how to follow blogs (finally!). Geeze, just discovered my “reader” last night. I love your writing!

  5. lrconsiderer says:

    On behalf of the Well Tempered Both-the-Bards, I would like to accept, but only if it’s okay that I flunk out of passing it on – only because the people at Bards are sixteen kinds of tangled up in Considerings, and most of them already got one…

    If that’s okay, I’d love to accept your kind nomination – thank you 🙂

  6. Annecdotist says:

    I like your answer about living truthfully, which I agree can sometimes be hard, and your question about the writing snack – might steal that one!
    Thanks for commenting on mine and I’m just about to hop back there and say more about the white feathers.
    Congratulations on your blog, Charli. I hope to take up the 99-word challenge some time.

    • Charli Mills says:

      You may steal the snack question! I’m enjoying the white feathers discussion and today I started to read your short fiction. You write with such detail that it’s like biting into a ripe summer strawberry. I hope you get to join us for flash fiction when you can!

  7. […] Charli Mills Carrot Ranch Communications Words for People! […]

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