My Blogiversary post for 2021

It was 23 July 2012 when I published my first blog post on Sue’s Considered Trifles. I have not added any new material to that blog for some time, but it could be useful to writers wishing to know which phrases were in use in the second half of the 20th century.

Tomorrow will be 23 July 2021, so that marks 9 years of more-or-less regular blogging. Sue’s Trifles, which has become my main blog, is a bit younger having its first post on 25 March 2013. I chose the theme Pachyderm for reasons I explained here. It is perhaps a little twee. Should I change it?

At first my posts were written in response to daily prompts from WordPress, but these were discontinued. Since 2013 I have taken part in the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge every year and in 2016 I also completed the challenge on Sue’s words and pictures, which I began in March 2015. My first post is here.

My What’s new page lists all my writing adventures, if adventures is not too exciting a word for my exploits!

Nine years is a long time and my off-line interests have changed gradually as time has gone on. My favourite games are now Rummikub and Triominoes, with Scrabble and Upwords demoted to occasional use. Even before the pandemic I had stopped going to the craft group, the reading group and an embroidery group, which may all have been mentioned here on Sue’s Trifles.

I am far more involved with social media now than I ever imagined would be the case. When I began blogging, I was unaware that it was social media and that I’d make online friends among people in various countries, who also blog.

My first reviews of books I read appeared on Sue’s Considered Trifles as a page or pages. Gradually book reviews have become the major part of my blogging activities. If you had told my 10-year-old self that this would be the case, she would have been incredulous. Having to write a review of every book read and to queue up to show the review to the teacher before being allowed to choose another book, led me to choose the thickest book on the shelf in the classroom! (Writing and queuing stole valuable reading time.)

I try to include occasional craft posts and faith posts, or reflective posts such as this one for those readers, who perhaps followed Sue’s Trifles after reading posts in those categories. I am currently rereading the psalms, attempting to keep up with another blogger, who tweets every day. A few years ago I joined in with his #psalmtweets.

Lockdown has affected both Sue’s Trifles, where Paint Chip Poems have become a regular feature, and Sue’s words and pictures, where photo challenges have provided a source of inspiration rather than outings to places of interest. At the time of writing a few posts of local interest are in the pipeline and one has been published already.

As restrictions are lifted in the UK, I am spending more time outside the home – if only in the garden! In fact gardening is seasonal. I have returned to my voluntary job and am attending some church services, but not singing in the choir.

Although I carried out my garden survey this year at the end of March, I have not yet found time to compare the results with those for previous years.

My word for the year, Focus, has proved helpful as I seem to be able to work more efficiently than at some times in the past. There are always distractions like other people’s blogs to read, conversations to join in with on social media and podcasts and videos by blogging/writing friends.

My quiet times continue to include the Bible reading notes I mentioned here.

I also try to keep my contents and other lists up-to-date, although they seem to be of more use to me than to my valued readers.

What about the future of my blogs? Book reviews and paint chip poetry are likely to make up the majority of my posts on Sue’s Trifles. The photo challenge posts on Sue’s words and pictures are likely to continue on Wednesdays with posts on some Saturdays about places visited or events, such as a steam train passing along the local railway line.

Thank you for reading my 959th post on Sues Trifles!

10

Reflections on the A to Z Challenge 2021

This post includes

Introduction

I have been taking part in the A to Z Challenge every year since 2013 and can honestly say I have enjoyed this one the most so far.

The official A to Z Blog began by setting a challenge to find certain words in participating blogs. I copied the alphabet scavenger hunt and that became the basis for the first part of this post. I have added links to posts where I found the words. Thanks to the team for the photo of the challenge and particularly to Jeremy for the badges.

A to Z scavenger hunt

The Alphabet scavenger hunt was introduced on the official A to Z blog a the beginning of April.

Scavenger Hunt words

A is for — Apple

The blog of J Lenni Dorner
Bob’s Home for Writing
What Rhymes with Stanza?
The Great Raven

B is for — Bear
Crackerberries

E is for — Evil
PsalterMark

F is for — Flowers
auntyamo

G is for — Game
Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
Blogging from A to Z Challenge (simulcast on WordPress)
auntyamo

Q is for — Questions ❓
More than Writers
Jemima Pett, Author
Jazmin Ruiz
Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
(and simulcast on WordPress)

X is for — X-ray
Curious as a Cathy

Y is for — Yellow
Tossing it out

Z is for — Zipper
Blogging from A to Z April Challenge
(and simulcast on WordPress)

More blogs I visited

Over the years I have added a number of A to Z participants to the blogs I follow in my WordPress Reader. I have added some more this year.

Although (or perhaps because) there were fewer participants this year than in previous years, the spirit of community seemed stronger.

Blogs I already followed or was aware of:

Tossing it out (The blog of A to Z founder, Arlee Bird)
The Quiet Writer
On my Way Home
A Multitude of Musings
Curious as a Cathy
Bob’s Home for Writing
PsalterMark
Are we nearly there yet?
auntyamo
Curious Daydreams
Jemima Pett, Author
Janet’s Smiles
HSD
Quilting Patchwork and Appliqué
The Multicoloured Diary
The Old Shelter WWI

New blogs I visited and/or followed (Some of these I have visited regularly, others I hope to revisit later.)

Second thoughts First poetry blog
My Ordinary Moments writing and photos
The Squirrel Nutwork
How would you know…
More Than Words book reviews
Crackerberries
Dena’s Ramblings
Jazmin Ruiz Visual impairment awareness
Musings of a Middle Aged Mom recipes
Chapters From My Life cancer awareness
whole 180
Facing the Mountain
Molly’s Canopy
worddreams…
uniquely maladjusted but fun YA story
Iain Kelly Writing
KIM L HINE

More than Writers is the blog of the Association of Christian Writers. Only one A to Z post appeared there as the blog was not a participant, but one of the contributing bloggers was! The link to the post is in the Scavenger Hunt section above.

This is perhaps the most comprehensive reflections post I have ever written. Even so, I apologise for any errors or omissions. If we have made contact during the A to Z Challenge and I have not mentioned your blog, please remind me in the comments!

My A to Z 2021

This year I began my preparations for A to Z a bit later than in 2020. We were in lockdown here in England in the early part of the year. By the beginning of February I had decided on most of the words for the letters and began to write the posts. I had all the writing finished in the middle of April, but continued to add finishing touches to my unpublished posts and embedded a video link in my J post after its initial publication!

While I was preparing my posts I learned how to use the Block Editor on WordPress and how to create a point to jump to in a blog post. I shall be making use of this knowledge in future as well as in this post!

I have had more traffic to my blog this April than in recent years. This year on Sundays I published either a post for a poetry challenge or a book review. I gained 26 new followers between the Theme reveal and the end of April. Thank you everyone for your support. I appreciate your visits and comments.

The official Blogging from A to Z April Challenge Reflections post and sign-up list are here.

Future plans

I intend to take part in the Road Trip this time. Some of the blogs mentioned above and others on the master list have caught my attention.

Which post should I link to the Road Trip list? I am interested in your thoughts, but reserve the right to choose!

I shall be blogging about books and occasionally more generally here on Sue’s Trifles as well as continuing with the paint chip poetry challenge. Over on Sue’s words and pictures I intend to continue with some photo challenge posts. When life is less restricted Sue’s words and pictures may begin to have posts about visitor attractions and places I have visited, which was its original purpose.

I have no plans for adding material to my first blog, Sue’s considered trifles.

2

Zeal #AtoZChallenge

This year for the Blogging from A to Z in April Challenge I have chosen a single word for each letter of the alphabet. Each of these words is important in the Bible. I am including a story in each post. Links from biblical references go to Bible Gateway.


#AtoZChallenge 2021 April Blogging from A to Z Challenge letter Z

Zeal appears in the Bible fewer than 40 times depending on the translation searched. This includes zealous and Zealot. Zeal is defined in the Collins Scrabble Dictionary as great enthusiasm or eagerness. Zealot is a political enthusiast (in the New Testament it refers to a member of a particular political group). Zeal is a word connected both with God, whose zeal for justice and righteousness leads to anger, and with his enthusiastic (zealous) servants. It is perhaps worth mentioning that the word enthusiasm is derived from Greek words meaning inspired by or possessed by a god. In the case of believers in the God of the Bible, this is the Holy Spirit.

Two people, who stand out for their zeal have appeared previously in these posts for the A to Z challenge. Elijah, whose story is told in this post and the post for Letter Q and Paul, Letter E and Letter Y.

To jump to the story Elijah’s Zeal for the Lord click here.

Phinehas, a priest who was the great-nephew of Moses, was zealous for God’s honour. Numbers 25:11 This led to a promise from God that his descendants would have a lasting priesthood. Numbers 25:13

In Deuteronomy 29, when the covenant was renewed, verse 20 states that God’s wrath and zeal will burn against anyone, who worships foreign gods (idols of wood, stone or metal). He will not forgive them.

King Saul’s zeal for eradicating the Gibeonites led to trouble, which King David had to deal with. 2 Samuel 21:1-14

Isaiah prophesied to King Hezekiah that the zeal of the Lord would accomplish the prophecies regarding Sennacherib’s fall.

The zeal of the Lord is a recurring theme in the books of Isaiah and Ezekiel.

Baruch zealously repaired a section of the wall of Jerusalem Nehemiah 3: 20

Psalm 69:9 was quoted in John 2:17 when Jesus cleared the temple because of zeal for God’s house.

Advice from Proverbs is to have zeal for the fear of the Lord. Proverbs 23:17 Fear is more like awe and respect in this context.

In the New Testament zeal is mentioned in the context of being zealous for a good reason (the fear of the Lord) or for bad motives.

Elijah’s zeal for the Lord

Elijah lived in the time of the wicked King Ahab of Israel, who served Baal, a foreign god worshipped by Ahab’s foreign wife, Jezebel.

Elijah, a prophet of the Lord, told Ahab that there would be no rain and no dew for the next few years except at Elijah’s word.

The Lord told Elijah what he must do next. Elijah obeyed, going to hide in the Kerith Ravine, where ravens brought him bread and meat twice a day and he drank from the brook.

When the brook dried up, because of the drought, The Lord spoke to Elijah again. Again Elijah obeyed, going to Zarephath of Sidon and staying with a widow, who had obeyed Elijah’s instructions, gaining a miraculous supply of food.

Some time later the widow’s son became ill and died. She was angry with Elijah, but he took her son, laid him on his own bed and prayed to the Lord that the boy would live. The Lord heard Elijah’s cry and restored the boy to life. Elijah restored him to his mother, who said, ‘Now I know that you are a man of God and that the word of God from your mouth is the truth.’ (Letter Y tells a similar story from the New Testament.)

After more than two years the Lord told Elijah to present himself to Ahab, and the Lord would send rain on the land.

Ahab’s wife Jezebel had been killing the prophets of the Lord, but Obadiah, who was in charge of the palace, had hidden one hundred of them in two groups of fifty in separate caves. He had supplied them with food and water.

Ahab had been sending people everywhere to look for Elijah in order to kill him.

Obadiah reluctantly took Elijah to Ahab. What happened next is a very well-known story involving a show of strength between one prophet of the Lord (Elijah) and 450 prophets of Baal. The people were convinced by what happened that Elijah’s God was Lord. Elijah had the prophets of Baal killed. The Lord sent rain as Elijah foretold.

Jezebel was furious that her prophets had been killed. She wanted Elijah dead.

Elijah had already very energetically run faster than Ahab’s chariot to avoid the rainstorm. Now he fled with a servant to Beersheba in Judah. Then he went on alone into the desert. He had lost the will to live, but an angel visited him twice with bread and water. After eating and drinking this he travelled for forty days and forty nights to Horeb, the mountain of God.

The Lord asked him, ‘What are you doing here Elisha?’

Elisha claimed to have been very zealous for the Lord. The Lord told Elijah to stand on the mountain, while the presence of the Lord passed by. Then there was a destructive wind, next an earthquake followed by a fire. The Lord was not in any of those. After the fire there was a gentle whisper. ‘What are you doing here Elisha?’

Elijah came to the mouth of the cave and again told the Lord how zealous he had been and how his life was in danger. The Lord commissioned him to go back to the Desert of Damascus and anoint a king of Israel, a king of Aram and Elisha as a prophet to succeed Elijah. Elijah felt that he was alone, but God had seven thousand in Israel, who had not worshipped Baal. The next part of the story can be found in Letter Q: Elijah and Elisha.


The story abridged here may be found in 1 Kings 17-19:18