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.

5

Kingdom #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 K


The word kingdom appears more than 300 times in the Bible. It is used in two contexts. Earthly kingdoms are mentioned many times in the Old Testament. In the New Testament there are references to the kingdom of God and the kingdom of heaven. Verses with kingdom and God occur 97 times and kingdom with heaven 45 times.

In retelling Jesus’ stories (parables) Matthew uses kingdom of heaven and kingdom of God, Mark and Luke use kingdom of God. John mentions the kingdom of God. John 3:5 In the Acts of the apostles and Paul’s letters (epistles) kingdom of God is used.

The best known passage in the Bible about the kingdom of heaven is the beatitudes, which I mentioned in my post for the letter B. Jesus mentioned two groups of people linked with the words, ‘theirs is the kingdom of heaven’. Matthew 5:3-12

Jesus’ disciples discuss his stories

‘Where’s the Master?’

‘He’s gone off on his own again to pray.’

‘I’m still wondering what he meant when he told all those stories about the kingdom of heaven. Or was it the kingdom of God?’

‘Are they the same thing?’

‘And all those different pictures. Yeast.’

‘A little of that goes a long way, but what has it to do with the kingdom?’

‘And the very valuable pearl. Something worth having, perhaps.’

‘What was that story he told yesterday? Wasn’t it about a banquet? Matthew, you have a good memory, remind us what he said.’

‘A king prepared a banquet for the marriage of his son. He invited all his friends and relations, but they made excuses. All the preparations had been made. He didn’t want to waste anything and he wanted his son to have a wonderful party.

‘So he told his servants to go out into the streets and the lanes and invite anyone they found.

‘There were plenty of guests for the banquet, but the king noticed that one of them was not wearing the correct clothes. He asked the servants to remove him from the banqueting hall.’

‘Oh, yes, that’s part of what he said. Why would there be someone there who needed to be thrown out? What was the Master trying to tell everyone?’

‘Well, let’s see. All the other people had taken the trouble to dress properly. Perhaps we have to prepare ourselves in some way to enter the kingdom.’

‘Look there’s the Master. We can ask him now.’

Matthew 22:1-14 is the story in the Bible.


Many of the stories Jesus told were about the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 13: 1-52, Matthew 20: 1-16Matthew 25:1-13, Mark 4:1-34, Luke 8:4-15, Luke 13:18-30, Luke 14:15-16:31

The Lord’s prayer (that is the prayer Jesus taught his disciples) mentions heaven and God’s kingdom Luke 11:1-13

3

Compassion #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 C

Compassion is sympathetic pity or concern for the suffering of other people (according to the Paperback Oxford English Dictionary)

The Bible depicts a compassionate God.

Exodus 36:6 and 2 Kings 13:23 are just two of the many verses referring to God’s compassion.

Jesus Christ is also shown to be compassionate. The stories I have picked for this post are from Matthew’s Gospel. Matthew 14:14 and Matthew15:32 include the word compassion.

Jesus’ disciples tell how his way of showing compassion surprised them

When we heard that Jesus’ cousin, the prophet John the Baptist, had been beheaded, we had to break the news to our Master. Jesus naturally wanted time away from the crowds to grieve. We took him by boat to a remote place. However the people somehow knew where he had gone and followed us on foot. Jesus had compassion on them. He put their needs before his own, healing the sick people they had carried to him.

We were a long way from the anywhere food could be bought and it was almost evening. So we suggested to Jesus that he send the crowds away so they could get something to eat. His reply surprised us.

‘They do not need to go away. You give them something to eat.’

We only had two loaves of bread and two small fish. There were thousands of people.

Jesus asked us to give him the food. He told the people to sit on the ground in rows.

Then he took the food, blessed it by giving thanks to God, broke it and gave it to us to distribute. All the crowds and all of us had plenty to eat. Five thousand men as well as women and children were all fed from two loaves and two fish.

And there was food to spare! We filled twelve baskets with the broken pieces we picked up afterwards.

Some time later we were with Jesus as he was healing people on a mountainside. The people praised God for the healing of those who were lame, blind, crippled, unable to speak or who had other infirmities. Jesus had compassion on them, because they had been with him for three days and there was nothing for them to eat. We had just seven loaves and a few small fish from the Sea of Galilee, which was not far away.

Again Jesus asked the people to sit down on the ground. He gave thanks for the food, broke it and gave it to his disciples to distribute to the people. Everyone had sufficient. There were four thousand men as well as women and children. Afterwards we filled seven baskets with the pieces left over.


The story is found in Matthew 14:13-21  and in Matthew 15:29-39