Interview with Carolyn Shelton Author, Writer, and Blogger #amwriting #nonfiction #interview #author


 

Welcome to another week of my interview series. Today I’m so excited to share with you an interview with my talented and caring friend, Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses)  who has been writing many wonderful tales for adults and children on her blog with Colin Chappell of A Dog’s Life (Stories of Me and Him). I interviewed Colin earlier this year HERE.

Many of Carolyn’s tales and her new book with Colin are about a Cat named Dewey, a Jackalope named Jaxon, an owl named Odessa, and a human helper for them on Moonbeam farm they live, known as the ‘manservant.’ You can also find Carolyn’s interview on The Go Dog Go Cafe, where I will be posting a writer interview each Tuesday (the same one here and on there). It is a wonderful writer’s community on WordPress so please come and explore.

As well, all watercolor paintings illustrating the characters from Carolyn’s (and Colin’s) book Odessa’s Chronicles, are done by Jodi of The Creative Life In Between. She’s such a talented artist and I would recommend following her blog for her art, recipes, poetry, and blog posts narrated by her dog, Charlie.  She also has an Etsy Shop, on break at the moment, but when it’s not, you can purchase cards, paintings, (etc.) of Jodi’s beautiful work. 

Carolyn’s blog can be found here: Nuggets of Gold: Helping You to Find the Gold Amidst the Dirt, Sand, and Pebbles of Life.


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Credit Carolyn Shelton

1. Please Tell Us About Yourself, Carolyn? 

My name is Carolyn Shelton and I live in Southern Pennsylvania. I am the Mother of two teenagers which explains why there are days that I feel like my brain is missing! I love having fun with my family and friends, whether we are just chatting or on an adventure together. I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.

Humor is a big part of my life! I have serious posts on my blog, but a lot of humorous ones as well. And there are days, where you may get more humor from the comment section. I have a good friend that likes to express his wit at times. I am always up for a battle of wits, do I win? Well…. onto the next question.

My biggest writing goal is to touch others with what I write. I want to make them smile, laugh and also ponder on deeper things at times. I am thankful for my gift of writing, but it doesn’t do a lot of good if I keep it to myself. This is why I share it on my blog with for everyone and anyone to read.


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – Dewey the Spoiled Cat!

2. When Did You Begin Writing and Blogging and Why? What Does It Mean To You? 

I began blogging in the Fall of 2014. It wasn’t something that I had planned on doing. I was browsing on the internet one day and I saw something that piqued my interest. WordPress was offering a free writing course. I loved to write and felt that this course would be fun to take and see what happened. I signed up for it and well, here I am. 🙂 I enjoyed the course a great deal and was excited seeing what I could do with a blog.
I enjoyed meeting other bloggers and interacting with them. I was still learning but felt as if I had found my niche in the wonderful world of blogging. My love of writing had been rekindled.


” I also enjoy being able to curl up with a good book and shutting out the world. I was a total bookworm when I was young. Was not easily bored, for I always had a book that I could read.” – Carolyn Shelton


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – The Humble Manservant

3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation to Blog and Write? Why is it Important to You to Keep Writing and Blogging? Do You Have Writing Habits? A Time of Day It’s Easier for You to Write?

My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me, through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy because it is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not writing. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogging and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.

Writing is me letting my heart speak and it can be so freeing expressing my emotions through writing. Late at night seems to be my best time to write. The house is all quiet, the phone is not ringing, and it’s just me and my Sheltie who lays at my feet.


4. What Are Your Most Current Writing Projects, on your Blog or Otherwise? Have You Published Any Writing? 

I am currently co-authoring a The Odessa Chronicles, with fellow blogger, Colin. I’m so excited about it! The process of writing it readying it for publication has been a true adventure! The front cover of the book has not yet be decided on and the book is not quite ready for publication and release to my readers but it will be available on Amazon when it is completed. Stay tuned to my blog for updates on Colin and mine’s book release


My inspiration comes from my life. Writing is a form of therapy for me through the rough times. My motivation to keep writing is easy. It is a part of me, and I can’t imagine not doing it. It’s like breathing and it’s my passion. I will keep blogging because of the relationships that I have formed with my readers. It has been such a wonderful surprise. I really wasn’t expecting these relationships when I started blogging. Blogginh and writing are something that I will definitely strive to keep doing throughout life.” – Carolyn Shelton


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – Jaxon the Jackalope with Magical Powers

 5. Do You Prefer Certain Writing or Reading Genres? Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Writers or Bloggers Starting Out? 

I enjoy writing serious posts and posts written for fun.  I enjoy reading both as well. Also, I like reading stories in the genre of fiction and some nonfiction stories as well when I am choosing novels to read.

As for advice for new writers or bloggers: I encourage them to be patient with their self and write what comes naturally. Don’t think that your blog has to be like another blogger’s blog. Your blog is unique just like you. Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog. Don’t push yourself to post every day if you cannot manage to do that. I didn’t post each day in the beginning and there is no rule that says you have to post every day. You need to write when it fits your schedule.


6. For Fun, Do You Have Any Favorite Blogs? Top Three? What Do You Like About Them? 

Oh, my this is a hard question. There are a lot of blogs I enjoy! The blogs I have followed the longest though are Jodi’s, Ameena’s and Colin’s.

  • Jodi’s blog makes my taste buds tingle when I see pictures of the wonderful recipes she is cooking up. She is a wonderful cook and there are sometimes I attempt her recipes, though I am sure she does them better. She also does beautiful paintings and puts lovely poems to lovely photographs she takes together in a post. I enjoy reading her blog because of her cheery outlook on life.
  • Ameena (Randoms by A Random) is a gifted poet and her poems tug at my heartstrings. She has put me at a loss for words more than once. You can read the interview Mandibelle16 did of Ameena HERE
  • Colin writes about life with Ray, his wonderful Rescue Dog that he adopted. He also has “Just Thinking” posts that give you things to ponder. It is always interesting to read his perspective. He includes some poetry on his blog; in fact, he has a book of wonderful poetry coming out soon. His dry wit comes through in his posts as well. A blog that can make me laugh will be one I keep going back to.

Most importantly all these blogs do have something in common. Although they post about various topics, they all have become special friends of mine. That is what I feel is at the heart of blogging, the friendships that are formed from a mutual interest. 


” Don’t get caught up in how many followers you have or don’t have. Your number of followers will rise as you continue to blog and write. Be your true self when you write and relate to your readers through the comment section on your blog posts. Respect your reader’s comments and be honest with them. Most importantly, have fun with your blog.” – Carolyn Shelton


Credit: Jodi – A Life In Between – Odessa the Wise Owl Whom Carolyn and Colin’s book is named after.

7. Can You Share With Us Some of Your Favorite Blog Posts? 

Here are some of Carolyn’s posts that she and I like a great deal. I hope you enjoy them too!

*****

Come Away With Me My Friend

Written April 2013, by Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)

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Credit; Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)

Good Morning! Today my husband and I will bid a final farewell to a dear friend of ours. His body was ravaged with cancer and now he is free from pain. Though we are happy that he is now at peace, there also is pain, as he will be dearly missed!

Pat always had a smile for you and could make you laugh with his wit. Even when his wit was at your expense, you couldn’t help but laugh. Shaking your head, trying not to smile, as your mind was racing for a comeback.  No joke was ever old. We had met over 20 years ago, and there was something that had happened to me in that first year that Pat and Sherry were dating. Something that he still loved to throw out there whenever he would get the chance, and yes it still had a way of heating up my cheeks. His humor is something that stayed with him, even as his body grew sicker. He kept his spirits up and fought hard. He was an inspiration.

In yesterday’s post, Dewey and Jaxon Follow Their Hearts, I told about when we heard the news about cancer and how Dewey took over my pen. Took over my pen for my broken heart.  Today I am sharing a poem that I shared before. A poem that seems fitting for today. It has been revised a little to help it flow more smoothly, thanks to a friend.

My heart poured it out on a night when it was breaking. Breaking because the prognosis was not looking good for my friend and the tears fell as I didn’t know what to say. What could I speak to my precious friend and his wife? How could I encourage her? I felt that I had no words.

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Credit: Carolyn Shelton (JoyRoses13)

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Come Away With Me My Friend (Let Us Run To The Ocean)

Come away with me my friend

***

Let us run to the ocean,

Where you can let the pain in your heart

Be overpowered by the roar of the waves.

Let us go where you can shout ”Why?” to the sky,

And scream as loud as you need.

Where you can fall to your knees on the soft sand.

***

Let us run to the ocean,

Where I can hold you tight, and let you cry.

Where you can let your shoulders sag.

Where you can let your tears fall,

To be carried away by the waves.

Lean on me. Let me be your strength.

***

Let us run to the ocean.

Oh, my dear friend… let us just go!

You need not think about the future.

Let us walk along the water’s edge.

Remember when we were young?

Our lives were so carefree

***

Let us stand in the water.

Let the waves splash your face,

And gently wash away your tears.

Let us run to the ocean.

Let us go where the waves go on forever.

Life can be hard my very special friend.

***

But let us run to the ocean.

Life we cannot always understand.

Things happen that cannot be explained.

But the waves will go on forever

Through night and day; Through rain or shine,

As will my love for you.

***

Let us go to the ocean, my dear friend.

We will face the rolling waves together,

And if you slip… I will be there to catch you.

If you feel you are losing your way…

I will be there to guide you.

***

Let us talk in silence,

For our love does not need words.

We have a special friendship.

Let us run to the ocean.

Let the waves mesmerize you.

Let the ocean’s rhythm soothe your soul.

***

Let us go to the ocean, my friend.

Go where no words are needed.

Where we will let the waves speak.

Let us go the ocean, my friend.

Let us go… and be as one,

For I will never let you fight this on your own.

***

Come away with me my friend.

*****


Here are more of Carolyn’s Blog Posts:


Thank you so much to Carolyn for allowing me to interview her for this week’s blogger/writer interview. She is a wonderful and kind hearted person and I’m so excited for the book she and Colin will be releasing on AMAZON soon. Here is the link to her blog one more time: Nuggets of Gold.


If you are a writer, blogger, author, or someone who blogs for a cause or special organization and would like to be featured in my interview series here and on the Go Dog Go Cafe please reach out to me through my CONTACT PAGE on my personal blog. Thank you and see you next week!


© Mandibelle16. (2017) All Rights Reserved.

 

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Interview With Jackelyn Santana


Welcome back to another December issue of my biweekly interview series. Today I’m interviewing the gracious and beautiful Jackelyn Santana who was recently married. She has a faith based blog here: Faith Walking Hebrews 11:1. She describes her blog using the Hebrews 1:11 Bible Verse: “Now Faith Is The Assurance of Things Hoped For, The Conviction of things Not Seen.”


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Jackelyn Santana

1. Jackelyn, Please Tell Us About Yourself?

My name is Jackelyn Santana, I am from Miami, FL, and my family is of Cuban descent.I am a child of God and passionate about my faith. I LOVE reading, blogging, and spending time with my family.  I was married on November 11, 2016 and  I am a mother to an amazing six-year-old and a stepmother to two beautiful young ladies.

This year has been full of blessings. To emotionally prepare myself for our marriage, I spent the year analyzing myself and I’m finally at a place where I can embrace my authenticity. I spent a good portion of my life internalizing my pain, wearing masks to cope, and believing something was wrong because I didn’t have everything as it seemed everyone around me had.

Having this frame of mind enslaved me. There wasn’t anything wrong with what I was facing, but because there’s a stigma associated with imperfection and emotional struggle, I thought it was a ‘ME’ problem. I didn’t realize the truth, my problems were natural and universal.

As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other, helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.

The most beautiful thing I’ve witnessed is a group of hopeless lost souls coming together and loving each other back to life. We found a reason to smile again. This world is in such need of healing. I would love nothing more than to help spread love and healing wherever I go in my life.


” As I began opening up and peeling off the layers I was hiding under, I discovered more and more  people who hid there pain as I was doing. We strengthened each other, helped each other heal, celebrated our spiritual growth, and learned to love ourselves no matter where we are in life.” – Jackelyn Santana


2. When Did You Begin Blogging? What Does Blogging and Writing Mean To You?

I started blogging about four months ago July 20, 2016 to be exact. Blogging means everything to me! It’s liberated me. I’m free!! The more I write about things, the less ashamed I am of what I’ve faced. With each post I’ve removed the chains of emotions and experiences I kept a secret. These emotions and experiences have lost power over me.

This has allowed me to acknowledge and celebrate my spiritual growth. I enjoy interacting with other bloggers. Blogging also gives me an inside view of my soul. Sometimes I’m shocked when I read older posts because when I wrote, I let the words flow from my soul and they expressed things I wouldn’t voice out loud.


3. Where Do You Find Your Inspiration and Motivation To Write?

I am inspired by my faith and other bloggers. I began blogging about one-year ago, but I didn’t think I could write posts people would want to read. I’m better at public speaking than I am at writing. A co-worker of mine kept pushing me to write. I would share advice with her and she would nudge me to put it on paper. I finally decided to test the waters by submitting a guest post on Proverbs 31 Women.

They approved my guest post one-month later and I was shocked and honored.  I started writing away on my blog often. My faith in God changed my life, it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs. It’s become a way of life for me and I want to help others learn about Jesus in practical terms.

Many times when we think of the Bible we think of a standard which is too high for most of us to reach. The Bible comes across as something only ‘Holy’ people read. Or, we become intimidated by it because we find it unrelatable since The Bible was written many moons ago and times have changed.

These ideas of Christianity couldn’t be further from the truth. We need to find the right tools to break down barriers from reading God’s Word, The Bible, and help others understand faith in simpler terms. Believing in Jesus can guide us towards love and happiness. Once we understand the basics, our soul will keep searching for more – our hearts will be “homing our Heavenly home,” if you will, and we will grow spiritually.

By identifying with examples from the stories in The Bible, we can understand our obstacles are not too much, our lives can be molded in a way which allows us to serve both God, our families, and friends because they’re all related.

God acknowledges our need for connection and sent his son Jesus not only so that we could be saved, but so we could identify with Jesus and strive to imitate His way of life. As a woman, fiancee, and mother, I have been able to love more purely and unconditionally through The Bible’s teachings, making them a way of life.

Reflecting on the dark moments I’ve faced, I see how fine the line between good and evil can be — being saved or being lost; I want to help others be saved as I am saved through Jesus’s death and resurrection. 


“My faith in God changed my life, it wasn’t until I understood my faith better that I was able to apply its principles to my life. In the past few years I’ve uncovered so much richness I was missing out on because I didn’t study my beliefs.’ – Jackelyn Santana


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Jackelyn Santana

4. When Do You Like to Write and Do You Have Any Current Special Writing Projects?

There isn’t a time of day that inspires me the most. I write whenever my heart moves me to write. As of today I’m only blogging. My passion and dream is to help others. Perhaps join /create a traveling retreat group, or participate in spiritual workshops. This is a concept similar to a ‘Women of Faith’ tour, but on a smaller more personal level.

There would be one to one interaction, healing exercises, and honest group talk. I would love to help others come out of their shells and be saved through faith in Jesus and God as I was. My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.


5. Are You Planning on Publishing Any Written Work in The Future?

I have not published anything. Perhaps later in life I will be presented the opportunity to do so, or I will submit writing drafts. With only four-months of blogging under my belt I’m focusing on identifying my writing voice, interacting with others through my writing, and improving my writing skills which are at a novice level. I would also like to study theology and I think it would further advance my writing.


“My healing is made possible through God and meeting an amazing group of women in my Emmaus Ministry who were transparent about their struggles and shared tips on overcoming the obstacles of life.”


6. What Is Your Writing Process Like?

I sit in front of my laptop or a notepad and I pray, relax, and set my soul free to express itself. When an idea pops into my mind I write it down either on my phone’s notepad, or sticky notes. I may begin draft posts that I revisit at a later time when I can give my writing undivided attention. I have about fourteen draft posts which I’ve begun and I’m saving for the future blog posts.

When I first started blogging I would write and post instantly. I’ve learned to slow down and process topics, allowing my mind to continue digging for information. I will officially post my writing after I have looked at every angle.


7. Do You Have Any Helpful Advice for Other Writers Starting Out?

Write about topics you are passionate about. It feels great to do what you love. I love what I write about and it’s how I live my life. If you’re on the fence about writing I would suggest you take a leap of faith and see what comes from this desire.

WordPress has a wonderful community of bloggers and this community helps you grow as a writer. Don’t write posts for the sake of increasing traffic and followers, write on topics you enjoy writing about.  


8. Is There Anything Else You Would Like To Share Pertinent to Yourself or Your Writing?

I am God’s creation, I am human, I am imperfect, and I am meant to depend on God. Read this post to learn more about me.


9. Please Share With Us Some Of Your Favorite Blog Posts:

Slogging Through The Tears

By Jackelyn Santana

*****

“Sensitive people are the most genuine and honest people you will ever meet. There is nothing they won’t tell you about themselves if they trust your kindness. However, the moment you betray them, reject them or devalue them, they become the worse type of person. Unfortunately, they end up hurting themselves in the long run. They don’t want to hurt other people. It is against their very nature.  They want to make amends and undo the wrong they did. Their life is a wave of  highs and lows. They live with guilt and constant pain over unresolved situations and misunderstandings.  They are tortured souls that are not able to live with hatred or being hated. This type of person needs  the most love anyone can give them because their soul has been constantly bruised by others. However, despite the tragedy of what they have to go through in life, they remain the most compassionate people worth knowing, and the ones that often become activists for the broken hearted, forgotten and the misunderstood. They are angels with broken wings that only fly when loved.” –Shannon L. Alder

 *****

I am on an emotional roller coaster ride.

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I will not try to deny it, this is who I am, sensitivity and all. I wear my sensitivity as a badge of honor, although throughout life I have been ridiculed or further wounded because of it. I cannot control the sensitive nature of my heart. I may pretend something has not stabbed or wounded me, but more likely than not this is not the case.

For many years I have tried to harden myself, hoping that I would become immune to the blows of life, and the harsh words received from those I hold with high esteem. Despite my efforts, my sensitive nature is unchanged.

My sensitive nature is misunderstood.

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Those closest to me believe they understand me and my motives. They believe they can read between the lines. Many dare to correct me when I express my intentions and motives, determined their interpretation of my position is correct. My hard and serious exterior denies me the right to ever be recognized as a victim, although, my heart tells me otherwise. Many times I find myself confused, doubting my heart, thinking that there is something severely wrong because I’m always wrong and never right about my own feelings. Maybe I am bad at the core?

One Of My Favorite Bible Verses:

“For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate.”  Romans 7:15

broken-heartIn my case, I do not understand why I continue to love and care the way I do. I know better, yet I cannot help it. I continue to express my vulnerabilities to those I care about in hopes that I will be understood. The more I explain myself, the further away I get from MY truth, and the closer I get to shedding unfavorable light on myself. I allow the fighter in me to get the best of me when I feel taken advantage of. This without a doubt, is used against me as I fail to be consistent, giving in to my human frailty. I can only be silent for so long without jumping into protective mode. I can only shed so many tears without lashing out. The cruelty I spew is the cruelty I have learned through life, it is not the natural nature of my heart. I would never purposely provoke tears from anyone, not even those who have hurt me profoundly. Yet sometimes acting in this manner is the only way I can get someone to listen to my voice and believe my truth. I am neither too proud to extend an apology when deserved and make amends with those I’ve offended. My truest desire is to maintain peace.

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I am not taken seriously in my tender moments; my tenderness is taken for granted. The world demands yet resents my tenderness. Should a loved one offend me, my tenderness is an inconvenience because my tears take away from focusing on the “root” of the problem, and I am forced to slog against the tears. Should I act sternly with others, not allowing my emotions to flinch, I’m accused of being cold and harsh. The combination of my emotions is never seen as right.

It seems my sensitivity is to be used at the convenience of others. I can never be me. I’m never entitled to the beauty of my emotions. My view of my emotions is brushed off because I am overly sensitive. Yet, I cannot label the world as overly cruel, overly angry, or overly unforgiving.

I read once that instead of numbing our pain we need to identify the source of our pain and work on the problem instead of the symptom. For example, we may have a headache because we are dehydrated, hungry, or stressed. We should work on fixing those issues rather than silencing the headache calling out for attention.

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The same goes for my tears. My tears, the ‘water works’ as they’ve been called, are not crocodile tears. It’s not an act or an attempt to manipulate; these statements couldn’t be further from the truth. My tears are indicators that my soul is experiencing pain, something is hurting me. To stop my pain at it’s root I need to either freeze my heart (which I have failed to accomplish) or excuse myself from the undesirable situation until I’m emotionally ready. This I can rarely accomplish without ridicule that I cannot work through a topic, without being accused of being overly dramatic.

I am always apologizing, but rarely entitled to an apology when hurt because my over-sensitivity is what causes the pain, not the actions or words of others.

When is my sensitive nature ever right for me!?

People say my tears and sensitive nature take away from the moment. I have slogged away for a good portion of my life to hide these parts of myself. I keep my tears a secret and am ashamed of my weakness.

As an adult, I find that my sensitive nature and heart are not the problem. The problem is the lack of sensitivity in the world. It’s not the compassionate who are the problem; a lack of empathy is the problem!  I will continue to embrace my sensitivity, tears and all. I do not lose hope there are more sensitive people out there. I won’t (and truthfully can’t) harden myself and lose hope because I find the world to be cruel and unloving. I am who I am. I am transparent.My anger is pain masked with anger. It’s sadness for being the recipient of a pain I would never wish to inflict on others. It’s a betrayal I never foresaw. It’s the second opportunity no one else would’ve extended, yet I’ve already extended a third to my offender while knowing how the situation will likely end. It’s fighting the urge to assume the worst in others. It’s the unconditional love I am willing to give which is rarely cashed in.

It’s the product of a broken heart living in a broken world that is trying to break the best in me.

  “Highly sensitive people are too often perceived as weaklings or damaged goods. To feel intensely is not a symptom of weakness, it is the trademark of the truly alive and compassionate. It is not the empath who is broken, it is society that has become dysfunctional and emotionally disabled. There is no shame in expressing your authentic feelings. Those who are at times described as being a “hot mess” or having “too many issues” are the very fabric of what keeps the dream alive for a more caring, humane world. Never be ashamed to let your tears shine a light in this world.” – Anthon St. Maarten

Slog

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Here Are More of Jackelyn’s Posts:


Thank you so much Jackelyn for agreeing to be interviewed. I am thrilled to find out so much about you and hope your struggles in life have become easier to handle through your faith. I hope you have more peaceful moments, than times which stress you out. Here is one more link to Jackelyn’s BlogFaith Walking Hebrews 11:1


Thanks for reading! If you would like to answer some interview questions about writing/blogging/poetry and your unique perspective and process on writing, I would encourage you to reach-out to me on my Contact Page. I would love to have you featured as a biweekly interviewee. See you in two-weeks!


©Mandibelle16. (2016) All Rights Reserved.