Monday, January 9, 2017

Meet the Blogger with Ceil Ryan




 
It's Meet the Blogger Monday! This month I have the pleasure of hosting Ceil Ryan, of Surrounded by the Spirit. This lovely writer and I met through blogging, of course, and if there's one thing I've noted about her, it's that she has a genuine heart for others. Her wise and often witty posts always seem to address a need or offer an encouraging word - or both.


Welcome, Ceil! So glad to have you visit. Why did you start blogging? How long have you had your current blog?  

Hi Karen! Thank you so much for including me in your Meet the Blogger Series. I have enjoyed reading about the other bloggers you’ve featured, and I’m honored to be here!  


In 2012, I finished writing four chapters of a book on the Parable of the Talents.  Then I figured it was time to investigate how to get published. Well, that was an eye-opener. I found out I needed: an advanced degree, publications, a speaking career, a blog and a Twitter account before I would even be allowed to submit a manuscript. Yikes. Getting published sounded impossible. I quit writing the book (which was a good move because it was terrible) and started my first blog, Evangelize to Me, in 2013 on the Google Blogger platform. The next year I migrated the blog to Wordpress, changing the name to Surrounded by the Spirit.

The publishing process can be a complicated one, that's for sure. Maybe a revised version of that book will find a home someday. :) What is your current blog about?

I reflect on the events of my life, or the lives of those around me, trying to figure out what God is trying to say. God constantly speaks through our friends, our families, our day-to- day chores, and us. And He keeps speaking, whether we are listening or not, telling us the love story of how we belong to Him and to all created things. His spirit surrounds us!

I agree. That's a great comfort. What benefits have you gained through blogging?

I started blogging to learn how to express myself, and to find focus. I think that’s all I expected, but I’ve gotten so much more than that. There’s such a large world of bloggers out there, all expressing what’s important to them. It’s fascinating to read different posts and learn new things, and new ways of thinking. But most of all, I love the relationships that form with fellow bloggers. I have had the privilege of meeting two blog-friends face to face, and it was like meeting old friends. Blog-land is big, but it’s also one of the friendliest, most encouraging places I’ve ever been.

The relationships are the best! "Blog-land" is big and small, isn't it? That's fun that you've met two other bloggers so far. What projects are you working on now? 

I’m currently writing two talks that are planned for the spring. One is a half-day retreat, the other a one-hour presentation, both for women.  I was recently asked if I’d like to speak at a Ministry Conference breakout session in April.

Sounds interesting - I'm sure you'll be a blessing to those attending. What might people be surprised to learn about you? 

1) I don’t like pie, unless it’s chocolate or pecan. Please, for the love of all that’s holy, stop putting fruit in my dessert!

2) Although I started out writing a book, I don’t think that’s something I should be doing now. I’m very happy writing for the blog, as well as designing talks and mini-retreats.

There are so many good things writers can do other than write books. Sounds like you are keeping busy. What advice would you share with a newbie blogger? 

Be gentle with yourself. When I started, I think I had a headache every day. It’s overwhelming at first, but you’ll get it. Take the time to read other blogs and comment on them too. To me, blogging is not only about developing your own voice; it’s about encouraging others while they find theirs. You’ll meet some wonderful people and make good blog friends too. 

Wonderful advice! It's an interesting journey with ups and downs, and the results are totally worth it. Thanks so much for coming by to see us. :) 

Thank you, Karen!  
 

More About Ceil

Ceil Ryan is a wife, nurse, mom and nana living in the Midwest. After working more than twenty years, she hung up her nurse’s cap to start writing, speaking and blogging full-time. Her passion is sharing personal stories with an emphasis on faith and encouragement.


Do you have any questions for Ceil? Have you visited her blog? What are you working on so far in the new year?

Happy writing,
Karen 



Photo credit: Free Images

57 comments :

  1. So great to meet, Ceil. I can relate to her journey. I started blogging because writers needed it as part of a social platform. Now I write full-time for my job, but not to publish a book. My blog takes up the time I'd have to write.

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    1. Hi Natalie! Great to meet you too! Isn't it funny how we are called to start blogging? You just never know where the road will take you. God bless your writing efforts in 2017,
      Ceil

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  2. "I don’t like pie"

    WHAT. I don't think we can be friends anymore!

    ;-)

    Good advice here, Ceil.

    Imagine the days of printing presses and common illiteracy. Compared to that, blogging is an amazing gift. Any one of us can talk to the whole world. Simply miraculous.




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    1. Hi Sandi! Heavy sigh... I know I've let you down... Lol! Maybe we could share a piece of cake??
      You are so right about blogging being a gift. I have met bloggers from all over the USA, and from Europe too. It is miraculous.
      Thanks for visiting here today!
      Ceil

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  3. I love Ceil! Thanks for featuring her here Karen. She's a very special person and has an encouraging ministry.

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    1. Hi Lynn! Thank you for your kind comment here, I feel the same way about you. It's so great to have so much support and encouragement from you, and the blogging community as a whole. You're a great example of how great the community really is!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

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  4. As a former coworker I can attest to Ceil's talent for encouraging others. I am finding her blog very inspirational!

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    1. Hi Mary! Thank you SO much for coming over to read and then comment too, I really appreciate it. Your support keeps me going!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

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  5. If speaking and conferences are your calling, stick with that for now. When God wants you to write a book, you will.

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    1. Hi L. Diane! Thank you for your encouraging advice. I think you are absolutely right! Maybe someday a book will be in my future, but I know that's not now.
      Nice to meet you today :)
      Ceil

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  6. I love your attitude about blogging. It's about connecting and encouraging others.

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    1. Hi Alex! It really is about making those connections, isn't it? It was fun to read your interview, you are an inspiration to writers and bloggers. Thank you for making a comment here. May 2017 be a year of inspiration for you!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

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  7. Hi Karen,
    Thanks for introducing me to Ceil. You are always so generous to other writers. I haven't visited her blog yet, but I certainly will.
    Best wishes for a joyous new year.

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    1. Hi Donna! I agree with you, Karen is so generous. I have always enjoyed reading her "Meet the Blogger" series. Isn't it crazy how large the blogging world is? I look forward to your visit, and getting to know more about you too!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

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  8. Hi, Karen!
    Thanks for featuring Ceil on your blog - she is one of the most delightful and insightful bloggers out there, hands down! I have followed Surrounded by the Spirit for quite a while now, and am honored that Ceil follows me at Meditations of My Heart. Hope you will visit sometime! https://marthaorlando.blogspot.com

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    1. Hi Martha! Thank you for coming over to visit me here today, and for your very lovely comment too. I'm glad we're connected through our blogs, and you are yet another example of how friendly the blog world is.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

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  9. Hi Karen and Ceil:
    Very inspirational interview of one of my favorite bloggers out there! I had the privilege of meeting Ceil in person and she is as delightful in person as she writes. She's down to earth and very friendly and a blessing to so many. My favorite part of the interview is her encouragement to bloggers to not only be patient with themselves, but to reach out to others and visit with comments. I will be praying for your speaking slot in that women's ministry, Ceil. That audience is in for a treat!

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    1. Hi Mary! I remember our coffee date very well, thank you for taking the chance to meet! And thank you especially for your prayers, those I really need.
      Thank you for your gracious comments here, and your friendship too,
      Ceil

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  10. Natalie,
    Blogging adds so much to our lives - such a common thread between all of us! Glad you got to meet Ceil! :)

    Sandi,
    You know, I struggled the same way with the pie thing, lol. I think we can still be friends with Ceil since she's such a good egg and all. :)

    Lynn,
    I agree, Ceil is a gem! It's nice we have so many wonderful friends, isn't it? :)

    Mary,
    She's the real deal, isn't she? Nice to meet you! So glad you stopped to see us. :)

    Diane,
    Yes, I agree! Such good advice. Appreciate you stopping to see us today. :)

    Alex,
    Indeed it is. And you are a good example of that too. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  11. Donna,
    I'm happy you got a chance to meet Ceil! :) She's a treasure. And you my friend, are very sweet. Appreciate you coming by!

    Martha Jane,
    You are welcome! It's my pleasure. :) And I'd be happy to stop by your blog. Will hop over asap!

    Saleslady,
    Good to meet you! Ceil's the real deal, isn't she? We're blessed to know her. Thanks for hopping over today. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  12. Hi, I'm visiting from Ceil's blog. I've been enjoying Ceil's writing and friendship for quite awhile. Ceil, I enjoyed getting to know you a bit better. Keep up the great work on your blog and in all the other parts of your ministry. Thank you so much for your continued encouragement on my ministry--written (blog) and spoken.

    Blessings,

    Kim

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    1. Hi Kim! Thank you for coming over and commenting too. I think bloggers are some of the most generous people, and your kind words reflect that. We encourage each other, which is a wonderful benefit of writing on a blog!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

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  13. Yes, Karen, I do know Ceil! What a lovely, precious lady, who I would consider to be a dear friend! I am so thankful to learn more about you, Ceil, and to come and visit you here today. :) Thank you for sharing your heart and for the loving support you have provided to me so many times. You are a blessing to this blogging world, and I am so thankful God ever led you to become a part of it. We are all better off because you are a part of our lives. God bless you abundantly, sweet friend, and thank you, Karen, for featuring Ceil. It was so nice to "meet" you!

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    1. Hi Cheryl! Thank you for coming over and commenting too. Your words really prove that the blogging community is supportive and encouraging. Thank you for your kind words! It's been great to be a part of the Meet the Blogger series with Karen. I have always enjoyed reading about other writers, and now it's so fun to be included.
      I'm so glad we're connected through our blogs,
      Ceil

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  14. This was a great interview, Karen. Ceil is a sweet blogging friend of mine and was one of my first followers. She is truly a gifted writer who has a wonderful way of using her everyday life experiences to minister to her readers. Thank you for featuring Ceil on your blog. Many blessings to you!

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    1. Hi Debby! We started following each other a long time ago, didn't we? It's wonderful to be connected for such a long time.
      Thanks for being here, and for extending your warm blog-friendship,
      Ceil

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  15. Hi Ceil - How nice to see you here! I get your emails and popped over here the moment I noticed you were on my friend's blog. It's always nice to learn more about your blogging friends. Have a blessed week, Susan :)

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    1. Hi Susan! I remember reading your interview here with Karen, it's so fun to learn more about each other in this format. Karen is a very generous person, giving us space to communicate with each other on her website.
      We are certainly blessed by her friendship!
      Ceil

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  16. Hi Karen - how lovely to meet Ceil and find out more about her. She sounds the perfect person to give a talk, to be encouraging ... actually to be calming and peaceful in her approach to life - wonderful attributes ...

    You've got it right Ceil ... you're doing things you're passionate about, and as the time comes around you'll move across somewhat and include books, or booklets into your repertoire ... they're all there - the talks to be compiled at some stage.

    Lovely interview and just what we need at this time of year. The blogging fraternity is amazing isn't it ... and if you're not in it - you can't understand it and in some instances won't understand it ... I've learnt so much about so many things - educated myself more in the last 8 years than through the rest of my life ...

    Cheers and have very happy and peaceful and successful 2017s .. Hilary

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    1. Hi Hilary! Thank you for your supportive comments here. I do think that a book or booklet is in the distance, if at all...but if the time comes, it comes.
      Thank you for your kind words about my speaking ministry. I hope you're right! I do enjoy planning and writing programs, and hope to do more in the coming years.
      Nice to meet you!
      Ceil

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  17. Kim,
    It's good to meet you! Thank you for stopping by for the interview. We've been blessed with a good friend in Ceil, haven't we? :)

    Cheryl,
    It's nice to meet you too! :) Thanks for taking the time to visit us. Ceil's the genuine article, isn't she? We're blessed to call her friend.

    Debby,
    Thanks so much! Appreciate you stopping by for the interview, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Ceil's sweet nature just speaks volumes to us, doesn't it?:)

    Susan,
    Ceil's a gem, isn't she? :) Thanks for hopping over to see us. I'm with you; it's fun to learn more about our friends.

    Hillary,
    So glad you had a chance to meet Ceil. I suspected you'd enjoy doing so.:) I agree, Ceil does sound like she's a good sounding board and counsel. Yes, this blogging fraternity is an amazing thing. We are blessed, aren't we?

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  18. Lovely to meet you, Ceil. It always amazes me that no matter where we're from, we all have so much in common. Thanks for your encouragement, Ceil. It means a lot.

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    1. Hi Joylene! So nice to meet you too! We do all have issues in common, and that's why it's nice to share our experiences. That way I don't feel like the Lone Ranger either :)
      It's always great to meet and learn from new people.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

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  19. Karen and Ceil: I enjoyed this interview. I find it interesting she wrote a book first and then found out about building a platform through blogging. I read Ceil's blog when ever I can. When I haven't been able to read it, I miss her style. Same goes for you,too, Karen.

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    1. Hi Cecelia! I think there are so many reasons people start to blog, it's interesting to reflect back on why we began in this fascinating world isn't it?
      Thank you for your blog friendship all these years, and for your lovely comment here,
      Ceil

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  20. I love Ceil's blog; it's one of the more encouraging ones out there.
    What? NO fruit in your pie? That's just un-American! But I love you anyway, and thank you for your heart to help us.

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    1. Hi Jeanette! I know, I know. The fruit would probably be good for me too.
      The first time I met my in-laws, I was faced with an apple pie. What could I do? I couldn't insult them...so of course I choked it down. Later, it became a funny story in the family.
      I'm glad we can still be friends, and overlook the whole dessert debate!
      Ceil

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  21. Cecelia,
    Glad you enjoyed the interview. Yes, I found that interesting as well. We all have different yet similar journeys, don't we? Thanks so much for your kind words. You are a good and sweet friend! :)

    Jen,
    I agree, she always brings some nugget of truth to light. :) The fruit thing, yeah, I had to work past that too. LOL But we love her anyway, right?

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  22. Ceil! So fun to learn more about you and how you got started blogging! I had NO idea you started a book. I'm putting ALL my money on that it IS good. Everything you write is good.

    I love that you are speaking these days. I can imagine you being such a comforting presence and that women everywhere would be blessed by your wisdom and your heart.

    PS: If fruit has enough gooey goodness to it, it's not fruit anymore. Surround it with some serious buttery flakes and a slab of great ice cream and WHALAH! Mmmm....

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    1. Hi Chris! Please don't bet all your money, your family will need it. Trust me, that book was bad! I know I could do a way better job now. It's very humbling to read what I thought was good content. Oy. But I do appreciate your faith in me. Maybe someday?
      You can put a pound of sugar in there, and I'll still take a pass. You can pass the ice cream though!
      Blessings,
      Ceil

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    2. Hi Karen ... thanks for sharing this lovely conversation with our mutual friend. I'm a big Ceil fan and I know I'm not the only one.

      But no fruit pie?

      Oh my, girl!

      But maybe it's just as well because I tried my hand at one last week {it's been years} and it ended up like concrete. So bad that it ended up in the trash.

      Sigh.

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    3. Hi Linda! Oh jeez, what a disappointment! To put all that work into something and have it not work out, that's frustrating.
      Thank you for your kind words about our blog-friendship! It's been a while now, and I always enjoy reading your words. Looking forward to 2017 :)
      Ceil

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  23. Keep the fruit out of my desserts, too. ha. I relate to you, Ceil.
    "Blog-land is big, but it’s also one of the friendliest, most encouraging places I’ve ever been." I agree with you here too! So thankful you're part of blogland.

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    1. Hi Lisa! Finally!! Someone who doesn't care for fruit in bakery items, yay!
      I'm thankful for you Lisa, and your many ministries in helping others. You are always an inspiration to me, and to all your readers. May 2017 be another year of joyful giving for you,
      Ceil

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  24. Chris,
    I'm with you, add the crust and ice cream and you're all set! :) Good to meet you. Thanks so much for coming by! :)

    Linda,
    You are welcome! Appreciate you stopping over for Ceil's interview. So sorry about the pie - maybe next time it will turn out better. Or maybe next time the bakery section at the grocery store might be able to help? They've come to my rescue a time or two. lol :)

    Lisa,
    It's nice to meet you! I agree, blogland is a wonderful place. Thanks so much for stopping by. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  25. Fun to read this write up about you Ceil. Love and agree with your comment: Blog-land is big, but it’s also one of the friendliest, most encouraging places I’ve ever been. Meeting people like you in blog land has been such a surprising blessing

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    1. Hi Jean! Well, we've been friends for a long time, and I have really enjoyed meeting and learning from you. Like Karen, you have so much wisdom to share. I hope we can meet 'in person' someday. Until then, may God keep inspiring you richly in the new year,
      Ceil

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  26. Ceil's blog is lovely and, although I have a lot to learn about blogging, I find it a very simple way to interact with other writers all around the world. I would encourage anyone who feels inspired to blog, it is not as hard as I initially thought it would be. I hope that this interview will add many to the blog-list.

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    1. Hi Brenda! I'm glad you figured out the link to come over! Being linked to you certainly proves the international community in blogging. I also hope that many will join in. It's fun to learn about other people.
      Thank you for coming today :)
      Ceil

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  27. Thanks Karen for hosting Ceil, I have seen her around the bloggers world here and there. I'll hop over to her blog and see what's new.

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    1. Hi Marja! Thank you for visiting here and on my blog too. I hope we can keep up the connection! You are another reason that the blogging community is an international one, but still a small, helpful place.
      Blessings,
      Ceil

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  28. I love this! For the record, I'm not all that fond of pie myself. Give me cake instead!

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    1. Hi Stephanie! We are definitely in the minority, but welcome to the 'cake club'!
      It's so nice to see you again. I look forward to visiting you soon :)
      Blessings,
      Ceil

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  29. Jean,
    Like you, I've found unexpected and wonderful blessings in the blogging community. It's nice to meet you! Glad you came by. :)

    Brenda,
    I agree, her blog is lovely! :) It's full of wisdom and treasures. Blogging is an adventure, isn't it? Appreciate you coming by to see us! :)

    Marja,
    I think you just might enjoy Ceil's blog. And I'm glad you got to meet her this week. Always good to see you! :)

    Stephanie,
    So glad you enjoyed the interview! It seems you are in good company with the cake thing. All our differences make us a happy and unique group, don't they? :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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  30. So happy to stop over here and read the interview with Ceil. I had not heard of how she got into blogging, and hope that someday she will write again, I enjoy all her posts, she is always a blessing and inspiration. I'm happy to meet you today too :)

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  31. I agree with Ceil. Relationships are what keep me coming back and typing onto my empty blog page each week. Everyone I meet is special and has such a unique worldview. It's exciting!

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  32. Spicing Up Idaho,
    I'm so glad you did stop over! It's wonderful to meet you. :) Loved the photos of your home state on your blog, btw.

    Lee,
    It is exciting! You never know who you'll meet or what adventures they'll take you on through their blogs. Like the story you shared on your post this week. :)

    Happy writing,
    Karen

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Thanks for stopping by! I appreciate your input. Have a blessed day!