10,000 Followers Giveaway!

Yesterday something kind of amazing happened. This blog hit 10,000 followers. To some of you that may seem like a lot and to others it may seem like a little, but to me it is almost incomprehensible and completely humbling, especially since the majority of these followers have come within the last year. I know that not everyone who follows my blog reads every post, but I am still overwhelmed by how many people at some point clicked that “Follow” button to show a measure of support.

When I first started this blog almost five years ago, I was right out of college working as a full-time nanny and needed a creative outlet to keep me writing. I wrote sporadically and without much focus and only about five people even knew about my blog because I didn’t share my posts on social media or even tell my friends about them. As I moved into a season of wrestling with my faith, I started to explore some of my questions, my doubts, and my revelations through blogging. I occasionally shared these posts on Facebook, but my audience was still very small.

After moving to Korea, I had a wealth of strange and interesting life experiences to write about and process through. At the same time, I discovered the spiritual memoir genre and found that blogging about my faith helped me sort through my jumbled thoughts and feelings. I started to connect with other bloggers who wrote about similar topics – what it looks like when the faith you grew up with doesn’t quite fit anymore and how faith can change and grow over time. I had opportunities to guest post and invited others to share on my blog. As I grew into this community, I became more serious about blogging as a means of working out my own story and my own faith while connecting with other people. I sought to present my authentic self with my questions and doubts and problems, and hoped that through my vulnerability others could identify with me and feel less alone.  I started to hear from readers who told me that these little essays meant something to them and I started making real life friends with people who read my words.

I know that some of my you came here to read about my travel experiences, some came to read book reviews and recommendations, and some came to read about my faith-wrestling, but all of you have made my life richer and made my moments of vulnerability worth it.

To help express my gratitude to those of you who have joined me on this journey, I’m hosting a little giveaway. There will be two winners and those winners will each receive a book pack with 3 of my favorite books. One set is nonfiction books and the other is fiction. (It was SO HARD to choose just 3 books for each!)

The nonfiction book pack includes: Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans, Pastrix by Nadia Bolz Weber, and An Altar in the World by Barbara Brown Taylor.

The fiction book pack includes: Peace Like a River by Lief Enger, Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel, and The Way of Kings by Brandon Sanderson.

The rules are simple.

  1. You must be a follower or subscriber to this blog. (If you are not a follower all you have to do is scroll to the top of the page and look underneath the picture of a younger and svelter me with the little bio. There is a button right under that that says, “Click here if you’re awesome!” Click that button. All this means is that you will be notified when I post something new. )
  2. You must EITHER “like” my Facebook page, which I will link here. (Literally just click the “like” button) OR follow me on Twitter @lilyellyn. If you don’t have Facebook or Twitter just tell me that in the comment you leave.
  3. Finally, leave a comment below telling me either how you found this blog and why you started following OR what your favorite post has been. Be sure to include whether you are more interested in the fiction or nonfiction book pack if you have a preference.

This giveaway is open internationally so anyone can enter.Submissions are open for 1 week and will close on Wednesday, December 23rd at 11:59 PM EST. There is only one entry per person. At the end of the submission period I will collect the names of everyone who submitted and draw two names randomly. I will announce the winners here in a blog post on Christmas Day so be sure the check back.

You guys are seriously the best. Thank you for being a part of my life.

Giveaway banner image credit via StephanieHowell.com
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61 comments

    1. Hilary, that’s so cool. I’m so glad you appreciate those posts. They can be hard to write and put out there for the world to see but they are also often the most rewarding. Good luck with the giveaway!

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  1. Hi Lily! I found your blog through your Facebook posts and especially enjoy reading about your travels. Hope you are doing well! And I’d love the non-fiction pack of books 🙂

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  2. Well, you know how I met you! But I started following because I really enjoy your writing style. You talk neither down nor up to your audience, which can be a pretty rare trait nowadays. I also appreciate your honesty in matters of faith; I think that can be such a powerful testimony in itself. Plus Korea–totally living vicariously through you after I left.
    And my preference is books. 😉

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  3. Well, you know how I met you! But I started following because I really enjoy your writing style. You talk neither down nor up to your audience, which can be a pretty rare trait nowadays. I also appreciate your honesty in matters of faith; I think that can be such a powerful testimony in itself. Plus Korea–totally living vicariously through you after I left.
    And my preference is books. 😉

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  4. well lets see, i am pretty sure that you were the sweet little girl that i played with at every family event that we were all able to be together on. I am very proud of you. you are very talented and i love reading your words and hearing your heart

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    1. 🙂 You are so, so sweet. I always appreciate your comments and how you share my posts with others too. It’s been really cool to be able to connect through blogging even though it’s been such a long time since we’ve seen each other. I heard you are going to Granny’s for New Year’s. Do you know what day you are arriving?

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  5. You know, I am hooked to you here, FB as well as Twitter and don’t miss a single piece 🙂
    I came across your blog last year when my friend shared your blog link with me. Since then I read all your past blogs and have been reading all the new ones too.
    My favorite blogs have been the ones you have written on faith, not having a child and of course some kick ass Korea adventures along with your CoT stories 😛
    I like non fiction better!

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    1. Pradnya, you are like a super reader. Also, you are becoming my best editor, haha. I love your optimism and have really enjoyed doing the 52 Weeks of Adventure with you. Can’t believe we are so close to finishing!

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  6. Yay for Facebook and Twitter. Favourite post? I like the one about when you went running through the Disney land marathon. The one about spiritual places outside church? And the ones about facing up to your spiritual journey. Oh and the one about the cool things about being Anglican.
    I love the way you make me think about my own spiritual journey, not being afraid to ask difficult questions.
    (So I would go with the nonfiction option)
    I could go on but must stop.

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    1. Aww, thank you so much. Some of those go back a long way! It makes me so happy to know that sharing my spiritual journey and struggles has been meaningful to you. I’m so glad to have “met” you here!

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  7. I found you via your Relevant article: 4 Lies the Church Taught Me About Sex. This year, I’ve really been enjoying your 52 Weeks of Adventure posts. Overall, though, I just “get” what you write. 🙂

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  8. What’s that? You’re giving away books? 🙂
    I started following your blog because you’re a kindred spirit whom I have much in common. I also loved following your Korean adventures 😉 I would be most interested in the fiction pack, but the non-fiction looks good too!

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    1. Hahaha. Did your book radar go off? I’m so glad we were able to “meet” through Asharae. I suppose it makes sense that some of her close friends would have a lot in common, but I still think it’s great. Be honest…how many of those books do you already own? 😉

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  9. Lily!
    Congrats on the followers! I honestly can’t remember when I started reading the blog but love staying connected to Wheaton people who are living out and wrestling their faith in the real world, no matter how exciting or boring it may be. Thanks for your challenging and encouraging words.

    I don’t have a preference on book pack!

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    1. Thank you! I also love keeping tabs on fellow Wheaties, so I know what you mean. I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed what I’ve been writing here. I love how the Wheaton community continues outside of Wheaton. Good luck with the giveaway!

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  10. Hi Lily! I found your blog through your RELEVANT bio and have been a reader for about a year. I read most everything you post, but my favorites are your monthly round-ups of what you’re into. I’m always so excited to read them when they hit my inbox! Also, I totally wouldn’t own Daring Greatly by Brene Brown if it wasn’t for you.

    Preference is Fiction but Nonfiction is good too 🙂

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    1. Hi, Lauren! I’m so glad to have you here. Thanks for sticking around. I’m also so glad you picked up Daring Greatly! I think that book is so powerful. I’m also glad to hear that you enjoy the monthly round-ups. I really enjoy doing them because I feel like it makes me really pay attention to my life and account for my days in a way. I also like being able to look back at what was going on a year ago or whenever. Thanks for reading and good luck with the giveaway!

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  11. I found your blog via your infamous sex post on Relevant, but when we connected more after you wrote about friendship for Data’s link up. And I’m not sure what my favorite post has been. I’ve appreciated all of the faith posts so much because they make me feel less alone. But the book posts have been helpful! I wouldn’t have read The Night Circus or Cinder otherwise, and I loved them both.

    I know this sounds sappy but your friendship is honestly the best thing for me that’s come out of blogging. Online friends are real friends. 🙂

    I’m more interested in the fiction ones (because I already own all the non-fiction books, haha).

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  12. Lillers! I found your blog because I suppose at some point roughly 5 years ago, you mentioned you were doing one, and I’ve followed you since then…and loved every second of it. Benjamin and I just moved from Portland to Minneapolis this fall because he’s going to grad school, and ohh so many of the things you’ve written the last couple months have been the words of my heart — expressed ohh so much better than I would be able to. All the Korea/travel stuff has been tough to read at times because of jealousy 🙂 but I enjoyed the reminders that there’s a big world out there, and I want to see it all!…even if I can’t do it all RIGHT NOW. Also, I’ve read several books you’ve recommended over the years (Faith Unraveled, All the Light We Cannot See, in the middle of The Name of the Wind right now, etc.), so it’s a little tough for me to try to pick my favorite things on your blog. I LOVE IT ALL. And I can’t say I have a preference on which books either…due to my loving it all 🙂

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    1. MC!!!!!!!! I did not know you guys moved to Minneapolis.That sounds like the polar opposite of Portland, haha. It’s crazy how we’ve had so many different life experiences and still find ourselves in such similar positions all these years later. I also want to see the whole world – I’ve been back in the US for four months and I already have major travel bug. I miss Korea so much, but I am trying to focus on being thankful for the opportunities I’ve had – I know I’ve been able to travel more and experience more than a lot of people and I shouldn’t be greedy about it. 😉 I’m so glad you’ve enjoyed some of my favorite books! It made me so happy to see your comment here. I wish we lived remotely near each other so we could hang out always. Love you!

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  13. Hi Lilly! I first found your blog because you shared a post about having children- or not having children a really long time ago- and that being okay at that moment. I think that was the same post you also mentioned that you and jonathan were moving to Korea. I was so enthralled by your post and At the time I was starting my own blog and realized i could “follow” different blogs. After reading such a powerful post, I decided to follow the blog because I connected with you. I later connected with you on a more personal level through the Sex and the Church series that you did- which has been and still is one of my favorite series to go back and read through. Sometimes to answer questions that keep reappearing, and other times to remind myself how others think- or give myself hope that there is hope!

    The books in the non-fiction bundle excites me because it includes a book by Rachel Held Evans! I recently read her book about A Year of Biblical Womanhood and am interested in reading more of her writing- though she can be quite assertive in her writing.

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    1. That’s great! I am a little obsessed with books and it makes me so happy when I can introduce someone to something I love and have them enjoy it too. I’m planning to do more book chats in the new year. I’m glad you’re here! 🙂

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  14. Hi Lily,
    First of all: congratulations on having so many followers! First thing triggered me for following your site was a photo you posted round dec 2014 from a ring which has an inscription ‘waits’, and reading your articles about sex and the church. You have a lovely writingstyle which I like reading. I can not say what my favorite post is, i like most of them 😉 I like the non fiction books better btw
    kr Ben

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    1. That’s really cool. I remember when I started seeing your name pop up in the comments. I love having people I hear from consistently. I see blogging as a form of communication and it feels like we’re having a conversation with one another when readers stick around and engage. Thanks for being a consistent presence here over the last year. I’ve enjoyed having you!

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  15. I can’t remember how I found your blog, but I love any book posts the most. I have bought of few of these “favorites” you are giving away due to your recommendations. I still have The Way of Kings on my bookshelf, as I just can’t get over how LONG it is…need to just pick it up and start!

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  16. I can’t remember how I found your blog, but I love your book posts the most! I have purchased a few of both of these book sets because of your recommendations. I have had The Way of the Kings on my bookshelf for a while now…just can’t get over how LONG it is! Need to just pick it up and begin!

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    1. I am planning to re-start my book chats beginning in January. I’m going to spend part of my winter break putting together a blogging schedule so I can get back to being more consistent. This fall has been so focused on looking for work and doing freelance writing that my blog has fallen by the wayside a bit, but I really miss some of those book-related posts.

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  17. I got to your blog from your article on CBE’s Arise. The first article I saw was this and decided to stick around/follow because Peace Like a River is my favorite book too and I just put Station Eleven on my Goodreads list. I also love those Taylor and Weber books. I like your writing style, but I REALLY like your taste in books. 🙂

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  18. I’ve been following your blog since 2014, when I read your Freshly Pressed post about going viral. I enjoy your writing and your travel posts — the CoT stories made me smile, and I sympathize with the difficulties (and joys) of re-adjusting to life in the US.

    I hope you have a lovely festive season. 🙂 My preference is non-fiction.

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  19. What a great idea, thank you! I just left you a comment on your wholeheartedness post. 🙂 I found you after you were Freshly Pressed last year. Your one word post really spoke to me. I have also especially enjoyed your book posts. I love books so much and I’m always interested to know what people are reading and enjoying. I prefer non-fiction. All the best, Stacy

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  20. Well, I can’t remember now how I found your blog…but I followed you because we have a lot in common. Like love for books, travel, faith, teaching, writing/blogging, Parks n Rec, and new lipstick.

    That’s a long list of things in common, and it’s got me wondering if you like musicals, waterfalls, crocheting, and/or French culture.

    And I would pick the fiction books. PLAR is one of my all-time faves (I used to teach it), so I would love to gift it to someone. And I would love to read the other two.

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  21. I searched for blogs to follow after i was baptized and started my own blog, Posts of Experience. I too am a writer and teacher so when I found your blog I knew I had found a kindred spirit! I’ve enjoyed every post immensely … you have a wonderful voice!

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  22. I don’t remember exactly how I found your blog – probably facebook – but we were in the same small group before we did SMP; you to Russia and me to the Dominican Republic. I have LOVED reading your stories, your wonderings, and your book reviews over the past few years. I have been eyeing several of the books in the nonfiction pack for a few months now, so that would be my preference.

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  23. I started reading regularly after your Relevant articles last spring – I thought they were phenomenally written and had some really good substance that needed to be expressed lovingly (really impressed). Since then, I’ve loved your book summaries – its fun to get reading ideas outside of law books these days!

    (But law school still dictates most of my preferences, so I’d go non-fiction. 🙂 )

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  24. I honestly don’t remember how I found this blog, but I’m really glad I did! I love your guest series about sex and the church. I think it’s a really important topic that too often goes undiscussed or worse, discussed in negative ways.

    (Interested in the fiction!)

    Like

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