Dark Glass Ponderings

For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known. -1 Corinthians 13:12

Amber Stokes is a college English major who enjoys writing and shares spiritual insights, devotionals, book reviews, and themed posts at http://www.seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com/.
1. Thank you so much for being here. Could you tell us a little about how you got started blogging?

Amber: Thank you for hosting me! It’s such an honor to be asked—and I’m quite excited to be interviewed for the first time on a blog!

It’s quite an interesting story about how I got started blogging. Before I started my own blog, I had been reading others’ blogs and entering lots of giveaways (which proved quite fruitful every now and then!). It wasn’t until last semester (Spring 2010) when I actually created my own blog. My bowling teacher and I were talking about my interest in writing, and he asked me if I had a blog. He said that it was important for a person serious about writing to have a blog. That’s when it kind of hit me—the idea that I could actually have my own blog.

So I promptly sent an e-mail to Renee from the blog “Black ‘n Gold Girl’s Book Spot.” I had won Love Finds You in Hershey, Pennsylvania during her blogoversary, and I thought that maybe she would be willing to help a newbie out. As it turns out, she was not only willing to help, but she was willing to truly invest in my blog. I can’t tell you how many times she’s answered my random questions and left encouraging comments on my blog. In fact, she was one of my first followers! What an amazing blessing her friendship has been!

2. What is your purpose in blogging?

Amber: I hope it’s alright if I just include most of the words from my “welcome” message on my blog. I think they sum up my answer well:

“The title of this blog refers to a poem I wrote entitled ‘Seasons of Humility.’ In the poem I express the struggle I have had with wanting my own way. I want to hold on to my own dreams, my own plans for my life. But I know that God has a plan for my life, one that will bring Him glory and will be even better than my dreams. So while the autumn and winter ‘seasons’ of learning to let go can sometimes be painful and long, when the spring comes it is wondrous indeed. And through it all God never leaves me. The intent of this blog, then, is to share my thoughts as I continue on this journey of striving to be humble before my Lord. My hope is that my thoughts will encourage you on your journey, as well, whether my thoughts are on my day or on the books I have been reading!”

3. What are your favorite parts of blogging?

Amber: What isn’t my favorite part about blogging? ;) I love blogging so much, from brainstorming themed-week ideas, to the process of writing the posts, to reading the comments from all of my wonderful readers. I sometimes have a hard time when there aren’t many comments on my posts, but really, I just want God to use me to encourage others, even if they don’t leave comments after they’ve read the posts. I have to remember that we simply don’t have time to leave comments on every single post that others’ write.

Anyway, I guess you could say that my favorite part about blogging is the people. I’ve been able to make so many friends—real, true friends—through blogging, and I only hope I might be able to inspire and uplift them as much as they have done for me!

I do have to say, though (as another favorite part about blogging), I love just writing the posts. I think God blesses me so much through simply allowing me the chance to contemplate how great He is, and to be reminded of where my hope and my treasure truly are.

4. Do you have a story about how you have gained encouragement while blogging?

Amber: I have so many stories that I don’t think I have enough room to share them all on here! I’m constantly being encouraged through the comments left on my posts, the interviews I do with various authors, and the e-mails and messages I get from my blogging buddies.

I remember the first time I “met” Amanda, one of my dear blogging friends. Her first comment was on one of my posts entitled “Please Hear Me Out,” where I discussed my struggle with my own selfishness and my tendency toward being unsocial. Amanda’s comment was so meaningful, and her understanding and support ever since has meant more than she will ever know.

All of the kind words that have been said to me, all of the encouraging comments, and all of the friendships I have made because of blogging . . . I could never truly express my gratitude for these gifts!

5. Can you share with us any special features you have on your blog and why you decided to offer them?

Amber: Good question! Because my blog is titled “Seasons of Humility,” I decided to have a seasonal rating system for the books I review (as shown in the sidebar of my blog). Also, I have a “Normal Weekly Schedule,” which is relatively new. Here’s what it looks like as of now:

*Sundays by the Sea: Encouraging thoughts inspired by the sea

*Mondays for the Military: A day set aside to pray for and honor the United States military

*True Love Tuesdays: Where the romantics at heart find a home

*Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays, and/or Saturdays: Book and movie reviews, college news, etc.

*Starting September 24 . . . Fall Fridays: Celebrating autumn and seeking humility

I haven’t always been following this schedule very strictly, so we’ll see how it goes in the future!

And for those who aren’t familiar with me or my blog, I am quite fond of themed weeks! ;) I don’t know if I could claim a favorite, as they all have been fun in their own ways, but I really did enjoy doing “Camp Humility,” where a group of us went to summer camp through my blog. It was fantastic, and I hope if I do something like that again that I can get even more people involved! The more the merrier, as they say!

6. Is there anything you’ve learned along the way about your relationship with God while blogging?

Amber: I think that because of the theme of humility on my blog I’ve been reminded of how much that truly entails and how much I have yet to learn about being humble before God. I’ve also been reminded how absolutely, inexpressibly wonderful having a relationship with the Lord really is! God knows our hearts, and He has given us certain passions that He can use through our lives to reach out to others and bring Him glory. I have loved learning more about God’s provisions and mercies through writing about them and seeing how God has worked in my readers’ lives!

7. Can you share any Scriptures that have encouraged you in your writing?

Amber: I have a verse in my sidebar that I came across a while ago, and I thought it fit well with the humility theme on my blog:

"For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones."
~Isaiah 57:15

Another humility verse that I used in the post I mentioned earlier called “Please Hear Me Out” is Proverbs 15:32-33:

"He that refuseth instruction despiseth his own soul: but he that heareth reproof getteth understanding. The fear of the Lord is the instruction of wisdom; and before honour is humility."

I don’t know if that really answers your question, but I hope my answer is alright. Different verses from God’s Word encourage me and inspire me when I’m writing specific posts, so there are always those, too!

8. Can you recommend ways that we as bloggers can minister to our readers?

Amber: There are so many ways to minister to our readers—I love just thinking about all of the possibilities! First and foremost I encourage us all (something I need to remember as well) to seek God’s will first and foremost. Often He uses us in ways we never expect or even understand.

I encourage bloggers to be creative! Sometimes readers just need something fun to make them smile as they go through their day. There are so many different ways—like having themed weeks, etc.—to give readers (and ourselves as bloggers!) something to anticipate.

Besides just having fun posts, I encourage bloggers to be honest. It can be hard to share what you’re struggling with, but a lot of times we all just need to hear that we’re not the only ones having a hard time, and this opens up opportunities to encourage each other and pray for one another.

Also, I encourage bloggers to write about some of the ways they have seen God at work in their own lives. This can include simply writing about what Scripture has really touched your heart or what movie or book reminded you of certain truths you needed to ponder.

9. Is there anything else you would like to share?

Amber: My first semester at college, I started a Facebook account. Because of all the time I felt I wasted on it (plus all of the drama it caused in my life with that “chatting” feature), I deactivated my account over Christmas break after that first semester.

Now, what does that have to do with blogging? Well, I started my own blog last spring, and I’ve been asked what the point was in deactivating my Facebook account if I spend just as much (if not more) time blogging.

It was a valid question. My answer: blogging is so much more meaningful than Facebook ever was or ever could be for me. It is my hope that God can use me to encourage others and bring Him glory through my blog. I know it has been a tremendous blessing in my life, and I have such a passion for it! For those who have a love for writing, I really recommend blogging. I know it isn’t possible for everyone to devote all of the time blogging requires in order to have a faithful and interested readership. But I know that, at least for me, the time invested in my blog has reaped benefits I can’t even begin to express my thankfulness for! Blogging is such a joy!


Amber, you did great for your first interview! Good job! It was neat to find out more about you.


Amber, By seeking humility you are certainly swimming upstream of many of the rest in the world today--especially the college age culture! I visited your blog and read the post about sand and shells . . . good thoughts for me as I begin my day. Thanks and blessings on your journey!

This is such a fantastic interview! Amber always does a lovely job with her blog's themed weeks. Kudos to both her blog and Julia's! :)


Truly awesome job, my friend : )

Better than my interview for you!! LOL!

Anyway, what you say is so true. There is a balancing act that needs to happen. I guess one way I think about it is that this is teaching me time managmement skills taht I will need for the rest of my life *wink* It's true!!
Congrats on your many accomplishments and this interview!

Amber first I have to say this your picture is so pretty! I love all the flowers (ar those blue bells?) and your sassy pose LOL!

It was so interesting reading more about you and I love your blog and I'm so glad you started it! Isn't it just wonderful how books bring people together like Cerella's book did? I hope you have many more wonderful blogging years...you too Julia!

XOXO~ Renee

Lovely interview ladies! You are very transperant in your writing Amber, and I think that is what draws people to you. It is what I love! :) Wonderful job, love it! Have a great day, my friend.

@ Joy, I agree. I know I learned so much from the interview.

@ Renee, Amen. It definitely is uphill for college students. I loved your thoughts about the shells too, what a beautiful metaphor the Lord gave you.

@ Cerella, Thank you for stopping by. I agree I love Amber's ideas for themed weeks and days.

@ Hannah, That's a great way to think about it as teaching time management skills. I'm heading over to check your blog now. I so enjoy your comments on Amber's blog.

@ Renee, Wish the same to you. I know you have encouraged a lot of bloggers who have been starting out. And like many yours was one of the first Christian book blogs I began following.

@ Casey, Thanks for stopping by and by the way, Amber asked...and just to let you know I AM entering you guys in (just not on the days of your post) if that makes sense.


Oh, thank you all so, so much for your support and encouraging comments!!!

JOY: Thank you! I was so honored that Julia would ask. It was a lot of fun!

RENEE: Oh, your words mean so much to me! :D Thank you for taking the time to visit my blog, and I'm so glad that you found encouragement there. God bless, and hopefully I'll continue to see you around!

CERELLA: You are so sweet to stop by and leave such a nice comment! :) Thank you for your kind words--I have been so blessed by your friendship!

HANNAH: Don't be silly! ;) Your interview for me was great, and it was so neat to hear about all the places you've traveled to. You are quite the globe-trotter!

Anyway, yes, blogging is indeed a balancing act. In fact, I was talking with my mom today, and I confess that I had a really hard time taking what she was saying--that I might be somewhat "obsessive" about my blog and spending too much time on it and not enough time on my studies. It is so hard to find the right balance, but I know that I definitely need to seek God first, and balance the tasks I am given to do, remembering my priorities. School needs to come first now, but I am very thankful for the opportunities and friendships blogging provides!

Sorry for that long spiel! ;)


RENEE (SteelerGirl83): Awwww, thank you! I really like how that picture turned out, too. :) Those flowers are actually lupines, which my mom and I both love! The picture was taken this last summer.

Thank you so much for all your help since the beginning of my blog, and yes, I am so glad that blogs and books have helped us all "meet" each other and form these amazing friendships! God is so good, and I'm so glad He provides ways for us to reach out to one another. Thank you for your encouragement, Renee! It means so much to me. :)

CASEY: Thank you! Oh, I could say the same about you. :) Your writing is wonderful and honest, and I've been so encouraged by you, Julia, and all of our blogging friends!

JULIA: Thank you so, so much for hosting me here, today! I know I've said this before, but it was such an honor and I was so touched that you asked me. :) You are a fantastic friend, and I'm so glad we "met" in the blogging world! You have a lovely blog, and it has been wonderful being hosted here!

God bless!


Another great interview! I loved how Amber came up with the title for her blog. VERY creative! Thanks for sharing!

Mollydedwards AT yahoo DOT com

What a great idea - Ministry of Writing and Blogging Week! I look at my blogs as a ministry - most of them anyway. I also include book reviews and interviews with the authors on my blog.

Wonderful to see a bit more into your heart and mind, Amber! Love the questions and answers. Love that Renee helped you!! Go Renee! Praying God's best blessings on you in all that you do, Amber.

Great interview, Julia and Amber!! Julia, I’m so very happy you interviewed Amber! Blogging is truly a ministry for her and she blesses and encourages so many, especially me :)

Amber, your words, your life and your testimony (and even your interview!) shine so brightly with the love of Jesus! When I first "met" you and read your “Please Hear Me Out” post, I just knew I had found a kindred spirit and dear sister in Christ :) Thank you for always honestly sharing your heart and struggles with us because the Lord has used you more times than you will ever know, my friend!!

And, Julia, every time I’ve come over to your fabulous blog I’m always so very blessed and so very encouraged, too! I’m gonna have to come back more often :D I’m thanking the Lord that I have “met” such wonderful people and made some very dear friends in the blogging world!! Praying the Lord will continue to bless, encourage and inspire you both :)

Amanda Stanley

@ Molly, I love Amber's title and the poem that goes along with it. God has definitely used it to bless people, myself included.

@Edwina, I've been blessed by your blog and reminded I need to stop by more.

@Amanda, I agree that Amber is such an encourager. And so are you. Even though you don't have a blog, you have encouraged so many on their blogs with your enthusiasm and love for the Lord. The Lord has definitely given you an encouragement ministry.

MOLLY: Awwww, thank you! The title "Seasons of Humility" has led to so many wonderful things pertaining to the seasons and humility on my blog, and I'm so thankful for God's provision and His plan for our lives. When I first wrote that poem, I never considered that it would be used in such an extraordinary way, but God knew. :) May He use my blog and that poem for His glory! Both have certainly shared a part of my heart.

EDWINA: Julia certainly came up with a wonderful idea--I agree! :) It's such a blessing to have blogging as a form of ministry!

LAURA: Thank you so much for stopping by! :D Isn't Renee wonderful? I'm so thankful for her support and friendship!

Thank you for your prayers and your friendship! I have been so very blessed by your encouragement. :)

AMANDA: So wonderful to see you here, my friend! :D Thank you so much for your kind words--I definitely think that we're "kindred spirits," too! YOU have been such an example to me, and I'm always so blessed by your comments. God uses you in mighty ways, and I'm so thankful for your friendship!

As far as struggles go, I hope God can use me to encourage others, as well. I've actually been going through some struggles recently, and I was rather surprised today to see that a lot of them pertain to humility. (I know--why should I be surprised?!) Oh, how much growing I have to do! I'm in the autumn season of humility once again, and I'm saddened by my lack of focus on God and obedience to Him and to my parents. I'm also saddened by my lack of trust in God right now. I want so much to remember that He is in control, and that He will guide me in his timing to follow His plan for my life in the future. I would really appreciate your prayers for me in regards to being humble!

Anyway, Julia does indeed have a wonderful blog, and I'm so blessed to have been interviewed here! :D Thank you once again for your friendship!

JULIA: Isn't Amanda a great encourager? :) So are you! Thank you for your kind words!


Wonderful interview!!!! Amber's blog I think was the second blog I discovered(Renee's was first and she sent me that way). It is absolutely one of my favorites!! I love the themed weeks and it's one of the most creative blogs out there. I always get encouragement when I head that way!! :)

BLUEROSE: Oh, thank you so much for your sweet words! :D I was so privileged to be your first follower--your blog is lovely, too! I'm so glad that you think my blog is creative and that you enjoy it! I love coming up with new ideas. :) And it means so much to me that you feel encouraged by my blog! Your friendship and encouragement has been such a blessing to me. :D


Why am I always the last to show up at these shindigs? LOL;)
Great, GREAT interview you two.
It was so interesting and fun to read your response to the questions, Amber. I know how much work and dedication you put into your blog, and that's why I love it so much. I love the way that God -and lessons on humility- are the stars of the blog and not just secondary characters. Your blog has been such a blessing to me and I know to so many others. I pray God blesses both You'rs and Julia's blog and can't wait to see what Y'all got up your sleeves for your blogs!:D
Love Ya,

No worries, Ashley! :) You're so sweet to stop by!

Thank you so, so much for your encouraging words! It means so much to me that you enjoy my blog and that you feel God and humility are the focus of it. I really hope that it's true, and if I ever get sidetracked from putting God first, let me know!

Thank you again for being such a dear friend! I love your blog, as well, and I'm so grateful for your friendship! :D


Julia M. Reffner

About Me

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Christ-loving bookworm & homeschool mom of 2 stealing the rare quiet moments to pursue that all elusive writing dream. I also write book reviews for Title Trakk and The Historical Novel Society.


Contributor at The Writer's Alley:


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