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Life is Messy

12/05/17

Life is messy- the way we come in is messy, and most of the times the way we leave is messy too. It’s just a part of life. And too many times people want to sanitize it, to clean it up, to glamorize it.

But the “messy” is what makes it real.

I’ve been present when a woman is laboring to bring that new life into the world- it’s tough to watch, especially when it’s a person you love – you want to be able to take that pain away, but you know you can’t;  but through it all,  you know that sweet little baby will be here soon, so you stay.

And I’ve been in hospital rooms where friends or family members were about the business of stepping from mortality into immortality. It’s hard work- even when your brain and your spirit are ready to make those last steps, your lungs want to keep breathing, your heart wants to keep beating.  The machines beep and flash, nurses and doctors come in and out, checking things, and the loved ones sit around waiting with the person, and it’s hard to sit there. You want to stay, but a part of you also wants to leave. That’s a natural response to what’s going on.

All the times between birth and death – those are messy times too. Making it through school, getting married, having kids and doing your best to raise them right, working hard to make a living for your family, working hard at having a happy life- all those things can be messy, chaotic, exasperating, trying and just tiring…

But hang in there, because as messy as it is, what a reward!

Author: Beth R - Categories: Living an intentional life

Your Calling

08/05/17

I’ve realized in the last few weeks that this job I love so much- it’s really a part of my calling. God has put me here to encourage people to tell their story.

I’ve talked to so many people who have such an amazing story – one or two are almost unbelievable, except I’ve seen the evidence that it’s real… and someone out there needs to hear their story.

And I am the one blessed enough to be able to help get those stories out there.

Have you found your calling yet?  You’re hurtling towards the future at a breakneck speed- are you living the intentional life that God has set for you?

Author: Beth R - Categories: faith and values,Living an intentional life

Your Defining Moment, Lynn Taylor’s collection of devotionals, has good daily words for you, as well as journaling space along the way. This book will help you recognize those ‘defining moments’ that we all have, as well as to learn from them.

Check it out on Amazon today!

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I’ve talked to several people in the last few weeks who either have found out someone is using their work (photos, writings, etc) without their permission; or they suspect someone is doing so. Please remember when you see a beautiful photo or painting online, or a poem that really touches you – someone worked very hard to produce that, and they deserve the credit for their work.

I’m sure most artists would be glad to talk with you about using their work. And I’m equally sure they don’t mind if you share their work on Facebook, Pinterest or other social medias sites. Just remember that just because you can find it in a web search, it doesn’t mean it’s out there for free. Do the right thing- contact the owner of the work and make sure you give them the credit they deserve. Besides being the ethical thing to do- it’s the RIGHT thing to do.

And if you think someone is using your work, you can use Google to check. For your photography or artwork, go to Google Images and drag a copy of your work into the search box. Google will do its best to find duplicates or similar images; if you find sites using your work without permission, write a letter or email (make sure you document it) telling them that they are using your work without your permission and ask that they immediately take it down. If that doesn’t work you’ll need to contact a lawyer.

The same process works with written works too- just copy the first few sentences of the text and search on Google. If you get any results, follow the same process- contact them, ask them to take your work down and contact a lawyer if necessary.

In fact, it would probably be wise to include a statement in your original correspondence that your lawyer will be contacted if they don’t comply.

I guess last week’s post couldn’t have come at a more appropriate time.

You see, a tornado hit the town where I live – thankfully no one was hurt badly, but there was a lot of damage. Many homes and businesses in the area took damage, and at least one home was completely destroyed.

Things can be replaced…. people’s lives can’t. In the end, we don’t need to worry about our possessions so much that we don’t take care of our lives and those around us.

So prepare for emergencies in whatever way you can. But in the end, remember that while things are important, people are so much more important.

One very effective, FREE, way to get a little publicity is by supplying press releases to local and regional newspapers. Blogs, internet news sites (both legitimate and satire) and social media continue to keep the newest piece of information in front of readers. Since newspapers continue to cut staff to keep budgets in line, they’re going to look more and more to customer-supplied information and news stories.

So if you can create a well-written press release about your story, you can many times get your story printed. Here’s a good article from CBS News that lists several things to consider when writing a press release. It also has several examples to look at.

Besides these suggestions, I was always taught to put the most important part of the story at the front – each following paragraph should be of lesser importance. This helps the editor – if they need to cut some of the text for space, they can simply remove the later paragraphs.

And another idea- if you can include a picture, that’s even better. Most people are more likely to read a story if there’s a picture attached.

Author: Beth R - Categories: Living an intentional life,marketing

I’ve been reminded again that we’re all just about as happy or unhappy as we choose to be. I know we can’t choose when good or bag things happen to us, but we can choose how we react to those things.

I’ve heard it said that there are two kinds of people- those who wake up saying, “Good Lord, it’s morning.” (usually said with a growl or grimace!) And then there are those of us who choose to say “Good morning, Lord! It’s a beautiful day!” My friend Bro Mark (of God Speed Ministries) says when we wake up we need to pull a deep breath in and remind ourselves that we’ve got another day to do what we’re supposed to do.

So if you’re walking around with a rain cloud around your head, make your mind up that you’re going to make the best of any situation that comes up. Choose to be happy- choose to be a good person- choose to respond to today’s challenges in a positive manner. Don’t allow the little things around you to lose your purpose. It’s too important!

Author: Beth R - Categories: Living an intentional life

Are You Writing?

27/01/17

If you’re a writer, are you writing? That may sound like a dumb question, but so many folks who want to be a writer, find excuses not to be writing.

I can’t tell you how much time you need to spend every day writing, but I know this: if you’re not spending some time at least every week, putting words on paper or in a document, you’re not making progress.

Yes, I know sometimes it’s hard to find a place to start.

Yes, I know sometimes your mind whirls in a thousand directions at once.

Yes, I know sometimes there are ten other things you need to be doing- shopping for the house, washing dishes, working at your day job, just to name a few. But you set aside time for those things – you schedule them because you know they’re necessary.

So, why aren’t you scheduling a time to write? Some days all you may get written is a note about your latest dream, or the crazy thing that happened after work, on your ride home. But write it down- keep it in your journal.

And if you want to work on a specific story (if you’re like me, you’ve got several going at any one time), go back and reread part of the story to get back inside it. That should help get you start again.

But write…. write regularly. If you have a talent for it, don’t waste it. Just Write.

Sometimes people want to know how and when I got started in this business; and to be honest, it wasn’t where I originally wanted to go in my professional life. But I believe this is where God intended for me to be.

I lost my job at a local university, but while I was there, I had learned about writing code and designing webpages. In fact, the man who was the technical person for our department taught me and actually asked me to help him create and maintain webpages for each staff member and department.

Since I had enjoyed it so much- both the design and the coding itself – I decided to start my own business.

About a year after I started, Dimple McInvale called me – she’d been in a beginning computer class that my sister-in-law Joanne had taught. She had written some books and needed someone to set up a website for her, and Joanne pointed her to me.

She was faithful to refer new customers to me and she encouraged me greatly.

And then the day came when she called me and told me that she really felt like I needed to help her get her books straightened out. She had been working with a local print-on-demand company, and was not happy with the arrangements.

After much strong encouragement on her part (as in she dragged me kicking and screaming), I decided to begin helping authors publish their books.  This wasn’t something that I had ever felt I could do, but again, with her encouragement, I have slowly and gradually built up a clientele of authors who might not have been able to work with a traditional publishing company.

As I tell prospects all the time, I don’t work like a traditional publishing company. I work with my customers to see what services I can provide and I help them publicize and market their book. They pay me for the services I provide and when the work is done, they don’t have to pay me any more money. They receive all the proceeds from the sale of their book, and they have complete control over the entire process.  I think it’s a process that benefits everyone, mostly the author, and I’m blessed to be a part of it.

I’m very happy with the business I’ve built over the past ten years- I don’t think I’m through growing, of course, but I am pleased to be where I am. God has been faithful to lead me where I needed to, and one of the biggest blessings in my business has been Dimple McInvale.

I’ve got some pretty smart kids and grandkids- one of our teenage grands just announced that she hates a large percentage of females….
I understand what she means. The older I get, the less I like people in general. Here are just a few reasons:
  • I tend to spend quite a bit of time on social media, and the more I read what people will say to complete strangers, the less I think we’ve got a future. A news story about anything, and I do mean anything, will have people arguing over semantics, spelling/grammar,  and what should be done to the person who’s highlighted in the story. It’s amazing how upset someone can get over some pretty insignificant things. And don’t even get me started on how people treat someone who disagrees with them over politics or religion.
  • People who abuse children, the elderly, the poor or the disadvantaged are either getting more prevalent, or are just being exposed more often.
  • People who think everything should be given to them free – healthcare, education, food, etc. They don’t want to work for free, but they want someone to give them everything they want.
  • People who think that anyone who’s going through a tough time doesn’t need to be helped- I know there are folks out there who take advantage of others on a professional level. But there are also a lot of people who have just run into some hard times- they need a little help and a little encouragement to get them back on track.  If the Lord has blessed you and you don’t think you need to be blessing others, it may be time to check yourself. God didn’t give things to us so we can hoard it – He gave it to us so we can do something good with it. You don’t have to post a picture on Facebook to let the rest of the world know-but you do need to be investing in someone else.

So, in saying all that, I’d like to say this- if you’ve got a group of friends (really family) who will hang with you through tough times, hold you accountable when you’re not doing your best, and encourage you to be bigger and better than you were yesterday; then you need to hold on to those folks with both hands.

Don’t let the rest of the world wear you down so you can’t function- hang with those dear friends who love you no matter what, who make you a better person, and who will run the face with you.

Author: Beth R - Categories: faith and values,Living an intentional life
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