Wednesday, August 20, 2014


So, last night I started getting ready for the Arkansas Women Bloggers conference.  Like "its time to get serious sister".  I've been sewing all weekend getting ready for the marketplace, but it was time to make sure I was investing in ME.

I was inspired by Allison Chino's article "Help! AWBU is MY First Conference and I'm So Nervous".  The checklist of things to think about before you go were so helpful (and would be helpful for any conference). I remember getting ready to go to the conference for my first time last year and had no idea I needed to think about more than what kid of sandals were appropriate for the "rustic" accommodations and if I needed a jacket since we would be inside all day.  Little did I know there were many more things to think about.

So, literally the morning that we left I was pleading with the Kinkos lady to see if she could get my business cards (that I had just whipped up on Publisher) printed and cut by my 3PM departure time.  She came through, but I was less that well representing my brand.

This year, I'm a week or so ahead of where I was last year and got online to order my cards with MOO.  Yes, MOO.  Dont let the name throw you.  I had a fantastic customer experience and no dairy cows were involved.

I've been a vistaprint fan for a long time - probably because my main gateway with them was some fantastic freebies.  But, MOO had some fantastic designs.  Like pages and pages for people in all kinds of fields.  And, they look so professional and way better than anything you could "whip up".  So, whether you are representing a blog brand, an etsy store, a photography business, serve on a board of a local non-profit or run a small business, let me encourage you to look.  And, they are so much more than "a business card company".  I've not had my last interaction with them!

Here's a link to get you started -

Let me know what you think!

Monday, August 18, 2014

idleness breeds like rabbits

Just had a chance to talk with someone about my views of social media.  I guess the circumstances of my life have given me an interesting perspective that the 24/7/365/32 that I’ve had and have in front of me are not about me.  Life is a gift.  But more importantly, it’s about me understanding that I have an opportunity to be a giver or a taker.  I can use these 24/7/365 to give and offer things to the world or I can spew and take as I go. 
I choose to be a giver.  I mean think about it.  When else in time did we each have a platform (or several platforms as the case may be) to allow the world a glimpse into our lives.  A glimpse into our minds.  A FREE platform to share our thoughts.  To demonstrate our gifts.  To publish a book, write a quote, create a graphic, share a video.  Do you know what Ben Franklin would have done to have had that kind of PR (for free)?
So, my question is, what do you give?  The last couple weeks, I’ve had several opportunities to participate in tech summits, webinars, online conferences and the like (yes, my inner nerd tank is overflowing!).  And all of them have focused on one key thing.  Discover who you are.  Be who you are.  Demonstrate who you are.
As a I listen, I hear over and over messages about telling digital professionals to decide what their brand expertise is.  “Find 3 things you are – offer them to the world – give and be those.”
In my opinion, the same exists for each of us.  When others come to us, what do they get or, what can they expect to get?
For me it boils down like this:

1.       Be funny – mention the elephant in the room – ask the question already on everyone’s mind – say it like it is…. No really, I’m just saying

2.       Capture the silly, quirky, ironic of the everyday – others can relate, I can't be the only one these things happen to!

3.       Share faith in a way that makes it practical and relevant.  Might just be what spoke to me, or stood out.  Or, might be my challenge or struggle I’m dealing with

At least, that’s what I hope you know an encounter with me will bring.  And, that’s whether we are eating mac ‘n cheese from a food truck or you happen up on my twitter feed.
I often think about the people in life that amaze me by the amount of things they get done in a day – Britta Stamps, BeyoncĂ©, Rick WarrenShay Shull - you know we all have the same 365 hours in a day! 
My dad often gets on to me when he tells me at the end of the day he didn’t get anything done.  When I ask him to relay, moment by moment what he spent his time doing, I quickly find the big gaps that were black holes for productivity. (when I point them out is where the frustration kicks in!) 
"They" often say if you want something done, give it to a busy person.  And I think the truth of the adage is that idleness breeds like a rabbit.

So, when you give, what do you give?


Sunday, August 17, 2014

sparkles this week - aug 17

Little lights from my week:

  • So, its no secret, I'm a digital hoarder - I love to take in information anywhere I can get it, but more often than not, I run across something when I cant stop and truly take it in.  At a lovely coffee catch up this week, my friend mentioned "Pocket", an app she has started using to help keep herself organized.  We are talking about "managing ourselves".  You have to know yourself and part of knowing yourself is knowing how to manage yourself.  I downloaded the app when I got home and I love this - Pocket - check it out!
  • Early Christmas list ideas (these work for adults too!):
  • So, I wanted to share these last week, but I had too many things, so I've been enjoying these again and have to share them - Weird Al released several videos a couple weeks ago and they are so funny.  You have got to watch these! Tacky and Word Crimes have me crying tears! 
  • Buy of the week - Terro Fruit Fly traps - this summer I've tried to be way more intentional about getting and keeping fruit in my house - fruit flies have been the death of me. 
If you have a perfect solution for fruit flies, please help a sister out!


Sunday, August 10, 2014

sparkles this week - aug 10

I decided to change the name of my weekly installment.  I'm not sure that "truffs" is always the best word since sometimes its just shiny things that caught my attention, so I went with sparkles because sparkly things catch my attention :)

A few things on my radar from the week:
  • First, I cant even look at anything flippant this week without first recognizing what's going on in Iraq.  Frankly, I don't event want to look it up and try to gather more info.  While its left me fully unaware of all that's going on in the world, I've chosen to just be aloof when it comes to news.  I don't really want to see the yuck in the world and in the midst, I'm missing some serious things happening.  Last night at dinner some friends brought be up to speed and its really good that I had already eaten dinner.  I'm so sad thinking about the families of those children.  Its unbelievable that heads are sitting on the ends of swords around plazas.  It is not good.  And, we are left to pray.  It's the thing we can do from a distance.
  • My Big Family Home Renovation started this week - I love me some Jen Hatmaker and I'm really excited about catching this show...Especially after I read this, this morning.
  • I'm in to stamping silverware.  Well, not stamping it myself, but I think its really cool.  I've already added a couple pieces to my Christmas list.
  • I'm also convince that some things are not ok to make at home!
  • Millenials in the workplace - I've hired them, I've fired them, I've read about them and studied them.  But, working alongside a Millenial again where I'm not in the pace for correction is proving to be a little interesting turn of events at this stage in my life.  Why can they not be corrected? Why do they not listen when you try to coach? Why do they insist on being right?  Why are they defensive?  Why does the blame always have to be on someone else?  Get it together...we want what's best for you but more than that, we want is best for out organization and that might not include you if we keep on this path!
That's enough to distract for now!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

6 years

6 years.  Do you know what can happen in 6 years?

yea, me neither.  I tried to do a Google search and came back with stuff about felonies, a mummified woman and something about Georgia and a missile in Russia.  If you look at a listing of world news on August 7, 2008, you quickly find that it was not a good day for most people around the world.  So, I saved you the boredom of trying to make up something catchy. 

6 years ago, I was sitting in a waiting room for a follow up appointment.  It was a Thursday morning just like it is today.  I had done lab work and was fighting through big puppy dog tears.  It was a different morning.  Nothing was going like normal... nothing at all.  My consistencies were gone.  My numbing cream didn't work on my port.  None of the people that I knew were in the lab.  And, I was really tired from an early drive to LR.

He came in the room.  Looked at everything and said "you're done".  Just like that, 6 months of appointments, scans, drives to Little Rock, chemo, radiation, retail therapy, it was all over.

I had a wee, tiny bit of a voice and when I did talk I sounded like I had chained smoked for 25 years.  But, I was done. 

I remember so much of that day like it was yesterday.  I remember walking to my car and being so confused.  I remember calling my dad and saying "he used the 'R' word", and then had to explain what I meant.  I remember going to eat at Olive Garden with my mom and sister and all I wanted was breadsticks and lots of Alfredo Sauce so I could swallow them. 

I remember being told to go back to "normal" and most everything after that is gone. 

Normal wasn't even in my vocabulary.

I'll start today in a meeting at an oncology center much like the one I visited myself.  I will intentionally look people in their eye and search for their soul.  I will smile with more hope than one can offer.  I will hug harder, laugh deeper and take in every breath in a different way. 

I teared up reading back through this day in 2008.  I was reminded that God is always faithful.  That His promises are ALWAYS true and that He has a plan for life that FAR exceeded anything that I could have dreamt up. 

6 years.  That's a long time.  Its over the hump.  But, its always still fresh.  Today, I'll hold on a remember.  No promises there wont be tears for days gone by, for gratitude, for joy.


prayer of thanksgiving

For this morning, this is my hearts cry

Prayer of Thanksgiving

by, Vienna Cobb Anderson
God of all blessings,
source of all life,
giver of all grace:

We thank you for the gift of life:
for the breath
that sustains life,
for the food of this earth
that nurtures life,
for the love of family and friends
without which there would be no life.

We thank you for the mystery of creation:
for the beauty
that the eye can see,
for the joy
that the ear may hear,
for the unknown
that we cannot behold filling the universe with wonder,
for the expanse of space
that draws us beyond the definitions of our selves.

We thank you for setting us in communities:
for families
who nurture our becoming,
for friends
who love us by choice,
for companions at work,
who share our burdens and daily tasks,
for strangers
who welcome us into their midst,
for people from other lands
who call us to grow in understanding,
for children
who lighten our moments with delight,
for the unborn,
who offer us hope for the future.

We thank you for this day:
for life
and one more day to love,
for opportunity
and one more day to work for justice and peace,
for neighbors
and one more person to love
and by whom be loved,
for your grace
and one more experience of your presence,
for your promise:
to be with us,
to be our God,
and to give salvation.

For these, and all blessings,
we give you thanks, eternal, loving God,
through Jesus Christ we pray. Amen.


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

So, what does investing look like?

So, last week, I shared these thoughts, but I've been thinking some more!

What does investing look like?
  • Giving back – 
Do you have a place to serve?  I mean get your heart and the space under your fingernails dirty?  It might physically be digging in a garden or it might be wiping down the sticky slimy tables of a shelter.  Are you in a place to be vulnerable and have your heart churned?  Do you have someone specifically that you invest in?  Is it a young woman who is learning to practice your trade or didn’t have a mama who taught her how to dress for work?  What about an elementary student who needs a strong role model in their life to teach them personal value and right from wrong?  What about an organization that needs your passion or expertise…the pro bono way?    
  •  Giving beyond - 
I don’t necessarily have to have “means”, but what I do have, I can give.  Think about it.  Can you pay for the coffee of the person in line behind you?  And, through that, can you share the idea of looking beyond yourself?  Can you stop and hold the door for the person behind you and smile as they pass and wonder why? Can you hold back and let the person who so desperately needs to get somewhere before you merge into your lane even if it seems like an inconvenience? What if.  What if you saved the money you would spend on sweet tea in the Chick-fil-A line or at Sonic’s Happy Hour for just one week and gave that to someone who the 8 dollars would mean one more meal.  I think about the things I don’t think twice about spending money on.  $3 here.  $5 there.  And I wonder, do I have a “neighbor” who $8 would relieve stress?
o   One of my favorite organizations to give money to each year is the Arkansas Food Bank.  For every $1 that you give them, they can provide 4 meals.  So, the $8 above could provide 32 meals – that’s more than 3 meals a day for 1 week for 1 person.
o   Another organization that I like to invest in is World Vision.  Their gift catalog is something that I keep on my home office desk all year long.  They have lots of options and as someone who likes to give creative gifts, I love that it allows me to be creative, meet needs and honor friends.  I mean where else can you feed in the US and oversees?  Where else can you “buy” a beehive, peanut butter or a duck?  Think of all the possibilities for loving your loves.
  •              Learning more – 
I’m a lifetime learner.  My boss so much as walked to my door on my second day of 4 hour webinars last week and reminded me.  It’s true.  It’s genetic.  So, I come by it honestly.  But, it’s ok.  I think it makes me better.  I like to read those silly articles that people tag and share on Facebook.  I follow @OMGFacts on twitter.  I’m terrible at Trivial Pursuit, but I have lots of knowledge of lots of things.  Whether it’s my liberal arts college education or my sheer curiosity about life, I love to know about all kinds of things.  I hate to miss out on “necessary” experiences of life.  I think knowing makes you a better person. ·       
  •  Being vulnerable –
I’m brewing on a topic I’ll come back to, but perfection is boring.  Vulnerable is SEXY!  Vulnerable makes you (more) capable.  It makes you dream.  It broadens your horizons.  It expands your capacity to intake and it extends your spheres of influence.  In a world that is driven by insights, likes, shares, and pokes (please tell me those are gone now!), we want to look and see if our Klout score or our audience numbers reflect an increase.  Instead, what if we took a break and quit judging our quality on those things and instead marked movement by availability, consistency and initiation.  In those moments, we find the growth, the nurturing, the explainable.

Can you have a mid-year "one word".  If so, I'm leading out with "investing".  If not, then I'll be on my own little island and ponder, but I want and umbrella in my drink!