A Wise Woman Manages Her Time

December 28th, 2011

(Me with my precious six year old at her first piano recital-she’s growing up so fast)

I’m scared of losing my children.

I’m also scared of losing myself…and I’m not even sure who that “self” is.

Life has become a disillusionment to me and everyday that I just keep moving without stopping to get a hold of myself and my life, I’m one more day lost. And the days are going by in a blur.

I used to be a good mom. I used to try to be a good wife and homemaker. But something in the last year has changed and now I’m just tired and depressed. I need to come back.

I’m taking a month off of blogging so I can take an inventory of my life, my goals, my purpose. I want to be a wise woman, and a women with depth. Right now, I’m a shell of what I used to be…or who I hoped I’d become.

My plans for the month are to eat. I’m desperate to feast on the Word and let it fill me up again. I’ll also be digesting Tell Your Time, Blogger Behave, and Educating the WholeHearted Child. I need a plan for my life, and I intend to get on with it.

I love my babes, and I love my husband and I am so thankful for our home and the life God has given me. He is so good and so patient and so gentle. But life rushed or lost is no full life, and I need filled. I don’t want to regret my life and how I lived it. The time is now.

Thanks for reading.

“How we live our days, of course, is how we live our lives.” -Annie Dillard

Bones, Taquitos, and Trances *UPDATE*

December 25th, 2011

I haven’t written on my blog in a few weeks; I’ve been busy working on Desperate, watching way too many episodes of Bones (we have streaming Netflicks so we can watch the episodes back to back), and reading (The Hunger Games Trilogy and Water for Elephants).

I’m tired most days, but I had a few spurts of energy the couple days before Christmas where I cleaned and organized like I was in a trance. No, I’m not pregnant, but I was seriously nesting.

I only made two batches of Christmas cookies.

I’ve consumed way too many chicken and cheese Taquitos (this is what happens when you watch too many episodes of Bones). I’m pretty sure I’ve gained about 10 lbs. thanks to Don Miguel. *UPDATE*! They’re NOT Don Miguel, they’re Jose Ole! Can’t believe I posted about the wrong Taquitos! :)

Christmas came and went, as did my child-like wonder. Life is becoming such a blur…

Fast and faster every year. The seasons come and go and I can barely breathe them in. Life is spinning and I’d slow down but I seem to thrive in the dance. But one can only dance for so long.

Tonight I plan on curling up with my husband and watching more episodes of Bones, promising myself that tomorrow I’ll make room for the stillness.

How are all of you doing? Any of you relate with the blur of life and missing child-like wonder? Any good book recommendations (I’m really interested in fiction right now)?

P.S. I highly recommend The Hunger Games. The writing is extraordinary and the story (and its characters) won’t let you go; you’ll be dreaming about the unfolding story for days after you’ve finished.

The Relevant ’12 Speakers Announced!

December 19th, 2011

Read all about the Relevant ’12 speakers here.

Tickets go on sale March 1st.

WOOT!

I Would Rather Be Faithful Than Successful

December 18th, 2011

2008 - 10 - 25 - Two Roads Diverge

“…I have tried to make a habit over the years of not listening to people who either criticize me or praise me. Spirituality is a really mysterious thing, and I feel as though I have received various coordinates from God over the years in terms of what I need to be spending my time and my work on, and that’s really what I’m listening to. If following faithfully along those coordinates puts me in a season of praise with a certain group of people, that’s fine — but I don’t do it to get in those graces, and neither am I upset if that also costs me some people along the road. I would much rather be faithful than successful…” -Derek Webb

Photo Credit: Two Roads Diverge 

Killer Tribes

December 12th, 2011

“The Killer Tribes Conference is a 1-day experience designed specifically for writers, bloggers, artists, and small business owners to learn what it takes to build a killer tribe.

From inspirational stories to practical how-to’s to successful case studies, you’ll walk away equipped and encouraged to expand your reach, find your fans, and build your tribe.”

-Bryan Allain, host of the Killer Tribes conference and author of 31 Days to Finding Your Blogging Mojo.

If you’re looking to build a tribe and you can make it to Nashville in March, this will be one stellar opportunity for you. I’ll be there, along with some pretty neat people.

The conference costs only $79 (early-bird rate-which ends Friday-register here); there will be a fun meet-up on Friday night, and then teaching all day Saturday.

Hope to see you there!

(Click here for all the conference details!)

P.S. Sorry I haven’t written here in awhile, I’ve been working on my book, working on a special project (that I can’t wait to announce!), spending time with my sister who is visiting, and just lazying about during the evenings relaxing. Oh, and drinking massive amounts of salted caramel mocha’s. {ahem}. Will write again soon.

I Wanted to Adopt Myself

December 5th, 2011

Long before he laid down earth’s foundations, he had us in mind, had settled on us as the focus of his love, to be made whole and holy by his love. Long, long ago he decided to adopt us into his family through Jesus Christ. (What pleasure he took in planning this!) He wanted us to enter into the celebration of his lavish gift-giving by the hand of his beloved Son.” Ephesians 1:4-6

It wasn’t a particularly comfortable chair. Wicker, I think, with a thin padding. Like a worn, loose stuffed animal, I sat in that wicker chair and explained how I wanted to adopt a child one day. I wanted to take care of a little one, a neglected one who just needed to be loved. I wanted to hold them and nurture them, and give them security and warmth. I spoke with passion about my desire to adopt.

She said I wanted to adopt myself.

Read the rest at (in)courage.

Get a Manifesto: Social Media, Behave! Day 5

December 2nd, 2011

(Getting the Christmas tree this past weekend!)

What a joy it has been to join you this week at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee. If you and I have just met this week, please feel free to continue our conversation over at my personal blog, 10 Million Miles. I’ve got a great idea for Monday’s post… I think I’ll call it “The Chicken Principle”. It’d be a good day to check things out. Also, consider downloading my eBook Blogger Behave: Make your blog benefit your life so you can love both!

I have no discounts or giveaways to offer, but I do have a hunch that it contains encouragement that will be worth your investment.  But, I didn’t write this series to sell books. I wrote it to encourage all of us to make peace with Social Media. May we all discover the relevance and joy of John the Baptist’s deepest desire – that Jesus Christ may increase and we may decrease. With that plea burning in our hearts, we will see redemption online. Thank you, Sarah Mae, for your open arms to this series; it’s been so much fun for me to interact with your readers.

Now, for Day 5 and the manifesto.

You know how it is: if we make a public statement about something, we’re much more likely to live it out. I remember the day I accidentally published a post about writing an eBook. Once my readers knew about my secret plans, I felt compelled to make it happen. Two months later, I was the proud momma of Blogger Behave: Make your blog benefit your life so you can love both! It was great! Then, I really felt compelled to follow my own advice and continue to balance blogging and “real life”. Even my husband wondered why I kept up with our homeschooling schedule the first day of sales. Oh, don’t get me wrong – I wanted to sit in front of the computer screen and sell books all day, but I knew that I’d miss the point if I did.

Speaking publicly gives us an unforgettable accountability and fuels our passion. Once we stand up on a soapbox, people quiet down to listen, and we have to deliver!

That’s why I’m going to share my Social Media Manifesto with you: because I want to live the thing out.

1. I believe that my presence online is a gift from God for myself and my readers. I will seek His direction for every move I make – from tweets to eBooks.

2. I will keep my Social Media expectations high and wholesome, demanding a good return on my investment.

3. I will tell my husband and children when, where, and how I want to participate in Social Media.

4. I will think twice before I subscribe, sign up, and create accounts. I will consider the cost of each new addition.

5. I will be content with who I am and what I have. New Social Media platforms and online opportunities will have to answer to me so that I can decide if they will benefit my life.

 

To do: Gather all of your thoughts from the week and write your own manifesto. Publish it somewhere, somehow. Then, each day live it out.

(Please, please let us know what your manifesto is! Include it in the comments or send us directly to your awesome post.)

Thank you for joining me this week. This was a blast!

Thanks again, Sarah Mae, for giving us this space to work things out.

You can also subscribe to my blogs: 10 Million Miles (click here to subscribe) and TheHomeschoolBaby.com (click here to subscribe). You can also subscribe to Like a Warm Cup of Coffee by clicking here (or email, here). Happy behaving!

If Everyone Else is Doing It: Social Media, Behave! Day 4

December 1st, 2011


(Hi, there! Welcome to Day 4 of the Social Media, Behave! Series with Laura Booz from 10 Million Miles. Catch up on Day 1, Day 2, and Day 3. I’m so glad you’re here.)

You know the scenario:

The teenager argues, “But everyone else is doing it!”

And the parents reply, “I don’t care. We are not everyone else.”

In the best situation, the parents don’t budge and the teenager is spared. In the worst case, the parents cave and the teenager suffers.

When it comes to Social Media, we are both the teenagers and the parents. I often find myself tempted to join the next big thing just because everyone else is doing it. I want to keep current, I want to be in with the girls, and I want to be successful. First it was email. Then blogging. Then YouTube. Then affiliates. Then twitter. Then facebook. And now it’s pinterest and Google+. Just you wait: tomorrow there will be more. Sometimes it feels like I don’t even have a choice: as everyone else embraces each networking tool, I feel like I have to join them in order to achieve my goals.  So I join in. And I become one more person making you feel like you have to join in… And we all feed the giant together and no one knows how to stop.

This is a huge problem affecting all of us. We need a solution, fast! I’ve thought long and hard about this dilemma and have discovered that there is a solution.

Are you ready for it?

Here it is: just don’t do it.

I know. You didn’t want to hear that. I didn’t either. It’s a terrible solution. I hate that it’s entirely my choice and my risk. (Can’t we organize a universal handshake through which everyone agrees together to stop the train?! Or, can’t we make these brilliant people stop making Social Media platforms? Can’t we enforce some kind of law or something?) It would be nice, but, as far as I can figure, there is only one real escape from the vortex: it’s little old me, deciding to say “no” because I’m not everyone else.

So, don’t do it.

Don’t do “the next big thing” that will only add stress to your life.  Or quit the applications and communities that are just not the best thing for you. No one can keep up with all of the opportunities online. And smile. And cook dinner. It’s impossible. The truth is, most of us are signed up for one (or five) too many Social Media platforms and we’ve forgotten that we are allowed to say “no”.

Are you participating in a certain platform that stresses you out, feels like an unnecessary obligation, or demands too much of your affection? Do you feel like you don’t have a choice, since you want to get your message out there and be successful to some degree? Then, let me speak directly to your heart: you do have a choice. You are not everyone else.

When the next shiny platform pops up, think long and hard before jumping in. Yes, it’s scintillating and powerful to be in on the newest craze, but is it the best thing for you? It may be. It may not be. You have every right to put the reigns on Social Media and use it when and how is best. Even if the platform seems right up your alley! Even if everyone else is doing it! Even if they are all prospering from it! Look at yourself in the mirror and say, “I am not everyone else.”

It is possible to look back on certain sacrifices without regret.

Just as that teenager will live – and potentially even thrive – without doing what everyone else is doing, so will you and I.

To do: Take a few steps back and re-evaluate each platform you’ve signed up for. Do you like it? Are you handling it well? If yes, then stick around. Do you hate it? (Or like it a little too much?) Are you dropping the ball online or in life? If yes, unsubscribe yourself, girlfriend. After a few days, you won’t miss it.

Then, jot down your thoughts in the comments so that we can cheer you on one way or the other.

Join in! Link-up!

Join us tomorrow for Day 5!

You can learn a whole lot more by downloading Blogger Behave: Make your blog benefit your life so you can love both! You can also subscribe to my blogs: 10 Million Miles (click here to subscribe) and TheHomeschoolBaby.com (click here to subscribe). You can also subscribe to Like a Warm Cup of Coffee by clicking here (or email, here). Happy behaving!

top artwork credit: arikhanson.com

And the Winner of the Re:Write Conference Ticket is…

November 30th, 2011

There is NO way I could choose the winner myself-you all are passionate and beautiful and dreamers…you all should be there! So, Random.org had to choose (um, that’s really kind of like God choosing, right?) and Random.org chose…

Tracie!

Congrats!

Hope to see many of you there-remember to use code: SarahMae for 10% off! Register here!

At What Cost?: Social Media, Behave! Day 3

November 30th, 2011

Welcome back to Day 3 of our Social Media, Behave! Series. I’m Laura Booz, the happy recipient of one full week at Like a Warm Cup of Coffee. (And those are my funtastic kiddos up there.) If you’re new, catch up on Day 1 and Day 2. When you have a minute, mine the comments: there’s some mighty fine gold in there.

Today, we’re digging into one of the most important things a human being can do: consider the cost. It’s something we do all day long in both insignificant and profound ways. It’s how we choose one thing over the other: we consider the cost and choose our investment.

Christ said it about following Him: “consider the cost…” He wants His disciples to face the sacrifices up front, and to make our decision based upon the truth. He knows that if we are surprised by the struggles, oppositions, and crosses along the way, we might lose heart and become offended by Him. So throughout Scripture, He is very open about the price of Christianity. There is no “small print” to trick us into blind faith. There’s no wondering, “What’s it going to cost me?” We know the answer: it costs everything. Those of us who are Christians have decided that it’s a deal. So we said, “yes”.

We’d be wise to apply His advice to Social Media. We’d be wise to consider the cost.

Some of the upfront costs for me are:

Every post I write takes my attention away from household needs.

Every email I send takes time away from my family.

Every facebook status I update takes affection not given in person.

Though I believe that Social Media platforms are worth some of my time, attention, and heart, they are not worth all – or even most – of my time, attention, and heart. Even if I am making money with my online work, I must be very discerning about the amount of time I am investing: does it cross the line into costing me more than it is worth? For example, as a “mommy blogger” I must be vigilant about my time online. Though adding one more affiliate link might put twelve bucks in my PayPal account, taking the extra fifteen minutes away from my children is not worth it to me. Every time I want to sign up for a new application or networking platform, I must consider: what will it cost me?

THE ONLINE BUDGET

After many blunders, I’ve finally discovered a way to consider the cost of Social Media and feel peaceful about the time I invest: I keep an online budget. This is very much like a financial budget and lets me know what I can afford to give Social Media. First, I evaluate the hours in my day and all of the things that are worth my attention. If I only have one hour available for online endeavors, so be it. My blog will be a one-hour-a-day blog. It might not pay off the mortgage or catch the eye of thousands of readers, but it’ll be as top-notch as I can make it within that time frame. Then, I divide that hour up into portions so that I can write posts, respond to comments, solicit guest posts, and work on other projects. Depending on the amount of time I have to spend on the computer, I might allow five minutes to catch up on facebook, five minutes to tweet my posts, ten minutes to browse my RSS, and a few minutes to encourage other bloggers. When the online stopwatch buzzes, my time is up.

Similarly, I’ve got to keep a healthy distance from my smart phone. I know it’s a good time to read through some emails if I’m not sneaking a peek. When I want to check in on things at the wrong time, I say, “not this time” to myself, and put the thing away.  Sometimes the sacrifices sting and I wish I had more time to accomplish all of my online dreams, but I’m confident that I will not regret my choices in the long-run. I saw the fruit of these boundaries when I was able to write and publish my first eBook during the first two months of my baby’s life.  A friend asked how I found the time to write – what with a newborn, and homeschooling, and all. The only answer I could think of was, “I had to think fast and type faster. Writer’s block was a luxury I couldn’t afford.” Sometimes a tight schedule is the secret to productivity. To tell you the truth, I’ve found that when I keep healthy parameters on my Social Media time, I have much more to offer.

For a fantastic real-time example of an online budget, check out Joy Forney‘s article, “Time for Blogging” by clicking here. She doesn’t divide her hours down into nitty-gritty details like I do, but she lets us peek into the boundaries she has established for all-things-Social Media. I bet this helps her to consider the cost – to say say “yes” to beneficial opportunities and “no” to everything else.

To do: Consider all of the people, obligations, and opportunities that make up your day. How much time do you have for Social Media? Take that chunk of time and break it down into portions for each type of social media that you enjoy. Using an online stopwatch, try it out for a week. What do you think?

Recommended Resource: Tell Your Time. In this awesome eBook, Amy Andrews teaches us how to establish a budget for everything we do in a day. Her suggestions are very practical and enormously useful.

Join in! Link-up!

See you tomorrow for Day 4!

You can learn a whole lot more by downloading Blogger Behave: Make your blog benefit your life so you can love both! You can also subscribe to my blogs: 10 Million Miles (click here to subscribe) and TheHomeschoolBaby.com (click here to subscribe). You can also subscribe to Like a Warm Cup of Coffee by clicking here (or email, here). Happy behaving!


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    I'm Sarah Mae. I'm figuring out how to fit perfect into fallen skin. Stick around for the stretching...your soul is welcome here.

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