“The Other Woman”: Social Media, Behave! Day 2

November 29th, 2011


Hello, there! It’s me again, Laura.

If you’re new to the Social Media, Behave! Series, I’ll bring you up to speed: Sarah Mae is generously letting me use this space to share some thoughts about how to exist online with integrity and without regret. I’ll be here all week. (I’ve got to tell you, Sarah Mae’s blog is fantastic! I feel right at home.) Keep the insightful comments coming and let us know if you wrote a related post. We’re working this out together. If you missed Day 1, you can catch up by clicking here.)

Now, onto Day 2.

When it comes to Social Media, our avatars matter.

Online, we are simply created characters. It’s hard to admit, but it’s true. Everything that I tweet and post comes from me, but it’s not really me. It’s just bits and pieces that compose the avatar, “Laura Booz”. There’s no denying reality: I am not my avatar, and my avatar is not me. (Take a deep breath. It’s going to be okay.) Once we admit that our avatars are just our creations – characters who represent us – we can make some positive decisions about who we are online. There are a couple of important things to remember concerning this “other woman”:

We are in charge; and not the other way around. When my life on this side of the screen needs my attention, I cannot let my avatar boss me around. She does not need to be seen popping around on TweetDeck when my newborn needs some one-on-one time. She does not need to Pin a new collection of holiday decorations when my first grader needs a thoughtful history lesson. She doesn’t even need to commiserate with every sad facebook status when my husband needs to sit by my side and talk about the day.  I always have the power to tell her when, where, and how.

Actually, as a Christian, this is an incredible opportunity. I can decide the identity, mannerisms, and behaviors of the woman who tweets and posts as “Laura Booz” so that she is a light. In doing so, the real Laura Booz is a light because she is using her character to offer insights, instruction, and encouragement to others. So the cool thing is that I can guide her in paths of righteousness, just as my Heavenly Father guides me in those paths. I can apply Biblical wisdom to the on-going creation of “Laura Booz”. Of course, the goal is that all of the choices I make are authentic to the real me – the one typing out the words. Lately, I’ve been taking my avatar to the work bench. Here’s what it looks like for me:

Some things that I’ve been trying to pursue with my avatar…

* promoting my sisters: I’m looking for opportunities to build up other Christian women online. When I see a worthwhile eBook, I want to buy it and rave about it. When I see a meaningful tweet, I want to retweet it.  Joy Forney has written a beautiful series of posts about an online sisterhood. I believe we will protect one another’s time and affection when we genuinely hold each other up and cheer each other on. Joy explores this concept  at Gracefull Mama; be sure to check it out!  Also, Denise in Bloom is starting a brilliant online community for this sole purpose. Look for Sisters in Bloom this January!

* offering real-life advice: More and more, I want to offer content that will truly benefit my readers – whether it’s blog posts or facebook comments. I want to be generous with who I am and what I know. So many people have been generous to me, it’s the least I can offer in return.

Some things that I’ve been trying to avoid with my avatar…

* empty flattery: I’ve been convicted about the times I just rattle off little “oo’s” and “ah’s” that don’t contain any depth. Sometimes I do it just to connect my avatar with others – just to get her a seat closer to the birthday girl. But it stinks. The worst part is that it wastes time, and steals the heart from my sincere encouragement.

* demanding things from other people: As soon as I wrote Blogger Behave, I felt like I needed everyone to prop me up. I felt like I needed you to review it, like it, and post about it. When I came out of the gate I was a little pushy, thinking everyone should use their time and talents to promote my book. Then I remembered that the heart of my message is to help other writers balance their online time and feel comfortable saying “no” to buggers like me. I’m navigating how to get my message out and sell my book, without manipulating you to buy my stuff and give me time you don’t have. (This is so so tricky!)

* self-aggrandizement: Because the real Laura Booz is an idealist, it’s really hard to temper my avatar’s tendency to being a shiny-happy-mermaid-of-a-mommy. I often need to guide my avatar towards honesty, integrity, and humility.

* self-deprecation: At the same time, I can’t fix the pride problem with (blushes) and (tears!) so that my readers know how humble I am. Nor can I honestly craft “Laura Booz’s kids” (also avatars) into complete rug-rats and tell you my life is falling apart when it isn’t. Our God is strong and very loving; He calls me a saint and He’s teaching me how to live like one. I muffle His thunder when I grovel.

 

AN ONLINE VISION STATEMENT

Things started coming together for me when I finally wrote a vision statement for my presence online. I might change it up over time, but this short statement keeps “Laura Booz” streamlined, efficient, and effective. Here’s my vision statement: “I exist online to soak up and share wisdom and encouragement about womanhood, Christianity, homeschooling, and writing.”

To do: Write a one-sentence statement about who you are (or, who you want to be) online. Here, I’ll start you off: “I exist online to…”

Joining us this week? Link-up!

Join us tomorrow for Day 3!

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!

 

Let’s Get Started! Social Media, Behave! Day 1

November 28th, 2011

Email readers, click here to see the video

The question usually goes something like this: Would you rather have lots of power, lots of money, or lots of fame? The assumption is that these things tickle our fancy and – on our darkest days – motivate our selfish side.

Although my answer is the least practical and I wish I could change it to “money,” it sings out from my inner celebrity: I’d rather have fame. Truly. I would love for everyone to know me and adore me. (Maybe it has something to do with my love language: I’ve got a sweet tooth for affirmation.)

Sometimes I feel like my desire to be “popular” drives my Social Media decisions.  I tweet, post, facebook, and email because I want to make you (and all of your friends) smile and say, “She is so great.” I smile all day long when I see that one of my posts has been tweeted and retweeted a couple of dozen times.  Although my family members are my #1 fans, when I don’t get my “fame” fix at home, I sit down at the computer and find a handful of readers who think I’m awesome.  Of course, I’m not totally corrupt. I often email, blog, facebook, and tweet simply because I want to encourage my friends, connect with my family, and minister to my readers.  But I just can’t look you in the eye and say that my motivations are always pure. I’ll be the first to admit that when I am spending far too much time and affection on Social Media, it’s because I’m salivating for a little fame. But after a while, the very thing that brings me a boost, depletes me.

We humans love the taste of things like power, money, and fame. But if we pursue them alone, we’ll die of hard hearts. Maybe this is why so many of us have a sinking feeling about social media – even though we enjoy it and spend lots of time with it. If we’re honest with ourselves about the lurking emptiness, we’ll discover that we’ve been using Social Media to feed a part of our hearts that is meant to be starved. Humans don’t grow well on a diet of power, money, and fame.  In fact, we are only ever happy when that part of us is depleted. We’re happiest when we’ve heaped every ounce of power, money, and fame upon Christ.

So what to do?

Well, the solution requires a paradigm shift. Although I could grit my teeth and “try harder” to stop using social media as a quick fix, it wouldn’t get me very far. My resolve would last until next Tuesday, and then I’d be back to spending hours in front of the screen trying to make people like me, while feeling less and less like a human.

What has given me some success is writing out a list of wholesome expectations for my time online: 5 to 10 things I can pursue via Social Media without constructing an idol or indulging in selfishness.  The focus on goodness has inherent boundaries and a natural point of satiation. I see this same principle at work when I eat a really good meal. I’m satisfied with small portions and hardly have any room for dessert. On the contrary, I can shove my hand back into a 5-gallon bucket of cheese balls dozens of times, needing more, more, more!  We find balance and satisfaction with good online pursuits, while selfish online pursuits lead us only to the dizzying center of the Social Media Vortex.

To keep myself from swooning for Social Media fame, I’ve established some practical expectations for my time online.

I expect Social Media…

* to improve my writing – in technique and essence

* to encourage my readers to love God and other people

* to handle criticism with dignity and grace

* to handle praise with simplicity and humility

* to grow in compassion, wisdom, and discretion

When I’m in Social Media to gain these expectations, I can write one thoughtful post without scrambling on twitter and facebook so that hundreds of people read it and love me. I can just post it. Then I go on with my day, knowing that I’ve already gleaned goodness from my work.

Jump in: Would you rather have lots of power, money, or fame? Do you think your love for one or more of these things ever drives your involvement in Social Media?

To do: Jot down your expectations for Social Media. Tape them to your computer screen so that you can remember why you’re online. (Of course, we’d love to peek over your shoulder! Share your thoughts in the comments or link a post.)

Join in! Link-up!

Join us tomorrow for Day 2!

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!

What We’re Doing This Advent Season

November 25th, 2011

I’m still on the hunt for something to add light to my spirit this advent season (any book recommendations?), but for my babes, we’re going to give Amanda’s wonderful looking new eBook, Truth in the Tinsel, a try.

“This ebook will lead you and your children on your own experience through the Christmas Story. You’ll take a few minutes each day in reading the Christmas Story directly from the Bible, making a fun ornament craft and talking about it together.” -Amanda

It looks very promising, and even though I’m not a craft person, my six year old is. Truth in the Tinsel should be right up her alley.

So…what are you doing to slow down and reflect more on the Savior this advent season?

Pssst… 31 Days to Clean and How to Market and Sell Your eBook PDF’s are both 50% off today. Just go here (for How to Market…) or here (for 31 Days…) and use code: BlackFriday

Beginning Monday…

Social Media, Behave! A new series beginning Monday!

November 22nd, 2011

My friend Laura…

…author of the blogs 10 Million Miles and The Homeschool Babyand the eBook, Blogger Behave, is taking over my blog for the week beginning on Monday! Why you ask? In her own words…

“God is calling us to use our online presence for His glory. He’s got big ideas for your every tweet, status, pin, and blog post… ideas that will bring real and meaningful light to this limitless online space.  Take a look around and you’ll see His ideas at work. He’s shaping our hearts to want what He wants. We are feeling compelled to write well, tell useful stories, speak out for the oppressed, promote ethical companies, steward our God-given abilities, and make the most of our time online and offline. This is a huge undertaking, and it’s not easy territory. We’re smart enough to know that by dipping our toe into the vortex of social media, we risk being pulled into its dizzying demands. But, don’t worry, He won’t leave us to fend for ourselves. He’s the one planting the desires in our hearts, He’ll equip us with the know-how. This week, I want to share a handful of ways in which I’ve come to enjoy making social media behave, so that I can hear God’s voice and happily obey Him. But I want to hear your ideas, too. I’ve asked Sarah Mae to borrow her space so that we can join together and begin a lasting conversation about how we can use social media wisely. I’ll need ten minutes of your time every day this week in the hopes of freeing you up for more. Are you in?”

Yes!

If you’re in with me, grab the button at the top of this post (just right click and “save image as”) and link it to this post! Go ahead and also link your blog up to the below Linky so we can support each other each day…don’t forget to link back here so others can join!

Oh, and while you’re at it, you should just go ahead and subscribe to 10 Million Miles; so much goodness there! You can also subscribe to Like a Warm Cup of Coffee by clicking here (or email, here). Happy behaving!

 

Re:write Conference Pass Giveaway! (Plus a publishing deal and $15,000 advance from Tyndale!)

November 22nd, 2011

*This giveaway is now closed*

 Winner announced at end of post

I have a ticket to the Re:Write conference with one of your names on it.

Re:Write is a conference for writers who are looking for ways to expand their platform and earn money from their writing.

Oh, and when I say “writer” I mean you. Yes you, the one who doesn’t think you are “writer enough” for that title. If you write, whether a blog, in a journal, on keys, you are a writer. But re:write isn’t your typical writing conference; it isn’t about just honing your craft, it’s about learning and growing and stretching and earning an income with your writing.

It’s about getting insights from “been there, done that” speakers who want to help you with blogging, social media, self-publishing, self-marketing and more.

And I have the privilege of being one of those speakers.

I love love love helping people get their message to a larger audience, and I would love to personally help you. But first things first, we’ve got to get you to the conference!

If you are available March 2-4, 2012, and can get to San Diego, CA, then you can enter for a chance to win a full conference pass to Re:Write (access to all keynotes and sessions, meal package, and a gift bag) PLUS a one hour coffee-date with me where I can help you develop your plan for growing your reach, putting out an eBook, and/or marketing your message.

TO ENTER:

This contest ends Monday, November 28th at 9pm EST.

Oh, and I forgot to mention one more thing; Re:Write has teamed up with Tyndale to offer one aspiring author a book with a $15,000 advance! WOOT! All the information for that is here.

Follow Re:Write on Twitter here.

“Like” Re:Write on Facebook here.

If you use Google Chrome and can’t access the re:write website,do this – it’s an EASY fix, I promise!

Good “luck”!

Pssst…take 10% off your registration with code: SarahMae (good through December 31st).

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!!!!!!

(please email me!)

WOOT!

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

I Get It

November 20th, 2011

I completely understand how one becomes addicted to a substance.

For me, if I were to indulge myself, that would probably be alcohol. I assume this because my mother is an alcoholic. I vowed never to be like her.

But I am.

I am like her. I’m like the her before she took the drink. I’m tired. I don’t know how to live my life. I’m overwhelmed. I love my children intensely. I have no idea, some days, how on earth I am going to parent them.

It would be easy to start with a glass of wine. A little something to numb the mundane of life.

Because I’m just so tired.

My spirit is that of a ragamuffin. I will never have it “together”…and I’ll never pretend to. In the words of Moses, I’m not eloquent of speech. I wonder why God is using me for His glory when there are so many better than I to use. But that is not really here nor there. The point is,

I’m not going to drink.

Or numb out with whatever.

I’m just going to be tired. I’m going to just walk, slowly, one day at a time as the Spirit makes me holy.

My hands are up.

All is grace.

“For this is the will of God, your sanctification…” 1 Thessalonians 4:3

Photo: My mom and me

Books, books, books

November 16th, 2011

I am VERY excited for my friend Crystalwho just happens to have written a book for EVERY MAMA who wants to be a smart home economist (The Money Saving Mom’s Budget-Slash Your Spending, Pay Down Your Debt, Streamline Your Life, and Save Thousands a Year). I love love love Crystal and her book, which is available for pre-order right now. BUT that’s not the exciting news. If you pre-order the book or just spread the word about her new book, you can get a copy of this for FREE:

Click here to read all about it and how you can get your free copy. SCORE!

And then there is this, perfect for Thanksgiving (if you’re anything like me, a scatter brain with planning but you love to be hospitable):

My friend Mary from Giving Up on Perfect  (don’t you just love that?!) wrote it, and I can’t wait to dive in! Psst…it’s also available on Kindle.

And last but not least, my friend June (who I did an interview with here) wrote and released an eBook a while ago that I have been meaning to share with you all!

June is sweet and strong and wise and gentle. I know her. She has a heart to encourage mamas in the good things, and I’m thankful for her. You can find her book, True Christian Motherhood, as a PDF here or on Kindle here.

Core Lies is now available on Amazon

November 7th, 2011

 

Core Lies is now available on Amazon for Kindle. It is only $2.99 and all of the profits will go to Navigator staff, Dave and Cathy Bowman, who graciously allowed me to publish the information they taught me.

Core Lies will always be available for free as a PDF.

Click Here to Buy Core Lies on Amazon

 (If you’ve read Core Lies, would you consider taking two minutes and leaving a review here? Thank you!)

Meeting a Kindred Spirit…and a Makeover!

November 7th, 2011

Kindred spirits enjoying some chocolate at the Relevant conference

We talked on the phone before the conference and said we would surely make time to have coffee together.

But as the hours and days passed during the conference, we never did get that time together…something always came up (on my end), conference details needed attended to, people needed to share their stories (which I loved hearing every one of them-such a blessing).

Finally, on the last night of the conference, Logan and I got about five minutes to sit down together before the whirlwind took me up again. We ate chocolate. We connected. Not enough time. But then she told me that her flight was cancelled, and I was all, “come to my house!” and she was all, “really?” I would finally get to have that coffee with her…and there would be no rush.

After a crazy morning of trying to leave the hotel, we were finally in a car together heading to my home, and that is when I found out that she was an interior decorator. A “for real” one. We sat in my sparsely decorated living and talked about how to make it comfy, but also artsy. She was full of ideas, and being the spontaneous kindred that we are, we jumped up and went to Target. :)

90 minutes and only $359 later, she had taken this:

and turned it into this:

I know!!!!!

She is amazing. Now you may notice that we are short a few pillows, but I went ahead and ordered them so the room would be complete..

I love my living room now. Everytime I walk by it, I swoon. Seriously.

If any of you are looking for an intuitive interior designer who knows her stuff, I HIGHLY recommend the super talented, beautiful soul, Logan.

Thank you friend! I’m so thankful to have met you! When can you fly in to do the rest of my house?! ;)

I Love This Blogger…and I Love Her eBook!

November 2nd, 2011

My friend Laura has created a new eBook for bloggers…

(Email subscribers - click here to watch – trust me, it’s a good one!)

Trust me, if you blog, this is some of the best $4.99 you’re going to spend. The Blogger Behave website is here (the Table of Contents is here), and you can buy the eBook PDF here or on Amazon here.

If you purchase the eBook TODAY (until midnight EST) I will send you a copy of 31 Days to Clean FOR FREE! You can email me here.

Thank you Laura for such a wonderful resource!!!!


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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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