Friday, February 27, 2015

sparkles from the week: Feb 27

A few little gems I've run across lately:
Sparkles from the Week | A few gems I've run across...be inspired and live a little!


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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

on the way home


My dad has spent the last week in Tanzania (with a team of people).  I'm always challenged by his faith, but getting daily updates of the number of people they are talking to has really opened my eyes to how many do not know the story of our Savior.  How many have never heard the life giving message that because of our human nature, we are separated from Christ and set for an eternity of darkness and suffering.  But, oh that our God loved us enough to give us His Son.  To send His perfect precious Son to live on earth.  To walk among His people and to see and feel what we see and feel.  And then called Him to the highest expression of love; to give His life for another.  To give His life for me.  To give His life for you.

But, why?  L.O.V.E.

I think about the ugly and dark places my mind goes.  I think about the words of wrath that are spewed there.  I think about how empty and dark and void my heart and soul feel in those moments.  And, I can only imagine that's what an eternity separated from Christ would be like.

So they go.  Door to door and hut to hut.  Sometimes a mile between each hut.  And sometimes so close
on the way home | a discovery along the way about my dads trip to Tanzania
they can all gather under a coconut tree.  But they pull these dresses out.  And they offer them as a gift.  No strings attached.  Something they freely give to the girls in these villages.  And then they tell them Jesus has a similar gift for them.  A gift that took Him sacrifice just like it took sacrifice to make that dress and bring it to them.  But, His gift comes freely and with no strings attached.  But, its something we have to accept and put on.

And it's that simple.  This time as a group, they have talked to almost 8000 people.  Now, I love to talk, but I don't know that I've encountered 8000 people much less in one week.  But as they gathered people at a school, for a Jesus film showing, in a church, or in their front yard, they told them that story; the free gift of Jesus.   And in their week together, nearly 4300 accepted this gift for the first time.

We take for granted the access to this story.  We take for grated that we can find a Bible in a hotel room, or living in the Bible Belt that all "know" what we are talking about.  But, it blows my mind that in 2015 there are still 8000 people in one African "town" who would come to listen to a story they've never heard.

While he has been gone, I received this story in my inbox.  It tells the story of a woman who heard this story of Jesus and asked "why have I not heard this sooner"?

How Beautiful the Feet | lessons I'm learning from #mydad #bigpittstopIts a valid question.  And one that moves my heart.  After moving to Northwest Arkansas, I became aware of Pioneer Bible Translators. An organization based out of Dallas, they seek to translate scripture and get it to every man on earth.  When I attended an event they held here 2 years ago, I was able to see some of the handwritten pages where they translated the New Testament into the native language of the Tanzanian people; the handwritten story of the blind man.  Needless to say, Father's Day, Birthday and Christmas were all taken care of for my dad that year! 

Two month's from now, they will gather again in my backyard.  If this at all peaks your interest, let me encourage you to attend and hear the compelling story of this great organization and give to support their work.  I do think it is my generation who will be able to carry this message and equip the translation of The Gospel to those who have not heard.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

digital estate plan

So, I spent some time this evening working on my digital estate plan.  Seems weird right?

I saw a post in a group I’m a member of yesterday and it got me thinking. 

Maybe it’s the fact that I’ve had to face death or that I used to work in estate planning myself, but it doesn’t weird me out to think about setting up my estate plan. 
Actually, it is just the opposite.  I’m a control freak, I know this about myself.  When I set up my personal trust, I thought "I tell people what to do all the time, why would I not establish a plan with my things to tell them what to do with them all when I’m gone"?!?!
But, the bigger thing I think about is helping those I love.  Making decisions now helps them process
Digital Estate Plan | Setting up a plan for what happens with your digital brand when you are gone is essential
things later.  No, I’m not planning to die and I sure don’t do anything crazy that would bring extra harm (I’ve already tried out my extra lives!) but I want to know that decisions are made when they have to.  And, I want to protect them from the hardships that the post-death processing brings (taxes and now access to my digital accounts).
As a single gal, I have to think about that differently.  I don’t have a spouse or kids to manage those things.  And, most likely my parents will be gone when that day comes.  So, for me…its my amazing baby sister.  But, one thing I do know is she doesn’t like to make decisions, so I’ve chosen to help her by making many of them for her!  Or at least releasing some of the burden... 
But, back to the moment at hand

·         I have a blog

·         I have an online business

·         I have several social media accounts

·         I have a personal brand

They are all things that I need to protect and legacy arrangements established.  I realized tonight….I still have a lot to learn.
Basic steps:
  1. Make a list of your accounts
  2. Name an executor
  3. List what you want done with the accounts upon your death
  4. Store the information in a secure place
If you are curious what I’m even talking about, here are some resources that might help!


·         5 Step  Digital Estate Plan


Well, now that's all taken care of, I can go do some sewing...there are some cool things coming for @KCutieDesigns!!!

Friday, February 13, 2015

vday card dilemma

For my friends who draw, doodle and design. I have a few Valentine's Day scenarios for which we need a solution:

  • girl co worker-new and first time celebrating holidays
  • guy co worker. Not mushy, cheesy, glittery or "sweet". Maybe just "Happy Feb 14. Everyone else was getting a card so I couldn't leave you out"
(celebrating holidays at work is always a dilemma....dont worry, I'm getting the green food color ready!)
  • the mail man
  • the brother-in-law - I've resorted to the "kids" and "superheros" section!
  • the we've only been dating for a month so I can't declare my love and freak you out
  • the single friend. We are both single. We don't like this day, but we dont want to curse it
  • the friend who is alone for the first time in a long time and you don't want them to be forgotten but you don't want to bring up the obvious
  • "You're a scumbag and someone needs to tell you. Today seems like a perfect day."
  • A from the dog option where the word love is not replaced with "woof"
  • for your barista that you visit way too often, he might as well be your boyfriend like seriously he gives you something to cheer you up on cold nights and you always go to see him when nothing else will do
  • brother in law. It's weird to leave him out but what do you really say? Here's a Popsicle? (I mentioned it twice...do you see the dilemma?)
  • and I am loving this "galentines" concept
What other occasions did I leave out?

For the record. Walmart vendors really upped their game this year (atleast at my store) and I spent 30 min on the card sale laughing and saying "awe". But mostly laughing and there were a couple snorts at some really good one!

My favorite card I saw this year was - (Emily McDowell has fantastic cards!)


and, if I were to design a card it would say, "The best friends are like a good bra.  They make you look good and support you when you need it"...off to design!

Thursday, February 5, 2015

My 7 Secrets to Starting a Blog


I was asked this week - "I've started googling how to start a blog and I've gotten some answers.  But, what would you say?

Not that I even begin to feel like an expert in this category, but I guess if you write and you play and you try that at least gives you the fortitude to tell your why.  

So, as I wrote and shared with my colleague, I thought I might share my initial thoughts (probably more opinions) here-
    7 Secrets to Starting a Blog - my personal thoughts...Just Start. @bigpittstop #bigpittstop
  1. Develop - As much as you can do and develop before you launch, the better.  Really think through what your blog brand will be - equipping, informing, general discussion, food, style, parenting, couponing, etc.
    a. 
    This is critical because you will create a following and then keep a following by consistency.
    b. 
    If a fashion blogger all the sudden started doing a food special every Friday, you would think…”what the heck”!  Give your customer (aka audience) what they came for.
    c.  You don’t walk into Williams Sonoma and expect to find gym shorts…not gonna happen.
    d. 
    Know your categories and what you are going to write about and write about them.  Then think critically over time about introducing a new theme. 
  2. Visual branding, name, tag line, think about what and where - you will have several elements of trial and error as you get everything in place, that is reasonable, but dont make it spring cleaning every month (at some point the husband gets annoyed when the couch moves everyday).
    a. 
    I cannot begin to imagine all the things that have changed in my "blog crib" over the last 8 years.
    b.  Your blog corner of the blog-o-sphere will be different from my "lifestyle" blog.  My genre has a little more flexibility to always changing and trying something new as I learn it.  A leadership blog, an educational blog, a blog by a “personality” – they don’t have the same flexibility
    c. 
    Do some research and experimenting in knowing “who” you are before you jump out there.  Otherwise, you will be re-branding yourself in 6 months and re-hiring graphic designers and blog professionals to fix it all.
  3. Research - Look at what other people are doing.  Look at what they offer, how they offer it, how it’s laid out.
    a. 
    What do you like and what frustrates you, especially from a navigation perspective!
    b. 
    Who are "top bloggers" and why - you may not be in this to be famous, but if you can't create and keep a following, what's the point? (and yes, just blogging for your own personal development is an appropriate reason to write….that’s how you got here!)
  4. Wordpress - from everything I know, this is the way to go to set up your blog.  This continues to be the personal battle that I have about my own blog.  I use blogger and its super easy and user friendly and has been for the last 8 years. But all of the support and the way more and more people are going is to go WordPress. 
    a. 
    Just offering my “what I would do now”
  5. Subscriptions - Have a “search” and “subscribe” feature from the beginning. My friend Jacqueline at Do Good Work would tell you capturing your “followers” or customers is key to running your brand, yes even your personal blog brand!
    a. 
    These are easy “gadgets” or “elements” you can add to a standard blog template
  6. Reveal - Consider your launch.  Think about a "soft opening" process for a restaurant.
    a. 
    Who do you want to lay eyes on it first, can you handle their critique and feedback and adjust what you can.
    b. 
    What does "going public" look like?
    c. 
    Have planned content, maybe even start writing now so that when you launch you have something to offer.  Too often people put their blog out there and then spend lots of time “building” it that they offer their readers nothing and loose traction. 
  7. Professional - Don’t just take my free opinions, hire someone.  There are lots, and lots, and lots of people who can help you.    
  
If you don’t like these suggestions (which you would be silly not to!), then that’s what The Google is for.   But, research and then play.  Know yourself, but dont be scared to learn and develop and change.  It takes time, it takes wisdom, but most of all, it take experience!
 
Start. Just start somewhere.