Spread Too Thin? Here’s the Secret:

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August is upon us. Do you know what that means? No more procrastinating.  Hopefully your classes are scheduled and your term bill is squared away. Your laundry is clean and folded because if it’s not yet – you’re probably hopeless. And Oh Man. I really hope you have your internet access enabled soon because your Netflix misses you.

I unfortunately, have not, they are not, it is not.

I can however tell you,  I moved into an apartment last week and I finally have groceries AND a pot to cook it in. AND I just launched a big campaign for my internship. At least I know where my classes should be located, and that’s good enough for me. I’m surviving a major management change while keeping my hotel guests very happy.

Oh, and this week I’m watching 3 dogs, 2 cats, and a giant house. And hosting a yardsale  #HUSTLE

How have I not drowned yet?  Here’s the only reasonable conclusion I’ve come up.

Don’t half ass it. Dive in.  Any other time in my life, I would have skimmed the surface of all these responsibilities. Surely, there’s no way you could give 110% to all these overwhelming tasks. You just don’t have it in you.

But actually, you do.

Blackboard with chalk

It turns out, your determination doesn’t stop at 100%. You set the bar. You dive into every task on your plate. So what if you only have an inch, go deep. If you set your goal to “just get it done, even if that means doing a crap job”, that’s exactly what you’ll do. If you set your goal to “dominate everything. No retreat. No surrender. Take no prisoners. Show no mercy.” Guess what will happen.

Are you going to set yourself up for success? Or are you going to set your self up for halfassery? You may be spread thin, but you won’t run out. 

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8 Questions God Wants Me To Ask Myself While The World Goes Mad

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We know the news had a hidden agenda. We know conspiracy theories get mixed into the media. There are credible threats and non-credible threats and it’s hard to tell the difference. We know there are major changes in place for our country and that is scary.

We feel like we have to look over our shoulder constantly. Sometimes it feels like neighbor vs. neighbor with this war on racism, terrorism, violence, equality, international matters… who can you trust? We turn to prayer and news, news then prayer, prayer, rumor, fear. We want to validate this using that, explain that using this. Coincidence or God? There’ so much room for fear and speculation.

Someone close to me recently opened the door to this fear and doubt. In their mind, the End is coming. In fact, “God actually told him” and every scary news report is just confirmation. For the first time, I looked up the types of “prophecies being fulfilled” that he and millions of others have bought into. It’s scary stuff – I don’t believe it, but it is truly scary.

Here’s what I learned though. I can’t be Afraid. I can’t. We just can’t. We don’t have time to be consumed with what might happen next weekend. Why that happened last month. What could happen at the end of the year. Do Not Be Afraid. I’m not here to debunk the number of times it’s actually written in the Bible, but I know it’s implied with every word. And if Jesus said it once, that’s good enough for me. I can’t fear ISIS. I can’t fear being this race or that (or both in my case). I can’t fear a flag. I can’t fear the repercussions of two people in love.

There’s so much better ways I could spend this day God provided me. Here’s the things I feel God wants me to ask myself at the end of the day.

1. Did I choose Faith over fear today?

2. God gave me a heart Bursting with love and joy. Did I withhold it from anyone?

3. Did I allow preparedness to become panic?

4. In speaking with someone who disagrees with my opinion, was I kind or unkind? 

5. Did I speak as though I knew God’s plan (when I know it exceeds anything I can imagine?)

6. Am I trying to validate something scary to pretend I have control, or did I remember God has the control?

7. Knowing it’s hard to let go, Did I redirect my natural desire for control in a positive way or a negative way?

8. Did I talk with God about my concerns? 

These are not questions I ask, but they are questions I need to start asking. I feel myself slipping into a state of Why’s and What If’s, and I see others around me going there too. God doesn’t want us to be afraid, but that doesn’t mean he wants us making assumptions about his plan either. The only fear I want to have is Did I relish in this day God made with all the joy, love, and faith in my heart? Yes or No?

[Artwork: Banksy]

Patriotic Holidays Aren’t Celebrations for Everyone: PTSD and Fireworks

fireworksFight for Freedom

This Memorial Day, and upcoming Fourth of July, keep our veterans and active military members in mind.

While you’re celebrating and cheering as loud fireworks burst in the sky, somewhere close by, a combat veteran is pacing, agitated, panicked, trying to remember where he is. Heart racing with mind lost in a memory, he struggles to remain calm.

PTSD Is Common In Combat Vets

He is not alone. The research isn’t exact, but an estimated 7% to 20% of the 2.5 million plus veterans and troops who have served in Iraq and Afghanistan are believed to have developed post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Soldier Watches FireworksPTSD causes sufferers to re-live or re-experience traumatic situations via flashbacks, panic attacks or fugue states and it’s characterized by strong emotional reactions, symptoms mirroring severe mental illness (including depression, suicidal ideation, social anxiety, etc) and personality/behavioral changes.

Triggers vary for each individual, but typically, environmental encounters that are sensorily similar to those  occurring in the traumatic event can set off a PTSD episode.The episodes are involuntary, and the sufferer can’t just “snap out of it” or decide not to have it. When the trigger occurs, the veteran or individual in question can be mentally thrown back to a time or place he or she would rather forget, like the death of a battle buddy, a firefight, mortar blasts, an IED explosion or other horrible and painful experiences.

Please keep in mind your neighbors and friends this holiday season. Personally, I have never stopped to imagine what they might go through every time I’m celebrating. Please share this information and give our Veterans a well deserved night of patriotic celebration.

The Time I Narrowly Escaped the Worst Intern Faux Pas Ever.

This morning, I rolled my happy self out of bed at 7 o’clock to prepare for a tour of my new internship director’s home. I was going to meet his family and get familiar with Mission Control, where the company magic happens.

I thought the meeting was Wednesday, May 6th, and I was right.  But I also thought today was Wednesday, May 6th, and I was wrong.

So I took on the 40 minute drive, having left an hour early to prepare for lost GPS signal panic attacks. I even drove around the neighborhood for an extra 20 minutes, so I don’t look like a crazy person knocking on the door at 8:40 am. When the time came and my anxiety  excitement called down, I pulled in. So, there I was, at the front door, knocking, ringing the doorbell, ringing the doorbell again on the porch of this massive lake house. With no answer.

– And thank God for that because, had he or his wife opened the door in their footy pajamas this early morning, I just don’t know what I would have done. –

At this point I’m still clueless. I assumed they forgot about me. Walking back to the car, I nervously call my mom. I said, “Mom. I know we both had confusing schedules. But I specifically remember, he said May 6th. I have it saved Mom. What happened? He’s a professional, he doesn’t miss appointments.” And she said, “Honey, It’s April 29th.”

What.

This could have been the single worst experience to happen to an intern in the world. I can’t tell if I’m lucky as hell, or just unlucky and the gods felt bad for me. I really dodged a bullet there. Can you imagine? Knock, Knock. Here’s the new intern, showing up unannounced, at the front door of your private residence. Hello.

Anyways, new internship director and wife, you have a lovely home. Your lake view is nice. Your doorbell is nice. I’m sure your security system is nice – so if you’re wondering – that’s me in your surveillance video.

I’ll see you next week.  Same time, Same place.

So Your Blog Wants a Facebook of its Own?

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The other day, a member of my blogging club asked the group about the benefits of making a Facebook Account specifically for her blog.

“Hey everyone! I was just wondering, how many of you have created a Facebook page just for your blog? I was thinking about making one but I’m not sure if it will be worth the time. How many followers did you have before you made a Facebook page?” – Heather

Heather! That is awesome that you are considering bringing your writing over to Facebook! I was really hesitant at first because I had already been sharing posts on my personal wall. I didn’t want to tick everyone off by doubling up, but I also didn’t want to share only on my Blog Page which would be limited to only the few “Likers”.

I can tell you that I got over those concerns fast! I consider my FB Page an extension of my website. It’s just another creative space that gives me a direct line of communication to my readers, just like the email subscription, only more personalized. Also, I considered how many Facebook Links from my wall I open compared to my email subscriptions.

When someone thinks your post is great through Email, they can enjoy it reading and then it’s done. On Facebook, you can expect a like, comment, or share, which sends your post to their wall. All of a sudden, your work is reaching a whole new audience! Shares in particular can jump start an awesome readership day. Facebook then keeps a count of how many views your post receives. This is so helpful because even if they don’t click through to your post, they might begin recognizing your blog and have more interest in the next post!

Here’s how I boost my posts.

1) Create and publish something Brilliant.
2) Copy link to my blog’s page, From My Blog’s Account, not from my personal account onto the page wall! (This is important if you want a count on views!)
3) Before posting, I click through header photo options for the most interesting/relevant picture. They are automatically generated by the link, but I can also upload an alternative from my files.
4) Write a headline to make it personal, then Share!
5) Click back into my personal account, go to Home, and find my Blog post along my wall. Sharing from here will keep the view count going.
6) Share with a different headline update. This way friends following both accounts don’t see the Same Dang Thing twice in one hour on their feeds. For many, seeing it a second time with a fresh headline reminds them that they enjoyed it and should like/comment/share.
7) Remember – It’s all about the Shares! Shares double, triple, quadruple your audience and connects you to tons of new excited people!

If you asked me my follower count, here’s what I tell you.

WordPress Official Followers (Including Email Subscriptions)+ Bloglovin’ Followers + Facebook Followers = Total

I figure it this way because the majority of my WP official followers are fellow WP bloggers. The Email Subscriptions are various cousins in far away states. My Bloglovin’ followers are either bloggers, or hardcore blog reading fans. Where do I account for all my friends? They love my blog! Do they not count? Well of course they do. And if you have a twitter account just for your blog, you might as well count them too!

If you blog regularly and wish to see your readership grow but you don’t have a Facebook page, stop right there. Drop what you’re doing, and get involved! Your website could have a much larger audience, but you’ve cut off its arm!

If you have/make a Facebook page for your blog, drop a link! We want to see examples, hear success stories, and follow back!

 

It’s Treat Yo Self Day, and I Can’t Decide.

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It’s that time of month!

No, not that time of month. The other time, post 2nd paycheck, when I have a little bit more money to spare. I’ve worked hard all month, busting my butt to meet bills, savings goals, and all the emergency expenses are paid off. Now I’ve got a little wiggle room. Usually, I am so conflicted after a month of stalking certain needs  wants, that I can’t make a decision end up saving my leftover money. However, I’ve been snowed in for 2 weeks, kicked some test score’s butts, taken extra shifts at work, and gosh darn it, I haven’t threatened anyone’s life this month.

It’s time. I just can’t make up my mind. Someone tell me what to do!
Here’s our options:
1) Destination Print. It’s a combination of all the things I love: foreign cities, pretty fonts, and interior decorating. $33

2) Banksy Divers Print. Hello. So my favorite artist Banksy did a portrait of me and my man. Yes please. $22

3) Wave Ring. Because I’ve been consumed with the ocean since my last dive trip to St. Croix. $7

4) Fur Rug. The pelt is faux, but the style is SO real. $30

5) Moon Stacking Rings. The moon is so romantic, It was my first love. $18

6) Personalized Glitter Passport Cover. Need I say more?

Alright people. You know me. You know I’m horrible at making my own decisions. Help a sista out.

That One Shot With The Dog

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Sometimes you just have to make a blog post devoted entirely to that one stellar shot from that one photoshoot that one time…

I had a blast last week in the blizzard playing model with my new friend Stephanie Richer. Once I get more pictures, I’ll most definitely be sharing. Until then, here’s the preview of our chilly afternoon.

It was so funny, I was leaning against that rock when a woman was walking her dog nearby. Stephanie was like, I wonder if she would let us take some pictures with her dog. I said, Stephanie. I need the pup. Get me the pup. And she did!

Hope everyone is keeping warm where you are!

Friday Favorites: Cabin Fever Edition

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So when I wasn’t playing in the snow with the lovely Stephanie Richer (consider yourself warned, there’s a photostorm on the way once she finishes editing), I was cooped up in my igloo with nothing but my wits and a laptop.

Let’s just say I have three-quarters of my wedding planned and the tile for my mansion bathroom all picked out. Just check Pinterest. It’s all right there.

Unfortunately, what I thought was sucky cabin fever was beat out by the nightmare that is UT campus covered in ice. Yep, class is in session boys and girls. So I’m huddling for warmth at Einstein’s typing with frosted over fingers.

wpid-quickmemo-_2015-02-20-10-38-13-1.png.pngwpid-quickmemo-_2015-02-07-21-41-41-1.png.pngcitypassport

netflix     banksy

As pretty as Knoxville is in the snow, I miss the days before the whiteout. It’s truely a doll of a city. However, I’m counting down the days till spring break. If the sweet postman survives the storm, he should be bringing me my Passport soon! I would love nothing more than to take it, wrap it in a glitter cover, and jet off to someplace warmer. I literally wait in the living room for the sound of the mailbox outside my door – just pinning and Etsying- waiting on Mr. Postman.

UGH! I hope everyone is keeping warm. Much Love!

– Phoebs

Prayers for Norah Cate

Prayers

On February 16, 2015 at 4:02 in the afternoon in the midst of an ice storm, little Norah Catherine weighing only 14 oz, made her grand entrance into this world in a big way. Now Knoxville, Tennessee, and folks all around the country are rallying around this little angel. 25 weeks, and she’s already in this world.

Norah Cate, you’re so Unbelievably tiny, but our God does Unbelievable things.

They don’t call them God-given talents for nothing. I’m excited to use my love for creating/design to help spread the word about little miss Norah, and her fight at UT. I hope you’ll help me by sharing her story and sending some prayers the family’s way.

God Loves You, You Precious Fierce Little Thing!

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Prayers-for-Norah-Cate/795431323859806

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