The topic of love has been on my mind for a couple of weeks. I decided to create a shirt based on the scripture found in 1 Corinthians 13 that talks about what charity or love it and is not. For Sunday's early morning service, the preacher preached on the same scripture. Then tonight while having dinner with my husband, we talked about real love in a marriage.
Love. Love. Love. Will we ever get to the place where we all experience the real love God wants for us?
Everyone is always in a hurry. People want overnight success or rapid life changes. Everybody believes they have a hater. People don't know how to remain humble. Everyone wants to know what's in it for them. Life gets tough so they want to quit. These statements, along with plenty of others, highlights why society will never experience real love.
I'm learning day by day about what real love involves. I will admit this period of deep reflections is because I am taking courses that are a part of a Masters of Divinity program. I didn't anticipate this level of study but now that I am diving this deep into this area, it is causing me to gain clarity so many areas of my life. I'm not being put to shame or being made to feel guilty. But they're pushing me to learn how to intentionally love God, love myself, and love all people. When I first was challenged with the idea of how do I love others, I immediately thought about my husband. I found some flaws and mistakes I was making. I prayed about them and God is helping me to better love my husband. Those prayers soon turned into founding out to better love myself. Soon they'll progress to find ways to better love others.
There are several components of love. It takes time to genuinely love because genuine love isn't rooted in personal feelings. Real love isn't selfish or self-centered. During tonight's dinner conversation, my husband pointed out the very thing I've been reading about. God's love was always directed to the person not their habits, sins, behaviors, skin color, gender, etc. He said He loved the world based on John 3:16. Yes, the world commits sin but sin is not the world. God hates sin but He loves His children. Many people may be feel that's a conditional love but it's not. That's because God knows who you really are. You don't even know who you really are until you authentically see yourself as God sees you! And that takes time! He knows you are not your sin. We try to label people based on their sin and then make that the reason for not loving them. That's not real love! We'll spend more time coming up with reasons not to love then just getting over our feelings and love the way God intended.
Real love transforms the heart. It transforms the mind. For anyone who seriously seeks out real love the way God intended, it's a great journey of freedom, peace, faith, hope, and so much more! I striving to get on that path to learn more about that kind of love!
The latest apparel design is 'Got Love?' with some check boxes. I left them unchecked because as one continues to review what real love is and begins to practice, they can check off the boxes for themselves. Do some DIY and just certain paints or whatever. To get your t-shirt or sweatshirt, click here to purchase from the Positive Apparel online store! God bless you!
Let me say this upfront: I am NOT a marketing expert! I've been through marketing coaching, I've read tons of information about marketing, etc. Even if I were to say I'm an expert, I'd still need to learn more because like with most industries, things change rapidly.
However, I wanted to offer some insight on social media marketing because it's one of the largest and fastest methods of getting noticed. What normally use to takes a start up business about 5+ years to gain momentum or attention, now with the right social media marketing plan, the start up business can gain a lot of traction in just the first year or two. I'm not basing that on statistics. I'm basing that on what I've witnessed in the last few years of starting my own small business and observing others.
Now, I've help people publish their book and start down the path of doing much more. But many people still wonder if social media marketing is really necessary. To a major degree, yes it's necessary because it's the default way for people to find out more about you. A website and Facebook (FB) page are the top two things you'll see when you search on Google by specific person or business name; the first page of returned results. So, FB is ideally the first place to begin if you need to start marketing.
As a Christian, I'm careful how I use social media. But for anyone with respect and common sense are also just as careful. One of the things I learned early on is to not pretend to be something that I'm not. What I'm learning now is to not be afraid to be honest about who you are because are hoping to find people that are just like them: human. People naturally gravitate towards a community that isn't being overly critical or judgemental. Most people know their flaws already. Most people wants help overcoming negativity about themselves and others. That's why it's important that if you decide to market on social media, just be you. Certain programs that teaches marketing will try to complicate the idea of 'branding' or 'creating brand awareness' for your business. Bottom line: you are the brand. Not so much how you look but how you act and what you say is your brand. Your true character will carry more weight than anything.
How does one get started with social media marketing? Well, decide on what you like to post about. Don't make it all about your product or services. Then just start out with one social media platform; ideally that's FB but it's your choice. Then learn about that social media platform. If you do FB, be sure to create a business page separate from your personal page. It's ok to share between the two pages but keep majority of sale promotions on the business page. If people do sincerely like you, they'll reach out and ask to be your friend on your personal page. Don't force it! I'm learning to allow God to handle the increase because He knows who is really for me and who is against me! Then once you have the business page setup, schedule some posts. Use Hootsuite, Buffer, or any one of those. I believe all of them have a free version when you starting off. You don't have to post a lot. Ideally, 2 to 3 times a day for FB is good but that can be too much if it's not quality content ever time. Consider the large population and algorithms of these web pages. I won't lie, I have not done a lot of scheduled postings like I use to. I've made up my mind to keep things more simple and post when I can. My reason is that I wanted to slow down so I didn't want the same amount of inquiries and/or potential clients. I've start my journey to obtain my Masters in Divinity and that's a lot -- while still maintaining and starting other businesses, working full-time, being a wife, etc. But I would HIGHLY recommend scheduling post for those starting off. For example, if you know you have a special launch or sale, schedule those regular posts to remind people about the special going on.
If it's a major launch and you really trying to ensure it gains attention, do a FB ad. I don't know about how to do the other platforms but I don't think they're too different. They offer the same type of setup to target your ideal audience, e.g. gender, age, location(s), interests, etc. It took me several attempts to finally do a successful FB ad. And my definition of successful is based on the goal I was wanting to achieve. That's important to understand! Know the goals you are hoping to achieve because FB ads cost and you need to understand where your investment is going. I would say FB ads are great for both long and short term return-on-investment (ROI) goals. They can work if you want that to see immediate ROI and they also work for the longer term of ROI. Just know what you want ahead of time.
I encourage anyone that has started a business to do social media marketing. Continue other methods of marketing but incorporate social media when you can. Just be you! God bless you!
This post is for those writers who are are looking for help on what they could do next once their book is typed up. Now, it may not be formatted into an official manuscript yet but you have the basics of your chapters and the wording for each chapter together.
I am sharing (refurbishing, if you will) the self-paced 'Tell Your STORY - Module 1' and sharing the recorded webinar right here in this blog post. I am hoping it can help encourage someone to know taking the next steps isn't as bad as you may think! You can do it! I believe in YOU!
NOTE: This is a previous webinar training so some contact information will be outdated. Refer to www.latoniaprice.com for further contact information. Also, to see more helpful tips on self-publishing, go to my YouTube channel.
Today, I was reading a book for my class (Discover Your God-Given Gifts by Don & Katie Fortune) and it was about discovering your spiritual gifts. This is not an unfamiliar topic for me. I have known about spiritual gifts for while. As I read through the book, I was able to comprehend all that it taught. Although I understood what it was saying, I couldn't help but wonder how many people don't know their spiritual gifts. Or worst, they are operating in a place that doesn't allow them to use their spiritual gifts or they're using the wrong spiritual gifts.
I actually enjoyed the way this book explained spiritual gifts and the importance of using those gifts to the best possible ability. The book also included an assessment to see what your spiritual gifts are and provided their website to find out more information on spiritual gifts. The one statement they made about taking the assessment is once someone does they can no longer feel guilty for saying 'no' to a request about doing something that doesn't align with their gift. How many of us have been guilty of that? We've said 'yes' to certain things that were completely outside our lane.
That's the marvelous wonder of God! He created each of us in His image (Gen. 1:27) which means we each possess some portion of His creativity. These spiritual gifts are linked to our DNA and many of those were exhibited as we were growing up. The authors of the book mentioned after conducting an in-depth study of spiritual gifts, they viewed Proverbs 22:6 in a whole new way. Many Christians will just believe it's about taking the child to church and teaching them about God. However, the authors mentioned how when children begin to play or pretend, their spiritual gifts will become more visible to the parent. When I think back to my childhood, I can definitely make the connection between what I use to do for play time and what my spiritual gifts are.
I do believe there are many people who may not know what their spiritual gifts are. They may be afraid to admit they don't know because they've involved in church for so many years. But it's ok to not know exactly. I say that because there are hundreds of spiritual gifts! There have been great people who managed to consolidate the majority of the gifts into specific categories. These same people have created personal assessments that you can take to determine your spiritual gifts. I know some people may not agree with having to pay for such an assessment. To me, it's sowing a seed because I know I will get a return that will help better equip me to do greater works for God. Not to sound cliche but we do tend to spend out money on a lot of other things that aren't beneficial to our spiritual maturity. Why not invest in a book and/or a person who is certified to help you take a spiritual gifts assessment? Many of these assessments also helps you identify your ideal career path, developing healthy lifestyle habits, improving your relationships, etc.
If you are curious on how you can take a spiritual gifts assessment, you can read the book I mentioned above or you can contact me on the Coach page. I am a Certified Human Behavioral Consultant and can help you take the faith-based DISC assessment. Simply take the assessment and I'll be available to explain how to best apply what you discover. It doesn't matter to me how you discover your spiritual gifts, I just encourage you to do it! I promise it will help you in your Christian journey! :-)
How many of us set goals? My guess is all of us. No matter if they're short or long term. We all have goals in life that we want to accomplish. Many of us have accomplished some while others are still getting ready to go after their goals. However, goal achievement often doesn't happen back to back. Sometimes there's a gap between one goal and another goal. For example, self-published authors get the book out there on Amazon, have a few events, and many times the buzz gets a little quiet until the next project. Another example can be you just completed your degree for counseling and certification as a coach. You've practiced on a few people and even had a few paying clients. You even got your website going and buzz generated. But things get a little more quiet until you launch the next coaching project.
I often found that the best impact that I make when I coach someone is when I do the check-ins. Sure, the one-on-one sessions are informative and enlightening. However, it's those quick Facebook inbox conversations or simple prayer emails that I do to just remind them to hang in there. Honestly, it's the part that I don't put a price tag on that I find most fulfilling. Most people recognize life happens. It gets hard seeing the end goal through the storms. Every now and again, it takes a person to give a little reminder that it's going to be ok. It takes someone to remind you that because you woke up, God isn't finished working on your behalf!
These 'in the meantime' sessions are the ones I actually like doing the most because I get it. I understand. It's 2017 and most people understand the concept of having a coach for different areas of life, e.g. life, business, relationship, self-publishing, faith, financial, etc. In fact, most people can get many of their coaching needs by doing an intelligent search on the Internet, reading books, and more. However, in order to keep focused and remain positive while implementing what is learned, we all need that someone to just say things like, 'Hey, you're doing great!', 'God's got you!', 'I believe in you!', 'I celebrate you!', 'I'm so proud of you!' And actually mean it!
We can accomplish greater works by working together versus against each other. It's not always about the 'survival of the fittest' or 'every man for himself'. It's time we finally started pouring back into each other and help each other remain positive in the meantime. When that 'meantime' happens, it's hard because you really don't know if what you've done is working or not. You don't know if you should quit or keep going. You don't know! That's how the negative thoughts creep in and discourages you. That's why we need each other so that we can keep positive in the meantime!
So let me tell YOU: I am proud of you! I celebrate you! Keep going because your best is yet to come! :-)
In the last few weeks, I've been doing a lot of reading about transformation in the Christian journey. For those that may or may not know, I actually received a certification in transformational coaching in 2015. The concepts I learned during that course and what I am reading about are exactly the same. True transformation is a life long journey. In the Christian journey, transformation of become more like Jesus Christ takes on various activities that includes specific spiritual disciplines. One of the first key ideas that we learn about becoming a Christian is that we made the decision. We may have had some influences from our family, culture, etc. However, in the end, the decision is ours. Because of this we are responsible for our own spiritual formation. We can certainly gain encouragement and empowerment from a wonderful community of people. But it's our own choice to intentionally continue along the Christian journey.
This key of personal responsibility is also the key to transformation. The purpose of transformation is to change for the better. How many of us desires change for the better? Along with the readings I've been doing, the idea of forgiveness and letting go came up frequently. Many issues that we deal with often are rooted in anger against someone or something that we have yet to let go of and/or extend forgiveness. There's an exercise that can be done to help someone be aware of themselves, their emotions, past hurts, etc. while taking on responsibility for changing those emotions to be more positive (which can lead to forgiveness). Basically, you write out a statement like, "If my parents were never mean to me, I wouldn't have low self-esteem." You take the first portion out; the portion before the comma. Then you work with the second portion by creating sentences that involves actions you can take. For this example, you may write, "I wouldn't have low self-esteem if I began to wear my favorite color more." Then you write more sentences. Soon you'll recognize that you can start forgiving your parents and be in control of your own destiny.
Now, this was a little simple yet very possible for someone to struggle through.
But what happens when the person may say something like, "If God never let my mother die, I wouldn't be so angry." You know...let me make this personal because I've been there. My sentence was, "If God never let our first born daughter be stillborn, I wouldn't be so angry." How do you let go and forgive something God allowed? Especially when it cause so much emotional pain and the reminder that it wasn't easy getting to that point in the first place. Well...let's just say I took the first portion out and I sat with that second portion for a long time because as a Christian, I'm supposed to depend on God. But how can I depend on someone that I can't even forgive? Or trust? But that's when I started coming up with sentences like, "I wouldn't be so angry if I began to sincerely tell God how I feel." So many times we think God is looking for the perfect response after a storm. He's not! He's just looking for a relationship. I eventually came up with other sentences that included studying, meditating, and much more. In fact, I finally came up with enough to finally say I trust God again. I am able to tell God despite the fact I don't know what the end will be, I'll go through the processes of life in order obtain all that's been promised to me!
I like what the above image states. When we don't forgive, we're trying to hold on to a better past. That's impossible! God doesn't live in the past and neither should we. He's trying to bring us forward; that's why we press towards the mark (Phil. 3:14). Pressing is a pushing or forward motion. He's trying to renew us; that's why are a new creation in Him and the old things are passed way (2 Cor. 5:17). I will never forget the life that my daughter had while inside the womb. But I forgive God for allowing such an event to be so painful. It took a while for me to recognize my need to heal, let go of the pain and forgive. God wasn't being intentionally cruel because He wasn't intentionally cruel when His Son had to die on a cross after 30 something years. He was a part of His divine. Charlotte Evelina is a part of His divine plan too. And there's more to His plan that I want; that we need!
For the next two weekends, I am participating into two events. I am planning to have a Damsel in Defense (DID) table at both events. Both events are about Domestic Violence Awareness (DVA) Month. As an Independent Damsel Pro, I am humbled to participate in both events. For those that aren't familiar with DID, visit my business website www.empowermentstunner.com. Great, faith-ignited organization that I am honored to be a part for the last 3 months now.
In light of DVA Month, there has been a lot of going on in news that has cause a major reaction across the world. I am not sure of the original source of the story (because I don't know celebrities like that...sorry) but the idea of any type of sexual assault towards any one is not ok. Many people have used #metoo to speak out about being sexually assaulted. I know DID offers a lot personal protection items for women and families that helps to fight against attackers and hackers. They give back to a lot special shelters and foundations that helps further support survivors. But even before I was a part of DID, I always felt very strongly about sexual assault.
It's not ok. It's not flattering. If you don't know a person, why touch them inappropriately? And if you do know them and you touched them inappropriately, what gave you the idea it was ok? Also, why speak to someone any kind of way? Yes, even what you say can be considered as an assault. Webster dictionary defines it as a 'violent physical or verbal attack.' If you grab someone inappropriately and they take offense, it makes no sense for you (now the attacker) to be offended.
Some of us may not understand boundaries. And for those that don't, I pray they learn about them quickly. Plus, I pray that those who enjoys assaulting people gets professional help. Sure, I can learn self-defense moves, teach them, offer personal protection items to help fight off the attackers. However, that person who enjoys assaulting others really should seek help. Think about it: 12 million people used #metoo in 24 hours. It's scary to think of the people who was afraid to admit it. I pray we all find peace, justice, and love even in a world that is filled with evil. God bless!
***If you would like to help the mission of Damsel in Defense, you can simply purchase a product from my website. Every dollar received for a sale goes towards a monthly donation to a special shelter and/or foundation. So, your shopping is actually giving back and helping someone get help and/or stay safe! If you would like to become an Independent Damsel Pro to help further the mission, email me at email@example.com. I would love to see you join the tribe!***
The love I plan to talk about is based on Biblical principles and spiritual disciplines. I am a Christian leader who is striving to become more like Jesus Christ daily. In this pursuit, I am currently reading a book that is about spiritual formation. The book is entitle The Kingdom Life. I got to a portion of the reading and it had a great question to ask self. It asked the question on how do we love people. Is the love unconditional? Is the love trustworthy regardless of who the person is? It even mentioned how some people can't seem to accomplish real success because they don't love themselves or others. How many people can't even love and/or trust themselves?
In society, it's easy to build walls that we feel are for protection. Trust is earned and once it's broken, forgiveness is out of the question. Many feel forgiveness pardons the person to take advantage of you again. Love is based on conditional guidelines. Some of these guidelines are ignored while others are man-made because of past experiences. However, if we to be real Christian leaders, are we showing love the way God intended? I honestly answer no. I am introvert by nature and I'll be the first to admit I have walls. But lately I've been observing and it seems when love and trust isn't genuine or lacking, it's really hard to accomplish all that you wish to accomplish. Could Jesus Christ accomplish all that he was supposed with the 12? Could he heal the sick if he didn't genuinely love them? Could he raise the dead if he didn't love and trust? We have to be more like Jesus Christ and trust those who are even planning your failure. We need to love those who disagree with our dreams. It's not easy but if we say we want to be a great Christian leader and accomplish greater works, than we must become an apprentice of Jesus Christ.
Many people believe they'll accomplish more by themselves. They can't trust anybody with their dreams and goals. However, that's not how God planned it. There's a reason for fellowship and community. A real community of grace is a safe place to share and get the support that's needed. It may not be financial support but it can emotional and spiritual support. Sometimes those forms of support are better than financial support! We must learn to love the heart a person versus the person. We all are imperfect beings. Our goal isn't to strive for perfection -- that too much pressure and that's not God's will for our life. However, we are to strive for maturity -- learn from the mistakes and understand we are still righteous in God. When we love and trust the heart of a person, we can see their imperfections too. If we desire success in life, we must learn to love and trust unconditionally. This is not permission to become a doormat. Jesus Christ wasn't a doormat -- that is why we must become more Christ-like. Study the life of Jesus Christ and you'll learn how to love and trust people in order to become a success in life. If you need more help, get involved with the right community of grace; basically, a church. Get a mentor and/or coach. We are promised to have life full of abundance. Let's start loving and trust so we can start experiencing the fullness of life!
I wanted to offer more self-publishing tips and information today. I realize many authors would like to achieve Amazon bestseller status with their book. It's actually not difficult to achieve in various categories. For overall Amazon bestseller status, that's a different method all together. That does take a good balance in investment of time, money, and marketing.
The simplest method of achieving Amazon bestseller in various categories is to run a KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) Select free eBook promotion. You can do this for up to 5 days during a 90 day period. This does involve your book being in a format recognized by Kindle. The most common format is MOBI. If you need your book converted to MOBI and prepped for Kindle, you a freelancer from dependable websites, e.g. Upwork, Fiverr, etc. Or you can do it yourself with free downloadable software, e.g. calibre. If you decide to use a software, practice! Read the instructions. Review the tutorials. It's not your Microsoft Word. However, it does allow you to create a functional table of contents for those who like to just click on a chapter title and jump right to the chapter.
Once it's ready, uploaded to KDP, enrolled in KDP Select, and a 5 day schedule is set, then the only final step I recommend is conducting some type of additional marketing. One easy method is doing a FB (Facebook) Ad campaign. FB Ads can be a little complicated if you've never done one. The best advise I can give is to be on a computer and not do it from your FB app on your phone. That way you can see the full listing of all the parameters for targeting your audience. Now, once you get use to it, then doing it on your phone won't seem as tedious. You must know the audience you want to target; otherwise, you'll waste your time and money with a FB Ad. Be sure to select the same 5 days to run the FB ad. When it comes to the budget, start where you can! If you only have $5, see the potential number of people the ad will reach. For example, if you selected a great group when you selected the specific demographics and interest, that $5 could still allow you to reach thousands of people. Not hundreds; thousands! I know the social media marketing area is very competitive. Try to consider special hashtags, great photos or video, holiday tie-in, etc. These can help that $5 go a lot longer. I've witnessed a small budget reach more people than estimated because of a holiday tie-in. Take you time when considering the FB ad. Otherwise, other alternatives for marketing during those 5 days can be to setup a blog tour for your book, schedule more than normal social media posts via a social media scheduler (e.g. Hootsuite, Buffer, etc.), etc.
The main point: when you do the free book promotion, be sure to market it! :-)
Now, when you reach #1 in a category, don't expect a special notification. From personal testimonials, it takes a lot of monitoring because sales rank changes hourly (it could be less than that). This is where it can become a little overwhelming. If you just wish to get help with monitoring and/or helping with marketing your eBook, consider a business who offers these type of services for free. Today, I received a special email from a business called Guaranteed Author. I visited their website and all seemed simple enough. I am not a customer of theirs. I am a firm believer in helping people and passing a long information that can be a help to others! The email was so polite and courteous. I even told them I would pass along their information to those I help with self-publishing their book. There a many people who just don't have the time to keep watching if their eBook hits #1. But they'd still like to know when that happens. Guaranteed Author offers this type of help and more!
As a self-published author, I try to learn all that I can so that I can pour back into those who are seeking to do self-publishing. I try to offer advise and tips to help you avoid simple mistakes. Plus how to make the process go a lot smoother. With the learning, I subscribe to several email list and today I received some great news about KDP (Kindle Direct Publishing) and I had to check it out.
Not to long ago, ACX (Audible for Amazon/Kindle) had a free, special university series about how to create a great audio edition of your book. I was able to view most of the live YouTube videos. But for others, I went back to listen to them. It was great advice and tips that helped me to understand that world of converting your book into audio. Like with any publishing process, converting your book to audio takes the right relationships and understanding. But the interviews and information were encouraging. If you want to view those, navigate to ACX University.
Today I got excited when I got the news about KDP University (it might be old news, how knows but it's new for me...LOL)! I think offering all these tools is great because many people have a story to birth and it's hard to know where to start once you finish writing. I checked out this page out and they have something called KDP Jumpstart. It said how it's a 12-step end to end guide that helps anyone to publish their book via KDP. Plus they're offering live webinars and other marketing tips when it comes to type of book you wish to publish. To have this available is another way to help save on overall costs in time and money so I obviously had to share! I'm sure if you go to the main KDP page (kdp.amazon.com), you'll be able to discover this new university.
I've always used CreateSpace for my books which is also guided process that incorporates Kindle. To have KDP offer a guided process with webinars is great!
I know there are so many platforms available to self-publish. I encourage anyone who has a story and wants to birth it, do it! Organize your time and thoughts then start writing. There's no magic number for how long a book should be. Just as long as the story flows and achieves the purpose you desire for your intended audience. In fact, today I was talking to my dad and he told a lady in his apartment building asked for my book to give to her daughter. My first book was about my stillbirth experience with our daughter. She had already read it and found it encouraging and inspirational. She wanted to pass it along to her daughter because she was recently diagnosed with cancer. She was discouraged because of this diagnosis. In the book, I briefly mention the story of my cancer experience. My dad just wanted me to know that my story was helping people (his exact words). I'm humbled to know that my book is helping people. It may never make NY Times Bestseller but as long as people are inspired and encouraged to overcome their obstacle, my purpose is achieved! TO GOD BE THE GLORY!!
Check out all my books on 'The Books' page for information and the Amazon link to purchase.
As a Christian wife, author, and evangelist, I want to love and help others to enjoy life! I offer tips, empowerment, and more on my blog! Be sure to follow me on FB & Twitter to stay up-to-date!
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