Thursday, July 18, 2013

Blog Identity Crisis

This is kind of weird, but my blog is experiencing somewhat of an "identity crisis." 

Write-On, Mom! thought she knew who she was, but lately has been developing ideas and growing in ways that she didn't see coming. 

Her "platform" (as the pros call it) has always been to share life, through the lens of motherhood.  Sometimes funny.  Sometimes sad.  Sometimes encouraging for others.  Most of the time just for herself.  Always with pictures. 

And occasionally professional. 

In the last year, and especially after attending the Speak Up! Conference in Michigan, opportunities to grow professionally has become more of a reality. 

And it feels sort of formal, I guess. 

Something that this blog is. not.

So here is what Write-On, Mom! is thinking about:
Should she start a brand new site, dedicated to that thing called professionalism

Fill it with STORY-SNAPSHOTS:  short stories that capture the heart behind the image.  Glimpses of stories of people who are changing the world.  Inspiration for readers to make a difference through their own stories. 

And also fill it with SNAPSHOT STORIES:  photographs and videos that tell the story.  Photo-journaling.  I've been given an opportunity to create and produce a photo-report that tells the story of the 2013 high school football season for our high school.  I've done this before.  Just not "officially."  Not professionally.  This gig has given me a lot of ideas about creating snapshot stories for others who may ask. 

Which means, that I could potentially have a product to sell. 

This is all new to Write-On, Mom!  She's afraid if she tries to do it all here while she shares her walk through the motherhood, she will end up not being focused enough.  Appear to scatterbrained. got me there.  You are used to scatterbrained from Write-on, Mom!.

But you aren't used to professional.

Or, she can do what she has been thinking about.  Create an alternate site/personality in addition to this one. 

What are your thoughts on this? 

Comments are welcome.

(by the way, it's not weird that i wrote about the blog like she were a live, breathing personality, is it? 
for a second there, i thought i might be losing it.)

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Speak Up Conference Hi-Lites

I am officially a week removed from the Speak Up 2013 conference.  The conference truly was a life-changing experience for me. I wanted to record the victory here, mostly to remind myself of this....because as my friend Patricia has reminded me, the sweeter the victory, the harder that the enemy tries to steal it or turn it sour.

Here is a photo of the girls I carpooled and roomed with.
Cathy, Me, Lori and Amanda.
I knew Cathy and Lori; met Amanda for the first time. 

The conference started on a Thursday afternoon.  Cathy and Lori both had appointments to give a recorded speech for critique.  We thought we were getting there an hour early.  Turns out we did not account for a time-zone change that occurred somewhere in the middle of our 6-hour drive.

Luckily we arrived with about 15 seconds to spare.
(you could say this was a stressful way to kick off the conference)

By the end of Thursday night, I had given my first speech.  It was a 3-minute speech that I had worked for no less than 3 weeks on.  I had it all written out.
I was last in my group to go.
I read about 3 lines of my speech before I ditched the whole thing.
I just told a story about my first official speaking experience.
Everyone in the group laughed.
And I didn't throw up.

I would call that a success. 

Friday was spent attending classes, and I gave my second speech.

Again, I read 2 to 3 lines of my speech that I worked hard to write.  It was a mini-devotional with a personal illustration.  After about 20 seconds, I stepped back, and again...ditched the speech and told my story.

People cried.

And again, I did not throw up.


I was given ideas from the critique group and facilitator on ways to develop my mini-talk into a more in depth presentation for future use.

Friday night at the dinner table, Amanda asked everyone at the table the question:

So how is God speaking to you at this conference and what is he saying?

Great question, right?  Except I did not know how to answer it.  And that bothered me.

I loved the conference so far.  Was inspired with new ideas.  And I learned that I can actually give speeches.  But how was God speaking to me?  What was he saying?

The next morning I woke a good 2 hours before I wanted to.  I went downstairs with my conference notes and my own journal.  With coffee in hand, I decided to go through my notes from each class and write them all out in one place.

The more I wrote, the more I realized that God was speaking to me.  And he had some things to say, too....

The notes I took were not quotes from any of the speakers.  Just my response to things that were said in each class.  I wrote them out apologies if they don't make sense to you....but God has really whispered into my heart through them.  Here they are:

In response to a conversation with Amanda:
No ONE story can change the world.  But your story can change someONE's world. 

After Cindy Bultema's "Red Hot Faith" presentation:

Chose this weekend to let it go and let it flow.  Throw away any agenda you have for this weekend and let me work on the plans I have for you.

After an interviewing class with Lorilee Craker, an author and journalist:
I want to better share people's stories.
 Every story has the power and potential to change someone's world.

Other Notes:
Changing the World, one story at a time.
There is only one story that has the power to change the entire world.  That is the EPIC story of Jesus Christ.  His power over sin.  His power over the grave.  No other story can change the world.  But your story is important. Your story wasn't intended to change the world.  But it can change someone's world. 

In the margin of my notes from Ginger Shaw's Class:
People have been hurt by the church. Be willing to engage in the world,with the flow of the changing culture. Because that chat over coffee might be the only 'church' the person you are with is willing to be a part of.   Be my church in the grocery store.

During Carol Kent's class on "Making your Speeches Come Alive":
You can connect with audiences. 
You can connect  them with the stories.
You can share the soul of the story.

In the Logos Presentation I wrote:
Logos software is the FBI of the bible.  Cool. 

After giving my second and last speech, I wrote:
Your story can change someONE's world.  I will always provide that someone.  you share the stories.  That is how I am working through you.  To be in my will is to share your stories and the stories of others because this is how I am creating change in the world~one story at a time.  Be confident in that.  Be confident in me.

  After copying all of these notes in one place, I knew how to answer the question:  "How is God speaking to me through the conference and what is he saying?"

I've always been good at writing newspaper stories about other people.  And I have always enjoyed doing it.  But a part of me thought that this type of writing didn't have as much significance as those who were writing and publishing books.  But now I feel differently.  I WANT to write and share (even if it means through ~gulp~ speaking) about others and their stories.  I even wonder if ghost writing or collaborative writing may be in my future.  I am excited about that.

I am still overwhelmed with the ideas and things to do to keep moving forward.  But I am choosing today to do the next right thing.  And tomorrow....the next.  

So that's my story.  What's yours?  

P.S.  I tried to copy photos from facebook over to the blog.  Besides the couple that are here, I couldn't get them to format properly.   Uhg.  Are we friends on facebook?  If so, you can check out my photos there.
What?  We aren't friends on facebook?  Why not?  Friend me.  I won't bite.

Another P.S.  This is my first time participating in a Blog Hop.
Hop on over to any other blogs in this Blog Hop and find out how God was speaking through the conference to other attendees.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Celebrate Good Times, Come On!

Ba-da-da-da Da-da da-dahm.

Sing it with me. 

"Oh beautiful for spacious skies, for amber waves of grain....."


"Happy half-birthday dear Nathan....."

I have a confession to make about our Fourth of July.  Our Independence Day.  Our Fireworks and Parades-kind of summer day. 

When my son was really young, I told him that all the hoopla and festivities were to celebrate his half birthday. 

I took advantage of the party celebrations and used it.  To my advantage.  To tell my son that we were all celebrating him. 

(nevermind that we have never celebrated half birthdays in our house.  but have you gotten sucked in to the "making my kids'-party-better-than-your-kids'-party"?  Let the mom who has ever paid the cost of hiring a clown cast the first stone.)

I didn't intentionally start this little white lie with my first-born.  I didn't intentionally perpetuate the lie for a few years in a row.  I merely took advantage of everyone having the day off of work and school. 

I made use of the sparkly, fire-y and glow-in-the-dark-y party favors to help us celebrate. 

I may have mentioned that the tri-county instrumental band, and the local lioness ice-cream social were all there to provide half-birthday-party entertainment and half-birthday cake. 

It started when my son was a pre-schooler.  Our evening was about to draw to a close.  Members of the local fire department topped off our night of celebration with a fireworks display. 

I looked over at Nathan, bright colors from the sky reflecting in his eyes, and I whispered in his ear, "Can you believe this is all for you?"

He never pulled his eyes away from the sky. He simply said, "This is fun." 

We played this half-birthday charade with Nathan for two years in a row.  On the 3rd year he came down with a bug.  He was unable to attend "his own" party.

We sat on our deck, him all bundled up in my lap.  We could sort of hear the music.  And if we leaned just right, we could sort of still see some lights in the sky. 

And I whispered in his ear, "Buddy, you did know that you aren't really missing your own party, right?"

Again, his eyes never left the sky, "Ya, mama, I know.  It was just fun to say it that way." 

My kid is a good dozen years removed from this story.  I'm happy to inform you that we worked through this potentially scarring situation I created without needing any type of therapy. 

To this day I still tease him about all the Fourth of July festivities being all for him.  It's just fun to say it that way. 

The story makes him feel special.  And that's good, because he is. 

So are you and I for that matter.  Did you know that?  Are you able to look around you in your daily life and see all of the things that God uses to celebrate you?  And not just on your birthday or half-birthday or a special holiday.  Every day.  God celebrates you.

Sing it with me:  Celebrate Good Times, Come on!.....