Real Ways to Engage without Facebook Live

Have you noticed how much “live streaming” is dreadfully disturbing? It is becoming addictive just like Candy Crush. People seem to be hooked on this stimulant that is screaming “watch me, watch me”.

via GIPHY

I will admit that I was attracted to that LIVE LIFE for a while (although I haven’t streamed anything live myself).  Each time I saw a friend “go live”, I was immediately there to check out what they had going on.  But this past week, I realized this “live buzz” is killing us and we need to get back to some real effective ways to engage with people via our social networks without suddenly becoming a witness to a crime. (It really is that serious.)

Social media has its bad points but I believe if we use it socially as it was meant to be used, we can make better use of its good qualities.  Think about how much you scroll through your accounts during the day.  No one has time to read everything posted and truly some of us need to let go of a few subscriptions (but that is a conversation for another time).  However, for the things that we do read, what would happen if you took a moment just to let the content creator know that you were hooked in the scroll?  Just stop to say “keep it coming guy, I liked this!”

Every family has that member that spends their life on social media.

Well, why don’t you employ that auntie to help you out with your reach and expansion?  Ask Aunt Jen to share your content, every time you share your content.  Then tell Aunt Jen to make a comment that says something like “My Niece is Doing Great Work.” Her engagement on your post is going to get others engaged.  If Aunt Jen can share Bishop Jakes sermons and she is not his auntie, why shouldn’t she share your goods? Support is best understood when people give of their resources to another person’s work.  Family members are good encouragers in words. They can be good encouragers in deeds too. 

Speaking of encouragement.  How many times have you read a post on Twitter and loved it but kept scrolling? YES? Well, shame on you.  We are too focused on getting rather than giving.  If the content blessed you, let the content creator know it and encourage them to continue.  We have got to encourage each other more.  I recently joined the 500 word challenge with Jeff Goins.  I have scrolled through a few of the other sites in the challenge and I have taken Jeff’s advice to say hello on the blogger’s site. I haven’t been blogging that long but I know it must make anyone feel great to know that their words reached another human being. I know there is power in my engagement so I don’t mind giving a little bit here and there. Own your power and use it to lift others.

Several people I know are on a path of something new at the start of 2017. 

You all know it is hard to keep the momentum going after January 15th has come and gone and certainly after February 1st arrives.  So, do this for me.  For every person in your life that you know is doing something new, challenging and exciting, text them and let them know you are looking forward to the next thing.  People want to deliver when they know that you are looking for something from them.  So encourage them to keep it going.  Don’t let them give up on whatever it is that they are working on.  Your encouragement keeps them engaged in whatever they have purposed to accomplish this year.  You’re helping them see it through.

Lastly, take the time to encourage those people in your life that serve you.  Recently, my bus driver texted me that my daughter had gotten into a bit of trouble on the bus.  I have told the driver many times that she is free to contact me if she ever has trouble out of my children.  She took me up on my offer.  I responded to her compliance with a hearty thank you and encouraged her to stay safe on the roadways.  Her response, “Thank you. I will.”  Everyone can appreciate encouragement.  Encouragement is the ultimate power of engagement and we have it at our finger tips with these mobile devices. You don’t need to be in someone’s personal space to be engaged.  Invite yourself in by merely saying “I SEE YOUR HUSTLE. KEEP FLEXING YOUR MUSCLE.”  Engagement is a super power.  Don’t give all yours away to live streaming.

Now that I have your attention…

Pastor Andrew Brown, assistant Pastor of Covenant Community Church, shared a revealing word this past Sunday that I will not soon forget.  His text for the sermon was from the well-known story of Moses and the burning bush in the book of Exodus.  “God will use what already has your attention to get your attention”, he said.  Pastor Brown shared how he had questions about the burning bush and how peculiar a choice this “attention grabber” was for God.  Surely, God could have chosen anything.  I thought, “if that already had the attention of Moses then how?”  Sitting among the congregation, I realized it wasn’t so much the bush as it was what had Moses’ attention. The bush just happened to be in the area of Moses’ attention.  Moses had consumed himself with the job of a sheep herder probably thinking he had avoided his past.  In fact, he was wandering carefree in the back of the desert when he stumbled upon this bush.  I would venture to say that God realized it was time to let Moses know he couldn’t avoid HIM any longer.  I believe God used the bush because Moses’ occupation had his attention.  I could relate to Moses in that moment Pastor Brown explained the choice of the bush.  I briefly took a job as a tax preparer when I left the U.S. Navy.  It was okay work.  My husband was deployed, our oldest child was less than two years old and I thought this was a good idea.  I found out that God didn’t think it was a good idea.  For three years in a row, something happened as a result of me taking that job.  It affected me and my family adversely.  The first year I was there, they got rid of all first year tax professionals within the first three weeks of the tax season.  I still went back the next year.  Then, co-workers had accidents that caused me to take longer shifts.  The kicker was when my young son of 8 months got sick at daycare and had to be hospitalized.  He had swallowed a coin and it had to be surgically removed.  I put him in home-based care after the ordeal and that didn’t work out either.  So, I finally left the job.  In my over-occupation with what was not the will of God for my life, my family suffered.  Looking back on it now, I assess that getting my attention wasn’t really my problem.  It was difficult to keep my attention because what I wanted become more important than what God wanted for me.

But God has a way of using things that will keep your attention.

I woke up yesterday morning to learn that the country had elected Donald J. Trump to the office of President and I knew immediately that the President-Elect is “the burning bush” but there is not the voice of God coming out of this one.  This burning bush represents the government of which we have taken such an extreme interest. It reminds me of the story of 1 Samuel 8 when the prophet Samuel went to God on the behalf of the people who asked for a king to rule over them.  Although Samuel had reminded them that, as God’s people, they had God and therefore no need for a king to fight for them.  The people had their eyes on the things of other nations and not the things of God.  They replaced God with worldly occupation.  God gave them exactly what they wanted but he used that very king to keep their attention.  I submit to you that since that day, government has represented the replacement of God with worldly occupation.  No matter how much we put IN GOD WE TRUST on our money or our courthouses.  History has repeatedly proven how people replace the things of God with the things of the world.  Our recent national history repeatedly shows how God uses that very thing you replaced Him with to keep your attention.  It will be with Donald J. Trump.  It has been with Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Barack Obama.  I strongly believe it would have been no different with Al Gore, John McCain, or Mitt Romney.  And yes, it would have been no different with Hillary Clinton.  Sadly though, we haven’t realized it yet.  But thanks to Pastor Brown, I can say I see it now Lord.  I can say this now because I voted in every last one of these past elections and I couldn’t understand how in each one the decision became more and more difficult and less appealing.  But I do now.  You have my attention now God.  In fact, you have the attention of the whole world. The world is watching the United States of America.

Moses asks the question in Exodus 3:3 “How is it that this bush does not burn?”  Moses turned aside toward the bush and then God spoke to Him.  It is time to turn America.  There is a burning bush blazing in a great flame right now.  I recommend we give God our undivided attention.  What is important to God must become important to us.  Be careful that we are not consumed.

My Write Path: “It is Not Too Late for You (or Me)”-Episode 2

I said this is the last episode of My Write Path and it is worth repeating, people are often curious about progression.

Since I started this blog, I find myself reading the posts of other bloggers wondering about their “success path” and trying to follow their timeline.  But as I shared in the last episode, my sitting, reading and watching their work was hindering my own progress.  I am not pointing the finger at them.  I am very much to blame.  I was spending so much time on the sidelines that I wasn’t putting action to what I learned from dissecting their stories.  I read and I listened in on the webinars.  I admit, I kept wishing I had started a long time ago.  I found some old piece of my work in a journal and thought, where would I be if I had gotten off my tuff then?  Well, I am so glad that God heard my foolish thoughts and told Jeff Goins to send me this message, It’s Not too Late.

Why It’s Not TOO Late For Us To Become Writers

I am actually a subscriber to Jeff Goins’ emails but I missed this recent message from him about Sandy.  He was announcing that he would be releasing a 3-part interview he recorded with Sandy Kreps, a student of his who founded the popular blog modernsimplicity.org and recently became a published author.  I had not opened the email yet.  But then I saw two message from another influencer of mine, Jonathan Milligan, who mentioned these same videos with Sandy Kreps.  When Jon sent his message, it made me think, “you probably want to go back and take a look at this if Jon has mentioned it twice now.”  So I did.

jeff-goins-and-sandy-kreps

I actually downloaded the transcript for the first two videos before I watched them.  (Jeff really knows how to do it doesn’t he?)

After I watched them both, I went back and read the transcript of the first one specifically because I was intrigued by Sandy’s timeline on her way to becoming a professional writer.

So here is what I gathered:

  • Sandy, a full-time wife, and art director gave birth to her first child in 2005.  (That probably means we are about the same age.)
  • So in love with her first child, she dove into the world of mommy blogging in 2007.  Her first son ignited the “blog spark”.  But she only considered it a hobby.
  • She was laid off her job in 2010 and wanted to stay home with now two boys because her husband traveled a lot.  She still needed income.
  • The lay-off fanned the “blog spark” into a burning flame while unemployment checks provided a bit of kindling.
  • She signed up for the first Tribe Writers Course with Jeff Goins in 2012.  Meanwhile, hubby is not so sure about all the social media stuff that is going on.
  • She spent 2007-2012 teaching herself “the ways of a professional writer.”
  • With the support of the Tribe Community, she released her first ebook on Amazon called Fresh Start.  More book ideas followed and she just keeps writing.
  • She attended the Tribe Conference in 2015.  During the conference, her table talk manifest into a JUST DO IT challenge and she finished the book she had gotten stuck on in 90 days.  One month after finishing the book, Mommy Simplicity, it was published and on Amazon.  She went from stuck to a book published in print in 120 days.
  • Today, Sandy Kreps is a Lifestyle Business Writer full-time.  She has four books under her belt, 12000 email subscribers, blogging business and repeated writing income.

What the success of another person should mean to YOU

If you are able to read this post and look back on Sandy’s story like I did, guess what?  YOU ARE ALIVE!

The timeline was important to me because it spans eleven years from the time her son was born until today.   Which speaks to the beginning question that Jeff asked in this video series, “Can this still be done today?” It’s never too late.

I paid particular attention to the point Sandy made about the years from 2007-2012 that she spent “teaching herself”.  I think intelligent creatives really think we can “figure it out.”  I read something in Jonathan Milligan’s blog that made so much sense to me regarding our sensation with “gathering information.”  He says, “education without action is futile. I see it first-hand all of the time. People take courses, but never take action.”  When I think how relevant that statement is, it stings like a hornet.

In October 2015, I participated in Michael Hyatt’s virtual stream of his Influence and Impact Summit.  Since that week in OCT last year, I have listened to about 25-30 webinars from professional bloggers and creatives who are using the gift God gave them to get their message out to many.  I wish I started then.  I’m convicted of being a bystander.  However, I plead NOT GUILTY of sitting on my gift.  Not Anymore.  It’s Not Too Late for Me.  You Either.

I’m On My Write Path.

Q.Nikki

This post is dedicated to my loved one who have believed I can write and prayed for me to believe it too!

How the faith of children strengthens adult faith

Ten-year-old classmates, Simon and Jenesis lagged behind the rest of us as we approached the front doors of the school.  I looked back wondering what was taking them so long.  Simon had previously expressed that he didn’t want to go to school and his mother said that he had had a difficult morning.  I could relate to Simon because my early morning hadn’t been so great either.  I should have expected the unnecessary distractions.  I triumphed despite that.  It is #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay.  We pressed on.live-it

When Simon and Jenesis came around the corner to the school door, they both were showing each other how they were going to hold their Bibles in their hands as they went to class.  They barely seemed to notice their mothers standing by to wish them well on their day.  I watched as they disappeared through the double archway of the school hall heading toward their class.  Jenesis on the left and Simon on the right both nodding heads as if to say “let’s do this”.

MOTHERING IS A TOOL

Motherhood, for me, has up and down seasons.  There are days when I feel like I want to close myself up in a closet because I get so overwhelmed.  There are other days when I can pat myself on the back and say, “Girl, you done good.”  Today, I am a good girl.

When I told my children about the Focus on the Family campaign, neither of them declared that they wouldn’t do it.  I thought about the fact that in this day and time, my reality could have been that they were uncooperative.  Children today tell their parents what they are and are not going to do.  No, my children were eager to see who would participate in #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay.  And lucky for me, they were surrounded by classmates and friends of like faith.  No wonder Psalm 127:5 says “blessed is the man who has his quiver full of them.”  Children keep you sharp in your faith.children-and-religious-freedom

MY CHILDREN, YOUR CHILDREN, ALL CHILDREN ARE OUR FUTURE

Our nation should pay close attention, these warriors won’t back down from a challenge, campaign or conquest.  The future is theirs and you better know that they plan to LIVE IT WELL!  Today, they are shining their light in school hallways, tomorrow on Capital Hill.
margaret-mead

Did you know about #BringYourBibleToSchoolDay and did you and your family participate?  Share it with us in the comments.

We are approaching a pivotal year.

Heart with our InitialsOn September 3rd, my husband and I will celebrate another anniversary.  This morning when we were praying together before he departed for work, I  felt a need to set my focus on the year ahead rather than on the year we are about to celebrate.  We haven’t done that before.

Anniversaries essentially celebrate that we completed another year.  It is like patting each other on the back and saying “we made it”.  Thinking about it now, I can recall a few of those years back that those pats on the back were accompanied by rolling eyes.  It hasn’t always been a joy to say, “we made it to the end of the year.”  When we made it to a decade, I couldn’t really say I was in the mood for celebrating though that was supposed to be a major milestone.  People put different emphasis on the meaning of the years of a marriage whether it is year 1, 5, 10 or 50.  I rather not dwell on the significance of the meaning of the number itself but rather what that meaning represents in the lives of the couple who are celebrating those years of longevity.  We will commemorate the end of year 11 at the same time we are approaching the beginning of year 12.

As we prayed this morning, I thought about the season that we have been going through.  In one word, I would call it PRESS.  On SEP 3rd, 2015, we celebrated our anniversary with a trip, without the children (Thank you Mom), to the Shenandoah Valley.  We had a great time.   The morning of our anniversary last year, we got up and prayed together.  During that time of prayer, I remember repeating the words of Genesis 1:28.  These words God spoke to Adam and Eve on the day of their wedding, “And God blessed them, and God said unto them, be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.”  I declared to my husband on that day that we would hearken to the voice of God and we would multiply and we would both have dominion because Our Father has blessed us to do so.  I understood in that moment that God’s multiplication doesn’t just concern more human seed.  God’s multiplication means “to sow” in the earth and produce.  I have come to understand that such a profound declaration brought about the press but it also brought about fruit.

Here is what we experienced in the past year from SEP 2015 until NOW as a result of THE PRESS

  • Our backyard garden increased both in the fall and summer crops abundantly so that we were able to share with family and friends (which is what we had prayed).
  • My husband received a pay increase and two occupational recognitions for his service.
  • Our vehicle loan was paid off and we are driving two debt free automobiles.
  • I was blessed with the job I prayed for which increased income into our home.
  • We birthed Notes and Conversation for writing and community building using the resources and gifts we have been blessed with from God.
  • Many more blessings…

Oh but the PRESS also brought warfare, struggle, and pain.  I won’t list those for you.  Just suffice to say that tears have been a constant reminder of the discomfort of the PRESS.

Recently the PRESS has become really intense.  But we have discerned what YEAR 12 means for us.  The breastplate garment for the Hebrew priest represented judgement and decision.  The breastplate was decorated with twelve stones for the 12 tribes of Israel and served as a reminder of the great decisions and responsibility the priests held in serving God before these 12 tribes, the people of God.  I see this coming year is a great year of decision which will bring about transition and opportunity as we serve before the people of God.  I declare, “WE RECEIVE IT”.  From now on, I am looking forward.  We may be celebrating YEAR 11 but my jubilation will be in anticipation of YEAR 12.  Can’t wait to celebrate the halfiversary of YEAR 12 in MAR 2017.  (I learned the word halfiversary from watching the PBS Channel show Odd Squad with the children.) There is a blessing in the pressing!

Anniversary PoemHappy Anniversary to Tyrone and QuaWanna Bannarbie.  Here’s to more celebrations to come!

How about you, what was your last anniversary year like?  Share it with us in the comments.

Are you suffering from Rhythm Loss?

I was having a conversation with a dear friend about balance last night and she said to me, “I don’t use that word” and I laughed loudly.  We laughed together.  Finally, someone else besides me hates to hear the word.  But better than the fact that Natasha doesn’t use the word is that she gave me a replacement that made a whole lot of sense and better explained the present lack in my life.  I was being told that I lacked balance.  But what is actually missing in my life right now is a systematic rhythm.

Imagine that, a black girl from Southern Georgia who has lost her rhythm.

Black Girl Dancing

Hard to believe I know, but it is absolutely true.

Natasha and I talked about several different examples in the Bible such as Moses, Paul and Jesus who don’t display a clear balance structure in their work but we can surely see a rhythm in their lives.  You might be wondering the difference between balance and rhythm.  Some people actually use these terms interchangeably which I think can be a great misfortune of daily living.

Balance is a distribution of load so that steadiness is achieved.  In order to maintain a steady, balanced condition implies that what we carry has to be proportionately equivalent to our capacity to hold it.  This mindset keeps us lying to ourselves saying, “I can manage, I can manage” as we consistently pile more and more on our proverbial plates (or better stated, our scales) rather mismanaging our capacity.  For the balancing act to be methodical and therefore achievable, it has to be strategic.  If we admit it, we don’t think about a method until we have failed at managing the balance.

Rhythm, on the other hand, is systematic from the get go or it can’t be called rhythm.  We rely on patterns and cadence.  The beauty of rhythm is the longer the duration is maintained, the more comfortable you become with it.  Unlike balance where the progression of weight distribution could eventually prove detrimental to us causing us to “tip over”.   Progression of that steady succession of cadence becomes comfortable, regulated, uniform and even routine.  Next thing you know you’re moving to the beat.  You’re dancing and YOU LIKE HOW IT FEELS.

Routine …that is what I am going after.  I don’t believe one can achieve a life’s order or comfortable routine chasing after balance.  In fact, I wish people would stop using the phrase “work-life balance” because work and life will never be equal.  Balance requires equivalence to be achieved.  Now, I can see rhythm as making work, living and rest routine more attainable.  Natasha, a former, competitive sprinter shared with me, when she ran hurdles at the U.S. Naval Academy she had a certain way she attacked that race and she still remembers that method to this day.  In the same way, we learn and must adopt ways to attack our days, every day so that we are comfortable and not feeling the way I do now…offbeat!

So how do you achieve rhythm?  Simply stated, you have to set a cadence, continue in succession and exercise it repeatedly.  Get back to what was working and stick with it.  Sticking is the integral part!

What that looks like for me:

Morning Routine (Devotion, Stretching, Water Intake and Breakfast)

Morning Work (Write, Chores, Volunteer and Attack My To-Dos)

Break (Lunch, More Water Intake, Walk and Short Nap)

Afternoon Work (Attack More To-Do List Items and More Water Intake)

Break (Play, Afterschool Time, DIYs and Personal Enjoyment)

Evening Work (Dinner Preparation, Homework and Chores)

Evening Entertainment (Dinner, Socializing, Fellowship and/or TV Time)

Evening Routine (Wind Down, Prayer, Read and Relaxing Music)

Natasha speaks a lot about learning to put into practice your spiritual disciplines.  I am thankful to have had this conversation with her about rhythm.  Because she checked me, I am now able to pass this learning on to you!

No more lost rhythm!  QuaWanna is getting her groove back!

How about you?  How will you attack your day today and tomorrow and the day after?  Please share with us your spiritual disciplines and maybe you can help us get the rhythm.  Let’s Dance.

Let's Dance

 

Will You Be Found Faithful?

As a teenager, I ran for school office.  I always wanted the top positon of president or captain of the group.  Young and ignorant back then, I thought if I allowed someone else to sit in a position above me then it meant that I believed that they could lead better than I or that I was afraid of leading.  But today, I am not as quick to grab the top spot.  I’ve learned what type of leader I am.  I am a Joshua leader.  I often tell those who are over me that if they just do their part as Moses then I can handle the Joshua role with no problem.

Moses, of the Bible’s Exodus story, was God’s mouth piece but Joshua was HIS executor.  Joshua’s responsibility was to hear and pay attention to the instruction and then produce; carrying out the will of God with all his resource and potential.  Joshua Leadership is representative of the words of Luke 16:11-12 which bears witness to a man being faithful to another man’s work so that he too can be given his own.  Demonstration of Joshua’s leadership in bible study or character profiles often references the transition of power after Moses’ succession.  This is mainly because we often see leadership as one head and then several branches in descending order and power.  Yet, Joshua was leading even while Moses was head.  Joshua, an undergird of Moses, empowered Moses’ leadership more than we give credit.

Joshua Leadership can be defined as the executor carrying out the administration of a vision such that production and expected ends are achieved.  Here’s why Joshua’s executor position in leadership is vital to any Moses leading well.

Joshua Leadership Defined

Joshua demonstrated the following:

  • Follow in close proximity – In order to undergird, a Joshua Leader has to be close to the chief leader and you must remain humble. Humility requires that you have close relationship with the Lord because our flesh often wants to compete.  When you are humble, the head doesn’t fear your authority or position in relationship to his/her own.  They welcome your closeness and realize the benefit in having the executor to carry forth the will in its practical sense at the same degree that it was visually imparted to the visionary or mouthpiece as in the case of Moses.
  • Execute with thoughtful precision – A Joshua Leader considers the task carefully without being moved by adverse influence. He or she researches and surveys the environment.  They are wise.  Henry Bergson once stated, “Think like a man of action.  Act like a man of thought”.  This is an accurate description of Joshua.  Joshua’s movements were the results of time of reflection and prayer.  When he did execute, the events followed periods of wait and suspense demonstrating his carefulness in taking action.
  • Exercise your faith – Joshua was close to Moses when he prayed in the tabernacle and he would remain even after Moses departed (Exodus 33:11). This is key because this meant that Joshua had his own relationship and recognized that his positon required more time with God intimately.  A Joshua Leader cannot exercise the will of God without first exercising his faith in Him and doing that means to operate those activities of devotion, meditation, good works and recitation of God’s word outside of the time the leader has instructed or demonstrated.
  • Serve with integrity – A Joshua leader has integrity that serves them well. The head knows the accuracy of his/her actions because he/she has proven dependable in the past and repeatedly demonstrates this level of integrity unwaveringly.

I serve a couple of organizations today in a Joshua Leader role.  It is not an easy role to carry because the production of the vision takes a great deal of work.  When I am speaking of Leadership LINKS, Inc.(www.leadershiplinksus.org), I like to say that our Board Chairman is the heart of the organization and I am the circulatory system.  If I am not carrying it, the blood doesn’t get to the places where it is needed.  I know that there is much power in the blood stream.  The Blood Never Loses Its PowerTherefore, there is also a great deal of spiritual warfare involved in serving as a Joshua Leader.  The devil has witnessed once before what a team of Moses and Joshua can do and so he wreaks havoc on these relationships today in churches, organizations, school, governments and marriages.  But the key is knowing your role and being determined to be found faithful.  “Now it is required that those who have been given a trust must prove faithful” (1 Corinthians 4:2).  Joshua was such a leader.  He proved himself and when succession was necessary, God made him ruler over the same people Moses has led.

I don’t desire the head position like I did as a high school girl and I tell you why.  If I were in the position of Moses, I would want another QuaWanna to undergird me.  So since I can’t serve myself, I would rather be Joshua to someone else.

Are you a faithful Joshua Leader?  Leave a comment about which of the characteristics mentioned above can you attest to that have proven that you are in the right position?