Saturday, May 30, 2015

Does God Want My Dreams to Come True?

How can I know if my own personal dreams or goals are "God-approved"? Does God want me to pursue my dreams? Does He even care? Is it important?

The balance of pursuing my own dreams while ensuring that I'm fulfilling my most important roles as wife and Mother can be a little challenging at times. When am I doing too much in one specific area? When am not doing enough in another?

First of all, I know that God does care about our individual dreams and goals. I know that even if He wouldn't care otherwise, He cares simply because WE care. He loves us. He's our father and wants us to be happy. However, I also know that God knows what's going to make us happiest in the end. And I also know that personal goals can be distractions and ways that we are led away from what is most important in life.

So how DO we balance it?

I can't even begin to claim that I have those answers, but when pondering these questions in life, the best insights I feel that I can receive are spoken by my Savior.  His words are reminders that help put everything into perspective:

19 Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal;
 20 But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal.  21 For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. ...  33 But seek ye first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

(Matthew Chapter 6, Emphasis added)

Another insight that comes to mind is from a talk that was given in my congregation at church 2 weeks ago. It was about the Parable of the Talents found also in Matthew, chpt. 25. In the parable, three different servants are given a certain number of talents from their master. One servant was given 1 talent, another 2, and the other 5. The master went away for a time, and then returned to get account of what his servants had done with the talents given to them.

Two of the three servants used their talents to trade and ended up doubling the amount of talents they had. The other servant, who only had one talent, was fearful and buried it. To the two servants who used and grew their talents, the master was well-pleased, saying "Well done thou good and faithful servant". To the servant who buried his talent, the master was not pleased and took the talent away all together.

The speaker went on to say that one day, we will all be held accountable before God for the talents WE have been given. That God expects us to use and develop our talents and gifts to help others. And that's what hit me: God wants us to use our talents to serve others. 
So in conclusion, here's what I'm working towards in the balance of my own aspirations and my responsibilities to God:

  • Put God first. Put the things in life I know He wants me to do first. Don't let anything take the place of those most important priorities.
  • After that, it's absolutely OK to have dreams and to work on dreams and goals. But ask this: Does my dream serve me only or does it serve others? Make sure that in all the development of talents, in striving to fulfill my potential, and of following my dreams, that I don't forget to use these things to help others, and to serve God.

  • Saturday, May 16, 2015

    The Beginnings of My Self-Marketing Scheme

    Today, I thought I’d give an update on how the selling and marketing of “Itchy Mitchie” is going.

    Let me begin by declaring my goal at this point. My initial goal is to sell enough copies to make the money back that I spent to create the book. (I had to buy supplies to create the illustrations and pay a graphic designer to format the book for createspace). So to break even, eventually I’ll probably have to sell somewhere between 100 – 300 copies. After that point, I’ll formulate a new goal. :)

    So, how have sales been so far, you may ask?

    The first month after the book was released was awesome. I have to say, I am SO grateful for all the WONDERFUL, amazing support from my friends and family!  I’m sure a lucky girl to know so many great people who have been SO supportive and kind. It’s also been so nice to get more feedback about the book, which I’m super grateful for as well! 

    But of course, after the excitement of the initial release died down, so have the sales. So, now it’s time to break out the self-marketing plans! 

    There are SO many different ways to market my book. The trick is, being able to narrow down the most effective way. And trickiest of all: finding the TIME to actually do it. 

    So, this is how I started: 

    • Write down a list of all local bookstores within 10 miles. Include their Phone #.

    • Call each bookstore and ask if they accept books from local authors.

    • Make notes. For example: “store manager, Sally, will be in the shop Tuesdays and Thursdays from 9-4, call back then”

    • Scratch out stores that don’t accept books, so you don’t waste time calling them back later once you’ve forgotten who you have and haven’t called.

    • If a book shop accepts books from local authors, bring a few copies of your book by. Be friendly and hopeful, and they’ll probably accept it.

    •  Be open about the book to your social cirlce. Share about it on social media. Your friends or family members just may know of an opportunity or have connections for you to get your book out in the public.

    This is about as far as I’ve gotten up to this point. I have a WHOLE lot of other ideas for the future. But I’ll have to do what I can do with the limited time I have as a Mom of busy little boys - which is sometimes not a lot. But I’m Ok with that. (:

    So. What has been the result so far?

    I’ve had a few different people come to me with opportunities  to share my book in various public events. I’m really excited at the possibilities and once I’ve got them rolling, I’ll definitely share them.

    I’m also SUPER excited to say that as of today, my book is in 2 different local books shops and one library. Eeeeeek!  Now, that may not seem like very much, but this is my start. And perhaps I shouldn’t be all too excited until books actually sell. But just to have them IN there, makes me feel pretty dang sentimental, ok! :D 

    So…thus marks the beginning my self-marketing journey! I sure have a boatload to learn, but don’t worry, because when I figure it all out, I’ll be sure to share it here. :) 

    Thursday, May 7, 2015

    Morals from Mitchie

    Want a book that teaches a good moral to your kids? Well, here's some of the morals that I hope readers of "Itchy Mitchie" will catch from the book:

    1. Problems and/or negative thoughts can get worse when we focus on them.
    2. Problems and/or negative thoughts can get better when we engaged in productive, good activities.
    3. Complaining doesn't really help anything get better.
    4. Sometimes the solutions to our problems aren't found anywhere else, but inside ourselves.
    5. Kids should heed the counsel of wise parents. 

    And Lastly

    6. Girls can beat boys at Blinky Ball, and it's OK. :)