7 Ways to Boost Your Creativity-The SITS Girls

I love The SITS Girls, that’s no secret! I have been a community lead for them about a year now. One of the things I do as a community lead is to write posts. I am sharing one today that was published on The SITS Girls site July 23, 2014.

beyondmybluedoor.com

Photo Credit: Graphic created by The SITS Girls

Whether you are a writer, a musician, or a bottle washer, we can all use a little push in the creative department every now and then. Sometimes we just get stuck. And that’s okay. Knowing how to get unstuck an boost our creativity is one way to get where you want to be.

Here is a little of what I wrote in the post:

It’s time to sit down and write the next article, the next post, or the next chapter of your book, but try as you might you come up short, with nothing but a few dead-end ideas that have been regurgitated one time too many. We’ve all been there, right? If you’re not sure what to do next, then keep reading. We have some ideas to help you boost your creativity.

Click 7 Ways to Boost Your Creativity to read the rest of the post and then come back and leave a comment on how you boost your creativity!

The Boy’s Back in Town

Our youngest child was out of the country for 16 days. The boy’s back in town!

Beyondmybluedoor.com

It was an exciting trip and a great opportunity for him. He, along with 13 other people from Southeast Christian Church, went to Czech Republic to help out at Fusion Camp. The 14 member team of travelers are all musicians and had the opportunity and privilege to share their talents with people they had never met, yet have grown to love.

I was surprised back in February when Luke told us he was invited and would like to go. The cost of the trip was more than we wanted to pay, however, we knew our many friends and family members would embrace the opportunity to offer their financial support so Luke could go. They did. We are blessed.

I marveled at the stories told of the 17 mile hike, the bread for every meal (he never wants to eat bread again, he said), the sightseeing of historical Prague in a torrential downpour, the language barrier that really wasn’t one because there is a universal knitting of hearts as people gather for a purpose.

I was excited when the day came for him to return home, yet I acknowledged that the 16 days really did go by so very quickly, as time is prone to do.

Luke looked more mature as he walked toward us just minutes after “touchdown”, and so very tired.

I stood back and watched this man-child of ours, as he said good-bye at the airport to the people who had become his family the 16 days he was away. It was a touching scene. Perhaps he will remain close to those he grew to know and perhaps not, but I’m pretty sure they will always share a common bond because of the trip, and the memories will last a lifetime.

I grew a little too, in this stage of mothering, during the time Luke was away. I didn’t know what it would be like, really, having no contact with our son once he was out of the country. He called me from JFK during the first layover and that was pretty much that for 16 days.

I relished the Facebook updates from the chaperones during that time, and was excited for the pictures shared. My heart did a little happy dance every time I noticed the messenger icon (a photo of Luke) pop up on my phone. The messages were few and far between once Fusion Camp commenced, which they told us would be the case. He was usually short and sweet with the words he shared but that was okay because I knew he was too.

It’s but a small step, I know, in the grand scheme of parenting. The letting go process started so many years ago, but it’s good to know that I was able to embrace this separation and have no worries.

He’s a good man.

It was an awesome opportunity.

And the boy’s back in town!

Cheesecake Factory and National Cheesecake Day

I received no compensation for this post.

Did you hear the news? July 30 is national cheesecake day and Cheesecake Factory is having a contest and another special deal to honor the occasion.

Have you heard about the Say Cheesecake contest that Cheesecake Factory is having by you can click on the link to learn the details? Say Cheesecake.

Beyond My Blue Door

But that’s not all! On July 30 and 31 visit a Cheesecake Factory and partake of the Any Slice, Half Price offer.

Beyond My Blue Door

If you like cheesecake and the variety that Cheesecake Factory has to offer, you won’t want to miss those days or the contest!

 

Dog Sitting

I did a little dog sitting last week. Oh boy! Did you read how I was attacked by a dog recently? Adopt a Shelter Pet It’s not like I don’t like pets. I do…when they belong to other people.

I was doing this as a favor to my brother and his family while they were on vacation. Moby, their dog, had spent the week with his grandma (I can’t believe I’M talking this language) but there was a conflict so I took the last night, being as how he is my dog-nephew and all (again with the people/pet lingo).

He’s a cute dog! And pretty low maintenance as far as dogs go.

Beyond My Blue Door

My brother left a few instructions for me since I am pet-clueless. One of the things I was to do was take Moby for a walk around 7:00 ish, which would help him to sleep better. A win/win. No problem there. And then I read the rest of the note…”Don’t forget to take a bag!” Seriously? Did he not watch my Youtube video called Dog Stuff? Guess not.

Seven o’ clock rolled around as I knew it would. I was up for the challenge, plus my daughter was coming over to walk him with me! So I got this brilliant idea. While I was waiting for her to arrive I would put the Mobster on his leash and take him out in the front yard and wait for her, and if I got really lucky, he would do his doggie thing in his own yard and I could leave it there, right?

We waited for Brittany for about 20 minutes and it was a no go. My plan had failed and it was now time to hit the pavement with a plastic bag hanging out of my back pocket.

We took Moby around the block and were nearing the final corner which was close to the house. I thought perhaps we were home free, and then he stopped for real. He did his business and I did mine. I even sent my brother a pic of the bag so he could share the joy.

Dog Sitting 2

It was not that big of a deal really, when all was said and done.

My brother had told me in advance that Moby sleeps with them, my brother and his wife. He sleeps at the foot of the bed, I was told, so he wouldn’t be all up in my face. Hey, it’s a big bed. It should work.

Nope.

Mobs must have been missing his peeps because he slept beside me the entire night, snorting and licking every time he woke up. It was a long night for someone who isn’t used to sleeping with a pet.

It really wasn’t that bad, if truth be told, but I don’t think I’ll sign up for dog sitting again any time son.

 

Blogging Tips

I have a regular post I do called Blogging Tips. There are as many sites out there sharing blogging tips as there are blogs. What I am finding, however, is that the tips soon become outdated.

Tips for blogging

Outdated may not be the correct term I’m looking for. Much of blogging remains the same, but so many aspects change as quickly and unpredictably as the stock market in a turbulent time.

I spotted a post from a blog I was reading called Links I’m Loving by Girl on the Move. Girl on the Move shared 50 different links she was, well… loving. There were a few from The SITS Girls. You all know what a huge fan of theirs I am. This one link was called How to Start a Blog. I started thinking about you, dear reader.

Do you want to start a blog? Do you blog already but not sure what to do next?

Here is a couple of items on The SITS Girls’ post. Make sure you click the link to go read what they suggest and to find out about the ones I’m not including here.

How To Start a Blog {FREE Printable Included!}

1. Determine Which Blogging Platform You’ll Be Using

Click the link above to learn more.

2. Name Your Blog

Go ahead, click the link to learn how to start a blog and find out their other steps~

Come back and share what you learned and how you’re going to implement it.

 

 

 

NSA Conference 2013

I am finishing up my posts from last year’s vacation as I relive it again. I did enjoy that trip to the NSA Conference 2013. Hopefully we will be attending the NSA Conference next year in Chicago, or the year after in California. I see another flight in my future! You can read about my trip to San Diego here: Bahia Resort-San Diego.

And the journey continued as we had a leisurely breakfast before leaving the hotel. We had already driven through two time zones and was due another time upgrade that day when we would enter PST. As we crossed the Arizona state line we started seeing signs for Winslow.

NSA Conference 2013 Vacation Day 3 & 4

We have actually been there before but couldn’t resist the opportunity to experience it again and so we went. I am a bigger fan of the Eagles now than I was in the days they were so popular, but I got to tell you, I wouldn’t be able to stand listening to the Eagles, over and over, day after day, which is what the store owners and their employees do on that small square of town.

NSA Conference 2013 Vacation Day 3 & 4

Winslow, Arizona

 

 

After that brief pit stop we resumed our trip to Scottsdale for the soon-to-take-place NSA Conference 2013 via Sedona, a beautiful, busy little tourists town with a whole lot of charm. It was the fourth of July week and the place was hopping  so we just did a drive through.

 

We finally arrived at our hotel The Westin Kierland, in the early afternoon as planned. The place was awesome and a bit upscale so we felt a little out of our league. It didn’t take long to become acclimated.

NSA Conference 2013 Vacation Day 3 & 4

That evening we went to the terrace in the back of the hotel which overlooks the golf course to listen to the nightly playing of the bagpipes.

NSA Conference 2013 Vacation Day 3 & 4

The pipes were calling.

Day 4

The fourth day was more sightseeing for us before the official day of NSA Conference 2013 started. We went to Tucson: destination Saguaro National Park, the home of the giant cacti.

NSA Conference 2013 Vacation Day 3 & 4

An interesting sight to me along the route heading south to Tucson was the farming going on as pictured above. We saw lush, green fields of corn and another crop we couldn’t identify as we drove past, in this sea of brown, hot and dry.

And the Saguaros were dotting hill after hill, something I had never seen before even though that was our third trip to Arizona.

NSA Conference 2013 Vacation Day 3 & 4

It was a hot day with temps topping 110 but we couldn’t resist the 3/4 mile long “hike” along a paved trail; the only way to “experience the desert”. I rattled my keys as I left the beaten path to stand by the giant cactus, you know, to scare the snakes away! Do you remember the remake of The Parent Trap? I reminded me of Meredith as she banged the sticks to keep the creatures away. And I was yelling for my husband to “Hurry up and take the picture before the snakes get me”!

NSA Conference 2013 Vacation Day 3 & 4

We ended the trip with a stop for a little libation. We were hungry, and thirsty and El Charro came highly recommended as the place to eat, however, I must admit, Mexican wasn’t really calling my name after being out in the heat. But eat we did. The Cheese Crisp was especially tasty.

NSA Conference 2013 Vacation Day 3 & 4

We ended the day back at the Westin Kierland on the pati-o (little Irish humor to go with the bagpipes, though I do believe they are of Scottish decent).

A fine day it was.

What Can Happen While Cleaning an Office

On July 4, 2014 my son and I were doing our job. This is what can happen while cleaning an office.

beyond my blue door on cleaning business

Blogging Resources I’m Loving

Blogging is a funny thing. So much goes into it. More than the average reader who is a non-blogger would even think. It’s important for me to have tools to make it easier. That’s what Blogging Resources I’m Loving is about.

Tips for blogging

My first overall pick of blogging resources would have to be The SITS Girls website. It is filled with amazing content. You can click on the Learn tab and literally read for hours.

Second, I have discovered the usefulness of an editorial calendar, thanks to Adrienne at the Mommy Mess. I read her post about Content Brew and I ordered the course and one of the first things we were taught was why (and how) to have an editorial calendar. I have a Google Docs. calendar now that is pretty much always open on my computer so I can add projects or ideas as they come.

Thirdly, I love Pic Monkey for editing photos and making graphics when I need one. I actually upgraded from the free one, but even before I did there was still so many things for using Pic Monkey. It’s definitely a resource I’m loving!

The fourth thing that is a resource I’m loving is a book I purchased called Everything but the Post by Becca Ludlum who blogs over at My Crazy Good Life. This book is a practical, step by step, how-to book. Kudos to Becca. Loved the book!

The fifth and last resource I’m loving is Youtube. This is another great tool for those who like to add video or are giving vlogging a go. There are even tutorials there that are actually great resources. One of my favorite vloggers is  Kat at Mama Kat’s Losin It. She is everywhere but especially on Youtube. Hear that Ellen DeGeneres? Check her out!

Okay so I  found it really difficult to stop with just these five resources I’m loving because there are truly so many things I use. Where would any of us be without Google? I know, right?

Twitter is great for getting in touch with people, businesses or even celebs. Did you read Why I Love Twitter and see my conversation with Bruce Boxleitner? Ok, conversation is a bit of a stretch but check it out!

Facebook is another resource that is great as long as you look past the junk and goofy stuff you could really care less about. Social media of any kind can be a very useful resource.

I could go on, no really, but I will stop now. Tell me your what resource you are loving.

 

My Dearest Daughters Letter 15

A series of letters from a mother to her daughters.

Letter 15

Beyond My Blue Door

My Dearest Daughters,

I am vexed and burdened today. My heart is heavy. The tales that I hear of marriages, both young and old, warm my soul in some cases and others, well not so much, I’m afraid.

I have learned many lessons during my tenure of life, mostly from the school of hard knocks. Someone once said that a wise man learns from his own mistakes, but a really wise man learns from the mistakes of others. I study others. It is a trait I have always had, that of people watching, but I do so now with purpose and reason and with the utmost intentions.

I see so many young girls rushing to the altar, declaring undying and eternal love for the young men they know little about. Indeed because he is so young, he has yet to be tested and tried through the fiery times to come, and there will be many.

I don’t want to appear biased, my dearest daughters, rest assured I see the same thing in many young men. Perhaps it is best to wait and see how the woman of his dreams will react and respond when trouble comes. There is yet another thing you can be sure of; taxes, death and trying times. For trouble comes to us all.

Here’s what I want you to know, this tidbit I am about to share with you will guide you if you will let it, when selecting your life partner, the person to share your intimate self with.

Choose wisely, my dearest daughters, and you will find a life that has joy at its very core, for marriage is about wanting the best for your spouse, helping your spouse to achieve the goals they have set, being their biggest fan and cheerleader. It is not just a one-sided act, for true love will reciprocate those actions and feelings.

There is no room in marriage for selfishness and the desire to rule and reign if you want a healthy relationship. Trust is a must, for that is the only way one can open up and risk being vulnerable enough to share your inner-most self.

You want to choose a man, who puts your marriage above all things, except for God. He has to want the marriage so much so that he would be willing to lay down his life for that relationship, and for you, my dearest daughters, yes YOU. He has to want the marriage, want a relationship with you to the exception of his own needs and desires, for then he will have his own met. It is a very wise man indeed who realizes the wisdom in that statement.

Words are ramblings that anyone can use. Actions speak louder than words. In fact, they scream and demand to be heeded.

You deserve that kind of devotion. Not because you are special in and of yourselves, though I think you are my dearest daughters, but because you were created and uniquely gifted with a capacity to love and honor, to tend and care for. You deserve a husband who will want you in his life so much so that he will go to any ethical length to achieve that goal. To settle for anything else is to cheat yourself of one of the greatest gifts the Creator designed…marriage.

Ponder these thoughts long.

Ponder them well.

And choose wisely.

 

Love,

Mother

Louisville Bats Baseball

On June 23rd, my older brother (I never let him forget he’s older) got the privilege of throwing a pitch before The Louisville Bats baseball team began the regular game. Although I wasn’t able to attend, he and I exchanged a few texts before the big event.

Me: Have fun with the first pitch. Wish I could be there.

Rick: Could be interesting.

Me: You’ll do great. Just don’t choke under pressure. :) Text me afterwards and let me know you got it over the plate. Don’t embarrass the family. Make sure you at least get it over the plate!!!

Rick: Will do.

The night of the game was here. I knew the time of the game or around about, so when I hadn’t heard from him in what I considered to be a timely fashion – surely he knew I was waiting with baited breath to see how he had done, and I knew for sure he was only thinking of finding a quiet moment to let me know he got it over the plate - I finally caved and sent him a text.

Me: Well???

Rick: Came up short.

Me: Not over the plate? Dang.

Rick: Wasn’t too bad. Low and in the dirt. I was going for a strike.

All in all, short or not, an impressive move in my book. My brother (he’s older) had the honor of throwing a pitch before a minor league Louisville Bats baseball game.

 

Beyond My Blue Door

Strike that off his bucket list (no pun intended). I might add that to mine!

Way to go big brother!