Wednesday, 5 December 2018

’Tis the Season of Joy

Christmas! One of my favorite times of the year. There is just something about this season that makes me smile. I’m not sure if it’s the weather, the colorful decorations all around, or the great lengths to which people go to express love through giving. Whatever the case may be, I love Christmas, and I always will.

This season, among others, reminds me of God’s love for me. I have read the nativity story since I was a little girl and have heard the story about the birth of Jesus so many times. But it wasn’t until I had a child that the truth about the depth of God’s love for humanity became clear to me.

Almost every mother and father will tell you just how much they love their child and how they would do anything to make that child happy. Just look around schools, playgrounds, and malls, and you will find parents doing all they can to keep their kids smiling — it’s one of the great joys of being a parent.

If you took a survey and asked parents, “What would you do to save your child?” I am guessing almost all, if not all, parents would say, “I will do anything to save my child.” That’s the common reaction we get from loving parents, which is why after I had a child and I read the nativity story again I couldn’t comprehend it like I used to as a little girl.

What kind of love could someone have for me that would make them give up their only child just to save me? As I look in the faces of my kids every day, I know I could never give them up to save another person. I seriously doubt I could make that kind of sacrifice. But God did. He looked at the pain and suffering that sin had brought to humanity, and he realized there was only one way to bring back real joy — and that was to send his only son to the cross to die so that we may experience a joyful life.

That’s what I really love about Christmas. It helps me remember and celebrate the moment eternal joy re-entered the world with the birth of our savior, Jesus Christ.

So this Christmas, as you spend time with your family, enjoy every moment of festivity and think about the season and the one who made this joyful moment possible. Think about the God who loved you so much that he gave his only son to die for you so that you may have a joyful life in him. And then ask yourself, if he gave so much for me, what have I given to him? Silver and gold doesn’t cut it; he only wants your heart.

P.S. John 3:16 is a great read this Christmas.
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Monday, 12 November 2018

I Pray that...


‘I pray that . . .’A very simple phrase that we often read in many places, like in letters from friends, well wishes greeting cards, posters or wall frames. We see it so often and say it even more often that sometimes we forget what it really means. Throughout the bible, we read verses that start with these words. They are genuine prayers from an apostle to his followers, or from one friend to another. However, of all the ‘I pray that’ verses, this one stands out for me: “Beloved, I pray that in every way you may prosper and enjoy good health, as your soul also prospers.” 3 John 1:2. In many ways, this is the most wholesome prayer you can say for yourself and for a friend. Let’s take a minute to look at what it is about.
 
I pray that you prosper in every way

In today’s world, the prosperity message has taken on a whole new meaning in our pulpits, where the call to give to God is often associated with receiving wealth back. My idea of prosperity, though, is simple—that you succeed in all you do. Think about it. Succeeding is just getting the right outcome to something you are trying to achieve. So, in the case of a child learning to ride a bike, success is riding a two-wheeler. 

To a single mom, success may be seeing her son graduate from high school. To a businessman, it may be getting the license approved to start a new company. The concept of success differs from person to person and from situation to situation. But more than achieving what we desire, the benefit of success is what it does to us. It’s the feeling that comes from accomplishing something. The satisfaction of finishing something you started, the joy from reaping the rewards of something you labored hard for. That’s what John was praying about. 

We all know that we get reenergized when we succeed at something. It’s that continued energy, the joy and the profits that John prayed for when he was saying I pray you succeed in every way. What a wonderful prayer to say every day and teach our kids to do the same. Imagine how their lives would be if they succeed in their endeavors, and how satisfying ours would be if we succeed in our own—the big and the little things. The next time someone talks about prosperity, think beyond your bank account; instead, think about little things, like a safe trip to work or a safe delivery. That’s real prosperity.

I pray that you enjoy good health

This second part of the prayer goes without saying. What would you be able to do if your health was failing? I’m guessing not much. You could have all the monies in the world stacked up in your bank account but no energy to enjoy it. If you’ve ever had a health scare or have someone close to you going through a health situation, you’d agree that health is indeed wealth. I believe John was saying this prayer for us to have good health to live the life God designed for us and also for us to appreciate every waking moment. 

If you have your health intact, you should wake up each day saying a word of thanks to God for this. And if you are going through a tough health situation, I would encourage you to keep asking God for his strength and healing, and continue to live each day with courage, knowing that God will never leave you or forsake you. Even if we can’t always understand why we have to go through things we do, take courage in the fact that God has you in the palm of his hands, and he will never forget you. His healing power will find you and restore you back to good health.

I pray that your soul prospers

This is my favorite part of this prayer. When all is said and done, health and wealth don’t stand a chance if you have no relationship with God. After all, we are spirit beings. While we are alive and do the best we can to have a healthy and prosperous existence, at the end we will die and exit this world. So, what happens next? This prayer is focused on helping us realize the most important part of our life is our relationship with God. Do you know him? Does he know you? John prays here that we all know God through his son Jesus, and that we continue to grow and prosper in our love and relationship with him. So, when the end of our time on earth comes, we can have a new hope in the life we face after, in eternity with our God.

This prayer of John is one that touches our spirit, soul, and body—three areas that needs to function well if we are to have a great life. So, if you don’t know how to pray, or even if you do know how to pray, I encourage you to say this prayer daily, and teach your kids and family to do the same. In fact, let’s start right now, say with me: “Lord, I pray that I succeed in every way, that I have good health, and that my soul prospers in the relationship I have in you.” Amen.


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Thursday, 1 November 2018

Kid's Talk - Tips on loosing your first teeth calmly

My son made this video for his cousin, sharing great tips on how to loose her first teeth calmly. I thought other moms and dads going through this experience with their child may want to listen and share with them.

When kids talk, kids listen :)


Tuesday, 16 October 2018

5 Stories You Can Tell In Your Marketing

Gone are the days of aggressive sales copy (or so they should be), Storytelling is the antidote to scare tactics or hyperbole (‘This frying pan will literally save your life in 10 awe-inspiring ways!’). It’s more gentle, yet still powerful — focusing on sharing real-life emotions and connections.

Storytelling helps to make your market more emotionally invested in your brand. It creates an identity for your brand and shares this through stories. This basically allows your customers to form a personal connection with your brand, which means they’re more likely to trust you, buy your products and remain loyal customers.

If you’re a budding entrepreneur and you want to start using storytelling in your marketing, it can be difficult to know where to start. But if you’re struggling, don’t worry —  here are some ideas for stories you can tell in your marketing…

1.   Your origin story

The most obvious story that a business can start with — and one that is normally included on an ’About Us’ page. Where did it all begin? How did your business get started in the first place?

Whether it was round a table at a bar, in your spare bedroom, or by the watercooler at your old job — your audience want to know.

Origin stories are all about the people behind the business. They’re a great way on humanizing your brand and showing that there are real people behind the computer screens.

If you’re quite a big company by now, it’s particularly good for your consumers to read about your humble beginnings. Write about your roots — how you grew from two best friends with a great idea to a successful business with hundreds of staff (or whatever your story might be!).

There’s a fascinating concept that there are fundamentally only seven types of stories in the world — check out this post to see which big brands fit into which story types.

2.   Your values

What are your brand values? How and why were your values chosen?

Telling your consumers about your values as a brand helps them to decide if their values align, and therefore how much they can identify with you.

Identifying with a brand is important to consumers: it establishes trust and empathy, and makes them feel more connected to you. It also creates a sense of community with other consumers, meaning your customers are more likely to talk about you and promote your brand to other people.

Stories about your values are great — but make sure they’re meaningful, memorable and clear.

If your values include charity work or donations, then talk about the work you do, and how your brand helps the wider community or those in need. If some of your proceeds go to worthy causes, talk about how the money is spent and what it goes towards.

Be proud of your work — the more you tell your story, the more people will read it and want to contribute to your cause.

3.   Your product’s founding story

What made you decide to make and/or sell your product? How did you come up with your concept?

There could be all sorts of reasons behind your product’s creation. It could be that you found a solution to a problem that no one had thought of yet. Or maybe you had a eureka moment in your own life that you realised you could share with others?

Perhaps you were annoyed with how the big brands were charging extortionate prices for a product or service, when you knew you could do it for way less.

Or maybe you want to make the world a better place with your product by helping those in need or contributing to environmental causes? 

Share this with your readers: explain how your product came into existence. You can make this story inspirational, funny, thought-provoking — it’s up to you.

Your product should never be the main character in your story. Instead, talk about how it fixes a problem, or how it is helping people; how it is used for a greater good.

It’s about more than just material goods; your stories needs to be about real people, real lives, and connections. How does your product impact lives?

4.   Stories of failure

It might sounds weird, but stories about any failures your business has had are good to tell. These types of story show how you’ve overcome obstacles, learnt from your mistakes, and shows resilience.

Failure stories are good if you’ve had a particularly public stumbling block. They’re also beneficial if you’re undergoing a rebrand — perhaps you’re unhappy with how your website looks, or maybe you’ve bought a website for sale that needs rejuvenating. You can talk about how your business was previously flagging, and how you’ve turned it around.

Document your hard work and effort for your audience so that they can see the journey you’ve gone on. Keep a track of progress and stats too, in case you want to do a ‘before and after’!

Failure stories show how your perception has changed and how you’re willing to embrace this new knowledge and learn from it.

They’re redemption stories: they show change, and make your business more human and more relatable. So when you earn your successes, your audience will be proud and support your achievements.

5.   Behind the scenes stories

Behind the scenes stories are always fun to tell. You can show your audience what happens behind the official photos and posts — the backend of the business.

This could be what your office looks like, or what a typical day at your desk entails. You can introduce or interview your staff or colleagues, by sharing their personal stories and how they came to join the company. You can even show the work that goes into creating a product, or show the product’s journey from beginning to end. The possibilities are endless!

Behind the scenes stories are great to tell because they make your reader feel like they’re in on a secret; like you’ve given them valuable private information.

They also allow your market to get to know the friendly faces behind your brand, rather than leaving you a faceless corporation.

Don’t be afraid to tell stories. They help to humanize your company, and allow you to reach out to your readers and engage with them. Through stories you can forge long-lasting, meaningful relationships.

As you can see, there are a number of different stories you can tell in your marketing. You’re probably already telling some of these anyway, without even realizing it! The key is to be honest and human, but it’s up to you which routes you go down. You can also decide which medium you want to tell your story — through video, photos, or content.

At the end of the day, storytelling isn’t a gimmick — it’s about sharing real connections, emotions and imagination.

The end.

           

Article Written by Kayleigh Alexandra. Kayleigh is a content writer for Micro Startups — a site that donates all of its web revenue to charities supporting new startups, entrepreneurs, and other worthy causes. Visit the blog for inspiring stories and the latest insights from top marketing experts. Follow us on Twitter @getmicrostarted.
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