Recap of The Southern C Summit 2014

Last year I learned about The Southern C Summit and I was extra excited by the fact it was only an hour away in Jekyll Island, GA. I wrote about it here. I know most conferences are held in the mid-west or on the west coast so it was nice to have a conference that celebrates entrepreneurs on the east coast but more importantly the good ‘ol south!

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When the announcement came that this year’s conference would be in Charleston, SC, I didn’t hesitate to sign up. I wasn’t going to miss this opportunity and to top it off, I have been wanting to visit Charleston as I have heard it is becoming really progressive and loaded with budding entrepreneurs. I even read this amazing article of all the great creatives that are coming out of Charleston.

The other piece that made me super excited was a chance to meet a designer I have been following, Alesya of AlesyaBags.com. I learned about Alesya from one of the presenters of last year’s summit. I started reading her blog and felt an instant connection to her. I devoured her blog because she shared a lot of the struggles and successes she’s had with her line of laptop bags. I identified with many of those in designing the journals.

I made it my mission this year to if nothing else at least get to meet her in person since she lives in Charleston. I had my struggles getting to the conference and was a little irritated when I arrived because of the down pour of rain that ensued. I made it to the conference and ended up connecting with a great lady named Judy. Her and her husband designed the Kebo, which is an amazing and beautiful bottle opener and it works beautifully. We sat together at the conference and made friends quickly since we both have products. I never did get a chance to connect with Alesya that first day much less knew if she was even there.

By the end of the first day, I was ready to go and get checked in to my hotel room. We then had to come back for a cocktail hour, which I was hesitant to go to out of shear shyness and fear. I then made the decision to step out of my comfort zone. I decided I would email Alesya on the off chance she was checking email and see if we could connect that evening. Within 5 minutes of sending her an email, she wrote me right back and said she had just purchased her ticket and would be at the cocktail reception. I was over the moon then!!! Stepping out of my comfort zone paid off.

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Alesya and I the last day of the summit.

Long story short, I hung out with Alesya, Judy and a new friend I made Tamara of Jem of the South, for the rest of the week. It was wonderful and we all connected so beautifully. Alesya and I even went to dinner where we shared thoughts, ideas, stories and frustrations. I didn’t think it was possible but I think this year’s conference was better than last, at least for me. The connections were so much deeper and stronger and the speakers were so honest, real and down to earth. They were all very approachable. I can’t wait for next year’s conference, which I have an insider scoop it will be in Charleston next year as well.

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Myself, Judy and Tamara

One last interesting thing I want to share. The last day we had a brunch at the Le Creuset headquarters in Charleston. It was such an amazing facility. It was right on the Ashley River and if I was an employee I would love to go to work there everyday. Before I left to start my drive back to Jacksonville, I decided to use their restroom. I had a huge chuckle when I walked in to the bathroom and saw their sinks below. Talk about branding. I plan to be at next year’s event. I’d love to see you there too.

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Sink at Le Creuset headquarters bathroom.

 

The Power of Meet Ups

quote-connectingFor the last 11 years, I have worked out of my home. I’ve met amazing people from all over the world but most of them I have never met in person and while I talk on the phone most days, I still feel very isolated and alone at times. My husband works at home as well so we are together 24/7 basically and bless his heart, he has been a girlfriend to me more times than he should.

I decided it was time to do something about this and stop feeling so recluse. I have used the Meetup.com website in the past and had major success with it but I had put it on the back burner and hadn’t really visited it in quite some time. For those who may not know what Meetup.com is, here is a very quick and dirty description. It is a website where you can go to find groups of people that meet in your area. You can find a group based on your topic of interest. For example if you love wine, you can find a vino group that meets.

When I first moved back to Florida, I used Meetup.com to start to find some friends. It was great and totally helped me to make some long term friendships. About a week ago, I was notified via Meetup that there was a new group for women forming so I joined. As I was looking at the members of the group, I came across one person who wrote the following description of herself:

“Hi everyone! I am a 40-something work-at-home Graphic Designer… so I don’t get to meet people. I love my husband but I need to meet some “girl friends” to do fun things with or even just relax and chat.”

It was as if I had written this! I knew instantly I needed to meet this person so I posted on her profile and she wrote me back. A few emails back and forth and this past Saturday we met for lunch and talked for 2 1/2 hours! It was so great to connect with someone in person. I have a new found friend!

If you work from home, what do you do to keep from feeling isolated? Have you ever tried a meet up group? I’d love to hear your thoughts. Be sure to leave a comment below.

(Source: simplybeingaisha)

Bonus Ways to Use Your Journal – Prayer Journal

A few weeks ago I partnered with Journal4Faith.com and held a contest to giveaway one journal. We drew the winner and I shipped her the journal. Not only did she send a wonderful email thanking me, she did something amazing with her journal that I wanted to share with you. Better yet, she posted about it on her blog and you can read all about it here. Be sure to check it out as it is amazing what she has done. Below is a sneak peak.

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Unusual way to connect on the NY subway

I was watching PBS this past weekend and caught this story on the Newshour. I thought it was such a beautiful story of how powerful connecting with people is and the act of writing. Enjoy.

Ways to Use Your Journal – Tracking Your Health

diet diaryIt is the World Health Day today. You all know how we read such information on the Internet or they mention it on TV. Then, the day is gone and we all forget about it. Well, it shouldn’t be like that. Especially when it comes to our health. I think that each day should be our own health day.

As with everything that is as important as your health, you have to keep track of things in order to see how far you’ve come and the accomplishments you’ve made (you can always go back and review your results in order to improve them). Your journal will be your invaluable companion along the way of living a healthy life.

Here are some tips on how to use your journal for health tracking:

  • FOOD: set a reasonable goal and track your progress using your journal – note what you eat and when you eat it. Also note how you feel after eating certain foods – what makes you feel happy and satisfied, and what makes you feel guilty. This will help you identify your eating habits.
  • WATER: water is even more important than food when it comes to your health. Make sure you drink enough water every day. It is essential for all of our body functions, so we shouldn’t neglect it! A tip – keep track of the amount of water you drink in your journal throughout the day – it will make it easier for you to adjust the amount of water to drink for the rest of the day.
  • EXERCISE: regular exercise is an essential part of your healthy living. Use your journal to keep track of your exercise regularity and diversity. Make sure you exercise regularly and make it fun by changing the activities (jogging, riding a bicycle, swimming, taking your dog for a long walk, gardening, etc.).
  • WEIGHT: keeping track of your weight is a great idea when it comes to healthy living as neither being overweight, nor being underweight is healthy for you – we don’t suggest that you put down your weight in your journal every day, because that will not only make you feel unsatisfied, but it will also threaten your willingness to succeed. Weighing yourself once a week is a better idea, as it will allow you to see the trend and make the necessary changes in your habits.
  • QUIT SMOKING – I don’t even think I should tell you about the disastrous consequences of smoking… You can use your journal to mark each day of your new life of a non-smoker or use it as a distraction to put down your negative thoughts when you are weak and all you want is a cigarette.
  • DOCTOR’S/DENTIST’S APPOINTMENTS – make sure you put down these appointments in your journal and mark them “done” at least once a year. Remember, your negligence now may result in very serious problems for the future.
  • UNHAPPY THOUGHTS – “journal out” unhappy thoughts: instead of keeping them inside you, let it all out on paper. You’ll see how liberating it feels!
  • COOK – preparing your own meals has so many advantages: a freshly cooked meal has much less additives, preservatives, flavors, coloring agents, etc. What goes in the meal is totally under your control. Use fresh ingredients and healthy food processing like baking, boiling, and steaming and you’ll see the difference.

Living a healthy life should not be a burden. Keep it simple and make it fun. Your body and spirit will thank you on each step along the way!

Time to redo the website again

Well it is time yet again to redo the website. I know I just redid it but with more and more people on mobile devices such as smart phones and iPads, it is becoming clear that I need to have a more mobile ready site. I also want to have a more robust home page where you can find everything without having to hunt through the website. I’m sharing a sneak peak below to you of the new layout. This is a mock up that I designed.

I’m so excited to take this next step. I’d love to know your thoughts on the new design. Be sure to leave a comment below.

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Ways to Use Your Journal – Organizing your to-do lists

TO-DO-LISTSIf you are reading this article, you are probably experiencing some problems organizing your time or you want to get better at it. Don’t worry! We have gathered all the important information you need to know in order to master time management using to-do lists.

To-do lists are actually the easiest way to organize your tasks, events, notes, ideas, etc. Once you learn how to organize and follow your to-do lists, everything else just comes into its place. No more “I totally forgot about this”!

To-do lists are your key to efficiency. If you feel overwhelmed with tasks or you regularly miss deadlines, it is time for you to start using them.

Here are some tips on how to make your do-do lists work for you:

– Make sure that all your tasks are written down in one place! That’s why we recommend that you use your journal for your to-do lists instead of post-it notes or random sheets of paper that can easily get lost or forgotten at your desk while you need them at home. Of course, you can use them, but be sure to always put them in your journals, so that you always know where to find them.

– Break large tasks down – ideally, a task should not take more than 2 hours to complete. Otherwise, you’ll feel overwhelmed just by the thought of it and it will always go to the back of your list.

– Include additional information – that may include phone numbers, names, links, etc. Thus, you won’t have to look this information up elsewhere when you get to the task. Simplify your life!

– Use different lists for work tasks and personal tasks. Thus you won’t look at the “to bring the cat to the vet” every time you open your to-do list at work. It is both distracting, and unproductive.

– Prioritize! It doesn’t matter if you will use the alphabet (A for the most urgent task, B for the next one, etc.), numbers, or highlighters. But, it’s a great way to see what to do next without going through the entire list each time you open your journal.

– Cross out! That’s my favorite one. Crossing out a task that’s been done is one of the most satisfactory things I do (both at home, and at work). Here’s a tip – instead of crossing out, use a highlighter in a certain color that you use only for the tasks done. It is easier to go back and see what you’ve done if you highlight the task instead of cross it out.

– Check your list regularly. There’s nothing more annoying than a task that had to be done yesterday. My advice: check your to-do list at least once a day!

– Don’t include “micro-tasks” in your to –do list. Just do the task instead of adding it to your list. Flooding your list with minor tasks will not make you feel you’ve done more than you actually have.

If you want to be inspired by the possibilities of what you can do with your journal and to-do lists, be sure to check out this post for a video I posted a few weeks ago.

Whatever you do, don’t panic. Making (and keeping) a to-do list is intended to ease your life, not to make it harder. Don’t be hard on yourself and know that the sooner you make this a habit, the more productive you’ll be.

Win a Journal From Sheic Journals and Journaling4Faith!

sjFor years I was hesitant about using an elegant, new journal to record my thoughts.  Most times I would use a spiral notebook so I could scribble out my junk and not think twice about ruining a lovely book.  One day as I was ambling around the bookstore, I couldn’t help but be drawn to the colorful journals on the shelves.  I did it!  I just went and bought the one I loved looking at the most.  At that moment I went from a spiral notebook junkie to a fabulous new home for my thoughts and feelings.  I’m worth it and so are my thoughts!

Your words deserve the very best too!  Here is your opportunity to win a yummy leather journal from Sheic Journals. Just two easy steps and you could be writing in this journal by next month.

  1. Sign up on www.journaling4faith.com to receive my weekly POWs-prompt of the week.
  2. Sign up on www.sheicjournals.com to receive a 25% off coupon for yourself or a friend.

That’s it!!  On March 24, 2014 we’ll choose one lucky winner. *Bonus:  If you like our Facebook pages you get an extra entry for each page. I can’t wait to see your face when you hold your new Sheic journal in your hands.  In fact, send us a picture so we can post it on our sites!
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Why I keep a journal? (Guest Post)

Probably like many of you, I started keeping a journal when I was a young girl. Of course, back then we called them diaries. You know, the kind you keep hidden and locked. I kept all my deep secrets and feelings on the pages of those tiny books.

Something about journaling must have clicked inside me, because I haven’t stopped writing those feelings and secrets in my journal as an adult. I love my journal! It’s become a trusted friend, a place of refuge, a secret garden where I meet with God, and a mirror to my true self.

I’ve learned a lot about myself over the years through my writing. Some things I’d rather not discuss (that’s the great thing about journaling—I don’t have to share). At other times, I’ve had much needed insights and clarification regarding problems or decisions.

When I lived overseas for two years, I kept a travel journal to record the numerous unique experiences I encountered. There were times when I’d sketch a picture of an outdoor eatery, a field of sunflowers, or a stray cat I’d seen. No, I’m not an artist, just a gal who so wanted to record my adventure. I carried that journal with me all over Europe.

As a therapist, I’ve learned how journaling can be a valuable tool in my arsenal of techniques to use with my clients. It has provided needed clarity, focus, and inner wisdom for those people who have embraced journaling in their daily lives.

According to MyTherapyJournal.com the benefits of journaling have been scientifically proven to:

– Improve physical health and mental well-being
— Diminish symptoms of depression, anxiety, panic, substance abuse, PTSD, asthma, arthritis, and many other health conditions and disorders
— Improve cognitive functioning
— Make therapy more effective
— Strengthen the immune system, preventing a host of illnesses
— Counteract many of the negative effects of stress
— Finally, journaling is for everyone. It just “feels good” to write

If you haven’t journaled, I suggest you give it a try! It’s easy, free, and there are no rules you need to follow. Journaling has helped me and so many others find answers to those questions we hold inside.

Go for it!!

kathy-bornarth-300x256Kathy Bornarth, principal at Hope Counseling Center in Chantilly, VA, has journaled for more than 25 years. She is a certified Journal to the Self® Instructor, teaches journaling workshops, and equips others to journal online at www.journaling4faith.com. Check out our POWs—‘Prompt of the Week’ —to build your faith through journaling.