Thursday, March 31, 2022

What If It All Goes Away?

Nothing has changed in the last 24 hours. I haven't had anyone insult my photography or writing, tell lies about my character, or leave my life. Actually, it's been a pretty good day.

No, the change has been in me. I've hit another low cycle. Being in a low cycle has made circumstances that normally would be neutral extremely negative. But I can't blame my low cycle for everything I'm feeling.

I have realized how arrogant I've been over what I've accomplished lately. Yes, I've worked hard. Yes, I've gotten experience through hours and hours of practice. Yes, I've analyzed my work to see how it could be better.

But none of that is how I've gotten to where I am now professionally. It's been God. Some might call it circumstances; some might call it luck; some fate... but I believe in a Higher Power and my Higher Power is God. 

You might be wondering why I titled a post about my arrogance "What If It All Goes Away?" It was one of those realizations that hit me in the head today. I've lost basically everything at different times in my life. Each time God has been with me and provided. 

But each time this life-shattering event has occurred has led to one thing - my pride being exposed. I have always felt I needed to be the best in whatever I did. Second place wasn't good enough. While that provides success in life, it's diametrically opposed to God's plan. 

The only way to really live out His will is to not be looking at my success - it will only be to look to Him. And if it does "all go away," I am finally starting to realize that it will be okay.

Sunday, March 20, 2022

Apps that Help Me Make it Through the Day (Part 2)

I don't know your definition of "later," but my guess is that it's not over four months. Yet, that's how long it's been since I wrote the first part of this post. If you want to read about some of the other apps that help me each day, look for a post with the same title on November 10, 2021.

So... I'm finally getting back to sharing more about this idea. 

On a side note, if you want to read something really ironic, read my post from February 5, 2022. You'll see why almost immediately after checking it out.

Let's go back to the topic at hand (or at a magnetic stand, as that's where my phone is right now.)


Like Chrome, I found the wonders of Google Calendar years ago. There have been several times I've tried to switch to something newer and flashier, but I've always gone back to it.

The best part of this calendar for me is that I can divide schedules into who is affected by them. I'm a very visual person and I can also get overwhelmed easily. Putting my daughter's schedule and my schedule and reminders of when things like bills are due and other tasks is too much for me to be able to focus in the next activity, depending on how I'm doing at the moment. 

Let me give an example of how I use Google Calendar:

When my daughter was younger, there were activities she had that I didn't have to be with her (like Colorguard practice after school). So I made three different "calendars" to take care of this issue. One calendar was for activities I wasn't involved in; a second was for items that I did by myself, and another was for those times we were both included. This part of this system had several advantages.

Why did she need one by herself, you might ask? Well, I'll tell you. My daughter has a lot of health issues and goes to the doctor a good bit. I needed to know when she was free when scheduling an appointment. So when I'm scheduling an appointment, I show all of the three calendars I mentioned. However, if I really need to focus on what I'm doing for the next week, I show only my calendar. 

Bills were another calendar. When my anxiety was high, I didn't need to look at all of the upcoming bills, so I would hide that one during those times. 

I now have one for my boyfriend, for those activities he participates in without me - again, so I won't ever accidentally plan something for a time he's already busy. But like with my daughter, I can also hide his when I need to focus purely on my schedule.

The color-coding provided also helps. You can assign each calendar its own color. I would do little tricks to remember categories - like with the three calendar example, my color was blue, my daughter's was red (our favorite colors) and the one for us together was purple. Bills are a yucky green and work activities were a nicer shade but still green to symbolize getting paid for that time. You probably get the idea.


While Chrome and Google Calendar have been my friends for over a decade, is a new kid on the block.

As a freelance writer and photographer (as well as an odd job person), there are many steps in order to complete each project. I have tried making up various spreadsheets, lists, calendars, and other methods to try to tame this beast. Finally, I got tired of it and decided to dedicate a day to looking for a work organizer app.

I tried many that day. I would find one I thought I liked, get the trial version, start loading my info, only to find out it wouldn't work for my situation. Then I happened upon has a LOT of templates. I had to mess around with it for a bit before I found a template that I could personalize to meet my needs, but so far it's really fitting the bill.

The only way I can easily describe it is that it's like a spreadsheet that has incredible versatility on what is included in each column. There are drop-down menus, fill-in-the-blank, file holders, upcoming date, and status update options. Once you create a work item, the whole row can be moved into various categories; in my case, this means whether I need to do something soon on a project, or everything might be ready to go but I just have to wait, or it's finished but I want to keep the information in case I work with that client again.

I'm probably not explaining it well, but I highly recommend it. It's one that I'm willing to pay for if I have to - it's that important to me - but so far I've been able to do a LOT with the free version. Look it up if you need a program like that. I know it's worth it to at least check it out.

(And by the way, they have a wonderful app for your phone, so you can access where you are on a project on the go).

BANKING APPS (choose your bank)...

Even though banking apps are really common now, even for normies, there is a specific reason I love them... depositing checks. Keeping up with how much is in a certain account is important, but my social anxiety keeps me from getting out many days unless it's necessary. Being able to skip a trip to the bank helps me get back to the comfort of home that much faster.

Okay... this post included an additional three apps that I love. I have a lot more but I won't bore you with all of them. However, I will provide some insight on a few more that help me... later. (LOL!)

Friday, March 4, 2022

Gratitude and Stillness - The International Justice Mission (IJM) and the Problem of Human Trafficking

Yesterday I interviewed a man who works with the International Justice Mission (IJM) in order to write an article based on his work. 

I am always amazed by people who work on the front lines dealing with such horrible atrocities as human trafficking - and their stories.

This man had two which really affected me. 

He gave me the figure that there are 40 million held in some form of slavery today. 2022. That blows me away and seems completely overwhelming.

Sometimes it can also be hard to remember these victims are individuals who have been created in God’s image, not simply a number.

A young man named Godwin is one such individual. Like many others, his family was deceived into sending Godwin into what they thought was a safe environment - where he could get the education he craved and learn a trade.

He ended up being trafficked to Lake Volta to work in their fishing industry. Instead of fulfilling his dream of advanced schooling, he was in a nightmare of 12-14-hour days of hard labor. One of the slaves’ tasks was to dive and untangle nets. Many didn’t know how to swim… drowning was common.

However, Godwin was relentless and clever. He acquired a cell phone and got in touch with an aunt on the outside who was looking for him. She called the local police who connected with IJM. Together, they rescued Godwin.

“A part of what blows me away is that even in the moment of rescue, even as he’s finally experiencing this freedom and release that he didn’t imagine was possible before, he was already saying to the police and IJM folks there, ‘You’ve gotta go back. I know where more kids are. You’ve got to go back,’” the man I interviewed recalled.

After Godwin was safe, he told IJM where the others were. They were also rescued.

This account made me upset at what those boys faced (and others still do) but it gave me chills about how Godwin reacted after reaching safety. 

The other account was how those at IJM start their days. 

He told me that even though they've had great success in rescuing and protecting thousands, it can still be overwhelming with the huge number of those still in need of help. So, every day every IJM employee starts the day by spending time with God for 30 minutes... in stillness. Then they get together as a team, pray together, and remind each other that this is God's work.

I've thought a lot about these two aspects of life. 

I know that when I am in the throes of a pity-party, it's almost impossible to use the old adage, "It could be worse," to help me feel better. While in that state, as embarrassing and humbling as it is to admit, it's difficult (for me, at least) to look past those overwhelming feelings and realize that I can find much to be grateful for even while experiencing struggles. 

I can't help but wonder if that time of stillness with God would make a big difference. Personally, I'm not directly fighting human trafficking. But I do have my own fights, issues where I feel that God wants me to be a voice. 

Maybe even if I'm not part of a huge team fighting the incredibly huge problem of human trafficking, taking the time for stillness and prayer, and reminding myself that what I'm doing in my small way is God's work will help with that gratitude, which will help with every part of life.

And by the way, to help this movement, go to and click “Get Involved.”