Does Everyone Deserve a Response?

cell phone
Years ago while sitting at a business expo, the speaker assured each business owner that they could realistically expect to meet 2 of the 3 expectations from every customer. In general, customers all want a fast turnaround time, lowest prices, and a top-quality product. If you offer cheap prices and fast turnaround, then the quality just might not be the best of the best. If you offer a top-quality product and a low price, then the turnaround might not be as fast as expected. The point was that as small business owners you cannot continually do it all, something has to give.

When I owned my embroidery digitizing business I decided that I would offer the best product possible with the fastest turnaround possible. The result was that I charged a higher price. Those that didn’t care about quality eventually got tired of paying more and sent their business overseas, or to a cheaper competitor with a slow turnaround time. But this was the choice I made. It was my business and I chose to be selective in the orders I received. You cannot be all things to all people.

On rare occasions I had a customer that needed a price break. I would give it to them, but usually at the expense of turnaround time. However, the one thing that I refused to give into was customer service. I always tried to offer excellent customer service! Business is people. People are your business. When you fail to understand that, you fail as an entrepreneur.

This brings us to an interesting point. A big concern in customer service is responding to your customers when they reached out. If I failed to return a call or email, I lost a customer. So my question is: What is the proper response when someone reaches out to you? Is it ever okay to not return a call, email, or text?

My thoughts are that everyone deserves a response. When I get questions and comments on my website or email, I do my best to respond every time and in a timely manner. Even if the response is “I can’t help you” or “I will get back with you later.” Those who take the time to reach out deserve the courtesy of a response. After all, I am making my contact information public. I am trying to build a platform. I do want people to respond, right?

(The same applies to text messages, but on a different level. I only receive text messages from family and friends, but a simple response of “ok” or “thanks” takes just 2 seconds and lets the sending party know that I received the message. It’s just polite in my eyes.)

When I reach out to someone and they fail to respond it leaves a bad taste in my mouth. It comes across as uncaring and unprofessional, especially in the business world. Technology is meant to serve us, not enslave us. Therefore, if you are overwhelmed with emails and calls to the point of not being able to respond to those who are reaching out, it’s time to hire an assistant. Otherwise, they will stop calling on you. So, whether you are trying to build a company, offer a service, sell a product, or build a platform, in this world business is people. People are your business.

The Key to Successful Writing

key

Someone asked me the other day how I had managed to just finish writing my 5th book in a little over 5 years.

My answer was simple. The key is sleeping-in.

No, not me.

The children….

 

Since we homeschool we have the luxury of doing that.

Since we have made the sacrifice to educate our children at home, I am very blessed with a relaxed schedule!  Over the past 5 years most of my writing has taken place from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m.  I say most, not all.  There are plenty of times that I write when I should be doing other things.  On rare occasions entire Saturdays have been spent researching, writing, editing, re-writing, editing, and re-writing. On even rarer occasions I will write in the still of the night. But for the most part, I work in the mornings while the children are asleep.  All is quiet, except for an occasional jingle on the collar of our Maltese. My mind is intensified by the aroma from the Kona coffee. Words flow. Life is good.

But “sleeping-in” is not really the key.

The true key to successfully accomplishing anything worthwhile is consistency. Be consistent. Keep at it.  Don’t give up. Make time for writing. A little here and a little there….A few hours a day doesn’t amount to much, but a few hours a day equal 10 hours a week. And 10 hours a week add up.

Some say they can only write when they are inspired. Forget that. Set time aside every day to be inspired and then write.

I am not sure who to credit, but they exuded wisdom by saying,

If you want something bad enough, you will find a way.

If you don’t, you will find an excuse.

(Now, if I can just take that same concept and apply it to exercise…..)

Let me hear from all you writers out there. What has been “key” to your success in writing?

Birthdays!

I am certainly feeling blessed today.  I turned 25 again….okay I’ll tell the truth…. plus Abigail.  (You can say that when your daughter is born on your 25th birthday.)  By far, she was the most wonderful birthday gift I have ever received.  And she has been a true blessing all these years.  I am so thankful for the young lady she has become.  I am so thankful for the tender heart she has and the loving disposition she displays.  Happy 13th birthday, sweet girl!  You are a gift from God and a joy and delight to your family and all who know you.

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“That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace,” Psalms 144:12.

Love: Now Available!

I am so excited to announce that the 3rd book in the Living Out the Word series is now available!  Thank you all for your prayers and support this year as I have worked to complete this project.

If you know of a ladies group that is looking for a verse by verse Bible study please share this information with them.

 

 

What does love look like?  Is God’s love like ours, or is ours like His?  Find out what the Apostle of Love has to say in his epistles about God’s amazing love.  Love in not only a general theme within the Epistles of John but also throughout the entire Bible.  The greatest commandment of all is centered on love.  As believers in Christ we are to walk in love, be rooted and grounded in love, follow after love, and put on love.  We are told in 1 John 4:8 that not only does God love, but that “God is love”.  During this verse by verse study, we will drive into the deep truths of God and learn what true love is and how we are to respond.  You can order your copy of Love: A Verse by Verse study for Women through the Epistles of John here!

Blessings to each of you as you strive to Live Out the Word!

Living the Abundant Life

The last few months have flown by and I haven’t been able to blog as much as I would like.  So here is a Williams “Catch Up” post.

It’s hard to believe that it is already the middle of March.  This past year has flown by.  In January we started back at the Consortium each Wednesday. (Our church has been so gracious to open up the building as well as serve lunch to all the students and teachers each week.  I am truly blessed to be a part of Cornerstone and what God is doing there.) The three A’s each took a full day’s worth of classes and really enjoyed them (plus all the socializing with friends).

Dana taught a Biblical Greek class.  The class learned a lot of practical application on how to study their Bible and seemed to enjoy it, but they did complain about all the homework.  I tried to tell him that homeschooling students are not use to doing homework…..

I taught Blogging 101. During the class we created an ETC Youth blog.  You can check it out here.  My students also created their own personal blogs just for fun. Aaron complains that they never gets visitors, so please go check out their blogs …..poor things.

Abigail

Aaron

Caitlyn

Hannah

Levi

Rachel

At the end of the quarter we held an Exhibition Program at Cornerstone.  There were tons of great performances.  We have a lot of talented children in our 65+ family homeschool group.  During the night the Drama Class put on short play called the Emperors New Rags.  Guess who played the part of the king?

In February Cornerstone hosted a very successful Valentine’s Banquet. One of the best things about our church is the love we have for one another.  So this was a wonderful opportunity to share our love and God’s love with others outside the church.

The children enjoyed a small snow day during the month of February.  Being our first year back in Arkansas I, of course, expected a bigger winter.  But that’s okay.  They still had fun.

It didn’t last long.  The next day we were all in t-shirts driving around town with the sunroof open.  I do believe that winter is over.

Some of the families in our homeschool group took a field trip to a local fire station a few weeks ago.  We took my 2 year old nephew and he spent the day with us.  This was his first time to be with us by himself.  We are so thankful to be close family again!  Have I said that already?

Dana and I have both been extremely busy.  He has more projects than I care to mention.  But he’s loving every minute of it.

And I have been somewhat consumed finishing up my 4th book.

So, we decided to take a Saturday a couple of weeks ago and spend it at Devil’s Den State Park.  Dana and I have not been there in years. We took a picnic and spent the afternoon hiking.  It was a wonderful family day.

God has certainly blessed our family.  I am looking forward to seeing what He has in store for us and excited about what the future holds.  So until next time, I’ll be here….living that abundant life.

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal 2:20)

Before & After

This week I was introduced to Pinterest.  The amount of talent and creative ideas that flow through the minds of people just amaze me.  The home decorating pictures are my favorite and if they involve organization, even better.  I also love looking at before and after pictures, especially room makeovers.  While I am not typically a very imaginative person I do have a few before and after pictures to show of things our family has recently worked on.  Hope you enjoy them.

This is the boys’ room right after we moved here this last summer.  Notice anything missing?  That’s right.  They were without a bed.  So, Dana and Aaron worked on building them one.

It took just a couple of hours to build.  This is before we stained it.

Here is our after picture. We do not have it yet but plan on getting Andrew a twin trundle for underneath the bed.

My mother gave me this bedroom suite.  It was a little old fashioned for Abigail.

 So, a few hours later and a little black paint it was as good as new.

This is a picture of her desk before.

Here it is after….

This lemonade stand was given to our church.  My husband decided that we could turn it into a coffee bar.

A new counter top, some paint, and a lot of help transformed a lemonade stand into this.

Don’t you just love before and after pictures.

I believe the most beautiful transformation is a before and after picture of salvation.  Take a look at what the Bible says about mankind before God intervenes.

As it is written, There is none righteous, no, not one: There is none that understandeth, there is none that seeketh after God. They are all gone out of the way, they are together become unprofitable; there is none that doeth good, no, not one. Their throat is an open sepulchre; with their tongues they have used deceit; the poison of asps is under their lips: Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness: Their feet are swift to shed blood: Destruction and misery are in their ways: And the way of peace have they not known: There is no fear of God before their eyes. (Rom 3:10-18)

But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Rom 5:8)

Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new. (2Co 5:17)

(BEFORE)

Know ye not that the unrighteous shall not inherit the kingdom of God? Be not deceived: neither fornicators, nor idolaters, nor adulterers, nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind, Nor thieves, nor covetous, nor drunkards, nor revilers, nor extortioners, shall inherit the kingdom of God. And such were some of you…

(AFTER)

but ye are washed, but ye are sanctified, but ye are justified in the name of the Lord Jesus, and by the Spirit of our God.   (1Co 6:9-11)

 

Do you have a before and after picture?

Book Reviews

I recently finished my third book, From the Mouth of Babes. The review are trickling in and it has been a humbling experience.   I wanted to share a few of them with my faithful readers.

Full Circle Homeschooling

The Bishop’s Wife 

The McClanahan 7

We Love to Homeschool 

Through the Calm and Through the Storm

Over the past year I have had many opportunities to review various books, curriculum, music, and such. It is an honor when a person asks you to take a peek into their work and offer your honest opinion. But like anything else, until you have walked on the other side, you cannot comprehend all it holds. Unless you have done it, it is hard to understand what it is like to pour yourself into a work and have others critique it.  I greatly appreciate the time and engery from these reviewers.

The First Week

It has been 10 days since our move and I can say that this is the first time that I have had a few minutes to sit down.  It has been a relaxing morning and I thank the Lord for it.

Our move went extremely well.  We had so much help from friends and family.  It took us around 13 hours with the U-Haul truck to make the trip.  Here is a picture of my children at Lake Village Arkansas.  Aaron’s friend, Levi, went with us from Arkansas back to Mississippi to help us pack and move.  He’s in the green shirt. 

We took our time and made it to my parent’s house around 9 p.m.  We parked the truck and spent the night there.  The next morning feeling refreshed and ready to start unloading we drove to Bentonville (30 minutes north).  It is a lot easier unloading than it is loading.    In fact, when we first loaded we couldn’t fit everything on the truck.  Thankfully, we had some dear friends offer to bring their trailer and drive it to Arkansas for us on Saturday.  We were able to put our couch, washer, dryer, and our outside stuff on it.  What a blessing!  Thank you Bill and Karen!

The 3rd was our first Sunday at Cornerstone.  Although tired, we had a very good day.

As you can tell, there is a lot of road construction going on.  The front road of the church will be a 5 lane highway and the side road will be a four lane highway when they are finished.

We spent the 4th cooking out at my parent’s home.  It’s so nice being close to my family again.  We truly thank the Lord for bringing us back up this way. 

Wednesday through Friday I had a good friend drive up from central Arkansas.  She came to help me unpack all those boxes and decorate my home.  We worked hard!  Jayna has a very creative eye and she helped me turn this house into a beautiful home. 

This is the front of our home.  We have decided that Abigail will be in charge of all the plants.  After all, we want them to live. 

This is the foyer area from our front door.  When you walk in the door on the right is my office. 

I LOVE my office!  Since this home is smaller than our last one we had to bring one of my kitchen tables in here.  It turned out that I loved the way it looked.  There is a beautiful, large window where the table sits.  It’s a great place to visit with a friend over a cup of coffee! 

Isn’t the fireplace lovely!  My children have already mentioned how they can’t wait to get our first big snow this winter. 

We felt very blessed to find our$80 craigslist fridge! 

The kitchen is open which will encourage me to keep it clean! 

The house has a split-floor-plan with the master bed and bath off the kitchen.   This is one view of my bedroom.  I won’t show you all the boxes pilled up on the back wall! 

One of my favorite parts about the house is the master bath.   

 

 

Abigail’s room still needs a little work but it will be beautiful when we are finished! 

My friend also went through my wardrobe with me and talked me into getting rid of half my clothes.  Thanks Jayna!  I needed that!  We enjoyed ourselves last week but were exhausted by Friday. 

After Jayna and her children left Friday afternoon I took a much needed three hour nap!

Saturday we spent the morning looking for bedroom furniture for the boys.  We hit a few yard sales and some furniture stores.  We ended up getting a bed from craigslist that afternoon.   I picked up this really cool desk for Andrew at a yard sale for $8.00. 

 That evening one of the couples from the church invited us out for dinner.  It was a good time of fellowship.

Yesterday’s services went very well.  We had several visitors.  Dana gave an introduction to the book of Ephesians.  He will be expository preaching through it on Sunday mornings.  We had a pleasant surprise in that our former pastor, the man Dana surrendered to preach under, showed up for the services with his wife and son.  I insisted they come to the house for lunch.  I had a pork loin, mashed potatoes, green beans, and homemade rolls ready.  It was so nice visiting with them.

We’re trying hard to get to know everyone at Cornerstone.  It will take some time.  Next week we are taking a group (I believe 14) to church camp at Grand Lake, OK.  My children are very excited about that.  When we get back we have VBS.

I have my first homeschool meeting tomorrow night.  With over 4,000 homeschoolers in this area it won’t take long to get plugged in.  We have friends here from the past and are already meeting new ones. 

It’s been an exciting 10 days!  I’m looking forward to watching the Lord work in our family and in the ministry here!  Keep us in your prayers!

Packing Tape, U Hauls, and Friends

 

Moving is bitter/sweet.  Something about packing up, saying good-bye, and building a new life is always difficult. Hence, the bitter part. However, we have complete peace (that passes all understanding) about this transition in our lives.  It is exciting to know that you are in the will of God, that He has great things in store, and that the future is secure.  That is the sweet part!

I must say that God is good…all the time!  He has provided for us above and beyond all our needs and even our wants.  He has upheld his servants and protected our family.  He has answered specific prayers precisely.  He has brought into our lives the most precious friends who are there for us exactly when we need them the most.  Many of these friends will be here this week with us.  We will be working hard, packing, telling stories, laughing, and crying.  We might even find the time to take a break over a cup of coffee or two.  And at the end of the week, we will say good-bye.

I know in my heart that it is very likely that some of our friends we will not see again this side of heaven.  But we will see them again.  I’m reminded of the 4th verse in the song Blest Be the Tie.  It goes like this: “When we asunder part, It gives us inward pain; But we shall still be joined in heart, and hope to meet again.”

Pray for our family this week.  I believe in the power of prayer!  And to all my family and friends reading this, here is my prayer for you…

“For this cause I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Of whom the whole family in heaven and earth is named, That he would grant you, according to the riches of his glory, to be strengthened with might by his Spirit in the inner man; That Christ may dwell in your hearts by faith; that ye, being rooted and grounded in love, May be able to comprehend with all saints what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height; And to know the love of Christ, which passeth knowledge, that ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”  (Eph 3:14-21)

Women of Worth

It’s Monday but not your typical one.  It is the Monday after spending four days on the beach in Gulf Shores with a group of amazing women I just met.  I had a great time at our Women of Worth Retreat! 

Physically, my sunburn has now turned into a nice golden tan.  But my body is tired.  Surprisingly, sitting at the pool and on the beach is draining.  I didn’t realize that resting could be so pleasantly exhausting.  Of course my fatigue might be due to the eight hours I spoke this weekend.  But I really had a lot of time for relaxing.  In fact, in between our sessions I was able to start and finish a book I had brought to read.  That is my idea of a peaceful weekend.  

Emotionally, I am glad to be home.  I missed my family.  Four days without my husband and children was a first for me.  And four days without me was a first for them.  We all made it and although I have always felt like my husband and children appreciate me, I really feel appreciated now!  Last night when my husband picked me up the children were helping out at a local VBS so Dana took me to Hattiesburg for a nice quiet dinner.  When we picked the children up they about knocked me over. 

Spiritually, my spirit is soaring. We had a very uplifting time in the Word of God.  As we studied several examples of Women of Worth we all grew closer to the Lord.  I spoke on women who seek wisdom, women who diligently work, women who are not weary in well-doing, women who faithfully witness, and women who reverently worship.  It was a time of honesty and an opportunity to be real without judgment.  It was a time of prayer and worship.  It was a time of exhortation and encouragement.  

I thank my dear friend, Angela and her church for the invitation.  I thank my family for parting with me.  And I thank the Lord for the opportunity to be used and for His divine guidance and protection these last few days.  And I am thankful that in Christ I can be a Women of Worth! 

Thursday night after the second group of ladies arrived at the condo some of them were anxious to check out the water. 

One night (way into the night) our room played a game of Phase Ten.  The following night we played a dice game called Farkle until 1 a.m.  (Sorry, there will be no pictures of that game!)

A few women hanging out before one of our sessions… 

Heading to dinner one night.  I had some great seafood on this trip.

9 of the 16…..dinner and shopping.   

Some pictures need no explanation. 

Here are the ladies that were in my condo. 

“The Best Gift” skit and our last session…

Packing up… 

One last picture of Kim, Kim, Kim, and Kim.