WANT TO WRITE? HERE’S HOW YOU CAN!

Writing is an art, a skill and a science that can be learnt and acquired. You just need to pick a pen and paper to not things down! Do it constantly and consistently and soon it will become a practice as well as natural act.

Writing is simple – just put down what you want to put down. It can be your thoughts, your impressions, what you see, what you note, what you observe, what you feel, what you deduce, etc.

I have developed the habit of writing whenever and wherever Iccan, on the notepad available in my phone. When inspiration hits, I immediately store them in writing using these apps so that I don’t miss the idea or forget them in the flow of work and day!

To help you write, do these things:

1. GATHER CONTENT – Intent or aspiration or desire alone is not enough to write. You need a storehouse to draw from and a knowledge bank to draw on. Without a repertoire of content your writing will be just hot air and not solid substance that people can read and relish. If your writing is like candy floss, spun thinly out of minutiae, then those who sample your wares will not greedy to return for more.

2. BE OBSERVANT – To have a wealth of content, you need to be perceptive. Watch life around you and note the complexities as well as patterns of its flow. There is ever so much happening around you and if you care to see, your writing will have richness and nuances. So teach yourself to be alert and perceive changes around you.

2. LEARN TO PONDER – Don’t just bypass life and be satisfied to watch it. Think on what you have observed or what you see around you. Weigh and assess the events, incidents and people. Let the wheels of your mind turn and exercise, chewing on the fodder it has ingested from the world around. Digest the lessons you learn from life you , becoming knowledgeable in the general nuances of everything.

3. BE INQUISITIVE – Explore and investigate to learn instead of simply browsing or passing by. Go a little beyond the surface and be curious to unearth new treasures that become a stock to draw on. Grow your storehouse of knowledge by being a discoverer.

5. BE A NOTE TAKER – Jot down thoughts that crop up and points that surface as you pass through your day. Recognize a nugget of wisdom that pops up on your consciousness and immediately put it down. These are the beginnings of what might later become a profound insight, an article, a poem or even a book. Your writing begins here, by noting down random ideas. There are a number of note pads or word apps such as Evernote, Penzu etc available for immediate and easy use

5. CARRY AROUND WRITING TOOLS – Get used to having small jotters or notebooks along with a pen. Make use of the various notepads and writing apps freely available on every mobile and iPad. Exploit the capability of these gadgets to use cloud facilities for accessing and transferring data among various devices.

6. REVIEW YOUR NOTES – Time and again go back and read what you have jotted down. Set apart a time to look at some of them to see if there is a trail of thought to follow. Pursue that rhrail and see if you can flesh it out with some research.

7. HONE IN ON A THEME – Select a topic and see if you have anything noted down relating to the topic. Maybe a number of them can be clubbed together to be compiled together as a post.

8. MIND YOUR LANGUAGE – Pay attention to sentence structure, grammar rules and avoid syntax errors while writing. Your ideas need to be encapsulated in beautiful wrapping to entice the reader to continue beyond the first look. Your language can be simple but it has to be error-free.

9. EVALUATE YOUR WORK – Allow proficient writers and other knowledgeable people to read, critique and correct your work. Invite comments and concerns from friends and family. Improve your writing by accepting instructive and constructive criticisms. Do not shy away from exposing your writing to people, for it cannot then progress.

10. DISSEMINATE AND DISPERSE YOUR WRITING – Post online in whatever social media you are active on. Circulate your work among those who will appreciate your maiden effort.

11. FIND A WRITING COMMUNITY – Be part of a writing group or a writers’ conclave for it will help you grow. They will encourage your many steps and you will learn by reading their works.

12. PERSIST AND PERSEVERE – Initially you may not be able to produce much, but don’t give up. Continue writing and keep on doing it until you find your niche in this world. Do not be discourage that your writing doesn’t flow. In the beginning it will be hard, but as you continue to push on you are sure to hit a wellspring of words. Keep on for writing is not a sprint but a marathon!

Life is dynamic and in motion, not static and stationary. It is constantly moving, evolving and growing. It throws up enough nuggets of worth, if one is alert and sharp to catch them. Even death is part of life, possessing a beauty worth viewing and a lesson worth learning.

Capture, if you can and will, its artistry and charm in your words.

Extract, exhibit and excite others with its elegancies through your writing!

*Pucs courtesy: unsplash.com

HOW I BECAME A BLOGGER & A VLOGGER!

I always had the urge to write and in the time of postal mails, post boxes and postmen, I became the letter writer of the family. Those were the days when you would eagerly await the arrival of the mail men since it was the only means of long distance communication. Telephones were good for local and national use, but international calls were costly and laborious. With the advent of the internet, the joys and pleasures of receiving a much awaited post or letter has given place to instant and immediate connectivity.

When life became busy with work, marriage and raising a family, I did lose sight of writing or penning down thoughts and observations. However, the urge and the push to become a writer began to pulsate and grow in me. I did maintain a prayer journal and a biblical meditation notebook, but had no time to be a writer or an author.

A few years ago I intentionally set aside time, an hour or so per day, to write and also joined a writers group. I began progressing as someone who could articulate more through writing rather than by speech. In the beginning it was a struggle, but a time of breakthrough came, as though a dam broke and writing became very natural. I grew in leaps and bounds for it was as though I had touched and released an everflowing spring from deep with in.

I even published a book and made it available online via Amazon: https://www.amazon.in/dp/B078HC586X/ref=cm_sw_r_apa_i_CtvZEb4SVKAXC

As of now, I have more than two hundred articles published on my blog page: https://mullingspicewordpresscom.wordpress.com/

My blog posts began to get good response and I revelled in the return of this skill. Then I began to notice the impact of videos and the reactions they garnered. I learnt that the next big thing was video blogging, especially in view of rumours of major changes in the way Google and other search engines functioned. Though wanted to generate videos, I could not as I had no training nor the necessary infrastructure for it. I was at my wit’s end and reconciled to not produce videos when I came across an awesome tool for creating videos. A software, it enabled me to create videos of my blogs and other writing without the hassle of using a camera and other equipment t needed to produce videos.

This tool, basically developed as part of content development, is called Vidnami and was originally marketed as Content Samurai. The name Vidnami comes from combining the word “Video” and the Japanese word for wave “Nami” and it relates to the idea of using video to create a positive wave of influence in the world.

Vidnami is an online video creator software that allows you to produce easy, and professional-looking videos within short minutes. You can use it to create a quick video for social media sites, blog posts, influence videos, instant ads, sales videos, online courses, property listing.

When I started using I was thrilled by how detailed the instructions wereand how easy it was to use. From last November until now, I have created more than thirty videos with just my laptop or even my phone in use. I have posted them on my own channel in YouTube.

Here is the link to one of my videos: https://youtu.be/qA91YXxACCk

Yes, there is a cost involved in using this, but the benefits outweigh what you pay. I havd never regretted the investment since the creators keep upgrading and advancing its capabilities. Also,their support system is tremendous and their community encouraged new users. Being part of it has helped me grow and learn many new things.

The major plus point for me was that they did not demand my credit card or other payment details during the trial period.

Also, I was able to get 40% off because I used the link given by one their users. It was an awesome advantage and I was thrilled that it was a lifetime offer!

If you are a content writer or developer you would really benefit from this one. If you want to improve sales or you want to develope influencer video, this is your best option.

If you just want to learn something new or just experiment with something, this is the one app you need to access.

In this age where watching something takes precedence and priority over reading something, video making is surely something you need to learn. So do check out this great tool.

There is some good news about this software.

A new 14 day Vidnami free trial in play right now. Just use the link below to avail it.

https://vidnami.com/c/SABINA1-vn-freetrial

Be adventurous and experiment with this one.

Just give it a try for two weeks.

You won’t be disappointed!

*Pics courtesy: unsplash.com and google images

A NOTE ON PASSIVITY

Passive spirit vs meek and quiet spirit is about not being lazy but possessing a calmness that’s born of dependence and trust in God.

Violent vs being aggressive is about not being unruly but being militant to claim what rightfully belongs to you in Christ and not giving place to invasion and annexing by any other.

Passive spirit Vs Timely action is about not sitting down but acting on God’s word with quiet confident dependence on God that produces a stillness of heart and mind resulting in the fruit of the Spirit.

Wrath of man vs righteous anger is about not meekly submitting to injustice but rising up against unrighteousness to protect those who are weak and defenceless and as such unable to fight for themselves.

Passive spirit is dangerous for it opens the door for demonic oppression and possession, while an alert and renewing mind will bring sensitivity to His word and a yielding to His Spirit.

Passivity is lethargy that produces slow paralysis and make a person a burden for others to carry. Jesus told the paralytic, rise and take up your bed and walk, because the way to overcome deadening of limbs is action. For then new blood flows all over rousing the atrophied limbs that have been hibernating and new life rejuvenates you to surmount the bonds of death and decay.

Passivity is antithesis to being an overcomer and taking stand in the spirit. It is sleeping on the battlefield and resting when you should be fighting and defending your own, alongside with your comrades

Passive people are dead weights that a church/family/person have to carry, sapping the energy and strength that is sorely in need for others who desperately need us.

Difference between passive people and those who genuinely need us is that the former are people of potential who refuse to work and stir themselves up, while the latter try to help themselves inspite of their shortcomings.

You can identify such ones by the words they speak which will primarily be gossip since they have time to waste. Their negativity will drain you even your active spirit and most used part of their being would be their wrong thinking and their negative words.

Difference between being active and being activity-prone is that the former know when to what to do and to rest in quiet stillness. The latter are in constant pendulum-like motion that is ceaseless and create restlessness in others. Concept of Sabbath quietness is foreign to them and what makes them tick is fear not faith!

In the church, especially in counselling, it is important to understand these concepts and concerns. Such understanding will go a long way in being able to discern and help those who require unravelling of emotional knots and deliverance from crippling fears.

Let us be skillful surgeons and nurses in recovering and restoring emotional well-being and mental health!

*Photos from unsplash.com

SHIFTING GEARS – LEARNING TO DRIVE ON DIFFERENT TERRAIN

In the Bible, in the history of the nation of Israel, there are two distinct phases of life and distinct ways of existence.

One, while in the wilderness, after being delivered from slavery in Egypt and two, when they settled down in the promised land, after driving out those who lived there.

The difference between these two seasons of life was the way in which He provided for them and the manner by which He met their needs! 

God was their Source and Guide, not just in the wilderness, but also in the land of their settlement.

Between these two ways of life, between their nomadic lifestyle and their settled state, there lies a difference. In what was uncharted territory for them, their needs were met day by day, as the need arose and when the moment arrived, neither early or late but on time, supernaturally. In the permanency of settled land, their needs were met in a year-by-year/life of seasons, an ordered cycle and pattern of living befitting a stationary way of being. 

Settlement is marked by a regular, predictable and sure way of existence with a natural rhythm of life, whereas wilderness walk is always marked by uncertainty, monotony and anxiety. It is a totally different, unusual and other way of life and living.

Wilderness is a place of simple fare, just-what-is-needed-for-the-day supply, deficient of variety and with just sufficient provision-for-the-day being the only guarantee!

Desert drive or wilderness walking could be a place of trials, traversing an unknown terrain and facing an unfamiliar way of life!

In these COVID days and in the aftermath of the quarantine days, we have moved from a predictable cycle of life to not knowing what tomorrow brings. We have moved from certainty to uncertainty, from variety of choices to a modicum of monotony and from sedentary placidity to unexpected changes and challenges. It is time to understand what stuff we are made up and gird ourselves to walk a new model of living.

We went through a season of financial constraint and had to depend on the supernatural provision, whenever and wherever the natural fell short! 

It is time for us to know, understand and accept that our seasons have changed. It is time for us to trust in God for everything and not depend on our regular sources/resources, but adapt to an unusual way of life!

It is time for us to explore and get used to unexplored vistas and different terrain!

It is time for us to shift gears and learn to drive anew and afresh!

SHOPPING MADE EASY

Shopping was a hobby and pastime when I was studying, working and single. Marriage and kids didn’t stop this hobby.

As the family grew, responsibilities increased and my energy decreased. So shopping became a delight relegated to special times such as festivals, weddings and gifts.

However, when incidental costs such as for travel became high, I discovered the delights of online shopping and became an expert in it.

Online shopping is like investing in stocks or playing the stock market. To gain good returns you need to know and assess the trends and be savvy and wise as a stockbroker!

*When COVID protocol was nowhere in sight, I wrote and made a video on both offline and online shopping. In hindsight, it seems that I had been intuitive and prophetic. You can find them in YouTube: https://youtu.be/voSGMMzJgd8

https://youtu.be/8_7kWq4uWYU

*Friday Fictioneers is a talented group of enthusiasts penning down a story, a poem, prose, etc., expressing their heart about a photo prompt ©Jan Wayne Fields

TIPS TO DEVELOP GOOD ACUMEN FOR ONLINE SHOPPING

In these days of covid protocols and shutdowns, online shopping is the only option available

Shopping, be it through online sites or social media sellers or going to the malls or bazaars or other shops locations, is both an art and a science.

For me, shopping is an adventure, a hobby and one of the loves of my life! Over the years I have by experience and interest acquired the acumen for shopping both offline and online.

The major question that online shopping throws up is: how do we know that we are getting our money’s worth. This is especially tricky when you can’t touch, feel, test the fabric but only view and that too in a limited fashion. Not being able to physically interact the product could result in some missteps, but, by and large, you can get good stuff if you really using some determinants.

Here is a list to check off when you shop online:

  1. FIX A BUDGET THAT YOU WANT TO SHOP WITH as this will stop you from splurging too much. Determining the cost bracket of your product will help you seek the best deal within your means. The sky is the limit when you shop online and every search will throw up enticing bargains that are just outside your reach and you will be tempted to cross over. I always use the price option on the filters to limit my choices!
  2. SURF DIFFERENT ONLINE SHOPPING SITES TO COMPARE PRICES AND GOODS so as to get good bargains. Oftentimes, you can find a product marked slightly lower in another site than the one you usually shop on. I don’t mind browsing through couple of sites to get a good deal, similar to trudging up and down couple of shops to made a good deal.
  3. SPEND SOME TIME TO READ UP THE REVIEWS ON THE PRODUCT as this will help you fairly assess the worth of the product. As we cannot physically see or touch the product, this is the best way to enquire if the product is what the site says. People are quite willing to post reviews with pics and with their input you will be able to set your fears at rest. I generally look for 4 or 4.5 rating and/or photos of product posted by buyers since you get a real view of what you are about to purchase.
  4. LOOK TO SEE IF THERE IF THERE IS FREE DELIVERY since otherwise the total price on your detailed bill will be more than what you saw on the product. Recently, my mother saw 4 bedsheet sets being advertised on TV as costing Rs 999/- and thought it a good bargain. Yet when she called up to place the order, she was told that courier costs would be an extra Rs 200/-. She did not purchase the sheets as the delivery charge was as almost as much as another set or the cost of taking a cost to a local shop!
  5. CHECK OUT THE RETURN POLICIES AND PICKUP OPTIONS so that you can return product and reorder or get your money back in case of any hitches in delivery or damage to product or wrong product delivery. Most sites do oblige in this, but some sellers even on such sites mark their products not returnable. So watch out sharply for such notices and addendums. Many sites have their own certification placed on products and these actually are reliable to purchase. Some sites want you to mail it back to them, which means extra work for us.
  6. ANALYZE TO SEE WHICH SITE WORKS BEST FOR WHICH TYPE OF GOODS you want to purchase. I have actually isolated sites that are good for grocery and household items, others for clothing, still others for beauty products etc. This helps me identify where I need to look for bargains for the item or items I interested in buying, besides saving from over-analysing or expending energy unnecessarily!
  7. BE CAREFUL WHEN PURCHASING FROM SELLERS WHO ADVERTISE ON SOCIAL MEDIA because many of the earlier tips may be absent with them. I had a postman, while delivering a parcel, warn me of sellers on a particular social media as he had seen people being dumped with the wrong product. He told of how folks would lament to him about it and their inability to return it or get refunds. Proper shopping sites actually work better as they are quite authentic and mean what they say. That’s not to say you can’t buy from them as I actually got a good product at a very reasonable cost from couple of them.
  8. TAKE TIME TO WHET THOSE WHOSE GOODS CATCH YOUR EYES ON SOCIAL MEDIA by connecting as much as possible through personal messaging or whatsapp or other means. Some of them abscond, leaving you unable to get any response for your requests for exchange or money back. They bombard you with queries when they want you to buy and then abscond when you start bombarding them for returns, with even their sites having no proper communication links. So better to have some form of connectivity other than on social media and check for customer care options that will enable direct complaint and communication. I did buy from couple of sellers, but only after checking them out. They proved to be really good and I did get real bargains on authentic stuff!
  9. KNOW WHEN TO SHOP ON SOCIAL MEDIA AND WHEN TO BUY FROM SHOPPING SITES. During lean shopping seasons, sellers on social media actually offer lesser price than shopping sites for the same goods! I know it from experience and I was surprised to note the difference. The saree was marked higher on a shopping site and I opted to buy from a seller advertising on social media, resulting in acquiring a genuine product for a lesser price. During season, shopping sites offer better options, combos and gifts to buy from them, while social media sellers actually hike their prices during it!
  10. DO NOT SHOP ONLINE BUT OFFLINE DURING CERTAIN SEASONS. Times when people are on a shopping spree such as during festival seasons, auspicious marriage times, beginning of school year etc., the actual shops in bazaars and shopping centers offer better prices as well as discount sales. Make full use of them and real bargains and gifts thrown in, enjoying the festivity as a whole. I was surprised to find a saree I had purchased from a shopping site a month or so before a festival season marked with a much higher price on the same site!

Online shopping is like trading on the stock market or handling an investment portfolio – you must learn the basics of it. You must have enough comprehension to know when to buy and went not to, where to buy and where not to, how to buy and how not to, what to buy and what not to. You must have certain competence to not to get your fingers burned, confidence to take the right risks and complaisance to be able to absorb any losses that may occur in spite of your carefulness.

Play and pay within a small budget so that your risks are small. If you hit a snag or a loss, rather than bemoaning it or staying away from it, consider it as payment for a lesson learned in the process of becoming online shop savvy!

Online shopping is the only safe mode available in these pandemic period. May it be an enjoyable experience while it lasts!

*This post is available as a video in youtube. Please click the link: https://youtu.be/voSGMMzJgd8

*Pics courtesy unsplash.coml

PARENT LEADER OR SERVANT LEADER OR PROFESSIONAL LEADER

The often rehearsed concept and statement that we hear today, not just in Christian circles, but also in corporate sectors, is the term servant leadership. This has gained acceptance as contrast and as opposed to professional leadership.

A professional leader is there to extract work and treat his team or those who work under him as not deserving attention beyond what their work entitles. This means that his focus is on what they do and the results they produce. To him, they are just people who have been appointed to do a job and his work is to extract the desired outcome from them. His relationship is limited to the work sphere and his care of or over them is always in relation to that circle. To him or, they are slightly better than slaves, but hstill there to provide the service.

In contrast, servant leadership is ‘a leadership philosophy in which the main goal of the leader is to serve. This is different from traditional leadership where the leader’s main focus is the thriving of their company or organizations.’ Here the leader goes beyond the work sphere and comes into an understanding that his people are his to care for. He or she does not consider them as being there to serve him, but that he is there to serve them. The servant-leader steps into the personal space of his subordinate, not invading it, but seeking to build a relationship. Due to this, he or she is able to empathize not just criticise, working to produce results, not by a rod, but motivation and seeks to gain their trust.

For the professional leader, his management is a position and a vocation. To the servant leader, his administration is not a post, a vocation or even a style. It is a calling, stewardship and an influence!

There is a third higher and more noble leadership strain or trait that exists, especially in the Bible – that of parent leadership. 

The mark of a true parent is to desire the best for their child and they are most happy when the child grows beyond them. A parent is most happy when they see their child superseding them in achievement and overtaking their position. So also, a parent leader is one who is thrilled when his team member or subordinate or disciple outgrows him or her, to take on higher position and post. He or she is thrilled to have groomed them to that level and used the time given them to lay avoid foundation.

A parent thinks nothing of laying down his or her life for the sake of their child and will never crib one bit of sacrifice they make for their child. A parent is the one person in the whole wide world who never minds the cost involved and the price they pay for their child to rise to heights they weren’t or haven’t reached. So also, a parent leader welcomes the role he or she has played in the life of a trainee or apprentice that enables them to go beyond their level. In fact, they consider them the crown of their achievement.

A real parent is intuitively aware of their child’s strengths and weaknesses to at and then work on and with them in a way that fits that unique makeup. A parent then sets goals and milestones that challenge yet motivate their child, boosting their child in the right places and prodding them beyond their pain barrier until they inherit their destiny. A parent leader, likewise, is so able to assess their team members personality quirks and traits that they know what task to entrust to whom. They also know whom to push and prod, and whom to cajole and encourage in the process of getting the desired output.

A parent may feel and deal with their child in anger or with sorrow, but never will they give up on them. They will always accept and have a soft corner for their child irrespective of how many times they fail. Till the end, they will never give up on their child but always expect he or she will one day turn around. A parent leader, likewise, is ready to give their subordinate a second chance and in case they fail, they do not mind handing over their protégé to other leaders for his or her betterment.

A parent may expect returns or remuneration from their child, not as a right or as a payment for their work in reading them, but more as a token and an acknowledgement of their input in their child’s life. Their child’s growth and progress are all the thanks they need to know that they have been honoured. A parent leader does not feel neglected or sidelined when he is acknowledged for the role he played in his disciple’s achievement but will rest on the fact that his laurels are from the one who sees all and rewards openly.

Finally, a parent is never jealous of or in competition with his or her child, for he knows who he is and what role he has played, even when his child does not accept it. So also, a parent leader is never insecure that he has to fight to gain or hold his own. He rests in the satisfaction of a job well done and trust well completed.

Can there be such parent leaders and will we find them in this world?

Certainly and for sure, because there have been such people of old!

To be a parent leader needs guts, humility and compassion.

Which type of leader are you? What type of leader do you desire to be?

*Pics courtesy unsplash.com