How to Become an Encourager

Years ago, while I was in the midst of some difficult circumstances, I met a wonderful woman who had committed herself to living her life as an encourager. 

We saw each other once a week at a Women’s Study Group and were occasionally able to have a few moments of private conversation where we would share with each other a little bit about our personal lives. 

Because she had committed herself to the task of intentional encouragement, every week like clockwork, I received a beautiful card in the mail along with a hand-written note of encouragement and assurances that she was thinking of me and that I was not alone.

There are people all around us who are struggling and could really use some encouragement. Sometimes all a person needs is a smile from another person. Other times we’re prompted to become friends with someone who needs encouragement (like my friend did with me). 

Often, we have good intentions that we never follow through on.  If you’re thinking (good) thoughts about someone, let them know.  Send a text message, email, card or note, or pick up the phone and call them. 

No one knows your intentions until you make them known.

My sweet friend didn’t know all of the details of my circumstances, but she intentionally chose to come alongside me to encourage me and to build me up. She chose to invest her time, energy and even her finances into my life. 

Her support and encouragement infused me with hope and helped me to realize that the difficulties I was facing were temporary and that I would be okay. 

Never underestimate the impact of what a kind word or gesture can have on a person.

Her life and example inspired me to intentionally become an encourager as well. It isn’t always easy. Sometimes it is a sacrifice of time, energy, patience and even finances. But it is rewarding. Not because the person you’re encouraging will give you something in return (because it has absolutely nothing to do with that) but because you feel better for doing it. 

Imagine what could happen if each person would put these simple things into practice and choose to intentionally become an encourager. I think we would change the world.

My friend was intentional about her intentions and it certainly made all the difference in my world and in the lives of my children. Because of my choice to become an intentional encourager, my children have grown into adults who know and show compassion for others. They have actually become unintentional encouragers because it was simply a way of life for them while they were growing up!

In a world where there seems to be more negative than positive, it’s easy to become jaded, guarded and discouraged. But when we choose to become an encourager we create an atmosphere of positivity and the world certainly needs more of that!

For more encouraging words, hit Subscribe in the sidebar and never miss a Newsletter!

 

How to Order Flowers Online

In 2010, through a series of interesting events, I was offered a part-time job with our local flower shop.  One of the first things I learned is that a good portion of a flower shop’s business comes from online orders. Given that most of us have the internet always at our fingertips, it makes sense, right? Well, what I didn’t realize at the time was that there are different situations one will encounter when ordering flowers online. This was a quick and necessary lesson for me to learn because it’s information that any good florist should pass along to its customers.

There are three basic online ordering experiences.

The first thing people will encounter when they search for a flower shop online is a list of order gatherers. They’re usually at the top of one’s search results and are often in the form of Ads.

The Ads and websites are professionally done and look like good, legitimate florists. They even use phrases like, “Over twenty years experience in the flower industry,” or, “Taking care of your flower needs since 1923,” or whatever. Now, their claims are probably true. But what they aren’t telling you is that they’re most likely not florists. They are order gatherers.

What an order gatherer does is, well, gather orders, Meaning, you look at their website, see pictures of beautiful bouquets, find one you love, order it and trust that your recipient will receive what you paid for.

But what really happens is that these companies take your order and then call florists in the city or town in which you’re having flowers sent to. They aren’t located in the city or town where your recipient lives.

When they contact your recipient’s local florist, they give the florist the vital information (your recipient’s name, address, phone number, etc.) and then they say something like, “The sender would like a mixed bouquet valued at $100, but we have $75 for you.”

What does that mean? Well, it means that you just paid $100 plus a delivery fee, most likely a handling fee, and sales tax (so around $140) for a bouquet that the order gatherer expects the florist to make and deliver for $75! The $65 difference stays with the order gatherer. Now, these aren’t exact numbers and are used as an example but it is a real scenario.

 

The other types of websites you might encounter are the ones who will ship the flowers to your recipient. These companies are usually actually sending the flowers out but what you may not realize is that these flowers will not be arranged. They will be cut flowers that arrive in a box and usually don’t include a vase.

My daughter once received one of these “bouquets”. When the flowers arrived, she called me and said, “Mom, I have no idea what to do with these!” Her boyfriend had no idea when he ordered them that this would be the case. Poor guy! Luckily, she had a vase and was able to trim the ends and put them in some water. But they certainly didn’t look like the picture that PaleMark had seen online!

Who knew that ordering flowers online would be so convoluted, right?

Well, it doesn’t have to be! Ordering flowers online is pretty simple, actually!

The best way to do it is to type “florist” into your search engine along with your recipient’s postal zip code. In most search engines, the legitimate flower shops will show up on the page either in a list format or with a map layout. You want to scroll past the ones with Ads and any that sound like chain stores. If you aren’t sure about one, click on it and look around. Are the photos stock photos? Does their “about” section feel too corporate, generic or over the top?

Actual flower shops have unique and personal names.

When you see one that sounds real, click on it.  You should be able to see pictures of their own floral designs. There might be stock photos on their website but you will most likely notice that the website has some sort of a personal touch and their “about” pages feel and sound like real people.

When you order direct from a local florist, you’re ensuring that you will actually get what you paid for, you will save yourself some money and you will be supporting a locally owned business!

Now that you know the best way to order flowers online, visit our local florist’s website and take a look at what we do! And yes, the pictures featured here are, indeed, real photos from a real flower shop!

 

 

 

 

 

The Truth About Blogging

Years ago I had a blog where I shared about my personal life experiences and about my own spiritual journey. It was mostly a way for me to chronicle what I was going through and I thought that I would share it on a blog platform in case anyone was interested in reading it.  Then a few years ago I began toying with the idea of writing a blog as a means of helping to provide for my family, like, to really make some money at it.  Less than two months ago, I took the plunge and launched a self-hosted website (this blog). Today, I’m here to share with you the truth about blogging.

The other day as I was managing my social media accounts, I came across a rant thread where people were “blogger bashing”. As I scrolled, I saw that there were posts about how bloggers are lazy, stupid, irrelevant, etc. and how bloggers and their affiliates should be feeding the homeless and basically solving world problems rather than wasting their time blogging. I laughed out loud and thought to myself, “These people have no idea!”

These types of things don’t bother me. I know that there are people in the world who take pleasure in such behavior and that’s their choice. I didn’t really even give it a second thought until now.

Because now, things are starting to get real. Because now all of the pieces have been put in place and it’s time for me to take the next step. And the truth is, blogging is hard work!

I think a common misperception is that people think all you have to do to become a blogger is to spew out a few words onto some internet platform and sit back and wait for people to respond. If it was that easy, everyone would be doing it!

First of all, serious bloggers have a real desire to share with others. Whether it’s personal life experience, advice, useful information, DIY & home decor ideas, fun stories or educational material, bloggers want to get their information out there and to engage their readers.

Writing and presenting this information takes time. Each article or post has to be well thought out, planned, designed and edited. I’ve been known to spend hours on creating just one post. Bloggers aren’t robots churning out information. Bloggers are laborers, hard workers, creators, real people.

Creating engaging content is only a part of what goes into successful blogging.

There is also the website itself. One of the first things a blogger has to decide is what to name their blog, taking into account how it will both represent who they are and what their purpose is and whether or not it will make a good web address. Once the name is chosen, you have to make sure (online) that it’s not already in use by someone else. If it is, you have to choose a different name.

The next decision a blogger has to make is whether to use a free blog host or to create a self-hosted blog. What’s the difference between the two? Well, a free blog host allows you to use their site to host your blog. Thus, your web address will include their name as well as your name. For example, freebloghostname/yourname.com (or .net, etc).

A self-hosted (blog) website is where you purchase a domain (website) name and then use a host provider to make your site available on the internet. For instance, when you type sagebrushfarmnv.com into your search engine, it takes you directly to my site rather than routing you through a host as mentioned above. Also, with a self-hosted site, you have complete control over the design, set up, content, etc. and you own your domain name.

Are you confused yet? It’s a lot of information to take in, and that’s just the beginning!

Once those decisions are made and the domain is activated, the website must be designed. Theme, logo, content, and content placement are just some of the components that go into a website design. Each website is personal yet must consider it’s visitors. I am constantly tweaking things on my website both for my own personal preferences as well as for visitor maneuverability. And since trends are constantly changing, so is the look of my site! It’s a never-ending endeavor.

In the midst of all of this, bloggers must make sure that they have social media accounts and profiles that compliment their website. In order for bloggers to generate income from their business, they have to be active on social media platforms. That is just the nature of the business. And not only must we be active on social media, we must be engaging and interacting with people (followers) consistently. Managing social media accounts is almost a job in itself.

Then after all of these things are in place; an active website with plenty of content posted on it, engaging social media accounts, etc., the blogger has to apply for jobs. What? Yep. We’re just like everyone else.

A blog doesn’t just make money on its own. We have to seek out companies who would be interested in doing business with us, network with companies to get our names out there and generally market ourselves as being a valuable asset to any given company.

And figuring out how to do all of this isn’t easy. In fact, it’s nearly impossible. Luckily, there are people who have been in the blogging business for a long time and have created online courses about how to become a successful blogger. One such course is the 30 Day Blogging Fast Track Course offered by ItsALovelyLife.com. This is the course that I did and let me tell you, without it, I would be lost. The information offered in the course is priceless! Honestly, if I hadn’t taken the course, I would have probably already given up on blogging. Well, maybe not, but I certainly wouldn’t be as far along in my endeavor as I am now! That is for certain.

You might be wondering if it’s all worth it. My resounding answer is, Yes! I am passionate about writing and sharing things with others and I love working from home, so for me, blogging makes sense. Blogging is hard work and there’s an investment of both time and money (just as with any business) but it’s fulfilling and with time and effort, I know that it will be rewarding (lucrative) as well!

Plus, through blogging, I have connected with some really awesome people I wouldn’t have otherwise connected with.

I hope I have provided you with a little insight into what it’s like to be a blogger.  If it’s something you have thought about doing yourself, there is a 5 Day Email Crash Course for blogging which is a great introduction to blogging and it will connect you with a great group of people. It is FREE and there is no “catch” or obligation, just some good information and support.

If you have any questions or comments, I would love to hear from you! You may also subscribe to our site and receive monthly newsletters (another aspect of managing a blog!) to keep up to date with all that’s happening on the Farm.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Reasons Why We Shop on Amazon

So, I’m sure you’ve heard of Amazon. I mean, how could you not? There was a “buzz” just a while back about Amazon “taking over the world” because they are expanding and diversifying their market. When companies grow the way Amazon has, people tend to freak out. I totally get it. We’re all for supporting small businesses and shopping locally whenever we can but we also do a lot of shopping on Amazon and here’s why.

First of all, we live in rural northern Nevada. We live in a town with a grocery store and a handful of small businesses who attempt to provide its residents with products they think we’ll need. But for us, it just isn’t enough. The selection of household items (eg. appliances, electronics, apparel and such) is limited at best. And since we live 65+ miles away from the nearest town with larger retailers, shopping on Amazon just makes sense for us.

We can shop online, from the convenience of our home, wearing our pajamas if we want to, and have everything delivered to our door within 48 hours (most of the time) with our Prime Membership. We have found that shopping through Amazon allows us to compare brands and prices as well as read consumer reviews on items we’re considering purchasing.

And did you know that you can gift someone an Amazon Prime Membership? Isn’t that great?

One of my favorite things about shopping on Amazon is their Subscribe & Save feature. With Subscribe & Save, I am able to select items that I purchase on a regular basis and schedule them to be automatically shipped to my door on a specific day of the month. By using the Subscribe & Save feature, I am able to save up to an additional 15% on the things we use on a regular basis (eg. pet food & pantry items). The items I have on my Subscribe & Save list are less expensive on Amazon than at any other retail chain and I get to have them delivered to my door! Trust me, having that 20lb. box of cat litter delivered to me is awesome! Instead of lugging it into my shopping cart, to my car, and into my house, I now only have to lug it from my porch into my house. And since we have a Prime Membership, the shipping is free!

Plus, by having certain items delivered to me on a regular basis, when I do have to go out of town for shopping, my list is shorter and it doesn’t take as long, thus leaving us plenty of time to do something fun while we’re out and about (like go to the movies or a museum or something) and life needs to be fun!

Another thing we love about Amazon is their Prime Video which is included with an Amazon Prime Membership. Prime Video has popular television shows, Amazon exclusive series, and blockbuster movies. With Prime Video you can also purchase premium channels (eg. HBO) at a lower price than with other providers. Since we no longer use a satellite television service, Prime Video is a definite plus.

For most people who live rurally, shopping online is simply a way of life. Amazon is one of our preferred sites for our online shopping. Their prices and selection are great and their customer service is top-notch. We have encountered few problems in the years we’ve been using Amazon but when we have had to contact them, they have handled and remedied our concern quickly and efficiently.

Honestly, shopping on Amazon just makes my life a little bit easier. And I’m all for life being easier!

What about you? Are you an Amazon shopper? Leave a comment and tell us why or why not. We’re always curious about other people’s perspectives and experiences. Well, at least I am. Mr. SBF doesn’t really read the comments. He’s more of a behind the scenes participant here but I would love to hear from you!

 

Sunshine Blogger Award -Round Two!

 

I am honored, amazed and humbled to say that I have been nominated for the Sunshine Blogger Award for the second time! The Sunshine Blogger Award recognizes blogs that are considered to be interesting, creative and uplifting by fellow bloggers. Wow!
Thank you so much to Brooke at OrdinaryJoy for this nomination! Brooke’s blog is all about finding, choosing and experiencing joy in the everyday things of life. It is uplifting, encouraging and a joy to read her posts!

 

Here are the questions Brooke selected for me:

What is your favorite thing to do on a Saturday afternoon?   

~Mr. SBF and I love to go on short road trips.

What was your favorite subject growing up and why? 

~English. Mainly because I love to read and to write, but I also think it’s important to learn how to become a good communicator.

Who has been the most influential person in your life and why?

~Probably my momma. Because she both demonstrated and taught me about unconditional love.

What is the bravest thing you’ve ever done? 

~Raised three children! Parenting is hard and scary work!

What is your favorite color? 

~I don’t have a favorite color. I appreciate them all, mostly.

How do you find ordinary joy in the everyday moments of life?

~I have learned to appreciate each moment because we don’t know how long we’re here for.

Where’s your favorite place you’ve ever traveled? 

~Any place with an ocean!

What are your top three songs to listen to right now?

~That’s a tough one. I usually only listen to music in the car these days. Hmm…can I get back to you on that one?

Who is the person you go to when you’re upset?

~Mr. SBF. He is my best friend.

Matching pajamas: yay or nay?

~Depends on who I’m matching with.

Top three books you’ve ever read in your lifetime?

~The Shack, Gideon’s Dawn, and The Chronological Guide to the Bible. They were all very timely and influential in the paradigm shift I was experiencing when I read them.

 

 

Here are the Rules for accepting the nomination:

  1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

 

Here are my eleven nominees:

 

And last but not least, my eleven questions for the nominees:

  1. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
  2. What is the main goal or focus of your website?
  3. When did you launch your website?
  4. What do you do to relax?
  5. Are you more of an indoor person or an outdoor person?
  6. Who is/has been the most influential person in your life?
  7. What’s your favorite comfort food?
  8. Do you tend to be a loner or a “team player”?
  9. Favorite travel destination?
  10. Do you prefer the ocean, desert, mountains or prairies?
  11. What is your preferred method of travel?

Thank you again, to Brooke, for the nomination! It has been fun answering the questions and getting to know others in the blogging community. All of the those mentioned in my Sunshine Blogger Award posts are worthy of the nomination and have wonderful websites. I wish them all the best.

And thank you, too, dear reader for being here! YOU are the reason that we (bloggers) do what we do!

 

 

Online Blogging Course for Blogging Success!

  • Have you ever wondered how to make money from blogging?
  • Do you have a passion for sharing things with others and would love to make money by doing so?
  • Are you at a loss as to how to go about doing so?

 

Then this 30 Day Blogging Fast Track Course is for you! It is FULL of USEFUL information and teaches you how to APPLY it in realistic ways. It comes with step-by-step instructions which will guide you to blogging success! Plus it includes a WONDERFUL support system where you interact with the instructors as well as with others who are taking the course and with those who have taken the course previously.

 

If you aren’t sure about enrolling in the 30 Day Fast Track Course, click here to try the FREE 5 Day Money Making Blog Crash Course!

These courses have changed our lives!

If you are ready to get serious about your Blogging Career then I encourage you to enroll!

You won’t regret it! See you on the “Fast Track“!

The Sunshine Blogger Award

So, I’ve just recently gotten back into the “Blogging World”, after having been absent from it for a couple of years and imagine my surprise at finding out that I have been NOMINATED FOR A BLOGGER AWARD!!! What??? I am blown away! First, because I have only been back at it for a couple of months, and second, because I didn’t even know that The Sunshine Blogger Award existed! I am both honored and humbled to have been nominated!

Thank you, Angela, at ohhappydavis.com for the nomination! It was so thoughtful of you and I am truly grateful! If you haven’t already, check out Angela’s website for fun stories and “daily” updates!

The Sunshine Blogger Award rules are as follows:

  1. Thank blogger(s) who nominated you in the blog post and link back to their blog.
  2. Answer the 11 questions the blogger asked you.
  3. Nominate 11 new blogs to receive the award and write them 11 new questions.
  4. List the rules and display the Sunshine Blogger Award logo in your post and/or on your blog.

Here is the list of questions that I am to answer:

  1. What’s your favorite holiday and why?  – Christmas, because my mom always made it so special and always put so much love into everything she did to make it fun!
  2. What’s your “go to” vacation destination? – To the ocean (any ocean!)
  3. What hobby would you do if time and money were not an issue? – I honestly don’t know. I have several things that I like the idea of doing, I just don’t know if I would actually like to do them!
  4. What’s your favorite color? – I don’t have one! Each one has their place!
  5. What are the most annoying habits that other people have that bother you? – Complaining.
  6. What makes you the happiest? – Spending time with loved ones, especially with my Sweetheart.
  7. Are you a morning person or NOT a morning person? – I AM a morning person.
  8. When people come to you for help, what do they normally come to you with? – Wanting advise or just the need to “vent”.
  9. If you were frozen for 100 years, what’s the first question you would ask when you woke up? – Why am I so cold?
  10. What age do you wish you could permanently be? – I don’t know yet. I haven’t been every age yet.
  11. What is something you like to do the “old-fashioned” way? – Cooking/baking -FROM SCRATCH!

Here are my eleven nominees:

  1. Courtney @ dontdesertthedessert
  2. Yasmin @ startnewbeginnings
  3. Rebecca @ theglampinghousewife
  4. Alyssa @ ifihadasay
  5. Kendra @ farmhouseofthree
  6. Kristen @ riseandbrine
  7. Heather @ justmeandeddy
  8. Nicole @ blessedwithoutboundaries
  9. Insomnomom @ thehousethatneverslumbers
  10. Chelsea @ justseaforyourself 
  11. alifeofhappenstance

And here are my questions for the nominees:

  1. When did you start your blog?
  2. What’s/Where’s your favorite vacation destination?
  3. What’s your favorite dessert?
  4. Do you have any pets and if so, what are they?
  5. What’s your decor style?
  6. Do you like coffee and if so, what’s your favorite brand/flavor?
  7. Do you like to cook?
  8. What do you do to relax?
  9. Do you like to go camping?
  10. Where do you live?
  11. Do you prefer indoor or outside activities?

Thank you, again, to Angela! This has been a great experience and a lovely way to get to know others in the blogging community!

I’m excited to read everyone’s posts. Please leave a link to your post in the comments so we can continue to get better acquainted with one another!