Learning to Take Risks

Yesterday morning I had the opportunity to lead devotions for the Operation Christmas Child team in Charlotte and I spoke on not worrying for the future and taking risks for God. Thought I would share what I said yesterday….

Mark 10: 29-31 says, “No one who has left home or brothers or sisters or mother or father or children or fields for me and the gospel will fail to receive a hundred times as much in this present age.”

I thought this scripture was encouraging. Although it is hard for me to imagine leaving everything behind for Jesus, as the disciples did, I know that God will provide everything I need and more.

Shane Clairborne in Irresistable Revolution goes on to say, “Rather than accumulating stuff for oneself, followers of Jesus abandon everything, trusting in God alone for providence.”

Matthew 10:28 says, “We should not fear those things which can destory the body, but we are to fear that which can destory the soul.”

Claiborne comments, “We Christians are not called to safety, but we are promised that God will bewith us when we are in danger, and there is no better place to be than in the hands of God.”

It may be difficult to take leaps of faith, but God is constantly surrounding us and providing for us. He wants us to fully trust in Him so that His will be done, not our own.

Media Relations Tips and Tricks from Janet Hart

I had the pleasure of attending PRSA Charlotte’s Young Pros Lunch n Learn on Tuesday to hear from Janet Hart about media relations.

Hart works for the Better Busines Bureau of Southern Piedmont and produces about 100 press releases/yr  that results in thousands of media hits. She knows her stuff!

As a media relations associate, I figured she could give some insight in how to better relationships with journalists.

Hart made the point of not always having to be the story for journalists, but serving as an addition to the story or resource to the story.

Key factors to media relations:

  1. Relationships – with the assignment editor, news director, producer, reporter and photo journalists. The staff meets early mornings to go over story ideas and you need to ensure they have your idea in mind.
  2. Responsiveness – never turn down a request for an interview, and be prompt when a journalist calls to ask a question. Reply immediately
  3. Media Savvy – contribute to the story. If it is a feature story be prepared with a sound bite, facts and tips
  4. Research – the more you can help the more likely to get your story published. Beef up your releases with relevant data

Other tips:

  • Send out your release to tv outlets early in the morning – between 6-8am prior to their 9am meetings to plan the newscast for the day
  • Use a humorous headline – that will grab the journalist’s attention
  • Anything you can tie in with Facebook is a hot topic and will most likely be covered
  • Bundle releases based on a theme/time (ex. holidays) and send together so the journalist can pick and choose or make a series, etc.
  • For event publicity ask yourself what is relevant about this topic? Write the release about a bigger picture theme/idea and then include event details. For example write about the growing problem of identity theft and then how shredding is the best prevention and by the way there will be a free shredding event on Sat.
  • Know the demographics of the media outlet
  • Strike when the news is breaking! B relevant as soon as possible with your twist on the breaking news
  • Tweet tips/resources  and news items so you don’t have to send a press release everyday

Happiness Project

I’ve been reading The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin and wanted to share some of the insights and things I’ve liked about it so far!

Two questions to ask yourself before starting a happiness project: What is happiness? Can I be happier?

I think happiness is about being content, it’s relaxing in God’s plan for me and not worrying. Rubin defines happiness as feeling good, feeling bad and feeling right in an atmosphere of growth. I believe I can be happier.

Moments I’ve felt extremely happy: relaxing by water, spending time with God alone, hanging out with my friends at the park, experiencing new things while traveling.

I completely agree with Rubin about the importance of charting goals, and how having aspirations and challenges are needed for happiness.  After just a couple of days at home after graduation, I was bored out of my mind and unhappy because I had nothing new or challenging to experience. I did not set goals right away so I quickly changed my daily schedules.

In January Rubin vowed to get more sleep, exercise more and declutter. Those seem like easy tasks, but can be difficult to stick to. I hope to improve my sleeping habits and I even want to get up earlier to be more productive – as one of the five things you should do everyday for success. I sincerely believe exercise makes me happier and I’ve learned I need atleast eight hours of sleep to function, so I hope to continue to make personal health a priority to keep me happy.

In February Rubin worked on her marriage and my favorite quote she cited was “There is no love, only proof of love.” It just reminds me of values and emotions are hard to define, but can be experienced in tangible ways. One thing I really got out of this chapter is importance of understanding one another and understanding relationships. Learning and accepting that your husband has different needs and ways of expressing himself than your best friends can help you know how and what to communicate to each.

March’s goal was to aim higher. Rubin says  “challenges help you expand your definition of yourself,” and I think this is so true. Facing adversity or achieving a goal can help you define yourself. I never really considered myself a runner – until the Disney Princess Half Marathon.

Happiness has four stages: anticipate it, savor it as it unfolds, happiness, recall happy memories.

One idea that I really liked was creating file folders for each child divided by year to keep mementos.

I am still working on my own version of a happiness project, but I love it’s idea and how Rubin completed this while maintaining her everyday life of working and being a mom – no traveling or anything.