Tuesday, March 26, 2019

Time to Bloom

Every now and then I have to remember to bloom where I am planted. I want to believe that this is not a sign of dissatisfaction. This might be a sign of my overachiever nature. I'm even reading a book called Rooted (wink, wink). Apparently, God develops us in hidden places.

I wrote about this topic before, you can read it here. I think that it is helpful to know how to bloom where you are planted. Here's what I'm thinking:

Prepare your hand • "Then the Lord said to him, “What is that in your hand?” “A staff,” he replied. The Lord said, “Throw it on the ground.” Moses threw it on the ground and it became a snake, and he ran from it. Then the Lord said to him, “Reach out your hand and take it by the tail.” So Moses reached out and took hold of the snake and it turned back into a staff in his hand. “This,” said the Lord, “is so that they may believe that the Lord, the God of their fathers—the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob—has appeared to you.” Exodus 4:1-5 (NIV)

God's question is so intriguing. He's not asking Moses because He doesn't know. God is not asking Moses a questions to get information. It is more for Moses' sake than for God's sake. He's all knowing and Moses, very limited in his knowledge of God's super in his natural. I could preach a whole sermon here but I'll keep that for a future opportunity. Here's my question to you: what is that in your hand? It will prepare you for God's next in your life.

A few years ago, all I had in my hands was baby powder and multiple diapers. God used me despite my season of early motherhood. I believe He can still use me today. I know He can use you as well. Just take a good look at what you have in your hand. Prepare your hands. It will lead you to bloom where you are.

Prepare your Heart • "For Ezra had prepared his heart to seek the Law of the Lord, and to do it, and to teach statutes and ordinances in Israel." Ezra 7:10 (NKJV)

I believe that when we want to be used by God, we need to have intimate knowledge of His character. There is no better way to accomplish that than to study it in the Bible. Our heart needs to be prepared. I say that because when we prepare our heart, we understand that the Bible is a book about God, not a book about me. We understand that the study of the Bible will required time and dedication from us. We will also understand that we don't need to buy one more book, we can start with God's word itself.   Just like Ezra, we need to prepare our heart to seek the Law of the Lord (Bible), to do what it says and to teach it to others. In my case, "others" are my children. I can't give what I don't have. I need to study in order to teach the Bible.

Just so I don't freak you out, I'm not advocating for mass registration in Bible School (unless y'all really really feel called to do such thing). I am staying, pay attention in Sunday School. Ask your teacher about the passages you find difficult to understand. Grab a hold of the fundamentals of our Christian faith. Easy right? You can totally do it.

If you need a little uplifting today, you got it my friend. Bloom where you are planted by preparing your hand and heart. God will be faithful to you. He's more interested in your character than in your plans for the future. Let's follow His blooming plan.

More on this Topic:
The silent, errand running years

Sunday, March 24, 2019

Social Media Marketing World 2019

Last week I attended Social Media Marketing World 2019. I have been following its parent organization, Social Media Examiner, for years. The conference truly is the world's leading conference in digital marketing education. What made this conference unique is the quality of the content I received.

One thing I did not expect, was the happy atmosphere of the conference. The staff made this large conference feel like a tight community. There were around 5,000 participants from all over the world. I met people from from Israel to Italy and beyond. Everyone was interested in taking their social media strategies to the next level.

Experts taught us the latest trends and techniques in marketing with Facebook, Instagram, Messenger bots, live video, social strategy, content marketing, analytics, video creation, YouTube for business, LinkedIn, Twitter, Pinterest, Snapchat and more. The information was accurate, applicable and up to date. It was also informed by research, which really matters to me.

There were a lot of opportunities to meet other people and hear about the work they do. The connections with other professionals was amazing.

Social Media Marketing World 2019
I learned that I am up-to-date with the latest social media marketing information. I know all the crucial information and I already started applying that knowledge to my digital strategies.

Before attending the conference, I had the same questions as everyone else who can't make it. The question is: "what was the big takeaway?" The answer for 2019 is engage!

I'm also thankful about the road that lead me to where I am. I have been blogging here at SimplyCintia.com since 2003. I know, I'm not the oldest blogger out there but I can say I have been consistent. I offered my first social media for business workshop 9 years ago and I have continued to help businesses and non-profits to reach their social media goals. I understand that business owners are occupied running a business so I help them save their precious time with strategies and advice that make a difference.

I'm thankful for my training in computer science communication. I specialize in making complex information simple. For the past year, I have been writing about the latest computer science research. I write in ways that connect and inspire. I'm in constant connection with people who work and do research for the major tech companies and startups in the U.S. I am thankful because this niche is rare and precious.

I would love to help you reach your social media goals. Whether you need advice or want help reaching your business goals, contact me and I will be glad to help you move from frustration with social media to assurance of effectiveness. Click here to work with me. 

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

What I learned this Winter

In the morning, as the kids and I are on the way to school we pray. I find myself thanking God for the weather. Winter can be the most hated season of the year (except for its fabulous holidays). I am forcing myself to remember that God, in His brilliant wisdom, gave us winter for our good. I decided to summarize what I learned in quotes I shared on social media.

"You can't change what you tolerate."
• I learned not to tolerate behaviors that only I could change this winter. Oh it was painful. I believe there is so much good on the other side of obedience and surrender. 

"The quality of our lives often depends on the quality of our habits."
• I took a deep dive in my study of habits. I read about habits, thought about them and changed. I decided to focus on effective habits instead of good and bad ones. I don't want to be a habits geek, I want the results of having effective habits. 

"God specializes in making the impossible possible."

• I am thankful for God's goodness towards me. I faced challenges this winter. Only by God's help I overcame those challenges. My takeaway? Pray and believe God. 

"Never suppress a kind word."
• There is much good in speaking kind words. I don't do it to be popular or to write about it here on the blog. I do it because my Heavenly Father is kind and I need to be like Him. God is an encourager and people out there are thirsty for encouraging words. 

"It is not difficult to recognize one who has spent extended time at a newsstand: his conversation overflows with the drama of current news. And it is not hard to discern a person who has come from a sporting event, as his face reveals the outcome of the game. Likewise, others can tell when an individual has spent extended time seeking God. An imperturbable calm guards their heart, and their countenance is radiant with the morning dew of Heaven." —I Will Be Found by You, Francis Frangipane
I repost this quote year after year. I am the person who wants to spend extended time seeking God. I need that imperturbable calm to guard my heart. I started this process by working on lowering the time I spend browsing mindlessly. I continued this process by focusing on spending more time in spiritual discipline. I have much improvement to do. I can't afford not to seek God while He can be found. 

The winter was a tough season for me but I am glad you cannot stop Spring from coming. 

What did you learn this Winter?

More in this series:
• What I learned this Summer
• What I learned this Spring
What I learned this Fall

Monday, March 18, 2019

No time for home organization? No problem!

I wish I had 3 days to declutter my entire home. I choose to use my time differently and thus, I'm challenged with organizing my home creatively. Here are a few suggestions:

1. Ignore it until you can do something about it. This may sound bad but it worked for me. The space under my kitchen sink never really had a purpose. I did keep a few cleaning products there. I also kept every plastic bag in the universe. I know, bad for the environment. It wasn't until my third move that I did something about it. Ignored that space for years because the cabinet under my sink was not highly visible. I also did not have a goal in mind for it. I did know I needed to dimish the amount of plastic bags I had. I started to shop with reusable bags. I stuck with it (and I also went to places that offered zero bags) and now we are in a much better place. Last week, I finally decided what to do with the space under my kitchen cabinet. The problem was that it was still a mess but I was going to have family over to help me for a few days. I know it can be frustrating when you want to help someone and you can't find anything in their home. I decided to organize cleaning products, paper towels and trash bags in that space. A quick visit to the thrift store gave me the organization tools I needed. Today, that space looks much better. I'm glad I ignored it until I could do something about it.

2. Hide some stuff. Have you noticed that all the organization/ decoration people don't have a great collection of "stuff" in the rooms they display? While I'm not willing to throw all my things away, I am willing to hide some stuff. At this point, I have successfully hidden everything Christmas, Thanksgiving and Valentine's Day. I have also hidden some summer decor things. I also hide kitchen gadgets I don't use every day. I hide my crockpot. I hide my food processor... you get the point. It seems that the less stuff you have on display, the more organized a room looks.

3. Don't sweat the small stuff. There is something beautiful about a family home. The "mess" in multiple rooms is a sign of life. Children will grow, adults will move on to the next great thing. Stressing out about perfection is not the way to go. I find that if I strive for perfection I won't achieve it. I also don't want people to have an impression that we live in a home that could be in the cover of Martha Stewart Living. We live in a home where our family is loved and nurtured. We find renew our strength there and we love one another there. All of this requires quite a bit of "mess." I know one day the kids will grow and the memories will stay. I know one day, they will fly away and be all that God's called them to be. While they are here, I won't sweat the small stuff.

4. Work strictly smarter. I have a limited amount of time to dedicate to cleaning so I need to work smarter. Some days, I ask the kids to help with laundry. Their help is always welcome because it saves a lot of time and effort. I have also learned how long it takes me to complete a task. If I know how long it takes, I can confidently start and finish a project. Working smarter is a great thing.

I'm glad I am always finding ways to stay organized without having to commit enormous amounts of time to each task. 

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Getting to know you: Mexican American Mural

Houston is amazingly diverse. The Mexican-American community has strong roots here and one of the ways to learn more about it is by visiting the Mexican-American History & Culture in 20th Century Houston mural. Here is a description of this amazing work of art:

"The mural highlights the places, personalities, concepts and events that shaped the Mexican-American community and laid the foundation for the multicultural city we live in today. Set in Connally Plaza against a dramatic backdrop of City Hall and the downtown skyline, the new mural will be a cultural landmark in the historic heart of Houston."

The artwork is a collaboration between highly esteemed artists Jesse Sifuentes and Laura Lopez Cano. I work with Mr. Sifuentes wife, so I was invited to the unveiling of the mural.

It was a joyful occasion. I enjoyed being there with everyone. I enjoyed the live music, the food, and the highlight was the unveiling of the mural. We were so in awe with that work of art. I could have been there for 48 hours straight. I got a little bit more of an insight track because the Sifuentes family gave me a little personal history on the mural. I'm so thankful!

For more information and to visit the mural, please click here.

More from Getting to Know You:
• Great Day Houston
• Fort Bend Children's Discovery Center
• Houston Ballet
• Children's Museum of Houston
• Houston Rodeo
• Galveston Railroad Museum