Thursday, January 31, 2013

Calling All Readers

While I was attending a conference last weekend I received a gift bag that contained a bookmark that advertised free books! I love to read and was very inspired to learning more. I decided to research the website on the bookmark (Blogging for Books). This post will explain what the website is about and how avid readers can benefit from their services.

To start the website requires you to register to participate in receiving free books. (Even though the title is Blogging for Books, the reader does not need to have a blog, start a blog, or use their personal blog to post reviews). During my registration I was given the opportunity to choose what kind of books I prefer. FYI, there is an array of categories to select from. Then I was given a selection of books to choose from to request my free book. Once you request the book they send it to you (free of charge). The website says you should receive the book in 7-10 days. You can also choose select titles to be delivered via E-book.

When the book arrives its all yours! You do not have to send it back. :) Then, if you choose you can write a review (300 words) about the book at their website. If you decide to write a review, you will have an opportunity to select another free book to be sent to you. As long as you write a review within the allotted time allowed (within 90 days although the website prefers that reviews are done within 30 day) you will be able to continue to receive free books. It seems simple but for further explanation of the program check out the facts and questions section here.

I selected "Lord, I Give You this Day", by Kay Author.  I am currently waiting for my book to arrive. I have received a confirmation that it was shipped. I plan on including a book review about every other month on this blog. I will also write a follow-up post after I have reviewed a few books to let my readers know how Blogging for Books services are.

So check back often for book reviews and an update of the services of Blogging for Books!

If anyone has used Blogging for Books or is interested in using it, please comment below. I look forward to reading and responding with my readers comments.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Beginnings

Every December 31st most of us commit to a News Year's Resolution. Commitments to lose weight, save money, accomplish a goal, or ____ (fill in the blank) are made with the best intentions. We begin with prepping the salads, packing our gym clothes, and setting up an auto transfer to our savings account. Then we get a request for a lunch meeting or play date and find the cutest pair of shoes and the salad sits in the fridge, the gym bag finds a home in the trunk, and unfornately we transfer the money back into our checking account.

Statistically this week most resolutions are broken. This past Monday was Blue Monday. It is deemed the most depressing day of the whole year! This is the week that we start missing family that returned home, the normal work or school schedules begin, the holiday spending bills are due, the weather is cold, waistlines are expanded, and the pretty decorations are packed away for the next 11 months. Sad times... 

If you have to succumb to the feeling of defeat as you make strides towards your New Year's Resolution or are facing the sobering realities of Blue Monday, you can be encouraged! As believers we have a "New Beginning" in Christ.

It is of the LORD'S mercies that we are not consumed, because his compassions fail not. They are new every morning: great is thy faithfulness.
Lam 3:22-23.

Every morning we can begin again. I want to encourage you to make a “Daily Resolution”. We can commit daily to accomplish our goals. If you have or are thinking about giving up on your New Years Resolution, recommit to a “Daily Resolution”. Then measure your success daily. If you are not successful today doesn’t mean you can’t succeed tomorrow. When you start adding up your daily successes, you will end up accomplishing your New Years Resolution.

What New Year's Resolutions did you make? How are you making strides towards it? How can you allow the Lord to help you accomplish it through you? Please leave your comments below.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Conscious Couponing

Who doesn't like to save a dollar or two? I do! I remember growing up and helping cut coupons from the Sunday paper with my family. Next, we would make a list of what we needed and then head to the grocery store. When it came to clothes shopping we made a bee-line to the clearance racks or shopped at stores like Ross, Bells Outlet, or TJ Maxx.  Now that I am responsible for my own money, I cringe at the thought of paying full price for anything. Honestly, I try not to buy anything that is not on sale or without a coupon!

So we all know about extreme couponing. There are blogs, classes, and shows devoted to teaching you how to "get paid to shop" and walk out with carts or bags of free groceries and house goods. Sales are great and "free stuff" is even better. However, this post is not about that. I want you to stop and think about the saying, "There is nothing free in life."

Did you think about it?... Really?...
Woman thinking about Coupons

Now I know at this point you are thinking. “Why am I reading this since I am not going to tell you have to save oodles of money and get free stuff?” Please stay with me...

This blog is about learning and growing together in community. With this in mind, I hope that my method of couponing will help those who want to conquer the task of couponing, even if they do not have the time or desire to spend hours cutting coupons, searching for sales, or devouring stores for deals. The solution to this is "Conscious Couponing".

1. Learn what foods and products you and your family use.

*If you use a certain hair product, look for sales and corresponding coupons for the hair product that you need (or want).

*If a grocery item or product is on sale that you don’t need, don’t buy it just because you have a coupon (unless you can get it for free and plan to give it away to help someone less fortunate).

2. Sign up for store mailers, email coupons, and text message offers.

*If you don't know about the deal then you cannot save on it.

* By signing up to receive offers they are sending you potential savings.

Example: Our favorite casual dinning steak house is Logan's Steak House. The mailers that are mailed to the house have Logan’s coupons. However, some times we want to go out and we don't have the mailer. Since I have signed up for their emails, I get email coupons too!

3. Make a list of what you use and how often you purchase each item.

* You probably know what items you buy regularly, but it may take a few months to learn how frequently you need to purchase them.

Example: We buy toilet paper in bulk about once every 6 months, but we buy a gallon of milk every 2 weeks.

4. Glance at store ads either online or in the local paper. Make a note to what is on sale from what you need to buy or will need to buy soon.

*Browsing ads online is free and less cutter. Also several websites allow you to click the on a sale item and add it to your list.

**There are websites that you can Google that will show you all of the best deals at all the stores, but this method of couponing is about being conscious of the items you need at the stores that you regularly shop at.

5. Browse the coupon inserts and online websites. Cut and or print only the coupons or coupon codes that you will use.

* When you cut or print coupons and codes that are not going to be used before they expire, it is a waste of time.

*Also, when you save coupons that you are not going to use, it takes extra time to cut, and organize them.

6. Place coupons in a small carrier that you can access quickly. Carry the coupon organizer with you or in the car.

*When I have a big folder or binder it is normally not very accessible.

7. Whenever you get out of the car to shop or dine, check the organizer for a coupon.

* Get excited about your savings! (money, time, and energy)

The whole purpose of Conscious Couponing is to make sure that you’re really saving. The goal is to save money on the items that you are going to purchase regardless of whether you find them on sale or have a coupon.

I hope this method of couponing can help you maximize your money and time.




Friday, January 4, 2013

Welcome 2013, Why are you here already?!

As I began to recap my blog posts for 2012 (as many of my fellow bloggers have done), I realized that I had only composed 3 posts last year! What....2013...Why are you here already?! I'm still trying to finish 2012. Yikes, I had planned  to start a blog a couple of years ago, but I just recently made the commitment in November. Whenever I was about to start, I found myself making excuses...

Well after I began blogging, the topics for blog posts came naturally but the posting were few. I was excited and ready to share with the world, but I wasn't doing it! To be honest, I believe the root cause behind my excuses for not blogging is best expressed as Jeff Goins said in his interview with Michael Nichols HERE, "As I've set out to help writers, the biggest struggle I hear consistently is a lack of confidence. They know they’re meant to write but aren't sure they can."


My lack of blogging is a direct result in my lack of confidence in my ability.

 As we finalize our thoughts towards 2012 and begin to welcome 2013, I want to encourage my readers to be confident. Be confident in everything and anything you do!  Don't let a lack of confidence hold you back as I did last year. We are encouraged to be confident because God has started a good work in us and will preform it until He is finished (Phil 1:6).  Since I didn't have enough posts to recap 2012, I will use this post to commit to be more confident in Christ to work through me to give me the ability to blog.

*** Please follow, bookmark, and visit the Blog "Alex Marie" every Tuesday morning for a new blog post that will focus on learning and growing together in community.***

Is there an area in your life where you are lacking confidence? What are some resources that help you overcome your lack of confidence? Feel free to share in the comments. :)