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Getting There: Learning to Work from Home

#freelancewriting #affiliateworks #journeyjournals A few months ago, I volunteered for the furlough program at work when the covid-19 situation was just hitting pandemic level. I though it would be best for me to become a homebody for a few months until it was sorted out. This gave me the perfect opportunity to begin to develop my gift of writing. See, I have known for quite some time (15+ years) that I should be writing. God gave me the beautiful gift of words and they should not be cluttering my “writing box” in the closet. Since I was going to have all of this downtime, I figured I may as well try to get a better portfolio. I wanted one that didn’t consist of hard copies in a file folder tucked away in the closet. I wanted one that God could use to share hope, faith, and love. Oh, how I was not thinking big enough. I had joined a few writing groups on Facebook in hopes of getting some ideas of where to submit content. I highly recommend this to anyone who is looking to find a way to network. This is not just for writing; it will work for any type of freelance or personal business. Meeting people with your same interests will not only help your business, but it will boost the confidence you have in yourself as a beginning business owner. You will also be surprised how much promotion you can get on Instagram and Twitter. I never really thought of social media as a business platform for my writing and website, but they are very beneficial. In one of these Facebook groups, I met Stephanie, an editor for Christian Women Living Magazine, and we started a relationship as a writer and editor. Over the last 4 months, we have grown not only in that relationship, but also as friends. She has also become a wonderful mentor. We both agree that our meeting and the magazine is totally a God thing. There is no way it would be by chance that we meet, connect and grow a magazine like we have. That is just one area in which I am learning to work from home. Not only am I writing for the magazine, but I have also met a wonderful lady, Laura, who has given me opportunities to write blogs that link to books from her publishing company. So far I have written 3 blog posts for Capture Me Books at www.booksforbondinghearts.com. I have truly learned some wonderful tips for better blogging from Laura. I just hope I can continue to utilize them. A few months later, here I am, working on a small home business and developing a freelance writer/blogger career. Not that this is easy by any means, but it sure is rewarding. I have had more interest in my writing, journals, and my make-up business since I have been home than I ever did as a “wishful closet writer”. During my research for freelance work and blogging, I happened across a new type of freelance work, affiliate marketing. Another addition was added to the new lifestyle of working from home. The idea behind being an affiliate is appealing for many reasons. Not only do you earn a bit of income, (let's face it, we all could use extra), but you can also obtain coupons and samples to review. Needless to say, it did not take me long to sign up. This area is a bit technical but I think it is worth a try at making a side income by providing links for companies that carry items I am either interested in or personally use. I thought I would give it a try before I write about whether or not it is a lucrative business. For me, lucrative would be a business that will bring in a decent amount of income so that it pays for my time to use and review the products. Of course, it would also have to pay for the product itself. It’s hard to know where to start, but I am sure you will see the “unboxing” videos when I get a new product. If you are interested in any products, please feel free to use the links to shop or see if I have ordered the product. That way I can get you a review and recommendation. 😊 I must be signing off for today!! Thanks for being a part of The Journey and supporting me in this new adventure!! Till next time… Blessings and Love.

Goals!!! Who Knew?

So last year I decided I would try making goals for the year and sticking to them. I started using a goal planner and so far it has helped keep me focused and on track. Except for one area. I had chosen one of my goals to be learning something new. This is great and it is something I think we should all do throughout the year. However, if you are like me, you end up choosing one thing and find yourself focused on another. As with me, I chose photography. I love to take photos when we are out for a ride or on one of our adventures in new places. So naturally I thought it would work into my schedule wonderfully! But my need to design a website for freelance writing overwhelmed me and I ended up looking at how to learn graphic design. Nothing fancy, just something basic that will help me design a user friendly website that is not overloaded with images and color. Now that I have, for the most part designed my new site, I find myself wondering if there could be better images to use? I am sure the graphic designers in my life will tell me "Of course there are always better images." And while I am at this point, all of you graphic designers that are reading this and wondering what was going through my head as I added images and vectors (whatever those are), please understand that my OCD mind cannot have designs all willy-nilly on the pages. It just messes with my eyes and my need to have nice and neat appearances. :) Overall, after all the squinty eye nights of struggling to understand now to link privacy policies to text in the footer, I feel that I have accomplished a good foundation (more like pebble) in the realm of graphic design. Like I say, "you gotta start somewhere." I have learned these few thing Just when you think you like the color scheme, in the next click mistake you will find a whole new scheme to make you sound like you have just witness the most spectacular jump on a balance beam. Adding images is fairly simple, just don't try to mix an image with a vector. I am still unsure that a vector is not some secret link from area 51, but nonetheless, I have discovered that there is a difference. Privacy policies, terms of use and code of conduct pages are a necessity in this day and age. No matter what your website is, you need to be sure that you have a policy of some type stating that you are not responsible for those people who have been sitting at home trying to find a way to get free money. I mean I enjoy getting to know people and if there is a way I can connect with you on my website, then I am all for adding that area. BUT, I cannot be responsible for those who are not there for the same reasons. That being said - I WILL REMOVE AND REPORT ANYONE WHO IS DISPLAYING ANY TYPE OF AGRESSIVE BEHAVIOR IN MY FORUMS OR CHAT. (sorry, I had to speak loudly for those in the back.) and lastly, I learned that it is not about what others want it to look like, it is about my taste and preferences. Don't let others influence what you want your site to look like. You get to choose the colors and images. You get to decide on the theme and the title. After all, for once, it is all about you and who you are wanting to connect with. Create it with a mindset of fun and encouragement. Don't let yourself dread making anything creative. This advice isn't just for websites, it's for anything that you want to learn to create or do. Just be you and let go of the thoughts of what others may think. They are gonna think what they will anyway so why not add some color to their thoughts. At least it would be brighter for them!! Until next time.. Blessings and Love ~Cyndi Kay

Moving To New Spaces

So, with a new year, I decided to create a new blog in a new space in hopes that a new space would assist me in keeping up with a blog on a regular basis. I also think that certain sites bring more traffic because of the aesthetics of the designs. But then again, what do I really know about web designing? Anyhow, I have been working a few projects for a few months now and I am excited that I may actually have time to complete some of them now that I am home for a while during this chaotic Covid-19 situation. Who knows where this will lead and what will come of the ideas? I do know that God is in the middle of all of the decisions that I have made concerning these projects. I have not only revamped and moved the blog, but I have also created a couple of intro videos for the YouTube channel. The only area that is proving to be an issue is the chat room platform. I really had hoped that there would be a way to have a chat room related to the channel and blog, but it just seems as though there are no platforms that have a true chatroom other than Paltalk. Paltalk can be a great platform for a Bible study chat, but the issue I have is that there are so many troublesome rooms and sometimes we get “drifters” in rooms that want to cause discord. However, the argument for that is that we {the admins of the room} have the ability to “boot” those people out so that there is no disruption. Paltalk is a very difficult area in the social media world. What was pleasant and easy to maintain 18 years ago is not so simple in today’s world. For now, I will just continue with the areas that I know can be utilized to spread the Gospel and when the time comes and God is ready, He will move the ability to chat into place. This post was nothing more than a chit chat post. Something I have never done with my blog. LOL. I have always tried to keep the blog as a place to present devotionals. I am not sure why I chose to start chit chat posting. Maybe because in the chaotic mess, someone may just want to read a post about nothing. LOL. Not really. I think sometimes we get so caught up in what we perceive is right that we lose sight of just letting it be what it will be. Everything does not have to be perfect and put together in such a way that it seems “stuffy”. I am a firm believer in Colossians 3:17, “And whatsoever you do, in word or deed, do everything in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him.” (ESV). I know, I know, you are sitting there thinking “this woman has lost her mind, she just said it doesn’t have to be perfect”. You are so correct! I did state that everything we do does not have to be perfect. My reason you may ask? Well, it’s like this. We walk in a world that wants us to strive for perfection and think less of ourselves when we miss the mark of what society defines as perfect. This causes so much doubt and fear that many gifted Christians sit on the sidelines because they are concerned, they will “mess it all up”. This could not be farther from the truth. There is none perfect in this world. There is no perfect time, look, home, car or person. In all actuality, there are not even perfect words that come from man. The perfection is of God. The evidence of that perfection is Jesus and the Holy Spirit. No matter how much I strive to find the perfect words for this blog, God will change them for what He wants to be shared. When we seek God in all things, He directs our words, actions and when we focus on Him, He will direct our thoughts to those things which are encouraging to others. James 1:17-18 tells us that “Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation of shadow due to change. Of his own will he brough us forth by the word of truth that we should be a kind of firstfruits of his creatures.” (ESV). This is why I have learned to just let it be what God will have it be and do my best to hear His voice in all the decisions that I may make. As I sign off, I want to let you know that there is someone praying for you. Prayers of hope, strength and peace. Someone is also loving you from afar. Have a safe and wonderful evening and know that you are loved more than you could ever know.

Welcome to the New Year!

So, we find ourselves welcoming 2020! It’s another new year filled with opportunities to renew, restore and refresh for 366 days–365 minus today. I want to take a bit of time and encourage you to take a deep breath, exhale and say a word of gratitude. Don’t spend hours focused on all the changes you want to see happen this year. Don’t lose hope looking at a planner with all your new goals and think you are already failing because you haven’t even started working on any of them. Friend, it is okay! You are going to be just fine. It doesn’t matter if you make all your goals or if you just start one of them. What matters is are you walking in peace and joy? Are you allowing Jesus to lead your journey? Whose vision are you seeking? These are the questions that will lead you to walk in the peace and joy of God. The important actions are prayer, praise, and loving others. Sharing the love of God brings you a joy that will overcome the worry of any planner. There is no way to plan for making someone know they are loved. You have no idea where to fit in paying for someone’s coffee just to see them smile and know that you care. These are the unplanned things that happen when you least expect it; consequently, these are also the unplanned things that will take you farther than goals in a fancy planner. Don’t get me wrong about planners and goals. I have a goal planner and weekly planner. I chose to use these this year to help keep me focused on the things that I need to do more around the house. I want to have a more kingdom minded life and in order to have that, I need to stay focused on things that lead me to spiritual growth. Friend, I encourage you to seek the vision God has for you. I want to also wish you a most wonderful new year!! He knows the plans He has for you and they are far more rewarding than those that we could ever expect (Jeremiah 29.11)

The Apple Cart

So, as I sit here and think about all the possibilities for this
blog or writing corner, I realize that sometimes there are no right or wrong
directions, but simply a direction. Choosing a direction takes us from one
point to another. Whether it is written directions or physical (moving)
directions, when they are followed, you end up in a different place that where
you were originally. It is with that thought that I commit to go forward with
this and just write and share. The most important aspect is, this will go
whatever direction God deems necessary. It will be His leading that will guide
this small space in the huge vastness of the internet in hopes of reaching
those who are in need of hope, joy, comfort, friendship, someone to chat with,
love, and laughter. He already has the plan and no matter how I think it should
look, it will be what God inspires it to be. I have been writing within various genres since the mid-90s and
they are all neatly arranged in binders. There are songs, poems, devotionals
and short stories. Each of them inspired by God. It is my dream that all of
these writings will come together and form a work of inspiration in the pursuit
of the destiny that God has placed before me. “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord,
plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.”
Jeremiah 29:11 You see, in the midst of gathering the writings, organizing
folders and notebooks for a new project, and setting up this writing corner, I
also have the responsibility of going to work. Lately, it seems as though
something is off kilter and there are times, I find myself searching for a way
to keep the apples in the cart and keep the cart moving. But alas, there are
bumps in the road and those bumps will jostle the apple cart. The thing is,
those bumps are not there by accident, they are usually there because God is
going to clear out the rotten apples whether it is by using a bump in the road
or by leading us to remove them from the cart. Since I cannot even begin to
know what all of this is supposed to look like tomorrow I can only press on and
pray. And oh, how I have prayed. Just this morning I had a Holy Spirit meeting
in the car on the way to work. So thankful that it does not matter where you
pray or seek God. The washing of the Peace of God is one of the most wonderful
feelings that you can experience when you feel like your discombobulated and
the cart has been overturned. This peace not only comforts you, but it will
remind you ever so gently that God is in control and He will go before you and
prepare the way. This brought me so much relief that I realized that all of the
fretting over the apples and the cart is used by the adversary to steal the joy
and distract you (in this case me) from the destiny that God has already set in
motion. We sometimes get focused on the apples falling from the cart or the
cart bouncing too high that we forget, God may be wanting to remove the apples
for a reason only He knows. With this glorious peace I faced the day one breath at a time
and I remained thankful for all that has been and will be done. I stopped
worrying about what I cannot do at this time and I began to understand that I
need to be a steward of my time and talent and use them the best I can now; the
rest will fall into place. However, that does not mean that I will become
content. No way!! I will still pray and seek more. I will pray and seek answers
to help me change what needs changing. But more importantly, I will praise God
with all my heart and soul. Just remember, when you feel like all the good apples are being
bounced out of the cart, God may be bouncing them out for someone who needs
that nourishment. 🙂 Happy Day to You and please feel free send me a line or two!! Cyndi

Struggles and Tears

There are days when we all feel like it is just too much. We
can’t seem to see the light at the end of the tunnel and there is just no way
to get life in order. We try hard to follow God’s word and we do our best to
seek Him and His ways; yet, we feel like we fall short. The bills are overdue, the
cabinets are getting bare, the house is still half remodeled, and we still need
gas to get to work until the next pay day. Maybe we feel like this is happening in our
lives because we don’t have everything in order according to God’s word; or
maybe we feel like this is how life is because the household is not in agreement
on serving God. Could it be because we feel like our house is spiritually
unevenly yoked because not everyone is actively seeking God? What if it is
because some are still caught in speaking negative things and not standing on
the promises that God has given. All these questions come to our minds when we
have a day that just doesn’t come together in the name of Jesus. I then I must ask, if this is the case, then how can I be prophesied
over, and it be accurate? How can something that God sends to me come to pass
if I must wait until my household is in order? Is this fair? I mean if I am doing what I know
to do such as: reading God’s word, praying, worshipping, praising, being
thankful, loving others, forgiving, praying for others, and everything else
that is good and true, then why must I be held accountable for those who are
not seeking His ways or still speak negatively? Am I wasting my time praying
for the promise of His provisions and abundance since it cannot come until my
bills are caught up and paid as agreed? Does speaking words of life into
situations really matter if there is someone quicker to speak words of
negativity about finding the right parts for the lawn mower? Do I shrug and
just go on about my daily walk with Jesus and know that someday everyone will
be serving God? Is this a patience thing? Is this because of mistakes I made
and now it is the price I pay? This place is not a place that is new to me. My heart was
torn apart before, and I walked away from serving God. I did not walk away from
Him, nor did I stop believing in Him or His word. I just walked away from
serving because I was told (not in a straightforward way) that I was not ready
nor was my life in a place that God could use me for anything. So, I felt like “why
bother?” Why should I pour out my heart and soul if it was just going to lay there?
I just can’t seem to understand any of this struggle. It is the same struggle
that I battled years ago when I was in a different church. Here I am 8 years
later feeling almost the same way. The only thing different is I have not been
told that I am not worthy. I am tired of the wilderness when I can see the promised
land. I am tired of the struggles when I can see the victory. I am tired of the
lack when I can see the abundance. Yet, I cannot change it. I am at the mercy
of those around me. Why? I do not understand why? I am sitting here trying to keep
the tears at bay and figure out what God’s word says about this situation. I
hear the words “press through” but I just feel like I do not have the energy. It’s
almost like I can see the goodness of God and all the callings, talents,
blessings, promises and desires of my heart; yet I cannot have them because my
life is not where it should be. This literally breaks my heart to think that I am
pouring myself out for God to use, only to find that I am not worthy because of
situations that are not what He wants. If I could control them, I would be the
first to do what needs to be done, but since it is not in my control, it seems
as though it is unjust. I know that God is just and loving, just as I know that He
is gracious and truthful. I know He is a good Father who loves me more than I can
even love myself. So I go to the only place that I know I can find answers and
peace. I go to God’s word. I reflect on
the stories of the Bible. The first person I think of is Job, and how he lost
everything; consequently, even after cursing the day he was born (story for
another time), he was given double for his trouble. I remember Saul who was
against Christians; and then he was converted and became one of the most
influential writers of the New Testament. Oh, and then there is Peter, who
denied Christ and became one of the great Ministers of his time. I think of the
blind men who were given their sight, the little girl brought back from death,
and little Zacchaeus, who climbed a tree just to get a look at Jesus; who Jesus
then called by name and dined with him. So,
as I reflect on these stories, I realize that each of these people acted and
were blessed. Their lives were changed because of their actions. Then I began to reflect on the promises of God. He knows the
plans He has for me and He will never leave me or forsake me. He loves me so
much that He gave His Son to die for my sins and transgressions. The promise
that the joy will come after the storm and if I ask, He will hear. I am
reminded of His promise of provision in the wilderness and the redemption in
the promised land. I know that he will not being me to something without giving
me the strength to get through that situation. When I feel the weakest, He is
the strongest. All these things are in His word. They are His Word and they are
true and merciful. I also remember that He has told us that the enemy will come
to destroy and steal anything that God gives or promises. God promises that
even when the enemy tries to snare us with his lies and manipulations, we are
stronger because we have the Holy Spirit within us. It is not the behavior of the people around me that keep us
in the struggle, it is the battle of the enemy. It is the adversary who brings
situations against our promises and prophecies. The enemy wants nothing more
than to see me walk away again. This tells me that there is something great to
come. This tells me that the struggles will not last forever. This tells me
that life will change, and blessings will be more than I can imagine. It is my
willingness to be pushed around spiritually by the enemy that keeps me in the
wilderness. If I let him get to me emotionally, mentally and spiritually, then
he can send doubt and anger into my life. These things will steal my joy,
praise and gratefulness. Trusting God is much more than just reading His word. It is
praying and even crying out to Him when you are lost in the sea of emotions.
Praying is not just done on your knees. Sometimes my best conversations with
God have been those where I am laying on my bed ugly crying and needing to just
talk to Him. Regardless of how you talk to Him, don’t ever forsake taking your feelings
to God. Even if you are upset and just don’t understand, talk to Him. Let Him hold
you and speak to you in a way that you will understand how much He loves you
and wants you to fulfill the call on your life. Give Him the chance to answer
for Himself. By going straight to God
with these concerns, we can drown out the doubt and fear that the enemy is
sending and walk on the water with Jesus. This is how we become More. Remember, we all experience these struggles; however, it is
our reaction to the struggle that either keeps us in the wilderness or guides
us to the promised land. Love you much!! Cyndi #realstrugglesencouragement

From Addiction To Freedom

Addiction is everywhere. It comes in many forms and fashions. It is not prejudice when choosing who it will inhibit. It knows no boundaries. This blog is not about the types of addictions or who are the ones more likely to become an addict. It is not even about whether addiction is a disease. Today I write about addiction from the aspect of being free from those chains. “For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.” 1 John 2:16. When I was 15, I picked up a habit that eventually would become my addiction. What I thought was cool, would become the very thing that led me to believe that I was so ungodly. During my life, this habit would become my coping mechanism and security. It would be my way to escape for just a few minutes to clear my head from the chaos. Smoking had become a part of my life that would become my shame and antagonist. It would be the very thing that the adversary would use to condemn me. But it would also become my victory and freedom. Even cancer did not scare the smoking addiction from my life. Little did I know that God still had His hand upon me even though I felt so far away from Him. Be patient with me as I venture off into a story from the Bible that sums up the hope that I have in God regarding the addiction that I had to cigarettes. I have read the story of Job many times and I always finished it knowing that God is always going to be our biggest fan and He will not allow the adversary take that which He has placed His hand upon. Unlike Job, I know that I brought illness upon myself through continuing to smoke when I knew that it was a sin. I was damaging the very thing that God had created so uniquely, my body. God removed the hedge about Job knowing that in the end, Job would repent and return his heart to God. I know that because God is a just and faithful God, He will not only deliver me from an addiction, but He will be the healer of my mind and body. I also knew that I would have to return my heart to God and walk in thankfulness everyday for the rest of my life. So, back to my tale of addiction and freedom. After 35 years of smoking, I had grown tired of it. I wanted to be rid of the smell, taste and cloud that I was walking with everywhere I went. I was tired of the cost, not only financially, but also the cost of feeling like I belonged. I asked God to take it from me. Whatever I needed to do to let go of this mess, I wanted Him to let me know and lead me through it. When I began to ask Him to take it, I could feel myself become afraid that I had asked for more than I wanted. I did not want to be ill the rest of my life. I was not ready to leave my grandbabies. But yet, I knew I still wanted to quit smoking. On March 31, 2018, I became very sick. I had been fighting
it for months thinking it was just allergies, but that evening, I just could
not fight it any longer. I had lost over 20 pounds in a month because I had no
appetite. I was always fatigued and did not want to do anything after work but
lay in bed. I was taken to the ER and after a few hours, I was diagnosed with
COPD. My heart broke and I began to cry. I wasn’t angry, I was so disappointed
with myself. I was heartbroken because I picked up a habit when I was 15 and now,
I would be wrestling with that decision every day. It was already after midnight and it was now
April 1, 2018. This would become my quit day. It has been a year since I last smoked. I was told that I would
need to use patches and gum/lozenges to get over the addiction since I had
smoked for so many years. I was also told that it would take a few months. I read
that most long term and heavy smokers have a relapse or two and it is
completely normal. I used patches for 12
weeks and never looked back. Cravings have come and gone, but at the end of the
day, I let it go. I did gain weight, but its better than not breathing. The most amazing thing about this last year has been the
rekindling of my relationship with God. It has become so beautiful and
faithful. He has taken me and loved me beyond by guilt and shame. He has
released me from my failures, and He has covered me with grace and mercy. He
proves to me everyday just how much He loves me. This has become my security
and my coping mechanism. God is my stress release and calming breath. Oh, how
He loves me. See, even in the middle of addiction and temptation, we know
that Jesus carried that to the cross so that we may find peace, mercy and
grace. “So then, since we have a
great High Priest who has entered heaven, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold
firmly to what we believe. This
High Priest of ours understands our weaknesses, for he faced all of the same tastings
we do, yet he did not sin. So, let us come boldly to the throne of our gracious God. There we
will receive his mercy, and we will find grace to help us when we need it most.” Hebrews 4:14-16. #freedom #hope #smoking

This Journey is Beautiful

“Go in Peace” said the priest. “For the Lord is watching over your journey.” Judges 18:6. NLT Navigating this journey in life with Christ is one of the most amazing experiences you could ever hope to encounter. It is beautiful beyond description and filled with blessings beyond measure and joy unspeakable. There are stories around every curve and majestic scenery in the mountains as well as the valleys. There are songs floating through the heavens and hearts of love waiting at the rest stops. Words of life are heard in the morning sunlight as the dawn breaks and then at night, as the moon settles, words of peace and comfort are spoken as you enter slumber. This journey is only planned by God and can only be followed by you. Though we have the same guide and the same destination, pathway does not hold the same scenery. Each area of our journeys is different and that is exactly how God intended it to be. So, let us journey through life with Jesus together as we discover the beauty of this life. Though there will be stormy days and darkest of nights, we will sojourn along this Journey Beautiful. “For I know the plans I have for you,” says the Lord. “They are plans for good and not for disaster, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11 NLT Blessings, Cyndi 🙂 #encouragement #inspiration #Jesus

©2020 by Cyndi Kay

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