YOU’VE LANDED AN INTERVIEW – NOW WHAT?

Congratulations! You’ve landed an interview with what you believe to be your dream job. For many, this may seem like the time to sit back, relax and enjoy the process. Unfortunately, landing an interview is just the beginning.

Here are a few things you should do before, during and after your interview to show your potential employer that you deserve to be in the position that you’re in.

BEFORE THE INTERVIEW

1. Complete Research on the Company you will be Interviewing for

You never want to go to an interview without digging in and finding out more information on the company. Think of this exploratory phase as a way for you to understand the company and the industry that they are in and whether or not the position truly is a good fit for you. Completing in-depth research before you even apply to the job would be in your best interest (but let’s just assume you have done so already).

During this discovery phase you should make an effort to find information such as press that the company has been included in (good or bad), individuals that work for the company and even past employees who previously worked there and finding out from what they liked/disliked most about the company and their position. All this information will be integral in one of the upcoming steps that I have outlined below for you to be successful in the interviewing process. Also note, if a company does not have a digital presence (ummm, it’s 2017), I would be wary in moving forward as it may turn out to be a scam or a position that is no longer desirable once you are on board due to false advertising (which is never fun to get involved with). Check out this article on The Balance on how to not get scammed.

All in all, it is never a bad thing to go into an interview with having an overabundance of knowledge. Not only does the hiring manager need to know that you have an interest in the company, but knowing information as if you are already an employee will let the hiring manager see that you could be a really good fit.

2. Find out who is doing the Interviewing

This is usually outlined to you when a recruiter or executive assistant is scheduling an interview with you. Knowing who will be conducting your interview beforehand may put your mind at ease. Additionally, this is a great opportunity to inquire about the person on a personal and professional level. I realize that interviews have the stigma to always be about you, however, splitting up the interview to learn more about the interviewer can transform your nerve-wrecking interview into an actual conversation. The interviewer is doing research on you, so why not do the same and make the most out of small talk.

Lastly, all of your interview answers should be polished, direct and to the point. However, depending on the title of the person conducting your interview, you should prepare a variety of questions. Questions directed towards HR, a manger or CEO could be vastly different and you want to make sure you know who your audience is to tailor the right questions for the right person.

3. Prepare a List of Questions

As explained in the previous step, this will be very crucial during your interview. It’s considered to be one of the most important steps. When the employer asks you if you have any questions, never say no. Not coming prepared with questions shows that you are not really interested in working at said company. It also makes you look unprepared and that you are just looking for a job to have a job (which I know that’s not the case because you are a motivated and an inquisitive person)! Below is a document that can be used in an interview to guide your discussion with a potential employer.

4. Practice, Practice, PRACTICE

According to U.S. News most candidates don’t practice for interviews… and it shows. I for one have had my fair share of unfortunate interviews, but you live, learn and move on with your new learnings to have an exceptional interview in the future. When candidates do practice interview questions they seem to be more polished and poised in their answers which results in a very effective interview.

Ensure that you are prepared for your next interview by thinking about the questions you are most likely to be asked or practice the answers to questions that you stuttered through in previous interviews. Make sure that you are writing out your answers and practicing them out loud in the mirror or to someone you know and trust. You want to make sure that you get really familiar with the job description and highlight skills that you know are your strengths and that the employer is looking for within the position you applied to.

One final thing you should most likely do, but is not entirely required is to do a dress rehearsal a couple of days prior to the interview. Make sure that the attire that you plan to wear is dry cleaned, pressed and without stains or holes. For the ladies, always stick with a skirt or dress that is finger tip length (yes, I’m going back to grade school). Basically, if you sit down and your skirt or dress is essentially a mini skirt, you should not wear it. As for dress type, business appropriate clothing never goes out of style, however, with the surge of startup companies and businesses that have more of a casual everyday work attire, I would strongly suggest conforming to business casual. Although a business suit never goes out of style, the potential employer wants to also make sure you will make a good fit into their company culture. If you are unsure what to wear, always resort to business, but if you know someone who works there or has worked there, I would strongly recommend asking them about the dress code. When preparing what you wear, always ensure that you feel comfortable and confident.

5. Research the Salary Range

All the above are very crucial, and since we have student debt to pay off and bills, it is key to know that you will be taken care of by the company that you potentially will commit a lot of time, money and resources to. Knowing an estimate of what you could potentially make is always a plus, but do not make that the centerpiece of conversation. It may leave a bad taste in the hiring managers mouth. In my experience you should never bring up how much you could make or negotiate a salary until you know for sure they are interested in hiring you. The only exception would be is if they ask you what your salary expectations are. In any case, you want to make sure you are prepared to answer that question as well.

I will say this – know your worth. If you have had a previous job prior to the one you’re applying to, great! At least you have a baseline of what your salary expectations are especially depending on what industry you’re in. However, if you are unsure what you should be making there are plenty of resources you can use such as other professionals in your network, your previous professors, advisors or mentors and websites such as Pay Scale, Glassdoor and Salary.

DURING THE INTERVIEW

6. The Face-to-Face Interview

Now that you have done all the above. You should be ready for your interview! Its time to show off your hard work. The challenge is to articulate all that you have practiced into short, meaningful sound bites to the interviewer. The Boss Group calls this, “30-second commercials… quick, concise, verbal snapshots of your skills and talents and how they match the job requirements.” All employers are looking for the same—the most qualified candidate at the most reasonable pay rate who will be highly motivated to contribute to the success of the company, department or project. Something about you has piqued their interest. And that’s all it takes to open doors. Here are a few helpful tips once you’re inside:

  • Arrive at least 5 minutes early.
  • Be well-groomed, clean and modest in your appearance.
  • Shake hands firmly and make immediate eye contact with a smile.
  • Be articulate, but don’t try too hard to impress . . . be yourself.
  • Look the person in the eye and show interest, even if you’re bored.
  • Try to get the employer to talk about himself/herself. The best interviews follow the 50-50 Rule . . . half the time you talk, the other half they talk.
  • Bring at least three clean copies of your resume, a list of your references, and a business card if you have one. More and more of today’s job candidates are also leaving behind professional portfolios containing artifacts of their achievements.
  • Bring a pad of paper to take notes.
  • Ask for business cards from each of the people with whom you interviewed.

AFTER THE INTERVIEW

7. Always say “Thank You”

Always send a thank you note within 24 hours to all of your interviewers. The thank you note shows that you are considerate. It also helps the employer to remember you, gives you an opportunity to reiterate your interest in the position, and to add anything you forgot to tell them that you want them to know. The deliver can either be via email or snail mail – personally, I like to send a hand-written thank you note which shows I put in the extra effort.

8. Follow-up

Not only is it just good manners to follow-up an interview with a thank you note. While you can send notes in the form of an email, make sure to send them separately to each individual who was present during your interview. This more personal approach will stand out.

On the contrary, if the employer goes cold after your interview, it is appropriate to follow-up via email or phone call at a minimum of seven (7) days after your interview took place. Not only will this show that you are willing to take initiative, but you’ll also be clear on where your application stands. Should you not hear back from the employer, it is appropriate to follow-up at least three (3) times until it’s time to turn in the towel. Realize that individuals are very busy and may be up against deadlines or are traveling for work, so always keep that in mind!

It can be hard to let go, but if an employer fails to get back to you when they said they would follow-up, do some major evaluation on whether you think the company is the right fit. Just think, if you consistently do not follow-up with someone, do you think they would want to work with you? Same goes for an employer not following up with you. Make the decision that is in the best interest of you!

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WHY DID JESUS SPEAK SO STRONGLY AGAINST LUKEWARM FAITH?

To this day, I remember the message that brought me to Christ. The message was so strong that it still brings tears to my eyes because of the reverence and urgency in the speakers delivery…”What if Jesus were to come RIGHT NOW? Would you be ready?” Honestly, I felt so unworthy of God’s omnipresent love that I couldn’t even fathom that I, a lowly human being, could be forgiven of my sins through confession that Jesus is the Son of God and by being baptized into the watery grave. I have been a Christian for 11 years and I haven’t looked back.

It has not always been easy. Attending college and the need to fit in –  to surrounding myself with people who very likely did not have my best interest at heart… I became victim of being a lukewarm Christian. Because of my self-righteous complacency, my stubbornness and wanting to do things the “Kiara way.”

Over the years, I have realized how important having a relationship with God was. Not only that, but the guy that I would marry needed to have the same tenacity and longing for God as much as I do (iron sharpens iron). As Trey and I continue to court and seek out marriage, my dad suggested that before we get hitched, we go through spiritual relationship counseling. As direction given by our counselor at the end of our session, he challenged the both of us to read the Bible everyday. It wasn’t until I started reading the Bible not out of need because of something negative going on in my life, but out of necessity to feed my soul everyday was that I realized that everything I need as far as direction on what to do is in the Bible and is still applicable today.

I have found that for most of my Christian life, I have been a lukewarm Christian… until  recently. I don’t have much friends anymore. I enjoy attending church service and really try to hear, understand and apply the lessons taught and see how and where I can apply it in my daily life. But for so long, I was a lukewarm Christian. The beauty of it, is that you don’t have to be!

Read the devotion below and see how it can be applied in your daily life to boil in The Spirit!

DEVOTION

In Revelation 3:14–21, the Lord is describing the “lukewarm” heart attitude of those in the Laodicean church, an attitude manifested by their deeds. The Laodiceans were neither cold nor hot in relation to God, just lukewarm. Hot water can cleanse and purify; cold water can refresh and enliven. But lukewarm water carries no similar value. The Laodiceans understood the Lord’s analogy because their city drinking water came over an aqueduct from a spring six miles to the south, and it arrived disgustingly lukewarm. Laodicean water was not hot like the nearby hot springs that people bathed in, nor was it refreshingly cold for drinking. It was lukewarm, good for nothing. In fact, it was nauseating, and that was the Lord’s response to the Laodiceans—they sickened Him, and He said, “I am about to spit you out of my mouth” (verse 16).

The letter to the church at Laodicea is the harshest of the seven letters to the churches in Asia Minor. By His indictment of their “deeds” (Revelation 3:15), Jesus makes it clear that this is a dead church. The members of this church see themselves as “rich” and self-sufficient, but the Lord sees them as “wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked” (verse 17). Their lukewarm faith was hypocritical; their church was full of unconverted, pretend Christians.

Jesus frequently equates deeds with a person’s true spiritual state: “By their fruit you will recognize them,” and “Every good tree bears good fruit” (Matthew 7:16–17). Clearly, the lukewarm deeds of the Laodiceans were not in keeping with true salvation. The deeds of the true believer will be “hot” or “cold”—that is, they will benefit the world in some way and reflect the spiritual passion of a life transformed. Lukewarm deeds, however—those done without joy, without love, and without the fire of the Spirit—do harm to the watching world. The lukewarm are those who claim to know God but live as though He doesn’t exist. They may go to church and practice a form of religion, but their inner state is one of self-righteous complacency. They claim to be Christians, but their hearts are unchanged, and their hypocrisy is sickening to God.

The fact that the lukewarm individuals to whom Christ speaks are not saved is seen in the picture of Jesus standing outside of the church (Revelation 3:20). He has not yet been welcomed into their midst. In love, the Lord rebukes and disciplines them, commanding them to repent (verse 19). He sees their lukewarm attitudes as “shameful nakedness” that needs to be clothed in the white garments of true righteousness (verse 18). He urges them to be earnest, or zealous, and commit themselves totally to Him. Our Lord is gracious and long-suffering and gives the lukewarm time to repent.

The Laodiceans enjoyed material prosperity that, coupled with a semblance of true religion, led them to a false sense of security and independence (see Mark 10:23). The expression “I am rich; I have acquired wealth” (Revelation 3:17) stresses that the wealth attained came though self-exertion. Spiritually, they had great needs. A self-sufficient attitude and lukewarm faith are constant dangers when people live lives of ease and prosperity.

PRAYER

 Oh, Father, You have created me with the capacity for deep affections —  and You made me this way that I may glorify You by finding you my Supreme Satisfaction and the Fountain of everything delightful.

But I confess that my affections for You are often grievously tepid while my selfish interests steam.

  • I am bold to defend my own honor and reputation and often timid to defend Yours.
  • I am quick to satisfy my bodily appetites and often slow to feed my soul with the Bread of Life.
  • I squander moments devoted to communing with You while carefully protecting moments devoted to banal entertainment.
  • I am distracted from speaking with you by books that need straightening, email that needs answering, and a bald spot in the yard that needs seeding.

I am easily and foolishly concerned with worldly success and prosperity while languid and unmoved about the greater things of another world!

And I know that my errant affections are most offensive to You when I hear of the infinite height, depth, and length, and breadth of your love for me in Christ Jesus,

O gracious Father, thank you that your Son’s great sacrifice is so great and so sufficient that it pays even for such sins as mine.

Father, I am humbled to the dust that I am not more affected at what affects you! I repent of being “slothful in zeal”! No more, Father! Make me boil in spirit as I serve you (Romans 12:11)! To be moved by your glorious gospel and precious promises (2 Peter 1:4) is why you gave me affections! Nothing in earth or heaven is greater or more important.

Today, I take to heart Your Son’s warning: “Would that you were either cold or hot! So, because you are lukewarm… I will spit you out of my mouth” (Revelation 3:15–16). Merciful Father, make me hot! Whatever it takes, whatever it costs me, give me the Spirit-salve for my heart-eyes (Revelation 3:18) so that I may see what is Real, believe what is True, treasure what is Valuable, and forsake what is worthless.

In the name of Jesus, amen.

This prayer was inspired by and adapted from a portion of Jonathan Edwards’s book, Religious Affections (the last three paragraphs of Part 1).

 

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DON’T WORRY, YOU’RE IN YOUR 20s!

When something doesn’t go your way, you can get a tinge of disappointment. It may also seem like you may not have it together because it feels as if you aren’t worthy. The good thing is, you’re in your 20s and probably have made more mistakes than you could count. What’s even better is that you’re only in your 20s and that’s the beauty of it. A contributing writer from Advice from a 20 Something blog, Chelsea Becker, gives an inside into what not to worry about in your career in your 20s.

A TITLE

Sure, having “manager” next to your name or some other fancy word feels good, but titles aren’t always the truest indicators of salary or responsibilities. Focus on the details behind the title. If you’re happy with those, don’t throw a fit over the name of your role. You may even come to find that roles without heavy titles are the best.

STAYING IN THE SAME FIELD

There’s a lot of pressure in college to choose a major or degree that you want to spend your career doing. And there’s a lot of stress about finding a job that correlates with your skills. The thing is, you can easily bounce around in your 20s to see how different roles and fields feel to you—no matter your degree or resume. You can’t necessarily do this your whole career, but that’s exactly what your 20s are for.

HOW “COOL” THE COMPANY IS

Living in the Bay Area, I hear of the insane perks that come with companies like Facebook, Pinterest, and Google. It can start to feel like a normal company isn’t cool enough. But before chasing a popular company, think back about your actual role and happiness. If you’re enjoying where you’re at, settle with the smaller, less-known company. The grass isn’t always greener!

BEING BFFS WITH COWORKERS

My first job out of college, I became friends with everyone I worked with. We’d go out after work and I even spent some weekend time with them. Then layoffs and drama happened and it was hard to draw the line between coworker and friend. Being pleasant to the people you work with is crucial, but don’t feel like you need to attend every Happy Hour or know all the office gossip. Your main priority is your job.

COMPENSATION

Like I said before, this is your time to experiment! You want to make enough money to pay bills and save a little, but if a job that you’re pumped about is offering less than something you’re not pumped about, take the pay cut. Learn to manage your finances and create a budget—make the money work. Your salary will eventually increase. This may be the only time in life we can afford to not worry about a mortgage or other financial responsibilities that come with age.

Have fun testing the field!

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STATE OF TRANSITION

Last Monday, I hit a milestone! It has been exactly a year since my blog was birthed. I got the crazy idea to start Fasst and Fab during my last official “summer break” of college because I wanted a challenge. Some people may think this is odd, as the average person does not want to inflict themselves with more work, especially as they prepare to start their final year of college. But since starting Fasst and Fab, I have grown in ways that I never thought imaginableMy purpose, I realized, is this; to encourage people to learn from my experiences. I want to be a resource for individuals who are struggling with day-to-day nuances. If others find what I am doing to be inspiring, then that’s great! This blog is an outlet for others to seek inspiration and positivity amongst a negative world. And if I can provide that by exposing just a bit of myself, then that’s alright with me!

I have gone through so much in the past 2 months, and boy has it been a whirlwind! I have found myself in a constant state of transition. From graduating college to being in a solid relationship, and getting the opportunity to travel – all before beginning the newest chapter of my life at a company right out of college.

Graduating

One of the most liberating and monumental moments of my life was graduating college. I had one of those “pinch-me-is-this-real” moments while I sat with over 1,000 of my peers who, like me, had gone through the struggle of finding their place in the world and meeting constant deadlines presented by multiple professors at a time. I felt a sense of accomplishment and I was very proud of myself. While I sat and listened to all of speakers go up and have their time to send the Class of 2016 off, I began to get emotional as I suspect anyone would during such a momentous time! Just like that, a few seconds on the stage concluded one chapter of my life.

My New Job

During the last few months of my college career, I began aggressively looking for a full-time job. I did not begin applying for jobs until January 2016, however, I began the process in November 2015. I felt that it was important that I take the approach that I did so that I was ahead of the game. It also gave me a sense of security knowing that I had secured a job exactly 2 months before graduation.

I work at an integrated marketing agency who is also a member of the 4A’s association, giving me a tremendous amount of resources to use in addition to the experienced professional’s I work with on a day-to-day basis. Since beginning my journey as a working adult on June 6th, I have learned so much in such a short amount of time. A characteristic of the company that drew me in was how they are truly an integrated agency. The company began as a production firm, but expanded into account services, business development, creative, and interactive/web development. We are the only agency in our area to provide all of those services which is why we win such great clientele. I am so glad that I was able to land a job that I like with a degree that coincides with the work that I do!

My Relationship

In keeping with the theme of being in a state of transition I have been dating a guy in the Air Force for over 4 months (it’ll be 5 months on the 26th!). At the moment, Trey is deployed and is expected to return in late September, beginning of October. Before he left, we were able to spend much needed time together. We traveled to the beach, I met his parents and friends for the first time and we visited the countries capital, D.C.

In the beginning months of us dating, he expressed how much he loved to travel and so do I! We have much in common and he has been a blessing. There have been challenges in our relationship, such as, the distance that always seems to be between us, but it doesn’t seem to bother him. There is a concerted effort between the two of us to make sure that distance does not get in the way of our relationship. While he gets the opportunity to travel the world, I am working on myself and ensuring that I am flourishing as an individual.

In the short amount of time we’ve known one another, he has gotten me through some pretty tough times where I was unsure of myself or a particular situation and he has always been there to lift me up, put a smile my face and tell me “everything is going to be alright, J.” And ya know, sometimes you need that. You need someone to tell you that it’s going to be alright because it will!

The only constant in life is change and I’m learning to embrace it. The hardest part for some may be adapting, but as long as you realize that change allows for growth and the fruition of all things, adapting isn’t so hard. I have learned that resisting change is disabling God from giving you something larger than what you thought you wanted. Change is trusting God.

Are you in a state of transition? Share your experience in the comments or on social media @fasstandfab!

 

 

 

 

A LETTER TO MY MOMMA

Dear Mom –

Thank you for all you do for me and our family.

Thank you for picking up after all of us and screaming at the top of your lungs for us to clean up after ourselves (haha).

I know that you could spend most of your day picking up the things that we leave around between coming home from work or school and going to bed. I just wanted you to know that I appreciate it!

Thanks for cooking for us, I know it takes a lot of planning on your part to brave the crowd and go to the grocery store, to read labels and pick the best foods to keep our bodies healthy. I know it takes a lot of time and energy to put the food into the cart, out of the cart to pay, into the cart to the car, out of the car, into the house, out of the bags and then into the pantry; all before you even cook us dinner.

I know that when you have rules and consequences, it’s because you love us, thanks for setting limits and disciplining me even though it’s not a small feat and exhausting. It has helped me learn and to establish good character.

Thanks for the years of cleaning up my boogers, my throw up and wiping my hiney. Thanks for teaching me to do those things for myself; and for teaching me to tie my shoes, get dressed on my own and to use a real cup with no cover! I really needed you to help me grow, Mom!

Thank you for teaching me to be organized (Erin Condren, washi tape, planners and all), to do my homework, clean my room and to practice the flute. I have learned to be responsible which helps me feel positive about myself. Thanks for pushing me even when I complain and argue with you.

Thank you for not letting me quit the team when I wanted to. Sticking with it taught me to be a good sport and that a strong commitment is the single most important trait that a person can have; to follow through, and to persevere. I have found those skills very helpful in my success.

Thank you for comforting me through heartbreaks. And thank you for always answering your phone even if the call only lasted 30 seconds because I needed to know the answer to  a silly question!

Thank you for giving me everything, literally. You never told me no I appreciate that generosity. I know kids can be expensive and demanding.

From supporting me emotionally through my awkward middle school phase, to sacrificing your personal time after your long days at work to talk me through problems when no one else cared, to supporting me financially through college, you have always been there.

You have sacrificed so much in order to give me a better life than you had when you were a kid.

Thanks you for always believing in me. Life has been challenging and there have been times when I’ve felt like giving up, when things were not going my way. Each time, you were there to remind me of my worth as a human being.

You encouraged me to keep reaching for the unreachable and to never settle for anything less than what you know in your heart I deserve. No matter how bizarre my goals are– you always tell me to go after what makes me happy.

As I get older, I realize more and more how much you have done for me and continue to do every day.

Thank you for showing me grace when I didn’t deserve it. Perhaps it is easier for me to take my frustrations out on you than anyone else in this world because you love me limitlessly and unconditionally. There were times when I was a total brat to you; I was rude, selfish and unkind. Still, you loved me anyway, and for that, I am forever grateful.

Thank you for your unconditional love and friendship. You are my best friend and you always will be. I’ve seen your love when you attended my sporting events, posted on Facebook about how proud you are of me and when you comforted me at times that life became a little too tough to handle. Not to mention, you showing me how to love others and how to love them well.

Thank you for believing in me, encouraging me to do my best and to try new things. I love myself and I am proud of myself. I have confidence and believe in myself because of you. I need to make mistakes and make failures to grow, so thanks for being there when I’m down, and for helping me find my way back up.

Thank you for modeling how to be respectful, kind to others and patient with anyone that walks in my path. I have and always will look up to you! Even though I don’t always LISTEN to you, I do always hear you. I hear how you use good manners, how you listen to a friend, how you laugh with (or at) grandma.

Thank you for being there to talk through problems and to ask you questions, any questions. Thanks for answering honestly about literally everything in life. I ask you where something is even though I know you probably have no idea where it is, but you take the time to help me retrace my steps and find what I was looking for.

Mom, thanks for driving me all over town and state to friend’s houses, tryouts, activities, performances, games, concerts, auditions, practices, and college! I know I wouldn’t be able to do all these fun things without you. And thanks for driving home and back when I forgot something at the house while I was in college. Thanks for showing up and cheering for me during my track meets and cheerleading competitions. Always intently waiting for me to compete with your camera or iPhone in hand.

Thanks for not letting anyone get in your way when getting your degrees. You make me so proud to be your daughter because you push past adversity with such grace!

Thanks for volunteering at my school, for kissing me goodbye, even in front of my friends and for hugging me (and then tickling me when I’ve hugged you a few minutes too long).

Thanks for noticing when I do and things, like when I help around the house or make the right choice. I really like when you notice the good things I do, it makes me want to do more!

Thanks for being the coolest most hippest mom I know! We can bump Rihanna or Beyonce and you actually know the words!

You’ve taught me and are still teaching me life skills, you’re helping me learn how to become a happy and healthy adult everyday. You giving me limits and structure but also space and confidence to step out toward independence.

You’re teaching me that my attitude and the way I look makes all the difference.

I love you. Thank you for loving me in all the ways that you do.

Love,

Your Favorite Daughter

7 THINGS COUPLES WHO STAY TOGETHER DO OFTEN

We all know that one couple (or maybe a few) who seem to be doing everything right. They navigate marriage (or relationship) with ease and make being a couple look so effortless. Don’t be fooled; a ton of effort goes into making any relationship a great one. Here are seven thing you can do everyday to make yours go the distance.

JOKE

A long-lasting relationship shouldn’t be so serious. Couples who can laugh and joke together on a daily basis develop a deep friendship that is essential in any marriage or relationship.

COMPLIMENT

Getting a little positive recognition for our efforts is something we all crave. Many times, it’s the people we are closest to that we fail to recognize. Giving each other regular compliments are the little things you love about them will really help your relationship go the distance. You smell really nice today, Thanks for working so hard, and You’re the best thing that’s happened to me, are all good places to start.

COMPROMISE

When you enter into a partnership, you become the other half to a whole. Your desires, whims, and needs don’t always come first and sometimes conflict with the other person’s. Anyone who has been in a happy one, you have to compromise. Your hubby/boyfriend loves sports or motorcycles? Sometimes you have to hand over the remote, or take a daring ride. It’s like a see-saw: you each take turns getting what you want.

SPEND QUALITY TIME TOGETHER

You can’t get to that diamond anniversary without spending a little quality time together. At least once a week, schedule a night to be with your special someone, sans kids. Go to dinner and a movie, hold hands in public, catch a concert, or drop the kids off at grandma’s and enjoy some quality alone time in your own house.

APOLOGIZE 

Two of the hardest words in the English language happen to be, “I’m sorry.”

When conflicts arise, evaluate whether it is more important to be right, or more important  to be happy. Don’t hold onto old arguments. Don’t wait for the other person to apologize first–you’ll cause an unnecessary standoff that will cost you valuable time together. Be the first to put your pride in your pocket and say, “I’m sorry” more freely. Besides, we all know, the sooner we apologize, the sooner we can start making up.

LISTEN, PROCESS, AND ACT

A major complaint of couples everywhere is a lack of communication, “He just doesn’t listen to me,” or “I can’t even talk to her without an overreaction.” Effective communication essentially means: listen, process, then act.

First, listen, without interrupting to what the other person is saying. Don’t react immediately. Take a moment to process and think about how you would like to respond. When you do respond, do so truthfully and earnestly. Lastly, act upon the request. If John voices his concern about Sarah’s latest designer shoe shopping spree, Sarah should first listen, without getting defensive, then take a moment to process and think about how her spree affected John. Lastly, they can decide on a course of action they can both be happy with. {Sarah knows she simply can’t live without the Manolo Blahniks, but agrees that the Jimmy Choo pumps can wait.}

TRY EVERYDAY TO MAKE THE OTHER PERSON HAPPY

The number one thing that couples who stay together do, every single day is make each other happy. When you truly love someone, you want to give them the best; you want them to be happy. When both of you feel this way, you’ve conquered the secret to a long-lasting, healthy, over-the-moon happy relationship.

GOD HELPS THE HELPLESS

BIBLE THOUGHT: “THE LORD IS WITH YOU WHEN YOU ARE WITH HIM. IF YOU SEEK HIM, HE WILL BE FOUND BY YOU” (2 CHRONICLES 15:2, NASB)

READ 2 CHRONICLES 14:9-15 for a better understanding of the lesson.

HAVE YOU ever felt the weight of the world on your shoulders? Have you felt alone in the fight for the right or that you are weak and the forces of evil around you are so strong? Have you feared that the big bully down the street is always going to get the best of you?

To most eyes, Asa and his army were greatly outnumbered on the battlefield that day. However, with God on their side they greatly outnumbered the enemy.

No matter how weak we seem to be, no matter how strong the evil forces around us seem to be, there is no one like God to help the powerless against the mighty.

When we rely on God and draw our strength from Him, then we will overcome the difficulties of our lives.

When we are on God’s side, we are always in the majority, no matter how many are against us.

Give me a task too big,

Too hard for human hands.

Then I shall come at length

To lean on Thee;

An leaning, find my strength.

-Wilbur Humphrey Fowler

Sing A Mighty Fortress Is Our God

Prayer: Lord, there is no one like You to help the powerless against the mighty. Help us, for we rely on You. O Lord, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

– NANCY FERGUSON, Abilene, Texas

This lesson is brought to you by POWER, a daily devotion magazine.

WHY ARE YOU HERE?

BIBLE THOUGHT: “I SOUGHT THE LORD, AND HE ANSWERED ME; HE DELIVERED ME FROM ALL MY FEARS. THOSE WHO LOOK TO HIM ARE RADIANT; THEIR FACES ARE NEVER COVERED WITH SHAME” (PSALM 34:4-5, NASB)

READ 1 KINGS 19:1-9 for an application of this lesson.

TRUE ISRAELITE prophets were often fiercely opposed by monarchs and the religious rich–sometimes threatened, beaten, and driven into hiding. Some lamented and complained. Some, like Jonah, fled. Consider Elijah, whose early prophetic career was sensational, miraculous, and heroic, was later seen hiding in the cave at Horeb. What happened?

At Horeb Elijah sought the safety of a sacred place, not God. Shamefully, it wasn’t where God told him to go. Elijah’s only prayers, motivated by fear, was, “Take my life!” Then he ran extreme distances. Horeb is 250 miles from Mt. Carmel. Damascus, where God finally sent him, is 540 miles north.

Before God commanded Elijah to “Go!” God pressed him with a disorienting question: “Why are you here?” Elijah responded defensively, never answering God’s question.

What are you doing wherever you are? Why? God is asking. His plan is good, His delivery is sure!

Sing “Take My Life and Let It Be

Prayer: O Lord, may Your calling and claim on my life give it clear meaning and direction. Daily, may I faithfully seek You, Your help, and Your will. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

– CRAIG BOWMAN, Rochester, Michigan

Today’s lesson has been brought to you by POWER, a daily devotion magazine.

BLOGGING 101: HOW TO CREATE AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR

I like to think that I am a fairly organized person. So much so that I did some research on how to keep organized with my blog posts. After finding so much online and visiting my go-to companies that post content on keeping organized. I began to realize that I needed an editorial calendar. From what I read and from personal experience, I’ve found that many have a slightly different definition for exactly what this is, but knowing me, I had to keep an editorial calendar to keep me sane and know what I posted from week-to-week. I wanted to show you guys why I think it can be helpful, and how to create one yourself.

WHAT IS AN EDITORIAL CALENDAR?

An editorial calendar is a way of keeping track of all of your blog content (past, present and future). It can come in whatever form works best for you – a calendar, spreadsheet, an address book, planner… you get the idea. There’s no right or wrong way to plan.

WHAT FORMAT SHOULD I USE?

There are so many ways for you to format yours – it really depends on what works best for you. You can use an actual calendar, like Google Calendar or the WordPress Editorial Calendar plugin, if your priority is scheduling. Hubspot, Sprout Social and Hootsuite creates free templates you can download here. If you’re willing to spend a little money, there are plenty of paid tools like Kapost and Trello that come highly recommended.

Personally, I’m a fan of the classic Google Spreadsheet because it allows me to completely customize how I organize my calendar (and it’s simple and free!). Here is an example of what my editorial calendar looks like, which you can access here to use for yourself or your business!

Editorial Calendar example

Whatever format you decide on, I think it’s crucial to include the following information in your editorial calendar:

  • Month, date, and day of the week
  • Post Title
  • Post Category
  • Status (draft, scheduled, published)
  • Sponsored (yes, no, what brand)
  • Shared on social channels?

Besides these points, you could also keep track of whether your post has been shared on social channels, who is assigned to write the post (if you have multiple writers), due dates (if it needs to be approved by a client ahead of time).

DO YOU NEED TO UPDATE IT CONSTANTLY?

The answer is yes. Ideally, it would be amazing to have a consistent up-to-date editorial calendar. But that isn’t the reality for most of us working people. Having the editorial calendar can be a huge help to begin with even if you don’t rely on it daily.

WHY SHOULD YOU HAVE ONE?

There are many benefits to keeping any calendar, let alone an editorial calendar. First, it’s a great organizational tool that allows you to more easily plan ahead. It’s also useful for looking back at past content and comparing, for example, March 2014 to March 2015. It’s great to keep track of content ideas because you can just put them right on your calendar to work on at a later date. Plus, you can keep track of other information associated with each post, like who wrote it, if it’s sponsored, and what category it falls under. It’s also nice to be able to make sure that you’re not posting too many articles in one category or too many sponsored posts close together.

What other questions do you have about editorial calendars?

SIgnature

POWER IN SERVICE

BIBLE THOUGHT: “YOU KNOW THAT THE RULERS OF THE GENTILES LORD IT OVER THEM, AND THEIR HIGH OFFICIALS EXERCISE AUTHORITY OVER THEM. NOT SO WITH YOU. INSTEAD, WHOEVER WANTS TO BECOME GREAT AMONG YOU MUST BE YOUR SERVANT” (MATTHEW 20:25-26, NASB).

READ 1 KINGS 12:1-19 to gain a better understanding of this lesson.

THERE IS a paradox inherent in leadership. The more we attempt to control people the less control we have over them. Those who rule with a heavy hand, issuing edicts from on high, then sitting back to critique the labor of their subjects, will soon find rebellion and desertion among the ranks. However, those who lead by rolling up their sleeves and joining the workforce will win the loyalty and respect of their followers.

Peter understood this principle when he exhorted elders to be “eager to serve, of lording it over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock” (1 Peter 5:2-3). Although we may not hold an official position of leadership, likely we serve as leaders in some capacity. As parents, do we work alongside our children as they perform their chores, or do we sit in our easy chairs, barking out orders while reading the newspaper or watching TV? As Bible class teachers, do we learn the memory verses along with our students, or peek in our Bibles as they recite to be sure it’s right? As coaches, do we play alongside our athletes or watch our athletes suffer in pain and smirk?

Let’s resolve today to follow the example of Jesus, our ultimate leader, who “…did not come to be served, but to serve…” (Matthew 20:28).

Sing “Lord, Make Me a Servant

Prayer: Father, please give us the heart of a servant and help us not to ask or expect anyone to do anything that we are not ready and willing to do ourselves. In the name of Your Servant, Jesus. Amen.

– JAN KNOX, Granbury, Texas

This lesson was brought to you by POWER, a daily devotion magazine.