Giving up on figuring it out….

I’m going to stop. My head is spinning and my heart is writhing. I can’t continue to do this.

What you ask? I’ve been racking my brain in order to discover the map. You know, the crystal clear direction for my life.

For the past two years I have been on a path discovering the huge artistic gauntlet I have at my disposal and to be frank, it terrifies me. I’m supposed to ignore all that and focus on something more practical, right?…..something that will bore me to death. Yes, that’s what I need: to be “normal.” Hmmmm, I wasn’t ever called to any type of normalcy.

Okay God, I’m ready. Lay it on me. Show me exactly where I’m going and when I’ll get there.

Haha.

Silence.

A smirk.

Nothing? REALLY?!?!?! Come on, I can’t continue down this road of ambiguity here. I have a husband and two children to consider. I need better directions than this.

It’s at times like this I’m reminded of who’s in charge, and I’m so glad.

I can be crazy unpredictable me and it’s all gonna be okay. Believe it or not, I can love the artist I am and still be a fantastic mother and wife.

Who knew?

Here’s a song that both haunts me and brings great comfort. Take and enjoy. 🙂


Living for the Unexpected……..

When I was a little girl I would daydream. A lot. I would think about all the usual stuff I suppose; getting married, having babies, owning my own house and being whatever the people around me wanted me to be.

The older I got the more I realized how difficult it was to live up to all of those dreams. Living in this messy world had a way of breaking my heart, changing my course and making me completely disillusioned about what the meaning of life really was. To tell you the truth, my childhood was filled with disappointment, pain and shame. Growing up in a home where perfection was encouraged, the pain was forceably hidden, causing me to take the person I was meant to be (admittedly neurotic and unpredictable along with talented and capable;) into a box of facades that literally sucked the life out of me.

Thankfully, when I was 13 years old I met Jesus. And to be quite honest, he turned out to be much different than the overbearing God I met at church. He was real. Down to earth. Honest. There for me. He turned out to be my best friend.

Since then I’ve been on a journey of self-discovery with him. For years I thought I had to change to make him like me, strive to acheive certain things just to get a smile out of him.

Nope.

In the 15 years I’ve known him, he’s patiently shown me that I’m enough. Me. Not what I do. Not my accomplishments. Just me sitting here in this chair, breathing.

I still struggle with that concept. Everywhere I go I’m tempted to think that I’m missing something, that somehow there’s a glitch in this whole salvation thing that I just don’t understand. “This is too simple, God. How can you just love me?”

Everytime, do you know what he says?

“It’s finished.”

What he did for me makes me right. Makes me clean.

I can rest.

Now that I can look ahead and see many years ahead of me, I can take a breath and dream again. Not about what I should be, but what I COULD be.

All of my abilities…..my singing, my vivacious love of acting and dancing, my love for people.

All of these things are just waiting for God to move. To breathe life into them and make them bigger than I ever could have dreamt when I was a child.

Yes, I still struggle. I don’t understand everything, and my life is still a jumble of emotions and uncertainties, but one thing I do know.

He’s got me. He’s got me and I can rest, knowing that he’ll make my story amazing.

From my heart to yours,

Live for the unexpected. Don’t settle. Life is too priceless to do anything less.


American Idol goes Country….and discovers a future legend.

I really have never liked country music.

Actually, I’ve always hated it. Every time I hear an old fashioned country anything, I go for the earplugs.

That’s why this past year watching American Idol has been such a learning experience.

When I first heard Scotty McCreery I was impressed by his baritone voice and what I knew was raw country talent, but my opinion of him was clouded by my hatred of his genre. This, of course, made me one of those people I don’t really like– someone who judges a vocal competition based on their own personal preference. Granted, when Idol discovered him he was what I like to call “green,” which makes sense considering that he was only SIXTEEN years old, *Wow* but over the course of the competition he grew into not only an incredible vocalist but also an exciting performer.

Watch the video to witness his performance prowess. (I don’t say that lightly:)

Just like myself, you may have personal qualms with country music. Although I don’t exactly listen to it for my own enjoyment, as I watched Scotty perform this year I became more and more impressed with his ability. I caught myself comparing him to George Strait who just happens to be the only classic country artist I can stomach. Scotty’s voice is so unique, so deep, so reliable (for lack of a better word), I honestly believe that he will have a gigantically successful career, similar to that of previous Idol winner, Carrie Underwood.

Even though this young man sings in a way that some may not like, he’s here to stay. I’m starting to become excited about that.


Ode to a Semester

For my last class of the semester in COMM 4633 Social Media for PR and Journalism, I was asked to sum up what I have learned and how I’ve grown from said class.

Hmm, the assignment was fun and I’d like to share a piece of it, but my small summary that day only scratched the surface of what I’ve learned this semester from this course.

We were given a choice of small animals and were asked to come up with examples from each letter of the animal’s name to signify an area of struggle or triumph.

I chose SHAMU. Yay. Perfect Florida choice.

Image credit: Luke Harper

S– Slideshare is very easy and effective when communicating ideas.

H– having an understanding of the power of Twitter is important.

A– Audacity is easy and fun to use.

M– Making time for regular blogging is vital.

U– Utube (youtube.com) has more potential than most people realize.

This class has been so great for me as a Communications major and as a person. I’ve learned an abundant amount of information in a field that I was ridiculously unfamiliar about; and I had fun doing it. Sure, it was stressful at times, but I gained so many skills by being stretched to do things I’d never acheived previously.

Before I started this class, I had never blogged.

I didn’t know how to use Twitter, nor had I tried.

I had never heard of Del.icio.us or any other file sharing site.

I couldn’t begin to tell you how to create or post a podcast to the web.

I didn’t know about LinkedIn.

If someone had talked about Foursquare, I would have thought they were reminiscing about that crazy- fun game on the playground at fourth grade recess.

Needless to say, I was desperately in need of a clue.

That’s why I am so glad I decided to take the leap and register for a class which would stretch me. An area where I was completely lacking is starting to take shape.

I’m blogging. I’m tweeting. I posted my profile on LinkedIn. I’m discovering that I can share my music and other important acheivements with others online.

I now have a web-presence and what I believe is a great start to a healthy and rewarding career doing what I love.

This semester has been so rewarding. Thanks fellow students, and thanks Barbara Nixon!

I got a clue. 😉


Staying Connected: PR Open Mic

Image credit: Allie Schlumper

As a new student of public relations, I’d say the best way to get started in the field is to study a few books on the subject and figure out exactly where and in what capacity you would like to work some day. Another great way for you to get your feet wet would be to get in touch with other public relations professionals as they are working today.

The best place I’ve seen for this kind of contact and interaction is a website called PR Open Mic. This website is very similar to facebook, yet it has a more specific goal in mind: connecting public relations professionals in a place where they can collaborate ideas, photos and projects. This helps them to stay up-to-date on what is happening in their field.

For students of public relations like myself, a website like this offers a whole world of possibilities. Because the site draws students, practitioners and instructors alike,  a student learns more and begins to look for job and learning opportunities with a wealthy base of information already present. PR Open Mic helps a student start out with a wealth of information already available for their benefit.

A good example of these benefits is PR Open Mic’s jobs map. This instantly makes the onlooker aware of the openings available in their area.

Another great benefit is the forums and threaded discussions that are on the site. A student who is very new to all the in’s and out’s of social media in public relations can throw their “green” questions out into the site and probably expect helpful answers from professionals who have been in the field for years. This takes “learning from other people’s mistakes” to another level.

Regardless of where a student of PR wants to end up, PR Open Mic is a necessity. So much is happening in this field every day that it is vital to stay connected. It is so easy, why wouldn’t you do it?


Digest of Internet Information, Groups and Other Stuff…(Diigo)

 

Image credit: arikhanson.com

When I first heard about the concept of social bookmarking, I was less than impressed. What in the world could a site such as this offer that is not already out there?

It turns out, I tend to be a tad naive when it comes to social technologies and their power, and as such, yet again I was side-swiped by the amazing capability of such a site as Diigo.

I joined Diigo not too long ago, and I have already learned more than I can absorb. When you decide to join Diigo, you are choosing to Research, Share and Collaborate information. This takes a simple Google Search to a much more productive level. When browsing online, a Diigo account can help you annotate, archive and organize your findings so that you will never lose track of them again. You can highlight entire webpages that are of interest to you or just interject that one specific paragraph is interesting and worth the read. If what you find is worth sharing, Diigo makes that very easy as well. Even if friends are not involved with Diigo, many other social networks work very well with it, making your findings available to colleagues who are interested in similar material.

The final way that Diigo is of great assistance is Collaboration. In this scenario, groups of people working on projects for work or school can search and highlight information, then discuss multiple findings in a forum type setting. This makes an otherwise hours-long task much simpler and exact.

Diigo is a new medium for me and I already know that it will deeply benefit me in the future. Check out my first few webpages. I will be adding to them and learning so much more in the days to come. All of this technology is making my head spin, but I know once I have a working knowledge of it, it will be invaluable to me, professionally and personally.


Time for another Guest Blogger!

This week I’d like to share a post by Melanie Shoults, a colleague of mine from Southeastern University. She is a very talented communicator and I think you’ll enjoy this entry.

Diigo Conmigo {Translation: Diigo with me}

Honestly, the idea of social bookmarking weirded me out a bit when I first heard of it.

Why in the world would you want the rest of the world to see what you kept bookmarked?

After we talked about it in Social Media class last week, it made more sense to me. Think about it: your typical bookmarking system is limited to only one computer. You can’t jump on someone else’s computer and pull up your bookmarked sites. And what if you can’t remember the URL?

Social bookmarking is the answer!

It took me a little while to warm up to the idea of telling the world what I was bookmarking. I guess I saw it as a way of telling the world what I was interested, and I try in all social networking sites to NOT do that. I don’t have a thousand interests listed on Facebook and I don’t tweet everything that comes to mind, so why would I display all the things I was interested by bookmarking my stuff publicly?

Then I found out not all your bookmarks have to be made public. In fact, you could make so that no one can see any of your bookmarks.

I caved : My Diigo

After talking about it more, I realized what a great tool this could be for anyone collaborating in a group of any kind. You can easily share the information that you gather with others, simply by bookmarking it.

This makes working on a project together much simpler, especially when everybody has different class schedules, work schedules, and half of them don’t live on campus. The internet is really helpful in this case, and Diigo makes it even easier.

I think the biggest problem that will occur with social bookmarking is getting other people of the bandwagon. If I was concerned about publicly bookmarking stuff, I’m sure others will, too.