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Kelly Valentine Jones
Publisher, Creative & Editorial Director
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MAY/JUNE 2023 INSPIRING YOU MAGAZNINE CONTENTS 23 AUTHOR DAVIDMATTHEW BARNES p10 Mid-Year Check In: Managing Stress victoriously! by Kelly Jones p14 Time for Your Fitness Check-Up! by Jackie Madison p16 Lipstick, Lip Gloss, Lip Stain...Lips Matter! by Johnetta p19 by Terassah Thompson p28 p29 Half Way There-Are You Up to Date? by Kristina Krizman. Facing the Storm by Ken Johnson, M.A., LPC Inspired Health inspired FITNESS inspired beauty inspired technology inspired lives Inspired Lifestyles 05 publisher note 06 Meet The Contributors 31 Work Your DASH Off 17 cover story p27 what inspires you Inspired faith
We’re told constantly to never look back. To always focus on where we’re going, not where we’ve been. I think it’s imperative to be able to gage our progress, and to access the process. If there’s no metric, how do we know how close we are, how far we have to go, if we need to regroup, or just start all over. We can’t do that effectively without taking a deep breath and owning right where we are. We all have a very full plate. And lead very busy lives. It’s just the world we live in. Some of us
WHEN IT'S OKAY TO LOOK BACK!
call it a to do list, a bucket list, goal list, etc. Call it what you will. All of these scenarios require an assessment. A good ole, hit you in the face reality check of just where you are. What are you struggling with and where do you need to make a mid-year adjustment? I want to share a few ways when it’s okay to look back. What are you struggling with?
The desire to lose weight? An illness that you’re determined to conquer? That big dream that you’ve broken down into achievable goals? A better lifestyle overall? Here are a few of my favorite ways to look back, and feel good about it.
1. I keep a journal even when I don’t feel like it. It’s a way to just let it go, to keep track, to make peace with some things and more important to love myself right where I am. There are times that I’ve looked back, read these pages and was astounded at my growth and how I matured not regarding, a few things. The real surprise was how painless it was letting go of things that felt huge at the time.
2. I love to garden. When I plant something from nothing,
Kinda like my big dreams, I love to see things take root and begin to blossom. When I see that first sprig pushing through the dirt, I’m on cloud nine. It reminds me that anything real and worth having is worth waiting for. Take time to nurture what’s important.
3. This is my favorite one. We can all do it because we’ve all been stuck in traffic! That dreaded moment when you realize that you’re stuck in traffic and it doesn’t look like you’ll be out of it any time soon. We creep along, aggravated and annoyed, and just a little pissed off. Then at some point, you look in the rear view mirror and realize just how far you’ve come. You see alllll of the cars and trucks behind you. Traffic as far as can see. Then the moment it sinks in and you think WOW I was waaaayyyy back there, and look where I am now. That’s life honey, you’ll be just fine. It’s okay to look back, just keep moving forward.
Light, Love & Inspiration,
FROM MY HEART TO YOURS - THE PUBLISHER’S NOTE - PAGE 5
MEET THE CONTRIBUTORS
Shemetra Carter Editor-in-Chief
Shemetra Carter is a native of Dallas, Texas. She has a BFA in theater from New York University (TSOA). She has an MA from CAU in African and African-American Studies. Her training includes performing with the historic Negro Ensemble Company, as well as acting, directing, playwriting and producing throughout Dallas, New York and Atlanta. Onion Man Productions produced her 10 Minute Play”Dear Bruh.” Most recently, her monologues were included in “50in50: Writing Women into Existence” at Brooklyn’s Billie Holiday Theatre, Waco Theater Center in Los Angeles and 50in50’s Shattering Glass Ceiling Anniversary.
Certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Specialist
Jackie Madison is a National Exercise & Sports Trainer Association certified Lifestyle & Weight Management Specialistand has worked in the medical industry for over 20 years. She is the practice Administrator for Southern Plastic Surgery & Laser Lights Cosmetic Laser Center. It is in the medical industry that she realized her passion for helping people achieve their own personal healthy lifestyle. Jackie’s purpose and passion in life is to motivate and inspire Women and young Girls to improve their overall
health and fitness for lasting lifestyle changes.
Through her business and now Non-Profit Organization Glamour Girl Fitness, Jackie closely works with patients and clients to help them achieve their weight loss and management goals by identifying obstacles, managing time and stress, and providing healthy eating techniques. She requires accountability, but will offer strong support and motivation to help her clients achieve success.
The focus of Glamour Girl Fitness has expanded from just the individual mom to the mom and child/children. The birthing of the Glamour Girl Fitness‘’ Mommy & Me “motivational program which helps to motivate, inspire and keep moms accountable. Promoting her message of “FAMILY, FUN, and FELLOWSHIP through FITNESS”
Hi! My name is Kelly Jones. I am married to a wonderful man that I do not deserve. We just celebrated 29 years together, and there’s nowhere else I would rather be than by his side! We have two gorgeous grown daughters, one son-in-law (almost two!), and a precious grandbaby boy - we love watching their stories unfold. Currently I am learning all the things about parenting adult children (it’s harder and more wonderful than I ever dreamed) and about being a new grandmama to the most joyful baby on the planet. I am a pastor’s wife, a former Registered Nurse, and I recently left the classroom after 17 years in public education. I loved teaching high school, but it was time for the next chapter of my own story. Stick around to see what’s next!
CONTRIBUTORS PAGE 6
Kelly Valentine Jones
Ken Johnson is a Licensed Professional Counselor and Certified Professional Counselor Supervisor. He is an ordained minister of the gospel and Founder and Administrative director of East-West Psychotherapy in Marietta, Georgia. He is an alumni of Leadership Cobb 2017. He is on the Board of Georgia Metropolitan Dance Theater. He has participated in Dancing With The StarsMarietta winning the Judges Choice and People’s Choice Awards all while being paralyzed and in a wheelchair due to a medical emergency in 2013. Ken also sings with The Strand Ole Opry at the Strand Theatre in Marietta, Georgia. Ken serves on the Community Advisory Committee for Shepherd Center, Rehabilitation Hospital in Atlanta, Georgia. Ken is active in his local church congregation. Ken has been married for 38 years to Cathy. They have two grown daughters, a sonin-law, and two grandchildren. Ken’s relationship to Jesus Christ is the most important thing in his life. Knowing God is in the midst of his circumstances allows him to experience joy in suffering and the hope for a better tomorrow.
Kristina Krizman has been a Licensed Esthetician for over 20 years. She previously owned an award winning Day Spa in Savannah, Georgia and now resides in Asheville, NC. While her earned degree in accounting was put to good use in her early years, she has been interested in the beauty and fashion industry all her life. After having her first facial at age 14, she spent many years studying on her own. She earned her esthetic license from the International School of Skin and Nails in Atlanta, GA and has logged over 100 post graduate hours through the International Dermal Institute based in California.
Kristina has also done runway and print modeling and worked as a nail tech. Now, Kristina enjoys coaching people in good skin care practices, offering fashion and etiquette advise to friends and family and sharing inspirational messages. In a nutshell, she would describe herself as follows:
Esthetician, Volunteer, Customer Service Professional, Auntie/Great Auntie, Sister, Grams, Flower Lover, Clothes Horse, World Traveler, ‘All Things Positive promoter’, Better Half to my Better Half, Junior Leaguer, Disney Lover … and not necessarily in that order! For questions and connecting, you can reach me via email: kris. email@example.com . I also have a weekly post on Instagram called ‘Words for Wednesday’ – sharing positive vibes. (kaknc)
CONTRIBUTORS PAGE 7
Creative, versatile, and passionate about her gift, Sonya is a master cosmetologist with over 20+ years of color and styling experience. She obtained her license at Dudley’s Cosmetology University, in Kernersville, North Carolina, and since then she has been navigating the world of beauty and hair.
While a native of Gainesville, Ga, Sonya has resided in Atlanta, Ga since 1998, where she is the proud owner/stylist of Salon Daisy. Committed to diversifying her experience portfolio, Sonya has also showcased her talents and skills in the television and film industry. Her latest projects/films were Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Fantasy Football (Movie), and Sweet Magnolia’s (Series - Season 2), just to name a few. When she’s not behind the chair, Sonya enjoys fashion styling, designing beaded jewelry, traveling, and spending time with family and close friends.
I am a Nashville native currently residing near Atlanta, Georgia. I have a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and an MBA in Strategic Management. I have been dabbling in online and digital marketing since retiring from the U.S. Army in 2013 and am the CEO of All Web LLC, a digital marketing agency for budding entrepreneurs. In my free time, I love exploring new knitting and crochet patterns and creating beautiful, handmade items.
CONTRIBUTORS PAGE 8
August 11th at 7:00pm
Mid-Year Check In: Managing Stressvictoriously!
Feelings of overwhelm? Is the situation temporary, like an imminent deadline? Or, are you taking on responsibilities that someone else could — and maybe should handle? Once you understand what’s causing the stress in your life, you’ll be better equipped to manage it.
2. CONSIDER YOUR COPING STRATEGIES.
So you’ve had a stressful day.
You’ve been making calls, answering emails, sending texts all day, you’re making appointments, making meals, making ends meet, and then your precious lamb tells you his science fair project is duetomorrow! And your spouse is working late. Again. Stress is a normal part of life for all of us. It’s a normal physiological response to challenging situations. Healthy stress management is a life-long practice, but finding your zen can be an enjoyable thing. To get that good-vibes-only feeling, and keep it on board, let’s consider these ten practical tips:
1. DETERMINE WHY YOU’RE STRESSED.
Sure, there are a lot of ways to manage stress. But wouldn’t avoiding some of the stress be more helpful? When you start to feel your temperature rise and your heart race, ask yourself honestly: What’s the root cause of this reaction? What thoughts am I thinking that are leading to these
How do you relax? Consider the chart below. Healthy coping strategies will rejuvenate and prepare you to manage the next stressor better. Unhealthy coping strategies offer temporary reprieve but don’t help in the long run. When you are constantly reacting to stressful situations without making adjustments to counter the effects, these Feelings can threaten your health and well-being. (Mental Health America, 2022) Simply being aware of your habits and tendencies will help you to eliminate your unhealthy coping strategies and replace them with healthier options!
3. BREATHE INTENTIONALLY.
You breathe without thinking all the time—literally. When you take the time to slow down and focus on breathing deeply and quickly, you increase the oxygen levels in your blood and encourage physical relaxation. Intentional breathing is one of the simplest stress management techniques to try. You can do it anywhere. And it’s free!
4. PRACTICE MINDFULNESS THROUGH PRAYER.
INSPIRED HEALTH PAGE 10
Prayerful meditation on God’s Word can help you mentally recenter and refresh. To put it simply, our meditation helps us release control to God. Through this intentional silence, we work to develop a consistent meditation and prayer practice so that we can better embrace God’s peace throughout each day. (Hallow.org, 2023)
5. SELF CARE IS GOOD FOR YOU!
It’s crucial to schedule time for self-care. Finding time to unwind can be difficult because of daily obligations, but it is essential to your well being. If you’ve been yearning for a spa day, but can’t commit to an appointment, it’s simpler than you think to create your own tranquil environment in the comfort of your own home!
6. MOVE IT, THEN SLEEP TIGHT.
Physical activity produces endorphins - chemicals in the brain that act as natural painkillers and mood boosters - and also improve the ability to sleep, which in turn reduces stress. It’s challenging to experience the adverse side effects of stress while feeling euphoric! Keep it simple if you’re new to exercise or just getting back into it. A workout of low to moderate intensity makes you feel energized and healthy, especially when stress has depleted your energy or ability to concentrate. (Anxiety & Depression Association of America, 2023)
7. EMBRACE THE NO.
Sometimes it’s hard to say no. After all, being someone everyone can rely on is a good thing, right? Not if putting everyone else first comes at the expense of your own personal well-being. Remember to keep in mind that self-care isn’t selfish. Set boundaries — at work and home.
EAT HEALTHILY AND STAND BY THEM.
Food fuels your body and mind. When you’re stressed, indulging in unhealthy comfort food can be tempting. Did someone say ice cream? However, when your brain lacks good, quality nutrients, it can affect everything, from cognition and mood to stress
levels. We cannot overemphasize the importance of nutrition to prevent or cure disease.
RESET YOUR GUT MICROBIOME.
If you feel stuck, it may be time to harness the power of your gut microbiome. In previous issues, we have explored the power of resetting your metabolism with a nutritionally supported fast, and we’ve taken a deep dive into identifying the differences between a detox and a cleanse. Today, I challenge you to consider beginning a targeted system that focuses on the merits of gut health.
What does your gut microbiome have to do with stress? In a word: everything. Friendly bacteria living in your gut help support your mood, so when your microbiome is out of balance, you feel it. Stress also plays a role in your microbiome’s makeup. In other words, more stress for you can create harsher conditions for your beneficial gut microbes that are trying to thrive.
Starting with a 3-day nutritionally supported fast to eliminate sugary and highly refined foods that feed non-desirable microbes, and change the way you see and desire unhealthy foods, can be followed by deliberately using a system to create balance when you help weed, seed, and feed your gut with gentle, but powerful supplementation. Give your body the fresh start it needs to set the stage for maximum results with a proven system of products and enjoy the savings on your wellness routine. Please see the associated ad here in this issue to learn more!
10. BONUS: CELEBRATE EACH SMALL WIN!
It’s probably not realistic to think you’ll live a stressfree life. This is why it’s important to remember that even small steps can make a big difference in every wellness journey. Reducing stress is a step toward Health and Happiness that is worth celebrating! I am here to help you, friend. One victorious step at a time.
INSPIRED HEALTH PAGE 11
COMMON COPING STRATEGIES
Activities that bring us into the present moment: Meditation, Prayer,yoga, tai-chi, breathing exercises
Activities that nourish and enrich our body. spirit, self-esteem; affirmations, massage, reiki, aromatherapy etc.
Activities that give us a different focus: art, video games, cooking,reading.. fearning a new skill
Activities that nurse our feelings, temporarily relieve discomfort, can be compulsive or excessive.
Activities that give us emotional catharsis and connection: feelings wheel, naming & expressing the feeling, journaling, or coloring.
COMMUNITY CARE PLANNING
Planning and mapping out self, family and community needs.
2. https://hallow.com/blog/how-to-pray-christianmeditation/#:~:text=We%20pray%20in%2Othe%20form. ways%20of%20talking%20with%20Him
3. https://adaa.org/understanding-anxiety/related-illnesses/ other-related-conditions/stress/physical-activity-reduces-st
Jones, R.N., B.S.N., M.Ed.
You know, when you find something that changes your life... you just can’t keep it to yourself! So here I am, being a good friend and sharing about the things that have helped me become the BEST version of me!
kelly.v.jones.7 kelly.v.jones/ firstname.lastname@example.org
By Kelly Jones, R.N., B.S.N., M.Ed.
check out this month's article on Managing Stress Victoriously!
TIME FOR YOUR FITNESS CHECK-UP!
It seems like yesterday we were ringing in the new year, but today it’s suddenly springtime and summer is right around the corner. If you’ve been following this series since January, we’ve brought you pro tips on motivating yourself toward fitness and launching your personal fitness program. Now it’s time to see how it’s going.
A fitness journey is all about tracking your progress. As we start diving into warmer weather and reaching the halfway point of the year, this is the perfect time to check in with yourself and see how you’re doing with these self-reflection questions.
Are You Still Motivated?
Inspiration is in the air in January. It’s the start of a new year and a new opportunity to take 2023 by the horns and make it a year for growth and self-improvement. As time goes on, though, and you’re in the nitty-gritty of the hard work, that motivation fades.
How are you feeling at this point in the year? Are you still feeling motivated to give yourself the gift of fitness? If not, now is the time to reexamine and reflect on all the amazing things that can come from this fitness journey, reminding yourself of why it’s such a meaningful pursuit.
Have You Noticed a Change in Your Fitness?
The goal of every fitness program is to get results, so let’s take an inventory of those results. Have you noticed any changes? This could be weight loss or your clothes fitting better but there are so many other improvements to take note of too. Are you more physically capable than you were
INSPIRED FITNESS PAGE 14
when you started? Are certain exercises more doable now than they were a few months ago?
Are You Building on Your Workouts?
It’s so exciting when a workout that once felt impossible is now downright comfortable! But remember that to continue improving, your workout needs to be challenging. As you progress with your fitness, check in to make sure you’re gradually increasing the difficulty and continually challenging yourself.
Are You Mixing It Up?
It doesn’t matter how much a person loves fitness, anyone will get bored eventually if they’re doing the same workout over and over. That boredom leads so many people to abandon their workout routines altogether.
Are you proactively mixing up your workouts so you don’t get bored? If not, now is the time to start. This can include swapping out the weight lifting moves you’re doing, changing your walking or running route, or even just taking some of your workouts outside to enjoy this lovely weather.
Are You Celebrating Your Wins?
This is a big one! It’s wonderful to have a long-term goal for your fitness journey, but so many people make the mistake of not celebrating their accomplishments until they hit that one goal. Every workout you do is an accomplishment! It’s a win to choose that investment in yourself. It’s a win to make small improvements in your health and capabilities. All of those wins deserve to be celebrated, and this will keep you uplifted and motivated long-term.
Checking In for Your Health
Checking in with yourself and asking yourself these questions every so often is an important way to keep yourself on track and make sure you’re getting as much as you can from your fitness routine. Remember, this is no one’s journey but your own. Make it what you want it to be.
The focus of Glamour Girl Fitness has expanded from just the individual mom to the mom and child/children. The birthing of the Glamour Girl Fitness‘’ Mommy & Me “motivational program which helps to motivate, inspire and keep moms accountable. Promoting her message of “FAMILY, FUN, and FELLOWSHIP through FITNESS”
Jackie Madison CEO Glamour Girl Fitness,Inc.
INSPIRED FITNESS PAGE 15
LIPSTI CK, LIPGLOSS, L IPSTAIN... Lips Matter!
Lipstick has and always will be, one of my favorite things. I remember as a little girl, putting it on all of my dolls. My mother wasn’t happy about it, because they all belonged to her...the lipstick, not the dolls! I’ve always been fascinated at how instantaneous that transformation could be.
Over the years, that fascination grew into a wonderful passion for beauty and makeup. Facial features completely floor me because we are all so beautiful in our own, incredibly unique way. Just the way God planned it. That has always been my approach to beauty, loving the woman YOU see in the mirror, period. Unfortunately, not all beauty is celebrated, and we can be mean to each other sometimes. So yes, lips matter and the lipstick and gloss, take a back seat, to what we say.
There is a saying, “The eyes are the windows to the soul.” Well make no mistake, a woman’s lips will tell you exactly how and what she’s feeling, every time. I want women to finally see themselves as God sees them, beautiful and breathtaking.
I lost 20 pounds a while ago kept it off, thank God! During that time, something wonderful happened. While I was focusing on what I put in my mouth, I also began to
watch what came out of my mouth as well. Sometimes we’re blocking our own blessings because of what we say. Words truly have power! I watched what I said to others, and especially what I said to myself. It was a total game changer.
So, go try a new lipstick, get a makeover, make time for you, then make it count, because lips matter. The next time you’re at work, in the break room, cafeteria, at church, out running errands...wear your favorite shade and smile. Show your fellow sisters some love, cut them a little slack. It would be a real shame if that beautiful lipstick, or lip gloss turned into a lip stain. Not the pretty kind either. The kind of stain you can’t take back. The kind of stain that leaves a bad taste in your mouth and wounds another woman’s wings. It’s not okay, ever. So, here’s to you and all that you are and remember.....Lips Matter!
Light, Love & Inspiration,
INSPIRED BEAUTY PAGE 16
By Ken Johnson, M.A., LPC Founder & CEO, East West Psychotherapy Associates Marietta, GA
Have you ever found yourself on the receiving end of circumstances that are beyond your control? What is usually your first reaction when you see bad circumstances coming your way? If you’re like most people, you try to get away from the problem as quickly as possible. You try to save yourself from the pain coming your way. Running from problems is not always the best way to handle difficult circumstances.
I was recently reminded that when buffalo herds in Yellowstone National Park are faced with an oncoming storm they do not run away from the storm. Our natural inclination is to try to outrun a storm; get as far in front of the storm so it does not affect us. The buffaloes know that won’t work. They can never outrun a storm. The storm will overcome them and then they will be wet, cold, and stuck in the middle of the storm. Buffaloes don’t run away from the storm. Instead, the whole herd turns and faces the storm. They go into the storm to meet it.
INSPIRED FAITH PAGE 17
Then they continue to walk through the storm and out the other side. They are less wet, less cold and they come out into the sunlight. The storm is behind them.
The storms of life will come and go. We cannot always avoid them. You’ve probably heard it said, “God never gives you more than you can handle.” I do not believe this statement. If God never gives us more than we can handle, then why do we need God? We can take care of ourselves.
No, I believe God always gives us more than we can handle because it forces us to trust God. We must rely on Him. We then see the power of God and the immense love He has for each of us. He desires to have a relationship with us. God doesn’t watch our struggle from afar to see how we’ll do. God is in the midst of the storm, walking through the storm with us. There are times when God will even carry us. The Bible tells us in Isaiah 46:4, “I have made you and I will carry you; I will sustain you and I will rescue you.”
God gives us hope in His promises that He will get us through the storms that come our way. We can trust God. He keeps His word. I remember nine years ago when walking across the floor in my house and suddenly falling to the floor paralyzed due to a medical emergency. I never walked again. My paralysis and permanent use of a wheelchair has been one of my greatest personal storms.
I literally couldn’t run from this storm. I turned headlong into the storm and used my faith in God and the promises of His words in the Bible to harness the turbulence of the storm with God beside me to raise me up above the storm and through the storm.
Did you know that eagles are the only bird that fly directly into a storm? Other birds seek shelter and must wait it out; their feathers can’t take the rain and they have trouble flying. The storm has essentially
Did you know that eagles are the only bird that fly directly into a storm?
grounded them. But not the eagle. The eagle flies into the storm and uses the strong, turbulent winds to propel itself higher through the storm to break
through and fly above the clouds, avoiding the storm.
Isaiah 40:31 says,
“Those who hope in the Lord will renew their strength. They will soar on wings like eagles; they will run and not grow weary; they will walk and not be faint.”
It’s comforting to know that God is with us through the storms. But we need to be actively working with God to overcome the storms we face. Here are five ways you can work with God to overcome the storms in your life.
• Call on the name of the Lord for strength. Recognize you don’t have to go through your circumstances alone.
• God wants to be with you through the storm.
• Read God’s promises in the Bible. This is how God Reminds us to trust Him.
• Surround yourself with those who will go with you and support you through the storm. When you are surrounded by those who care, God blesses you and those around you are blessed.
• Never give up. Keep pushing forward. Always trust that you are not alone. God will give you supernatural strength to keep going, even when the rest of the world tells you to give up.
• Have patience with the time it takes to get through the storm. Take time to slow down and think about your best way of getting through a storm. Use the resources God gives you to plan and make wise decisions on getting through difficult circumstances.
• Everyone goes through storms from time to time. But you don’t have to feel the weight is all on your shoulders. God is beside you, going through the storm with you. I leave you with Deuteronomy 31:8, “The Lord Himself goes before you and will be with you. He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.”
INSPIRED FAITH PAGE 18
It is through God that I have found true healing.
Ken at kjohnson@eastwestpsych. com.
For more information visit eastwestpsych.com
In today’s fast-paced digital world, businesses must have an updated website and a solid social media presence. These two components help organizations stay top-of-mind with prospects and clients. An updated website ensures that your organization presents itself in the best possible light, while social media provides a platform to engage with your audience and build relationships. However, keeping up with these tasks can be time-
consuming, and that’s where Al comes in.
Artificial intelligence has come a long way in recent years and can now automate many of the smaller administrative tasks in your business. For instance, Al can help with social media post creation by analyzing your audience’s preferences and generating content likely to resonate with them. This saves time and ensures that your social media content is high quality and engaging.
Al can also help with responding to comments on website blogs. By using natural language processing, Al can analyze the sentiment of a comment and generate an appropriate and relevant response. This not only saves time but also ensures that your organization is engaging with its audience in a meaningful way.
However, while Al can be a valuable tool for smaller administrative tasks, it’s not replacing human interaction. It’s still important for organizations to engage with their audience personally and be authentic in their interactions.
In addition to helping with administrative tasks, Al can analyze data and provide insights to inform your business
INSPIRED TECHNOLOGY PAGE 19
decisions. For instance, Al can analyze website traffic and social media engagement to determine which strategies are working and which need to be adjusted. This can help organizations make informed decisions about their marketing and communication strategies and ensure that they are getting the most out of their digital presence.
Several Al platforms can assist with storytelling and social media post creation. One popular platform is Articoolo, which uses natural language processing to generate high-quality content based on a topic or keyword. Another platform is Copy.ai, which uses GPT-3 technology to generate engaging and unique content for social media posts and marketing campaigns.
IFTTT (if-this-then-that) technology can also be used to automate responses to comments on website blogs. IFTTT is a free web-based service that allows users to create automated workflows by setting up triggers and actions. For instance, you can create an IFTTT applet that automatically sends an email notification to your team when a new comment is posted on your website blog. This way, you can respond to comments quickly and efficiently without constantly monitoring your blog for new activity.
Another way to use IFTTT to assist with responding to comments is to set up an applet that automatically generates a response based on the comment’s content. For instance, you can create an applet that generates a response thanking the commenter for their feedback and directing them to additional resources on your website. This can help to create a more personalized and engaging experience for your audience while also saving time and resources.
In addition to Al platforms and IFTTT, several other tools and technologies can be used to enhance your digital presence and streamline your workflow. Social media scheduling tools like Hootsuite and Buffer can help you to plan and automate your social media content, while analytics tools like Google Analytics
can provide valuable insights into your website traffic and audience engagement.
It’s important to note that while Al and automation can be powerful tools for businesses, they should not be relied upon exclusively. It’s still essential for organizations to engage with their audience personally and be authentic in their interactions. Additionally, monitoring and adjusting your digital strategy regularly is good to ensure it aligns with your business goals and objectives.
In conclusion, an updated website and a strong social media presence are essential components of a successful digital strategy. With the help of Al and automation, businesses can save time and resources while providing a more personalized and engaging experience for their audience. However, it’s important to remember that Al and automation should be used with human interaction and authenticity to create a successful digital strategy. By combining the power of technology with the personal touch of human interaction, businesses can create a digital presence that truly resonates with their audience and drives success for their organization.
Terassah has a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, a Master’s degree in Industrial/Organizational Psychology, and an MBA in Strategic Management. I have been dabbling in online and digital marketing since retiring from the U.S. Army in 2013 and am the CEO of All Web LLC, a digital marketing agency for budding entrepreneurs.
Visit her at: allwebllc.com Facebook:
INSPIRED TECHNOLOGY PAGE 20
her at: email@example.com
or Text: 7702993992
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David-Matthew Barnes Q & Awith
COVER STORY PAGE 22
When did you discover your love for writing?
I fell in love with writing at the early age of 7. I wrote a Halloween-themed story titled ‘The Blue Witch’. My second- grade teacher recognized my love of storytelling and really encouraged me. Thanks to my sixth-grade drama teacher, my first play was produced when I was only 11. The script was a tribute to soap operas titled ‘Life Isn’t Easy.’ By the time I was 13, I was writing plays and short stories on a second-hand typewriter.
When did you realize that it was more of a calling on your life and purpose, rather than a hobby?
I’m a writer today because when I was 13, a woman named Norma Fox Mazer changed my life.
My eighth-grade world was lit on fire when it was announced Norma Fox Mazer - one of my favorite authors - would be making a guest appearance at our school. After some serious campaigning to the junior high powers that be, I was one of the few students selected to have lunch with her in the library. I was beyond thrilled, having read every book she’d written. Although I was terribly star struck, I bravely showed her a section of a short story I was working on at the time and told her how much I wanted to be a writer.
Norma Fox Mazer scanned over the first page and informed me, “You already are.”
Two years later, I published my first short story. And the rest, as they say, is history.
Do you have a favorite genre of writing?
I do. It’s a close tie between writing young adult fiction and horror stories. I love both equally. They were my first loves, in terms of genres.
How many books and plays have you written? I have written sixteen books and 70 stage plays.
Do you have a writing ritual?
Music is such an inspiration to me. For every project I write, I create a playlist comprised of songs that have either inspired the story or are similar in tone and style to the project. Later, once the project is done, if I start to miss the story or the characters, I’ll listen to the playlist to remember both.
In terms of my creative process, I write every day, including weekends. I usually write very early in the morning. I write one thousand words a day. They’re not
always great words, but I get them down on paper and then go back and edit them later. What keeps you grounded?
Definitely my family. They’re very supportive of everything I do, but they’re quick to remind me how important balance is.
How do you stay inspired?
My constant objective as a screenwriter is to tell the best story I can, specifically a story that can only be told on the screen. With every script I write, my goal is to create as much tension and authentic emotion on the page as possible to provide every audience member with a transformative experience.
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David with husband, Edward C. Ortiz
David at the age of 13 receiving his typewriter.first
Most of my work is female-centric and youth-themed. Writing for and about women is something I’m very committed to. I really enjoy telling stories about ordinary people experiencing extraordinary circumstances and how the experience changes them and their life.
Is writer’s block real, and how do you get through it?
I’ve never suffered from writer’s block. I have the opposite experience. My imagination is usually in overdrive creating and discovering new story ideas. I get new ideas all day long. The challenge is deciding which ideas are worth pursuing - which ideas are worthy of becoming a story.
I consider myself a professional eavesdropper. I get many ideas from conversations that I overhear. I’m really lucky because story ideas seem to find me. I do incorporate some personal experiences into my writing, but the majority of what I create is from a place of imagination.
With your incredible success, comes failure. What was your biggest, failure, flop, mistake, and how did you bounce back?
I’ve had many, many failures in my career. Often, you expect a project to be successful and then when it doesn’t happen, you have to process those
emotions and learn from them. Many times, a project of mine has come very close to careerchanging success, only to fall apart before it reaches the finish line. This has happened to me a lot with film and television projects. In those instances, it’s tough to navigate the letdown, the realization that something you’re very passionate about isn’t going to get the life you want it to have. In those instances, the fate of a project wasn’t completely in my hands. In the industry I’m in, the most difficult lesson for me has been learning how much you need other people to level up.
You’re also a film and stage play director and producer. How do you manage wearing such a variety of hats?
I feel very blessed. I feel as if I’ve experienced many careers in one. Each of the elements of my creative life are very fulfilling in different ways. All of it comes from a love of creative expression and storytelling. I learn from each experience I’m a part of- as a writer, as a director, as a producer. For me, the most important thing is to be present for those experiences - to be aware of the growth and the blessing of being there.
How important is having a support system to you?
Having a support system means everything to me. I’m very fortunate to have an extraordinary support system comprised of people who want the best for me, but also want me to be the best version of myself. I wouldn’t be able to do what I do without my support system. My heart is filled with gratitude for them. Always.
How do you protect precious personal and
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family time, without neglecting anyone, anything or feeling guilty?
This was a challenge for me earlier in my career. I had to learn the value of a healthy work/life balance. In the beginning I was so focused on moving forward in my career, that other parts of my life suffered because of it. Today, I’m really aware of the necessity of experiencing the beauty of both - the personal and the professional. Each make me who I am.
What are you most excited about?
Can you share anything wonderful with us?
I’m so excited about my upcoming projects. I have many new stories in the works, including new stage plays, novels, and screenplays. I’m finishing my first horror novel, about two female serial killers. It’s called Dummy and it’s a literary love letter to all the horror writers and films that have inspired me. Over the last year, I’ve served as a producer of many films, mostly horror movies, some international films, and a handful of independent films. Many of these will be released in the upcoming months and I can’t wait to share them with the world.
We’ve known each other for 20 years. You and your incredible work ethic have always been an inspiration to me. How do you stay inspired?
People inspire me. The stories that are shared with me need to be shared with others. I’m really just a satellite, a conduit. I really enjoy writing about seemingly ordinary people experiencing extraordinary situations. It’s my passion. I’m also very fascinated with writing about people from different cultures. For that reason, many of my plays feature characters and themes related
to cultures other than my own. As a novelist, I’ve written many books for young people, which is also the case with my plays. I’ve been very fortunate that young audiences (and actors) have responded well to many of plays, letting me know they connect with the language, emotions, and characters, including the handful of plays I’ve written for and about gay youth. A common link does exist among many of my characters, as most of them are searching for a better place to exist, both physically and emotionally. The journeys of my characters searching for something more is where I draw my inspiration from.
How can our readers follow you and stay connected to you?
I invite anyone who’s interested to visit my website, which is www.dmatthewb.com.
Is there anything else you’d like to say or share?
If you’re thinking about writing, do it. You are the only one who can tell your story. It belongs to you and only you, so own it. Believe in your ability to tell a great story. Don’t let anyone deter you from writing or following your dreams. They’re yours to make come true.
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What Inspires You?
All of us at Inspiring You Magazine want to know what inspires you.
How do you keep going? How do you stay grounded? What makes your heart happy? What makes you smile?
Just a few ideas to get you started.
SEND STORY AND A PHOTO TO:
Your submission gives consent to publish your story and photo in both digital and print versions of Inspiring You Magazine. WHAT INSPIRES YOU? PAGE 27
inspired LIVES Inspiration is everywhere. We all meet people every day that are using their lives to make a difference. Each issue of Inspiring You Magazine, we want to focus on individuals that are making a difference in their communities, homes, and workplace, anyway they can. Is it you? Someone you know? We’d love to hear about it! Send your story and a photo to: INSPIRINGYOUMAGAZINEIMN@GMAIL.COM Your submission and photo give consent to be published in both digital and print versions of Inspiring You Magazine. INSPIRED LIVES PAGE 28
HALFWAY THERE! ARE YOU UP TO DATE?
Halfway there! Are you ‘up-to-date’?
Mid-year is fast approaching and a great time to reflect on ‘where am I’. We often perform a mental check-up on things like: Am I achieving the goals I set for myself? Does the summer plan for the kids still seem viable? Is my bank account looking good or holding on for dear life? These are all important things to reflect on. How about you take the check-up literally?
Are you doing all you can to stay fit and healthy? Just recently, I had a pretty big health scare when I was looking and feeling in tip-top shape! I was brought back to reality very quickly. When your health is amiss your whole life goes off-kilter, too. If you are in good health, be very thankful for it every day. At this mid-year point, take stock of the professionals you should be seeing on a regular basis to ensure your health is in check.
Primary Care Physician (annually)
Dentist (twice/year for cleanings)
Dermatologist (skin screening every 2 years or as advised)
Chiropractor (as needed, proper alignment/ posture will pay their dividends into later years)
Specialty Doctors (mammograms, prostate checks, etc.)
If you need a new doctor or have never seen some of these specialists, ask your friends and neighbors if they can recommend anyone to you. These days, your Primary Care Physician is key. Often you can’t get any tests, medications or referrals to specialists without one, and sometimes you are required to see your PCP for your insurance to foot the bill.
It’s amazing what you might find that you didn’t know was there - both good and not-so-good. Most of all, listen to your body and act accordingly. Don’t put off getting unusual or irregular symptoms checked out. Please don’t self-diagnose. Far better to have the doctor tell you it’s nothing than to find out too late that it’s something big.
I’m finding out the older I get that one doctor visit may lead to several more, which I used to find a bit irritating or felt like some of it was overkill. Not so. It’s always a process of elimination in our health care and to find out what it’s NOT is also a very good thing. Love it when they can take certain health concerns off the table.
Just as important as your medical care is your selfcare! Are you taking time for yourself to sit quietly, take a walk, participate in a yoga class or other healthy activity? Maybe you just need to take some time to pull out that canvas and paint brushes, try that new recipe or enjoy finishing a project you keep putting off. Self-care is extremely important to your mental and physical health, no matter how small the gesture.
Put your self-care activities on your calendar just like other important appointments and reminders. Giving them a placeholder encourages you to schedule around them and keep you on task. Here are some ideas to jump start your plan. Be creative and do what speaks to you for serenity. This is your daily opportunity for wellness and prevention.
• Walks in Nature
• Tea with a Friend
• Watch an Old Sappy Movie
• Reflexology Treatment
• Write in your Gratitude Journal
• ‘Earthing’ (also called Grounding) You can walk barefoot in the grass for natural healing from the Earth’s electrons. (Book by Clint Ober)
• Laugh - it IS the best medicine
Get yourself a simple journal or use a small pad of notebook paper to jot down five things you are thankful for and what self-care you enjoyed each day. It becomes a little diary of sorts you can look back over and see how you’ve progressed.
Always remember: WHEN YOU’VE GOT YOUR HEALTHYOU’VE GOT JUST ABOUT EVERYTHING!
Esthetician, Volunteer, Customer Service Professional, Auntie/Great Auntie, Sister, Grams, Flower Lover, Clothes Horse, World Traveler, ‘All Things Positive promoter’, Better Half to my Better Half, Junior Leaguer,Disney Lover … and not necessarily in that order!
For questions and connecting, you can reach me via email: firstname.lastname@example.org . I also have a weekly post on Instagram called ‘Words for Wednesday’ – sharing positive vibes. (kaknc)
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Work Your Dash Off!
We’ve all seen one, stood at a graveside and passed a cemetery. Maybe it’s real personal for you. Perhaps you lost a loved one, a best friend. Let’s take it a step further. Think about all of the eulogies you’ve heard, how many memorial services you’ve been a part of. At every one of these events, we hear about that person’s dash. It’s called a eulogy! Clarity is a beautiful thing, with that in mind, here’s what I mean by DASH. When you look at a tombstone or other marker, the dash is the line you see between the dates of a person’s birth and death.
That person didn’t know when they’d be born, or when they’d die. However, here’s the deal, they were in total control of and owned their dash. The good, the bad, the painful, the joyous, the exciting, the happy, the ugly. In essence, they wrote their own eulogy by how they lived their life!
Hear my heart on this. I’m in no way referring to or talking about the awful things that’s happened to people that were totally out of their control. Things like abuse (physical, emotional, etc.), life happens and it’s not always pretty. Nevertheless, what I am talking about are all of the things that we can control, which is way more than you think. The times we settle for less both personally and professionally. All of the times and ways that we allow others to devalue our very being.
It’s time to own your DASH. To go for the things that are important to you, the dreams you have, and the gifts you’ve been given. It’s okay to take care of you, and to just go for it.
I’m writing my eulogy every day, and so are you. We can decide, and yes control, what will be said about us when we’re gone. So, honey, I’m working my DASH off! What will YOUR dash say about you?
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You like the T-Shirt?
You’re going to LOVE the Conference!!