Small Town Big Deal – The Book

Wow, what an opportunity.

My wife, Rhonda, and I recently made a trip to Ocilla, Georgia, to meet with Rodney Miller, the president and Co-host of the TV Show, Small Town Big Deal.

We finalized our plans to begin a wonderful writing project, telling the story behind the show.

We really enjoyed the trip, as we used to live in Georgia. The first place we lived while there, and where our oldest daughter was born, is just about an hour and-a-half north of Ocilla, and the second place we lived, where the other three children were born, is just about an hour and-a-half north of there. So, we truly got to combine business with pleasure.

It was great to see old friends and to get a start on this project. It will be a collaborative work. I will serve as the coordinating author. The co-hosts, Rodney Miller, and Jann Carl will serve as collaborative authors.

America’s TV Program

The first program aired in 2012 on RFD Network. It still airs there, but it also appears in many major markets as a syndicated program. It is one of the fovorite things for us to record on our DVR through our satellite provider.

Since many of America’s small towns or rural communities are often overlooked by the main-stream media outlets, Small Town Big Deal focuses on the small communities that sometimes house some of America’s best-kept secrets. Many outlets focus on the huge metropolitan areas like New York and Los Angeles, and that is OK, but we have here the stories from many areas that are sometimes referred to as “the forgotten America.”

As such, this truly has been dubbed, “America’s TV Program.”

Rodney started working on the program in 2010 by shooting a pilot with a proposed co-host. After a while, the arrangement did not work out, and he had to shoot another one by himself.

He started the first season as just the single host, but something unusual happened on the day they aired their first episode of that season in Septemeber of 2012. They received an email from a former Entertainment Tonight weekend anchor expressing interest in the show.

That is where Jann Carl came in. Roger, Rodney’s friend from church who later became the executive producer, read the email first. He thought it might be a prank, but then he showed it to Rodney.

Jann loved the idea of the show. She said that she “always wanted to be Charles Kuralt.” You may remember some of his segments entitle “On the Road with Charles Kuralt.” She also said, “I promise you I am not a stalker.”

Rodney contacted her and, after several conversations, she became the co-host and part owner of the program.

Rodney says this brought instant credibility and helped a great deal with the attempt to gain sponsors for the show.

Rhonda and I were able to meet with Jann when she visited her family in the St. Louis area in early December. We were able to talk for a couple of hours. 

Rhonda and JannRhonda’s complement was: “Jann is just as sweet as she appears to be on TV.

Though we don’t have a picture, we were able to meet her mother too.

Many of you will remember Jann’s 14 years with Entertainment Tonight where she became the weekend anchor for the show.

Not to be outdone, I really want to get my picture in here too. 

The book shares about both Rodney’s and Jann’s pre-Small Town Big Deal life.

Jann Carl and Randy CarneyI consider it a great privilege to work with both Jann and Rodney, and I look forward to meeting some of the members of the production team.

From Despair to Success

While the show enjoys a good deal of success today, getting there was not always easy. After all, if it were easy, everybody would be doing it.

Rodney shares his setbacks and times of despair. He especially recalls a time, after show had been in production for a few years. The show seemingly was about to go under. Either they were going to have to raise more money or get the show in the black on their own. They had to make some hard decisions, and to inform all those involved in production of those decisions. Fortunately many stuck with the project, and they weathered through the storm. Then the program became profitable on its own.

The Dreams

Rodney’s company asked him to do a TV commercial when he was CEO. He was reluctant to do that. In fact, he tells of how he was really shy as a young boy and how one of the happiest days of his life came when his high-school guidance counselor told him that speech was no longer required for him to graduate. Yet, he agreed to do the commercial. He said he fell in love with the camera.

Then a few years later, he had the idea for a TV show. Not knowing anything about TV, he really didn’t think anything would come of. Then one day at church he found out that his friend, Roger, had great experience and knew very much about TV production.

They started talking and finally decided they could try such a venture. Rodney wanted programming that was family friendly and that could highlight the great strengths of small-town and rural life.

The Incredible Journey, Beating Overwhelming Odds

As mentioned earlier, there were many ups and downs, and there were many times they could have quit and thrown in the towel. There were many discouragements. The great thing about the team came in the timing of the discouragements. They were never all down at the same time. They and members of their families encouraged each other.

Jann’s friend told her they “had created a unicorn.” Small Town Big Deal is a one of a kind almost mythical and legendary creature like a unicorn.

Most TV programs are owned by big production companies with a lot of financial backing before the projects get started. Jann, Rodney, and their investors own the program.

One sponsor turned them down for a sponsorship, but they would not let them leave either because they were intrigued by their business model

There came some turning points where they could have gone under, but they remember the red-letter day when they could cover all costs with their present capital and sponsorships.

Conclusion

Many people dream, but, more often than not, many never see their dreams become reality. Small Town Big Deal is the story of the dreams of a farm-boy turned CEO, and a girl from Carthage Missouri turned movie star who says she always wanted to be “Charles Kuralt.” As you follow their incredible journey to beat overwhelming odds to produce a successful TV show, you will be inspired to go for your dreams. You’ll learn to have a dream, to be open to opportunities when they present themselves, to be creative and to regroup when necessary. Most of all, though, you will see the value of hard work and perseverance. Enjoy this great story, and then create one of your own!

Regain Trust in Marriage – Overcome Both of Your Fears

Hands Shielding Face

Regain trust in marriage? Can you really do that when you have lost it?Sometimes your or your mate loses trust over a series of disappointments and failed promises. At other times, however, a major event occurs that causes a loss of trust. An affair is extremely difficult to overcome.

Sometimes the offender has a fear the marriage partner can not forgive him or her, and they could never restore the marriage. Likewise, the offended party has fears that the spouse will not really change. Also, the one who needs to forgive may also have a fear of really being able to do that. If there is a real commitment to overcome this loss, you can regain trust in marriage. Overcome both of your fears by summoning the courage to rebuild.

How can you do that? Among other things, you can take four basic actions to regain such a trust.

Forgive

The most important step for both of you will be the step of forgiveness. With an affair, if you were the offended party, this step will be important and difficult. You will have so many emotions running through your mind. You will have a feeling of betrayal. You will feel rejected, and you will probably also feel angry.Forgive each other

If you were the offending party, and you have truly come to your senses, it will be equally important for you to forgive yourself.

While there is no excuse for what you did in violating your marriage vows, your spouse may need some forgiving too.

As time goes on, you will make deposits in the trust bank. Each time you do something trustworthy, you confirm that your spouse’s decision to forgive was the right thing to do.

At first your forgiveness will probably be a sheer act of your will. You may not feel like forgiving all the time, but you will do so because you have decided to do so.

Forgiveness does not mean that you excuse the behavior and sweep the hurt under the rug and just act like the offense never happened. We often talk about “forgive and forget.” If we take God’s act of forgiving as our model, we will see the sense in which He forgets. When God decides to forget, He does not lose the ability to know what happened. Rather, the way he forgets is that he does not hold the past against us. When you forgive your husband or wife, you will still know what happened. The key is not to dwell on the past and not to hold it against your spouse. If there is a new offense, that is what you will deal with. It is very important not to add fuel to the fire by bringing up past similar experiences.

However, to rebuild trust, you will give new conditions based on the past offense.

The first step is to forgive. Then you will begin the process of rebuilding.

Do What You Say

The best way to build or rebuild trust in any situation is to be a man or woman of your word. If you say you will be somewhere at a certain time, be there. If you say you will hold your spouse accountable for meeting certain agreed-upon conditions, make sure you stick to your word. If you decide later that your conditions were unreasonable, explain why you are willing to change them at that later date.

Suppose you say you will be home for supper at a certain time, make sure you actually arrive on time. Every time either of you does
exactly what you promised, you gain or regain trust in your marriage.

Suppose you know you will not make it home when you said you would. How do you handle that? It is very important to let your husband or wife know. It is also very important to do the informing as close to the moment you realize this will happen as you can.

Much distrust and discontent in many marriages could be avoided by simply letting the mate know what is going on. You do need to explain why you will be late (and the reason better be a good, legitimate reason, and something that you could not have easily avoided.)

Committing to this principle may help you see if you have a tendency to overestimate what you can accomplish in a certain amount of time. After you practice this important action for a while, you will be better at making time estimates.

Your spouse will also become more confident you really care about his or her time and feelings. When you rebuild this well enough, it may meet the occasional instance where you may not be able to inform your wonderful mate of your lateness with only a minimal frustration. “I knew something important that you couldn’t avoid came up,” will be music to your ears, coming from your spouse. Then you will truly know you have been successful in rebuilding trust.

First, forgive. Second, become a man or woman of your word.

Practice the Principle of Leaving

The third action you can take to rebuild trust in marriage is to practice the principle of leaving. Here, we are specifically talking about putting things behind you and leaving them there–never (a strong word, huh?) to bring them up against your spouse again.Put the past behind you You, by an act of your will, decide to forgive. Both of you develop track records of keeping your

promises and doing what you say. These track records make it easier for you to rebuild trust in each other. Focusing on the new will be very important. Leaving the past behind will be important There are many ways the principle of leaving will benefit your marriage. You leave these actions that broke your trust behind. Then you will do well to expand that to other areas where you will not bring up your pasts as ammunition to fire shots at each other. You will leave your relationship to your parents behind (and develop new relationships with them as adults to adults.) You will leave former romantic relationships before the marriage. You will leave things that really frustrate your husband or wife. You will leave former disrespect and get on with the new.

You forgive. You keep your word. You leave the past behind and then you make a new commitment or recommitment. What type of commitment is that?

Commit to Overcoming Your Differences

You commit to overcoming your differences. With an affair, you may have quarrelled over your differences in the past. Then one of you may have discovered someone who accepted you as you were. That temporary feeling of relief because of your similarities may have drawn you away from your spouse to the party outside your marriage.Mountain

We often say opposites attract. That is often true with personalities. Why is that? If is often because we see the strength of the other person’s personality type.

Each personality type, however, also has an accompanying weakness. After we marry, we see those weaknesses. Those differences sometimes cause frustration or conflict.

One very popular dating site has had great success because it strives to match the couples because of their similarities.

When you begin the process of rebuilding your marriage, it may seem like you are up against a mountain impossible to scale.

As you commit to overcoming your hurts, you might as well commit to overcoming your differences. In those cases, you realize that one is not better than the other–just different.

You commit to overcome. Sometimes you will take turns doing things together that one of you likes. The other one will try to learn about that activity. Sometimes you will allow the other one to spend time with his or her enjoyment without having to be together (just don’t let the amount of time you do this become excessive). Sometimes you will decide to something according to your husband’s or wife’s preference, even though your preference is different. There should be a balance in deciding to do this.

If you are rebuilding a marriage, commit to proper agreed-upon boundaries. Commit to the conditions for the offending party to be taken back. Commit to standing strong and holding each other accountable. Most of all, though, commit to doing whatever it takes to build a strong marriage.

Now, Start! Regain Trust in Marriage

We have seen four actions you can take to regain trust in marriage: forgiveness, keeping your word, leaving the past behind, and committing to doing whatever it takes to overcome the things that would destroy your marriage. That last action will lead to more actions.

Can you regain trust in marriage? Certainly! And, when you do, you will overcome both your fears.

I am curious: What other tips do you have for rebuilding trust in a relationship?

 

 

 

 

Affiliate Disclosure

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Bible Verse About Leaving Parents – Three Top Tips for a Great Marriage

Bible Verse About Leaving Parents

 

A well-known Bible verse about leaving parents contains three top tips for a great marriage.

Years ago, my wife and I went to hear Dr. Leighton Ford speak. He was an associate evangelist at that time for the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association. Dr. Ford is also the esteemed Dr. Graham’s brother-in-law.

He mentioned that night, that, if you observe a marriage with problems, you will usually find the problems to be related to one or more of three areas. Then he quoted this verse that is well-known in many Christian circles.

The Verse Itself

This verse is stated both in the Old Testament and the New Testament.

It is first stated very early in biblical history. In fact, it is found in the second chapter of the Bible.

Bible Verse About Leaving ParentsJesus also made reference to it in the first book of the New Testament.

Here is how it is stated in those two instances:

Genesis 2:24, “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.” (NKJV)

Matthew 19:5, “and said, ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’?” (NKJV)

Let’s look at those three areas Dr. Ford said were highly important. They actually are more essential than just tips; however, when they are put into practices, you can experience the reason for them being known as the top marriage tips of all time.

Tip # 1 Leaving

The first tip is thatLeaving leaving must take place in a marriage. Specifically, a man is to leave his father and mother, according to this verse, but it is just as important for a wife to leave her father and mother as well.

“What? You want me to Leave? I thought this was a book about marriage, not divorce?” That is a reaction a marriage partner could have upon hearing the title of the book on marriage in the series, The LOVING Way to a Successful Marriage: Six Keys to Marital Bliss. You see, the title of that first book in the series is 21 Ways the Principle of Leaving Will Benefit Your Marriage: Why You Should Apply This Shocking Key to Marital Bliss.

Now, for the most part, I am not talking about the two parties in the marriage leaving each other.

Rather, they should leave the past behind. They should leave past relationships behind (not completely–they can still have those former friends and good relationships with their parents). They will no longer rely on those past relationships like they did in the past.

They also should leave their baggage behind–those past hurts and failures–both their own and their mate’s.

If the past relationships are not left behind, in-law problems can develop. There can be jealousy of the former relationship. There can be concern about the other partner spending too much time with his or her family.

Tip # 2 Cleaving

Secondly, not only should there be “leaving,” but there should be “cleaving.” Cleaving, in this context, means to “stick like glue.”

Cleaving

It is not to be a smothering possessiveness, but it is a chance to develop a wonderful “closeness.”

Cleaving carries with it the idea of physical intimacy as expressed in the sexual relationship.

Problems can occur in this area, and the couple would do well to seek information that will help them to adjust. For some Christian couples, this is a little difficult to talk about; but, there really are some very good books on this subject that are written from a Christian perspective.

There should be a mutual respect and continued desire to grow close in the marriage. Many men are “pursuers.” In the pre-marriage days, their goal is to pursue they young lady until she agrees to be his wife. Once the marriage happens, he may feel like there is no longer a conquest. He may feel he has “arrived.”

He would do well to continue to study his wife and to pursue and deepen her continued love.

The wife would likewise do well to study her husband. One of his main needs (at least according to many surveys) is for his wife to admire him. She would do well in those cases to be his number one cheerleader.

Tip # 3 Uniting

Unity Candle A part of many wedding ceremonies has the lighting of the unity candle. In fact when I am performing the ceremony, I often enjoy making the statement: “Now, as these two lights become one, may these two lives become one.”

Different couples have their own preferences as to what to do with the first two candles after the third one is lit. I have no problems complying with their preferences because there are aspects of both types of symbolism that are true.

If they prefer to blow out their individual candles, they simply show how committed they are to becoming one in their marriage. If they prefer not to blow out their individual candles, that simply shows that they do not lose their own identities. Regardless of how the candles are handled, the couple will certainly maintain their unique personalities, but they each will also experience the joy of becoming united to the love of their life.

This is the third area where a problem can occur in a marriage.

The couple can grow apart instead of growing closer together. When that happens, many times the marriage heads toward the divorce court.

Conclusion

So, even though this Bible verse contains some very ancient words, it contains some of the greatest truth ever for successful marriages.

To have a great marriage, you need to leave father and mother (and other things from the past).

To have a great marriage, you need to commit to growing closer to your husband or wife. You will experience the joys of physical intimacy, but you will also begin to experience the joys of spiritual intimacy.

Finally, to have a great marriage, you need to commit to facing life with a united front. (Such a united front will be especially important if children come into the marriage.) This really is an extension of “cleaving.”

 

 

Should I Leave My Marriage?

Should I Leave My Marriage

Should I leave my marriage? That may be a question that weighs heavily on your mind. Maybe you have been in this only for a short time. Think hard about the consequences.

Maybe you have been in the marriage for a long time, and you are weary. Maybe there are some fire works between you and your husband or wife. Think hard about the consequences.

Maybe you have discovered that your marriage is one of “opposites.” Think about what brought you together in the first place, and think long and hard about the consequences or your leaving.

Maybe you have what seem to be really legitimate reasons for leaving. Maybe, in that case, you might want to leave, but you still would want to see if there could be restoration. Even if you are justified, you need to weigh out the consequences of taking such action.

Not If You Have Just Had a Disagreement

Couple with boxing gloves

O.K. Maybe you have had your first really serious fight.

I recently heard of a man who said he got married at 16 years of age. Most of us would consider that quite young.

Within their first year, he and his wife had a fight. It came to the point to where he took her, along with her packed bags, in his truck, back to her parent’s house.

Not long after that, his dad came to see him. “Where’s [the wife’s name]?

“I took here to her parents’ house.”

His dad did not give him a chance to justify his actions and decisions. He just said, “Now, we can do this like this: I can whip you like a father to a son, or I can whip you man-to-man. Or, you can get in your truck and go get her!”

He went and got his wife, and they were married for over 55 years until her death.

Just having a fight or disagreement is not a sufficient reason for leaving your marriage.

In fact, many couples learn how to fight, but to fight fair. They learn how not to damage each other when they have disagreements.

Not If You Have You Haven’t Given It a Fair Shake

Some couples decide to quit too easily. Maybe they are looking for that perfect marriage, where there is never a conflict. I hate to burst anyone’s bubble, but I don’t think that perfect marriage exists.

Ready to throw in the towelSometimes in a boxing match, people will refer to a boxer stopping the match by “throwing in the towel.” Many young couples decide to throw in the towel too quickly.

Anything worth having is worth working for–and that is what marriage is, sometimes–work!

Now, have you really given this your best shot?

Have you tried everything you know? Sometimes what happens is that each member of the marriage needs to make some changes, but they are not willing to do so themselves.

So, if you haven’t given your marriage a fair chance, this certainly is not the time to leave.

Not If You Have Differences

Not if you have differencesSurprise! Men and women are different. Some marital adjustments need to be made just because of this basic difference.

Many times opposites attract. See! before we are married, we may be attracted to someone because of the strengths of their personality. If we are quiet and introverted, we may be attracted to those who are louder, talkative, and extroverted.

If we are very impulsive, we may be attracted to someone who is very level-headed.

Actually, there is something to be said for finding a mate who is very similar to yourself in many ways. Some very popular dating sites have a great deal of success by matching people up according to their similar interests and personalities.

Either way, just because you find, or are reminded of, your differences, that is not a reason to leave.

Every personality type has strengths. That is what we are likely attracted to before we marry. But, every personality type also has accompanying weaknesses. Those are often what we did not take into account before marriage.

Understanding each other will go a long way. She does not have to think like I do. My wife also needs to realize I don’t have to think like she does. It is very helpful, though, when we discuss things and begin to understand why each one thinks the way he or she does.

It really is possible to work with these differences. Sometimes the differences seem like mountains, when, really, with the proper perspective, they are just molehills. Perhaps you would want to consider the ideas in From Mountains to Molehills: Overcoming and Celebrating Your Differences in Marriage, which is also available as an ebook.

When Should I Leave?Should I Leave My Marriage?

So, if I can’t leave because of the above reasons when can I leave?

Or, maybe I should ask, “When should I leave?”

In Cases of Abuse, Continued Abuse

I think there are many strong reasons for staying together in a difficult marriage. When I speak of abuse, I am not speaking of minor annoyances. I am speaking of serious problems.

Physical abuse certainly is not something we have to put up with. Maybe, it would not rise, at least at first, to the level of divorce, but we are talking about getting to your own safety. We are also talking about our responsibility to keep our children safe.

I know of one marriage, where the couple realized the husband had a problem where he would get out of control. They decided to live separately–even having a child in this long-term relationship. They were cooperative, but she was kept safe from some of his times when he could not handle the pressures around him. I am not necessarily saying that is what anyone else would want to do, but it seemed to work for them.

While you should do everything you can to stay in your marriage, you also have a right to self-defense.

In Cases of Marital Unfaithfulness on the Part of Your Spouse

When your spouse has been unfaithful and participated in an adulterous relationship, you have the right to leave. That does not mean that you have to do so.

We have talked above about thinking hard about the consequences of our decisions. What would be the result if there was a genuine restoration in your marriage? Would that benefit your children? If the restoration was genuine, it probably would.

Could you rebuild trust and even rebuild feelings of love? I know many couples who have done so. It just depends on what your spouse is willing to do.

Conclusion

There are many times when you should not leave the marriage. Just having an argument is not reason enough. Just wanting to throw in the towel very early in your marriage is not reason enough. Just realizing that you are two very different people, that in itself, is not reason enough.

You should leave, at least temporarily, in times when that is the only thing that will ensure your or your children’s safety.

If your spouse has been unfaithful, you may leave. Maybe you should. Maybe even then you would decide to seek restoration. Only you can decide.

There are other types of leaving that are beneficial to a marriage, but they are not talking about your leaving the marriage altogether. You might want to check out, 21 Ways the Principle of Leaving Will Benefit Your Marriage: Why You Should Apply this Shocking Key to Marital Bliss. One chapter does talk about when it is appropriate to leave in the sense we have discussed in this article.

What are your thoughts? Do you know of couples who have benefited from a restoration? When do you think abuse might rise to the level of leaving for safety reasons?

 

 

 

 

Business Writing Tools – Creating Great Images and Graphics

When you are involved in writing on the internet, you want to have quality content, and you want to be as efficient as possible when you create it. I am going to give you an example in this post for one of the best business writing tools – creating great images and graphics is entirely possible with this WordPress plugin.

Your Image

The image above, highlighting my writing, speaking and coaching business was created right in the WordPress document.

I liked it very much.

Business-writing tools are very important for any business. First of all, you are likely to have a website, and you will have to have content on your website.

Then, you don’t want it to be just any content. Rather, you will want to have useful content. In order for the useful content to have a hearing, though, it will need to be appealing.

One of the things that adds value to any webpage, blog, or article is an image. Having several relevant images is even better.

Aside from a website or a blog, you are likely also to produce other types of written content. You may write an ebook (or a print book, for that matter). Images add value to that medium.

In this article, we will look at three aspects of image creation for our websites. First we will see what some of the options are. Second, we will see a new option that has become available as I write this. Third, we will discuss the likability factor of these types of image creation.

The Old Standards – Previous Options

You can get a really good program – one that is an old standard. The problem with it at present is that for some of who are beginners, it may “cost us an arm and a leg!”

Fortunately, there is a similar open-source option that has been available for a while too. Many think it is almost as good as the more expensive option.

We bring these up because they are really good programs. They have even become know as the old standards in the image-creation field.

That first one is known as Photoshop (Notice that Adobe Photoshop has registered trademarks for both terms–Adobe and Photoshop). It is an excellent program. One of the things that add such value to it is the ability to work with images in layers.

Actually, many of us think that the price for such a great program is very reasonable, but for the person starting out, it may seem a little pricy.

The open-source program is very similar to Photoshop, but it is free. It is called, GIMP. GIMP stands for GNU Image Manipulation Program. It, like Photoshop, allows you work with layers.

Both programs have features that let you filter the images and adjust the color and transparency of each layered image, as well as many advanced features.

Are there any other options?

What Else Can We Do? – A New Option

We have discussed these two good programs. However, if you are using a website builder, you will likely have a box called a content editor where you put in your words, and of course you can input your pictures too.

WordPress is one such website builder with which many of us are familiar. In fact, I am writing this post using that platform.

Using both GIMP and Photoshop, you have to go outside of the content editor and work on your photos or other images. You can crop the photos or resize them. Sometimes you can flip the horizontal or vertical direction of the photo, as well as doing many other things. Once you have your image edited to your satisfaction, you can save it to a file.

Then you can go to your content editor and input the image. Usually, the editor will give you the option to import the image from the file where you stored it.

That is all good, but wouldn’t if be great if you could work with editing the image right in the content box instead of having to go outside the website builder?

Well, there is good news.

There is a newer option. It is called DesignLike Pro. You can start with your images right inside the content editor in WordPress. Then you can click on a button to edit right there.

I am trying it right now.

I just took a screen shot on my MacBook Pro.

DesignLike Pro Example

Those of you who use WordPress will recognize the content editor. Notice that at the very top, there is an option to “Insert Design.” Since I have already installed the Plugin, it took me right to a screen where I could begin working on images.

Notice the blue background. That started out as an image similar to a business card or a larger image like a website header. Since it allows me to work with layers, I just kept clicking on the text and pictures and deleting those items.

Then I added an image. I was able to go to my desktop and get the screen shot. Now that I have already done that, it shows up in my image gallery, and it will be even easier to insert if I want to use it again.

Let me try some more examples:

I am going to “Insert Design.”

DLP Example 3

I clicked on the image to enjoy Lifestyle, Then I saved and inserted it here.

Your Image

Now if I want to edit this image, I just click on it, and the orange pencil icon appears. I can click on that right here in Word Press. Then I can start deleting or adding to layers.

Let’s delete some.

Notice that it deleted the word, “Lifestyle.”

Your Image

Then I deleted the layers that had the Facebook icon, and the words, “Come to join our facebook page.”

You get the idea. I can do all of this within the word press editor.

Will I like It? – Advantages of the New Option

I guess I can only answer for myself, and I have only had it for two days, but, “Yes! I do like it.”

It is not free, but it is much less than photoshop, and I really like being able to work with the layers (and it has some other editing features too) without having to go outside of what I am already doing.

Conclusion

So, yes, we have three great options. They all have their advantages. I do like the DesignLike Pro.

If you would like more writing tips, you may go to DrRandyCarney.com where you could download a free gift of “Time Management for Writers.”

I wonder if any of you have used this program.

What do you think about the idea of having something like this as a plugin for WordPress?

Creative Writing Tips Beginners Love to Hear

See the clock? it represents time passing.

It also relates to some creative writing tips beginners love to hear about.

Many beginners wonder, “Can I even get a writing project completed at all.”

Here are three tips that will help them (or you) to get that first book or project off to a good start.

Set Time Goals

Tip number 1 encourages you to decide to write for a specified amount of time.

You might want to write for five or ten minutes at a time.  If you want to make sure you get a certain amount of words, set a timer. Then write. Force yourself to write.

Keep writing for the specified amount of time.

Kitchen Timer

When you do this, you might end up being surprised at some unexpected ideas that come your way.

The other thing about having the time limit is that we respond to deadlines. Have you ever pulled an “all-nighter” when a certain project was due.

The key is to have a self-imposed deadline that is not as drastic as having to write all night long.

Just Get It Out There, To Begin With

Tip number 2 encourages you to get the rough draft of your project done before you do extensive editing. Just get the rough draft out there.

You can’t edit unless you have something to edit.

At the very beginning stage of your writing project, the goal is to get a certain amount of words on paper or in your word processor.typing

You can even write so fast that you just pass up many corrections. You might know that you have a mispelled word or two. When your timer goes off, you can do some cleaning up then, but this is not the time for extensive rewriting.

You will be quite encouraged when you actually have a project on paper.

Edit Later

The third tip will help you not to feel so bad about leaving some of your mistakes in your rough draft when you try to meet the time goals. That tip is: Get the rough draft done, and then edit later.

When you have a rough draft, you are ready to really get things in shape.

When you do it this way, what you have already done is not set in stone. You don’t have to have the pressure of having produced a perfect product. In fact, you know from the start that the first draft is going to be far from perfect. On the other hand, you will actually have something done.

Some people write a paragraph or a few paragraphs. Then they get in perfectionistic mode by editing, and editing, and editing. If they are not careful, the will be spending all their time getting a few pages perfect.

Magnifying glass

Most people will be a lot more productive by getting a first draft of their entire project done.

Then, they can begin the process of editing. It is also good to set time goals for editing sessions too.

You might want to edit a chapter one day, let it rest overnight, and do it again the next day. Each time, however, give yourself a specified amount of time to spend on the editing process.

We have looked at three tips for getting your writing project rolling.

Write in five or ten minute blocks of time. Make each session a deadline, and you will get the rough draft finished. Then you will know that you can write a book-length project.

Secondly, don’t be perfectionistic about the first draft. Just get it out there!

Finally, edit the project later. This is when you can make the book shine.

If you would like a free report about time management for speakers who desire to be writers, go to DrRandyCarney.com, and click on the box on the right side of the page.

Copyright 2018 Randy Carney

 

Failure to Leave and Cleave – Some Obstacles to a Successful Marriage

The failure to leave and cleave is warned against, right from the pages of the Bible.

This two-fold failure includes some of the greatest obstacles to a successful marriage that a couple can face.

As we consider this idea, we will see three reasons why leaving is beneficial to a marriage, and we will see why the act of cleaving to each other is one of the most important experiences a couple can have.

Happy Husband and wife

Leaving Improves In-Law Relationships

Things are not always what they seem to be.

Two men were standing on the sidewalk when they noticed some unusual activity coming towards them.

They noticed a big black hearse, followed by a man who was walking with a doberman pinscher on a leash. Doberman Pinscher

Then behind the hearse and the man with the dog, there was a single file line of 46 more men.

One of the men said to the other, “I wonder what is going on.”

The second one said, “Well, that’s not too hard to figure out. The body in the hearse is probably the president of a great company.”

“What about the dog?”

“That’s his dog. He loved the dog and wanted it to be honored.”

“And the line of men …?”

“Those were his employees.”

Not quite satisfied, the first man timidly approached the fellow who was leading the dog. He did not want to be disrespectful during the funeral procession.

The man with the dog did not seem to mind at all.

So, he asked, “Was that your boss that passed away?”

“No, that was my mother-in-law.”

“So, is that her dog?”

“No, that’s my dog. You see, he jumped on her and attacked her. Sadly, she didn’t make it.”

“Say …, I’d like to have a dog like that!”

“Get in line, and we’ll discuss your offer.”

Things are not always what they seem.

Many husbands have great mothers-in-law. I certainly do, and my wife had a great relationship with my mother. Our relations with our fathers-in-law were generally very good too.

However, for the relationship to be good, there must be some leaving going on in the marriage. Each member of the young couple have years of respect (or hurt) and dependence (or lack thereof) upon their own parents. When a marriage is formed, a transition needs to take place. They need to transfer that former dependence to each other (or, if there have been hurts, they are not to project them on each other.}

If the parents do want to interfere, the couple needs to take a stand together. Once this change is established in all parties, the basis for a great relationship is in place.

Leaving Gives Your Spouse Security

You spouse needs to feel that he or she can trust you. He or she needs to feel that he or she is number one in your life.

Leaving past relationships behind is very important. If you don’t, jealousy and possessiveness by your wife can set in. The husband can become equally jealous too.

I know of a wife who was (and still is) good friends with a girl that her husband dated before dating the one who is now the wife. If there was not an assurance of the past being put behind all parties, there could certainly be a strain on the present relationships. However, they have been able to put the past behind, and they are all good friends even today.

We are often told, that, based on many surveys of husbands and wives, one of the wife’s greatest needs is security, and that one of the husband’s greatest needs (in many marriages, not all) is that of respect.

So, husband, when your wife feels secure because she knows you have left the old flames behind, you will have part of the makings of a great marriage.

So, wife, when your husband feels like you are his number-one cheerleader, you also have the makings of a great marriage.

Leaving the past behind gives both parties of the marriage security.

Leaving Increases Your Own Hope for a Great Life

When you go into a marriage with dreams and aspirations, that is a good thing. Perhaps not all of those dreams will be realized, but also, in some cases, things may turn out better than one could ask or think.

Past failures can put dampers on dreams. You don’t want past relationships to hinder your ideals either.

Leaving the failures of the past opens new possibilities for the future. Many successful people in life testify to the fact that they had previous failures before hitting it big.

Leaving the past behind, and even mistakes after you are married, is a very productive thing to do.

As you pursue your dreams, and as you achieve them, it is very important to remain humble. Yes, you put the failures of the past behind, but it is best not to forget where you have come from. The true secret of greatness is humble service without thought of reward. As you pursue life together in humble service without thought of any kind of reward, you will experience the joys of success.

Cleaving Is One of the Best Experience You Will Have in Marriage

In the 1970s, I heard Leighton Ford (Brother-in-law to Evangelist Billy Graham) speak on the topic of marriage.

He said, “If you will notice, when there are problems in marriage, they usually show up in at least one of three areas: leaving, cleaving, and becoming one flesh.”

Cleaving (not a smothering possessiveness) represents the wonderful closeness a husband and wife can achieve.

Physical and spiritual intimacy present joys that are sometimes indescribable.

Summary: Failure to Leave and Cleave – Some Obstacles to a Successful Marriage

So, we have seen that a failure to leave and cleave leads to several obstacles to a successful marriage.

Leaving is very important in that it improves relationships with in-laws, provides security for a spouse and increases hope for a great new life together. Furthermore, failure to cleave together is an obstacle to one of the greatest joys a couple can experience.

If you would like to know about more ways leaving can benefit your marriage, please visit  Amazon.com.

Copyright 2018  Randy Carney

 

 

 

Leave the Past Behind – And Get On With a Great Marriage

What is the greatest thing that can help you withstand the pressures of life? Many who are married would say that having a great marriage helps them stand all kinds of tragedies, setbacks, and pressures. How can you have a great marriage? One of the ways is to leave the past behind. In our thoughts today, we should be encouraged to: leave the past behind – and get on with a great marriage!

Leaving the past behind has many advantages for single folks too, but we will focus on its advantages for married couples in this article.

We will see four ways that a great marriage will help you withstand the pressures of life. Such a great marriage involves leaving the past behind.

The first way will increase your security in life. The second one will increase your confidence. The third one will be a driving force for success, and the fourth one will help you to rise from the ashes in the event that, Heaven forbid, you do crash and burn.

1 Having the Support of Your Mate Gives You a Safe Place to Go to When You Are Feeling Down

“I’m just not sure I can make it. It seems like I have tried everything. How will I go on?”

It is difficult enough when we have feelings like that if we are able to share those feelings with others, but it is extremely difficult to “go it alone.”

It is great when you have a safe place to go. A mate can provide that for you. However, this also requires a matter of trust. When past failures are not brought up, we can go to our partners during discouraging times.

It is very easy to get discouraged. When you get there, a feeling of hopelessness can take its toll on you. At times like that, you need something that will pull you up.

You need a safe place to go when you try to pull yourself out of the doldrums.

Going to your mate in the time of discouragement is very important. One of the reasons why you feel you can do this is because of the trust you have in your spouse. Part of that trust has been earned because of your history with your spouse,

Part of the way you earn that is to realize this is a two-way street. Your spouse also feels that he or she can trust you.

Dave was very discouraged. Just a few months ago, his friends would have thought he was on top of the world. At 26 years old, he had a net worth of a million dollars.

Yet, he was also heavily in debt. He had real estate holdings worth four million dollars. Three million of that, though, was saddled with debt.

One of the banks he dealt with sold out to another. The new bank decided to call the loan. Within a couple of months, another bank also decided to call its loan. So, within a very short time, he went from being on top of the world to being at the bottom of the barrel.

One of the hardest parts of this was the shame he felt like he brought upon his wife.

Would she stick with him? If so, he might make it. If not, he was not sure how he could go on.

2 Having the Admiration of Your Mate Gives You Confidence Above Many Other Encouragements

When I hear Rhonda say, “Randy . . . ,” and she fills in the blanks with something positive, that inspires more than many other things. In fact, when she says something positive like that, it is one of my greatest confidence boosters.”

Confidence is very important. When you have it, you can charge into situations that you have no way of knowing how they will work out.

When you have the admiration of your spouse, you feel like you can tackle things that are beyond you.

It is like having cheerleaders at a sporting event. The cheerleaders help the crowd to show their appreciation for the team.

Cheers often rouse a team. They give them new hope. Sometimes they restore energy.

About seven years ago, I became very discouraged. I was depressed, and I could not even articulate why. I guess I hid it well.

We were not in desperate situations. I was not worried about law enforcement coming to get me or anything like that. On the other hand, we had been married for many years, and, in some ways, it seemed like I did not have much to show for it.

Then I heard about a conference I could attend. I really wanted to go.

It would cost us some money, though, and since I had not been able to articulate why this was really important to me, what would be my wife’s reaction when I brought this up?

Would she bring up the fact that money was somewhat tight?

“What would her reaction be?”

I knew that if she would support me, I might be able to pull out of this depression. I’ll tell you what happened in a minute.

3 Working Toward the Dreams of Your Mate Gives You Ambition Beyond Other Factors

“Let’s go on vacation.” “Let’s get some new furniture.” “Let’s buy a new house.” “Let’s . . . .” You can probably fill in the blank with something that you and your spouse desires. Working toward those goals can increase your ambition in other areas of your life–especially in the area of making more money.

Who do you want to please more than anyone else in the world? If you have a great relationship with your wife or husband, you will want to please her or him. Many times, the idea of being able to provide for dreams of a mate inspires a husband or wife.

One of the great needs many wives have is that of security. When the husband is able to contribute to that security, he is inspired. One of the great needs of many husbands is that of admiration or respect. When a husband provides for his wife, she experiences a great sense of gratitude.

When I did bring up to my wife that I would like to attend that conference about seven years ago, she did not bring up how tight the funds were. She might have mentioned it a little, but she did not dwell on it.

She very wisely just gave me her blessing, and off I went.

I would like to say that our life just turned around dramatically financially that year, but I can’t.

What did happen, though, was that I received hope during that conference. It talked about how I could monetize some skills I already had. Only now, am I really capitalizing on that.

Shortly after that, my day job began to pick up. My renewed hope, lack of depression, and new sense of confidence was recognized by others, and I began to rise through the ranks to a high administrative level. The income did, of course, increase some too.

Now, I am going back to those opportunities that gave that hope, and I am confident that things are just going to continue to improve outside of my “day job.” (Incidentally, I no longer have that day job by my own choice.)

My gratefulness for my wife’s support during my depression and my desire to help her achieve her dreams did, and does, give me an ambition greater than any outside factor.

4 Having the Support of Your Mate Helps You Rebuild Your Life When Failure Does Come

“We are ruined!”

“No, we are not! We’ll find a way.”

“I’m so sorry.”

“What’s done is done. Let’s find a way to rebuild.”

When your mate supports you in a rebuilding process, you do often find a way to make things work. Without the support of your mate, however, you may just languish in self-pity.

Many times, life does not go as expected. In fact, we often find that dreams can be crushed, or that life comes crashing down around us. When that happens, it is important not to give up. It is important to rebuild what fell down.

You may have heard the statement: “When you fall off the horse, get back on and ride it.” In the rebuilding times of life, it is very important that you do not feel all alone. The support of your husband or wife after a great disappointment will help you to rebuild what was lost.

What happened to Dave? His wife stuck with him. He met God. He started learning principles about how to handle money.

Within two years, amazingly, they had paid the three million down to $375,000. One of his creditors, though, was relentless, and the police came to take the furniture out of his house.

So, he and his wife found themselves with an attorney, filing for bankruptcy.

Sharon continued to stick with Dave. They determined to finish paying off their debts. They also determined never to go in debt again.

Finally, they became debt free.

Their friends started asking for financial advice.

They are millionaires again, and Dave now has the number-three talk radio show in America–The Dave Ramsey Show.

Leave the Past Behind and Get on With a Great Marriage

One of the ways your mate can give you a safe place to go during times of discouragement happens when you both leave past failures behind.

Why can you or your mate bolster confidence in the other? Again, in part, it will be because you are hopeful, and you don’t look to the past.

Why does fulfilling your mate’s dream motivate you? it is because you both have something to look forward to.

Why does having the support of your mate help when you are in a rebuilding process? It is because building is so much easier when you don’t have to go it alone. Rebuilding, though, will not likely happen unless you put the past behind you.

So, since we have seen four ways that a great marriage will help us withstand the pressures of life, what should we do?

We should leave the past behind and get on with a great marriage with large hopes for the future.

If you would like to know more about how the principle of leaving will benefit any marriage, check out 21 Ways the Principle of Leaving Will Benefit Your Marriage.

Copyright 2018 by Randy Carney

 

 

 

 

Leaving and Marriage – Are These Terms Mutually Exclusive

We usually think of marriage as two parties coming together instead of them leaving each other. Leaving and marriage – Are these terms mutually exclusive?

Actually, they are not exclusive. It depends on what “type” of “leaving” you are talking about.

So, obviously, in the case of marriage, we want a couple to stay together. We are speaking not of the parties in the marriage leaving each other (except for a last-resort attempt to save the marriage). Rather, we are talking about them leaving other things in order to come together.

Certain Types of Leaving Are Beneficial

When we talk of leaving the past behind, we can find the great benefits that come from that. When the couple comes together, they will begin to discover many differences. Some of those differences are the result of past experiences, both good and bad. Some of those differences come about just because of influences from parents and past relationships. The husband or wife who has some ideas that he or she has adopted simply because others held them can benefit greatly from becoming his or her own person.

You may have heard of the story of the young wife who was preparing for a family get together. She took a ham and cut the end off of it, and set the cut-off piece aside.

Her husband looked on with admiration and … wonder. His wife continued with the meal.

Finally, he said, “Why did you cut the end of the meat off”?

She said, “I don’t know. My mother always did it that way.”

A few weeks later, she was with her mother, and asked, “Mom, why did you

She cut the end of the ham off

always cut off the end of the ham before you cooked it?”

“It just would not fit in my short pan!”

Sometimes we need to think things through for ourselves.

Here are some things that are good to leave behind when you get married.

Leaving Your Baggage Behind Is Beneficial

We all come into a marriage with a certain amount of “baggage” from our past. These items of baggage can come from past hurts or previous failures.

Some of this baggage can cause us to misunderstand some actions or statements our spouses can make.

It can be helpful to discuss some previous experiences and how they make us feel.

A husband can feel that his wife is really putting him down when she, perhaps, offers some constructive criticism when he is working on projects.

A wife may misunderstand when her husband is just kidding when he makes some remarks about her appearance or clothing. She may have been working hard in her old clothes, and he certainly knows she is not “fixed up.” A careless remark may make her feel very put down also

Leaving Your Past Relationships Behind Is Beneficial

Of course it is important to leave behind any former romantic relationships.

Making comparisons to the former “old flames” can be very damaging. Building up the memory to where the memory is better than the actual past relationship can cause discontentment in the present marriage.

Worse than that is the perception your husband or wife may have of you. You mate may think you are comparing him or her to one of your former possible love interests.

It is important to make sure our mates know they are Number One in our lives.

Another important adjustment comes in relation to the parents of each member of the marriage.

In the past, each person (in the case of a good home life), has been in the habit of relying on his or parents for advice, guidance, direction, and even a certain amount of decision-making.

When married, the couple has to learn to transfer that natural dependence they had on their parents to each other instead.

An Actual Leaving as a Last Resort May Save Your Marriage

So far, the type of “leaving” we have discussed refers to a “mental” leaving.

In very severe cases, where the couple is very close to breaking up, an actual process of leaving may be beneficial.

When a husband threatens to leave, the wife may become very clingy, scared, and desperate. (A man who is very smug and clueless, when his wife threatens to leave can become even worse in the scared, needy and desperate department.) Dr. James Dobson, in his book, Love Must Be Tough, explains why it is important, in many cases, for the rejected party to pull away instead of running toward the offending party.

Man leaving with suitcase

T Dub Jackson in his “Magic of Making Up” program also explains the importance of being strong, and not appearing to be too desperate–even if the offended party is torn up inside.

When the offended party takes steps to be strong, he or she has the advantage of having prepared somewhat if the one who wanted to leave in the first place does indeed leave.

The other advantage this brings, though, is a certain amount of new-found admiration the spouse who threatened to leave. He or she discovers this unexpected admiration when he or she sees the new-found strength of the offended mate.

It is important not to smother the one who threatens to leave with continuous apologies (though one apology in the early stages may be warranted). Sending continuous texts, and other signs of desperation can become annoying and be perceived as “pestering.” The opposite action of silence and pulling away often causes the first party to “think again” about his or her decision to leave.

An actual leaving or “kicking the other one out” may have a jarring effect that will cause the discontented party to come to his or her senses.

Both Versions of “Leaving” Benefit Your Marriage

We have seen that when it comes to the question, “Leaving and marriage–Are these terms mutually exclusive?” the answer is, “No, they are not necessarily exclusive terms.”

In fact, with certain uses of the word “leaving,” the process of leaving can be beneficial to the marriage.

The mental leaving is very important. Leaving your baggage behind and not bringing up your mate’s past over and over is very helpful in a loving relationship.

Likewise, leaving your past relationships behind is essential in any marriage. That does not mean you are no longer friends with previous friends. It does not mean disowning your parents. However, this process does mean that you leave behind those past relationships and that you rely on each other for your current needs.

Actually, in any good marriage, there will be some serious “leaving” going on!

If you would like to learn more about the importance of leaving, check out the first book in my LOVING Way to a Successful Marriage series. The title is 21 Ways the Principle of Leaving Will Benefit Your Marriage: Why You Should Apply This Shocking Key to Marital Bliss.

I would be interested to know of other ways you can think of where “leaving” can benefit and/or restore a marriage.

–Randy