purpose

Where Blessings Flow...Where Your Actions Can Lead You

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You really never know where your blessings may come from or where your actions can lead you. That familiar saying, "Never judge a book by its cover," is one of the truest statements that exist. Never think that God cannot bless you in any package He chooses; whether the blessing be packaged in a young child, a teenager, or even a homeless man. These are just some of the packages God has delivered blessings to me in. When I really think about it, they all came in the midst of my doing something else.

My biggest business-related testimony this year came from a book reading I did at the Midlothian YMCA this past August. When I got to the parking lot, I saw all of the kids in the pool playing. I wondered to myself, "Will they all be ready and available for the reading?" When I walked into the building, things seemed very ordinary. Everyone was going about their day. The receptionist at the front desk had no clue why I was there. A parade didn't march out to escort me to the room where I'd be conducting the reading. I could have just walked out and no one would have been the wiser. It was just a normal, "status quo" kind of day at the Midlothian YMCA. When I informed the receptionist of my reason for being there, she called the director and they told me I was parked on the wrong side of the building! Here I am standing there with all of my stuff and had to haul it all back to my car and drive to other side. But, hey, that's the plight sometimes we visiting authors have to deal with. It has happened to me before.

When I entered the book reading room, I took a look around and liked what I saw. It was very inviting with vibrant colors and bright pictures on the walls. They even had a little rocking chair that I could sit in. About ten minutes later, in rushed all of the children and the two YMCA counselors~ one older woman and one teenage girl. I read the Loopiethotamus book series to the children, answered their questions and gave out some materials to them.  After the reading, I initially gave my brochures and a bracelet to the older female counselor. She explained to me that she is the "head" of the childcare facility there and would like to contact me in the future about conducting a book reading. She then inquired of my fee. As I getting ready to give brochures and a bracelet to the younger female counselor, my mind whispered, "She is so young and probably could care less about receiving your brochures." But, I went against that thought and gave her my brochures anyway. She politely smiled and took them from me.

As I was driving to my next destination, I was so excited about possibly receiving an email from the older female counselor inviting me back for a paid visit. That email never came. Yet, an email did come about a month later from someone....THE YOUNGER FEMALE COUNSELOR'S MOTHER!!! In the email, her mother explained that she is a troop leader with a Girl Scouts Troop in Powhatan, Virginia and her daughter told her about my visit at the Midlothian YMCA. She requested that I come out and conduct a speaking engagement with her girls and inquired about my fee. I was literally floored!!!! I couldn't believe it! I was so thankful to God that I didn't listen to the voice of the enemy trying to convince not to give that young lady my brochures because what God brings forth He will multiply!

I had a very awesome visit with Girl Scouts Troop 3029! We dialogued about what it truly means to have self-worth, believing in oneself, accomplishing your dreams as a woman and fostering proper social circles. Positive connections were made and I think about them every day!

And...Nope, there was no parade that marched out to escort me to the room where I held the workshop. But, they made me feel so welcomed and like I was one of the Girls!  To God be the Glory for all things!! There is purpose in everything!!!  Live on purpose!!!

How To Have a Successful Author Visit

my author visit at smart cookie II 073113

my author visit at smart cookie II 073113Hey folks! I just want to share with you how one can have a successful author visit. I've done a few of them; most have been great; while a couple have been okay, but all in all, I love presenting my books and character Loopiethotamus to a school full of budding little world innovators!! Here goes....

1. Prayer, prayer, prayer!! Yes, I am a Christian and I love my Lord Jesus Christ. In everything, I make sure I pray and allow Him to be in control of all things! We can't control other's actions, or lack thereof, but we can sure go to Jesus in prayer and ask Him to guide our mouths, minds, hearts and spirits! Love me some Holy Spirit!!!

2. Prepare, prepare, prepare!! There is nothing like being fully prepared to get up in front of how ever many children and teachers and give your all. Before the visit, make sure you have the school contact person's email and phone number. Ask as many questions as possible of that individual so you are prepared for the day. It's also nice to request that that contact person, usually the librarian, prepare the students of your arrival. My character has a value motto which has a lot of different core values that explain who is he is. I make sure to share that with the librarian so that when I come in and discuss it with the kids, they’re not looking at me with that “deer in headlights look;” you know the one!

3. Don’t procrastinate until the last minute!! This kind of goes along with preparation, but you want to make sure you are really thinking about all that you want to do in the day so that you are ready to go! If you’re going to do a PowerPoint presentation, make sure you have looked at it more than once to verify everything in its proper order. If you are going to have activities, make sure you know exactly what you are going to be doing and that you have everything you need.

4. Rehearse the day with someone you know! It’s really cool if you have kids of your own because you can just sit them on the sofa and go over your entire presentation with them. They make for good listeners- sometimes! LOL! But, it’s nice to rehearse so you can determine any issues early on and fix them before the big day!

5. Make it fun!! There’s nothing like a boring author visit. I don’t want to see kids yawning and looking up at the ceiling counting all of the ceiling tiles. Of course, depending on the age level, there will be kids that have short attention spans. Yet, I want them to be engaged and enthusiastic. I want them eager to ask me questions and show that they are having a good experience. Wow! Those are a lot of “E” words I just used! But, seriously, I want to provide excellence to the kids and have them leaving excited for me to revisit. Wow! There I go again with those “E” words. My son’s name is Elijah, so go figure! LOL!

6. And lastly, once the day is all said and done- Look for God’s purpose in all that the day presented itself with. If you messed up, because truly, no one is perfect and we can mess up sometimes, don’t beat yourself up about it. God will bring another opportunity for you to do a better job. Look for ways to improve yourself. Try something new. But most importantly, be YOU!! Well…at least the high-spirited, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed YOU!!

Author, Ayana Sala Baugh of the children’s book series, “Loopiethotamus, the Chihuahua Who Thinks He is a Hippopotamus.”

Website: http://www.loopiebooks.com

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/Loopiethotamus

Twitter: @Loopiebooks

Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/ayanasala

Believe in Yourself or At Least Start with Just Believing

Dare to Dream 1Loopiethotamus' character allows you to believe even when others put you down and try to convince you otherwise. It takes courage and strength to keep on moving when others try to make it impossible. With children, it's so important to instill confidence in them. It's so important to encourage them to be the best they can be. Sometimes it can be very difficult to believe in yourself. If you have been told time and time again that you’re nothing, you begin to believe that you’re nothing. But for God.

But for God, that He allows people to come into your life that truly only see the goodness in you. These people help you to see the greatness in yourself too. It may take a push, a knock, and even years, but when God has something for you, He has it, and His promises never are broken. God has a season and right time for everything. He has a plan and a purpose for our lives. God loves the children; they are His blessings. Never allow someone to make you feel less than what God says you are, His child. You were created by Him for greatness! Reach for the stars and always remember that the sky is the limit! Take heart and know- Matthew 19:26- "With God, all things are possible."