Monday, May 27, 2019

Instagram Queen: Slay instagram traffic and targeting in 30 days! by Lara Badiali

★★★★★  I was a beta tester for this course (call me surprised by its utterly practical and creative content.)
Wow. f you're setting up an Instagram account, maximizing the potential of IG for a business, or just curious what the IG fuss is about - here's my hearty recommendation to enroll in Instagram Queen.

I was not expecting much when I signed up as a beta tester. It was a 2-week test. I was kinda curious about IG, which I rarely used. My friends touted it as "the thing" and "the way we communicate." Ok, let's see, I thought. Why not?

What I didn't expect was to be taken from raw novice to really understanding the medium. I didn't expect a course with a fun and funny host who delivered serious content, laid out in a logical, easy-to understand way. I didn't expect a deep plunge into how-tos, lots of insider tips, links to resources, or confidence in creating valuable ongoing relationships. I didn't expect maximum impact and benefit.

But Lara Badiali delivered. And how! "Much more than we expected," according to fellow IG students and me. The course starts June 17. Click here to Lara more about it.

I admit it may cost you a pretty penny - but it's the equivalent of a university summer course ... in 30 days. The course replaces someone you'd hire to figure out this stuff on her/his own for a few months. So it's a great investment. It will pay off within a short time.

Still thinking? If you dive in, be prepared to fast-forward from neutral to full capacity: Badiali leads you step by step from understanding your clients, setting up an account, and creating content, to scheduling, marketing, and maximizing what you've designed. HAVE FUN.

Thursday, May 23, 2019

Fussing and fighting

Sunday, May 19, 2019
It's our oldest son's birthday. We call him the night before (his time). Our 14-hour offset makes it hard to connect.
Our family tradition is singing HBday to the victim of the day. My parents sing to their kids, we sing to ours, and they sing back. Yes, W and I sing - there's a brief silence on the other end and then, "thanks." Yeah, we're not great vocalists - but that's the fun of it.  Some years, the singers get past line one ...  and break into giggles instead of song.

Jeremy is 39. I remember like yesterday how exciting and painful that arrival was. According to the doc's due date, he was 15 days late. (= A very long wait for a future-oriented mom-to-be.) I was happy where the day came, one day after Mt St. Helens blew its top. Maybe that's what shook you loose, dear son.

So glad he joined the world - he's a great blessing to us and many others. And he was a good big brother!
When I go to call him, I notice a call from his phone as well. It's a well-sung HBday for me, from late March! W and I agree that Jeremy and Rebekah sing very well together: both have lovely voices. (Jer was in a boys choir with the sweetest and most pure tone until his voice change at 12 or 13. Nice memory.)

Monday plus
The study and office work are as usual - but I'm in a slump. After strenuous times, when I get a break, my body just rests - and my mind disengages. All week, I'm in neutral.
I love this team!
I check off my to-do lists, do a bit of writing, and do a great workshop about instagram. I'm a beta tester and have to catch up - the last few weeks have felt like I'm sitting on a spinner.

I learn so much it blows my mind. I take copious notes. This is one course I highly recommend. The host is fun and funny - but very clear about what you can do. It's a 30-day course - which gives lots of time to get your IG for personal or business from ho-hum to magnificent. Don't miss it! *I'll post the link when it's up for the public - or just google it.
What else is new? More critters. In the house, a roaming mouse chomps plaster off the ceiling as it scrabbles around. I hear it in the middle of the night but keep our bedroom door firmly closed. I'm not the brave type who grabs a broom and smacks something dead. W is asleep.

I actually pursue a roach across the porch one morning, after it jumps out of the wicker chair. "That's that for you, buggie!" The dogs sniff the mess and leave it alone - roaches stink when they're squished.

The grass has grown to 10" in places; the rain has fallen and the gardener has done other things. We notice this week that it's drier. Rainy season has lasted a few months longer than usual. That's great for the farms and rice fields on the hillsides around Bandung. But the bugs love to shelter in the house when that happens. On the advice of locals, I sprinkle cinnamon (thanks to Costco, a fragrant bottle) around the usual entries and we seem to have less ant and roach intruders.

Someone donates a change table to BIC. It's is a beautiful teak antique. LOVELY. We pull the BIC crib from storage - voila, a nursery room. Well, we always had the room but it's only had a rug, one chair, and a check-in table.
We're upgrading our space to be disability-friendly as well. It's a big priority for us - whole-community access matters. Pak Chandra comes by the office to show up what he's dreamed up. I'm excited! to have everyone able to get into the auditorium.

The local restaurant has Ramadan decor right by the front door. They do similar installations for Christmas, Easter, and other national holidays.

Friends come for lunch - Sumi bakes the most delicious flax and chia bread, which we crave. She's baked every day; it's an easy share: we've given away 4 loaves this week. I love the smell when we come home from work, that lingering yeasty warmth that makes everyone feel welcome.

I also love the pics Melissa sends us - makes us feel happy. Isaac is modeling a hat for W: looking cute.
Otherwhere, it's been a tense week. The national election results have been known for a month: here, early results are posted as stations log in on the day of elections (last month). Early results polls have always been accurate in previous elections ... within a few percentage points.

Like 5 years ago, the (same) loser is contesting the results as "corruption and fraud." The public statements, fomenting social chats, and some organizational prep send locals and people bused in from around the island to the streets in Jakarta to protest.

We get a warning from the American embassy in Jakarta to stay out of public areas. So we and other foreigners stay home all day. No walks. Media is interrupted by govt to prevent flash mobs and fake news from circulating. The government has been pretty patient during the run-up to the election announcements, but locals have been very worried about violence.
Today, all seems quiet. Cars and buildings were torched in the past two days in Jakarta. There are hundreds in hospital, eight dead, and for what? So sad - praying for the families and those affected by senseless mobs. "Lord have mercy and overshadow the world with Your peace."

Read more:
*Your words became to me a joy and the delight of my heart; for I am called by your name, O Lord, God of hosts. Jeremiah 15:16 
Blessed are those who hear the word of God and obey it! Luke 11:28 
Moravian Prayer: Gracious Lord, it is such a marvelous privilege to be called your sons and daughters. Thank you for the blessing of your guidance. May our joy be evident in everything we say and do! Amen.

A buggy ratty week

I've been avoiding the blog. So many critters came along this week that I've been avoiding dredging up memories of them. Oh well, here goes.

Note a week later: Can't upload pics due to an "upgrade" on my computer. This is what I've got. Text and a few snaps. More next week, ok? Read on...

Sunday, May 12 Mothers Day
It was a good day. We celebrated our moms at the international church with 2 videos made by one of our pre-teens and her dad. They did a good job of combining interviews from last Sunday: the first video was children talking about their moms. The second was moms talking about being mothers.

Calling my mom is bittersweet. It would be easier to be close by - to give her a hug in person.

I hear clicking at night - W's gone upstairs to read with lights on, so he's not around. I flick on the light in our room. Yup, a roach is doing laps on the bedroom floor - from the night table to the foot of the bed, under the bed and around to the night table. When it comes around again, I wack it with my flip flop until it stops moving, but leave the cleanup until morning. Sweet silence. (I stick in my earplugs to make sure of that.)

Monday, after meetings and a study, W and I go to our favorite chicken restaurant (rotisserie, the only one we know of its kind). I squish two 2.5" roaches while walking in the entry. They are our warning of things to come.

Here, shops pull a metal sheet down from the ceiling at night. During the day, the metal wall rolls up and the store is open. One roach scrambles up the wall beside us. I reach down for my shoe to crush it. Before I can smack it, it falls onto the table, scrambles under the menu, and runs to Waldemar's side of the table. My shriek brings an employee around, who grabs it in his hands and tosses it outside before squishing it under his shoe. Ugh ugh. Well,

we see 8 big roaches in all, by the time an employee grabs the anti-bug chalk and draws a deterring line across the storefront. Their waddles and scooting across the floor are so off-putting. I draw my feet up and hope they don't climb a chair leg.

"They must be coming from next door," explains one server helpfully. Ok. Maybe there is an open garbage bin at the neighbor? Whatever. Not cool. One right after the other, until the chalk line.

Yes, we're acclimated. We eat our chicken behind the curtain that restaurants pull over the entry during Ramadan. With most people fasting food and drink from sunup to sundown, we wouldn't want anyone to be tempted by seeing someone eat or drink during the day. Our servers are Muslim kids though. Most restaurants are quite empty ... until they get packed out for evening meals.

Most women seem exhausted. Our helpers and the shop attendants move slowly. They're getting up to make breakfast for the family before the first call to eat (3:30am). The chanting and readings by adults and children resound in a rhythm of day and night. There are firecrackers as well. The dogs are going crazy.

There are two more weeks before the last week of Ramadan. That will be the loudest week, with almost no break in sound. Most people will go home to their villages to spend time with their families then. It's a time for extended families to eat together, to celebrate the end of the fasting month, and to renew their religious commitments. This year, Indonesia has declared 10 days off to wrap up the holiday month - to give people time to travel back to their jobs.

I hear something thumping around in the back kitchen at night so I ignore it. In the morning, W finds the rat that's been plaguing us. It has jumped into the glue trap atop the oven, bouncing around until it landed on a washcloth near the sink, and finally has fallen off the counter to stick to the rug on the floor. W kills it and dumps the sticky mess - rug, cloth, rat and all - into a plastic grocery bag. When the helpers come, they sweep up all the junk that got tossed around by the athletic rodent and toss the whole bag in the garbage.

W sweeps up a few roaches in the mornings. We never leave food out, but they must be coming in with all the rain. Rainy season is usually over by April, but we still have a daily afternoon and night downpour. The little strands of Spanish moss we hung around our deck loves the weather - it's grown longer, even in the last week.

Our morning team meeting is at Josh and Clau's. Good food, sweet company (tho missing 2 people), and a relaxing home. Wonderful. Waldemar heads out in the afternoon for a short working trip to Medan (on another island - a few hours by plane, 45 hours by car). He'll be back before I know it.

I arrive in the office at 8, but get a phone call from the helper at home. "Remember, you had an 8-10 meeting at the house? She's waiting for you here."

Nope. I forgot.  I race home. That lasts until almost 11.

When I near the office, a member of our leadership team is waiting at the gate. He's building a disability-access ramp. Looking at the plans and talking about how we want that to looks takes almost until noon.

My 11:00 appointment is late, but she still has to wait for me. When she leaves at 1:30, my breakfast toast with PB is still in my bag. Haven't had time to eat yet.

I'm feeling a bit peckish. I speed through the toast, wash it down with tea, and am in another meeting by 2pm ... about media marketing. My guest helps me think through the future with good suggestions. When she leaves at 4, the driver comes by: I’m on the way to the dentist for tooth cleaning.

A day. I'm happy to be home before 7pm. It takes a while to unwind, but when I do, I sleep until sunup. That's a surprise! A good long night.

I've been in the office every day this week. I start early in my home office. By 8, I'm deeply into my work. So I call the admin that I'm working from home. It's a 7 minute walk - so I can be there in a jiffy if I need to. I don't need to.

I putter a bit in the morning, mashing together quinoa with:

  • aging broccoli from the bottom of the fridge (cut off the black edges), 
  • soft crushed hazelnuts (80% humidity will soften any nut)
  • red pepper flakes (also sticking together in the package)
  • 1/2 cup of grated Australian cheese  (still from December's trip)
  • good Italian olive oil
  • fresh-squeezed lime juice. A new recipe, wonder if I'll like it .(I do.)

The salad has to sit until tonight - so I eat a piece of pumpkin pie for a mid-morning meal instead. I feed the crust to the dogs - I just like pie fillings, not the dough.

Around lunchtime, I'm ready to stand up and take a break from the computer. I've had a few cups of tea plus the pumpkin so I'm set.

It's a 15-minute uphill walk in the hot sun - in the 90osF (30sC.) I'm wearing a light windbreaker to ward off the noon sun. A jacket is cooler than bare arms while I'm walking, but as soon as I stop, sweat and heat pool under its long sleeves. I tear the jacket off my body at the destination and when I get home.

I'm popping in to visit a friend in a nearby hospital. D is not impressed with the care and says her room is noisy: her bed is next to the hall and across from the nursing station. "Visiting hours end at midnight, so there are people talking until they leave." (What?!) I call our office admin to ask him to deliver earplugs for her so she can sleep tonight. Hope that helps her. Maybe she can sleep in her own bed tomorrow night!

D is heaving when I come in so I torture her with the quick cure someone taught me years ago. (Didn't expect that on a pastoral call, eh?) I squeeze the muscles between her thumb and the first finger HARD for 3 minutes on each hand. "Focus on your hand," I ask her. She does.

Yup - she quits heaving and the nausea is gone. Is it because pain refocuses the brain? Whatever. It's a pressure point, not a scientifically proven method. I move an unappetizing food tray from beside her to the wall at the foot of the bed. That probably helps, too.

Her sister comes in - there's no mistaking the resemblance. E has brought some hot tea to settle D's stomach. Here, relatives bring food and take care of most of the patient's personal needs.

After prayer together, I walk back home - the descent always seems gentler than the walk up. (There's not one uphill on the return. Good! I always prefer to tackle the hard part first.)

Over the kitchen sink, I water the flower bouquet that's still going strong from Sunday. Even the rose heads are still up - wait, is that a caterpillar in the mums? Yup. I grab it with a tissue and toss it into the garbage. An hour later I come through the kitchen again. There's a second caterpillar halfway across the kitchen floor. Or is that the same one? I don't lift the garbage lid to check ...

W's back home - he's happy because he was helpful. That's his fulfillment.

Mine is planning and setting people loose. Anyone remember the line from the A-Team's Lieutenant Colonel John “Hannibal” Smith? "I love it when a plan comes together!" (The A Team '83-'86.) Yeah, me too. Haha