My Toolbox

There are many things that help us to be organized and systematic so we can be more effective in what we do. For me, there are some online tools and apps that have helped me. The list of “Tools” I have listed below continues to change as time goes on, but this will give you a good Idea.

toolbox

These are the tools I use on a regular basis. Under each category, I’ve listed the options in order of my preference.

I have not given much details regarding each one as you will be able to look up its features on the internet. The list below is just the most important features and complications that I have observed. I hope this will be beneficial for those who are looking for ways to be a bit more organized and effective.

File Storage

Google Drive

  • Downloads a copy to a local computer
  • Collaboration with ease
  • Unlimited storage when you use Google format
  • Purchase additional storage
  • Publish directly to WordPress

Dropbox

  • Downloads a copy to a local device
  • Allows for collaboration
  • Limited storage
  • Flexibility of using any editing software, but causes problems with formatting
  • Synchronization problems when using multiple devices and coloborating with others.
  • Gain free storage by promoting Dropbox
  • Purchase additional storage

e-Reader

Kindle

  • Storage for a few thousand books 
  • Accessible from anywhere
  • Book-like
  • Mobile app available

Recommended Reading

Click here to get a list of books that I’ve been reading.

Social Media

Tweet Jukebox

  • Scheduling
  • Suggested tweets
  • Free and paid version

Newsletters

MailChimp

  • Flexible
  • Better stats
  • Free up to 2,000 subscribers

Feedburner

  • Free
  • Use with any blog
  • Less flexibility

Media Storage

Google Photos

  • Free unlimited storage
  • Easy sharing options

Google Music

  • Virtually unlimited storage
  • Connect several devices
  • Categorizes your music

Website Hosting

Bluehost

I hope this list has been helpful. Some of the above links are affiliate links. If you have further questions or comments about any of the above services, you can look it up on Google.

Your Turn

Join me and add to this list. What have you found helpful?

Please share briefly in the comments.

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**Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page

My Books:

 

Seven Things I’ve Learned About Writing

In the late 1990’s I sensed an urge to write regularly. As a pastor and teacher, I’ve always written sermons, reports, and articles for magazines and academic journals. But this was different. I felt that I needed to express myself and to make a contribution to the church and society.

pen and paper

Blogging provided the means to make that contribution on a regular basis. Although I made an attempt to write a blog in the early 2000’s it was only in 2012 that it became regular. After being healed of a 17 year chronic back pain, and several years of intense inner healing, I began writing weekly.

Here are some things I’ve learned about writing.

  1. Understand that you have a message

It may be true that someone has already written on every subject on the planet. But you are unique and your voice is unique. You have a message that is unique and different from everyone else. Your experiences give you a message of your own. That message deserves to be expressed, and there are people who need to hear it.

  1. Determine your audience

Be clear who you are writing for. Your message is determined by who you are and what is in your heart. But how you express your message is determined by your audience.

If your audience is primarily a group of believers, you can assume a set of perspectives they have about God, the Bible, and the world. If they are not believers, your approach to writing must be entirely different.

  1. Write daily

Make it a practice to express your thoughts in writing on a daily basis. Even if you only set aside fifteen to thirty minutes, make it daily. You can begin with brief thoughts from your Scripture readings, devotions, and prayer time. Just write a few sentences each day. Another practice is to reflect on your day. What were some of the good experiences, and challenging experiences? What have you learned?

Take some of those thoughts and begin to expand it into a longer article of about 500 words. You may want to do some extra reading on that topic to refine your thoughts. It is good to hear what others are saying. It will add to your understanding and will refine your ideas as well.

  1. Share your writing

There are people who will benefit from your perspective and your words. It is your time to step up to this challenge and share what you have written. Take the shorter thoughts you write and share on Twitter, Facebook, and other social media. Allow that to be a daily encouragement to your friends and family.

Take the longer writing and share it on a blog. I would suggest you post about once per week on your blog. Starting a blog can be done easily on wordpress.com or other sites in just a few minutes. This will provide you with a free option to get you started with your blogging. In this way, you will gradually build an online resource that can be accessed by anyone, anywhere in the world.

If you are serious about your writing and blogging, I would suggested you begin a self-hosted wordpress blog. In this way, you have your own space on the internet without any of the limitations of a free service. You can use your own identity and have more flexibility with a self-hosted blog.

  1. Be yourself – find your voice

As we all have our own ideas about writers, we may be tempted to copy the styles of others. Now I acknowledge that one aspect of learning involves imitating others, but you must move on from that, and move to your own way of writing and expressing yourself. This is your voice.

But finding your own unique voice takes time. For some, it may take several years of regular writing, sharing, and receiving comments. Some say it takes the writing of several books before your true voice emerges. Now, don’t let that discourage you from writing. Just get this clear in your mind: Be yourself, and keep writing. Your unique voice will eventually surface.

  1. Receive comments gracefully

Criticism can be one of the greatest irritations for you and at the same time, it can be an asset. Learn to receive criticism from others with grace. Some may not have a proper way of giving advice, but you certainly can pick out some good things to learn and improve.

  1. Read more than you write

Every writer must be an avid reader. Develop a constant habit of reading widely. Take topics that are in your field as well as others. Read the writings of those whom you disagree with. You may disagree with their approach, premise, and conclusions, but read them anyway. It may irritate you to your core, but that is a good practice. You will not be swayed by those ideas, but it may help to sharpen who you are.

Maybe you have not thought of yourself as a writer. But this is the time to begin expressing yourself. People are waiting to hear from you. Your thoughts and perspectives are unique. God has placed you here for this purpose of impacting others. Let’s begin using your words.

Here is what you can do now. During your next time of prayer and devotion, write down your reflection regarding what you are facing and what God’s word has to say about it. Just write three or four sentences and form one paragraph. Take that paragraph and post it in the comments below on the blog. Make sure to comment on what another person has written as well. Just click the link below to place your writing in the comments.

*Since 2010, I’ve learned much about writing and communicating from three bloggers: Jeff Goins, Seth Godin, and Michael Hyatt.

**Book recommendations on various topics I write on are available at my Resources Page

A personal note…

Thank you for reading my blogs. I hope these words have helped you. Appreciate your comments and responses by email. They are an encouragement for me to continue to write. 

download

There are many who regularly help by sharing the posts on Facebook and Twitter. This expands the reach and allows many others to benefit from this blog.

Some may not want to continue to receive these emails, and that is fine. You are welcome to unsubscribe by clicking the link at the bottom of this email.

For those who continue with me, thank you for taking this journey as we learn to live our lives free of our past and the things that hold us back. There is hope for us to move forward with freedom and focus.

Let’s continue to pursue freedom and focus in life as we let go of the things in our past. There is a point where we make the decision to stop looking back, live the present, and look forward to the future with expectation.

If you wish to introduce this blog to your friends, a simple way to do that is to introduce my book, Living Your Potential by sharing this link: www.barnabas.in/resources 

That link will take them directly to the page that introduces the book and the blog as well. You may also post that link on your Social Media Networks such as Facebook and Twitter. Thank you for doing that.

Blessings,

Alexi

My Agony and My Writing

Seventeen years of chronic back pain coupled with lots of emotional issues plunged me into an impossible situation. It seemed like a future without hope. Each MRI report showed further deterioration of my disks. Even daily tasks were a painful process. I finally asked my doctor: “Will I eventually be crippled for life?” He struggled to slip out of that question.

Flight Writing

The Impossible Happened

After about two years of emotional healing coupled with a miraculous touch from God, my back was completely healed. I was able to resume all my previous physical activities just as before.

Working Through Mental Agony

The two-year process of healing involved lots of journaling. Issues from my childhood through adult years were expressed in the journaling process. Lots of reading (specifically a book on back pain), lots of agonizing, and lots of prayer went into the writing of those journals.

The Facebook Push

After my back was healed, I posted a photo of me playing basketball on Facebook. Through posts, messages, and emails, people began asking about the healing. That led me to write out my story in detail and I posted it on my “dormant” blog. This was the kind of push that I needed to get me on the writing path.

An Ongoing Quest for Freedom

My healing was really a quest for freedom. It wasn’t a freedom from others and their words and actions. But it was a freedom from my own victim mentality and emotional quagmire.

The process of healing and quest for freedom continues even now. My blog is an ongoing expression of that quest. Although I write on a lot of topics, most of my posts are written from this perspective of living free.

Living Your Potential

I believe that only when you move toward freedom can you live your potential. Otherwise you will be stagnant and dragged around by all the emotional hang-ups.

An Invitation for You

Do you have a strong urge to please everyone, do everything, and be everywhere? I want to help you live with freedom and focus. Join me in the Journey as we process life and how to live it with freedom and focus.

When you subscribe to receive updates from my blog, you will also get a free copy of my book Living Your Potential.

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Why I Write These Blogs

The desire to write regularly began years ago, but somehow I could not get motivated to do so. That desire was the reason this blog was started several years ago, but it never got much mileage.

2012-10-19 15.13.46

Throughout my college and seminary days, writing was a part of my daily routine, but it was all directly related to my studies. Writing the dissertation for my doctoral work gave me the feeling of writing something to the extent of producing a “book.” But none of these prompted me to write regularly.

In June 2012, I was miraculously healed of chronic back pain with which I suffered for 17 years. The final five years was severe where I was bedridden for months at a time. That healing was a process which began about two years prior to the healing of my back pain. The “process” took me through intense emotional turmoil and ultimately to complete healing of my back pain in 2012. As a result of the healing, I was able to resume all of the physical activities that I thought were forever impossible.

One of those activities was playing basketball. In September 2012, I played basketball (tried to) with a few teenagers and posted the pictures on Facebook. You can view that picture at this link. A few commented on the pictures and I received several emails asking about my healing. When I realized that I was repeating the same things on each email, I decided to post my story of healing as an entry on my blog. After a few weeks, I thought it necessary to share how the pain began and my experiences surrounding it. Subsequently, I began sharing about some of the issues I struggled with and how I perceived them biblically. That, of course, led to more sharing of my thoughts on various issues, and it became a weekly process.

Lots of ideas and inspiration for writing came from Jeff Goins, a writer and blogger who is a constant help to writers. Sometimes I get phone calls from people letting me know how my writing has inspired them. Along with this, the responses by email and blog comments from readers of my blog gave me the indication that I needed to continue writing as it helps so many.

Although not very large, the 1,200+ subscribers who continue receiving these weekly emails are an indication of interest, and that others will also benefit. Thank you for continuing to read each week. When you find a post that helps, inspires, or encourages you, please remember to share these emails with your friends by forwarding them. Some people use these ideas for small group discussions and activities. Others have used them for sermon illustrations and sermon ideas. You can also share a link to the blog on Facebook, Twitter, or other social media that you use. A recent look at the stats indicated that people from more than 20 countries read and benefit from these writings. Keep reading, and keep sharing.

How have you benefited from these blogs? Please share it in the comments section of this blog. Thanks.