An excerpt from the upcoming book, “God Moments” by Orlando Javien Jr.
For those who have ever golfed or know someone who golfs you may have been asked a time or two this question, “How is your golf game?” This is just simple way of asking how have been playing.
Today I’d like to ask you, “How is your marriage game?”
Marriage, like golf, is very humbling. I don’t play golf all that often, but when I do, it’s always the same. At some point in the round, I hit that ball so well it makes me say “Wow! I did that?” Then I do it again and start thinking, PGA, here I come.
Once God hears me thinking that I can do it on my own, he brings me back to reality. The next shot I top the ball, then I totally miss the ball, and to make things worse, I then lose the ball. “PGA, I think not!”
Marriage is the same way. I read a few books (The Five Love Languages, Every Man’s Marriage and the instruction book of marriage: Ephesians 5:21) and started to see my marriage improving. Then complacency set in. I stopped showering my wife with love; I thought all the things I did yesterday or last week would carry over to today. Then I was reminded that it doesn’t.
I don’t get it! What do I need to do to love my wife? I prayed and asked God, “Lord, please show me how to love my wife.” Sure enough, he answered quickly. I was led to the book Fireproof: Never Leave Your Partner Behind. I read the book and found the answer I was looking for.
The story was about a firefighter that was so engrossed saving lives that he neglected his marriage. Caught up with an addiction to pornography and only living for himself he forgot about the special gift that he had in a wife.
In a nutshell, the book taught me that whatever you put the time, energy, and money into will become more important to you.
I’m not good at golf because I don’t practice. If I don’t continuously practice loving my wife, I won’t be good at loving her either. So practice loving your wife. Get books on how to better love them and don’t get complacent.
“Remember, you wooed her to get her; you better woo her to keep her.”
📦📦📦Think outside the box! Don’t box yourself inside the walls of your situation. But what if you thought ABOUT the box itself??
I found an empty cardboard box 📦 at work last night—I work part-time a grocery store so I see hundreds of boxes daily. Two things made this box different:
The box was not for me it was for my six-year old daughter. Her favorite class is art and she has made countless cardboard creations at home. My favorite and the one I think was the most creative was a “living room” out of an empty shoebox. She made a TV, remote, couch, and food area for her stuffed animals. Boxes have overtaken sticks and rocks as the new favorite toy in the Chicoine household.
This box was uniquely shaped. Still rectangular it contained an opening on the front and extra cardboard pieces (they were used as dividers to separate the different flavors of the cereal).
Don’t Over-analyze Creativity
Thinking about the “box” or situation before you can actually help to generate creative or outside the box ideas. Boxes generally carry (no pun intended) the connotation of conformity, uniformity, or sameness. People want to stand out. Be unique. Individuals. It is just part of human nature.
The times I most often struggle with creativity are when I box myself in. I believe I have to re-invent the wheel (or box). Desiring to develop a 100% brand new idea without reference to others is not only ambitious it is selfish. Ideas don’t occur in a vacuum. Every thought, idea, project, or endeavor was influenced by someone: your parents, children, spouse, friend, boss, society, books, music, or the information sea of the Internet.
Who Influenced You?
My daughter was that influence for me in picking up that box. As I passed by the cardboard box I asked my co-worker who was stocking items for Aisle 8, “Hey, it is alright if I take this box? My kid loves creates things from cardboard.” He replied, “Sure! It is good to know there is creative people. That is what we need more in school individuals going against the grain. Thinking for themselves.”
💭 How have you fostered creativity in your work and hobbies recently?
💭Have you thought about the “boxes” in your life? Why or why not? If you, what did you learn?
💭What type of cardboard creation do you think my daughter will create with that box today?
Empty boxes provide us opportunity to examine our situations from multiple perspectives: internally, externally, and even simply neutrally about life. Give yourself time this week to be reflect on your goals. You will be surprised how creativity will spring forth!
Life is going to throw you curve balls. Be prepared to adapt. But what if life sends that elusive knuckle ball? Preparation can only go so far in these types of situations. Today, I felt like a hundred knuckle balls were aimed at me. I had a bunch of tasks I wanted to accomplish. So far, I have missed. There was a thunderstorm last night. This woke up and scared my three-year-old and nine-month-old kids.
Working the night shift, I did not expect to get much sleep anyway. To make matters a bit more complicated was finding out my five-year-old was running a fever. 1 sick kid + tired 2 kids + 1 tired sad = a knuckle ball kind of day. So far, I have found a way to make through the morning (and hopefully the rest of the day) with in the most graceful way possible for me.
This post is the compilation of 10 tips for content creation in 10 days. Originally, I posted these content strategies on LinkedIn, but I figured why limit myself to one platform when other content creators would benefit from some of the tips that worked for me.
💡Tip #1—Complete tasks using chunking, micro-chunking, or nano-chunking depending on your schedule and ability for the day
Breaking up a task (writing, reading, email follow-up, lead research, etc) into manageable bits of time helped get me to achieve something. Something is better than nothing.
I pause many times or step into another room to center myself whenever parenting gets too stressful. It actually took me at least 3 Nano chunks (1-2 minute time segments) to complete this first tip! Placing a time barrier between you and the overwhelming into definitely helps.
💡 Tip #2 Focus on one goal or group of goals at a time
Some weeks or seasons of your life are more challenging than others. Maybe you left ended such a season in your own life. Perhaps you are in the calm of the storm. All I know for certain is that you will encounter resistance again in the future. I am in the middle of the stress tsunami.
Sharpening my focus to specific areas of my work has helped prepare me to better weather this storm. Below are just a couple examples of my focused goals for today and the rest of the week:
Post at least once a day on social media
Do creative/free form writing for at least 30 minutes sometime this week
Read at least 5-10 minutes a day
Begin to carve time in my schedule to listen to podcasts about marketing
I know I cannot achieve all 4 goals every single day, but my goal is to focus on and name the specific goal and at least be consistent in my approach to working towards it. Consistency is an investment that you rarely see a return on in the present. What tools/resources/advice have you implemented to help you focus your goals?
💡Tip 3—It is okay to adjust your goals
Earlier this week, I mentioned this has been a ‘knuckle ball’ type of week. Challenges kept coming at me, yet there was no pattern to them. Monday and Tuesday, I kept swinging and missing. I almost gave up and shut down for the week.
Instead, I adjusted my productivity goals. Dealing with sick children and an erratic work schedule I realized this was going to be a less productive period. I maintained consistency but limited the frequency of content produced. See it is easy to give up when life sends you knuckle balls. I used to have an all or nothing (home run or strikeout) mindset.
If you can’t give it 110% everyday what is the point in trying? Realistically it is not always possible to be at or over 100%. You may get sick. Family obligations supersede work goals. That balance may not happen all the time.
Consistency is what will help weather you through these trials. Hit for average not power: Are you more of a power hitter with your work goals or a person who shoots for average/consistency? How have you endured a ‘knuckle ball’ week?
💡Tip 4—Rest is Necessary in order to improve productivity
I have started taking off most of the weekend (starting last weekend) from social media. I am realizing more and more that it is not realistic for me to post daily and comment often on others’ posts. I am a parent to special needs kids first.
This week drained me of all my mental stamina. It was a week of regression for my three-year-old. I know a lot of people only post the positive stuff and shy away from the real challenges of life. But I am not your normal connection. I am being honest here.
Don’t give into the pressure to create content like a machine. Rest. I am going to cut back on my overall social media a bit as I rest and strategize how I can be more efficient with creating content and still focus on my family.
Have you ever been so worn down from life’s challenges that you had to limit or eliminate your social media activity?
💡Tip #5 Clear and consistent communication overcomes the toughest of situations
Whether you work remotely, in the office, or odd hours it is important to keep your boss and peers at work in the loop. Any transition point in a project or process requires extra diligence. Find how your co-workers prefer to receive information (email, text, in person, phone call etc) and flex to their preference.
Communicating in a variety of ways not only allows you to work well with others but shows your ability to adapt. Always provide a short recap of the main points of a meeting of phone call. Ask clarifying questions to check for understanding especially if you are working on a complex process.
💡Tip #6—Dedicate time every work to work on your craft
Carve our 15 minutes, 30 minutes, an hour. Whatever time segment works with your schedule make that the goal you aim for. Call this your “base goal” a non-negotiable on the absolute minimum amount of time to work daily. With my topsy-turvy work schedule and raising young children my base goal is 5 minutes daily.
Make a stretch goal on days you have more free time. What I mean is add extra “x number of minutes” to your base goal these days. Ex: Wednesdays and Saturday’s I don’t work any of my part-time jobs. So, I up my stretch goals a lot—to an hour.
Not hitting your stretch goals should never cause you worry or anxiety. This is bonus time. Achieving stretch goals should invoke gratitude.
Do you set daily or weekly goals? If so, why do find it helpful? If not, what is stopping you from setting up goals?
💡Tip #7—Getting feedback from your audience will help improve your content
You could be a superior writer interweaving complex ideas together in a beautiful way, but it you are not generating content that resonates with your audience it is ultimately a selfish and futile work.
J.K. Rowling began her Harry Potter series not for herself, but as a bedtime story for her children. She know the kind of content that would be easily picked up by kids. J.R.R. Tolkien was inspired to Roverandom to entertain his son after losing his favorite toy. Selfless acts of creation blossomed into classic tales that continue to give joy to readers today. One way to get feedback is to simply ask.
What kinds of questions do you have about content creation? Do you prefer standalone posts, or would you like to see a content series based on a theme? What prevents you from engaging with certain content on LinkedIn?
💡Tip #8—Getting feedback from your audience is only as important as your consistent execution of that feedback into content
It is important to listen. That often involves follow-up questions or noticing the engagement on the content you implement will go a long way towards fostering a solid relationship between you and your audience. I did get feedback on whether people wanted to see a series based on a theme or standalone posts. The verdict was it was a bit of both. I plan to continue the unique posts but will be creating more of a themed content series broken up in the course of a few days or a week.
What are some of the obstacles in your way of implementing the feedback once you got it from your audience? For me it is time and family obligations—my nine-month-old is teething still and having trouble sleeping through the night. What are some strategies or tools that helped you implement feedback promptly and consistency?
💡Tip #9—Higher priorities will bump your content goals down the queue sometimes and that is normal
Full disclosure: My 10 tips in 10 days has been a misnomer as a couple days I had to miss because of dealing with regression in my autistic son’s progress. Yesterday, was challenging as we painted our living room (thankfully we had some family come up for help). But any deviation from our schedule big or small incites a meltdown unless we uber-prepare him. The latest meltdowns were like wrangling a squid with the tenacity of a wolverine and the sound of a jet engine. Some days it takes me entire mental stamina to maintain a sane semblance of composure. I was 100% drained.
Don’t get down if you miss a day so long. Consistency does not always mean creating daily, but generating, on average, a repetitive and predictable schedule. The weekend often mean family comes first and this was the case yesterday.
How have different and higher priorities impacted your content creation and productivity of your work recently?
💡Tip #10—Content is versatile across platforms
There are so many different types of social media and communication platforms today to publish your material. Audio, written, and video. As I previously mentioned, originally these tips were created for LinkedIn, but realized I was limiting myself to only a single audience if I kept this content solely on one platform.
Combining the ten tips did not take up too much time. I basically had to update the format to read as a blog article (I included headings and ensured I broke up the paragraphs in a readable fashion) and proofread for consistency. Finally, I added images to help break up the text and improve reader experience.
Creating content can definitely be daunting at first. The key is dedicating time daily,a even if it is only 5-10 minutes, to work on your craft, develop a consistent schedule, implement chunking or breaking up tasks throughout the day, reassess your goals often. Learn to love the process of creating content as this will help you greatly in achieving your end goals!
If you need engaging content for your website to improve traffic and boost your brand please send me a link to your website in the comments below along with any questions you have about content creation. I will randomly select three comments to set-up a free content creation consult call! The deadline for comments to be included in the drawing is November 15th.
Among my favorite saints is the Spanish Carmelite nun Teresa of Avila. Her spirituals works bring peace and comfort to my life. I discovered a simple, but powerful prayer, a poem Teresa wrote, that brings comfort in distressing times.
Let nothing disturb you, Let nothing frighten you, All things are passing away: God never changes. Patience obtains all things Whoever has God lacks nothing; God alone suffices.
We thank God for the wonder witness of the life of St. Teresa of Avila. May we look to her as a faithful spiritual toward Jesus Christ. St. Teresa pray for us!
The film Geostorm debuted in movie theaters across the world in mid-October 2017. Earlier in the month, a trailer for this movie was on and it piqued my interest. That is rare because I normally find weather-related films to be boring! This movie was different.
Relying on a unique story-line, Geostorm featured a future with the possibility of a global network of satellites used to control climate to benefit humanity. The technology gets hijacked and apocalyptic storms ensue as a result.
Along with my interest in the possibility of humanity controlling weather, October is a month culturally dedicated on Halloween. Originating from the Catholic tradition of celebrating the Vigil of All Saints Day, the word Halloween originally referred to All Hallows [holy] Eve. It is a celebration of the officially canonized holy men and women by the Catholic Church who had such a profound and transformative relationship with God that they are believed to be united to Him in Heaven.
Holiness or ghastliness?
Unfortunately, sometimes Halloween gets associated with witches, ghosts, goblins, magic, fortune telling, and other sorts of divination. According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church,
All forms of divination are to be rejected: recourse to Satan or demons, conjuring up the dead or other practices falsely supposed to “unveil” the future. Consulting horoscopes, astrology, palm reading, interpretation of omens and lots, the phenomena of clairvoyance, and recourse to mediums all conceal a desire for power over time, history, and, in the last analysis, other human beings, as well as a wish to conciliate hidden powers. They contradict the honor, respect, and loving fear that we owe to God alone (CCC 2116).
What exactly does ‘falsely supposed to unveil the future’ mean? A few years ago, a co-worker and I were talking about the weather [go figure]. I do not quite remember how partly cloud with a chance of rain led to the practices of the occult, but my co-worker exclaimed, “You’re Catholic, right? Don’t Catholics avoid tarot reading, and horoscopes?”
After I confirmed this provided the official Church teaching, he quipped, “Well, what about weather forecasting?”
His question caught me off guard. I did not have a good answer for him. After much reflection on this topic, I will share a few reasons why seeking knowledge from the occult is evil, whereas watching the weather channel to plan your weekend is not bad at all.
Old Testament precedent
The evils of summoning knowledge through the occult is found in the Old Testament. 1 Samuel 28 tells of King Saul’s going to the Witch of Endor to seek knowledge as “He [previously] consulted the LORD; but the LORD gave no answer, whether in dreams or by the Urim or through the prophets” (v.6).
Although this chapter sounds like it came from Middle-Earth [Endor reminds of a Tolkien’s Lord of the Rings Universe!!], the first king of Israel went down a path seeking information via the wrong way. Listen to this brief exchange between Saul and the conjured spirit of the prophet Samuel:
Samuel then said to Saul, “Why do you disturb me by conjuring me up?” Saul replied: “I am in great distress, for the Philistines are waging war against me and God has turned away from me. Since God no longer answers me through prophets or in dreams, I have called upon you to tell me what I should do.”
e6To this Samuel said: “But why do you ask me, if the LORD has abandoned you for your neighbor?f17The LORD has done to you what he declared through me: he has torn the kingdom from your hand and has given it to your neighbor David.18“Because you disobeyed the LORD’s directive and would not carry out his fierce anger against Amalek, the LORD has done this to you today.g19Moreover, the LORD will deliver Israel, and you as well, into the hands of the Philistines. By tomorrow you and your sons will be with me, and the LORD will have delivered the army of Israel into the hands of the Philistines. (1 Samuel 28:15-19).
Saul’s consultation of Samuel the prophet was not inherently evil. In fact, God encouraged Jewish leaders to listen to His messengers. The problem lay in the fact that Saul sought out Samuel through an improper channel and for ulterior motives. He desired power to defeat his enemies.
If I ever encountered that person from the break room, I would let them know that weather forecasting is definitely not evil. Meteorologists predict the weather for the benefit of society not the individual!
Divination—tarot reading, ouija boards, etc— occurs when individuals seek specific knowledge to benefit themselves in a selfish manner. What is more, the word occult comes from the Latin occultus which means “knowledge of the hidden or secret”. Such knowledge is in direct opposition to the knowledge of God taught by the Catholic [Universal] Church!
Predicting the future
A third and final point regarding the deep gulf between weather forecasting and practice of the occult is found in the nature of how one predicts through those means. Meteorology is established and justified via the scientific process. It is verifiable through series of tests and past data. All forms of divination rely on the paranormal. Man becomes a passive receipt of “secret knowledge” as opposed to learning about knowledge the proper way by faith and reason.
St. John Paul II in his encyclical letter Fides Et Ratio tells us, “Faith and reason are like two wings on which the human spirit rises to the contemplation of truth…Philosophy and the sciences function within the order of natural reason; while faith, enlightened and guided by the Spirit, recognizes in the message of salvation the “fullness of grace and truth” (cf. Jn 1:14) which God has willed to reveal in history and definitively through his Son, Jesus Christ.”
Relax you can talk about the weather again
Truth is to be for the benefit of all humanity. Because God is our Creator and I am a creature, I am not meant to acquire control of the future of my life—especially through methods of the occult. This would be selfish of me and quite prideful. “Well, what about weather forecasting? Is that wrong too?” I definitively say no.
Weather forecasting benefits the whole of mankind. May we ask for the graces and courage to resist the temptation to control our future!
Replace “God” and the pronouns in these sentences for subjects (health, physics, grace, certain definitions, psychology, communication, cultures, character, language, etc.) and different people as you are led to think these questions over based on situational things you are facing. Whether or not you are a Christian this is a good exercise to understand where we all sit in regards to truth, love, empathy, grace, and maturity.
Objective vs. Subjective Truth
Is God subjective, or based on what I currently know?
Does God change based on what I think of Him?
Does God change based on how I feel or perceive Him as good or bad?
Does God change even if I choose to ignore Him or what he says?
Does God change even if I believe He does not exist?
Is it me who is under God, or God who is under me?
Does God bless me through things of the earth, or beyond this life through by what I do with what I know?
Can I truly know if someone else is following God correctly, and is it necessary to?
Different Paths (Vocations) Towards Holiness
Is my path different with God based on what is in front of me?
Will someone else have the same experience with God based on them being on a different path with Him, or being uniquely gifted and facing unique challenges?
Is it good for me to force how I see someone’s path with God is, and what good can come from it?
If I wanted someone to talk to me about God, when they may believe they may believe God is evil and people who believe in Him are evil, how would I want to be approached?
Has it ever been received well by me or anyone I know, when someone seeks to leverage that I agree with how they see God or else?
Be Open to Seeking Truth Daily
Can it be at times, that even the experts on God, will make mistakes or still need to learn more?
Does calling someone who seeks to do their best before God a hypocrite because they are also struggling, really helpful? Have I never struggled with God, even as I may learn something new about Him I did not before?
If there were situational reasons that I was not able to obey God as I would have liked to, (such as go to church for a time because you had unique pressures that needed you attention), is it right to be upset at myself or for others to of me for perhaps not being able to do so?
If people don’t know of God and how knowing Him is so great for us, does getting upset that others don’t know Him or don’t desire to learn about Him help them or us in any way? Is loving people despite where they are at with God, more effective when people are wanting to talk to someone about Him?
Do people need to agree with how I see God before I will love them?
Am I only willing to forgive people who are willing to change as I believe they should before God as I see Him?
Isn’t it wise for me to put a boundary up for myself, when someone or something is hindering my relationship with God?
Divine Truth is Revealed Gradually
If the person I go to to learn about God in my life, is working through something with God in their own, does that mean that they could not be a creditable source of information? Am I a creditable source of information on my own expertise, even though I may never know everything about it?
Is God something that we should expect people to know all about right away, or do we all need time to learn more as we go through life?
If I only care about my neighbor when I see them following God as I believe they should, how can I expect them to care for me when I may not follow God as they believe I should?
Is God what is most important in my life?
If I died tomorrow, would what I see as God be the most important thing to leave those who I have shared God with, and is there surety that God will be eternal?
Remove the Log from Your Eye First
Will people speak poorly about God because I chose to say that you should not care about people who do not see God the same way I do?
If someone is mad about a situation and blame God, is it that they are truly mad at me if I get in the cross-hairs of having that past situation placed upon me with them now?
If someone is angry or upset about how they see God, is it more effective to speak directly to them about the situation, love them through it, ask questions to help them figure it out on their own, or justify ignoring them?
If someone is angry about how they blame God for x,y,z, in their life, does seeking a way to justify to yourself and others in ignoring those people truly helpful? Would I desire similar treatment given the reversed roles? Is it not better to simply accept that I may not reach them or be gifted to do so?
Be Consistent in Our Actions and Faith
Do I treat my relationship with God as I believe others should given the situation?
Do I believe that if I ignore God, that God will not eventually come back to haunt me?
Has there ever been a time in my life where I did not know God as well, or need grace?
Is it more effective to be as God would have us and love each other, or cast judgment on how others are not being effective for God?
If others are not doing well with God now, does casting judgment on them help them focus on the problem or the solution?
If given the choice, would I seek to have a good relationship with God and see Him as beneficial to mankind? Are those who have a relationship with God now perfect people, or are they more optimal?
Is it possible to be a perfect person according to God or me? Do I hold myself to that same standard? Is it reasonable to hold anyone to it or do we all need grace?
Is it ever possible that I can be wrong in how I see God now?
Our View is Limited
A man can display perfect love and maturity and will never have perfect wisdom or insight. We can never see beyond our own two eyes and know what we cannot.
Always be mindful of who you believe God is, and how you might justify expecting perfection from people you disagree with or don’t like, and asking for grace for yourself and those you do like or know better. None of us are perfect people in this world, and never could be.
Keith Little is an auto-didactic learner with a type of eidetic memory, which God has used overtime to reveal to him that Jesus as the Unified Field Theory. Keith uses this in the following capacities: Predictive Analysis, Due Diligence, Intelligence, Investigation, Strategy, Reverse Engineering, Research, Risk Analysis. Learn more about Keith, read past articles, and follow Biblical Principles for Growth online: https://www.biblicalprinciplesforgrowth.org
I was pleasantly surprised and very humbled to receive the news that my blog The Simple Catholic was recognized by Feedspot.com as one of the top 120 Catholic blogs for 2019 (#102).
Thank you to all the people who helped me with encouragement, writing guest posts, and engaging with my content on this platform. You my readers are the reason I write. I humbly use this platform as a means to inform and entertain you about the Catholic faith and my journey as a parent with special needs children.
Special shout to my wife Jennifer she was instrumental to my success: she proofread my articles, gave me time to write, and listened to me brainstorm my ideas 💡
It is also her birthday and I had a unique and cool surprise for her—stayed tuned later as I will reveal that later today. 😊
Thank you to William Hemsworth M.Div, Orlando U Javien Jr., Andrew Garofalo, and Megan Naumovski for your guest posts and to Keith A. Little for your future content on my site. Please visit the Guest Posts page to read these stellar works by these gifted writers.
Thank you to Pete Socks for reaching out to me with help in promoting visibility of my writing services.
I am a blessed man. I am nothing without your help and ultimately the grace of the Holy Trinity.
Here is a link to the top Catholic blogs if you are curious about the list. There are excellent blogs to follow so please check those out. 👍