Incredibly Fast and Easy Step-by-Step Set Up of a Self-Hosted WordPress Site

This practical and easy tutorial has helped many to set up a self-hosted WordPress site. And now HostGator, the service I use, is having a special for $3.96 a month! Honestly that’s a great price. Get in on it while you can.

Many of you asked how to set up a blog and learn to write your thoughts, experiences and ideas. I’ve even had some ask about turning their story into a book for the benefit of others. Obviously you have some expertise to share, a service to help, or a product worth talking about. Either way writing a blog and hosting a website will help you get the word out. Some blog writers have even jumped from online writing to publishing a book. Sometimes the posts themselves can be massaged and rewritten into a book. My aim is to tell how I began this journey and to show you how you can get started as well with just a few simple steps.

Sign up if you want a free e-book/pdf of this Incredibly Fast and Easy Step-by-Step Set-Up of a Self-Hosted WordPress Site, plus more insight on blogging, business, ministry and life.

But before I share the tutorial, my story will give context and help answer some of your questions.

The Way I Started a Website

I first began writing spiritual thoughts for friends and fellow church members. I’d email these devotions once a week. I received encouraging stories about how my words, experiences, and thoughts helped others. So I kept writing. Eventually, from someone’s suggestion, I started a blog and my readers multiplied.  (Side note: If my experiences helped others, then yours can too.)

The Part I Don’t Suggest You Follow

When I started, I didn’t know any better than to hire a web designer. Thankfully, I enlisted one at a fraction of the cost of most web designers. But just figuring out the design became a chore. Eventually I learned a simpler, easier—and cheaper—way to set up a website and begin writing for my readers.

Following my step-by-step instructions will save you an arm and a leg in designer fees and you’ll find them simple and easy even for a non-techy person like me. Unlike the hours and days of talking to the designer to settle on the design and months to get the site up and running, my total set up time to get you up and writing will take only a few minutes. You could do this during lunchtime. Just think about it. You can be reaching your audience in under an hour.

This information outlines setting up a self-hosted WordPress website. Self-hosted is the best option to keep your blog safely yours. At a fraction of the designer costs, you can have your own blog for less than one drink a week. It’s actually less than $7 a month for 12 months. (Keep reading and I’ll show you how to save even more money!)

Yes, there are free options such as Blogger and WordPress.com, but these free hosts can take down their hosting and urls for any reason and your blog will be gone forever. And yes, they allow free rent but they can close shop leaving you with nothing.

If you pay the price of one lunch a month, you own it and have paid the rent to park it in the cloud (on host servers). That’s called self-hosted. And if you put a little money into your endeavor, you’ll tend to be more committed to it. So let’s take on your fear of setting up a website. Bring your lunch.

Tips and Motivation on How to Get Back into Work After a Break

Vacation

I went on vacation.

Vacation from work. Vacation from writing. From business. From routine life. I intentionally didn’t think about anything work related.

It was a blast!

Doesn’t this look like a great place to lose yourself?

Hilton Head

Yes, we went to Hilton Head Island. My first time to visit this grand place.

While in a rented condo, I found a book by Jimmy Buffett called A Salty Piece of Land. The cover invited me to sit on the beach with my feet in the water. I had to go there, so I started reading. I didn’t get far with all the bike-riding, zip-lining, and paddle-boarding type activities we had planned. Before I knew it we were back in the car headed home without my ever getting to chapter 3.

Grinding out the Return

The direction of Frankie’s headlights (that is our appropriately named old ’97 Avalon: “Frankie Avalon”) made me regret getting back to work, routine, and regular life.

I just wanted to read, to prolong the fun stuff, and keep away from the drive to perform. I just wanted to be. To be me. Do what I wanted, when I wanted. Have no worries. No troubles. No … nothing required.

After I got home, I kept trying to live that way, but found myself drifting, listless and purposeless. After all, A Salty Piece of Land was left behind and what could I do?

I was almost depressed.

A Salty Piece of Land

Am I the only one who has trouble getting back into the swing of things after a vacation?

Search for Motivation and Starting Again

During my listless days, I read one woman’s idea. The day before her vacation, she made a to do list for the day she would return. That way she didn’t have to remember where she was in her work or what needed to be done next.

(Tweetable) The day before your break, make a to-do list for the day you get back.

For me, starting always seems the hardest part–or is that finishing? Either way, I didn’t have her foresight and consequently I flopped.

Eventually, I reinstated my regular habit of reading God’s word and prayer journaling. Yes, regretfully, I even went on vacation from some spiritual disciplines. (Please don’t throw stones or rotten fruit. I’m just a girl doing her best–most of the time.)

And as soon as I got back to spiritual endeavors, I found part of my cure: the fix for my losing of heart, the listlessness of not wanting to work, the purposeless of life. Once again I found the freedom in being me that I wanted was in giving my everything to God. (Not just giving lip comments or commitments, or adhering to the precepts of men or traditions of religion, but wholly submitting self to God, a life totally given to God’s plan.) I am his and I do his work.

(Tweetable) Freedom in being yourself is in giving your all to God.

I gained purpose for my work and life again.

That’s all the help I’ve got for getting back into the swing of things.
1. Make a post-vacation to do list before you leave.
2. Gain respect for spiritual disciplines. They give direction.
3. …What have you got?

Surely I’m not alone in post-vacation blahs. I’m certain there are other ways of getting motivated that you’ve used successfully. Maybe some absolute failures too. Please share in comments.

Question: So how do you do it? What actions, plans, attitudes, or motivations help you get back to work?

 

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How can I get Confidence and Avoid Anxiety or Depression?

Anxiety and depression do not have to be our only option. We have another choice. But the truth is

Stress and suffering are inevitable.

We hate to hear it, and the truth hurts sometimes. But that doesn’t change the fact that we can’t be removed from stress and suffering forever. No matter how much we try to avoid it, it will catch us now and then.

The game changer, the tipping point, or the deal breaker is found in how we react to it. What we do with it when it comes our way? Lately, I’ve had some eye-opening examples of stress from my chicken coop.

Egg Full of Life

When a chicken lays an egg, that hen squawks and squawks, carrying on like there’s a skunk in the coop. The sound is quite alarming. To the novice listener, an eminent danger must be threatening the chickens. “It’s just a hen laying an egg,” I’ll explain. But it is stressful for the hen. On a few occasions, a hen will leave some blood spots on the eggshell as she delivers.

Any woman who’s delivered a baby can relate to the stress and suffering of a hen as she lays an egg.

I know.

I did it . . .

three times . . .

naturally.

In the middle of each one, I said, “I’m never going to do this again.”

The only reason I can figure out why I did it 3 times is . . . God.

God gave me forgetfulness.

That has to be it. No one in their right mind would volunteer for that kind of stress and suffering over and over. God had to make me forget it . . . because I’m really not the masochistic kind.

Wind Egg

Nevertheless, late one morning I went out to feed the chickens and gather the eggs. That’s when I found something strange. I was puzzled about how it happened. How it got in the coop? What was it exactly? I found this strange diminutive egg in with the others. Take a look for yourself. It is pictured here with regular eggs.

Wind Egg

I brought it in the house with the others, washed it in the sink, and placed it in a bowl on top of the others (I didn’t want to lose it under the big ones). For days I walked by the bowl wondering about that egg, even asking God about it. “What’s up with that egg?”

Then one day after asking God one more time, a revelational thought occurred. Why not Google it?

So into the Google space I typed, “Why does a hen lay a little egg?” And the answer popped up (Side note: a cool video of a “miracle chicken” that lays ginormous eggs also came up).

This tiny egg is called a wind egg. It’s sort of a real egg, in that a regular laying hen laid it and not some strange mysterious bird. It has a real shell and a real white. But there is a big flaw. There is no yolk. It is void of that which produces real life. I read that a hen lays wind eggs because they are stressed. Here are three of the most common wind egg situations:

  • A young hen under the stress of change may lay her first egg as a wind egg.
  • An older hen may lay a wind egg due to the stress of being older.
  • And a stressed laying hen may occasionally lay a wind egg.

As in the case with eggs, stress and suffering is inevitable.

Two different outcomes come from stress and suffering.

  1. They can bring forth life and purpose or
  2. They can produce a shriveled, shrunk existence that is far short of really living.

Yet, the outcome is our choice.

  1. Do we deal poorly with suffering, becoming bitter, complaining, empty shells of who we were meant to be?
  2. Or do we handle suffering with faith–trusting God for the adventure that is our life–and really live?

The choice is ours. Will we be a wind egg? Or will we be an egg full of life?

How do you deal with stress and suffering? How do you avoid becoming bitter? And How do you find purpose in suffering and gain a richer life?

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How to Prepare Kids for Easter: Thriving Family Excerpt

“I don’t like Nana’s church because they’re mean to Jesus!” My 4-year-old bee lined for the door of my mother-in-law’s church. The Easter drama had just finished as big hot, angry tears hung in his eyes. And . . .

Cross

Well, It’s spring again. Easter is coming quickly and I thought I’d share with you some ways to help the children in your life. Many people. kids especially, need to deal with and understand Easter better (tweet).

I wrote a feature on this topic for Focus on the Family’s Thriving Family magazine. Here are some of the learning activities:

Dinner with Jesus
Set a blanket on the floor to eat your evening meal together as a family. Talk about what happened during the last meal that Jesus shared with His friends (Matthew 26:17). Consider preparing an authentic Passover meal. You can find instructions at ThrivingFamily.com. Search for “Passover Lamb.”

The Cross
Place a light landscaping timber in your yard that’s about your child’s height. Ask your child to drag it from one side of the yard to another, then help him try to hammer a nail into it. Discuss what it may have felt like for Jesus to have His hand under the nail. Explain that being nailed to the Cross would have been painful, but it was more painful for Jesus to carry the sin of the whole world.

You can read more ideas for Easter and children activities to help a child at A Journey to Easter online, the full feature with many more playful activities demonstrating Easter in tangible fun.

And to update you, my son didn’t turn his back on church in the end. With many conversations and training, he was better prepared and able to understand the implications of the Easter story.

Do you have children in your life, neighborhood, or church that need a better understanding of Easter? What stories, ideas and traditions do you use? Share in the comments.

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2 Statements that Shape the Success of Your Work, Ministry and Life

I stood at the door watching a nervously busy woman get slides ready and scanned the empty rows of chairs.

Do I really want to attend a seminar titled “How to Create a Mission Statement”?

Empty Chairs

Not only did the topic seem boring, but the instructor . . . well, she didn’t seem to have her stuff together and, by the looks of it, her presentation would be uninspiring as well.

But since I didn’t have much else to do, I went in and took a seat. The room filled and by the time the session began, she was so nervous she hardly had a voice.

I nailed this one with my first instinct, or so I thought.

Boy was I wrong, not about her nervousness or the dry topic, but about the inspiring part.

Her shoulders straightened and her voice strengthened somewhat as she said, “I’m going to show you how a mission statement can help you follow God and make you more effective and focused in your work. You’ll be able to achieve your goals—and God’s plans—much quicker (Tweet that).”

I was blown away. That’s exactly what I wanted to know. How to be more effective and achieve more. So, I leaned in . . .

With what I discovered in that class, I created both a vision statement and a mission statement.

What is a Mission Statement and a Vision Statement

  • A mission statement is a couple of sentences that summarize what we do. If you will, it is our current calling that keeps us focused on our mission.
  • A vision statement is a list of our dreams we want to accomplish. It is our future-self looking back and saying, “I had a dream to (fill in the blank) and with God’s help, I did it.”

As I went through the exercises to create these statements, I felt like I discovered myself. My passion for the work I wanted to do was written down and it held some wonderful power over me. I was empowered to do the hard work of creating it.

Creating the 2 Statements

Because I’m a dreamer of awesome possibilities, I found it easy to create the vision statement. I dreamed of what I wanted to accomplish and wrote it down. Not the random stuff of a bucket list, but the grand stuff of what I’d do or create if I had no limitations. These what-if dreams become more concrete when written down.

But the mission statement was more difficult. I had to think about the actions I would do in working within my vision then answer these questions:

  1. What three verbs encapsulate what I did?
  2. Who did I do it for?
  3. And what was my purpose in doing it?

After finding the answers, I strung them together, made a sentence or two, and called it my mission statement.

These two statements gave me both freedom and direction. They guide my daily work and keep me accountable to finishing God’s plan for my life.

If you want to read up some more about mission statements, check out Laurie Beth Jones’ The Path: Creating Your Mission Statement for Work and Life (affiliate link).

What about you? Do you have personal statements like these? If so, how do they help you be a finisher?

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Christmas Prayer from Max Lucado

Sometimes a good prayer comforts us (Tweet this). I read a Max Lucado prayer on the Exponential church growth blog and wanted to share it with you. Be encouraged and know the closeness of God this Christmas.

20121220-091243.jpgDear Jesus,

It’s a good thing you were born at night. This world sure seems dark. I have a good eye for silver linings. But they seem dimmer lately.

These killings, Lord. These children, Lord. Innocence violated. Raw evil demonstrated.

The whole world seems on edge. Trigger-happy. Ticked off. We hear threats of chemical weapons and nuclear bombs. Are we one button-push away from annihilation?

Your world seems a bit darker this Christmas. But you were born in the dark, right? You came at night. The shepherds were nightshift workers. The Wise Men followed a star. Your first cries were heard in the shadows. To see your face, Mary and Joseph needed a candle flame. It was dark. Dark with Herod’s jealousy. Dark with Roman oppression. Dark with poverty. Dark with violence.

Herod went on a rampage, killing babies. Joseph took you and your mom into Egypt. You were an immigrant before you were a Nazarene.

Oh, Lord Jesus, you entered the dark world of your day. Won’t you enter ours? We are weary of bloodshed. We, like the wise men, are looking for a star. We, like the shepherds, are kneeling at a manger.

This Christmas, we ask you, heal us, help us, be born anew in us.

Hopefully,

Your Children

Prayer gives relief from much trouble and grief in our world. May you know the depth of friendship, hope of the future, and the love of God this Christmas!!

What gives you comfort in dark days and days when nothing goes right? How do you keep courage?

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Who Validates You?

Do you need to have validation from some entity to do what you think you ought to do?

Validation

What if you’re creative? Do you have to have some kind of permission to create something that wasn’t there before?

As time goes by and you see others doing what you ought to do, do you think it’s too late? That you’re washed up?

Who validated the successful people when they started to do what seems an incredible step for you?

Who was in their corner to encourage them to start and who remained there when failure seemed imminent?

Who validated them? But more importantly…

Who validates you?

For me, my validation comes from God.

I get into trouble when I seek approval anywhere else. For example:

  • If in people:  When I do something right, I might gain some measure of praise. It is a fickle validation. It comes and goes with the tide of performance.
  • If in success: when I accomplish some success, elation may take me to the top, but when I fail, I can slump off into depressed inaction, which tends to make me feel invalidated. Since both success and failure are part of the growing process, success is not a good place to gain validation.

No, I want my validation to come from God who created me and calls me his own. He thinks I’m awesome; the apple of his eye.

Once that question is settled, then have faith in your validation and get to work. It won’t be easy, but it fulfills your purpose. And I’m thinking you’ll feel much less miserable in doing the work.

A Great Video about Validation

If you have 15 minutes, watch this video. It proves the value of validation. Please answer the questions below.

What about you? Who validates you? What approval, permission or encouragement do you require to do what you ought?

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Photo courtesy of video from hughnewman1024

2 Lies We Like to Believe and an Underground Answer

Our culture has not only accepted lies, but when it comes to chicken it has engaged Newton’s 3rd Law.

Newton's 3rd Law of Motion

Newton’s 3rd law of motion: To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction.

The Chick-Fil-A affair involves a lot of religious, political and business pushing and shoving. What started out as everyone’s right to an opinion became the flame igniting a Newton’s law response. It kept snowballing into a storm of negative reactions, one right after another.

Anger.

Hurt.

Everybody’s effected.

It is plain that our culture has a problem.

Rick Warren is quoted on Facebook saying,

“Our culture has accepted two huge lies. The first is that if you disagree with someone’s lifestyle, you must fear them or hate them. The second is that to love someone means you agree with everything they believe or do. Both are nonsense. You don’t have to compromise convictions to be compassionate.” ~Rick Warren

That quote resonates strongly with me. While I understand our culture has a problem, I still have to come to grips with the part I am to play. As I mentioned in How Safe are Your Loved Ones from Tattling, Stalking and Shooting, I don’t want to take part it the hoopla.

This week I read Jen Hatmaker’s take on it. She wrote with passion, wisdom and knowledge on the issue. She concludes with an invitation to leave the messy storm and go underground with the gospel.

That’s it.

I had already made the decision to keep sharing, mentoring and loving people while allowing God to change hearts.

I’m not responsible to convince anyone to believe. My part in God’s plan is to tell what God’s done for me and to lovingly share what I’ve learned from God’s word.

That’s it.

Nothing more.

God is responsible for the results.

I was already underground with Jen and down here the Chick-Fil-A nugget tray is delicious.

Here’s a small part of her post:

Sure, the storm will rage on up there. But you can find refuge just down the stairs. We have a whole thing going on underground. Gay friends and family, you are welcome down here. Marginalized women, come on down. Isolated and confused by organized religion, afraid your questions aren’t welcomed? Join us. Activists and bleeding hearts, you are our heartbeat. Plain, old, ordinary sinners saved by grace, you belong here. Misfits, ragamuffins, and rebels, bring the party. Reformed legalists, you are my people. Pastors contending for God’s glory and people, help lead us. Dissenters, dreamers, visionaries, we need you.

Come on down to the basement. I ordered a Chick-Fil-A nugget platter.

 

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“Let’s go underground with the gospel and be personable.” – Click to Tweet

 

Click through to read Jen’s In the Basement and join us underground.

What should you do when there’s so much pushing and shoving? Please don’t use the comments to rant, push or shove. I won’t argue issues. Only Jesus can change hearts. Why would you want to go underground?

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How Safe are Your Loved Ones from Tattling, Stalking and Shooting?

What do tattling, stalking and shooting have in common?

They are part of our society because people make up society. And people can be different, weird, loud, whiny, and some are downright crazy nuts.

I’ve been more reflective than vocal about the Colorado shooting, the Chick-Fil-A boycott and a predator-type stalking single young women that I minister to.

But now, I think it’s time to speak up.

Elephant Mom's ProtectionNa-na na-na boo-boo, my mommy’s bigger than you.

Just so you know where I’m coming from. I’m a mom charged with a natural instinct to protect those I love from any threat. And it’s with this outlook that I’m trying to sort out what to think about this week’s happenings. And I believe that I am one of the “we” that is responsible for, not just the beneficiary of:

“We the People of the United States, in Order to form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity, do ordain and establish this Constitution for the United States of America.” ~Constitution

 

As part of the “we” and as a mom, I hate tattling.

Maybe the tattler thinks he’s helping the leader/parent stay informed, but most often it comes across as whining and trying to get others in trouble.

When my kids were little, I gave the tattler a talk-to-the-hand motion and said, “If there’s no blood, no foul, no one hurt, no life threatening situation, then I don’t want to hear any tattle tales.” Then I’d take my hand down, smile and ask if they had anything they’d like to say.

So when do you pull the trigger and rat out somebody? Hence this week’s struggle and reflection.

What to do about a stalker?

In the case of the predator, I coached the girls to cut off all communication, Facebook, etc, but the guy still kept at it. So, I called in the militia. I ranted about the situation with my husband and we decided to bring in another authority.

There you have it. I tattled.

I just could not stand the idea of the guy possibly following one of my young women home! Mom instincts, intact.

We the people… establish justice.

What to do about a shooter?

I also gave much thought about the wave of talk after the Colorado shooting.

No one can predict with certainty what they’d do in such a horrific situation, but I’m sure my first reaction would be to drop to the floor and scream like a girl. While on the floor, I’m sure my mom instinct would rise up. But what could I do to stop the perpetrator of such senseless evil?

When my husband and I first heard the news he said, “It’s time to become a licensed handgun carrier just to protect ourselves against crazies.”

The thought made sense. And I felt compelled not only to become licensed but also to become a marksman.

That way if I ever was in such a situation with my mom instinct on overdrive, I imagine that I’d get up off the floor place a little red dot on the perps shooting arm and blast away. Anything to knock him off his perfectly scheduled attack and allow the good people to take control of the situation.

I’m not saying I’d be the Lone Rangerette saving the day, but maybe an army of trained moms could. Mom instinct with a plan.

We the people… have the right to bear arms.

What to do about opinions

Now when it comes to the opinions thrown around about boycotts and Chick-Fil-A, I like everyone, have one. And we are entitled to our opinions.

“A free society can remain free only so long as dissent is tolerated…as opinions and ideas can be debated freely…” -Eric Metaxas

But here’s the rub. I fail to see any immediate danger, no blood, no one hurt, no life-threatening situation. Really people. One would think that Chick-Fil-A took teargas and machine guns and blasted at their customers and mall shoppers. There doesn’t seem to be anyone in need of protection. And I feel free to eat wherever I want.

So I tire of the tattling.

Talk to the hand.

I know the issues are deep and strike lots of emotion, but what do you think “we” should do? Make a comment please.

When is it right to tattle? Or to be the person who stops the tattling, stalking and shooting? What is right? Where’s the balance?

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