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Live your  life like a Heart In A Box!!!

by: ellis j. still

We are born to dream. As children, we use our imaginations to explore the visions of our mind by acting out what our future could be like. I played with fire trucks and those yellow Tonka construction trucks that were made out of metal, with the assurances that I would be a fireman or construction worker when I grew up.

My next phase was wanting to be an explorer in outer space that would one day save planet Earth. This came from repeatedly watching entire seasons of Star Blazers, Star Trek, and Battlestar Galactica with the one-eyed Cylons. Later came Star Wars, of which I have all six episodes even today.

From there it went to realistically figuring out what I wanted to do with my life. I had great passion for drawing. I also started working in retail at age 16, so maybe I would own my own business one day. However, as I got older, and the world became more real, the creative imagination seemed to disappear and I sought practical venues for planning out my life.

You are taught to do what is proven… what everybody else is doing. To follow the status quo. Very seldom are you taught to be imaginative… to think outside the box – or in this case, inside the box.

Tina and I are avid watchers of the TV show Grey’s Anatomy. While we don’t always agree with the content, it is a well written show, whose characters we often we have dialog about in our home as if they were real people.

There was an episode where one of the main characters was tasked with watching an actual beating heart that’s been placed in a box until it can be transported to its new recipient. The Heart In The box becomes the inspiration to no longer be average, but go on and do great things… that the same imagination that created the Heart In A Box is the same imagination that dreams are made of… that spawns great movements.

Anything that you do in 2012 should be more interesting

than a Heart In A Box.

Anything that you do in life should have meaning, both to yourself, and to others. Anything that you do should be exceptional, and inspire others to greatness.

Dreams are created by a combination of what we see, our imagination, and how we envision it happening… our special personal brand, based on our life experiences.

Are you stuck in a job or situation, but you have a great idea for a business inside of you? Are you doing what you need to do just to get by & merely existing, or are you following the passion that is within you? Are you listening to the voices inside your mind that gives you excuses why you can’t make things happen, or do you listen to God’s word which says that “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” (Philippians 4:13).

Heart in a box is all about not living mundane, but doing extraordinary things in an extraordinary way. It is about being inspired to do something outside of the status quo. It requires creativity and courage. It’s about not just knowing and reciting the words “faith without works is dead” (James 2:14-17), but owning it… knowing without a doubt in your inner core that God will do what he promised… that “every place where you set your foot will be yours” (Deut. 11:24). You have to have Faith that as you act on your dreams, God will make up the difference.

Heart In A Box is special because normally when you do a heart transplant, you take the heart out, put it in a cooler, and then you rush to put it into a warm body, and pray that it beats. But with Heart In A Box, it never stopped beating. It never knew that it was not supposed to be beating. The heart did not know that it was doing what it was not supposed to be doing. It just did it.

Question: What are you planning to do in 2012 that the world has told you that you cannot do? What are you planning to do in 2012 that is more awesome than a Heart In A Box?

© 2012, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved

Heart In A Box image courtesy of http://greysanatomyfans.wordpress.com

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification
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Book Review: “Live Loved: Experiencing God’s Presence in Everyday Life”

Book review by: ellis j. still

Imagine how your life would change if you were sure God loves you!”

I have to be honest… this is the first literary work of Max Lucado that I have ever read. I get his daily devotional emails in the morning, but for some reason I have yet to pick up one of his books. Now I understand what I have been missing. “Live Loved: Experiencing God’s Presence in Everyday Life” which is soon to be released on May 03, 2011, is a series of daily devotions that is a great testimony to love, what love is, and what love does.

The word “love” is often abused and misused in society. People use it loosely, and whose actions often indicate the opposite of what love really is. Dictionaries describe love as affections and emotions. In the bible, God describes love as a set of actions that would demonstrate the affections and emotions. Max Lucado discusses Love from God’s point of view as it relates to His love for you, your love for Him & others, and your love of self. Many people do not like “action” because it implies “work”. But Max lays it out where God’s love is reflective and attainable.

Max Lucado breaks Live Loved out into six areas of devotion that covers a broad range of topics: 

  • Love with a Steadfast Love
  • Love with a Perfect Love
  • Love with a Wise Love
  • Love with a Merciful Love
  • Love to Love Others

One thing that I have learned about Max Lucado is that he is plain spoken, and communicates in a way that is simple so as to better be able to grasp what he is saying to his audience. Live Loved touches on a wide variety of life’s issues, and allows for application to everyday life.

“Live Loved” is a great read, and a great way to start off or end the day (the devotionals are now part of my quiet time in the morning). This collection of devotionals by Max Lucado are all new, but based on his previous writings. If you are already an avid reader of John Maxwell’s work, you may find some redundancies. If you have not read anything of his before, this serves as a great introduction, and is a great investment in yourself.

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. 1 Cor 13:4-7

Question: What literary works by Max Lucado have you or are you reading?

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have a marketing connection to a brand, topic or product herein. Through the use of affiliate links contained herein, I may collect fees from purchases made. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255
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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification

Building Great Businesses Blog Series: Newark Regional Business Partnership (NRBP)

by ellis j. still

This year The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore (TBB) became a member of the Newark Regional Business Partnership (NRBP) for the first time. Prior to joining, I had previous experience with the NRBP since my previous employer (Newwork Real Estate) was a member. The NRBP’s assortment of events had a lasting impression on me, such that I knew that I wanted TBB to become a member.

The Newark Regional Business Partnership (NRBP) is the preeminent business organization in the City of Newark, and has been active in the Newark community since 1869. The partnership is known for its frequent marketing and networking opportunities, its information about Newark’s economic conditions as compared to the trends of the United States, and its information on contributing to the revitalization of Newark, New Jersey. 

What is interesting is that the NRBP does not compete directly against the other business organizations that I have been involved with in Newark, (see IFEL posts 01 and 02 –  & EPI posts 01 and 02) but compliments them in their programming throughout the year. Likewise, although the NRBP’s goal is to be an impetus for business connections, a greater goal is to do so for the betterment of the City of Newark. 

On many occasions people approach networking opportunities with an agenda in terms of what they wish to accomplish. Others go into it not really knowing what the outcome would be, but are open minded to new and creative opportunities and solutions. The NRBP provides a forum for both lines of thinking or a combination of the two. I have attended three events this year thus far as of this blog post, and as a result made several valuable connections (and won a free copy of Microsoft Office Professional Plus 2010). Here are five reasons to join the Newark Regional Business Partnership:  

  • Great networking opportunities several times per month
  • Insider information about Newark related initiatives
  • You get access to the infamous black-tie Annual Museum Dinner & Reception
  • Discount tickets to area professional and college sporting events (hockey, baseball, basketball, etc.)
  • Newark, NJ is a great city to grow, network, and to do business in!!! 

It does not matter if you work, live, are a short train ride away, or just have an interest in networking, the Newark Regional Business Partnership is a great way to connect with others. To learn more, visit rbp.org today!!!

Question:  The Newark Regional Business Partnership has a rich history of serving the Newark, NJ community. Why not partner with an institution that can add value to your business? 

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved. 

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I have no material connection to the brands, products, or services that I have mentioned. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

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Faith and Fiction:  Episode 5 (2011)

By: ellis j. still

Well, 2011 is well underway, and that means a new and exciting installment of the Faith and Fiction Retreat, this year being held in Ponte Vedra, Beach, Florida. Last year I attended the annual Faith and Fiction retreat for the first time  in Atlanta GA at the CNN Center / Omni Hotel. I had such a great time, before I came back home from Atlanta I resolved to do it again this year.

The Faith and Fiction Retreat is an annual literary event that is the brainchild of best-selling author Tiffany Warren. Early on, she sought to share with people in person the ministry behind author’s writing. It began in 2005 as a tour, and evolved into the retreat that we have today (to read the entire story, Click Here).  Every year readers (individuals and book clubs), well-established and up-and-coming writers, and other literary enthusiasts come together for a few days to share their craft as authors, to gain support as new authors, and to meet and discuss various topics with their favorite author.

One of the many things that become clear to me in my first year of attendance was that there was a genuine camaraderie among and by authors that set the tone in the atmosphere for the entire event. I have seen many instances in the book industry where authors operate in a pretense  of arrogance and superiority syndrome, and are therefore not willing to work with other authors (unless through contractual obligation), and barely tolerate interacting directly with their readers. At Faith and Fiction, the authors are not only friendly, but are about building genuine and lasting relationships with others, which is an impressive representation of Christ and of what being a Christian author is all about. The idea is that it’s a big world out there…. there is more than enough room to support each other as authors, which allows for everyone to flourish while upholding Christian values and integrity.

This year the retreat will be at the Sawgrass Marriott Resort and Spa. The organizers are cost-conscious when planning the retreats and are aware of the fact that people travel from across the country to attend the retreat. When choosing venues, the goal is to not only create a nice atmosphere for the retreat, but at a reasonable price. Since this venue is associated with golf courses, year my wife and I (this will be Tina’s first year of attendance) will be getting in town early such that I can get some golf in before the retreat begins.

Every year is a different experience, and 2011 is no exception. Every morning, the day will begin with beachfront prayer. For the first time, this year will include two separate tracks to participate in… one for up-and-coming authors (author bootcamp), and one for readers and enthusiasts. The reader track will include panel discussions on a variety of topics, and the author’s track will feature panel discussions relating to advancing your craft and your marketshare as an author. Likewise, there will also be male author panelists, with panel discussions geared towards men. The retreat will culminate with an all-white beach party (the full itinerary will be provided shortly).

This year’s featured authors include are ReShonda Tata Billingsley, Victoria Christopher Murray, and Stacy Hawkins Adams

This year’s author panelists include Tiffany L. Warren (F&F Retreat Host), Angels Benson, Victor McGlothin, Vanessa Miller, Tia McCollors, Michelle Stimpson, Norma Jarrett, Rhonda McKnight, Kimberly Cash Tate, Patricia Haley-Glass, Booker Mattison, MaRita Teague, Sherryle Kiser-Jackson, Pat Simmons, Ellis Still (hey… that’s Me!!!  :- ), Miranda Parker, Leslie Sherrod, Patricia Bridewell, Shawneda Marks, Shana Johnson-Burton

So this year, wives, bring your husbands. Husbands bring your wives. If you are single, bring friends, or you can attend alone if you wish – like I did last year. This event is for anyone even remotely interested in reading, or interested in learning more about the world of fictional writing. For more information, Click Here to visit the official website.

Question:  Are you really willing to miss out on a great experience? If not, don’t procrastinate… register today!!!

© 2011, Ellis J. Still. All rights reserved. Photographs are courtesy of Tia McCollors and Tiffany Warren’s Facebook pages, respectively. Faith and Fiction graphic courtesy of http://www.faithandfictionretreat.com/

Disclosure of Material Connection: I have not received any compensation for writing this post. I am the CEO of The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore (TBB), the company that retails books written by these authors. Regardless, I only recommend books that I have personally read or reviewed and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”

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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

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Author/Business Spotlight: Pam Perry

Pam Perry is an Author, Speaker, PR Coach, and Social Media Strategist, delivering online branding and marketing solutions for best-selling entrepreneurs, authors, and nonprofits. She is the Chief Visionary of Ministry Marketing Solutions, Inc. and internet radio host of Chocolate Pages where she has interviewed authors such as Kirk Franklin, Rev. Run, Demond Wilson and Yolanda Adams. Perry, an Emmy-award winning TV producer, is also a columnist with Gospel Today and blogs for MyBlogalious.com, Examiner.com on Branding, Marketing and Public Relations 2.0 tactics. She was a Top 100 Winner in a competition by the home-based business Web site StartUpNation.com, which identified Perry’s Detroit-based Ministry Marketing Solutions among “the outstanding unsung heroes of our economy—home-based entrepreneurs.”

A former public relations officer with The Salvation Army, Perry founded her own agency in 2000 to help predominantly African-American churches, authors and artists promote their events and releases. A few years ago she began to focus more on helping clients understand how to use social media, from blogs and Facebook to YouTube. In addition to helping run promotional campaigns and events, she teaches churches and individuals how to maintain their own online presence. “Publishers have been putting more responsibility onto authors to promote their books, but many of them don’t know how to do it,” she said. “They don’t know about blogging and podcasts.” Perry said that following blogs and online updates, she believed that “video will be the next big thing … not highly produced, but the slice-of-life type of things, with a mobile phone.”            

As your PR Coach Pam will show you how to…

  • Define and target your audience who will buy your book 
  • Build a platform that will sustain your speaking and publishing career
  • Create a brand that identifies your ministry and translates globally 
  • Develop a campaign strategy that will sell books 
  • Produce dazzling press & marketing materials that get noticed and picked up by the media 
  • Navigate social media to leverage and extend your brand 
  • Generate media hits that will automatically get you to the “A list” status and be a sought-after speaker! 

To view Pam’s literary work, Click Here, and to visit Pam’s Facebook Page Click Here

Disclosure of Material Connection: I am the CEO of The Burning Bush Christian Bookstore (TBB), the company that retails books written by this author. Regardless, I only recommend books that I have personally read or reviewed and believe will be good for my readers. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255: “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”
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Thank you for taking the time to read this post. If you like what you read and you are not yet a Subscriber to my blog, why not subscribe now? All posts are original, there is no fixed schedule, so you would not have to check my blog regularly, and you will be receiving an authentic review of books, organizations and life experiences as a husband and entrepreneur. If you change your mind, it is easy to unsubscribe. Once you sign up, visit your email inbox to verify your email address. Check your spam folder if you don’t receive any verification emails. Thanks!!!
ellis

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