Monthly Archives: March 2015

Fun in Networking



Some photos from prior events…can’t wait for tonight. 

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Boston Networking Event

Networking event, rjdesanctis entertainment, photography, business, boston

Networking event, rjdesanctis entertainment, photography, business, boston

I will be attending this event tomorrow, please stop by and say hello. I will have a booth set up with a bit of my photography on display and I will also be photographing the event. www.EssyDPhoto.com

RJDeSanctis Entertainment always does an amazing job putting these things together and a good time I’m sure will be had by all.

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Stepping Through the Darkness

IMG_5171There are times in our lives that moving forward is the last thing that we seem capable of doing. Whether due to emotional distress or physical illness, these dry spells can be almost unbearable. What are we to do then? Do we white knuckle it and keep pushing forward on our own strength? Well…sometimes a little bit of that is required, especially if you have others that are depending on you. But I’m here to suggest that you give yourself some grace too. If you have your schedule set up already, you should be aware of what is indispensable to get done and what is not. Go into ’emergency mode’, do the bare minimum. If you had a broken leg you wouldn’t be hard on yourself for not being able to climb a mountain. Well, there are all types of injuries…many not seen to the naked eye. Please go easy on your self. Allow God to come through and speak to your soul, this is your ‘desert’ time. See at as an opportunity to be with Him and to receive insights that wouldn’t be possible any other way.

Hosea 2: 14Therefore, behold, I will allure her,
and bring her into the wilderness,
and speak tenderly to her

Be aware of you inner dialogue at this point. Please don’t beat yourself up for what you can’t accomplish. God will make up the difference in due time. Do not focus on anyone else, keep your eyes on Jesus and what He is having you do…or not do…maybe He’s just asking you to sit and keep watch with him a bit. He is tilling the soil and preparing you for more. Your turn for doing will come don’t jump ahead of the game.

When you are ready to step forward again, start small. Look at the routines that you have set up for yourselves, they should be so  cut and dry that you can put them into action anywhere. Quite a few years ago I had to be in the hospital with my then three year old son, for three weeks. It was such a dark and trying time for me, but it helped to work on my routine even then. It was bare bones of course… I’d get self care completed, tidied up our hospital room for my own satisfaction, had prayer time scheduled as best as i could, when he was able to I added in time in the play room..etc. When my world got thrown into a whirlwind and everything seemed so out of my control, it was good to have a routine that anchored me to the here and now. It helped me to focus on something else other than the issues of the moment.

But the most important thing is to not give up! Never give up! Reach out and get help if you need it, your friends love you and most would be honored to be able to help. That’s what the body of Christ is for. Satan wants us to feel alone, that’s his game…God’s plan is different…it’s always about love and unity. Trust Him…even in the darkness!

Last September I was blessed with attending a retreat at a monastery. It was an amazing time of stillness and the Lord showed me so much. One day I was walking around the grounds and I sensed Him asking me to close my eyes. This was a road that I had been walking since I had arrived there and it was pretty straight forward, and yet it felt very strange to try to do it with my eyes closed. I could only manage for a couple of seconds then I would open my eyes to check on my progress. I felt He kept insisting that He was walking with me…as if we were playing a child’s game together. And the span of time withe my eyes closed grew longer and longer, it got to the point where I could memorize parts of the road and kind of knew where I’d be by the time I opened my eyes, and could feel Him with me more and more. I was having fun by the end as I chuckled and thanked Him for playing with me. 😉 He then impressed on my heart…that there was something about our game that He wanted me to remember once I was back home. That there would be dark days ahead for sure…similar to walking with my eyes closed…but that He’d always be there by my side…that I could move forward based on memory. You can too! 😉

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Home Organization Day by Day with the Saints

imageHome Organization…STEP 4!

This week we are stepping on up and at this point it is when it all starts to  pull together. I have a very ADHD like mind, I’ve never been formally diagnosed but with all the juggling that I need to do and add age to that, and I can be very Dory like if left to my own devices. So the thing that helps me to keep all the balls up in the air is keeping a schedule, a la Fly Lady. I have set up ‘zones’ that are for my home chores as well as for my ‘steps’. My post today is about the steps though. So there are days that I focus more on one particular step, I don’t ignore the others however…but the gist of the day is dedicated to a particular step mostly for planning purposes. If something comes up that is not urgent, I can take note of it and deal with it on its appropriate day.

You may have seen the graph on the main page of my website with a daily assignment and not be aware of exactly how it fits in to the steps. So I will try to explain it here.

My week begins with Saturday the original Sabath day.

Step 1) SATURDAY:  Dedicated to getting my self on target. I try to evaluate what my needs may be for the week. This day is also a ‘Mary’ day, so I ask her help in getting closer to her Son and to others. I try to schedule a day of recollection once a month, where I get some alone time with the Lord and go to Reconciliation.

Step 2) SUNDAY: This is my day for ‘Community’…the body of Christ…at this point this mostly involves Church attendance and family time. I would like to extend that out more in the future. My ‘friends for the day’, my special saints are St. Francis and St. Clare.

Step 3) MONDAY: This is my day to focus on my career objectives, to set my job related goals for the week and start implementing some things that the Lord has put in my heart. My saints for Monday are Mary, St. Zellie Martin, and St. Gianna Molla.

Step 4) TUESDAY: My focus returns to my home at this point, I try to observe where our needs are and what steps need to be taken. Menu planning happens here. My saints for Tuesday are, Mary yet again and St. Martha.

Step 5) WEDNESDAY: Focus goes to the kids and any homeschooling issues that may have been brewing earlier in the week. My favorite saints for Wednesday are, St. Therese, St. Augustine, St. Joan of Arc and St. Philomela.

Step 6)THURSDAY: Hubby time. Plan is to put our heads together and deal with issues. I must tell you that with all I have going on right now, this is often my weakest spot. But I would encourage you all to do as I say and not as I do. 😉 My personal saints for Thursdays are My mom and dad (Francisco and Maria), Mary and Joseph and Anne and Joaquin.

FRIDAY: Is anti procrastination day! Whatever didn’t get tackled during the week…do it NOW! Friday I focus on the Holy Cross!

For keeping track of all of this, I LOVE the ‘HomeRoutines‘ app.

[I need to re-emphasize that this is not about reaching for perfection but simply stepping out into God’s grace and allowing yourself to be carried. It’s about listening to Him and what He wants for your own particular situation and in every area of your life. It’s about handing it over to Him and allowing Him to dictate His will to you personally. It’s about stepping out in OBEDIENCE to Him and not to any exterior sense of obligation.]

Here’s one of my favorite books on pulling it all together.. A Mother’s Rule of Life: How to Bring Order to Your Home and Peace to Your Soul

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5 Business Tips from the Trenches

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I’m really just a newbie in the business industry, and have so much yet to learn but I’ve also gained a lot of insight in these early start up years both from personal experience and through knowing some amazing people. Hopefully what I can share here today will be of some help to someone out there, if only to just encourage them to take the leap themselves.

First let me give you a little back history. My first encounter with an entrepreneur was my own mom. It’s actually taken me all these years to come to the full realiziation of what an amazing woman she was in that regard. She passed away back in 1997, but continues to have a powerful influence over me. She was from the Azores and we lived there until 1971, when she moved her family here to give us a better opportunity. Up until that point, she had been self employed. This was a time and place that didn’t see too many women in the workplace, even jobs that are now considered to be dominated by women weren’t  so at that time. She was a hair dresser, and had been taught by a man. She then took it from there, not only did she see clients in her own home but often took it on the road and would go from village to village as needed. She was well loved, respected and always welcomed where ever she went. In the later years just prior to moving to the States, she had a sewing business. She was the personal seamstress for many of the American teachers living at the Base in Terceira. Ready made clothes were hard to come by in those days, so she found a nice niche for herself using her amazing talent. The entrepreneurial bug spread to her kids as well, my siblings owned businesses from auto body shops, gift shops, restaurants, cleaning companies, electrical companies and of course me with my photography business.

So here is a little bit of what I’ve learned so far…

1)CONFIDENCE:  First of all the thing that can break you even before you get started is your attitude. You need to be confident enough to even try. My mom had a saying that she would repeat to me often when I was little,  “If it can be done, then I can do it…I’m not dumber than anyone else.” …lol.  She wasn’t cocky either, her full confidence was in her Lord and His power to see her through whatever He was asking of her. She tackled many anxiety issues, but they never held her back. She never let her fear stop her. She’d just pray through it. When I was five years old, she came to work here in the States for about six months on her own. My dad stayed behind to care for us, there were seven of us but a couple had left the roost by this point. This without a doubt had to have been one of the hardest acts of obedience on her part. But boy did it pay back, it lay down the foundation required for the job contract that would bring us all back just a couple of years later.

2)HUMILITY: This might seem contradictory to number 1, but it’s not…it’s simply the other side of the coin. If your confidence is not a God confidence but a cocky self confidence, then you will lack this part of it and even though you may still acquire a certain level of success in your career it will never be fully satisfying.  Here’s the deal, you can’t go in with the expectation that others will just fall all over themselves to get whatever you are selling. You are going to have to put yourself and your product out there over and over. And risk feeling stupid or appearing stupid to someone.

Another important way that being humble can help you, is in being able to listen to the advice of others that have gone before you. I’m not talking about allowing others to make important decisions for you, or always doing everything everyone tells you. But about LISTENING and discerning what can be helpful and throwing away the rest. You also need to be able to be real with yourself and know your own abilities or lack of them. If you are just beginning, there will be a real learning curve to whatever you undertake. Don’t be too hard on yourself because this is part of the journey. But be aware of it, and know that even though most people outside of the industry might even think that you are the cat’s meow…there are others who have been at it longer and you haven’t reached their level yet. This is perfectly ok and gives you room to grow. There is a niche for everyone, don’t let this stop you.

3) Offer Value:  You need to constantly offer something that your clients need and you have to be willing to bust your tail doing it. Owning your own business is not a 9-5 endeavour. This is true for all aspects of the business, whether you are working on your craft, marketing it, or simply growing your presence on social media. Never take anyone for granted, they don’t have to ‘follow’ you. They don’t have to ‘like’ or share your stuff. Make it worth their while to do so. Build connections that are real…and that takes us to my next point, networking.

4)Networking : People matter!!!Both your customers and other business people! It’s ALL about relationships! We are seeing a lot of that being  magnified today through social networking. Before you try to sell anybody anything, you need to build trust. This is part of the reason that ‘mommy bloggers’ and ‘mommy Togs’ (photographers) are doing so wildly well at the moment. There is a trust factor, and who better at building relationships than moms?

The first time that the importance of knowing the right people hit me was while I was watching The Voice one night. Here were all these incredibly talented individuals, who had been working hard all along so by all rights they should all be huge stars by now. Some had even been in the industry before as professionals. What’s the difference this time? Here was a venue that put them before millions of folks and directly in touch with these four judges who personally put time and effort into their chosen candidates. WOW!

I’ve even heard how Ansel Adams, the famed photographer himself didn’t fare too well until he hooked up with the right marketing agent. People need each other, there is no shame in that.

5)PATIENCE: It takes a huge amount of time to build something up that is worthwhile. Trust the process! Don’t give up too soon.

Here’s my business page, please stop in for a visit. Essy D Photography

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Step 3: Work as if for the Lord

IMG_6342Many people think that our life should some how be divided up, that we have something that we do on Sunday that is more spiritual and then we have the stuff that we need to do in order to stay alive and that includes working for a living. However that’s not what being Christian is. Being Christian is infusing every single aspect of your life with God’s grace, including those more worldly aspects.

First of all, if you are finding the Lord early enough…I believe that He will lead you into the proper path in the first place. He will guide you in educational choices, and career choices, He wants to be a part of every area of your life. Nothing is too big or too small for Him. However, if you are already in an established path it doesn’t necessarily mean that you are to pack up and leave. He may be asking you to continue with the same job but do it in a different way now. Work at it as if for the Lord Himself. Don’t be concerned about the outcome so much, just step out in obedience and He will cover you. Operate in the power of the Spirit…He will either give you what you need or He will pull you out and have you move on. Either way, don’t be overly attached to the outcome as long as you are doing your best.

I recently saw a meme that I really liked, it said that being a Christian shoemaker doesn’t mean putting little crosses on all the shoes you make. It means making the best shoes possible. So indeed that is what being a Christian employee or a Christian business owner is. Our morality comes from within, by relentless dedication to excellent service to all including the least of our brothers. By superb product quality that stands the test of time and that is priced right. That’s another thing, many think that if you are Christian you should be giving your talents away. Even though you are certainly asked to do volunteering and to tithe, that should only be a portion of it. Every Christian should charge market value for their products, it gives them value and allows them to take care of their families first and then be able to serve the Lord in whatever He asks. Poverty does not equal holiness unless it is taken on as obedience to the Lord as in the case of certain religious communities and so forth, that take such vows.

Another thing that is very important in the workplace is community. He sends us out two by two, find another Christian in your workplace (or industry) as a prayer partner or get out. He will not send you in alone, even if you are self employed there are others either in your same business or another business that is compatible with yours that you can connect with. It has a dual purpose, you can check with each other or matter of discerning the Spirit and for intercession. But you can also be there for each other for networking and building each other up.

You can listen to  Fr. Al Lauer speaking about Risen at my LENTEN page.

Please check out my friend’s book.

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Genius Marketing, Starting Out: Edition 1

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Women’s Day 2015TORONTO

We kick off “Step 3…VOCATION” week (our work) with Women’s Day. How awesome and appropriate is THAT? I was privileged to fly to Toronto to photograph the event of the year.

Here are a few photos, there will be more available for purchase at my photography site soon (link at the top).

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Check out my friend’s Blog for more on the tiara mission.
And here are the amazing sponsors!!!

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Stepping into Step 2

stepping into it

JOY

If step one was a vertical beam coming from heaven to you, then step two is a horizontal beam…going from you to your brothers and sisters in Christ. Place them together and you have the perfect symbol of Christianity…the CROSS! 

Man was not created to be alone. We have a heart overflowing with longing for God that will be completely fulfilled when we reach heaven, but meanwhile we need Him with skin on…we need each other. 

I love the parable of the The Long Spoons .

The moral of the story is that we need each other. I often have good and faithful friends tell me about how they get wonderful insights on how to bless others, and they are able to give amazing advice which sometimes leaves them feeling perplexed as to where it even came from. I have experienced the same thing myself. And yet when it comes…

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Freeing Each Other

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John 8

31So Jesus was saying to those Jews who had believed Him, “If you continue in My word, then you are truly disciples of Mine; 32and you will know the truth, and the truth will make you free.”

Discipleship and freedom go hand in hand. But freedom from what, for what and by whom? We need freedom from all that holds us back from hearing and doing God’s word. These are our addictions, our inordinate attractions, our old ways of doing things. We know what is right, we want to do it, but we are tied up. In John 11, when Jesus called Lazarus out of the grave, he may have come back to life but he wasn’t able to function very well. He was still bound up by his grave clothes. Those wrappings were necessary for his burial, but were now an impediment to the new life that he was being called to.

John 11

43 Now when He had said these things, He cried with a loud voice, “Lazarus, come forth!” 44 And he who had died came out bound hand and foot with graveclothes, and his face was wrapped with a cloth. Jesus said to them, “Loose him, and let him go.”

Now we know what we are to be free from, but what is the purpose of that freedom and how shall we achieve it? For that we look at the last sentence of verse 44. “Jesus said to them, “loose him, and let him go.”.  Jesus was speaking to his family and friends that were standing by him, his community. I’m sure that Jesus who had just brought him up from the dead was more than able to have those bindings dissolve as he was being raised. But no, that’s not how He chose to do it. He chose community. Because I believe that is not merely the how, but the why also. We are to be set free by community and for community. We each have gifts that the other needs. We are a puzzle that only makes sense when bound together. We ARE the body of Christ.

So how do we do that? People don’t walk around with actual grave clothes for us to pick at. For that we go back to the first passage of John that I mentioned above. “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free”. We are to be living in the word ourselves in such a way that we can speak truth to those closest to us. That is what evangelization and prophecy are all about…truth telling.

We don’t have to rip bandages or force change, we merely have to be obedient to God. In every situation say what He puts in our heart to say and do what He is asking of us without consideration for the outcome, let the Lord take care of the results. We are so often fearful of losing the favor of others, that we hold our tongue or don’t do what we are being called to do. We are afraid of losing people, but those that would leave were never meant for us anyway. We need to continue praying, but allow them to go so that they may find the community that they were meant for and real healing can begin.

You can listen to Fr. Lauer speak on this subject at our LENTEN page.

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Step 2 Day 2: Christian Friendships

friendshipChristian brotherly love is the basis of all other relationships. We all yearn for relationships where we are known, cared for, loved with great affection and appreciated, where we can divulge our deepest selves and still be accepted. That’s what we are supposed to be to each other. We have an inborn need for it and we can’t become fully ourselves separate from it. God provides for some of that in the Christian community, outside the exclusivity and sexual bond of marriage. Some people are never called to marriage, whose main aim is the procreation of children. It doesn’t mean that they are to be left out of the love bus. Or if they are called to marriage, that now their spouse is to be their all in all. Not at all.

Satans tries to

1)reduce the importance of such relationships.

2)to imply that every significant relationship has to be based on sex.

3)or insist that all relationships are competitive.

None of the above are true and are indeed lies from the pit of hell. Every time that we see Satan expending a lot of energy on something, we need to take a closer look at it. It is most likely an area that is of very great importance to the Lord, and necessary for our well being. Remember Satan has a fierce hatred for mankind, and his main mission is to kill and destroy.

Lacking these bonds, we can be propelled into great loneliness and despair. We can see it in our world today, where depression and mood disorders are rampant. We are missing this type of connection. Other relationships like marriage and parenting become messed up because now we have too much riding on it. Without it young people rush into romantic relationships and often marriages that they were never meant to be in, in the first place. They want to feel loved, not to create babies which is what marriage is for.

You can listen to Fr. Lauer’s talk on this subject over at our LENTEN page.

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