Friendly Friday – Sarah Wilson

As a writer, I tend to surround myself with creative people. I love to see how the imaginations of other people work. There are moments I’ve experienced either in conferences or at my writers meeting in which I am left speechless by the display of creativity and innovation. And then there are times when you meet someone who is truly at another level.

I’d like to introduce you to my friend Sarah Wilson. Sarah is the creative mind behind The Keys To Kays, a style and design blog. To paraphrase her own words, she’s a, “stylist, decor lover, and travel storyteller; an accessories obsessed, Chi-town girl at heart.” (one of her dogs is names Wrigley)

I love the creative energy that jumps off Sarah’s blogs, and every time I see her – which isn’t nearly often enough – her sense of fashion and chic way of being simply make me smile. More importantly, Sarah is one of the kindest and friendliest people I’ve ever met. There’s a spirit about her that is both fun-loving and tender, and her pursuit of living life to the fullest is inspiring.

Sarah is a positive-energy person, and if you’re looking to infuse your day with some of that positivity, be sure to check out her blog. You can also visit her on Facebook and draw some inspiration from her amazing pins on Pinterest.

 

Sarah Kayser Wilson

Friendly Friday – Rick Christensen

It’s a known fact. The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. In life, the chapters we write often occur as we travel between differing points in our lives. Some journeys are shorter than others, almost none of them a proverbial straight line.

I often refer to my belief in God as my faith journey. I have set out to walk in faith toward Him, every day hoping to be or do a little better than the day before. Sometimes my faith journey finds me on my own in a dialogue with God. Other times, it’s a walk shared with others, be it through church, charity events, or just simple fellowship.

Lee and I attend meetings of a writer’s group once a month. Brandon Christian Writers has been a wonderful experience for both of us as it’s energized our writing and creative thinking process. It has also introduced us to so many wonderful and talented people, and I would like to take a moment to introduce one of them to you.

Rick Christensen is a dear friend whom I’ve come to know through both his writing as well as our conversations. Although we’re at different stages in our lives, we’ve shared similar paths. We talk about how we’re both on our faith journey, oftentimes apparently walking side by side as we talk about the struggles and challenges we face every day. We both have a love for writing, as well as a desire to grow towards Christ.

This is very evident in Rick’s writing. His words and tone have a delicateness to them, and they are such a joy to consume. Rick calls it gentle witnessing when he shares in his blog Discovering and Sharing Grace his daily experiences with regards to his relationship with God. What I love most about Rick’s writing is that it’s never preacher or verbose. Rather, it’s open and honest stories, metaphors, and anecdotes that tell how he connects with God every day.

Rick has compiled his work into a book, and he was also recently featured in the Tampa Tribune. I hope you take a moment to check out his blog and his book. After all, who doesn’t want a little more grace in their life?

“Walk with the wise and become wise.” – Proverbs 13:20

Rick Christensen

Friendly Friday – Kim Randall

Are you familiar with the ‘It’s a Small World’ ride at Walt Disney World? You know, the one with the little boat that that takes you around the world (so to speak) and shows you how we’re all interconnected, all the while filling your head with the mother of all ear worms.

It’s a small world after all …. it’s a small, small world.

Well, the world of social media is like that. If you spend a good amount of time on one of the bigger social media platforms, you’ll quickly come to find that most of the ‘players’ in that arena seem to know each other or are connected in some shape, way, or form. This is especially true with Twitter. Twitter, to me, is a more open space than other platforms, and seems to the general meeting place of the social media world. If Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn, and others are ‘rooms’ in a hotel, then Twitter is the lobby where most people congregate.

I am fortunate to have a healthy online presence, and I cherish my circle of social media friends. However, when I think back to how I got plugged into this small world, one of the people I always point to is my friend Kim Randall.

Kim is a fun-loving and inspiring woman. She also happens to own her own social media marketing company, and has helped launch or coordinate a number of other social media related services or brands. When I starting putting together a list of Kim’s entrepreneurial exploits, I quickly found it to be quite exhaustive. Here are a few:

I first me Kim when she was a presenter of a Tampa-area social media class. We exchanged information and, of course, connected on Twitter. We both took part in organizing the Epic Thanks Tampa Bay event back in 2010, and we’ve been good friends since.

Kim is a great resource when it comes to social media and online marketing. She really knows her stuff, and has been very successful in building a presence for various brands and companies. I know whenever I am in a jam with either a question or a ‘how do I do this’ moment, I can reach out to Kim for an answer.

What I love most about her, however, is that despite her incredible success and unmatched expertise in her arena, there’s no pretentiousness about her. Kim is a down-to-earth and easy to get along with person. In the ever-evolving world of social media, she’s the first to tell you there is no such thing as a ‘social media expert’, and Kim understands the vast majority of people still consider themselves novices when it comes to inter-connectivity in an online community.

I am very blessed to have Kim as a peer, mentor, and friend. And if you’re on Twitter, it’s very likely she’s already a connection of yours, too. If not, be sure to follow her at @_kimrandall. You can also check out her endeavors by following the links listed above.

In our ever-shrinking world, Kim Randall is a great person to know.

Happy Friday.

Kim Randall

Friendly Friday – Courtney Perry

Serendipity. I like that word. I like what it means (an aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident), and I like what it stands for. Some people claim serendipity is a function of fate. Others think it’s simply a matter of luck or coincidence. As for me, my personal philosophy is that coincidence is God showing off, and serendipity is just another way of describing God’s mysterious ways.

Lee and I volunteer as leaders of growth groups through our church. Growth groups are semester long sessions in which we meet as a small group and study either a book or a particular part of the Bible, etc. The purpose of growth groups is fellowship and to do life together with the other members of our church. It’s all about expanding the ministry from inside the walls of our church building to inside the homes of others.

Due to logistics and my general laziness to keep my house tidy, our particular group was hosted at the house of our friends Mark and Renee. Through the course of several semesters, we got to know Mark and Renee very well, and by extension – as well as through the power of the Internet and social media – we got to meet and know their four daughters as well. We’ve met two in person and connected with the other two online. And there is one daughter in particular I’d like to introduce you to.

As a blogger, I like to read other bloggers’ work. I will be the first to admit, however, that it is very hard sometimes to keep up with all my friends’ blogs. RSS readers come in handy, but sometimes I just need to stay up late and do nothing but read, read, read. And how I thoroughly enjoy reading the words of Courtney Perry.

Courtney writes in an open and unabashed fashion that makes her words ring true and connect easily with the reader. Not only is her writing transparent, a writing style which I greatly admire, but she is also clever, witty, and thought-provokingly deep. Courtney is refreshingly honest, and her work has opened my eyes to the world of food allergies, sleeping disorders, and anxiety. Not only has it opened my eyes, but it’s also caught the attention of editors at The Huffington Post. She’s had multiple pieces featured on Huff Post, her most recent this past Tuesday about conquering panic attacks

I like to think Courtney and I have established a great online camaraderie, and I look forward to each of her posts. As I think about how it came to be that that I was introduced to her brilliant writing, I truly believe it was not mere chance, but rather God putting His serendipitous plans in motion. After all, us bloggers have to stick together.

Courtney Perry

Be sure to check out and follow Courtney’s personal blog at theothercourtney.com

Friendly Friday – Danielle Lanier

There are some friendships that can only be described as serendipitous. And in my experience, if there is one thing that tends to create serendipitous moments, it’s music.

I’ve been so very fortunate to be surrounded by such a wonderful collection of friends, all of which share the same passion and affection for music (specifically live music). I like to refer to these people as my music family, and one of these individuals is Danielle Lanier.

Danielle is currently the Director of Program and Family Services at Children’s Cancer Center in Tampa. The Children’s Cancer Center is a non-profit organization dedicated to serving Tampa Bay families of children with cancer or chronic blood disorders such as Sickle Cell Anemia. Their mission statement speaks to helping families cope, and they could not have a better member on their team than Danielle.

Danielle is full of life and just screams vivaciousness. Her smile can light up a room, and she’s simply a joy to be around. But what really sets her apart are her absolute love for music and her selfless sense of giving. Danielle has merged those two by incorporating music into the many support programs offered at the Children’s Cancer Center. From live performances to field trips to a concerts to simple music instruction, Danielle is helping make the lives of children battling cancer a little bit brighter with every note, melody, and lyric.

And it is lyrics that hold a special place in Danielle’s heart. In addition to her day job, Danielle is also an artist and creator of Lyric Inspired Art. The works are exactly as the name suggests; artwork that is born from the inspiration received by music and the lyrics contained with in. As Danielle states, “I may not be able to perform music, but I am able to pay respect to it on canvas. I am moved by music, the expression, the emotions, the lyrics. My art is a physical recreation of what I feel when I hear songs that evoke an emotional response.” [Be sure to visit and Like Lyric Inspired Art on Facebook.]

I’m honored to be able to call Danielle a friend, and I am inspired by the fact that she wakes up every morning to go something she genuinely loves doing. At the end of the day, that really is what life if all about.

Danielle Lanier with Ken Block
Danielle Lanier with Ken Block

To donate to the Children’s Cancer Center, click here.

Here is a slightly dated article about Danielle in The Examiner.

Friendly Friday – Sue Markovitch

Part of my goal for 2014 is to have a post on my blog site every day. As I mentioned on the first of the year, I don’t want to necessarily write every day (although that would be great). Rather, I want to post something. Pictures, videos, something.

Although I am still working out a ‘subject schedule’, I think I will devote my Fridays to promoting people I know and their works and success. Hence, welcome to the first ever danaCreative Friendly Friday. Okay, I guess you can say the idea is somewhat borrowed from Twitter’s #FollowFriday, but I am going to give you more than just a Twitter handle to follow and forget.

Instead, I will share a little bit about how I know the person I’m highlighting, as well as information on where you can find them on the Internet.

With all that as the backdrop, I would like to introduce you to Sue Markovitch. I first met Sue via what I affectionately refer to as my music family. That is, the collection of music fans with whom I interact, most of which came together through the music of Sister Hazel. It started with us interacting on the old Sister Hazel message board. Her avatar was the tattoo she has of the Lyrics for Life logo. We got to know each other, and we soon came to realize we were, at the time, living parallel lives with regards to love and heartbreak. We were kindred spirits, finding in each other strength, guidance, and encouragement through the emotional tough times. Our friendship was purely virtual and online, but it was, off the bat, something special.

Sue was there for me, specifically when I had an emotionally devastating setback in summer of 2006. I was driving back home from a day trip to Miami, and I remember spending hours with her on the phone and she calmly talked me off the proverbial ledge. This is someone whom I never met in person, but she made the time for me to help me when I needed it most. When we finally met in person a couple of years ago on The Rock Boat, all we could do was hug, laugh, and cry; cry the tears of joy you shed when you see someone you’ve missed for such a long time.

In her own words, Sue is a, “writer, fitness coach, personal trainer, spiritual guide, seeker of truth, child of God, (and) student of life.” She is also the owner of Clear Rock Fitness in Ohio. Furthermore, Sue just released her first book “I Know What to Do, I Just Don’t Do It: How to Break Free from the Lies that Keep You Frustrated, Overweight, and Out of Shape.” I am looking forward to reading it, and I am so incredibly excited for Sue and the success she’s having with both her fitness studio and book.

I Know What To Do

And if you’re looking for a daily boost of motivation, be sure to check out her Twitter feed at @SueMarkovitch

Sue is one of the many people in my life whom I consider a blessing and a great friend. I hope you check out her sites, and that she provides for you the same inspiration she does for me.

Happy Friday!

Sue Markovitch