A Fresh Attempt to try and Write More

Over the past few years, I’ve tried several times to “restart” my blog. I want to write. I often find myself capturing ideas, but I got out of my workflow of making the time to write.

All of it is my fault. I screwed up my platform when I left the AndyDarnell.com blog for another domain name. Looking back, it was a dumb idea. I brought all the content from the reboot back to this domain and with the switch, I lost all the images. Whatever. The content is there. I guess years from now I want my daughters to be able to read through and see the struggles and the victories that came with my life. I want to write mostly for them. I want them to be able to have a glimpse and reminder of what was going on in my head at various times.

I’ve been writing over on wingspanmarketing.com more recently, but I really do need to have a place for personal thoughts. So… here we go again. For the 4th or 5th time?

Life is great right now. My family is in a great phase right now… although now more than ever I want it all to slow down. Tabitha and Phoebe are growing up so quickly. Gina and I often pause and look at each other knowing that time is our enemy and that soon we’ll be discussing driving, dating, college. Every moment is definitely a phase that we don’t want to miss.

Work is awesome. Challenging at times for sure, but great. I’ve stretched so much in my role at Howard Brothers. I’m excited for the next 5+ years. Really cool things are coming. I’ve been spending much of the past 30+ days thinking about 2017 and what goals I will have for myself and Howards. One of the things which I am drastically changing will be my day to day priorities. I’m gonna focus more on stories vs traditional marketing strategies. I’m looking forward to story telling and what that can do to build our tribe of fans.

Wingspan feels like it is on the edge of so much more. I often feel like I’m holding everything back. I guess it is the one place where I can force some margin in my life, but it also feels like it could grow a whole lot more if I wanted. I am planning on doing more strategic communication to my clients friends who are clients in 2017. Part of why I upgraded the website is so that I can more easily have a hub for this communication. I often forget that small business owners aren’t marketing experts and don’t have time to learn about best practices for online strategy. I can share more than I do. That’s the new goal.

Church is great. I love the role that I am in right now. I’m kids pastor at Cross Pointe Mill Creek. Every job that I’ve ever undertaken, I’ve given it all I can. This isn’t a job. This is a ministry which the Bible is pretty clear on the consequences for getting it wrong. I’ve definitely felt the weight of responsibility, but when I see the eyes of kids on Sunday mornings and hear stories from their parents about how they enjoy what we’re doing… it makes the “work” so worth it.

Busy. Yep. I’m busy. Most people are busy. We busy ourselves with stuff. We make it seem like we’re overworked and have no time to do anything… but God created us to work. Wait, what? I thought work was a consequence of sin… nope. Wrong. We were working and taking care of the garden before the fruit. That work was intended to be constantly connected to the creator and take care his creation.

We’re no different. We need the constant/consistent connection with God. We need others in our lives who we stand shoulder to shoulder during the care of creation. Sin just made the work more difficult. We’re not as connected to those around us which makes the work seem like we’re all on our own. Getting back to how it was intended is where we need to be. We’ve got to work together to share the load. We have to see the work through the eyes of God. We have to celebrate the wins of the work. We get to worship God for the wins.

Well… Let’s see how this work of writing continues. Maybe someone will read this. If you do, leave a brief comment to let me know you’re here.

-Andy

 

 

Reel Grace – Lay Down the Law

Romans 7:1-25

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Trying to get caught up on ‪#‎reelgrace‬ sermons from @jgmerritt – It has been great series. ‪#‎sketchnotes‬

I really liked the visual that was made between Paul’s almost schizophrenic emotion that is found in Romans 7:15-20 to that of Frodo being controlled by the ring. He knows what he should do, but doesn’t. He knows he should get rid of the evil that is in the ring, but it controls him and he does what he hates.

I also enjoyed the peek into the next sermon that will cover Romans 8. The law of sin is replaced by the law of the Spirit. The Law reveals sin, but the Law of the Spirit will set us free from the law of sin and death.

 

 

 

Was Jefferson the first Supersized President of the United States?

Cheese for the people whitehousehistory.org

Cheese for the people whitehousehistory.org

I like to check out History.com on a fairly regular basis and read the “on this day in history” section of their site. I actually have a few clients who I look out for relevant content, which I could turn into a blog post or social media fodder.

Today this title caught my eye:

Jefferson presented with a “mammoth loaf” of bread – 1804

I go on read that:

Two years earlier, a group of Baptist women from Massachusetts had sent Jefferson a 1,200- pound hunk of cheese in gratitude for his support of religious tolerance.

That’s a big hunk o’ cheese!

WordPress Installs From Here on Out

These are my notes. Ignore them if you’d like. They’re just for my reference. But if I’m gonna get in the habit of writing… Might as well write. This will be a post i come back to often and update. Not final.

  1. Fresh Install of WordPress
  2. Plugins Necessary
    1. Add SUCURI (iThemes Security)
      1. Allow File Updates
      2. One Step “Secure Your Site”
      3. Setup Login Lockouts
      4. Enable local brute force protection
      5. Enable the hide backend feature
    2. Add ManageWP client (establish scheduled backups to Amazon Cloud)
    3. Add Jetpack
    4. Set up Akismet

Hospitality vs Generosity?

Warning… long post.

12249604_794178984027302_4818302431238163872_nThis month in CPKidz​ we’re talking about service, and this past week specifically, we spoke about using what you have to lend a hand. The Bible story was the feeding of the 5000 with the loaves and fish.

There’s Always More to the Story

Something just occurred to me. A part of the story that happens just before the miracle by Jesus with the Fish and Loaves…

The disciples had just returned from being sent out by Jesus, two by two, to heal sick, have authority over demons, tell everyone to repent, and seek salvation. Jesus told them to take nothing to these cities that they went to. No money. No bread. Not even a 2nd tunic. Just their sandals and the truth. Preach/Teach and if you’re not welcomed, shake off the dust and leave (there’s something there that could relate to this whole refugee thing right now… I’m still chewing on this.)

They got back…They were hungry. Jesus told them, “Hey, go over there and eat. Rest a little bit. Just go over to that “Desolate” place and get away from all these thousands of people…. I’ll be with you shortly. They did.

Just when they were enjoying a little bit of peace and quiet… just when they were able to not worry about serving the masses… just when they were putting their feet up and enjoying some sabbath… Jesus came to them and the thousands followed him. The disciples thought that they were going to have a break, but they were put right back to work. No time for burn out here.

But here’s what I started thinking about.

The disciples, who had gone 9ish months traveling to these 200ish cities (2 by 2, 200+ city tour, maybe a week per city + travel time) had to rely on God to provide the food and shelter that they’d need. All of the sudden, these thousands of people have come into their personal space (although it is described as desolate) which Jesus sent them to rest and fellowship… And the crowd is hungry. Jesus tells the disciples to feed them. Basically he says that rest time is up and it’s time to get back to work.

The disciples question this: “Where are we gonna get food?”

They had forgotten that during those 9 months, God had provided for their every need.

Bottom line that our elementary school kids learned was that we are to use what we have to lend a hand.

They had experienced hospitality and generosity for months. They had nothing except the gospel when they entered these towns. God used his people to provide for the disciples.

I think Jesus wanted the disciples to realize that this crown came to them with nothing. Sadly, it was a child with a couple crackers and some sardines who gave out of generosity gave what he could.

We all Have what we Have. Let’s remember that we should give it when needed.

 

 

See You Tomorrow!

There’s a new coffee shop in downtown Duluth called Espresso Theory. I stopped by yesterday to check it out and to get some work done. The first time I drove past and saw the sign outside, I didn’t expect much. The location is kinda weird, but one step inside, I realized that this place is gonna be great.

How to Manage / Upload Multiple Instagram Accounts on One (apple) Device

I’ve been looking for a workflow solution for managing Instagram accounts for years.

I have found it!

Why was it so difficult to find? I am not really sure. I’ve tried a few hacked together apps and tried to figure out a way to make magic happen, but alas, Instagram would not work. Apparently the answer that I kept running into was that they didn’t allow an API for app builders to do this. I’m not sure what all that means, and I’m not sure why this particular solution that I am going to lay out works… but it does.

First, why would you want this solution in your life? Well, if you have EVER tried to manage both a personal instagram account and an instagram account for a small business or ministry (or perhaps a fake instagram account for Tom McFarlin or Chris Ames) you would quickly realize that it was very difficult to switch between accounts. What other apps like twitter or facebook (gasp… yes even Facebook who paid 1 BILLION dollars for Instagram) did well with their apps, is allowed users to easily (or without too much pain) switch from one user to another.

But the official Instagram App? Nope. The only option on it is to log out from one account, then sign back in with another user.

But wait, that’s not all!

I’m confident that I’m not the only one who knows of the bug that would change your ‘share settings’ in the app. Even though you are now logged out of your personal account which had its own share settings, when you shared your business account’s picture, it would SHARE  with your personal social media profiles like twitter and sometimes Facebook!

UGH

So not only would you have to log out of your instagram acocunt, you would have to remember to re-establish your share settings (even though they looked correct) and then you’d feel (somewhat more confident) about posting the picture and that it would share with all the correct accounts.

And then, you had to do that over and over if you wanted to maintain a presence on both accounts. 

But you’re not hear for the soap-box session. You’ve come for the magic. Well, bear with me a little longer.

First you need to have Instapload. It is only available for apple devices at this point (as of 1/12/15) but they (I say they, because I can’t tell if it is a company or an individual owned app) say an android version is coming.

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Don’t get caught up with the reviews on the app. These people who reviewed the app obviously have no idea what gold they have missed. I think they must be YouTube commenters when not reviewing apps.

Who are these people who reviewed Instapload. They've no Idea.

Who are these people who reviewed Instapload. They’ve no Idea.

You see the app clearly states what to expect!

  • Multiple Account Upload
  • Add Multiple Instagram Accounts
  • Easy upload of multiple images to multiple Instagram accounts based on selection

Yes. The Interface is lacking. It isn’t as intuitive as some apps. But we’re looking for a solution… and this solution only costs us 99 cents!

IMG_1885OK. Enough. Let’s get that workflow working. Install the app, and you’ll see that you can add 5 separate Instagram accounts to the app. I assume that this was hardcoded for a reason by the developer and can probably be changed sometime in the future.

This is sufficient for me at the moment. I know that there are some folks who manage more than 5 Instagram accounts, but you’ll just have to figure out a way to make this work.

As stated above, you are not able to comment or like pictures from Instapload. The point of this app is to UPLOAD pics to multiple accounts. Do your liking and commenting on one of the MANY other options for managing Instagram comments and community.

You ARE able to see the latest pics in your 5 accounts’ feeds, and you are able to switch back and forth between feeds VERY easily.

IMG_1887 IMG_1886

IMG_1888Adding pictures is EASY in Instapload.

Click the + button in the top right to add a picture, Add a comment in the “Multi-tags” section (I don’t think this is what the developer intended, but I use this section for my Instagram Caption. It works) select which account you want to add the image to and then here’s where it gets a little tricky. Press the Upload Images button.

If you want to use your Personal Instagram Account… Select that account and upload.

If you want to use your Business Instagram Account… Select that account and upload.

If you want to use your Ministry’s Instagram Account… Select that account and upload!

I’m telling you. It works.

NOW, the IFTTT magic that I added to my workflow.

Do you know what IFTTT is? It stands for If This, Then That.

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Up until now, I’ve been trying to use IFTTT to trigger something posting TO Instagram. Can’t be done. But, Now that I have my image added to Instagram, I want to share it with other platforms like Twitter or Facebook.

There’s a little extra work you need to do to make this work. Create an account. It’s free. Each account can be associated with individual accounts on a variety of platforms. BUT, you can only associate 1 platform with your IFTTT account. So, I created a Howard Brothers IFTTT account, and then I can add Twitter, Facebook pages, Google+ (still working on this, because Google+ has it’s own complexities and will require another post) LinkedIn, etc.

Then I created a few quick recipes on IFTTT. It’s fairly easy, you just select what your trigger does. I set it up so that If ANY new photo is uploaded by my Instagram account, it will trigger two separate recipes and activities. It will post that picture as a native picture (pulling the caption also) to twitter and will also upload that picture and use the caption on my Facebook Business Page.

IFTTT recipe to post to twitter and facebook from Instagram

IFTTT recipe to post to twitter and facebook from Instagram

This is far from done, but this is absolutely going to save me time and make me post more often to my Instagram accounts. IFTTT has MANY MORE options that you can choose from. If you want to only trigger an action if it has a specific hashtag, you can do that. You can create dozens of other actions and connect to MANY platforms. It is VERY powerful indeed. You can probably simplify your workflow in other areas as well.

Here’s my hope for Edgard Chammas, the developer of Instapload.

  1. PLEASE DON’T KILL OFF THIS APP! You have GOLD here. I fully expect Instagram to eventually figure this problem out on their own, and allow users to manage multiple accounts more easily, but until then, you’re gonna sell A LOT of 99cent apps of this thing if you can keep it up.
  2. Usability and design on your app is weak. I hope that there is someone who can step up and help you out with this, but even if that does not happen… you don’t need to change a single thing as far as I am concerned.

Edgard, I promise that I will be leaving you a positive review on your app, and I hope that everyone who uses this information will do so also. We all know how difficult it is to manage our multiple accounts. Give the app some review love and let’s talk it up to our own individual tribes.

(This blog post has not been edited for grammar or spelling. I wanted to get this out as soon as humanly possible)

UPDATE – 1/12/15 9:45PM

Hat Tip to Missy Purcell to letting me know that AS I WAS WRITING THIS POST… there was a version update to the app. Version 1.8 now offers:

  • iphone 6 support
  • improved interface (looking forward to seeing it… updating now)
  • now you can add up to 8 accounts
  • multiline captions!
  • improved image quality
  • added the ability to like images!
  • App will now show image Caption!

Boom. Awesomesauce. Woot.