Is it coincidence or God speaking through nature?

Do you believe in coincidence? Does God speak to us through signs and symbols in nature? How does God speak to us? If God is speaking and we don’t listen, how does he get through to us?

I don’t believe in coincidence and think that everything happens for a reason. Over and over our higher power, whom I choose to call God, is constantly trying to communicate through any method available.



Is it a coincidence when animals appear?

Native Americans believe that animal spirits or totems appear in our lives to give us messages, and in my opinion it is God trying to get through because we aren’t listening to his voice.

I recently began trying to walk 10,000 steps a day to counteract the midlife bulge developing around my waist. This puts me out into nature a lot more since my home is tucked into the Central Florida Wetlands.

Huge-Rattle-sanke
I nearly stepped on this rattle snakes tail while on my morning walk. (Photo taken by Bead Lovers Korner in Central Florida)

Last week I nearly stepped on the tail of a huge rattle snake, it never saw me, but seeing the snake had me shaken!! The rattle was the first thing I saw, not a footstep away – eek!!

Then two days later the sunlight was shining at just the right moment for me to see a beautiful spider web in the trees.

Spider web seen in the rays of sunlight.
Spider web seen in the rays of sunlight. (Photo taken by Bead Lovers Korner in Central Florida)

I tried looking for the web again the next day, and could not find it. It seemed as though God was shining the light directly at the web at just the right moment for me to see it.

Were these two random sightings connected? Was it odd that after seeing the scary rattle snake I was allowed to see the delicate web?

Does this have meaning?

You might be laughing right now, but I began to think this was no coincidence and that this might have meaning. So I decided to look up the snake and spider and see what their appearance might mean and how it relates to my life.

Here is what I found:

Snake key meanings are transmutation, change and to be reminded to stay connected to the self and my surroundings to continue on the path of growth.

Spider and it’s web is bringing attention to my creativity and asking if I am ignoring my ideas and dreams. Go figure!

My inner spirit has been nagging at me to get back to making rosaries, prayer beads, meaningful jewelry and to practice wire wrapping and wire weaving. I have not been making time for that, and have just pushed those thoughts and ideas aside.

Knowing when God speaks

Was God speaking and I wasn’t listening? Did he use the symbols of his creation to tell me in another way? I believe it’s true: when I ignore my inner Good Orderly Direction (GOD), nature takes over to tell me again!

What are your thoughts on how God speaks to you? Have you had any strange encounters in nature like that? How did you use that experience?

#FLBlogCon 2014 Florida Blogging Conference

This past weekend I attended FLBlogCon 2014 the Florida Blogging Conference for bloggers throughout the state to learn more about blogging and social media.

I discovered FLBlogCon early in 2014 and signed up so that I could learn more about writing a blog.

I have been blogging for several years but never really considered myself a blogger until I realized that my blog content worked in conjunction with my website, and in some cases totally separate.

If you have started a blog or are thinking about it, I highly recommend this conference for Floridians!

Mayor-Jacobs
Orange County Mayor Jacobs gave a welcome speech to the FLBlogCon

FLBlogCon 2014 Florida Blogging Conference

The day was extremely interesting and filled with knowledge of all kinds, held at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Florida.

The Orange County Mayor Teresa Jacobs stopped by to give us all a big welcome and then the conference began with a motivating opening keynote speech by Ted Murphy, CEO of Izea.

There were a large number of speakers on a wide range of topics which covered:

  • Starting and Growing a Blog
  • Content Creation (writing, photography, etc)
  • Different Social Media Tools & Strategies

I took three pages of notes on different ideas to grow my blog, ways to integrate my blog content with sponsors, I made some great connections and new friends. I was really surprised at the number of sponsors and the huge amount of support for the blogging community.

Barnies Coffee Kitchen supplied the much-needed caffeine to start the day, and an awesome lunch was provided by Tijuana Flats! A big thanks to them for providing food selections for us vegetarians!

Hunger-Hero
Hunger Hero T-shirt and Award from Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida

I was really delighted to learn that my recent blog post about holding an online food drive to help fight hunger: Hungry for Beads or Hungry for Food? was selected as the winner of a really cool Hunger Hero T-shirt and dinner for two by the Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida!!

Ford-Swag
Lots of great SWAG from Ford and other sponsors

Lots of SWAG

Everyone walked away with lots of information and a big blue SWAG bag filled with goodies from Southern Ford Dealers, Brighthouse, Juice Plus+, Florida Dairy Farmers Association, MuskIt, Body Check Journal, and lots more!

Do you write a blog? For entrepreneurs, have you considered how valuable an online blog might be to your small business?

Let me know what you think!

Hungry for beads or hungry for food? #FLBlogging4good

We bead jewelry artists may be hungry for more beads and jewelry findings, but many people are just hungry for food! We joke about never having enough beads, but can you imagine not having enough food to eat like fruits, vegetables, milk or eggs?

What does hunger look like?

The face of hunger is unsuspecting and could look just like you or your neighbor. Right here in Central Florida there is an astonishing number of children, adults and elderly people who suffer from hunger due to a job loss, being homeless or on a low fixed-income. So many people are one paycheck away from any number of disasters that would cause them to not be able to feed themselves or their children.

Virtual Food Drive
It’s Easy to Organize a Virtual Food Drive

How you can help fight hunger

I know you have seen food drives run by grocery stores, the local post office or the boy scouts but did you know that you can set up and run a Virtual Food Drive online?  The Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida has created this online tool that anyone can use to run a food drive to support those in need of a good meal. Illustrated examples in the grocery cart show just how far a few dollars can go when donating through Second Harvest.

Virtual Food Drive shopping cart with easy online checkout

Organizing a successful food drive

Organizing a successful Food Drive takes a lot of planning, volunteer work, and storage room to collect and disburse in the community. Many people would like to help but either don’t know how or do not have the time or manpower to run a food drive effectively. This really cool virtual tool at the Second Harvest Food Bank Website is easy to set up and manage and has the potential for greater participation through the wide reach of the Internet.

Some great ideas for who can hold an online food drive include:

  • Individuals
  • Families
  • Churches
  • Schools
  • Groups & Clubs
  • Small and Large Businesses

Virtual Food Drives can be promoted on websites, blogs, email newsletters and different social media sites to generate interest and excitement about helping the community. Go to the Second Harvest Website today to learn more about starting an online Food Drive or donate to an existing drive to help fight hunger.

Second Harvest Food Bank of Central Florida is a private, nonprofit organization that collects, stores and distributes donated food to more than 550 local non-profit feeding partners in six Central Florida counties: Brevard, Lake, Orange, Osceola, Seminole and Volusia.

Ideas to increase website traffic when selling online

Being an entrepreneur can be a real challenge, coming up with ideas to increase website traffic when selling online is something to constantly think about.

Whether you have an Etsy Store, an Ebay Store or sell your cool handmade gifts at local craft fairs, getting shopper traffic to see your cool stuff is a dilemma.

Last year I made the above chart and shared it on my Facebook Fan page, I revisited the key points to see what might have changed, and wanted to share these results.

Building-Website
Lots of work on www.beadloverskorner.com

Increase website traffic by building your website

Over the past year I have learned a LOT about blogging, SEO and my Shopsite shopping cart.

I changed my hosting to a company that is a Shopsite expert and upgraded the software to the most current version. This fixed a lot of things that the original ad agency who set up my website did not do correctly, and also made it possible for a few other important things:

  • Mobile browsing with a simple mobile checkout
  • Move blog from Blogspot to Word Press and link to website
  • Insert products into Google Shopping

All of the above improvements have increased the orders on my website from like one or two a month to nearly one a day! I am slowly inserting more and more products, so I expect that number to increase over the next year!

Selling-At-Craft-Fairs
Selling My Cool Stuff outside in the hot sun, no thanks!

Set up at local craft fairs

My opinion hasn’t changed on this, no sense in using my energy to set up tables under the hot Central Florida sun or in a tent so that people can look at my beaded jewelry and say “Oh how pretty, I can make that!”

online-Stores

Put it on Ebay

I made all the changes Ebay wanted last year, and now again this year there are more changes, although not as drastic.

I have decided that the “Variations” option is only good if your product is selling, otherwise the item just sinks lower and lower in search.

I changed many of my titles for the Cassini search engine and I do think that helped somewhat. Even though I don’t spend much time working on the Bead Lovers Korner Ebay Store, Ebay has a lot of traffic and somehow I manage to have a good volume of sales.

List on Etsy

Not much has changed here, I keep a lot of popular items there as well as new handmade creations.

The great things about Etsy are the teams and the awesome tips and ideas they give to you to help you be successful, not to mention the fact that the fees are lower.

I get a fair amount of traffic to the Bead Lovers Korner Etsy Shop, and the sales are steady.

fb-logo

Facebook fan Page

I officially quit giving Facebook any advertising money at the end of last year. I did not see much of a return from the money I spent with them in recent years. I do keep my Bead Lovers Korner facebook page updated, but I am not wasting any more money on advertising there.

Even though I am no longer advertising for likes, etc. I still keep getting new fans, and it is weird because a lot of them are from foreign countries and I can’t even read their names!!

In closing, lots of work on updating and building my own website and blog has proven to be the most beneficial this past year.

Leave a comment and tell us what has helped your online sales!

Florida Artists Together with Florida History

FEST Banner
The Florida Etsy Street Team

This last weekend modern Florida Artists mixed together with Florida History at the Florida Market Days Fundraiser and Holiday Party at the Florida Agricultural Museum in Palm Coast, Florida. This was a fun event that featured many Florida Etsy Street Team artists. The Team Captain Rose did a terrific job of organizing and coordinating this event, and it was held in a spectacular rural setting at the Florida Agricultural Museum, which is rich with Florida History.

Florida Agricultural Museum
Florida Agricultural Museum

The Florida Agricultural Museum is a fully restored pioneer homestead from the 1890s with farm animals, hay ride tour, and a wealth of historical information of the early days and life in Florida.

Frosty the Snowman greeted everyone at the barn door

The weather was good on Sunday and the atmosphere was full of winter holiday fun, complete with Frosty the Snowman blowing snow to greet everyone at the barn door!

Santa and Mrs. Claus

Santa and Mrs. Claus were there to see all of the kids, both big and small, to find out if they were naughty or nice throughout the year and what they wanted for Christmas!

Florida Etsy Street Team Members were among many crafters that attended to display and sell their art, crafts and Holiday creations.

GypSea Blue Bags

GypSea Blue Bags creates beautiful handmade bicycle accessories and hand bags that are a little bit of gypsy and a little bit of hippie mixed with a touch of shabby chic and a dash of diva!

Tesslie Textile

Tessie Textile features handmade pot holders and mug rugs as well as quilts and wall hangings for the home, all hand sewn with love!

Twisted K’s Jewelry

Twisted K’s Jewelry had a table full of beautiful handmade jewelry and gifts.

Santa’s Elves drawing numbers for the Raffle

Along with Shopping for gifts and visiting with Santa Claus, there were Raffle Drawings held every hour for prizes that were donated by the Florida Etsy Street team members from all over the state.

SWAG bags were given to all who attended

FEST Team members also sent in samples, business cards and discount coupons that filled the SWAG bags that were given out to everyone who attended.

Face Painting for kids
There was an area just for kids with different games to play and other fun activities including face painting by Santa’s Elves!! Holiday related games included ring toss and bean bag toss! They were not so easy, actually, but lots of fun!!
Craft Area for kids

A craft table was set up for children to make crafts or cards, and Florida Etsy Team members were available to assist the youngsters and encourage them with their handmade creations.

I hope you enjoyed this visual tour of a really fun Florida day and perhaps you will visit some of these Etsy shops and help support Florida Artists.

Go Team FEST on Etsy!
********** Special Thanks to Etsy for donating to this event! **********

How to survive Florida weather in the summer

Florida weather in the summer and how to survive the daily rain showers and storms is fairly simple. Every year at the start of hurricane season Floridians are reminded to check their supplies and be prepared.

Hurricane Guides

Each year a new hurricane guide is published with all the info and reminders of what we Floridians should do to be prepared for loss of electricity and severe weather.

This seasonal guide has current emergency information, phone numbers, and all the storm names that someone has picked out for the year (who gets paid to do that? And just how much do they get paid??).

The season lasts for 6 months and when you think about how long that is, you should just be prepared all the time! That way you don’t have to go broke looking for supplies when a storm is imminent.

Be prepared to survive Florida weather

Here in Central Florida, when you see people leaving the grocery store with more than one or two gallons of water in their grocery cart you know you better turn on the news to see if a storm is coming.

It is kind of comical to see the patterns and habits of people year after year, and the most important things to have besides water are:

  1. candles
  2. matches or lighters
  3. batteries
  4. a flashlight
  5. junk food
  6. a freezer full of ice
  7. generator for when the power is out for a while
  8. an oscillating fan

Then just sit back, relax and have a drink, because most of the time these storms just pass right by us.

Did I forget anything? Leave a comment below and let me know 🙂

Tropical Drink Biagi European Bead
Tropical Drink Carlo Biagi Sterling Silver Charm Bead