Valerie Jones

{Live with Purpose. Lead with Passion.}

I am a blogger, worship leader, and speaker who helps worship leaders and team members connect with purpose and passion in life and leadership by offering encouragement, community, and practical resources so that they can thrive in life and leadership, both on and off the platform.

Thanks for stopping by!

Filtering by Category: Update

{Improve Your Blog in One Simple Step}

Y'all might not know it, but blogging is one of my favorite things to do! My first post, nearly five years ago, was probably pretty lame. I know my blog design was pretty lame although it served its purpose well. But over time, the purpose evolved. Hopefully, it's all gotten a bit better. Even still, I had a hard time finding my groove - if you know what I mean. What I'm learning is that consistency is key, and you have to work at being consistent. How do you do that? I'm so glad you asked! Here's what has been working for me:

First things first! Get organized. Pick out a notebook or an app and start using it! Evernote is a great app for organizing your ideas, and any kind of notebook will do - as long as it has a sturdy cover and plenty of blank pages. Keeping all your ideas and inspiration in one place makes it much easier when you're wondering what in the world to write about next.

Once you have all your stuff in one place, you're one step away to a better blog! Exciting, isn't it!? So, what's one easy way to improve your blog?

Get a schedule. Yes, make a plan and work the plan. Now, before you throw up a red flag and claim that working from a writing schedule squelches creativity, hear me out. Having a writing schedule brings a sense of accountability to the table. Creating space to write will foster creativity and hone writing skills. I use a simple monthly calendar and schedule blog posts one month in advance. You can be as detailed as you would like. I make note of the category and/or title on the date the post will go live. I schedule writing time accordingly. Just get something on paper!

January was the first month I consistently put these things in practice. I set a goal for my blog and was able to hold myself accountable because I was organized and worked from a schedule. And, I did it!! Woo-hoo! If I can do it, you can too! So, because I love calendars and freebies, you can download a copy of a blank monthly blog planning calendar! Take a look!

Happy blog planning!

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{God Take Me Back in 2016}

The Lord has been reminding me of something this week, and I am so thankful. I appreciate that He graciously and lovingly corrects us when necessary. I am especially grateful for those times He drops something right in front of me and whispers, "Beloved, this is for you." See, there has been ALOT going on. The last half of 2015 was challenging. I sat across from a sweet friend this weekend and she said, "You must feel like you've been through the ringer." And, I do. Mostly because there has been too much noise, too many voices, too many things competing for my attention. That's when He does it. That's when He drops that just for me something right in my lap. I can't ignore it. I can't explain it away. I can't deny it's exactly what I need in that particular moment. This time He used a song. 

I heard the song the Sunday after Thanksgiving at Passion City Church. They were leading it for the first time ever in a worship service. In a moment, one song said everything that needed to be said by me to the Lord. So I sang it prayerfully during that sweet time of worship and tears rolled down my face. He heard and saw. 

Somewhere between the Thanksgiving turkey and the Christmas tree, I forgot about the song.

On New Year's Day I saw something on social media about the release of the new Passion album. It was available! That's new. The album is normally recorded live at Passion Conference and released in March or April. I was so excited! Please Lord, let this album be available on Apple Music so I can download it with my monthly subscription. And, it was. YAY! I immediately added it to my music and started scrolling through the track list. You know where I'm going with this, right? 

Song number five. The title caught my attention. It was weird, ambiguous. Now, it makes perfect sense of course! I tapped the title, and as soon as I heard the first note, the Lord reminded me of that moment in a room of a thousand people where He saw me. And there were tears. Then He reminded me again a few days later when I was chatting with a friend. 

So, it's my prayer focus as I head into the new year. Here it is. Simple Pursuit. One that changes everything. What are you pursuing into 2016? 

 

Simple Pursuit | Ben Catelon, Matt Redman, Nick Herbert, Sam Bailey | Passion: Salvation's Tide is Rising  © 2016 Ben Cantelon Designee (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Bespoke Records (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Said And Done Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

Simple Pursuit | Ben Catelon, Matt Redman, Nick Herbert, Sam Bailey | Passion: Salvation's Tide is Rising

© 2016 Ben Cantelon Designee (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Bespoke Records (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Said And Done Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), sixsteps Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), Thankyou Music (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing), worshiptogether.com songs (Admin. by Capitol CMG Publishing)

{Favorite Books in 2015}

Ah, the smell of a new book. For me, there's a great appreciation for a real-life, hard-copy, hold-in-your-hand book. Confession: I ALWAYS flip the book open, hold it right under my nose, and fan through the pages while taking the deepest breath possible! I like the smell of new books (and sharpies, but that's another matter)!  I also appreciate all the eTools that mean I can easily take my books with me. Thank you iBooks, Kindle App, and Audible. Another confession: Sometimes I have an eCopy and a real-life copy. 

Reading is so good for our brains. It makes us smarter, stimulates our imaginations, helps aide memory function, and even eases tension. It's exercise for the brain and food for the soul. Good stuff. 

Here are a few of my favorites from 2015. 

  1. The Comeback: It's Not Too Late and You're Never Too Far by Louie Giglio | This book is special. I'm staring at the blinking cursor trying to form the right words. Let's just do it this way. The book is . . . real, raw, inspiring, encouraging, and challenging. I laughed. I cried. I read and re-read. Louie Giglio has to be one of the most gifted communicators on the planet. Even more than that, each time I hear him give a talk, his love for Jesus is evident. It's no different when he puts pen to paper and writes one of the most important books I've read in a long while. It's a message of hope, for sure. But it's not a message that encourages a shallow hope based on circumstances. Sometimes, life comes at you with gut-punch and it's easy to lose your footing. This book reminds us of the hope and grace that is found in the truth of The Gospel, in Jesus. That hope is never out of reach.  It's a game changer. For real. 
  2. The Carpenter: A Story about the Greatest Success Strategies of All  by Jon Gordon | My husband gave me this book. And, I loved it. The characters are relatable and the story teaches simple yet powerful truths. This one is about building things the right way. All of your endeavors and all your relationships are sure to benefit from the takeaways in this book. This one reminds us that perspective shapes outcome and we have the power to choose our perspective. Short. Simple. Impactful. Read it.
  3. Jesus Is ____________ : Find a New Way to be Human by Judah Smith | The way you fill in the blank matters. This book gets to the heart of the matter. "Jesus is the sum and substance of the Gospel." It's funny, to the point, and engaging. Judah Smith has a brilliant way with words and his storytelling is magic! This book speaks to the fundamental, foundational truth that there's nothing I can do to earn salvation or to earn God's love. Nothing. That takes the pressure off, doesn't? If you need the reminder, pick this book up. 
  4. The Devil in Pew Number Seven by Rebecca Nichols Alonzo, Bob DeMoss | I could not put this book down.  The story of this minister and his family and the terror they walked through cuts straight to the heart. It's a real-life, true story of pain and persecution at the hands of cold-hearted, broken people.  But the book offers so much more than just a riveting true story. Alonzo bravely gives us a peek into her heart as she walks us through the process of healing and forgiveness. It paints the beautiful picture of the sustaining love of God, of which we could all use the reminder. 
  5. The Best Yes: Making Wise Decisions in the Midst of Endless Demands by Lysa TerKeurst | This book came at a crucial time for me. The title really says all that needs to be said; but, TerKeurst masterfully walks us through the process of learning how to say no and when to say yes. Every people pleaser needs this book. This book was part of the process of my learning that not everything or everyone is allowed to claim space in my heart and mind. The book is engaging, insightful, and funny.  It will be well worth the time spent reading it. 

There you have it. My top five books from 2015. These books left a deep impression. Something changed in me because I read them. How about you? Do any of these jump off the page begging you to read them? What books did you read in 2015 that proved to be important for you? 

Oh! Because I loved these books so much, I want to give one away. Enter the giveaway at the bottom of the page for a chance to win a copy of your choice! That's fun, isn't it!! 

Here are links to my faves on Amazon in case you want to grab one:

{New Site Design}

Hello sweet friends.

First, can I just say thank you! Thank you for following my blog either via Wordpress or email. Some of you have been subscribing to email updates for years! We've come a long way together, haven't we? I love that. And, I appreciate you. Thanks for sticking with me.

I have been working on something new for my site - a new design. You may have already seen a preview on social media. I am moving from Wordpress to a new platform. The process has been fussy and I can't even tell you how I managed. But, I think I have it working now! I'm such a novice. But, that's ok, right?

So. The new site.  I'd love for you to stop by and take a look.

Unfortunately, the email subscriptions didn't move with me. So, if you'd like,  you can click the link below and re-subscribe to the blog. Once you see the landing page, you just click the button that says "Subscribe." I hope you will stay with me! I'm excited about what's coming.

Re-Subscribe to My Blog Here.

Happy Christmas season to you all! It's been quite a year, hasn't it?  I pray that you are filled with hope as you stop and take time to remember why Jesus came. He loves you so.

With Love,
Valerie