inspirational-christmas-quotes

Christmas is indeed the most wonderful time of the year!

And it’s only a month away.  Yikes!

Read these inspirational Christmas quotes to kick off the holiday season.

Enjoy, and have a merry Christmas season!

 

  • “[Mary] will bear a Son; and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” –Matthew 1:21 (NASB)
  • “He who has not Christmas in his heart will never find it under a tree.” – Roy L. Smith
  • “Maybe Christmas, the Grinch thought, doesn’t come from a store.” –Dr. Seuss
  • “Do not be afraid; for behold, I bring you good news of great joy which will be for all the people; for today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.” –Luke 2:10-11 (NASB)
  • “Christmas is a season for kindling the fire for hospitality in the hall, the genial flame of charity in the heart.” –Washington Irving
  • “Unless we make Christmas an occasion to share our blessings, all the snow in Alaska won’t make it ‘white’.” –Bing Crosby
  • “Faith is salted and peppered through everything at Christmas. And I love at least one night by the Christmas tree to sing and feel the quiet holiness of that time that’s set apart to celebrate love, friendship, and God’s gift of the Christ child.” –Amy Grant
  • “Christmas is a day of meaning and traditions, a special day spent in the warm circle of family and friends.” –Margaret Thatcher
  • “I will honor Christmas in my heart, and try to keep it all the year.” –Charles Dickens
  • “The Christmas message is that there is hope for a ruined humanity–hope of pardon, hope of peace with God, hope of glory–because at the Father’s will Jesus became poor, and was born in a stable so that thirty years later He might hang on a cross.” –J. I. Packer
  • “Who can add to Christmas? The perfect motive is that God so loved the world. The perfect gift is that He gave His only Son. The only requirement is to believe in Him. The reward of faith is that you shall have everlasting life.” –Corrie ten Boom

 

What are your favorite inspirational Christmas quotes?

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5-types-of-christmas-text-alerts

Believe it or not, Christmas is fast approaching!

This week we have Thanksgiving and then Christmas is only a month away.

It’s almost time to start getting the holiday decorations out and planning what you’re going to be doing this Christmas season!

Did you know that you can send out Christmas text alerts?

Here are 5 different types of Christmas text alerts you can send!

Check out my original 10 ways to use text alerts for Christmas.

  1. Send Advent Bible verses

You can use text alerts to send out Bible verses for each day of Advent leading up to the holiday.

  1. Plan a canned food drive

Christmas is a perfect time to get your church group, office, or community together for a canned food drive to help the less fortunate. Text alerts can help you organize this kind of event by sending texts letting people know details, reminders, and updates.

  1. Organize an event to give gifts to the impoverished

Our church would get its congregants engaged in the Christmas spirit by letting us select a less fortunate child in the community to purchase a gift for. Another church I attended encouraged us to engage in Samaritan’s Purse’s Operation Christmas Child event in which we would pack a small box of gifts to send to impoverished children overseas for Christmas. You can use text alerts to organize a similar event and send reminders to people to purchase the gifts.

  1. Coordinate a White Elephant Gift Exchange event with your community or loved ones

White Elephant events are always a hit around Christmas. Why not coordinate one yourself? You could get extended family, neighbors, or friends together for a time of fun and laughter. Here are the rules of White Elephant in case you aren’t aware.

  1. Remind people of the reason for the season

“[F]or today in the city of David there has been born for you a Savior, who is Christ the Lord” (Luke 2:11, NASB). It is always good to be reminded of the reason Jesus Christ came to Earth as God in the flesh—to pay the penalty for our sins in His death and to rise from the dead in victory! “[I]f you confess with your mouth Jesus as Lord, and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you will be saved” (Romans 10:9 NASB).

 

Christmas is a time to connect with people, to be involved in their lives. It’s a time for friends, for family, and above all, it’s a reminder of the greatest Gift of all.

Blessings to you as this holiday season begins!

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View a video version of this tutorial here:

The Basics

Having people text in to join your subscriber list is easy!

All that you need to do is let them know to text your keyword in to 662-200-4303 and their number will be automatically added.

texting-in-keyword

 

If you don’t have a keyword, you can set one by logging into your control panel and going to your Settings:

settings-screenshot

Shortcode Keywords

You are able to add a keyword on the shortcode 48421.  This will enable users to text your keyword in to the shorter and more convenient 5-digit number (48421) rather than the 10-digit number (662-200-4303).  Contact us for more details!

Including Personal Info When Texting In

Name

If you want your subscribers to include their name when texting in, they are able to do so.

To include their name, they need to insert their name after the keyword with the following format:

Keyword FirstName LastName

For example, if the keyword is “Example” and the user’s name is “John Smith,” they can text in “Example John Smith” (no quotes):

texting-in-keyword-2

Group

If you have groups set up on your account, your subscribers can add themselves to one of your groups by texting in.

After they have followed the above instructions to text in to subscribe to your list, they can send a second text to 662-200-4303 with the following format:

Join GroupName

(If you have purchased a shortcode keyword, this will also work with the shortcode 48421.)

For example, if a user had subscribed to your list and wanted to be added to your group called “Staff” they would text in “Join Staff” (no quotes):

texting-in-join-group

 

 

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we-should-be-deeply-grateful-this-thanksgiving

Change is hard, and the future isn’t always clear.

In the aftermath of the election results it is easy to get overwhelmed by the conflict and stressed by the uncertainty. Regardless of which side you are on, complaining is often our default response to this conflict.

Some of us complain about the man who was elected into office. Some of us complain about the protesters who oppose him. And nearly all of us complain about the system itself in one way or another.

Many of our complaints are valid, and there is a time and a place for them. However, in light of the upcoming holiday of Thanksgiving, it is important for us to keep our minds and our lives in balance. All of us must remember to be thankful.

  1. Thankful for our freedom

Whether or not we are worried that some of our freedoms might be taken away from us someday, we must be thankful for the freedom we enjoy right now.

The fact that we have the freedom to elect representatives and complain about our government is something we should never take for granted. Many people across the world do not enjoy these rights, and many people have died defending these rights.

  1. Thankful for our provisions

If you are reading this today on a computer or mobile device, you already have substantially more than millions of people around the globe. Many people can’t read, can’t afford a computer, and don’t have access to clean water—let alone access to the Internet.

In our privileged and blessed culture we need to take the time to stop and be thankful for the simple provisions of everyday life: food, water, shelter, clothing, and the like.

  1. Thankful for our loved ones

How often do you tell your friends and family how thankful you are for them? If you’re like me, you don’t tell them nearly enough.

Sadly, as a whole we seem to take our loved ones for granted far too often. May we demonstrate our appreciate for people in words and in actions!

This is a small yet potent list of things for which we should be deeply grateful. May we use this Thanksgiving not simply as an excuse to gorge ourselves on turkey and pie.  Rather, may we stop and truly consider all the blessings that we have.

Happy Thanksgiving to all!

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You’ve requested it and now it’s here!

With your Mobile Text Alerts account you are now able to send out a message template from your phone by conveniently texting in a keyword.

As an example, let’s say you always send out the same text to your employees when the office is closed due to inclement weather. You can now set this up in your Message Templates and assign the message a name (let’s call it “Weather”):

message-template

If an administrator for the account wants to send this message out, all they need to do is follow the guidelines for sending a message via text and put the template name inside < > signs (<Weather>) instead of typing out the message content.

For example, if a Super Administrator sent “All <Weather>” (no quotes) to 229-299-8227, it will send the message template in the screenshot above to everyone on the account.

Now you can quickly send out full messages just by typing a couple words and hitting “Send”!

Let us know if you have any questions!

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improve your business

Your life’s hard.

I get it.  You are a part of an organization.  You play a role in keeping it up and running.

No matter which way you look at it, there is is always a way to improve your business, a way to be better organized in whatever role you play.

There are dozens upon dozens of different products, websites, and apps designed to help you get better. Choices are good! But when there’s so many, how can you choose?

Here are some of the different products we have used. This is not necessarily an endorsement of any of these products, but it hopefully might give you a more specific idea of what’s out there so that you can improve your business or organization.

  1. Zendesk

We have used Zendesk to keep track of support tickets and to submit requests among our own employees. In all honesty I personally feel that things can get a little cluttered and hard to organize with Zendesk, but it works for our purposes.

I appreciate having different tickets among all of our employees all in one place to look through. I also like the ability to prioritize tickets and then sort them according to priority.

  1. Zendesk Chat (Formerly Zopim)

Affiliated with Zendesk, Zendesk Chat (formerly Zopim) works great for support chat. The function is simple—nothing too fancy. It allows us to chat with customers without a lot of complicated bells and whistles.

  1. Stripe

Stripe allows us to accept online credit/debit card payments. Our developers have successfully integrated it into our website so that customers can automatically make payments. In addition, it is simple to run charges manually.

  1. Streak

When it comes to email, it can be incredibly difficult to keep things organized, especially among co-workers. With Streak you can organize your emails into boxes that can be shared with other people on your team.

You can set follow-up days so that you remember to follow-up with your clients or remember to do a specific task on a certain day. You can also assign boxes to anyone on your team so that everyone knows who is responsible for which emails.

The main downside I have found with Streak is that it sometimes mixes up threads together and puts them in the wrong box, causing some confusion.

  1. HelloBar

I haven’t explored many of the features of HelloBar, but it seems to work for what we use it for! It allows us to collect email addresses for our mailing list so that we can follow up with potential leads.

This is just a sampling of some of the services that we use to help run our business. What have you found that works to improve your business or organization?

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6-more-rags-to-riches-stories

Today I’m going to continue what I started in my previous post about rags-to-riches stories and give you a few more examples of people who rose up from humble means to become some of the wealthiest people in America.

Without further ado, here are 6 more rags-to-riches stories.

Rockerfeller came from a poor home in the mid 1800s and earned just 50 cents per day working his first job. Yet despite these meager beginnings he became one of richest men to ever live after founding Standard and Oil Company. According to Huffington Post, “He was the first person [in] history with a net worth of a billion dollars.”

If you don’t recognize their names, you will most likely recognize the clothing store this husband and wife founded: Forever 21. As immigrants from Korea, the Changs struggled to get by at first, having to work several jobs at once. From this state of tribulation they founded a clothing store in the mid 80s and the rest is history.

The man behind the mouse himself didn’t have an easy time early on in his career. Though he was a skilled cartoonist, his dreams to have his own successful business hit several snags, including a period of joblessness. But he persevered through the trials and with the help of his brother grew the Walt Disney Company into the empire it is today.

Liz Murray’s childhood and teen years were wrought with tragedy. Parents with an addiction to drugs and a positive HIV diagnosis. Moving out on her own at the young age of 15. Homelessness. Despite all of this, she rose above the odds, attended Harvard, and eventually became a best-selling author and public speaker.

Who is Howard Schultz, you ask? He’s only the CEO and chairman of the superstar coffee chain Starbucks. But like everyone else on this list, he didn’t start off in the lap of luxury. He didn’t allow his childhood in the housing projects of Brooklyn stop him from moving forward and making a name for himself.

Carnegie grew up knowing the pains of poverty. Huffington Post suggests that “he’d sleep to ‘forget the misery of hunger,’ he once wrote.” As a child he labored in a textile factory. But as an adult he took his place among other hardworking entrepreneurs with his company Carnegie Steel, eventually rising to the title of “richest man in the world.”

It’s true that wealth isn’t everything. Riches shouldn’t be our aspiration. But with that in mind, it is encouraging to read stories of these people who overcame the pain of their circumstances and made a living for themselves through sweat and tears.

Life is hard for all of us – don’t let that stop you!

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9

tips-for-sending-the-most-effective-text-alerts

Texting is a daily routine for most of us.

So you’d think it would be easy, right? Well, the truth is that sometimes it’s not, especially when you’re a company or organization trying to engage your audience.

What are the rules? What is best practice? How do you know what’s acceptable and what’s not?

How can you get the best response for messages?

Here are 4 tips for sending the most effective text alerts and really engaging your audience.

1. Keep it short and sweet

Text messages are meant to be short. You have a limited number of characters for a reason.

What happens when you go over the limit? Providers have to break long texts up into multiple messages. Although this sounds simple, people don’t always enjoy receiving multiple texts at once, and often providers deliver the message sections out of order.

If you must split your messages into multiple, do your best to keep it into just 2 messages rather than 3 or more.

2. Make sure your message is relevant

People will get bored of your messages and possibly unsubscribe if they receive messages that don’t pertain to them.

You want to make sure to only send content that is valuable to your audience. For example, sending coupons for diapers to teenagers isn’t the best way to engage people.

3. Make opt-out instructions clear

Disinterested subscribers who continue to receive unwanted messages can grow extremely frustrated if they don’t know how to make the messages stop.

It’s not in your best interests to continue to send messages to people who don’t want to receive them. You want to weed out the people who aren’t truly interested by giving people an easy way to opt out.

In addition, if the recipients get irritated enough they may take legal action, which nobody wants!

4. Don’t send too often

Most people don’t like receiving a multitude of non-personal text messages. If you bombard their text inbox they will get annoyed, and if you continue to do so they might unsubscribe.

Use texting sparingly and intentionally if you don’t want to become just another voice lost in the crowd.
If you follow these tips you are sure to improve the quality of your text messages exponentially! Then you can send the most effective text alerts possible and get the best response from your audience.

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9

how-to-set-up-groups-for-your-text-alerts

Did you know you can organize your subscribers into groups?

This is awesome for sorting your subscribers and making sure your recipients only receive the messages that are relevant to them.

STEP 1: CREATE A GROUP

First you need to create your groups so that you have categories in which you can sort your subscribers. To create a group, simply do the following:

  • Go to the Manage Groups page
  • Click the Add a Group button

At this point you could just type in the group name and click “Save,” but if you want to include other info, here is what the other fields mean for you:

STEP 2: GROUP INFO

  • Name: This is the name of your group. You can give the group any name you want.
  • Hide Group: By default this is “Off,” but if this is set to “On,” this group will not appear on your sign-up page. You will want to hide your group if you don’t want your subscribers who sign up on your sign-up page to be able to sign themselves up for the group.
  • Group Keyword: This is an optional field. For $3/month you can add a Group Keyword. These additional keywords allow your subscribers to text in to be added directly to the specified group. If you do not want to purchase additional keywords, you can leave this field blank.
  • Auto-Response: This is an optional field that only applies if you have purchased a Group Keyword for the group. In this field you can type out a message. This message will be automatically sent out to people who text in the Group Keyword.

Remember to click “Save” when you are done!

STEP 3: ADD SUBSCRIBERS TO THE GROUP

Now that you have created your group and set up the info for the group, you can start adding subscribers to this group.

There are several ways this can be done:

  • You can add subscribers to groups manually by going to your Manage Subscribers page. From there, select the row of the subscriber you want to add to highlight that row (hold shift to select multiple subscribers). Ten click the “Add Subscribers to Group” button toward the top.
  • Subscribers can add themselves to your groups by going to your sign-up page at mobile-text-alerts.com/keyword (where “keyword” is replaced with the actual keyword for your account)
  • Subscribers can add themselves to your group by texting “Join GroupName” to 661 (where “GroupName” is replaced with the actual group name for your account).
    • Note: this method will only work if the subscriber is already signed up on your account

You have now created a group and added subscribers to your group! When sending a message, you can select the option to send to a group and select the name of the group you would like to send to.

Happy organizing!

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7-rags-to-riches-stories

Everyone loves a good rags-to-riches story.

It makes us feel good inside to see people pull themselves out of destitution—to see the afflicted succeed.

Not only that, but it gives us hope that anything is possible with hard work, determination, talent, and God’s grace.

Here are some real-life rags-to-riches stories for your encouragement.

Mr. Walton came from humble means—an Oklahoma farm boy of the Great Depression era. He fought in WWII and upon returning home opened a variety store. This business venture eventually expanded into the superstores we know as Wal-Mart and Sam’s Club.

Oprah is now a household name, but no one who knew her as a child would ever have been able to see that coming. Her mother was an unmarried teenager, and she was sexually abused. But eventually she pursued a journalism career and grew into the massive media figure that she is today.

Another simple farm boy, Henry Ford’s interest was in the mechanical industry. His advances in mechanics “went on to revolutionize the transportation industry.” He built his business from the ground up, and has a lot to show for it!

Little would anyone guess that the billionaire who penned the Harry Potter series was once an impoverished single mom struggling to scrape by. Destitute and dependent on welfare, Rowling’s circumstances transformed rapidly as her Harry Potter novels garnered massive success.

Some may have thought of Ralph Lauren as nothing more than a high school dropout. But after gaining experience working in fashion as a clerk and later salesman, Lauren decided to take a risk and venture out on his own. He established his own brand, Polo, which grew from a mere $50,000 venture into a multi-billion-dollar franchise.

Jim Carrey may seem like a care-free funnyman, but the truth about his childhood may shock his fans. Poverty assailed his family, so much so that he had to work 8-hour days as a 12-year-old after school. His father at one point lost his job, forcing the family into homelessness for a time. Yet now Carrey stars in films that have grossed hundreds of millions.

As “the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 company” Ursula Burns, head of Xerox, is a cut above! Yet her beginnings were humble. She grew up in housing projects of New York, but she found a way to rise above her circumstances and prove the statistics wrong.

 

More rags-to-riches stories to come!

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