WHY I'M TAKING A MONTH-LONG SOCIAL MEDIA BREAK

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Starting Saturday, Sept. 16th, I'm taking a break from Instagram and Facebook, and I wanted to briefly share why I'm giving myself this challenge. I recently listened to a couple podcasts by a pastor/author who I highly respect, and I was challenged by his commendation to think more intentionally about how we use our phones. I won't dive into the details here (you can listen his two-part series here: Part 1 and Part 2), but he basically lays out several reasons why we default to our phones: We have these cravings inside us for what's new. What's pretty. What's entertaining. What feeds our egos. And we want an avenue that allows us to avoid responsibility, hardship, and boredom. BUT, he says, there's a better way to spend our time and much better things to set our minds on. (You just gotta listen to the podcast for yourself. It's such good stuff.)

AN HONEST ASSESSMENT & FIGHTING FOR BETTER THINGS 
I realized it's time I take an honest assessment on how much time I spend on my phone - social media, specifically - and the possible implications of giving in to the constant pull to entertainment, mindless scrolling, watching other peoples' lives through their social feeds, spiraling in and out of discontentment and comparison, checking my followers, likes, and mentions, and always defaulting to my screen rather than other things that are much more real than the virtual world I can so easily get sucked into. 

Our phones are amazing and so incredibly useful and helpful, and even social media has it's place and many wonderful qualities of it's own. But it's way too easy to cross the line between letting my phone work for me and letting my phone rule me. It's a lifelong fight for balance that will probably only get more difficult to manage as time goes on in this fast-paced, high tech world, so sometimes I just have to put limits on myself and form new and better habits, in order to fight for the better things: being more present, thinking of others more than myself, and directing my worship and affections towards the good God who made me rather than the superficial, passing things of this world.

DON'T GET ME WRONG
I don't write this post to toot my own horn and make you think, "Wow, Rebekah really has it all together! How disciplined and mature she is! How noble!" NOPE. Neither do I write it to preach at you and make you think you should do the same. We are all in different places and struggle with different temptations, and this is one of mine. On the contrary, I know that sharing this exposes my own weakness, selfishness, pride, and self-centeredness, but also in hopes that by forcing limits on my life, the Lord will use it to change me and make me a person who loves Him more and loves other people more than myself. And I write in hopes to encourage and challenge anyone else that finds yourself in the same boat as me.

BUSINESS AS USUAL
I'll still be blogging a bit, sending my email newsletters, and doing good work for my lovely clients. I mean, I still have a business to run. Just no Instagram and no Facebook. And I believe it can be done. After all, for a looooong time, people have been running successful businesses without it. 

SOME GOALS I'M HOPING TO ACCOMPLISH  (In no particular order)
I made a list of reasons why I believe this will be good for me, as well as some things I'd like to accomplish. I'm not setting any hard and fast rules, and I don't expect this to fix all my problems. But I do want to work on training my mind, my default habits, and my affections to reach for and desire better things. And for me, cutting out some of the distractions - like Instagram and Facebook - is a fine place to start. 

  • Get more work done by reducing distractions throughout the day

  • Read more actual books - like real pages that are filled with wonderful stories and truths

  • Reduce the amount of mindless noise around me

  • Remove the temptation to aimlessly browse

  • Give myself the opportunity to think and just "be" in moments where I would normally run to my phone for a quick fix of entertainment

  • Force myself to find other creative ways to market my business, and prove that a social media feed is NOT the end-all-be-all to success. I really believe I don't "need" it as much as I think.

  • Find inspiration, creativity, and ideas in new ways, rather than on a screen

  • Be more present with my husband by spending less time looking at my phone

  • Be a better friend. Not just a friend who "likes" and comments on your posts, but who actually shows up. Calls you. Loves you. In real life.

  • Fight the comparison game and choose to be more content with who I am, where I'm at, and the life God has graciously given me

  • Remove unnecessary anger and despair from my mind. More often than not, I leave my social media feeds feeling angry, frustrated, discouraged, and critical of others and the world. I don't want to live that way. 

  • Fill my mind more with God's Truth and words that matter, rather than the plethora of varying opinions around me. There's a lot of noise out there with all kinds of "wisdom", advice, and worldviews that are straight up tainted with human error and faulty opinion. I need to fill my mind more with what's true, honorable, and right, so that I can identify and call out faulty logic and error when I see it. I need wisdom!

  • Set up my mornings to be refreshing, edifying, slow, and not wasteful.

  • Fight the need for an "escape" from responsibility. Put that dang phone down and do the laundry. Plan good, healthy meals. Meditate on God's Word. Organize those receipts. Put those boxes away, finally. Stay on task. Be productive. Follow through. Hug my husband. Love my neighbors.

I imagine this list could go on forever, but let's just start here. If you'd like to join the challenge with me, by all means, come 'on. Feel free to leave a comment on how you'll spend these next 30 days. 


Ok, bye Social Media. See ya on the flip side.


NEW WORK: SARAH LINDEN PHOTOGRAPHY BRANDING

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My sister Sarah is a woman of many talents, and photography happens to be one of them. After dabbling in food photography for a couple years before she had her first child back in Spring 2016, she took a break to refocus a bit. As many great businesses are birthed out of the necessity to fit specific needs and lifestyle of the business owner, Sarah is no different. She started taking portraits of her son, her friends' kids, and families in her neighborhood, and it wasn't long until a business plan was formed. Since launching Sarah Linden Photography just a few months ago when she found that their was a need for quality portrait photographers in her neighborhood, Sarah has had a booked schedule and has worked hard to develop her craft by workshops, hard work, and practice. With all of this momentum, she and I talked about her need for strong branding to really set her apart and give her big impact in her corner of the world. 

In this post, I wanted to share the design process, as well as the final logo collection, simple website design, and beautiful stationery (photographed by Sarah, of course). 

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BEHIND THE DESIGN
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Sarah's target market is moms and young families in an affluent North Texas neighborhood. Though she lives in the suburbs, the location is a bit out in the country compared to much of the Dallas area. Think big stretches of land, lots of trees and foliage, and beautiful big homes. Her clientele are typically young moms between the age of 25-40 who value high quality living, beautiful things, their families and children, and capturing memories in a beautiful, lasting way. Sarah wanted a brand identity that appealed to the stylish, young mom with simple type, a bit of whimsy, and a minimalist, clean approach. We chose a color palette of soft, undersaturated pink, paired with charcoal and white. I used a script font and customized it to create a more custom look with playful letterforms interacting with one another. For the typography on the stationery, we chose a clean, serif font with a bit of whimsy and movement for a softer, feminine appeal.

The whole package included the logo collection (main logo, alternate logo, monogram, and badge), social media icons, a simple Squarespace website, a tagline, and stationery (business card and thank you card/envelope set).

I love the final result - it is all so simple and feminine and feels timeless rather than trendy. Which is totally what Sarah is all about - class, timelessness, natural beauty, real life, clean lines, and simplicity in her photography approach and her beautiful work. I really believe we accomplished all of that in her branding, providing a beautiful supplement to her amazing photos, her personality, and her business.


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Be sure to go check out Sarah's beautiful work on her various online homes, and if you're in the Dallas, Texas area, specifically Lantana/Flower Mound/Highland Village, hit her up for your next portrait session. She is booking fast for the Fall, and you don't want to miss your opportunity. Go grab a spot! You will absolutely LOVE her. 

Sarah's Website / Facebook / Instagram


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Interested in creating a brand of your own? Send me a message, and let's get the conversation going. 


FREE AUGUST DESKTOP WALLPAPER

Happy August, everyone! I know, I skipped July... sorry for those of you waiting for the July download. But these days are going by so FAST. However, after a busy month of moving and house projects, I'm back in the swing with your monthly desktop wallpaper. August's wallpaper is filled with purpley, mauvey goodness with hints of ocean surf and whimsical texture, and it's ready for download RIGHT. NOW. Enjoy... and share with your friends!

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wallpaper tips.jpg
  1. Open the file in your browser.
  2. Save to your computer.
  3. In System Preferences (Mac), select "Desktop" (on a PC, select Windows Icon > Settings > Personalization > Background)
  4. Find the downloaded image on your computer, select it, and make sure to select "Full Screen".
  5. Image should immediately appear on your desktop.

BONUS DOWNLOAD!
If you're on Instagram and you like to separate your photo feed by month, here's a version of the background that you can upload. Make sure to tag #rebekahdischdesign or @rebekahdischdesign so I can see your feed! 

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FREE PRINTABLE WEEKLY & MONTHLY PLANNERS

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Years ago, a friend introduced me to some printable planners she found online that helped with business planning and organization. I loved the idea of printing a new, fresh calendar each week and being able to write down - to the day - what things I need to accomplish and what goals I want to set. So, I tried them out and was instantly hooked. Now, of course, this isn't a replacement for the amazing digital GoogleCalendar (can't live without that one!), but for me, these printable calendars are a great supplement for the day-to-day business tasks. After my first few weeks of using this planner, I found that I wanted to adjust it for my specific needs and preferences, and alas my own monthly and weekly planner printable was born. 

Now, these are not super fancy or complicated, and I am definitely not reinventing the wheel (just search "planner printables" on Pinterest, and you'll see....it's insane). But for me, this particular design that I've redeveloped and edited over the years has really worked for me, and I still love it and still use it to this day, and after all these years am finally offering it as a free printable for you too. Here's what you get:

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1. MONTHLY PLANNER

This calendar gives you a month-at-a-glance, where you can jot down all of the necessary items week-by-week. There's a section for main events and deadlines for the month, a place for specific goals, and notes sections for personal and business. 
 

2. WEEKLY PLANNER

The weekly calendar breaks down the monthly calendar into a week-at-a-time that gives you room to organize your to do list by the day in two sections: business and personal. The calendar also includes a section for noting key events or deadlines that week to keep in mind. And of course, there's also room for extra personal and business notes.

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I hope you give it a try and that you find it helpful to organize your days, and that in the end, it will free you up to focus on what matters because you've planned well and are staying on track. Feel free to leave a comment or post on Instagram how it's working for you. Enjoy!