Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close

In a world where opinions are our most powerful form of currency, always present, always vying for our attention…

In a world where everything and everyone seems to have a voracious craving for attention, and is never satisfied…

This is the world in which we live, my friends, and I admit that I am as guilty as the next loud mouthed, selfie taking, video making, blog writing, social media posting, sharing, sharing, sharing person out there.

So, what the heck are we to do with all of this?

First, how are we supposed to have any time to create our own individual identities when life seems all about one-upsmanship?

Second, how do we quiet our minds even for sound sleep when we have a constant Twitter-esque feed of thoughts and opinions and post creation going through our heads around the clock?

And next, how do we truly take in all that is thrown at us and assimilate it in a way that we can do something with the good and discard the ill-serving?

How do we live through each day of this without going completely nutty?

Personally, I struggle even with creating content and the ever-present question: To share or not to share? I love to create, and that creation feels somewhat cheapened when self-promotion comes into play. So, do I write, paint, collage, graphic design, digitally sculpt, record, and post merely for the sake of the art of creation, then sit back and cross my fingers that anyone may actually be interested in what I have presented? I am reading a fascinating book (Perennial Seller by Ryan Holiday) that likely is the catalyst behind today’s quest, but challenges the artist to create the art for the sake of creating masterpieces. Those masterpieces will stand the test of time if they truly are masterpieces, and if they are not then shouldn’t we either find a medium in which we can each create our own version of the masterpiece, or work harder at our craft until what we create truly does stand the test of time.

IF our creations are great, they will stand on their own and self-promotion becomes a moot point.

As much as I agree with putting effort into making great work, isn’t this why so many classical artists—artists whom now grace every cheesy calendar and coffee mug—were completely broke while still alive? When I was younger and spending every dime I made on art supplies I half-joked with every person I ever gave a painting to that they should be sure and hang onto it until I am dead because then it may be worth something.

Marketing genius Seth Godin comes closest to this create but don’t self-promote mindset of anyone I can think of who is living out this extremely loud and incredibly close digital era. Yet he is succeeding. He writes. He posts. He leaves it alone. But his genius is grasped onto by countless busy sharers who take his words and feed them to others at lightning speeds.

Therefore, if we all produce, produce, produce, but resist the pull to share, share, share, what happens to anything we’re creating in this, the Age of Attention?

This post may prove to be the worst-case-scenario of exactly what I am lifting up here. There’s no full-circle answer here, tied up neatly with a bow and a shareable quip. There are only more questions and the inevitable question at the end as I will again struggle with the if’s and where’s of social networking.

For now, I am going to focus my time and energy on creating. If you find value that makes me happy, however my joy is in the creating. If I allow my satisfaction to be derived from your perception of my work then (1) my own joy is in your hands rather than my own and (2) it is fleeting. I’m not a fan of “feast or famine” happiness and I encourage you to also take stock of the work you create and the WHY behind it. **Another great book: Start with Why by Simon Sinek.

Until next time, my friends, I appreciate your time and attention. I know it is in short supply these days so if you’re still reading at this point, I sincerely thank you.

Make it a great day,


The Social Media Trap

My beef with social media is simple: I follow people I know, people I like, people I look up to, and people I aspire to inspire across social media platforms. I then become frustrated to see the same posts across all social sites.

A picture of a sunset or a product or a person that is perfect for one market is not perfect across the board.

A picture of a sunset or a product or a person that is modified in hopes that it will be perfect across the board still is not.

I will un-follow someone very quickly if everything they post is a mirror of all I’ve seen from them on every other social media platform, and every time I un-follow someone for this reason it actually pains me. I want so badly for them to post unique, site-specific content that gives me a full picture of the person, product, company.

If I’m following a juice company, I’d love to laugh as someone chugs the juice down as quickly as possible on Snapchat. Meanwhile, on Pinterest I’m reading great smoothie recipes with one of their juices as the base. Instagram would present their juice in an ice-cold glass sitting beachside, and Facebook presents an informative yet still visually pleasing picture of the product in full display with the health benefits of this particular kind of juice and this particular brand. Twitter would share news and retweets of folks enjoying this juice all over the world, and YouTube might show a range of professional and amateur videos of people living and loving this brand of juice. This would be a company I would follow across all platforms, and as new platforms presented themselves, I would seek this company out every single time.

This same rationale applies to people, too. Every Snap is not meant for Facebook. Every blog post is not meant for LinkedIn. Every Insta pic is not meant for Twitter.

If you are interesting, followers will seek you out. We don’t have to try so hard for people to like us, they like us because we’re us. Maximize each social media platform for what it is, and enjoy the long term benefits of retention and presenting a broader picture of your life, your brand, and your world.

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


BOOK REVIEW: Food52 Vegan

Click to know more & purchase

Click to know more & purchase

I am so excited to share with y’all this AWESOME vegan recipe book, Food52 Vegan, an absolutely beautiful book which begs you to turn the pages, admire the stunning food photography, and dive into every recipe with fork in hand. Those of you who have already embraced the vegan lifestyle may already know the author, Gena Hamshaw, from her personal blog, The Full Helping, which is chock-full of nourishing recipes, tips and tricks of the vegan trade!

Rather than focusing on creating vegan dupes of nonvegan dishes, Gena has brought together a collection of recipes that stand on their own, and…oh…they happen to also be vegan. I love that she focuses on creating wonderfully delicious, plant-based dishes without getting hung-up on what’s missing (i.e. animal products).

So many things appeal to me about this particular recipe book. Although I am not exclusively a vegan eater, it is important to me that I feed myself and my family food-fuel from seasonal, nourishing, real foods. Gena’s book speaks to that desire to steer clear of overly-processed, far-from-actual-food foods. As she states in her introduction, “At its heart, vegan food is just food.”

The recipes Gena so eloquently shares with her readers in Food52 Vegan feed our bodies in ways that “fast food” just cannot accomplish.

Because of the abundance of information Gena includes in Food52 Vegan, it reminds me of an abbreviated, less pretentious version of the classic The Joy of Cooking. Gena takes the initiative to teach about the ingredients, rather than merely listing them. When I open up a recipe, I also learn something new, learning options on ways to tweak the recipe to fit my own family’s particular tastes or health needs, which–in turn–gives me a deeper appreciation for the ingredients and the process of gathering, preparing, and presenting this nourishing food to my family.

Food52 Vegan is like a gift to the reader, and I recommend it to any cook willing to move beyond meat and potatoes, and taste how real food can truly make you feel!

Until next time, my friends…

Make it a great day,


There are so many great ways to get this book AND find out more about Gena and Food52. Check out these resources and keep the high-quality food-fuel going!

FTC: I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review.

On the 31st Day of New Years & Video Extras

On the 31st and final day of my silly little “31 Days of New Year’s” video vlog, more than anything I am extremely grateful. I’m grateful for my family who lives this awesome life closest to me, to my friends who cheer me on and cheer me up when I need it most, and to all of the people I only know through online blogs and video channels and tweets (oh my!) for showing me that my kooky little world is bigger than I thought it was. Thank YOU!

Make it a great day,

AWESOME T-SHIRT BY: Natalie Wright (http://www.etsy.com/listing/173409686/toddler-adult-womens-t-shirt-original?ref=shop_home_active_3)

FANCY NECKLACE BY: My sweet 6 year old, Charlotte 🙂

Let’s Make Ice Cream out of SNOW!!!

What better to do with freshly fallen, fluffy, white, gorgeous snow than to whip up a batch (or 3) of snow ice cream?!?!

My children and I decided to make three snow ice cream recipes for you and judge which we liked best. The results are in…drum roll, please…

ICE CREAM #1, from AllRecipes.com (http://allrecipes.com/recipe/snow-ice-cream-ii/)
**The winner with 2 out of 4 votes**
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
-1 cup milk
-8 cups snow

ICE CREAM #2 from Paula Deen (http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/paula-deen/snow-ice-cream-recipe/index.html)
**Received 1 out of 4 votes**
-14 oz sweetened condensed milk
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-8 cups snow

ICE CREAM #3 from the Duggar family blog (http://duggarsblog.blogspot.com/2011/06/snow-ice-cream-recipe.html)
**Tied for second place with 1 out of 4 votes**
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3/4 cups heavy whipping cream
-3/4 cups half & half
-8 cups snow

This was SUCH a fun way to make the most of the snowy outdoor days here in Wisconsin! AND, we also found that they’re even better with all three recipes blended together 😉

Make it a great day,

Greetings from the lap desk of Marilyn Horton…

Ooooo….so formal….
Marilyn S&L study

So, here’s the gig: I’ve been blogging for several years. Wait, that’s too generic. I’ve been blogging since February, 2009. I began with a personal blog, that became a Bible study blog, that then evolved into a new blog/website (which is STILL awesome, so you could totally go check it out if you wanna @ RoadSignstoHim.com), that has now come full circle and here we are, again, with a more personal twist at blogging my life.

I wanted to return to my blogging roots~if you will~and have an outlet beyond the RS2H ministry website to be able to chronicle my own walk through the world in a less formal sorta way.

So, whether anyone reads it or not…this one’s for me 🙂 But you’re welcome to join me for the journey!!!

Sincerely (good grief–there we go with the formality, again…),

Marilyn–YOUR Christian Life Encourager