Thursday, January 26, 2012

She Is Happy Now

I love my job. I can't express that enough. The first 3 months of being here in Florida I have been working to learn the organization, learn what we do, why we do it, and why it is important.
To this point I've been learning all this information from our own perspective. I've not heard any negative feedback in regards to our work. I've not heard the opposing side.
Until yesterday.

Working in social media my job is to open the conversation with supporters....and others.

Yesterday I was SLAMMED with negative comments online. Most of them were from one person, but still.

The pressure hit me of "whoa. An I ready for this?!" I text my old boss in Dallas and told him that 'to date, this had probably been the toughest day for my work.' In my last job I responded to people about the Bible and Beth Moore teachings. I responded and interacted on a subject I know a lot about. Even if there were weird people, or people who hated Jesus and/or Beth Moore, it was not much of a problem. I was confident enough in my knowledge of the subjects at hand to know how to respond.

Brandon asked "Do you believe in the organization you are working for?" I do. I REALLY do believe in what we do.

But haven't had to defend it to this point.  Believing in something and defending it are two different ballgames.

This could launch me into a whole other blog post about knowing enough to defend your stance in regards to the Gospel. Do you know what you believe? Enough to defend it to someone who would try to tear apart your belief?  ....but I won't get into that.  But something to think about.

Either way.
I was talking with another coworker asking her opinion and explaining the situation. She was so incredibly helpful in drafting a response to these particular people NOT in favor of our organization. Mary Laura was amazing. Seriously. She could tell it was weighing on me and was able to help out in the most perfect way.

This morning I got to work and was headed down the hallway when Mary Laura stopped me and said "Minda I have something for you."

I stepped into her office and this is what she said to me:

Yesterday I picked up Maggie (her daughter, 3 years old) from preschool. I asked her how her day was and what she did. She said "I danced today!" I asked what she danced to and Maggie said "I danced to Jesus Loves Me!" Of course you did, Maggie! Maggie then proceeded to ask me how MY day 'at school' was. I responded to her with 'my day was pretty good....but I have a coworker who had a sad day. It was a hard day.'  Maggie asked "Why was it hard?' I said "She had to do something new today at work and it was hard....You know when you have to learn something new at school and it's hard?" Maggie understood.

A little while later Maggie came to me with a piece of paper.


I asked Maggie what this was and she said "this is your sad coworker....But she is happy now."
So Mary Laura gave me this picture this morning and of course I couldn't help the tears forming in my eyes and dropping down my face. To know that a 3-year-old precious little girl was thinking about me and didn't want me to be sad so decided to draw me a picture was by far one of the most precious things I've ever experienced. Seriously.

This picture will be hung in my office and will stay here as long as I have an office here. So incredibly touched today that the Lord would choose to show His love for me through the drawing of a 3 year old girl named Maggie.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Saturday Morning

I have a play list on my iPod titled "Saturday Morning Cleaning."

When my sisters and I were growing up, Saturday morning was spent cleaning.

No questions asked. Bottom line. Purple suit and all.

Oh wait. You don't know about the purple suit. I'll explain further down.

We'd get to sleep in until mom and dad deemed enough, at which point they would turn on the stereo system and play praise and worship music and come wake us up. Mom or dad would have cooked us a breakfast of either pancakes, eggs, waffles, bacon, or breakfast tacos (a treat, considering M-F was normally cereal, oatmeal, etc) and on the table would be "The List"

Sometimes we'd get "The List" before breakfast and sometimes after. Because, really....who wants to ruin a perfectly good breakfast with "The List."

(I have to interject, even as I'm writing this...I'm just remembering how incredible my childhood was. Seriously. I had the best childhood a kid could ask for.)

Anywho.

We'd enjoy breakfast and then mom would let us review "The List."

The list would have three names written across the top....Lisa, Melinda, Caralyn.

Underneath our names was the list of chores we had to finish before we could play.

Breakfast would be cleaned up and at this point, the praise and worship music would be turned up loud and we'd all begin our chores.

When I say we did this 'every' Saturday- I mean it. EVERY Saturday.

Of course there were chores we hated.

Mom did a good job of splitting them up in regards to fairness. We always had different ones. No one always had to clean the toilet or tub. No one always had to dust or vacuum. We did always have to clean our own rooms but that was the only chore that was the same every week.

Except for Caralyn. Ooooooh Caralyn. This girl usually had 'clean room' under her list and that would be it. Because for Caralyn, it wasn't cleaning unless it meant taking EVERYTHING out of her closet and rearranging it and putting it all back together again. Or taking out EVERY barbie, dressing her up, and putting her back in the box. Or taking everything out from underneath her bed, organizing, and putting it back.

But seriously- does THIS look like a face that you would ever want to tell "clean the bathroom!"

Of course not. THESE are the kind of faces that you say "Clean the bathroom" to.


Anywho. I'm off subject.

Either way- we cleaned. And if we didn't clean correctly, mom (who would normally be wearing her purple workout suit) would come in, tell us how we didn't clean it well enough and how, when we repeat the work we'd just done, to do it correctly

Thus, making the purple suit NOT our favorite outfit of hers.

But all that aside, our home was clean. Our home smelled good, and our house was inviting to those in our neighborhood.

This morning as I'm drinking my coffee, listening to my Saturday Morning Cleaning play list, and scrubbing, I'm reminded how grateful I am for my mom.

She taught us not only to be women that presented ourselves well, but taught us to present our homes well. She taught me that you don't just clean the toilet bowl, but you get down on hands and knees and you clean BEHIND the toilet. You clean the outside of the toilet bowl. She taught me (much to my frustration as this was my least favorite chore) you don't just vacuum in the middle of the room where everyone walks. You take that attachment and suck the life out of any dust particles that could be in corners and baseboards. She taught me that a tub is not clean unless you use comet on that badboy and scrub til your hands are gonna fall off. She taught me that just putting stuff in your closet is not enough. Organization is key.Most importantly, she taught us how to make our homes inviting. How to create a warmth in our homes that people wanted to be a part of.

As I was down on all hands and knees cleaning the bathroom this morning, I was reminded how grateful I am for the practices she helped set in place that would help me as a grown woman enjoy a living space that is clean and inviting.

Thanks mom! I dedicate THIS Saturday morning to you! :-)

Monday, January 16, 2012

Instead

A couple of years ago several friends of mine in Dallas started talking about ways we could become more intentional about giving money to organizations or people in need. Being a part of a HUGE community- our group of friends was always hanging out with each other. Going for coffee, dinner, drinks, movies...you name it. We did it.

Well, the guys started talking and came up with the idea of "INSTEAD."

Instead of going for a movie- how about donating that $9 you'd spend on a movie towards a charity.

Choose the option to rent a movie from redbox for a dollar- and give the remaining $9 to a charity.

Or instead of going out for coffee- how about brewing a pot at home, and donate the $4 you'd have spent on a drink towards the charity of your choice.

When budgeting, it's easy to find ways to budget for one charity- but with so many incredible causes out there- we want to do more. We want to find ways to give to EACH of them. ESPECIALLY when your friends are the ones starting their own charities. (aka...FUEL) <--Check them out!

And thus became the easy way give micro-donations on a daily basis.

You can check them out on the web or your phone. Find Instead in your app store and begin making a difference....one dollar at a time.

http://www.instead.com/


Shout out to my friends Josh Alltop, Micah Davis, Court Simas for the brains behind the work. I'm honored to call you friend and to have been a sounding board for ideas when Instead was in the think tank.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Valentine's Day

This is probably a statement you will not hear from many single girls, but Valentine's Day is one of my favorite holidays.

Maybe it's the red, pink, and white colors all put together. Maybe it's the reminder that love IS out there, or maybe it's just another excuse to get together with some of my favorite girls. But either way- February 14th has been a favorite day of mine the past 4 years. ( I have to admit- this blog post is inspired because Starbucks just put out some of the most ADORABLE Valentine's mugs and tumblers.)

The past 4 years, on Valentine's Day, I've invited several single girls over to my place for dinner. They are given this message: If you can come, I need to know for certain because several things throughout the evening will be personalized to and for you. But. If you commit and then are asked out with a BOY- you have my blessing and my encouragement to GO ON THAT DATE!

I cook a super fancy meal, an extravagant dessert (um, last year included a 14 layer cake), and lots of other pink, red, and white details.

Gone are the days of THIS single girl sitting at home on a Valentine's Day drowning herself in a pint of ice cream while watching chick flicks that make a girl even MORE depressed.

It's more fun to celebrate the day with good friends, good food, and heck. If you're gonna eat the calories that night anyways, enjoy them with a good meal and good friends. :-)

Are you a single girl? What do you do for Valentine's day?

Sunday, January 8, 2012

Discipline that feels good! ....yeah, right!

I'm not always the quickest one when it comes to jokes. When I was younger I remember being at a dinner table with family friends and everyone was laughing and joking around the table. This particular evening, dinner had been cleaned up and the parents were drinking coffee. I was sitting at the table eating dessert while mom and her friend were deep in discussion. As I put down my fork I began to laugh out loud. And for those that know me- I'm sure it was the "BAH!" laugh that is very much "Minda."

My mom looked at me and said "What's so funny?!"

I responded with "I GET IT!!!"

Mom: What do you get?
Minda: The joke! I get it!
Mom: What joke?
Minda: The one dad told earlier at dinner

Yeah. I'm not always the quickest.

I had one of those moments yesterday while reading. And sad to say- this one took about 27 years to get. Ok, maybe not REALLY 27 years since I've not been reading the bible for all 27 years that I've been alive- but you get the point.

This particular verse is one that I've known, I've memorized, I've quoted, I've used countless times.

But yesterday, I got it.

Hebrews 12: 11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

This verse I've always known and felt as though it were self explanatory. It's easy. It makes sense. It's not a verse that needs to be expounded on much (or so I thought.) It's not a tricky verse that you need someone to explain to you! (And believe me- there are lots of verses in the bible I consider tricky)

I've thought about this verse in regards to parenting. When you do something wrong, you get disciplined. It hurts (there was no rod spared in our house) and you learn NOT to do the same thing again. Later on you gain wisdom and learn right from wrong.

Same way in relation to spiritual matters. We mess up- we face consequences. They are not fun- but needed so that we learn our lesson. Right?

So yeah, um, no. Well, not really.

{insert weird transition}

So today wraps up an 8-day liquids only fast for me. The bible talks often about people 'fasting and praying' and at my church in Texas, each year at the beginning of the year- we were challenged to start the year off with a fast. (which is also the only reason i'm POSTING about the fast. I'm used to living in a city in which 15,000 other people are joining me in the fast- so all of my friends knew anyways. Not like I'm giving away secret information) Giving the first of our year to the Lord. If you want more details on the 'why' in regards to a fast- let's chat. I'd love to fill you in.

But fasting is something that has become a part of my walk with the Lord that is GOOD. Basically I put myself in a place in which I say I command my stomach to come into alignment with my heart and soul. Again, even as I write this I can see how it sounds a bit cooky- but hang with me.

In the past when I have fasted, the Lord always does something HUGE in my heart. Revelation is JUMPING off the pages of my bible and seriously. I can't even stand it. Typically this happens around day 4 for me if I'm doing a week long fast.

This week was MUCH different. Day 4 came and went. Day 5 came and went. Day 6 came and went. I didn't feel as though there was any particular 'focus' for this particular fast. I didn't feel as though there was anything in particular that needed to be prayed for. I just felt as there was no point to the fast.

And then day 7 came. I was reminded of this verse:

Hebrews 12: 11 "No discipline seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by it."

This particular fast. It was not a matter of getting an answer to a specific prayer. It was not a matter of hearing the Lord for anything specific. This fast. It was a matter of learning a fast is a spiritual discipline. Not discipline as in PUNISHMENT....but discipline as in activity, exercise, or a regimen that develops or improves a skill (the skill being my ability to hear the Lord.)
Was it pleasant? Let me assure you, this particular one...not at all. Saying no to food for 8 straight days never is.

"Later on, however, it will produce a harvest of righteousness and peace" and let me tell you. THAT is what I want a harvest of. I don't want a harvest of frustration, laziness, and chaos. I want a harvest of righteousness and peace.

Now, I should also point out a verse in Matthew that says "When you fast, do not look somber as the hypocrites do, for they disfigure their faces to show men they are fasting...But when you fast- don't make it obvious to men that you are fasting, but only to your Father who sees what is done in secret." (which is why I put the disclaimer at the beginning that I'm used to fasting with 15,000 people and being around people who already know i'm fasting). I'm not writing this to say "look what I've done" but rather: there are LOTS of areas in which we need to build spiritual disciplines. It could be in regards to fasting, praying, reading His Word, serving, encouraging, teaching....all sorts of things.' God knows it's not easy. He knows it's painful. But He knows what it produces in us. And He knows it's good for us.

I don't LOVE going to the gym. It's painful to run. But I do it. I know it produces something good in me.

I don't LOVE setting my alarm and getting up to go to work. But I do it. It produces a paycheck.

I don't LOVE taking out the trash. But I do it. It makes my apartment smell nicer and keeps rodents away.

We all have disciplines that we've built into our lives.

Let's build some into our spiritual walk with the Lord.

Friday, January 6, 2012

The update that no one wants to read

Seriously. I know that blog title just makes you RACE to read this post (much sarcasm), but it's true.

It's the blog post I don't want to write. It's the blog post you don't want to read.

I have a rule for myself regarding social media posts. Twitter, Facebook, my blog, etc. It is as follows:

If every thing you type out is negative or is attention seeking- NO ONE wants to read it. You will most likely be unfollowed, unfriended, or your blog will never be read again. No matter what- do NOT be that person.

With that said- I need to clarify. This is no way means that you should be fake, but it does mean you need to evaluate your content and figure out for yourself why every thing you post is debbie downer. That is just the healthy thing to do. But there are times in which being real, honest, vulnerable, and raw are necessary.

Hence, "The update that no one wants to read."

Now, if I felt the need to preface this post with THAT much, please understand that it's because I do not want anyone to respond with sympathy comments. I am not writing this to be attention seeking. I'm writing this because for the past 4 years with this blog- I've posted what is real. I've posted what is raw. I've posted what I'm feeling.

And after 4 years, I don't plan to change that.

So, if you were to casually ask me how Tallahassee is, I'd respond with this (the TRUTH): "I LOVE my job. It's amazing."

And then I'd most likely move on to another subject and ask you how YOU were doing.

But let me go a bit further. Let me tell you what you MIGHT not have asked. If you were to say "No, really. How ARE YOU?!" This is what I'd respond with:

This coming weekend marks 3 months having left Dallas. This coming weekend marks 3 months of lonely. This coming weekend marks 3 months of growing realization that the life I led in Dallas is not normal.

I spent Christmas in South Carolina with my extended family and enjoyed my time there SO much. What did I enjoy? I enjoyed having a cup of coffee every morning with my aunt. I enjoyed watching movies with my uncle and cousins. I enjoyed shopping with my aunt. I enjoyed playing card games with my grandma. I enjoyed being in the kitchen cooking with family.

Mostly. I enjoyed being with people.

Every morning I wake up and make enough coffee for one person.
I go to the gym by myself.
I come home and cook for myself.
I clean by myself.
I watch TV by myself.
I go to the grocery store by myself.
I watch episodes of Friends by myself. (cough cough....yes, exactly what I'm doing tonight)

Again, please do not extend sympathy with the reading of this post. That is not what I want. I just want to be honest.

There is something to be said about doing life with people. About doing life with friends. About doing life with those you love. About doing life with those who know you. Money is not what makes your life rich. THINGS are not what make your life rich. People. People make your life rich.

If you have friends nearby that are close with you and do life with you, don't take them for granted.

Life in Tallahassee is hard. Again, I LOVE my job. I have amazing co-workers. I ENJOY going to work. It's been a MAJOR learning curve and I feel like I'm beginning to catch on.

But outside of work, Tallahassee is hard.


So there is your update.

The end. :-)

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Not much of an update, but an update nonetheless.

Merry Christmas, Happy New Year, and all the other greetings that I've failed to give you here on the blog. I've had 4 people mention in the last week that I've not updated my blog in a while, so here is the update.

My lack updating has not been because I've not had time (I've had PLENTY), it's not because I've not wanted to.

I just haven't had anything to write about.

Even in my own personal journal- the pages have been left empty.

Coming off a season in which SOOOOOOOO much was happening in my life- to THIS season- I feel like nothing is really wroth blogging about.

My life is quiet these days. I go to work. I go to the gym. I go home. I read. I sleep. I clean.

There were actually a couple days this past weekend that I didn't even utter a SINGLE word all day long!

Crazy, right?

I'm enjoying this season of 'quiet' for now.