Tuesday, January 27, 2015

sweet spot

I'm there.  And, if I'm not...I'm darn well close.  Last week I had one of the best weeks I've had in a really long time.  Like, years long. 

I am finding my sweet spot.  My days are chalked full of learning new things.  Of moments to research.  To implement what I find.  To be challenged.  To be valued.  I'm loved.  I'm respected.  I fail and I'm an expert. 

Its a place we all long for and a respite my soul so desperately needed.  I've waited all week to write about it because I wanted to find words to express and define it.  I'm still struggling.  But I do know a couple things:
  • I feel fulfilled.  I feel like my time is validated and that the journey to this place has pulled together everything.
  • Money is not what makes the difference.  Doing what you love does.
  • What makes me full in this moment in this place? being creative, getting to be part of strategy building, using all my gifts, learning new skills, making new connections and building new relationships
I've started a new class at church called, Life Development Planner.  We jumped out in week one and wrote our personal mission statement.  it was the one thing I knew the class would include and the one thing I was dreading.  God's funny sense of humor put it on the page on day one and we even had to share.  No turning back there!

And, then as we planned and embarked for week 2, I spent a couple hours on Saturday morning working on my interests - passions - gifts/abilities - experiences.  I'm continually amazed when I think about our lives being the sum total of all our journeys.  Think about it.  Who you are at this moment is a sum total of a lot of different things - failures, mistakes, successes, location moves, job changes, relationship successes and relationship breaks, hobbies tried, and experiences gained.

I recently attended an art show for the Spectra ministry.  One of the ladies shared a painting she had done to depict the Parable of the Signs.  We all walk around looking for a sign, anywhere we can see it: 
Inspiration: In this parable the people asked Jesus for a sign 
      from heaven.  This piece is a modern interpretation of  
      people ignoring the obvious signs around them of the End of
      the Age. The autumn tree and Christmas items represent how
      quickly time is passing and the moon is a symbol of the recent
      blood moons, an actual sign in the heavens. The individual is
      looking for a sign but seems to believe that 
      anything of any significance must be found on social media.
What I enjoyed more was the story the artist shared when asked where she got her "visual inspiration".  She said this is a compilation of many places.  It's downtown Rogers, its an autumn tree on the campus of the University of Arkansas, its a guy I know and how I pictured him walking looking at his phone (that could be any of us).  "Its not just one place, its a lot of places combined." 

Oh how true that is.  We, our lives, are not the summation of one moment, but the places we have been, the experiences we had while we were there, the people we met along the way and the way all of those were woven together.

I know I'm kinda known as a girl who "spews sunshine" and I'm ok with that because for the most part my world is full of overly gracious moments.  I don't want this to be too far an extreme in that direction.  I've had some really tough days, even in the last month.  I've had terrible ugly days over the last 2 years and I'm so mad at myself that I didn't properly document them here or in my private journal.  But those ugly moments need these days.  A reminder that life is so much more full of good than bad.  That fulfillment comes from the little things.  That journeys have turns and bends that make them more enjoyable and way more beneficial.  That feeling successful by feeling "full" is good.  And that "BEing" is an ok place to be! 


Friday, January 23, 2015

Sparkles from the week - Jan 23

A few nuggets for the week - or a few things I've picked up along the way

  • Some great advice for my single ladies (or people who are curious what single people need to hear)!
  • For my #whole30 folks or the rest of us who think...can that veggie stuff really taste good, here are some healthy eating charts.
  • And for those who are still melting in the soulmate debate, I think I'm with this guy.
  • Shameful or not-so shameful plug for my pal Bachelor Sean since his book, For the Right Reasons, is coming out next week.  I've read an early release. Its good.  Its good if you're nosy.  Its good if you love The Bachelor.  Its good if you are curious about the behind the scenes stuff.  Its good if you are curious about a man who can turn his life around.  Its good if you're in love with love.  But, I really liked his list of 10 things he has learned in the first year of marriage that he dropped this week for his first anniversary - lots 'o truth and real observations from a guy who got married in his late 20s and has to live with a girl now! (we are complicated creatures...)
  • And, then I loved this little gem from Constant Contact on making the most of Instagram.  Of course I'm convinced since we use their email system at work and because my pal Jacqueline Wolven is always bringing it in her webinars, but they have some great resources on their YouTube channel.  Who knew! 

Friday, January 16, 2015

sparkles from the week - Jan 17

They're back.  Just a few little things I rounded up during my week.

  • A challenge from my friend Jacqueline about 10 Things EVERYONE (she gives a list) should do in 2015!
  • I got addicted to podcasts over the holidays.  Frankly, I've never been great at downloading them before I hit the road so I was determined in the last half of 2014 to master the podcast...now I'm addicted.  The Serial Podcast got me to and from Dallas (don't start it if you need resolution).  But this past week, during some social media research, I came across Jay Baer and Convince and Convert.  I'm a believer, but the Social Pros Podcast pushed me over the edge to being a convert.  Perfect for thought and those in social media, content creation, brand management, or just curious what its all about.  Each week, they interview someone out there doing it and just chat about their process.  For me, the people they talk to are pros because they are doing it and have figured something out, not all of it!
  • Last weekend while in OKC, we celebrated one of my dear friend 39th birthday (yes, the real one, but its not like its the last time we will celebrate her 39th birthday!).  We had her special celebration night at Packards in downtown OKC.  Loved it.  Loved the atmosphere, loved the story, loved that they locally source, loved the customer service and loved the menu.  Not sure when I would get back down there, I was certain to make sure I had an experience my flavor palette would not soon forget.  I was having a hard time deciding what to get because there were homemade cheese boards involved, including homemade Pimento Cheese.  That just about makes any decision super easy for me  (especially when the ingredients are locally sourced!)...but there were other things on the menu as well.  I proposed a new menu option that would get me everything I wanted.  The waiter asked and the chef obliged.  I was grateful.  And, in turn...I will send everyone of you their way!  Worth the drive if you are in the area!
  • In reference to the food suggestion above, we also had a Roasted Brussels Sprout appetizer while we were there.  I'm kinda obsessed with Brussels Sprouts and theirs were cooked with cashews, Fresno chilies and bacon and then spun around in homemade caramel before they presented them to us.  (yes, take a moment....)  While I don't have that recipe, I do have this one for Roasted Brussels from Taste of Arkansas courtesy of The Park Wife and they have bacon too!
  • I had thought about doing something similar, but my friend Talya is committing to 52 handwritten notes in 2015.  Remember when used to sit down and gather cards and write out words with our fingers?
  • For those who are in the social media land, curious about the analytics of said land, or just wondering if there is a way to find out anything more, I ran across something new last week.  As their title says, Sumall.com is "analytics for everything". And it has proven to teach me several things about the work I do every day.  And validate the work I do in my head!  How effective is a hashtag...let them show you! (its really good if you are at that "evaluation" time of year...show them how awesome you are)
  • Finally, if you are not doing so - follow @chateaugudanes on instagram.  I fell upon this account over Christmas break and I enjoy the beautiful photos from this couple renovating a French Chateau.  I rarely follow anyone on instagram that I do not know in real life, but I'm already planning a trip in my head to visit my "long lost cousin".  (I very convinced she lives here!)

Monday, January 12, 2015


So I bought a necklace this weekend.


One thing I wanted for Christmas, but never really put on a list was a dainty little necklace that I could wear everyday no matter if I was dressy or casual and whether I had on other jewelry. Just a little tiny one that would nestle high in between my collar bone. They always catch my eye when I'm eating lunch with a friend. 


Because I didn’t really have it on any list, I didn’t get it.  But this weekend, that all changed.

I was in this cute store I love in Oklahoma City called Blue Seven.  It’s a hipster’s delight, but it also has great gifts and unique pieces in all departments. 


When I saw it hanging, I knew it was mine.  When I turned it over and saw the price, I did a double take. Sold.  It was going to be a gift to myself.  Sometimes I buy myself a Valentine’s present.  I think this might be the one.


It simply says PEACE in a tiny little circle.  And, that’s the exact message I want hanging on my neck!

I love wearing something that has a story and meaning beyond the usual. And sometimes you just have to give yourself something that only you understand. 


It’s the exact message I want people to see when they approach me and it’s the message I constantly want to remind myself when I catch a reflection.


That the joy I want hanging around my neck is the message of peace.


A reminder in my time.  A reminder to my wandering thoughts.  A reminder to my time.  A reminder to my joy.

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Its ok, you can trust them

So, I’ve spent some time today doing research.  Its research that I need to do, but always have an activity or something that keeps me from buckling down and just being nerdy.

As I’ve begun serving here at Fellowship, I’ve come across some of the amazing leaders and strategists we not only have in NWA, but here in our church.

One such guy is Steve Graves (@stephenrgraves).  This article was in my bin of “things to read” (yes, that’s how I keep the good stuff but get it out of my current inbox!).  I had kind a read it once, but came back to it, so the words could marinate a little more.  

How Big Companies are Missing it with Millennials – hits at the core of the American business structure.  It brings about some very true points.  It puts perspective on behavior and mindset.  It doesn’t make excuses, but explains the behavior of a generation that could help us and take us to the next level or who we could hinder to frustration and burnout.   

But what it doesn’t say is “quit being fearful”.  These are my words!  Think about it, especially if you’ve ever manages a group of people.  Are you scared that you will hire an awesome rockstar and they will be better than you? (isn’t that the point?)  Are you scared you will hire someone who will offer a suggestion in a meeting with your boss that is a fantastic idea?  Are you scared that the young gun, flat belly might come up with an idea to improve a process you’ve had in place for 20 years?  Are you scared that you’ve always done business a certain way when you could make one small adjustment and increase dividends and still have freedom on Friday afternoon.

I’m just saying.  We give these Millenial types a lot of crap.  We read books and “try to understand” them as if they are a new species of a wild, exotic jungle animal that has protruded from the far reaches of the Amazon.  We’ve been knowing these kids for 20+ years.  We catered our commercials to their wants and needs.  We fell victim to their cravings for new, different, quicker and more effective technology. We changed our jingles to catch their attention just enough to annoy their parents.  We changed the way we interacted with them in the elementary and college classroom.  We handed them all a blue ribbon and taught them to dream beyond their backyard.  We equipped them to be grown-ups and believe in themselves triple-fold to the generation before them.

So, why are we surprised that they are little creative geniuses who think they have the power to improve our world?  Because they can!

Our job (or the job of those who came before them) is to embrace their strengths, harness their downfalls and equip them to run the world in greater and better ways than it has to date.  

I think times they are a changing and I think it can be a good thing if we will stop complaining and start embracing.  Stop degrading and start encouraging.  Stop withholding and start investing.

I mean when you can buy a cup of coffee, a purse, a pitza and change someone’s life toward curing a world epidemic…it’s time to start paying attention!

Thanks Steve for getting me all fired up!

Monday, January 5, 2015


A blog post at the beginning of the year seems super appropriate.

You know the kind where you reflect on your #OneLittleWord or you list out what your resolutions and goals are for the year.  Maybe I’m just trying to buck the system, but this year, that’s not for me.  I can’t handle it.  I can’t handle the potential of missing an expectation.  And, I sure can’t handle the thought of putting one more expectation on myself. 
So, this year I’m just going to be.  Yes, you might say…well then that’s your word.  If it makes me conform and have a word, then yes.  But "be" is not a definition for my year or something I’m going to put on my wall and stare at. I just can’t do it.  But, it is a commitment I’m making in my mind.

I want to be way more present in my moments.  I’m a doer.  A “Martha” if you will.  I don’t do idle very well (as I’ve said here many times before).  I want to try more things.  I want to experience more of what NWA has to offer.  I want to be fully present on coffee dates and Bible study conversation.  I want to crack the cover of more books and clean out the crap in my garage. 
Just yesterday morning, I experienced what it is like to be.  A couple came in and sat down next to me at church.  I said I and confirmed that the empty seat between us was not being saved for anyone.  Somewhere mid worship set, they had to move over to empty a seat for a couple who arrived late.  Since this grown man and I were about to share valuable elbow space, he kindly introduced himself to me.  He looked familiar and I thought about it during the service.  Where did I know him from?  Chamber events?  Cancer events?  Just a random person I’ve seen in the lobby at church and remembered a face.  After service I asked the question, “who are you”.  I fondly remember the first Sunday of January 2 years ago when a woman did the same for me.  It changed everything about my NWA experience and put me on the path to making this home. 

I didn’t know them.  But, I’m so glad that I just sat and talked.  I think the moment of therapy came for me in that moment.  Yes, there were 4 text messages that had come in during the church service.  Yes, there were things I had rolling around in my mind.  But, I just sat there and I talked to these people.  I shared my story with them; who I am and asked them to do the same.
I’ve not done much reflecting on 2014.  While it wasn’t as terrible as 2013, the first half was full of some UGLY moments for me.  But, to share with those people God’s redeeming grace and the hindsight bias that comes from seeing what following Him and obeying His guidance can bring; I was refreshed. 

Honestly, I’ve not been able to do that.  I tried while I was home (in Texas).  There were plenty of days where I was out of my normal routine before and after Christmas and before and after New Year’s where I could think.  There was a 6 hour car ride home, all by myself, where I could think.  But I just couldn’t.  I don’t know if I’ve been scared to set goals for 2015, complacent, or just defiant.  But, I couldn’t.  And, I didn’t.  And, I don’t really want to. 
Instead, I’m just going to be present.  I going to take what happens as the days unfold.  I’m excited about 2015; the promises it holds, the adventures I don’t even know exist, the personal growth in store and the relationships and friendships it will bring.

I vow to put my phone down more.  Crack open the dusty books on my nightstand (yes, before I order more from my Amazon wish list!).  Clean out the boxes of items that I moved here and haven’t even touched –there is intellectual property in there that it scares me to get rid of, but they are holding me back…more to come on that later!
Part of that is giving myself the grace to not have an expectation here.  I have ideas and dreams.  Things I want to accomplish and some days that may or may not exist.   

“be”ing not doing.  Listening instead of having my face planted in my device.  Approaching today instead of worrying about tomorrow. 
And, because writing a blog post is not always most feasible – capturing the everyday may happen more on Instagram, Twitter, and sometimes FB.