Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Musings of a Lion.

For those of us who were blessed with good educations they were not without the encouragement to be confident.  Employers seek those who believe in themselves.  Confident is contagious in a sense and so we are inclined to believe that those who are confident are worth our own confidence. Above that, we are taught to be tough, unapologetic, and unyielding.  In my own studies of social work this was a trait that was pushed with regularity - more still for women.  Don't be sorry you beat someone out for a job, don't be apologize for working harder and longer to get what you want.  Show no weakness.

So where is the balance for myself as both a strong leader and a strong Christian?  'Blessed are they meek for they will inherit the earth' (Matthew 5:5).  How then do I dominate at work while remaining meek?  While meek does not equal weak as many may believe, it also does not allow me to be unapologetic or unwielding.

I was faced with a situation that brought this argument in my mind to the forefront.  As I began my summer we were training a new Summer Staff and as I was driving home one day I had a bit of a conscience attack.  I teach in classrooms throughout the school year what we call 'personality profiles'.  In these profiles you learn not only how your personality type reacts to different social scenarios and how you function best - but to understand and appreciate that not everyone is in the same boat.

After going through these in training I was struck by how I handle one particular student in my year on staff.  After taking note of each of my students on staff's personality I realized that my in-your-face way of address issues with a certain student was not the way in which her personality allowed him to best receive my 'coaching'.

I drove home caught between whether or not to plow through the upcoming summer, using the excuse that as the head of the team I was just 'doing my job' or whether this was one of those defining moments in which I needed to seek a more restorative route.  We are faced with these decisions more than we like to admit, are we not?  Moments in which we have the opportunity to grow our character while it would be easiest to brush it off.

Once I had decided in my head that my direct approach had probably been hurtful to this student, I couldn't let it rest.  It ate at me.  Within an hour I got in touch with that student and owned it.  My harsh, to-the-point critiques.  My sarcasm.  The moments I had that chance to build up and instead chose to tear down, whether intentionally or by default of my delivery.  Often it is not the message but the wrapping that determines the effect.

In this moment of confession I sought to do something I've always respected in others.  I didn't just apologize, I asked for forgiveness.  There's a profound difference between doing your duty and saying you're sorry and actually seeking and requesting that the person forgive you.  This attitude takes you to yet another level of humility.  One I admit I haven't spent enough time in.  The desire of my heart was truly to be forgiven by the person and to change my heart and my actions to back that up.

What my professors failed to mention and perhaps to see themselves is that the level of respect you earn by owning up to your mistakes is higher than that achieved by intimidation.  Perhaps the best leader truly is the person who best serves those they seek to lead.  What an unlikely thought from a 'lion' personality.

At the ripe old age of 23 I have learned to few my experiences on and off the job as a growing experience.  The more I learn, the more I realize how little I know.

Monday, June 29, 2009

No difference.

I sat down tonight and read an entire book.



No Difference

Small as a peanut,
Big as a giant
We're all the same size
When we turn off the light

Rich as a sultan,
Poor as a mite,
We're all worth the same
When we turn off the light

Red, black, or orange
Yellow or white,
We all look the same 
When we turn off the light

So maybe the way
To make everything right
Is for God to just reach out
And turn off the light

Taken from 'Where the Sidewalk Ends' by Shel Silverstein

The Friendly Sky.

Thankfully my travel task for the challenge was to meet someone on Southwest Airlines. Honestly, Southwest is my absolute favorite airline. Their prices are the best, the baggage is free (as it should be), AND you can pick your seat which means I don't have to get stuck next to a screaming child or a total creeper! Needless to say, I already had a flight booked for Raleigh, NC. A flight that I took this past weekend. So I'm here to report back the intimate details of my experience.

First off, this challenge has been interesting in the way that it has affected my thought process. Being someone who's been more focused on school and careers than boys from day one to present, it's been an odd experience to actually look for date prospects. Actually, it makes me feel sorry for those who are truly on this quest because the results of these challenge have been somewhat depressing.

Don't lose heart of love-seekers, I still have several challenges left to go and hopefully my continued 'research' will help you out in some small way. That is after all, the point. Well, that, and my own personal amusement with completing these challenges. Oh, and winning. : ] That Christensen competitive spirit - I am of course in the lead with the challenges!

Enough enough...here we go.

Thursday morning flights make for an interesting crowd. My flight was fairly empty and not seeing anyone of particular interest I took a row to myself. The only young men on my plane were from a high school soccer club league team. Don't worry, I steer clear of the youngsters. : ]

Oh wait, that's not entirely true. There was one other guy who looked about my age. He was however reading a book entitled, "I hope they serve beer in hell". I didn't quite know what to make of that. On a positive note, I love a guy who actually reads! They're few and far between it seems. Reading being one of my favorite hobbies if you will, I originally thought 'score'. But if beer and hell are in the title - I'm not so sure. Hindsight, should have asked him about the book. The titles of some books I've read would probably have had a similar effect on people who observed them.

So there's my confession, I judged a book (and a guy) by his cover!

What goes up, must come down. So I made it to North Carolina and then had to come back down to Tampa last night.

My flight was delayed by 2 hours which gave me plenty of time to scope the airport crowd. What an amazing place to people watch. For those of you who loves to observe people, the airport is the place for you. People are entirely more amusing when they're loaded down with stuff and flustered by their travel plans.

I decide to wait in line to get a diet coke. A guy gets in line just before me and as soon as I get in line strikes up a conversation. He looked my age, give or take a few years. He was headed to Chicago and I offhand said I went to school near there. He immediately looked shocked and asked how old I am (are people supposed to ask you this in the first 2 minutes of conversation?). According to him, I don't look a day older than 19. Weird.

I chatted with him for 5 minutes or so and he has inspired me to give all my single ladies and gents a bit of advice. Do not highlight your flaws in the first 5 minutes you meet someone. Ever. Success in life requires the ability to sell yourself. Highlight what you're good at, what you've accomplished, things that make you unique and worthy of the other persons attention.

Do not tell them you're STILL in community college trying to finish an associates. Don't really have direction in your life yet. Live at home. Etc. Even if ALL of these things are true - no need to pass along that info prematurely! While I encourage modesty, I do not feel this has to be at the expense of confidence. Self doubt doesn't look good on anyone people!

It probably goes without saying that we did not exchange numbers after this conversation.

I did have the opportunity to talk to several other guys between waiting and being on the plane. No one worth writing home about. But, I do think Southwest wouldn't be a bad option if you're looking for someone. You get to pick your seat so if someone you think is attractive is on your flight, go for it. Plop down beside them and without revealing all your flaws, have a chat. : ]

Also, depending on where you're traveling I think that flying is a good way to meet people with a more adventurous spirit. If they're flying to try a new vacation spot with friends, or making a visit to family - bonus points! Besides, who needs an excuse for a trip? Go for it.

Hope this adventure was somewhat enlightening. Hmm, what next?


Sunday, June 21, 2009


I've always been overly sensitive to the very idea of blood.  So having my blood taken by choice always seemed odd to me.  Why would I want to volunteer to have a needle in my arm for an extended period of time?  

When I found out I needed to know what type blood I have, I began to consider all the options.  There are several methods I could have chosen is which they could have taken a small amount of blood and analyzed it.  But if I HAD to be stuck like a pin cushion with a needle than why shouldn't someone benefit from it?

Later one of the ladies told me that for someone with my hyper needle paranoia to come in alone for my first time donating was extremely abnormal.  Oops, I didn't even think of bringing someone for moral support!  Anyway, my Dad raised me to face my fears - assuming that most of them weren't as bad as I'd built them up to be in my head anyway.

I decided around lunch time on Friday I was going to donate.  Just this once.  I dreaded it for the next 3 hours while I waited for my time at work to be over.  Thank goodness I was getting off early or I would have managed to talk myself out of donating by 5:00.  

Dixie who took my phone call to schedule my appointment assured me that they would help me through the entire process and it wouldn't be nearly as bad as I thought.  She recognized me by my voice when I arrived a few hours later.  I think all 3 ladies present could tell I was about to have a meltdown.

They managed to get me into the interrogation room with only slight prodding.  Where I dutifully answered to 'no' to the necessary questions like, 'have you ever accepted payment for sex'.  Insert awkward laugh here as I told her I teach abstinence education and she could probably skip some of these questions.  She didn't find that as funny as I.

I AM my Daddy's daughter because in true Christensen fashion when we're terrified, we laugh.  My Dad use to do this every time I'd force him to ride a roller coaster with me at Busch Gardens.  Sorry for mocking you Dad, I totally do it too!

They pricked my finger and checked my iron levels and found that I was a 16.5 (only had to be a 12.5 to donate).  Secretly I was wishing I wouldn't be allowed too.  Then I could pat myself on the back for trying and never ever try again.  No such luck.

At this point the lady did encourage me by saying, ' the blood you donate today will save 3 lives'.  Shoot.  Guilt trip much?  Though she intended to be affirming me in my decision, I found myself scolding myself internally for wanting to back out.  I could handle 10 minutes of pure panic to save 3 lives, couldn't I?

Panic attack number 2398320 of the day happened when they brought me to the cot I was to lay on during the process.  The man next to me looked about 100 years old huddled under a blanket looking purely tortured.  I shrieked, 'what'd you do to him?!'.  They assured me that he was fine, a regular platelet donor.  I assure YOU that he was NOT fine.  I about got heroic and tried to free him...

Have you ever had one of those moments where you think if people would turn their heads for 30 seconds you'd bolt?  I have.  All I could think was 'I can't do this I can't do this'.  But those dang ladies were so nice and encouraging, how could I just leave now?

They encouraged me not to look at the needle.  No objections here.  It hurt when they put the needle in but not unbearably so.  Then they gave me a stress ball to squeeze but I could barely squeeze it I had psyched myself out so bad my hands were all tingly with heebie-geebies.  They noticed I wasn't really squeezing and then gave me a kid sized stress ball since my hands are so small anyway.  I tried to squeeze that some but was a weenie and didn't do the best job they've ever seen.  The hand in my blood giving arm was like ice.  Still don't know why and they didn't either.  Nerves probably.

I survived!

Ivoney & Dixie were a real riot and they insisted on taking my picture with my blood (featured above). They took 3, including one after they said 'it's just like twilight!'.  I wonder if that movie helped blood banks?  They put a blood donor had on me and took more pics.  Way to document the moment in which I'm trying to recover from one of the single most traumatic experiences of my life!  Thanks ladies.

Dad called as I was waiting to regain feeling in my legs so I could go home.  I answered and was chatting with him when Ivoney snatched my phone and decided to chat with him herself.  She told him how fabulous a daughter he's raised and told him he should donate blood too. Ha ha.  10 bucks says he did not.

I admit to being glad it's over...but I may make myself try again sometime.  Here's to saving lives one drama filled afternoon at a time!


Oh yeah, I'm B+ ... : ]

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Mr. Right on the Internet.

I had an interesting chat with Meredith yesterday, who's blog you may also be following.  The truth is in our continuing self discovery of what it's like to be 20-something, we realized that despite our go-getter attitudes towards this challenge were not really looking for love.  We've both been dating over the past few months (though so far not anyone from the contest) but were still not sure if were really ready to find the one.

I set out to complete the contest and so I will continue until I do!  However, I guess I view this more as a "How to lose a guy in 10 days" experiment then my own personal journey to find someone.

That being said...

If Mr. Right is on the internet, I did NOT find him.  Chemistry.com let's you sign up for a free profile on a sort of trial basis.  Along the lines of those Match commercials that say 'it's ok to look'.  Isn't it amazing how stalkerish the internet has made us all?

So in my inability to trust the internet to be able to find me the perfect match, I did not pay the 50 bucks to try Chemistry.com for a month.  My friends and I all made the rule that we didn't have to shell out tons of money to complete these challenges so we've had to modify several challenges.  Though, if they'd done a better job with the suggested matches they sent me I would have considered paying and going on a date with someone just to see how it went.

However, I was really unimpressed!  They sent me 3 guys a day for as long as I continued to regularly reject them as completely unsuitable.  I did this for over a week, just to see...they never got better!

Now don't get me wrong, I don't think finding the right person for yourself is about looks.  However, if I put a type into my profile it would be advisable to send me people who are not the polar opposite of my description of what I like!  They did it to the guys they suggested me to as well.  I would go to some of their profiles and it would say they were attracted to tall women for example.  Well at 5'4 on a good day, I hardly qualify.  

Chemistry.com continued to send me these.  Also, they sent me guys who didn't meet my personality or lifestyle requirements. I listed Christianity as my religion and rated it 100% important that the person I would end up with agree.  They sent me several non-christians (including one person who didn't even believe in a religion at all) and none of them listed religion as a high priority in their lives.  That wouldn't have gotten us far, now would it?!

One particular guy they sent me as a match didn't have a job.  Now, I understand we're in the middle of a recession.  But I listed career as one of the aspects of my life that I place in pretty high esteem.  It's important to me to be professional!  I would prefer to date someone who also cares about having a career.  I think this is even more important at my rather young age.  If they're not motivated now, then when?  This person was a student, but he was also 28.  Probably time to graduate friend.

I listed football as a primary interest of mine.  They matched me with several guys who don't like sports! What?!  I'm sorry but that's just wrong.  How would they ever fit into my family?  If you don't watch Sports Center and I'm going to have to teach you all the positions on a football team on our first trip to see my family, you're not making the cut. Period.  I had week long nightmares of questions like 'What's the quarterback do?'. Ugh. 

Ok, so the other feature of my trial membership with Chemistry is that they send me e-mails when people select that they are interested in me.  Hmm.  Problem with this is they don't actually let you see the person's picture or profile until you pay the $50. Touche.  

After the 10 or so guys they thought I'd have 'chemistry' with, there was no way I was paying $50 to see who liked me!

So before I Debbie Downer internet dating, I should take the time to say this method has been successful for several of my friends.  None of them have used Chemistry.com though.  Actually, if you have a story (good or bad) about internet dating then let me know - maybe I will post it! : ]


Coming Next: Southwest Airlines!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Challenge #2.

Challenge #2 is completed.  I chose task number 7 and I visited a bagel shop.  Actually, I went twice in one week.  I chose Panera because it has more places to sit than Einstein and it's a slightly less awkward place to loiter.  I went for the first time during the week; in the morning before work.  I was afraid of looking like a total creeper by bringing my laptop and typing the results as I went like Harriet the Spy of 2009.  So,  I took my book and bagel and found a comfy chair that was available in a lounge area and plopped down to do my 'research'.

Lets say attempt one at the bagel shop was a bust.  I thought my place of choosing was perfect because it gave people the opportunity (and by people I mean Mr. Right should he have the hankering for a bagel) the chance to casually take a seat in my area and strike up a conversation.  Good plan, right? 

Wrong.  Do you know who DID sit by me? Some random lady probably 15 years old than me with her quiche that smelled foul.  It was all I could do to gag quietly so she wouldn't hear me and I had to be a mouth breather for the rest of my stay!  Ugh.  No way was Mr. Right, who never showed, going to want to sit within 15 feet of me with that stench.  

I will share that I finally saw one really cute guy who was close to my age.  Sadly, he was joined by his equally attractive girlfriend about 3 minutes later. Get it girl!

Abort mission number one.

Since making this challenge public via blog was my idea, I decided to set the tone.  Attempt one was such a complete failure I went back for round two.  This time I picked a weekend morning.  Saturday, 1030am-ish.  That seemed reasonable.  If Mr. Right is not motivated enough to hit Panera to read before work, than maybe he comes to coffee on Saturday mornings.  That seems suave and sophisticated.  

Round Two: Ding ding ding!

I got the exact same breakfast.  This time I selected a booth where I had a pretty good view of the Panera crowd and sat down with my book.  I'm a busy girl, I have to multi-task.  So I completed my challenge and worked on my book for July's book club all at once.

Round two went somewhat differently.  There was a guy who caught my eye.  He was there with his Dad and brother (from what I could gather, Harriet the Spy style).  My best guess is they were taking their Dad out for an early Father's Day b-fast.  How presh is that?  I dig a guy whos got a good relationship with his fam!  Little did they know they were being watched.

So this is the first time that I was confronted with something that should have been an obvious question when the challenge started...what now?  I can't very well walk up to cute guy and the male half of his family and say "Hey I'm Becca and I'm blogging about whether you can meet great guys at a bagel shop...you're cute, let's chat so I can blog my success".  Well, I could have.  It would have been the truth actually.  However, even I'm not that bold.

So IF he was Mr. Right I missed out on my chance.  While pondering a non-obvious was to get to talk to him, they finished and left.  Oops.  I'm not sure if that makes this mission or me the failure for round two?

Note to self, in future missions have a better plan.

After 2 attempts without real success I will say I think a bagel shop makes sense as a place to meet someone.  I will be going back to read (and people watch) in the future.  Who knows, it very well could work for someone.  I wouldn't rule it out as an impossibility!

The challenges are going to get harder from here.  Stay tuned for future updates.


Friday, June 5, 2009

A follow up on sacrifice...

I'm going to take a brief break from my silly blogging about the challenge to follow up on an entry from last month about sacrifice.  In my previous entry I pondered what sacrifice means and how to apply the concept to my own life in a positive way.  I ended the entry still somewhat up in the air.  I like to leave some of my writing (and thinking for that matter) open ended.  The importance of self-evaluation and reevaluation is a concept I take seriously.

I've spent quite a bit of time in the recent past talking through my ideas on this with Meredith.  What a great friend she is to listen to me and help me sort through my thoughts. I'm so thankful for her. She is my sounding board and often my support system in each of my endeavors, no matter how crazy they get!

I was struck by something just today that brought back to the forefront of my mind the concept of sacrifice.  I find it easy to overcommit.  My love for people and my passion for life often get the better of me.  I err on the side of overcommitting.  Before I know it I have agreed to a million things and I cannot give adequate attention to any one cause.  This has been a bit of a vicious cycle in my young years.  When I moved to Tampa I determined that I would enter each commitment with caution and would only slowly add things to my "plate".  This was wise advice given by my Dad who knows my tendencies.  

In my recent life there are two main categories that I'm placing my sacrifices in.  Those in which I'm making sacrifices to contribute to financially and those which I'm sacrificing in order to dedicate my time too.  Now being only 13 months out of college I'm far from rich but even still I place a higher value on my time than my money.  When you're 23 time is one of your biggest assets!  

When I was home last I had the chance to sit with my Dad and talk about life.  One of the things he challenged me to determine in my life is if I say myself as someone who was going to dedicate their life to ministry (in roles much like the one I have now) or be what he called a "work horse", which is the category he placed himself in. Someone who works and helps further the kingdom with provisions.  His descriptions were much more detailed than mine but give me a break, I'm exhausted.

As with all the challenges he gives me I took this to heart and have thought about it often over the past few weeks.  I would argue that he fits both categories.  He has made a mission field of his work and he is faithfully serving in it.  I'm confident that he considers all things a mission field but what he meant was more the literal sense of the word.  Either way, I've always been inspired by the way he has drawn people in with his faith and commitment in an industry that doesn't always make that easy.

I remain in the stages of questioning as to which category I myself will be in long-term.  I'm content not to determine this at 23.  I'm leaving this up to God to lead and direct along the way.  I'm working towards remaining moldable and ready for whatever he may see fit to use me for.

In the meantime I have thought, pondered, and prayed about how to spend my time.  

There have been several ideas I've bounced around and a few I'm still exploring.  One, I'd like to go ahead and share briefly about it is an opportunity I've been excited to have been offered.  I've always had a heart for teenagers.  In large part that is how I ended up in my current job and has continued to motivate me!  Molding and shaping the next generation, what an opportunity!

Pastor Jerry & his darling wife Jeanna were working with 180 at Grace back when I was in high school.  I was serving as a student leader then so I was fortunate enough to get to know them.  Flash forward 6 years and Pastor Jerry is now leading 180, which has now become the middle school ministry.  He extended the invitation for me to get involved.

I LOVE middle schoolers.  They're crazy, intense, and more than a little goofy but what's not to love about them?  I find them hilarious and endearing all at once.  More than that I love what God is doing in the lives of the middle schoolers at 180 and how we is using the Whites!  Tonight was my 3rd week volunteering and honestly, I feel so honored to be allowed to be a part of it.  My tasks have ranged from greeting to checkin to guard dogging the door during service and it has really been a joy.

Friday nights were a big deal to me in college.  They still are.  In a sense I believe that makes committing to anything on a Friday night a 'sacrifice' of sorts.  This one however has been a great example of how sacrifice in a positive thing.  In my 3 weeks at 180 I've seen over 50 6th-8th graders come to know the Lord.  What movie, party, or local hangout can top that?

Thank you for enduring my lack eloquence in this entry.  I am tired and more than a little mushy in the head tonight.  But I wanted to put into words these thoughts while they're still there.  It is important to consider what sacrifices you are making in life and to what ultimate end result.  The journey continues...


Thursday, June 4, 2009

The Price of Love.

It's not time to release #2 on my dating list, though I will report it IS done! However, I wanted to note a few interesting observations that I have had. They're slight "glitches" in my planning for my 10 assignments. I'm chosing to be positive and say that I WILL find a way to complete my tasks in some capacity or another.

I figured that my pursuit of Mr. Right on Chemistry.com would take a little bit of effort. You know, throwing out my old college ways of saving things until the last minute I went ahead and signed up for the free trial to start browsing. This gave me a few weeks to paruse before I actually have to e-mail dialog with someone. I relate expressing interest to someone on Chem.com to poking someone you think has a cute profile pic on facebook...a bit awkward. To be honest, I've never had the desire to internet date (mostly because I'm not a big fan of dating in general). I do believe in being a good sport in any and all things though. So, I signed up.

Perhaps because I chose a free trial and haven't up'd to the $50 monthly plan, Chemistry.com has not done a good job of finding ANYONE that seems like they would be a good fit for me. It gives you three options per day of guys that might be perfect for you. In the "what they're looking for" catagory not one of them seemed to be looking for me. One was looking for a latino lady, while I'm listed as Native hawaiin & white. Hmm, I know we're both brown but the cultures aren't anything alike!

I dont' want to ruin it by saying too much before my entry about this but I will say I don't know how people deal with these sites!

Next up, let's talk about the Charity food & wine events. I'll share the website I used, etc when I blog about attending one. But suffice to say that the one that most interested me was $475 per person! Yikes. If Mr. Right is going to cost me $500 bucks he better come with a new Chanel tote attached! Gees.

My 'research' has made me amazed at what some people must do in order to find love.

More on my adventures and misadventures in the "Mr. Right" challenge soon. Thanks for following and for all your funny input along the way! Challenge #2 will be up in full detail early next week.


Wednesday, June 3, 2009

New addition...

Jane is joining the 'Mr. Right challenge'...so welcome to Jane. Here's a link to her blog so you can follow her antics as well: http://mjanem.blogspot.com/

Let the games begin.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Photo Journal of Indy Trip

I thought it would be a fun change of pace to document my Indy trip via cell phone pics and then make a sort of photoblog of it. Oh the places you will go...

First pic: The Indy Airport. I arrived in Indy after midnight, exhausted after an 8 hour work day, 2 plane flights, and some total creepsters sitting next to me. Thanks AirTran.

This is the cafeteria area, where the players eat and sometimes listen to someone talk. For the purposes of the event, this is where our VIPs got to chat with the coaches and player, get their pics taken, and have their gear autographed. It was a big hit.

Next pic is home to the VIP check in area, which turned out to be my place of choice for the event. Marlene and I tackled checking in of the VIPs which ran smoothly for the most part. I really want a silver metal horseshoe like that one for my room. Wonder where I can get one...legally. : ]

The event! The tiny man in yellow in this photo is Dad giving his breif words of wisdom to the crowd out on the practice field! Always fun to work events with my Daddy. Also fun to hear Coach Caldwell and quarterback Jim Sorgi speak on fatherhood. Great crew this year & great crowd!

This pic is during a later office tour we took Ruthie (right) and Lindsay (left) on. Linds was visiting us from Tennessee! Love her. Don't you wish your office had a game room?!

Where the grunt work takes place. Pictured is Dad and half of Ruthie in the weight room trying out a few machines. It's safe to report, I don't have what it takes to be a Colt, at least not ON the field.
Well, that was short but sweet. Hope you enjoyed. Sadly, did not manage to picture my lovely dinner with Candy & Josh OR my 2 hours stint on the golfcart delivering families to their cars after the event. Another great week with the All Pro Dad team as well as with the fam!