Sunday, May 31, 2009

Challenge - Task #1

6. Candy Store

First off, thank you to all who have taken an interest in the "Mr. Right" challenge that my friends and I have going. I have a tendency to get an idea and run with it. Thankfully I have amazing, fun-loving friends who are always up for an adventure. This is certainly one of my most interesting ideas. The excitement of those following this has certainly fueled my desire to complete the challenge, so thank you for your participation and support.

I'm here to report on the first task I tackled, a candy shop. This was listed in the "kid friendly" section of where you can meet Mr. Right. Kimberly & I hit Hyde Park to do some tasty research. Does Mr. Right hangout in candy stores?...

We visited: - City Street Sweets in Hyde Park. I highly recommend you pop in for a visit - not only was the owner a complete doll but the chocolate was life-changing. Great location, fun to walk around in that area and munch on your goodies. Two thumbs up from me.

However, the challenge is to find Mr. Right, so if you're wondering if he was lurking behind the biggest candy apples I've ever seen....the answer, sadly, is no. While in theory a candy store makes sense as a 'kid friendly' way to meet people there weren't actually any other people in the store but us. However, we won't rule this option out yet as Kimberly and I both signed up for the e-mail list to be invited to future events. City Street Sweets holds a monthly live music event, as well as some summer events where you can bring kids. Maybe Mr. Right is still to be found @ the candy shop, just not tonight.

Which task to tackle next...hmm.


Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The Challenge.

As a joke I bought my coworker who just had a mildly disastrous dating experience a book called, "1001 Ways to Meet Mr. Right". We started reading them and laughing hysterically and then out of this hysteria we formed a challenge.

The challenge was to randomly select 10 ways from the book (each from a different category) and we have to complete them and blog the results of each.

So here are my 10 ...

1. Friends - let a friend set you up.
2. Southwest Airlines (you get to pick your seat, pick wisely)
3. ( no longer existed so we had to find me a new one)
4. Charity food or wine event
5. Painting Class
6. Candy Store
7. Bagel shop
8. Business district bar
9. A comedy club
10. Watching the sun rise

The challenge is to complete 1 per week starting next week...

This will be quite an experiment...anxiously await our details!


Note: Other participants can be found here: - Joy - Mer

Monday, May 25, 2009

Coach Dungy's visit to Vick.

I received an e-mail this week directing to me to Coach Dungy's new blog, found here:, to read about Coach Dungy's visit to Michael Vick in prison.  Apparently he had met with quite a bit of criticism for going to visit Vick after what he has been arrested for and the e-mail was to show the heart of why he made that visit.

I was glad to receive the e-mail.  I'm stoked to be able to read Coach Dungy's blog now.  However, I was struck with how frustrating it is that people, esp Christians, are so quick to judge.  Why is it easy to question this act?  This story was a good reminder that I serve a God of grace, who spent time loving on sinners, just like me.


Friday, May 22, 2009


Spring Retreat 2009 - Identity

Watch this:

The first week of May we at Impact put on a retreat for our high school students.  Our theme this year, taken from one Whitney Settle, was 'You have to be a whole person before you can be half a relationship'.  Whitney's wise words, spoken while we were in high school ourselves have stuck with me since.

On the retreat we talked about your identity in terms of: physical, intellectual, emotional, social, & spiritual.  My talk was on your social makeup.  Thankfully this was not a solo mish, I had help from 2 far greater speakers than I.  Each team of speakers assigned to a different 'layer' did a fantastic job.  In fact, since then I have been thinking of identity in terms of my own life.

This video gripped me while I was still in high school myself.  Between the spotlights from my Dad's profession, the ones from being in leadership at church, my stance in the then called TAs, and all of the other areas of my life that kept me in front of people, I sometimes felt like I was putting on a show.  I would feel this strongly right after we'd go through a move, or right before we'd move when I first learned that we would have too.  I felt that everyone was watching me to see how I would handle the strain.  How was I supposed to react?  In hindsight, I think people would have supported my openly showing my true feelings but at the time I stuffed them down and pressed on, always keeping a smile on my face.

Only as I've grown up and grown into my roles in life, learning to chose them wisely and take them seriously have I stopped feeling like a performer.  I've also had to learn to stop pretending.  When I'm upset, I let myself be. When I'm happy, the whole world knows it.  I 'own' my identity now like I didn't know how before.

I love this video for both it's message and the artistic talent that went into the video itself.

It is good to be a whole person, though the journey was rough.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

One Year.

      Dinner @ Bahama Breeze - May 4th

One year to the day of my arrival in Tampa I gathered with some of those nearest and dearest to my heart for dinner.  Jess and I decided it was a year worthy of celebrating and how better to do that than at my favorite restaurant, on the ocean, with the people who have made this my best year yet?

Thank you to everyone who has had a hand in the success of this year.  I look forward to many more, in this city, and with each of you playing a part!  "I thank my God every time I remember you, in all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy"!


Thursday, May 14, 2009

The Dash

I had a conversation with a friend over dinner Tuesday night and she was describing a talk she heard once in which the speaker was talking about your life in terms of "the Dash". Turns out that concept is based off a poem by Linda Ellis. Thank you to Josh Yoder, I have now tracked that poem down and so I share it with you here...

I read of a man who stood to speak
At the funeral of a friend
He referred to the dates on her tombstone
From the beginning to the end

He noted that first came the date of her birth
And spoke the following dates with tears,
But he said what mattered most of all
Was the dash between those years

For that dash represents all the time
That she spent alive on earth
And now only those who loved her
Know what that little line was worth

For it matters not how much we own
The cars, the house, the cash,
What matters is how we live and love
And how we spend our dash

So think about this long and hard.
Are there things you'd like to change?
For you never know how much time is left,
That can still be rearranged.

If we could just slow down enough
To consider what's true and real
And always try to understand
The way other people feel

And be less quick to anger
And show appreciation more
And love the people in our lives
Like we've never loved before

If we treat each other with respect,
And more often wear a smile
Remembering that this special dash
Might only last a little while

So, when your eulogy is being read
With your life's actions to rehash
Would you be proud of the things they say
About how you spent your dash?

Linda Ellis - The Dash

This concept became real to be in December of 2005, with the loss of a dear friend. We had grown up together. Our families were friends. Our Dad's worked together. We shared toys, vacations, and plenty of embarrassing stories. Even when we lived in different cities and went to different schools our lives were intertwined. We were both middle children. We were both independent. We both went through some rebellious stages. We both loved life and people to fullest.

I'll never forget the morning. It was just before 5:00 when my mom woke me to tell me the news. She sat on the side of my bed and gently tried to explain. I heard the words and yet I felt nothing. It didn't feel real, possible, tangible. She left me, laying in bed trying to catch up with the words she'd finished. I was 20 years old, he was 19. You don't lose friends when you're 20. People aren't supposed to die at 19.

My family gathered later to talk about the loss. We went around in a circle and shared our favorite memory of him. I could picture each story. Each moment felt like the day before. Life had been moving forward and suddenly I felt I'd hit a wall. Time shouldn't continue to move, and the world couldn't possibly still be spinning.

But it did.

In the years since that day I have thought about him more times than I could ever count. More this week than in quite a while. I played a song a friend wrote for him over and over on the way to lunch, on the way home from work, in the car on the way here this morning. Listening to those words and remembering...

Our dash. When we're living in our dash it's hard to imagine the end. When I picture the end of my life I see myself old and frail like the woman in the end of the movie Titanic. Falling asleep and never waking up. We don't picture ourselves at 19, 25, even 40. The rest of our lives - how long is that?

If we postpone living our lives the way we want them to be remembered, thinking there is still time to change later than for some of us we may miss that window of opportunity. This idea has been ever-present for me in the past few years since that life altering day. I have one chance to leave a legacy, what will that legacy contain? When my sisters stand to speak at my funeral, what will they say? Who will be there? Which of my friends will still be part of my life? Who will have loved me up until that day? Will they celebrate that I am with my savior or will there be mourning for the life I hadn't yet lived?

If this idea doesn't haunt you on occasion than perhaps it should. Not in a morbid, dreading death sort of way...but in a way that guarantees that your life is one of purpose.

My head is swimming with thoughts I wish I had to words to share. All of my desires to see accomplished before the end of my dash. I hope to write about them when they come to me in words that could be read and understood. For now I will leave you with the words of some far wiser than I...

And in the end, it's not the years in your life that count. It's the life in your years. - Abraham Lincoln

Only a life lived for others is a life worthwhile. - Albert Einstein

"You don't get to choose how you're going to die. Or when. You can only decide how you're going to live. Now. - Joan Baez

"Life is what happens while you're busy making other plans" - John Lennon

"Let us so live that when we come to die even the undertaker will be sorry. - Mark Twain

"Tell me who admires you and loves you, and I will tell you who you are" - Charles Augustin Sainte-Beauve

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Saving Babies.

I wanted to take the time to briefly thank all those who supported me during this year's Walk for Life! I did not have to hunt down a single contributor, everyone gave willingly and most offered when they read my facebook status that I was participating. So thank you to each of you for your generous spirits and for supporting me!

I'm happy to report that with your help I was sponsored for $1500, which exceeded my original goal to raise 1k. At the beginning of April, A Woman's Place had saved 103 babies in 2009 - and the number is growing on a daily basis. I hope that each of you knows how crucial your part in that has been! Thank you from the bottom of my heart, and the hearts of our clients who are continuing to receive free services because of your generosity!


Monday, May 11, 2009


Sacrifice is by definition: the surrender or destruction of something prized or desirable for the sake of something considered as having a higher or more pressing claim.

They showed a brief video at my church yesterday that was to promote people making some small sacrifices (ie: their morning Starbucks) for the greater good of putting that money towards the youth center we have not been able to finish due to money. Giving up something you prize or that is desirable to you in order that you can invest in the future of the youth of Tampa. What an appropriate challenge. How few things are more valuable than the next generation, our future.

Above and beyond the youth center for our church - I have been thinking about the bigger image of sacrifice in my life. I played the defintions that were read over and over in my head. Thinking of each piece, one by one. What do I prize? What do I define as desirable? And what am I willing to destroy or surrender so that I may contribute to something far more valuable?

Something prized. I find myself stuck on these two words. This brings to memory when lent would roll around in college and people would give up stuff that to be honest I would think to myself was pointless or stupid. I once knew someone who gave up beer, but not alcohol. Maybe this would have been a big sacrifice for some college kids, but this particular friend didn't actually like beer. Hmm? Sacrifice? Not quite fitting of the definition. I never participated in lent, being a non-denominational Christian myself - but I imagine that at that point in my life I probably would have picked something equally unsacrificial. How often we miss the mark.

Sacrifice is giving up something that you prize. A treasure. Why? Knowing that by giving this up you are making way for something greater but possibly not as tangible. What a concept this is and so hard for many of us - perhaps hardest for those of us who are still quite young. We live in a society that thrives on immediate results. We text because we can get the answers we desire without having to wait for that person to finish a meeting, class, lunch, etc. Our time frame is now.

When I think of sacrifice in terms of my own life it is for long-term good. Good that will probably not reveal itself today, tomorrow, or even next month. So how do I do this without losing heart? How do I sacrifice now for future benefits? What will keep me from losing sight of that prize when I cannot see, feel, or touch the results of now? How do I keep inspired?

If you're hoping that I hold all the answers to that question within my own possession than I wish to let you down gently. As best I can come to terms with it in my own mind this is where we require faith. Much like leaping off the side of the pool before you know how to swim and believing that your Dad will be there to catch you. My prayer this week has been that childlike faith. The kind that doesn't require a backup plan. If he doesn't catch me and I hit the water I'm not wearing a life vest "just in case".

I have chosen a starting place for sacrifice in my own life - and I'm leaping in Faith!