Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Saturday, August 29, 2009
Friday, August 28, 2009
'For everything there is a season, a time for every purpose under the sun'- Ecclesiastes 3:1
Dearest friends and faithful readers,
I write tonight to tell you of the changing of seasons in my life. I am regularly awed by God's infinitely wise plan for me and my utter lack of ability to see the big picture. My time in Florida so far and my working life with Impact have been incredible. God has done some serious work in my heart and I know this is only the beginning. The level of blessing that each of my coworkers at A Woman's Place Ministries and Teen Impact have been in my personal and professional life is immeasurable.
They have taught me more than I could ever hope to express to them. They have loved me like I never thought possible in a work environment. They have prayed me through personal and professional struggles and they have carried me through some intense times including a long and limbo filled off season for my family.
For those of you who have walked me through the past few months you know that I have been challenged in my walk with the Lord to have faith in God's perfect plan for me. As an expert decision maker I struggle when I find myself having to wait on the Lord for direction. But I have clung over the past few months to Jeremiah 29:11 which promises that God knows the plans he has for me, and they are plans to prosper me.
- this post accidently got deleted so I'm reposting and thank you to Josh for these kind words that I didn't mean to erase from the original post:
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Growing up one of my least favorite conversations with my Dad would start with, 'who do you want to be'? He would proceed to drill me about the type of person I desire to be. My future career path. What does my life look like five years down the road? Ten? Twenty?
After all, my Dad's job is essentially to take incredibly talented, hardworking athletes and make them better. He pushes even the Marvin Harrisons and the Reggie Waynes of the athletic world to achieve. So, for a living he motivates, tweaks, and pushes. This is a skill he also used/uses in parenting the three of us girls.
He always finished this conversation however, with a concept I've come to appreciate. That is he would always follow the drills about who I want to be with this loaded question, 'Now what are you doing to get there'? Ah ha. This is where wanters move over to join the ranks of the doers. What are YOU doing to get where you want to be? This question places a great deal of the responsibility for your success on the rightful owner, you.
Now don't get me wrong, this is an incredibly frustrating line of questioning. Especially when I was 16 and I felt like I shouldn't be expected to know what I wanted my 40-year-old-life to look like. After all, wasn't high school enough to handle at one time? I dreaded those conversations like you wouldn't believe and have only recently since being out on my own, come to appreciate what those questions lead me to do. A. take responsibility and realize that ultimately - nothing is handed to you & B. if you're not thinking about your future than your present isn't purposeful.
There is much value in living in the present. However, don't let enjoying today keep you from seeing tomorrow. The work you are doing now should be propelling you towards the future that you desire. Are you with me?
I tell my friends and students who haven't entered the working world yet that when you consider your major in college, the internships you take, and your post-graduation job make sure that you're building a life, not just a career. If you want to get married and have lots of kids and be a stay-at-home-mom (as many of my girlfriends do) then pick a career that will allow you to contribute to your family should you need too, without working full time. If you want to travel the world than either pick a job that will take you around the world, or a career that will enable you financially, to do so on your own.
Often you see 20-somethings floundering about in the their careers thinking they 'just need a job' but the truth is you should interview your future employers as much or more than they interview you. You do not want to be the employee who's ever bouncing from job to job and the quality of your work will suffer if you take a job just for the money. My disclaimer to my previous statement though, is that you sometimes you do what you must to survive. For some, that will mean working just for the money at a given point in time. It happens. But as much as you can control it, always be working towards the future you want.
A close friend of mine recently made some life changes that may have seemed on the surface to be taking a step back career wise. Her goal is to make it to New York City as a writer however, and what could be perceived as a 'step back' was really a step towards where she wants to be long-term. She could have continued in the direction she was headed and worked her way up within the company she was currently with but it wasn't going to lead her where she wanted to go.
Your twenties are for bold moves. Going after you want whole heartedly and not being afraid to fall on your face a few times in the process. More than likely, you won't. If you do, use it as motivation. In the roughest patch of my life I kept my eye on the prize and used what I was unhappy with in my life to fuel my fire to achieve what I wanted. That is ultimately how I ended up in Tampa, back where I wanted to be.
Even when you get what you want, keep the attitude of forward thinking. When you land the job you desire or you make it to the city you want to live in, that doesn't mean you don't have to be considering your next move. Being content doesn't mean being stagnant!..
Who do you want to be? Now tell me, what are you doing to get there?
Also if you haven't already, please watch the video of my Daddy from my previous entry.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
As I've been gearing up here at Impact for this years Fall Retreat I was reminded of this time last year when I was visiting my family back home in Indiana. I asked my Dad to record a video for us, giving a message to the teens in our program. Impact is a non-profit organization that is dedicated to helping high school students build healthy lifestyles. Our Fall Retreat's are an amazing experience and if you're in high school (or have a high schooler) here in the Tampa area I encourage you to come/send them! We are building strong leaders that as my Dad says in the video, we need!
Regardless of your age I hope you could relate to the video, as I know I can. I am always striving to be the kind of decision maker who has an Impact.
For more retreat information or to learn more about our program visit: http://www.whatisimpact.com/
I hope you enjoyed a little view of my Daddy & my work.
While representing Impact @ Freedom High School last week I ran into a long-time family friend, Zee! It's been neat since being back in Tampa after a 7 year stint in Indiana to continue to run into people and hear what God is doing in their lives! I was 16 when we left for Indiana, so there is certainly plenty to update on and be updated on.
It was neat to hear about Zee's 'Legacy' ministry here in Tampa. It's a students disciplining students program he's building in the area high schools. Challenging the Christian youth of our area to leave a Legacy at their high schools and amongst their peers. What a great message and challenge! I could tell that they are doing big things at Zenon Ministries and I look forward to being able to see more of them in the future!
We got a few good hours of catch up time while we were doing club sign-ups and had time to snap a photo (above) on Zee's iphone to send my Momma back home in Indiana.
It is always refreshing to run into old friends.
Monday, August 24, 2009
Paige has been writing reviews for a while and you can check out her personal blog at www.sincerelypaige.com - she's great. I've enjoyed getting to know her more throughout my journey towards small group leadership (for my church).
I just picked my first book to review and it is titled, ' Fresh Start' by the youth pastor from Saddleback Church. I'm excited to receive it and 'get to work'. I have come to enjoy blogging so much in the past year that I want to continue to try out new ways to expand my arena as a blogger. Suggestions are welcome.
Also, I want to continue to review events, especially ones that benefit charities so please keep me posted if you have one in mind you think I should be attend and write about. I use the term review lightly because I haven't written a negative charity event 'review' yet. I enjoy experiencing events and helping out and writing about them gives me a chance to share that with you and hopefully encourage people to also get out in their neighborhoods and support the people and organizations that are trying to make a difference in our community! So keep me posted.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
'Come to me all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest,' - Matthew 11:28
'He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty' - Psalm 91:1
I hope you find rest this week...
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
This post reminds me a bit of the same song I used in that entry but another line...
Give me your arms for the brokenhearted...
This past weekend I attended a benefit concert called Sing: Freedom. The concert put on my CoffeeandPieStudios was to benefit the Florida Coalition against Human Trafficking. I was feeling more inspired for this cause a day or two before the concert when in casual conversation I heard a guy (in his late 20s) say, 'slavery doesn't exist in the US anymore'. You know your from America when you find ways to keep injustice from your mind, or in some cases ignore that they even exist. I (and perhaps we) live in a country in which it is easy to overlook our responsibilities to those less fortunate than ourselves.
The US Department of Justice states that 800,000 victims are trafficked across international borders every year. 18-20K of those victims are brought into the US, with Florida reportedly receiving a large percentage of those victims. Not only does this mean that slavery is very much alive in the US and in my own state of Florida but it is thriving in the desperation our economic crisis has brought on.
One story on the website speaks of an 11 year old girl sold into slavery by her own mother. That is how she came to live in the US but thankfully, that's not how her story ends. While her innocence and childhood were taken from her and her rescuers cannot hope to restore those, she has been freed and is living what the story describes as 'the life of a typical teenager'.
A difference is being made.
Sing: Freedom raised awareness that trafficking is happening even here in our own city. A speaker from the Coalition was present to tell stories of recovered victims who have been and are still being rehabilitated. Sing: Freedom also featured the musical talents of several local artists that included Pam Affronti, The Broken, Glasgow, and Watermark Church's worship band. It was an eclectic mix of styles but I was impressed with the talent of each group.
My eyes were opened to the issue of Trafficking by a coworker of mine who even now is in Cambodia working in a prostitute recovery facility for those coming out of this life. Her love for those who this injustice has broken down speaks volumes to me and to others around her. It was special to join her for the concert and in support of a wonderful cause. I hope to see in the years to come freedom for all who live on American soil, as well as those in other countries. I am not naive enough however, to believe that change can happen without me getting involved.
It is easy to want a change. Change has perhaps been the most overused word in the US vocab since the election campaign and continues to be thrown around flippantly nationwide today. Change requires action, from each of us. Hope all you want, but don't forget to get your hands dirty for a cause.
To join the cause, visit: http://www.stophumantrafficking.org/News.htm
If you want to be free, there is but one way; it is to guarantee an equally full measure of liberty to all your neighbors. There is no other. - Carl Shurz
Sunday, August 16, 2009
Saturday, August 15, 2009
I received a free subscription to Glamour magazine a few months back for a purchase I made on one of my favorite fashion websites, www.smartbargains.com . They signed me up and the magazines started rolling in sometime near the beginning of the year. I doubt I would have signed up or paid to receive a subscription myself but to be honest, I have enjoyed having it!
When you work with high school students you can never be too informed on pop culture. If the students in my program are reading it, why shouldn't I be? Also, I love hair, makeup, and fashion tips as much as the next 23-year-old-girl.
There was an article feature in the September issue I received this week that really caught my eye. 'Sex with a Stranger' was the title that jumped off the page to greet me as I neared the back of the issue. If you'd like to browse it for yourself you can find it on page 274. I would have linked to a copy of the article but it was not one featured on the webpage.
Glamour writer Genevieve Field investigates into the world of women who are meeting guys for 'sex only' relationships, via the internet! Most of the women whose stories were featured are alarmingly close to my age, the early 20s. Using sites like Craigslist and AdultFriendFinder to search out sexual partners. Reasons? These women say it's to have sex without rules and to feel in charge.
Scarier still Field reports that these websites receive more attention than even traditional dating websites. In May of this year, she reports, Match.com had 5 million unique visits, which pales in comparison to AdultFriendFinder's 24 million new viewers in May of 2009. Who ARE all these people?
Perhaps the answer to that question is what should bother us most. They are talented, attractive, young women who I must admit I think are completely lost. While I don't have an issue with looking for love on the internet through venues such as eharmony, I find is devastingly sad that Field reports that 50,000 new FEMALE users per month are using a website called 'OnlineBootyCall'. Yikes.
Talk about looking for 'love' in all the wrong places! One girl in the article admits what she's really looking for is a husband. Hoping one of these 'hook ups' may just turn out to be her Mr. Right.
I'm still feeling a bit overwelmed by all this new info but in contrast, watch for a post soon with insights from a reverse perspective - thoughts from an author who got out of the loveless lifestyle and reports from the flip side. Coming soon...
Friday, August 14, 2009
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Moving forward I hope to be able to be involved with the future outreach projects of Current. If you're in the Tampa area, you should join me. If you're not, consider what this type of project could look like in your own community or consider giving towards the next Laundry Love project.
It's great to see young people fired up to make a real difference in the lives of people. Read what Josh had to say about Laundry Love after reading my entry on his blog here: http://joshatepic.blogspot.com/2009/08/laundry-love.html
Also, I was informed yesterday that my original entry is going to be sent out to Current donors!
Wednesday, August 12, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
Photo credit @ www.engagethecurrent.com - visit the site, support their cause(s). They're doing big things.
Give me your eyes for just one second
Give me your eyes so I can see
Everything that I keep missing
Give me your love for humanity
Give me your arms for the broken hearted
Ones that are far beyond my reach.
Give me your heart for the ones forgotten
Give me your eyes so I can see//Brandon Heath
Saturday morning. What were you doing? Any other Saturday morning I would have been pulling on my beach bag and headed to the pool with Jess, texting Audra to ask her if she'd at least come out for an hour. This Saturday was unlike most though. Jason Sowell, a friend & the founder of Current has sent me an invite to the Laundry Love project.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Came home early today, to avoid having overtime at work this week. Put under house arrested by waiting for the Geek Squad to come work on my LCD TV, I debated napping or being productive. No rest of the weary here, I decided to finish my essay for the Real Simple contest. The task was to write an essay that answered in 1500 words or less, 'When did you first realize that you had become a grown-up?'.
I had walked away from my essay over a week ago and thought nothing of it since. Reopening the document this afternoon to find that I had written my soul into that essay. I admit to being a somewhat sappy and sentimental writer to begin with (you should see my journals from middle and high school). This is different. There's a piece of me in this essay, one that is rarely if ever, shown to the world. When I reread it I was surprised, I hadn't seen it in the writing when I first put the words to page.
Great writing spans emotions, does it not? In a 1000 words you can see my heartbreak, courage, insecurities, and finally my triumphant success. Whether or not it will win over the judges of the contest, I won't know for months to come. To me however, the essay is already a prize-winning writing because I managed to put into words thoughts I have never successfully conveyed with my spoken words.
The contest isn't over until September but in the future I'll keep you posted. Also, if it doesn't get win, I'll post it here.
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Wednesday, August 5, 2009
Tuesday, August 4, 2009
This months book titled, 'The Unlikely Disciple' is about a Brown University student who decides that in order to study a subculture he will not leave the country...he will go to Liberty. Liberty for those of my readers that may not yet know of it, is a conservative christian school in Lynchburg, VA. A far cry from the liberal ways of Brown.
I'm not finished with the book yet (I know, a book club no-no) but it did bring me back to memories of my own 'in house' experience with culture shock. After a radical change from Fine Arts Photography & Printmaking in college to Sociology (a midway through junior year decision), I decided it was time to get my hands dirty in the social work field. I signed on for a 300 hour internship with Americorp. Quite possibly my best educational decision to date.
My placement within the program was to teach classes during a summer program at a Boys and Girls Club in inner-city Indianapolis. I didn't go into the summer expecting it to be an easy, mindless job but I also didn't expect for those children's lives to be as shockingly different from my fairly simple upbringing as I would later discover.
I will pause now to address the questions I know some of you are already thinking...'simple living'? The truth is despite my Dad's career within the NFL my parents purposed to raise us simply, with the focus first and foremost on God and our relationship with him. After that, family, friends, education, charity, etc but never fame and never fortune. We did have some unique opportunities to experience things within the sports world that many teenagers never will. However, I would say that all-in-all I've lived a wonderfully simple life filled with love and not 'things'.
I didn't get a brand new car for my 16th birthday, or a car at all actually. We didn't go on wild vacations to exotic places. The farthest I ever traveled for Spring Break was Tampa (once living in Indiana). My parents believed in driving on all family vacations to promote 'bonding'. I worked consistently from 15 on to pay my own gas, car insurance, etc. So I thought, my life is great but not fancy.
Well, that all might have been true in 'my world'. Come to find out while inner-city Indy was less than an hour commute from my parents posh Carmel home, I might as well have gone to another country with the stark contrast of living conditions. Later, I would learn that having my own bedroom and bathroom was a luxury I'd never given much thought too. So was my parents having a car even in the days when I didn't. Having proper supervision. Eating three meals a day regularly. My family never had to share a home with another family or live with our grandparents. I didn't grow up in fancy neighborshoods but I could also play in the streets without fear.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
People often say that motivation doesn't last. Well, neither does bathing - that's why we recommend it daily. -Zig Zigla