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My Journey to the Col.

It all started with a little Tweet…

@hschoegler Littleton tweet

I’m a big fan of www.griffintechnology.com products and follow their blog as well as Twitter (@griffintech) and “like” them on Facebook. Of course, when they posted an opportunity to win a Col. Littleton No. 42 Courier bag on their blog, I jumped at the chance and posted the tweet as requested to be entered for my chance to win.

Fast forward to this past Tuesday when I received an email (via DM) from @griffintech saying “I sure hope you know the answer!”. Of course I scream, realizing that it’s after Noon and I may have gotten the winning question posed to me. (You see, you had to watch a video on the blog post and be able to answer a question about it if you received the winning tweet.)

I opened Hootsuite, and sure enough there it was. I quickly responded with the right answer.

@griffintech question tweet

And they responded by confirming the win on the original blog post…

blog.griffintechnology.com

And a very sweet tweet…

@griffintech congrats tweet

And then the anxious waiting began until I arrived home today at the very same time the UPS man arrived with a special package. More on my meeting the Col. in next post…

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Tagged with tech, real, random, contests,
Posted at 6:15 PM 25 February 2011

All the Single Ladies

The Indiana Commission for Women is looking for single mothers who are willing to share their stories.

To quote Jane Sellman, “The phrase working mother is redundant.” It takes a whole lot of work to raise a child, to nourish the future. It takes a village, as the old adage informs us. Today, the rearing and upbringing of tomorrow’s leaders demands everyone’s full participation at every level: mothers, friends, community, state. In Indiana, we see that 31.1% of our single mothers are struggling below the poverty line. This statistic alone however, does not capture the full impact of single motherhood on the many facets of self-sufficiency and raising children. One of our research initiatives at the Indiana Commission for Women is the Mothers in Transition Project. This is a qualitative community needs assessment with women who are living the transition into single motherhood. Our goal with this project is to capture the stories, experiences, and challenges of single mothers to better understand and address the needs of Hoosier families. In the process of this research I have spoken with single mothers from varying backgrounds and circumstances. Their stories are as diverse as their personalities. Setting differences aside, there emerges a confluence of issues that all single mothers face. In identifying these shared needs, we can begin to invoke that village to do the work it takes to nourish our future.

We are still looking for single mothers who would be willing to share their stories and perspectives. If you or someone you know would would like to be a voice in this project, please contact Stella Tran at Stran@dwd.in.gov or call (317) 234-3376.

You may remember my post about the comparisons I make. To follow up, comparisons aren’t healthy and I’m doing my best to stop. I wasn’t passing judgment nor saying I felt judgment from others but rather put the comparison on myself. So adios to comparing and hola to celebrating.

Here’s to celebrating single mothers who are some of THE hardest working women I know.

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Tagged with mom, relevant, real, women,
Posted at 9:01 PM 16 February 2011

1 in 250

Read this.

Then do the math.

If I can remember that I’ve had around 10 CT scans in the past 10 years, what does that do to my statistics?

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Tagged with Healthcare, real, random, relevant,
Posted at 9:30 PM 14 February 2011

Balance

The irony is not lost on me that I’m writing about work/life balance and I’m writing this on a Friday night.

I’m a pretty busy person. My calendar is usually full and because of my color-coding, it’s as colorful as a bag of Skittles. And it is difficult to manage the calendar and my life loves. I’m a pretty busy wife, mom, daughter, sister, granddaughter, friend, volunteer and coworker.

I’m probably not much different than you. Do you struggle with how to balance it all? Call it another God-thing but as I’m starting to bring things into focus in the beginning of 2011, several relevant posts have found their way into my Google Reader. Here’s what I’ve found interesting and you may as well.

So off I go to figure out how to cut my incoming email while standing at my newly built standing desk in my mom cave…

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Tagged with relevant, work, life, mom, balance, real,
Posted at 11:19 PM 11 February 2011

Making Comparisons

I am not a runner. I have pretty much no desire to become a runner.

But, my good friend Jenny is training for a half-marathon. She’s an inspiration. I love learning from her via her writing and she progresses on this journey. She recently wrote about Finish Times and how she struggles with comparing herself to others. She poses a question to her readers about whether they do the same.

Combine Jenny’s post with some recent experiences like:

  • One of the other preschool moms invited all the moms over to her house for coffee during school…
  • One of my friends invited me to join a group of moms from our church at a zumba class that meets during the day…
  • Reading numerous blog posts from other moms who talk about their day-to-day activities…

…And frankly, I can’t help but compare myself. But why? Is there a tone of comparison competition between stay-at-home/work-from-home moms (SHM) and we working moms? (Obviously making generalizations here but you understand.)

I make a deliberate choice every day when I choose to go to work. I choose to be the best woman/wife/mom I can be and I can do that by gaining energy and having interactions in my workplace and the community. Staying at home doesn’t use my strengths. In fact, I think it plays on my weaknesses.

So - why is that I feel even weaker when I let myself compare? Probably because I shouldn’t and it’s a great lesson as to why. It seems like at the coffee, zumba, etc. allows SHM to develop deeper, meaningful relationships with other women that much quicker. And while I desire that as well, I’m confident in my decisions.

I love my life. My husband and kids.

I love my job. My coworkers and our mission.

I treasure the rare night out with my girl friends.

I treasure their relationship more.

I’m grateful every day that I get to have the opportunity to excel - at work and at home.

Anyone else feel like this? How do SHM feel about the topic?

We all have different strengths, desires and drives. What would female relationships look like if we didn’t compare ourselves but instead treasure each strength we all have?

Actually - let me tell you what it looks like. It looks like phone conversations with colleagues that turns personal with laughter. It is a dear friend who invites me to zumba with her after work a few nights a week. It’s scheduling time in an already hectic schedule to spend time with the women who love unconditionally, without judgment, in support.

For those of you who support and shine the light on my strengths and weaknesses, thank you for not making this world a competition.

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Tagged with real, relevant, women, mom, work,
Posted at 12:16 PM 05 February 2011
  1. Grace (my 4-yr old): "Mom, your phone buzzed and I looked. It was a text message, you know where the little letters come up and you can write like a postcard? So, I typed and sent them a text message back. I wonder if they'll send one back to me?!"
  2. Me: (Look at the phone to see) "Well, fffyahghgiak back at you". (Scroll up to see who she is communicating with and what was said...)
  3. My boss via text: "Everything ok?"
  4. Grace via text: "fffyahghgiakbyobfff"
  5. My boss via text: "Well, fffyahghgiak back at you"
  6. Me via text: "Agh! I'm so sorry! Grace grabbed my phone..."
  7. My boss via text: "That's what I figured. Glad you're all ok."
  8. Me: "Whew!"
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Tagged with real, random,
Posted at 11:49 AM 02 February 2011

USAToday's "The Kindness Challenge"

Love to see good promoted.

Who or what would you promote in a kindness challenge?

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Tagged with real, relevant, love,
Posted at 10:45 PM 21 January 2011

Fridays and Follow-ups

First (had to continue the alliteration), thank you to those of you who let me know you appreciated my “God Things” post. It’s not easy to be vulnerable real and it’s nice to know when someone is experiencing a similar thought or moment or even to just say, “I love you.” I know encouragement means a lot to me, so I wanted you to know that you meant something to me this week with your responses.

But, today is Friday. And that made me think. (Cue the “a-ha” music…) God-things don’t have to be the big, hit-you-over-the-head kind of realizations. It can be simple little things that happen all the time to let you know He loves you and is thinking of you. Maybe we don’t always notice them because we’re not listening clearly enough.  Back to Friday. Here’s the sequence of events…

  1. Last night I received a call from a number I did not recognize and they left a voicemail. I’m working on trying to save the audio file and upload it but basically, someone I do not know (at least I don’t think so), sang me a song about being proud of me. (Big-ol’-note: I don’t write this to say “Whoo-hoo. Look at me!”) Keep in mind, I haven’t done anything special. I went to work yesterday so maybe that’s why they’re proud? Either way, it was a nice random (yet odd) thing.
  2. I went to Starbucks for my morning drink and was plotting out my next random act of kindness. I thought about how someone gave me a gift card and I used it to buy drinks for people in line behind me last week. (SO much fun!) What if I put a gift card budget into my monthly expenses and made regular, random gifts like that?
  3. In the Twitterverse, Friday’s are celebrated by #FollowFridays. Everyone takes a different approach to this but usually people list one or more individuals that they recommend their followers to follow. On Friday. I like this (and it’s always nice to receive a #FF recommendation) but haven’t really participated lately. I decided to pose a question with this tweet and hashtag.                Several people responded that they liked this idea so I’m going to make it my new Friday tradition. Feel free to adopt it too if you’d like!
  4. One of my favorite blogs (for the sincerity and fun design that they offer) is Young House Love. Tonight’s post was about exactly items 1 & 2!

How amazing is that. Well, it is, but it shouldn’t surprise me. I think it’s just God letting me know I’m on the right track. Reinforcing a small purpose I can have. Cool. A God-thing.

Sorry for another long post but I’m realizing more and more that God is so present and relevant in my life. I knew this in my mind of course, but now I’m knowing it more with my heart.

In closing, what is in/on your heart? Have you noticed any God-things lately? I hope you’ll recognize them and be willing to share them. I’ve loved stepping outside my comfort zone. It’s been a lot easier with the feedback from you and I’d love to be an encourager as you share as well.

(And if you know how to get Tumblr to default to allow responses, PLEASE let me know!)

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Posted at 8:51 PM 21 January 2011

It’s a God thing.

Have you heard that phrase before? I’m sure you have. How did it make you feel? Did you roll your eyes? Cringe? Remind you of something? Mean something to you?

I’m a Christian. Like any group of people, we develop our own form of jargon. “God thing” can be used somewhat often. (And in no way am I discounting the very appropriate use of this term.) But, when we use it, do we really believe what it means?  I used it last week in a story. I completely believe it was appropriate to use, but this Sunday at church I became keenly aware what it means. Can I tell you a little bit more about this?

Thanks. First, let me tell you what it means for me to be a Christian. I believe that I am a sinner (as is every other human born in this world). I believe that I am created in the image of God (as is every other human born in this world). I believe that he loved loves me enough to sacrifice His own life for mine on the cross (as He did for every other human born in this world). I believe in this love through faith and have a personal relationship with Him because of his grace and my faith.

Back to the “God thing”. I’m busy. I’m sure you are too. It’s easy for me to fill my calendar with work, kids, husband, me, friends, community, etc. I love it. I really really love how I choose to serve and those I choose to serve with. But lately, I’ve been considering how I’m spending my time. My hours are precious. Especially with my family. So I’m asking myself: Am I doing the most and the best that I can? Am I fulfilling my true purpose?

Here’s the thing. For me as a Christian, when it all comes down to it - the only reason I’m here on this earth is to glorify Him and share Him with others so that all have the opportunity to know Him as I do.  If this is my filter, are my 10,000 hours adding up? I’m not so sure.

Here’s why I’m starting to believe this more and more. I started to wonder “what will people think if I talk about this”? Will I lose Facebook friends? Will people stop following me on Twitter? Will I get picked for the kickball team? (No. Seriously. See, I’m one of those people who loves having people like me so it might not seem like a big deal to you, but it makes me pause for sure.) This week, I had lunch with a friend from my volunteer work that I know is also a believer. I brought this topic up with her and she said she’d also been having similar thoughts. God-thing: reassurance that I’m not alone.

At church this morning, the message was on being outrageous. Not in the way you might be imagining. No Bible-thumping, changing my wardrobe or anything like that. It’s about being the salt in the earth. Talk about a God thing. He brought the very message I needed at the time I needed it most. Amazing. I shouldn’t be surprised though. He knows me better than I know myself.

We also sang one of my favorite songs, Hillsong United’s “Lead Me to the Cross”. Here are a few lyrics:

….Everything I once held dear
I count it all as lost

Lead me to the cross
Where Your love poured out
Bring me to my knees
Lord I lay me down
Rid me of myself
I belong to You
Lead me, lead me to the cross

So - this is me laying down. Shifting my heart. Shifting it back to what I once knew and lived every day but haven’t done so well lately. It’s not going to be easy, but what is. I don’t think I’ll become someone you won’t recognize. I’m not going to start talking about or doing anything necessarily new. I’m going to be involved in my community as I am now. Maybe I won’t be able to do as many things. But what I will do, I’ll be doing better.

Being a Christian doesn’t have to mean giving everything up to live a life that you don’t recognize. What is does mean is living as the salt in your world. Giving it flavor. Being someone recognized as different. (For me, this doesn’t only mean being recognized as different, but also being willing to explain why I am different.) God calls us to be excellent so you can expect me to strive to do well and to love greater than I’ve been doing. Hopefully as I grow and serve better, you’ll recognize more of Him in me. I hope.

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Posted at 12:00 AM 17 January 2011

10,000 Hours

Author Malcolm Gladwell in his book Outliers discusses a phenomenon that he calls “The 10,000 Hour Rule.” Gladwell quotes neurologist Daniel Levitin, who says that scientific studies show that 10,000 hours are required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert — in anything.

I’ve been thinking a lot about this lately.  Well - thinking about something bigger but it relates to how I spend my time.  This of course led me back to Gladwell’s 10,000 hours.  Look for more about my thoughts soon.

In the meantime, how are you spending your time? In the end, if you add it all up, what would get your 10,000 hours?  Satisfied with that?

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Tagged with relevant, real, 10000 hours, invest,
Posted at 9:20 AM 14 January 2011

Teaching

When I started my undergrad, I was a “Speech and Theatre Education” major.  I wanted to be a teacher from such a young age.  When I had my first PR class, I quickly learned that I loved Public Relations and all its potential so I dropped the Education portion of my degree and graduated with a B.A. in Media and Public Communications with concentrations in PR and Theatre.

When I did my graduate work, I wasn’t quite sure “why” I was entering the program but knew it was the right time.  If nothing else, it would help me fulfill requirements to do some adjunct teaching…hopefully.  I loved my course work and find myself using it every day.  Who knew a M.S. in Organizational Leadership would lead me in many paths, which so far hasn’t included standing at the front of my own classroom.

That said - when I made the decision to drop the Education portion of my undergrad, I thought to myself that I could get the ‘teacher’ in me fulfilled by other means.  Teaching in my job. Teaching Sunday school.  Teaching my own children.

I realized today that I am teaching.  While I’m not a “teacher” (and bless those who are!!!!), I’ve had the privilege of sharing my knowledge (all be it limited) with others.  I’ve been blessed to be chosen to mentor a student from Manchester College.  I’m lucky to have an intern being placed with me this semester from the University of St. Francis.  I have friends who invite me to be a guest in their classroom like I did this week at Huntington University in Andrew Hoffman’s JTerm class.

So - thank you to those who think I have something to teach others.  I’m honored and so grateful to be fulfilled by serving in those ways.  Can’t wait to see how I can be taught in the future so that I might serve more.

How are you using yourself to learn and to teach?

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Tagged with real, random, teaching, teacher, learn,
Posted at 7:00 PM 13 January 2011

Help a Friend

thelink:

One of my NeighborLink Advisory Group member and his wife have gotten really involved in taking projects over the past 8 months or so and they’re asking for your help. The story of their most recent connection through NeighborLink is below.

Not knowing how else to help, I’m coming to you…

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Tagged with real,
Posted at 2:50 PM 11 January 2011

Lists: Intrigue

What a funny blog title.  I bet you were expecting a list of NYE resolutions for the first of the year, weren’t you.  Well, here’s the only one I’ll give: resolve to learn more from others.  That’s what I hope to do in 2011.

As far as where I gain inspiration, it’s often from people I know and interact with as well as those I follow via my Google Reader.  (See more about that in this post.)  For some additional inspiration to be intrigued, here’s my list of the blogs that inspire and intrigue me the most, as categorized in my Google Reader.

BRANDS and MARKETING

BUSINESS

FRIENDS and other INDIVIDUALS

HEALTHCARE

LEADERSHIP

PHILANTHROPY

SOCIAL MEDIA

VISION 2020

What sources intrigue and inspire you?

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Tagged with real, random, relevant, lists, inspire,
Posted at 11:19 PM 03 January 2011