Friday, November 23, 2012

Christmas Shopping and Random Reads

Okay! Thanksgiving is over and I can officially think about Christmas!

Give me a break, I'm a one holiday at a time kind of girl...there is way too much going on in life for me to think about turkey and mistletoe at the same time!

So...the kids have given me their wish lists. Trey, having not forgotten the lesson he learned two years ago, is very specific about the video games he wants. Bree has everything from books to make up to henna kits.

While you are doing your shopping, here are two great tools to help you buy that perfect gift while making an impact for social justice (thanks to Not For Sale)
 Purchase With Purpose
Apparel Industry Trends

And...just for the record...if I'm on your, candy, books. You can't go wrong. (LOL)

For those of you who don't know, I'm kind of a dork (if you have met me or read one of my blogs, you know I'm a dork...but I always hope there is just one person out there who hasn't figured it out yet and reads that statement with a gasp of surprise). I tend to read a lot. And try to read between 3-5 articles a day. Just for the heck of it, I thought I'd share a few of the most interesting I've read lately.

Disclaimer 1: If you and I are friends on Facebook or you follow me on Twitter, I've already shared these. Disclaimer 2: Facebook is for people I actually know. Twitter is for everyone. If you "friend" me on Facebook and I don't know you...I won't accept it. Sorry.

1) Whether you agree with everything Rachel Held Evans says or not, she definitely knows how to start a conversation. I really enjoyed this post on politics and evangelicals. "The Real Evangelical Disaster"

2) If you don't subscribe to Fast Company's emails, you should. "The 20 Minute Exercise to Eradicate Negative Thinking"

3) Try to look at things from someone else's views. "An Open Letter" Part 1

4) Are we willing to sacrifice our dignity for shoes?

5) Just for fun...the 50 worst movies ever made (per someone else's opinion of course)

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Gratitude and Memories

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. A day to be with family. Eat too much. A day to watch football. A day to be...thankful. And I am.

Tomorrow is something else for me.

Tomorrow will mark one year since I saw my Dad alive, conscious. The next time I would see him would be in February, after he had the stroke.

I wish I could tell you about the good time we had. But I can't. In fact, I kind of avoided him for most of the day. He was not in a good mood and sat on the couch trying to make anyone within a four foot radius of him as miserable as he was.

Give the guy a break. He'd been in pain for over a year from a broken leg that just wouldn't heal due to his diabetes. After his last stint in the hospital, they had given him the choice to spend some time in a nursing home so they could monitor his diet, administer antibiotics and give him physical therapy or lose his leg. He'd chosen the nursing home but he wasn't happy about it.

I should have been more understanding, but I wasn't. I wanted to have a good time, laugh, spend time with family. I didn't want to deal with his grumpiness and as many hours as I'd spent with him in the hospital over the course of the last year, as many times as I'd emptied his pee pot (yep, dutiful daughter award) and watched TBS movies...I didn't feel guilty about it.

Maybe now I do.

I could feel really, really guilty about it. As good as I am about focusing on negatives, beating myself up and occasionally swimming around in my own pity pool...I could feel terrible, revel in the regret and mourn those last, lost few hours.

But I'm not going to. Not because I don't wish I'd had more grace and spent more time with him that day, but because I know two things to be true.

My dad knew I loved him. (see above reference to pee pot!)
My dad loved me. unconditionally. It isn't easy. I know. My dad and I had a special relationship simply because we had a relationship. It took a lot of letting go of the past, forgiveness, and grace...on both sides. It took agreeing to disagree, declaring some topics taboo (i.e. my Mom), and accepting each other "warts and all"

Lesson...time is precious. Spend as much of it with family and friends as you can. How could I possibly have known that would be the last time I would see him? He actually looked better that day than he had in a while. Oddly enough, the day before his stroke, I'd thought to myself we needed to go see him before we got crazy busy with the shows we were doing. I am grateful I told him I loved him and gave him a big hug before we left him back at the nursing home.

Lesson...give yourself grace. You are not all knowing, all seeing, or perfect. You make mistakes. You get grumpy. You have bad days. You do things you wish you can undo (that bad tattoo maybe? not that I have one...too chicken) There is no way for me to jump into my DeLorean and fix this. The best thing I can do for myself and the memory of my Dad is to focus on the positives, the good times and the fact that we had said everything we needed to say to each other.

Tomorrow, as we laugh and talk and eat and eat and eat (my Uncle John is a stellar cook ya'll and to not overindulge a bit would not be true to the work he puts into the preparations of the meal...right?), my Dad's memory will be there. And I'm thankful for that. I'm thankful I am his daughter. I'm thankful for my family-especially my kids. I'm thankful to have a job at Wellspring Living. To have as many interesting and amazing friends as we do and for the opportunities to make more. I'm thankful for grace and redemption.

I'm thankful if this post makes you take a deep breath and give yourself permission to let something go so you can enjoy your day just a little more.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Gala 2012


Gala season is over!!!

The week before gala is a lot like tech week before a show. For those of you who bother to read my blogs and have never been involved with theatre, tech week is nicknamed "heck week" but not actually "heck"

You know, the bad place. The really, really hot...bad place.

It's stressful and crazy and yet creates a camaraderie between you and the others on your team (or cast).
As Dana, Jason and I chatted and emailed at one in the morning...throwing about labels like "pot" and "kettle" and I watched the volunteer sign ups go up and down as people have to back out and others sign up, as we take t-shirts home to bundle and books home to stuff...we are at one moment confident this is going to be the best gala ever and the other confident that everything will fall apart.

I was confident in the programming and the decor...but having nightmares that not a single volunteer showed up and I was trying to single handedly greet everyone at the door while serving dinner to 350 guests at the same time.

In the end, it came together beautifully.
You can read a recap and see some pictures here:

I do have to say that this was a learning experience for me. Last year I came in at the last minute and my main role at the gala was to sign in the volunteers. I was shocked to find that only about half the volunteers they were expecting actually came. Confident that I could do better this year...I have to say I don't think I did. We never actually got the number we needed signed up and only about 60% showed up. I tried to organize this like a group project but it feels a bit different. And I seriously let the stress and disorganization get to me. I have a few ideas in mind to make next year better, but I'd love to hear any feedback from those with volunteer administration or event planning experience.

Maybe we could start a conversation:
1) What can we do to make sure that the volunteers who sign up, show up? Do we just expect to only have 50-60% show up and therefore recruit double the number we need?

2) How can we organize teams, leads, etc with a chance of only half of them actually being there?

3) Advice on keeping your cool? Best ways to make event volunteers appreciated?

Sunday, November 4, 2012

GA Tech Women's Leadership Conference

I had a unique experience this weekend. I was given the chance to lead a workshop at Georgia Tech's Women's Leadership Conference. Originally I was supposed to be part of a panel on trafficking, but that didn't end up happening at all. After a presenter dropped out, I was contacted by one of the planners and asked if I would lead a workshop! I suggested a couple of topics and the one we agreed on was "Engaging Your Community"

I was a bit nervous and even more nervous when I got there and their equipment and my Mac wouldn't work together. That meant I had to ditch my power point. I quickly jotted down all my talking points so I wouldn't forget. As attendees started arriving, I took a deep breath and went for it.

What followed was a very engaging conversation with lots of good feed back from the audience and information from me. I mean, I'm not tooting my own horn but engaging community is what I do and what I'm passionate about and the energy and interest from those who came to the workshop made it really easy. I'd brought Embree along and she even enjoyed it. She not only liked seeing me in that role but enjoyed the presentation. (She thinks I'm quotable)

I will admit that I was really happy to see people writing down things I'd said not because I want to be prideful but because it means it was useful. I was also able to help a mother who is volunteering as the grant writer for her child's PTO and give a woman who has a ministry for women with breast cancer with some fund development ideas.

All in all, it was a great time and I'm really grateful to have been invited.

And for those of you wondering, I was not wearing red and black.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Speaking of Zombies

So I really, really, really love Trey.
A lot.

And I have to say I was kind of interested in The Walking Dead because it's filmed around here, we know people who work on the show, so many of our friends like it...

But I really didn't think I'd watch it.
Until Trey started to...

And I'm not sure I mentioned it, but I really love Trey.
And he wanted me to watch it.
And I wanted to spend time with him.

So I watched it. Two episodes. From season one.
Amusing as watching me dry heave apparently is...Trey has told me I can love him without watching The Walking Dead with him.

I really love Trey.
I really hate zombies.