Change

So much for resolutions.

I realize I have not written in awhile. New job, new commitments, new excuses.

Forming new habits is easier said than done. It requires a certain amount of discipline, but it also needs to be a priority. For me writing is a release of information from my brain, but it is not always a priority. I am actually ok with that. I don’t have a need to write daily, just to write when I have something to say.

This year has been a year of change for me. Having a new job means learning new things. In some ways it means changing my thought processes and even what I thought was the right way to do something. For some of my writing I need to change my simple style of writing the way I speak and think, to elaborating and adding details for others to see the big picture. I even have to change the way I look at things to see more from other’s point of view.

The cool thing about expanding the way I think and see the world is that the world is becoming more colorful and a bigger place. It is easy to become cynical when not everyone agrees with you, or you can step up to the challenge of changing their minds or changing yours.

Right now I am coming off of an exhilarating day of listening to experts from all over the country speak about domestic violence and homelessness solutions at the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. As they concluded a 5 year investment into some of their local programs, I was able to hear the stories of how communities changed the way they were doing business and saw amazing results for survivors of domestic violence.

In just over a month, I have changed the way I think about homeless solutions, collaboration, and even community. The cool thing is after seeing what I have seen in Washington (the State), I know that change is possible in my community too.

This is a year of change. I am looking forward to seeing lives changed because of the good work of the organization I work for and others in the community as we work on ending homelessness.

Opening our minds to change can be good.

It has been for me.

Following Through

The most difficult thing is the decision to act, the rest is merely tenacity.” – Amelia Earhart

One of the things I have become pretty good at (not quite perfect, but I try) is following through on commitments. I always strive to get back to people and get things done as quickly as possible and to do what I say I am going to do. For me, it is easier to give an answer right away, make the phone call or schedule a date as soon as possible rather than leaving things in limbo or potentially forgetting.

One of the keys to following through, for me, is keeping a list. I use a style similar to the bullet journal which my sister introduced me to a year ago.  It is a homemade version of the Franklin Covey system.  Even though I have a good memory, I find that it is easy to get distracted and forget. Writing thinks on my to do list insures they get done.

Every morning, I go back through the previous day’s list to make sure that whatever is still hanging out there gets done. I find my biggest frustration is waiting on other people. In the age of email, texting, and other instant communications it is amazing to me how many people procrastinate and put things off. I understand people are busy. There are days when I have back to back meetings and I barely have time to breathe, but I can’t imagine every day is that way.

Getting in the habit of answering people right away has made my job actually easier.  If something does not have to get flagged for follow up or go on my to do list it is a win for me.  I used to have a saying posted on the wall in a retail store I managed that said something to the effect of…”If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, when will you have time to do it right?” The less touches I have to give something on my list, the better.

I want to encourage others to develop the habit of answering quickly and following through as soon as possible.  For those of us who organize events, this means don’t wait until the morning of the event to RSVP.  If you are waiting to see if something better will come along, well then…

People appreciate when you get back to them quickly. It shows them they are important and you care.

Life is Short, Focus on the Good

“Life is short, live it. Love is rare, grab it. Anger is bad, dump it. Fear is awful, face it. Memories are sweet, cherish it.” – Unknown

Yesterday I couldn’t write. I have to admit I was a little nervous waiting to hear from my husband about the results of his medical tests. After 2 CT scans and an MRI to look at his appendix, we were playing the waiting game. The day before we has heard the sad news about Stuart Scott passing away from cancer which had started in his appendix. We really didn’t talk about it, we just waited, and I prayed. After news of colon cancer rocked our world last year, we take nothing for granted.

Very happily I can report that the tests all came back fine. An answer to prayer for sure. It is just another reminder though that life is short, and we need to cherish every minute of it.

I see so much negativity, drama, and hurt in the world. I make it a point to avoid it when I can and to be positive. Sometimes, though it is easy to get drawn in especially when someone hurts you or says something you disagree with. I have to be careful not to let it affect me. Recently, I have realized that a few things in my world do have the ability to take me down a path of bitterness if I am not aware of my reactions to what they have said or done, and my reaction to it.

We can choose how we react to a situation, and I am determined not to let the negativity of the world draw me in. Life is short, and I want to focus on the good.

All Things New

Yesterday I spent a good part of the day learning about my new job. It was a great meeting and I am looking forward to the challenges ahead. I know I should probably be a little nervous about the change and all of the giant goals ahead of me, but if I will be it has not hit me yet. There is so much to learn and so much to do. I am so excited about the direction of the organization and what the future holds.

Leaving your comfort zone can be difficult. I have loved the job I have had for nearly 8 years. Leaving the people and the environment I know is hard, but I also feel strongly that this was a season for all of us. I am also excited for the new director to come in and put her mark on Christian HELP.  Knowing that if God had a plan for me, He also had a plan for the organization has made it a little easier to let go.

Presentation1I keep seeing verse 43:19 from Isaiah. As I look to the future, the issues I will be working on with the team at the Commission and the community through collective impact are overwhelming. Homelessness is tragic and the wilderness needs to end for so many people who are suffering. As I drive to work each day, I pass by a homeless camp in the woods. I can see it from the road. I look forward to the day when we can offer the people who live in these tents a place to go that is more stable.

This is a new year with new challenges and new hope for the future. I am excited about what the future holds.

Letting Go…

It is not even noon and today has been a crazy day. Maybe it is because we ate chicken on New Year’s Day (a superstition), who knows.  My youngest got his driver’s license this morning, my middle child has strep- thank you Publix for free antibiotics, and my oldest is threatening to sleep in her car if her school does not fix her dorm situation. She ended up with the crazy, bully roommate who steals and breaks her stuff.

As a parent, I just want to fix everything. I want to make my daughter feel better. I want to shake someone at the school and ask them why they are acting helpless when they knew there was a big enough issue to put her in temporary housing until Dec 28. I want to be able to protect my son from crazy drivers out on the road. The lack of control I have in these situations makes me realize how much I need to let the control freak in me let go. I have actually made lots of progress on this over the years, but it still creeps up every now and then.

My husband has been a great mentor to me in this area. He has pushed me outside of my comfort zone and let me know that not every moment of my life has to have a plan, and I need to relax a bit and just let things happen on their own. As a parent, I have to let me kids succeed or fail on their own, and as a boss, I have to let my team learn and stretch so that they can grow. It is hard, but in the end it pays off.

So as a person who needs to “Let go, and let God”, the verse I am meditating on today is Proverbs 16:9 – “The heart of man plans his way, but the Lord establishes his steps.”

#Positive 2015

A new year has dawned on us and that symbolizes new beginnings. Like an imaginary line drawn in the sand, we are able to put old things behind us and look forward to what the future might hold.

This year for me means a new job and new challenges. I am not looking to put the old job behind me, but to build on who it has helped me to become. Rather than drawing that line in the sand, I want to cherish the good experiences and learn from the harder times. I believe it makes us better people, when we are constantly reflecting and improving.

This year my only resolution is to share more positivity. I am a positive person by nature and always strive to see the good in others and situations. This year I want to challenge myself (and you) to take it up a notch.

So for 2015, I encourage you:

To see others in a positive light- everyone has a story, try not to judge.
Be open minded- listen to someone you disagree with and try to understand their point of view.
Be present- listen intently, don’t be in a rush.
Go to places you love- for me, it is the beach.
Be with people you love- and be loving.
FORGIVE others.
Laugh more!
Give back.
Pay it forward.
Be kind to others, even when you don’t want to.

My favorite verse of scripture is Matthew 5:16- “In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”

This year, let your light shine a little brighter and be positive in 2015. It will help you in all of your relationship, including at work.