Needed Adjustments

It’s been too long since I’ve last written. For the last few months I have been so busy with work and church and felt, maybe it’s time I need to stop what I’m doing and look at what I’ve been doing and ask myself: Am I happy? Am I being a blessing to others? Do I feel fulfilled, like I have a purpose? I’ve been asking myself those questions recently and unfortunately, cannot admit to saying yes to all, so it boils down to needed adjustments.

In the job I’m in, I’ve been driving to work and it takes me about one hour and half to get there and sometimes that does not include parking. Then, I usually sit at my desk perusing through emails, being on the phone, writing, walking from or taking car service from point A to point B for assignments, and more. It’s been okay, but I haven’t been feeling happy. You know, the kind of feeling where as soon as you wake up at 5:30 am or 6 am and can’t wait to work or the feeling like you’re going to make a difference…that feeling just is not there. It’s been lost and I think it’s showing on my job. Boss is great, the team is wonderful, but I am not happy (and I cannot stand it!). It’s a job I really wanted and now I feel like maybe I have a better purpose to fulfill and what that is I don’t know.

Church ministry is awesome! I enjoy engaging with others. I am the Interest Care Coordinator (like the customer relations rep) for my church and assist with the Communication Department. I am part of two wonderful ministries, but I feel like I am not doing enough to minister and be a blessing to others. Sometimes, I think, what more can I do? I hate to hear when people say, “We have not done that before and we can’t afford it, so that’s not a good idea,” and sometimes I think to myself of the many possibilities if we just go out and try. I have so many ideas to bring to the table but it goes out one ear and out the other. (I don’t gamble but if I did and if I won, hypothetically speaking, I would give some of that money to help my church, then the possibilities I dreamt would come to pass. Then, I snap myself out of dreaming and bring myself back to reality and see what can be done with the limited resources my church has.)

Then there is the needed adjustment of my esteem. I have to admit, I am pretty hard on myself when it comes to describing who I am. I downplay what I’m good at and sometimes compare myself to others thinking I’m not good enough. How did I ever start thinking that way? Well, maybe when I graduated college and started my career path and the goals I set did not result in the way I desired. I often fight with God a lot, and believe when I say, it’s okay to do so, because if you consider God your friend, you start to talk with him like a true friend (even raising your voice and being opinionated). But I love God because no matter how I talk with Him, He knows what’s best for me and He treats me as such, I just have to realize I am a woman of worth.

I was listening to a pastor from this church speak about adjustments. I thought it was very fitting to get the steps I needed to take. Here’s what he said. When I need to make adjustments, I need to:

  1. Listen
  2. Embrace wise and godly wisdom
  3. Be open to making those needed adjustments

So, I’m committed to taking his advice and doing just that. How, I don’t know. If you pray, please keep me in your thoughts on these things. Never thought I’d need to make adjustments at this point but as I see it, life happens, right?

Utilizing My Skills

My new job is great. I’m entering my fifth week and still learning the ropes of everything: company policies, numbers and contacts to remember, deadlines to meet, just wish I had a company Blackberry, but I’m very thankful. On the side, helping out at church is going well, too. I created a flier (and though the image is blurry) it makes me proud to know I’m doing what I like to do: writing and designing. Would love to do some strategic planning, but in time. Want to see the flier? Here it is. Meanwhile, the weekend is going to be 84 degrees Fahrenheit and I’m looking forward to enjoying it.

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 Charlie’s Philosophy

Sorry about sending a blank post, I accidentally hit the send button just as I was about to write, so please forgive me. Here’s what I intended to send. It’s a note from Charlie Schultz’s darling character , Charlie Brown, and his “Peanuts” gang; I seem to get such valuable lessons from this comic strip and here’s one I wanted to share:
You DON’T have to actually answer the questions.Just read straight through, and you’ll get the point.

1. Name the five wealthiest people in the world.
2. Name the last five Heisman trophy winners.
3. Name the last five winners of the Miss America pageant.
4. Name ten people who have won the Nobel or Pulitzer Prize.
5. Name the last half dozen Academy Award winners for best actor and actress.
6. Name the last decade’s worth of World Series winners.

The point is, none of us remember the headliners of yesterday. These are no second-rate achievers. They are the best in their fields. But the applause dies. Awards tarnish. Achievements are forgotten. Accolades and certificates are buried with their owners.
Here’s another quiz. See how you do on this one:

1. List a few teachers who aided your journey through school.

2. Name three friends who have helped you through a difficult time.
3. Name five people who have taught you something worthwhile.
4. Think of a few people who have made you feel appreciated and special!!
5. Think of five people you enjoy spending time with.
Easier?

The lesson:
The people who make a difference in your life are not the ones with the most credentials…the most money…or the most awards. They simply are the ones who care the most
.

-Author: Charles Schultz, “Peanuts”.

Taking Courage

Communication, I learned growing up, is a very important life tool. It can make or break you in a situation, in a relationship, on the job, in financial planning, in health concerns, whatever, it’s a key ingredient.

I took that key ingredient for granted when something I did years ago came back to haunt me. I can’t specify, but what I can tell you is that communication could have saved me from the struggle I’m in as a result.  In particular I wasn’t communicating to the person involved as much as I should have.

Since 2012 came, it was on my mind to talk and get things off my chest. I didn’t know how I would engage in discussion, so I wrote a card ending with a, “Can we talk?” When the person had time to talk and gave their undivided attention, I spoke (of course, nervous and fumbling over words) but I spoke on the things that I had kept bottled inside me. I had the sudden urge to release tears, but staying proud, I kept them back until the person (after listening) forgave me.

Never had I felt such relief mixed with an outpour of shame that the tears I tried holding back, flowed and kept falling. I embraced the person and clenched them with a hug as tears kept rolling from my eyes. They in turn affectionately accepted that embrace. The pain I had caused this person for so long was melting. They told me that if I had spoken with them years ago, the talk we had would never have happened. I agreed and hoped I never had a talk like it again.

This was the beginning of transformation for me and declaring 2012 as my year of progress, taking the courage to communicate was the start.

I implore you reader that if you’ve done something spiteful, malicious, have been ungrateful, or turned a blind eye to someone…be the one to talk to them and seek forgiveness. You really don’t know how a person feels until you speak up and talk with them. I learned the hard way after the fact and I regret not communicating as I should.

Take the courage to talk more with your loved one, have a discussion with your child, take more time to spend with them. It matters…it really does.

2012: The Year of Progress

I already anticipate good things for the new year as it arrives and excited at the prospect of new beginnings as I close the book on old journeys.

Apart from getting involved with my church ministries, I have been looking to work in the communications/PR sector, specifically healthcare. I also look to being more content with the things I have rather than be needy for things I wish to have (though nothing’s wrong with that), I feel that I have a lot of things and need to be satisfied and grateful for the little I do have. Some people in this world I realize don’t have things for which I do have.

I also plan to take a course either to learn graphic design or maybe internet marketing to enhance my communications skills. I’m so focused on my career that I believe that I need to push myself to do things I keep saying that I “could’ve, would’ve, or should’ve.”

So, the countdown begins and I’m ready to start the journey to progress in t-minus 10…9…8…7…6…5….well, you get the idea :).

May 2012 be your year of progress.

The Gift of Giving

The Christmas holiday is just around the corner and I am almost done with shopping. Sometimes I get stressed out with shopping (not because of spending) but because  of the amount of time it takes to shop for someone. I like getting gifts for people that are functional and will be used a lot so I take awhile shopping for individuals. Just today, I was in a particular store and shopping for one item, but I had to take a peak at everything in the store and figure out if this would be ideal for the person I’m intending to buy the gift for. I won’t rest until I am convinced that what I get will be something the person can use, not just once, but occasionally or even better, frequently.

Though all this shopping has gotten to me, I ask myself: Is it worth getting? *I pause* Of course it is! Though December might be considered the month for booming business, I look at it as an opportunity to show a loved one, a  friend or even a stranger that you thought of them. I can’t help but think of the reaction on the person’s face when they unwrap and open their gift. I love that, “Oooo” or “Ahhhh” gesture that sends the message back non-verbally communicating “you got the right gift” and “thanks for thinking of me.”  That’s what I look and hope for.

I also think of the true meaning of the Christmas holiday. You know whom I speak of: Jesus. I don’t believe December 25 was the day He was born, but I do believe He was born in a real place called Bethlehem and it’s nice that we as humans celebrate that piece of biblical history. Sometimes I have to stop and think, “What God would ever come down from His throne to become human and die for me?” It’s unheard of! But when I think about it, that’s the meaning of love. It’s a gift. A selfless act of love. 1 John 4:8 reads, “If you knoweth not love, you knoweth not God, for God is love.” Ask any human in this world if they would want to be spat upon, accused of wrongdoing, falsely condemned, be stripped entirely naked and then be nailed on a piece of wood where you are strung up for hours until you suffocate and die and do all this to die for you so you can live. They’d say no, but Jesus did it. Not only for me, but for you. That’s love.

I’m pretty sure Jesus “shopped” around the consequences of having to save you and me from sin, but he made his decision and the result is priceless. For that I’m ever grateful to Him who thought enough of me to give me such a wonderful gift.

This Christmas, let the reminder of love, the greatest gift from heaven, enter your heart. Once it’s in there, share that love, give that love to others and it’ll be the sweetest emotion you’ll ever feel.

 

Keeping Busy

I took it upon myself to get more involved, more so with my church. A small group of believers of about 300. Compared to my church district, 300 is relatively small. Other churches have up to 1,000 members.

I’ll be taking on Communications ministry, Music ministry, Health ministry, and Singles ministry….a lot, I know, but I decided to take on things I’m passionate or have a strong interest in. For the Communications ministry, I’ve already compiled a list of e-mail addresses to send weekly news of our church’s activities and started sending out birthday e-cards to members. I found, while at my church that the “love thy neighbor” factor was missing. Meaning, though our church does a fantastic job reaching out to visitors and guests, I didn’t think members within the church were being thought of as much or remembered and I wanted that environment to change.  Somehow I wound up being voted to serve as the Communications Secretary (assistant) for 2012. It’ll mean a lot of work, but I really look forward to the ministry. As far as the other ministries, that’ll be work in progress, but work I’ll enjoy.

I’ve been managing the church’s Facebook. Please take a moment to view it at http://www.facebook.com/qftsdachurch.

Hoping that 2012 will be the year of progress.

What I learned after “Irene”

  When Irene passed over NY, my family and I were left without power for six days. That meant no electricity and no hot water. After we got the power back, I learned a few things:

  • It’s okay to take a break from “online” when being “offline is as productive. With no access to the Internet, I felt unproductive. I couldn’t get access to e-mail, view videos, or social network. Without those things for six days, I took to reading and found myself enjoying it.
  • Adjust your feeding routine. Without power, meant no stove, no microwave, no oven, nothing to cook on but used the grill to cook or warm up food. That only lasted for awhile until we started driving into town to get good, hearty meals (meaning, Chinese takeouts).
  • Time with family skyrocketed. Every evening I came home after work into the dark, my family and I huddled in the living room to talk. That’s all we did, but I was engaging in discussion and having a good time.
  • My sleeping habits became easier. My neighborhood was so peaceful and quiet that you could hear the crickets talk, but despite the darkness I had wonderful rest and actually slept better.
  • Get a generator. Didn’t realize that until our lights went out.
  • Cold water became my enemy. Ohh, I disliked taking baths in the cold water…worse, I was getting over a cold, so you could imagine my fear, but as they say “when the going gets tough, the tough get going.”
  • I began to experience what my parents went through in their early years. When I think back to the days of my dad, his experiences were far intense. At times, he had to go to a lake to bathe, and to use the toilet he had to go outside, and sometimes his siblings (of eight) would have to sleep on one bed.
  • I am privileged and blessed to have the things I have. I don’t always realize it, but I am a rich person. Meaning, I have running water, I have a fridge to keep my food fresh, I flick on a switch for light, I have a car for transport, and a thermostat to keep the place cool or warm. Some people don’t have those things and I feel blessed that I do.

Irene left an impression those six days, and though I count my blessings there are some people who still don’t have power. My thoughts and prayers go out to them. It’s one thing to have a home and then another thing to lose it to mother nature. I just hope another hurricane doesn’t come to NY again. If it does, I’ll be ready.

In Cold Blood

An e-mail was sent to me regarding a principal found dead at the Memphis Junior SDA Academy (in Tennessee) in a pool of blood. The accused is alleged to be a 17- or 16-year-old male who, according to police, killed the principal because he “didn’t like her and because she made him angry.”

I am deeply saddened and share this story because for one, the school system is Seventh-day Adventist, to which my Christian faith is based so ultimately I feel tied to the system because of my affiliation and second, a murder has never occurred in the SDA school system since its beginnings in the 1800s.

I had gotten off the phone with a colleague, currently a superintendent of schools in New York, and his reaction was one of remorse and concern. He added that security would have to be taken into consideration, in essence, stricter screening of students who apply to the school system. But he concluded, we must extend care and support of the family of the slain, school faculty, and especially students, including the accused killer and his family.

I can’t understand why this happened, though, to a woman whose love for children was all she knew and instead of receiving that love had her life taken from her because “she wasn’t liked or made the student angry.” I just can’t fathom it.

Right now, I will keep thought and prayer for the family of Principal York and the Memphis Junior SDA Academy. At a time like this, it isn’t God we should be angry at for allowing this to happen. I believe God didn’t cause it or would want this to happen, instead I believe it was a result of sin. In Exodus 20:13 it reads, “Thou shalt not kill.” Yet, I’d like to think that the sin was not the killing, but the thought in this young man’s mind that turned into planning, that turned into action that killed Principal York.

It is my prayer that we show and continue showing love to everyone. Despite the heartless event, deep down, I think I would find it in my heart to forgive this young man. It might not bring Principal York back, but the anger in this young man might heal and maybe, just maybe he’ll realize his actions, seek forgiveness, and do no more harm. Ultimately though, I leave the judgment to God.

CNN covered the story in length, which you can read here.