Monday, September 26, 2011

A Different View

The Fall weather has stolen my heart. I took a walk around a popular outdoor shopping area called Utica Square at lunch. This was the PERFECT way to spend my lunch. The weather was beautiful and I was able to get in some much needed exercise. I walked it twice. The first time I walked it in one direction and the second time I went the opposite direction. At the time I thought it just made sense to go backwards and end up where I started, but as I was walking the second time I began to recognize things I hadn't seen the first time around. I saw the Baristas at Starbucks the second time, rather than the waiting customers. I noticed a store tucked in a corner I hadn't looked at the first time. I saw the other guest of tables in a restaurant. I noticed a different set of beauties the second time around just by switching my direction.

Imagine the beauties you might see in your daily routine if you did one thing different. If you switched up your drive or the order in which you do things. Switch the time you go to work or the station you listen to. There is always good in doing something differently from time to time. Try a new hobby, make a new friend, join a new organization. Do something different in your life. There is beauty to be noticed.

Change your direction today.

Monday, September 19, 2011

People Magnet

"When you spend time with the Lord, you're like a people magnet. They won't know why they like you-they just will"

I was sent that this morning from my sweet friend, Shelby. I worked with her at OSU and she had this daily calendar that has short quotes like that one to remind you Jesus' love. She would send me the daily quotes and I loved them. Well since I have left, she still sends them and I still love them. Thank you Shelby. You are a beautiful picture of a great friend and sister in Christ!

I am one of those people that is easily influenced by the people surrounding me. Have you ever been around someone that just finds the dark cloud in every situation? Have you ever been around someone that emanates light into every situation? Well I think in this life it is easy to fall into either circumstance depending on who you are surrounding yourself with and the activities you are participating in. I remember a few weeks ago when Pastor Craig talked about your "crowd" and asked all of us to list the 5 people that speak the most into our life. Based off those 5 people he could tell you the direction you were headed in life.

Imagine how different situations or circumstances might look if we were constantly surrounded by Jesus. Imagine what it would look like if I dove daily into God's word and constantly lived in a state of prayer. I might not be so easily influenced by the people surrounding me. I might not care so much what they thought of me. I might smile more and spread love. I might live without judgement of others and their life.

I remember what this looked like to a very small degree when I was being intentional with my time over the summer. It was short lived, but I was inspired to try to live my life in constant awareness of the grace and mercy God has shown me. Because of that awareness I was more easily able to show it to others. I failed to live it out longer than a few days, but I am glad to have gotten a glimpse. That small glimpse allowed me to desire it more everyday. Desire less of the lower things of this world and more of the higher things of God.

As humans it is so easy for us to lose sight of the forever land promised and focus on the immediate world in front of us. God knows this. He knows we will trip up and He knew that long ago when He gave his son for us. It was a gift to us that we can delight in and celebrate. We don't have to live in shame because of our daily mistakes or forgetfulness. We get to live in constant happiness knowing that He still loves us just the same. And when we surround ourselves with Jesus, more and more, when we read His word, more and more, we will attract others by His love that emanates off of us. They won't know why they are attracted to us, but they will just know that there is something different and special and they like it.

Spend time with Jesus today and let it shine!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Life is Flying By

It is hard to believe I am approaching week 4 of my 12 week assignment at the United Way. I have learned so much already and yet have plenty to learn. I am just beginning the hard part of the job where I have to go out and hopefully get new donors to the United Way campaign. I am making presentations regularly to various firms to tell the United Way story and learning more about other agencies in the Tulsa area. I have joined the Women's Leadership Council as well. This is a new effort by the United Way to get more women in the community involved in leadership roles at the United Way. It is an excellent way to meet some older and more established women in the community. I am loving it.

I am also working my second job still as well. I am also loving this. I am working as a hostess at Lucky's, which is a local restaurant in Tulsa. Fridays thru Mondays I am working my tail off and while I am completely surrounded by people that I would probably otherwise never hang out with, I am enjoying it quite a bit. I just work hard, smile, and do what I am asked.

Zeb and I have been spending what little time we do have together exploring Tulsa. We like just driving around and seeing what is hiding in local strip malls. We laugh because we are like tourists everywhere we go. I am also gearing up for my first 10K run on October 1st at the Tulsa Zoo. I am not sure I am completely prepared to run 6 miles, but I am going to do my very best! If I do well, my next challenge will be a half-marathon.

Finally, I have felt really moved by our current series at church called, "Change Your World in 52 Days". It is all about what burdens God has placed on your heart to change this world. God has placed many burdens on my heart including helping women and children in abusive environments, helping kids have permanent homes, being debt free, and loving people instead of things. I am praying through a lot of this stuff to know my place in it all. God has put us all here for a reason and he has placed certain burdens on our heart because he has given us a specific skill set or experiences to master those burdens. Like Craig said, we don't have to be the best to change the world, we just have to care the most. What do you care about more than most others and enough to actually do something about? Someone has got to do something about it, might as well be YOU!

October is quickly arriving. Pumpkin Spice Latte's are already in. It makes me so happy to think about fall festivals, chili cook offs, haunted houses, pumpkin patches, and all the other things that come with Fall. Breathe it in. Life is good.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Its a Whole New World

It has been a week and a day since I started my new position at the United Way and I guess that is why I haven't had any time to post or read. At least that is my excuse. Last week was all training and while almost everyday I was done before 5 my mind was fatigued and I just couldn't get it in me to come home and write. Today though I want to share what it has been like.

Monday was agency day. The United Way raises $24,556,573 for 61 agencies in the Tulsa area because that is at least what they need. They could use more, but that is the bare minimum. Yes...I have memorized that number and that is just this year's goal. Every year it is different. So on Monday we got to travel around Tulsa all day to 5 different UW agencies. We visited Youth Services of Tulsa, Bridges, Life Senior Services, The Salvation Army, and The Tulsa Day Center for the Homeless. Wow. I was humbled completely. Allow these numbers to illustrate a very small percentage of the need in Tulsa.

Life Senior Services took 9,000 phone calls in 2010 on their Lifeline.

Youth Services saw 3,600 youth come through their drop in center last year.

Bridges has 150 clients that are developmentally disabled. They give them a way to earn money with small tasks.

The Salvation Army serves at least 800 meals a day in Tulsa.

The Day Center filters on average 400 homeless people through their building in a single day.

Imagine what Tulsa would look like without those services....I can't even imagine. That is only 5 of the 61 agencies. I walked away Monday with a yearn to fund raise like never before.

Tuesday was pretty basic stuff. Wednesday we got to spend the day at the Tulsa Boys Home. This place and the Executive Director pretty much rock. They have space for up to 64 boys in their facility. 40 have been severely abused and removed from their home at a young age. They come from the State and 24 suffer with a drug or alcohol addiction. All of these boys are between the ages of 11 and 17. Their treatment program is top of the line and they use a horse therapy to get through to some of the boys. Another picture of how important my job will be over the next 12 weeks. We finished the day with mock presentations and a graduation.

Thursday and Friday were the beginnings of getting introduced to our work space and the divisions we would be working with. I am assigned to the Attorneys and Accountants of Tulsa. I have 61 Accountant firms and 168 Attorney firms. Our combined goal is $800,000. Only 40 of the Accountant firms and 60 of the Attorney firms have actually given in the past. That leaves me with a lot of work to do before November 10th.

It seems overwhelming sometimes, but when I think about those clients I heard about and the people I saw while visiting the agencies I am easily motivated. I know God has put me in this place for these 12 weeks for a reason and I am excited to do His work.

I am loving this so far. For the first time in a long time I feel like I am doing something that I am proud of and happy to be doing. I hope this is just the beginning of something great. Please be praying over the next 12 weeks that I exceed my division goal. I am praying for some new donors and a 10% overall increase in our money. God is good!

Have a great week friends!