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Contentment

For the past week, I have taken the challenge of writing 500 words each day for 31 days. This is a challenge from Jeff Goins.  So far, it has been wonderful!  I wanted to share with you one of this missives on contentment. (Note: this has not been fully edited so please forgive!) Please feel free to dialogue with our community with your thoughts on the topic.

Day 7 – I wish that some had told me (and remind me since) that I am good enough. I know that I have heard it. But what I knew never traveled to my heart. I keep volunteering for different projects with the hopes of being thanked or recognized. As I wrote yesterday, I minimize the work needed while expecting to be recognized. It’s an interesting tension.

What I am understanding is that contentment is not as difficult to experience IF I just get myself out of the way as I do what I am designed to do. I am an encourager. I am a leader “sidekick” (i.e., I help the visionary leader get it done through encouragement, delegation assistance, etc.). It doesn’t raise more money directly. It is the “soft” part of the job. BUT it is welcomed and needed.

The metrics I tended to live by included how many people responded to my posts and thank yous for spending time with someone. If I didn’t have almost immediate feedback on my goodness, I changed direction. Yet, in my line of work, getting noticed means doing what is right (proven by others) and sticking to it. For example,many fundraisers will write handwritten notes to donors. Because of time constraints, we tend to write these only to significant donors, never reaching the less significant ones. Of course, their significance is based on how much they personally give and/or how well connected they are in their community. It’s Not wrong, it’s just a fact of life.

In my work, Iam attempting to reach each donor that is in my portfolio a minimum of twice each year with such a note. Why? Because few fundraisers do this. To stand out here,it means doing something without the internet. I can’t encourage people enough to find a way to make this happen.

An embedded point is that my worth is NOT based on how many cards that I do or the number of responses that I receive from these notes. (In fact, I can count with the fingers on both hands the number of times a donor mentioned my handwritten notes over these past 25 years.) My worth comes from doing what is right when nobody’s looking.

Not being good enough has cost me some money. After 7 years of running video at our church(filming, editing, etc.) I thought that I could start a business. After one year and $10,000 invested, I folded. I was not content with the money that I was earning and thought this might work as a side job. Instead, it was a money pit that took a few years to fill in and get back on track.

So, am I goodenough? Yes. I still fight against filling my time with too much unconnected things.However, I find that I am spending more time hone my work craft, studying for the classes that I teach at our church, and reading (well, listening) to books.The ideas that flow from these foci are clearing the cobwebs in my head. I can see clearly that I have worth and I am content with that.

What are your thoughts on contentment?

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On Writing

Day 10 – Writing

I write a lot for work. Well, as a support to my work: emails, letters, flyers, etc. I have avoiding the practice of writing outside of these tasks because I need an editor. I can write, read, edit, read, edit, read, edit, ad infinitum and STILL send out an error filled missive.

I became aware of tools to help me write with fewer errors (e.g., Hemingway App, Grammarly) but you need to USE them in order for them to be effective. I tend to want to get things done to quickly, so I skip that step, much to my chagrin!

I took up the 500-word challenge after watching a Home Hunters’ International in which one in the couple wanted to have a place in the flat dedicated to her travel writing. Not sure why that triggered the bug in me to write, but I started to go back to what I was doing several years ago and found Jeff Goins work. At that time, I had big thoughts of making money through intellectual property!

This time around,I am writing for me. It won’t matter if I post any of the 500+ words each day anywhere outside of my hard drive. That thought was introduced to me by my daughter in the latter part of 2016. At the end of May that year I found out that I was adopted. At age 57 THAT was a surprise. I struggled with the idea of having instant family (one half-brother in Hawaii and another half-brother and twin half-sisters in Texas). Those closest to me said that there was at least 3 books and movie here, which I laughed off.

However, as I started connecting with this new family, I thought that I should write about it for others. The stories that surfaced early about my biological mom and her “antics”would make good reading. I began gathering the facts and putting together a few things.

Then, I just stopped. I change jobs in April 2017 (from The Salvation Army (20 years) to the American Red Cross). Some will recall that Hurricanes Harvey, Irma, and Maria took a major toll on the gulf region shortly after that, which kept us busy for months (and still does in this year of Hurricanes Michael and Florence). Time became even more precious.

When I shared this with my daughter, she said something very insightful for a 30-something: “just write about it for yourself.”  She told me that no one else needed to read what I wrote. I needed to do it because it’s about me and for me. Brilliant! So set out to write about how I was feeling about my adoption…

NOT! That didn’t happen. I neglected to make it a priority, so here I am 2 years and 7 months later with only my initial notes collected in Evernote. I also have 100+ pictures on my phone of my bio-mom’s family history that I took during our January 2018 trip to San Antonio for a family union (it was our first time seeing each other all together). And I have saved emails and texts that could use some sorting out.

Wow. Where did all this come from? Maybe in the deep recesses of my mind is the core reason that I took up the challenge. Hmmm.

What I AM finding is that each morning, after I read a portion of the Bible (read through the Bible in a year plan) I anticipate writing. I just let the words flow out,edit later (as I said above: a LOT of that), and see what pops out. I enjoy the threads of thought and where they take me for a half hour or so each day.

If you are a writer or find yourself writing (blogging, journaling, napkins, etc.) tell us why YOU write and what it feel like.  Thank you.

Let’s Get Going

Hello!

I will admit, this is not my first blog. However, this will be more consistent. I have a story to share. YOU have a story to share. Together, we will tell the world!

To begin, I am 59+ years old. I have seen A LOT in these 59 revolutions around the sun, most of it makes me wonder how we keep moving from generation to generation to survive. 

Consider that fact that no matter how much we express our outrage about injustice, that injustice continues. Seems counterintuitive, but injustice continues.

For example, all will express outrage against human trafficking. The grossness of girls and boys being sexually assaulted by (predominantly) men, disgusts most people. YET, human trafficking continues and increases. 

It’s not as hopeless as it may sound, but the fact remains that as long as men (again, predominantly) pay to have sex, there will be a human trafficking. What NEEDS to change is the hearts of men, not the laws that prosecute traffickers.

I am not saying that we should put an end to our laws. I AM saying that we need to reach out to men to bring as many as who will listen that we need to change our view of women. The simple idea is that reaching men with the end game being treat ALL women and men as they would their own sister, mother, or aunt.

That’s a culture shift. Difficult? Maybe. But still possible.

What thoughts do you have about how to make a culture shift?