Friday, September 30, 2005

Top Five Tasks You Won't See on The Apprentice

5. Develop an advertising campaign/weight-loss program revolving around the menu at McDonald's

4. Select the next Supreme Court Justice

3. Break the DaVinci Code

2. Rewrite your choice of trilogies - Star Wars or Lord of the Rings

1. Find Nemo

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Happy Birthday to Me!

Well, today is my birthday. I don't normally shameless plug things about myself, but I've got the beginnings of a good blog entry here I can't pass up. My friends threw me a grand party last Saturday night for my birthday, even though it didn't occur until today. My friend, Kevin, donned it "Rosie-Gras" - a weeklong birthday celebration. This birthday wasn't an easy one, but my friends have made it much better.

I was challenged by my friend and mentor, Sharon, to take today to write down 40 blessings in my life (Ok, you quick ones can figure out why 40). So, here they are, in no particular order.

1. My eternal security in knowing I'll live forever in Heaven - this one gets top billing. Without it, daily living is really a drag.
2. A godly mother who I miss dearly that impacted my life in ways I may never truly grasp. Every birthday I remember her in a special way because 5 years ago today, I watched her slip into eternity.
3. A rock solid godly father - My Dad wasn't a Christian when my Mom married him, but accepted Christ shortly after. Today he still stands as an awesome example of what I long for in a mate. His love for my Mom was unbelievable.
4. A Stepmom that gave my Dad hope - After the passing of my Mom, my Dad found someone to share his life with. Although it was initially hard for me, I'm certain my Dad wouldn't still be with me today without her companionship.
5. A Wise Granddaddy - I was his only grandchild...and we'd go on walks and talk about life. And, he was the funniest, wittiest man I knew as a child. I didn't realize until he was gone that I inherited his talent for writing.
6. A loving Granny - She secretly painted my fingernails the first time when my Dad thought it made me look like a streetwalker. She always dressed like a model, and could cook a dinner to die for. I miss spending time at her house...I loved going there.
7. My best friend, and NOK, Christie - Without any siblings, she has been my "next of kin." God truly knew I needed a sister who understood me and loved me unconditionally. In many ways our lives have paralleled and our friendship is certainly timeless.
8. A home I love - I am blessed to have a beautiful home. As much as I love to be social, I'm completely content to be at home with my books and the comfort of the place of refuge where I live.
9. A job I love - My career path has definitely been interesting. After leaving the world of technology publishing, I realized it truly was my first love. I adore my job and being back in that field working with people who are like family.
10. My church - Being an only child, my church is like an extended family. Our church has been through a lot over the years, and I have the war wounds to prove it. But, God is so faithful.
11. My OPCs - Christie, Amy, Tracy, and new member, Beth - The five of us are very different, yet have a bond that many people are lucky to get with one person in their life. I'm so thankful God brought the five of us into our "Ya-Ya" sisterhood of OPC.
12. The mentors in my life - My Mom was the greatest of these, but other women, Carol, Alisa, Sharon, Jessica...are all women I look up to with great respect and hope to emulate in many ways.
13. My friend, Kevin - His first response will be, "I'm not in the Top 10??" Kevin and I became friends at a time when I needed to see that there are still wonderful guys out there. He knows all my faults and still loves me.
14. My car - A practical blessing, but without it, I'd be trapped at home.
15. My health - Even with the health issues I have, I am able to have a fairly normal functioning life - for that I am blessed.
16. Women's Ministry - I serve with one of the greatest women's ministry teams on earth.
17. Gift of writing - I never knew that all that English would one day pay off...not just for pleasure, but even in my vocation
18. College Ministry - I recently agreed to work in this ministry of our church. As I age and realize what a pivotal time that was in my life, my heart turns more towards that age group.
19. Those I have discipled - Amber, Tracy, Lydia - All three of these young ladies have been married in the past year. I'm so proud of what God has done in their lives.
20. My first job at the Cobb Group - I didn't know in 1991 that accepting that job would forever change my life - almost every job since then has had a Cobb Group connection
21. Dr. Beach - He was my pastor when I accepted Christ. I had such a fear of the water and being baptized, and he was so supportive in helping me through that.
22. Dr. Bryant - The doctor that delivered me. After many miscarriages and the loss of a premature son, he encouraged my Mom and Dad to keep trying. After 18 years of marriage, his encouragement paid off. Had I been a boy, my middle name would have been Bryant.
23. Car accident when I was 7 - As tragic as that was, none of us lost our lives, but my understanding of death became very real and led me to make a life-changing decision at the age of 8.
24. Mr. Downing - My elementary school principal, and OPC Amy's Grandaddy. He made it fun to come to school. I never did forgive him for retiring a year before I left elementary school.
25. Books - I love to read....I hope the written word never goes out of style
26. Paige - We became best friends in such a unique way that only God could orchestrate it. In many ways, we share so much in common, and though many miles separate us, we remain very close.
27. Failed Relationships - Being single at this point in my life is NOT what I expected. But, each past realtionship has taught me more about myself.
28. A diverse career path - From accounting to payroll - from PR to marketing - to insurance agent - back to marketing - I've experienced a lot in my short life.
29. Gift of encouragment - I love to encourage truly makes my day brighter
30. A love to talk - I enjoy great conversation - and not just talking but listening. Conversation is one of the greatest schools in the world.
31. Sense of humor - Although sometimes wacky, laughter is one of my favorite things
32. A great memory - I'm blessed with the ability to remember dates, times, events, really well. I've always feared if Alzheimer's hits, I'll go crazy.
33. Gift of discernment - This one is truly something I never really saw in myself until others had to point it out. I can only hope my counsel is beneficial and not detrimental
34. Church friends - So many to name, so little space. They are what makes up the family I love at my church
35. Work friends - A different group of people entirely, but people you pioneer with you always stay close to.
36. Rita Hall Shourds - My Marketing professor in college that, in the midst of one major, she enlightened me to the wonderful world of marketing where I truly had strengths
37. Television - May seem shallow, but as an only child, my books and television were my eyes to the outside world.
38. Mr. Springs - My junior english teacher who challenged me about writing my research paper on a topic he thought was impossible. He knew better - and that I'd be up for the challenge. He chose me as his Senior Aide, and taught me never to back down on a challenge
39. My time on the high school newspaper staff - For two years I served on that team. I loved it and never realized I'd end up in the publishing industry.
40. My age - I've really dreaded this birthday, but I know with age comes some wisdom and lots of life experiences. I can't wait to see what the next 40 look like!

Monday, September 26, 2005

Timeless Words

Last week, a former co-worker of mine died suddenly of a heart attack at the young age of 46. I had worked with Bob at a couple of different companies and had known him for about 15 years. He was a true Renaissance man - very well read on a multitude of topics and his intelligence ran deep. Although I hadn't seen him or talked to him in about 3-4 years, I had kept up with his progress at the last company we worked at together through mutual co-workers.

One of the things I admired about Bob, was his ability to express his true feelings in an eloquent, unoffensive way. I remember one time our marketing team was pushing to run a promotion that was a bit on the eccentric side. We had some editorial support for the idea, but Bob was quite frank about the fact that he didn't find it a very profitable idea. Although he didn't think it was the grandest of ideas, he allowed us to proceed forward. Needless to say, the novelty of the promotion was great, but it didn't provide a lot of measurable success for the organization. Once again, Bob knew best.

I wondered what his current company, my former employer, would do as a tribute to his memory. Their memoriam was truly remarkable. It lists links to articles and video footage with Bob at his best. There are also links to his online obituary, guest book, and a threaded discussion to reminisce the good times with Bob. I understand that they are compiling DVDs for his 4 children to have as a remembrance of their father for years to come.

His employer captured the essence with the quote that leads off the memoriam page. J Michael Straczynski, writer of Bablyon 5, said one time, "Like everyone else, I am going to die. But the words - the words live on for as long as there are readers to see them, audiences to hear them. It is immortality..." May Bob's words live on for many years to come.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

139th Example of Why I Wonder how People Survive

As I left work yesterday from our parking garage, I found myself in a hurry as I usually am on Wednesdays. By far, this is my "crunchtime" day of the week. I leave work en route to grab a bite of dinner with a friend and then on to church. Depending on how many of the evening activities I decide to participate in, I could be there until 10pm or 10:30pm. So, many times, I get a late start trying to beat the rush hour traffic out of downtown to begin what can be a very long evening.

I spun around the levels of the parking garage to arrive at my normal exit on to First Street with my window down, and my access card ready to swipe. I realized very quickly that I was behind a person without a clue. The first hint? She put her car in reverse while I was sitting behind her. Evidently she's a newbie to the parking garage gig and she got out of her car to tell me she was stuck - a slave to the obvious. I explained to her that she needed to wave her card over the scanner to allow the bar to raise. What had she done? She had put her card in the box below. I suppose she thought it was like an ATM and would spit it back out to her - but it just ate her card. So, I smiled, proceeded to back out and exit on to Main Street. I told her I would let the guard know that she was having issues.

Now, by my title you'd think I place all the blame on the driver who shoved her card in the unknown box. Although that probably wouldn't have been the first choice for me, I have to say that parking garages aren't great with their instructional direction. And, knowing the low level of attentiveness of drivers and lack of just plain common sense, they need to take some steps to correct that. A simple note under the scanning eye that states, "Please hold your access card over the green light to exit" would be sufficient. Of course, as I've stated before, instructions aren't always the answer.

Knowing how difficult it is for most people to operate in this world, it makes all the more sense why shows like Survivor are so appealing. Half the world can't find their way out of a parking garage, so surviving with 15 strangers on mangos and rice is definitely worth a million dollars.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Conjunction Junction, What's Your Function?

Back in the day when Saturday morning cartoons were on every network station (the only stations we had when I was a kid), there were some really cool segments that ABC produced called Schoolhouse Rock. They were catchy little tunes buried within short cartoons to teach us everything from grammar to math to science to history. The only way I ever memorized the preamble to the Constitution was by singing to the jingle I learned on Saturday mornings.

As a marketing professional working in technology publishing, what I learned on Saturday mornings is valuable to me today. We deploy thousands of emails per week and they go through testing...and more testing....and more testing...before they hit an inbox for public consumption. We have multiple sets of eyes proof every email to assure that our readers get a version minus typos and blatant grammatical errors.

Another part of my complex job includes research. I read a lot. I'm subscribed to tons of e-newsletters myself that direct me to the latest scoop in the media world, the technology world, and the internet world. What I've discovered as I read all this copy on a daily basis is how lazy most editors are getting at other sites. A day doesn't go by that I don't read an article online that has a typo. Granted, I'm sure some of our content isn't perfect either, but it's sad to think that all of this information overload is causing us to lose our commitment to strong spelling and grammar. We already shorthand our way through instant messages and text messages using acronym lingo like LOL or b4 to save keystrokes. Maybe our world could use a good dose of Schoolhouse Rock again...

Monday, September 19, 2005

The Birth of Personality

For the past three weeks, I've been praying and processing a decision that was presented to me unexpectedly. I haven't figured out if I'm just over dramatic or extremely analytical (or both), but when life-altering decisions are posed, I'm careful and cautious. This decision is a great opportunity, but by taking this oppotunity, I walk away from a somewhat equally important opportunity. It's life changing, in a good way.

My process when a decision like this comes along, is first to pray about it. I've learned the hard way in the past that if this isn't numero uno, I'm sunk. And, not just a simple prayer voiced, but real meditation on it...a praying lifestyle. I ponder it, pray, think, analyze scenarios....all in the presence of God. Get a picture of Pooh sitting on his honey pot saying 'THINK THINK THINK" and you got a good visual. My prayer life would be much richer if I applied this method to every prayer I uttered. Secondly, I keep the radar up with every scripture I read, every sermon I hear, and every devotion I read for anything that God might be saying to me about this impending decision. And, thirdly, I seek godly counsel. I'm blessed to have people right smack in the middle of the situation to talk to, people somewhat detached, but aware of the players in the game, and godly friends who are completely unconnected, yet know me very well, that can help me discern the situation.

Now that I've come to my decision, I look back on another life-altering decision in my life that I made many years ago - the decision to accept Christ as my Savior. It was life changing in the very best way. I had been raised in a Christian home, raised in church and knew about God, but one day it hit me that unless I committed my life to Him, I would spend eternity separated from Him in hell. Due to some circumstances, death was very real to me at age 7 when that happened, but even then, I was as laboriously of a mover as I was with this decision today. I talked to my parents, my pastor, and most important, even as a little one, internalized it a lot. Then, finally when I was 8, I was ready to make that commitment. Although in a simpler form, the decision-making process was similar to my process today.

It's interesting that our decision making is heavily influenced by our personality. Everyone is different, and everyone arrives at decisions differently. But, it's amazing that God created us in our mother's womb, even our intricate personalities. For even though I'm far from the age of 7 today, I still attack decisions in the same way. So, the next time you work with small children, observe their personality. You will most likely see the personality of a future leader.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Strike a Pose

For almost 100 years, Vogue Magazine has been one of the leaders in fashion publishing. Last week they went to press with "Men's Vogue" - a new publishing venture for the Conde' Nast empire. The target audience is the 35 and over male - heterosexual, thank you very much (I'm tired of the homosexual agenda slathered on everything that moves) - white collar professionals with an even more targted focus on the six-figure earning man. Gee, sounds like my kind of demographic. And, what better model for the cover of their first issue than the beloved bachelor, George Clooney. Smart marketing to launch a men's publication with a definite feminine appeal. In the immortal words of ZZ Top - "Every girl's crazy 'bout a sharp-dressed man." Posted by Picasa

Friday, September 09, 2005

It Had to be You

I'll never forget going to the movies with my Mom quite a few years ago to see the classic flick, "When Harry Met Sally." As I watched the movie, I fell in love with the voice crooning the soundtrack in the background - Harry Connick, Jr. At that point, my admiration of this musician that reincarnated the Sinatra sound began. It has continued through the years, even as I saw this Bayou-born phenomenon last year in concert. Even after all those years, he has stayed true to his original sound.

I chalked up my love for him because he sang songs from an era when my parents fell in love. He was a marvelous vocalist and songwriter who could write words to melt your heart. And, he's still faithfully married to his wife, unlike many famous folks who hit the spotlight. But, since the tragedy in the Gulf Coast, I've found even more reasons to love him.

Being a New Orleans native, as many of his band members also, he jumped in right away to come to the aide of the survivors. He put on his waders and treaded water across the streets of his hometown. He headed up a benefit concert aired on NBC and their affiliated networks in less than a week from the devastation. And, he's recently been named the chairman for the Habitat for Humanity project in the Gulf Coast region.

On a recent NBC news show, I witnessed him walking (and boating) the streets of New Orleans and literally carrying an elderly man to safety. He and his team also came across a woman trying to get to the Superdome with her children, unaware it had already been evacuated. He loaded her up in his vehicle and took her to the NBC compound. He said, "I know I should be writing songs about this, but right now, all I can think about is helping these people."

Unless one of my faithful blogger readers can denounce this statement, what appeals to me most is that not once on any of the coverage, have I heard him place blame on local, state, or federal government officials. He merely is trying to get the job done. Beaucoup d'amour, sweet Harry.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

We sure could use a little good news...

With all the coverage of the devastation in the Gulf Coast region, it's about time for some good news. My friends in Alabama who serve in ministry on Ft Benning's base shared some positive news amidst the bad. Around 100 of the evacuated folks from the results of Hurricane Katrina are now being housed on base at Ft. Benning. The soldiers there are being deployed to the area to help in rescue and clean up and will be there until December when they deploy to Afghanistan. Upwards of 1000 people will be housed at Ft. Benning while the rebuilding of the area is happening.

What a great opportunity to love on some people who really need the love. The team of chaplains and ministers there are great. I've witnessed their love and commitment to supporting the troops there and heard my friends talk about the many ways they have reached out and encouraged the families on base. Now, they get to take their ministry to the next level - loving on families that have nothing but each other. The power of God's love will definitely be evident there.

I find it very providential that the space that is available for that many people to be housed and sheltered is due to the vacancy that occured from the deployment of troops to Iraq. While they are overseas fighting for our freedom, they have made room for us to take care of our own. Chances are, you won't see that angle presented on the evening news.