Tuesday, December 30, 2014

2014: Be Intentional

This past year, I chose the phrase "Be Intentional" as my word/phrase for the year.  At the end of 2012, I did this for the first time by choosing "It's Yours, Lord" as my phrase for 2013.  It was so appropriate for that year I've decided to attempt to choose a word or phrase each year to be my theme.  As 2014 comes to a close, I like to reflect on the impact of that phrase this past year.

I have to admit I really didn't know how this would take shape, though I had a few ideas.  Yet, I see how it has shaped my life this past year, and most likely years to come. 

Multiple times this year I did what some call "pay it forward" by paying for the car behind me in the drive-thru.  I did this various times at different places and I felt good when I did it.  Why?  Because nobody knew who I was and giving someone a little blessing for the day, quite unexpected, was just as encouraging to me.  During the year, I was the recipient of the same blessing twice…both times at Starbucks.  My goal of doing this random act of kindness was not to somehow reap the same in return, but to unknowingly bless someone's day…someone God knew needed it.  But experiencing it myself made me realize first hand how great that act can be.  Once the year is over, I plan to still do this at times.  

I've read through the Bible a few times in my life and I decided this past year to do it again.  I stuck with it the whole year (well, I have two more days) and feel accomplished.  But, honestly it didn't spur on a fire to read my Bible more like I was hoping it would do.  Oh, God's Word doesn't return void and I can recall many times the passage I would read fit perfectly into my life.  But, I felt like I was doing it to check off something on my list, which wasn't my desire.  I did this reading every night before I went to bed to focus my mind on things above and off of the temporal to help me turn off my brain to sleep.  And that did work.  Going forward, I think I'll continue this nighttime routine, but with a more directed Scripture devotional time (somewhat like I have in the morning) that doesn't make me feel like I'm doing a task.

With three more classes remaining, this entire year I've balanced a full-time job, classes for my MBA, teaching at church (sometimes twice a week) and maintaining a social life and down time.  Being intentional was a way of life.  I had to manage my time to accomplish everything in my life.  I made a commitment not to give up my service at church or all of my social activities for school.  That took a lot of planning and intentional time management.  By the grace of God, I did it.  And, hopefully at the end of June, I'll possess my MBA and I am simply amazed at God's provision and direction for me to accomplish that task.

As I type this post, I'm reminded of two things.  First, each of the areas I reflected upon my intentionality has caused me to continue that "habit" in the future.  I guess that's what this phrase did for me.  It helped me to remember to be intentional and make it a way of life.  Second, as I sit here and type this post tonight, I am reflecting on the day's events.  I attended the funeral of a friend I've known for more than 20 years who was just two years younger than me and died of cancer.  Ivan lived a life that touched many.  As my friends and I have shared and grieved, the idea of intentionality is buried under the surface….really unknown to us.  We want to be intentional.  Our days are numbered, yet we know not the number of our days.  We need to make each day count and be intentional in every way we can.  

I'm praying over my word for 2015.  I'll be posting a blog in the coming days with the reveal.  In the meantime, I'll reflect on being intentional and continuing to make that part of the fabric of my life.  

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Quin the Elf

Wheels up!
Last Christmas season, I was discussing how I would love to do Elf on a Shelf for my team at work.  For those who reside under a rock, Elf on a Shelf is designed for children.  He comes out at the beginning of December and magically appears different places to let the kids know that he's watching and reporting back to Santa.  Some people find this practice creepy and manipulative, but people, can't we just have some good, clean fun in life?  My intent to bring the Elf to life on the job was to bring joy during the few weeks of work before we all crumble into exhaustion before our annual holiday shutdown.  

My friend, Letha, bought me an Elf last year around mid-December and I decided to redeem the final week before our company shutdown to introduce him to the team and do a few pranks.  It was a hit and I was excited for this season to bring him out again with a whole lot more antics.  I named him "Quin" in honor of our company "QuinStreet" and during the rest of the year he had a cute cupcake outfit to wear to celebrate each worker's birthday.  He donned their desktop until the next birthday, to which he was moved.  So Quin is a part of the team all year long.

Do you wanna build a snowman?
I sat down over the Thanksgiving break and created a calendar for each work day.  I outlined what Quin would do so I could procure the items needed and be sure to bring them in the day before each event.  For those who know me, this would me my OCD side coming out.  Pinterest was a wonderful resource and the more I followed, the more ideas I found.  With my current school term at that time, I was a bit stressed at pulling this off, but I'm also very Type A and determined, so it was happening.  Quin has zip-lined through the office, did an Elfie Selfie (with crayons), went fishin' (for goldfish), went deep into a bag of chocolate and, today, is trapped in a mason jar with "Help!" shining through.  Tomorrow is our last day before our holiday shutdown, and he'll have one more hurrah until next year.

I'm really a kid at heart.  And although I found a lot of joy in doing this for my team, I suspected they'd think I'd lost my marbles.  But, gratefully, they embraced the idea!  (And not just to feel sorry for me).  I don't have children and my team are like my "kids" - sad to say I'm old enough to be some of their Moms.  So since I don't have children to mesmerize with my creative abilities, my team will be my outlet.  Merry Christmas everyone!