Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Embrace the Change

Apparently I’m a change agent.  Those of you in Corporate America playing Buzzword Bingo, go check off that square now.

You haven’t heard of Buzzword Bingo?  (Some know the game by its less clean name.)  It’s even on Wikipedia – I checked.  When in a meeting, you have a sheet of paper with a bingo grid.  Each square contains a corporate buzzword or phrase.  Good candidates are things like synergy, think outside the box, organizational process assets, etc.  Best buzzword I ever heard – Workforce Shaping.  Anyway …

Someone mentioned this morning that people don’t like change.  Ain’t that the truth.  We’ve been languishing along in this country with this overwhelming malaise over bad economic times for the last three years.  And it seems a lot of us find every excuse in the book to stay idle where we are.  It’s like we’re hunkering down and curling up into a ball, hoping everything will blow over.

It affects our work, our willingness to take risks, our health, our faith.  We pour ourselves into jobs we hate because we feel fortunate (rightfully so) to have jobs.  We don’t even make a Plan B because we’re so wrapped up in maintaining the status quo.  Keep your nose to the grindstone and make it to retirement age.  So many of us dream of being independently wealthy or just having a less stressful existence, but it’s only a dream. 

As if work stress isn’t detrimental enough to our health, there’s the phenomenon I call the Dollar Menu Daze.  “I don’t have a lot of money or time to spare, but if I stick to the dollar menu, I can get a burger & fries for $2!”  All things in moderation – the occasional fast food meal is not going to kill you.  But for too many of us the drive-through has become too much a way of life.  Obesity rates in this country and around the world are staggering.  Staggering.  And anecdotally, the depression I observe in people with poor nutrition habits is, well, depressing.  It’s a vicious circle in a lot of cases … eat bad, so you feel bad, and you feel bad, so you think there’s nothing you can do to fix your bad eating habits.

And then there’s faith.  Certainly there are still lots of people on fire for Jesus.  (Yay!)  But have you noticed the church is not immune to the financial / health / etc. malaise, depression, bad mood, whatever you want to call it?  Call me a heretic (hat tip to my Sunday school teacher), but we’ve changed or stalled or something. 

Disclaimer: By “the church” I mean The Church in general, not any particular denomination, location, or congregation.

Years ago in my corporate life I established a mantra that still comes in handy. 

Embrace the change.  There will always be change.

As a project leader I needed to keep a team of people focused and productive in the midst of changing information, changing business conditions, and the changing minds of clients. 

Little did I know at the time that just shifting my mindset would be so beneficial.  Once you accept that there will always be change in your life, and that change may indeed be healthy, a whole world of possibilities opens up.  Think about that.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Free Your Mind

My apologies for being unplugged from the grid for a while.  My priorities go something like God, country, family, Buckeyes … and I haven’t quite figured out yet where internet audience works into that equation.

I just got back from another national conference for my business.  Awesome and inspiring as always … and I think the networking was most important for me personally this time.  Let’s just say, “What happens in Atlanta stays in Atlanta.”  Catch up with me in person, and I’d be happy to share.  I have pictures.

Of the formal sessions, my favorite was a version of The Matrix, complete with excerpts from the movie.  A couple quotes stuck with me:

“There’s a difference between having eyes that see and having vision.”

I have the vision.  I see what Corporate America is doing to people’s spirits, their health, their quality of life.  That vision is even clearer now that I’m on the other side. 

I have a vision of health and wealth and quality of life for me, my family, and my community. 

I’ve talked to numerous people in the last week who don’t have the vision, and I’m not sure they’re even seeing.  People are so depressed.  They so lack the confidence they can succeed … that I’m pretty sure they’re confident they will fail at whatever new thing they try.  (I tried … I failed … lesson – never try?  No!)

I physically hurt from feeling so bad for these people sometimes.  At some point I just have to say “Next!” and move on.  Say a prayer for those too far down for me to lift up.  God’s really the only one with the power to do that anyway.  And I hope they’ll come around eventually.

“I'm trying to free your mind, Neo. But I can only show you the door. You're the one that has to walk through it.”

Isn’t that the truth.  And applicable to so many things in life.  Free will is a real kicker. 

Part of me wants to channel Joel Osteen, with a huge Texas-size grin, and say, “God loves you and wants you to be happy and succeed!”  And all of that is true, although I’m not a big proponent of prosperity gospel.  There are always going to be sucky parts of life on this earth.  But it’s true … and you just have to choose it.

Several people have commented lately that I seem happy.  Some of them don’t even know about all the changes in my life over the past year.  And I am happy.  By the grace of God I escaped the matrix of Corporate America.    

So here I am, science and math nerd turned cheerleader (who would have thought).  I found the door.  I walked through it.  Are you gonna come with?

Saturday, October 15, 2011

My Why

Why do you do what you do? 

We have a zillion choices every day of our lives.  Many of them we don’t even recognize.  You can choose to get out of bed, or you can choose to hit snooze.  You can choose to go work at your job, or you can choose to go into the office and quit.  Now clearly each choice has a consequence, and often the consequences or fear of a consequence drives our choice.

My business involves a lot of psychology.  Nudging or persuading people to see things differently – their life, what’s possible, their daily choices.  We encourage people to find their “why”.  Why are you doing this?  Not just “what are your goals”, although that is part of the equation, but a deeper at-the-core why.  Your why may change over time … I know I have a bunch of why’s but only a couple prominent ones at the moment.  And here it is …

To get myself healthy and to avoid Corporate America.

Corporate America was unhealthy for me.  But it was also downright rude to me.  One of the defining moments of my glamorous career occurred a couple years ago out in Arizona.  A little background first …

When I moved back to Ohio, I bought a house big enough for my sister and her kids to join me.  Which they did a few months later.  It has worked out well for us.  Everyone has space.  My house has been looked after whenever I’ve needed to be a road warrior.  There’s always been a teenager around to mow the grass so that allergy girl here doesn’t have to be sick for three days afterward.

So I’m “other mom” to Doug and Emily (and I guarantee they are rolling their eyes while reading this … they have been raised properly on sarcasm and Weird Al …). 

One Sunday night in December of Doug’s junior year of high school, we all ended up back at church, just like usual.  I was sitting in with the youth group to catch a movie I hadn’t seen yet.  Doug had been at practice for the Christmas musical and wandered in a few minutes after the movie started.  He was talking to a couple adults near the door, but I was out of earshot.  Someone leaned over and asked me, “What is Doug talking about, I thought he said something about someone dying.”

I made a beeline to the door, where Doug told me one of his classmates and football team members had died in a car wreck.  It’s one of those statements that doesn’t really sink in right away.  What? 

“He was in a car wreck with Bombo.”

“What about Bombo, how is he?”

“I don’t know.  Nick is texting me, and he’s not answering me back very quick.”

And then it hit me … the reason for all the cars gathering on my street when Em and I left for church.  “I think I know where your teammates are. I had assumed the neighbors were having a party.  Do you want to go there now?”  He didn’t, but it took less than five minutes of watching the movie for him to change his mind.

For many years the saddest place I have ever walked into was the James Cancer Hospital.  I visited my grandmother there at a time when we did not expect her ever to leave that place alive.  And there was room after room of patients with dismal outlooks.  I don’t have an issue with hospitals like some people do, but it was depressing.  With a capital D.

My neighbor’s house that night trumped the James.  There were kids everywhere.  Sitting on couches.  Sitting on the floor.  Some crying.  Most of them just staring into space, not moving, not speaking.  Bombo was there … he was fine, well physically anyway he was just a little banged up.  Coaches, a few parents, and a couple youth pastors were mostly in the kitchen.  Words still barely do justice to how horrible it felt.

Fast forward to the next August.  I was on a startup in a plant in Arizona, and I was expecting to be stuck there for the weekend and miss the first football game of the season.  Politics is the only way I can explain why two heavy hitters needed to be there in the first place.  The woman in charge of the whole project … well let’s just say we didn’t see eye to eye on a lot of things … and she made an art out of being non-communicative.

I was talking to the production manager about how the plant was running that week, and whether we’d have a window in the production schedule to get in and do our project work.  It became clear we wouldn’t have free reign on the equipment until Monday.  There were maybe a couple small things we might maybe possibly maybe be able to do over the weekend, but that was about it.  This guy is also one of my favorite people at the plant, a dad, and he played college football so he “gets it”.  He encouraged me to hop on a plane Friday so I could make it to the game. 

At some point Thursday morning I approached Ms. Project Manager with my plan to fly out Friday and be back in the plant Monday morning.  I’d catch a plane back to Arizona Saturday if needed.  She told me not to make any travel plans until she could make a decision later in the day.  She kept me waiting all day, searching in vain for things we “could do” over the weekend.  It was much later in the day, after all the office staff had left, almost too late to ensure a seat on the morning flight when she finally told me I was allowed to go.  And she actually said these words to me … “He’s just your nephew.”

Wow.  Who is she and what gives her the right?

So I made it to the game and to every other game that season.  The entire season was about mourning the loss of Clayton.  His jersey was there at every coin toss.  His picture was there with all the seniors at the banquet.  The whole mourning process was rough but so necessary for the team, the football family that surrounded them, and the community as a whole. 

And that “he’s just your nephew” comment?  Hmmmm.  It’s people like that, with their priorities askew, that drive me to work at something that really matters, to avoid going back to situations that really don’t.

Saturday, October 8, 2011


I risk tipping my hand a day early on the song of the week with this post, but whatever.  And the song is not “Attention”. 

I’m going to speak in bumper stickers for a moment.  An exercise to collect my thoughts if nothing else.

Happiness is a choice.

Embrace the change.  There will always be change.

Love never fails.

So where does God speak to you?  For me it’s usually on the beach, in a song, sometimes in a dream.  Wow, imagine if I were napping on the beach while listening to my iPod.  Anyway.  I’ve been listening to this lyric, “I’ve been held back by something you said to me quietly on the stairs.” I haven’t had a discussion with the writer on who was talking or the deeper meaning of the whole song, but it reminded me of the way God sometimes speaks to us quietly.  When we least expect it.

And then again sometimes He wallops us with a big, unmistakable sign.  You know, like, “Hey Jenn, you’re unemployed now, but I’ve got this.”  Or – and I just now remembered this one …

A few years ago I was driving back home late at night from a meeting at church.  I didn’t really have time to be on this committee.  I was working many hours at my “glamorous” Corporate America job, as usual.  I was always tired, always stressed, often spinning my wheels. 

So when we had these meetings at church once a month, my preference was to take care of business, have a good discussion, make some thoughtful decisions, and get out of there so I could get some sleep.  I do realize I’ve been blessed with a strong personality.  I don’t fear public speaking … I actually enjoy it.  I know, weird.  So if I feel I’m dominating a meeting I’ll back off and let others speak / try to get others to speak.  It drives me up a wall when they won’t.  (Patience is a virtue I need to work on.)  We have committees for a reason … to make group decisions … to take advantage of a diversity of opinion. 

I don’t remember the specifics of that night’s meeting, just that I was tired and frustrated.  I was driving through farmland, where the deer and the antelope play.  Well, deer and cattle.  And raccoons, possums, skunks, squirrels, and one peacock.  And then BOOM!  The largest doe I’ve seen in a long time tried to wrap herself around my fairly new car. 

Did the doe survive?  I have no idea, she disappeared. 

How was the car?  Fine after some body work.

Was I hurt?  Not physically.  I cried and then drove home. 

But the message from God was loud and clear.  Slow down.  You’re doing too much.  I’ve got this.  And oh by the way, I’ll smack you in the face with a deer if I have to, to get your attention.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Never Going Back to OK

I’ve been running this week.  Not literally, except for on the circuit at Curves, which sort of counts I suppose.  It’s month-end in my business, which means running, running, running to meet goals.  And mastering the art of keeping my team and myself motivated. 

I really do love being out of Corporate America.  Have I mentioned that before?  Bottom line, it was exhausting and hazardous to my health.  If I’m tired this week, I really haven’t noticed it.

We’re going to return to discussing songs this week.  “Never Going Back to OK” is my all-time favorite song by The Afters.  Again, if you have not heard of The Afters, go remedy that situation now.  They will be in Columbus in November (with Sanctus Real!) and I will be there with bells on.

My favorite Afters song came up lately when I was putting together some pre- and post-event playlists.  Mood music to get people pumped up and happy.  My niece and I had a discussion of where the song fit.  Final verdict … dance mix version for pre, regular version for post.  It’s good enough we have to play it twice!

I’m thinking back to last summer, July 2010.  I travelled with a group of friends, grown-up girls and teenage girls, to King’s Island for my niece’s fourteenth birthday.  It was Spirit Song time – a multi-day Christian music festival – and guess who was playing on Emily’s actual birthday!
Background for this Saturday in July … everyone was exhausted.  Some from a week of church camp.  Some from work.  I had been working on what became known in my world as The Evil Project.  I had my share of no-win projects in my years as a project engineer, but this one was special.  And not in a good way. 

The project team – engineers, construction workers, and operators alike – were required  to meet deadlines that couldn’t be met with the people and money we had.  So a lot of extra hours were worked.  Engineers went on shift.  Many of us were on call pretty much 24/7.  I would get phone calls during church.  The ladies at Curves would see me in there at odd hours and learned to ask which shift I was working that day.  Sometimes I didn’t know yet.  I often swapped shifts at least once in the course of a week. 

I had a conversation with a coworker one time about the weekend phenomenon.  It was difficult to plan activities with the family because you were never quite sure if you were going to have to work the weekend.  Frequently you wouldn’t know until Friday night or Saturday morning whether you would have your weekend free.  Or maybe even Sunday night.

I lay out the boring work stuff to explain how special it was that I had a Saturday off to go to King’s Island.

Early in the day a couple of the girls went on some crazy twisting roller coaster like ride while a couple of us waited on them.  I like keeping my faculties about me and my breakfast in my stomach, I’m just sayin’.  Not a roller coaster person.  I was rewarded during my wait.  Sometimes in the amusement park you hear music coming out of random speakers in random places.  Amusement park Muzak.  So I hear this song, and it takes me a couple bars to figure out what’s going on.  Never Going Back to OK!!!  And that’s no Muzak, those are my boys doing sound check!  Smile.  And all is right with the world.

I didn’t go on any rides that day.  I really was happy just to be still.  I don’t think anyone in our group did a huge number of rides.  Ultimately we spent most of the day at the water park, in the shade, not really moving much.  It was kind of completely awesome and just what we needed. 

Late in the afternoon we packed up and headed to the amphitheater for concert time.  We split into two or three groups … dropping stuff off at different cars … grabbing food at different places.  My sister and I ended up being the first ones there.  The Afters had just started and there weren’t too many people in the audience yet.  We found our assigned seats.  Good seats, but not super-close to the stage or anything.  Like the smart girls that we are, we observed the lay of the land, the flow of the people, the location of the ushers / security.  And we snuck to the front section, fourth row center, by attaching ourselves to some random family we didn’t know.  We texted the rest of our crowd, but alas, they were denied by the usher.

During I-can’t-remember-which-band’s-set, The Afters were signing autographs near the merch table.  A couple of our girls had worn their Afters shirts that day, which did not go unnoticed by the band while we were over buying new shirts.  We ended up being last in the autograph line, which was kind of cool.  We got a little extra time with the guys, some cool pictures, and a plan to book a concert in Jamaica for Em’s next birthday.  Which didn’t end up happening, but her sweet sixteen is coming up next year.

So “Never Going Back to OK”.  Sometimes you can never go back to ok in a good way.  There are significant events in our lives that can transform us for the better.  Em’s birthday adventure last summer didn’t really look like a significant event at the time, but I think of it this way.  You know how people will bang their head against the wall, and you ask why, and the answer is because it feels so good when they stop?  Yeah, that was one day in the midst of many when I stopped banging my head against the wall.  For just one day.  It felt really good.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

The Pursuit of Busyness

There’s been angst in the air this week.  Did you notice it? 

It’s nothing particularly major or specific.  There has been this undercurrent of uncertainty for a while now.  The nation’s economy.  The world’s economy.  Everyone’s personal economies.  What will the stock market do? What will I do? 

I don’t know if I just noticed it more this week or if the evil Forces of Angst are really picking up.  Maybe it was Ohio State losing.  Maybe it was the latest Facebook changes.  Who knows.  I have my own stuff going on, worthy of a major freak-out if I were the kind of person to allow drama in my life.  But since I’m not, I vented / commiserated ever so briefly and moved on.  Thank you to my support system, you rock.

Which brings me to what I really wanted to talk about … busyness.  Not business, busyness. 

Do you wear your busyness as a badge of honor?  I know I used to.  There are so many good, worthy things we can do with our time.  Certainly we need to provide financially for ourselves and our families, so work needs to be done.  We should provide enriching experiences for our children beyond just school – music, sports, social activities, etc.  Church!  Serving God is pretty high up there.  Various charitable causes, whether they be church-related or not. 

We serve God by serving others, right?  And sloth is one of the seven deadly sins.  So we’re supposed to work hard and do as much good stuff as possible in the time we’re given on this earth, right?  Right???

Well sort of.  My question is this … is your busyness serving you?  And by “serving you” I mean is it really what God wants for you?  For some of you that answer will be “yes”, and my message to you is great, y’all are awesome.  For others, God is testing / teaching you, and that’s cool too.  For many, I suspect, you’re too tired and cranky to really be at your best and to fulfill your purpose.  Ask me about the narcoleptic couches sometime.

Here’s a thought.  A question to ponder.  Are you so busy that you’re neglecting your own spiritual development?  I’m not trying to be holier-than-thou, ‘cause I have been there and often I continue to be there.  Too groggy in the morning, too tired before bedtime, and too on-the-run in between. 

So here it is.  If you’re not taking the time to try to tune in to what God wants … are you doing his will?  

Friday, September 16, 2011

I Will Carry You

It’s that time of year when what semblance of a tan I had over the summer starts to fade, and I start longing for the beach again. 

I am pale.  Really pale.  I mean that some brands of makeup don’t make a color pale enough for me.  So it doesn’t take much for me to feel tan.  I can feel all wonderful and sun-kissed and people will still say, “Really?  You call that tan?”  Ha.  Be jealous of my china doll skin.

July.  I hit three beaches in one week.  How blessed is my life?  Cocoa, Rehoboth, Cape Henlopen.   Cocoa Beach was just about the best day of my entire summer.  My friend Kim and I had traveled to Orlando together for a weekend-long sales conference.  And to call it just a sales conference is really selling (ha!) it short.  We stayed at a fabulous resort.  We made new friends.  We networked in the pool.  Really, we networked IN the pool.  We got dressed up for a fancy party.  We rubbed elbows with celebrities.  We sat in a room of six thousand people in tears by the end of the day Sunday.  Happy tears over what the future holds.  We got inspired.

Monday morning we were two girls on a mission.  Goal for the day – toes in the sand.  We rented a car and headed for the ocean.  Cocoa Beach.  How can you not love a place called Cocoa Beach?  It’s cocoa AND it’s a beach!  We parked at Ron Jon’s, Kim bought a beach towel, and then we were there.  Sand, surf, sun, wind. 

Now the primary goal was enjoying some beach time, but we did have some work to do.  Planning, list-making, phone calls, texting some updates to our team back in Ohio.  For those of you who saw the Facebook pics, yes, we did in fact do work on the beach.  Of course when you’ve finally found something you love to do, it doesn’t seem so much like work.

My live list.  One of my mentors says you should have a live list, not a bucket list.  I sat on my beach towel and wrote out my live list on a scrap piece of paper.  Places I will travel, things and experiences I will have, people I will help.  I read my list out loud to Kim, and we had trouble getting through it without tears.  I have big goals.  It’s why I do what I do.

With some work out of the way, I walked down to the waves and waded in a couple feet to cool off.  I love the sound, the smell, the whole feel of the beach and the ocean.  It helps put everything in perspective.  I just stood there, watching the waves roll in.  Enjoying the peace and serenity.  Marveling at the power of the ocean.

Have you ever had one of those moments where you don’t actually hear the voice of God speaking, but there’s a phrase or word so clear in your mind that you absolutely know where it came from?  I would have worded it differently, so maybe I need to write something on the topic of surrender-and-who-really-knows-best in the future, but I offer it up here verbatim. 

I have the power, and I will carry you.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Trust In Jesus

After the big Day of the Layoff, I had been hoping to sleep for a few days.  To weigh my options.  To recover. To figure out how soon I could get to the beach.  But alas, people are helpful and nice and want your resume right now!  And smart girls don’t let opportunities pass them by.  That’s ok, I’ve been known to say I’ll stop moving when I’m dead.

So I polished the resume.  I worked with the outplacement firm provided to us.  They were uber helpful.  I finished an online PMP class they made available for free.  (Insert joke here about the PMP acronymn.)  They shared with me the latest thinking on how a resume should read … it seems to change all the time.

Another thing they were helpful with was referrals.  I received a call one day from a recruiter with a job opportunity (there’s that word again).  The outplacement firm had given him my contact info.  The position was fairly high level, based in Denver, and required some serious road time for new construction the first couple of years.  Now I kind of geek out over new construction and having a big team to manage.  I understand the pitfalls of hard hat hair.  I own steel toe boots.  I like being the glue holding the team together and nudging / pushing / driving them in the right direction.  Often it’s more like herding cats, but as long as I have enough cats on the team it can be fun.  What I don’t like is having to handle all the technical details myself.  Boooring.

So I’m thinking, “Denver?  Really, God? OK, I’m keeping an open mind.  A road warrior life again?  Really???  OK …”  Nothing is permanent anymore, so I could always keep the house in Ohio, get an apartment in Denver, and people could visit me there.

After making it through some phone screens, a videoconference interview, and an online personality / psych / Mensa evaluation I was invited to come out to Denver.  Great, I thought, at the very least I’ll have a lovely trip to Denver.  Maybe I’ll even like it.  Maybe I’ll meet my rich future husband at the local Starbucks and this job search will be irrelevant. 

One night I was driving through New Albany on my way home from dance class.  There’s a church in Westerville that offers free social dance classes on a fairly regular basis.  So I was learning to rhumba.  Working on both my physical and spiritual grace.  I do have rhythm; physical coordination not so much.  Anyway … I have Third Day cranked in the car and my phone goes off.  It’s my new friend the recruiter.  The company is concerned about my non-compete agreement with my previous employer – they’re actually looking at other people coming from the same place – and what exactly are the terms.

I spent the next, I don’t know, two or three-ish weeks going back and forth.  The trip was on again, it was off again.  At one point they told me it was on again and they wanted me on a plane within a few hours.  And then it was off again.  They had me going back to my previous employer for more clarification.  My previous employer said go forth, this one’s of no concern, and we don’t want to keep you from being employed.  And ultimately it was all off for good.  Denver said they weren’t going to touch anyone from my previous employer unless they were past their non-compete period. 

Um, yeah.  A couple weeks of craziness all for naught.  Well except for the learning experience, which was actually pretty valuable.  And the best part?  That night the recruiter called me on my drive back from dance class?  My car has the awesome-cool Sync lady who listens to me tell her what to play on my iPod.  And she displays on the dashboard what song and artist are currently playing.  I had turned down the volume while I was on the phone, and the next song had come on.  I hung up the phone, turned up the volume, and glanced over at the words staring me in the face … Trust In Jesus.  OK …

Thursday, September 1, 2011

How Much More Important in the Father’s Eyes Are We

Ugh.  Dealing with a situation today that reminds me I've been called to do something different.  To whom much is given, much is required.  Theme song of the day … “Things Like You” by Sanctus Real.  I listened to it repeatedly during my workout.  I’m listening to it repeatedly right now.

Spoiler alert:  It’s gonna be a Sanctus Real fest today.  If you are not aware of this band, you need to go correct that right now.  I have tickets to see them in November, and you should join me. 

So yeah, the song “Forgiven”.  It was in heavy rotation on the radio for a while, before the CD was released.  Could I have downloaded the single on iTunes?  Sure, but I normally rely on the teenagers in my house for such things.  Anyway, once I had the whole CD on my iPod, I was able to listen to the song forty-two times in a row while driving down I-70, which finally allowed me to get through the bridge without crying.  The musical bridge, that is.

Now back to our regularly scheduled programming.  When we last talked, my glamorous (?) position in Corporate America had just been eliminated.  A few days or a couple weeks – I don’t remember exactly – into The Severance Period I had this very vivid dream.  In real life it was early Sunday morning, and I had to drag myself out of bed for an 8am sound check.  My bandmates can attest to the fact that 8am Sunday and I don’t get along very well.  So I was already in a bit of a fog. 

The dream was pretty simple.  I had gone to Columbus to have lunch with a friend.  I don’t know who it was, I don’t know what I ate, I don’t know what restaurant it was.  What I do remember is walking into a parking garage to return to my car.  I was parked on a level that was about halfway below ground – you could see to street level, and there was a meter maid standing there on the ledge.  Why a meter maid in a parking garage?  I don’t know.  I approached the car and it was – as is typical in dreams – my car but not my car.  I looked inside and the back seat was folded down, like in my SUV.  I panicked because I didn’t see my purse in the car.  Apparently I hadn’t taken the purse with me into the restaurant.  The meter maid came up to me and said, “Oh, it’s down here, I hid it for you,” and proceeded to show me my purse tucked under the back seat.  I was relieved.  I hugged her and said, “Thank you for taking care of me.” 

OK, kids, I’m going to channel Joseph here, no Technicolor dreamcoat required.  The interpretation:  God is going to take care of my finances.  Period.  End of story. 

Back to real life on that same Sunday morning.  I’m driving … perhaps at high speed on the back roads ‘cause I’m late … to church for that early sound check.  I’m listening to the radio because I didn’t have time to waste on fishing the iPod out of my purse.  Sometimes the local radio station doesn’t rock it out enough for my personal taste, but it’s still good music.  And on this particular day, the perfect song comes on.  “Whatever You’re Doing (Something Heavenly)” by, yes, Sanctus Real.  I’ve included all the lyrics below.  No comment about having to try to preserve my eye makeup.

It's time for healing time to move on 
It's time to fix what's been broken too long
Time to make right what has been wrong 
It's time to find my way to where I belong
There's a wave that's crashing over me 
All I can do is surrender

Whatever you're doing inside of me 
It feels like chaos somehow there's peace
It's hard to surrender to what I can't see
but I'm giving in to something heavenly

Time for a milestone
Time to begin again
Revaluate who I really am
Am I doing everything to follow your will
or just climbing aimlessly over these hills
So show me what it is you want from me
I give everything I surrender...


Time to face up
Clean this old house
Time to breathe in and let everything out
That I've wanted to say for so many years
Time to release all my held back tears

Whatever you're doing inside of me 
It feels like chaos but I believe
You're up to something bigger than me 
Larger than life something heavenly

Whatever you're doing inside of me 
It feels like chaos but now I can see 
This is something bigger than me 
Larger than life something heavenly
Something heavenly

It's time to face up
Clean this old house 
Time to breathe in and let everything out

Friday, August 26, 2011

The Cow of God

Agnus Dei.  Translation = Lamb of God.  If you switch the letters around, though, it’s Angus Dei, or Cow of God.  :-)  Some of you may be familiar with the song – it was written by Michael W. Smith.  Third Day recorded it, which amped up the coolness factor. 

The song has held special meaning for me for a while.  Partly because the “Cow of God” thing is kind of funny.  I imagine the Cow of God as a Holstein, maybe because I’m fond of the black and white motif.  Anyway … We’ve done the song with our praise team at church.  It’s simple, builds from kind of quiet to kind of big, and it has this way of keeping you in worship mode as opposed to performance mode. 

Last fall I went on The Music Boat cruise with some friends and family.  It was just about the best vacation ever.  We cruised with several of our favorite Christian bands, and Third Day was the headliner.  Mac Powell, lead singer of Third Day, showed up all over the boat all week.  He looked so happy and so at peace every time I saw him.  And, interestingly, he has been sporting a longer haircut that makes him a dead ringer for our modern day image of Jesus.

So after spending a week cruising with “Jesus”, the farewell concert was held in the atrium of the ship, with several levels of people crowding around the railings, overlooking the stage.  We were next to the stage, just a few feet from Mac.  After singing along with lots of different artists, it was time for the last song.  I hadn’t even thought about what it would be.  With some acts, you kind of know what to expect for the big finale.  You guessed it, Agnus Dei.

Flash forward a few months to the end of January.  I was at my desk in Cubicle City in the land of Corporate America.  My boss called me into his office and informed me my position had been eliminated.  Wow.  Now those of you who know me know that I’ve had a love-hate relationship with my career for some time.  Those of you who know me really well know what a toll the stress took on my health.  I blame the grace I had that day in my boss’ office on God Almighty.  I was in shock, of course, but it was immediately clear to me that He wanted me to do something different. 

I think my boss was more upset than I was.  He had always been a fan of mine.  And sometimes things are worse for those left behind to deal with the workload.  I was allowed to pack my things at my own pace, dump personal files off the computer, etc.  My boss himself brought me some boxes and a cart. 

So I had the car packed.  I was headed to lunch at a friend’s house.  I start the car.  The radio comes on.  It’s tuned to The River.  And what is playing …


Welcome to my much anticipated new blog!  I have a story to tell.  Of life, liberty, and my pursuit of happiness.  Of songs and signs from God.  Of redefining myself to line up with my true purpose.  I hope you enjoy!