Thursday, April 25, 2013

Ostrich Syndrome

You know, sticking your head in the sand. Like an ostrich.

I think we all do this to an extent. Ignoring a problem or a situation or really just having a complete lack of inertia. (The object in motion kind. J)

As a compulsive planner, perfectionist, and experienced project manager my nature is to want to have control of everything. To leave no stone unturned. To have a contingency plan for all situations. To know what’s going on in every corner of my empire.

And I hate surprises!!!

So when I catch myself kind of ignoring something or inclined to wait, I sometimes have a mini panic attack.

As well documented on the pages of this blog, patience is a virtue I aspire to have someday. Impatience does come in handy in my previous line of work, but maybe it’s better expressed as a sense of urgency.

On the other hand, it’s impossible to do everything. Something has to give. Prioritization must take place. I had a great leader one time who maintained an official “don’t do” list to make sure the entire organization knew what projects not to spend their time on.

So when I’m having that attack over what’s not done … I try to breathe and step back and figure out if the task at hand should be on my “don’t do” list.

I’m still sure I’m ignoring something important.

With my mind going a bajillion miles an hour in a bajillion different directions, some things just need to ruminate there in the back for a while. Until the inevitable eureka moment. So am I pretending to be an ostrich? Procrastinating? Or am I just thinking things through.


This is probably the pot calling the kettle black, but I do see people ignoring the obvious and refusing to face reality A LOT. With health. With finances. With relationships. With God’s plan for their life. Some situations are black and white. Some are seriously gray. There’s not an easy or obvious answer for everything, but – good grief – dealing with it would be an awesome idea … have that conversation, explore some options, take one small positive action, ask for help, pray …

I often pray about when to act and when to wait on some of the crazy ideas that pop into my head. Well not all of them are crazy. Sometimes God / the Holy Spirit tells you to move, so you just move. The more in tune with God that I am, the less I have my head in the sand and the more I’m just waiting or acting on his timing.

I think I may still be detoxing a little from my previous busy corporate life, but I’m learning to feel less guilty about taking time to read, pray, think, and just be. And let God do his thing.

Ha! Time to think was something I always craved. I found it ironic that as one who allegedly was paid to think and solve problems … and told to be innovative … I really never had much time to think.

So here’s to keeping our heads out of the sand, walking in step with God, not dismissing his leading, and taking some action.

Be blessed, my friends. J

Thursday, April 18, 2013


I’m reading Hebrews 11 and listening to Switchfoot today. Draw your own conclusions.

Someone reminded me the other day that Hebrews 11 is known as the “Faith Chapter”. By faith this, by faith that. Example after example of people who stepped out on faith and took action. Some who were considered nutjobs by those around them (hello, Noah), some who laughed but still said “ok, you’re God, go for it” (Sarah), but all who saw God’s promises to them fulfilled, either in this life in some way or via future generations. People who kept the faith no matter what. Here’s a little from The Message:
13-16 Each one of these people of faith died not yet having in hand what was promised, but still believing. How did they do it? They saw it way off in the distance, waved their greeting, and accepted the fact that they were transients in this world. People who live this way make it plain that they are looking for their true home. If they were homesick for the old country, they could have gone back any time they wanted. But they were after a far better country than that—heaven country. You can see why God is so proud of them, and has a City waiting for them.

Hmmm. Seems like faith and hope are kind of tied together. It’s easier to have faith when you have hope & vice versa anyway.

This week our country is hurting over two separate incidents. The terrorist attack at the Boston Marathon. I don’t know, I’ve got nothing … other than we live in a fallen world where evil prevails at times. I’ve read the book, though, and we win in the end. J

The explosion at the fertilizer plant in Texas that leveled much of a small town in an instant. Just when we were all still reeling and trying to make sense of Boston while carrying on and moving forward. I do have some insight on that world because I used to live in it.

Btw shout out to Jenny Simmons … I was about to go to bed when I saw her tweets about something bad happening in the Waco area. I had to go searching for it … some of the news outlets hadn’t even picked it up yet.

OK true confessions time. Some of you are aware, but I haven’t always been a free spirit blogger and promoter of health and wellness. After being a good little girl, getting good grades, and earning a couple engineering degrees … I went to work for a “major chemical company”. Basically I designed and built chemical plants … worked on big upgrades to existing plants … and specialized in the automation of said plants. I spent a lot of time on the Gulf Coast – Texas and Louisiana.

I have designed my share of “safety instrumented systems” … i.e. the emergency shutdown systems that put a plant into a safe state if things start to go awry. Someone asked me once if that was stressful or if it scared me. The question took me by surprise. “Of course not, someone’s got to do it, might as well be me.” I do tend to be somewhat fearless, but it seriously had never occurred to me to be scared of being the one to design something to keep a chemical plant from blowing up.

Now having endless discussions about the statistical likelihood of two pressure sensors failing at the same time … that might qualify as stressful but certainly not scary …

I have always taken to heart the war stories of those who went before me … evacuations, skies lit up, rail cars launched, holes in the ground, giant storage tanks unzipped. Praise God I never had to run for the fence line myself, but it’s something we were always aware of.

I did witness an epoxy unit at an adjacent plant go up in flames – six people went to the hospital as a result. Not long after that I was in a plant overseas where there seemed to be a minor fire pretty much on a weekly basis. A few years later I was having a discussion with a plant about why their request for a window in the new control room we were designing was a really bad idea … within two weeks a pigment grinder launched a boulder through the window of the existing control room. No casualties, other than a computer monitor. End of discussion.

The potential for injuries or – yikes – fatalities is not something you ignore or take lightly. A large portion of my time was spent on identifying and mitigating / eliminating those risks.

A short aside … as fearless as I am, I am not stupid. A recruiter called me one day with a job opportunity I would have loved, loved, loved. Project manager of a major control systems rebuild at a refinery in the Houston area. I was all excited until he told me the name of the suburb. “Oh, not that plant,” I said. Yes that plant. People seemed to be running for the fence line there every two or three years. Which says something about the safety culture & it’s not a good thing.

My heart aches for those in West, Texas. I’ll be curious to hear what the investigation turns up, but no amount of learning what to do differently in the future can change the impact on human lives.

So what can we do, what should we do? Pray, assist those directly impacted where we can, and have faith that everything – everything – this week somehow fits into God’s plan.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

I’m Still Free

God never gives us more than we can handle.

Many times I have prayed for God to change my situation or change my attitude. This week he changed that attitude. He granted me a new perspective I was totally not anticipating.

Even for a smart girl sometimes I have trouble seeing the forest for the trees.

Hee hee. I was right. It doesn’t change the suckiness of the world, but I was right. I was not thinking at all about this particular aspect of this particular situation that’s been nagging me, but then … boom … God put all the pieces in place and opened my eyes to it.

And I am free. Just in case any of you have forgotten … God loves us and we are free.

It may also help that I finally finished pulling my tax info together, and I picked up the finished product from my accountant Monday.


Maybe there’s a beach vacation hidden in that tax refund … hmmmm …

I’m always trying to look at things from different perspectives. To be empathetic and consider others’ point of view. I recognize that – and this may come as a shock to some of you – I’m not perfect, and I’m not always right.

But then sometimes I am.

I’m certainly not going to stop considering other viewpoints as I go through my daily life, but I do have to acknowledge that it can lead to me taking on more than my fair share of the blame when conflict arises. Guess what. Sometimes I’m not the (insert favorite expletive here). J

Hey, Sven, would you pretty please bring my fruity drink with the umbrella? More sunscreen would be great, too.

Friday, April 5, 2013

I Love You All

What is your definition of love?

If you’re like most people, it depends on the situation. Different kinds of love at different times.

I have an acquaintance who seems to think all love is romantic love. That’s the way they act anyway. Every time I speak to or of a member of the opposite sex, the implication is that romantic love and/or something more salacious is involved. I don’t know if I’m supposed to encase myself in a bubble and stop interacting with the rest of the human race or what. I mean, there are ways to behave appropriately and ways not to … ways to dress modestly and ways not to. And I do tend to be outgoing and somewhat over-the-top, but I don’t think acting like a puritan schoolgirl is particularly required.

My preacher made an interesting and timely point Sunday.

“The purpose of life is to love God and to love others.”

Ha! The scripture reference he used was Luke 16:27-31, so it’s a little bit of an unusual paraphrase of the end of the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Go look it up & read it.

Ninety-nine percent of the time when God reminds me that LOVE NEVER FAILS, he’s not talking about romantic love. And he’s really not talking about how I feeeeeel either. He’s telling me to be a friend, be helpful, take action, adjust my attitude, go out of my comfort zone to check on someone, drop my pride and get over myself and reach out, etc.

I say, “I love you” to my friends. Sue me. Society teaches us to hold back in romantic relationships and not be the first one to say it, like it’s a big power play or something.  The older I get, though, the less I care what all of you think & the more I care what God thinks. And while it may be up to misinterpretation or over-interpretation, I tend to believe if you feel it you should say it … romantic, platonic, somewhere in between, whatever. The other person usually needs to hear it. God says it never fails, so there you go.

I love you all.