June 20, 2012

Faithful in Prayer

"Be devoted to one another in brotherly love.  Honor one another above yourselves.  Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.  Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer."  (Romans 12:10-12)

In this verse in Romans, it speaks about our commitment to one another and how in that commitment we need to stay devoted to prayer.  Pray for one another.  Prayer is so powerful.  In our leadership roles for FOCC, Danielle and I remained very faithful in our prayer- that God would give us the right board members, that our 501c3 would get approved, that we would receive monthly sponsors and find the right location.  Christ has blessed this organization because of our commitment to serving one another through prayer.  We have also remained loyal to each other by praying for the others' family, struggles and sins, careers, and patience.  You've heard the saying "A family that prays together stays together," well I firmly believe this holds true for friendships also.  "The friends that pray together stay together."  I am thankful that I have a friend who prays for me, encourages me, listens to me vent, and gently smacks me in the face when I need it. 

In the coming weeks, I will be super busy putting the final touches on my full-time employment at FOCC in order to jump on board with another fabulous organization- the Alzheimer's Association.  Preparing paperwork and training my team members on day-to-day functions will be stressful and will keep me busy, but I know that my best friend is there in the background cheering me on and more importantly praying for my strength, patience, and spiritual walk.  I am so glad that I have such an amazing accountability partner, and although we have not spent much time together this week, I deep-down still feel her presence as I go through my day. Thank you for praying for me, Danielle.  Know that I am praying for you too.  I love you and thanks for being my best friend! <3
God bless,

June 16, 2012

New Beginnings?!

A couple of days ago, I posted about how I believed God was telling me to stay put in my career with my current organization, as we had just received a grant and my salary was completely funded for this year.  On Friday, I had an interview with the Alzheimer's Association.  I had applied for this position over a month ago and had a phone interview a little over three weeks ago.  Yesterday, I had my second (and later found out my last) interview.  This position is the Program and Event Specialist and is responsible for an eleven county area in Iowa, developing new programs and strengthening the current ones and raising funds in order to have a world with no Alzheimer's disease!  I went into this interview with a stubborn heart- I was not taking this position, I would just go to brush up on my interviewing skills.  After meeting with the woman who would be my future boss and the Executive Director of the Greater Iowa chapter, I found that we had many similarities.  Not only did we speak about typical interview topics- experience, volunteerism, skills, etc., but I felt comfortable to talk about deeper and more significant topics- my faith, Dave Ramsey, adoption, Lucas, and even her son's wedding!  Can you believe that?!  We spoke of these things in an interview!  The even greater part of this story is that about two hours later I received a phone call saying that they would like to offer me to position.  Wow.  Okay.

So, I have until Monday to determine which direction I should go.  Me, in my very simplisticness (not a word, I don't care..) decided early on that I only had two options.  1) Stay where I am at in my current organization and pass up this opportunity or 2) Quit working at FOCC and start this new path with a stable organization.  However, this is a much larger and complex decision.  You see, if I leave FOCC I fear that it will suffer.  I have built up such a strong following for the organization because of my optimistic, energetic spirit.  I have a way of getting people on board with things I'm passionate about.  I know, as does Travis, my board of directors, and my volunteers, that FOCC will not thrive without my presence.  Yes, it probably will not die.  But it will not thrive and continue to grow without its' spirited leader.  This may be an organizational issue because one person should not make the organization.  But it's true still.  The last thing I want is for FOCC to suffer because of my decision to leave.

I want to take this position with the Alzheimer's Association unlike I have ever wanted to take any other job.  You see, I have been deeply touched by individuals with this disease, from my residents at Oaklane Nursing Home in my high school years, Travis' grandma who has the disease, and honestly from the fear of developing the disease myself.  I believe firmly in the Association's mission of a world without Alzheimer's disease!  I would love the opportunity to fundraise for and represent an organization with as great of a culture, history, and reputation as theirs.  I want to take this position because I could see myself working for them in 10 years and I love senior citizens!  And pros of this position are full benefits (which I currently do not have) and salary.  We would be breaking even with what we bring home now, after taking into consideration daycare and healthcare expenses, but with good potential of quick increases in pay and benefits.

So, I want to take this position and I would passionately love my job.  It would require sacrifices.. I would no longer take Lucas to work with me (but to be honest, it's time for him to go to daycare anyway), I would no longer have the flexible schedule that FOCC provides, and it would be a complete change of pace for me (changes are always hard).  I would be challenged in this position like never before, as I would have a huge territory, lots of travel, and a big fundraising goal to meet.

So, you say, what are you going to do?  As I said before, I thought this was either a black or white choice- I thought I had to either choose option 1 or option 2.  Travis challenged me in this way of thinking.  What if I could take this new position, while still staying on as the Executive Director of FOCC?  At first I thought he was absolutely nuts!  Really hunny?!  Work 40+ hours per week then go to a second office job?  When would I have time to eat?  :)  After calming me down, he explained what he meant... If I take this new position, I will not just leave FOCC.  I will continue to be my team's consultant; my new position will allow me to have my cell phone and email on all day and I will have the opportunity to assist them and direct them in their problems, events, and happenings while at my new job.  I research grants constantly as it is and this will not diminish if I take this new position; I will continue to research and write grant applications in my off hours from my new position in order to sustain FOCC for many years to come.  I would even still have time to have a scheduled team member (staff) meeting each week.  Between all of these activities (on top of assisting with fundraising and special events) I would probably still devote around 12 hours per week working on FOCC related tasks.  Why not keep the title of Executive Director, to maintain our image in our community (we have to think about how my decision to leave will effect our public relations), to not make my team nervous about having no leader, and to benefit my family by providing extra income?!

After a full two days of prayer and discussion with Travis, we have decided to accept the new position on Monday morning.  FOCC has our monthly board meeting on Wednesday and I will give them my proposal at that time.  Please pray for this situation.  I feel strongly that God is present in this decision and He will continue to bless both these organizations and my family.  I am trying hard to allow Him to lead me, and not remain in my comfort zone any longer.

I know this was a crazy long post.  Thank you for listening.  God bless,

June 13, 2012

Orders Out My Ears...

Travis and I recently bought the equipment and materials to start selling vinyl wall art.  We have done a couple for friends and family and they turned out really nicely, so we took our product to Facebook.  Today, I have been back and forth talking with customers all day!  This 'business' is really beginning to take off!  We have 5 orders to complete tonight and deliver by Friday and we have quite a few other potential customers interested in special orders!  This is way exciting!  Our plan from the start was to keep our prices low so customers would keep coming back.  Last week, we started our first $5 Deal, where we have a special wall art design for just $5 plus tax and it comes in only one size and they can order in two colors.  It has been a huge hit!  And it's keeping me super busy!  Yay for starting a small business!  Please pray for us as we go forward with this.  God bless,

June 12, 2012

2012 Goals: Update

Back in January, I posted my 2012 goals which included:
  1. Meet with God. Pray more. Study more.
  2. Do Dave Ramsey's baby steps.
  3. Make 'dating' Travis and priority.
  4. Snuggle often with Lucas.
  5. Take more pictures of Lucas and I.
  6. Be a great friend to Danielle.
  7. Make changes, not excuses.
  8. Have fun. Smile lots. <3
It has been five months since posting these goals and I am a firm believer in holding yourself accountable and assessing your progress.  Therefore, that is exactly what I am going to do today.  I have been very focused on a few very specific things over the past few months- spending each morning in Bible study and prayer, budgeting more effectively and paying off our debt, and reading books in order to learn and grow.  I would say this means I am doing a great job with goal #1 and #2!  Yay!  As for goal #3, I would say that I could be doing a better job of 'dating' my hubby.  However, I have made a very conscious effort to speak his love languages, which are physical touch and acts of service.  I hate doing chores around the house, but have worked hard to keep a somewhat clean house in order for Travis to come home to peace and I have done a great job of touching him in public which he loves (what man doesn't love that?!).  I have done a wonderful job with #4.  I am cherishing every minute of Lucas' childhood and love being able to have him at work with me so I don't miss even a single new discovery of his!  #5 was bound for failure from the start.  Travis' picture-taking skills don't live up to my expectations and it's hard to remember to take pictures with you in them.  I have recruited a close friend of mine to be our designated 'photographer' at Lucas' first birthday party, however, and plan to make her aware that we want many pictures with me in them also!  :)  I have fallen off of the horse with #6.  With my focus on these other things I have spoke about, it's hard to have enough time in the week to spend even a little down time with my bestie.  We talk each Sunday in church and take our kids to storytime at the library each Tuesday together, but we haven't actually spent time deeply talking about our lives in over two weeks!  Crazy!  I miss our time spent over coffee, venting, and speaking the truth to each other!  I need to fix this.  I love my goal #7!  Make changes, not excuses.  So profound and such a smack in the face!  I am a natural complainer and I tend to blame problems on my circumstances.  It has been challenging to alter this, but I knew in order to be a good person, I needed to step up and realize that I excuses just don't work and aren't the answer.  I need to make changes when I mess up and I will continue to improve in this area of my life.  Finally, I have definitely been accomplishing my goal #8!  Living with Travis, it's hard not to laugh and have a good time!  :)

So there it is... My 2012 goal assessment.  I pray that I can stay focused and continue to make strides in these 8 areas of my life.  God bless,

June 11, 2012

My Technology Hiatus

For the past two weeks, I have been actively trying to stay away from time wasters in order to accomplish goals and focus on specific tasks.  Since starting Financial Peace University in January, Travis and I have been able to pay off over $18,000 and save almost $1000 in an emergency fund!  We are 'gazelle intense' as Dave Ramsey would say, meaning we are completely focused on becoming debt free in order to live like no one else later in our lives.  So, over the past couple of weeks, I have been actively crunching numbers and preparing for paying off our next smallest debt. 

I have also been enjoying my time away from too much technology by putting my nose in some books.  I finally finished Dave Ramsey's Entreleadership book.  Next week, our organization will be adding our first two team members besides myself.  This is an exciting step for our nonprofit organization, as we will be able to accomplish such great things with these two ladies on board!  By adding these ladies and thinking about how I am responsible for shaping our organizational culture and motivation, I have been focusing a great deal of attention on learning how to be the best leader I can be. I developed a two-day orientation program for us where we will set both personal and organizational goals, talk about what it means to be an entreleader, and will even complete the DISC personality analysis in order to better understand each other.  I will continue to read and to pray about becoming the best Christian leader that I can be, but I feel as ready as I have ever been.  Please pray for me and my team. 

I also had a smack in the face by God over these past few weeks.  Along with my best friend, I have been walking with Good Morning Girls.com through their Proverbs 31 Book Club.  I have been in prayer and devotional each morning like never before in my life.  After each lesson, I am encouraged to be a better wife, mother, friend, and person.  In my prayer time, I have been having passionate conversations with God about what direction He wants me to go. You see, in my nonprofit field we do not make the most significant salary and Travis and I have absolutely no benefits other than what we qualify for through Medicaid.  I have been thinking for months that I would be leaving my current position in order to pursue something with better pay and benefits.  Well, through my prayer time and a call from a grant foundation about accepting our $30,000 grant proposal, God really smacked me in the face and I am sure of where He is calling me.  He wants me to stay put and trust Him.  This is hard for me, as the budget says otherwise.  However, I know that I must remain faithful to Him and He will bless our family.  Please pray for my strength. 

Anyways, that is what I have been doing during this technology hiatus. Thank you for remaining faithful followers of my blog and I will make a better effort to direct some attention to my blog in the coming weeks.  God bless,

June 9, 2012

Books I've Read in 2012

1) Entreleadership by Dave Ramsey
2) Nonprofit Leadership in a For-Profit World: Essential Insights From 15 Christian Executives

This list will continue to grow throughout the coming months, as I am challenging myself to read at least one book per month that will challenge me to grow.