Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More on that life reboot

Sometimes things happen in your life that are completely out of your control. You can't change the economy. You can't stop someone from dying. You can't undo a car accident. You can't control the world and make everything happen the way you want it to.
Oh how I wish that we could, but we can't.
Forces beyond my control have changed my life situation for me (again).
And you know what?
Rather than fighting it, I'm embracing it for a change. I know I won't necessarily feel happy about it forever, but for the moment I feel like a huge weight and black cloud have been lifted from me. I'm free. I'm happy. And I have a world of opportunities ahead of me.
In fact, I have some amazing opportunities ahead of me right now. I can't get into all of the details right now (because they aren't all 100%, and I don't want one of the opportunities to think I've ruled it out because of some of the other, because you can't control what people might infer or think). But I am excited at the very least to be going to France and Italy in July, where I will get to see some dear friends again. And if all goes according to plan I will get to go to a family reunion in Tennessee to see cousins I haven't seen in over 20 years!!
In fact, I have so many fun things planned over the next few months that I think we should just all get to take summers off like we did when we were kids.

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Personal Life Reboot

I'm going through a personal life reboot right now. Yet again, through events completely out of my control, the world has been turned upside down on me. A month ago I was the church youth group leader (YW president), and then released completely unexpectedly. And then last week my job came to an abrupt (but welcome) end. (I had expected my job to last 2 more months.)
Not bad changes.
Just completely unexpected changes.
Suddenly, I have nothing to do. And I really do mean absolutely nothing.
I do have a book launch I'm slowly getting through. And I'm writing a book as much as my muse allows me. But really, no obligations, events, time sucks, etc. going on.
I've forgotten how to be this way.
But before I can figure out what comes next, I'm doing a very intentional personal life reboot. I'm reading books that have meant something to me and guided me professionally. I'm contacting mentors for advice. Organizing my material objects. Indulging in some creative activities. And really making sure I know what my priorities are, so that I can make a plan on how to achieve and focus on those priorities.

Some of the books that have helped me figure life out include the following

Who Moved My Cheese? 

This book, told as a story about mice in a maze, is about adjusting attitudes toward change in life, especially at work. Change occurs whether you are ready or not, but the book affirms that it can be positive. I come back to this book every time an outside force moves the cheese on me (again). 

My friend Rebecca wrote this book (and I helped edit and format it). She is a training and organizations expert that really understands the process it takes to set a goal and work towards it. Most importantly she understands and values the importance of motivation to help you get going and stay moving. This isn't a feel-good story book. It's more factual and yet casual. A good one to come back to when I am contemplating new ideas and goals for the future. 

Some people may consider this a strange book for me to count in my list of personal life reboot books. But this was one of the most life-changing books I've ever read. Malcolm Gladwell (one of the greatest writers in modern times, if not the 21st century) explains the extraordinary success of some very high profile people- Bill Gates, the Beatles, etc. And he explains their personal backgrounds and experiences that led to their exceptional success. For me, to understand how and why some people have achieved such remarkable success, while others who are equally talented and smart have not, really hit home. It wasn't about being the smartest or most talented. And in some cases it wasn't about hard work either. In many (if not most) it was about timing- being in the right place at the right time. Bill Gates wouldn't be Bill Gates if he hadn't grown up in an affluent neighborhood in Seattle at precisely the time he did. The Beatles wouldn't be a phenomenon if they hadn't accepted one of the worst gigs ever in Hamburg. (leading to what is now known as the Hamburg principle.) 
And like some people have had extraordinary success all due to timing, some people have encountered more setbacks, through no fault of their own, due to timing. He doesn't address failure much at all. But the converse of what he did talk about is what made a huge difference to me when contemplating some of my own successes and failures. 
For instance, I had a major professional setback for several years. Why? For a long time I struggled with the "why" question. Why couldn't I get a job? Why did I get laid off? Why did some friends seem to have so much success, while I kept getting setback further and further? This book helped me find the answers to the why. 
And helped me start seeing my way to success.

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Happy Birthday, Mom!!

Love, Erin Ann, Natalie, Scott, and Steph

Every year for Mother's Day/Mom's birthday (which often land on the same day) we add to this ever growing blog post with new pictures and stories for the year. Some pictures and thoughts are contributed by my sisters. Not all of the pictures are family pictures, but just images to represent some of our memories.

I has been almost 6 years since we've been able to spend holidays with our parents. And we all look forward to making up for all of the missed birthdays, Mother's Days, Father's Days, anniversaries, and Christmases with you next year!

It's been lots of fun to see you become a world traveler.

Thanks for teaching us to love all the animals. And for loving all of our fur babies. 

And for taking the nephews on awesome trips.

You are a great example to us all for choosing to serve the Lord!

Thanks for all the great dresses and fun presents from around the world!

Thanks for the pretty weddings and loving our in-laws so much.

And for raising Scott to be an awesome dancer and soooo humble.

Thanks for supporting some of our more ambitious and crazier ideas. And for encouraging our creative sides.

--------------------------- Everything below this line is from last year's post. Everything above is the new stuff.------------
Mom never went to medical school but she is one darn good Witch Doctor.  What ever ailment you may have mom knows how to fix you right, and 9 times out of 10 it works.  Thank you, Mom, for always taking the time to keep us healthy.

She scored when she married the handsome Naval officer!

My mother might not realize this but she gave me a gift by teaching me to always see the gentle beauty and humor in little children.  She always gets a kick out of the cute things children do and say and she also points out the sweet innocent faces that might have gone unnoticed.
Baby Scotty

Baby Porter

Baby Dallin

Not so baby Dallin


Handsome Tell

Who doesn't love a nekkid toddler? 

First grandbaby - Tell

A fun memory I have of you is that if you saw a strange fruit you would always buy it and bring it home for us all to try together.  I always enjoyed that and I now continue that same fun tradition with my own kids. (From Natalie, pictures by Erin.) 

Working Girl

Recently, I've been picking up work as a background extra on various projects. In the past month or so I've worked on 3 different m...

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