The value of a co-worker

Let’s be honest, every single job has its moments of frustration. Some have them much more often than others. Let me stop there before I start complaining. The world is negative enough without having to putting more of that out there.

All smiles before we collapse
But recently we’ve been working on a preparing a series of meetings here at our headquarters. And by “we” I very much mean other people on my team, and I just took notes for the meetings. However, there comes a moment when something like this takes over all of our lives. We reached that point last week and the beginning of the conference. After having gone through a few of these events, it’s interesting how the 3rd day seems to be the point when all of us melt down just a little at one point or another. 
The one thing I’ve realized is that the key to keeping sane in these high-pressure moments is to watch out for each other. Messages went back and forth asking who had been able to eat and who needed food delivered to them personally. The 10-second pauses as we passed each other to ask the loaded question of  “how are you doing” with all the weight and depth possible behind those words. 
Sure, we’re not perfect and not everyone was quite so considerate. But it just takes a few people looking out for each other to create a safe space from the madness going on around them. 

But the few people who looked out for me also gave me a chance to think about someone outside of myself. This shift toward selfless thinking is vital to my own mental strength. I think it’s extremely important to take care of yourself during stress, but selfish thoughts just make me more selfish. It becomes a vicious cycle. I would much rather have someone helping take care of me, allowing me to step up and take care of them.

And when it comes down to it, when you’re with the same people 40 hours a week (at least), isn’t it better to get along? I’m so glad for the team I have.

Panama here I come

Tomorrow I’m off on another adventure. But this time I’m leading others through an adventure that helps expand their world. I get to chaperone high schoolers as we all go build a church for our church family in anther part of the world. 

I put on my fake wedding ring. It was a familiar feeling when I’m going to travel. I’ve slipped a ring on my own finger many times to keep from receiving the advances of men on a trip. Though now I wear it because it’s simpler and much cheaper than my real one. Steal it if you wish, but it’s only worth $20. But this time, even this cheap ring really means something. It means there’s a wonderful man waiting at home for my return. It means there’s someone who I’ll be thinking about, who’s keeping my heart in my home country. That’s new for me. 
And that’s when it hit me. This isn’t a new adventure. Well, it is, but it’s not that I’ve been sitting home waiting for a chance to escape the country (this time), but every day of my life is an adventure. I have a awesome family in a fabulous part of the world, and every day is new and special. 
So the special part of this trip isn’t that I am leaving the country or going to a land where English isn’t spoken. It isn’t even that I get to drink chicheme again (I hope). The real adventure is that I get to share what my adventures have taught me with a group of selfless young people. I get to be there as they experience new things, learn a bit more about the world and ultimately change a bit of who they are by opening themselves up to the possibility that there are problems out there bigger than their own. 
Que Dios nos guíe. 

Days 44-50: Vacation catch-up

I’ve been in this magical, black hole of magical time known as Christmas break. We get a wonderful rest between Christmas and New Year, from work. So in some sense, I’ve taken a personal break as well. There’s something incredibly restorative about rest. Here’s a bit of what I’ve learned during my slight sabbatical. 

Day 44: The spirit of Christmas is often found in traditions that transcend the present moment. 

Day 45: Blessings are often given in order to share. 
Day 46: There are simple, unexciting moments that out “special” a trip taken simply to brag. 
Day 47: Mom’s bedside chats are the best. 
Day 48: There’s always going to be work left to do, choose to put it in its proper place. 
Day 49: When you reach the end, it’s worth taking time for reevaluation. Last day of 2014!
Day 50: Learning doesn’t just come from books. Sometimes it comes from Pinterest 🙂

Day 43: Deserve more

Today we celebrated my husband’s birthday. I try to make the day as special as possible for him, but at the end of every birthday I wish I could have done so much more. He deserves the biggest party, the most presents, the tastiest cake, and thousands of well wishes from friends. But unfortunately there’s just so much I can give. I baked, I hugged, I gifted, and I tried to make a relaxed home. Honestly he was satisfied with the little I did. But he deserves so very much more! But honestly I’ll never get through a birthday and think, “Yes, that was exactly as much as he deserved.” He deserves more than I could ever give. So I’ll try to fit it all in one year since I can’t in a day. 

Be the person who always deserves so much more. 

Day 42: Secrets

This morning as I was driving to work, NPR was playing an interview with an author and poet, though I don’t remember his name. He was discussing his work and views on many subjects. He kept referring to two upcoming “secret” projects, books he wanted to write. A few minutes later he mentioned a booklet he had written which would be published soon. The interviewer asked if that one was of the secret projects, and his answer got me thinking. He replied along the lines of, “That’s not a secret. It’s already been done. It doesn’t matter if people find out about it. The only secrets I ever have are ideas that I have because I’m not sure how they will turn out.”

Though some people need to vocalize plans in order to build up enough accountability to move forward, it’s ok to keep plans to yourself, because until you do something about them, you’re still dealing with an nonexistent action. However… Things that you have done already are public, discoverable, existent. I live in a world of public relations, and in theory should have this engrained in me. However, in the non-profit sector, and specifically in a religious context, people are very hesitant to “boast” of their own works. No one wants to be the person who builds him/herself up. So often we think that plans are ok to talk about, because they’re just ideas, and we want people to get excited about them. But when it’s actually done, we should keep that a secret because we wouldn’t want to brag. Logically we may understand the importance of sharing the great work that is being done, but practically, we have a lot more to grow. 

Day 41: Mindless

Twas the night before the night before Christmas, and all through the house not a creature was stirring, but mostly because we only have plants, no pets. I’ve never seen evidence of any mice here, but I guess there is a squirrel in our roof, so maybe that counts. Anyway, he is not stirring either. But maybe creatures aren’t expected to stir until the night before Christmas. Then again it must be the norm, right? Or else it wouldn’t be worth mentioning when they didn’t. Maybe today’s lesson is how easy it is to get me off track after midnight. 

Thank you for joining me on my random stream of concience. I remember when I was younger in school doing stream of concience exercises. Eventually every single attempt at starting a journal became just that. I like writing in organized ways, I really do. But there’s something so freeing about documenting the wild path that your mind goes on when you don’t have it bridled. Which brings me to my realization of today (actually from last night while I was writing out my post, but let’s not get picky).
You will work more effectively once you have the basic “boring” skills down to where you don’t have to think. I have realized during my time blogging (somewhat) consistently, that the number 1 factor in how much I write in each post is not how tired I am, nor how much I have to say on a topic (in fact, I say quite a bit more on topics I don’t have much to say about). It’s actually how I’m typing it. When I’m on my keyboard (how I learned to type when I was little), my fingers keep up rather well with my train of thought. When I type my post on my phone, I’m much slower, and my thumbs get tired. Keeping up with my mind is essential when it comes to putting onto “paper” how I arrived at and thought through a certain daily lesson. It’s also important to let my mind focus completely on the words I choose to use, and not on what my fingers are doing. I remember in piano lessons being told to practice so much that my fingers could play automatically. In fact, the few songs I can still play are second nature, though I couldn’t for the life of me remember what notes to play if I were asked to write them down. There are certain skills that need to be practiced until they’re second natureIt’s a disappearing art, but so worth while. 

Day 40: Energy

Doing something for someone you love can renew your energy. Many people have probably noticed this as parents, or with other family members. I’ve noticed this often with my husband. We’ll both be tired, but the moment one’s feeling dizzy or a headache, the other can automatically do anything. So much of our state is mental. Which will also explain why emotional stress can have so many physical symptoms. But I’m tired, so no deeper thoughts.