Sunday, August 25, 2013

Summertime Sadness

I've got that summertime, summertime sadness
S-s-summertime, summertime sadness
Got that summertime, summertime sadness
Oh, oh oh oh 

Lana Del Rey, I can't get your song out of my head. My summer is over. I head back to school tomorrow. Oh, the sadness! Summer went way too fast which is expected when you take summer classes for 3/4s of your summer. Highlights of Summer 2013:

- The Global Leadership Summit was a great learning opportunity. It was very overwhelming because it was jam packed with information but it was a good two days non the less.

- I discovered Melissa and Joey and Mike and Molly both of which are fantastic shows and I would highly recommend them! 

- "Date" (I use that term loosely) with a guy from high school. Oh my, the stories I have from that are great! FYI, ALWAYS have an exit strategy in place!  

- Volunteering at church on the weekends. Always a great time! 

- Kayaking with my bestie. You can read my story about that here.

- My predictable Saturday nights. 90% of the time it was dinner at My Burger, walk around the lakes, and Yogurt Lab. 

- Internship at Primrose. What an experience that was!

- I was able to spend a lot of time with my favorite family! I've been babysitting for them for the past 11 almost 12 years. Incredible! We went to movies, parks, beaches. We did sleepovers, carnivals, and plays. The time I spent with this family was cherished and probably my favorite part of the summer. 

- We finally figured out what is wrong with my dog... Almost a year later. We have her on allergy medicine and her hair is growing back and the dandruff is gone- Yay! 

- The day Facebook announced click able hastags- Finally!
- The time Steven Collins from 7th Heaven tweeted me... :-D

- The day I was getting ready to go on a bike ride for the first time with G (girl I nanny for). I got on the bike and fell over into a box with the lawnmower. G started laughing. I got up and went to get G to put her on the bike and she started crying. I don't blame her, I wouldn't have trusted me either after witnessing that!

- Cinder Edna with Gloria! She came to my house after and I have the best picture ever of her holding my cat, Diesel! 

- Tried Amazon Prime. Not for me. If you like movies, I say go for it. I hate movies, they don't keep my attention so Amazon Prime was not for me. Their TV selection was slim for watching TV for free. They have more of a selection than Netflix but they charge you $1.99 per episode. 

- Late evening walks around the block with our cat on a leash.

- Bought a pizza maker! We had pizza at least once a week. Fattening but so very yummy! 

- Meeting my cousins foreign exchange student Nicolas. His English was not so good but it was fun to be able to meet and talk with someone who lives in France!

- That night the 35W bridge was rainbow colors because Gay Marriage was legalized in Minnesota. 

- 20 foot sinkhole in Robbinsdale. WOW! 

- That sad day when Abby and Max moved out of our neighborhood to South Dakota. They were one of the first families I ever babysat for.

- I was able to work on an ongoing scrapbook I have for Gloria. I hope to give it to her the day of my wedding as I hope she will be a junior bridesmaid in my wedding!

- That 50 page cursive handwriting packet I had to complete for one of my classes- BS! 

- The one year old I nanny for said my name for the very first time on 8/17/13.

     - A couple sidenotes about the girl I nanny for. I posted this on Facebook a week ago: When G's vocabulary started to soar a month ago two of her favorite words were crumbs and "cean" aka clean. I'm definitely a product of my mother and I'm passing on my need for tidiness unto Miss G! 

     - For months now I can give G a wash cloth and she'll go around the house wiping everything and saying "Cean." If this was my kid, my mom would be so proud! 

- Listening to Andy Stanley podcasts... One a day that was my goal. If you don't have the app, "Your Move" on your phone get it, you won't regret it!  

- That sad day at the vet when I overheard the vet telling a girl my age that her dog may have heart failure. They took out a liter of fluid around the dogs lungs and will call her with the other test results. I felt prompted to go over and comfort her so I stood up and immediately started bawling. I couldn't get my words out at first, but gave her a hug. As we sat there petting her dog, we talked a bit and I told her I was praying for her. Putting an animal down is never easy, but I hope I was able to comfort and brighten her day just a little bit!

- That day I found out my neighbor Bob died :( He lost his battle with cancer 5 months after diagnosis. He was a great guy and will be missed. Our mailman took his dog which I think is an incredible testament to the kind of guy Bob was. He built up a relationship with the mailman one to the point where he felt comfortable asking him to take his dog when he passed. The day Bob died our mailman came for Boo. All the neighbors and neighbor dogs where at his house to say bye. The mailman's wife was in tears as she took giant bins of toys and boxes of treats that will last years. The mailman got in the car and Boo jumped right into his lap. I'm grateful for our mailman and the interest he takes in each of our lives.

       - A couple side notes, when Bob's family came in from out of town they compared our neighborhood to Mister Roger's Neighborhood. Isn't that cool?! In a World where we tend to keep to ourselves and not get to know our neighbors my neighborhood is different. It's like a little community and I love it. 

      - Towards the end of Bob's life he was unresponsive but his eyebrows rose when you mentioned his wife and that he would be with her soon. He died the day before their anniversary, talk about soul mates! 

- Saw a snake at a park. I would not consider this a highlight but something I want to remember. When I walk, I look at the ground- I'm watching for bugs. I did see a Daddy Long Legs and thought that would be my biggest concern but I was wrong. We saw a "baby" snake! He was slithering in between me and my friend. I obviously started screaming and then she started screaming. She ran up the hill which was the way we needed to go and I ran down the hill. I refused to go back up the hill even though Donna convinced me the snake was gone. She had to come all the way down the hill, take my hand, and go screaming and running up the hill with me. This is why I HATE the outdoors!!

- This is lame but I loved staying up until 3am playing the Sims. Addicting game! I used to build houses, have kids and once they grew from toddlers to children I'd quit the family. This summer, I discovered how much fun it is to play the kids all the way to adulthood. I had a list of who the teens were dating so I could keep track of it all... Pathetic for a person my age but I enjoyed it!

- The day we went to Bunker Beach. We paid $5 to get into the park. Realized it cost $14 to enter the water park where you then had to pay $6 for a small locker and then pay for tubes which cost separately. Yeah, we didn't even bother. Spent about 5 minutes in that park. Such a waste but I had good company! 

Oh, and it gets better, today, my car's transmission went out... AGAIN! Maybe I am ready for summer to be over! ;)

Prayers Answered

I've been praying for courage to be more outgoing and meet new people. I am longing for community within the church so I decided to introduce myself to someone I've never met before every weekend. I did that tonight, I met Diane. I've also been praying that God would use me and teach me to be generous and self less. Tonight, He did that by having me pick up a student volunteer. I had two people tell me they thought about me during the message. I had a group of older couples ask if I'd do dinner with them after church one weekend. I said sure they said they'd love that. It's funny how I prayed for community and a sense of belonging and God put me in the arms of loving grandparents. I never had grandparents growing up so I am looking forward to having good influential mentors in my life!

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

The Falls


This was the "beach."

Cheese curds!

It's been years since I have been to "The Falls" but we had a great time! It was a flooded because we've had significant amounts of rainfall this summer but it was so cool. That water is really moving! There is this beach area and as soon as I dipped my feet into the water they were pulled to the side. If you looked down at the water you felt like you were spinning in circles. It was crazy how fast and strong that current was. What amazed me even more was that I saw a mom pull her 2ish old son out farther into the water. He didn't want to go and I don't blame him. Personally, I thought that was very dangerous but who am I to judge!

And yes, we got Cheese Curds!! There was a Polish Festival or something at one of the nearby parks. We walked through and ended up with Cheese Curds and Mini Donuts!

Happy Birthday!

July and August seem to be full of birthdays. Last week I was able to celebrate birthdays with two friends from elementary school. I have known Donna since the 1st grade and Alison since we were in 5th grade. I am so grateful to have these two in my life! 

Happy Birthday, Girlies!

Complaining and Arguing

There is a family I spend a lot of my time with. As I was sitting on the couch listening to the kids reasons of why we can’t go to the beach, why we should go to MOA and why the oldest should just stay at home a Bible verse popped into my head. I decided to share it with the kids. We’ve gone to church together before and over the course of the years we’ve prayed together and read Bible stories but we’ve never done anything like this. I shared with them Philippians 2:14, “Do everything without complaining or arguing.” I shared how this verse applied to my life when I was their age. I shared how this verse still applies to my life. For example, Do I enjoy doing the dishes and then finding more dishes in the sink minutes after I have finished? No, but I try and do the dishes without complaining. I'm not saying I never complain, but it is something I am working on.  I asked them to share examples of times when they were asked to do something they did not want to do. Our conversation also led to the 10 Commandments in particular the 5th Commandment, “Honor thy Father and thy Mother.”

I thoroughly enjoyed having this conversation with the kids and I never would have done it if I had not felt God’s prompting. Like I said, we’ve never had conversations like that before, but it brought our relationship to a deeper level. How have you seen God work in you or another individual's life this month?

Monday, August 19, 2013

Right Person Myth

Check out last weekends message at EBC here. Seriously, you won't regret it!!

- Marriage is less about finding the right kind of person and more about becoming the right kind of person.

- Divorce rate is 50%

- Divorce rate is 33 to 151% higher (depending on the study) if you live together before marriage

- Women desire intimacy and oneness of a relationship but end up settling for cohabitation.

- Women who live with their significant other before marriage are 3 times more likely to be depressed

   - If they do get married, they report marital conflict and less marital happiness

- 40% of EBC is single

- Don't follow your heart.

  - Jeremiah 19:9

  - Proverbs 14:12

  - Proverbs 3: 5-6

- Don't blindly follow your heart or feelings

- Ask yourself, when the infatuation wears off how capable is this person of going through a life crisis? What is their character and integrity life?

  - Infatuation will answer yes to the questions above

- We are never called to find a person that we can have an emotional infatuation with. He calls us to find a person that we can share a mission with.

- Give God your undivided attention.

- 1 Corinthians 7:32-35

- Being single is your time to give God UNdivided devotion

- God can bring the right person while you are serving Him and focusing your attention on Him.

- Singleness is not a time to despise, it is a time to embrace.

- Pursuing marriage should never become your primary pursuit.

- Choosing the wrong guys? It's because you are doing the choosing.

- Don't marry a fixer upper.

- Buying a fixer upper is risky, dating a fixer upper is foolish.

- 2 Corinthians 6:14 "Don't team up with unbelievers."

- Don't marry a wiener.

- Do you trust that God is able to provide for you a Godly spouse?

- Only God can change a persons heart.

- Become the kind of person you want to marry.

  - Selfless, humble, generous

- Spend energy from looking for the right person to becoming the right person.

- Couples who read the Bible and prayed together on a daily basis have a divorce rate of less than 1%

- Spiritual growth indicators: Christian friends and personal ministry (help others know Christ) 

- Pray to God to change character trait and find Bible verses to help you change (anger)

  - If you get two people in marriage who do this, that is when marriage gets good, it gets fun!

- Jeremiah 29:11

Sunday, August 11, 2013

WCAGLS and Dr. Brene Brown

This lady was great! My favorite speakers probably went Bob Goff, Patrick Lencioni, and Dr. Brene Brown. She is a groundbreaking researcher into the topics of shame, worthiness and courage. She wrote a book called Daring Greatly and she shared some of that information with us. 

Love and belonging are irreducible needs. 

People need to be seen and loved.

Love is not something we do by ourselves, it grows through connection.

It's very difficult to love people more than we love ourselves.

People need to be seen and loved, need to belong , and need to be brave.  

Love is messy and hard. It's a struggle.

Connection gives purpose and meaning to our lives.

Love and belonging are two irreducible needs of men, women and children. In their absence is suffering.

We can't give what we don't have.

We cannot give help if we ourselves cannot ask for it. 

When you judge yourself for asking for help, you are always judging when you give help.

A leader models the courage to ask the questions, not to have all of the answers.

We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and most powerful selves to be deeply seen and known.

Love is a practice, not just a profession.

What kills love (shame, blame, and withholding), kills organizations.

Without failure there can be no innovation.

If you want to be innovating you better be praying for lots of mistakes.

Shame can only rise for a certain amount of time before people disengage to self protect. 

People aren't looking for perfection, they are looking for people who practice love.

The space between how we behave and what we practice everyday is where we lose people.

Blame is the simple discharging in pain and discomfort.  

Blame is toxic in organizations as much as it is in relationships.

Feedback is a function of respect.

Lack of feedback is the number 1 reason for leaving a company.

Feedback by definition should be vulnerable. We don't like it because it's uncomfortable.

You can't be good at giving feedback if you aren't willing to be vulnerable. 

You can choose courage or comfort but you can't choose both. 

You have to make a space for people to show up and be seen for who they are.

Belonging can't have checkboxes attached to it.

People are desperate for belonging.

People want to be a part of something that's bigger than themselves.

We were born to be brave.

Shame is universal.

It's not the critic who counts... the credit belongs to the man who is in the arena. - Theodore Roosevelt

I want to be in the arena and I don't think I have much of a choice. My faith calls me to be courageous every day.

Have clarity about your values and someone who loves you because of your imperfections.

If you are not in the arena, I'm not interested or open to your feedback.

Contribute more than you criticize.

Starting Point Week 1

Every Sunday I try to watch North Point Online. This weekend, they started a new message series called Starting Point. 

Lot's of great takeaways from today's message:

"The Bible says" was never intended to be the starting point for Christian faith. 

"The Bible says" is not an adequate returning or starting point for adults. 

How and when did you begin your faith journey? How well has your faith held up under the rigors of life?

THE starting point is a question. And the question is... Who is Jesus?

God has given us insight, confidence, and proof. He took the "un" out of "unknown", Acts 17:23.

The proof of the resurrection moves us from "hope so" to "know so."

The starting point for the Christian faith wasn't a book but an event. 

WCAGLS and Patrick Lencioni

Last week I attended The Global Leadership Summit. It was a lot to take in so I am still reviewing my notes, but it was a great experience. Patrick Lencioni was beyond awesome!! People had told me he was a great speaker but I had never even heard of him. They were right, he was hilarious! He was a little ADD which totally helped keep me engaged and focused. Below you will find some of my notes from his session.

3 Things Cause Job Misery:
1. Anonymity
2. Irrelevance
3. Immeasurement

Get to know the people you work with.

We are called to love the people who work with us. 

Management is a ministry.

Money is a satisfier, these 3 (anonymity, irrelevance, and immeasurement) are drivers.

Good people don't leave places they are known. 

If you don't think your job is relevant, you cannot love your work. 

Remind people why their job matters. 

When we give a person the ability to measure their performance it takes away our power. That's a good thing! 

I could relate to Patrick's session because last year around this time, I left my job for those exact 3 reasons. I've always stayed at companies for 3-5 years. When I do decide leave I stress and cry over the thought of having to leave even though I know it is what's best for me. I cry for the entire two weeks after I give my notice and I am bawling on my last day. Last year though, I could not wait to leave. I was so excited and hopeful that my new job would be better and it is. I wanted to be known. I wanted to feel valued. I wanted to know that what I was doing mattered and made a difference. I wanted feedback. At my current job, I have all that plus more and I am grateful.

WCAGLS and Bob Goff

Bob Goff is hilarious and so full of wisdom! I loved his stories and could have listened to him talk for at least another hour. He was great! I think him and Patrick Lencioni made the Global Leadership Summit. I bought Bob's book, Love Does months ago, but have not gotten around to reading it yet. But now, after hearing him speak, I am more eager to read it than ever! Just like my other posts, below are notes from Bob's session. 

Love God. Love People. Do stuff.

Let it develop over time. Do not rush it, it ruins it.

Live a life worthy of the call you have received.

See people for who they are becoming.

Say to people, "It's good to see ya!" 

Let all that you do be done in love.

I want to hear God say, "You are who I made you to be."

Put the exclamation point after the right stuff.

I used to want to fix people, but now, I just want to be with them. 

Nothing will ever separate us from the love of God.

God's ability to forgive us is not limited by our ability to get it.

God wants to blow your minds. He took the foolish things of the World to shame the wise so that no one can boast. 

If you create some margin, Jesus will shove some terrific things in that space. 

Too often, we are posers. Don't be afraid. Be you. Live a life worthy of the calling you have received.

Leadership is more than giving pointers.

If we lead strong, we will lead people towards Jesus.

1 John 3:18

WCAGLS and Chris Brown

Another guy I had never heard of but man, he knocked his session out of the park! Chris Brown is a passionate Pastor at North Coast Church. I have this dream of traveling the U.S. to visit giant mega churches. I would give anything (well almost anything) to visit Elevation Church and North Point in a heart beat. In addition to those two churches and numerous others, I have now added North Coast Church to my list. Hopefully, I'll make it there someday, but for now, I have notes from his session at the Global Leadership Summit to reflect back on.

The Bible says, "Tell leaders the heart they are going to suffer with."

Sin is sin. Call it what it is. 

With spiritual leadership, you serve your staff. 

Your pride and ego are going to constantly hurt.

Our calling has to trump culture.

Can we empower other? Even if they take our power? 

Ask yourself, "How can I be the best Jesus I can be?" 

Can you celebrate people even when they are better than you?

Do I expand His kingdom or my reputation?

What difference does the Holy Spirit make in the way I lead?

If a non- believer had my job would they be doing it differently? The answer better be yes!

It will cost you a lot to be like Jesus, but it cost Him a whole lot more. 

Joseph lost his colorful coat, but found character.

Jesus said, "Out serve your team and make them better." 

Don't let the great things of leadership distract you from the God things of leadership.

As leaders, we might have the title, but whose kingdom is it? 

It's not about greatness, it is about serving others.

Spiritual leadership will always be different than secular leadership. 

If you read this, THANK YOU, Chris Brown for all the wonderful thought provoking questions!

WCAGLS and Colin Powell

I gotta be honest, when I read Colin Powell was going to be at The Global Leadership Summit I was turned off. People I knew were excited to see him and I didn't understand why. I mean he is a former U.S. Secretary of State so how interesting can he be?! I was so wrong, General Colin Powell was awesome! He was funny and he had so much good information to share. Below are some of the notes I took during his session. 

There is no such thing as an unimportant person.

Invest in the people that get it done. This means give resources to them and take resources from them.

Power subordinates and trust them.

Constantly repeat themes.

Execution is the most important part of leadership.

It's all about attitude and aspiration. Say things like, "It'll look better in the morning."

Persuade to share interest not order.

Get mad and then get over it (shortly).

It freezes an organization when leaders get mad.

Find strengths and weaknesses in everyone. No one is perfect.

Leaders are people who solve problems. 

Ego is a red flag with an emerging leader.

Promote people based on potential not performance.

Adapt to the personality of your subordinates. Do not make them adapt to you.

Do the best you can with the opportunity you have.

If you want to be a great leader, take care of your troops.

Trust is the glue that holds an organization together and the lubricant that keeps moving forward.

We have missions and goals, but it is the vision and purpose that matter most.

Leaders inspire people to reach beyond themselves. 

I needed to hear Colin say, "Get mad and then get over it." Lately, I have been struggling with anger and holding grudges and he had a very good point. If I get mad over the small things or even big things for that matter and can't get over it quickly, people are going to stop coming to me. Not only will they not tell me the bad things, but they may stop telling me the good things and then maybe, somewhere down the line, they stop talking to me altogether. Plus, wouldn't you rather they came to you when the bad thing was like peanut sized not 13 pound ham size and too big to fix? I know I would so now, I am working on my anger and working on getting over it shortly.

WCAGLS and Liz Wiseman

Liz Wiseman was a speaker at The Global Leadership Summit. I knew I'd like her because we have the same name ;) Just kidding, she had some great points that I would like to share with you. Her session was on The Muliplier Effect and if you are interested in learning more about what that is, you should check out her book, Multipliers

What do you do with the control you hold as a leader?

Multipliers are smart and know they are going to figure it out.

Deminishers are people who create stress. 

We do the greatest damage when we hold noblest intentions. 

We don't create followers when we set the pace. We create spectators. 

We don't tend to drift into better behavior. We must work at it.

Are you creating a genius in your organization/people you are leading?

What if you addressed people in the form of questions and let them find the answers?

Working at all of our capability is exhilarating; working at half our capacity is exhausting.

Multipliers are trust gurus. They let the team drive.

Multipliers amplify the talents, intelligence, skills and capabilities of these around them.

Use your intelligence to amplify, to magnify the capability of the people around you.

I loved the question part of Liz's talk. She shared an example of putting the kids to bed at night. Instead of telling them 20 times to brush their teeth. Or, "No, go back into the bathroom and wash your hands." And on and on, if you are a parent or work with kids, you know how stressful bedtime can be. She suggested asking your kids questions. Say things like, "It's 8pm what does that mean?" "After you brush your teeth what do you do?" "How many books do we usually read?" She said when she starting asking questions the stress was nearly gone and get this, the kids listened, they knew the routine and didn't need her telling them what to do next. To me, all questions sounds stressful. I think I could start that way, but after 3 or 4 I'd automatically go back to telling. It is something I am going to try though!

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Dessert Fruit Pizza

  • 1 boxed brownies mix (follow directions on back of box)
  • 8 oz cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Bananas
  • lemon juice
  • Diced strawberries
  • Blueberries 

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease a 12-inch round pizza pan with nonstick spray; set aside. (We split our batter up and made 2 smaller pies.) 

Follow brownie mix directions on the back of the box. 

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and powdered sugar until smooth. Spread evenly over the top of the cooled brownie round. Slice the bananas and sprinkle with lemon juice to preserve the coloring. Place the banana slices evenly over the top of the cream cheese layer. Sprinkle with strawberries and blueberries.  

Note to self: Next time, add more berries!! It was delicious, but too cream cheesy for me! 

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Zucchini Boats


Here was the picture off of Pinterest.

I pinned these on Pinterest awhile back. They looked good, but I don't like Zucchini or Tomatoes. Earlier this week, I decided to give them a try and I loved them! I don't know if my taste has changed over the summer or if it was the fact that they were covered in Olive Oil or Cheese, but either way, the recipe was a win with this picky eater and the rest of my family!

These were mine. The recipe said put cheese below the tomatoes but the people in my family like to load things with cheese! 

Cut a zucchini in half lengthwise. 
You may need to trim a little off the bottom so it sit still in a baking dish.
 Scoop out the center where the seeds are with a spoon. 
Brush the surface with a mixture of crushed garlic, olive oil, salt and pepper.  
Arrange halved tomatoes into the grooves, sprinkle with bread crumbs and bake in a 350 degree oven for about 30 minutes. 
Remove and place mozzarella in between the tomatoes. 
Put Zucchini Boats back in the oven under the broil until golden and bubbling. 
Remove and sprinkle parmesan cheese. 

Thank you "Proud Italian Cook" for this wonderful recipe! To view more of her recipes check out her blog: