family life, journey, judgment, self-acceptance, Uncategorized

Millennials make us uncomfortable… (That’s why I love them…)

marketing-to-millennials

I was talking with a colleague recently about a vision I had to start a unique think tank of sorts. I expressed my desire to acquire a building where people from various generations could rent space for events, or utilize office space for their daily business activities. I continued explaining how awesome it would be to hear the ideas of Millennial Creatives, then have more seasoned professionals act as their coaches. The older, more experienced generation would help them to add sound infrastructure to the businesses they envisioned. The person quickly responded, “I don’t do Millennials, they don’t like hard work”!

As I to listened to him, I’m sure I had a look of incredulity on my face that was perplexing to him. You see, I am a Baby Boomer to the core; not the hippie Woodstock kind of Boomer, I am a traditionalist. I love rules. They make me feel safe. My friend knows this about me.  Yet, the Millennial generation are some of my favorite people in the world. They are courageous and innovative. They take risks. They dream, and dream big. Some wonder if they are all talk and no action. I’m sure my friend wondered why I would ever want to do business with men and women of this generation.They bring discomfort to our need for a steady existence. They tend to shake up the norms that we have come to embrace in business.

My mother retired from the Federal Government after working for over 30 years. The image of my grandfather receiving his gold watch and pension from Sears Roebuck Department Store, is a vivid and proud memory for me. The family that raised me taught me to find a good job, work hard, and retire with a good pension. That was the way I intended to live my life as well. However, when I entered the workforce, the world was changing. New and creative opportunities were on the horizon. Staying on one job, doing the same thing for 30 years or more was horrifying to me. In some cases that kind of tenure was not even an option.  I like many of my peers, I received promotions by moving from job to job waiting for someone to recognize my talents and offer me a job that they thought would be right for me. Management of my career was passively given into the hands of others.

Having children that are now Millennial young adults has changed my life. When I was raising them, I thought that they would be traditional people too. I tried to steer them into traditional fields. I wanted them to have careers that would keep them “safe”. I was passing onto them what had been passed on to me. But my children wanted no part of what I was offering. They had visions and dreams. Dreams that they dare to walk in every day. They are artists, musicians, graphic designers, writers, filmmakers, and anything else they dare to be and do. They are all very successful leaders. They may not always feel successful, but they are. Moment by moment, they embrace their unique personalities and talents. When they were children, I taught them about different learning styles and how everyone was created with a different “bent”. I taught them that all of the different learning types and temperaments have value. They believed me. They are walking that truth out in their lives every day.

In the community where I serve, the Millennial members are often the most creative and productive people among us. They work very hard. To many onlookers, it may not look like they are not working hard because they work differently. They actually love what they do and have fun doing it. They make us feel uncomfortable because we don’t always understand their process. They come up with the most innovative ideas as they are tossing a ball back and forth joking and laughing among one another. Although they experience stress in their lives, for the most part they keep moving. Many don’t have long term plans; they plan as they go.  This is not their fault, it is the times that they were born into. They have been forced to become possibility thinkers. The fact that they succeed and fail, then do it all again the next day inspires me. They are a resilient, hopeful group. This is why I love them.

family life, journey, Rest, Uncategorized, weather

Todays Forecast…Snow…

2013-02-06-sne-snow-map-02-08

In the middle of the latest snow storm which brought us 14 inches of snow, I couldn’t help but laugh as I thought about a few of my former blog posts. In September I wrote about how the marketing moguls attempt to rush us through the months, initiating Christmas in September.

Last month I wrote about how various advertisers continue this process by telling us what to eat, when to eat it, and how to lose the pounds when we’ve eaten too much. One way or the other, there are grand plans to get us to buy bathing suits in February and to go on diets so that we can fit into the bathing suits during the upcoming summer. Just when they thought they had us hyped and ready to buy…God de-planned their plan!

With this winter already bringing us over 53 inches of snow (with more to come…), the retailers were forced to go back into their warehouses to find more winter hats and gloves, and other winter accessories to accommodate the demand of the consumer. Despite all of the best laid plans of mice and men, it is God’s purpose that prevails. (Prov. 19:21) I love to see God shows up people who think they have it all figured out! (myself included…:))

Let it Snow…Let it Snow…Let it Snow!almaty-intro-snowscape-1-1

Wait!!!! Don’t stop reading!!! I know that some of you may feel like I just cursed you or used some other form of illicit language!:) Now it is true, I happen to love Snow. I know that it can be a pain in the neck on a lot of different levels. It can greatly alter our schedules, it causes great damage to our roads.

Potholes are are the worst! I have first hand evidence to this fact because of two tires that were destroyed by a snow caused pothole to the tune of $350.00! I know that the elderly and others who have trouble navigating ice and snow, get tired of being homebound. But stay with me a moment while I explain why I love snow.

11403265-running-people-vector-illustrationAlways on the Run…

We live in a time when schedules, jobs and other activities drive our lives and make us become driven people. Although there is nothing inherently wrong about having drive and ambition, being a driven person is something different altogether. Driven people often miss the little  nuances of life.

We run from one task to the next and miss opportunities to connect with one another. Connecting affords us time to really listen to whats going on deep down inside. We tend to listen more closely to the hopes and dreams that often go unspoken when we pass like ships in the night. The other reason that I like it is because it reminds me that we (humans) are not in control! It forces us to slow down and reflect. The grocery stores are swamped with people buying food that will be eaten together as we all hunker down and wait for the roads to be cleared. Meals that may have been eaten on the run if the weather was more favorable to travel.

Many of us see being busy and on the go as a sign that we are productive and successful. When we are constantly on the go, doing what society dictates as important, we often miss the still small voice inside of us; the voice that has to do with our Ephesians 2:10 purpose. We forget that we are each an individual masterpiece, created for a very unique and special purpose. We just need to learn that it is ok to be still. In other words…Chill...

“Be still and know that I am God…”

Psalm 46:10

The next time the snow falls over night (and it is coming :)), take time to notice the stillness of the morning. The hustle and bustle of cars and people are in submission to the freshly fallen snow. I wonder if we can learn the same submission to the God who made the snow?

Uncategorized

Grace Gardening

city-wildflowers-with-beeSpring has sprung! The birds are chirping, crickets creaking 🙂 – (not a real word, but I like it).  All of nature seems to call out to me, telling me that it is time to create a new and beautiful canvas on the outside of my home. I love outdoor living. Comfortable seating, tables for eating, fellowship and all around family fun. The only thing that is missing is a lazy river or creek flowing by the side of my home. I love sitting outside looking at water, but if no water is available, the next best thing is gazing upon the lovely flowers and trees that grace the streets of our old Victorian neighborhood.

As I walk the streets of this community, I am awe struck by the creative artistry in the gardens of my neighbors. The curb appeal of these homes stimulate me to execute my own creative plan and begin to imagine what kind of awesome creations will grace my garden this year. When I should be grocery shopping at our local discount store, I find myself filling the cart with colorful little knick knacks that will add fun and whimsy to my garden. That’s the easy part. The hard part for me is the flowers. Which ones should I choose? Do I want shade loving or full sun? Perennials or Annuals? My answer – easy flowers that require little maintenance and attention.

My husband often jokes with me that if you visit our local nursery, they will have a picture of my face with a red circle around it and a line drawn through the middle. The intended message; “Do not let this woman near your flowers! I’ll admit that I have had my ups and downs when it comes to gardening, but I keep trying every year because of the potential joy of a successful planting.

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Living with one another in Christian Community is very similar to some of the characteristics that make the process of gardening challenging and fulfilling. We often prefer people who are easy and need little maintenance. We don’t necessarily want to deal with all of hard work that comes with successful planting. Before we can even begin to think about planting, the soil must be tilled. All the debris from seasons past; the stones, weeds and other foreign matter must be cleared away. We must remove anything in the soil that would hinder healthy growth of the new seedling.

Parable of the Sower

“Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. 8 Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown.”

(Matt. 13:7)

We live in a world that produces many bitter, stoney places in the hearts of people. Storms come and go leaving in its wake devastation and despair. People we interact with every day are afraid to believe that anything beautiful could ever grow in the soil of their hearts again. They have no vision for the garden because of the density of the weeds. The soil of their hearts no longer have the nutrients necessary to nurture a healthy plant.

I recently learned of a different type of gardening called guerrilla gardening. Land that is guerrilla gardened is a piece of property that has either been abandoned or neglected. People who see and have compassion concerning the neglect, boldly take over the land to create a new landscape. Perhaps this type of gardening is what some of the broken people we meet need to flourish.

Seed Balls

Seed Balls are often used in this type of gardening. The balls, which are made from a mixture of clay, compost, and seeds, can be tossed wherever you want plants to grow, and will break up as the seeds begin to germinate. I wonder what would happen if we did this with God’s love. If we used the seed of John 3:16, “for God so loved the world, that he gave his son…” What if we wrapped it in the compost of Romans 5:8 – “God commended his love to us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us”. What if we held it altogether with 1Corinthians 13:6-8, remembering that “love never fails”. The possibilities are endless.

Maybe a more appropriate term for this type of spiritual gardening is “Grace Gardening”. This type of gardening flourishes at the hand of our Master gardener Jesus, without very much planning on our part. The beautiful flowers will grow because of unmerited favor. Favor that was generously poured out upon us all because of the finished work of the cross.

I am anxiously awaiting to see what will become of the seed balls I scattered in my garden. No matter what the outcome, I scattered them by faith believing for a beautiful harvest.