Thursday, May 19, 2011

A Connector in My Real Life Love Story: Email

Thank you to Yahoo! Mail for sponsoring this post about staying connected. I was selected for this sponsorship by the Clever Girls Collective, which endorses Blog With Integrity, as I do.

Just random email addresses to you but those email addresses are so significant to me.

They are the first email addresses for both me and my husband of 10 years.

In fact, one of my most special memories about email is the day, Isael and I created his email address together in anticipation of my moving to Spain in August of 2000 only days after we met for the first time.

We met and knew we wanted to stay in contact even with the thousands of miles and Atlantic Ocean that was going to be between us shortly. Of course, I'd given him my apartment address in La Herradura, GRANADA, SPAIN. I'd promised to call within a week with my new cell phone number.

But the idea that we could use email to stay in touch, cheaper and faster is what motivated me to ask him for his email address. And much to my surprise - in 2000 - he did not have one.

One of the first things we did together as a couple was set up his Yahoo! email address. Then email, along with weekly written letters and almost daily calls, became the centerpiece of our relationship in the early days.

What a significant role email played for us in our early days as a couple.

Almost 11 years (and 10 years married) later,  email has emerged in a new way for us to communicate with one another.

I am the communicator. The wordsmith. Extroverted and quick with an answer.

Isael is the thinker. He ponders. Internalizes and more thoughtful in response.

We communicate pretty well with one another, most often. But when a volatile topic arises - email has become the best place to get the feelings on the table.

For me, I have to "slow my roll" and think a bit more than I'd think in a heated conversation. For him, it allows him the time to comfortably respond without pressure

This video perfectly illustrates what email has become in our union

Email has come full circle in our "couplehood" and I am grateful to have it in my arsenal of communication tools.

What about you? What role does email play with regards to staying connected with your significant other?

Monday, May 16, 2011

What's My One-Handed Dunk?

I went to bed DREAMING about this crazy put back dunk by a guy (I'm embarrassed to admit)  I barely recognized on my favorite NBA team, The Chicago Bulls.

Depending on the outcome of this series, we may or may not remember this at all come June.

One thing is clear - know him or not -  Taj Gibson is fearless.

He is intentional.

And he's playing to win, 100% all the way 'til the buzzer sounds.

He looked at the opponent, didn't worry about who they were, he played his heart out and made indelible statement with his put back dunk.

I woke up thinking - what will be my one-handed put back dunk this day?

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Dandelions, Distractions: Our Yard & Life Deceivers

A few days ago, I noticed that our yard - front and back - was over taken by our friends to the right, dandelions. It was a sea of yellow, flowering dandelions. 

As the indoor person I am, I looked at them and was pleasantly reminded that Spring had finally sprung in Chicagoland. My husband, the "award-winning landscape architect,"saw them as a nuisance that had "invaded" our yard. He even went so far as to jokingly blame it on neighbors whose yards were equally yellow since he'd actually done lots of work to prevent them in our yard over the years.

Inside my head, I was slightly amused at the difference in perspective on them. I've loved dandelions my whole life and my dad despised them in our yard when I was a kid.  Now I'm married to a guy who feels the same. I used to rue the day my dad insisted we pull them up by the roots, by hand. Because I was the oldest, "we" always really meant me.

Why did we have to rid our yards of dandelions? Are they really that bad? I joked with my husband how they were so cute, yadda, yadda, yadda.

He finally said, "They may be cute but they kill your grass and plants. So they have to go."

As I drove to work one morning this week, I had an epiphany. 

Dandelions are like distractions in our lives.






And if not eradicated or contained quickly - distractions can over take your life.

It's true. 

Each day I wake with my health and hearty list of things to do, I find myself fighting distractions. Constantly "weeding" out the activities that do not add value to my life, personally or professionally. Intentionally selecting "what stays" and "what goes" is a key part of my every day, every hour some days. Most often, I must take a hands on approach to removing distractions which is eerily like removing dandelions from your yard. 

You can't just mow them away.

You can't pluck them by the green alone.

You have to get on your hands and knees and dig your fingers beneath the surface of the ground and pull them out by their roots.

Then and only then can you be certain they are gone.

So I ask... what are the dandelions in your life? Do you even recognize them? 

And most importantly, are you prepared to weed them out and get on with doing what you need to do?

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Small Victories

Smooth pebbles in a river

I recently came across a saying about water always "winning" against the pebbles in a river. Struck me as odd when I read it and I didn't even save it or bother to remember it in its entirety.

The last few weeks have really started to bear fruit for my Relationships Matter Now work that was started last fall. It is as exciting and exhilirating as it is exhausting. There are great days and low days. There are often lower days when I wonder if I'll EVER get to do my life's work full-time as I so desire vs. squeezing it in my every spare moment like I do now.

My relationship with my ultimate goal is stretched to it's limit in the tough moments.

Then it hit me.

The quote is about the water's determination to pass the pebble.

The water does not mind that the pebble is not moving or appears to block it's path.

The water keeps flowing.

The water is so determined to pass that it starts to erode the pebble. Shape it even.

The water keeps on task.

The water is not distracted by what it cannot control - it continues to push what it can.

That is what my small victories are.

In this continum of entrepreneurship and revolutionizing relationships - one at a time, I must remember to grasp each small victory. Bask in it. Learn from it. Use it to motivate the next 5 steps.

Small victories and your healthy relationship with them are the key to any goals you have.

Want a great marriage?

Small victories.

Losing a large amount of weight?

Small victories.

Changing careers or re-entering the job force?

Small victories.

Be alert and looking for the small victories on whatever journey you are on today!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Love God, Love Others - That's Church Diversity!

New Book By My Twitter Friend @ScottWilliams

Love God.

Love Others.

For me, that is the simple premise upon which I base my life as Christ follower.

However, it has not slipped by me, even as a devoted attender of Willowcreek Community Church that we have lots of work to do on Sunday morning. Yes, the late Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King spoke of this over 40 years ago and sadly, we are still dealing with this today.

How excited am I that I am personally connected to the next great look at this topic! Someone whom I admire and respect and have been interacting with for over a year on Twitter, @ScottWilliams has just released his book, Church Diversity: Sunday The Most Segregated Day of the Week.

Church Diversity does not mince words and quite frankly, that is my favorite characteristic of this book. My favorite chapter is Chapter 3 - Everything Starts With Leadership - Leading Beyond the Dream. Really, that's what it all boils down to and not necessarily leadership of "the church".

For me, this issue runs deeper than any organization. We all must be committed to leading diversity in everyday lives - that then will lead to church diversity. As Scott writes in other chapters such as the very "cold water in your face" chapter - Corporate America Cares More Than The Church - this issue is really bigger than "is my church welcoming to people who look different?" And that IS an important question but is it the most important question?

Scott and his book touch on how this change can not be on the surface or by sticking a few well placed "diverse" face on your staff.

There needs to be a fundamental change in the way we see ourselves and those we do life with. We must be willing to face the realities that got us in this mess in the first place. We must be willing to have tough conversations -  in love. We must look inside ourselves individually to see what we personally can do to attack this issue. Look for the opportunities that are served up to us and step up to them.

After reading Church Diversity - I, for one, am more alert and ready.

You can learn more about Church Diversity here.