Archives for August 2012

A Muddy Investment

I don’t know how to talk about this week.  I decided to jump in–really jump in—and invest in someone. 

I don’t know how to talk about that kind of journey without telling a story that’s not mine to tell and I don’t know how not to say anything as it’s impacting me in great ways.  It’s also hard to write when you’re too busy on the phone and Internet trying to make things happen.

I will share a few things I’m convinced of (again) after just the past few days:

  • For those of us that have been blessed with great parents, we ought to be thankful for their influence and all the resources they throw at us.  Please let us not feel entitled to them because they did and do have a choice.
  • For those of us that are blessed financially, we need to get to enough and then STOP IT and help someone else with the excess.
  • For those of us that are blessed in talents, we need to use them for good when we have the chance.
  • We need serious health reform in this country.
  • We need to quit making it so darn hard for people in poverty to get help.  It’s easy to sit back and say they just need to get a job and while true in some cases, it’s just not in others.  I know it’s messy but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t try.
  • We can’t assume someone else is going to help that person.  Some people truly do not have a support system around them and you might be their only hope.
  • You can’t help rescue someone from the mud and mire without getting smeared with a little mud.
  • We all need to floss more.
  • Just kidding on that last one but not really.

So I’m sorry for the lack of posting and the vagueness but I’m here.  Looking forward to a weekend of rest and hope you have a lovely one yourself.

Finding My Themes with StrengthsFinder 2.0

I love self-analysis.  I can’t help it.  I truly believe I can always be improving and part of improving is knowing what you’re starting with and what tools you have available.  You think you should know yourself because you know, you are you, but you’d be surprised what you can find out by a few automated questions.

Scott took the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test a few months ago as part of our Journey Group training at church and I was a little bummed I didn’t do it as well. 

I was psyched when just a few weeks later my manager at work forwarded out an email saying he’d just completed the StrengthsFinder 2.0 test and recommended it for my team as well.



My Strengths



image credit


The test comes out with five “Signature Themes” and then gives you action items to build upon those strengths.  Here are my top five themes:

Intellection: You like to think. You like mental activity. You like exercising the “muscles” of your brain, stretching them in multiple directions.

Input: You are inquisitive. You collect things. You might collect information [YES!]—words, facts, books, and quotations—or you might collect tangible objects [NO!} such as butterflies, baseball cards, porcelain dolls, or sepia photographs. Whatever you collect, you collect it because it interests you. And yours is the kind of mind that finds so many things interesting. The world is exciting precisely because of its infinite variety and complexity.

Responsibility: Your Responsibility theme forces you to take psychological ownership for anything you commit to, and whether large or small, you feel emotionally bound to follow it through to completion.

Restorative: You love to solve problems. Whereas some are dismayed when they encounter yet another breakdown, you can be energized by it. You enjoy the challenge of analyzing the symptoms, identifying what is wrong, and finding the solution.

Achiever: Achiever describes a constant need for achievement. You feel as if every day starts at zero. By the end of the day you must achieve something tangible in order to feel good about yourself [YES!]. And by “every day” you mean every single day—workdays, weekends, vacations. No matter how much you may feel you deserve a day of rest, if the day passes without some form of achievement, no matter how small, you will feel dissatisfied.

The Meaning

Well, I’m no coach (and they are out there), but the simple fact that I like taking these tests proves the Input theme.  I want more, more, more information.  And why?  So I CAN THINK ABOUT IT.  This amuses me to no end.  All the questions, all the reading, all the listening—it all is Input for me.  And why do I want to think about it?  Because I’m Restorative and I want to FIX THINGS and HELP PEOPLE.  And by the way?  Can we put that on a checklist and do that today

The Action

As for the action plan attached to each theme, I found that I’m actually doing many items it suggests and the test actually nailed a few key points.

For Intellection, it suggests I should “list your ideas in a log or diary.”  Or another one, “take time to write". Does a blog count?   Or how about this one, “Find people who like to to talk about the same things you do.”  How about I join Facebook or Twitter and find like-minded people?

For Input, it suggests that all my information I collect should be turned into action and shared.  While I think I do this quite a bit here and through social media, I think I can do an even better job at this, particularly in my work environment. 

Another action item suggests I should “Deliberately increase your vocabulary.  Collect new words, and learn the meaning of each of them.”  HA!  HAHAHAHA!  I hope people that know me are laughing.   It has been a family joke that I had new words emailed to me everyday.  Plus, do you remember this post?  Loved it.

The Restorative action plan suggests I might be a good computer programmer.  Um, ding, ding, ding!!  It also says that “Constant improvement is one of your hallmarks.  See opportunities to enhance your abilities through a demanding field, activity, or endeavor that requires exceptional skill and/or knowledge.”  Reading through the Bible? Summer of 7The Daniel FastCouch to 5K? Did you read that first paragraph up there?  I love challenging myself and honestly sometimes I wondered it I was just being silly.

As for things that I need to work on, a few things that stood out:

  1. Two of the themes suggest I partner with someone with Focus and Discipline.  Anyone?  Bueller? 
  2. I need to be careful not to take on too many projects and feel overly responsible.
  3. I need to let other people solve their own problems.
  4. I need to put more metrics on my goals and reward myself at milestones.

Shaun Groves just wrote a post earlier today on his themes and how he has seen it impact different areas of his life.  I’m eager to see what comes out of the class I take at work later next month based on this and see how it may impact my personal relationships as well. 

For now, I’m going to read the results, think about them, maybe share them in a blog post and hopefully help someone discover their own strengths, like today

Mercy House Kenya Shop GRAND REOPENING



I’m super excited to take this space today to first, introduce you to Mercy House Kenya if you don’t know about it and second, tell you about their store that is reopening today.

Mercy House Kenya exists to provide alternative options for pregnant girls living in the streets of Kenya.  The Mercy House aids them in nutrition, housing, prenatal care, Bible study, counseling and job skills for sustainable living, they even teach them about the cleaning company like MIB to help them out in their house cleaning. 

Here’s a video you can watch to hear the history and heart behind Mercy House. The short of it is Kristen Welch went on a Compassion blogger trip and then felt led to do something

And here enters The Mercy House Shop

The shop helps fund the house and has been shut down the past few months so they could restock and now it is REOPEN. 

I own two items from their shop and I’ve been more than pleased with both of them.  If we are friends on Facebook, you may have spied their T-shirt in the girls’ back to school picture. So comfy and love the fit!


They have lots more items available, all made in Kenya.


I love, love, love the idea of getting to shop and having it benefit someone for good.  I wish ALL shopping was like this! 

The best part is I have a 20% coupon code to share with you: REGRAND.

Now go, shop and ENJOY {and have fun with the blog’s new sharing features and SHARE the news!}

Friday Favorites 8.24.2012

It’s feeling like a list day.  And after seeing BooMama’s list, it’s feeling like a Friday Favorites list.  Here are the things moving me, making me smile and wanting to dance a jig.



If you are a parent, go pick up The Power of a Praying ParentAmanda did a review on it so I bought it and now I wish I’d be praying these prayers for years. 


Source: via Amy on Pinterest


I made this cilantro lime rice last night. I had also put some chicken in the crock-pot with some chicken broth and then shredded it. I combined them and it made my mouth dance. The kids? Not so much. But so easy just to leave some plain rice out for them.



These new (to me?) gluten free chocolate chip cookies are amazing. Almost as good as regular Tollhouse ones.  Locals, I picked it up at the new Harris Teeter.


Source: via Amy on Pinterest


I finally caved and I’m wearing a chambray shirt today. I bought it months ago after seeing it starting to pop up on Pinterest.  Loving it.  For some reason I feel like I should go sailing in it.  What’s with that?  I also feel like I’m back in the 90’s but whatever.



I posted this on Facebook this morning from Sarah Morgan but it’s worth repeating.  It’s a very Friday video.  Many favorites are in there–Grease, Footloose, Dirty Dancing, Coyote Ugly, Step Up, High School Musical. And 100 bonus points if you recognize the dancing scene from True Lies.  That alone makes me laugh.

Happy Friday and have a great weekend!

Bedtime Snuggles and Doing Unto Others

I failed as a parent Monday night.  I tucked the girls in, read our devotional, prayed and then told them to go to sleep.  School was starting in two days and they needed to be rested.  Emma leaned over as I was moving away and asked for me to lay with her.  While I have said yes many times in the past, I said no.  Then she leaned over with begging wide-eyes and said Please. I won’t always want you to lay with me.  And I looked at her and said no again.  I told her I’d lay with her tomorrow and get to sleep and walked out of the room.  I had that nagging, dark reminder from anyone who’s ever lost anyone, you might not have tomorrow.  But I left anyway.


God was gracious and gave me Tuesday night and you can bet your bottom dollar I laid with both of my girls.  We talked about their teachers and their classrooms and who they were excited to see on the first day of school the next day.   I gave them all the reminders about school…to obey their teachers, talk to someone new, don’t talk when the teacher is talking, treat others like you want treated, etc.

The conversation seemed to drift towards Lexi and a friend she’s not too excited about having in her class.  She likes her ok but she’s mean to her and so she has a tendency to be mean back.  But we went over loving our enemies.  Emma really got into it and made Lexi roleplay.  We stressed saying or doing something nice even when she says mean things first.  Hilarity ensued as we came up with some silly, funny responses.

We did our devotions and our prayer and I left the room again, remembering how much I loved those few minutes before bed.


I posted yesterday morning about their first day and askied for wisdom from older parents on how to savor the time.  I got one tiny response on Twitter.


Of course her advice was on snuggling and bedtime.  I planned to once again spend time at bedtime with them.


Yesterday the girls got out of school and they could not talk fast enough about all that had happened.  I had to make them take turns on telling me something fun about their day.  My favorite part though was not something they learned or ate or had fun with but Lexi’s big win with that little girl.

She was telling me about their discipline system and they can go down (like from green to red in some classes) or they can also go up by the teacher catching them do nice things.  Lexi said she got all the way to the top with Outstanding.  I was anxious to know what she got caught doing well and it turns out she helped this little girl with her words when no one else would help her.

Much praise and clapping went on in the van.  Emma said So our practice last night worked!


I laid with them again last night.  And oh, it was so good.  We talked and we laughed. I loved being mid-laughter and looking across to catch Emma’s eyes while she’s belly laughing too.  It’s the best medicine in the world.


Today I read this post with Chris Spradlin’s #1 Bombdiggity awesome sauce parenting advice of all times: Lay on your daughter’s bed and talk to him.  Yes!  Yes, yes, yes.  It’s so worth the extra few minutes.  For me, for them and for others.

And then.  Then.  I read The Talk by Momastery where she tells her children her only goal for them at school is to learn to be brave and kind to others.  And ya’ll, I just cried crocodile tears.  Yes. Yes. Yes.

I get it wrong a lot.  A lot.  I got it wrong Monday night and so many others.  We all do.  All of us parents are selfish and impatient and angry a lot. But this week I was reminded once again to lay myself down (literally and figuratively) and to say yes and that those few minutes before sleep are the most precious of the day.  Maybe you needed a reminder too?