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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Just a Little Check In

Oh, you dear sweet reader(s).  That (s) was supposed to sound hopeful.  I'm around, but I haven't been here much.  I've been in the interwebs, but not with a witty post or a timely word.  I haven't even told you about the latest way I've found to make a difference in this world - but I will.  Soon.

I've been neck deep in spreadsheets and preschool forms, cardboard boxes - yes, still - and suitcases.  It's all good, though.  Much of it is actually for you.  If you are going to Allume, follow Incourage or have been part of a community group.  If you are thinking about going to next year's inRL meetup, my work has been for you.

So while my words have been limited to 1001 short emails and Facebook posts and documents, there are others brewing.

I hope you'll stick with me.  Maybe you'll just want to put your email address in that box up and there and subscribe so you don't miss my triumphant return.  I will be back.  I have so much to share in the coming months and I don't want you to miss it.  Do we have a deal?

Has your life been filled with end of summer crazy?  Tell me about it?  Let's commiserate. :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

10 Things Other Allume Gals Need to Know About Me & a Bonus FMF- Last

Looking for Five Minute Friday?  It’s at the bottom.  Feel free to read my list, though.  ;)

1)    I’m rooming with the hubby this year.  Hopefully he already knows these things, that’s why I’m writing to you.  The reason that the hotel filled up is the exact reason he’s coming with me this year – The Gran Fondo Hincapie.  We both love cycling and this is an amazing chance to see world class cyclists up close and personal.

2)     I have either waited a whole year to see your lovely face again, or I’m thrilled to actually get to meet you for the first time.  Seriously!  I love meeting people and hanging out with friends.  Ah, but you say, “you have no idea who I am.”  No matter!  If you are planning to be at Allume you are a fascinating, passionate, beautiful person.  Who wouldn’t want to meet her?!?

3)    I tend to get hyped up in big crowds – I think that is the definition of an extrovert.  I am energized and in my happy place.  Feel free to remind me to dial it down a notch or two.  I may have forgotten to tell myself.

4)    I also love to tuck away in a corner for a bit and just watch.  People watching is a favorite activity.  I love watching interactions, reunions, first-time meetings, collaborations, reflection.  Since I took that anthropology class way back when, I have been enthralled with how people are with each other – or alone.

5)    I may forget your name – 4 times.  I may also know your name before we ever meet in person.  I have never quite figured out why my brain remembers some names and others just slide off like an egg in a Teflon pan.  I apologize for asking again and again.  I also apologize for completely freaking you out.

6)    If we hop in the Smile Booth together please make sure we get plenty of pictures together.  Last year I left with one print.  I always feel bad about taking the print, but I want to make sure I take some home, too.  I’m generally up for making a fool of myself with a prop or a totally unflattering full on laugh.

7)    If for some reason you are reading this and we’ve never “met” online before, please introduce yourself.  Look me up on twitter @ACTilson, leave a comment, email me.  See #2!

8)    I am beyond excited about the speakers and some of the opportunities we will have this year.   Some of my favorite organizations are sponsors and I can’t wait to partner with them at the conference.  Have you checked out thesponsors?  If not, this is some good homework to do beforehand.  Maybe you will even want to put a special section in your conference binder

9)    I am a slow eater. I get wrapped up in conversations at meals and often forget there is a plate of food in front of me.  Although, these delicious meals will be prepared, set out and cleaned up by someone other than me.  That makes a simple sandwich more appealing and I may just be savoring every bite.

10) This will be the first time that we have left our son with family and gone on a trip.  I have a twinge of anxiety about this.  I’m not so much anxious for us as I am for the little guy and the grandparents.  I’m also a little worried he won’t want to go back home with us when we pick him up on Sunday.

So that’s my list!  I’m linking it up over at Allume today.  If you’ve come over from Five Minute Friday, you’re next.  This is a Two-fer day.  I’m still getting settled into my house while also working behind the scenes with the (in)CouragersCommunity Groups and this lovely conference.  Life is a little busy.  So glad you’ve hung with me today.  Without further ado, here are my five minutes on:

Five Minute Friday

Last

This word has been on my mind a lot lately: 

When will I empty the last box. 

I found that one thing I’ve been looking for, at last

The last time I saw my friends arriving tonight. 

The last words I heard my granny say in her hospital room.


There is something about last that feels final, like a period at the end of a book.  There is also a feeling of a springboard.

Last leads me to next.

Next is full of hope, sometimes full of dread.  Next can also make me exhausted even considering it.

I’ve stalled at times wondering if the last was truly the end and if the next would ever come.  Sometimes this space is like that.  I pass the last without noticing until it is days later.  Let’s hope the next next isn’t that far away.


Disclaimer:  I had to go back and italicize so the words would make sense.  Hope you will forgive me this editing violation.  Now I need to visit you all, last week was a little crazy.  Sorry if I missed you then.

Friday, August 16, 2013

Small is Here

Small is this town I’ve adopted.  It’s going into the Dairy King and having my son’s order known before it is placed. Blueberry pancake – the best he’s had all day!  That’s what the owner asks every time we come.



Small is the older gentleman at the same place that we haven’t seen for several months, but he notices how much the little guy has grown, tells us he’s a dandy and that children are one of life’s greatest blessings.  He’s sure that our son will make a great quarterback for the local high school team in about 10 years.  He doesn’t know that throwing and catching are still very much works in progress.



Small is driving past my sister’s house, knowing my best friend since fourth grade still lives just down the road and my parents right past her.  Small is seeing every tree in my mind’s eye as I mentally drive that route. 



Small is the grandeur of blue mountains reaching up and enveloping these green hills dotted with sheep, goats, cows and the stray abandoned silo.  Small crumbles to the dirt and is part of the remember when..

TIME


We meet on Thursday nights to catch up, encourage, laugh and scheme.  You can find us and join us around 10 PM Eastern at the #FMFParty signpost on Twitter.  We wait for Lisa-Jo to give us her prompt for our FIVE MINUTES.  If we are nice, we may get it just a bit earlier than midnight.  Some let words fly like the wind as soon as the word is given.  Others sleep on it and let a fresh mind do the tackling.  Still others find the time to write later on.


After we have poured out we link up.  We travel to our neighbor’s home first and leave words of encouragement (because really any comment is encouraging), and then continue on discovering words and writers whose hearts were unknown to us before.  That is the beauty of Five Minute Friday.  Join us, won’t you?

Five Minute Friday

Friday, August 9, 2013

Lonely

Lonely and alone are two very different things.  There are moments now when I cherish alone like a rare uncut diamond.  It is unshaped and doesn’t look like much at first, but holds so much potential.

Lonely is something I wouldn’t wish on my worst enemy.  I’ve been there.  Many times.  You probably know by now that we have moved long distances 7 or 8 times.  Uprooting with no job, no built in community to be a part of is hard.  I’ve been lonely in medium size towns, large suburbs and cities.  Location doesn’t have much to do with being lonely when you don’t know anyone.

Lonely becomes desperation after a short while.  It doesn’t take much to push it over the edge.  Maybe it’s when you have to eat lunch alone – AGAIN!  Maybe it’s always seeing someone else run into a friend at the store.  Maybe it’s the failed efforts of connecting with others even at church.

I do know that the onus of others' loneliness often lies with us.  Do we only have time for our family if we live near them?  Do we have enough friends in our happy circles?  Do we not even notice the new girl who has just recently stepped into our own schedules?


I want you to look for that person this week.  How can you demolish some lonely for another?

Linking up with Lisa-Jo and my own Furious Five (minute Friday writers)!  Please let me know if you got that reference?  ;)

Five Minute Friday

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Taking Away Dreams

I know this was meant to be up yesterday, but that just didn't happen.  I had a day that started with a Mommy&me meltdown followed by errands and power tools.  I do love using a good power tool.  Meltdowns?  Not so much.  So here is the conclusion of what I took away from Dayspring.  There was also swag, but maybe we'll look at that another time.  You can read the first part of my story here and the middle of the story here.  Thanks for the grace and understanding.

When I called the Dayspring headquarters the Mother-Ship, I was only half joking.  Someone else actually call it that the first time, but y’all, it fit!  (See that y’all coming out again – that’s when I’m home.)  I’ve said for years I could live in a glass and concrete box and be perfectly happy.  Well, add to that dry stacked stone, polished stained concrete floors and rolling hills and I’m a happy girl.  Modern architecture thrills me and eases me all at the same time.  Clean lines are my happy place.

Beyond that, if you surround me by creative people I feel like I could nearly explode with joy.  Can accountants and administrative types and purchasing departments be filled with creativity – YES!  The environment of ideas and collaboration was invigorating.  Partnerships that are forming are exciting to watch being birthed.  Trust me when I saw you are going to want to keep your ear to the ground for new opportunities on the horizon.

My trip was end capped by time spent with Holley Gerth.  She led a devotional time for us on our last morning together.  Beyond that, we rode together to lunch and shared some striking similarities.  I love it when I can find another girl to talk shop with, bicycle shop that is!  Speedplay, chamois cream and carbon fiber don’t often get discussed in the blogosphere, at least not this one.

There is this whole business of dreams, not just regular ones that come during sleep, God-Sized ones.  These are the dreams that truly make others think you are crazy – that is, if you get up the courage to speak them out loud.  I think something must have rubbed off over peanut butter pie.  On my first return flight I pulled out a notebook and started a list – DREAMS.



So there is what I took away – encouragement to pursue what I’d never thought to actually list on paper.  Some are small, some are quite ambitious.  It may get edited over time, but it’s a start in the right direction.  Sometimes finding the right direction to aim is a challenge.  I’ve got that step done.  Now I’m asking you to help keep me accountable.  Ask me how it’s going when I pop into your thoughts.


How about you?  Have you taken a step toward chasing a dream?  Tell me what you did in the comments, K?

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Part 2 - Coming to the Mother-Ship

Yesterday was all about the time before my trip to the beautiful Dayspring headquarters in Siloam Springs, Arkansas.  So now I have arrived and am on my way to the 2nd ranked Hampton Inn!!  I’m not sure what you have to do to be #1, but this was definitely the nicest Hampton Inn I’d ever stayed at!

Our first evening was a meal together with the whole behind-the-scenes team of (in)Courage.  We went to dinner together at a local coffee shop, Pour Jon’s,  owned by one of the team members and her husband.  If you are ever in the area I highly recommend you stop in for a cup of their freshly roasted awesomeness and a killer dessert.    I had a Burundi Americano – it was divine.  I’m pretty picky about mycoffee.

The next morning we made our way to the Mother-ship for their weekly praise and worship kick off called Jump Start – what an amazing way to start a work week.  In an office.  With your co-workers!  Seriously, who does that?  Dayspring does.  The atmosphere is more family than corporate, more Christmas than back to the grind Monday.  It flows through the building, the employees, the design and out through their products.  It was a pretty cool environment to step into, said the girl who used to plan and design corporate offices.  I think I may have been the only one enamored with the 45 degree layouts, panel system workstations and the drafting and design tables.  I even took a photo of a metal edge tool I’d never seen (another geek out moment).



There were tours, reporting meetings, and brainstorming sessions.  I’ll let you in on a little secret – there are some amazing things heading your way of you participate in anything related to (in)Courage.  Shh…  don’t tell them I said so.  All of this kindling lit a fire under me to dream big, not be afraid to lose face if I don’t quite achieve it all, and approach it all prayerfully and to God’s glory.

We are put here to work according to our gifting, our passions, and our abilities out of our experiences and situations all to further the Kingdom.  There are no small jobs, no small dreams.  Do I sound Like Holley Gerth a little there?  More aboutthat tomorrow.


Have you had a spark moment that opened your eyes toward a dream you’d never realized was there or pushed you forward?  I’d love to hear about it.  Hearing about other’s dreams can awaken us to our own.

Monday, August 5, 2013

Leaving on a Jet Plane

I have an amazing new friend who is a constant encouragement to me to go beyond, well everything.  I owe her an email describing my experiences that I took away with me from an adventure I had just enjoyed.  I think I’ll share with you all!

A couple weeks ago I was hanging out in Arkansas with the amazing team of (in)Courage.  It was a surreal time.  Let’s just start by saying that I’ve never been flown anywhere on a company’s dime for my own sake.  There was a lovely period of time when I flew to NYC every week on Tuesday mornings to house hunt as my dear hubby’s job was in transition – but that’s another tale.  There was a sense of importance and care that honestly I don’t think I had ever felt before. Sure, I’d had fancy work lunches in my last career – a decade ago!  But there have been many days spent in athletic wear since then!

I literally made myself sick with anticipation and, frankly, anxiety over this trip.  I wasn’t worried about leaving the kiddo or big guy for 3 days; it was the who and the why of the meetings.  I don’t get intimidated easily by other people, but when it’s something that matters deep down it’s a different story.  I felt like I was completely out of my depth and was about to be found out!  This was a big SOMETHING for me and my stomach flipped and protested until the moment I saw the ever-lovely Lisa-Jo standing ahead of me in the security line at the airport.  Relief!

Seriously, it all just melted away and turned to pure excitement when I made my way to the gate and joined up with her and Crystal.  The three of us were joined in Atlanta by Robin Dance – this is where I geeked a little.  When I was new to twitter and knew all of 1 person in the whole blogging world, @penseiverobin was one of the first people I followed – and here she was!  Y’all (I say that because we are both southern!) we clicked and didn’t stop talking ‘til we lost each other after our first flight home!  I know my twang level increased three degrees and it was glorious!  You are probably tasting sweet tea in your mouth right now just thinking about that.

This was just the beginning and it was off to a wonderful start.  Won’t you come back to hear a little of my yarn tomorrow?

Have you ever had an experience that was unexpected, for which you were unprepared, and exceeded all notions of what lie ahead?  I’d love to hear about it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Story - Five Minute Friday

I read of journeys long and friendships deep over black steaming cups of tea or coffee.  There are benches where neighbors gather to stay in community with each other.  They build their story together and find that there’s not so much different after all.

But, what if your life is more like the traveling roadshow, each performance a different story for each hamlet you enter, pitch a tent, and then leave?  Who goes deep and wide with you there?

What if all the chapters put together are like a read-along book on repeat with small hidden tracks tucked in after long pauses.  Who is there to see the epic that gets covered over by the mundane?

Is that the purpose of the written word? To give permanence to the fleeting that everyone missed but you?  How else will they know if you don’t tell your story? How will you know mine?

Time.


For five minutes we let the words flow, link arms and encourage our neighbors.  The joy becomes contagious and we keep whispering hope and appreciation down the line.  Join us here, won’t you?

Five Minute Friday