Friday, May 30, 2014

The Renewed Mind is Key - Single Ladies

Thank you, Chris Moody.

For your Friday viewing pleasure, please enjoy this excellent remake of The Renewed Mind is Key. ;)

10 Life Lessons From a Navy Seal - Lesson #9

"The ninth week of training is referred to as “Hell Week.” It is six days of no sleep, constant physical and mental harassment and—one special day at the Mud Flats—the Mud Flats are an area between San Diego and Tijuana where the water runs off and creates the Tijuana slue’s—a swampy patch of terrain where the mud will engulf you.

It is on Wednesday of Hell Week that you paddle down to the mud flats and spend the next 15 hours trying to survive the freezing cold mud, the howling wind and the incessant pressure to quit from the instructors.

As the sun began to set that Wednesday evening, my training class, having committed some “egregious infraction of the rules” was ordered into the mud.

The mud consumed each man till there was nothing visible but our heads. The instructors told us we could leave the mud if only five men would quit—just five men and we could get out of the oppressive cold.

Looking around the mud flat it was apparent that some students were about to give up. It was still over eight hours till the sun came up—eight more hours of bone chilling cold. The chattering teeth and shivering moans of the trainees were so loud it was hard to hear anything and then, one voice began to echo through the night—one voice raised in song.

The song was terribly out of tune, but sung with great enthusiasm.

One voice became two and two became three and before long everyone in the class was singing.

We knew that if one man could rise above the misery then others could as well. The instructors threatened us with more time in the mud if we kept up the singing—but the singing persisted.

And somehow—the mud seemed a little warmer, the wind a little tamer and the dawn not so far away. 

If I have learned anything in my time traveling the world, it is the power of hope. The power of one person—Washington, Lincoln, King, Mandela and even a young girl from Pakistan—Malala—one person can change the world by giving people hope.

 #9. So, if you want to change the world, start singing when you’re up to your neck in mud."  

Source: 10 Life Lessons From a Navy SEAL

The sun is soaking into my skin and I can't help but crave a little country, some cut offs, sweet tea and a long flat drive. I'd thought perhaps I was over country music, maybe it had all gone flat - thought maybe Beau had gotten to my music taste, drugged me with a distaste.


That loves still going strong, it was just waiting for a warm ray and a new worthwhile song to make my foot start swinging.

And I'll win Beau over, if it's the last thing I do.  The man's from Boise and loves a cold bud light, mountain biking and girls who bake him homemade pies.  But he hates country and called the first ball cap I saw him wear a "costume."  This guy.  All I can do is continue to spam his Spotify inbox.  :)

I'm itch'n for the 75 degree weekend - 7 hours and counting.

Monday, May 19, 2014

A Theme

Since returning from Omaha, I've been struggling to settle back into life.  I came away from a weekend in which the man I've been building with for the past two years, asked me to continue the journey for however many more we are lucky to be given.  And I wholeheartedly told him I liked that plan. A weekend that included not only the greatest joys, but some of the biggest, realest fear I've encountered in a couple years - being told a tornado is coming our direction.  My hands shaking and John whispering reassurance and confidence into my ear about the future and hope we have, as he holds the shaking hand with his ring. The following morning I made breakfast with and sat at the table just us two, with a woman I could legally call "Grandma" soon, a woman who will be my children's great-grandma.  Her legacy will be part of mine, and mine hers.  That's the first time I've ever had that opportunity - setting a table with Grandma. She bought us matching aprons.

Then, I came home and back to work and the overwhelming majority of people just wanted me to do my job.  They didn't even care there was a new ring on my finger or awakened look on my face.  I've been numb and cold for such a long time, and after one weekend, and a very important and challenging week that lead to it, I had changed.

Within a day or two I felt an extreme sadness weighing heavily on me at work.  I spent much of last week at work fighting it with all the tools I knew how.  I don't want it. I don't want that numb feeling to creep back over me.  I'm recognizing some things.  And as the week rolled to an end, I started stumbling across a number of articles and events with a similar theme.

I don't want success more than life. 
John is my business partner and I couldn't choose a better one. 
I want to live a remarkable life. 
I have to live out a calling or I'm going to go numb. 
I need to work for people I admire, not just a purpose I respect.

I just might have to step out of the game for a while, and it will likely cost me "success".

The Fresh Exchange: 

There is beauty in the process. It’s a beauty that I continually try hard to remind myself to stop to take in. Too often I get caught up in climbing to the next peak or trying to be better than I was last time or constantly needing to perfect the process. There is nothing wrong,however, with being someone who loves to climb higher and expect better from themselves. Recently, I have learned that as great as that feeling of achievement is, there is also an even better feeling with being content within the process of where we are now. If you are like me at all, you constantly feel the weight of that ever looming finish line.  Lately I am realizing how important it is to take in the moment of where we are in work, life, dreams, and the in-between.

My Pastor, Richard Dahlstrom’s Blog:

(this new blog address reflects my profound belief that our lives are journeys of transformation, and that there’s always a step we can take towards wholeness – my upcoming sabbatical was the catalyst for the change, as you see here…)

If success is a mountain, I’m an accidental climber.
Has it ever happened to you?  You’ve been working hard for goals you believe in for a long time.  You’ve sacrificed and said no to trinkets so that you could focus on the gold of your goal.  It didn’t happen overnight, but it happened.  You took initial step into the unknown of a new job, or that visionary idea into a deeper realm of committing to it and the universe rewarded with you success.  The business grew.  You were promoted.  The publisher said yes.
It feels good and so you stay on the path a little longer and you continue to get a few more responsibilities.  All the while, there are other areas of life, and these too are growing.  You’re a spouse now, maybe, or a parent, or you have a loan for a house and are slowly filling it with stuff.  Your hard drive’s filling up with pictures of kids at Christmas, Little League, Prom night.  It’s not perfect.  There are bumps along the way, but you’re still getting more responsibilities.  The business is gaining new market share.  Investments are doing their job.  It’s all paying off.
Days become decades, quickly.  Now there’s money in the bank, and when the car breaks you don’t worry about whether you can afford to get it fixed.  You eat out a bit more, maybe a lot more.  Others, looking in on your life from the outside, are a little envious, or maybe resentful.  That’s because you’ve become what our culture tells us is most important; you’ve become “successful”.   You just kept walking, step by step, and it happened that you eventually found yourself high up on the slope with your own measure of fame, or influence, or upward mobility, looking down on the lights below.  You wonder how you got there, pausing to look around for a moment.
You look around, once you have a little time to catch your breath, but nothing looks familiar.  You’re not sure where you are anymore.  You thought this was the right path because back down there along the way, everyone applauded and affirmed every step you took – college degree, corporate job, promotion, partner, consultant, marriage, kids, cross fit, commute.  The world’s filled with cheerleaders ready to affirm or punish every step of the way so that the well trodden mountain becomes your mountain too.  You went, almost without questioning.   And then comes a moment when you know it’s time to rest and recalibrate.
Just such a moment came my way last summer.   I’d come home from  two packed months of speaking at conferences on both coasts and in Europe, ending this season with a cross country flight on a Friday night.  At eight the next morning I joined with other staff members of the church I lead for a four hour morning of round-robin interviews with several candidates for a single staff position.  These were finished and I was having lunch with one of the candidates when my phone rang.  “Germany?” I said to myself, seeing the +49 country code.  Because I have a daughter there, I picked up.
“Kristi! Good to hear from you…”
Silence.   And then, “Richard it’s Peter.”
“Peter.  I thought you were Kristi.  Listen, I’ll call you back, I’m right in the middle of…”
“Nope.  I need to chat now, for a just a minute or two.”  I walk away from the outdoor table just as the waiter brings my food.  I’m sitting in the glorious Seattle sunshine by the front door of the restaurant when he says, “Hans Peter died today paragliding in the Alps.  They found his body early this evening.  I’ll let you know more when I know the time of the funeral.”  After a silent moment Peter says,  “I know.  Stunning.”  We chat a moment before I hang up the phone and finish the perfunctory interview, wondering why the world hasn’t stopped for everyone else on this outdoor patio, because God knows its collapsed for me.  I can’t eat, can’t throw up, though I want to.    Then I go going home and sit in the sun that set hours ago in Austria, sinking behind the Alps and leaving a family I love reeling in darkness.
One of my best friends is dead.   We’d skied the Alps together, snowshoed the Cascades east of  Seattle, and ridden bikes amongst monuments of Washington DC.  We’d rejoiced and agonized over our kids.  We’d argued theology and commiserated about leadership.   Even though we were separated by 6,000 miles or so, he was one of my best friends.   And now he’s gone.   The next day I broke down while telling my congregation, but on Monday there was an important retreat to lead for my marvelous staff.  It would be filled with laughter and adventures, and  I just kept pushing, because there was always another thing to do just around the corner.  The retreat ended and I sat in a stream and talked at a camera for video that needed making.  Then home, then studying for Sunday, then preaching three times.
After that I collapsed.  There was a day or two when the thought of getting out of bed to make a little coffee was overwhelming, let alone actually doing my job.   It was time for a sabbatical, a break from the normal routine in order to restore.  I knew I needed it.
Sabbaticals are for pastors, what fallow land is for a farm.  God invoked farmers to let the land rest every seven years, as a remembrance that God’s the provider, and as a gift of restoration for both the land and the farmer!  It’s important for the health of everyone: the pastor and the church, the farmer and the land.  It was time.
When you’re young, nobody tells you about the dangers of success. It’s like a disco ball, high up there on the ceiling in the center of the room, and all the lights of everyone’s ambitions are shining on it, so that its beauty is magnified as it reflects the collective pursuits of greatness back to everyone in room with sparkle, as if to say, “this is what it’s all about”.  You want it to shine on you too.  We call it lots of things, depending on our profession.  We want to build great teams, provide service second to none, create a product everyone needs, cure cancer, end human trafficking, write the song, get the corner office, get into Sundance, make the NY Times Bestseller List, raise amazing kids, find true love.  Let’s face it, there’s a gold medal in every area of life.  Maybe this isn’t a bad thing.  After all, we all need a reason to get up in the morning.  We want our lights to shine.  We want significance.  I get it.
Conventional Wisdom, or disguises dressed as the same, capitalize on these longings for success.  That’s what seminars are for, and books about losing 100 pounds, or running marathons, or creating a marketing strategy.  There is an entire “pursuit of success” industry precisely because we believing that going after it is the right thing to do, and maybe it is.
I’d always thought I wasn’t in that camp.  In a world of big, I’d made my living running a church in my living room, and teaching at tiny Bible schools around the world several weeks a year.  In a world of urban, I was living with my wife and three children in a place where the phone book was a single sheet of paper.  We were rural, small, subsistence.  There were resource challenges at times, but even though we lived below the poverty line, we slept under the stars on clear nights, camped in old fire lookouts where Jack Keroak  spent his summers, and enjoyed tiny staff meetings around the kitchen table.  It was hard work, and frugal, lacking notoriety, but life giving.
That was nearly twenty years ago.  Between then and now, I’ve been privileged to pastor what I believe to be one of the great churches, in one of the great cities of the world.  Grace infuses our life together as we try to focus more on how Jesus unites us than how lesser issues divide.  There’s joy and laughter, there’s brokenness and healing.  It’s far from perfect.  But I’ve been thrilled and honored to carry the torch for this season.   In order to restore creativity and vision, though, I knew it was time, not for something different, but for a pause.
I asked my board for three months off, so that I could get off the treadmill, get my bearings, and return, with a sense of refreshment, and  a re-calibrated soul, better able to serve, lead, and discern the signs.
I’ve been intrigued with the notion of pilgrimage for my sabbatical time, trying to learn what it means to walk with God by literally walking… for 40-45 days, through the high Alps.  My intent is to move away for three months:  out of speed and into slow, out of complexity and into simplicity, out of comfort and into suffering, out of certainty and into dependency.  The convergence of my weariness born from success, and the death of my friend pointed me towards the path of getting out from behind my books, and desk, and out of my car, putting one foot in front of the other for 400 miles.
Lessons will be learned through preparation and travel about suffering, traveling light, encounter, endurance, beauty, hospitality, and much more.   And while the original thought was to travel the Pacific Crest trail from the Canadian border south into Oregon, or from Mt. Rainier to Mt. Shasta, the death of my Austrian friend left a teaching hole for this summer that I’m qualified to fill, so I’ll teach the last week of their program and then my wife and I will begin in Northern Italy, head up through Austria into Germany, then west before dropping down and finishing our trek in Switzerland with friends.
I’ll post what we’re experiencing and learning here as I’m able, so I hope you’ll join us!

Departure: July 23rd  Return:  October 23rd – Here’s a Sabbatical Video  that will answer more questions.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Oh hey, we were there... the evening apparently 12-15 tornadoes were noted around Nebraska and Iowa.  When the sirens went off, we headed to the basement.  My hands were definitely shaking.  It's been a while since I've been that legitimately afraid.

Getting engaged one night, and two nights later sitting in a basement hoping to be "missed" by a tornado reportedly heading your way - it was a quite the exciting weekend, we had lots of feelings.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

This girl be goin places.

Morgs you're rad.  

This weekend in as few words as possible: 

I got a ring and John got a gun and Grandma Jean Marie told us stories about love, marriage and childhood while all under the stairs in the basement. 

But that doesn't really do any of it justice, now does it? 

Thursday, May 08, 2014

Having one of those crisis.  I've always considered myself a dreamer, and a doer.  But lately I'm finding I am far more the doer. But then, each day I find... I'm more and more 1-9 but probably not 4. And maybe 10.  I think maybe 11 should be "indecisive". Is that a creative trait? I also find I am more comfortable with parameters and clear goals - just not rules. And most importantly, I find I love making lists, but hate trying to go by other people's lists. 

Tuesday, May 06, 2014

Let's see - I'm tired.  Now that we've got that out of the way on to more interesting things.  For instance, last weekend.  Beau and I were lucky enough to work an event with MacKenna and the Hallstroms, which culminated in running through the belly of an abandoned old Free Masons building.  The History section of their website described it as being designed as a retirement home, but as we toured the dark halls of the rumored haunted ....mansion(?), our guides told us it had been originally designed to care for orphans and widows within the Freemason community, then became a hospital. Our evening tour was exceptional and even included balconies, basements and entry into a massive walk-in vault, filled with floor plans. Sadly, this massive and beautiful building is slated to be demolished... for condos.  Yay Seattle!

We also spent a good chunk of our weekend working on getting the permanent location for the coop ready.  And Coops be cray - don't let anybody tell you otherwise. Chickens are not easy pets.  Chickens are not cheap pets.  Chickens are cool, but coops, be cray. We picked up 20 feet of the recommended 1/4" hardware cloth that will be dug 12" down to predator proof the "chick shack" - and a number of bags of sand and dirt to level the side yard where it will be going.  John's been kindly digging the trench and laying out the wire -  mostly in the rain - and yesterday after a long day of work.

I have a massive deadline Wednesday and have been working like mad the past few days.  And we have dinner guests 2 hours after said deadline... so we spent a few hours last night (and will be again tonight) cleaning, shopping and prepping.  We've learned that setting the table the night before helps relieve that much more stress day of, and at least gives our guests the impression that we are ready for them when they arrive - even if dinner is over an hour out and we ran in the door 15 minutes before they arrived.  In general, when we have weekday guests, we're learning we really need to leave the two nights before open.

We're also learning we need a sabbath.  We haven't really been keeping one.  With a new house - weekends become never-ending work parties.  Heck, so do weekdays.  And we're trying to keep up with family and friends and coworkers and second jobs (why do we do that again?!) and lately seeking out volunteer work and we bought chickens!? (cray)

We are getting burnt out.  It's more obvious in me - I am irrational, cry when talking about unrelated things like wanting a dinner guest to feel welcome (no lie, this was two nights ago), and fall asleep on the spot at any given moment.  But, I'm finally connecting the dots and John's definitely getting burnt out too - there's just not as many tears involved.

So, we're hoping to instate a Sabbath night each week, where we have to rest, however we choose. This week would be week one. John's going to a bible study guys night and I managed to sign myself up for not one, but two volunteer design/marketing projects for that night. We haven't quite gotten the swing of it, but we will.  Maybe next week. ;)  After Omaha.

Which leads me to my final thought, and the reason I opened this post to write:  What book should I bring for my flights?  I would prefer something sweet, relaxing, and well-written.  I don't want cheese, and I'd prefer to really be drawn in to a good story.  Suggestions please? :)

Thursday, May 01, 2014

Oh yes, this will be arriving at our door tomorrow.  Happy, happy heart. Seriously, what more do we need?

2 half gallons of 2% Smith Brothers milk

1 lb of Stumptown - Hollar Mountain

Flagship Cheese 6-8 oz block

Bread Garden Whole Grains with Honey - 28oz  

New Terrain

As I sat alone in a coffee shop in San Fran, penning down my goals for my upcoming 25th birthday, I realized I travel moderately enough.  Yeah, I have yet to have that grand European adventure I've been dreaming of, but I do find myself on a plane a few times each year.  Only thing is, I find myself on a plane to the same couple places each year - San Fran and Nashville. And while I love both dearly, I decided I need some new territory.  Not just that, I realized I want to always be discovering new terrain all my lifetime.  I deemed it a life goal right then in San Fran.  Every year, one new city. It doesn't have to be on a different continent - maybe it won't always even be in a new state - but it will be an intentional, obvious, new city.

2012 (Twenty-five):  Boise, Idaho
2013 (Twenty-six):  Bella Vista, Arkansas
2014 (Twenty-seven):  Omaha, Nebraska

Omaha, next weekend people.
Unsurprisingly, each of these trips have also meant meeting a new part of Beau's family.  I am looking forward to meeting Grandma Turner next Saturday and hopefully understanding this crazy man of mine a bit better. ;)

2015 (Twenty-eight):  Dublin? Crete?