Everyone is in full swing of the holiday spirit and busy schedules. It’s kind of weird but the holidays feel different to me than when I was younger. Not that it’s less exciting, but just not as much anticipation I guess. It’s almost as if it’s calmer. It gives me more time to remember what this is really all about.
We all know having faith can be hard sometimes. You wonder why bad things happen. And how people can deal with things they go through. I don’t want to be a person who pushes God on people. But I can’t imagine getting through it without some belief there’s a plan, even if it’s far off in the distance and we may never understand.
Advent is a good reminder of being patient and having faith during those times when faith is hard to obtain. As we wait for the coming of Jesus, there are #Advent words we can reflect on during the season. I wrote about mine being “wild” and “smooth.” I think one of my favorites though was “grow.” I like that word because we think so much about being patient and waiting and having faith but we don’t really think about how that’s making us grow as a person and grow on our journey. It’s a part of our religious journey during the season to wait and grow and with busy schedules we can forget that.
I like that the holiday season has become a little different for me. I have more time to think about growing and having faith. And I hope those who are going through horrible things can step back from their schedules and take time for this themselves.
Oops! I didn’t write a blog last week. That happens during the holidays I guess! It’s back to work now.
I went through this weird period where after a vacation, I’d be so anxious the day before going back to work. It got really bad at one point. I have my reasons for why I think this happened but all I’ll say now is it was so nice not to have the “Sunday Blues” this go around. You may think “how could it be hard to go back to work at a church? Isn’t it so peaceful?” Well, yes! But it’s still a job and a place of employment. Yeah, the staff here enjoys time off. Who doesn’t, right? But it was very exciting to feel like my normal self as I went back to my office and tackling the week head on.
I’m still reflecting on how thankful I am. Especially as I type this in the comfort of my own home. Sometimes I can write in coffee shops or other areas, and I will do that as it’s part of my job to be working in the community, but there really is nothing like home. I can think the best here, really. Having a job that allows that is really incredible. I think more employers should offer opportunities to do work from home to their employees. Yes, there is always the thought that people will take advantage of that. However, I think, if people are going to take advantage of their time then they’ll do it however they can, whether at the office or at home. When I’ve done my community work for the day and it’s time to do something like this, I actually do it better here (I just have to tell my cat, Caboodle, we’ll catch up later.)
I am thankful for the obvious reasons of having a beautiful, healthy family as well as friends. I have the resources and money I need and I don’t go hungry. There are thousands and thousands of people who are wishing for more. When I say my prayers, I thank God for all that I have and pray for those who wish they could say the same. I wrote about this in my last post but in this season of giving, it’s another reminder of how many people are in need.
Trinity never stops trying to help those people. On Giving Tuesday this week, we raised money for blankets at Wellspring Interfaith Social Services. We raised about $900 which means 90 blankets!
I’ve talked about all the great things Wellspring does. During this time of year, they offer coats to their shoppers. Last time I was there, a family was doing some shopping. They were a family of four and, because not everyone in a family can possibly get a coat, the guideline is a family that size can get two coats. I literally watched a brother and sister decide who could get the coat after they both picked one and their mother already had one. The brother graciously let his sister keep hers. I feel guilty about all the times I argued with my big brother about silly things.
Being thankful in your personal life is one thing. Being thankful in your professional life is another. I feel as if both of those come together as an employee at Trinity. I am able to enjoy the job I do as well as share a love and faith in God with my coworkers. So, Thanksgiving was a wonderful time and coming back to work with no anxiety was pretty much the icing on the cake.
What are you extra thankful for this time of year? What do you think I could do to help those who aren’t feeling like they have much to be gracious about? As happy as I am, we are truly whole together and it’s my job to have stronger connections to our neighbors. Let me know what you think.
During Advent, we are participating in a hashtag word of the day project called #AdventWord2018. Employees were randomly assigned a word from the list and invited to reflect on what it means to them specifically during the Advent season. Then we record a quick video explaining that and share it with our social media followers.
I was given two words (not everyone wanted to participate so that’s how I ended up with an extra one.) “Smooth” and “wild.” At first, I had to think about it a bit. Smooth and wild? Hmm. Really, the first thing that came to mind was “smooth sailing.” So, how to apply that to Advent? Well, Advent can be defined as a time of expectant waiting and preparation for the celebration of the Nativity of Jesus at Christmas as well as the return of Jesus at the second coming. “A time of preparation” sticks with me. Sounds like it could end up being a bit of a journey- waiting. And certainly, we are all on different paths of faith and have our own ways of arriving at some type of conclusion. Maybe we never actually arrive there.
In my case, I think “smooth” and “wild” could definitely be words to describe my faith journey. Some days the path feels smooth and I’m like 'yeah, this is how I feel.' Other days it can be wild and I’m flooded with questions and wonder all while not exactly knowing how I feel.
We’re taught that no matter the journey, smooth or wild, Jesus still accepts me. He still saves us then comes back to us again. That’s pretty cool. Gives you comfort that he’ll be there for you even on those days you feel like you just don’t know what’s what anymore!
As you enter the Advent season, I wish you neither a smooth or wild journey. I simply wish you strength on your journey, however it goes. That’s because I think that even when things aren’t smooth, they’re feeling a little rough, there’s still some good in there somewhere. May be hard to find but I do believe something good comes of tough situations. Whether you grow as a person or learn something about yourself. Either way, you aren’t the same and I think change is not a bad thing.
But, if you do feel like you are never are on a wild path- right on. Good for you. Send me some tips!;)
Photo 1: thelilypadcottage.com
Photo 2: www.dioceseoflaredo.org
As the temps drop, I realize ‘okay, here we go, winter is coming.’ Eek. It’s time. Snow is in the forecast and soon all the pretty leaves will make their exit for now. I think this will be a very different season for me. For the first time, I won’t be working in a field that requires me to be out in the elements for most of the day. Of course, I spend a lot of time walking around downtown and talking. But I can plan that around specific times of the day while not on a deadline- say maybe when it isn’t pouring rain or dumping snow for hours on end. Actually, I think it may be kind of nice to be out in the snow for a little while talking with our neighbors. This is something I would not have said a year ago!
BUT full-blown winter is not here yet. I am big on not bypassing Thanksgiving! I love Thanksgiving. I’ll be honest, of course the family time and food is very nice (and wine.) But, I do enjoy the time to reflect on what we are thankful for. I think it’s also a reminder we all benefit from time to think about what other people need. Working in a church this year will definitely be an example of that. It already happens almost daily here. So many people need so much. It can be overwhelming and saddening. I just have to ask myself what could I do, how could I help? Wouldn’t it be nice if we did this more than just at Thanksgiving time? Why does it have to be that the holidays are the big reminder of people in need? They likely aren’t less in need the rest of the year. Sure, the weather is different and certainly more trying, but their basic needs are probably constant. The holidays are not happy for everyone. I am so blessed and so happy with my friends, family and our health and I will celebrate that. But I am really challenging myself to focus on others as well and not just during the holiday season.
This isn’t a new thing. It’s often on my mind how fortunate I am and how I need to help others. I keep trying. I think maybe we all try at this for life? There will always be needy people and we can always try to be better in how we aim to help. But I do have to say, it’s really nice to be in a place where we all have similar hopes. Being surrounded by people who just seem so selfless is refreshing and inspiring. Trinity really is making a difference in our community and it shows especially during this time of year but really throughout the entire year.
For example, today we packed Dignity Bags.
I wondered where that name came from. Dignity means self-respect, in a state of or being worthy of honor or respect. That made sense when I thought about what we were packing- hygiene products, mostly. I hope that the people who receive these bags feel better taken care of personally and can worry less about finding money to care for themselves. Maybe their bag is one thing they can be thankful for. Even one thing can mean a lot. I hope that you can find at least one thing to be thankful for this season, too.
Photo 1: etsy.com
Photo 2: briantracy.com
I meet new people in this job regularly. If I’m doing it well, I meet them daily. This week I made a good connection with someone across the street at the University of Saint Francis’ downtown campus. Being that they are so close, you would hope for a relationship. But, to no one’s fault, there’s definitely room to grow in that aspect and I’m determined to explore how.
This a reminder that connections can be so easily made or ignored. I’m sure we often pass by people, sometimes maybe even the same people, on a regular basis without even extending a ‘hello.’ It’s strange that as someone in the communications field, I sometimes do this. We get so wrapped up in our heads and what we’re doing that we extend a friendly smile as a greeting rather than a verbal expression. I think I am half extroverted and half introverted. I went to a dinner where we talked about extroversion and introversion and it was interesting yet reassuring to realize this is okay. Yet, those moments of not saying hello are few and far between for me these days. Maybe it’s because I love my job? (and Trinity. Yes, I am biased here.)
It wouldn’t be hard to go about your schedule day in and day out in your own bubble. For whatever reason that may be. I imagine it would get rather lonely. Communicating with people is essential to human function, I think. I watched a show about surviving on an island and that came to be one of the reoccurring themes the contestants brought up. At the beginning, they were dropped off alone and could decide to stay that way or go find people. They had different approaches. Some decided to stay alone and try to survive and others went to look for a partner in the mission. All of them eventually said that human contact and relation is crucial to survival.
Alone time is also huge for me. I can talk all day, be in meetings all day, bounce from event to event. Then at the end of the day, I need to unwind and unplug. Finding this balance can be a challenge too.
I’m looking forward to working with my new connection at USF and hope it leads to important relationships. I love this community and want to be as connected as possible. But, afterwards I’ll still then go retreat to my cozy house, put my electronics away, and hang with my cat.
Second photo: Lonerwolf.com
Connecting with our downtown neighbors the goal of my job. Finding out what people want from church, what do they want it to look like? Two of the main questions we’ve come to are 1. If you aren’t going to church- why? 2. If you would go to church, what would that look like? Neither of those questions come with judgement. A lot of people simply aren’t going to church anymore. I admit, I definitely am not removed from that category. This is a topic I’ll get into later, right now I want to talk about another part of my job – communication.
My studies have been in communication and I’ve started my career in this field. This week I had two special days of communicating. Both left me with a head full of thoughts and a heart full of emotions. Some of those include sadness, motivation, happiness and guilt. I spent the day at Wellspring Monday. Their mission is people of faith working together to support and enrich the lives of Fort Wayne’s central city residents.
I spent the morning accompanying the seniors in their activities. First, exercise. The music choice for the morning was Aretha Franklin and some of the women there took advantage of that as a time to get their groove on. Then we watched a cool (and scary) slideshow about haunted places in Fort Wayne. I had no idea how many there are said to be! Eek. All of this was topped off with a nice lunch over conversation. Once they put two and two together and realized I used to work at WANE, that became a big topic of discussion. I don’t like talking about myself, but they were now wearing the reporter shoes for sure! It was a fun way to start the day. The less positive feelings came after.
Most people know there are a lot of hungry people in Fort Wayne. I think I realized this week I probably wouldn’t be too great at social work. I’m sure you get used to the understanding that you can’t personally get too involved or give too much away because it just can’t work that way. But I couldn’t stop thinking about all of the excess clothes and food I have and wanted to give it to everyone I meant during the food bank and boutique hours. Seriously, my car is embarrassingly full of clothes. I will donate them ASAP.
It was sad to see people desperate for food. But also uplifting to see that there are places like Wellspring to help. Even more uplifting, the people there getting the food? They didn’t seem sad or desperate. They were thankful for Wellspring and just happy to get something to eat.
Over at the boutique, which is incredible by the way, people were busy shopping. I’m truly impressed with this shop. They’ve worked hard to make it look and feel like any other shopping experience. But, when a family of four can only have two coats, you remember that’s not the case. It makes sense and I understand. They can’t give everyone in the family a coat or there wouldn’t be any left to give at all. Still, it wasn’t easy to see. But again, the family didn’t complain. They were happy to have even one coat.
Trinity refers a lot of people to Wellspring. Whether they are looking for some food or clothes or something else, the church connects them with Wellspring. I saw first-hand the incredible work they do. I knew of the organization before but not like this. Being there in it all day proved Wellspring is truly a gem for our city.
Wednesday I spent some time at Redemption House, a transition home for women who want to redeem their lives from past destructive behavior
I wanted to see if there’s a way we can connect there and form a relationship. There most definitely is. I prayed with the women, listened to what they were thankful for, and heard their devotions. It was inspiring to see someone who has been through tough times, things I’ve never experienced, still be positive and kind of say “Hey, I don’t know exactly how I am going to do this, but I have faith, and I’m willing to give it a try.” I think we can all benefit from that mindset.
Communicating, meeting new people, and listening will be most of what I do in this first year at Trinity. Trying to get ideas of what people want from the church. How we can be most beneficial in their lives. I have a pretty strong feeling there is a lot to learn.
I’ve always loved to write. When I was younger and throwing a tantrum, I would hide under my bed and write mean things about my parents on my wooden bed boards. I’m embarrassed to admit that my father still has one of these (he is not and has reminded me of it more than once.) Luckily, my writing is less spiteful now; I’ve been through almost ten journals and enjoy looking back on them and soaking in the moments of my life depicted on the pages. But when I left my previous job, I didn’t write. For nearly three months. This has never happened. I had so many thoughts and emotions but for some reason couldn’t pick up a pen. I still don’t know why this was but I find it interesting. And somewhat sad. I’ve always been able to write, even when I was going through something tough. I’m happy to say that pause is over and I’m back to the norm, although I do wish I wrote more.
I explain all of this because I want to express in a small way how much writing means to me. I didn’t go to Ball State and double major in journalism and telecommunications to become a news anchor. I did that because I love to write. That evolved and the path took me to the anchor desk briefly and now I am off it doing something entirely different.
And I mean entirely. During my first week at Trinity, in our weekly staff meeting, we began with a prayer. This is not something that happens in a morning meeting in a newsroom. I don’t think it could be any more opposite, actually. It felt great. I went to the bathroom following the meeting and felt so happy I teared up. With guilt I admit, I’ve found myself in a bathroom at work teary eyed before, but that was not out of happiness.
I am new to Trinity and my position is new to the church. They want help connecting to our downtown neighbors and remaining relevant. We have a lot to figure out in going about that but I think that’s exciting. Making a career change was a big decision and at times I didn’t know what I was even doing, so I’m somewhat familiar with (very much ‘somewhat’) challenging the unknown. One thing I do know, however, is that my first three weeks at Trinity have been wonderful and I can’t wait for what’s next.
Welcome to my blog. I am so happy I get to do this. Please know that I will be open, honest, and personal. I never wish to offend you or your opinions but rather use this forum as a way of expression. Blogs give people that freedom and I hope with each post, even when we disagree, we have mutual respect for each other as well as appreciation and gratefulness for this type of medium.