In 2014 I spend several months writing commands for my life as I focused on who I wanted to be and how I wanted to live.  They’re back in the archives if you ever want to revisit them.  I was actually writing quite a bit more back then than I do now.  Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say I was sharing a lot more of my writing then than I am now.

From time to time I go back  and reread those commandments because they still ring oh so true today.  One of my favorite commandments (I stole the commandment idea and the title for this one from Gretchen Rubin’s book The Happiness Project) was: Do What Ought to be Done.

I closed the blog post explaining is with these words and they continue to be one of my favorite paragraphs I’ve ever put down on paper: And so the 5th commandment was born – do what ought to be done. Not what’s easiest. Not what’s fair. Without consideration for the poor or good behaviors or intentions of others. Just simply: do what ought to be done. When it it’s costly, when it matters most, and even if no one else does – do what ought to be done.

The healthy part of these commmandments is that they’re written to apply to me.  You can drive yourself crazy worrying about the bad or wrong decisions other people make but the truth is, just making sure you’re doing the right thing is enough work.  What I love and go back to over and over about this blogpost is this: when no one else does.  There will be days that feel like no one else will do the right thing but who I am on those days matters the most.  They define my character.  My character cannot be compromised by the behaviors or even the intentions of others – it has to be consistent.

When it’s costly and even when no one else does.

I shared just this week the story of the only class I ever failed in college.  I once failed a class for standing up to a professor.  In 20ish years of education he was the worst teacher I ever encountered and the horrible, hateful things he said to his students haunt me to this day.  Finally, one day, I took a stand.  I’ve earned a lot of A’s in my day but that D meant more than years of A’s combined because I did what ought to be done even when it cost me.

When I am tempted to defend or guard myself instead of doing what’s right I have to come back to this post, to this commandment.  I have to remind myself that I wrote it for me and that who I am in these moments matters most of all.  Sometimes doing the right thing will be thankless and humbling. It will frequently be horribly unfair.  Those are the grades that should make the fridge.

When it’s costly, when it matters most, and even if no one else does – do what ought to be done.


Adjusting the Sails

Creature of habit that I am, change always comes with an adjustment period for me. In preparation for what I knew would be a tough season of work I spend several months deciding how I would adjust my personal life, my travel schedule, and my routines to maximize the time and energy I would need to give to be successful at our database transition.

Then, for months our committee worked really hard and I personally helped clean up, migrate, and adjust 1.5 million attendance records and about 100,000 people profiles.  I’ll let you imagine how much work that was.  Then, through circumstances we couldn’t control – the new system just didn’t work out for us at this time.  We pulled the plug.

I’m driven by a desire to succeed at what I do and I’m so afraid of failure I sometimes miss opportunities.  So you can imagine how this decision weighed on my type A mind.  If there’s one thing I’ve learned the last few years though it’s this: success isn’t always the outcome you expect.  If we’d forced ourselves forward with the wrong system that wouldn’t have been a success.  If we’d converted only to have to go through this whole process again the next year, that would have been a failure and a struggle.

Perhaps success is knowing when to readjust your sails.

Taking the entire weekend off of work and even e-mail I spent time with my Mom, even leaving my phone in the car.  I recharged and I thought about this next chapter as we essentially ‘go back to the drawing board’ and begin again to make choices for the future. I’m reminded of all the times readjusting my sails has drastically saved my future…

In college, I took a break from pursuing my faith and I paid some consequences for that.  Just before graduation I realized I was discontent and had grown increasingly selfish.  I readjusted my sails and by the time I graduated I’d made some necessary changes to get back on track and to reprioritize.  I wouldn’t be here today, in Tampa, working for a church if I hadn’t.

After college I was learned the ropes of a new career and I quickly realized that despite having grown up under the tutelage of two of the best money managers in the world (my parents) I still had no idea what I was doing and I wasn’t getting ahead.  I signed up for Financial Peace University and again I had to readjust sails.  I laid out my budget, I got honest about my spending and I said: if I don’t make a change now I’m going to get too far down the wrong path to make it back.

Within the year I had taken a second job, paid off my debt, and prepared to buy a house. I bought a house almost exactly a year after that financial course and I’m sure if you’ve ever done this you know how much you learn about expenses when you own a home.  As in: everything costs more than you think.  But having adjusted the sails in time to get ahead instead of further behind I knew how to tackle this next set of obsticles and as I continue to work towards being debt free with my home by 35 I can tell you – I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t started there.

All my life I thought I wanted to work in football.  To follow in the footsteps of my Dad in some way (though coaching seemed out since my Dad reminds me when I have bold opinions that I don’t really know that much).  I took a fun, fast paced event job traveling the country and putting on events with NFL teams.  I loved it for a season and then I quickly realized that level of stress did NOT love me.  You’ve probably read me share previously the toll that took on my health eventually because I couldn’t master the idea that events of thousands of kids are chaotic no matter how much planning you do.

When I decided to leave that job I had an incredible offer at a financial organization that paid so much money I wasn’t sure what to buy first.  Just as I prepared to accept I got a call, out of the blue, about working for my church.  I literally laughed in my prayer life that week: surely you don’t want me to give up all this money to start all over as an assistant, again.  But he did.  Almost 5 years later I can’t imagine where my life would have gone if I’d said no to this calling.  The Lord put me here for this season and I have grown and moved and developed as a result. Though I must give Him full credit for that sail adjustment – I was planning on a house with a mote and maybe a Range Rover.

So as I prepare to embrace this next chapter and probably experience some decision fatigue in the coming months I’m reminded of this: success is knowing when to adjust your sails.  When to call it.  When to make changes.  When to pause and ask for advice. Perhaps most importantly of all: success is making the right decision for the involved parties even at the expense of your own time and effort.

On the other hand, failure is refusing to redirect.  It is going too far down the wrong path because readjusting is hard and humbling.  It is making decisions for the wrong reasons or avoiding making them at all.

May we all know when to adjust so we end up at the right destination.





Don’t Say Cancer



One of my commitments in the new year was to schedule all of my health appointments early.  A physical, my 2 dental cleanings, etc.  I was determined to start 2017 off right and do better than years before.  As this story has unfolded I’ve debated sharing but was inspired by a beautiful girl I went to college with who found out in a routine exam she had breast cancer and is fighting hard to beat it and raise her 2 boys.  Cancer does happen to healthy, 30-something year old women and routine checkups save lives.

During my physical in January my doctor felt a lump in my neck, on my thyroid.  It’s always scary to hear those words: you have a lump.  A lump of what?  Then the c-word among others gets tossed around and you feel the panic rise.  I scheduled an ultrasound.  Let’s find out what’s going on.

I will admit, I was more emotional in those weeks of waiting then I ever would have guessed.  Keeping with my commitment to being more vulnerable in friendships – I shared with my close friends, my family, and my bible study.  I asked for prayers, especially for peace.

Two weeks later I was thrilled when my doctors assistant said: you’re all good!

The relief was immediate.  The emotions came to a final head. And a few days later with a grateful heart I went back to my usual self.

So flash forward to March and I go back to the doctor for an unrelated appointment. Imagine my surprise when she says: how did your biopsy go?  Oh no, I replied, I didn’t need one. Your assistant told me about my results from the ultra sound and I’m all good.

Her assistant told me wrong.

In fact, he read me the wrong results entirely.  I, in fact, had a lump.  Or a nodule as they’re called in the medical field.

I made it all the way to the front seat of my SUV before I burst into tears. I remember saying all the right things: It’s ok.  People make mistakes. We’ll just go from here. But as I got into the car and put my face in my hands it hit me: I had a nodule and I was now three months late finding out what it was.

I’ll spare you all the nitty gritty details and tell you that I had another ultrasound at a specialist, followed a month later by a needle biopsy.  This is where they stab you very deep in the neck with a needle four times and extract ‘samples’ from your nodule.  It’s terrifying and painful.  I said afterwards: well, I wouldn’t wish that on ISIS.

My parents, my friends, my sisters, and every guy I’ve ever dated will tell you: I’m tough. I got my wisdom teeth pulled on a lunch break and went back to work.  Without pain killers.

Cancer scares are a different kind of pain though.  Yes, there were needles and I hate those.  But the weeks of waiting for answers.  Of worrying about the what ifs.  And the heart breaking thoughts of: if this is serious… are a pain that’s hard to describe.

I’ve never been a fearful person.  In fact, I could stand to be a little more afraid or intimidated at times.  So was was new to me.  The anxiety.  The fear.  And the sorrow at feeling like I lost my invincibility.  What if I’m not ok?

Nearly three weeks after my mom squeezed my toes while I grabbed the side of that doctors office ‘bed’ with one hand and wiped tears from the corner of my eyes with the other while they gathered samples – I got the call.  I stood in my kitchen gripping my counter tops as the doctor said: you’re healthy.  I held on and cried with relief.  I’m healthy.

That level of fear and uncertainty are lonely.  Even as I had my family and friends praying and walking through those months with me – I felt isolated with my fears.  I wasn’t voicing all of the emotions I walked through.  Even this week as I tried to share with my bible study my gratitude for my health I could barely get the words out around tears.  I am grateful.  I am relieved.

Even though I was released with a clean bill of health at the end of a tough couple of months I want you to encourage you to schedule your yearly appointments and stay on top of your own health.  Routine health screenings save lives.  And if you’re walking through a similar season to mine, reach out.  Even if your friends and family can’t fully understand what you’re going through – I assure you, they want to be there.

A note from 2018: I grew a lot last year.  I’ll admit that cancer scare stuck with me for the rest of the year (my biopsy was in the summer).  I finally got around to making that Will I’ve been meaning to make.  And I spent a little more time with my nieces and nephews (yes, nephews – plural!).  I squeeze them a little harder.  And at the end of the year when my newest nephew, Simeon, joined the family with my middle name it meant everything.  I’ve loved a little harder and let go of a few more grudges, insecurities, and imperfections.

In this season I was reminded how fully the Lord has answered my prayer for friendship.  I was overwhelmed by the number of my friends and coworkers who volunteered to go to my appointments and procedure with me – even offering to taking time off work or hire babysitters for their kids.  It was humbling, encouraging, and unbelievably generous (I’m crying writing this).  I prayed for a long time that the Lord would give me quality friendships and he has delivered beyond my ask.  My Mom ended up flying in to go with me but even as I arrived home after to a big bouquet of flowers I couldn’t help but think that the Lord has given me this incredible family of friends.

I wish on no one the fear and loneliness those couple of months gave me.  But I’m grateful for this: they gave me perspective.  That time is fleeting and un-promised.  That there are people I still want to share Christ with and opportunities I want to cherish.  I have no idea if I’ll have 65 health more years or not.  So in the meantime, I’ve decided to live each day I do have loving fiercely, leading well, and sharing my faith in big and small ways.

Brave Not Perfect

Why public speaking, people ask.  Of all the hobbies, professional development, or Thursday morning options – why spend mine forcing myself to stand in front of a room full of people and face one of the most widely shared fears?  Typically my answer is this: I value quality communication.  That’s not a lie.  I do.  The bigger answer didn’t make it’s way into words until later and that truth is this: I have something to say.  I have something to say and when those opportunities present themselves: I’m going to be ready.

Years ago when I took to blogging the heart behind writing was the same.  It was my chance to bring a message.  To share.  To grow.  I put myself out there and I loved what that did for me.  It was a bonus when what I had to say made someone else step out in agreement.

As I was watching a TED Talk last week it really resonated with my soul.  Reshma Saujani’s talk was titled, ‘Teach Girls Bravery, Not Perfection’.  You should all watch it here.  We are raising our girls to be perfect and our boys to be brave.  Never the reverse.  She challenges the norms and I literally cheered her from my bathroom as I curled my hair watching her on YouTube.  Then I tweeted her a quick ‘I’m in for bravery’ as I grabbed my laptop and headed out the door to my technology related job and thought ‘she’d be proud’ (she teaches girls to code!).

I’m a little disappointed to say that bravery actually gets harder with age.  Each year the pressures mount and being brave seems to take a bit more effort.  As you get older your bravery has higher stakes.  I don’t just have parents to make proud and a report card to answer to anymore.  Now it’s the reputation of my company, the expectations of bosses, the spotlight of leadership roles.  It’s harder now, to be brave.

A friend and pastor asked to meet with me a few months back.  After agreeing I met him in the lobby of our church.  He explained that he wanted me to be completely open with him as we spoke about what my experience working in a church has been like.  I laughed and said something to the affect of ‘brutal honesty is my speciality’.

He asked me a few easy questions like ‘what do I love about my job’ and ‘how do I get along with my bosses’.  I sat Indian style in the big leather chairs and I answered.  Then he said, ‘what’s been the hardest thing for you about working at a church?’.

Um, knowing if I should actually answer this question honestly?

When people ask me questions I always wonder if they just want the token answer.  When they say ‘how are you?’ should the answer always be good?  That kind of thing.  But he asked to meet with me because he wanted to know so I had already decided that might include vulnerability.

This job has made me self conscious.  That was my answer.  His surprise was obvious but I jumped right into my explanation…

This job has made me self conscious.  I worry about what people think.  I care what people are saying.  I never use to do that.  I want to make my parents proud. It’s important to me to excel at my job.  I try to lead with excellence and to live with integrity.  But somewhere between 25 and 30 I realized I was worrying about how people saw my actions.  I grew up in the spotlight and somehow as an actual adult, miles away, doing my own thing – I got worried about rumors and reputation. Do you know that there was once a rumor about me at my place of employment that included me having a much older boyfriend?  Turned out it was started because someone saw a picture of me and my DAD of all people and just kind of ran with it.  Apparently they didn’t take the time to realize we are practically twins.

The last year I’ve really worked on this.  I’m thirty-one years old and somehow that just seems to be too old to worry about rumors and opinions.  Life is messy.  Ministry is messy. Christianity is messy.  What I desire most as I grow older is to embrace the dirty hands of it all.  I want to love others well.  Where they’re at.  Mess and all.

Trying to conclude it on a positive note in the conversation I said: I’m done explaining myself. That’s what I’ve decided.  For so many years I felt like I had to explain the way I’m wired and the gifts I have because they didn’t fit any of the boxes people were trying to squeeze me in.  As 29 became 30 became 31 I realized: I’m done.  I’m never going to be ‘normal’ so I’m just going to be wholeheartedly myself.  Some people have really loved and embraced that and if I’m honest, some people really don’t like me.  Overtime, I’ve become ok with that.

While I’m probably the farthest I’ve ever been from perfect I’m closest I’ve ever been to brave.  After a few years of Toastmasters someone said: you found your voice.  I responded: no, what I found was an audience.  I always had a voice.  A voice, a unique perspective, and a little confidence.  Toastmasters gave me an audience of encouragers and I grew a backbone that I’m not sure I would have found other wise.

Note from 2018: I was reading through old drafts (of which there are many).  I wanted to share this one today because I’m preparing to lead a Junior Toastmasters club at my local Dream Center.  We all wish from time to time we had known as kids what we know now. I’m excited to help 6th-12th graders use their voices.  I hope to teach each of them to be brave, not perfect.








The Year of Not Being Busy

Last year I decided to give up the right to use the word ‘busy’.  Why?  Because I had grown incredibly tired of busy as an excuse in other peoples lives and when I further pondered, my own.  I was sick of a world where the things I value and commit to become the excuse for why I’m aloof or untouchable.  I have time.  And I use my time wisely.  Why am I acting like life is happening to me instead of owning my intentional choices?

The year of not being busy was in no way the year of being lazy – so let’s clear that up.  When I gave up the right to use the term ‘I’m busy’ I did not give up all my commitments with it.  I read 136 books, participated in 2 book clubs (one I was in charge of that met in my home), hosted and lead a bible study as we read through the entire bible in a year, served on the prayer team at my church, traveled 15 week/weekends, and still managed to talk to my best friends every single week.  I flew all the way to North Carolina to date my nieces and nephews one-on-one and still had time to host monthly game nights and cook through about 100 new recipes while inviting new people to the table.  I also enjoyed the most opportunities to speak (in public!) that I’ve had yet.  It was a good, full year.

Here was the most valuable lesson of my sacrifice: let your no be no.  The bible is of course quite clear about how we should just say yes or no and let that be enough.  So why did I find myself having these long explanations?  Why did I ever believe people wanted to hear them?  This year I quit saying: I would but… and just said: no, not at this time.  As it turns out, that was enough.  People could respect it.  I’m on committees and in focus groups and leading a few too many things and when I say: no, I mean it.  I am protective of my time because when I’m not: I don’t like me.  I refuse to be the girl you ask to coffee who says: I’m available on a Tuesday at 6am 3 months from now – will you take that?  I require room in my life for the people I love. I need some space.

I’ve asked myself as January has been off to a rocky start – how will 2018 be different because of the year without busy?  I learned a lot about myself last year.  As it turns out, not making excuses was harder than I’d like to admit.  I’ve always said to anyone who will listen (especially at work) that I hate excuses.  It’s true, I do.  However, 2017 taught me how much I even hated my own excuses.  So I’m not bringing them back in 2018.  I tell myself almost every morning as I drag the laundry down 2 flights of stairs and throw it in the washer on my way out the door to work:  you’re not that busy.  Why?  Because I don’t want to feel busy even when my life is full. I want to enjoy the things I’ve committed too and the people I’m spending my life with.  I don’t want to be bogged down in the emptiness of busy.  So I pep talk myself: you’ve got time.  And then I fill it with what matters to me.

No excuses, just this intentional life I’ve built over the years and time for what I value.  For those of you who need this permission: what other people value doesn’t have to be important to you.  I get invited to do a lot of things.  Even to be in charge of them.  None of them are bad things or things that don’t matter – but they don’t all matter to me.  I know my strengths but I also know my weak areas (or areas of disinterest) and I’m really, really honest about them.  Also, just because I CAN do something, doesn’t mean I do.  I’m capable of things I quite simply don’t want to spend the time and energy on because they’re not ‘my things’.

So for those wondering, in the fullness of 2018 – I’m still not busy.  I refuse to live telling myself or anyone else I’m too busy.  What I am saying more and more of is no.  No to the wrong things so that I can say a lot more yes to what I value most.  As I say this I’m preparing to fly to Ft Wayne, IN tomorrow to spend a long weekend with my college roommate, her husband, and her 3 boys.  This is how I want to spend my life,  being present with the people I love and not too tired to enjoy it.  Full is still so much better than busy.

Ode to 31

Oh thirty-one you won’t quickly be forgotten.  As I prepared to write about this year I went back and read what I wrote about the year that was 30 and I loved it.  My heart warmed as I reread about what I had celebrated during a great year and how I had grown and loosened up as I tried to embrace what truly mattered a little more and leave behind the shore of perfection to embrace people.

So that brings me to summing up the year that was 31 as I turn 32 tomorrow…

Perhaps one of the greatest gifts of 31 is that my parents have lived in Florida for a year now.  I saw all but one of my Dad’s games last season and I have a Southwest account full of trips to cheer for him again this year.  I flew down and helped my mom move, I took my friends to the beach and taught them how to play pegs, and I slept on a very uncomfortable pull out couch in their condo when my whole family crammed in for a week this summer.  I’m glad I didn’t know just how much I was missing the last 8 years of not having family close – because this is AWESOME and I’ve definitely been missing out.

What was hard about this year? Everyone says as you enter your 30s you care a heck of a lot less about what people think of you. True.  But I also found it changes the way you feel about friendships. I reprioritized my friendships this year and I pursued harder friends that I felt would be lifelong friends – while backing off friendships I felt like I was making all the effort in.

Last week I realized how energizing it’s been.  As I flew home from North Carolina my friends reached out to me and said: where and when? We’ll be there to pick you up.  Then they came in and played games half the night.  I didn’t even have to ask!  And as I save to replace some flooring in my house another friend and her husband popped by to help me measure square footage on the way to lunch.  I found more community  this year.

When Irma was headed for Tampa yet another friend came to my rescue – dropping me at the airport and returning to check on my house after the storm ( I was in the first zone to be evacuated).

As it turns out, I needed community more than ever this year.  This year I faced a cancer scare that brought me to my knees in a humbling way.  I cried and prayed more than I have in a long time this year.  The girl who’s use to offering all the support, love, hospitality, and advice learned what it’s like to NEED people.  I needed the prayers. I needed a few shoulders to cry on.  For the first time in my adult life I called my family and said: send help!

Though I wish that nightmare on no one (even though I turned out to be perfectly healthy in the end) – I’m grateful for what it taught me.  I learned to be vulnerable and it was well rewarded.  My Mom came to take me to my biopsy and my sweet friend Glenda had a huge bouquet of flowers waiting on my porch when I got home.  Friend after friend prayed, called, and loved on me while I waited nearly 3 weeks for those results.  And we all celebrated together when I was pronounced healthy after the brutal waiting game.

When the ‘c word’ enters the picture you can’t help but ponder the future with ‘what ifs’. While I’m glad that wasn’t the literal beginning of a fight for my life; I’ve thought really hard about my life as a result.  When I flew to North Carolina to see my nieces and nephew I squeezed them a little tighter, cuddled them more, and woke up every morning  in my basement bedroom grateful for time. Who knows how much time but every day seems like an incredible gift.

I prayed hard this year over my goals and I’m excited to report I’m literally SLAYING them.  I reached a huge financial milestone 4 months early and I’m nearly 15 books ahead of schedule to beat my biggest, loftiest goal yet.  I’m traveling hard, hosting with some semblance of grace, and proudly leading an incredible group of women through the bible in a year.

I’ve always been a believer than each year of your life should get a little bit better and so far the 30s haven’t let me down.  I reunited with my college roommate and I’ve already been to see her, had her to Florida, and I’m headed back her way in October.  I’ve seen my best friend almost every single month this year (and I’m currently holed up at her house avoiding a hurricane).  This has been a year of friendship that I’m grateful for.

So what do I want out of 32?  To continue to do less of what I hate and more of what I love.  After reading and rereading time management books I’m working on ‘outsourcing’ the things that keep me from being able to spend my minutes living my mission: to love God and to love people well (while reading books, rabidly cheering at football games, and seeing the world – naturally).  I want to continue to learn to let myself off the hook for mistakes while pushing myself every single day towards excellence.

Most of all I want to play by my own rules.  If the best benefit of the 30s is caring less what other people think than I should be getting more and more comfortable in my own skin.  I’m still learning to be comfortable being myself and not fitting into the boxes other people design for me.  I am filling so many roles from aunt to friend to boss to investor but I’m purposing more than ever to do them my way.

So here’s to another year of living my commandments.  Of being a cheerleader for my family, my friends, and my colleagues.  To being a safe haven through welcoming others into my home, keeping confidences, and being someone people can come to in times of crisis.  To taking and making the time.  To doing what ought to be done (even when no one else does).  And of course, to taking everything a little less personally.  To another year of health, of growth, and maybe even the pursuit of happiness – cheers.

Thanks 31, you were good to me.


Three states, four cities, in five days – that was my last week. I have 2 (very) full workdays between me and my next trip.  It’s very early in the morning and I’m alone on my couch, in my pjs, with a mug of coffee thinking about how in the midst of possibly my craziest year yet – I still don’t feel busy.  I feel excited, happy, a smidge ashamed of my laundry pile, and kind of hungry because why buy groceries?

Four months ago in my update on the year of fasting busy I wrote this: So cheers, to slow mornings and full lives.  To scheduling less but somehow doing more.  To having room in your head to solves a few of your friends problems.  To being thoughtful and fun.  To getting a lot done but knowing when to just be present too.  Trust me, full is so much better than busy.

I reread my whole Full>Busy post this morning with a goofy grin on my face.  This year is definitely full but I still don’t feel busy.  How?

The answer is annoyingly simple: contentment.

This year is fuller than any before it but peace doesn’t have to be altered by the chaos around us.  That’s what I’m trying to master.  And finally, 31 years into this journey – I’m winning.

Last year my parents moved to Florida into a fantastic beach condo a few hours south.  When they left for a few week vacation I grabbed 2 of my closest girlfriends and we headed down.  We spent 3 glorious days reading on the balcony, chatting by the pool, and  sweating profusely on the beach together.  Never have I ever felt so relaxed.  As the weekend drew to an end and we were all tempted to complain that we had to return to reality I found that I didn’t feel that way.  I was ready.

We drove back from South Florida on Sunday.  I dropped my best friend, Candy, off at the airport with a ‘see you in 6 days’.  I emptied the cooler, charged my laptop, and got a plan for a quick week.  6 days later I was catching a 7am flight to Kentucky.  For the next 5 days I enjoyed the superbly slower pace of small town living. Give me all the fireworks, cookouts, and evenings swatting mosquitos and playing board games there are.  As my niece says about Christmas morning present opening: I was made for this.

Alas, we know I’m not.  Slow paces and small towns thrill me in the short term but even my career coach tells me that my super power is the capacity for freakish amounts of life.  So it seems only fitting that when Wednesday came I was repacking my freshly laundered clothes and flying back to St Pete to catch an Uber to my house to get my car to drive 2.5 hours north to Camp Kulaqua in High Springs, FL.

Trains, planes, and automobiles has nothing on me.  My flight was late, my garage door was somehow misaligned, and  I hit a massive bunch of traffic with rain on my way. But just before dinner time I pulled into the camp store to begin my time in the snack shack as I like to call it.  Four days of being the coffee maker, candy seller, and break out speaker just energized me.  Where did we find these fantastic kids?!  I was so impressed with the nearly 300 middle and high schoolers that came through my breakout group on friendship (titled: Friends with Benefits) in 2 days.

Honestly, I expected to be exhausted. 2 weeks of travel, a long car ride, writing my talk, and running the store from 11am-midnight sounded like a lot.  You know what I found though?  I wanted more.  I found myself having heartfelt conversations with kids who would come to buy candy and drilling my shopmates about all sorts of topics.  There’s more to give, I thought.

We closed the store at midnight and I drove home til nearly 3am in a caravan with a friend/fellow snackshacker.  Finally back in my own bed, I thought.  I fell into bed sufficiently pooped but I woke up excited.  Instead of feeling like I had a lengthy list of things to get done before I leave town again Tuesday: I was present.  I went to dinner to celebrate a friends birthday.  I invited 3 more over after to play games half the night.  And I spent the perfect Sunday by the pool with my neighbors playing Pegs and catching up (for the record out of 8 games played this weekend: I won 7).  I admit I played a little longer than I should have and then hurried, sweaty, back home to lead bible study where one of my girls had already let herself in and taken a nap.

Here’s what thrills me: I find myself craving more time not because there’s more that I have to do but because I finally feel like I have more to give.  For years I wanted to say no to EVERYTHING.  Every time a boss asked me for one more project or a friend needs a ride, a place to stay, or just some one-on-one time from me I wanted to weasel out of it.  I can’t possibly do more was constantly running through my mind.  But I gave up busy and perfect and you know what?…There’s room in my head and my schedule.  I am peaceful and present.  I am having the most fun I’ve ever had.

So 6.25 months into the year without busy here’s my toast…

Cheers! To staying up too late to squeeze in one more game.  To booking your next visit with your best friend while you’re still together so you know you have it to look forward too.  Cheers to stollen cheek kisses from my nieces (2) and nephew at the beach this week and putting my professional DSLR to good use.  To 82 books read, 3 more flights booked, and visitors scattered throughout the summer and fall. Cheers to laundry mountains, tan lines, and the occasional netflix marathons.  And most of all:cheers to not being busy, just being here.