Sunday, August 24, 2008

Pink Insights

It is my first early Sunday morning quiet/writing time since moving into this house with the great bonus room two weeks ago. I'm sitting in front of a large window that overlooks a large cluster of trees, and above the branches the dawning sky is becoming layered with pinkish clouds. I've just read Ps. 5:11, in which those who take refuge in God are beckoned to rejoice; and Phil. 2:13, in which Paul advises that God is at work in us to empower us not only to have willpower for such a joyful mindset...but to implement it.

There's a class I help teach these days that emphasizes the importance of being open to new insights--I like to call them "a-ha" moments--that can modify our thoughts and beliefs. Such new thoughts and beliefs are what truly fuel us to change a behavior, which is the only consistent possibility that yields different results.

I teach this concept in a work setting, but it truly is applicable in all dimensions of life. I love the image of the Spirit of God being a refuge that envelops me, helping me to tap into an inner river of joy that soaks my mind and forges streams of insights that can shift how I behave toward others and the situations I encounter.

So many influences compete for my"a-ha" moments and the character of my behaviors.

And I had a different sentence in mind at this moment to follow the one I just typed...but I glanced out the window again and saw that the pinkish glory has exploded in size, and I cannot help but stare at the visual confirmation of the ancient words reminding me of a glorious joy that longs to unite us all. The pink is giving way to a bit more blue, but the awe and mystery remain.

I wonder who else is gazing at this sunrise at this same moment. I wonder what is influencing their thoughts, beliefs, deeds.

The clouds are white now. Day is fast rushing upon me. Soon the fruit of my mind and heart will be put to the test again. Today at home and in the community, tomorrow at home and in the workplace.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Ready to Network Again

Now that I am settled into a home of my own here in Williamson County, Tenn., I'm excited about dedicating some intentional time to meet some folks in the business and civic community. Networking is in my blood, but it has been on hold for much of the past year due to some intense priorities--such as moving and onboarding with my leadership position at T-Mobile USA.

I greatly miss being out in the community, speaking in public and attending events while building relationships. This type of investment was key back in 2004, when I was new to the Melbourne, Fla., community and was launching a new phase of my vocation by transitioning from full-time church ministry to the corporate arena. It led to tremendous growth in networking, speaking and marketing skills, and really stretched me as an individual. Eventually, it opened the door to my leadership consulting work at Health First Inc. in Melbourne and my newest position here in the Nashville area.

I am eager to meet business leaders, as well as those involved in impactful ministries. My passion, as always, is lending whatever consulting, coaching and speaking/training skills I can offer to help others and their organizations thrive. I'm on the look-out to make some kind of positive difference in the community, starting on a smaller scale with the Franklin-Brentwood area and then hopefully getting more involved in Nashville itself. Things take time, as my Dad always said, but it all begins with that first conversation and some mutual brainstorming about the possibilities.

To me it is very interesting to learn people's stories, about how they built their careers, the challenges they've faced, their family and personal interests. That is one of the enriching side benefits of networking, in addition to the professional aspects. Solid, vital relationships are the core for a healthy state of mind, far beyond the bottom line impact in a financial or career opportunity sense.

We've been fortunate so far to meet some great people through church, a book club, soccer, gymnastics and an organization called MOPS (Mothers of Preschoolers International)--as well as through what remains of the network of publicists and marketing professionals I've known across the years through my professional writing. I'm looking forward to building on those relationships and getting out to some Chamber of Commerce events, ministry organizations, Rotary Clubs, etc.

As always, the initiative is up to me! But I am always amazed at the doors that open up to meet some incredible, talented individuals once I take those first few steps...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beacon of Light

Summer 2008 is winding its way down, even while the heat remains strong in Middle Tennessee. For my family and I, it has been a summer of literally and metaphorically searching for home, and in recent days a re-awakening into the true purposes of home and a humbling reminder of my constant need for The Serenity Prayer.

During the past few days we have been settling into a house we purchased last week, our first opportunity to be homeowners since moving to Franklin during the holidays last year. I'm sitting here in what is commonly called a "bonus room" but to what I affectionately refer to as our "office," "library," "study" is a potentially sacred place, with bookshelves full of our favorite books--as well as the full collection of my notes from my graduate degree at Asbury Theological Seminary. The floor currently is stacked with diplomas and other credentials to be hung on the walls, along with various artwork and photographs. The top of one bookshelf houses a collection of pottery that has been given to me during my years in ministry, such as a cup and chalice. A small attic space holds a series of bins with original copies of manuscripts, screenplays ands songs I have written, as well as collections of artwork made by my children. Other bins hold precious objects such as gifts from my late father.

It is a room that tells a story and helps craft future stories. And it is a room I have not has in quite some time. A place to reflect, and a place to produce. A place to pray, and a place to work. A place to lay on the floor and a place to sit up and stay focused.

The house in its larger context is the kind of home we have always wanted. With such a longing suddenly fulfilled, the past few days I have found myself under a certain degree of stress. Keeping the new place neat, tidy and clean. Keeping an eye on the kind of folks that stroll back and forth or ride their bikes along the common areas that surround our spacious backyard. Trying to find a balance between embracing community and protecting my "property."

This morning God got my attention in Sunday school, during a video for the "Experiencing God for Couples" series. I sensed his whisper, "Your home is to be a beacon of light for me." I imagined our new home, positioned where the street bends, backing into the large common area. So many persons coming and going. So many opportunities to be a positive light.

The Old Testament warrior Joshua declared, "As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord." Christ in the New Testament asserts that to whom much is given, much is expected.

A hunger for a deeper relationship with Christ has slowly been rumbling in my core, and it is growing more pronounced. As this blog demonstrates, I have been on more of an intellectual spiritual journey for more than the past year. It has been enriching, and I would not trade it. But the Spirit is softening my heart once again, creating a thirst for a relationship, for not wanting to take this journey alone.