Friday, July 30, 2010

Now what?

I had a little session with my Life Coach Steven Cooper. If you don't have a Life Coach, I recommend them. At first suggestion, I thought Life Coaches were bogus, like diet pills. Or like birthing coaches, when everyone knows when it really comes time for childbirth, focal points and staccato breathing goes out the window and all manner of screaming and yelling and whatever comes out just comes out, loud and foul and ugly and painful. At least that was what I witnessed when my sister gave birth. Sorry, Carla. Actually the woman is invincible and incredibly strong and to me, has a high tolerance for pain. I just vividly remember Kevin trying to coach her through the breathing they had been to classes to learn and prepare for this moment. But in the actual moment of childbirth, my poor sister just gutted forth a slow, steady, low moan through each contraction. When Kevin attempted to demonstrate Lamaze breathing, she stopped him. Looked him intently in the face and said, "This feels good and I'm doing it!!" and commenced with the low, drawn out moan. He backed away. 36 hours later, Catherine was born. Happiest day of my life. Still.

I strongly feel that my Life Coach has come along to help me resume the Lamaze breathing, hold up my focal point, filling my lungs with air and drawing all focus to my ultimate goal. We met for the first time about a year ago. At that time I knew I wanted to go abroad, but not sure in what capacity. I knew that I would need money to make all that happen and wanted to be free of debt and begin to build a surplus to help fund this and now I am...debt free, building a surplus.

When I begin to dream about missions and Africa and farming programs and sustainable projects and micro-enterprises and solutions to poverty and feeding the hungry, I get so excited I can't sleep at night. I lie awake dreaming of where I could go and what I could do and what it would look like and all the hundreds of things that I have to do to make this happen. I think about applying for grants and taking seed and tools to villages and establishing relationship there and learning their culture. As I began to spill all of this out to poor Life Coach Steven the other day in one big blow of  excited air and steam and squeals, the deep breath back in caused my chest to tighten, shoulders to ache, neck to tense and I realized that I was stressing myself out just a little bit.

He had already told me to chart a few things out in simple pro and con lists. This was a kinda big deal for me because I am not a list maker. I make them all the time for groceries but never remember to actually take the list with me. I also make To Do lists weekly, but mostly of things I have already done so I can just look at them marked off and feel productive. So, together, we took a few steps back and took a look at what I can do here and now. Clearly, I am here for a bit. So we made short lists of what I can do while I am here. This includes, research non-profits, grant programs and serving as a resource to those abroad who are implementing these programs and may need someone with Internet access and communication to help. I could potentially even secure grants of funding for friends I have already there doing the work! This would be great practice and a great way to keep me busy until I am free to go.

Secondly, we took a look at The House Situation and decide to be patient and revisit, and perhaps refinance or possibly rent, in December, but leave alone for the moment. I have been hearing God clearly say, "settle". Not "settle for" but more like "settle down". I just keep hearing that this could be way bigger than I could ever comprehend and therefore it could take more time that I have originally intended. Of course, I don't like to hear this. But the moment I step into the peace of settling down, I feel much better and know that His hand is not removed.
I keep seeing the scene from "Babe" where the man says, "That'll do, pig. That'll do". But in this scene, I am not the pleasant little pig and God is patting me with satisfaction. Instead, He seems to be saying, "Look at those sheep all stubborn and scattered and noisy and chaotic and all over the place. Settle down. Your bleating gets you no where". He has referred to us as sheep before so I have to take this one seriously. I think He is saying, "Slow down, walk steady, follow me and don't get too far ahead". So as I dream with God about what I want it all to look like and my dreams to eradicate poverty, He keeps saying, "Are you willing to wait if that is what it takes? If this plan is as big and amazing as you know it to be, are you willing to wait for it"?

I don't even have to answer the question. I just pull out a sheet of paper and write:

1. Go to Neiman's
2. Pick up Ice Cream!!
3. Pay Utility Bill (turn down airconditioning)
4. Pick up wine for dinner party
5. Swing by Starbucks
6. Go to the Library

Then promptly strike through all six of them and enjoy my lovely, blessed Western life in this moment and those to come.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

100 dreams: part 2

live on a beach
get a great camera, capture faces and places
learn to sew
acquire a child
never have to work a 9-5 (or a 5 to Close)
go back to Zimbabwe, find Constance, hug her
write an article for Conde Nast
plant gardens in Africa
always have access to chocolate and coffee
see the dead raised

artwork by claire hollywell

Monday, July 26, 2010

Favorite Things

A morning of Book Reviews, as written by me.

An Update

I have completely hesitated in coming here to give detailed updates of any sort, mostly because I have no idea what I am doing. I have taken a second job. I have paid off bills and am building a lovely little savings and that is fun. I like making fast cash in addition to my salary and not having to feel the constraints of furloughs.

I am learning a great deal by serving in the "public sector" and my new little career in the service industry. I would not say that it completes me or that I really enjoy it at all, but I am learning about identity and love and growing in this process, and getting a little check every week. And that is the fun part. The list of things I want to buy grows with new additions like a macbook pro, iPad, Canon EOS, and a plane ticket. I actually recently bought a plane ticket via a buddy pass on Delta and am contemplating just how I want to use it. Anywhere Delta goes, to be used within a year. But it is more complicated than that really. I, of course, want to use it to go to Africa, but that is virtually impossible. I hear that you can get there, but you can't get back. That would be fine with me, but Wells Fargo and the IRS might not like that. Maybe South America? Oh, or China!

I am looking into setting up a non-profit and am open to any and all advice in this area. I am finding that there are grant monies out there for what I want to do. Basically, I want to take the Farming God's Way program into as many areas as I can. It is a program that works. The method of farming produces greater yields than others who use technical and mechanical farming methods. This no slash and burn, little soil disturbance method works. It is also low cost. I just need to budget out how much it would cost to plant a small garden in each village and start writing for grants for funding. Why not? If anyone out there wants to help, you know where to find me. I need left brained people as resources. I need spreadsheets and numbers people. Then we have to figure out how to get me over there to help do the work.

I have met some amazing people who have all offered excellent advice to get me on the right track. There are so many opportunities available. I hope to meet next month with a group called DIG (Development in Gardening) and cannot wait to find out more about what they do and what I can do to help.

This is where I am. Making lists. Big To Do list that all radically change my life. They are all really big dreams and there are so many steps involved to get there. Today the one that stares me in the face is:

1. Sell/ Rent House

If you know anyone who would just love a tidy little bungalow in East Point, let me know. $1200/mo. Or just whatever you can pay to help me with this mortgage so I go do what I want to do. Thanks.

2 Bedroom 1 Bath Original Craftsman Style Bungalow
Built 1923
Original Hardwood Floors, Windows and Doors
French Doors
Separate Formal Dining Room with Vintage Chandelier
Glass Doorknobs
Woodburning Fireplace
Stainless Steel Appliances
Cozy Front Porch
Brick Backyard Patio
Laundry Closet
Large Closet in Master Bedroom
Crown Molding
Fenced in Backyard
Designer Colors
Expandable Attic with Permanent Stairs
Raised Corner Lot
Historic Colonial Hills Neighborhood
5 Miles to Downtown Atlanta
5 Miles to Hartsfield Jackson International Airport
1 Miles from Downtown East Point
2 Miles from Downtown College Park
1 Mile from 75/85 

Friday, July 16, 2010

It Happened One Night

One night, being last night. At the Club. Belittled. Ignored. Treated like a waitress. Wait a minute. I am a waitress. But not really. Not at all. Even if I were President of the United States, my job would not define me. When am I going to get this through my head? The greatest thing we have in life is love, right? The ability to love, the power of love. Love, love, love. It's all we need. The Beatles said so. And all of that starts with us loving ourselves. I pretty much, other than when trying on bathing suits, love myself. I walk through life, knowing that His love is all I have, trying to live a life in communion with God to be full of love for myself and others. I am confident that God provides all I ever need and has promised me good things and my future looks amazing. I get excited just thinking about it.

All of a sudden, here come the Young Members Committee AKA the people who are members of this club who are my age, know people I know, shop where I shop, eat where I eat, weekend where I weekend. Okay, so I don't really "weekend" much any more, but I used to. I am not at all interested in their conversation of who all was at dinner last night at The Tree House or about their weekend in Cashiers or Kiawah. But there they are. Ten of them. Which brings the total number of people who I alone am serving to over 20. That means I am seriously breaking a sweat. I am more than hopping. I am taking orders, putting complicated orders in a computer system, balancing cocktails, delivering food, busing tables and taking dishes back to the dish pit, getting ketchup, extra sauces, steak knives, desserts, coffee, creamer, the list goes on. I don't stop. I never stand still. Then Buffy, actually I think her name was Blair, calls me over, leans over and touches my name tag to look at it, calls me by my name and asks for some water. It was done so in a very condescending manner. And what do I do? I condescend right back. UGH! Why do I do that? I give her the smug, clinched teeth look that says, "Don't touch me. I will lick your soup spoon." That was so mean of me. I was just so mean right back. I didn't say a word, but my eyes, and clenched teeth said it all.

The room was busy, I was the only waitress, they all had their cocktails and taking orders and member numbers for 10 people and plugging all that in and getting those out in a timely manner is not an easy task. And I know people get thirsty and I like water too. Just ask nicely. And don't touch me. Then I fly back to my station and I am out of water glasses. I run full sprint to the hallway, grab a rack of glassware, fly back to my station and fill glasses for 10, taking four immediately to Blair and her Lily Pulitzer clad friends and she has the nerve to say, "I think we all would like some", looking at the rest of the table, eyebrows raised. Excuse me? I wanted to say that the SIX remaining glasses would not fit in my APRON and the last time I BALANCED THEM ON MY HEAD it didn't work out so well. But I didn't. But that made me mad as fire.  Ugh. Mad as fire, I tell ya. Are you just looking for ways to make me feel less than? Do you think I am a total slacker idiot? I am sorry your Spanx are so tight that you have to be short with me, but I am bringing water for the table but I can only carry 4-6 at a time and I was considering your thirst and thought that my timely manner of deliverance for your immediate need would be rewarded with a smile. Excuuuuusse me. I was going to write more about how their conversation turned to making fun of prostitutes and how embarrassed they were with Atlanta's prostitution problem and how it made me mad. And then how I immediately realized, as I bused tables and listened to their conversation, that my judging them is really no different. Lack of love, compassion and understanding is simply that, no matter who you are. I now am still so worked up I can't even think about it. "Lord, help me. Love my thighs in a bathing suit and that lady with the porcelain veneers. Thank you."

Farming God's Way

This is an excellent resource on sustainable, organic farming that works. It is a quality program with thorough teaching that is practical. They have seen major results and are feeding the hungry with gardens that are producing huge yields year after year.
1. Biblical Training- shows a tangible display of God's provision and the power of prayer and repentance
2. Technology- with zero tillage and applying "God's Blanket" of leaves, twigs and fruit to protect the soil and absorb the rains
3. Management- emphasizes maintaining gardens at a very high standard and making a profit off of yields!