TEEM: To be full of or swarming with TEAM: Come together to achieve a common goal

In my efforts to STREAMLINE I went completely nuts. I don’t mean straight jacket…lock me away…although..there have been times that sounded like an option. I mean that I paid the price for saying Yes to too many things and setting far too many goals. Goals are great but when you’re empty and agreeing to give of yourself every single day then goals become impossible to achieve. I am empty and I am tired and I am a fool. If you know me then you are nodding and saying…”Yes, Ang….you’re a fool,” and this is the one time I’ll allow it without giving you a wedgie…that atomic kind.

No words have come to mind to ponder lately and an inadequate amount of time has been given to “filling my cup” (and I hate that I just used that saying…but if the shoe fits) . I want to TEEM with energy so I can continue to say “Yesses” and “You betcha’s” to opportunities to help others. What I need to do is trust my TEAM. (See what I did there…lil’ fun with words.)

I was asking J last night what I should do to fill the emptiness I sometimes feel after volunteering so many consecutive days and it’s evident that I need at least one day a month that is allll mine. I need to lay around languidly and drink coffee and watch Real Housewives and let my brain become mash-potato-like gray mush. Phone down…eyes on crap tv and pj’s on…THAT kind of day. What I realized during my screechy…whiny vent session was that I need someone to ask me about how I’M doing and that it’s ok to want and need that. What I need is to let my TEAM of friends be there for me.

This week will be full of mentoring…tutoring…outreach and checking in on kids and women who are in low places. I’ll be busy with listening to stories about broken homes…wish lists…roadblocks in life and also successes.  Don’t let me feel sorry for myself too long…I love every minute of these opportunities and I’m grateful for the chance to be invited in to these people’s lives. What I need is to remember to recuperate and recover. The STREAMLINING has been done and I know what I’ll forge ahead with…the cup just needs to be TEEMED by my TEAM. Happy Weekend All!!!

(OH…if you’re looking for the perfect book to pair with a Real Housewives respite day… Marian Keyes is my favorite chick lit author and you can find her entertaining commentaries and books on https://www.mariankeyes.com/books/. Don’t forget your Willamette Valley Riesling which is amazing and affordable… https://www.wvv.com/.  If you’re going to veg out…do it right!)

VOLUNTEER – freely offer to do something

Often I get asked…”So what DO you do?” I hem and I haw and I blankly stare. Since leaving a job I love at Courthouse Fitness I’ve been pursuing my health full time. Technically I’m still employed by the company as a fitness instructor and that has helped to have an answer in the holster for inquiring minds. But what DO I do?

I’ve taken to filling my time with helping people and I’ve become obsessed with plugging people into volunteer opportunities. There is such a beauty in seeing a person light up when they find their place alongside a fellow human. During my time off from “work” I’ve become obsessed with volunteer work and connecting people to volunteer work. (Specifically with rescue mission work…foster youth transition and helping homeless youth and adults transition back into general population.)The thought of saying I’m a professional volunteer has crossed my mind. Is that a thing?

Looking up VOLUNTEER…with good old Siri YET AGAIN….shows me that the definition is to freely offer to do something. No compensation.  Not a lot of glory. Free of accolades. The reward you get is knowing you gave of yourself and hopefully you changed the pattern or journey in someone’s world. Come to think of it….that’s a pretty great payment…at least…I think so. I could get behind a full time…non paid…no benefits job like that.

So let’s practice this…”Hey Ang…what DO you do?” My response…”I’m a professional VOLUNTEER!…(oh and I work part time for https://courthousefit.com/)’

Side note: I currently volunteer with a women’s mission in Salem, Oregon and one in Las Vegas. Both are in huge need for help. Here are the links if you are in either area and have an hour or two to spare. https://ugmsalem.org/  https://vegasrescue.org/

TRUTH: A fact or belief that is accepted as true

I’m a brand ambassador for a movement called Live A Great Story…which I’ll shorten to LIVE for the remainder of….well…forever. A fellow ambassador named Lou Redmond sent a book to a group of us who serve as leaders in this community. “Find Your Truth” is an autobiography and an opportunity to walk alongside Lou as he grows from a partying, raving, booze-binging frat boy…to an inspiring leader. From the intro…I’ve found myself asking myself what my truth is.

Two pages in Lou declares that “YOU WERE MEANT FOR GREATNESS” and I proudly puffed up my chest at that….on a plane…next to a stranger….who plugged in his headphones and ignored me after that.  I DIGRESS….

Greatness. Am I really destined for it and am I entitled to it? What is the key to unlocking this greatness that my fellow leader assures me is there? Fortunately, he gave the answer right away…my truth and then the ability to share it with the world.

The idea of living for a purpose bigger than me coincides with that SACRIFICE I talked about. I’ve declared my truth in the past year…..serve humans..specifically houseless and foster youth…and encourage everyone to love and engage with their fellow man. I aspire to inspire others to make this second nature.

Lou encourages the choice to inspire and the choice to find and live out our truth. What’s your truth? That’s the hardest part…defining that…the encouragement can be found to proceed and move forward once that part has been determined. Can’t find the encouragement from your circle? Get a new circle and then message me…I’ll encourage you. Can’t determine your truth? I’m happy to dialogue. Also….get this book by Lou Redmond.

SERVITUDE: The state of being completely subject to someone more powerful…

I’ve worked in customer service for years and years and years.  Every job I’ve held has been one where I’m the person who is the concierge between a consumer and the provider. At 18…my way of serving was very different than how I do it now.

Back then my thinking was always, “How can this customer make it quick so I can continue writing out my grocery list, read this book or stare off into space?”  “Why do they have to pick me to help them…can’t they see I’m busy (staring off into space)?”  “It’s 10 minutes until we close…If I sigh and look at the clock enough will they get the hint and leave (so I can stare off into space)?”

Hold your applause for me…barista of the month and salesperson of the year.  What makes these moments of reminiscing embarrassing…other than the reminder of my once fantastic work ethic…is remembering about how often I fought back with superiors as they attempted to give me constructive criticism and feedback.

At 21, I began going back to church and exploring Christianity in my life.  I became aware of how being a Christ follower bled into the way I worked.  Realizing that I was a selfish brat and a shoddy worker…I pursued some work mentoring. Working in sales, at the time, and for commission, meant I had a way to gage my growth. How I defined serving evolved a little and I began to think differently in every situation where I was serving a consumer.  My thoughts were more  “I’m working on homework…but this is my job so I’ll get up and go help with a smile.”  “I’m busy…but this person needs what I’m selling…so I’ll sacrifice some of my time.”  “I’m off in 10 minutes…but I need to be mature and NOT look at the clock and huff.”  Laugh all you want…I know you’re making fun of my customer service skeeeeels aren’t you? It’s ok…it’s called evolution and I’m not ashamed to admit it took me some time to evolve from simply selling to a mindframe of SERVITUDE.

God…with His sense of humor and loving way of coaching…intervened in my life to reveal that there was something to be gained from these serving jobs…some kind of lesson here. Through friends..adults who had infinite amounts of patience…and a boy named J…I began to see examples of what true selflessness and humility looked like in a customer service environment.  From these lessons in the work place I finally opened my eyes and realized what serving looked like when it was carried over to a community and ministry.  It would be more than a decade for all these pieces to come together…but here we are. Finally…my years of customer service graduating me into a world that needs SERVITUDE -someone to become completely subject to someone more powerful (God) and to HIS loved ones.

As I’ve chosen to commit to a word a day (see commitment issue confession in previous post) I find myself sitting with “SERVITUDE” today. I know how to serve a coffee, a presentation and a product to a consumer…but I did those things in a way that served MY needs first and the consumers second…how will I serve a community of people? That piece has to come together and be thought through every day that I wake up.  I see the importance of personifying that word when I’m in front of a hungry man who is lying in filth and needs sock and food service. I can tell him…”It doesn’t matter what I have on my to-do list…because you and your needs are all that matter right now.” I understand the importance as I’m tutoring a woman still fighting drug addiction and needs love and attention served. I can tell her….”I’m so glad I was picked to serve you during this 2 hour stretch….your learning and growth are my only agenda right now.”   When I encounter a 20 year old who is at a loss as to what a resume is or how to draft one, I now think…”We got this…and if it takes us an hour we’ll get it done right….I’ll help with whatever you need.”

I’m learning SERVITUDE..enslavement…the act of giving myself completely..and my 18 year old coffee serving self would be shocked at how much I’m enjoying the process.

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The year of the WORD and my word of the year (or day….as it were)

Everyone around me seems to have latched on to the idea of a word for the year, but I am constantly fighting what word will see me through a week, a day, or a tough moment. While I wish there was a word that spoke to me enough that I’d commit to it for a year, I don’t think I’m ready for that kind of commitment. No offense LOVE and INSPIRATION and AMBITION, but I revel more in the gritty words like AGGRESSIVE PURSUIT, REFUGE and IMMERSION. My decision is to pursue a relationship with them, but only for a day. Call it commitment issues, but that’s all I’ve got.
As I begin the year of 2018 I’m going to hang my hat on ACTION for a week or two. I’ve been using social media to digitally “slap and psyche myself up,” but it’s now time to really delve in and get my hands dirty and I mean this quite literally. As I communicate and bond with homeless and displaced teens and adults, I hope I’m brave enough to stick a hand out and shake with a human who hasn’t washed their hands in God knows how long.   I pray my nose doesn’t involuntarily wrinkle at the smell of b.o., feces and dirt and I always try and respect the person and not the appearance. While I might be fighting my own desires for that perfume Julia Roberts advertises…which smells like patchouli oil and ice cream (to me at least) and has a name that makes it sounds like I’ve traveled over an ocean, I realize that there are people who would love to have a bar of hotel soap and a shower. Believe me, I see the contrast and I flush when I type or confess these thoughts…but I don’t think I’m the only person who battles that.
My action, this month, is one that will have me being able to only afford that free hotel soap and saving for a year for that french celeb parfum (tell me you read that with the accent) . I can’t tell you what it is just yet, but I can assure you that I am investing time back to the homeless community I’ve always sworn I’d dedicate my life too. My promise is that this week and this month, I have appointments and goals that will start the process of my one on one interaction with some of our city’s broken, rehabilitating and overlooked people. In my journey…this is metaphorically me walking to the car and getting ready to start it…..my keys are in hand and I’m opening the door…..(to be continued)…..