Join me in North Carolina on an actual film set! We were able to close a road and film in a shutdown theater. These are just some of the amazing perks of being a film graduate at Regent University.
The weather in Virginia Beach may have taken a while to catch up, but it is finally summertime! The finals are done, half of my friends are gone, and I am now on that nine to five work schedule. I currently work in undergraduate admissions where I have worked for about two and a half years now. Last summer I worked as a transcript coordinator. This involved a lot of detail-oriented work and data entry. It was a great start and really helped me get to know my coworkers in the office. Read more
Technology has allowed employers to monitor the actions of their employees in almost all work settings. Funny thing is, even though employees are aware that they are being watched, they sometimes forget and get caught in an act that leads them to lose their jobs.
This same concept is applied to our Christian lives. Jesus said we are the “light of the world” in Matthew 5:14. When we accept Christ in our lives, we immediately become the bodies that He can use and the voices through whom He can speak. He needs us to realize that we are the only visual representations of Him in this world. People around us in church or temple settings start watching us even more closely than before. There are several things I think we have to do when we become the “light of the world:”
1 Create a visual reminder that you are being watched by everyone.
2 Start each day with God and ask Him to monitor your reactions throughout the day.
3 Surrender your words to the authority of Jesus Christ, so that He can help you to think before you speak.
4 Don’t live to please people; live to please God, so that your actions match His standards.
These are not foolproof methods, but they are ways to get started. Like the employees who sometimes forget that their actions are being monitored, sometimes we forget that we are being watched. So, we must ask God to assist us through the power of the Holy Spirit. No one is perfect, but trying for perfection through God’s words can bring you very close.
“But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.”
Coming home from Regent this summer was a challenge. I had to get acclimated to so much change that it soon became overwhelming and extremely stressful. I had so many things to do and I wasn’t sure if I was going to survive it all. Due dates came and went before I realized it. My schoolwork was really struggling and spending time with family and working too became a hassle. Read more
For the past several years, I’ve lived the life of a hermit. I work and go to school from home (home-based small business), and we even do home church. My husband and I haven’t traveled much since 2009 when my husband was laid off. Home has become my comfort zone.
At the end of 2012, the Lord impressed upon me that my time of being a homebody was coming to an end for a season. I knew that the year of 2013 would be full of travel, and I tried to accept it.So I’m trying.
This year, I’ve been invited to several conferences already. The first conference was in March; I met with writers and critiqued manuscripts. It was great, and I enjoyed meeting several friends I’ve known for years but had never met in person. Read more
April is typically known as the month of pranks. I may not be most ambitious when it comes to playing pranks, but I am certainly keeping busy as the semester comes to a close. In this video, learn about what it’s like to be a senior with one month left till graduation. From job plans to road trips to random acting gigs, the month of April was certainly full of adventure!
I recently spoke and taught at a writer’s conference in Atlanta. I spent several weeks preparing for the conference, making my PowerPoint presentation for the workshop, and trying to write my keynote address – but it just would not come together. I had the basics down – an idea, a general outline, and I even started building a PowerPoint presentation for it. The night before the conference, the ending finally came to me, but the middle was still a mess. I left for the conference confident I’d have time that night to work on it.
The first keynote speaker presented that night and in her talk, she mentioned something in my own speech. I pondered that. But when I got back to my room that night, school work was due, so I focused on it and then went to bed exhausted and worried that I’d never get the speech done.
The next day, another keynote speaker took the platform. He, too, mentioned another part of my speech. That really got my attention and all day I prayed, asking God whether I should change my speech. I sure didn’t want to look like a copycat. But that night, my speech flowed together and I was finally able to put the finishing touches on it – tweaking it to acknowledge the two speakers who had already mentioned those particular areas I’d already written.
One more keynote address before my own. And yes, she too, mentioned something that was in my now-finished speech. To the world, that might seem a bit spooky, or perhaps just a simple coincidence.
But I don’t believe in coincidences, do you?
The Bible says, “For I am the Lord, your God, who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you” (Isaiah 41:13 NIV).
He took hold of my right hand and guided me through the whole conference. God orchestrated the entire event, down to the tiniest details. He knew what each of the keynote speakers were going to say, and He knew what He was going to have me say.
I was terrified to step out of my comfort zone, when God was preparing every step of the way for me. He even saw to it that my hotel room included my favorite two-digit number. The conference gave me an opportunity to meet some incredible writers and make several new friends. Stepping out of my comfort zone blessed me in unexpected ways because God never left my side, and He’ll never leave yours either.
The beginning of each school year always takes me out of my comfort zone. Am I too old to be in school? Can I keep up at my age? With my full-time job? New classes, new professors, new books, new syllabi – all of it can be overwhelming at times.
Take a deep breath. You’re not alone. God knows where you’ve been and where you’re going. And as one of the keynote speakers said, “He’s got YOUR back!”
I must admit to some internal struggles that I’ve been going through recently. It is nothing earth shattering- just wrestling with the idea of first impressions. I recently visited a commercial website and was somewhat put off by the spelling and grammatical errors I noticed. I’m not the grammar police but I do notice common mistakes. I try to remain gracious though as I recognize that I don’t have the best grammatical skills around (I’m often corrected). However, some of the more common problems such as the correct use of “to,” “two,” and “too” and “its” vs. “it’s” will drive me crazy.
We recently went through a due diligence process for selecting a vendor at work. We set up demonstrations with several vendors who had made it through the first cut. During the demonstrations, one vendor in particular had a very poor showing. In discussions afterward with my team and boss,it became clear that this was a fatal error on the vendor’s part. No amount of coercion was enough to get my selection committee to reconsider this particular vendor.
Around the same time, we experienced the first day of school. Outfits were picked out with great care to ensure an accurate first impression. Especially for my oldest daughter who started middle school this year with many students she has never met before.
Coincidentally (well not really – I believe God was speaking to me here), our Sunday morning sermon touched on moving past first impressions to invite others to church. We saw an excellent video short you can find at this link.
Overall, I can certainly imagine there are situations that warrant the use of first impressions and gut instincts. I can imagine walking into a new doctor’s office and immediately leaving if I find the waiting room filthy. I can imagine the necessity of listening to your gut during police work or battle. However, other than for health and safety reasons, is there ever really a good reason to judge a book by its cover? (See, I used the correct word. ) More importantly, what does God expect from us here? What are your thoughts?
Let’s talk about work-life balance. Who doesn’t struggle with achieving balance in this area either as an employee, professional student, or otherwise? I have been thinking a lot about this lately and have come up with some reasons why I think work-life balance is so difficult to obtain.
1. We identify ourselves by our occupation. Think about the last time you introduced yourself or met a new contact. How did you identify yourself? Typically we start with our occupation and end, maybe, with a little of our personal information. Even when we are asking for introductions, we often ask “so what do you do?”
2. There is typically no ‘boss’ at home to approve requests for ‘time on.’ Most jobs have some type of official tracking system to identify how much time off we use throughout the year. Who tracks our “time on” during personal hours? Furthermore, there is typically no permission required to answer a few emails or take a phone call.
3. It is easier to cheat ourselves than others. It is so easy to work through lunch, stay a little late, come in early, or answer a few messages from home. In many cases, you can even do this without cheating anyone other than yourself. So if you don’t mind it, why should anyone else care? However, in the end, you are cheating yourself from the downtime needed to recover from the stress of work. Our bodies need relaxation and downtime to maintain good health, attitudes and energy levels. As a result, you may be cheating your family of the healthy, happy spouse, mom, or dad they need.
4. Being a good parent or spouse does not usually get us a promotion. Aside from our performance ratings at work, we often have other opportunities for bonuses, stock options, promotions, salary increases, new challenges or even a certificate and a handshake to recognize a significant contribution. What compares to this in the home environment? While it is true that our wonderful families are all the reward we need, human nature craves recognition.
So I go back to my original question – how many hours do you give away? You cannot get them back. Think about the little things you can change to make work-life balance easier to achieve. Here is what I plan to do: I commit to introduce myself personally before professionally; get my job rating for being a mom; ask permission for ‘time on’; respect my personal needs for downtime; and look for opportunities to reward my husband’s outstanding contributions. What about you?
Juggling responsibilities of home, work and school can be a full-time job all by itself. I enrolled as a nontraditional student at Regent University in 2010 (after a 28-year hiatus), and then in 2011, I reorganized my business and launched two publishing companies. Talk about juggling!
Five things have helped keep me sane (or at least keep what little sanity I had left.)
1) Prioritize. Every night, I make a list of all of the things that need to get done the next day, or the next week, and then I prioritize the list, based on deadlines, available time, and speed with which I can get that particular task done. School deadlines for discussion board posts and papers are prioritized by due date and by difficulty of assignments. Last session, I had two upper-level classes, each with a 10-page paper due toward the end of the session. Both classes required much research and a great number of academic sources, but one class had even more restrictions and guidelines. I focused intently on that paper for five weeks, while gathering my sources and formulating ideas for the other paper. As the deadlines approached, the priorities shifted.
2) Delegate. I went back to school because my husband was forced into early retirement due to the economy and company layoffs. Since he’s now at home fulltime, he offered to take over some of the household chores. Busy moms can enlist help from friends, family members, and even age-appropriate children. Delegation is a tremendous time-saver and stress reducer. My husband’s contribution is an investment in our future, and I could not do all I do without his hard work.
3) Focus. One of my friends, a life-coach, recommends putting various aspects of your life in mental “boxes.” When you tackle the top priority on your list, keep the lids on all those other boxes closed until you finish with the first box. Then when you’re done, put the lid back on, and move to the next item on the list. This compartmentalization allows you to focus on one thing at a time, without worrying about what’s in the other boxes.
4) Play. This one is hard for me because I tend to give my all to everything – work hard, play hard. But I don’t always have time for play, so it got pushed to the side until I learned to play in tiny increments. Even if it’s 20 minutes a day, take time to just play and unwind. Do something that makes you laugh – be silly. The refreshment will surprise you.
5) Rest. The busier our week gets, the more tempted we are to push things to the weekend so we can get caught up. But don’t neglect one day of rest. Make yourself unplug – no phones, computers, internet – for 12-24 hours, more if you can stand it. (I try to unplug from sundown Saturday to sundown Sunday, then I’m not so swamped first thing Monday morning.) Trust me, the world won’t collapse while you’re gone and you’ll be stronger for it.
Balancing work, school, and family life is indeed a challenge, but there are benefits. Discipline, perseverance, determination, focus – these benefits are not listed on our degrees, but they are character traits not easily attained. Who knew juggling offered such reward?