Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Some Political Thoughts on State of the Union Day

For all of the obvious reasons, I avoid political commentary on this blog.  However, some of you may know that I have a secret passion for all things political.  In college, I majored in political science and had opportunities to intern for U.S. Representative Todd Platts and the policy research and reporting group, Stateline.org.  (If you're really interested and desperate for something to do, you can go to Stateline and search the archive for articles by Jennifer Brown :)

I realized my senior year of college that God had different plans for me than the political writing world I had envisioned.  I am so incredibly grateful for the turn my life took, but I still enjoy the political world and today I had an opportunity to write a guest review on George W. Bush's new memoir, "Decision Points," for the Gutenberg Girls blog.

Check it out here.

I highly recommend the book for people of all political persuasions and particularly for leaders in all fields.

What have you read lately that impacted you?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

My Plate is Full Yet I am Empty

I know you know what I'm talking about.  

I'm talking about those times when your life is full, but your soul is empty.  You're so busy that your emotions shut down because you simply can't process anymore.  

A few more synonyms: burnt out, completely overwhelmed (this is different from overwhelmed, which is a condition I would describe as the new norm), and zapped.  

If I'm honest, I have to tell you that I get to this place about every three months.  Maybe it's because I'm a church planter.  Maybe it's because I'm a mom.  Maybe it's because I'm working on being both of those at the same time.  But probably it's because I'm human.

We like to think we're superhuman and there is always one more thing we can tack on and still make it all work.  But we're not.  We don't have an endless supply of energy and creativity, enthusiasm and passion.  At some point the tank runs dry and we need to fill up - but that can't happen by doing more "stuff," and unfortunately running away to a remote island for a week or more isn't always (or ever) a possibility.

So now what? 

A few things that help me:
1. Re-inserting the prayer time I slowly hacked out of my morning because I had "too much to do."
2. Reading a book that has seemingly nothing to do with my work and my life.
3. Doing something with my hands (i.e. wandering around the park and taking pictures or baking cookies) - I once heard Rick Warren say that if you work with your mind you need to play with your hands and if you work with your hands you need to play with your mind.  I've tried it and I think he's on to something.

What helps you re-fill?

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Happy Birthday, Clark! War Eagle!

Today is my hubby's 31st birthday and also the day that his beloved Auburn Tigers won the national championship.  To say there is great celebration in our home is an understatement.

And so, in honor of both I say what a game and what a guy!  I am blessed beyond measure to have Clark as my husband, partner, best friend and father of our son.  He is a man of great passion who loves and lives with loyalty and intensity.  

Happy Birthday, baby!  May this year be filled with joy, hope, challenge, surprise and the constant knowledge that you are loved by God (and by me :)!

Thursday, January 06, 2011

Overcoming Early Setbacks

Sunday I preached about dreaming big and truly making way for the God who shuts the mouth of lions. Monday morning I blogged about it briefly, and then...

The Great Stomach Bug of 2011 hit the Williams house and the Ashley Ridge staff!

As of this morning, we are officially two full days behind at work (which feels monumental) and our energy stores generated by holiday rest and new year excitement are depleted.

It's hard to recover when you never really had traction to start with.  Often, it's the perfect excuse to let it go, decide it's not the time or not the right scenario and just get back to living day-to-day, trying to keep your head above water.

Can I suggest there's another way?  

It's still early and the good news is you haven't lost much because it's early in the game.  Give yourself time to recover, grace for a re-start and humility to call a mulligan.  Make today your new start day!

Monday, January 03, 2011

It's GO BIG 2011 - Happy New Year!

After an extended technological break, I'm back and pumped for 2011.  It's going to be an amazing year! Why? Because God is amazing and this is the year of big dreams, big prayers, big asks and big follow-thru.  It's time to see the signs and wonders the apostles saw in Acts 2 and beyond.  It's time to start praying prayers worthy of the God who shuts the mouths of lions (Daniel 6:22).  

Are you in? What are you asking God to do in your life in 2011? What are you planning to do for God this year?