Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Freelancing isn't free

I stumbled across this infographic the other day and found it interesting. 


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Do what you LOVE what you do

{via Pinterest}

What do you do?

As I hear of the amazing career exploits of friends and acquaintances, I can’t help but consider and reflect upon my own career. What has led me to this point in my career? Is this really where I want to be? My soul-searching journey and challenge the next year or so is one of personal discovery and self-reflection, so that I can maximize my full potential and passionately become what God has intended for my life – both personally and professionally. I know that I have been blessed with opportunities, education and talents, but am I really using all of this to make a difference in this breath of time I’ve been given in this world? 

So much of our lives are tied to our careers, since we spend the majority of our day at our jobs. What is the one question you will be asked the most in life, besides what your name is?...“What do you do?” Sometimes I get a little annoyed by the question, because I think to myself..."Um, I do a lot of things." However, my canned response is usually, “well, I’m a graphic designer.” Really though, I’m not just a graphic designer. In fact, I didn’t even go to school for graphic design, but that just happens to be my career at the present moment. Sure, I love designing and appreciate good design, but to encompass my entire identity around “what I do” is so limiting and constrictive. I am not defined by what I do; what I do is just a part of who I am.

Last week, while I was thinking about all of this, I checked my e-mail and saw that a friend of mine had sent me a Bible verse reminding me of who we are in Christ. It’s amazing how God uses the people in our lives to speak to us exactly in the time that we need His word.

That verse was Ephesians 2:10. Download the free 4x6 printable here or click on the verse above to download and save the image as your iPhone wallpaper. 

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Row, row, row your boat

{image source:}
Think Oklahoma City is just a boring, small town with nothing to do? Think again! Who would have thought that a city in the heart of the nation is one of the world’s premier locations for rowing, canoeing and kayaking? And it happens to be home base for several world-class athletes training to compete in the Olympics. Really, how many cities have a Boathouse District? Currently, Oklahoma City boasts two multi-million dollar boathouse facilities, and there are future plans for construction of two additional boathouses, a finish line tower, a whitewater rafting and kayak center, and a race venue that includes grandstands, state-of-the-art race course infrastructure, a 2000m wind screen, permanent lighting for night racing and stadium-sized jumbotron screens. Even if you're not training for the Olympics or haven't even set foot on a boat, there are still plenty of opportunities to learn how to row or kayak alongside the elite. 

One of these opportunities is the Corporate Rowing League, which happens to be my newest challenge! That's right, my work has a rowing team, and I decided...why not join this season. Tonight was the first meeting and orientation for this season, so I toured the boathouse facilities, learned important safety tips and am now excited to begin this adventurous new endeavor.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Stayin' Alive

This past Saturday morning, I attended the Red Cross Save-a-Life Saturday free CPR class. When I arrived at the class, I was surprised to see that there were close to 50 people who also shared the same interest in learning practical life-saving skills. Several workers and volunteers were also available and circulated around the room to help answer any questions or assist in teaching. We first learned how to bandage a wound properly and actually had to partner up and practice on a stranger. Then, they went over what to do with a shock victim. And finally, they taught hands-only CPR, where we watched a video, were given some additional information and demonstration, and then they let us loose on the CPR dummies. We partnered up again and took turns practicing chest compressions. Click here for the handout we received in class.

Some CPR pointers that I learned from this class:
  • When doing chest compressions, you will likely break a few ribs
  • Each compression needs to be two inches in depth
  • It is actually really tiring and quite difficult to continue these compressions for an extended period of time
  • Do chest compressions to the rhythm of 100 beats per minute (or the disco song “Stayin’ Alive”)
  • Put all your weight over the victim and bend from the waist
Here is the actual video we watched during the class:

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Spring has sprung!

Time to spring forward! The warmer weather, the time change and the budding plants all signal the beginning of spring - my favorite time of year! Along with spring, apparently comes an inundation of junk mail soliciting lawn, landscaping and garden services. We are definitely one household that needs those services, given that we've managed to kill our yard and the majority of our landscaping in the relatively short amount of time we've lived at this house. I've also only been able to successfully keep one houseplant alive in our home, but sometimes that's even questionable.

Despite my black thumb, I've decided to plant an indoor herb garden. Yesterday evening, my husband and I joined the masses and flocked to our local Lowes in search of the perfect supplies for my little garden. After meandering through the aisles for a while, we left the store with a 3-pot herb planter, seeds and potting soil. The pot was $9.97, soil was $4.54 and the seeds were half price, so we got basil, cilantro and rosemary seeds for a total of $2.22. Today, I was eager to get these seeds planted, so I gathered my supplies and assembled my herb garden on our back patio...and now we wait (7-14 days, so the seed package says). Here are a few photos of the planting event. We even found the perfect windowsill to house our herb garden.

If you're looking for some creative ideas for neat herb gardens using everyday, ordinary items, below are a few I've found that might inspire you. 
Tea canisters
Florist vases
Shoe Organizer
Glass Bottles
Mason jars

Friday, March 11, 2011

Save a life

I’m sure you are all aware of the devastating earthquake/tsunami that hit Japan today. As we sit and watch the horrific events unfold from afar in the safety and comfort of our own homes and offices, swells of emotion flood our lives as we remain powerless to change the course of events. What can we do but pray? Pray for speedy relief to reach this nation, pray that God’s will be done, pray that people would turn to Christ as their hope and salvation as a result of this disaster.

Give NowThere are also several humanitarian organizations ready to receive donations and mobilize relief efforts to this ravaged nation. The Salvation Army has stepped in and begun raising funds for its efforts. You can text ‘JAPAN’ or ‘QUAKE’ to 80888 to make a $10 donation or visit The Japan Earthquake and Tsunami Relief Fund, launched by Global  is another avenue in which you can send support by texting ‘JAPAN’ to 50555 to give $10 or by clicking on the button that says "give now". The most well-known, of course, is the American Red Cross, where you can text ‘REDCROSS’ to 90999 to donate $10 from your mobile phone or visit

The American Red Cross is involved in a myriad of life-saving efforts, which not only include disaster relief, but also CPR and swimming classes, among other things. On March 19, 2011, the American Red Cross will be hosting the Gabrielle Giffords Honorary Save-a-Life Saturday in more than 100 locations across the nation. The Red Cross will be offering free (regularly $25), 45-minute to hour-long classes designed to teach hand-only CPR, controlling external bleeding and caring for shock. These classes are not certification-level CPR & First Aid training courses, but will provide you the basic skills needed to help save a life. If you are in the Oklahoma City area, you can register for the class by calling (405) 228-9500 or by e-mailing Jeff Robbins. Classes are being held at 9 a.m., 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.

Giving it up

Yesterday, I had my routine six-month visit to the dentist - nothing out of the ordinary other than a longer than expected wait in the waiting area. Normally when I go, there’s maybe one other person in the waiting area if any, but on this particular day there were three other people. I took notice of one particular conversation between two men waiting on their children, most likely because they were talking a little louder than you’re really supposed to in a waiting room. One man was probably in his mid-to-late 40s, overweight, ironically wearing a jogging suit and sneakers; the other man was younger, probably in his mid-to-late 30s, dressed in colorfully adorned Ed Hardy-esque jeans and a rather large and ostentatious Gucci belt. The conversation that ensued was similar to this…Younger Man: “Hey man, I saw that you were driving that Escalade. Man, I’ve been wanting one of those so bad I can taste it. How do you like it? I’ve been looking at getting one of those or the Mercedes.” Older Man: “Yeah, I just bought it a little while ago, but it’s nice.” Okay, so I don’t really remember exactly the rest of all they talked about, but they continued to talk about Escalades, buying cars, gas prices, etc. for the next 15 minutes. Meanwhile, I was trying to look like I wasn’t eavesdropping, so I starting glancing at the TV – oh geez, SpongeBob Squarepants or something equally as annoying was playing, so then I rifled through some of the magazines on the table in front of me – Good Housekeeping, then People.

This all seems like a pretty normal occurrence, but God sometimes uses the mundane to speak to us or teach us. Something about this particular conversation bothered me though, and I had an unsettled feeling. I think it was the fact that our society (me included) is so engrossed with materialism and just acquiring fancy stuff. Why does he need an Escalade to be happy? Why did I even notice that he was wearing a Gucci belt? Why do I “need” another Coach purse or new car or cute, new spring clothes? Why was every other page in the magazine an ad for something that I “needed”? Why are there even celebrities and why do we care about what they’re wearing?

It’s hard to not be distracted by those nice and shiny things in life. The sermon at church on Sunday was about how something that starts out so nice and innocent can consume us and turn into our idol and obsession, and I think God was using this to show me a little insight into my own strongholds. The fact that this man said that he “wanted it so bad he could taste it,” I think, is what bothered and somewhat disgusted me and made me consider my own fascination with having nice stuff.

Having nice stuff doesn’t make you a happier or better person, but I realized in that moment why we tend to enjoy acquiring and showing off our nice stuff. We get attention and praise from it. “Oh, you’re always dressed so cute; you have such a beautiful house; [that thing you have] is so wonderful…blah, blah, blah.” It’s hard not to feel like your ability to choose and have nice stuff is a reflection of your identity and who you are. I never really thought that I had any issues with materialism. I would rationalize that I really don’t go shopping that much, don’t typically spend that much money on the stuff I buy and almost always only buy things that are on sale or clearance, so I must be okay or at least be better off than most people. However, I think everyone has at some point or to some degree dealt with bouts of materialism.

I don’t usually give up something for Lent, but during this Easter season, I’m giving up shopping. Gasp, I know! Well, not all shopping or we’d starve to death, but just frivolous spending on things that I don’t really need. So, no new Easter outfit or pretty spring frocks…boo. 

New verse...1 John 2:16. Download the free 4x6 printable here or click on the image to download and save the image as your iPhone wallpaper. 

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Don't sweat it

I’m not sure if you’re anything like me or will be like me, but whenever I reached the ripe-old age of 25 or so, my metabolism decided that it had worked a little too hard for me in my early years and started getting slower and slower. Before the quarter-century milestone, I equated going to the gym to a form of cruel and unusual punishment and torture (Really though, don’t some of those weight machines look a little like modern-day torture devices or something?). I never really had a need or desire to set foot in a gym in my younger days – I danced as a child, was on the pom squad in high school, took dance classes and trekked it all across campus in college.

And then I was forced to enter the real world, an 8-to-5 desk job, where all I did was sit in an uncomfortable chair all day long behind a computer screen. The most active thing I would do during a typical work day is walk from my desk to the water cooler or to the bathroom. And also, there would be those days where your coworkers would sabotage your diet by bringing in treats they’ve made. Honestly though, I’m not so sure they would bring those tempting treats out of the kindness of their hearts; I’m under the impression that they might have been trying to fatten everyone else up so they would look better. This is the point where I noticed that the pants were feeling a little snug and…is that a roll?! Okay, now the gym looks a little more inviting.

My husband and I joined the YMCA a few years ago thanks to my work discount. Being a newbie to the gym is a rather intimidating experience. There’s a whole code of conduct and unspoken rules you have to learn in order to follow proper gym etiquette and not be shunned by the gym-frequenting society. And how do you even use half the things in there? What about those huge balance balls…who hasn’t rolled off one of those before? Instead of figuring this all out on my own, I decided that group fitness classes were the way to go. I needed some guidance and motivation, plus a healthy dose of competition…“if that 60-year-old lady in my class can do 10 push-ups, then surely I can too!”  I studied the class schedule and came across Zumba…“Huh, that’s a weird name - but I get to dance! Sign me up!” I had missed my dance days, and it would be perfect to get a good workout doing something I actually enjoy.
This is my new outfit...obviously this isn't me.

Zumba is a high-energy, Latin-inspired dance fitness class, where you will definitely break a sweat and learn some fun new dance moves. I’ve been going to Zumba classes for about two years now and my goal is to become a certified Zumba instructor and eventually teach somewhere. A couple weekends ago, I decided I wanted to register for the upcoming instructor training on March 27 in Tulsa. I pulled up the website to sign up and…oh no, the session is already full and sold out even before the early registration ended…so sad! Looks like I’ll have to wait until another class opens up near me! But on a bright note, my first official Zumba outfit arrived yesterday...yes, I broke down and bought Zumbawear, but it was on sale plus my Zumba-instructor friend/coworker hooked me up with her discount.

If you’ve ever wondered about Zumba or wanted to try it, find a class near you and join the party (guys are welcome too)!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Weekend with the girls

In this crazy and hectic life, there are times when all we need is just a refreshing break spent in fellowship with other believers to revel in the majesty of our Savior. This weekend, my church Henderson Hills Baptist Church held a women's retreat called Gathering of Girlfriends, where hundreds of women came together to worship and draw closer to God. It was also a sweet time spent getting to know some girls better, and I'm also pretty sure I almost overdosed on chocolate and sweets.

My Sunday school group at the Gathering of Girlfriends
Although my church has been doing these retreats for years, this was actually my first year to attend. My husband happened to be out of town for a work conference this same weekend, so I felt an even stronger conviction to go this year. As I rushed out of work Friday evening into bumper-to-bumper traffic on the interstate, I sat in my car frustrated and frazzled but also anticipated what God wanted me to learn this weekend. Surely, He has me going to this thing for a reason. 

Earlier this week, I had already picked out and designed my new memory verse for the upcoming week and saved it to my iPhone. This verse happened to be what He kept bringing back to me throughout the retreat. It speaks of where and who our true hope and peace lie. "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit," Romans 15:13.  

There is so much packed into this one verse if you carefully dissect it, but the word He kept whispering to me was "hope". Hope is a word that is used so frequently in everyday life..."I hope it doesn't rain," "I hope I can go to bed early," "I hope [insert sports team name] wins," etc. Whenever we use the word hope, we use it with the expectation of uncertainty of the future. This verse says that God is the "God of hope"...He is our hope, He is our future, He is certain of what will happen in the future; all we have to do is trust. 

Download the free 4x6 printable to remind you of this promise or save it as your iPhone wallpaper by clicking on the image of the verse and saving it to your phone. 

Also, here's one of my new favorite praise songs that we sang at the retreat.  

You hold my every moment
You calm my raging seas
You walk with me through fire
And heal all my disease
I trust in You
I trust in You

I believe You’re my Healer
I believe You are all I need
I believe You’re my Portion
I believe You’re more than enough for me
Jesus You’re all I need

My Healer, You’re my Healer

Nothing is impossible for You
Nothing is impossible
Nothing is impossible for You
You hold my world in Your hands