Friday, September 13, 2013

Quenching the 'Couve

Helen Keller once said, "I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do." As the economy continues to struggle, it is easy and convenient to make excuses not to help others. But I've recently found that it's even easier to grab a group of friends and do something!

This fall we've had some unseasonably warm days in Vancouver, Washington. On one such toasty day my niece Desiree made a comment about how much it would stink to be homeless in the heat. Out of her observation spawned an idea to pass out popsicles and water bottles to the homeless in order to make the heat a little more bearable for them.

My niece is a genius.

We hit up Costco and spent under $20 on a box of 100 Otter Pops and 24 bottles of water. Next, we recruited some friends from the Living Hope Church KidsWorld. Then, we drove around for about an hour, quenching thirsts and cooling off those in need.

$20 + 1 hour = an opportunity to love on people.

We took a video of the experience to show people how easy and inexpensive it can be to help others. I've compiled a clip of the highlights here:

Now I want to hear from you! Please share your ideas for giving back to the community in the comments below. Together, maybe we can make this world a little better.

Thank you! 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Resume Help

I’m currently suffering through a stack of resumes and have come up with some advice for job seekers.

  1. Follow the directions in the ad. If employers include directions in their help wanted ads, they’re more than likely testing your ability to read, comprehend, and follow said directions. For example, if they say email us your cover letter in the body of the email and attach your resume as a word document, follow the directions. 
  2. Your cover letter is a tool that should be utilized to get your employers to open your resume. Use it to address qualifications and job duties listed in the ad, therefore showing your employer why you’re qualified. Each cover letter should be specific to the particular position you’re inquiring about. 
  3. Cover letters should also be addressed in a way that they do not look generic. If the ad instructs you to email your resume to “Mary,” do not begin your cover letter with “Dear Sir,” or “To Whom It May Concern.” If they do not list a name, then you can customize it in other areas, like by addressing the duties and qualifications specific to the ad (as mentioned in #3).
  4. Do not use acronyms or abbreviations  unrelated to the job you’re inquiring about. Applying for an office job and listing your series 7 news surveillance clearance doesn’t make you sound more qualified.  Nor will they care that you’re experienced in software that they don’t use or that you have your CDL (commercial driver’s license).  
  5. Your resume should focus on information pertinent to the position offered. If you list nine jobs in nine different fields across the board, the employer will understandably think you have no clue what you want to be when you grow up and that this job will just be another experiment to see if you like it.
  6. That brings me to a pet peeve. Be sure you understand what all the words on your resume mean. If you have a section titled “Relevant Experience,” you should understand that the word relevant means closely connected or appropriate to the matter at hand. If the experience listed in this section is not suited for the job you’re applying for, please don’t list it. 
  7. When listing your job duties from your previous places of employment, please list what you actually did. Don’t just use keywords like “team player” and “multi-tasked.” Employers will want to know the type of work you actually performed. If you don’t know enough to talk about it, they won’t be interested in talking to you.
  8. Proofread your resume multiple times. Read it aloud. Read it to others. Have others read it to you. Just READ it. Make sure it makes sense and that nothing is misspelled and double check your use of commonly misused words like to/too/two, their/there, affect/effect, then/than, etc.  

The job market is still tough, and job seekers need every advantage they can get. Please be sure to add your own suggestions below and share this post with anyone interested in fine tuning their resume.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

How Independence Kills Faith

The other day I was having a discussion with my friend Mykle about the incredible faith of children. Children have an innocent dependence about them that enables them to have faith in a higher being that takes care of them because of the role of their guardians. If this faith is nurtured, it turns to zeal when they hit their teen years. The teen is anxious to give back to God who has provided for them, desiring to serve on mission trips, feed the hungry or build homes for the homeless.

Then something happens when teens transition to adulthood ... responsibility.

It starts out like a virus, sapping their time and energy as they start working to supply their own needs. Their identity becomes warped and wrapped up in how much they make and what they own. Suddenly they're no longer so willing to give or so eager to serve. They're busy and distracted and they no longer really "need" God to provide for them, because they've learned to provide for themselves, forgetting that He created and owns it all.

Mykle pointed out that as adults, we believe that everything we earn, we own.We tend to act like teenagers with their first job, bringing home an Xbox or new clothes and declaring, "They're mine! I bought them." Only to have our parents remind us that we're using their electricity or their washing machine and living under their roof. So, our newly purchased toys are basically useless without what the parental units provide to operate and house them.

God must often look at us the same way, as we boast about what we make or what we earn, forgetting that nothing is truly ours. In our independence we become like God, so we no longer see the need for God. We drift away from the church and our faith sputters out like a flame without fuel.

Then, some life-shattering event happens. We lose the job that has become our identity, or a close family member dies. Something occurs to remind us how powerless we truly are, and we either lose hope entirely, or we seek out some sort of lowercase god (drugs, love, alcohol, sex, anything we can stuff in the God-shaped hole in our heart). All the while, God is waiting and knocking ... wondering when we'll come back and allow Him to take care of us.

No wonder Matthew 18:3 says, Unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven.

Raised by and around strong, independent women, I have always valued my independence. Independence that was recently shattered when I fractured a bone in my ankle and had to rely on the people around me for basic needs and assistance. My active life consists of a 40-hour per week job, a big family family, a heavy volunteer schedule, treadmill time and softball. All of which were limited (if not completely put on hold) due to my injury. Angry and depressed about all I suddenly couldn't do, I realized how much of my identity and self-worth are wrapped up in the activities I do rather than the person I am.

My independence has always been one of my greatest strengths, but now I see where it has also been a weakness, keeping me from relying on anyone else. Unfortunately, that includes God. Why should I depend on Him, when I can do it all myself? But just because I CAN do something, doesn't mean I SHOULD. In fact, Proverbs 3:5-6 tells us to, Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding. In all your ways submit to Him, and He will make your paths straight.

So, what does this all mean? Well, for me it means that it's time for me to give up my shallow independence and go deeper in my faith. I'll be taking some pretty crazy leaps of faith in the near future and I'm posting this to make sure I'm held accountable. Time to give God the reins and let Him truly reign in my life.