Monday, September 29, 2014

Pink Slip

My pink slip isn't pink and I am pretty sure that there is more than just one slip in the packet I received at 10:45 this morning. A great way to start out a Monday. My employers have impeccable timing and my two weeks start now.

For those of you new to this blog, you have to understand something—this isn't bad news. When your company is being shut down and merged into it's sister company located in Idaho—learning that you don't have to deal with the uncertainty that has been thrust upon you for the last 15 months is great news.
it's—jump in the puddles and dance in the rain—kind of news
(yes, yes—I know, Adventists aren't suppose to dance)

So while yes, I feel a tinge of sadness and will miss many of my co-workers as I embark on this new adventure entitled unemployment . . .

I am ready to go—I was never planning on being a lifer anyway.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Ferguson, Missouri

When I look at Ferguson, Missouri—I see a city that is stuck in the past. I see a city where no one wants to take responsibility for the tension between those who are white and those who are black.

The shooting of Michael Brown has been elevated to the status of the "national news" in the eyes of many. And thanks to the riots and constant news coverage—the death of one 18-year-old has brought the tension between white and black to a boiling point. 

Let the family grieve. They lost their son. Give them space.

You want justice?
Then get off the streets and allow law enforcement to their jobs.

You don't like cops?
Well, that is unfortunate—because they risk their lives every single day to protect people like you and you will respect them. Don't argue with them. Be respectful of the power their position gives them—because right now, you are the ones threatening the community—right now you are the problem and they have every right to treat you accordingly. Got a problem with that? I hear Siberia is a wonderful place to visit this time of year.

The officer who stopped Brown, didn't intend to kill him. He just wanted Michael and his friend to get out of the middle of the street. Sidewalks are for walking and streets are for driving—how this concept is so difficult to understand, I don't know. Had Michael and his friend taken the sidewalk, it is likely that this altercation between teen and cop wouldn't have taken place. Michael's decision to walk in the middle of the street instead of on the provided sidewalks ended up costing him his life—and it is heart breaking.

Then there is the problem with the media—"Black Teen Shot by Cop" blasted across the headlines in the hours following the shooting. Tension between white and black began to rise—people started taking sides before Michael Brown's body was cold on the street. Had it been a white teen, the color of his/her skin wouldn't have been mentioned. There would be no riots, no expansive news coverage, no TV interviews—just the friends and family grieving their loss.

And it is wrong, so very very wrong. Arresting Wilson will not bring about justice. Turning this into another civil rights case—will not bring justice. Justice is blind—to be given without fear or favor, regardless of identity, color, power, or weakness. Justice doesn't allow emotion to sway her verdict.

There are those who often use the color of their skin as an excuse for their situation in life. The only person who thinks you aren't good enough is you. The people who have been rioting in the streets don't care about what justice entails—all they care about is that the officer was white. Ferguson, Missouri—the people rioting in your streets are no better than the bigots they claim to detest.

You want change? Then take the challenge and be that change. Learn a little something about respect. Teach your children to respect those in authority, regardless of their color. You want people's respect? Then be the first to give it. They don't have to deserve it, but you will give it to them. It's called taking the higher road. And it just might save your life one day.

America is made up of skin tones. It doesn't matter if you are white, black, blue, purple, yellow, or orange—the only people who see the divide between white and black are those who refuse to let go of their hate.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Grouchy Me

 This is how I currently feel.
"stressed-out—wedding in 25 days—period approaching—grouchy kitty"

And this is what I need.
"purrrrr-fectly happy—sleeping kitty"

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Letting Go from in the Trenches

It is hard to let go.
More so when you have spent time in the trenches. We are muddy, dirty, beat up and exhausted. And tired, we are so very tired. We are tired of the hurtful comments of those outside looking in. We are tired of being ridiculed for allowing the defeat to occur. We are tired of hearing: You should have fought harder. Done better. Been more. This is your fault, not ours. And maybe they are right—we should have, but before all of you outsiders get too smug about the demise of the Review and Herald Publishing Association—what is happening here is your fault too.

If the publishing houses had been given the support due (tithe, for starters)—would this be happening? Hard to say. But likely we'd at least of had a fighting chance to succeed.  After all, our books have had to go up against bestselling authors such as Max Lucado, Beth Moore, Priscilla Shirer, David Platt, John MacArthur, Kay Arthur, Karen Kingsbury, and Francis Chan. These authors write to the masses, to the individual, to the race, the woman, the man, the teen, the nerd, the good girl, the wild heart—they don't limit, but expand.

Where did we go wrong? And why is this mess our fault? We just followed orders. Why has the Church turned their back on us? How is it that we have been expected to capture the talent inside the Adventist Church when we are given so little to work with? There talent within these walls, has it been wasted? Imagine how different things would have been if we had actually produced product that inspired and nourished the soul? Bestsellers—imagine that, our books being read by the Atheist, the Catholic, the Baptist, the Jew, or even the Muslim—found nationwide in bookstores that are easy to get to. Books that speak to our inner soul, drawing us closer to our Creator.

But we didn't.
We stuck with the familiar. We got comfortable. We supported the idea of outreach—but didn't do it ourselves. We worried about what others thought and stuck with their ideals instead reaching the unchurched masses. Our books have become stuffy and doctrine filled. Full of ideals that damage and starve the spiritually hungry—our audience has gone elsewhere, and really—can you really blame them?

Our books are printed and then they sit.
And sit. In our warehouse. Unread. Unwanted. You wouldn't believe the stuff that is back there.
How then can we blame our consumers for not wanting what we print? If we don't even buy our books—how can we fault others? The demise of the Review and Herald started with us. We make up the Church. The Church didn't let us down, we let ourselves down. And to be perfectly honest, we let God down too.

The closure isn't our punishment. It is the outcome of bad management.

And yet, God is still faithful. Even though we messed up (again), God has given us another chance—to try again, to do better, to learn from our mistakes, to reach. We have Pacific Press Publishing Association and it is alive—it is still publishing, printing, and getting the word out. What are we going to do with that gift?

We are going to let the Review and Herald go. And we are going to support Pacific Press—we don't have to like what is happening, we don't even have to like the people stepping into this change. But we have been called to support it—to climb out of the trenches—to let go.

And that is where the trouble often starts. We will let go under these conditions. If you meet these needs, we will consider it. It is as if we think that we can keep Change in line.

Except we can't.
I've sat through the meetings. I've listened to the questions, demands, and the words of "unfair!" spoken in no uncertain terms. I've heard the grumbles, the slander, and bitterness. Since this is now happening, people want to squeeze as much as possible out of the Church—they want "their" money.

The problem is—Change is scared too. The more people poke, prod, and lecture him—the more defensive he gets. We aren't the only ones experiencing change—Change is changing too.

Get back! All of you! Touch not the cat! Grrrrrrr!

My point?
Stop fighting Change.
The closure of the Review and Herald is going to happen whether we like it or not. We have been asked to pass the baton to the next runner. We've been asked to move on. Of course it is scary, but we serve a mighty God—we have nothing to fear, though our world is crumbling around us.

It is important to remember that we can't force our ideals on God—His solution might not be what we think it should be—but He will provide for us. His provision might require us to move. It might require us to go back to school. It might require us to put our children in public school or even face the fear of unemployment. But the point is—He will still provide.

Our God is mighty.
Our God is strong.
Our God will provide.
Our God is just.

What are you going to do with this knowledge?

First, I'm going to remember. This building holds memories for me, as it does for many of us.
My sister and I knew every inch of this building growing up. We explored the drainage pipe by the duck pond, climbed the trees, got stuck in the elevator, had swivel chair races down the halls, explored the warehouse (in the spooky dark), climbed the stairs to the roof, thought the door to the darkroom was incredible, explored backstage, and waited (not always patiently) for our parents to get off work. This building was our playground.

And then, I'm going to let it go. All of it. The God I serve is not confined to structures made by men. He can use me anywhere. Me and Change, we are going places. The trenches need us no longer.

This idea is totally crazy! 

Thursday, April 17, 2014

New Normal

It's been a week since the layoffs ended and the shock wore off. There has been some shuffling as we have gotten used to new workloads, new routines, new offices, and additional responsibilities. Tempers have flared. Patience dwindled. Gossip is in good company. And raw feelings are still tender.

The thing is, most people are scared of the idea of change. I'm not overly fond of it myself. But change has happened, so we have to adjust. And it is much easier to adjust when you put a face to the change.

New Normal looks scary, but once you get to know him—there isn't much to be afraid of.
After all, he is just an over-sized kitty [with unusually large teeth].

Keep a night light handy—for those dark and stormy nights, silly thing is scared of the dark.

Thursday, April 10, 2014


Edmund Matthew White
8 lbs 5 oz; 20.5 inches long

I can't wait to meet him.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Lord WILL Provide

"It's ok, I've got this. Trust Me."

We had a meeting on Monday afternoon. But the layoffs didn't start until the next week. After four long months of waiting. They started quietly. Without informing us of the results of the board meeting. And lives were changed.

It rained. Tears from heaven mingled with the quiet tears of those let go.

And somehow, I'm still here. My stomach is in knots, I can barely eat, and my gut hurts from bouts of stress induced diarrhea. But I still have a job.

For now.

Of course, the deed isn't done—they might let me go next month. But for now, I have a paycheck and more stress to add to the stress that I had earlier. 

"Trust Me."

His words whisper into my heart. But Lord, which is worse? Loosing my job or having to stay behind and pick up the pieces?

"It's ok, I've got this. Trust Me."

Again He speaks to my troubled heart.  And again I feel the suffocation. But Lord, I'm scared.

"Trust Me."

I stare at my computer. The work I am suppose to be working on. My thoughts jumble. I don't understand. Lord, help me trust you, I can not do this alone.

"It's ok, I've got this. Just trust Me."

Monday, January 13, 2014

Well Done.

Every year we submit cover and magazine designs into the Society of Adventist Communicators (SAC). And every year someone wins something. Last year I won an award for the cover design of The Miracle of the Seventh-day Ox. And I was thrilled.

This year I won two awards. And when I was told—I didn't actually feel anything specific. Cool. I thought. So, can we go? I've got work to do.

These days—the excitement and joy of creating has been buried deep inside my soul. I can't risk showing emotion. I am tired. Tired of the junk I have to slog through to create. Tired of the hurtful words that are hurled at us. Tired of wasting creativity on unimaginative people. Tired of the politics. Tired of it all.

It is all very exhausting.

And then out of the blue you are congratulated—cover committee showered us with ice cream, cookies, and cider—but apart from making my cold worse—I didn't feel anything inparticular, which was rather disconcerting.

It has made me wonder—do others feel this way too? Are we all so immune to the words good job, well done, and you're amazing!—that we can't even enjoy the feeling once the words are spoken?

Good heavens! If that is the case—stop everything and go and congratulate someone. Walk into their office and just tell them that they are amazing! Because the moment an individual no longer feels emotion when they are told that they have done a good job—is the moment that you know unrepairable damage has been done. And you know what? That's when you know your company is a goner.

I say this, because in order to survive I had to take God out of it. Do you know how awful that tasted? In order to survive at a Christian Institution—the word Christian had to be removed. I was working for a publishing house. And it was no longer Christian. It was just a job. Nothing more.

And this is how I felt, spiritually.

It was dark and dismal and just terrible. Constantly measured. 
Held together with string. Band-aids on hurts. Pins prying apart wounds.

It took a few weeks to discover that I couldn't work that way. I do work for the church, but more importantly I work for God. And that is truly what matters. It doesn't mean that things have gotten any easier. People still treat each other like enemies—gossip runs free, anger comes before kindness. But in the end, God has my back. And if I learn to trust him—I'll manage just fine.

Well done, my good and faithful servant.