As I reflect over my experience on Thanksgiving Day, I find myself thinking about the lessons I learned:
1. You will not have any experiences if you stay at home in your sweats and comfort zone. You have to do what comes to your heart and see where it takes you.
2. People want to help other people. If you want to start something, just put together details and invite others to come along. You will be amazed at how it works out.
3. You cannot out-give God. He will always go above and beyond whatever you give.
4. It hit me when talking to the homeless people that they are at a level where they depend on others for everything they get. That is a hard life. They all seemed to think life is something that happened to them. They are at a point where there is no way out of the life they are living and they have given up.
5. I make great turkey. I kept some aside to make a soup in the crockpot this week.
I hope you’ve liked following this blog this week. I have recently remembered that I love writing and stories, so hopefully there will be more soon. Now back to my sweats and blanket!
Funny thing about homeless people: they don’t like you to take pictures of them. They don’t want to be on camera and hate the cops. Homeless people actually like to talk, though, so I heard some stories today. The first guy that talked and talked was wearing a 49ers jersey and knew everyone – or so he said. He said he would get us in good with the Hell’s Angels if we moved to Walmart. He told us all about the cops that chased him yesterday with a helicopter and detained him for 2 hours before they released him. He said if the cops were going to show up to eat then he was going to have to leave because they were still after him. Then he went took two containers of food to the back of the building where there was cardboard and plastic set up in a “house-like” configuration.
It seemed the homeless that lived in the cardboard home were like a family. I met Mom who ruled the roost. She told everyone that she would take care of them and told them how to fill their containers of food and made sure they got meat, potatoes and vegetables. They couldn’t forget dessert or she would remind them. Mom called Patti Mom and told me Patti was better than her own mom because Patti cares about her and makes sure she gets food. Patti told me she feeds Mom about four days each week.
A young man shuffled up and asked to eat. He had parked his bicycle back by the cardboard home so I knew he was part of the group. I sat down next to him as he ate and he finally looked up a little. He said he couldn’t tell if the voices were real or in his head or if he was dead or alive. The young man said he had schizophrenia and bipolar disorder but he does not take his medications. He said he had not lived at home since he was 13 and he is now 20. He has been on the streets since he was 15. He was dirty and really not lucid. He did not even know how to serve himself and had to be served his food, along with a to-go container for later. He said he wants to do more with his life than the others. The others are just lazy, he said. He wants a career or at least a job to get started but everyone expects too much of him, he said. I asked him what was the hardest thing about being out there and he said it was that everything has been stolen from him, not just his stuff. People are mean. He asked Patti if they needed help at the Christmas tree lot and Patti said she would check and get back to him. He stood up in the middle of the conversation and said he needed a cigarette and walked away.
There was also a dog that was fed and loved by all the homeless people. As we were packing up, a man in a truck came by with some dog food for them and stopped for some dinner. He said he was a writer. He said he stopped by every day with dog food and other things for the people there. The man told me all about how Hinduism was the first religion ever and everything Jesus said was true, EVERYTHING, he said. I told him he got that right!
I learned lessons from my adventures into uncomfortable and tomorrow, being Friday, you will get to read my reflections.
I arrived with my offerings and watched as a group of homeless people that stay close in the area were filling up containers to take with them. When there was a lull in the action I asked Patti why she did this. She said it was because she gets an idea and then puts it out there to see where God takes it. I asked her where her heart for giving comes from and she said it stems from her family. Growing up in the 1940s in Fresno her family helped start a community center near Roeding Park and helping others with whatever she has is what she does. She feeds the community of homeless in this area often enough that they call her Grandma or Mom and look forward to her visits and meals.
After about an hour of serving and a car pulled up. The two people in the car sat there for long enough that we were beginning to wonder what was happening. About that time, a husband and wife stepped out of the car and walked over and asked Patti about what was going on there. Patti told her story and the woman handed her a check for $100. She said they were from Oakhurst and prayed that God would show them who to bless with money today. They drove by and saw us all set up. The blessing goes beyond as I heard a story that Patti had helped out a friend by trading some work to be done around her home for $100 because the friend needed the money. That money had been replaced.
Patti set up for three hours and as the sun was setting the wind picked up and it was getting very cold. She said the cold hurts her bones so it was time to go home. I agreed. She walked over to where the homeless had cardboard set up in a “house” configuration and invited them to come back over to take more food, since there was plenty of extra. My hands and feet were very cold and moving around packing up didn’t help to warm them. I was torn with my feelings as I looked so forward to heading home where I could get warmed up and I felt guilty for those who couldn’t get out of the frigid weather as the temperatures rapidly dropped in the setting sun.
Tomorrow you will get to meet some of the homeless people that I met.
I did not offer to help Patti out because she is a close friend of mine. I see her out at networking events with her mom and actually know more about her from reading her posts on Facebook. She is not someone I had ever spent time with other than a short conversation out in public. So why did I volunteer for what she was doing? Honestly, I don’t know. It was cold outside and I could have sat on the couch and watched TV or read a book all day or even visited friends or family, as most people were doing. For some reasons none of that appealed to me. I think I was ready to try something different and this opportunity had presented itself.
Others must have felt the tug also because Patti seemed to have plenty of offerings from her Facebook posts. When I arrived, there were three siblings helping to dish out food to the homeless people that were gathered. I asked for their story and they said they saw post on Facebook and grew up in foster care. They were the only family they had and wanted to help out in whatever way they could. The oldest sibling worked for the County and the younger two were still in school. They seemed happy to be spending time together and helping out others.
There were two others that arrived with offerings that I know through networking. Elissa arrived with a trunk full of paper products and food offerings. She was spending a quieter Thanksgiving dinner with family and wanted to come by before her dinner to make sure others had dinner also. Bonnie arrived at just about the same time as Elissa. She had more tables with tablecloths and decorations and food she had made herself. The sweet potatoes looked delicious! I had a small table with four chairs that I had dug out of my storage and Bonnie decorated it very nicely. She had brought glass bowls and started arranging and making everything look so nice. When I had a chance to talk to Bonnie, she said she had a lot to be thankful for this year. At the top of her list were: a new job, open communication with her daughter and new renters in her home. Bonnie stayed until it was all packed up and had a heart for helping others.
A woman with three children pulled up next with trays of cupcakes. She said her mother had seen the posting on Facebook and asked her if she and the kids would make cupcakes. She was dropping off the cupcakes and waiting for her mother to show up with her donations. Mom showed up with a few more grandchildren and a very large bucket of macaroni salad. I asked her what made her decide to help out. She said she was looking for a way to give back this year and hadn’t seen a big need until she saw Patti’s post on Facebook. She likes to donate food and really likes to have her grandchildren around to help out. She stayed for a while to try to round up more homeless people to eat all the yummy food.
Tomorrow you will get to meet the person who started the giving and feeding with a post of Facebook.
I guess this starts a few days before Thanksgiving 2015. Patti Crocker put out a message on Facebook that she was feeding homeless a block away from my home. She was looking for donations and help. I had started a small pity party for myself in my heart that my kids were not going to be with me and missing them and our holidays together. I had a choice to make: I could sit at home in the midst of my pity party or I could go out of my comfort zone and ask Patti what she needed. I asked. She needed a turkey baked and some plastic cups and silverware. I could do that.
This morning I awoke and put on a pot of coffee (of course) and then put the turkey into the oven. I made a big breakfast and sat down to watch the entire Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. I have never had a chance to sit and watch it through its entirety in my whole life so this was fun. I got texts and had conversations with my children, family and friends and I was feeling happy. As I was carving the turkey, I began to wonder about those I might meet and spend my Thanksgiving with this day. People’s stories are my favorite thing so I set the intention of the day to find out the stories of as many as I could this afternoon. I left my sweats and blanket on a heap on my bed and got dressed.
Tomorrow I will continue with the story of some of the others who answered the call on Facebook.
I have been away from blogging and in the thick of things with my business - building, launching. As an entrepreneur and business owner, you probably feel like this is a constant cycle for you. I do, too!! In the past few months I've been in the building and relaunching phase. This was preceded by some time reorganizing so I would know what to build and launch. During the process I have been evaluating what it looked like for me and how I could help others through the process. This was necessary because I found that often people get stuck in the building or organizing phase and don't move to the launch - ever! Let me explain. I work with entrepreneurs and small business owners every day to figure out where they are in the process of their business. Most of the time I show them where they are and we strategize together on how to get from organizing and building to launching.
Building is the process that takes a lot of computer time and creation time. It is where, I find, that most entrepreneurs get stuck so they can't move to the launching phase. There are so many processes to put into place in order to launch that it is often overwhelming and the entrepreneur feels incompetent to handle them. During the building phase, I like to come alongside them and help to get all their systems in place efficiently and quickly so they can move to the launch phase.
One of the things that stops an entrepreneur is overwhelm. They are often overwhelmed by the amount of choices they have to make in order to get their business off the ground. What CRM system, Accounting system and Email Marketing system should I use? Where do I need my presence to be known on social media and how do I do it well? These are questions that can be answered, but they are specific to that entrepreneur and the business they are beginning. I can help them strategize and give recommendations on what system to go with because I have used most of them with other clients or during my research process to find out which ones work for which cases.
Another solution I have come up with to help entrepreneurs fight overwhelm and shut-down is to offer classes in the basics of business. I have launched a series of virtual classes today to go through the basics of Google+, LinkedIn, Facebook, MailChimp, Typeform and Pintrest. To learn more and register, please visit my website. I look forward to answering all your questions and helping you to move from building to launching.
The move from Building to Launching is easy for some and harder for others. Some entrepreneurs think they have to get it all perfect before they launch. This is not true. You will never be "done" with your business. There will always be tweaks to make as you grow and as the marketplace changes. I encourage you to get out there as fast as you can and make the tweaks every day, every week, every month as necessary and then go from building to launching again. I specialize in helping other entrepreneurs close their cycle to make business fun again and I would love to help you in any way that I can so you can get through the building to the launching phase to a successful business.
Have a wonderful day ~Paula~
I spent this past weekend launching an international movement in Oakland, California called It's Your Turn. This platform allows women to leverage each other's networks in order to showcase each of them and allows for greater visibility for both. You can accomplish this collaboration, according to Joie Gharrity, by leveraging on a 1:1 basis (a double dip); a 1:1:1 basis (a triple dip) or with an infinite number of people in what Joie calls a banana split. (Yes, we like ice cream around here!) There were 60 women in the room with their unique talents, businesses, and platforms and we all came together to learn from each other, develop deeper relationships and build a community that strives to always uplift each other together and tire those old notions that we have to stomp another woman down in order to rise to the top by ourselves.
This community allowed me to showcase my skills of event planning and running events with all the behind-the-scenes that happens, often without anyone realizing how orchestrated everything is. The Dream Team (myself and six others) each had a chance to speak on whatever we felt was fitting. We trusted each other and did not rehearse or make it tie into what the others said. This bit of room allowed for my creativity to come out in a new way. I would like to share a bit of what I said last weekend here:
I came from a family where change was often the norm. I lived in times when we had money and other times when things were very tight. I lived in a home where sometimes it was a single parent family and sometimes it was two adults. I have lived in different states over the course of my childhood. I was also shy and had terrible self-esteem. This could have colored my world so I would become a totally different person than I am today. Instead, it allowed me to become a person that embraces change and doesn't sweat the small stuff. I had many different opportunities in my childhood and, as I became a wiser adult, I thought about all I had learned from these opportunities. I was an avid reader and great at math and science. This allowed me to land in a classroom in the mid-80s that had computers where I learned all about early programming. Through all these transitions I learned to grow and adapt and embrace change. These are the skills that make the life I lead and the business I run possible today!
I love to embrace the journey that God has led me on and discover what growth happened along the path. There is faith when I feel like the path is dark but God is leading me toward growth...and I've read the last chapter, it ends well! Looking at the reasons we each have our own journey allows us to show up big in our business and our lives. You need to show up and be visible and share what you have learned because there is someone out there that needs to hear it.
I want to thank The Dream Team - Joie Gharrity, Sherill Calhoun, Blaze Lazarony, Teri Hockett, and Adria Williams - for giving me the space to say YES to this movement and be VISIBLE!
This past week has been full of memories and tears of sadness and of joy. A young life was taken. At 23, Molly has been in the lives of our family for about 18 of those years. Through elementary school and junior high there was a path between her house and ours as Molly and my daughter were the best of friends. She was always a happy girl, living life boldly. I am friends with her parents and her brother is one of my son's best friends.
Through all the raw emotions this week I've seen many things that reflect goodness and God. One was in the compassion of a 16 year old boy to hold Molly's hand at the scene of the accident. The Griffins had God to help them instantly forgive and know in their hearts that Molly is a child of His and has eternal life. God is good in all things and there are no exceptions to His ALL!
Molly was compassion. The stories I heard this week showed me that she would show up in whatever way you needed her to at that time. Molly was fun! There was never a time she didn't have a smile and a plan (scheme?). Molly worked hard, academically and in her employment opportunities, and always excelled. Molly was love. Her joyful spirit loved fully and all who were around her felt it.
All this made me think of my goal of living this life with intent. It makes me strive harder to be intentional, to show compassion, fun, joy and love through always giving 100% - emotionally, tangibly and spiritually. I hope it makes you stop and think today.
I LOVE writing blogs. I LOVE coffee. I LOVE to read a good book. I LOVE my family and friends. What does LOVE really mean? If you look up the word LOVE to find a meaning, you will find so many different ways this word can be used that you will still be boggled and confused. Is it a verb? Is it a noun? Is it sexual? Is it just a stronger way to voice your like of something? Yes, it is! The Bible talks about the love that God has for us and Jesus says the most important commandment is to “LOVE the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength. The second is to LOVE your neighbor as yourself,” Mark 12:30-31. So where does my LOVE of coffee come into play? Here is another definition of LOVE and I think Mr. Rogers sums it up pretty well:
I was speaking with Joie Gharrity of No. 113 Branding recently about her power word for the year, LOVE, and what it meant to her and why she thinks LOVE is powerful. I mean, some think it is a weak emotion that is easily controlled and manipulated. Joie is a very successful businesswoman with a big heart and I just LOVE to be in her space because you instantly feel uplifted with her positivity and LOVE.
Joie was meditating one morning in early December and intentionally asked that her power word for 2015 be revealed to her. It was revealed in a big way! What was revealed to her was that she was to no longer look for LOVE outside of herself, but find LOVE for herself inside of herself. You have to show up for yourself first in your life and be LOVE to yourself before you go outside and exude LOVE onto others. Joie is a Libra and that means she LOVES being in LOVE and the feeling she gets from being in LOVE. She has found that same high of being in LOVE through loving herself and being intentional about showing up for herself every day that she does from being in LOVE romantically.
Another avenue that Joie has taken her power of LOVE is to her business, No. 113 Branding. Joie believes that the key to every situation is through LOVE. Whenever you are hitting a bump in the road or under stress in your business or a relationship, if you get back to a place of LOVE it can de-escalate the situation and cause you to be able to work on the issue and not the emotions that are bounding out of control. Joie says “LOVE is an exchange of energy from the authentic heart” and she uses this LOVE in her branding strategy, which she calls her LOVE strategy. You can read more about Joie and find out about what her company name means at 113branding.com.
I LOVE that so many people stop by and offer comments. I would LOVE to hear your take on the power word LOVE with your comments.
There is a word that comes to me every year, usually between November and the end of the year. I don’t know if that is because this is the time of renewal in my business, when I start planning with strategies and goals for the upcoming year, or if it something given by God to me as a gift. Either way, I love this because it helps me have a focus to work around every year. This year my word is INTENT.
I really did not understand this word when it came to me in early November. I did a little discovery to find out what it might mean for my life. I always check the Bible first, because I know God speaks to every one of us and I don’t want to miss his voice. I then went to dictionary.com to study the meaning of the word INTENT. These two references comforted me because they were exactly what I needed to focus on this year. Funny how that happens, right?
In John 13:18-30 Jesus predicts that someone in his group will betray Him. John 13:28 reads “now no man at the table knew for what intent he spake this unto him.” A synonym of INTENT is purpose, meaning. If you are doing something with INTENT, you are doing it with purpose and with meaning. It is a comfort that no one in Jesus’ life knew of the intent that God had for them and it is still that way today. God has an intent (purpose) for each of us and we are only shown each step as we go.
So now what do I do with this new knowledge and this word that is going to be a part of my life this year? INTENT – This means that I have to have INTENT in all things I do. This means that I have to have INTENT and purpose when I am reading and studying the word of God. I have to have INTENT when I walk into a business meeting or make an appointment or use social media. This means that when I am with my family I have to have INTENT when I am with them.
Doing things with INTENT can be both hard and easy. When I am with my family I almost always have the INTENT to be with my family and not checking my email or on social media, etcetera. I love to spend what we used to call quality time with them and make it purposeful that they have my attention. When I go to business networking meetings, whatever my INTENT is for that meeting I make sure I know my purpose for attending that meeting and walk in with the INTENT to elevate that purpose.
One thing I know is my INTENT in 2015 is to have fun and be with friends and family, with lots of laughing and love!