Monday: Just Right

Happy Monday!!

I hope that everyone is well.

But you know what? If you aren’t, that’s okay here too.

That’s ALWAYS true, but the occasional reminder never hurts.

And let’s be real: even if you’re all right generally, Mondays sometimes have trials of their own. 

This week I happened to be reminded of Sanctus Real, who I hadn’t thought of in ages, and of their song I’m Not Alright.

Which reminded me that  it can be difficult, or uncomfortable, or downright scary, to say “I’m not all right“.

Why is that?

It’s as if we live backwards. If there is anything we need to be free to say, isn’t “I’m not all right” just about as important as it gets? Yet these are the words so many of us will do anything to avoid saying.

And sometimes with good reason, which is so sad – some of us have learned that words like these don’t always connect with help.

Personally, I’ve been blessed to have lots of people who were there for me when I said “I am NOT ALL RIGHT!”.

People who said “Well, let’s talk.”

or “Me either, but I’ll help if I can.”

or just “I’m sorry, and I love you.”

And that really makes me want to be the kind of person who offers that to others, you know?

 

Because we’re all not all right sometimes, and that is nothing to be ashamed of. Indeed, I suspect that part of why we are not all right sometimes is to teach us how to be community. Like, maybe we aren’t supposed to struggle along alone.

 

 

 

Be well. 

Third Sunday in Lent

Welcome to Lent!!

(If you’re coming into this brand new, you might want to check out my first post in this series, so you don’t mistake this for any sort of ‘proper’ Lenten observance.)

The THIRD Sunday in Lent. Half of Lent is gone and I’m only just catching up!!

If one is generous enough to look upon me as catching up even yet. Oy! But, it’s been a pretty good week. I’ve worked a good deal on trusting God this week, and really discussing each of my many options and next steps with him instead of (at least before!) freaking out.

How was your third week of Lent?

Is anyone else using some of the Lectionary verses or prayers? (or even ART ?!)

How’s that going?

 

This next set is interesting.

I don’t exactly get the connection between the first and the last, and I have to admit that the bit from Exodus has never been in my Top Ten Beloved Bible Passages.

For the longest time I read sections like this and wondered why on Earth God put up with the Israelites, and what possible value we could be getting out of their story –  mostly of whining, snivelling, freaking out, and turning their backs on God. Despite the AMAZING things he had JUST DONE FOR THEM!!

Then I got older, and did a lot of time whining, snivelling, and freaking out.

I got a lot more grateful for these examples of what God will do despite our merit. I still don’t understand why he puts up with us, but I’m grateful.

If there is a theme to this week’s selections, it seems to go

  • Israelites whining and snivelling, God being shockingly gracious about that.
  • Joyful Psalm of Praise to God; with admonition not to be like the Israelites when they were whining and snivelling.
  • Notes on how even when we were whiners and snivelers, our faith in what God does was all that really mattered.
  • And … I guess the section from John is perhaps an in vivo example? The woman at the well doesn’t seem overly snivelly to me, but she, too is an example of restoration being more about God’s doings than about ours. Best I’ve got on that one…

If you’re making use of some of the week’s verses, here they are all in one place.

OR, you can check out those pieces that most appeal to you:

Exodus 17: 1-7

Psalm 95

Romans 5: 1-11

John 4: 5-42

If you checked out the prayers last week, this week’s thematic PRAYERS will hold a remarkable familiarity – presumably indicating that there IS a theme, though I am refraining from looking up any further intel on Lent until it is over!

And last but not least, Lenten ART. I’m still a little Philistine in this area, though I do like the one from Jesus Mafa. It reminds me of many real-village-life scenes I’ve been part of, or seen, so it feels authentic.

 

 

The next Lent Post will be Saturday, 25 March.

 

Be well.

 

 

Resources: What Color is Your Parachute?

 

It was a little like Big Foot, or the Loch Ness Monster.

I had heard about it for years. BIG Tales: Amazing! Powerful! Transformative!!

But I had never happened to see it. (And it sounded just the tiniest bit unreal.)

When a friend got laid off from her job though, I suggested that she take a look at it. I spilled all the BIG Tales I had heard over the years, along with a ‘Can’t hurt, anyway.’.

But I also figured I ought to take a look at it, if I was going to be recommending it to people.

It was the book What Color is Your Parachute? by Richard Bolles. And boy were the BIG Tales justified! I was so impressed.

Fast forward to the day I found out my job was definitely going to disappear:  went out to my car, drove to the bookstore, and bought the latest version of Parachute ¹.

And if I’m going to have a Retrenchment Observed series in a blog about seeking out a more abundant and grace-filled life, I had better include some resources for those in the middle of just such a situation, no?

WHERE better to start than Parachute ?!?!?

Reasons I love this book (a highly abridged list.)

1)  It deals with your LIFE, not just your last job, or your next job, or the current crisis that is having no job.

This is HUGE!

For example, one of the key job search strategies is getting regular exercise. Parachute has all manner of real-world input that increases your chance of getting through a job loss and a job search without becoming a basket case.

And it’s not just for those of us who’ve lost our jobs; but equally valuable for people actively seeking a change. So much of this information is just about being in the best place possible in your work life, that I had taken to using it for many processes even before I lost my job.

2)  It deals with your LIFE, version 2.

I have had lots of really cool jobs, that somehow did quite feel ‘right’ for me. No crazy boss, draconian policies, or evil coworkers – just … not the best fit. It wasn’t until I read Parachute that ever considered that work style and work environment were relevant to your enjoyment of your job.

Now, I’ve demonstrated that you can make a fine living, and do good work, and have a good life even in jobs that you just don’t love. Lots of us have.

But after starting to look at the BIG PICTURE that Parachute points to, I started realising why past jobs hadn’t been ideal, and what to seek in new jobs that really WORKED. That was better!

Parachute is also about looking at your options while you have a job, transforming the job you’re in, thinking about starting a business of your own – it’s a ‘job seekers manual’ that can influence many types of searches.

3)  Based on what WORKS.

Shouldn’t be radical, right? Yet it is amazing how many of us exclusively seek a new  job by strategies that have something like 3 – 15% success rates.

Make no mistake, the Parachute method is scarier, at least for me, than the random-shots-until-something-works method I’d used in the past, but it’s also runs in the area of 80% effective. That, too, is BETTER.

One benefit I got from my own lay-off was some fabulous, and really expensive career coaching. Could never have afforded it on my own, an dI am very grateful for it!

But you know what? The method is pretty much the same things Parachute has been preaching since that very first edition I looked at, and probably since the first edition ever.

4)  Updated each year.

Honestly, if I were Richard Bolles, you’d maybe get a new edition every 3-5 years. I am amazed that he updates the thing ANNUALLY. At first I thought this was serious overkill.

But, even though the methodology, and the advice, remain largely the same, if you buy this year’s edition you know that you’re not missing any of the latest tactics or technology info. And scary as it is to me, technology really can utterly transform in a year.

5) Just plain cool.

I have no idea if I would like Richard Bolles in person; but I LOVE Richard Bolles in print! The tone of Parachute is SO calm, reassuring, enthusiastic, and practical that I can’t think of a better guide for this dark, scary path of unemployment.

My favourite part of the book is the pink pages, where Richard Bolles talks about life purpose, finding meaning, and his perspective on God, the Universe, and Everything.

I understand that this used to run through the book as a whole, but eventually he condensed it to the pink pages to allow those intimidated by such discussions to still find value in the book. I LOVE THAT.

Truth is though, you still find a lot of the ‘pink’ material in the text. not a discussion of God, perhaps, but a crystal clear picture of Richard Bolles’ purpose in life being lived out, and a sincere passion for everyone embracing their own lives fully.

6) Pleasantly quirky.

Sure, this is a subset of just plain cool, but it deserves a space of its own.

Richard Bolles starts the book by stating that he uses commas the way he likes to use commas and he doesn’t need any more letters complaining about his commas.

This is his approach to all of the book – funny, unique, and open. His tone is extremely positive and encouraging, but not in a fluffy, pollyanna way.

He talks about the hard stuff, gives gritty, practical advice for the worst case, and pulls no punches. But he manages to say it all in a way that honestly feels like he knows you can do it, and he’s on your side.

7) GREAT cartoons

Parachute is illustrated with (among many other things) a series of cartoons by  one of my favourite cartoonists EVER. The brilliant Sidney Harris is second only to Gary Larson for geek-heaven humour.

 

 

Be well. 

 

¹’Parachute’ is my pet name for it. It’s also a lot easier to write multiple times. I hope it’s not some horrific violation of copyright, but that is one I’ve never looked up. I’ll change it immediately, Mr. Bolles, or Ten-Speed Press, if it offends you!