It Is Well With My Soul

Friday, September 27, 2013

Have you ever experienced a moment of perfection?  Sometimes out of nowhere I get the overwhelming feeling of happiness and peace.  It’s so blissfully wonderful and it happens so rarely that I think I can remember each moment.  I’m not talking about the normal peace you feel the hour after school gets out for summer or the happiness that overcomes you when you find out that your loved one made it through surgery okay- I’m talking about all-encompassing  perfection.  And what I’ve noticed is that my life is far from perfect when these moments happen.  Man, God is good.

The last time this happened I was in my car driving from College Station to The Woodlands.  I was miserable with my job, my parents were about to move to Argentina, I had no idea what I wanted to do with my life while all my friends were off getting married and being fabulous... basically I'd been feeling lost for quite a while.  I had the windows down because it was one of those unusual cool Spring days Houston gets, music blaring to try to drown out my thoughts and then it hit me.  I didn't know what it was but I knew exactly what kind of moment I was having.

Do you know the story behind the hymn “It Is Well With My Soul”?  You can read the full story here but the short version is that there was a man who tragically lost his young son then his business in the Great Chicago Fire of 1871.  Then, 2 years later he sent his wife and 4 daughters on a ship to Europe for a much needed vacation but something happened and the ship sank taking his 4 daughters with it.  On his way over to Europe to meet his wife after all of the tragedy, he wrote this famous hymn.  Can you imagine that?

I can’t equate any of the hardships I’ve been through to what this man suffered but I do understand what he meant when he said it is well with my soul.  It’s a hard thing to remember for sure but that’s what I think those incandescent moments are…  A moment of incredible clarity, coupled with the overwhelming Grace and Peace that only God can give, reminding me that it is well with my soul.

“When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
When sorrows like sea billows roll;
Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say,
It is well, it is well, with my soul.

Though Satan should buffet, though trials should come,
Let this blest assurance control,
That Christ has regarded my helpless estate,
And hath shed His own blood for my soul.”


Song of the Day

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Thanks to 2 of my beautiful sorority sisters for reminding me about these guys! I was on a serious kick when I first found out about them but then concert season happened and I got distracted. How could I have done this?!


Originality and Social Media

Friday, September 20, 2013

How many quotes are there about every thought having already been thought before?  I've seen them on Pinterest and just read an article about it on LinkedIn last week.  Sometimes they’re meant to be inspiring (you are not alone, blah blah blah) but last night they got me thinking about how awful that idea really is.  Every thought, every idea having already been thought of by someone else?  Well that makes me feel special… not.  A big part of this probably has to do with our fascination to “connect” with each other.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m totally one of the sheep here but you’ve got to admit that it’s a bit ridiculous.  And as much as I love Facebook, Pinterest, Etsy, Instagram, etc., most of the time all it does is make me envious of things I don’t have and annoyed that craft projects I did thinking I was so unique are actually being done by people all over the US.
Pretty ironic coming from someone who manages Social Media sites for a living, I know.  Actually, when I got my first professional gig with a job description involving social media I started weening myself off the web when I was at home.  I mean, I’m literally on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and numerous e-mail accounts ALL DAY for work… the last thing I want to do when I get home is get back online!  I blog after work and use Pinterest for ideas since I’m still making my apartment a home but that’s kinda it.  Some of my friends get annoyed about this because they want to Facey chat or tweet about something with me but I’m sorry-I’m not sorry.  Do you go home and keep doing what you do all day at work? For most people the answer is probably "No way!"

On the other hand, you could argue that social media inspires creativity and new thought.  You read an article that spurs a new idea in you or you see a headboard on Pinterest and put your own unique spin on it (hint, hint).  Then it’s out there in the world to inspire someone else to take it to another level.  I don’t know, what do y’all think?  Social media- no thought is unique or the world’s largest sounding board for creativity? 


Aloha Habitat for Humanity!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Not working for a non-profit has been really hard for me.  I know that’s where I want to spend my career but I made a tactical move to the for-profit industry because this is different aspect of Marketing and Event Planning that I know I need to gain experience.  I told myself it would be okay because once I got settled I’d find somewhere to volunteer so that I could still fulfill that part of my life.  False, does not work like that.  Working at a non-profit helped me get out of bed each morning.  Even if I’d had a particularly bad week or if I knew that upcoming day was going to be crazy, I still genuinely looked forward to going into the office because I was so inspired by what my work was doing in the world.  That feeling can’t be replicated by volunteering a few hours a week.  And worst of all is that I’ve had THE HARDEST time finding somewhere to volunteer here!  Props to the Montgomery County United Way back home in The Woodlands because if you wanted somewhere to give back, they could send you a list of non-profit organizations that were ready to take your help right then.  Their volunteer website was also top notch.

I was trolling the internet looking simultaneously for volunteer opportunities in Bham and researching trips for the fall when I happened upon Habitat for Humanity’s Global Village program.  What? That’s PERFECT for me!  I already love Habitat, I've worked with them in the past and this would allow me to travel abroad!  Seriously that is my dream job.  Traveling the world, helping people in need, raising funds for NPOs along the way.  So I looked into the available trips and was instantly drawn to the Kauai trip.  I know Hawaii isn’t exactly traveling abroad but I’ve seen first-hand how horrible the homeless situation is in Hawaii and I just knew this was the trip I was meant to go on.

Some of you may know, my mom’s parents live on Oahu.  My grandpa is actually from there; he was there when Pearl Harbor was bombed (such an amazing story, I’ll post that one later if y’all want!).  They’ve been there about 10 years now so I’ve been to visit 3 times and my parents have been like 6 or so times.  Every time we go, the first thing we notice while driving down Hwy 93 along the beach to my g-parents place is the homeless people.  Remember learning in U.S. History about “Hoovervilles” during the Great Depression?  Entire shanty towns built from cardboard and tents under bridges and in abandoned parts of town?  Well, that’s the only way I can describe what you see on these beaches.  Especially as you go further north on the west coast away from the touristy part of the Island.  The beaches are lined with these make shift towns consisting of homes built from broken cars, tarps and tents.  School buses actually have stops near these “towns” because there are so many children living there.  Apparently the problem on Kauai is even worse.

Image above from (
When I first saw this, my thought was- “Nice, living on the beach!”  Man was I wrong.  They shower in the little outdoor showers meant to wash sand off after leaving the beach and get ready in the disgusting public bathrooms scattered along the coast.  Trash doesn’t get picked up in these areas so they either let it pile up or have to take it to a dumpster behind the nearest store.  It just isn’t the way anyone should live.  Local authorities do their best to keep it clean and help families afford a better place to live but they can’t keep up due to the incredible wealth gap on the Islands.  For locals it's basically that if you work in tourism- you’re rich, if you don’t- you can barely scrape by.  During the rainy winter season, everyone suffers.

Habitat for Humanity believes that every man, woman and child should have a decent, safe and affordable place to live.  Habitat builds and repairs houses all over the world using volunteer labor (like me) and donations.  Their partner families then purchase these homes through no-profit, no-interest mortgage loans or innovative financing methods. (  For those of you who may have a problem with non-profit giving because you don’t believe in “giving free handouts”… well, that’s so not what is being done here. 

My parents took this when they visited Kauai last week!
The trip I’m going on will be from December 26th – January 5th! I’m especially excited because we'll be building in a Habitat for Humanity neighborhood!! How cool is that? They're actually working to build a whole neighborhood of affordable homes!

I’ve set myself the hefty goal of raising $2000 before November 16th.  That’s only 2 months away(eek)!  If you feel inclined to help me help others, I would greatly appreciate a donation for our trip.  You better believe I’ll be blogging every day while I’m there and live tweeting the whole thing.  Trust me, Beth with power tools is gonna be super entertaining.  Any amount that you’re able to give would be SO GREATLY appreciated!  Your donations are tax deductible and go directly to the trip that I’m going on, not my flight there or anything like that.  If you don’t want to donate to my trip, please consider working with your local Habitat for Humanity on a build near you!  There are so many ways to give back :)

Click here for my official fundraising page!


Go Greek!

Monday, September 16, 2013

Sorry about my little sabbatical but I've been so busy with recruitment! To make up for it a bit, here's a saga about Greek life and how I became a DG.

It’s no secret if you pay attention to my life at all that I’m a proud member of Delta Gamma.  In the midst of recruitment happening across the nation these past few weeks there have been a number of negative Greek life stories in the headlines.  As an adviser, I’ve had a couple of people reach out to me about why I decided to join a sorority, do I think their child should go Greek and if the stories in the news have any merit.  The main news story that I’ve gotten questions about is the most recent incident involving Greek life at the University of Alabama.  Since I don’t know anything first-hand about this Greek life system I don’t feel it’s fair to comment on it.  I can, however, comment on why I went Greek and what an incredibly positive impact it has had on my life.

I didn’t go to college with the intention of joining a sorority.  Frankly, I think it surprised most of my high school friends when I told them what I was doing (I might’ve waited until after I’d accepted a bid to tell any of them- I honestly don’t remember).  I had tons of high school friends starting freshman year with me at Texas A&M including 3 of my best friends so I didn’t see the need to meet new people.  Especially not snotty sorority girls.  So I happily started freshman year, focusing on school and joining on-campus organizations.  I made fast friends with one of my dormmates who then introduced me to 2 of her new friends.  Turns out they met during recruitment and were now all in the same sorority.  I started hanging out with them 24/7, bringing them around my high school friends and everything.  Something was different with these girls though.  Something different between the 4 of us and the rest of my friends and something different between the 3 of them and myself.  Whenever they would go to sorority functions I’d feel so sad being left behind.  They brought up the idea of my joining Delta Gamma close to the end of my first semester and I kinda blew it off at first.  That’s when I first brought it up with my parents.  Oy vey.

My mom has this awful story about going to a sorority rush party at FSU with her best friend and how it was basically Animal House and she didn’t want anything like that for me.  My dad was actually in a fraternity in high school and he DEFINITELY didn’t want me going Greek.  I would be hazed and I’d never have time to study and it was too expensive and on and on and on. 

The more I hung out with these girls and their sorority sisters, the more I knew the stereotypes my parents were worried about didn’t apply here.  These girls were the most kind, genuine, funny, wonderful  and down-to-earth girls I’d met.  They reminded me of my best girl friends from high school who were spread across the country at various colleges.  I remember one night I went to the library to study with my 3 friends and an older Delta Gamma who had already taken the freshman Biology class I was cramming for came over and sat down to help explain something because she'd heard my groaning. She spent 2 hours with me and she didn't even know me.

I called my parents that night and said I’d pay for it myself if they would just support me in this decision to join a sorority.  They were still hesitant but being the fabulous parents they are, they said yes.  In the spring I was welcomed into Delta Gamma and my life has never been the same.  Of course the friendships changed my life but it’s so much more than that.

I learned some tough lessons about working in groups and leadership, balancing all aspects of my life and not crumbling to pieces, the importance of taking breaks to act like a 13 yr old with friends, how to be confident with who I am and the things I believe in and how to handle the ups and downs of life.  I was involved in other organizations on campus but none of them could even compare to my experiences in Delta Gamma.  I learned more, cried more and grew more in those 4 undergraduate years than I’d ever expected to.  I became a leader in my classes as well and heard more than once that some of my peers wished they had gone Greek based on what I was able to bring to the table.

I’m not going to try to tell you that all of the stereotypes of sororities and fraternities are made up because sure, some of the things you see in the movies are true.  But the good overwhelmingly out-weighs the bad.  Especially in my case because I decided to sail with the best and become a Delta Gamma.  We are a strong group of women who hold fast to our beliefs, most importantly of those is Hope.   Although many of us vote differently, come from different walks of life and live scattered across the globe- we’ll forever have at least one powerful thing in common.  We’re all Delta Gammas.

I’m an adviser now and I love getting to help younger girls through their undergraduate DG years.  I get why teachers like what they do so much now.  And when moving to a new city, the first group I reached out to was the local DG chapter.  I didn’t know anyone here but I wasn’t worried because I knew there was a group of my sisters waiting for me.  I used this example with my undergraduate girls a few months ago when I first met them to describe what this wonderful sisterhood means to me at this point in my life.  I had just met them but within a few hours I had already begun forming relationships that I knew would grow into something meaningful.  I knew then that if I was stranded 3 hours away in the middle of nowhere I could call these girls and a SUV full of them would come to my rescue.  I knew that these girls were going to teach me as much as I would teach them and most importantly that after those few short hours I already felt at home in Alabama.  My parents didn’t need to worry because I wasn’t alone.

I may not be the next President of United States or celebrity (still waiting on Bravo to call me about my TV show) but whatever I do, I’m a better person for being a part of Greek life and for being a Delta Gamma.  I whole-heartedly believe that everyone should give Greek life a serious consideration when going to college.  Ultimately, it’s not for everyone but it definitely isn’t what our parents experienced when they were in college either.  People who are jaded by their experiences back when hazing was allowed or from the way Hollywood and the media make Greek life out to be would be making a mistake if they didn’t support their children in considering joining a sorority or fraternity.  Remember, “bad apples” and scandals plague organizations of all shapes, sizes, and beliefs.  That doesn’t however make membership in that group any less special or important to those who are also affiliated.