Friday, October 22, 2010

Smashed Ice Cream! Smash on!

Sometimes in life, all you have to do is get a bit creative to add a little excitement. So we were working on putting together some new and different things for our summer camp next summer, and this is one of the ideas that came out of the experience. We want to offer "smashed" ice cream. So campers young and old can order their product from our camp store either "regular" or "smashed" and then we will provide the smashing. I am thinking it will require a large rubber mallet. But I can guarantee that kids will order ice cream, just to be able to observe it being smashed. What is something that you can do for your family to add a little excitement? In a good way? Will you order "smashed" ice cream when you come to Grace this summer?

Monday, October 11, 2010

When is success a success?

Have you ever experienced a huge success in your life only to find out you didn't feel successful?
I'm learning a new way of celebrating successes in my job as Marketing Director. I used to gauge success by depth of ministry when I was more hands on in programming. Now I'm removed from the front lines. I don't see and feel the same things I felt. I know that I am no less part of the ministry, so why don't I feel as excited about success in my new role?
For example, we just held our annual women's retreat at Grace Adventures. This event usually had about 60 women. We had only budgeted for 60 women this year. I had a goal set in my head of 200 women. I knew this event would be important for Grace's growth plans and we had to expand how many women we served.
I spent time and energy on sales, phone calls, brochures, e-blasts, strategic partners, church partners, radio advertising, and more. Long story short about a month ago it became apparent that we were going to be closer to 250 than 200. Wow, what a response! I really take very little credit because I did a lot of the same things for our Men's retreat and that had to be cancelled due to low registrations. This was a God thing for sure. So why when the goal was realized and more, didn't I feel excited, accomplished, or happy about what had happened?
I've been chewing on this for a while. Am I ungrateful, or so driven that I can rarely acknowledge when enough is good?
This weekend the Women's Retreat came and went, can I tell you our entire campus stunk pretty. Talk about an estrogen overload! The chocolate was flowing, the energy was electric, and the women were fantastic. There was a buzz and a feeling that had to be God's presence. During the sessions, the meal times, the pamper room, and paintball there was joy, peace, and encouragement. This was truly a great weekend.
As I saw and interacted with the women and heard their stories, I started to feel that emotional high I thought I should get when I finished "selling" for the retreat. You see even though my job forces me to focus on numbers, changed lives are what's at stake. Sometimes it is easy to forget that as I'm looking at spreadsheets, and advertising costs. What part did I play in this weekend? Not much from Friday through Sunday. However I played a huge part in helping bridge the gap between a great retreat, and the women who had to be here. No more important than the program staff, food service, operations, worship leader, or speaker; but still part of the process.
In marketing it can be easy to lose track of why God has placed you where you are. It is easy to become disconnected or detached from the daily ministry happening when you're 6-9 months ahead of it in your role. The bridge to gap is I will not always get a chance to see the seeds being reaped that I have helped plant months before. How do I celebrate success without the emotional high that can be found through being present during the experience?
I suspect time and seasoning will help with this transition. However it is a good thing to seek that emotion, if it forces me to stay connected with the mission taking place. We can't all be a foot, or an eye. I don't know what body part marketing is, maybe the mouth (I'm told I have a big one). Together we are a part of the team, and we must learn to celebrate successes as a body, in order to encourage one another.
P.S. To the gentleman who told his wife to tell me to blog more while she was at the retreat, this is for you. Also I hope you enjoyed the pictures from the weekend.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Lessons from a Trash Can

I had a doctor’s appointment the other day to determine if I should have my ACL in my knee reconstructed (more on that in my next blog). As usual, I was trying to cram a bunch of other stuff into the trip before and after so I was late. Then, in my attempt at multi-tasking, I was finishing my lunch; talking on the phone; and running into the doctor’s office.
After the exam; setting the plan for surgery; and scheduling the date, I was off to the next task at hand. As I walked out of the office, I grabbed for my truck keys in my pocket only to have that sinking feeling in my stomach and the automatic verbal response of “Oh No.” “No worries”, I said to myself as I was certain in my hurried rush I just left them in the ignition and locked them in the truck. It wouldn’t have been the first time. So I walked down the two flights of stairs and across the parking lot to the truck – no keys. “No worries, I am sure they fell out of my pocket in the exam room”, I thought to myself. Back across the parking lot I went and up the two flights of stairs (with no ACL in one of my knees I might add). I looked around the waiting room; I talked to the receptionist, and the nurse. They had me go back into the examination room but still no keys. I looked under the examination table and behind the door but still no keys.
Now at this point, I was worried. I was worried because I didn’t know how to fix it. It was only then that I realized that I hadn’t prayed and asked God for help. Why is that? Is it because I think God doesn’t care about lost truck keys? Is it because I am a man and I am too proud? You might say both and yet neither. It just hadn’t even been part of my thought pattern. So I prayed! As I was walking down the stairs again with my bum knee I prayed that God would help me out. Before I finished my prayer the only thought I had was “trash can”. You see, on my way in I had thrown away my trash from lunch and I had completely forgotten that. I walked outside the hospital and took the lid of the trash can. There right on top was my set of keys! God answered my prayer! Jesus tells us in Matthew 6:25-34 that we are far more valuable then birds and lilies yet he takes care of them. The lesson is that God does care about the little things in our life. So do you go through your day worrying about the little things of your life or is it part of your thought pattern to ask for God for help as the first resort? Romans 12 tells us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds. The next time I lose my keys (and there will be a next time) I desire to have calling upon God for help as part of my thinking pattern.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Stop and smell the horse manure

This last weekend we had our Women’s Retreat here at Paradise Ranch. It was a great time filled with fun horseback rides, good food, laughter, relaxation, and spiritual rejuvenation. Talking with these ladies you find that they are all mothers and wives, and they all have very busy schedules. And one of the big things that they look forward to all year is when they get to come up to Grace Adventures and relax and have fun being with other ladies and spending time with the horses (something they all have in common).
I think the thing that stuck out to me the most this weekend was my new realization of the need for down time. I tend to be a workaholic and I rarely take time to be still. Something that was emphasized this weekend by one of our speakers (Tricia Coppess) was that one of the reasons we tend to busy our schedules is because it doesn’t give us a chance to have down time and think about things in our lives that we don’t like. I think that this is where a lot of people are at in their lives, and it is time that we slow down and take time to think and let God speak and minister to our hearts with His still small voice.