Thursday, May 23, 2019


Yesterday I wrote about perfection - perfect practice makes perfect.  I'm a recovering perfectionist.  Or I'd like to think I am.  What I really decided is that somethings require perfection and somethings do not.  Taxes require perfection.  Gift wrap does not. 

I have the cutest puppy dog, Dobby.  I'll have to write about him next week.  He's 10 weeks old and we're trying to crate train him.  Yikes! Back to newborn land.  I was up at 1:30 am taking him outside this morning.  The moon was full and light, thin clouds (sorry Mrs. Rakow, I don't remember cloud names) were floating past occasionally covering the moon.  The idea of perfection floated into my brain. 

You know who doesn't require perfection?  God!  You don't have to get all your stuff first before you come to him.  You get to bring all your mess and give it to Him.  God's not an automatic fixer.  You don't bring you junk, hang it to Him and an hour later He hands you back a gift wrapped life.  God uses your junk to change you and bring you closer to Him. 

So yes, getting better at a sport or instrument requires perfect practice.  Strive hard to do each part of the play or piece to absolute perfection.  Get better each day but improving 10%.  Be 10% better every day.

But do not strive for perfection in your walk with God. Be honest with Him.  Let Him heal and help you with your junk. He loves your imperfection.  Always remember that you will never actually be perfect.  Only Jesus was perfect.  He gave His life to make you perfect in the eyes of God!

Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Practice Makes Perfect?

I was a Stingerette in High School.  Unless you're from Rockwall, Texas, you probably don't know what that is.  Stingerettes is the varsity drill team for Rockwall High School.  I grew up in Rockwall and I wanted to be a Stingerette my entire life.  I have a newspaper clipping of a picture of me watching a Homecoming parade and the caption says "Aimee Gheen, future Stingerette, watches the parade".

When I tried out for Stingerettes at the end of ninth grade, I made alternate.  That meant that I would only get to perform on the football field if someone was sick or out of town or didn't pass their classes.  Stingerettes marched a very intricate show with our band and performed a dance at half time.  I had to pay close attention at practice to learn lots of different parts. Wanted to be ready to go in at any minute.

I remember my first performance, I had to be a line leader.  It was going to be super obvious if I messed up.  But I had paid close attention in practices. I was nervous but confident.  Plus, the girl behind me helped me know where to go with gentle promptings. 

I think it was during this time that one of our directors, we called them M&M (Mrs. Martin & Ms. Moore), said something that stuck with me a long time:

In Outliers Malcolm Gladwell references work by Anders Ericcson that's become known as the 10,000 hour rule. Gladwell gave the impression that anyone who worked on something for 10,000 hours would become great at it, according to Ericcson.  However, Ericcson says you actually need to be deliberate practice.  You can't just be playing the violin, you have to be doing things that will help you get better.

Perfect practice, perhaps? 

Monday morning on his podcast Increase Your Impact, Justin Su'a discussed deliberate and purposeful practice.  He outlined 4 things necessary for purposeful practice,

Purposeful Practice...
1. has well defined specific goals
2. is focused
3. involves immediate feedback
4. requires getting out of your comfort zone - progress is made on the edge of your comfort zone

What are you trying to improve?  Are you engaging in purposeful practice to get better or are you repeating the same thing over and over hoping it will get better?

Tuesday, May 21, 2019

It's Personal

The theme of #OC19 was It's Personal.  All of the main stage speakers used the theme as starting point. 

Jon Acuff had my favorite quote on the topic

Reggie Joyner presented 5 questions that will change a kid's life if you know the answer:
1. Do you know my name?
2. Do you know what matters to me?
3. Do you know where I live (how they live)?
4. Do you know what I've done?
5. Do you know what I can do?

Over and over we heard examples of how Jesus knew the answers to these questions about the people he served.

The questions have great application for me.  Of course, I need to know these things about the kids I serve. But also my volunteers.  However, the situation that stayed on my mind was school, the kids that come into the library. 

Many times the kids that like to spend time in the library are looking for a place to fit in.  Sometimes they are quiet, reserved or withdrawn. They need to know that they are worthy.  The library, the people who work in it, can be that place for them. 

My job is going to change next year and I'll serve all four of our district's library.  I will also work with an instructional aide at each campus.  I plan to share these 5 questions with them.  We can not know the answers for every kid on campus.  But we can, and should, know the answers for the kiddos who spend the most time in our libraries. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2019


Every year I get to travel to Atlanta (actually just outside of Atlanta) to attend the Orange Conference.  Read about OC18 here.  Read about OC17 here. My first OC was 2016 and I wrote about that here.

The major difference this year was the number of people who went.  We took 16 people!  1 NextGen pastor, 4 Children's ministers, 4 Preschool ministers, 3 Youth ministers, 1 Special Needs coordinator, 1 Child Care coordinator, 1 Administrative Assistant & 1 volunteer.  I really like all these people but that's a lot of people to be together with for 4 days.  I'm a extroverted introvert.  I can do crowds and enjoy it but I need rest.  There's not a lot of time to rest at Orange.  The conference goes until 9 or 10 both nights.  Feeling like I need to sleep more makes me even more introverted.  So, there's that.  But everyone who went are awesome and I did love spending time with them.  It's always a great time to spend time from people from other campuses that I don't get to see often.  I had great conversations with people that are new(ish) to our staff.  Good stuff.

I didn't get to meet up with Carey Nieuwhof this year.  Read OC18 for more info on this story.  I tried to be proactive so I tweeted Carey BEFORE OC this year.  He replied and put me into contact with his assistant.  It turned out that we wouldn't be at Orange at the same time.  But, Carey would be at ReThink Leadership and so would our campus pastors.  Joe Paris to the rescue.  I told he what I needed, sent him screenshots of everything to prove that I wasn't crazy and sent him to meet Carey.  The pictures Joe sent me were priceless.  They made me so happy!
Carey seems happy to participate; Joe not so much

I was so happy that I didn't care about my name
The Sunday after we returned Joe told me I owed him.  I don't think he's thinking about this the right way.  I brought him into a fun and funny tradition.  You're welcome Joe Paris!

Orange actually ends Friday at 5 pm.  We went to our favorite BBQ joint - I can't think of the name. I think it's 2 dude's names. They have yummy rolls and awesome peach tea.  I'm definitely a go-alonger at Orange so I don't have to remember the name of the BBQ joint or the outstanding taco joint we eat at each year.  It's so nice. 

Anywho...Friday night we went to an escape room.  I love that kind of stuff. I've done 2 other escape rooms and had a blast both times.  The first time my team won. The second time my team did not win.  I like escape rooms but I'm not so great at solving the puzzles quickly.  Same story this time.  My team did get out of the room before hour time limit but not before the other team.  But, oh my goodness, it was fun!!

Our group minus one who was sick at the hotel

Our 2nd place team (out of 2 teams)