Wednesday, March 31, 2010

This Is For the Auditor In Me

Planning a wedding is like planning a finely executed audit.

Proper planning.... risk assessment... team deployment... knowledge sharing... time management... prioritizing... detailed walkthroughs... controls identification... controls testing... detailed testing... documentation.... final review..... and high fees....

But above all.. a good attitude, awesome team player and organization are of upmost importance.

And... should all else fail... should you have an "exception" or an "issue" ... it's not material. Done, with no exceptions noted.

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Life is Like a Downward Escalator

If you walk... you'll be in place.
If you run... you'll actually move.
If you stand still... you'll drift backwards.

Wisdom imparted on me by the lovely Ms. Erin Shepard.

I <3 Relief Society and the wonderful analogies that I learn during 'em.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Why Hello There Bridezilla ... You Have Arrived

I used to laugh when I watched television shows where women planning their weddings would blow up at silly things and drama ensued. I used to laugh at the concept of these girls who would let the littlest things get to them while planning their wedding.

... and then... I got engaged and started planning a wedding. And though I refuse to consider myself a bridezilla.. it's kinda funny when things don't go your way and you think .. shucks.... or man! or ... *sigh. kinda like a passive aggressive Bridezilla....?.... maybe not... but it definitely is a catchy blog title!

It's not hard to plan a wedding. It's actually really easy. I'm not being sarcastic. I actually really like the planning aspect of it. I really enjoy researching different vendors, talking to different ones, and then doing my best to find a reasonably priced caterer, picking out cute, colorful and cheap bridesmaid dresses that actually WILL be worn again, selecting a theme of style, motif and incorporating elements and styles of us, choosing my centerpieces, room decorations and flowers, finding a cheap but good Chinese cake, designing the invitations and figuring our the best way to compile a list for the addresses (google documents does wonders), etc.... I mean, seriously, I could get into event planning and have a ball! But.... the hard part, for me at least, is the realization that ... I just can't do it alone because when it comes down to it...I'm kinda part of the actual day.

In the past, whenever I've planned corporate events from team dinners to market team happy hours, it's consisted of researching venues, booking a place, selecting a menu or setting up a contract, sending out invites, sending out reminders and then getting to the event early and well, making sure nothing goes wrong through the event. I've enjoyed myself every time but come to think of it... I've never stopped checking up on things or stopped communicating with the restaurant contact on what we need next.

So naturally.. when it comes to the wedding... I guess ... I really can't expect the same...

Gulp. BIG gulp.

I have problems delegating. I am the worst leader. Good leaders know how to lead by example AND delegate. I can only do the former. And...I have a fear of delegation. I know - it's synonymous with micromanagement. But the first step towards improvement is acknowledging the flaw.

Don't get me wrong - I'm not a perfectionist. I know things will go wrong and I'm not expecting everything to be perfect. But ... at the same time... if something happens that could have been prevented had the person in charge been more responsible and aware, that will irk me. Not being able to be the person in charge to prevent that sucks big time.

The only thing that doesn't suck... is the realization that when I can.. I should offer others more help. My service should be offered to others whenever possible because in those instances, I can actually help.

You won't always have the capacity to serve others, even if you want to... and that reality is a bit awful. But if someone needed help sewing together table linens... I wouldn't be able to help them. No matter how much I wanted to offer them my help, I'd be helpless. If someone needed help playing the violin, I'd also be useless because I quit playing after a year and a half. BUT, if they asked me to help them with their resume... I'd be right on it! If they asked me how to organize a budget, I'd be all over it!

Right now, I can't serve myself and it's a really uneasy thought that I do have to learn to trust others and ask for help. But more importantly, in the meantime, I can service others to the best of my ability. I can continue to fulfill my visiting teaching responsibilities, I can make sure I'm reaching out to my co-chair and we're planning FHE for our Ward timely and I can ensure I am sharing knowledge with others at work. So far.... I've shared all my wedding spreadsheets, commonly visited websites and other ah-ha! moments with other brides to be in my ward and even though I know they can get the same advice anywhere but me... it feels nice sharing. I hope I can always look to the good moments of being a bride to be and stop having any semi Bridezilla moments and instead, just enjoy the journey leading up to the wonderful day and adventure I'll have for all time and eternity.

sharing is caring.. even for bridezillas.

Monday, March 15, 2010

It Might Sound Crazy... but....

The adversary is REALLY out to get us.

I've been trying my best to ensure I am ready to defeat opposition leading up to our wedding day but it seems like every corner I turn, a lot of "stuff" keeps happening. Everything seems to be getting harder at work. Deadlines seem to be piling on and in the midst of our big annual budget, I am asked to go out of town for a seemingly useless training on the east coast. I want to scream "that's not fair!" but then I remember that life is not always fair and cope. Simple lists of mine seem to grow by the second and items are constantly rolling over into the next day. Work days have become longer and difficult conversations with my parents have become more superfluous as I try to compromise their expectations with my hopes. What was once a nonchalant attitude towards multitasking and prioritizing has become laced with stress and tension. My patience has been tried repeatedly and I notice little things perturbing me. And then I stop and pray. Or I stop and read. And then I am calm. I'm reminded of why praying constantly is so important and no circumstance or location seems unfit for a quick prayer.

I guess I had anticipated the attacks from the adversary to come from elsewhere. I hadn't anticipated this type of struggle. We had shielded ourselves with simple but strict rules...rules that our other friends might poke fun at and laugh at .. but rules that we took seriously. Rules that included... no open mouth kissing, no hanging out alone past 11:30 PM, and no spooning. So many blessings have been noted from these self imposed rules such as confidence in our affection for one another, clearly understood without the confusion of physical feelings and a solid relationship focused on much more than butterflies in our stomachs. But really, the adversary found another way to attack us and knew we had weaknesses elsewhere that could be manipulated. Instead, the adversary decided to attack us where we least expected. Instead, the adversary got creative. Instead, the perfect storm was created.

As much as I want to do it all and carry myself out of the thunder and rain, I'm learning to say no and I'm learning to ask for help. I'm learning that God listens to me and sends me angels in all shapes and forms.. because sometimes, an umbrella isn't enough for a storm. Sometimes, you need rain boots, a great raincoat, and a friend to hold your hand as you leap across the puddles and anticipate the rainbow at the end of the storm.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Compare and Contrast

So often, I hear other converts share about how life was awful before they were LDS and life without the spirit was plain dreadful. So often, these powerful compare and contrast moments bring tears to the eyes of those sharing and listening to such powerful testimonies. As of late, I have thought about the contrasting moments in my own life, and to be honest... I don't remember much of what it was like before. I don't remember much of how life was without the spirit and I don't really want to. Instead, I want to remember what life is with the spirit and strengthen my testimony of the good. And I don't think revisiting the bad will help me with that.

So I write about moments when the spirit is strong. I write about moments when I know Heavenly Father is speaking to me. I write about moments when my testimony is strengthened. I write about moments when I have confirmation of how powerful prayer is. I write about moments when scripture study is moving my world. I write about moments when I am challenged but my faith perseveres. I write about moments when I feel a tender mercy. I write about moments when I share the gospel with others.

And I realized... I haven't written on this blog for a while. So although there's no real transition to my story, here goes nothing.

I've been thinking a lot about the compare and contrast principle. Of how misery enables us to feel joy. And oddly enough, I started to think about cold and hot weather. I thought... how amusing that Andy used to wear shorts in high school even though he went to high school in Salt Lake. And now, acquainted with the LA weather, he doesn't seem able to bear the cold as he once did. On the other hand, my brother, an LA boy, had spent all year in New York for school and subsequently, came home for winter break, undaunted by the cold LA nights because it was so much warmer than New York!

This taught me that environments are important because whatever environment we're placed in, we, as human beings, adapt. And what was hot before... might be warm now... what was cold before.. might be warm now. And similar to my feelings of wanting to always be reminded of the good moments, I also want to ensure I'm always in an environment that is uplifting, edifying and spiritually energized. I want to be in a place where I'm always keeping the commandments and always worthy of the Spirit. And I want to be in a place where not doing so has becomes a distant memory. In other words, my spiritual equilibrium is set at high and I will not tolerate anything less. Even if the world becomes "too cold" or "too hot" by temporal means, I will always have my gospel standards and always keep the commandments given to protect me and ultimately, never adjust for the world. The only adjustment I will make is towards God and the Son, not away.

So how do I do that? I guess... with the simple things.

Daily prayer and scripture study. I start and end my day with both - and it's become a shield for the ways of the world. It continually gives me strength to remember my Savior, His teachings and Heavenly Father's continual prophetic counseling and messaging. And in times where I might be susceptible to the ways of the world, when people are joking about inappropriate things at work, or when the radio has a song that offends the Spirit and me, it's like my daily studying and prayer give me the ammunition and power to just ignore it or turn it off. And I am reminded "that by small and simple things are great things brought to pass; and small means in many instances doth confound the wise," (Alma 37:6).