Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

We had a wonderful Christmas Eve dinner of crab (a Northern Californian Christmas Classic), lots of family time, some shopping and a morning viewing of "The Princess and the Frog." It's already been a great Christmas.

I wish you much joy, much love, and lots of laughter today!

Merry Christmas!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

So, This Santa Walked into a Bar...

A couple of weekends ago, my family (Mom, Dad, Sean) all went out for a night on the town. San Francisco is often amusing and amazing, especially during the holidays. That night, we headed to The Castro and what did we see roaming the streets? Big packs of Santas, making merry! It was Santacon 2009!

Here are some Santas on the street:


Imagine my surprise when we walked into the Lucky 13 and saw this. No really, we were surrounded by Santas.


What a night! I have never, ever seen anything quite like it :)

What surprises have you had this Holiday Season?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Chickens Dance, The Pig Sings, and The Rat Gets Food

The Muppets were definitely one of my favorite shoes as a kid. They ranked right up there with Donnie and Marie. I was surfing around and came across this great scene from The Muppet Show:





I love what Kermit is saying here :) - he's embracing all that is good and right about his cast. He's playing to the strengths of his friends, and he clearly loves them all for who they are. In contrast, Sam the Eagle wants to find fault in things, wants to document reality harshly, he wants to be in control. But Kermit lives in the moment. He's grateful. He doesn't see a problem with the rat who wants to bring him lunch, he delights in dancing chickens and he sees the joy in a singing pig. He's accepting, saying that is "how things are around here."

I wish I could be more like Kermit, taking things for what they are, letting people be who they are, and taking delight in it all. In this holiday season, I will keep the spirit of Kermit in my heart and learn from him. His lesson is one of love and acceptance.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Tis the Season to Give: Comments for Charity

Last weekend Sean and I packed up a bunch of very usable and gently worn items to donate. We usually go do a drop off at Goodwill, but this time we had some new stuff that someone else had asked we donate somewhere, too. I thought about how these clothes, towels and other items could be used right away and realized that a homeless or women's shelter would be a great place for them.

We packed up the car, and took Joey (my sister's dog) with us and headed out for Shelter Network in San Mateo. I'd worked at Shelter Network for a little while about ten years ago, so I knew they did good work. Once we were there, Joey charmed the folks, giving out kisses and love to people. He really is joy embodied in one small dog. What Shelter Network couldn't use or didn't need, we took to Goodwill.

Last week, Shannon over at the Nut House recently had a "Cans for Comments" campaign, and it really inspired me. She donated 30 cans for the comment she received. So cool!

I know that both Shelter Network and San Damiano Retreat (the place I lead retreats) could both use donations, so I figured I'd combine Shannon's idea with those needs.

Starting today, and running through Christmas at midnight, I'll be setting aside a dollar for every comment I get.* On December 26, I'll tally those comments up and split the total to send a check to both San Damiano and Shelter Network.

So, leave a comment!! It's going to a great cause :)

And tell me about how you've given this season below!


*The fine print: To be included in the tally, comments from guests must be made on the blog posts that I, Paula Jenkins, make on welcomingspirit.blogspot.com. between December 11, 2009 through December 25, 2009 at 11:59pm. Any comments left by guests on posts from before 12/11/09 (ie any comments on post I've made before this one) or after 12/25/09 at 11:59pm will not be included in the tally. Comments must be "real" comments, any spam, or repetitive comments made by a single person or persons will be deleted and not be included in the tally. I reserve the right to delete any comments I do not feel are in the spirit of this give away.

The total dollar amount that I will donate will not to exceed $500, specifically, it shall not exceed a one time $250 donation to San Damiano Retreat Center in Danville, CA and shall not exceed a $250 one time donation to Shelter Network in San Mateo, California. Donations are based on the number of comments recieved on this blog and are subject to my discretion. Lastly, these donations are being made solely by me (Paula) and will be funded by my own savings. I have no idea if I'll get 500 comments, but I sure hope that I do!!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Multi-tasking is Blowing My Mind

In a recent post I mentioned that I'm working hard to keep focused and in the moment at work. The last couple of weeks have been a challenge in that arena. We've got four pretty big projects going on, and I just hired two new people for the department. In a few minutes, I'm headed out to a photoshoot.

But right now at this moment I'm on a conference call for work and eating breakfast. I was working until about 12:30am and got up at 6:30 for this call. I'm blogging and creating a list in my mind of things that I need to grab before leaving the house. And I probably need to find some shoes and socks. Along with a sweater. And makeup would be good before leaving the house.

You can see where this is going. In the mind-boggling amount of stuff that's going on, I am feeling like my head is not really in any one thing. And that's super frustrating. I'm very much a planner, and I'm a project manager by trade. I like order.

What I want is to slow down and not feel so harried. I'm craving order, and craving some time for just me. I'm not sure how to make that happen.

When so much is being requested of me and my time, how do I force some order here? I get worried that if I don't do everything, read every email, help every person at work that I'll miss something important.

I don't know what I think will happen after that. That people will see I'm human? As this call is moving into slide 15 of about 40, I'm wondering what the actual point is around "brand engagement" and "consumer interaction." With my background in religion, I often find myself wondering what the value of my work in advertising is.

OK, but I need to get going. How do you all balance your time, and keep time for yourself day to day when you're in a job that would eat every second of your time if you allowed it?

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Our Tree is Up! Pee-Wee Herman and Fun With Jesus

It's about midnight and we just finished vacuuming and finishing up the tree. This year, we looked around for something good to watch on TV while we were decorating, but alas! there was nothing Holiday-ish on.

So, I gleefully put on Pee-Wee's Christmas Special. Have you seen it? Sean first said he had no interest in seeing it at all, but then as the ornaments came out and the Pee-Wee humor kicked in, I found him standing there staring at the TV. So funny :)

Another funny thing, after the ornaments were all on the tree, I noticed this lovely grouping. That's right, Jesus, C-3PO and R2-D2 are all happily hanging out together right near the top. I hope this isn't sacrilegious. Actually, I'm not even sure if you should have Jesus on the tree, but the little ornament is Jesus on the San Damiano cross, and it is the cross that Saint Francis had a conversion experience in front of. So, it's a loving reminder of a pretty amazing saint.

Is your tree up? Do you have any favorite ornaments?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Learning to Live in The Moment at Work

This week flew by. I'm sure it's the combo of lots of work, of getting back from vacation, of feeling the "I've got to do all of this right now" nature of December.

At work, we're planning some big projects, that we need to triple bid and brief lots of people on. I'm setting up a photo shoot for next Thursday. (Stay tuned, folks, I'll likely be doing my first voice over and hand modeling for this!) We had a project launch on Tuesday.

As the new boss person, I get to help the team with all of this exciting stuff. I love that. I love helping the team tackle big, fun projects. I love seeing everyone grow and learn new things. It's fun. It's also really hard because I want to be the kind of boss that's always available for the team. That means putting my own projects and work on hold as things come up so I can listen and be present when someone else needs something.

I find I'm learning a lot every day about being present, being in the moment. It's amazing because in my head, I'll admit, I'm dying to look back at my email as people are talking. There's so much going on that every moment seems precious.

But then I remember what it was like to have a boss who really listened, who stopped what they were doing and looked me in the eye when I needed something. That's how I want to be. I want to be present. I want each person to know I'm not wasting my time or their time multi-tasking in that moment. It's been a really amazing week in that regard, really recognizing what great bosses I've had and trying to learn how to be more like each of them.

How was your week back from Thanksgiving?