July 1 began a new fiscal year at work and a big change for our team. The Compliance and Stewardship department was merged with Donor Relations, so my life came full circle as I once again joined the DR team and moved back into the Murphy House. I am excited about this change and the opportunities it will bring. Plus, I am thrilled to still be working for a manager I love and a team that is talented, creative and, best of all, fun. Now there are many more of us, but we've been able to hold on to some familiar traditions like One Word.

Last year, my word was GIVE. It was definitely within my wheelhouse considering I work for a nonprofit and write reports that celebrate generosity for a living. But Kyle and I managed to find new ways to be givers, taking a trip to the Dominican for our first (and possibly only - if Kyle has a say in it) volunteer vacation. It was quite an adventure, and I am so glad we got to experience it together.

This year, my word makes me much more uncomfortable. God started planting seeds for my word back in May when I attended Leadercast: The Brave Ones (which I would recommend to anyone looking for a good one-day leadership conference). I would not describe myself as brave, and I have honestly never placed much thought or value on this attribute. But as I look back on my life, it seems like I've made more decisions out of fear than bravery. Fear of the unknown, the fear of not be accepted, the fear of failure... The list goes on and on.

That's when one of Lifechurch's key values started to stick in my head. There are several that are posted around the church and referenced often. I fully embrace most of them, but this particular one is very hard for me. It goes something like this, "We are faith filled, bet the farm risk-takers. We will not insult God with small thinking or safe living."

Ouch. I've designed my life to minimize risk at pretty much every turn. I like predictability and my comfort zone and knowing what's coming next. But that doesn't mean I can't change. So that was the thought behind my word for FY16. I just had trouble finding one word that truly represented all of that. Lucky for me, I have some pretty awesome coworkers. I explained the overall theme I was going for and then Jordan suggested the word DARING. I knew that was it. It made me nervous and a little afraid of what I was getting myself into, so those were all good signs.

We're almost three months in, and I already feel like a different person in many ways. I'm sure everything we've gone through in the last few months contributes to that, but I'm proud of where I'm going and excited to see what the rest of the year will bring. Here are some of the ways I'm working on being more daring:

 I found this journal at Company's Comin' 2 and thought it was the perfect daily reminder for my word.

 I went out on a limb when it was my turn to plan Bunko, and took the gals to Tokyo Pot even though I'd never been there. Most of them hadn't either, so it was a fun thing to experience together. 

 Some of us were more adventurous than others, but everyone tired it out and we left with full bellies and smiles on our faces. (But when has that ever NOT been true of this group?!)

  I am learning to be more creative. At work when they handed me a T-shirt and a Sharpie to record my orange passion, I freaked out a little inside (it's permanent!). But I pulled it together and made a shirt that I'm not ashamed to wear! 

I've also made two trips to Straight Upp Creative Studio to paint with some of my favorite ladies! (Lindsay, Jordan and Annie pictured here)

 Makayla, Johnna, Courtni, Amanda, Raychel, Megan, Kristy and Allison pictured here.

 We tried parasailing for the first time on our trip, which I'll tell you all about soon. We were both a little nervous but it was SUPER easy and lots of fun.

 And finally, Kyle and I have started running and training for a goal that honestly feels unreachable at this point. But we are starting small and completed our first 5k today!


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