Wednesday, April 22, 2015

I Prayed for You Today

I walked on the beach this morning. And, as I walked, I prayed.

I asked God to be with my good friend Jill as she says goodbye-for-now, today, to her father.

for Teryn who has battled illness for the past year.

for my friend Amanda and her daughter Meg who is serving God across the seas.

for my friend Ben and his sister Stephanie, who is grappling with a diagnosis.

for my brother-in-law Dave and for Bob and his family.

for my friends Rachel and James and their baby son.

for Junias, and Anna, and Melissa.

for so many of you who have shared with me your fears and worries and struggles and concerns.

I prayed and asked God for His healing and comfort -

for His peace and joy -

to do what only He can do.

And then the sun came out,

it peeked over the clouds,

and it changed everything.

God can do that.

We serve an amazing, awe-inspiring God who can do anything.

He holds all of this - all of our cares, worries, sicknesses, fears, concerns, all of it, in the palm of His hands. Nothing is impossible for Him.

As I walked back home holding the most perfect tiny shell in my hand,

a contrast to the magnificence of the sunrise and the vastness of the ocean.

I was thinking of how God cares for us, despite His grandeur,

and the words of an old hymn came to my mind.

"All your anxieties, all your cares,

Come to the mercy seat, leave them there.

Never a burden, He cannot bear.

Never a friend, like Jesus."

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Advice for College Graduates on Getting Your First Job - Part Two

Here's some helpful job-searching advice from former graduates who are now working (many of them in their desired field)! I received so many suggestions that I'm stretching these out over two more posts.

On Getting Your Foot in the Door…

Volunteer! Sharon writes, “My current job, as well as one previous job, I got through volunteering. 
The organization knew me and valued me as a volunteer, and thought I would make a valuable employee.”

“If you can’t work for money, work for free. Don’t be afraid of a day job, but keep building your portfolio,” Karen said.

Nailing That Interview . . .

Candy was impressed by one particular “fresh-out-of-college” candidate, “I hired Kaitlyn right out of college. She was professional, to the interview a few minutes early, sent me a link to her online portfolio, had good questions, and seemed to be a learner. I have continued to be impressed.”

Finding Job Possibilities …

“Make connections and network,” advises Kaitlyn. “Get your name out there. My advisor at school told me about an opening and told the organization about me. Don’t be too picky for your first job; eve if it’s not exactly what you want to do.”

“Don’t be afraid to go for the big guns,” Andie advises. “As long as you’re mostly qualified, there’s no hurt in trying. I never would have thought Christianity Today would interview me.”

David took the wrong job to meet the right people. “So much of the opportunities I have been given are because of networking in circles that I wanted to be a part of. Started as a social media specialist, but I wanted to be in radio. Getting your foot in the door is less about working a job that will be good in the future and more about meeting the people you could work with.”

Don’t Give Up!

Jesse talks about how long this might take: “Persistence! It can be really frustrating to be rejected over and over or to not get a response when you send your resume out. But, you can’t lose heart. It took me a year and a half after graduation to get a job in my field. You just have to keep going.”

“It may take you a while to figure out what God has given you both talent and passion for,” Luci says. “Don’t be afraid to try new jobs.”

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Advice for College Grads on Getting Your First Job - Part One

As a former college professor, I still get Facebook messages from students asking me for career advice. One of the most common is - How do I find my first job?

I know it is daunting. College provides a sense of security. You know exactly what you are doing for the next four years. Then, many books and exams later, suddenly it is senior year, graduation, and the unknown is thrust upon you.You are forced to make some serious choices. Should you return home to live with mom  and dad? Find a job? Get an apartment? Go to graduate school?

Just a few bits of personal advice if you decide to attempt that first job search:

1) Go for your big dreams first. My first round of resumes were sent to my dream jobs. I think I had ten of them. I was wildly unqualified. I had education, but not a huge amount of experience. Nevertheless I sent those first resumes out with high hopes and prayers. I only heard back from two, but two was great! One was an actual interview. The second, my letter to Oprah Winfrey Productions, was returned with a signed photo of Ms. Winfrey herself. They had misfiled my resume as a fan letter. Sigh.... I did go to that one interview, and I didn't get the job, but it provided needed experience and was a huge boost to my self confidence.

2) Then, spread your net wide. Apply for a LOT of jobs. Don't be too picky. In my time, we printed resumes, now much of the application process is electronic. Look at all of the job listing services you can find. Apply for anything that sounds like a possibility. It is tedious and exhausting, but it is necessary. Even if you don't like the job, the interview process will be helpful and informative. And sometimes a bad lead can develop (through connections) into another good one.

3) Proofread your resume and cover letter. I've seen many resumes, electronic portfolios, and cover letters with typos. Aaaack!!!! Have one friend - maybe two or three (literate) friends - read and proof your outgoing job applications and resume material. Mistakes are deadly in this situation. They reflect poorly on who you are, your work ethic, and your abilities.

4) Check your social image. Change your email address from to something that sound clear and professional. Maybe just use your name. Keep it simple and clean. Look critically at your Facebook profile and delete anything necessary. Google your name to see what appears. Employers today are savvy.

5) Get solid references. Before you leave college, ask a few key professors or staff members if they will serve as references. Some may write you a "blank" referral letter to use again and again. Others may serve as character references. Don't ask professors you don't know well or those whose classes you failed. If you over cut their class, didn't turn in a project, etc....don't ask for a reference!

6) Be realistic. Realize that to get that first job may take sacrifice. You might have to relocate. You may have to take a job title or salary that is not within your original expectations. If your search is too narrow, you will have trouble finding that first position. Consider the opportunities that will extend from that first job - whether it means transferring up within a large company or even just gaining work experience in a field you desire. Some trade-offs are worth it. And, your expenses are low right now, so you may be able to settle for a lower salary.

7) Prepare for interviews. Dress up. Don't wear schlumpy clothes to your first interview, even if it is a casual environment. Take off the knit cap. Don't wear flip flops. Look sharp. Suits are still expected. Have a physical copy of your resume with you. Bring samples of your work. Know the company you are interviewing with and have one or two questions prepared that show your understanding of what they do. Even better, bring a sample of what you can do directly related to that job. For example, one public relations candidate brought a press release she had written for a future event at the non-profit to which she was applying. She go the job.

8) Be patient. This is not a quick or painless process. It is humiliating. It is tedious. It is discouraging. It is overwhelming. But each interview is a bonus. Each call-back is a good sign. Each person is a possible lead. Let everyone know what you are doing. Talk about it. Pray about it. And then take one day at a time. Don't give up. It will happen. It just might not happen as soon or as easily as you'd expect.

This is part one of a small series. I've asked recent graduates how they secured their first jobs. In the next few days, I'll share their responses and advice to you as you begin your own search. Check back - there's some great things coming!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Save Beach Driving: Daytona Beach, Florida

I am a new resident. My husband and I moved from the Chicago area to Ormond Beach, Florida, in January.

And one of the reasons we chose this town is that my husband has always loved Daytona Beach.

It is one of the few beaches where cars are allowed to drive - directly on the sand and next to the ocean.

Every year, we would vacation in Daytona and try to get a hotel room that looked directly at the Atlantic Ocean. It was the only time of year my night-owl spouse would rise early. He'd jump out of bed, grab a blanket and cup of tea, and watch the sunrise.

Then we'd pack up the car and head to the beach.

In Daytona, you can park right where you are relaxing. You can keep your belongings in your car and return to it as often as you'd like. No need to lug your children and belongings from a hot parking lot and trek to the sand.

We'd open the trunk and maybe play the car radio. He loved to watch the cars drive by. Some have their windows tightly shut, air-conditioning on. Some are jeeps - no windows or doors - teenagers wearing sunscreen and blaring tunes. There is the occasional vintage convertible - much to my husband's delight.

There is so much to watch and enjoy.

Cars drive very slowly - and become part of the bustle that is Daytona. It is historically a part of this beach. As new residents, we went to the Granada beach entrance and walked through the tribute to the Ormond Beach races that happened here first.

I did not realize that the first land races in automobiles were in Ormond . . . on the beach. How incredible it must have been to see these cars flying on the sand. Certainly - in those days - it was a spectacle.

There isn't racing now, and I'm afraid there won't be driving either.

We've learned that the city council is planning to shut down beach driving. Motivations are masked by environmental concerns, but it appears this all comes down to money. Big hotels are moving in - and they want private beaches and no cars.

That is sad.

I hate when the one unique feature of a place is destroyed. It is the shopping mall syndrome where everything starts to be like everything else. Nothing is forever, of course, but couldn't we preserve the one unique feature of Daytona Beach?

There is a group fighting to allow residents to vote on this matter. Currently, they have little say or influence. There only recourse is not to reelect a government that refuses to listen.

Hopefully it won't be too late.

For more information, see and follow their Facebook pages: FREE Daytona Beach and Let Volusia Vote.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

A Prayer for the Overwhelmed

Sometimes life can be too much.
Too much to accomplish in too little time.

Too many worries
flooding my brain.

I turn to my computer,
flit from page to page.
I am distracted, unable to focus.


We are muddled, and messy,
and worn.

Lord, is there room for You
in these crowded moments?
Is there room for your peace, and
hope, and light?

Breathe deeply, friends.
Not just to center ourselves, but to
seek emotional, spiritual and mental rest in Him.
Leave your burdens at His feet, knowing He cares for you.

He is our resting place in times of trouble.

He steps into our lives and tells us
to set down our nets,
to sit at His feet,
to follow close.

He has a better way.
He is enough.

Quiet your heart.
Still your brain.
Allow yourself to feel cared for
And loved.

God sees you now - even in the messy -
even when we don't see Him.

Knowing I am seen, and that God has my back,
gives me strength and peace today.
He doesn't take away my to-do list,
but He gives me courage to tackle number one.

If you are overwhelmed,
if you are having one of those days where life seems a bit much,
where the concerns of life flood in,
let's pray together to the God who sees and knows and can do.

Praying with you today.