I got an umbrella and I think it’s big enough for the both of us.

I have the honor of planning my chapter’s International Reunion Day this year and the theme is “Strength in Sisterhood.” I could not be more excited for the theme! I learned and witnessed a lot during my time in Alpha Gam, but nothing more than strength!

Mattie Stepanek said: “Unity is strength… when there is teamwork and collaboration, wonderful things can be achieved.” Strength is showing up. It’s the last sister in the room putting up chairs after chapter. It’s the first one to sign up to play intramurals or dance in a philanthropy competition. It’s the sister that volunteers all week at the hospital and still signs up for that 7am service walk on Saturday morning. It’s the sister with the 4.0 gpa helping her little with her freshman math class. It’s the sister that takes 18 hours and an EC office. It’s the sister who paints the sheet sign until all hours of the night and still makes sure it’s hung up the next day. It’s the sister that makes you feel welcome every single time you enter the house. It’s the sister that never misses a meeting. It’s the sister that will text you good luck on your test day. It’s the sister that is always taking care of everyone else. It’s the sister who is always cleaning the chapter room without anyone ever even knowing. It’s the sister that forgave you for hurting her feelings. It’s the sister handing you tissues at a funeral. It’s the sister handing you tissues on your wedding day. It’s the sister who showed you it’s ok to be vulnerable and guarded your secrets safely. It’s the leadership consultant that makes every single member see their importance in the chapter. It’s the advisor that dedicates so much of her time and energy just to see the chapter thrive. It’s the little, unremembered acts of kindness that make the biggest impact.

Eleanor Roosevelt said: “A woman is like a tea bag; you never know how strong it is until it’s in hot water.” That’s why I chose Spot of Tea as the place to hold our IRD celebration. Strength is showing up in the tough times too. Life is rough sometimes and we all have storms to go through in every single phase of our lives. Strength is who we were, who we are, and who we’re becoming. Strength is the sister that holds your hand through it all. It’s the sister who knows when to give you space and when to hold on tighter. It’s the sister that just knows when you need a hug. It’s the sister that was there through the good, the bad, and all the in-between. I saw strength in every single sister as a collegian and now I have the privilege to see it in my sisters as an alum. “We stuck together, no matter the weather and that ain’t gonna change.”

So, this is my prayer today. I pray for my sisters all around the world that are celebrating IRD. I pray for my sisters from my chapter and all the other chapters. I pray that they see their strength. I pray they only grow stronger. Thank you for leading me to these women. Thank you for putting them into my life. Thank you the good times and the bad. Thank you for the storms and all they taught me. Thank you for sisters who take on the rain for me. Thank you for sisters who face the wind with me. Thank you for allowing them to teach me how to be a beautiful and purposeful woman. Thank you for allowing them to teach me how to be a strong woman. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

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I hope you dance.

There is an article going around called: “10 Ways Your Little Is Actually like Your Child.” I saw the article a few months ago and immediately knew it was true. It was on my newsfeed again today and I’ve been thinking about my littles this week something fierce so, I thought I would pray for them today.

They have impacted my life so much and brought me so much joy! I literally can’t even imagine my life without them. They have become a part of me. Here are the 10 ways that the article describes:

1. “You enjoy spoiling her.”

Trueeeeeee. I spent months saving and shopping and crafting to make sure they were taken care of during I-Week. I still love spoiling them! For Diamond, it was her birthdays. I made sure her door was decorated every year and that she knew she was loved. For Katie, it’s my time. I know she values the little things so, I try to set aside time each day to talk to her or spend time with her. I want her to always know I’m there. For Avery and Alecia, it was their I-Week baskets. I crafted out the wazoo! I think I literally had like 10-12 canvas paintings for each of them. I wanted them to know that I loved them and that they were important to me.

2. “You’re protective over her.”

One of the best things my big did for me was to protect me. From literally everything. She completely took care of me so, I tried to pass that protection along to my littles.

3. “You give her what she wants.”

“If she wants to borrow anything, it’s hers. It’s like everything you own might as well be hers too. If she needs a favor, you go out of your way to do it for her.”

4. “You’re responsible for her behavior.”

Becoming a big is a tough job sometimes. My big was there to catch me when I fell and help me learn from my mistakes so, I hope I did that too. Every now and then I’ll have these moments like Rodney Atkins and I’ll start changing the lyrics and singing She’s mine.

I yelled she’s mine that one
Got a wild-hair side and then some
It’s no surprise what she’s done
And I’ll take the blame
And claim her every time
Yeah, she’s mine and she’ll always be
The best thing that ever happened to me
You can’t turn it off like electricity
I love her unconditionally
I’ll take the blame
And claim her every time
Yeah, y’all, she’s mine
I thank God, she’s mine

5. “Your relationship is judgment-free.”

I tried to do my best to have open, honest relationships with my littles. For Kristin, it was pref night. I have literally never had a pref night like that one. I don’t even know how it happened, but I gave her a little part of me that night. We poured our hearts out and literally cried. She said she felt like God was leading her to Alpha Gam and it was all I could do not to claim her as my little right there and then!

6. “You mentor her.”

“Any tips and tricks that have helped you get by in college, you want to share with her. You want her to know all of the shortcuts, all of the dos and don’ts, and all of the secrets you never knew. You want to warn her about every mistake that you made and learned from. Anything you can possibly help her with, you do.” I tried to share my experience with them as much as possible and let them learn on their own at the same time. I wanted them to have the best experience possible.

7. “You show her off.”

“You’re actually like that mom that brags about her child to all the other moms.” Yes, I am. I am so deeply proud to call my littles, mine. I have invested in them and cherished them. I want everyone to see the potential I see in them. They’re fabulous and everyone should know just how fabulous they are.

8. “You feel for her.”

“When she’s happy, you’re happy. When she’s upset, you’re upset. You hate to see her going through a hard time and it hurts you just as much as it hurts her. If she’s down, you do whatever you can to cheer her up. Her happiness is just as important to you as your own.”

9. “You listen and give advice.”

“It is almost maternal in the way that you offer your advice.” I have tried to always be there to listen to them. I want them to know they can come to me with anything and everything. Nothing is too big or too small. Keith Urban and Eric Church have this new song that I completely loveeeee that explains it.

“Raise em’ up
You’ve got a voice, you’ve got a choice
Go make some noise
Don’t ever let em’ tell you
Who you are”

10. “You love her like family.”

“No matter what she does, you will always love her.” I may not have raised them, but I am so thankful for the people that did. I hope I have helped them as much as my big helped me. I hope they know they are loved and important. They are gonna change the world someday and I so thankful to be able to witness it.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray they know they are loved. I pray they know how special they are. I pray they know how smart, generous, kind, thoughtful, talented, and amazing they are. I pray that we only get to know each other more in the coming years. I pray they love their time in Alpha Gam as much as I did. I pray they learn a lot and grow as much as possible. I pray you protect them and guide them. Thank you for putting them in my life. Thank you making them the people they are today. It’s been my honor to be their big and I pray they know just how much it means to me to be their big. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You have been my God through all of it.

I’ve been praying for the woman I want to be and the girl I used to be. I don’t wanna lose that little girl that still inside of me. She believed in seeing the good in everything because she hadn’t seen the bad yet. She loved wholeheartedly because no one showed her hate yet. She tried new things because no one told her she wasn’t good enough yet, but eventually they did. Dove has this commercial that says 6 out of 10 girls will stop doing things they love because they feel bad about the way they look. I did, which only made me feel worse. I stopped cheering because of other people’s opinions. I was a toothpick as a kid so, I still don’t understand. Plus why people thought taking me out of sports was going to help anything. I mean, here’s the thought process she’s gaining weight so, let’s stop letting her work out and run and play and exercise. That makes sense right? It took me years to learn that the voices telling me no should have been turned into a loud resounding unshakable yes. In college, I learned to dance anyways. I might be the worst dancer in the room, but I’m having fun and that’s important too. Now, I don’t stop dancing. Whether it was in philanthropy competitions with my sisters or down the isles of Walmart with them or taking a dance class with my person for an elective or dancing around Alpha Gam’s chapter room for no reason with the very people that inspired me to be a better woman. My best friend and I already made plans to play Just Dance and DDR on the wii this summer!

Those women taught me how to become the best version of myself. They inspired me to do more, be more, and love more. They loved me for all that I am and saw the potential in who I could be. I don’t wanna lose that woman either. The woman I hope to become. One thing that didn’t change from who I was or who I want to be is that I pray. One thing remained that You were there through all of it. You were there the first time someone told me I wasn’t good enough and every single time since. You were there when my sisters taught me all that I could be. And You’re here now.

“I look back and I see You
Right now I still do
And I’m always going to”

So, this is my prayer. Today, I wanna pray for who I am, who I’ve been, and who I’m becoming. I pray for all that you’ve taught me and are still teaching me. Thank you for my sisters and for their love. Thank you for being there through it all. Thank you for leading me. Thank you for guiding me. I pray that I hold onto some of that childhood innocence. I pray that I keep striving to be better and to grow. I pray that I learn to be content right where I am too. I pray that I trust your plan. I pray that I give it all to you and let you take me by the hand through it all. I pray that I only grow closer to you. I pray that I keep seeing your work in me through it all. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

You make me brave.

Ever since I was a kid, I have been asked what my plans, goals, and dreams are. I’ve always been pretty self-motivated and self-sufficient. I’ve always set pretty high standards for myself. My dad jokes all the time that he didn’t raise me, he was just a genie going “what do you need?” *poof* “there it is.”

It wasn’t until college that I realized it was ok to ask for help. It was a tough pill to swallow, asking for help, sometimes. I was stubborn and didn’t wanna do it. What I quickly realized in Alpha Gam though is that people want to help. They loved me and knew me better than I even knew myself sometimes. They knew my limits even when I didn’t. They knew when I needed support and when I needed a shoulder to cry on. They knew when I needed to be pushed too.

I’ve always worked hard and tried to go above and beyond the expectations set before me. At a conference I attended, the speaker said: “Be better than the minimum.” That resonated with me. In Alpha Gam, I was required to maintain a 2.5 gpa minimum, complete a minimum of 20 service hours per semester, be actively involved in a minimum of two other campus organizations, and more. The purpose was to grow and be well rounded. The purpose was to help us succeed and be the best versions of ourselves that we could be. In our new member classes, we were taught time management, which has helped me my entire collegiate experience. It was easy to be better than the minimum because they supported me and encouraged me.

I heard once that: “One day, someone will be sitting in the shade because of a tree you thought to plant.” I am sitting in the shade because of what the Alpha Gamma Delta founders planted. I have been blessed with wonderful people and opportunities in part because of what they started. I get to “Live With Purpose” because of a purpose that other Alpha Gam’s wrote. Every Alpha Gam woman has heard “Inspire the Woman. Impact the World.” It was the first thing that caught my attention during my recruitment. I have been inspired so, now it’s my turn to impact the world.

So, this is my prayer today. I pray that I impact those around me. I pray that I take the knowledge I have been given and the encouragement to go out into the world and make a difference. I pray that I plant a few trees in the world myself. I pray that I water those trees and help others grow. Thank you for giving me the seeds to plant with. I pray that you keep guiding me. Thank you for all I’ve learned. Thank you for making me an Alpha Gam. Thank you for making me brave. Thank you for showing me the strength in asking for help. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

As you light my way, I’ll follow You.

I was going through some of my old notes and found a bunch of my recruitment stuff and conference notes. I knew that my experience in Alpha Gamma Delta would teach me skills that would be valuable, but I didn’t realize how much I would grow. Here are some things I gained from sorority life that can be used in my career life:

  1. The way to keep people interested in your organization is: be positive, be thankful, have fun, and reward.
  2. Why is the most important reason we do anything. To keep people motivated, remind them why they started. People will work harder if they remember what they are getting out of it.
  3. You have to actively recruit the people already in your organization just as much as new people.
  4. Give people options so, they feel a part of the process. Keep them actively involved in decisions.
  5. You have to constantly fill your own cup, that is the only way to help others.
  6. As a leader, you have to drink the koolaid. People will not be interested in what they’re doing if you aren’t. You have to set the example and the expectation.
  7. Strengths are things that invigorate us, not necessarily things we’re good at. Practice makes perfect. Stop focusing on fixing the weakness and concentrate on succeeding in your strengths.
  8. When conflict arises, there are always two sides. Validate their feelings while staying objective.
  9. Organization is key. Always stay on top of deadlines. Takes lots of notes.
  10. Negativity is contagious, but so is positivity. Foster the positivity.
  11. Start meetings with a list of positive things that happened throughout the week.
  12. Support others when they speak and speak with confidence.
  13. Be transparent and set expectations.
  14. Set yourself up for success and be future oriented.
  15. When delivering bad news, state the facts and show you care.
  16. Create opportunities rather than obligations.
  17. Communicate. Ask for ideas. Ask for opinions. Connect with people. You can’t lead if no one follows. They have to be invested and “buy-in.” Know your audience.
  18. Breathe. You are doing better than you think you are.

As I am getting excited for the future and reflecting on all I’ve learned, I know You are the one who holds my future.

So, that is my prayer today. I pray that I keep following you. I pray that I keep growing and learning. Thank you for making plans for me. Thank you for guiding me. Thank you for the opportunities I’ve been given. Thank you for the lessons I’ve learned. Thank you for the people I’ve met along the way. I pray that I am able to take what I’ve learned and use it for your glory. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

I have been changed for good.

Yesterday, I was thinking about what I had learned in college. So, today I thought I would make a list of things I would go back and tell myself as a freshman:

1. Don’t confuse friendship for love. It only gets you hurt.

2. Stand up for yourself the moment something happens. Do not dwell on it.

3. There are two sides to every story.

4. Don’t take online classes lightly.

5. Everyone has a story, listen and don’t be afraid to share yours too.

6. You know your own issues better than anyone. Stop letting others have control over you.

7. Move into the house on bid day and don’t move out until you’re an Alum. All of your best memories will be in that house. Cherish them.

8. Talk to someone and swallow your pride. It’s ok that you have anxiety and depression sometimes. Accept your imperfections. You are a work in progress.

9. Don’t listen to what others say about you. You will never their true intentions. I heard that “people are not against you, they are just for themselves.” That one sentence changed my entire perspective on life.

10. Leave the past in the past. Stop holding onto it. Allow yourself to heal and move on.

11. Don’t trust everyone you meet, but don’t hold grudges either.

12. Keep putting yourself out there. Don’t get bitter when you face rejection. Not everyone and everything is meant to be.

13. Remember that you are a lot stronger than you think you are.

14. You are going to experience real heartbreak and loss for the first real time and it’s going to suck and you are going to think the world is ending. You are going to struggle and you are going to be lost, but you have wonderful sisters and family and they will keep finding you no matter how lost you get. You can lean on your faith and find comfort in God.

15. You are going to have to deal with drama from the moment you are born until the very end. It’s at school, work, organizations, and everywhere you go. It is inevitable but that doesn’t mean you have to buy into it or feed it. You can chose to set yourself free of the negative. That doesn’t mean when things get rough that you have a free pass to run away from the problems. Your problems will follow you where ever you go. As an Alpha Gamma Delta more is expected of you and that is not supposed to be a scary thing, it is a responsibility to do better and be better, to make the world better.

16. I went through recruitment because of what it could give me: friends, community service, leadership, etc. I came to bid day because of mattress surfing and For Good. I went to initiation because of what my big was teaching me. I stayed because I found my person, my soulmate, and my littles. I stayed because I gave each one of my sisters a piece of my heart.

So, this is my prayer today. Thank you for the experience I’ve had here. Thank you for the love and joy that I’ve seen. Thank you for the lessons learned. Thank you for forgiving my mistakes. Thank you for changing me for good. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

The house that built me.

Seventeen Magazine posted an article called “10 life lessons you learn from being in a sorority” by Alexandra Martell & Tess Koman. So it got me thinking about what I have learned being in Alpha Gamma Delta. (Plus as usual I love lists!)

1. “When you see a leadership opportunity, take it.”

Way to start off! I think that every single office is important and each office can make a difference. You can take any office and impact the entire function of the chapter. (Give them an inch and they can create miles.) Each office you take or committee you join or chair you lead will teach you something new.

2. “Time management is so important.”

With study hours, service hours, meetings, and so many events, you have to schedule and plan. If you want to go to that sisterhood event or that football game then you best get your homework done before you go. (My daddy taught me that!) I read one time that time should be seen as money. It was such a simple concept, that my time is worth something and I should use it sparingly and invest it.

3. “Being good at small talk is a difficult and underrated life skill.”

They talked about this at the SOLD conference on campus. The main speaker was James T. Robilotta and one of the sessions he did was about networking. In the session, he talked about how introverts don’t like small talk because they like in-depth conversations with a few people. I couldn’t agree more but being in Alpha Gamma Delta I learned how to reach out of my comfort zone and talk to people I don’t know. (Turns out there are some pretty great people out there if you just talk to them.)

4. “You are able to fake confidence like a champ.”

Let’s face it, I am pretty stinkin amazing, but there are days when I think the whole world is against me. Sometimes you just have to push through and fake it ’til you make it.

5. “Networking is invaluable.”

In the networking session they talked about the “why.” The “why” you do what you do is the most important. It is was connects us as human beings and sets us apart as individuals.

6. “You don’t have to be friends with everyone.”

Could someone have told me this in middle school? (It would have saved me a lot of trouble!)

7. “But you do have to know how to be nice—not fake—to people you don’t like.”

Isn’t that a concept? I’ve heard too many times that being nice to everyone is fake, but it’s not. It’s part of growing up.

8. “You can be charitable in ways you didn’t realize you could be.”

There are so many ways to get involved. Sometimes it just takes one person to step up and say “hey, I wanna do this.”

9. “You can be a role model, even when you don’t feel that special.”

I am reminded of this constantly! You never know when people are watching. You are leading people with every action, every word, every breath. Take the time to value the impact and legacy you are leaving.

10. “You are always capable of more than you think.”

I learned this big time. These women have pushed me harder and expected more out of me that I could ever imagine, but you know what? I thrived and even when I didn’t think I was going to, someone was there to help me.

So, this is my prayer today. Thank you for teaching me and leading me. Thank you for the opportunities that I have been given. Thank you for putting the right people in my life. Thank you for showing me your love and mercy through them. I pray that they continue to thrive and impact the world. I pray that they know just how wonderful they are. I pray they see just how blessed they are. Thank you for the past few years here. Thank you for letting me grow here. Thank you for everything I learned here. And as always I pray for my family and sorority sisters. I pray for my university. I pray for guidance for our government, church, and school leaders. I pray for protection for our troops. I pray for all of those that need you now and for those that haven’t met you yet. In Jesus’ name, Amen.