Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Every girl needs a good pirate name

And mine, it is determined, will be "Bootleg Baker." I really like the ring of it...ARGH!

My name is derived from my week-long fascination with internet bootlegs of "taper-friendly" live acts done by some of my favorite artists, including Over the Rhine, Brandi Carlile, and Radiohead. It's pretty much revolutionizing my life in amazing ways. my long list of nicknames (hmb, Shakenbake, Camel, Cameo, Heather Suga-bakah, humubuh, Miss Bake, Heather Feather, Freather, Heath Bar...) you may now officially add "Bootleg Baker."

I'm curious if you have a pirate name of choice what I might call you, should we meet while swabbing on the swarmy seas?

Friday, February 23, 2007

High's and Low's

Here's this week's High's and Low's...


  • Making friends via Over the Rhine's Forum page, and thus acquiring some Trent Wagler bootlegs. (He opened the show for Over the Rhine when I saw them live in Dayton, OH in November.)

  • Finishing a final draft of an essay for an anthology put together by my friend Hannah called Growing Up Churched.

  • Getting my tickets in the mail to see Patty Griffin live at The Moore in Seattle next month.

  • Eating Ben and Jerry's.

  • My new weekly phone date with Renee, in which we determined that if I were a paint, I would be a bold orange, and if I were to date any superhero, I would date Spiderman.

  • My weekly phone date with Clay in which we read Chapter One of Soul Survivor and discussed our most influential spiritual mentors.

  • Being woken up at 11:37pm last night by a phone call from Sean in China. The first words he spoke were, "What time is it there? It's 3:30pm here." Then he boasted about how he knows more than I do, because he lives in the future. I pointed out that compared to him, I live permanently 4 1/2 years in the future.

  • Arrested Development, Season One. My favorite part thus far is Tobias crying out, "There's dozens of us out there! Dozens!"

  • Realizing the previously defunct Western Airlines is planning on getting up-and-running again in the near future and will be offering $59 one-way tickets to Phoenix. PTL!

  • Only having three girls in Junior High girls at Youth Group on Wednesday. We could actually talk.

  • The horrors of something called "Caffeine Withdrawel." It's pretty much the worst headache I've ever experienced. So much so, that after 48 hours of being caffeine-free, I assuaged my wearied brain with a Diet Coke. I now know what it's like to be an addict.

  • Realizing on Thursday morning that I'd forgotten to watch American Idol this week.

  • Doing my hair really pretty this morning and then walking outside to have it drenched by heaps of white, wet, gobs of snow falling from the sky.

  • Realizing that Starbuck's White Berryblossom Tea is not caffeine-free.

  • Eating the last bit of leftover curry from last Friday's dinner, meaning that five meals later, I might have to cook something again.

  • Every moment that led to turning in my 'churched' essay was a low point. The writing process is really horrible sometimes. Okay, all the time.

  • Only having three girls in Junior High girls' at Youth Group on Wednesday. I have no idea where the other fifteen went, and I missed them.

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Post #500: A Fresh Start

I've decided that my infrequent blogging is a result of one very basic thing: my job is not that interesting to write about anymore. I mean, that's not 100% true...I think my job is fantastic...and I'm loving learning about leadership, communications, marketing, etc...but unfortunately, I don't think that this information is interesting to most of my readers. This has become apparent over the last few months when I see a glazed over look in a friend's eye as I talk about "categorizing donors" or "updating promotional materials."

And I could talk about what YD is doing ministry-wide that's really exciting, but that's what all the print/video/web materials I'm producing are for...

So, I've decided, on post #500 to reinvent the longer as a YD-centric blog, but as my own blog, which may at times be ministry-centric, but most the time it probably won't.

And now I'm searching for a core purpose for said blog... here's a list of potential purposes:

--for my own vain need to say things outloud.
--to entertain.
--to educate.
--to give you a break from the work day.
--to keep friends and family updated on my life.
--to get in a daily habit of writing.
--to keep my family updated with new photos of me and boyfriend.
--to become a nationally recognized writer via blog.
--to offer links to cool places on the web, such as this.

I don't really have a lot of direction, so, if you're currently reading the blog, I'd like some feedback on what keeps you reading--is it a good laugh, is it fun links, is it interesting insights, is it photos from Clay's Valentine's visit (oh! one of those on the right!) What keeps you coming?

Please post a comment, even if you're not normally a commenter...inquiring minds want to know...and I want to know what you want before I re-start my posting.


Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Where is the Love?

This Valentine's Day blog is dedicated to people who meet the following criteria:
1. I love them.
2. They live 10,000 miles away.
3. I used to talk to them weekly until they moved 10,000 miles away.
4. I miss them.

Brother Sean in China! (furthest right in photo.) He's been there for a month already, and will be there through August. He's studying and interning and traveling and learning. Today, as a Happy Valentines/Belated Birthday gift, I received a package of tea and candy from beloved China, courtesy of Sean Ian. This, makes me happy, and I miss him!

Barrett and Suzanne! These dear friends followed their love and devotion to the Lord and their love of adventure to Zambia. They're currently leading a student program called "African Quest," in which they supervise teaching and training for 20 American/British college-aged students. Before they left for Africa, I talked to Suzanne daily. Since they left for Africa, I have talked to Suzanne once for thirty seconds and get emails every 4-6 weeks. I definitely miss them.

So...if you're reading this blog, the odds are high that I love you, I want you to know that. And--Happy Valentine's Day.

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

What to Tell...

I've been at a lack for intriguing posting topics of late...

I could tell you about how genuinely excited I am to learn about communications--to plan and strategize how to better communicate to our donors, volunteers, staff, etc.

I could tell you about how much I'm loving Over the Rhine's new blend of coffee that mom and dad gifted me for my birthday.

I could tell you about how I had a very interesting interaction/lunch with a transient woman last week.

I could tell you about how Clay is coming to visit again tomorrow--how he bought a last-minute ticket that directly resulted in him being able to visit on Valentine's Day.

So, in summary, my life is not, in fact, boring...but I just haven't felt much like writing about it.

Except to tell you that retractable sharpies are, in fact, the best invention ever.

This is all.

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

My Onion Horoscope for This Week...

It wouldn't be so funny if it wasn't so true:

Aquarius January 20 - February 18

Your perfectionist streak will consume you this week when you attempt to posit the world's single most precise chaos theory.

I've been staring at the easel in my room, drawing diagrams loosely themed, "What is my job?" Trying to develop quantitative definitions for an abstract job description feels very much like trying to target chaos theory. I'm being melodramatic, I know...but it's all in good fun.

I've been reading books on leadership and fundraising and hashing out brainstorms on big diagrams...I really love my job this week.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Mid-Afternoon Break

During a mid-afternoon break on a stressful day, I praise God for the following:

1. Diet Coke
2. Retractable Sharpies
3. Verizon
4. Lava lamps

Thursday, February 01, 2007

Communications Insight.

A Public Service Announcement from your favorite Communications Director: face-to-face contact always yields better results impersonal mass communication...

...your response to this should be "duh." Yet--in an e-world, especially when my staff are scattered in ten offices in three states, email often is the primary mode of contact...and it's frustrating how ineffective email communication usually is.

For months, I've been struggling to build enough repoire with the YD Directors to step fully into the role of Communications Director for all the offices. "The Directors," as they are so sublimely titled, are ten 30-to-50-something men, nine of whom are married, and most of whom have been doing full-time ministry forever. Since we're all far away, most of that repoire-building comes via phone and email, which are not the best avenues to assert and establish yourself. And it's an uphill battle for me, because these men all got to know me first in my role as 23-year-old entry-level Area Staff, not as 26-year-old Administrative Communications guru.

But today--I feel like the heavens have opened up and God has spoken to me from atop Mt. Sinai and said, "Heather, I will teach you how to properly communicate with your Directors, and it will be good."

This month is "Corporate Newsletter" month, in which I work on piecing together and editing our 16-page, tri-annual Reflections newsletter. I've been dragging my feet on setting the deadlines for submissions, because I hate getting flack back about the deadlines... Yesterday, I lucked out and had chance face-to-face encounters with four of the ten directors... and it was fun to brainstorm article ideas with all of them, and when I told them the deadlines, they all said, "no problem." Then, for the six directors I didn't talk to in person, I picked up the phone and called them. I left messages for three, asking them to call me back. And then today--I sent ten personalized emails about logistics and deadlines. All of this communication took the place of a normal solitary mass email.

In total, it took me about two hours over two days to manage all of the personal communication, as opposed to the 20-30 minutes that it would have taken to write one email. A little more time, but a lot more personal contact. ( Jerry Maguire of me...)

And already, this feels so much more effective: 1.) because I had ten separate personal conversations with the Directors in which I was operating in my role, which certainly helps establish my repoire with them better than an email; 2.) because all ten directors have a clear idea of what I'm looking for, which helps their writing process; 3.) because I've already pre-approved their topic, which saves me time during edits; 4.) because the personal messages and personal emails I left yesterday were all returned today, which means they connected with the way in which I communicated. (n.b. in my tenure, my phone messages have never resulted in such prompt responses.)

Suddenly, after ten months of fumbling through this job and trying to gain any clout or understanding of what I'm supposed to be doing, it feels like I'm finally stepping up and doing it. And--I'm getting the results I want...mostly because I'm figuring out how to communicate with "The Directors" in the way that works best for them.

That was a long hike up to Sinai...and I'm glowing in the face of a mini-revelation. Will someone please give me a pat on the back?