Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem

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Tiger Heart: Buy My Friend’s Book

Screen Shot 2015-10-04 at 5.42.17 PMThis Tuesday, October 6, you can buy the first copies of my friend Katrell’s book, Tiger Heart. I would absolutely love for you to do this! You won’t regret it. It’s the really incredible true story of her life, and how she dreamed up her organization, The Learning Tea, which provides college educations for impoverished girls in India. For those of you who have been reading this blog for a while or following me, this is the woman I went to India with this summer.

The proceeds from the book will support the organization, so you’d also be benefiting a great cause. There is a lot of humor in the book, but also a lot of inspiration. One of the reasons Katrell wrote the book, the first in a series of three, is that she wanted people to see that amazing things can be done without a lot of resources or money. And I assure you, she is doing some remarkable work. Each of the girls in her program is talented, and has accomplished a lot. All they needed was the chance, which this program gave them.

The book includes some really crazy stories, some of which may even be hard to believe. But if you’ve been to any third-world country, I assume it won’t sound too far-fetched to you. ;) Weird things happen in these places! Maybe that’s part of the reason we love them.

So, whether you love reading, social justice, Atlanta, India or inspirational stories, I think you’ll really enjoy the book. I certainly did.

And here are a few other ways you can support Katrell’s work:
  • If you’re in the Atlanta area, you can attend the book launch party on October 15 at the Margaret Mitchell House.
  • Please visit for more info about the program, or Dr. Bombay’s for info about her tea shop that funds the organization. It’s awesome!
  • Purchase tea! The current tea is loose leaf, but she hopes to move to tea bags before too long. This was part of the work we did on the trip.
  • If you’re in the Atlanta area, stop by Dr. Bombay’s for a cup of tea or coffee! High tea is also served daily, and is delicious! Many of their food items are made in house, or bought from locals. And the last Monday of each month is a 4-course meal for $20 that supports The Learning Tea.

Happy reading!

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Great Week!

It’s been a great week! Some common things, some random things and some unexpected things. I figured I’d just share those with you.


First of all, we had amazing weather all week long! August is usually crazy hot and humid, giving our city the nickname “Hotlanta.” But this past week, it was as if Southern California descended upon us and kissed our foreheads. It’s been so wonderful to be outside, and I’m hoping this trend will take us into the fall.


I ate lunch with my friend and co-worker, Jen, who is always fun to talk to. We’ve both had a lot going on lately, so there’s never a lull in the conversation. She’s been a great source of encouragement and advice, and hopefully I am returning the favor. I’m glad to have a few good friends at the office that I can really hang out with.

I also received my copy of The Entitlement Cure by Dr. John Townsend. He is the co-author of Boundaries, probably the book I have recommended more than any other. If you haven’t read it, do yourself and everyone else around you a favor. It changed my life. But, I am really excited to be a part of the launch team for this new book. That means I’m getting to read it, promote it and give my feedback before it actually becomes available for sale. Pretty fun. So far, I can already tell you that it’s worth the read! Entitlement is an issue I think we all struggle with on some level, so I love that this book is addressing it.


This was a whopper of a day! I got an alert from a travel website I follow, TravelZoo, that said Frontier airlines was having a crazy two-day sale, with fares as low as $20 per one-way, AND they gave you a $5 code.

I have a lot of work travel coming up this fall, plus two event launches, so it really wasn’t a good time for additional personal travel. But for a deal like that, I had to look, right? And I thought maybe I could swing something in my own time zone to make it easier. I’ve really been wanting to get up to NYC to take in a Broadway show. I start getting a little antsy if it’s been too long—and it’s been too long. I’ve always said, if airlines would make it cheap to get in and out on the same day, I’d go regularly to see a show. But alas… So, I thought this would be my chance. Unfortunately, you only had one flight each day to choose from, so it ended up as an overnight trip, which hopefully I can use hotel points for. But, drum roll please, I scored a round trip flight to NYC for $30!

So, of course, now I’m on a buyer’s high! I looked to see if there was another option I could take advantage of. DC is another place I’ve been wanting to get back to, and it happened to be one of the handful of options open for this deal. Plus, there are still a number of things I’ve never done in DC. So, I snatched that one up too—yes, for $30 round trip! So, now I have a total of seven trips in about a 10-week time period, but I’m going to get to do some fun things!

I also started listening to Jen Hatmaker’s new book, For The Love. I can’t even begin to describe how much I adore this woman and want to be her friend. This new book just makes me dive a little deeper into my obsession. I laughed and cried and have already recommended this book to everyone I saw this week. Love. Love. Love. Get it now!

To top that day off, I had a long-overdue coffee date with my friend, Michelle. We were able to just slow down and catch up for a few hours. It was lovely, and the perfect end to Tuesday.


I went to my regular naturopath appointment, and got the results back from some recent tests I had done. Thank goodness—things are getting better! I’ve had chronic health issues for almost three and a half years. But my most recent blood and saliva tests show improvement and my body starting to work more the way its supposed to. This was a relief, since I was going through yet another phase of being frustrated about all of this. I am grateful for all of their help, and despite the expense, know that treating my body naturally is the way to go. Huzzah—starting to see some real progress!

I also finished watching the final season of The Newsroom. My love for Aaron Sorkin’s writing knows no bounds. It began with Sports Night, then The West Wing, followed by Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip (my fav), and now The Newsroom. I wish everyone everywhere spoke the way this man writes. Wit and repartee and banter at its finest. Aaron, I’m waiting with baited breath until your next TV show. Please don’t make me wait too long.


Despite my horrendous start to the day in getting my driver’s license renewed, the rest of the day was pretty enjoyable. (See rant on Facebook here. ) If you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, you know I love conferences and frequently attend them. Well, my friend Eryn was speaking at a conference in LA this week that I really wanted to go to, but couldn’t make it work. It’s called Yellow Conference, and I have been stalking them for about a month now.

Since I could attend, I ended up purchasing the Live Stream pass. So, Thursday was spent listening to incredible women and men with inspiring stories while I worked away at my computer. It was not as awesome as it would’ve been to be there, but still a great alternative. I was unable to listen in on Friday, but I’m excited to go back and watch the videos soon. And, Yellow Conference, I’ll see you in person next year!


Friday was a day for reconnecting. I had morning coffee with my friend, Pattie, who was in town for the day. She was the Georgia Chapter co-director for Not For Sale when we met, and was a great boss to volunteer under. She moved to South Georgia a while back, so I rarely see her anymore, and this was a real treat. It was fantastic to hear what’s going on in her life and tell her about mine. We always speak so easily with each other, and it was a great way to start the day.

After that, I headed over to one of my favorite places in ATL, Dr. Bombay’s, which has been mentioned numerous times on this blog since I just went to India with my friend Katrell who is the owner, as well as another friend and her employee, Stephanie. I hadn’t been able to hang out with Stephanie since returning from India, so we planned to work on our own stuff, drink chai, and chat in between. This was so nice. Katrell was also in that day so I got to hang out some with her too. It was a great way to end the work week—productivity, friends, coffee, tea and patio weather.


Energy is a precious and rare commodity with any long-term illness. And for one that began with mono, it’s especially true. So perhaps it was the momentum of this week, but I woke up with a good amount of energy and a desire to be outside in this terrific weather in case it decides to take a hike. So, I headed out to the Silver Comet Trail for a long walk. I ended up making it about 3.5 miles, which I was pretty proud of. And it was doubly good because I listened to my newest audio book, Off Balance, during the first part of the walk and prayed on the way back. I was tired and sweaty when I finished, but it felt really good. I’m so grateful to have ended my week this way. Praying I’ll be able to do it again soon!


Thanks to everyone who made it a great week!

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Plywood Presents Conference: My Favorite Quotes

Plywood ProgramThis week I attended Plywood Presents again. I missed it last year, but it was good to be back. I’ve always loved their tagline, “We will be known for the problems we solve.”

It was a great couple of days, and I wanted to share my favorite quotes.


Clint Smith III, Poet, Educator, Researcher

  • I didn’t take any notes during his session because it was a series of spoken word performances and explanations. I’m not usually a big spoken word/poetry fan, mostly because I probably just don’t get it, but I REALLY loved this guy. He was incredible, and I was able to connect with what he was saying. Check out my favorite piece, “My Father is an Oyster.”

Jeremy Cowart, Artist, Photographer and Humanitarian

  • “If you’re alive, if you’re breathing. We need you. You can do anything.”
  • I didn’t really take notes here either. It was really just this guy telling his story, but it was a fantastic presentation, and he has a terrific story. Plywood is not a Christian conference, but there are many Christians there. Jeremy’s presentation was built on how he felt like he couldn’t do anything right as a kid, but his parents instilled Philippians 4:13 into his head, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.” And once that message took root, he has done some really remarkable things.

Kat Cole, Group President of Focus Brands

  • “The people closest to the action will know what to do before the leadership every time.”
  • “Leaders are resourceful, creative and get it done no matter what.”
  • “If you really believe something is right, say yes and figure it out. But you have to be willing to do the work.” #hustlemuscle
  • “You succeed faster in life when you see the patterns. And you have to know where you fit into it. You have to be not only smart, but aware.”
  • “Work with different teams more often to see patterns emerge faster.”
  • “If you’re thinking of bailing on something in life, make sure you have a compelling alternative.”
  • “When you get criticized, assume for one minute they’re right. Take a hard look and see if it changes you’re mind or solidifies your position.”
  • “You need a culture where employees are proud and grateful. That comes organically, but can be nurtured. You can’t force it.”
  • “My best lessons have come from my humanitarian work.”
  • “We all have limited resources. Focus on things that are small enough to change but big enough to matter. You have to really pay attention to find the right size.”
  • “If not me, who? If not now, when?” – Kat’s mom

Scott Holfort, Founder of ColsenKeane Leather Goods

  • “Monotony and boredom can fuel your passion. Rest in them for a while and see where they take you.”

Blake Howard, Creative Director and Co-Founder of Matchstic

  • “To have courage, reject indifference.”
  • “Relentlessly create. Quantity over quality to keep moving forward and refining.”
  • “Choose the right context. We become like those we surround ourselves with.”
  • “Have the hard conversations upfront so that the easy stuff will follow. If you have the easy conversations first, it will only get harder.”
  • You have to have courage to listen.”

Richard Swenson, Author, Educator and Researcher

  • I plan on getting his book called, “Margin.” Actually, all of his books sound great. Just wish they were on Audible!
  • “You can do extreme things, but then you need to rest.”
  • “There is a boxing match happening between your limits and progress.”
  • “There are 2 trillion URLs, 150K products in Walmart, 55K combinations at Starbucks, people check their smartphones 150x per day, and there are over 68K medical codes.” Information overload!
  • “Stress is the way we adapt to change.”
  • “You have all the clocks and we have all the time.” a man in Malawi he met

Alex Torrey, Co-Founder of Umano Clothing

  • “Social entrepreneurship means you don’t have to choose between doing well and doing good.”

Jeff Goins, Writer and Author

  • “You can’t plan your purpose.”
  • “Before I can tell my life what I want to do with it, I have to listen to what my life is telling me.” – Parker Palmer via Jeff Goins
  • “Activity follows identity.”
  • “You aren’t guaranteed success.”
  • “What makes life extraordinary aren’t the chances we get, but what we do with it.”
  • “Successful people are smart enough build on their failures, not deny them.”
  • “When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.” – Viktor Frankl via Jeff Goins
  • “Share your failures more.”
  • “You can’t wait to feel brave. It’s not something that happens to you. It happens when you make the decision to push through the challenge.”
  • “Success is always a story of community, not an individual.”

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India Photos

Photos from my India trip are now up on Flickr! I traveled to Mumbai, Kolkata and Darjeeling with my friends, Katrell and Stephanie, to learn more about social justice up-close, and visit Katrell’s program in Darjeeling, The Learning Tea.

Most photos are courtesy of the amazing Stephanie since I am the dope who washed my phone. Ugh. Still really mad about this. iCloud, here I come.

And a HUGE thanks to the generous sponsors who helped get me here! You guys are incredible.


You can read the itinerary for the trip here, and my initial thoughts here.


India: Initial Thoughts

Kolkata Scenes

Kolkata Scenes

I’ve been back from India for almost two weeks. Still jet-lagged, I know I’m still processing everything. And likely will be for quite a while since it was a lot to take in. But as I recount the journey to people, I find myself saying a few of the same things over and over again. So, I wanted to share them here with you.

Those were the nicest people I’ve ever met. If you compare stories with pretty much anyone who’s been to a third-world country, you’ll hear them make a similar statement. While we often make trips to these countries in an effort to help, through humanitarian or mission-minded efforts, make no mistake—there is a lot we can certainly learn from the people that live there. It is a common denominator that people who have little seem to have so much in the way of joy and happiness. That is something I hope that will stay fresh in my heart. I’ve made a big effort over the last few years to get rid of things I don’t need, but there is more to do. And I have a renewed energy.

I swear, though, the people of India, and Kolkata in particular, could give anyone a lesson in hospitality. They were so kind and generous, though they have little. Hospitality is core to their culture. Whether it was in smiles, or chai, or a meal or asking for directions or pretty much anything else, everyone we encountered made us feel welcome. And in talking to natives, its not just that we were Western visitors. It’s just in their nature. And it was humbling to witness.

It’s easy to see how easy people can be taken advantage of. I keep telling people the best word I have to explain Kolkata is “post-apocalyptic.” It honestly looks like some major catastrophe happened there, yet people managed to live through it somehow. It is a shadow of its former glory, with the beautiful bones of colonial buildings peeking out behind crumbling buildings. Honestly, it’s like people are living in one big slum, or city dump. Trash and smog and pollution everywhere. It’s kind of horrifying.

And with so many people in such bleak conditions, literally people of all ages on every major street, you can get a sense of the ease in which exploitation occurs. According to the Global Slavery Index, there are more slaves in India than anywhere else in the world. This was actually one main reason I wanted to make the trip. I wanted to understand that better. Most of these slaves are through forced or chattel labor, but as prostitution is legal, sex slaves are in high number as well. And desperation often trumps good choices. In fact, choices are in limited supply for many.

Cycles are hard to break. Poverty, abuse, exploitation. You see them everywhere you go, and in an up-close and personal way. Yes, they certainly exist in the US, but not to this degree and not in such a blatant way.

There were multiple times I was reminded on the trip that I can’t save anyone. I can offer help, but the choices are (and must be) their own. And they must decide that they want something different. Sometimes, sadly, it’s just easier or more familiar to continue the cycle. There were several people I desperately wanted more out of life for, but until they are ready to change, things will remain the same. Unfortunately, that can mean for generations. I think that is a defining factor in this country, undoubtedly in large part from the horrible caste system that perpetuated for so long, telling people they had a certain lot in life that couldn’t be risen above.

There are some things I can’t yet reconcile, and maybe never will. I didn’t know this before going, but the fathers are the primary caregivers. Everywhere you’d see dads walking with their kids, holding their kids, grooming their kids, etc. But, of course, it’s also a patriarchal society that still doesn’t value women much.

So, I have a hard time with understanding how men can be the loving father of a baby and then young girl, and then see her relegated to a second-class citizen. It is another disgusting cycle. Of course, this isn’t 100% of the time. There are, as always, exceptions. In too many situations, however, girls may end up as child brides or in arranged marriages, bought or sold, given up because she is a girl and another mouth to feed, or just treated as less. Sometimes, as noted above, it is due to the lack of choices I think, but mostly, I believe it is just a culture shift that desperately needs to happen.

These people need Jesus. Over two weeks, I probably saw maybe half a dozen references to Christianity.  This includes organizations, churches or even depictions of the cross. That was a stark change from growing up in the Bible Belt or South for sure.

I believe in some ways, there is a strong sense of morality in India. I think this is due to the overwhelming Hindu and Muslim influence. How else could they be so kind and hospitable? A moral compass guides them there, I think. They really are such wonderful people. And for Hinduism, in particular, they are often trying to work on characteristics they feel they need to be stronger in, like generosity or bravery or compassion, etc.

But after reflecting on many of the things outlined above, and trying to wrap my mind around them and the many other contradictions I experienced, I think Jesus is the missing link. Now, here me loud and clear when I say that Christians aren’t perfect and don’t have it all together. I’m not talking about Christians. I’m talking about Jesus. Though made in God’s image, we can often be very poor representations. We each have our laundry list of sins and transgressions. But Jesus is perfect. He is the culmination of grace and mercy and sacrifice and love, and by striving for those things, we strive for a better world. Maybe there would be less slavery and more freedom. Maybe there would be less discrimination and more dignity. I honestly believe there would be.

I have three friends who are making plans to move to India as missionaries, and now I see the enormous task ahead of them. But I believe Jesus is bigger, and will do great things in them because they are willing and He is able.



Curious about why I went to India? Read here.


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