Mental Post-Its

Thoughts, Notes and General Mental Mayhem

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I’m Headed to #IfGathering2016 Tomorrow!

Screen Shot 2016-02-04 at 6.29.11 PMIf you’ve been reading this blog for any length of time, then you know I love attending conferences! Well, this weekend I’ll be a first-time attendee at IF: Gathering in Austin! I have friends who have been to this event, volunteered at the event, participated in the live stream, watched the live stream, and followed the event year-round—and they all absolutely love it. So, I’m excited to experience it myself.

The IF: Gathering vision is “to gather, equip and unleash women to live out God’s calling on their lives.” Pretty awesome, right? I know it’s going to be a blast.

If you’d like to watch the live stream, then just visit the website and sign up. I have a bunch of friends who’ll be doing the same.

You can also follow me on Instagram and Twitter for updates and my perspective.

I can’t wait to share with you all that I learn!

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Catalyst Labs: Favorite Quotes and Notes

LabsOpening Session with Rich Wilkerson Jr., Chad Veach & Chris Durso

  • Genesis 37 (Joseph’s dream about his brothers bowing down to him)
  • God gives us a picture of the present to endure through the process and get to the future.
  • A dream that hasn’t been tested in a dream that can’t be trusted.
  • Test 1: Rejection
    • Not everyone will support the dream.
    • You don’t need anyone else to confirm what God has told you.
    • Most people share their dreams too quickly. Be a good steward of your dream, and share it at the appropriate time.
    • Your dreams are still going to come with nightmares.
    • No man can pull back what God decides to push forward.
    • Sometimes rejection can be part of your direction.
    • Joseph didn’t have a bad day. He had a bad decade.
  • Test 2: Temptation
    • God tests, Satan tempts and people tease.
    • Everyone has been tempted.
    • There is always  the temptation to indulge.
    • Dreams have to withstand the test of time. Don’t force the dream.
    • Joseph said that no matter where he was, he would be faithful. And he flourished. He was faithful to the call.
    • There is always a temptation to quit.
  • Test 3: Retribution
    • A God dream is always about God, not you. Joseph blessed, not cursed, his brothers when they needed his help. And this is after they almost killed him and sold him.
    • How do you handle the realization of your dreams?
    • God dreams test our motivations, not just behaviors.
    • The wrong motivation will never lead to the right destination.
    • If you are too big to serve, you are too small to lead.

Jennie Allen, Esther Havens & Lindsey Nobles

  • Leadership costs something. – JA
  • Many people do not finish the hard work. – JA
  • If we are building God’s Kingdom, then all of hell is coming against us.
  • Lessons from the Book of John
  • Jesus serves us out of relationship and rest.
  • What is preventing you from having the relationship with God that you desire?
    • Ex: fear, lists/responsibilities, people, time…what is competing?
  • Our lack of rest if often tied to identity.
    • Are we our job? Our family? Our friends? No! We are children go God.
  • We often feel like, as leaders, we must have it all together, and that is simply not true.
  • Netflix isn’t true rest. Make time to actually commune with God.
  • It’s hard to see a need and not wear yourself out trying to fix that. We have to trust God to do the work. All we can do is play our part.

Jennie Allen, Amena Brown and Rebekah Lyons

  • John 4 (Woman at the well)
    • An invitation can change lives.
    • Life change usually happens eye-to-eye, person-to-person.
  • Doing the everyday work of ministry is what moves it forward, as much as or more than the big and public things. – JA
  • What keeps you from being fully present in community?
  • Maybe have a set schedule to talk to the close people you need in your life. – AB
  • Jesus made Himself an outsider for the outsiders. He even died far outside the city gates.
  • Meekness is not weakness. The meek shall inherit the earth.
  • The greatest ministries happen over tables, not on stages.

Jennie Allen, Margaret Feinberg and Shelley Giglio

  • John 2 (water into wine miracle)
  • Jesus’ first miracle was at a party!
  • We’re only as good as leaders to the extent we are followers. – SG
  • Jesus brings life and light to us. It is our calling to mirror that. – SG
  • Jesus was the life of the party. We need to lighten up. – SG
  • Joy is the weapon we use to fight life’s battles. – MF
  • Wonder comes from gazing. You have to be willing to look, and keep looking. – SG
  • Joy comes in remembering. Remember God’s faithfulness. Recount His blessings. – SG
  • The more we chase God, the harder life gets. – JA
  • Dependence on God leads to joy. – SG


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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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The Justice Conference 2015: My Favorite Quotes

Justice Conference StageLast week I attended The Justice Conference in Chicago with a couple of friends. This was my second year, and yet again, it provoked so many thoughts about social justice and pricked my heart for reconciliation in the hard places.

Here are a few of my favorite quotes. I hope you enjoy them too. May they lodge themselves in your mind, and propel you toward creating a better future for us all.


Cornel West

Scholar, Activist, Servant and Lover of Music

  • May the God of justice bless you with discomfort.
  • Have the audacity to make Jesus your choice.
  • Look back before you move forward.
  • Love your way through the darkness.
  • If the Kingdom of God is in you, you should leave a little bit of heaven wherever you go.
  • Following Jesus means you’re welcoming a proximity to pain.
  • Quoting Samuel Beckett, “Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try Again. Fail again. Fail better.”

Eugene Cho

Pastor, Writer, Visionary

  • Justice must be part of our worship of God.
  • Everyone loves justice until there is a cost.
  • John 4: Jesus HAD to go through Sumeria. He was compelled. He went to the hard places to make people’s lives better.
  • Even good things can become idolatrous.
  • Everything we do should be a response to God’s love.
  • Justice must always be humble.
  • Be careful that you don’t become self-righteous. Otherwise YOU may be the mountain God wants to move.
  • Our hope is not in our Savior Complex.

Louis Dooley

Illinois Regional Director, Set Free Ministries

  • Get out of the Christian bubble.
  • Get your hands dirty.

Bob Goff

Best-Selling Author and Speaker

  • Love everybody, always.
  • God makes people. And people make issues. But people aren’t issues.
  • Let people get justice because they know you.
  • You’ll be known for your ideas, but remembered for your love.

Ken Wytsma

Teacher, Entrepreneur, Author

  • Faith lives in a climate of doubt.
  • It’s not the quality of faith that matters, but the presence.

Jenny Yang

Vice President of Advocacy and Policy at World Relief

  • We are all called to be advocates.
  • There is a limit on charity, but there is no limit to transformational relationships.

Ann Voskamp

Author, Blogger, Farmer’s Wife

  • We need to become the Esther generation, advocating for those outside the gates.
  • Accept the invitation to cross boundaries.
  • When your heart breaks for justice, pray to stay broken.

Jonathan Merritt

Columnist and Author

  • We should nurture bravery, humility, empathy and diversity.
  • Learn how to disagree well. It usually involves more listening.

Rev. Traci Blackmon

Pastor, Member of the Fergusson Commission

  • Many of us are blind to our privilege.
  • Privilege is an “othering” of people.
  • Look for God’s image in everyone.
  • Nobody gives up privilege willingly. Are you ready to pay the cost?

Louie Giglio

Pastor of Passion City Church, Founder of the Passion Movement

  • Be quietly worshipful and noisily grateful.
  • Your core identity must be Jesus. Anything else, and heaven will be a disappointment.
  • You’re a Jesus worshipper first, not a job or activist or anything else.
  • Justice isn’t a career path. It’s a theological imperative. It’s rooted in everyone, woven in divinity and reconciliation.
  • If you aren’t at peace, your going to be asking your mission to validate you.

Neichelle Guidry

Preacher and Worship Curator

  • In the presence of Jesus, character is revealed.
  • Jesus only spent 25% of His time in church throughout recorded scripture.
  • Perhaps its not enough to just have a heart that’s in the right place.
  • Growth always comes with growing pains.
  • Your comfort comes at someone else’s discomfort.
  • Grow up. Become Kingdom-minded. Choose.
  • If you’re going to live in the Kingdom of God, you need to give up your addiction to convenience and comfort.


And here’s the highlight video for a peek inside the event.

The JUSTICE Conference 2015 Highlights from The JUSTICE CONFERENCE on Vimeo.

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Leadercast Conference Highlights

The Brave OnesLast Friday I attended Leadercast for the first time. I looooove being at conferences, and was especially excited to be a newbie at this event. The funny thing is that I was there at the same Arena just a week earlier for my company’s conference. But it was really cool to see how differently they used the space, and what they had going on that we could learn from.

The theme, “The Brave Ones,” was awesome and inspiring. It was definitely what I needed to hear right now, and I was also excited to share it with friends who came to mind as I sat there in my seat.

Here are some of my takeaways. I hope they can help you to be more brave too.

Andy Stanley

  • Bold leadership isn’t just for bold, fearless, super-talented or ultra smart people. Bold leaders have clarity, focus, be stubborn and stay resourceful.
  • Bold leadership is the clarity around an unreasonable commitment to what should be.
  • Bold leaders refuse to be cowed by “how.” You can “how” an idea to death.
  • Ask yourself this question from Joel Backer’s book, Paradigm, ” What do I believe is impossible in my field, but would fundamentally change my business or industry?”
  • Think about Nehemiah. His work was almost interrupted by a meeting. But he said, “I am doing a great work and I cannot come down.”

Bill McDermott

  • Don’t obsess over your competition. Obsess on the areas they can’t or won’t cover. Do it better.
  • Trust is the ultimate currency.
  • The best part of you is you—your uniqueness.

Commander Rorke Denver

  • Limit your field of view and you’ll actually see more.
  • Make bold corrections.
  • Bravery doesn’t have to be a solo experience.
  • Choose the amount of work you’re going to take on wisely.
  • Don’t avoid the pain. Bravery is there. Lean into it. It’s a growth opportunity.

Malala Yousafzai – THIS is who I came to see, and she didn’t disappoint!

  • This war will be fought with books and pens, not swords and guns.
  • I still believe in a happy ending.
  • If I didn’t speak out, I thought I might have to live that way forever.
  • Don’t wait for the fight to be taken up by someone else. Why not you?
  • In every field of life we find brave people. Bravery has no limit.
  • It’s your duty to speak up for what’s right or just.
  • We are all living here together. We must think of others as brothers and sisters. We must speak up from all sides.
  • We can all make a better world. Everyone has a role to play.

Peyton Manning

  • If you wait for someone else to make the change, you are a follower.
  • Learn to thrive on uncomfortable situations.
  • Invest in a coach.
  • Set personal goals that contribute to the team’s overall success.
  • Understand the power of your influence, but realize your accomplishments are never made alone.
  • Surround yourself with people who will give you honest feedback.
  • Earn your platform.

Seth Godin

  • Bravery isn’t just for other people. It’s for us too.
  • We don’t need people who copy. We need people who create.
  • To make art, you must be all in.
  • When Gutenberg launched the press, the illiteracy rate was 93%. He didn’t wait until he had a market for it. He had a dream that he pursued.
  • It’s always too soon. We can be prepared, but we can never be ready.
  • We can make change, but we can’t change everyone.
  • Change creates: Tension, obsession, connection, direction and compassion.
  • Treat every opportunity like its your last.
  • Do work that matters.
  • Own your unreasonableness.

Ed Catmull

  • Creativity is the process by which we solve problems.
  • Focus on the dynamic of the team, not the ideas.
  • Create shared ownership.
  • Give good and honest notes.
  • Failure is necessary for something new.
  • To be successful, you must be wiling to take the first step.
  • Creative people usually discover their talents over time, by continually being wiling to take the hard problems.

Aja Brown

  • Bravery is a decision to live not just exist. Brave leaders just make the decision and do what needs to be done.
  • Peace is one of the most powerful things that cannot be bought.
  • Brave leaders ask the basic question, “If not me, who?”
  • Be brave enough to believe in a different future.
  • Brave leaders overcome the fear of failure. It’s not that brave leaders never fail, it’s that they never quit. the worst case is not failure, but it’s living in the invisible prison of fear.
  • Elevate your expectations in order to elevate your organization. If your team lacks momentum, elevate your vision.
  • Dream a vision that’s too big for you to achieve by yourself.
  • Brave leaders serve for the purpose, not the praise.

Rudy Giuliani

  • One of my rules of leadership is to always go to the scene of the incident.
  • People who succeed have strong beliefs and big ideas.
  • To be a leader, you have to be an optimist. Be a problem solver. Every problem may not have a solution, but every problem comes with perspective.
  • To be a leader, you have to have courage. If you’re not afraid, something is wrong with you.
  • Relentless preparation takes the fear out of leadership.
  • Teamwork—it’s never about you.
  • If you want to be a leader, you have to communicate. People cannot know what you think and want. You have to tell them, and you have to tell them again.