She was kind enough to share the audio so you could hear it on mine. You can watch the live interview on Facebook. If you’re like me and prefer podcasts short enough for a walk around the block, I’ve segmented out the interview in the 1 Moment Wiser podcast. Listen on your favorite podcasting source or click below to listen on Anchor.
Part 1: Success, feedback, and keeping our stories, even when we don’t like the endings.
Part 2: The three words which describe me (absent-minded professor?) and how happy I became when I learned other people don’t have to be exactly like me.
Part 3: Moxie, a girl named Kathy, and why I avoid cafeterias.
The year I was 17, I was in 7 wrecks. They were all my fault. I’m 48 now, and thanks to God and lots of practice, I haven’t had a wreck in 24 years. After my last wreck at 24, I sobbed in my driveway, “I don’t want to drive any more! I just can’t!” I was working and going to school. I was stressed and always late. That year, I’d had 3 fender-benders.
If word of me had gotten out, I might have been banned from driving.
To pay rent, I had to get to work, and my town had a terrible bus system. I couldn’t afford to quit driving, and I couldn’t afford to stay bad at it. I had to build some skills.
Skill building can be tough. I’ve failed a few things with deadly consequences. I killed rosemary plants five years in a row, before I finally got one to stick around. Then the lawn guy killed it by mistake. Six dead rosemaries. Today, the rosemary beside my driveway is flourishing.
Quick! Think of three things you’ve done easily this year. Maybe you’ve done them all today. Did you have to practice at least one of those things until you got it right?
COVID19 has left millions of people unemployed, and it’s fast-tracked everyone into the virtual realm. For the past month, I’ve been helping coworkers and friends learn tools for virtual training, online meetings and remote project management. A hundred people from my church are now holding small group meetings through Zoom. This is making a lot of people feel like 24-year-old me–“I just can’t!”
Philippians 4:13 (paraphrase) says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”
1 Corinthians 2:16b NIV says, “We have the mind of Christ.”
You have at least three skills, remember? They might seem ordinary to you, but they could help someone who’s unemployed or underemployed. You also have skills to develop. Maybe you’ve failed at technology, cooking or home repair and thought, “I just can’t.” What will you do to overcome that trauma and try again? Today, I watched a master gardener share tips with the help of a partner. Her partner worked the camera and shared our questions, while the gardener taught us how to make self-watering container gardens and keep Bermuda grass at bay. Because these two ladies were willing to learn from and lean on one another, at least 20 gardens will be richer this summer.
Who will be your partner? What skills will you share and develop? If you’re not sure where to start, here are a few great resources.
Learning Resources – A great list of websites offering free learning, from languages to coding to nearly anything under the sun.
Learn to use Zoom or Skype for small group meetings.
If you’d like to share your own expertise, you might like the tool I use, BeLive.TV, for online interviews and talk shows. I’m an affiliate and long-term user, so if you click this link, you’ll get a free month to try it out.
Facebook – If you’ve sworn never to waste time on social media, you’re missing the benefit of Facebook groups. If you’re interested in learning or sharing anything at all, there’s a group for it. In these groups, you can find quick answers, share your own expertise, and learn about (or offer) training events. Why not make some new friends who share your interests? You don’t even have to clean house for them!
Yes, I can. Say it with me: Yes, I can. Christ brings strength. The clear, strong, peaceful mind of Christ is available, but only if you spend time with God. To get through this time of change, worship, learn and participate in the body of Christ this year. If you don’t have a church home, check out one of these.
Believers Church – Authentic, calm and focused on whole-person healing, Believers has Sunday worship online at 10CST and small Zoom communities throughout the week.
Transformation Church – Vibrant, often funny, growth-activating, Transformation Church has Sunday worship at 11CST and small groups as well.
I couldn’t have paid those trolls enough. They illustrated my point perfectly.
Last year, Erin Garcia invited me to speak to her Shift88 women’s group. Shift88 is great—there’s always good breakfast; an inspirational speaker; and creative, encouraging ladies to meet. It’s the kind of place where hugs abound and nobody stands 6 feet away. This month, we decided meet online, rather than serve COVID with breakfast. As much as I miss hugging these ladies, I was pretty excited. My friends are all over the world, so now everyone can enjoy my musical, lighthearted, secret-spilling presentation, Ordinary Stories, Extraordinary Impact.
That makes me happy, but it’s not what makes me laugh.
What makes me laugh is the way the trolls helped out. When you watch the replay, you’ll be spared from the comments too gross to keep. You will notice an occasional pause, because while I was in the very midst of saying, “Being sexy doesn’t make a girl powerful,” creepazoids were posting things like “Show us your” (words I’ve deleted because I’m a lady).
We try to protect our kids from bullies by yelling at principals, other parents, and people online. I’d love a world without trolls, but I’m feeling very grateful right now. Mom taught me to keep my head up and keep going. She encouraged me to look past behavior to what’s driving it. In his later years, Dad encouraged me to stay true to myself and my purpose. In five different high schools, on stage and as a teacher, I’ve had mega-opportunities to practice pushing forward.
When the devil tries to disrupt God’s work, he becomes part of God’s triumph.
Thanks to my friends who stood by me today. You lifted me, and I love you.
If you missed the live broadcast, I bet you’ll enjoy the combination of song, stories and opportunities to come up with your own stories to share. Catch the replay through the following links:
Hanging out with the fabulous peeps who AREN’T Kristi Bridges!
This month, you have two opportunities to enjoy them with me.
Saturday, March 14, from 1-3 pm, come to the new Tokyo Garden South on 108th and Memorial in Bixby, OK. I’ll be reading along with 5 other authors from several genres. Enjoy an entertaining afternoon and grab something to read during the April showers. If you’d like help writing your own book, you can pick our brains. If you prefer something tastier, order sushi and leave our brains intact.
Saturday, March 28, from 9:30-11:30 am, join me for the Shift 88 women’s group at Plumbline Ministries. I’ve designed a sensory, interactive experience to bring out the power in your personal stories.
My friend JennRene Owens always gets me searching for a Word of the Year. This year, Story is my word, and today I have a mystery for you. I’d love your help solving it, and I’d also like to hear about any mystery you’d like solved. Let’s crowdsource some clues together!
I go to the woods to think. I often find myself looking inwardly at my mental list of things to do, so intently a bear could sit down beside me and I wouldn’t notice. When I go to the woods, I go (sucking sound with fingers pulling eyes from closed to open) and unstick my eyes so they can roll to the front. When I look out, up and around, I see God just EVERYWHERE.
On December 9, 2015, the inside of my head was a blizzard. Thoughts whirled and piled into drifts. I was torn between huddling in place (at least I knew where I was) and shivering, or moving into the white unknown. I put on my hiking shoes, picked up my keys and headed to the woods. The trees had been falling down that year. I didn’t know why. It had me a little worried, but I had spent the summer photographing the mushrooms which feathered the rotting trunks. Humans see something beautiful, like a tree, and think, “Hold it! Stay exactly like that forever.” We try to freeze beauty in place—if you don’t believe me, just count the face creams at Walgreens. Our Creator doesn’t work that way—change nurtures life.
December 9, blizzard in my head, I drove toward the woods, seeking understanding among the mushrooms. I never made it there.
“Kristi, what makes you cry?” my friend Kim had asked me. She’d called me around 5 on December 8 and said, “Hey, can I come over? There’s something I want to talk to you about.” We’d stood in my driveway until after midnight. At 2am, I lay in bed feeling the blood surge in my veins—HMMM—HMMM—HMMM—HMMM. I had a 7am meeting at work, but I could not sleep. Thankfully, it was a call-in meeting, so nobody knew I’d rolled out of bed at 6:45. Afterwards, I texted two of my coworkers and my bestie for prayer. Bob was the first to call, then Stacy.
Bob and Stacy are instructional designers. We’d met that summer and worked together to create training material for a system we were developing at my job. It was a night-and-day project. I often logged off at 11 pm and discovered programming changes at 8 am. When you work under that kind of pressure with people, you see what they’re made of. Bob and Stacy are golden.
What makes me cry, Kim? Not much these days, but on December 9, 2015, I cried a lot as I talked to Bob and Stacy. 2 weeks prior, at the end of November, I’d put in my college application. My band had broken up, I’d lost my grandparents, and I was floundering as I tried to write a book. I had so much fun with Bob and Stacy that I’d decided to get a degree in Instructional Design. The moment I hit the “Submit” button, my inner creative started sobbing uncontrollably.
That was a shock. Logical me said, “WHAT? What is going on? Stop crying!” Creative me sobbed, “Why? Why are you (hiccup) abandoning our dreams?” Logical me tried to argue, “It’s for our good. This is for us!” But creative me was too busy throwing things at logical me to listen.
Yep. I know. You’d have thought I was nuts.
Then came Kim on December 8. Now it’s December 9 and I’m still on the phone with Stacy as I put on my shoes, grab my keys and head toward the woods. I’m not sure when we hung up, but I missed my turn for the highway. As I aimed for Yale, one word became a sign in my mind. “Cultivate.”
I turned the car toward Woodward Park. In the woods, everything springs up and grows in whichever direction it can, untamed and unencumbered by anything except the elements, competition, and time. At Woodward Park, every plant has a place of honor, where it’s pruned and treated and fertilized. At first, to my hippy heart, it seemed too structured, too tame. But I’d asked for a sign. I needed a word. You can’t ask God to speak if you aren’t willing to move when He does. I walked through the gardens and saw love.
Hmm, Love. That’s where today’s mystery comes in. But not yet.
Standing in my driveway December 8, Kim had rolled out a plan to help me create a conference with my friend JennRene. I hadn’t even known that was possible. Two years before, I’d told Julie Clinton at the Extraordinary Women’s conference, “I’d like to be doing this in 2 years.” It was a pipe dream, I had no idea how I’d do it. Now, as I prepared to pause my dreams and go back to school, it suddenly seemed possible.
As I walked at Woodward, my eyes turned outward to the red and brown leaves skirting the trees, the winter herbs in their beds, the rose bushes still bearing flowers. I saw love.
Literally………………..But not yet.
As I walked, the snow in my head melted and the conference theme unfolded. I thought of the (ahem) “compost” in my own life and knew “Cultivate” was a key word for our audience and for me. “Kristi,” Stacy had said, “you already know what you’re going to do.” She was right.
As I turned away from the Linnaeus Teaching Garden to descend toward the rose garden, this was written on the steps.
“I will love you every step of the way.”
What makes me cry? Those words. It’s been 4 years, 3 books, 2 conferences, nearly 1000 videos and amazing collaborations with dream breathers like Kim White and JennRene Owens. I’ve even had the opportunity to learn instructional design without student loans.
But I can’t go on.
I can’t go any further, without knowing who wrote those words in Woodward Park, Tulsa, Oklahoma, December 9, 2015. I firmly believe God sent them to me, and I am so grateful.
But I need to know. What happened? Did someone make a romantic proposal on December 9, 2015? I can imagine some sweet 20-something down on one knee, making a lover’s heart stop in that moment of OMIGOSH, this is it!! “I will love you every step of the way.”
Maybe it wasn’t a proposal. Maybe someone else was going back to school, or starting a new career. Who wrote those words? Who drew the little chalk hearts I stepped around? What has happened since? I want to ask that person, “How’s your marriage?” I want to say, “Thank you. You have no idea how you changed my life that day. No matter what you’re going through, your willingness to open up and love have made an impact.”
So, if you’re watching this, would you do me a favor? Would you please share this video? If you’re listening on the 1 Moment Wiser podcast, would you please share this podcast and the photo in the link attached? If we can just get this out to everyone we know, surely somebody will have the answer.
And what would you like to know? Do you have a mystery to share? Reach out to me on Facebook or Twitter, or email info@1MomentWiser.com. I’d love to help you share your story.
Psalm 37 NIV says
23 The Lord makes firm the steps of the one who delights in him; 24 though he may stumble, he will not fall, for the Lord upholds him with his hand.
I can tell you from experience, it’s true. God bless you today!
If there’s a writer in your life, I bet that writer has a birthday coming up this year. Plan ahead and get the Every Step of the Way laptop case here.