Work

“God himself will milk the cows through him whose vocation that is.” – Martin Luther

A Major Setback

Last night and today were bad days. Actually, it’s been a bad 3 weeks – I just didn’t realize it. About 3 weeks ago the data feed that powered the website running subscriptions stopped working…permanently.  Without the feed it renders the website impotent, as the entire site is built of the fact that people have up to day information. But it wasn’t until last night that I learned not only that our website wasn’t refreshing current data, but that it was never to be refreshed again.

When I first read the note from our developer, I don’t think the full implication hit me. The idea of the site not working just doesn’t register. I’ve been working on this site for literally years. To one day wake up and find that it is no longer working and won’t for the foreseeable future just doesn’t compute.

But within an hour my brother also saw the note and said, “This looks like trouble. Do you see a way around this”, to which I replied, “Nope, we’re screwed.”. That’s when it set in. That’s when I allowed the consequences of of what happened to hit me. As is usually the case with emotions, I am more aware of how I am responding emotionally than actually feeling immense emotions about it. “I should be really upset about this. This is something to be upset about. Can you just walk away from all the money and energy you put into this?”, were some of the things going on in my internal dialogue. I was and am upset about this. I’m not ready to quit on this. The time and money I’ve spent cannot end here.

And yet…

I have feelings of potential relief. Doing entrepreneurial means that you are never doing enough for your own business. You can’t just leave your work at the office. It means that the wonderful time I get to spend with my family always has a nagging question with it – should I be working on the business? And of course, it goes both ways, when I’m spending time on the business, there’s a nagging question in my mind – should I be spending time with my children? Often for me this means that I tend to do neither completely well. I struggle to be fully engaged with my family and I struggle to be fully engaged with my business. So the potential relief is that maybe I can fully engage with the other things in my life like my family.

But I’d be super non-self-aware to think that not having my business to make me feel guilty about my priorities. That’s just who I am. That’s my M.O. Whatever I’m doing right now is always brought down by what I could be doing instead of what’s to come. Why is it that when I have an appointment in an hour, I can’t get any work done? It’s not like I’m prepping for the meeting. If that were the case then good on me, but I’m so caught up in the fact that I have a meeting soon that I can’t focus on what else can be done. And once I get in the meeting? I’m thinking about the meeting or what I could be doing instead of that meeting.

Anyway, the question I’ve been asking myself is whether or not I’m depressed. (Again with the self-awareness, I know.) But I think the answer is no. Honestly, I tried to convince myself that I should be. But depression would only come if I’m actually going to walk away from this project. And I’m not. I may have lost my early adopter customers and may lose my business partners, but I’m still not giving up. No way. I’m going to find a solution to get the data flowing again. I’m going to pay for it and I’m going to continue investing in the business. I’m convinced the site can and will be successful. Up until today, we had 5 really consistent subscribers to the service who were paying faithfully each month. I paid a lot of money to get those subscribers, but we had them. That means that the platform was doing something. It was on it’s way to being profitable. I may be a glutton for punishment, but I’m absolutely convinced the idea is going to make me self-sustaining. And that is my goal – to be self-sustaining.

So, yes, it’s been a bad couple of days, but I will carry on. I will rise above this. I will double down and make this thing work.

New Staff Meetings

It’s been several weeks since the year started and it’s time that we reconvened with our new staff to see how they’re doing. The last time the core of this group came together like this was when we met for the first time in New York as they were preparing to make their way here.

We had a great time sharing and hearing and giving them a bit more information about what’s happening in the year to come.

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Welcoming New Staff

On Saturday we held our annual Welcome Dinner. It’s a time that we kick of the year with a party and especially focus on getting to know our new staff.

This year we played a gameshow-like game and gave out lots of prizes. It was quite fun.

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Meanwhile, the children played on a bouncy castle and did crafts and other fun things.

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Getting Organized

While we were in the States we made many purchases to stock up on supplies we knew we would need when we came back. One of the things I’m most excited about is my calendar. It’s going to be a key factor in helping me to be organized this year. 

CPR Certification

Today, in my first day back to work, I participated in a full day of CRP, AED, and general safety certification. I feel like one of the few thing my public school education afforded me was a general understanding of first responder knowledge about such things as CPR and the Heimlich maneuver. But, I can’t remember a time where I actually got hands on training.

Today was that day. I compressed, breathed into, shocked and resuscitated a dummy numerous times. It was a fun time together with my colleagues, as well.

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Small Group

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We’ve recently started a new small group in our home. One of the things we were involved in quite a bit back in the States was leading a small group and we’ve missed our times together. Coming in late into the year last year, we didn’t join a group. It was a good decision for us so we could settle in a bit, but by the time this year rolled around, we were ready for it.

We’ve only met a few times this year, but we’re starting to get in sync. In addition to doing a study, we also snack or eat together. This was our first meal as a small group. Jacquelyn cooked a great meal and we had a great time. We’re looking forward to the future of this group.

Trip to Yantai

We had the privilege to go down and see our organization’s newest project in Yantai! While we were there we also spent some quality time with leadership in our organization. Being that we’re in 7 different cities, we’re usually just connecting over Skype. It was great to be able to connect face to face and work together.

PREP Test

Both Jacquelyn and I got to see the results of our PREP analysis. PREP is a personality test meant for understanding how team members can best work together. We really enjoyed this time not only learning more about ourselves, but also about our fellow leaders. We’re looking forward to integrating this with our team.
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School Opening

One of the highlights of the trip was seeing the brand new school that was just opened this school year. We can certainly see how His hand in this project. We are overwhelmed by His provisions. We dedicated this project back to Him.
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Business Leaders’ Panel

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Sitting on a Panel

I was very honored to a part of a recent panel hosted by the Qingdao International Business Association (QIBA) in August. The topic of the panel was “Childbirth and Childcare in Qingdao: What are the options for expats?” I was invited to be a part of the discussion because of the website Jacquelyn and I created called, havingababyinchina.com.

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For me to be sitting on the same stage with the head of a huge hospital, heads of departments at a well-known international hospital in the area and a my friend Ruth who has been a part of many births in training to be a Doula was pretty mind-blowing. When I looked down the stage of very important medical people, to be honest I felt a little out of my league. On the stage I imagined myself as the crazy wanna-be blogger who’s trying to be relevant. But once the questions starting rolling, I remembered the purpose for creating the website in the first place – so that people can have accurate information from the perspective of the one actually having the baby in the foreign land.

The panel discussion proved to be very excellent and I hope helpful to everyone in attendance.

For more about the topics discussed, click here.

For a few more pictures, click here.

Checking in on Qingdao

20th Anniversary

The last time we were in Qingdao, we worked at an international school. It was so great to be able to get back there to celebrate with them their 20th Anniversary. The school has grown and changed immensely over the years and it was great to catch up with our old friends and make some new ones!

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The event ended up being huge! There were over 600 people there and it was very cool to hear about the different stories of how He has worked in this place.