60 minutes with Elaine

I traveled to San Antonio last week for work. On my flight back to reality, I met a wonderful woman named Elaine. Actually, I slept for the first two hours of the flight and met Elaine when I woke up.

Elaine: “Is Chicago your final destination?” She asked as she removed one of those sweet neck pillows from around her throat–I really want one of those things.

Me: “No ma’am. I’m headed to Richmond.”

Elaine: “You aren’t from Richmond,” she stated a matter-of-factly.

Me: “…that’s true. I’m originally from East Texas.”

Elaine: “Oh honey, you didn’t have to tell me that. Your accent gave it away.”

Elaine is a beautiful, Latina woman in her early-thirties. She is from El Paso but has lived in San Antonio for about four years. She works for a health insurance company and develops marketing for proactive, healthy lifestyles. Randomly, we were on the subject of bad jobs.

Elaine: “Oh honey, I worked as a physical therapist for an insurance company years ago. All the doctors encouraged me to teach patients how to do exercises incorrectly. They didn’t care about people. The less-healthy their patients are, the more money they make.”

Me: “That’s unbelievable. Well, I guess it’s kind of believable–just sad.”

Elaine: “Yes. I had to get out of that situation quick.”

We continued to chat about work and different jobs. In the middle of chatting about my future plans, Elaine asked me a very important question:

Elaine: “Meg, are you a spiritual person at all?”

Me: “Absolutely.”

Elaine: “Want to make God laugh? Tell Him your plans,” she stated with a huge grin.

Wow. Elaine could not have said anything more true. I work so hard to plan every single moment of my life. EVERY. SINGLE. MOMENT. And I get so bent out of shape if something doesn’t go to my plan. I only include God after I’ve made my plan. I’m a mess.

Elaine: “So, you will stay in Virginia for a while? You have a husband?”

Me: Why does everyone have to talk about dating? “No and I’m not sure how long I’ll be in Virginia. I’m missing Texas every day. Do you have a family?”

Elaine: Her face lit up. “I’ve been dating my boyfriend for eight months. He is from El Paso and I actually dated him ten years ago. We lost connection after a few months–it just wasn’t working. Fast forward ten years and I’m in church. I was praying with my eyes closed and all of a sudden I felt this presence over me. I looked up and there he was. I hadn’t seen him in ten years! We both had no idea each of us was in San Antonio! It was crazy, Meg. But now we are together.”

Isn’t that story crazy?

Elaine and I had a great time chatting. She made me think about a lot. I honestly wish I had her number to ask her more questions. Cheers, Elaine and have a great time in Kentucky.

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60 Minutes with Federal Agent Chuck

I was waiting for my plane in the Baltimore Washington International Airport this weekend when I met Federal Agent Chuck. Our conversation began when we saw President Jimmy Carter board the plane that departed before ours.

Chuck was awesome and, quite possibly, one of the nicest people I ever met. In the terminal, we chatted constantly. We shared a love of hunting, the Northeast, running, and Texas.

Chuck is a Federal Agent for Homeland Security and works close to the border in Texas. He does all sorts of cool things: catches child predators, finds smuggled folks from Mexico, etc etc.

It’s not shocking, but Chuck is a lot more interesting than me. He spent some time stationed in Hawaii for the Army, traveled to a million different countries, and served as a Police Officer in Boston. True story: He only ever gave two tickets while he was a police officer and one of them was to a Kennedy.

We switched seats on the plane so we could sit next to each other and continue our weird conversation.

Federal Agent Chuck: “…So you’re not married? Good. You’ve got plenty of time to figure that out. I didn’t get married until I was 30. You need to be picky. What’s your type?”

Me: “Well, I don’t have a type, but I have the 3Gs: Goals, Gentleman, and Jesus..and I know Jesus doesn’t start with a “G” but it sounds like it so it works.”

FAC: “Ahaha..the 3 Gs.”

Me: “I’ve been thinking I need to add an additional G because the 3Gs isn’t working.”

FAC: “He needs to have a couple of Gs in his pocket. Or Gentile?”

Me: “Ahaha. Perfect.”

Overall, Chuck had some great advice for me:

On boyfriends…

FAC: “You need to date someone who is active. You like being outside and running, you need to date someone who likes the same. ”

Me: “I absolutely agree.”

FAC: “An old friend gave me the best piece of advice, ‘When you’re running toward your goals, your significant other should be right in the rear view mirror, chasing them with you.’ You need someone to support what you’re doing.”

On work…

FAC: “I had the time of my life in Hawaii. Go live in Hawaii.”

Me: “Chuck, I love the seasons. And I’d be too far from home. And isn’t it a big tourist trap?”

FAC: “Not if you know where to go. I had tons of friends in education and they made a great living and had a great time. Consider living in Hawaii while you’re not tied down.”

Me: *hmmmmm*

On being adventurous…

FAC: “What’s the most adventurous think you’ve ever done?”

Me: “…Ummm…well…Oh my goodness. I’m so boring. I’ve run marathons. And a Tough Mudder? Oh my. I need help.”

FAC: “OK, you need to do one adventurous thing a year. Promise me that you will come up with five things to do in the next five years. You’re young. Enjoy it.”

Thanks to Chuck, I’m in the process of making my list of five things. While they won’t compare to Chuck’s black water rafting in New Zealand or lava tube diving with a weighted belt in Hawaii or exploring Thailand, it will be awesome. I’m accepting suggestions.

60 Minutes with Carly K

Every week I have one hour meetings with several folks at work like my boss, a few student leaders, and graduate assistants.  I call these meetings “one-on-ones.”

But I have to admit that my favorite weekly one-on-one is with Carly K.  Except there’s a catch: She lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

However, every single week this semester we’ve chatted via Skype or on the phone.

I worked with her for two years at Virginia Tech and she’s currently in her first year of graduate school at the University of South Carolina.  We have a ton in common and I absolutely adore her.  Here’s our trip earlier this year to Macafee’s Knob.

And at a recent Virginia Tech football game.

She’s a sounding board, beautiful soul, and a thoughtful friend.

But most importantly, she’s been my saving grace.

This semester has been a huge transition for me–Moving to a new city, new campus, new job, new apartment, new everything.  Luckily, Carly is experiencing the exact same thing and has been there to listen and encourage me the entire time.

One of the most important things Carly has taught me this year is the concept of “Love Does Time.”  I really encourage you to read her blog post here. A topic her and I often discuss is how “busy” people are and how giving your time to someone is one of the best gifts you can give.  And not just surface time, but genuine time.

Time is a gift and because of her, I am doing my part to give my time to more people.  When someone walks in my office, I stop multi-tasking with my e-mail and have a genuine conversation.  I call the people I care about weekly.  I hand write notes, often.  I don’t text when I’m at the dinner table.  It’s these little steps that have helped me understand Love Does Time.

My weekly 60-minutes with Carly is something I look forward to and clear my schedule for.  Aren’t we presh?

She’ll probably kill me for that sneak-attack print-screen.  Whoops.  Love you, Carly K 🙂