Change is such an interesting thing to be a part of. Many of us crave it, others dread it. I’m certainly in the former category, but it never comes without a price.

As many of you have heard I’ll be leaving Land of a Thousand Hills in the next month or so.  It’s quite bittersweet: I absolutely love the work we’re doing, as well as the people we’re doing it for & with.  My transition is simply to make a professional & locational change into marketing through Social Media in NYC.

I’ve loved interacting with many of you here, and through Thousand Hills’ Facebook Page & Twitter handle.  I hope we can stay in touch: I’ve launched a new chronicle of my journey at www.erinleighNYC.com, and you can always reach me at www.Facebook.com/ErinLeigh.patterson or www.Twitter.com/ErinLeighNYC. See you soon. -EL



Goodbye, Again

Last May I left Atlanta after spending about eight years there.  Goodbyes are not my favorite thing, so that last round was not ‘fun’. Now that I am one week away from leaving Gainesville, I am back in the funk of goodbyes. I am so grateful to have such great friends that I made so quickly, so I wouldn’t change a thing. But, wow, G-ville, how’d you work your magic so quick?

On Friday, Jan. 14, I’ll be traveling with the college students from River Cross Church for the weekend, then to Atlanta for about four days starting Jan. 17th. I’ll be working with the Thousand Hills Coffee team that week before I set off to Bethlehem, PA, en route to New York. More soon. -EL

I am a big fan of New Year’s Resolutions.  Perhaps it’s the tireless optimist in me, or the fact that I complete so few things in life making a new beginning is a welcome reality for me.  Blogging is always at the top of my list, along with improving some area of my health.  So to close out 2010 and kick off 2011 I thought I’d start with a list of random updates from this week:

1. Christmas is still the most magical time of the year.

2. My good friend Ashley is blogging again! Check it out, especially the shoutout for a sister (that’s me!) at the bottom: http://ash-tidbits.blogspot.com/

3. Only a few hours until January 2011. January 2011 is the month in which I move to NY! YAY. I updated my Twitter name in that vein: http://twitter.com/ErinLeighNYC.

4. UCF beat UGA today. What?! Way to go [insert UCF mascot]

5. Check out these cool earrings I just found for the twitter-obsessed in your life.

6. My Aunt Jacki is a great artist and she’s started an etsy site to share her goodness with the world! I’m her unofficial Social Media Coordinator, so be on the lookout for some retweets & blog posts soon. www.PaperShay.etsy.com.

7. 2010 has been a roller coaster. So I’ll be honest, bring on 2011! 🙂

I hope you have a great time ringing in the new year with people you love. -EL

Random Friday

The thing I like about Tumblr blogs is that you can post random thoughts, quotes, pictures and it’s normal.  I’m not signing up for Tumblr.  Instead, I’m going to make Fridays random and fun.  Maybe a little serious too. Sometimes.

  • I watch this SNL clip at least once a week: http://www.hulu.com/watch/180974/saturday-night-live-bronx-beat
  • Ben Arment is the founder of Story and a bunch of other cool stuff, and his Wednesday morning-rundown was the inspiration for Random Friday (in addition to a few friends’ Tumblrs). Check out his blog at http://www.BenArment.com
  • It’s been said on Twitter but I’ll say it again: there’s no excuse for not replying to a text message
  • Right now it’s 41 degrees in Gainesville, Fla.  It’s 23 in NYC.  Trying to remember this for now.  Many reports to come on weather, not because I have nothing else to say but because I anticipate it will change my current quality of life.
  • If you’re planning on getting married in 2011 I have two things to say: 1) congratulations! 2) If you’re inviting me please send a save the date.  Stat.
  • I’m a Knicks fan now, and though I know shockingly little about basketball I do know that 14-9 means they’ve won more than they’ve lost, which I know is a good thing. Go Knicks! 🙂

Happy Friday. -EL

Do my actions matter?

I am deeply passionate about sharing truth behind the mass killer known as AIDS.  If I had one wish it would be disspell as many myths as possible surrounding the disease.

I’m not sure if anything I write or do or say will ever make a difference.  However, I do know that not saying anything will produce nothing.  Doing nothing yields no results. So I’m learning what I can; sharing when I’m able; feeling overwhelmed, humbled, sad, hopeful; ultimately led to pray. A lot.

As the world considers the crippling disease today, may your action be to learn something you didn’t know. Look up an article, ask a friend, start a discussion.  It might seem small, but you and your friends will be changed, which goes a very long way.

PS — who’s been watching Glee?? Great episode tonight!  Being with friends, laughing, having fun … This is such a beautiful life we lead.  Let’s acknowledge that, and acknowledge that many are in a very different place.  -EL

25 has been so good to me

Every year I try to make a goal of something to do that year, where I can look back and say “I finished a Bachelor’s degree when I was 23″ & “I ran a half-marathon when I was 24.”  25 was to move to NYC, which is still in-progress so I’m going to carry that one over to 26. 🙂

Also for 26? I want to tell as many people as possible about the reality of HIV/AIDS. It’s something that is deeply heartbreaking to me, and I’m so passionate about making a small dent on this crippling disease in my lifetime.

So in honor of my birthday, will you give me the best gift I can imagine? Educate yourself.  I’m going to list a few facts and statistics, and some websites you can visit for more info.  World AIDS Day is December 1, so I am going to do a few posts about things I’ve learned between now and then, hopefully shattering some myths for us and learning what we can do together to make a difference.  I am by no means an expert, but I invite your questions and I’ll do my best to find answers.  Let’s be brave to stand up and say we’re confused, undereducated, and still curious.  I certainly am.

By putting light on the issue, we are caring for the thousands who died in solitude today, and the many thousands who have lost a child or a mother or a father.  If it was my mom, you had better believe I’d be telling everyone I know, fighting with all I have to put out the fire.  But she is someone’s mom, so why should I not fight?

Did you know…

  • in 2008, about 7,400 people died every day due to HIV-related causes? (according to USAID)
  • transmission of HIV from mother-to-child is now preventable? Check out what the ONE Campaign is doing to stop transmission by 2015 here.
  • the cost of Anti-retroviral treatments for people with HIV is only $140/year? More info on infectious diseases from the ONE Campaign is here.

Some websites to visit:

  • USAID has good stats on the disease
  • The World AIDS Campaign is working to spread the word about World AIDS Day
  • The ONE Campaign is very educational
  • HIV & The Church is a ministry started at Saddleback in CA, great ways for the local church to spread the word and lower stigma by educating ourselves

Thanks for being a friend, a sojourner on this road. I hope you’re inspired to simply learn more. Be a voice in your circle of friends.  It’s so simple to do, yet so eternally profound. -EL

I think there is a difference between sarcasm and satire, a very important difference.

Everyone loves a laugh, yes?  Being serious and straight-faced all the time is not going to get you a lot of friends quickly.  Being funny doesn’t always demand a sacrifice in content or intellect, either.  I like a good definition. Great place to start:

Satire: The use of irony, sarcasm, ridicule, or the like, in exposing, denouncing, or deriding     vice, folly, etc. (from Dictionary.com, bold added)

Sarcasm: Harsh or bitter derision or irony; 2. A sharply ironical taunt; sneering or cutting remark (Dictionary.com)

When I was in college I worked for a wonderful organization during the summer (www.CrossroadsWorldwide.com) and one of the many wise, godly women said something I’ll never forget: Sarcasm is the killer of intimacy.  She cited examples: think of the others on staff who are most sarcastic. What do your conversations with them look like?  I instantly realized that they were the ones around whom I was the most guarded.  I didn’t want the real me — things I felt, believed, thought about — to become an object of their laughable remarks.  Sarcasm is a  “taunt … or cutting remark” that derides the person about which the statement is made.

According to the definition, however, sarcasm is a building-block for satire.  And satire is a means to “denounce folly” … This is quite refreshing to me.  I like denouncing folly, and in general I also like to be a pleasant person.  So for those of us who find ourselves sarcastically-inclined this is an opportunity to reign in negativity and use your humor for something good.

And as Jon Acuff (author of www.StuffChristiansLike.net, Christian satire at its finest) says, satire is a means to express truth.  Being a conscious consumer is important, though.  My favorite TV shows use satire to bring about conversation in [potentially] smart ways.  Being offended is easy; thinking, processing, digesting is not.  Enter conscious consumerism.

Two weeks ago Glee aired an episode that took every possible jab at Christianity and faith in general.  My mom led a wonderful discussion amongst our friends who were there about what we had seen.  Why did the characters act the way they did?  Why did they say what they said?  It was a powerful example of our opportunity to learn about the world around us, and work to change what they think.

Impacting culture, expressing truth, laughing, and making a difference  can all be wrapped into one.  Last week the readers of Acuff’s blog raised enough money to purchase 3,225 mosquito nets for Ugandan people in need.  Talk about real change, and having fun along the way. -EL