Archive | February 2012

My Sincerest Sadie Hawkins Leap Year Proposal


Happy Leap Year Day everybody!

I grew up hearing a bunch of the fun stories of Leap Year Day. You know the ones about Sadie Hawkins and women having the right to ask a man to dance with her, or the ultimate – to marry her. This was a rare and extraordinary day. There were even laws and consequences for the man if he turned her down back in the middle ages. While that’s cute, it’s clearly an outdated tradition.

What I like about it though is that it was, at the heart of it all, about the freedom to create new possibilities. Or said another way, people felt like they were able to break out of the ordinary boundaries without reprisal.

We no longer need an every-four- years kind of day to propose. However, there might still be a need for some of that unabashed freedom. We might take advantage of this unique day as an opportunity to break out of our modern-day boundaries. We are creatures of habit after all. And, despite how far we’ve come socially and culturally, we sometimes find it difficult to do the out of the ordinary because of what people may think or say about us.

This year I’ve decided that I will use Sadie Hawkins Day to play a game of “What If?” What if I allowed myself to dream big and do something I’ve longed to do but not had the courage to try? I can think of a few things that would fall into this category. Can you? Just like people didn’t actually marry on Feb. 29, but rather made the commitment to do so, I don’t have to actually accomplish the thing today … just commit to do so. I think I’ll use the rest of my day to decide which extraordinary thing I’ll commit to.

I’m proposing with all my heart: Will you, my dear blog friend … will you be extraordinary with me? Say yes and be blessed!

Who needs to know you?


You know the old adage – “It’s not what you know but who you know.” Well as with most old sayings, there is of course, some truth in that statement. I venture to say it’s an 80/20 split in the case of who/what you know. In life, we are all born into a community – by our nature we are in relationships. We are connected and that’s really all we know. Our every achievement and learning has come because we either heard it, saw it, or was physically directed by another to learn it.

I’m not sure why anyone would venture into the “real world” and think it would be any other way. And yet, I frequently hear people making that statement as if this is a foreign concept. Rather than disdain this fact of living as social beings, I believe we should not only practice it to learn and connect but we should do it in both directions.

What do I mean by that? Well, when we need to know or get something, we go to the closest “expert” to ask. One person directs us to another and we network our way into moving ahead, either in knowledge or in career, etc. But how many times do we look around to see who needs to know us? Do you have a spirit for teaching but hesitate to reach out to do that? Do you have expertise, experience, or knowledge that would change someone else’s life, or even the direction of their struggle, but talk yourself out of sharing? I often wonder what is it in our nature or raising that makes us hesitate to share without being asked. Do we have to let people struggle to “earn” their right to proceed or succeed? I think not, but I am discouraged at times by the way we live in a society that cherishes taking care of our own and letting the rest be damned.

I can’t tell you how badly my life would have gone if that was the case for me. Not everyone gets the privilege of being born into a family or situation that edifies and lifts them up and guides their way. I am ever grateful that as a child I was given a hand out. Out of poverty. Out of abuse. Out of despair, dysfunction, and possible destruction. I was also given a hand up – people who didn’t know me chose to love me. I learned to live in a family that gave without question. They were generous with time as well as with resources. They lived their faith through volunteerism and I was blessed to live with and learn from them. I have tried to instill that in my family. I know I crave the opportunity to give back as a way to balance the books for what was given to me.

Sometimes, on our better days, I wish we would see more examples of people voluntarily sharing and networking who and what they know on behalf of someone else and not just for themselves.

Ask yourself – who do  you know? Who else needs to know them too? Join me in looking for who needs to know you and me. And be blessed!

Measure of Success


“Success is not about the end product. Success is not the measure of how much you do.

Success is about how much you love and give of yourself to help other people.

 It is about how you connect and help everyone’s dreams and creations move forward.

True success is not an individual thing at all.”

~ Barbara Bernard Miller, MIGHTY INSPIRATION, Love Letters from God (pp. 64)

Have you ever noticed how so many people who define success in a worldly way are so unhappy? They strive for money, things, possessions, and victories. They attain those things and look around and still find themselves lacking in fulfillment. Nothing seems to be enough. No achievement ends the quest for more, more, more. That kind of success feels hollow and solitary. It is fleeting in its enjoyment and temporary in its existence.

God has other ideas of how to define success. His message, as quoted above from my book, tells of the divine definition of success. Have you noticed when you put this aspect into action how much more fulfilling life is? Have you experienced the gift you give to yourself and your life when you have helped others attain their dreams? That success is permanent. It rings solid and true in our heart and spirit. It brings inspiration and drive to help more and more people to their fulfillment.

As I think of how our world is changing and economies crumble and jobs are lost, it makes me look at this quote differently. If we but reach across the worldly “game” of success to practice the divine essence of success we might all become successful. If we stop competing so hard and start cooperating, there is a chance for true success.

Something to think about. Be blessed!

Emotional Rituals


A long time ago I consciously realized how much humans are a ritualistic people. I don’t think we actually measure the passage of time by the clock or the calendar, but rather we mark time through rituals and ceremonies. We create rituals for weddings, births, deaths, graduations, birthdays, wins and losses in sports, promotions, retirements, holidays, new years, and the list goes on and on. They are all important rites of passage that help us mentally shift from one circumstance to another. I believe that’s why traditions are so important for people. They are the actions that mark time and the shifting of seasons. It’s how the human brain allows things to end and begin. It helps us with the difficult shift of change.

But there’s one area of life that we seem to neglect, and that’s emotional rites of passage.

Part of my work in human resources is helping with personnel issues. I started to notice that a lack of ritual was at times keeping people emotionally stuck. It showed itself when a project suddenly ended because of priority shifts or lack of funding and teams unceremoniously and abruptly disbanded. This left people with feelings of separation and incompletion. Sometimes it was when roles shifted and people suddenly found themselves temporarily without a manager. Without warning their career support system was just gone with no idea when someone new would be coming. They felt abandoned, even though they intellectually understood what was happening. Other times it was when someone was demoted and quietly moved to other work. This left a list of emotional stuckness for the person and sometimes for the managers who had to make the decision. People can’t always articulate what is in the way for them but moving forward seems extra hard or nearly impossible. I have learned some things from these struggles and have been able to help people create their own private rituals to make the emotional shift, thus helping them mark one time as over and the next to begin. I’ve seen it work time after time.

Because of that work, I started to notice the times when I am stuck because there was no ritual. I became increasingly aware of the need to create my own private rites of passage. I have found that it has made all the difference. Here’s a few examples:

> Going through a divorce and dealing with the sudden change at home was the first one I noticed. Sure there was the court date that served as ceremony for the divorce and marked the shift in marital status. But where I found myself stuck was with the sudden and awkward emptiness in the house. The way we interacted in the space had suddenly changed and I felt like normal routines were shifting like quicksand. In this case, the house wasn’t filled with loving family helping to box up or sort through personal belongings or memories as would happen if there had been a death. It was just me and my kids, suddenly and obviously filling and using the home differently. So I created a blessing ceremony. My kids and I lit a candle and walked through each room of the home saying a prayer of peace and harmony. I reclaimed the house as my own and blessed it. That made all the difference to me emotionally and whether they knew it or not, I believe it made a difference for the kids as well. It felt like I was “moving in” to my home on a new emotional level.

> As my daughter moved to college, and later to New York for her co-ops, I knew the moves were temporary but they were a shift in my emotions. I felt awkward and alone in a different way. I wasn’t officially an empty-nester yet but it was coming in waves. So after each time she temporarily moves out I have created my own ritual. This one always starts with a few tears. For those who know me – no surprise there! They are not tears of mourning as much as sentimental tears as I do a mini walk down memory lane of the little bitty girl who I’ve proudly watched grow up and become independent. I don’t plan on this part of the “ceremony” but since it keeps coming up spontaneously I’ve learned to accept it as part of my what I need. Then I will make myself a cup of tea or glass of wine and I sit and make a list of things I want to accomplish while I have this time of solitude. I follow that by viewing a favorite movie that I have enjoyed with her over the years and I mark the ceremony as complete. It really has made the transition go more smoothly for me when I’ve done this.

> When I was selling the home that I raised my kids in, it was on the market for 5 years. I had renters for a little while, but when they moved out there was a lot of cosmetic but costly damage. I worked hard and fixed it back up to sell. Through that time, although I no longer lived there, I found it emotionally hard to go through the house in its empty state. I wanted so desperately to sell it, but it felt like the house was clinging to me. I needed to somehow move emotionally past it in order to sell it. So one day I decided to do something different. Rather than avoid the memories and the emotional ties, I chose to have a releasing ceremony. Again I walked through each room of the house. This time, rather than claiming it, I released it. I sat in each empty room and allowed the strong memories to come to me. I smiled. I cried. I forgave. I acknowledged. I mourned. It was all about the people and experiences that had taken place there. I had loved that house so completely when I had moved in. So I energetically thanked the house for sheltering me and my family. I placed a drop of the essential oil named Release in a corner of each room and left a silk flower on the window sill in the kitchen as a gift-giving gesture. I verbally and ceremoniously said good-bye to that house and with a heart of gratitude I left the house differently that day. Yes, I know the house wasn’t actually clinging to me, but I was emotionally clinging to it as my “family” home. That ceremony allowed me to make the emotional rite of passage I needed to move from owner to maintainer. Shortly thereafter the house finally sold. Was it magic – no. Was there an energetic and emotional shift there – absolutely!

Those are a few examples of ceremonies that I have created. They have worked so well for me and I’m thankful that I learned to be conscious of my emotional/mental need for ritual. I encourage you to look for the places where your heart is stuck. Do what works for you as a ceremony. And be blessed.

My Fashionista


Well, it’s official. As of around 2:00 this morning, I no longer have any children in my household. My youngest, Maria turns 21 today. I have such mixed feelings about this. As I tell her, you may not be “a baby” but you’ll always be “my baby”. This never sits well with her but it makes me giggle none the less.

I’m sure she’ll demand I remove this post as soon as she sees these pictures, but, alas it is in the parent’s handbook that we get to embarrass brag on our children as we see fit. I intend to do so.  Grab a cup of coffee  Girlie-goo and chillax about it!

Here’s to you Maria – you’ll always be my little princess. I love you and could not be more proud.  Happy Birthday!

Wonderin' and Ponderin'

Little Flower Girl

Aloha to grade school

Beauty of the Ball

Sr. Year

Off to College

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Fashionista

Healing Hands


Today falls into the category of one of my favorite days. Actually this particular “brand” of favorite is one that you can have as well.  What makes it special is the gift of massage.

I’ve had some of the most profound healing at the hands of a medical massage therapist. Part of that was physical with the release of tension and sore muscles. The other part was emotional/ mental/ spiritual. How’s that you ask? Well I combine the physical practice with my meditation or prayer practice. The combination creates a session that intermingles the relaxation and healing intentions of the therapist with my own inner intention of healing on many levels. The effect is quite profound really.

I used to say that when I am rich and famous I would get a massage every month. That seemed like such a lofty goal. But I realized a few years ago that it really isn’t so extravagant in pricing as to preclude me from having my rich and famous treat right now. Yep, I’ll trade in a new pair of shoes, or purse, or other “luxury” to pamper myself in this way. And the beauty of this realization is that it has opened up many opportunities that in the past I would have looked past.

One of them is my daughter’s friend, Amanda, who is now studying to be a massage therapist. Did you know that students have to do so many hours of massage (and at a very cut-rate price) in order to graduate? They’ve had many hours of practice in class so this isn’t a torturous experience. They are nearly ready to go out on their own and have experience before they ever touch a client. Add into that the “no tipping” policy for students, and this luxury is not really priced like one.  So I go whenever I can schedule an appointment. This is my hidden treasure and I’m glad that I found it.

I urge you to surrender to some healing hands, and be blessed!

Puppy Pile of Angels


Do you believe in angels? I do and I know I’m not alone.

I find it interesting that every religion that I’m aware of includes these beings of light and love. They show up in the teachings of ancients, as well as modern-day man. The Torah contains many stories of mystical experiences, including visitations by angels in prophetic dreams and visions. In the New Testament of the Bible, angels foretell and herald the birth of Christ and sing at the heavenly throne. Angels also are major figures in Buddhism and Hinduism, Celtic and Norse mythology, and in many Shamanistic legends. They may have different names but they appear nonetheless.

Not that it really matters – I believe in them no matter what organized religions may have to say about them. I think I’ve always known that I had angels, many of them, surrounding me and working on my behalf. My upbringing tells of a special guardian angel that we all have traveling with us on this life journey. They are assigned to protect us. As a child I would recite the prayer that was taught to me:

“Angel of God, My Guardian Dear, to whom God’s love commits me here.

Ever this day be at my side to light and guard and rule and guide.”

Ahhh, but I have what one friend described as a “puppy pile” of angels flocking around me. I feel them. I sense their guidance, like the time I was driving down a dark road and heard a voice urge me to slow down and look about 10 seconds before a small child on a bike darted across the street. I knew in that second that I had been warned by one of my angels. And that’s happened to me time and time again, whether it be when a car was about to run a red light and almost hit me or other times when my own distracting thoughts are halted by a word of “LOOK!” I’ve been warned when not to walk down a certain flight of stairs or when I needed to attend to my child who was about to get hurt. Some will say it’s coincidence but the difference is in the urging of the communication. It’s an energy that I feel and not just a hunch.

Heck, I often laugh and say that my parking angel has come along with me and find it nearly amazing when I always find a spot right where I need it. She’s faithful, that angel, that’s for sure!

I believe that our angels are not just guardians. They serve as guides, encouragers, healers, comforters, and so much more. In the near future I plan to paint some of the angels that I sense around me and others. I look forward to them revealing themselves to me. Perhaps I’ll paint your angel for you!

Do you know your angels? May they continue to conspire on your behalf and may you be blessed!

Legacies


Today I was watching a documentary about Abe Lincoln. I’ve never really been a history buff because in grade school it was all about the memorization of dates. That was of little interest or use to me. But the one element that I did enjoy was the telling of stories. When I could hear the stories of the characters of history, instead of or in addition to the dates, I suddenly had a different opinion. Likely this is because I live my life in the service of connection with other people, not just in the facts and figures of their lives.

One element of Abe’s story that was told today was about his ongoing battle with depression. The interesting thing about it was that he rose to fame and glory almost in spite of the depression. He allowed himself to feel what he felt but still went on the quest of a meaningful life. He stated at one point to a friend that he did not want to die without being remembered for something important, and for him it was the Emancipation Proclamation. That was indeed something worthy of being remembered.

This post isn’t really about Abe though, but rather, it’s about legacy.  I do believe that each of us has a legacy, or legacies, that we are called to leave behind. Some of them may be consciously created, like Lincoln’s, and others are simply alive in the memories of those we interact with but are not declared. As I look at those that I have lost in my family I can clearly see their legacies – joyful strength, strong work ethics, patience, love of family, and smiling faces.

As time creeps on and I get closer to retirement I have spent some time thinking of my own legacies. At work I’ve been blessed to hear from some people what they “remember” about me. One woman recently commented that I’m always smiling. That was one I wasn’t even conscious of but it delighted me to know. Several others have mentioned how they love the weekly inspirations I post on my board and how they deliberately walk by my office to see what I’ve shared. This pleases me so much because I want to consciously and deliberately touch the lives of others and inspire them to be their best selves. Still others have mentioned my passion for diversity and inclusion and they can see the mark I am leaving on the organization because of my work in this area. That is a good legacy and I’m motivated even more to continue with this. And as much as I never planned on it, I’ve been told that I am known for my skills and abilities in dealing with employee relations issues. As an HR professional, this is a very good skill and I’m glad to be known for it. I’m sure I have other legacies, some less noteworthy or positive, given that I’m a flawed human being. But for the most part, I am pleased that these are the things I’ll be remembered by.

From a personal standpoint I know that many people will remember me for my book, MIGHTY INSPIRATION, Love Letters from God. Not just the book and it’s content, but also the story of how the book was written. That is a legacy that I am more than delighted to leave behind. And, with more time, I intend to add more books to the list. God willing!

As a daughter, sister, friend and mother I am much less sure what my legacies would be. I guess that is the story left untold for now. I know that both my good points and bad points show themselves more frequently to those I love. I hope the good outweigh the bad. I hope what I believe in and stand for overshadow that which I failed at or stumbled through.

Do you know your legacies? I’d love to hear who you’ve been in the world – it does inspire me and others to hear your story.

Share your legacies and be blessed!

I’m just saying …


‎”The two words ‘information’ and ‘communication’ are often used interchangeably,

but they signify quite different things.

Information is giving out; communication is getting through.”

~ Sydney J. Harris

When I saw this quote it made me stop, and smile, quite frankly. How many times have I heard my kids, co-workers, or myself for that matter utter the words, “I’m just saying”?  Well clearly if we’re all just saying then likely no-one is listening, internalizing, aligning, comprehending, acknowledging, or giving a dang. Yep, there’s surely no communicating going on there! Kinda like writing a blog that no-one is reading. (Sorry, did I say that?)

Then throw in any other dynamics, like gender gap, generational gap, cultural gap, or opinion gap and we have a whole bunch of information flying around or falling flat on the floor. Just the awareness and mental picture of it is sad and exhausting. As my Mom used to say, guess we all just want to hear ourselves talk. Ouch, never fun to admit when mamma was right!

It’s all so simple, and yet so profound. I must practice “just listening” instead of “just saying.” I fear I have a long way to go.

Communicate and be blessed!

I wanna see man’s divinity to man


One of the toughest lessons I have tried to teach my children (and, frankly to remind myself) is to act/react based on who I am and NOT based on who the other person is being. That means that my morals will rule, not theirs. My intended respect for the other is still intact, no matter how badly they behave toward me. Wow, not an easy thing to do but it is one that I think is so important, especially in these days when people can bully and badger without even being in the same room because of technology. Here’s a poem I keep in my kitchen to help me remember …

I have to admit, I’m appalled at some of the behavior I’ve seen from some people who I thought I knew. Have you noticed the nastiness on Facebook and other social media? No wonder the kids these days laugh at (i.e., ignore) their parents’ teachings because they say one thing and do another. Here’s a few:

> I’ve seen truly kind and compassionate Christians spew forth hateful words with righteous indignation because they want to force their beliefs on someone else. Not like that ever works, right?! And it surely doesn’t make a non-Christian want to be anything like them.

> I’ve seen people curse, damn to hell, and otherwise verbally assault politicians and their supporters. Yes, there’s a lot to be concerned about and some fundamental differences on what is right, but frankly, from my vantage point, there’s not a politician I truly trust in the end anyway. Follow the money people! But the verbal assaults don’t actually accomplish anything other than to show your true nature in the face of opposing points of view.

> I’ve winced at how badly people cross the line in order to “root” for their favorite team. Teasing is fine. A little smack-talk is alright. But threats and badgering is so not okay! But I’ve seen it and it makes my blood boil. It certainly erodes my respect for people who put a game at that level of importance and condone quite evil behaviors.

> I continue to notice that so many people operate in a “you have to lose, in order for me to win” attitude. That infuriated me in my marriage and continues to infuriate me now. Why can’t we find the place where we both win? Why does making anyone lose (face, dignity, safety, etc.) make the winner look or feel better? I just don’t get it!

Anyway, I’m sticking to my poem. I’m forgiving anyway. I’m giving my best and being kind anyway because it hurts my heart to see man’s inhumanity to man.

I pray for the day that I can see man’s divinity to man instead. I pray ….

Puppy love


Today was not one of my better days. The stomach virus hit hard and brought a migraine as his evil side kick. I spent most of the day between the bedroom and the bathroom. Not a pretty sight and certainly not looking or feeling much love. EXCEPT … for my puppy’s love.

Sweet Gracie, my little Bichon Frise, never left my side. I know I’m not alone in giving or receiving puppy love. But today, when I needed some warm fuzzy, she was there. And I’m so glad this little fluffy puppy grabbed my heart 3 years ago.

I’m sending out the love to Gracie and hopefully tomorrow I’ll be more able to think straight and sprinkle the inspiration again.  Be blessed!

I’m okay with that!


After my lovely, solitary, and yet happy Valentine’s day yesterday, I realized something about myself. Oh, I’m probably just joining the ranks of many folks my age who are coming “into their own”. I realized that I am finally at peace with who I am in my life.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying I have it all figured out or that my learning and growth is complete. No way – I love to (and need to) learn. I’m not saying all is sunshine and holidays. Nope – life has many ups and downs and I know I’ll experience many more of both. And I’m definitely not saying I’ve got the answers to my foibles and shortcomings, because I’m still working on those til my dying day. But I am finally at peace with this person I call me.

As a parent, I can look at my children and know that I did the best I could in every moment I’ve had raising them. Some were not stellar moments for me but it was the best I had to give at the time. Some stood out as the best of the best of me, which can only be attributed to the up raising I had by the wonderful family who adopted me, as well as the faith I have carried within. As I move dauntingly and quickly toward empty-nest status, I know I have done my job well and raised two human beings who have an appreciation for life and respect for others. They also are not perfect but they are good human beings. I have given them a moral foundation that they may or may not cling to, but I have provided it. I have scrimped and sacrificed so they could get the best education within my means. As my youngest is about to be 21, I am painfully aware that I have shifted roles from mommy to mom/friend. I’m okay with that.

As a woman, I can look at my life and know that I have not always taken the high road or the right road. But I can say I’ve come 180 degrees from the flippant, self-conscious, insecure girl who made bad choices to fill the holes in her heart. I may still have some holes in my heart but I know I can’t fill them with men who do not appreciate or respect me. I cannot fill them with self-destructive self-talk or behaviors. I can only examine them, learn from them, and fill the rest of my life with things for which I have a passion. I know for certain that I will never turn my weaknesses into strengths but I can work to neutralize them.  The holes – well, those are for God to fill. I’m okay with that.

As a friend, I know I’ve made a few cherished ones along my lifetime. They are precious and constant, no matter the distance of time or space. They are unconditional and truly genuine. On my end, I know that I am loyal and supportive. I may not always be perfect, or do the perfect thing, or say the perfect thing, or have the perfect memory. I can say that I am always true in my intention and love of those who I’m blessed to call mine. I’m okay with that.

As a Christian, I know that I have God in my life. In every up and down I’ve traveled through, I have never wavered in my knowledge that I am loved and I will be okay. As I like to say, God hasn’t abandoned me yet, I’m pretty sure he’s not going to start today. I have learned that it’s just fine for me to speak my faith. I don’t need to hide it. I don’t need to scream it. I can speak and show my faith without tearing down what others believe. I do not need to convince others of what I believe or know – I couldn’t if I tried. I simply need to live my faith and share my story.  The rest is their journey. I’m okay with that.

I say all this, not because I have a perfect life. Haha, that is hysterical because I have a decidedly imperfect life. I make mistakes all the time and I chastise myself for them too. I know I’ll forgive myself but I won’t forget. I have troubles and strife that seem to shadow me to a point that is nearly unbearable. But in the end, I know that I am a survivor and not a victim. I have scratched and clawed myself to a level of integrity and faith that only trouble can guide me to. I know I’m an imperfect woman with a desire to improve all the time. I’m okay with that.

So, through it all and in it all, I am finally at peace with who I am. I pray you can be at peace … and be blessed too!

Valentine Revelation


“Love is the condition in which the happiness of another person is essential to your own.”

~ Robert Heinlein

Today is Valentine’s Day, as everyone with any proximity to Hallmark knows. It is full of hearts, flowers, candies, and sentiments of love. I think we forget that the original Valentine was not a message to a romantic lover at all, but rather a message of love to those who were praying for the imprisoned St. Valentine.

Today I woke up not knowing how I should feel about this Valentine’s day. Had I remained married, this would have been my 25th anniversary. And yet, I feel no sadness about that, just acknowledgement. And the loves of my life, my children, are both out-of-town today. I love you Tony & Maria! But I do not feel lonely because of that either. I am not feeling the “down” emotions that I thought I might today. I woke feeling loved.

I had purchased some packets of yummy Ghirardelli chocolates so that I would have a sweet treat today. On my drive into work I stopped to pick up breakfast. As I was sitting in my car waiting to pull up to the drive through window to pay, I got inspired to share a chocolate with the ladies in the window. Wow – what a huge smile they both had when I handed them the cherished bit of chocolate and wished them a happy day. In that moment I realized that all the love I need on Valentine’s day is the love I spread around. With that, my mission for the day was clear – I would be the person who greeted everyone I see with a Happy Valentine’s Day smile and a chocolate. My heart is renewed and I have already seen the spark come back into the eyes of those I’ve met today. I don’t know if they are alone and I’m the only one who will give a love filled greeting to them. I don’t know if they are missing a loved one who has passed or gone far away. I just know that my encounter with them was a brief but genuine greeting of love.

So for today, everyone I see is my Valentine! To those who read this message – Happy Valentine’s Day to you! May you spread the love and be blessed!

For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,

that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. John 3:16

The whole enchilada


We have a concept in our company called “bringing your whole self to work”. With all the diversity and inclusion work that we do, that is our ideal goal. We do a lot to make our culture such that this is a reality and not just an empty slogan. The intent is that each person feels they can bring their individual passions, talents, skills, personality, and strengths to the workplace. And we are valued for who we are and how we see the world as a way to make our products better and our consumers more delighted. I love that concept and have been thinking about whether it is true for me. Here are the facets of myself that I do bring to work:

> Integrity/Moral Compass – I do not need to abandon what I believe in when I do my work and interact with people. This isn’t about religion but rather trust, honesty, respect, doing what’s right, etc.  This is so important – I would need to leave if this were not the truth for me.

> Passion for personality types – understanding what makes people “tick” and how they work together has been a long-standing passion and interest of mine. Being in HR and working with organization design and team dynamics is exactly what I need to be doing for this passion to come to work with me.

> Creativity – not just in problem solving, but also in creating a fun and energizing place to work definitely comes in with me. I especially love to bring this part of myself to “play” in my job. It’s much more about how I think and work rather than just what I’m working on.

> Compassion – is especially alive when I work with employee relations issues. I balance compassion for the person with doing the right thing for the Company. Being a principle-based company vs. rule-based makes this a lot easier for me to do.

> Spontaneity – while the workplace has much rigor in it, there are always opportunities for me to take initiative and be spontaneous within my own projects. For the most part, I’m the driver of my timing and schedule, which leaves room for my spontaneous side to thrive within the box.

> Leader – being in “middle management” brings opportunities to lead projects, as well as people. There’s a wealth of A-type personalities in my company so being a leader is important. I don’t just drive the strategies and priorities, but also influence the players. Leadership is an easy part of myself to bring and use at work.

> Humor – there’s nothing more fundamental to human beings than to smile and laugh. Luckily, I work with a group of folks who have just as much of a wacky sense of humor as I do. We get a big laugh quite frequently, which makes the hard work go down just a bit easier.

There are so many aspects of who I am and some do not translate into the workplace. That’s okay, because the ones that do relate all seem to be coming with me. I don’t feel like I’m abandoning “who I am” in order to do what I do. I know this makes me fortunate. I am grateful for the blessing.

What about you – do you bring your whole self to work? Are there some aspects of your personality, talents, or strengths that you leave at home because they are not valued? I challenge you to see if there is something you can do about that.

In the meantime, be whole, and be blessed!

Consignment treasure


I recently found a new treasure in the heart of downtown Covington, Ky. I was visiting there for a wedding in December and had to kill a bit of time between the ceremony and reception. I haven’t really checked out that area in many years. So in my meanderings I came across a consignment shop. When I walked in I could smell the aroma of the season with some candles burning and sweet vignettes set out around the store. I was immediately taken to a place of nostalgia. There were items to catch the eye and the heart all around.

And that’s when it happened – I turned the corner and there IT was. I have been looking for a beautiful buffet for my dining room for about 5 years now. Oh I’ve checked furniture stores and antique stores and even the occasional fantasy on ebay, to no avail. Now, here in the middle of a little local business it sat in all it’s glory.

Being new to consignment shops I had to learn the ropes. As weeks pass they drop the price dramatically from 25% to 50% and as luck would have it on any “wacky Wednesday” they take another 20% off whatever they sell that day. Ahhhh, this was music to my ears. As an avid bargain shopper I was now in my element. So with much trepidation I left my treasure there to make it’s trip down discount lane. Each weak I feared that MY buffet would get swept up by another bargain lover. But when the price fell to rock bottom and Wacky Wednesday rolled around I made the call. There were 3 people in the store looking at it when I called but the owner knew I had been waiting to scoop it up – I was not to be undone! My patience had been tested and I succeeded in conquering my spontaneous nature. So I bought the piece on the phone. I had merely to wait 3 days for the delivery guys to have a chance to bring it my way.

I have to admit, in my dining room it looks even more beautiful than I had imagined. It is deep and sturdy with carved flowers and scallops. It even has my favorite – ball and clawfoot legs. It looks like it was made to go there and coordinates beautifully with my large curio cabinet and the two antique chairs that I got from my Aunt. Now this year, when it’s time to bring out my treasured nativity scene I will have the perfect treasure to display it on. My most cherished Christmas item has found a home!

Now, all I need is the perfect picture or mirror to go above. I think I might go shopping. Join me?