Tag Archive | integrity

My Dad …


My Dad is a friendly, quiet, gentle man. I am blessed to have him as an example in my life. Because he is quiet he sometimes slips into the background of a scene. He likes it there. I wonder if he realizes that even from the background he has given so much and created so many fun and happy memories where he has touched my life.

As a little girl, not long out of the orphanage, I knew he was so strong. I recall how he tirelessly knew I pretended to be asleep after a long night at the VFW. He played along and would carry me from the car to my room. He seemed to know that I needed a Daddy’s arms to carry me at times. I remember the smell of his cologne – Old Spice. To this day I love that classic scent. He never complained or let on. I didn’t know he knew I wasn’t sleeping until I was older and my mom would chuckle about it.

And he has a fun sense of humor – it can sneak up on you and surprise you sometimes, especially if he’s playing cards or a game. I remember how he always liked to play a trick on my mom when he’d give her Christmas gifts. He was forever sending her on a treasure hunt by hiding part of her gift (like one of the slippers or the handle of the skillet) it was silly fun but a great childhood memory.

When I was a teenager he faithfully attended the Father-Daughter dances at my school. I’m sure it was not on his list of things he’d been dying to do but he still seemed to have a good time with the other dads. And he’d always dance a few slow dances with me. He bought me a corsage and would take me to dinner – like a real date. He was always a gracious example of a gentleman. He still is.

And while he has never been heard raising his voice, he certainly has the strength of his tone to let me know I crossed a line. In my youth I was foolish enough to swear in front of him once. He looked at me with a look I had never seen before or since and vowed if he ever heard that in his house again he surely would turn me over his lap and spank me. That was all it took – just that look and those words and I assure you the threat never had to come to pass. It was the only time I actually saw my Dad angry and I knew he meant it.

And now, in retirement, he is such a wonderful grandpa. He spends time, tirelessly playing games with my niece or showing her all his gardening tips. He’s still the “big kid” that used sit with me and laugh at Scooby-Doo while we ate cereal on the living room floor. And it is sweet how my Dad shows his love for my Mom in many everyday and mundane ways. He is forever a servant leader in our family. It is clear that their vows are still alive. He is patient, even in the constant dishes he washes to help her with her home bakery business. He takes delight in hunting down the good deals at the stores for her supplies. He mans the money-box at the farmer’s market so she can chat and sell her yummy treats. I love to watch their partnership and see how much they love each other in what they do and how they look at each other.

My Dad – the thoughtful, kind, faithful, funny gentleman is also one of my heroes. May he have a blessed Father’s Day! You be blessed too!

Remembering …



As we move into the U.S. Memorial Day weekend, I find myself pausing and thinking of my Grandpas who both served in WWII, and who are now passed away.  These two men (along with my Dad who I’m blessed to still have with me) are the face of patriotism in my life. I feel compelled to speak of them for a moment.

My Grandpas were part of the “Greatest Generation” as it has become known. My paternal Grandpa, Jim Miller, was an accountant. He was smart, patient, and quiet. His passion was playing cards and I have so many memories of family Euchre games in his basement. My maternal Grandpa, Juel Bernard, was a foreman for the gas and electric company. He was tan and fit from working outdoors. He was quiet but had a fantastic sense of humor and could fix just about anything. He was the man who taught me to dance a proper slow dance. He also had this half whistle/half hum that he would do that still is so fresh in my mind when I think of him.

They had such different personalities, skills, and backgrounds, but they had some very important things in common. Both had a gentle way about them and were kind men. I never saw either of them exhibit anything but love and generosity. They were honorable beyond question. Their word was their bond. If they said it, they meant it, and they did it. There was no room for them to turn away from family and all they committed to. However, the greatest common trait with these true gentle men was their bravery. I knew little of their service other than that they were in the Army and where they served,  because they kept facts close to the vest. I know that they saw the most horrific things and felt the extremes of emotions and yet neither would burden their loved ones with details.

I remember one Memorial Day I was at my maternal grandfather’s house to celebrate the holiday. We were sitting around the table enjoying the grilled delights as we always did. I asked Grandpa about his service. He was a medic in the Army and said that at the end of the war he was in one of the groups that went into one of the concentration camps. I wish I could remember which one he mentioned but what happened next dimmed that detail. I told him that I was so proud of him. And I said I bet the people in that camp were so thrilled to see him and the other Americans roll in to save them. And in that moment, I saw the tears surprise him as they sprung into his eyes before he could fully turn and walk away so no-one would notice. I always knew he had been profoundly affected by the war, but that was the moment that I saw that the war he served in had forever torn a hole so deep into his heart that he would never, even as an old man, be able to articulate it. That was the only time in my life that I saw my Grandpa cry. It changed me forever.

It changed how I looked at our servicemen and women. I have always respected them. I have always had a deep sense of patriotism. But that was the moment that my heart knew there are no words strong enough to adequately honor the bravery of spirit that was required for these two young, Godly men to leave their loves, families, and friends in order to face imminent threat and possible death. I cannot imagine the horrors that their eyes saw, nor the terror that their hearts and minds lived through.

All I can do is say “thank you”, “I love you”, and honor their sacrifices and their memory by leading a life worth fighting for. I hope I am successful in that mission.

I hope that all those you love who have or do serve their country can sleep each night and know, with unshakeable certainty that they are loved, respected, and honored. Not just by the people they know and love. But also by those, like me, who do not know them by name but recognize them by character. Always remember their bravery and their actions. I honor and pray for all those who have served our country. I bless them and I bless you!

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!