AND Carry It Forward

May 17th, 2015

I was supposed to meet a friend after a quick errand to the bank. On the way, I passed the local high school. Out front was a very animated young man with a large sign. The sign read car wash. I was fascinated by how this industrious youth managed to make eye contact with passing cars and excitedly work to persuade some to enter the high school parking lot.

I continued on to the bank, vowing to stop on my way back. The same young man again made eye contact, and again attempted to persuade me to bring my car to the students for a wash. Laughing, as I remembered having earned my way to trips in school by participating in the same kinds of car washes, I pulled up to the young woman who greeted me. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Honor Thy Mother

May 10th, 2015

Something every human being shares, regardless of culture, geography, age, gender, or any other personally defining characteristic, is that we all have at least one mother. In some cases, our biological mother raised us. In other cases, not. Some of us have chosen to serve as mothers ourselves; some have not. Whatever the circumstances, there is at least one woman in our lives for each of us to honor on Sunday.

Memories of special moments, shared with the woman you call mother, can reappear at any time. I often think of my departed Mom when I shovel snow, an activity we both loved. There are many things I would love to share with Mom today that are not possible, in the physical sense. Yet, I feel a deep reverence for all her sacrifices to raise me and my siblings and a gratitude for all she shared with me. And she lives in my heart always. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Find Your Way

May 3rd, 2015

As I was listening to a talk recently, some words jumped out from the speaker and seemed to hang in the air in front of me. The speaker was describing what it had taken in her life to follow a dream she had had for over thirty years. The words that jumped out were find a way.

What these words do is remind us is that the first step to living your dreams is to be absolutely clear about what you want. When some dream, held deeply in your heart just won’t let you go, then the next step is to find a way. However finding a way is only the beginning. More often than not, we become attached to only one way to have the dream we want. That attachment can lead to an intensity and set of expectations that may blind us from recognizing alternative ways. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Recognize the Real Credentials

April 26th, 2015

While reading an article about a recently departed CEO, I was struck by the description of her credentials, which included how she looked in her brand name shoes and dress. Such a description got me thinking about how media coverage and choice of where to focus attention can impact our sense of what matters. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Magic Is Real

April 19th, 2015

Sweet Briar College, a small liberal arts women’s college in Virginia, announced that it is closing its doors at the end of this year. Alumnae and students describe the feeling they experienced when visiting or attending the school as magical.

In an article in The Chronicle of Higher Education recounting the painful process of reviewing the financial straits of the school, relative unpopularity of women’s colleges today, and socioeconomic makeup of entering classes that drove the Board to close the school at the end of this school year, the author wrote something to the effect that, after all, finances are real and magic is not. The statement stopped me in my tracks. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Nurture the Early Bloom

April 12th, 2015

Spring brings such promise of new growth. The early buds on the trees are a lighter green than the eventual deep green leaves. The first flowers pop up, show their colors, and fade away for the next spectacle of color and form to take center stage. AND the season of early blooms, following the harsh and barren winter, has the potential to awaken dormant gifts in each of us, as well.

As each of us welcomes every new day, we have the opportunity to awaken parts of ourselves that have lain dormant, as we have settled into old patterns of behavior and familiarity. What wants expression in this season of our lives? Is there a desire to play or escape the indoors to feel the warm sunshine? Is there a dream that we can realize, if we are willing to let go of familiarity and sweep away old ways and beliefs that no longer serve us? Is it time to clean away the old in our environments to make way for the fresh and new? Do we feel called to be creative in some way? Read the rest of this entry »

AND Live the Season

April 5th, 2015

It snowed again last week—twice! At the same time, the mourning doves wake me with their song and sit on the railings of the deck. As one season fights to hold on, or at least leave its mark, another sends markers of its impending arrival.

I love watching nature’s signals of what is arriving. We tend to think in terms of seasons that are somewhat static, forgetting the dynamism of the process. The same is true in our own lives.

We give meaning to beginnings and endings—births, birthdays, graduations, promotions, and the like and act as if much more than one day or one moment has passed since the last one. We tend to look at the aggregate, the big pattern, and miss the nuances of individual moments in our lives. Some people sleep through entire decades and seasons in their lives, wondering where they went. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Play

March 29th, 2015

I love when a theme emerges from seemingly disparate contexts. The theme that emerged this week is how important it is to choose to play. It is so amazing what can arise from that simple choice and how it can benefit all of us.

I have been watching some of the women’s NCAA basketball tournament games. The North vs. South Carolina game and any game played by the UCONN Huskies stand out for me. In the first, I watched two teams play with heart to the final seconds. Changing leads, going ahead by a few points, only to watch the opposing team make great shots and shift the lead, cheers, teammates jumping up from the bench to celebrate, and great creativity in passes and shots pointed out the level of play possible when the women played together with heart. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Look Inside For the Resources

March 22nd, 2015

Sometimes insights occur in a singular moment with a quiet whisper that awakens our attention. Other times, we wait so long as to be hit over the head. Any attempt to listen to the news today will be met with stories of violence against women and ethnic or religious minorities. Two particular versions of the stories caught my attention.

One concerns an interview with one of the students from the fraternity in PA that took nude photos of women without their consent or awareness and published them on line. The reason this particular interview stood out for me was that the young man, granted anonymity by the interviewer for the story, proclaimed that he didn’t know what the big deal was because this sort of thing has been going on for years.

Much as the behaviors of Donald Sterling were not new, behaviors that oppress and demean are not new. Women’s voices have long been silenced, as have minority voices, in virtually every powerful mainstream system—politics, governments, organized religions, workplaces—the list goes on. What is new is that there is a groundswell today so loud as to awaken our attention. That something has been going on for a long time does not excuse it. It does not justify it. And it does not forgive those who sit silently by and watch it. Read the rest of this entry »

AND Follow the Feeling

March 15th, 2015

I love the way we talk about spring fever. The term itself connotes some kind of disorder. Then again it may signal heat and passion, perhaps a more apt interpretation for a connection to beauty. Whatever we call it, the gift is to notice the impulse to play hooky from adult responsibilities—and follow it.

As I walked the beach, the wind howled. The sand looked like some kind of desert storm. And above it, still piled feet-high, sits the snow. One footbridge to the beach is still so covered in snow as to hide all the stairs. Another has people sinking to their knees in snow to make it to the beach. Yet, the snow prints of determined walkers mark what will emerge again in spring as access points to the sandy beach. Read the rest of this entry »