Category Archives: Featured

The Two-Step

This quest for meaningful work feels at times like I am doing the Two-Step.  I am from Oklahoma and you learn the two Two-Step is the first dances you learn.  At its essence it is one step forward and two steps back.

Easy, right?!?  As you begin to learn this basic dance, you often do it by yourself and pretty much stay in one spot doing your one step forward and two steps back.  You look awkward and your arms often flop around looking for what to do.

Eventually, you move on and do the dance with a partner.  Equally as awkward until you become confident enough to find a partner who know what they are doing and then you dance and spin all over the dance floor and feel like a queen…..a rodeo queen, but a queen none the less.

Finally, you get to the point where you can lead and make others feel like royalty.  This is a bit more tricky for women since it is the man who leads the dance, but it is possible.  I have not ever really made it to this point with my Two-Step dance, but I have witnessed it and it is beautiful at a hell of a lot of fun.

Today, on this short week and more than two steps back on the boy’s school front, I feel like that day in seventh grade when I found myself in a group of four friends learning the Two-Step in front of my 20+ classmates.    Picture the Swimming in PE episode of the Goldberg’s…. equally awkward and mortifying.

I feel like I don’t want to keep looking and learning….but I know it is what must be done to get this right.

***To my knowledge, no Rodeo Queen’s were offended by this post.

Investment

I am the first born of two CPA’s born on April 14th.  That is the closest I get to accounting and finances.  I have always hated balancing my checkbook….something that my mom did just for fun.  I can create and manage a budget and I do love raising money for organizations that are close to my heart.

I can say without a doubt my favorite thing to do is invest.  I like to invest my money, my time, my energy and watch it grow.  I keep alluding to something crazy I did a couple of months ago.  I am still not ready to share the details, but I will say that it has been an investment that has already paid off.  In fact, it has paid off more that four times what I put in.

The trick was that I did not just throw money at something….although there was money exchanged and there are monetary gains coming back.  I am putting myself out there, continuing to say ‘yes’ and working very hard to narrow in on what I want to do with the return on this investment.

Saying “Yes!” No Matter What

Today was a big day of ‘Yes’!  I wrote a week or so ago about saying ‘yes’.  It is my full force effort to find meaningful work.

No, I did not accept a new job.  But, I did say ‘yes’ to a training opportunity and then ‘yes’ to a contest and then…..I won.  Without spilling the beans too much, I will say it is one of those entrepreneurial contests that does not come in the form a a new car.

It is however the type of prize that is full of amazing tools that I can use to move forward on this quest for meaningful work and hopefully forge a trail for many to follow in my footsteps.

A Celebration

I woke up this morning feeling hopeful.  This date had become something sad and mournful since May of 2009….if I am honest, probably a couple of years before.  But, today I am not feeling it.  I feel full of life and full of promise.  It was one year ago today that Skyline Urban Ministry reopened under one roof and with the Mac Thompson Food Resource Center.  One year ago the ribbon was cut in the presence of friends and family, clients and board members, community supporters and media.  It was a stressful day, but one that I knew would have a long-lasting impact on my life.  The day was selected by the church officials, but when it was determined to be on November 13th, I knew that date was for me.

Skyline was the first big commitment I took on outside of my family after my mother died.  It was almost three years before I could even think about anything outside of me when I was asked to be on the board.  I guess you can say it was love at first sight and every day since then has had some aspect of Skyline in it.  This became my passion project and through its ups and downs I have loved every minute of it.  In some ways, it saved me.  I still see my mother in so many of the people I encounter.  I see her in the generous board who makes this ministry a priority amidst their busy schedules.  I see her in the clients when their lives are often so chaotic it is difficult to not to feel overwhelmed.  I see her in our finance director and the finance committee….numbers were always her thing and it had to be right.  I see her in the volunteers who slow down long enough to be the hands and feet of Christ to people they do not know.

I have thought lately about being generous.  Where did I get that?  It has come from a lot of relationships and experiences.  Overall, I think I learned to be generous from my mom.  She always said yes to helping others.  Our doors were always open to everyone.  She always talked to me about looking at things from a different point of view.  I had forgotten this about my mom.  I suppose sometimes pain and grief jade our view.  But, today I see it.  And to make it even better…..I had lunch with Jack Thompson, Mac’s son and a dear friend and mentor….to talk about, you guessed it, Skyline.

Mom was born on Friday, November 13th and on this day I celebrate her life, her generous spirit, and the lives touched by the amazing work that has been done and will continue to be down by Skyline.  Mom would be 63 today and I know she is celebrating too.  November the 13th is a day of new beginnings.

That time I was afraid I would run into the Soggy Bottom Boys

Fear is something I struggle with.  Not in an everything scares me sort of way.  I have more of an unnatural aversion to fear that I suppose you get when something that you think you won’t survive happens and you are still alive.

There are a few things that still scare me.  Anything that relates to the safety of my children and  mice in my house are two at the top of my list.  One thing that rarely scares me that I notice seems to frighten other people are strangers.  I have a constant running story in my mind about most everyone I encounter, I think this helps.  It also helps that I have worked with such a variety of people in my life from the very poor to the extremely wealthy and most of the time no one is any more or less dangerous than another.

I guess is why I didn’t think twice when an electrician who was fixing some light fixtures at my house told me about a new running trail I should try, I didn’t think twice.  I did ask if he thought it was safe for a woman to run alone…..that seemed like and appropriate question.  He told me a specific parking lot to park in and said if I started there, I should be fine.  I parked where he suggested and only then did I realize I never asked which way I should go to avoid the urban campsites he warned me about.

I just guessed and went west….it seems like since civilization developed from east to west, this would be the safest route.  About a mile into my run, I realized that this was exactly the terrain he described when telling me where to avoid.  I began to get a funny feeling but I kept on going.  I was fine.  What kind of crazy person did I really think was hiding out there just to see me run by and snatch me?

Finally, I did see someone approaching who brought me comfort.  A man bicycled by me and I laughed out loud at the thought that a strange man dressed in head to toe spandex could bring me such comfort in the middle of nowhere.  I carried on and finished my run in the 40 mile an hour Oklahoma wind only have expecting to see the Soggy Bottom Boys down by the Oklahoma river I ran beside.  I figured the worst that could happen is they would offer me some whisky and try to seduce me……because that is a thing, right?

When I returned to the safety of my care, I realized a few take-a-ways.

  1. It may not be the best idea to ask a young single man if a particular place would make a woman feel uncomfortable.  The answer always seems to be no unless they are a father or a husband and then it is an emphatic yes.
  2. I feel more safe in a crowded city I am unfamiliar with than the middle of nowhere in my own city.
  3. Fear makes you very creative.
  4. O Brother Where Art Thou is a darn good movie.
  5. Sometimes it is good to feel a little fear, it makes you feel alive like jumping into a cold pool.
  6. I will go back, but I think I will run the other direction.