Friday, January 21, 2011

Forgetting Coffee ... and Remembering Italy

I tried to enjoy a cup of coffee this morning. I think it took me 2 hours to finish. I'm the most distractable person sometimes! With the schools closed for winter weather and a 2-hour delay at the office, I was determined (or so I thought) to take a personal moment ... coffee and a notebook.

Personal moments = quiet time to remember other things I meant to do already.

Of course, I don't want to forget those things. I pop up and go take care of this little thing ... and then that little thing ... oh, and then the other thing. And it all leads to one much bigger thing. Good thing I don't need hot coffee (mine tends to turn into "frapuccino" most days). I still have my craving for personal time, but now I realize I have to HURRY to get to work. *SIGH*

Sometimes I think I absolutely have to travel in order to disconnect and unwind a bit (and even then, it's a challenge). I wanted an Italy coffee moment this morning. This photo is about as close as I got!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Girl Scouts ... Not Just For Girls

I remember walking into a room full of incarcerated women all waiting for a very non-traditional Girl Scout troop meeting. Hidden behind the crowd of children were two - a brother and sister - there for the first time. The room quickly filled with chatter and hugs, but one moment stood out above the rest. It happened so quickly, I don't remember who saw whom first, but they ran toward one another and the room opened to give them their moment. Hearing the emotion-filled, stabbing cries of a mother mingled with those of her children as they embrace for the first time in years is ... well ... for lack of a better word, it is profound. A Girl Scout, a "tagalong" brother, an incarcerated mother all joined together, now working together toward hope. This is one of the faces of Girl Scouts.

Girl Scouting truly goes far beyond the young girls. I've been thinking about how many connections a girl has in her life ... and they are significant. Imaging if you could inject courage, confidence and character into each of those relationships. How does that affect her mother? Her brother? Her schoolmates? Her teachers? Her mentors? Her future?

I remember interviewing a volunteer who works for her local school district. She shared stories that spanned from Girl Scouting to the schoolyard. I laughed and cried right along with her as she shared moments that changed girls, parents, teachers, volunteers and her. I was humbled by the increasing ripples of impact I heard just through one voice.

I remember being introduced to a woman who said that Girl Scouting was just as much for her as it was for her daughter. The same courage, confidence and character that were being built in the girls was also growing in her. She was able to free herself from abuse and finally see that she, too, had a wonderful and hopeful life ahead of her.

I remember hearing about the adventures of a Girl Scout with disabilities and her troop as they were learning to rappel ... and once again laughed and cried through the trials and triumphs expressed. And I was so thankful for the man (one of our outdoor trainers) who encouraged, empowered and guided this young girl down the rock. Ask him, his wife, or his dedicated family (their daughters are also volunteer leaders) about Girl Scouts and they'll share stories that span generations and build families.

I remember reading a thank you note from a volunteer who never expected to use her first aid training to save her own son. And to the schoolmates of the two Girl Scouts I know who have literally saved lives because of what they learned in their troop? I can barely find words. The impact is eternally priceless.

And even I, being on the lowest scale as I simply hear these stories from the outside, am changed for the better. Imagine how making a difference in our youth could impact the world!
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Beauty of Balance

There is symmetry and beauty in many things. While the play of intricate detail all balanced one with another is remarkable ... I'm also discovering it's largely decorative.  BALANCE.  It always seems so exact.

So I'm thinking about balance in life, which is everything but exact or equal!  Balance is something I hear will save my work-a-holic soul, but I just can't figure out how to get there.  Until yesterday, my vision was one of the scale with two arms that balances everything equally.  I am not a rigid or even a very disciplined person, though I do have a desire for equality.  But I could drive myself mad in trying to achieve it.

Yesterday I was thinking about a number of things ... I started imagining the circus performer who balances a myriad of objects while on top of something ridiculous - like a unicicle or a ball - and it takes a great deal of constant motion to keep everything from toppling.  Now that's more like life.

Then I imagined the ecosystems of nature, how they maintain their own balance ... but it doesn't mean exact or equal, either.  There are seasons. There are storms. And yet, there is somehow a harmonious balance that exists and sustains the life within.

So my new thought is that there can be a great elastisicity to true balance.  This is my new picture of balance, and it's one I might be able to embrace!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Birthday, Mom!

Before I do anything else today (and the opportunities are HUGE as I have the day off and at least a dozen projects in flux) ... I want to be sure I publicly wish my mom a VERY HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

I just happened to ask if there were plans for celebrating her birthday, thinking that I'd probably be able to make time to crash the event with some other Tulsa relatives, and was surprised to find that having special birthday dinners with my step-dad was more of the default and not the actual plan. And it hit me. She's a mom! Moms do everything for others ... They work to make the world go 'round and it doesn't always come back to them. (I'm learning.)

So this weekend, even though time is tight, we had enough to meet partway for a special birthday lunch in Independence, KS at an Italian restaurant Bella Vita. We arranged a special birthday surprise ... didn't they do a nice job? Of course, we also did our traditional birthday blessing (each of us wrote down how she has blessed us and reads it in the group as a way of honoring her), which I can never do without tears. But I get more teary-eyed thinking that we haven't done this for my mom enough!!!

So, Mom, I hope this year is one of the best ever for you. You deserve it! I won't get all mushy-gushy online ... just know you're loved!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, January 07, 2011

Mini Me

Junior Achievement BizTown is something all 5th Graders get to do here ... and it's pretty awesome!  They run a miniature town for a day.  Usually I'm the one with a camera in my hands, but look at my little one! She's the BizTown Tulsa World Photographer.  They actually create and publish a little newspaper for the day.  How cool is that?
Posted by Picasa

How slow do you want the fire to burn?

  Just a little over a year ago, I had an urge to set up my special writing place. One person I wanted to tell was my aunt because I had bee...