Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Some leadership thoughts

I was at the Lighthouse, a church I have mentioned before on this blog, on Saturday night. The last time I was there, I bought all the CDS, so this time I was able to sing along with most of the songs, even singing the harmony line. My day had been spent interviewing candidates for a position in our Miami program and so I was thinking about how I lead my staff. I am pretty sure that singing harmony is the best way to do that, and I hope that I do that.
I am a true soprano…I have been told many times. In voice lessons both in college and seminary, I was asked to “keep my range” of a soprano instead of sing alto. While writing my thesis of raising the prophetic voice in congregations and taking a voice class, I was challenged with the question – “Why are you afraid to be heard as a soprano? Why don’t you want the spotlight? What does this mean in light of your thesis?” In response, I was given a lead in a song that made me sing a high G all by my lonesome, by that same professor. I did it with a smile – might have actually been the highlight of my singing days.
While I liked the challenge on that song, whenever given the chance I sing Alto or a made up harmony line. I have been told that those who need a challenge in singing to the radio, everyday church hymns, or the standards like Happy Birthday often become the harmony singers of the world due to the challenge. I like providing this background noise, the layer that provides a new sense of the whole picture. The challenge is knowing that when I hit the wrong note, I can ruin even the melody. I am up for the challenge.
I have a staff of six or seven depending who is counting. They all have different styles, different gifts, different core values, different trainings and a different geographical location. They each have a core melody that is beautiful. They study the city they are in which provides some of the notes, their understanding of God that creates other notes, and their personality shapes other notes. Sometimes this is a solid melody, other times it can pretty nervous. However, it is a beautiful melody.
As a support and lead my staff, I come in as a backup singer would come into their superstar lead. I am not to be noticed by the public, just make the melody stronger. The commencement of the alto line makes the sopranos sing better and project more. I want my leadership influence to be background support, making the resources available, providing education, and providing cheerleading so each can have a stronger melody.
I used to attend a church that loved to sing 4 parts all the time. One Sunday I stopped and listened and couldn’t hear any soprano….I could hear a solid bass, tenor, and alto but no freaking soprano. I switched mid line, mid phrase. Without melody there is no reason for harmony. So, yes, occasionally I have to listen to my staff and my gut and switch to melody. Take the lead. Take charge of the situation just like taking charge of that high G. I am a true soprano, remember?
Hopefully, by providing a basic, supportive, and beautiful harmony line most of the time I can keep my staff resourced and supported. Maybe I can get so good that I can stop wondering if I can hit that high G!

Jim's favorite place to give money

In the midst of paying bills and reviewing our budget each month, I have one bright spot. Our give away money. My mom and dad used to make me give away 50 cents of my $1.50 allowance, and I still like the practice. I enjoy figuring out what places I want to give the money for the month other than our church. I have fun deciding, knowing that next month it will probably be different. Jim is usually hands off in the process partially because I do the budget and because I get so much joy from it. Several months ago he asked if we could add Child’s Play to the list. This month we gave them our giveaway money. As the causes we usually give to are my passions, Jim found this charity that provides video games and all the fixins to hospitals that have children’s wards. Jim was able to go to the website and find out a hospital in Wisconsin and which video game pieces they were missing and purchase them from Amazon and they go directly to the hospital. What a fun way to give!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

me and joslyn

I found this on my hard drive just now...I thought it was cute.

The Big Bang Theory

This is not about THE Big Bang Theory. Its about the CBS sit-com The Big Bang Theory. I have the first season with me while I am in LA - I laugh out loud each episode. It is based around Leonard and Shelton two physics researchers whose only friends are other researchers until a "normal" girl moves in next door.

I love Leonard - the guy who tries to live in the real world most of the time - realizing that his friends have gone a little overboard. But I also admire Shelton who is just so smart that social concerns just go over his head. The writing is terrific. You aren't going to get a message, and it does border on making fun of the geeks, but it still is a solid laughable show. A bonus: I see glimpses of both Jim and my dad in almost every episode.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Just finished a "marathon" run of updates to the website I I seem to always put it off till I have hours of work. Considering the fact that I didn't go to school for web design I think I do a pretty good job, of course opinions and critiques are valued. I've been managing it for over a year and a half and the initial design took me about a month

A Cool book and my thinking about it

I just finished “The Amazing Adventures of DietGirl” by Shauna Reid. Ms. Reid started a blog in 2001 to help her journal about losing weight, but though the process really touches on the emotional toll that overweight people sometimes have. I found myself in the pages as well as being challenged by thinking about two questions in particular.
1. How to talk about your weight loss plans with others?
I have read so many articles and heard so many people’s opinions about this particular topic. Some say “tell no one”. Some say “tell everyone”. What I find fascinating about Shauna’s story is that why people around her knew she was losing weight, they did not know about her blog that had an international following of its own. She wanted to keep that separate. That makes sense to me. In the last couple days I have been thinking hard (probably too hard) about this.
I have been back on the healthy lifestyle bandwagon for about 2.5 months now. I am an active member of (where I heard about Reid’s book). I track my food, my workouts, read way to many articles and obsess over all the meaningless points that they give for doing these tasks. I have become really good at doing this at home sort of in private. But in December, when I looked at my January schedule, I knew that all that could go out the window while I traveled. So, I made a decision to make it a priority to tell people when I arrived in a city that I wanted to watch what I was eating and that I would be making time to exercise. It was scary for two reasons. First, I truly don’t want to be a bother. I don’t want people to have to extra hard on my behalf. I want to fit in, go with the flow, be easy to host. People become concerned and sometimes stressed when trying to find a place with remotely healthy food that isn’t Subway. Second and more scary, people will be watching over my shoulder to see if I really do choose the healthy option and really do exercise. (Like when I ordered Green Chile for supper in Denver – oh, I miss green chile.) If I let people in, then they may see me fail. And that is the scariest thing for me ever.
Sparkpeople gives a blog to each of its members where I could have posted this long entry. Instead, I am working it out in the midst of my friends who read this blog (and linking it to my Sparkpeople one – hey I get a point for posting there – ah, stupid point system!). Many that know that I have tried this before, sometimes working, sometimes not. I hope this time it will stick.
2. How to think about it as a part of your life?
Reid’s amazing weight loss from over 300 lbs to a healthy 150-160 range took over 4 years. Her first stretch she worked on it constantly. It took over her life (she admits later in the journal). Later, with her social calendar updated, she took a slightly less formal approach to the whole thing.
I sometimes wonder if the first stretch it has to take up your life. Do you have to get on a roll? Now, I fight this. Heck, I have a life. Heck, I live in Chicago – a place where all kinds of food exist. Do I have to always cook to stay on track? (We went out for Vietnamese last week, and I was able to stay on track – but that is an exception.) Do I have to spend all my time tracking, making goals, trying to figure out my emotions behind food?
I think I liked Reid’s story because it was a long process. She took her time – having a life but taking a journey to a healthy place. It wasn’t the story of one year or even two – it was a process.
What do people think? Is it better to start out really focused? Or is it better to see the whole thing as a process? (I know everyone is different, but hey I would like opinions!)
And while I make fun of Sparkpeople’s points, I really do love what it offers- and for free! This is my plug for it –


We can not become what we need by remaining what we are. Max Dupree

Wednesday, January 7, 2009


It's never too late--in fiction or in life--to revise

- Nancy Thayer, author

Monday, January 5, 2009

Apartment life....

I was woken up this "morning" at 2 am by one of our neighbors who decides that whenever it is too hot or cold to loudly bang on our door whenever she feels like it whether it's 11 pm, 2am, or 6am then calls our landlord when we don't answer the door. We also got yelled at for someone else who drives through the neighbors parking area into our yard then called the cops and had the car that blocked his entrance even though he doesn't live in the other apartment to get the car blocking his exit towed. Our shower is falling apart and I just informed the landlord of this and hopefully she can fix it soon.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

New Chair!

I'm geek for old 1970's era chairs, the last one I purchased was off of craigslist for $15.  This time we randomly decided to go to a local Salvation Army that we've never been to and I found the chair below for a whopping $45 and donated my old chair to Krista's office because she likes my old one as much as I did.  Enjoy the pictures below


Friday, January 2, 2009

quote of the day

When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the fire department generally uses water.

This makes me laugh - it is so true!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year from a very cold Chicago

I came to my senses and didn't go to the polar bear swim partially because I saw this picture that we took a week ago at the Lincoln Park Zoo.

New Blue Shoes

Have you ever started looking at people’s feet wishing you could switch with them? I haven’t ever had that feeling with the intensity of last night. Let me take you there.

With plans to go to the swanky bar to ring in the new year, when I headed downtown to visit the Freedom Museum and the Cultural Center I dressed up complete with semi-comfortable heels instead of my more comfy dressy crocs. Once I arrived at Clark and Lake, I realized my choice of shoes might have been better thought out. My right big toe was already screaming, “What the heck were you thinking?”

I walked the 6 blocks to the Freedom Museum with my mind wondering if I would get kicked out of the museum if I walked around in my hose. Standing was not as painful so I was enjoying every do not walk red hand I was stopped by during my outside time, begging the cold to make my feet numb. It did not, for once, oblige.

As much as I like museums, I sometimes dislike the movies that usually set the stage for said museum. I watch the Freedom Museum’s twice – never mind I had my shoes off. (It was actually a pretty good movie.) Standing a lot, moving slowly – the museum was kind to my feet. And yet, I was drawn to look at the other guest’s feet wishing that those tennis shoes, those loafers could be my feet.

I then had planned to walk the 4 blocks to the Cultural Center, but boarded a bus instead. When I arrived at the Cultural Center to see a certain exhibit, I looked on the “What is happening today” board – and my feet learned that it was on the 4th floor. I headed up the stairs. My feet were screaming – “I am done.” I took my shoes off and walked the rest of the way with my hose. My feet were done, but better.

As I stared in the Chicago Tourism Store, my feet fought putting the constrictive heels back on, but they conceded when I made the decision to walk to a shoe store – so I could walk to Jim’s work and then to the swanky bar. It was approximately 4 blocks to the downtown Crocs store. I was walking so slow due to the pain that I got passed by a woman in a walker! People on their way to New Year’s Eve festivities actually knocked into me. So I got off the sidewalk proper to stay out of the way. I walked to the front of the state street Payless. As I pondered if I should go there instead – the lights went off. My feet wept.

My feet cried out to the Lord, “Please, O Lord, let the Crocs store still be open.”

The Lord answered the prayer. I decided that I would buy the cheapest shoes in the store. After looking at the sensible color of brown which did not come in my aching feet’s size, I found a bright teal alice that fit just fine that only cost 19.99.

I took the shoes to the counter. I paid. Then as the cashier reached for the bag, I said – wait, can I put my heels in there and where my new shoes out of the store? While they didn’t solve all the damage that my heels had done and they certainly didn’t match – my feet were relieved. We had a great night walking downtown!

Moral of the story: Always choose sensible shoes!