It's September 1st. I know we are officially still three weeks from the beginning of Fall, but September makes me always feel like we are there. Even having moved to the south where we don't see scenes of fall like the photo above until more like November, there is an exciting sense that fall has begun. If you need proof, just drive through your local Starbuck's where you can already get a pumpkin spice latte.
I have always been interested in the way fall seems more like a new year that January. Even when I talk to friends who do not have kids in school, so much of our world begins things in the fall. What does this season hold for you?
It's Thursday, April 14, 2022. In the Christian tradition, today is Maundy Thursday, the first day of the Holy Triduum, a three day acknowledgement of the events leading up and including Easter Sunday. Many other faith traditions are celebrating spring rituals and practices. Even in the secular world, spring comes with many celebrations. We also find ourselves at the 2nd anniversary of the Covid 19 global pandemic. For many of us, the rituals of this season bring back memories of the initial stages of fear and uncertainty that all of us experienced. Fear and uncertainty that hasn't really let up.
All of this has me thinking about the value we place on rituals and gathering.
Do you get reflective towards the end of a year? December is always a time of reflection for me. As I look back on this year, I am struck by how much value my decision to be a part of several mastermind groups brought to this year. The collage above shows an amazing group of women who have inspired, challenged, and cheered me on all year long. So what exactly is a mastermind group and why would you want to experience this magic?
As we approach the end of 2021, one of the themes I see emerging in my conversations with clients is some serious decision fatigue. It makes sense. Prior to the pandemic, statistics reported the average adult was making over 35,000 decisions a day. Even early in the Covid crisis, we had fewer decisions to make than we have had over the last year. As restrictions loosened and vaccines became available, suddenly things weren't as black and white as they had seemed early on. Are we ready to gather? Indoors or outside? How many people is too many? It's exhausting. If you are a parent, you have to make these decisions for more than just yourself. As they like to say here in the south, Blessings on you!
Being overwhelmed can lead to a host of unproductive behaviors. Sometimes we procrastinate and avoid decisions. Other times, we may swing to impulsive or even irrational decisions. Enough already. How can we make it better?
Don't you just hate it when people make assumptions about you. Like if you're really tall, they assume you are into basketball. Or if you carry extra weight, you have health issues. The other day, someone said to me "you're so girly, why do you bother to share your pronouns all the time?" I have been thinking about it ever since. When I first began this practice, I wanted to share them as a sign of solidarity. I want the people I encounter to feel comfortable sharing their pronouns with me. I want them to feel seen and understood and level the playing field to the best that I am able. But the questions made me stop and think.
The thing is, I have always hated feeling like people are making assumptions about me.
As I write this post today, I am taking a break from preparations for hosting my nephew's high school graduation party. With four daughters already graduated and out of the house, I thought I was done with this particular activity. It has me reflecting on my empty, yet frequently refilled, nest and the timing of things. It is such a common thing to say "I'll do that when..." When the children grow up. When things get back to normal. When...
What I have learned about "when" is that when you wait for it, you never really get there. That thing you are feeling called to do, now is when you should start.
Welcome to a new space for my "Words Matter" blog. It is my intention to begin sharing with you the books that are having a major impact on me and my coaching. I will use this space to introduce you to the works that are rocking my world and invite you into opportunities for conversations on the topics they introduce. I am so excited about the first work I am sharing with you; Dear White Peacemakers: Dismantling Racism with Grit and Grace by Osheta Moore. I had the privilege of being invited to the launch team for this amazing work and to read a proof copy. Official book release date is May 18th, so hurry and pre-order to give the book a boost or at least get in on those early days. I will be sharing opportunities for discussion later this summer, so keep checking in for details.
Back in February, I found myself a little overwhelmed by the beginning of the anniversaries. My memories were full of "the last time" pictures. The last time I hosted in person book club. The last time we went to Tuesday Trivia at the local brew pub. Even as I just typed "in person," I had to chuckle. That wasn't even a term we would have used a short time ago. And yet that chuckle contains so much grief. As the memories flood in, so do all the feelings. What a year it has been.
A few weeks ago, I read the story of Rev. Chenda Innis Lee, Associate Pastor at a United Methodist Church in Virginia. Her open letter to the leadership of her church is available HERE. Please read her story in her own voice. It is powerful and has been on my mind since my first reading. I've been thinking about my four grown daughters, my experiences in the church, the way it has pained me to see the wounds inflicted on our clergy who identify as women, BIPOC, LGBTQIA+ and the intersection of all of that with the work I am doing this year with Designed for Joy, an organization that provides living wage jobs for vulnerable women making dangling earrings as a highlighted product.
One of my favorite things about social media is the way memories pop up. When this photo from almost exactly a year ago showed up, I was reminded of one of the best evenings I've had. My home church was lucky to have been asked to host an evening with Wm. Paul Young, the author of The Shack and several other wonderful books. We shared a lovely evening of conversation and fellowship leading up to his presentation. Although I took many notes that night, one quote from his story has continued to resonate with me. It made such an impact that it led me to choose "GIFT" as my word for 2020 (we'll talk about choosing a word for the year in another blog post soon). He said "When you let of your expectations, everything is a gift."
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.