Thursday, June 30, 2011

Transition and Change

I'm definitely in a transition period in my life, and things have been coming into my life that talk about transition at this time. I've run across notes from conferences and other bits that focus on this topic. Here are some thoughts I've seen - some really valuable I think.

Transition is part of any healthy organization.

Recognize that for some people collaboration will be an innovative process

Innovation is planned change.

Change for the sake of change is not good, nor should it always be for something new.

Change is part of doing something better. Change is part of making something significantly better.

Change is not an invention. Change is an innovation.

Learning is an outgrowth of change. With learning comes development. With development comes more change.

Will we manage change, or allow change to manage us?

If we decide to react, what form will that take?

Are we enactors or reactors?

What if we fail? Failure has more potential to bring about change.

We do not deal well with failure in the US. Some cultures handle it better.

The only way to create change through collaboration is to eliminate indifference. Everyone must be able to exercise their power without compromising others.

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Author James Magnuson's Advice to Writers

James Magnuson offers the following advice to writers:
  • Find the most powerful experience of your life and write about it.
  • Write about what you're ashamed of.
I wonder in how many cases those would be related.

Also "powerful" has many interpretations. That could mean something that was intensely emotional at the time, or that has remained so over time.

Regardless, it seems both approaches would net something worth reading, provided the writer could be honest about it. That is, indeed, always the trick. I find myself sometimes writing around things instead of going into them.

Sometimes that's because it would be messy for other people, but most of the time it's because it would be messy for me. There might be repercussions - real or perceived. Or I know the mere writing would cause me distress. Of course, not writing can do the same. I suppose when the latter outweighs the former I'll get about it.

Lately I've been getting repeated messages that I need to write about some of the messier, uglier, nastier parts of my own life. I'm not sure what I'll do with those stories once they're written. They're certainly not appropriate for this blog. Perhaps I'll start another one. Maybe an anonymous one. While that's always appealing in the abstract, in reality I can never figure out how to make it work.


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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Letting Go

Earlier today I ran across a note I'd made at some point. I can't recall where I heard it, and unfortunately I didn't jot that down. The note was, "The same amount of strength it took to take it, is the same amount it takes to let it go."

That seems like such a perfect summation of letting go - of whatever you're holding that you need to part with. Unfortunately, it's a little harder to do than a simple statement would lead you to believe.

I like the echoes of Newton's laws of physics in that statement. Of course, I have no idea what Mr. Newton was trying to move past.


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As I have been doing every day, I spent the day making calls, creating new paper and shuffling other paper.

I also had an eye doctor's appointment this morning. I was due for a checkup back in April but when I called to schedule it, today was the first available day that worked. I really, really like my eye doctor and we always have the most fascinating conversations. Today it was about connection and how people seem to be becoming more isolated all the time. We talked about Third Places, travel, the book "Bowling Alone," and a dozen other things. I always want to just talk with him more but he does have other patients.

I did take time for lunch with Julie and Jan. We haven't had a chance to get together for awhile and it was great. They make me laugh.

It was, blissfully, less than 90 degrees today - considerably less than the 100 plus we had over the weekend. I think we have one more decent day and then it's back in the stratosphere. So, tomorrow I need to get motivated to do whatever I must do outside. I haven't even peeked at my backyard but I'm sure it needs to be mowed. On the upside, I probably have ripe blackberries. At least that's what I'm telling myself to motivate me to get out and mow - then pick blackberries.

My next door neighbors, Bob and Ruth, have been taking care of my front lawn. It looks so incredibly nice. The rest of it I just try to keep passable. I need to try to make it into "passable" tomorrow.

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Sunday, June 26, 2011

Late Night Callers Video from Anthony Ladesich

The Latenight Callers THE TEASE from Anthony Ladesich on Vimeo.

This is a really wonderful music video called "The Tease" from the band, The Late Night Callers. The singer, Julie Berndsen, is someone people in this area may know. Congratulations to Julie and her bandmates, and to her proud family.

I'm amazed at the production on this video - aside from the fact that the song is great - this is incredible to look at. It's an Anthony Ladesich production by Mile Deep Films. It's ultra cool - I love the setting.

Take a look and listen - it's really fantastic. How can you not like a song that includes a line, "The twisting hips of Satan?"

Debbie (Julie's mom) tells me the video was shot at the Kansas City Livestock Exchange building.

You can also see stills from the shoot here.

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Summer Fun

Sometimes the simplest of things can put a smile on your face. For some reason, today this was one of those things for me. I was cleaning out a drawer and ran across these. It was a little bit of unexpected fun all day.

It was miserably hot here today, and is supposed to be worse tomorrow. I anticipate I might spend the entire day inside. Otherwise I will be whining about the heat, and no one enjoys that - least of all, me.

I am so not a summer person. Other than sandals, I find little to recommend the entire season. Although I do love the fresh food and flowers. But, lets be honest, much of the fresh food comes along later in the season.

I have many projects I need to work on in the house, and tomorrow seems an ideal time to be doing that. I'm so thankful for air conditioning and power to run it. Oh my, I could never have been a Victorian lady - not even in today's clothing, much less the layers they had. No wonder they were always fainting.

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Saturday, June 25, 2011


When I hear the phrase, "strategic planning," my eyes glaze over. It's not because I hate planning, it's because I hate useless work. And most strategic planning results in a binder stuffed full of typed pages that goes on a shelf to be pointed to when someone asks if you have a plan. No one ever looks at it and no one ever uses it. This is a complete waste of time for everyone involved.

My other complaint about strategic planning is that it's generally viewed as a means unto itself. There is a mission statement that's the jumping off point, but there's no connection beyond that. There's no vision, which I think is a far more critical part of the whole process. If you can't dream something amazing, you're probably not going to accomplish it, regardless of how many pages you write about it. Few people can dream. At all. Much less big.

I make plans all the time. I can't say they're "strategic," but they function. My plans are much more basic, and don't require a three ring binder.
My plans are about:
WHAT will I do
WHO will help
WHEN will it get done
WHAT will be accomplished

I'm not sure this process requires a whole team of people, headed by a consultant, to generate 233 pages. It just requires a little thought and some scratch paper. You can do all the planning you want, but if you can't communicate your vision - your passion - to people, it's a waste of time.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Notes from a Memory

I've been going through journals, notebooks, letters and other personal papers. The other day I ran across this little notebook that I bought in Paris when on a trip with Matthew. I opened it at random and found this page where we had both written hotel information.

It took me right back to a phone on Rue de Lyon, the Bastille in the background, as Matthew and I pored over the hotel information we had with us to find a new place to stay. We trekked all around the city that day, checking out hotels, and ended up a block away from where we had started that morning. It was one of those moments that pointed out how important your travel partners are - it's good to have someone who will help solve a problem.

I'm sure I have other things with Matthew's handwriting on them, but I was happy to run across this. That's one of the reasons I keep letters, as well as all my journals and notebooks. They are marvelous little bits of history. I feel connected to people through that very personal bit of themselves in their handwriting.

Admittedly, this wouldn't mean anything to anyone else, but it reminds me of a wonderful time in my life with someone whose friendship I treasured. Little did I know when we were comparing notes in the Paris sunshine that we would only have that trip and one more together. Afterwards we drifted apart, but he always remained in my thoughts. I think the same was true for him.

Life gives you amazing moments you don't plan, but remain thankful for. Just a couple of days before this was written I went to meet Matthew at the airport because it was his first trip to Paris. He had been delayed, and would arrive later, but had it not been for Matthew's intended arrival I would have missed walking into the cold, pre-dawn hours with a beautiful, gentle snow falling. As soon as I got outside I knew it was a moment to remember. I soaked it in. I'm grateful.

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Thursday, June 23, 2011


I just ran across a note I made during a conversation with Trish about a year ago. It was May 19, 2010. We were discussing how to be open to friendship. It was such a great conversation I pulled out a note pad and started jotting things down.

Interestingly enough, these are still pertinent.

  • It takes energy.
  • You have to be doing things that give you energy in order to expend it in that way.
  • We have to think, "What could we be doing to add to our lives?" as opposed to just waiting for something to happen.
  • Be open to life by making the first response, "yes."
  • Some experiences will disappoint, but you can't live in despair, regret or remorse. You have to believe the next experience has promise.
That last one is wise for multiple situations. 

I'm fortunate to have such brilliant friends.

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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Quote of the Day

"When two or more people come together with reverence and respect for the mystery that underlies all existence, consecrating their meeting to spiritual communion, the care of the soul, and the power of deep listening, they create sacred space. Immersion in sacred space is as essential to the soul's well-being as are food and drink to the body."
--- Jalaja Bonheim, Ph.D.

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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Joplin Tornado

The cross still standing on the ruins of what was St. Mary's church in Joplin, has become a symbol of hope for the community as it recovers from the devastating tornado that hit May 22. It's hard to believe it has been a month.

I have been going to Joplin regularly for about 25 years, and know the town well. Even though I knew the area of destruction from the reports I'd seen and heard, and even though I had been in Greensburg after the tornado there, nothing prepared me for what I found in Joplin. Pictures and video don't do it justice because they can't capture the scope of it.

When I was there the weekend after it happened, the entire town was on edge - understandably so. Progress began quickly, and continues, but it will be a very long time before things are back to a sort of normal.

Part of the reason I was there right after the tornado was to do some radio reports for Landline Now, a show geared to owner-operator truck drivers, on Sirius/XM.

I've taken hundreds of photos. I'm not sure any of them really tells the story. This morning on my way out of town, I took this, with the moon overhead.

I am struck by how the mangled trees are putting out new leaves. Everything wants to live.


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Monday, June 20, 2011


The Laughing Buddha is a symbol of contentment.

Contentment is what I wish for you, my friend. It implies a feeling of all being right with the world, of not needing for anything, of not wanting for anything.


It seems, indeed, blissful.

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Saturday, June 18, 2011

Interview with Judith Robl about writing the book, "As Grandma Says"

Judith Robl is a friend I met at a writing workshop, shortly before her book, "As Grandma Says," was going to be released by Harvest House Publishers.

I asked her to do a short interview with me about her process, because I always like a glimpse into the creative mind. Enjoy!

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Blackberries and Boyfriends - Trash Days and Thursdays

Friday is trash day. They come early - usually before 7. It was raining Thursday night, and I was exhausted from doing Third Thursday, so I got up early to put the trash out this morning.

I was rewarded for my efforts.

Not because the trash was out of the house, but because as I was headed back inside it occurred to me to check the blackberry bushes. I didn't expect them to have any ripe berries this early, but I was greeted with multiple plump, juicy blackberries.

Suddenly breakfast was taken care of. Although I didn't have any cream in the house, I was able to make do with milk.

Considering how many times I planted blackberry bushes before I got them to grow, and the amount of care I've given them, and the fact that I got a few last year, I figure the cost per berry is now down to around $3.19.



Have I ever mentioned blackberries are my favorite fruit?

They always remind me of Mama, who would pick them fresh for me when I went to Kentucky at the end of June for a family reunion. They'd just be getting ripe and she would gather them and prepare them for me as a treat. I'll never taste one sweeter than one picked by Mama.

They also remind me of a former boyfriend who, in one of his best moments during our five year relationship, went out of his way to bring me fresh blackberries because he remembered I mentioned I loved them.

Attention, men, that's a clue - three things:
1. He listened.
2. He remembered.
3. He acted.

Okay... that's it for me for tonight... I had planned to put up some photos of art work from last night's Third Thursday, but it will have to wait for another night.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

From my brain...

I've been going through tons of journals and idea books - books where I just jot down something that comes to my mind.

Here's one from March 4, 2003 - during a conversation with Greg while I was on the road in Houston (I think). I was headed down to the coast and told him I hadn't looked at a map, which is a continual discussion between us. He thinks one should look at maps. I think one can just play it by ear.

Eventually I said, "I don't know where I'm going, but I'm going there at 70 mph."

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Ten Rules on Vision

I've been reading notes from a conference I attended at some point. Unfortunately, I can't give credit, because I didn't jot down who was speaking. However, the vision information is valuable, I think.

From my notes:
Vision must be bold. It drives all that comes after it.

Ten Rules for Vision

10. Understand what vision can do.
9. Vision drives all that you do. (What would the world be like 3-5 years from now?)
8. Vision speaks to the heart of why you do what you do - passion - don't start without it.
7. If you don't have a vision, get one.
6. If it doesn't motivate and inspire, it's not vision. To inspire it has to be bold.
5. It you believe it, you will see it.
4. It's all about passion.
3. Celebrate baby steps.
2. Dream your dream and dream big. It has to be big and to shake people up.
1. When you achieve it, start over.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Good Practice to Give a Little Something Extra

I recently ordered some audio equipment from BSW and when I unpackaged it found this on the top of the contents. It's just a little card, thanking me for my order, with a piece of candy stapled to it.

It didn't cost them much to do, even accounting for someone stapling the candy onto the card. But it left an impression on me. Did I need a piece of candy? No. Did I enjoy it? Absolutely.

As a public relations person, I have to say they did a couple of things that are brilliant.
1. They surprised me. From my years of reading about the brain and how it's structured, I know that surprise gives us reason to remember something in a different way.
2. They gave me a little some extra. Yeah, it's a piece of candy, but who doesn't like a piece of candy?
3. They chose a somewhat unusual kind of candy. I'll now have a nice association between the two.

And, ultimately, here I am writing about it. So, there's a little more proof that it worked.

It reminded me that giving people a little something extra in a surprising way is very good practice. Now to find ways to implement that into daily life.

Flag Day Photos

I love this photo taken during a walking tour of downtown Hutchinson last fall.

This was taken in Alma, Kan. this spring.

The remains of a home in Joplin.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Quote of the Day

When one door of happiness closes, another opens; but often we look so long at the closed door that we do not see the one which has been opened for us.
                                                                 - Helen Keller

Scenes of the Day

'Tis the season for the Farmer's Market.

I want all garden areas in my yard to have this look of flowers blending into one another. Unfortunately, I only have one little part that looks this way. I grew the purple and white ones here from seed in previous years. This year I just decided I didn't have the time to devote to little seedlings.

It seems everywhere I turn these days there are messages.

I just need to figure out what my gifts are, and how best to use them.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

The Home Office

A few weeks ago I started cleaning in my home office. It had gotten so bad there was really only a path to my desk and barely enough room for the keyboard on top of the desk. I ran out of time to complete the task, but made tremendous progress.

Oddly enough, when I was doing it I thought, "Hmmmm... well, this will stir up something." I guess it did.

This afternoon and evening I've been working on some other things in here and I've come to some conclusions.

1. I need to gather up all my change, cash it in, and come up with a new system. My old system is just tossing coins here and there. Eventually there are piles that spill off the edge of the desk and it's a mess. I now have a container for them. We'll see how this goes.

2. Apparently I collect blue bunnies. I didn't know this about myself, but I have four in here. I bought one of them 3-4 years ago at Easter. The others have come to me by way of Easter gifts. I just noticed today they're all blue - even the Pez dispenser.

3. I am a pen addict. I already knew this about myself, but it's worse than even I realized. I already had two containers full of pens on my desk, and another three on the shelves near my desk. I had four containers on the desk at the Cosmosphere and when I sorted through them to bring my pens home and leave theirs I still had mostly full holders. I like pretty colors of ink, what can I say?

4. I have a lot of stationery. I also knew this about myself. It kind of goes well with the pens, when you think about it. But, I mean, I have a LOT of stationery. A lot.

5. I have enough postage to send almost all of that stationery out into the world. I have everything from one cent stamps on up. I get some odd satisfaction out of mixing and matching to get to the correct amount. No, I don't know why. I just do.

No doubt the personal archeaology dig will continue in coming days.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Creative People

Tonight I had a long phone conversation with one of the authors I consult with about social media. It was a great conversation - free ranging and broad in scope. It was like having a great talk over tea.

I was reminded again of just how much I enjoy creative people. The mind of a creative person just works differently. So does the spirit, I think.

I need to spend more time with creative people. Just recently I wrote about needing writer friends, and that's definitely true, too. Synergy happens when creative people get together and I need more of that in my life.

Julia Cameron suggests "artist dates" with yourself to get your creative juices flowing. I have many, many creative ideas - the challenge is finding the right focus for them. I think that while I'm in this transition phase I'm going to make certain that every day moves one or more projects closer to completion. It's a good goal.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011

My Little World

For the first time in my adult life, I am unemployed. Well, in the sense that I don't have a full-time job working for someone at the moment.

I was called in today and told it would be my last day - that my position was being eliminated. They just hired someone to raise money and they're going to have her do events as well. They're giving all the marketing and PR to an ad agency.

My work was complimented - including event planning, social media, and writing. I was hoping I'd have more time for those things now. There's so much potential in those areas for the museum it was an exciting proposition. But, it was not to be. At least not in this form.

I really liked this job and felt well-suited to it, so I'm sad about leaving. It's an amazing facility with dedicated people who do incredible work. I'm glad I got to be part of the team. Tomorrow would have been my two year anniversary.

Fortunately, I have a lot of freelance work that I've done and not yet been paid for, so that's good.

I'm oddly calm about it all. The universe has made it abundantly clear it's time to do something else. I've been thinking for a few months that I needed to consider what was next. I guess the universe decided to make it official. There must be something fabulous waiting for me just around the corner.

Honoring the Past

I have always been a big proponent of honoring the past. I want to preserve buildings and other bits and pieces of history. It seems important to have those things around to help us remember the lessons learned in earlier times.

For the last few weeks I've been writing about some particular events in my own life. It's not a memoir, and I doubt I will ever publish it anywhere, which should be a relief to other people who are part of the stories. It's just a way for me to process some things and to look for common threads. I'm playing connect the dots, I suppose.

The thought that has continued to occur to me through this process is that the past doesn't always deserve honoring. Sometimes it might be best buried.

One of my mottos for living has always been, "Let it go. Let it be. Let it lie." I'm going against my own advice by not letting things lie. But I've been getting messages for a few months that I need to write these stories. I even had that repeated multiple times this past weekend at the writing workshop. So, I'm writing.

Perhaps there's a reason I don't yet understand. But I am not finding much worth honoring in this past - about me or anyone else involved. Perhaps time will reveal the reasons.

Monday, June 06, 2011

Another Inspiring Story

This story seems hard to believe, but it's a wonderful one.

Sunday, June 05, 2011

Tallgrass Writing Workshop

I spent the weekend in Emporia at the Tallgrass Writing Workshop. As usual it was inspiring and wonderful.

I left with two realizations:
1. I absolutely must write the story I most do not want to write. I've been avoiding it for decades. It is time. It will be messy and awful. But then it will be done.
2. I do not write fiction the way most people do. And I need to stop trying to do it the "right" way and do it the way I do it. Doing it my way I can knock out a decent chapter every day - not that it doesn't need some revising, but it's decent. Doing it the "right" way means I fritter away a lot of time on things that aren't actually writing or rewriting.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

Saturday Nights

A person can have a far worse Saturday night than listening to author/musician W.C. Jameson. A far, far worse Saturday night.

This, after a day of inspiration from other writers, gives a girl much to churn around in the subconscious tonight. I'm keeping a notebook by the bed - who knows what gems in dreams may come out of this mix of goodies. Of course, I keep a notebook by the bed every night, but I'm anticipating it may get more use in the morning than on the average day.

Max McCoy always puts together a great experience for everyone at the Tallgrass Writing Workshop in Emporia. Two things happen every year I come:
1. I want to spend more time talking to Max and the other writers who live here, as well as the other attendees.
2. I think I might like to live in Emporia.

Emporia has a really active writing community and I need writer friends. Desperately. I have pretty much given up on that face to face where I live. I've tried to find it. I've tried to build it. I think the time has arrived for me to accept that I cannot will it into existence.

The cherry on top of the day was bumping into Phillip Finch, in the local chocolate shop. And to think I almost talked myself out of a visit there after lunch. Just another reason you should always have chocolate.

Friday, June 03, 2011


In the past seven years, I've written about my life almost every day on this website. If you're a regular reader, you know I've been absent for the past week.

I went to Joplin for the Memorial Day Weekend, and in addition to trying to process the tornado damage, a series of other events happened. I only returned to Hutchinson late Thursday.

Here a week later, everyone is okay, and I'm thankful for that.

In addition, part of what I went there for - to do some freelance radio news pieces - is done. I'm quite pleased some of the work and am grateful to those who shared their stories to help the rest of us understand what they're going through.

I have a hundred stories to share, and I was only gathering them for a couple of days. I hope to share some of them here eventually, but other things are pressing on me at the moment.

It's hard to believe it's only a footnote to the past week, but we did receive press credentials for President Obama's visit and it was great to see him again - now that he's president. "See" is a bit of a misnomer because during the event I was near the radio mult box, which did not allow a good view. But, I did get to see him when he was shaking hands afterwards. Unfortunately, I was not in the "hand shaking zone."

I hope to be back to a more normal schedule here, but other things in my life are taking precedence at the moment.

I'll just wrap by saying, if you're looking to aid the people of Joplin, you have not missed your window of opportunity. They are going to need assistance for some time to come. If you want to give directly to a church in the area that's doing relief work, I was very impressed with Grace Baptist Church and their approach. Obviously, give to who you wish.