powerless

IMGP1826The irony of it.

I chose my word for 2015 – empower – just a few weeks ago.

While we are still in the first month of the year, I found myself in a situation where I had no power at all.

My mother was on hospice care, and I had joined my siblings and my aunt in her end-of-life care giving.

It was a sacred time – simultaneously a sweet privilege and a suffocating responsibility to accompany her on her journey.

We wanted to beg her to stay, while at the same time we pled with God to mercifully take her quickly because she was so very ready to finish living.

We laughed with her sense of humor, we debated the best choices for her care, and we wept as we watched her suffer.

Her lucid moments provided us precious memories; her confused thoughts and agitated actions forced us to struggle for understanding and responses of grace.

Both her body and her mind were failing, but her faith, her gratitude, and her fighting spirit continued strong.

We imperfectly attempted to give her peace, encouragement, and comfort. We told her we would miss her, but that we would be ok when she chose to go.

There was nothing else I could do. I could not control the process. I could not choose the final moment.

I could only remain present, serve, pray, and love.

Those days there was One with great power in charge of the time… and it was not me.

(My amazing mom left us to live eternally with her Heavenly Father on January 19, 2015.)

There are times when power is a gift, and we are accountable for our strength and our influence. There are times when our greatest power is in submitting to another.

It may be that one of the most important elements of empowering others is helping them to discern the difference.

What has been your experience with power or empowering others?

 

Mi palabra para el 2015: Empoderar

No me costó mucho tiempo elijir mi palabra para este año que viene. La idea estaba en la frente de mi mente casi de inmediato. En los años pasados, a veces he necesitado más tiempo y consideración, y he escogido las palabras de actitudes o de crecimiento que necesitaba personalmente: auténtico (2012), coraje (2013) y realizar (2104).

rocket IMG_9382Este año quiero enfocar mis energías más hacia los demás. He recibido gran desarrollo, aliento y bendición en los últimos años. Quiero compartirlo mismo con otros. Así que mi palabra para 2015 es EMPODERAR.

Mi marido leyó esta cita y me la envió. Muy bien describe el propósito para mis esfuerzos de vida para este próximo año.

Al mirar hacia adelante en el próximo siglo,
los líderes serán los que empoderar a los demás.
Bill Gates

No estoy segura de cómo verá “empoderar” para mí, pero adivino que va a incluir algunas de estas cosas:

Invertir tiempo a ser coach y mentor de otros.

Hacer más y mejores preguntas y “predicar” menos.

Decir “no” a hacer algo que alguien más podría hacer.

Controlar menos.

Animar más.

Humildad.

Prestar atención y observar más.

Proveer recursos a otros – materiales, capacitaciones y evaluaciones – cualquier cosa que pueda aumentar la confianza y la competencia en los demás a hacer y ser lo mejor posible.

Orar más por otros.

Creer más en las habilidades de los demás y expresar mi creencia a ellos.

Celebrar con los demás.

Preveo impulsar a las personas (familia, amigos, otros líderes de todo el mundo) con lo que necesitan para ir a lugares y hacer cosas que no puedo ni siquiera imaginar.

Estoy emocionada para ver lo que van a hacer. ¡Adelante 2015!

¿Cómo se ve el EMPODERAR a tú perspectiva? ¿Cuál es tu palabra para el 2015?

My word for 2015: Empower

It did not take a lot of thought to pick my word for this coming year. The idea was on the forefront of my mind almost immediately. In the years past, it has sometimes taken more time and consideration, and I have picked words for attitudes or growth that I needed personally: authentic (2012), courage (2013), and fulfill (2104).

rocket IMG_9382This year I want to focus my energies more towards others. I have received great development, encouragement, and blessing in the last few years. I want to share that with others. So my word for 2015 is EMPOWER.

My husband read this great quote and sent it to me. It fitly describes the purpose for my life efforts this next year.

As we look ahead into the next century,
leaders will be those who empower others
.
                                            Bill Gates

I’m not sure what “empower” will look like for me, but I can guess that it will include a few of these things:

Investing time coaching and mentoring others.

Asking more and better questions and “preaching” less.

Saying “no” to doing anything someone else could do.

Controlling less.

Encouraging more.

Humility.

Paying attention and observing others.

Resourcing others with materials, trainings, and assessments – anything that will build confidence and competence in others to do and be their best.

Praying for others more.

Believing more in others’ abilities and expressing my belief to them.

Celebrating with others.

I envision in-fueling people (family, friends, other leaders around the world) with whatever they need to go places and do things that I can’t even imagine.

I look forward to seeing what they will do. Bring it on 2015!

What do you think EMPOWER looks like? What is your word for 2015?

terminando el 2014

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Tengo una cruda por demasiada diversión.

Todos nuestros hijos adultos llegaron a casa – además de visitas extras – por dos semanas. La gente dormía en cada habitación de nuestra pequeña casita. Pertenencias importadas invadieron cada superficie y cada centímetro de espacio en el piso. Saturamos los días de diversión y risas, aventuras, conversaciones profundas, y deliciosas pero no-necesariamente-buena-para-la-salud comidas. Nos deleitamos en las tradiciones del pasado y creamos nuevas experiencias esta primera Navidad en nuestro nuevo hogar. Conectamos por mente, corazón y espíritu. Fue un tiempo muy rico.

Mi nivel de energía es un poco bajo ahora, pero mi corazón está lleno.

Eso parece una condición muy apropiada para el año que bauticé el enero pasado con la palabra “realizar”.

Estos días de familia han sido un sueño realizado. Igual que el estar viviendo en este nuevo hogar y el trabajo con propósito que puedo hacer con mi marido. Una noche en la cena todos de la familia se reflejaron en el último año y respondieron a unas preguntas acerca de los retos más desafíantes y los logros más grandes, y la forma en que crecimos o maduramos o cambiamos a través de ambos. Estoy satisfecha con las responsabilidades y objetivos que cumplí el año pasado y por las elecciones que hice a sentirme realizada personalmente en esta etapa de mi vida. Ha sido un gran año.

Ha habido momentos difíciles también. La muerte, el dolor y las malas decisiones de mis seres queridos aplastaron mi espíritu y me forzaron a ponerme de rodillas. El anhelo fuerte de estar presente en dos – o tres o cuatro – lugares a la vez ha pesado más que nunca. Los conflictos y las tragedias de la comunidad, el país y el mundo han cargado mi alma.

Y con eso considero mi palabra para 2015.

¿Cuáles son mis pasiones? ¿Qué quiero hacer? ¿Dónde voy a dar prioridad?

He leído muchos gran posts acerca de preguntas de reflexión para el fin de año y he resumido algunos de ellos para nosotros aquí.

  • ¿Dónde prosperaste el año pasado?
  • ¿Dónde luchabas?
  • Si tuvieras que describir tu 2014 en tres palabras, ¿cuáles serían?
  • ¿Cuál fue tu mayor pérdida de tiempo el año pasado?
  • ¿Dónde mejor invertiste tu tiempo?
  • ¿Por qué o quién estás más agradecido/a?
  • ¿Qué consejos le hubieras dado a ti mismo en el principio del 2014 si pudieras?
  • ¿Qué es una cosa que harías diferente y por qué?
  • ¿Qué temas son las que más disfrutaste aprendiendo?
  • ¿Qué aprendiste acerca de ti mismo?
  • ¿Qué fue un cumplido favorito que recibiste este año?
  • ¿Qué es una cosa que puedes hacer el año que viene para añadir significado y relevancia a tu vida?

Tal vez te gustaría tomar tiempo para responder a estas – y cualesquiera otras favoritas que tienes – y elegir una palabra para 2015. Busca un lugar tranquilo, prepara tu bebida favorita, pon los pies en alto y disfruta del proceso.

Voy a publicar mi palabra para el 2015 la próxima semana. ¡Me encantaría escuchar la que tú elijas también!

wrapping up 2014

IMG_1231I have a fun hangover.

All of our grown children came home – plus extras – for two weeks now. People slept in every room of our small townhouse. Imported belongings invaded every counter and every inch of floor space. We saturated days with fun and laughter, adventures, deep conversations, and delicious, not-necessarily-good-for-you food. We delighted in long-standing traditions and created new experiences this first Christmas in our new home. We connected at mind, heart, and spirit. It was an incredibly rich time.

My energy level is a bit low now, but my heart is full.

That seems a fitting condition for the year I christened last January with the word “fulfill”.

These family days together were a dream fulfilled. So is living in this new home and the purposeful work I get to do with my husband. One night at dinner, we all reflected on the past year and answered questions about our greatest challenges and biggest achievements and how we grew or matured or changed through both. I am satisfied with the responsibilities and goals I fulfilled last year and by the choices I made to feel fulfilled personally at this stage of my life. It has been a great year.

There have been hard times too. Death, pain, and poor decisions by loved ones crushed my spirit and drove me to my knees. The aching desire to be present in two – or three or four – places at once has weighed heavier than ever. Community, country, and world conflicts and tragedies have burdened my soul.

And so I consider my word for 2015.

What are my passions? What do I want to do? Where will I prioritize?

I’ve read many a great post about end of year reflection questions and have re-worked some of them for us here.

  • Where did you thrive last year?
  • Where did you struggle?
  • If you had to describe your 2014 in three words, what would they be?
  • What was your biggest time waster this past year?
  • Where did you best invest your time?
  • What, or who, are you most thankful for?
  • What advice would you give your early-2014 self if you could?
  • What one thing would you do differently and why?
  • What topics did you most enjoy learning about?
  • What did you learn about yourself?
  • What was a favorite compliment that you received this year?
  • What is one thing you can do next year to add meaning and relevance?

Maybe you’d like to take time to answer these  – and any other favorites you have – and choose a word for 2015. Find a quiet place, your favorite beverage, put your feet up, and enjoy the process.

I’ll post my word next week. I’d love to hear what you choose!

Old favorites. New traditions.

Old favorites. New traditions.

Christmas has finally arrived at our house! 

My husband and I decided to wait to turn in our final Capstone project. Yesterday afternoon the SEND button was pushed, and after 3 1/2 years, we have completed the work for our MA in Global Leadership degree. That is cause for celebration!

So we jumped in the car and drove to Hollywood Studios to see the (literally) millions of lights that “dance” to music for the wide-eyed, joy-filled, shoulder-to-shoulder packed-in-like-sardines, crowd in the street. It was truly impressive and a first time experience for this Orlando transplant.

… and so begin the new Christmas traditions.

This is our first year in our Florida home, so decorating requires new decisions… with the old favorites. Many plastic tubs of strangely-out-of-place snow and evergreen themed treasures, a life long of collected ornaments, and beloved hot chocolate mugs have exploded in my living room. I love the transformation that warm candles, white lights, and years of collected nativities bring to the home.

We are bringing all of our children to Orlando to celebrate this year – another new experience with “old” favorites. This Christmas will include Disney parks, warm weather, and lots of crazy people filling every inch of floor space in a small townhome and every moment of the days with silly insider jokes, laughter, music, adventures, hugs, stories, pictures, memories, and love. We need to buy more food, warn the neighbors, and make sure the camera batteries are charged. I can’t wait!

This morning, as I anticipate the craziness, I also reflect on my every-year desire to keep one constant in this season – a quiet, peaceful, heartfelt connection with the One who gives true meaning to this holiday. Jesus is my favorite part of all life, and each year I have the opportunity to create new “traditions” that keep us close.

Here are a few of my special traditions for CHRISTmastime perspective. 

Pentatonix a cappella cover of  “Little Drummer Boy”

The Piano Guys “Angels We Have Heard on High”

(an older favorite) A Social Media Christmas

What are some of your Christmas favorites? What new traditions are you starting this year?

power in forgiveness

IMGP8357 (2)
What is it about forgiveness? 

What is it that makes forgiveness so hard to ask for, so hard to give, and so life-changing when it happens authentically?

In my memories, my parents fought through all of my childhood. Different personalities, life and work pressures, insecurities and immaturities all added to the fire, and alcoholism added fuel. Eventually, they divorced after 25 years of marriage. It was not pretty. It was not amicable.

For almost 30 years they have lived in the same city, but never saw each other. At first, we could not even mention my mom’s name in front of my dad. We arranged every holiday and every family event around which parent we would visit when, or which one of them would be invited to attend. It could never be both of them at the same time. They will never know how many hours of planning, debate, maneuvering, and heart anguish accompanied each special occasion through the years.

This Thanksgiving, something amazing happened. My parents agreed – for the first time in almost 30 years – to give thanks…. together. The death of a spouse, terminal cancer, and many years passing finally cleared the way for reconciliation, acceptance, forgiveness, and peace.

There were a few uncertain and awkward moments (mostly by the siblings who were orchestrating the event), but all in all, it was one of the most significant and inspiring holidays that I can remember.

It was a powerful, healing moment for everyone – even the grandchildren – to watch my parents greet each other at the front door… both very frail, very tired, and finally… very at peace.

Neither could eat very much, but the meal was sacred. They did not talk of anything substantial – dementia has stolen that opportunity – but their interaction was deeply meaningful to all who were there.

My parents’ reunion after all these years does not change much at this point in time… and it changes everything.

Their willing hearts were a testimony to hope.

My family watched the life-end desire for peace overcome long-guarded anger and separation. We experienced genuine humility vanquish pride, regret, and deep pain. stubbornness lost to prayer, patience, and perseverance over time.

There is a new freedom in our lives – and in our children’s lives. A freedom won by broken lives restored and divided families reunited. A freedom earned by barriers torn down and destroyed. A freedom gained by letting go of bitterness and grabbing on to forgiveness. A freedom that carries a belief in the impossible, because we saw it happen with our own eyes.

Forgiveness is powerful.

Is there someone you need to forgive today? You don’t have to wait.

el poder del perdón

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¿Qué pasa con el perdón?

¿Qué es lo que hace tan laborioso pedir el perdón, tan difícil recibirlo y tan poderoso el efecto en la vida cuando sucede auténticamente? 

 

En mis recuerdos, mis padres pelearon durante toda mi niñez. Las personalidades diferentes, las presiones de la vida y del trabajo, las inseguridades y la inmadurez todos contribuyeron al fuego y el alcoholismo añadió combustible. Finalmente, se divorciaron después de 25 años de matrimonio. No fue bonito. No fue amistoso.

Durante casi 30 años vivieron en la misma ciudad, pero nunca se vieron. Al principio, no podíamos ni siquiera mencionar el nombre de mi madre delante de mi papá. Organizamos cada día de fiesta y cada evento familiar en torno considerando cuál de los dos padres visitaríamos cuándo, o cuál de los dos pediríamos asistir. Nunca podría ser ambos al mismo tiempo. Nunca sabrán cuántas horas de planificación, de debate, de arreglos, de angustia del corazón acompañaron cada ocasión especial a través de los años.

En este Día de Acción de Gracias, sucedió algo impresionante. Mis padres estuvieron de acuerdo – por primera vez en casi 30 años – a dar gracias…. juntos. La muerte de un cónyuge, un cáncer terminal, y el paso de muchos años finalmente despejaron el camino para la reconciliación, la aceptación, el perdón y la paz.

Hubo algunos momentos inciertos y difíciles (sobre todo por parte de los hermanos que estaban orquestando el evento), pero en general, fue una de las fiestas más significativas y más inspiradoras que puedo recordar.

Fue un gran alcance, un momento sanador para todos – incluso para los nietos – de ver a mis padres saludarse en la puerta principal… los dos muy frágiles, muy cansados, y finalmente… muy en paz.

Ninguno de los dos podía comer mucho, pero la cena fue sagrada. No hablaron de nada sustancial – la demencia ha robado esa oportunidad – pero su interacción fue profundamente significativa para todos los que estaban allí.

La reunión de mis padres después de todos estos años no cambia mucho en este punto de la vida… y, a la vez, cambia todo.

Sus corazones dispuestos eran un testimonio de esperanza.

Mi familia vio el ahnelo fin-de-vida por la paz superar la ira guardada a largo plazo y la separación. Experimentamos la humildad genuina conquistar al orgullo, al remordimiento y al dolor profundo. La terquedad perdió a la oración, la paciencia y la perseverancia por el tiempo.

Hay una nueva libertad en nuestras vidas – y en las vidas de nuestros hijos. Una libertad ganada por vidas rotas ya restauradas y familias divididas ya reunidas. Una libertad obtenida por barreras derribadas y destruidas. Una libertad adquirida mediante el abandono de la amargura y el aferramiento al perdón. Una libertad que lleva una creencia en lo imposible, porque lo vimos suceder con nuestros propios ojos.

El perdón es poderoso.

¿Hay alguien que necesitas perdonar hoy? O un perdón que necesitas aceptar?No tienes que esperar.

on the (bike) path of life

Reflecting on a ride…

It was a warm very hot, sunny day in Orlando. We were ready for a new adventure, energized and enthusiastic… and a little unsure of how it would turn out in the end. We had done our homework: asking questions of the “experts”, researching on Internet, and preparing our equipment. We had a trail recommendation, map directions, snacks and water in our bags, and air in our tires.

IMG_0552Preparation is wise and helpful,
but it does not guarantee ease or success.

Off we went. The sights were beautiful – shade trees, flowers, benches and wooden bridges. We followed the path signs, passed lakes and luxury homes, schools and parks; we crossed streets and highways.

Life isn’t usually a 1/4 mile round track.
It is a cross-country journey;
for each one – different, unique, valuable in its own way.

We rode along mostly side by IMG_0507side, as is our preference. Sometimes one of us rode out it front, setting the pace. On some stretches, we passed others who walked, jogged, or rode more slowly. At other places, we were the ones who ceded to riders who passed us by.IMG_0608 IMG_0382

Life is a journey of ebb and flow, rhythms, and sharing the road together.

Some folks called out “good morning” or “hello”; others were quiet or distracted with their own thoughts, music, or life situation. Some rode with children; some walked with friends, others walked with pets. A rich community.

Life isn’t meant to be lived alone.
Whether we have a few special friends or many important relationships,
we need company along the way.

There were flat parts and then hills to climb. There were almost-out-of-control downhill inclines, sharp curves, and IMG_0609bumps. One short stretch was “off-road”, rocky, washed out and rutted.

Life has many experiences along the trail, breaking the monotony,
adding variety, mixing times of challenge and rest.

At the end of the ride, we were worn out and tired – but IMG_0376accomplished. I see this in my mom’s life as she is nearing the end of her journey. So much energy and enthusiasm at the start; wearniness now with a sense of completion and satisfaction, and peace.

Where are you on your life path? How are you doing on your ride?

do it right the first time

IMG_0934I was enjoying a delicious grilled dinner out on the patio with my husband. It was peaceful, slightly cool (for Orlando!), and quiet. We were enjoying the scenery, the casual conversation, and the good food.

And then I saw it.

A bubble on the roof of the porch. What’s that? It wasn’t there before! Doesn’t look good…

The opinion of a friend, a chat with the neighbor, calls to the HOA, and a visit from the builder all confirmed – a small missing piece of flashing on the roof meant rain water eventually got under the shingles.. and through the wood… and through the paint… and caused a big ol’ mess.

Weeks later, I’ve had many men hanging from my roof, and I’ve been seeing daylight where it shouldn’t be. I heard lots of people passing the blame – the builder should have supervised, the roofers should have done it right, the inspection guys should have seen it (turns out they don’t actually ever go ON the roof anymore), the stucco guys should have said something…and the painters…. and so on.

It has been an awful lot of work to repair one small detail that wasn’t done right the first time.

A missing three-dollar, couple-feet-long piece of flashing has required 15 or more people visiting my house, tar paper and shingles pulled off and replaced, plywood cut out and nailed back in, mold inspections, new stucco, and new paint. The builder will do further inspections over our whole roof and the roofs of all the other homes constructed by the same company in our neighborhood. Thousands of dollars worth of labor and material. Whew!

At work, I am also part of “re-modeling” work on a training project that had some “small” pieces missing. It has been ten times more difficult to “fix” the job than it would have been to create it well in the first place. A solid foundation could have saved a lot of time, frustration, blame passing… and provided a better product.

These fiascos have me thinking about my own efforts and work. Do I give my best at all I do? Am I committed to quality work? Or do I try to rush through and miss important details?  Do I supervise well? Do I speak up when I see that someone else is not doing a quality job? Or do I just care about MY part?

All work – building homes to writing training materials – requires that everyone involved do quality work to create a quality job. It’s a lot easier to do it right the first time.

What do you think? What makes you committed to doing things right? Or what makes it difficult for you?