why a blog?

Why a blog?  I asked myself that question many times. Who would want to read something I wrote? There are so many wise, famous, funny, etc people who are writing blogs today… who am I to join the club? I think many people struggle with those same insecurities.

For a long time I fought against the idea. Finally it was my husband who talked me into it. I like to process personally what I am learning, talking with others, face-to-face if possible. Often, I have processed things with my husband, and he would say, “You should write that down”. I would answer him, “I don’t have time.” So, he spent various months – in secret – recording my thoughts and ideas. One day, he gave me the list and said, “Now I will help you start your blog.”

Now, without any excuse 🙂 , we began to chat about a theme, title, format, etc. Since I am starting a M.A. in Global Leadership through Azusa Pacific University, I decided to use the platform of a blog to process what I am learning – and not worry about if anyone else reads it or not…

I decided to use the theme Learning and Leading because those are issues that are relevant to my every day life. I am a leader by gifting and experience: the oldest of five children, a mother, the Director in many positions and the Co-Director with my husband in other positions. It is often not easy being a woman and a leader. I want to continue learning, especially about how God has created me and how I can grow to become the woman and the leader He has called me to be.

I chose the first word in the title of my blog, Maturitas, from the Latin word for “mature”. And I selected the verse of Ephesians 4:13 because it expresses my desire to grow continually and the process that God uses to bring us to maturity in His time. I wanted the “feel” of a Café because I would prefer to chat with you in a quaint cafe, drinking a delicious coffee, and enjoy a meaningful and lively conversation, face-to-face, about life’s challenges.

Since my reality won’t allow me to visit with you personally, I hope we can communicate through this blog… growing and maturing together. I would love for our conversation to be interactive… so please leave your comments and suggestions! I want to learn from you also! Please subscribe to the blog so that you will receive notifications whenever there is a new post. Join me in the adventure! … and maybe you should start your own blog also!

how to transition well?

Change happens. We (my husband and I) just finalized a National Team transition. It has been a long process, and we have learned a few things along the way…

Plan the transition.  (I realize this isn’t always possible, especially if the transition is due to a crisis, but when you can…) A good transition is well thought through. We prayed and asked others to pray with us. We organized the process with an educated guess as to how long the steps would take, and stuck to the plan. We announced the coming transition with anticipation. We involved others in the process. All of this made it easier for us to move peacefully towards the future; ensured that the new leader entered his position with less stress, and helped to avoid confusion for others during the transition.

Consider the loss.  Every change – even those for the good – creates loss. Transitions shake stability, change relationships, and adjust structures and job descriptions. Others in the organization wonder how the change will affect them – and don’t like the answer. A good leader will validate this reality, take time to grieve their own losses, and coach his/her people through the process. We communicated early and regularly with everyone we thought of who could be affected by the changes. We met with mentors to process our own thoughts and emotions. We had meetings with those who work with us to ask how they were doing with the changes and what were their concerns. This personal side of the transition is often overlooked, but it is a crucial element of a successful transition.

Pass the baton.  It is important to pass information and relationships to the new leader. In the past, we have entered “blind” into new positions – no information, no alliances, and no training. We were left scrambling to understand, to “catch on”, to figure it out ourselves. We wanted something different this time, so we worked hard to be organized and invested time so that we could train well, pass files, answer questions, and connect new relationships. We clearly defined the timeline for change of authority and responsibility. We invited the new leaders to our home to process their personal concerns and questions. At the office, we talked through the general vision, the people, the finances, and the day-to-day details. We presented the new leaders to our partners. Our plan allows us to personally “coach” during the next months, but the new leaders have successfully begun to lead with clarity and confidence.

Let Go! We experienced pressure to stay longer in the position and pressure to extend our transition timeline because others hadn’t prepared well. Sometimes we were the ones “holding on” when we saw things happening that we didn’t like, and we wanted to maintain control and influence. God told me clearly… “Don’t do it!  This is not all about you.” Others will only grow and take leadership if I move out-of-the-way! We just finished our national conference, and for the first time in many years, we had no responsibilities for the event. You know what? It was a great conference! It is humbling to admit that we are not needed, but it is also an exciting indication of a hopeful future.

End well. Make sure the ending is not an escape from unresolved conflict. Say good-bye well. Express appreciation to those who partnered with you. Take time to evaluate. We worked with some wonderful people. We were part of some great accomplishments. We also experienced a lot of painful criticism and conflict, and we had to leave many of our dreams and plans unfinished. It has been good to process though all of this – forgive others and ourselves – and be able to trust God with the future!

I know I have a lot more to learn about transitions. I would love to hear from you and learn from your experiences. What do you think are the elements of a good transition?

coffee as a way of life

Yum!

As I started research for this blog, I learned a bit about coffee… and I’ve decided that I want my life to resemble a strong, rich cup of coffee…

Getting the beans to the cup is a process. The coffee berries must ripen on the bush, just as I must “ripen” – mature (hence the name for the blog!). Since the coffee plant and berries are often attacked by numerous pests (over 900 beetles, mites, snails, etc), care is essential – special treatments, environment management and pruning. I, too, often experience attacks during my maturing process and need to protect, change, and “cut” in order to grow. It is an investment in the final product.

Workers harvest the seeds (picked – traditionally by hand, fermented to remove the flesh, and dried), and then roast them. This reminds me of God choosing me and taking me through my life’s trials and “fires”. Roasting is done using different methods at varying degrees depending on the desired flavor… Isn’t it interesting how God has individually designed each of our lives, since we are each a unique creation.

The berries are next ground (a burr mill uses revolving elements to shear the bean; an electric grinder smashes the beans with blunt blades moving at high-speed; and a mortar and pestle crushes the beans… sometimes I feel like I am in a burr mill or mortar!), and finally brewed. Don’t you find that the most authentic and attractive people have been “broken” and “washed” through the experiences of their lives?

Finally the coffee is prepared and enjoyed in a variety of ways – often together with others…bringing energy and pleasure to many. I, personally, like mine black and bold.

How do you like your coffee?

What is it that you want to represent your life?