Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Toll Winter in Chanhassen

Somethings require. 

This winter is my first of retirement years. My tasks in life have opened and filled many cracks in my calendar. I am really happy that there are still some places that are open for resting and frittering and thinking. I am going to put some blogging in there too. Lucky everyone (drips with irony).

So on January 26, 2016, I am looking at the gray skies and track-filled snow in our backyard, and thinking about how to be a good scout about the next couple months. The days are getting longer. That's a happy thought. The first long stretch of taxing sub-zero days has passed us by without much damage. This requires my mind's eye to look to hopeful images of green and colorful and accept that I must wait. 

These remaining 60+ days until temperate days of growing and blooming and comfort outside, require I wear bulky clothes on my bulky frame. They have me just a few steps from my kitchen, and from the oven that makes yummy grain-filled delights. They require foreign fruits and veggies...ripened in transport and containing whatever chemicals required for beauty in Minnesota grocery produce coolers. I am dreaming and planting in my mind my two rows of straw bale gardens -- and the community garden spot I was given.  I miss my morning wanderings through our little town...stopping for a cool down at the library with a quick periodical perusal. I look forward to little trips around Rice Marsh and along Lake Susan's shore.  That's the part of retirement I love.  Books, and birds, and paths and plants growing from starts to blooms to fruit. Sigh.  This requires patience.

I look forward to lots of steps on my Garmin, and restful reads poolside on mornings at Lifetime.  A workout, a large ice tea, and an hour by the pool.  Enough said. This requires my current workout system of fleece and layers and wet shoes and dry shoes...of repeated playlists on the incline of the treadmill...of podcast after podcast...well, those happen outside too, I must admit.

The requirements of spring and summer are sunscreen and hats and sun goggles, garden tools in the dirty backpack... and water bottles... fairness requires this list, but I like all those requirements.  

Required patience.  

sigh.  Toll paid.

Thursday, January 22, 2015

The Radical Question/A Radical Idea

Are you looking for the perfect graduation gift book?  This little book (which contains two essays) will encourage the graduate to think deeply, think differently, think with kingdom thoughts taking the dominant position in your mind. In less than 100 small pages, you actually receive two books.

In the first part, David Platt has provided the basis of his worldview.  He asks the basic question,  "What is Jesus worth to you?"  Suggesting that if you live out a life that values Christ, you will choose to leave everything this earth offers, and follow Him. We are not challenged enough to actually live out that belief -- and by doing so, give up the wood, hay and stubble of this existence.  We have all been given so much, Platt asks us if we are willing to give it up.

The second part in this volume is about how we live out our mission in the community of believers. He suggests that we might consider thinking less about the beauty of  the bricks and mortar church; less about the bells and whistles of our worship events; less about the programs offered to meet our needs to focus on the lost and unbelieving people who Jesus called us to disciple. He looks at the meaning of discipling people. 

Now that is a book provides two very valuable thoughts to ponder.  I would suggest it as a boost to your own mission. I will give it as a valuable and accessible gift to young people I know.  This will cause you to ponder how you are living out your life as a Disciple of Christ -- called to make more disciples.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

"Can Do!" Nostalgic Remembrances:10 THINGS YOU SHOULD NEVER SAY AT WORK

Below is a great article by someone in a professional organization to which I belong -- how refreshing would it be if all in the workplace behaved as this list directs:

May 3, 2013 by Shelley Riseden
From Paralegal Alliance

While everyone knows that you should not say certain things at work, or to your boss, I have
overheard all of the following things, which should never be said at work, being said at work by
paralegals and other legal staff. Legal professionals are supposed to have excellent
communication skills, knowing how to use words and language that are clear and concise.
Therefore, saying any of the following things at work can make you appear unprofessional,
unmotivated, and as if you have a poor attitude.

1. That’s not my job. No matter how long or detailed it is, no job description is 100%
complete, and there will always be something that needs done, that you have never done before,
or that it is not generally your job to do. If your boss or a co-worker asks you to do something,
even if it not your job, just do it. No one wants to work with someone who cannot take the added
responsibility of one more task, and certainly, no one wants that person working for them.
Besides, whatever your boss asks you to do is your job. Instead of thinking, that’s not my job,
think, I am always open to learning something new. Your employer will appreciate that you can
handle anything that comes along; even it is not your job to handle it.
2. I don’t know. While it is okay to not know something, when you are asked you a question
that you do not know the answer to, you should not say, “I don’t know”, but instead, “I will find
out”. You should then go and find out. Employers like proactive employees who can find the
answer, not ones who say they do not know, and forget about it, or that have to be told to go find
out when asked a question they do not already know the answer to. Remember, your boss is
asking you a question because he or she needs the answer to it, not because they wish to quiz you
or test your knowledge in any way. You do not need to know everything, but as a paralegal, you
should be willing and able to find out.

3. I don’t know how. If you are asked to do something at work that you do not know how to
do, ask someone to show you, find an instructional video online, call a friend, or figure it out
some other way, but never say, “I don’t know how”. Your boss is not interested in what you do
not know how to do, only in you doing whatever he or she asks you to do. It is okay to need to be
taught to do something or to have to figure it out; it is not okay to shirk the responsibility of
doing something your boss needs done by saying, “I don’t know how.”

4. That’s not how I’ve always done it. It does not matter to your employer how you have
always done something or how you did it somewhere else; how your current boss wants you to
do it today is all that matters. If you have a better way of doing something, by all means, speak
up, but when being shown how to do something, do not comment about how you have done it in
the past or when you worked for someone else.

5. It’s not my problem. If there is a problem at work, it is your problem. As a paralegal,
your job is to do everything the attorney does not have time to do, or that would be fiscally
irresponsible for the attorney do to him or herself. This includes taking responsibility for any
problems that arise. Remember, if it is a problem for your boss, or could cause him or her
problems, it is your problem. Instead of viewing problems as someone else’s, think about how
they might impact the firm as a whole, and then take on the responsibility of solving the firm’s
problems, in order to ensure that they do not become your problem.

6. I don’t know why he/she hasn’t called you back. Telling a client, court personnel, or
opposing counsel that you gave the attorney their message and do not know why he or she has
not returned their call is unprofessional and tantamount to throwing your boss under the bus.
Even if the attorney should have returned a call months ago, never say that you do not know why
they have not. The best thing to say to a caller, who has left a message and is following up, is
that you are sure that your boss received the previous message and will get with them as soon as
he or she is able. You may also want to ensure them that you will let your boss know they called
to follow up on the message.

7. I’m too busy. The work in a law office or legal department has to get done, whether you
are busy or not. “Let me see where I can work that into my schedule” is a much better response
than “I’m too busy”. It conveys the fact that you are very busy, so that your boss will know that
you are hard at work, while not sounding as if you are refusing to do the additional work he or
she wants you to do.

8. I’ll try. Never say that you will ‘try’ to do anything. If you are unsure if you can complete
a task, let your boss know that you have some concerns about it, but that you will do your best,
and ask questions as you go, if needed. Saying you will ‘try’ sounds as if you are already looking
for an excuse to not complete the task. Imagine if your boss told you that he or she would ‘try’ to
pay you next week. You may not want to come into work if your boss only going to ‘try’ to pay

9. I can’t. There is nothing that a good paralegal cannot do; there are only things that he or
she has never done before, may need help doing, or may not do well. Never say that you can’t do
something you are asked to do. If you need to look online or call someone to figure out how, do
it. If you need help with the task, ask for it. If you are not sure how to get started, ask your boss
or a co-worker for suggestions. Whatever you have to do to figure how to do everything your
boss asks you to do, do it. An employee who is frequently unable to complete tasks is at risk for
losing his or her job.

10. I don’t have anything to do. Even in a small law office with a laid-back atmosphere, there
is always something to do. If you have completed all of the tasks in your inbox, ask your boss or
a co-worker if there anything you can help them with, or consider cleaning out client files,
organizing a filing cabinet, sending out invoices, running maintenance on your computer, or
updating the firm’s forms and templates. Whatever you do, do not tell your boss that you don’t
have anything to do.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Lessons on provision and our faithful God have abounded lately. They do baffle me though. Not the faithfulness of our God, really.  He does, indeed, do what He says he will do.  Supply our needs. Sustain us when we aren't getting what we think we need. Surprise us with things we couldn't even think of.  No, that is par for the course, as they say.  He operates that way in our world. Indeed, this week He has again astounded me with his kindness to my children.  With how I have been given too much.  With the joy of giving.  With the joy of seeing His kingdom work accomplished, despite this world's most diligent efforts to be thwarted.  God not mocked brings chills down my spine. God's extravagant, and all we need to do is look.

My baffle results from who I am.  My life is surrendered.  My self-awareness is that I am utterly flawed and constantly asking Him to provide the ability to stay surrendered.  Would that I could say utterly surrendered, but no, I am only surrendered. I read a devotional last week had me begging forgiveness again for the "brutal truth" that I often ignore God. How do I do that when He indeed gives exceeding, abundantly more than I can ask and think? How can I just keep asking and not stop to see that which has been given?  Why is my gratitude so thin and my requisition so enormous?

Egads, I need to go do some more begging forgiveness again now.  What a brutal truth.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

The Reality of Floating

I am on an innertube.   I am floating.  There is a current.

I have been riding it for over 20 years.  Now there is a breeze.  In fact, it is a pretty stiff breeze from the west.  Of is from the east? When it lulls, the current takes me.  When it is blowing, I take a  new direction.   The weather has been spotty these last few years.   But now, there is a storm a brewin'.

Out of control?   No.

I know He who calms the storms.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

It's about being 51.

Tommy made it home from Wheaton, and is spending Labor Day Weekend in Minneapolis.   A fun change of plans.   I love spontaneity!

So, spontaneously, I'm gonna try to play golf with him.  First time to hit the links in 2 years.  Amazing.  Hip, knee, and now my "flicking" incident in July crippling my hand.  How can golf be such a physical challenge?  I mean really, I usually have to defend it as a sport.   But last time I attempted to play, it became clear that it  matters how all your body part parts are working to swing a club.   Sigh.  Almost 51 will require some Advil Liquigel, and rest following.  Going to give it the ol' college try at least.  Looking forward to it!

Isn't that just it?   We can still do, but the recovery is the issue.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Homecomings Stir

I've achieved a new stage. As has become typical in this life, albeit resisted and wrestled with before I'll admit it, I am embracing the changes.

The piles of shoes and rapidly emptying cupboards and fridge attest to the return of my children for the summer. Laughter and loud music bounce down the hall to me at all hours. It is not just the sour economy that increases the food budget these days. Items that it took months for me to not impulse buy at the grocery, are once again scrawled on the refrigerator's magnet pad. The dishwasher is full in two days -- instead of every 2 weeks!

Surprisingly, the return of the collegiates has once again stirred the nostalgic in me. I do not truly wish to return to the days of delightfully homebound childrearing, but with great fondness I recollect. I praise God for His provision that allowed me to share so many moments unrecorded by word or photos with the kids. The warm sofa time with the newly wakened nappers. Incessent kitchen duty washing plasticware and sponging up spills. Richard Scarry, A.A. Milne, Beatrix Potter and Seuss. I loved my travels to Busytown, Pooh Corner and MacGregor's garden. Glitter painted shoes and Osh-Kosh overalls. Nursery school programs and sparky shoes running around a soccer field --chasing lawn moths instead of watching the game. Privately owned moments of motherhood that resonate only in my own soul.

Then we let the kids out into the world for four hours in kindergarten, and the private moments begin to dwindle.