Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Random Things

Today is treatment day for mom. She's probably already up at the hospital getting her blood check and such to determine if they will "let" her have treatment today. I'm hoping to also hear from her that she hasn't lost any weight since her last treatment. That will be a major milestone. I hardly even want to articulate that I also hope she maybe gained a few pounds?? That would be a touchdown against her cancer! Well, I'll be very pleased to hear she didn't lose any. I'll have to text her soon. We text on her treatment day while she is in the hospital. That way we can keep in touch when she feels like it and without disrupting other folks getting their treatment.  Crossing my fingers this treatment goes at least as well as the last. One day at a time, but these are big days. Pump on today, off in two days.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

A Real AmeriCorps

So I woke up thinking this morning about something I woke up two days ago thinking about. I think our country needs a way to galvanize folks who serve their country other than by going into the military. Not because I have anything against the military. I just think it would be great to highlight and support ways that you can support your country by supporting your community and the members of your community through service.

There's AmeriCorps, which is great, but I've been in the non-profit community sector for over 15 years now. I'm not quitting my job to earn a small stipend and college loan relief. I don't have college loans. I still serve my country by working in my field. I make sure that people who have a child in the hospital have a place to stay nearby to their child. There are tons of people like me to do work for much less than we might earn in the for-profit world because we believe in working to help others in our communities. We aren't going to go work in an entry level internship to be a part of AmeriCorps.

However, I would love to join an expanded AmeriCorps that provided recognition, networking opportunities, maybe insurance pools (because folks who work in non-profit are often underinsured), educational opportunities etc. I would love to join an organization that recognized professionals in the service of their communities and provided mentorships. I would love to see a national service organization that proudly highlighted how its members serve their nation through various works.

I think an organization such as this would be an excellent way to bring together people of various backgrounds over a more compassionate, more active way to be a patriot. In my mind it could work to redefine what it means to love your country and to serve your country. It could redefine what it means to be patriotic. It could put an emphasis back on community and how we can transform our communities through good works.

I would be very proud to proclaim membership in such a group, a group that proclaimed with pride the good works of it's members to their communities.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Super Pup

He needs a cape. He jumped all the way up to a bird on a wire. Then he dropped the bird on command.... eventually. He's super dog in my dreams. Come up here pup and get in bed with mamas. Good dog. Let's go back to sleep together. Love it when all 125 lbs of you snuggles up as if you could still fit on my lap.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Saturday, April 10, 2010


It's kinda funny, I just realized, that I had my talk on listening as a gift yesterday with a man who is a Jehovah's Witness. Only because I was talking to him about my thoughts on listening as witnessing and I hadn't even thought about the fact that witnessing is important to him and probably defined a little differently.

We were standing in the kitchen at work and he complimented us on everything we do. How did we get on the topic of listening? I can't remember really. I remember telling him my belief that listening is one of the greatest gifts we can give.

I really believe this. A lot of times I feel like I might not be doing enough for others and I focus on actions I might do to them or for them - like helping someone at the grocery store or making dinner for a neighbor etc. I think we often overlook the power of listening.

Listening seems passive to most people, like an inaction, like we're not doing - that's why most people are not good listeners. We get impatient listening because we want to be doing. We don't realize that listening is an activity and it requires skills. It also requires a good deal of energy and can be as exhausting as a marathon if you are not in good condition. Being a good listener requires practice, attention, and skill. Listening is an art.

I told this guest my theory on listening as witnessing. I told him about the professor I had in college who sat in on war crimes tribunals and how she spoke of witnessing. She told us that witnessing means actively being present to someone's story. That allowing someone to share with us a difficult story is a gift to the speaker. What she meant was that sometimes what someone is telling us is painful to hear. When people have something painful to tell, often times they find it hard to find a listener. We sometimes tune out difficult stories to avoid any emotional pain ourselves.

Being present to someone's story means truly seeing them. Being an active listener to someone is like saying, "I see you, I see all of you, you are here." This is what we all truly crave when it comes down to it. We crave proof that others really see us, that they see all of who we are and not just the "pretty stuff," the "pleasantries." We crave to be 100% authentic and someone really hearing us is like being seen, like proof that we are here.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

It's good to wake up with a little bit of dried chocolate stuck to your neck...


I woke up this morning with the singular thought, "I don't even want to be in this house." Fortunately, I was referring to a house I was in during the dream I was just having and not my actual house. I had dreamt that I was with my ex-husband and several old friends moving into a house together. Dave and I weren't getting along and he was completely ignoring my input as to which room in the house we were going to claim. My friends were claiming rooms left and right and I was looking for a room with a bit of privacy. He was so excited to be living with his old college buddies that he really didn't care where we stayed. I was so frustrated with the whole situation that I really felt like none of the rooms would really do. One had several beds and a curtain up around a corner with a bed in there. Another room, that my old friends claimed, had two twins in it. I started thinking about the many times I wanted to go off on some little excursion with just Dave and he'd only wanted to hang out with his friends or go off on a kayaking trip without me. I woke up thinking to myself, "I don't even want to be in this house." You could have a Freudian heyday with that dream and I usually like analyzing my dreams, but I don't think that's the point of the dream.

I heard a quote at a workshop not long ago that went something like this, "Fear is the shabbiest room in the house. I'd like to see you in better living conditions." For some reason, around 4:00 AM this morning this quote made sense to me in relation to my waking thought, "I don't even want to be in this house." A few years ago, I walked out of that house and I'm in better living conditions. To me, our happiness is sometimes just a matter of recognizing our surroundings and how they make us feel. The hardest work is choosing to walk out of those surroundings when we've tried everything to change them and to step into the unknown. Stepping out the front door seems like a much easier concept to grasp.