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Monday, March 25, 2013

Merry Spring

As we sit in the newness of spring, we rarely think of celebrating with a new blanket of snow.  In fact, not only are we surprised by it, we immediately take to our social networks and our kitchen tables to lament our unmet expectations.  Within hours of the forecast there were clever visuals posted on Facebook about the drunken ground hog and the Snow Bunny instead of the Easter Bunny and on and on it goes.

We expected one thing and received another.  I was quick to join in posting my countdown to fly away to warmer temps and sandy beaches to escape yet another week of cold and snow and wet and dreary.  And then something happened.

As one by one the kids nestled in bed, one on spring break, one on a snow delay, I finally found myself in the quiet.  As I finished a few things and started to settle in for the night I was taken in by something so beautiful I had to stop and honor it. 

As I turned off each light, I watched the room stayed illuminated. I was drawn to the window.  Beckoned really.  And there it was, the moon on the breast of the new fallen snow, gave the lustre of mid day to objects below.  Breath taking.  Beautiful.  A gift.  God had lured me to the window with His beauty.  An unexpected gift.

It made me swallow hard and take in a few realizations. 

No, we don't always get what we want.  But maybe the gifts are in the unexpected.  The gifts are slowing down to recognize we don't always get our gifts wrapped the way we thought.  But they can still be gifts none the less.

And even though the calendar says March and we think spring, He is always still in charge.  Maybe we need a few reminders now and again to slow down, and let Him bring us the gifts we need, when we need them. 

And when alas those blades turn green and the flowers show us their color, let us not be quick to whine and complain of the labor a beautiful yard can bring, but to be still in that moment and that gift, wrapped differently but a gift none the less.

As I shut my eyes on this new fallen snow, I know Santa won't be bringing us gifts tonight, but the good Lord sure delivered a beautiful moment and a gentle reminder, all gifts none the less.

Merry Spring to all and to all a good night.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

C is for Courage

Today in one of our car chats, Dude and I had a great talk about the C word.  Yep, Courage.  Dude is 15 and possesses all the fragility that comes with being 15.  Every ounce of him cares about what people think and say, about him, to him.  He had found his old Game Boy in the attic a few days ago and rekindled some nostalgia for Pokemon games and days gone by.  He was playing his GameBoy on the way to school this morning.   As we approached the school he was agonizing about whether or not he should take his GameBoy into school. He was actually in fear that someone would see that he had a GameBoy with him and would immediately think he was childish and silly.  In my infinite wisdom I said, "Dude, take the GameBoy and display it proudly with confidence and if anyone asks say "I'm rockin' the GameBoy Retro Old School" and smile with the confidence of every cool rock star you've ever idolized.  He laughed and then we talked for realz.

I shared with him what I've come to observe over the years.

 It's not the smartest or the most educated that wins, it's the one with the most courage.

I reminded him that the kids that get picked on are the meek and mild and those that are afraid.  Those that hide the GameBoy in fear of mocking.  The coolest kids are those with the most courage and confidence.  He immediately thought of a couple kids like that and said their names and gave me examples.

I've also seen this in business as I've watched various clients and leaders.  There are many leaders with great degrees and pedigrees but when it comes right down to it, they're afraid to put themselves and their teams out there to lead the pack.  There are also some truly great leaders that are only as smart as the masses of leaders but they have courage and they rally the troops and galvanize a team around an amazing goal and with courage and gumption they go for it. 

It takes courage to stand out.  It takes courage to put yourself out there.  My friend Julie courageously put her first blog post out into the interwebz with an honest heart wrenching post about the possibility that her son Matthew may have autism.  She's scared out of her mind and I believe will become one of the most outstanding advocates there is.  She's got courage.

It takes courage to leave a 15 year career because it's no longer serving you well and reach out courageously into the great unknown to find that next career.  My dear friend Robin is doing that now. 

It takes courage to sign up for the basketball team when you've never played a day in your life and most of your friends have played for a couple of years.  When our 5th grade girl did that this year, my heart swelled with pride and appreciation for the courage that it took.  I knew when the time came for that first game and her stomach was in knots and fear was setting in that overcoming it and putting herself on that court would be a lesson in courage, not in free throw percentage.  She made 3 baskets the whole season and each one of them was another badge of courage to put yourself out there and take a shot.

Maybe we should start to measure courage.  We have IQ to measure intelligence and EQ has become widely accepted to discuss one's emotional intelligence, so what about CQ?  What's your courage quotient?

It takes courage to stay in a marriage that's tough and to work through it.  It takes courage to leave a relationship when you know it's causing more damage than good.  It takes courage to finally start that business you've always dreamed about.  It takes courage to be a working mom and always feel like you're straddling the great divide of your time and attention.  It takes courage to pick up the phone and call that therapist and say, "I need some help."  It takes courage to show up to that AA meeting.  It takes courage to sign up for your first 5K when you've only run to catch a plane a few times in your life and never with a paper number pinned to your shirt.

Look around at the courageous acts in your circle of friends.  If you know someone that's taking the steps of change, applaud their courage, be in their fan club.  Become inspired and up your CQ too.

At the last minute while getting out of the car, Dude reached back into the glove compartment and took out the Retro Cool GameBoy and flashed me a quick smile as he dropped it into his backpack.  I smiled back and said, "rock it like you got it Dude".  And off he went with another badge of courage in his CQ.