Sunday, January 25, 2009

Gotta run, catch me later

Just ran in from Faithwalking in Houston after being away since Thursday--washing clothes as fast as I can to leave for Carrollton tomorrow. I'll be home late Wednesday night and will stay home until Monday, when I leave for Camp Tejas (gathering with 25 Reformed pastors and denominational leaders) til Thursday. It's all exciting and I'm having fun!

Monday, January 19, 2009

My favorite quote from 2008

Heard on NPR on the day after Election Day:

The interviewer was talking to a group of young black men standing on a street corner in the south side of Chicago, talking about the election of Barack Obama the day before.

Interviewer: So what does the election of Barack Obama mean to you?

Young black man: It means that anybody can do anything if they try hard enough, that anything is possible. (His friends are laughing and cutting up in the background.)

Interviewer: Does it change anything for you personally?

Young black man: (pause) Yeah, it makes me want to pull up my pants! Yeah, makes me want to wear a belt, maybe!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

16 Things About Me

I've been tagged with "16 Things About Me"--tagged from two places, as a matter of fact. It should be fun--Here goes:
  1. I love to talk about myself! Those of you who know me well already know that! But I often get feedback that I'm "reserved," that I don't share freely, that I'm hard to get to know. I don't know what to do with that, but I'm pretty sure it is related to how safe I feel with someone.
  2. When C and I got married, I didn't know if I wanted to have kids. Really.
  3. Having Boo and Mowgli is the best thing I ever did and I have absolutely LOVED being a mom.
  4. Some days the whole God thing just doesn't make sense to me. Most days it does, mostly.
  5. I love to read. I read all the time. I almost always read standing up. I often read several things at once. I'm weird.
  6. I get about a million magazines every month. My favorites are Time, O, and Christianity Today. Next is The Week, Redbook, and The Psychotherapy Networker.
  7. I think empathy is the most important quality for a person to have. I believe it is the number one predictor of maturity.
  8. I really, really hate violence in movies or TV shows. I look away unapologetically. It can make me profoundly sad.
  9. I have way, way too many pairs of black shoes, black boots, and black sandals.
  10. I love to sleep late--it's my favorite hobby--but I'm losing the ability to do it. I can't nap either. It's a great personal loss.
  11. My Meyers-Briggs profile is ENFJ. Anyone surprised?
  12. My biggest challenge is managing the balance between tasks and people--getting the essential tasks done while placing the priority on people.
  13. I don't really like dogs. I mean, I like them in theory a lot but they scare me. And they smell. I'm kind of a wimp about these things.
  14. When I was in high school, I worked at a country music radio station, reading the news on Saturdays. It was a pretty cool job.
  15. I have really awesome parents and wonderful friends.
  16. I am absolutely madly in love with my husband.

If you blog (electric monk, this means you), consider yourself tagged.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Hmmmmm . . .

Some things resonate with such clarity that we use inadequate euphemisms like, "I felt like someone punched me in the stomach." Whatever. I'm still breathing but I feel like I can't catch my breath. This is what I read: "If you cannot set and keep good boundaries, you will always fear the added responsibility that comes with more success." All I know is that the author is Cheryl Richardson and she apparently has been poking around in the parts of my mind that I can't quite get to.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Barack Obama on leadership

I have been fascinated by reading the accounts of the "embedded" reporters in the major political campaigns over the last 18 months or so, published in Newsweek after the election. They described the chaos of the Clinton campaign (assumed at the time to be the winner) and its infighting and power struggles--staffers quarreling over titles, key advisors who refused to speak to each other even about strategy and policy, personnel that could not be in the same room together.

When the Clinton campaign folded, the Obama campaign swooped in to snag some of the best and the brightest to continue working for a Democrat victory. They apparently came into the Obama circle ready to continue their old ways, negotiating for more prestigious titles than those already working in the campaign, continuing their old feuds and so on. The article described the difficulty they had adjusting to an organization where conflict, if it occurred at all, took place behind closed doors, where people were identified by function rather than title, where everything was about the mission--streamlined, efficient, focused. As someone said, "No-drama Obama is in charge here."

So I was interested to see what the president-elect had to say (in Time magazine) in his own words:

"I don't think there's some magic trick here. I think I've got a good nose for talent, so I hire really good people. And I've got a pretty healthy ego, so I'm not scared of hiring the smartest people even when they're smarter than me. And I have a low tolerance of nonsense and turf battles and game-playing and I send that message very clearly. And so over time, I think, people start trusting each other and they stay focused on mission, as opposed to personal ambition or grievance. If you've got really smart people who are all focused on the same mission, then usually you can get some things done."

"I'm not a shouter. I find that what was always effective with me as a kid, and Michelle and I find it effective with our kids, is jsut making people feel really guilty. Like "Boy, I am disappointed in you. I expected so much more." And I think people generally want to do the right thing, and if you're clear to them about what that right thing is, and if they see you doing the right thing, then that gives you some leverage . . . Now there are exceptions. There are time when guilt doesn't work and then you have to use fear."

"Outside of specific policy measures, two years from now, I want the American people to be able to say, "Government's not perfect; there are some things Obama does that get on my nerves. But you know what? I feel like the government's working for me. I feel like it's accountable. I feel like it's transparent. I feel that I am well informed about what government actions are being taken. I feel that this is a president and an administration that admits when it makes mistakes and adapts itself to new information, that believes in making decisions based on fact and on science as opposed to what is politically expedient.' "

Obama appears to be an exceptional leader but, of course, he has never led the free world--he has a lot to prove. Still, I want to use the word . . . hmmm . . what is it? Self-differentiated? Yeah, that's it.

In lieu of a blogroll, part 3

When life is hectic and crazy, I like to go over to this blog and just wander around. I especially like the pictures but Brin is a good writer too. I know her life is hectic and crazy too, but she manages to capture a vision of serenity and beauty that touches me. Enjoy!

Real life resumes

I can tell because I found myself yesterday sitting at the desktop computer with my laptop on and open on my bed, talking on the home phone while my cell phone was ringing.

Saturday, January 3, 2009


Are you watching the horrible video coming out of the middle east? I'm turning off CNN because it's just a continual loop of bombs and fireballs and flames against the night sky. It makes me so sad to see what we do to each other. Watching the representatives of each side battle it out on cable television makes me just as sad. It reminds me of marriage counseling--each side so deeply wounded that they can only focus on their own hurt and have no empathy for the hurt of the other, each side so angry about their own grievances that they have no insight into their part of the conflict. Lord, have mercy.

In lieu of a blogroll, part 2

Here's another blog for you to check out: Real Live Preacher is actually Gordon Atkinson, a San Antonio pastor and writer. Here's a recent post I really enjoyed. He has a new format that I'm still getting used to but you can check out some of his most popular posts in the box on the right hand side of the front page of the blog if you like his writing. Again, thought-provoking, challenging and discomfiting--which is why I read it!

Friday, January 2, 2009

In lieu of a blogroll

There are about 8 blogs that I read on a daily-ish basis. Several of them are just keeping up with friends of mine and so I probably won't share them with you. But a couple consistently post things that make me think or laugh or enjoy my day just a little better and I want to introduce you to them this year. Consider it a new year's gift (or a curse, depending on whether you have time to "waste" on the internet.)

Today, I'm sending you to my friend Jim Herrington's blog, particularly to his most recent post, here. (If you're one of my technologically challenged readers, just move the cursor to the place where the text changes color. That's a link and when you click on it, it will take you to the other blog.)

Jim is one of those people whose life has been transformed before my very eyes and who has consistently challenged me to open myself up to transformation as well. He has invested in me, invited me, rebuked me, encouraged me and taught me. God has used him powerfully in my life (as well as in the lives of countless others.) Jim sees around corners and has an entrepreneurial faith that changes the world.

His compassion runs deep and his integrity even deeper. This post is challenging and uncomfortable. If you look back at his blog, you'll see his commitment to children in HISD public schools and to the poor and to unity in the church in Houston, TX--all things he actively works for and advocates for.

As promised

Here's Boo with Baby J, taken with our new camera.