Snapshot Saturday: 9/23/17

Today is packed with activity. This morning I’m presenting to a leadership class at Belmont University. The afternoon is all about college football. But before the day “kicks off” (see what I did there?) I took a quick walk among the roses. Just a few weeks ago there was no color in the rose bed due to my late summer pruning, something I did in hopes of having beautiful blooms to enter in upcoming rose shows. Here’s what’s blooming this morning.

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Snapshot Saturday, 9/16/17

Today I’m celebrating another trip around the sun. I kept things very low-key, beginning with a run on a nearby green way. I feel fortunate to leave near such beauty.

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Snapshot Saturday: Heroes 6K

It was a beautiful morning in Leiper’s Fork, TN, perfect for the Heroes in Recovery 6K. Why a 6K and not the customary 5k? The extra distance is in recognition of the extra work one must do to remain in a life of recovery.  I walked the hilly course and enjoyed every minute of it. This is my first race event of 2017, having set aside my fitness routine for the first eight months of the year. It felt great to get back out there.

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Snapshot Saturday, 9/2/17: One Shot

Today was the day to fertilize the roses in preparation for fall shows. Before I began my work I sat on the patio and watched the hummingbirds and butterflies. I shot some video of the birds, which I posted on Instagram. This was my only still shot of the day and I was grateful this guy agreed to pose for me.

 

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Snapshot Saturday, along the path.

This morning I took a leisurely two-mile jog on a nearby green way and enjoyed a little nature.

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Why it was my best eclipse ever

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During the eclipse, the tree canopy acted as an eclipse box, creating these little crescents. So cool!

#ICYMI there was a solar eclipse yesterday. Nashville was along the totality path, so it was a bit of a big deal. I didn’t take the day off. Instead, I sat in the office parking lot alongside others who work in the building. Just about the time I began wishing I was watching at home with hubs, or watching at our neighbors’ ginormous eclipse party, a truck pulled into the lot. It was one of my organization’s service vendors and he had come to fix our copy machine. His facial expression told me he was having a bad day. I made a good-hearted comment about him braving the traffic during the eclipse. He responded that he’d already made several service calls and people literally swore at him for showing up and ruining office parties. My heart broke.

We went inside (we were still about 25 minutes away from eclipse totality) and he fixed the copy machine. I asked him if he wanted to hang out with us for the rest of the eclipse and would he like to borrow my (NASA-approved) glasses. He’d brought his own glasses and he pulled up a chair and spent part of his lunch hour with us. I learned that his wife had major surgery last week and he’d spent the weekend caring for her. I learned that several coworkers had taken the day off and he was part of a skeleton crew. Exhausted, he was trying to be pleasant to his customers while worrying about his wife. And he’d spent the morning being sworn at. That’s not right.

Shortly after seeing the corona, we went back inside so he could make one more adjustment to the copy machine. As we walked back outside (he needed to get to his next appointment and I needed to gaze at the sky for another minute) he said “Thank you for letting me have this moment.”  It was then that I realized I was exactly where I was meant to be. I wasn’t supposed to watch the eclipse with hubs. I wasn’t to be at the neighbors’ party. I was supposed to show kindness to a guy who hadn’t been treated well that morning. I am grateful I was given that opportunity.

It was the best eclipse ever.

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Snapshot Saturday 8/12/17

It’s been ages since I started my Saturday with camera in hand. It feels good to be getting back into the practice. Here are a few shots from the yard. And now, I have four more roses bushes to prune in prep of the fall shows and weeds to pull. Happy Saturday, y’all!

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Thoughts About Pruning

Saturday, August 5, had been marked on my calendar for weeks. A lot of rosarians prune their roses 55 – 60 days before fall rose shows and as I counted back from the date of a show I want to enter, August 5 became my pruning day. This is the first year I’ve tried this; I’m in my forth year of growing roses and I still feel like a newbie, still learning the ways of “the real rosarians.”

My first step in the process was to harvest some blooms and make arrangements to share.

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After making two deliveries (and keeping an arrangement for myself!), I was back in the rose bed, pruners in hand. I did what the “real rosians” have taught me. I removed crossing center canes and dead wood, and I cut back 3 – 5 of the strong remaining canes that were the width of a Number 2 pencil.

While I was pruning I cut away plenty of buds that in a few weeks would have been beautiful flowers if left to mature. I gotta tell you, that was painful. I cheated a bit and left three flowers, knowing they would open by Monday. I cut them last night and am now enjoying them in my bedroom.

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My time in the garden often takes my thoughts to God. The Bible contains a lot of garden references, beginning with the Garden of Eden in Genesis. While I was pruning, I thought about what the Bible says on the subject. Jesus used the term as a metaphor for God’s preparing us to do His work. James 15:2 says, “Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit.” I did a little online reading about that verse and found this.

A few years ago I went through a really unpleasant experience at work. While I was miserable during my walk through it, I had faith (albeit a small amount of faith…perhaps the size of a mustard seed) that I was being prepared for something else. Looking back, I can see how the experience was equipping me for the job I have (and love) today.

Saturday’s gardening task reminded me that sometimes I have to sacrifice today, for a better experience down the road. And it reminded me to be trusting during times when I am being pruned.

 

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Why I stopped blogging

Apparently, at least one person reads this blog. I know this because a few weeks ago a friend reached out to me via Facebook private messaging to ask why I haven’t posted all year.

The answer, in a word,  is bandwidth.

Last year I began feeling a nudge that I was supposed to serve the nonprofit community in a different way. I’d been a development director for 20 years and I felt a Higher Powered calling to make a change. In November I began interviewing with a wonderful nonprofit, Insight Counseling Centers, to be its Executive Director. I was the successful candidate and during the month of December I worked out my notice at my former job. My executive director gig began January 3 and for the first few months I felt like I was drinking out of a fire hose. So much to learn! So many people to meet! A few organizational changes to make! And a big office move!

By May 1 we had created a new department (Intake) to better serve people seeking counseling. Then it was time to turn our attention to moving our Nashville Center. The building we’d been housed in for 32 years recently sold and is going to be torn down soon. It is a beautiful, almost 100 year old house that was in great need of repair. I’m sad to see it torn down, but the new owners have other plans for the land. #sadface.  Once we found new, affordable space several colleagues and I began going through closet after closet, file after file, to determine was was to be kept and what was to be shredded according to HIPAA standards. It was a mammoth task that took weeks to complete.

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The office move involved a little dust.

We moved the center last week and I feel a huge sense of relief.

Looking back on the last eight months, I realize I’ve gone through a process that will give me more empathy for my coaching clients. I’ve been working far outside of my comfort zone as I’ve never before served as a nonprofit executive director. While there have been days of self doubt, this experience has also brought be closer to God because I need to rely on His guidance for the next right thing to do. My morning prayers include a request for wisdom and discernment.

While there is still plenty on my Insight plate and I have coaching clients to serve, this week I feel as though I’m coming up for air. I look forward to re-engaging with this blog and I hope you’ll re-engage with me.

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Confessions About Clutter

2017 has already brought me positive change. I started a new job on January 3 (more about that in an upcoming post), I am continuing to work with my fabulous life and career coaching clients, I am back at the gym following two separate and equally painful tendonitis episodes and I am…

Recommitting to tackling household clutter.

I embarked on a decluttering mission a year or so ago. I was following a schedule that I found online. It involved one 15 minute mission a day, every day for a year. At the end of the year, the home will be clutter-free. It’s a great schedule, but it didn’t work for me. I am not a 15-minute-a-day person. I am a several-hours-over-the-weekend person. Once I got clear on how I best work, I decided to make 2017 the year I go into attack mode. I’m starting with my kitchen. My first session involved taking everything out of a cabinet, throwing away outdated items or items I know I’ll never use, and organizing what remains. Know what I found the most of?

Spices.

Lots and lots of spices.

I probably have four tins of chili powder and multiple tins of other spices. It was just too easy to pick up a spice from the store instead of checking my inventory to see if I already have it. I ended up buying a storage container to hold everything. I have told myself I am not allowed to buy another spice until I use up what I already have. I’m making chicken fajitas tonight and, no surprise, I already have every spice needed for the seasoning.

Here are photos of my spice collection.

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The storage situation is not ideal, but all of those containers are corralled into one place. As I use up spices, I’ll step down to a smaller bin.

I’ve had two kitchen decluttering sessions and I only need one or two more before that room is finished. Afterward I’ll move on to another room. The sense of accomplishment and increased space is motivating me to continue on. I’ve taken several boxes of unused kitchen items to the thrift store and I now have space to stow away small appliances I only use weekly. The extra counter space is refreshing!

Why am I telling you this and why in the world am I showing you my spice clutter? Because I want you encourage you to rid yourself of any shame you may be feeling about the state of your home. If you deal with clutter, here are my “coach’s thoughts” on tackling it.

  • Be gentle with yourself. My clutter didn’t appear in one day and it won’t disappear over night. I am choosing to celebrate my accomplishments, one decluttering session at a time. I’m not setting a deadline on when my project must be completed. I’ve only made a commitment to work on it a bit each week.
  • Be clear on your work style. Those 15-minute a day online guides are great if that is the way you work. Otherwise, design a plan that fits your style. (Again, I’m a weekend warrior.)
  • If you’d like help, hire a professional organizer to work with you. I co-present workshops with a professional organizer and I can assure you, organizers keep what they see and hear in the strictest of confidence. You can “air your dirty laundry” to them just as you can a coach.
  • Look online for motivation. Here’s one of my favorite blogs on minimalism.

I’d love to get a conversation going about how you have tackled (or are tackling) clutter. Please leave your tips in the comments section. Sharing your successes will help others!

 

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