Monday, September 22, 2014

How JobShift Helped Me Survive

Following is my piece in the High Calling series Best Business Books.

In 1996 my family faced multiple—nearly overwhelming—crises that included me leaving a long-term stable job in a ministry setting. No big deal, just the loss of job, church, friends, and a deep-rooted support system.

One challenge involved helping family members make it through each new day. Another was the added pressure of an employment search. Oh, and because of the depth of our stress, I committed to not moving. I feared moving for work might become a final tipping point. I hoped that somehow holding place would provide a bit of hope that everything hadn’t been lost, a possible place to build from going forward.

Rare was the day I had energy and excitement about the search process.

Read the rest of my story at the High Calling: http://www.thehighcalling.org/work/best-books-business-how-jobshift-helped-me-survive#.VCBxAitdU01

Thursday, May 1, 2014

I Love My Place

From Stephens Street to Tulip Road

My childhood home on Stephens Street was a poorly built track piece in the booming suburbs of the fifties. Ten miles from downtown and a few more from a farm town that would transition to little more than one of the states largest strip mall repositories over the next few decades.
Our place was one of the smallest, cheapest models in the neighborhood, with three bedrooms, one bath, a single garage — maybe a thousand square feet. The yard was never finished, maybe because of my mom’s scattered-ness and dad’s drinking. Who can say?
The place was defined by contradictions. It was home, my place of rest and protection. It was a mess of screaming fights, lonely fears, abuse and waiting for the next bad thing. I remember Mom would give us pajamas hot from the dryer on a winter night. I remember days without seeing my dad, not knowing if it was a blessing or a curse.
link for the rest of the story: https://www.catapultmagazine.com/i-love-my-place/article/from-stephens-street-to-tulip-road

Stephens Street house over my left shoulder.

Monday, April 28, 2014

Really, I saw it

You should’a seen it! Mrs. Dobbins
slammed the brakes, she said
the “S” word, I heard it. My lunchbox
broke and my sandwich
got squished, bologna’s my favorite.
Books were flying everywhere. Kids were
screaming, crying. There was
blood on Stevie’s face, I couldn’t
tell where it came from. All ‘cause
that stupid dog ran in front of
the bus. Best thing is I was sitting
up front, close enough to see
everything, even his eyes pop out!

Really, I saw it, they popped right out.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Lessons Learned

After two successful weeks on Romper Room (local franchise of the national TV pre-school), I entered first grade at Lynch View Elementary in September of 1960, as there was no public kindergarten in our area. Following high school I went to community college and then a state school to finish my degree.
Three months after graduating from college I was teaching in an elementary school in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Over the years I have been an involved parent and community member (including a failed school board run), taught at virtually every level from pre- to elementary to middle to high school, university, grad school and community education, and now I’m doing a bit of substitute teaching.
All of this leaves me with observations, strong opinions, respect, hopes, concerns and questions. Here is a random sampling of my thoughts surrounding schools and education...
follow this link for the rest of the story: https://www.catapultmagazine.com/schooled/article/lessons-learned

Thursday, April 3, 2014

I read the news today -- oh, boy…

So said the Beatles a few years back.

In theory the news is about being informed, becoming aware through gaining a sense of what is happening and possibly shaping one’s life in response.

I remember a time when news was easy. Radio was the closest to being an “in the moment” news source. You could get half hour updates with occasional emergency reports. Television gave us a couple of half hours at dinner and bedtime with a bit more depth. The paper would arrive the next day with more details, including sports scores and game details. Magazines would eventually arrive weekly or monthly as scheduled...

follow this link for the rest of the story: https://www.catapultmagazine.com/news-to-me/article/i-read-the-news-today-oh-boy

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Caught in the middle

"I have...a love-hate relationship with organizations. Organizations have given me the opportunity to live my deeper convictions and commitments. But I often find myself hitting my head against the wall. I can’t tolerate perfunctory rules. I am mostly unable to ignore incompetence. I shut down when encountering self-serving, egotistical leadership..."

Follow this link for my complete piece about Belonging in the current issue of catapult magazinehttps://www.catapultmagazine.com/belonging/article/caught-in-the-middle

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Beyond my ability

As a child I was never able to color within the lines, cut a decent shape with scissors or make the glue only cover the intended area. Making model cars was a favorite activity of my neighborhood friends. Mine never looked anything like the box cover.  My school art projects were disasters. Whatever it was I made as a gift for my parents resulted in awkward moments. Either they had to ask what is was or fake appreciation for what they held, but didn’t understand...

Follow this link for the rest of the story: https://www.catapultmagazine.com/making-art/article/beyond-my-ability

 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

(Dis)comfort food

If you know my Mom, you know how she is attached to food as the source of comfort. She loves to cook and lives to cook. I am not sure I can find the dividing line between cooking to share love and cooking to receive love.

In her younger days, she was a legendary whirlwind in the kitchen leaving the room looking like something of a war zone. She rarely if ever used cookbooks or recipes. Baking was a specialty and there’d be flour splotches all over her and most any available surface.  When not baking, country-style cooking ruled: meat, potatoes and lots of gravy, pot roast, pork chops, fried chicken, canned vegetables, casseroles and Jello salads. On creative days, she’d whip up a giant pot of spaghetti that would last for days.

For the rest of this piece follow this link to catapult magazinehttps://www.catapultmagazine.com/comfort-food/feature/dis-comfort-food



Monday, February 10, 2014

AND IT IS GOOD

I guess hormones get things started,
creating some sense of social order,
maybe keeping the race alive.
 
Something other binds us,
whispering deep within
for almost forty years now.
 
Naming seems simplistic or incomplete
but it exists, we are together,
and it is good.

published in the Bellingham Herald 2.10.14

Read more here: http://www.bellinghamherald.com/2014/02/10/3463026/herald-readers-share-valentine.html#storylink=cpy

Thursday, February 6, 2014

It’s only paranoia if...

She fears that credit cards
and government servants
have replaced Santa and Jesus as all seeing,
all knowing powers to be reckoned with.


Ignore the ever-present snoops
and be labeled an out of touch fool.
Try going off the grid and
be compared to the Unabomber. 


Voicing caution
may accomplish little more than
elevating her place on some list,
that she has been assured does not exist.


Welcome to the new America,
and the global neighborhood,
the new now,
and by the way, good luck.


This poem is from the current issue of catapult magazine with the theme of Privacy. Here's the link for further reading: https://www.catapultmagazine.com/

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Schmotzer’s never...

“Don’t worry Dad, I’m a Schmotzer and Schmotzer’s never quit.”

So said my four-year-old granddaughter to her dad, my son, when recently being instructed to “really” clean her room.

My first response to hearing the story was I wish my Dad could have heard it. He would have loved that his great-grandchild wasn’t a “quitter.” Dad was no nonsense. Never give up was S.O.P. I could almost hear him, “Yep, she’s a Schmotzer.”

Personally I was proud she had learned endurance from her parents and I considered that a fine legacy. Tenacity is one of my high values and I hope my family shares it. I love the idea that at a young age she has a beginning awareness of the importance of seeing things through to the finish.

I eventually got off the cloud of thinking my granddaughter had it all figured out and was ready to meet any goal and overcome every challenge that life will bring. Reality check: she’s four and probably parroting something her parents said. It’s something positive, but something that will take years to learn, and more to live out.

Then I thought about the danger of the simplistic motto, “Never quit.” Remember the whisper, “There is a time for everything…”

Follow this link to read the rest of this essay from catapult magazine: https://www.catapultmagazine.com/quitting/article/schmotzer-s-never

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Just another year

My review of 2013 from catapult magazine:

From my limited viewpoint, nothing earth-shattering or life-changing happened for my family and me in 2013. More seemed the same than different — something like twelve months circling for a landing. It may be the impact of aging: when you’ve seen about 60 years, at times they seem to blur together. But most of life is lived in small movements, routines and commitments. So in the midst of another year I will attempt to draw out some of the special moments and happenings from my corner of Planet Earth.

follow this link for the rest of the story  https://www.catapultmagazine.com/ten-things-7/article/just-another-year