Wednesday, October 09, 2013

Our Chalet Hike ... Ummmm ... Sort Of! (aka Tiny Choices)

I'd love to hike at "our chalet" in Switzerland (one of the Girl Scout World Centres) ... but since I can't just pop over there and take off into the mountains, I figured I'd take my chalet mug on a hike to the high regions of the second story wing of the Girl Scout Service Center in Tulsa and get some coffee. 

This counts as part of the Live Healthy, Lead Healthy fit challenge, right?  I'm in training, by the way, for the 20 week challenge that I will begin on Saturday with our huge kickoff* in Chandler Park.  And by "in training" I mean "actively procrastinating."

A while back, I decided this was the perfect opportunity to restore honor to my languishing blog and, more importantly, hopefully inspire some of the other adults in our GSEOK (Girl Scouts of Eastern Oklahoma) family to give the fit challenge a chance. 

Suddenly, I hear a large choir of famous voices singing in my head, "give health a chance," while they ... [oh - I shouldn't talk about voices in my head? Excuse me!] I digress!

In all seriousness, maybe you're like me. Maybe the whole subject of being "fit" is already challenge! There are several reasons why it is for me, but here are my main three:
  • I'm out of shape.
  • I don't enjoy exercise.
  • Time is a huge issue.
My secondary reasons?
  • I'm out of shape ... and can't stand how I look in shorts or athletic wear of any kind, especially when it involves sweating. I can only with great self-talk and bravery wear yoga pants (which ARE worth it for the comfort factor, at least) outside of my dwelling.
  • I don't enjoy exercise ... at least for the sake of exercise. It's slightly like torture. However, if there is an element of expression involved or any kind of creative appreciation? It's a whole different story. I love dance - especially modern dance - but for now it is held hostage by the previous point. But hiking with a camera? I'll happily sweat all day! Kayaking at sunset? I'll out-paddle everyone else. Therein is another challenge. None of those things are doable in the hours I have available....
  • Time is a huge issue ... the issue of all issues for everything in my life. When do I think I will have any time to do things I'm already supposed to be doing? Or is there such a thing as vaccum pilates or dusting yoga? How about laundry aerobics? Maybe then I'd get all of it to happen.
And that's just exercise! We didn't even begin with food.  Overwhelmed yet? I am. Maybe that's where I find my key.

I'm already overwhelmed. How do I take a fit challenge? Maybe it will be a little like my "chalet hike" today.  Want to hear the success story?  Of course you do!  It's because I made tiny choices:
  • I purposely chose to go to the farthest location for coffee (plus - there's SPECIAL coffee there).
  • I took the stairs instead of the elevator ... twice. (Did I mention there's special coffee? Mmmm.)
  • I had a little fun on the way, which is documented in photos above for your entertainment:
    • Where's Waldo/Ingrid moments (there are three)
    • Noticing little things along the way like "stick people in peril"
    • Scouting out healthy options around me to inspire me to look for more
Each of these are tiny choices that were doable in the moment. I didn't have to wear yoga pants! If that weren't exciting enough, I was able to conquer the other two challenges as well. I found ways to make it enjoyable and do it in my available time, adding only a couple of minutes to something I was doing already.

What tiny choices can you make? I'm thinking stairs and taking the long way are working for me. 

Next?  I may conquer something huge .. like ... drinking water!

*Have you signed up to join us in the park ... for free?  Do it here: LIVE HEALTHY, LEAD HEALTHY KICKOFF
*How about the fit challenge? It's only $10 and includes a workbook, t-shirt, pedometer, and cool incentives along the way!  Sign up for that here: FIT CHALLENGE
Posted by Picasa

Monday, September 30, 2013


I love the sense of pride I feel when I see the same sense of pride being modeled and learned and demonstrated by Girl Scouts. It makes my heart want to burst! I wonder how many of these girls will carry patriotic seeds into adulthood because of moments like these. I wonder how many of them will one day reflect on the values they hold and see the connections to their Girl Scout experiences. I wonder if volunteers get to hear how their influence shaped critical ethics or life decisions or daily integrity for the girls they lead. Amidst the laughter and the silliness, one finds these moments. I, for one, smile deeply every time I do.

P.S. Want to join? Volunteer? Donate? It's easy ... no matter where you are, start with and enter your zip code. You'll be directed to the nearest Girl Scout council!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, April 22, 2013

Get Your Hands Dirty!

Our volunteers ROCK! As one of our queens of tie dye can attest, this isn't for the faint of heart - at least not when it comes to keeping clean.  Our volunteers are willing to get in there, get their hands dirty, and do what it takes to dig down deep into a leadership adventure for girls. 

I wish I had more time to stop and reflect on these amazing people ... our volunteers.  But alas, I am putting the finishing touches on an event for them this Saturday, so my words will have to show up on stage and not in a blog!

But in the meantime, some of what we shared with Girl Scouts of the USA on #HatsOffForVolunteers via Twitter today might provide some additional entertainment.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Every Day is Leaders' Day

Learning ... guiding ... growing ... discovering ... all these things we celebrate.  And today, while it is officially Leaders Day, my thoughts are towards the wonderful adults who take the time to make these things happen in the lives of Girl Scouts.

One day to recognize and say THANK YOU is simply not enough.  Leaders and volunteers are daily making a difference.  Have you thanked a Girl Scout volunteer recently?

NOTE:  Girl Scout Leader Day recognizes and honors the many adult volunteers to the girl scouting program. Girl Scout Leader Day began on April 22, 1982, when a flag honoring Girl Scout leaders was flown over the Capitol building in Washington, D.C. This day honors the thousands of volunteers who help to make the Girl Scout program a success.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Actions Speak Louder Than Words

From inside a juvenile detention facility, the scene is not what one might expect. In fact, I find myself wanting to find something eloquent to say about the visit I had today with Girl Scouts. But I think the message is loud and clear. It is far more than words on the wall. It's real. People care ... they care about kids in tough situations ... and they're dedicating their lives to helping them turn things around.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012


Leadership makes all the difference in the lives of youth ... having good leaders to look up to is something I truly love when I see it in action.  I know I don't blog nearly enough.  But on a day* when there is much love expressed in the world, it's a great time to say how much I am inspired by and love every Girl Scout leader who has made a difference in a girl's life.

While I consider it a great privilege to work for an amazing organization, it's truly the volunteers - those who are working directly with each young girl as their leaders - who are the "rockstars" of Girl Scouting.  Not every girl has someone she can say "I LOVE YOU" to, and it makes my heart sad to think a young girl doesn't have someone who believes in her.  BUT ... I get to see things like this and it warms my heart.

We love our Girl Scout leaders!  And I am inspired by them every day.

*I just discovered this draft didn't post ... so those receiving the updates by email, this misses the Valentine's Day mark! But every day can be Valentine's Day in Girl Scouting, don't you think?
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, December 06, 2011

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Some Serious Reporting

This serious group of girls had a seriously great opportunity ... and even though it has taken me a while to get up a post about it, it's still one of my favorite moments. 

Tulsa Shock graciously worked with us on a BIG event where girls had the opportunity to experience different roles through the night.  I brought in a good friend of mine who is a real reporter and journalist to lead and inspire the girls.  Not only did he do that, but he was able to get them an interview with the coach after the game!

This is what makes my heart so soft ... people who volunteer simply by sharing their skills and abilities, making a new opportunity open up for girls.  I don't know if they realized how lucky they were, but they took full advantage of the moment!  I was so impressed.  They asked not only great questions, but GUTSY questions!  One, in fact, made the other reporters in the room gasp and scribble in their notebooks, too.  But even better than that, they made the coach's day and she encouraged them as well.

One young lady submitted her story to the Girl Scout Council, so we put it up online and you can read all about it (including her gutsy question) by clicking here.
Posted by Picasa

Friday, August 26, 2011

My Daughter's Feet

I have to laugh sometimes ... my daughter has her own sense of style. Ballet and socks? Not to mention neon leopard purposely "matched" with a solid?

Her little anklet made me think of summer camp. Replace the pointe shoes with tennis shoes and she could be at camp. Then again, replace the pointe shoes with flats and she could be at school. Put them in boots and she's on horseback. The interests of girls can be wide and sweeping, but they are always bringing their personality into their world as it expands. And that makes the world beautiful and interesting.

Naturally, that's another part of Girl Scouting I love. It gives girls opportunities to experience and explore. And ultimately, by building courage, confidence and character, it brings out the unique leader in all ... even leaders in mis-matched leopard socks!

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Growing Up A Girl (Scout)

Remembering moments with my daughter makes me think about how fast time is flying through our fingers. This photo seems like yesterday ... but it was taken over a year ago.

Today as I picked her up from the airport after her annual summer visitation in Ohio, she wasn't in cowboy boots. She was in Converse with black leggings and a tuft of a tulle skirt sporting a band tee and feathers in her hair (all the rage now).

It was likely her last trip as an unaccompanied minor. It means that she's be jet setting on her own now. It also means that I'm not ready to watch her grow up much more!

But it will happen. Ready or not, I'm a mother of a young girl growing into a young woman. Thankfully, I'll have a string of opportunities this year to be part of the adventure (some near, some from afar) as she takes those steps - not only as a girl, but as a Girl Scout.

In a world full of questions and environments that are so different than my own when I grew up, I am thankful for the steady path of Girl Scouting: courage, confidence, character, and making the world a better place. It's a legacy and a future wrapped into the adventures she and her Girl Scout friends are creating today - and she doesn't even realize it!

And, admittedly, I feel weak as I face the future. But the sense of community I'm growing in as a mother of a Girl Scout is something that strengthens me. We can grow together here. And that thought makes me smile.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, August 03, 2011


I know I need to do more than just think about the Girl Scout Healthy Living initiative ... but I also know I need to take small steps that I feel fairly confident I can sustain. Where can I start? I think I can start with water. (I also secretly telling myself to always eat breakfast, but I'm not sure I can stick with that yet!)

ONE GOOD THING I DO: I often order water instead of soft drinks or tea at restaurants.

ONE GOOD THING I CAN START: Drink a glass of water before I drink my coffee. (Thanks, Roberta, for that one!)

MAKE IT FUN (or at least a little more fun): Flavored water.

Personal note: I love mint! I love mint in my water. I don't love the designer price tags for my favorite bottled mint waters, though. But I found something I like just as much: Goodman's Flavorings! Mint + Orange is my favorite right now (just a drop of each swirled into an average size water bottle) ... I discovered it while traveling when I wasn't too keen on drinking hotel tap water. I thought mint extract might do the trick, but these were half as much (a little over $2), so it was worth a try. VOILA! Truly much better than my other home experiments with extracts. I've used two cases of water in the past month during travels, and I've barely used 1/4 of the flavoring. Economical!

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

I'm A (Healthy) Girl Scout!

I've been thinking ALL DAY about the Girl Scout Healthy Living Initiative ... Why? I'm not-so-healthy. Does it limit what I do in my life, with my daughter, or affect the example I set for her? Probably. OK, OK, OK ... yes.

What do I do with these thoughts? This is NOT my cup of tea. I'm not a diet hound. I'm not one who enjoys exercising unless it involves creative expression - like dance - but who wants to dance overweight? I'm way too self conscious to pursue that right now. I'm comfortable as a workaholic. I lose sleep constantly. I'm driven by schedules and deadlines. I'm exhausted as a way of life. The time to plan healthy menus and cook/prepare at home seems nonexistent. And I can't even remember to take my vitamins! Is there hope for someone like me?

So now I'm thinking ... maybe a personal challenge will be good. Maybe being public about it will be even better! Maybe (just MAYBE) there are some other Girl Scout adults out there who are like me: out of shape, stressed out, time crunched, and don't see how it can change.

Monday, July 04, 2011

Leaving Legacies

I was looking through photos while waiting for an upload ... and I found this. It's an image from a young girl who won first and second place with her photography entries at the Tulsa State Fair last year. I like it because it looks like something I would do. And quite literally, it is "me" being reproduced in someone else. This girl has periodically watched me take photos since she was 5 years old and attributes what she does to me. This picture is a legacy. It's something I've passed on to another generation. And it represents what Girl Scout volunteers are doing continually ... their skills, passions and interests are flowing into a new generation who will take them and make their own path. I love leaving a legacy!

Sunday, May 08, 2011

Character Is A Choice

What I think is unique about character is that it doesn't have to be an inborn trait. It can be taught, learned, embraced and expanded. There is no underlying fundamental talent that is needed for character to take root in a person's life. You don't have to have a "green thumb" to make it bloom and grow. Ultimately, it is a choice.

(For anyone really interested in my long train of thought ... feel free to keep reading. These are just thoughts that have traveled through my mind. No professional or personal platforms are intended. I was simply energized by the thoughts a book had sparked and wanted to capture it while it was fresh.)

Late last night, I started reading Delivering Happiness by the CEO of Zappos, Tony Hsieh. I wasn't expecting to do anything more than just enjoy another perspective. But at page 159, I had to stop and capture a few thoughts as it relates to "corporate culture" of Girl Scouts.

The first solid thought came from a discussion of core values and if they are truly meaningful. Can people name them or the company mission? Can people live them? I truly believe the Girl Scout mission is a catalyst because it's what I envision for my daughter ...
"Girl Scouting builds girls of courage, confidence and character, who make the world a better place."
How about in the workplace? I had always had a blind embrace of it as an employee with more of an arm's length view - it was what we were doing for the girls. But today I started thinking. How does our mission affect the professional work environment? While all three "C's" seem like prerequisites with a view to making the world (and our work environment) a better place, character seemed to be the number one element that I see affecting our own "corporate culture."

We may be actively making the world a better place ...
We may be courageous and confident in what we are doing ...
But are we embracing character? Are we transparent? Do we own our own mistakes? Do we talk behind the backs of others? Do we disagree and sabotage? Do we bottle up frustrations? Do we circumvent due process? Do we really respect one another? Better yet, do we truly respect authority? Or are we satisfied with tolerating and venting when we come to roadblocks? Do we collaborate to solve issues? Do we put ourselves aside for the progress of our collective abilities to serve girls and volunteers? Do we have an open forum both personally and professionally? And do we still honor others with what is said behind closed doors?

Then I read an excerpt on page 158:
"Integrity was a value that had been suggested by some employees, but I made a conscious choice to leave it out. I felt that integrity would come from us actually committing to and living up to our core values in everything we did, not just referring to them when it was convenient."
I've had that thought in the Girl Scout world before when it comes to leadership and self-esteem (it comes organically through opportunities to exercise the mission) ... but I had not thought about it in terms of our mission specifically. My mind immediately went to the Girl Scout Promise and Law. Character is much like integrity ... it is a value that comes from us actually committing to and living up to the Promise and Law, our "core values" if you will.

The Girl Scout Promise

On my honor, I will try:
To serve God and my country,
To help people at all times,
And to live by the Girl Scout Law.

The Girl Scout Law

I will do my best to be
honest and fair,
friendly and helpful,
considerate and caring,
courageous and strong, and
responsible for what I say and do,
and to
respect myself and others,
respect authority,
use resources wisely,
make the world a better place, and
be a sister to every Girl Scout.

Let's be honest (and fair) ... we are certainly human. There are days where exhaustion can take over and it's hard to be friendly or helpful. Situations arise and depending on the reactions, one more negative outburst can drain the last reserves. Considerate and caring responses can become feigned, a burden, or simply non-existent.

So what do we do? How do we respect ourselves and our limits while respecting others and authority? Maybe it is summed up in our last three lines ...

1) Use resources wisely. Whether personal resources, company resources, material resources ... it all applies. Do I have enough internal bandwidth to address a challenging situation within the ideals of our Girl Scout Law? If not, maybe I need to evaluate my resources ... gain understanding, get a fresh perspective, identify solutions and what we have or need to address it, and when better prepared, have that open discussion to make something positive happen.

2) Make the world a better place. Am I contributing to my world? My world can be a variety of elements - work culture, family, community, etc. If I am about to tear something down, is it with the aim of making it a better? Identifying the purpose within each action is huge in my mind. And in this case it's the guideline to know if it's a candidate to be part of the mission or not.

3) Lastly ... be a sister to every Girl Scout. What does this really mean? I'm not sure that I'm the best one to even attempt a description. I never had a sister! But I always wished I had one and frequently imagined what life would be like with a sister. I wanted someone to share life with on a daily and continuing basis. So what do sisters do in my daydream? Work together, play together, help each other, be honest even when it hurts, apologize when relationships go awry, and ultimately know that we're in it for the long haul. A sister is forever.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, May 02, 2011

Diversity and Legacies

It does my heart good when I hear about inspiration and encouragement that simply relies on the human experience. Neither age nor race should play a discriminating role in the impact a person's life can have on the future of a girl. And I'm proud to say that I have found Girl Scouting to truly be a place where that is demonstrated.

Take Dawn and Dorothy, for instance. Dawn (left) grew up in McAlester with Dorothy (right) as her troop leader. At a recent event to honor Dorothy, the thanks and the stories that poured from Dawn's heart brought both laughter and tears. Dawn is NOT the outdoor type and as a girl had a hard time spending time away from home. Dorothy always encouraged her and always let her go home when it got to be too much ... time and time and time again.

Because of Dorothy's open encouragement, Dawn continued to take steps as she was ready, and eventually she made it through a night, and a weekend, and she has even successfully camped. But it wasn't just about staying overnight. It was about developing those core leadership skills - courage, confidence and character. The wisdom of patient leadership is what Dawn needed. And as a result, she had more than just a successful experience as a Girl Scout. She is now a professional Girl Scout staff member along with Dorothy! And maybe even more importantly, she is guiding her own daughter on a similar path in Girl Scouting to discover her strengths and master them one step at a time.

Dawn and Dorothy are both women who embody the Girl Scout Mission of making the world a better place ... one step at a time, one girl at a time. These women make me proud to be a Girl Scout, too!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Girl Scouts ... Not Just For Girls

I remember walking into a room of incarcerated women who were waiting to meet their daughters for a very non-traditional Girl Scout troop meeting. Hidden behind the crowd of children were two - a brother and sister - there for the first time. The room quickly filled with chatter and hugs as children were reconnecting with their mothers. But one moment stood out above the others. To hear a mother's emotion filled sobs echoed by her children as they embrace for the first time in years shook me to the core. A Girl Scout, a "tagalong" sibling, and an incarcerated mother ... all joined together and working toward hope. That's powerful.

Reaching out into a girl's life affects far more than just the young girl. I'm thinking about her connections in the world ... and they are significant. Imagine being able to inject courage, confidence and character into her relationships. How would that affect her mother? Her brother? Her schoolmates? Her teachers? Her mentors?

We often talk about the change Girl Scouting makes in the life of a girl, but we don't always talk about the change it can make in the lives of those connected to her. But the impact is exponential.

I remember interviewing a Girl Scout volunteer who is a school employee. As she told stories that went from troop to camp to schoolyard, we laughed and cried together ... and I was humbled by the amazing circle of impact I heard just through one voice.

I remember being introduced to a woman who talked about how Girl Scouting was as much for her as it was for her daughter. The same courage, confidence and character that was building in her troop was also building in her, and she was able to free herself from abuse and finally found she indeed did have a wonderful future and life ahead of her.

I remember hearing about an adventure involving a Girl Scout with disabilities and her troop learning to rappel ... again laughing and crying over the trials and triumphs. And I was so thankful for the man (one of our outdoor trainers) who so gently encouraged and empowered the young girl. Yet talk to him or his wife and their dedicated scouting family (even their daughters are leaders now of troops) and you'll find story after empowering story not just about the girls, but about their families and their futures.

I remember reading a thank you card from a volunteer who never realized she'd need to use her first aid training to save her own son. And to the schoolmates of two young girls I know who have literally saved lives? It's almost beyond words. The impact is immeasurable.
Even I, who am on the lowest scale when I observe these moments from the outside, feel that impact and it changes me. Imagine how making a difference can change the rest of the world!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, November 19, 2010


Life can be a desert. But in the desert, there is an oasis ... somewhere. My solo adventure in New York City (for the NextGen:Charity conference) is becoming a snapshot of the reality of life. I'm tempted to draw all the parallel lines, but somehow I don't think all those will matter to the world at large as much as they do to me. So I'll just share the Girl Scout related moment.

The first night I arrived, my unexpectedly shabby hotel seemed to hold more disappointment than excitement ... UNTIL ... I went to the rooftop terrace. Suddenly the view expanded before me with a bit of breathlessness and I decided to let myself take some time and soak it in. The sights ... the smells ... the sounds ... the laughter.

The laughter? That's not normally a sound I hear in New York City. And then I saw it ... a playground on the roof of a neighboring building. Can you see it there? It's not visually obvious, but there it is ... an oasis of laughter and joy.

And that's where my heart starts talking. This oasis is not part of the natural environment. It was placed there on purpose as a safe place to nurture the needs of children. Caring adults had to deliberately carve out this space and give it a purpose. In the midst of a world that is too busy, too adult, and too cold ... there is a place just for youth. It's very much like Girl Scouts.

Regardless of the environment, Girl Scouts holds an opportunity for an oasis. It's a safe playground where girls can enjoy and explore and develop all those important elements of life: relationships, dreams, goals, accomplishments and overcoming obstacles. It's a place where a young girls can connect with each other and with their world in their own way. It's a place where they can not only build a future and make a difference, but do it with laughter and joy.

Creating a playground in the sky certainly takes some effort, but it's worth it. Hearing the laughter ringing up to the rooftops seemed to call out to me ... not just to find the oasis for myself, but to create it for others as well.
Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 31, 2010

It Only Takes A Spark ...

This morning, six girls were out making the world a better place. I was there, I took photos, and I had my proud moments again. But you know what made me stop and think today? This young girl.

As we took photos, she had an idea for a picture. Then another idea ... and another. I offered her one of my cameras, and she told me that she liked being in front of the camera but not really behind it (quite the opposite of me). My daughter and I showed her a couple of things about the camera and how it worked. Before we knew it, the photographer had been unleashed!

There were no lack of ideas, and I think we attempted nearly every one of them. There was laughter, delighted squeals when something turned out extra special, and the animated gushing only pre-teen girls can do that makes everything feel like an adventure. So, an adventure we had! All it took was a little spark of inspiration and someone to take note and fan the flame.

(Get ready to sing ... I'm taking you back to my junior high church choir and our favorite song.)

It Only Takes A Spark ... To Get A Fire Going ... The words are more than a song in my head. At least they are when I stop to think about it! As a mom, I think I'm guilty of letting sparks die far too often. I admit it. I'm busy. We have a demanding schedule. And there are opportunities that slide by on a daily basis. I think it's that way for so many of us moms out there. It's probably that way in any realm for ANY of us out there.

I'll admit something else. This adventure was not something I did by choice. It's humbling, but I truly only made the effort because my department made a mistake in posting the information for this particular opportunity. While I probably could have waved a boss wand and sent the situation elsewhere, I decided to personally get involved and try to make it something special. I had to wrestle myself out of the house to go do it!

Roll that all together, and there are several life lessons to toss around. But you know what? I'm just glad I somehow had the patience to let the moments unfold. It really was only a spark. And out of the 441 photos we brought back with us ... less than 100 were mine! Yep, I'd say that was a fire.
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Strong and Confident Hope

These girls ... beautiful. I am profoundly blessed when I get a few moments to have their energy infuse the air I breathe. I see such strength and confidence. I see bravery. I see unity. I hear infectious laughter and notice quietly hopeful moments light their eyes. Little do they know, their spirit and even their spirited antics are secretly fueling my heart.

When children are faced with overcoming great odds as they grow into young adults, my heart is particularly tuned. I'm a mother who daily feels the joy and pain of watching a child bend and turn with life's sometimes rocky road. And while every life has grit and grind of one kind or another, these girls have a common bond.

They are daughters of incarcerated women.

I do not know what that feels like to a young girl. I do not know the depth of the challenge they face. And when I stop to imagine, my heart cries out for them. But I do know this ... they are empowered. And my heart swells because they are empowered by Girl Scouting.

This is Girl Scouts Beyond Bars. Courage. Confidence. Character. The world is definitely a better place.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, October 18, 2010

Dove Dialogues & Silver Linings

In a moment of inspiration this morning, I ran to get chocolate for my staff. Why? There's more change in the air, which for us means revising hundreds of documents, web pages and electronic resources. The change itself isn't big ... but the work and stress of "re-revising" what has been revised more than once in the past 2 years is pretty big.

This falls on the shoulders of one person more than others, and I not only brought chocolate when I stopped by to share the news, but a big, thermal coffee mug. I think she will need it! We shared a laugh when she emailed the message from one of her Dove chocolates. It was so appropriate: “Don’t take it personal.”

Then I get: “Be the silver lining in another’s cloud.”
Awwww! Still appropriate, maybe the chocolates were a silver lining. I pat myself on the back.

After that: “YOU are that superwoman. So enjoy!”
Hey! Mine are sounding like more work!

… So now I’m kind of afraid to open the next chocolate.
… But I can’t stand not knowing.
… So I open the next one (even though I don’t really want a chocolate): “Don’t take it personal.”

I just have to laugh.

But you know what? Like so many things, there's a message. Doing good = hard work. Some people have the perception that working for a nonprofit is a warm, fuzzy career move complete with relief from the pressure of corporate equivalents. However, I know several people who have tasted both sides and get a laugh at thinking that nonprofit jobs are "cake" jobs. We know better!

We get the pleasure of doing good as part of our job. But you know what? Being the silver lining is no easy task! Actually, like so many of the wonderful opportunities that come our way in the world, it looks like work ... and it is.

So to sum up the advice of the day, don't take it personal. Enjoy! Be the silver lining, superwoman!
Posted by Picasa

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Working or Whining ... For Love or Money

Last night, my daughter and I were laughing over some photos in a classic diner where she was guilty of whining where the above sign was present (I believe it may have been the offending onion ring in her basket of fries). Of course, she slowly got over it and had a ketchup-face to prove it.
"Why would I do that?" she asked. "That place is AWESOME!"
Her perspective 5 years later (half of her life) is much different than in the heat of the moment. What she doesn't realize is that those moments have not ended.

Isn't that true for all of us? Being part of an organization that works with and for girls, I can say that those emotional investments are just as strong whether the girl is five or 50 ... they just look a little different. As an adult, we smile as we deal with the childhood drama that seems ever-present with girls. We think of how much they will learn and grow. We shake our heads and laugh (or wring our hands and cry) knowing "it's just a phase." But is it?

I say all this to confess. I think I'm guilty of whining. See? I can't even say it without "I think" because it's embarrassing as an adult to admit to whining. But the fact of the matter is that I'm stressed, overwhelmed, frazzled and burned-out (and those around me know it). Inside myself, I'm whining because I don't want to be stressed. I can't meet all the demands. There's more in front of me than I ordered ... and I JUST CAN'T TAKE IT SOMETIMES. Instead of withdrawing with crossed arms and pouts on the counter of a diner, I'm burying myself in work while others are out enjoying life around me. Just swap out that corn dog with a computer and I'm in her shoes!

But a $5 charge for whining isn't going to make it better. In fact, I think it would make it worse. What's it going to take for me to just "pick up that hot dog" and enjoy it bite by bite? Regardless of productivity strategies, policies, ultimatums, rewards or consequences, there's something much more powerful.

I read a quote this morning that drew me back into purpose (an ever present pursuit).
"Work is love made visible." ~Kahlil Gibran

Let's be honest. Life isn't easy ... And it isn't getting any easier. Work is the same way. So why am I working? My heart leaps a little when I read that quote. I just have to say it again. Work is love made visible. YES! Work is my way of contributing to the world through whatever gifts are in my hands. More specifically, being part of something that honors the spirit of girls (and even women) to discover who they are and give them wings to become who they want to be.

Like my ten year old daughter, I look at the picture of myself whining and say, "Why would I do that? That place is AWESOME!" I pull my big-girl perspective of "work is love made visible" close to me as I head for the office.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 16, 2010

Passing The Torch

Running to and fro throughout the BOK Center during Girl Scout Night with the Tulsa Shock (our new WNBA team), aside from being tiring, had immense rewards. An excited text from a mom brought me up to the video booth where two young girls weren't "just" (a big deal in and of itself) shadowing the pros and looking over their shoulders, they were really making things happen!

I watched and my heart could have burst with both pride and thankfulness. The mentors for the night were ABSOLUTELY fabulous, truly giving our girls a hands on experience. And our Girl Scouts? Interested and engaged. Intelligent and confident. They were rockin' it! When I visited, one was working with replays and the other was switching camera feeds.

But here's what is so cool ... it wasn't just because the professionals who took them under their wings were so awesome (though they were), but their adventure was directly related to the girls' curiosity. This was NOT the usual tour. These girls had questions ... smart questions ... ones that opened the door to bigger answers. So instead of just watching and learning, these girls got to see and do. In order to answer their detailed questions, they were even brought up on to the catwalk so they could see how the lighting worked. The more they asked, the more opportunities they had. And the adults enjoyed them so much, they got permission for the girls to do far more than was originally approved ... and they were invited back after halftime for the rest of the game.

And while I'm recovering from new discoveries like ANKLES CAN DEFINITELY BE SORE, I am also relishing the thought of girls experiencing something new and adults willing to pass the torch. Little Miss H (pictured here) who applied for this job specifically because it's something she wants to do when she grows up ... well ... she just had a revoluntionary night, one that may impact her future in great ways. Once again, I am reminded that what we do truly makes a difference.
Posted by Picasa

Monday, August 09, 2010

All Work and No Play?

Sometimes work brings exciting things ... In this case, a night at the Tulsa Drillers courtesy of one of our Board Members. So while we all passionately invest our hearts and our time into what we do for girls, sometimes there are opportunities to just simply stop and smell the roses ... or the hot dogs. It's wonderful to take a bit of time to connect with one another and be refreshed!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, July 26, 2010

Temporary Home

And so it begins ... Camp! This is my daughter's home for the next few days (and an excuse to try out my birthday present - a camera that does those moving panorama shots). This brings great memories to me of my childhood camping opportunities.
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Camping For The Future

Which way to go? Sometimes that little question packs the biggest punch of them all. And it's also one of the things I love about the Girl Scout experience. The wide array of opportunities that are at a girl's fingertips give her a taste of what those directions hold. She has the freedom to explore her world.

Camp is just one of those ways to explore. From a specialized focus (outdoor activities like sailing to "S.T.E.M." directions like physics) to a wide array of options (my daughter's choice this summer is a camp where the campers decide what they want to do together), girls are exploring directions that will help them build their answers to the big question: Which way to go? It's not such a scary question if you're a Girl Scout!
Posted by Picasa

Monday, June 28, 2010

Life Moments & The Invisible Me

Oh, how I wish I were invisible! It would come in SO handy when capturing the little moments of life that swirl by. But sometimes I am fortunate enough to go unnoticed (or maybe ignored). As a pair of young Girl Scouts made their way past where I was standing, a special moment drifted my way. Without looking up, their beautiful little faces gravitated toward each other as they talked about friendship. I didn't expect to eavesdrop, just take a great photo with my camera. But what I heard surprised me.

I didn't even know how much of an impact it made on me until I realized I couldn't shake it from my mind. They were talking about choosing each other as friends. One girl said she didn't have any other friends ... and that's when my heart was both happy and sad at the same time. They talked in-depth and their conversation disappeared with them. But what remained in my mind caused me to wonder what would cause a fresh young life to avoid friendship. The simple answer? I'd place my bet on pain. And I'm making an educated guess on that one!

My heart kept hurting for the young girl. But on the flip side of whatever has separated her from others, a new opportunity for friendship was blossoming. They were choosing friendship together.

Can I be honest? Some of the Girl Scout sayings that are new to my ears have not held the importance they should. Things involving fun and friendship have at times been placed on the shelf in my own mind as less important than courage, confidence, character and changing the world. But when a moment like this stops me in my tracks, I have a glimpse of just how powerful friendship can be. And indeed, when I look at key moments that brought courage, confidence, and character ... they often involved friends!

Thank goodness for Girl Scouts.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

The Beauty of Volunteerism

I'm chomping at the bit to share photos of our Sangam event (pending photo releases) ... it's a "wide game" where Girl Scout Juniors have the opportunity to experience cultural connections by learning about our world center in India and the national heritage.

It gives a great picture of what one might call "non traditional" Girl Scout volunteers. These volunteers come together for one afternoon ... easy enough! And yet what a significant event for the girls.

I love seeing the range of faces and roles of these volunteers. The beauty is that anyone can share their wonderful world with another regardless of age or race or background.
  • We have professionals sharing their international experiences.
  • We have ethnic groups sharing their culture.
  • We have young artists sharing their skills.
  • Girls get a taste of Girl Scout connections worldwide ... literally with the cuisine.
  • And of course, we have the ever ready "I'll help wherever needed" volunteer who gains a wealth of experience with each new opportunity.

Yes, this is a beautiful picture to me.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Discovery ... Smell the Roses, Study the Bugs

Of the three dozen people spending the weekend together at camp, one young girl noticed this grasshopper. The moments shared following this discovery became a highlight of the weekend for her and for me.

Discovery is such an important element to growth and life and accomplishment. I think it's no wonder that it's the first element of our Girl Scout Leadership Experience: Discover, Connect, Take Action!

Sometimes, revolutionary discovery isn't the in big things ... it's found in the tiny details others overlook. But it's those minute discoveries that can lead to a profound revelation. As a seed carries the potential for a forest within ... so discovery has the seed for life experiences and maybe even revolutionary change.

I think about Einstein as he imagines himself traveling on a light beam. How many people stop and take the time to do that? Our phrase "stop and smell the roses" might be more significant than we realize. When is the last time you encouraged someone (including yourself) to imagine riding on a beam of light? To stop and smell the roses? To study a bug? I think I'll take time to discover something today.
Posted by Picasa