Thursday, August 30, 2007

More Leadership Summit Nuggets...

No pictures for this post, and I don't know how to put links into my blog so you can go see pictures of folks I mention. Please, somebody, call me and teach me!

So Michael Porter is a professor at Harvard, teaching Strategy and Leadership. I would so love to take classes from him. He's fairly Vulcan in his logic, and I loved it! Not what you would call a fluffy fellow.

He talked about using our resources wisely, with strategic planning, leaving emotions out of the mix. "How do you do well at doing good?" He says that with all the energy and money we spend on helping people, we don't get the results that we should. Boy, that struck a chord with me. When I hear about MILLIONS or even BILLIONS of dollars being poured into a needy area, yet the needs remaining unmet, it kind of makes me sick. All that means to me is that the effort to help is being led and managed poorly and probably making a few people very rich.

I hardly know how to whittle his points down, there are so many good ones. But they are quite specific to a large organization needing to be very intentional and deliberate about choosing where to make a difference and then doing it well.

I'll mention 4 pitfalls he gave: 1. Under-utilizing volunteer capabilities 2. Don't have engineers raking lawns 3. Lack of Focus 4. Creating too many programs

Five things that get in the way of strategic planning: 1. Lack of clarity and concensus on our goals 2. The services are driven by passion, not value and effectiveness 3. No attempt to measure performance 4. Limited attention to cost 5. Inability to stop anything

Are you bored to tears? Over or under-whelmed? I found him compelling - what does that say about me? (I'm open to observations!)

That's enough for today. Time to get back to pancakes with fresh peach sauce for dinner - special request from the Todd-Man. Maybe I'll add blueberries...

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Final Times of Refreshing Event

Because Cathy, who went to be with the Lord last Tuesday morning, loved Times of Refreshing, her daughter asked that the funeral luncheon on Friday be done in a like manner. So Priscilla and I went shopping and came up with the decor ideas, I called in our crew of wonderful helpers and cooks, and thirteen of us worked hard to put this luncheon together. It blessed the family so much, and that made it worth all the energy expended.

The little dots are split peas, serving as table confetti!

Fot ToR we always used the speaker's main Scripture verse on the "place mats". So for this day I chose a verse of comfort for the family and hopefully some food for thought for any who don't know the Lord.

What a spread, yeah? Two soups, beautiful vegetables(& dips), chips(&dips), sandwich fixings, complete with pesto spread, and a dessert table as well.

It was pretty fun, a lot of work, and sort of traumatic closure. A task well done.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Michael, Unshackled

This mouth wanted to be brought to you independent of the rest of the face. But it is a fine-looking mouth, isn't it? A very expensive mouth, but entirely worth it.

Michael and I have interviewed two school counselors and think we have decided which high school he will attend. Now we need to call to get the paperwork started, and get back in the public-school groove!

Monday, August 20, 2007

2007 - The Leadership Summit

It was an interesting course of events that led me to attend The Leadership Summit at a location in Colorado Springs rather than in Portland. I thank God for it. I have debated whether to tell all the things I learned, which might be rather mind-numbing to readers of this blog, or share just a few nuggets. Nuggets won out. If anyone responds with a request, I will be happy to oblige and share more details.

First nugget, from Carly Fiorina - I can only grow outside my comfort zone. (Ouch)

Here's another from Carly - People are people wherever you find them, and a title or position does not qualify them or give them character. (Just as I suspected...)

From Marcus Buckingham - I need to lead a strength-based team, not a remedial team. People's strengths are our greatest asset. (In other words, spend my energy strengthening my strengths rather than dwelling on or working on my weaknesses.)

Also - Everyone will win when I take the responsibility to play to my strengths.

More later, from Colin Powell, John Ortberg, Richard Curtis and Bill Hybels.

God's blessings

This little lady was one of God's blessings to me last week. She opened her home and her heart and her mind to me and I was nurtured by it. I got re-calibrated!

Blueberry Lies

So look at this beautiful blueberry pie and tell me why Todd calls it a Blueberry Lie. Only this - he calls Pillsbury pie crusts lies! Wouldn't you think the man would simply melt in gratitude to be offered this sumptuous, succulent dish? Somewhere in his past he got the idea that in order for a pie to be REAL it has to have a from-scratch crust. I make every other blessed thing in this house from scratch, but I must draw the line at pie crust. The mess and fuss are simply not worth the couple of bucks that these lies cost.

Tiniest lizard ever

That is my little dog Annie's nose and Michael's finger. Can you believe how tiny this thing is? Our first summer here Todd told the boys that they could only have dinner if they caught a lizard and brought it to us for inspection. On our mountaintop we have blue-tailed skinks, some crocodile-lizard type things that have outrageous jaws, and tons of these blue-throated lizards, of which this is the tiniest I have seen. Most of the adults are 5 to 7 inches long, and we never get tired of watching them do pushups in the sun.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Jetting out

It's been a long time since I flew off into the air alone and for myself, but here I go tomorrow. Five days in Colorado at Mary Lou and Jere's house, and I am really looking forward to this time away. We'll attend the Willow Creek Leadership Summit for two days, which I loved last year. Then I am at her disposal, and that sounds very relaxing and restorative. I'll get to see Don and Jan a couple of times, Kyle too if I'm lucky.

More stuff going on with the church, unhappy things that I don't know what to do with. I'm hoping to gain some clarity of thought while I'm away. I know the Lord is talking to me, about my own attitudes. Colossians three, James three. No matter what, I'm responsible for me.

I always have hated these interim times when I don't know what's next in life.

Sorry for the blah blog - I'm tired and worn. Tomorrow should turn up at the corners!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

My plants don't like this heat either

Yesterday was really really hot. Sometimes I wonder if I'll ever get the Alaskan out of me. I doubt it - maybe it's because I read the Anchorage Daily News online every day. Not the whole thing, just the headlines and select articles. And the games. Very attached to the games.

But this heat drives me inside like the cold in Glennallen did. Difference - I can be outside in the early morning and in the evening. And the extreme heat doesn't last long. Some of my plants get crispy-crittered, though.

This is what lobelia looks like out of its element. Poor little fella.
This is what Sweet 100 tomatoes look like in their element. Their name proves true, gladly.

This is what a Michael looks like on the last morning of having braces. I'll post a picture of his unshackled teeth soon.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007


Well, you did have it coming!

Here are mine...

...the mini-lop is too cute, but hasn't learned to love being petted yet like the other grown-up Dwarf Something.