Monday, September 24, 2012


When I was in Middle School, my bus took the high school wrestlers to the Elementary school for practice. One guy always came on with a bag the size of a small pony. Because of the size of the bag, he ended up sitting up front instead of in the back with the other wrestlers. One day, I mustered up the courage to ask him what was in the bag. He deadpanned, "A dead body." My 6th grade self responded with all the shock and confusion that I'm sure he hoped to get. Recently that image has been brought to mind & I can't shrug off how I still am that person asking straightforward questions that seem to get me answers that are much more than I bargained for.

Yesterday Ray Renner gave the messasge at church. He's my favorite of "the retired pastors" who have been preaching in our pastor-less time. He said something that jarred me out of my seat. Ray was discussing the way world religions attempt to honor Jesus but deny the resurrection. Ray said, "You can not take part of Jesus' teaching and throw out the resurrection". "Right, right, I've heard that before", I thought and rummaged in my purse. And then he said something that really caught my breath in my chest: He said that those who don't believe in the resurrection of Jesus still have the guilt of all their sin.

At each Easter and communion service in my 30+ years of being a believe, I think about Jesus bearing my sin. But I have never thought about trying to bear my own sin. It just never really came to mind before. And Ray shocked my out of looking for my lipgloss when he said this. It was so difficult to think about that I just ignored it yesterday. But today in avoiding my true responsibilities, I cleaned out my Inbox during lunch. I've been getting newsletters from Mary DeMuth for a few weeks. Somehow I stumbled upon Mary DeMuth's blog recently. She sent out a chapter of her new book "Everything," which somehow Google thought should go in my "Important Messages" instead of junk mail. In the first chapter she discusses how God is "Other" than us. She talks about how Jesus' disciples were always baffled by Jesus, that he never did the thing that they expected him to do.

I think I strive to be other-like. I strive to not do the supposed "Christian" thing. I would say that I don't want to "fit a mold." Or be "judgmental." Lately I've taken to describing it as being "Gen X" of me. The result - non-condemning conversations with my post-christian friend over her love life. Supporting same-sex marriage. Voting Democrat. I identify myself as a christian, but I do not subscribe to modern christian social dogma. My friends are no longer "church friends" for the first time in my life. All this to say, DeMuth's discussion of  God's "otherness" really resonated with me. Jesus' disciples were surprised by his resurrection. Even that was "other" of him, unexpected, and really unwelcome. They wanted a political king, not a spiritual one.

Jesus' Otherness was not to attention seeking or ironic. He was both God and Man. He is the Word and is God. I do not have to ascribe to the Christian culture answers to questions in order to be honoring God. But if I am just trying to be cool and obtuse, then I miss out on the freedom with which I am allowed to live in. My other-ness needs to be rooted in a knowledge that I am free to think and believe as the Spirit leads. And in doing so, I leave the weight of my sin at the feet of Jesus. If my Otherness is to gain cool points or to wrestle against my calling, well then, I have just picked up a sack heavier than I can carry.

Which brings me the wrestling bag on the bus in 6th grade. Sin is heavier than that body bag.  Jesus will take it away. I think the only wrestling I do is to attempt to grab that bag back, not wanting to be a burden. But Jesus took the weight of my sin because he has the ability to bear it. While I can't even lift the bag, he not only can but WANTS to take my bag. It's a burden that he can bear easily. If only I will let him.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Encouraging Director

In High School, my best friend subscribed to an inordinate number of fashion magazines - not teen fashion, but for real fashion magazines. Many an afternoon was spent pouring over those magazines. Whenever there was a quiz in one, we were quick to whip out our pens to determine our "type".

I'm really no different now! I love taking test, assessments and evaluations. I am really surprised at how well this one has me pegged. Here are my results for being an "Encouraging Director" My personalDNA Report.
I especially love when tips to stretch yourself are included in the assessment. This one encouarges me to spend some time alone, a goal of mine! It says:
"While you are an expert at getting the most out of the world and taking advantage of many experiences, you might gain some insight by taking the time to be alone, reflect on things, or just observe the goings-on in the world."

How do you feel about taking online tests? Post your results in the comments!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012


Dear Jim Golm,

Fifteen years ago with the ink still wet on my Ball State University diploma, I began my professional career at ProResources. I am writing because on a regular basis I still apply business principles that you taught me while I worked for ProResources.

I was hired by MidAmerica Temporary Agency in July of 1998. I read the employee handbook during the 3 weeks between being hired and starting work, and was utterly dismayed by the rules set out in their “employee handbook.” I was flustered to find that ProResources bought MidAmerica the week before I started! However, reading through the ProResources Employee Handbook was a breath of fresh air--the policies of ProResources were in stark contrast, a welcome relief.

That first introduction to ProResources was no fluke: the employee policies, the manner in which customers were treated, and the methods for wooing temporary workers were all in line with a philosophy of treat others BETTER than you expect to be treated.  I am very thankful that my first professional job was at ProResources.

Three business principles that you taught me are still cornerstones to my professional life today. They are:
1) Bring presents. No matter what, when you go see a client always bring a small token of thanks for their business. Periodically bring large presents!

2) Don’t make excuses. No one cares why you did something wrong. All they want to know is how you’re going to fix it.

3) Never ever let a client know that you are busy working for another client. Do everything in your power to make EVERY client think they are your Number One client.

. I only worked for ProResources for 2 years, but those 2 years were critical in my development as a professional. We are all selling something. Even though I have worked for non-profits for the past 13 years, I still use these principles of sales and business management in my work on a weekly, if not daily, basis.

Thank you Jim for treating people with dignity, for running a business that was fun to work for, and for investing your time in the lowest person on the totem pole. Because of your good leadership, I am a better worker.


Sue (McCrory) Godfrey

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I have been running for the past 2 months. Six a.m.-ish I meet 2 friends and run. Well, I jog. Actually, jogging is an exaggeration: more accurately,

I plod.

And I usually plod along about 1/8th of a mile behind my partners. However, it feels like a big accomplishment to get out of bed, to hit the trail and to feel different. I've noticed that while my clothes don't even fit me differently, that my attitude about myself has improved.

We added strength training to our routine this week, and I'm sore this morning. I wanted to stay in bed. I wanted to give up. But I didn't. I plodded, greeted by an elderly gentleman who addressed me with "Hello Early Bird!" as he plodded by me. I felt a kinship, and was encouraged to keep plodding. But after he passed me, my short memory and exhausted mind encouraged me to give up. I was reminded of Paul's words "Let us run with endurance the race set before us so that we will not grow weary and lose heart." It made me think that the difference between enduring and giving up is losing heart, believing that failure is inevitable.

Once I commited myself to not losing heart, then I started to get frustrated by the idea of "running the race set before me." In my morning runs, I know what road is set before me. I've run it before. So on my trail run/plod, I can understand what endurance means. But when this statement takes a metaphorical turn, then I have a real problem with the "race set before me." I have no idea what the future holds. It seems more uncertain to me today than it has in a very long time. But this morning, as I plodded along- way behind my partners- I was reminded: I know what to do today and tomorrow and the next day. I just need to do it.

Running the race that is set before me is my job right now. I may not know what's beyond the corner ahead, but that fact doesn't change today at all. The unknown isn't yet set before me. What's set for today is understood.

So I'd better get to it! Wish me luck!

Monday, July 30, 2012


I get a weekly newsletter from the President of the Indiana Associations of United Ways. It is a mix of helpful tips, things to think about and general silliness. In an organization that can tend toward taking itself too seriously, I appreciate this mix.

This gem was in today's newsletter:

One Piece of Advice
Who can resist the request, “Can you help me?”  Most of us get caught up in showing we are competent and able to do our job, but the United Way job is about getting other people engaged in the work.  United Way work is not about going early, staying late and doing as much as possible ourselves.  We must have the confidence to ask others to help, not because we can’t, but because asking is a strength.  Ask for a specific task that is obviously achievable.  Then start with, “Can you help us?” 

I wonder: Do we think of asking for help as a strength? 

When I work late, it's as often because I became paralyzed during my work day as it is being truly busy. The paralysis sets in when I am putting myself to new and possibly insurmountable tasks. So asking for help would be pitiful, akin to my children's whiny "I caaaannnnn'tttt DOOOOO it." 

But would it? And when I'm overwhelmed, whether it's because of fear paralysis or truly having too much to do, I never think that asking for help will be the solution. Working harder seems to always be the solution. 

So I need help: in transforming how I think about help. And in getting out of my paralysis. 

The thought that the solution is so easy as asking for help is great. However, how does one know whom to ask? 

The permission to ask, and the advice that asking is strength cause a paradigm shift that is one I would like to embrace. 

Do you think of asking for help as strength?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


At a Christmas party, I was talking to my dear friend Emily. Emily's really good at so many things & I'm really fond of her. She started my beloved book club and was my pal in grad school (which she completed and I have not). 

She mentioned (as an aside, I might add) that a friend of hers from college makes $160,000 a year working as a grant writer for an educational supports company. I was floored. I would LOVE to make that kind of money, but mostly I was floored because one of my bucket list items is to become a full-fledged successful grant writer. 
I either asked with my shocked look or the actual words,"Over $100,000 a year as a grant writer!?!" 

Emily replied, "Oh, she writes grants to help schools who want to use her company's products find the funds to purchase them." 

Emily's offhand statement about her friend got me thinking: My job is to find community needs and gaps in services and then work to fill those gaps. My job requires seeking and procuring grants. I love to help people find solutions to their desires & needs. Heck, I could DO a job like THAT!? I know that there are no jobs like that in Muncie, but what about in Indy. Could I set my sights higher than where I am.

And then I've been approached recently about several grant opportunities locally. I've been planning, strategizing and gap-filling in all my free time. I'm working to learn more about non-profit work and once again asking myself if I want to go for the degree that I've half-completed-- what I call "An MBA for non-profits" or if I would actually like to complete an MBA from a REAL business school. 

As I work on my "40 before 40" list (inspired by Heather Sari Miles), these issues really come to the front of my mind. Completing my Master's Degree AND writing successful grant applications are two on my list.

This former Career Counselor keeps asking career questions, but not finding any answers.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Love Alone

from Watch for the Light: Readings for Advent and Christmas
January 6th reading is a poem by Gian Carlo Menotti

Love Alone

The Child we seek
doesn't need our gold
On love, on love alone
he will build his kingdom.
His pierced hand will hold no scepter,
his haloed head will wear no crown;
his might will not be built
on your toil.
Swifter than lightning
he will soon walk among us.
He will bring us new life
and receive our death,
and the keys to his city
belong to the poor.