We They or Us

Who decides in a society who “we” is, and who “they” are? How are we “us” and those folks “them”? What makes the one human race so divisive we feel we must devolve into different groups, competing for everything, instead of sharing it?

These are the thoughts that have run through my head recently as I have pondered my stance on the subject of illegal immigration in the U.S. I thought my opinions clear and logically held. “They” (meaning the undocumented immigrants) are not here legally, which was wrong. “They” take jobs from Americans. “They” take entitlements to which they are not rightfully entitled as non-citizens. “They” . . . I could go on, but you get the picture.

I’ve had my paradigms on the subject radically shifted lately. Two events have caused me to reconsider everything I believed about this politically and socially charged topic.

The first was the TEAM LIFE Fall Leadership Conference I attended in October. At this conference, a couple was recognized for achieving the ranks of leadership in the company held by only 11 other couples. As part of their recognition, they told the riveting story of how they earned this achievement and their success.

Thelmar and Sandra were born in Guatemala. Both of them came to the U.S. as illegal immigrants, and Sandra was deported the first time she tried to come. Thelmar had been a Communist revolutionary in Guatemala, but left when he realized his life was in danger there. He came here to work against the system in the U.S., and by working within it, learned to love it. Thelmar and Sandra earned their places in the U.S., and their eventual citizenship, by hard work, dedication and a commitment to give back to the country that had taken them in when they had nowhere else to go.

Hearing their moving story, I felt like my whole accepted point of view was turned upside down and shaken. On a break later, I told my mentor I was going to have to do some serious rethinking of my views on illegal immigration, given what we’d heard.

The second event came from FaceBook. I saw a link to a video by a group called UpWorthy. It was about a high school student, a political refugee from Albania, who was planning to go to college to be a doctor. Ala’s immigration status was tangled in a paperwork mix-up that was no fault of hers, and the government threatened to deport her.

Ala’s story is part of a larger documentary, “The Dream is Now,” a film by Davis Guggenheim (Academy Award-winning director of “An Inconvenient Truth”). I will be honest. I was prepared to dislike Mr. Guggenheim’s film, simply due to his earlier work, since I disagree with his subject of the other film. But the short clip about Ala softened me enough to watch the 35 minute documentary, and I was glad I did. (Here’s the link if you want to see it: “The Dream Is Now.”)

Touro student demonstration. 11 Sept 2006

The documentary is a series of portraits of young people, denied access to employment, education and military service because of their “illegal” immigration status. These young people have done everything we tell our children about getting good grades and working hard, but success is denied them because of their “illegal” presence in the U.S.

Thelmar and Sandra’s story, and the stories of the young people as told by Mr. Guggenheim, have upended my paradigms on “illegal” immigration. I am now wondering many of the thoughts with which I opened this post. I am questioning why we deny access to our citizenship to those who have proven they are willing to become productive assets to our society. 

I used to argue illegal immigrants take jobs away from deserving citizens. Most, in fact, work undocumented jobs that most citizens don’t want. And if someone who came here illegally was able to prove themselves better equipped and able to do any other kind of job, they have earned the right to work at it by their skills and willingness. Isn’t that what we tell those born here “legally”?

I used to argue illegal immigrants took entitlements. I now understand if they are allowed to work and pursue careers like those of us born in the U.S., they wouldn’t need to seek entitlements to which their country of origin does not entitle them.

I used to argue illegal immigrants were here illegally, so that made it wrong. But then I remembered something: Who was in charge of immigration when the Mayflower showed up? Who controlled it while the U.S. was a struggling bunch of disjointed colonies? Why did we suddenly start shutting our doors and denying the truths of the Emma Lazarus poem on the Statue of Liberty?

Let’s look a little deeper into that poem I just mentioned. If you’ve studied poetry or history at all, you know a line or two of it. But do you know it all, or what it’s even called? It’s significant in this discussion, so here it is:

The Statue of Liberty front shot, on Liberty I...

The Statue of Liberty

The New Colossus

By Emma Lazarus, 1883

Not like the brazen giant of Greek fame,
With conquering limbs astride from land to land;
Here at our sea-washed, sunset gates shall stand
A mighty woman with a torch, whose flame
Is the imprisoned lightning, and her name
Mother of Exiles. From her beacon-hand
Glows world-wide welcome; her mild eyes command
The air-bridged harbor that twin cities frame.
“Keep, ancient lands, your storied pomp!” cries she
With silent lips. “Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tost to me,
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!”

The last few lines of the poem are without question the most famous. But I want to call your attention to something about them. There is no reference to the legality of how people come. There is no commentary on where they come from, their skin color, religion or culture. There is only an open hand, and behind it an open heart, of welcome for those who would come and seek it.

If someone has come here “illegally,” and that person wants to better themselves and then work to better this society to which they have come, I now say, Let them come! Let’s accept them, give those who want to contribute a viable path to honest citizenship and deport those whose behavior suggests they are here to break laws or cause trouble. And of those who are already here, let them stay.”

How can we as a society end the “we” and “they” mentality that is so poisonously pervasive? What will change the paradigms of a whole nation, as mine were so radically altered? How can we get back to the feelings which prompted the words Emma Lazarus so eloquently penned?

“They” are not our enemy. In this issue, a strong case can be made “we,” with our hatred and fear, are our own worst enemies.  To paraphrase from the immortal Pogo, we have met the enemy, and we are us.

The Erosion Of Freedom and What We Can DO About It

This week, June 3 to 7, 2013, has been a tough week for the freedoms we as American people hold so very dear. The worst part of it, is as I write this on Thursday, the week isn’t even over yet!

On Monday, a sharply divided US Supreme Court decided police can take DNA from people arrested on suspicion of committing serious crimes. http://www.foxnews.com/politics/2013/06/03/supreme-court-rules-police-can-take-dna-swabs-from-those-arrested/

They didn’t decide law enforcement could take DNA from people charged or convicted of committing serious criminal acts. It’s only on the suspicion of them. So if the police suspect me of having done something criminal, even if it’s a case of mistaken identity, they have the right to take my DNA, and I have NO right to protest it being taken! They then have the right to enter my DNA into their database, where it will stay FOREVER, even when I prove my innocence.

Today it was reported the US government has been in the process of collecting the cell phone records of millions of perfectly innocent citizens’ cell phone records from the gigantic provider, Verizon Wireless. http://foxnewsinsider.com/2013/06/06/michelle-malkin-nsa-collecting-verizon-phone-records-americans

To make matters worse, this story was broken, not by American press, but by British journalists from The Guardian newspaper. The records have been, and continue to be, seized under a top-secret subpoena that was issued by the secretive Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Court. This subpoena is valid from April 25 to July 19, and directs Verizon to give the government all its records on an “ongoing, daily basis” for ALL calls made in the US and between the US and other countries.

So, that call I made this morning, to discuss some information I learned about one of our cars with my husband, who is travelling, is in today’s list. So is the one I made this morning to my best friend and her husband, to wish them a Happy Anniversary. The call I made to our son, to let him know I was on my way home for dinner last night was on yesterday’s. So is the one I received yesterday from our mentor, answering a business question. IT’S ALL ON THE LIST.

There are also reports the US government is trying to gain access to our FaceBook accounts, private emails and all our other online records. So this post, and any likes or comments you as my dear readers make on it, would go into a database of my activity, to be held against me, should our government become, in some formerly unimaginable future, a police state along the lines of Russia or China or North Korea under the Communist Party rule.

If you’re busy thinking, “Oh, good, I’m not a Verizon customer,” or “Oh, good, I don’t have a cell phone or do much online” or something else like a misinformed person told me a bit ago, I have a reality check I’d like to cash for you: It’s not just Verizon. It’s not just cell phones or FaceBook. They just found out about Verizon this time. We already know about the internet and email plans. I’m no conspiracy theorist, believe me! I am, however, a pragmatic realist.

With our freedoms under such severe attack, what can we do about it?  One idea is to bury your head in the metaphoric sand, ignore it and do nothing, hoping it will go away. Sad to say, a lot of people doing a lot of nothing has gotten us in the mess we’re in. I also want to tell folks in this group, it isn’t going away.

Another idea is to fuss and wring metaphoric hands and make noise. This is only slightly more effective than ignoring it. However, if all you do is rant, all you’ve made is sound, and have accomplished nothing productive. We’ve had far too much of this in the past year or two on social media.

The next level of thought suggests political activism. This is fine, in its place. But as I told someone the other day, corruption is rampant on both sides of the aisle on local, state and national levels. Something more is needed.

Oliver DeMille

Oliver DeMille

Into this void, Oliver DeMille and Orrin Woodward have boldly gone with the ground-breaking book LeaderShift. It is the needed something more. In it, they tell in the form of a parable of the 5 Laws of Decline, how they have affected American society and government, and what we as ordinary citizens can do to fix it.

Orrin Woodward

Orrin Woodward

Yes, I did say we as ordinary citizens can fix this, just as the Founders were ordinary citizens. They fixed the mess in front of them in uniting 13 unhappy colonies into a more or less cohesive unit that worked together to win their collective freedom. Then, when the original government, a Confederation, wasn’t working, these ordinary men worked together again, and crafted the document that has been the beacon of freedom for people around the world ever since.



We can do something similar. It’s not going to be easy. Nothing worthwhile is ever easy. But we have resources in social media, in information and in ease of communications that would cause the Founders’ collective heads to spin. The battle will be hard. The road will be long. But we can do it. We should do it. For the sake of the freedoms of our children and grandchildren and those generations yet unborn, we must do it. And we must do it NOW . . .

Update: According to the latest news reports, ALL cell phone carriers and ALL internet service providers are impacted with the government tracking of US records as broken with the Verizon news today.

Friday Update: Here’s the latest information. It’s everything digital or electronic. Yes, I did say everything. It’s emails, it’s blog posts, it’s FaceBook, it’s Google, it’s Amazon, it’s your land line and cell phone, your internet service provider and everything else. It’s your home, your work and your school. It’s your life. The once unimaginable life George Orwell described in 1984 has come true, 20 years after his predicted time schedule.

The Patriot Act and its extensions did it. Some of it they can do without a warrant. Some they cannot. It all depends on what they want, and from whom. And the companies didn’t tell us because the Patriot Act and its extensions have provisions that would have jailed them for treason, if they did. Here’s the details: http://www.capitalisminstitute.org/obama-steals-internet/

Applications Now Being Accepted

Every time we hunt for a job, we see it:

Applications now being accepted for the position of . . .

It doesn’t matter what the position is; while the wording may change, the intent remains. There is an open position for which qualified people may apply.

Life has open positions, too. Only life doesn’t advertise its positions. It simply has them open for anyone with the eyes to see and courage to accept what life has to offer. The position life most often offers, the one that most often goes wanting to be filled, is that of leader.

What is leadership? Entire libraries of books have been written on the topic!

Orrin Woodward

Orrin Woodward

I have read some of them, including the best-selling Launching A Leadership Revolution by Orrin Woodward and Chris Brady, as well as the latest best-seller, LeaderShift, by Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille.

Chris Brady

Chris Brady

In Launching A Leadership Revolution, a leader is characterized by being hungry, hone-able or teachable and honorable. The leader seeks mastery in their craft through the Trilateral Leadership Ledger of Character, Tasks and Relationships. In LeaderShift, a leader is further characterized by having a vision. The leader applies the vision to the Trilateral Leadership Ledger for the desired results. According to both Launching A Leadership Revolution and LeaderShift, a leader sees not just the problem at hand, but the root causes and the steps required for solving it. In LeaderShift, these root causes are reflected in the 5 Laws of Decline.

We live in a world of terrorist bombings, attempted poisonings of our public officials

Oliver DeMille

Oliver DeMille

through the mail, assassination attempts, slander, politics from both sides of the spectrum being malicious and dirty, free-falling economics, wars and rumors of wars, natural disasters, eroding relationships, emotional distancing, societal decay and family disintegration. We are attacked from without, and attack one another from within. Our world as we know it is in chaos.

It is into this chaos void leaders walk. Leaders bring solutions, not more problems. Often, the solutions may look like more problems, but they aren’t. These are challenges needed to solve the underlying difficulties causing the problems in the first place. These challenges are also hard because most people find change of any kind hard, and leaders are catalysts for change.

Launching A Leadership Revolution

Launching A Leadership Revolution

Leaders polarize people into groups for and against their leadership vision. That’s because as Orrin Woodward recently said on Twitter, “In leadership, the cause always comes before the applause.” Also on Twitter, Chris Brady said, quoting Mark Driscoll, “The more people you influence, the more people who hate you.” It is the actions and expected behaviors of leaders that polarize. As Orrin Woodward recently said on Twitter, “Some people say they have to see it to believe it, but leaders have to believe it to see it.” It is this belief in the vision which polarizes others.

I believe in the vision Orrin Woodward and Oliver DeMille set forth in LeaderShiftI am striving to be one of the leaders, one of the 10% who will step forward and change the world around me for the better. It’s a call open to anyone who will hear it and respond. Because if people don’t respond, things will get worse. The 5 Laws of Decline, as described in LeaderShift, clearly point that




So, if not now, then when? And if not us, then who?

Is Orrin Woodward REALLY All He’s Cracked Up To Be?

I am often asked, “Is Orrin Woodward REALLY all he’s cracked up to be??

Orrin Woodward

Orrin and Laurie Woodward

Please allow me answer that, once and for all, with the following (true) story,  names unchanged to protect neither the guilty, nor the innocent.

I will start by saying I got an iPhone late last summer. I read the manual and became rapidly proficient in its use. Or at least, I thought I was.

Recently, a group of ladies had the privilege to attend a retirement dinner to honor Pat Tefel, the delightful and grace-filled lady leader of our TEAM LIFE business team. It was a wonderful evening, highlighted by the presence of leader, blogger, home schooling mom and all-around lovely woman,

Chris and Terri Brady

Chris and Terri Brady

Terri Brady.

Terri’s husband Chris recently had a birthday, so when I briefly spoke to her at the start of the evening, she suggested I go on FaceBook and give greetings to his partner Orrin Woodward, since it was his birthday that day. After getting a photo with Terri and my husband, I went to my table and linked into the wifi where the event was being held. I found Orrin’s page on FaceBook, and thought I left him a message on his wall.

The next morning, on my break at work, I went on FaceBook to check up on things, and see if anyone had posted photos of the party. The first thing I found was a private message from Orrin Woodward!! I had posted my birthday wishes to him privately!!! Oh, my goodness!!!

Orrin’s was the message of a gracious gentleman, honorable and kind in all his dealings, as he said,

Thank YOU Cathy! I hope you are having a blessed day.

To understand the importance of this exchange, think about having the CEO of a multi-national corporation, who has thousands of people who look to him for leadership, combined with the public acclaim of a best-selling author like Steven King, all rolled into one incredible package, on your FaceBook friend list. You are a tiny, insignificant speck in his radar, and are pleased just being acknowledged as his friend, and with a blanket group thanks to everyone who wished him birthday greetings on his wall. That is how big a deal it is to me!

When I realized the size of my blunder, and the graciousness of Orrin’s response, I posted the following, being very careful to do it to his wall:

Thank you so much for your gracious and lovely response to my accidental private message birthday greetings last night! I meant to post that on your wall!! Clearly I have more to learn about FaceBook for iPhone . . . (Color me red-faced.)

That evening at the party, I had told Terri I was a high-end tech user, and promptly proved it. I even had the boldness to call myself “the app queen!” Horrors!! In my bragging, I totally forgot Proverbs 16:18, which says

Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

I fell, alright! The Law of Unintended Consequences (and Murphy’s Law) were very busy with me that night. It is only the kindness, graciousness, humility, character and gentle spirit of Orrin Woodward that saved me from total embarrassment and utter shame.

I am telling you this (and making public my foolishness) for one reason: We all look for leaders to follow, to emulate, to seek to become what they represent. Leaders who show such humility and character as Orrin Woodward did with me are worth following anywhere, and for any reason.

When Bad Things Happen . . .

We’re in Ohio as I write this. Since Friday, we have attended the TEAM LIFE Fall Leadership Convention at the Jerome Schottenstein Arena of Ohio State University.

The trip out was great.  We left with our friends in their van early Thursday morning (3:00 am) and drove almost straight through, except for rest stops.  There was some rain and damp when we left our upstate New York home, but by the time we hit the Ohio/Pennsylvania border, the temperature had risen almost 40 degrees and we had a gorgeous sunny day.

The Convention was amazing.  It would take me days to tell you about everything we heard, learned and experienced, so I won’t even bother to try.  I will just tell you it is something you need to experience for yourself.

So, you’re asking, why the title, “When Bad Things Happen . . .”??  It’s because of this morning.  We came out of our hotel to load our friends’ (and roommates) van to go to the Arena for the church service and closing session of the Convention, only to find the hotel’s manager and 2 cars full of the local police agency’s finest waiting to talk to our friends about their van. (!!!)

Last night, sometime after we returned to the hotel in the small hours of the morning from the Convention (about 2:00 am), a group of people broke into several cars at the far end of the hotel’s lot.  They smashed windows and took whatever valuables they could.  Our friends’ brand new GPS device was taken, glass was everywhere inside and outside the van and the people responsible had made a mess of it.  The only reason they hadn’t gotten to more cars and stolen more is because someone came out of the hotel when they were still here, hit the panic button on their car and alerted the thieves to the presence of a possible witness.  Taking what they’d already gotten, the thieves took off.

Our friends’ husband dealt with the manager.  As the driver, his wife dealt with the police.  My husband and I dropped what we were carrying.  He started taking photos of the damage for our friends’ insurance company.  I started a quick text chat with our TEAM LIFE leaders and let them know what happened, and asked them to pray for us.  Their response was immediate, telling me of course they would pray!  Once my husband was done, we started collecting the items the thieves had thrown around in the van and on the ground.  His wife and I dealt with the hotel and making sense of the mess brought in to us in our room.  The men stayed outside and dealt with the mess outside, and covering the window so we could eventually leave for the church service and Convention.

I continued my text conversation with our TEAM LIFE leaders until we finally got to the Arena.  And yes, we did arrive just in time for church!  Our leaders offered money, a GPS to borrow to get us home, love and support.  When we arrived and let them know where we are sitting, they came with the offered GPS and hugs.  They surrounded our friends, and us by our presence with them, with love, compassion and practical help and support.

Through all of it, our friends have been calm, relaxed and dealing with issues as they came up without hysteria or denial of the facts in front of them.  Several times they said, “God gave us this van. It’s His gift, His provision for us.  He will supply what we need for it.”  They could have been upset.  They could have gotten depressed or angry.  They could have cried.  They could have let it ruin their day.  They didn’t, and their example helped us to be supportive and positive, too.

And tomorrow we’ll drive home, after the window has been replaced, in the teeth of Hurricane Sandy.  The storm is between where we are and where we need to be tomorrow night, and we have to get through.  Our friends’ wife is the driver (no one else is allowed to drive her new specialty conversion van), and has decided we’re going, storm or not.

When bad things happen, we have choices.  We have choices in our attitudes.  We have choices in our responses.  We have choices in whether we will praise God or curse Him.  We have choices in whether we will allow stress to overcome us, or whether we will overcome it.

We all have examples around us of people who respond negatively when bad things happen.  Sadly, it is often rare when we get a good example of a positive response.  That’s why I wrote this.  I wanted to give you this example, so when bad things happen to you, as they do to all of us in one way or another, you will have this.  And know there is a better way to survive it.

The Disguised Prince — A Fable of Success

What happens when an average person attains sudden wealth, success or fame?  Are they able to handle it as they are, or will they need to change to keep it?

* * * * * * * * * * *

Deutsch: Heinrich der Jüngere (laut Quelle) En...

A long time ago, in a country far away, there lived a king and queen.  They ruled wisely and well, and were happy in every`way but one — they had no child.  In the course of time, the queen finally had a child.   When he was still a small baby, an evil witch stole him.  She wanted only to bring unhappiness to the kingdom, so she gave him to peasants to rear, who did not know who he was.  As the boy was raised, he learned what the other children around him learned, which was a tiny fraction of what he would have learned as a prince.

The king and queen had regularly sent out searchers to look for their child, but none met with success.  Over the years, the stress and grief aged the king and queen far beyond their years.  No one found hm, until the day one happened on a secluded valley.  By this time, the prince was a young man, an apprentice.  The searcher recognized his father in him, and brought the young man back to the palace.

There was great rejoicing, but in the midst of everyone’s joy, tragedy struck yet again.  The years of grief caught up with the king and queen..  They grew suddenly ill and quickly died.

English: Henry the Young King

The young man was immediately crowned the new king, and the people were happy.

The new king was not so happy.  Oh, he liked his new home in the palace well enough, when he wasn’t getting lost in it.  He liked having servants at his beck and call, yet chafed at the loss of his privacy and freedom.  Most importantly, he knew he was not properly educated or equipped for his new role.  He began to make mistakes in policy and diplomacy, and soon the kingdom was again not a happy place.

Finally, he called together the council of his father’s advisers, and told the how he felt.  These men were relieved, because they’d been thinking the same things about him.  Finally, a wise old man spoke up and said his father had previously arranged for the council to rule, until a new king could be found.  The young king proposed the council do that, keeping him advised on what was going on, while he learned what he needed to know from tutors, and from their mentor ship.

It took some time, perhaps a few years, but eventually the young king began to understand what he needed to know, and began to gradually take back the rule of his kingdom.  He continued on his path of education all his life, and encouraged his whole kingdom to do the same.  He always said if it could raise him from peasant to king, it could do the same for anyone.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

You and I, dear reader, are that young man.  Born and bred to a life of success and happiness, the world takes us away and we do not learn what we need to know.  Just like that young man, we also can learn, we can grow up into who we were truly born to be.  The products of LIFE can be our tutors.  The leaders of TEAM can be our mentors.  Come and join the journey to the royal life you were born to live!

Exploring TEAM LIFE’s 8 F’s — Finances

What do the wealthy know that average  people do not?  What can average people learn to become unaverage in their financial results in life?

Orrin Woodward

In the article Ben Franklin’s Passive Income Stream TEAM LIFE co-founder and leadership guru Orrin Woodward explored Franklin’s road to wealth.

Franklin could afford his early retirement because he had conceived of an ingenious plan to aid journeyman printers, helping them to own their own businesses.  In a true spirit of win-win, the 26 year old Franklin, in 1731, was offered the position of South Carolina’s official printer for its public records, an opportunity that he declined because he didn’t wish to leave Philadelphia.  But, instead of rejecting the offer outright, Franklin suggested an alternative plan, proposing to the Charleston officials that they hire one of his journeyman, Thomas Whitmarsh.  Franklin would sponsor the project, helping the journeyman with the press equipment, fonts, funds, not to mention mentorship, while Whitmarsh would run the day to day operations in Charleston.  All parties profited by this unique arrangement.  South Carolina received a top notch journeyman, trained under the tutelage of Franklin; Whitmarsh received capital and mentorship, both factors in short supply in the colonies, allowing him the opportunity to own a business; lastly, Franklin, received one third of the profits for six years, after which, Whitmarsh could either buy out Franklin’s ownership interest or continue with his current financial arrangement. Since Franklin had capital, but little time, while the journeymen had time, but little capital, this arrangement benefitted both sides of the partnership, providing to each other, what each on their own lacked, a true example of a win-win trade. Franklin’s

Jean-Baptiste Greuze portrait of Benjamin Fran...

franchise marketing program expanded across the colonial cities, he looked for hungry, sober, hard working journeyman to be his long distant proxies, helping to build many sister newspapers, that dotted the colonial landscape, following the leadership of his Pennsylvania Gazette masthead.  Over time, Franklin’s expansive printing empire reached all the way from Hartford in the north, and as far south as Antigua, with Lancaster, New York, and New Haven, too mention just a few, in between the two poles of influence, an impressive accomplishment in this largely agrarian society.  In fact, by 1755, eight of the fifteen newspapers printed in colonial America were part of Franklin’s powerful conglomerate.  Although not all his partnerships made money, most of them prospered under his leadership. 

English: I took photo with Canon camera of Ben...

Franklin forged partnerships for over fifty years, creating a residual income stream that left him free to pursue his purpose, no longer enslaved to monetary want.

An entrepreneur himself, Benjamin Franklin partnered with other aspiring entrepreneurs in relationships that benefited all concerned, for the most part.  His positive and profitable partnerships gave him the passive income stream to allow him to retire at a young age, to pursue the life of a scholar, inventor, diplomat and eventually statesman.  Benjamin Franklin’s example is a model that would be wise for any aspiring person to follow.


Why I Write This Blog

Why do we do what we do?  How often do we look at our motivations for doing things?

I was asked by someone today what I did in 2011 to make the world a better place to live in.  This blog, and what I post in it, was part of my answer.

I write here to inform, educate, challenge presuppositions and entertain.  I look at things through the perspective of my worldview, and try to give you a small view of what I see and feel.  Sometimes, I put a microscope on a subject and look closely.  Other times, I work for a telescopic, big picture view.  And I will admit there are occasional times when my view feels to me more like the confusion of a kaleidoscope!

I write because for me, words are my passion, my reason for living.  They are, as some would say, my thing.  It wasn’t until this year that I finally realized what I wanted to be when I grew up — I wanted to be a writer.  To me, that is the coolest and most awesome job on the planet!

This discovery did not come to someone in their early adulthood years.  If you have read any number of my posts, you know I am a mother of 2 adult kids, and a grandmother of 2 1/3 young children.  (Yes, that was an announcement.  Our daughter told us at Christmas she is again pregnant, due in June.)  As someone well past my younger years, you would expect I would have had a clue sooner.  But life has a funny way of happening to people, and my early paths were not always smooth ones.

Chris Brady

I was urged write, to blog, this year by people who supported my efforts and encouraged me to do it.  I owe mentor Tony Tefel and fellow blogger, leadership guru and TEAM LIFE  co-founder Chris Brady a debt I cannot hope to ever repay.

I had one other answer to that question posed to me today about how I made the world a better place in 2011.  I made the world a better place by making me better.  Through what I learn from the books, CD’s and training events of TEAM LIFE, I become better. I do it because of a quote that has become my favorite.

When I was young and free my imagination had no limits, I dreamed of changing the world. As I grew older and wiser, I discovered the world would not change, so I shortened my sights somewhat and decided to change only my country. But it, too, seemed immovable. As I grew in my twilight years, in one desperate last attempt, I settled for changing only my family, those closest to me, but alas, they would have none of it. And now as I lay on my deathbed, I suddenly realized: If I had only changed myself first, then by example I would have changed my family. From their inspiration and encouragement, I would then have been able to better my country and, who knows, I may have even changed the world.~~ Found on the tomb of an 11th

Westminster Abbey

Westminster Abbey

century Anglican Bishop in Westminster Abbey

I invite you to join me in the journey of changing the world by changing ourselves.


The Search for a Leader

Why are leaders so hard to find in our world?  Who are our leaders, and what makes them what they are?

In the recent post The Leadership Search, leadership guru Orrin Woodward spoke

Orrin Woodward

poetically about his own search for leadership in his life.

I searched for him half my life,
named with an uncommon sound.


I looked for him around the world,
but this person refused to be found.


Thankfully, I discovered him,
the good news is, you can too.


However, it won’t be easy,
as he reveals himself to just a few.


You can search our government assemblies,
and only hear legends from his past.


You can search our halls of learning,
reading quaint histories fading fast.


You can search our industrial complexes,
viewing his old portraits in the aisles.


You can search our sports arenas,
reading banners going out of style.


Everyone seems to know this person,
but most refuse his name.


I ceased my fruitless search,
hanging my head in shame.


In desperation, I searched within,
realizing his presence all along.


Since no one else will be him,
I can and will, to become strong.


I am now called responsible,
I am the man with the uncommon name.


My friend, you too have this choice,
for you can be called the same.


The search has ended.
The journey is done.


Who is responsible?
I am; You are; Everybody and everyone.

We all have the choice to be leaders in our own lives.  No matter what our various roles are, whether we be spouses, parents, employees or whatever, we all have a choice to lead.  We lead by what we choose to say, and when we make a choice to keep silent.  We lead by our actions and the times when we chose inaction.  We lead by the strength of our character and convictions, or sadly, by their lack.

Our culture teaches us leaders are people who take charge, who are out in front, bossing everyone else around.  Our culture teaches us leadership is for the chosen few.  But as Orrin points out, anyone can lead.  It is not an issue of personality or style.  It is an issue of the heart.  Let’s all work to grow leader’s hearts.


The True Story on TEAM LIFE’s 8 F’s — Following

What causes people to gain a following?  What can we learn from leaders of the past to give us the tools necessary to gain a following for ourselves?

In the article George Washington – RESOLVED For Character, TEAM LIFE leadership

Orrin Woodward

guru Orrin Woodward talks about the reformation of a young George Washington into the man who would be capable of leading the American Revolutionary Army and later becoming the First President of the United States.

By nature, young Washington had a fiery temper, but he developed an iron-willed discipline in order to check its excesses. Richard Norton Smith, in his book, Patriarch, said, “The adolescent Washington examined Seneca’s dialogues and laboriously copied from a London magazine one hundred and ten ‘rules of civility’ intended to buff a rude country boy into at least the first draft of a gentleman”.  The French Jesuits had originally developed the 110 Rules as principles to live by, and

Cover of "Rules of Civility: The 110 Prec...

Washington’s methodical writing process helped him to adopt many of these maxims as his personal resolutions for life. As Richard Brookhiser, author of Founding Father, wrote, “His manner and his morals kept his temperament under control. His commitment to ideas gave him guidance. Washington’s relation to ideas has been underestimated by almost everyone who wrote of him or knew him, and modern education has encouraged this neglect. . . His attention to courtesy and correct behavior

April 30: George Washington becomes the first ...

anticipated his political philosophy. He was influenced by Roman notions of nobility, but he was even more deeply influenced by a list of table manners and rules for conversation by Jesuits.”  Character and self-mastery were his goals through living his guiding ideals of fortitude, justice, moderation, and the dignity of every human being.

It was through the things young Washington chose to learn he acquired the necessary character and commitment to duty that would serve him so well leading the Revolutionary forces to victory.  In Valley Forge, his commitment to what he had learned and put

English: US Postage stamp: Washington at Valle...

into practice kept Washington in the painful field with his men, instead of accepting offers of comfort and safety. Valley Forge, and what they all went through together,

forged the American forces into an army, with their beloved Washington at its head.  Prior to that winter, they followed him because of his title.  After, it was because they knew he was someone worth following.

True leaders are people of character who get into the trenches with their followers.  People just won’t willingly follow someone who hasn’t shown he or she has “been there and done that,” too.  As Orrin points out, George Washington showed us with his courage, convictions and commitment to duty how to be that kind of leader ourselves.  May all who seek to lead do as well.