little b's

random musings

a leadership lesson from the brexit vote June 27, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — littleb @ 5:16 pm

there’s a lot about the brexit vote that i’m not going to talk about.  what i do want to talk about is leadership.

there are exceptions to this, of course, but the majority of people who voted “remain” in the referendum were young.  and the opposite is true, where most of the “leave” vote was older.

i realize this was not an opinion poll, but it would seem logical to me for leaders to respond to the younger generation because they are the future of the country.  i don’t understand why the uk would go through a lengthy, expensive and complicated process that seriously affects their future when that is not what people who will embody the future want.

this seems like another lesson in leading with the next generations in mind.  except that the lesson has not been learned.

 

it only took 20 months… February 25, 2016

Filed under: Uncategorized — littleb @ 6:42 pm

but i’ve finally come to a point where i can say i like ottawa.

i like ottawa.

wow, even those words feel foreign in my mouth.  it was a long time coming, but in the end it was an afternoon snowshoe in gatineau park with a friend that did it.  i was grateful that i could navigate the map, the trail and the park (issues i’ve had before).  i was amazed that people literally live across the street from the park.  and i thoroughly enjoyed being on the little hills the are crappy to hike on but fun to snowshoe on.

mostly though, it was my attitude.

when i moved here, i was unpleasantly surprised to find that i liked ottawa better when i lived in kingston.  and so much with life and work was stressful and hard and i was grumpy.  so i blamed the city.

when i was in kingston last week, i realized that in part i love my visits there because i expect to love it.  and i didn’t with ottawa.

amazing what a little attitude shift can do!  (and it’ll be even more awesome if i can get an inexpensive pair of snowshoes!)

 

hope December 2, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — littleb @ 4:21 pm

hope is a funny thing.

sometimes you have it in you and sometimes someone else has to give you their’s.  sometimes it’s easy to adopt and other times it’s like grasping at air.

i make christmas cards sometimes.  i carve a block of linoleum, takeover the kitchen table with cardstock and paint and then write one of 100+ cards for supporters and friends.  the writing part can be tiring, but today certain messages are sinking into my brain and heart:

May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.  Romans 15:13

and what i’ve been closing each card with: May you choose to hope this Christmas season amid everything that can cause us to do otherwise.

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ways of living November 12, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — littleb @ 9:24 pm

i had two juxtaposing experiences this week that highlighted the differences in the ways we live as human citizens of this planet.

i visited my good friend cara who normally lives in angola (southwestern africa).  before she got married, she lived with a middle class local family with eight children (biological and adopted from extended family).  as we were enjoying a nighttime snack one evening, she commented, “in canada we can eat a lot.  in angola, you have one piece of chicken for everyone to share and you leave extra for anyone else who will show up at the house!”

that comment made me think of how michael pollan writes about how in french they say, “i have hunger” and then, “i don’t have hunger” instead of our north american, “i’m full.”

makes me realize again that the depth of satisfaction lies in the quality of relationships among those around the table and not with the food itself.

then, this afternoon, i did something completely ridiculous.  i asked my friend to drop me off at the train station early so i could go on a conference call.  it ended before my train departure, so i took the time to check and respond to emails on my phone.  because i had been trying to mitigate the interruptions to my colleagues from the p.a. announcements, i tuned out anything that came over the sound system.

right around the time that my train was supposed to leave, i looked up and realized that the waiting area was quite empty and there was a train at the platform.  i grabbed my stuff and scooted outside to see the train begin to pull away!

the staff person who got me on the next train was extremely nice and didn’t charge me another fare even though she was supposed to but this all made me reflect on being busy, too focused on self and not living according to true values!

 

surprises November 1, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — littleb @ 6:49 pm

God surprised me this morning.  i was in a church building with stained glass windows, among a very small crowd of quite old white people.  in other words, not a place where i usually experience God.

a friend and i checked out a church in my neighbourhood that had “act justly love mercy walk humbly” on it’s roadside sign.  promising, i thought.

the call-and-response and the unpretentiousness of the service slowed my mind down and i let go of the criticalness that i often have when in an institutional church.  the scriptures reminded me of God’s invitation to life and the necessity of community.  the pastor’s message was short and to the point, none of the high-energy voice and movement of other pastors – those distract me, make the words hard to follow and hurt my ears.

he talked about our chosenness in God and that we are set aside for His purposes.  simple and true.

the people were very welcoming and warm and we joined the group in refreshments in the basement after the service.  this is really not where i thought i would encounter God but isn’t it fun when He breaks our assumptions?

 

book review: “This is my body” by Ragan Sutterfield October 25, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — littleb @ 4:59 pm

i stumbled across a book with an intriguing title at the public library this fall: “THIS IS MY BODY: From Obesity to Ironman, My Journey into the True Meaning of Flesh, Spirit, and Deeper Faith”

i was very pleasantly surprised by this personal memoir!  sutterfield intersperses his chapters about his childhood and years beyond college with snippets of his training for an ironman race.  he points out the observations that i have made for many years that christian people seem to ignore our physical bodies in favour of becoming overweight and that the institutional church addresses sexuality with a “don’t have sex unless you’re married” warning as it’s main message.  at the same time, he is not overly critical of the church and is actually studying to become an episcopalian priest.

sutterfield refers to food, the environment and faith in ways that make my own faith increase simply to know that other people understand the intricate connection between all these things.  and he talks about his personal journey with God in honest and helpful ways as his own faith deepens.

a quote that resonated with me:

“We live in a culture that values spontaneity, if only because such a value works in favor of compulsions to buy, to eat, and to consume.  But spontaneity doesn’t work if the goal is growth.  Life runs on rhythms; order is unavoidable.  My rhythm to that point had been to drive, smoke, drink Red Bull, and stay up late watching 30 Rock.  Now in this desert time, as my body was finding its rhythm in prayer, I was also discovering new patterns of exercise.” (page 148)

as i was reading the book, i was struck by something that sutterfield doesn’t realize – or perhaps simply doesn’t share – about himself: that his addictions to the consumptive behaviours that he mentions in the quote are simply replaced by addictive behaviours for running, cycling, swimming and weight training.

interesting how humans are so predictable in the end.  but a great read all the same.

 

September 27, 2015

Filed under: Uncategorized — littleb @ 7:40 pm

i talked with a good friend and mentor this week.  she’s the kind of friend who knows all the dark corners in my life and helps point me to God.

the kind of friend who reminds me who i am when i’ve forgotten.  the kind of friend who reminds me of what i need because i’ve gotten so lost in caring for the needs of others.  the kind of friend who listens well and then speaks truth and love straight to my heart.  and then we laugh heartily.

and while nothing in my tangible reality had changed after the conversation, so much shifted internally that i may as well have been in a completely different place in life.  and i’m left feeling very grateful.