Light Going Against the Grain
Would you have courage to use your voice to say what needs to be said?
Would if it meant standing by yourself in pure vulnerability?
Would if it meant letting go or moving on to fulfill your purpose?
Would if it made you lose something?
Would you stick with something if it went against the grain of everything you believed in and hoped for?
The phrase going against the grain is when something is very difficult for you to accept or do, because it conflicts with your values or beliefs.
Choosing to be turned on by conflict versus turned off engages us in doing something about it. Sometimes you will be used for what you can do by others who dislike the thread that you represent to fight the battle that needs to be fought.
When you face opposition and are figuring out how you will respond, it will be hard. Some days you will respond as a warrior ready to fight the battle and other days as a worshipper ready to spread the word about what’s worth fighting for.
Are you in a moment of going against the grain, in a place where it is challenging to accept or be a part of something that conflicts with your beliefs?
Will you be courageous and make your voice heard through battle and give worth to what you need to fight for?
We will all face battles and will have to choose how to respond, in those moments we are a light going against the grain. Go out there, do not be afraid and do not get discouraged. Get out there and face them.
A Light Blessed By Beverly
Many times we spend our days rushing around focusing on the things we have to get done. In the middle of our checking things off the to do list something happens to slow us down.
In the moment we think, ugh, why now?
Now, I have to deal with this really? This is going to *************.
So where am I going with this?
On Wednesday of this week I was checking off the to do’s so I could head out for the holiday break with family. I had gone to the doctor for a checkup, dropped off collected items to Goodwill and arrived back at the house to finish packing.
As I was collecting my things to get out of the car I realized I did not have my wallet. Oh no, was it in the car, at Goodwill or did I leave it thirty minutes away at the doctor’s office.
I don’t have time for this today!
I traveled back to Goodwill to ask if I could double check my bag that I dropped off to see if maybe just maybe I dropped my wallet into the bags.
It was not there, I left my phone number with the store and asked for the cashier to call me if someone happens to find it.
I left and began to drive thirty minutes back to the doctor’s office to see if I left it there. My eleven year old son was traveling with me, we get to the office which is a three story office building with multiple doctors’ offices (eye, pediatrician, and more).
We first went to my doctor’s office and asked if anyone had found a wallet. No wallet had been found. My son and I started on the first floor and went to every single office to ask around about the wallet.
No wallet here, no wallet here, no wallet here.
After almost an hour of searching and sharing my phone number with various receptionists, nurses, and patients, it was time to give up and start calling the bank and credit card companies to cancel cards.
As I drove back to the house, I spoke to providers through the Bluetooth canceling cards.
After a few hours of “wallet loss stress” and being behind with our travel schedule my phone rang.
It was Beverly, a stranger who called to tell me she found my wallet and would be happy to get it to me.
Thank you, Beverly!
Beverly is an amazing human, she cared for a stranger more than about herself for a moment. I was fortunate to have a stranger like Beverly in my life that day, for that I am most grateful.
This week I got to be a light blessed by Beverly.
May we be grateful for the Beverlys in our life. Today let’s thank all of the Beverlys and choose to be a Beverly in someone else’s life.
Beverly, I promise to pay it forward.
“Thankfulness is the beginning of gratitude. Gratitude is the completion of thankfulness. Thankfulness may consist merely of words. Gratitude is shown in acts.” – Henri Frederic Amiel
Light’s Love Language
Have you ever thought about how you communicate your love for someone? Do you know what language to use?
In Gary Chapman’s book titled, The 5 Love Languages: The Secret to Love that Lasts, he provides five languages for us to use to communicate with our partner (and can be used to better express our love for our best friends, parents, and children).
We can use love languages to better understand those closest to us by speaking our loved one’s language and giving ourselves self love language.
Partner’s Love Language
Self Love Language
If you are interested in finding out your love language click here heart ❤️
Understanding your partner’s primary love language contributes to a stronger bond and creates opportunities to support your partner during challenging and celebratory times.
My primary love language is quality time. For me I am not concerned with the amount of time I spend with my partner. I feel comforted when I enjoy quality time where I have my partner’s undivided attention. I don’t want to simply be included in a moment, I want to enjoy being with my partner when there are few distractions (television, phones, really any distractions). My fiancé and I talk about this quite a bit, especially when life gets busy. We intentionally make plans to spend time with each other, things such as morning coffee to catch up about life and the world to planning a date night for the two of us.
My fiancé’s primary love language is words of affirmation. He enjoys receiving messages from me that show I care or cards that I leave around for him to find. Those who have this as their primary love language enjoy shared words of affirmation on a consistent basis and feel best supported as the receiver of this language.
The funny thing is as individuals we tend to give our partners the love language we prefer but this may not be the best approach because you are not meeting their specific need. For example, my fiancé and I both tend to give each other our love language. It’s not always easy giving others what they need but let me tell you the benefit of speaking the right love language can go a long way. It doesn’t just happen, you have to dedicate time to talk about how to best communicate to meet each other’s needs.
By acknowledging each other’s love language you are able to invest in the relationship.
I haven’t always done the relationship thing right, Understanding the five languages is one resource to try and is a great dialogue starter for me and my fiancé. Creating space to chat about each other’s love language helps with doing life together.
There are times he is out serving our community as a firefighter and I am away traveling for conferences presenting or attending meetings. We have to be attentive to each other’s needs for our relationship to flourish, It’s not always easy as we both have learned in the past and when life gets busy it can be challenging. We know it takes work, we are willing to do the work for a strong partnership even when the path of life throws us curve balls.
How will you communicate your love and speak to the light’s love language in your life?
“Our most basic emotional need is not to fall in love but to be genuinely loved by another, to know a love that grows out of reason and choice, not instinct. I need to be loved by someone who chooses to love me, who sees in me something worth loving. That kind of love requires effort and discipline. It is the choice to expend energy in an effort to benefit the other person, knowing that if his or her life is enriched by your effort, you too will find a sense of satisfaction the satisfaction of having genuinely loved”
- Gary Chapman
Light Enduring Pain to Enjoy the Gain
What’s the idea of calling me (or you) Wonder Woman?
The above question continues to swirl in my mind. It makes sense that the question resides in my brain due to my current research with a colleague. We are studying women’s experiences in campus recreation and listening to stories of 36 different women. I dialogue daily with students who are women navigating their college journey and converse with various women that I mentor and sponsor.
Many times as women we place a woman on a pedestal, we believe they are perfect and we may even strive to be like them. We create their story from only seeing on side, the one portrayed in public (social media or at work) not the one in private (at home or with someone trusted).
As women, I believe it is important for us to publicly share snapshots of our private story with other women for us to truly understand the reality of how we do what we do.
Hey, you think I’m a Wonder Woman. Oh, you think I’m a Wonder Woman. Well friend, how about we just get real with each other.
Would if we shared more about what we endure and what brings us joy. By not acknowledging the pain it may be more challenging to let the gains begin.
To endure pain and enjoy gains.
Merriam Webster dictionary defines pain as
Merriam Webster dictionary defines gain as
Discomfort or trouble that we encounter will find us throughout our lived experience. If we look back and reflect on past pain we may do a better job of enjoying our gains. By reflecting on past pain and gains we exhibit resiliency and the future pain we experience will not have us compromising moments to enjoy our gains.
How should Wonder Women be described?
Maybe just maybe we describe ourselves as imperfect, perfectly imperfect. That the true Wonder Women are the women who choose vulnerability, who empower others by sharing their pain and encourage others to enjoy their gains.
What Makes a Light?
In all I do I will never give up trying to help others be self aware and create opportunities to better understand others.
To share stories, to ask questions, to step into uncomfortable.
In the United States, we are in a place of us versus them, where we use words such as disgust as we describe political affiliations. Our anxiousness as a nation is fueled by the lenses of political polarization and economic and social inequalities.
Many days this ways heavy on my heart. I do my best to be an advocate for creating spaces to engage in dialogue that can be very uncomfortable and extremely difficult. There are days that I look at myself in the mirror in the morning and think to myself, how will I begin this dialogue today?
I am currently teaching a course this semester titled, “Engaging in Difficult Dialogue: Leadership, Moral Courage and Critical Hope.” The course is structured around tiers to assist the learning community to build upon techniques for engaging in difficult dialogue. For example, here are a few of the resources:
1. Understanding Self: Social Identity Mapping
2. Brave Spaces versus Safe Spaces
3. Understanding Others: Johari Window
We use these resources as tools to assist us in our course journey. My hope is to give my students resources to engage in dialogue that is challenging.
A couple years ago a commercial by Heineken came out that brought people together with varying beliefs.
When there is opportunity to connect and build community we don’t always initially see in someone the things we disagree with.
Many times when we step into a place of disagreement with someone or a group of people we may become disgusted by their viewpoint versus trying to understand “why” the person believes the way they do. If we are disgusted, we tend to strongly disapprove of the person or thing that has offended us.
I’ll be honest, I have moments of passion where I feel disgusted by something someone did or said. As I engage in more work around dialogue I find that being disgusted doesn’t get me any closer to understanding or to a solution.
We are at a moment in time of division where we discuss the importance of democracy and freedom but are divisive in our actions. If we choose to look to one another with disgust based on our political affiliations then we lose sight of learning from one another to make change. One person does not represent an entire group of people.
How do we step out of our disgust and step into dialogue with those whose views vary from ours?
Should we be disgusted by what we disagree with?
How do we approach someone or a group if we feel disgusted by their beliefs?
I know some will think I am full of s***,
when I say what I am going to say as I continue to
write but here goes…LOVE.
That’s what I am full of, I am full of L***.
When did love become the negative. As humans we crave connection with others and we want to be loved. If we choose to come to one another with love versus disgust we will express greater interest in someone and exude empathy.
I share this because I am proud of my students as we are engaging in this journey together to find common ground with those we disagree with. To create brave spaces to have difficult dialogue, to acknowledge when we are not listening, to ask questions to better understand, to know the complexities of challenges and problems, to create solutions, and to address critical challenges. We can’t solve difficult problems in tribal silos.
Being full of L***, is it okay for me to use that word?
Love. Love. Love.
I said it. Love.
I say love is important because if we step into an uncomfortable space and see the humanness in others we choose to care for others and we want to hear their stories, we want to understand their “why” and we want connection.
Just maybe we will be able to stop ourselves from creating divisive environments of us versus them and realize we are all connected.
Why not choose, love us and love them.
What makes a light? Love makes a light.
Remove oneself from a place of disgust and step into the uncomfortable with love.
Shine Your Light in the Arena.
Stepping into the arena takes on many forms, showing up on the field to making your voice known.
Merriam-Webster defines arena as…
Shining your light in the arena is getting in there and doing something, having the courage to take a risk even if you fail.
The words “daring greatly” in the title of Brene´ Brown’s book, Daring Greatly: How the Courage to Be Vulnerable Transforms the Way We Live, Love, Parent, and Lead came from a speech that Theodore Roosevelt gave in 1910. The famous passage from his speech sometimes called, “The Man in the Arena” reads:
“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, because there is no effort without error and shortcoming; but who does actually strive to do the deeds; who knows great enthusiasms, the great devotions; who spends himself in a worthy cause;who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly.”
Think of a time when you were sitting somewhere doubting yourself.
Now think of a time you showed up on the field or stood up to make your voice known...I’m here and I’m going to try this triumph or not.
For me, I have found that when I doubt myself I need to find people and places that take me out of this line of thinking. We can find ourselves falling down a rabbit hole if we let our mind wonder into the abyss of doubt.
In many cases while we are doubting ourselves there are others sitting around afraid of what we are capable of.
It is time to play, go shine your light in the arena.
Some Kinda Good Light
As a little girl I use to spend time with my grandfather John Thomas Williams (PaPa) at the local Exxon gas station. I would speak with people in the local community as they shopped. Some would stay for a while sitting on a crate sharing stories and I would listen with anticipation. I liked to help with unpacking delivery trucks (which often led to me picking out a free treat). Working with PaPa was hard work filled with joy.
.I truly owe much to my PaPa for instilling in me the importance of hard work and enjoying life. One of his favorite sayings while eating a good meal was that’s some kinda good.
He passed away when I was 18, 24 years ago. He was a farmer and manager of an Exxon gas station. He was the only child out of his five siblings who did not go to college. PaPa stayed back to manage the local gas station and run the family farm, he became an icon in Baskerville, Virginia. I say icon because it didn’t matter who you were he welcomed you with open arms and he was there for you during times of celebration and times of loss.
Today’s in honor of my PaPa who was some kinda good would have been 101 years old this week.
A few years ago I wrote this poem about PaPa.
Hours on end he works to earn a dollar
Hardworkn' man who isn't wearn' a shirt with a collar
Traveln' the pavement early to the store on the corner
Responsibility to be there a duty of an owner
Unlockn' the door to start a new day
Turnn' the light enjoyn' the stay
First visitor of the day stops in to visit
On a worn wooden crate, a great place to sit
Midday has arrived time for somethn' to eat
Microwave cheeseburger, ketchup in the fridge, takn' a seat
Little girls the love of his life spendn' time at the store
Eatn' rat cheese from the box always wantn' more
Vendors drop by what is he needn'
Leavn' the store to check on the cows who need feedn'
Back to the store it's almost seven
Turn the key to the Pontiac, engine revn'
Makn' it home for supper time
Scarfn' down homemade biscuits after workn' for a dime
Belly full, eyes closed snorn' at the table
Wake up for a bit sittin' in the recliner watchn' cable
Time to hit the sack and start dreamn'
Visions of farmn’ and pond water gleamn'
Roosters are crown' time to wake up
Startn early again, brewn' a big cup
My grandfather instilled in me that it’s okay to work hard, get dirty, and enjoy the moment. I remember watching how hard he worked but also how he exuded joy in his day to day life.
Let’s just say he encouraged me to take risk and in the end no matter the outcome life is some kinda good.
Papa showed me on many occasions how much he loved me and supported me to enjoy life - like the time I asked him to tie up my flower girl dress at my cousin’s wedding so I could climb trees.
He encouraged me to be adventurous because this life we have is some kinda good., we deserve to find joy everyday.
In honor of my grandfather, I encourage you to do something today that is some kinda good.
“Stay close to the lake to meet your
own peace of mind.”
- Munia Khan
Today’s blog is short and sweet, a reminder to find a place to be calm, free of worry,
and experience joy.
That’s exactly what I’m up to during
this year’s fall break...at the lake.
Peaceful moments can be hard to come by,
when you have that rare time,
take it and protect it.
Choose being well and rested.
Give yourself permission to escape.
Find inner peace away from the distractions of stressors and obligations.
Peace of mind is a priority, find that special place.
You deserve it!
My light would not shine bright if it wasn’t for those who keep things real with me, who let me dream and who share their light with me.
My heart is always thinking about how to share light with others so that each of us feel loved and included
Every morning when I am taking my son to school I always say to him as he’s getting out of the car, shine bright and share your light.
We never know who might be needing love and kindness today. Let’s be real we all need it everyday.
Who needs to feel the warmth of your light?
It sounds easy but some days it can be hard to share your light on days when you simply aren’t feeling it and when you question your purpose.
This week I was reminded by a loved one, a friend and my son that my light shines through all I do. I need to continue to share light even on days that I feel unsure or question my why .
I was reminded this week that my light shines because of the light others share with me.
Sharing light to me is defined as being kind and loving to all people.
Kindness and love go a long way.
To some it may seem childish, a waste of time and not actionable.
And if you disagree with me that is okay. I will still turn my light towards you and do the Cara (Care) Bear stare. All you 1980s kids know what I’m talking about but just in case.,,
One of my mentors use to always say to me and my peers, to receive the love you need to give the love.
Today I say to you...
To receive light you need to share light.
I was reminded of this from a dear friend on Sunday, a loved one Monday and during a car ride on Wednesday with my son.
When you find yourself needing to be affirmed, maybe you need to shine your light in the direction of others and have a little patience. Sometimes we may share our light and wonder why it’s not reciprocated. Then bam you receive a message from someone unexpected wishing you well.
I am reminded in small moments, not big moments that my faith during times of change and transition will not always be smooth but God will show up to remind me to stay the course and keep with it. God reminds me to be the light and the presence of my faith is always with me.
I am blessed to receive light from loved ones, friends, and colleagues who fill me up giving me strength to share my light.
Give the love that you have received to those around you. You must love with your time, your hands and your hearts.You need to share all that you have. - Mother Teresa
A Light Thinking of Themself As A Student Exhibits True Leadership
“Leadership is an education. And the best leaders think of themselves as the students, not the teachers.
If you have a new idea or perspective to offer and you repeatedly hear, “I’ve been doing this a lot longer than you—I think I know what I’m doing,” RUN! RUN AWAY!”
There is no doubt that each of us will face those we disagree with. No matter our position or level within an organization we need to intently listening to others even if we disagree with them. We can always walk away with more understanding for the “why” in a situation or challenging subject matter and still disagree.
We each have the ability to develop our leadership capacity and we can expand this growth by engaging with others who have different views from our own.
I am still developing mine.
Few days go by that I don’t learn something new.
So am I student or a teacher?
I think I’m both, my hope is that I role model the importance of being a lifelong student no matter my role or position.
Have you ever had that feeling where you feel your heart race and your blood boiling inside? Perhaps it is because you just had something said to you that is offensive about something you firmly disagree with.
In these moments, how do we respond?
Is it from a place of anger, intrigue or curiosity?
What would happen if we acknowledged our anger, stepped back and became curious about why someone believes the way they do?
We can choose to be curious by calling people in who we disagree with to better understand why someone believes what they do.
As we call in those we disagree with, we have to actively listen to why they have a certain opinion, why they believe what they believe. Through this, we learn more about their identities and their lived experience and gain understanding. We may still disagree, however, we leave knowing more about why.
Zachary Wood explains this in much detail in his Ted Talk titled, “Why It’s Worth Listening to People You Disagree With.” Take 11 minutes and 15 seconds for this idea worth spreading
When we feel strongly about something, we may avoid those who disagree with us and who we disagree with. How might we benefit from being comfortable being uncomfortable when facing disagreement? What might others learn by us doing so?
We have to ask ourselves, what am I going to learn today? How will I be intentional about developing myself as someone who exhibits leadership and identifies as a lifelong student?
Get out there and be a student, you don’t always have to be a teacher.