January 10, 2019

LOVE STORY


I can’t say that every day is wonderful, but most days are! It doesn’t take long to over look the complaints or the crazy moments when you love your job.

Recently, I was talking with an old friend about our Y careers and we described it as a “Love Story.”

It’s a love story written with weekend text messages from staff, sharing something funny from work or life. It’s in an email from someone sharing the Y’s impact on their life. These moments always remind me that the joy in my job is where hope, happiness and humanity intersect.

It’s a love story written in moments that echo a bigger story, like when just the right person appears at our side at just the right time. Recently I read that coincidences are just God’s way of making things happen anonymously.

It’s a love story written in memories, like that afternoon when you get a gift so unbelievable, so fantastic that you are speechless. Afterwards, you can almost hear God whisper that he’s in charge – in the bad times and in the good times.

All the staff retreats, conferences, meetings and memories of the Y, weave themselves together to tell a love story like no other, the story of how you think the agreement with God is to help you so you can help others. When all along it’s you who is being helped. We think we’re bringing people closer to God when actually, he is inching closer to us.

I wish everybody had a love story like mine. I pray that wherever you are on your Y journey, whatever the longing of your heart may be, whatever mess you find yourself in – God has brought you to the Y to create a love story. If you let him, he will reveal himself THROUGH you and he will let you know that YOU are loved!

August 17, 2017

Honor, Stewardship, Trust

"A President must grace and honor the office, the highest and most powerful office in the world. Our President must honor not just the office, but the people that office serves. 

The President must serve this country steadfastly and laudably.  

In the end the presidency is more than a simple catalog of policies pursued, crises weathered, battles lost or won.  

It's a stewardship and a sacred trust. It’s a commitment to sacrifice every fiber of your being, every thought, every moment, and everything in service to your nation. 

Despite the political and philosophical differences in our country, the President who does this well, deserves nothing less than our humble appreciation and heartfelt gratitude.
  
Our President must strive to be worthy of the example of the great men who have gone before.  Presidents walk in the giant footsteps of Washington, Jefferson, Lincoln and more.  They have magnificent legacies to uphold.  I pray that our President aspires to their example, and will daily make that sacrifice."

Arnie Vinick - Fictional Character and Presidential Candidate on the West Wing



July 13, 2017

Think Small

In YMCA circles, most discussions center around size. We constantly measure ourselves versus some ambiguous goal of what and how other people are doing.

·         How big is your budget?
·         How much money did you raise?
·         What do you do annually in sales?
·         How much do you make?

In my situation they usually are asking, “Why do you still have an iPhone 5?”

There is this underlying culture that only the work from the largest Y’s is the greatest or most important work. If an idea didn’t originate in Los Angeles, New York, Houston, Charlotte, etc. it really is not worthy of discussion.

Culturally we are obsessed with bigger or more prestige. Our dreams and sometimes our excuses get stuck in the “If Only” mode.

We find ourselves looking at what we think are bigger and greener pastures. Lifeguards say, “If only I was the Aquatics Director, I would make a difference.” The Aquatics Director says, “If only I was the Sr Program Director, I would make a difference.” The Sr. Program Director says, “If only I was the Executive of the branch, I would make a difference.” And the Executive says, “If only I was the CEO, I’d make a difference.”

We wallow around in what we don’t have because our town is poor; Our budgets are small; Someone else has the authority.

“If only I worked for one of those rich Y’s”

We live in a world of deficit thinking.

But experience has proven to me that bigger is not better and greener is not always greener!

I love this poem by Meade McGuire.
Father, where shall I work today? And my love flowed warm and free. 
Then He pointed out a tiny spot And said, “Tend that for me.” 
I answered quickly, “Oh no; not that! Why, no one would ever see, 
No matter how well my work was done; Not that little place for me.” 
And the word He spoke, it was not stern; He answered me tenderly: 
“Ah, little one, search that heart of thine. Art thou working for them or for me? 
Nazareth was a little place, And so was Galilee.” 

John Maxwell says, “the importance of your work is not about size, prestige or power. The importance is based on How you do your job and Why you do your job.” He shares three points:

1.   If you give your best in obscurity, God will recognize it. Others may not but God will.
2.   If you give your best in small things, God will give you bigger things.
3.   If you give your best with consistency, God will give you courage.


“THINK SMALL – REMEMBER the Mustard Seed”

May 31, 2017

Ruby

Ruby was country ham and warm biscuits. She was fresh cut flowers and sweet corn. She was thick tomato sandwiches that you had to eat over the sink. She was crowded and loud kitchens that were filled with smiles and laughter. She was family, she was friends and she was faith.



I think that is the culture of the YMCA Branch named in her honor. A branch where everyone is welcome and everyone is treated like family. We celebrate the simple things in life which bring us so much joy. The Ruby, as we affectionately call the branch, has no hallways or walls. The open floor plan creates a constant hum of talking, balls bouncing, and treadmills running.



Kind of like her kitchen. All of this energy and activity grounded on a commitment to our faith and the charge to “Love Our Neighbors As Ourselves.”


Yesterday as I watched her wonderful family and how proud they are and how strong they are all trying to be, I thought about how the best gift that we can give to Ruby is to acknowledge that our hearts are breaking and to lean on each other and let our hearts break together. 

Then we need to get back into that kitchen and out in that garden and spend the rest of our lives sharing the peace, the love and the joy that she shared daily.