under construction

anyone travel lately?  Seems wherever we go there is road construction causing delays and inconvenience in pursuit of a better future…  Life moves so quickly though, our plans for better roads are obsolete before the project is even completed… so we start again. Perpetual construction.

life seems to be a lot like that, at least for me…  Once I have a sense of direction and begin the inconvenient process of constructing change, with the hope of a better future, it seems its not enough.  How many times can I start again?

I’m struggling with a moral dilemma.

What do I really believe and why?

What am I willing to settle for in light of my convictions?

I believe God sits on His throne and loves me right where I am.  No question there for me.

I believe Jesus is the Son of God who came to earth as a man to save the world from sin by giving himself in our place as payment for our sin.

I believe in the Holy Spirit and that He was sent to be our comforter.

Lately I have been exposed to a lot of very progressive teaching and I find myself questioning so much of it I’m not sure I can continue to be a part of that conversation or that story.  I’m okay with people thinking and believing differently but I’m not a masochist.  I don’t have to be tortured by the rhetoric that I don’t believe. At first I thought I needed to learn more but now I feel like it isn’t worth the effort.  Standing for everything feels like standing for nothing at all.

Kelly

 

 

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come to the table…

It was nearly 5 years ago when Patty and I moved to middle Tennessee because of my job at Nissan.  I had been hired as a project manager – no degree – no solid project management experience and no idea where it would it lead.

Having worked with Nissan on the launch of the Nissan LEAF, and then vehicle connected services (VCS), piloting Nissan’s Social Media engagement and a host of other projects.

Within weeks of arriving I found myself responsible for the presentation and planning of a monthly Customer Experience steering committee meeting hosted by the Chairman of Nissan North America.   I remember sitting at a table in a conference room on the 10th floor at Headquarters in wonderment, asking  why me?  How did I end up here?  How did I end up sitting next to the Chairman, surrounded by Vice Presidents, Directors and Senior Managers?

I was a nobody.  These people were the decision makers for one the premier auto manufactures in the world.  I still wonder  how… and why?

You know what amazes me more?  Being invited to this table. The Communion Table.

Jesus’ invitation is open to everyone.

You don’t need a degree.

You don’t need to have money, or power, or fame.

Your life can be buttoned up or in a total shambles.

YOU are invited.

You don’t have to bring a gift.

You don’t need a pedigree.

It doesn’t matter what color you are.

It doesn’t matter where you were born.

It doesn’t matter if you are gay or straight.

It doesn’t matter if you are a man or a woman.

Jesus’ invitation is open to you, right where you are.

Come…

 

its overwhelming…

I’m working on a new set of bookshelves for my office.  I’m not a wood worker or furniture builder.. but its a creative project that will be functional.  Once complete I’ll move the boxes of books I’ve  accumulated into a  more appropriate space.

While working on those bookshelves I’ve been thinking about immigration.  Actually I think about it a lot – immigration that is.  My heart grieves for those who who are having their families ripped away.  It’s not right.  There’s no reason to do that…or is there…

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The Constitution outlines specific responsibilities of the federal government.  Some see that responsibility as narrowly defined.  Some recognize a much broader responsibility, a more humane and compassionate responsibility for the human condition.  We can argue all day about that – and many do.  There is ground we can meet on though, if we take account of our values as people, and as a nation.

Immigration is one of those issues that is difficult and will require a lot of conversation and wisdom..  I’m no expert.  I was born here. I grew up being taught we have to work for what we have and I’ve worked hard.  I’ve also made a lot of mistakes, and still do, but I’ve also been extended a lot of grace along the way.

Everyone wants to be treated fairly.  Even that looks different for each of us.  The color of our skin makes a difference.  Gender makes a difference.  Education makes a difference. Family makes a difference.  Our God given nature makes a difference…but it doesn’t define us, or who we are, or who we become.  We do.  By our actions.  By the values we hold dear.  By our willingness to consider others.

So what gives?  Why are we at each other’s throats over basic human need and compassion for people who weren’t born with the same privileges as me?  God give me the perspective You have when you look at people.  All people.

Let’s talk about intent for a minute.  When this country was founded we needed more people to grow the nation.   Life was hard and the country was full of opportunity.  Many left their native lands to come here for a better life.  Most with little more than what they had on their backs.  It was expensive. It was a hard trip and many didn’t have a place to go once they arrived, but they came and figured it out.  They worked hard and made the best of it.  They worked long hours at menial jobs for little money.   Sound familiar?

Racism was rampant.  Most were treated unfairly .  It didn’t matter.  This was a better place to be than where they came from.   Doesn’t seem much has changed over the years.  We still treat many newcomers like they are subhuman – not the government – us.  When will that change?  What are we afraid of?  Why can’t we see the value in people?  All people…

The risks are great today.  The modern day threat of terrorism is real.  Human trafficking is real.  Dealing with the shear volume of immigrants and refugees is real, especially when so many people in this country are doing everything they can to keep their own heads above water.  The time and money and resources needed to keep it all flowing is insane.

The coordination and logistics is hard to wrap my head around.  It reminds me of Israel leaving Egypt. A million people wandering around the desert for 40 years looking for a place to settle. They knew where they were going.  They had a destination in mind and their hope was it would be better than where they left.

Not much has changed.  War, the rumor of wars, natural catastrophe and the like are not new to the human experience.  It still impacts so many people.  How we respond personally and as a nation is up to us.

Many argue there are laws on the books and they should be followed.  One Senator tried to use  a passage in Romans 13 to justify the actions of the government.   Bad choice.  I contend its the inconsistent enforcement of the law that is to blame.  If an administration doesn’t agree with the law they treat it differently to promote their point of view.   Every administration does it because they can’t or won’t do what’s needed to change the law.   What’s permissible today may not be tomorrow depending on who is in power.  That hasn’t changed over the years either.  Every new administration expands their authority.

What do we, as a people, value?  Our laws need to reflect that.  That means we have to have hard conversations about how we protect children and women from human trafficking but still keep real families together when they cross the border and don’t have the right paperwork.  That’s one of the reasons why immigration is so complex. It’s one of the reasons for all the checks and balances.

Can it be easier, smoother and better for all involved?  Of course it can, but it takes a lot of hard work from passionate, caring people,  willing to work through the details within the constraints of the resources we have.

I don’t know many people who would open their homes to just anyone who showed up on the doorstep, looking for a place to stay and food to eat, if they didn’t know them.  Protecting our personal space and convenience makes us question to what extent we help anyone, even family and friends sometimes.   I suspect some of us might help but many wouldn’t, me included.  We fear the unknown.  We’ve been taught not to trust.  We’ve been taught to protect what we have and in this day and age caution is wise.  Add to that a language barrier.  Cultural barriers. The list is endless, so in our wisdom, we pass that responsibility off to the government and expect them to do it all, our way.

I, for one, want to see change here.  My values and my compassion for people, all people,  is at stake.   We can’t live in fear and thrive.  No one can.  Not you, not me, not those  leaving everything they have to come here for a better life.  Its time to stand up and demand change.  That change will cost us something.  Time, effort, money, but more importantly, a piece of myself.  It may require I think different and learn things I  never knew.

In the Harry Potter Book “The Sorcerer’s Stone” Harry and his close friends were battling evils around them.  The threat of Lord Voldemort was looming but no one knew exactly what was happening.  They had many suspicions but nothing they could prove. Amidst the tension they had finals to study for.  Even in the midst of looming crisis we can get lost in the day to day responsibility of life.  Time to go to work….

Love you all,

Kelly

 

 

sunday morning…

the rain just started… thankful the lawn will get some much needed water.

Won’t be walking the dogs this morning… more time for thoughts and reflections.

Spent some time in an ABC FB post about the rising cost of student loans and 3,000 a day defaulting on those loans.

ATTN:, ABC News take a look at the US’s student debt crisis from   May 24, 2018

It is financially enslaving  an entire generation.  I didn’t go to college – at least not long enough to get a degree.  I enlisted in the Navy immediately after high school.  My parents never talked to me  about going to college.  Not seriously.  besides, at that point in my life I wasn’t emotionally ready to go to college and I definitely wasn’t prepared to stay home and go to college. All I wanted was out…

I don’t know what the data shows but based on many of the posts, there is a large number of single moms in debt, over their heads with student loans, trying to do the best they can and living in fear of never being able to get out from under the burden.

It breaks my heart to hear their stories.  It hurts to listen to the “holier than though” crowd preaching about financial responsibility and “you got yourself into this”  messages that serve no real purpose.  Sure, we should all be more aware of what we do and why but most of us make decisions based on what we know at a particular point in time.  Hind sight can be a great source of shame.

Education has become big business.  Unfortunately it takes a lot to keep a college or university competitive.  Those costs have to be absorbed some how.  Tuition increases, in part, because of easy access to loan money and we, as a nation, have bought into the lie we need  degree to get a good job.  Banks are very good at “helping” us into high risk, high interest loans to further their interest.  The financial bondage that creates is nothing short of modern day slavery in my opinion, and we do it willingly.

Some advocated for the government to do more and reduce the cost of interest and education.  Nice thought and the government’s track record on other important issues like healthcare, immigration and social security and medicare are great models for how they could help. (Sarcism intended)

Not surprisingly there were some advocating for free college education.  News flash:  there’s no such thing as free…  Someone is always paying… Clearly these folks weren’t economic majors.

Many are finding there’s no guarantee of high paying jobs because you have a degree.  Where I work, there is a requirement for a degree now.  That degree today doesn’t mean you’ll be a great fit but its now the minimum price of entry.  Does it improve your chances to be successful?  Sure.  More than not having a degree, but all colleges and universities are not created equal.

All scholastic endeavors are not created equal either.  It still takes focus and effort beyond the degree and depending on personal circumstances, both geographic and social,  no two stories are the same.  You’ve still got to be a good fit in that organization’s culture.  I’ve seen really sharp people leave our company, not because they didn’t have a degree or good work ethic but because they weren’t a good fit culturally.

If our country is going to thrive we collectively need a strong dose of hope and community.  WE need to be able to celebrate together and grieve together.  We need to proactively share this human experience and where solutions exist, share them passionately.  Walking with someone through the good and the bad is hard work.

Dave Ramsey’s Financial Peace University saved Patty and I.  We weren’t burdened with education loans but we were underwater with consumer debt, home and cars..  Learning about practical personal finance and setting goals and priorities was a game changer for us.  Had we had that knowledge earlier in life it could have saved a lot of problems and made life a whole lot easier.  But we didn’t.. The good news is we do now.

If you are struggling with financial issues your relationships and general happiness are limited and likely at risk.   Take a step to learn more.  Figure it out.  Take action and see if the results don’t improve.   Doing the same thing over an over don’t make the results any different.  Find someone to walk with you.

Check out https://www.daveramsey.com .

Brene’ Brown, in her book Braving the Wilderness talks about how its lonely there sometimes.   I’m okay with that… It means not doing what everyone else is doing.  It means doing what’s right for you, even it goes against the tide.  Its okay – you have permission.. really…

Kelly

 

lazy, relaxing day

When I got up this morning I really didn’t have an agenda….

At 4:00 AM it was poring down rain so I went back to bed…

At 5:30 AM, when I got up, it was still raining but I felt relaxed and rested.  After writing Morning Pages,  one of the exercises in The Artist’s Way, by Julia Cameron, I decided to take a long, hot bath.  I like long, hot bathes but I don’t typically relax long enough to enjoy them.  Today I did.

I listened to Brene’ Brown and Tony Robbins, and a little Mel Gibbons too… Great inspiration early in the morning.  well, nt so early today…

Didn’t want to walk the dogs in the rain… neither they nor myself wanted that.  By the time I  got out of the bath Patty was up.  We chatted for a bit and I started working on little odds and ends.  Nothing too taxing – just meandering through my the morning.

I didn’t get dressed or put make up on till after an egg salad lunch…  Can’t remember a day this relaxed!

We (the dogs and I) did eventually go for a walk.  I updated a few things on Facebook, caught up on some accounting and worked on the insurance applications for Church.

“You share with people who earn the right to share your story!” “Its an honor to hold space with me when I’m in shame.”  Brene’ Brown

How many people do I know that well?

 

 

but it’s my right to own a gun….

A middle school in the Heartland?  Really?

I can’t even imagine how frightened some kids must be going to school everyday.  The number of shootings and the amount of violence is escalating at an incredible rate, and not just in schools…

I remember when there were those who said spending all that time in front of violent video games would have an impact.   It’s still being said today.  Can’t leave music out…

Mental health issues abound.  Violence in television and movies.  It’s hard to hide from.  Those are the most popular shows – make the most money.  How about “reality” TV shows where people routinely treat each other like crap.  Those are huge hits!  We just eat that stuff up…  It’s on TV, people watch it!!!

Warped and hard to digest.

Most of us want to stick our heads in the sand and ignore it right?  It won’t come to my town, school, church or family…until it does.  Then it’s too late.

We can blame government and law makers for not passing tougher laws but is that really the answer?  I’m sure there is some culpability.   We could blame law enforcement for not enforcing the laws on the books but their job is pretty tough and do they even have the resources to do what they do?  Someone on my team just left a job in law enforcement because the risk just simply wasn’t worth it.

I don’t believe we can legislate righteousness, especially since politicians tend to fall into that special category of people who make decisions based on political expedience over what’s right.

What trumps political expedience?  (pun intended)

So what do “WE” do?  How can “WE” make a difference?  I think “WE” have some culpability too.

After 9/11  there was a big push – “If you see something, say something!”   We all became more aware of what was gong on around us.  Part of it was motivated by fear and I know some took it to extremes but collectively we were better for it.  We were united in a common purpose because no one wanted to see that kind of attack again.

Guess what?  We are under attack. and the perpetrators are us.  We, as a society, have gone off the rails.  Instead of love and compassion and understanding we’ve reverted to  primal survival instincts.  We’re in denial….

Are we willing to get out of our comfort zones and help someone with no expectation of pay back?

I have no idea what goes on in the mind of a cold blooded killer but when its a kid doing the shooting we have a problem.  Its bigger than guns and legislation, metal detectors and video games and music.  Are those starting points?  maybe.  I wish I knew.

For now I can pray.

I can be respectful of others.

I can pay attention.

I can have dialog with people that isn’t cruel or vicious.

I can seek to understand.

Maybe, just maybe, out of that I can make a small difference.   Maybe – save a life or two..

 

being human sucks…

open mouth – insert foot.

The last two days have held some drama for me… Not a space I operate in well.  Both are related to Facebook posts I either shared or injected myself into.

The first was a share about support for the LGBT community with  a kicker – looking to weed out people who didn’t agree.  It was antagonistic and it created a lot of conversation.   I deleted it at the end of the day because although the conversation needs to happen, the basis of this convention was bad and it turned into a referendum on the original post and less of  discussion about the issue.

I want to have that conversations with people from both sides of the spectrum but I’m not skilled in public discourse so it’s something I have work on.. no, I don’t have to, I want to.

Next was yesterday – different topic  – the fate of the Waffle House killer.  I totally misread the intent of the conversation and asked a sharp, offensive question. Note to self…listen more.  Okay – that was on me.

Relationships are important and so is public discourse.  I need to be Kelly but Kelly needs to be smarter about the conversations she has because words matter.

I took a personality assessment recently.  It said I’m an Obliger.  Nailed that one…

The Four Tendencies by Gretchen Rubin sits on my desk unread.  That one’s next..