Wednesday, June 21, 2006

A Brief Reflection on Session1

Students crowded the campus for 6 days. And in a flash they had come and gone. However during this time, lives were changed, stories were made, and giant strides occured. Students were not the only people touched, but staff as well. Sometimes we grow in an hour or overnight, other times certain growth takes years. But if we choose to accept life, it's opportunities, and challenges as learning experiences then growth is inevitable.

As for myself, ETM, I know much growing has been done. I've learned and become better at trusting others and placing the "carrying out the plan" in their hands. After day 1 I knew right away that the only way this thing was going to come off the ground was if we were all in it together, 100%, and that every member of our team had something significant and special to bring to our table that I wanted to motivate and inspire them to share. While inspiring and motivating it was also necessary to not always be the "nice" one. I had to make some decisions and quickly learned to delegate tasks and responsibilities. I believed in them, and they certainly prevailed. I learned how to run a tight ship, as the LTC would call it. Meetings were short, there wasn't much room for debate, and clear and precise orders were required from me in order for us to function most effectively. We all needed to be on the same page.

Secondly, energy is everything. Different groups have different dynamics, and I am very pleased to say that my staff is simply oustanding. I don't believe that this type of energy just occurs. I believe that it takes work. Our group wasn't always this close, but over time they formed bonds of trust and communication. I witnessed them throughout the week anticipating future events, places of possibly problems, and time and time again they picked up where another TL may have left off. They've even come to call themselves a "family"...hmmm wonder were that term came from.?!

My journey has taken me to a great place. At this juncture in my life I know that it is my responsibility and purpose to share my passion with those around me. I am so blessed to be able to do something that I love and combine it with my strengths and have the chance to keep learning so much. As I continue on in the summer I hope to reflect back to this moment in time and pray that it refuels me. May this first session be the stepping stone to another fabulous 4.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

The PC in DC

Just a little rainy the afternoon of closing ceremony. However that wasn't enough to keep our energy down. As you can see the closing was great! All in a good day's work!

Monday, June 19, 2006

Long Time, No Post

Hi. Hello.

It's 3:52pm on a Monday afternoon and it marks the closing and commencement ceremony of our first official leadership conference. Right now a nap would feel great. Along with a really solid hug from someone inparticular. But I'm a happy camper. Still dancing through life. My new favorite leadership coach came and spoke today to the students; fantastic. We are very similiar in our outlook on life - and she uses the same vocab. that I do "journey of life, season, phase" etc. Truly this is a journey, and it's not about the destination. It's about the growing, learning, and loving that we do in the process. Thanks to all that have been part of my journey thus far.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

EM's DC List

This is the first initial list for summer activities in DC to be done during time off!

1. National Geographic Society - cool exhibitions The Gospel of Judas and Temples of the Crusade. I like history, I'll admit it. These sound like very cool exhibits.

2. Rock Creek Park and C&O Canal - they have canoeing there! Enough said. Great for an all day adventure and picnic lunch. Get a group of folks together or even going solo sounds like some rest, relaxation, reflection, and get to be among nature.

3. Catch a show at the Kennedy Center.

4. Hit up the Smithsonian Folklife Festival running from June 30th - July 4th.

5. Go to the Farmer's Market one morning. (fresh flowers).

That's good enough for right now. I've looked up the baseball games, but right now DC seems like the happening place and tickets are sold out or not available at this time. But that could change. Overall I'm feeling really good about the conference ahead. I also like how my personal life here has been evolving; meeting some new really great folks. Also been able to have nice phone chats with someone special each day. I have great faith in this relationship. It's so natural.

Alright, now I am retiring to bed. Busy days ahead. Tomorrow = morning to myself, move, iron, and perhaps get a nice walk or jog in. Afternoon = Prep for day 1, evening = prep staff, grab a good dinner and relax with a movie.

Now I'll leave you with a quote that is upon one of my graduation presents:

"Listen to the compass of your heart: all you need lies within you"

Monday, June 12, 2006

My Little Movie!

This is just a fun little movie I took on a lazy Sunday afternoon. My sister and I were out playing on the hammock, post Mom taking 100 pictures. I like how when I say Mom's in the apple orchard, she starts to move the ladder! What a cute lady! It's these little moments like this, caught in time, that make my heart so happy! I'll be watching it all summer in DC!:)

Sunday, June 11, 2006

The Graduates Heid and Em

Welcome to Crystal Lake, Illinois. Come rest easy.
On the hammock.
Tire in the back.
Swing on in-
So here's a glimpse into the beautiful landscape that is Crystal Lake, Illinois. Everything is so lush and green right now and just getting ready to bloom into summer. Mom took tons of pictures of Heidi (my sister) and I, as we both graduated during these last two weeks. Heidi graduated from high school and will be attending University of Miami this fall. Check out how beautiful the backyard is. There's a tireswing, a hamock, and great front porch with rockers that is perfect for summer lazyness and relaxation.

Gratitude. Love. These are universal at my home here.

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Graduation Weekend

Above pic post Bacculerate mass: Kate, Em, Brooke (roomates silly pic.) outside of DePaul Church
Above pic: Opa, Emily, Oma after brunch post the ceremony
Above pic: All the cousins outside the Civic Opera House
Squeeze the faces. Smile pretty.
Maggiano's post mass. Cousin Matt leans in for a kiss' Mmm pink drinks!
Great time with family and friends!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Viam Sapientiae Monstrabo Tibi

I'm back in Chicago for my graduation. It's kind of funny since I actually was finished at Thanksgiving time in 2005. But I'm back and ready to celebrate this occasion with my friends and family. It's good to be back and walk the streets of Lincoln Park, Chicago. For those of you who have never been to Lincoln Park it's a small section of Chicago located 2.5 miles off of Lake Michigan. It's home to DePaul University (my almamater and is one of the quaintest neighborhoods of Chicago. My apartment (previous one) actually backs up to a cobblestone street. I pretend it's in England. Large red brick homes make up the sidestreets along with lots of cherry blossom trees, and old lady homes with large front porches and unique stain glass fixtures.

I flew into O'hare yesterday afternoon and my best friend in the world - Kate - picked me up. We made our way back to Lincoln Park where I had the chance to run into old friends, and see my old stomping grounds. Then Brooke (my other roommate) and I went to our School of Education Honors Convocation to celebrate our undergraduate status and gpa. Yes, I am proud to say that I did kick butt and work hard in college (as rare as that may be) and will be graduating with honors Cum Laude.

Parents calling, friends around, lots going on right now. I'll be sure to update with pictures later!

Next on the graduation agenda: Bacculerate Mass. This is a special mass held for the students of DePaul's graduating class. We all walk in a processional, in our gowns, and enter the church together. It's a special mass to celebrate this new beginning and bestow special blessings. My family (lots of them) are on their way right now. I'll be sitting next to some of the most important people in my life today. I am very thankful for all of the support my family and friends have given me throughout my college and now professional career. God has given me many wonderful blessings. Today and tomorrow will mark the closure of my undergraduate career, however, I will never be done with learning. As DePaul's emblem quotes:

"Viam Sapientiae Monstrabo Tibi" I will show you the way of wisdom.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Live from DC

We'll I've arrived in DC for training 2006. What does this entail? Good question. We will be doing some experiential learning none the less. Catholic University is hosting us this year and it's a really nice campus from what I have seen. The rolling hill and small groves of trees are picturesque.

Last night prior to the start of training a buddy from LeadAmerica had a bunch of us over to his house for a bbq, beer, and all around nice time. He has a very nice house located north of DC in Gaithersburg. I couldn't help but fall in love with his charming goldren retriever, Kayla. What a bundle of joy. Pretty girl. One day I'd like to be able to get my own dog. This will mark the beginning of a new chapter for me, a time when I'll be in a place big enough for a dog and have enough time to care for a pup. Until that day comes I'll keep coming up with the best dog names possible...or finding random friends who have dogs to fill my fix.

Now it's off to unload and unpack the on-site office. I'll be sure to post some pictures later on this week. DC for another 3 days and then flying home to Chicago for DePaul University's graduation. I can't wait!

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Rainy afternoons

There's a heavy rain a fallin here in Florida. Lightening and rain are friends I have grown fond of over the years. Whether I was curling up on the couch with Ralphie or watching a movie on the couch with the family, rain always meant good things. It's right up there with fresh cookies, family dinners on Sundays, singing in church next to Dad, and lilac blooms right off the vine.

Rain is always welcome with me. Sunny skies are great, but I'll take a few rainy afternoons anytime.

Friday, June 02, 2006

Construction almost Complete

I've got a good feeling. All you need to know is that if you put your heart into something and everything you've got - you have no need to worry. When you give you're all, you give you're all. There's no room for feeling bad. The sun's shinning, and I've been pounding away at wrapping things up for the summer. (also rocking out to some great tunes) I can't wait to have this scaffolding turn into a brillant piece of work, a building in which people come to learn, grow, and experience. Construction almost complete.

On a personal note (yes life outside of this job), things are really coming full circle with my family situation as well. When She told me this morning that they were having their first collaborative meeting, and that she was feeling good since things are actually going to begin in a concrete way towards a new way of being, and that the path was being set straight, my heart soars.

I love it when it does this.

Soar heart, soar!

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Happy Customer. Identity Theft.

Can you have a heart attack at age 22? I speculate. Okay, I didn't have a heart attack, but I did have an interesting conversation this afternoon with a employee of Bank of America. Phone rings while I'm working away in my lovely (and yes it's decorated w/my photography) cubicle, and a strange number appears across the screen. I hesitate for a moment before answering it, and then the voice tells me it's about my account with Bank of America. The man kindly tells me that there's seems to have been odd activity occuring in my account. Apparently folks in Arizona, Iowa, and New Mexico think I owe them something or that they work for me. This is obviously not true. They tried to electronically wire money from me. Fortunately enough this is where Bank of America comes into play, and why I'm such a big fan of theirs right now. They stopped payments on all of them! And called me right away so I could change information and heighten security on my account. I think I was a victim of identity theft, but also a customer who was satisfied. Of course I took all of the measures and actions that he suggested right away. I also made a mental note of how he handled the call. He did the following things right:

1. Told me how to verify that he was a valid Bank of America employee (call the BofA headquarters0
2. Told me what was going on
3. Told me what BofA had done (stopped payments)
4. Told me what I could do - helped me not feel helpless in this situation/came me a form of action

I'm so pleased with Bank of America right now, and myself. Each time I encounter a new situation, experience, or conflict and triumphant I know that I am another step closer to becoming the woman I want to be. The one who can handle these type of things on her own, stay calm, and keep a positive outlook! I feel more like an adult. Plus, my money is safe. Boy am I glad I answered my phone.

On a side note, I also left the office in a timely fashion today and did not head to the warehouse because I wanted to get over to the bank. As this is the case I am currently planted on the couch, soon changing into that oversized t-shirt and boxers, and waiting for my bbq chicken pizza in the oven to be done. Mmmmm. It's calling my name now. Tonight is about rest, relaxation, and a bit of organization before my path takes me to DC.

All in a good day's work.

Now where's that pizza?