How much change can you absorb?

How much change can you absorb?

As I sit aboard the Intel jet, flying between Hillsboro, Oregon and San Jose, California, I’m pondering my capacity for change.

Next Monday marks ten years since I first became a mother.  Helen was born on a Wednesday morning at 1:35 am.  She was forced into the world a week over due and has loved sleeping in ever since.  Those first four months with her were a blur.  Not only did I have to adjust to motherhood, but then the whole family adjusted to my husband starting a three-and-a-half year journey of law school at night.  Our lives shifted and have never been the same.

Though we saw a mountain of change over the past ten years, including living in Washington, D.C. for a few months, Teddy’s diagnosis, arrival, and surgeries, Matt’s graduation and shift to law, Alice and Henry arriving too, the past four months have tipped the scales as the most amount of change in the shortest amount of time.

Sure, the move 14 years ago from Wisconsin to Washington was a longer move than the recent one from Washington to Oregon, but it was only my husband and I back then.  Now we have four kids, my mother-in-law (a godsend!), two cats and a dog.  We’ve got stuff and friends and business relationships, and more stuff and even more stuff.  It’s all changed.  We donated our old cars and got new ones. We’ve got a new house. We’ve got new schools, new doctors and new dentists, and new opportunities.

I’m not recommending that everyone quit their jobs and move to another state, but I do know that doing that has taught me that I have an even higher threshold for change than I knew I had. Looking back on the past several months, I’m beyond thankful that I let myself jump into this change and that my family joyfully jumped with me.

Be ready for your opportunity to test your capacity for change.  Be the opportunity big or small, take it.  I bet you’ll be glad you did.  Why not try?

 

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Anticipation

Some wins come quickly. Others take years to reach that big win.

This beyond accessible playground is three-and-a-half years in the making.  Only four days remain until ALL may play in Bremerton. I can hardly wait.  I’m drenched in anticipation.

I wish for you this sort of moment.  It’s pure joy!

Why not try to create your change? Imagine how wonderful the world will look with your change in it.

playgroundOn Sunday, August 24th at 4 pm the playground opens to the public.  If you’re in or around Bremerton, please stop by the playground and enjoy it.  The official grand opening with ribbon cutting is planned for Saturday, September 13th from 10 – 2 with ceremony at 11 am.  There will be a resource fair in conjunction with the grand opening.  All are welcome.  We, the members of Bremerton Beyond Accessible Play, would love to have you join us.

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I can…

I’d hardly noticed it.  It was so quiet.  It was a small voice in my head that kept telling me I couldn’t fix my oven door.

It’s silly.  I’m an engineer.  I should be confident in my intellectual ability to figure out how an oven door works and in my mechanical ability to fix it.  Yet, for months I’d been living with a busted oven door.

I thought I hadn’t fixed the door because it would take too long.

I thought I hadn’t fixed it because I knew I wouldn’t have the right parts.

Actually, I hadn’t fixed the door because I’d been telling myself I couldn’t, and I’d believe it.

Once I started believing I could do it, fixing my oven door was a snap.

It only took 45 minutes.  I found parts to repair it in my jar labeled “miscellaneous hardware.” And, I’d had the ability all along.

oven

The experience prompted me to wonder, “What else have I been telling myself I can’t do?”

I made a list. At the top I wrote,

I can…

Since then I’ve fixed, finished, learned, and accomplished so many things.  It’s invigorating!

I’m going to keep listening for that little voice to say, “I can’t…” so I can remind myself, “Yes, I can!”

 

What have you been telling yourself you can’t do?  Make your list.

Write, “I can…”

Then, do it.

Why not try?

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I am one.

I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And I will not let what I cannot do interfere with what I can do.” – Edward Everett Hale

Today I had the honor of watching my great friend and fearless Vice President, Rebekah Uhtoff, recognized as a Kitsap County YWCA Woman of Achievement.  She was recognized for her dedication and devotion to the community via our Bremerton Beyond Accessible Play project.  It was a memorable moment, complete with a few tears of joy, watching such a deserving woman honored for all she does for her children and her community.

When you need a picture of what driving change looks like, picture her face. She is a warrior for a positive future so ALL may play.  Congratulations Rebekah!!!!!!

rebekah

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Surprised and Honored

During last night’s Leadership Kitsap Class of 2013 Graduation, the Leadership Kitsap Alumni Association–as they do each year–recognized one alumni with an award for continued community service.  I was surprised and honored when Leadership Kitsap Alumni Association President, Connie Mueller, began reading a nomination about work with Bremerton Beyond Accessible Play and awarded me the 2013 Outstanding Alumni Award.

S1460004Leadership Kitsap is a twenty year old servant leader training program.  Their graduates include community leaders from business, government, and non-profits.  Their yearly projects have changed lives in our community in so many ways.

I offer my sincerest thanks to Leadership Kitsap, to the Leadership Kitsap Alumni Association, and to my fellow graduates for this honor.  Since I graduated from Leadership Kitsap in 2005, I have appreciated being part of a long list of alumni that continue to make a difference in our community.  It was a special treat that I was nominated for the award and coaxed into attending the graduation ceremony by my good friend (and my boss’ boss) Rick Tift.  It’s an odd coincidence that we met nine years ago when he interviewed me for admission into Leadership Kitsap’s Class of 2005.

To support Bremerton Beyond Accessible Play and the Evergreen Rotary Park Beyond Accessible Playground, you can donate to our Buy-A-Square-Foot campaign.  Every $20 donation means we can purchase more beyond accessible equipment for the children.

To read the award nomination that was read at last night’s ceremony, click below.

 

The Story Continues…

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Jackpot!

jackpot alxhee via Compfight

One of the distinct joys of leading a mature Guiding Coalition (we’ve been at this for almost eight years now) is that the wins just keep rolling in.  Today, entirely unexpectedly, a win appeared in my inbox, wrapped in a fabulous e-mail.

You see, years ago there was a Guiding Coalition team that launched a new course.  Part of that new course was to help people identify their strengths and figure out ways to use them.  Courses like that aren’t ones meant just for credit on a training roster.  Courses like that change lives and continue changing lives.

Today, a woman wrote to the Guiding Coalition to share how she continues to find opportunities to use her strengths to solve problems in her daily working life.  She wrote to say thanks to the Guiding Coalition for giving her the course, helping her see her strengths, and giving her the space to be able to learn how to use them.  I was moved deeply by her e-mail. She is such an amazing woman. It is so rewarding to know that the Guiding Coalition helped her become even more of her best self.

If you don’t have a place in your organization where people get to lead change, create unexpected possibilities for others, and plant seeds that bear crops of wins out through the years (also known as a Guiding Coalition) then you’re really missing out.

Imagine what your life could be like if you could hit the win jackpot too.  It is possible, if only you’ll try.

Let me know if you’d like some help getting started.

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Recognized and Refreshed

Yesterday I was honored to be recognized as one of five employees of Puget Sound Naval Shipyard and Intermediate Maintenance Facility (PSNS & IMF) nominated for Outstanding Volunteer Services Employee of the Year.   My nomination was based on my work with Bremerton Beyond Accessible Play, as we seek to bring the first accessible playground to Kitsap County, Washington.  It was humbling just to be among the 160+ employees nominated out of more than 10,500.

Congratulations to Dan Robinson, the category’s Employee of the Year.  Dan, along with 24 other employees, received the Employee of the Year honor.

My thanks go out to the leadership of PSNS & IMF for choosing to publicly recognize the excellence of their employees.  The thanks are especially warranted this year because furlough and sequestration have threatened the workers and many commands are choosing to cancel all celebrations.

To see the smiles, to hear the laughter, and to feel the love yesterday was exhilarating.  I return to work this morning refreshed.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

 

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Wrecking Yard Learning

A few weeks ago I did something I’d never done before.  I went to a wrecking yard and ripped apart an old van door. My purpose: fix my own old van door.

I went by myself,  I had the wrong tools, and I almost sliced open my hand.

Fixing the van’s door was frustrating while I was doing it, but invigorating after I was done.  I learned so much.

van door
Yes, that is a smile full of reality-based pride on my face.

When’s the last time you did something you never thought you would do?

When was the last time you truly pushed yourself?

My van door fixing experience reminded me that the edge of our experience is where the best learning happens.

Why not push yourself past some line you’ve never crossed?  I bet you’ll be glad you did.

Why not try?

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So All May Play!

DSCN0672

What a celebration! What support! What a playground we are going to build together! Over $4,200 was given today towards Bremerton’s first playground for ALL abilities!” – Rebekah Uhtoff, Vice President of Bremerton Beyond Accessible Play, 23 Feb 2013

This weekend I got to see driving change at its peak.  Bremerton Beyond Accessible Play celebrated two years of driving change in our community to benefit people of all abilities.  We witnessed an outpouring of community support and love.

So many people participated in big and small ways.  From bringing balloons, to volunteering with the kids crafts, from cutting cake to managing a menagerie of tie-dying maniacs, everyone was giving their all so that all may play.

Thank you to everyone who helped make this Saturday a memorable celebration.

DSCN0674
Rebekah gets the party started while I roll up my sleeves for the hard work as event MC. My mom and my little Alice lovingly look on.
DSCN0709
Just a few of our fantastic supporters out to celebrate two years of Bremerton Beyond Accessible Play. So that all may play!  Bonus points if you can find my little Theodore in the front row.

Tip: Click on the group photo then click on the photo again in the link to see the full size image.

So all may play, why not try to drive change?  It’s worth it!

 

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