Friday, August 29, 2008

My Axioms and other stuff I've learned

Bill Hybels has a new book out called Axiom. He lays out some things he's learned in ministry from personal experience and from others. I highly recommend this book. It got me thinking what mine are. Then, this week, Tyler Braun, one of our band directors posted some things he's learned by being our admin for the summer. At the end of his post, he asked what people have learned from their job.... so, here you go

- Silence rarely means yes.
When you ask someone to do something and they don't answer, it's rarely because they're excited about the idea.

- Move toward conflict
I owe this one to our staff counselor who drew on a white board exactly how people behave when there is conflict... they move away from the person with the ability to affect a change and cloister and grumble and take others down. This pretty much changed my life. Hybels version is "if it feels funky, engage."

- Clarify Expectations and Track Results
Apparently people cannot really read my mind, nor do they live to please me. Seriously the best management lesson I may ever have learned. (Thank you Bryce Schroeder).

- Ask
When you wonder why someone did or didn't do something, it's likely that the answer you come up with isn't the whole answer, in fact, in my personal experience, I'm usually way off. Most people really don't get up in the morning just to make short sighted decisions. There's almost always something more going on.

- Spiritual Valleys are often avoidable
Nearly always is a result of not seeking God in His Word. Wish I'd remember this one more.

- Make a decision.
There's good and bad to everything (except God who is always good), two sides at least, to everything so sometimes you just have to make a decision. A hybels add... test drive a hard decision in your own mind and see if it brings you peace before going public with it.

- Call fouls. (stolen from Hybels)
Leaders have to know when to call a foul. The team needs to know that you will call a foul a foul when you are the offender or when someone else is the offender. It keeps the team safe and healthy. And, it goes without saying that it should extremely rarely be you.

- Bad news deserves a phone call.
If you wonder if someone will like what you have to tell them, pick up the phone. No email for iffy to bad news.

- Pull the Tooth (learned from Dr Henry Cloud).
One bad tooth can draw all your attention and energy and render you nearly useless.

- Make a new mistake.
Learn from past ones, don't repeat them, particularly at the expense of volunteers and team members. BUT don't be afraid to try something new even if it opens the door to the possibility of failure.

- It's all worship.
Not just the singing and the playing, but how we treat one another, prepare with excellence it all honors God.

- The Holy Spirit can work just as well weeks in advance as He can the day of (thank you Sara Phillips).
Sure... flexibility is great, but it shouldn't be an excuse for not preparing well, it should be a benefit of good planning.

- Heatlhy relationships require work and hard conversations (thank you Jay McKenney) I have never known anyone who so ruthlessly pursues healthy relationships. He's changed me and the culture of our ministry.

- Cows need time to graze (learned from Nancy Beach)
Artists, in particular, need time in the pasture in order to produce milk. It may not look like they're working... but they are. The artists on my team aren't fond of the visual imagery of this one, but I know it's true.

- Fight FOR something (thank you Julie Reid)
So often, too often people approach a challenge by fighting against something, Julie taught me to turn that around and really dive in when I'm struggling with something to discern what I'm fighting FOR.

- In staff prayer, sit by Ron.
The big idea is that most people don't move toward relationship with leaders because of their own stuff. That's not good for the leader or the follower.
Personal story- For most people it's intimidating to pray outloud. Add to that being partnered with the Senior Pastor to share prayer requests. Since one of my jobs is quite literally to sit by Ron in church I figured at some point I'd better begin sitting by him in other situations. I don't mean everytime... but I do mean occasionally. He's just a guy... and as a result of this tactic he knows me a little better, and I know him a little better and one day when I had a bad headache, he laid his hand on me and prayed for me and it went away. Pinky swear. Yeah, that makes it hard to remember he's just a guy. But it's true.

- Close the laptop. Can't say I've learned this one yet. In fact, I'm horrible at this. A total multi-tasker. It's really not cool and I do it ALL the time.

- Learn then Teach.
In every relationship you should seek to learn first then teach.

- Three keys of a great leader- Vision and Communication and Presence (learned from Wayne Cordeiro).
The first two seem easy, but the third, presence, it matters. Alot.

- Where is God in this? (thank you Laura Padur).
He's there... in the middle, with your growth and signficant impact for the Kingdom in mind. Don't overlook Him.

So, what are yours?

Camping Help Needed

So... I'm home tonight avoiding making decisions about food for our camping trip. I like camping.. hanging out with friends and family, living by the sun and moon but i really, really don't like the whole food part of camping. Actually, it's not as much the food as the dishes part. Hate trying to clean up after cooking food. Yes, that's it. Oh and I love hot food, not cold.

So, I could really use some suggestions, in a hurry because I leave in about 12 hours and am responsible for feeding 6 people 5 meals.


Saturday night- we bring dessert to share: I got this covered
Sunday a.m.-
Sunday lunch -
Sunday dinner
Monday breakfast -

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Global Leadership Summit Location Decision Countdown...

In the next week I should find out where IN THE WORLD I'm going to take the Summit this fall.

Some people have asked me where I want to go.
I'm open to wherever the Willow Team will send me. I have zero cross cultural experience, am a woman and only speak English and understand some Spanish. So, I decided not to weigh in on the decision making process. I also did this because I really do want an adventure and for a change don't want to be in control of the plan...
This whole thing is such a gift from God, I'm just praying for the right choice.

On the Global Leadership Site these are the new global sites which were requesting the Summit this year, so they should be among my options:
Cuba, Costa Rica, Columbia, Peru, Bolivia, Chile, Argentina, Tanzania, Egypt, Spain, France, Italy, Romania, Israel, Egypt, United Arab Emerits, China, Cambodia, Japan.

As I look at the list, I do have a couple of favorites now though... Italy, Cuba and Israel, but as I look at the list again, I just mostly can't believe that I get to play a tiny role in equipping leaders in any of these places around the world.

So, where do you think I'm going? If you guess right, I'll bring you back something!

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Reality Check

Abby to me: Mom, why would Russia invade Georgia during the Olympics?
Me to Abby: I know lame... but I think they started before the Olympics started. Still lame.

several minutes pass

Abby to Me: Mom, is Chris still in Georgia?
Me: (trying to figure out how to answer this without somehow communicating that her not knowing is her mistake)
Abby to Me: (a little more urgent) Mom! is he near the war??
Me to Abby: Quick geography/current events lesson.

Couple of thoughts on this...
first, as a student of communication, it's interesting what is taken for granted when we communicate (or leave out) information, and maybe even more so from adults to children.

second, so many in my generation and the next don't really have a clue about what war really is... even with 9.11 (which incidentally Abby and I watched together in bed as the second plane hit), even with a cousin (pictured) about to return to his second tour in Iraq, and another cousin in the Navy. We really have no idea how brave some are and how fortunate most the rest of us Americans are.

Productivity: Forming

I spent about 12 hours Thursday and Friday forming a new team to serve and lead the worship ministry at Sunset. With Julie's resignation and our elder's term up in October it was time for Jay to put together a new team who will meet regularly to shoulder the weight/responsibility of the leadership of the ministry.

There are a couple of new people on the team this fall, Tyler and Ben. Bringing on new blood is so wise because it requires us to rethink patterns we've fallen in to and to be open to new ideas. The simple task of articulating why we do this or that is a really good way of reviewing the value behind an action.

We focused on how the worship & creative arts ministry can align itself with the mission and vision of our church.
Connecting people to Jesus through relevance, discipleship and authenticity.
Our Four Priorities
1. Become externally focused and culturally relevant to the Pacific NW.
2. Continue to emphasize discipleship.
3. Focus on children, youth, the next generation, and young families within the context of a multi-generational ministry.
4. Develop an internal striving for authenticity.

At the 30,000 foot level, how do we create worship gatherings and serve our church and community as real worshippers?
What are we going to do and what are we not going to do anymore?
One thing I've learned is that we have to be ruthlessly exclusive because there's ALOT of good stuff to be done.

A couple of things I'm pretty excited about as we move in to the fall are a concerted emphasis on those serving in our ministry being real, demonstrating leadership, love and grace in our church and our community and redefining "worship" in light of biblical principles vs. musical selection and style.

Have to admit that this past couple of days also gave me a leadership kick in the butt.
First thing is I am the most experienced (worship at Sunset) person on the new team. I am not used to this role and realize i can't shirk it, I have to... put on the coat and wear it. I no longer can look to Julie or Steve, our elder, for lessons learned over many years at Sunset. This reminds me of the PGE learning from the Leadership Summit.
The High Drama of Decision Making- Bill Hybels
Christian leaders make critical decisions with this kind of a framework
1- Does the Bible say anything about this?
2- What would smart advisors, advise me to do? Prov 11:14
3- PGE- Pain of last decisions, gains of wise decisions, what experience do I have that informs me for this next decision. (When you are in the midst of pain it seems like there’s no point)
4- Is the Spirit prompting me? (Make a trial decision and see if it leads to life and peace?)

Then you have to decide and take responsibility for the decision.
Then, maybe an even larger wake up call... somehow I have been moved from a volunteer coordinator to a staff manager. I love volunteer development. (period) I was hit in the face that while I love and respect my staff, I haven't been giving them the same energy and enthusiasm I would give a team of volunteers, I can improve SO much in this arena this year.

So in terms of productivity... the clock was off, but alot of good foundational work got done. Guess that's one key learning for me as i've focused this week on productivity... ministry requires flexibility. Next week goal setting...

Thursday, August 21, 2008


A few cards placed in my box following our weekend services the past several weeks:
Why is there no cross? I don't know if it's a sanctuary or a theatre.
Why does it have to be so loud?
Please make both services family friendly.

It's very easy for me, week in and week out... 52 Mondays a year, 9 years running to have these kinds of "cards" on my mind when I go about doing the business of ministry.

But recently, I had the opportunity to read hundreds of cards which were pinned to the walls of our church as the culmination of a teaching series by Barbara Feil These cards were expressing our churches heart cries to God
* Pain in back, meakness
* One of my weaknesses is putting my happiness in material things
* My wife and me and health
* The lack of ability to let go of my own will and let God take over!
* rape
* To love my children much more with my heart and soul, please God help
* Lord, you know the hurt of not having an eartly father has allowed a hold in my heart and self esteem. Help me to know and feel that I matter to you
* Worry about what others will think of me
* Critical of others without looking at the LOG in my own eyes
* Anxiety about family, decision making, caring for my son. Self doubt, insecurity
* I don't understand why God chooses not to fulfill my dreams
* My weakness is a love for a wonderful non- believing man, that God has told me in order to serve his path, after 4.5 years of dating this man, I must leave him and cease contact.

As I head now to 13+ hours of prayer and long range planning with my ministry team the weight of these cards is quite sobering.

But, I realize too what an amazing responsibility and priviledge it is to be part of creating a place where people have time to connect with God, to "go here" and to speak these things to Him. It is a step toward Christ rather than what goes on with so many of us during the days and the week outside the hour on Sunday.

A Day off

** Wednesday was my day off... so no productivity update. It was a special kind of day off... not a day off full of chores, but a day off full of stuff i love. Nice.

** had lunch in Hood River with 3 of my favorite people yesterday... Julie, Jos and Laura. I used to spend ALOT of time with these three women... they make me think, make me laugh, challenge me to be better and love me well.

Today and tomorrow our new ministry leadership team will be doing long range planning for the 08/09 ministry year. I'll be talking more about this new team and what we're doing over the next week or so, but for now... we'll be doing a getting to know you game, since some of us are new.
Here are the questions we've been given...
1. Where were you born?
2. Where did you live your early years (birth to high school)?
3. Your favorite childhood sports team?
4. Favorite toy as a kid
5. Besides the typical responses (i.e my wedding day, birth of a child, the day I was saved), what was the most memorable and/or happiest time of your life?
6. What was the most difficult challenge you have had to overcome in your life?
7. Something no one may know about you?
8. If you weren’t doing what you are doing now professionally, what would you be doing?
9. Favorite guilty pleasure?

Some of these are easy... some, not so much. Last night I pretty much firmed up number 8.

I went to see Cirque De Soleil: Delirium at Bridgeport. The girls and I have a goal of seeing all the shows and the way things are going, it likely won't be live, so Abby and I saw the movie broadcast... It took me a little while to get used to someone else choosing what I could look at (Cirque is so FULL of visual stimulation) I eventually settled in and was swept away in to the beauty of the show.
I love the creativity, the live music partnered with the live dance, lighting, physical strength, emotion, it is truly beautiful.
Immersing myself in that experience turns a switch on in me that makes my heart beat faster and my mind seem more alert. For me, it's alot like being out in nature. I really see it as a manifestation of the Creator. So, my answer to number 8 will be that I would join the Cirque(s). (in the photo, yes, that's a big yellow dress...)

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Productivity Study Day Two

Got a boatload of work done today... how? well, started the day in my office with my curtain pulled and a note that said "Please Do Not Disturb, Cramming", mid morning i moved to the student mod conference room, which most people don't know exists, and since i'd forgotten my cell phone at home I ignored my family and the rest of the world all day. While this was nice for me, it isn't really a viable long-term strategy.

Worked 8.5 hours at the office and another hour at home tonight.
I spent about :30 minutes chasing a technical issue and checking in on Kids Camp but considering that we're hosting about 800 kids on campus this week, that's a low investment for the cause.

The rest of the day was spent in service planning, development, and media team meetings. Also had my first one on one appointment with my new boss Jay. I feel good about today because I got stuff done. Alot of stuff. And I had pretty focused uninterrupted time with my manager and two of the staff I manage.
It was a good day for someone with stuff to do.
It wasn't a good day if you needed to talk to me in order to get your stuff done, or lunch money, or a ride home....

Productivity Study

In light of recent budget cuts and layoffs at my job, (our team lost 105 hours/29% of our staff)I decided it was time to take a hard look at how productive and efficient we are. So, this week I'm going to share with you... how this experiment is going.

I think we work hard and fast most of the time, but I realize there is a relation side to work/ministry not only with the congregation we serve but also on our team. I know we could work smarter, not just harder. I'm tracking my time at work in 15 increments and will be asking my staff to do this in the upcoming weeks.

Monday worked 8-4pm and some from home

Things which worked 4:00
A week work, B week work, C, D week work, communication- responding to emails etc., 5 minute check in's with staff, cross ministry check in, development work

Necessary things which could have been done more efficiently or by others with better planning 3:00
(unplanned) set design work, (unscheduled)ministry big picture discussions- centered around staff transitions due to layoffs and next years budget, staff advocacy/support- IT concerns, financial reconciliation chasing

Other Stuff 1:30
:45 staff relations/management- sharing real life with ministry staff
:45 personal business; blog, conversations with kids, snacking

Checking In following Day One
* I am interrupted while working and I lose focus ALOT. Working on one task and then stop to answer a random email as it arrives.
* I only got through about 2/3 of what I wanted to today.
* I was short-tempered when I was pulled away from my goals for the day (apologies to Michael our IT guy)
* For someone who doesn't think they take a lunch break, I realize now I do take time for myself during the work day. And, not packing a lunch is stupid, as my productivity wained throughout the day.

How do I balance tasks and people well, while increasing productivity and efficiency?

I'd love some advice...

Monday, August 18, 2008

Have you Heard? Phil Wickham

A few months ago Tyler, Rose and I attended the live recording for Phil Wickham's new album Sing Along. You can download the cd here for free.
Take a listen and tell me what your favorite is?

Losing Sleep...

OK, so the Olympics are killing me... I never stay up late.. and days and days of late night finals... why don't they show them live? or at least earlier! If you agree, please check out my friend Matt's blog and sign the petition.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

politics or personality?

Based on last night's Rick Warren/Saddleback interview with Obama and McCain I am feeling like I can vote for McCain. This is a pretty big deal for me... I "like" Obama as a communicator. Liked him since the first time I saw him without a tie on Oprah. Yeah, that's right... I'm one of those people... who doesn't really care much about the presidential race. How unbelievably embarrassing.

My girls are Obama supporters. But of course. They are 15 and 17 after all... My son's roommate sleeps under an Obama poster and did grassroots stumping for him in Houston. Are there any young republicans? Well, I was.
I believe in conservative intepretation of the constitution, in a free market and in personal responsibility and logical consequences.
That makes me a Republican, right?

But lately, I've had more trouble feeling good about my affiliation. I don't believe that Bush made all the right decisions for all the right reasons. Does any President? The older I get the harder I think the job is... and the less difference I have thought it made who you vote for.
Then, let's face it... Obama is just cooler in a sound bite than McCain... but now after investing nearly two hours in research (ok, a little less as I checked back on the Olympics from time to time...) I realized that I did find McCain to be a viable candidate because of his politics, if not his personality.

Pajama Party Wrap

Friday night the Fraser women had a Pajama party at Granny's.
The cast... Granny, Daughter number 1 -Kay with her daughter Betsy; Daughter number 2- Karen with her daughters Emily and Madeline; Daughter-in-law= me and my daughters Molly and Abby and Daughter 3/Child 4- Kathleen.
Yes, that's right 10 women in pajamas...

a finger food extravaganza

The recent high school grads...Cousins, Maddy & Bits born about 8 hours apart

played catch phrase

our girls watching the American Girls roast marshmallows... the flash really spoils this photo... imagine that the only light in the room is the campfire...

we compared genetic physical traits... Can you sit like this?

apparently the Fraser's have long arms. It proved to be true, both my girls have longer arms than I do.

Granny fixed a darling (Samantha style) dessert

We also caught up, watched a great movie "Stardust", some Olympics (of course) and then fell asleep on the floor to the Phantom of the Opera movie.

A sweet night...

Black Butte Love

sun, water, horses...

hanging out

moonwalk in the meadow

the girlies...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Black Butte Stream of (semi)Consciousness

Pretty much perfect here. Home Sweet Home… Love nesting, no schedule, cooking meals, even cleaning up the kitchen????, playing cards, tennis, swimming, reading.
Yes, reading. I’m reading. I basically never read. I don’t make time for it. My friend Kurt suggested a reading plan for the reading challenged (ipod addicted), which I adopted in June. Read one book a month, alternating fiction and non-fiction. I started the Shack in June. It’s August and I’m thinking I’m going to finish it while I’m here. Yeah, that’s three months. It seemed like a good idea at the time.

Good ideas… getting tan. I have reached my tan quotient. On the one hand, I don’t really care. On the other, is there a point where you can no longer get tanner. Is tanner a word? This is what becomes of my mind during a vacation in paradise.

Vacation… Unplugged. Not so much. Been checking email a couple times a day. Now that it’s the end of the week, I realize I wish that I hadn’t. I haven’t fully disconnected from work. This has been such a strange summer though… I didn’t know how to leave… couldn’t get my ducks in a row well enough to feel good about unplugging. It’s fine, just different for me, to wish I had unplugged. And I always feel guilty when I pull away to connect with the real world.

Andy and Molly making puppy chow

We brought some of the girls real world here this year. Molly brought Andy and Abby brought Hillary. The past two years, we’ve brought Zena with Chris. I miss both of them here. There are lots of memories and places where I think they should be. Oh yes, we brought the boyfriend. Molly and Andy have been dating for a year tomorrow. So, we brought him. It’s a social experiment of sorts for us and for him. He has no sisters. This week, he’s surrounded by us and Mike. I occasionally catch them watching football or something masculine like that. We like him, and I really like getting to know him better. He’s quiet and caring and sincere. I thought this, now I know it. One thing I really love about having the girls friends here is that I get a bigger glimpse of who they are away from home. They are different with them, than with us. But, it’s a fuller picture of who they are becoming.

Becoming Abby. She turned 15 while we were here. She’s a wonderful and funny girl. She cuts her own hair. Is currently trying to make balloon animals. Others thought this was a stupid gift. I knew different. I get her. She knows her own mind, shares her thoughts freely and is ridiculous when she’s had a Rockstar. I’m glad that I still get her.

I didn't really get Dark Knight... we drove to Bend yesterday and Abby picked the movie. 10 minutes in to the preview Molly and I knew we were in trouble since we didn't like any of the movies previewed... the movie was dark... watching Heath Ledger who was SO freaky troubled, knowing he had OD'd soon after living in the skin of that villain... it was just so unsettling to my spirit. It couldn't end soon enough for me. I get though... why people liked it... and I did love the way we got to see Chicago :-)

Monday, August 4, 2008

Why "Worship"?

photo by Elaine Heasley
We've been singing a song in church the past couple of weeks. This week we shared the story behind the song, the story of the songwriter, Mike Guglielmucci, who was diagnosed with cancer, went home, pushed record in his studio and wrote the song, Healer.
Worship can lift you from where you are, and take you to takes you to a higher place when you begin to magnify God and begin to worship God and chose what you magnify, because you could make the situation bigger than it actually is. It's powerful when you can just get the name of Jesus and lift God up, higher, bigger, stronger, cause that's what He is, but when you begin to see Him for that and when you begin to worship Him, it's amazing what you can get through. -- Mike Guglielmucci

I've been dealing with some tough stuff recently and this statement cut to the deepest chord. In the big scheme of things, I could make my situation bigger than it actually is... or I could take my eyes off of me and realize that God is bigger, stronger, working out His plan, for all our good.

here's the line that rang out for me...
"choose what you magnify, because you can make the situation bigger than it actually is."
This juxtaposed against the reminder of how big, strong, glorious our God is, it blew my walls down.

Friday night, as we sang this song, I watched a dear friend, stand to her feet and cry out to God. She's had a really hard time believing that God would heal her. Sometimes I think it's not so much a question of whether he "could" heal her, but whether he "would." As I sang the lyric and watched her, I came undone. Later, when we talked, she said something like this... a piece broke off... the idea being that the hard protective shell we put up to protect ourselves, which in the end seperates us from the Healing God who loves us... that a piece of it was broken away, as a result of the message and the reminder of that song.

Sometimes I get all crossed up with using the expression worship for the singing we do in church, but when it helps me to magnify God as his spirit moves in us to break down walls... I don't care what we call it. I just want to make sure that we keep creating moments where this can happen.

You can check out the clip here:

Friday, August 1, 2008

glasses and garanimals

So, yeah, got new glasses... they are black. I bought them for when I'm not wearing contacts around the house mostly, but this week havent felt like wearing my contacts so I've been wearing them out in public. Nothing about me is black. I have brown hair... wear earth tones, brown/black mascara and am basically freaked out. I have been wearing white or black all week to match my glasses.
See, I've always been more of a garanimals person... do you know about garanimals? When I was a kid they would create a line of clothing and the tops with elephant tags matched the bottoms with elephant tags.
Woe be to the person who would wear a tiger tagged top with an elephant tagged bottom. How embarrassing...
Tonight, the attire for our Praise Night is black, thanks goodness! so I can wear the glasses once more and then I think I'm back to contacts for a while...

Do you have a ridiculous attire rule? If so, please share.


I've been writing or avoiding writing this blog for weeks. If you blog, you know what I mean about avoiding writing... it's in your head, on the tips of your fingers, but something prevents you from putting it down for others to read.

One of my closest friends and my boss, Julie Reid, resigned her leadership position in order to keep our ministry team in tact. I could easily have blogged about this... how our team is not in tact without her... it's her team... STOMP... but that's not the point of this blog. I understand and fully respect her decision, even if I don't like what it means. Really.

You know how when sociologists or linguists discover a new language and they find that there aren't words for certain things, because there's no frame of reference in a particular culture. This is how I feel. I have been so impacted by Julie I cannot find the words to express her impact on me personally and on my development as a leader. I have served nearly 9 years under her influence day in and day out, knowing that we were working toward the same goal. Thus no blog written yet.

Yesterday, though, was her last day. So the time has come. We of course, had lunch together as a team.

I finally began to collect my thoughts and find a few words during her final hours as my boss. She wanted to complete my annual review and a section of the review included the following question: What do I do as a manager that keeps you motivated in your job/ministry. I could have easily put in a n/a here since it was her last day. But, somehow this question helped me to find words for what I have been feeling and what I will miss desperately. Here is what I wrote:
encourages (gives courage) advocates for the vision and mission and me personally, is wise, thinks bigger, refocus/changes my narrow perspective

Julie and I are nearly opposites. She's delicate and gentle and quiet and thinks before she speaks and is a tender warrior. I'm a tomboy and an impulsive, aggressive engager. In many ways we could have had one of those relationships where i say black, you say white; I say up, you say down. But she, has stretched and grown me to see life and people from a totally different perspective and she's right (too). I say right (too), because a conversation with her was rarely a changing of my mind, but rather a broadening of my thinking, a reframing, a refocus. She made me better.

A Julie'ism is that we should respond to people out of spirit of good will. This is true, of course, but in ministry, which is SO relational, it has been transformational for me. What if when someone shared a concern, dislike, criticism, general observation, I responded out of a place of good will rather than defending, explaining, criticizing in return. Sounds simple enough, but pay attention to your day, how do you respond? This thing alone, good will, could pretty much change the world.

One thing I'm afraid of is the knowledge that her leaving work will redefine our interaction. I am terrible at maintaining relationships which are not in my path. Horrible. People I adore, are ignored. By me. As I write this I am reminded that a year ago this week, Julie had a heart attack and then open heart surgery. This got our attention. It has changed her in ways that she is only now beginning to understand. It changed my relationship with her, as well. It helped me to cherish every moment and hard conversation, to listen more, to let tears flow and to relish every laugh with her this year. It was a year of holding nothing back together and I'm so grateful for it.