Posted in Thinking out loud

The Top 6 Things the Intrawebs Taught Me Today About Women In Leadership


I am not interested in the rest of the world realizing that the entire planet actually is run by women who do not have the actual titles or pay to back that up. If men are ever given the honor of carrying life I might change my mind. However, I am interested in many aspects of female leadership such as those situations that a woman is recognized as a leader, how women define success, how the world defines success for women, how women’s leadership styles differ from their male counterparts.

I enjoy looking up facts and searching for trends through articles and reports. Here is a very top level reflection of what the intrawebs showed me today concerning these topics.

*Forbes reported on March 7, 2016 that almost four in ten businesses in G7 countries have no women in senior management positions.

*In 1966 there were no female U.S. Senators as compared to the 60 women in office as of 2017 according to Center for American Women and Politics, Rutgers University and U.S. House of Representatives.

*In the nonprofit sector, women are relatively well represented. They make up 75 percent of the nonprofit workforce but just 43 percent of the CEOs (Stillman, 2015) as reported in the AAUW report entitled Barrier and Bias: The Status of Women Leadership

*I recognized a little under half of Forbes list of  28 of the most powerful women in the world. 

*9 qualities that female leaders bring to the table are calmness, intuition, fairness, compassion, intelligence, flexibility, courage, confidence, and decisiveness

*Every list of the habits of highly successful women include writing down their goals. 

*According to a 2013 survey by Citi and LinkedIn  leading to a Report titled ‘Today’s Professional Woman Report’ when it comes to defining success, 96% of women think that they can have it all and from that percentage, 66% equate ‘having it all’ with being in a strong loving marriage. Women considered reaching the height of success in their field a factor in defining success while money ranked second in terms of how women define success. Further, 73% of women factor children into their definition of success. The number of women who say their definition of success is not linked to marriage or relationships has increased since 2012.

What facts surprised you? What are your thoughts or experiences in those situations that a woman is recognized as a leader, how women define success, how the world defines success for women, and how women’s leadership styles differ from their male counterparts?

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Posted in Thinking out loud

How Many Questions She Must Have Had


By this time that night how many times do you think she had counted his fingers and toes?

As she held the red chicken legged being do you think she questioned his origin of anything holy?

In between her body recovering from excruciating pain do you think she laughed at the absurdity of the situation?

Here she was, in a stinky barn, wedged between large range animals, laying her newborn son in somewhat fresh hay, in the middle of the night. It must have seemed a lot more ethereal when the angel shared the picture with her.

Did she oscillate between sheer terror of this life tearing from her and reverent worship of the one she herself called Jesus, Emmanuel?

I wonder in what order she laughed, wept, laughed, and sat in utter awe of what just happened inside of her?

Did she question her ability to bring up her little baby boy to save the people from their sins?

Could she take her eyes off of him?

We have to see the beauty in the rawness of Jesus’ birth. It’s been pointed out before but allow yourself to move from the greeting card picture to reality. A disgusting smelling barn. A young woman screaming in labor. A young father with no clue how to help his bride. Afterbirth on hay and fodder. A tiny newborn with a giant head and chicken legs laying in a manger as his young parents try to gather themselves after trauma. They are looking at him. He doesn’t know to look for them. All three trying to figure out what tomorrow much less the next few hours would bring. They can’t decide to stop kissing him and touching his little baby toes or to prop him up on a makeshift throne and try to worship this Baby King.

“I guess we should feed him.”

“Will God provide manna for him?”

“How long did the angel say we would have him?

“I’m not sure this is what I expected.”

“He’s so tiny. His eyes seem like a old soul though.”

Newborn and Mother

Two thousand years later, God continues to use ordinary people to do extraordinary things if they will only listen. They do not need to be courageous. They do not need to have all the answers past today. They need only keep their eye of God, trust who God says He is and that He will do what He says He will do.

What new thing has God placed inside of you? What is the voice of God sharing with you about your future?

Posted in Poems, Thinking out loud

Courage


Courage

Courage is the price which life exacts for granting peace.
The soul that knows it not, knows no release
From little things;

Knows not the livid loneliness of fear
Nor mountain heights, where bitter joy you can hear
The sound of wings.

How can life grant us boon of living, compensate,
For dull gray ugliness and pregnant hate
Unless we dare

The soul’s dominion? Each time we make a choice we pay
With courage to behold resistless day
And count it fair.

Amelia Earhart

Posted in Thinking out loud

Most of The Time I’m a Huckleberry


I am normally an abnormally confident, self- aware, self-assured, exceptional woman, most of the time.

I’m unusually soft spoken but I can also be loud and crass. I have a speech impediment. I used to hate speaking in public. But you should listen to me , most of the time.

I am madly in love with God. I pursue Him relentlessly, most of the time.

Most of the time I am transparent except for the insanely private side of me. The part that doesn’t want people to know I don’t have it all together. The part that hides all things sinful. All inconsistencies with my faith and identity. All fears, all of Satan’s lies that I have given the floor. Poor self esteem, the depression, the horrible memories. etc. My black swirling vortex of absolute fear that threatens to swallow me whole. That’s the part God is pruning right now. And by pruning I mean hacking away at.

God is fighting for me.

These are the top 3 things I have learned in the past 7 days.

1. God loves me. Really. Not just because He has to. Or because I’m some charity case He feels pity for. But He LOOOOVVVVEEESSS me like nothing I’ve ever experienced or really allowed myself to experience.

2. He is a gentleman and will never make me do something I’m not ready to do. But when I need a battle fought for my soul, He is my champion. He knows I can’t win this one on my own.

3. I have accepted many of Satan’s lies that are not consistent with God’s will for my life. God does not expect me to just labor through this life with this baggage. He expects me to turn my burdens over to him. He will take on my nightmares.

I’m opening myself up to some pretty big, bad  things. But this is a critical time of my life and my family’s life. I can do so much on my own. I really am a powerful woman drenched in the Spirit of God. But this one, well, this one instead of fleeing away from the black, swirling vortex of fear and shame and despair I’m walking right into the middle of that one. I’m fearful but that doesn’t get in the way of courage from God. I picture myself armed with God, crazy hair swirling around (forever a diva), getting ready to battle, kicking butt and asking question later.

I’ve asked a few key people to pray for me daily to have strength, endurance, wisdom, and discernment. And you can join them. I’m not ashamed to ask.

I know I’m not alone. Do you need to hear someone else is about to walk into the black, swirling vortex of fear? Do you need to someone to walk with you? To battle with you? To call on the Almighty name of God?

I’ll be your huckleberry.

Posted in Thinking out loud

I was born taller than my Grammy


I was born taller than my Grammy. But my whole life I’ve looked up to her.

Elaine Maxwell was born something like January 26, 1915 in Central Missouri. She’s about 97 years old. She did have a gaggle of brothers and sisters. Her father had a reputation of being a mean one. She graduated from Kirksville with a teaching degree. She married later in life because my grandfather, although a judge, was apparently a little slow to propose. They had three daughters. My grandfather, Sie, died somewhere around 1961 I think to complications with diabetes.

Some people when faced with tragedy or less than favorable conditions turn inward and let that bitter root grow. But not my Grammy. She chose the opposite. She chose to still live, to still care for her family. I know who I am because of her. I was born the first grand daughter into a matriarchal family but don’t get the picture of mean spirited heavy handed woman ruling the roost.

The women of my family are Scotch-Irish. I was taught to work hard and not whine. I was taught to be  stubborn with a smile. I was taught men are nice to have around but not necessary.  I was taught family traditions and family meals in particular were important. It wasn’t so much the quality of the meal, because I don’t come from a long line of great cooks, it was the quality of the time spent together. I was taught to be identified by membership to a church and to serve whole heartedly there. I was taught to be entrenched in my community and that politics weren’t all bad. I was taught that conflict isn’t always productive and sometimes it’s more efficient to smile and move on. I was taught a positive attitude had more value than money. I was taught the very basic joy of life was to read and to reap the benefits of a proper education.

My Grammy has always had a powerful influence on my life. I could do no wrong by her. I always knew she was immensely proud of me. When she had very little she gave me everything.I feel very special and blessed by this but all of my cousins, all of her daughters, all of her friends and family will tell you the same thing.

However for me, Grammy’s house was a safe refuge of routine and solitude when my mother was going through cancer. The smells of homemade cinnamon raisin bread, black coffee, and line dried laundry filled me with peace when nothing else could. I can still feel her cool, arthritic hands rubbing my temples to ease away my chronic headaches.

My Grammy is now 97 years old. She has shrunk to about 84 lbs and I would put her at about 4 ft. 8 in. As far as I can tell she is the only one in her nursing home that still uses a walker and not a wheelchair despite being the oldest person in the building. She eats chicken strips and french fries like their going out of style, reads the paper, and still follows her yellow dog democrats. However, she does repeat her questions over and over again. But I love her and so I will answer her 27 times that I live in St. Charles and yes these are my 3 kids. I adore her so I will repeat 42 times that I don’t teach anymore but I still work in the community. I’ve taught my kids that they will smile and tell her over and over again their names, ages, and grade. AND I will flaunt at my cousins that she still knows my name, she still knows my daughter’s name. Of course we’re named after her but still.

So despite her age, despite her fragility, my Grammy is still my hero. When I get testy and negative I shame myself for not being more like her. When I yell at my kids or frown all day I’m often reminded that I have absolutely NO memory of her ever engaging in the type of behavior. When I don’t feel like I belong any where and I’ve lost track of where I’ve been I have my Grammy to ground me.

Who has made an impact on your life?

Do you have someone like my Grammy to cheer you on?

Posted in Thinking out loud

“Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take, but by the moments that take our breath away”


Tuesday nights are bible study nights at my house. Right now we’re having a discussion of John Elderidge’s Waking the Dead. As Sara B says it’s slaying me.  Recent situations have caused me to lower my expectations.I had fallen into the trap of just trying not to expect too much so I wouldn’t be disappointed. But from the get go my breath has been taken away. I have been blown away at our group’s transparency and honesty. Our group deals with broken hearts, confusion, disappointment, depression, and lost dreams, things that most women have to deal with. But I think what’s different this time is that most women try to grin and bear it, to toil on without voicing their fears, exhaustion, and desperation. But these powerful women are facing them head on. They are fighting tooth and nail to live by their hearts and to draw closer to God.