Sparkles, S’mores and Land that I Love | Happy 4th of July

Smores Fourth of July NostalgiaI love the Fourth of July (or Fourch of Guly as I said when I was little), it makes me feel a bit nostalgic. One of my first 4th of July parades I remember being sad because I wasn’t fast enough at getting candy and I’m sure there were one or two thoughtful kids & parents who saw that and walked over to make sure I had some. Then there was the first parade I was in with my sister where we both wore costumes and tap shoes from dance lessons. My mom told us to march holding our batons with one hand lifting them straight up and down with each step and of course, we thought it was a great idea.

As we grew older, we were blessed enough to spend the first two weeks of July up north with my dad and dear friends at Crane Lake in Voyageurs National Park on the Canadian Border. The only way to get to the cabin was by boat. Imagine hauling 3-5 adults, 5-7 kids and a dog, 2 weeks worth of food, clothing  and fresh water for drinking. Sometimes it would take 2-3 trips and the boat would be so heavy the waterline was about a foot below the top. While we did have a short wave radio to hear the closest weather reports and listen to the international time, we did not have phones or television and we actually learned to appreciate that.

It was there we explored the chain of lakes where water is so clear you can look 15+ feet straight down and see the bottom. We learned how to water ski, responsibly shoot guns at targets, become great fishers and use a filet knife to clean and prepare our catch. At night, my dad would bring Crane Lakeout his guitar and we sang songs together around the fire, roasted marshmallows for S’mores and later hear the cracking and snapping of the fresh burning wood. Some evenings we would go out “on the rock” and enjoy the sunset, seen in the picture to the right. I would close my eyes and take in the fresh smell of the Norway Pine trees and burning fire. I would listen to the water lapping up on the shore, loons, seagulls or a boat humming in the distance. It was heaven on earth.

After fourth of July celebrations in the small town across the water, we would take the boat to the middle of the lake, cut the engine, watch the fireworks and have rich conversations about freedom, life or whatever was on our minds. It was there we discovered breathtaking views where stars are so clear you could see them sparkle right down to the horizon. In a good year, we could see the northern lights dance, displaying colors of green, blue and red.

I’m grateful for the people and all of those memories we created together. It shaped me in growing a deeper appreciation for this land where we live. Today, I think about so many people around the world who don’t have the same choices we do. At the same time,  we can not forget those who have gone before us and those still fighting for our freedom because they have laid much of the ground work for us.

I also will not forget that there is still more work that needs to be done.

Regardless, I celebrate the fact that we are so fortunate to be citizens in a country where we have freedom to express ourselves, choose to practice our faith, celebrate diversity, practice servant leadership,  be educated and to make a difference in the lives of others.

Wishing you a very happy Fourth of July. I would love to hear your thoughts and experiences about how this day has shaped you. Please share below and thanks for visiting my blog!

“I AM” and “SPIRIT” In Sync With One Another #FierceForward

Fierce Forward - I AM and Spirit = Parters

I AM – two of the most powerful words you could ever declare to yourself. This is your declaration, your choice to stand in your power and allow your vision to come to reality/ #FierceForward

SPIRIT – Your truth. Freedom is found when you live you truth and let your spirit live out loud. Do not hide. Do not deny your truth. Do not let her stay quiet. Go forward, fiercely and let your SPIRIT lead the way. #FierceForward

Knowing who we are and being grounded in our truth are at the core of what teaches us to be great leaders and even better human beings.

These bracelets are handmade using African Trade Beads to support women in Africa. They are special because they support a worthy cause and they were an authentic gift from someone whose friendship means a great deal to me.

This post is inspired by The Weekly Photo Challenge themed: Partners: Whether two of a kind, or ten, give us subjects that are in sync with one another – show us partnerships.

Learn more about #FierceForward at fierceforwardforlife.com

Remembering Prince in Minneapolis ★ My Story

Before I turned on any media today I got in the car, my heart sunk and the words popped in my head; “Prince is Dead……… OMG, I just can’t believe it.” As a home-grown Minnesotan, whose stomping grounds used to be downtown Minneapolis, the reality left me feeling empty, then I turned on the radio to find every-singFirst_Ave_Remembering_Prince_Minneapolisle-station playing his music and talking about him. Later, I return home and turned on the

TV to see the “Let’s Go Crazy” song from the movie Purple Rain and BOOM, I briefly see myself on National TV.

In 1983 my friend Holly and I went to a casting call to try out for Purple Rain as extras. The line was long, they took our pictures and information. After a few months it was
out of sight, out of mind.

Then the call came one evening in November somewhere between 10-11
:30 P.M. asking if we could be downtown by 5:30 A.M. “Um……YES!” (No hesitation whatsoever.) So the next morning we arrived, exhausted because of the time spent freaking out about what to wear, how to fix our hair, getting our makeup just right, etc. We stood around much of the day at First Avenue between scene takes and Prince’s wardrobe changes. I chatt
ed with his body-guard Big Chick (Some called him Jake). He was more than 6 1/2 feet tall with white hair and he had a long beard. He could have been mistaken as a biker one might see as part of the Hell’s Angel club. Despite his intimidating appearance, he always took the time to chat when we saw him. Remembering Prince In Minneapolis - My Story

Back then in Minneapolis it was not unusual to run into Prince out on the town, body-guards in tow, or to see him hop into or emerge from a cool sports car with a beautiful woman, or
even attend impromptu concerts at First Avenue, The Fine Line, Glam Slam (later called “The Quest” nightclub.) He rarely spoke to anyone. Minnesotans respected his privacy and for the most part, knew not to approach him, unless, of course, we were feeling mischievous, like one night when I was with my cousin, Stacey, who had recently moved to Minneapolis from Omaha Nebraska. After a few cocktails I triple-dog-double-dared her to try to talk to him (knowing what would happen). Of course, she did, and he didn’t speak. Yes, I set her up and to this day we still laugh about it. But I digress.

Between takes and wardrobe changes, movie directors passed out free packs of cigarettes, te
lling everyone to smoke up the bar. We were front and center stage as he sang Let’s Get Crazy, Baby I’m a Star, I Would Die 4 U, Little Red Corvette, The Beautiful Ones, etc. Looking back now, it is so great to have such an intimate connection to that moment in history. Sometimes I hear the music and think; “wow, I was really, literally right there” it is kind of surreal. Feeling reflective, I went online today and watched those performances again and found myself in other crowd scene shots I hadn’t seen before. Technology sure has made it easier to find these kinds of things. Imagine trying to find information using fast-forward and rewind on VHS tapes. 😏

In 1984, Prince performed here on Christmas Eve and I went with my sisters, The Purple Skyline of Downtown Minneapolisit was my youngest sister’s first concert ever. My grandpa had rented out a YMCA that night for a family celebration, so we headed there after the show. I remember hearing someone say; “What kind of person has a concert on Christmas Eve?” followed by a sarcastic; “What kind people attend a concert on Christmas Eve?” 

Prince was a die-hard, born and raised Minnesotan. Looking back, now, if I were to put myself in his shoes, of course it makes sense. This is and always has been his home, he wanted to celebrate with his people, who he loved – us.

We listened to Prince and The Time (Now called The Original 7ven) before it was “C-O-O-L” to listen to them. Was that because we were all from Minneapolis? Most likely – it was the Minneapolis sound, keeping us front and center. 

Prince was a brilliant, creative, compassionate talented artist and fellow community member who cared about humanity. He profoundly changed the landscape of music and it will never be the same because of him. I’m grateful for the memories the old songs bring; smiles. friendships, laughter, tears, flirting, after parties, connection, dancing and more.

Prince’s untimely death is a reminder that we need to take care of ourselves when we are ill and that in this world obsessed with the glorification of “busy-ness,” life is short. In the distraction, we forget to slow down and pay attention to this moment.

Today my prayer is that more of us figure out how to “be here now,” fully present for others in fellowship and as servant leaders. May we discover all that comes along with remembering to be mindful and grateful for how blessed we are.

Do you have any thoughts or memories related that you would like to share?

If so, please leave a comment below. Thanks for visiting my blog!

Courage is a HEART Word

Courage is a heart wordA few months back I took a six-week online class with Brené Brown based on her book; “The Gifts of Imperfection.” Early in the process we explored the meaning of courage and had a journal activity as seen in the picture. I wanted to share what Brené says about courage because I think it is profound;

“Courage, the original definition of courage when it first came into the English language – it’s from the Latin word cor, meaning heart – and the original definition was to tell the story of who you are with your whole heart…

This is what I have found: to let ourselves be seen, deeply seen, vulnerably seen; to love with our whole hearts, even though there’s no guarantee — and that’s really hard, and I can tell you as a parent, that’s excruciatingly difficult — to practice gratitude and joy in those moments of terror, when we’re wondering, ‘Can I love you this much? Can I believe in this passionately? Can I be this fierce about this?’ just to be able to stop and, instead of catastrophizing what might happen, to say, ‘I’m just so grateful, because to feel this vulnerable means I’m alive.’”

-Quote by Brené Brown, speaking about The Power of Vulnerability at TED

How often do we ask ourselves the question of what it means to live wholeheartedly? It starts with having enough self-compassion to explore our stories about shame and vulnerability without judgement. Brené says that shame can not survive being spoken, so after we have explored our fears and insecurities, it is important to find “your people” – those who have earned the right to hear your story. They are the individuals you know will just listen without judgement. They are the people who will not throw it back in your face at a later time. Next, say it out loud to them. That is a step towards healing and growth.

That my friends, takes courage, and is a demonstration of living with intention. Thoughts feelings and actions in alignment with our values principles and goals. I’d like to think of it as a form of servant leadership that we give as a gift to ourselves. Genuine authenticity feels good.

If there is anything you would like to share about this please feel free to comment below.

Thanks for visiting my blog and have a Happy Valentines Day!

A Random Act of Kindness for Wordless Wednesday

When was the last time someone reached out to you and performed a random act of kindness? I was pleasantly surprised when a complete stranger recently did something thoughtful for me just when I needed it most. As a result of her good-hearted deed, I plan to honor her by paying it forward.

WholeHeartedThankYou

As thought leaders, we sometimes forget the view, taking a moment to acknowledge the people around us via random acts of kindness can go a long way. We get so caught up in our calendars, goals and tasks and only see the road ahead. But when we slow down a little to enjoy, pleasant surprises seem to come out of the woodwork.

The Martin Luther King Jr. Holiday, this past Monday, has been deemed a day to encourage making a difference in communities. As I wrote in a previous post called: Servant Leadership: Facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., Dr. King was a strong proponent of servant leadership, so whether or not you took action this week, I would like to propose a challenge.

What can you do to make a difference for someone this week? Please make the effort, then come back here and share your story below. I’d like to hear what you did, the response you got and how it made you feel. I look forward to hearing from you.

Growing #OWNers Social @ Oprah Winfrey Network on Twitter

Wall page Kakie OWN

#IAmAnOwner and this weekend, I have been invited by The Oprah Winfrey Network to be a social media moderator for their @OWNers Twitter account during programming. I had a few people ask me what that means and if I would explain it here. So here are the details and how you can participate.

During the shows listed below, viewers use a #Hashtag to have live conversations about what is heard or seen, that resonates, surprises or inspires as a result of the programmingPeople re-tweet comments made by others, or share insights, ask questions and respond to comments.

Who are #OWNers? Viewers who believe in the vision of The Oprah Winfrey Network and it’s movement, which is about inspiring people to celebrate, learn, grow and be empowered to live their best lives by sharing what they are learning with others.

I’ve watched the network’s social media efforts unfold since it first aired and was immediately drawn to how they were engaging viewers.  This effort, their “Twitter Takeover” initiative is a great way to organically grow a network while demonstrating the core of what social media is really about. Conversation. I hope you will join us. Below is the schedule and related hashtags and how to participate.

Read more of this post

Be a Servant Leader in Under 2 Minutes – #MNNFWalk for a Cure

JacquelineChildrensTumorFoundation

There is nothing better than being in the presence of THIS beautiful 5-year-old. I know, I have had the honor many times. She is my friend and her name is Jacqueline. I took this picture while we were engaged in an innovative conversation about what kind of pirate she would like to be. To make it even more colorful, we were on our way to Disney’s Magic Kingdom.

Jacqueline is imaginative, intelligent and has an infectious laugh, all of which make her great to be around. But there is something more that you would never know by simply looking.  Jacqueline, has a genetic disorder called neurofibromatosis (a.k.a. “NF”) , which causes tumors to grow in the nervous system and currently there is no cure. From what we know, Jacqueline has the following:

  •   * ♥  A myopic glioma (tumors growing inside the brain which can result in blindness.)
  •   * ♥  An abnormal mass on her tongue and on the back of her head.
  •   * ♥  Irregular bone growth of the arm

Servant leadership is one of the greatest gifts we can give to others. Being of service is not only politically correct, but being present for others has the power to be a healer, connector, teacher and a friend. In addition, it feels good! Please take 2 minutes to put that competency to work by clicking below to participate. With your help we can find a cure.

Register now to join us – It’s the right thing to do.  #HOPE

CTFNFwALK

  • Sunday September 29th, 7:00 AM

  • Mall of America Rotunda

  • 3rd Annual Minneapolis NF Walk to find a cure, benefiting the Children’s Tumor Foundation

The Daily Prompt | PC

Take Care | Unfolding of a Valiant Journey

We hadn’t seen one another or spoken in quite a while so a year and a half ago we set up a lunch date to reconnect. When he walked into the restaurant he was noticeably thinner. But those friendly, smiling eyes were unmistakable. He was inquisitive and began by asking all about me, my life and family.

Then we shifted to him. He shared that shortly after his mother and brother passed away, he fainted at work and hence began a daunting series of paperwork, lab tests, appointments and phone calls. He had been diagnosed with stage 4 appendix cancer and chose not to pursue surgery. I remained empathetic, silent, and asked what support he needed. The response was; hope, presence, love and an ear.

It’s hard to conceive the unimaginable courage to make and/or not make such a complex decision. At the end of  our lunch I inquired if he was absolutely certain. I don’t recall the answer, but wondered if the question would linger with him.

For Mike Posey

I had an upcoming trip to South East Asia for an MBA class and shared I would pray for him at every mosque, temple and prayer wheel I encountered. I climbed the 272 steps to the highest temple at Batu Caves and offered intentions for my friend. The flower and medallions were given to me by a Hindi priest, one for Mike, the other for myself. Right before my trip, he made a decision to seek treatment options and found out about a rare treatment called HIPEC, that was available and upon my return learned he was eligible. This surgery was the beginning of a valiant journey.

He was balancing tending to the needs of caring for his 85-year-old father, while figuring out how to take care of himself and the test of time was not easy. He was hungry and thirsty, but unable to eat, learning how to manage his own doctor appointments, prescriptions, feeding tubes, colostomy care and more.

He didn’t want to always talk about the cancer, or the fight, or time. He was growing weary and it was teaching us the importance of being fully present and accepting. We had so many meaningful spoken and unspoken discussions those last few months.

When a person is not well, why do they hesitate to ask for assistance?

As the friend watching events unfold, it is a complex balancing act. We want to be respectful, while honoring their wishes. We see this person we love, who needs and wants, assistance, but is concerned about being an inconvenience. The very idea of asking for aid comes along with healthy doses of shame and fear coupled with concern about appearing too needy, weak or helpless in they eyes of others.

“Be still, and know…” Psalm 46:10

Yet in the midst of it all, none of that matters because at the end of the day, all we have is a deep knowing of the mutual gifts that reside when we are fully present for and with one another. It is at the core of what makes community.

Why is it easier to give help than ask for it?

For caregivers, showing up gives us the gift of humility and teaches the valuable lesson that its okay to be imperfect. It is human, and builds community because it brings people together. That is a beautiful thing.

Asking for help is a gift to the person being asked and can be for the one in need.

Mike was a treasure and we learned different life lessons from one another. I miss him, but I celebrate his life by carrying his memory in my heart. We talked about it. It is what he wanted, and that is a good thing.

Please share your thoughts and thanks for visiting my blog

_______________________

Written in response to The Daily Prompt: Take Care  “When you’re unwell, do you allow others to take care of you, or do you prefer to soldier on alone? What does it take for you to ask for help? Photographers, artists, poets: show us HELP.”

🦁

Being Authentically You – The Best Job in the World

It feels like I have had my head down for nearly 30 months while pursuing my MBA. Graduation is just around the corner, putting me into a reflective mode of excitement and gratitude, while leaving me to wonder where my “road to awesome” is headed. Regardless of the destination, I am optimistic because my faith that there is more has never failed.

Introspection got me thinking, if I could have any job in the world, it would the one Robbie, a.k.a. “Kid President” from Soul Pancake has. He started a movement when the video “Pep Talk” (below) emerged a while back. This little man is giving motivational speeches, telling people how amazing they are, that nobody is perfect, we are all more alike than different, encouraging participation and reminding us that we are all on the same team.   I love the re-enforcer that we can all make things better for one another if we just look around and recognize because it all starts with just one person. When we give, we get.

Sowing seeds of wonder and hope? Sounds pretty good to me. I told them a great campaign slogan would be: “Kid President – Restoring Wonder in the World.” I really hope they use it because we all could use a little more marvel and awe in our lives.

Enjoy the video and then come back and tell me: How will you go out and make the world more awesome? Start by just being authentic because I believe that is what makes us our very best.

Please comment below and thanks for joining the conversation.

Read more of this post

Why You Should Know About The World Economic Forum

Capitalism, in its current form, no longer fits the world around us. A global transformation is urgently needed and it must start with reinstating a global sense of social responsibility.”         -Klaus Schwab

World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2013This past week over 2500 of the most important business, political, religious, academic and other leaders in the world gathered for the annual World Economic Forum (WEF). The World Economic Forum is an international non-profit organization that addresses important issues, some of which include economic growth, environmental sustainability, financial systems, health, humanity, ecosystems, gender equality, social development and more.

I would be fascinated to attend this event someday and have put it on my bucket list of things to do before I die. In today’s business environment, it is more important than ever to be informed about issues that affect and influence economies, our environment, human rights, etc. I believe anyone who works in strategy or management would benefit by paying attention to the many issues being discussed at the World Economic Forum and use the rich research issues, reports and studies it produces.

Read more of this post

Servant Leadership: Facts About Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

ServantLeadershipDr.MartinLutherKingJr

Servant leadership is the philosophy and practice that encourages us to participate for the good of society by being of service to others. Many would say it is functional, ethical, meaningful and has the power to change cultures. 

As leaders, it is my hope is that we take some time this holiday to reflect on the teachings of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.,all that he 

stood for, and then use our words and actions to carry his message forward. Do something: Volunteer, pay for someone’s coffee, seek out a person who is lonely or family in need, hold a door open and more. Imag

ine the difference we can make.

 

Interesting facts about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Read more of this post

%d bloggers like this: