Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Pieces of Me  Posted by Hello


Creativity & Productivity
These to creatures are like oil and water in my life right now. To truly create I need to let go of everything orderly and jump head first into the organic, messy world.Ordinary things are beautiful but stillness is required for discovery. At the moment I feel like I am heald tight between both worlds. I never wanted to be a free-spirit. I wanted to be respectable and competant. And yet the little girl in me refuses to bend. Anyone can do my day job, facts and figures and responsibility. However I have discovered an even greater responsibility, to share my story with the world. I have a responsiblity to be true to my talent and share God's grace to those that our listening. I have no idea why this job fell to me, how I could be so blessed, but I promise to do everything in my power to be true to it.

Red and yellow, black and white, she is precious in His sight Posted by Hello


What is it that makes me, me?
What is it that makes me, she?
What is it that makes me special?

Thursday, June 23, 2005

My dear friend Katie has the most wonderful understanding of children and her latest post will bring tears to your eyes. Posted by Hello

What though the radiance
which was once so bright
Be now for ever taken from my sight,
Though nothing can bring back the hour
Of splendour in the grass,
of glory in the flower;
We will grieve not, rather find
Strength in what remains behind;
In the primal sympathy
Which having been must ever be;
In the soothing thoughts that spring
Out of human suffering;
In the faith that looks through death,
In years that bring the philosophic mind.

William Wordsworth

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It was a warm evening, Nate and I camped under a tree on the side of a hill overlooking Lake Mcbride, one of my favorite places in Iowa. As we talked and ate my eyes were continually drawn to the adorable little child that was playing on the beach below us. About four and the youngest of his siblings he took delight in every little thing. Hours of fun were had throwing himself belly first into the water, of course he thought he was doing a cartwheel. I was completely distracted by this precious bundle and his wonder of the world. Then, like on cue, herds of junior highers and freshman swarmed over the hill and took over every inch of the lake. It looked like a fleet of canoes and paddle boats on the water, screams came up from girls being chased by boys holding a water snake. On the sand shyly sat the underdeveloped while the first stages of the horrible caste system that is junior high dawned on their scrawny shapes. Those of us that had been enamored with the peaceful afternoon simply tried to get out of the way as camp counselors shouted orders and over eager kids desperately tried to get someone to go out of the boat with them. I strained to find the little boy in the water now swarming with hormones. He and his older brother had taken to splashing all the older girls that were “too cool” to get their hair wet.
In that moment the magic was gone, I know I am not ready to have kids yet b/c although I get lost in the little hands and toes I know what they grow up to be and that still sends fear down my spine. Oh the horrors of junior high and the lost moments of splendor in the grass.

Wednesday, June 22, 2005

There is more hunger for love and appreciation in this world than for bread.
Mother Teresa
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Love Notes

My husband is always able to find new ways into my heart and his encouraging e-mails to me are so sweet. Its not so much that he's a poet, or even that the have to be profound, but as a writer seeing his thoughts in print always moves me. Its amazing to me that one person can be that kind and understading and tender. The miracles of love constantly amaze me at their constancy. Erin Bird, our friend and mentor, counsels couples on their wedding day that the first day of their marriage is actually the day they love eachother the least.
I am still so new at everything connected to love and marriage but no matter how hard it gets its the most valuable gift I have ever been given. I am thankful that God created us as creatures that could grapple with huge problems and yet we could also get the giggles. Its the tender moments that remind me of Gods endearing qualites he revels in our laughter.
Thanks to my husband and my friend who takes the time to know my heart and touch it.

Worry and stress affects the circulation, the heart, the glands, the whole nervous system, and profoundly affects heart action. -Charles W. Mayo.
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Deep Breaths

"My dear," the mater of fact doctor softened her tone, "You need to lower your stress-level or you are going to be in here every month."
Stress, I went through all your medical tests just for you to tell me I was stressed? I could have told you I was stressed. Unfortunatly, I realize there is merit to her statements but I am so overwhelmed right now that I can't imagine taking a break. I know I am holding on really tightly but I don't know what else to do right now. My body has always processed the emotions that I didn't know what to do with and this was no exception but unless I want to make ER visits a regular occurance somethings got to give.

Monday, June 20, 2005

Half the fun of the travel is the esthetic of lostness. ~Ray Bradbury

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What you've done becomes the judge of what you're going to do - especially in other people's minds. When you're traveling, you are what you are right there and then. People don't have your past to hold against you. No yesterdays on the road. ~William Least Heat Moon, Blue Highways
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Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts. Broad, wholesome, charitable views of men and things cannot be acquired by vegetating in one little corner of the earth all one's lifetime. ~Mark Twain

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The sun is beating down of my dark back; the smell of salt air is pungent around me as I dig into the course sand at my feet. My arms stick out from my body held in place by two orange plastic water wings that squeak reminding me that I have been out of the water too long. I am three and a half but the memories are seared into my mind. The shores of the French Riviera are a night and day difference to the campus housing at the University of North Dakota that had been my home until this moment. My memories are of morning glory’s opening with their royal purple faces drinking in the Mediterranean sun, the smell of salt and fresh baked bread, and the steep cobbled streets that wound up the mountainside. My parents lived on the outer boarder of Monte Carlo, one of the wealthiest kingdoms in the world. We lived across the street from the Monaco, in the morning the chickens that lived in Monaco would wake us in the penthouse of our urban apartment and I remember a Rolls Royce parked outside our flat for months because it had a flat tire. I was three plus and everything I took in was from knee level of my parents. On day I was eating an ice cream cone and my mother was recuing the “drips” that were running down the side of the cone and threatening to run all over me. Out of the corner of her eye she realized a man was trying to take a picture and hurried me out of the way. “Well actually I was trying to take a picture of her.” The man confessed, he worked for National Geographic. This was my reality, French flowers, food, chickens, Roman ruins even Jaclyn Kennedy Onassis, or at least her yacht. On Friday nights all the missionary’s would go to the beach most of the locals and the jet-setting tourists were at the world renowned casino. In a city that’s known for its exotic and expensive nightlife and besides most of the nude bathers were also not present on Friday nights either. But if you knew where to look you could sit on the beach when the roof of the casino roof opened and each major fireworks shop competed for the privilege of hosting Prince Rainer (Grace Kelly’s royal husband) birthday display. On one particular evening the sounds of Frank Sinatra could be heard, the real Frank crooning to the swank crowd and a band of missionary’s eavesdropping next to the water.
Monte Carlo was my first interaction with missionaries of which my parents had always wanted to be. It was also my first interaction with God in history. The real reason this little band of believers had landed in such a hedonist it spot on the map was actually due to Hitler. Hitler at the end of World War II had built himself a giant radio transmitter at the edge of the Mediterranean to transmit his propaganda all over the world. As the story goes, the war was at its end and Hitler was getting more and more desperate. The engineer, in an attempt to appease the Kaiser had gotten the mammoth machines up and running just enough that they could broadcast a small signal right into the heart of Berlin.
After the war about half of Europe fell into the hands of the Russians. At the same time the truth of Hitler’s gruesome exploits were coming to light and the French people who had suffered under German occupation decided they wanted to make something good come out of what was meant for evil. The gifted the huge radio transmitter to an evangelical organization. During the Cold War, Trans World Radio sent the gospel over the iron curtain where missionaries couldn’t go but radio waves could.
My three year old memories are more vivid of the ample cherrie trees out side the building than the actual marble structure itself but I heard the story from my parents mouths as I aged and was introduced to a powerful God who can move dictators and princes on his behalf. It always amazed me that God had used one evil dictator, Hitler, to build a machine that would undermine Lenin and Stalin and all of the regime of the U.S.S.R. I saw God as a strategist and my parents as integral parts of history. In my young life I was able to go to spend time in post-communist Russia and met some of the early Christians but that is another story all together. While in Monte Carlo I spent quite a bit of time with my adventurous mother, partly because I was the only one she could talk to and partly because we came late and left early just the two of us. From that time forward we were partners even more than friends and I have much of my life’s experience to thank her for. We arrived back in the states in 1983 and my brother was born approximately nine months later. The first chapter in my life had been a vivid one and had set the stage for exotic experiences with a powerful God.

Thursday, June 16, 2005

If you've been paying attention. .

SK update:
On June 14th the residents of Cedar Rapids voted in a new form of government in a landslide 68% to 34%. The Home Rule (new representative form of government) charter carried the day in every single precint. You don't get a much clearer mandate than that.
Instead of attending the victory party with my staff I was curled up on the couch at home thinking I was suffering from food poising. I found out at 3 am, thanks to the ER doctors, that I had a uninery tract infection and possible kidney stones. It was a painful wake up call to make some adjustments to my diet. But I will say I have never been that heavily medicated and my brother will atest that he enjoyed the experience.
Of all days to not come into the office, I wanted to participate in some part of the celebration and so I made it into the office by nine am and sat down to what I thought was going to be our victory meeting. It was but it was also a meeting to announce the resignation of our fearless leader, Mr. Ron Corbett. A man that I respect greatly and am proud to work for. Ron has 5 children nearing highschool and was offered a rewarding and less political position and I don't blame him for taking it. He will be missed and most of us are feeling a little lost. You can't not be affected by someone who such a strong leader and these last few weeks are bitter sweet.

In other news, I never mentioned what Nate surprised me with the other day. He took me out on a reenactment of our first date. Complete with IMAX and dinner. It was very sweet to see how far we've come in such a short time. We will have been together a year in August. Time fly's when you're having fun. Last night we were supposed to go out with work friends, until I was laid up with a bottle of Vicatin. I had mentioned Nate & I's date night and all the women were really impressed and much talk was made of the issue. We've both wanted our marriage to be a testament of God's love and grace and hopefully this will be the begining of such experiences. I realize too that we need to be honest in our mistakes as well as in our sucess. We are proud to be Christians b/c of what He does in us, not what we do for him.

Speaking of marriage recently saw Mr. & Mrs. Smith and was surprised at all the object lessons there were in there for married couples. Nate & I have discovered the tennis is a great way to take out marital aggression, but its great to see couples fighting for eachother, even as they fight with eachother.

Stay tuned for more! There's is never a dull moment whether I like it or not!

In sickness and in health I am so thankful for the patience of my dear husband. We've been married two months now!  Posted by Hello

Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Hope in someone brighter

I admit it I am an optimist, next week I am supposed to have interview for a local news publication. When I asked the reporter why she would want to interview me the answer surprised me.
“From what I hear you have an interesting story but the reason I want to interview you is because everyone tells me how hopeful and positive you are in spite of everything.”
I think I only have two modes, positive or silent. Believe me that doesn’t make me a saint, its just that I always feel awful making others feel bad about ANYTHING.
If I am having a bad day why should I take it out on anyone? I guess that also comes from being overly-sensitive. When you live in as many cultures as I do you seem to get bat-radar about how people are feeling and thinking, it’s the only way to cope. But it’s a blessing and a curse. Moody people are my downfall, if I have to work in a hundred foot radius of someone who is mad or sad it puts me completely on edge, especially if I can’t do anything about it. Why is it that the majority of moody people are the ones that the rest of us are supposed to bend our lives around? Why are they the ones that we make personal exceptions for?
“Oh, that’s just Nancy, what are you going to do?”
We shrug and go on our way forgiving them for what I personally feel is unforgivable (if there really is such a thing with God.) My mother always taught me that there are consequences for our attitude as well as our actions. And yet we passively allow the grumps of the world to ruin everyone’s day while we tip-toe around them. My own personal revenge, I admit, has been cheerfulness. You may ruin your day but not mine and I am not going to give you the pleasure of raining on my parade. Sickenly sweet I know and most times I think I annoy myself but like I said before I refuse to have anyone else suffer just because I am. Am I fake? Well probably but then again that’s my choice, how I feel is sometimes a very private matter and if I am not honest about my emotions there are probably two reasons for it; first, I don’t trust everyone with my emotions, I know how sensitive I am so I don’t need to put my heart out there for everyone. Secondly, maybe I don’t want to be a depressing influence in your life.
I will confess that when am in the presence of someone who cavalierly wants to make everyone around them miserable just because they feel miserable I want to get in their face and scream.
“You think you’re the only one who has had a rough life? Get up and deal with it, if you aren’t going to take responsibility for your emotions why should anyone else?”
In our culture we often find that truth is equal to the level of emotion that an individual feels. I find this both freeing and terrifying. I hope that my story is significant because it’s honest and truthful. My emotions are indicators of pain but not God’s unfaithfulness. This is a long hard lesson to learn, if I feel terrible God must have let me down. Tell me where it says that in the Bible? God was good and kind to me even as I walked through a terrible valley. I would also go as far as saying that I have a better more intimate relationship with God because of my pain, even when I don’t have some wonderful miracle or happy ending to site. Just a long bumpy road with me and God, what I also found was that God was the only one who could really touch my pain, understand me and comfort me. So yes, when I find myself reeling from the injustice of the world I spend time alone with God in the silence of my home. God and I work it out together, sometimes its ugly, sometimes its sweet, but its always rewarding. Call me fake for not always dumping my problems onto others but I honestly believe that the only hope I can offer other about God is the truth of peace today and for eternity.

Don't cry because its over, smile because it happened. ~Auther Unkown
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Faith is taking the first step even when you don't see the whole staircase.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
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Monday, June 13, 2005

Will Cedar Rapids get a new form of government? Well if Michael Jackson can be aquitted. . . Posted by Hello

History in the Making

Tuesday June 14th could be a historic day for Cedar Rapids Iowa. By tommorow evening our city will know if it will be keeping the Full-time City Council form of government that we have had for the past 98 years or if we will be changing it to the part-time Home-Rule Commision that has been endorsed by the Iowa Labor Force, all the neighbor hoods in our fair city almost every single large corporation including, Rockwell & Aegon to name a few and of course spearheading this issue is our own Ron Corbett CEO of the Cedar Rapids Chamber of Commerce.
For more information check out or
The Citizens for a Better Cedar Rapids (otherwise known as the 'When Pigs Fly' Commitee) have been working tirelessly for the last year securing 10,000 singnatures needed to get the Charter in motion and the necessary grass-roots effort that have brought together such strange bed-fellows as business & labor and a number of local activists from several sides. At this point the night before the election it looks likes the Home Rule vote is ahead in the polls but only time will tell. . .

Happy Birthday Emily Cavanaugh!  Posted by Hello

Friday, June 10, 2005

Summer is the time when one sheds one's tensions with one's clothes, and the right kind of day is jeweled balm for the battered spirit. A few of those days and you can become drunk with the belief that all's right with the world. ~Ada Louise Huxtable
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Summer afternoon - summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language. ~Henry James Posted by Hello

A perfect summer day is when the sun is shining, the breeze is blowing, the birds are singing, and the lawn mower is broken. ~James Dent Posted by Hello

Stealing Summer

Its Friday, the week is done and the sun is shining and I find myself looking out the window daydreaming. I sigh and return to my “to do” list.
· Clean bathrooms
· Laundry
· Grocery shop
· Balance checkbook
· Hang Pictures
· Clean closet
The mundane list of duties may justify why I have procrastinated and not pounced on them sooner but it doesn’t get them done. But then a sudden thought dawns on me. It’s summer!
A quick glance over my list confirms that my list though noble will keep me from enjoying the few sweet months of joy we get. I understand that being a grown-up means I need to take responsibility for my life but if I am a grown up doesn’t that mean I have a little say over my life? Since I am a grown-up now and my list confirms my worst suspicions, then I am going to make sure I make a new “to do” list.
· Lay on the grass and find animals in the clouds
· Play tennis
· Go out for ice cream
· Get grass-stains
· Get sun-burned
· Paint my toe-nails
· Wonder at God’s creation

"Everything with God and Nothing without Him." Inspiration from the Organist & Composser Johann Sebastion Bach Posted by Hello

17th Century Inspiration

The discovery of a 17th century Bach composition has been all over the news recently.
As historically rewarding and thrilling as that is the part of the news release that caught my attention was the words of the piece itself.
“Bach composed the work for a soprano, to be accompanied by strings or a harpsichord, to mark the 52nd birthday of the duke of Saxony-Weimar, for whom he worked as a court organist, the foundation said.
A solo soprano was to sing a 12-verse poem beginning with the duke's motto "Everything with God and nothing without him" written by Johann Anton Myliu.”
This inspirational motto from days gone by struck a chord with me this morning. I have been praying about my responsibilities to the Chamber and the seemingly impossible financial goals I have set for my department. As the primary money-making arm of the Chamber the responsibility to make good on my promise often keeps me up at night especially since I am so new at the job.
While in prayer, this morning the Lord laid on my heart that my responsibility is to HIM first and then my family and finally to the Chamber. The Chamber is under God’s control so are all my daily dealings. So with new vigor I claim the age-old motto as my own. ‘ Everything with God and NOTHING without Him’
Sidenote: if anyone has resources to get the entire text of the poem I would be VERY interested.

"The most important thing a father can do is to love their mother." -Theodore M. Hesburgh Posted by Hello

Congratulations Annika & Erik Durbin! Jackson will be two months old on Monday and we are all so happy for you!  Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 08, 2005

He loves me!  Posted by Hello

Simple Pleasures

I just got of the phone with my adorable husband and I have to say that it never ceases to amaze me how he can go straight to my heart. Since we got engaged we discovered the need to make one night a week "date-night" it may sound cliche but unless we made it a priority it was so easy to get busy with other 'important' things that we never made time for ourselves. For both of us it was an object lesson, its up to us to make our relationship a priority. There a plenty of great causes out there to take up an evening but good is the enemy of the best and so we have begun setting aside time inorder to sneak away and spend some time together. The goal is to do something "unnessecary" so cleaning, cooking or unpacking usually don't apply. Neither do conversations that start with "we need to" if they can be at all possibly avoided. The result has been a wonderful assortment of conversations about life, politics, art, and our own personal hopes and dreams. (I call them strategy sessions) I am always struck by the fact that I knew I loved my husband but its so nice to be reminded how much I enjoy him.Well tonight he is surprising me. I have no idea what we're doing or where we are going. I am a sucker for any surprise. I think anticipation is half the fun.

Would you look at her! Posted by Hello

Small town happenings. . .

I had a strange run in today that made me shake my head(I am not proud of myself but at least I will try to be honest.) Because of my position at a very public Chamber of Commerce I get courted by local businesses. It isn't uncommon for me to have a meeting or two a week with a business person who wants to meet with me to see what I can do for them. It meets multiple different purposes and is always good for me to get to know the businesses I represent. Its a natural in my line of work. It appears so is being courted by insurance brokers or financial investors that are looking to add women to their talent base. Any women reading this that are interested in either of those call me I know of a NUMBER of positions that are looking for you.
Anywhoo as I left the private corner office of one such business I walked right past the mailroom and ran into an old highschool acquaintance who was obviously an assistant at the firm. This particular individual was not the nicest person back in the day and I suppose you could consider her a bit of a bully. So you can imagine my smug delight to be reintroduced by the head of the firm and the stunned look on her face at our change in fortune. Who knows this girl might make more than I do but at that moment I didn't care! Some things you never grow out of. . .

Monday, June 06, 2005

Motivation behind one door, fear behind another. Choose wisely. . .  Posted by Hello

Clouds in my coffee. . .

As I drifted off to sleep Sunday night I started to flip through my mental to do list with growing anxiety. Like an animal it grew from the pit of my stomach and up into my throat. The names and faces of all the people I was letting down on a daily basis felt like a Nuremberg trial. It’s been a recurring demon these days, the ever present reality of failure seemed like a specter floating behind me. I couldn’t shake it no matter how hard I tried and it kept sucking all my energies during the day taking my confidence down a notch.

But I had a late night revelation; somewhere deep in the recess of my mind I had had enough. With all my might I mentally shut the door and then leaned on it with all my strength. ‘It’s just a job!’ I told myself, ‘it’s just a job!’ At peace finally I was able to drift off to sleep and have been having a wonderfully productive day. All day I find myself mentally slamming that door shut and returning to the real world. If I am going to daydream I prefer it to be about nice & delightful things not work or the demons that come with it.

Friday, June 03, 2005

In their words

Rita Mae Brown: Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work.

Rollo May: Creativity arises out of the tension between spontaneity and limitations, the latter (like the river banks) forcing the spontaneity into the various forms which are essential to the work of art or poem.

Albert Einstein: The intuitive mind is a sacred gift and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift.

Edward de Bono: It is better to have enough ideas for some of them to be wrong, than to be always right by having no ideas at all.

Edwin Land: Creativity is the sudden cessation of stupidity.

Erich Fromm: Creativity requires the courage to let go of certainties.

Franklin D. Roosevelt: Happiness is not in the mere possession of money; it lies in the joy of achievement, in the thrill of creative effort.

Henry David Thoreau: The world is but a canvas to the imagination.

Carl Sagan: It is the tension between creativity and skepticism that has produced the stunning and unexpected findings of science.

Margaret J. Wheatley: The things we fear most in organizations -- fluctuations, disturbances, imbalances -- are the primary sources of creativity.

Nietzsche: You need chaos in your soul to give birth to a dancing star.
Pablo Picasso: All children are artists. The problem is how to remain an artist once he grows up.

Ralph Waldo Emerson: A painter told me that nobody could draw a tree without in some sort becoming a tree; or draw a child by studying the outlines of its form merely . . . but by watching for a time his motions and plays, the painter enters into his nature and can then draw him at every attitude . . .

Vincent Vangogh incredible artist fragile mind Posted by Hello

Creativity incarnate. . .

I always say that there is a fine line between crazy and stupid, meaning stupid people drive drunk, crazy ones parachute out of airplanes.
But I am thinking of amending the phrase to say there is a fine line between creativity and sanity. I know for myself my most creative times were hell on the rest of my life. In a crazed swirl I would move from one project to another leaving ingenuity and disaster in my wake. Or to put it more succinctly, I was a mess but a beautiful and original things came out of that mess. Now as I ease back into the structure and comfort of “normal” life I worry about my creative side. The more organized and productive my “grown-up” life is the more my creativity suffers. But if I have a gut-check day, its hard to catch my breath and I feel like a waste of a human being. Voila! I turn out some of my favorite work. I haven’t figured out the balance. Is there hope of balance?
Its like my own Luke SkyWalker dilemma, stay in the real world and have a healthy normal life. Or turn to the dark side and watch great things come from my hands. In my head it’s truly a dilemma of good versus evil. To be creative I cease to be organized and that’s very bad, but to really share my voice with the world? Well what sacrifice will that demand?

Wednesday, June 01, 2005

"Love is but the discovery of ourselves in others, and delights in the recognition."
-Alexander Smith
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