Monday, January 31, 2011

Snow Update

Southerner that I am, I've noticed I remark often about the snow, both in this blog and out there in real life. So I thought I would leave the subject alone this winter. I think most people don't find it as fascinating as I do.

But I mean, come on, we're breaking records here! I can't resist. Here are a few pictures.

The above is the view from my office window. Note the 2 picnic tables to the right of the walkway. To the far left is the mound of snow blocking my bedroom window.

Above is the sign on Town Hill Road. Actually these pictures were taken a week or so ago. The snow is higher now. We're due for another storm this week. We are very grateful for Vinnie and Bully, who work very hard on snow removal after every storm. And by the way, Vinnie loves the new paved parking lot--plowing is much easier and neater now.

I have a feeling I'll be mentioning snow again before the season is over.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Word Work

We sisters go to a lot of meetings. I mean a lot. Since I became an MSBT, I have probably been to about 21,483 of them, give or take. After that many meetings, some of us might get a little testy about them.

The most dreaded words at any MSBT meeting are: "OK, now we're going to break up into small groups." You just know, the newsprint and the markers are about to come out. And who's going to be the one to record our every remark on the newsprint? And who's going to be the one to get up in front and report what we shared? Not me, I did it last time!

I distinctly remember a two-day gathering where about forty of us were hashing out some new plan for our region. Opinions were many and varied and strongly held. No amount of small-group sharing seemed to help. We probably went through a case of newsprint tablets and a few hundred markers that weekend. It plastered the walls and slumped in corners. The experience made me a believer in whiteboards. Save the trees!

Two years ago, we had one of our brothers, Paul Michalenko ST, come lead us in a two-day meeting to devise a mission plan for Trinita. We were trying to focus on what we needed to work on the most in the next five years. It was actually a great meeting. I saved the newsprint. Really, I did.

We are about half-way through our five years now. We don't even have the same people on staff now that we did then, so it's time to step back and reflect on how we're doing, make some course corrections, etc. I pulled out the newsprint yesterday and spread it around on my office floor as best I could. Wow, look at that. We did some of this stuff! Look--our core mission, neatly in bullet points. All the steps to getting an advisory board started. A list of our dreams, in weighted categories. Seeing the words in their native glory was somehow energizing.

Today I taped it all up on the walls. I am surrounded by words. I even went online to and plugged in some parts of the minutes. My favorite is the word cloud created by our closing remarks. Each one of us had to say a sentence that described how we felt after creating our plan.

Is that not cool? It almost makes me re-think my attitude about meetings. Sometimes we can get a little weary of sitting around and talking, writing it down, then more sitting, more talking. But in fact, words work. These words did work. We did some stuff. Not everything we thought we would, maybe not everything we should have, but we got up from talking, and we worked.

Which brings me to this task, today. Here I am, preparing for another meeting. And I've just discovered something. I'm not afraid of newsprint anymore.