Posts Tagged With: grow love

A life’s lesson in building bridges

Libby Norris built bridges.

While her day job was as a Watershed Restoration Scientist, one wonders if she knew she was actually a top-notch Social Scientist as well.

Would she have said that a core element of our lives is “social capital”- the value of our social networks- who you know, how you are connected, and what happens as a result of these networks? That success is when members do for each other without expectation of anything in return? That there are those who bond with people with similar interests and lives, while others expand and build bonds to bridge (seemingly) conflicting interests? Did she know that the latter takes far more effort and courage?

If she did, she didn’t shrink from the challenge. Libby built bridges.

The Chesapeake Bay Foundation (CBF.org) posted “Quite simply, thanks to Libby’s good work, today there are more healthy rivers and streams, more fish, crabs, and oysters, and more clean water for all of us across Virginia.” Not the easiest bridges to build – from cattle farmers to watersheds. “Libby worked tirelessly with farmers across the Commonwealth. She also got to know Bay watermen on remote Tangier Island, and hosted many farmer trips to Tangier as well as brought watermen to the Valley to meet farmers. She instinctively recognized that these two groups had more in common than they did differences and sought to build shared understanding.”

The young athletes around Williamsburg will tell you she helped them bridge frustration and disappointment by illuminating that “it’s all a learning experience.” Fellow parents of athletes will share that she helped them bridge a knowledge gap of the sport, as well as how to replace nervous energy with pure enthusiasm.

Her peers will tell you she “got out of the truck.” She didn’t ponder a situation for too long; she dealt with it head on. She got out of the truck and got it done. She bridged thought to action.

Her friends and neighbors will tell you she just “was” – a reliable, genuine friend. Her encouragement helped many bridge self-doubt to the fulfillment of an ambition. Earning a Masters degree, becoming a coach, being more confident as a mom, and becoming an Outdoors Woman, to name a few. Her (perhaps EMT inspired) response time to a friend in need defied logic.

Her ready smile reminded us it was possible all along – to be a great parent, spouse, child, coach, athlete, citizen, scientist, coworker, friend, human being. Lucky for us we can see special versions of that smile in her two greatest accomplishments, her daughters. She bridged the next generation, and her laughter-ready husband will sustain the joy.

Here’s what the social scientists say at bettertogether.org, “We build social capital by creating new ties and strengthening old ones. These connections may increase individual well-being and opportunity by linking people more strongly to their local community and to larger societal resources. Or they may build community by strengthening bonds that link community members or by bridging divisions between them. The new ties may be formal, like a club, association, or civic institution, or informal, like a group of friends talking or colleagues collaborating. There is no limit to the number of specific pathways to social capital creation. How to build social capital in each community, family, block, or neighborhood is best left to community-based groups.”

Many felt it was “best left” to Libby with her “can do” approach. Now, it’s left to us.

Libby Norris planted the seeds of optimism and confidence within us. Because of her legacy, Libby continues to grow love.

“For our boast is this, the testimony of our conscience that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially toward you, with the simplicity and sincerity of God, [and] not by human wisdom but by the grace of God”. (2Cor 1,12).

Categories: Grow Love, Just Be, like ripples on a pond, Not-So-Random Acts of Kindness, time talent treasure | Tags: , | 1 Comment

A Strong Launch

The way your day starts can direct its course. Don’t we all want a strong launch? Whether it’s a healthy breakfast, an early morning workout, a thought provoking walk/talk with a friend, prayer, meditation, reading, or a steady combination of what works, the sooner we discover it, the better.

When you find your strong launch, and then deploy it to assist others in theirs, that’s pretty special. Every day, Tammy M. reads scripture, meditates on its application to daily living, and shares her personal reflections via a text to friends. All before most of us are even awake!

Here’s a sampling:

“Many are the plans in a man’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails”. Proverbs 19:21. Sometimes we are fanatics about our to-do lists. I love making them and feel so satisfied to check off each item but then have the nerve to get upset if God steers me a different way. How quickly I forget that my plans are like dust; insignificant and can be wiped away with the breeze. Remembering that His plans prevail over our plans. Ask him what he would have you to do FIRST. Pray, be patient, listen and he will direct you. Everything else will fall into place. Let God be first on your to-do list.

“For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, do not fear; I will help you”. Isaiah 41:13. Often we have need of help in a situation – daily chores, work questions, support during illness or in a financial crisis. Friends and relatives offer help but it is limited by our abilities as humans. The Lord says: I got you! I am your help – don’t be afraid; I’m right here holding your hand! Give him the biggest Sunday Shout you can today! Spread the word that he is our help. He has every need met, every problem he’s already got handled and every promise he made, he will fulfill! Shout!”

Just as the sun rises each day, the light of these texts is consistent, yet different in its reach. Touching recipients – in their unique lives, joys, and struggles – some are a “direct hit”, while others provide the warmth of meaningful perspective to carry throughout the day.

Simply and quickly, the day’s text can be copied and sent to someone particularly aligned with that day’s reflection – a direct hit that breathes energy into a personal journey. Perhaps that person forwards it as well. And so on and so on and so on! All because Tammy shared her launch.

Here’s one more:

“But I am like an olive tree flourishing in the house of God; I trust in God’s unfailing love forever and ever. Psalm 52:8. The other day I noticed a small rosebush I had put in a shallow pot. My intent was to plant it in the ground but I thought since the weather was so hot and dry, it would not survive. What I failed to notice was the new growth was attached to a stronger shoot that was already flourishing. I love that word! We flourish when we remain connected and grounded by His love and trust. No matter how hot it gets or steamy the trials; when we firmly and are focused on Him, we become stronger and unwavering in the work. Be a strong “shoot” and grow in his word. Trust and be connected to him with all your being. You will not waiver; you won’t faint – you will flourish!”

Thank you Tammy for helping us “grow in His word” and “flourish”. Thank you Tammy, for growing love!

Categories: Grow Love, like ripples on a pond | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Everyone Needs an Accountabilabuddy

Is there such a thing as work/life balance? Or life balance, for that matter? So often we visualize the scales of justice, with tasks, commitments, and energy equally distributed. We think the bar needs to stay level at all times. Maybe life is more like a see saw instead – one side touches ground but with a big push up of the legs, we go back up. What happens if the weight is too much and we can’t push back up?

Enter the accountabilabuddy. The accountabilabuddy sees your need for a boost and gives it.

Do you need to take a walk to vent, share stories and regain perspective?

Maybe a coffee date to compare notes of your kids’ school experiences to make sure you’re “getting the memo”?

Set up a time with your accountabilabuddy to meet and go!

Haven’t had a mammogram in years?

An accountabilabuddy will relentlessly text, prod, and harangue you until the appointment is set. Another accountabilabuddy will make her appointment for the same day and enjoy a Frappuccino with you afterwards.

You get the idea.

Accountability partners are often connected to the mission of reaching a goal – often at work or at the gym – to support your direction, to stay the course, and keep the vision in line. It’s great to have an accountability partner. However, life isn’t linear. It’s a complex matrix. It’s a wild dusty playground full of energy, squeals of delight, and chaos. We need a posse of accountabilabuddies.

So what do you need to push back up this week? To fill your cup? Share it with a friend and voila, you have an accountabilabuddy. Find an accountabilabuddy and you find a friend.

Insert yourself as a relentless, prodding, loving accountabilabuddy to help someone fill his or her cup and you are a friend.

With every boost, you are growing love.

Categories: Accountabilabuddies | Tags: , | 2 Comments

Giving the gift of gratitude

Has anyone caught you off guard with an unexpected “thank you”? As we lead up to Thanksgiving, let’s try once a day to thank someone who least expects it! Let someone know you appreciate them – what they do and who they are. Let’s grow love with the gift of gratitude.

Categories: The Gift of Gratitude | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

The Grow Love Project

The world can be a scary place,
Making you fear for the human race.
Bad things happen for reasons unknown,
And good people worry that they’re alone.

At times it seems evil knows no bounds,
Causing such sorrowful sights and sounds.
More often these moments invade our day,
And in times of loss, we stop and pray.

We pray for those who are suffering,
With faith in the relief that God will bring.
We hope for the best while fearing the worst,
Dreading the day our own bubble will burst.

And yet, we hesitate to join the fray,
For what can we do – other than pray?
The answer lies within our heart,
Of the solution, we must be a part.

We’ve been given gifts from God above,
As it’s been said, “the greatest… is love”.
To light one candle, instead of cursing the dark,
Is the journey on which we are called to embark.

Love is the candle that lights our way,
In making a difference every day.
When seeking first to serve and give,
Becomes a liberating way to live.

Helping others in ways big and small,
Picking up a neighbor when they stumble or fall.
The impact expands like ripples on a pond,
Reinforcing our human bond.

One act of kindness leads to another,
And we see ourselves as sister and brother.
We witness the power of love growing a bit,
So we stay the course, we do not quit.

Yes, the world can be scary place,
But there is hope for the human race.
It’s through goodness that we’ll give evil the shove-
It’s in times like this that we must Grow Love.

-KMW

Categories: Poem | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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