Thursday, January 31, 2013

Leadership Lessons: Holy Discontent

Today I have a holy discontent about the poverty and homelessness in Peterborough, ON. What I mean by that is I can't shove it under the rug, its in my face. The reason for this is I spent a night hanging out with homeless people through the Out of the Cold program. I heard their stories and I know their names. This isn't about pity, it's about the reality of the situation. There were at least seven people there who had no where else to go that night. This group doesn't know where they are sleeping on Friday night and this is bothering me.

I am involved in the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network on the board of directors and I am the chair of the Vision group for the Mount. But what does that mean if I am not affecting the lives of these seven people who don't have a home? I never want to get so important or influential that I miss the point of what is really happening at the street level.

I don't know what to do about it other than jump in. It's going to get messy and I may cry but tears are the recipe for a soft heart. I don't have any solutions but I do have two ears to listen. I am going to go have dinner with them tonight. I know that means the discontent in me will grow but I am willing to become uncomfortable about this.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Spring 2013 Colors

We are officially in the dead of winter and I am feeling the winter blahs. I haven't felt creative at all and it is frustrating. But I checked out the Pantone Color report for Spring 2013 and I am inspired by color once again. Below are the colors for the Spring season.

Here is a closer look at the Spring Color Collection:

Out of all the colors for this spring I love Greyed Jade. It is subtle yet beautiful.

 The great thing for me about knowing the  colors ahead of time is I can pick out paper and felt in those colors when I make my jewelry. I then bring the trend colors with me when I go to stores that sell my jewelry, it's a great way to stay in the know about what is trending.

Thursday, January 24, 2013

Leadership Lessons: Values

I mentioned last week in my post called Leadership Lessons: Boldness that I am the lead on a new initiative by the Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network. I can actually now talk about what we are doing because we had the official press release on Tuesday. The Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network is currently in due diligence to purchase the former convent of the Sisters of Saint Joseph. What does that mean exactly? Well if all goes well, this property has the potential of being a community hub which could include affordable housing, a food hub, offices for not for profits. Check out this article in the Peterborough Examiner.

I have the privilege to be the lead on the Vision/ Governance group which is determining what the vision is for the property. Today we discussed the Values and Principles that we want to hold as a group. We talked about community and inclusiveness, diversity and innovation. We are crafting a Mission Statement for the project.

I brought up the point that what we believe about people is how we allocate space. I used to want to be in city planning. Thinking through that I realized that city planners are theologians of sorts. What they believe about people determines how they allocate space. The reality is that those who live in poverty have access to less space than those who aren't living in poverty. We talked about as a group that we want people who may live in this community to be able to access beautiful space. I have thought in the past that wouldn't it be awesome if it was turned on it's head that the most beautiful space was accessible to poor. Below is a shot of the beautiful chapel (Steve Kylie and Sister Veronica)

  Another thing I mentioned at the meeting is that the poor have something to give. I learned that very valuable lesson when I was at Wheaton College outside of Chicago. We had a speaker come to a meeting who told us that he felt called by God to move himself and his family into inner city Chicago. He said that the first thing that he had to learn when he began to live in community with those in his low income neighborhood was that the poor have something to give. Being in a position of giving all the time is a position of power but receiving is a position of humility. When we see people in our lives as having the potential of giving back they will feel apart of what is going on.

I am involved in poverty activism because it is important, because I put value in helping people. But this new community at the Mount isn't just about a new housing complex for low income people. It is about diversity and having people from various income levels and backgrounds working out what it means to be a community.

Community is a word that is a bit of a fad right now. We talk about it a lot. But what does it mean to those living on the fringes of society. It means finding a place to contribute, where your work and who you are is valued. It's about relationships, about the mystery of how people become close to each other and love each other. It's about being a part of something bigger than ourselves, something that matters.

Friday, January 18, 2013

Favorite Friday Ideas

This weeks edition of Favorite Friday Ideas is all about the home. I do not own my own home, I rent but I have a dream of my own space someday. I have a house dream book that I am putting together that I may feature here sometime. Here are some pictures of spaces I like. My style is Farmhouse Glam with a bit of Boho. What on earth is that you may ask? I like rustic pieces in an elegant style with a bit of pattern and pop added in.If you are interested in learning more about them click source underneath the picture.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks edition of Favorite Friday Ideas. 
Have a great weekend!

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Leadership Lessons: Boldness

Today I did something that really scared me. I led a group of 10 people in a two hour meeting on a new initiative that the board of directors (Peterborough Poverty Reduction Network) I am on is spearheading. That may be scary to some and not to others, but to me it was huge. I took a course in the fall on Not for Profit Leadership and so when this opportunity came up to be the lead on a vision / governance group I took it. It was a risk for the other people involved to let me take on such a big role but I guess they saw potential in me.

See I haven't been in leadership for seven years. Prior to that I was in leadership a lot. Seven years ago I started dealing with a major illness and this was the first time I was able to lead while still having this illness. Today after the meeting I went home and I cried because I knew it was a break through for me. It is the beginning of something new, I don't know exactly where it will lead me but it is my hope that I will someday be a leader in a not for profit.

To get ready for the meeting today I read the book Visioneering by Andy Stanley. A quote from the book states...  “Visions are born in the soul of a man or woman who is consumed with the tension between what is and what could be.” I care about poverty issues, I have for a long time. The tension I have between what is and what could be is the lack of affordable housing and positive community spaces for those living in poverty. I want to be apart of something that matters, that makes a difference. I can't talk about the specifics about this new project until the press release on Tuesday but it has the potential of impacting many lives. I want to be apart of that and now I am.

To get ready for the meeting I put together a work sheet that we would work through. Having a round table discussion always has the potential for a lot of rabbit trails. I started out by asking the question what is the problem and how is this idea the solution to that problem. Then we looked at the scope, what could this project encompass? Then we looked at a vision statement and a name. Finally I asked the question, what else do we need to know to move forward?

The discussion was fruitful and we accomplished our objectives. People left with a clear understanding of where we were heading and what they had to bring to the meeting the next time. I got some great feedback afterwards about how I had conducted the meeting and all of it was overwhelmingly positive. Those on the board with me knew that this was a big step for me and they made an extra effort to encourage me.

So what is my leadership lesson? Boldness. Step out and you never know what opportunities you may find. Be the solution to someones question and you will never lack leadership opportunities. 

Friday, January 11, 2013

Favorite Friday Ideas

As I mentioned in my last post I am in the process of developing a new product or products to sell using felt and possibly copper or silver. Here are some ideas that are inspiring me.

I hope you enjoyed this weeks Favorite Friday Ideas, 
as much as I did finding these beautiful creations,

Happy Crafting!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Creativity: Felt earrings

I want to try something new this year, combining my love of felt with jewelry making. I need a new product because people are getting kind of bored with my Japanese Paper pendants and so am I. I saw these neat felt earrings on Pinterest and I had to try them. Fortunately I had all the supplies and got to work.

I cut out three colors of felt in incremental sizes in the shape of a leaf.

I sewed a jump ring to the top securing all three leaves together. Then I attached an earring hoop to the jump ring. Here I am sporting my new creations.

Happy 2013!
Happy Crafting!