Friday, January 9, 2009

Free For All Friday

Voting for Secret Ingredient at the end...

Today I head home.

One week ago today I was packing last minute things in my bag, preparing to leave for Leadershape. I'll be honest. I was frustrated that I needed to squeeze sheets, a pillow, and a blanket in my suitcase and took it as a red flag that the week was not going to go as hoped. I arrived in McAllen and hours later saw the room in which I would spending the week. I called my husband and told him, in no uncertain terms, that if it was even remotely possible I would be on the next plane back to Dallas. The room was in terrible condition... bugs, torn mattresses, moldy walls and showers, joint bathrooms and the list went on.

I had in front of me five sixteen hour days, little sleep, junk food, and time away from my boys (all four of them). If there was a proverbial mountain, I was standing at the base of it looking STRAIGHT up!

Here's my point. This week has been among one of my greatest. I spent the week as a minority - one of two white people, among 54 Hispanic students and an African American co-lead, and three Hispanic Cluster Facilitators. I was out of my element a lot of the week. I butchered beautiful Hispanic and Mexican names, ate food that wasn't always familiar, got caught in conversations that vacillated between Spanish and English, and did one too many (bad) renditions of the Macarena.

Maybe this is the dis-orientation Colin Powell talked about. I think it is. It would have been much simpler to stay in Grapevine for the week. I could have made my daily trip to Starbucks, spent time getting "organized" for the upcoming year, and generally enjoyed life in the safe and comfortable surroundings I call home. Instead, I start off 2009 dis-organized, but also refreshed, more creative, a better (more humble) leader, and a more appreciative mother and wife.

I am thankful for the experience exactly how it was - bugs, possums, mold, and all. I'm looking forward to returning home, but I leave University of Texas Pan American (UTPA) reminded how rich and vibrant life can be when we allow our lives to occasionally get disorganized. The real thanks goes to the students of UTPA who welcomed me to their campus and made teaching and learning such a pleasure. Me? I get a small pat on the back for never getting so complacent that I overlook these irreplaceable life experiences.

Thanks for indulging me in the short reflection. Now for Free For All-ing. It's Friday so you drive the content. May I suggest that, possibly, we revisit some of the great questions emanating from the Mind Mapping exercise? Here's what I remember...
  • If money was no object, what is something in would like to have framed for your home?
  • If salary etc.. were no issue, what would be your dream job (how about writing the job description)?
  • If you could add any kind of room to your house (a bowling alley, a craft room, etc...), what would you add?

Don't like any of those? Create your own or disorganize us and take us in a whole new direction!

Now lets vote for the final secret ingredient, before the Super Bowl. You're voting for either...

Tabasco or Pistachio

Next time we talk, I'll be back in Dallas. Signing off until then.

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