Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Women's History Wednesday

Good morning from Virginia! Katie here welcoming you back for another Women's History Wednesday. As some of you know, we are spending each Wednesday during the month of March honoring a woman in our lives who has inspired us creatively. Cheryl started us off this month sharing the story of her aunt who taught her about Zentangles and last week Heather shared the story of her mother's creative ideas surrounding children. It is my pleasure this week to share with you the inspiration behind my work as a supervisor of undergraduate college students.

When I was an undergraduate at Bellarmine University in Louisville, Kentucky I had the pleasure of being a resident advisor in a freshman residence hall where I worked/lived on a floor with 40 female freshman students. My supervisor was the Hall Director, Shingi Nyamwanza. Three years later, now that I am a Hall Director in a residence hall, I find myself referring back to many ideas and tactics that Shingi used with us. The best thing about these ideas are their ability to be applied in a variety of arenas. This might include your work/role as a supervisor, Girl Scout troop leader, mother, sports coach, or PTA member.

1. The Accountability Jar. I'm not sure if this is what Shingi called it, but that's what I'm going to call it for today. This was a jar in which Shingi had each of us take a slip of paper and on it we were to write one duty or "chore" that we would like someone else on staff to complete for us on one side and our name on the other. Then we put all the slips of paper into the jar, and it stayed in her office. If someone was late to a staff meeting they had to pull a slip of paper from this jar and then complete this task for the person who wrote it. It was her creative way of keeping us accountable.

2. The High 5 Award. This is an idea that I have implemented with my staff this year. Each week, a different RA on staff would be awarded the High 5 Award. It was an outline of a hand on a piece of paper. On each of the fingers there was a different reason listed as to why that staff member had made a difference in the building that week. Some reasons might include: covering a night of sitting desk duty, helping with a roommate conflict, putting on a great program, etc. If I was the recipient during week 1, I was then responsible for giving the award to another staff member during week 2. I love this idea because it was not awarded by the supervisor, but instead it is awarded among equal members of the staff. I also love it because it is very inexpensive but can be very meaningful!

Thank you to Shingi for the impact she has made on my life. Hopefully she will check in with us today and make a post!

Before we close out for the day, we have one thing left to cover....Highs, Lows, and Ahas! As is our tradition here at Highlowaha, I ask that each of you take some time to share your High (best thing), Low (worst thing), and Aha (something you learned) from the past month in the comment section today. Beginning this new year on Highlowaha, we are going to add a new component to our tradition on these days. As we stated at the beginning of the new year, we would like to invite each of you to take a seat with us at the table each day to share in the creativity of this community. In keeping with this goal, we would like to invite one of you to join us each month to share your High, Low, and Aha within the post for the day. This individual will be randomly selected through the postcards in the Random Acts of Kindness box. (Not sure what I'm referring to? Check the post from 2/24) Each month on the 18th, we will draw a card from the box and this person will be our special guest for the following month. So, later today we will pull a name to be our guest for April! If you still need to get your postcard in the box, send it off in the mail to the following address:
Claudia Beeny
4012 Harvestwood Ct
Grapevine, TX 76051

For the month of March, we have invited Shingi to be the guest at our table and she has shared her High, Low, and Aha with me so I can post it here for all of you to see.

High - Spring is almost here! I love DC in the springtime :-)
Low - One of my closest girlfriends got laid off - I feel so helpless.
Aha - (so many this past month)- Life is all about building relationships. Its more about who you know not what you know... ( Sad but true. I could argue that that's also my low)

Don't forget to share yours with us in the comment section so that you can go into the hat to win a Highlowaha t-shirt with your favorite Ray on it!


Shamrock Shakes: Below are Claudia, Cheryl, and their boys enjoying some traditional Shamrock Shakes at the Beeny household on St. Patty's Day! Take special note of the McDonald's straws. As we know (via Claudia) all shakes are better when had through a McDonald's straw.
: Don't forget today is the last day to submit recipes to Tera for the first ever HLA cookbook. Email them to

Women who Take the Cake: Don't forget about this easy way to honor a woman in your life. Send nominations by 5pm today to Send a paragraph of 200 words or less describing why this woman "takes the cake". The woman we choose will be presented a cake on your behalf.


Anonymous said...

High- Helping my daughter get ready for her first prom.
Low- My husband losing his phone and only car key.
Aha- I'm a much better mom/person when I have a few hours alone to get my work done.

Katie K said...

High- The start of another year here at HLA, going to Texas to visit friends, going home to see friends/family in Kentucky

Low- My eye still being infected, my car keeps needing repairs but I'd rather just get rid of it...which I can't afford to do

Aha- It's okay not be to able to give 100% every day all day

maureen said...

High-Saturday I am having a mini reunion with friends from HS
Low-Spring Cleaning and so tired
Aha-Krysten has 5 new Sweet 16's to attend and no dresses to wear!

Have fun HLA... Im going out east for the day!

maureen said...

Katie come to NY my whole family is full of mechanics... free labor just buy the parts LOL and take it from me parts are cheaper than labor!

Peggy said...

High - Taking a creative workshop on how to use a brayer with my card making. It was so fun to be around people who talk the same language, distress inks, whisper white card stock, ghosting images, adhering your snail tape, then embellishing.

Low- hearing the sadmess(I did a typo there, but went back and decided sad mess is a good word) of those around me who have lost something due to the economy, those who have family members who just don't 'get it' and sickness.

Aha - I can't do it all (I never thought I could) but working just a bit over part time, maintaining the house, picking up and taking kids to activities, making gourmet meals, shopping for spring, walking the dog, keeping up with American Idol and looking gorgeous.... once again, it's a lot of work to be me! :0)

cassie p said...

high- drinking green beer with my good friends last night after clinical even though it was a tuesday night and we had just finished a 12 hour day AND have another 12 hour day today!

low- starting clinicals after spring break, which means i now have 16 hours of class a week AND 21 hours of clinicals a week. But I only have to do it for 54 more days!

aha- dont burn any bridges because you never know when you will come across that person again and need something from them!

Kat said...

High- Watching my baby turn into a little boy practically overnight.
Low- Economic stresses.
Aha- Just a little extra effort can be well worth it.

Chaotic said...

High... putting my greeting cards our for sale in an actual business establishment!
Low... being sick for 4 days
Aha... sometimes doing absolutely nothing is just what I need to do

Heather said...

High: Closing on our house and having amazing inlaws who are so giving and kind. Reconnecting with some old friends via facebook...we are scattered across the country (Minnesota, Texas, California, Atlanta, and Kentucky)but it feels like we are getting to know one another again. Having an amazing daughter who also (like Kat's little boy Max) seems to be growing up overnight.

Low: A few of our regular community members dropping off the radar (where are you Kristen, Julie, AZ Lori?) Stress at work, stress about the economy, stress in general. My good friend's husband lost his job and hers is in jeopardy and these are two of the hardest working people you'll ever meet...makes me sick to my stomach.

Aha: Grilling is SO much easier than cooking food inside. We finally went and got a tank for our grill (we haven't had one since we moved) and have been grilling out so much lately. Little clean up and it!

Cruise Director said...

Katie, thanks for sharing Shingi with us!!

High: Going to Houston to my friends baby shower and seeing the cutest pregnant woman ever!! Daylight Savings time started. Watching my boys play a winning soccer game. Losing 10 pounds in the fitness contest.

Lows: People losing jobs. Reading all the crap with AIG. My house is a mess because I hate to clean. My yard is full of dandelions. I got my garage door repaired but it still doesn't work completely.

Ahas: Whether you're winning or losing- at your job, at a game, at life in general- keep a positive and nice attitude.

BKRoot posted last night... Hope to hear about your Habitat trip.

Cassie- you sound super busy... did we get an update on how your cruise went? I'll just assume you had a wonderful trip.

Chaotic- sorry you were sick. Deep breaths, happy thoughts.

Heather said...

Chaotic...congrats on the business opportunity with your cards...that sounds awesome!

Also sorry to hear you have been sick.

Claudia said...

High: Starting my new job and feeling in the thick of things again; celebrating Jack's second birthday and watching him learn how to talk; beautiful spring weather;

Low: Missing some of the flexibility of not working full time; being trapped inside when there is beautiful spring weather; relatives who I haven't heard from in far too long.

Aha: The nature of my current job has made it more clear that you have to match the appropriate form of communication with the situation. It's tempting to use email to conduct business, because it's convenient and efficient. But sometimes, to minimize misunderstandings and unnecessary conflict, a phone call or a personal visit is the smarter way to go.

Claudia said...

A few more notes while I am at it...

Maureen... who is coming to you mini reunion? I wish I could be there.

Peggy... you made me smile today. Keeping up with American Idol is the straw that breaks the camels back, isn't it. Did you watch last night? Who do you think is going home this week? I'm addicted!

Chaotic... congratulations on the cards. When can we get a glimpse?

Take the cake... Don't forget! Today is the last day! A paragraph or two is all it takes.

Today Katie mentioned us doing a drawing to see who would join us at the table on April 18. As noted, we will draw a postcard from the RAK box. Interesting point: We have received 17! That means the next one I receive in the mail gets the $25.00 gift card I have been trying to give away for weeks!!!!!

b.k.root said...

High - Spending a week in Florida with my wonderful Habitat for Humanity students, and building a home for a single mother in need.

Low - I haven't visited my family in well over a month.

Aha - Reading really is something i enjoy... I just need to find more time for it.

lindsaymarie said...

I really like the high 5 award idea!

High: I got accepted and decided to attend NYU for graduate school, and I am SO excited!

Low: I got really homesick and just a general case of the winter doldrums this month.

Aha: As much as I love being independent, I still really need my family.

My mom asked me recently what "highlowaha" meant, I explained it to her, so go ahead mom, share your high, low, and aha!

b.k.root said...

The Habitat trip was wonderful... There are lots of photos posted on my Facebook:

My students from Pitt-Greensburg worked with students from Pitt-Johnstown all week. We were able to get the entire frame/outside shell of the house complete, including roofing, siding, windows, and door installation, etc.

Heather said...

Congratulations Lindsay! What an accomplishment to get into NYU for grad school! that sounds like an amazing experience. Sounds like you really lived the spirit of 218 last week.

Cruise Director said...

Heather, you took the words right out of my mouth. Thanks for sharing the pics Brian... that beach looked nice!!

Congrats Lindsey!! What are you studying?

Devil Dog said...

NYU Lindsay!!!! Congratulations! Maybe we can meet sometime when I go back home to visit. That would be fun. I'd even drag Maureen along with me, so you could meet her too. She was, after all, voted the person readers were most interested in meeting.

Katie K said...

Brian- I once worked on a Habitat for Humanity house building in Louisville and thought it was one of the most amazing experiences I have ever had. So, I can only imagine how amazing an entire week would have been...not to mention exhausting!

Congrats, again, cousin! We're so proud of you in the Kolkmeier house! And can't wait to properly congratulate you when we see you in July!!! Yay!

Shingi said...

Katie-Pooh! Gosh this makes me feel so old, lol! You guys made what I did so enjoyable. Even though I'm no longer in student affairs I find myself using a lot of what I learned at BU in my current job in youth development. You were an amazing RA and I often used your floor and your style of time management to encourage other RA's on staff.

I have to give credit where credit is due though. The high-5 award was definitely an idea I stole from Leslie - gotta love the creativity of student affairs :-).

I hope you're enjoying being a hall director. It will truly be one of the most amazing learning experiences.

Love you always

Shingirirathermopolis :-)

Lori C said...

High: My oldest daughter Lindsay got accepted to NYU's school of social work, My middle daughter Molly turned 19
Low:A crazy busy schedule this month
Ahas: I can still enjoy school even at age 45, I started back for my Masters this month

sue said...

Have not written anything lately but feel I need to. Lindsey congradulation I am so proud of you. Katie K your lows are my lows.
High - being able to see Katie this week and having a wedding this summer
AHA - realizing that when I take some time out for myself that is Ok and not feel guilty

Claudia said...

Lots of new posters today. I love it. Sue, great hearing from you again.

Lori C (who I now realize is connected to this whole Lindsay/Kolkmeier clan... it was so interesting to read the responses your classmates posted to Cowgirls question we posted last week. Very interesting. I can't say thank you enough for thinking to involve them and then sharing their insights with us.

That is an example of what I love so much about this community.

Katie K said...

45 minutes left to submit your nomination for the woman you feel takes the cake! Submit a one paragraph (200 words or less) description of why you feel she takes the cake to

cassie p said...

To say the least, yes, I am busy. And yes, our cruise was amazing!!! You can check out pictures if you are my facebook friend! :-) Sorry I was going to try and get a nomination in for woman who takes the cake, but I just couldnt get it done.