Essaying

It has been months since I blogged…three posts in almost a year. Lame.

So receiving a humorous email from one of my ‘fans’ (my brother) asking why I have a blog but don’t write, made me search for a response. And after laying awake for two hours in the wee, wee hours of the morning pondering this, an answer came.

Life has been busy. It’s always busy, we all mutter. But normally, I’m able to sidle away from the busyness and get creative things done. To take time to think and write.

Not so this past summer.

We made a major geographical and lifestyle move. Since arriving in our new home, new community, new place to plant our roots, we’ve encountered numerous challenges with the actual physical house, including life-threatening ones. But we’ve come out of the fog and are beginning to see and live more clearly.

And during these last months, I’ve realized, I lost the writing voice in my head and heart that rumbles with ideas and philosophies and reflections and concerns.

And during the restless night a few days ago, I actually felt my mind start talking about ideas again. And perspectives. And observations that need writing down.

I awoke the following day and wrote an essay several pages long. Which is how I realized that the reason it’s hard for me to blog is because the format isn’t my style. I prefer writing essays.

Longer, thoughtful, literary. Wonderings. Sentences and words that have time to breathe. Edited and revised.

So that is what I’m going to do.

My essay topics will vary. I’ll write on leadership, education, the social politics of youth, parenting, writing. And other essay topics yet to be determined.

Maybe you’ll like some of them.

 

Kind

Our kids are out of the house by 7:45, I take the dog for a walk, chatting with new friends and neighbors along the way, and I’m back. My desire is to sit down and write, create, cultivate, nurture, and make a difference. But necessity dictates my schedule.

Part of how I spend my day includes making phone calls and setting appointments for my husband (even published authors have day jobs; especially when a family can’t be supported soley by her income!). He’s really good at what he does and his job is what allowed us to move to Texas. And although he’s essentially starting over, his skills are exceptional and if anyone can hit the ground running, it’s him. His ability to build relationships and bring value to every client he serves is incredible. Enviable, even.

I wish I could say the same about me. Making cold calls is difficult. It’s frustrating. People who are probably very nice in their real lives, can be mean. On the phone, talking to someone they’ve never met, they’re curt, arrogant, abrasive. Even if we’ve spoken before and they asked specifically for me to call them again.

My calls are not telemarketer calls. I am not calling in the middle of a meal or family time or a child’s nap. The calls are targeted and sometimes, in response to a direct request. My husband sells products and a service they’ve asked for. Yet through the invisible airwaves, I’m met by gatekeepers who are sassy and demeaning, or decision makers who overlook that they’re talking to another human, not a robocaller.

It’s no secret to our kids that we expect each of them to wait tables or work in an interfacing service job at least once in their lives. We believe positions like these provide an appreciation for how to treat others on the receiving end of what they’re dishing out.

And despite the difficulty of making calls, and the funk the rejection can put me in, I think I’d add cold calling to the list of something everyone should do at least once in their life. Maybe it’d remind people that no matter how far up the professional ladder they climb, being kind is an important quality to take with them.

Restart

For the past six months, my family has been preparing to move our life from Colorado to Texas. In early June, it finally happened.

Throughout the time it has taken to prepare and then move, I’ve been completing revisions to the Building Everyday Leadership in all Teens facilitator guide. In 2015, Free Spirit Publishing will launch the updated guide, incorporating much of the content from the ELSA CD-Rom, while also adding on-line digital resources.

This is exciting – for leadership educators and teen leaders alike – because the guide will truly become a “one-stop” resource for teaching leadership, assessing leadership gains, and kicking off meaningful conversations for emerging youth leaders from kindergarten to graduation.

What took a back seat during this move, however, was revising one of my middle grade novels, Daring Ivy. But now in our new home in Texas, between getting kids settled into new schools and new friendships and exploring new opportunities that come with the move, my novel is pulled out, reminding me of how creativity and new adventures go hand in hand, whether in real life or our imaginations.

What’s exciting and intimidating about having the move behind us is the opportunity to hit restart. Despite feeling anonymous and rudderless, hitting restart is allowing us to dig deep to find what direction to go-as a family, as parents, as a couple, as individuals-once the rudder has been recalibrated and is once again providing guidance beneath the surface.

What would you do with a restart?

 

 

Welcome

If you use any of the leadership materials I’ve written or you work with youth leaders, you probably visited my old site, Youthleadership.com, at least once. Much of the information from that site can be found here, except for the lists of youth leadership opportunities, professional development, and organizations/websites. While I know how much people appreciated having all that information in one spot, those pages were very difficult to keep updated. It’s amazing how often established organizations change websites, physical addresses, phone numbers, email addresses, and staff!

Because I also write fiction for savvy, literary kid readers and young adults, I chose to streamline the content from youthleadership.com to combine it with this other area of my professional life. My blog will cover these topics – youth leadership and middle grade/young adult fiction – as well as parenting, the social politics of kids, tweens, and teens, and other topics relevant to raising leaders, raising readers, and raising kids.

As always, if you have specific questions about youth leadership, working with youth, designing a leadership program, and inspiring the next generation of leaders, or writing for kids and teens, feel free to email or call me directly.