Taking the Conversation About Race Offline

How the grand jury's decision in Ferguson changed one entrepreneur's business—and a community. [via FastCompany.com]

It was a familiar hum. When you hear the helicopters begin to hover over Oakland, you know the people have taken to the streets. I reached for my phone. There it was: A grand jury had not indicted Darren Wilson over the killing of Michael Brown.

For the rest of the night I sat at my computer reading other people’s responses to the news, watching videos of discontent posted in my Facebook feed, and following the hashtags #BlackLivesMatter and #HandsUpDontShoot.

In the days that followed, social media felt less and less adequate, making the need for something different glaringly obvious.

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I'm Not Martha Stewart. Neither Are You.

Seeking Authentic Brands: Moving Beyond Picture Perfect

When Martha started her empire, she was a plucky housewife on a mission to build a profitable business. She was scrappy. She bootstrapped. She bulldozed. She didn’t take no for an answer. And her business grew. People flocked to her picture-perfect lifestyle spread, the portrait of a perfect home. The spreads of her magazine paint a picture of a life free of stains, full of effortless perfection. She drew people in and she prescribed elaborate decorating techniques to make one’s home and life better.

Martha Stewart built an empire – unfit for the new generation. I am not Martha – and neither are you.

In the face of real life – rotating your carpets annually, spending all day baking elaborate cakes, or hand making all your wedding favors can be overwhelming if not completely detrimental to your relationships.

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In Search of Happiness

I have spent a lot of time lately contemplating happiness. Happiness has never been something I have sought or prioritized but I have begun to realize that although I seek long-term fulfillment, happiness is an essential companion to have along for the journey.

In the home in which I grew up purpose seemed to be more highly valued than happiness. Yet over the last several years, life has been determined to show me how little control I have over my circumstances, particular in the area of lining up the four C’s in my life: calling, career, community and creativity. This has been really challenging for me, particularly because I have such an ingrained belief that one’s life should have a greater purpose.

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Project Renovate

Last fall my dear friend Aimee and I were discussing life in all its glory.  She had recently returned from wrapping up a consulting gig in East Africa and I was nearing the end of a long stretch of soul-searching unemployment as I weighed grad school options.  I expressed how the most delightful thing I have gleaned from my time ‘between cubes’ is how many wonderful things make up our lives, other then a job.  Aimee shared a blog post with me entitled ‘Project Renovate’ that had been done by a friend of hers.

Like most people, I tend to use lists to remind me of all the to-do’s I’d rather forget, like paying bills and picking up dry cleaning. Yet ‘Project Renovate’ caught the beautiful elements that can make up life and inspired me to capture the things I actually do want to do.

Why not be intentional about renovating my own life? 

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Our Movements

A Reflection on the Life of Harvey Milk

Over a year ago I went to watch MILK, a movie portraying the life of prominent gay rights activist Harvey Milk.  I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area and so much of the film resonates with the culture I grew up in; one of my close friends from college’s father was Milk’s doctor.

I stumbled upon the following e-mail that I sent to a friend after reflecting on the movie.  As I think about the potential we have to shift the tides of society, examples like this remind me that it doesn’t matter what age we are when we start – it’s just important that we do.

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Take Root. A Reflection on 2009

There were days without rain,
the earth covered in a gray blanket that provided no comfort;
Days turned to weeks and weeks to months-
the ground seemingly too hard to plow
us stuck between an unforgiving sky and the rocks below;
When the only sound that remained was the hollow cry of wind,
it was the hope of what could be that kept us alive.

It was the stories whispered, almost as confessions,  by people on buses, in coffee shops and in quiet living rooms that gave me a deep sense of the struggle this past year has posed for many.  I too, stood within the struggle.  It is hard to articulate what best is encapsulated as a feeling.  The words that protrude from my mind come out mediated and distilled for an external audience, never doing justice to the depth and breadth of experience…

At some point during the year, I had a conversation with a close and long-time family friend.  I was sharing how I was growing weary and bewildered by what seems to be a constant friction- so many opportunities and efforts that failed to come to fruition.  She gave me a word that has helped me place this past years experiences in a forward-looking perspective - Roots.


We scatter many seeds on the soil of our life – some may bring beautiful flowers that seem to grow overnight and provide joy for a moment before they fade; others are washed away, and some stick, but the largest things to grow in our lives do not grow quickly, nor is the process easy.  The things that stay, put down roots.


Pushing down roots is an uneasy process- It’s finding a way through the hard ground, navigating past rocks too large to break and seeking nutrients, essential for life, in a seemingly barren landscape. As the roots grow and expand they become stronger and more entwined in the earth they inhabit but remain predominantly invisible to the external world.

Much of this past year was about navigating unmarked pathways within my soul and about discovering and pressing in to new avenues. I have run into many walls, came to many dead-ends, but I have also found new spaces where growth seemed possible. The process has not been linear or contiguous in nature. Like roots hidden underground, the year was marked by a type of isolation and darkness, but it was within this unknown space that I was forced to negotiate and create new paths.


I often stop and marvel at trees. I find them exceedingly beautiful, but as I stand under their giant arms with my eyes turned to the sky, I seldom think about the labyrinth of spider web like veins running beneath my feet.  It is these roots that give life and anchor the towering beauty in storms and droughts alike.


2009 was about putting down roots in my life.  There isn’t really any visible evidence of this effort yet, but believe me, they are there. Now when I see a massive old tree I get excited about what could possibly sprout from this new foundation in the years to come.


The hope of what will come from the struggle kept me going through many dark days.  I know from experience that hope isn’t always enough when you cannot see any light in front of you, but I trust that you too will soon see what has taken root in the soils of yesterday.

Here’s to 2010- the process, and seasons of growth!

To Know a Child

One of the most important gifts you can give to a child, is the gift of being known. I have watched people say they love a child, but when they do not really know the circumstances of their life, their needs, and their dreams- the impact of that love is questionable. When you know a child, your response to their need can be rooted in their reality instead of in your own desires. This is where real change happens.

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To the Fullest

It’s the day before Thanksgiving, and I am flying over what looks like a dry moonscape from the bird’s-eye view of the plane. Over the past few weeks, I have been thinking a lot about what it means to be alive and how one really relishes every day one has.

Recently a close friend of mine, upon returning home from Haiti feeling extremely ill, went to the emergency room.  While there the doctors identified a 9cm tumor in her abdomen.  What followed was a string of doctor’s appointments, a biopsy, and then the worst part- waiting for the results.

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A Tarot Card & A Coin Toss

I am trying to get better at making decisions. Mainly because life is simple a very long (or short) string of them, and even when I think I am not making a decision my inaction or apathy is a decision in and of itself.

A friend recently encouraged me to start practicing the ancient tradition (taught by the martial arts) of making decisions in six breaths.  Although making large decisions in less then one minute can seem negligent, I am beginning to see that it is not only possible by preferably. Last night at a dinner party I began to share my recent predicament with a stranger.  Moments later with a story of a tarot card and the flip of a coin, I made a major life decision. 

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The In-between Days

The parish schedule for Holy Week that stretches over four days presents a very different calendar than the one I have followed during other seasons of life.  For years I have participated in the dark-hour service of His death, and then celebrated Easter at sunrise with my family on a hill somewhere.  This year it’s appropriately different.  I am grateful for in-between time because lately, this is the space that I fill.

I am between the painful death and miracle of resurrection.

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And We All Choose

Sometimes relationships are comfortable like that old t-shirt that you stole from your college boyfriend.  Other times they seem to be the embodiment of the loneliness you feel because you couldn't make someone else stay.  We sometimes look for that euphoric moment that made us feel like life was worth living and other times we allow our relationships to parallel the chaos we see around us in the world.

The one thing the heart is not- is simple.  And we all choose.

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