Spring Change

life change

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I apologize. It’s like I fell off the face of the earth.  I didn’t. I needed some time to think…and run. Last week, I resigned from my position with the City. It was a tough decision. I love those people. Shelton has many dedicated, talented public servants. Ultimately, it was the right thing to do. I wasn’t the best fit for the job. Someone else will be.

It’s felt like a free-fall, because I don’t know what’s next. I want to thank all of those who have supported me. Most of them won’t see this. But you have no idea how your texts, phone calls, emails and real time conversations have encouraged me and helped me to dream again. I keep running into ladies I haven’t seen in months, or really talked to in years. It’s like God has been saying, “See? You are loved. I’ve got you.”

The threads of my old life beckon. Writer’s group. Kettlebells. Blogging. Coffees and lunches with friends, no time limit attached to them. I relish the opportunity to breathe and reconnect with my kids and husband. I’ve missed them so much. Both of the kids will transition into new phases of life come fall. Zac heads off to college in August. Ruby will enter middle school in September. I’m savoring these moments before it all changes.

For now, I’m downshifting into home life. I thank God He holds the future and knows all the bends in the road. Right now, I can see all the way to the horizon. I’m looking forward to what’s next.

The Lord is my shepherd;
    I have all that I need.
He lets me rest in green meadows;
    he leads me beside peaceful streams. – Psalm 23:1-2

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Going Public

public records

Yesterday felt like Friday. But it wasn’t. I hate fake Fridays.

I went to the WAPRO conference yesterday. For those of you who don’t know, it’s all about records management if you’re a government entity. Hillary Clinton and the deleted emails? That was a Class C felony in the state of Washington. But I don’t know anything about that.

Anyway, the conference was in Lynnwood, which is north of Seattle. About 400 of us listened to librarians talk about fulfilling disclosure requests. They gave us solutions about retaining texts. The lawyers took over and discussed case  law with a special session on what to do if your agency gets sued. They had a 3-page section on what to do and what not to do if you get deposed.

Good times, my friend. And you missed it.

Every time I attend one of these, I’m struck by two things. First, the people in the room, on the podium as well as the strangers around the table, are way smarter than me. I mean, like Mensa champs. I would totally lose to them at Jeopardy! Most heinously.  As for Scrabble…fuggedaboutit.

The second thing I’m reminded of the fact that we’re public servants. Our rule within our agencies is to provide requestors what they seek, to the best of our abilities. True, records are only a side gig for me. I don’t do many public records requests in a year (knock on wood). Yet the 1972 law is clear – transparency rules:

The people of this state do not yield their sovereignty to the agencies that serve them. The people, in delegating authority, do not give their public servants the right to decide what is good for the people to know and what is not good for them to know. The people insist on remaining informed so that they may maintain control over the instruments that they have created. The public records subdivision of this chapter shall be liberally construed and its exemptions narrowly construed to promote this public policy.

As much as this can be an onerous task, searching for records and maintaining what we do have, the need for transparency and truth is inspiring. I’m proud of Washington for enacting this law. They keep the exemptions in check with The Sunshine Committee. I remember we’re governed by “we the people” not any one person or group. It’s a beautiful thing.

 

 

 

Running on Full

full tank gauge

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I stepped out the back door onto the damp ground. The sky lightened as I turned left onto the main drag. Up, up the hill and then straight on until the road ends.

My legs kept up. The hitch in my right hip made a brief guest appearance, then bowed and left the stage. I realized, not for the first time, how fully integrated running and mental health are.

The sky to my left turned a mesmerizing shade of blush. I passed McDonald’s, Oil Can Henry’s, Happy Teriyaki. I ran up the slight hill to where the highway meets the road. I stopped for a moment to breathe and to think.

I haven’t been surrendered. I’ve wanted things my own way. I haven’t responded well to criticism, justifying my response due to its harsh delivery. But in the end, does it matter? Does someone else’s opinion of me change who I am in Christ? Does it negate the gifts He has given me? Do I trust God to keep me in the worst circumstances, or do I try to fix things? “God, I don’t like the direction we’re heading. Here, I’ll take the reins. I know a better way.”

No. I can’t do that.

Yes, I can pray for things to change. And I do that. I seek His wisdom and understanding all the time. I want to speak words of encouragement and kindness. I want to call out the good. But I can’t change people. That’s not my gig. I can’t manipulate scenarios and force people into my mold, good though that mold may be.

I let it all go – the misunderstandings, the bad attitudes, the ugly accusations. I breathed it all out. The air, laden with fragrant flowers, filled my lungs as I inhaled. Peace accompanied it. I put myself squarely in God’s hands,  the only truly safe place. I ran back down the hill to home.

By this we know what love is: Jesus laid down His life for us, and we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers. – 1 John 3:16

 

Dogwood Passage

dogwood tree

I went for a short run this morning. The sky lightened, revealing a gray atmosphere. A faint drizzle/mizzle made the air feel almost liquid. I love this time of year. The air has so many fragrances –  cherry blossoms, tulips, lilacs, and fertile earth.

As I headed down the hill, I spotted a slender dogwood tree growing on the edge of our property. It’s shaded by quite a few fir trees towering above it. But its white blossoms stood out against the dark green foliage. It stood up, straight and tall, as if to say, “I’m here. I have something to offer, and it’s good.”

dogwood blossoms

Dogwoods have special meaning for me. It was a favorite tree of my parents. They planted a pink one in front of our house in Portland.  We drove by it a few weekends back. It’s tall now, almost up to the second story of that yellow house on 10th.

Truth be told, I don’t like the pink ones. But I love the white ones. They make me think of my roots. Flowering dogwood is the state tree of Virginia. My family has roots there, too.

I considered all this as I chugged along. I’m in a season in life where I need to choose to bloom. I need to dig in at the roots. I need to commit and give my best every day, no matter how I feel. Seeing the tree today felt like a reminder from the Lord. “Press in, Susan. Give it all you’ve got and leave the rest to me.” The older I get, the more I realize I control so very little. I can’t control people’s actions. I can’t fix their problems or their wonky attitudes. All I can control is me, and sometimes I do a poor job there as well.

So, it’s Friday. I’m going all-in. Are you with me?

Do everything without complaining and arguing,  so that no one can criticize you. Live clean, innocent lives as children of God, shining like bright lights in a world full of crooked and perverse people. – Philippians 2:14-15

 

 

 

The Song

The Song

 

As I sit

Alone

I hear the rain

Hitting the roof

The cats curled

Black commas

Furry pauses

This early morning.

 

I listen

I wait

In rest

Patient pause.

 

Between the drops

I sing

Lifting my voice

To praise

the One.

 

You sing back

Rejoicing over me

Our voices blending,

Our hearts

Together

In early morning hymn.

treble clef