Friday, December 30, 2011

My best December EVER

I have not posted over the past month because I have been so busy LIVING my life rather than writing about it. I had a phenomenal Christmas season, and have savored this December through and through. For me, that is nothing short of amazing.

Traditionally I have gone into a funk in December. Some years it has been a "partly cloudy" sort of angst. Other years it has been dancing with the devil of pretty significant depression. Suffice it to say that December has been my most bleak month of the year for the past 20 years or so. Part of that has been because I have long associated the Christmas season with death and funerals. Part of has been missing my kids who live half a country away, which somehow has felt more poignant during the holidays. Part has to do with other things...

But NONE of it got me down this year.

I can honestly say that 2011 has been a pretty spectacular year for me, a season in my life when I've felt more contentment and bliss than ever before. Then, as icing on the cake, December has been my best month of this very good year.

Here are a few of the highlights:

I started a new job in October. The first several weeks were filled with the expected anxiety of learning curve. But by December I began to find my stride and found I REALLY like my new position. I have been astonished at what a good fit it is for me. FINALLY I have a job that seems just the right amount of responsibility and challenge that keeps me on my toes without overwhelming me. I get to work with some very cool people and I while I still have a long way to go to achieve mastery in my new role, I am genuinely enjoying the process.

My beloved turned 66 on Dec 1. We celebrated on Sanibel Island in Florida. We had an amazing time connecting with each other in a beautiful place. Being married for 30 years to this guy has been quite a privilege. The week of our anniversary and his birthday was a romantic whirlwind that left me giddy.

My spirituality has been in a very sweet space for the past while. I've long had a strong faith system and have been active in the practices of my church. Still, sometimes I have felt less closeness with my creator. Over the past year as I've dug deeper into gratitude and truly savored my blessings (which have been many) I've been able to notice tender mercies all around me on a more steady basis.

Throughout the month of December we did a variety of festive things...Dec 9 - Live Nativity with my brother and sister-in-law, Dec 10 - A Christmas Carol at Nampa Civic Music Theatre with some dear friends, Dec 18 - Boise LDS Institute choir Christmas program - BEAUTIFUL! There was a church breakfast we took neighbors to and a work party that was more fun than I had expected. We went caroling with a group from our congregation, mailed out (and received) lots of cards and made Christmas cookies for neighbors and friends.

But best of all, we went to Arizona for Christmas. We had the most amazing time there, I am still grinning so much my face hurts. We had wonderful visits with family. There were several very special things we got to do. It was just the right mix of quiet down time and revelry. It really was a magical way to close out the year.

Tomorrow night we will go to some friends to ring in 2012. We'll nosh on some yummies, play some games, and enjoy being silly with people we like.

When 2010 ended I was more than ready to kick the year to the curb. It had done me few favors. But I'll be a bit sad to see this one go. Indeed 2011 has been a delightful year for me. I hope I will always savor the memory of it. I've had multiple peak periods of bliss. I've had so much to be grateful for.

Monday, November 28, 2011

30 Years

Thirty years ago today I married my best friend. I am stunned at how blessed we have been in this relationship. I feel so honored to have had the opportunity to share these three decades with this man. He makes me laugh. He has incredible integrity. He has a phenomenal work ethic and did an amazing job of supporting two families for many years. Now that he is retired he continues to be a phenomenal father and husband. He is a huge support to me in more ways than I can count. Yes, I love him deeply. Beyond that, I genuinely LIKE this guy. We are not just hanging out together. We are truly a team and both of us are better people because of the union we share. My life has been surrounded by so much trust, kindness and possibility because of him. In good times and dark times, we both lift each other up. Happy anniversary my beloved. May we have many, many more years to come.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Book Review - Assassination of Governor Boggs

I just finished reading "The Assassination of Governor Boggs" by Rod Miller. I was asked to review this by my publicist friend, Tristi Pinkston who will link to this post over on her virtual book tour page. I took a peek at what some of the other reviewers there had to say about the book and was interested to see an interview with the author among them.

This book presents an interesting blend of genres, offering up historical fiction from a mystery/detective approach with some of the style of a western gunslinger tale thrown in for good measure.

The book is a fascinating read. It serves up a fictional character, one Calvin Pogue who works for the renowned Pinkerton detective agency from Chicago who has been assigned to investigate a cold case: the very real failed assassination attempt of Lilburn Boggs, who served as the the sixth Governor of Missouri from 1836 to 1840.
In real life, the culprit who shot Governor Boggs in Independence, MO in May of 1942 was never apprehended, although there was rampant speculation that the crime may have been committed by one Orrin Porter Rockwell, a faithful defender of Mormon leaders Joseph Smith and Brigham Young, and a major character throughout this book.

Governor Boggs was involved in many different issues and events of his day, but is perhaps best remembered as the one who issued the "Mormon Extermination Order"

From Wikipedia: Missouri Executive Order 44, also known as the "Mormon Extermination Order"[1] (alt. exterminating order)[2] in Latter Day Saint history, was an executive order issued on October 27, 1838 by the governor of Missouri, Lilburn Boggs. The directive was issued in the aftermath of the Battle of Crooked River, a clash between Mormons and a unit of the Missouri State Guard in northern Ray County, Missouri, during the so-called "Mormon War" of 1838. Insisting that the Mormons had committed "open and avowed defiance of the laws", and had "made war upon the people of this State," Boggs precipitously directed that "the Mormons must be treated as enemies, and must be exterminated or driven from the State if necessary for the public peace—their outrages are beyond all description."

To this day there are many LDS people who hear the name Lilburn Boggs and think of him as a monster who was the cause of the suffering and death by starvation of many who had to flee their homes following the order. So it is no small wonder that at the time he was shot the bad feelings between Boggs and the Mormon people would lead to speculation about motive for the crime.

In this book the investigation into the shooting of Boggs that very nearly did take his life occurs 20 years after the fact. Upon the death of Governor Boggs, his family hires the Pinkerton Detective Agency to determine once and for all who shot Lilburn all those years ago. They are aware that the statute of limitations on attempted murder had long since passed so it is not a matter of bringing the assailant to justice. They do, however, have a deep desire to put the matter to rest once and for all by knowing who was responsible.

Pogue travels by stagecoach and train to various locations (Independence, MO, Navoo, IL and Salt Lake City, UT and the California gold lands) to interview every person he can find who might be able to shed some light on those long past events. Some of the characters we meet through these interviews are

Sam Brannon

Jacob Wright Harlan

Emma Smith

One of the primary voices in each chapter in that of Porter Rockwell himself, the man who many believed was the shooter.

There is much about this book I liked very much. It's a strong narrative that held my interest. I especially felt a connection with the detective, Calvin Pogue, and loved the detail of his ever vigilant lookout for all manner of toy horses in every town he visited that he would mail with loving letters to his young daughter back in Chicago.

I had read in some of the other reviews for the story that there would be a dramatic "suprise ending", but I NEVER saw coming what actually unfolded.

What made me squirm a bit as I was reading was the whole issue of "historical fiction". Unlike some of that genre, this book has absolutely no footnotes or end pages that detail sources for the historical part to allow the reader to sort it out cleanly from the fiction part. So there were several points where I was left simply wondering "Did that really happen??" That was uncomfortably unsettling for me.

I LOVE reading fiction. I also enjoy reading history. Generally speaking, however, I like to know which is which.

Still, even with that caveat, I can heartily recommend this book. It's a worthy read. Now I'll be off to do a bit more research of my own to see what I can learn about some of these characters.

You can purchase this book at Deseret Book or on

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Scanning Madness

About a month ago or there abouts I received eight boxes that were delivered to my doorstep by fed ex. Every one of the boxes pictured here were crammed full with photographs, documents, letters and personal papers going back three generations in my family. These boxes held the collection of genealogy, photo albums and various STUFF that had belong to my mother, her mother, and her mother before her. My aunt and uncle had gathered it all up from my grandmother's house in Cottonwood, AZ after her death in 1988. They sorted through it some, but it has mostly sat in boxes for over 20 years. Finally they decided something should be done with the collection, so they sent it all to me.

Oh my.

There are some absolute TREASURES in these boxes. There are photographs I had never seen or knew even existed. However, those treasures are mixed in with a whole lot, junk. At least it is junk to me. My mother had the best of intentions, but she didn't have much sense of order. And, it would appear, she came by that habit honestly. Her mother's records are no more organized than my mom's.

So I've been spending LOTS of time going through these boxes piece by piece by piece, trying to sort out what is there - separating the wheat from the chaff. I've thrown away a lot of stuff. (Multiple copies of many photographs, EVERY card my mother got at her wedding, 15 copies of the newspaper that had her engagement photo in it, along with lots of old correspondence with strangers trying to track down various genealogy leads. (Thank you God for making research a whole lot easier these days since the invention of the internet.)

For the first couple weeks after the boxes came the contents took over every horizontal surface of my house as I painstakingly separated things out into specific piles: grandma photos here, Mom's sibs over there, my sibs in this pile, various cousins over there.

Sadly, there were quite a few of the really old pictures I have no idea whatsoever who they are of - including five tintypes that I suspect belonged to my great grandmother.

However, for pictures that I DO recognize I am absolutely determined to get them all cataloged so that when I go pinchers up no one will find stacks and stacks of boxes of disorganized clutter peppered with family treasures. That's one family tradition I'd just as soon not take on.

So I've been scanning all photos and posting quite a few of them onto the family blog that I started a while back. Then I mailed out several boxes to give pictures back to the various family groups they came from. Little by little I am whittling away at my piles.

I've reclaimed my living room and there are no more pictures on the dining room table. My office however, is still more than a catastrophe. There is simply no way I know to get through this project without making one heck of a mess.

I'll be glad when I get it done and can get my work space back in order. But right now I am incredibly thankful for the treasures of family images and records that have been gifted to me. It has been a fascinating process to go through it all.

I just wish I could find my desk.

Tuesday, November 08, 2011

Fringe Benefits

My beloved and I have been looking at various options for purchasing private health insurance. As it turns out, the group policy available to ME at my new job is ok (not great by any means) and offered at a tolerable cost. However, it becomes exorbitant if I want to have my husband covered too. My employer subsidizes the cost for employee group coverage, but not for their family members. So we've been reading the fine print for various medicare supplement programs and prescription only policies to see what we can afford.

We got incredibly spoiled by the insurance that we had in Oregon. We paid NOTHING (one of the wonderful benefits of having my husband work for the state-they picked up the full tab!) and we received very generous coverage for medical, dental and vision. They even covered my husband's adult son with a disability who lived in a different state. Sadly,those days are long gone.

Now we will be balancing high premiums, higher deductibles, higher co-pays and reduced coverage which means basically we'll be crossing our fingers and hoping we don't get sick. It makes me far more sympathetic toward the MANY people in this country who have no insurance at all. Getting decent medical coverage is a major motivating factor why many people continue working beyond retirement age. Unfortunately, more and more employers are cutting corners on what sorts of coverage they can offer in these days when it seems everyone is being asked to do more with less.

I DID, however, find out about a different kind of fringe benefit at my new job that had never been explained to me when I was hired. There is a sweet little lady who makes homemade tamales that comes by every so often to sell her wares to the employees. I picked up a dozen (6 pork and 6 beef) from her today and just finished having them for supper. Delicious!

Would I trade that opportunity for better insurance if I could? Most certainly! But here's the thing. I can't. So I might as well make my peace with higher cost/lower coverage insurance because that is the shape of my new reality. In SO many ways this job is a million times better than my former position - so what's the point in complaining about the areas where it does not measure up?

I had a really good day at work today. I'm finally getting past the absolute deer-in-the-headlight stupor of my first weeks of being in a foreign environment. I AM getting the hang of it. I continue to be extremely impressed by the team I am surrounded by. Obviously I still have much to learn, but it feels like this job will be an excellent match.

I'm going to eat my tamales and be grateful.

Friday, November 04, 2011

Learning Curve

No, I did not fall of the face of the earth. I've been completely immersed in getting acquainted with my new job.

I started a new position on Oct 24. It's in a completely different field than I have worked in previously and there is MUCH to learn.

I am the Director of a program that interfaces with a lot of high profile medical people. So I am surrounded by very bright, very capable individuals who expect me to LEAD in some substantial ways. In time I think it will be an excellent match. For right now, however, I'm dancing as fast as I can just to figure out what all the alphabet soup acronyms mean. Then of course there are the inevitable policies and procedures of my particular agency, not to mention the practical things like learning how to use the new high tech phone system and how to load and adjust the fancy shmancy copy machine. Having EVERYTHING be new and unfamiliar requires my brain to be on overdrive every minute of the day to figure out my next move, so by the time I get home I am exhausted.

Most of it is going well. However, there is just so much I don't know that at times it can be a bit overwhelming. On the second day I got completely lost in the building I now work in, leading to some snickers when the person waiting for me in a certain conference room could hear me wandering from corridor to corridor unable to locate the place where I was supposed to be. Yeah, I'm definitely the new kid on the block with a bit of a deer in the headlights look about me.

I am quite jazzed about this new opportunity. For TODAY, however, I'm scrambling just to figure out what I am supposed to be doing. I'm one of those folks who REALLY likes mastery. Nothing is more reinforcing to me that feeling confident and knowing I am good at what I do. Right now I'm getting calls and emails from folks across the country asking me about this program or that project and all I can say is "I'll check on that and get back with you" because I haven't got a clue.

Although it's awkward and uncomfortable at the moment, I'm learning a ton of stuff every single day. I like that.

So I'm trying really hard to be patient with myself. By this time next year I should have a whole network of people I know well who I have not even met yet. I will be able to explain the difference between a CAH, a RHC and a FQHC with the best of them. I honestly believe that through my efforts I will be able to contribute to the face of healthcare in Idaho in some positive ways. For TODAY however, I'm just taking a deep breath and remembering the words of the little engine that could...

"I think I can, I think I can, I think I can..."

The rest will come, in time.

Monday, October 10, 2011


Oh the joy of celebrating life with pie(s) in the face. In this case, there were two: one was chocolate, the other banana cream.

These were home-made, and from what little actually made it into my mouth, absolutely delicious.

As some of my long time friends know, for many years I carried out the tradition of getting a pie in the face each year on my birthday. I THOUGHT I was all done with this silly bit of nonsense once I turned 50. Last week I celebrated my 54th birthday, so it has been a while since the last time I did this. However, this was my BEST birthday in many years. Between landing my new job and making some excellent connections with people I care about, it just felt like everything in my life is swimming with blessings right now. I was so grateful and giddy with how things unfolded, what can I just made me want to do another pie. Only this time I did it with a twist.

Last week we had mid-term exams in my Introductory Sociology class. I told my students that anyone who earned a perfect score on the test would get to hit me in the face with a pie. How's that for incentive for students to study?? There were two students who made it, so they each got their own pie. At the end of class tonight the whole group went with me outside to the college lawn and there we did the official SPLAT. It was great. Sticky, for sure, but great.

Life is sweet - and if you don't believe me - honestly, there's nothing to kick start your sense of humor like a nice gooey pie in the face.

Friday, October 07, 2011

Stronger at the Broken Places

I originally wrote this post back in 2007 over on my other blog, Life By Design. I'm repeating it here now for the benefit of a particular friend who is going through a hard time.

I once had a wise teacher who told me about making balsa wood airplanes as a child.

While flying them out in a field on a windy day, one of his favorite planes crashed and broke. He was sad to see the crumpled, shattered body lying in a heap. It appeared to be utterly ruined.

However, after the initial disappointment, he picked up the pieces and carefully, painstakingly, glued them back together. Then he left it for a while to sit and dry. Finally, when he was confident it was ready, he took it back out to fly again.

Amazingly, that repaired plane became one of his best flyers. Although scarred and perhaps less beautiful that the unbroken planes, that one was so sturdy that even when it took an occasional tumble, it didn't break again. It had become stronger at the broken places because of the glue.

Our lives are often like that. We have heartaches and disappointments. We have circumstances that make us feel as if we have crashed into the ground. But if we can pick ourselves up and glue those crumpled pieces of our heart back together, we too can become stronger at the broken places, with new found resilience to face the storms the world may bring.

During a particularly difficult time in my life, I received the card you see pictured here. As it says: "Sometimes when you least expect it, life gives you a big ol' sock in the nose." Then, on the inside it reads:"Not to worry. With time the pain will pass, and from it you will have gained experience, which gives you information, which gives you objectivity,which gives you wisdom, which gives you truth, which gives you freedom from having to get a sock in the nose again." Every now and then, when I am facing struggles in navigating the current of my world, it helps to pull out the card and to remember the story of that broken airplane.

Wednesday, October 05, 2011

Happy Happy Birthday to ME!

I just had the BEST BIRTHDAY I've had in years. From start to finish it was just an amazing day.

1. I got the job that I had been hoping for. More money than I had expected AND the possibility of tuition reimbursement for a grad program I've been looking at. YIPPEE!

2. I had some amazing connections with family and friends.

I went out to dinner at a la-dee-dah fancy restaurant with my husband, my brother and my sister-in-law. (Although I've been told they have the best steaks in town not one of us ordered a steak. But the duck, the halibut and Ahi Tuna were stunning!)

I also had some great phone calls/emails/cards that brightened my day. In particular I had a great talk with my cousin in Renton, WA and my brilliant-and-delightfully-kooky inventor kid brother in California.

3. I was still on a spiritual high from the recent worldwide conference of my church.

Put that all together and life is just bowling me over with blessing right now.

There is a small town in Gooding County called Bliss, Idaho. But I'd say I've found my bliss right where I am.

Sunday, October 02, 2011

October Yard Photos

One of the things I love best about my yard in the fall is the grapes that grow all over the back porch. They are very yummy and they smell absolutely divine.

Although our veggie garden is still going strong, most of the flowers in the front yard (except for our faithful roses) have slowed down or stopped.

There are a few exceptions: Aster, Dahlias, & Marigolds are still looking nice.

In the back yard I've got mostly yellows now, with Fireworks goldenrod, sneezeweed (Helenium autumnale)and ligularia blooming:

I've got a couple spots that are still showing other colors (last remaining pinks of my hollyhock, some purple butterfly bush and phlox) Soon though I'll begin to get the deep reds from my burning bush, Virginia creeper and the Japanese maple tree.

I definitely want to plant a few new things next year that will give me more variety this time of year. Perhaps I'll put in some mums? But for now, it's all I can do to keep up with squash, tomatoes and cucumbers that are still producing with profusion.

I've heard it's supposed to turn off cold by the end of next week... before you know it will get a freeze and then it will be time to put the garden to bed. I'm ready.

Saturday, October 01, 2011

How Much is Enough?

Once again I am waiting on pins and needles to see if I get picked for a job I have applied for. My interview went very well and I've heard back from three of my references that they have been called, so I know I am in the "finalist" stage, but the deal is not set yet.

I REALLY want this job for a number of reason. I think it would be a good match for my current skill sets, but would also give me room to grow both personally and professionally. Also, while my current position has been great on a lot of levels, the grant funding is ticking away with a definite end point. I am like yogurt with an expiration date. That job will definitely evaporate in the spring. So sometime between now and then it is critical that I find a new position.

The last time I was unemployed I had my husband's salary and benefits to fall back on. Now that he is retired, that is no longer the case. So the fact that I've got a firm lead sooner rather than later is a very good thing.

There's just one bit of a wrinkle in the soup. The job I'm up for is only funded for 20 hrs per week. That means I will take a BIG hit financially to jump ship at this point. It does have full benefits, a true rarity for a part time job. Also it IS very much a professional leadership position with a high level of responsibility. It's simply part of a contract with a skinny budget, so a half time director is all they can afford.

I do not know yet how much the salary will be, but I suspect it may be less than half of what I am currently earning. Add that to the fact that my present position pays substantially less than the last two jobs I had prior to this and clearly it translates to me moving in the wrong direction in terms of income. But I know I am not alone in that. Welcome to the Great Recession where pay cuts and underemployment are rampant all across the land.

Still, other than the money, in ever other respect this job sounds like something I could really sink my teeth into. It is for a non-profit that has an excellent reputation. They've recently won a national awards for flexibility in the workplace. People I've talked to about the place say it is a phenomenal outfit to work for. I had previously met the exec director who I would report to and I believe he would be a great boss. Most of all, this feels like a job where I could make a positive difference, and that is something that really matters to me.

So I've been giving a lot of thought to what my line in the sand is in terms of dollars. How much do I have to earn in order to take this job IF it is offered?

We live in a country that assigns merit and worth to people based on titles and dollars and how many shiny things we own. I am quite capable of seeing the silliness in that sort of thinking. I absolutely recognize that there are far more important quality of life aspects to a job than how big the paycheck is or whether I get a nice office. Still, I do have certain household expenses which must be covered. It really wouldn't matter how much I liked my job if I had to worry all the time about not being able to pay my bills. So, I'm going over the family budget and trying to determine, at what point do the scales tip between taking a job I think I could love which pays poorly vs. keeping a better paying job that I know is time limited while I look for something else?

As I look at the job market in town for what other sorts of things I might be able to pursue if I let this one pass by me, I'm being careful not to let myself get all tangled up in the bird-in-the-hand vs. bird-in-the-bush delusions. (Since right now I'm comparing the bird NOT in my hand to a bush I've yet to identify, it's even more complicated.) I'm not the least bit afraid of working hard. I just want to work in a place that has a culture of professionalism where people have integrity and treat each other like grown ups. Is that so much to ask?

It will be interesting to see how this whole job thing plays out... hopefully I will hear relatively soon. This limbo land of not knowing is wearing kinda thin.

Saturday, September 24, 2011


The calendar tells me it is now Autumn. You couldn't prove it by what I've seen. Sure, the days are getting noticeably shorter. But it has still been in the 80's and 90's during the day and my cucumber and squash plants in my garden are showing absolutely no sign of slowing down.

Changings in season can sort of creep up on you like that. There I was, going full tilt boogie in my summer and all of a sudden (or so it seemed) there it was fall.

But if I had really been paying attention I would have noticed some subtle things...

Like how the nights really have been getting cooler
or how that one tree on my nightly walk with the dog is actually starting to drop some leaves.

We still have a ways to go before it will FEEL like autumn. But pumpkins are fat in the field and apples are getting ripe.

In a way I'm sad to say goodbye to summer. I have had the absolute best summer of my entire life this year. For a lot of reasons, I have savored this past season. I've taken some great trips, made some new friends, and very gladly given up my status as "new kid" in Boise. Now that I've lived here a full year, I'm finding my niche and feeling more and more like this is HOME. I belong.

But that's no reason to grieve the passing of summer. If I really do believe this was my best summer, why can't I follow it up with my best ever fall? I love autumn. I'm hoping to get to do some trips to where I'll get the full spectrum of colors and maybe - just MAYBE I'll be making some changes in the near future that will give me more freedom in that regard.

So goodbye summer. Thank you for some fabulous memories.
Hello autumn. Let's dance.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

What a Pain in the Neck!

One of the reasons I've been writing less these days is that school has started, so much of my computer time is spent writing class lectures or grading student papers.

The other issue has been some struggles I've been having with my neck and back. That image you see with this is not just some random picture off the internet. It's my actual X-ray.

I've been to three chiropractors, a physical therapist and an acupuncture doctor. I'm still having a fair amount of pain. Apparently I have a bit of arthritis in my neck. Beyond that I have too many years of bad posture and mega hours sitting in front of my computer working against me. Put that all together and I've got one big pain in the neck (and back). Sigh.

So I've adjusted my work stations at both my home office and at my full time job...raised the monitors to my computers several inches higher and changed the way I will sit. I'm doing some specific exercises that help increase my flexibility and strengthen my back muscles. Also I'm trying diligently to get more regular sleep.

Hopefully in the coming weeks I will be able to get a handle on the problem. But even though I do expect to see improvement, the reality is that as I age I can probably expect more aches and pains. How I choose to cope with that will be up to me.

I'm trying to be mindful about focusing more on what's RIGHT than what's uncomfortable. I truly do have a whole lot of blessing going on all around me. Still, it's just hard to be positive when you are hurting.

This is definitely giving me more compassion for those who must deal with ongoing chronic pain and/or disability. I think of my sweet husband's grandmother whose whole adult life was spent twisted and crippled with agonizing rheumatoid arthritis. All the family who knew her say she was never one to complain. Her children sometimes heard her crying in her bedroom when she was really suffering. But she never got cranky with them, no matter how badly she felt.

I want to always remember her example. I may not feel great in body right now. But I can choose to focus on all that gives me joy instead of on what hurts.

Sunday, September 04, 2011

Let the Whining Begin....

We've only been back to school for TWO WEEKS and I've already received my first whiny email from a student saying my class is too hard. I am not sympathetic.

I work hard to make sure my class is very engaging and that I continually tie it to real word examples to show its relevance. But I make no excuses, it IS hard. When my husband looks over the syllabus he smiles and say, "Babe, I love you but I'd drop your class."

So should about a third of those who sign up. Term after term students fail my classes NOT because they don't comprehend or can't do the work. They simply take on more than they can realistically accomplish (full time work, family responsibilities and full load of classes with no established study skills) and then blame me when I will not adjust deadlines when they find they have to work extra hours right before a major assignment is due.

I'm very clear in the beginning what my class involves and give them a detailed schedule of what is due when. I also make a big point of letting them know that anything turned in late will count half off and they only have a 4 day window for that beyond which I will not accept it at all. Do they not believe me?

I fully expect students to be feeling overwhelmed by week 7, but I've got 12 students out of 31 who are already falling behind in week 3. In talking to other faculty on campus, many of them are experiencing the same thing. A large proportion of our students sign up who just never follow through with the work. I find that a very troubling trend.

In an article on student entitlement Maryellen Weimer, PhD defines the issue as "a self-centered disposition characterized by a general disregard for traditional faculty relationship boundaries and authority” (p. 198), or it can be described more functionally: “a sense that they [students] deserve what they want because they want it and want it now.” (p. 197) "

Sadly I see increasing amounts of this, not just in my classrooms, but in society in general.

So many are concerned with their RIGHTS and what is owed to them without giving the same attention to their responsibilities. I see this as a dangerous trend that is gutting the vitality of our nation. There are so many examples....

For now I just take a deep breath and recommit to how I will communicate with my students. I will be firm but fair. I will be respectful of them and as supportive as possible. I'll work hard to keep my courses interesting and show how they are relevant to real live. But I will not budge when it comes to deadlines and rigor. Too many classes are watered down - especially when finances force schools to keep increasing class sizes. I well understand why many faculty cut back on writing assignments because they simply don't have the time or energy to grade all the work.
I'm not there yet. I'm keeping my bar high. It's exhausting at times. But I teach because it means something to me. I'll sleep when I'm dead.

The class is a pretty even split between males and females, young students just out of high school and older folks coming back after having lived some life.

Me thinks this is going to be a LOOOOONG semester. Oy veh.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Franken-butt Anniversary

One year ago today my beloved went under the knife to have hip replacement surgery. The months leading up to and immediately following the operation were a struggle. My strong, capable husband endured tremendous pain for months and became in most respects an invalid. When our granddaughters came to visit last August they pushed him around in a wheel chair every where we went.

Gratefully, he has had a full recovery and is now able to do very nearly everything he ever could. He has one dilly of a scar on his butt (which I do have photos of but will NOT be posting) and at times still gets a little pain.

But considering the extent of the surgery, we are both pretty amazed at how well he has bounced back. The human body's abilty to heal from all sorts of mishap and trauma is nothing short of amazing.

As we think about where we were and what we were doing one year ago today we both recognize we have very much to be grateful for.

Hopefully we'll have another 10-20 years of active, productive life before we have to worry about "invalid" status again. Or not. What I do know after than dress rehearsal into the world of pain and limitation is that every healthy day we get is a precious gift to be savored and appreciated.

Understanding Society

As I have been researching various topics for the Intro Sociology course I teach at CWI I came across an intriguing collection of resources at the website Understanding Society by Daniel Little at University of Michigan. This is a very robust website with all sorts of tools (blogs, podcasts, YouTube interviews, Twitter feeds, etc)for examining society and how social scientists approach their world.

After spending more time than I care to admit noodling around on the various pages I was reminded all over again what drew me to the science of sociology in the first place. I am utterly fascinated by examining the twin forces of society: what creates stability and what creates social change.

As I went through my first day of classes on Monday I found myself flowing in the zone of guiding intro students to the idea that SOCIAL FORCES have more to do with the choices we make than individual preference. That of course does not mean we are robots being manipulated by our society. Yet the whole idea that individuals are not uniquely in charge of their own destiny is sometime quite difficult for American students to fathom. I love the challenge of helping them both comprehend and confront that.

It does no good to be overwhelmed or angry at the idea that social institutions and the power elite with their own agendas are limiting my options. Instead, I encourage students to PUSH those limits, which can only be done by first understanding them.

I'm excited for the new semester. The first four weeks are generally euphoric for me as I begin each term full of hope and excitement. Of course, by week 7 I will be overwhelmed with grading and discouraged by lackluster students who don't even bother to show up regularly. Still, every term I find my core group of people who get excited about what they are learning. We enter that magical, sacred dance of teaching and learning, where we take turns showing each other new ideas, different perspectives and ways of defining our world - savoring the process of making meaning and finding new knowledge. Honestly, this is what I was born to do, and it is such an absolute privilege I am still astonished there are schools that actually pay me to "perform" tasks that are so hardwired to my DNA that it's like telling a fish to swim.

I've taught adjunct courses in Michigan, Washington, Oregon and now Idaho. I love this more than anything else I've ever done. Would I do it full time if I had the chance? Absolutely - even though the very idea of that gives me some trepidation.

Would doing it day in and day out with a 5 or 6 course load burn me out on the one thing that absolutely fuels my passion? I don't have the answer to that. But since right now it's not an option, I don't have to worry about that. For now I will continue to teach in tandem with my full time job, putting my heart and soul into my classes. Down the road, if a full time position ever does open, that is a risk I would most definitely take.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Do you love your work??

In cleaning out my office recently I found some notes on a conference I attended about work satisfaction and burn-out.

In those notes were a list of factors which are markers of level of employee engagement. How many of the following can you say are true?

1. I know what is expected of me at work.

2. I have the materials and equipment I need to do my job right.

3. I have the opportunity to do my best and focus on my strengths every day at my job.

4. In the past 7 days I have received recognition.

5. My supervisor or someone at work cares about me as a person.

6. There is someone at my work that encourages my development.

7. At work my opinions and ideas seem to count.

8. Mission or purpose of my company makes me feel like my job is important.

9. My fellow employees are committed to quality work.

10. I have a good friend at work.

11. In the last six months someone has talked to me about my progress.

12. In the last year at work I have had an opportunity to grow and learn.

I can currently claim 4 out of the 12.

There is one of them that I'm not so sure I agree with. As I have gotten older I have shifted in my expectations about friendships at work. In the past I have developed very close friendships with my peers at work. Some of the dearest friends of my 20's and 30's were people that I worked with. Now, however, I am not close to anyone at my job. Part of the reason is I don't really have peers at my current position. There is no one else working at my same level on the same project. But another reason is that I've become more compartmentalized. I have friendships in my real life outside of work. I also have good relationships with my colleagues, but it's not personal. I don't tell them much about me.

I genuinely like my current job and believe I'm quite good at it. However, I also know that I'm like yogurt with an expiration date. When the grant runs out, my job will be over and I will then go do something else. That may be part of the reason I have not allowed myself to get too attached here.

Yet I think it's more than just that. I think my beliefs and expectations about work have substantially shifted over the years. I am glad I've had this job and in most ways believe it to be a good match for me. But it's my JOB, not my identity. It provides a way to pay for the rest of my life. I hope I make some bit of positive difference through what I do. In the end though, I won't miss it all that much when I move on to something else.

How do you feel about your job? If you could do something else, what would it be?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Daddy or the Daughter? Reading the Burkes back to back

For several years now I have been an avid reader and audio book listener of the works of James Lee Burke. The man's word pictures steal away my breath. His complex, very human characters always intrigue me. The man simply writes some of the most STUNNING sentences I've ever encountered after over 40 years of reading hundreds and hundreds of books.

Then recently I got my first taste of his daughter Alafair's work. While both write murder mysteries they are completely different in style. I must say I got far more caught up in the suspense of Alafair's writing. But after finishing her book 212 I returned to one of JLB's earlier works,Sunset Limited. It did not have me on the edge of my seat waiting to learn what was going to happen next the way Alafair's book did. Instead it had me absolutely mesmerized with what was happening NOW due to the amazing language.

I think I like her plots better. I definitely like his sentences better.

Setting is another big difference between the two. Alafair's series takes place in New York City. Dave Robicheaux is a Cajun cop in New Iberia, Louisiana.

I love the sense of place in those bayou books.

Granted, the elder Burke has written other books in other settings, but the ones that completely capture my heart are the misadventures of Nam vet and drunk-in-recovery Robicheaux and his hilarious sidekick in the pork pie hat, Clete Pursel. I've read so many of these I feel like these two guys are old friends.

I'm sure I will read more of Alafair's work. I very much enjoyed 212 (both the area code for NYC and the building number for the murder that occurs in the opening scene of the novel). But when it gets right down to it, my all time favorite writer is still the grand master, James Lee Burke. The voice he brings to his novels is so rich and complex, filled with undercurrents of visceral themes and failed humanity.

Alafair's writing is taunt, driven, full of surprises.

Comparing the two is like asking me if I like chocolate or peanuts better. They are entirely different. But the combination of reading them both back to back is absolutely delicious. Pass the Reeses peanut butter cups please, and hand me another novel.

Sunday, August 14, 2011


On our recent get away weekend we had an opportunity to see the Bodies Exhibit in Idaho Falls. For those who may not be familiar with it, it is an educational exhibit of actual human bodies and body parts that have been preserved in some very ingenious ways. One cadaver was sliced into sections about two inches thick from head to toe and then had each slice encased in plastic. They are arranged on a table with a couple inches between each slice so you can look very closely and every single segment of the body.

I especially liked the room that focused on the circulatory system. A special kind of plastic polymer was injected into the veins of a cadaver until every blood vessel from major veins and arteries all the way to the tiniest of capillaries was filled with the stuff. It hardens there and then a special chemical wash is used to eat away everything EXCEPT the polymer. So what you have left is a standing form of a human body that is ONLY the blood vessels. Completely fascinating.

I looked at kidneys and livers and lungs and hearts and brains.

I looked at skeletons, at intestines, at whole bodies standing erect (but cut cleanly in half vertically so you could see how certain inner parts fit.

I looked at human embryos in vials with each display one week older so you could get a glimpse of how the fetus develops.

These were not pictures or models or representations. These were actual human bodies that had been preserved in such a way that you could see how the various systems fit together, what each organ looked like, how big it was, where it was, and in a few cases (like the lungs) what they looked like when healthy and what they looked like when diseased. (I haven't smoked in 30 years, but if I did I would DEFINITELY be quitting after seeing THAT particular part of the display.)

When I first heard about this show many years ago in a conversation at my oldest brother's wedding reception I initially recoiled. I thought it was a ghoulish idea to even consider creating such a spectacle and I thought it was pretty twisted that people would pay money to go look at this stuff.

But since that time I have talked to several folks who had seen the show when it came to various parts of the country - Phoenix, Seattle, LA. EVERY single person I knew who had actually seen it raved about the experience and said it simply was something that should not be missed.

So I reconsidered my views. Then when I learned that the show was in Idaho Falls and we were going to be driving right past there on our way to the Bluegrass Festival in Alta, Wyoming, I decided it was worth a side trip.

I'm really glad we went.

I do understand why some people say "Ewww! Gross" and others genuinely find it to be depraved rather than a worthwhile educational presentation. But I've got to say, it gave me a renewed respect for this amazing machine that is the human body and perhaps even a bit more commitment to taking better care of my own.

So now I'm thinking about other things I might initially find repulsive or disgusting, scary or boring, or simply not worth my time and wondering if I might want to re-examine my pre-judgements. There are SOME things I really do not need to see to know I do not want those images in my brain. But I'm learning that there are time when it really does make sense to reconsider my point of view.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Interesting Faces

I wish I'd had the nerve to take more face picture at the music festival in Alta, Wyoming I just attended. We had a fabulous time there and will long remember it.
I suppose it is the sociologist in me, but I enjoyed people watching as much a I did listening to the music.

The crowd was an eclectic group of all ages from the very old to the very young.

I got a kick out of the young man who had been to the face painting tent.

and this little girl who was grooving to the tunes with her family

Out of the several bands we heard the only one I was familiar with was Tim O'Brien:

I particularly like Joy Kills Sorrow and Donna the Buffalo.

It's late now and I'm tired, so uploading more photos from the concert will have to wait for another day. However, it will be the pictures that I DIDN'T take that I will remember most of all....the amazing sunset, and many of the interesting faces that I saw in the crowd.


Some random shots of lilies from my garden...


Some people like Sudoku. Some people do crossword puzzles. As for me and my beloved, we are jigsaw puzzle people.

However, my sister-in-law recently gave us a puzzle that didn't have any box to it. All the pieces were there .... all 1000 of them. She knew it was a picture of fish. But that's all she could tell us. YIKES. How are you supposed to do a jigsaw puzzle without the picture?? Gluttons for punishment that we are, we fussed with it for a while until we finally got the darn thing put together. So I took this picture to refer back to if we ever decide to do it again.

This served as one more reminder to me that whether it's Tony Robins saying to "Know Your Outcome" or Steven Covey saying "Start with the end in mind", it just makes sense, whether in LIFE or in puzzle land, to have clear concepts of what you want to achieve so you can move forward in a purposeful way rather than just taking random actions and hoping for the best.

With that in mind I'm revisiting my bucket list, my vision board, and considering again some of the goals I've plunked away at over the years. What do I want to accomplish before the year ends? Where do I hope to be in five years, or ten?

I really do believe in building a life by design rather than default.

So it's back to the drawing board for me to clarify what things matter most in my world so I can make sure those are the rocks that get put in my bucket first. The sand will take care of itself.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Latter Rain - BOOK REVIEW

I was asked by my publicist pal, Tristi Pinkston, to read and review the book “The Latter Rain” by James M. Conis. I received a free copy of the book to review, as is the usual custom in the publishing world, but had no obligation to say nice things.

I am going to say them any way. I was very impressed by this book.

The Latter Rain is a complex book that on the surface appears deceptively easy. Although tackling a serious subject (a detailed analysis of the writings of the prophet Isaiah), because Conis’s writing style is very open and engaging, on first impression is seems like it will be a fairly simple read. There is nothing stuffy or ostentatious about how he presents his material. Throughout each chapter Conis outlines various concepts with a basic formula:
1. Make a point 2. Give a biblical scripture which embodies that point. 3. Explain the symbolism of that scripture in clear, every day language. 4. Restate and reinforce the point.

Conis does this so often and so well that at times it truly does seem that the ideas being presented are very simple, even obvious ones. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Reading Isaiah is anything but simple or obvious to most.

For most of my life I have been completely baffled by Isaiah’s writing. I mean seriously, the dude had some horrendous issues with lack of framing. Everything gets topsy turvey because aside from all his metaphor and symbolism, he doesn’t put things into context very well and he had no idea how to build a clean segue. He’d be talking about the problems of his own time among the people of Jerusalem, then all of a sudden he’s off having visions about the end of the world with no transition in between! It’s pretty hard to keep straight without a secret decoder ring.

What Conis attempts to do in this book is to present the secret decoder ring.

While the initial focus begins with Isaiah’s writings, Conis also addresses Ezekiel, Daniel and others, both in the old and new testaments. This book seems to be a painstaking effort to use ONLY biblical references to explain the restored gospel of Jesus Christ.

Whether explaining how “rain” is used as a symbol in Deuteronomy or laying out the ways in which the Passover Feat foreshadowed the crucifixion of Jesus Christ, Conis uses language that is clear and appealing. Although it is evident throughout that Conis made a thorough and scrupulous study of the Bible in preparing this book, this is no dry, academic treatise. It is very clear that Conis has a strong testimony of God and a true love of the scriptures.

On page 204 he writes:
“What is required to find the Lord? We must seek him with all our hearts and with all our soul. Some are lost and do not even realize it. Others know they are lost and desire relief from their plight, but never appeal to the Lord directly. They seek comfort among the man-made solutions of the earth. But these false organizations have not the power to save, nor satisfy. Only those who seek the Lord directly and call upon him in prayer will ultimately find him and his kingdom. He will guide them out from among the heathen through the promptings of the spirit as if they were led by the hand.”

I was particularly impressed by the section toward the end where Conis explains the Book of Revelations. I must say, while Isaiah usually just confuses me, reading Revelations gives me the heebie jeebies and makes my head hurt! However, using the same technique as with the rest of the book, Conis alternates between the original bible reference from the Book of Revelations and his explanation of the figurative language. (I admit at this section I started skipping past all the bible stuff and only reading Conis’s own writing….) There were several key insights in that section that I found interesting, such as the stuff about the seven candlesticks, the seven seals, and the seven heads of the beast. He makes a case in very convincing manner for what each of these represent. There were a few spots where I became genuinely excited to FINALLY understand something that had previously been clear as mud.

If I have any misgivings about this book at all, it is for what it does NOT say. Nowhere in the book does the author ever say anything directly about the LDS faith. He never mentions the name Joseph Smith. He never talks about the Book of Mormon. I went through the whole thing carefully looking for even a veiled reference to the church. It’s not there. But for anyone who is familiar with the faith at all, there is no doubt whatsoever that establishing the true authority of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is the central purpose of the book.

He talks about thinks like the authority of the priesthood, the apostasy, a restoring of what was lost, the "stick of Judah" and "the stick of Joseph" as two different companion works of scripture, temples, missionaries, God having a physical body. Yeah, it is very abundantly clear that the concepts Consis explains so meticulously with the prophecies and teachings from the bible are those which are the core doctrines of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints. But he does it in a painstakingly neutral way, NOT taking a voice of proselytizing, but rather pointing out what it is the Bible has alluded to all along, and leaving it up to the reader to decide what they think about it.

So I cannot help but wonder, does it make the book stronger or weaker that he makes all these references to core LDS doctrine without ever naming the church? Will it make the book of greater interest to the non-LDS audience? Will it make it any less appealing to the usual LDS book buying crowd? I honestly don’t know. I suspect part of the appeal of the book to me was how much it reinforced what I already believe to be true. I’m eager to share this book with a couple of my non-LDS friends and get their take on it.

As for me, my impression is that James Conis is an incredibly intelligent, articulate bible scholar who has made a tremendous contribution to scriptural based literature. He definitely answered some questions that I had, and did it in a way that was inviting and clear. It’s not a lightweight book. But for anyone who is even moderately interested in biblical analysis, regardless of what their views about the LDS faith are, I think it will be a very worthwhile read. For those who may be on a journey of faith looking to find personal answers, this is definitely a book I can recommend.

You can see what others have to say about this book at the virtual book tour HERE. (Books reviewed are over on the left - just scroll down to find this one. It's the 6th one down.)I'm the second reviewer so far, there will be several others in the coming weeks.

The book may be purchased HERE

SPECIAL OFFER FOR READERS OF THIS BLOG: when you check out, type in the coupon code Tour to receive 20% off.

Here is some brief bio information about the author:
Mr. Conis’ interest in the scriptures began when he took a course on the New Testament at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The main lecturer for the course was an orthodox Jewish professor, while the recitation sections for the class were taught by lay ministers from Christian faiths. The resulting dynamic of this course created deep philosophical questions concerning the doctrines and truths found in the Bible and those espoused by modern-day religion. This led to a life-long quest on the part of Mr. Conis to understand the true meaning intended by the ancient prophets.

Friday, August 05, 2011

God Bless Gardeners!!!

Today was turning out to be one doozie of a terrible, awful, no good day. I won't bother you with all the sorted details. I'll just hit the highlights. One thing after the other went wrong. From the sting of some unexpected criticism, some poor communication at work, to a fiasco with hair color (again!) and a stupid mistake on my part that was just too embarrassing for words, I was feeling pretty miserable. I realized that in the grand scheme of things none of this was any serious trauma. But the combination of it all, compounded by the fact that I had very little sleep the night before, left my emotions all clumped and cluttered.

As I drove toward my street feeling somewhat sorry for myself I noticed a yard sale sign (Boise has more yard sales in the summer than any place I've ever seen!) so I thought I'd stop by. I picked up a few things - a teapot, a table cloth, a dress I hope will fit my sister-in-law, a woven basket and a cool incense burner all for just five bucks. What a deal! But way better than my yard sale finds was the terrific conversation I had with the gardener who lived there. They had BEAUTIFUL hollyhocks growing out front, which of course I admired. The gentleman then gave me a tour of his back yard garden which was an amazing hodge podge of flowers and raspberry bushes. He had about eight different colors of hollyhocks and was generous enough to share a jar of seeds. How kind!

Now I have something to put where my noxious weed used to be. I'm hoping a variety of colors will come up.

I was most of the way home before I realized I had never even asked the man's name. But even though we were complete strangers, that brief time visiting among his flower beds and berry patches did so much to rejuvenate my spirit. Sharing a love of growing things was exactly the salve that my poor little battered spirit needed.
Thank you so much, Mr. Gardener. You were a much needed bright spot in my day.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

How Does Your Garden Grow?

I haven't posted any pictures of my garden for a while. It's doing really well. Of course, when we went away to Michigan the spinach and cilantro both bolted. But the squash and the cucumbers are producing like gang busters, we've had lots of lettuce for salads and tomatoes are putting on lots of fat fruit just waiting to grow ripe. I love having lots of fresh produce, both to eat and to share with neighbors and friends. My mouth is just watering for that first BLT.

Saturday, July 30, 2011


This afternoon some friends of ours are joining us to go see the musical Hairspray at the Nampa Civic Center. We have season tickets to the Music Theatre of Idaho and have really enjoyed going to watch the various productions there. So far this season we've seen:

Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat
The Secret Garden
South Pacific

The first one we saw there was last fall when we went to see Jekyll and Hyde since someone we knew was in it. We were really impressed by the quality of the production so we decided to go ahead and get season tickets this year.

We still have three more to go after this one:

The Music Man
Wizard of Oz
A Christmas Carol

We always go to the Saturday matinee shows so we aren't out late. Once we even did a little geochaching in Nampa before the show. It's a fun date to go see these plays and and we've been consistently impressed with the talent of the performers. There are some great voices in our local area!

Usually Larry and I have just gone one our own. Today will be twice and fun because we are going with our dear friends Larry and Judy Todd. One of our best blessings living here is that THEY live close by too. We knew each other for many years in Oregon and used to get together about once a month for card nights at each other's homes. Then they up and left us, moving to Nampa. Now we are here in Boise so our monthly card nights have resumed! It's so great having some tried and true friends with many years of shared history even though we've only lived here a year.

As much as we enjoy playing "Hand and Foot" - sort of like Canasta, we decided to do some other stuff together. So we are planning a trip to go tubing the Boise river and today we'll see this play. Of course, as much as I'm sure we'll enjoy this afternoon's show, it just won't be the same without John Travolta as Edna Turnbald.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Micro Credit - Touching the world

I have been reviewing my Kiva portfolio to see the status of the various loans I've made. If you are not familiar with Kiva you really should check it out.

Back in 2006 I chose to put $75 into micro-credit loans in various places around the word. Since that time whenever the loans are paid back to me I reloan it to someone new. From that SAME $75 dollars I have now put $600 in assistance out to people in the following places:

Dec 2006 - Perris W. from Ongata Rongai, Kenya Supplies for embroidery business

Dec 2006 – Mamadow D. group in Nder, Senegal – to buy an irrigation pump to improve farming

Dec 2006 – Oliver N. from Dar es Salaam, Tanzania – to buy supplies for Batik business

July 2007 - Sambath H from Ta Khmao district, Cambodia – to repair motor bike & buy groceries for sale

Dec 2007 – Makhmadsaid H. from J.Rasulov, Tajikistan – to buy livestock

Dec 2007 - Fuzuli G. from Beylagan, Azerbaijan –to buy sheep

Jan 2008 – Fauu M from Manono, Samoa – for iron roofing for home repair & fertilizer for farm

Jun 2008 – Victoria A. from Pucarani, Bolivia for purchasing milk cows

Jun 2008 – Shamin Noor M. from Arifwala, Pakistan, to buy masonry tools & expand fruit stand

Mar 2009 – Wofunaria from Zana, Uganda to buy food for chickens to raise eggs for sale

Mar 2009 - Dounyu Grou from Wome, Togo to enlarge cabbage production

April 2009 – Rihana Grom from Kot Radha Kishan, Pakistan – Rickshaw / buffalo for milk/ other

May 2009 – Barrio Lido Group from Bolivia – carpentry & brick laying tools

Oct 2009 – Nurbubu S. Group from Balykchi, Kyrgyzstan to buy winter fodder for cattle

Sep 2009 – Hoang Tia Group from Dong Anh- Ha Noi, Viet Nam to expand recycling business / etc

Jan 2010 – Yeradon Group from Segou, Mali to busy food supplies for business

Mar 2010 – Thiem Thi from Dong Anh- Ha Noi, Viet Nam to buy piglets and improve piggery

Apr 2010 – Qoyllority group from Muñapata, Peru to buy sheep

Jun 2010 – Nueval Semilla group from La Paz / El Alto, Bolivia to buy supplies for sewing business

Aug 2010 – Turdubiubiu group from Karabalta, Kyrgyzstan to buy cattle and chickens

Nov 2010 – Musruf C. from Sabirabad, Azerbaijan to buy sheep

Nov 2010- Mnatsakan G. from Sevan, Armenia to buy calves and fodder

May 2022 – Pao K. from Phnom Penh, Cambodia to buy cows and oxen

June 2011 – Nakisunka group from Mukono, Uganda to buy piglets

I'd say that's one investment that I'm VERY satisfied with the return I've gotten.
The stock market may have taken a major hit on our 401K's, but I still feel good knowing that from a small sacrifice on my part I have had an opportunity to make a bit of a difference in the lives of people around the world.

On my lender page I have this quote from Edward Everett Hale: “I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything I will not refuse to do the something I can do.”

I'm truly grateful that in this small way I can make a difference all across the world.

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