Tag Archives: Snow

A Golden Opportunity

Margaretta Peale, Cake with Raisins, 1829
Margaretta Peale, Cake with Raisins, 1829

Did you know that in the southern United States—when a snowstorm is approaching, the three most important items to stock up on are wine, eggs, and bread?

I was absolutely certain this was true— until last week. If the snow is even whispered, we immediately dash to the grocery store to stock up on “survival rations” to get us through what we consider to be a most unnatural disaster.

What do you stock up on in a storm?

Pondering this gave me another idea. Would it be more interesting to consider the question another way— What are you stocking up on in your life?

I didn’t know it at the time, but this storm turned out to be my golden opportunity to gain a personal insight.  Something happened that day that caused me to examine how intentions and actions play out in our lives. Do our actions either honor or dishonor our core values?

NCSU's WWII Memorial Bell Tower in the snow (2015)
NCSU’s WWII Memorial Bell Tower in the snow (2015)

 

Raleigh goes into a frenetic feeding frenzy right before a snow storm. When I finished work for the day and had arrived at the grocery store, multi-tasking all the way, a shopper caught my eye. There she is, this elderly lady making her way with determination down the aisle and holding on tight to her cart for stability. Clearly, she’s in some distress. Folks are zipping around her as fast as they can.

We chatted and I learned that Maria lived what I’ll call a “giving” life. She’s a retired college professor.  In that one moment, I made a life-changing friend with a single act of thoughtfulness. I had no idea “who” she was at the time— but I do now.

Why do I share this story? Most of us truly seek to discern what is written on our hearts. We hope to find a significant purpose in our lives. In one form or another, this is the universal search for the meaning of life.

I’d been experiencing an internal struggle.  Here’s what I’m trying to figure out.

  • What has God written on my heart?
  • How can I read it clearly— and do it?

A couple of weeks ago over lunch, a friend offered her feedback on how she sees my dilemma. She suggested that she has observed that my three most apparent operating principles are:

  • Standing firm in my values and withstand with grace.
  • Engaging with a clear purpose and good intent.
  • Speaking truth to power.

For the past year, I’ve been stepping-down my hours with the Alumni Program and preparing to transition off StepUp’s staff.  Following the death of my husband, becoming part of the StepUp family was a terrific experience. Though this work helping people in need of a second chance, StepUp re-connected me to a community of caring and thoughtful change-makers.

Kauffman Foundation Facilitator Training (2014)
Kauffman Foundation Facilitator Training (2014)

 

Last year I completed The Kauffman Foundations’s entrepreneurship training. Combining business coaching with this new knowledge, my plans are to focus on connecting with others to build something meaningful, such as a StartUp Community, a non-profit, or a triple-bottom-line venture. I’ll also travel to Penland School of Crafts to further develop my skills as a jeweler and metalsmith.

As I prepare to meet the future, I’m aware that I’ve felt excitement and panic in equal measure. The storm slowed me down and meeting Maria replenished my spirit.

Let me weld these disparate thoughts back together with this question.  When you to think back on the big storms in your own life—  What are you stocking up on?

How we choose to spend our time defines who we are. Those choices speak volumes about what we truly value.

To me, it’s people. It’s my favorite verse, “Do justice, love mercy and walk humbly with your God.” I’m embracing this journey, knowing I have everything I truly need. Faith that the Lord has written it on my heart.

-MJ