Category Archives: PLM

A New Direction

The winds of change are blowing.

Two months into my new job and I have finally found my feet – my balance. It’s not been the easiest transition, I must say. The Power that Is sent some terrific challenges my way personally, knocking me off balance just when I was most precariously perched. I’ve shed some tears the past couple months and I’ve exercised my faith…’tain’t been easy! It has, however, grown me as I so like to grow. And now, with my feet firmly grounded, I’m ready to feel the sun shine on my face as I start in a new direction.

One of my favorite things about my new boss is his voracious appetite for learning. He will learn from anything-or-one he’s the opportunity to learn from. He reflects on the way he builds his company, his business and his community impact. He encourages me to do the same. Due in part to a leadership podcast he’s turned me on to, an idea he has I think’s worth building and my thoughtful hubby’s cautionary reminder I don’t loose sight of my dreams, I find myself pulled in a new direction and I want to share it with you.

I recently thought hard about what I’m good at, what I believe in and what brings me joy. I reflected on these things in an effort to boil my professional aspirations down to a one sentence job description; something on which I can focus when I start to “spin”. What I landed on has excited me and I find my mind racing with ways to make it happen.

I want to encourage and inspire people to do business mindfully.

I want people to go out into the business world with ideas that encourage generosity of the spirit and collaborative thinking. I want to broadcast awesome resources/ideas like TED and Netweaving to influence anyone I can reach. And (this is where the joy comes in;)), I want to do this by written word. I want to learn and reflect on my learnings in such a way as they might inspire others to their own reflections.

It just so happens my boss has interest in doing much the same. Jason created a social platform a while back called the Noodlehead Network. Envisioned as a place where business minds can gather and share, it sits empty and waiting…like a carnival in a ghost town:(

So it is here I find myself. An idea rooted in passion and a vehicle for it’s launch. I’m ready to focus my attention and efforts in a new direction and I’m excited to see where this path leads me. I’m going to re-commit myself to regular writing and do the best work I can at the same time.

I worry only about PLM. This blog is so very special to me. It’s very name has become so much a part of how I see myself. If I choose to focus my writing time on Noodlehead Network instead of here I will miss it so…

But we’ll just see what happens, shall we? I hope those of you with an interest in this new project will join the conversation. In fact, I’d love to start it right now.

What ideas/information/people have you been exposed to that/who influence the way you work? The way you build the relationships in your lives? The way you go forth?

Comfort in Ritual

When last I wrote it was on the subject of change. I couldn’t tell you at the time, but I was in the middle of more change than I let on. I can now share more and while I’m at it I’m going to share some of my plans to ease my transition.

When my family returned from our recent visit to South Africa I was bound and determined to find a way for us to spend more time there. In conversation with some of our friends, I’d landed on the idea of trying to do some online marketing work from a distance with the help of my friend Jason and his team at Noodlehead Studios. My company hired Noodlehead about a year ago to redesign our website and help us increase our online presence in social media. A few months into working with them our big boss formally bought into the efforts for not only Builder Specialties but also our sister companies, peeling away most of my daily business responsibilities (such as managing the customer service team) to free me to focus on these projects and manage their growth. I was in my element and I found the perfect team in Noodlehead. Jason and his team are dedicated, creative, good people and I enjoyed working with them. It was natural I’d see them as potential helpmates for my cause.

One thing led to another in my conversation with Jason and he ultimately let me know he’d decided he wanted to hire someone to run the operations for his company so he could get out and drive the business. I was one person he’d considered for the job. My request to team up had come at an opportune moment and over the next few weeks we found a way to make it work. This past Wednesday was my last day with Builder Specialties and today was my first day with Noodlehead Studios.

As I mentioned in my last post, I love change. That said, when it comes around I generally try and plant a few stakes to help me maintain my course. As I embark on the biggest professional change I’ve yet to experience, I’ve identified some rituals I want to incorporate and continue.

  • I’ve been attending a Wednesday noon church service as often as possible for the past few years. I will continue to prioritize this worship time.
  • At that same church (just up the road from my new offices) the new pastor leads a yoga practice on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. I’d like to make at least one of those practices a week to help me center and focus.
  • Our offices are around the corner from a park. When the weather gets a bit cooler, I’d like to take one lunch per week in the park – without my phone or computer.

There are other rituals I’ve toyed with but I hesitate to commit to too much right now…I don’t like setting myself up for failure. This feels good and doable – just what I need for now.

This post is more me, me, me than some, but I wanted you to know what’s going on with me in the event that I go MIA every now and again. Actually, I’m thinking this may be a great opportunity for me to stop waxing philosophical for a while and instead give y’all some real nuggets of useful information. So, in that vein:

I’ve stopped using dishwasher detergent. I found a substitution in baking soda with a few drops of liquid dish soap (like Dawn/Sunlight) and it works like a bomb…another Madison Avenue housekeeping solution bites the dust! 😉

Until next time…

The Harvest

I’ve spoken before about tending your spiritual gardens. For the last few weeks I’ve been fortunate to celebrate a harvest. I went away on holiday to my family’s other homeland in South Africa and our days were filled with a bounty of spiritual food. I enjoyed the company of friends and family I rarely see, tasted food I eat often but enjoy the most in South African sunshine and allowed myself opportunities to learn and grow – so wonderful! I want to share some of these experiences with you along with my reflections – I hope you get something out of them!

  • Effort: On our second night in South Africa a friend, hearing of our arrival, dropped everything at 9 pm on a Friday to drive an hour to visit with us. What an expression of love! It makes me think about the times I’ve foregone visits with friends for simplicity’s sake. Yes, I still think it is sometimes the wise decision to make (especially if you’re taking into consideration the needs of a spouse and/or kids) but I’m reminded just how much love you can show by setting aside your own convenience to feed a relationship. Thanks, Thea, for loving me so well.
  • Hospitality: Next we went to Cape Town for a few days. When we landed the deal on that flight we contacted a friend to find out whether we’d be able to stay with her when we visited. Thinking she and her new hubby would be in a larger home by then (theirs is a small garden flat), she extended her hospitality. As our arrival neared, she contacted us to let us know she had everything arranged for our visit. She and her hubby had not moved yet, but would stay with friends so we could have use of their home. Shew, what a friend, huh? Fortunately, we also have other friends in Cape Town. Upon hearing her arrangements, my hubby’s childhood  friend’s parents insisted, rather, that we stay in their guest apartment – on the beach – with a view of Table Mountain. In short – the hospitality of our friends in Cape Town brought me to tears on multiple occasions and is due much credit for my rekindled obsession with moving there:) I thought about it the whole visit and took note of all the little touches of hospitality I found in our quarters. I want to be more mindful of the hospitality I extend to guests. I want to do as much as I can to make them feel as at home as I was in the Cape. Baie dankie, Rheeders en Nagtegaals!
  • Worship: What better place to worship than on the beach; wind and waves in your ears and salt in your breath? Our first morning in CT, I practiced my yoga with my toes in the sand and Table Mountain in my view. As I grounded, I gave thanks for all God created. I watched kiddo lead hubby across the crest of a dune (“c’mon, Papa!”) thank you. I watched dogs and people run thank you. I let the waves and the wind shift me, move me, change my direction thank you. God is so good!
  • Consciousness (kind of): After listening to some of my increasingly out there views on wellness and spirituality, a friend asked me if I would be interested in checking out an alternative healing therapy. I was:) I’m not going to try and explain the theory or the session but I do want to tell you what it did for me. The session afforded me the opportunity to settle my mind, calm my body and skim my sub-conscious for issues that were bothering me. I was reminded again how powerful a tool visualization is for me and I learned practices I can do to focus my thoughts and energies where they ought to be focused. I am so thankful God has led me to a place in my life where I am open to new ideas and interpretations…each time I explore my relationship with God in a new way another path is forged. I find each emotional or rational path I take these days leads me to a seat, in a garden, where he waits to be with me.
  • Moderation: Though natural to many, moderation has never come easily to me. I exercised moderation in my indulgence of alcohol this trip and am so thankful to hold all my memories – in full – of precious time and conversation with loved ones. This particular crop is my asparagus – it took a few years to cultivate. Hot damn and hallelujah!  😉

Do you understand why the word “harvest” comes to mind? Such fruits! I feel so blessed, so loved, so full. And I must be. Because I never know when next I’ll return to that particular, familiar table…I only know that I will.

When was your last harvest? Where were you and who were you with? Do you carry pieces of that harvest around with you, chipmunk style?

Pot Luck Kindness 2010: The Big 3-0

Yay, I'm 30!

Yay, I'm 30!

Last month I read Robyn Bomar’s How I Celebrated My Birthday (aka 38 Random Acts of Robyn) and was inspired. Have you seen this yet? Robyn decided she would spend her 38th birthday doing 38 random acts of kindness. She made a list and spent the day running around town with several members of her family doing random acts of kindness. What’s more, she asked her “friends, readers, Facebook fans and fellow Twitter-ers to each perform one Random Act of Kindness and to let [her] know about it throughout the day”. What good stuff, man! I wanna put some goodness like that out there!

So here I am, a few days from my thirtieth birthday and I haven’t gotten my act together. I actually considered doing a belated Earth Day post this week because the work involved to pull together something like Robyn pulled together is not work I want to be doing this week. Can you believe I would let lazy beat out good karma on an occasion such as this?

I do feel like it’s a special birthday. I own it, I love it and I feel somehow as though I’ve turned a corner in the past few months and I am so very excited for the me walking into my thirties. I had a lovely meeting today for the Netweaving Pay It Forward Week and this evening I spent $28 on $50 worth of groceries – a milestone in frugality. Two for two, man…can’t I make this idea work for me somehow?

Well, maybe with some help;)

Here’s the deal. The one thing I didn’t care much for on Robyn’s project was that so many of her random acts involved money. As I read through her list I was tallying the costs and the project felt less and less practical for my personal situation. I also really don’t need to take Monday off…I’m in the middle of some very cool projects and would rather spend my birthday working on them:) So, I’m going to rip off Robyn’s idea and dilute it down to my taste…throwing just a little bit of good stuff out into the world is better than not throwing out any, right? 😉  So…

Pot Luck Kindness 2010: The Big 3-0

  1. I ask that anyone so inclined to celebrate this milestone birthday with me perform a random act of kindness. I’m going to do as many as I can on b-day and I’ll tweet them out as I do them.
  2. I ask that you make every effort to perform a ROAK that doesn’t cost you money or at least doesn’t cost you much. Let’s put a $5 cap on it, ok?
  3. I ask that you let me know about your RAOK somehow. You can comment here, text me, FB me, tweet me; whatever. I’ll post any messages I get from other channels here later. My hope [read: gift] is that this post will collect a long string of creative RAOKs, inspiring anyone who stumbles on this post in the future to perform one themselves or perhaps celebrate similarly on their birthday.
  4. My birthday is Monday 5/3 but I’m not going to attach the request to the date. You can do it the day you read this post, the next day, a week later, whenever. I will certainly be pleased if some of you think about me day-of but I’ve been stretching out my birthday for years so I don’t know why I’d stop now;)

That’s it; my birthday wish. I hope you want to celebrate with me and I hope you have fun doing it. Thanks for reading, too…I can’t tell you how much this outlet – this regular writing – has done for me. And your attention, dear reader? It’s speaking my love language🙂

Mouthgasm 2010: Sandestin

For those of you who read last week’s post, you know I needed to chill out. I did:) On Thursday afternoon I headed out to Florida with some of my best friends for some R&R on the Emerald Coast. We arrived just past 9 pm and by 10pm we were seated at Tommy Bahama’s for our first mouthgasm. The instigators?

LOKI-LOKI TUNA POKE
Fresh Ahi tuna, soy and sesame oil layered with freshly made guacamole and served with Tommy’s flatbread and tortilla strips

SOUTH SEAS SCALLOP SLIDERS
Pan seared, fresh basil, roma tomatoes, chipotle aioli, crispy “Tobacco” onions with Asian slaw

BAHAMA BASIL SMASH
Tommy Bahama White Sand Rum, muddled blackberries, basil and fresh ginger, “from scratch” sour mix and Sprite

Friday morning we headed over to the beach (first and last time…very odd for me on a beach trip) for a couple of hours and then hit Wine World (aka Chan’s) for some lunch and to peruse the gourmet cheeses (we ultimately bought blueberry cheese, jalapeno havarti & two large mozzarella blocks). After lunch we went to pick up some groceries and found we were all on the same, healthy mission. We didn’t end up with a bit of junk! Yogurt, dried fruit, nuts, juices & fresh vegetables were the picks of the day and I am so thankful for it. I swear putting these good things into our bodies made all the difference in the world…especially as the level of alcohol consumption was just the slightest bit higher than usual;)

Friday night turned out to be another late night, with us only sitting down to our crab leg boil around 10pm. Mouthgasmic…

Saturday morning we went to Another Broken Egg around 11am for breakfast. As my early to rise self had already feasted on yogurt, nuts and dried fruit I decided to order “light”:

BAKED BRIE DELIGHT
A delightfully mild white cheese softened and smothered with sautéed apples, raisins & pecans in a sweet Grand Marnier butter sauce. Served with lightly toasted French bread for spreading!

BLACKBERRY GRITS

At this point we understood our meals were off schedule. We embraced it. Some fun in the sun then we picked up some fresh fish for supper and hopped in the golf cart to go over to The Village for  oysters Christine was just dying to introduce us to: raw, served with wasabi and soy sauce…mmm…

We walked by a sushi place on the way to oysters…it seemed appropriate to stop for an appetizer…

I had some of the best salmon nigiri I’ve ever tasted (the fish tasted better than it looked…pleasant surprise!) and lovely, soft white tuna nigiri that melted in my mouth like butter. We also had a tasty order of edamames.

Palates whetted, on we went to the Acme Oyster House at The Village in Sandestin. Beautiful, beautiful oysters. More melting mouthgasms…totally smooth. We had a dozen baked and three dozen raw. Good thing we stopped in at the sushi place, too…Acme no longer had their soy sauce & wasabi oysters on the menu, so we ran back over to Osaka Sushi Rocks to ask our new friends if we could borrow some fixin’s. I must say, hands down, this was the most interesting and divine way I have eaten oysters to date. So-very-good.

We decided to skip the midnight fish taco supper we’d planned and hit the sack at a reasonable hour Saturday night. My internal alarm clock woke me up around 6:30am Central time (thank you, kiddo) so I decided to cook them up for breakfast instead. My friend Ann had the great idea to use naan bread for the tacos…good, good, good!

Us Georgia girls hit the road for home with a pit stop at my Aunt & Uncle’s in Marianna to have a bite for lunch and bring my grandmother back up to Atlanta to spend the week with my mom. I love Ruth & Larry’s place. I got to look at their garden and new greenhouse (foreplay) before sitting down to my last mouthgasm of fresh shrimp salad with avocados, 2 hr old radishes, remoulade sauce and muffins. For dessert we had Sticky Black Bean something with ice cream. It reminded me of rice pudding but was wonderfully different at the same time. I also saw these beautiful bay leaf garlands for the first time and was absolutely fascinated by them…very cool!

I found it interesting the way this little trip of ours shook out. Our meals were not of the interior grocery store isles, but fresh concoctions- most from the sea. The trip was soon centered around these mouthgasms – they were pursued so thoughtfully they became the cornerstone of it. I snatched up my morning alone time for yoga practice and stretching. I finished Eat, Pray, Love (and cried) – so apt. As each day passed, the same two words floated around in my mind: Restorative…Elemental…

And I am restored. The lovely food, when we dined both in and out (thanks, Erin, for knowing all the best places to go!), fed me not only physically but mentally. It makes me wonder – can our greatest imbalances be leveled with some attention to elemental needs? Moderation and health in nutrition and exercise certainly seem a reasonable way to test the theory. It’s not likely to hurt you, anyway…and you might just be surprised with multiple mouthgasms in the process!

Bay Leaf Garlands

I can’t wait for Mouthgasm 2011:)

Tending the Gardens

Spring is sprung on my side of the world. My perennials are popping back up (as are weeds) and I’m sorting through my seeds figuring out what vegetables to plant in my square foot garden. Long days are upon us and I know I will soon neglect the house and the laundry in favor of the yard and gardens. This will go on a couple of months before the heavy heat of Georgia Summer chases me back in to the air conditioning where my boobs don’t sweat. Then the yard will be on it’s own until the temperatures moderate and I’m ready to venture out once again.

The yard won’t wow anyone these next couple of months. Though I will toil, my greatest rewards will be limited: the rediscovery of plants I’ve already cultured as I pull back weeds, the potting of purchased (not nursed) plants in my patio containers. I’ll kick myself for not planting more bulbs last fall and applying pre-emergent weed treatments to the lawn. I know because it went down like this last year and I made few changes to my routine to alter the outcome.

It’s hard to believe it was Easter on Sunday. This year is flying by. It seems just yesterday I was beginning my spiritual preparation for Lent, thinking about my relationships and my self…trying to identify ways I can improve both. Now here I am, a chorus of “he is risen, indeed” echoing in my head and still I find myself wondering what I’ve actually accomplished. Fortunately, my spiritual growth is not regulated by the same seasons as my gardens. I do not have to wait for next Lent to plant my bulbs. I may find the heat of introspection chases me back to my comfort zone from time to time, but those seasons are my own and I have more control over them than those that guide my physical planting.

Knowing this, I have made some conscious decisions about my yard and gardens – both physical and spiritual.

1) I will not neglect the yard just because I value the fruits of my gardens more. If I make the effort with the yard (weeding, edging) I will have to mow less frequently. I will not have to deal with the shame an unkempt yard evokes. This behavior is neighborly. My body is my yard and my soul is my garden. Though I value the fruits of the soul, I will do the hard work necessary to get my body in good shape so that I may be free of the shame an unfit one elicits. Once the hard work is done, I’ll be able to work less frequently. I’ll take pride in my healthy body and my next door neighbor (hubby) is bound to appreciate it;)

2) I will wait for the rain before I weed. There is no sense busting ass digging at roots in solid ground. That behavior only leaves me frustrated and unsatisfied. Similarly, I will not force spiritual growth on myself when my soul is not ready. Much like rain, circumstances for growth are beyond my control. There’s no sense kicking myself for not scaling some grand spiritual staircase this Lent. I’m better off working on something else until that slow, steady rain comes in it’s own time.

3) I will prioritize and make the time. No one becomes a master gardener overnight (nor a master of anything else, for that matter). I will sometimes set aside laundry or other housekeeping responsibilities to work in the yard when weather permits. For my soul? I will tear myself away from a work project to go to the Wednesday noon church service or miss a self-imposed writing deadline to play with my son. Also, as my gardens are shared with my husband’s, I will make time to tend them together – even if that means doing the “tasks” he wants to do rather than those I’d like to do.

4) I will make every effort to learn. I will identify my trusted sources, open my mind to positive influences and make every effort to soak up ideas.Through this I will achieve growth.

5) I will not be afraid to try new ideas, even if they are foreign to me. Nor will I be afraid to cast aside those that do not suit my soil, plants or climate.

6) I will share. Just as many plants can be split and rooted to grace a new space, so can positivity be shared and fostered to grace another soul.

7) I will compost. I will not cast aside scraps of food or life lessons. Instead, I will allow them to ruminate and culture, applying them when the time comes, that I may grow beautiful vegetables and the fruits of the spirit.

So there you have it – my gardening plans. I hope the exercise of writing them down helps me stick with them:) I find sometimes the best gardens are those that require little effort (thank you, zinnias!) but even when the grandest of my planting plans are left unrealized I can at least see the outlines of them to guide me the next year. Here’s to a happy season (whichever yours may be) and a yard and garden to be proud of! What about you? Have you ordered your seeds yet? Which plants will you share with friends?

Virtual Anonymity

A couple of months ago I had occasion to read the blog of a woman seeking employment with my sister company. It’s a foodie blog and I’m all about some food. On my first visit, her home page featured the old-school cover of a Nancy Drew hardback: The Mystery of the Hardboiled Egg. I was smitten:) I enjoyed her posts and and I decided a little mystery would be fun, so when I joined the conversation at La Aguacate I did so as Pot Luck Mama.

This virtual world we have here is interesting. This opportunity to pop in and out of “places”; observing behaviors, joining conversations and building relationships. We are not hampered by space or time. I put a thought out into the cloud and you are able to pluck it out if and when you see fit. We are also afforded a voyeuristic opportunity more blatant than I have seen in my lifetime. A growing segment of humankind has, in fact, embraced this opportunity for self-expression. All those inclined to share thoughts and ideas, stories and questions may do so – for many to see.

What’s more, we may do so on our own terms. We can enter a space, decide we don’t like the scene, and depart without exposure. We can share our thoughts without sharing our names, much like a stranger on the bus with whom we had such a lovely chat. We can choose a pen name, freeing ourselves from exposure or characterizing ourselves for the environment. We can share our professional profile, tailored individually to our taste and in the forum most comfortable (and convenient) to us. On that note, we may do so in our pajamas or between chores…

Today, a virtual friend is visiting my physical world:) Annakate, whom I am thrilled has joined our corporate team, will be in town for the week visiting with the team down here. Fortunately, my role has changed recently to involve me in her little circle of work, and she and I will get to play together often:) Our first brainstorming session, in fact, will be held as we take a cooking class together at The Viking Store in Atlanta (see footnote, below).

Our jobs include building virtual and physical communities around these stores (cooking school/unique event facility/appliance & culinary toy stores – all under one brick and mortar roof!) in Atlanta and Nashville. We are going to do this by supplementing the brick and mortar bliss with a virtual space where our team and brand’s friends can join together and share culinary adventures, recipes and advice. We will invite our brick and mortar guests to continue the friendships they forge in our classes in flexible virtuosity.

“We want you to experience the care, attention and inspiration we dish up at all of our cooking classes and private events – whether you can find the time to stop by a showroom or not. We are passionate professionals who want to expose you to our knowledge, our tools and our friends. Viking ToGo – culinary creativity in a doggie bag.” {That’s some draft verbiage for the site…what do you think? Too cheesy?}

Seriously…how much fun are we about to have? 🙂

I realize my work project only relates to virtual anonymity in the sense that I used it to begin what will now become a professional relationship. Still, I find myself making identity decisions regularly now as I play in my virtual pools, and  I wonder who does the same. Are you as excited as I to build new relationships on various levels of openness? How have you balanced anonymity while growing relationships?

The whole scenario reminds me of how good it always felt to move to a new city. In each new place we can begin again, that much closer to being the people we want to be. And that newness can be experienced online without concern for the financial or obligatory restrictions one may have while navigating the physical word.  The virtual world is our oyster:)

FYI, I’ll post photos from the cooking class to Twitter today as we do our thing. If any of you witty followers tweet me with a clever caption for one of the photos in the next 24 hours I’ll hook you up with discount from The Viking Store ~a discount on a class for an ATL or NASH resident, a culinary toy discount for a US resident, a surprise for South African residents (to be delivered in May) and sorry for the rest of the world but I’ll just have to give you guys kudos for wit:)

FOOTNOTE
1. I definitely classify this first brainstorming session as a perk. I also classify the culinary toys I am bringing home with me to (ahem) test out for the blog series I want to do on the subject as PERKS!