Here There and Everywhere

Expat wanderer

Empowerment

I’m working with a group, one of whose goals is empowerment. They are all from the same country, but not the same parts of the country, nor the same ethnicities, but they all get along well with one another and the group does fine. I admire each of them, and even better, I like these women.

00RoundTable2

Here’s the LOL, empowered people have ideas and opinions. We have a format to adhere to, and empowered people come up with other ideas and alternatives. Here’s the problem: other ideas and alternatives, especially good ones, mean a lot of extra focus, it creates more work for facilitators and program managers. Sometimes you need permissions, sometimes you need transportation arrangements, and always, you need to assure a delegate’s safety. All this on top of the changes that will have to be made because of this unusual weather.

First, yesterday as I met the group, I had to apologize for the weather – usually mild, sunny Pensacola was having a howling storm; sheets of water being blown by a raging wind, tree limbs falling, the sky grim and dark and grey the entire day. In the midst of this, I was with one delegate on a tour of the Port of Pensacola, where it was like being in the middle of a huge storm at sea, with squalls. The man giving the tour carried on, they had a great discussion while the wind howled around us and at times the rain fell so hard on the tin roof that we couldn’t hear one another.

00DelegateWindstorm (Those lines you see coming in through the door are wind blown rain. The drops on the camera lens – ditto)

Here is what I truly admire about this group, all their empowerment is for the good, their suggestions are making this visit even more productive and helping them exceed their goals. Their alternatives were doable, and will be accomplished. I can also tell you that at the end of a day dealing with a lot of good ideas and changes, my brain is happily fried. Guess the LOL is on me.

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March 29, 2014 Posted by | Adventure, Afghanistan, Bureaucracy, Character, Community, Cross Cultural, Customer Service, ExPat Life, Gulf Coast Citizen Diplomacy Council, Interconnected, Leadership, Pensacola, Political Issues, Social Issues, Women's Issues | , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Declares All Foods Clean

I watched a woman eat a cockroach yesterday. (When did all restaurants start having TV’s in them??) It was at the worst time, I was eating lunch, and the only thought that allowed me to continue was thinking about this verse, where Jesus declares all foods clean.

Christians who are looking for where Jesus the Christ declared all things clean (halal, kosher) look to Mark 7. Today, in Forward Day by Day, the author of the meditation combines todays lectionary readings with Matthew 12:34: For from the fulness of the heart the mouth speaks.

Mark 7:15. There is nothing outside a person that by going in can defile, but the things that come out are what defile.

Words are powerful. Our speech, for better or worse, can either build up the kingdom of God or attack it. We might want to dismiss the power of words, but all we have to do is look to history.

Throughout history, often before the murder of a people, propaganda started. People would listen to the hateful speech of their leader, and then they would act (or not act). “They are just words,” people would say, but those words wormed their way into a nation’s mind, allowing callousness and cruelty to grow.

At the same time, the words of great men and women inspired nations to work toward equality. Their words moved individuals to change or to act. Even in our personal lives, we can all think of those healing words of a dear friend. We can also remember the cruel taunts of bully. Words are important.

Words come from within us, and once they are released into the world, they live. Within each of us is the potential for the infliction of great harm or the gift of grace. We must choose our words carefully because our hearts, our souls, and even our lives depend upon our words.

March 29, 2014 Posted by | Character, Faith, Food, Interconnected, Lectionary Readings, Spiritual, Words | Leave a comment