I’m Baaaack.

Hello and good day from my keyboard. It has been awhile since I last wrote and there is no excuse. The only answer I can provide is that my world has been crazy busy. Yet, with all the good happening I realize even more the need for solitude and rest.

Mind you, I do not do this well. Even as I sit here and type, I think of the millions of “duties” I should be performing….ah, there’s the rub. Could it be that under all the excuses I am simply afraid of not performing up to standards? Hmmmmm, not sure how well that sets with me.

Performance, a word that has taken on many forms in my life. I performed in theatre, music, musicals, debate, and oral interp. It was as natural to me as dressing each morning. I performed tasks in my household growing up; laundry, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, washing floors, helping to load wood, painting and scraping various homes,…..you name it, I did it. There are few chores I have not tackled in some fashion, including picking rock and walking beans. My parents insisted at an early age that hard work was of utmost value. I wonder sometimes if hard work is as necessary as “heart” work.

You see, it’s easy to allow myself to be swallowed up in the work and performing each of those chores and role to the best of my ability, even pushing myself harder to achieve more, do more, and be more.  It’s especially easy to lose myself in a role, to put on another character or person and hide in their skin for awhile.  It’s easy to “be” someone else, to escape inside another world and forget for a time that reality exists.  I got really really good at this.

I also got really really good at depending on performance and excelling at that.  I craved the attention that high performance brought me.  Like a drug, I wanted another trophy like an addict wants another hit.  I wanted another  title, another win, another role as much as I needed to breathe to stay alive.

I also yearned for the esteem it brought me.    With every trophy I brought home, I would see a glimpse of the affirmation I wanted, needed, desired.  It was really the only time that I felt I was noticed…well noticed for something positive.  I was never a “bad” kid, just stubborn, headstrong, uncontrollable, mouthy, dramatic, and countless other adjectives.  Inside another role, I could crawl into their life and portray their struggles, oblivious of those lurking for me.  Inside the applause and the smiles when I had performed well, I could cloak myself in approval and what I thought was love.  Was it love, was it approval, was it really popularity?  Probably not.

Now, in my mid-thirties, I wonder if all that concentration on performance is really all that necessary?  Will I lose the love of my children and other people if I do not exceed all expectations?  Are they their expectations or ones I have placed on myself?  I believe the latter is true.

I have been toying with a couple book ideas, a storytelling gig, and countless other dreams….I keep stalling.  I have asked myself the cause of the stall?  Plain and simple fear of not meeting expectations, mine or anyone else’s.   What happens if I do not live up to my own standards–what if I can’t write the next “Great American Novel“?  What if I am only mediocre and the dreams I have of bright lights and big city are only pipe dreams?  Better yet, what if concentrating on those are the wrong concentrations?  The more entrenched I become in the working I am doing in various jobs, the more I realize going after the bright lights is rather selfish of me.  It would be another moment of craving the applause and admiration, then at the end of the day, what do I have left?

I am accepting this more and more, understanding that achievement comes in different forms.  My sons love me unconditionally, know that they are also loved unconditionally.  They are kind, compassionate, honest, smart, funny, and articulate young men who will grow into outstanding husbands and daddies.  I have friends and loved one who would walk through fire for me, and I for them.  I have an education and 2 degrees and a job with a non-profit that fills me with such joy, I cannot compare it to anything else I have experienced.  I am extremely blessed, one of these days I will shut off the applause valve playing in my ears, turn my head away from the lure of the audience, stand firm in what I know to be true, and try hard to be content with where I am in this moment of time.






BUT!!!! i HATE to FLY

“Delta flight out of Sioux Falls leaving at 12:35 pm August 7 has already been delayed.  Please refer to check in times when you arrive”

GREAT!!!!  Just what I wanted to hear, leaving for almost a week, on my own, knowing the last time I took a trip by myself I was going to North Carolina, 3 months pregnant, and my luggage was lost for 2 days.  NOOOOOO!  This is not going to happen again!  Yet, here I was, back at an airport, flying back to Asheville (yes home to filming of the Hunger Games), and this time my son is 5 and I am no longer pregnant…and I have included a change of clothes in my carry-on.  HAve I mentioned that I LOATHE flying?

So, the stage is set for what looms ahead, my last trip to the east firmly in my mind, I anticipate with massive trepidation what will occur.  While I yearn for adventure and creativity,  i tend not to do well when it comes to flying.  The take-off and the landing are the spots that get me the most, I try to hold my breath as soon as I feel the descent.  I find that this is not a wise move, since a DESCENT could last longer than the actual flight.  I am learning to re-vamp my strategy–slowly.

I sit at Joe Foss airport and wish to god that I had a pair of ruby-red slippers, maybe if I could just click my heels together…I could magically transport.  Maybe if Madeleine L’Engle is correct, I can tesseract my way to North Carolina….maybe, just maybe.  No, the plane is now 1 1/2 hours late, having a mechanical issue and the part needed did not come in FED EX…ok, then, send Harry Potter’s owl to fetch it…DO SOMETHING!

Restless passengers eye one another, I check my ticket for the umpteenth time and vow that no matter what, I have my will in place (at least verbally) so should something happen to me….my love ones know what to do with my earthly possessions.  AS IF i had any earthly possessions…I just graduated Seminary, the Federal Government owns me!

FINALLY we are to board, and I walk down the ramp, no one feeling the confusion and apprehension that I feel.  No one suspects that I am terrified to fly, or that I have left the 2 most important people in my life with their father….I KNOW they will be fine.  I also know that I HAVE to make this trip, that it has been gnawing at my guts for a number of years and months since I received finances to make the trip.  Truth is, I fell in love with NC 5 years ago and the trip I am making is to an International Biblical Storyteller’s Conference.  Storytellers?  ME?  Me.

I look for my seat, silently thanking the airline gods that I am able to find the seat (the correct one) and stow my carry-on luggage (which can hold a small pug—-not that I would know) and buckle my seatbelt.  The person next to me is ….a kid.  Well, not a small kid, but compared to my age and station, he’s a kid.  We talk

He is on his way to interview for another summer internship with Monsanto,he has been in Nebraska all summer with them and the package they give these interns is amazing…car, gas, living expenses, food, lodging, and a credit card for the summer.  HELLO!  Here I smile quietly to myself as I introduce myself as working for a grassroots community development non-profit which specializes in school teaching gardens.  The exact opposite of the agriculture hemispheres collide and I think what more odd moments could happen on this day?

More was in store as we continue to climb in altitude.  We continue to talk and realize that small ag is not a threat to big business, nor is big business the all-encompassing evil we think it is.  They can co-exist and understand one another, if we allow it to happen.  ANYWAY……we talk about what is happening and I find out that he is from a small town in southeastern mn, where lo and behold, a person that I work with daily lives.  Connection 2 established and then a couple more when we talk about people that he knows.  We really do live in a small, small world.

We laugh thinking what an incubator we live in when I start thinking about SDSU in Brookings….my alma mater.  I spent a number of good years there and fell in love with the town as much as I did the people.  There are just some places that have good energy…Brookings, SD is one of them.  We gab of campus and the changes and I giggle thinking of my dorm in Wecota…all the furniture was moveable.  I remembered my first class in BIO Stress Building and my first day at Doner! and the trek from Wecota to HPER in the dead of winter.  He is total AG-buisness….I smile.  He is all of 20 and gets to move off campus for the first time.

Fasten your belts…this gets bumpy.  He describes the house he is moving into with 5 other guys.  I ask if he has invested in Febreze and he proceeds to describe a little mint green house with cute white shutters…well, he didn’t say cute…I did.  Starts to name the address and before I know it he cites a McDonald’s right up the street and a little further up the block used to be a Zesto’s.  1448 7th Street I inquire and he nods.

NO WAY!!!!  That is my 1448 1/4 7th street.  Well, mine and my Jenn’s.  I lived there in college and sat there aghast as he talked of the sliding kitchen door one can hear from every room in the house.  I lived in the basement and wanted to live on the main floor with the hardwood floors.  I lived there as I student taught and underwent my first sinus surgery with Dr. DeSautel.  HE worked wonders.  I laughed and studied and dreamed there, now a house full of 6 boys will do the same.  Those in the basement still have the huge armoire in the large bedroom and a set of pale pink dishes with ivy on them….Compliments of an aspiring theatre major.

Day one on my trip and my first flight sees connections that I could not possibly invent on my way to Mpls.  The flight went on without incident, I forgot to hold my breath, forgot to be scared of taking off, forgot to be scared to fly.

I know that many may read this and disregard my comments as so many coincidence….it wasn’t.  There is no way I could put together that chain of connections in that time and place to reveal to me at that moment.  I could not invent that and I did not ask for those variables to be present.  Truth is, I wanted to be a bit surly, soaking in my discomforture.  i did not want to admit to anyone how excited I was to be going back to NC or to be a Storyteller….or to incorporate my love of theatre, music, writing, and faith all into one arena.  I did not want to admit that anything that perfect existed or that I would be so called to do so.  So called….me, who hates to fly–so called out of the nest.  So called, to fly.









I Got YER Back

So the title motivates many a conversation.  Is it supportive, truth, a platitude we throw one another and never have any intention of following through on as we speak it?  I tussle with that as I contemplate my place in family, business, faith, and community.  What does that look like?  Maybe I am the only one that thinks through these ideas, but I recently posted a question on my Facebook that has generated some response.  I asked:  why do people do “good” things for others…is it because we are so motivated and cannot help to do so, or is it an ulterior motive? Please answer and provide rationale…..there is an ulterior motive to my question.

The responses were quite varied.  From some who admitted that there is always an ulterior motive (altruistically or not) to what we do.  Some contend that it is unavoidable, others contend that it is a “given” or that others are “programmed to serve”–it comes naturally without thought or regard as to what they may or may not attain as a result.  I think this an intriguing concept in this day and age.  As I contemplate the current political and social atmosphere, this ideology of community has been lost.  I wonder about that. 

I have been a teacher for many years and one the “perks” of the teaching world (be mindful the age-long debate of adequate compensation will NOT take place here) is that there are some days that teachers have for either sick leave, medical leave, and if lucky, there are 2 days available as “comp” days.  Often there exists a chance to contribute to the bank of days that are available in the event a serious illness or family situation arises.  I never batted an eye when it came to whether I would donate 2 of my days to the bank.  It never crossed my mind that others would question the concept either, it is interesting to note how many deem this an uncommon practice.  It baffles me, actually.  As I speak with people in my parents’ generation, I am shocked by the reticence contained in their reasoning as to why they would not donate.  It does not even cross their mindset that a donation of such magnitude would exist.  Interesting.  I asked my mother one time what she would do and she remarked that she would keep each day for herself.  I speak with young people my same age, (keep nearly 40 age jokes to a minimum) and the idea that they would come along another is unheard of, it does not exist.  Regardless of what one believes about health care, the idea that I would contribute to a common “pot” in order that more benefit seems contrary to most of my generation.  The idea that someone, anyone would be in need and that I could contribute is an honor.  The idea that I would not come along and meet a need, no matter how slight or the plight never matters.  It simply does not register for me to consider another option.

This idea of community is one I continue to explore.  What is that?  If I look at the denotation for the word community, it is one of a unified group of people striving toward a common cause.  From a connotative exploration, it implies so much more than that.  It implies relationship and giving and a natural offspring of that is acceptance.  Acceptance of what exactly?  Is it receipt of said relationship and giving and so much more?  If one extends the hand and it is not accepted, what does that do to the other?  Is it a slap in the face? 

I am guilty of such an action.   I look back at the last statements and paragraphs I have penned and am shamed.   Not shamed necessarily, but conflicted.  Hiding behind the well constructed sentences and verbage is often the easiest course of action when I come upon a subject matter that is too close to heart.  I can tell the stories of others and loved ones with passion and vigor and I am uber-joyed to do so.  Yes, I said uber-joyed, I love that term-uber.  The reality is that I do not have a clue as to how this community thing works.  Yup, I just admitted the great and powerful cindy does not always have a clue.  There is a scene in the musical, RENT.  Roger and Mark are screaming at one another, Roger about to leave the group and head to parts unkown in San Fransisco, he has sold his guitar, left the woman he loves, and is ready to wash his hands of the whole community that enveloped him.  Mark, the ever-observant narrator calls him on his shit.  Yup, I just said shit, too.  When confronted, the two clash–makes for wondrous dramatic interludes.  The comments from both in this moment are so raw, so real. 

Mark “For someone who’s always been let down, who’s heading out of town?”

Roger “For someone who’s longed for a community of his own, who’s with his camera, alone?”

Ouch.  Busted.  In walks Mimi, Roger’s intended, his soul.  “You don’t want baggage without lifetime guarantees.”  Anyone else feel the emptiness there?  I do and I can hear the pain in those interactions.  It is not simply a moment of Cindy living vicariously through an outstanding musical theatre experience, (thank you Jonathon Larson) I willing to admit it is as part of my heart’s cry.  I believe, furthermore, that I am not the only one to feel that.  Humor me some more as I reveal more of this RENT (ed) motif. 

Don’t Breathe Too Deep
Don’t Think All Day
Dive Into Work
Drive The Other Way
That Drip Of Hurt
That Pint Of Shame
Goes Away
Just Play The Game

You’re Living In America
At The End Of The Millennium

You’re Living In America
Leave Your Conscience At The Tone

And When You’re Living In America
At The End Of The Millennium
You’re What You Own

The Filmmaker Cannot See

And The Songwriter Cannot Hear

Yet I See Mimi Everywhere

Angel’s Voice Is In My Ear

Just Tighten Those Shoulders

Just Clench Your Jaw Til You Frown

Just Don’t Let Go

Or You May Drown

You’re Living In America
At The End Of The Millennium
You’re Living In America
Where It’s Like The Twilight Zone

And When You’re Living In America
At The End Of The Millennium
You’re What You Own

So I Own Not A Notion
I Escape And Ape Content
[What You Own lyrics on http://www.lyricsreg.com%5D

I Don’t Own Emotion – I Rent

What Was It About That Night

What Was It About That Night

Connection-In An Isolating Age

For Once-The Shadows Gave Way To

For Once The Shadows Gave Way To

For Once I Didn’t Disengage

Angel- I Hear You- I Hear It
I See It- I See It
My Film!

Mimi I See You– I See It
I Hear It- I Hear It
My Song!

MARK (On the phone)
Alexi – Mark
Call Me A Hypocrite
I Need TO Finish My
Own Film
One Song-Glory
Your Eyes


Dying In America
At The End Of The Millennium
We’re Dying In America
To Come Into Our Own
And When You’re Dying In America
At The End Of The Millennium
You’re Not Alone
I’m not Alone.

Oh, dear readers, let those lyrics slide over you, let them engage who you are in your souls.  Listen to the essence in those words, hear the admission of community, the need, the desire for connectedness.  The chance to give oneself a break and live in the moment and to accept not a hand out, but a hand up!  There is such a difference, I have to believe there is a difference.  Whether I admit it or not, this fierce independence is killing off my individual essence and the chance to connect to a community.  Wow, that realization just hit.  I am part of a generation and a society so stilted to do it on their own, to accept help from no one and to help no one that we are dying.  We are dying to know self.   I keep telling  myself, “Just keep truckin, keep working, achieving, choke down emotion…RENT….don’t own emotion.  Don’t own it, RENT IT.”  Ah, how wrong I am, how wrong we are to do this to one another.  I hurt for this concept.  Hear the cry we are sending out….from people desiring the instant fix, the disconnection with real emotion, the inability to love one another…what are we doing?  Why are we smiting our communal noses in an effort to remain disengaged, unfeeling, and safe?  Why are we killing each other with words of hatred, bullets of shame, and isolation?  Why do we accept it as status quo?  Because it is what we know.

You know, the risky and ballsy move is acceptance…not insolance, but redemption.  Renewal is terrifying, it is easier to destroy than to create.  Creation takes time, vigilance, blood, and tears.  It is some of the most painful and rewarding work I understand.  To shake myself from a peaceful and stagnate existence into one that embraces community and a like-minded journey reveals me for what I am.  Scared.  Yes, from the self-proclaimed egghead, know-it-all, enough German to be a stubborn butt…I admit, I am scared.  I have no idea what community looks like when I embrace it, I know only the fly over crop dusting that is rental.  What a sham.–note that I said sham…not shame.  There is no shame in admitting being scared, there is shame in knowing that there is something different out there and doing nothing to embrace it and making it available to others.

What do I glean from this moment of creation….I have much to learn and I am not ashamed to tackle what that means.  It means that maybe I have made a first step in changing a mode of thinking I have ingrained in my understanding for nearly 38 years.  It means, maybe, just maybe…I’m not alone.




To be or not to Be….

So, the major fundraiser on which I was working as part of a team is over.  It went smashingly.  All the work and collaboration coming together toward a common goal, it was amazing to see.  It was more amazing to watch people as they enjoyed themselves at the event, the energy was palpable.  I had mixed feelings, wanting to see more people there and more cash flow coming in, but one of my challenges is to find the joy in the moment and relish it for what it is.  Ah, the standards I possess.

One item has become clear, above all the titles that I may hold or have held over the years, the overwhelming call that rises to the surface is that of communicator.  If I look at the Strength Finders assessment, I find that WACA fits….Woo, Activator, Communicator, Adapter.  We always knew I was WAC~  As I work with Community Development, it makes sense for me to embrace this idea of Communicator above all.  All the others flow logically into it.  A good communicator can take any message, dream, call, and tailor it for the people that need and want to hear it.  It does not matter if it is written or verbal.  I am grateful to have been trained and gifted in both.  I have spent years searching for the “perfect” title to describe my existence…Eclectic?  Maybe.  Nah.  I am a communicator.

Even if I chose to be a certified Spiritual Director and Chaplain, I still communicate.  I have the privilege to convey a message of hope and forgiveness that we all need to embrace.  I found that marketing and connections proved important in this endeavor and I found them easy fits for me.  Who knew that I would be putting these to work, marketing, months before I graduate with my MDIV.  The truth is, there is ONE that knew the entire time.  There is a sense of liberation that comes in this understanding.  Maybe I do not have to search for the consummate title that will encompass my existence, much less justify it.  Maybe I can be comfortable with effectively communicating the stories I have been given from others, or from my experience to help someone else.

The height of the night for me was not counting the spoils, or taking the pics.  It was the food, although that was WONDERFUL….part of the joy was sitting back and watching people enjoy themselves…hearing the laughter from people who love each other and the mission we represent.  I truly love the team that I work with day in and day out.  My boss and our other comrade are top notch people and I love them like family. We fight, laugh, tease, argue, argue, laugh, work, and love–hard.  Whatever we are doing, we do hard and committed.  We have shared dreams, goals, hurts, frustrations, tears, giggles, laughter, and more dreams.  We have each other’s back and that is worth more than anything in this fear-laden society where one has to be on constant guard.  We do not fear with one another, we do not fear the board we serve..we love them–dearly.  I wish I could adequately communicate how much we would do for them and how honored we are to partner with our board.  Aside from the monetary finances, (which will come–we hope), we are a gifted staff, with people and connections that build us as people and as an organization.

I know this is a more boring blog than what I normally write, and I have not commented in quite awhile.  Grant me some lee-way and I shall continue my writing.  For those interested, I am on chapter 3 of the book, and feel new compunction to complete this project.  I also sold 2 framed pictures recently…more than the pictures, was the story that went with them–that is worth more than the $ amount they brought.

A sidenote, telling those stories, bringing people together, and remunerating the mission of what we are doing was the best part of my night.  I felt alive, I felt real, I felt like me…hand me a chance to talk with people and convey a message and I am the happiest camper.  Now, how doth one receive payment for something like that?  Does one receive payment for that????

Blessings in all your communications, may they impact you to the core! 



HAD to POST this.

10 Ways Being a Theatre Major Prepared Me for Success

Posted on January 16, 2012 by

I chose to post this because it spoke to part of my guts and soul.  The older I become, the more I understand I must keep in contact with those pieces of me that make my soul sing.  The world wants me to fit a mold, and I cannot.  Now, I know why.  My profs at SDSU in South Dakota taught me well.  I am indebted to them.  See the following post.

When I chose my major, I had no pipe dreams about becoming a professional actor. I did it because more than one wise adult had advised me that my actual major in college would have less impact on my eventual job search than having the actual degree. “Study what you love” I was told, “not what you think will get you a job.” I listened for once and chose theatre because I’d done it all through my secondary education, I had relative success doing it, and because I simply loved being a part of it. Fortunately, my parents gave me absolutely no grief about my choice (unlike most of my fellow majors. Thanks mom & dad!)

Fast forward 25 years and, like many people, I am no where near the waypoint on life’s road I envisioned I’d be back in college. Almost 20 years as a business consultant and now a business owner with a modestly successful track record in my business and blogging, I realize how much being a theatre major set me on the road towards success.

Here are 10 ways being a theatre major helped me succeed:

  1. Improvisation. The great thing about the stage is that when it’s live and you’re up in front of that audience anything can, and does, happen. Dropped lines, missed entrances, or malfunctioning props require you to improvise while maintaining your cool. Theatre taught me how to focus, think quickly and make do while giving the impression that you’ve got it all under control. It’s served me well when clients, airlines, coworkers, or technology wreak unexpected havoc at the worst possible moment.
  2. Project Management. A stage production is basically a business project. You have teams of people making up one team working to successfully accomplish a task on time, on budget in such a way that you earn the applause and an occasional standing ovation. Being taught to stand at the helm of a theatrical production was a project management practicum.
  3. Working with a Limited Budget. Everybody who has worked on stage knows that it’s not the road to fortune. Most plays (especially small college shows) are produced on a shoestring budget. This forces you to be imaginative, do more with less and find creative ways to get the results you want without spending money. Ask any corporate manager and they’ll tell you that this pretty much describes their job. Mine too.
  4. Dealing with Very Different Human Beings.The theatrical community is a mash-up of interesting characters. It always has been. From fringe to freakish to frappucino sipping socialites and everything in between, you’re going to encounter the most amazing and stimulating cross-section of humanity when you work in theatre. In my business career I have the unique and challenging task of walking in the CEO’s office in the morning to present our findings in an executive summary presentation and to receive a high level grilling. I will then spend the afternoon presenting the same data to overworked, underpaid, cynical front-line employees and get a very different grilling. Theatre taught me how to appreciate, understand and effectively communicate with a widely diverse group of human beings.
  5. Understanding the Human Condition. Most people have the mistaken impression that acting is all about pretending and being “fake” in front of others. What I learned as a theatre major was that good actors learn the human condition intimately through observation and painfully detailed introspection. The better you understand that human being you are portraying from the inside out, the better and more authentic your performance is going to be. In my business I am constantly using the same general methods to understand my clients, their customers as well as myself and my co-workers. I believe that having a better understanding of myself and others has ultimately made me a better (though far from perfect) employee, consultant, employer, and ultimately friend. I didn’t learn methods of observing and understanding others in Macro Econ, I learned it in Acting I & Acting II.
  6. Doing Whatever Needs to Be Done. When you’re a theatre major at a small liberal arts college there is little room for specializing within your field. You have to learn to do it all. Light design, sound engineering, acting, directing, producing, marketing, PR, set design, set construction, ticket sales, budgeting, customer service, ushering, make-up, and costuming are all things I had to do as part of my college career. Within our merry band of theatre majors we all had to learn every piece of a production because at some point we would be required to do what needed to be done. I learned that I can capably do just about anything that I need to do. I may not love it and I may not be gifted or excellent at it, but give me a task and I’ll figure it out. I now work for a small consulting firm that requires me to do a wide range of tasks. The experience, can-do attitude and indomitable spirit I learned in the theatre have been essential to success.
  7. Hard work. I remember creating a tree for one of our college shows. We had no idea how we were going to do it, but we made an amazing life-like tree that emerged from the stage and looked as if it disappeared into the ceiling above the theatre. My team mates and I cut out each and every leaf and individually hot-glued them to the branches of the tree. Thousands upon thousands upon thousands of them glued on while standing precariously on a rickety ladder high enough above the stage that it would make an OSHA inspector soil his boxers. Sleepless nights, burnt fingers and a few brushes with tragedy were needed to get that tree done. But, we got it done. It was fabulous. And a few days later we tore it down, threw it out, and got ready for the next production. C’est la vie. In business I have periods of time with unbelievable workloads in which there are sleepless nights, seemingly endless days and tireless work on projects that will be presented and then will be over. The report will be archived and I’m onto the next project. C’est la vie. I learned all about that as a theatre major.
  8. Making Difficult Choices. You’ve got four parts and twenty four schoolmates who auditioned. Some of them are your best friends and fellow theatre majors. Do you choose the unexperienced jock because he’s best for the part or the friend and fellow theatre major who you fear will never talk to you again if you don’t cast him? My senior project was supposed to be performed outside in the amphitheater but the weather was cold, windy and miserable. Do I choose to stick with the plan because it’s what my actors are comfortable with and it’s what we’ve rehearsed and it will only stress out the cast and crew to change the venue at the last minute? Or, do I choose to think about the audience who will be more comfortable and might actually pay attention and appreciate the performance if they are inside away from the cold, the wind and possible rain? [I changed the venue]. Any business person will tell you that difficult decisions must sometimes be made. The higher the position the harder the decisions and the more people those decisions affect. Being a theatre major gave me a taste of what I would have to digest in my business career.
  9. Presentation Skills. Okay, it’s a no brainer but any corporate employee can tell you horror stories of having to endure long training sessions or corporate presentations by boring, unprepared, incompetent or just plain awful presenters. From what I’ve experienced, individuals who can stand up confidently in front of a group of people and capably, effectively communicate their message while even being motivating and a little entertaining are among the rarest individuals in the business world. Being a theatre major helped me be one of them.
  10. Doing the Best You Can With What You’ve Got. Over the years I’ve told countless front line service reps that this is rule #1 of customer service. You do the best you can with what you’ve got to work with. I remember an Acting I class in college in which a pair of students got up to present a scene they’d prepared. They presented the scene on a bare stage with no lighting, make-up, costumes, props or set pieces. It was just two students acting out the script. It was one of those magic moments that happen with live theatre. The rest of the class were transfixed and pulled into the moment, reacting with surprising emotion to what they witnessed. You don’t need Broadway theatrics to create a magical theatrical moment on stage. You don’t even need a stage. The same is true of customer service. You don’t always need the latest technology, the best system, or the greatest whiz bang doo-dads. A capable CSR doing the best they can and serving a customer with courtesy, empathy, friendliness and a commitment to resolve can and does win customer satisfaction and loyalty.

What I have learned I’ve tried to pass on to my own children. Study what you love. Follow your passion. It will serve you well wherever life’s road takes you.


Shalom, cahl

A teaser

I have thought about this story for as long as I can remember.  Somehow, I knew that when the time came, there would be nothing to stop it from spilling forth. The thoughts may be similar in some ways, but the story and the journey is mine. Others may find themselves within these pages, but the experiences are completely personal and individual. Many of the stories that I will share are difficult to write and may be difficult to read, but I invite you to let them pour over you like warm honey, soothing the sore places in your soul.
I sit alone on a bed with no sound to penetrate my concentration and a fuzzy Z blanket draped over my legs, reminding me of the love of some wonderful people in my life. This blanket came to me at a particularly rough time when a good friend decided I needed the comfort of a soft blanket, organic chocolate, and Johnny Depp. My youngest son named it fuzzy Z since it looks a bit like a zebra. I have slept with this blanket every night since I received it.
I have fought for 37 years for the right and permission to say these words, now the time has come. I have talked many times about putting my thoughts to paper.  I fought it, screamed, kicked, and threw temper tantrums like a 2-year-old to avoid doing what I was called to do. Today, I threw almonds at dear friend and mentor in an effort not to follow through on a challenge. It is unavoidable that the time is now.

The title is one I have pored over for as long as I have thought of writing. I never liked the words submission or obedience. I hated being told what to do or how to do it, and I got so I was good at anticipating what others would ask of me. Obedience and submission implied that if I did not do something as someone else wanted or dictated, I suffered the wrath. I had experienced this enough in my life to know that if I played the game I would fly under the radar unscathed. My own personality soon brought me to an understanding that I do not want someone telling me what to do or how to do it. I want my own chances and I never wanted a definition or placement in a box, yet I fought like a cat in heat to find my place. I scratched and clawed my way to a place where I could do nothing but submit to something bigger than I thought I was. I came face-to-face with me.


The preceding is part of the intro to a book I am writing.  Let me know what you think…I would appreciate comments as I am hoping the finished product finds a publisher.  The artist in me is scared beyond belief to put any of this out there, yet the writer in me is compelled….that is all i know.



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