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My Brain May Explode!

Between Ted and Alison and MIT and Khan and Oprah and Kindle and Google there is more free quality education available now than at any time in the collective history of mankind.

If you have haven’t completely detoured from my page following the incredible resources linked above I am honored and would encourage you to click on something and go learn!

I know it’s Saturday but if you haven’t learned something new today there is still time!

Power Of Attorney

Some mornings start earlier than others. Mine started with a phone call letting me know my mother half a country away is in the hospital. There is not much I can do except pray and wait. My aunt is there and years ago my mother gave her power of attorney.

This morning I’m wondering who makes decisions for you? We have government representation that is supposed to make decisions based on the “will of the people” but lately don’t seem very responsive to the people.
We have news outlets that feed us a crafted presentation of the information they have gathered and paint with such a wide brush that many facts and positions are covered with whitewash or blurred out entirely.
The internet is overflowing with options and filters that decide for us which pages will match what we’re looking for based on what we’ve looked for before.
Even things that should be our decisions out of our own common sense have been legislated and regulated until there are rules and laws about every aspect of our lives.
So, who has the power to decide? Who holds the life and death decisions for you today? Who chooses for you?
The first one who held the power of attorney for all humanity was Eve. Her choice…Trust God’s heart toward her was good or not. Today we each face that same decision for ourselves.
Today I decide to trust. Today I have the power to choose.

Occupied

When I see that word I think of the little sign on the door of the lavatory on an airplane.

I’ll be the first to admit I do not know what the Occupy protesters really want.

But it makes me wonder…what would you be willing to protest?

What would you be willing to do to make a change?

What/who has been influential in your decisions to really change your position about anything?

Sunday Shower

By far the best place for me to do my thinking is in the shower. That being said here’s what I got this morning.

I’ve been going over the incredible odds of all the things that came together on May 2, 2009. The connections and details have become so complex and intricate that The Matrix looks like a dot-to-dot that only goes to 10.

As I was thinking about my pending trip to DCW I was kicking myself for not being as prepared as I wanted to be. I can’t think of a time in my life when I was a prepared as I wanted to be but that’s a subject for another day. I have my speech written and edited. (Probably going to be up at midnight with that.) My suitcase was pretty much packed yesterday. (Re-packing after I post this.) My nails that I polished yesterday while thinking things through so I wouldn’t be redoing it all today have been peeled clean of polish. (I’m off to have them done at a little nail salon near my home so the polish isn’t as peel-able.)

All this brought me to this morning and my issues with setting boundaries and focus. I guess the shower has become my starting gate. At the beginning of each race all of the power of the horse is brought into focus waiting for the bell. All the early morning training, all the money the owner invested, all the late nights the stable boy kept watch, all the years the jockey learned to read a horse, all comes down to a short burst of power and speed.

Now I’m not ready to make a run for the roses but I do think I’m finding my stride and maybe my gate.

What are the Odds?

Next week at the Dynamic Communicators Workshop I will be presenting a 5 minute version of this story. After writing it all up today I wanted to share it here in the long version.  There is an even longer version but I’m saving that for a book.

 

 

I know there is a verse in the Bible used to reassure believers that God knows them so intimately that He has numbered the hairs on their head. However, it is not my head that has trouble as much as it is my heart. I would like to share with you a statistical improbability that permanently settle the question of my heart…Does God really see me?

In 1932, a log cabin was built for my husband’s great grandmother Nellie in Santa Cruz Mountains on a piece of property that was part of a Spanish Land Grant. Her granddaughter Susie grew up riding motocycles in the mountains around that cabin and instilled that love of riding in my husband who passed it on to me.

Unaware of the biking heritage I would later marry into I moved into a small apartment 1 ¼ miles from Churchill Downs in 1981, developing an attachment to the deep traditions of the Kentucky Derby ran there the first Saturday in May.

Our shared interest in riding and our faith prompted my husband and me to join the Christian Motorcyclists Association in 2003. I had just started riding my own Harley Sportster. At one of meetings, a man named Paul recommended a book for my husband for a Christmas gift. After reading just the introduction, I bought it and given his limited recreational reading time, a Christmas miracle happened. He read it. Not only did he read it, he asked me to order a dozen more copies so he could give them to other men.  While ordering the books I found a VHS teaching series that went with it and when it arrived, I watched all of the sessions. The website had a promo for a book for women to be published in 2005.Little did I know what an adventure 2005 was going to be.

For my Christmas gift in 2005, my husband decided to take me on the Precepts Ministry’s Tour of the Second Missionary Journey of Paul. The tour was in October. In July, the book Captivating by John and Stacy Eldredge was published and I inhaled it. I went online to enter the lottery for the Captivating retreat and got in on the first try. Captivating was in September. That summer I was teaching Beth Moore’s Breaking free. We were also looking at our plans to celebrate my husband’s 50th birthday. He wanted to ride to Dayton Bike Week since it was the same week as his birthday. Since riding a sporter  cross-country is not a very good ride even for the most road-toughened riders my husband bought me a new Lava Red 2006 Fuel Injected Custom Dyna Harley Davidson in preparation for his birthday. I know, just the odds of a guy buying his wife a new Harley for his birthday make this whole story improbable, but stay with me.

I had the fall of 2005 all lined up. Finish teaching Breaking Free, go to Captivating in September and then to Greece with Precepts in October. Explaining my lineup of expected joy at the end of my last session of Breaking Free one of the women asked me about riding my motorcycle to Daytona and was I afraid of falling. I quipped, “There are only two kinds of riders…those who have fallen and those who are going to. I was in the latter group for three more days. Leaving the gravel cabin road onto the paved county road I over shot a corner and came out on the losing end of a confrontation with a mountain. As my husband ran over to where I was laying in a ditch with my bike on my leg my first words were “Get my bike out of the mud!” I was so afraid I had toasted my beautiful paint job.

Turned out my paint job was perfect but my left leg was broken. Since I have very little upper body strength I spent the next 6 weeks in a wheel chair. One of the first adjustments I needed to make was to verify that Captivating was wheel chair accessible. It was but the shuttle bus was not. After several back and forth emails a conference ticket that was non-refundable, non-transferable was transferred to Captivating 2006. Next stop Greece! I got out of the wheel chair on a Monday, on a plane for New York on Wednesday and on the plane to Greece on Friday!

Captivating February 2005 was tricky. Since my husband was away on a business trip when I got home, he left me roses for Valentine’s Day. On Feb 14, 2005, I logged on to the RH website and as alum of Captivating joined The Well, a group of women who have been one of the greatest blessings God has ever given me.

My oldest stepson called that day and asked me if I was interested in getting my husband the ultimate 50th birthday present. I was. San Jose Harley dealership was selling their drag bike and I picked it up for a good price. That began our year of racing.

It was through the Ransomed Heart forum that I met a lot of great people including a woman known as Ladybug. Turns out she lives about an hour away from me.

In the spring of 2009, she invited me to a retreat at the Mt. Hermon Conference grounds in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Gary Barkalow who had been part of the core team with Ransomed Heart was putting on a retreat about finding your calling. She had an extra room in her cabin and offered it to me.

Here is where it starts getting fun. The Saturday morning of The Calling Retreat was May 2nd. It was a cold rainy day. Gary started the morning showing a clip from the movie Sea Biscuit. I do not know if you are familiar with the movie but there is a scene where the jockey is sitting in a wheelchair with a broken leg. Gary went on to tell a story about being so lost in thought out bird hunting with John Eldredge that he didn’t see the bush full of birds in front of him until they all took to flight as John was pointing and yelling “Bird! Bird! Bird!”

The next session Gary taught was on feeling disqualified for our calling. He asked what lies have you believed. A man I had never seen or seen since, called out from the other side of the room “Too much of a long shot”. Who says that? Too much of a long shot. At the break, I stepped outside to check the iPhone I had just gotten that week.

 

 

The write up in Wikipedia says:

“Following overnight rain, the Churchill Downs natural dirt track was rated as sloppy for the 2009 Kentucky Derby. Ridden by Calvin Borel, Mine That Bird had trouble out of the starting gate and was left about eight lengths behind the rest of the field. By the time the pack of horses was running down the backstretch, Mine That Bird was so far back that NBC‘s announcer Tom Durkin at first missed seeing him.[5]

Calvin Borel, using the ground-saving, rail-skimming riding technique that won him the 2007 Derby with Street Sense, charged past horses along the backstretch and at the turn for home had moved into contention. Borel kept Mine That Bird on the rail, leaving it just once to go around a tiring horse before ducking back in, where he exploded past Pioneer of the Nile so fast on the inside that NBC’s Tom Durkin, who was focused on other horses vying for the lead,[5] did not see him come through until he was three lengths in the lead. Mine That Bird pulled away to win by six lengths.

A two-dollar win wager returned $103.20, making Mine That Bird the second biggest upset in Kentucky Derby history, behind 91-1 longshot Donerail in 1913.[6]

Fast forward to last week. I have told this story many times but never put it together like this. On Thursday, Gary will be leading The Calling Retreat again. This time with the Bootcamp Northwest team that my husband and I grew to love, while drag racing in the Pacific Northwest.

Pulling together the numbers and dates for this speech I was once again shown just how great the lengths God goes to to show me He sees my heart. In February this year, production began on the movie based on the true story of Mine That Bird.

 

Producer, Price Hall said, “His story reminds us to do what we love if we want to succeed.”  The Bird has clearly inspired people wherever he has run, and time and again, he has been called ‘everyman’s horse’, setting a great example for the small guy who can win against all odds if he just sets his mind to it.

 

What are the odds of Gary showing the scene from Sea Biscuit with the jockey with a broken leg in the Santa Cruz mountains on Derby day before he told a story about not seeing the bird until it was right in front of him to a man who feels disqualified because he’s too much of a long shot just before I go out in the rain to check the results of the Kentucky Derby only to find Mine That Bird had won by 6 lengths?

I’m not saying God fixed the Kentucky Derby just to show me He sees me but it doesn’t take a mathematician to figure those odds are so off the charts and the odds of them applying to anyone but me are even greater.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Answer the Call Already!!!!

I snag stuff from all over the internet. I have a handly little program  that makes it easy to clip and organize all kinds of stuff. I snagged this little piece of info from the column on the side of my facebook feed.

 

“Oprah’s Lifeclass

Oprah reaches back through 25 years to teach the lessons that matter most. 

Which lesson would you like to learn?
19% Stepping out of your box
47% Finding your calling
33% Letting go of anger”

 

More people want to learn how to find their calling than how to let go of anger. Now, maybe people are more well adjusted than I realize and anger isn’t as prevalent as the 6 o’clock news would lead me to believe.

Next week there is an incredible opportunity for men who don’t know what to do about “the call” they heard or maybe the game was on and they didn’t hear “the call”. A powerful combination of men are assembling and I wanted to take time today to point those 47% in the right direction.

 

Author and speaker Gary Barkalow will be joining some of the best guys I know to present a message that will literally change the course of your journey.

This is a man who has answered his call coming together with other men who are answering their call. If you haven’t answered your calling yet….HELLO!!!!!!

Register today for The Calling.

When: October 21st – 23rd, 2011
Where: Camp Crestview, Corbett OR
Time: 5:00 p.m. check-in on Friday, October 21st
Amount: $265.00 includes meals and lodging

To Register go to:
Boot Camp Northwest
Camp Crestview
1601 NE Crestview Ln
Corbett, OR 97019
Phone: 503/695-2227

Tell them Lana sent you. You might get pie!

Blue Like Jazz

Every now and then you read a book and go “Wow! That would make a great movie.”

This was the book:
And this is the movie:

 

 

And this is how I came to be an Associate Producer on this movie.

 

From the Blue Like Jazz Blog

This Day In History

AuthorSTEVE ON DateMONDAY, SEPTEMBER 26, 2011 AT 5:13PM
This Day In HistoryExactly one year ago – at 5:13pm on September 26th, 2010 – I got an email with this subject line:

New Backer Alert! Sir Patrick LIttle has pledged $25.00 to SAVE Blue Like Jazz! (the movie).

Little did Patrick know that he was the first of 4,495 backers who would, over the next thirty days, raise a record-shattering $345,992 to make “Blue Like Jazz” the biggest crowd-funded movie in American history.

The ensuing twelve months have flown by, and it all still seems too good to be true: We assembled an amazing cast and crew. We had a magical time filming in Nashville and Portland. And we’ve watched the film take shape in the edit room and turn into something that, in test screenings across the country, is getting an even better response than I’d hoped for.

A year ago, this all seemed so impossible. And, of course, it would have remained so without the vision and enthusiasm of Zach Prichard, Jonathan Frazier, and all of our beloved backers.

So we’re declaring the next thirty days National Save Blue Like Jazz Month (subject to certain limitations beyond our control). Relive the excitement! Go online every five minutes to check the latest total on something! Wear your t-shirt every day for a month! Get your poster framed, then hang it on the wall of your city’s finest art museum and see how long it takes to get arrested!

And if you haven’t received yours yet, wait for a “Caller I.D. blocked” phone call, then pick it up and hear me gush about how we couldn’t have done any of this without you.

Because it’s historically true.

-Steve Taylor

 

 

I was one of the 4,495. I have my tee shirt. My poster is hanging in my office. I am excited to see the movie and what 4,494 other folks believed in enough to step up and invest.

If you look really fast, I’m told my name will be in the credits as an Associate Producer. I just can’t wait for it to come out on dvd so I can send it to everyone for Christmas next year.

 

Talk about taking a dream out of the clouds! Do you have any idea how much it rains in Portland?

Look Up

In March 2010 I had the joy and privilege of leading the Go Deeper Still Women’s Conference at Mt. Hermon, Ca. One of the stories that came out of this conference was the story of Suzanne Lorente.

I first met Suzanne about 5 years ago. We were both attending a large church and our paths crossed briefly through the music department. Two years later we would both be at a small church and our friendship took hold. I have always been touched by the music Suzanne plays and sings. Some is familiar but most was original and as she sang her story I saw how much God has been calling her.

Musicians are often seen as dreamer but the hard work of making music is very real. In 2009, I asked Suzanne to write the theme song for Go Deeper Still Women’s Conference. I told her the theme was “From the mountain top to the forest deep…Go Deeper Still”. And left her with God to work out the rest. I was in a grocery store a few days later when she called and said “Do you want to hear it?” As I stood in the aisle of canned vegetables, tears flowed down my face as she sang.

We talked all through checkout, loading the groceries into my car and as I drove home. I was so impressed that she needed to record not only this song but a cd.  Suzanne was concerned that she would have to write 10 or 11 more songs but as we talked about the songs she had been writing over the past few years we quickly realized “Go Deeper Still” wasn’t the first song she was to write for the new cd but the last song for “Rivers of Living Waters“.

Going into the studio the day she recorded “Go Deeper Still” was so much fun. Hearing her perform it live at “Go Deeper Still Women’s Conference” as Susanna Vaughan performed an original praise dance was by far my favorite.

If Suzanne hadn’t said “Yes” her dream may still be on hold. But she did say “Yes” and her step of faith became the reality of “River of Living Waters“.

If someone asks you today are you ready to say “Yes” to your dream?

 

 

Dream Big

If I were to put a subtitle on the story of my life it would be “Taking dreams out of the clouds and making them reality”. Over the next few days I’d like to share with you some of the people I know who have done just that. They are inspiring and brave. They dreamed of what could be and made it happen. I can’t wait for you to meet them.

The first is a group that started out with a dream I had for them and as it grew I found out it was the dream of many of them. This is the story of The Indigo Door.

 

In October, 2010 I offered 37 6th, 7th, and 8th graders a challenge. Based on the NaNoWriMo challenge. NaNoWriMo is the National Novel Writing Month challenge of writing a 50,000 word novel in the 30 days of November. Since we were starting this challenge less than 8 days from when I presented it I modified it for the students of the Indigo Middle School. If each of the 37 students wrote just 1,400 words they would, together meet the 50,000 word count.

The hard part was figuring out how to make the story work with 37 very different authors. So, the only parameters I gave them were that the main common character of the book had to start each chapter in front of a door and by the end of the chapter they had to get the character back in front of a door. They voted on the main character who turned out to be a 13 year old human boy named Timmy.

We set up accounts for each of the students with Fastpencil.com. Then all of their accounts were linked together to form a collaboration for the project. They could read each other’s work, leave comments, and see how the progress was coming along. The team at Fastpencil was incredible. The visit by Michael Ashley, Founder and CTO, showed the students that this was not just a class project but that they were on their way to becoming real published authors.

On November 30th all the chapters were done! We took photos for the cover and the back in front of the door to the Indigo classroom and sent their book, complete with a forward from the principle to the publisher. Michael went above and beyond designing the cover and getting it to the printer. Our goal and commitment to the students was that if they completed their chapter they would get a copy of the book. The publishing party was set for December 17th, 2010.

I can’t tell you how much pride and personal satisfaction I saw on the faces of these kids as they worked together all month. But the time after they were done writing and were waiting was so charged with accomplishment and anticipation.

Thanks to the heroic efforts of Fastpencil the books were delivered at 10:30 on the morning of December 17th. I remember standing in the rain signing for the Fedex delivery and loading them straight into the van. Looking up at the clouds the rain mixed with my tears of joy and relief. They had written it. Michael had published it. And all that was left was to hand them out.

“The Indigo Door” is a reality. 37 students have done what many adults aspire to do. They have written and published a book. For some this will be the only time they hold a book in their hands that they have written but for a few it is only the first.

If you would like a copy of The Indigo Door they are available at the Fastpencil.com Marketplace. What you will read is a raw, unedited glimpse into the hearts, minds and writing style of the most fun group of kids I have had the pleasure of encouraging to step through the door.

Front Line

Does your front line of approach play offense or defense?

Does your receptionist make people feel like they are the reason she came to work today or like they are an interruption?

Is your first impression your best effort to connect or do you use it more to deflect people who you don’t want to bother with?

When someone reads your face does the sign say “Open” or “Closed”?

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