A friend recently shared a nugget of wisdom with me, that change helps keep us young. I’d never thought of it that way, but this fact was as immediately obvious as real truth always is when suddenly revealed. I was grateful for this particular truth as I head into yet another big life change, this time a job change. The thought of this change helping me stay young-at-heart has enormous appeal to me in mid-life, heading to a new company which I hope to be my last. I would like to know that the pain which change always brings will have benefit beyond being the toll required to get to the other side.

I’ve started over so many times that I’m no longer scared of it…I’ve even been told that I’m good at it. I would hope to have learned some tips and tricks, given how many times I’ve done it, but I still never look forward to it. Change is hard, you start over on everything:  being accepted and trusted; learning the “don’t do’s” in the new culture; making all new friends. Oh yeah, and learning a new business. It’s exhausting. I’ve always hated the first six months of every new job.

But I also see my friend’s point:  when we’re changing, we’re growing. When we’re growing, we’re learning. And when we’re learning, we’re regenerating. That sounds like the definition of youth to me. What a wonderful gift of perspective she gave me:  I think that, for the first time, I just might enjoy these first six months.

“To find the joy in work is to discover the fountain of youth.”  –Pearl S. Buck


I hate goodbyes. I’ve tried making myself feel better by spouting the nonsense about every ending also being a beginning, but let’s be honest:  they’re also endings, and endings stink.

Endings are times of reflection, when what we really care about is brought into stark relief, especially if it won’t continue through the beginning. I’m changing jobs and companies (again), and I’m faced (again) with leaving behind some wonderful people. Luckily this time I’m not moving, so it will be easier to maintain these friendships. But we can no longer grab coffee between meetings; I will have to put more effort into what had been too easy before. I’ve been through this enough times to know that not all of these relationships will survive our good intentions.

I’ve also learned by now that, while sad, this is ok. These wonderful people made a difference in my life when I needed them. They listened, made me laugh, let me cry. And when I unexpectedly think of them, even years later, I will smile again. If I am really lucky, their memory of me will do the same. Yes, it is ok; that is enough. In fact, it is everything.

“Remember me and smile, for it’s better to forget than to remember me and cry.”  –Dr. Seuss


“Are we all one?” is the final question in Matador’s “20 Questions for Every Spiritual Seeker”. The answer feels so deceptively simple that I wonder what I’m missing. My “no” answer feels sad, on both a personal and community level, and begs the question of how to achieve this goal? All of human history includes so much brokenness in relationships that it’s difficult to be optimistic on this subject. We all crave more unity. During tragedy, the best in us often comes out to confront our worst, and we show that we can pull together in ways big and small. The most important Nobel Prize is reserved for those who bring people together. But one look at the headlines of any single day are discouraging. It seems all too terribly clear that we are not all one.

But it doesn’t have to be this way. We can, and do, make connections on a personal level. For most of us, this begins with the family we’re born into, and then transitions to friends, and then, eventually, to a new family that we create of our own choosing. Even then, our fears and insecurities and flaws interfere with our relationships, straining and sometime breaking them. Not being alone is, itself, a constant battle.

As I’ve gotten older and a little wiser, I’ve found more success in my relationships simply by reminding myself that we’re all flawed. We each bear our own, unique weaknesses as complements to our strengths. Accepting the flaws in others is the price we pay for not being alone, of being accepted in return. When I really think about it, Love seems the only way to a life worth living.

“We’re born alone, we die alone. Only through our love and friendship can we create the illusion for the moment that we’re not alone.” –Orson Welles


A friend recently shared an old joke with me that if you ever want to make God laugh, tell Him that you have a plan. I love that, because that’s exactly who I am. I’ve always been a planner, which is just my face-saving euphemism for control freak. I’ve recently faced a big decision that removed much of my control through the process. It has proven a wonderful, frustrating growth opportunity in which to learn to trust God.

Learning to trust God–that sounds simple, and it is. But just because something is simple doesn’t mean it’s easy. I’ve had to tell myself over and over again that God’s plan is perfect. Every time I found myself getting stressed out over it, I realized that I had tried to take back control of the decision, to figure it out on my own. And every time I recognized this and gave it all back to God, a strong sense of peace immediately followed. Why did it take me this long to discover this amazing secret to managing stress? Of course I know why…I’m stubborn and thick-headed and fiercely independent. These are all assets which can serve me well in some aspects of my life, but not in my relationships, including with God.

So I have learned another valuable life lesson, better late than never. I am thankful for the peace this lesson has brought me. And I am especially grateful for a God who does not give up on me.

“The most important lesson that I have learned is to trust God in every circumstance. Lots of times we go through different trials, and following God’s plan seems like it doesn’t make any sense at all. God is always in control, and He will never leave us.”  –Allyson Felix

Ronald McDonald House

I used to think that Ronald McDonald Houses, which provide temporary housing to family members of children in hospitals, are a good idea. I was wrong–they’re actually life savers for those who suddenly find they need them, something that’s hard to appreciate until you’ve experienced it.

When we packed our car a year ago with enough stuff to last us the expected six month hospital stay 700 miles from home, we were literally driving into the unknown. Topping our list of stressful uncertainties was, of course, concern for our daughter. The vast majority of HLH patients require a bone marrow transplant to save their lives. But BMT itself carries significant risks, and as an Asian adoptee, the chances of even finding a good match for our daughter were low. Then there is the unimaginable disruption of indefinitely splitting your family in two, especially heading into the holidays. How do you keep life and school as normal as possible for your other child? How do you juggle work so the paycheck keeps coming in? What do you do with the family pets in the shuffle? The list is long and overwhelming:  even with the tremendous support we received from family and friends, we were always in full-on coping mode.

Enter RMH. After a couple of weeks of living in the hospital with our daughter, a cherished room opened up across the street. Basic but functional and clean, it featured a real bed and, best of all, a private bathroom. Plus a very pleasant surprise:  volunteers providing a wide variety of services. There was entertainment, ranging from music to puppet shows to story time. I even got a chair massage one day. But the best volunteer service was the meals. When you’re away from home for an extended period, home-cooked food is quickly missed, especially when the next best option is the hospital cafeteria. These wonderful people, from a different business or organization every night, gave up an evening to make us tacos or chili or spaghetti. Normally a picky eater, I was beyond grateful for every single meal. As a Walmart associate, I was touched by the local Target store team which brought plush Spot-the-dog toys for the children.  I love that dog, now sitting on my daughter’s dresser.

So if any of you live near a RMH and are looking for a community service opportunity for your work or church group, please consider RMH. The meal or toys or music or quilts you provide will, trust me, make a difference to families going through the roughest time of their lives. Your gift will be in showing them that they are not alone.

“There is nothing like staying at home for real comfort.”  –Jane Austen



I’ve found a new song I love, Orphans of God by Avalon. The music builds to a point that feels like the kind a flash mob in Heaven must form around…spontaneous and joyful. I can see it so clearly in my mind every time I hear it. But the concept expressed by the title is really my favorite part. “There are no orphans of God”…what a wonderful idea!

I think that idea particularly resonates with me as the mother of two girls who once carried the label “orphan”. We all know the technical definition of the word, but there are profound layers of depth to being an orphan that I hadn’t remotely understood until the concept was made flesh in my presence. Being an orphan is the ultimate poverty. When someone deposits a child in your hotel room 7,000 miles from home with only the soiled clothes on their backs, you just begin to understand poverty. But when it dawns on you that the vastly bigger void in this small, defenseless person’s life is the lack of a fierce defender who loves them, only then does the true meaning of poverty become achingly clear. I can’t see a picture of an orphan today and not grieve deeply for their loss. The two lights of my life daily illustrate the stark difference that filling that void makes.

I think this stark understanding is why the thought of “no orphans of God” means so much to me. We all feel lost, alone, and abandoned at times. We all see those around us, sometimes those we love, who wander. It is awesomely reassuring to know that, no matter where I am or how messed up things seem to be, that God has not forgotten me and loves me profoundly. I am never alone. I am loved.

“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”  –Romans 8:38-39

Job Search

I’ve suddenly got a lot of friends and acquaintances from across the years, jobs, and geographies all looking for a new job right now. I’ve reached some of you individually, but I’ve missed others, so I’m turning to this efficient method to pass along some job search tips which have helped me and others over the years.

The first couple are pretty basic:  you need a modern resume, and a professional LinkedIn profile and picture. After 30 years of the same, plain old formats, resumes have evolved. The Internet is full of free resume forms, or shoot me a note, and I’ll send you one. Once they get your resume, LinkedIn is now the very next place recruiters go; studies show that people without a professional photo don’t get a second look. And you can scan others’ profiles to get ideas.

I also love The Muse, a job search website where you can subscribe to a daily article on leadership development and job search tips. A great exercise that I found there to prepare for interviews is developing your “connecting theme.” This simple sentence or two, though perhaps not so simple to come up with, allows you to frame who you are quickly and memorably. It boils down the intersection of what you’re great at and what you love, and which has flowed through all of your jobs. This is a vivid way to bring who you are to life to a hiring manager and help them assess your fit. I’ll share my example to bring the concept to life:  “I’m a builder–I build teams, I build processes and controls, and I help build businesses.” Follow your connecting theme (your “what”) with your elevator speech of key strengths (your “how”), and you’ll help shape your message and drive what the interviewer takes away from their discussion with you.

Interviews are high-stress, high-stakes events that most of us are out of practice on most of the time. Since I struggle under pressure to remember practiced answers for those popular behavioral question (“Tell me about a time when you…”), I no longer try. Instead, I well rehearse three examples of work that I’m proud of, and then match them to the questions I’m asked. I can easily remember three accomplishments (I was there, after all), and I choose them carefully to highlight my key strengths. But the best part of talking about things that we’re proud of is that when we do, our body language is magic. This tip may be the single best one that I have to share and has worked wonders for me and my friends.

Finally, I read something recently that said we should carry ourselves with “purpose”, that doing so is not overconfidence, but just that…purpose. I think most of us want to have a sense of purpose. Taking that approach into an interview makes a lot of sense to me. Good luck everyone, and let me know if I can help!

Great addendum from a friend who just landed awesomely from a layoff:

Be sure to leverage your network, even the thinnest of threads…you never know what can happen. And being laid off can be one of the best things to ever happen to you:  it’s your chance to remake your life into what you want it to be.  Go for your dreams!

“The most beautiful thing you can wear is confidence.”  –Blake Lively


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