Saturday, December 12, 2009

Career Ministry

I was lucky enough to speak at every one of our church services on 10/4/2009 to introduce the Career Assistance Ministry to our parish. Here are my remarks:

"December 2, 1991 was a day I will never forget. I, along with 49 other people, was laid off from my job for economic reasons. I suffered the humiliation of being escorted out of the building and being made to come back at night to empty my desks and take out my personal possessions. This was devastating because I had worked my way through college and had, in fact, worked since I was 17 years old. I couldn’t imagine NOT working. It was probably the saddest Christmas I could ever remember. I can remember the humiliation of telling people that I had lost my job and keep in mind, this was at a time when there weren’t many job losses.
But we all know that in this day and time, layoffs have become the norm versus the exception. In fact, in the state of Alabama we have over a 10% unemployment rate. That is why I feel such a passion for the ministry we are beginning today: OLV Career Ministry (or OCM for short). We have a committee that began working on this issue just a few months ago. BJ Heard headed up our group that consisted of Eugene Maitrejean, Jim and Annette Christiansen, Mike Burns and myself. We have worked together to put together a process to reach out and help those in who are unemployed and underemployed. And notice that I did not say “in our parish” because we believe, with Msgr. Rohling and Fr. Rick’s support, that we must help anyone is suffering due to loss of work.

Here’s how it works:
Job Seekers: Make contact with BJ! He will be in the Social Hall with brochures describing the ministry. We plan to provide job search skills training as well as information on where this training can be found. We have entered into amazing partnerships with churches and organizations all over the city who are working in this area. You will have access to vast on-line and written resources as well as personal support. Monthly meetings will be announced in the bulletin. Come to the parish hall after Mass!
Career partners: Those of you in the parish who have the ability to stay in close contact with someone who is trying to find employment. You don’t have to know how to write a resume but you do need to know how to care and to pick up the phone and call the Job Seeker to offer encouragement. We need people who are willing to step up and walk this journey with the Job Seeker. Come to the parish hall and find out details on how you can help.
Career Advisors: Those of you in the parish who know stuff or you have a great network. You know how to review a resume, you know how to do interviews, you know how to help people dress appropriately, or you have contacts. We have been humbled from folks who have found out through word of mouth about the ministry and already contacted us saying, “I know how to do financial planning!” “I can input resumes for people.” This is a lot like trying to learn how to date again after the loss of a spouse and you have this expertise. We want to see you in the social hall.
Prayer Chain: We are so blessed to have a prayer chain under the direction of Kurt Sanford who has committed to pray for the specific needs of our candidates. That is what separates us from secular efforts. This group will help you with your spiritual needs.
Here’s what I know for sure: My layoff story has a happy ending. I ended up starting a highly successful consulting business that now has over 260 clients. I am so blessed. Friends and colleagues came forth and offered support and pulled me up from the depths of depression. None of us makes it alone. I am so thankful!
Gary Roden and Roman Selig, standing behind me are the face of this ministry. Both, through no fault of their own, have been laid off from their jobs. They represent a population that is sadly growing. They need work NOW. Can you walk over to the Parish Hall lobby after Mass and volunteer your services? Can you actively be on the look-out for jobs and get this information to our committee? Can you donate a book to our Career library? Are you going to turn your back on them? There are 3 keys to human behavior: Awareness, Accountability and Action. You know the need. You know what the ministry is. Here’s the final thing I know for sure. Networking is “hello, how are you and what’s in it for me. Networthing is “hello, how are you, and what can I do for you?” Let’s add to the networth of our entire parish through our actions of giving commitment and support to one another. God bless you."

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Invitation--read the fine print...

I just got an email invitation to an HR session on how to control obesity. There was also a banner headline: Free Food!

It reminded me of the time I was invited to an executive roundtable on how to cut health care costs. The food that was offered was greasy bacon, and other gross offerings. I think they were trying to cut health care costs by killing all of us.

A waist is a terrible thing to mind.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Cruel Shoes

Oh, I can remember going to the "dime" store (boy, can't you tell there is inflation when it went from dime to dollar store?) and getting my first pair of heels. Let's clarify what I am talking about: Two pieces of plastic, usually with sparkly stuff embedded in them, with elastic that went across the feet. Ooo, I felt so glamorous when I got these for Christmas. I'm sure, given the quality of workmanship, that they lasted about 2 days. I don't even want to think that there may have been lead in them, which I am sure is the reason I had a lead foot for a few years (not now, I always drive the speed limit) I digress.

I remember longing to wear high heels. My mother had some beautiful shoes that were linen with splashes of color, that were about 4" high and had very pointed toes. Oh! They were the height of sexy shoes (although I didn't know what it meant, I knew my mother's legs always looked good when she wore them) And any time my parents went out, I got into my mom's side of the closet, got out the shoe box and would prance around wearing those shoes. My feet just couldn't grow fast enough and I couldn't grow up quickly so I could be the right age for those cool shoes.

Finally, the big day came when my mother said that we could go to Burger Phillips. It was a department store downtown and they were having a SALE. On shoes. On high heels! Mom said I could pick out a pair. I had visions of the pointy toed, 4" heels in my head as we took the long drive. We didn't have interstates back in those days, so I had plenty of time to day dream.

When we got to the store, we went directly to the bargain basement. There were shoes everywhere and the aisles were packed with shoppers who had the same idea as we: Best shoes Lowest price. I tried on many pairs of shoes but none came close to my idea of my transportation to Womanhood. I finally found a pair that could fit, and they were nothing like my vision. The heel was about 1" high, curved inward and had round toes, patent leather with a bow. My mother was thrilled: This is EXACTLY what she had in mind. I was not THRILLED. After all, my mother was responsible for my having those irrational thoughts--she is the one who had the cool shoes. I guess the only thing I thought these shoes had going for them was a bow, and there was no way these patent leather shoes would reflect my underwear, a common thought programmed into my head by the nuns at school. After I wrapped my mind around the fact that no linen shoes were in my immediate future, I quickly fell in love with my new shoes. I fall in love easily.

I then turned my active imagination to going to church on Sunday. I was already entertaining visions of how the rest of the congregation was going to be wowed when they saw my feet. Sunday just couldn't get here fast enough. Then came the big day: and for once in my Dad's life, he didn't have to cajole me to get out of bed--I was ready to go in no time flat. I was wearing a horrible garter belt with hose and my new "cool" shoes. Let the show begin!

During church all I could think about was Communion and my moment walking down the aisle. What was the reaction? Probably nothing. But in my young mind, all eyes were following me.

I hadn't thought about those shoes in years until today. My hair stylist was wearing shoes with heels shaped just like my first. We laughed about that and then reflected that just as we fought hard for the right to wear big girl shoes, we couldn't wait to get OUT of heels. I love the days when I don't have to pull out heels, and flats will do just fine. I'm not ready for orthopedic shoes yet and Dr. Scholl's will just have to take a hike. I still putting my best foot forward and hiding my Achilles Heel.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

There She Is!!

I can still remember Bert Parks singing that song every September in the 1950's and 60's. It was a big deal at my house to gather around the TV in September and watch the annual Miss America Pageant. This, of course, was back the day when there were only one piece bathing suits (Janzen) and the only "platform" was the stage on which the 50 state representatives stood. There was no fund raising and I really doubt if anyone entered the contest for the scholarship money. There was the happy winner trying not to do the "ugly cry" which is the one in which your mascara runs all over your face, and she headed down the runway being serenaded by Bert as she greeted her "subjects" (that would be us). Honestly, I loved watching the show. It was never put into the category of "guilty pleasure" because before feminism, everybody got into the show.

But here we are in the year 2009 and I am the first to admit that I am really looking forward to the Miss America pageant next Saturday. Why? Because I know the Miss Alabama contestant, Amanda Tapley. And my unbiased opinion, without having seen the rest of the contestants, is that she ought to win. Why? Because she is absolutely one of the purest spirits I have ever met. She is eternally kind and loving towards everyone she meets. She is totally oblivious of her external beauty and genuinely seems surprised that she even made it to the top. I'm not. I know the judges could see the same thing in her that I do. Oh, and did I mention? I sing in choir with her. Bert (R.I.P.) will be getting lot's of extra voices added this year because our entire choir wants to join in..."There She Is!" Congratulations, Amanda. You are a winner no matter what happens.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Lamaze Method at the Lovoy House

Hee-hee-hoooo, push! Hhee-hee-hoooo, push! Am I talking about birthing a baby? Heck, no! I'm talking about the annual "Let's put the tree back into two boxes that seem to get too small every year for that darn 10'fat tree."

My husband was huffing and puffing and trying to shove the trees into the tiny boxes (notice how they keep getting smaller) and I was "coaching" him and giving him LOTS of encouragement. I then broke out into laughter because this felt like childbirth, only our roles were reversed. And, hey, I was really enjoying this one because I wasn't doing all the pushing (and sweating) John got tickled, too, but also reminded me that childbirth is about pushing something OUT not pushing something in. Good thing we didn't get that confused when Casey was being born...Hee-hee-hoooo, push!

Sunday, January 4, 2009

We Three Kings Disoriented Are

I love Epiphany Sunday because we FINALLY get to sing the song "We Three Kings." My favorite part comes when Casey and John lean their heads together and bellow, "OH OHHHHHHH" with added emphasis when hitting the refrain. It should be pointed out that this is not a private performance and is during church with lots of people sitting around.This is the one time they don't mind singing extra loud. I have to fight the giggle factor from setting in.

This Sunday also reminds me of a fun tradition we had when Casey was little. We put up several manger sets all over the house. However, we absolutely did not put in the Baby Jesus until Christmas. Also missing were the three wise men. Why? Because we put them elsewhere in the house and moved them up a little closer to their respective mangers. We had wise men on the steps, in the living room, you name it. Pacing and making sure they got to the right manger was critical. Air traffic control nor "The Amazing Race" never had it so hard!! OH OHHHHHH!

All Are Welcome!

I attended church while visiting my sister in November. At our church we celebrate "All Saints' Day" which is a wonderful way of remembering those who have helped others while living on this earth. Even though I was in another city, my sister and I found the closest church for me to attend. What I found was this lovely gentleman with angel wings and a halo waiting to welcome me and everyone else to church that day.

Each time I look at this picture, I smile because I think about the guts that it took this man to strap on the wings and don the halo.

Being the scrapbooker that I am, I whipped out my camera and asked permission to take his picture. As you can tell, he rewarded me with a big smile and let me take a front and back picture.

Maybe we ought to all start wearing wings, halos, and most importantly, BIG SMILES to remind us that we are saints on earth! Starting the year off with a little "happyness" (a nod to Will Smith) is not a bad idea. Mmm...I think I'll stop by Party City tomorrow and see if there is a pair of wings that will fit me.

Happy 2009!! :)