As Life Rolls On

As a friend of mine always says, "We plan, God laughs." You never know what life will bring, but the ride can be a blast!

Monday, July 10, 2006

One Year Later

It's hard to believe that it was 1 year ago today that Bruce & I arrived in Calgary (me to stay permanently, Bruce to drop me off with his car, then to fly home to sell the house, and we all know what happenned with that!). So what have I learned and discovered over the past year? LOTS!

  1. I learned that it's a loooooooooooooong drive across Canada, and the longest part is through 1 province alone, Ontario. Thank heaven's I wasn't the one that drove, and I could doze whenever I felt like it. That being said, it's a beautiful drive, and we found the beauty different and interesting in each province.
  2. There's alooooooooooot of skitters in Winnipeg, and I could NEVER live there.
  3. Although people in the east (Toronto) think they live in the centre of the universe, the people of Calgary beg to differ. They say CALGARY is the centre of the universe. When are they all going to really get it. Wherever I, Joanne E. Young lives, THAT is the centre of the universe. Therefore, it used to be Toronto, now it is Calgary!
  4. Everyone (well it seems like everyone) likes to show their "stuff" through the vehicles they drive...............big honkin' trucks and SUV's. I have a Corolla that gets great mileage. I only fill it up once a week for $40. Who's laughin' now!
  5. There is a thing called "Prairie Oysters" or "Cowboy Caviar" out here. Cowboys swear it is the best. I will never, never, never go anywhere near the stuff! (Once you find out what the stuff is, you'll understand why!)
  6. This town goes crazy at Stampede time, and anyone who is not a cowboy becomes a cowboy wannabe.
  7. If I were a bucking horse or a bull in the rodeo, I would do everything in my power to get those #*^&>@%* cowboys off my back too.................wouldn't you if they had your family jewels tied up, pulled tight and squeezed!

Now for the serious stuff:

  1. For the first time in my life, I lived completely on my own (for those who don't know, I got married young and moved directly from my parents house to my married home). I lived on my own here in Calgary for just over 3 months (I know, not that long). I however discovered that I am OK with that, and that I actually enjoy the peace and quiet of my own company (Mind you, I was also very excited when Bruce & I were reunited).
  2. I have come to admire my children even more over this past year. Although I have always been extremely proud of them, being so far away from them has given me a different perspective on them. I have come to realize how truly strong, caring, sensitive, intelligent and independent they each are. Each of them is having a positive impact on those around them and therefore on society as a whole. What more could a mother ask for!
  3. God is truly taking care of each of my children in their relationships. He has placed wonderful "significant others" in their lives (Kevin, Sarah, and Alyson), who truly love them for who they are, not for what they have or what they do, and support them through thick and thin. My children are truly blessed!
  4. There are friends in my life that will always be important, no matter what physical distance there is between us, and it is those friendships that keep me truly grounded.
  5. Although I have said in the past that one of my personal weaknesses is my impatience with professional incompetence, I have come to learn how impatient with incompetence I truly am. I have also come to learn that I can try to help those who have professional "gaps", however there is a line I will not cross and will make the "tough" decisions.
  6. Although I have "talked the talk" when it comes to servant leadership for the last 3 years, over the past year I have come to understand the impact of those principles on my own life. When I keep the principles of servant leadership before me as I make the tough decisions, I am able to have a clear conscience and know that I have done what I need to do in meeting the needs of staff and clients alike.
  7. I have a great deal of difficulty with ultra conservative political philospohies. I find them to be very selfish and self centred, and they set up systems that feed the "haves & have nots" syndrome. It all flies in the face of Christ's example of reaching out to those who are disenfranchised and coming along side of them as they deal with issues in their lives. The thing I have the greatest difficulty with is the fact that the Christian churches in this area of the country support the ultra conservative point of view. As a Christian, this is something that I continue to struggle with and am attempting to find ways to make changes where I can without offending. More new learning to happen on this one over the next year.

And the most important lesson I have learned over this past year:

  1. Flying monkies, hairy pink balls & pointy spoak ears can make or break a day


  • At 9:04 PM, Blogger foodkitty said…

    I'm curious, what is servant leadership?

  • At 10:37 PM, Blogger Dave said…

    Joanne…a year does go fast.

    Toronto is still the center of the universe for those who think that Canada revolves around them, just as those in Quebec think they are the center. With all the oil Alberta has in the tar sands and with the price of oil, Torontonians and Quebecers need to get a life.

    By the way, we have a host of people who think that inside the beltway here is the center of the universe….they too need to get a life, and a big dose of it.

    Winnipeg is a great city in which to live. Many a summer the skitters are heavy, but many a summer they are light. The city is great and the people really know how to slow down in the summers and enjoy the warmer weather. Winters are long and very cold…the length of the winters is a challenge which is why people cherish the long summer days so much.

    The other day I was asked that if I could afford to by my dream car what would it be. Until these last months the answer would have been a BMW 325i convertible or a 330i convertible. Now I it would be the Nissan Z350 convertible…that is one sharp looking car. When I look at the price of gas, my mind turns toward the Toyota Prius.

    I understand what you are talking about a town gone cowboy made during stampede time. I was in Houston for the Texan Rodeo and in Bolder CO during their state stampede. I visited both events. I would love to attend the Calgary stampede.

    You are living in the heart of conservative territory. There are bents in some areas of my life that are more conservative, but there are bents equally strong in some areas toward a more progressive or liberal side. What I detest is the extremes of both ends or those who label those who deviate at one point as being “liberal”. Such people I find to be sophomoric, thinking they are wise but really only demonstrating that they fooling and just have enough information to be dangerous. Those on the extremes, really need to get a life….and a super dose of it.

    That said, Calgary is one of the places on our short list to live.

  • At 10:49 PM, Blogger Joanne said…

    Servant Leadership is a style of leadership that looks at a collaborative approach to leading vs a top on down approach. Although it's precepts are based in the biblical teachings of Christ, the modern day version was introduced by Robert Greenleaf in the 1970's. Many writers and leaders have since expanded on it. I have some works by Ken Blanchard that I like.

    The principles of servant leadership are based on listening, empathy, awareness of ones own strengths and weaknesses and a commitment to transparency, a commitment to the growth of people and the building of community and an ethical use of power & empowerment.

    In a practical application, it means that we as leaders are seen as open and approachable, and willing to "step it up" as it were when required. It means spending some time at our place of work on Christmas day if there are staff that must work, even if we don't "have" to. It means scrubbing toilets because the rest of the staff are busy and the person who normally does the job has gone home sick. It means being willing to apologize and admit that we are wrong when we make mistakes. It means holding people accountable for their mistakes as well, yet provide them with opportunities to learn and grow from them. It means knowing when the tough decisions must be made and following through with them, all the while ensuring people are treated with the upmost respect.

    For me, it is the natural and only way to be a leader. It is the kind of leader I respect, and I hope that those who I lead respect as well.

  • At 6:13 PM, Blogger Barbara said…

    Well, since I'm a Torontonian (well, sort of) I guess I should get a life!

    I've heard people before from the West saying that this area of the country thinks that it's the centre of the universe. I don't see it. Maybe I'm blind ... or just not hanging out with the right people.

  • At 9:20 AM, Blogger Daejeon James said…

    Yah I don't see it either. Its a stereotype placed on all people living in the area just because of the business centre in Toronto. Kind of ignorant in my books.

    I really enjoyed reading this last posting mum

  • At 3:58 PM, Blogger sare said…

    Hi Joanne - I just recieved an unexpected surprise in the mail today :) Thank you for the birhtday card! I will be sure to transport the flying monkey safe and sound! I am absolutley FREAKING out - in a good way, the next few days cannot move quickly enough!!! I'll give James a great big hug for you!
    Anyway, thanks again, I really appreciate you thinking of me.

  • At 6:19 PM, Blogger Jenn said…

    yes, your children have turned out to be wonderful people :)

  • At 6:39 PM, Blogger Alyson said…

    I'm so glad to hear that everything is really coming together for you there in Alberta. You have a lot of people who love and care about you! And it's still exciting because I'm sure you'll have a whole new round of experiences to share with everyone next year!

  • At 2:22 PM, Blogger Wanda said…

    Wait a sec, I thought Newfoundland was the CENTRE of the Universe, when did this happen? Sheesh, see, you live out here in Conservative VILLE and look what happens...

    Hey, I lived in Ontario/TO and I liked it... and I never heard anyone say they were the CENTRE either.... I think someone has been wearing their jeans too tight and trying to stay on a horse out here... shhhhh don't say anything...

  • At 11:32 PM, Blogger Catharine said…

    One of the best things about Canada is the diversity from the east coast across the country to the west and then north to the south. No matter where we are Canada is an amazing place to live and each place is the centre of the universe. Wow - how political is that!


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