Pssst! When is it appropriate to share a professional secret?

Thought I’d share my most recent blog post that was picked up by D CEO/Real Estate this morning.  Enjoy!

http://realestate.dmagazine.com/2013/11/cathy-sweeney-collaboration-vs-confidentiality-when-is-it-appropriate-to-share/

Stand by Me – Wherever You Are!

A friend of mine from Central America sent this video clip to me.  During this week of US Thanksgiving, I find it especially joyful …

I’ve written in previous posts about the Tower of Babel story in the Book of Genesis.  It’s appropriate here, as well.  The first verse (Gen 11:1) shares the origin of language : “Now the whole world had one language and a common speech.”  It was not until the people started to build the tower, to keep themselves close in proximity to each other, so no one would wander away – that’s when the story shares that God created other languages and spread people across the earth.

Above all, we were created with one language – a language of love.  Watch this video, listen to the song, and realize that wherever we live, whatever our color, or our spoken language – we all move to the same rhythm, as God intended.  (Make sure you get to at least the one minute mark)

Have a peaceful week, everyone; and in all things, Love.

The Story of Sweeney’s on the Creek

We live on a creek, in Texas.  Some people just assume that the moniker, “Sweeney’s on the Creek,” derives from that location (and it does).  But, as usual with nicknames, there is a hidden meaning that I’d like to share with you now.

Steve’s father was raised in Lansing, Iowa, a small community of about 1000 people today.  Lansing is located in the far northeast corner of Iowa, right on the Mississippi River.  It’s a popular tourist location in the warmer months, because of the fishing, boating, and general relaxing atmosphere.  Right at the bend in the river is a bridge that connects Iowa to Wisconsin.  Drive up the Iowa side a few miles and you are in Minnesota.

Relaxing – that’s how I came to know it, when I married into the Sweeney family.  There are two places in this world I know I can go to relax, and Lansing is one of them.  Mount Hosmer, Fish Days, farm league baseball, the Blackhawk Bridge – nothing like it.  I’ve not been back in ages, but remember it fondly.

There’s a small restaurant on the River, at the base of Main Street in Lansing.  It’s a popular place for boaters to stop, gas up, grab something to eat and drink, play a little pool, watch a little sports, and – just ‘be.’  Many years ago, William “Ben” Sweeney, one of Steve’s relatives, built and ran this establishment.  And he named it “Sweeney’s on the River.”  In the last few decades or so, it’s changed hands, even changed names – but it’s back to Sweeney’s now.

Cathy Shannon at Sweeneys on River

Sweeney’s is a gathering place.  A place where people can feel welcome and build community, with each other, and with the travelers who pass through Lansing.  What better place to model?  So “Sweeney’s on the Creek” is not only a location, but a shout out to history.  A history I married into, sure – but a history that supports community.

What other name could we choose, other than “Sweeney’s on the Creek?”  The Sweeney’s may have moved away from Lansing, but we give a shout of thanks for building community each time we refer to it.  We host annual parties, including an egg nog challenge, in honor of Steve’s grandparents.  We try to bring the small town generosity to our own little bend in the creek.  Imagine our surprise, then, when we realized that – less than a mile from our house – lives a gal named Chris – born and raised in Lansing, Iowa, graduated from Kee High School.  Our kids sit next to each other in the Jr High band.

Community, indeed.  And a very small world, when we let down our defenses and share a bit of ourselves with others.

In the Company of Trees

This weekend, I attended a retreat to help me focus on my writing.  The retreat was located in a hidden part of Austin, and a few times during the day, we were encouraged to head outside to help generate ideas – the concept that in the quiet, we can listen for the creative.

I chose to sit on the porch, to just be as peaceful as I could be; that was when I noticed the trees.

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Aren’t they interesting, trees?  I sat on the porch, really looking at the trees in the yards, and I realized what an interesting system trees live in – one not unlike our own.

Trees are individual, some have white bark, some are yellowed, some dark brown.  Some are tall and stalwart, some frail and needing help.  Some stand straight, budding branches extending exactly according to a designed plan.  Others extend separate trunks from the roots, showing an independent streak.  Each tree shows us individual markings – marks of experience, colors of beauty, knots of pain and sprigs of hope.

Collectively, too, there is beauty.  The larger, more experience trees shade the younger ones, giving them room and time to grow.  They share fertile soil, nourishing each other with rich nutrients.  When rain comes, the branches from one tree reach out to the others to share necessities of life.  They live in community, with the gentle wind breathing spirit through the leaves and branches, reminding each tree that it is not alone, allowing a leaf to travel where the wind takes it.

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How similar this is to humanity.  Each of us, created with different appearances; joined together through family and community, sharing resources with each other.  And when we allow it, the breath of the Holy Spirit blows through us like the wind, encouraging us to share our leaves of gold.