Split Second Story – Weekly Photo Challenge

In this week’s photo challenge, capture an image that tells a full story in a single frame.

We didn’t know this little girl and her mom, grandmother, and aunts.  They sat down next to us at Panera as we were having one of our Saturday morning catch up coffee sessions.

My Auntie Tina is everyone’s auntie.  She’s got the vibe and no matter where we are, babies gravitate to her.  It’s amazing!  Today I’d like to thank all the moms who are willing to share their baby’s smiles and joy with someone they just met in a coffee shop!

tina 2

Split Second Stories:



Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach

As a kid, what did you want to be when you grew up? How close or far are you from that vision?

Not far at all.  I wanted to be a teacher. I’ve considered myself a teacher since I graduated from college.  I went to a workshop early on in my career and we had to come up with our personal mission statement; the declarative words that guide our every career move in life.  I remember mine:  I listen, I learn, I teach. That’s it in a nutshell.

jane vellaMy statement is grounded in the mountains of  reading and research I did in graduate school. One book in particular remains with me to this day; and I’ve given it to many of my staff over the years. My friend Matt gave it to me.  He and I did a ton of training together back in the early 1990’s.  He was a real Vermonter; laid back and lover of all things winter.  The book is:  Learning to Listen, Learning to Teach, by Jane Vella.  Matt was trained by the author in the model of adult learning that’s outlined in the book.  It’s served me well for more than 20 years.

Even though I don’t teach in the traditional sense, in a classroom with lots of kids clamoring for attention, I still consider myself a teacher.  Today I’d like to thank Matt for turning me on to a way to teaching that helps me to stay true to my personal mission statement.

 Grown Up Bloggers

The Art of the Question

A Pulitzer-winning reporter is writing an in-depth piece – about you. What are the three questions you really hope she doesn’t ask you?

Interview-Questions-412x600I took over leadership of the human resources department recently, as a result the practice of interviewing is front and center in my daily work.   In the course of my career I’ve interviewed well over 300 people, minimum; and I’ve been interviewed more times than I’d like to count.  There are good questions and not-so-good questions that make an interview productive.

I’d imagine that a reporter writing about me might have a clue about what they really want to know to capture and tell my story.  I hope the reporter has done his or her homework to find out something of me before we meet.  There is, after all, enough  I hope there would be questions in hand based on that research.  What I would not want to be asked, based on my interviewing experience, are the following questions:

  1. What is you greatest strength?
  2. What is your greatest weakness?
  3. Where do you see yourself in five years?

Early in my career I had some relatively pat answers for these three questions.  Now if I’m asked I’m able to turn the questions around by giving answers like this:

  1. What I enjoy doing most is…
  2. What I’d like to continue to learn more about or work to improve…
  3. I’m not sure about five years from now, I’m focused on what I’m here to do today…Knowing how to ask questions is a gift.

Asking questions, the right questions in an interview, is a challenge.  Today I’d like to thank all the interviewers and interviewees who helped me to learn, and refine, questioning skills.

Don’t Ask These Bloggers:

The Way You Make Me Feel

To all the people in my life who have made me feel appreciated, valued, and most of all loved, Thank You!


The Kelly Song

As is often the case at the end of a long work day, I look to Word Press for inspiration. Typically, I can find something to connect with when I read the Daily Prompt, but today I had to dig deeper.  One of the bloggers that I follow, Sabethville, used a prompt that I thought might be fun, so here it is:

“Say your name”  Write about your first name: Are you named after someone or something? Are there any stories or associations attached to it? If you had the choice, would you rename yourself?

My mother wanted a St. Patrick’s Day baby.  My two older sisters, one born on March 19th, the other on the 14th, did not arrive on the all-important March 17th; but I did!  If I had been a boy I may not have been named Kelly, but that is a moot point these 51 years later.

Saint-Patrick’s-Day-17-March-2014-WallpaperLuckily for me Kelly is a family name; my mother’s maiden name.  For most of my childhood I remember being the only Kelly in my school.  When I got to high school there were a few more, but they spelled their names wrong, ending it with an “ie” or “ey”.  When I got to college, I met another girl named Kelly — spelled the same way, with long blonde hair and blue eyes like me, AND, born on St. Patrick’s Day!

My name was given to me by my parents.  In the Irish tradition it has several meanings:  brave, warrior, lively.  I’ve worked hard to live up to my name and thank my parents for giving it to me on that very special day.  I wouldn’t change it for anything!

Vietnam War Memorial, Never Forget

In honor of Memorial Day 2014

When I was in college we had different speakers come to our dorms in the evening to talk with us.  An effort to extend the learning outside the classroom and a chance for faculty members to “connect” with students differently, we would listen to professors or staff who had something interesting to share.  Sometimes interesting, sometimes…not so much.  There is one though, that I will never forget.

Dedicated in 1983 in Sharon Vermont, this is widely known as the first state sanctioned Vietnam Veterans memorial.
Dedicated in 1983 in Sharon Vermont, this is widely known as the first state sanctioned Vietnam Veterans memorial.

It was the early 1980’s so the after-effects of the Vietnam War were still very present in hearts and minds of the faculty and staff who either served in the war or who themselves, were in college at the time. Everyone in the dorm wanted to hear what the three of four “presenters” had to say about their experience.  They were infantrymen, on the front line–fighting.  To the rooms full of college kids, the stories were vivid, enthralling and scary.

One of the men who shared his experience was the dean of students.  During a session in my senior year he’d recommended that if we wanted to get an in-depth, personal look at the war, we should read a book:  Home Before Morning:  The Story of An Army Nurse in Vietnam.  I read hb4morningit the summer after I graduated.  Never had I read a book that made me cry; sob, in fact.  I’d stay up at night reading until my eyes simply could no longer stay open.  It took me a few days to finish it, and I slept with the light on in my bedroom for days after I was done.  By far it continues, almost thirty years later, to be the only book that has moved me to tears.  If you have the chance to, read it!

van devanter
On the left, Nurse Van Devanter.

No one in my immediate family has ever served on active duty, deployed to a war zone, or died while in service to this country.  I am an anomaly, I know. And like so many in this country, on Memorial Day, I thank all those who have given so much to ensure my freedom.

Memorial Day 2014  in particular, I’d like to thank the faculty and staff members who willingly shared their stories with us so that we would know what price is paid for the freedoms we enjoy.


World Thyroid Day 2014

Today is the 7th Annual World Thyroid Day, May 25, 2014. Established in 2008, World Thyroid Day highlights five major goals to:


(From the American Thyroid Association) The thyroid gland, butterfly-shaped and located in the middle of the lower neck, produces hormones that influence every cell, tissue and organ in the body. The thyroid hormones regulate the body’s metabolism—the rate at which the body produces energy from nutrients and oxygen—and affects critical body functions, such as energy level and heart rate.

I am one of the tens of millions of people who have been challenged with thyroid issues.  In 2012, I had my thyroid removed due to cancer.  Over the course of many posts in this blog, I’ve thanked doctors, nurses, techs, co-workers, friends and family members.  In honor of World Thyroid Day, check your neck, hug your family, and thank the ones who’ve helped you to be who you are today!