easing back in

I’m thinking things are about to break open!  Super proud to have launched a new book this fall, Around the World with Kate & Mack – A look at languages from A to Z.   I got to have so much input into the project and am just so happy with the outcome.  It tells a complete story about the work of Wycliffe around the world in a way that anyone can understand.   Sold out of a yearly production and purchase of calendars that I oversee for the first time ever (~15,000).  So great to say, I have none left and threw nothing away! And have taken on a new venture, a cafe, the ‘Wycliffe’ cafe as part of my job.  (Food people gravitate to food things I guess.)   I have spent the last couple of months analyzing what we do and, in reality, what it costs.   What people are eating and not eating.  We developed a plan to forge ahead and have been closed for the last week to refresh our look and our menu and Monday morning we will reopen clean and updated and ready to roll!  All this has taken up a lot of my brain and just today, for the first time in a while, have I had the margin to write a little something that didn’t sound like ‘Woe is me, I’m tired or some other muck.’  I woke up, did a great big vegetabally grocery shop at TJ’s for the week and am ready to face the world!  This about sums it up:sassy2

silent night

I guess after blogging every day for a month straight I just fell off the wagon.  I’ve thought about blogging in the last month and have had some adventures (good ones!) and opened up my trusty wordpress account but published nothing.  Now we are hurtling headlong into Christmas.  The gifts are bought (mostly) and the stockings hung (green velvet on a hook over the closet door since a fireplace would be folly in Orlando.)  No tree though.  I have a closet full of trees (8? 9?) and ornaments and haven’t managed to do it.   I did put up a tree or three at work but haven’t done it at home.  Kind of sad really.  I have been missing cool weather this year.  It was 80 degrees plus yesterday.  I miss my sister too. I can likely plan my way out of that with a trip for later in the winter.   It has been a season of terrible news.  Does it come in threes?  Quite a few people in and about my life have been struck down over the last year.  Yesterday was filled to the brim at work with an office parade of lights and with joy from Santa’s Marketing Department.  Everyone should work with a team like this and it is a privilege.  Last night Z and I wrapped carefully chosen gifts that will fly to Colorado today while the sun shines.  Yesterday I billed a project started 9 months ago for the 2014 Wycliffe Calendar.  (If you like beautiful global images and amazingly matched Scripture you should order one-they are stunning and they support the work of Bible translation worldwide!) I feel like somewhere yesterday I turned a corner and got my cheer back.  I was waiting for it.


life long learning

embarcadero so, I’m coming to the end of the San Francisco posts and this one isn’t devoted …necessarily, to the usual.    It’s an ‘I love learning post’.  I have a friend in Denver who loves learning -passionately.  And really, we all should.  Once you stop learning you may as well throw in the towel because in essence, your life is over.  Learning and exploring and extending your boundaries make the difference between life and life well lived.  We stayed a day after the conference ended just to do a little extra sight seeing and some reconnaissance for the Discovery Center and that included roughly a four mile walk and a trip to the Exploratorium.  We started out fairly early in the morning and made it down to the waterfront by the time Boccalone opened so Z could get a meat cone I had the most incredible steamed bun with a splash of chile sauce.  We hung a left and walked up to the giant public art that is a bow and arrow and then turned ourselves around and began to make our way up the Embarcadero.  Our first long stop, the Exploratorium, where we went to both research and have fun.  It is billed as a learning laboratory, an eye-opening, always-changing, playful place to explore and tinker with exhibits, tools, programs, and experiences that ignite curiosity, encourage exploration, and lead to profound learning.  Now to be clear, I lifted that text from their website but it is exactly what it says it is.  A place to explore and learn by doing, seeing, trying, failing and embedding.  I’ve been researching and considering ways people learn for the last six months or so and let me tell you something-the pathway to learning isn’t found through someone talking at you until you pull out your phone and browse the internet. It is found through digging in and finding answers to your questions. Questions that lead to other questions which lead to exploration, embedding and engagement in those things in your mind and heart as you take it all in.  The fact that you do it yourself is part of the key.  As we made our way through the exhibits with very likely 2000 of our closest friends we were able to try things, to be amazed and to get excited about things that might not always be exciting.  It reinforced for me that we don’t need to spoonfeed people.  If you give people tools they will often build something amazing.


side note …or why we were there

we went to San Francisco primarily because Z is a software engineer.  That is to say, he writes code that make internet web sites, and more recently, apps, work.  He has quite a talent and is filled with brain waves quite different from my own.  A result of this is that he sometimes works on a big project that is a WordPress multi-site of roughly 2500 (?) web pages for Campus Crusade called GCX (are you tracking with me…knowing I could be slightly wrong and/or off?)  GCX runs on WordPress so he went to WordCamp San Francisco.  All that said, I tagged along because this blog is also run on WordPress.  I am not the genius that he is but I can tag along and hold my own blog wise and never ever have written more than one word at a time of code and that only for making margins bigger or something like that.  WordCamp has two tracks though, the smart young people upstairs (ie developers) and the rest of us downstairs (users.)  Does this start to feel like Tron?  No wonder he likes that movie.  Anyhow, I went to the conference and went to the user track (except one developer one which was both over my head and super dull) and I learned a few things along the way.  Some about blogging, some about a few big marketing ideas in general.  I really related to some of the speakers for my own day to day job.  But, we used the opportunity for being there to see the city and eat our way around.  Here are some things I really enjoyed about the conference.

1.  Pretty much every presenter at the conference referenced He Who Shall Not Be Named.  (That would be Voldemort.  I’m not scared.)  And, a photo I’ll add to this blog reminds me of the statues in the Ministry of Magic was in the general meeting area at the conference.wordcamp

2.  If they didn’t reference He Who Shall Not Be Named they had a slide show with either

  • Lego
  • Fuzzy things like bunnies and/or kittens
  • both of those

I cannot explain this at all.  During the state of the word address by the younger than I founder of WordPress who has worked to revolutionize the interweb there was a comment made which was Usage is oxygen for ideas.  I totally resonate with this.  If you don’t use something you can’t know how to make it better, or more fun, or actually useful or whatever.  Be a user.  The other things I learned were these.  They reference web sites of course, but I say, for marketing and ‘sales’ in general these are the markers of good content.

Why?  Be clear about the why of the existence of the website.
What is a successful visitor going to get, see, do from your space.
Who?  Is the audience
who are they, what do they like, do, how to help them.  Make the space work for them.
What?  Formats are you going to use to share content
As opposed to just text,  info graph, white paper, audio, video, webinars, etc.
Where? Are people going to find the website.
of course don’t have a url that MAKES NO SENSE or people can’t remember.
When?  Update a minimum of one a month
How often do you update content.  An editorial calendar when it comes to blogs but also holds true for stores, museums, etc.  Clearly you can’t update some things that are spendy as often as others but keep it on the radar.
How? Will you know if site is meeting audience needs.  Analytics.  Benchmarks, likes, reservations, etc. how to know if business is coming , coupons, stc.  Unless your space is ‘just for fun’ then you have to have a way to decide if it is working.
Have a plan.

All this makes me want to be better at every aspect of what I do.  Working, blogging, whatever.    I love strategy.

There was also food at this thing, just to be clear.  Lunch everyday where you could mingle and ‘horrors’ …network.  Some of our lunchmates were interesting and chatty, some I decided should have saved the airfare and some just sat there in introverted terror.  The best thing they served were these glazed lemon poppyseed cookies.  I pretty much want one right now.


Z is home and he brought me some fun loot (family term for gifts.)  Thai fish sauce, sambal, chile paste and Japanese sugar bombs.  While I love all these things just fine, they are no match for having him home!  Hurrah!thailoot  Oh-he got me some noodle bowls and art prints too!