It's Hard To Leave A Glass House

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People who live in glass houses...have to answer the door" - Karl Pilkington

I have a favorite scene from the holiday classic "Frosty The Snowman". It's when Frosty is trying to keep little Karen warm and finds a greenhouse in the middle of snowy nowhere. They both get locked in and Frosty melts...only to be rescued by Santa. When I watch Karen go into the warm greenhouse with fresh plants inside and the frosty cold outside, I can literally feel her relief and the peace that comes over her. I want to be little Karen this winter!
One of these days I am going to buy a glass greenhouse. A special sanctuary where I can escape and lounge in a tropical moist woman made rain forest I dream of watching the cold whipping snow and wind twirling outside as sweat drips off my brow with the smell of fresh dirt in the air. If you are a fellow gardener you know the fresh scent that I speak of. Heaven! An added touch will be the Tiki Bar that I need installed in the corner....

I dream of a greenhouse for reasons other than just sitting in it watching Frosty melt. The possibilities are endless.
  • Overwinter my tropical plants
  • Grow fresh veggies all year
  • Start hard to find plants from seed
  • Create new plants from cuttings and cross pollination
  • Perhaps start a unique plant business
  • Teach my kids some horticultural lessons
  • Save money on plants by growing my own in mass
  • My sanity!

My dream is to have an old fashioned English free standing greenhouse on a brick foundation. Greenhouses don't need to be grandiose or even permanent. Pinterest is a perfect place to start to get some ideas. There's lean-to greenhouses, window mounted, hoop, cold frames, hot beds, shed garden house. The possibilities are endless. Many people only use their greenhouses in the coldest months so the house can be real simple.
 I do know one thing, I will never want to leave my glass house to go back out into the cold. It's more comforting to remain in my warm cocooned world where I have control and everything is a friend.

How often are you leaving your glass house?

Most of us prefer our lives to remain fairly stable taking in some bumps here and there. Few of us love constant change, upheaval, and chaos. We are comfortable in our own skin and in our own "glass house". Why leave somewhere where we work best, know best, and have our tribe all around us? Because you don't know what you don't know and you need to find out. Get out of your glass house and wander down a different path.
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Most everyone has heard about "Management by walking around (MBWA)". The same goes for team members. This doesn't mean that you should flit about like a social butterfly during the day bothering people. It means that you should pop out of your glass house (or cubicle in my case!) to interact with your environment and tribes within your company. For instance, my company is going through a merger and naturally there is a lot of uncertainty and nervousness. What better way to jump over fears than to connect with others and share insights, challenges, and ask advice? It helps us to connect and it's cheaper than a therapist!

Why you really need to open your glass door and venture out
  • Meet people outside of your circle and area
  • Learn what's really going on and how people feel about changes, new programs, opportunities
  • You may find a new position by lurking into new areas and making connections
  • You will be seen as more approachable and friendly
  • Your morale will be more positive and you have a chance to share your mojo
  • Share ideas with a new groups of people and gain new insight and ideas
  • Let's just say it - Gossip. Sometimes it's helpful to learn a little gossip because there is often some distorted truth to it.....
  • You can empower and recognize others for their achievements and work
  • People from different areas interacting can really bring down silos and create dialog
  • It's great exercise to get out and about!
  • A change of scenery and new people will help jump start some creativity
  • It's fun to leave the glass behind for a short time

You remember the saying "People who live in glass houses shouldn't throw stones"? Guess what? People who don't ever leave their "glass house" never really see through the glass... I would love to live the winter in a greenhouse however..... eventually I need to open the door and walk out!

Are YOU ready to open the door and venture out?

Get Back To Natural Leadership For What Ails You!

"I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired" - Fannie Lou Hamer
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Does this quote resonate with you? Have you been miserable over the past few weeks with any of the horrible colds or the flu that have been raging throughout the country? I know that I have been plagued by a sinus and ear infection which led me to being crabby with despair. The only upside has been that my house seems quieter when my ears are all muffled!

Just a few days ago the CDC announced that the flu has become an epidemic in over 25 states. As always, it has affected the very young and old the most. Emergency rooms across the country have been overrun with sick contagious people. If you can catch it soon enough, you may be able to  receive a prescription such as Tamiflu to help ease symptoms before they become too serious. IF you can get to your doctor soon enough.

I'm on my second antibiotic for my infection. I've been miserable and willing to try anything to relieve the pain. My 17 year is an outdoor enthusiastic and lives all things nature. He makes Pine Tea and steams a variety of leaves to cure different ails. I jokingly asked him if he had any herbal cures for me and naturally, he did. I just wasn't willing to put damp moss in my ear for the pain or crushed willow. Give me some Motrin! His suggestion spurned me on to look up any unique plant medicinal cures other than those that I've already heard about. With all our high tech medicines and cures these days, we tend to forget that most, if not all, medicines start at the roots - with plants.

Plants have been the drug of choice for civilizations for thousands of years. There are still modern day plant collectors that risk their lives to find plants that can be used to formulate or improve our medicines today. Everything starts and ends with Mother Nature. Here are some "natural" medicines to try this sickly season. Many of them act as immune system boosters to help you boost your body's fighting power. You can either find them in a tablet form or make them at home Outdoor Life.

  • Elderberry
  • Echinacea (those pretty cone flowers in your summer garden)
  • Thyme
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Lemon Balm
  • Cinnamon
  • Mullen
  • Barberry (the berries are bitter but they help your immune system)
  • Yarrow

These are a just a few of the hundreds of natural medicines out there. Just be sure to do some research first and check with your doctor. Before becoming skeptical of these remedies just remember what people used prior to modern day medicines and continue to do so today. When you are miserable, you are ready to put wet moss in your ear for pain.......

"When the best leader's work is done the people say "We did it ourselves!" - Lao Tzu

I live in a small community outside a large city where we still have farmland and relatively little crime. This summer there was an uproar on behalf of some residents because the planning commission changed their master plan  and ordinances without consulting the public to allow an out of state developer build some "high end" apartments in the backyards of some of our community members. Needless to say that did not go over well within the township! It was amazing how quickly a grass roots community initiative grew up against the apartments. People talked with one another and shared views. Opposition signs went up along with an informative website. Residents called the township en mass. A petition was successfully complied. They won! The initiative is tabled until 2016 which will give the group more time to strengthen their leadership stance and have an impact on the rest of the community. It was organic grass roots leadership at it's finest. I love it!

You never know where leadership will sprout and flourish. It's like the plants and herbs that we use to soothe what ails us when we are sick. It's similar to the unique ancient plants that have been utilized for years as a base to spurn better medicines and build us up. Popping a "leadership pill" isn't always the best remedy. Sometimes we need to sit back and look around us to really see that what we need is right in front of us. We use good old fashioned grass roots leadership  to get back to the basics and make things happen for our "community"

Leadership can't be forced, it has to be natural and organic. Forced leadership is a dictatorship. Organic leadership grows from the "ground up" because strong leaders create something special through contribution, culture, and community. Natural leadership means leading where you are  and giving others the vision so that they can drive a common goal.

Here's what Natural Leadership looks like:

  • Grass roots from the people doing the work
  • Lead from where you are. No titles needed
  • Compassion
  • Humanistic
  • Morphs to meet the needs of others 
  • Values people
  • Hands off - let your people drive the process while you guide them
  • Form a network or community to achieve
  • Culture is key
  • Motivating - a call to action
  • Effortless  and natural. It feels right
If you look closely, natural or organic leadership is just like taking herbs or plants to strengthen your system. They both grow from the ground and enable things (YOU) to flourish and become a stronger person!