Sunday, March 31, 2013

Come to the Table

Last night I attended the Easter Vigil held at Grace United Methodist here in Manassas. It was beautiful, it was soul lifting, it was interactive, it was powerful, and it was lovely.

Just as I outlined in my previous post on Holy Saturday traditions, the service was one of fire and light, Word, water, and table. We began the service outdoors around a fire. Everyone was welcomed, the opening prayer was given and we were ushered indoors as a member of the congregation carried the flame to light the candle on the altar.

Once inside the sanctuary, we began the service of the Word. Aside from the candle, the altar was unadorned, just as we had left it at the end of Maundy Thursday. The great and might acts of God were read at this stripped altar, from creation to the parting of the red sea, to the hope of the savior, with the story of King Nebuchadnezzar and the three gents in the fire wedged in between. After each tale was recounted we responded with music and singing of hymns. The energy and joy which was stirred with the opening fire continued to build with our praise and it was amazing. Amazing!

Next, we migrated to the church hall before the delicate stained glass windows. There, at the front of the baptismal font, we remembered our baptisms before the Lord and renewed our vows to him and to each other as the church as the pastor sprinkled each of us with the water.  Then Pastor McNabb delivered the traditional Paschal sermon, written and first spoken by St. John Chrysostom, the Archbishop of Constantinople in AD 390:

The Lord is risen.
He is risen indeed!
If there are devout and God-loving people here,
let them enjoy this beautiful, radiant festival.
If there are prudent servants,
enter joyously into the Lord’s joy.
Whoever may be spent from fasting,
enjoy now your reward.
Whoever has toiled from the first hour,
receive today your just settlement.
If any came after the third hour,
celebrate gratefully.
If any of you arrived after the sixth,
have no misgivings, you have lost nothing.
If some have been as late as the ninth,
come forward, do not be at a loss.
If any of you have arrived only at the eleventh hour,
do not be dismayed for being late.

The Master is gracious;
He accepts the last even as the first;
He gives rest to those of the eleventh as well as to
those who have labored from the first;
He is lenient with the last while looking after the first;
to the one He gives, to the other He gives freely;
He accepts the labors and welcomes the effort;
honors the deed, but commends the intent.
So, all of you, enter into the joy of our Lord:
first and second, share the bounty.
Rich and poor alike, celebrate together.
Sober or heedless, honor the day.
Those who fasted, and those who did not, rejoice
The table is full, everyone fare sumptuously.
The calf is fatted; no one go away hungry.
Everyone, savor the banquet of faith;
relish the riches of His goodness.

No one need lament poverty,
for the kingdom is seen as universal.
No one need grieve over sins;
forgiveness has dawned from the tomb.
No one need fear death;
the Savior's death has freed us from it.
While its captive He stifled it.
He despoiled Hades as He descended into it; it was angered when it tasted His flesh.
Foreseeing this, Isaiah proclaimed: "Hades," he
said, "was angered when he met You below."
It was angered because it was abolished
It was angered because it was mocked
It was angered because it was slain.
It was angered because it was shackled.
It received a body and encountered God.
It took earth and came face-to-face with heaven.
It took what I saw and fell by what if could not see.
Death, where is your sting?
Hades, where is your victory?
Christ is risen and you are overthrown.
Christ is risen and demons have fallen.
Christ is risen and angels rejoice.Christ is risen and life rules.Christ is risen and not one dead remains in the tomb.
For Christ, having risen from the dead,
has become the first fruits of those that slept.
To Him be the glory and the dominion, forever.Amen.

After this rousing invitation to the table, we returned to the sanctuary for communion. It was such a delight to find the altar covered in flowers and adornment once again, ending our fasting and our grieving of this season and celebrating the beginning of Easter.

Happy Easter to you and your family!

Alleluia, the great storm is over,
Lift up your wings and fly!

He is risen! He is risen indeed!

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Holy Week Liturgy and Traditions


Today is Holy Saturday, and the last day of Holy Week.

What does that mean?

Many people are familiar with Lent – that period of weeks before Easter when we Christians prepare our hearts for the death of Jesus and his subsequent resurrection. Traditionally this preparation involves steep increases in penance (confession of sins), self-denial including fasting, prayers, and charity to the poor and needy in comparison to the rest of the days of the year.

Holy Week is the last week of Lentand during this time, we take special care to remember the key events in the life of Christ leading up to and including his death.

The oldest Holy Week liturgical tradition is that of Maundy Thursday. As chronicled in John 13:34, Jesus told the disciples during their supper together (what would be their last supper together), "A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.” The word for commandment in Latin is mandatum, from which the term Maundy derives, hence Maundy Thursday = Commandment Thursday. Let that sit a bit in your mind.

Jesus also told his disciples to break bread and and drink wine in memory of not only the last supper but also of what the portions of the supper symbolized: his death and resurrection on our behalf.  Luke 22:19-20 recalls this event: And he took bread, gave thanks and broke it, and gave it to them, saying, “This is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me.” In the same way, after the supper he took the cup, saying, “This cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.

During Maundy Thursday services across the Christian church, communion is given; it will not be given again until the end of the Easter Vigil. Stripping the altar of adornments (flowers, decorations, bible, etc) and extinguishing the lights is the traditional close to Maundy Thursday worship and is practiced still today by the Eastern Orthodox, Catholic, Anglican, Lutheran, and Methodist communities.

Good Friday is the day immediately following Maundy Thursday. It is a day of solemn remembrance of the death of Jesus on the cross.

The Crucifixion is recounted in John, chapter 19:16-30.

So he then handed Him over to them to be crucified.They took Jesus, therefore, and He went out, bearing His own cross, to the place called the Place of a Skull, which is called in Hebrew, Golgotha.There they crucified Him, and with Him two other men, one on either side, and Jesus in between.Pilate also wrote an inscription and put it on the cross. It was written, “JESUS THE NAZARENE, THE KING OF THE JEWS.”Therefore many of the Jews read this inscription, for the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city; and it was written in Hebrew, Latin and in Greek.So the chief priests of the Jews were saying to Pilate, “Do not write, ‘The King of the Jews’; but that He said, ‘I am King of the Jews.’” Pilate answered, “What I have written I have written.” Then the soldiers, when they had crucified Jesus, took His outer garments and made four parts, a part to every soldier and also the tunic; now the tunic was seamless, woven in one piece. So they said to one another, “Let us not tear it, but cast lots for it, to decide whose it shall be”; this was to fulfill the Scripture: “THEY DIVIDED MY OUTER GARMENTS AMONG THEM, AND FOR MY CLOTHING THEY CAST LOTS.” Therefore the soldiers did these things. But standing by the cross of Jesus were His mother, and His mother’s sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus then saw His mother, and the disciple whom He loved standing nearby, He said to His mother, “Woman, behold, your son!” Then He said to the disciple, “Behold, your mother!” From that hour the disciple took her into his own household. After this, Jesus, knowing that all things had already been accomplished, to fulfill the Scripture, said, “I am thirsty.” A jar full of sour wine was standing there; so they put a sponge full of the sour wine upon a branch of hyssop and brought it up to His mouth.Therefore when Jesus had received the sour wine, He said, “It is finished!” And He bowed His head and gave up His spirit.

It is traditional to begin a strict fast on Good Friday. For the Eastern Orthodox community this means no sustenance of any kind, for the Catholic community this means no more than three small, basic, very light meals (no meat). Sadly, many protestant communities have abandoned the fast entirely, throwing out the tradition when they broke from Catholicism. This fast is twofold in purpose – first, it is an outward symbol of our grief over our part (our sin) in the death of Jesus, and second, it is the beginning of preparation for the great feast of Easter. As I have described in my posts on Advent, church tradition has always upheld the balance of fasting before great feasts. Without the fast preceding, the feast loses some of it contrasting significance and risks becoming a day of indulgence no different than our other days in the food-plenty modern world.

In addition to the fast, services are held on Good Friday across the Christian church and the traditional elements of worship are continual prayer, lots of kneeling (although, this too has been abandoned by most protestants), and a few moments spent adoring the cross and pondering the significance of the death of Jesus. As mentioned previously, no communion is given on this day, unless it’s requested by a congregant on their deathbed.

Finally now, we come to Holy Saturday, the very last day of holy week. This is the day immediately following Good Friday. Day two of our fasting, which will come to an end at the end of our Easter Vigil. Notably, this is the only Saturday of the year that fasting is permitted or prescribed in the Christian church! Because the death of Jesus in a key event in man’s salvation and it happened on a Friday (a long long time ago), Saturdays and Sundays are always held to be a little bit of a mini-celebration each week. However it is understood that on the very first Holy Saturday the disciples didn’t yet understand the full significance of the death and were still in mourning and so it is right to fast on this specific Saturday, even in modern times. Because different Christian communities hold differing interpretations of scripture (what exactly did Jesus mean when he told the fellow dying next to him that he would see him in paradise shortly; what exactly happened to Jesus between his death on the cross and the resurrection?), there are wide variations in the focus of our prayers and activities on this day. However, across most Christian communities, things begin to come together similarly during the evening of Holy Saturday. This is when the Easter Vigil service is held. The common worship elements for this service are fire/light, the Word of God, water (baptism), and the table (communion). Some church communities begin with a big bonfire, others with simple candles. Scripture is read or sung. Baptisms with water are conducted, welcoming new Christians into the covenant that was fulfilled by the blood of Jesus. This Easter Vigil is the final push of salvation’s dawning; this is the last hours of the watch for resurrection! The mood is bittersweet. As the General Board of Assembly for the United Methodist Church notes, “The Great Vigil of Easter may be the longest, most solemn, joyous and symbol-rich service of the Christian Year.”2 At the conclusion of Easter Vigil, communion is given, signifying that Easter has begun and breaking our fast. This is also the first moment that “Allelulia” and “Gloria” are permitted to be sung or spoken since the beginning of Lent. The oldest Christian traditions call for an all night East Vigil, beginning at sundown on Saturday and culminating at sunrise Easter morning. I’ve never been to an all night worship service, but I can imagine it is quite emotional if not exhausting. I think I might like to try it sometime. The next time you read or hear about a candlelight vigil on the news (seems to be a common activity on college campuses for humanitarian or environmental causes) think about what it would mean to keep an all-night vigil for Christ. 

Of course, given the busy busy busy mantra of society, many modern Christian communities offer only a condensed Easter Vigil, beginning at sundown on Holy Saturday and lasting a duration of no more than 3 hours. As a guideline, most liturgical guides suggest if a church is going to hold an Easter Vigil it be scheduled for at least 1.25 hours in length, out of respect for tradition and the importance of this event.

Some Christian communities (I’m looking at most of you, protestants) don’t offer Easter Vigil services at all. Ideally, for these congregants, to abide in the spirit of the Easter Vigil, the fasting and praying and personal preparations in the heart for Easter should carry through until Easter morning worship, since that is the first service attended after the death of Jesus for these folks.

In an upcoming post, I’ll write on Easter itself and the Easter season (which lasts from Easter morning until Pentacost3.

1 Catholics hold that Lent ends when Holy Week begins, while most other Christian traditions view Holy Week as part of Lent.

2 A great link with full details on the Methodist traditions for Easter Vigil.

3 Pentacost is both a Jewish religious feast and the anniversary of the founding of the Christian church in the world.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Book Review: Heresy

After I began reading this book at B&N in the cafe I really got into it (it’s a page turner) and knew i was not going to have a chance to return to the store for a few weeks so i downloaded it to my nook and finished it there.
It was a great read. Excellent pacing throughout the book, interesting and suspenseful plot – set in the old world of Europe and weaving in historical details about the Catholic war on science and the Protestant war on Catholics.
Get it here:

Book Review: Sixty Million Frenchmen Can't be Wrong

Nadeau & Barlow (two Canadians from Quebec) wrote this non-fiction book on French culture and government as an expose of the differences between North American and French mindsets. The book offers really compelling evidence for why the French think the way they do and have organized their society and government the way they have. It was a fascinating read and I really think it is a valuable book regardless of your current perspective on the French and their culture.

The underlying thesis of the book is that the French have organized their culture around the centralized state and that in turn is a byproduct of the Catholic influence whereas the community based culture of the Americas is influenced by Protestant theology.

Get the book here:

Monday, March 25, 2013

Los Angeles, Boston, Barcelona, New York, New Orleans


Looking over my trip report entries (ZERO!) for 2012, one would think I got hit on the head and decided to hang up my suitcase and stay home last year. Never! I think I was still struggling under the heavy burden of grief from the tragic deaths in my family the previous year and so I lost the motivation to put my heart into journaling the trip experiences at the time.

Our travel adventures in 2012 started with a trip out to Los Angeles to visit my Uncle Lucien and Aunt Hazel. They live in Upton, California and invited us for a weekend of family time. While we were with them we enjoyed a few fabulous dinners out on the town, a few scenic jogging sessions around the neighborhood, and visited the tar pits and associated museum. FYI, the tar pits are pretty damn cool. One of my favorite activities was when we visited a farmer’s market so lovely I was ready to uproot and move to California on the spot. The asparagus was so fresh and vibrant and the blood oranges were heady and delicious. What a wonderful pleasure it must be to live so close to where most of our food is grown. What I especially loved about the trip was the chance to spend time with my aunt and uncle. Uncle Lu has the same hands, exactly the same hands, as my father. Every time I looked down at his hands I wanted to cry and hug him close. I settled for wistful glances instead, missing my father so deeply in those moments I thought my heart would break. He has a larger-than-life excitement about him too, my uncle, just like my father did. Just like I do. I see that now, that joie de vivre we carry as a family tradition.

Besides the time well spent with my family, hubby and I took a trip down memory lane into his childhood when we ventured into Redlands to see Jon's childhood home and then took a road trip down to Hadley's for a date shake (these date shakes were the joy of Jon’s childhood and I have heard many a story about their greatness over the years). When we pulled up alongside Jon’s (former) home, hubby was content to admire the property from the street. Well, nuts to that! I didn’t come all the way to his childhood mecca just to gaze at it from the outside. So, in my typical extroverted fashion, I sauntered up to the front door and rang the bell and explained that I’d like a tour of the house. The sweet lady who answered the door was revealed to be the very same one who bought the house from hubby’s parents all those years ago and she was more than happy to accommodate my request and showed us gracious hospitality and kindness and we had a lovely time of it.


Jon stands before his childhood home.

After leaving the house, we drove past Jon’s elementary school, past an orange grove hubby used to cut through in his neighborhood, and over to the home of the parents –the Grammars - of his childhood best friend, John. We spent some time catching up with them (they had not seen Jon for many years) and then we were finally on the road to Hadley’s, the date shake headquarters for California. While I’m not a raving fan of dates, you know what I am a fan of? Seeing my husband’s eyes light up as we approached Hadley’s and watching him down a date shake with nostalgic passion. It was a great day to crown a wonderful trip. We hope to make it out to LA again in 2013 if possible.

In February, Jon and I took a romantic excursion up to Boston to experience the famed Chocolate Bar at the Langham hotel. Hubby had read about the event the previous summer and we had decided once the weather was conducive (for obvious reasons the chocolate bar is offered only during the cooler months of the year) we would give it a try. You know what’s awkward? Realizing while you are at a luxury all you can eat chocolate buffet you flew to Boston to enjoy that you don't *really* like chocolate that much – at least not enough to consume anywhere near enough to get your money’s worth. Still the trip was favorable in that I picked up a great pair of boots on sale at a DSW store in downtown Boston and Jon and I were introduced to possibly one of the greatest Chinese dishes ever: soup dumplings (Xiaolongbao). It takes a bit of practice to eat them correctly. First you balance a dumpling on your wide, flat spoon. Then, you lean over the dumpling and delicately bite the top off and suck out all the hot broth. Finally, you wrap your lips around the spoon and eat the dumpling and meat filling, along with any residual broth left on the spoon. Delicious! The spring onion pancakes that are typically served alongside are fantastic as well. Since this Boston trip I’ve tried soup dumplings in Manhattan and Washington D.C., but I cannot find a place that makes them as good as we had in Boston at the little soup dumpling specialty restaurant near the hospital brilliantly named ‘Dumpling House’.

Also in February, Jon and I traveled to Barcelona with a couple of our friends for a weekend excursion. While I had flown into Barcelona and spent the night there a few years ago en route to Andorra, I had not spent any decent amount of time in the city or toured it before this trip. We stayed at the Hilton Diagonal Mar Barcelona, which was situated overlooking the Mediterranean. It was such a nice view from our hotel room. Even better, one of our friends we traveled with works for Hilton, so we got a great discount on the room, a room upgrade, and a beautiful welcome gift. Team Hilton all the way!

We spent our first full day in Barcelona walking the Gothic district, which is the historic center of the city. The architecture is lovely and the culinary side stops are not to be missed. We sampled churros, hot spiced chocolate, and nougat for our sweet tastings of Spain and a host of tapas and other delicacies for our savory tastings as we made our way through the scenic old-world architecture. With regard to the attractions, there were classical art museums, beautiful old churches, and expansive plazas to take in. Oh, and the market, whoa the market! You’ll probably never see anything like this in the United States. Brace yourself for the market shot below.

barcelona market

skinned sheep heads and reproductive organs in the market on sale

Alright, moving on….

We rounded out our first evening with a visit to the Turkish baths offered at Rituels d'Orient Spa Hammam. It was a perfectly acceptable experience I suppose, but we’ve been so spoiled by the over the top treatment at Cemberlitas Hammam in Istanbul that everything else just pales in comparison.

Our second day in Barcelona we spent in the newer part of town, soaking up the art scene. We started at the Picasso museum where I learned that Picasso actually had real talent as an artist and could draw and paint the most beautiful pictures -he did so as a young artist- but simply chose not to later in life because he wanted to be his own man or whatever. All this time I just thought he drew ugly things because he was talentless. Also I learned that all the cruddy art he painted during his famous phases (the ugly art stuff with weird faces) started with him looking at a famous masterpiece and screwing around with it to mess with people- moving the eyes and nose around, distorting the shapes, etc. They show you his paintings superimposed on the original masterpiece he was toying with and you can see his method. Interesting, very interesting. After dabbling in Picasso we moved onto Gaudi. Now this man, he was a genius and a visionary. We toured Casa Mila (an apartment building he designed) and the Sagrida Familia Cathedral (also his work). The Sagrida Familia was started in 1882 and is scheduled for completion in 2026. Each side of the cathedral represents a different story in Christian history (for example the side completed first represents the nativity). Since the building, like many famous cathedrals, has taken so long, multiple architects and artists have been involved in the work and as such the architecture of each face of the building is very different with regard to visual features and artistic style. There’s to be a grand worship service when the work is finally finished and I’ve got it in mind to attend. Words cannot begin to describe how beautiful the cathedral is; unfortunately we took most of our pictures on this trip with hubby’s phone which was subsequently stolen on a weekend trip in NY before we had a chance to download the pictures from the camera. Boo. But pictures from our camera could hardly do justice anyway compared to standing before the building in person. This is why it’s important to travel and to see things with your own eyes that you’ll never forget. Also of note from this second day of sightseeing was our lunch spot: La Pepita. Just a fabulous cozy little sandwich shop with a specialty gin menu and exquisite fresh side dishes such as roasted spring onions in romanesco sauce. If you’re dining in Barcelona, make it a point to stop at La Pepita for lunch.

Our last day in Spain was spent at Montserrat which is a short day trip from Barcelona. For trip planning purposes, expect to spend about 24 euros including the round trip train ride from Barcelona plus the cable car and funicular to get you to the monastery at the top of the mountain. It’s a Benedictine monastery offering a scenic worship space, tranquil views and hiking trails from the mountain, the oldest boys choir in the world (beautiful voices), and a host of fresh cheeses, honey, wine, and other treats from mom and pop traders outside the monastery. It was a nice way to wind down our trip and come away with a taste of Spain (we brought a few wheels of goat and sheep cheese home).

Rounding out our first quarter travels in 2012 was a weekend trip to New York City to see Alan Rickman perform on Broadway in Seminar (so good I repeated the trip the next quarter to see it again) and a weekend trip I led for a group of six friends in New Orleans. The trip was nearly a moment by moment repeat of our previous New Orleans excursion, except that we stayed at a different hotel (this time in the garden district) and visited Oak Alley Plantation instead of the Laura Plantation. A great trip other than the culinary disappointment that is Cajun food (ugh).

Second quarter 2012 travel preview: Amsterdam, Portland, OR, and Glacier National Park

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Success In Your Career

I've had the opportunity lately to offer some career coaching to others in our industry and I've really enjoyed the experience. I don't promise to offer all the answers to success but I can speak to what has worked for me that I've identified as potentially reproducible in your career planning to obtain your desired outcomes. I've transitioned from one industry (counseling and mental health services) into a completely different field (IT Consulting) during the course of my career and there are several specific skills I have honed and principles I have embraced that afforded me the ability to identify, pursue, and "win" opportunities that have come before me.

General Tips for Career Success:

1. KNOW WHAT YOU VALUE. Self-discovery time. Figure out the qualities that are important to you with regard to job tasks, general industry/nature of the work, and work environment.
  • For general industry give thought to the current and projected job market and market outlook for employers with regard to profit and viability in the industry.
  • For nature of the work, give thought to task types and skill sets (research oriented, sales oriented, management oriented, technical oriented, customer facing or not, problem solving or tasklist checkoff oriented, independent work versus team based projects, etc).
  • For work environment, give thought to work hours required and schedules, dress code, management style (authoritarian versus laissez faire, etc).
  • You don't have to box yourself into one specific picture for all of these areas, but at least be able to identify clear preferences and a ranking system in your mind so that if you had to weigh 2 jobs against each other (which paid equally and had similar benefits)  you could do so without a lot of hand wringing.

2. KNOW YOUR VALUE TO OTHERS. Cultivate an expertise as rapidly as you can that is tied into your "what you want" list from above. Maybe you want to be the go-to guy on X technology. Or maybe you want to be the one everyone comes to on business development and pre-sales and proposals and contract negotiations. Or an expert on insert something important here.

3. BE ABLE TO CLEARLY EXPRESS WHAT YOU VALUE AND YOUR VALUE TO OTHERS. Work on your presence. Practice articulating what you want clearly and confidently with sincerity and practice asking for it (versus hinting at it). Practice this outside of workplace contexts (with your friends, family, when dealing with service folks where you are the customer, etc) and you will get better and better at it. Practice managing your own brand and letting others see what you're good at (without doing so in a braggart, obnoxious, arrogant kind of way). Toastmasters is a great opportunity to work on your communication skills- especially the "ums" and "you knows" and "I mean" and other filler phrases people tend to lean on a lot.

Putting It All Together- A Practice Example:

A peer who does work similar to yours on another project or for another team leaves the job. Their role is a lot like your current role but more desirable because of fill in the blank here on why you want the role. Following the general principles above, how might this play out successfully for you? Column A and B show the general steps in a successful "close" (that's sales speak for the customer agreeing to buy what you're selling). Column C and D show these steps applied specifically to our scenario.

SellerBuyerYouHiring Manager
Polite greetings and hellos
Good morning (insert Mgr of vacant position's name here), hope you are doing well today.

Polite greetings and hellos
Likewise. How are you?
State the problem
I'm doing great, thanks for asking. Listen, I've heard that X has left their position. I'm sure their stack of work in progress is waiting to be delegated.

Yes. It looks like we may just shift their workload onto the remaining project members to save some money, especially as we don't have a candidate lined up right now.
Ask for buy-in/confirm the problem
Yeah, I hear you. I'm sure it's a bit stressful for the rest of the team who are going to be asked to pick up the slack now that you're down a person.

Confirms or clarifies
Yes, but the economy is crap,so we are just plugging holes the best we can.
State the solution:
1. clear expression of the proposed solution
2. testimonials or evidence with CONFIDENCE
3. provide win-win
4. CLOSE the deal: ask for what you want

1. My understanding of X's role is that the task list is quite similar to the kind of work I've been handling for the company so far. I've really enjoyed these sorts of tasks and I'd like to pitch in and take on some of the workload for your project. My preference is to take on the role and title that X held, but I'm also amenable to staying put where i'm at working under (insert name of mgr) while taking on this additional work if HR can't find the funding right now to staff X's role with a full time replacement.
2. I've become quite familiar with the regulatory requirements, customer specs, and day to day procedures from doing this kind of work on my project. As (insert name of my manager) can confirm, (insert list of significant accomplishments here. VERY important to list anything you've done that has actually saved the company money, landed a new customer, furthered market share, etc).
3. Regardless of how we need to structure this with HR with regard to me stepping into the position formally or just taking on a portion of the tasks, this could help temper the onslaught of work to be reassigned to your already busy team and provide me with more in depth exposure to this area of our business.
4. Would that work for you and your team? What do I need to do to facilitate the process of taking on this workload? What's the next step here?

Sounds great! Let me check with HR and get the ball rolling. OR: I think that sounds great in theory but we may need to default to the option you mentioned of just taking on part of the work now. Or: That's not really going to work out for us, we don't have funds to staff the role now full time right now, and company/customer doesn't allow us to task members outside of the role/team with our project work.
If no or delay, overcome objections if applicable; for yes, thanks and well wishes
If he says yes: GREAT, thank you, and I'll follow up with the next steps you've mentioned. If he says taking on some of their workload is the only option, then express thank you and that you're ok with this if its the only option and that you'll be bringing it up at your performance review time to demonstrate your commitment to meeting the company's business goals. if he says no outright to either option, express thanks and understanding and immediately ask for suggestions on what's the best way to position yourself as a candidate for their dept so that when a role does become available you'll be able to slide into it.

Yes/no/delay("maybe")/thanks and well wishes
Mgr. responds to your questions if applicable and wishes you well.
Thanks and well wishes
Thank you again! I really appreciate your time.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review: The Meat Free Monday Cookbook (British Cooking Gone Bad- (Very Very Bad)


0/5 stars.

This cookbook has helped me realize that what the common review and rating systems are missing is the ability to give a book negative stars.

Meat Free Monday Cookbook is like that sexy hipster fellow who talks smart and looks sharp but is pretty dull and lacking soul when you get him talking. To quote another reviewer from Amazon, "This is one of the most sensible (and appetizing) vegetarian cookbooks I have ever read". So as far as purchasing cookbooks for reading, hey, A+++. The problem results when you attempt to actually cook something from the book. I am pretty skilled in the kitchen and every single recipe I have made from tMFM Cookbook has been bland and just beyond the pale of yuck.  I was finally driven to write this angry review after making the meatless ale pie concoction (from the winter menu section). It was so disgusting that those of us who were unfortunate enough to take the first bites gave into our instinct to spit it out full stop immediately. And now we are going out to dinner, but because I care about you considerably dear reader I am taking a moment to write this review RIGHT NOW before we head out the door.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Book Review: The Light Between Oceans

En route to Thailand last month I had a chance to read a number of books and The Light Between Oceans by M.L. Steadman was the best of them all.

Stedman draws the reader in with a captivating love story between two unlikely characters and keeps our attention with her pleasant pacing and beautiful narrative. This is an emotional, gut wrenching tale of a devoted husband and wife isolated on a small island; their joys and sorrows kept private from the faraway lives of strangers until circumstances set them on a collision course with sin, heartache and deception. This is a story where there truly are no bad characters to root against but only anguish in knowing that no matter how it ends,  someone who doesn’t deserve it is going to be devastated and the lives of everyone who loves them will be altered forever.

I couldn’t put this book down and I cried so deeply so many times during the read. Some books speak to the soul and this is one of them. Anyone who has lost a child or yearned for a child of their own will find Steadman’s debut novel especially moving.