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Friday, November 15, 2013

It Was a Heckuva of Crazy-Busy Week!

As I wrote on Facebook, last week was an almost overwhelmingly busy week for me:

Crazy busy week coming: finish 2 Playmakers, prepare next Sunday's teaching; help take down October's art exhibit; attend cohort Tuesday; attend 2 Chamber of Commerce gatherings, participate in imagine's first funeral,  submit my next blogpost for Paradise City Press; finish blogpost for Old Men Planting Churches; advertise for Jim Zingarelli's new exhibit on Arts Night Out this Friday; help host it, see various counseling clients ... oh yeah: eat, sleep, and be merry!

Here's a recap:

1. Finish 2 PLAYMAKER Profiles: For the uninitiated, PLAYMAKERS are a tool I adapted and created from SIMA Motivated Abilities Patterns I'd had the privilege to write for 10 years in the 80's for People Management in Simsbury. I got their permission. The first PLAYMAKER was for a young employee of a company called Microtools, a Systems/Software/Hardware Engineering Firm in Simsbury owned and operated by two friends from The Barn, a church where Tricia and I were members. I'd already done the Achievement Interview and needed to analyze the data, then write the Profile Report itself. I've done a number of Profiles for them over the years.

The second PLAYMAKER was for the leading pastoral candidate for the Senior Pastor position at The Barn in Simsbury. They've been without such a person for a year or so, and they've done hard work to narrow down the field. My job was to confirm this candidate was a good fit or not. I did a long distance phone interview, transcribed the recording, analyzed the text, wrote an Executive Summary to be read in chuech last Sunday, and wrote the Profile Report. I'll give the feedbacks to each person in the next couple of weeks.

Each report takes 10-15 hours from interview to feedback for me to complete.

2. Prepare and give last Sunday's talk at imagine: This is never an easy task for me. My ADD always proves a challenge to my ability to concentrate for long periods of time. This time was no different; in fact, it was very frustrating due to fatigue built up over the week. Even into Saturday, I was struggling to find a handle on what God wanted me to bring. I was doing the entire service in that both Tricia and Jim were gone. I knew I'd be able to do that, but I needed a clear message. At almost the last minute, God showed me what to do, and I was able to deliver what I'd been given. I did the entire service from soup to nuts and had very able help from imagineer Kristen Hastings in the set-up hospitality and clean-up chores. Sunday began for me at 4AM, and I locked imagine's door at 1PM.

3. Help take down October's art exhibit: Two Mondays ago, I helped Tricia take down Bella Halsted's paintings and Ben Westbrock's sculptures, some of which were also hanging on the walls. We had to prepare for last Friday's new Arts Night Out and Opening Reception for painter/sculptor Jim Zingarelli. He was coming to hang paintings and place sculptures on Tuesday. Both the taking down and putting up meant schlepping plus loading and unloading artwork down and up the stairs. Both went wonderfully smoothly!

4. Attend the imagine cohort Tuesday evening: The cohort is a relaxed group of 8 imagine people who gather to talk about our life as Christ-followers in mission. We meet in our apartment for an hour and have refreshments and conversation. A different person in the group leads it each week so we have maximum participation. We might pray, do some listening prayer around a piece of music or a video, respond to a spiritual direction question, or a portion of Scripture or passage from a book. The point is to connect and be real. We are getting to know one another in a fresh and deeper way.

5. Attend 2 Chamber of Commerce gatherings: One of the ways and means we've engaged people in our small city is to join the Northampton Chamber of Commerce. Imagineer Dave Sweeney introduced us to the opportunity. We've been slowly engaging folks by attending what are named Arrive @ Five gatherings which is a meet and greet at different locations in Noho. Last Tuesday the 5th, I attended a noontime brown-bag lunch of solo entrepreneurs gathering at the Chamber offices. Someone I met a few months back at the gallery moderates them. So I and seven others gathered to hear a gentleman talk about his career in the media, and how it had taken interesting twists and turns. I got to tell people who I was and who imagine/Northampton was. We are the sole church in the Chamber of Commerce so people are a little curious of why we're there; they have no neat business category to pit us in.. I also added to the conversation about adapting and responding to change in career. I contributed.

On Wednesday evening, Tricia and I attended our third Arrive @ Five event, this time at the World War II Veterans Club.There were probably 50 people in attendance. The Membership Service Manager, Jasmine let us in for free as we were still new members. We stood around a bit, then Sandra, a woman I'd been unable to connect with as she was supposed to be our "Ambassador" to help connect us with others in the Chamber, recognized me and introduced Tricia and I to other folks, including an interesting writer who publishes a monthly blog on books she reviews. We stayed for about an hour and made a quiet exit. The important thing is we are getting known in town. Even our "Ambassador" remarked on our Halloween event and how she'd been told by folks in the Chamber. We're going to keep trying to participate to build relationships for the Gospel.

6. Participate in imagine's first funeral: In 2012, I received a call from a woman who I could tell on the phone from the timbre of her voice was older. She was looking for a church in Northampton and wanted to know about us. Her name was Pauline Margaret Peterson. We'd come to know and love her as Polly. Later in the week, I met her and she was interested in checking us out. Which she did. Over the next year and a few months she was in and out of the hospital and rehab many times to recover from her various and serious ailments, some she'd endured for a long, long time. Many of us spent hours with her either at her home or in a care facility. Polly was tough, funny, opinionated, and full of spit and vinegar. She lit up a room as the saying goes. She died in her sleep on October 19th. 

When the arrangements were finalized -- most of the work being done by Karin LaMontagne and Janet Williams -- we held her Celebration of Life Service. College Church in Northampton graciously let us use a space there and provided hospitality to our guests. They even provided the musician through Dr. Don Lundgren. Her celebration was lovely with prayer, the singing of hymns, Scripture reading (I read John 11:21-44), open sharing of friends and family, the reading of an excerpt from C.S. Lewis's "The Last Battle" by Karin, and a brief message from Jim. From there, we headed to Wildwood Cemetary in Amherst for her interment. It was brief, but sweet.She won't be forgotten

7. Submit my next blogpost for Paradise City Press: Recently, Ian Bauer, the Project Coordinator for Northampton Community TV, invited me to write a blog for the Paradise City Press, NCTV's community blog. I wrote and published my first one in October:, and one late last week: It's been fun to write a second blog about my experience living in Northampton. I'm writing one about every three weeks or so. I may increase the output or not; I don't know yet. I was able to get it in last week after doing a little final editing amidst all else I was doing!I like knowing I have a different public forum and I want to be of benefit to this community such that some will come to know the King of Kings who turned this place upside down 250 years ago.

8. Finish a blogpost for Old Men Planting Churches: I also finished
a blogpost I'd begun earlier about the wonderful exhibit we had in October with painter Bella Halsted, and sculptor Ben Westbrock. I was two-thirds done, but I needed to complete it in the midst of all the other projects and tasks I had to complete as well. Glad I did. I enjoy writing about these arts events because they're so full of life , beauty and community.

9. Advertise for Jim Zingarelli's new exhibit on Arts Night Out last Friday: Part of my role as Assistant to the Curator (the Curator being Tricia), was to handle getting the word out about our exhibitions. I do and did a number of things to advertise Jim's "The 4/4 Series": email announcements to our growing imagine ART Gallery mailing list, plus our imagine/Northampton mailing list; announcements on Facebook, the Northampton calendar on American Towns, putting up flyers around town, writing a press release, even standing in front of our door on Arts Night Out and inviting people to come and see; putting an ad on the Valley Art Share website, etc. It takes time and I've had to learn how to do it. I'm still learning!

10. Help host Jim Zingarelli's new exhibit on Arts Night Out: A very major event happened in the life of the McDermott family: Our son, Dan's wife, and our daughter-in-law, Lindsay, just before last weekend went to the hospital to deliver Brody Elliot McDermott, our fifth grandchild. That meant Tricia had to leave on Friday for Hopkinton to pitch in with caring for our other grandchildren as the baby was born and Lindsay would be in hospital. That meant I would be responsible for making sure all the sumptuous food and drink we serve at every Artist Reception  would, that evening, be put out attractively, and replenished as needed. Logistics and details of event execution are not my "strong suit" let's just say. 

Tricia was well aware of my "event execution deficit disorder" so she prepared what would be put out, plated or labelled how to plate it, and asked imagineers Jenn Swick and Kristen Hastings get stuff ready and keep it replenished. As one of them remarked later, "Tricia has trained us well." Indeed she has! I didn't need to think about it because they were on top of it, including clean up. So I was able to talk with artist Jim and his wife Kathy, and some old friends and new folks who dropped by. I also spent a good bit of time handing out flyers on Main Street and enticing people upstairs. One very encouraging reality is many people showed up and remarked they had been to all our shows, or said "This is my favorite gallery." Some people noted they didn't know we were here, but were glad they found it. The night was a success with 60 folks visiting the gallery and interacting with Jim as well as his three sculptural "stations" which can be interacted with to create new forms by anyone visiting .

11. See various counseling clients: Last, but never least, and as with every week, I see various clients for counseling here and in Greenfield. It can be as few as six, and as many as fifteen, mostly in person, sometimes over the phone. I saw nine, including over the phone. Notable about that is each day is sprinkled with sessions which means I must detach from other stuff and be fully present to folks who come into my office. Then, I must detach from each session and re-engage other work.I have a natural ability to do so, but I also have ADD and I'm getting older rather than younger (except in heart and spirit). It's normally all doable, but last week seemed to be especially "heckuva crazy-busy!"; at least in my estimation.

By the time, Sunday afternoon came around I was bone tired. I don't get that way often, but that way I was. I was so glad I could rest in the quiet. We took out our television a number of months back and it's been wonderful; no inane distractions from that thing. I went to bed very early and slept in on my day-off ; for me that's 7AM.

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