July has always been my favorite month — and the fastest to flee.
Today I’m going to try to slow it down just a bit by sending you two volunteers.
The first is this sunflower, which sprang up next to a peony bush in our backyard.
We figure a bird dropped the seed.
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Volunteer sunflower. Makes me smile.

The second volunteer? My friend Laurie Buchanan.

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Author, blogger, coach Laurie Buchanan. She makes me smile also.

Laurie has appeared in this blog often, usually in the comment section. I signed up to read her “Tuesdays with Laurie” posts every week. Way back in April, Laurie helped me apply the idea of Beautiful Questions to my theme of Jubilación.

This week Laurie sent me a list of Beautiful Questions she extracted out of our previous conversations and her answers to them.

In other words, she volunteered!

I promise if you read the questions below, and Laurie’s answers, you will have plenty to think about for a long time.

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Q: What indelible imprint do you hope to leave in the lives of others?
With tremendous respect for the earth’s natural resources, my goal is to leave the slightest footprint on the planet, while at the same time making a lasting impression on its inhabitants—one that is positive, uplifting, constructive, and healing.
Q: Is the language you have now large enough for your God-given vision?
Yes. My God-given vision is simple: to be a channel of grace. Time has taught me that the best language for the task is oftentimes silence.
Q: What quality of youthfulness matches your stage of life now?
Leveraging the ability to make use of whatever’s available, children are great improvisers. I still bear the aplomb of spontaneity.
Q: Do you keep a journal?
I kept a journal in the past, but discovered that I wrote it with a mind to would-be eyes, and for me that defeated the purpose. Now I keep a gratitude journal, daily writing one extraordinary thing I’m grateful for.
Q: What hopes do you have that the journal will help ease the absence after you are gone?
My “death file” contains sealed envelopes for my husband and son. Each home to a handwritten letter letting them know how they’ve personally enriched my life and what they mean to me.
Q: If you don’t keep one, do you pin your hopes for a legacy on something else?
See previous answer.
Q: What aspects of who I am are being called upon, in what ways through what circles of my life to foster justice?
In my role as transformational life coach, I share the following statement with clients:
I won’t walk in front of you.
I won’t walk behind you.
I won’t carry you.
I will, however, walk beside you.
That said… for those clients who need it, I help them to cultivate and nurture the ability to seek and obtain justice. On the flip side, for those clients who have wronged others, I help them to cultivate and nurture the ability to make amends to the person(s) they have ill-treated.
Q: What are you angry about that no one knows about?
It’s not anger so much as disappointment I feel when I see someone who doesn’t even test the waters of their potential. Of course none of us knows the full back story of other people. None of us has walked a mile in their shoes. And more importantly, it’s none of my business.
Q: What have you been given in life, that awakens deep gratitude in your heart?
Life—quite literally. I’ve walked away from two car accidents where in both instances the early responders said, “No one could have survived this:”
  • One in 1973 when the driver of a car I was in swerved to miss broken glass on the freeway and the vehicle went over the bridge, plunging into the Calapooia River in Oregon.
  • The other in 1993 when a young man on PCP rear-ended the two-seater sports car I was driving. Stopped at a red light, he rear ended me at 60mph. The car crumpled like an accordion, yet I walked away.
Q: How much of a striver are you? Has it changed over time? Caused good? Caused harm? How do you feel about the striver in you now?
In an endeavor to make sure we’re on the same page, I looked up “striver” and discovered it’s someone who: tackles, competes, fights, hassles, scrambles, and/or strains.
I’m not a striver. That’s not to say that I’m not determined. I set goals and utilize my energy to achieve them. But it’s not in a do or die fashion.
Q: What experience(s) have you had in your life that have produced awe?
The two phases of parenting have produced awe in me:
Phase 1 — being completely and totally responsible for the needs of another human being.
Phase 2 — letting go of that responsibility and watching that other human being soar on their own.
Q: What fills you with awe?
Even with a husband who’s a pilot, I’m continually amazed that planes don’t fall out of the sky—that they even get airborne in the first place! When you pause to think about people’s body weight, the weight of their luggage, and the weight of the fuel (let alone the weight of the plane), I’m awestruck!
Q: What gifts have you left the world?
In my own little sphere of influence I’ve left the gifts of laughter, friendship, and a sense of upliftment—that’s not a real word, but I like it.
***
Coming next fall! Pre-orders available now.

Coming next fall! Pre-orders available now.

I promised you that Laurie would make you think. She volunteered answers so succinct and profound. Her desire to leave a small footprint actually expands her influence. I’m excited for her right now because she is preparing to launch her book into the world next fall. I’ve read it in manuscript form and highly recommend it. In fact, I’m heading to Amazon right now to pre-order my copy at this link.

I’m volunteering to do so.
One volunteer begets another.
You too can benefit from Laurie’s wisdom in any way you choose, beginning with commenting below. Which one of the questions or answers above prompted you to think about your own life? I invite Laurie to join us for more conversation.

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