Lent Days 6 & 7: Contributing by sharing what you love…

I am learning so much about how simple contribution can be.

The last week has been transformative in many ways.  By looking for ways to contribute, I have been so present to the ways that others contribute to me, and these last two days have certainly been no exception.

Yesterday, my contribution was made through words of appreciation to my husband, who returned from his weekend away.  I realized that his partnership is invaluable in supporting my work, my motherhood and my life in immeasurable ways, and I really don’t tell him that often enough.  I love to write.  I love cute cards.  And, I love him.  So, I wrote him a cute card:


It wasn’t a fancy, monetary contribution, but it was from my heart, and it touched him, which certainly made it a contribution in my eyes.

This morning, I posted some pictures of my first Stitch Fix box. In case you don’t know what Stitch Fix is, it’s a service where you fill out a style profile, send it off, pay $20, and a couple weeks later, a box of 5 wearable items appears via mail.  You can keep 0-5 of the pieces, and your styling fee ($20) gets applied to your purchase. You return anything you don’t want in a pre-paid envelope within 3 days. You can schedule a box to arrive as often or infrequently as you like.  The concept seems simple, but I seriously was more excited to open my first box last night than I have been for a Christmas since I was maybe 6 years old.  Seriously.  Like pee my pants (except not their pants that I was trying on…is this TMI?) excited.  Here are a couple pics from the box:


So, yeah, I shared these pics and was not expecting that to be my contribution.  I was just sharing because I was excited.  Except that then people were also super excited to try it, so I realized it really was a contribution.

And there it is, contribution doesn’t have to be hard.  In fact, it’s often right in front of us, and something that’s a natural expression of who we are, if we don’t think too much about it.

Lent Days 4 & 5: Contributing to those closest to me

This weekend, I found myself a single parent, with my partner out of town, hosting a bachelor party for his brother.  In addition, because of a shift in scheduling for the semester, I had not only 1, but 2 classes worth of grading to get done, 3 events to get my son to on Saturday (and 2 more on Sunday), and we’re in the midst of a preview of the terrible two’s by my 21-month old little girl.

So, contribution.  Yes.

Saturday, my contribution was to my family and my students.  I got up at 4:30 am to grade until both kids were up, then focused my attention on them, got my son to his activities, got my dog walked, practiced patience with my little girl (who was none too happy about being dragged around to 3 different activities that were not geared towards 2 year olds), and even had some fun. I didn’t get to bed until almost midnight.  But, I spent my (19-hour) day contributing to the goals of my students and my family.

As I’ve noted, contribution as a lens is helping me realize more and more the contribution around me.  Saturday, I recognized in a real way, the contributions that my husband makes as a co-parent everyday, and was blessed by the contributions of community, as my friends came together to shuttle my son home (completely out of their way) and stay with the kids so I could walk the dog without waking the baby.

Sunday, my contribution was to a close friend of mine who is running the LA marathon for the Asian Pacific Islander Obesity Prevention Alliance (APIOPA).  One of the things that this Lenten season of contribution has helped me to do is to be more active in supporting the people I love doing the things that they are committed to, in order to support various communities.

We truly do go farther together and this season is one of walking (and running) in faith together.  Hope you all have a great week!

Hope in Community


It’s been an extremely long week.

Here’s what’s been giving me hope in the latter half of this week:

Teaching an amazing group of teacher candidates on Wednesday afternoon: 


On the Afternoon After the Election

Helping to coordinate a campus tour for HS juniors & seniors who visited our campus today and talking with them about their perspectives on the week: 

Family, friends and students who have shown amazing solidarity, support, and vulnerability, and have blessed me with their wisdom and compassion. 

Flowers from a student on Wednesday afternoon

Flowers from a student on Wednesday afternoon

Resources shared by friends and colleagues to stand up to hate in ways that show solidarity, including: 

Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry

The Safety Pin Movement

Resources for the Day After the Election

Suggestions for What To Do In This Transition Period (Before January) by Demographic Group

Concrete plans with colleagues to continue the work beyond this week and a renewed commitment to creating safe space (for everyone, including those I disagree with) wherever I can. 

It’s been such a hard week. I am exhausted.  But I am still standing.  And I will keep standing up and speaking out, in my own way.

The work starts here. The work starts now. The work starts in community.

Partnerships & Perspectives


This is often how I feel, as if I am constantly juggling a bunch of puzzle pieces that I know fit together somehow to make up the gestalt of my life.  This week is no exception.  I am attending a professional conference, spending two nights away from my family, trying to see two friends (and their families) in the city where the conference is being held, presenting twice, trying to still keep up with grading and work that has to get done no matter where I am and yet trying to balance the time I know I will need to “make-up” with my family after my absence (in addition to balancing the guilt I feel at being away from them).

It is fitting that partnership is the topic of the conference I’m attending, and that this week I’ve been reflecting a lot about partnership and perspective.  So this week, I figured I would share those thoughts with you.


My presentation, with my colleague and mentor yesterday, focused on reciprocity in faculty mentoring relationships.  Our work, drawn from the evolution of our own relationship, is anchored in the idea that each member of a partnership (whether it be a mentoring relationship, a friendship, a working relationship, etc.) has something which they bring to the table.  By acknowledging these types of partnerships and seeing the inherent value and worth of each person’s contributions, progress and growth can be achieved towards shared goals.

I get this type of partnership, and most days, I feel like I’m good at this type of partnership.  I share my contributions and learn so much from the people around me, and their unique contributions, whether those people are senior colleagues, friends, students, or my family.


But sometimes, when I feel like partnership is about sharing the load, I struggle.  It’s not that I value this type of partnership less, it’s that I never really feel like I am pulling my weight.  Although, in this image, both partners are still contributing towards a shared goal, often times when partnerships involve assistance, I end up somehow feeling like that’s a sign of weakness on my part.

For example, this week, a good friend and colleague of mine, who has a much stronger background in quantitative research methodology and evaluation design, helped me with a survey study that I am in the process of developing.  She graciously gave of her time to help me do a massive overhaul of my original survey, to align better with what I’m interested in studying, and we hope to work on this study together after the data is collected and publish from it.  I needed help.  My friend lent me her expertise.  We will likely partner up to discuss what we find from the data I’ll collect based on the survey she helped me design.  A wonderful partnership that will likely result in mutual benefit.

But, what I was left with is: I needed help when I shouldn’t have.  I mean, how hard is survey design? Shouldn’t I know this at this level? My friend is busy, but she was gracious and generous with her time when she probably had many other, more important things to do.  What have I contributed? Nothing at this point.

Or, in my personal life, I think of my partnership with my husband, who often, when I am away for professional conferences, has to take over 100% of parenting duties for both of our children.  What kind of partnership is that?  I mean, sure, because I have the more flexible schedule, I often am the first one called from daycare, manage my hours around to get my son to Tae Kwon Do practice early on Thursdays, and am up doing projects, managing fundraisers/ schedules, and printing out last minute items for them.  But, seriously, this semester I’m home late almost every weeknight which means he has the bulk of the “heavy lifting” parental duty.  What am I contributing?


I haven’t figured anything out yet, except that partnership isn’t about equality in any given moment.  In the bulk of my partnerships, it is about shared goals based on shared commitments: to students/ future teachers, to research and growing knowledge in areas of joint commitment, to our children.  More than that, so many of my partnerships are based on love and contribution.

I am often uncomfortable with being contributed to, by taking up space or time for myself and my needs, even if those needs allow me to be the best that I can be and allow me to contribute to others.  But part of growing is pushing through discomfort to allow others to give freely without feeling like I am taking advantage of their generosity.

So, instead of beating up on myself for being weak in accepting the contributions of others or for taking up space, I will breathe in and take it in, grateful for my partnerships, humbled by those who are willing to work with me, alongside me and to support me, enabling me to do the work I am so committed to doing in the world.