The Creatives: Delia Cadwallader

Creativity:(noun)  the ability to transcend traditional ideas, rules, patterns,relationships, or the like, and to create meaningful new ideas, forms,methods, interpretations, etc.; originality, progressiveness, or imagination. 

I always feel a certain sense of enchantment when getting to sneak a peek into the mind and life of a creative person. Whether it’s through an Instagram post that reveals their home decor and plant obsession; catching a glimpse of their bookshelf to see what they are consuming, or discovering one of their playlists on Spotify. There is an intrigue to uncovering a bit of the mystery that accompanies the creatives, the makers, and the artisans.  Continue reading The Creatives: Delia Cadwallader

Advertisements

Happy Birthday, lady.

Today is Equipped Woman’s 5th birthday.

I love, and sometimes loathe, this space like a true best friend.

She has listened to my pain and turned it into power. She has given me room to breathe, however deeply or heavy I need to. She is a friend born out of adversity, who is always willing to let me speak; never telling me what to say, what not to say, or how to say something in the best possible way. Just loving me and letting me be me, at whatever stage of life I happen to be in. Continue reading Happy Birthday, lady.

Validated

A few weeks before I started college, my college adviser set me free. This is what she said:

“Remember, you are not going to school to validate your 20 years of leadership experience, you are going to school to add to it.”

Too often we are looking for credibility to speak for us, maybe even speak to us, to validate what we know. This search for affirmation is exhausting and completely counters our secure identity. I am guilty as charged.

Education and experience are both greatly valued, yet one without the other leaves you feeling a bit incomplete and disqualified. If education is King, then experience would be Queen; and one without the other is not possible for something new to be birthed.

I had made it through three rounds of interviews for a new position in a new career field. Each conversation was rich with sharing stories of my experience with projects that painted a picture of my qualifications for the job. But in the final interview, the one with the CEO, I saw him scanning over my resume. He was looking for something. I knew what he wanted to see, and I knew he was not going to find it.

He looked up, perplexed, and asked about my education.

It just didn’t make sense to him that I was able to talk about solutions to management challenges without the credentials to back up my ideas and philosophies. It was clear that my suggestions were not credible to him.

When I shared this with my best friend, who has a college degree, she laughed. “When I go to interviews they only want to hear about my experience, which is less than yours because of my years in school!”

I will admit that when I first decided I was going to college, at 40 years old, part of me was looking for a degree to endorse my experience. Today, I know that adding a college education is a beautiful integration to what I already know.

I know that I am capable of much more than this world has been willing to allow me to participate in. Going to college is my step towards walking in that freedom. My women’s march is every day walking onto that campus.

These daily movements will allow me to cross industry borders, climb over fences of bureaucracy, and lay down marble tiles for my own two feet to stand on.

It’s the difference between just applying for a job and hoping they pick you, or interviewing a corporation to see if they are a good fit for you.

Here’s to no longer striving, but saying yes to the stretching.

signature

 

 

 

 

 

40-yr old Freshman

41 years old and I am officially a freshman in college.

Let’s get one thing straight, though. I am not going back to school.

Going back implies I am starting over, that there was a path I skipped over, or that I missed something and had to re-trace my steps.

I don’t go back, I go forward.

Continuing education after high school was not something we talked about, growing up. We had God, we had each other and if we were lucky – we had a decent paying job. What else could a poor, ragged sinner ask for? This was enough, and it was good.

And so I did what I learned how to do. I went to vocational college and learned a craft which led me along a wonderful career path. Specializing in a craft inspired me to keep growing, keep moving forward in it.

Then, sometimes you come to the end of a path and you have to decide if you are going to set up camp there or keep forging ahead. I decided, at 41, to keep forging ahead.

So, I am beginning college for the first time, at precisely the right time, which happens to be now. And it is perfect.

Is it weird to be as old as some of these kids parents? Yes. Is it strange to wear a backpack? Absolutely. And do you stick out like a sore thumb amidst the hoodies, Victoria’s Secret Pink yoga pants and Uggs? You better believe it.

But have I ever felt so alive? No. Have I ever thrived in such a way? Nope. Does this interfere with children and family? Not a chance.

To be continually learning and growing, produces within us a thriving and liveliness, which is what creates a healthy, flourishing culture within the home. We have a blossoming ecosystem of newness, wonder and unearthed passions between us all. It is magnificent.

In Sociology I discovered how judgmental and narrow-minded I can be, and I’m learning how to value the cultures and beliefs of others.

In English I have found that arranging my thoughts and writing them out in a more intentional and concise way allows others to better understand the concepts and ideas I present.

In Economics, I am becoming more aware of how our economy works. It has inspired me to grasp the issues our government faces and informs me to help establish my own beliefs about them.

And in Communications, I found that many times what I say does not truly reflect the message I want to convey. I have learned how to organize the heart behind the message and choose words more carefully in order to bring about a greater sense of understanding for others.

I am mostly learning to care more – about this nation, about communicating more effectively, about loving and accepting people better, and about being a woman who brings leadership, unity and value into community.

What am I going to school for? For me. For them. For you. For us.

The story only I can tell

You know that scene in a really good movie, the part where bits and pieces of the story thus far are now coming together to reveal an even greater storyline? The moment that feels like a sparkler lighting up in your mind, where there is zipping and the beep-bop-boop of computing information; where all the blips of events along the way have grown radiant as a line appears and starts connecting a more magnificent version of the saga?

This is my life, right now.

I’m stuck in that moment – the wonder moment – where all the struggles and battles in my life actually make a bit of sense. Like, realizing I was specifically designed to counter those particular assaults. No one else. It had to be me.

I am convinced that I was created with the exact ingredients necessary to triumph over those life events.

My kettle, filled with a passion for life, is steaming with excitement as I continue writing a book about it. Thirty eight years and I am finally able to see the gleaming, red ribbons of hope and help, weaving themselves throughout my journey.

They had been there all along. We are trained to have faith in the absence of seeing. And we do. But when the day comes, that our Creator allows you a glimpse into what He had been doing all along…Whoa.

I am both humbled and extremely excited to *finally* write about it. Finally.  I really believed  I was writing about my rough journey of faith. It kinda seemed like another wounded warriors tale; the sojourning pilgrims uphill battle that left her content with continual shrapnel and just happy to be alive.

Smile. Blink. Blink. Smile.

I’ve been writing this book for almost two years now. Then, just the other day, my eyes opened to the larger story – the one that grew the Grinch’s smile from ear to ear; my posture ascended in my chair and the hair on my arms stood up.

Of course. It had to be me. Because of who I am.

We’ve heard it said before: there is no one on earth the same as you. It starts with our name; it identifies us in our home. Then we go off to school and our name becomes merely a spec among many specs, sounding similar to and identical to many  others.

We become lost in a sea of faces.

As we get older, dissolution settles in and we assume a number:  Social Security number, driver’s license number, marriage license number and student ID number. We follow along within family rules, under school rules, under community leadership; trying to just fit in.

Going against the flow of cultural fusion is considered rebellion. We hear whispers of black sheep and prodigal. 

But here’s what lies in the balance: what if our differences, our individuality, was created intentionally for greater unity among us? What if we actually celebrated our unique design and learned how to live out from the passion and purpose that lies within us?

When your voice rises, as you speak about injustice; when your volume increases when you share your story; when your mind percolates while you are creating or doing the work you love – there it is. There you are.

This is your holy ground. This cannot be silenced and this cannot be discounted because THIS is you – fully alive.

So, this book I’m writing, was – until a week ago – a story of survival. Because the reality is, I have survived much: loneliness of single-motherhood, insecurity of poor self-esteem, assault of cancer on my child’s life, losing it all and a church whose “hands and feet of Jesus” kicked me to the curb and closed its doors on me. This book was going to be an “I’m still standing!” message, ending with a shimmer of hope for anyone who is struggling to keep believing in God.

But what my story is now – now that I know, now that I’ve seen the ribbons tieing it all together – is a life filled with fearless moments; a raised voice, high volume and permeated passion. And it was out of these moments that I was truly thriving. The struggles, the painful circumstances and the poor choices along the way were never my defining moments, they were the distractions to the wild and passionate girl I was created to live freely as.

matriarch

The biggest battle we are faced with, is to constantly fight in defense of  who we really are. My cry is that we never lose sight of the wonder of who we really are and we fiercely fight to protect our identity.

We fight against lies, so we can live out who we really are: HONEST. 

We fight against fear, so we can live out who we really are: HOPEFUL.

We fight against division, so we can live out who we really are: UNITED.

we fight against indifference, so we can live out who we really are: LOVING.

The search for my identity and the vicious fight that ensued to protect it, has been one of the greatest treasure hunts I have ever encountered. It almost took me out, twice. But the wealth of becoming aligned with myself and the empowerment to live fully and wholly alive, has been worth every scar.

And I wish the same for you.

Here’s to fighting FOR something good.

signature