Tag Archives: Texas

Strong Women

Never doubt what determined women can accomplish,” was the phrase which kept running through my mind last week as I prepared to attend the 3rd annual Financial Women in Texas annual conference.  It was my good fortune to be both a member and general session speaker at this conference and when this thought repeated in my mind, I realized the story of what they accomplished can be an inspiration to us all.

Three years ago, a handful of women refused to let go of the professional bonds and friendships developed and built for decade upon decade when our former international organization dissolved in 2009.  These leaders focused on what is important about us banding together, found  and developed strengths in their team, and took action to rebuild our association.

I have to admit, my first reaction to rebuilding our association was more like a sigh than a cheer of encouragement.  It sounded like an overwhelming and far too daunting task, but this group of women changed my tune

Their determination, strength, and willingness to do the work resulted in so much more than a new association called Financial Women in Texas.  They became a beacon of light showing the way to new possibilities, as milestone after milestone was achieved. 

Countless hours were spent deciding steps to take, the structure to build, and how to overcome the many obstacles in their path.  Their perseverance and energy attracted attention; immediately others stepped in to help, like the Independent Bankers Association of Texas, which gave critical help in our formative phase.   

These leaders kept communicating their results to women across Texas as they persuaded and attracted both former and new members to their cause.  Within a year, members were attending the first conference as a new association. 

At our first conference, I looked around in awe at what they had accomplished.  Although fewer people attended conference the first year, the event was expertly produced.  Suddenly, I realized the task was achievable and from that point forward I resolved to become a more committed member.

By the second annual conference, former members from other states began attending our conference.  This year a few women in neighboring states have joined their nearest local group for monthly meetings as well as the association conference, which gives us hope for growth beyond our borders.

This past weekend at our third annual conference, it is clear we are on our way to becoming strong as an association.  Additional associations are sending representatives to our conference, and our membership continues to grow.  New members are stepping up to leadership roles in the local groups that make up the association, and there are even a couple new faces leading at the association level. 

These strong women who resurrected our organization are very willing to share their strength with more members and have the vision to see how our leadership must be developed to grow our organization.  A new region is in the process of forming a local group and hope is high that yet another will form in a few months.

Thank goodness we had so many women willing to see the possibilities, build on strengths in themselves and partnering organizations, and take action.  They kept us together, created a model for others to follow, and became a symbol of hope and strength to those both within and outside of our association.  They were the inspiration for my presentation last weekend too, as they beautifully illustrated the key components:

      1. Focus on What’s Important
      2. Uncover and Develop Strengths
      3. Take Action

Thank you, ladies.  Because of your focus, determination, and willingness to take action, women in Texas have a unique support system.  Like so many goals, it wasn’t easy.  Fortunately for us, your objective wasn’t ease; instead you strove for something meaningful. 

Strong women created an organization that is rapidly growing strength of its own and supporting many of us along the way.  This group of strong, determined women has truly made a difference.

“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.” 

by Margaret Mead  US anthropologist & popularizer of anthropology (1901 – 1978)

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South Llano River

Water is precious in Texas, especially at the end of August.  When friends suggested we go kayaking on the Llano River last weekend, I might have wondered how many times we would find ourselves stuck as we scraped rocks on the riverbed bottom.  (This is how I’ve kayaked before while burning myself in the blazing heat of a Texas summer.)  Fortunately, my thoughts were full of promise as our more experienced kayaking friends had told us there is “always water in the South Llano”.  My husband took them on faith, too, even though he had recently driven by the North Llano River and found it to be darn close to dry.

I’m so glad we went.  It was a beautiful day, with overcast skies all morning keeping the temperature down and visibility excellent.  We saw blue herons and hawks, buzzards and sparrows, catfish and minnows, quite a few snakes, and one wild boar.  We floated past fields and limestone cliffs, saw caves and the bloom of late summer flowers.  Yes, we scraped bottom a couple times, but I never was stuck on the rocks of the riverbed.  It was relaxing and easy, we paddled steadily for just over two hours in the quiet perfect morning of a Texas Hill Country summer day.

We left the river at our take-out place a full hour ahead of schedule, and enjoyed the sprinkle of very light rain while having snacks and easy conversation with our friends.  Home in early afternoon, there was plenty of time in the day to call another friend and catch up on a long overdue talk.  When I told her of our kayaking trip, she said we were always on some kind of adventure.

I was about to insist that all we had done was say “Yes” when our friends invited us along, to protest that we hadn’t planned the adventure – our friends had – when it occurred to me she was right.  We are often out on some adventure, usually resulting from our own effort and planning.  This time the opportunity came right to our door and invited us along.  All we had to do was agree to go along.

It would have been easy to turn down this opportunity, to be too busy, imagine the weather too hot, or the river too low.  We could have put it off until after fall rains or simply decided an hour drive to Junction, Texas not worth it.  I’m glad we didn’t.  I’m happy we instead eagerly packed our cooler for a morning of fun.   We can’t wait to introduce others to the South Llano kayaking adventure and repeat this experience over and over again!

 What might you enjoy if you say “Yes” when an adventure comes knocking?!

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Wildflower Abandon

Spring in the Hill Country is almost always beautiful; this year it is spectacular.  The rain finally came back and wildflowers are proliferating everywhere.  Some fields are so thick with bluebonnets they create an illusion of a small lake.  Locals and tourists both are out in droves to drink up the sights.  Friends are remarking over and over how glad they are for the flowers to return so strongly after the drought last year. 

While others smile joyously, I find myself holding back from the excitement.  Yes, I look for and point out flowers, but something in me hesitates from completely abandoning myself to the intensity of their beauty.  It was only yesterday that I put my finger on it.  It’s the drought of last year.  I still think about the drought, even as I look at these fields in bloom. 

It was a really bad drought, lasting for fifteen months.  Cattle died, trees died, fields turned to dirt – even grassy parks in town turned to dirt.  Towns nearby went within days of running out of water, while towns farther off actually ran out.  Entire lakes and rivers dried up.  Foundations cracked.  Technically, we are still in a drought with stage 4 water restrictions still in place.  Though good rains have come since December, we have not replenished our aquifers much at all. 

I hesitate to fall fully into the joy of this beautiful wildflower picture, as if doing so might jinx our good fortune of the last few months.  Silly, yes, yet there it is, like feeling you have to be careful when someone offers you a deal too good to be true.  I’ve been looking at this magnificent display of color and wonder with an eye out for the drought that might be lurking just behind it.  There is no con man in the background.  There is only color and beauty and now.

Sometimes just recognizing a fear creates enough power to set it aside.  That’s the case with me and the wildflowers.  Once I realized what was holding me back from enjoying them, I could let it go.  So I did, and spent the afternoon driving around my neighborhood and nearby country lanes looking for wildflowers. 

 What keeps you from being fully present with beauty in your life?

Tonight, my husband and I hike Enchanted Rock State Park, which is sure to be loaded with flowers and trickling water.  I’m going to be in the middle of one of the most beautiful scenes ever made and can’t wait to enjoy it all.  Maybe I’ll see you out there, letting go of fear and falling with complete abandon into beauty.

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