What to Do with a Few Good Aces (and Without)

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We talked about trust. I used an example of playing-card hands. I said something like, "Let's pretend you and I are playing this game of TheHighCalling, and I deal you this hand." I showed my Team a poorly-dealt hand and asked if they trusted me— that I was really interested in having them succeed at the game.

Well, heck no.

Then I showed my Team a different hand, of high cards.

"Would you trust me now?" I asked.

Well, heck yeah.

We talked more about trust. I told a story about a company that literally saved millions of dollars in an acquisitions deal, because of high trust between the two merging companies. We did some role plays and then we were done.


I handed each person an envelope and told them there was a promise and a challenge inside of it. The promise? I gave them each an ace, as a symbol of how I hope to work with them; I want to deal them good hands. The challenge? That they think about how they might deal aces to each other and the Network we serve.

Of course, to give this symbolic gift, I had to take aces from five packs of new playing cards. Which left them unusable. Or so I thought.

Sometimes... even if no one gives you an ace, you can still make things happen. I smile when I see what my Sonia did with a few good unwanted playing cards...

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Card Shirt Design, by Sonia, 11.

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I Found My Sticky Writing in Bed

Autumn Trees at Pound Ridge

I wanted to write. But I felt empty of words. So I sat on my bed, opened How to Read a Poem: And Fall in Love with Poetry, and started... reading.

The author was talking about his first brush with grief poetry— the image of Achilles with his face in the dirt. The image stuck. So much so that when the author dealt with a friend's death years later, Achilles somehow consoled him.

"Poetry is a stubborn art," the author concluded. By this he meant that poetry refuses to let humanity go. It sets down a record of our deepest feelings. It gives us a place to lay our heads.

I sat in bed and thought about this. I thought about my struggle to write poetry. I realized I needed to let my poetry be a stubborn art.

It was raining, and I'd just been reading a poem in David Wheeler's upcoming book. You wouldn’t/ believe all the water teeming/ in the cracks of our streets/ ...We/could almost be swept away. The rhythm of rain was on my mind. I could almost feel it moist-tapping my skin.

So I began with the rain and this is what came (see below). Other poems, perhaps more stubborn and sticky, followed.

In the end, I found my sticky writing in bed. This wasn't on Heath & Heath's "how-to" list. But as Linda noted in one of her recent comments to me, sometimes a quiet place is where we find our best words, a place to lay our heads.

Aubade, October

I must hear my way
to the rain,
what do you do
when the rain is falling,
and whispered night comes early,
covers apples
in the orchard, red, unspoken for,
falling, falling...
like the rain.

Autumn Trees at Pound Ridge, photo by L.L. Barkat.


Over at TheHighCalling.org we're reading and discussing Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Heath & Heath. Want to join us? :)

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If You're Asked to Write for Us

Girl with Cornstalk

"Any writer can say that. Tell me something only you can tell me."

I've been known to say this to writers over at HighCallingBlogs.com (now TheHighCalling.org.) At first, this request can feel perplexing to a writer. Isn't it acceptable to say, "God changed me" or "grace healed me" or "I was convicted of sin"?

Sure, it's acceptable. But when 100 writers say it...or a 1,000 writers say it... or 10,000 writers say it, pretty soon we all start to sound the same. Any writer can say these things.

At TheHighCalling.org, we prefer to hear your stories. The ones that only you can tell. Stories of biscuits, glow sticks, road trips, and sad autumn mornings.

Why insist on stories? Heath & Heath note, "Stories have the amazing dual power to simulate and inspire." This often leads a listener to action.

Our tagline at TheHighCalling.org is "conversations about work, life, and God." Yet, in the end, we hope it's not just talk. We hope our readers will be inspired to act.

A few good biscuit stories might do the trick.


A note about writing for us: we do not accept queries, but rather work through established relationships in our Network. If you are telling great stories that inspire, comfort, challenge, or heal, you'll eventually be noticed by our Team. The best way to get noticed is to hang around the community, comment at our home page, comment on and link to other members' blogs, and interact with us on Twitter and Facebook. In other words, be social-media generous and interesting, and we'll eventually find your words. :)


Over at TheHighCalling.org we're reading and discussing Made to Stick: Why Some Ideas Survive and Others Die, by Heath & Heath. Want to join us? :)

Girl with Cornstalk photo, by L.L. Barkat.

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