Have you ever noticed that all sermons are in three parts? As are good speeches and stories. Not to be outdone, at the end of our weekly team meetings, I ask our team 3 questions. First, what are your concerns? Second, what are the things you are grateful for? Third, what is an activity you did during the past week you enjoyed? In this way, we learn about each other and connect on a human level. This week I thought I’d share a few of my concerns, gratitudes and joys with you, my readers.

Although I am tired of it being a concern, the COVID-19 virus continues to hang over my head like the sword of Damocles. This summer, one of my sisters-in-law was hospitalized for two weeks with covid pneumonia. We are so grateful she recovered. As a senior member of the Whittaker team, I feel the threat more acutely.  My response, much like the rest of the team, is to wear a face mask when I am out, wash my hands frequently, remain socially distant and isolated as much as possible without going crazy. My sense is that I will either contract COVID-19 or receive a vaccine to prevent doing so. The question is which will get here first?

When it comes to the things for which I am grateful the unusually warm fall weather here in Michigan comes to mind. Along with the spectacular fall tree colors, although that is now past. Our colleague in Nepal sends us pictures of the colorful fall festivals and religious ceremonies for which she is grateful. 

I am also grateful for the caring that we show each other. The season reminds me to express gratitude to those I care about and also to reach out to those in need, reminding myself the giving is getting and getting is giving.

I sometimes stumble when it comes to what I did for fun recently. Reading and learning are my two favorite activities. I’ve been reading a book called My Old Man and the Sea. It is about a father and son that take a sailboat trip in a 25ft. sailboat from New London, CT through the Panama Canal, round Cape Horn and back up the East Coast back to New London. I have spent many glorious (and some not so glorious) hours on a sailboat in my life and reading of the father and son’s adventures brought back many memories.

Learning is another joy for me. At the moment, I’m learning podcasting which has multiple parts. First, there is creating the concept of the podcast itself including designing the podcast and determine its purpose. In my case, I am interviewing economic development thought leaders about the future of economic development. YouTube has a wealth of videos that teach the ins and outs of using Garage Band to create a podcast.  

Perhaps you and your colleagues practice similar connecting activities as the Concerns, Gratitudes, Joys questions that I shared here. We at Whittaker Associates would love to learn your answers to the three questions. As we move into the holiday season, may you be safe, stay well, and remember to have fun.