Sunday, August 13, 2017

all in grocer

We have a grocery store in the works for the Walnut Neighborhood of Waterloo.  That's exciting!  For some years now, we've listened to neighbors speak their desire at neighborhood association meetings for a grocery store with quality, affordable groceries that would be within walking distance.  And here we are in 2017 with City Council's vote last Monday taking this dream to reality one step closer.

Not only is there a grocery store planned, but there are several pieces of good news within it...

*The developer is an African-American man who grew up in Waterloo and is committed to building up his home community.

*Uplift Solutions, a nonprofit that comes alongside urban grocers to help them be successful, will be a part of this start up.  Check out their mission here.  They work together to create food sustainable solutions, health solutions, finance solutions, and workforce solutions.  They strive to create community and are committed to offering job opportunities for people who have been incarcerated. Their mission: to strengthen, heal, and inspire.  Plenty of that needed in our neighborhood and across our community!

*We have heard that the operator will be a local owner/operator.  It's hopeful that this will mean a long term and strong connection and commitment to excellence inside the store, to the property, and a relationship with the neighborhood.

*Rodney Anderson, the developer is also putting a restaurant in the grocery store.  The grocery store and restaurant will bring needed jobs and commerce to the area.  Commercial development will help housing development in the neighborhood, and vice versa.  More residents living in the area will increase the customer base at local businesses.  Win-win.

The name planned for the grocery store is ALL IN GROCER.  It will certainly take an All In approach from a broad spectrum of our community to create a thriving and bustling corner of commerce.  The neighborhood CVS store, which will be directly next door to the grocery store, is across the street from our home.  I find myself at CVS a couple times a week to buy some item.  On average, no matter what time of day I shop, there are 2-5 customer cars in a very large and open parking lot.  All In Grocer will need to have unique appeal not only to residents who live in the vicinity, but to people from across the community, especially those with discretionary income, who will commit to lifting up the neighborhood and community by spending their dollars at this downtown grocery. I'm all in.  You?  

Friday, August 11, 2017

relearning respect

I'm home after 2 days at the Global Leadership Summit 2017. So much good content and inspiration and challenge! In Bill Hybels' opening talk, he addressed what we can seemingly all agree to in this particular time of our history:  we are living in a time of increased disrespect and incivility.  

Hybels went on to give the following list that he used in a message he gave entitled "Respect Everyone Always".  This is an important code of conduct for us in this day of increasing tribalism.  

10 Rules of Respect Every Leader Simply Must Obey
  1. Leaders must set example on how to differ with others without demonizing them.
  2. Leaders must have spirited conversations without “drawing blood”.
  3. Leaders must not interrupt others who are talking and must not dominate conversation.
  4. Leaders must set example of limiting volume levels and refusing to use incendiary or belittling words that derail a discussion. You know what words are like hand grenades. Don’t use them.
  5. Leaders must set the example of being courteous in word and deed to everyone at every level.
  6. Leaders must never stereotype.
  7. Leaders must apologize when they are wrong, don’t double down or cover up.
  8. Leaders must form opinions carefully and stay open minded if better information comes along.
  9. Leaders must set the example of showing up when they say they will and do what they say they will.
  10. Leaders must set rules of respect for what they believe and implement relentlessly. Make a written code of what the rules are and have the employees sign.

Civility Code example:

  1. Greet and acknowledge each other
  2. We will say please and thank you
  3. We will treat each other equally and with respect
  4. We will be direct, sensitive, and honest
  5. We will address incivility whenever it occurs

Friday, August 4, 2017

making me braver

My friend, Michael, moved to Georgia today.  I stopped to say goodbye a few days ago, and besides wishing the best for him, I wanted to let him know how much he inspires me and increases "my brave".  

Three years ago, Michael and a few other friends from the Democratic Republic of Congo moved in kitty-corner to our house in Walnut.  They came to America by lottery and were escaping political corruption and civil war in their home country.   A few friends and I spent the summer of 2014 driving our new friends to English classes at a local church.  I watched them get jobs at Tyson Foods, and we escorted some of them to Hawkeye Metro to get signed up for a series of English classes that would start that fall.  I also learned that many of them had already gone to post-secondary school and held professional jobs in Congo.  Now, they were starting over.  

Fast forward three years.  This May, I had the privilege of attending Michael's graduation from Hawkeye Community College.  Over those three years, Michael and his roommates have learned English, worked difficult jobs at Tyson, gone to college, and even worked their way back from a house fire that burned most all of their possessions- both with sentimental value, and items they had purchased since arriving in the United States.    

I am in awe of Michael.  His grit.  His courage.  His faith.  His tenacity and perseverance.  I sometimes think about if the table was turned.  If I landed in Congo...away from my home, family, friends, culture....not knowing the language, nor the people, nor what resources were available.  That seems overwhelming to me.  As we were saying goodbye, Michael mentioned that God had helped him, but that people like me had helped him too.  On days when I feel like life seems difficult and obstacles loom large, I say the same to Michael in return.  God helps me, but people like Michael help me too. His life inspires me to press in to struggle, and it's people like Michael, gracefully working through hardship, who make me braver. Continue to put your hope in the Lord, Michael, and Godspeed in Georgia.   

Isaiah 40:31
“but those who hope in the LORD
will renew their strength.
They will soar on wings like eagles;
they will run and not grow weary,
they will walk and not be faint.”