march 7, 2019

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“Remember, that of all the elements that comprise a human being, the most important, the most essential, the one that will sustain, transcend, overcome and vanquish obstacles is – Spirit!” ~ Buddy Ebsen

 

mentor of greatness

 
Marietta Watts is by far one of the best people on this planet. She is wise, wise, wise, wise, with bottomless compassion and a innate desire to understand people. I’ve probably said this all before but it bears repeating because she’s just that special. This afternoon, she gathered the newest class of Humanity Academy folks together with some of the graduates. We had a really informative discussion on Social Media Activism where I learned a lot of new lingo, along with some disturbing trends. But ya know, I was sandwiched between Marietta and BFF Heidi Morrow and that made even the most unsettling revelation okay. Heidi and I graduated HA together in 2009 so we declared today our 10 year anniversary. It was good for my soul to catch up with her joyous self. And Marietta, well, any day with her is a day with sunshine. Come to think of it, I’ve never spent a single bad day with any Humanity Academy. I am a fortunate woman indeed.

 

mama mia

august 2, 2018

posted in: photography | 0

“Never forget the three powerful resources you always have available to you: love, prayer, and forgiveness.” ~ H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

 

in the hot seat

 

My good friend Marietta Watts was in the studio today being interviewed by Renee Collins for a project called “I Am Diversity.” It’s a take on a conversation started many years ago involving a few Humanity Academy grads like Eric Morrow discussing what diversity looks like, or rather, who diversity looks like. In short, it’s all of us. We each contribute to this beautiful tapestry of life and none more so than Marietta. Being a humble woman, she would argue that last point I’m sure, but anybody that knows her will back me up.

 

little picture

 

I probably say this every time I post about Marietta, but I can’t help it because it’s really true, she is a light in this world. We all contribute, that’s true, but some of us have a light in our souls that penetrates deeper than others. Marietta is one of those lights. Her understanding of the human condition is remarkable. Really, the word remarkable isn’t sufficient enough, but that’s the best I can do for now. And her tact? I’ve seen her handle some of the most problematic statements/people with the grace of a ballerina. She has an uncanny ability to take a touchy subject and make it okay to talk about, and make you feel good doing it. It takes a heart split wide open to do that. She makes me want to be a better person. I hope she gets every happiness in this life she so richly deserves, and I hope every person reading this has a chance to meet Marietta. You’ll see right away what I mean. She is all light.

 

the story that matters

july 12, 2018

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“Consult not your fears but your hopes and your dreams. Think not about your frustrations, but about your unfulfilled potential. Concern yourself not with what you tried and failed in, but with what it is still possible for you to do.” ~ Pope John XXIII

 

work family (snapseed)

 

Wonder Woman, Marietta Watts, convened Humanity Academy grads for lunch again today. We were a small but mighty crowd, but make no mistake, the conversations were no less powerful. I’ve probably said this before, but it’s worth repeating: the University of Kentucky is damn lucky to count Marietta among its ranks. Her spirit is boundless. When I look around a room of HA grads, I marvel at the complexity of the personalities sitting shoulder to shoulder and being happy to be there. One of the most important things said today was that HA grads, as attendees, come to the program with open hearts. Not everyone agrees, not everyone should, but what happens after a week of coming face to face with our preconceived notions of who we think other people are is a deep understanding that we are all just human beings. Every label, every stigma, every negative thought we hold about others different from us, and even about ourselves, are products of some weird socialization that’s gone horribly wrong. It has nothing to do with our basic needs as human beings. HA grads learn to talk about the elephants in the room. Most importantly we learn to listen. Humanity Academy is a gift from Marietta and I’m so grateful Stacy Yelton nominated me to participate a decade ago. I’ve made lifelong friends from HA, and so many of my other UK colleagues are members as well, like Renee Collins (smiling), Marie Dale (head turned listening to Marietta), and Judy Sackett (way on the back), who, I learned today, was in the HA pilot program in 2006. It is amazing how good I feel about myself, and about being a UK employee, when I leave the company of our HA meetings. That is power in the most wonderful way. Thank you, Marietta, for being a light in this world.

march 9, 2018

posted in: photography | 1

“You do not become good by trying to be good,
but by finding the goodness that is already within you,
and allowing that goodness to emerge.”
~ Eckhart Tolle

 

hilarity (snapseed)

 

Way back in 2009 I attended the Humanity Academy (I talked about it in a 2013 post). Every couple of years our fearless leader, Marietta Watts (far left), brings us together for continued discussions. Today was just such an event with around 40 graduates in attendance. We did some serious work, but we also laughed…a lot. I was snorting. In fact, everyone at our table was snorting at one time or another. Admittedly, and I think all the attendees would agree, we were the fun table (I know you find that hard to believe).

 

let somebody else take the picture (snapseed)

 

Two-thirds of our table went through HA together in 2009; Annie Bassoni, Di Black (above far right), Ella Muhovic (below), and myself. (Marie graduated in 2013.) I hadn’t seen Di and Ella since we graduated, but it didn’t make any difference. We picked up where we left off, although I had forgotten just how funny Di is. I’d also forgotten that she sounds oddly like Comedianne-turned-Tea-Partier Victoria Jackson (except Di’s actually funny). She and Annie had us in tears most of the day. A co-worker’s husband, Beau Steenken, a graduate of the most recent HA class (below with Ella), was a brave man. Not only did he sit with us, he fit right in. He was a real treat to get to know, too. He’s one of the girls now; a keeper. The Humanity Academy helped me grow as a person, and from other graduates I was given some of the most meaningful friendships I’ve ever had. For many of us the Humanity Academy experience continues to enrich our lives at work, at home, and the world at large. We’ve got Marietta Watts to thank for that. The University of Kentucky is privileged to have her on the team, and we’re all better people because of her.

 

ideas (snapseed)

october 24, 2016

posted in: art, photography | 2

Leaves and Blossoms Along the Way: A Poem ~ by Mary Oliver

If you’re John Muir you want trees to live among. If you’re Emily, a garden will do.
Try to find the right place for yourself. If you can’t find it, at least dream of it.

When one is alone and lonely, the body gladly lingers in the wind or the rain, or splashes into the cold river, or pushes through the ice-crusted snow.

Anything that touches.

God, or the gods, are invisible, quite understandable. But holiness is visible, entirely.

Some words will never leave God’s mouth, no matter how hard you listen.

In all the works of Beethoven, you will not find a single lie.

All important ideas must include the trees, the mountains, and the rivers.

To understand many things you must reach out of your own condition.

For how many years did I wander slowly through the forest. What wonder and glory I would have missed had I ever been in a hurry!

Beauty can both shout and whisper, and still it explains nothing.

The point is, you’re you, and that’s for keeps.

 

Marietta (snapseed)
Marietta (snapseed)

 

As luck, or God and the Universe, would have it, I could not have picked a better day to run into my old friend, Marietta Watts. I’d been handed some discouraging news this morning, but by the afternoon I was surrounded by some of my favorite library colleagues and Marietta. Just being with them made me feel better, and Marietta, being one of the smartest, most compassionate people I’ve ever met, helped us all. Her spirit is so giving that she helps people without even trying. I mean, look at her smile! She lights up a room. The world is a better place with Marietta in it, and my life is deeply enriched by her friendship. Thank you, Marietta, for being you.

february 3, 2015

posted in: photography | 0

“I don’t know how my story will end, but nowhere in my text will it ever read, ‘I gave up’.”
~ Positive Outlook Blog

 

UK's finest
UK’s finest

 

Today, I got to see a true shining star; Marietta Watts. You may remember meeting her in the outhouse nearly two years ago as the driving force of UK’s diversity program, Humanity Academy. Marie Dale, Crystal Heis, Stacy Yelton, and I ran into Marietta at an HA focus group this morning. I know I sound biased about Marietta, but it’s not just me who thinks she hung the moon. Every HA grad in that group today singled her out as someone we look up to, respect, and value. She is a leader, and a woman of great compassion. Her work is so important to us, and the University community. Honestly, the world needs more Marietta Watts’. We’d have a lot less fighting, and lot more understanding. What a beacon of goodness she is in this life. I’m honored to call her friend.

may 9, 2013

posted in: photography | 1

If we did the things we are capable of, we would astound ourselves.
~ Thomas A. Edison

leader
leader

Mariette Watts is one of the finest human beings I’ve ever known. She’s gorgeous inside and out. Several years ago, she was the major architect for a week-long training course called Humanity Academy (HA). Each year, participants from faculty, staff, and students are faced with a host of issues relating to diversity, confronting everything from racism to homophobia. The goal is to educate each person to become an agent of positive, inclusive, diverse social change across campus and beyond.  It is a sobering, yet wildly enriching week. The course is so cathartic that most in my close circle of Lexington friends are HA grads. Stacy Yelton, Reinette Jones, and Eric Morrow are 2008 graduates. I went through it in 2009 with Heidi Morrow and Annie Bassoni, while Marie Dale and Crystal Heis are from this year’s graduating class. Jerone Farley even gives hugs now, and freely admits an aversion to them before HA. It can be a life altering experience that way. We met for many hours today to brainstorm how to move forward, and as always, it was a beautiful thing.

rainbow
rainbow