Life, the Universe, and Everything*
Musings from Linda / LUE-42 Enterprises      Issue #105, November 2019
whirl·wind  /ˈ(h)wərlˌwind /  noun
  1. a column of air moving rapidly around and around in a cylindrical or funnel shape.
    • used in similes and metaphors to describe a very energetic or tumultuous person or process. "a whirlwind of activity"
  2. October. (Okay, that one is mine)
     It started with a move -- both home and office. I am blessed to be house-sitting for friends for about six months, so 95 per cent of my stuff (work and personal) is in storage. As these things go, I've discovered that the stuff I need is not among the 5 per cent I kept out. Furthermore, the movers loaded my storage locker to the rafters with the box/bin labels facing inward. I have no idea what is where! I have tried twice to find things and now admit defeat. Victory belongs to a wobbly queen mattress guarding the door. Snow is falling, so the locker will not get sorted out before I move it all again. Something about Murphy's Law.
     Of course, we also had an election. I was frustrated by the rhetoric of candidates, campaign workers, and voters in general. But we got out and voted and now have a minority government. Until now, I have misunderstood minority governments. This blog by Global Public Affairs helped me. Maybe it will help you, too.
     I went to Vancouver for the CSAE annual conference and although I did not register for the entire conference, there were several takeaways and as always, good people with which to spend time. I also delivered a 15-minute Lightening Talk: .30-30.: Rapid Fire Association Lessons From 30 Years in the Trenches. In truth, I delivered 42 lessons with 3 minutes to spare. I am going to figure out how to record this talk and put a link on my website. Sounds like a November job. 
     I enjoyed thanksgiving with my family and took in a few brewery tours as well. In a Vancouver bar we had a joyous time with a patron who, on his 95th birthday, kept bursting into song (Irish folk music). I visited with an old friend and we weren't rushed for a change. The gift of time was just brilliant. Back at home I shared an adventurous lunch: a restaurant and four dishes we'd never heard of. I can now use "pork floss" in a sentence. ( Rousong, also known as  meat  wool,  meat floss pork floss , beef  floss , abon,  pork sung  or yuk  sung , is a dried  meat  product with a light and fluffy texture similar to coarse cotton, originating from China). Good company made our surprise meal even better.
     A big win for me was attending The Artist's Way Workshop with Julia Cameron . I was introduced to The Artist's Way in the late 1990s and over the years have gone through the program 14 times (and counting). Julia Cameron says there is no such thing as a noncreative person. Spending a day with her (and hundreds of other people) did my heart good.
     Interspersed throughout my whirlwind month were many acts of kindness, for which I am grateful. Darby Allen (former Fire Chief of Wood Buffalo and a speaker at CSAE) talked about the importance of the little things when the big stuff is going on all around you (like a fire and evacuating 80,000 people). My problems are so small in comparison, but the takeaway is that there is always room to be kind.
"Never get tired of doing little things for others. Sometimes those little things occupy the biggest part of their hearts." -- Unknown
Question: What is the Board's Role in the Budget?
ANSWER: Reviewing and approving.
          But wait! The act of reviewing has many steps. I'm part of a board committee that recently did the review process. I wish I'd had these questions before we started. 
 recommends asking 7 questions in the review process, and I'd estimate our committee asked 4-5. Not bad, but we can do better. BoardSource's materials are proprietary but here are the highlights here along with my own narrative:
  1. Does the budget reflect the mission accurately? If the organization is veering off course, the budget will show it.
  2. Does it call for a surplus? I always encourage boards to shoot for a surplus. Not-for-profit doesn't mean you can't be profitable! Those surpluses are used to enhance your programs and services and/or to create reserves for opportunities and problems down the road. Note also that the occasional deficit budget won't kill you (gasp!), so long as your reserves will cover it.
  3. Where are the revenues projected to come from? In my experience, this is the one boards gloss over. "Oh, we'll get sponsorship..." No you won't; not that much anyway. If a board is going to blue sky, the budget isn't the place to do it. Get real.
  4. What are the operating ratios for key areas? If you're doing ratios then don't just do administration. Yes, that's a high number, but if you focus only on cutting that, you jeopardize the infrastructure needed to work on your mission. I have seen boards "starve" (BoardSource's word) their organizations by under-investing in administration.
  5. What policies apply to budget revisions? This has to do with making adjustments as the year goes on, and specifically with how much latitude the CEO has to manage variances. When does the variance need to come back to the board? Controls are important, but so is a little flexibility for the board's employee. Find the balance.
  6. How do revenues and expenditures stack up against those of other non-profits? I don't know many that do this, but if you have a few contacts in similar organizations it can be helpful to share budget information. You'll probably learn something. 
  7. Does the board regularly receive financial statements that include budget information? My caution: sending the financials with the budget information is only part of a good practice; the other side is ensuring your board knows how to read and interpret the financials. If you're doing both sides, then you're golden. Quarterly reporting should be sufficient. 

Happy budgeting!


5 (UN)

10 (UN)  
14 (UN)
16 (UN)
20 (UN)
21 (UN)
Grey Cup
25 (UN)
November is also Adoption Month and Novel Writing Month.
November 11
November 17
November 24
Ways to Declutter Your Life
This article by Jaclyn Marie surprised me. There are still more things I can do!

"We are energy...(and) we are the creators of our realities...Every thought we have has an energetic pattern to it and will produce an energetic outcome. Decluttering...means getting rid of things in your life that no longer serve you."

  1. Declutter Your Surroundings: This creates more space to allow miracles to enter your life. Your space (home, office, closets) should be peaceful, so let go of things don't give you peace.
  2. Declutter Your Money: Take out whatever you no longer use (receipts, old business cards, expired coupons). Are your bills crumpled? Then de-crumple, un-fold, and re-position. Be grateful for any money that's there.
  3. Declutter Your Relationships: Avoid people who drain your energy. Love and honour yourself enough to put the right kind of people around you.
  4. Declutter Your Health: Drink water, don't eat food that is bad for your body, move 30 minutes a day. 
"Aristotle once postulated ' horror vacui ,' or that nature abhors a vacuum. In essence wherever there is a void, the universe seeks to fill it. When you clear out what is not needed, you simply make space for what wants to come in instead." (Note to self: Deal with the storage locker).


Shout Out to s ome people who made my life better in October:
MaryJane Alanko, Shelley Andrea, Ni Shan Begum, Marlene Best, David Cheoros, Roger Demas, Mandy Foster, Dianne Johnstone, Lynn MacAskill, Pat Macdonald, Sherrill Mcgilvray, Sheri Mclean, Andy Northrup, Michelle Paustian, Darlene Ramsum, Dave Sutherland, Daria Taylor
"When we give cheerfully and accept gratefully, everyone is blessed." Maya Angelou
Links We Like
Troubles at the NRA (A 76 person board?!)
Former Country Names (Try the quiz)
Mission vs Vision (A short video)
Are Mission Statements Useful? (Not if they are just platitudes)
Boards as a Career Move (Okay advice for first-timers)
Hiking el Caminito del Ray (Incredible views)
14 Films on Mental Health   (Free from the NFB!)
Wish I'd Said That

"You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar...
unless it's balsamic vinegar."  -- A nonymous

"It is a cliche that most cliches are true, but then like most cliches,
 that cliche is untrue." -- Stephen Fry

"You have to see failure as the beginning and the middle, but never entertain it as an end." -- Jessica Herrin, CEO of Stella & Dot

"Wicked chickens lay devilled eggs." -- Unknown

"World peace begins with inner peace." -- Dalai Lama

"There must be more to life than having everything!" --  Maurice Sendak

Japadog with mashed 
potatoes on it!

No, not clowns! Signs I can stick my face through.

Welcome, November. Let's be sane, okay? 
 LUE-42 Enterprises

* with fond acknowledge to Douglas Adams and The Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy
LUE-42 Enterprises