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I am experiencing this economic moment as a spiritual opportunity. I entered my story in the Intuit Competition. I am very moved to talk about the economy. Here is the address of that essay.

Of course, I violated all of the rules, I don't think this is what they were looking for at all. I have not been contacted with the news that I am a finalist, but I felt I had to write something.

I am very blessed to be living in a real NEIGHBORHOOD, where many of us are keeping an eye on each other, where we share food with one another.

I look for leadership in my choir, and among the people of my Church family, who have also been very helpful to me. At the same time, I provide leadership. I will ask for and accept help. I will talk about what is happening with me. I will listen to what is happening with someone else. I think that there are very few leaders available, and that it is everybody's duty to see if they might provide leadership in the place where they all.

I use choir as a model of leadership all of the time. In choir, I am a leader in my section. If there is a very exposed alto entrance, I can be relied upon to come in, on time. People usually join me, just a split-second later. At the same time, I must always be listening, because it is a choir, not a solo, and I rely on the rest of the choir, just as they rely on me. I rely on the director to keep time faithfully, and to help us rehearse so that we have all the tools we need to come in on time.

And that is true of leadership in general. A leader relies on everybody else, but the leader accepts the exposure. The exposure of coming in first, the exposure of starting out alone. It would be better, especially in a choir, if everyone came in at the same time, and usually they do, but there are still those entrances that frighten people, because they don't understand them well, don't understand the timing well, and they don't want to make a mistake. It is a responsibility.

Now, more than ever, we need more leaders, more people willing to take risk and responsibility. More people who will stand up for "the right thing" whatever that may be, wherever they may experience it. Less crowd mentality, and more willingness to listen to the less popular view. We need to lead where we are able and to follow where we must.

I am concerned with the obsession to follow the advice of experts. It is not that we must each go out and reinvent the wheel, but the reason a choir works is because all of the members of the choir, including the director, have the same goal. Not necessarily true of all the popular experts that people chase after.

Sorry, this rambles...I do love the show. And there's more, but I'll save that for later....