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Bringing an Idea to Life: A Personal Reflection of CA ’10

I’ve had problems with following through in my life. Not with the regular old responsible stuff. But with the stuff that sits deep in my heart and resonates with the most vulnerable, insecure part of who I am – the creative part.

I have had ideas upon ideas upon ideas. Most of them have never seen the light of day. There have been plenty of starts. But it feels like there have been many more stops.

For a long time, I was even nervous to call myself a creative person. Because even in the labeling of myself as someone who is “creative” brought up feelings of insecurity. I felt like I would be a fraud if I stated that I was creative. Or worse yet, an artist. I believed I really wasn’t creative enough to call myself creative.

Although I work in what you might call a creative field and make creative decisions on a daily basis, I have been very slow to put myself out there with executing my own ideas. Like I said, in this post, it might be a bit of laziness, but it’s mainly fear. Fear of failure. Fear of not having anyone to hide behind. That rawness of a creative soul is vulnerable. And I felt, for a long time, that if one of my very own creative ideas failed “officially”, then I definitely could not call myself a creative person. If I never tried, I could keep up the façade, at least to myself, that I really might be creative.

But there’s something great that comes with getting older. At least for me. The fear has started to subside and boldness is taking its place.

The idea of Creative Alliance ’10 was born on the Wisconsin frozen tundra in a car with Cynthia on our way to a bar filled with winter Midwestern souls dressed in dark plaid jackets and smelling like beer. With an “expensive” bottle of gin purchased from behind the bar, we headed back to our mellow overnight slumber party with 30 other bloggers and talked about doing our own version of this blogging weekend getaway thing. And we left it at that.

Back in Los Angeles, I connected with Jessica and talked about the idea. I had thought more about it and decided it was time to create the kind of “blogging” gathering that I myself craved. Intimate and meaningful and genuine and inspiring and smart. Jessica was on board.

To test the waters, Jessica, Cynthia and I sent out an email to a handful of women we each respected in the online space. Women we could learn from, women we felt were like-minded, women who were on their own creative journey. Did they crave this kind of event? Would they consider attending and being a part of such a grassroots effort? The response was resounding – yes. They would. And the idea stayed alive.

But where to hold such a gathering? After some searching for a venue with not much luck, Jessica found us this place.

A day trip to Ojai sealed the deal in my soul. Walking around Calliote Canyon and seeing the perfection in this nature space for the gathering I envisioned was the sign I needed to take another step towards making it happen.

But just like most good ideas, logistics start getting involved. So the fear started creeping in. Money was needed for a deposit, contracts needed to be signed, concrete planning had to start. Luckily, we could split the deposit three ways. We inched forward.

Then summer hit. And so did real life. And the vision for this gathering took a seat on my personal back burner that was cluttered with so many other half-realized ideas.

We were idle.

When I took the time to ponder the possibility of this Ojai gathering, I knew it was an awesome idea. But the wall in front of me felt large and looming and I wasn’t sure I could push forward. I felt the weight of the responsibility because I had stated to Jessica and Cyn that I believed that this could happen.

There was a point of no return that we faced. 90 days before the event we would lose our deposit. As the date drew nearer, I have to admit, I was a little nervous. I questioned my ability to be able to pull it all together.

Would we find the kind of brands I wanted to be there to engage on this intimate level? Would they actually pay for this kind of boutique event? I knew in my heart it was worth it – well worth it. Especially since I had attended some “sponsored” blogging events where I couldn’t even imagine how the company was getting any decent return on their investment. But still, the kinds of brands I wanted had to be found and reached out to in the form of an actual proposal. And I had never written a proposal and what do I know anyway?

Doubt creeped in. And stayed around longer than I wanted it to.

But when push came to shove and the point of no return was upon us, I remember stating to Jess very clearly – “We’re gonna make it happen Jess. We just are. There’s no option. We will make it happen.” Looking back I’m not sure why I said that. For all intensive purposes, the idea was still idle. Maybe it was just the older, bolder me who wanted to follow through and bring to fruition an idea I had. Maybe deep down I knew I needed this kind of gathering…more than I even realized.

So we inched forward.

Then I called upon Andrea. A firecracker of ambition whom I had met back in December 2009 at a L.A. bloggy event. Would she have any interest in helping me out? After pitching her the concept, she declared her support. She would join forces with us and lighten the load.

After BlogHer ’10, it was an all out push to get things in gear. The proposal we had been working on came together and we started sending it out. Every step of the way as we outreached to brands, I was able to call on this incredible network of women we had assembled that were poised and ready to jump into this vision. Little did I know then that even in the planning of CA ’10, the mission was already being lived. I was creating alliances with other creative women – some I didn’t even know. Women that Jess or Cyn had originally suggested reaching out to in our initial grassroots effort but whom I had never met or even corresponded with….and other women who I knew were in my corner already….

Deb who was always returned my rambling emails with her calm, insanely intelligent advice and direction; Anna, who pledged her allegiance to the cause with her moral support and her generosity of self and spirit; Ciaran, who lended her wisdom to the brand proposal and more even when she would rather have had me doing something else; Ann, who listened calmly every time I called and in the end, spearheaded a Listen to Your Mother Salon of the likes that may never been seen again with its organic brilliance; Tiffany, who offered tips and suggestions based on her own wealth of knowledge from being in the space and never once said to me, ‘Who are you and what right do you have to be doing this?’; Romy and Kristen, who worked so hard outreaching to their business contacts on our behalf; and Heather, who stood steadfast by my side in the way only she can do and when all was said and done, she played an insanely major role in bringing the CA ’10 vision to life…..

…to name a few.

I can’t really explain what it felt like for me to have these women support me. Not to mention Cyn, Jessica and Andrea who endured a ridiculous amount of frantic calls and emails from me. Who reached into their pocket books to make a statement saying that they believed in this. It’s humbling to have other creative souls believe in you. Overwhelming really.

I’m not gonna lie. This experience gave me more restless nights than I have ever had in my life. I slept better when I was 9 months pregnant with each of my three kids. I’m not kidding. I would wake up in the middle of the night and panic would take hold. I was so nervous about failing. Not only failing myself but everyone else. And the financial investment didn’t help matters. My husband was supporting me emotionally in this venture. Like he always has in anything I have ever wanted to try. But we were in no position to lose money on this idea. This added a level of anxiety I had not felt in a while.

I never ever have trouble getting back to sleep but I would on these pre-CA ’10 nights. When 2 AM would turn into 3 AM and my heart would be beating and my mind would be racing with all of the “What ifs?”

But I learned the most valuable thing you can ever learn when trying to bring a new idea to fruition….you just keep putting one foot in front of the other and you just keep doing it. Because if you’re not doing it, it won’t happen. Plain and simple. Things usually happen when you do them. It’s kinda that easy. But hard, all at the same time.

Many brands were interested in this kind of experience but we quickly learned that we had started too late. Two months out was not enough time for most companies. When Heather connected us with Moji and Paper Culture and they signed on to this event, I realized that it all worked out as it was supposed to. These were two companies who understood the value of engaging with a smart, influential group of women and dialoguing with us on a personal level in the effort of building lasting alliances.

Cyn created an awesome website for our venture and when we opened up registration on September 1st for 20 spaces, I wondered if anyone would actually buy a ticket. And every time someone did register for CA ’10, I was both ecstatic and scared shitless. This solidified the reality that we were doing this. No matter what. And it better be good….

A flurry of teamwork got me through the month before CA ’10 and before I knew it, I was picking up Heather, Ann and Cyn at LAX and heading up to Ojai.

From the moment I arrived to the breathtaking Calliote Canyon and Andrea busted out the door greeting me with a hug and a glass of wine in her hand, I felt a surge of excitement about what would transpire over the weekend. And when I walked into the kitchen and saw Danielle and Romy sitting at the table tying ribbons on the nametags/bookmarks/wine glass tags Andrea had worked so hard to get for us, I knew that whatever happened that weekend, however it all shook down, it would be okay.

We were here.

Getting there was the journey. Being there was the reward.

And what a reward it was….

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When I looked at everyone gathered for the welcome lunch, I was in shock….it was happening.

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Communing in the kitchen….

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Saturday morning yoga

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Conversing by the creek….

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The truly epic Listen To Your Mother Salon in the evening mist…

So my advice to anyone who wants to execute any idea they may have? Three simple thoughts. Make them your mantra.

1) Stay true to your vision.
2) Lean on those who will support you.
3) Just keep moving forward until it’s done.

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One of the first bloggers I ever read has just finished bringing one of her visions to life and I have to say, I smile whenever I think about her accomplishing this amazing feat that she set out to do. If you’re in the mood to say right on to her, check her out here.

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To my kids

written on a plane somewhere over Texas, I think

Dear Claire, Phoebe and Tommy,

You know what Mommy thinks about when I’m away? You. Yep. You Claire. You Phoebe. You Tommy. And it brings tears to my eyes thinking about how badly I want to hug each of you up. Lay on the couch in a heap of cuddles and smell you and kiss you and love on you. I never thought I would feel this way before I became your mom. How I would feel incomplete if you weren’t near me. I think I’ll always feel this way when we’re apart.

Before you, I could hop on a plane and soak in the adventure. I could think about being right where I am and nowhere else. I would thrive on the stories I would create as I ventured far from home. Your mom has traveled not nearly as much as Uncle Mark or Auntie Julie but more than many. The thought of living a day in an unknown place not sure what the day would bring was addicting to me…before you.

But now that I have you? All of you? It’ll never be that way again. And I’m okay with that. Because the amazing thing about being your mom is that every single moment can feel like the greatest adventure with you three around. You’ve taken me to the highest peaks and the lowest valleys. You’ve made me search the terrain of my soul to discover things I never knew existed. What have I found is more valuable than what I would see in any museum. The landscape of my heart now that you are woven into it is richer and more colorful and more inspiring than any sunset I could see setting over foreign lands.

But you know what? I still love to travel. I just want you with me.

So as I’m flying over Lousiana on my way back home to you, I’m getting excited about the next great big adventure, but one where we are together. And I’ll love it all the same…no matter if we venture to some distant shores or to the smoothie store down the street or to our backyard for a swing.

I love you.

xoxoxo….
Mama

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I’m Thinking About A Miracle on My Birthday

So yeah. It’s my birthday today. But ever since a certain soul slipped into the world five years ago yesterday, I’m usually thinking about her this time of year.

Some of you may remember one of my very best friends, Karen, who used to grace the Moms Without Blogs space fairly regularly. That was when I had more energy and I would bug my mom without blogs friends to use this space for their creative musings.  Now, I can barely organize myself to keep on a regular writing schedule so I’ve given up on trying to coerce my friends. But they know they are always welcome.

So Karen’s back. For today at least.

You see, Karen’s lived the kind of story that we all hear about and think, “Oh my God, I can’t imagine….” Five years ago yesterday, Karen gave birth to her third baby girl, Penni, who, for all intensive purposes, was not supposed to live.   Life support kept her alive for the first 8 days until they started weaning her off to see if she could breathe on her own and undergo the surgery she needed to save her life.  But when Penni started going downhill with the initial weaning, Karen and her husband, Dave, had to make the most heart-wrenching decision a parent can make….let her go or put her back on life support and she if she could survive the surgery on life support. And the prognosis of the latter was very dire.  If she did survive the surgery, the chance of brain damage was very high.

No doctors or statistics or rational thought told them to put her back on life support.

But something told Karen not to let her go.

I have no idea what it was and I’m not sure Karen does either. Faith? Fear of regret? Hope? Or just the pure pain of the thought of losing her baby girl….? Who knows?

But whatever gave Karen the strength to fight against the odds must have been instilled in Penni too.

Because yesterday, Penni turned five.

The journey has not been the easiest one and Karen has made many sacrifices to walk this path with her daughter. But when you get to wake up every morning and see your own personal living miracle? Well, I think Karen would say that this journey has been one of the most rewarding ones of her life.

So in honor of Penni, Karen’s husband, Dave, slaved over this awesome celebratory birthday video that well, made me cry. A lot.  And Karen and Dave and I wanted to share it because it’s just really cool to see living proof of a miracle.

Happy 5th Birthday Penni!!!

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If you want to read Penni’s story, you can start here. Karen wrote an amazing 3-part series two years ago.  The first part will most likely suck you in so here is Part Two and here is Part Three.

Have a miraculous kind of day!

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The Only Thing You Need to “Succeed” In Blogging

I have been in the online space for two years now and it didn’t take me that long after diving in to realize that the numbers game in the blogosphere just doesn’t add up to success. At least not the kind of success I want. At that time, there was so much chatter about numbers and traffic and SEO and it was really distracting. And it still is I think to many bloggers. Especially those in the online mom space.

But if you take the time to define what your goals are in this space, you can step out of the haze of chasing meaningless numbers and step into the clarity and power of realizing that the only way to feel like you are achieving success out here is by sticking to your path. Because in my opinion? That’s the only path that matters.

For me, I identified a few things early on that helped get me started on my path which I feel is leading me to the kind of success I desire:

1) In my real life, I’m a person who would rather hang out and really get to chat with five people than party with a 100 people and just get a few minutes with each person.

2) I value my time as a professional and have no desire to “work” for other people for free.

3) Hanging out with like-minded creative people fuels my soul and inspires me to continue reaching for the creative, professional goals I want to achieve.

These realizations helped me to decide that:

1) I was not going to spend hours and hours chasing the surface comment reciprocity that the mom blogosphere is known for, and I was not going to write content purely to try and attract traffic.

2) I was not going to get distracted by the endless stream of work-for-free opportunities.

3) What I WAS going to do was foster relationships with other women I encountered in the online space who were original and creative and passionate and genuine and who also had an interest in bringing their creative ideas to life in one way or another.

I will be the first to admit that I am technically “nobody” in this online space. Since numbers are not important to me, I do not have them. Since work-for-free opportunities are not for me, I don’t really work with most brands.

But I DO have what I consider to be the most important element to achieving success – I have authentic alliances with a small but mighty group of creative online women. Women who know who I am, what I dream about and what I stand for.

When I went to my first blogging conference, BlogHer ’09, I left feeling both clear and confused. Clear about what I didn’t want but confused about what to do next. What I knew about myself (see first three items listed above) didn’t really match up with what I experienced at that enormous conference. But the one thing that BlogHer ’09 did provide me was an opportunity to meet in real life some of the like-minded creative women I had stumbled across in the online space. And that was an awesome and important step for me.

Meeting some of those women at BlogHer ‘09 proved to be an essential building block for what happened Oct. 15-17th in Ojai, California at a gathering called Creative Alliance ’10.

I spearheaded CA ’10 along with Jessica, Cynthia, and Andrea with a clear vision – to try and create an intimate, genuine atmosphere where authentic alliances could be formed with other creative online women. An experience where the distracting chatter of what to wear and what party to attend wouldn’t exist. A gathering where meaningful face-to-face conversation ruled the agenda. A “boutique” conference filled with support and advice based on our own individual experiences in our online journeys.. An authentic environment where we could talk honestly and openly about the truths and untruths that exist in this space. A weekend set in an inspired setting where our souls would be refueled with creative energy. An experience that would hopefully become a part of a solid creative online foundation for each us – a foundation we could stand on, lean against, and call upon when needed.

On a personal level, I’m not sure I’ve really been able to process all that was achieved at the inaugural CA ’10. The organizer/founder part of me knows it was an insane success. Personally, I am just a girl out there in the world with some dreams that often times I don’t feel that I’m pursuing as I should. For fear of failure, most likely. Or maybe it’s laziness. But I know that being with this group of women at CA ’10 reached deep into my core and inspired me to keep facing whatever it is that prevents me from achieving what I want.

I started this space right here back in October 2008 with one mission in mind – to have a creative outlet for myself as I struggled to “become” a mother. Not physically, rather emotionally. Spiritually even. I had no idea that mission would lead me to CA’ 10 but it has. And CA ’10 will lead me towards other creative horizons, I am certain.

So am I successful? Maybe, maybe not depending on your definition. But in my book? I am successful in that I’m being true to my creative path. But in order for me to keep working towards the kind of success I want on a creative business level, I know I need one thing – authentic alliances. Women who are friends, colleagues, fellow dreamers, entrepreneurs. Women I can call when I’m feeling like there’s no way in hell this Creative Alliance thing is gonna come together and who will listen to me and calmly tell me it’s all gonna be okay. Women who will support me in most whatever way I ask of them because they know me and believe in me. Women who will offer up their expertise because we are kindred creative spirits. Women who will lend their own creative vision to mine and in the end, both visions will be greater because of the other.

So numbers and stats and SEO and exclusive party invites be damned. In my opinion, there’s really only one thing you need to succeed out here in blogland or anywhere else for that matter – authentic alliances.

I am so damn thankful for mine.

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Some of the CA ’10 group  – not all

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A Session in the Yurt

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Cyn, Andrea, me and Jess

Me and Ann cropped

The Epic Ann

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The Glorious Heather

…and more….

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This is Part One in what is sure to be a series of reflective posts about the journey that ended in Ojai and was called Creative Alliance ’10.

Here’s to success…..

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Monday Morning Moment

Monday mornings.

Do we really need ’em?

Grumpy kids, cranky mama, rushing around realizing we’re out of bread right before I start making the lunches, damn dog pissed on the rug again (and why again did we decide to rescue that dog?), lost shoes, dirty uniforms, girls screaming while we try and brush through their eternally tangled hair, clock ticking, rifling through backpacks filled with last week’s schoolwork and then….

….I see this in Phoebe’s stack of school papers.

Friend Claire by Phoebe

And in the middle of it all, I am filled with that awesome fleeting feeling that tells me maybe we are doing something right.

Phoebes, my 6-year-old love fairy, choosing to write about her big sister Claire as her friend.

Happy Tuesday.

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Time Slide

I keep having this fantasy of moving away to a small wooded town that has a river running through it, endless sunshine, crisp blue skies, and time that I can stop dead in its tracks.

I figure if life feels like its moving slowly then it will be moving slowly.

But I know it’s just a ruse. This fantasy of mine. So I don’t even tell my man that I’ve been dreaming of our escape where we will all sit around in a homey cabin staring at each other while time stands still.

Instead I blink and I add another title to another event in iPhoto like “First Day of School 2010” and I continue contemplating the pros and cons of botox.

And sometimes in between the loads of laundry and loading the dishwasher and paying the bills, I’ll try to stop and make time stand still right here in the middle of my bustling LA life.

I’ll try and stop the ticking clock by sitting down with my Tommy boy to listen to his scratchy 3-year-old voice say “I love you mama…” and we’ll hug and cuddle and build train tracks and I’ll learn how to chug just like I’m supposed to as I play the part of Lady or Rosie or Henry or whatever other character I’m assigned to be.  And I’ll breathe in deep to see if I can hold onto the moment. And maybe I do –  but then it slides into another moment.  And then it all just keeps picking up speed…..seconds sliding into minutes sliding into hours and then days and weeks and then it all ends up crashing into one big time slide that has added up to years.

But then –  there are photographs.

Ones that I can stare at for what seems like hours at a time just studying the moment as it was right then.  Right there.  I study the smiles and the freckles and the light and the curve of the eyebrows and the cheeks and the background and the expression and I can forget my wooded fantasy escape for a while….because in that moment, I feel like my fantasy has come true.

Time is standing still.

Tommy 2010

End of Summer 2010

Tommy End of Summer 2010

3-year-old deliciousness

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6-year-old Phoebes – vibrant, emotional, bursting with love and everything else.

Claire 2010

8-year-old Claire – wise, crisp, challenging, filled with heart and big sisterness.

The threesome

Tommy desperately wanting to be like the big kids…..

Climbing a wall

…..but not making it over the wall.


Claire asleep

My long-limbed firstborn whom I could stare at forever when she’s sleeping….

Tommy's First Day

Tommy’s First Day of Pre-School – no tears for him or his mama. Whew. At least not on Day One. Day Two was an entirely different story.

First Day of School 2010School begins….1st Grade and 3rd Grade

Happy Monday…..here’s to slowing down a moment in time today….

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Another Creative Venture

This space of mine.  As my busy working mama summer life swirled around me, I barely found the time to write here. But I love this place. And I know it’s always there just waiting for me to jump back in. And the other voices that have shared a moment or two or more here have come and go and others have become intertwined in my “in real life” life for what seems like, the long haul.  Friends.

I feel invested here.  In the online space.  For all different kinds of reasons and to achieve a variety of creative goals. Here, I explore my voice as I have struggled to become a mother. Because for me, becoming a mother did not happen when I birthed my firstborn. I became a mother, sure. But only from the outside view.  The inside view was a much more complicated one.  And my path continues to be uniquely my own as I dig deeper and I learn more about what it means to really be a mother.

I started The State of the Mom to merge my professional life as a television producer with my mom life.  I wanted to explore the opportunities  I discovered online in producing unique video content. But it’s tough to keep producing for free but I remain optimistic that I can further my online labor of love as the online mom space continues to evolve.

I also have my hands in another venture called Project Mom Casting which has been an extremely exciting venture as we attempt to translate the online space to the television world in which I work.  The development process to bring this idea to life will be lengthy but that’s just the process. So I’m in.

And now, I find myself being at the head of another creative venture that I care deeply about – Creative Alliance ’10. It was an idea born with these chicks after my adventure to Wisconsin in January for The Original Cupcake.  Creative women in the online space need support and alliances as we navigate our way down the road of pursuing our individual dreams so we thought why not sculpt an intimate conference experience where we can all gather and actually get to know one another in an authentic way?  I am beyond excited for this event because for me quality interaction is really the only thing that matters.  And passing someone in the expo hall at a huge event and talking for two minutes is cool and all….but it’s not a connection that lasts.  And I’m into things that last…..

So if you are a creative woman finding your way in this online space and crave a different kind of conference experience, check it out. I’d love to hang with you…..

Happy Friday!

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Night Terrors Are Freaky

I don’t know what took me so long to actually sit down and google “night terrors.” But I guess tonight’s episode did it.  Phoebes, my now 6-year-old wildflower, has been having night terrors on and off since she was about four but I have never really sat down to read about them. But tonight’s terror was a real doozy so it inspired me to run right over to the computer and figure out what the hell was going on.

They most always start the same way – these night terrors that invade our peaceful evenings.  The moan starts and quickly escalates into a crying scream.  The sobs are always louder and more panicked than a normal cry and when I realize that the terror is not going away quickly, I usually peek into her room and see her standing on her bed facing the wall.  She is usually saying all kinds of crazy things that are mainly incoherent but tonight I heard something very clearly.

Out of the screaming mumbo jumbo, when I thought she saw me coming towards her to comfort her, I heard, “NOOOOOOOO! I want MY mommy!!!!” And when I continued towards her to try and wrap her up in a comforting hug, she sobbed and screamed and ran away from me.

That was a pretty freaky feeling. Having my kid look right at me (or so it seemed) and scream that basically I’m not her mom.

She ran out of her room and literally made a couple laps around our living room screaming, crying and stopping occasionally to raise her arms in the air and let out a even more blood-curdling scream.   I picked her up several times to try and comfort her with my voice but she would have none of it.  It was such an adrenalin-inducing experience for me.  My heart was racing and yet I felt so helpless.  To have my daughter state with such fearful conviction that I was not her mommy.

And while often times, googling a condition can get me into a worse frame of mind, this time it helped.  I read some articles that described Phoebe’s behavior to a T.

I learned that night terrors:

• are worse than nightmares because you usually can’t wake the kid up during a night terror

• often happen in the earlier part of the night (so true) because the kid is transitioning from one kind of sleep to another at that time in the night

• often involve all kind of panicked screaming

• usually result in the kid not remembering ANYTHING!

• can sometimes be stopped if you wake up the kid right before the time they usually have their night terrors. (This helps to break up the sleep pattern.)

• last between 5-30 minutes.

• are way more traumatic for the parent than the child. (Isn’t THAT the truth?)

I also learned that I shouldn’t talk too loudly or firmly to try and jar her out of it.  I should just pick her up, comfort her quietly and lay her back to sleep.

So although tonight’s terror was super freaky, I feel better after my successful google session.  What can YOU tell me about night terrors?

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Do Fun Stuff and Make Good Stuff Happen

I still remember the first time I read this guy. I was sitting in line at one of those drive-thru car washes and I read a post of his that hooked me. I guess what blew me away was that here was this GUY writing about his FEELINGS and well, ladeez, need I say more?  I mean, when my man writes me a few of his feelings in a birthday or anniversary card, I savor those few words for as long as possible  A guy writing about feelings is  better than a diamond ring for me. Seriously.

I have followed this guy’s journey from the sidelines checking in when I can.  I read along as his wife became pregnant and gave birth to their gorgeous daughter and I read when his young stepson received the official diagnosis of Smith Magenis Syndrome (SMS) in late 2009.  Before the diagnosis, he would write about his stepson and would allude to some of the issues his stepson faced that were different than other kids his age but it was clear that there was a lot of uncertainty as to why the stepson was different.

After the diagnosis of Smith Magenis Snydrome, this guy has been on a mission.  A mission to learn more. A mission to shine a light on a condition that not too many people know too much about.  A mission to empower other parents by arming them with INFORMATION.  A mission to inspire more funds so that more research can happen.  A mission to make sure that other parents aren’t left in the dark for as long as he and his wife were before the diagnosis.

And I am totally behind this mission.

So I’m telling you about this –

Do Fun Stuff.

Do you like cool music for kids that doesn’t make you insane while listening to it? The kind of tunes you and your kids can groove to in your living room? (one of my favorite past times by the way) Well, by checking out Do Fun Stuff and buying the original kidz’ music album that the guy I’ve been writing about produced with the help of some awesome visionary artists,  you can help other families with SMS not feel so in the dark.  Shining a light on SMS.  And dancing while we’re at it.  Not a bad deal at all.

Thanks for listening and Happy Monday!

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Where I’m At

When I was growing up in Phoenix, every Good Friday during Lent between noon and 3 PM, my mom would turn off the television or any music we had playing so we could spend some quiet time in prayer.  We couldn’t play, or swim, or basically have any kind of kid fun during those hours. Me and my siblings always complained, of course.  “We’re bored,” we would say. “What are we supposed to do?”

“Think about Jesus hanging on the cross,” she would reply matter of factly. “And go outside and pull weeds.  Or rake the figs.”

The moaning would ensue but inevitably we would trudge out into the scorching Phoenix sun to think about Jesus and his suffering and to start doing some suffering of our own.

We had this huge fig tree in one corner of our large backyard that produced and dropped waaaay too many figs.  I would alternate between pulling weeds and raking figs. I could only take so much of the fig raking. There is something highly disturbing about raking hot shriveled figs oozing their figgy innards.   We had plenty of weeds to pull and I would have to pull some to relieve myself from the dreaded figs. But wow, for a 12-year-old, pulling weeds is pure torture.  During the pulling and the raking and the watching of the rake spires get sticky with figgy innards, I would think, “Boy, I simply must be earning some serious points with God. ”

The suffering I endured raking figs and pulling weeds ranked right up there with being crucified.

I was certain of it.

••••••••••••••••••••••••••

The last few months of my life, I feel, I’ve been hanging in the balance.  Suspended somewhere between the panic of stillness and the eerie calm of busy days whipping by.  The stress and the stream of endless thoughts rise within me approaching a rapid boil and yet I float through each day and I remember smiling and laughing and breathing.

I have made a choice, for now, to wrap my arms around the opportunities that seem to be swirling around me.  Throwing caution to the wind and letting faith float me forward.  Having no idea where I am truly headed and wondering how I am managing to not crumble under the weight of these possibilities.  I am rooted firmly in the ground acknowledging the profound responsibility that dictates so much of what I do now and yet I am dreaming like almost never before.

And then a moment comes, unexpectedly.  A free moment. Even though logically I realize I have no free moments. And the list filled with dreams and responsibilities appears before me beckoning me to step closer and grab a hold.  There is no time to waste, it tells me. The free moment you thought you had is already gone.  Don’t be fooled.

But maybe because I’m 42 years old and I’ve lived a lot of life, I have been able to tell that list to eff off. I have been able to turn my back on the dreams and the responsibilities and to walk into the free moment and live it.

And maybe because I’m 42 years old, sometimes I can imagine no better thing to be doing with my free moment than pulling weeds.

Pulling Weeds

••••••••••••••••••••••••

And with the other free moments that appear before my eyes, I’m planning on getting back into my writing groove.

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