Tag Archives: Motivation

I’m not a Jedi Knight

Yoda, in all his wisdom, stated, “Do. Or do not. There is no try.”

That may be true if you are a Jedi Knight, but for the rest of us, me specifically, not so much.

In February, I jumped feet first into uncharted territory after attending a board of education meeting. Our school district is in financial crisis. Many cuts are on the table.

I went home that night heartsick about our district and the financial trouble it is in. Some people blame the administration. Some people blame the school board. Some people blame the teachers (who at that time had been working without a contract for approximately two years). Some people blame the Michigan legislators.

I began to think. What if? What if people stopped complaining? What if people stopped placing blame and pointing fingers? What if people came together to make a difference in the lives of kids? What if we raised money to pay for one of the positions being cut?

I emailed the superintendent of the district first thing the next morning. He called me within 10 minutes.

For details and background on the position I was fighting to save, read this.

I proposed starting a fundraising campaign separate from the district to raise the funds. Was it legal? Was it something he’d be willing to let me try?

Let me just say quickly that the reasons I chose to fight for this particular cut are:

  • Safety of my children is paramount
  • This cut represented the lowest annual dollar amount ($29 per family in the district)
  • The position being cut impacts every student, teacher and staff member in the district.

Once I had the blessing of the superintendent, I contacted an acquaintance who I knew to be very passionate about this position and a very involved parent in the district to see what she thought.

She was in.

The next four weeks were a whirl wind. We met with the superintendent, the township supervisor, the local community foundation.

We received so much guidance and support from these people! It was truly remarkable.

On March 1, we attended the school board meeting and announced the launch of BSP CARES: Bedford Students Protected through Combining Area Resources for Educational Safety.

We worked our tails off and had much early success, raising $17,000 by the end of March. The media was very kind to us and covered every fundraiser we had, helping us spread the word. We definitely had the support of the local business community.

But over time it became clear that we lacked the financial support of parents and teachers-the two most important groups if this effort was going to succeed.

In the end, we raised over $38,000 against a goal of $80,000 and the position was cut December 6.

I guess Yoda would call that a “Do not.” I call it a “try.”

I learned a lot about people in our community, politics, my family and mostly myself.

  • Our community is filled with generous people! Generous with their time, their talent, their wisdom and their money.
  • People can take the well-meaning efforts of two moms and turn them into a political issue.
  • My family has a limit in how much of my time they are willing to allow me to give to others. (It’s a very high limit, but there is a limit.)
  • And myself—
    • I jump in quicker than I should sometimes.
    • I allow my priorities to get upended sometimes, putting other things ahead of my family.
    • I’m not bad on camera.
    • I place a lot of importance on my hair.
    • I can make a difference.

And I hope I am teaching my children:

  • Stand up for what you believe in.
  • Get involved.
  • Don’t be afraid to try.

So, no, I’m not a Jedi Knight. I’m a mom. A wife.  A community member. And so much more!

And, I’ll keep on trying!

Talk to me! Have you ever taken on a huge project that you were very passionate about only to fall short of your original goal? How did it feel?

Change to Change

Recently, I’ve been reading a book for work. It’s called Stop Selling Vanilla Ice Cream by Steve Van Remortel. It’s not really about trying to ban vanilla ice cream from the supermarket shelves. I mean, really, who would want that?! It’s about differentiating your company through strategy and talent development.

So, to be clear, the reason I’m reading it is because I have to for work. But, I do not have to write a post about it for work. Haven’t been asked to. Not being paid to. And, actually, this post isn’t really about the book. But in the spirit of full disclosure, I wanted to share that.

Now, on to my point.

As I read the book, I’m finding tidbits that pertain to family, household, personal life–not just the business world.

I read this sentence:

“If nothing ever changes…nothing will ever change.”

Think on that for a minute.

If nothing ever changes…nothing will ever change.

If I don’t ever change the way I eat, if I don’t change the way I exercise (or the fact that I don’t)…I will never lose weight or be fit.

If I don’t ever change my messy habits…I will never have a neat house.

If I don’t ever change the way I manage money…I will never have more savings.

If I don’t ever spend more time in prayer and Bible study…I will never have a closer relationship to God.

The list goes on!

What can you insert into the blanks?

If I don’t ever change _______________…I will never_______________.

My take away is this: if there’s something in my life that I’m not satisfied with, how can I expect it to improve if I don’t take action and initiate the change?

And so it begins–again

I’m 42 years old. I’m ridiculously, pathetically, and embarrassingly out of shape.

Not surprisingly, I’m also overweight. Not ridiculously, pathetically or embarrassingly overweight, but definitely overweight.

I don’t enjoy exercise, I don’t enjoy sports. Never have, never will.

I’ve made attempts over the years to get in shape and to lose weight. Can’t say I’ve ever gotten in shape, but I have lost weight. Trouble is, every time I lost it, I got pregnant again. Other than the pregnancies, I think the main thing holding me back was lack of motivation. I need a buddy to encourage me to get to the gym, someone to cheer me on–and someone for me to cheer on–to victory. I’ve never really had that before.

Now, I do. This is it. This time is different. This time will work.

The ‘baby’ is 2 1/2 years old. Time for the baby weight to go away.

It’s time to take control of my body, my mind, and my mouth. Time to shape up!

I took the first steps today, literally. Two of my friends and I hit the gym at the local YMCA. We put the kids in the childcare center and off we went. I spent 35 minutes on the treadmill.

Didn’t love it. But didn’t hate it either.

And so it begins–again. And for the last time.

We’re going back tomorrow. We can do this. Together. We. Can. Do. This.

Anissa’s Going Home!

Of all the things I’m thankful for, one of the most important is my faith. Like most people, I’ve had my share of trouble’s in this life. The past year and a half have been rough.  My faith in God and trust in his plan is what gets me through this and other difficult times. Now, I’m not going to pretend that I never have a down day, that I never get scared or worried. Of course I do! I’m human.

But, ultimately, my faith gives me hope. I shudder to think where I would be without it.

During a time in my life when things have been difficult, I’m also thankful for the example of faith, patience and perseverance that has been set not only for me, but for the world, by Anissa and Peter Mayhew. I don’t know these people, but I love them and I pray for them continually.

I first heard of Anissa on November 17 when a couple of her friends and my twittermates  (@laughmom and @dbinkowski) tweeted expressing their concern for her.

I’m not going to attempt to tell her story here–the short version is she’s a 30-something wife and mother of three who had a massive stroke. Her story is already being told very eloquently by her husband, Peter at Hope4Peyton.org. It’s through his telling of their story that I have found a renewed faith.

This family has faced so much heartache. My problems pale in comparison. Yours probably do, too.

But through every post that Peter has written his belief

  • that God will see them through this,
  • God is good and
  • we must be patient as God works out his plan is evident.

And inspiring!

I don’t presume to know God’s plan for myself, much less the Mayhew family. But, I can tell you this: people have been introduced to God and shown his power through Anissa and Peter Mayhew. And, other people, like me, who already knew God, have been inspired to trust Him more and to wait patiently for His will to be done.

There was BIG news, HUGE news from Peter today.

Anissa is going home today! After 92 days, Anissa is going home!

I am thankful!

I encourage you to read more about this incredible family. If you’re not moved to tears at least once, well, then…?

I Dare Ya!

To many of us, them’s fightin’ words! When said by a kid or teenager to one of his/her peers, the results can be scary…

” I dare you to climb this tree…”

“I dare you to smoke this cigarette…”

“I dare you to stand on this railroad track until the last minute…”

Fortunately, most of us mature and learn not to accept dares that are dangerous and, well, stupid. And, for some of us, the words, “I dare ya!” become challenging, motivational and encouraging words.

I accepted a dare today, the first one in a long time. It’s a dare to blog every day for 365 days. I joined Community of Moms yesterday and read about the Blog Dare. This will be good for me. I want my blog posts to be enjoyable and well written. For me, that usually translates into long so it’s hard to find the time. My husband, who’s been blogging on Social Media and PR since 2005, has told me before that every post doesn’t have to be lengthy to be of value. This dare will force me to put that idea into practice.

New Year’s resolutions are easily and quickly forgotten…but a dare…them’s fightin’ words!

See ya tomorrow! In the meantime, what do you wish someone would dare you to do?

Clean your closets?

Stop smoking?

Lose weight?

Well, go ahead! I DARE YA!