What’s New? Mommy 911 and Blogging

Everything!

I’m a little overwhelmed.   Blogging for a few different organizations has been harder to juggle than i initially thought.  Did I really think that it was going to be easy?

I’m starting to get the hang of it now… it’s called routine- something I ROUTINELY avoid. Ugh!

Robyn (co-creator of The Revelation Project) is finally off my couch and seems to be able to feed herself again after banging her noggin snowboarding so I can no longer with good intention avoid the obligations that scream for my attention. KIDS! BATH! LAUNDRY! and I’ve managed to get a few posts completed on TLC’s Discovery Network.  I wrote this one today on my experience growing up and attending a Waldorf School in Detroit Michigan, and I’ve also managed to write a few for the Revelation Project which you can view here and here.  My favorite however is the one I wrote with YOU in mind which you can view here: Mommy 911

I CAN'T WAIT FOR SUMMER!

The other reason for some of the overwhelm is that the project has been a hit!  In order to keep things simple ( that’s a joke) I separated the blogs (Childerness and The Revelation Project) so if you’d also like to follow that one please sign up here.  I did this because many women and younger women who don’t have kids are interested but as soon as they saw “the childerness” title they got nervous (any surprise?) and though the project was just for mom’s… which it’s not.

Finally; I just want to say… I can’t WAIT for summer this year.  It will be the first REAL SUMMER I will have in a long long long long time ( I’ll explain in the next post!)

Sprinkler!!!

I could eat them!

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Intergrity: The Emperor and the Seed

Integrity seem’s to be a big theme in my life at the moment and for whatever reason I’ve decided that since it seems to be a topic everywhere I look then I am going to delve deeper…   I loved this story I came across and thought you would too.  Unfortunately everywhere I look the author is unknown…. I’d really like to thank whoever wrote it for a wonderful short story I can remember for myself and share with my children. 

Here it is:

The Emperor and the Seed:

An emperor in the Far East was growing old and knew it was time to choose his successor. Instead of choosing one of his assistants or his children, he decided something different. He called young people in the kingdom together one day. He said, “It is time for me to step down and choose the next emperor. I have decided to choose one of you.”

The kids were shocked! But the emperor continued. “I am going to give each one of you a seed today. One very special seed. I want you to plant the seed, water it and come back here after one year from today with what you have grown from this one seed. I will then judge the plants that you bring, and the one I choose will be the next emperor!”

One boy named Ling was there that day and he, like the others, received a seed. He went home and excitedly told his mother the story. She helped him get a pot and planting soil, and he planted the seed and watered it carefully. Every day he would water it and watch to see if it had grown. After about three weeks, some of the other youths began to talk about their seeds and the plants that were beginning to grow. Ling kept checking his seed, but nothing ever grew. 3 weeks, 4 weeks, 5 weeks went by. Still nothing. By now, others were talking about their plants but Ling didn’t have a plant, and he felt like a failure. Six months went by, still nothing in Ling’s pot. He just knew he had killed his seed.

Everyone else had trees and tall plants, but he had nothing. Ling didn’t say anything to his friends, however. He just kept waiting for his seed to grow.

A year finally went by and all the youths of the kingdom brought their plants to the emperor for inspection. Ling told his mother that he wasn’t going to take an empty pot. But honest about what happened, Ling felt sick to his stomach, but he knew his mother was right. He took his empty pot to the palace. When Ling arrived, he was amazed at the variety of plants grown by the other youths. They were beautiful in all shapes and sizes. Ling put his empty pot on the floor and many of the other kinds laughed at him. A few felt sorry for him and just said, “Hey nice try.”

When the emperor arrived, he surveyed the room and greeted the young people. Ling just tried to hide in the back. “What great plants, trees and flowers you have grown,” said the emperor. “Today, one of you will be appointed the next emperor!” All of a sudden, the emperor spotted Ling at the back of the room with his empty pot. He ordered his guards to bring him to the front. Ling was terrified. “The emperor knows I’m a failure! Maybe he will have me killed!”

When Ling got to the front, the Emperor asked his name. “My name is Ling,” he replied. All the kids were laughing and making fun of him. The emperor asked everyone to quiet down. He looked at Ling, and then announced to the crowd, “Behold your new emperor! His name is Ling!” Ling couldn’t believe it. Ling couldn’t even grow his seed. How could he be the new emperor? Then the emperor said, “One year ago today, I gave everyone here a seed. I told you to take the seed, plant it, water it, and bring it back to me today. But I gave you all boiled seeds, which would not grow. All of you, except Ling, have brought me trees and plants and flowers. When you found that the seed would not grow, you substituted another seed for the one I gave you. Ling was the only one with the courage and honesty to bring me a pot with my seed in it. Therefore, he is the one who will be the new emperor!”

If you plant honesty, you will reap trust. If you plant goodness, you will reap friends. If you plant humility, you will reap greatness. If you plant perseverance, you will reap victory. If you plant consideration, you will reap harmony. If you plant hard work, you will reap success. If you plant forgiveness, you will reap reconciliation. If you plant openness, you will reap intimacy. If you plant patience, you will reap improvements. If you plant faith, you will reap miracles.

But 


If you plant dishonesty, you will reap distrust. If you plant selfishness, you will reap loneliness. If you plant pride, you will reap destruction. If you plant envy, you will reap trouble. If you plant laziness, you will reap stagnation. If you plant bitterness, you will reap isolation. If you plant greed, you will reap loss. If you plant gossip, you will reap enemies. If you plant worries, you will reap wrinkles. If you plant sin, you will reap guilt.

What Picking Your Nose and Integrity Have in Common

As I settled in to read Magyk last night at bedtime to the kids I noticed as we lay nestled in bed that my daughter was indeed picking her nose again.  Now, I’ve tried to really teach my kids that this habit although productive, is also rather disgusting and can get them into trouble later in life because, well… no body really likes to be hanging out with a nose picker ( I have personal experience!)

When I lightly reached over and simply “tapped” her on the elbow so as not to arouse the interest and then teasing of  the younger and less compassionate sibling it created quite a stir, and ended up causing even more attention!

“Mommy, I was NOT picking my nose!!!!!” said in her hautiest of voices.

“really Manon? because that’s what it looked like” (this is always the case by the way – she was never doing what I caught her red handed doing and I’ve tried multiple approaches)

“Well I wasn’t and besides! Why were you tapping me! That’s mean!”

“by tapping,  I was trying to tell you to get a kleenex without embarrassing you, I am sooo sorry, perhaps you can tell me how you would like me to handle it in the future?”

“But  I was NOT doing it. I was simply itching my nose!”

To Myself: does one roll the itch between one’s fingers?

“Manon, just because you were picking your nose it does not mean I don’t love you!”

and on and on it went until she finally broke down sobbing telling me that all the kids in her class think she is “bossy” and now she’s bossy AND a nose picker!

Which led us into an interesting discussion (I’ll give you the adult version)

If you continue to resist, deny or defend something you are doing from anothers point of view than you never have an opportunity to step into another’s shoes to see their point of view, and you never have a chance to realize that sometimes the way we behave and how we use our words and body language says more about who we are and how we are being than the things we think we project about who we are.

So what does picking your nose and integrity have in common?  Well… if you  are going to do it, then do it with integrity.

That means, if you get caught picking your nose (lying, cheating, fabricating, embellishing, gossiping) … fess up.  Then you get rid of all of the fear, upset, and anger that’s associated with getting caught!  A simple apology for “messing up”  is kind of refreshing.  If you are going to “risk” the action, than you must be prepared for the re-action.

Stated another way: If you are going to be a nose picker then be the best nose picker that you can be and do it without apologies, but if you feel you have to make apologies because you realize it really was not the thing to do?  Than STOP DOING IT, but don’t make me feel like I’m crazy when I see something with my own eyes, or hear something with my own ears and you say it isn’t so.

THAT’s called CRAZY MAKING, and it causes a lot of damage down the road.

TLC and The Revelation Project

A few months ago I was invited to blog for TLC’s new parenting site called Parentables and although I am loving it I have to say it’s incredibly hard to do knowing that other people outside my own social network will see my writing or eeeks, be able to criticize!

I always amaze myself at how insecure I can be when I venture out into the world of something new.  I love pretending I don’t care what people have to say about me while behind the scenes I have to make repeated trips to the bathroom for a nervous tinkle or two.

Anyway- the most exciting part is that The Revelation Project has also been invited to be posted there with the highly visible Kate Gosselin (I don’t have tv so something about Kate plus Eight or something? … and wait.. eight what? puppies?.. I mean, who would ever do that?  -animal control!) and some amazing writers such as Sarah Fernandez, Marla Garfield , and many more…

So far I’m only behind by three posts and would love to hear what some of you might want me to take a stab at writing about because somehow I have a feeling that you could all make me feel a bit braver if i knew you were kind of there with me. Kay?

I think i can i think i can i think i can…..

The two posts featured for The Revelation Project so far are this one and this one.

The Revelation Project Part VII: Meaghan O’Neill

I first met Meg a few years ago through her sister who was working with me as I was pitching venture capital companies for a bright idea I had about saving the world. I had this amazing business coach who was directing me on how to build a board of advisors, and I wanted Meg to be one of them.  From the start Meg was “game” – and that’s how I’ve tended to look at her.  It would not surprise me if she played varsity sports all four years and was considered MVP or if she was named “most likely to be a team player” in her high school year book.  Hell- I would not surprise me if she graduated valedictorian of her class.  That’s kind of what I mean… I don’t actually know these things about her… it just would not surprise me at all.  She’s just comes off as “Meg” – what you see is what you get and what you get is someone who’s on your team in a huge way- and who comes across as likable and non threatening.  When you learn that she’s got all this amazing experience, know how and respect with absolutely no arrogance you think… how does she DO THAT?  I mean.  My head would be so huge it might literally pop off my body.  Not Meg. Meg is Meg is Meg.  I’m thinking that when women are really taken seriously as a presidential candidate that we might consider Meg.  Yeah, Meg for U.S. President.

Would you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Hi, my name is Meg; I live in Newport, RI with my husband and son.
I’m a writer and editor, and I work for Parentables http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/ , a parenting website, and TreeHugger http://www.treehugger.com, a blog dedicated to environmental news and culture.

What did you think about the approach of the upcoming photo shoot (before you got there) and what were the results you were expecting?

I had seen the outcome of a few prior shoots, so I was really excited to partake. But I tried not to psyche myself out by pretending it was “no big deal.” Luckily, my computer also melted down on the morning of the shoot, so I had a good distraction from my vanity (read: insecurity).

How did you feel during the shoot and was there anything in particular that made you feel more or less relaxed or open to the process?

Monica and Robyn are really approachable and down-to-earth, so that made me feel like I was on equal terms with them – and their cameras. And there wasn’t a big fuss about hair, make-up, and wardrobe, so there wasn’t this intimidating this is a big deal factor. It felt more like hanging out with friends.

Can you describe in three words the way you felt before we shot?
Giddy, giggly, anxious.

3 words for after

New. Best. Friends.

Three words for when you saw the results
Hey, that’s me!

After you left but before you saw the results – did you have any thoughts about the experience? What were some of the things you thought about on the drive home?

I felt like I had just been out clubbing all night with my good friends. Like we had really lived it up for a while – grabbed the bull by the horns.

When you saw the results can you tell me your first impression?
Me: “I am outrageously laughing in every single picture. I should really take myself more seriously!”

Can you talk about the feedback you received from those who saw your photographs?

Mom: “That doesn’t even look like you! When did you hair get so curly?”

Husband: “These are beautiful.”

What are some words you would use to describe how you were feeling throughout the shoot?

What the hell is my “sultry” look? (I need to work on that.)

Did you learn anything new about yourself from the experience?

I confirmed that I laugh and act goofy when I’m nervous. But I think I also conquered a little bit more of fear about being in the center of attention.

Did you feel empowered? Why? Why not?
Yes. Even if you’re not the kind of person who craves it, it’s pretty cool to know that someone is spending the time and energy to put you in the spotlight, and to know that you can be in control of it and that it’s okay to let yourself shine.

Since the shoot happened almost four weeks ago now can you talk about the lasting impact of the experience?  Has it altered the way you view yourself or your surroundings?

For me this was probably, above all, a confidence building exercise. I don’t think I’m a weak person and I’m not unhappy with where I am in life, but I certainly have obstacles that I want to overcome and plenty of character flaws… Participating in the Revelation Project gave me a chance to reassess where I am and where I want to be and, ultimately, to ask myself not only “Where the hell do you think you’re headed?” but also “How do you want to get there?” That’s powerful stuff.

Do you think this was an important/valuable experience for yourself? Why?

For sure. I’m always up for a challenge, and for me, putting myself in front of a camera for two hours isn’t easy. So facing that fear was part of the experience – but a good part.

Do you think it’s relevant for other women? Why?
Absolutely. Participating in the Revelation Project isn’t just about getting your portrait taken. It’s an opportunity to reflect on who you’ve been, what you’ve become, and where you want to go. And if  you pay attention, you might even capture a glimpse of your own pure awesomeness.

How would you use the photos moving forward? Professionally? Personally? As gifts?

I’ve already used them professionally http://parentables.howstuffworks.com/author/meaghan-oneill , and I might use them personally. I’m not sure if I’m quite to the point of hanging large-scale photos of myself on the wall yet, but we’ll see.

If you could sum up the experience what would you say?
It was fun, exhilarating, and totally worth it. Also, when I first looked at the photos I thought, “Yeah, these are decent.” Then I went to choose a headshot and realized that I couldn’t decide which one I liked best. That’s a really nice feeling.

Can you recommend a great song or album you think other women who have donethis project might like?

I’m sort of in a Chrissie Hynde state of mind right now – she’s cool, confident, passionate, uniquely talented, and she hangs tough in a guys’ world without losing her femininity. Oh, and she’s like, approaching 60 and still totally rocking and gorgeous. That’s who I want to be.

What is the most challenging thing you have faced as a woman?

The hardest thing about being a woman in our generation is that we have so much choice, but at the same time so many expectations. We’ve benefited enormously from the women before us that worked their asses off to break through the glass ceiling. You can be a mom, a daughter, a wife, a boss, an employee. But there’s a lot of pressure — both self- and society-imposed — to do all of these things well all at the same time.

I think sometimes we forget to check in and see if we’re hitting the right balance — and to say no to something if we’re not. A wise woman once told me, “You can have it all; you just can’t have it all at the same time.” This is a woman, who, at different times in her life, has been a professional ballerina, an artist, and a stay-at-home mom, then became an M.D. in her fifties. I try to remember to live by those words. Cutting yourself is a break is some pretty good medicine.

Social Media: To Blog or Not to Blog

To Blog or not to blog… that is the current question that’s circulating in my class.

I had a great group yesterday morning who attended the social media workshop I feel honored to “teach”.  I love the enthusiasm, the questions, and the creativity that erupts from individuals who came in looking rather reserved and somewhat uncertain.

I think the most exciting part for me is watching as they start to connect the dots in what I really truly believe is one of the most exciting communication and business mediums of the day- the social web.

A major piece of the discussion focuses on blogging and why it’s a good idea when it comes to marketing your business or just expressing yourself in general.  Business aside, if you love to journal- you will love to blog.  Blogging in essence is like a “live journal” and you can use your “voice” in so many amazing ways if you so choose.

If the social web is about building audience, then the blog is about building credibility and gaining attention and interest in your ideas, the best part is you can get legitimate feedback. Lots of people ask me… why do I want to build an audience at all?  The answer is… once you have an audience you have an amazing feedback loop.  If you have a product to market,  those people who congregate around you are usually invested in your success because they have a relationship to you. They are the best people to help you tweak your products, give you advice, and champion your cause.  Even though you may have never physically met them… they are part of your “social” circle.

Even the word “blog” seems to block people from the very beginning..  I can already see the thought bubbles forming in their heads…

“but I’m not a good writer”

“what would I ever blog about?”

“Sooo where are the emergency exits in this place?”

But why does the idea of blogging have to be such a threat? I mean have you seen some of the nonsense I have posted on this blog?  Some of my favorite blogs are nothing but photos or images with a few words or clever headlines…

Check out: This is indexed created entirely on indexed cards….

or Gaping Void– Mostly Illustrations….

I’m half tempted to just post pictures that speak louder than words as a concept for my new blog…..