Thursday, December 5, 2013

Just Show Up!

Livy and Taylor meeting for the very first time

I love this picture. It is from the first time that Taylor met Livy. As I mentioned in my first post, I read about Livy’s Hope and became acquainted with Livy’s mom Allison via Facebook. (Don’t forget to check out their website and read all about Livy and their mission). They posted an event on Facebook for a Wonka Bar sale at a local bagel shop. It was to promote their upcoming Imagine a Cure Willy Wonka fundraiser. Some of the Wonka Bars had golden tickets which would give the purchaser entry into the fundraiser. The bagel shop was close to my home so I decided to go out and show my support. As soon as Taylor and I arrived, Allison immediately recognized us and gave us a big hug. We met Livy’s sister Hailey (quite the inspiration herself!) and some of their friends and family. It was so great to join them and be a part of this fun morning. Livy arrived a little later that morning and we got to meet her for the first time. My heart just melted as I brought Taylor over to say hi. Both Taylor and Livy are non-verbal, but they did not need words. They spoke to each other as they do to all of us who know them – with their eyes and their smiles. This is the day it all started - the day that I realized that I can make an impact, even if I just showed up. I actually ran into a few people I knew who were coming to the bagel shop for breakfast and I was able to sell them a few candy bars. Maybe they would have purchased one even if I wasn’t there but maybe that small effort of just showing up made the difference of a few extra candy bar sales.
You know, I think about that day and how I almost didn't go. Sometimes I use my special needs daughter as an excuse to not do things that may make me feel uncomfortable or maybe would inconvenience me. “Taylor is in a bad mood or isn’t feeling well so I’ll just stay home”. But I didn’t let excuses stop me. I showed up. And we met some wonderful new friends.

Don't make excuses, make something incredible happen in your life right now. 
Greg Hickman  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Let's get Something Started

Do Something! That was the subject of an email I sent myself a few months ago. Yes, I send myself emails. I leave myself voicemails and send text messages too! I’m quite popular with myself.

Do Something! Those are two powerful words that can apply to just about anything. You want to get out of debt, start by cutting up one credit card. You want to lose weight, eliminate sweets from your diet for one week. You want to run a 5k, get up off the couch and start moving. You don’t have to make a huge accomplishment to make a difference. Small things add up to big change. You just have to start.

That idea can also apply to giving back. I’ve always wanted to be more charitable – give more money, volunteer more time. But I’ve always found excuses. I don’t have a lot of time. Money is really tight right now. But I realized that I don’t have to be “Volunteer of the Year” or have an endowment named after me in order to help. And that is what sparked my “email to self”.
It was right about that time that I found Livy's Hope for a Cure. I happened to read an article about them in a local newspaper. Livy’s Hope was started by Jon and Allison Scheinman. Their daughter Olivia (Livy) has suffered from debilitating seizures since birth. The goal of Livy’s Hope is to raise awareness and funds for Epilepsy research. As I read their story I felt so connected. I also have a daughter who has Epilepsy caused by a brain malformation. I reached out to Allison and we became acquainted via email, then Facebook. Then my daughter Taylor and I went to one of their events. I shared information about their fundraiser; invited people to attend and got a few people to donate items for the silent auction. It wasn’t a lot but even those little things made an impact. That got me thinking about a goal for the new year to start giving back, even in small doses. I decided to pick one charity a month and donate – time and treasures.
 It was also about that time that I started thinking about writing a blog. I’ve always wanted to write, although I’ve never really had any formal training. I was talking to my daughter Lauren about ideas for my blog. I also told her about my goal for the New Year and about my “Do Something” email. Then my brilliant daughter says, “Mom that should be the title of your blog! Every month write about the charities that you volunteered for and write about your experience.” So that’s how this blog got started and I really hope that people will read it and be inspired to start something on their own or maybe join me on my adventure.
One of my favorite quotes is one by Lily Tomlin that really speaks to this – “I always wondered why somebody didn’t do something about that. Then I realized I was somebody.” That’s kind of the theme for this blog and this project and I really hope that it spurs a lot of interest in giving back – to our friends, our family and our community.

I hope you enjoy this blog and come back often and share it with your friends. I hope you will join me in my project. Please add your comments and share your experience as you Do Something!