It's all about the little things…

Tag Archives: family

Week 49-Knowvember, Day 5-Speak up

Yea, what he said

I feel like all I’ve done all day long is put the finishing touches on my seminar presentation for my class tomorrow.  I guess I did take a break to call my wonderful father and wish him a very happy birthday!  I always hate when I can’t be there to help celebrate with my family or friends on their special day, but thus is life.  Today is also the day that I lost my Grandma fourteen years ago.  She was a huge influence on my life, and her confidence and leadership still motivates me to be who I am today.  I might not have liked it, but I know she is proud of my hard work and dedication I’ve poured into my presentation.  Today has been a day of mixed emotions, but I’m thankful to have this blog so I can speak up about whats on my mind.

The National Partnership for Women and Families believes the best way to speak up is to act.  Anyone who has ever been a mother and a professional, or had one for that matter, knows how much work goes into balancing the demands of a job and a family.  NPWF has worked since 1971 to promote fairness in the workplace, reproductive health and rights, and any other policies that make life a little easier on families.  NPWF knows that when women do better, families do better, and our nation prospers.  NPWF also helps us remember that our voice does matter, and that a single action coming from an individual does matter.  NPWF has had some major accomplishments over the past 40 years.  They have helped to pass the Pregnancy Discrimination Act, Civil Rights Act, Family & Medical Leave Act, and the California Family Leave Act.  NPWF is an advocate for millions of women and their families through the educational outreach and legislative action they provide.  Voice Ability wants to be sure that everyone’s voice, views and hopes are heard loud and clear.  Formed form two organizations with extremely similar missions, Advocacy Partners and Speaking Up officially merged in April of 2010 and changed their named in December.  So now, twice as wise and strong, their new mission is to strengthening voice, championing rights, and changing lives.  VA is passionate, resourceful, and dedicated which makes them the best at what they do and has resulted in the collection of several accolades.  Those with mental health problems, learning disabilities, and autism should be able to speak up for what they want.  Sometimes we all need a little help figuring out what is we really want out of life.

National Partnership for Women and Families Donation

Voice Ability Donation

So here’s to speaking up!  We all need to find our voice to be happy in life.  I’ve had such great examples in my life of how and when to speak my mind.  Obviously I have a lot to say, otherwise this blog would have been a flop within the first week.  I’m just thankful that the words keep coming when I dangle my fingers over my computer’s keyboard.  Thank you to everyone out there for listening, and for my greatest influences who nurtured my voice.

Week 40-All I needed to know, Day 1-I learned from my Grandma

My sweet, smart Grandma

My Grandma always asked me what I learned at school that day when I would visit her after school.  My favorite answer was, “Nothing”, but that was never good enough for her.  “No, you learned something today.  Think about it and answer me again.”, she’d say.  So I would sit there and think of one thing, big or small, that my little brain had taken in the day.  She taught me how important it is to always be a student.  Life is about learning, and sometimes the most important lessons are taught in places that don’t look anything like your classroom at school.

I guess to better understand why my Grandma was such an advocate for learning, it would behoove you to know that she was first a teacher and then a principal.  She was actually my kindergarten principal, which is not something most people can say, and it is something I truly cherish.  Partnerships for Learning in Seattle, WA is focused on creating a stronger public education system that better prepares students for their collegiate careers and beyond.  Nearly 1 million teenagers decide to stop going to school every year.  Our future is literally dropping out before our eyes, and organizations like PFL are pulling out all the stops to decrease that number.  PFL is also extremely successful is taking complex issues and making them accessible to the public.  My Grandma knew that learning isn’t something that starts and stops during the school day, and PFL is carrying on her message in the state of Washington.  It turns out there are some other organizations that care about their “grand kids” education.  Founded by Curtis Granderson in 2007, the Grand Kids Foundation, is on a mission to improve the educational experience across the national and re-establish baseball opportunities for inner-city youth.  Granderson is often called the “nicest guy in baseball” and his track record for community service backs up that nickname.  Money that is given to the GKF is used to fund educational field trips, art and science initiatives, and buy foreign language software that is needed more and more everyday in schools.  My Grandma taught all three of her grandkids well and Curtis is taking her lead.  Go ahead Curtis, do the thing!

Curtis doing his thang with the "grand kids"

Partnership for Learning Donation

Grand Kids Foundation Donation

So here’s to what I learned from my Grandma!  You were way more than what I’ve typed here, but I can’t give away all the good secrets she passed down to me.  Obviously this lesson stuck with me though, because here I am almost 27 years old and still a student.  Every time I learn something new I can feel the warmth of my Grandma’s smile wrap me up in a big hug.  Thanks Grandma.

Week 28-When I grow up… Day 1-Firefighter

Do I have to?

This week is all about celebrating those wonderful career dreams we aspired to as children before we lost our innocence and chose our job based on salaries and retirement plans.  When this idea first came to me tonight I bounced it off Scott first because no one else was around, and I trust his opinion.  “Hey, what did you want to be when you grew up?”  And before I had even finished the sentence he blurted out, “Fireman!”  He then proceeded to tell me about his imaginary friends when he was little named Roy and Johnny, who also happened to be starts of the sitcom Emergency!.  Even though I had to look  up the show to have the slightest idea what he was talking about, I realized how thankful I was for my own childhood dreams.  We’ll get to those later this week.

Lots of little boys and girls want to be firefighters because they are real life super heroes.  They’re fast, they’re strong, they’re smart, and they save lives.  If being a real Batman or Robin doesn’t sound like the funniest job on Earth I’m not sure what would.  The New York Police & Fire Widow’s & Children’s Benefit Fund embodies the phrase “New York takes care of its own.”  Since its inception in 1985 the fund has given over $123 million to the families of fallen New York City heroes.  The fund provided almost 700 families with financial assistance each and every single year, not just for a short period of time after they lose their loved one.  A lot of people believe that New York is the greatest city in the world, and there is no doubt they have the greatest heroes in the world.  It makes me heart swell to know that an organization like the fund is taking care of the families of the great men and women who took care of New York through triumph and tragedy.  Firefighters are also such great heroes because they are everywhere, and many of them volunteer their time to save others.  The Star City Volunteer Fire Department is one of the local chapters in our area that keeps us all safe.  This may not be news to some of you out there, but volunteer fire departments are non-profits.  Their ability to perform daily tasks and protect those in their community is based on donations they receive.  SCVFD was also recently in the news because of their newest addition to the team, an adorable Dalmatian puppy named Pierce.  Obviously another really fun perk of being a fireman.  Local volunteer fire departments are also great resources for fire education and safety for children, and really people of all ages.  You’re never too old to learn about how to protect your own life.

New York Police & Fire Widows’ & Children’s Benefit Fund Donation

Star City Volunteer Fire Department Donation

So here’s to you firefighters!  You wear those heavy oxygen tanks and hot uniforms even though you’re running into some of the hottest temperatures imaginable.  Your big muscles and your even bigger heart are they key to you saving so many lives.  You do so much more than rescue kittens out of trees and pose for insanely cheesy calendars.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m still thankful for those calendars.  Especially when they’re half off at Barnes & Noble.

Yes, this will be hanging up in my office next year!

Week 26-Half Way There! Day 3-A Memorial Day to remember

A salute to the real heroes this weekend.

It is the start of the Memorial Day weekend, and this year it holds a slightly different meaning to me due to this little blog project I’ve got going on.  In the past it’s just been a wonderful and relaxing long holiday weekend that meant the start of summer was upon us.  Even though all those things are still true this year I have a new appreciation for those who gave their life for our country.  Even though I haven’t had anyone close to me lose their life in order to protect mine, or the rest of us for that matter, but I’m so thankful for those who have.  War seems like a game to me.  A make-believe game that little boys just play out in the front yard, and for hours on their PlayStation’s, XBox’s, and Wii’s.  It makes me think that one measly little day sure doesn’t seem like enough for the people who gave up the rest of theirs for their country.

I’ve written about veterans and soldiers a couple of different times during our 26 weeks together, but today’s post is to remember those who aren’t with us today and the grieving families they left behind.  The Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund began back in 2000 and has provided over $120 million to support families of military personnel lost in service to our nation.  IFHF doesn’t try to put a price on someone’s life, but they instead work hard to “pay tribute to and support those who have sacrificed for our nation”.  Giving your life to your country may be the ultimate sacrifice, but family members of those in the military sacrifice a piece of their future everyday by living without them.  This weekend is about the fallen heroes and the family members who were left to pick up the pieces to make a new life.  What really breaks my heart is to think about little boys and girls who will grow up without their mommy and daddy, because they died in combat.  Kids In Distressed Situations (K.I.D.S.) has worked for over 25 years to help children who are challenged by family military service, poverty, domestic abuse, homelessness, and illness.  K.I.D.S. works with major manufacturers, retailers, and companies that make children and youth’s products and thousands of leading local agencies to donate books, toys, clothes, and other products to those who need it most.  It’s not rocket science, but the hope that it brings to children and their families is as life changing as launching a new space shuttle.

Simple yet genius.

Intrepid Fallen Heroes Fund Donation

K.I.D.S. Product Donation & K.I.D.S. Monetary Donation

So here’s to a Memorial Day to remember!  Eat all the hot-dogs, hamburgers, potato salad, and coleslaw that your stomach will hold, and be sure to wash it down with a cold beverage of your choice.  Have fun, relax, get some sun, and splash around in some water.  Take just a moment of your holiday weekend to really remember the people who can’t be here to celebrate.  Those who believed in the red, white, and blue, gave this beautiful weekend to you.