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A Week Of Inspiration: What I’m Taking Away

7 Jan

As 2011 drew to a close, a gave myself a mission to start off 2012 on the right note. To do that, I would approach some women who I found to be inspirational, and I would ask them to post something on my blog that would send a positive message. It started off as a simple resolution for me to start the year in a positive way to get myself out of the funk I have been in. By the time I was scheduling the posts, it had become a project to help everyone: I realized that many people – including a couple of the writers – were in need of a dose of the good stuff that life has to offer.

This would be my small way of trying to make the world a better, happier place filled with possibilities and motivation.

I took something valuable away from all of the posts this week – things that I will take forward with me as I navigate my way through the jungle of life in 2012. For that, I want to give heartfelt thanks to all of my contributors.

I am battling with some personal demons right now, and it’s hard. There are days when I can barely see my way through to getting out of bed. Ultimately, though, I have support. I have my family, I have friends, and I am in good enough health to put on running shoes and pound the hell out of the pavement when I need relief from the stress. On Monday, Kerry White gave us a reminder on perspective. It does me good to remind myself that no matter how difficult things may be, I will muddle my way through it all, aided by the support system that I have around me.

A few minutes ago, my son George – autistic, eight years old, and very long and lanky – clambered into my lap for a hug and a cuddle. As I held this treasure in my arms, I reflected on the fact that special needs parenting is sometimes as hard as hell, but life without this amazing child is just unfathomable. Sara Morgan expressed this on Tuesday, when she said that yeah, we have kids with autism, but at least we have them.

How easy is it for us to just lie down and quit when we’re faced with a personal tragedy? On Wednesday, Phaedra Kennedy took us through her heartbreaking unsuccessful quest to have a baby, and her subsequent resolve to make 2011 the best year of her life. Not only does Phaedra’s tale inspire me to set goals for this year and really work towards them, I am honoured to have her mentoring me through my next stage of evolution as a runner.

Perhaps there is truth to the idea that the fluttering of a butterfly’s wings can ultimately cause a storm on the other side of the world. In the same way, a handful of women blogging about motherhood can result in impoverished children receiving life-saving vaccinations, and fewer babies dying of pneumonia. On Thursday, Jennifer Burden told us about an idea that started small and morphed into something huge. Over the next year, I will endeavour to follow my dreams, no matter how silly they may seem. Who knows where they will take me?

There have been times in the past, when things have been rough, that I have succumbed to the temptation to just let myself go. I have asked myself what the point of it all is. If Margie Bryant had given in to that kind of negative self-talk, where would she be today? She survived addiction, a string of meaningless, emotionally empty relationships, and time in a federal prison. She kicked low self-esteem in the butt, and has turned her life around. She leads a life anyone could be proud of, and she’s found true love to boot. If she could make that kind of U-turn, surely I have it in me to control the direction of my own life.

My personal mission this year is to focus on taking care of myself. I am going to find some balance in my life and do more things that I want to do.

Will this take away the time and energy that I have always unquestioningly devoted to my husband and children? Or will doings things for myself inject me with more energy, and lead to a more enriched, satisfying life for all of us?

(Thank you again to Kerry, Sara, Phaedra, Jennifer and Margie. I am sure your tales of inspiration have touched the lives of many people reading this blog.)

 

 

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From Humble Beginnings: Guest Post by Jennifer Burden

5 Jan

A little more than a year ago, I was wandering around on the WordPress site during a quiet lunch hour, and I stumbled across a blog called World Moms Blog, a group blog that had a handful of writers from three or four countries. I was just starting to take blogging seriously at the time, and I was hungry for opportunities to write. I emailed the founder of World Moms Blog, Jennifer Burden, and kind of wriggled my way onto the list of writers.

A year on, World Moms Blog is more than just a blog. It’s become a social project. There are more than 50 writers from all corners of the world. Women from all walks of life tell their stories, share their dilemmas, and take readers on their journeys through the parenting jungle. Jennifer has started looking at ways in which to use the blog to make the world a better place, and she has even formed some relationships with representatives of the United Nations. Through World Moms Blog, she has promoted awareness of some important issues, like infant pneumonia, and vaccinations for children in impoverished nations. It is my pleasure to give Jennifer an opportunity to talk about her visions for World Moms Blog.

It’s been over a year since World Moms Blog was founded. At the beginning, I thought it would be easy to find international moms to write, but it was an uphill struggle at first!

Today, we write from 17 countries and have over 50 bloggers.

And I have been creating relationships with international foundations, such as the United Nations Foundation and the GAVI Alliance to find ways in 2012 for our global mothers to help raise maternal and children’s health awareness around the world.

We have added both, a Human Rights and Social Good column, in addition to our daily posts, Saturday Sidebar question and Sunday’s Travel Itinerary (written by Kirsten @runningforautism!)

The international writers have been stellar.  Their thought-provoking and well-written posts have attracted and persuaded more amazing mothers to join our mission.

And speaking of missions, this year the World Moms Blog writers helped create our mission statement, as follows:

*Connecting mothers around the world through their stories.

*Promoting understanding and tolerance of other cultures, religions and nationalities.

*Encouraging discussion of important motherhood/parenting/cultural topics.

*Creating a support system for mothers via the blog.

*Helping to promote our writers.

*To strive to create opportunities for social good to help mothers and children around the planet.

We couldn’t have accomplished what we’ve accomplished so far without all the pieces of the puzzle.  It would be impossible to do all the editing, scheduling, writing, welcoming, new writer selection and social media myself.

The synergy and enthusiasm of this global group of women, all mothers, is contagious!

Keep us on your radar.

Help us promote diversity and understanding.

Help us save the lives of children.

You can do this by sharing this post with a friend.

We hope you’ll be glad you did.

Jennifer Burden
Founder/Editor
World Moms Blog

www.worldmomsblog.com

Twitter: @WorldMomsBlog & @JenniferBurden

Thank you, Kirsten, for inviting me to guest post today on your blog.  I want to recognize your volunteerism and writing contributions to the scheduling and writing of World Moms Blog and send you a big THANK YOU!  You are an important piece of our puzzle, and it’s been so great working with you. Here’s to more fun in 2012!

(Photo credit: Jennifer Burden)

A Dose Of Happy For 2012

1 Jan

The calendar has clicked over into 2012. This is the day on which thousands of people are quitting smoking, going on diet, starting an exercise program, or finally starting to write that novel they’ve always been talking about. I myself will be participating in the 5km Resolution Run later on today.

Although I’m not really big on the idea of making major life changes just because of what day it happens to be, New Years Day is a convenient time for us to re-evaluate our goals, see where we’re at, and maybe give ourselves a bit of a kick-start. For some people, it may indeed mean starting over, like pressing the reset button on the back of a mobile device.

2011 was an eventful year for me. Despite a poor season of training, I had some success in my races. I worked hard on my writing, and in the last couple of months of the year, I finally started to find some traction in the writing community. And of course, there was my wedding in April – a fantastic event that included friends and family from far away. Having my mom there, and my brother to walk me down the aisle, made it all extra-special.

Despite the good stuff, I found myself sinking towards the end of the year. I have, for several weeks now, been dealing with depression. It is something that I have chosen not to write about, because it’s such a painful, private thing. But it is something that I should at least acknowledge, if only to let other people suffering from this problem know that they are not alone.

I have been reading these articles about how the simple act of laughing releases natural happy-drugs into your brain, how the biggest single predictor of happiness is the degree to which a person does good for their fellow man, and how being around proactive people can spur you on to action in your own life. In other words, positivity breeds positivity.

In that spirit, I decided that I would start off 2012 on a positive note in my blog. I would host some guest writers: inspirational women who have done amazing things. A couple of the women I approached told me that writing something positive might help lift them out of their own states of psychological disequilibrium. So much the better! This became a little project to raise everyone’s spirits – mine, my guest writers, and any readers who need a lift.

I am excited about this week. For the next five days, my blog is given over to some women who inspire me and remind me that anything is possible.

We lead off tomorrow with single mom Kerry White, who tells us that although things have been kind of turbulent for her, life isn’t all that bad. It’s a wonderful reminder about perspective.

On Tuesday, we will hear from Sara Morgan, an autism mom who has also experienced the trauma of pregnancy loss. She brings these two things together and reminds us that where  there’s life, there’s hope.

On Wednesday, Phaedra Kennedy (who has the distinction of being the first friend I had in Canada) tells us about how she rose above some deeply sad and traumatic events in her personal life to have a phenomenal season of running.

Thursday is given over to Jennifer Burden, whose idea for a group blog for moms has ballooned into an entire project for social good that includes the United Nations.

And on Friday, we hear from my friend Margie Bryant, who gives a whole new meaning to the idea of turning your life around. Margie describes how she made the transformation from someone with no hope into someone with huge possibilities for great things.

I want to take this opportunity to thank each of these women for giving of themselves to contribute to my quest to start off the year on a positive note. I wish them all continued success in 2012.

And for everyone reading this, may 2012 be a year filled with love, peace and happiness, as well as just the right dose of adventure.