Oh, what a difference an hour makes

I have never been a morning person.  I was the kid whose parents had to go into their bedroom at noon to make sure they were still breathing.

About 2 years ago I was inspired by Abundant Mama Shawn Fink’s Rise & Shine Challenge and started *trying* to set the alarm clock to get up before my kids.  I say *try* because it’s something I don’t do consistently.  My level of success goes up and down depending on the season, the weather, my health, and my overall motivation.  I can say that when I DO Rise & Shine, I am much happier.  Why would I be happier to wake up at 5am (yes, my kids wake up at 6, so getting up “earlier than my kids” means setting the alarm at 5 or 5:15am).

Check out these 2 scenarios:

Scenario 1 | “Sleeping in” | I am warm and cozy, snoozing away in bed.  One of my kids loudly come out of their bedroom, and I am startled awake.  I immediately think “OMG, why are they up so early?!?!?!  ?@%! This sucks!” as I climb out of bed and join a child who undoubtedly WANTS SOMETHING.  Ugh.

Scenario 2 | Rising & Shining | The alarm wakes me up.  I’m not going to lie- I am not thrilled about it.  But, because I got to bed at a reasonable hour the night before, I feel rested.  I think about coffee.  I climb out of bed and tiptoe to the kitchen, where I immediately put on a cup.  I go to my computer and start working on a project.  Because I was intentional about choosing what I will work on the evening before, I don’t need to hem and haw- I can get right to it.  Because my mind is clear, I am productive.  I typically get more done in this first hour than I do in double that time during the day.  Because I have already woken up, had some coffee, and been productive, I am calm when my children come out of their bedroom.  I smile at them, say good morning, and give them a hug.  I am ready to start my day.Others take this

Scenario 2 all the way, right?

Others take this precious morning time for self-care. They journal or do yoga.  My process is to take a few minutes before going to bed to ask myself “What’s the one thing that I can get done in the morning that will make the rest of the day better/easier/happier?”  Oftentimes it’s something that I’ve been meaning to do and can’t seem to check off my list because it involves some thought.  Early morning is a perfect time for me to do those kinds of things. the weather has been very rainy, I’ve been fighting some kind of cold/cough, and I’ve been staying up later than I’d like.

Well, I haven’t been Rising and Shining lately.  The weather has been really rainy, I’ve been fighting some kind of cold/cough, and I’ve been staying up later than I’d like.  And of course, I’ve been feeling “behind”, bleh, all of those feelings I get when I don’t have that most grounding hour of my day.

I’ll find my way back again.  This rain and cough can’t last forever, right?

So, talk to me.  Do you get up early so that you can have some time alone?  What would you do with that hour?

Moving Forward Without All Of the Answers

Do you ever have the feeling that you want to do or be more, but aren’t sure what that “more” is, or what you can do in order to be the best version of yourself that you can be?

Yeah, me too.

So many questions I constantly ask myself:

-How can I lead?

-How can I make the most of this life I’ve been given?

-How can I take all of the projects, ideas, and passions that I have and make enough space around each of them in order to really make a real contribution to each one?

-How do I make the most impact?

-How do I stop, take a deep breath, and just let it all go for a few moments so that I am present during the time I’m with my family and my friends?  So that I can recharge?

-How do I make space to do bigger picture brainstorming to get ideas out of my head and into action?

-Where can I learn to say “no” to activities and projects that don’t serve my bigger purpose?

-How do I improve at something that I have a difficult time doing – organizing all of the thoughts into my head into coherent sentences? :-)

I love the work that I do around disability advocacy and inclusion, and I love the business that I am building as an event manager.  I often dream about how to create a brand for myself that encompasses both, one that embodies who I am as a whole person and doesn’t require compartmentalizing the two.  That dream often paralyzes me from just doing something.

I am very aware that I like things tied up with a neat little bow.   And that planning, that “polishing” often holds me back from the doing.

I was recently watching a show where Seth Godin was being interviewed.  He said something that really struck me- that you should  “work to ship” instead of “work to polish”.  He talked about how when he devote time to something, he knows that at the end of that time that there will be an end result- something will be done.  Getting something done vs expecting perfection… what a scary concept, huh?  Read his blog post about this issue: You need to press the buzzer before you know the answer.

So, despite the imperfections of this blog post, I will now press “publish”.

I want to hear from you. How are you all pushing yourself to be the best version of yourself that you can be? In what ways have you pushed forward and “pressed the buzzer” without knowing the answer?

About Me

I wanted to share my draft of Sabrina’s About Me page for next year. It’s just a draft at this point. I am going to add more admirable characteristics, and I realize at least one bullet is incomplete. Just wanted to share my format and the general outline in case it can help anyone get theirs together.  I typically work on this on the summer, but this year I am getting it done before the end of the year so that I can remember specifics better.


Creating an Introduction to Sabrina, and other things to do before school starts

COFFEEThe first day of school is right around the corner… YIKES!

Sabrina starts back on Wednesday, August 13th.

I typically have a list of action items that I want to take care of when school gets back in session, but a lot of it just doesn’t happen.  Time slips away too quickly . This year I am trying to organize myself in a different way so that I can hold myself accountable and actually take the steps that will help Sabrina (and everyone!) have a better school year.

This year I am writing everything down in timeline form and making sure to check everything off.  After school starts (I have enough to keep me busy until then), I will review her IEP  and put all action items into a timeline.

I have shared my timeline for the next few weeks below.  I have a lot to do before August 13th!

Before the 1st day of school:

  • create my “Introduction to Sabrina” to give to teachers, aide, service providers, staff.  This is a document about Sabrina.  I write about who SHE is as a person, what she likes to do, and include some cute photos of her so that they can see her in action.  I try to highlight the positive, and give strategies that I have found useful.
  • organize IEP highlights/goals to give to each teacher/service provider, etc.  Each person will have a custom document that outlines only items pertinent to them (Sabrina’s IEP is 52 pages.  Who’s going to read all of that??  Me, I suppose).
  • create a social story about back-to-school to read to Sabrina- write, illustrate, print and laminate
  • take Sabrina by her new classroom
  • introduce myself to her new teacher
  • arrange a meeting with the Principal
  • revise Communication book page (that goes back & forth between home & school), if applicable
  • print out 2nd grade marker for Sabrina to hold for her “1st Day of 2nd Grade” photo
  • contact Program Specialist- touch base on outstanding items
  • back-to-school shopping, ie backpack, lunchbox, supplies, and any new clothes
  • order name stamp for her to “write” her name on her work at school

First week of school:

  • (First day): Take “1st Day of 2nd Grade” photo
  • Introduce myself to RSP teacher, Speech Therapist, Occupational Therapist, Behaviorist, AAC Specialist, any other staff
  • Touch base with teacher regarding volunteer opportunities outside of Yearbook Coordinator position
  • Review AAC outcomes and discuss possible AAC goal with AAC Specialist

Second week of school:

  • put rest of IEP items on timeline (progress report check-ins, etc)

What do YOU all do to get ready for school?  Did I miss anything important?

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.

I was up against a bit of a dilemma back in October.  I wanted a way for Sabrina to thank her friends for coming to her birthday party.  I wanted it to come from HER, not me. But she can’t write and is fairly non-verbal.  So here’s what I came up with. Please excuse her crazy hair.  Pretty stinking cute, huh?