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I am a wife, mother,grandmother, aunt, dog and cat owner, professional buyer, reader, movie lover. I love reading blogs and now I am writing one.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Nora Ephron: This is personal! She is my Walter Payton

My beloved husband was beyond fond of Walter Payton.  Walter was his hero.  Walter changed his life.  When Walter died I sat with him on the couch while he cried.  His hero, his mentor was gone.   

Nora Ephron is my Walter.

She is an important person in my life.  Her movies are among my all time favorites.  Her books are beloved.  I feel Bad About My Neck is one of my top five books.  It is THAT special.  

There are far to many quotes for me to post.  She was my sage, my guru, my mentor.  

I am distraught!

Monday, June 25, 2012

HELP ME, I have agreed with a Kardashian

I cannot stand the Kardashians.  I do not get the Kardashians.  Last year, I was home sick clicking through channels.  I came across an episode of Keeping up with the Kardashians.  I watched for five-minute, then my eyes started bleeding so I snatched up the remote to get the drivel off my TV!

SO, why am I about to defend Kris Jenner?  It truly pains me to say that I am going to defend her because I …agree with her on something.  It hurt to type that!

I came across a link to a video on TooFab. Kris Jenner Defends Giving Kim Birth Control at 14.

In the video, Kris talks about Kim coming to her and discussing her feelings about sexuality.  Kris does not go into each and every detail (a surprise to me as that is what I thought she and her family get paid to do).  The gist of the conversation is clear.  Kim was considering becoming sexually active.  Her relationship with her mother was obviously a close one.  Kris said she got in her car and drove as fast as possible to the family gynecologist, the doctor who delivered each of her children and her first grandchild.  Kris told the trusted family doctor what Kim was considering.  She then left Kim and the doctor to discuss everything that this decision entails. 

The outcome?  Birth control.  Kim has said that she was almost 15.  Kris said she was 15.  Critics say she was 14.  I say, who cares.  If she planned to have sex with someone nothing short of locking her in a closet was going to stop it.  

Kim’s parenting philosophy is healthy, happy, and educated.  Mine is too.  The revelation that I agree with something that came out of Kris Jenner’s mouth has not morphed me into a Kardashian fan.  Not! Happening!  Ever!!  Nevertheless, I do believe that a smart parent must be open to supporting their child 100%.  That means in the good choices and the questionable choices.  

I wanted my daughter to wait.  I was not a “thou shalt wait until marriage” kind of parent. 
I did want her to wait for THE one.  If not THE one then the really, really, MAYBE one.  I was smart enough to know that no matter what I wanted, no matter how much I talked to her about waiting, she was going to make the decision herself. 

I decided that I would climb out on to the tightrope and navigate over the white water rapids of parenting.  Telling my child what I believed was the right choice while at the same time keeping her safe.  That meant open discussions about sex.  I felt it important for her to be able to discuss anything with me without embarrassment, no matter the topic.  I knew this meant that there could be conversations that would be uncomfortable for me.  The trade off was, in my opinion, worth it.

Of course, I wanted her to avoid teen pregnancy.  Absolutely, I wanted her to avoid STDs.  However, there was something else I wanted her to avoid.  I did not want her to have a series of bad experiences that screwed up her adult sex life.

Believe me, none of this was easy.  I was determined to “do it better” than my mother.  For my mother there was one choice, abstinence until marriage. There was nothing to talk about.  She told me how it was going to be and she believed that I would comply.  She and I went to the obligatory mother/daughter "becoming a woman" talk when I was in middle school.  With that done, there was no more talk.  That was "the talk".  That's what I got.  I was woefully unprepared for sex.  I waited for what I thought was THE one.  Any "feelings" I had up until THE one were kept secret and private.  What happened next is a long story for another time.  Of all the things that THE one taught me, the worst was that any sexual "issues" were mine to deal with.  I came to think I was broken; incapable of experiencing any pleasure from the sex.  I really did not want that to happen to my daughter.

I started my daughter in birth control at 15 ½.  I also bought a box of condoms.  My directive to her was, I want you to wait, but I want you to be safe above all things.  No matter what, you must talk to me even if you think I will be upset or disappointed.  I vowed to her that for my part, I would always remain calm and I would always listen, even if I were upset or disappointed.  Throughout the next few years, she talked to me.  She asked questions.  She asked my opinion.  There were times I felt uncomfortable.  I kept up my end of the bargain and so did she.

She is now 23 and expecting her first child.  She is a happy and well-adjusted young woman.  I know she will be a great mom.  It is a boy, by the way.  My hope is that she will be open with her son.  I hope that she will take my philosophy, perfect it, and make it her own.  I hope that she sends her son into the world as prepared as possible to be a healthy, happy and educated person. 

I still cannot believe that I found anything that came from the mouth of a Kardashian valuable, let alone equal to my own beliefs.  I guess that proves that a broken clock is right twice a day.  I mean her, of course, and not me....I am right 24/7!  

Sunday, June 24, 2012

I ain't got time to chew!

In 2008 a company called Plum Organics introduced food pouches for babies and tots.  I went to their website.  I'm not linking to it, so if you want to check it out you'll need to Google it.  At first glance, it looks like something fantastic.  No BPA, certified organic, earth friendly fruits and veggies.  However, when I take a deeper look, I see a disturbing trend.

This is not just a line of baby food.  It is also marketed to parents with toddlers. Toddlers with very busy lives.  These children are so busy that there is just no time for solid food.  The kiddies suck the mush in the pouch through a tube.  YUM.....not!!!

The man behind the mush, Mr. Grimmer, calls it "on-the-go snacking".  This article in The New York Times is filled with pithy little catch phrases and buzz words.  Maureen Putman, chief marketing officer of Hain Celestial Group, says
“As a child becomes more independent and wants to self-feed, the pouches are mom’s answer. They definitely give the child a little bit of control and confidence.”
I would love to know how sucking mush from a tube gives children confidence.

Neil Grimmer tries to latch on the free-range parenting convoy.  He really, really should have researched what free-range is all about before putting that out there.  If you, and your child, have a schedule that is so packed your only recourse to stave off starvation is a tube of goo, it is time to rethink your lifestyle.

 Karen le Billon.com makes some excellent points in her blog about these pouches.  How do we expect that our children will learn to eat healthy if they are still sucking mush at age four?  There are days when things are hectic and the help of a quick packaged food can be a life saver. Occasionally!

Free-Range Kids points out that having a schedule that is constantly so packed that a pouch of mush saves the day is the opposite of what free-range is all about.

If we don't watch out, we will become like the people in Wall-E.  Strapped to a hover chair, sucking goo, watching a screen.

Friday, June 22, 2012

One wrong + One wrong = Two wrongs

I have been following this story like many people from all over the world.  Unless you have just been rescued from a desert island, been living in a cave without Wi-Fi, or just immigrated from Mars, you have already heard about Karen Klein.

For the benefit of you island dwelling, cave squatting, Martians here is a recap.  Karen is a 68-year old grandmother from Greece, New York.  She is also a bus monitor for middle school kids.  She was doing her job when several boys started to taunt her.  One of the boys recorded a 10-minute video of the shameful event.  It is tough to watch.  The boys curse her, call her fat, and even physically threaten her.  The worst part is when one boy says that all her family killed themselves to get away from her.  In reality, her son did commit suicide 10-years ago.

Karen remains calm throughout the ordeal. She makes a few comments, but mostly tries to ignore it.

It is important to note that she is in the back of a full noisy bus.  She is far from the driver.

She says she does not believe that these are bad boys.  She says that one-on-one they are not like this.  It happens when they get together.  She opted to let it go.

Then why does the world know all about it?  Because one of the boys uploaded the video to You Tube.   It immediately went viral and in a flash it was all over the news.  The comments are plentiful and varied.  Some call out Karen herself for, what is called by some, a passive reaction.  The parents are vilified.  The school is inundated with calls and emails.

Karen is trust into the spotlight and one person starts a donation website.  He asks people to give so that Karen can go on a dream vacation.  He hopes for $5,000 in a month.  Friday afternoon the donations are at $545,000.  That is SOME vacation.  Southwest Airlines offered Karen and nine of her family a free trip to Disney World.  She has gotten cards, flowers, letters, and gifts from all over the world.

The school and the police vow punishment.  I do want to see severe consequences for these boys.  Karen thinks that all the boys should be banned from the bus and all sporting events.  I think that is not enough.  There needs to be more.

I will say, the fact that Karen will likely be a millionaire by Sunday is a SMASHING lesson to these little snots.  

But here is what I really HATE about this story.  At least one of the boys, and probably all of them, received thousands of death threats.  I will NEVER understand this kind of response.  It makes no sense to me.  Bullying a bully never accomplishes anything.  Aside from that, what happened to "let the punishment fit the crime"?  What happened to teaching children why something was wrong?  What happened to second chances?  What happened to "two wrongs don't make a right"?  When did the death penalty get assigned to everything?  (Including having an opinion.  A few weeks ago a Sports Illustrated model tweeted a negative opinion about Chris Brown and was immediately flamed with threats ranging from insults to menacing comment like, "I hope that you and your family are all raped and murdered.")
The boys and the parents all wrote apologies.  

Josh wrote,

 “I am so sorry for the way I treated you, when I saw the video, I was disgusted and could not believe I did that. I am sorry for being so mean and I will never treat anyone this way again.”
A second boy wrote,
“I feel really bad about what I did,” wrote Wesley. “I wish I had never done those things. If that had happened to someone in my family, like my mother or grandmother, I would be really mad at them.”

These boys did a terrible and dumb thing.  One boy, the You Tube one, did TWO.  But, they are thirteen.  There is time for them to learn, grow, and repent.  They have been humiliated.  They will be punished.  Is it too much to hope that this lesson will cause a dramatic shift in the course of their lives that leads them to become better humans?

Hope:  a feeling of expectation and desire for a certain thing to happen.  

It is my expectation and desire that these boys learn from this.  I hope that they take this event through their lives and use it to change, not only themselves, but others.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Hugs: optional

There were three things I saw on CNN today that sparked my interest.  I had a hard time choosing THE one.  I picked this CNN Article for today because it fit in the theme of my last post.  I have been thinking a lot about the helicopter parent verses the free-range patent.  I am certain that I fell somewhere in between.  AND remember I parented without the Internet :).  It is my opinion, that the Internet increased our fears by a factor of a million.  The Internet and 24-hour new saturation. 

The headline "I don't own my child's body" intrigued me.  I had no idea what to expect.  In short, the article centers on parents allowing their children to decide if they want to hug grandma or Auntie Cindy.  The author, Katia Hetter, believes kids should make that choice.
My favorite part of the article is this statement. 

"No, she doesn't have to. And just to be clear, there is no passive-aggressive, conditional, manipulative nonsense behind my statement. I mean what I say. She doesn't have to hug or kiss anyone just because I say so, not even me. I will not override my own child's currently strong instincts to back off from touching someone who she chooses not to touch."

That comment reminded me of Gavin de Becker's book The Gift of Fear.  Gavin's mission is to empower people to believe that true fear is a gift, unwanted fear is a curse and we should all learn how to tell the difference.  I will never forget when I saw Gavin on Oprah for the first time.  He said something that I will never forget. 

"We are the only creatures that sense danger and walk right into it."

Gavin says that we persuade ourselves to override our instinct because we do not want to appear rude.  This issue is especially chronic among woman.   By allowing her child to control who she does or does not kiss and hug, Katia is training her child to listen to her instinct. As she grows, she will learn to trust that little voice that tells her danger is near.  Of course, it is unlikely that grandma poses any threat to her granddaughter.  But the lesson this parenting technique is teaching may one day save her grandchild's life. 
Katia believes, and I agree, that this will also strengthen her child's self-esteem in other areas; including empowering her to own her sexuality. 

Make no mistake, Katie expects her child to remain respectful and polite.   That is not negotiable.
My mother did not opt for this parenting option.  Hugs were required.  Usually, I didn't mind.  However, my brother was consistently my exception.  Big Mike was 20-years older than me.  His nickname, Big Mike, was not a misnomer.  He was 6' 4", 400 pounds with long black hair and a big black beard.  Think, Hagrid. 
Big Mike was a long haul truck driver.  When he was in the area he would stop by.  He and my parents would sit at the table and talk while drinking gallons of coffee.  I would sit off in the corner, reading or playing.  

When it was time for Big Mike to leave, I was required to hug him.  I did not want to.  I resisted.  Think, BORG.  My brother was a wonderful person.  He never hurt anyone.  He never hurt me.  I don't know why I hated hugging him. Likely, it was that he was so very big and I was so very small.  But, my mother, unwittingly, sent me a message.  I didn't own my body.  It stunted my self-esteem.  Perhaps, it perpetuated my disastrous choice for a first husband (a long story for another day).

I propose that rather than worry every day about the possibility that our child may be kidnapped, perhaps we should worry more about equipping them with the tools to protect them throughout their entire lives.  

Tomorrow.....middle school kids bully an adult?  I am NOT kidding.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Raising grandma

I follow many blogs.  I have my top ten favorites that I make sure to check every day.  One of the blogs I never miss is Free-Range Kids.  If you are not familiar with Lenore Skenazy you can read more about her herehere, and here. If that's not enough type her name into Google and browse through tons of articles. She even has her own Wikipedia page.

In short, Lenore created a fire-storm in 2008 when she let her 9-year old son ride the New York Subway home unaccompanied.  Honestly, I don't remember reading the story back then.  I came to the Free-Range blog just this year.  It very quickly became a top favorite.  Lenore is smart, funny, and an excellent writer.

Yesterday, the blog caught my eye for something other than the post.  Yesterday, the comments ruled the day for me.  The post yesterday centered about a note sent to Lenore by a mother who identifies as being a Free-Range Kid, understands the theory, and supports raising Free-Range Kids.  However, listening to a John Walsh interview totally overrides all of that for her.  You can read Lenore's response in the post.

There were many comments directed at John Walsh, and those like him, implying that they make millions by instilling fear in parents.  I never thought about this before.  Has "child protection" crossed over to a money maker with little consideration to the children?  Don't get me wrong.  What happened to the Walsh family is horrific.  It changed parenting.

When I was a child my mother would send me to the toy aisle when we entered any store.  I was told to stay there until she came for me.  I was 16-years old when Adam died: Long past time to alter my mother's choices.  At 16, I was too young for Adam to affect my parenting.  However, John Walsh is a different story.  He had years to speak to me before my I had my child.

I struggled with fear as a parent.  I had KAM in 1989.  No internet. But plenty of TV.  20/20, Primetime, Nightline.  There was no shortage of opportunities to hear what the worst of humanity looks like.  It was easy to see monster's around every corner. I wanted to fight it.  I tried to fight it.  I likely failed as often as I succeeded.

I don't know if it is money that now motivates John Walsh.  I hope that it not true.  What I do know is that my child is expecting her first child.  She is asking me questions about parenting.  I want to give her the best advise possible.  I want to be a supportive parent and a fantastic grandmother.  Ultimately, she makes the choices regarding how she will parent.

I always plan a summer reading schedule. I re-read old favorites.  Sometimes, I pick a new series.  This year I picked four parenting book that caught my eye.  Free-range KidsFrench Kids Eat EverythingBringing up Bebe, and How do Eskimos Keep Their Babies Warm.  I am looking forward to exploring parenting from the grandma side.  I'll let you know what I learn.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Never Seconds Update

This video of children from the Lirangwe School in Malawi thanking VEG and her "friends", (that's US folks) is so wonderful.  I just cannot stop watching it.  

VEG was back today talking about her lunch. Donations through VEG's Just Giving link are up to £87,630.23.  VEG announced that the school kitchen will be named Friends of Never Seconds.   
I did follow-up with a thank you email to “the council” I do hope that others did as well.
I intended to write about something else entirely today. However, I just had to share the wonderful thank you video. My other topic will have to wait until tomorrow, but here is a preview.   Tomorrow I want to talk about another blog I love, Free-Range Kids 

The blog, and subsequent comments, sparked a lot of thoughts.  Since my first grandchild arrives the end of August, I have been thinking a lot about raising children in today's world.   I'll talk more about that next time.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

When all else fails, sing about it.

Yesterday I posted this very long blog about being part of something special.  In the post, I mentioned that I have a problem listening to the universe when teaching points land in my path.  In fact, I down right suck at it.      This week, I listened and the results are chronicled in the very long blog about being part of something special.

I wanted to share with you all to what I was referring when I mentioned that I listened this time.

On June 12 I read this blog post . Jenny's laptop was stolen from her luggage while in the control of American Airlines. FYI, yes she knows it was not the best idea to put the laptop in her checked bag.  

 In turn, Jenny posted this

Dave Carroll's story captivated me.  After 8-months of fighting with United because baggage handlers willfully, and in front of many witnesses, broke his Taylor guitar he turned to social media for help. In four days he had 1-million hits, United Airlines stock dropped 10% for a loss of $180 million dollars, and United was forced to do the right thing.  Dave and his friends did this without any cursing, insults, or death threats.  It was a respectful campaign.  It was a successful campaign!  It inspired me and opened my mind to the possibilities.  

Two days later, I even shared the story with my boss and co-workers after a weekly staff meeting.  Dave's story was fresh in my mind later that evening when I read that the Argyll and Bute Council banned a 9-year old girl in Scotland from posting pictures of her school lunches and blogging about it.  In less than 24-hours her followers, including me, successfully convinced "the council" to reverse that decision.

Dave Carroll's mission started two-years ago yet his message is still making a difference.  His video has over 12 million views.  He also wrote a book about it. It is still early in the story of VEG and her Never Seconds Blog.  Who knows where this tale will go.  I heard an unofficial report that the donations to Mary's Meals through VEG's blog is up to 100,000 pounds.  I am sure VEG will update us tomorrow.  Regardless, Mary's Meals has received outstanding free press.

I cannot wait to see where we go from here.

Oh, I got a bonus from all this.  My sister read the blog and called me.  We live a long distance away from each other and we don't talk enough.  It was great to talk to her about something so uplifting.  I love you 3M.

***Update.  VEG's total giving is currently at £81,086.00 in total donations.  That is a mind blowing 1158@ above her initial goal!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

A small part in a BIG event: Or, how I found my voice

 A short while ago, I stumbled upon a blog written by a 9-year old girl, nicknamed VEG.  I have since learned her real name, as has the entire world. More on that later. I’m not going to use it though because to me she is VEG.

I do not recall how I heard about the blog http://neverseconds.blogspot.com/.  I think it was an article on CNN.  I’m not sure though.  I was enchanted by this amazing young lady and I started following her.  I added her to my igoogle and moved her right up to the top, just under my beloved niece and nephew-in-law, so I would always remember to read her posts.
She started the blog with the encouragement of her dad.  She had been having discussions with him about her school lunches.  Firstly, there was not enough food, secondly, it was not great food, and lastly, it was not healthy food.  I forgot to mention, VEG lives in Scotland. 

VEG and her dad decided that it would be fun to blog about this situation.  She planned to take a picture of her lunch and then apply a formula to rate the lunch.
·         Food-o-meter- Out of 10 a rank of how great my lunch was!
·         Mouthfuls- How else can we judge portion size!
·         Courses- Starter/main or main/dessert
·         Health Rating- Out of 10, can healthy foods top the food-o-meter?
·         Price- Currently £2 I think, its all done on a cashless catering card
·         Pieces of hair- It wont happen, will it?

In April she started but was plagued with technical difficulties, mostly camera problems.  In May she was off and running.  On May 9 her blog has 25,000 hits.  This, in and of itself, was a huge accomplishment for a 9-year old talking about her school lunch.  Jamie Oliver even found out about it and he tweeted VEG’s dad.   At this point, let me take a side note to answer the question asked regarding “Pieces of hair” – Yes, Yes it will happen.

VEG was enchanting people from all over the world and many started sending her pictures of their school lunches.  Kids, teachers, and parents were all participating.  VEG’s awesome father took this as an opportunity to teach.  Once VEG choose the picture she planned to use for the day he would have her find the place on the globe.  She always tells us how many seconds it took to find the place.
On May 17 Jamie Oliver sent her an autographed copy of one of his books.  Also VEG’s dad met with “the council” (remember them, they come back later) and confirmed that the kids were allowed unlimited salad, fruit, and bread.   I remember when I read that post thinking, “Why wouldn’t” the council” make sure that everyone knew that?”  OH, on May 10 VEG has 105,000 hits.  These hit counts are going to become very important later, trust me.  On May 23, http://neverseconds.blogspot.com/ reached 1 million hits.
This little blog, written by a 9-year old, living in Scotland, talking about what she ate for lunch at school has ONE MILION hits.  In a few short weeks this little lady grabbed attention from all over the world.  She is not just talking about her lunch.  She is raising awareness about what we feed our kids.  She is not “just a kid”, she is now an activist.  VEG has made a difference because now her friends know they can eat as much salad, fruit, and bread as they need in order to feel satisfied; in order to go back to the class rooms and have enough energy to concentrate and learn.  Happy ending, let’s move on to the next fun thing, shall we?

Wait,not so fast.

Her family has long been supportive of a Scottish charity called http://www.marysmeals.org.uk/.  This organization uses no advertising and relies on word of mouth so more of each dollar can help a child.  I have a lot to say about Mary’s Meals, but this is a story about VEG so please follow the link and learn about this amazing charity!  VEG responded to several comments on her blog saying that she was lucky to have lunch at all by starting her own campaign to help starving children.  She asked her wonderful readers to give to Mary’s Meals.  She put a button on her blog so it would be easy to give.  VEG set a goal of 7000 pounds that would go to a school in Malawi.  She kept track of the donations and provided updates on each blog.  She would tell us what percentage of a kitchen and how many children the money would provide. 

Let’s recap; in a matter of week’s she-

·         Impacted her school by raising awareness about the food they are allowed to eat
·         Found followers all over the world and joined virtually with the likes of Michelle Obama and Jamie Oliver and sparked more dialog regarding what we are, or are not, feeding our children
·         Joined with a charity to feed starving children.

This brings us to June 14 when VEG posted this http://neverseconds.blogspot.com/2012/06/goodbye.html
“The council”, not the school mind you, “the council” ordered her teacher to tell VEG she can no longer take pictures of her food.  She was devastated.  I was devastated.  The other 34,000+ followers were devastated.  In seconds, I knew what I wanted to do.  I suspected a large number of the other followers were thinking the same thing.  This is unacceptable and we are going to change it!  I found the email for the Argyll and Bute Council and I sent them this –

I want you to know that I feel your decision to ban 9-year old VEG from posting photos of her lunches on the blog Never Seconds is appalling. There is only one motivation for this decision; self-preservation. She is eloquent, smart, engaging, generous, and passionate. The world has been enjoying reading her colorful blog. How refreshing it has been to see someone this young find her voice and discover she can make a difference. Did you even pay attention to the money she is raising for charity???
What do you think you accomplished with this decision?
I fully expect you to be shocked by the feedback you get from this as you are clearly out of touch. I hope you learn from this mistake! On Monday morning, I fully expect to see a blog post from darling Veg. I want to read a post that tells us you apologized to her for your short-sightedness. I want to read that each of you on the council made personal donations to Mary’s Meals. I want to hear that you restored some of her innocence and some of her faith (although you all must live with the knowledge you took something from her today that she will never get back).
You made a terrible mistake today. Fix it!
Bridget McArthur
47-year old mother of 3 from Minnesota USA

I absolutely believed “we” were going to fix this.  There was no doubt in my mind.  My only concern was that sometimes people go over the top in situations like this, and over the top loses the message every time.  When I first got home on June 14 and read the post there were 157 comments.  At bed time there were 586.  The next day at lunch there were 1700+ and the blog had over 3 million hits.  At 2:50 PM I found this article on CNN http://www.cnn.com/2012/06/15/world/europe/uk-school-dinner-blog/index.html?hpt=hp_t3.  I was fist pumping for all I was worth as I read through the article.  I was whisper screaming yes, yes, yes we did it.  And then my eyes fell on this –

The response from some of Martha's more than 34,000 followers was swift, with more than 1,100 comments by lunchtime local time Friday.
Bridget McArthur, a 47-year-old mother of three from Minnesota, said she had personally e-mailed Argyll and Bute Council demanding a change of heart.
"I want you to know that I feel your decision to ban 9-year old VEG from posting photos of her lunches on the blog Never Seconds is appalling," she wrote. "There is only one motivation for this decision; self-preservation. She is eloquent, smart, engaging, generous, and passionate. The world has been enjoying reading her colorful blog. How refreshing it has been to see someone this young find her voice and discover she can make a difference. Did you even pay attention to the money she is raising for charity?"

Holy Stars.  That is my name.  My name is on CNN.  That is not just my name.  That is my email.  My email is on CNN.  I AM ON CNN. I admit it, I geeked WAY out about it. There was jumping and squeeging and making others read the article.  My heart pounded.  My hands were shaking.  I indulged in about an hour of selfish excitement that was all about me. 

I came back down and remembered that “we” used social media to respectfully correct an injustice.  “We” won VEG’s voice back.  “We” penetrated bureaucracy in less than 24-hours.  WOW!  I spent several more hours enjoying the exhilaration of being a very small part in this moment.  It was really fun.

Then I started to ponder the bigger picture.  There is a lot to think about here.  One of my co-workers asked what caused me to start following VEG in the first place.  Until that moment, I had not thought about it.  It only took me a few seconds to realize it was because at 9-years old she found her voice.  I put that in my email to “the council”.  Now suddenly, it struck me as the core reason VEG fascinates me.  Most of us never find our voice.  We live out our lives never finding out we can make a difference.  There are people who find it later in life.  I’ve met some.  Once they find it, their lives are changed forever.  VEG found it at 9.  If we all found our voice at that age, can you imagine how amazing this world would be? VEG is all of the things I put in my email to “the council”.  She is eloquent, smart, engaging, generous, and passionate.  She enchanted me from the first blog post and she continues to inspire me.  However, she is more than that to me.  To me, personally, she is a teacher.  I live my life wishing I had a voice.  I feel envious of people I see making a difference.  I think about and talk about all the ways the world could be better.  There is just one thing I don’t do.  I don’t actual go out and MAKE a difference. 

VEG gave me a gift.  She touched my heart, she inspired me and she taught me.  I can make a difference! 

BTW last count http://neverseconds.blogspot.com raised £45,889.46 for http://www.marysmeals.org.uk/.  A school in Malawi can have an amazing kitchen and feed thousands of kids.  I have a feeling that number will keep going up.  VEG’s blog has 5,086,608, no 9, no 10…since I started typing that 5,086,726…..hits.  It is changing so fast you cannot keep up with it.  I cannot wait to read what she posts on Monday.
I am going to follow-up with “the council”.  I’m going to send them another email and thank them for hearing us and doing the right thing.  It feels like the right thing to do.  I also learned another lesson through all this.  The universe will put things in your path to open your mind and teach.  You have to pay attention. I frequently don’t.  This time I did.  But, more on that another day.

SO, thank you VEG, you taught me a lot.   

I am ready to start using my voice.