Personal Mission Statement

So guess what – I have started a new job. Yay! …Well it is more than just a “job” – I feel this will become very much part of my lifestyle should it become what I think it could.  Anyhow, as part of my on-boarding with my new employer I was tasked with reading Habit 2 from “7 Highly Habits of Highly-Effective People“. I have always wanted the time to read this book – but as part of my “90 days” I am being allotted so much time to read and discover myself. This is as part of their culture – they want their employees to find their strengths, understand their goals, understand what they really want and then begin to start the journey. In theory this should result in “wild success” for not only the employee but for the team, the leadership and the company as a whole.

Anyhow, so back to Habit 2. My mentor here suggested this reading so they can take it and understand what it is I want to focus on and help guide me .  After I completed the reading I provided them a 3 pager of information. I am not going to paste the entire document here, but I felt it was important to share my personal mission statement. This is how I am going to hold myself accountable. If I kept it between myself and my mentor, I still have accountability however not quite at the same level. So here it goes.. a bit about the journey and then the statement:

Before starting I needed inspiration. I came across Erma Bombeck.. She wrote this:

“If I had my life to live over, I would have talked less and listened more. I would have invited friends over to dinner even if the carpet was stained and the sofa faded. I would have eaten the popcorn in the ‘good’ living room and worried much less about the dirt when someone wanted to light a fire in the fireplace. I would have taken the time to listen to my grandfather ramble about his youth. I would never have insisted the car windows be rolled up on a summer day because my hair had just been teased and sprayed. I would have burned the pink candle sculpted like a rose before it melted in storage. I would have sat on the lawn with my children and not worried about grass stains. I would have cried and laughed less while watching television – and more while watching life. I would have shared more of the responsibility carried by my husband. I would have gone to bed when I was sick instead of pretending the earth would go into a holding pattern if I weren’t there for the day. I would never have bought anything just because it was practical, wouldn’t show soil or was guaranteed to last a lifetime. Instead of wishing away nine months of pregnancy, I’d have cherished every moment and realized that the wonderment growing inside me was the only chance in life to assist God in a miracle. When my kids kissed me impetuously, I would never have said, “Later. Now go get washed up for dinner.” There would have been more “I love you’s”.. More “I’m sorrys” … But mostly, given another shot at life, I would seize every minute… look at it and really see it … live it…and never give it back.” –E.B.

Oh my god – could I just take her reflections and make it my mission statement? I would have liked too, but that is unauthentic and I really need to do this exercise – for my soul.

So I re-began my journey. However I just sat there staring at the blank white screen on my desktop.  I did a little searching again and found the Franklin Covey’s Public Mission tool. I figured this could guide me along. It was a good choice. This is what it generated:

I am at my best when I have gotten enough sleep and give less focus on the negative chatter in my head.

I will try to prevent times when I become too focused on things that could wait and then eventually push people away – otherwise I will miss out on some great moments..

I will enjoy my work by finding employment where I can team up with creative customer-centric and intelligent folks and work on solutions to all kinds of problems. I will also enjoy my work where I can be allowed to build people up, have them see their potential, continue to hold the flag for them and lead them to the finish line.

I will find enjoyment in my personal life through quiet moments with my kids. I will also get outside more and play in the sun, stop and listen to the sounds around us, feel the wind and talk about those experiences.

I will find opportunities to use my natural talents and gifts such as my humor, creativity, vocalization, intuitive intelligence, communication, drive, empathy.

I can do anything I set my mind to. I will eventually travel the world, experience other cultures, take time to be part of those cultures, learn from them, their languages, their ways to ultimately find myself and become a more understanding and empathetic person..

My life’s journey is to help family, friends and others to realize there is so much more to living. To teach them to take breaks from work, to take time to feed their souls and minds, to paint, to create, to teach, to talk, to love. The end result would hopefully be a group of people with a much richer outlook on life and a relaxed mentality..

I will be a person who is self-sacrificing to help others growth. I will always lead by example. I will always be authentic and down to earth. I will use humor to break the tension. I will use my creativity to solve for problems that are blocking people from reaching their goals. I will be caring and open. I will love fully and always be an excellent parent, friend, confidant.

My most important future contribution to others will be my patience and love and a place where they can grow, and from them I will also grow..

I will stop procrastinating and start working on:

  •          My insecurities
  •          My extreme task orientated nature
  •          My comfort with solitude

I will strive to incorporate the following attributes into my life:

  • Helper and Enabler
  • Thinking systematically
  • Even-Tempered

I will constantly renew myself by focusing on the four dimensions of my life:

  • Physical: eating healthy, sleep, outdoor activities
  • Spiritual: meditate, theological research and study
  • Mental: practicality, less repetitive analysis, more broader studies
  • Social/Emotional: Surround myself with loving, fun people

I am glad I performed this exercise and took it very seriously. While still very much a draft, I do believe this is close to what I need for me right now. This will become my “goal post”, my “personal constitution”, this will keep my conscience focused with the end in mind. What a different way of thinking… I am excited.

Do you have a personal statement?


Calling for ideas…

Anyone want to raise up some blogging ideas for me? The intention of this blog was to have a place to talk about the girls, especially when AJ was born and we had the issues we did. Now that things are pretty mundane (happily so) I feel like I have this little spot, I should use it. It has been nearly a year since the last time I wrote anything…. Image

It’s only been a year or so…

I had so many well-meaning intentions for this “interweb” space I have… but being a Mom to two girls, sicknesses (all around), trying to hold a full time job among other things – let’s suffice it to say I have never been good at time management.  I am always that milestone on the project plan that gets pushed and eventually turns into an enhancement request that just never gets implemented.

Why am I posting today though? My girls are good. The youngest that inspired me to put my words out to the ether is doing well. She will be having a visit with EI soon to assess her language and communication skills since they are still lagging behind. I also want to have her hips get examined – they are too loose and “poppy” than I think should be OK. Anyhow, my girls are my super heroes. I seriously wish I could spend every breathing moment with them… well OK maybe I need a break in there.. but you get the gist. However they are not why I am writing this. I am writing this about my husband – Jesse Noller.

These last two years have been really trying. He and I have  had our ups and major downs. I have admittedly thought about leaving. Letting his mistress (anything tech) take the lead while I carry on with the girls.  The past two years have been specifically trying because of a large language conference he has been chairing. I have seen this conference take every ounce of energy from him and leave a pretty cranky and tired (among other things) human (I think) in its place.  It seems there is always some fire or some drama that he has to get into and help resolve. There are a lot of folks who do not like him. He is the squeaky wheel when things are just inherently wrong – but he is more than that – he volunteers to fix it. He does this because his vision of community is striking. He was once that quiet nerd in the background trying to figure what his next step would be, now he is strong, verbose and very outspoken about things like education, diversity, an open community. He is holding a flag and working with those to lead these changes. He worked his globules off in creating something where kids can even join and enjoy. He exposed all this work at Pycon 2013.  I was so proud watching his opening keynote (I am already getting teary-eyed thinking about it). I also felt quite guilty. All this yelling and moaning about how I don’t get to spend enough time with him, the girls don’t get to see their Dad, or when they do he is a grumpy mess – all of those conversations I looked back on when I saw all his work unveiled through the number of attendees, the rise in the presence of women, and the best part to me – the kids, I felt quite awe-stricken. So proud. Amazed beyond belief. I wish I had been there to get on stage and hug him – because that is how much emotion he fired up in me

Jesse has grown and evolved in the 10 years I have known him into a very caring, passionate, humane wonderful person. He constantly attributes meeting me into becoming that person, but I think it’s a combination of things and I definitely think being a father has pushed this growth in the direction it has gone. That is why it upsets me so much – that here is he working to make the Python community work together in an environment that is thoughtful and non-hostile, so it can welcome folks who love to build and create from all walks of life, young and old and inspire future growth into a language that may not have been interesting to someone until they saw the community aspects of it. (Holy long run-on sentence, I know) Python, in Jesse’s world is much more than a programming language – based on some blog posts after the con, it’s not just his world anymore. A lot of programmers want to see that world and have been inspired by it. Here is the bittersweet part of that vision though, there are still many members who do not hold that vision – nor do they care to. There were quite a few instances where folks made some really bad choices, some where they actually broke the law– and somehow now this has become his fault. To the point he is getting harassed – not just on twitter or email or some tech forum, but getting calls – phone calls. To me that is a red flag of escalation. Someone(s) is feeling courageous enough not to hide behind a browser and keyboard. Which to me is all sorts of things, but mostly scary. People are mad that he and other staff members created a COC – guidelines on how to carry one’s self and what would not be acceptable. Not only did they create these guidelines, but they carried them through and a person was removed from the con. It’s unfortunate that it had to get to that point, but that is not the fault of the PyCon staff, that is the fault of those making bad choices. It was not like the COC was something kept underwraps, and no one knew what could happen. I am not sure what makes people think they are above such rules or that they are invincible to consequences. Now why Jesse and others, but mostly Jesse, is suffering bad consequences for something with good intentions is beyond all logical thought.

I am writing all of this because I just need to talk it out (yes I am talking as I type this) and understand why people are so venomous, so scary, so willing to attack others when really they should be looking in the mirror. I know Jesse will still try to carry this torch he lit while chairing Pycon, but quite frankly I sometimes wonder if it is worth it.  The ugliness of things tends to be more apparent than the beauty. I hope that can be changed. Good Luck hun.

This post reminds me that tomorrow starts Advent

“Mem­o­ries are strange things. You don’t quite know where they come from — or why a par­tic­u­lar one is more pow­er­ful than another. They pop up unbid­den — some sub­con­scious trig­ger, a smell, a sound, an event causes them to come to the fore­front of your mind and take over your brain and emotions.

Mem­o­ries, once ingrained, are impos­si­ble to rid your­self of, good or bad. You don’t get to choose which ones fault in, and you don’t get to choose which ones are the most pow­er­ful one attached to a trigger.

Some­times, no mat­ter how much you try, no mat­ter how many new mem­o­ries you try to make to replace, or sub­sume a given one — one mem­ory will always stick. It can be good — or it can be bad. You don’t get to choose. When that mem­ory is a bad one, it doesn’t mat­ter how much you stack on top of it, no mat­ter how much you try to for­get — when it comes to the fore­front, that is what you see, what you feel.

We don’t get to con­trol it. All we can do is try to forge new ones and hope that they are more pow­er­ful, more per­ti­nent and more filled with love and hope than every­thing that came before it, so that even if the mem­ory that comes up is a bad one — a hor­ri­ble one — there’s some­thing warm, lov­ing and car­ing to fall back on and hold on to when we lay awake at night star­ing at the ceil­ing trapped in throes of the past.”

And so begins “A Boys Story” Read the rest at: A Christmas Story

Coincidences and the human need to find a meaning

It has been a long time since my last post. A very long time. This gap highlights my lacking ability to make personal time a priority. It generally goes girls (many tasks), work,  manage the house (many tasks) , manage the budget (getting back in the game), work on mine and my husband’s partnership, other necessities, chores etc.. and if I can fit in “me” time in there somewhere it’s for maybe an hour every couple of weeks – and people wonder why I suck at friendships.

So AJ, how is she?  Still no seizures – which is good. Some things have come up in the last week that have made me concerned and I have brought up to early intervention and will be brought up to her neurologist in December. She will have another EEG when she see’s him to make sure she still has a clean background. The consistent concerns have remained around auditory processing, very mild hypertonia/cp and sensory issues – the plan is the same however – watch her and catalog her progress and report at each major age her milestone accomplishments to see how well she is doing. She has a nurse, a physical therapist, pediatric neurologist and possibly an occupational therapist to help decide how well she is doing and what she needs next to keep her moving forward. I truly believe had I said nothing when she was 3wks, she would not be doing as well as she has been. I believe the monster I saw taking her away from me at the beginning would have never let me see the smile and laugh I see today. I am definitely proud that I have reached that point in my life, and my confidence, where I don’t necessarily give a crap what people necessarily think when I speak – and that I can say or do what needs to be said even if others think I might be crazy. 🙂

So…What does all of that have to do with the title of my blog post? Nothing. However the following does.

You may remember a few posts ago where I wrote about me collapsing in the shower with tears streaming down my face pleading to an unknown entity to take away whatever was taking away my little girl. God are you there? Since that time, and since my daughter’s improvement I felt it important to start down the path of going to church. The initial and main reason was so that my oldest, who is going to a catholic/christian elementary school, would have more teachings about Jesus since I knew she wasnt getting that learning experience, she needed, from me. I chose a congregational church because that is what I was baptized as and I prefer their very open and very flexible attitude towards people and religion. It is very much “here is what it says in the bible, here is our interpretation, now go make your own”.

The first Sunday I brought my oldest, something surprising and meaningful happened. One of the nurses who totally stole my heart when I was pregnant in the hospital for the two weeks after the first minor abruption, walked across the parking lot. The crazy thing is that she lives in the same town as me, right around the corner from me (literally) yet I never see her. The church is around 20 – 30 minutes away. Yet I saw her that day. You have no idea how much this person meant to me at the hospital – and I had all the good intentions of saying thank you by either going to the hospital or sending a gift to her and the few others that really made my stay comfortable. However there was my chance – there at church. So that was the 1st thing.

Next.. The pastor of the church had emailed me about a month ago after both my daughters and my husband were baptized at the church (very beautifully) to ask if we would like to become members. Personally, my first reaction was very much of confusion. Wasn’t I already? My daughter is going to Sunday School, I have gone to one function, helped out, offered tithing, been treated and treated others like friends – I just didn’t understand the question. So I asked, and his response was “Think of it like marriage”… so my next thought was “Well, I am not so sure I am ready for that kind of commitment again.” sort of tongue in cheek, sort of not since I am not sure where I (we) will be in a year (another post for another time). So I did what I always do, I googled it. I found that when you become a member, it means you get a vote in the congregation – you have a voice. This, I know is a very important option to have for Jesse and I, so I emailed him back and said “Yes.” A few hours later I got an email from their Director of Christian Education asking if we would like to take part in Advent and play the roles of Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus – Aj of course being the latter.  If you know me and know my dry sense of humor, you know I had to have a good chuckle out of this, and made a few jokes, but at the very same time was extremely humbled to be asked for my family to play those roles. I felt if there is some entity out there (yes I still do question this) this was one way of saying “thank you” for providing me the strength to protect and help my daughter continue to do well, so I said “yes”.

Then today.. a long time friend of my pings me out of no where and asks me if I remember a couple of people from a very long time ago that we knew from a group we belonged to called “EveryDay Angels” (EDA). She happened to notice when she watched a video of my daughter singing in the church choir that she was standing next to the daughter of two people I had known in EDA. These same two people happen to be the pastor (who looks very different now) and his wife (who looked so familiar it was driving me crazy – at least now I can stop staring at her). The three of us were completely blown away – the pastor’s wife and I chatted back and forth via FB for a while and she made me realize I have actually known of her for a very long time, pre-EDA.. meaning when I was in my teens-long-time.

So in summary deciding to go to church has:

  • brought me together with the nurse (actually two, her partner as well) that meant so much to me
  • is letting me have AJ play an instrumental being in the christian and catholic religion (as well as Jesse and I)
  • brought two more people back into my life, and because we couldn’t remember each other – something that happened at the church provided my friend the trigger that brought it all together for us

It is very hard to sit here and not want to over analyze all of this and try to find the hidden meaning to all of this – does this mean someone/thing heard me cry that day in the shower – is that why AJ is doing so well? Is that why these things are happening? It is so very human to try to find connections. We all need to explain away coincidences.. for now I will be happy and amazed, not think too much about it and see where this path is going to take me.

Speaking of happy, here is something to end this with: “Twinkle Toes

Another year older

Yesterday was my 34th birthday. Friends of mine watched the girls while my husband brought me out for tapas, wine and mini golf. It was a rather romantic date – it felt like we in our twenties again just dating – which was his intention. It was a nice night – rejuvenating in many ways.

I am a little morose though, thinking about my age and seeing that I have yet to carry out some of my goals. My husband keeps trying to remind me that what I am accomplishing, as a mother, is much more important and meaningful – yet it is taking its time sinking in. I want to be in a place where, as my daughters get older, they have a role model. I want them to see an accomplished, strong and independent person, an excellent and present mother – all the while having the career I love.

I want to give them what I didn’t really have – my entire childhood my mother was someone who I planned to never be like (long story). While I loved her, I was always rather disappointed. I don’t want the girls to have that – sure let them be embarrassed as kids usually are by their parents – but let them see the strong, loving and driven people we are.

Come October I will be re-entering school (had to take a leave the last month of my pregnancy) and in September I will be contracting for a web dev company. Yet part of me wants to find something full-time again – perhaps leading a design team where I can work on my goal of becoming a Director.  I know it probably sounds rather selfish given everything going on with my youngest. However, working has always been part of who I am and I have always been able to load balance a bit. It is who I am – the more there is on my plate, the happier I am. I also think, as odd as it might sound, it might give me the perspective I need to watch my youngest in such a way that I can look with less bias and see more clearly what is really going on. You know that whole ” too close to see the forest for the trees” thing I might be experiencing now being so close to the situation. The bit of distraction work can give, might actually be a good thing.

Well I guess I have a few more weeks to figure that out…(the oldest begins school the first week of September and the week after that I should begin consulting again).

For now, I continue to work on AJ’s plan. EI has started their magic, and the second opinion we got from Children’s gave me some direction as where to help her – they were noticing some delays and physical attributes that are sometimes reminiscent of CP. So Friday when EI comes to visit I will ask the nurse to help with some of the other delays they thought they saw, and to get a physical therapist on hand to help AJ loosen up her left side.  Working or not, I am going to work my tookus off getting AJ all the help she needs.


I make her smile

This will be a short post – but one I had to type up and share.

A couple of weeks ago, as part of everything we are doing for AJ, we had Early Intervention come and evaluate her. I honestly thought they would tell me she is perfectly fine and go about my day. Instead they found delays in three important development areas which qualified her for their intervention, regardless of her diagnosis.

The three areas are social, cognitive and her communication. Now I have to admit having a bit of an understanding of such things, while I frowned at the idea of her having any delays, I also am cognizant of the fact she is still just 7 weeks old (6 weeks when they did the assessment). As someone close said it to me “Most children either develop more physically or cognitively first- and usually not together.”

I did sit there somewhat dumbfounded over the social and communication areas however.  I get her to smile and talk all the time – there was a time where my husband even said “She only talks for you.” – which is (thankfully) slowly changing.  After their assessment I was questioning myself of what I was really seeing.

However today it was proven. She had her 2 month well visit and her Dr was trying to get her to follow him using lights, red objects, his finger –  but to no avail she ignored him. He was a bit concerned (same thing EI saw) but said we would watch it.  At the same time she was giving him a smile, but he was not convinced it was a social smile – which technically I am OK with, even if it is just the reflex smile – at least she is doing it. He had left the room to get me her report and as I was making faces at her I got her to follow me from one side to the other and smile. So I called the Dr back in – and she did it again a few times, then she gave the biggest smile and started yappering. He was taken aback (positively) and was said ” Well I will take that, that is exactly what we want to see.”

So, I have concluded ” Hot damn, I make her smile!..” My daughters’ smiles are the main medicine that gets me through a long day – it is why I work so hard to keep them from frowning.