Check out Our Every Woman Blog Contest Entries

Every Woman Blog contest

We are so excited about the Every Woman Blogger contest submissions we have received so far that we wanted to share them with our readers! Check out the great entries we have received so far and let us know who would you like to see featured as a permanent blogger.

And if you’d like to enter the contest to become a featured Every Woman blogger, don’t wait! The contest ends Thursday, June 30th. To enter the contest, upload a video or post a short written statement to our Facebook Wall about why you would be a great blogger to represent and inspire women in the Midlands.

Kimberly Smith: Hello! I’m so excited that you have opened up this opportunity again. As an Irmo native, LMC patient (2 babies), wife, mom, community advocate and business owner- I have the pleasure of meeting so many wonderful people and hearing some amazing stories. I absolutely love to write (and speak actually). I began writing inspirational poetry at a very young age and have continued to write to encourage those of whom I have an influence. I would love to serve as an Every Woman Blogger because that is exactly who I am! I am your everyday woman who works hard, deals with life’s disappointment, loves family and happens to be pretty good at sharing captivating stories.

Jondalynn Holmes Johnson: I would love being able to share what is on my heart as it relates to “Every woman” from various walks of life. I have recently started my own blog page because writing enables me to express not only words but healing words for what all we experience and encounter. I have been a healthcare employee for nearly twelve years, seeing and being a part of helping patients, families, visitors, and even fellow healthcare employees bring hope and inspiration in challenging times. It would be an honor to be a “Every Woman blogger” using writing to bring and promote another form of healing for the women of the Midlands.

Tiffany Willis: What an exciting opportunity to share thoughts, opinions, and ideas with women from our community! I live in Gaston and am a wife and busy working mother of two boys, a senior and a kindergartener. I meet so many people throughout my day from all walks of life. As a healthcare provider, I have heard so many touching stories, and have so many wonderful ideas on how to advocate for not just my patients and their families, but our community as well. I would love the chance to be an “Everyday Woman Blogger” because that’s just what I am and it’s an experience that I would love to share with others!

Azure Crum Stilwell: Being an “Every Woman Blogger” would be an awesome opportunity for me. I just started my own blog (http://peckedbychickens.com) because let’s face it being a bipolar, overweight, pre-diabetic mom of two boys (ages 9 and 18) is both hilarious and tough so I needed a creative outlet. I am a bit sarcastic with a whole lot of funny mixed in. I come from a long line of wonderful women who have experienced just about everything you can think of from complete happiness to unthinkable sadness and yet we all get up every day and keep swimming. Sometimes we just float but at least we try. My personal experiences and those of the women in my life have helped me to already feel like an “Every Woman Blogger” so I know whoever you do choose is going to be great. Best of luck to all who are brave enough to share a piece of their story.

Jordan Tate: Hi! I’m Jordan Tate, wife to a Lexington Medical ICU nurse, adoptive mama, and infant loss survivor x2. My husband and I lost our first two children to a rare genetic disorder in back to back, full term pregnancies. Each of our girls lived for a few minutes outside the womb before passing away. We wrote about the whole experience on our blog while walking through it all, and four months after we lost our second baby, we brought home our adopted son in a whirlwind domestic adoption. I am dedicated to writing in a voice that is genuine and transparent, especially through the harder moments in life. We like to keep it real. I especially love to reach out to mothers who have experienced infant loss and second degree infertility, as well as families who are walking through the rollercoaster of adoption! You can check out some of our story here: http://tatesatsea.blogspot.com/p/us.html

Felicia Snider: I’d like to be an “Every Woman” blogger for Lexington Medical Center because I’d like to encourage other women as we deal with various aspects of life including: tragedy and triumph, living and loving. As we journey through life, I want women to know that there’s nothing a little laughter, prayer, charm and a tube of lipstick can’t fix. Oh yeah, throw in a cute pair of shoes for good measure! There’s nothing like being a woman! “Living, Shopping and Twisting My Hair” feliciaspeakes.blogspot.com
Antoinette Cain: What an awesome opportunity! I would be honored to be selected to join your team of bloggers. Your mission goes hand in hand with the premise of my blog trulycharmedlife.com. My blog is a platform for women to share their stories, trials and triumphs, so that others are encouraged to claim their charmed lives! Awesome things happen when we come together, heal together, and work toward making our dreams into reality.

angsfamilysandwich: Hello there! I am new to the Columbia area and saw your blog contest advertised in the Irmo News. I am single mother who has been caring for three kids and two parents for years. I am the face of the sandwich generation! This post is about an experience I had with my mother while she was in a nursing home. Please let me know if I need to do anything else to enter the contest. Thanks, Angie Sloan.

Tamara L. Dreher: What can I say? I’m a young, single mother of one, who believes in achieving goals and living life to the fullest! My journey of life in almost 28 years has not been the easiest, raising a son and obtaining two degrees, but still there is no defeat in sight. One of my biggest goals is to become a prominent blogger who gives advice ranging from the beginning of parenthood to the escape of parenthood; most call this traveling 😉. I love to travel the states, serve my community, stay in-the-know about health and wellness, encourage philanthropy, and inspire every being in my path. After all, what is life without the ability to help or inspire others?

As a resident of Lexington, SC who has lived on every side of town in the Midlands, I think it’s safe to say I know my community well. I love exploring what my home has to offer, as well as spreading the word to those who consider my findings interesting or helpful. I am that person who loves to engage in the mind, heal the body, and touch the soul. Even if my thoughts do not initially spark the interest of others, there is always flexibility and optimism!

I can honestly say I have the “gift of gab”, but I’ve learned to transfer that gift from mouth to hand. Expressing my thoughts in a manner that allows others to experience and learn more would be the opportunity of a lifetime for any woman entering this contest. Although my submission is terse, just know my heart and mind have far more to offer. I appreciate the opportunity to participate in this contest, and may the best bloggers win!

Ashley Whisonant: The beauty of the Every Woman Blog is the diversity of women featured. I would love the opportunity to share my point of view and experiences with the Midlands Community. As a University of South Carolina Graduate, former Alpha Chi Omega sorority member, mother to two rambunctious toddlers, and working mom, I have experiences many can relate to. I am lucky enough to have a SAH hubby who supports my full-time work career in the business world. I am obsessed with Disney travel and saving money while doing it! I am a social butterfly that loves to share my money saving travel tips with ANYONE who will listen! I am currently navigating the world of second boy potty training-not for the faint of heart! I would be over the moon if chosen as one of the newest bloggers!

Jeanne Reynolds: As the French say, I’m a woman “of a certain age.” Here’s why I’d like to be an Every Woman Blogger:

I’ve never been so insulted in my life. And friends, get ready, because it’s going to happen to you, too, sooner or later. It was the day I got that special envelope in the mail. The one with an invitation to join … AARP!

What?! I’m not old. I’m not even middle-aged. Hmm, pause on that. Anyone who’s at least 50 — and apparently AARP knows who you are, because that’s when this shows up — is, at best, halfway through life. The middle. Maybe that’s why my middle seems to be expanding.

And that’s not the only life stage-related change I’m looking at. With retirement now peering over the horizon, I’m starting to wonder about things like:
• Who will I be when I’m not a working gal?
• How will I keep the friends I made at work?
• Where do I want to use my experience and talents outside a cubicle?
• What are family members going to expect from me now that I’ll have all this “free time”?
• Will my outside and my inside ever be the same age? (I hope not.)

Maybe you have some of these same questions if you’re changing jobs, leaving the work world to care for family, changing relationships or becoming an empty-nester. Because they all boil down to one essential question: Who am I now?

Let’s find out together.

Stacy Thompson: To blog–1. a regularly updated website or web page, typically one run by an individual or small group, that is written in an informal or conversational style.

Stay with me folks, I realize I started with a definition piece copied from a Wikipedia search on blogs, but I assure you, you like it or not, the rest is from my own hand and somewhat bizarre perceptions and ideas…

I have heard of and subscribed to blogs on various topics written by an eclectic and varied group of people–blogs on running, hiking, politics, health and literature–you name it, and I’ve been bewitched by the blog. But to write my own? Haven’t given it much thought until just now…

I am mostly informal by nature and love a good conversation, no matter the topic–so to have a forum to share my experiences, anecdotes and highly entertaining tales would be a ton of fun…really what is the point of doing anything in life if it isn’t fun, anecdotal and/or to gain experience? I am a long-time resident of Lexington County (grew up in the shadows of Lexington County Hospital, as it will forever be known to those of us who remember the location of not only the ‘old Lowe’s’ on Highway 1, but also the ‘old, old Lowe’s just down the street–and who among us does not miss the Cromer’s monkeys at Dutch Square Mall???) but have explored all seven continents. I am a lawyer working in her own firm but consider myself beyond fortunate to represent those unable to work due to their health; I am a huge fan of all sports but can appreciate the theater and arts (although I may refer to Intermission as ‘Halftime’ and bemoan the concession stand offerings–what? No corn dogs and ginormous soda that takes two hands and a spotter to lift??). I love to cook, but begrudgingly admit that casseroles and tailgate food comprise my meal plan. I occasionally run, but, unless being chased, can only call my pace Tortosian (not a word, but describes my turtle-like attempts). I am immensely proud of my mother and father but cannot deny the fact that my iPhone photo album contains many more pics of my dog at a ratio of about 12 to 1 (although he is pretty freakin’ cute!). I adore the written word and read voraciously, but will not hesitate to watch The Terminator, Roadhouse or The Princess Bride on cable, no matter at what point I channel-surf upon them and despite the fact I own them both on DVD (and Blu-Ray).

If chosen to participate in the Every Woman blog, I promise to deliver just that–random musings, memories and tales from an Every Woman–my travels and escapes from reality; the doldrums of daily life–stories of woman against machine (wait until you hear about my plethora of uses for duct tape), stories of woman against the system (stranded in Monaco and Moscow, each for entirely different reasons), woman against nature (i.e. times you wished that Bear Grylls dude would just permanently affix himself to your leg), woman against parent (my mom gets us involved in a lot of weird stuff–skydiving, bungee jumping and mostly anything involving the signing of a waiver) and, last of all, woman against self (may get somewhat deep, do you have a psychiatrist on staff?? Just asking…)

I’ll write to entertain myself and my close family and friends who will be compelled to follow the blog or risk bodily harm (just kidding, no bodily harm, but extreme stink-eyes and a refusal to make my beyond de-lish oatmeal raisin cookies for the next gathering) and to hopefully entertain others, or at least provide them with a guide of what NOT to do–or how to extract oneself from a potentially embarrassing situation if they do what they shouldn’t, or how to best talk themselves out of said embarrassing situation like a pro.

Thanks for sticking with me and reading this rather long missive — I wish the very best to all who apply! (But my competitive nature precludes me from wishing you luck, I’m sure you’ll understand!).

Sincerely,
Stacy

Teri Keener Mewhorter: I don’t know what I want to be when I grow up! I’ve been a mother to 4, so I am an expert in pyschology, first aid, limo service, and logistics. As empty nesters, my husband and I have decided at 3 p.m. we wanted dinner in Charlotte, so it’s in the car we go! In my earlier years you couldn’t get me on the 2nd step of a ladder; at 50 I lost my fear filter and started ziplining and crossing the singing bridge at Grandfather’s Mountain (in 42mph winds with wind chill of 5 degrees). I am adoptive “mom” to an arctic wolf at a NC zoo & rescue center, novice photographer and create original recipes that people not only request a second time, but they don’t require a trip to ER. Each day brings a new adventure, want to come along?

Deciphering Dates on Products

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Expired

In 1968, treasure hunters discovered a Civil War-era steamboat at the bottom of the Missouri River. Among the items recovered were several intact cans of food. Six years later, scientists opened the cans to find perfectly edible peaches, oysters, and tomatoes. They had stayed unspoiled for over a century. So why do modern canned foods claim to expire in a matter of months?

Here’s the truth: Food expiration dates have nothing to do with safety, and are only loosely related to quality. They’re the manufacturer’s best estimate of when the product is at its freshest or “peak quality.” Many foods will still be good to eat days, weeks, or months after those dates, depending on the food.

If you’ve been throwing food out on these dates, you’re not alone. According to one industry study, 90 percent of us occasionally throw away food too soon, and over half of us do it regularly. All due to a simple misunderstanding about package dates. Okay. If the expiration date doesn’t tell you when food goes bad, how do you know if it’s still good?

Let’s start with the difference between contamination and spoilage. Most of the microbes that spoil food are harmless for humans. In fact, some favorite foods and beverages, like yogurt, cheese, and wine, are made using controlled spoilage.

Contamination, however, is due to a pathogen — a microbe that can make us sick. It’s due to poor handling — like allowing food to come into contact with raw chicken — rather than keeping food around for too long. Contamination related to extended storage doesn’t really happen. The president of the Institute of Food Technologists once said, “In 40 years, in eight countries, if I think of major product recalls and food poisoning outbreaks, I can’t think of [one] that was driven by a shelf-life issue.”

Here’s how to sort out just what those dates mean:

Best before Mar 11 2016
These dates refer to quality rather than food safety. It’s the date before which the brand stands by its product (unless it’s been opened or left out in warm temperatures). Foods with a “best before” or “use by” date should be safe to eat after the date has passed, but they may no longer be at their very best. This is true for “best by,” “best if used by,” “enjoy by,” and other similar expressions.

Beware the danger zone
The main criterion for evaluating food safety is the amount of time food spends in the temperature “danger zone” (40 – 120 °F). If you leave food out on the counter or in a hot car, it could be unsafe even before the date on the package, regardless of what phrase you see.

Sell by June 22 2016
You can ignore these dates as they are meant for store staff. They actually build in quality so that if the food is sold by that date, you can still get it home and have top-quality shelf life for some time.

Use your eyes and nose
For the most part, you can trust your senses to know when food has gone bad. Milk, yogurt, juice, sauces—they can all be subject to the sniff or taste test. Even meat that looks a little faded or gray may okay to eat. The products to be careful with are those they tell pregnant women to avoid—like deli meats and unpasteurized dairy products—and anything with mold.

Freeze by July 20 2016
One good way to extend the life of food beyond its date is to freeze it. It’s like pushing the pause button on your food. Almost anything can be frozen—meat, milk, cheese, eggs, bread, unused pasta sauce. (For a great guide on freezing foods, see this article from Good Housekeeping.)

You Are In Charge…

By: Shannon Boatwright

motivation

Remove stressful activities and demands from your life.
If you cannot, then learn to joyfully deal with them.
Either way, no more complaining.
You are in charge of what you allow in your life and how you cope.

Brendon Burchard

I am inspired by music and/or quotes almost every day, and some days I am inspired by both. Several weeks ago, I came across the lovely and powerful quote above and took a screenshot of it – which lately seems to be my go-to method for collecting these types of things that I like and am touched by in some way. Modern technology! When I need a pick me up, some good ole positive reinforcement, or more smiles to add to my happiness, I skim over my screenshots of quotes and songs in addition to my precious pictures, which create a sea of inspiration.

As I recently dove into my l’il sea of specialness, this particular quote stuck with me. Most of us are not necessarily capable of actually removing stressful activities and demands from our lives. Unfortunately, it’s just not that easy for some of us. But we can indeed attempt to joyfully deal with them. Although I quickly admit, it’s easy to snicker and even giggle at the thought of handling my most stressful situations with any ounce of joy! I mean, come on, really!!?? But hey, maybe I should try it more often – honestly make an effort to deal with the stress with as much of a joyful, accepting nature that I can muster up and just see how things go. It certainly can’t hurt the situation! Unless of course I let sarcasm take over my joy a bit…but still, I’d bet that would still put me on the up and up, as opposed to letting a situation crush my chest and sit on my heart with the immense weight of stress.

The really interesting part of the quote is when it states, “either way, no more complaining.” So direct. So true. So near impossible. Yes, complaining rarely gets us any peace, nor does it put us in a positive way of thinking. BUT, let’s dissect this a bit. Sometimes, when we unleash our frustrations, say with our partner and/or best friend, not only do we feel better from releasing our frustrations by simply voicing them, but sometimes we’re able to come to a solution and/or provide an opportunity for someone to help you in some way get to a better place. Let’s face it, sometimes we just need an opportunity to fuss, with those we can trust, to keep us on track. We should certainly never let complaining turn us into something ugly that only multiplies on itself and grows negativity. But in turn, we also do not want to weigh ourselves down by harboring frustrations that we could quickly, innocently release. All that being said, I do get the main point in the quote, which is, whether you can or cannot change your circumstances to eliminate the stress, by all means, deal with it as best you possibly can, without complaining your whole way through your survival. Drowning yourself in an ocean of complaints will not help you reach your desired destination.

Now let’s get to the gold of the quote, my favorite piece of this inspiration…YOU, yes YOU, are in charge of what you allow in your life and how you cope with it. Sure it’s not easy…it usually never is, in fact. This is life we’re talking about, after all. But we have the ability and the right to control what we allow into our lives, how we let things affect us, and how we react and respond to those things. We can choose to cope with a positive heart or an ugly, negative one. We can either breed negativity and allow it to eat us alive or we can choose to breed positive things that will lighten our hearts and allow true joy into our lives.

The interesting thing is, I came across another quote I had taken a screenshot of that also really caught my eye and my heart, and low and behold, it’s from the same person, Brendon Burchard, who happens to have an Instagram account (@Brendon.Motivation) that is dedicated to motivating others.

So to close out my entry here, I suggest you find some outlet for motivation and inspiration if you don’t already have one. Let words empower you and remind you of the best ways to cope with life and make the absolute best of it. Amongst all the craziness of our world, I leave you with this quote. I only wish that all of the human race accomplish this…

Humanity is seeing others and saying, “I wish you joy, love, health and abundance.”
Not just those you like or agree with. Every. Single. Person.

An Apology on the Plantation

By: Chaunte McClure

Kingsley Plantation

Whenever I decide to go on vacation, I usually don’t plan daily activities in advance. It was no different on my spring break to the Sunshine State. The one thing I was sure of is that I wanted to go to the beach. Down I-26 to I-95 we traveled for a weekend getaway. I wanted to stay in Jacksonville Beach, but it seemed impossible to find a vacancy in that area. We found a quieter spot in what must be one of Florida’s best kept secrets – Amelia Island. (Or maybe it’s that I don’t get out much.) It’s just off the coast of northeast Florida and we got to enjoy the crashing waves of Fernandina Beach. I just love the sound of the ocean! After arriving, we relaxed a while and took a walk on the beach before sitting a spell to continue enjoying the sights and sounds. Just before going up to the room, I asked a manager for restaurant recommendations. She gave us a few, but we went with the casual option – The Salty Pelican. No regrets at all. Good food, good service and a good filling.

The next morning I savored the sunrise, then gave some thought to things to do. After breakfast, our first stop was Kingsley Plantation. A class I was taking on African American Church History prompted this memorable visit.

While driving down the nearly two-mile dirt road, I wondered what life was like for slaves back then, as I did most of the time I was there. I think there were a couple dozens of visitors there, one group and a few families.

Once upon a time I would have never set foot on a plantation, but I’ve gotten past those reservations that once kept me away. While scrolling the grounds, walking from the barn towards a nearby interpretive sign, I noticed an older white lady taking a couple glances at us as we approached. She seemed a bit uncomfortable, but she said hello and asked, “Do you mind if I ask you something?” Two young girls, who I later learned were her grandchildren, seemed embarrassed that their grandmother had asked. Nervously, she proceeded, “As African Americans, how does it make you feel when you come here?” After explaining that I come with an open mind and I understand that it’s an awful part of history that can’t be erased, she apologized. With tears in her eyes, she said, “Well, I’m sorry for what my ancestors did. I apologize for them.” She mentioned how disturbing the photo she had just seen of a slave with countless lashes on his back after whipped for God knows what. After continuing our conversation for a few more minutes, she again apologized, but this time for interrupting our tour. No apologies were necessary because I appreciated the fact that she took the time to engage in conversation with us. Little did she know, that was an integral part of my experience on Kingsley Plantation, and it’s a great memory to hold onto.

But I can’t leave out the rest of the trip because that’s where I had the most fun that day. Jacksonville Landing was our next stop. The online reviews weren’t the best, but we thought we’d give it a try. There was a gumbo festival and live music going. While enjoying lunch on the waterfront, we did some people watching and perused the shopping center. That didn’t take long because many of the spaces are vacant and I wasn’t interested in most of the retailers there.

Jacksonville Beach, however, was the place to be! That’s where all the people were hanging out and having a good time. We joined in on the fun at the Springing the Blues Festival where there was live music, good food and vendors from across U.S. (We even met and supported a vendor from Columbia.) Of course I couldn’t pass up a walk on the beach and a stroll down the boulevard. I had a nostalgic moment, to the days when the boulevard in Myrtle Beach was THE place to be.

Now I’m ready for a vacation to the Caribbean! Any sponsors out there?  🙂

Shopping Guidelines for Wanna-Be Food Waste Warriors

 

By: Mary Pat Baldauf

Food WasteThe grocery store is where you commit — to spending both money and the resources it took to grow the food — even if it doesn’t get eaten. That’s why careful shopping is the fastest, easiest way to cut food waste. Here are a few ideas to help:

  1. Make a list: Research has shown that shoppers who use and stick to written lists—only about 25% of us—have lower grocery bills and make fewer shopping trips. They’re also less susceptible to impulse buys.
  1. Skip the cart: Bigger dinner plates encourage us to eat more, and bigger carts call us to fill them. Hand baskets can help improve your grocery store discipline. Plus, you can count it as strength training.
  1. Scrutinize deals: Five bananas for a dollar is a good deal only if you eat all five. Also, many stores offer the sale price even if you buy less than the stated quantity. If you’re unsure, ask.
  1. Shop the bulk bins: Many stores offer grains, nuts, spices, and other dry goods in bulk bins that allow you to purchase only the quantity you need. This is very helpful if you just need ingredients for a specific recipe.
  1. Use the salad bars: For mixed vegetable dishes or salads that call for small amounts of different types of vegetables, shop the salad bar. They will cost more per ounce, but less overall. On top of that, they’re also already prepared, which is a real time saver for busy cooks.
  1. Use a portion planner: When you’re not sure how much you’ll need for your dinner party, use your smart phone to consult an online portion planner. My favorite portion planner is at Love Food, Hate Waste, a great UK site.
  1. Keep it cold: Buy perishable and frozen foods last so they spend less time at room temperature. And be sure to shake the water from produce—water encourages rotting and adds weight. If you won’t be home for a while, keep a cooler in your car.
  1. Be okay with imperfections: Scarred and oddly shaped fruits and vegetables are perfectly normal. If we don’t buy them, the store will toss them in the trash. (If you’re on Instagram, be sure to follow @uglyfruitandveg for some pretty fun pictures of imperfect produce.)
  1. Buy the last one: People often avoid buying the last item on the shelf. Be a grocery store contrarian. Buying these loners discourages stores from overstocking just to create the appearance of abundance.

Inventors Wanted

By: Lara Winburn

hulahoopAs summer is upon us there are many things I celebrate. Time outside, time in the pool, time at the beach. I love lightening bugs and snow cones and lazy summer days but there are brief hiccups in these idyllic summer days when I wish I had some summer survival inventions. When we are not Instagramming our perfect S’mores or finding the most perfect seashell on the seashore, there is the occasional short fuse and too much togetherness. For those times, dear friends, please make me one of these.

First of all, I would like a personal space hula hoop – you know, like a parent perimeter or a baby barrier. I love hugs and kisses and snuggles but sometimes I need a little space, particularly in the summer when it is hot, sticky and humidity reaches 198 million percent. I could slip on my breezy hula hoop that would prevent anyone, particularly of the toddler variety, from making contact with me. Maybe a little something pleasing to look at like a hula skirt just with a larger more rigid rim – let’s say a hoop skirt meets impenetrable force field of personal space or a mote around this fortress called motherhood.

The other thing I would like as we hit some summer boredom or one rainy day too many is a recording of my own voice. My voice repeating the phrases that it seems I say over and over again. Maybe if it was a little like the Easy button from Staples except when you push it says things like, “Keep your hands to yourself.” OR “Put on your shoes.” OR “Wash your sticky hands.” You know sometimes it is physically exhausting to utter even another word especially when it is the same word you have said 9 million times. See a squabble between siblings – just hit the “hands-to-yourself”button. Finally ready to leave the house and realize someone is still bare footed? Just slam on the “shoes-now” button! Push it 100 times without ever raising your voice. There is a chance you could look at a magazine and regulate behavior at the same time….maybe.

The other thing I would like to own, while maybe not a new invention, is just not in my possession. I would like the darkest, thickest blackout curtains known to man. You know, nothing makes bedtime easy and breezy like daylight savings time. I need these curtains to provide the pitch-black trickery necessary to put small children to bed before everyone runs out of patience. (And before the go-to-bed-now button doesn’t work anymore.)

So happy summer to all of you out there! I hope your days are filled with smiling freckled faces, ice cream sundaes and daring dashes through the sprinklers, but when things get real – I’ll let you know when these prototypes are ready!

Oh, The Places You Will Go

By: Shannon Boatwright

Go into the Wilderness of Your Intuition...

“You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. You can’t get there by bus, only by hard work and risk and by not quite knowing what you’re doing, but what you’ll discover will be wonderful.

What you’ll discover will be yourself.”

Alan Alda (American actor, director, screenwriter, and author. A six-time Emmy Award and Golden Globe Award winner, he is widely known for his roles as Captain Hawkeye Pierce in the TV series M*A*S*H and Arnold Vinick in The West Wing.)

In the wake of graduations all across the state, so many thoughts cross my mind and fill my heart. As I see former students graduating and hear dear friends of mine with children at that age, declaring, “I can’t believe my baby is graduating!” – a whirlwind of emotions come into play.

First, I cannot imagine my own children being old enough to graduate from high school, much less college – them starting preschool was traumatic enough! When both my babies are in high school, it’s going to be quite the reality check for this little Mama.

Second, I think back to when I graduated and boy does that ever send the memories flooding through the mind! So when I read the quote above, by the amazing Alan Alda, I reflect and wonder if these brilliant young graduates truly grasp the fact that they’ve got the whole world at their feet. They’ve got so much opportunity within their reach! Oh to be young again and be in that position to decide all the exciting places I could go!

When I look back to my days right out of college, one of the best things I ever did was venture out on my own and move across the country to Los Angeles. I definitely left my comfort zone, took huge risks, and learned that it took hard work to accomplish great things. That big move helped me to discover myself. And I would’ve never experienced that level of discovery had I never adventured away from my hometown. My wish for all these young ones oozing with potential is that they will allow themselves the opportunity to discover, take life by the reins, own it, and make great things happen, as they hopefully discover the most wonderful things about themselves.

You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself in any direction you choose.
You’re on your own.
And you know what you know.
You are the one who’ll decide where to go.

– “Oh, The Places You’ll Go” by Dr. Seuss 🙂