We are One: Silver Linings during a Pandemic

More than anything the last month has helped me to remember that we are one human race.  The actions of one country, the actions of one government official, the actions of one leader, the actions of one small community, the actions of one business, the actions of one family are interrelated in a way that I believe we as Americans have forgotten.

The world is a scary place right now.  This is something that none of us ever wanted to experience in our lifetimes or in the lifetimes of our loved ones.  We can think about how we are interlinked through the negative view, being mad that we are all quarantined at home in a state of fear, blaming people and countries for their choices, being mad at politicians.

OR, we can think about the silver linings that show up once we accept the facts at hand.

So, if you are watching too much news, or sucked too much into the fear of the situation, whether it be about the healthcare or the economic impact of this crazy time, I thought I would share 10 positive things that showed up to me this week.  My personal silver linings this week in a pandemic.

  1. At my company, CHG Healthcare, we pulled out all of the stops and got all 3,200 of our employees working from home within 4 days of the decision.  Volunteers from everywhere in the organization pitched in to make it happen.
  2. In Park City, Utah, a women started a Facebook ground called CoronaKindness to try to encourage our community to support each other. The comments and examples have been uplifting to read at a time when online time tends to be depressing.
  3. Companies around the world opened up their educational tools to be free to all of us parents trying to teach our kids at home.  Not to mention the preparation the teachers at our Park City schools, and schools around the world.
  4. Two organizations in Salt Lake City, Silicon Slopes and the Women’s Tech Council rallied the community to help get more testing happening in our state.  Entrepreneurs used their skills in innovative thinking to help bring support across business, political and community leaders.
  5. Individuals all over the world donated money if they have the means to help local communities.  A great example of this was our local Park City Community Foundation created a COVID-19 Community Fund to help local non-profits and raised over $150K in a week.  This created the ability to grant to a few local charities that are helping to serve food to those in need.
  6. Our family spent family time together – maybe more than we have in years.  We went on walks, we played games and did puzzles, we disagreed with each other, we hugged and we cried.  Not every minute was good, but we reconnected without the pressure of running to the next thing on our schedule.
  7. In our house, Katharine taught Matthew french lessons so that he could keep on learning in these times at home.  She even dressed up for the lesson to help her be the teacher.
  8. We called more people (versus just texting) and we remembered why our social interactions help us thrive as humans.
  9. I personally saw leadership in action every single day.  From co-workers, from business members in the community, and from politicians that despite my disagreement with their politics.
  10. I heard a business story about innovation in workforce planning where a company leadership team literally created a business model overnight in order to keep their workers employed.  Creativity and innovation will be the key to our future through these times. [cryptic as story confidential]

I know it is bad out there.  I understand, more than most, the challenge of our healthcare system in a time like this.  I worry about friends and family losing jobs.

But today, I choose to think about the silver linings and to think about how we are one human race.  I choose to think that maybe even writing this blog post may be the one thing that I can do to help some of you feel better for even a 3 minute read.

If you have silver linings to share, comment and let me hear yours too.

 

To All The Mothers on Mother’s Day

Thank you to all the mothers out there (especially mine!). Your tireless and constant commitment to caring for, loving, praising, teaching and supporting your kids is what makes this world a better place.  I only hope that I can give to my kids what I see so many of you giving.

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I was lucky enough today to spend the day with my mom (and of course my lovely kiddos and Jon),  I consider myself the fortunate beneficiary of her love over all of these years.  Thanks Mom!

 

Being Grateful: The Beauty of Fall

The crisp air of the fall has set in on us in Park City.  I love all things that come with fall.  

  
 Yellow leaves.

Sweatshirts.

Wearing boots.

Football.

All things pumpkin.

Dark mornings.

Mountain biking on top of the leaves.

Soccer with our kids.

The first fire in the fireplace.

The first frost on the mountain lawn.

Red wine returns. 

Transition.

School routines begin.

The first snow in Park City.   

What I love most is that I live in a place where we not only experience it, but where it is majestic. Where the beauty of the season turning helps you to recognize the passing of time, and be thankful for what you have lived.  I am grateful.  

Being Grateful: Preschool Graduation

Time is such a hard thing to keep in perspective.

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Sometimes you wish it away, like those moments you are sick in bed with the flu and you just want your sickness to be over with.  You hope beyond hope that time will pass faster so you can get back to normal.

Sometimes you wish to relive it, like those moments you reminisce about your past.  The “remember when…” moments that seem to grow in frequency as you get older.

Sometimes you wish for more of it, like those moments when your list of things to do is longer than time allows.

Sometimes it moves slow, but for me most times it moves fast.

After watching Katharine’s preschool graduation yesterday, I am simply grateful for the time I have had being a mommy to this precious little one.  It is amazing how she has grown and what a wonderful caring, little person she has become.

I Want Peace

“I just wanna make you laugh.  I just wanna see that smile.  Babe, we’re only here, oh, for a little while.  I just wanna hold you till we fall asleep.  I want love, I want us, I want you, I want me, I want peace.” – O.A.R.

We have been fighting sickness in our house for what feels like the entire winter.  One of us gets sick, then the other, then Mom which takes everything down.  On this late-April weekend in Park City, rain and snow have graced us with their presence waking up to a 3-4″ layer of white on everything, including our spring tulips.  We decided to take it as a weekend just to hunker down in our house and be at “peace.”  No commitments to anyone, no plans, just each other.

This morning as I prepared some bacon and eggs for breakfast, Matthew was building a whole scene in the living room – Dusty Crophopper was being rescued by the Fire and Rescue helicopter while Katharine was preparing for class at her art table.  She was a 13 year old that can drive to school, and is practicing her cursive writing.  In this land of pretend, O.A.R’s song “Peace” came on our stereo and both kids starting belting out the above lyrics almost subconsciously.

What a good memory to capture on my blog.  I am grateful to have the life that I have.  Today it isn’t marketing meets motherhood, it is must motherhood and being at peace.

Being Grateful: Celebrate the Moments

Sometimes during the tantrums, the sibling fights over toys, and during the crazy schedule I try to run, I can forget the joy of what I have in front of me.  This weekend when we were out to brunch with Matthew, I captured Matthew at his finest.  He is kind, energetic, inquisitive (what’s that mom?), and loving.  His eyes tell stories and he makes me smile.

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This last week at work I had the opportunity to hear Chris Williams speak of his personal story of letting go.  He lost his wife and two children to a drunk driving accident almost ten years ago.  He spoke of forgiveness and moving forward with his life.  It was an unforgettable moment for me to listen to his story.  His humbleness, quiet power and gratefulness for the life he has lived helped me to take a deep breath.   How many times do I harbor anger for something that has happened to me?  How many times have I carried this frustration throughout my days, letting it inadvertently control me?  Chris framed forgiveness as a selfish act, saying that the act of letting go helped him to move forward.  Wow.  What a powerful thing to remember when things don’t go as I want them to go.  Here is to hoping that I never have to face something as tragic as Chris to learn this.

For now, I am grateful for the moments.  This weekend we enjoyed so much fun together…skiing together, playing pretend together, building castles and jails for Matthew’s infamous “mean guy” together, and snuggling as a family of four squeezed into our queen-sized bed.  Sometimes life seems hard, sometimes I have no energy, but always I feel lucky.  Lucky to have this little Matthew in my life, lucky that Katharine is his big sister, and incredibly blessed to have Jon to share it with me.

Being Thankful: A Purposeful Direction of Thought

I began writing this post on Thanksgiving Day as I was feeling I needed to have the obligatory “I am thankful for…” post on the blog.  It was rough.  Although I am thankful for so many things, what I found myself doing was writing what I thought I should write versus the things that were on my mind.  The original intention of this blog was to write from my heart and my head, and not to write what I thought people wanted to hear or what I “should” write.  So, for that day and for the last week or so, I stopped writing.

Once I lived through this writing crisis, I became increasingly more skeptical.  All of the “Thank You” messages that I saw in my Facebook feed and of all of the articles I was reading on other blogs about thankfulness didn’t seem authentic.  I wondered if those were real thoughts from people or if they were just posting/writing about what they thought they should say much like I had been about to do.  So much of our world today is about broadcasting our social “status.”  Therefore, how much are people broadcasting thankfulness versus being truly thankful?

Tonight, I am a little less skeptical.  I have decided that this broadcasting of thankfulness is a good thing.  We all have a lot going on in our lives every day and night.  Our brains can get filled with worry, stress, to-do lists, work, family and so much more.  Being thankful requires a purposeful direction or redirection of these thoughts and energy toward celebrating the good in our lives.  By being purposeful, does that mean it is isn’t real?  I don’t think so.  The forced thought, and ultimately broadcasting of these thoughts, helps to move my mental energy toward what is good in my life and away from what may be dragging me down.

As a way to direct my thoughts toward thankfulness, I will start another category on this blog describing things in my life that I am thankful for.  Look for this, coming soon!

So Thankful…Relationships Make Me Stronger

Time with my girlfriends is what my soul needed this weekend.  I was able to sneak away from Park City to Denver to meet my sister (Hilary) and one of my best friends (Laurian).  It had been about 18 months since our last girls weekend and probably months since I had time for longer than a 5 minute conversation with either of these ladies.  Life just seems to get in the way on a daily basis.  That said, it is amazing that despite this, girlfriends just pick up where we left off.  There is a lot of life to catch up on, but it always feels like it was just yesterday that we did this on a regular basis.

So, after a weekend of food, drink, dance, spa, catching up and as much sleep as we could squeeze in, I head home thankful.

First, thankful for my dear friend and my sister.  These are amazing women who take on life’s daily challenges with confidence.  Time together makes me realize how lucky I am to have kind, strong women around me.  By no means do we have it all figured out, but we get along so well because we aren’t ever scared to try to figure it out.  The other thing I realize when I am with these strong ladies is how infrequently I let my guard down whether on purpose, or by accident.

Second, thankful for my husband and my kids.  All weekend, I got updates from them and they seemed truly happy.  In one conversation with them, Katharine said “we have an action-packed day planned.”  Jon is a remarkable person, husband and father.  He truly went all-in with our kids this weekend to help them have fun and to help me not worry.  It takes so much effort to entertain a feisty 2 and 4 year old for a weekend, and he does it with grace and true care.  The reason I have these wonderful kids is because I found a partner who is truly a partner.

Finally, thankful for this life of mine.  Although it feels sometimes like I am just hanging on for dear life, dear it certainly is.  I often wonder how this all happened.  How did this shy girl from small-town Ohio, who didn’t seem to know what she wanted, get what she wanted?  I still truly don’t have an answer for that, but after a weekend like this I realize that much of it comes from the relationships that I have with amazing people who help create strength.   I am thankful for this strength around me.