Coming Alive

Inspiring others to use their voice to change the World

Archive for the month “June, 2012”

The Importance of Fathers

I am the person I am today from the influence of fathers all around me.  I had my dad from birth who instilled in me the greatest work ethic ever.  From the beginning he encouraged independence that has never left me, but reminds me often that I am still his little girl—even at almost 40 years old.   Shortly later came my stepdad, who met me at age four and loved me unconditionally right from the start.  From oil changes to teaching me to fish, he has always been there for me and for that I will always be grateful.   My father-in-law started watching me grow at age twelve, then when his son and I started dating at age fifteen he took me into his family.  I have felt like his daughter ever since.  How lucky a girl I am to have all three of them in my life!

Now over the last fifteen years I have had the gift of watching my husband weave through the web of fatherhood.  What I have realized in reflecting on my own relationships and observing him with his, is that we do not always acknowledge the importance of fathers or the pressures they face.  There is a movie scene from a recent real-life version of Peter Pan where the mother is helping the children understand the behavior of their father; a conversation quite similar to some I have had with our kids.  She explains that there are many different types of bravery and one of those is putting others before oneself and making many sacrifices for our family.  She goes on to say that their father has tucked many of his dreams in a drawer and late at night he pulls them out.  Sometimes this drawer gets harder and harder to close.

My husband has now decided to open the drawer!  He has discovered that tucking away his passions was not the example he wanted to be and that there was more than just talking that needed to be done—he was leaving out the doing.  Having him “come alive” is changing the dynamics of this house.  The family is energized, motivated, full of creative ideas, and feeling like anything is possible.  Through all of his trial and error he is discovering the importance of fathers and creating a platform for others to join in the conversation.  His personal conversations with the kids are at Poppiopushover and a more interactive discussion is happening at DadLeadership.  In my opinion, just as everyday is Mother’s Day, I believe it is Father’s Day too.  Happy Father’s Day to all of you out there living your dreams and reminding all of our children they can do the same!!

You have to be alive to “Come Alive”

Reflecting on what makes us “come alive” means that we have to consider our lives up until now.  Sometimes we fail to realize the impact we have made on the world just by being in it.  A couple of weeks ago I wrote a post for the ONE blog, Living to tell the story, in preparation of USAID’s Child Survival Call to Action live webinar event happening this Thursday.  This event is part of the Every Child Deserves a 5th Birthday campaign.  Knowing that 7 million children will not live to see their 5th birthday and that these deaths are mostly preventable is a reason to come alive, at least it is for me.

Over the last year there has been lots of talk about vaccines around the world as well as right here in our house.  My kids were with me as we gathered well over 100 letters, visited our Members of Congress, and talked to anyone who would listen about the two new vaccines for pneumonia and diarrhea that can save 4 million lives by 2015.  When they were launched a few months ago in Ghana there was a celebration.  My youngest son was eating breakfast with me as the twitter party began.  As the tweets were coming we were dancing in the dining room.  We could feel the excitement from the moms whose babies were some of the first to receive these life saving vaccines.

These experiences have left an impression on my kids, especially Henry.  Just this last week he finished up elementary school with free enterprise day where the students create their own business and then use money (fake) that they earned from making good choices at school.  Henry made some awesome silk eye pillows with rice and organic lavender.  (No joke-he can embroider some great designs on the sewing machine)  They were a huge hit, especially with the teachers.  From this success he came up with an idea to raise money for the Shot@life campaign.  Whereas my kids and I used our voice and advocated for support from our governments for the GAVI Alliance, the Shot@life campaign gives individuals a place to make a donation.  It only takes $20 to vaccinate a child for life.  Henry has decided to make eye pillows for $10 each with 20% of his proceeds going to Shot@life.  My favorite part of this was the tagline he came up with:  “because every mother will rest easy knowing that her child will be vaccinated”.

Think of the world with 7 million more Henry’s in it!!  Knowing that by being alive and “coming alive” is inspiring my family and others is a reminder of the domino effect.  When you begin to come alive it affects those around you in an incredible way—I guarantee it!

I will keep you posted on the eye pillow offerings!!



There is Always Time to Change the World

It’s not enough to be busy, so are the ants. The question is, what are we busy about?– Henry David Thoreau

It was last year at this time when I wrote “The World is Busy”.  Running from one school function to another while continuing to maintain normalcy in the rest of our lives can most certainly create a challenge for the best of us.  But I am a witness to the fact that there is always time to change the world—whether you are a single mom, working mom, single dad, working dad, student, twenty-something, thirty-something, or eleven.  Whoever you are and whatever your circumstances there is something you can do to make a difference.


This past weekend, right in the middle of the end of school marathon, I hosted a (RED)Rush event as part of being a volunteer Congressional District Leader for The ONE Campaign to raise money for The Global Fund and support for programs that are making a huge impact in the fight against HIV/AIDS.  The week prior was spent preparing for and pulling off an incredible 5th grade social for 130 students, so what better way to wind down than a Saturday morning with a favorite drink from Starbucks and at the same time being a voice for the beginning of the end of AIDS.  There are 1,000 babies born every day with HIV and, get this, we can see that number be ZERO—yes ZERO!!!  I did not have to pull legs or make harassing phone calls; everyone came because they wanted to.  Some even initiated conversations with others waiting in line for their coffee inviting them to join.  The point is we were getting together on Saturday anyway (the customers in line were there anyway) and it took only a minute to check in on Foursquare, and a minute to write a letter to Congressman McIntyre.  Since June 1 these “check ins” have already raised $186,000 for The Global Fund—taking ONE minute is saving lives….how cool is that??

This is a movement and the busy world is not keeping people from taking action.  We are making the end of AIDS a reality.  I remember being a nursing student in the early 90s when the AIDS epidemic was a death sentence.  To know that we are now at the point of having NO baby born with HIV by 2015…………we HAVE to make time for that!

Infinite Possibilities

“If you have built castles in the sky, let not your dreams go to waste. Just build the foundations under them.”~Henry David Thoreau

            It was seventeen years ago today that my husband and I were married.  However our story starts many years earlier than that.  Actually twelve years earlier—I met my husband when I was eleven years old.  This is not a mushy love story, but rather a story of empowerment, trust, hopes, dreams, and possibilities—infinite possibilities.

            I was in seventh grade math when I met this kid named Randy Fox.  My gosh did he like to give me a hard time!  Always making fun of my shoes (do you remember the black roman shoes?).  Well, I had a strong voice and a talent for finding solutions even back then, so a contract was written (by him, per my request) that we both signed to remind us to choose our words differently.  I now look back and wonder if that “Contract of Agreement” was signed during some astrological event creating a little magic, because it was from that moment on when Randy and I would go to each other when we needed reminded that we had purpose and something to offer the world.  We officially went on a date our junior year of high school, but were never considered “high school sweethearts”.  He was a skateboarder and I loved honors calculus.  We really did our own things, but were on a forward moving path together.  During college we took some time on our own—you know the “I need to find myself stage” and the “I’m setting you free” break up.   With no intention of seeing him again I mailed a card and included the quote from my Celestial Seasonings tea box (I always cut the quotes off!!):  “If you have built castles in the sky, let not your dreams go to waste.  Just build the foundations under them.”~Henry David Thoreau.  This was my goodbye and my deep rooted wish for him.

Now obviously this was not the end of the story.  We did reconnect after a year apart and the moment he walked in the door I knew in an instant that together we could build a foundation for castles grander than my imagination was ready for.  He reminds me daily to go full speed ahead, NO FEAR, let your light shine, go change the world and I remind him that I love him.  I am super excited that he is starting to share his insight, warmth, and talents with the world.  Follow him on his blog at Poppiopushover and discover what I have known all along……….He will remind you that the world is full of infinite possibilities.

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