What comes to mind when you think of “power generation”? Frankly, I usually just think of power generation when it doesn’t work following a thunderstorm or some other technical problem.
I have had more opportunities than usual to think about power generation lately.
My friend Linda Pulley Freeman initiated and implement the #KidPower2015 project, which utilized bicycle generators to make power. The project didn’t just use bicycle generators to make power; it used the process to help children of incarcerated parents bond with their parents and it helped residents of Cambodia have power at the Light of Future School.
Photo credit: Linda Pulley Freeman #KidPower2015
Another friend has been talking about the potential of extremely large scale batteries. These batteries could have a role in replacing traditional power supplies in towns and cities, saving money and reducing adverse environmental effects. (Here’s an article about these batteries and here’s one more link; I don’t pretend to understand it all!).
When I go to Cape Canaveral next week to observe the launch of the Orbital ATK OA-4, I anticipate learning about the power required to launch a space station re-supply shipment.
Power for Education
As the Open Enrollment Period for the Florida Prepaid Tuition Program nears its mid-point, I am writing to remind you that you have the power to make a difference for the future of a child in your life, bu purchasing a Florida Prepaid Tuition Plan for them.
Florida Prepaid offers five distinct ways to superpower your child’s future. They all include
tuition and most fees at either one of 28 Florida Colleges or 12 State Universities. Though each option is designed to be used at a Florida College or State University, the amount covered by the plan can also be applied to other schools nationwide. For example, my daughter’s Florida Prepaid plan benefits are applied to her tuition at Valdosta State University, which charges in-state tuition for Florida residents despite being in Georgia.
A Power Boost Via A Giveaway!
I am excited to have these awesome Florida Prepaid goodies to share with one fortunate reader. The backpack, tshirt, water bottle, pencil pouch, and Florida Prepaid pen are all reminders of the huge impact planning ahead can have on a child’s life! (The Green Pen is a bonus and the only one among the Florida Prepaid Believer Bloggers!)
For a chance to win this Florida Prepaid swag, please comment below by midnight on December 3 (that’s the day I see the launch at NASA!). I will choose a winner on Friday, December 4 from among the comments (please make sure I have your email address so I can reach you. This giveaway is limited to United States residents.)
With the right kind of power now, a child in your life can soar high into a promising future!
To learn more, click here or call 1.800.552.GRAD (4723)! If you purchase a plan, please provide the code BLOG1516 for a special gift.
This post is sponsored by the Florida Prepaid College Board, through my role as a Believer Blogger. All thoughts are my own.
This post was inspired by a Mama Kat Writing Prompt: Write a blog post inspired by the word “power.”
Back in the spring, when my father-in-law was at the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center every day for weeks as he got radiation treatment for throat cancer, one little tiny “treat” I looked forward to each day was taking a puffy peppermint candy from one of the ubiquitous candy containers placed strategically throughout the center. I always took it a little surreptitiously, grabbing it one-handed and somehow slipping it out of the wrapper and into my mouth while simultaneously pushing a wheelchair (because if there’s anything mothers of young children and caregivers of elderly people learn, it’s how to do multiple tasks despite highly occupied hands!). Such a small thing, but a tiny moment in each trip which felt like “mine.”
Who Is Doing All This Caregiving?
There are 40 million unpaid caregivers in the U.S. Many caregivers, like me, are boomer women, often sandwiched between the needs of their parents and their own kids. A popular misconception is that caregivers are paid medical professionals, providing full-time care to someone in need of daily help, when in reality, most caregivers are family members or friends who are also working and managing their own families at the same time.
For many, the caregiving role starts with simple things like scheduling a doctor’s visit or helping with daily errands, but gradually expands over time, until it becomes a major commitment in their lives. For our family, everything changed in June 2014 when my father-in-law was hospitalized for a subdural hematoma which occurred when he fell. Returning to living alone (even with the amount of support we had been providing with daily visits) was out of the question.
This video describes some of the challenges faced by unpaid family caregivers:
Almost three in ten people who are caring for someone say their life has changed with caregiving, oftentimes for the negative. More than one in five say their weight, their exercise, or their social life has/have suffered. Emotionally, one in five say they are generally unhappier and one in three say they feel sad or depressed. That’s why AARP created a community where caregivers can connect with experts and other caregivers and can find information and tools to take even better care of the person who once took care of them.
Candid disclosure: I participated in the National Family Caregivers campaign last year, promoted the benefits of the AARP Community, and wrote how I would be “digging in.” I have not dug in. One of the biggest challenges of this caregiver life, to me, is the fact that there are lots of great resources out there, but it takes time to track them down and research them. It feels like a catch-22.
How You Can Help
There is something that you can do during National Family Caregivers month to support a caregiver in your life. On behalf of the Ad Council and AARP I am asking for your support in helping to raise awareness of the Caregiver Assistance campaign through the Random Acts of Kindness for Caregivers initiative which aims to recognize and support unpaid caregivers in the U.S. The initiative, which is kicking off this month, encourages all Americans to perform an unexpected “Random Act of Kindness” for a caregiver. By starting a nationwide movement, we’ll raise awareness of caregiving and caregivers while at the same time reaching caregivers directly—helping to alleviate some of their daily stresses and reward them for their ongoing support.
I’m going to share what I did, because if it brightens the recipients’ days even a quarter of how it brightened mine to do it, then brightness will abound!!!
As I tried to decide what to do, several ideas floated through my mind. I thought about my fellow caregivers I passed going to and from treatment at the Tallahassee Memorial Cancer Center, about how I could possibly sit in the parking lot, wait until they had taken their patient in, then sneak a note and small gift onto their car. But, being a caregiver myself, I have to be a little strategic about when I can leave the house and I wasn’t sure how much time all that stalking would take (I’m also really bad at being sneaky!).
I contacted our local Elder Day Stay (candid disclosure #2: contacting Elder Day Stay to explore it as an option for my situation has been on my list too, one of those “when can I find time to do this?” things so I was killing two birds with one email stone.) Vicky from Elder Day Stay was such a delight to exchange ideas with. After thinking through the kinds of things my experience as a caregiver led me to believe they would like, I chose these items to include in goodie bags to be distributed to caregivers at pickup from Elder Day Stay:
A Sharpie because a) I love Sharpies and b) a Sharpie was a great fit for the verse I had planned. (It turns out the caregivers at Elder Day Stay have to mark the participants’ belongings with Sharpie so this was a win-win for all!).
A fragrant hand sanitizer because one of the universal truths of caregiving appears to be: bodily functions will always be involved. I want them to at least have a sweet smell to mitigate the less fragrant aromas. I love the “give thanks” sentiment! Once Cam and Shanelle at the Governor’s Square Bath and Body Works learned what I was doing, they gave me 30 bags and 30 pre-cut ribbons to use for these treats, as well as fantastic attitudes! I am grateful.
A chocolate bar because a) these caregivers deserve a treat and b) I needed a bar of some kind to fit in with the verse I had planned. I thought about getting something healthy (protein bar, fiber, blah blah blah) however I wanted these people to have a small but decadent treat!
After you choose (and do!) your random act of kindness for a caregiver, please share your story with AARP. If you submit a 150 word or less summary of how you made a caregiver feel special along with a photo, you’ll be entered to win a cash prize from a $10,000 pot. (Note: the contest lasts through March 15, 2016, but Thanksgiving would be the perfect time to get the random act of kindness ball rolling!).
You could make the tiny bit of “me time” difference those Cancer Center mints provided me!
This is a sponsored post on behalf of Element Associates and Midlife Boulevard.
I participated in the United NYC Half Marathon in March 2015 as part of Team in Training for LLSUSA. Whereas I originally thought my March half marathon was going to be a “one and done” effort for LLSUSA, I felt differently after completing the race.
I feel differently because I know our fundraising efforts ARE making a difference, as seen in the recent approval of Darzalex for patients with previously treated Multiple Myeloma.
I feel differently because every step I take as part of Team in Training takes me into the orbit of someone else I grow to care about, from whom I simply can’t walk away, like Justin Karpf.
I met Justin, who is the honored hero at the upcoming FSU Light the Night walk, when I went to the Tequila and Tapas fundraiser at Madison Social in October. When I arrived, I noticed a young man in an LLS shirt. We talked about many things, including his law studies, his involvement in children’s health issues (yay!), and his girlfriend in New York. It wasn’t until he turned around and I saw that his shirt said “survivor,” that I realized he wasn’t just another patron there for the tequila and tapas.
Justin agreed to share his story:
Justin is seated to my right in this picture.
My name is Justin Karpf. When I was 20 years old, I was diagnosed with Hodgkin’s Lymphoma. I was about to start my senior year at the University of Central Florida (UCF) in May 2012. I did not feel particularly ill before being diagnosed, but I felt some soreness under my left arm. During a routine check-up that month, I told my doctor about it, which quickly led to scans, a diagnosis, and biopsies. Luckily, my doctors caught the cancer early and I was able to start treatment shortly after the diagnosis. I was involved with several student organizations and planned to spend the summer at UCF, but I ended up taking the summer and fall semesters off for chemotherapy and radiation.
After I was diagnosed, treatment started almost immediately. I started with 6 rounds of chemotherapy, which started the week after my 21st birthday. During chemo, I lost my hair and a lot of my strength. Though I responded well to the treatment, I had to stay home most of the time because of how low my white blood cell count was, which also led to dietary restrictions. After chemo, I had a month of radiation treatment. By the time I finished radiation, some of my hair had started to come back and I was able to eat and exercise normally again. My cancer was in remission when I finished treatment, and has been for over 2 years now.
I still need to get scans twice a year and see my oncologists, but I have been able to get my life back on track. I graduated UCF in May 2013 and am now in my second year of law school at Florida State University (FSU). My strength and hair have returned, but my life will never be the same; there is always the risk of relapse or a secondary cancer looming over me, but I am determined to continue working towards my goals and not living in fear. I am fortunate that I was able to overcome this disease thanks to the amazing medical professionals that oversaw my treatment, as well as the support from my family, friends, and organizations like the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society (LLS).
Last year, I was a Team Captain and Honored Hero for LLS in Tallahassee and am privileged to do the same this year. Light the Night is a great way to raise money for a great cause; the money we raise at events like Light the Night truly helps to save lives. Thank you to everybody who has walked with us before and welcome to those who are just joining us!
Ways You Can Help:
Make a donation to the Leukemia and Lymphoma Society here (so Justin gets the credit!).
Join us Thursday, November 19, 2015, at Langford Green at 5:30 at FSU for the Light the Night festivities and walk.
Download the Rock My Run app on iPhone or Android, redeem the code PAULAK, and $1 will go to LLSUSA. Download it and then delete it next week if you really don’t care about the app, but I would appreciate the dollar for LLSUSA. (AND, the app is incredible; I use it almost exclusively for my fitness music needs!).
There are many great causes out there, and I enjoy supporting lots of different efforts. This one is at the top of my list and will be for the foreseeable future, for Mary Jane, Justin, and all the others for whom leukemia and lymphoma are part of their stories…..
As far back as I can remember, my daughter Tenley has loved shoes. She had a little pair of patent red shoes when she was a baby which were THE BOMB shoe-wise. As she grew and was able to choose her own shoes, it became clear that she was a shoe-lover. We jokingly called her Baby Imelda.
Tenley is almost out of her teen years, but I still have a distinct memory of those adorable red shoes. Thinking of them brings back happy memories of her babyhood.
I, on the other hand, can take or leave shoes (although I do appreciate a cool pair of shoes like these on MiamiStyleMom!). In response to Mama Kat’s “list eight things you are thankful for” prompt, I decided to see what I could do in relation to shoes:
(1) My Running Shoes
My love for my running shoes knows no bounds. Everyone who knows me knows I would rather arrive at a business trip having forgotten my “work” shoes than my running shoes! I am thankful for the miles of therapy they take me on.
(2) My Indoor Cycling Sandals
Although I haven’t had the opportunity to wear them too many times, these indoor cycling sandals by Nashbar with clips are so great! A) no socks needed B) every time I wear them I think about the first time I ever clipped in to anything: at SoulCycle in NYC and C) I am thankful that they make the experience of indoor cycling so much more efficient!
(3) The Tennis Shoes I Wore in El Salvador
They’re just Payless tennis shoes, and the laces were so incredibly long that people were always commenting, “do you realize your shoes are untied?” BUT they are the shoes I bought to wear when I went to El Salvador as part of the first Unbound Blogging Trip, so they bring back great memories. I am thankful that I walked the ground of El Salvador in these shoes.
(4) My Favorite Black Shiny/Matte Shoes
This is my most current pair of black dress shoes. I don’t recall exactly when I bought them, but it was either for an important meeting or a film school project. I love the matte/shiny effect. They’re close to being way too worn now but I am thankful that I have enjoyed them so much.
(5) My Brown Boots
I bought these shoes last year when I was going to be having a high school reunion on a farm. Although I was going to be wearing jeans, I wanted something a little dressier than tennis shoes. These filled the bill, and I am thankful that they give me another option when I need to be a little bit more dressed “up” than “down.”
(6) My Blue Dress Shoes
I *love* these shoes. I bought them for my friend Mary Jane’s wedding, which was in the spring of 1999. It was down to two pairs of shoes, and these cost a lot (for me), but they have been SO WORTH IT. I almost ruined them this past spring when I went to visit Senator Bill Nelson’s office here in Tallahassee and dealt with a deluge of rain as I was leaving. They *might* have survived. I am thankful that I treated myself to a pair of shoes that I have enjoyed for 16 years.
(7) My Utilitarian Black Boots
When I went to the Shot at Life summit in DC in March of this year, the weather was horrible. Snow, ice, you name it. My DC friend Christina told me to get boots. I scurried over to Kohl’s and picked these up. They may not make a huge style statement but they probably literally saved me from twisting an ankle or something on sidewalks which were literally sheets of ice. I am thankful for friends who tell it like it is.
(8) The Shoes I Will Never See or Wear
This pair of shoes is not on me (my feet aren’t that dainty!). I do not own them. I am never going own them. BUT my friend Linda has a goal of putting these shoes on the feet of 600 children in the Kratie province of Cambodia when she goes there on a mission trip next year. Lacking shoes, these children get ill from infections contracted by walking barefoot and they suffer injuries.
I have submitted a #mygivingstory which, if it wins, would result in Linda and her team getting $5,000 toward their goal of putting shoes on these 600 children (the total cost is $9,000). Read more about The Shoe that Grows here, more about Linda and the children here, and most importantly, please go to this link and simply click like. (The semifinalists will be chosen strictly on the basis of the number of likes.) I am thankful for all likes on this #mygivingstory!
Why do I feel the way I do about these children and these shoes? I have never been able to get the picture out of my mind of a women who met with Tenley’s and my group when we went to Guatemala in 2011. Representing her village among the Unbound visitors was a bit of a privilege for her, and she arrived barefooted. I am sure she didn’t have shoes of her own. She carried herself with such dignity. I am sure she saw this meeting with us as a way to do something that would ultimately help her children.
These shoes for the children in Cambodia are designed to last five years and/or through five sizes. Through her previous work, Linda has already opened a school, provided medical care, and provided hundreds of children with the opportunity to lead much healthier lives.
With a simple click of a like button, we can be a part of the Light of Future too!
Children Linda has served in Cambodia.
NOTE: If you would like to simply make a donation, click here.
When I went to Miami Beach as part of #ChevyPlayMiami, my son and I made several side trips in addition to the main event, the Miami International Auto Show. For example, we went to the Miami Auto Museum, where we saw cars from a broad span of decades. Linking back to the Chevrolet part of my trip, we saw this memory:
Chevrolet’s current motto is “Find New Roads,” and those three words mirror much of my experience as part of this group:
Parent of a Teen Driver Finding New Roads
Since I have a 19-year-old daughter and a 16-year-old son, our lives as a family have been engaged in the “learning to drive” process for the past four years or so. Being the parent of a teen driver introduces a multitude of questions for a parent, foremost among them being: How will my son or daughter remain safe?
Stephen from Chevrolet explained the features the company is incorporating to enhance safety for new drivers:
Exploring New Roads Is About More Than Driving
In addition to a demonstration of the 2016 Suburban and a private tour of the Auto Show, we participated in a session of Style Trends for Fall from Jenny a/k/a MiamiStyleMom.
We interacted with Ryan Hall of #CodeFeverMiami to jump start our enthusiasm for the digital world.
We also spent time with Vanessa James, a fireplug of an individual (and Florida State Seminole hooray!) who empowered each of us to make our unique mark in a crowded internet world.
(Thank you Surfcomber for a gorgeous setting for our day of fashion, coding, cars, and FUN!)
New Roads Introduce You to New People
I literally took a new (to me) road for this trip. Although I am a lifelong Floridian and traveled much of the state with Healthy Kids, I had never been to Miami Beach! In addition to discovering a beautiful part of my home state, I met bloggers and influencers who were new to me. My friend Nicole and I already know each other well from our work as Shot at Life Champion Leaders:
Everyone else, though, was completely new and fresh! It was so exciting for this North Floridian to meet people who see the world through the South Florida filter; by the end of two days I had many new friends and had made special new connections.
Taty of @CoolChillMom and I connected prior to the event and worked with Ana of @MiamiMommySavings on a ticket giveaway. Those tickets have been given to the winners already (congrats @sal0820!) but there’s an opportunity to win more tickets by participating in a Twitter Chat! (there’s plenty of time to get to the show; it doesn’t end until November 16!).
Four pairs of tickets (as well as Chevy gift bags) will be up for grabs at the Twitter party!
When: November 12, 7-8 pm ET (6-7pm CT; 5-6 pm MT; 4-5 pm PT)
Enter to win below by answering a few simple questions; each answer qualifies as an entry to win. Winners must be able to pick up tickets to the Miami Auto Show in person; no accommodation for travel, parking or other expenses will be made. Value of each prize $40.
To be eligible, you must:
Enter to win using the Gleam widget below. You can enter up to 5 times!
Have at least one unique Tweet (other than a reTweet) on the Twitter party from 7-8 pm ET on November 12th, 2015. If you aren’t on Twitter, it’s easy—and free—to sign up. Go to www.twitter.com to get started.
One of the most interesting exhibits at the auto show was the “Cars Meet Art” exhibit, featuring creations like this Porsche Targa GTS with art by DUAIV:
The trip wasn’t just about what we saw. One of the most interesting things that was said to me came from one of the many Uber drivers who got Wayne Kevin and me around Miami Beach and Miami. His name was Alfredo, he is a youth minister, and one of the reasons he drives an Uber is to support the church run by his family in El Salvador (be still my heart!). My son was talking about his dream car, and in the midst of a trip to Miami Beach I didn’t anticipate taking until very shortly before it happened, doing a blog-related event which involved a refreshingly different focus from my usual, right there on some street in Opa Locka, Alfred uttered these words of wisdom:
This is true, Alfredo. This is true!
Do you have a dream you have parked and allowed to become dormant?
My son, Wayne, says some version of “I know you don’t care” pretty much every time he tries to explain some fascinating feature of a sports car or takes the long way in a parking lot because, “look it’s a [insert make and model of some AMAZING (to him) car here]”!!
While it is not true that I don’t care, it is true that I don’t speak an advanced form of “car.” I am excited to get a crash course (pun slightly intended) at the Miami International Auto Show at the Miami Beach Convention Center as an ambassador for #ChevyPlay!
Chevrolets From Old to New
In order to warm up for the Auto Show, I visited one of our local Dale Earnhardt Jr locations today and got up close and personal with one Chevrolet which was born before me and one recent model.
I wonder what stories this ’57 BelAir could tell!
In addition to admiring the pristine ’57 BelAir, I took a test drive in a 2015 Malibu LTZ. I’ll bet whoever owned that BelAir first could not have dreamed they would be able to start their car with a press of a button, from the comfort of their home, and have it ready to depart by the time they arrived in the driver’s seat!
Note: Thank you to Richard Burkart, Client Advisor at Dale Earnhardt Jr, for his help!
More To Come At The Miami Auto Show!
If you will be in Miami November 6-15, make plans to visit the Miami International Auto Show! Details are available via this link. In addition, you can learn more by visiting Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube.
I am also excited about the November 12 Twitter Chat at 7 p.m. ET for #ChevyPlay! This will be another opportunity to win show tickets and prizes!!
This will be my first Auto Show since the Detroit Auto Show in 1994! That was before social media, before I had kids, before this 21st Century had begun! I can’t wait to participate in this project. My son will be joining me for the public parts of the show, and I am thinking we can zoom to a more mutually shared joy of all things automotive by sharing time together at this event!
I will receive compensation in exchange for participation in this campaign. Although this post is sponsored, all opinions are my own.
I attended mass at Good Shepherd this morning with my good friend, Jacqui, who is visiting from New Hampshire.
When Jacqui returned from receiving Communion, she asked why I had not gone up for a blessing (I am not Catholic).
In the space of a few seconds, I tried to explain how that really wasn’t so much of a “thing” at Blessed Sacrament, where I have attended numerous times over a span of years due to my in-laws being extremely active members of the parish, how I really do love getting a blessing, but that I was never exactly sure how much that was a custom at Good Shepherd. Eventually, I said “what do I have to lose?” and got in line for a blessing.
You know what?
THE SKY DID NOT FALL!
I received a lovely blessing from Father Foley, a priest I respect very much and who was integral in helping me find a sponsor for Carla back when I took on the responsibility of finding her a sponsor through Unbound.
There’s something else worth getting out of your seat for!
Tequila and Tapas for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society (LLS)
Note: Tequila Servings at the Tapas and Tequila Social will be slightly smaller than this!
If you’ve been around my blog for a while, you might recall that a Tequila Social was the main fundraiser for my campaign to raise $2,500 for LLS so that I could participate in the New York City Half Marathon in March 2015. The event was so much fun (photo evidence here)! Madison Social was the perfect partner. However, I did not manage to sell the number of seats I committed to (or hoped for at least!), despite an effort to get the word out through multiple channels.
It occurs to me that some people out there who actually like tequila and tapas may be “staying in their seats” simply because no one has asked.
Therefore, just like my friend prompted me this morning, here I am asking you, “are you going to go?”
Here are the details!
What: Tapas and Tequila!
Where Madison Social (705 S. Woodward, Tallahassee)
When Thursday, 10/29/15, 6:30-8:30 p.m.
Why To Benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
Cost $29 per ticket (a generous portion benefits LLS!)
This is going to be a Spanish style social gathering, which includes a sampling of different varieties of tequila and a table of tapas! There will be a table of smoky red pepper hummus (and if you haven’t had MadSo’s hummus, you don’t know what you’re missing!), short rib tacos, shrimp lettuce wraps and mussels. The tequila flight includes El Jimador Reposado, Avion Silver and Herradura Anejo.
Tickets are limited, so visit this link to get yours now!
My decision to get up out of my seat this morning resulted in a blessing; your choice to participate in Tapas and Tequila night will be a blessing to your taste buds, your social life, and the cause of LLS.
If you can’t join us at the Tapas and Tequila Social, we would love for you to join us at Light the Night! It will be on Thursday, November 19, at FSU’s Langford Green. More info available via this link. If you would like to donate, my page is here. I am walking in honor of my awesome friend Mary Jane, a Multiple Myeloma survivor!