NYC – visual goal sheet

I decided that this year I would set up some visual reminders of my major goals.  Something portable that I could take with me so that I can pull it out if I want a moment to focus or to remind myself of what’s important.  The trip to New York is coming up really fast so I figured I’d better get cracking. 

NYC goal sheet

Each one is pretty small.  It folds up into a small(ish) square that I should be able to put in my wallet.  (That way, when I open it to grab my visa for something, I might think twice and realize what’s REALLY important to me this year.)  Once I’m done, the visual goal sheets will also be a nice reminder of what I’ve accomplished in 2009. 

I’m always at a bit of a loss when it comes to collage images since we aren’t in the habit of buying magazines at all.  The above images were from two magazines that were purchased a year apart.  Aside from work magazines we don’t get much else.  I’m wondering how I might find some more images for free (or very cheap).  Any ideas are welcome in the comments!

How do you keep focused on your goals?  Do you use visual inspiration/motivation for achieving the things you want?

Next Projects

So the year is almost over and I have to say that it has been another super-productive year.  Looking back at what my major goals were, I accomplished all of them (with the exception of the Women’s Health Ultimate Fitness Challenge, which I switched with the push-ups challenge).  Now every day when I look at my list of major goals, I see nothing left to strive towards as they’ve all been crossed off.  I’ve already started wondering, what’s next?

There are a few goals and projects that I’ve already figured out for next year.  My sister and I are planning to go to New York in March.  I’ve always thought that New York with my sister would be a fun trip!  We’ll go and catch a Broadway show and take in the sights of the city and do a bunch of shopping.  So, that’s one major goal.

Next year, I will be participating in NaNoWriMo2009 to an even greater extent than I was this year since I was asked to join the organizing team for the Vancouver area.  This has me absolutely thrilled since I love taking part in the event and would like to help out to make it even better.  I’ve already got a list of ideas and things I’d like to do throughout the year to make next year’s event even better!

And, my husband and I have already decided that we’re going to start working on some German lessons.  It’s the same type of lessons as the Japanese ones that we did last year and we’ve already done the first lesson.  I’m hoping to spring some on my mom next week when we go over to bottle some wine with her and my step-father.

A few other things that I think will get crossed off of my to-do list will be a few things from my reading list.  Also, I think I’ll finally get to participate in a book group as I’ve decided to join The Next Chapter as they go through The 12 Secrets of Highly Creative Women.  You might all get to watch my progress on this as it is a blogging book group.  I haven’t yet decided if I will blog about it here, or on my other blog, or start a whole blog just for this particular journey.  Any feedback on this is definitely welcome!

I am still looking for some health and fitness milestones that I can strive towards.  I’ve decided to take part in The Walk for Memories in support of the Alzheimer Society of BC in January, but this walk won’t really be pushing my physical limits.  I’m currently thinking about doing some jump rope conditioning as I can do jump rope almost anywhere with very little equipment and it’s great cardio.  But, I need to work out a measurable goal for that if that’s what I decide to do.  I’d love to hear any and all ideas about some other fitness milestones I can pursue in the new year!

Just because I’m looking for a new fitness goal doesn’t mean I’ve given up on my push-ups or anything else though.  I’m still doing at least 25 push-ups a day.  I’m also probably going to continue with belly dancing, but my husband and I are also thinking about taking some ballroom dance lessons along with two other couples and I’m rapidly running out of available evenings.

So, it doesn’t look like I’ll be slowing down at all in 2009.  The classes I started last fall will continue and I’ll be doing all of these other things as well.

  • So, should I start up a separate blog for my book blogging in January?
  • What kinds of milestones do you use to motivate yourself to stay healthy and fit?
  • What kinds of goals will you be working on next year?

I’d love to hear from you in the comments!

Week 2 of NaNoWriMo Begins

For the uninitiated, week 2 of National Novel Writing Month is the first major hurdle for most participants.  Week 1 is filled with adrenaline and excitement.  In week 2, this has worn off and you have to muster up enough motivation to keep on going.  It can also be a bit of a shock point.  You might suddenly run out of plot.  Or, you stop liking your story and are conflicted about continuing through it, or starting something new, or you aren’t really sure what else to do.  This is the point where many participants start to lose steam and lose hope.

Last year, I remember hitting this point.  It was a week where I just tried to write the very minimum word count possible, and then would shut the computer off.  I wasn’t sure where exactly my story had to go, to get where I wanted it to be.  I had also realized by that point, that my story was going to be much longer than 50,000 words.

This year, things are looking slightly better.  First of all, and most importantly for me, I still like my story and know where I have to go, to get to the end (still not quite sure what the ending looks like, but I’ve got a ways to go before I need to decide).  Like last year, there’s no way I’m going to finish the entire story in just 50,000, but that’s ok with me.  I’m hoping that November will end with me still being really excited about this story and having the drive to finish it off in a timely matter.  Also, I’m pretty pleased that I’m about 4000 words ahead of schedule for finishing on time.

I am blogging today just to do a quick reality check.  I signed up for a regional word war with another city.  Little did I know that they have writers who have competed before and usually get much higher than 50,000 words each (one is on track to top 200,000 as I type this).  The competition is fun and motivating me to do more, but I’m also finding that I’m getting anxious about ‘losing.’ 

When I sit back and think about it, the concept of me ‘losing’ is ridiculous.  Despite what anyone else achieves and whether or not my city writes more words than the other city, there’s no way that NaNoWriMo can be a losing experience for me.  I mean, I’m excited about writing and pushing myself creatively.  That can only be a winning situation for me!

But, that doesn’t mean I’m going to stop pushing myself a little bit further just to get as many extra words as I can.  Also, I have developed another NaNoWriMo goal this year.  I don’t think I’ll blog about it much right now, but perhaps at the end of the month when I can see more clearly where that one stands.

Day 2 of NaNoWriMo

I figured it wouldn’t hurt to do another update.  I’ve got time while I wait for the NaNoWriMo website to load up.  This is pretty normal in the first bit of the competition.  Things usually slow down once the initial frenzy wears down a bit.

So far, things are going very, very well for me.  I’ve gotten more than the standard words per day so far, which gives me a bit of a buffer for the week, where I know that I won’t get this much writing time in.  Here is what has helped me be successful so far:

  1. Loads of support and people cheering me on.  Especially all the fellow Wiffers out there who are also participating!
  2. A wonderful husband who does a great job helping out around the house and just plain staying out of my way.
  3. Writing challenges.  I’m a bit competitive so the thought of some other people out there all trying to write as much as they can while I’m trying to write as much as I can, really forces my brain to focus on just that.  Otherwise, I tend to wander all over the internet.

This is totally reinforcing that I am a plotter.  I wish I’d had more time to do research and think through the scenes before starting.  But, hopefully I can do some of it as I go and just wing it for the rest of it. 

Planning for a Reward

I am very bad and giving myself rewards for anything.  So, I find it helps to plan for them a bit.  This week, I am at the 40 push-up stage of my 50 push-up challenge and I realized that I should probably have some sort of ‘yay me!’ moment at the end of it all.  But, I’m having trouble coming up with much.  I don’t want it to be something expensive but I don’t want it to be something too small either.

I have until November 30th to figure it out, since then I will be officially ‘done.’  It’s kind of odd that completing that goal will correspond with finishing NaNoWriMo 2008.  NaNo is its own reward since you (theoretically) have a manuscript when you’re done.  Plus, there’s a party (though I couldn’t make it to the one last year) and lots of co-participants to congratulate you.  My push-up challenge is just something I’m doing on my own so I don’t have the same group mindset.

For some possible rewards, here’s what I’ve come up with so far . . .

  • Read the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer (from the library, so I don’t have to spend money)
  • ?????

And that’s where I get stumped.  Since push-ups is an exercise, I feel as though my reward should at least not be unhealthy (ie. chocolate, dinner out, etc).  But I always find myself at a loss for coming up with rewards and scheduling them in.

Anyone have any great ideas for me?

Edit: It just occurred to me that at the end of November I will also have recently finished up a belly dancing class, a treat for myself might be to sign up for another belly dancing class, if I like the studio, teacher, etc.  That might be something I’m more willing to invest the money in once I’ve started.

What I Learned from WordCamp Fraser Valley

Last night I attended my first ‘Camp’ event.  I was so glad that there was actually an event happening on the side of the river where I live!  It worked out perfectly for me to go right after work, as the location was just 10 minutes away from where I live.  The event has sparked a variety of thoughts bouncing through my head last night and this morning and I’d like to organize them a bit for myself, and to give others an idea of what a WordCamp is all about.

Switching to WordPress.com

The first speaker was Raul Pacheco (aka Hummingbird604) speaking on switching to WordPress.com.  Since I already blog on WordPress.com, I didn’t find the content particularly relevant to my situation.  Many of the people there were already blogging, so he was kind of preaching to the choir.  As Raul has spent a lot of time in the academic world (recently defended his Phd thesis) I found his talk very reminiscent of other academic talks that I’ve attended.  It had quite a bit of information but was still very clear to me (though, again, I’m not exactly a newb to blogging).  I’ve followed Raul on twitter for a while and been to his site before too, and he really is like a Hummingbird!  His talk had good energy and was a good talk to begin with.

Business Blogging

The second scheduled speaker actually cancelled and so Gary Jones of BlueFur threw together an impromptu presentation (literally 3 slides) on blogging in business.  As one of my purposes for attending was to see if a business blog would be an appropriate tool for the company that I work at, this talk was very relevant.  For how much prep time he had, I think he did very well and was very comfortable speaking to a large audience.  He put a few new ideas in my head that I’ll be working on implementing in my day job.  He also handled a lot of questions about his specific setup and general WordPress/blogging issues as well.

Then we had a chance for break and networking.  I talked to people, but reflecting on it, wish I would have circulated more and even introduced myself to some of the speakers.  But, it was a step in the right direction.  At the next event I attend, I think I’ll make a ‘social’ goal for myself, to meet a certain number of new people.

WordPress.org Security

After the break, Kulpreet Singh presented on Security with WordPress.org.  His presentation had a lot of useful content and I took a lot of notes.  The information was clearly presented and he also listed several security references.  This was particularly useful because I just know when I do my presentation to my boss one of his questions is going to be “but how secure is it?”  My boss is a very smart guy about computer matters (though he’s still very web 1.0) so I wanted to be able to actually explain security measures we could put in place rather than just leaving him with empty reassurances.  Kulpreet’s presentation was great for being able to do that.

Custom Themes and Sidebars with WordPress.org

Following up security issues, the next talk was given by Rebecca Bollwitt, more commonly known as Miss604.  Her topic was on custom themes and sidebars and it was a little lighter on content and it had a more conversational feel to it.  I think she was expecting more questions from the audience, though it is very difficult to know who is going to ask what.  After having mulled over the things she demonstrated, I did think up a few questions that I’d like to have asked.  But, I never seem to think of questions at the time when they are appropriate to be asked (ie. the questions started popping into my head at about 7:30 this morning).  I think the lack of questions was also possibly due to the intermediate nature of her topic.  For the real beginners it was so beyond where they were at, that they couldn’t think of questions to ask.  For the more experienced bloggers, custom themes wasn’t something that needed clarification.  The information that she gave was very clear and easy to understand.  I think diving in and learning the .php necessary to change around the theme and sidebar is going to be a lot easier than my current ‘side project’ of learning vba.

Evil Ways to Increase Traffic to Your Blog

The last speaker for the evening was John Chow giving his talk on ‘Evil Ways to Increase Traffic to your Blog.’  He talking about how to get new visitors, get return visitors, and getting visitors to click on more than just one of your pages.  (Which are basic goals of any business – new customers, return customers, customers who buy more of your stuff.)  His information was very well presented and he was clearly at ease talking in front of the audience.  Some of his methods are a little evil (but smart evil!) and he asked that we not spread around some of his ideas so I won’t say too much about the content.  I will say that he seems like a nice guy who with a lot of business savvy.

Applying it to my projects

So, at the end of it, I did get the little push that I needed to start jumping in and playing around.  It’s downloaded, but I didn’t get a chance to install or play more than that.  There’s a possibility of a Sunday morning project, but it’ll more likely be Monday before I get around to it.  Then it’ll take me some time to play around with it and formulate a proposal for applying it where I work.  Something really clicked with the idea of a business blog and I’ve been coming up with ideas for topics for an internal and an external blog.  Hopefully at least one of them manages to fly!

Motivation from Rewards

I am the type of person who is an under-spender.  Especially on myself.  I’m much more likely to treat someone else to something special than I am to spend money on myself.  This gets a bit problematic when I try to celebrate my successes.  Even when I reach a point that is a milestone, unless I’ve specifically picked something to reward myself with and have it all ready, I’ll still second guess treating myself.  I do this even when money isn’t involved.

It’s something I think I really need to change.  I don’t need to go overboard on it, but I think rewarding myself for reaching my goals is a good way to reinforce the goal building habit.  I wouldn’t think twice if anyone else rewarded themselves for doing the exact same thing, so why shouldn’t I allow myself a treat as well?

So, I’m trying to come up with a list of rewards for myself so that I can have something ready for when I reach a goal or milestone.  If I have to spend time thinking of something at the time that I achieve something, it takes some of the fun out of it.  But, I really need to pin myself down to them otherwise I know I’ll just delay gratification even more.

For my major goals, a lot of the reward is actually getting them done.  I don’t really need to treat myself to something because I managed to plan and pay for a trip to Japan.  So that one kind of takes care of itself.  Since learning Japanese is part and parcel of that goal, I don’t really need another reward for it either (although, a few milestone rewards along the way might not have been a bad idea in hindsight . . . 90 lessons is a lot!).

That leaves me with coming up with rewards for my other goals:

  • push-ups (this week I’m doing 19 a day and next week will be 20, I’m thinking of setting mini-goals at 10 push-up increments from here to 50)
  • enrolling in further education is kind of its own reward as well, but it isn’t very fun.  However, once I know which course I’m taking, I can definitely set up some study rewards to help get through it in a timely fashion
  • participate in NaNoWriMo 2008.  I think I also want to set some pre-NaNo goals and rewards to motivate myself to do a little more plotting and planning in advance this year.

Now, it’s very hard for me to justify spending money on random small things for rewards.  If I’m drooling over a particular gadget or gizmo, I can definitely squirrel away enough money to cover it, but general random stuff brings on guilt and that defeats the purpose of the reward.  So, very inexpensive or free is the best price range.  Also, it needs to be pretty definite and specific.  I can’t just ‘take a morning off to read’ or something.  I’ll remember all the dirty dishes and other things I’ve been meaning to do and my morning will be gone before I’ve cracked open a book.  My usual recourse is to reward myself with food, but that only reinforces bad eating habits tied with emotional eating.  So, no food rewards for me anymore!

So, here’s a list of things I’ve come up with so far . . .

  • Pyjama day!  (Well, I don’t have as much time as I did when I was younger, so it might just be a pyjama half day.)
  • Chick flick night
  • Face mask treatment
  • Pedicure and/or manicure

It’s much to short of a list.  I need some more things on there that I can use to reward myself with.  I’m going to have to spend some time pondering and see what I come up with.  I should also make myself a reward jar where I write the ideas down and can reach in and grab one at random if I forget to plan one out in advance.

Motivation From the Internet

I am a self-professed computer and internet junky.  I spend a lot of time in front of the computer, both at work and at home and it’s my go-to source for a lot of things.  Lately, I’ve been struggling to motivate myself to get more exercise.  I know that I’m falling behind in this important part of daily life, but I just haven’t been able to push myself to get going.  I know several other people who are in the same boat and we talk about how difficult it has been to get ourselves going.  This first step can often be the hardest step to take and once you get back into the habit, it becomes easier (at least a little).

All the thinking about motivation for exercise has got me thinking back to when I started exercising regularly for the first time several years ago.  One of the places I looked to the most for motivation and ideas was online.  So, I’ve turned my attention back to the internet to once again try to find some motivation for myself.  Here’s a summary of some of the different ways that you might look to the internet to help you with your own goals.

Join up with others.  There are a tonne of social network type sites out there now.  There are the big 2 – Myspace & Facebook which are great for finding people and connecting with friends and such.  You can join supportive groups and set up events and meetings there quite easily.

If you dig a little deeper in your search engine you will likely find a community surrounding whatever your interests might be.  There are a lot of message boards and forum spaces that are administered by individuals or set up by companies.  A lot of these sites will also have articles and various tools you can use to help you get even closer to your goals.

Also, there are sites out there that will help you get in touch with actual people.  A great one that I just found is Meetup.  It lets you find groups of people in your neighbourhood who are interested in a wide variety of things.  Or, you can start your own group if you want to.  I think it’s a great idea and I didn’t realize just how many different kinds of interest groups were meeting so close to home for me.

Bloggers.  If you’re reading this entry, that’s kind of like what you’re doing right now.  There are a lot of blogs out there that cover every topic under the sun.  I’m sure you could find whatever it is you are interested in and find advice on how to achieve your goals by reading about someone else who had done the same things.   A couple of nice features of blogs is that you can comment on particular posts and join in a discussion with a community of people.  Plus, a lot of people who blog are more than happy to point people in the right direction towards finding more resources, so they can be a great place to start looking for more help.

Magazines.  If you think there are a lot of magazines on the news stand you won’t believe how many more you can find online.  First of all, a lot of news stand magazines have started putting their content online as well.  Sometimes you only get partial content and sometimes it’s a little slower than it is released on the news stand, but other sites have bonus content online and you can find some that are just online only.

Research.  There are a lot of places to find information online.  Just be careful how much of what you read you believe.  Check the content creator and what kind of experience and designations they have to back up what they say.  Check with several sources to see if they all agree.  If it involves your health at all, it can’t hurt to run a proposed diet or exercise program by your doctor too!

Role Models.  As I mentioned in my post about finding Motivation from Inspiration, a role model can be a very effective way to find inspiration.  Searching online can be a great way to find out more information about your current role model, or to discover new role models.

Gold Stars.  By this I mean tracking your progress on your goal.  There are a tonne of online resources and tools to help you do this.  You could set up a wiki to keep track of your goals.  Or, just keep a to-do list with one of the many online sources to help remind yourself of what your daily goals are.  Many of the online community sites have their own tracking tools for fitness and diet among other things.  Or, you can customize your own chart for gold stars with Joe’s Goals or track your progress with Bellygraph.

You might want to try and look at one or two of the online resources listed above.  Not everything is going to work for everyone, but you might find one or two things that you can use to help  motivate yourself towards your goals.  One word of caution if you’re going to go surfing for motivation though, set a time limit!  Unless you want to have hours of your day sucked away in surfing.  Try to stay focused on your goal because losing 2 or 3 hours of your day to wandering the internet won’t get you any closer.

It was reading about different workouts that got me pumped up before so I’m going to try to spend time reading about different workouts and things to get some enthusiasm for it back.  I’ll keep you posted if I find a winning formula for myself.

One of “Those” Days

Every once in a while everyone has one of “those” days.  Today was one of mine.  It was a bit different though.  Usually I just indulge myself in a pity party and then try to cheer myself up.  Today though, I’m trying to figure out why I’m feeling this way in the first place.

My reverie was inspired by one of the blog’s I have begun reading called Eatopia.  In that particular post the author talks about her rules for giving up sugar.  What caught my eye in particular was how she has connected her eating patterns to her mood patterns.  I’ve always been aware that I turn to food for comfort but she’s also made the connection that eating certain foods causes her to feel anxious.

In my own case, I think it was the sugary iced tea and greasy and sugary potato chips I ate while we had company over last night.  I haven’t been eating junk this month and aside from last night’s little indulgence, I’ve been pretty good.  I did notice how sweet the chips tasted though.  And today, I’m just feeling irritable and unproductive and even though I tried several different things to cheer up.  It’s all been to no avail.

What I’ve discovered today is that I should seriously consider making certain lifestyle choices to keep junk food out of my house and out of my life.  In the Rules for Sweet Success post linked to above, she says that her own rules for what she can and can’t eat are very personalized – things that she’s likely to binge on should stay out completely.  I think I might try to take up this kind of policy for myself.  I know that those potato chips last night were way too much for me.  I’ll have to think about what else to add to the list as I go and try out new foods.  Hopefully, it’ll help prevent more of “these” days in the future.

Motivation from Inspiration

This week I’ve been doing an awful lot of reflection on what kind of person I want to be. It was sparked by an off-hand comment a friend made on a chat program and has kind of snowballed into a critical reflection on the kind of person that I am (I’m certain that I took the comment in a much different way than my friend intended). I’ve been concerned that my motivation for achievement has some very shallow and self-centered roots. That my thirst for achievement has more to do with comparing myself to others or impressing others than it does with personal satisfaction and growth. I don’t want to be motivated by these things, so I’m trying to find other sources of motivation to help balance myself. I don’t think I’ll ever be rid of my competitive side that drives me to compare myself to others or seek out praise, but I can certainly seek to add other kinds of motivation.

One of the ways I find to channel some of my competitive urge from negative to positive is to use inspiration to fuel my motivation. I focus on a role model and use their life, accomplishments, personality traits, and talents to inspire me to work on those same aspects of myself. I see it as an indirect form of competition since really you are competing with an ideal and not the actual person. Here are some questions that I use to help me find my motivation from inspiration.

Who do I admire and respect? I try to think of different people, past and present, who make me go ‘Wow!’ These are the people who make me stop and really pay attention to all the great things that the human species is capable of. These may be world famous individuals or they may be people who are simply within your own little community. I’m sure that we could come up with a huge list of people, but don’t succumb to the temptation to simply create a list of 100 famous people from history. Instead try to pick a few people who have some personal meaning to you. Someone who stands out from the rest. Also, for actually doing this exercise, it’s easiest to only focus on one person at a time. If you try to incorporate the skills and talents of more than one person, you’ll probably just find yourself overwhelmed.

Why do I respect this person? The next step of the process is to actually define what it is about this person that you respect. Take a look and see if you can write down a list of their qualities. What is it that made this person successful? Was it their bravery? loyalty? kindness? determination to succeed against all odds? trueness to themselves? ambition? the ideals they hold important? maintaining grace under pressure and scrutiny? I’m sure one or many of that list will end up on the list that you make for whomever you have chosen.

How can I foster those qualities in myself and express them in my life? Now we come to the fun (and hard) part. Look at the list of qualities that you have admired in that other person, and compare it to your own behaviour and actions. How do you measure up? Try to be honest with yourself and don’t simply pat yourself on the back and say “yup, that’s just like me too!” That kind of attitude won’t actually bring you any personal growth or progress. Another danger to be wary of is to see it as hopeless and just shoot yourself down by saying that you’ll never be able to do the things that person did. This attitude isn’t really helpful either and if you’ve picked a person who is meaningfully important to you, you should be able to find some aspect of your own life to develop.

What is your action plan? Finally, it’s always better to actually write down some goals. So, take a look at your list and write down the ways that you plan on fostering the qualities you are going to be working on. Keep the list somewhere you will see it every day. Even better if you can refer to a picture or other reminder of the person that you chose so you can remind yourself of your goals.

You can choose to do this kind of exercise to orient yourself in life if you are feeling lost or you can do this to help motivate yourself towards a specific goal. Here are some examples of people whom I’ve used in the past to inspire myself . . .

  • Terry Fox – when I was training for the 10 km run I did last year, it was hard to be running so frequently. When I found myself dogging it on the treadmill I tried to keep Terry Fox in mind. Did you know that on average he ran the distance of a marathon every day when he was running across Canada? His prosthetic leg chaffed and caused bleeding and he kept running. He ran through bad weather on roads of all conditions and even when he was sick. Thinking of his determination made it a lot easier to do my runs which were small in comparison.
  • Audrey Hepburn – whenever I think of grace and style my mind always travels to her. I try to embody her image whenever the situation calls for class and elegance. She always seemed to be easy and natural with herself but maintained poise and dignity as well.
  • Benjamin Sisko – yes, you can pick fictional people too! I am a huge Star Trek fan and this character captured my imagination and admiration from the get-go. His values, decisiveness, beliefs, eloquence, leadership, and dignity were evident from the very first episode of DS9 (that’s short hand referring to Star Trek: Deep Space Nine for any non-trekkies out there). I suppose the credit could also go to the actor who plays him (Avery Brooks), the writers and producers who created the character, and even to Gene Rodenberry who had the original vision for the Star Trek universe (even though this series diverged from his original vision).  But, his vision of humanity fits so nicely in line with my own, that focusing on that character seems easier to me for the purposes of this exercise.  Here is a good quote from Sisko from the first episode:

That may be the most important thing to understand about humans. It is the unknown that defines our existence. We are constantly searching… not just for answers to our questions… but for new questions. We are explorers… . We explore our lives day by day… and we explore the galaxy, trying to expand the boundaries of our knowledge. And that is why I am here. Not to conquer you with weapons or ideas. But to coexist and learn.

  • My grandmother – for whom, unfortunately, no wikipedia entry exists.  I don’t know much about her but I do know that she raised a family and ran a farm after her husband died in World War II.  I’ve also heard that during that war she helped a Jewish family hide and escape the country (my family comes from Germany).  I can only imagine the difficulties she faced and had the courage to do the right thing in the face of fear and danger.
  • My mother – even though we have our differences, I’ve come to admire her for her strength and determination.  She is a force moving through the universe and if you get in her way you may just be scooped up and taken along for the ride.  But don’t worry, because if my mom involved with it, it’s safe, sturdy and efficient!