woman standing back to camera

Ceilings and floors

I am 47 years old and have never owned a passport.

True, I have been out of the country to places in the Caribbean but that was back in the days when you could go on a cruise or fly to certain regions with just a birth certificate.

In fact, I had not even gotten on a plane until I was nearly 20 years old. We just didn’t have much money when I was growing up to take exotic trips overseas and in my younger years I was not much of a risk-taker. Even now, I’d prefer a trip to Disney’s Epcot over going to actual countries because I do not enjoy flying at all!

A few weeks ago, I had dinner with a very wise friend who said something that has stuck with me since then. We were talking about our young-adult kids and the things they are all doing and she said, “I want my ceiling to be their floor and I haven’t even reached my ceiling yet!”

What a great way of looking at how we prepare our children for adulthood!

Take a chance!

It’s been my experience that the finest moments in life happen when you take a chance, whether it be confronting a fear head-on or setting a goal that you believe is beyond your reach but deciding to tackle it anyway.

The first annual Diakon Outdoor Adventure Challenge 5K Trail Run/Walk in 2012 initiated a series of shining moments that resulted from taking a chance, both for me and others.

I first heard of the race when I received a poster in the mail at my business, Train Yard Gym & Fitness. The event set itself apart from other 5Ks we had been asked to advertise because it included use of a high-ropes course, zip-line and Alpine Tower at the Diakon Wilderness Center after the race.

I was quickly sold on the concept of a beautiful trail run, lots of adventure-focused activities afterwards and the fact that my entry fee would help the at-risk youths the Diakon Wilderness Center serves. I pulled together a group of 10 runners and hikers that year and we were off to see what this was all about.

That first race day unexpectedly turned into an opportunity for me to take a chance. I had been looking forward to the race for months, but a few days before the event I started having hip pain and honestly didn’t know if I could run. I decided to go for it anyway and ended up coming in first place among the females.

Was I ever happy that I didn’t let my fears hold me back!

GOTR(1)

Going the extra mile

This blog shares the story of how Diakon Adoption & Foster Care staff members went the extra mile to help adoptees participate in Girls on the Run®, a non-profit program that inspires girls to recognize their inner strengths and celebrate what makes them unique.

As an affiliate council of Diakon Child, Family & Community Ministries, Girls on the Run – Lehigh Valley delivers sessions involving 10 weeks of dynamic discussions, activities and running games for girls in third through fifth grades, with each season concluding with a celebratory 5K event, completed by participants and “running buddies.”

JoAnn Carter, mother of two adoptive girls (Daysia 11, Jada 9)

My interest in Girls on the Run began when my girls brought home a flyer from Parkway Manor elementary school announcing the program. I thought it would get them off the couch and give them a well-rounded opportunity that teaches them confidence. I also thought it would be great to have the girls be part of a running team.

You never know who is behind the curtain

I recently took time to visit a former colleague in one of our senior living communities. We had a wonderful discussion about “old times,” events we experienced and people we knew 30 to nearly 40 years ago.

When I left, after an hour-and-a-half of conversation, I stopped at the front desk to sign out and spend a few moments with the administrative assistant/receptionist with whom I had emailed on occasion but never met.

“You know,” I mused as we spoke, “I wonder if the people here really know who this person is—not who he is, of course, but in terms of the history of our organization, of his role in that?”

Welcoming our dynamic duo – the joy of foster parenting teenagers

About this time two years ago, my husband and I decided to move forward with something that had been weighing on our hearts for many years—to welcome children into our home and hearts through foster parenting.

Our adult daughters were settled and married; both have children of their own and while we are not “young,” we believed we had much to offer a child.

As we went through the education and certification process, it became clear to us what type of child would be a good fit for our family. Because we had daughters, we thought it would be less likely for us to compare them to boys, so boys it would be! Then, because of our age, we thought teenagers would be a better fit. Lastly, if there was a sibling group of brothers, that would be perfect!

Many of our friends thought we had lost our minds or were experiencing a mid-life crisis; others considered our plan a wonderful thought, but were we sure? Honestly, we were never more sure of anything in our lives! Our extended family was nothing but supportive. While some were surprised, they were always supportive.

What I really want for Mother’s Day

Dear Daughters,

Each year I love the Mother’s Day gifts, silly songs and the social media “shout outs.” I really do love them and if you want to continue doing those things, I will greatly appreciate it. However, this year I want you to know what I really want for Mother’s Day.

I want you to fully embrace that you are a person of value.

You may have experienced difficult circumstances or done things you regret, but none of those decreases your worth. What happens to you and what others say about you are not the things that define you.

During the times you experience rejection and loneliness, please remember that those times will pass. Do not perceive your value based on likes on your selfies or who sits at your lunch table. Don’t ever forget that you are so much more than what people see on the surface, so never let anyone make you feel as if you aren’t good enough. You are more than good enough.

Lamentation on a changing field: When crises call, honesty and objectivity rule

William Swanger, MA, APR, senior vice president of Diakon’s Office of Corporate Communications & Public Relations, offers a blog post about his particular—and sometimes confusing—field.

I am proud of the field in which I work (and about which I teach part-time).

It’s called public relations.

And, yes, I am aware of our reputation for “spin” and for always painting things in the best light.

I would argue that’s not true public relations.

Perhaps it would help if we adopted the term some researchers use for analyzing the field: relationship management.

Get the distinction?

I raised needed funds … even before getting to the office

This morning, as I checked my email and chewed on my breakfast burrito, I contemplated how I had already supported Diakon Adoption & Foster Care twice today.

And it was easy and fit right in with my morning routine.

That routine is simple and probably very much like yours. The best mornings are the ones I’m the first to wake up. This gives me a chance to make a cup of coffee and collect my thoughts before the day begins as I peruse my favorite websites for the morning news.

It doesn’t take long, however, for my six-year-old ball of energy to wake and come into the home-office clutching his favorite blanket and asking for breakfast.

Then it’s time to pack lunches, shower, get dressed and find my son’s missing shoe while convincing him that yes, indeed, he has to go to school today.

Moms and teen daughters – she said/she said

I am the mother of three daughters ranging from mid-teens to early 20s.

These teenage years have been bumpy, with those bumps actually feeling like mountains some days. Through the years, I have read many articles about how strained mother/daughter relationships can sometimes be and I vowed to make connecting with my girls a priority.

I will admit, however, I have not always done a great job because of living in the extremes of “super-strict mom” and “fun permissible best friend mom”!

In the end, I have discovered it’s about balance.

And listening.

So I tried a little she said/she said with my 17-year old, daughter. Here’s how it went: