ONE: The human heart is fragile, but its willingness to give far outweighs its willingness to break. I have said I am heartbroken as I find another friend or business that has been devastated by the waters. But the truth is I am amazed at the outpouring of love for our community from friends, neighbors and even those coming from afar to help. Together, we will rebuild Columbia to be better. Even the big corporations are not only stepping up, but leaping to help out. Have you seen the BlueCross BlueShield $1 million donation effort?
TWO: Teachers may be the most patient people on Earth. I have two of THE best children in the world. They are kind, charismatic and responsible. Keeping them stimulated for 11 days straight – being stuck indoors, being told their friends were suffering but we had to go to work, being kept from soccer practice because it wasn’t safe – I am not sure if this was a test of my patience or theirs! As school started back today, I know that the teachers paid for all of the cooped-up-ed-ness. And the loss. And the angst. I hope that they can stay as patient as possible as we transition back to our new normal.
THREE: The next dance craze is called Hit the Quan. Hey, having 11 solid days with preteens does teach you something. Look it up and surprise your niece or nephew with the next big thing.
FOUR: Patriotism bleeds from tragedy. I have seen SO many American flags lately. They are on the homes that are standing, they are drying on the heaps of trash that used to stand. I think this goes along with the idea that we will build a better tomorrow together – like our ancestors had to do.
FIVE: God is good. From scriptures to help cope with disaster to the family bible story I heard from the Pierce family, who I haven’t seen since I coached their daughter’s soccer team, it doesn’t feel as if God is gone – it feels as though He is there with us through this all.
SIX: The news gets it right and wrong. This is right on from a reporter that went through hell to get out of his home. It is so descriptive it gave me chills reading it. What did the news get wrong? That this is over – a headline of the past. We will be reeling from IT for so long. Bigger than houses being rebuilt, the city is literally going to have to be put back together as road closures and blown bridges now plague the city and surrounding area. And that is just in Columbia. Think of all the damage that continues to occur south of here, as the waters raced towards the ocean. This is a continuing story, national media. And it makes me sad to think how we are just one drop in the bucket of disasters that are here today and gone for the next headline.
SEVEN: The Feds learned from Katrina. Response times were immaculate. One day I was watching as me and my neighbors bought the very last of the water at our local Kroger. (I should also note that there was no hysteria – and we, the consumers, were the ones who calmly said why doesn’t each person take two packages so that all of us can get a little.) The very next day, water was being shipped in flats and water stations were set up. We are lucky – there is one right by our house. Or should I say was? Because as of 4 p.m. today, we have potable water! The response from FEMA, the National Guard (thank you Uncle Joey), local businesses and anyone willing to lend a hand – we have contained the situation and are working towards a common goal. The slow response times, cries of looting, general lack of apathy for and from the people New Orleans and surrounding areas – that has not happened here. So at least we learned a lesson ten years ago.
EIGHT: Never underestimate the need for a great infrastructure system. South Carolina in general has not put the emphasis needed on the quality of our roads and now it shows. Dams broke, bridges washed out, I-95 was completely shut down. As we build back, I hope the people of this state will support the rebuilding effort so that we can easily move about our state, so that businesses can succeed, so that we can all succeed.
NINE: Potable water is important to making life livable. You want to hear a first world problem? I’ll give you four: Not being able to use a dishwasher. Keeping a toothbrush out of the faucet. Realizing you filled your Brita with water that had not been boiled. Knowing the ice maker is full of bacteria-laden cubes. With everything else that has been going on, having to boil water to basically do anything is really just a pain in the you know what. But it makes you realize just how lucky we have it when the water is on and clean.
TEN: Complaints should be checked at the door. This is hindsight speaking. Did we really ever have things to complain about before? Malfunction junction before the flood versus traffic today. Wanting the latest video game versus having no toys at all. Having to get kids in four places at the same time with two parents versus not having a car to go anywhere. Realizing the latest shoes aren’t on sale versus not having any shoes at all. We shouldn’t complain. We should rejoice in what we have. Because we are alive. Because we have what it takes to build back. Because we are Famously Strong.
I know that there’s a new class of Leadership Columbia folks picking teams for which project they want to support. How do I know? Because I was there last year about this time. I have a piece of advice for all you newbies: your project may pick you.
To me, Leadership Columbia is a program designed to bring together a committed group of locals that are already established leaders. Over the course of about nine months, you’re given the opportunity to get to know one another, discover things you may not have known about our community and then make plans to work together to improve the lives of those living in our area both now and in the future. Your project is the quickest way that you can really impact our area as a team.
Our 2014 class voted to support The Hearth Center for Eating Disorders. Even though that wasn’t the team I was originally supported, I was happy to move forward. I had worked with The Hearth in the past by helping them with their branding materials, so it was nice for me to step back into the fold to support something that is needed not only in the Midlands, but really in every community. I did my part for the project, heading up the communications efforts for our class. I got to see many of my classmates put forth tremendous effort, from working with the legislature to bring about recognition in the State House, to renovating one of the cottages onsite to building a healing garden on the property. It was awesome.
But not as awesome as a couple of weeks ago when a stranger called me to get help for her daughter. My name was on a press release from February. She was searching for help, the release came up on her google search and she contacted me. Me! I was floored that I received the call. And honored at the same time. I was quickly able to get her in touch with the program director at The Hearth and I hope that she and her daughter are on a path to healing.
So to the Class of 2015, I wish you luck in your project selection process. And I encourage you to work together. Because you will make a difference – even if it is for just one person. And knowing you helped that one person, well, it will really make you feel as if your project picked you.
Obviously everyone loves bacon. I mean, it came up twice this year at the ColumbiaSC TedX event. So… what does bacon have to do with inspiration? Well… the smell of bacon cooking creeps up on you. You just have to have it once you smell it frying. And inspiration is kind of the same. You feel it tugging at you, urging you to do something, create something, solve something, change something. That’s what TedX Columbia, SC is too: a brief interlude in an otherwise busy life that says – wake up and start making change.
Monday’s event marks the second TedX event for Columbia and I’m happy to say I’ve attended both. The mood this year started out somber for me, since our community recently lost Rick Stilwell – a buddy and big believer in all things Ted. I had the chance to sit with him last year and get his commentary on each speaker. This year I found myself wondering what Rick would have thought about each speaker, which cheered me up a little as each person presented. He always found something nice to say about everyone.
And it wasn’t hard to find nice things to say! Our community is alive with people who are doing things that make life better for others. From people still in college to those who’ve seen a lot and are still at it, we’ve got it going on. Hunger issues, gender equality, healthcare reform, climate reform, diversity education, education in general – there are real people tackling real issues right in our own backyard. I urge to you check it out next year… you won’t be disappointed. In the meantime, check out the website for a view of the speakers from both this year and last year and see just how inspired you can become to make change happen.
Like everyone else, I’ve been trying to cope with the news of last Friday’s events in Newtown. And I keep coming back to how much life can change in just 10 minutes. Rather than dwell on the negative aspects of what happened in ten minutes time to so many lives last week, I’ve been thinking about good can come of it. I mean, it’s just TEN minutes. And there are a lot of ten minutes in each and every day. So here are 10 things I came up with (in just 10 minutes!). Please add to the list – whether it’s an everyday thing or something life altering… I just want to see all of the positive things that we could accomplish in just 10 minutes.
Thank a teacher.
Add a note into your child’s lunchbox that says I love you.
Call your Parents just to say hi.
Stop and enjoy the smell of your Christmas tree.
Make a list of places you want to visit.
Buy the next person in line’s coffee.
Sing a song out loud for everyone to hear you.
Do those dreaded sit ups.
Write a letter to your Grandparent.
1. My brother is smitten with his new wife.
When he told her how much he loved her in front of everyone, the crowd sighed together. We welcomed a new person to the Robinson brood while I gained a sister. And you better believe my kids are more than happy to drop Future off of her recent Future Aunt Kat name.
2. My Dad can rock a speech. And a toast.
I still want to grow up to be just like him.
3. I have great genes.
I had the privilege of standing up front with my brother and as I took my eyes off the couple and glanced out into the crowd, I saw my Mom and Granny sitting side by side smiling from ear to ear. Dang, those are two beautiful women. And I’m so proud to call them mine.
4. People in this part of Louisiana don’t consider the Carolinas a part of the South.
Not kidding. They explained that we were from the East. My brother has some work to do to help his new family understand that the South spreads further than the Gulf!
5. Traveling with school-aged children on their first flight is like flying first class.
We all got to board early. The kids were invited to the cockpit. They met all the flight attendants and were given two sets of wings. It was awesome for them and for us.
6. My kids are awesome.
I knew this already. And I guess every parent says that about their children. But I mean it. They were so well behaved, so full of love for their Uncle and new Aunt, so excited to be a part of the festivities and so willing to show off their personalities to everyone. I can’t wait for Michael and Kat to watch the wedding video so they can see Emma’s flower petal tossing abilities (she aimed for people, not the grass) and Jackson’s dedicated dance at the reception (he requested Billy Jean by Michael Jackson and made good use of those slippery tuxedo shoes).
7. My husband is awesome.
I knew this too. But the weekend was a great reminder to me. My Mom had secretly asked him to sing and play the Mother/Son dance as a surprise for my brother. He rocked it out… even on his acoustic guitar. Which made me just realize I forgot to tell my Mom that was the same guitar that was played at my wedding. Yes, I can get a little sentimental at times.
8. Football Reins.
Okay, so… I grew up in basketball territory. And when me and my buds were getting married, if something was scheduled in March there was always the worry of how to keep up with madness of that time. You either had to find a TV to get the score (because way back when I got married, you didn’t carry a cell phone to keep you updated) or huddle around the secret radio that someone snuck into the reception. Not in Louisiana. Not during football season. My brother got married in the beautiful Melady House, a historic home with – you guessed it – very few television sets. But have no fear, the A/V people were near. A huge TV was brought in and set up on the back porch so those who weren’t dancing could catch up on the evening games. Guess who called jackpot? That awesome husband of mine. Because that meant he could watch the Gamecocks put a beat down on Georgia Saturday night.
9. Kolachies are the bomb.
You’ve heard of jambalaya. And gator bites. And all those other iconic Louisiana-style meals. But I got to try a few kolachies the morning of the wedding and was dumbfounded. The other girls in the wedding party told me it was kind of like a big pig in a blanket. I think it compares to a Dixicrat only there’s cheese rather than mustard and the bread wraps all around the sausage. So simple. So good. I could’ve eaten 10. I kept it to 2.
10. Perspective is a great thing.
Sometimes you need a wedding to make you realize what is really important in life. Like family and friends. I miss you all already.
You will find me quite often complaining about the character counts on Facebook ads. I mean really, people. I know no one LIKES to read. But 25 characters for a headline (and that’s only if you are taking them away from the Facebook site) and 90 characters for body copy is limiting. For instance, the name of a company isn’t always Nike. Or Puma. Or Macy’s. Sometimes it’s HUGO by Hugo Boss. Or BCBGMaxAzria. Or Neiman-Marcus. And then all you really have room to write is NAME OF PRODUCT from LONG NAME OF STORE. And you’re out of room. The end. No more characters. No more love. Just done. Time to move along. I’m not looking to wax poetically. I’m just looking to create ads that make you want to do something.
Speaking of which, this ad is what caught my attention today. Yes, it was in my Facebook feed and yes, it made me laugh. So – kudos to the folks at Emergency Creative for catching my attention. And making me click through with so few characters (even if you needed the image space to do it). Nice website, by the way.
Also… since I brought up Macy’s… I thought I’d also plug their new tv spot. Because celebrity endorsements aren’t easy. And they are doing it with class. You get 5 stars (even though you’d probably be happy with just one that’s big and red!).
Okay, so Clorox is not the sexiest of products. But they are doing a great job of cutting through the clutter with their “Life’s Bleachable Moments” campaign from DDB Worldwide. The campaign launched a year ago (see New York Times story) and has caught my attention time and again when I see it air. I found this little ditty online when I did a search on YouTube. (And I mean, what parent HASN’T doen the sniff test, really?) Some folks are even creating their own spoofs of the campaign, which can be downright disturbing. I won’t post any here, you can go find them yourself. In the meantime, I’ll be watching for the next commercial on air – and for the Clorox on the shelf.
I just haven’t had a lot of time to devote to it lately! Totally my fault. But upon hearing that someone checked it out (I love the @sbux5points crew – they were so nice not to shame me for my lack of updated content), I started thinking – it’s been way too long. Then last night, when watching a little bit of ANT Farm on Disney with my kids, my son told me I had two special talents – writing and being their mom. I melted a little bit at that out-of-the-blue comment. And then had realized I needed to stop being lazy and start blogging again. And then, this morning happened. What, you ask? This: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fDeGMqf6b2g
While I stood there (no doubt with my mouth hanging open in shock that someone would rip off the Most Interesting Man in the World concept), my son said – hey, there’s the Dos Equis man doing a piano commercial. Oh dear. They fooled my kid. But they also confused him. Because this was neither the Dos Equis man or a piano commercial. It’s a local establishment trying to parody a well known brand. For their own gain. If it were a book or a movie, would someone sue? I’m no lawyer. But if I were the person behind the Dos Equis campaign, I’m pretty sure I would see this as infringement of my creative idea. And if it is running here in Columbia, there’s probably a million other folks doing the same thing in other towns across America. Which makes me think… YIKES.
So today, this (long-coming) post is dedicated to creativity of the original kind. I beg you… go out there and do something different today!
I had the great pleasure of judging the Addys in Pittsburgh over the weekend. It was my first trip to the big city, so I thought I’d quickly share 10 things I learned while there!
1. The first three people I talked to had a connection to SC. One was to the City of Columbia, one to Clemson University and one to the University of South Carolina. And so many people talked about our beaches – Pawley’s Island was a hot topic.
2. The city explodes out of a tunnel. This was very cool and should be experienced at night.
3. It is cold.
4. Pittsburgh is a haven for sports enthusiasts. And it’s sports of all kinds. I even learned about the Canadian board game Crokinole from a young woman at dinner who curls. As in curling. And I’m not talking about her hair.
5. At night, it is really cold.
6. I didn’t find an accent here. This was a surprise.
7. The downtown area was described to me as the same shape as a piece of pie. This goes right along with all the food I ate. Sheesh. I might have gained five pounds in three days.
8. The people are so nice. You kind of think the South owns warm and hospitable. Wrong.
9. Did you know the Steelers have more super bowl wins than any other NFL team? I heard this more than once.
10. Brand new snow shovels were everywhere. Each one stood beside a bucket inside every place of business. It was like a number of flags had been planted to announce that winter has finally commenced.
Hope to go back again sometime… when it’s warmer!
My son is 8 today, so I thought I’d take a moment to write down the first ten things that come to mind in regards to what I’ve learned in this short bit of time.
1. Birthdays are really for Mama’s. It’s a time to relish the moment your child came into the world. It gives you a minute to stop and thank God for your blessings. It’s a day of reflection for all has happened since he or she was born.
2. You thought you knew what tired was. As each year passes, I get MORE tired. The first year (and a half!) of sleepless nights is practice, people. Because once your kid gets involved in his or her life, you are along for the wild ride.
3. You thought you knew what fun was. Before kids, you’re like: look at my life, I can do what I want, this is so awesome. After having my two kids, I’ve laughed, cried from laughing and laughed even more. Kids are a blast. Yes, they wear you out (see number 2) but it is worth every tired bone in your body.
4. Patience is a necessity. I’m working on this one. I am. Please be patient with me.
5. Love is bountiful. I’m convinced you never know how much you can really love a person until you’re taking care of one.
6. Inside voices? Listening ears? Thank God for teachers who can repeat those messages during the day while you say them hundreds of times at home.
7. The little things your parents taught you are passed on. My Dad to this day can look at me and say Here Comes That Smile a couple of times and no matter what is going on with me, I can’t help but give a toothy grin. This is like a miracle drug for any bad mood. Don’t believe me? Try it next time you’re faced with a grumpy one.
8. Your mother’s voice will come out of your own body. I always knew this would happen. She warned me it would. With kids, it happens faster, my friends.
9. The eyes have it. I can look into either of my kids eyes and the truth is there. Whether they’re hurt, upset or happy as a lark – everything is stored in those two beautiful blue pools.
10. I have so much more to learn. Every day brings a new challenge. And I welcome that.