Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Live Your Legacy

"Yesterday I was honored to stand in front of a large group of 'Live Your Legacy Summit' attendees to accept the TOP award 'For supporting widows and designing your legacy through your hardship' and be the face of 1 million widows in this country, as well as, over 250 million widows worldwide. I certainly couldn't STAND up there alone and not bring YOU with me." 

The award was for the Orlando 2012 Live Your Legacy Summit hosted by Aurea McGarry, an Emmy Award winning outstanding TV Host whose goal is to uplift anyone who has found their life's passion and making a difference in the lives of others. 

Since Modern Widows Club is fairly new with its humble seeds planted in January 2012, I was very honored to be recognized by a panel of varied individuals (including children) who didn't know me personally but voted based on merit & facts. 

The whole day was a tribute to all inspiring topics. I heard encouragement like this:

- Find Your Truth (Kellie Lightbourne)
- Be Crazy Committed & Doggedly Determined (Coach Jenn Lee)
- L- Let Go & Let God (Woamtec President, Kathleen Hawkins)
  E- Empower Others
  G- Give, Before you Take
  A- Action & Accountability
  C- Cash Flow for You & Others
  Y- You, Take care of You
- Be a 10 Fold Marketer- Think of the good for others first (Marianne Carlson)
- Take care of the vehicle that will take you there- your Body! (Teresa Tapp)
- Never stop believing in yourself (Forbes Riley)

The Legacy Award caught me by surprise as I sat around friends who had come to cheer me on! Why? Because rarely do organizations who support widows get such recognition. Maybe the winds are changing and maybe all the hard work, weekends & nights are paying off. But honestly, if I inspired just ONE person to do something KIND for another widow in this world, I have done my job!!


We have much to do together to bring justice, empowerment to the mentors we are becoming and the realistic 'hand up vs. hand down' support for widows worldwide. 
Move forward while reaching back is our motto. I'm honored and will continue to speak up for all of us!

Please share Modern Widows Club with anyone you know, our Facebook page is VERY active (and free). We are continuing to create & raise donations for our online magazine in production by B&C Designers in St. Louis. We will launch this as soon as 7K more is raised. I'm so grateful for the 3K donated so far which has kept the ball rolling with legal trademarking, non-profit filing, designing the wireframe & development costs. 

Here is a sneak peek ----->

Upcoming for MWC:

November 2-4- Chattanooga, TN
I want to know more about this successful widows movement.

November 10- Boston, MA
Speaking at 'Loss to Launch' with Second Firsts Christina Rasmussen, Kris Carlson of Don't Sweat the Small Stuff and TEDx Coach KC Baker

November 15- Orlando, FL
Book Signing 'Finding Joy After Loss' with Author and Long standing MWC'er Vashon Sarkisian. We will also discuss sending 1.5 million Lego's to Nairobi, Kenya for a widows orphanage Hope for Orphans Rescue.

November 17- Orlando, FL
Thanksgiving Dinner Baskets distributed 
to all local MWC ladies & their children by Servant's Heart Center. 
Want on the list? Write me at carolyn@modernwidowsclub.com

Love to all of you, thank you for your continual love & support. May God bless you abundantly,

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Crack of Dawn

I often wonder about other peoples lives. 

Mostly when I've been awakened at 6am by an iphone alarm tone to make two lunches, drink a cleansing green protein shake with vitamins for breakfast and stumbling to find my flip flops as I run out the door at 6:45am with my teen daughters headed to drop them off at two different locations 5 miles apart. 

I'm the first person out of their driveway in the dark. I see the lights on in homes where I know their life is a bit easier, the overall workload of life is more equally distributed and there is more help in general to sustain, manage and support. 

I keep driving, talking with my daughters in the short one hour I have with them in the morning. I won't see them again for 12 hrs with a busy school life and both involved in rowing after school. They are usually very hungry and by 6:45pm, I will return to this role as provider. But until then, my life speeds up. 

The crack of dawn has passed and now, I am faced with choices. I can focus on fitness, a long house to-do list, my Modern Widows Club world, design job #1, design job #2, bills, teachers homework calendar for my daughters, mail, laundry, cleaning out my car, relax, read, organize, write or go back to bed. 

This morning, I choose to write down the blog post that I just rehearsed in my head as I drove home thinking about some future Dunkin Donuts Hazelnut coffee and my life.....as a widow. A single mom raising two girls since they were 2 and 4 years old. It's been a long, winding road full of celebrations, tears, triumphs, failures,  blessings and amazing surprises. 

I could write a pretty story here but the truth is, this life is difficult and riddled with challenges at every turn. Every day I awaken and know I'm behind before I even start. No one needs to tell me or talk me out of this. No fancy inspirational quote on Facebook is going to convince me any differently. I know the heartache of loosing a beloved spouse and then two weeks later everyone you know leaves and I'm on my own for the next 12 years to raise & financially support my daughters. It takes hard work, determination and looking in the right places for answers. 

We are brought up to believe that God, family, neighbors or government will be there for us, but from my experience God is the only one you can truly depend on. For us, family comes around occasionally for holidays, most often wanting us to travel to them, but there is a difference in expecting someone to be there after tragedy and knowing no one will be.

I greatly admire families who help each other in ways that are so beautiful it causes me to cry in seclusion from wanting this sometimes. But, in reality, I knew my family wouldn't be there for me, so I haven't used any energy trying to make them be something they aren't. I accepted the way it was, and spent my limited energy towards solutions and a life worth living for us. I became the leader we needed by living a no excuse life. 

Boldly and bravely, many times making decisions with my gut and vulnerable to the unknown. 

I created a family that has been there every step of the way with Modern Widows Club, my women's group C-LOVE, my church, lots of people I love who care for us deeply. It has nurtured me and I continue to fight the good fight because I know the sweetness of the rewards. 

In a days time, I exercise, cook, work, drive, manage, organize, create, garden, solve, talk, negotiate, produce, think, grow, try, pray, resolve, clean, dream, contemplate, discover, cry, breathe, love, mentor, remember, coordinate, inspire, wonder.....the list goes on. I go for 16 hrs long....every day.... dividing my time between all things that I manage and some that manage me. 

I don't lunch with ladies, play tennis, ride horses, play golf or do anything where time is of essence. Leisure means 'getting behind' for me. I catch it in between stop lights checking emails or texting a friend or 10 minutes sitting on my front porch before the girls get home at night. I take it whenever I can believe me!

I did that this weekend for my daughters birthday and now our cupboards are bare for lunches, I haven't made it to the gym, the laundry is piled up and I'm behind at work. 

When you wake up behind every day, taking time off means your return to reality is a very tough trek up 'responsibility mountain'. So, I try to stay on course with what I know works. Exercise & supplements for stamina, creativity & work for vigorous income and crack of dawn driving with my daughters & nighttime dinner then homework for love. 

I pray I can keep my small dwindling savings and college funds, my home, my vehicle, my insurance policies and food on our table. I don't take any of this for granted because I know it only takes a moment for life to change like you knew it before.  

I know no one is coming to rescue me...that person is ME! (I have a lot of faith in me and I know God keeps me close in his hands). I've been witness to the fact there is a big difference in talking about faith and living solely by faith. If you want to know what 'that' is really like, follow me around for a day starting at the crack of dawn.  

I'll keep on dreaming between all these realities and it is enough for today. 
Semper Fi = Always Faithful.