thejoyfulpalmers

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That’s Outrageous!

In Uncategorized on May 7, 2014 at 3:54 am

The most amazing thing has happened for Maggie!

She was chosen as one of the recipients of the most OUTRAGEOUS and GENIUS 40th birthday celebration fundraising events ever!

Our dear friend, Tracy Ward, turns 40 years old today.

tracy

She plays BIG in the world of “let’s make everything better for everyone!” And, despite immense suffering from her own debilitating joint disorder, she goes about transforming the world by easing one small burden, comforting one person’s sorrows, feeding one hungry family, or covering one bare foot at a time.

You wouldn’t believe the stories I’ve heard about her service escapades! However, this time she’s totally outdone herself. She’s figured out how to turn her one (1) into 160,000!

For her 40th birthday she’s asking 40,000 people to give $4 to one of her four favorite causes, for a total of $160,000 in donations.

And . . . we can’t believe it . . . Maggie is one of them!

We’re totally overwhelmed by both the genius and the generosity of the idea.

Please, please go visit Tracy’s $4 x 40,000 = $160,000 of Goodness website HERE.

A little bit of good from a lot of people goes a very, very long way.

So, spread it everywhere you can. Not only is it a fabulous opportunity for Maggie, it’s simply an idea worth spreading.

May your birthday wish come true dear, bright soul!

 

 

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Spread the Love Benefit Concert

In Uncategorized on April 11, 2014 at 12:13 am

The first Maggie’s Month event for 2014 is here! An amazing benefit concert perfect for your family. It’s coming up fast so check out all the details HERE!

LogofileFor all the detail go HERE! We’re looking for volunteers. If you’re interested email maggiesmonth at gmail dot com.

Dear Wonderful Human Being who loved me and my children last night,

In Uncategorized on December 6, 2013 at 10:11 am

hug

We were at the end of our visit to the Festival of Trees and everyone was tired and overwhelmed by the crowds. We rushed to make it on time and not everyone’s hair was combed. Mary’s shirt was stained with hot chocolate, and she had a saggy diaper. Jack is boycotting clothing and refused to wear anything but too-small pajama pants with camouflaged moon boots. Benjie was trying to climb out of the backpack and was getting his chocolate sucker stuck in my hair. I had Maggie’s wheelchair, the double stroller and was wearing the backpack. I felt like some sort of strange little gypsy bus; the sort you give a wide girth to as you walk by.

As I was trying to wipe up Maggie’s chocolate sucker drool from her face and chair I heard you kneel down in front of Jack and start having a conversation. He wasn’t super polite because “going home” was the only thing on his mind, but you hung in there with him just letting him be where he was. You asked about his brother and sisters. You told him stories about your little girls. You were kind, patient and genuinely interested. You spoke to everyone.

When you stood to leave I touched you on the shoulder to say thank you, and explain that my other children have been struggling because all the world seems to revolve around Maggie, and passing strangers and friends only take note of her. You asked if you could hug me, and I felt like spilling my guts about how Mary is literally pulling her hair out, and how Jack is convinced that his legs don’t work and the only thing he’s expecting for Christmas is a wheelchair, and how Bennie screams and is constantly putting himself between me and everyone else. But I didn’t, I just cried as you hugged me. And, you cried too.

You didn’t judge the sticking up hair, or the moon boots, the chocolate drool, the cranky impoliteness, or the obvious struggle it is to manage the complexities of parenting this little circus. You accepted that what you could see at the moment was only one facet of the diamond that is our family, and you treated us as if we were shinning brilliantly.

If I can only give a portion of the generosity that you gave us last night I’ll be a far better person, and the world a better place. Thank you dear stranger, for being such a wonderful human being.

*I’m so grateful that grandma and our dear friend Cindie were there with us. Their company and support is such a life saver!

Safety Kids for Maggie’s Month

In Uncategorized on November 7, 2013 at 11:30 pm

Safety Kids

This weekend Maggie and I went to one of the best plays we’ve ever seen. Seriously.

It was Safety Kids, presented by the Paul and Dooley children.

They’ve been planning this surprise for Maggie’s Month for weeks and weeks.

These Safety Kids range from ages 4 to 9.

Safety Kids on stage

There were perfectly memorized lines, incredible singing with solos, AND dancing.

Even the littlest littles got involved by painting heartfelt pieces of art to sell as the audience entered for $.50 each.

Safety Kids art

Safety Kids taught, through song and story, five of the Safety Kid rules.

1. Learn Your Telephone Number

2. Go with a Buddy

3. When You’re Lost, Look for a Mother With Children or a Grandma

4. Stay Out of Dangerous Places

5. Stay Outside of My Personal Line

In the end, these children raised over $300 for a cause that they cared about, and taught a fabulous message.

Thanks, Safety Kids! You’re amazing!

safety kids money

If you’re interested in putting on your own Safety Kid play, HERE’S the link to the script.

 

Maggie’s Month 2013

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2013 at 12:39 am
good 1

TheJoyfulPalmers 2013

Simplicity is the Palmer motto for 2013. Simple joy, simple love, simple work.

And, we’re keeping Maggie’s Month 2013 true to the theme. We’d like to  invite your family to discover the power of small and simple service, done as a family.

Whether you’re a long-time Maggie’s Month supporter, or a new friend we’d like to challenge your family to consider a simple project you can do together to support Maggie this year. Don’t forget to savor how sweet simplicity can be–together.

Our family is wrapping up yours in a warm embrace. Our gratitude runs deep with the knowledge that by “small and simple things, great things come to pass.”

If you’re a new friend to Maggie’s Month get started HERE.

Happy Simple & Sweet Maggie’s Month 2013!

Love,

Maggie’s Mom & Dad

Two Little We Sherpas

In Uncategorized on October 16, 2013 at 12:37 am

birthday party

Last year I had a first hurt. I found a picture on Facebook of all Maggie’s friends at a birthday party she hadn’t been invited to. Cry!

rocksSometimes the depth of my grief over what seems to be a pebble in “the road of life with a special needs child” surprises me. How could stepping on such a little thing hurt so badly? I shake my head in wonder as the tears flow.

Just the other day one of Maggie’s little next-door friends said to me, in her frustration of not being able to play with Maggie in ways that she wanted to, “I wish Maggie didn’t have cerebral palsy.” Her comment sucked the air out of my lungs, and I was speechless. What should I think about this, about her? I didn’t know.

We’ve always homeschooled Maggie. Soon she’ll be going to public school for the first time in her life. In fact, she’ll go to a school that currently doesn’t have a child with her sort of disability. I’m expecting that we’ll be stepping on lots of those painful little pebbles in this part of our path. Maybe there will be some rocks I crack my shins against, or a boulder that crushes me.

For this reason I’ve been considering this strange land we all have to tread when the “typical” and the “special” intersect.

wheelchair barbie

There was a time when I was one of “them” and lived in the “typical world”—when I didn’t have a special needs child, when I didn’t even know any special needs people. If I crossed the path of someone different I stared, I stumbled, I felt unsure and didn’t know what the heck to do with him. Should I ask what was wrong with him? Should I talk to her, or should I talk to her caregiver? Should I just pretend that I didn’t notice anything different? What would be the wrong thing to say? What if I couldn’t understand what he said back to me? Might they hurt me? Might I hurt them? Could I catch what they had? I felt afraid, I felt awkward, I felt stupid.

I have a lot of compassion for “them.”

sherpaAs we prepare to enter this place of intersection in earnest, I’ve come to the conclusion that Maggie and I are going to be We Sherpas. What’s a We Sherpa, you ask?

A Sherpa has come to be known as someone who guides another along a challenging journey. A Sherpa takes upon themselves the heaviest burdens of the expedition. A Sherpa understands their traveling companion may be inexperienced, awkward, and fearful as they walk through territory that is not their native country, and they are patient with that.

The “We” part of the equation is a conscious decision about how we are going to walk in this world. A world of only “us” (those who get it) and “them,” (those who don’t) is really only a world of ME. The “We” means we’re going to leave the path of ME, and walk the path of WE. (see Anasazi’s, The Seven Paths: Changing One’s Way of Walking in the World)

When it comes to people’s insensitivities, or ignorance about our special kids, here’s why choosing to be a We Sherpa matters so much.

If we want inclusion and compassion for our children, we have to be willing to pick up the other end of that stick.

Walking_this_path_together(2)When someone speaks insensitively or ignorantly, when they stare, when they don’t include, or worse, exclude, the We Sherpa simply sees them as a traveler who needs a guide to help them walk this uncharted territory. The We Sherpa bears the larger burden of reaching out, of inviting, of educating, of creating opportunity, of giving the benefit of the doubt, and of forgiving. The We Sherpa puts an arm around their shoulder and invites them onto the path. They may decline. And, for those who accept there will be the inevitable stepping on toes as we learn to walk together. We Sherpas accept that.

Seth Godin said it best. “The easiest thing is to react. The second easiest is to respond. But the hardest thing is to initiate.”

I’ll keep having these painful “firsts.” And, I’m learning to own my own grief. But, I’m going to choose to walk a path of WE.

When someone clumsily stumbles into us with insensitivity or ignorance, Maggie and I are going to scoot over, invite them to walk with us, and help them over the rocky places of fear, awkwardness, and unfamiliarity.

It’s true. We’re better, together.

a.baa-Cat-and-duck-walk-together

By the way, if you’d like to see our latest effort to We Sherpa, check out Maggie’s introductory video HERE, or on YouTube by searching “My New Friend Maggie.”

My New Friend Maggie: A Family Lesson

In Uncategorized on October 15, 2013 at 11:59 pm

Red Arbour

I purchased Red Arbour as a single woman. It was a crazy idea, buying this house. I hadn’t ever owned anything larger than an old used Subaru and a suitcase. But, I heard her call out to me the first day I drove by. I didn’t understand the words she whispered to me then, but I understand them now. She said, “Your family is waiting to be born here. This is home. Come home!”

Doug and I met for the very first time on the door step of Red Arbour. We spent our honeymoon here. All of our children were conceived, and born within these walls. Each of their placentas are buried in the yard under their own honeysuckle vines (don’t tell the renters!).

These walls have seen loads of joy, laughter and celebration, along with grief, suffering and sickness.

It goes without saying that leaving the birthplace of our family was difficult to consider. But as Anais Nin said, “and the day came when the risk to remain tight in a bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.”

And blossom we have! Just look what we grew in our new garden plot! A blue eyed boy! So lovely. ben in mud

As our children have only known the community that they’ve grown up in, Doug and I wanted to make our move as warm as possible for them. We made a new video designed to introduce Maggie and her siblings to new neighborhood friends. We’d love to share it with you HERE. In the “About” section below the video on YouTube you’ll see a lesson outline to help introduce children to “special needs,” and increase their comfort with and understanding of others living with these challenges. We hope you’ll share it with others.

 

We’re so happy in our new space. There is room to grow, in so many ways. We pray that new space will open up for you as well so that your own life can grow deeper, wider and more lovely.

Love,

Maggie’s Mom & Dad

A Birthday Present

In Uncategorized on March 16, 2013 at 3:19 am

Maggie is the hardest person on the Earth to choose a present for. Seriously. First of all, I don’t know what she’s dreaming about playing with in her head. What does this little girl want? Second of all, access is a huge issue. What can she play with? How much support will she need to play with it?

The truth is, Maggie doesn’t get a lot of opportunity to really play and use the toys she’s been given. Not in the same way her brother’s and sister get anyway. Any gift giving season for Maggie is often accompanied by a feeling of burden and sorrow because of these challenges.

However, I’m not sure that Maggie feels the same. She’s a joyful child, and just getting to unwrap something is full of wonder and satisfaction for her. That is a remarkable gift in itself-just joy in being.

Maggie’s 7th birthday is coming up on the 15th of June. I’ve been thinking about it early because I want this birthday to be something better for her. In part that means the right gift. And this year, I think I’ve got it!

Mission Musketeer

Mission Musketeer

The Mission Musketeer Tricycle

2013 is bike year. Jack is getting a new (used) Spider Man bike with real pedals. Mary will inherit Jack’s old balance bike. Ben will get something to push around as he toddles through the yard. And Maggie? I think a bike is just the thing for her too!

The challenge is that the right bike for Jack cost $5 from our local classified website. The right bike for Maggie costs $1,000. However, $1,000 is worth giving a child an opportunity to engage in one of the great rights of passage of childhood–riding a bike. Just envision Maggie whizzing around the block with her siblings and friends.

Wish Maggie a happy 7th birthday by joining the effort to get her her bike. We’ll send you a video of her maiden voyage as a thank you. You won’t want to miss that super smile.

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Money CAN Buy Happiness: Philanthropy is Good for Business

In Uncategorized on September 12, 2012 at 2:01 pm

Grandma NaVon was a baker at the Carrousel for over 20 years. Her donuts were so good that people would travel from miles around just to get one. Into her 70’s she was still up at 3 am to make “all things that rise.”

Grandma always told me, “When you cast your bread onto the waters, it always comes back buttered.” Grandma understood bread.

As a business woman and entrepreneur, my grandmother’s “bread wisdom” has fed me in both feast and in famine, and has helped me be a more effective mother. I want to share her gift to me, with you.

Here’s grandma’s advice to business women when times are good and when times are tough, and how to knead it together to raise better, happier children.

When Your Swimmin’ in the Dough—Give! Or Money Does Buy Happiness

Business is booming, sales are coming in, and clients are Raving Fans. You’ve got it all . . . almost. We’ve all heard that money doesn’t buy happiness. But it certainly does make life easier, which might give the illusion of happiness, for a while. Eventually, though, we discover an emptiness that our business success isn’t filling.

What if what we’ve heard all these years—that money doesn’t buy happiness wasn’t actually true? What if, in fact, it can?

Check out Michael Norton’s: How to By Happiness

When you’ve got it all . . . almost, give, and receive happiness.

When You’re Hungry for Bread—Give! Or Bring Home the Butter

Business is floundering, the books are more red than black, and problems are breeding like rabbits. Or, maybe it’s not as bad as that. Either way, you’re in the famine. One key principle to progress is to open the door to increase through giving. This is a universal law that we’re familiar with in one way or another.

My friend, and financial coach, Janine Bolon says, “Depending on our religious or cultural backgrounds we might have heard it described as:

  • “The Law of Cause and Effect”
  • “The Law of the Harvest”
  • “What you sow, that you shall reap.”
  • “What goes around comes around.”
  • “Birds of a feather flock together.”
  • “To him that has, more shall be given.”
  • “Like begets like.”
  • “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
  • Or, as grandma says, “When you cast your bread onto the waters, it always comes back buttered.”

There is a misconception in our society that when we’re short of money the best thing to do is hold on tight to what we’ve got.

Janine broke this misconception for me when she taught me that money actually flows through the Universe.

“Simply put, money is not static. If you accept this one universal principle, that money flows, you are on your way to understanding wealth accumulation.

“There are three firmly entwined arms that comprise the cycle of money. These three elements keep money moving through the Universe. If at any time all three are not being implemented, you’ll see a break in the flow of money into and through your life . . . The three arms that determine the flow of money are Living, Saving, and Giving.” (Janine Bolon, Money . . . It’s Not Just For Rich People, Janine Bolon, 2005, 50.)

Philanthropy is a critical element to the flow of wealth into our lives. If we have any intention of improving our financial health in any degree, we simply cannot afford to fear or ignore the principle of giving.

When we come to genuinely adopt the value of philanthropy, regardless of our abundance or want, in business and in life we’ll find that our cup and store are filled, often to overflowing.

Business is not only about bringing home the bacon, it’s also a magnified opportunity to bring home the butter.

To Raise a Child’s Heart—Give! Or Add a Little Leavening

Let me share a story about a little leven added to some little hearts.

During our first Maggie’s Month we received a letter in the mail that said,

“Dear Maggie,

“When we got the email from your mom we all looked at your website and then gathered as a family to talk about it. We all voted to do something, but it was difficult to decide what. We had so many ideas, but Mom and Dad were worried about time.

“Finally, the idea was proposed that we give you the money in our swing set savings bucket. For the past few years we have kept a 5-gallon bucket that we put all our spare change in in hopes of saving enough money to buy a swing set. If you get all your treatments, maybe you will be able to play on a swing set some day.

“We know the Lord will bless us for helping you and maybe we can build a swing set as a family project. We are praying for you.”

Read this original story HERE. Read about Little Sam’s Gift HERE.

It isn’t hard to imagine the growth that happened in these children’s hearts as they jointly decided to delay their long-desired dream of a swing set for the benefit of another. The lessons learned, memories shared, and character built through this experience were incalculable, and priceless.

A Family Working Together to Make a Difference

As children, our character and our worldview are largely created through our family culture. Thus, adult philanthropists who are full of hope and abundance, who are healing society, and who are generally happier, more successful people more likely came from homes that practiced philanthropy.

Family philanthropy projects are deposits into the character and happiness of our children. Children learn by watching and participating. They might only be adding pennies toward a particular cause, but don’t underestimate the priceless value of those pennies as a generation of philanthropists is raised.

Bottom line, philanthropy is good for our pocketbooks, our neighborhoods, community and world. And, it’s good for our hearts.

Adopt a family philanthropic cause and you’ll sprinkle some leaven into that batch of hearts you’re raising.

Spread the Good Bread—Give! Or Feed a Hungry World

As a business you have a unique vehicle to spread goodness in a world full of serious hurting and deep needs, effect change at a grass roots level, and leverage your own philanthropic work by inspiring others to engage in philanthropy too.

The vision? “One person can’t do everything, but everyone can do something!”

Consider having your business adopt a particular cause that you’re fired up about, like cleft palate surgeries, or clean water, or seeding a high schooler’s business idea, or Maggie’s Month. Make it an annual project of your business, find a way to include your employees, and support that project. To leverage your effect, create a campaign during a certain time of the year where you encourage your clients, patients, or database to engage in philanthropy by supporting your cause, or find one of their own to support during your campaign. Educate them on the value of philanthropy for individuals and families. You are welcome to use any of the materials developed by Maggie’s Month for this purpose.

Learn more about Maggie’s Month: A Family Philanthropic Project HERE.

You’ll love our video: A Horse and a Butterfly.

Find all our Saddle Up For Maggie, Learning For Maggie, and Baking For Maggie event’s HERE.

Consider adopting Maggie as your business’s annual philanthropic project. See our Maggie’s Month Adoption Page HERE.

Like Maggie’s Month on Facebook HERE.

AMAZING Video: A Horse and a Butterfly

In Uncategorized on September 2, 2012 at 11:43 pm

I feel like a kid that want’s mom to put their art work on the fridge, because they feel so proud of it, and because they want everyone to see it.

It’s just the honest truth.

I’m so happy with how our video invitation of Saddle Up For Maggie turned out.

Hey, I’m a mom! I’m going to post this on my own darn virtual fridge!

I hope you enjoy watching as much as I have enjoyed watching it–for the hundredth time.

Check out our amazing Maggie’s Month events coming up HERE.