What I Learned From Olympian, Jake Kaminiski

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I first met Jake Kaminiski a few months ago at the Olympic Training Center in Chula Vista, California.  At the time, he was not assured of a trip to the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London.  As an Archer, he had yet to qualify for his spot.  Jake first picked up a bow and arrow when he was six years old and began competing when he was nine.

And though I was clearly not dressed for the occasion, he spent a few hours with me and a group of bloggers – all guests of Kellogg’s – giving us a lesson in his sport.

In that time, I learned a number of valuable lessons from this soon-to-be Olympian

There is no substitute for paying attention.  After my very first shot, Jake was able to assess what I needed to adjust simply by the direction of that initial arrow.  He made one suggestion: That I close my left eye as I shoot.  I went from missing the target entirely to hitting red and yellow.

Having a skill and being a good coach are two different things.  You may be extremely talented at a sport but unable to guide others.  Jake is both.

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Practicing your craft is key.  Jake had the Olympics in his sights and he knew that he would have to continue practicing to get there.  A lifetime of experience isn’t enough when you are faced with your dream. You must keep going.

Breathing through fear can help you to focus.  I asked Jake about the intensity and mental focus each shot requires.  He is skilled at breathing and quieting his mind – allowing him to have faith in his abilities in the moments when it is just he and the target.  A powerful metaphor for life.

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There is no point in doing something if you don’t do it with purpose.  You will even hear Jake saw this in his Kellogg’s Start Story.  He has been moving towards this moment for a lifetime.

I am grateful to Jake for the time he spent with me.  You and I both know, athletics do not come easily to me, but I thoroughly enjoyed this lesson.  I found it to be both cathartic and mind cleansing.  It is on my list of things to do again.

Thank you, Jake.  Good luck – I will be watching from here!

If you would like to follow Jake’s journey – beginning of course on Friday, July 27th at the Olympic Opening Ceremonies, you can keep up with him on Twitter.

Photo Credits for 2nd and 4th pictures above: Trent Stafford

Disclosure: I am proud to say I am working with Kelloggs and was their guest for this trip.  As always, all thoughts and opinions share are mine alone.

If I could only teach my children one thing…..

Photo by Gina Kelly, Art By Gina, St. Louis

Seven years ago I was starting to waddle.  Within another month I would say goodbye to my nearly perfect posture, my long stride and worst *gasp* my desire to wear high heels.  I was growing a baby.  I would talk to her daily – sometimes as I went about my day and often as I crawled into bed, exhausted at the end of the day. This was, naturally, when my sweet girl was most active.  8pm and a tired Mommy-to-be were an invitation for the small one to graduate into a full-fledged punter.  There are field goals in her future, I’m still certain.

My chatting was often idle, but filled with dreams and doings, wishes and would-be-wisdom.  As if it was even remotely possible that I could possess any child-rearing wisdom at this point in my life.  I would rub my belly (or if I’m honest sometimes push her back after an hour of kidney-football) and consider the many things I hoped to teach….

How to instill confidence?  And Independence? A desire to stand up for people who can’t do it for themselves? A kind heart? A strong work ethic? A love of family?  A willingness to embrace her strengths and acknowledge her weaknesses? Loyalty? Honesty? A commitment to trying her best?  Have fun? Laugh every day if you can?

Then, and now, my head spins and my shoulders fall under the weight of this responsibility.  I’m no longer growing a baby.  I’m growing a child, a person…someone who will eventually be an adult. (eventually being a VERY LONG TIME FROM NOW, thank heavens….) And she may eventually carry this same responsibility.

So, I comfort myself (with wine…. I kid, I kid) by ruminating….  how did I come to have the desire to pass on these qualities?  If I’m passing them on…  I must have learned them at some point.  Right?

And that means this woman, my mother, gets the credit for living the example.

Photo by Carey Schumacher, Barefoot Memories, San Diego

If I could only teach Delaney (and of course, Cooper too) one thing, it would be this:

Live the example.  And do it with a kind heart.

I have to believe that the rest will fall into place.  If I show my children what it means to be kind, to be independent, to give?  They will understand in a way my words could never convey.

What one lesson do you hope to teach your children?

This Mother’s Day conversation is sponsored by a company I love (and use!) Tiny Prints.  I love that they have given me some beautiful things to think about as Mother’s Day approaches.  All of their Mother’s day cards (and Father’s day cards too!) are fully customizable and can be sent straight to the recipient. You can even schedule the cards to be sent ahead of time too.

Life Lessons Learned over Ice Cream

You know it is during the simplest of life’s moments that the most profound lessons are often discovered (or re-discovered).

This was just the case today while I sat watching my son eat ice cream.  This was his ‘reward’ for being brave – having just had staples removed from the back of his head. (The result of a glass table vs. Coop moment while I was in Vancouver.  If you think the phone call sharing the news might have caused a small heart attack….you are correct.)

It was as I was mesmerized by Coop’s joy and fixation that the lessons popped into my head one at a time.

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Savor.  Savor life, savor food, savor relationships.  Coop tackled his cone one. lick. at. a. time.  In between he would stop to look…making sure he wasn’t missing a drop.  If only I savored every meal, every moment like this.

Family should never be far from your mind. As the small dude savored the creamy moments, a ‘look’ developed in his eyes.  He tilted his head and said, “we have to get something to take home for my sister.”

This also leads to lesson #3 – even when I feel as though I might drown from the guilt I feel – worrying if I am equipping my children with the necessary tools to be powerful adults, I get a big, “would you relax already?” in the form of a 3 year old who I have clearly taught compassion and a sharing heart.

Stop eating when you aren’t hungry anymore.  Seriously?  This shouldn’t be a surprise….and yet…. The kid ate about 3/4 of the ice cream cone and decided he was done.  So he stopped.  Me?  I MUST.FINISH.  Changing that immediately.

Smile, at everyone. I try to do this, but there is something so innocent when done by a child – and even better?  The reactions he gets from strangers.  He smiles, they smile.  So, if I smile, do you smile?

The quality of our time together matters as much as the amount of time. It was more important to Cooper than I was THERE, right then.  That I wasn’t multi-tasking, answering a call or email, or on twitter.  That I was staring at him while he ate and laughing.  He didn’t care that we were only there for 30 minutes.  He just cared that it was ‘Mommy and Cooper’ time. I may not be able to sit and stare at my kids all day, every day, soaking up their zest for life, but I can make time to do it on a regular basis.

For me – having this time to just observe my son, well…..it was priceless.  It was just what I needed to refocus on what is most important in my world…my family and the joy they inject into my days.

Life Lessons Learned at TypeAMom

I am home.  My family may or may not have missed me while I was gone, but I did miss them.  And I already miss the wonderful people from TypeA.

I had a wonderful time at the TypeAMom Conference in Asheville, North Carolina.

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I hugged, I chatted, I met amazing new people, I joined conversations, I took hours of video (that I am still working on putting together), I learned and I found myself both re-energized about blogging and our community and reminded that it is my individual voice that tells you who I am.

Sometimes I get lost.  I get tired of writing from my heart.  It takes energy, time and a willingness to ‘put myself out there’. But it is that process that allows you and I to connect on a deeper level.

I think giveaways are fun – but they aren’t why I started this site.  I started this site because I wanted to remind you – other Mommys – that you are doing something extraordinary, every single day.  I write because I want to connect, to share.  I vlog and use video because I want to engage with you – I want us to have a conversation – I want our community to see each other.

typeafionasandymichelejenBecause I adore this community – whether you call yourself a Mommy Blogger, A Parenting Blogger,  a Digital Mom, a Lifecaster, or you simply prefer Blogger – I want to share with you a little of my experience.

I will share the practical lessons (and there are many) in a future post.

But for now, I will go with my feelings. (seriously, how girly am I??)

Life Lessons from TypeA

  • We are all part of an amazing, growing community. We must respect each other and the varied way we share our voices.
  • Be true to you.  Occasionally stand back and reassess – are you blogging and communicating in a way that fits you and your brand?
  • Remember you are your brand.  (thank you Alli Worthington) Everything you do, everything you say illustrates who you are to the outside world.
  • Take the high road.  If someone engages you online, or you see an argument break out – stay out of it unless absolutely necessary.  A public battle is unfortunate and can be damaging to everyone involved.
  • Blog Karma is a virtual way to ‘pay it forward’.  There is enough room for everyone – and good things happening for one person paves the way for it to happen again.  Share with and about your friends.  A positive recommendation can go a long way.

trishadkadiThis community of women is talented and eclectic, beautiful and timid, outspoken and charming, classy and silly, opinionated and crazy, generous and sensitive.

And I am a part of that community.  So are you.

Welcome – picture a great big hug – to the new frontier of Mommy-Parenting-Digital-Lifecasting-New-Media and Blogging.

I am glad you are here.  I am glad I am here.

Thank you to the amazing women I spent time with at this conference – some of you I already knew and I couldn’t wait to see again.  Some of you I was dying to get to meet in person and get to know.  And still some are people I wanted to spend hours with, but I sadly, there wasn’t time.

I’m grateful as well to the sponsors – you added to our experience, shared perspective and engaged us in outstanding conversation.

And finally, thank you to Kelby for hosting and MomTV for sponsoring me.

View the initial TypeA highlights, and the TypeAMomSong.

(The picture on the front page of the site was taken by the Extaordinary @secretagentmama and features @janicecroze @velveteenmind and @jylmomif. In these pictures you see @bookieboo, @jylmomif @banteringblonde @organizersandy, @scrappinmichele @keepitclassyjen @momdotrocks @kadiprescott)