March 9th, 2011
Today I spent my lunch with The Care Communities of Austin at their Lunch and Learn. There are a giving group of individuals involved in end of life care for terminally ill patients. Obviously a group intimately familiar with grief, they were very interested in the MFSK mission. I shared the presentation stage with Erin Spalding from For the Love of Christi as she spoke of the many wonderful grief support programs that they have there … http://fortheloveofchristi.org/
I always lead these presentations by telling the story of my early loss, and to this day it still chokes me up a bit to tell it to an audience. I guess these uneasy communications are a big part of what moves us all forward.
September 1st, 2010
Last night I had the pleasure of presenting a perpetual plaque to the Warrior Prride Dance Performance Team at my daughter’s high school in Austin Texas. The team has made a generous agreement to work with us every year doing holiday gift wrapping at the Lakeline Mall during the busy shopping days between Thanksgiving and Chistmas. The gift wrapping event raises funds for our letter request kits while sharing our mission with hundreds of holiday shoppers.
Last night, the parents of almost 50 Westwood High School Warrior Pride dancers were on hand to learn about MFSK and our mission. I’m very proud to be associated with these fine young ladies and their directors, Kim Singleton and Lesley Welch Glover.
July 26th, 2010
There are times in all our lives when we surviving kids wish we had a parent to talk to. Those times exist for me right now as I have some personal issues to work through. The letters I have from others about my mom may help me see how she would have handled things. It’s not her being there, but it’s as close as we can come.
May 28th, 2010
Here we are about to dive into Memorial Day weekend, and I have some appropriate things to talk about. I’ve mentioned before that I thought our mission aligns well with the military with the obvious population of surviving kids of our country’s fallen soldiers. I have mentioned before in this blog about my communications with VFW, and I hope their link to us leads some families to some help here, but recently I may have managed to get us a bit more exposure in a very high level way.
I have an old hobby of writing limericks and roasts for people, and a former client contacted me last month to get something together for his son that was getting married. We had a few conversations about his son, and I was impressed to learn that his son’s best friend, Lt. Justin Mikolay, is the speechwriter for General Petraeus. Well it was obvious to me that although there was still a bit of a distance, I should indeed mention MFSK to my client and see if there was any way we could get the General to take a look at our cause and our website. My client, Joe Byers, was in search of a humorous product, and I delivered him a Weird Al type song parody and the MFSK proposition. In spite of my horrible singing, Joe came through with the report back I was really hoping for. MFSK was introduced to a number of good people at the wedding, and the lieutenant was going to mention MFSK to the General. Mixing fun and purpose sure makes for an enjoyable day.
So, in case we have the honor of such an impressive audience this Memorial Day weekend, (and even if we don’t). Let’s deprioritize the steaks a bit, and reflect more on our men and women that have served and given their lives. Let me encourage those of you who knew our fallen soldiers to be sure to share your memories with their families and especially their children. No doubt most the fallen had the bravery and courage that it takes to do what I ask you to do today, and that’s write some letters for those kids. It is so easy to avoid the topic of the deceased, but it is cowardly. Bring them closer this weekend.
April 26th, 2010
Greetings MFSK fans. I was hoping to hear back from some folks before my next post, but it looks like I need to forge ahead with faith that things will work out. Boy, where have I heard that before. Anyway, a couple of weeks ago there was a great program on CBS called “When Families Grieve” . It was hosted by surviving Mom Katie Couric with help from Sesame Street’s Elmo and friends. It was really a great program that mixed some real life stories of parental loss with Elmo’s friend Jessie’s. I was especially pleased when Katie Couric spoke about the funeral of her husband Jay, and how they had asked friends and family members to write letters with their remembrances of Jay. She explained how every year she reads her children those letters on his birthday. If you didn’t get a chance to see “When Families Grieve”, be sure to check out more at the web site – http://www.sesameworkshop.org/grief . I’m hoping to hear back on getting permission to use the excerpt from their program where Katie Couric talked about writing letters.
March 22nd, 2010
Hi Everyone! It’s been too long since I checked in to let you all know how things are going. I had my meeting last month with the Round Rock Kiwanis and it went very well. I met a woman that had a brother that had died a couple of years ago leaving small children. I was able to pass her a couple of our lapel pins as she said it has become awkward to bring the subject up since his wife had remarried. It was a reminder of the importance of our mission and how a big part of our success involves overcoming the awkwardness of the communication in order for the children to reap it’s rewards. It’s so easy to run from an uncomfortable topic, but that’s when you become selfish with your memories. Be brave, open the door, and let the light shine on all of you.
January 21st, 2010
Last month’s fundraiser at the Lakeline Mall here in Cedar Park Texas was a great success. The Warrior Pride Dance Team helped raise $641 for Memories for Surviving Kids. That was much needed funding as supplies for our letter request kits have been running dangerously low.
I met with Chris Almandarez of the Round Rock Express baseball team earlier this month to discuss how their organization can help get the word out about our cause. It turns out Chris lost his own Dad when he was just 21 years old, so he can very much relate to our mission and it’s importance.
In a few weeks I’ll be meeting with the Round Rock Kiwanis and Lion’s Club to introduce them to Memories for Surviving Kids. I’m looking forward to delivering that presentation and seeing what kinds of new beginnings we can form to get our mission out there.
Happy New Year!
December 15th, 2009
Best wishes to all our Memories for Surviving Kids Blog readers for a Merry Christmas or whatever holiday you celebrate this time of year. I want to take this time to remind you that this now is a great time to write a letter to a surviving kid, as I believe there is no other gift the child will value more. Speaking as an ‘old’ surviving kid ( almost 50! ), I will tell you that even at my age, I would be so pleased to receive a letter with new enlightenment about my parents. You just don’t outgrow this kind of gift.
If you’ve been waiting for the right time to write your letter(s). Please do it now. It will fill you and someone else with the right kind of spirit to have during the holidays.
For my local Austin / Cedar Park / Round Rock / Leander friends, don’t forget to stop by the Lakeline Mall and visit the Warrior Pride Gift Wrapping tables that benefit MFSK. Our remaining wrapping days are Saturday the 19th, Monday the 21st, and Tuesday the 22nd from noon to 6 PM.
November 16th, 2009
Hi everyone, and welcome to the holidays. Speaking of the holidays, don’t forget that if you’re in the Austin Texas area, please stop by the Lakeline Mall in Cedar Park to get your gifts wrapped while helping our cause. My daughter’s Warrior Pride Dance Performance Team will be on hand from noon to six PM making sure your gifts look great. The dates to visit that benefit Memories for Surviving Kids are Saturday December 5th, Saturday December 12tth, Saturday December 19th, Monday December 21st, and Tuesday December 22nd.
I have also locked in an opportunity to speak to Round Rock’s Kiwanis and Lion’s Club in February. I’m looking forward to that presentation that should make another stride raising awareness.
The Homerun Derby idea seems to have lost a bit of it’s momentum, but I think it’s time we stirred it up a bit more with the school district. Surviving kids don’t give up! Please let me know if you can help in any way for us to gather momentum. As a reminder, it is our quest to be part of an annual Homerun Derby featuring Round Rock School District High School sluggers ar Round Rock’s own Dell Diamond in late spring.
October 5th, 2009
Well I met with Round Rock Mayor Alan McGraw and his assistant Jill Goodman last Wednesday, and I could not have hoped for a better meeting. The Mayor shared my excitement about the prospect of doing a Home Run Derby that could help spread the message about Memories for Surviving Kids. I shared a bit about my struggles to get the word out, and before I knew it, Ms. Goodman was handing me a list of area organizations that are constantly looking for speakers at their meetings. So, I walked away with the Mayor agreeing to followup with our local school district on moving the Home Run Derby idea forward, and a list of area contacts that will no doubt lead to opportunities for me to present the “Introduction to Memories for Surviving Kids” presentation that I’ve been looking for an audience for. Keep your fingers crossed. The momentum continues…