It Matters

Dear Mom and Dad,

Remember how you wished like nobody’s business that there was even any small indication that your words and efforts were making a difference?  Especially when it seemed as if you had the most thankless (not to mention endless) job on the planet with nothing to quantify it?

Those days when time after time (quite possibly the 3,459,812th time) you packed everybody up, including 2 or 3 friends, for a youth event or special evening? When reality stated that you would rather be home in your own pajamas relaxing and enjoying some much deserved down time?

Let’s talk about costuming and the planning, shopping for, and eventual execution thereof? And I’m not simply referring to the holiday beginning with “H”.  Rather, I’m encompassing every outing, Boy and Girl Scout function, church youth group extravaganza, and whatnot…where they pled for that extra effort so their team could “win?”

Finally, there are the books.  Endless stacks, piles, and myriads of sing-songy, rhyming types that when you are weary, make you long for an adult book group.

And the Where’s Waldo picture books.  If I had life experience for every time I went looking for him…chances are the best of the best detective agencies would clamor for my hire.

Maybe, just maybe, you are beyond most of the above…in the home stretch with only one or two children left under your roof. Your days consist of “checking in” with young adults while still directing older children. And yet at times, you still wonder.

Until you receive a text the likes of this:

“Helping our youth group leaders with a Real-Life Waldo event. So fun!”

Accompanied by this amazing picture:

Where's Waldo Reagan and Tabitha1

And in that moment, once again, you are reminded that example trumps words every time, that what you are saying is molding, shaping and leaving an indelible impression on hearts and minds; serving to shape future values and priorities. And that your influence is stretched beyond yourself, producing residuals beyond anything you could have ever been paid to do in the “here and now.”

What you’re doing today and every day?

It Matters.



You know how you go along in life as the parents/adults?  And often you “think” you know what this kid or that kid would be great at or should possibly do?  And then…then? Well take a look at this! I’m still in shock, and it’s the very best kind! The punk stellar young man on the left, is the son of my friends Cathy and Dave Brown. Chad attended FanFest for Mariners baseball last Saturday, and snagged a spot in the Roots Sports booth.  Holy Cow!  It’s like he’s been a commentator for years!  My older kids were so pumped,while my youngest (rabid Mariners fan) sat with his mouth hanging open. Literally.

Just goes to show you…you simply never know.  Life is full of interesting things.  And chances are, you really haven’t a clue as to the talent, potential and possibilities belonging to those individuals with whom you live.  What a privilege it is to dwell with greatness.  It is an even greater one to watch it unfold!

While it is often said that parenting isn’t for whimps…it is most definitely for the privileged!

GO CHAD! He’s got the “head nod” part down really well, dontcha think?!



This could possibly be the longest, biggest “sports blitz” I have ever been on in my life! Over and out.


Out On A Limb

The title is where I’m headed today.

For you see, I know quite-near-next-to-nothing about the NFL. And yet, Sunday’s game has left me very troubled in a lot of ways. This is quite an understatement.

NFC Championship - San Francisco 49ers v Seattle Seahawks

For me, there are issues involving “the incident” with Richard Sherman that come from a definite rookie angle; but are the topic of much conversation in the Helm’s Household, as well as out of it; for I have texted voraciously with Son #1 and others.

In the spirit of the Leadership Education principle “You, Not Them,” I have a confession to make. It involves a basketball game in 1993 that my brother was coaching.  I was visiting Seattle with my two oldest (and only at the time) sons. My brother invited us to ride the bus to the game, thinking that the boys would love it. They did. (At least on the way there.)

Perhaps the game became rather intense, and perhaps I felt that one of the refs was blind (my brother Tim later confirmed he was, but that is still to this day beside the point) and perhaps I stood to my feet and screamed this fact, until the principal of the school left his post on the other side of the gym; taking his time to get to where I was seated, asking me sincerely if I needed to step outside.  He was absolutely right in what he did, and I was mortified. So was my brother. I remember one of the kids on the bench choosing to seize that momentary awkward silence in which the entire game stopped, and everyone’s eyes were on me by stating, “Geez, lady, you have serious problems. This is only a game!” That bus ride home was awkward at best and I was very alone in my seat near the back.

It is still not one of my finer life moments by any means. And there have been others not related specifically to sports.

I do have a small measure of comfort in the fact that my brother, Tim, (who clearly can no longer defend himself, but could also not deny one thing here in print) has been kicked out of many a game; using up his quota of technical fouls.  His reputation for quietly and professionally goading refs and other coaches lives on in infamy.  Son #3 and I were laughing last evening over the fact that during one particular visit with my brother,while at a high school game, he had mentally uttered to himself, “What the h*ll is your problem?!”

Be that as it may, I believe we are faced with some big ones.

For after Richard Sherman’s “unprofessional outburst” (and it was, there is absolutely no question,) a fire storm within social media venues everywhere ignited.

Sadly, the blaze continues and has burned both bridges and opportunities in its pathway down the slippery slope of things not even pertaining to football.

Leadership Education also encourages knowledge that is both broad as well as deep.  I have zero depth in the world of the brown pigskin ball, other than what my brother Tim, my father, and my BFF Cathy have graciously passed along.  In an effort to understand a wee bit about the game, I read this book,

Tony Dungy

and had many a discussion with Tim about its contents.  It was a wonderful, insightful and eye-opening read and I highly recommend it. Since then, more than once, I have heard a zealous but well-meaning parent declare, “I would never want my child to go into politics! Oh no! A career in sports is where we’ve got them headed!”
I laugh, for I can’t decide which is more fraught with political strife: the career or a professional game!

Somehow, in today’s America, the fan/observer/enthusiast has come to be expert, gospel-truth-providing political pundit; taking the convenient form more often than not, of an anonymous-but-influential package.

Know this: I am not defending poor sportsmanship or unacceptable behavior. But there is plenty of it coming from the 12th man, and they aren’t just Seahawk’s fans.

The 12th man in my book, is the crowd that weighed in and then, from the comfort of their own easy chair, complete with an array of snacks only an arm’s length away; began fueling an age-old fire, that in many arenas is still blazing.

It concerns me that inappropriate behavior somehow managing to be redefined as expert opinion or even “fact” can be manipulated and reworked into equally absolute truth with influence, by those all too quick to seek immunity, safety and absolution behind a keyboard and a screen.

I know from personal experience, being a passionate person who shares opinions and ideologies too freely at times, that there are simply those moments, when after the fact; one wishes they had done things differently.  I can’t speak for anyone other than myself, but I find it horrifying that a gross error of judgment escalates to blanket statements encompassing things one really knows very little about, and never will. And just that quickly, gaining even more followers, also armed with blanket-statements-and-stereotypes-turned-truth, it focuses relentlessly on an individual’s ethnicity and stereotypical prejudice which still, after all these years, slides too easily off both tongue and fingertips…despite yesterday’s holiday being all about honoring the headway this man made for the cause.

Martin Luther King Jr.

Undoubtedly, professional athletes have significant influence over youth in America. Who am I kidding?  They have influence over all of America as a culture!

But do they honestly possess influence at its greatest?  It is my opinion that the answer is no, for real genuine relationship trumps iconic moments of glory every time.

Face-to-face, consistent, accountability is what is life changing in the end. And what kids (mine in particular) see me living, texting, writing, and what their ears hear me saying about and to others, is the greatest influence to abolishing hyped up, misdirected fear there is. Dr. King was all about this particular angle and made staggering headway using it towards fear’s demise.

Fear serves no one well. Responding to inappropriate actions with further inappropriate action, gives way to an even greater foothold where it is concerned. It limits and produces myopic vision that sees snippets and parts rather than the whole.

Fear feeds on opinion rather than fact. It takes root quickly and tenaciously where stereotypes of others based on culture and color are used to qualify those opinions whether they are relevant to occurring actions or not.

The oldest of my children asked me after the principal walked away that day, “Mom, are you in trouble?”

I meekly and humbly replied, “Yes.” It went far deeper than that one word answer.

One of Webster’s definitions of bravery is “showy display, magnificence.” Richard Sherman’s prowess and play are certainly in that category, are they not?

Wisdom, on the other hand, which is defined as: “a wise decision, good sense showing in a way of thinking, judgment or action”, seems to be what is lacking. Not just on the part of the athlete, but a lot of 12th man individuals who continue to weigh in.

Perhaps pursuing impact through relationships with the power of our personal influence in mind would serve to honor the legacy of Dr. King’s dream. A dream, referenced often, and revered much, that involved abolishing fear so that understanding could reign.

Let’s be leaders who stick to the real issues, readily admitting fault when there is a need.

Courage: it “involves qualities of the spirit and personal conduct.”

In the future, even when I “lose it”, have need to apologize and own my errors, may it always be void of color.


Linden tree

You know how you attend any number of large gatherings, and someone invariably takes to the podium, announcing that they have a few housekeeping items?

What in the holy heck DOES that really mean?  You’re generally in a hotel, surrounded by people being paid to accommodate you, and this is the best we can do for this title?

Well, today, is just a quick rant on my part, 14 days into this new year.

I went from a happy-but-significant post about my brother , commitment, friendship and the power of traditions, to the following statement on a photo:

“There comes a point when you have to realize that you’ll never be good enough for some people. The question is, is that their problem or yours?”

A bit of a wind suck/energy drain, is it not?  And yet, if you will allow me, I think it needs to be addressed just a bit further.

In recent days, I have had a rather daunting series of negative, critical, and unsolicited input regarding any number of topics; but inclusive of: my personal intents and actions,(albeit misinterpreted) business decisions, children and their choices, several of my personal choices…you get the idea.  And have I mentioned this is only a partial list?

As I see it…

Decisions, priorities, choices and convictions should reflect the unique, significant and beautiful diversity of your own life and calling.  It is honestly baffling to me how many opinions, influences from peers, and societal expectations, influence often significant choices and personal actions.  If we “go against” any of those expectations by honoring conviction that is personal…and lo and behold it works out…then we are simply “lucky”, or better yet…actually admired for not listening in the first place!

Don’t get me wrong.  I believe that criticism can be and often is, a wonderful tool that is there to mold, shape and influence. It can be a catalyst for an idea, which possibly gives birth to a concept; ultimately even bringing about change.  I’m talking abut criticism that is there for the purpose of building up rather than the kind that was wielded with destruction as the intent of choice.  They are very different beasts indeed.

Charting the course of one’s life in order to have the end result be a reward of significance and making a difference is serious business.  And it involves evaluation, engaging and encouragement on many levels.

Perhaps if everyone spent as much time analyzing PERSONAL intent, work ethic, commitment, and conviction…the need to “keep house” contingent on the approval of others, could give way to greatness occurring on a regular basis that emphasized an extroverted focus rather than an introverted neurosis.

You have but one life. Live it, love it, and lead in such a way, that your own house is in order.

Oh, and know this: great leadership doesn’t sacrifice conviction and excellence for popularity; whether or not people of significance are doing it.

If you aren’t being criticized by someone, chances are…you aren’t risking enough.

And someone needed to hear this today.  Possibly me.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I have some further personal housekeeping to do!


The Great Christmas Card Caper

I honestly don’t know what I was thinking.

Five sons and one soon-to-be-daughter-in-law, together for a photo shoot.

Problem #1: Putting the wrong kid in charge of getting the perfect shot.  Because said kid could give a fat flip about the wardrobe. This will become painfully evident shortly.

Me, to Son #2: “So, you’re going in for a lovely evening together, and I really need a favor. When you meet up with your brother, (Son #1 and fiance’) will you please take some pictures for our Christmas card at the beach?  It will be the only time you’re all together prior to the holidays.”

Son #2: “Sure!” Problem #2: Notice the lack of any details here. Please also note the lack of any questions regarding further details that may be necessary to actually succeed in gaining a mother’s satisfaction.

I must’ve been completely brain dead.

Off they went. To the beach.  And then to Los Angeles.  All five sons, plus one soon-to-be-daughter.  I waited with great excitement and anticipation.

Brace yourself.  No self-respecting mother, who searches for the perfect Christmas card, who anticipates them from others as they arrive daily in December, who pours over the family Christmas letters and annual happenings of others, could ever, ever, EVER be prepared for the visual assault you are about to see.

Behold: Photo #1.

Christmas card debacle2

Me, after nearly choking to death on a sip of water: “What IS this?”

Son #2: “Our photo.”

Seriously? Apparently so. The visual assault of color discord alone was nearly making me weep.

Me: “May I ask what you were thinking?” And before he could answer “Is that Son #5 in his peace sign shirt? For real?!”

Christmas card debacle1

Why yes, indeed it is!  Realizing I would have an absolute cow, they had quickly managed to troubleshoot (using the term ever-so-loosely) and had him turn it around.

Side note: Doesn’t my future daughter-in-law look adorable as well as appropriately FESTIVE? And I shudder at the on-camera gangster activity of #3. One medical tattoo and apparently, it’s all down hill on a very slippery slope!

I will interject here that a first born child generally does what they are told.  To the letter of the law.  I know, because I am one. Stand on the line, face west, no talking.  We’re great conveyor belt people when the need arises. This day, in this awkward, “what-message-are-you-conveying?” Christmas card moment…Son #1 shines!

Christmas card debacle3

Ding, Ding, Ding!  We have a winner!  All of those coordinated outfits, with matching pacis, and meticulously chosen shoes-you-would-never-walk in, paid off in the subconscious arena!  You, dear child, are my favorite for the next 2 hours for this near-heroic feat! You are definitely a part of the beautiful people in this OCD-Christmas-card mother’s mind!

And what a card it was to be!  I had gone with a company whose creativity nearly made me weep.  I mean, it was slated to be a Christmas mantle showstopper!  I was smug.

Until the company called and told me, while I was catching a business flight, that they had cancelled the entire series.  I was rooted to the floor regardless of the fact that they were calling for boarding.

Me: “What do you mean exactly?”

Card Company Employee: “What we’re trying to say, Mrs. Helms, is that the quality of the paper promised was compromised.  There won’t be anything offered in this series.  Might we interest you in something else?”

Phase One of Leadership Education consists of Core.  In it, you learn right from wrong, good from bad, true from false…you get the idea.  And honestly, those who have a rocky or undesirable start in life get to go back and learn it at a later time.  It is the basis upon which the foundation of your life is formed.  Reform is most difficult. And back-breaking.  And time consuming.

It was in that moment, that I paused, and thought about my card. My kids had taken these photos on the way to an event that they had planned for months.  Truth be told, they orchestrated it quite well; inclusive of extremely memorable details.  They saw composer Danny Elfman’s work played by a beautiful symphony orchestra, with performances that featured Danny himself.  They stayed in the new Marriott Live, and the little boys got a midnight teaching lesson from their future sister-in-law while she slept! The following morning, they topped it off with a 4-D screening of The Nightmare Before Christmas at the El Capitan theatre, which made its debut in Los Angeles in 1926.

It was apparent that none of this involved me, or my Christmas angst…but in reality, it did. For amidst all of my nit-picking about clothing, coordination, and lack of style; Core Phase showed itself to be beautifully, solidly, consistently in tact where my children were concerned.  More than anything, they love to be together, honor our family’s values and standards, and seek to prioritize what matters most. They will be best friends for life, both theirs and mine.

It’s both humbling and thrilling.

And my card?  Oh, I redid it.  And it will most likely be late, as  I am still awaiting its arrival.

And these folks? Total beach creepers, I tell you.

Christmas card debacle5

“Yeah, there was one lady that was really keeping an eye on us.”

No need to wonder why, people.

Christmas card debacle6

Oh! And if Synchronized Bird Watching at the Beach is ever an Olympic consideration…

Christmas card debacle4

Gold Medalist family right here.

I’m so glad we could bond over this debacle at my expense. Consider it my gift to you, along with the laughs that no doubt accompanied it.



Three Additional Gifts

I was overwhelmed at the kindnesses expressed by many of you regarding the previous post “True Gifts.” Some commented here, others e-mailed, while still others sent texts.

Yesterday, an incredible man was laid to rest. And in keeping with both legacy and the season, he gave me three additional gifts in the form of poignant reminders.

It is my privilege to share them with you now.

1. Service to God and country affords freedom: both personal and collective.

Dale Young Graveside1

Dale Young Graveside22

I wept profusely at the privilege of witnessing military honors.  I never tire of them. Sacrificing for freedom ushers in abundance of spirit.  Abundance of spirit gives birth to possibility.  And possibility is endless where freedom exists.  Honoring God is the bonus that guarantees a kind of success that can’t be defined.  Dale risked all, and therefore gained all; both by the world’s standards as well as Heaven’s.

2. Family Is a Grounding Source In All We Do.

Dale Young Graveside2

Dale Young Graveside3

What you are seeing present here, are Dale’s immediate family members plus a few employees and friends. Very few. It is mostly just family.

The community service will be after the first of the new year.

Pretty magnificent site, is it not?

Despite differences, disagreements and viewpoints that often may not align completely; at the end of the day, family matters. It grounds, supports, defines and refines us. All of us. While for many people, the basic family unit may not be pleasant, what we ultimately choose to do with those circumstances will make or break our lives.

What you choose to leave speaks very clearly to what you valued, invested in, and prioritized. Today I saw the fruit of that priority and it was a beautiful thing.

3. Never lose sight of where you came from and who you are.

Dale Young Graveside25

The simple, unadorned beauty of Dale’s casket was thought provoking.  Afterward, it was shared in conversation with a family member, that he personally dictated exactly how it was to be.

Community icon, extremely successful, capable and self-sufficient; Dale didn’t let it go to his head. Rather, he viewed his resources and positions as tools within a framework that allowed him to bless as well as influence others for good. Quietly. Faithfully. Without a lot of hoopla, fanfare or glory seeking. He was an individual that never lost sight of who he was or where he came from.  A rather novel perspective in today’s Western Worldview, is it not?

Those are my three things.  They were generous reminders, indeed.

I guess there were really four.

Never underestimate the power of association and friendship.  It will make or break you; for influence is everything.

Dale Young Graveside26

Merry Christmas to me.


Some Parenting Observations, Along With Gratitude


So I recognize that this photo has made the rounds in many places, multiple times. My “niece” Amanda, snapped it in an impromptu fashion while visiting.  Have I mentioned I would like to be her (and I couple of other people) where my camera is concerned when I grow up?  But that’s not the point of today’s post. (Focus, Teri, focus.)

One of the many reasons I adore this photo, is that it personifies each of my children quite accurately. I see it every day in a canvas that hangs over my bed.

In part, it serves as a lovely reminder that people are individuals, and should be treated as such.

I do not give unsolicited parenting advice, and it falls amongst the gravest of taboos in my book.  In fact I will, generally speaking, make you ask at least three times prior to weighing in with anything other than admiration for your child(ren); and even then, I will ask you if you really meant to ask for advice!  It can be a real deal breaker where even the deepest of abiding friendships are concerned.

And so, today, in this unspoken series of “All Things Gratitude”, I would like to say that I am grateful to be “old.”  Of course I say that somewhat tongue in cheek, but I have had more than one mom ask for help in the past three weeks. And to their credit, the issues they were drowning in, do seem to be on the rather disparaging side of parenting.

I digress to my fantastic father’s observation: ” I would like to ask God someday about something that seemingly makes no sense.  Why couldn’t we start out old, and digress into our youth as people, rather than having it the other way around?”  Other than the energy factor, I would heartily agree where the deeper issues of parenting are concerned.

It was Mahatma Ghandi who is credited with challenging each of us to be the change we wish to see in the world. While it is on mugs, magnets for the refigerator, quoted endlessly at many a graduation or recognition of a noteworthy accomplishment, it is quite an insightful truth.

Two of the parents seeking desperate help, were doing so because they had children who were “out of control.” As is generally the case in situations like this, the list of offenses was long, illustrious and seemingly endless in nature.  I was exhausted just looking at them, and somewhat empathetic where the discouragement piece was concerned.

I may not seem to know much, but this truth resonates over and over again in any seemingly hopeless circumstance: I have the power to change one individual, and that individual is ME. If I would like to see change, and have the vision…I get the privilege of going first.  Always.

In the case of these lovely parents, I found their courage refreshing when they openly admitted that most of the very things they were irritated with in their children, were issues that they themselves were struggling with. In an era of history where interconnectedness to virtual strangers is a reality, it is so very easy to seek to influence in a profound and mighty way. Sadly, so much of that pursuit is in arenas that can often allow for neglect where our greatest influence could and should lie…within our own family.  Both of these parents realized that this was the real behavioral issue: they weren’t focused on the change where it needed to occur.

I am so far from perfect it isn’t funny.  Or…perhaps it is; for perfection is a lie that will always present itself as attainable.

There are so many things I can look back upon that our boys practice today, that started with change on the part of the Hero Hubby and myself.

If I want something to be different, then I need to be the first individual to make it so.  My power to influence is huge, and comes through the example I live rather than the expectations through words that I express.

Today, I am grateful for the freedom placed within mankind by a loving and benevolent Creator, to choose change.

Change by example leads to powerful influence, which executes an even greater circle of change.

Hundreds of examples in history speak to it, and millions of people have had the courage to quietly and simply execute it.

Yes, I am grateful; both for examples as well as free will to choose.

And I love the diversity in many of those changes that have been brought about by a single individual saying, “I’ll go first.”

I’m excited when I look into the faces of my boys and see the limitless potential for change that they can bring to the world.

It tends to make looking at parenting, something that is full of challenge and excitement, doesn’t it?

Reality Is Often Humorous

Blogging  actually all forms of social media are often interesting.  People can sterilize, manipulate and stage their lives in such a way that things look darn near perfect.  But in reality, they’re not.  No really, this applies to everyone. Yes, even that one individual you are currently thinking about. 

I am blessed with an amazing family.  A family that is loyal, strong, talented, and well…not perfect. Regardless, if nothing else, they are hilarious.

Yesterday consisted of a doctor’s appointment for my father, followed by a visit to a notary, (also for my parents) and some errands.

Son #3 was at the house with our two youngest boys.  This can go either way, as evidenced by the following text message response to my inquiry of:

“How’s it going?  Everything okay?”

Son #3: “We’ve been VERY productive!”

Austin's Compressor Shot1

“What happens when we’re the only ones home and the “adult” at the house has just gotten a new air compressor!”

I hope this makes your personal confidence where parenting, education, and all things responsibility soar!

Clearly, the term adult here is referenced very, very loosely. Carry on, friends.



Gratitude: It Really Isn’t a Season

So, remember this picture from the post October 29th?

Fall Leaves in Kalispell, MT1

Here is that same street yesterday.

Jenna's street in "Winter"1

At the risk of sounding cliche or trite, life certainly moves in seasons, does it not?

Several of you have asked about my reference to the “Christmas Card Debacle.”  I won’t leave you hanging. Promise.  It’s simply too rich not to share, but all in good time.

As we move in a rather brisk pace towards the day in which we pause to give thanks, I’ve been focusing on some paradigms in my life, that have come to a fruition of sorts. Paradigms can be funny things, really.  While models and examples that often serve to reinforce principles, guidelines and patterns leading to character qualities we desire both in ourselves and perhaps our children; they can be extremely mundane.  Much of life is on many levels.  It’s patterns, examples and principles that are modeled day after day after seemingly endless day that produce the end product and result.

It is easy to leave gratitude in the dust when the tedious sets in and we’re called to be faithful.  I know that more than once I have summoned my last bit of courage, faith and fortitude to make it through one more day filled with dried PB and J crusts on a table overlooking a living room floor cluttered with toys, books and discarded items of boyhood clothing.

Yet, as the seasons change, isn’t it typical of human nature to look back wistfully on those that take their place in days gone by?

My father has often lamented that life would perhaps be a lot different if one started out old, complete with the wisdom a full life inevitably offers, and moved backwards to the often reckless abandon of youth.

Parenthood isn’t for wimps. Lots of trial and error starts us off on the journey bearing the title of “Mom” and “Dad.” And it never ends. Many times, during the course of raising children, the journey can seem rather barren.  Especially when it is filled with trials or those who don’t understand the direction we have chosen to take in raising our kids.

All over within the social media world, it is encouraged in this month to give thanks.  I am all for this.  But personally, I have been setting intention to live more in the moments, for more and more I am realizing that in the end, they are what makes up the greatness of life.

I am also understanding on an even deeper level that gratitude is the companion to all that is good, rich and rewarding.  It ushers in abundance where physical and even emotional scarcity could be a reality, and it acts as a gatekeeper; keeping despair, comparison, a need for perfection and bitterness at bay.

For me, the moment I decide that gratitude is seasonal, is the moment I lose sight of thousands of blessings that surround me, and a clear vision of the rewards of faithful endeavor become clouded or even obscure.

Gratitude.  It’s what I desire to live with intention, so that my intentions bring forth incredible fruit.




Influence: It Comes in Many Forms!


While driving down the freeway heading to Orange County, we heard this sentiment exuberantly and excitedly declared from the back of our vehicle.  We had just passed one of those Tron-style screens.

“Did you see us up there a moment ago, Mom?”

I honestly thought they were joking.  Apparently this photo is currently “up in lights” in certain Southern California areas.



(Is it me, or do these punks look really young?!)  I digress.

I’ve received a couple of calls and messages from the greater Los Angeles area informing me that they are also on folders and paperwork coming home from the high schools, encouraging students to give blood! Once again, I stop to mention here that Son #1 will soon be 25, and could still pass for a high school student if in a pinch.  I’m not bitter that I can no longer even come close.  Oh no, not bitter at all.

Then there was this piece last week… (and perhaps in installments prior to that)

Tattoo complete11

which sparked an e-mail housing the following:

“I put this out this morning.  It will reach both San Diego and Riverside County Emergency Medical Services.  These organizations are responsible for all EMT’s and Paramedics in each county.  Additionally, it was sent to people in State Parks, Imperial County, College of the Desert and various fire agencies.  I believe there will be good saturation within three days.”

It was signed by a friend of our family, who happens to be a Fire Chief.

It went on to feature Son #3 as a profile in which they admonished the above organizations to “look for medical tattoos with important messages.”

(Perhaps he is correct and is the “TommyMom Favorite” he claims to be after all.)

The internet can be both a light for all that is good, along with housing the dark murky waters filled with SEOs, Likes” and numbers that indicate you are “popular and loved by the in-social media crowd.”

It honestly makes an old lady like me nuts from time to time, which provides great fodder for #1-#5 where their “Flintstone-esque” mother is concerned.

I’ve thought a lot in the past couple of days about the influence and impact of these two contributions alone: more people giving blood, especially healthy, young students, and those in Emergency Services possibly becoming more aware of where to look for medical warnings.

I’m happy and grateful to have been a part of both.

Influence, no matter how seemingly small, starts with one. Making a difference begins with you, and your willingness to do just one thing that is perhaps outside of the box.  It has to start somewhere.  And more often than not in today’s world, even the least suspecting make significant contributions where it really matters.

Carry On. Stay your course.  You have great things to offer the world, and messages that are significant.

Don’t let “what everyone else knows or is doing” define your contribution.

Neither of these opportunities to contribute influence would have happened without TommyMom!

(Pretty humbling, I say, when underneath it all, she’s Wilma Flintstone in disguise.)

Over and out!



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