Archive for May, 2008


Just so we are clear, I love words.  The word overwhelmed has come up so much in the last few days that I found myself wondering if it is possible to be simply whelmed, without being overwhelmed.  Which brought up the question, Is whelmed even a word?  I’ve never heard anyone say, “I’m feeling whelmed.”  So I looked it up in the online dictionary, and it turns out whelmed is a word.  It means submerged or covered with water. Ah, well that makes sense.

As a Mom who works I often feel whelmed and lets face it once you are whelmed it’s a very short putt to overwhelmed.  A client needs something 48 hours sooner than they thought they needed it.  I start to feel whelmed, and before I can even acknowledge that I’m whelmed, my 4 year old decides that he is absolutely starving despite the fact that dinner is only an hour away. The phone rings as he pulls an entire bag of pears out of the refrigerator dumping them all over the floor and ladies and gentleman we have overwhelmed!

I have to admit that I am ashamed at how often and how easily I feel overwhelmed as a Mom.  Overwhelmed wasn’t even part of my vocabulary before I was a Mom, it was something I associated with being incompetent.  I always thought “What is the use of being overwhelmed?  It only slows you from doing the thing you need to do – focus and forge ahead!”  Ahh, silly naive thoughts, before motherhood.

I’ve decided I need a new association for the word overwhelmed, more fitting to its actual meaning.  From now on when I am overwhelmed I’m going to picture myself underwater.  Nice cool, quiet, blissful water, where it’s serene, no phones ring, no emails appear, I am light and buoyant and my breasts defy gravity.  It turns out overwhelmed isn’t so bad after all!

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A virtual assistant is someone who helps you with office and life tasks – from a remote site.  We’ve all been using virtual assistants for years, but with the recent upgrades in technology we have now perfected it. 


Have you ever wished that you could split into two people so you could get more done?  Virtual assistants are great for tasks that you don’t want to do, don’t know how to do of don’t have time to do.


Look around your office and ask yourself, “Is there anything I wish I didn’t have to do?”  Imagine being able to hand that job off and knowing that it was going to be done and you weren’t going to have to talk someone through it.  What could you do with the time you could free up just by having someone else complete this task?


 That’s what having virtual assistants is all about. They free you up to do the tasks you want to devote your time and energies to, while still getting necessary work completed on schedule.


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Ask yourself this, if there was one thing you could tell the world about you or your business what would it be? Blogging can get that message out to the world for you at little or no cost. 


Would you like to be an expert in your field?  You can be. All you have to do is start a blog on that subject.  If you are genuinely knowledgeable and a decent writer within a matter of time your blog will begin to be quoted by other people who are talking on the same subject.  Instantly you are an expert.


Do you wish that you could attract new clients even in your sleep?  You can with a blog.  Long after business hours people are at home typing search words into their computers looking for info on products and services.  You’ve done it yourself.  Its eleven o’clock at night and you want information on antique lunchboxes (just for illustration purposes).  You don’t go for the phone book, all the stores are closed.  You go to your computer and  head to your favorite search engine where you type in “Antique Lunch Boxes” depending on how much time you have you might type in your city name.  If you are someone who sells antique lunch boxes you hope that your business name comes up on the first page of offerings.  Effective blogging helps to have your business register on first page searches if you research what the top keywords are for your business and then consistently use them as tags on your blogs.  In that way blogs help to bring the customers to you, even when you have finished for the day.


These are just two of the ways blogs can help, the list is endless.  If you aren’t blogging you are missing one of the most incredible advertising wonders of the world, and it’s free!

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Something I heard yesterday made me mad.  So mad that briefly I turned into Mathilda the Mad Mommy Monster, she is the Mom equivalent of the incredible Hulk.  When ever some thing involving children and children’s rights is wrong of unfair I seem to get a big estrogen jolt and at least in my mind’s eye I get superhuman powers, bloat up, turn green and feel like I could step on small buildings and crush them.  At least that’s what it feels like.

Having said that, and we can all sense a Mad Mommy Monster rant coming on…..I want to make one thing perfectly clear.  I am not anti –vaccination, I am pro parent choice.  I am not a scientist, I am a Mom, the jury is still out for me on vaccines.  But I whole heartedly believe in parent’s rights to choose what goes in their children’s bodies, and I am a super supporter of Mother’s instincts, which I believe transcend science.

Okay, end of disclaimer, on to the rant!

A good friend sent me an email yesterday that she has to take her 4 year old in for vaccines, because she was told that he can’t go to Kindergarten without them.  She said she didn’t want to do it, but he has to go to Kindergarten.  Apparently the principal himself told her that her child could not be admitted without the proper vaccinations.

This is a lie. It is a lie that is being told to parents all over the country.  You do not have to have your child vaccinated to send them to school.  Parents all over the country have stood up to the lie, and the schools when challenged have let the children attend school without vaccinations.  I talk to women all over the country who have been faced with school officials who have told them there is no way around it – the child has to be vaccinated, and when the parent would not consent there was always some form in a hidden drawer that the parent or the child’s pediatrician could sign to waive having the vaccines.  I personally have had to do this.

I understand what the schools are trying to do.  They are trying to keep “herd percentages” on vaccines.  In order for a vaccine to be effective there has to be a certain percentage in a herd who actually get the vaccine, once that percentage is reached there is an assumption that there cannot be an outbreak.

I think what makes me mad is the school’s coercive methods assume that we as parents are not smart enough to know our rights.  No one can force you to vaccinate your child.  Consider religions who do not believe in using certain medical technology.  The courts have never been successful in forcing parents to treat their children unless there were dire medical consequences and even then the courts have not been successful in all cases.

If my friend was scientologist do we really think that the principal would turn her child away and refuse to allow him to attend kindergarten without the vaccines?  No, because that would be unconstitutional, and the principal knows that.  A little piece of paper would be taken out of the dark hidden drawer, the parent would sign their refusal to vaccinate and everyone would go on their merry way.

But principals and school officials all over the country are telling parents lies in the hopes that they will just be intimidated into being in the “herd”.  I’m not a fan of lies, especially where my child is concerned, and I really don’t appreciate it coming from a professional who claims to have my child’s best interests at heart.  It makes Mathilda the Mad Mommy monster really angry!

My point is, where your child is concerned follow your instincts.  Don’t believe everything that nice people in suits tell you, and don’t take anyone’s word for what is right for your child.  Take the time to educate yourself and make the decision that is right for your family and your child.

If you want more information about vaccines, alternative vaccination schedules and how to minimize any possible negative effects of vaccinations, I suggest visiting Generation Rescue.

Mathilda the Mad Mommy Monster signing off!

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This is a great question, unfortunately there is no easy answer because blogs do so many different things.  Each blog has its own purpose. 


Let’s take the High School Senior who has a blog. In his blog he commemorates all of the things that he and his friends do through out their Senior year.  The blog does many things for this young man.  It creates a record of his thoughts and feelings which will be great to look back on in 20 years.  It helps his grandmother who lives across the country to know what is going on in his world.  It helps him to communicate and connect with his friends and peers – his friends like reading the blog and seeing pictures of themselves posted on the web.  AND the college of his choice took the blog into consideration when accepting him to their university.  Not a bad work load for a little blog.


Let’s take the case of the Realtor in San Francisco.  She writes a blog three times a week, sometimes showcasing property other times talking about the current market or even highlighting an area neighborhood.  This blog serves as an ongoing advertisement for the realtor’s business.  The blog helps to create an atmosphere of knowledge and expertise, drawing clients in.  It also advertises property and brings in prospective buyers.  On top of these other great benefits the blog continually helps the realtor with search engine optimization by reminding the search engines that she is there and writing on a specific subject.


On a very basic level a blog sends a message to the world, what the message is will depend on the writer, who reads the message and what they do with the message is another topic all together.

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People ask me all the time “What is a Blog?” Blog is short for Web log.  A log is like a professional diary or journal.  Remember on Star Trek when the voice over would say Captain’s Log Star Date….and then the Captain would fill us in on important information?  The idea was that in the future a person’s diary would be kept on a computer with sound and picture instead of written in a book.  Welcome to the future.  Although most people are still choosing to write their blogs  a large number of people are already choosing to video tape their blogs.

In any case a blog is diary or journal.


Because blogging is relatively new there really aren’t any rules.  You can blog about your day or you can write poems and post them to your blog.  Your blog can be about a very specific topic (such as a book or favorite television show) or it can be just rantings and musings on your everyday life, it can even be about a specific product or company.


Blogs can be written by individuals or groups.  A blog is meant to be written on a consistent basis over a period of time, so perhaps the only true guideline is that your blog be about a subject that you are passionate about.  What do you have to say to the world?


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By Shannon Penrod
I am a storyteller.  It took me almost half a century to be able to say with conviction that this is truly my calling.  Saying I was a writer never quite covered the entire picture.  In the years that I was an actress and a stand up comic I was never quite comfortable with those labels either.  No title I was given fit like a glove, it always felt as though there was a finger overlooked.  Now I understand that while I wear many hats in my professional life they all fit comfortably under the heading STORYTELLER.  

Currently there are many stories I am telling.  When I write for clients I am telling their story as it relates to their professional lives.  When I write for Moms who want to work from there homes in order to be with their families while still earning a living – I am weaving a story of women who are capable and triumphant despite challenge.  When I speak to Mothers of children with autism, I tell the story of my journey with my son – a tale of hope and recovery. 

I remember being a young girl and my grandmother telling me the story of my great- great- great grandmother who placed her ten children into a wagon after her husband’s death and traveled with them from Arkansas to Wisconsin where the safely settled.  I am sure that I don’t have the details exactly right, but I remember the gist of the story.  Triumph in the face of insurmountable obstacles.  My grandmother hugged me when she was done telling me the story and said, “Now you are the keeper of this story to share and to pass down to your children and grandchildren.”  Being the keeper of the story resonates with me.  It is a role that feels fitting and right. 

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