Thursday, July 17, 2014

Blogging + Conversation = Success In More Ways Than One

OK~ You know when I started this blog, I had no idea that I would still be writing here five years later. The best part of all of this is the fact that each year I seem to be getting deeper into this whole blogging world. You are probably now asking, "What do you mean by that?" Well, it seems that I am reaching deeper to find things to write about, as I am finding things that really seem to touch my heart. And maybe it's because I'm traveling more and meeting more people all the time. It is true, everyone has a story!

I have watched our two boys grow into responsible young adults and I have also watched their trials and tribulations along the way.

Life can get pretty hectic at times and our world makes me want to shake my head at times. There are millions of nice people in the world, and there are a few that seem to stick out when they try to make things miserable. I've learned, kick them to the curb! I do not need that in my life and neither do you!

The middle school years were a challenge for both of our boys, so when I have a chance to interact with a young boy that is Middle School age, I jump on it. Our kids today need positive reinforcement and they need to know that people care about them. Sure, Moms and Dads tell their kids how awesome they are, but how often does a stranger tell them that?

Carmelo Hernanadez, 12 year old national pitching champion, entered my life this past week and I'm sure glad  he did. Thinking back to the conversation I had with him...... I could have chosen to say nothing to him, instead he and I talked about how he had the power to encourage and empower younger kids. He was attentive and looked me in the eye when we spoke. That to me shows character and a 12 year old with a conscience. Unfortunately, many 12 year olds today do not have character or a conscience. Could it be that adults are afraid to talk to them? I don't know, but it's sure something to think about.

So, the next time you sit next to a 12 year old you do not know, strike up a conversation and see where you go! Wow- am I ever glad to be a part of Carmelo Hernandez' team- he has character, a conscience and he's a national champion! There's something to be said about a smile, the word hi, and even a helpful hand. Kindness goes a long ways and I truly believe if we all worked on being a little kinder every single day our world would be a safer place. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Introducing you to 12 Year Old Pitching Star: Carmelo Hernandez

An update: Carmelo won! I am proud to say that I know this champion. Carmelo, I hope you and your family keep me updated as to your success- you are a kid with a big heart and quite an arm. Keep doing the right thing as you have a very bright future ahead of you.

OK~ I've been on the road making some awesome new connections the past few days and I love the fact that I always meet super nice people while I am away. Today I had the privilege to meet this young man!

I'd like all of you to meet Carmelo Hernandez! He was on my flight today from Los Angeles to Minneapolis. He was heading to Minneapolis to compete in the 2014 MLB Pitch, Hit & Run Contest!

The competition takes place tomorrow at Target Field in Minneapolis. With more than 625,000 youth participating and more than 4,000 competitions all across North America; I am proud to say that I met this young ball player today! He will be competing against two other boys in his age group, ages 11-12 that are from Virginia and Texas.

Carmelo's parents sat across the aisle and his Grandfather sat next to him. It was so fun to see the excitement that Carmelo's whole family has for him. I asked Carmelo what it takes to get to be so good at pitching and he said, "Practice!" Now, there's a lesson to be learned from that statement. Carmelo is only 12 years old and he understands the concept of work ethic. This young ball player is going to go places in all facets of his life. His grandfather even mentioned that he does not have a cell phone *gasp*- I applaud this family! Goes to show you that kids can survive without a cell phone in tow 24/7.

You all know that I love my technology, but it sure is refreshing to see a 12 year old boy working hard to succeed. Carmelo and I talked about the power he has to influence younger kids. He has a lot of young kids in his California hometown looking up to him. Just imagine what Carmelo's hometown can look like if he takes the initiative to encourage the kids playing t-ball in his hometown? Big changes can happen when a young man like Carmelo realizes the positive impact he can have within his community.

I'm excited for Carmelo and all the participants in Minneapolis tomorrow. With 24 boys and girls competing it's sure to be an exciting day. In my opinion, every kid that took the time to enter this event in their hometown is a winner. It takes the ability for kids to believe in themselves to get out there and do it! I think it's awesome that more than 600,000 kids took the time to enter their local contests. Just think- if an entrant did not quality for the finals this year what can be done over the next 365 days.

Through hard work and dedication dreams can come true. Carmelo Hernandez is living proof! I love how his eyes lit up when he told me about the game he hit four home runs in. That's a lot of baseball, friends.

Best of luck tomorrow and in the future, Carmelo. Through your hard work and dedication you have a lot of amazing things to come your way. I'm happy to call you my friend and wish you and your family all the best. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Latham Seeds Presents "Farmland" at the Windsor Theater in Hampton, Iowa

OK~ I live in North Central Iowa which means I am surrounded by a lot of corn and soybean fields.

There are many farmers that reside in North Iowa, as well as all across the United States. The film, "Farmland" is showing July 11, 13, 15, 16, and 17th, 2014, at the Windsor Theater in Hampton, Iowa. Latham Seeds is sponsoring this event and it is sure to be worth a view!

Did you know that most Americans have never stepped foot on a farm or ranch? This blows my mind! Having grown up on a farm in Iowa and living a mile from where I grew up. I know no different from life on the farm. But the one thing that I do not understand is how other types of farms operate, such as a cotton farmer. I would have to "Google" cotton farmer to get the scoop on how cotton is raised and harvested.

The film "Farmland" takes an intimate look into the lives of farmers and ranchers in their 20's and are responsible for running their farming businesses. From a poultry farmer in Georgia to a cattle rancher in Colorado, to a corn and soybean farmer in Nebraska, to an organic farmer in California, to a vegetable farmer in Pennsylvania and a hog farmer in Minnesota; this film covers a lot of bases when it comes to farming.

You may now be asking, "Why should I see this film?" Well, number one would be the fact that we all like and need to eat. It's no secret that there is a movement today of everyone wanting to know where there food comes from, how it is grown, and anything else you can think of. Here is your chance!

If you are willing to take the time to learn a little bit about farming in the United States today, you will have a better understanding of where your food comes from.

I'm planning on heading to Hampton, Iowa to view "Farmland" and learn a little more about the American Farmer and I hope you will too. For a listing of times and viewings in your area, click here. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Tips For National Cellphone Courtesy Month From U.S. Cellular: #SPONSORED

Disclosure: As part of The Better Moments Blogger Brigade Program, I did receive compensation for this post. The opinions expressed here are mine and nobody else's. I have been a U.S. Cellular customer for 10+ years.

OK~ Did you know that July is National Cellphone Courtesy month? U.S. Cellular is celebrating by promoting positive cell phone etiquette. This makes me wonder, do you care about cellphone etiquette? I'd like to think that every single reader of this blog would be concerned, as it's common courtesy to know when to use and not use your cell phone. Toss kids with technology into the mix and life gets a little more interesting, doesn't it?

U.S. Cellular's parent/child agreement is a simple solution to helping your family manage the use of cellphones. Every parent wants a simple way to keep up with what their kids are doing online and this agreement is the simplest that I have found. Go ahead, check it out here.

As many of you know, I love technology and my smartphone, but I also realize there are times when it needs to be put away. Just over the 4th of July holiday, I made a conscientious effort to leave my smart phone home. I attended a family picnic and was able to experience "life" without a smartphone in my hand. Amazing, huh? Now, I do not have any pictures, but that is OK. Once the next family event rolls around, I will probably have my smartphone in tow.

It's important to set ground rules, and this even applies to myself. I have made an effort to use my smartphone where it's needed. There's nothing more annoying than sitting in a movie theater and hearing a smartphone "ringing" when the plot is just beginning to thicken. Oh yeah, and it's also a good rule of thumb to adjust the lighting on your smartphone before you enter any dark areas.

In fact, in a recent Pew Research Survey it was found that 80% of respondents felt it was rude to use a smartphone while dining. I have to agree, when it's time to sit down for a meal, it's time to eat and talk. Now, when it comes to finding a great dining location, that's when a smartphone comes in handy! UrbanSpoon is a great app to use for looking for a fun, new place to dine. With U.S. Cellular's 4G LTE Network, you will always have great service and will be able to find a fun new place to dine with your family.

So, how does one combat all of this chaos when it comes to smart use of a smartphone while dining? It starts by setting the ground rules. There is nothing wrong with having everyone place their smartphones in a specific location, away from the dining table, before a meal is served. This can apply at home and in a restaurant. Common sense and being thoughtful of those around you will go a long ways.

My Apple iPhone 5s keeps me connected each and every day through the internet, text messages, and social media.

I love the fact that I can snap a photo of something fun and interesting and within a few seconds, it's live on social media!

And just in case you want a little more training on using your smart phone devices, there's probably a training session near you at your local U.S. Cellular store in July. After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?

Saturday, July 5, 2014

A Holiday With No Social Media- *Gasp*

OK~ It's official, I have made it through two holidays without social media in my hand. Easter 2014 was the first and now July 4, 2014. I'm just like everyone else, as I love to have my smart phone with me where ever I go. But let me tell you, it's kind of nice to just go to a gathering and not worry about taking "that" picture. Since I have no photos of the actual day, here's a great glimpse of what our view was like for most of the day.

When people of all ages do not have their smart phones out, it's amazing what happens. A few games of ladder golf and even volleyball began to take place at our gathering. And people actually talked to each other, gasp! If you give people the opportunity to get off of their phones and experience life, it really is a great thing! The 4th of July was nice in Iowa, we had upper 70 degree temps, so it was a great day to be outdoors.

For me, it's important to realize that there is a time and a place to get out my smart phone. I do take a lot of photos when I travel. These photos are my own person file of "stock" photos. They are my go to photos when I need a particular photo for a blog post.  My family also knows that they need to move away from their food while dining out as Mom may want a photo. As you can tell, I do use my smart phone a lot, but I am also proud of the fact that I am able to step away from it at times.

I do not have family photos of our family gathering for Easter 2014 or July 4th, 2014, and I'm ok with that. I made memories with my family that I can carry with me forever.

I think I probably need to get in the habit of taking my actual camera with me, as opposed to my smart phone. This way I will still have some photos of our family gatherings, yet not feel like it needs to go to social media at the touch of a button.

Are you attached to your smart phone? If so, I challenge you! Once the next holiday rolls around, leave it home. Trust me, you will talk to family members, play games, and see everything from a whole new perspective. Hey, who knew? Social media and technology have changed how we all communicate and I cannot stress how important this is to those of you that have younger kids at family gatherings. Younger kids are looking up to how adults are behaving and if the adults all have their smart phones out- just imagine the trend that is being set.

Face to face conversation still matter and it's up to us adults to set a precedence. So, tell me about your holiday, do you have oodles of photos on social media? Did you connect and play games or focus on that "next" photo? I'd love to hear how you are handling your family gatherings or if this topic even matters to you? After All, It's All In a Mom's Day, Right?