Saturday, February 4, 2017

The Art of Advocacy ~ ABC's

noun ad·vo·ca·cy \ˈad-və-kə-sē\

Popularity: Top 20% of words
 Definition of advocacy
the act or process of supporting a cause or proposal :  the act or process of advocating something
 Legal Definition of advocacy

1 :  the profession or work of an advocate

2 :  the action of advocating, pleading for, or supporting a cause or proposal 

The Art of Advocacy ABC's ³
Part I (A to L)


                     Anticipate the pros/cons of each side
                    Answer questions using facts plus anecdotal refs.
                    Alleviate fears, concerns, and provide alternatives


                   Benefits of recommended program listed in detail
                   Bring your best attitude to the negotiations
                   Believe in the message and purpose of your topic


                   Collaborate with other resources and supports
                   Collect information, signatures, and/or research
                   Create an environment where voices are heard


                  Develop a system to organize/manage information
                  Dialogue with an established project team
                  Delegate responsibilities according to skills/talents


                Encourage individuals to record their thoughts/actions
                Embrace diversity, cultural awareness, and gender 
                Educate within your community & beyond if needed


                Foster a peaceful, respectful, and communicative team
                Forgive past differences or transgressions;go forward   
                Figure out what the team/individuals expect

              Goals need to be written along with strategies
              Grants can be researched and written where applicable
              Guidance from others who have experience is advised


              Help from supporters can come in many forms
              Highlight successes and incremental progress
              Honor your commitments

               Inspire change through actions as well as words
               Improve methods of communication when questioned
               Insights from a variety of sources can enhance project


                Journal the process in some format (day planner,etc...)
                Join other groups with similar motivations/interests
                Jump start each meeting with an upbeat update


                Keep things balanced to avoid tangents and fatigue
                Know when to push and when to hold back a little
                Key factors need to be highlighted and represented

                Listen to both opponents and supporters
                Lambasting those who do not share same beliefs 
                   is  counterproductive.  Avoid this tactic.  
                Lead from a place of calm, level-headed thinking


Wednesday, January 11, 2017

"How Are You?" Appreciating this Question!

Today I want to share my appreciation for this amazing bloggers group I am please to have joined.  I am not always in the frame of mind to contribute as often as I'd like, but when I do there is always a renewed feeling of hope.  "How are you?" is often a question that seems generic and insincere is some cases.  Not so with this group of bloggers.  One of my favorite sites to participate in this weekly opportunity to share our blogs is The Brave Wanderer. You can find her at

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I look forward to this writer's insights and respect the topics she presents.  A favorite component of her blog is the place and space for readers to list how we feel in 5 words.  She provides an example of her own to start the thread.  It is valuable for several reasons:

  • I have to think about what 5 things I want to list.  This task is not necessarily easy for me.  I tend to push feelings to the side to get through whatever challenge is in front of me.  Giving myself permission to write how I am feeling offers a way to let go and acknowledge the challenges.

  • When I share my list, I want to balance it with the positives as well as the not so positives.  It helps to see these items on my screen and think about them before I push the send button. Seeing my comment posted makes it real and tangible.

  • Reading everyone's list of 5 creates a forum where I don't feel so alone. I can see that I am not the only one dealing with the various shit storms of life.  Seeing what inspires others and ignites their passion for writing helps push me forward too.  

  • Sometimes it's hard to visualize, conceptualize, and communicate our goals.  It is encouraging to receive input from others who are also in varying stages of inspiration.  Having a support system is invaluable!  Often we need to look outside of our comfort zones and group of immediate family/friends to gain some perspective.  

  • It is reaffirming to receive positive feedback from group members, but it is also beneficial to share and contribute comments.  There is something empowering about being able to lift someone up and offer the kind of encouragement that you also seek.  The collaboration that occurs within specially organized groups can feed the soul in a manner that you might not find on your daily social media interactions.  

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I hope you will pause a moment to take inventory of your special interests, consider the possibility of collaboration with others, and promote your insights in a forum where you will find individuals who appreciate your contributions.  Perhaps 2017 is your year to create the positive interactions that will propel you toward reaching those goals.  It starts with a vision for change.  I know you have it in you!

My list of 5 things to describe how I'm feeling this week can be found in the posted comments at 
 I hope you will take a moment to visit.  

Happy Wednesday!

Other networking opportunities:

Become an appreciated advocate at:

Monday, December 5, 2016

World of Writer Mom Inspirations

This is a picture of Heidelberg with the well known, iconic castle in the background.  My recent post included a winter version of this scene to commemorate my birthday.  I arrived at the Frankfurt airport in Germany on my 18th birthday (many, many) years ago. It was December 1st, the year not important. We were met at the airport by a member of the U.S. Army Band who was tasked with transporting our large family to guest lodging at  Patrick Henry Village in Heidelberg. Not knowing how much space a family of eight with baggage would require, the ginormous band bus had been sent with it's driver. 

It was cold and it had recently snowed.  We were all tired and hungry.  I had been gifted with what every teenage girl dreads on this type of long trip, and I just wanted to curl up in a ball wrapped in a warm blanket.  I needed some chocolate, a cola, and a bottle of Midol.  Most of all, I wanted to sleep and forget about the plans I had left stateside. Happy freakin' birthday to me. Yet even with all those strange elements infringing on my impending life as a young adult, I believed that there was a plan for me there. 

It's often hard to believe so much time has passed.  When I allow myself to remember everything that has happened since that date, I feel incredibly proud of who I am and what I have accomplished. That's not easy for me to say.  But I want to give myself permission to make that comment.  I feel like I have worked hard to get to this point as a woman, as a writer, as a wife,  as a mom, and as a human being who has survived some remarkable shit!

I have never fully written about all of my European adventures.  So much happened during my time there that shaped who I am.  Some of those moments will be featured in a novel I am writing.  For today, I've decided to share some of the things that inspired me as a young adult living in a foreign country.  Here's my "List of Ten"  Hope you enjoy it!

My List of Ten Memories
Inspirations from Heidelberg,Germany 

1.) I learned a new language and explored a new culture.

2.) My college experience was greatly different from what I had expected.  I took classes in the evenings and on weekends and was typically the youngest student.  I learned to appreciate the maturity of adult students who were serious about returning to school and held full time jobs.

3.) Learning different modes of transportation was liberating and increased both my confidence and my sense of independence. This was especially important since I did not have a car when I started working and attending classes at The University of Maryland - European Campus.  I quickly learned to read the schedules and coordinate arrivals/departures to make sure I arrived on time for work and for school.  (Military Bus, German    bus, train, strassenbahn, and even walked when necessary.)

4.) I was fortunate to encounter professional women in the field of Early Childhood Development who encouraged my interests and were willing to be mentors. I would not have been as successful without their guidance and support of my studies.

5.) I met my first "serious" boyfriend while attending college.  Prior to college, I had very little dating experience.  I was always content and blessed to have great male friends throughout high school who considered me more of a little sister than anything else. Thank God, because I wouldn't have known how to handle anything more.

6.) Taking the Literature Course on James Michener was incredibly  challenging and I vowed never to pick up another one of those novels unless I needed it as a weight or door stop. But it was during that course that I met the professor who would coach me through one of the most difficult persuasive papers I've ever had to write when I took another one of his courses. (That story is for another post.)

7.) I was fortunate to be able to live with my family on base for the first three years I lived in Germany.  My father was stationed in Schwetzingen with the Army Band and frequently traveled for their performances.  I worked full time with Army Child Devt. Services and begged to work as many hours as possible, even if it meant hopping a bus to go cross town and put in hours at another child care center.  Those hours allowed me to pay for my own classes, so I graduated without any tuition debt.  That was a gift!  I'm not sure I could have done that stateside.

8.) Mentors in Child Development supported my efforts to convert to a civilian paid position when it was time for my father to return stateside.  I moved into a tiny basement apt. in Oftersheim close to work.  I had my first place at the age of twenty. My family relocated stateside shortly before my twenty-first birthday. That was a huge deal!  Looking back, I realize how hard that must have been for my parents.  My seventeen year old sister stayed with me to finish her quarter for high school and celebrated my birthday with me. We boarded a plane right before Christmas and spent the holidays with family.  She stayed and I returned.  It was hard to be without them.  When my sister was still in Germany, it didn't hit me so hard.  But it was better for her to get back to my parents,  because I think I was a pretty crappy substitute.  I know she needed to be fed more than microwave dinners and M&M's.  I'm just glad we at least had that time to survive together.

9.) I learned how to manage my own money and pay my own bills.  Overseas calls were expensive.  I learned that the hard way. My first car was an old, German specs, yellow Volkswagon Passat. It drove like a tank.  It was solid and unyielding.  Not a pretty car at all!  But it was mine.  Paid $550 cash for it plus insurance. When that gave out on me, I bought a new Honda Civic Dx.  I had to arrange to pick it up at Bremerhaven.  The car dealer who sold it drove me and two other people (also picking up cars) in his convertible to meet a bus.  That bus took us the rest of the way to Bremerhaven.   That entire day was an adventure.

10.) Traveling was one of the best bonuses of my time overseas. I have a love for adventure, even though my sense of direction sucks. Somehow, I managed to navigate travel systems in no less than five languages.  I'm not saying I'm fluent in all those languages, but I am comfortable enough with the basics. For someone who traveled before cell phones and GPS was readily available, I think I was pretty bad ass for attempting what I did.  I loved every minute too! 

My birthday sparked a rush of memories and emotions for me as I recalled all the awesome, crazy, and sometimes scary things I made
myself experience.  The Heidelberg memories are some of the best because they helped define what I wanted out of life. Whenever I start to feel stressed by something I am currently dealing with, I can look back and say, "But look what you did when..."  There's a lot of material to serve as a resource and as an inspiration.

Thanks for taking a few minutes to share this list with me.  I hope it will encourage you to start your own "List of Ten" as a way to get through whatever difficulties you might face.

Hope your week is filled with challenges to conquer and adventures to share.  You're always welcome to comment here 
if you need a place to go.  

Kindest Regards, World of Writer Mom(Mary)

Thursday, December 1, 2016

My Life "Ruined" on My 18th Birthday!

Birthday Memories

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Today I recognize the day I celebrated my 18th birthday so many years ago. I landed at the Frankfurt airport and spent the night at the U.S. military equivalent of a hotel in Heidelberg, Germany with my family. My father was stationed there for 3 years. I stayed an additional 3 1/2 years, lived in a Germany community off post, finished my degree with University of Maryland - European campus, and had one of the best jobs ever at Army Child Development Services. Those were my "growing up" years.

When my parents first told me about the move, I was so sure that they were ruining my life. I had just graduated from high school that year and had planned to go to Old Dominion University in Virginia. My mom said, "Try it for one year, and if you don't like it you can go back stateside." The rest was an amazing history. But I'll never live down that I told my parents my life was being ruined. Turns out, it was just the beginning of my story. Hope all of you have an awesome day and take a moment to reflect on your own personal live changing moments. To find out a little more about my adventures, check out:

My Publications

My Life in Heidelberg Inspired Many Life Changing Decisions
I'd love to hear about your story too!

Sunday, November 27, 2016

Pediatric Critical Care Nursing ~ A Profession that Provides Emotional and Physical Healing

I have the honor of reading the most incredible stories thanks to Twitter, Face Book, and the many writers I meet courtesy of our internet connections.  These are the individuals who inspire me and ignite the fire that keeps my writer's soul warm and open to whatever I need to share.  I found this article on Twitter.  It was published by The Washington Post.  I hope you will take a moment to read it. 

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This article, written by a Pediatric Nurse, is a great reminder to all of us that we have important work to do today.  Although Mondays can be difficult, we can choose to see it as another opportunity to make a difference in:

1. How we interact with each other.
2. The attitude we take to our places of employment.
3. The meetings (both scheduled and spontaneous)where we will 
     use our voices for positive communication.
4. Our ability to collaborate in a loving manner.

Even when our situations seem grim and filled with unanswered questions, there is a way to manage the emotions that often threaten our personal wellness.  Sometimes, individuals are put into our path to heighten our awareness and encourage us to make necessary changes.  We can either choose to ignore those cues or embrace them for the inspirations they create. 

If you haven't check it out yet, here's the link!

I wish you a week filled with adventure, resolution of your concerns, and a list of at least 3 inspirational moments that occurred for you.  Please come back and share them with us at the end of your week!  I hope you will also follow me on Twitter at: 

You are invited to FOLLOW on Face Book at:

About Me

My photo

I have over 20 years of experience in Early Childhood Development Birth-Age 5 including work in classrooms and as an Infant/Toddler Program Manager.  I have several writing projects in progress including a resource book for parents of infants and infant room teachers in a full day child development (school) program.  The book will provide families with information about what to expect and how to monitor their child's progress in an Infant room.  My second book project involves how to cope with family challenges, lessons in forgiveness, dealing with a spouse's addiction, and reinventing yourself along the way.  I am excited about all of these projects and am currently accepting comments regarding experiences my readers have had placing their child into a full day child care program.  I would also like to hear from Infant room teachers.