Thursday, July 17, 2014

Learn, Do, Teach...(Repeat!)

First, I want to thank all of those who have responded since my last post for our current fund drive! Every dollar goes a long way and we appreciate your prayers and support...pokotfriends.org.

During my undergrad days at UB, I had an awesome mentor in the Leadership Development Center (now known as the Center for Student Leadership and Community Engagement). I will never forget the day Frank sat me down and introduced me to the concept, "Learn, Do, Teach." At the time, I remember thinking it seemed so simple, but it was something I hadn't quite pieced together myself yet. This concept, for various reasons, has been at the forefront of my mind lately. 

One of those various reasons was that back in May I was asked to help with the current UB MBA's LeaderCORE assessment day. This meant observing individuals interact in a group setting while trying to solve a problem, and individual interviews concerning their strengths and weaknesses in the program and in life. I went through a very similar experience during my time in the program (when it was referred to as PACE) and benefitted greatly from the recommended improvements. 

From the second I walked into the Alfiero Center until we started the first group exercise I felt disoriented. I hadn't been in that building for years and floods of memories of the classes, presentations, group work, professors, classmates and relationships came rushing back. Looking around me at the MBA class in their business attire I thought, how easy it could've been for me to be a student in that program at that very moment...but then gave thanks to God that it was over (although I love academia, I also love my evenings and weekends free from going to class or doing school work). 

Once I had the chance to catch up with a few friends and eat the familiar campus dining breakfast that was provided, I started thinking about that concept that was introduced to me a decade earlier at this point...learn, do, teach. I was on the other side now - the teaching side - helping others to go through what I had once gone through myself, watching and listening carefully and assessing them so that the comments I made could help them improve. Leaving the assessment that day, my mind wandered further asking the questions, how many of us stop after learning and doing and don't continue on to teach what we have learned and done? How many of us stop after learning?

I could come up with a half of dozen ways in which I stopped at "do" and even a few where I stopped at "learn." Where am I going with this? Good question! The answer - two ways. One, I think for me simplicity comes to mind. Although not an easy task in many instances to learn, do and teach, the concept itself is simple and it is good keep that in mind for things we learn throughout life.  It is easy to get overwhelmed in life, caught up in the hustle and bustle, technology and other distractions but my mind always goes back to the mission work and the simplicity of life that we enjoyed while doing so. While we realized life was possible without cell phones and electronics, we were able to teach women basic business skills to help them make money to feed and educate their families. Sometimes while teaching others, we wind up being taught ourselves. This leads me to my second point...if I could edit the learn, do, teach concept, I would add repeat to the end! Why? I say, why not? What better way to live your life, constantly seeking knowledge and sharing that wisdom with others.   

I know I've probably completely oversimplified this concept, but now what comes to mind is one of my life mottos from our dear Blessed Mother Theresa: We can do no great things, only small things with great love. Learn the small things, do the small things, teach the small things...all with great love...and then repeat. You never know whose life you will touch and how that will impact them the rest of their lives!

What I am grateful for:
1) The much-needed vacation that I am on - the week spent with family, my hubs and my sweet baby girl. (With no cell phone service but obviously an internet connection!)
2) When my little sweet pea, who is learning animal noises, consistently makes duck noises and moves her body back and forth like she is waddling when trying to learn any other animal noise right now. Me: What does a birdie say...tweet tweet? Sweet pea: quack quack quack
3) Celebrating the final Mass with the Buffalo Daughters of Charity back in June. What an honor to be invited to such an occasion and what a blessing it was to know all those holy ladies - we will miss you dearly!!! 


Friday, July 11, 2014

Two Week Drive!

We are kicking off a two-week fundraising drive to raise as much money as possible for our 2014 campaign. We are excited to have raised over $2,000 thus far for the sewing co-op, but every dollar goes a long way and we could use your support! See details in grey below...to donate go to http://pokotfriends.org/

ASANTE SANA FOR YOUR SUPPORT!!!

I actually may have some time next week to blog about what's been going on recently...crossing my fingers. The topic in my head that has been lingering out there is: Learn, Do, Teach. Stay Tuned! 


Dear Friends and Supporters,
 
We are excited to announce that we have officially launched our 2014 Good Friends of the Pokot fundraising campaign! Last year your support was directly responsible for creating educational opportunities for the Pokot children--most notably a brand new school! This year your support will help create economic opportunities for the Pokot women. Our campaign will be centered around starting a sewing co-operative that will be owned, managed, and operated by Pokot women.
 
Many of the Pokot people, especially women, are eager to work and provide support for their families. But, they often find their opportunities to be very limited. That is why starting a sewing co-op can have such a big impact. The co-op will give these women the opportunity to generate income to support their families by producing and selling clothing, school uniforms, and other products to the surrounding areas.
 
The Pokot women are ready and eager to take on this challenge, but they need a partner. That is why we need your help and support to raise start-up funds to make this project possible. Please consider supporting this project, and most importantly, keep the Pokot women in your thoughts and prayers. Don't hesitate to pass this email along to a friend who might share your passion for positively impacting the lives of these women!
 
With prayers and gratitude,
 
Matt & Liz Astridge
2012 Vincentian Lay Missionaries

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Fairy Tales & Mommy Olympics

A few weeks ago, a lovely St. Gregory's parishioner gave my baby girl a few cute pj sets and a book of fairy tales. I probably haven't read all the typical fairy tales since I was a little girl, mainly because they weren't the type of stories that my nephews were interested in. Anyways - I was really excited to read them to her and have done so over the past few weeks...but after making it through the entire book I realized how different they are reading them as an adult. Some parts are just disturbing (i.e. pushing a person into an oven, the frequency of giving up or stealing first-born babies). Also, I consider myself a pretty solid optimist, but after reading them all, one after another, it did slightly irk me how everything always turned out perfect in the end. Really? Can't Snow White just get a little peeved at Prince Charming for not doing the dishes or something? Either way, I'm sure she will enjoy reading them for years to come!

In honor of the Olympic Games, I've decided to put together a list of events I think should be in the Mommy Olympics:

1) Baby Nail Cutting - this could be an individual or team event. I personally would prefer it was a team event because I would have no chance of winning without my super amazing daddy-distracter.

2) Numb Arm Marathon - how many times has your child finally fell asleep on your arm and you don't necessarily want to move and disturb them? and then your realize your arm is numb, so you do a quick evaluation as to what is worth more - the sleep benefits to your child or potentially having to amputate your left arm. Basically this would be a test of will event that awards Gold to whoever can last the longest before reviving your arm.

3) Super D - This is one of my personal favorites and can be an individual or team sport as well. Basically, trying to change the diaper of a 5+ month old who discovered they no longer want to lay on their back to get their diaper changed and immediately flip over and try to escape. Extra points for successful poopy diaper changes.

4) Speed Eating - Basically how fast you can eat while baby is either sleeping or is entertained by the jumper/exersaucer/playmat/activity chair.

5) Baby Biathlon - Navigating any number of tasks (laundry, cleaning, cooking, etc.) while caring for your infant. This turns into a triathlon if you throw in unnecessarily worrying about basically everything.

6) Synchronized photo taking - what mommy and daddy can do to make baby smile and actually get a decent photo of it. Style points for baby belly laughs, extra points for doing this in public.

I'm sure there are a bunch more but that's all I could remember based on my random thoughts since the Olympics began.

Things I am grateful for today:
1) Having a few-week break from driving in hefty snow...don't get me wrong, I love winter but having to drive in the multiple snowstorms this year has been unpleasant
2) Being constantly busy at work - sometimes I wonder if my to do list will ever end, but it's all really good stuff!
3) All the people I've had the good fortune of talking to about mission work. There have been many lately and I LOVE IT!