Saturday, October 18, 2014

Jordan Kent: Facing the Future with Forward Momentum

Some time ago, I wrote a blog about my own experience running in an election.  In fact, I have tossed my hat into the ring twice, once federally and once provincially.  Most of the candidates who ran alongside me were somewhat like myself with either a few strands of grey hair or a head full of it.  Our combined years for each election probably put us at about 230 years or so in total.  That is a lot of 'experience', but as a career counsellor, I would say something was missing from the table.  An investment in the future, meaning youth.

As I enjoy creating videos or blog articles about 'people' and their careers, experiences and aspirations, I offered candidates via a social media plug an opportunity to define 'stewardship', a term which I think is important for everyone to contemplate and embrace. Jordan Kent from Drumbo, Ontario took me up on my offer.  He is a business owner.  He is mature and wise and carries himself with composure and confidence.  There was just one thing missing, the grey hair.  Or at least I couldn't see any!  But then again, he is currently a 19 year old who started a business at age 17. My curiosity was peaked.  Although it really was not my intention to capture more footage than "What does stewardship mean to you?", I found myself intrigued by his maturity, insight and determination to make a difference and my short visit became a little longer in length.

So I challenged this industrious young man to answer a few more questions, which resulted in this';in the moment' unrehearsed video. He can most definitely hold his own, and it is my belief that he would hold his own if voted in by constituents in his area of Blandford-Blenheim.  Speaking of voting, one particular question I asked him related to encouraging youth participation in politics. Check out the video and hear how he answered this question as well as others. 

Jordan, best of luck in the October 27 election.  You set a great example for youth both within and outside of politics.

p.s. Check out another video featuring Jordan as well as a young woman from Woodstock.  Both are 'defining' stewardship.  Jordan is the second speaker.
Link:  Perspectives on Stewardship - Stewardship in Action YouTube Channel 

Catherine Stewart-Mott
Forward Momentum Services
Woodstock, ON 

Friday, August 29, 2014

'My Five Photos' (Oxford County, ON) Contest

Join in some 'PHOTO'graphic fun!   

This is an 'informal fun' contest whereby you are asked to take (photos from April 1, 2014 onwards until Oct 31, 2014 are going to be accepted) photos ON YOU OWN PROPERTY, rented or owned. To do so, please also join the Stewardship Oxford Facebook page noted below. You will learn why as you keep reading.

Why have this contest? 1. Because I can!  And 2, because a good way to 'steward' the land, air, and water around us is to first appreciate and 'act upon' what we have ... even within a few feet of our front doors! Often times, we get so busy with our lives that we don't necessarily appreciate what is happening in the great outdoors ... even our own great outdoors ... beyond lighting a barbecue!  Creating a bit of a natural oasis in your yards is good for mind, body and soul, as well as setting an example for others.

Photos should showcase nature in your back yard or front yard. If you live in an apartment and want to participate, ask a friend or family member who rents/owns property if you can 'partner with them' to scrutinize their front or backyard 'habitat'.  You would be amazed at what even a couple hours 'dedicated' to observing nature can accomplish!

The best way to approach this exercise is to be proactive. So have a camera 'at the ready'. If you wait for a butterfly to come to you, it will be long gone by the time you grab your camera! Cell phone cameras are awesome devices as you will have better luck 'capturing the moment'.

Remember, join Stewardship Oxford on Facebook, an organization I have chosen to 'feature' with this contest. Also think about checking out the Stewardship Oxford Website.  It is still in development, but some of the photos will end up on this web page! Then ..............

Photo Ideas and Rules:

  • Butterflies, insects, dragonflies, bats, rabbits, birds, etc. 
  • Resident wildlife such as a snake, chipmunk, squirrel, or whatever. (cats, dogs, domestic fish, etc. are not considered 'wildlife' for this contest!) That said, the wildlife you see may differ depending upon whether you are rural or urban situated! Remember, Oxford County residents only!
  • If you have 'indigenous' (native to the area) plants in your yard, those can be submitted as well. 
  • Ideal would be if you are able to identify the 'feature point' of your photo, especially if it is a little 'unique like some bugs and insects!
The idea of this contest is to make you 'aware' of your surroundings as well as encouraging you to document  and appreciate what you encounter.

For each submission, include the location of the photo, (i.e. front or back yard), the date (within the above date framework), and if possible, identification of the 'feature creature' or plant. Load them onto My 5 Photos Facebook Event Page once you have collected five.  (Please only upload once you have taken your favourite five.) 

My hope is to create a video for YouTube which can be attached to the Stewardship Oxford website page. Or maybe even several, depending upon the # of entries!

Help me show the natural beauty of Oxford, as found in our own Oxford County front or back yards!  

Catherine Stewart-Mott
Forward Momentum Services
(& Social Media Support for Stewardship Oxford!)

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

From Cowapolooza to TrashapoloozaAHA!3

This past weekend, an 'event fixture' in the Woodstock community was held, entitled Cowapolooza. That festive event has come and gone for another year, but what lies ahead may be just as fun and festive for those with a creative flair or a practical mindset.  And even better, the event ... and the items ... are FREE.  So put TrashapoloozaAHA3! on your calendar for September 20th, 2014!

This will be the third time around for the Trashapolooza event, a 'turn words into action' event organized and hosted by Oxford People Against Landfills, with the support of other groups such as the Oxford Coalition for Social Justice. The 'seed' from which this idea bloomed was sort of a bad seed, meaning the potential of a landfill coming to the Oxford County area ... a landfill which would see garbage sourced from across the province.  When recognizing the potential landfill's proximity to a sensitive river system, it is all the more perplexing. Check out the OPAL Website for more details and other initiatives that have occurred.

But that said, let's not overlook that we are a wasteful society.  We often buy on impulse.  We replace old with new when things are deemed out of fashion.   And we have morphed towards low quality mass produced products and one use items.  Time to reorient our priorities and values, perhaps?

First, let's think twice about what we purchase.  Do we need it ... really?  If not, why bring one more thing home to collect dust or store away in the shadowy recesses of our home?

Second, those items which you 'eventually' discover no longer suit your purposes don't need to end up at curbside for garbage pickup or landfill delivery. I am amazed at the number of items during the annual 'spring cleanup' that could have ended up in a yard sale, a second hand store, or offered for free to those in need, etc. Yes, sometimes people set castoffs at curbside with the best of intentions, assuming someone will come along and drag it away.  I did that with a perfectly usable electrical item.  I even put a sign on it saying "I work!  Take me!"  Within a half hour, that item was still at the curbside, but minus its cord (cooper collectors, apparently).  I did not make that mistake again!

TrashapoloozaAHA3! is your chance to drop off items for others to discover.  I took home a 1970's metal and glass blender that has made many smoothies since it's debut into my home in May 2014.  It was tempting to drag home other 'neat things', as habits die hard.  Be careful of that temptation or you simply perpetuate the problem. 

But do join in the fun by dropping off usuable items or searching for treasures you can truly use.  Those that are not taken away and are usable will reach a second hand store destination for resale.  "Just don't bring your honest-to-goodness trash."   That is counter-productive and should not be the organizers' problem.  Another important note ... please don't drop off items after 2:00 p.m. although you can 'shop' until 5 p.m.  

The event will also be an opportunity to learn more about the organizers and supporting partners, as well.  By attending, you are not only helping yourself; you are helping in your community.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

In Honour of Volunteers

Life can be crazy busy sometimes, can’t it?  I often hear that as the reason as to why people choose not to volunteer in initiatives within their community.  And indeed, some people likely do have more time available than others; or individuals may find that at certain stages of their lives, ‘things change’.  That is okay, every little effort helps! 

Why bother to volunteer anyway.  It is not like there is a paycheck attached to it!  Sometimes, it is just nice to extend a helping hand, no strings attached.  But a string here or there does not  hurt either.  For instance, volunteering is a great way to explore possible career options.  It is also a great way to utilize some of your time when you are between jobs.  You can seek out opportunities which continue to hone your skill set while perhaps building new skills!  You are also broadening your ‘network of contacts’ which is crucial in today’s world.  There really is a lot to be said about the common catch phrase, "It’s who you know." 

Now let's set career building aside.  I personally find that volunteering some of my time is quite simply personally satisfying.  I do try to find volunteer opportunities that fit with my values, so for me, I am generally out and about helping with social justice and environmental education opportunities.  The video I created is a modest showcasing of a few people who are at different stages of their lives.  Some may volunteer more than others at any given moment, but the ‘key’ is that they take the time to help ... when they can!  Even though some of them volunteer in other ways not listed in the video, this is just a sampling of how volunteer efforts can make a difference. 

Within the YouTube video featured with this blog, I have listed several links to not only some of the programs these individuals are involved in, but links to other opportunities within Oxford County.  Take the leap and find a way that you too can ‘volunteer with vision’.  Not only is it personally fulfilling, you are most likely helping to make someone else’s life … somewhere … a little better because of your efforts! 

Catherine Stewart-Mott

Friday, July 25, 2014

A Dentist in the Making

Personable ... Professional ... Proficient

If I was asked to think of three words to describe Grant Vezina, the ones above would quickly come to mind.  Not only because the words sound poetic when vocalized, but because they are indeed accurate descriptors of the young man referenced in this blog entry.  Grant is a University of Western Ontario student who works diligently to achieve success in his academic studies and associated clinical work, yet he somehow finds time to engage in recreational interests such as astronomy, photography, and biking.  I am glad he recognizes the importance of work-life balance; mind you, it is not an easy feat when you are a student in a highly content driven course of study within the medical field!  Kudos to you, Grant. 

So how exactly did I meet Grant?  Here is my 'Who, What, When Where, and Why' approach to explaining it!

Who would I meet?  I originally called the Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry in London, Ontario to inquire about the dental services available and was booked for a patient screening appointment.  At this stage, I had not met Grant, but was advised a student dentist would call me to book an appointment.  Over the course of several visits, I would meet a variety of people, such as front line reception staff, dental hygienists, dental assistants and full-fledged dentists who served as clinical instructors.  And of course I would be introduced to Grant, pictured above!  On occasion, there would be an 'audience', meaning that additional students observed or acted as Grant's assistants if there was a patient cancellation.  I saw some great examples of team work at the clinic!

The Bionic Woman?
What could I expect?  At the initial appointment, I was advised of criteria I had to meet, obligations required of me, and what I could expect if I were to become a patient.  I was agreeable to the terms and looked forward to moving on to further stages, which would involve a more detailed tooth-by-tooth analysis, x-rays, a standard tooth cleaning, repairing some dental caries, and the creation and fitting of a mouth splint.  I was respectful of the fact that appointment times would generally take longer, due to the clinic's instructional setting where procedures are discussed and later reviewed with an on-site instructor.

Facebow Record (purple) & Mould

I would describe Grant as very adept at handling a range of procedures, and he had an exceptional ability to communicate with everyone around him.  At this time, Grant was a third year student in a four year program; he taught me so much along the way.  And as I am sure he could attest, my curiosity and questioning was a constant companion during our appointments!  I guess you could say Grant maintained a great 'chair-side' manner despite his vocal patient.  Luckily for me, Grant was very good in terms of administering injections.  That was lucky for him too, or I might have instinctively smacked him!  Just kidding!  No chance of that as they tied my hands down to protect themselves.  Again, just kidding!

When would my appointments be and how long?  My screening appointment was quite short. The remaining ones varied as to when they were booked and the length of each appointment, dependent upon Grant's and my availability as well as the nature of what was done at each appointment.  Generally speaking, it is suggested that you anticipate a three hour visit.  Grant himself was responsible for booking his patient appointments, and at one time, I learned he had almost twenty individuals to juggle around in his schedule!  I have a hard time imagining how this industrious young man managed to fit in academics, client bookings, clinicals, and exam preparation, all while squeezing a little recreation and rest into the equation!  I suspect he has good time management skills!

Where would I find myself with each visit?  Although the building location obviously stayed put, the ‘dental cubicles’ as I called them changed regularly, depending upon available space and services undertaken.  As there were close to 100 of these spaces, one could get lost in the maize.  Grant appeared to know the clinic layout like the back of his hand, and he was very familiar with the wide array of dental tools adorning each station.

My Mouth Guard!
Why would I choose a university dental clinic?  This is the biggy, really.  I could have contacted a dentist closer to home, but after someone suggested  the university dental clinic as a possible option, I envisioned an adventure of sorts ... a first hand opportunity to tag along on someone's career journey.  And that was a big enticement for me!  I mentioned my interest in writing about my 'adventure' to Grant and fortunately for me, he was agreeable.  It was him who took most of the photos seen here.  It also occurred to me that each person who visits the clinic as a patient is helping to shape the future of the students who attend.  Plus the mouth guard was a great deal, price wise! .  An all around win-win!

In Conclusion!

Grant Enjoying a Recreational Ride
Grant is currently three quarters of the way through his academic journey at the University of Western Ontario.  He possesses a natural ability to describe in layman's terms the various procedures and vast terminology inherent to the dental field.  I was impressed with his ability to internalize so much information and by extension, describe it to me.  I have absolutely no doubt Grant will be an outstanding dentist and in the not too distant future, a mentor within his field! 

A quick quiz!  Which of these is another term for a mouth guard? See answer further down! 
Bruxism Appliance?  Bruxism Splint?  Occlusal Splint?  Night Guard?  Bite Plane?
    (The answer ... all of them!  In my case, it helps protect me from grinding my teeth at night!) 

    Related Blog Entry:  Experiential Learning - Sink your Teeth into It!
    Website for More Information:  Schulich School of Medicine and Dentistry

    Catherine Stewart-Mott
    Forward Momentum Services

    Embrace Your Future With Forward Momentum! 

    Tuesday, April 29, 2014

    A River Runs Through US

    A video with speaker / author Maude Barlow, A little hard to see but the words 'and message' are clear.

    Catherine Stewart-Mott

    Forward Momentum Services

    Woodstock, ON

    Thursday, April 24, 2014

    Travis Lewis - Leading by Example

    Travis Lewis
    'You Tell Me' YouTube Video
    You may or may not have heard of Travis Lewis, but I hope you too will check out his story and give him a thumbs-up for his efforts.  Not everyone takes a ‘hands on’ approach to tackling a challenge, especially when there are powers-that-be with which to contend.  In fact, some individuals are so intimidated that despite being disgruntled or discouraged, they remain passive.  Passivity does not result in action.  Inaction does not lead to positive change.  

    But what happens when the institution with which you have to contend is a university; a university you attend as a student, in fact? One might think that a university would presumably perceive leadership potential within a student as a cause for pride. Instead, it led to a bone of contention, primarily due to the fact that the university itself was asked to take an honest look in the mirror, so to speak.  Now for a bit of history. 

    Upon seeing a news article link about Travis (via the ever-popular Facebook), I learned he was at risk of losing his position as a Residence Don at Brock University.  Why?  For casting light on a faulty recycling program.  I was hooked.  As someone who believes in managing our resources wisely and in also acting prudently and proactively,  I was curious as to the ‘story within the story’. An hour or so later, I had a better handle on the details and a great deal of admiration for this young man’s spunk, practicality and insight.  I was compelled to call and chat with Travis. 

    From a young age, Travis believed in taking matters into his own hands when something needed to be done, or when his curiosity was piqued.  One such curiosity was politics.  At the age of twelve, he helped out with a local election campaign to learn some of the ins and outs of politics.  He had not  literally ‘chosen’ a candidate to support; he simply wished to experience the mechanics behind politics.  Even at a young age, he decided the mechanics were faulty. Rather than seeing true leadership and democracy in action, he observed a system in need of repair.  This early revelation in part led to him focusing upon political sciences at university and it also helped inspire him to be an advocate for common sense actions as well as positive and practical change. 
    Upon applying for and becoming a Residence Don in his second year, Travis took his responsibilities seriously.  One area where he felt change was due was in the less than stellar handling of waste and recyclable materials generated within the university residences.  I would come to learn that the university was lagging in establishing a more efficient and user-friendly waste diversion system, despite the fact that new recycling containers had been purchased and were collecting more dust than post-consumer waste.  With the end of the school fast approaching and him planning to live outside of residence the following year, Travis wanted to assure the waste management issues did not remain idle as had been the case for several months.  And as he was the one to light the fire under this issue, he wanted to see it through to fruition. 

    A video was filmed and placed on YouTube featuring Travis and a considerable amount of student residence ‘post-consumer’ waste; the footage clearly depicted a significant amount of recycling that was unfortunately and needlessly destined to enter the waste stream.  Travis, at the conclusion of the video, asked in a calm and rational voice if viewers saw a problem.  "You tell me, is there an issue?"  Simple, to the point, and not the least sensational nor insubordinate in his approach. Compelling, yes. The university however, decided he was being insubordinate and chose to retaliate. 

    Leadership Defined: 
    What I like about Travis is that in addition to him taking action, he encouraged others to step up and speak out as well.  At the time of writing this blog post, his YouTube video was working its way upwards to 23,000 hits, with predominately positive feedback and support for his actions. Several media sources also covered the story. Social media was abuzz with action.   Funny thing is, one key indicator of leadership is the confidence to challenge the status quo.  In this case, the status quo obviously needed changing.  A response article written by the university was an effort on their part to save face and deflect the topic.  It saddened me to think that the university essentially fought back by trying to  'make an example' out of Travis, rather than commending him for 'leading by example'.  

    Travis, you are not a 'potential leader', you are a leader. The indicators are clearly there!  You have not only challenged the status quo; you have done so in a manner that truly depicts visionary thinking.  You also accept calculated risks but don't let it stop you from taking action. You foster trust and respect in (most!) of those around you.  

    I will be keeping my ears and eyes open as to your future; I suspect you will have a bright one! And perhaps, even if the 'powers-that-be' are not yet ready to admit it, you have made a positive impact upon the university.  You certainly have outside of it!  I even found you showcased on a Facebook page entitled: 'Today's Favourite Human'! 

    This end-note is for Brock University.  Another sign of leadership is humility; if you are a leader within academics, it would be wise to choose humility and grace over false pride and denial.  

    Related Links: 
    Travis Lewis: 'Brock University-Recycling Issue' Youtube Video
    Today's Favourite Human Feature - Travis Lewis
    Macleans Magazine Story Coverage

    Catherine Stewart-Mott
    Forward Momentum Services
    'Embrace your Future with Forward Momentum' 

    Tuesday, April 22, 2014

    Experiential Learning - Sink Your 'Teeth' Into It!

    I have always been one to enjoy a bit of adventure here and there.  That often means allowing yourself to be open to happenstance occurrences and where they might lead you, if you maintain an open mind.  So when I encountered an unexpected tooth crisis while in the process of establishing a business, I was faced with how to handle it from a cost effective point of view. 
    Coincidentally, at that time I happened to sit on a city sub-committee upon which a dentist was also a member.  In sharing my ‘woe is me’ tooth story, he suggested the Schulich School of Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario as a possible option.  He has served as a Clinical Professor there as well as being a student some years prior.

    As my career has involved helping individuals choose their own fields as well as supporting them on occasion during their studies, I saw this as a great opportunity to observe a student first-hand in the process of learning and applying his or her future trade.  Following Dr. Steele’s lead, I inquired not only about the clinic handling my tooth crisis but in possibly completing some more routine dental work that had be shelved for a little too long.

    And then my journey began. I have had the pleasure of working with a gentleman named Grant, who is a student in the Schulich School of Dentistry at the University of Western Ontario.  A follow up blog will include a story featuring him, as I have had the opportunity to get to know Grant as he takes his third year journey.  For me, it has been a wonderful experience despite a freezing injection here and there to accommodate a couple of otherwise painless appointments!  I have not only watched Grant in action, but I have had the opportunity to observe other students learn their related trade, namely students coming from Fanshawe College’s Dental Assistant and Dental Hygienist programs.  And as happens in real life, sometimes there are cancellations or no-shows, so I would on occasion have an audience as other students ventured over to watch Grant put his dental procedure knowledge to the test. On more than one occasion, they even took on the role of assistant!

    Even though the pace is somewhat more relaxed due to it being a learning environment where steps and actions taken are reviewed by the clinical professor on duty, I have been very pleased with the progress to date!  And I must say the coordination and cooperation between everyone involved is admirable.  Hearing the ‘buzz’ of approximately 90 to 100 students in action as well as hearing the communications between professors and students is worth the trip to London!  That may sound strange, but for someone who enjoys both teaching and learning, I love that I too get to listen in on the fascinating world of dentistry.  I almost feel like I am getting a free education!  

    Sadly, I don't think they will let me graduate with the class though.  Such is life! 

    Related Links:

    A Dentist in the Making Article - Story of a Student's Journey
    Schulich School of Dentistry Website - Check it Out!

    Catherine Stewart-Mott
    Forward Momentum Services

    Wednesday, March 19, 2014

    Developing Video Creation Skills in a Fun Way

    Well, I thought it was time I worked on further developing some of those skills helpful to creating and maintaining an online presence.  I have utilized a blog, LinkedIn, Facebook, Hoote Suite, Twitter, Google+, etc, and yes, youtube.  But I never really took creating videos to a slightly deeper level until today.  So, off I went to Windows Live Movie Maker to check out the program. 

    The result is my first attempt at adding a bit more of a creative flair to my videos.  As my 'subject' is close to my heart, I thought she would be a good 'star' with whom to work. So meet Kiara, Heinz '3' dog ... malamute, husky, and a dose of something else. Apparently a BIG DOSE of the something, given the look of her. I must say it really was fun to imagine what a dog might be thinking when watching Kiara via the video.  

    I am sure this will be the first of a few videos to come.  They may not all feature the dog though! 

    But I digress. My next step?  Maybe using youtube to promote and showcase a local initiative with which I am involved.  I am coordinating the Thames River Cleanup in the Woodstock area (Apr 19th) and it is my hope to have videos and photos sent to me from participating cleanup crew members. My plan is to morph the results into material to be added to a new youtube site I hope to create.  One specifically for the Thames River cleanup.  It is just an idea right now, but if I don't take action, it won't become reality!

    So I am accomplishing a few things here.  Maintaining an online presence, developing video editing skills, helping in my community, all while having fun and in today's case, entertaining the dog.  Hmmm, I think that a more accurate statement is that the dog was entertaining me.  Poor pooch! 

    Wednesday, February 26, 2014

    Que Sara Sara: Whatever Will Be, Make it Happen!

    Sara and Sam; Living the Good Life!
    A few years ago, I met a somewhat reserved but personable young lady.  I would discover this woman has dabbled in diverse community support experiences, and it would not be long before I put her quiet enthusiasm to work helping me in a variety of ways.  For this blog entry, I chose the title of Que Sara Sara, in reflection of Sara's name and as a twist on the Doris Day song of a similar (but not exact) title, being Que Sera, Sera.  But in this case, instead of it simply being interpreted as Whatever Will Be, Will Be, I thought it prudent to remind people that you can decide to 'embrace and pursue' the unique opportunities made available to each of you in your daily life experiences, as Sara has chosen to do. "Whatever Will Be, Make it Happen!"

    Sara is my neighbour.  But she is much more than that in reality.  She often helps out with community initiatives when time allows.  She absolutely loves animals as well as taking photos, and some of her most vivid snapshots integrate these dual passions.  Both her winged and furry friends are routinely showcased in a variety of natural settings. And yes, she loves nature.   

    Upon my request, she endured first a rainy day, then a scorching hot day, to collect some memorable images from two Car Free Sunday events held in 2011 and 2012.  Her photographs depicted some health, wellness and recreational activities happening in the middle of Dundas Street, as well as tracking a historical walking tour of the area.  Sara also helped with the 2011 provincial election campaign in which I was involved as a candidate.  She captured some nice shots of the skate park grand opening, as well as an assortment of other picturesque memories of the four week election period.  She was an awesome sidekick, pitching in not only with public relations but with some of those mind-numbing administrative tasks which truthfully, I would rather slough onto someone else anyway!  Just keeping it REAL!

    Woodstock Public Library - Kaleidoscope of Colour!

    Perhaps most fun of all was when we were on the receiving end of photos taken by others.  Sara and I concocted a mid-winter contest in 2013 whereby people from within and beyond Oxford County had the opportunity to take photos of their own, while demonstrating their bravery of the cold and their love of the fluffy white stuff that adorns our Canadian winter landscape.  

    The only catch was that there had to be a ‘hint of green’ in each photo submission and it had to be taken in the contest time-frame.  Some folks took our rules quite literally, others rather loosely!  Luckily Sara is great at checking out 'photo sources' and much to my surprise, let's just say a few were a little antiquated.  Sara became the administrator behind the scenes for this month long contest, setting up the Facebook event page and contest email, while also continually monitoring event page and email communications and of course, serving as a tag-team judge! 

    Wings A Flutter at Board Silly Game Night
    She also helped, through countless hours, with videotaping some rather off-key singing (on my part) in an effort to support a LeadNow Cooperate for Canada effort!  I am not entirely certain, even to this day, if that experience did not cause irreparable damage to poor Sara's eardrums.  But she was a trooper.  And diplomatic.  And able to keep a straight face ... supremely helpful qualities, especially in some jobs these days!  The results of our ‘just for fun’ efforts were uploaded to YouTube for an unsuspecting cyber-audience to hear and see.  There is not much you can do when working out of a garage with poor acoustics and a blue tarp slapped up as a backdrop, but heck, it sounded pretty good considering what she had to work with!  

    Sara has also helped me 'mass assemble' creative little workshop prizes and props for my business.  She is much better handling a hot glue gun than me, I think!  The luxurious aroma of fragrance and essential oils wafting through the main floor as we scented pounds of epsom salts I hope was payment enough.  Now mind you, I did send some home with her!  And Sara was helpful in setting up, (and tidying up!) for my Board Silly Game Night.  The plan?  To leave electronics at home and savour the beauty of natural surroundings and of course, board games!  At this particular evening event, Scrabble ruled! 

    Isn't it lovely when we have opportunity to express our talents in a free-wheeling and spur of the moment fashion by embracing the many moments made available to us each and every day?  That said, also recognize that budding talents can be developed and offered in a much more conscious and strategic manner, which is an added bonus that helps not only our communities, but in our own personal and career development! You can 'Make it Happen'!

    In closing ...  Let's face it, sometimes, 'Whatever will be, will be' while fun, is not always the 'SMART 'est way to approach some aspects of our lives!  SMART in this case is a play on words (and an acronym) and refers to conscious and strategic goal setting:  S-Specific; M-Measurable; A-Attainable; R-Relevant; T-Timely.  Learn more about SMART goal setting by checking it out online!  It can help you make things happen.

    p.s.  When Sara is not behind a camera or a counter at work, you will quite possibly find her with her nose in a book reading yet another fascinating story.  And did I mention she loves to write?  After all, creativity and talent is not one-dimensional!  You go, girl!

    Catherine Stewart-Mott
    Forward Momentum Services

    Wednesday, February 19, 2014

    The 'REST' of the Story!

    Cream Puff, Proof She is Alive and Well!
    I absolutely love a good deal. Especially a good deal that directly or indirectly supports a community building or wellness initiative. So given my kitchen countertop had seen better days and given I happened to see one that coincidentally fit the space, I was a happy camper.  The double sink was already cut out as well.  And 30.00 for a countertop?  A grin from ear to ear. 

    So if you have never checked them out, look up a ‘Habitat for Humanity’ Restore in your area!  You will not only find good deals, you will be helping local families with the build and purchase of an affordable home!  A win win!   You could even offer to help out with the building projects.  Both a volunteer and skill-building experience!  Plus a neat way to meet people.

    Of course, a countertop installation often costs money and to cut down on expenses, I will sometimes try the ‘trade and barter’ approach.  (Or the Cathy’s Pity Party approach, but I will save THAT story for another day!)  So I called upon my son who happens to be staying with me temporarily due to a restructuring at RIM.  And my brother who is somewhat savvy at using ‘loud’ objects to cut things.  The word LOUD will be important to this story, I might add.  Now let me tell you THE REST OF THE STORY!

    A putty purchase and a few nails later, they thought they were ready to go.  I was at work but gave them to go-ahead to 'operate' out of the front room.  I was sure a ‘little carpentry dust would not be that hard to clean up.  (Not recommended!  Ha ha!  But not intolerable either.)  Countertop laid out, they fired up the saw ... not noticing a complacent pretty kitty nearby, soaking up the scene and nearby sun.  Kitty was so startled that apparently she became electrified, bolting from the room in sheer terror.  My son could her hear banging around in a bedroom and since her eyesight is not that great, he assumed she hit a wall or two.  But he also thought she was now in a 'safe place'.

    Hours later,  came home to a nice looking countertop and an absent kitty.  Still hiding under a bed and having had no interest in food all day!   That should have struck me as strange!  It would not be until late evening that finally I figured “enough is enough” and gently pulled Cream Puff from under the bed.  That is when I noticed a bloodied and hanging claw.  And no purring.  Kitty is a non-stop purr machine.  And no appetite.  I knew a vet was in order so off I went.  Between a vet visit and an antibiotic shot, (about $57.00 combined), the cost of the countertop (I added kitty costs to the calculator), I was looking at a revised balance just shy of 100.00. 

    The Hot Plate is not Near the Stove, but WHATEVER!
    Still a great deal in my mind cost wise, but a lesson learned to ‘plan out’ a project.  Maybe next time, the carport would have been a better option. Not so much because of the dust, but for the sake of poor creatures who depend on the safety and familiarity of their ‘small world sanctuaries’. 

    I do workshops on the ‘Power of Processing Thinking’.  Maybe I should do one of the ‘Cost Savings of Power Thinking’ too!  As you can see from the countertop photo (freshly installed), Cream Puff survived the experience.  And she started purring two days later.  All is well in her world aka sanctuary, which is again much quieter.

    And I like my countertop; even though SOME people think it is old fashioned and ugly!

    Creative with Coffee. An ENFP's Experiment

    Getting Some Morning Protein!
    Envision a guest at your home, and you offer them the proverbial coffee or tea.  Standard would be the addition of milk, cream, sugar, or a sweetener alternative.  And maybe some form of additional flavouring.  I am usually a live life simply kind of gal.

    But I do have a good dose of curiosity in my personality as well.  So when wandering a grocery store a few days ago, my ears were drawn to a conversation in which three words stood out …  coffee, egg, and thread. 

    My mind immediately thought, “What on earth do those three words have in common?” 
    Someone being a stranger never stopped me from abating my curiosity so in the blink of an eye, I was in a conversation with them.  I would learn that this couple, Werner and Marianne, embraced a long term tradition where individuals whip an egg until frothy, put it in the bottom of a cup, and very slowly pour ('thread' of liquid) fresh hot coffee into the mug while stirring constantly.  I would also hear that other ingredients are optional ... such as cream!  Sounded good to me. 
    I would also discover that the Kaulbachs own a renovations business (HAWK Renovations).   I may be using the word loosely, but this couple definitely ‘renovated’ the way I think about coffee.  I was offered a business card and could easily envision turning our little interaction into a blog entry.  

    I want to share how my sense of adventure (sometimes referred to as not knowing enough to leave well enough alone!) played out upon my return home.  I was not inside my abode for five minutes  when out came the coffee and eggs.   I followed the directions precisely, which resulted in a nice smooth cup of coffee.   

    Werner and Marianne were right.  It really doesn’t taste like there is egg in it.  But the texture and taste is slightly ‘richer’, like a latte!  Especially when adorned with cream. And for me, a wee bit of stevia and vanilla. Oh so subtle was the effect with an added egg, which also helped create a nice frothy sheen atop. Plus I get protein to boot!  I then spent at least an hour on websites looking up more about this concoction, as well as all the other things people toss into coffee, or toss coffee into. 

    Day two starts the ‘can’t leave well enough along’ phase.  It had been made VERY CLEAR to me by Werner and Marianne that there is a precise method to creating the ideal drink. But I thought ... “Betcha it will still work if I reverse the order.”  So just because I could and because I was curious, I embarked on my mini adventure.  The result?  Not a show stopper. Lots of little lumps, in fact.  I tried to whisk them in.  Tried being the optimal word. 
    I am a poster child for my MBTI personality type.  I am an ENFP.  The E stands for Extrovert. So no surprise that I walked up to strangers engaged in a conversation.  A classic 'very clear' Extrovert move. I am an N, meaning Intuitive.  So no surprise that I felt I should experiment with the tried and true process of milk ‘into egg’.  For an intuitive, established procedures are just leap boards. I am a F (Feeler), so it is also not a surprise that I wanted to assure I ‘helped’ an Oxford County business owner by referencing their business on my blog.  And I am a P (Perceiving), so it is also not a surprise that my plans to grab an extension cord swiftly morphed into writing this blog instead. 

    If you are interested in learning more about your MBTI type (or eggs in coffee!), give me an email shout.  I would love to help you on your life’s journey, even if it is one small step at a time!  And for that matter, Werner and Marianne would love to hear from you too!  But likely about renovations, not coffee!  LOL

    Catherine Stewart-Mott:
    HAWK Renovations (Rec Rooms, Decks, Alternations and General Repairs!) @ 519-469-4873