Sunday, July 31, 2016

Consistency: The Key Ingredient in Family Volunteering & IRONMAN Training

I've listened to multiple podcast episodes about triathlon training where the host will ask his/her super-successful guest the all-important question:  What is the one thing that is the key to your success?

Without fail, it seems that the answer is...Consistency.

It's not really the answer a newbie triathlete wants to mean there's not a magic training plan that makes everyone successful?  No magic bullets?  No way I can instantly cut 30 seconds off of my 100yd swim time by changing something in my form?

So what does this have to do with our family volunteering experience yesterday?

First, let me say that we had a great experience and were honored to have the opportunity to support an organization that does important work for individuals in need in our community. Jeff, the kids, and I spent time at the Society of Samaritans (SOS), an organization focused on providing food, clothing and emergency financial assistance and other necessities to the needy of the Greater Magnolia area. We worked in their clothing and distribution center where clients can get a voucher and use it for clothes, household items, appliances, and furniture.   

We were immediately welcomed and Miss Betty who did a wonderful job teaching the kids about how even the small jobs (like sorting hangers--which is what Ty and Megan spent most of their time doing) made a big impact on the organization by allowing them to provide a nice environment for their clients that might be going through very difficult challenges in their lives.

On the way home, knowing how reflection is so important to help the kids learn from the experience, I asked questions about the experience and was reminded of a blog post from Doing Good Together in which she talks about her challenges and how maybe 1 in 4 attempts at a meaningful kid conversation results in a "wow" moment.  Our conversation yesterday was fun but was more about the hangers and how tangled they were than anything to do with the people that needed help.

So, back to the question of what the consistency necessary for effective IRONMAN training has to do with family volunteering..

Well, maybe just as there's no "magic bullet" for triathlon training, there is no one volunteer experience or technique that will develop empathy and insightful reflection.  Maybe, just like in triathlon training, success (reinforcing "big-heartedness" and empathy in children) comes from showing up again and again, choosing the approach that works for you, and surrounding yourself with a supportive community focused on similar goals.

Both Little Helping Hands and Doing Good Together support just that...they offer different approaches, a supportive community, and ways to "show up."  I am excited to be on this journey with all of you , and to support the organizations that make similar journeys together for so many families.

To join our journey and support the work of these two organizations through a tax deductible donation, click on one of the links below.  Any size donation helps!  Remember, if you're able to donate $50 or more, our family will "match" your donation by supporting an organization/cause of your choice with our family's time or money.

Thank you in advance!

What we can teach by doing acts of kindness together as a family

This quote says it so well...this is why we're raising money and awareness for Doing Good Together and Little Helping Hands...practicing kindness and serving others with our families has so much power. Click on the links below to donate, indicating it is for "Schmidt Ironman." Every dollar helps and remember, if you donate $50 or more, our family will "match" by volunteering for or donating our own $ to an organization/cause you select.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Focusing on the next small step

This is one of my favorite motivational clips. I've used the quote many times for myself and have even had opportunities to use it with the kids when they're feeling overwhelmed or nervous.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

How Family Volunteering Can Help Our World Today

As displayed in this video, in a world with so much fear and violence, family volunteering has potential to bring inspiration and connectedness that can lead to greater peace.‪#‎familyvolunteering‬‪#‎projectbecomingourbest‬

Monday, July 25, 2016

Why I Tri

In the early hours of the morning on the treadmill or the bike trainer, inevitably the question that sneaks into my mind is “Why am I doing this?” I started triathlon for various reasons, none of which seemed to hold up in the tougher moments of training and racing. After my last race as I was thinking about what I wanted to do next, I came to the realization that I do it for the reason that is shown in this video: I "tri" to attempt to prepare my mind, body, and spirit for the rough times that will come in life. Training, while at the same time trying to be the best mom, wife, and coworker I can be, pushes me to my limits where I have to have focus and faith.
I feel so blessed that I get to do this life preparation while having fun, getting fit, and hanging out with a community of some of the most supportive people I know.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Why I Support Doing Good Together

I first met Jenny Friedman, the Executive Director of Doing Good Together several years ago when our kids were young and I was looking for a way to do good for others with young children and a full-time job in a new city.  Although Doing Good Together is based in Minneapolis, they have a nationwide reach with their Big Hearted Families program which offers ideas for projects that can be done from anywhere, in addition to resources (e.g., recommended age-appropriate books in their Big Hearted Book Club) and a community of like-minded parents.  Jenny is an expert in youth development and family volunteering and her organization does great work that has had a significant impact on my family, as we've been able to do several of the projects on the site and have used several of the resources.  You can learn more here and here.

Why I Support Little Helping Hands

When we moved to Texas almost five years ago, I was thrilled to learn that there was an organization a short distance away in Austin focused on family volunteering, as I had a budding dream of starting a family volunteering organization myself.  When I had the opportunity to meet Marissa Vogel, the founder and Executive Director, I was even more excited.  She not only had the passion, heart, and drive necessary to run a non-profit, but she also had a great business sense that I knew would help Little Helping Hands to succeed.  Little Helping Hands runs volunteering projects for youth ages 3 and up almost every day of the week, year round.  (This month, they are conducting over 80 projects!)   For older children and teens, they offer educational and leadership programs to help them reach toward their vision of “developing generations of community-minded leaders and citizens.”  You can learn more here and here.  Someday, maybe my budding dream will become a reality and we can bring what Little Helping Hands offers to our area.

Why Family Volunteering Matters to Me

I was blessed enough as a child to have parents who gifted me with a faith that taught me about the worth of each human being.  In a world with so much fear, anger, and divisive language, I believe that providing our children opportunities to experience and connect with those who are different from them and who may have different needs from them is one of our greatest tools.  In my experiences, helping our children to think about the ever-present needs of others develops an empathy that can only lead to an even brighter future. 

Introducing Project Becoming Our Best

Introducing Project Becoming Our Best:  A ten month adventure focused on family volunteering and triathlon (IRONMAN Texas 2017 training!) chasing challenges that spread kindness and courage.  And you can join us!

Oh, and joining us doesn’t mean you have to do this…

BTW, both Jeff and I have one of these for IMTX 2017.

Family volunteering and triathlon may seem like an odd combination. For me, they are two activities that I believe have the potential to challenge us to become our best, as individuals and as a family.

So, what’s the plan? How can you get involved? First, follow this blog or if you're on Facebook, like our ProjectBecomingOurBest page.    I will be posting about our adventure and sharing inspiration related to family volunteering and IRONMAN training. Share this with any of your friends who you think may be interested.

The second way to get involved is even more exciting:

There are two amazing family volunteering organizations that have inspired me over the past several years:  Little Helping Hands and Doing Good Together.   Visit their websites or view to learn more.
Throughout out IRONMAN Texas 2017 training, we will be raising money for them and would love your support.  Click here to indicate how you’d like to join in.

Even better, as a bonus, anytime we receive a pledge or donation of $50 or more, our family will support causes you believe in.  If you donate $50 or more, you will have the choice to have our family do a volunteer project for a cause you select or we will donate 10% of the amount you donated to an organization you choose.

We look forward to sharing this adventure with you!