Saturday, September 17, 2011

What can ONE mom do?

What can ONE mom do?

If I am to be completely honest, I will admit that writing my blog post is agonizing.  Deciding on the title, the content, and the direction to take my blog is like trying to choose my flavor of ice cream at Boombalatti’s.  The process takes me forever!  I tell myself if I have my house clean, my laundry done, my desk caught up, and my part-time job found then I will be in a clear place and the words will flow. All of us moms know that we are never caught up and the truth is, I need to give myself permission to sit and really put my thoughts to paper.  This is not only for those who read the blog, but for my kids, and for me.

The statements: “I am just a mom”, and “What can ONE mom do?” resonate with me.  Since leaving my nursing career so many years ago to stay home with the kids, I have repeated these words too many times.  I feel I am neither a “working mom” nor a “stay-at-home mom”.  There was a time in my life when I was extremely career driven, but that desire left me when I became pregnant 14 years ago.  After my daughter was born I knew I wanted to be home with her however, I never felt compelled to be an “at home” mom either.  I do not care to cook, clean, sew, craft, or join the mom groups.  For years this frustrated me and left me wondering where I fit in the grand scheme of this “mom” discussion. 

Then last year as I embraced this volunteer position as ONE Congressional District Leader, I was starting to see what my role as a mom has been.  When I was invited to be on the ONE Mom’s Advisory Council my eyes were opened and I realized what ONE mom can do.  ONE mom can raise children with an awareness of the world through books, movies, museums and conversations.  ONE mom can create a world of compassion by encouraging her kids to donate, to give gratitude, and to love. ONE mom can find her voice and share it with others to inspire a whole world of moms to speak up, to unite, and to ultimately change the world!!

            Many moms following the ONE Moms ( have asked what they can do in their own communities.  I thought it might be helpful to read the monthly ONE Wilmington email that I send out.  Just think of the awareness we can create if more moms engaged their communities---together as ONE---moms can do so much!!

Happy Friday ONE Wilmington,

     September always feels like the start of a new year--I have a new calendar, the kids have a new school schedule, we start DREAMS, and I always start a new exercise routine!  This year in addition to these new beginnings I see a real engagement and interest in the issues facing women around the world.  I have been so humbled and honored to be part of the ONE Mom's Advisory Council and have the opportunity to raise awareness at this level.  I invite all of ONE Wilmington to be a part of this conversation.  You do not even have to leave your house to take action, just set your DVR and utilize your social media to give your voice for women everywhere!


*Monday, September 19 (8-9 am EST) the ONE Moms will be featured as part of Good Morning America's launch of The Million Moms Challenge. (details are at the bottom of this email!!!)

*Tuesday, September 20 @ 6:30 pm I will be speaking and sharing details from my recent Kenya trip at the UN Women and Coastal Carolina Chapter UNA-USA program "Women, War & Peace"  (This program will be an introduction to Women, War & Peace, a five-part PBS special, premieres Oct. 11, 2011. The series continues on Tuesday nights at 10:00 p.m. through Nov. 8.)  I will also attach a hard copy flier to this email for you to print, share,and pass on!!)


*Interview with fellow North Carolinian ONE Mom, Jennifer James, and myself on the UNC-TV program North Carolina Now-- we are at minute 17:30

*Article in Lumina News by Michelle Saxton:

*WILMA:  Pick up the September edition for a nice ONE Mom article in the front

*UNA-USA Fall 2011 newsletter:  attached to this email as a document

*October 1 @ 9 am will be our once/month ONE Coffee/Tea at Port City Java 2099 Market Street

*October 8 @ 7 pm will be the Una Luna Full Moon Saturday event--more details to come (possibly a documentary screening)

*ONE UNCW is off and running with our fantastic ONE campus leader, Kayleigh Maneval!!!

*For those interested in hunger and agriculture ONE is now taking applications for an incredible 6 week online Griot course--I strongly encourage checking out this opportunity:

*ONE High School Clubs are taking off at both Laney and Isaac Bear Early College--the interest was phenomenal!!  Be on the lookout for NHHS, Ashley, and Hoggard to follow suit.

     As always if you have any questions, comments, or ideas for ONE in NC-7 please send them my way.  This last year has truly proven that North Carolina cares about the world's poorest and is committed to giving their voice to make sure that we are doing all that we can to make poverty history.  This is a great community to be a part of.

Together as ONE,
ONE Congressional District Leader NC-7

ABC News is launching an historic, first of-its-kind campaign on Good Morning America on Monday, September 19th, called The Million Moms Challenge – and we want you to be a part of it.

The Challenge is a call-to-action to engage a million Americans with millions of moms overseas to raise awareness  about the challenges facing moms and babies in the developing world.  (Did you know, for example, that every 90 seconds a woman dies in childbirth?)

The Million Moms Challenge will be featured in weekly segments across ABC News (including Good Morning America, World News with Diane Sawyer, Nightline and 2020)… leading up to a Diane Sawyer primetime hour in December on maternal health.

So what do we want you to do?  It’s really easy:
1.          Show up at 7:30 a.m. Monday morning September 19th – outside ABC News’ Times Square Studio – on the southeast corner of 44th and Broadway.  You’ll be  finished by 9.    Feel free to wear T shirts from our partner organizations – or even printed with pics of your own mom.

2.       Hold up the index finger of your right hand, and  open your left palm, like this:

3.       Write or stamp the words “Million Moms” on the palm of your left hand . We have stickers…and self-inking stamps and markers – all with washable ink.  (Handwriting is nice, too.)

4.       Kids can write on their hands – even draw pictures of their moms!

5.       When the shot is live…Smile for the camera!

Bottom line: we’re asking folks to raise their hands for moms and babies around the world.  

Remember, you don’t have to be a mom to help a mom. You just have to be one in a million.

And if you can’t make it to Time Square, be sure to watch GMA on Monday (8-9 EST)…then  snap your own picture at home with the Million Moms symbol and send it ASAP to post it on your own Facebook page or blog.

Social media:  Tweet me:  I’m one in a million for healthy moms & babies around the world. Join the #MillionMomsChallenge with me!

Twitter and hashtag:    @amillionmoms;  #amillionmoms

Like on Facebook:

Monday, September 5, 2011

Building Bridges and The 26 Day Challenge

Building Bridges and the 26 Day Challenge

Imagine your teenager allowing the entire family to sleep in her room for the night, your twelve year old son eating on less than $2 for the day, your youngest using no electronics after sundown during summer break, and your husband going the day without his phone!  When returning from Kenya I wanted to do more than repeatedly remind my family to appreciate their home and meals, and to NOT waste water.  Learning about the 26 day challenge for Carolina for Kibera ( was a way for me to do just that and bring my experience in Kibera as a ONE Mom home to my family.

Only three days post trip we were signed up and ready to begin each day with ONE new challenge.  We had it in our heads, ‘piece of cake’, until the day we had to eat on less than $2/day or go with one meal.  That was when this experiment opened our minds, our hearts, and our wallets.  So, on day 25 we wrote our $26 check to The Full Belly Project ( a local non-profit whose mission is to design and distribute income-generating agricultural devices to improve life in developing countries. (You must read Rye Barcott’s book ( to understand why $26.)

Not only were we reminded of hunger during our 26 days, but we tried out life in small living quarters (the typical size for a family of 5 in Kibera is 10 feet x 10 feet), tolerated the noise pollution for a day (one of my toughest days!!!), washed our clothes by hand, used one bucket of water for all of us to bathe, did not throw anything in a trash can for a day, cooked everything on one burner, and shut down electronics.  Even if you do not do them all, I encourage everyone to try a few—it will open your eyes!!

In Kibera it is not only about going without.  What I was struck with while I visited was the sense of community. This is something that we often lack in our fast-paced, busy lives here in America.  Incorporated in the challenge were days of chai with friends, borrowing from a neighbor, playing soccer with a Kibera made soccer ball, and volunteering in our own community.  It is all part of building bridges, both here at home and across the globe!

In all honesty--there were periods during the challenge where one (or all) of us became irritable, and some dropped out of that day’s challenge, but I believe that is what made it effective.  It was those moments when we sat down, talked about why we were doing this and what actions we can take right now to make a difference in the world.  Going to and adding your name to the petition for the crisis happening in the horn of Africa, and signing up for the 26 day challenge at are things you can do right now.  Remembering that the families in Kibera face ALL of these challenges every single day and by participating for only 26 days and sharing it with others through conversation and social networking we can give a glimpse of a family's daily life in Kibera that hopefully will inspire others to join the conversation and take action!