Today, I am linking up with Mama Kat’s writing prompts with my take on the vlog prompt: “Have you been to a blog conference? Share why you would or would not be interested in going. If you’ve been…share something you learned from the experience. Would you go again?”
It was the Thursday before we moved, and I should have been elbow deep in serious packing. Boxes were stacked up in every corner, and the house was trashed. But instead I spent the morning dashing around the house picking up balled up newspapers, sticking random unpacked “stuff” in cupboards and drawers, and putting on eye shadow.
I was anxiously awaiting the arrival of Leigh Ann Towne, a reporter from Fox 17 News, who wanted to interview me about being a blogger. I thought about postponing it…I thought about having the interview happen at a coffee shop…I thought about hiding under my bed…but ultimately I agreed to have her come to the house and just “make it work”. The kids were already scheduled to go on a play date with a friend of mine, so I had the house to myself (to pack, of course).
The kids left just as the reporter and cameraman showed up, and I nervously brought them into my dining room, where I had set up my “workstation”. Laptop (kid fingerprints freshly wiped off), random paperwork, to-do lists, iPhone, and a couple things that we had featured on the site recently…just because. I also had my notes – okay, my scribbles on the back of a grocery list – that I had quickly jotted down while the kids ate their pop tarts. Even though I had no idea what she was going to ask, I thought maybe I would remember my main points if I wrote them down. (Yeah, right)
While the cameraman set up, we started to talk about the website, and I was on a roll. Unfortunately, I didn’t realize that I was going to use up my “good” answers before the camera even went on, because once she started asking the real questions…well, let’s just say that I don’t quite remember what I said. Afterwards, we went up to Fiona’s room and they did some footage of me recording a video post in her glider. Kind of amusing, sitting among the stuffed animals and board books, but hey, there is great natural light up there!
We snapped a quick picture…
…and they were gone.
I didn’t think much else about it, because I had to get back to the “real job” at hand…packing and moving, but then this evening I received a Facebook message from Leigh Ann that the piece was scheduled to be on the 10 o’clock news. I’ll be honest…I started to panic. Thankfully, I only had to hold my breath for about 30 minutes before the news came on, and then 30 more minutes until it was on, and then 2 more minutes while the piece was on.
What was it going to say? Was I going to look ridiculous? Would they see the random tape dispenser in the background? Would it make the site look…good? Would you be able to see that my highlights were ridiculously grown out?
Thankfully, Leigh Ann did an amazing job pulling together all the parts and pieces to turn out a great story on both blogging as a career and on MomColoredGlasses as a website for moms. I think I cackled strangely once…looked a little pale (new makeup necessary, maybe?)…but the content was spot on.
The best thing about it though is what one new Facebook follower said:
I just saw this bit on Fox 17. I had never heard of your page before; but it looks and sounds awesome. I am always looking for more things to do with the kids on my Head Start bus, and with my grandchildren. Thank you for putting so much work into a great site for others. =)
That’s cool. It’s also the reason for all the late nights writing posts, battles with technology, massive e-mail conversations, and constantly doing something I have never done before…
It’s a community of moms who can share their perspectives, experiences, knowledge, and advice with others…and I love that I have the opportunity to be a part of it.
Over the last few weeks, we have been creating this massive Christmas Gift Idea list on MomColoredGlasses, which was my “brilliant” idea. I put brilliant in quotes, because usually when I have an idea, it turns into a ton of work and stress for everyone around me. It’s not always so great and I was feeling especially bad about it last Sunday as I was on my way to Meijer for our weekly shopping.
But then, I had another idea. Yes, another idea, which in of itself should have flashed big “warning” signs behind my eyelids, but this one was actually pretty decent. I would write up a little press release about our gift list, send it out to the television stations and newspaper, and see what happens. Worst case scenario? Nothing happens. Best case scenario? We might get a mention on some sort of media, and get a few more clicks on our list, alleviating my guilt complex.
So, I drummed one up (here it is…Press Release_MCG) and sent it off Monday morning. About 2 p.m., I received an email from a producer over at Fox17 News that I had worked with back in September when I went on to talk about the Artist Trading Cards event. She was wondering if I wanted to come on in two days to talk about Cyber Monday shopping strategies, including our Christmas Gift List.
I guess I should have thought about the possibility that someone might actually write me back, but I was honestly shocked and more than a little freaked out. Online shopping strategies? Wednesday? Me? Two days?
Of course I said yes – thankfully you can’t spot nerves over email. She sent me a prep document that I needed to fill out by the next day, including my talking points for a 3 minute spot, and I went into research mode. This I can do, I thought. It’s just like creating a mini-presentation, but with someone else feeding you the next point on your outline. I almost started to relax…until Wednesday afternoon rolled around and I was staring at my outline trying to memorize all the websites I included. Thankfully, my friend Tiffany was visiting, which was a great distraction until I had to leave.
The drive to the station is literally five minutes from my house, so I didn’t really have time to tuck away my home world before I was walking into the front door of the station. I think I actually showed up a little late, because the producer walked up to me and said, “I just called you!” Whoops. She handed me a blue piece of paper with my “talking points” typed on it and told me that I couldn’t mix up the order because they had a video scrolling through the websites…in that specific order. Then she disappeared, and left me to walk into the studio.
The studio is one big room with different “sets” for the anchor desk, red couch, and weather display. The cameras sit in the middle and swing around to each area as needed. There was another family already there – the first interview of the hour – talking about their daughter’s specially trained dog who helps her with her diabetes. They offered me a chair (a little covered in dog hair) and I sat down to chew my nails and wait. (Yes…I just recently realized that I have started chewing my nails…so strange)
35 minutes later, I was still sitting there, silently saying the websites (in order) over and over, when I finally got my microphone clipped on and was headed up to the “red couch” for my segment. We exchanged hellos, and Tim Doty, one of the anchors, actually remembered that I had been on before, which was kind of surprising. Then we were given the 10 second warning, and…we were on!
You don’t really have any clue what cameras they are going to be using, and when I watched it later, I saw myself sneaking a peek over at the cameras right at the beginning because I didn’t think they were on me yet. Then, they kind of lobbed me a “starting point” and I dove in. I think I should have prepared a better opening statement, because it was a little convoluted, but as the three minutes flew by, I started to get a little more comfortable. You kind of forget that you are on camera, because you are just having a conversation. And thankfully, I didn’t forget any of the websites, even though one I said was different than the one they showed on the video, but I didn’t find that out until I got home and watched it on DVR. All things considered…I guess I didn’t sound like a complete idiot.
A few notes to self: Quit the hand gestures. Slow down. Don’t wear a free flowing cardigan – it makes you look like a big blob. Don’t forget the most important part.
Yep – I forgot to mention that our Christmas list was going to be posted…on SUNDAY. Instead, when Tim said, “so, can we find all this information on your website?” I stupidly said, “Yep!” So, I had to quick dash home and post something with all the websites and a link to the video feed that my father-in-law took of the television while I was on. (Thanks Dad!)
And there you have it…my little moment in the spotlight! Was it fun? Sure. A little nerves and adrenaline never hurt anyone.
Am I an online shopping expert? Not really, but I honestly do shop a lot online. (When we decided to go to Toys R Us on Thursday night, my mother-in-law was kind of joking that the “cyber shopping” person was going shopping on Black Friday…ha ha)
Would I do it again? Certainly. They do a nice job of making it easy and comfortable for guests. I’m already trying to think of a new “pitch” I can send over, because I think if you have an interesting angle on a story and provide the content, it might make it that much easier for them to say “yes”. Of course, that’s just speculation on my part…I have no idea what actually happens.
That’s my story…and now the list is “live”, the stress is over, and I am going to try my best to try and stifle all my crazy ideas for a little while…at least until the new year…
Ever heard of the organization Craft Hope? I was introduced to them last month; they are an organization that exists to provide people who need loving support with something handmade. Currently, they are partnering with Orphan Outreach and asking that as many people as possible send in handmade bracelets for distribution in Russian orphanages late this summer.
So, over at MomColoredGlasses, we decided to get involved in this project, and collect as many bracelets as we can from our MCG readers, friends, family, people on the street, anyone we can talk to and get excited about making bracelets. Seriously, I was trying to get the Hobby Lobby check-out girl involved the other day. (I think she thought I was a little nuts.) We are collecting them until June 5th, and so…I present…the top 10 reasons why YOU should get involved in making bracelets with us!
2. Acts 20:35 says, “It is more blessed to give than receive.”
3. We give you step by step directions on how to make a super-cool braided fabric bracelet.
4. If fabric scares you…pony beads are cheap and easy.
5. If you routinely “swim against the flow”, you can design your own bracelet masterpiece.
6. If my two-year old can do it, so can you.
7. It’s a good excuse to have a party…get together and make bracelets! I am planning one!
8. You are never too old to break out the embroidery thread and make friendship bracelets.
9. We have so much…and they have so little…
10. Do you need any more reasons?
As 2011 begins, I find myself wandering into unfamiliar territory. On the outside, things might not look that different…same house, same dented minivan, same hairstyle (unfortunately)…but if you were able to peer into my mind, you would see that someone has ripped out the carpet and added a fresh coat of paint.
So what has changed? What did I leave behind in 2010 that made room for a new perspective?
The first thing that I left behind in 2010 was a job that I thought defined me. It was one of the most difficult decisions I have had to make in my short career, but by the grace of God, I came to realize, yet again, that it is not what you do that defines you but who you are. I don’t cease to be Rachel because I am not a professor anymore…I am and always will be Rachel because of who I was made to be in Christ.
The side benefit is that I am truly enjoying NOT teaching, especially as I remember the stress of teaching J-term classes and the craziness of teaching new class after new class. It has also freed up my schedule to help out at Ben’s firm, to pursue other interests like starting MomColoredGlasses, and most of all, to not feel so stressed out. Before, I felt like I was living with constant deadlines hanging over my head…preparing, grading, preparing, grading…and honestly, I didn’t always handle it very well. Now, my tasks are less time-bound, so if we get into a big play-dough adventure at home, I don’t have to cut it short because I HAVE to get something done before tomorrow. I can enjoy myself without constantly watching the clock. It has made a world of difference.
I also left behind my child bearing days in 2010. I keep thinking that we should be either gearing up for having another baby or weaning one, just like we have done for the last six years, but we have decided to stick to a family of five. I am still getting used to life without pregnancy or nursing; for example, I can’t just eat everything I see anymore, which is kind of a bummer. As time slips on, there have been plenty of bittersweet moments, like when Fiona and I are rocking in the glider with her head tucked perfectly under my chin, and I think…she will never be as small as she is right now, making me preemptively nostalgic about the hours I spent rocking babies to sleep in that same beige glider.
But the payoff is that it has been refreshing to enjoy our kiddos without being so exhausted from pregnancy or worn out from having a nursing newborn. I can wrestle with Parker, jump around with Fiona, and snuggle up with Madi without being physically uncomfortable.
One thing that I am hoping to leave behind is self-doubt. I would like to think that I have oodles of self-confidence, but when it comes to putting action behind my ideas, I find myself stalling out. When I wanted to launch MomColoredGlasses, I surrounded myself with people that would force me to keep me moving forward, because I wasn’t quite sure if I could make it happen on my own. Some might say that is just good organizational skills…I say that it was just survival skills, the only way to save me from myself. Hopefully, I will have plenty of opportunities to knock this out of my emotional repertoire this year.
The last thing, and probably the least monumental, is that I am leaving behind my former blog website. I decided switch blogging platforms, and create something that is hopefully a little more crisp and “me”. (Don’t forget to either bookmark or subscribe to the new address!) Hopefully, this also means that I will get back to posting regularly instead of leaving it to the last thing on my list. I feel like “Unprocessed Rachel” when I neglect it for a while, which is not the best place in the world.
So, here’s to 2011…untrodden paths…fresh and clean footprints in the landscape of my life…
So, the reason why I have been posting sporadically lately is because I have been desperately working on a new website adventure with a couple other writers. It is at www.momcoloredglasses.com, and we officially “launched” it tonight. It is exciting…overwhelming…scary…and tiring, but it is out and we shall see where it goes from here!
So, go take a look, tell me what you think, find all of our typos, and hopefully I will be back to posting about tornado warnings, broken refrigerators, and learning how to be adaptable very soon…
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