Saturday, June 4, 2011


My Powerday began with this amazing bowl of oatmeal topped with the most powerful fruit: blueberries.  These berries came in my produce box this week and are so divine.  I can't stop eating them! 

Seriously though, the berries aren't what made Friday so powerful, it was the presentation at a networking lunch that had me blown away! 
Meet Jenn Snyder.  A local (and national) motivational speaker, author, philanthropist, and generally, just a genuine, awesome person.  She wrote the book Don't Change The Channel, to teach others about giving back and to give examples of amazing Acts of Kindness.  The book is inspired by her personal experience of giving back to her hometown community in Northeast Ohio. 
Jenn is probably the most fearless woman I have ever met in life.  When she observes a need, she fulfills it.  Without thinking twice.  Without thinking about potential failures and obstacles.  She grabs hold of her passion and lets it push her to do great things.  When she heard about a little boy in her hometown who was basically orphaned through the murder of his mother and unborn sister, and the subsequent imprisonment of his father, she knew she had to take a stand.  Despite living hundreds of miles away she began to fundraise for this little boy's future, securing a home for him and his grandmother to live in, and raising enough money to send him to college.  She planned a large family and community event for her hometown that brought a crowd of over 2,000 people, all while living and working far away. 

The title of the book gets its name from that moment when she heard the mother was found dead while watching a special broadcast on CNN.  Rather than sit down, and allow herself to watch the devastating news, she could have "changed the channel" and moved on with her day.  She didn't have to allow her emotions to be affected by the news.  Jenn could have thanked her lucky stars she wasn't involved, and nobody she knew was involved, and let it roll off her back and move on.  Instead, Jenn took action.  Watching that broadcast and understanding how lucky she was in life because of her own adoption as a young girl, she knew she had to make a difference for this little boy.  She wanted him to have a better life, because she has a better life. 

How many times have I heard on the news (especially lately) about devastation all around us.  Tornadoes, storms, floods.  I watch it, but I am frightened to allow the news to affect me.  If I did, would I become emotional?  Would I be scared?  Would I be at a loss for how I could help?  So instead, I've done nothing.  Sure I say a prayer or two for those in the midst of the storms, but I can't bring myself to really consider how epic their loss is, because then I might cry.  I might feel useless.  So instead of feeling useless, I am useless. 

I admire Jenn for her can-do attitude.  No matter how cheesy that sounds.  She was fearless.  She was able to stand up and take a risk to make a difference.  I want a piece of that in me.  I want to be fearless.  So naturally I bought her book.  I am two chapters in and already am convinced that there is so much more I need to do.  And that is powerful. 

Because of her story I also have a new conviction toward adoption.  Forbes and I have always entertained the idea of adoption.  We do not want children right now.  (At least not before Africa!) but we definitely want children in our future.  We are uncertain at what point and time that will be, but we are well aware of the risks of not being able to conceive and have always talked about adoption as an alternative.  However, now, I realize that adoption is not my alternative to conceiving my own child, but as something I really want to do in life.  I am certain that it is no longer a "maybe", but a "will-do."  And I am certain it is in God's plan for Forbes and me.  And that is powerful.  (And oh, yes, Forbes is behind that decision as well.)

Despite several sad stories I heard yesterday of family crisis, and devastation, I was still full of hope.  After listening to Jenn's story I realize that behind every evil, is overflowing good.  That amongst some of the saddest moments in life, are people who are there to make a difference, to prove God's true love and power. 

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