Category Archives: Social Good

Simply Not A Simple Minded Mom

When my children entered middle school I started to feel lost…My role as a full time mom changed. I was no longer needed in the same capacity as I was when they were younger.  In elementary school parents are welcomed and I was good at being a parent volunteer. I looked forward to dressing up for career day or dropping off a special birthday lunch. Over the holidays, I got excited about the annual visit to see Santa and coordinate their outfits for the hundreds of cards I would mail.  Needless to say, we have outgrown Santa’s lap and the school doesn’t allow drop ins to deliver cupcakes to the class. I no longer had a daily purpose, for which I felt valued.

My journey to share 365 days of joy, starts with being a mother first. I had to find a way to stay connected to my children, who are now old enough to spend a responsible amount of time, online. So, as a way for me to stay connected and to protect them, I decided to join them. I created an Instagram account, under my twitter handle @ctgirlonthego and just started sharing messages of joy everyday. #MondayMotivation #TerrificTuesday #WackyWednesday #ThorwbackThursday aka TBT, #FunFriday #SuperSaturday and #SundaySelfies which all became part of a daily routine.

Today I share, I no longer need to use all those daily hashtags, because over the course of the past three years…it’s become, one single hashtag #365DaysofJoy that both my children follow. Times may change, but with hard work, consistency and passion for what you love, your purpose will always bring you a lifetime of happiness and self worth.

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Celebrating Life

Lets begin with…in the past, not that many years ago, I actually wouldn’t celebrate my birthday. I would cringe with the mention of it. No cake, no presents, if my children even mentioned it, I would tell them it just made mommy feel old. The truth was, the idea of anyone celebrating my life felt superficial, when I myself felt so unworthy of my own life.

No more…because, I have found joy in all the simple moments that have added up to a lot of gratitude and appreciation for my life and just that alone, “the present”, is a gift and we should celebrate that.

Last week, November 3rd, I turned 44 years old. I was grateful for my life and as hard as that life may be sometimes, or as sad as we may feel sometimes, I found joy in the day. I know that everything I have had to go threw even the things that pain me, are meant to be. As I get older, I can fully appreciate the women I am, the women I was and the women I will be someday. I move forward, knowing…I will not just continue to grow old, but stronger, kinder and wiser. I share that you, “my friends” and family have continued to give me the greatest gift, by holding me accountable to be brave and have the courage to continue to believe that, I am worthy of a good life. You have helped me to see that, I can and do make a difference. I matter and without me in this world, it might be a little more boring, probably a lot less complicated, certainly quieter, but not nearly as joyful!

I wish I could share the hundreds of birthday wishes I received on that special day and not just from my own loving family, the birthday wishes from friends both near, far and some from those I’ve yet to meet. This year, I celebrated a new tradition and I thank you, for giving me a reason to believe their are genuinely kind people everywhere, that care about me. I go to bed leaving my phone on and allow the sound of my notifications bar, to wake me with a smile, forcing me to start my day with gratitude. With each and every beeping, buzzing birthday wish, I fill my heart full of joy and gratitude for the kindness that exists all around me.  I thank you, for reminding me…when I open my eyes to see joy around me, hope for a bright future will continue to pour into all of our hearts.

Thank you, for being kind and making the time, to show me that you care about another birthday. I appreciate all the simple moments, you continue to share…they have added up to a whole lot of gratitude. I wish you always #365DaysofJoy

xo

 

Run for Joy

Living 365 days of joy, means being grateful for the simple moments and memories we make inspiring one another, that we are worth even running the greatest distances for. I am grateful today, for a healthy body and mind that’s at ease, when I am putting one foot in front of the other and taking forward steps to a bright future.

A little over a year, September of 2014, a few months before I was to marry the same man that I had married for the first time thirteen years earlier and sixty pounds heavier. My anxiety was overwhelming me with fear and insecurity. I had to find a way to make the time for myself, not to fall apart or get lost in the sadness of my past mistakes or let my depression take a hold of my emotional well being. I had to find a way, to fight my mental health issues, with a healthy and affordable course of action.

I was online seeking inspiration and encouragement when I stumbled across a Facebook community, “OutRun The Odds”. I was captivated by the joy and spirit of these outrunners, a community that passionately shared joy an enthusiasm for running and being part of a mission to find a cure for Cystic Fibrosis. This group inspired me, to do what I had never done before…put one foot in front of the other and believe I was worth running for.

I am happy to share on October of 2014, a month after my husband and I remarried, we completed our first 5k, in honor of my husbands late father.  Since that date…my body has carried me all over the state, running numerous 5k’s a 10k, completing two triathlons and two half marathons. I have built friendships, that will last a lifetime and created memories that carry me threw, on the darkest of days.

I have been able to connect with runners all over the world, threw various running groups and the positive spirit of the runner, is simply contagious. It’s not how fast we go, but that we do go and that we believe we are worth running for. Running for me has become a great way, not to just stay physically fit but has forced me to make time for myself and that has made me a happier women, wife and mother and I am eternally grateful for that. Today, I share I am proud to call myself a runner and look forward to running my third half marathon in NYC this coming March.

 

 

If it’s to be…

“One of our favorite activities as a family is watching old home movies.”

Photos and Videography….the first time around I was so rushed and anxious to get to the party, I didn’t stop to take the time to get photos you can look back at for years to come. I was so anxious I didn’t remember the vows I spoke or the moment we shared that special kiss. At the end of the day, the camera doesn’t lie and whether you want staged pictures or candid moments the person or people you hire need to have an open and often unspoken communication with you at all times. If your not committed to the moment, no photographer or film crew can photoshop you in it.

A New Beginning

Allen Kee: A proud father who is passionate about his work as an advertising and editorial photographer. Allen took time from his busy schedule working primarily for ESPN to photograph our simple family on our special day. 

Allen had come into my husbands small auto detail business only a couple months prior to our wedding to have his car detailed.  My husband came home and said, “I met this great guy today and he is an awesome photographer.”

I immediately started checking out Allen’s work always thinking outside the box, I discovered this amazingly talented photographer working in the fast paced world of sports and falling in love with his still and loving photos of his daughter.  I knew he was exactly the type of photographer I was looking for. We needed empathy for family and the patience for my high energy and he had already established a genuine connection with my husband it all made sense. I asked my husband to do only one thing and that was to call Allen and ask him to photograph our wedding and he did. Allen said it was his honor,  he had found inspiration in our strength as a couple taking the non- traditional route in life getting re-married to each other. We not only had a true professional but now a friend who’s life we touched and that clearly advocates for human kindness. I encourage you to check out more of his work and I am honor to share we have been able to continue to work together: http://www.allenkeephoto.com/

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Chip Dizard:  A passionate teacher, father and husband. His videography speaks for itself in the work he produces.  I met Chip online threw a Facebook club called “Never Settle Club”, hosted by Mario Armstrong.

Chip and I made a connection via social media, sharing our passion to find a sustainable future doing what we are passionate about in life. He took the time to get to know me, reading my story about finding 365 Days of Joy. I found myself inspired by Chip’s dedication as a teacher and the work he does with his students. Throughout the course of the club online Chip shared his wedding videography and my decision to hire him had already been made.

When Chip came all the way up to our small town, he got to know my family. He spent time passing the baseball in the backyard with my husband and son. He spent time teaching my daughter how to use the camera’s connecting with her as he would with his own children and students. The crew he brought with him, were professional and acclimated themselves with the area we lived, scouting out arial views that would encompass all the things we love about the town we live. I cry tears of joy each time I see just the trailer that he completed of our wedding day. You can see more of his work at:  http://chipdizardweddings.com/

I know these are major expenses and for us we consider them is an investment in our future. I often say, when I look back at my photos it reminds me of the love I have for my husband and my family, by the expressions on our faces.  I have absolutely no regrets in investing in quality people my photographer and videographer. I consider them my friends for life…

365 Days of Joy

I had never imagined that I would still be here sharing the simple moments in my life that I celebrate #365DaysofJoy.  I am truly humbled by all of you, who listen, read and share my story. This journey has led me to be inspired by wonderful new friends, amazing opportunities and most importantly a new found “hope” my children will grow up and share my enthusiasm and passion for life. The greater good has always been for all children to have empathy and gratitude for not just themselves but for those they meet throughout their lives.

This weekend I re-marry the love of my life, again. Thirteen years ago when we first married, I didn’t know what it meant to be married. I was not prepared or ready to make the commitment it takes to have a life long partner. I was selfish, immature and insecure. We were clearly uneducated on what the covenant of marriage meant. I share with you today, “I’m ready” and I know my future husband is. We have both done our homework, finding our self worth and that’s allowed us to make the commitment to being one love. I honor us and our vulnerability to trust one another, the patience needed, the work required, the ability to forgive and have empathy and compassion for our differences. That’s what will sustain our marriage as we face the future ahead.

On July 1, 2001. My wedding day…It was a “fairy tail”. The big white dress, the tiara, the ring, the parties…I guess you could say I ended up suffocating myself in tule while drooling over cake tastings. This was suppose to be, the beginning of the future of all the things I had imagined would validate “me” in life. What I didn’t realize is that no amount of stuff or anyone person could validate me, only I could do that for myself. We came home from our honeymoon, expecting our first child. We moved into the new house we had to buy to raise our children…We got so caught up in making believe that when reality set in, we couldn’t afford the life that brought us nothing more then “fleeting happiness” nor were we equip to handle the underlying problems that had gotten us there to begin with.

In December 2011, we got a divorce. My ex and future husband likes to say, we made the most expensive mistake in our life. I say that’s true, but had it not been for that mistake and the pain it caused; We may not have been here today.

On, September 13th 2014, I look forward to the future with a new found hope and gratitude for the love of my life as husband and wife, sharing #365DaysofJoy till death do us part.  Amen 2 That!

Simply Not A Simple Minded Mom

When my own children entered middle school I started to feel lost. My role had always been, “full time mom”. I had been this super involved mom, a constant presence in their daily lives an admitted “career volunteer”. In elementary school parents are welcomed to be present as much or as little as they choose and I chose to be present a lot. I was good at it and it was rewarding knowing that not just my kids, but all the kids enjoyed and wanted me around. As my children have gotten older, entering their pre-teen years I am no longer needed in the same capacity as I was in prior years. I also felt as a mom, this sense of allowing them that independence to grow up and make mistakes finding their own paths, that don’t require my constant physical presence in their daily life.

My journey to finding social media success sharing 365 days of joy starts with them. I had to find a way as a mother to stay connected to my children, because even though I trust my parenting thus far I believe that while and as long as my children live under my roof, its my responsibility to know what they are doing and who they are socially sharing with.  I felt compelled to protect them and that required joining them.

I started with the most popular platform, Instagram…girls and a boys in the pre-teen ages. I just started sharing simple happy messages of joy everyday, using a daily hashtag that I would create to catch their attention and would include them without totally embarrassing them. MondayFunday, TerrificTuesday, WackyWednesday, ThorwbackThursday aka TBT, FunFriday, SuperSaturday and SundaySelfie all became part of a daily routine. The joy of it, I didn’t just lift my children’s spirt but those of their friends and in turn my own, as I started watching them curiously follow and often share or comment on what I was posting. Today and to my great surprise “I” Rachel Salvo aka “ctgirlonthego” am followed by so many who’s lives I have touched over this past year just being a simple mom who not so simple-mindedly had found a way to stay connected to my family and feel valued doing it.

The strategy to educate myself on how to even use social media required hard work and I have to give credit to Twitter for this one. I was able to communicate with professionals in the field of social media that without a doubt are beyond brilliant.

I made a list on the topic based on a trusted source and someone I had followed for years years via NBC  “The Today Show”, Mario Armstrong.  As I continued to share my joyful and sometimes witty self with my daily tweets, I came across a women whom I have grown to respect and admire, Marsha Collier. I share her book “Social Media Commerce for Dummies”, it’s an easy affordable fact finding book that gave me the basics to get started. I got involved in “daily chats” that have been without a doubt an essential tool to finding success in human connection. I credit someone I can now call a friend, Brian Franzo he is one of the hardest working social media strategist I have ever met @iSocialFanz. I am grateful for all these people who actually cared enough to share with me.

I can say today, that I am one step closer to finding a sustainable future for myself sharing 365 days of joy. I am passionate about inspiring people to succeed and it makes me feel good that I add value to someones life. Social media has enabled me to lend my face, my voice and my story with so many amazing people and for that I am grateful. My character is simply created to share joy and for today this has lead me to my own personal brand ctgirlonthego sharing #365daysofjoy all year long.

Embrace the Character

I will admit I am rather torn writing this because I alone am not the solution. We tend to highlight what it is we are doing rather then who the person is that is doing it.  I would like to shine the light on all those people that are out there and aren’t being heard who do make a difference and are valued. I am also going to express gratitude for all the people who do recognize the bigger issues and work everyday to “shine the light” on what we can do better.

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If you looked at my report cards after kindergarten you would see a mediocre or below average student who never worked hard enough to meet her full potential never really applying herself. From school to school I would go as we moved quit often and that’s what the emphasis always was, Rachel isn’t applying herself. I was defined by my education and the grades I was achieving. I will say today that I was preconditioned to fail. In defense of the educators at the time we didn’t have the knowledge we do today about learning disabilities, or the empathy for those who suffer from them. I do think we need to re-define what makes a person valuable and be very cautious not to focus too much on what they do rather who they are their Character what makes them happy.

I will say that I am far from mediocre and far from perfect always a work in progress. I started paying it forward for my own kids by getting back to basics only a couple years ago. I hashtag #365daysofjoy because I am grateful I am here and have the courage to reach out be vulnerable to share what I know about being happy and what I have learned to sustain myself. I embrace the tenacity of my own Character to share with you here today.

My hope is that we can redefine what it means to be a success and focus on the Character. What inspires those who don’t know how to achieve it. Embrace the individuals sharing joy in their ability to make you smile or laugh. The American dream should be happiness and I think that we need to get “back to basics”. We can’t change the past but we can certainly learn from it.

We need more leaders who stop enabling failure by turning a blind eye and look Humanity in the face. Paying it forward by empowering others to do whatever it is that they are passionate about and it will continue to sustain itself.

I am happy that I have this amazing Character that is ambitious enough to hope I can make a difference with even one smile each day, sharing #365DaysofJoy