If I were to describe Shannon it would be like this: she loves post-it notes, Sharpies, and all things positive. Including chocolate, but mostly she loves positive sayings and quotes and inspirational ways to encourage one another.
Shannon truly believes in the power of the positive word. She believes that while we're naturally our worst critics we also have this amazing unlimited ability to raise others up to heights they never imagined - just by giving positive support with very simple words.
Shannon learned to clog because she thought it was an interesting dance form. If I were to be completely honest, at the time I thought she was insane. I mean, c'mon - clogging? What the heck are you going to do with that skill?
Then she started Walworth County Cloggers - a dance group humbly starting in the basement of my parent's house. She wholeheartedly believed that GIRLS ROCK. It was and is her hope and desire to instill courage and strength, kindness and empathy, support and teamwork in each and every one of her dancers. It is her goal to show each dancer how truly beautiful and important they are --- to the team, to their families, to themselves. And she expects each one of her dancers to continue that show of kindness and support and positivity in everything they do; school, work, fun.
In her "other job" - the one that comes after taking care of three small children while helping her husband run their dairy farm and organizing everything there is to do with a dance studio - Shannon counsels foster care children and their families. She's a huge proponent in It Takes A Village To Raise A Child, and has proven so in ways that would take far too long to explain in this measly post. Spend ten minutes with Shannon and you'll be taking in countless foster children and adopting your own platoon... because she'll show you how you don't have to do it alone. That with support, anything can be accomplished.
Shannon's Facebook wall is devoted to encouraging sayings and links to positive stories. (Unlike mine, which is devoted to various forms of complaint smothered in snarkasm and swear words.) It's her own personal testament that LIFE IS GOOD.
Here's where I need your help:
Today, in honor of my sister's 40th birthday, I'd like YOU to Tag The Town -- tag it beautiful. Tag it positive. Tag it uplifting! Check out the website Operation Beautiful - maybe you've heard of it. It's described as "leaving positive messages on the mirrors of public restrooms - at work, at the gym, at the grocery store." Things like:
"You are beautiful!"
"You are amazing just the way you are!"
"You are important!"
"YOU are perfect just the way you are!"
Things like that. Be creative!!
FIRST leave a positive note or message -- be it a post-it note on the bathroom stall at Target, or a sidewalk chalk message outside your house. Maybe you want to leave a card to a stranger on their windshield. (My goal is 40 notes for 40 years... so I really, really need your help with this.)
THEN take a picture of your positive note! Don't be shy - include yourself in the photo if you're comfortable!
THEN go to the Walworth County Cloggers Facebook page and "like" their page so you can upload the photo of your message to their page and share it with everyone. (Make sure you tell Shannon Happy Birthday.)
AND ALSO: SHARE THIS WITH YOUR FRIENDS!
The power of positive encouragement shouldn't start and stop with one group of people. It should be shared over and over and over again. It should grow and blossom and get bigger and bigger and be shared over and over and over again. And then set on repeat. So that the goodness just keeps on keepin' on.
Shannon truly believes that the world would be a better place if we took more time to focus on saying things that are kind and uplifting; as pessimistic as I tend to be, I do believe her. Imagine if your kind words today fell into the lap of someone feeling really alone or unneeded. Who knows, maybe the answer to bullying is this simple... changing our focus to a few heartfelt, authentic encouraging words... It can't hurt to try, right?
Happy 40th Birthday, Shannon. May your goal of covering the world with positivity be met today... and last forever...
...making life awesome...
|Posted on the bulletin board at the local library.|
|by the vending machine at the gymnastics studio|
|From the poster to my sister: "Thank you for being a big insperation in my life |
and always making my day brighter!
You have changed many people's lives with all that you do!"
|From the poster: "For the amazing woman that taught me |
how to clog when I was only 7!"
|an inspirational message to the school kids who walk |
this sidewalk in Wauwatosa every day
|Life IS beautiful because YOU'RE here!|
Never doubt that for one single second.
|This one touches my heart...|
|These were posted on a porta-potty. Seriously awesome.|
|"You are amazing! Thank you for teaching our kids!"|
I bet they don't expect THIS today!