Dear Baby Boy,

November 24th, 2014

dear baby boy - thanksgiving journal entry

Happy first Thanksgiving this week!

One of my favorite moments of the day, every day, is dinner time. You sit in your highchair, scooted up to the table with your daddy and me. We slowly put your dinner in front of you, and we all eat together. Your daddy and I talk (mostly about you) and good things about our day. You chirp with a few thoughts, too. If we have music on, you sway to the beat.

But usually, it is silent. No music. No conversation. Just the quiet as we celebrate how beautiful our family dinners are now.

Sitting down for a family meal was a big deal when I was a kid. It quickly became that way for your daddy and me, too. When you were born, that was one of the hardest things to lose. Your daddy and I couldn’t eat together for weeks (unless your grandma was visiting, because she would snuggle you into her arms).

Then slowly, we found our rhythm. We were able to eat most meals together. And now? You’re at the table, too. And can I just tell you how awesome this is, Niklas? It is greater than I ever imagined.

A friend recently told me that when things feel overwhelming as a young parent, mentally think about your life years from now. Imagine everyone sitting around your Thanksgiving table. Think of the stories you’ll all share and the history you’ll have in common.

Sure, I’m excited about that far-away time, Niklas. It’ll be here before we know it. But right now? These dinners – I’m just so thankful that I get to sit at a table with you. I can’t wait to have our extended family gathered around the Thanksgiving table with us later this week.

Even if half of your food ends up on the floor, in your ears, or smeared across the edge of the table!

This photograph and journal entry are going into the You Are Loved baby journal I’m keeping for little Niklas, along with other letters I’ve shared here including: Dear future mamaDear babyDear future daddyDear sweet little family, and Dear baby boy.

Gratitude journaling

November 21st, 2014

gratitude journaling technique - gadanke workshop free journal video 5 of 52

Grab your journal! This week’s complimentary Gadanke Workshop addresses a topic that was in the forefront of my mind when I began dreaming of the workshop: gratitude journaling!

I have found that keeping a journal makes you feel more grateful. You’re more aware of the gifts in your life–the people, the moments, the places, and the little details start to mean so much more.

I wanted to create a brief video that could really give you some gratitude journaling ideas. And this is it! In this workshop, you’ll find quick ideas for:
  • celebrating everyday details about your home and folks you love.
  • embracing grateful moments with someone you love. (My grandma always did this.)
  • engaging the whole family in incredible conversation around the dinner table.

With Thanksgiving just around the corner in the United States, I felt like there couldn’t be a more timely workshop to encourage you to pause and count those blessings.

We’re certainly counting them here. Niklas will be turning one next week, and we’ve got my whole side of the family coming over to swap stories, slice Thanksgiving pie, and swing down to Yellowstone National Park with us. Then it’s time for one beautiful little birthday candle.

What a great year it’s been. Thank you for all your comfort, kindness, and encouragement for our little family and the journal shop that keeps us fed. Grateful? You betcha!

What grateful moments are you journaling about this month?

What’s it like to give a TEDxTalk?

November 19th, 2014

whats it like to give a ted talk

I remember pacing across the house last year, rehearsing my speech to the baby growing inside of me. It was just days before I would step onto the stage in Minot, North Dakota. It was a talk I was so excited to give! It was also a talk that today I still have people asking, “So Katie. This TEDxTalk you gave–tell me about it!”

I thought I’d jump back in time a little today and tell you about that journey.

When I was in college, a couple friends had a homework assignment that required them to create a bucket list of sorts. What did they want to experience in life? What did they want to accomplish? The assignment sounded pretty cool, so I wrote one for myself. My list included all sorts of things like fly in a hot air balloon, fall in love, live in another country, and give a speech at a notable occasion like a graduation or something.

TEDx was my something.

A TEDxTalk is different than a TEDTalk because it’s not organized by TED. Locally community members go through a big application process to host an event in town. They’re becoming more and more popular in our relatively rural area of the world. I’m so excited about that! It’s really exciting to learn about all the local talent and ideas brewing in your local community. If you ever have the chance, absolutely attend a TEDx or TED event.

I’d applied for two different TEDx events. I was accepted to one, but not the other. Hindsight being 20/20, I’m so grateful it worked out that way. I was 32 weeks pregnant when I delivered my speech. At the event I was not selected for, I would have had a teeny newborn. I would not have been properly prepared for that talk!

The event was really well organized. The afternoon before, all the speakers and volunteers got together for a quick rehearsal. There were nine speakers, ranging from the local football coach who’s a great role model to kids to the CEO of The Nerdery. There were professors and business owners. The local bookshop owner already had Gadanke journals stocked on her shelves.

I slept so solidly that night. In fact, I even slept in. That was because of pregnancy. My nerves, meanwhile, were leaping all around. I kept thinking, “Is this really happening? Is it?!”

And it was! I wiggled my way into a black maternity dress and support pantyhose. I wore the same white pearls I wore on my wedding day. The heels on my feet were especially low–an intentional decision because I figured the last thing anyone wanted to see was a pregnant lady tripping up there, and a  pair of flats just didn’t feel dressy enough.

I sat behind stage, listening to the speakers before me. A microphone wove through my clothes. And for good measure, I’m sure the baby kicked as I stepped onto the stage and started to smile and share my story.

I still remember the baby kicking as I talked!

“Tell me your story,” I told folks. “And I will listen.”

I talked about self love and discovering the impact of our stories. The ideas I discussed where just the very tip of the storycatching theories swirling in my head. It was so much fun to put these words together and share my ideas. The audience was incredible, too. We had several breaks between speakers and a reception at the end of the event. I loved those moments because I got to immediately put the message of my speech into action and listen to stories people shared with me.

I expected women to start up conversations with me. But believe it or not, it was primarily men that had ideas to share with me at the reception. That was really exciting! It really helped me drive Gadanke toward a different road. My focus was always on women. But that day, I knew it was time to stretch beyond gender division and include resources for men. I also started focusing more on children. We all have fabulous stories.

I still can’t believe that I got to be a part of something so incredible because a group of volunteers got a spark of an idea in Minot, North Dakota, and they decided to turn it into something wonderful.