That's a photo I snapped at Pike's Marketplace. Apparently, there was quite a ceremony around the daffodils that were brought into the market. I noticed them on the roof and in the stalls. Had to photograph them.
Little did I know that this was simply some foreshadowing.
Today, at my mother-in-law's memorial ceremony, a poem by Wordworth about a field of daffodils was read. Knowing my MIL and her meticulous planning, this was something she wanted said at her memorial. Although they never talked about it, her son (my husband), played a slow movement from a Bach cello suite. I'm impressed that he held it together the entire time.
I had not choice but to expose my children to death and dying. I was in Seattle, my husband and children were in the Boston area, and my mother-in-law was on her death bed in Arizona. It was logistically impossible for me to fly back to Boston in time for my husband to leave Boston to get to Arizona. He had to take the kids with him and I met him in Phoenix.
I worried about it. Would he have to entertain the kids and hand them off to their Uncle or Aunt so he could be by his mother's hospital bedside? Would Harry or Sara (age 4 and 6) take a peek into the intensive care room -- see their grandmother lying their hooked up to various machines? Would they ask difficult questions? Would the experience scar them?
It didn't happen like that. She died before he arrived in Phoenix.
They were exposed to saddness and crying at the memorial service, but they both behaved so well that I was shocked. However, Harry did ask at dinner - "Is everybody going to cry tonight?" And, when we got back to our hotel room and I tucked them into bed, he told me, "Mommy, when you die, I'll cry all day."
Here's a post from Nancy with some notes from the NTC Blogging panel that I had to miss due to a death in the family. I heard it went well. It shows that good solid pre-planning is always a good idea. I'm taking a break from the intense grief that is washing over us. I am thinking about the value of pre-planning for events, particularly the final event. We never know when it is our time to go. And for those left behind, if there are plans on how to say to good-bye it helps.
There has been an unexpected death in our family (my mother-in-law) and I've had to leave the NTC early and won't be doing the nonprofit blogging panel. The show will go on with Nancy, Marshall, and John who will do a fantastic job. I'll be there in spirit. Check the panel blog for notes and resources.
I'm about to leave for almost a week in Seattle at the NTC, the annual conference for nonprofit techies. It isn't just attending a conference, I also work there as well - coordinating the Day of Service. So, while I'd love to bring the kids with me, it would be impossible to get any work done.
Instead, use the "Mommy Go Away, Mommy Come Home Book" technique. .This time, I got them little notebooks and they decorated them with stickers. Harry created a "hide the shell" game on the back of his notebook. On each page of the notebook, I write the date that I will be away. What they will do is write what they did and draw a picture. I will respond on this blog and by phone calls. There will be much anticipation about what I will bring back for them. Last year's hedgehogs from Chicago were a hit.
Get together and talk NetSquared the night before NTC starts.
Join others for talk of emerging technology and nonprofits, as well as
the friendly rubbing of shoulders and great clams .... Get more details from here.
I got an email from Cesar Vargas who writes the NPO Blog. He was born in Lima, Peru and is studying for his masters in Information Systems in Hawaii at HPU. He is currently working on a paper about: "How do blogs benefit nonprofit organizations in U.S." As part of research for his degree, he is conducting a survey about the Benefits of Blogging in Nonprofit Organizations. Check it out.
This is the map from the UK Riders Frappr group. (I have no idea why the widget script didn't work, so took a screen capture and edited in Photoshop). Teresa Crawford mentioned that the eriders site would be migrating to frappr. (BTW, the eriders site has lots great content!)
Fayrouz is a Palestinian and an Israeli who grew up in the Galilee and speaks Arabic, Hebrew and English fluently. She is a remarkable young woman who manages simultaneously to study full-time at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem whilst teaching English at an academic college in East Jerusalem and working for a Palestinian news agency in Bethlehem.
Hers is the first blog by a Palestinian-Israel, and I'm sure she's going to offer some unique insights into life in Israel and the West Bank/Palestine. I'd really appreciate your going over to her blog to offer some encouraging words of welcome.
Sokari has a summary on Global s on International Women's Day and how African bloggers have choosen to honour African women. She writes, "We honour our mothers, sisters, grandmothers and daughters. Women whose names you will not see written in the newspapers or hear on the radio but nonetheless women with courage whose spirits will always remain with us and guide us through our daily lives."
One of the posts/blogs that caught my eye was Sokwanele - This is Zimbabwe and their celebration of the women of Zimbabwa through WOZA (Women of Zimbabwe Arise).
"WOZA stand out as a group of women who, through non-violent peaceful action, give a public face and press-friendly words to the experience that weighs on all women in our country……..We honour them not only because they are undeniably brave, but because we recognise that their actions give a to the experiences of Zimbabwean woman struggling to survive on a daily basis. And through honouring them we recognise the courage of all Zimbabwe women battling in these difficult times - not just for today, but for every day of the year."
(Sokwanele - Zvakwana is a grassroots movement, embracing supporters of all pro-democratic political parties, civic organizations and institutions in Zimbabwe. Sokwanele and Zvakwana both mean 'enough is enough' in the vernacular. So, here's another case study of using Web2.0 for social change.
"Blogs are not causing a revolution. Blog are just another Internet communication strategy and tool!"
Just in time for our NTC nonprofit blogging panel. I'm taking a break from searching through Flickr for some visuals for our nonprofit blogging panel. We're going to run through the topic "Blogs: Myths or Facts?" and I need stimulating visuals to illustrate those points.
I entered "blog hype" as a search term and came across a recent article on WSJ online. It asks ...
Are blogs a vanishing fad? Are blogs this year's digital Pet Rock? Are blogs a business bubble about to pop? A sucker's bet for new-media fame seekers?
The article points out some recent articles and polls that suggest a cooling off in the hype around blogs. These include:
New York Magazine: Blogs to Riches - The Haves and Have-Nots of the Blogging Boom by Clive Thompson. February, 2006. It talks about the disparity of audiences between the so called A-List and other bloggers. My favorite quote: "What’s more, a blog is like a shark: If it stops moving, it dies. Without fresh postings, even the most well-linked blog will quickly lose its audience."
Gallop Poll on Blog Readership"Gallup's latest examination of Americans' online habits finds that one in five Web users read Web-logs, or "blogs," either frequently or occasionally. Though this translates into 40 million readers, it relegates blogs to the bottom pack of Internet activities, among the 13 for which Gallup recently measured Americans' use. Like most Web activities, blog readership hasn't increased over the past year or so,even though Americans are spending more time online."
So, this is the backlash hype. The WSJ article offers the middle ground:
"Reports of blogging's demise are bosh, but if we're lucky, something else really is going away: the by-turns overheated and uninformed obsession with blogging. Which would be just fine, because it would let blogging become what it was always destined to be: just another digital technology and method of communication, one with plenty to offer but no particular claim to revolution.
My bet: Within a couple of years blogging will be a term thrown around loosely -- and sometimes inaccurately -- to describe a style and rhythm of writing, as well as the tools to publish that writing. This is already happening: One of the chief problems with some chronicles of blogging's demise is their confusion about definitions, aconfusion that's mirrored in efforts to measure blogs' popularity or to say anything that can apply to bloggers as a group."
The KPI blog will explore diverse facets of knowledge management practice, research, and theory -- from community of practice (COP) strategy, to emerging technologies, to conferences and events taking place around the world.
We're excited to share what we're discovering about knowledge management for the nonprofit, public, and philanthropic sectors as we do our work -- and for you to post your critiques and ideas. Together we can pool our insights and assist one another in serving our clients and communities more effectively.
In that spirit we are also pleased to release our latest whitepaper, "The Revolution Is Online: Two Polilogue Case Studies." Over the past two years we have worked with new online communities of practice in the public and non-profit sectors. Some communities took off, exceeding the goals they set out to achieve. Several didn't -- but the process still had beneficial effects on the organization and the team. And for many, it was somewhere in between. "The Revolution Is Online" explores how the successes prove the power of this approach to knowledge management, and what the underperformers suggest about setting the parameters for investment.
Another one to read on the plane to Seattle. Wonder if there is anything different from the findings here.
Mark D. Wagner writes the Educational Technology and Life Blog - his tagline "Context-embedded, Inquiry-driven, and Socially-negotiated Learning." Anyway, his blog was one of the first edtech blogs I started to follow and he emailed me recently to let me know he has a new domain and wordpress blog.
So, I popped over to land on a post about burn out ... and the lack of time. I've been preparing a story about nonprofit blogging and professional development based on a colleague's experience in Cambodia for an upcoming NTC panel -- so I was stroke by his words:
"I feel as if half the learning I’ve done while in my phd program has
been facilitated by this blog. I certainly would not have connected
with the experts and practitioners that I have without it. But, on the
flip side… there are several hours each week (sometimes each day) that
I am spending on reading feeds and writing about them) that I could be
putting toward my phd, and this balance may need to shift back to the
phd for the next year."
It made me think about this post-it note that I photographed from a workshop ten years ago ... with art teachers on the issue of integrating digital tools into their instruction. I used this technique called the "Wall of Reflection" and put up butcher block paper with the topics. After we each section, I encouraged them to reflect on experience and share via post it notes. The reflection question was about how the challenge of transfer - how will you take the skills you've learned today in powerpoint or photoshop or whatever the hell I was teaching and integrate them into your life.
I think about the issue of integrating blogging into my daily life .. and constant balancing act that Mark describes. It's about balance. Blogging for professional development - your own professional development can give you the time and space to reflect before and after experiences. (As well as connect you to other practictioners and experts in your field.)
Check this out. It's still in beta. It's called People To People Aid. The goal is: p2pAid.org is a website that aims to connect people in situations of extreme need, with people who can and wish to contribute to alleviate, even just once, human suffering.
Joistke sends me really interesting links, like this one. Here's how it works:
Every hour, 10x10 scans the RSS feeds of several leading international news sources, and performs an elaborate process of weighted linguistic analysis on the text contained in their top news stories. After this process, conclusions are automatically drawn about the hour's most important words. The top 100 words are chosen, along with 100 corresponding images, culled from the source news stories. At the end of each day, month, and year, 10x10 looks back through its archives to conclude the top 100 words for the given time period. In this way, a constantly evolving record of our world is formed, based on prominent world events, without any human input.
The e-Nonprofit Benchmarks Study looks at the effectiveness of major American nonprofit organization using the Internet to raise money and influence public policy. It is described as "a tool that nonprofits can use to measure and compare their online performance to other organizations' online programs."
Reviews by colleagues who have deeper expertise in this topic have blogged about this report and it has a made me curious. Laura Quinn notes on idealware, "This research yields enormously useful benchmarks to answer the age old questions: So is this click-through rate good? How many should I expect to donate?How do our numbers compare to others organizations?"
As long as I have a long cross country plane ride coming up, I'm putting it on my read list.