Saturday, June 13, 2015

Hello World

I had the opportunity to travel to 38 countries before I met my husband and settle down, and to this day my travel experiences have shaped almost all my decisions, from eating choices to voting.  

Some of my most memorable times have happened overseas.  My husband and I got married in Killarney, Ireland; and we took our twins to Okinawa, Japan for their first birthday. 

Travel is an essential component in my past experience, it has enhanced so many aspects of my life. The people I have met and the lifelong friends I have made overseas are dear to my heart.

In a few weeks I will have the opportunity to take our 10-year-old twins on a month-long trip to Japan (Thanks in part to my twin sister who has lived there for 11 years and my supportive husband.) I am very excited for our children (cousins!) to spend a significant amount of time together and build special memories, but the idea of the life lessons we will learn on this trip has also absorbed my thoughts.  

So what are some valuable lessons I learned when I traveled? And what would be my wish list for our twins to discover?

Firstly, and this is an easy one - travel light for opportunity and independence. We are only taking carry-ons so we will not need to rely on luggage carts or individuals for assistance. 

I know from personal experience that the less you carry on a trip the more remarkable your trip will be.  I overpacked for my first international trip and getting from terminal to terminal was awkward and backbreaking.  It was hard to get on and off trains and frankly I felt naive and unrefined. I vowed never to make that mistake again.  

On my next trip I packed very light (no check-on bags) and my unplanned 6-hour layover in Schiphol airport (Amsterdam) resulted in a spontaneous (and memorable) trip to the Anne Frank House. Because I did not have to worry about collecting and rechecking any bags, or finding a locker; I was able to use every minute to broaden my life experience by hopping on the train to this extraordinary historical landmark.

I hope my kids discover early in life that things weigh you down and can keep you from doing things. Pack less things to make more room for experiences. 

Things happen. When you travel to foreign lands you learn quickly that you are not the center of the world and although you may have planned every detail of your trip perfectly that does not mean that it will turn out that way. In fact, chances are it won’t. And guess what? That is okay!  

Travel is an opportunity to discover more about yourself. To live spontaneously with an open heart and mind.  I am reminded of a favorite quote by Charles Swindoll,  “Life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.”  Adopt this quote as your travel mantra. 

It truly is a small world and I am excited for the new perspective this trip will give my children. Not just about the obvious such as food and language, but about their place in the world.  Other cultures matter; the world is small and we are all connected.  

One year after I had visited Turkey, that country was struck with a devastating earthquake and 6,000 people were killed. As someone who had just visited, I couldn’t help but wonder if anyone that I had a conversation with at a cafe had lost a loved one; or if someone that said hi to me on the street was affected by the tragic quake; my visit brought the headline to life for me by mixing up emotions and concern.  

When an acquaintance mentioned his irritation at the United States for sending money to Turkey to help in the quake recovery; I was truly astonished. I was very saddened by the headlines and wanted to help too. Travel changes your perspective and helps you identify with other people. 

Keep an open mind about opportunities; a nonjudgmental almost novice outlook frees your mind from the clutter of a schedule and unrealistic expectations. You don’t always have to do what the “vacation books” suggest, (that is someone else’s bucket list).  

If you just want to find an amazing spot to sit and read your favorite book - do it. Create memories that mean something to you versus checking off a list.  Allow yourself to just quietly “exist” from time to time. Look around and really absorb the city; the sites; the smells; and the sounds.  You may find that “happy place” you will revisit again and again. 

To this day, I remember sitting on a park bench in Rome and just watching and soaking in the feeling of being a part of that exact moment at that time in Rome. Thinking what would it be like to live here; to drive your moped to work; to stop in the coffee shop across the Colosseum for your daily coffee fix.  It is one of my favorite memories, and now 10 years later when I quiet my brain and think back to that time, I can still hear the sounds and experience what it felt like to truly “be” in Rome.  Exist quietly from time to time and add new meaning to your travel experience. 

I laughed out loud when I discovered this quote by Dagobert D. Runes,  “People travel to faraway places to watch, in fascination, the kind of people they ignore at home.”   This is so true!

Take it easy on souvenirs.  I planned early in my “traveling years” to buy either a linen, pottery, or a print from the places that really moved me. This was with the intention to bring home only souvenirs that I would use. Now years later when my husband and I have decided to “reduce clutter” and keep only items that are useful and bring back good memories I can choose to actually keep most of my travel keepsakes because they have a use in our home.  

Respect the locals and their traditions and any sacred customs or guidelines. 

When I visited China, our tour guide warned us not to speak out about any opposing viewpoints any of us may have with the Chinese government.  He could not promise that we wouldn’t be arrested for not respecting rules and opinions set by their government.  This is an extreme example, but we will be visiting  sacred temples, etc., and even though we may not believe in their specific rituals we need to respect the rights and customs of the locals that do - even if we don’t agree or understand.  It is a great lesson in empathy and a wonderful way to open your mind to new opinions and ideas. 

Learning new ideas doesn't mean you need to change your own, it just makes the world a much more interesting place. 

Use the skill of map reading. Although I agree is it a smart idea to use a GPS system in the busy streets of a foreign land; before you head out on your adventure look at a map to give you an overview of the amazing world you are about to experience. 

And lastly, leave all expectations behind.  

Travel with a mind open to new ideas; leave preconceived notions at home; and be just be wowed at all the “newness.”   The need to be in control is “mind clutter.”  Flexibility is a good thing. The need to control your day and fixed agendas will steal life experiences from you.  

Remember that your trip starts the minute you walk out your door. There is some truth in the old cliche “It is not all about the destination it is about the journey.”

Sunday, April 19, 2015

How will our children be different as adults (than we are) when they are raised constantly “connected” to the world?

I am an older parent and I have to admit one troubling aspect of childhood that is significantly different for my children then when I was young — “Solitude”  or lack thereof. 

What ever happened to precious solitude, the glorious state of being alone and being okay with that? 

How will our children be different as adults when they are raised  constantly “connected” to the world, literally attacked by social media throughout the day? Even children’s game apps send notifications asking “Where have you been?”  

Being deluged by notifications, status updates and texts puts other people in control of your child by impacting their daily life.  Always trying to impress or staying ahead affects the mental state of that person. It distracts that person from their “present real” time; and I find it extremely unsettling. 

I honestly don't know how I would have dealt with that kind of “pressure” when I was a child, and yet I sit and watch it happen to my own children. 

It is “unnatural” to always be connected. Spending time alone in today’s society has taken on a new urgency — how can constantly being connected not affect our children’s personal development? It concerns me that children (especially teens) constantly try to impress others throughout the day via status updates, snap chat, etc. 

We have rigid “screen time rules” at our house. Our 10-year-old twins have to “earn” their screen time by exercising; practicing their piano, or reading.  Solitude is a parenting goal for me and for now it is working.  But what happens when they move from home; When opportunities for solitude are no longer achieved through parenting?  How can I as a parent make solitude a natural comfortable state, like it was (and still is) for me? 

Wayne Walter Dyer, an American self-help author and motivational speaker once said “If you are comfortable in your own skin and if you really love your own person, you will not be afraid to spend some time alone. You will enjoy the time you spend alone as much as you do when you are surrounded by the people you love dearly…You cannot be lonely if you like the person you’re alone with.”

The ability to be alone and be happy is an important skill to possess and I hope an ambition that I can instill in my children. 

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Do you have a "fixed" or a "growth" mindset?

“So what are you going to do with that?” 

I have been blown away by the number of times I have heard this question when I tell them people about personal development classes I plan to take this spring. My answer is straight on, I hope to be inspired by learning new things, which in turn will make me a more interesting person not just to others but to myself. Knowledge inspires. Why do we expect or even want immediate payback for everything? 

We have all heard the adage “There is a vast difference between living and existing.” What I take this to mean is that when you know more, you are able to understand more, which leads to inspiration and a more fulfilling life. 

The more you learn, the more more comfortable you are in other people's company, whether it be a neighbor; your kid’s teacher; colleagues; or peers.  As we grow  older, our life does not stay the same. It is in continual change. You may switch jobs; move across country; have children (or not); your children grow up and move away; the changes go on and on and on. Challenging yourself with new ideas and a new ways of thinking about things can serve as a great survival technique.  

I have recently started a book “Mindset” by world-renowned Stanford University Professor psychologist Carol Dweck -  She talks about “fixed mindset versus growth mindset, a simple idea that makes all the difference.”  

“People in a fixed mindset believe you either are or aren’t good at something, based on your inherent nature, because it’s just who you are. They believe that talent results in success - without effort.

People in a growth mindset believe anyone can be good at anything, they believe their most basic abilities can be developed through dedication and hard work - brains and talent are just the starting point.”

So the next time someone asks “What are you going to to with that? I will tell them that I have a “Growth Mindset” and it is never too late to learn something new and wonderful and in turn have a new love for life. 

"Try to learn something about everything and everything about something" 
Thomas Huxley

Saturday, February 28, 2015

What's Up With Your Attitude?

The other morning as I was getting ready for work I looked in the mirror and said, “I am so tired and I look terrible!” One of my daughters overheard me and she quickly admonished me.

“Mom, you can’t think like that, then you will believe it, and your beliefs can affect your attitude and you could have a bad day.”  

That wise advice from my nine-year-old got me thinking. Is there an effective way to control your internal critic and instead shift your thoughts to something more positive and realistic?   How can you silence your inner antagonist even during the most trying times?  Because as my daughter said; your attitude may ultimately affect your actions, which can affect your day.  

The significance of attitude in our day-to-day life is great and can have long term impacts. 

Years ago I was having a particularly hard time at work. It involved a higher-ranking manager and an impossible deadline.  I felt as if I was being “tested” on every level of my professional being.   A co-worker pulled me aside and told me, “All anyone will ever remember is your reaction, no one will remember the circumstances or that you are being treated unfairly. They will only remember YOUR reaction.”   I took her words to heart, held my head high and made it through the storm.  Not long after, a senior manager pulled me aside and praised me for my “positive” attitude.  He said he had been watching me throughout my ordeal, and he truly admired me and was very impressed at how professional and confident I remained the entire time.”   My attitude, had I reacted differently, could have resulted in serious ramifications during that “test.”

Attitude. It controls everything. It can be a bully and force you to be angry and bitter, or it can serve as a guru and help you feel peace and happiness. 

If you look up attitude it is often described as a way of talking and behaving. But attitude has much more significance in our lives. In fact attitude is a way of life. How often do we tell our kids, “Watch your attitude,” or “You need to change your attitude.”  Why do we tell our kids this? Because your attitude can determine your outcome. It is all you have control over.

I read an interesting article years ago that has always stuck with me. It referred to people’s life experiences as “filters”  or “predetermined ideas.”   People’s life experiences work as filters for any new opinions ran through their mindset. You can’t change the way people think or act. So a good “survival technique” is to change your expectations of others. Realize you won’t always like someone else’s approach or behavior, and that is okay.

Attitude is a way of life. Attitude determines outcome. It is the only thing you have control over in your busy chaotic life. Which adds significance to the old cliche “The only difference between a good day and a bad day is your attitude.”   

Saturday, February 14, 2015

The Ripple Effect

My nephew Parker Fettig was born eighteen years ago (January 15, 1997), at 23 weeks to my beautiful sister-in-law Catherine and my brother Doug. Parker lived for seven days, but his presence in our family and those people he touched while on this earth remains as strong as the days he was with us.  He is our little angel who has given our family a great gift; that is to truly appreciate each day. The old cliche “each day is a gift,” rings loud when you lose someone close to you.  I have always marveled at the strength of Doug and Catherine, even more so after having children of my own. To find their way out of such a loss with such incredible grace has been nothing but awe-inspiring. 

In Parker’s memory, Doug and Catherine went on to start Precious Beginnings: Parents Supporting Parents of Critically Ill Newborns,  a nonprofit group of families who have parented babies in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), in Portland Oregon.

In an inaugural issue of Precious Beginnings newsletter Catherine wrote about their experience:  “ Our son Parker was born in January 1997 at 23 weeks old. He only lived for seven days in the NICU. It was where he lived his life...where he was born and where he died. When he was born we did not know what to expect. 

“We felt so lonely in this new world of the NICU. We wanted to know our future. We wanted to change the past. We were powerless. So we chose to do the one thing that we had total control love him and to appreciate each moment of his existence. To celebrate his life and marvel in the midst of the unexpected, that here before us was our beautiful son.Through the noise of the machines, from the shock and disbelief that this was happening to us, to the blur of our life having been enveloped by a world we did not choose...somehow, we tried to stay as focused as we could and to remember that this child of ours was a gift.

“We now appreciate those days and those moments. For whatever reason, that was all we were meant to have with Parker in this life. But he blessed us with wonderful gifts: experiencing the power and magnitude of love, and the genuine goodness in others. And learning that life, for however long it is or whatever it may be like, is precious, and we should appreciate each moment.”

This is Parker’s amazing legacy. What we do for others can be everlasting; we plant a seed with every action and word spoken to others. Life is precious, set down your phone (often) and carve out time with those important to you, so you don’t miss out on the precious gift of the present.  Keep your heart and mind open to the seeds planted by those people we have loved and have gone before us. My brother Doug lovingly refers to this as the “Ripple Effect,” as he notes below. 

“When your child dies you are initially lurching moment-by-moment through the phase of intense grief, trying (and failing, and trying again) to accept a new reality. 

“But in those painful early days a beautiful and powerful emotional undercurrent has also begun to manifest itself.  I call it “The Ripple Effect".  

“When a life, regardless of how brief (in our son Parker's case it was seven days), touches other lives it sets in motion a series of potentially unending ripple effects. 

“After 18 years these ripple effects continue for us in many forms; from the life-long friends that Parker has brought into our lives, to the privilege of listening to and helping others going through painful times, to a thoughtful word or gesture of remembrance, or to the powerful reminder that each moment of our lives is a precious gift. 

“If you are open to them, these ripple effects can be felt from all those who impacted your life before they departed.  Be it a grandparent, parent, sibling, child, close friend - there can be a gentle ripple washing ashore at the most unexpected time.  

Be open to it's embrace and let it wash over you.”

Parker's mom and dad, Doug and Catherine Fettig, 
and his brothers Pierce (left) and Calder (right).

Friday, January 30, 2015

Why yes, the clutter does make your butt look fat!

How might your life be better if you owned fewer material possessions?  I love this question and I have been having this conversation with my kids quite often lately.

My husband and I are determined to teach our children that a simplified life is the best life. We shouldn’t waste precious time looking for matching socks, car keys, etc. Personally I don’t want to be folding a ton of laundry when I could be playing board games with my kids.

A couple years ago I came across a book by clutter buster Peter Walsh “Does This Clutter make My Butt Look Fat?”  his theory is that when you have too much clutter it affects your energy level, your ability to make and eat healthy meals, etc. He asks his readers, “Is hanging on to all those memories (baby clothes, papers, books, etc), keeping you from making new ones?” I love that question! I printed it out and hung it in our storage room where many years of special “memories” have seemed to take root.

Although we constantly make a concerted effort to keep the clutter down, when you have kids and a busy life it can start creeping back.  

So in our daily attempt to live a life comprised of “more experiences and less things” I have fallen in love with the blog     

They say it best: “Minimalism is a lifestyle that helps people question what things add value to their lives. By clearing the clutter from life’s path, we can all make room for the most important aspects of life: health, relationships, passion, growth, and contribution.

There are many flavors of minimalism: a 20-year-old single guy’s minimalist lifestyle looks different from a 45-year-old mother’s minimalist life. Even though everyone embraces minimalism differently, each path leads to the same place: a life with more time, more money, and more freedom to live a more meaningful life.

Minimalism is a tool that can assist you in finding freedom. Freedom from fear. Freedom from worry. Freedom from overwhelm. Freedom from guilt. Freedom from depression. Freedom from the trappings of the consumer culture we’ve built our lives around. Real freedom."

Getting started is as simple as asking yourself one question:
How might your life be better if you owned fewer material possessions?”  

Thursday, January 29, 2015

Hug Yourself

When you have children you become almost obsessed with the thought of what you think they should know as they grow up and go out into the world. At least for me that is the case with my twin daughters. 

They are nine years old and I often wonder if my husband and I are teaching them all they need to know to be equipped for life. And are we even qualified to do this? I understand that life is a learning process and it is our experiences that helps define us.  But what should we teach our kids during the short span they will listen? How can we keep our kids from making the same mistakes that we did? 

Our daughters are lovely people, not just on the outside but on the inside too. At their young age they show considerable compassion. One morning not too long ago I was feeling down about a personal matter. At 10:49 am a reminder popped up for me on my computer; it said “Hug Myself.”  

My daughters, Liz and Lon, suspecting something was bothering me added "hug myself" ” to my morning calendar, so it would pop up long after I had dropped them off at school and was "into" my day.  (An important reminder that our kids are mostly in tune with us.)

Later on while thinking more of their message I was reminded of an old saying  “You try and teach your children about life and they are the ones that teach you what life is all about.”

So Liz and Lon,  I appreciate all you teach me about the truly important things in life and as you grow up there are some things I want you to know.

I hope you never lose your incredible sense of compassion. The other day I heard you having a conversation on our way home from school. One of your close friends "over reacted" at recess about an unimportant matter. When I questioned the friends reaction, you both reminded me, that I did not know what kind of morning their friend had and she may be reacting to something else. You talked to her and helped her be less angry.  Your compassion is a gift to everyone you know and meet. Guard it closely from cynics and pessimists.

You do not need others to validate you. You don't need friends approval to be happy. Don't succumb to peer pressure which can tear your beliefs and identity from your being. 

Surround yourself with friends and loved ones that appreciate you for the beautiful people you are and will let you grow in areas that make you happy.

Stay strong in your faith. Your dad and I are in awe of your strong conviction. Our dinner prayers always include special intentions from you both, asking God to please remember those without a meal or a place to stay tonight.  Your faith and your prayers make our home life a better place.  I pray everyday that your faith grows with you.

Don't forget you are good enough. Don't let the fear of not being the best keep you from doing what makes you happy. Failure is just an opportunity to try again.

Never let cultural or value judgements pollute your thinking.  Most people are introduced to prejudice through the opinion of other adults. Keep your mind open and think the best about people until shown otherwise.  BUT always trust your instincts.  If you feel uncomfortable in any situation never let your manners prevail over your safety.  Cross the street if you have a "bad" feeling about the one you are walking down.  If a person makes you feel annoyed or afraid, leave the situation.  Your instincts are a gift from God, trust it and use it.

Keep learning about anything and everything.  You are both voracious readers and you get so excited about learning new things. Stay open minded, continue to read many genres and stay excited about books and reading.

Be kind, people always remember how you made them feel.

Never stop playing the piano. You both truly have a musical gift. Don't waste it.

You will never need drugs, alcohol, food, more "stuff," or boyfriends to make you happy. To be truly happy concentrate on what is inside of you; your  compassion, faith, mindfulness and gratitude.  Every time you do something meaningful and help to make a difference that will give you true satisfaction and happiness.

Inspire others. Stand up for what is right. 

Keep up your interest in cooking.  Your dad and I love it when you kick us out of the kitchen so you two can create your own recipes. You are little kitchen chemists changing recipes to be more healthy. Make healthy meals from scratch for yourselves and those you love.  It will bring you great joy.

Save. Save. Save. Money not things. Adapt a lifestyle of more experiences and less things. Don't spend if you don't have the cash. Learn to live with less. Simplify. It will make you happy, I promise.

Be spontaneous. Your life will be so much more interesting.

Keep being active and never stop but have fun doing it. In addition to a healthy body and mind you will meet new people. You will never regret the time you take to stay active. 

Learn perspective especially when experiencing stress. Is the situation something so important that it will matter in a week?  If so don't be afraid to ask for help. 

Accept change as a life adventure.  Learn to have a flexible attitude.  Open your heart to new experiences. That was how I dealt with our cross country moves. In return I have made life-long friends in places far from where we live now.  And the memories are absolutely priceless.

And don't forget to hug yourself every day. 

You are beautiful inside and out and I love you infinity.  


“Promise me you'll always remember: You're braver than you believe, and stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think.” 

Monday, January 26, 2015

The Coolest Pillow on the Planet

I think it is extremely important for all children to learn to love to read at an early age. Exposure to different ideas, cultures, and a new vocabulary can have life long benefits for a child. In addition, their curiosity and their desire to learn make them a wonderful audience. They don’t read or want to be read to for any other agenda than the sheer joy of discovery.  I found this out early on when my twins were born. Reading to them was an essential component in filling up our days. Nine years later they are the most voracious readers I know. They will read any genre on any topic all because they love to keep learning. I believe that getting children to love books early on is a great gift we can give them. Is there nothing better than being lost in an exciting book? In our house, reading is a quality of life issue. We are all happy when lost in great books. 

One of the best ways to get children interested in books early on is to read to them often. It is recognized as the single most important activity for language development.

With this being said, I have partnered with the new children's storytime product  elo™ Pillow, writing a collection of children's stories for elo™ a bedtime tool that plays stories and ambient sounds when children rest their head on it. If they lift their head up, elo™ reminds them to "Lay your head down to hear the rest of the story." I am happy to be a part of this revolutionary technology that promotes healthy sleeping habits and more enjoyable bedtimes and guilt free quiet time. A storytelling pillow is a better alternative than a TV.   I wrote 13 original children's stories and I get most of my ideas from everyday life and the funny and inquisitive questions you get from kids.  My story “Ruby the dog,” came to me watching our dog Gracie chase our cat Mittens all over the house one day. I literally just had to write down what a saw and I had a story.   In writing children stories as a parent, I also try to create a valuable message that the child can take with them long after the story is finished.  That was my incentive for the “Very Special Doll.”  I hope it will remind people what truly matters in a person. In addition I contributed 11 rewrites from the public domain as requested by the publisher.  

Please check back again I will be posting audio to the books soon.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

You are Your Response

Everyone is so busy and we are all tugged at on all sides. If our kids don't need something, a text may demand immediate attention, unanswered emails, housework, laundry, the list goes on and on.

This build-up of unfinished work and the constant demand for your attention puts your nerves on edge and makes it so easy to just "blow up"for  no important reason.

Below is an excerpt from the blog "Hands Free Mama"  that may change how you think and react.

I am My Response (By Hands Free Mama)
I am my response to my child’s mismatched outfit and the crumpled report card at the bottom of her backpack.

I am my response to my spouse who returned from the store without toilet paper but remembered the tailgate snacks.

I am my response to my anxious parent who repeats the same worries and insists on giving me coupons I do not need.

I am my response to my colleague with sad eyes and frequent absences.

I am my response to my 15-minutes-late hairdresser with a sick child.

I am my response to my neighbor with heart-heavy problems and little family support.

I am my response to the irate driver who cut me off and made an obscene gesture in front of my children.

I am my response to the waitress who got my order wrong.

I am my response to myself when I forgot the one thing I most needed to do today.

I am my response to spilled coffee, long lines, and middle-of-the-night wake ups.

My responses are not perfect … they are not always ideal … I am human after all.

But if I strive to offer responses underlined with
and care,
That is something.
That is something.

Because my responses are more than just words.

They represent
who I am,
who I want to be,
and how I will someday be remembered.
Today I will not respond perfectly. I know.
But if I strive to communicate with hints of kindness and traces of love,
That will be something
That will be something
That could mean more than words.

Saturday, January 24, 2015

Let Me Buy You a Drink Horace.

“I believe you should live each day as if it is your last, which is why I don’t have any clean laundry, because come on, who wants to wash clothes on the last day of their life?”

     Roman lyric poet, satirist and critic Quintus Horatius Flaccus (Horace)

Horace sounds like someone I  could sit and have a drink with. It's hard not to appreciate his attitude. In fact after coming across this quote I plan to dig into his life a little more. Anyone with the titles "lyric poet," "satirist" and "critic" before their name must have some interesting life stories.  

I love to read everything. Books, magazines, newspapers, online media, etc.  and I often come across  great tidbits of information that I want to tell others, or that I want to save to read again at a later date.  The note app on my smartphone contains many of theses little tidbits.  

Seven years ago when our twin girls were about two years old. I started to save articles that wanted them to read when they are older. 

You know the feeling when you read something and it really makes you think and you wish your kids were old enough to share that particular topic with them?  This was my reason for literally tearing out and saving articles.  

The genre of topics were many; some were inspiring, others covered finances, some were articles on relationships; and some discussed clever cooking tips.  I would clip them out of magazines, newspapers, jot  down notes and put them in a box titled “advice from mom.” 

The quote mentioned above by Horace would probably have ended up in my collection with a note scrawled on it saying “don’t worry about getting your dishes done, play with your kids,” or something along that line.

Fast forward 7 years, add a leaky ice maker that dripped though the floor to the basement; a box full of soggy wet and ruined papers, and you now know my reason for this blog. 

It is a place safe from the evil ice maker and any other natural disaster that can destroy my collections of information I think is worth sharing and saving.

 Read to expand your world. Then share what you learn.