Wednesday, December 1, 2010

December 1: Beauty and Relationships


Enjoy my photo shoot from a church campus here in southern California today...

Well, I'm not gonna lie, it was a beautiful day here in southern California.  I mean beautiful.  I am grateful for this weather.  We lucked out weather-wise this year because we enjoyed a Minnesota summer and a southern California winter.  Now I get the whole snowbird thing!

Thank you those of you who gave feedback on my fundraising challenge!  It appears I have pressed a lot of buttons in our followers.  What you don't see is how many people have emailed us saying they are inspired and in... and the number of emails got bigger and bigger with each passing day.  Thank you to those of you who have jumped in!  Thank you also to those who have considered and passed.  Thank you for enduring my pledge drive!  To those who have left the site, (ironic I'm writing this since they are not here to read it) thank you for coming and being a part of our life for however long that might have been.

I know I come on heavy and strong, and that should come as no surprise to any of you by now.  I have never been any different.  I just don't think you are used to being the subject of my writing.  I don't mind making people uncomfortable.  Change and transformation aren't achieved within one's comfort zone.  I'm taking a stand and hoping that - even more than raising money for PUCK - some of you will take on my challenges for your own growth, expansion, and development.  Fundraising is just the pathway to that.  I am not asking for a single dollar of your own in this challenge.  I really hope I've made that clear.  Instead, I'm attempting to reach others I could never reach through you - through your connection to my family - to Bella.  I thought through her life and my writing there was a stronger sense of reciprocity.  Jane, I think you are right.  I have been pushing to see how strong this cyber-knit thread is.  Blogging is new to me.  Maybe there is a code of ethics or conduct that has grown within the movement that I am ignorant of.  If so, I apologize.

I really liked the person's (I wish they would have signed their name so I could at least thank them) idea about putting another tab on the blog for fundraising... much like I did with Bella's book.  I was careful to move that "sales pitch" to another page on the blog so you wouldn't have to hear me pitching my book all the time.  However, that page very rarely gets read, and I sold 8 books from 54,000 visits to the site in November.  Not an effective way to raise $$.  Polite, but ineffective.

You know what?  At the end of this rant, I may have driven a few people away.  That's okay.  I can't be all things to all people.  Just true to myself and my family.  Right now in my life I am more interested in finding a cure for EB than making everyone who reads my blog happy.  I can't possibly do the latter, but I can be a part of the former.  I have tried to raise money through my book sales and before that my music sales.  No what I noticed?  People straight up donated 100 TIMES the amount I made in profits from book and CD sales.  In the past 3 days (3 days out of the past 180) I've been writing about this challenge, we have 5 times the amount of $ in pledges than I have sold in books since March.  Do the math, and readership actually went UP, not down.

P.S.  I'll tell one on myself here... this minor backlash is nothing more than karma.  I used to listen to NPR on KPCC out here in Orange County... except during their pledge drive months!  LOL.  I get it, Cara, I don't like listening to several paragraphs of the same pitch either, but you know what?  it works!  50% of ALL sales come between the second and FIFTH request.  Ouch!  As soon as I would hear the pledge drive rhetoric, I would pick a different station to listen to until they were 'done with that stuff.'  Then I'd go back and listen for free for the rest of the year, then complain when a pledge drive came on.  Then, I'd finally contribute some money, only to complain to myself again saying, "Can members bypass the pledge drive?  Don't you know I already paid?"  Well, in business, the cost of finding a new customer is 7 times greater than selling to an existing customer, so, nope I'm not off the hook there, either!

But don't worry folks, this isn't the future of this blog.  Remember when I was pushing everyone to come out of the woodwork and meet each other?  Remember how reactive people got?  People don't like to be pushed.  I understand.  It's a fine line out there; people love to buy, but they hate to be sold to.  Whattayagonna do?  We have $7,500.00 in pledges so far!  Let's get that number to an even $10,000.00!
If you've been on the fence, pick a number that lets you sleep at night, then secretly play a game with yourself to see if you can beat it!  That way, if you you only hit it, well, you accomplished what you pledged!  Email me at  Once we have hit $10,000.00, I will be contacting all the team members directly for weekly and monthly motivation and support, so don't worry, if you are not participating, you won't have to hear me challenging you anymore when we reach that mark!  At this rate, we'll hit it in the next two days, so the end is near! :-D

In other news...

Today was Angelique's holiday office party.  We had lots of fun as it was probably their best yet.  They had way more outdoor activities (or so it seemed) and way more decorations!  They even had a little train for the first time.  That was a great touch.  Inside, the small music stage they set up in the corner of the cafeteria this year was lined with "snow" and had a fireplace as a small prop on the back of the stage.  This is definitely up from just the plain black stage they usually have.  They have LOTS of different crafts and games for the kids.  Ali made a holiday necklace, rode the train twice, decorated a cookie, made stocking full of candy, and starred in a rock video!  Ali was also reunited with one of her boyfriends - Logan -  and they had lots of fun together as seen in the photos.  I was reunited with the incredibly long line for food, glad that only happens once a year!  LOL.

In the grief world, Day 3 in Dr. Wolfelt's book, Healing a Parent's Grieving Heart, it says, "Allow for numbness." The numbness is nature's way of protecting the brain from too much trauma.  The reading suggests that sometimes even simple decisions need to be made for people grieving.  This is why when you know someone who has lost a loved one, bake them a lasagna or casserole for their freezer.  We have needed ongoing support in dealing with food.  For the first month, we were so grateful for all the help, but particularly in the area of having easy to heat, pre-made dishes on hand that we didn't even have to think about.  It seems so simple, but since most people don't really know what to say, food is an essential daily task that sometimes seems impossible to manage.  I know for myself even today, I was grateful there were left overs in the fridge, because for one, I barely have any appetite recently, and two, my brain is not able to fix meals without great concentration.

The other piece of grief that is walloping both Ang and I is the exhaustion.  Both mental and physical.  By 2 pm I am curled up in the fetal position.  I maybe get 2-3 good hours of energy and productivity.  The hardest thing for me right now is just the physical exhaustion.  I can sit at my desk and write till the cows come home, but if I have to get up and actually do something that involves directing my body through space and time?  It feels like I'm climbing a mountain.  It's very strange.  I took two coaching calls in the past two days on my couch lying curled up, just doubled over.  Funny thing was, I was rocking it with one of my clients because we had been working together since May, but my other client, it was his second call and so I had to get to my computer and snap into gear to catch up with what we began with last week.  You'd think I had to climb a hill just to sit up and walk the 20 feet to my desk.  Oh well, part of the healing process.  Ugh.  This healing process really hurts.

Well, that's enough for tonight.  Tell you what, maybe I'll go on a word diet once we hit our mark as well!  600 words a night, that way we'll all get more done in our day!   :-P

God night.


  1. hiiii! First, I'm so sorry that I've slacked on commenting! Work is so super busy, that I'm reading the blog inbetween appointments, right when I park, while I'm waiting for my lunch, etc...but know that I'm still here and rooting you guys on!
    To me it doesn't feel like a hard sell. You are passionate about finding a cure and that is what drives you. I have not, for one second felt offensive. In fact, I think it's a beautiful venture and we are honoring Bella by coming together, yet once again. Don't feel discouraged...know that it can be done and it WILL be done...if there's a will...there's a way!!!

    ps...Ali was so cute yesterday...she was telling me how she's going to bake cookies and decorate them with: white, blue & red sprinkles! Oh and..she is always dressed so stinkin cute!

    with all our love, always!
    nicole & family

  2. If you are not receiving anything from a relationship you might walk away...if you are not giving something to that relationship they might walk away...

    I feel like not donating anything...even $1.00 if that is all you like telling Tim "Thanks for all you shared with us over these last months and how you've encouraged us, been here for us every day and given us hope in times when we needed it but you know what Tim, I don't even have $1.00 for you." I find it very sad. Tell us again what FAITH is, Tim? Have faith that God will provide a way!

    I hear you on the radio stations that need to do their fundraising too...but I say the same thing to can I keep being renewed and strengthened by the music day after day and not thank you...what would my life be like if this music went away? That makes it is easy for me to pick up the phone and donate...even if it is my last dollar. God provides, God sees our heart.

    Thanks again always for sharing your heart and your family with us. Donna in NJ

  3. You don't scare me...! I have a lot of great intentions, but I need someone like you to challenge me to make them reality. THANKS FOR THE PUSH! Bella led me here, but it is YOUR voice that keeps me here.

    Still missing that beautiful baby girl, still praying for strength and peace and continued hope...for me, for you and Ang and Ali, for all of us, blessings!

  4. I have to laugh because I knew this would be your response:

    "I don't mind making people uncomfortable. Change and transformation aren't achieved within one's comfort zone."

    Because of course, you've said it before. And I listened: I drove to Phoenix to meet you guys and pay my respects to Bella.

    But I'm with you, I turn the radio dial at pledge time. I make the pledge as well, but then I don't keep listening to. It's very interesting info that 50% of sales come from the 2nd and 5th pitch though! I guess I'm in the other 50%: I make my decision at the first pitch, and don't need to hear the rest. ;)

    I'm sorry you both are so exhausted. I hope soon the healing process becomes more energizing than draining for you both. It can't help that it is winter (even only a Cali winter)... when your body wants to have less energy and be more tired anyway.

    Ari wants more "gogur" (yogurt) so that's all from me for now!

    Cara in Tucson

  5. Thank you, Donna, Donna, and Nicole! I really appreciate this. I was TORE UP this morning when I awoke. I just laid there in a slump trying to wrestle with yesterday's backlash.

    Here's what came up for me:

    1) People prefer I write about my family and me and not them.
    2) The humility I usually write from has been missing, because while I claim to not "know the truth" about faith, I think I know the truth about coaching.
    3) I have an innate compulsion for other's approval, and standing up and being bold can rub people the wrong way. Since there is dissonance in these two ways of being, they tear at me internally.
    4) As Ang said, this (fundraising) is Bella's Legacy. How can I NOT do this? So, I have to deal with this fear and keep on, because when I go to heaven, the first pair of eyes I want to see telling me I did a good job are Bella's, not anyone else's.

  6. I obviously haven't understood those comments as you and the above have. All comments yesterday were pretty respectful, none of us commenting said that we would leave or that we wouldn't donate or that we wouldn't pay Bella back. We were just worried the blog would take a direction we would not be comfortable with. Because we want to stay, and be welcomed, and not be put aside because we are not IN in the challenge. We have been giving back all the time: we have followed, we have commented, we have sent our love. Just because we are not IN, it doesn't mean we don't care. Every one has his/her reasons not to be IN, in my case, for instances, i suffer from general anxiety disorder, and just thinking about what i could do to raise some money, left me a couple of nights without sleep. Pathetic, I know, but i can't change that.

    I would love to see that we, as a community, can say what we think without having to be left out by others, i respect those who are in, admire them too, so those of us who are not in should be respected to in the decision we have made.

    As i said yesterday, i will personally donate, and will keep coming to the Ringgolds for as long as needed, but won't take any bigger entrepeneur, because i simply can't.

    No offense was intended, Tim, and i think it is ok to have some disagreament with you, or not? :-P

    If i didn't like the blog, i would shut up and simply leave. But this is not the case. I want to stay, and honor Bella, but just as i said yesterday, "AT MY OWN PACE". Shouldn't i be allowed?

    Love and hugs always

  7. yes,indeed you should be allowed.Tim,you have from time to time told people on your blog not to tell you how you feel. is this where maybe things are getting a little out of whack? You are presuming we are holding back through fear/lack of confidence etc etc. once again I am seeing people justifying their reasons for not been "in"Guess what,most of your blog followers are intelligent people who reason,think love and who change lives intheir day to day activities.Go easy Tim ,my faith tells me a cure will be found in time.PS I still would like to know who is taking charge of the money and how it is been used.I continue to pray for you all and be inspired by you just go easy

  8. I'm spending some more time inside this conversation today because it matters so much to me. Thank you all for being IN this conversation! First off you are all IN because you are here as you so well put, Jardinera Linda. I agree, I think you should be "allowed." I'm not saying you shouldn't be. I hope your not getting that from me.

    Folks, remember when I was accused of "emotional blackmail" for encouraging people to come out of the anonymous blogosphere and attend an EB Gathering? Boy, that seemed innocuous by comparison.

    There is much for me to learn along the way, too! I think the most authentic thing I can say about this ENTIRE SITUATION is this:

    I am committed to finding a cure for EB. I know it takes money to do research, and I don't like research. I know that I am a good speaker and writer, and that hopefully by using my unique abilities, I can be a partner to these docs. We entrusted our daughter's life to them, and they essentially killed her. They obviously didn't mean to, but at the end of the day, the chemotherapy killed off her perfectly healthy, disease-free organs. Do you know what havoc that plays on not only Ang's & my mind and soul, but theirs as well? I can speak and write all day, but I am scared to death to talk about money. I don't have a good track record with making it or keeping it myself. What do I know about money? Squat. How DARE I push others? This pledge drive is pushing me WAY past my comfort zone. Know what? I'm not doing it as well as maybe someone else could. But I'm doing it. It is totally messing with my perfectionist inside who is currently SCREAMING at me. This has been a really REALLY uncomfortable 5 days for me... but by tomorrow, we'll have $10,000 pledged, and a dozen people that I know I'll have the privilege to work personally with over the next 6 months to produce not only this goal, but giving them the tools to produce any goal they want for themselves, their families, their lives. Again, not because they don't already know how to be great people in the world, but because we all have the opportunity to grow with each day we still have.

  9. A "WORD DIET" ughhhh - even when you are strong and pushing it is always encouraging and challenging - I veto the Word Diet! LOL

    I truly love that you share exactly what it is you are thinking and feeling! Keep it up.

    No words I could say could help with the grief and exhaustion, but I will offer up my support for all of you! Know you are thought of each and everyday in our house here in NJ!


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  11. Just to say that I'm still here, under the snow in England,but always reading and thinking ...
    and surprised that Tim you started to have a direct dialogue with your readers.
    If people don't like your blog, they can leave, you don't need to convince them.
    Lots of love,

  12. You are clearly passionate about PUCK - you don't have to apologize for that.

    The thing about passion is that it is a powerful force - and alternately provoking and scary for all involved.

    Here's to more passion in everyone's life!

  13. As a reader who said they felt uncomfortable with the direction the blog has taken I want to say that you have reached many people about EB. I had never heard of it before and so part of the challenge has been met, because word has spread about this dreadful disease.

    I just personally am not into the Landmark style speak and find it off-putting. Someone else might find it inspiring! A cure for EB is your passion and no-one disagrees. Just as no-one disagrees that a cure is needed for malaria or cancers.

    Different people will direct their passion to different causes, and where I felt uncomfortable was feeling like if I didn't commit to your cause that I didn't care enough to want a cure. It's simply not so. Our phone rings every day with different causes asking for donations and in the end end one has to make a decision about where your money and energy and passion are directed. I care, but I can't commit.

    It's hard then to have to read the blog entries about being in or not in, because I feel judged for not being part of it.

    So for me it's combination of the jargon used [ie Landmark] and the pressure that make me feel like I'm not a good fit any more.

    I am in no way trying to disrespect Bella or your passion. You wanted some feedback and I want to give it so you know why I can't be part of this.

    Don't lose sight of the tremendous work you have done of letting the world know about EB, that is Bella's legacy to me.

    Mnay best wishes

  14. Tim,

    I am sorry that it has taken me so long to be fully committed to being "IN" but, I have had every intention of raising money for EB. I think the problem for me is that I didn't want to say I'm IN and then make a pledge that didn't happen. I'm a scaredy cat!! I'll admit it. But, I LOVE BELLA!!! I will say it again, I LOVE BELLA and I want to help continue her legacy. I have grown to love the Ringgold family as well. I think that what you are doing in Bella's name is tremendous and you should NEVER be sorry for it. You are right, raising money isn't easy and you do have to leave your comfort zone. I don't want to leave my comfort zone and that is why I have waited until today to send you my email but I did it. My pledge isn't much because of course, I don't want to be dissapointed but, I will be so happy when I blow that goal out of the water!! I so look forward to working with you and being inspired. You do that for me everyday on your blog but now, I can get it thru email as well. RIGHT ON!! I'm all for it.

    It looks like you guys had a fabulous time at the holiday party. I miss work parties. Now that both Craig and I are unemployed we don't get to do those this year. Craig went for an interview today and he didn't think it went very well. I'm still praying and hoping that either he gets another interview or the people he interviewed with today will think that it went better than he does. It's scary right now being poor and without medical insurance. WOW...I don't know why I am ranting right now...kind of got off track. I just needed to vent I guess and I like talking to you.

    The picture of Bella tonight is great!! I love those beautiful BLUE EYES!!

    Oh and in regards to going on a "word diet", DON'T DO IT!!! I really look forward to reading your post everyday and I love how much thought and energy you put into them. Just my opinion...

    Lots of Love,
    Amber, Craig, Malorie(2 1/2), and Liam(11 mos.)
    The McLaughlin Family
    Moreno Valley, CA

  15. Tim, many thanks for being IN the conversation and explaingin things.

    I feel more comfortable now.

    Yesterday I told my boyfriend about Bella for the first time, and he immediately gave me 50 euro to donate. If it would only be this easy, i wouldn't need to lose sleep over spreading the word and raising money!
    They will be donated to PUCK in the next couple of days.

    Thinking of and thanking Bella and you, and sending all my love

  16. Tim, do what you have to, to find a cure. Don't worry about offending anyone. I'm here because a little girl touched my heart and made me aware of a horrible disease. It's bad enough when a devastating disease affects an adult, but how do you make a child understand? They suffer so much and cannot understand why. They look to us and we don't have an explanation.
    My pledge is to do as much of my shopping as I can, on I chose P.U.C.K. to donate to. I tell everyone I meet about a special little girl named Bella. I truely believe she will change the world. You keep up the good work.
    Thoughts and prayers