Proud Mom Shares ‘Nurse Becky’ HLG

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by Cindy Schultz

Editors note: HLG fan Cindy Schultz shared a news story about her daughter Becky, a pediatric cancer nurse, with us. We were so inspired by the story we shared it on our Facebook page. Cindy then graciously shared this HLG with us.

Parents are often proud of their children’s achievements, and more importantly, proud of who they have become.

High

Rick and I have always felt that Becky had unique gifts. She is full of compassion, spontaneous, creative, and has a love of life. We always looked for opportunities to bring out the best in her as she was growing up and to support her in her dreams.

Low

School was challenging for Becky due to some learning disabilities. In spite of these difficulties, she persevered and graduated from college. After a few years, she was looking for a career and chose to go into nursing. She managed to take a heavy load of science pre-requisites, figured out a way to study and thrived in the pre-requisites and her nursing program.

Glitter

Watching the recent newscast on KSL, we were brought to tears by witnessing what an impact our daughter has on children and families challenged with cancer. All of those qualities that we have cherished in her are now being utilized in an incredible way, and we are so proud of the amazing woman she has become. What more can a parent want for their children?

Valentine’s Day Highs Lows and Glitters

glitter-hearts

 

Valentine’s Day is fast upon us. For some it is a favorite holiday. For others a dreaded “Hallmark holiday.” And still others just a great excuse to eat chocolate.

Whatever your take, we would love to hear your Valentine’s Day Highs, Lows and Glitters. Share a:

  • HIGH: your best Valentine’s Day story ever
  • LOW: your worst Valentine’s Day story ever, or
  • GLITTER: your most unexpected, delightful Valentine’s Day moment ever.

Whichever you share, we will LOVE IT!

Study Abroad: Sharing the Good, the Bad and the Glitter

parisEditors Note: I recently had the pleasure of talking to author and Twenty in Paris founder Andrea Bouchaud. Andrea and I discovered we had something in common. We both believe in the importance of sharing the good and bad, the ups and downs. Andrea’s on a mission to prepare students for the ups and downs of study abroad and High Low Glitter is the place to share those marvelous and challenging moments with the ones back home who matter most.

Who doesn’t dream of passing the Eiffel Tower every day on your way to class? Or being able to eat yummy baguettes with most meals? It’s easy to see why many students dream of studying abroad in Paris. But studying abroad in the beautiful City of Light isn’t always as easy as one, two, oui. To better prepare yourself for the amazing experience of studying abroad in Paris, you need to know that there will be high, low, and glitter moments. Let’s take a look:

High: Paris. It’s true that Paris is a very beautiful city and is home to world-class museums, great food, and excellent universities. France is also conveniently located in the heart of Europe which makes traveling to other countries on breaks or long weekend trips easy and affordable.

Low: Paris. Paris is like the NYC of France. It’s not a good representation of what French culture is really like nor other French cities. My top 5 lows about living in Paris are strikes, graffiti, really smelly metro stations, pickpockters, and con artists.

Glitter: Paris. Paris is beautiful during the day, but it is spectacular at night. Why? Because it glitters! Literally. It’s called the City of Light for a reason. Paris at night is all lit up from the sparkling Eiffel Tower to the illuminated trees of the Champs-Elysées to the glowing silhouettes of every major monument. It’s a definite must see and a glitter moment that never dulls.

 

Andrea Bouchaud Author HeadshotHaving studied abroad in Paris for a year, Andrea Bouchaud understands that living in the City of Light isn’t always easy. Her hands on experience with French culture and language immersion as an American student inspired her to write 2 books – Twenty in Paris: A Young American Perspective of Studying Abroad in Paris (2013) and The Paris Diaries: The Study Abroad Experience Uncensored (2014) both on Amazon’s Kindle Store. Connect with Andrea at twentyinparis.net.

twentyinparis

Pass the Salt Creator Shares His High Low Glitter & More

What inspired you to create Pass the Salt?

Surprisingly, “Pass The Salt” wasn’t sparked by a traditional family dinner. It was my interactions with college students at the University of Northwestern – St. Paul (where I currently attend) during lunch and dinner that inspired it. I noticed how “normal” it was for an entire group to have their phones out at the tables, sometimes oblivious to each other. I wondered how a parent would deal with the problem. That initial quandary led to a personal commitment not to use my phone at mealtimes even in the collegiate setting. Later, I gave a speech on the subject of “Media Obesity: Technology and Relationships” for one of my classes, and decided a comedic video could engage interest in the topic. My speech professor denied the request to use an original video (I also hadn’t read the syllabus well enough), but I enjoyed the script so much I decided to make the film anyway.

What has the response been? Does it vary by generation?

The response has been overwhelmingly positive, even though the video does have technical imperfections. I believe it’s because people resonate deeply with not just the discussion of technology that the video portrays, but also about value. When I was researching the topic for my speech, I discovered that there were greater problems swimming beneath the surface of little things like “texting at the table.” If I am having a deep conversation with my parents, and I whip out my phone I am implicitly telling them “I value the conversations with my friends on the phone more than the conversation I’m having with you.” This can cut deep, even if I didn’t intend it to, and even if it is status quo behavior. No matter what I’m doing, if something causes me to turn a deaf ear to my close friends and family, I hurt not only them, but also my ability to maintain long lasting, tight-knit relationships.

That is more blatant for an older demographic, which can cause tension with a younger generation who may not see any problems with it. On the YouTube thread, both the most supportive and the most antagonistic comments come from opposite ends of the totem poles: the 18 to 35 and 65+ age demographic.

Even the negative criticism I have received has been helpful. One of the flaws pointed out by the audience was the apparent lack of an attempt at conversation before the father slams the typewriter down. I fully agree. Even if there’s a no-phone policy at the table, it is pointless unless it is replaced by healthy conversation. I overlooked that while writing the script and producing the short, but am thankful for sites like High Low Glitter that catch on and point the family in a positive direction. It is far more important to focus on producing good face-to-face conversation than to focus on removing texting from the table.

Have you heard any stories from people significantly changing their behavior after watching the video?

I have heard of dads who have copycatted the video with their own typewriters (I’m not sure what kind of success they had, and I would probably not recommend it). It’s not a video designed to change behavior or model behavior as much as it is just a comedic kick-starter into discussing the topic of technology and relationships. I have received many emails from people who use the video to precede lectures, sermons, or even catechisms (in the case of one Spanish priest). What I don’t expect are emails reading “Matt, thank you so much for helping me not text at the dinner table, it has helped me solve my poor communication with my family.” There are larger issues at hand than texting at the dinner table. The video is simply a gateway (or an attention getter) into a deeper discussion.

Which is ruder: texting at the table or talking with your mouth full?

Whichever one my mother is unhappier with is ruder. Personally, that’s the best way I know how to answer that question.

One additional comment would be to point out that while texting at the table adds more people to the dinner table, talking with your mouth full doesn’t. At least when you talk with your mouth full you are talking with the people around you, but when you text you are including a person in the dinner conversation who is present for you but for no one else.

What was the High Low Glitter of producing Pass the Salt?

The High

My actual parents are the parents in the video. That was the greatest highlight. They were a right fit and have been more passionate about the short film than I have even before it’s viral success. Also, the teens in the videos are lifelong friends of mine from high school, so it was an incredibly fun production to lead. We had some continuity issues during editing, because one of the boys had licked his whole plate clean during shooting and then began asking the other actor’s if he could eat their food as well. A volunteer actor has never been paid so well in pork chops.

The Low

I never got to show my speech class the video. I think it has still done okay.

The Glitter

A glittering moment has been the welcome of the video not only nationwide, but globally. It has played in every country, and has been picked up by Vanity Fair Italy, Huffington Post Germany, two TV shows in Tokyo, and many others. The concept struck a chord beyond our border and I did my best to reply to messages and comments written in other languages. It was also shared on the Facebook walls of a few celebrities including Ashton Kutcher and George Takei.

But the story get’s better. All that success was completely unforeseen. None of my other videos have come anywhere near close 100,000 views let alone over 8,000,000. It was a blessing because I have a dream to graduate from college completely debt free, but had put working on video scholarships on the back burner because of a volunteer project through my university’s athletic department. Although it didn’t make sense financially, I was incredibly passionate about the project and felt as if God was encouraging me to continue pursuing it over scholarships. The same week I began drafting the script for the athletic department, the video jumped from 3,000 to 300,000 (a full year after I originally made it). I set up an ad on the video, and the profits have been more than enough to cover my student loans and help a close friends with his finances. Some might call it coincidence. I wouldn’t, but either way God’s blessings have been like glitter; even if I wanted to get away from it I keep finding it in my hair weeks later. I’ve stopped ignoring it and have started being grateful. It makes for some of the best conversations at our family’s dinner table.

G is for Gratitude

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by Derek Gillette 

One of the more common American cliché’s is the idea of dreading to spend time with our extended families on holidays such as Thanksgiving.

I think this negative notion comes from the prevalence of awkward moments that arise. Whether it’s an aunt bringing terrible Jell-O salad again and commenting that you didn’t eat your helping, or the painful silence after your cousin’s new boyfriend accidently insults your uncle for the second time, holiday dinners just seem to have their uncomfortable moments.

One of the goals of High Low Glitter is to create opportunities for meaningful conversation to happen. When it comes to holiday dinners, the saavy HLG’er will rejoice at the simple fact that they have been blessed with a captive audience.

What we do with that captive audience is up to us. This Thanksgiving take charge, and decrease awkward moments by making dinner table conversation a bit easier.

Here’s to a more meaningful and memorable Thanksgiving meal!

  1. The Highs

Asking people to talk about their recent accomplishments is a great way to warm up the table. This is a chance to celebrate together and break out a few easy smiles and laughs. Don’t begin by cheering for yourself though. Instead, invite someone else to start and show genuine interest in their stories. Most of us cherish the chance to talk about our areas of passion, as long as we know we have an engaged audience.

Depending on the size of your group, you may want to limit the length to a few minutes apiece, to allow time for everyone to share.

  1. The Lows

There are areas in life that we’re struggling with. We may label these frustrations, mistakes, addictions, distractions, or just things that make us sad. Take your family conversation sincerity to the next level by volunteering to share your ‘low’ with the group. In our experience, once one person is willing to be vulnerable, it makes it much easier for others to let down their guard and join in.

Start the conversation off with questions such as:

  • What areas of your life are frustrating right now?
  • What’s the biggest obstacle you’re overcoming in your life right now?
  • What have you taken on a risk on this past year that didn’t quite pay off?

The key here is that vulnerability leads to amazingly meaningful conversations, but only when everyone at the table feels safe enough to share. Make sure to create an environment that is safe and respectful.

  1. The Gratitude

Routine HLG’ers will recognize right away that we typically use the ‘G’ to represent ‘glitter.’ But we’re switching it up for Thanksgiving. Instead of glitter, use this opportunity to end your family dinner on a note of gratitude.

Review the levels below and pick the one that best suits your group:

The Standard: “What things are you thankful for this year?”

The Advanced: “What amazing and possibly unexpected things are you really, truly thankful for this year? And you can’t say your job or your spouse.”

The Gratitude Master: Pick a single person to go first (start with grandma!), and have everyone go around the table one by one and say something they really appreciate and admire about this individual. Then, move on to the next person, until everyone has had his or her moment in the gratitude spotlight.

Whatever your technique, we hope you take the opportunity this holiday season to share more than delicious food. Make memories with meaningful conversation.

derek-gillette
Derek Gillette is a husband and father of five children, including two step-sons.  He and his wife share a life mission to create meaningful conversations through vulnerability.  This pursuit led them to find and support the High Low Glitter mission. Professionally, he is the Communications Manager for eChurchGiving and Pushpay.

High Low Glitter: Super Commuting

bearce-front-cover-rev2A super commuter relationship may seem on the surface a completely negative situation but for the millions that are in them, that is not necessarily the case. Having a partner who is away for days or weeks at a time due to work travel or maybe just has a very long commute means there can be lows in that relationship at times, but there are certainly many highs and glitter moments as well.

For example:
High: Many enter into this situation for financial reasons. Often they have a great job opportunity but it doesn’t make sense to move for a variety of reasons. Financial security is certainly a high.

Low: Being a single parent during the commuter’s absence is a common low. The challenges that come when the commuter re-enters the family can be tricky as well if strategies are not established for that transition.

Glitter: These can be numerous and may surprise you. Many women I interviewed said they like having the bed to themselves. Others enjoyed having the best of both worlds: independence and a partner. A personal glitter is that we have a place to stay in NYC and have been able to have both family trips and romantic getaways on a budget to this vibrant city.


bearcebio-photoMegan Bearce, LMFT, is a marriage and family therapist in private practice. She is the author of Super Commuter Couples: Staying Together When a Job Keeps You Apart (Equanimity Press, 2013), a Midwest Book Awards finalist. Ms. Bearce is a sought-after speaker and writer on topics including workplace trends and families, gifted girls, and women’s issues. Ms. Bearce lives in Minneapolis with her super commuter husband and their two children. http://supercommutercouples.com/

High Low Glitter: Summer Edition

north-shore-sunrise

I saw my niece and nephew a couple weeks ago. I hadn’t seem them all summer.

“How’s summer been?” I asked.

Both of them gave me enthusiastic thumbs-up.

“What’s been so great about it?” I probed.

“Camp,” said Ellie.

“Camp,” said Jack.

Does the one-word answer sound familiar to anyone?

Next I asked them each to tell me their summer’s High Low Glitter. The floodgates opened. I heard about travel, camp activities and adventures, ill-behaved cabinmates, camp customs and humor and, my favorite, a lovely description of sunrise while camping on the shores of Lake Superior.

The stories kept coming. Finally my sister pleaded with me to go make dinner. Which I did.  And over dinner we shared the day’s High Low Glitter.

Please share your summer’s High Low Glitter with us.

High Low Glitter: MN State Fair Edition

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High Low Glitter originates from the land of 10,000 lakes, aka Minnesota. The Minnesota State Fair is a big deal in our neck of the woods. The fair has the largest average daily attendance of any state fair in the nation with over 1.7 million people expected to attend the 12 day event. In that time, fairgoers will eat over 500,000 corndogs and 4 million mini donuts. There are stuffed animals to win in the midway. Rides to ride. Baby animals to watch being born. Blue ribbons to see. Butter sculptures to admire. And a whole lot more.

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Everyone has their “must-do” “must-have” fair favorites. Are they are your highs? Your glitters?

Whether you go for a few hours or all day, share your High Low Glitter of this year’s trip to the fair with us in the comment box below. Or if you’re on Twitter, share your highs, lows, and glitters with us using #mnstatefair #HighLowGlitter.

Have fun!

High

What was the best part of your time at the fair?

Low

What was the worst part of your time at the fair?

Glitter

What was a fun, unexpected moment from your time at the fair that made the day extra awesome?

ride

Share more High Low Glitters at highlowglitter.com. Don’t have an account? It’s free. Sign-up today!

High Low Glitter: Enhancing a North Carolina Tradition

CONA-group

by James Farnsworth

Editors note: High Low Glitter was originally created by a mom for her family. Since sharing the High Low Glitter platform with the world, we have been surprised and delighted by the different ways people are using High Low Glitter to reflect and connect. We found James’ story particularly compelling and asked him to share it with all of us. 

Minnesota Youth in Government is a youth development and leadership program run through the YMCA of The Greater Twin Cities and local school delegations across the state of Minnesota. Every year, a group of 25 delegates representing MN attend a national conference in Black Mountain, North Carolina, called the YMCA Conference on National Affairs (commonly referred to as CONA). This year, I returned to the mountain as a delegate for my second year, along with 24 wonder people from all over the state.

Most of the people who were part of our group I had known for a while, while some were a bit more unfamiliar. After our 26 hour bus ride from Minnesota to North Carolina, the conference begins. Students who’ve attended previously automatically run off to see their friend from other states, and the hecticness of conference life and responsibilities fully kick in. All the bonding that happens within the Minnesota group gets put on the backburner and the focus turns to meeting people from other states and other delegations.

Every night, we have something called a delegation meeting where we all come together and debrief the day’s events. There is a specific student that gets selected ahead of time to be the delegation meeting leader, which holds the main job of figuring out how these meetings are ran and what the group does as a whole. The first night at the conference, we did a rendition of “rose, bud, and thorn” (bud being something that you’re looking forward to the next day.) I always enjoy activities that get people talking about the day in a different way, so I had a good time doing it. As I participated in the sharing and observed everyone around me really enjoy the opportunity to get to share about their day and their experiences, I knew right away that High Low Glitter was something I had to mention as a fun alternative that the group might want to try at some point.

The next evening when we all gathered for our second delegation meeting, I suggested to the meeting leader that we try using High Low Glitter as a way of reflecting. Once I explained what “glitter” meant (an unexpected moment from your day), we went ahead and tried it. I was truly amazed at what unfolded in-front of me. People seemed not only more excited to share stories and moments from the day, however the concept of sharing your “glitter” really seemed to be received well. As opposed to looking ahead to the next day, sharing a glitter gave us the opportunity to share the highlighted, positive, life-changing moments that happened during the conference.

Jack Coborn Ellis, a 12th grader from Orono High School had this to say about his experience using High Low Glitter: “Using High Low Glitter was a truly unique experience for me. There’s something about sharing and debriefing the day using High Low Glitter that encouraged meaningful connecting and deeper bonding between myself and other members of the Minnesota delegation.”

Ever since that night, we continued to use High Low Glitter throughout the rest of the trip to share stories and talk about the connections we made with other students from all across the United States. When we returned from the conference, the use of High Low Glitter by members of the group continued.

“The other day at dance, I used High Low Glitter with a group of freshman girls that I mentor as part of our week of leadership training,” said Carly Fredericks, a 12th grader at Lakeville North High School.

Bottom line: High Low Glitter had an incredible impact on our group and our experience on this trip. And since the conference, my friends are taking the magic of meaningful connections to other places in their life. It’s amazing.

james-farnsworth

James Farnsworth is currently a junior at Highland Park Senior High School in Saint Paul, Minnesota. He is very involved in Minnesota YMCA Youth in Government among many other activities. When not at school or work, he enjoys the culinary arts, watching reality TV, and catching up on current events via Twitter.