Fear of the Unknown

What scares you? What have you always wanted to do but never have? What is that thing on your bucket list that never gets done because obstacles stand in the way? Do you fear the unknown?

Have you ever thought, “Man, I sure would like to ______,” but at this stage in life you’ve just never quite gotten around to it.

What is your fill-in-the-blank?

I recorded a Facebook live version of this yesterday while on my paddle board out on Lake Keowee in SC. But then the rocks got in the way and the recording took an interesting turn and then it disappeared off Facebook. I learned that self-videography and paddle boarding on choppy waters with lots of boat wakes bopping me about is more a recipe for disaster rather than a recipe for a great Facebook live message. So….here I am at my laptop, plunking out the message in written form. There are fewer mishaps this way. And truly, I am a writer at heart.

I ask these questions because they are relevant to all of us and because I’ve been pondering these things while out on my paddle board this past week, dodging choppy waters and strong currents in four different states in the span of 7 days. After crossing the St. Croix river from Minnesota to Wisconsin, I saw a post by my long-time friend, Cindy Chrysler, that included photos of Pictured Rocks National Park at Lake Superior. The photos made me want to go there. And then I started thinking really I want to visit all 5 Great Lakes on my Bote board. But…..it’s all so far away. And, the water might be too cold. And it will cost money. And I won’t get to sleep in my own bed and enjoy the comforts of my own home. I’d be away from my family, what about my high school-age child and her busy schedule? And then there are the pets to care for and the four businesses to run…..so many obstacles. There’s also the fear factor – the unknown. What if? What if? What if?

The quote in my planner one day this week was perfect for the occasion: “Do something every day that scares you.” (anonymous). Fear cannot be your driving force if you want to accomplish anything noteworthy. And then today’s quote by Thomas Jefferson, “Do you want to know who you are? Don’t ask. Act! Action will delineate and define you.” Now there’s a real gem to live by! It turns out I have learned a lot and accomplished much by following the lead of some of America’s great dudes of the past. (Another favorite is Ben Franklin and his “6 things a day” model, which I wrote a blog post about and still follow pretty much every day).

So, here’s what I’m getting at….we all have a fill-in-the-blank thing we’d like to do but never do. There are obstacles. What are yours?  Identifying the obstacles is the first step in overcoming them.

If you want to achieve a personal accomplishment goal, first write it down and then list the obstacles that stand in your way. Next, work through the obstacles one at a time to determine creative ways to overcome each obstacle. Then, like Nike says, just do it. What are you waiting for?

I’ve learned through my years of teaching and speaking in the grooming industry that there are two types: the go-getters with failure-is-not-an-option attitudes and those who give up when an obstacle stands in their way. The first do amazing things. The second mainly just whine a lot about how nothing ever works out for them. They are their own worst enemy.

So, in light of all of the above, and after making my obstacles list, sorting through my overly jam-packed calendar, and getting the thumbs up from my fabulous husband, I hope to head out from Hershey Groom Expo in less than a month with my Bote board on top of my SUV and make the 14-day trek up and around the Great Lakes region to board in all 5 lakes and even take a jump into each lake, despite the coldness, which for me is an obstacle of ginormous proportions. The trek will ultimately end up in Delaware in time for Lynn’s wedding before making the last leg home to South Carolina. In total, I will drive about 6300 miles. Along the way, here are my objectives:

1. Use Facebook live to raise enough money to buy a cow (or 2 or 3!) for some villages in Uganda, which will be delivered as part of #cowproject with the Call to Africa team going in early 2017. This will cost $1400. Divided by 5 Great Lakes that’s $280 per lake. I need folks wanting to get involved in making a difference in these folks’ lives, a real immediate, everyday, sometimes life or death difference by pledging $280 per jump in a cold lake, alone, maybe in bad weather. Whatever. I’m committed to doing it. Who wants to #getdirty?

2. Drop in on some CFMGs along my route and shoot some “Danelle Drops In” videos to share a glimpse into the world of these amazing folks living out their dreams. Real groomers, real life. Making it happen. If you are along my route, let me know so I can work out my travel schedule, fitting in whatever is possible.

3. Train 2 new Remote Certifiers for the NCGIA. We need more. I’m coming through New England/ON/Great Lakes region. I will train. Together we can save the world one cat at a time by making CFMG certification testing more accessible to those that want to pursue this fabulous opportunity and become a cat ninja warrior.

4. Shoot one child portrait session. Want photos of your child? Dramatic, adorable, editorial style, personality-driven photos you can share on social media and proudly hang on your wall? I’m coming through the above-listed regions. Let me know so we can schedule and make it happen. I will definitely be wanting some #behindthelens time!

5. Conquer a personal challenge, step out of my comfort zone, and do something kinda scary and adventurous and filled with unknowns. Inspire others to do their own scary, adventurous, life achievement, fill-in-the-blank, major accomplishment, so-glad-I-did-it thing.

BEFORE I take on this huge project and drive all those miles, I’m taking a vote. I’m not doing this unless I get at least 100 affirmative votes via commenting on this blog post or on Facebook.  And at least some of you comment and tell me what your fill-in-the-blank thing is. Let’s do this together. There’s no point in doing it alone if my 5 objectives are not met. I’d rather stay home, see my family, sleep in my own bed, have a hot beverage on my back deck, ride my horse, and hit the local 93-degree lake near my house for a bit of boarding. So let me know you’re in. Cast your vote. If I’m crazy, tell me to stay home and read a book (I’m totally good with this plan).

If, however, you want to go along for the ride by joining me via blog, Facebook live, and through meeting my 5 objectives above and making a difference at the same time, leave a comment. Can’t wait to hear from you!

 

UPDATE: I set up a YouCaring account for donations. Please use this to donate during the challenge if you feel so led. Thank you to all who have expressed interest thus far!

The Passing of the Cow

It is nearly midnight here in Uganda. It has been a long but productive day. I have so much to say…… today a cow in Uganda was named after me. And one after my daughter, Halla, who is with me here on this trip as part of the Call to Africa mission group. It has been a tiring but extremely exciting adventure thus far.

One of the many, many things that Call to Africa does here is work to meet the immediate physical needs of the people so impoverished. By most accounts, it takes $3 a day for a Ugandan to live at a very, very basic level. This is an impossible thing for my American brain to wrap itself around. A mere $3 per day. And yet so many Ugandans do not earn $3 per day.

This past January, the folks at Call to Africa spent some time working at an orphanage near Jinja where the ration of formula for the babies had been depleted. An immediate call to action by Call to Africa mission organization secured 2 cows for the orphanage. This made it possible for them to collect enough milk each day to provide for the children old enough to consume cow’s milk and then to sell the remainder each day, taking the proceeds to buy the much-needed formula. The provision of just two cows has solved a dire and deadly problem for this orphanage.

Today, through the amazing work of a pastor and veterinarian named Joseph living in a small village near Mbarara, Call to Africa was able to utilize the generous donations sent with us by supporters back in America to secure 6 cows and present them as gifts to some extremely needy people in Joseph’s village as well as the village of Karungu, about an hour and half drive from Mbarara. The cost for a single impregnated cow is $1400, which includes dewormer and vaccines to help keep the cow in good health. Joseph was able to wrangle a great deal so that instead of buying 5 cows as originally intended, the $7000 sent over with us specifically for cows was spent buying 6 cows! Yeah Joseph!

It was amazing to present each of the 6 recipients with the cows today, a gift that will truly keep on giving by providing milk for their own consumption as well as an invaluable opportunity to sell each day’s excess milk and thus help the villagers earn the $3 per day to survive. Each of the cows presented today are in-calf, meaning there will be 2 cows for each of the recipients in the not-so-distant future. The “Cow Project” or “the passing of the cows” as we have loosely been calling it, is a fantastic way to teach and promote an ongoing self-sustaining way of life. It is needed in so many places here in Uganda. I am pleased to report that today 6 cows were added to the project and the people in 2 different village are extremely thankful!

I have gotten to know Joseph and his sweet wife, Burna, over the past week. They work tirelessly to spread hope, truth, grace, and life to the people in very remote villages, sometimes on top of mountains. Joseph and Burna have no transportation. The old boda boda (dirt bike) that Joseph had at one time finally gave up the ghost. Joseph and Burna must now walk or hire a ride everywhere they go. Because of cost to hire and the impossibility of walking up a mountain to a remote village to do his work with the people and their animals, Joseph is unable to minister and serve as often as is needed. I came away from today determined to provide Joseph with a new boda boda that will enable him to traverse up the deeply rutted dirt roads that lead into the villages. The motorbike will cost $3500. I have already spoken with the folks at Call to Africa about utilizing them to send raised funds to purchase a boda boda for Joseph and Burna. There are channels that must be followed when sending money or making purchases within Uganda so that the money does not end up in the wrong hands.

I am personally going to work toward earning money for Joseph’s much needed boda boda bike. If everyone I knew pitched in $10, we could raise the $3500 quite easily and quickly, allowing us to present Joseph with a means of transportation. All it would take is giving up 2 Starbucks drinks or 1 night at the movies! I wonder if anyone would like to contribute toward this project that I have claimed as something that truly needs to be done. I’ve just got to figure out the best way to collect the funds for this project……..I will work on that tomorrow during the 8 hour drive from Mbarara to Jinja. I’ll keep you posted. I hope you all will help with this.

UPDATE:
For those wanting to help me raise the money for Joseph’s boda boda you can either send a check directly to Call to Africa non-profit or you can donate directly through their Facebook page via this link. IMPORTANT: everyone who donates for this particular need should message me and let me know so I can be sure your donation goes to this! If writing a check please keep “memo” line empty so you can take the tax deduction.

We WILL get Joseph his much-needed wheels!! I’d love to present a boda boda to him before we leave Africa on the 12th!

Please send me messages or email me so I can keep up with the total. Danelle@nationalcatgroomers.com

Call to Africa Facebook link with donation option and mailing address.

Call to Africa

2nd UPDATE:
We have raised enough to purchase a boda boda for Joseph thanks to the generosity of my readers! Thank you so much! What a difference this will make in the villages of Uganda! You guys are awesome! Stay tuned for photos of the new boda boda bike once we get funds sent to the right place and find just the perfect set of wheels for the task.

To view my top picks from the Uganda trip, check out the album here. Photos can be downloaded and shared by using PIN code 4618. Please feel free to share individual photos or the entire album. The more people learn about Call to Africa and the country of Uganda, the greater the reach!