Just Being Is Fun

Sometimes we dwell on the changes we have undergone and are scared of what lies ahead but because of these two little ones we opt for a different path.

I never lose sight of the fact that just being is fun. ~ Katharine Hepburn

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Quote is by Katharine Hepburn – Many know her from her amazing breath of work on-screen.  Others know her for having Essential Tremor as well.

Essential Tremor is a neurological condition that causes a rhythmic trembling of the hands, head, voice, legs or trunk. Some even feel an internal shake. It is often confused with Parkinson’s disease although ET is eight times more common and affects an estimated 10 million Americans alone.

A few great resources for ET are  International Essential Tremor Foundation and Tremor Action Network

Another quote by Katharine Hepburn

“Now to squash a rumor. No, I don’t have Parkinson’s. I inherited my shaking head from my grandfather Hepburn. I discovered that whiskey helps stop the shaking. Problem is, if you’re not careful, it stops the rest of you too. My head just shakes, but I promise you, it ain’t gonna fall off!”.
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Caregiving is a Continuum

I came across an interview this morning that Cokie Roberts granted Today’s Caregiver. It struck a chord and caused introspection.  Here is the portion I have read and re-read.

Question:  You’ve said that caregiving is a continuum.  Can you explain what you mean by that?

Answer: “That is the message I always try to give young women (I do this at women’s college graduations all the time): first of all, don’t think that there is a period of your life when you’re a caregiver…When your children are small.  When your parents are old, whatever it is.  What women do is take care.  That’s what we do.  We do a lot of other stuff, too, but what our mission on this earth is, as far as I’m concerned (and I get a lot of argument on it, but that’s tough) is taking care.  Sometimes, it is taking care of the planet or the library or the cultural center or whatever it is.  But usually, even if that is what a woman’s focus is, she’s also taking care of human beings.  And it’s not necessarily just of your own children when they’re small or when they’re having problems along the way or of your own parents.” – Cokie Roberts

I appreciate visualizing a different view. It is one that I embrace and will reiterate.

Our mission on this earth is taking care.

The root of caregiving is compassion.  Our two compassionate children.

The root of caregiving is compassionate people, at every age.

You can read more of Cokie Roberts writings in We Are Our Mothers’ Daughters

http://www.amazon.com/We-Are-Our-Mothers-Daughters/dp/B000GG4LX0

Interview With Cafe Yak

SPOTLIGHT ON MOM ENTREPRENEUR: INTERVIEW WITH MAURA HORTON, FOUNDER OF MAGNAREADY

MagnaReady shirts offer ease of dressing to people with limited mobility. They are now making life easier for a larger group of people than their inventor, Maura Horton, originally anticipated. She started the company when her husband, a renowned football coach, was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and had difficulty getting dressed independently. With nothing like this currently existing on the market, MagnaReady shirts do not skimp on quality, and offer a dignified way of dressing for those with limited dexterity. This mom of two is a jump-starter, an optimist and a hard worker. She used her previous clothing designer experience, found an investor and a supplier and created a product that is rapidly taking off. I talked to Maura Horton about MagnaReady easy shirting, family influences, business advice, possibilities for a cure and more in this interview.

 

YOU CAME UP WITH THE CONCEPT FOR MAGNAREADY WHEN YOUR HUSBAND WAS DIAGNOSED WITH PARKINSON’S DISEASE. WHAT WAS THE FINAL MOTIVATION TO MAKE MAGNAREADY HAPPEN?

When my husband came home after a football game, his energy gone and said it was a hard day. I thought he was referring to the loss of the game but he said a player helped him button his shirt and he was embarrassed. There haven’t been many challenges with his disease that I am able to help with but this was one change I could help him with.

DO YOU HAVE A BACKGROUND IN DESIGN OR SEWING? HOW DID YOU MAKE YOUR FIRST MAGNAREADY SHIRT?

magnaready blue shirtIn my previous life I was a children’s clothing designer. After having children I stayed home. I had been out of the industry for 8 years. I created my first prototype with a local workroom in NY. I started the process hoping to convert my husband’s existing shirts from button-ups to magnetic, but because of the way they are manufactured that was impossible. So off to plan B!

WHO DO YOU SEE AS YOUR COMPETITION?

No one yet! Velcro closure shirts/clothes is all that has been on the market. I ordered a Velcro shirt for my husband as soon as he had his first challenges with limited mobility in his fingers. The shirt was thin and the fabric fibers got stuck in the Velcro. I knew that there had to be a better option.

WHAT REACTION DID YOU GET FROM YOUR FIRST BUYERS? DID YOU DISCOVER NEW AUDIENCE OVER TIME OR HAVE THE BUYERS BEEN CONSISTENTLY THE SAME?

The reaction I get is at times overwhelming. I ask on the MagnaReady website for people to share their story. They have come back with such a variety of reasons that people are seeking this solution out. All are touching. All to help restore dignity and independence into their (or their loved ones) daily routine. Some have Parkinson’s but most do not. I never believed how many groups this product would bring relief to from Alzheimer’s to Arthritis to Stroke and Wounded Warriors. It’s overwhelming and great now to see returning customers!

HOW MUCH TIME AND CAPITAL DID IT TAKE TO GET IT OFF THE GROUND FROM THE ORIGINAL CONCEPT?

Under $100,000 to date.

From concept to product launch has been about 4 years- that includes patent times.

HOW DO YOU ENSURE SHIRT DURABILITY FOR DRY-CLEANING OR LAUNDRY, CONSIDERING THERE ARE MAGNETS?

magnaready white shirtQuality was my number one driving force. I wanted something I would wear. The manufacturer that we use also produces for a well-known high-end shirt company. I am lucky they would take on my project. Laundering was number 2 – many resources and research went into the correct product to achieve this goal.

HOW DO YOU MANAGE RUNNING YOUR OWN BUSINESS WHILE BEING A MOM? HOW DO YOU MANAGE YOUR TIME?

I try very hard to arrange my day so that when they are home I am present in the moment with my children. I am an early riser, thank goodness, and seem to get many things accomplished before the light of day.

WHATʼS BEEN THE MOST CHALLENGING MOMENT WITH THE BUSINESS SO FAR? WHAT LESSONS DID YOU LEARN?

Challenges thus far, to be honest, pale in comparison to what my husband deals with on a daily basis. I don’t think thus far we’ve hit one that we can’t overcome.

WHAT WAS THE MOST SUCCESSFUL DAY FOR MAGNAREADY? WHERE DO YOU SEE IT IN THE FUTURE?

There isn’t success for me with out a cure. So as a family and a company, we will work diligently to help bring awareness, compassion and understanding. I can only hope someday that Parkinson’s outward symptoms will be as accepted as a beautiful bald-headed cancer survivor is now accepted!

WHAT ADVICE WOULD YOU GIVE TO MOMS THAT WANT TO LAUNCH THEIR OWN BUSINESS?

Dive in! Be fearless! If you’re on the right path many things will happen organically.

HOW DID YOU HANDLE YOUR HUSBANDʼS DIAGNOSIS AS A FAMILY?

As a family we have refused to let it control us. We only had 1 daughter at the time of his diagnosis and were struggling to have another. We couldn’t imagine an only child having to deal with the diagnos on her own later in life. We made a conscious decision to have a second child. Don asked the doctor if there was any reason to not proceed with the planning of our family, the doctor said no- because we all need to believe that there will be a cure in his lifetime. We decided then that we wouldn’t let the disease define our family.

ON YOUR BLOG YOU TALK ABOUT COMING FROM A LARGE FAMILY. DO YOU TURN TO ANY OF THEM FOR ADVICE?

Yes. I often consult with my father. He is a great leader and successful entrepreneur. He worked for 7UP and decided to venture off on his own, creating his own distributorship. His fearless style leads me daily.

DO YOUR HAVE OTHER PRODUCTS FOR LIMITED MOBILITY IN THE WORKS?

Yes. We are launching children’s coats with the same technology. Limited mobility for many children is due to finger dexterity, young children just don’t have the control yet over their extremities to be able to use these complicated closure systems. Someday they will conquer buttons, snaps and zippers, but in the meantime MagnaMini will make getting ready to get out the door a little easier. And, being able to do up their own coat makes children confident when they achieve this milestone of growing up.

We have also secured the patent rights to the same technology for patient/hospital gowns.

IF I ASKED YOUR KIDS, WHAT KIND OF MOM YOU ARE, WHAT WOULD THEY SAY?

Not sure! Having two daughters I hope they would say that I am a strong but loving leader.

Learn more about Maura Horton and MagnaReady at magnaready.com.

Interviewed by Anna Harris.

 

The People You Meet Along The Way

I have been fortunate to meet many new people along our new path and I couldn’t be more thankful.  Same theme exists throughout our conversations; family love, pride and immense respect for their loved ones ability to maintain their dignity.  This picture was sent to me from a families Father’s Day celebration…..He’s 97 and we think he looks GREAT in his MagnaReady blue pinpoint oxford! Thanks for sharing Ann!

At 97 And  Couldn't Look More Dapper

At 97 And Couldn’t Look More Dapper

“He put it on and told me it started closing on its own! He was so happy since he has great difficulty with buttons

Four letter word……Help!

In a family of 12 you learn very quickly the meaning of the word HELP. Help your sister tie her shoe. Help drive your brother to basketball. Help your mom by doing the dishes. Sometimes you knew you were “helping” by not asking for anything – because your mom and dad may be consumed with something else. I am not a stranger to the word or concept of lending a helping hand. As a child I witnessed my dad help complete strangers. I recall hearing, “Mike, why are you late tonight?” “I helped someone who needed a lift somewhere.” “Who dad?” “Nobody I knew, just someone down on his luck.” My dad’s quiet, humbling kindness was always there and from my mom, the same. She would also throw in, after a search of something missing, “say a special prayer to St. Anthony”– the patron of lost things.

Back Bend Demonstration

Back Bend Demonstration

As a mother I witness help. Libby helping Hadley master a back bend – lesson I hear – You can do anything! Libby helping Hadley learn to read – lesson I hear – I know you are smart and capable AND worth my time. Libby teaching Hadley the rules of tennis and life – lesson I hear – I will always be here for you if you need anything . Hadley schooling us all on her made up knock knock jokes – lesson I hear – It’s important to always laugh. A recent favorite of mine… “Hadley, this is what you do if someone makes fun of dad”. (which unfortunately has happened) Lesson I hear – Siblings understanding strength and unity.

Learning a Back Bend

Learning a Back Bend

As an adult I’ve helped. I make an attempt to help families, both that I know and who are complete strangers. I volunteer my time, thoughts and resources – all of which I know I can do more and should. I am trying to being an advocate for Parkinson’s. One of the manifestations of the disease is a quiet voice and I am happy to lend mine for the cause. I try to help my own family build the tightest indestructible wall of love, that no one OR disease can break.

H E L P

But this four letter word has been haunting my soul. I am an avid reader, lately, not as much for pleasure but for research. The Michael J Fox Foundation published a Facebook post that encouraged people to “share” or comment. Most were lengthy compelling stories about life challenges and changes. I read them all but when I close my eyes at night I still see one mans response. It was four simple letters – one simple statement and if I were being completely honest, a desperate plea. It simply read “Help”.

Today I feel like asking. Help us find sanity. Help us find patience. Help us find peace and if I could channel my mother, St. Anthony, Help us find a cure!