Category Archives: Parent Advocacy Council
Yesterday I met a man who was actually an angel. Angels seem to come out of nowhere, and always when least expected.
I had just experienced a beautiful hike up Provo Canyon, full of rich conversation, grand views and self-reflection. And because I ran out of time to change before I met this angel, I ended up face to face with him, wearing hiking shoes, an extremely high bun on my sweaty head and not a hint makeup. Of course, angels don’t really care how much makeup we have on, and so it didn’t change his perception of my worth.
I can’t remember a time when I wasn’t adequately dressed for a business meeting, because first impressions can make or break a deal. And so this experience taught me something of great worth. My words, his words, and my hero friends’ words were all that mattered in this meeting. Our collective experience and vision for the future of our community were enough to help me realize that spirits may wear bodies to journey through this life, but they are not their body.
And as I pray for answers from a Heavenly Father that loves all, and sees all, he answers me through the spirits around me – everyday. How do we get answers to our prayers? It’s by slowing down enough to hear them. It’s by not having a preconceived notion about where they will come from, when they will come, or what it will look like.
I didn’t deserve such a blessing yesterday, but after experiencing our home burglary, I was extremely grateful it came. My new angel friend admonished me to “Never let anger take you over” and to “Remember that the young man who attacked your husband has a story that brought him to this awful place”. I couldn’t agree more, and it was good to hear it from him.
My new friend shared his career path with me and some brief history of his family. He was impressive and it was clear that he’s spent a lifetime sacrificing his energy into building people. He mentioned that now he was shifting gears and ready to invest his time in Utah, and that he intended to learn more about the program I built called The Parent Advocacy Council.
After I shared my background and he saw into my soul, I realized that I was wearing a body, too. Crazy-haired, hiking-booted, busy Janae – actually could have been an unexpected angel in his day – and I feel blessed as I realize this today. I don’t see myself as an angel. In fact, I pray for angels to surround me everyday, but I hardly see myself as ‘good enough’. Why is this? Wasn’t I blessed with gifts and talents that would enrich the lives of those around me? Weren’t you? And yet we focus our time and energy – in fact our very self value on how the world views success. I am not as skinny as I used to be, I have more wrinkles than I’ve ever had, I am forgetful because I try to do too much, I let down those people I love the most – I fail daily. But maybe that’s why I’m an angel. If I didn’t feel, these hard experiences, how could I help others?
And so I smiled and became lost in conversation with my friends. I listened to how he saw the Parent Advocacy Council enriching his work. I learned from his experiences and realized that as I’ve felt so alone in pushing this movement forward, others were by my side, all along. I was just to busy to see them, and I didn’t realize my answers to prayers would come in this way. And when he reminded me to “Never give up and to keep pushing when it feels hopeless”, I knew that he had experienced this for himself. And that the trials he’s faced in his career, actually are now motivating me. And even though I’m sure he’s felt alone before, I was by his side working to support him without even realizing it.
All three of us in the meeting were angels, and so are you – who knew?
So much happens in my life, so quickly, that I can hardly believe it. This is one reason that I love to blog if I can make myself find the time to fit it in. It is so easy to forget things that happen, and it’s so nice to look back later and re-live experiences.
Today was a big day for me. I woke up at 6:30 a.m. like every other day and woke the kids. I began getting ready as the kids got themselves ready. They are getting better at this as they get older, which is so nice. Pretty soon it was time to get them out the door and Kenzie arrived to drive the Ella, Halle, and Jordan to school. At the same time she leaves, I always drive Brighton high-school. I rushed home quickly and finished getter ready and left to find Dr. Susan Madsen’s house to meet for her women’s leadership project at UVU.
I arrived right at 9:00 and went in to meet with her. As I walked up to her house, I remembered that I had heard her speak at a Help me Grow event many years back and I’d had an impression that she would be part of my future. I didn’t know how or when or what for – but I did feel like we’d work together. And now, here I was, walking up to her house to be mentored by her. Life is crazy like that…
As I sat down, we began to talk about the things I’d learned from the Women’s Leadership Project and how I felt about my progress. I mentioned how I now see myself in a different light after taking the Leadership 360 assessment and that I am tweaking little things I do and say each day because of the education I’d received from her. And then she asked me how I was feeling about returning to school. I told her that I was considering going back to school and studying Business. With a smile on her face she asked me how excited I was to take lots of math classes (knowing that was not the case)… and so I let her know that I was not excited – and in fact I knew that this may be the very thing that made it so I’d struggle to finish.
She then went on to tell me about an integrated studies degree that she thought I’d love. She’d told me a bit about it before and the more I heard about it, the more I’m liking it. She developed a program about leadership that I’d love to take and pair it with psychology or sociology… I’m not sure yet. We finished talking and I left to meet Jon for a meeting with the Honorary kernels association. As I was driving, I was overwhelmed with the feeling that I was supposed to return to school. I’ve thought about it many times over the years, but this time my heart burned and I teared up. There was no question about it, after twenty years I’m going to start taking classes at UVU again!
Honestly, I’m scared to death and I plan to take it slow at first. But I feel very strongly that it is the right thing for me to do. I really needed a strong answer like this because I have many anxiety about school. I’ve never been a good student and I’ll have to grow in a lot of ways to be able to finish my degree. I’m a totally different person than I was when I tried UVU the first time – and so I pray that this will work in my favor. I know that I have a lot of people around me that will support me. I’m excited to take some classes with Whitney and maybe Kinley, too!
When I arrived at the lunch, I saw Jon and teared up as I shared this experience with him. He hugged me and said he supported me with whatever I felt like I needed to do. He said, “You’ve always wanted this, and you can do it. I support you.” and so we walked hand in hand into the lunch.
When we got inside, I met many amazing people – mostly business men and policeman. I met a really nice man and he looked familiar – so I asked him his name… and it was Sheriff Mike Winder! We both laughed and walked into the meeting. I didn’t have any idea how much this lunch meeting would change me. The sweet girl who was presenting had been attacked and stabbed by an intruder in her house, and I couldn’t even listen to her 911 calls and her description of the experience without crying. It was an AMAZING story and because of it, she started an organization called “Fight like a Girl”, because her sister kept fighting the man who broke in her room. She’s working with Elizabeth Smart and I have some ideas of great people I’ll introduce her to so she can build her group. I talked to her afterward, and I’m excited for the next steps we will take together.
After our lunch, Jon and I drove straight to meet with some business brokers about two different businesses. I always love meeting entrepreneurs and learning about their companies. It was very interesting and we will see what comes out of that.
The past two nights I’ve missed the kickoff event for PAC for Western Region and the kickoff event for Salt Lake City PAC (parent advocacy council). It makes me so sad, but I’ve needed to put other things first, such as Brighton’s soccer banquet on Tuesday and an interview with a new manager and his wife tonight. I have to learn to let go of some things. I know I can’t be everywhere with everyone – it’s not physically possible and my family is the reason I do what I do.
And so, it’s been a long day.. and my eyes are falling shut as I type my last lines. I’m tired, my friends, goodnight.
In two short weeks, something magical will be happening in Utah, but first, I need you to watch this video.
Now that we are on the same page, I want to introduce you to one of my good friends, Kirk Chugg. You can see his heart in the message he shared, but now we all get to be a part of his story.
If you’re like me, you’d agree that it’s hard to find something special to give your man on Father’s Day. And honestly, although we can find a million things to TRY and make on Pinterest, I doubt many of them will get him as excited as this! “The Gentlemen Project” is holding their very first live event at the Vivint Arena on June 17th from 6:30-9:30 pm! The night is only for Dads and their kids, and it will be an evening they will never forget!
You won’t see a Mother in sight – and that is what makes this night so awesome! Dad’s play differently with their kids when we aren’t around, and through play, they build a bond that will last a lifetime. So take the night off, and get a massage or something really amazing, like take a nap.
There are only 300 tickets available and the event will sale out quickly, so you must hurry to claim your tickets. There will be awesome photo opportunities with celebs, like the real Rudy Ruettiger! Dinner will be held in the Jazz 100 club and there will be games, speakers, entertainment and more!
We need more gentlemen in the world, and I’m excited to help spread the word about this great night. If you have a blog that you’d be willing to share this message on, or you’d like to share it on any other social media, please do. They only recently decided to hold this event and we want to make sure to fill every last seat!
Last night was magical.
It was a the official kickoff for the Parent Advisory Council, and it was one of my favorite nights of my life – for so many reasons. After two years of working to build the PAC and almost a decade of working in the community, it was so fun to finally celebrate how far we’ve come.
The room was packed full of parents that want to make a difference, whether it was just for their immediate family, for themselves, or reaching into the community. I heard stories that will change my life forever, and I left with an even bigger resolution to continue pushing forward and building parent leadership statewide, and beyond.
When I began my journey as a “Parent Leader” I had no idea what it meant, but I trusted the process of becoming. I trusted Barbara, my friend and mentor – and so I just started. I learned more and more every year, until the fire ignited inside of me and I wanted to spread the happiness and passion I had found. It’s hard to explain this concept to other parents when they start, because we are used to being told what to do. In most places we spend our time, other people are telling us what’s important and why. We are geared to always listen to what the “professionals” tell us about how to raises our own children. The PAC is not about that. It’s about listening to our inner voice and trusting it. The tools that professionals offer parents are amazing, and I have many close friends that come to this work from that perspective, it just needs to stay in proper balance.
Parenting is the most important job on the planet, and on this little blog of mine, I plan on sharing my thoughts. You are welcome to join in the conversation and let me know how you feel. I want to hear your views and of your love for family. Together we can learn from each other and find ways to lead.