Monday, June 6, 2011

Motherhood Elevated!

I have been fortunate enough for the past 20 years to belong to the amazing organization of American Mother's Inc. It is a national organization but very strong locally. This wonderful support group is the reason I survived medical school with three young and very active boys while trying to cope with what I called being a "single" mother. No disrespect to those of you who are truly single mothers, but those many years of having no husband around due to his marriage to the hospital and books were definitely challenging. I respect those of you who do it on your own on a daily basis. The local chapters I belonged to and organized were such life savers to me. From the monthly chapter meetings, listening to wonderful speakers, to the Summer Survival Camps for Mom we put on each year, AMI saved my sanity! Over the past 20 years I have been very involved locally, on the state level, as well as nationally. It feeds the passion I have for motherhood!

Our purpose is to be a dedicated force to strengthen the moral and spiritual foundations of the family and the home. We are an inter-faith, non-political, non-profit organization. We are the official sponsor of Mother's Day and founded the Mother of the Year award. The first National Mother of the Year was presented by Honorary Chairman, Sarah Delano Roosevelt in 1935 at the Waldorf Astoria in New York City. AMI has a rich history. For more information on that go HERE.

Sometimes that "Mother of the Year" title scares people away, because they somehow think that means we are an organization of "perfect" moms. Far from it! Those women which that title is bestowed upon are selected on the basis of being someone who could best represent their state to promote motherhood. We are an organization of moms helping moms be better moms! We are not trying to choose the best mom, because each mom IS the BEST mom for her child. No one knows better than a mother that there is no such thing as a perfect mom.

This year, I had the awesome privilege of being a member of the National Convention Planning Committee. The convention was being held in Salt Lake City this year, something which has not happened since 1994, the year I represented Utah as the Young Mother. Planning a convention of this magnitude takes a lot of organization and foresight and the women I got to work with were AMAZING! I want to be just like them when I grow up! We started to plan about a year and a half in advance and met monthly to make sure everything came off without a hitch. For the most part, it did. For the most part. haha Of course there were little glitches here and there, but for a convention of nearly 400 women, that is to be expected.

The amazing committee I got to serve on.

Top half: Helping at the registration desk. This was more fun than work!
Bottom half: We stuffed over 300 of these bags! And then re-stuffed them a few more times!

(In order to read captions, you may have to click to enlarge)

I was reunited with an old friend from 17 years ago when the convention was last held in Salt Lake. Sondra Anderson was serving as the Young Mother from the midwest somewhere, and I was representing Utah. We spent a lot of time together back then and haven't seen each other since, so it was fun to see her. I also got to see Linda Eyre again. I got to know her a bit when she spoke at our very first Summer Survival Camp for Mom. She represented Utah 30 years ago as the Young Mother. Her daughter Shawni was attending this year representing Arizona. Little did we know at the time this was taken that Shawni would be selected as the 2011 National Young Mother of the Year in a few days.

So grateful to good friends Julie and Brooke who would come and support me and help with greeting those registering. I think they had some fun while working! ☺

XANGO was one of our sponsors and so we had a supply of the stuff. It was bottled so pretty and we had some good laughs with those cool bottles!

Always a bustling hive of busy bees!

Me and Cecelia with Don Aslett, my hero and author of Clutter's Last Stand and 48 OTHER books!

With Emi D. Edgley (Utah's YMOY 2011), her mother Elaine Dalton, and Diane Weese.

Sally Olsen (Utah MOY 2011), Linda Eyre, Shawni Eyre Pothier, Emi Dalton Edgley, Elaine Dalton, Diane Weese, moi.

We filled almost 100 of these balloons with helium and lived to tell about it. The convention theme was Motherhood Elevated and the theme for one of the lunches was UP with Motherhood. Luckily we didn't float away!

Governor Herbert welcomed mothers from across the nation to Utah and to our convention.

We had some awesome workshop presenters! The women that weren't from Utah really loved John Bytheway. Well, the women that were did too! He was so funny, he had tears rolling down some of their cheeks!

John Gray keynoted one of the banquets.

The Young Mother of the Year banquet where Shawni was announced here as the new National Young Mother. A big job, but she will be fabulous!

My Mom was able to attend on Saturday with me. Brooke and Julie came as well.

It was held at Little America and of course the food was FABULOUS!

Above with Linda Eyre and Shawni Pothier and their new book called "A Mother's Book of Secrets". If anyone has some good advice and secrets on motherhood, it's them. I think I have read every single one of Linda's books. My favorite was, "I Didn't Plan to Be a Witch!"
Bottom with Emi, Hilary Weeks, and Georgia.


Our table had some of the people I admire most.
With Susie and Marilou. Marilou was our committee chairman and I loved getting to know her! What an incredible example she is.

Dave and I

With Sheri Dew. It was such an honor to meet her.

Click to enlarge

Check out the cute cute bunnies! Our committee was in charge of decorating at most of the meals. It turned out beautiful.

After with Sister Sheri Dew and some of the National Committee.

I LOVE all of these women!!!!

We are showing off our shoes and nylons that we had to borrow from each other due to forgetting them! Thank heavens for good friends!!!

This banquet was very high class. The Mother's of the Year were announced in a processional lighted candle ceremony. Sheri Dew was the keynote speaker and gave an outstanding talk. She was the only speaker at the convention that received a standing ovation. Ernestine Allen was named the new 2011 National Mother of the Year. She is from the Washington DC area.

Dave snapped the photo on the right before I hid these roses for Ernestine (so passerbys wouldn't knock them over.) I WISH those were mine! I can always pretend!

Two of my favorite women on the planet.
Dave with Ruby Washington. She is an incredible woman. She was National Mother of the Year in 1993. She had three biological children, four adopted, and over 200 foster children! She is currently opening a home for un-wed mothers. What a remarkable woman. I have loved her since I met her at the 1994 convention. She really liked Dave. =)
And Cecelia. What a sweet, smart, funny, amazingly talented, and kind woman. She has to be one of my top 10 favorite people in the world. Love her!

With Ernestine Allen. The roses are now hers! hee-hee

WE SURVIVED!!! We might not look like it, but we did! Break out the XANGO!!!!

A special thank you to this man, to whom I am very grateful for allowing me to be such a big part of American Mothers. It has changed my life and I will forever be grateful for it and for him for holding down the fort while I was gone for three days in order to attend this convention. He also missed a big meeting in order to attend the banquet with me. It was sure fun having my own photographer there though. =) Over the past 20 years, he has been so supportive of all the talks, meetings, conferences, parades, time, expenses, mini- conferences (he helped set up for 10 years), and all the other wonderful things this organization has brought into my life. I am so grateful to be a mother, and if it wasn't for him I wouldn't be the mother of the five most wonderful sons on the planet. Thank you!

It was so exciting having the National Convention in my own neck of the woods. I for one left elevated! I know it won't happen again for probably another 17 or more years. But odds are, even then, I will STILL be involved and loving this wonderful organization! I can only hope!

Here are a few links to other stories about convention, inlcuding excerpts from Sheri Dew's talk. ENJOY!
Key Points from Sheri Dew's Speech at Saturday's Gala (where the National Mother of the Year, Ernestine Allen, was announced), titled: The Influence of Mothers

Insights with Jon Du Pre TV interview from BYU: Mothers of the Year

Utah's American Mother's Blog: AMI National Convention

LDS Living Magazine ~ LDS Women Among National Honored Nominees

Deseret News Article ~ Utah Hosts National Celebration of Motherhood

Deseret News Article ~ Latter-day Saint Named National Mother of the Year

Posts from Andrea, State President of American Mothers in Texas:
Gems from the Mother of the Year Speeches

A few highlights from the Young Mother of the Year speeches:
Summary of Young Mother Speeches

Shawni Pothier's reaction to being announced as National Young Mother of the Year from her blog 71 Toes:
"My Weekend"
Shawni's 3 minute speech she gave at National convention
Shawni's Speech

Linda Eyre's article in Deseret News column about her daugher Shawni being named National Young Mother of the Year : "Whiney, Worried Child Becomes National Mother of the Year"

From the PR Web: American Mothers, Inc. Announces 2011 Executive Board, Mother and Young Mother of the Year


Michelle said...

Great post Jodi! Loved convention! Love the photos!!!


deb said...

What fun pictures and what a wonderful conference it looks like it was. Love reading about all the wonderful speeches at the links.


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