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Posts Tagged ‘Chris Brogan’

The Power of ONE

one is the loneliest number
Creative Commons License photo credit: horizontal.integration

Today is Jan. 1

Could this be the year of the Power of One?

We can celebrate with fireworks, silly hats, black-eyed peas and sauerkraut. We can dress in yellow (for prosperity) or white (for peace) while throwing pomegranate seeds on the roof and making wishes. But, this new year will race forward–with or without us. In 365 days, it will become the next year, and then the next …. The cosmic universe doesn’t care about individual civilizations who make their own calendars. It doesn’t care about individual people.

Actually, that is a comfort. I don’t want to be Atlas holding the world on my shoulders. I don’t want the responsibility of saving the world, that’s too much.

Systems Theory–Circles of Life

Bronfenbrenner’s systems theory states that what affects one part of the system affects all the parts of the systems. In previous posts on the circle of life and family reunions I’ve talked about his embedded systems (like Russian Dolls). The individual is in the center circle, surrounded by the family, surrounded by the community and “systems.”

Inner Circle: Aaron

When Aaron, my son with the labels of autism and developmental disabilities was growing up, I made specific dream plans and goals to include him in an inclusive community.

They were audacious plans. But we had IDEA and ADA and hope. And Aaron was young and had lots of years ahead of him. I thought the values of ALL people living and working in an inclusive community would keep evolving into a more accepting world. I thought I could count on the professionals, the local, state, national agencies and organizations to help.

But those systems don’t exist for adults with disabilities and/or their families.

Aaron is 42 years old. For adults there is no mandate or law saying he can get services. So we have watched as his behavior and communication have deteriorated. And, frankly, I have even had trouble envisioning a new dream plan.

This past year has been a painful experience watching the residential and vocational companies NOT want Aaron–but want his Medicaid Waiver funds.

The opportunity of a new year is to dream again. It’s time to use the Power of One.

The Power of One: For Aaron

Aaron recently started a day program with Goodwill/Easter Seals five days a week and they are providing him with a one-on-one staff person three days a week. That is the brightest hope we have had for years. So YEA!

Aaron still has a great roommate and one loving caregiver who has been with them for over 7 years. YEA YEA!

And Tommy (Aaron’s brother) and his family are now living near us, so our family can get together more often. YEA YEA YEA!

That is three wins. As this year ends, those are the blessings I see and celebrate.

Dream plan for Aaron:

Aaron will be happy. He will have people around him who love him. He will have choices and do interesting things. Have friends. He will be able to communicate when he wants/doesn’t want something. He will be safe.

Pretty basic. Nothing specific. But again, these are audacious goals.

So, maybe everything you and I do this year will not make much of a difference in the cosmic scheme of things. But using the Power of One, I can do something to make a difference in my son’s life.

In the example of Goodwill/ES, it was the Power of One times 4. Aaron’s Dad, me, our Support Coordinator, and the leadership of Goodwill/ES. We kept at it, and it happened.

The Power of One: For Community

Using the Power of One, I will continue my blog,
I will try to entertain, encourage and give information to grow a community that cares about adults with disabilities.

Thank you for being with me on this journey. It has been an amazing first six months for Climbing Every Mountain. Together we can build a better world and community–one person at a time.

Virtual Circles

Old Bronfenbrenner wouldn’t recognize his embedded systems, but today we are using the social media tools (blog, Twitter, Facebook) and reinventing his circles of love and support that will ripple out to touch the future. The people in the circles are not our next door neighbors, they might live on the other side of the world.

Is social media and technology the solution?

Chris Brogan ( is a social media guru who suggests the future is going to include websites, blogs, forums, videos and online communities which help us connect with like-minded folks to get the information and emotional support we need.

His new company, 501 Mission Place, is helping non-profits use social media and become more effective. Perhaps you know of a non-profit that could use some social media help.

But I wonder if it is too late for many traditional organizations.

Virtual communities are already replacing many of the antiquated national organizations which have huge overhead and an inability to help individuals.

Virtual training is replacing the large conferences, meetings and university classes. Webinars and online courses like Partners in Policymaking are the new “best practice.”

Do you use the traditional phone and agencies in your community, or do you search for people and information in the virtual world of Cable TV, iPods, www, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube and …?

Summary: In this new year, we can use our individual power, the Power of One, to make a difference for our children with disabilities. We can do it by advocating directly for the people we love, and we can do it by becoming part of a virtual community like Climbing Every Mountain or other online communities.

In 2017–We’re Number One!

I hope you will sign up (top left) to get notices of new posts. I hope you will add your voice and stories to the comments. I hope you will use the social media of Twitter and Facebook to invite others to join us. The way we are going to build a better world for vulnerable people is to join together. And I hope you have an amazing 2017.

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward
All my best for a fantastic year of ones,


Use Your Power: Comments Please

How can you use the Power of One? Do you think social media can help? Do you recommend other blogs and/or virtual communities?

I’d love to read your comments and know what you are planning this year.

1st Birthday| Parents, Caregivers of People w/ Disabilities

first birthday!
Creative Commons License photo credit: smcgee

Happy First Birthday| Blog for Parents and Caregivers of People with Disabilities

Can you believe it? On July 21, 2011 ClimbingEveryMountain.Com celebrated its first birthday.

Fellow Climbers

Parents, Caregivers, Advocates, Friends

Parents, Caregivers, Friends and Advocates of people with disabilities need each other. Our journey up the mountain is exhausting and treacherous.

We climb, not because we want to, not because we think it is a fun challenge, not because “it is there”—we climb our mountains out of need—OUR CHILD’S NEED, OUR NEED.

For the past year, this blog has been a basecamp where interesting people from around the world add their ideas, personal stories, ups and downs, advice and expertise. To everyone in our Climbing Every Mountain Community, your love and friendship means so much.

There have been 120 blog posts of original content and 1,261 comments. Here are the first posts which explain what this blog is all about. I’ve updated a couple things, but the mission holds true. I hope you agree.

Shouting my Commitment | Is anybody there?

Climbing Every Mountain is a Team Effort| What this blog is about

I am thankful for each of your comments, emails, phone calls and the many other ways you have reached out to our team. Together we are better. Together, we can each work for inclusion in our own way, and the ripple effect will be that our individual efforts will change the world, not only for people with disabilities, but for all of us.

Google Analytic Statistics for July 21, 2010 to July 21, 2011:

There have been 12,184 visits to from 114 countries/territories. The top ten include: US, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Philippines, India, Ireland, Brazil, South Africa, New Zealand….

3,664 returning visitors. 19,216 Page Views. 1.58 pages a visit.

I’m sure some of these visitors were looking for The Sound of Music or some mountain peak vacation adventure, but I know many were looking for our basecamp for parents, caregivers and advocates. I know Google expects visitors to spend more time on the site and look at several articles each visit, but thank you for a terrific start.

First Birthday Cake
Creative Commons License photo credit: hfb

Tech Support

Climbing Every Mountain has a terrific group of people who help with the tech support. I’m a novice blogger and they have held my hand and guided me up the social media mountain. Real mountain climbers need good equipment and guides, thanks for giving me a safety net and strong lifeline:

Tim Gary

Mindcue: Brilliant Ideas Deserve Brilliant Websites (security, tech support, hardware and software issues, fighting off hackers, bad guys, and encouraging a very insecure webmaster.)

Johnny B. Truant

Johnny creates inexpensive websites and helped me with the start-up, plus he coauthored, Question the Rules, a course for non-traditional thinkers.

Cheerleader Team

Alison Golden

The Secret LIfe of a Warrior Women Alison is my blogging partner and has been a terrific source of information and encouragement. We met at Question the Rules. She is a strong advocate for her children. Her gentle spirit and humor are her secret weapons in being a warrior woman.

A special shout-out to my friends at OVRWA. You help me believe in “happy ever afters” and pick me up when I post an article and get more spam than comments.

Learning to venture into the real community outside Disability World is one of the cornerstones of inclusion. If we want this for our children, we need to learn to build community for ourselves. Alison and OVRWA are helping me learn to be “normal.”

Mentor Team

Sylvie and Michel Fortin

Success Chef Academy Every Wednesday night, Sylvie and Michel serve up an “over the shoulder” look at how to create your own success story. In their informal style, they have taught me about the back and front end of an online business. I’ve come to depend on their advice and personal encouragement. Many of my future goals for Climbing Every Mountain are based on what I am learning in the Success Chef Test Kitchen.

James Chartrand

Men with Pens has also been generous in her encouragement. She is working for social justice in her own way, and reminds me each website must have simple design and good writing. It was her gentle push that finally gave me the courage to take the leap into blogging.

Chris Brogan

Chris Brogan has more ideas than anyone I know. He also takes those ideas and makes companies, and they make money. (That’s certainly different than anyone I know in non-profit and disability world.) He has a geek brain, but… he can translate it into everyday, everyman language. Chris made one tweet about Climbing Every Mountain and I got more traffic that one day, than in a month. He is the guru of social media and helps non-profits. Plus, he talks about his kids and parents. Pretty neat.

There are many others, thanks to each of you.

Best. Cake. Evar.
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ѕolo

Aaron wouldn’t let us end a birthday celebration without a song. Blake Roberts suggested The Climb as a theme song for our Climbing Every Mountain blog. I would like to ask you to listen to the inspiring words and feel proud of everything YOU have accomplished this year. Enjoy the digital magic created by Blake Roberts and Snoopi Botten using DecTalk, an augmented communication software program.

Pastor Snoopi Botten and Blake Roberts have added their magic digitalized and visual effects to The Climb

(click on link)

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward.

All my best,



What was your favorite post this year? Any suggestions or comments for next year?

Popular articles:

America the Beautiful|Through the autism car window

For more about Blake Roberts and Snoopi Botten, check out Do you hear what I hear, Do you see what I see? for their amazing story.

Edit Historical Videos for YouTube

Ed Roberts

VIDEO Strategies for Social Change: Ed Roberts speaks at first meeting of Partners in Policymaking .

This is all Ed Roberts’ fault!

Ed Roberts was a civil rights leader for people with disabilities who was called a “prophet for independence.” He challenged each of us to be extraordinary.

This could be Chris Brogan’s fault!

Chris Brogan is a socially conscious social media guru with thousands of readers. He recently challenged his readers to use the oldest form of exchange–barter. Bartering in a Digital Age is about finding a way to get the services or goods you need. No excuses. If you can’t afford or don’t know how to do something, barter.

It’s the MN DD Planning Council’s fault!

The Minnesota Governor’s Developmental Disabilities Planning Council has been documenting the paradigm pioneers in the History of People with Disabilities for over a decade. Parallels in Time I and Parallels in Time II.

Since most history books ignore people with disabilities, these are important historical videos.

Okay, it’s my own fault!

I contacted the MN DD Planning Council and asked if any of their videos were in shorter segments. Dr. Colleen Wieck, the director said she “wished,” but there were no resources to edit or transfer the videos to YouTube.

I knew blog readers want short video segments, so there was the problem.

So now, Ed Roberts meet Chris Brogan meet MN DD Planning Council meet… er, me…meet YOU.


Do you have the technological skills to edit videos like the Ed Roberts video (above) into three or four, 1-5 minute segments?

Could you help us post them on YouTube and the Parallels in Time website?

If you could help us with just one video, that would be significant.

In exchange, you choose a job for me, from the list below.

Let’s Make a Deal

EXCHANGE—an hour for an hour, my services for up to 50 hours.

NO MONEY will be exchanged.

How Can I Help?

I’ve have experience working with individuals and families. I could consult with you by phone (in US) or email. (Check out my “About” page.)

I’m a decent Beta Reader and developmental editor. If you have a novel or ebook sitting in your closet, I can help.

I could ghost write a blog post, review a book or education/teaching product.

I could research a topic (of your choice).

Any other idea we mutually agree on.

Disclaimer: I’ll give you my best, but no guarantees. I can’t cure anyone.


This is a labor of love. I’m volunteering, no financial gain. Many of the people in the videos were friends or colleagues, many are now gone, but their vision lives.

This is important work. It’s been a long road for people with disabilities and their families, we need to keep moving forward.

Even if you don’t have a family member with a disability, there are good reasons to get involved.

We have knowledge and experience in quality of life issues and long-term care that will help Baby Boomers, seniors and others who are in the “temporarily able bodied” or yet to be disabled” group Ed Roberts spoke about:

“We’re all getting older. We can’t avoid it, can we? I look around, and I notice that a lot of us are getting gray. As we get older, we realize that disability is just a part of life. Anyone can join our group at any point in life. In this way, the Disability Rights Movement doesn’t discriminate. As those of us who are temporarily able-bodied and working for access and accommodations now get older, the changes we make now will benefit us as well.”


If you are interested: FIRST COME FIRST SERVED. You get to pick the video you will work on.

1. Go to: Parallels in Time II videos or the Ed Roberts Memorial site.

2. Choose a video you would like to edit into three or four, 1-5 minute segments. (I can help you pick out the segments, or you can choose what you think is the most powerful.)

3. Email me at and we’ll mutually decide the barter exchange.

4. We both get to work. Deadline March 1st.

Watch Our Progress

Every Friday, I’ll post how things are going. If this is not a good time for you, but you know of someone who might be able to help with this project, please forward this information.

All prayers and best wishes welcome.

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward

All my best,



If you have questions you think would be helpful to the group, please ask here. Otherwise, contact me privately.

What do you think? Will the barter system work? Will these edited videos help spread our message of independence, interdependence and inclusion?

Can you help us, and as Ed would say, “Be Extraordinary?”

“Every Day for 30 Days” Blogging Challenge or IBP

…my 30 Day IBP (Individual Blogging Plan)

Meet Alison Golden, my challenge buddy

Alison Golden is a Warrior Woman

The internet drives my husband Tom crazy. I’ll be talking about Alison Golden and he will say, “Who? How do you know her?” I will patiently answer Alison is a world traveler, originally from England, the one who writes a blog called The Secret Life of a Warrior Woman. (Check it out here.) Tom will ask again, “Is she a real person or some mystical cyber-cloud haze?”

Since this happens often I will take a deep breath and say, “Yes, Alison is very real, she now lives in California with her husband and two young kids.”

For those of you over 65 years old, who grew up before there were computers or satellites to give us GPS directions…, you will understand. And yes, Tom still uses maps with yellow highlighters. (Though in his defense, I always trust his directions over GPS.)

I try to straddle the digital divide. I love it when someone as lovely as Alison comes along and says, “Let’s follow Chris Brogan’s advice and do a 30 day blogging challenge to see if we can grow our blogs and increase our traffic.”(click here for the discussion).

Alison and I met during Johnny B. Truant and Lee Stranahan’s Question the Rules course. Warrior Woman meets Mother-with-lots-of-bullet-holes was a natural. Plus Alison is very funny.

Sept. 21 is the Autumn Equinox in the Northern Hemisphere. It is also World Storytelling Day in the Southern Hemisphere. So combining the momentum of a natural balance in the universe and the gift of storytelling it is a perfect day to begin our blogging challenge.

Individual Blogging Plan (IBP)

In true Special Education IEP tradition, here is my IBP (Individual Blogging Plan)


All Goals will be achieved in 30 days starting Sept. 21, 2010

Current Level of Performance:

Climbing Every Mountain is two months old. According to Google Analytics (Assessment tool) my visitors range from a high of twenty a day (2 times) to 0 (1 time). Today, my new AWeber (assessment tool) says there are 15 subscribers. I’ve posted about 2-3 times a week with most posts about 1000 words. Many posts have no comments, “America the Beautiful” has the most comments with 52 (of course half of those are my responses).

30 Day Short Term Goals and Objectives:

1. I will double the number of subscribers (30):

a. Thanking my existing subscribers who are the true believers. *sending kisses* I will ask them to use social media and tell their friends about our blog. *more kisses*

b. Using AWeber, I will figure out how to automatically contact each subscriber when a new post is made. *I know, I know…remember the old part, I’m still learning.*

c. In my posts, I will post a weekly count, and encourage new readers to subscribe.

d. I will learn how to make “bullets” so this is easier for my readers. *did I mention I was the most technologically inept person on the blogosphere?*

2. I will blog everyday

a. I may write shorter posts of 300 – 500 words, instead of the longer 1000 word posts.

b. I will use Photo Dropper, to speed up finding pictures while continuing to learn how to upload pictures from our family photo album and camera.

c. I will have my first guest post and one interview. *this is sooo exciting*

d. I will ask my readers for blog topic suggestions. *What do you need?*

3. I will build an interactive community.

a. If my content is wonderful, readers will comment and share their own stories, help each other solve problems and get connected.

b. If my post topics are useful, the number of comments and linkbacks will increase and we will reach more people.

c. If our community grows, commenters will suggest other related blogs and resources.


At the end of the 30 day challenge, I will ask for feedback from everyone about their experience.

Related Services and Support

1. Alison, my blogging challenge partner.

Alison is going to be my guidepost to help me keep grounded. She is not a special education person so she will have valuable advice. If we believe in inclusion, we need to be able to communicate with people outside our inner circle. She is a blessing as well as a fellow traveler.

2. Technical Support

I’m going to be needing a lot of technical support. But like all special education, we often don’t have what we need so we learn to be “creative,” right?

3. YOU

I’m counting on each one of you to add your suggestions and feedback. Email me any time.

Call to Action

Are you going to join us? Even “partially participate” (couldn’t resist) by reading the blogs and telling your friends? Get brave and comment?

Keep Climbing: Onward and Upward
All the best,


This is day 1 of the Chris Brogan Every-Day-for-30-Days Blogging challenge. See what my challenge partner Alison Golden of The Secret Life of a Warrior Woman: is blogging about today at