A Message from Dawn

Remember your first broken heart? I do…vividly.  I was 6-years-old and in Mrs. Leckron’s first grade classroom at Westview Elementary. I folded and traced just like she had taught us, but as I cut the penciled line, I ended up with a perfectly symmetrical broken heart. So, I tried again. This time with determination. This time with feeling. This time with the fold on the correct side of my cut. Success…my very first paper heart. It was like time stood still and for a moment and all was right with the world. I can’t say for sure how many Valentines I sent out that year, but I know every one of them was adorned with a perfectly symmetrical heart—and not one of them was to a spouse! I mean I’m all for a date night with my hawt husband! <hubba, hubba> But, Valentine’s Day should be much more than that! It deserves to be a national reminder highlighted with bold chocolates, italicized with flowers, and underlined with $8 dollar Hallmark cards to show and tell those we love that we love them. That means All The People That We Love! In grade school, we never sent just one Valentine—every kid in the class got one! But somewhere...

I don’t know what holiday traditions you have in your home but every year we could always count on getting new socks and underwear for Christmas. We continued that tradition when our kids were small. Anyone else have that tradition? They called them soft presents. And in case you forgot, most toys aren’t soft, so soft presents weren’t a bit hit back then. Fast forward to this past Christmas, lo and behold, what was on the Christmas list of not one, but both sons? You guessed it, soft presents. I guess once they embarked on adulthood and realized how much those basic items actually cost, they’d much rather get them as gifts vs. use their own discretionary income to buy such things! I get it. But it doesn’t mean I can’t have a little fun with it, too. And you know I like to have fun! So, this year I gave my nieces socks that hold hands. Yeah, you read that right. They can hold hands with each other or with friends that have similar socks. They literally have tiny little magnetic ‘arms’ and when you get close to your own foot or someone else’s foot, Bada-Bing-Bada-Boom, you’re holding hands! How romantic?...

My husband sends me an encouraging text message every day.  Sometimes it’s a funny meme, other times a silly .gif or video, and occasionally—my favorite times—he authors his own creations.  For example, who wouldn’t want to receive a text like this—from anyone—to start your day? Exude awesomeness all over the place like you do every day!!!!!! Love!!!!! See what I mean?  Folks, I married well!  And I’m so grateful to have that man in my corner—best decision I’ve ever made.  Shortly before I took this job, I remember sitting down to talk with him about what was about to happen.  Leadership is hard.  Oftentimes, when you’re truly leading, no one else has forged that path before. So, you walk by faith and experience and a whole lot of intuition—along with the support of those who love you and believe in your ability to be a visioneer—a visionary engineer. After that conversation, I decided to take this awesome job to lead the Community Foundation of Grant County.  I promised him that I wouldn’t drag him along to all the chicken dinners and he promised to back me on the good days and the bad days. Sometimes that support is in the form of a...

As an education major for my undergrad degree, I had to take a music class. Seemed pretty harmless.  I love music. My Spotify playlist right now has all the summer vibes and it’s making me so happy! Little did I know that this specific music professor would require every student to sing on-key in order to get an ‘A’ in the class. Crud, this just got a whole lot harder. It’s likely no surprise to you that I’m a Type A personality—as in, I needed to get all A’s. That was a hyper-vigilant obsession I developed back during my school years that I’ve spent every minute since trying to overcome. I’ve heard the saying “C’s get degrees” plenty of times; after all, what do you call a doctor who got all C’s in school?  Yeah, DOCTOR!  Nonetheless, I was on a mission to learn how to sing on-key. By week 2 of the class, it wasn’t looking good. So, I approached the prof and asked him if he could ‘tutor’ me. He agreed and said that with a bit of his help, I’d be singing on-key by the end of the quarter. From then on, every Tuesday and Thursday after class, I’d...

You see it every day. Two kinds of people are roaming our planet. One type flies by the seat of their pants. They wake up and don’t know exactly what the day will bring. They just see who calls or emails or texts to guide their energy. They have no plans. Life happens to them and they seem just fine with that reactive anti-system. Then you have your planners. They are the ones who have checklists. And the first item on the checklist is ‘make a checklist’. Or they happen to complete some task that wasn’t on the checklist, so they hurry up and write it down so they can gleefully tick it off as complete.  They love a good system and will create one, if needed. And while being hardcore on either side of the planning continuum might not be a healthy best practice, the CoFo team definitely lands on the side of planning our work so we can work our plan. That’s exactly how we completed our last strategic plan one year earlier than projected. Literally, we directed our minutes and our money relentlessly toward achieving our goals. So, then we spent three months working with Wendy Puffer and her awesome...

Eighteen years ago, Jessica Simpson was married to Nick Lachey and asked the world, publicly, if she was eating chicken or tuna because the outside of the tuna can said, ‘Chicken of the Sea’.  That’s when someone in my family might say, ‘You’re so pretty” because it’s a good thing she at least had that going for her, if nothing else. I love to look back at what happened in the years where big things took place in my life.  In fact, my go-to wedding and baby shower gift is one copy of Time Magazine’s Annual ‘The Year in Review’ and one copy of People Magazine’s ‘Yearbook’ for the year their special occasion took place.  I typically order these in January and send them to my friends who were so busy planning for their momentous event the prior year that they might have missed some really big news.  It’s always a hit, unexpected in January long after their occasion took place, and a definite keeper for the time capsule. The year 2005 also brought the premiere of How I Met Your Mother, the oh-so-in-love Tom Cruise jumping up and down on Oprah’s couch declaring his undying love of Katie Holmes (Spoiler Alert: ...

Pumpkin spice latte, pumpkin spice granola, pumpkin spice cheesecake, pumpkin spice muffins, pumpkin spice pancakes, etc. Tis the season, right? It’s officially fall and we love the taste of fall! The other thing I absolutely love about this time of year is the chill in the air. Even though you see your breath in the morning and wonder why you wore that turtleneck by 3:00 each afternoon, it’s simply beautiful in Indiana right now. And, while I haven’t experienced it yet this year—emphasis on yet—I really do get so excited about finding a random $10 bucks in a coat pocket from last year. Why does is seem like a year-old $20 bill found in the jeans I haven’t worn since last winter feels more valuable than a normal $20? Technically, I could buy a pumpkin spice latte at Starbys with a new $20 in my purse but buying one with an old $20 found in a pocket just feels more special--Like that specific $20 was verified on Twitter or something! Do you all know about verifications on Twitter and other social media platforms? A blue checkmark is used to verify high profile users as authentic. So, when you see a blue checkmark next...

Our oldest son, Griffin, was studious from the womb. I recall him installing his own small software game from my lap at age 3. He has just always had a mind like that. The love of learning is just in his DNA. So, it was a huge hit to his ego when he got his first Report Card ‘B’ when he was in 3rd grade. Luckily, he recovered from that blip in the radar and ended his public school career as Valedictorian of his high school. It was a truly proud mom moment. But this story isn’t about Griffin, it’s about my friend Dave Huffman. I knew Dave since 6th grade. We spent several years of school together, and when I say together I mean we were in all the same classes. I worked hard for my grades, but Dave was naturally smart.  It just came easy to him. In fact, his mom was also a Valedictorian of our high school, so he came from good stock. Dave and I often talked about the last week of our high school careers when the Valedictorian spot was in a two-way tie. It was a dead heat between Dave and one of the twins...

I’ve never really loved celebrating my birthday. I don’t know why. It’s not about getting older at all. And it’s not about the presents. While I appreciate them, every day is gift and a chance to do something big. It might be a little bit about the cake. There are so many birthdays in my family around my birthday that I’m so tired of cake by the time my special day arrives, and much to the dismay of almost everyone I know, I’m not a big ice cream fan at all…ever. And don’t even get me started on surprises. I’m too much of a planner to appreciate surprises. But that’s when it’s my birthday. I love celebrating other people’s birthdays.  And this month, we’re celebrating a special one—the Community Foundation’s 38th.  Now if this was an anniversary, the modern gift would be tourmaline. What the heck is tourmaline you might ask? Well, that’s what I asked since I’d never heard of it in all my life! Apparently, tourmaline is a stone that is supposed to foster compassion and is said to radiate the energy that attracts money, healing, and friendship. As unappealing as the word tourmaline is, the meaning of the stone...

This story’s been told before. As they say, it’s an oldie but a goodie—and it’s true. When I was 14 I was in high school and still sharing a room with my little sister. Sharing a room also meant sharing a closet, which my sister believed also meant sharing clothes. This did not go over well with me; however, my mother had a different opinion. So, share I did, unwillingly, yet obediently…until one fateful day. I happened to be at the mall—we had one back then. And I ran into one of my sister’s friends…wearing my favorite sweater! Holy cow, I was mad. It was the kind of emotion you get at a relative-you’re-forced-to-share-a room-and-clothes-with mad. So, I found a loophole. While my mom required me to share with my sister, she did not require me to share with the world. That’s when Wardrobe Wearabouts (pun intended, of course) was born. Wardrobe Wearabouts was an organizational system that I created to track the location of my clothes at all times. It was the 80’s version of Find My Phone, only tech-free, for my best pair of jeans—probably Jordache. While I can’t recall how long it took me, I crafted this Dewey...