Guest Star: Elena of C.Mom & Just.Be.Enough.

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Today’s Guest Star started a revolution of sorts in the blogging world two months ago, when she published this post, asking fellow bloggers to list things they like about themselves. Women everywhere came to realize they were always too quick to find fault in themselves, and had little to like about themselves. With one inspired post, Elena of C.Mom struck a powerful chord with her readers and fellow bloggers, so much so, she started a website, Just.Be.Enough. which embodies the spirit of her original post.

I am very fortunate to be part of that site.

Aside from being the founder of Just.Be.Enough, Elena is also a mother, a wife, a cancer survivor, an athlete, a teacher. She is also my inspiration. To be a better mother, wife, daughter, sister, blogger.

I am honored she is here today.

1. When and why did you start blogging?

I started in October of 2009. I was getting remarried and was home sick with my daughter (we both had strep throat!). I had always thought about finding a way to tell my story as a cancer survivor but had not figured out how. Somehow being a divorcee, survivor, parent, and about to embark on my second chance at love, I felt like it was time.

I started on a Blogger site, eventually moved to a WordPress.org site, and then, not even a year later, joined the ranks of the self-hosted.  Almost two years later I could not be happier – nor do I remember what life was like before blogging.

2. What do you love most about blogging?

The community, the friendships, the head nods as someone reads my words. Knowing that I can read a dozen blogs and feel a dozen different emotions. Also, the writing. I had always love to write and then my love became teaching writing to children. Now I get to do it for me.

3. Who is your favorite blogger ever?

Oh my gosh – one?  I have several–but for VERY different reasons. Susan, from Toddler Planet is my inspiration in the face of adversity, Kris from Pretty All True is a beautifully skilled and powerful writer. She makes me laugh, cry, and feel things I have never felt.  Leticia from Tech Savvy Mama because she is the epitome of professional–she is collaborative, engaging, and so extremely authentic.

The truth is that I have met some truly amazing women, on their blogs and also in real life while attending conferences like Type A Parent or BlogHer.  I have been touched by the kindness, the authenticity, the savvy-ness, the skill, and the sheer passion that shows across the pages of so many sites.

4. Is there a post you regret publishing?

The short answer is no. There are posts that I look back on and think–ughh….those were blah.  I tend to write conversationally and sarcastically and there have been a few posts that I have written with one intent and then gotten feedback (usually from my mom) that they gave a completely different impression.  Also, the posts that I would probably regret publishing are the ones that never make it to my computer. They stay in my head (or I vent them to my husband, or to the wall in my study).  🙂

5. What do you love most about being a Mom?

The cuddles first thing in the morning, the bed time story and prayer time at bedtime. The laughter, the curious questions and insightful comments. And in my case, the sense of awe that I get from remembering that I was having hot flashes and was without a cycle before having my daughter. And yet, here she is, almost seven years later, brought into the world by me, without any additional medical experimentation. On some days I am almost able to forget the rolled eyes, the tone of voice, or the refusal to follow a direction, when I just focus on that first morning in our hospital room, watching the sunrise.

6. What’s your favorite time of the day?

Right before dinner, when I can take a glass of wine and sit on the deck for just a few minutes. Either that or right after an early morning run or bike ride, realizing that I feel great and still have an entire day ahead.

7. If you could go anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?

Greece, Eygpt, and Morocco. I have always had a facination with Egypt, and the idea of becoming one with the locals on a small Greek isle, waking up to that bright blue sky and sea…that sounds lovely.  And Morocco just seems magical and mysterious.

8. What could you eat every single day?

Dark chocolate and wine (oh wait, that is drinking). Also, Thai spicy drunken noodle.   Also, papaya.  (Okay seriously, I am sorry that I seem unable only to give you one answer).  🙂

9. Favorite season and why.

Fall because I love running on a sunny but not sweltering day.  I can sit on my deck in the morning in the sun, with a sweatshirt. We can use our fire pit in the evenings without being swarmed by bugs.  And I love the religious holidays that happen this month – Rosh Hashanah (The Jewish New Year) is all about starting over, and to me it is a season of healing and hope.

10. One word to describe you.

Tenacious.

11. You recently founded Just.Be.Enough. Tell us more about your inspiration behind it and what your goals are with the site.

Earlier this summer I read a post by The Empress about accepting our bodies despite our imperfections. Her post and words hit me at just the right moment in my life, and I could do nothing but think about the message. So I emailed her and asked if it would be alright if I used her as an inspiration to run a Things I like About Me linkup.  What happened was nothing short of amazing. I received tweets and emails from women who wanted to participate but could not think of anything to put on their list. I encouraged them to come up with at least three. In the end, they did that and more! As I read each of the 90 linked up posts, I could visualize an army of women standing taller as they listed their likes.  I could also see the seeds that were so deeply rooted, of focusing on our flaws. Of being too critical. Of never accepting who we are, the way we are.

So I thought and I thought of how I could keep this wave of positivity and standing taller going.  I went for a swim and it hit me, this topic could not just be part of C.Mom, it needed its own space.

That was two weeks before BlogHer. I bought a URL, found a designer, and started recruiting contributors. And now, one month later, we have written 30 posts and had 79 people link up to share their Be Enough Me feelings.

As far as goals, I would like to see the site grow and become a place where women, men, moms, & dads come to read stories of empowerment.  A place that will remind people that putting themselves first, focusing on the good, and carrying the weight of our empowerment and confidence, will lead to standing taller.  A place where they can come to be reminded that it is okay to be who we are. A place where we model being enough for our children.  I would like to continue to work with brands that are interested in supporting the Just.Be.Enough. mission, to raise awareness to dispel the myths of perfection, and to support the growth of a younger generation without the constant fear of not being enough.

12. Just.Be.Enough recently launched a wonderful campaign Be Enough Me 4 Cancer, partnering Bellflower Books and Crickett’s Answer For Cancer. Can you tell us more about it and how we can be part of this campaign?

The campaign runs for until September 14th.  For every 20 stories about Being Enough, Bellflower Books will donate a memory book to a woman and family fighting breast cancer through Cricketts Answer for Cancer.

I know about Crickett’s Answer for Cancer through a blog and in real life friend, Susan Niebur (@Whymommy) who has fought this fight in her own life, gracefully and ferociously, and always wanting to help others.  So when Kerry from Bellflower Books mentioned a philanthropic campaign, as a cancer survivor myself, I jumped at the chance to give back to women and families that could use an extra reason to smile.

Being sick is hard. Being a caregiver is hard. Having fond memories to look back on, even if just for a moment, replaces the pain with love and laughter, and that is our goal for these women and families.  The great thing about the campaign is that you do not need to have a blog to participate. You can comment in the comment section of the link up posts, or on the Facebook wall with a Be Enough Me story and be counted!

We already have 57 links, which is just shy of three books. We are hoping to maximize our forces with a goal of 10 books by the the end of the campaign.

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If you don’t already, do follow Elena on her blog, C.Mom and on Twitter, as well as the Just.Be.Enough site and @JustBeEnough on Twitter.

And if you have a Be Enough story you want to share, write it and link up with Be Enough Me today and next week, so we can help get memory books to some deserving women and their families. Thank you.

                                                   

Alison

Alison

Alison

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  • September 5, 2011 Elena

    Wow Alison, thank you so incredibly much! I am so honored to be here, in your amazing home. And you my friend— are also an inspiration. To me, to so many others! xo
    Elena recently wrote…From Mortified and Stressed to Dreams of Becoming a Tooth FairyMy Profile

    • September 5, 2011 Alison

      Elena, it is my honor to share my space with you today. Thank you, for being you and for Just.Be.Enough.

  • September 5, 2011 Bits of Bee

    Tenacious – great word choice! Loved learning more about the brains behind Just Be Enough. Your site is very inspiring!
    Bits of Bee recently wrote…Parenting in PlaylandMy Profile

    • September 5, 2011 Elena

      oh my goodness, Thank you for those kind words!

  • September 5, 2011 Frelle

    awesome questions, and I learned a lot of new things about my friend Elena!! Thank you for featuring her and promoting the site 🙂 *HUGS* to both of you!
    Frelle recently wrote…Now That’s Just Uncalled ForMy Profile

    • September 5, 2011 Elena

      awww you….so much love. xo

  • September 5, 2011 Hopes

    It’s so very nice to get to know the inspiring woman behind an amazing phenomenon!

    I too could eat chocolate and wine (its totally a food group) every single day!!
    Hopes recently wrote…The Power of MusicMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Leighann

    So great to see Elena here!
    Loved learning more about her and the thought process (makings of) behind Just. Be. Enough.
    Cobgratulations on your success Elena, keep up the good work.
    Leighann recently wrote…Even Multitasking Mumma’s Need a BreakMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 tracy

    I love Elena so much. Meeting her and hugging her several times at BlogHer was such a thrill for me. xoxo
    tracy recently wrote…Maclaren Stroller Winner!!!My Profile

    • September 5, 2011 Elena

      The thrill was all mine sweet, beautiful Tracy!

  • September 5, 2011 Missy

    What a great interview! Thank you for helping us get to know Elena better, Alison!
    Missy recently wrote…Do You Lie to Your Spouse? Here’s Why It’s OK – SometimesMy Profile

    • September 5, 2011 Elena

      Thanks Missy! I have so enjoyed getting to know you through your JBE posts!

  • September 5, 2011 Kiddothings

    I think it’s great what you’re doing with JBE, Elena – it inspires and empowers people.
    Nice to know more about you here.
    Kiddothings recently wrote…Life’s Lessons/Words of Wisdom – The Hometown EditionMy Profile

    • September 5, 2011 Elena

      Thank you so much! I really could not do it without the help of the army of women that are contributing! And of course, the voices of all those linking with their stories. It is amazing how much more empowering we can be as a collective group!

  • September 5, 2011 Kimberly

    So glad to see Elena here! Just.Be.Enough is so empowering and inspiring. I’m glad I was able to learn more about you here!

    Congratulations, Elena! You deserve it!
    Kimberly recently wrote…Life Lessons: Crazy WeekMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Making It Work Mom

    Love Elena! I have had a crazy August so can’t wait to dive into her Just.Be.Enough site a little more.

  • September 5, 2011 Kelley

    This was so inspiring to read! I really didn’t know where all of those “things I like about me” posts were coming from. I look forward to learning more about Just Be Enough.
    Kelley recently wrote…Labor Day Special: PREZ Candy DispensersMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 jackie

    Nice learning more about you! And, I think it’s wonderful that you started Just Be Enough!
    jackie recently wrote…Life’s Lessons: A good weekMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Elaine

    Hi Elena! First off, you’re such an inspiration and I just LOVED reading this to get to know you better. Although it also makes me wish we could have spent time together at BlogHer!!!

    I love what you say about how you like blogging because you can read 12 different blogs and feel 12 different emotions. I love that about it too!

    And your new site is amazing and powerful and I’m so excited for you and to see where it takes you! Congratulations!!

    xoxo
    Elaine recently wrote…Miss Elaine-ous Monday – T.S. Lee!My Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Kim

    I loved reading this post and learning so much more about Elena and Just. Be. Enough. It’s amazing to see the growth of this site and to see how many more lives it is touching each day. This is a great interview, so thank you Alison and Elena! What I love about Just. Be. Enough. is it reaches not only bloggers, but people who don’t blog, too, so thank you!
    Kim recently wrote…Wild Nights & Bloggin’ BeastiesMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Galit Breen

    Love this you two! You make a great team! XO
    Galit Breen recently wrote…ChangesMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 My Inner Chick

    Incredible Interview. Loved the questions, Alison.
    “Just. Be. Enough” Yes! Women, especially, have this constant struggle to just be who we are…. just love who we are. How inspiring Elena is! Thanks 🙂 Xx
    My Inner Chick recently wrote…461 DaysMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Alexandra

    Alison, you’ve done an amazing job of getting Elena’s passion for life and changing the world documented.

    I love this woman, and can’t believe I missed out on meeting her at BlogHer.

    She has honored me with giving such life to my post, and turning it into a force of nature.

    Our numbers keep growing at Just.Be.Enough, and I’m so excited to see where we will be, and the lives we will touch, as time goes on.

    Thank you, Elena, thank you, Alison: for getting such a positive message out.

    GREAT interview.
    Alexandra recently wrote…Party Invites Don’t MatterMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Jessica

    It is great to see Elena featured here and her idea for Just.Be.Enough is wonderful. It’s inspiring to see all of the people who have joined in.
    Jessica recently wrote…Getting Hacked SucksMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Sweaty

    I linked up with the Just Be Enough for the first time this week. I’ve been wanting to since the first week, but writing a post about all the good things about myself was harder than I thought! I guess we’re so used to putting ourselves down and focusing on the negatives that having someone tells you, ok now tell me the good things about yourself, is a little unnerving 😉 (Or maybe that was just me).

    To Elena, congratulations on kicking of the campaign to a successful start. I hope that what you’ve started would continue to take roots and spread even wider, sending positive messages to everyone out there, and reminding all of us that we are indeed ‘enough.’

    To Alison, a brilliant choice of guest star, as always. Knowing you, you will make sure that Elena’s message be known and exposed for more and more people to see and participate. Thanks for sharing this with us.
    Sweaty recently wrote…Being Just Enough MeMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Lola

    I JUST discovered JustBeEnough and now I’m hooked! I’m so happy to get to know a little about you, Elena! Thanks, Alison, for this fabulous introduction to a wonderful new blog!
    Lola recently wrote…Liar Liar, Hand on FireMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Tatter Scoops

    Elena is one heck of an amazing lady! This is a great interview and I just now found out about Just Be Enough (actually dearest Elena invited me to link up) because I was somewhat inactive from the blogsphere. Glad to be on board.
    Tatter Scoops recently wrote…Those Burning QuestionsMy Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Christine

    this is so inspiring!! i haven’t spent nearly enough time over there. heading over right now. Elena, you are a force!
    Christine recently wrote…The Maine Thing.My Profile

  • September 5, 2011 Ado

    Thanks so much for turning me onto Elena’s blog. She is an inspiration.

  • September 6, 2011 Ann

    Alison, this is a wonderful interview! I really like the Just.Be.Enough. site and follow many of the bloggers mentioned…it was like sitting around a coffee table with y’all! Thanks so much!

    …..you’re too awesome for words, girlfriend!
    Ann recently wrote…Week Night Pasta SauceMy Profile

  • September 6, 2011 Lady Jennie

    I am honestly so impressed to meet the voice behind Just Be Enough. I haven’t written mine yet because …. I’m not enough waaaaa. No just kidding. I’m working on it. Deep Breath. Self Acceptance.

    Anyway, this was a cool guest post.
    Lady Jennie recently wrote…Supermarket CD GiveawayMy Profile

    • September 6, 2011 Elena

      So glad that you will be linking up! It is hard–that is why we are doing it. And thank you–love being a “cool” guest! 🙂
      Elena recently wrote…Magic Carpet TravelsMy Profile

  • September 6, 2011 Just Jennifer

    I think Elena is just about the most imspirational blogger I’ve “met” so far. I can feel the message she’s putting out there working inside me. Thank you, Elena!
    Just Jennifer recently wrote…A Bunch of Animals!My Profile

  • September 6, 2011 Mandi

    I have seen the Just.Be.Enough logo/badge in a few places and wondered what it was all about. When one of the blogs I subscribe to had the badge at the bottom of an inspirational post I had to click and go check it out, which eventually led me here to learn more about the woman behind it all!

    Very powerful thing you’re doing Elena, and I’m following in just about every way I think!

    Mandi
    Smile and Mama With Me
    Mandi recently wrote…Bucket ListMy Profile

  • September 6, 2011 Momma Teacher Lady

    Great interview! Thanks for sharing with us all!!
    Momma Teacher Lady recently wrote…Save the Drama for Your MommaMy Profile

  • September 6, 2011 elizabeth-flourishinprogress

    Alison, I love it when you feature other bloggers like this. So very glad to have found one more blogger to tune into. Thanks!
    elizabeth-flourishinprogress recently wrote…It’s my birthday. I’m locked in the bathroom.My Profile

  • September 6, 2011 Mama Track

    Great job, ladies! Elena, it’s lovely to learn more about you. I adore dark chocolate and red wine. Perhaps, some day when I’m not pregnant, we can have a tasting.

    And Alison, great job on the questions!
    Mama Track recently wrote…Lights Out, Little ManMy Profile

  • September 6, 2011 Kristin

    Elena is fairly new to me in the blogosphere, but the more I read from and about her, the happier I am that I “met” her. And being “neighbors” – we live within an hour of each other – maybe we’ll even meet IRL one day.

    (I’m not a stalker, I swear.)

    Love your tenacious spirit, Elena. Keep up the great work!
    Kristin recently wrote…There’s No Shame in BloggingMy Profile

  • September 7, 2011 Robin

    Love you both. xo
    Robin recently wrote…Syndicated on BlogHerMy Profile

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