Inspiring Mom Winner

Inspiring Mom Winner Gayle Fisher, founder of Special Need Sibs was nominated by her friend Dawn Candy. Dawn highlighted some of Gayle’s inspiring qualities in her nomination.

“I would like to nominate my friend Gayle Fisher. She is a mom of two beautiful humans. Her son is autistic and Gayle works with him every day to teach him how to experience life and live every day understanding consequences for all behaviors and responses. She is patient, kind and loving and shares her experiences with other moms and families so they know they are not alone.

She inspires me every day watching her raising her children and encouraging other families to be loving, accepting and kind to each other.”

Candy shares that Gayle started a nonprofit in our community specifically for siblings of special needs children to make sure they have the opportunities to enjoy being kids, the opportunity to make new friends and find the support they need to navigate feelings as a sibling of a special needs child.

Gayle Fisher, The Book Inspiring Mom Winner said about being chosen as the winner, “Raising kids who thrive needs the Village, the whole team.  We share our ups and downs, joys and sorrows, victories and challenges. Together. With humor and humility. There really is no other way.”

Thank you to Dawn Candy for your nomination and Gayle Fisher for providing inspiration to The Book The Woodlands readers. Both women will be receiving a gift certificate for Shop at Market Street.

 

Inspiring Mom- Jo Anne Johnson

What has been your most challenging part of motherhood?

Especially as your kids grow older, I would say it’s teaching them virtues in failure – allowing them to accept and own consequences for their decisions/actions, yes, but also encouraging them to rise up to their God-given potential, and you only get there by trying.  “The only true failure is when you stop trying,” as my parents would say.  Allowing them to fail is one part of this, but leading by example is the flip side of that coin… They’re always watching, so how do I accept life challenges as an incredible opportunity?  Ultimately, we’re teaching our children to stand on their own two feet with strength and confidence in knowing God made them with special intention and purpose, so “rise up” and make the world a better place.

 

What inspires you as a mom?

I’m inspired by Holiness in others, and am inspired by the reality that, by a divine plan, we were chosen to be mothers for our children… What an awesome responsibility as both Nurturer and Teacher!  I am blessed by great friendships and believe me, I take notes from friends with older kids… They’ve encountered life situations and instilled values where I can see their kids flourishing, and it’s super inspirational.  And not just great testimonies for hard work paying off with college or career opportunities, but awesome examples in volunteerism, stewardship.  If I open my eyes, there are ordinary people doing extraordinary things every day.

 

How do you find time for yourself/spouse/children?

I heard this years ago, and have never forgotten it:  “How do you spell Love?  T-I-M-E.”  A professional business coach also made this sobering point, “Your family deserves what’s best of you, not what’s left of you” when you walk in the door.  That awakened my senses, and inspired me to structure my business so that I am present… I love to escape with my son and do things he wants to do – just mother/son time.  Admittedly, a gun range or video game challenge is not always my cup of tea, but there’s a lot of sharing!  With my daughter, she likes foodie outings, and have done quick overnight trips together – very special.  And hubs… We try to find simple moments like coffee on the back patio before the house wakes up, or a quiet dinner together.  We even took a dance lesson in the last year. 😉  Lastly, self-care… I think many mothers would admit self-care often times comes last, and am reminded of the airplane analogy of putting an oxygen mask over our face first so we can help others around us.  We’re not effective serving others unless we’re taking care of ourselves.  It’s a work in progress.

 

What are your favorite things to do/places to spend time with your children in our community?

I would say one of our favorite things to do as a family is going out to eat together!  What does that say about us?! HA!  We live in a resort-like community, so we’ve enjoyed a lot of fun outings through the years… July Fourth parade is an annual tradition, picnics or concert-going in the park, being a spectator at professional golf tournaments, church socials… Window-shopping around Market Street… Volunteering as a family… So many wonderful venues and memories to create!

 

What advice would you give new moms?

Oh my… I’m not sure I’m qualified to give advice, but would simply say to “be present.”  I look back in the early years of my current career when my kids were young, and it’s a blur. I was inspired to get into a coaching program, which allowed me to implement better systems and structure.  One of the core principles I was coached on included creating a Perfect Calendar.  So, that would be my advice… Make sure your top priorities are on your calendar – time for yourself and time for your family.  Other activities, work commitments, etc, will fall in place around the latter.

 

Jo Anne grew up in Overland Park, Kansas, and attended the University of Nebraska-Lincoln on a full-ride music scholarship while simultaneously pursuing a professional career as a violinist with The Lincoln Symphony Orchestra among other solo & ensemble outlets. Upon graduating with a Bachelor of Music in Violin Performance, Jo Anne continued a professional music career while exploring a “daytime” career in Corporate America with a Fortune 500 Company. Within a short period, her tenure in insurance claims included: National Catastrophe claims, Fire/Auto claims, Special Investigation, Attorney Negotiations, and Management. Since 1996 Jo Anne has worked, lived, and played in The Woodlands.  She began her real estate career in 2008 which she has grown into a top-producing team – Jo Anne Johnson Real Estate Group.  Married for over 20 years to Troy, a native Houstonian, whom she met in Denver, CO, on business in the early ‘90s, Jo Anne is also the proud mother of two amazing kids! Between band practices and sports fields, she considers herself the luckiest woman in the world!

 

 

Inspiring Mom – Amy Young

What has been your most challenging part of motherhood?
I would say up until this point, the most challenging aspect of motherhood has been the constant worry of whether or not I’m doing everything right. Parenting is hard, and no one knows the right answer to every challenge faced as a mother. Fear of making the wrong decision, whether it be what I am feeding my kids or the decision to discipline them in certain situations, is a constant presence. As we are entering the preteen years in our house, it is becoming increasingly clear that raising kids in a technological world (that we never had) is now becoming the most challenging aspect of motherhood. Having to monitor screen time, website content, YouTube videos…these are things our parents never dealt with. Knowing that what they click, text, post or “like” as a teenager can follow them for the rest of their lives is nerve-racking. Trying to keep a watchful eye on it can be overwhelming but extremely necessary.

What inspires you as a mom?

Watching my kids grow into these individual little people who think on their own and have their own opinions inspires me. To think that I am playing a part in who they are becoming and equipping them with the tools to make tough decisions inspires me to be a better mom.

How do you find time for yourself/spouse/children?
That’s always a tough one because we are not the best planners. My husband and I do sneak away for date nights grabbing dinner or a movie when we can. We recently started having “family meetings” with the kids. It’s a time we carve out (usually Sunday evenings) to sit with the kids (no tv, phones, computers) and talk…just talk. Sounds awkward but they are great! We discuss our upcoming week, specific needs, anything big on the horizon, etc. We also pick a word of the week (e.g., love, humility, gratitude) and discuss how to implement that word into our day-to-day. It’s been fun listening to our kids open up and seeing them attempt to put these words into practice.

What are your favorite things to do/places to spend time with your children in our community?
With all of the amenities that our community has to offer, we love venturing out and trying new activities or the latest restaurants when we can. But with kids involved in sports and extra-curricular activities, it seems most of our free time is spent at sports and recreational complexes in and around The Woodlands. Sometimes this means spending our entire weekends watching our kids in games and tournaments, but I wouldn’t trade it for anything.

What advice would you give new moms?
Never say, “My kid would never!” because it will come back to bite you. Trust me. Kids are kids, and no matter how perfect WE think they are, they are going to fail. They need to fail. It can be so tempting to want to swoop in and fix everything for them (guilty!), but let them figure it out. It is better to experience failures and disappointments now so they are better equipped to handle the larger challenges they will face as they become adults.

Amy and her husband, Scott, have been married for 19 years. After practicing
law for 9 years, Amy became a stay-at-home mom to her two children, Owen
(11) and Annie (10). She now dedicates her time to raising her family,
volunteering for various organizations including her children’s school (The
Woodlands Christian Academy), HOPE – The Will Herndon Research Fund and
Interfaith of The Woodlands, as well as helping with her husband’s dental
practice.