Show Us Your Hands! Annual Report: Recalibration - Creating a Balance

To celebrate the first anniversary of Show Us Your Hands! as a non-profit, the Board of Directors is writing a series of blog posts about the past year. Each of us writes about a different topic, relevant to us as individuals, to the organization and to the community. We welcome your comments and hope you’ll share these posts with others to continue the conversation. Today, Cathy Kramer, Director of Community Programs, recounts our recalibration as a team and an organization and for herself, and her personal life. 

I am the mom to a very passionate 15 year old daughter who has always had the amazing gift of living in the moment. I have vivid memories of her stopping on winter walks to pick up snow and not just eat it, but experience it. I could sit all day and watch her with friends because I know in her mind that she is thinking of nothing else but that moment which she is in. Times like this I want to stop and take it all in. I want to experience life as my daughter. These are the good moments of living in the moment. Unfortunately, there are also frustrating moments such as when deadlines aren’t met or planning ahead didn’t happen and she has to study for three big tests in one evening.

This school year I am spending a lot of time helping my daughter to prioritize her schedule. I make weekly calendars that she rolls her eyes at, but give both of us a view of the week so that we can think ahead. By thinking ahead, she is able to accomplish the things that have to be done and also plan ahead for the things she wants to do, which then makes living in the moment that much easier for mom.

Planning ahead, prioritizing, and reprioritizing is a theme we are also working on at Show Us Your Hands! As Director Lene Andersen points out in Arthritis and Employment: Show Us Your Hands! the directors of Show Us Your Hands! each deal with inflammatory arthritis, stress, and workload in different ways and at different levels.

Many times we have had to stop and reprioritize our goals and projects while taking time to understand how each of us handles stress and life. Sometimes it has been frustrating to put community projects on the back burner so that we can stop and take a second or third look at our overall goals, but it has also given us lessons that each one of us is taking back to our personal lives. We have found that deadlines are necessary, so that as with my daughter, we can look ahead and accomplish our goals. Many times though, we choose to extend those deadlines as one or two of us might be dealing with life issues. We are constantly coming up with inventive ways of opening up the communication between the five of us who communicate exclusively through emails and Google Hangout as we live on three different continents. It is a constant theme to find more effective ways to distribute the workload and stay organized. We want to make this organization one that focuses on the physical and mental health of our team, so that we can better serve the community while being kind to our minds and bodies. We are constantly reprioritizing our goals so that in the end we not only provide community projects of substance, but also give ourselves as Directors time to live in the moment of our own lives.

As Show Us Your Hands! takes the necessary time to focus on providing a positive message to the community about inflammatory arthritis, I find this simple exercise helps me get in touch with what matters most to me in regards to my personal life and as a Director of Show Us Your Hands!. I stop, close my eyes, and ask myself, “What do you want? What do you need?” Taking just a few short minutes to focus back on my personal needs helps me to prioritize what I am able to do as a team member. My wants and needs are always changing which is why taking a few minutes and refocusing always brings me back to accomplishing my goals.

How do you prioritize your goals?

Cathy Kramer
Show Us Your Hands! Director of Community Programs

December 12, 2013


Cathy, I wish that my mom had helped put together a schedule for me when I was younger, because I was also one who did not like to think ahead. This coupled with procrastination meant that I had quite a few nights where I had to study for a bunch of tests in one night or missed some deadline. In professional life, I am finally learning just how important and beneficial it is to schedule things out in your life. Thanks for sharing this post and happy holidays to you.