The Best JOTW “Aha!” Moment

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30 March 2007


This is a special issue of JOTW.  We’ve been discussing those “Aha!” moments.  You know, when the clouds clear and our clarity of purpose becomes blinding and the way ahead suddenly appears before us, paved in gold.


As you know, Imre Communications has made it their purpose to create those “Aha!” moments for their clients.


Several of you shared your “Aha!” moments in our newsletter.  Here are four that were selected for their passion and purpose.  Each of these people will receive a $25 gift card for The Home Depot, courtesy of Imre Communications.


Please go to and look for the survey poll on the right side of the website and select the communicator who offered the most convincing “Aha!”  The winner will receive a $100 gift card from Target, courtesy of Imre Communications.


Voting ends 4 April 2007.


The winner will be announced in JOTW 15-2007.


***  Isabel Kaldenbach


My AHA moment came when as a 40 year old not-particularly-maternal divorcee I entered into “experimental parenting” to answer the question, “I wonder if I’m ever going regret not having had kids?”


Our county (Arlington, Virginia) offers, in addition to traditional foster parenting, a type of foster parenting called “respite care”, which means taking care of kids when their regular foster parents have to be out of town or just need a break. That seemed the easiest slide for an ambivalent parent but experienced babysitter. So I took the foster parenting courses, did the background check, got certified, and signed up for respite care.


My first placements were 12 and 7 year old sisters. They were with me a couple of weekends before their original placement (with well intentioned but unprepared relatives) fell apart, and they came to live me full time. A year later, their parents’ rights were terminated, which obligates the state to put them up for adoption. This meant they’d most likely move, be separated from each other, who knows. Meantime, while I loved them tremendously I thought I was still an ambivalent parent as far as the long-term view goes.


That month I happened to have a week-long business trip away from and that’s when I had my AHA! Moment. I not only DID want kids, I wanted THESE kids.  Our adoption became final June 2005.


I’ve also continued to take in kids on emergency and respite basis. While I’d like to imagine I’ve changed the lives of every kid who’s stayed here, I realize that for many all  I’ve probably done is provide them a few days of solace and safety – and that’s OK!  I know this is not technically “volunteering” since I do get per diem reimbursement from the state. But I’d still call it “volunteering” since the $15/day is instantly absorbed by the costs of  feeding, sheltering, clothing, and transporting a kid around Northern Virginia .


PS. Anyone interested in foster parenting, please feel free to contact me directly. It’s the most gratifying and spiritually rewarding thing I’ve ever done. And I got two kids without having to go through caffeine withdrawal, labor, or stretch marks.   ;>)


Isabel Kaldenbach


***  Faye Rapoport DesPres:


I was sitting at my computer one day pouring through freelance writing Web sites when I realized that in order to concentrate better and be more professional I'd have to move my cat off my lap, sit up straight and work harder.  The problem was, I wasn't enjoying what I was doing and my cat, who was purring loudly, didn't want to move.  As I sat there realizing that I was enjoying my cat more than I was enjoying looking for work, it occurred to me that I could create my own work, writing about something I love — animals — connecting with other animal lovers and finding ways to help non-profit organizations that work to rescue or protect both pets and wildlife.  And so, “Our Place to Paws” was born, first an e-newsletter, and now a Web site and blog ( and  The project is at its beginnings, and I'm not sure how I'll make any money, but when I started working on it I realized that I could sit at my computer for hours and actually enjoy what I was doing and feel good about it!  The first few times people wrote in to contribute photos, say they were enjoying the e-newsletter, or thank me for helping to publicize an animal seeking a home, I knew I was on the right track. (Of course, I still do other freelance work!)


***  Janet Knudsen


A few weeks ago I was on a bus returning from New York City with a church
youth group. My agreeing to act as chaperone for this trip was key to the
trip happening since no one else at our church was willing to do it. The
trip was a great success. We spent a night at a cathedral, participated in a
midnight service, explored New York, and met kids from youth groups all over
Massachusetts. As I was relaxing on the bus, I was remembering a similar bus
trip to Washington, D.C. when I was in high school. It then occurred to me (Aha!)
that these kids would remember this New York trip their whole lives.


Janet Knudsen


***  Donna Papacosta:


Sometimes I think we need to give ourselves permission to let our minds wander. You can't always be creative when you're hovering over the keyboard. I will consciously analyze a problem or issue and then let it go. THEN the AHA moment comes when it's ready. Examples: coming up with the name for a client newsletter, or a format for their podcast, or an angle for a tricky article, or the name of an expert to be interviewed. The list goes on…


Donna Papacosta


Vote for your favorite Aha! Moment at


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