Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘Holidays’ Category

This week’s Gratitude Sunday really started last Sunday when we got together with my mom, my Aunt and my cousin and her family and we shared an Easter dinner that included the best prime rib I’ve ever eaten. That set the tone for a very good week.

Quotes on Gratitude

A week or so ago, Orna Ross blogged about a retreat she attended with Thich Nhat Hahn and shared these quotes.

“Don’t wait until you have no more suffering before allowing yourself to be happy. Smile, breathe and go slowly… Sometimes your joy is the source of your smile, but sometimes your smile can be the source of your joy.”

“The true miracle is not walking on water or walking in air, but simply walking on this earth… Walk as if you are kissing the earth with your feet.”

“Because you are alive, everything is possible.”

Gratitude list for the week ending April 14

  1. A hyacinth in a vase next to my bed, such that I fell asleep and woke up to its lovely scent.
  2. Attending a fascinating talk by Jonah Lehrer, author of Imagine: How Creativity Works
  3. Making plans to see Les Mis with a college friend this summer, which has special significance for us
  4. Outdoor runs
  5. Lilacs in bloom
  6. Tulips blooming on Pearl Street
  7. Getting to see the movie Titanic on the big screen again – and in 3-D!
  8. Reading my book with the sound of rain on the roof
  9. Another helpful and supportive meeting with my in-person critique group
  10. Laura Backes helped me solve a problem in one of my manuscripts – a problem I’ve been trying to fix for TWO YEARS!

What are you grateful for this week?

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Easter came a day early at our house. It all started in the afternoon when I went into the garden bed to clean it out in preparation for tilling and composting. In the process of pulling up hosing and stakes, I heard a rustling in the corner. I figured it was a mouse, but I kept hearing it, so I took a closer look. There, hidden in the tall grass, was the smallest baby bunny I had ever seen.

You can barely see bunny #1 hiding in the grass

I subscribe to the philosophy that it’s best to leave nature be if at all possible, so I called the Boulder County Wildlife Rehabilitation Center for advice. They suggested leaving him alone for no more than one hour. If he was still there, I was to gently catch him, put him in a shoebox with holes poked in the lid, put something in the box to keep him warm and take him to the emergency vet clinic where they could care for him until wildlife officials could collect him.

When I went back, I found the poor guy still there. I put uncooked rice in a sock, heated it in the microwave, wrapped it in one of my T-shirts and put that, and the bunny, in the shoebox. Off we went. The nurse told me they had special food to give him and that they would keep him in an incubator overnight. Whew! I drove home feeling like quite the Good Samaritan.

As soon as I stepped out of the car, my son ran up to me and said, “We found another one in the garden, but he ran behind the shed!” My heart sank. Now, instead of thinking I’d rescued a lone bunny that had gotten lost or abandoned, I had to face the likelihood that there was a nest in the garden that I’d disturbed. I went behind the shed looking for the little one, but no luck.

We decided to rake all the debris out of the garden before tilling, figuring we’d find any others that might still be hiding. Another two turned up, not alive. I thought perhaps the mother had not survived, orphaning the babies. The garden now bare, my husband fired up the tiller and got to work. All was well until he reached the center of the garden. I was in the garden with him, with my son and our dog Rocky. All of a sudden I saw a little one shoot out of nowhere, inches in front of the tiller. I screamed my fool head off and ran after him, catching him just before Rocky did. Here he is.

Bunny #2

So – another shoe box, another sock of rice, another T-shirt. In a moment of inspiration, I decided we should check behind the shed one more time before heading out. Sure enough, this time we found the little guy hiding in a clump of grass. We tucked him in the box, and the two of them burrowed under the warm sock together.

This time I let the kids come with me to deliver them. They were SO good about not trying to handle the bunnies. I explained to them that baby bunnies are highly stressed animals, and that they can actually die from too much stress (boy can I relate to that!). For the entire drive to the clinic, the kids spoke in whispers to each other and held the box absolutely still.

 Once at the clinic, the nurse was nice enough to let the kids see the first bunny in his overnight home. After the vet examined the other two, they would join their sibling.

Bunny #1 in the home where #s 2 and 3 would soon join him

I snuck in some good lessons for the kids – what happens to animals when their habitat is disrupted, why you shouldn’t handle or feed wild animals (or keep them as pets!!!), and what to do in the case of a wildlife emergency.

So, was the mother still alive? Would she have returned to the nest that evening if I hadn’t come in and started digging up the garden? Had I truly saved them or endangered them first and rescued them after? I’ll never know for sure, but I do know that once they were exposed, their chances of survival were next to nothing without protection from the elements and predators, so I did the best I could under the circumstances.

After the kids went to bed, I poured myself a rather large glass of wine and took a hot bath. It turns out spending six hours either rescuing, worrying about or shuttling baby bunnies to the vet is exhausting. But I went to bed feeling good about the fact that the three of them were safe, warm, fed and together. The wildlife officials were set to pick them up on Easter Sunday, of all days, and they will care for the bunnies until they can be released back into the wild.

I slept soundly until I had to wake up at 5:00 a.m. to be ….. The Easter Bunny. 🙂

Read Full Post »

This week’s Gratitude Sunday post…

Quotes on Gratitude

“I have learned that happiness is not determined by circumstances. Happiness is not what happens when everything goes the way you think it should go: happiness is what happens when you decide to be happy.” — Marianne Williamson

“Gratefulness for what is there is one of the most powerful tools for creating what is not yet there. What does gratefulness mean? It means you appreciate what is. You value, you give attention to, you honor whatever is here at this moment.” — Eckhart Tolle

“The single greatest thing you can do to change your life today would be to start being grateful for what you have right now. And the more grateful you are, the more you get.” — Oprah Winfrey

Gratitude List for the week ending February 18

  1. Valentine flowers, for both me AND Em
  2. Valentine phone call
  3. Getting through all the posts piled up in my Google Reader
  4. Great meeting with a consultant who is kicking my butt helping me build a better business – online presence and all
  5. Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives – for keeping me company when I’m on the treadmill
  6. The fact that when Jay got the croup this week, he didn’t need an ER visit.
  7. EPIC sledding on the street in front of the Breckenridge house
  8. Katie Davis’ Brain Burps About Books podcast.  I always drive to Breckenridge by myself to get things ready. She keeps me company AND I learn a ton.
  9. Splurging on Alaskan King Crab legs for dinner on Saturday.  So so good!
  10. Michigan beat Ohio State in their basketball game.

What are you grateful for this week?

Read Full Post »

The first Gratitude Sunday post of 2012. Happy New Year everyone!  This week I was especially grateful that my family gave me two full days by myself at the Breckenridge rental to organize for the year.  I worked from the moment I got up until I collapsed into bed, only taking breaks to walk the dog and take my nightly soak in the jet tub.  I loved every minute of it, and I feel so ready for 2012!

Quotes on Gratitude

“A new year is unfolding – like a blossom with petals curled tightly concealing the beauty within.” — Unknown

“You’ve done it before and you can do it now. See the positive possibilities. Redirect the substantial energy of your frustration and turn it into positive, effective, unstoppable determination.” — Ralph Marston

“Each moment of the year has its own beauty… a picture which was never seen before and shall never be seen again.” — Ralph Waldo Emerson

Gratitude list for the week ending January 7

  1. Author Katie Davis gave me an amazing New Year’s gift by asking me to come on her Brain Burps About Books kidlit podcast.  I’ll be her first guest of 2012, and the interview goes live this Wednesday (so you’ll be hearing more soon :-))  What an honor and what a way to start the year!!
  2. I set four-year goals, which drove my annual goals (including 2012), which drove my monthly goals for 2012.  First time I’ve ever planned this strategically (and tactically), and it feels great!  Goals, not resolutions.
  3. Michigan won the Sugar Bowl!!  Bonus video of the song that’s been going through my head all week at the end of the post!  Hint: Def Leppard, 1980s…
  4. Laid down my first tracks of the season skiing at Breckenridge
  5. Six inches of snowfall on Saturday night
  6. The aforementioned deep-soaking jet tub at the Breckenridge rental.  It is heaven on earth.
  7. Jay catching snowflakes on his tongue on the chairlift
  8. Watching Rocky’s pure, unadulterated joy at running through fresh snow
  9. Bright pink mountains in the morning at sunrise, and deep red mountains in the evening at sunset.
  10. The astonishing response to the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge, the support and camaraderie of the group, and the whimsical, phenomenal badge Linda Silvestri made for us.  I’m also grateful for Tara Lazar who kicked us off on Sunday.  I started the 12 x 12 group to inspire other picture book writers, but the participants in the group are inspiring me far more!

What are you grateful for this week?

Read Full Post »

This year, I’m signing up for the anti-resolution revolution.  It is so tempting to start listing all the things one wants to accomplish at the start of a New Year, but in my experience, the process (and thus the result) is flawed.

I believe the reason resolutions often don’t work is because they start from a place of lack, of negativity, of failure.  We think about all the things we weren’t happy with in the previous year and set out to “fix” them in the new one.  Lose weight = I weigh too much.  Save money = I spend too much.  Make more money = I don’t have enough money.  Spend more time with my kids = I’m not doing enough for my kids.  Write more often = I don’t write enough.

If you’ve been reading this blog for any period of time, you know I am all about self-improvement, especially improvement that puts us on a path to self-actualization.  There is absolutely nothing wrong with setting goals, and achieving them is even better.  However, the goals need to be set on a strong foundation.  So I figured, why not start with what I did accomplish this year and set goals from there.  Let’s first celebrate success and then determine how to carry that forward into the New Year, rather than berating ourselves for what did not get done.  Being zen about it, probably everything got done that was supposed to.

Here is my list of what I consider to be my major professional accomplishments this year

  • Completed two picture books.  Both are now on submission.
  • Was accepted into, and completed, the Rocky Mountain SCBWI mentorship program.
  • Drafted a third picture book which is at least halfway to submission-ready
  • Completed PiBoIdMo and ended up with 30+ picture book ideas
  • Sent 20+ queries over the course of the year
  • From those queries, sold one poem and got contracts to write three articles (coming in 2012)
  • Entered a picture book in the MeeGenius Children’s Author Challenge and made it to #16 out of 400+ entries
  • Learned a TON about online marketing and promotion from the contest.
  • Completed four months of group coaching to launch a new project.  I am now about halfway through drafting the business plan for that project (more news on that in 2012)
  • Formed a LLC to support my writing business and other projects I launch
  • Took a two-month course on blogging to build an author platform.  I have now gone from a high of 2000 hits per month on my blog to a high of nearly 6000 per month.
  • Guest posted on several blogs
  • Set up an in-person picture book critique group in Boulder
  • Attended a digital publishing conference and the Rocky Mountain SCBWI regional conference
  • Last, but not least, launched the 12 x 12 in 2012 challenge to write 12 picture books in 12 months.  This is, obviously, one of my major goals for the coming year.

In addition to work accomplishments, three other achievements deserve mention.  One is that I ran a personal best in the Bolder Boulder 10K this year and felt great.  The race also happened to take place right after I turned 40, which felt even better.

Second, I planned, from start to finish, and then took a six-week trip to Italy with my family for the summer.  This trip was the fulfillment of a major dream and life-changing in every possible way.  Although my kids are still young, I think it will turn out to be life-changing for them to have had such an experience.

One of the things the trip to Italy inspired me to do is the third achievement I want to mention.  I wrote a Bucket List.  I saw how rewarding it was to realize even one dream, so I thought I would capture as many more as I could in the hopes of realizing them all.  I am trying not be afraid of dreaming big.  So perhaps a motto for 2012 is Dream Big or Go Home.

For your further contemplation, here are a few other posts with an alternate take on New Year’s Resolutions

Lynnette Burrows doesn’t let Mrs. Darkside win.

Hayley Lavik is not going to change anything next year.

Prudence MacLeod is going to read books by live authors.

Emma Burcart is going to be kind – to herself.

Jennifer Lewis Oliver has never made a New Year’s Resolution.

Myndi Shafer does have a short list of resolutions, which she made in the Nick of Time.

What is your stance on New Year’s Resolutions?  Good thing, bad thing or in-between?

Read Full Post »

Because I appreciate all of my readers so much, I decided to humiliate Elf myself for your entertainment.  Laugh away!

May you all have a happy, healthy and peaceful holiday – whichever one you celebrate.

Read Full Post »

Two music videos for your holiday pleasure.

This first features my cousin’s daughter, who is an amazing singer and actress.  She recently participated in her high school’s annual Christmas Madrigal Dinner.  The finale was a Nigerian Christmas carol called Betelehemu.  It’s a little on the long side at almost 5 minutes, but I guarantee it will life your spirits.

The second is a pure crack-up from the organized chaos that was my kids’ All-School sing.  Luckily they have a music teacher with a sense of humor.  It’s worth it to watch past the first minute on that one.  Enjoy!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: