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Let’s go Adventuring!

For years, when my husband and I were first married we would go on “mystery dinners.” They were so much fun! One or the other of us would plan them out, you’d start in one place for cocktails, hit somewhere else for dinner and then maybe have a big finish with a movie or bowling or just back at home for a nightcap.

The evenings were always fun. Sometimes we would be joined by friends even but usually it was just the two of us. It added fun, romance, smiles, and adventure!

These days, our mystery dinners have turned into adventure days and I love them still.

We pick a day – almost always a Saturday since those are the most open – and then a place and we head out.

My favorite adventure days are to new places since I love exploring things I might be able to share with all of you, talk about on Facebook, pin on Pinterest or even work an idea into one of the books. We often take along my parents who love a good adventure too and we also love to grab our five-year-old niece for extra special days. (Adventuring, like the South Pole Santa series, is for the young and the young-at-heart!)

In our adventuring days we’ve gone wine tasting, biking, walking, to the theater, shopping, driving, to tourist attractions in the area, to beaches, to mountains, to parks and to loads of funky and fun places for lunch. The best days have a lot of sunshine but adventuring can be fun anywhere and in any kind of weather as long as you know the secret. And I do. It’s not about money or weather or exact conditions. It’s simpler than that. Are you ready? The secret to a perfect adventuring day is . . .

Attitude!

Yours to be specific and your kids or whoever goes along with you. Adventuring has an element of surprise that comes with it since by its nature, ideally, an adventure day is exploring or doing something you haven’t done before. So the key to loving it is simply being willing to love it no matter what comes. Knowing that the adventure is the point – not whether the things you do or the places you go turn out to be perfect. It’s the adventure of exploring that brings the magic and the fun.

Try it for yourself! Decide on a day coming up, pick a place and start talking about it so your family of one or many start looking forward to it. And then come back and let me know. I’d love to hear about your adventure day – it might give me great ideas for our next one! Shine your light!

oh oh oh! – jingle

 

 

April Wonders!

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Hey, who’s been loving April? So far we’ve had a beautiful full moon and a beautiful Easter Sunday. At least in this part of the world where our day was sunny and clear. Perfect for egg hunts which the little’s in my life loved!

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Plus, all of us bigs got in on a little bit of the spring fun too when this oversized bunny showed up at the office and passed out plastic eggs with surprises in them for us. How I love me a surprise, oversized rabbit in the office! 

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I also loved these fabulously named eggs I found on my last trip for groceries. Happy Eggs! The box totally made me smile though I must admit the eggs inside seemed to be of the same temperament as every other egg I’ve ever personally come across. :)

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You know what is happier than eggs? Squawk, Sandra’s best parrot friend! And you know what is more fun than eggs but sounds a bit the same? Leggo’s! (Yes, I know I put an extra g in there – for effect you know. :) ) And those two things together make-up our giveaway for this month’s Jolly Jingle drawing! The April Jolly Jingle will be coming out on Friday, April 24 and one lucky subscriber will get this very fun parrot Lego set sent off to them just for being kind enough to have signed up on the list. You are signed up right? I mean really, all the cool people are! Pop your name in the green box above and cross your fingers for some happy Lego’s coming your way.

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

 

Unleash Imagination!

InternationalChildren's Book Day

Plan ahead!

Spoil some kids in your life and tuck some books in their Easter baskets this year. Or gift them a couple of their favorites for spring break. Or head to the library and check out a big, big stack! Magic happens between the pages and their imagination!

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

Let’s be our best selves!

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Change is bubbling you all.

It’s percolating,

     simmering and

           sometimes boiling up to the top to overflow.

I’m learning more and more about writing, about marketing and, most especially, excitingly, about me and being real.

This will likely come as no surprise to any of you who have followed me at all but . . .

I’m not the most serious person you are going to meet. (Surprise!)

I like fun!

It’s who I am at my core.

I like being spontaneous, making people laugh, smiling till my jaw hurts, thinking funny thoughts, breaking rules, being generous, promoting kindness and big surprises.

I like magic and adventure, following your intuition, giving thanks, releasing your inner elf (aka inner child) and I think that creativity running wild is imagination in its truest form.

I love love love good ideas, brainstorming and out-of-the-box thinking.

I am all about doing a happy dance, singing a happy song, shining your bright light and lifting others up.

I’m a girl who believes in happy endings.

(Okay, yes, I have my “less than perfect traits” too, like avoiding sad things, being bossy and sometimes seeming too carefree to name a few, but that is all boring stuff and I really really hate boring. :)  )

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I’m sharing all that because I’m working on “owning” all that. For a long time, none of that seemed like enough to offer the world. It’s not deep stuff really but, for me, it’s my stuff, I’ve learned it is enough and while I think you have a sense of much of it already,

I’m working to really “unleash the kracken” and let my joy flag fly!

I want my work, my website, my books – my brand – to all shout what I’m about so that all the rest of you who are about some or all of those same things will be able to find me and know me and I can get to know you all better too.

It’s okay if that means I won’t be for everybody. I get that. Truth is, I have a hard time with certain kinds of personalities myself (most politicians probably won’t ever line up to be best friends with me for instance) so it’s okay if they aren’t seeking me out in return. The world is a big and wild and wonderful place that has room for all of us to be our most authentic selves. Isn’t that the coolest?

And it’s so important.

I talk to the kids reading my books about how important it is to be themselves and I hope that message comes through in the books. But it is super important for each of us to be who we are, full on, full in, without hesitation or worry – no matter what age we are.

You are fantastic! There is no one else better at being you then you.

I know – I really, really do know – how challenging for some of us that can be to figure out and if you’re someone like me on that issue: keep looking. Keep asking questions, keep meditating, praying, wondering, seeking until you hear the answer and you know it to be true.

And here’s a giant size tip from me on it – you already do know. You do.

Don’t be shaking your head at me like you don’t. :)

You do.

It’s the best part of you. It’s that part that you return to time and time again as what feels like home. The parts you like best. It’s a simple part of you made up of lots and lots of pieces. That is who you are.

I like it about you. You should too.

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We all should!

There’s absolutely no point in this short life we live here on this wondrous planet of ours to live a life being anything but who we really are and pursue what really makes us happy. Knowing that, getting that down, has been a big part of my journey this past year and now that I get it, I’m looking to be all in.

So, change is coming.

I’m not quite sure how – though I know it will mean I’m going to be changing this website when I get my arms wrapped around it all – but I hope it will mean I am shining bigger and brighter and reaching more readers with these books that I love and that I think matter and that are inspired by the family that I love.

Meanwhile,thanks for your love and support! I’d love love love to know more about who you are too. Leave me a comment or send me a note and tell me about your awesomeness!

 

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

 

March 24th came and went

Well, did you notice? Did you check your email box yesterday and go “Hey, where’s my Jolly Jingle for March?

Yes? Well then, thank you for noticing. :) And, if you didn’t that’s totally okay too. I get that you’re busy. I am too. And that’s exactly why you didn’t get a Jolly Jingle yesterday.

I decided that, while I’m busy writing book four, and we’re “off season” I’d give myself a little breathing room and you all a month off. I might even skip April too, though I doubt it since I’m already thinking about all there is to talk about, but I’m not going away so don’t be thinking about going anywhere either okay? Sooner or later I WILL get this rough draft done. (The use of capital letters there was a power boost message meant for me. :) Somedays you just gotta believe. :) )

Thanks for loving me even when you forget about me. :) And hey, if you’re not on the Jolly Jingle list, why the heck not? You can win stuff. Sign up in the green box above.

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

 

 

A lucky first on the first day of spring

You're the best, VMS!

Thanks to the wonderful teachers and the head of schools at Valley Montessori School in Livermore California, I got to do my first talk with a classroom on the first day of spring.

It was spectacular!

I mean I really really loved it. I had 35 reasons why:

32 bright 4th and 5th graders and three caring, talented teachers.

Wow is that a great place to learn and to teach. Every person there made me feel welcome. Even more than that, the students all made me feel special. They asked important, smart questions, they clapped for me, they made some great suggestions for my books (at least one of which I plan to use!) and they graciously and warmly asked me for my autograph.

This author’s heart, like the Grinch’s, grew two sizes that afternoon.IMG_5509

Thank you again fabulous students of Valley Montessori School. Kindness rocks and so do each of you! Write on!

oh oh oh! – jingle

 

 

Three happy things about March 20th!

March 20th marks the first day of spring in my part of the world (versus, say, Australia where they will just be starting in to fall.) Sunshine, green grass, flowers and longer days are all part of this marvelous season! You simply can’t help but be happy!

March 20th also marks my nephews birthday, Spencer. How I love him! He’s the inspiration for the Spence in the South Pole Santa series too. Both wonderful characters. :) Happy Birthday Spence!

March 20th has been declared World Happiness Day by the United Nations. You just know that is an occasion I can get behind. :) You too I’m thinking. I mean we all like to be happy. I say we intentionally determine we will be extra happy for the whole weekend just to celebrate the heck out of this special event! :) And – let’s make other people happy too! This is a perfect weekend for some random acts of kindness. For me, I’m traveling this weekend so I’m getting creative. I’ve already decided that I’m going to:

  • Tip big! Since I’m on my own this trip, I’ll be counting on others for dropping me off, lugging my bag and making me some nice tall coffee drinks. Good chance to practice generosity.
  • Be nice. I’m not proud of it but traveling doesn’t bring out my best side. It seems to activate an anxiousness in me as I worry about traffic, lines, luggage, security, etc. I get stressed and impatient. This weekend though, I am going to leave early and smile through it all. I know my calmness can help others around me and besides, I’m still on my “no complaints” restriction. I gotta like it.
  • Eat healthy. You might think that is a strange one for this list but healthy eating doesn’t just make me happier, it is so much better for the environment then noshing on junk food. It keeps your energy up, keeps the pounds down and adds to your overall good health – which puts a smile on your face which puts a smile on the faces of everyone you’re smiling at. It’s a wonderful thing. :)

So let’s see your best happy happy joy joy dance! Surely a day devoted to happiness is worth a dance? I think I might just try one at the airport. :)

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

 

half way mark!

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Woo-Hoooooo! Thirty five thousand words (35,000!) in the bag which means just about half way through book four!  I am:

Feeling fine Valentine!

Really good Robin Hood!

Having fun yellow sun!

 

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

Busting through the Blocks

Well it’s writing season once again and I came up against my first real true bout of writers block.

Nasty stuff.

Gives me the shivers thinking about it. I had a nice long weekend by myself at home scheduled for writing this past weekend and there I was.

I cleaned the fridge. I changed the sheets. I watched “The Price is Right.” I straightened my closet. I packed two bags of stuff for Goodwill. I sat out on my deck for a lovely meditation in the sunshine. I even cleaned out the cat boxes.

Anything but write.

So I gave myself the ole pep talk on “tomorrow will be a better day” watched a repeat of a couple of episodes of “Chopped” on the Food Channel and turned in.

Morning comes and I went for a walk. Talked to my mom. Popped over to Target for “just a few things.” Had dinner with my sister and somehow managed to write a couple thousand words in between. “Tomorrow” I told myself. “I’ll still be able to catch up.” My stretch goal for the weekend was 16,000 words and I knew I could hit 12,000 even at that point.

Despite my bad, procrastinating self, I managed to hit 10,000 words over the long weekend and every one of them was a little bit excruciating.

I don’t know for sure what the problem was to be honest. I just know that what usually flows steadily when I sit down and give it time wasn’t. Worse, I didn’t even want to be writing. It felt like a “have-to-do” instead of the somewhat fun “get-lost-in-the-story” kind of way to spend time. It’s never just easy for me but it’s also never something I resent or begrudge.

Thankfully that phase seems to have passed and the words are flowing again. I’m determined to still hit the 12,000 words I owe and after work last night I got down another 600. I’ve passed the 28,000 word mark and am creeping in on 30,000. Still a long way from the likely finish of 70,000ish but movement forward feels like a good thing.

One by one is how it gets done.

 

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle

 

Signs of Spring

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Signs of Spring are popping up around our house and it’s making me smile. smile, smile. We’re expecting sunshine and warm days this weekend — which is terrible! It’s a writing retreat weekend right here at home for me the next several days and nice days don’t help! Go away sunshine! Ha! (You know I don’t mean that right? Especially you Mr. Sun. That was just bitter writer smack talk going on there.) :)

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Yeah, I’ve got to write, write, write till I hit 12,000 words or more which would put me at about the halfway point.  Just a heads-up to my Icelandic friends — the elves are headed your way! Hide your sweets! This little white wonder isn’t helping anything. She seems to think “writing retreat” means “oh good my favorite pillow is home for me!” 

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Besides the sunshine some other signs of spring include the fact that the yard guy was here today mowing our lawn! He got to enjoy looking at our very pretty blooming plum tree in the yard. For dinner, coming up is a very spring dinner of just wonderful fresh grilled veggies. Aren’t they pretty here in the sunlight? Plus, I got out some spring decor for the middle of the table. 

Ah spring! At last! At last! Hooray!

Oh Oh Oh! – jingle