Realizations Not Resolutions

I’ve been working through children’s author Julie Foster Hedlund’s  12 Days of Christmas for Writers to help me become a better writer in 2017.  My last post was a list of my successes in 2016.  I accomplished more than I thought I had!

Day 4 was all about looking at challenges I faced as a writer and what things were standing in my way both physically and mentally.  This was a hard exercise at looking within myself and seeing how I am my own worst critic.

Day 5 had us looking at those challenges and turning what Julie calls my BFJ, or Big Fat Judgement into a lesson learned.  I really like this idea.  It forced me to look at those judgements my inner critic makes about me and turn them into positives.

I learned that I have put my writing on the back burner because I was afraid that I might fail.  So, I am going to take action.  I will be scheduling writing time and treating it as if it was a traditional job.  No more cancelling my writing time.  In life, there will be rejection but if I never try, it won’t happen.  I WILL be submitting my polished manuscripts in 2017.

I’ve been afraid to tell anyone outside my immediate family that I have been writing with the dream of being published.  I was afraid that they would judge me and think that it was just another pipe dream.  I learned that those who love me, support and encourage me and that those that don’t , well, “bye Felicia!”  My worth does not come from other people’s opinion.

This exercise is such a great lesson.  I’m having my daughters work through this with me so that they can see that judgements they make about themselves are not true and to turn the negative self-talk into a “learning.”

Give it a try.  Make a list of 5 challenges you faced in 2016.  For example, one of mine was that I didn’t submit any of my manuscripts this year.  Then, write a BIG FAT JUDGEMENT (BFJ) your inner critic tells you about your challenge.  Mine was that I am not good enough to submit and no one will like my writing.  Then look deep within and write the truth about it.  This is what you would honestly tell yourself or someone else if they came to you with this challenge.  My truth was that to boost my confidence I need to find a critique group and learn about the correct way to make submissions and then just do it!

Now it’s your turn.  Make some realizations for 2017, not resolutions.

I hope 2017 is everything you hope for!  Happy New Year!





12 Days of Christmas

How many times have we all sat down and made a list of “resolutions” we were going to accomplish in the new year.  Most resolutions are based on a negative…

*I’m going to loose ____ pounds translates to “I’m fat”

*I’m going to exercise translates to “I’m lazy”

*I’m going to make more money translates to “I’m poor”

When put this way, most people fail at achieving their resolutions.  I know that I have a history of failing to complete my resolutions.

Children’s author Julie Hedlund, challenged participants of her 12 Days of Christmas for Writers series to post SUCCESSES (rather than resolutions) on our blogs this year. 61fd46af-d141-4b56-b1ad-c37cd5f6572dShe believes the way New Year’s resolutions are traditionally made come from a place of negativity – what DIDN’T get done or achieved in the previous year.  Instead, she suggests we set goals for the New Year that BUILD on our achievements from the previous one. I decided to participate in this Anti-Resolution Revolution!

Here is my list for 2016.

  1.  I received incredibly positive feedback from a group of published authors on my first manuscript.
  2. I was brave enough to have other professional writers  read and critique my writing.
  3. I joined SCBWI
  4. Joined an active critique group.
  5. Finally told family and friends that I am working at becoming a published author.
  6. Participated in several writing contests.
  7. Participated in PBPitch.
  8. I created this blog and joined other social media platforms.
  9. Participated in several writing webinars.
  10. I committed to treating writing as my job.


Had to post about my little Max, the havanese, today.  It’s his one year anniversary with us.  On December 23, 2015, we drove to Abilene, Texas to meet the director of Pawed Squad Rescue to pick up this little hoarding/mill situation.  max He was a scared, untrusting little ball of fur.  He had rarely been handled by humans.

His name was Chewy, short for Chewbacca.  Yes, he looked a little like a wookie, but we already had another havanese rescued from the year before from the same hoarding/mill situation and her name was Ruby.  The teacher, mom, picture book writer in me immediately new we  HAD to change his name to Max.  As in Max & Ruby!img_5358  Then we found out that they were half siblings!  They have the same mother!  What is so funny, is that Ruby is large for a havanese, she’s a whopping 25 pounds yet Max is a tiny 11 pounds.

Before we adopted Ruby, I had never heard of a Havanese.  I use to show my border collie and the Havanese was totally new to me.  They are the official dog breed of Cuba.  They came to this country with refugees and had to be snuck out of Cuba.  They are bred to be companion dogs and make wonderful therapy and support dogs.  They tend to bond to one person and are often called “Velcro” dogs.  I can attest to that as I am sitting here with both dogs in my lap!  I can not go anywhere in the house without them following.  I thought that when my kids were finally old enough that they didn’t follow me into the bathroom, I now have dogs that sit and stare at me!  If you are considering a dog and need a small, hypoallergenic/non-shedding dog, take a look at a Havanese.  (They have hair and don’t shed, but require very frequent combing!)

img_5354Back to Max.  He has grown in to a funny little comedian.  He loves to sleep on the back of the couch if he isn’t next to me.  He also prefers to play with toys by himself.  He will hide toys so that Ruby can’t play with them.  Max will take a toy in his mouth, fling his head upward and throw the toy for himself.  He will then stalk it and POUNCE on it like he is hunting.  It’s he funniest thing to watch!  He also “talks” to us.  When we get out of bed in the morning, he sits by the bedroom door and makes this loud “Rrrrrrrrrooooo” that gets really high-pitched.  Then he spins in circles.  If you mention eating, say the word hungry, or treat, he goes nuts spinning in circles and barking.  This little fur ball is always hungry!

Anyway, if you are looking for a pet, please look into rescuing.  There are many rescue organizations and shelters.  Some of my favorites are…

Pawed Squad

HALO (Havanese Angel League Organization)

Havanese Rescue

R&R Sanctuary

Friday Favorites

I’ve decided to start a new feature called Friday Favorites.  Friday Favorites can be anything that I’m loving this week: books, food, movies, anything goes!

I spent the better part of this week reading mentor texts and working on polishing a couple of manuscripts.  While reading, I came across B.J. Novak’s The Book With No Pictures.BookWithNoPictures_3D-300x423.png

What?  How can you have a picture book with no pictures you may be asking yourself.  Well, Mr. Novak pulls it off!

This 48 page picture-less picture book will be a favorite of kids.  It forces the reader to say things like “I am a monkey who taught myself to read.”  This totally off-the-wall-, silly books shows kids that you don’t need pictures and  with a focus on effective words, magic can happen.  Or just embarrassing your teacher or parent.

If you haven’t seen this book, find it and read it to a kid.  You will make their day and you can’t help feeling a little like a kid yourself!

(There’s a great video of BJ reading the book to a group of kids.  Take a look!)

What’s on your favorites list this week?


Lessons from the Velveteen Rabbit

*This blog post is written as an entry for Alayne KayChristian’s My Gift-Your Gift Contest.



It’s something we all want.

I learned this lesson early on when my mom read The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams to me as a child.  velveteen-rabbit

“What is REAL?” the Velveteen Rabbit asked the Skin Horse one day. “Does it mean having things that buzz inside you and a stick-out handle?”
“Real isn’t how you are made,” said the Skin Horse. “It’s a thing that happens to you. When a child loves you for a long, long time, not just to play with, but REALLY loves you, then you become Real.”
“Does it hurt?” asked the Velveteen Rabbit .
“Sometimes,” said the Skin Horse, for he was always truthful. “When you are Real you don’t mind being hurt.”
“It doesn’t happen all at once,” said the Skin Horse. “You become. It takes a long time. That’s why it doesn’t happen often to people who break easily, or have sharp edges, or who have to be carefully kept. Generally, by the time you are Real, most of your hair has been loved off, and your eyes drop out and you get loose in your joints and very shabby. But these things don’t matter at all, because once you are Real you can’t be ugly, except to people who don’t understand. But once you are Real you can’t become unreal again. It lasts for always.”
Margery Williams so beautifully conveys how love can sometime hurt and wear you down.  We try not to hurt the ones we love, but invariably, it will happen at some point because our hearts are laid bare and we are real.
What better way to live than to be real and authentic with one another?  The thrill of exposing yourself to a first love, the love a parent has for a child, or the patient love you have for an elderly parent.
Do not be afraid of being imperfect, or “well loved.”  Real love happens when you are at your lowest.  When you are ill or when you no longer look  like that 20 year old your husband first met.
Wouldn’t this be a wonderful world if everyone took the lesson of love from the Velveteen Rabbit?  Let love begin with you & I.  Spread love to those you meet, let’s love until it hurts.

Happy Birthday Samuel Clemens

marktwain-locNovember 30, 1835, Samuel Clemens was born in Florida, Missouri.  At the age of 13, he was apprenticed to a printer and later worked for his brother who founded the Hannibal Journal.

Samuel’s writing career began at the age of 22.  In 1857, he was commissioned to write a series of comic travel letters , but after writing only 5, he quit  to become a steamboat captain.

His career as a steamboat captain ended when the Civil War stopped river traffic.  Clemens’ career as a steamboat captain gave birth to Mark Twain.  “Mark Twain” is a boatman’s call noting that the river is only two fathoms deep.

Clemens returned to writing in 1861.  He found himself again writing humorous travel letters but under the pseudonym Mark Twain.

And as they say, the rest is history!

Mark Twain is one of my favorite authors and I just happen to be rereading the story that made him famous- The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County, and then I’m reading The Innocents Abroad published in 1869.

What is your favorite Twain story?

Here is a link to the Mark Twain House & Museum list of his most famous books.  How about joining me in reading Twain this month?  Let me know in the comments!


I am already so far behind on my writing for NaNoWriMo.  First, a 3 day migraine sidetracked me, then it was a sick kid.  Today, sick kid’s younger sister was diagnosed with strep.  UGH!  I thought that since the girls are brand new teenagers, they’d sleep and lay around in their rooms and I could write.

Not Happening.  Both of them turned into needy little toddlers!  “Mommy, I’m cold.  Will you get me a blanket?”  “Mommy, I need a drink.”  “Mommy will you come lay with me?”  “Mommy, read to us from our book?”

I guess I shouldn’t complain.  These days they don’t even want to acknowledge me as their parental unit without eye-rolling.  I was happy to snuggle with them.  We watched The Outsiders movie since they both had just read the novel.wangdoodles

I was also happy to read to them.  We try to read together every night.  Right now we are reading Julie Andrews’ book The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles.  I had to search far and wide to find this book.  It’s been a really fun read and inspired my oldest to draw what she thought the characters in the book looked like.

Well, it’s now time to get dinner on the table.  My other job awaits!  LOL!