Post from: January 2016

Bookfest Friday

Bookfest Friday

Week 36, 37, 38, 39

Some good reads over the last four weeks, my friends.

Not surprisingly, both fiction and non-fiction books help inform the novels I'm writing SO MUCH. My husband and I flew to Las Vegas for the International Builders Show last week, and on the airplane, I went through a pad of post-it notes, marking up pages in these non-fiction books--references to ideas to use while I'm writing. Lots of content--actually almost all content--that I read helps with character development within my books. I suppose that's part of why I enjoy psychology and personal growth and development books so much.

But what I REALLY can't believe is that we only have a mere 13 weeks left to complete a WHOLE YEAR of Bookfest Fridays. Reading two books a week for a whole year. Wow. Way to go us.

The next couple of months are going to be especially tricky for me, because I'm diving more intensely into my first draft of THE MOD CODE BOOK #2. I always tend to naturally pull away from reading during these times, because I'm obessessed and distracted with the story in my head and consequently intent on getting it down on paper. BUT. I'm going to press forward and stay on track with two books a week, because ultimately, continual reading keeps me continually inspired. And that's a good thing.

With no further ado, here is my past four weeks of reading material:


The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey (LOVED. So good.)

The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey (This sequel was not so good. Totally disappointed after such a great start by Yancey.)

99 Days by Katie Cotugno (This was on the NYT Bestseller list, so I read it, but the language and promiscuity were a bit much for me. I'm more conservative, but still. I'm always shocked when I ponder the fact that this type of book is what our teens are exposed to and reading.)

Never Never, Book 3 by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher (I liked the book overall, but my reading buddy thought the story ended with too many loose ends.)


The Fisher King and the Handless Maiden by Robert A. Johnson (This author dives into archetypes, human psychology, spirituality, and humanity. Loved.)

The Naked Now by Richard Rohr. (Discussion on Christianity and spirituality that moves perspective to a whole new level. LOVED. Richard Rohr is a beautiful human being.)

The Amazing Results of Positive Thinking by Norman Vincent Peale (His follow-up to his "Power of Positive Thinking." Loved this book just as much as the first.)

The Spontaneous Fulfillment of Desire by Deepak Chopra (If you like metaphysics, are intrigued by archetypes, love your dog, or are ready to expand your mind, read this book.)

Keep on reading, my friends! And have a lovely weekend!!


Deep Thought Thursday

Late at night a few weeks ago, with my bedside light glowing, and my husband sleeping soundly beside me, I finished the book The World According to Mister Rogers. In the middle of my reading, my mind launched into its familiar deep-thought, journal mode.

This is something I wrote in my journal that night:

“Sometimes as parents, because we want to protect our children from the pain of societal rejection, we make a habit of focusing on the things that need “fixing” in them—the stuff we want to help them grow out of, the places we want to see them do better. What we don’t realize is our very picking and calculating and fixing is what can make our children feel the most inadequate and insufficient of all. What if we focused on all they’re good at? Everything lovely about them? And ignore the rest? Perhaps, we’d see all the inconsistences fall by the wayside, and we’d watch our children truly shine.”

This morning, over coffee at my kitchen table, I sat back and really reflected on this quote. My words kind of give me chills.

What if I stopped protecting my kids from what I think might cause them pain? What if I stopped assuming they care about what I care about?

What if I stopped thinking about how Andrew’s tongue gets caught between his teeth on his s’s when he talks fast? What if I stopped fretting about how Joely’s hair will look on mornings she wants to just “do it herself!”?

What if I stopped thinking about what other people were thinking about my kids, and instead, focused on the way my children face the world? The way they reach out to people? What if I focused on how they interacted with others? How they treat others in moments when it's not easy to be kind? What if I focused on their strengths? How would they feel if, every time they walked into a room, my face lit up, simply because I’m happy to see them and am joyful because I have their presence close by?

How would my children respond?

Ms. Morrison, author of The Bluest Eye, said this in an interview on the Oprah show decades ago:

“When my children used to walk in the room when they were little, I looked at them to see if they had buckled their trousers, or if their hair was combed, or if their socks were up … [As a mom] you think your affection and your deep love is on display because you’re caring for them. It’s not. When they see you, they see the critical face. ‘What’s wrong now?’ they think.  So, let your face speak what’s in your heart. When they walk into the room, my face says I’m glad to see them. It’s just as small as that, you see?”

I’m challenged by Ms. Morrison.

Let my children see me loving them.

Of all the people in the world, let ME be the person that continually looks beyond their imperfections and sees the bright spirits inside them.

Let me be the one who opens their eyes to their own magnificence.

Let me be the one who lets them know their gifts are unique.

Let me be the one who tells them that, one day, they’ll change the world.

I’ll end with a quote by Mister Rogers himself:

“If the day ever came when we were able to accept ourselves and our children exactly as we and they are, then, I believe, we would come very close to an ultimate understanding of what 'good' parenting means. It’s part of being human to fall short of that total acceptance—and often far short. But one of the most important gifts a parent can give a child is the gift of accepting that child’s uniqueness.”

I’m challenged today to accept myself, and my children, just as we are.

I'm challenged today to be a better Mom, to love my children without the "picking."

Happy Thursday everybody!

And special big hugs to every mother out there. Our commission is great, indeed.


Bookfest Friday

Bookfest Friday on The First Day of the NEW YEAR

Week 30, 31, 32, 33, 34, & 35

Happy New Year Everybody!

2016 is off to a great start already, I just feel it.

After the release of my books in early December, it was fun to sit back, relax, reminisce, and READ for the remainder of 2016. (I also wrote a bit, of course. But only because it makes me very happy.)

Over the past few weeks, I read my own books on my kindle for the first time (very cool experience), dove into some Christmas books (I thoroughly enjoyed A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, seriously LOVED this book), took time to go through boxes of stories I wrote when I was a child (I forgot how much I loved to write when I was twelve!), and of course, caught up on all my Bookfest Friday reading that got lost in the shuffle of releasing TWO books in the month of December.

Since I'm currently working on a middle grade book series for girls ages 8-12, I pulled a book out of my own favorite series as a 3rd grader---THE BABYSITTERS CLUB. I also found Mandy, by Julie (Andrews) Edwards, in the boxes of my childhood items, and read that one as well. It's about an orphan girl who finds a secret cottage outside the walls of her orphanage and makes the cottage her own. This book secured a special spot in my heart when I was in elementary school.

I also read a handful of transforming non-fiction works. At the top for me were The Four Agreements and The Power of Your Subconscious Mind. My husband makes fun of me whenever I use the phrase "These books changed my life!" (which is often), but it's true people, it's just so true. These books changed my life.

Here's a list of the twelve books I read over the last 6 weeks:

Slammed by Colleen Hoover (Don’t read the reviews and find out the plot twist! Just read and enjoy. It’s a feel-good romance for new adults--meaning college-aged readers.)

Not a Drop to Drink by Mindy McGinnis (a YA--that’s young adult/teen--book that had a great main character voice, but the plot was just okay for me.)

The Garden of Eve by K. L. Going (got Kelly’s middle grade book at a writer’s workshop that she led at the Highlights Retreat Center in Pennsylvania!)

The Truth About Stacey by Ann M. Martin (Ms. Martin is my childhood hero. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the Babysitter’s Club. Did I say LOVED? I mean LOVED.)

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens (reading this was so much better than any movie I’d ever seen based on the book! I read this book while cozied up by our Christmas tree. It was wonderful.)

The Power of Your Subconscious Mind by Joseph Murphy (AMAZING.)

The World According to Mister Rogers by Fred Rogers (this man has the most spectacular heart for children)

An Amazing Year by Amy Crumpton (my dear friend wrote this!)

The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz (AMAZING.)

True Love by Thich Nhat Hanh (beautiful)

Be Happy by Patrick Lindsay (what great reminders)

Mandy by Julie Andrews Edwards (yes, the Julie Andrews in the Sound of Music movie)

I hope your own Bookfest Friday reading is coming along just grand.

If the end of 2015 caught you a bit too busy to snuggle up with a book, maybe you can take time this weekend to enjoy some reading? If your looking for something fun, I have suggestions for great reading material--my books! ;) Go here:

Love to you all!