Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Valentines: Simple Moment Savored

Last night, at dinner, my boys mentioned that they had to get their valentines done for all of their classmates.  I knew it was February...and so I suppose I should have been prepared.  But, since to me it felt much closer to February 1st, than February 14th, I was not.

And, truth be told, I am not a huge fan of valentines.  I do not like the store bought valentines.  Typically they have some awful-looking licensed character with a ridiculous saying like, "You're an Awesome Dude, Valentine!" or "Hang Ten, Valentine!"  So, I didn't want to run out to the store and buy those silly cards.  And, I was SO not interested in creating an over-the-top Pinterest-post-worthy valentine.  Furthermore, we had plans to have a family game night and making valentines, was not on the agenda.

So, I was annoyed! 

But, I knew that if we didn't start them soon, it would end up as a last minute whiny-cranky-kids-no-fun-project.

So I swallowed my annoyance and grabbed some supplies and made a plan for their valentines.  We cut hearts, and punched circles, and glued down the pieces-and-part and stamped "Happy Valentine's Day" on paper.  As the three of us sat on our family room floor surrounded by paper, scissors, glue sticks, hole punches and stamps, I took a moment to simply notice.

I noticed that Alex (my 8 year old) was very methodical and efficient.  He took pride in cutting out multiple hearts at once, and then carefully placed them in a neat pile.  Alex's area was set up like an assembly line, while Owen (my almost 7 year old) was much more free.  His area was messy - with hearts and scraps laying all around him with no rhyme or reason and no system in place.

I noticed that all of Alex's hearts were the same size and purposely cut out of very similar paper.  Owen's, on the other hand, were incredibly random - some hearts were big, fat and wide, while others were skinny, puny and small in all different colors and patterns.

I noticed that Alex wanted to do his all by himself and rejected my suggestions or offers to help.  Whereas, Owen wanted my involvement.  He often asked me questions, and wanted my assistance.

And, I noticed their smiles - Alex's tended to be subtle, small and toothless, while Owen's grin was huge, toothy and involved his entire face.

These differences (and their smiles) made me smile!

Both boys were having fun...in their own way and with their own style.

And, I was reminded of the specialness and uniqueness of each of my boys.

It was a simple moment of making valentines.  A moment that started out as a nuisance.  And could of easily been a turned into a unhappy chore.  It was like many other moments.  But, instead of allowing this moment to just happen without much thought, or consciousness (which I do, WAY too often) something told me to pay attention and notice the little things.

I am so glad I did!


Friday, February 8, 2013


I have heard of many authors who framed their rejection letters.  But I have to say, when I first heard this, I didn't get it.  To me, a rejection letter would feel like, well, a REJECTION! 

And nothing about that sounds frame-worthy!

But, after sending out my manuscript out to many publishers, I am on the other side of rejection letters and, now, I better understand!

Because, believe it or not, I think every one of the rejection letters I received is truly a gift.

cried and felt completely vulnerable and utterly rejected each time I received one.

And, I had an overwhelming sense of disappointment and failure.

And, I put the book away (many times) and thought that, "perhaps it wasn't anything special anyway"

I doubted myself, my abilities, and my dream.
and all of that sucked!

But, each rejection gave me a place to pause and truly think about my book.

I read the feedback (when there was some). 
Much of it stung.
Some of it felt completely wrong.
Some did not.

But, I considered it all.

And, I made some changes - which improved my book...to which I am grateful for.

But, mostly, I became clear.
Clear about what my book is about.
Clear about what, about my book, I am not willing to change.
And, clear about the message I want to convey.

This clarity is the gift of those rejections letters. 

And for that, I am grateful!


Monday, February 4, 2013

The Back Story...

After a twelve year career in higher education, I was happily a stay at home mom of two wonderful boys.  As the boys were becoming school age, I knew I needed something for me - but I wasn't quiet sure what "it" was.

I dabbled in photography, jewelry making, and scrapbooking.  And in blogging, writing, and speaking.  And much more.  I loved it all.  But nothing hung with me for the long run.

Also, I took a stab at writing a few children's books.  But, none of the attempts went very far.

Until one night in July 2011.

My husband and I had spent the weekend at Martha's Vineyard having a kid-free, truly magical time.  It was one of those times...

You know the kind - the times that you never want to forget....the moments that you wish you could bottle up and save forever.  Those moments that are meant to savor!

That night, I cuddled up with my husband and I dozed off to sleep.  It was a restless night.  All night long, I dreamt myself awake with visions of writing a children's book called "Moments to Savor."  My dreams and waking thoughts were filled words weaved into rhymes, scenarios, and characters. 

In the morning, I knew, I needed to write the book.

In the months that followed, I wrote.  And tweaked.  And scratched out.  And rewrote. 

Then, I dared to allow a few people to read it. I got feedback.
Some glowing.
Some not.
Some peeps were encouraging.
Some were not.

Many times, I put it away, discouraged and disappointed.  But, the book would always creep back into my thoughts.  And I would return to it.

To Write.  And, Rewrite.  Tweak and Re-Tweak.

And then I dared to send the manuscript to publishers.

And I waited.  And waited.
And waited...for that one person to see its brilliance and say "YES!".
Instead, I saw rejection letters.

Again, I put it away.
I was completely
D I S C O U R A G E D!

So, I moved on.

Randomly, I signed up for a doddle class.  And began to doddle.

A little bit of this                              and a little bit of that...

and, it was fun!

And one day I began to wonder... "Could I illustrate my book?"

Tentatively, I pulled my book back out AGAIN and dared myself to draw some illustrations.

So, I began to draw.
I drew enough to have a rough draft of my book.

And, so, this is where it currently stands...

I am doing the finals edits and turning my drawings into final illustrations. 

Because, I am double-dog-daring myself to publish Moments to Savor by the end of 2013!