Tags Archives

You are currently viewing all posts tagged with children.

I woke up in 2003

Before Thanksgiving Day 2003 I had been asleep, going through the rise and fall of daily life like waves on an ocean. I believed the key was to make my children’s lives better than my own and to create the fairy tale, the one with the white picket fence, big house, and happy family. Back then I had three major goals: Have a house that my children could call their childhood home, stress education so my kids would go to college, and educate myself and have a career so I wouldn’t be dependent on anyone. I finished my degree, we built the house and my husband, and I set high expectations for our children’s academics. We fell into the rhythm of early mornings, school, after-school activities, bed, and repeat.

Read more →

Long ago when I was in my early twenties, I saw a show (possibly 20/20) about children living in an orphanage overseas. What I saw was horrific. I felt in my heart that I needed to make a difference for children in need.

Read more →

Those that know me well know of my love for children. I enjoy being around them. Their honesty combined with their curiosity about the world brings me joy. Going from teacher to children’s book author made perfect sense for me. These beautiful young people understand more than most adults give them credit for and that’s why it upsets me when I see adults, especially those in leadership positions, setting bad examples for them. Perhaps they mistakenly believe that children aren’t watching. They are.

Read more →

I didn’t recognize the symbolism of growing an avocado tree at the same time I was beginning my journey of becoming an author. I simply loved avocados. Four years later as I set a new seed on my windowsill at the same time I was stressing over how to market Mystic I realized my avocado trees represented change and growth from within myself. They were my reminder that even though I could envision the giant tree that would fill my yard it wasn’t going to grow overnight. I needed to care for it every day while enjoying each day and know that eventually my seed would be a majestic tree.

Here’s how to grow an avocado tree.

av. seeds from 08 or 09 that grew into trees

This picture was taken the summer of 2008.

First: Plant a seed.

The summer of 2008 I felt such a sense of freedom and of new beginnings. I had decided to switch careers from teaching to writing. I knew it was a risk and I faced scrutiny from others who thought I was simply becoming lazy, or that writing a novel was easy. I knew better. I knew what was right for me. As soon as I devoted time to my craft the ideas flowed. I wrote daily and began taking care of myself as well as my family. I was a better, more present, mom and wife because I was embarking on the right path. I had no idea how we were going to make ends meet without our second income and I had no idea how long it was really going to take me to publish Mystic. I simply let go and trusted that if I followed my heart everything would be okay.

Second: Wait for signs of growth

av tree one root 2008 2009

It takes a month to two months for the seed to sprout. Be sure to give the seed fresh water daily.

There were days when I questioned my decision just as I questioned whether my avocado seed would ever turn into a tree. I started a blog in September 2008. I continued working on Mystic, attending writing conferences and I wrote several picture book drafts. Sue Monk Kidd became my author of choice. I delved into her books as well as Eckert Tolle and sought self discovery. I was growing even though some days the fear of failure was great. I kept on. The joy that was sprouting inside me was a constant reminder to keep going.

Next: Water and nurture.

av. tree roots 2008 2009

I began to see life as a privilege. I learned the importance of gratitude. Every success from having a closer relationship with my family, to listening to others tell me I inspired them through my writing, helped me break through the doubts and fears that still crept in. I was stronger.

Then: Plant your tree and watch it grow.

Av. tree picture from June 2012
June 2012

It took four years to go from the seed on my windowsill to a beautiful tree in my yard. In those years I worked on Mystic. I watched my children progress through school. We explored Barcelona as a family. I reconnected with high school friends on Facebook and met authors and illustrators who shared my passion for writing for children.

Finally: Your tree is growing. Keep nurturing it and remember to see its beauty.

av tree  March 2013

 March 2013

To do anything well it takes time. The magic begins when the seed is planted and the excitement bursts with each new root or branch grown. It’s the days in between that count the most because those are the days that make the others possible. Those are the days you have to believe in yourself. Believe that one day you’ll sit under the shade of your giant avocado tree and know that you added beauty to this wonderous world.

The inspiration for this post came from: Kristen Lamb’s Blog

Most parents have hopes and dreams for their children. I would guess that if asked a majority of parents would list happiness as their first goal for their kids probably followed by college and financial independence.

Having a nineteen year-old daughter and a son in high school has brought forth an acute awareness that I am being watched very closely. I see clearly how all of these years I’ve been parenting, I’ve had two sets of eyes and two hearts studying my every action and decision.

I ask myself the question. Am I the person I want my children to be? My first goal for my kids was that I wanted them to be happy. Am I happy? Yes, very but there was a time when I was going through the motions of life and not appreciating all that I had. I was overwhelmed with work and responsibility and it affected my every day happiness. If you had asked me at that time what I wanted for my kids I would have said happiness yet I wasn’t living it. Years later when our lives had fallen into a better balance, Kai casually mentioned the positive change he had seen in me. My first reaction was sadness. In my quest for fulfilling my needs above my children’s I had taught selfishness and unhappiness. Then I tried to look at the big picture and hope that the lesson he learned was self discovery and courage to make a change. I became aware of how significant my parenting actions were–more so than my words.

When I look at every aspect of my life, my marriage, my friendships, my work, my spirituality, and I compare them with my hopes for my children it forces me to see the areas in my life where I am lacking. How could I hold such high expectations for my children when I don’t set the example?

Therefore my goal for 2013 is to be the person I want my children to be. I’m starting with the lesson of following your dreams and perseverance…I’m very excited to announce MYSTIC will be available through CreateSpace on January 5th 2013!

I’m continuing my Thankful Moments with my Kids posts. This is week three. Click on the links to read thankful moments week one and week two.

Talking with My Kids After School

Sitting at the table, eating pita and hummus, listening to Arielle and Kai talk about their day at school or talk about music, politics, religion, potential colleges…those days were the best! For an hour or so I had an opportunity to glimpse into their teenage world.

Whether I spent my day writing or substitute teaching I always tried to make sure I was here when they got home just in case they felt like talking. Most days they did. I’m lucky that Arielle has always had the gift of gab. Some days she’d get home and we’d sit for over an hour discussing various topics. Kai would jump into the conversation for as long as he could stand until his music or video games called to him. Looking back, I am so very thankful that I had this time with Arielle and Kai because four years went very fast and now only one kid comes home from school every afternoon instead of two.

Since Arielle has gone to college it’s much quieter. Kai and I are similar in that we are both introverts at heart. We are perfectly happy in each others presence but we have a tendency to drift off in our thoughts. I’ll begin creating stories and he creates songs. However, we are used to our ritual of late afternoon chats so when he gets home we still spend some time talking together. Arielle’s energy is missed by both of us but her being gone is another reminder to be thankful for moments with my children.

MYSTIC Update: MYSTIC will be available either the end of December or early January. As soon as I have a date I will post it. The cover is amazing! Timothy Banks did an incredible job. I can’t wait for you to see it!