Lots of covers, lots of excitement…

Hi everyone! Happy Wednesday. I, for one, can’t wait the week to be over. My oldest is home from college in three short days and I couldn’t be more excited. But that isn’t what this blog post is about.

It’s about my shiny new cover. Elana Johnson is helping me out with a cover reveal for my next book, Indie and Proud. But as I was prepping for that post, I realized that isn’t the only cover I have ready to share. I have COVER-S. That’s right, covers plural. Three to be exact.



You did it! You achieved your dream of writing and publishing your book. You should be happy. Instead you feel trapped in an ever-changing publishing race, stressed over the never-ending to-do list, and frustrated with yourself for continuing to doubt your talents, despite achieving your goals.

Face it, being a creative is difficult, and achieving some measure of success in the business doesn’t make you immune to your own fears and doubts. If anything, your achievements have added even more pressures. Indie and Proud shines a light on those fears and pressures, providing tools to deal with your frustrations and embrace your passions again.

Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses everyday examples and stories from writers and other artists to help artists find and maintain their balance in the exciting world of independent publishing. With specific strategies to address self-doubt, underlying fears, and the truly intense nature of being creative, Indie and Proud is a must read for anyone ready to embrace everything it means to be Indie.

Coming February 2, 2015

RAISING THE SHY CHILD: A Parent’s Guide To Social Anxiety

The fear of being judged by others in social activities is a common human experience, especially during childhood. But when the fear becomes all-consuming, it can disrupt daily functioning and the development of social competency. Raising the Shy Child: A Parent’s Guide to Social Anxiety takes a fresh look at social anxiety disorder, coupling the latest in research trends with evidence-based strategies and real-world stories to untangle the complexities of this disorder. Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, the book uses a combination of real-world examples and stories from adults and children with social anxiety disorder to show parents and educators how to help children find a path through their fear and into social competence. With specific strategies to address school refusal, bullying, and identity issues, Raising the Shy Child is a must-read resource for anyone dedicated to enhancing the lives of children.

Coming March 1, 2015 from Prufrock Press

Social-Emotional Curriculum for Guiding Gifted Students

What does it mean to be a successful person? What traits and characteristics define successful people? Why do gifted children, in particular, need a strong affective curricula in order to maximize their potential? These questions and more are explored in this guide to helping gifted children in grades 4-7 as they navigate the complicated social and emotional aspects of their lives. This curriculum is designed to help gifted children explore their giftedness, develop resiliency, manage their intensities, face adversities and tough situations, and cultivate their talents and passions. Including lesson plans, worksheets, and connections to Common Core State Standards, I’m Not Just Gifted is the practical guide necessary for anyone serving and working with gifted children.

Coming May 15, 2015 from Prufrock Press
I don’t know about you, but I am so freakin excited! I am also planning a few fiction releases – so I will be sharing that information soon…ish….
Until next time, what books are you excited for???

Unplugged Week


Time for another week of unplugging. And yes, I know it seems as though all I’ve done is unplug. But I promise great things are in store this Spring, including:

  • A little remodel for Spring!
  • Webinars and podcasts. Yep, that’s right – I am fulfilling a goal and bringing you MORE content. But not just any content, we are going to talk about so many GREAT things we can do to live our BEST life and bring more joy to our parenting and our lives
  • Parenting advice and tips
  • Exciting new blogs, books, and other things to read and follow
  • Book news
  • Consultation and event news
  • Coaching news

See, lots of cool things going on! Make sure you don’t miss any of it – sign up for my newsletter and follow this blog

I’ll be back on 3/10 with all sorts of new things! See you then

Got Inspiration?

Hi all –

It has been a crazy week. Short work weeks always are! I wanted to stop by to give a quick shout out to my new favorite YouTube channels, Mindvalley  and Awesomenessfest. If you are in need of inspiration, motivation, or just some awesomeness, check out there many videos – especially those from awesomenessfest. To show you what I mean, check out this great one from Lisa Nichols:

See – amazing! Subscribe to their channel to get even more great vids.

Finding Joy: 5 Tips to Releasing Your Inner Joy

Hey all! So nice to be back after the great long break. This month I thought I’d tackle the topic of joy and love. To start, I wanted to talk a little about being happy.

Have you seen the December Weight Watchers commercial featuring the cutest little girl ever! This kid absolutely understands joy:

There are a lot of take away messages from this commercial – and none of them about losing weight. Let’s take a moment a look at the tips we can gain from this little 30 second clips:

  1. Dance: There really is nothing better than laughing, dancing and playing. If you need a little inspiration to that fact, watch this video again
  2. Dream Big: Listen to this girl as she plays – she has big dreams. Passions. And there is nothing better than finding your passion to make you smile!
  3. Don’t Worry About What Other’s Think: Do you think this little girl cares how she appears to others? I’d be willing to bet that she doesn’t. She just wants to play and be happy – something most kids want. Something many of us have forgotten
  4. Happiness is Infectious: Try to stay miserable with others are happy. It’s really hard. It’s so much easier to smile and be happy – and help others find their joy too.
  5. Make Time to Play and Have Fun: Every Day: If there is anything that I’ve learned in life, it is the importance of playing and having fun. Find a few moments every day to laugh. Not only will you make others happy, you will be happier. And that joy will lead to more energy, more joy, more fun. Try it!

We can’t guarantee that life will be easy and fun all of the time – but we can learn to have joy in our lives everyday. If you’re struggling with that, just watch this video and take a moment to play!

The Art of Breathing

I find it both interesting and completely appropriate that the health difficulties I’ve had this year all relate to breathing. We all know breathing is essential to life. But it plays an even bigger role than we may realize. When we are scared or frustrated, our breathing style changes. Some of us may even hold our breath all together. When we are in awe or in love, our breathing changes yet again. For most of us, paying attention to our breath is a window to our emotions.

For me, I discovered with this rash of colds that I breathe too shallow most of the time. Since my colds all attached the upper respiratory areas, I decided to do a couple of things – one, look at what that region of the body could represent for me spiritually, and two, pay close attention to breathing from my diaphragm.

Let’s take the first one of these – the possible “meaning” of my breathing problems beyond the physical realities of my cold. Now, don’t take me wrong – I know my colds are rooted in my physical being, and I’ve taken measures to heal myself (Nothing like GREAT meds!). But I also believe strongly in mind-body-soul connections. And it was that aspect of this I wanted to explore.

Breathing has often been associated with fear – fear of life, feelings of being overwhelmed, etc. For me, this didn’t ring 100% true, at least not initially. But as I reflected on 2013 and what, if anything, had held me back, I had to admit that there were fears and blockages. Once I acknowledged these blockages, I got to work clearing them; letting them go and focusing on “being”. It has been a good journey thus far, and something I know I must continue to work on.

The second part of what I decided to look at is HOW I am actually breathing: am I taking little puffs of air most of the time, barely utilizing my lung capacity, or am I taking deep relaxed breaths from my diaphragm. As I looked at it, the short breaths (also consistent with “fear” responses) made up the majority of my breathing of late. Sure, the cold was part of the reason, but if i am being honest, I must admit it isn’t the only thing going on. Once I came clean on this fact, the coughing fits and moments of breathlessness I’ve been dealing with changed. No longer did I get more frustrated every time I had them, but I used them as warning signs that I was breathing too shallow. For the past week or so I’ve been making it a point to breathe deeper, slower; to focus on my relaxation. It is helping, along with my meds, and between them both, my breathing issues are improving very quickly.

Our breath – it is important in every way imaginable. Guess it’s time to really pay attention to it!

How is your breathing?

The Value of Taking Breaks

Well, my regular posting schedule was a bit of an overstatement I think. The truth: January has left me sick for the majority of the month. The good news, after a few relapses, I “think” I am back among the living!

For today’s renewal post, I want to talk about the art of taking breaks – from everything: Routine, work, digital life…

You get the picture.

As most of you know, I decided to focus on Living Gently for 2014. Getting my body healthy as a way to kick off the year was an unplanned blessing as it has forced me to focus on being balanced and living a life that embraces what it means to me to be in balance and live gently.

I live a full and rich life. This also means it is an often busy and unbalanced on. I spend too much time online, to much time “working” in some capacity, and don’t often remind myself to take needed breaks to just…be.

Enter 2014. A huge part of living my passions and being balanced is about creating moments in which the blogging, the online grind, all of it comes to a stop and I just unplug. So, every month or so, I am unplugging from both blogs and the majority of my online presence. This time is my renewal time – my opportunity to life gently and remind myself how to just…BE.

Next week will be the first unplugging week of the year. Maybe some of you will join me, if not for the week, for part of it – long enough to find your balance again.

I’ll return in February with posts about love and relationships (seemed a fitting Feb topic!). In the meantime, I will be here the remainder of this week, talking about restarting passions and teaching your kids about finding their unique voices.

See you later this week!

Going Green – Literally

Those of you who follow my Intense Life Facebook page know that part of my goals this year center around my health. As I mentioned on Monday, my passions involve around my post too! There are several reasons for this! First, both my grandmother and my mother died relatively young – my grandmother at 85 (cancer related), and my mom at 70 (also cancer related). My grandmother never practiced a healthy lifestyle. She was of the era that believed that women did not exercise. Furthermore, she drank and smoked to excess. My mother came to a healthy lifestyle later in life (around my age, actually). She smoked from her twenties until she was in her fifties and she hated to exercise. Otherwise, she was pretty healthy. She always ate a balanced diet, maintained a healthy weight, meditated daily or more, and regularly saw her health care providers. In the end, the smoking lead to her cancer (oral) and took her life prematurely.

Being healthy is something I have always strived to achieve. But, if I;m being completely honest with everyone, it is not something that was at the top of my list of things to become passionate about. Yes, I grew up exercising and eating right. I meditate daily, believe strongly in being physically active, and understand the need to a balanced approach to a healthy lifestyle.

That said, I’ve had my struggles – especially with my weight. When I was an adolescent, my weight defined my  value in my head and an eating disorder was born. In my adulthood, food became a panacea for other issues. Biological issues came into play as I aged, and now obesity defines my current weight struggles.

Until this year.

That’s right – I have absolutely committed to reclaiming my healthy lifestyle – the one that exists in my head and heart, but has not made it in my everyday world. There are a million reasons why I am finally ready to do this, starting with living a longer life. This is literally about living for me. I am lucky right now – my heart is good, there is no diabetes or other obesity related things I need to panic about. But my blood pressure is creeping in the wrong direction, I have some issues around anemia and vitamin D deficiencies to deal with and I know I am setting up a lot of potential problems with the weight.

Which brings me to the point of this post.

Part of my commitment to making healthy lifestyle choices/changes is a commitment to going “green” with my diet. By this I mean including more vegetables, drinking green smoothies daily and taking the time to make sure that what I am putting into my body will serve my body well.

I started this journey the way I start many things – with a quick web search for recipes that included kale, spinach, and other greens. Now, I have an adventurous palette, and I am willing to try most things. But, I wanted to start off the whole green smoothie thing will something that didn’t really taste, well, green!

Enter my new fav website – Simple Green Smoothies. This site has recipes, testimonials and more. AND, the best part – I’ve tried several of the recipes and they are good. BEYOND good! My picky eaters at home even love them.

In addition to going green, I am meditating more, exercising more, and stressing out less! Yep, 2014 is all about LIVING GENTLY!

What are you doing this year?

Discovering Your Passions

I am so excited to be getting back to a regular posting schedule. Today, Monday, is all about living authentically, renewing your spirit and gratitude. And what better way to do that then living a passionate life?

I have always believed that being an intense person meant living a life of passion. At times, the passion can be all consuming, derailing intention and plans as the passions turn inward and usurp energy and drive. For me, this happens when I am unclear on my goals or, more likely, when my fears or confidence issues work against me. Seldom does my intensity work against me when I am following my dreams or living my life with purpose and intention.

So, in keeping with my goal to live gently in 2013, I wanted take some time at the start of the year to really focus on my passions and live with those in mind throughout the year.

Enter the Passion Test. I’ve been a long time follower of Chris and Janet Attwood. Their newsletter and blog posts have kept me inspired for more than two years. So it is a bit surprising that it took me this long to finally take their Passion Test and dedicate myself to focusing on my passions. But, well…it did!

I took the test for the first time last week – and it has already positively shaped the year! The test, if you really want to call it that, is simple enough – make a list of the ten things that would give your life meaning and purpose if money, etc was not an issue. This is a chance to dream and DREAM BIG. List everything that has meaning to you. Then you whittle the list down through a specific process until you get to the top five passions.

There is a little more to it that you can investigate on their website and through the book, but you get the gist of it.

What a fabulous experience for me. My passions included things related to my writing life, my spiritual life, and my health. It was different from I had expected and perfect for me! And I have to say, since starting down this road, things are working more harmoniously in my life. I AM living the principles more effortless than I’d imagined.

So, if you’re interested in discovering your path to your life purpose, why not start here. Being intense human beings, we are prone to extreme passions in diverse areas of our lives. Why not harness that energy and direct it toward the things that fuel our lives, help others, and improve the planet.

That’s what I’m doing, at any rate.

What about you? Have you discovered your passions? Your purpose?

Merry Christmas, Thank You and See you in the New Year!

Hi everyone!

I want to thank you all for the suggestions with regards to this blog. I want to thank you also for making 2013 a wonderful year in so many ways. I was able to realize one of my dreams of having my books widely distributed into brick and mortar stores like Barnes and Noble, with the release of The Girl Guide and Quiet Kids. I also took control over my fiction writing life and have huge plans for it moving forward.

As we slide, rather quickly into the New Year, I wanted to take a moment to share a poem I love with all of you. And please join me in the New Year as I reveal the direction for this blog – and an aspect of my life…

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem
By Dr. Maya Angelou

Thunder rumbles in the mountain passes
And lightning rattles the eaves of our houses.
Flood waters await us in our avenues.

Snow falls upon snow, falls upon snow to avalanche
Over unprotected villages.
The sky slips low and grey and threatening.

We question ourselves.
What have we done to so affront nature?
We worry God.
Are you there? Are you there really?
Does the covenant you made with us still hold?

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,
Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope
And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.
The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,
Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.
Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.
Flood waters recede into memory.
Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us
As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children
It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.
Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,
Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.
At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.
We listen carefully as it gathers strength.
We hear a sweetness.
The word is Peace.
It is loud now. It is louder.
Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.
It is what we have hungered for.
Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.
A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.
Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.

We clap hands and welcome the Peace of Christmas.
We beckon this good season to wait a while with us.
We, Baptist and Buddhist, Methodist and Muslim, say come.
Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian,
Implore you, to stay a while with us.
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It is Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

At this Holy Instant, we celebrate the Birth of Jesus Christ
Into the great religions of the world.
We jubilate the precious advent of trust.
We shout with glorious tongues at the coming of hope.
All the earth’s tribes loosen their voices
To celebrate the promise of Peace.

We, Angels and Mortal’s, Believers and Non-Believers,
Look heavenward and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at our world and speak the word aloud.
Peace. We look at each other, then into ourselves
And we say without shyness or apology or hesitation.

Peace, My Brother.
Peace, My Sister.
Peace, My Soul.