Life is like a….

What IS life like?

A box of chocolates? Sweet, yummy, melts in the sun?

A bag of chips? Salty and filling but leaves your hands dirty?

A camera? Capturing the good moments but getting out of focus during action shots?

A blanket? Keeping you warm on cold nights until your spouse rolls over and takes it with him?

A Bird? Flying free in the beautiful blue sky until he ‘hears the call of nature’?

 

thCAXGJ7T3To me life is like all of that (and so much more). You see, life has the good moments – the wonderful moments you want to last forever, the sweet moments that fill your soul, warm your heart and help you soar. But life also has the bad moments – the make you fat, feel dirty, chill you to the bone, blurry poop-head times that make you ask – WHY ME?

It’s because every moment, the good and the bad, the sweet and the sticky, the savory and the greasy, teaches us something. It helps us grow as humans. It helps us become who God wants us to become. It prepares us for the future and saves us from our past.

Life is like the most magical thing that can happen to us. Because it happens TO us.  Think about that one.

Categories: Enlightenment | Tags: , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Animals are grouchy too

A friend of mine’s young daughter suggested I write a book about how animals are grouchy too. Obviously, there was someone in her ‘circle’ whom she thought was being grouchy, but that is neither here nor there.

I always try to be a positive person and smile as much as I can, I realize we all have off days and feel a little grouchy sometimes. Sometimes others cause our mood, sometimes we just wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and sometimes a life full of annoyances keep us in perpetual grouchiness.

While I had always considered humans capable of the emotion, I hadn’t put much thought into it coming from animals. Yet there are definitely angry cats, furious because we tried bathing them or rubbed them the wrong way (literally). And we always throw the bear into the mix just because the phrase coexists together, grouchy as a bear. Now there are angry birds, the game as well as the dive-bombing blue jays and with that being said, I am sure there are others.

Yet as a dog owner, I am used to seeing smiling faces. When I feed my turtles, they always look happy. Even the squirrels and deer look more with anticipation than grouch. But I did a search for grouchy animals and found it happens a lot. Of course the next thought that comes to mind is: what caused them to look so angry and did it have anything to do with us humans? Do animals get angry at other animals?

Things that make you go… grrrrrrr

grouchy animals

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My Illustrator takes the Ice Bucket Challenge

The Ice Bucket Challenge, sometimes called the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, is an activity involving dumping a bucket of ice water on someone’s head to promote awareness of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS) and encourage donations to research. It went viral on social media during July-August 2014.

The challenge dares nominated participants to be filmed having a bucket of ice water poured on their heads and challenging others to do the same. A common stipulation is that nominated people have 24 hours to comply or forfeit by way of a charitable financial donation.

Well, my illustrator, Leigh A. Klug decided to take on the challenge! Then she challenged the youth of our church, North Shore United Methodist Church, to do the same. Go North Shore! Here is the video below:

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The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of the dream.

The very substance of the ambitious is merely the shadow of the dream. William Shakespeare

IMG_133889722234535I like that. Of course I do, I picked it to use. But think about it a second. My dream was to be a writer, to tell stories, just like William Shakespeare and it was my ambition to get those stories told, typed up, published and into others’ hands.

My dream was to entertain others through my words. I feel I am living that dream; through my books, through my poems, through my blog.

My dreams didn’t include fame and fortune. They didn’t include constantly traveling and missing my home. Maybe that is why I am where I am. Traveling would make me homesick. Money would make me a target. Fame would find fault in anything I do. My dream was to be happy and none of the above would make me happy. Just sharing my life’s blood with those of you who enjoy reading about it… that, makes me happy.

So be happy, every one of you! Follow your dreams and don’t worry about the other stuff. That’s my take on it.

Categories: Inspiration, Writing | Tags: , , , | 3 Comments

Nature can be so cruel – evil ants!

I understand about survival of the fittest. I can comprehend that the weakest will be picked off by the strongest, the biggest goes after the smallest. I understand that hyenas will eat the old, vultures will eat the dead and cats will chase mice. I get it. What I don’t understand is why ants will attack perfectly innocent baby turtles hatching out of their eggs!

Friday night I went out to the pond to notice a baby turtle that had just made it to the surface of the beach and had been swarmed by dozens of ants. I pulled him free, washed the ants off but I was too late, he was already gone. That was when I realized there would be more babies being born. A clutch of eggs usually contains about 6-10 and if the ants found this little guy, it was only a matter of time before they found the others.

I began digging.

Carefully excavating the sand making my way to the eggs and unborn baby turtles, my hands and arms being covered by ants and ant bites but I kept digging. I found the babies. Some who had just poked a hole out of their egg in their attempt to get out; had (to them) large black and red monsters enter in and start biting them. They bit the baby’s eyes, arms and legs and even entered their mouths as they tried to breathe!
Most of the babies hadn’t even made it out of their eggs yet. Many I had to pull out just to make sure I got all of the ants off of them. One of which I had to pull aside and let himself hatch on his own (see video below). And then we began the watch.

swollen-babiesBaby ICU was in full swing.

They were swollen, in pain and couldn’t see. They needed water but were too weak to swim. Some wanted to be in the cool water to help ease the swelling but they couldn’t float. They sank. Some fell asleep (or passed out) on the bottom of the indoor pond and would have drowned if I hadn’t been checking on them and pulled them back out onto the land. It has been four days and we have lost two babies. Two are doing just fine and three are still in ICU.
I can’t imagine how hard this has been for them. I’ve got ant bites on my hands that hurt, but I keep imagining, what if I was a baby? Much, much smaller. One ant bite swelling up my entire hand! No tolerance to pain, no immune system strong enough to break down the toxins. Can’t see, blind…

I’m sorry! It just feels wrong!

I know baby turtles get a rough start. I’ve done book reports on the sea turtles. No parents to greet them. Predators ranging from humans, foxes and seagulls. The rough sea waters, currents much stronger than we can stand. Sharks, crabs and jelly fish… but ants were not part of that.

I guess it just makes me sad when I walk up to check on their progress and find another one has gone back to heaven. It almost makes me wonder why they were born in such a horrific way, only to suffer for three days and then die. What was it they were supposed to learn? Or was it I who needed to learn something?

Life isn’t fair? Ants are evil? I’ve got to toughen up? What is it I am supposed to take away from this besides heart break and to keep up with the ant spray?

    ~ Exhausted in the ICU

PS my grandfather suggested a new story; “Hamilton Troll and the Evil Ants”. I considered it. I could see the story in my head. Hamilton Troll approaches a hole where baby turtles are emerging and sees a line of ants start to attack them. He tries to battle off the ants but there are too many of them. He calls for help and other friends come to the rescue. I can see them doing a fire line bringing in buckets of water to wash away the ants. They try to save the babies but many of them are swollen from ant bites… sounds more like a nightmare for children to read than an inspirational educational tale. I’ll keep it in mind, but for the most part I feel it goes to the slush pile with Duncan the Dung Beetle; I just couldn’t seem to make a story about a poo excavating beetle, mom-approved.

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Robin Williams… Why?

Mork-Mindy-tv-02As with the rest of the world, I am reeling over the loss of (in my opinion) one of the best comedians I’ve ever known. I grew up with Mork, sitting on my head on the couch and saying nanu nanu – shasbot.

I escaped to Club Paradise every summer not quite understanding most of the plot until I was older but thinking how much fun it would be to live on an island.

I said “Good Morning, Vietnam” every day in middle school and thought the music he chose to go with his jokes was simply perfect.

Hook gave me the wings to fly and write and be creative. I also repeated the entire dialog between Peter Pan and Rufio all the time “you lude, crude, rude bag of prechewed food dude”.

FernGully made me respect trees and love fairies and I sung the batty rap song all the time.

Mrs. Doubtfire helped me understand my parents divorce. It meant a lot to me to look back to my childhood, as a teen, and watch what his children went through, what he went through… that he truly did love them and want to be with them no matter the cost.

Jumanji made me want to play board games again.

Aladdin was another magical journey into a “whole new world”. Flubber put me on the same playing field as my parents Nutty Professor. The list goes on.

Of course I saw Dead Poets Society, To Wong Foo, What Dreams May Come, Toys, Popeye, Patch Adams, Good Will Hunting, A.I., Robots, Night at the Museum and Happy Feet…

Robin Williams was my hero! I watched everything he was in, whether I liked it or not. I wasn’t thrilled when he went through his dark phase but I always gave him the benefit of the doubt. And while there are many movies and TV shows I know I have over-looked I leave you with my two favorites:

August Rush, though I didn’t care for his part in it, it was a miraculous movie that must be seen for the sake of seeing it.

Bicentennial ManBut if you are like me, and want to sit down and watch an outstanding Robin Williams movie. One that will make you laugh and cry, think and be amazed. One that will yank the emotions through your robot exterior, make you feel human in a future you would actually WANT to live in; a movie that will make you desire to be more, to push the envelope, to advance civilization in a story that spans two centuries, then I HIGHLY suggest sitting down with a nice glass of wine, or three, a box of tissues and a soft blanky and watch Bicentennial Man. While the critics were rather rough on it, I have never put much credibility into what they say. I watch what I want, write what I want and say what I want, because “you’re only given a little spark of madness, you mustn’t lose it.”

Robin_Williams2

“No matter what people tell you, words and ideas can change the world.” Robin Williams

“Real loss is only possible when you love something more than you love yourself.” Good Will Hunting

“To live… to live would be an awfully big adventure.” Peter Banning from Hook

“But oh, to be free. Such a thing would be greater than all the magic and all the treasures in all the world.” Genie from Aladdin

Why Robin? Why leave us so soon? I will miss you, but you will live on in all of the great things you accomplished in your life. Not just your comedy, not just your movies, not just your charitable acts of love… everything.   Teaching

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San Marcos Daily Record Article About Me

I was so honored today to have seen this amazing article written about me and my children’s books. I just wanted to share it with everyone.

This is a link to the PDF so you can read it… Local’s childrens books rally against bullying behavior

Local's childrens books rally against bullying behavior

Local’s childrens books rally against bullying behavior

Categories: Author, Bullying | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain.

rainbow july4th

Life is hard.

When it is easy, it seems that it is only the lull before the storm. Something will happen. Something will test you. Something will make you want to cry. Whatever it is, those tears need to be shed. Whether in silence at night when everyone is asleep or bawling and screaming in the car, you are human. You are emotional. Let it out.

Pray to God to hear your cries. Ask Him what you need to do. Then listen for his response.

He will respond.

It may not be the response you want to hear. Maybe it will be. But either way, listen for his response. We can not do it alone. We must ask for help. We must seek guidance.

We must let the rain happen.

We must wash these times out of our souls so we can have that rainbow. So we can shine. So we can be presented as new.

A life of happiness and bliss would be nice, but no rain means drought, death. We won’t grow. We will sit stagnant and go nowhere if we aren’t pushed to embrace something beyond our walls.

Life’s pain makes us stronger.

It tests our limitations and forces us to become more. When it rains, it may seem like it will be raining forever, like it is never going to stop, but it will. And when it does, the sun will come out. It will warm us, and dry us, and brighten our life. Then we can look up at the beauty of our rainbow and smile, knowing we are better for it.

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Categories: Enlightenment, Inspiration | Tags: , , | 1 Comment

Hamilton Troll is on MagicBlox

magic-blox-logo

Have you heard of MagicBlox?

Hamilton Troll meets Pink Light Sprite

Hamilton Troll meets Pink Light Sprite

If not, let me tell you about them. In 2009 MagicBlox set out to provide quality ebooks for children 1-13 on an interactive platform for children and they allowed for the implementation of audio files to be connected so the story can be read to younger children as they look at the pictures. Since, as far as I know, this is the only place that offers this feature at the time, and I am always looking for new opportunities for Hamilton Troll… I had to jump on it.

As of now we have teamed up with Cat Lookabaugh who is a professional narrator and who has already narrated Hamilton Troll meets Pink Light Sprite and Hamilton Troll meets Skeeter Skunk and both books can be found on MagicBlox.

Hamilton Troll meets Skeeter Skunk

Hamilton Troll meets Skeeter Skunk

We find this platform to be a wonderful opportunity. It helps busy parents who don’t have time for reading to their children and it helps children learn to read while enjoying new books. It reminds me of the books that came with records (what were they? 45s?) And we’d play the record on the player and turn the page when you heard the ding.

Same theory but it is now an mp3 player embedded in the website or app and it is connected to ebooks allowing ALL authors and publishers new and established to promote their books in yet another venue.

Check it out! You will be glad you did!

 

Categories: Author, Hamilton Troll, narrator | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Crazy an adjective for good

In 1570 the word crazy was used to describe someone who was diseased or sickly. In 1580 the word crazy described a person of unsound mind, or who was insane. Jump to today and crazy means cool or good. When did insane become cool? And let’s not forget about driving someone crazy. In the sixties, crazy was considered weird, now a days crazy is a word we use to express awesome. I wonder what the future of crazy will be?

I know this is a crazy post but it DID pop into my mind and I had to ask.

In the meantime,

Let me leave you with this little crazy-maker:

Let’s get crazy, plum crazy, in hopes of driving you crazy, until you are going crazy, simply by acting crazy, crazy like a fox but not like crazy horse. We will board the crazy train, looking for that crazy little thing called love, which is crazy good. We’ll go crazy on you, making you stir crazy, so you’ll need to take crazy pills because it’s crazy cool, to be crazy for you. So shine on you crazy diamond and know that I’ll be missing you like crazy until my next crazy post. I almost went crazy, but then I realized, that would be crazy.

 

crazy

Categories: craziness | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

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