Tag Archives: publishing

Author Interview

My first blog author interview.  Thank you so much Mandy Eve Barnett for taking the time to talk with me.  Remember this post?  She’s one of the great ones!

View my interview here on Mandy’s Blog!


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Publishing a First Work

I have some very exciting news.  I have story that will be published in the Secrets and Doors anthology set to be released very soon.  It has been quite a journey for me and I have learned a lot.  If you are currently writing, or hoping to write and someday be published, trust me when I say it isn’t quite the way you imagined it would be.


I always thought that the most difficult part was writing the book-all the way to the end.  When I finished my first book, I heard many times, “You wrote a book, how many people can say that they actually did that.”  The truth is, a lot.  There are so many stories out there just waiting to be published it is overwhelming.  The book market is incredibly competitive. I learned this very early on when I started to get serious about writing.

I have been writing for a few years now and finished my first full length novel in 2008.  I finished another novel a few years later and during that time, my family moved.  We moved to the back of the beautiful Wasatch Mountains.  I joined a writing group and met some wonderful people.  I have been very lucky because the authors in my group are more than just great writers, they are full of integrity.  As you begin writing you will find that trait is just as important as finding a mentor that can write a good book.  I look up to them and I am so lucky that I got to work on this project with them. Find them here: Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Angela Hartley.

I also learned that authors are their very own species.  Maybe it is artists in general, but surely authors.  Authors are creative minds with very sensitive souls.  When I first walked into the world I told myself that I wasn’t going to feel that way.  I was going to write because I loved it and not worry so much what others thought of me.  What I found, however, was that I am just another author.  As an author you are only as successful as the people who support you.

Thanks to the incredible group of people that I met, I learned so much and was able to submit my own story for the Secrets and Doors Anthology.  The process from there was a lot of work.  There is a lot of collaboration that goes into an anthology and I realized just how hard the leaders of our group work.  They spent hours marketing and selling, finding editors and options, while I, learning from the sidelines sent a few cheers while I worked over and over again with the editor, Callie Stoker, to make sure my story was just right.

I was on cloud nine.  Willing to put in the time and work hard.  Writing is hard work.  You need tough skin and a really big heart.  You also need a great support team.  I realized this when I received an email that asked to get a review of my story.

“No problem,” I thought.  “I have friends and family with blogs.  I know people.”  How disappointing it was for me to realize that when I posted and asked for a small amount of help, I was answered with crickets from all of my blogger friends.  Don’t feel bad for me, I did plenty of that for myself.  So much so, that my precious sidekicks, so in tune with feelings made me this incredible drawing of themselves “answering my blog.”

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I really do have a great support system, just most of them don’t blog or are already in the anthology so I strapped on my boots and did what I should have done to start with.  I asked a stranger.  Marketing 101 for a book, be brave, get out there, be willing to connect, and toot your own horn.  I did just that and found the wonderful Mandy Eve Barnett to read my story and write a review.  I will forever be grateful for her kindness and her ability to remind me that there really are great people in the world.  I sent my story off to her with my stomach full of nerves.

This is the moment I realized I was an author.  I had something special.  Something that mattered to me.  I shared my soul with the world. I was crushed when I felt a lack of support only to sit, waiting, stressed, scared to death and worried that I would get a bad review from someone who I never met.  Would my career as an author be over? Would my next book never see the light of day?

I took a breath.  I looked at my sidekicks and my husband with his thumbs up.  I called some family who said they had my back and I thought of my mom who would probably be more excited for me in this moment than I am for myself.  I moved on.  I read others blogs, supported some friends and family on other things and remembered that life goes on. I already have some pretty great things to look forward too.  Even if my reviewer hated the story, it was coming out anyway and this was a huge accomplishment.

I will let you see what Mandy thought of my story here:  http://mandyevebarnett.com/2015/02/05/meriann-boxall-short-story-anthology-review-5th-feb/ while you are there, follow her blog, send her a thank you, and vote her a 5 because she is an incredible person. She took a chance on me and will forever be in my circle of people who made a difference.  Additionally, this works out in my favor.  My story will be shared with many that it never would have been otherwise.  Had I have had a family member or friend help with my story, I would have reached the same crowd I would have anyway.  Things happen for a reason.

So as a first time author I would share that be prepared for a lot of hard work.  Know that just as any other job in the world, you are just one of many-learn to stand out.  Market yourself well with bravery.  Believe in your story and in yourself.  Learn from others, especially your mentors. They know what they are talking about and can help you along the way. Remember that your support may not be found in a blog post, but will be found in a letter from your sidekicks or those that took a chance on you to publish your book.

Don’t worry, I am over the disappointment I found early on. I am the lucky one to get to be one story of many that I share with some of the most incredible authors out there.  Make sure to grab our book.  The anthology proceeds will all be donated to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.  That is thanks to the great publisher Crimson Edge Publishing and all of the authors involved.  While you are at it, make sure to check out some of the other authors and buy their other books too.  They are good, honest, people and really great storytellers.

More about the Secrets and Doors:

Open the door and unlock the secrets in eleven short stories from The Secret Door Society, an organization of fantasy and science fiction authors dedicated to charitable work. All proceeds from this anthology benefit the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation in their quest to cure Type One Diabetes (T1D).

In these pages you’ll discover a modern woman trapped in an old fashioned dreamscape, a futuristic temp worker who fights against her programming, a beautiful vampire’s secret mission disrupted by betrayal, a sorcerer’s epic battle against a water dragon, the source of magical mirrors—and more. There are tales for every science fiction and fantasy taste, including new works from award-winning authors Johnny Worthen, Lehua Parker, Christine Haggerty, and Adrienne Monson.

Join us in the fight against T1D as you peek into a world of magical and mysterious doorways—if you dare.


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Interview with Faun Jackson and Cover Reveal for Secrets and Doors

I had the privilege of speaking to Faun Jackson with Faund Images Photography about the cover design for the new Secrets and Doors Anthology, available at Crimson Edge Publishing.  Jackson has a lot of passion about art and books so cover design is a perfect fit for her.  Check out this cover and make sure to spend time looking at all of the special details that she added.


So beautiful!  She is so talented and we were all so lucky to be able to work with her on this project.  Without further ado, allow me to introduce you to Faun Jackson.


Can you tell us your journey to becoming an artist? What were your original inspirations? 

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had a pencil, crayons or paintbrush in my hand.  Even though I loved school, you could look at my notebooks in any given subject and find the doodles of the day.  Being from a small area, the high school that I attended didn’t even have an art teacher.  They actually had the PE teacher trying to teach art.  Needless to say, she had ME teach the class!  I was the Art Sterling Scholar and everything in my portfolio was completely done on my own with no instructor’s help.

I attended Utah State University, where I finally was able to take art classes from professors that were amazing!  The world opened up to me and I was excited about the possibilities!  I continued to work on my craft at Utah Valley University, working in the media department.  Using the first Macintosh computers I found a new passion in generating department flyers, illustrating their books and even designing a book cover.  I was asked to teach a class on computer graphics and later taught a continuing education class as well.   I worked for Stephen R. Covey designing instructional material. I also illustrated brochures for a craft company, a hot tub company and put together instructional books sold in craft stores.

As my family grew, some of those aspirations were put on hold for a time.  However, the entrepreneur in me, decided to paint on clothing and see if anyone would be interested in buying them.  I contracted with a store in Park City, Utah where they sold my shirts, as well as a store in Gardner Village.  One day, the owner of the Park City store made the comment “People love your shirts!  I have been asked several times why you spend your time painting on a shirt when you should be painting on walls!”  Up until then, I hadn’t even thought of that!  I immediately went to town on my own home walls… word spread and I was painting on other people’s walls before I knew what happened.  For years, I painted everything you can imagine on walls from Torrey to SLC.   Photography had always been a passion for me but when photo shop came into my life, it opened up a whole new creative outlet.  I have continued taking classes and experimenting with my ideas.  A few years ago, I heard the term “Fine Art Photography”.  I checked it out and was immediately hooked.

My inspiration comes from the place I call home and my family.  I have everything from high mountains, lakes, wooded areas to the red rock in the desert to inspire me.  My mind never shuts off and I create my most unique ideas at night when I SHOULD be sleeping!

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How did you become interested in illustrating or cover design for books?

I have worked in our local library for seventeen years and during that time, I have come to appreciate a great book cover design.  I also understand the importance of the book cover.  We all would like to think people don’t judge a book by its cover but in fact, many people do.  If the cover is intriguing to them or the title, they pick it up more quickly.  With my love of books and art, designing book covers seems to be a natural fit!


The cover is beautiful.  Can you tell us more about how you came up with the idea and the process you used to design the cover?

Given the genre of the book, I knew I wanted my design to have a mysterious yet magical feel.   I knew I wanted a girl wearing a dress made of a specific type of fabric.  Luckily, I had recently photographed someone who met that criteria.  I approached the young woman and she was more than delighted at the prospect of being on a book cover!  It was important for me that the girl have long hair, so we waited for her to get hair extensions.  Then the search was on for the perfect door.  It all came together but there was a lot of editing to be done to get the image where I wanted it to be.  After the initial edit, I wanted the image to be more monochromatic so I turned her green dress purple and created a purple-ish hue over the entire photograph to give it the mysterious feel I was looking for.  I made her a bit ghostly, raised her eyebrows for more expression, pulled her dress out at the bottom and to finish it off, put the creepy hand in the window.  When I looked at the finished product, I knew if it were a book in my library, I WOULD indeed pick it up!


Before and After

In addition to designing covers for books, I am sure you are very busy.  What are some other things that you do so we can get to know you better? 

Besides working at the library, I keep myself extremely busy doing photography of every kind.  I have worked on some fun editorial shoots with, Myriah Chestnut Deckard, a creative, fun woman from LA.  You can find some from that shoot here.

I continue being asked to paint on walls but have very little time for that any more.  My most recent mural was in a dentist office… a painting of a tooth fairy flying with a toothbrush in hand!

I  am a mother of four and a grandmother of four.  This is where true happiness lies!

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What are you reading right now and what are your favorite books? 

I am hoping that the current book I will be reading will be “Secrets & Doors”!

There are too many favorite books to mention but I’ll try and pick a few.  You could say that my family is full of Harry Potter nerds.  Everyone knows which house they belong to… that kind of nerdy!  I do love a good fantasy!  I enjoy many genres.  “The Help” and “The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society” are two of my favorite books.  As far as mysteries, I have been enjoying the Flavia De Luce series by Alan Bradley.  My favorite non-fiction book would have to be “Unbroken”.


Is there a book that you wish you could have designed the cover for?

This is a more difficult question to answer! The novels of the Others (Written in Red, Murder of Crows, etc.) by Anne Bishop would be series that I would have loved to design the covers for.  They are pretty imaginative books and they would have been fun to be really creative with.

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Is there anything else that you would like to share with us?

The world of photography has changed so drastically over the past few years, opening up all kinds of creative possibilities.  Even though I do enjoy photographing people in a traditional fashion, my true love lies in creating images that look more like a piece of art, rather than merely a photograph.   I continue to re-invent myself so to speak, constantly taking courses that inspire me to reach the next level.  My goals for the future most definitely involve creating more book cover ideas as well as anything else that allows creativity…

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How do we find your art?



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The Secrets and Doors Anthology is now available for purchase at Crimson Edge Publishing: http://crimsonedgepublishing.com/bookstore/


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Social Media: Moments Lost? Or not… Pros and Cons Discussed

I have been learning so much about social media, and the many platforms.  In doing so I have also been reflecting on my personal life and the impact that social media has had on me.  I thought of some of my life’s biggest moments: wedding, birth of my children, loss of my mother;  and some small moments: birthdays, fun activities, and my writing career.

So many articles on this topic are extreme to one side or the other, either that social media makes you lose the human connection, or that it is necessary and is creating a more globalized social structure.  In my experience it’s both, a road right down the middle.


Here is my list of pros and cons, and what I have learned along the way.


  • I can catch up. I now have information about so many people from my life’s story.  I know where they are, what they are doing, and what is important in their life.  Many, I would not still be in contact with if it were not for the online presence.  It also makes it possible when I meet a new friend to see where they came from and what is important to them.
  • My Grandma thinks I am a great family member. What?!?  Yes, this is one of the pros.  My Grandmother is not online, but when she asks about one of my cousins, I can often tell her what they are up to, and even show her pictures.  Automatic good graces and status of quality family contributor.
  • Today may not be a holiday, but it’s reason to celebrate as it is most likely, someones birthday, somewhere. It’s like a built-in calendar for candles and song.
  • Business and Marketing.  One of my friends recently said, “I never used Facebook very much, until I started my own business.”  The reach is amazing, and if used correctly, can make a huge impact on business success.  It also has been such a huge learning tool for me in my new business.  Learning the in’s and out’s and connecting with people in the right places.
  • Distance is not a factor.    I can keep in touch with anyone, anywhere.  It doesn’t matter how far away they are, I can still view pictures and see just what they are seeing.  Refer to Grandma.  Those pictures of cousins in other states and even countries-can’t be beat!
  • Major high fives.  Likes, Loves, Comments… I can share news or exciting information with all of my “friends”.  Even if they are not someone I would likely still be in contact with today, they can like something and show support.  It’s so easy to click a button in support and feel like you were a good friend-because it does matter.  When a child comes into the world-huge kudos to show of that new little one-from everywhere and everyone.  Who can resist commenting on a picture of a new baby?  Not me.


  • It makes it easier to be absent. A like or a comment in a post along with others is no substitute for real connection.  I watch this more carefully than I have in the past.  I realized, when my mother passed away and the well wishes came flowing in under the comments of a picture,  that it was great to have all the extra support. Until one of my dearest friends also posted that way.  No phone call, no private message, no card, no email.  It was easy to check the box of support by a simple comment.  Clearly missing the mark.
  • Conclusions can be made, and Feelings can be hurt. It is so much easier to read words, or see pictures, and miss the actual meaning in an assumption.  I am the first to admit that I have read posts or  comments, some not even directed at me, and still felt offended and hurt.  Upon reflection, usually I can see that it was never meant the way it was taken, but it happens, all too often.
  • When it’s posted, it’s out there. Everything you post is public.  Even when you set it to private, things get out.  Whether later by word of mouth by one of your friends, a screen shot, or an issue with privacy settings.  What you post, can impact your future, or even your now.  It’s a record of you. Who you are inside and out.  People will judge, they will question, and they will talk.
  • It makes it easier to support. It’s hard sometimes to see what is really great and important, because it is so easy to click like, comment, or love.  I have noticed on some of my posts that the likes don’t always reflect the views on the article I shared.  This tells me that people are supporting me (thank you so much) but I’m not really sure if they even read it.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the support, but the clicks count too, so I am adjusting my own actions accordingly.
  • It’s your birthday?  I have not yet listed my birthday on any social media sites.  I am not sure why, but it’s a connection thing for me.  I guess I would feel a little silly if people were sending messages, and I know that the only reason they know this is through social media.  It feels a little distant I guess and just isn’t something I get.  Many say, “why not? The birthday wishes are fun”-so meh…that’s just me.

Looking at my list I realized that there are a few things I want to do differently.

  • I will be an active participant in the life’s of people who matter most.  Outside of social media, I will call when needed, send a card when possible, and try have the personal connection.
  • I will support my friends and their businesses because I see how important it is, and the impact it can have.  I will still click like. It’s easy to support.
  • I will take it one step farther when necessary with a personal comment or message to say, “this was great” or “how are you really”
  • I will filter my thoughts. Making sure to think before I post, hoping not to offend or upset another.  I want to make sure my actions will make me proud in the future.
  • I will keep making new friends, learning more about others and life, and sharing my experiences as I go along.  Social Media can be fun and I am really thankful for those I get to connect with. Even if it’s only online!

I am also learning more about the hierarchy of social support.  From basic to more advanced:

  1. A click: Like, Love, Favorite
  2. A public comment, Retweet
  3. A private/personal message
  4. An Email/public share
  5. A Phone Call
  6. A letter/Card
  7. Own post/topic in show of support
  8. A personal visit/hug/high-five

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A Review: One Boy, No Water

One Boy, No Water is the first book in the Niuhi Shark Saga by Lehua Parker.

The only negative to reading One Boy, No Water was that I read it during the winter and it left me longing for warm sun, sandy beaches and shaved ice.  Zader is a young Hawaiian Boy that is allergic to water.  He works to find his place in the world on an island where the water is the source for so much life.  Zader, his brother, friends, and most important his Uncle, will draw you into the story and the way of life in Hawaii.  It was such fun, for a main-lander like myself, to learn through Zader’s eyes what the Hawaiian culture is really like.  I enjoyed learning of typical food, free time activities, and learning the words and dialect used in every day conversations.  Most importantly though, I love the characters, the stories, and the great adventures that take place.  I am hoping for an Uncle Kahuna of my own some day.  Parker has a way with humor that will keep you engaged and laughing while you dream of beach vacations.  I highly recommend this book not only to the young reader population that it was intended for, but also for those who enjoy feeling young and reading great tales.  I look forward to the next book in the series.

You can find One Boy, No Water at:  http://www.amazon.com/One-Water-Niuhi-Shark-Saga-ebook/dp/B00I2FWTZ4/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1394115230&sr=1-1&keywords=one+boy+no+water


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The Uneventful Shower

As a stay at home mom, every shower must be scheduled.  (It’s even worse for a working mom-as there is that time factor).  A few things must take place before said shower can occur:

  1. Kids must be fed
  2. Baby cannot be crying
  3. Everything must be safe and securely in place with “no no” areas, promptly closed off
  4. Drinks and a snack for kids must be prepared and accessible
  5. Favorite doll and pull along vacuum-at the ready

Now Hurry!


Today, after much preparation, I watched as sidekick #2 removed the towel from the bathroom rack dragging it behind him out of room, returning only to pull every inch of toilet paper off the roll and onto the floor.


So at the end of my shower I stand, freezing, calling sidekick #1 to find my towel, trying to avoid creating clumps of wet toilet paper on my feet.  I wait, “patiently” as she hands me varying colors of hand towels, laughing.

Finally, a towel.

This moment makes me realize as I hear the words, “Let me just jump in the shower really quickly” no stress or worry in their voice, that  a shower is no big deal and even, dare I say, relaxing.  I think to myself: “I don’t know what that is!”

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A Review: Kiss of Fire

Kiss of Fire by Rebecca Ethington was recently recommended to me in the online book club: Bring Your Own Book Club (Do Join If You Like to Read).  Plus, she is local, so I thought I would give it a try and I am so very glad that I did.


Joclyn is magical.  In many ways, but has no idea just how magical she really is. With best friend, Ryland, by her side, she struggles to find herself during the awkward teenage years.  What she does find is much more than she bargains for, when a mark on her neck that she has tried to keep hidden her entire life, ends up changing her world forever.  From climbing trees, to throwing cars, this books keeps you hooked and enthralled from the get go.  I like Joclyn, I really do.  This is a must read for any fan of YA Fantasy Fiction especially those who enjoy a strong female lead.  I am looking forward to the next book in the series.  Stay tuned!

You can find Kiss of Fire here: http://www.amazon.com/Kiss-Fire-Imdalind-Rebecca-Ethington-ebook/dp/B009ZF5SLM/ref=sr_1_5?ie=UTF8&qid=1389460254&sr=8-5&keywords=rebecca+ethington

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5 Reasons To Go To A Writing Conference

I was incredibly nervous to attend my first Writing Conference.  I was going to be in the presence of many amazing and accomplished authors, not to mention my competition.  It was a little overwhelming for me.  I decided to do it anyway. My goals: learn a lot, approach at least one person and talk about my story, get out of my comfort zone, and improve my confidence.   I was riding with a couple of said amazing writers who were kind enough to even come and pick me up.

I made an entrance to the Life The Universe and Everything Conference.

It started with a fall, flat on my back as I approached the car.  Not what I had planned.

It was icy, and I was mortified.

Author 1 and Author 2-so kind!

It got much better from there. You see, when you start flat on your back, there really is only one way to look,and that’s up.  So I started climbing to the light.


I embraced the conference and I learned the following things:

1: I may have been overdressed.  It was a long climb up people.  I am so used to business conferences and the idea of looking professional when presenting oneself to the world. My slacks and sweater were not the common apparel.  I missed the boat on this when I chose not to wear my flashing eyes headband or tie dyed shirt and bathrobe.  For me though, I was comfortable in myself and this helped my confidence.

2: Writers are very nice people.  Conversations came easy and I found that I was enjoying meeting new people.  People offered to read my book and query letter, just because they could and thought it might help me.  People smiled and looked me in the eye as they said hello.  For a bunch of covert home bodies who write in their basements, people skills overall, not too bad!

3: Query letters have only three parts, but are really really hard. I am still waiting for the day when I can say, “Nailed It” but for now, I go back to the drawing board to continue working on the shortest, but most difficult process of my entire book so far. Key takeaways: I have a book, not a series.  I need to work on selling just one.  Also, don’t ask questions in the query, make statements that bring emotion.

4: Be prepared with a pitch and a card. I didn’t have either, so I found myself floundering a little.  Author cards were like pogs back in the day.  Everyone was slapping them out on the table. I felt a little left out.  Followed closely by my name, (and sometimes before, I was asked what my book was about.  I was more used to getting to know people by what they do other than write, that this was a challenge for me.  I am working on something though so I will be prepared next time.  It’s that confidence piece I need to work on and be prepared.  Writing is a business, not just finishing a manuscript.  I am selling something after all.

5: Writing conferences are really really fun. I thoroughly enjoyed myself.  I came out of my shell and talked to people I didn’t know.  I told a lot about my story and made connections with people who might actually be able to help me get my book published, at least by giving me feedback and ideas.  I met some great people and took away so many notes.

If you have the chance to attend a conference, I highly recommend it.  It is a great way to really get your feet into the world of writing and decide if it is something you are really committed to.  I am and I am so happy that I didn’t just walk back into my house, but instead, I looked up, and I climbed my way out.



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An Olympic Sized Lesson

This is really a guest post by my girl one, but she is a little too small to type on her own just yet.

We love the Olympics at our house.  After watching one evening my four year old came up with an idea. An idea of Epic Proportions.  “Let’s have our own Olympics!”

Yes, Let’s!!

So the next morning she woke up with big plans for our little family.  It came with crafts.  Lots of crafts.  We made a torch, medals, and a US Flag.


The key to the post lies here.

She made them.  Yes I helped when asked, but she did most of the work.  She wrote the numbers, she cut the flames, she picked the ribbon all of it.  The result-super cool medals for everyone, one cool torch, a unique America flag, and one very happy and proud little girl.  I could have taken over a little more, helped her write the letters, or cut individual flames for the torch, then, taken pictures of the final product and pinned them to pintrest.  I may have gotten a few likes from my very supportive friends, but instead I let her run with it.  She was delighted, her whole face showed it.  These were her Olympics.

Next up, the events.  She was most excited about the speed skating and the figure skating.  We live in a climate that we could have made some events outside, but she had other plans.  Blankets covered the floor of our speed skating ring.  The keyboard acted as background to our figure skating competition.  We had a mattress and pillows for our ski jumping, and used farm animals for a grand curling competition.  We even had the torch ceremony with real Olympic background music where we talked about being Americans.

The events were so much fun.  She wanted to win them all.  But she didn’t.  We learned lessons on being happy for others and working hard.  We laughed so much and made so many memories that this will absolutely happen every Olympics.


The truth is: My sidekick is actually the one teaching me. Her creativity has no limits.  If I give her the rains just a little, this girl child can run free.  What an inspiration.  I am looking forward to seeing, just how she is going to change the world, because no doubt, she will move mountains.  I need to see the world through her eyes a little more, and mine a little less.  She sees everything, even if sometimes I think she is too young to understand.  Even when I think she is too young to participate, maybe, I just need to look more from her level so even I can enjoy life a little more.

Go get ’em America!  Our whole family is cheering for you!  Lesson learned!

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10 Things I Learned From My Dad

My Dad is a pretty amazing man.  He helped me to become the person I am today.  The more I look at life, the more I realize that my Dad is a pretty smart man too.  Here are just a few life lessons that I learned from my Dad.

10Puddles are made to jump in. God made rain for a reason.  Yes, we come from a farming background, so there are many needs for rain, but to my Dad-they are made to jump in, enjoy, and give thanks, and thanks should come whether you are in play clothes or your Sunday best. Say thank you, every chance you get!

9-If you drive the car, you can change the tire. It’s important to be independent because you never know when you may be the only one to bail you out.  I learned how to change a tire early on, but I can assure you that if my Dad was anywhere near-by and knew that I had a flat or any type of car trouble, he was the first one to respond.  

8Everyone has good in them. It doesn’t matter how many mistakes a person makes, or if they are openly mean.  It doesn’t matter how many times they take advantage of another person or hurt someones feelings, somewhere, inside there is good.  Through kindness and compassion you can find it. Forgive.  It may take time, but it is worth it. If for some reason they won’t let you in, be kind anyway, but you can love from a distance if it is doing more harm to you than good.

7-Life is too long to be unhappy.  I know the saying most often goes, life’s too short to be unhappy, but my Dad once said, “Life is too damn long to be unhappy, sis” and it’s so true. If you have to change something in your life to truly be happy, then get it done.  You are wasting some valuable times of joy.

6-A lady doesn’t swear. She does, however, stand up for herself.  She can fix almost anything on her own, but it’s okay to let someone open her door.  A lady says “No” but is kind to others and includes everyone. A lady knows how to work, is independent, and never gives up.


5-A perfect dinner includes Chili Cheese Dogs and things that start with P.  My Dad makes a mean Chili Cheese Dog and is one of my favorite meals with him.  For dinner to be complete though it must also include Pickles, Popcorn, and his People.  Family and friends are the most important in his life.  There’s always room for more at the table, and if needed, he will even offer a ride.

4-Dream Big. I am pretty sure that my Dad thought I was the best at whatever I did.  While that is not true, he did show me that if I really want something and I am willing to work for it, I can probably have it.  He also loves the stars and showed me that our world is so much bigger than us.  There is so much more to life than just what we can touch.  So if it can be imagined, it can probably happen.

3-It’s probably not as bad as it feels right now. This has a double meaning. My Dad taught his girls to be tough, and get back on the horse.  Sometimes though, we really should have stayed off-received stitches-or visited a doctor, however, we have great stories, some scars, and a lot of pride for our accomplishments.  He also has a way of making sure that when times are tough, we know there is a silver lining and it will get better.  When it does get better, he reminds us of how far we have come.  My sisters and I depend on him as our constant in life.  He is our North Star.

2-Tools for life are: a Leatherman, duct tape, WD-40, twine, and a little plywood never hurt.  Pretty much anything can be fixed (or built) if you have those tools on hand.  Some may consider the fix temporary, but if it lasts-that’s permanent wouldn’t you say?

1-Family First and Always. Anything for family.  Anytime.  This also includes, neighbors, friends, and that guy down the street that you have never met, but saw one time. Okay maybe not quite that far, but my Dad will do anything for anyone, but especially his family.  I know he will be there for me no matter what.  This includes a late night drive in the snow for a night in the hospital, a flight across country to drive his daughter home, or smaller, a call at the end of the day to check on something important.  He is a truly amazing man and I am so blessed to call him Dad.

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