Posts Tagged ‘balance’

How do hearts work in real life? Like this…

Sunday, December 15th, 2013

Hearts for Hearts is gifting so many with the most amazing holiday EVER–me most of all. My house isn’t fully decorated. I gave out last night before the last of the ornaments went onto the tree. I’m behind in baking and writing and seeing friends. But as of this last week, I’ve personally donated hundreds of books to amazing opportunities for stories to reach out and touch people who need the boost the most this time of year!

Oh, and the kitties would like me to say that they helped. Lots. Actually, they’ve done all the work and I’m just taking credit.

YMCA DeStefano Donation Gizmo HELPS

So much has happened already for the program, and we’re only into the first official launch week. Joyce Lamb at USA Today has spotlighted us, Sheila Clover English at Readers Entertainment, too, and the amazing Barbara Vey at Publisher’s Weekly. They’ve all generously boosted our visibility to their followers readers. Donations are beginning to happen all over the country as a result. More stories about that to come. The excitement I’m hearing from donors and recipients is EXACTLY what we’d hoped for when we dreamed of what HfH could be.

Starting Monday, I’ll be asking readers and friends and fans like you to help get the word out. All the information you need is in the Hearts for Hearts category on the blog or my website Hearts for Hearts page. You can also follow my Author page on Facebook to keep up. Won’t you consider helping?

Why am I taking the time to do this?

Why am I asking you to get involved?

HfH Image

Hearts for Hearts is such an easy concept for people to grasp, it costs you nothing but a little time and the effort it takes to reach out into your community and see where a need might be. Building community, one story at a time, is what I’ve been doing with my novels from the very start. The chance to see that come to life outside the pages is just too tempting to pass up.

I’ve asked three people in my personal circle of friends and contacts, and the doors have opened to no less than 5 donation opportunities. (more…)

Hearts for Hearts…

Monday, December 9th, 2013

I’m a blessed girl, a lucky artist, and writer who’s been given an amazing opportunity to give back. Hearts for Hearts is my newest passion–a chance for each of us to make a difference in our communities, to give back and lighten someone else’s life, one story at a time–and I’m thrilled to have Joyce Lamb at USA Today and her Happily Every  After blog exclusively kicking things off today!

HfH Image

There’s so much to share. Too much for a single day, and some of the mechanics of the program are still being ironed out. A lot of authors and industry professionals are already on board, signing up to participate. Lots to do and people to talk with and exciting things to see unfold.

So stay tuned. Lots of fun and details and cool ways to get involved (and win some fun things) to come. But for now, I hope Joyce’s Q&A inspires you to look for opportunities to donate and get involved in your are. That’s my challenge for all my readers and fans–even if you don’t have much money or time this holiday season, find a way to reach out (with Hearts for Hearts, through story) to those around you who have less, and make a difference in their lives!

So, for now…

Let me know in the comments what you think, how you might be able to join us on this amazing journey, and any questions you might have…

I truly can’t believe this day is finally here. Thanks to the entire Nancy Berland Team for all the hard work, helping me bring Hearts for Hearts to life!

What opens your heart?

Wednesday, December 4th, 2013

Holiday cheer? Holiday giving? Holiday spirit? I want those things mean to me the same as they would any other time of the year.  I listed my “heart happy” goals yesterday, for the holiday and beyond, and rereading them now makes me smile. I’m actually thinking I should be reading them every morning. Every new day I don’t feel up for or ready to face or willing to tackle. Because it’s not about me, not entirely. Each day is about living and giving and sharing and belonging.

open heart people

Opening your heart to the world around you…what better goal to have? There’s an entire philosophy behind our need to belong and how it drives the majority of conscience and subconscious behavior. Why do we do the things we do, why do we give up on the things we do, and why do we avoid those very things we know we need to face most? Fear and doubt, I say. We worry, and feel insignificant or powerless, and are too often on a self-fulfilling path of “I can’t make that work so why bother.”

“Don’t do that,” my daily list says. The list at the bottom of yesterday’s post that I’ll shake myself awake with each new morning now, because I want this holiday and this life and this chance I have to write and live well to mean something  more than what I want (and am maybe a little afraid I can’t have) for  myself.

What about other people? How can I be useful and meaningful to them?

shared heart

That’s what I hope my writing’s about– (more…)

What’s a heart made of?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

Holidays are for hearts. Whatever we celebrate this time of year, images of families and loved ones and friends and memories surround us. The season lifts us up, makes us homesick, sometimes brings unwanted sadness. Our hearts are in play. Done deal. We’re feeling something more, something deeper, something real.

I often wonder why–you know, besides the obvious manipulation by the media and advertisers, wanting us to spend, Spend, SPEND so we can feel even better (or worse) as we long for more of whatever we want (or have lost) most. What’s behind those heart strings tugging at our thoughts and memories and imaginations?

heart strings music

We’re more open around the holidays, even the jaded among us. We engage with the world and people around us, because it’s all closer, it’s all bigger. How can we not be affected?

Our minds are on the every day of work and kids and obligations and worries. We plod onward with all we think we are. But we’re also conditioned to feel certain ways in November and December and early January. Whether we want to or not, we’re trained from infancy to fit into the holiday mold our families before us have spent generations crafting. But what do we truly want our hearts to feel and believe and desire this time of year?

In matters of the heart, what’s habit and what’s intention? What makes us happy, and what are we doing because we’re told it should make us happy? If only we could tune in and find the magic of our own individual experience (as the world and the holidays experience and evolve and march onward around us), the hustle and bustle that distracts from more than this season would fade a bit…and we’d discover the holiday of oyr dreams.

heart happy shadow

That’s my plan this year, anyway. To be, in this moment, what my heart’s always wanted this time of year to be. To understand my hearts desire and see it come to life around me. To inspire, through my stories and my blogs and the other fun things coming soon that my publicist would smack me for talking about before its time (waving at Nancy Berland and her fabulous team while keeping mum’s the word for just a little longer), everyone I reach to long for the same.

Let’s say them out loud… (more…)

‘Tis The Season… To feel alone?

Tuesday, November 19th, 2013
“For unloved daughters and sons, the stress of the holidays sweeps in much more than the nuisance of crowded stores, piped-in joys, worries about money or pleasing everyone with the right gift…”
Currently writing about (and studying) grown foster kids who’ve aged out of the system. You know, in the midst of my charming, warm family novels. It might not come as a shock to you that holidays can be difficult for many in our country. But would it surprise you to know that they’re difficult for me? Maybe even for you sometimes, just a little more than you’ve let yourself think about?
If so

“For unloved daughters and sons, the stress of the holidays sweeps in much more than the nuisance of crowded stores, piped-in joys, worries about money or pleasing everyone with the right gift…”

I’m writing into a new story about (and studying) grown foster kids who’ve aged out of the system. You know, in the midst of my charming, warm family novels. I stumbled across this article from Psychology Today, among many others, in my research.

It might not come as a shock to you that holidays can be difficult for many in our country. But would it surprise you to know that they’re difficult for me? And maybe even for you sometimes, just a little more than you’ve let yourself deal with?

baby stress

Yeah, it’s a cute baby. And we fight so hard to keep the holidays full of cheer, despite disappointments or unhappiness from our pasts. And that’s a good thing. We move forward, we heal, we become who’re we’re meant to be. There’s no one I know who thinks it’s a good idea to stagnate in the hurt of the past and let it define all that will ever come. But as cute as all the holiday hype is, and as much as we might want to dive into the celebration along with everyone else, sometimes there’s just too much bubbling up from deep inside to laugh or hug or work or jingle away.

“For many, it [holidays] will conjure up–almost as if fresh and hew–the pain, exclusion, and loss they felt in their families of origin,” the article says.

Yeah. That’s real stuff. Holiday stuff we don’t want to see but too often can’t dismiss. I’m determined to write an inspirational, hopeful, loving and celebratory Christmas novella for next November/December’s readers. But in it (because I’m me and I’m made up of all my experiences of family origin, and because I’m writing about characters with disconnection and abandonment and insecurity and fear as their own earliest memories), I’m also going to be tackling the reality that many of us face each year– that, “the holidays sometimes evoke a renewed sense of self-doubt about the decision made, along with a feeling of isolation. The weight of cultural disapproval may feel heavier at this time of year…” (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: Listening…

Tuesday, November 5th, 2013

New beginnings aren’t just about action. In my case, there’s no real action yet. But I’m definitely beginning again. A new story in the works, a new release to plan for, a new PR team, a new season for my family as my son prepares to graduate from high school (whimper, sniffle, YAY!).


Before any challenge, and a new beginning is always a challenge, it’s the start that’s so scary, not the actual work to be done. It’s the watching and wondering and trying to subdue those pesky emotions and fears that sucks our momentum and energy away. I’m living that right now. I’m in-the-flesh proof that living never gets “easier,” no matter how much success you’ve had or how far you’ve come (in my case, raising a family and building a thriving publishing career and learning to write emotional novels that connect with readers and finding a publisher and agent and publicity team who believe in my vision maybe more than I can believe in myself yet).

But living isn’t about easy, I’ve learned.

You have, too, right?


To live, not just endure or survive or bide your time, is the goal. It’s the start of all that’s right in the world. Any world, whoever you are and wherever you call home. It’s never going away, the drive to live today. Just today. To make this moment count.

My mind numbs at the possibilities. The responsibilities. The choices and the weight of making them right. The possibilities and how few care what I want them to be, or how I need them to pan out.

PossibilitiesPostLetting go. As you wait and wonder and listen and try to move ahead but feel the weight of all you don’t know dragging you down, it’s tomorrow that you’re hearing, if you let go and let it in. It’s today that stands in your way. It’s worry that you throw in your own path to “soften” the impact.

Step out of those shadows with me. (more…)

The Soul of the Matter: The trees are raining…

Monday, October 7th, 2013

You wait, a storm’s chaos beyond your night window. The long summer, an overly-warm fall, cling fiercely. A thunderstorm in October.

It feels like forever, as if there will always be more. Steamy humidity. Suffocating.  Like moving through warm water that never cools. You long for the fierceness to break, for the dark storm, this weary season, to pass.

You do not expect such glory.

trees raining sunshine

Morning rises. Trees rain drops of watery sunlight. Leaves chant with each sway of limb and breeze. It’s safe. Come out. Play. You inhale, and you know.

It’s because of the storm, this beauty.

treas raining leaves

Trust the long nights. The chaos.

Morning magic comes in its own time.

Embrace the rain beyond the window, the storm within. When change is ready for you, step into that glorious opening. Live. And begin the wait again.

The Soul of the Matter: Balancing Piles of Tribbles…

Wednesday, August 7th, 2013

I’ve just taken a week off. To be honest, I need more time away. Does that sound familiar–the lure of distance and silence and being still? Haven’t we all lost ourselves somewhere like that–nowhere–a time or two?

We need more off-the-grid than our busy lives allow. But how much “down” is enough? When must “doing” become the goal again, even though we’ll never stop needing the opposite?

There’s something eternally good-feeling about the nothing of zero responsibility.

zero responsibility

Yet we want to be productive, too. We build and we push and we create and we dream and bring to life. Whatever our jobs, we do them because we have ambition and drive and discipline. But within us is a deep well of silence, forever wanting. This quietness must be fed, for us to be healthy.

Nosier, bustling objectives reclaim our daily focus faster than any “breaking away” can outrun life.  Yet an inner call for peace lies in wait, continuously biding time, ever demanding. It’s a tricky balance. And when we allow things to go off-kilter–say by taking a much-needed week away from everything–equilibrium can be a bitch to grapple back.

I’ve focused on one goal, an important one, for months now. It’s attained, and I couldn’t be prouder. But… What next? As I survey the overwhelming demand of everything that’s been put off–piles of “I’ll do that tomorrow, or next week, or next month…”–I look at what once seemed easily done later, and now I see daunting obstacles.

I explained this waking up to my husband, as being like watching Tribbles multiply.


You push aside just one or two things, to stay tuned into an important goal, to the exclusion of every distraction. When you next pick up your head, you find ten of the wee furry beasties lurking about. (more…)