Best Wishes

December had its highs and lows this year. We bid a sad farewell to dear friends and a fond hello to new ones. It is a time for reflection amidst the joy of being with loved ones. My emotions were on a rollercoaster and happy tears flowed along with the sad ones.

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You can pack a lot into a month and I sure did. Some of the

high points were sharing my book with the girls at Connie

and Lily’s book club (see my last post)

 

 

 

and participating in the RiverCross Craft Fair where there were fairies trapped in jars and purple decorations and gifts everywhere. Gifts of the Crysnix just fit right in! I set up shop in the library along with author, Lisa Young. Visit her website here.

Between the two of us, we had great fun selling our books and visiting with the many people who came by the craft fair. Below is a slideshow of the day. Enjoy.

The month carried on and I found myself back in Arizona where I went to Vicki O’Connor’s Open House. Remember it last year? I showcased my book there but this year I relaxed as a guest and enjoyed the beauty and range of Vicki’s artistic talents and was off-duty. 😉

To find more of Vicki’s work you can see it here.

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The showcased author this year was Sally Schrempf who was promoting her new book Forget the Fad and Eat the Food. Sally’s warm and funny personality shines through as she guides us to eat healthy and have fun doing it. You can buy it here.

 

 

December wouldn’t be December without Laura’s cookie making party!

Thanks to my elves for helping with the decorating! Those shortbread trees travel across continents and borders and have been a tradition in my family for many years. Yummy!!

Special sunsets and visits with family and new friends rounded out the Arizona trip. I won’t embarrass my daughter with pictures of her but we sure lucked out with the sunset that had the bonus of the full (almost super) moon rising.

Up to Canada we went and Christmas set into full swing! The weather even cooperated with a beautiful dump of snow on Christmas Eve. The table was packed as usual and the kids big and small, all had a ball.

It was a month of first steps and first time on skis for my grandsons, and first words for our granddaughter. A year for weddings – my son in July and an engagement for my step-daughter. And a year for tough things that test us; broken bones and broken hearts with the loss of too many friends.

This is the month when we touch base with the many people who mean so much to us. It is a time to reflect on our good fortune and make promises to ourselves to be better people. So love yourself and be good to your loved ones. My very best wishes to you all for a wonderful New Year.

Life’s Little Stumbles

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When I was two years old I learned the value of perseverance. I broke my left arm and had to suck it up all summer not being able to go swimming and playing like the rest of the kids. But, being only two, I didn’t understand the concept of time passing so being in a cast for 6 weeks was just something to deal with.

Without realizing it, I also learned patience and resilience. These concepts served me well when I broke my left leg three years later. I became a whiz on crutches and time passed. It was what it was and having no control over the healing time, I just sucked it up again.

 

Well, holy crap! I broke my left wrist AND left ankle this summer and I had to dig deep (still am) to remember the patience that is needed to get through. Perseverance and resilience are not a problem as I am patently reminded daily of my uncanny ability to live in denial.

The process has been humbling as I struggle with my belief that I am invincible crossed with the angst of trying to simply walk again. The last two months have been a time of reflection (couldn’t do much else) and insight into how life’s stumbles make us stronger.

images-1Oh, you may think – what a cliche. Well, yes it is and for good reason. But what I am talking about goes deeper than what is obvious. A poor trait of Humans is that we get complacent about what is the norm. When the status quo gets tossed and an unexpected injury or illness takes over our lives, we long for that which used to make us complacent. All of a sudden, we wish we could do the little things again and we are so grateful when we finally can. What a gift! That gratitude makes us deeper, wiser and more aware of life’s simple beauty that surrounds us all. The deeper the scar, the deeper the soul.

I was fortunate to have two book signings arranged before the accident. I really didn’t feel like drumming up business so I was happy to go to Poor Michael’s Emporium a few days after the injuries happened and then on to Indigo in Calgary again. I have to admit, I have felt pretty guilty about not posting about them. But, honestly, I didn’t feel well enough. My hand didn’t allow me to type properly and I had to have my foot elevated so I binge-watched Netflix with abandon!!

I want to thank all those lovely people who came out on a stormy night to listen to my readings at Poor Michael’s Emporium. It was an Onyx of a storm that night! All of the kids bought books and I hope they have enjoyed them!

My day at Indigo went really well. The store almost ran out of my books! I am always excited to talk about a story that helps us dream big and believe in ourselves.

Life’s little stumbles give us perspective. I’m not talking about the big pitfalls that change our life forever such as losing a loved one. Unfortunately, several of my friends and family have had to go through that recently and such profound loss creates a benchmark that will define life going forward. There is no comparison.

The perspective is a gentle one. It is the knowledge that we aren’t always in control of our lives but we are in control of how we live. It makes us take time to savour the little things and appreciate so much we take for granted.

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This time has also given me the gift to see a new side of my loved ones and myself.

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When friends and family offer to help me it makes me uncomfortable. I had to let go and accept help, which can be hard. I appreciate those who were there for me in a way that has bonded a love so strong, it has reached a new level. All the things I took for granted like cooking, cleaning, grocery shopping etc. were done for me. The humility I found forged a stronger love for them. I also found a stronger commitment to appreciate life.

 

I have always been the kind of person who notices the beauty around us. It just makes me feel better. Being house bound has made me ache to take a walk at sunset or ride my bike or go for a run. I am so fortunate that I will do those things again. Beyond that, I have a deeper appreciation for those who are bound to a wheelchair. Those incredible people who have dug so deep to carry on and make a great life for themselves. They are the true testament for living with perseverance, patience, and resilience. I have the most profound respect for anyone who has dealt with a life-altering accident.

Mine was just a little stumble.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Hungry​ Monster Interview

If you think that writing  a book is daunting, it’s only half of the work once you jump into the ocean of publicity and promotional options. Authors who love to write and bring their stories to the masses have to be adept at having a marketing brain as well as being a wordsmith. That is why it is such a treat to have help from the interviews and reviews.

My last post was about the Hungry Monster Review, which I really appreciated. Now I have the honour to share the interview from Hungry Monster. I can’t express enough how exciting it is to interact with those who make it their passion to promote authors like me.

Thanks again to Thomas Anderson for his time and kind insights.

Please read the interview here.

Cheers to all and have a great day!

The Winnipeg Launch

Hello, Winnipeg! Welcome to my launch!

Lisa Book Launch  05McNally Robinson Booksellers … (cue dramatic music …) a mecca for any prairie author to give a reading and launch.

It is one of the most beautiful and HUGE independent bookstores that still remains in North America and is the largest in Canada. You can just feel the unique touches as you walk in – the children’s section built like a treehouse, complete with a full line of clothing and soft toys, the fabulous Prairie Ink Restaurant and the photos celebrating hometown authors adorning the walls like a frieze of accolades. This is a special place and I was so honoured to have my launch there recently.

Thank goodness it wasn’t a scene from Thomas Wolfe’s You Can’t Go Home Again! That expression was so false when I looked out at the many faces of the people who took time out of a beautiful summer evening to attend my launch.

Family, friends from my school days and friends of my parents, dear friends I can never see enough of and old friends I haven’t seen in years, all came to support me. I can’t thank them enough for their love and “being there” for me.

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My dear friend, Patty Christie introduced me. To give you the level of the bar of the people there, she came and stood at the podium to introduce me after a hip replacement two weeks before! Man, I have good friends!

 

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My best friend from high school, Ali Hanks came by and her husband, Bruce, (and by the way a huge shout out to all the husbands who attended!) took these pictures. Thanks so much, Bruce!

 

My readings were set to the music of Thomas Newman, lowland and Hans Zimmer. Quite an accompaniment! If you would like to hear the music again you can click here , here and here . The first selection was the Prologue and you can read along to the music for fun. It is very dreamy and dramatic and you just feel swept away into another world. I love reading to music and plan to create YouTube videos of me reading to these selections and more.

As I signed books and chatted with old friends, I felt so grateful for the reconnection to Winnipeg. True to the Crysnix magic, the whole evening’s success was a wish come true.

I just heard from John Toews, who is the Events Coordinator, that my book reached #1 that week! 

Here is a video I pulled together. Honestly, I need a resident high school kid to help me with this stuff! Just another reason why I miss my kids. Many thanks to my son, Lee for his amazing help through the evening and to him and his fiancee, Emily for putting me up and putting up with me! 🙂

A video of the evening and much love to all. xoxox

My New Fan

The students file into the library and I smile at the eager faces. I am at my old neighbourhood school and I marvel at how time has passed so quickly since my kids were attending Robert H. Smith School.

The familiar brick walls and corridors call out to my memories of when I was one of the moms who was a permanent fixture, helping out when and wherever I could just to get a glimpse of my kids during their school day.

This is from the letter I sent to the principal, to introduce myself:

I grew up in River Heights and brought up my family there. My three children went through Robert H. Smith in the ’80’s and I was very involved with the school. At the time, I had a video production company and I created a video about the building of the new school and the historic accolades of the original. It was a great fundraising project but also became a testament to the legacy of the presence of the school in the community.

Although I now live in Calgary, my son still lives in River Heights. When I visit him, I love how the memories flood in as I drive by the school. Memories of a very happy time in my life as I raised my young children as part of a loving and thriving community.

My book, “Gifts of the Crysnix”, is about a small community and the people trying to live with purpose. It is about choices and making the right ones to better their lives. Targeted to your middle-grade students, it promotes the message that they have tremendous power over their lives

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by trusting their instincts and believing in themselves. This is the gist of my presentation to them. I will talk about life choices, the science behind a wish and also the components of creating a good story. 

My presentation went well and I was thrilled to have the kids line up to buy the book. There were so many, I was struggling to come up with original notes to write alongside my signature!

As I was leaving, I realized I didn’t have a picture of the school. The children were all streaming out of the school, on their way home for the day. I asked one of the boys who bought my book if he would mind taking a picture of me. I asked his name and Daniel smiled and took this great picture of me. IMG_2001Thanks, Daniel!

I was loading my things into my car as Daniel and his mom came running up to me. Daniel’s mom asked if she could take a picture of Daniel and me. I was so touched.

After, as he was running back to his mom’s car, Daniel called out to me, “I’m your new fan!”

Wow, what a high point of the day! When I think of the years it took me to have the guts to publish this book, I wonder – honestly, why did it take me so long?

Old School

With a couple of weeks to go before school lets out for the summer, the students at Balmoral Hall School must have thought I was crazy when I exclaimed how GREAT it was to be back!IMG_2012

But, really, it was.

I began in Kindergarten and left in Grade 7. The memories are rich and textured and, although the school has changed quite a bit with brilliant new wings and lofty ceilings,

 

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the exterior of the old school is still there and the memories are visceral as I remember how it felt to push out the heavy doors and run down the stairs to the playground.

 

 

 

 

IMG_2007 I was struck by the feeling of belonging as I noticed the beautiful, bronze plaque from a capital campaign years ago, and chuckled at my name engraved on it. I felt proud of the connection

 

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My presentation in the beautiful Sifton Theatre Auditorium went off without a hitch as I reminded the girls to believe in themselves and to fight the fear that holds them back from living their best lives.

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After, I really enjoyed meeting the girls and hearing their DSC00675.JPGdreams of being a writer. There was zero doubt in my mind they would go places and have a significant impact on the world.

DSC00674It was an honour to put a note in a beautiful writing journal.

 

 

 

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I stood under the pictures of the Head Mistresses who were there so many years ago with me. There have been five more Heads of School since and I felt like I entered a time warp.

There is nothing left of the old senior school as I signed in at the new entrance. Complete with a buzz-in system and guard at the front, I wondered, what has the world has come to? as I clipped on my visitor tag.

 

Gone are the days when I used my crutches with my broken leg in Grade 1 and won at “Mother, My I?” under the glass passage. The old swing sets are gone and with them the original and all engrossing pastime of swing tag. The kilts are still there, though, and the prefects and Closing Exercises, and I am convinced the facilities, ethics and dedication toward our leaders of tomorrow are new and improved.

As I walked to my car, I glanced at the old Junior School. Still the tindlestone brick and the many windows we all looked out of, almost every day of our formative years. I paused and looked at one window in particular and a hilarious memory flooded in of when a schoolmate climbed out of it, causing quite a stir as she inched along the outside of the building and climbed in the next one. I remember telling my mom about it and she just laughed along with me. She was definitely NOT old school.

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Many thanks to Balmoral Hall for the warm welcome and the warmest of new memories. There is something definitely intriguing about going back … to the place of your foundation and the seat of your ideals and values and friendships and aspirations … to your old school.

Reviews with a personal touch.

I knew that when I finally published my book, Gifts of the Crysnix, I would be “putting myself out there”, leaving myself open to criticism (both good and bad) and becoming vulnerable to sharing my life with the masses. Being a very private person, I think that is the reason it took me so long to pull the trigger, so to speak.

I took so many years, in fact, I began to ask myself if I would live to regret not publishing it at all? My answer was, YES, and so I steeled myself as I went about answering the promotional questions my publicist put to me with honesty, candor, and the silent hope that I was doing the right thing. Although it went against my core of being happy to stay under the radar, I realised that I would never be able to reach my potential readers and share my message if I didn’t just suck it up and go for it.

What I wasn’t prepared for was the tremendous, positive response and support I have received from friends, strangers and (wow?!) the reviewers. Below are a couple of reviews I have received recently.

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I am so touched that someone took the time to snap a couple of pictures of my book in their home – on a table and in the hands of a reader who is my target audience. My heart swelled to see that picture! My book … there in the hands of a young woman comfortably settling in for a good read …

Thank you so much to the gals at GROOVINMOMS for the time and effort they put into the review.

Here it is:

GROOVINMOMS review

 

The second review reveals some personal points from my past that are tender issues. After I lost both of my parents, I grew into womanhood feeling that no one had my back. I had to figure out life on my own. The life lessons I learned are some of the ones I wrote the book around. They are the reason why I wrote it. If I can help a young person figure out life a little by reading Gifts of the Crysnix, then I will have had their back. It means everything to me.

Many thanks to the people at Mystic Living Today, an e-zine about our mystic life. They wrote a very sensitive article about my book and me.

Have a look:

The Gift of Life Lessons

Hi from Signal Hill Indigo!

Hi Folks!

Check out the video on the link below for an introduction to my latest blog entry. 🙂

Hi from Signal Hill Indigo
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Recently, I had the immense pleasure of walking into my local big bookstore, Calgary’s Signal Hill Indigo, and seeing my book on the shelf there. Imagine how thrilled I was!

The staff at Indigo were incredibly welcoming. Stacey Kondla was a pleasure to work with and through the day, different members of the staff came up to me and introduced themselves to make me feel like a part of the gang.

My table was set up next to the Starbucks so, you can imagine how good the traffic was! I had my best day of sales ever and absolutely loved meeting so many people who were interested in my book.

 

 

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The day was magical as I soaked up the buzz of a big, beautiful book store and soaked in the aroma of coffee. The traffic was constant and I finally sat down for a quick bite at 2:30 across from my set up. It was pretty cool to look over at it and think to myself, “Hey, that’s MY stuff!”

My colouring page was a hit too. It’s always nice to give out a free gift. I also brought along my guest book which gave me the lovely opportunity to meet a lady from out of town who invited me to her town when I drive to Winnipeg this summer! I will take her up on her offer and look forward to meeting the people of Medicine Hat, AB!

 

 

As ever, the day was one to remember. I love talking about the messages in Gifts of the Crysnix. I get so excited to see the faces of the people I’m talking to light up with the desire to learn how to create their best lives.

 

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We truly have tremendous power over our destinies. Let the Crysnix  show you how.

 

4 Ways to Help You Love Yourself

February is the month where we take a special day to acknowledge those who we love. It’s fun to think up something special to do and find just the right card. We are happy to spend the time doing this for others but what about ourselves?

When I was a young single mom, people would often tell me that I had to take care of myself first or I wouldn’t be any good for my kids if I was sick or burned out. I never found the time to heed the advice, always making excuses to myself about not having the money for a massage or the time to just sit and read. Thankfully, I never got sick but I was perpetually on the brink of total burnout. One day a friend called to ask how I was doing. My answer was truthful yet ended with a comical punchline:images-5

“The kids are doing great, dinner is ready and the lunches are made for the morning, the laundry is done, floors are washed, but the dog ran away again and the plants are dead. Oh, and I’m fine.”

That was my order of priority.

As the years passed and my kids grew, the flurry calmed down a bit and I began to cultivate time to nurture myself in small ways. I hadn’t begun to love myself yet but I figured out ways to treat myself in ways that didn’t cost anything but the results were invaluable.

Below are some thoughts on ways to develop kindness to yourself. We start small but end up transformed into a person with undeniable self-worth.

Nurture your body.

It doesn’t take much to concentrate on buying healthier food. A healthy
diet is the first obvious way to say to your body that it deserves to be healthy. A clean diet just makes you feel better. Have some fun with it and find some great recipes that you look forward to eating. images

Enjoy your morning bathing with a special soap that you absolutely love, or a special body cream. When you smell the beautiful fragrance, your senses are telling your body that you think it is worth it.

Get outside! Going for a run, bike ride or walk gets your endorphins revved and makes you happier. A little sweat flushes out toxins and makes your skin glow. It’s a great feeling to love how your body feels after a workout.

Practice gratitude. It is simply magical how it creates depth and clarity in your life. It also allows you to slow down and be more calm. It is a win/win when your appreciation for something gives back by making you feel so good.

Here is a list of 50 ways you can nurture yourself. http://www.gateways-to-inner-peace.com/self-nurturing.html

Carve out calm time.

It took me years to realize how important this is. My New Year’s Resolution last year was to take more baths. I think I had five. Hmmm… Allowing ourselves to just sit with a cup of tea or hang out in a hammock and just shut down the mind is so foreigimages-1n yet so rejuvenizing! Put on some music and relax.

Clearing the mind is very healthy. That’s why yoga is so fabulous. Imagine running a marathon constantly. Your muscles would be strained beyond belief. The brain is an organ and must be allowed to experience calmness.

An uncluttered mind performs better. You will be amazed at your ability to remember more things and be more organized in your life. Stress will fall away when you feel back in control and you will become more positive.

Can calmness become a habit? Read about 7 tips here. http://zenhabits.net/calm/ 

Be positive.

If you know a lot of positive people, you may think it is easy being happy all the time. It isn’t. It is a conscious decision to be positive or not and sometimes you have to work at it. Feeling happy is the physical result of millions of chemical reactions in the body and it isimages-2
powered by positive energy. Try smiling at a stranger as you pass or saying, “Good morning” to someone as you jog by. The positive energy created is palpable as they smile and respond.

As I mentioned previously, exercise raises the endorphins in our body that are our happy hormones. If you are feeling low, simple exercise of any kind can make your spirits lift. I guarantee it works every time.

Another way to feel positive is to become more organized. When you have your life in order you unclutter your mind and can look ahead and make exciting plans for the future. It is a favour you can do for yourself that gives you immense satisfaction.

Here are 14 ways to cultivate positivity in your life. http://www.lifehack.org/284661/14-ways-positive-people-separate-themselves-from-negative-energy

Organize your life.

Being productive is probably one of the most important gifts you can give yourself. If you can accomplish more by getting up earlier or end your day knowing you are caught up, you can’t help feeling great about yourself. The reduced stress will probably add years to your life!images-3

Making a list and checking off the completed tasks is one of the most satisfying things you can do. When you become more organized and productive, you can’t help feeling proud of yourself which fosters self-esteem. Out of that comes self-respect and that, in turn, makes others respect you.

Your dreams and accomplishments are realized from planning the steps to achieve results. You can’t help believing in yourself when you have earned success. Confidence comes from planning, hard work and then giving yourself a pat on the back.

This is a great read about being confident. http://www.lifehack.org/324420/8-mistakes-that-amazingly-confident-people-never-make

Having written all this, I have to be honest and admit that I still don’t love myself. I’m not sure what it really means to do so. I did a meditation years ago where I imagined myself as a child in her most vulnerable state. I was to reach out to that child and tell her I would always have her back. I love that small, innocent version of myself. images-4

As I careen through life I must listen to my inner voice telling me to slow down and enjoy the ride. I am trying to be more organized and I really love my soap in the shower. Hopefully, I will make the time for more baths this year. I am excited about my productivity and success and even have more self-esteem. Maybe if I heed my own advice I will learn to love myself.

For now, I like myself a lot and that’s a start.

 

 

Three reasons for my gratitude. High, Low, Grateful

When I set out to write this, I thought it would be really hard to narrow my tremendous gratitude down to three things. It was a good challenge and made me dig a little deeper. I have spent the last couple of days getting my house ready for the holidays, working quietly with classic Christmas movies playing in the background. When you spend the day alone with your thoughts, digging through old family ornaments with the memories swirling, it is a perfect time to reflect.

  1. The first thing I am thankful for is what I call my perfect past. Oh, I am not saying I was perfect or that I had a great time over the years. Quite the opposite, in fact. I call it perfect because of everything I learned about myself through the journey. Sometimes it was fun and easy but often it was hard, sad and a struggle. Probably the most powerful gift I gave myself was to get over the feeling of being a victim. I feel as if I have finally grown up. 2

 

I cherish the memories of places I have been and the people I have spent time with and look forward to an exciting future watching my grandbabies grow.

 

 

  1. My health is a gift that I am very grateful for. My mother died when she was 43 and my dad died when he was 41. It is strange to think that I am the lucky one now, remembering them in their prime, when so many of my friends are dealing with the trials of aging parents. I lost two very dear friends this year and miss them terribly. I am thankful that my health is well and hope to live many more years. Now that I have finally begun to publish my books, I feel like I am just getting started!

3. My alone time is precious and I am grateful that I so enjoy walking in a forest or by the ocean, quietly watching the sunset or just sitting with a cup of tea.

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Often, all day long, my house is quiet and I am alone with my thoughts. When I am not working, I reflect on my loved ones, living and gone and miss them and appreciate them all.

 

 

 

This is a season when we welcome family time. After all the preparations, racing around finding just the right gifts, wrapping them all—and the bedlam of unwrapping them, decorating the house, shopping for the food, fighting traffic, making the big dinner, finally we all get to sit down together.

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In my family, we have a tradition at the table called “High, Low, Grateful”. We all take our turn telling about the high and low points of the day, and what we are grateful for at that moment. It is wonderful how the world stops and we focus on each other. It is also awesome what comes out of the mouths of babes.

 

 

 

This holiday season, please take a moment to pause and list your “High, Low, Grateful”, either to yourself or to the loved ones around your Christmas dinner table. There are no rules except you have to be honest. It’s ok to acknowledge the good with the bad. That’s what life is.

So, to paraphrase three things I am grateful for:

  1. My perfect past that has taught me the tough lessons that have made me the strong and happy woman I am today.
  2. My health that allows me to race into my future, embracing all that I want to achieve.
  3. My gentle solitude that allows me to appreciate my family and friends through missing them.

My very best wishes to you for a wonderful holiday.