The Bradford Pear Tree

At the end of my driveway is a Bradford Pear tree. It doesn’t produce pears. What it does produce in stunning magnificence in December is orange and red leaves.

After all the other trees in my yard are empty of leaves, the Bradford sets itself ablaze just in time for my daughter’s birthday so they look like birthday candles lining the streets.

A Wee Fan

I’d been a writer for a while before I wrote my first children’s book. Plays, newspapers, columns. But it wasn’t until I stood before a group of wiggling little ones and wrapped them up in a story I wrote that I felt deeply satisfied as a writer. (A close second is writing a play that make people laugh and clap and cry.) That first reading at a bookstore, some little one sighed at the end of my reading and said, “That was the best book.” There’s just something about their unedited expression of joy that continues to flip me out.

I write to tell the story I must tell. But oh, to hear this pure-hearted audience love the story…that’s a royalty check paid a zillion times over.

The video above was sent to me by my nephew. The fan is my great nephew. Thanks, guys


Sometimes this online community just blows my mind. I can be sitting in my little world in Austin, Texas and Liz Scanlon’s blog gets delivered to my RSS feeds and I read about someone I don’t know doing a month of Gratitude posts for the last month of the year and I think, “Hey, I’d like to do that too.” Suddenly this stranger and I are connected through gratitude.

Come on, doesn’t that blow your mind a little with a bit of coincidental coolness?

The Gratitude posts began with Jote Khalsa and she welcomes all to join her month in any way they want: from reading to praying to thinking to writing.

I would like to join on Sundays and revel in the previous week’s moments when I found myself stunned by gratitude.

So I begin.

Wednesday, December 1-My daughter and I open the first gift on the advent calendar that sister #2 sent us for Christmas. It is such a thoughtful gift and it so cool that we will open one gift a day, thinking of her, thinking of us, thinking of her, thinking of us…

Thursday, December 2-My daughter shadows at a potential high school and I am stunned by her poise and her intelligence and I am oh so grateful for her presence in my life. (I am also a little blown by how quickly this journey has passed. Weren’t we just checking out preschools?)

Friday, December 3-I receive a text from sister #1 that her chemotherapy cocktail is working and the tumor is shrinking. Oh the relief…

Saturday, December 4-My neighbors bring home their brand new baby boy. Oh my heavens, his fingers, his fingers, his perfect exquisite fingers….they wrapped around my heart.

The Pain Body and Revision

We have been talking about Eckhart Tolle‘s The Pain Body a lot at our house. It’s come up around the media images of beautiful women. These images, we feel, serve to create a pain body for those women who don’t look like those images. By not looking like those airbrushed uber models, we create this reservoir of painful comparing, dissing and general lack of ease within ourselves. Tolle gives us permission to step out of that pain body by being aware of it and choosing not to stoke its fires. Stepping out the Pain Body can be as simple as going for a walk or eating a really healthy meal.

I am about to begin another revision of my middle grade novel. Each member of my critique group has marked up my manuscript. They are laid out on my dining room table. Next to my computer is a pad of paper for me to make big pictures notes.  I feel a wee bit scared. Can I bring this novel into better focus? Can I turn telling scenes into showing ones? The Pain Body awakens, smelling the fear. It is ready to seduce me outside, telling me, ‘No, no no you can’t possibly do it. Don’t try. You will fail.’ Etcetera.

Instead, I turn the first page of the critiqued manuscript, I read the notes. I make small revisions on the manuscript in the computer. I write notes on the pad for bigger scene changes later. I begin. The Pain Body slinks outside.

Here is a video of Tolle taking about the Pain Body:

Taking a cue from Greg Pincus

Yesterday, Greg Pincus of the happy accident blogged about setting expectations for readers of your blog. Expectations like blogging regularly so they know when to expect a few words from you.


I wouldn’t exactly call myself a luddite but I have been slow to strap on all these socal media tools. Three years ago when I finally got my website up, I felt tad exposed. When I started blogging shortly thereafter, allbeit irregularly, I felt like I was walking around with toilet paper stuck on the heel of my shoe. Really.

It has taken time for me to feel comfortable presenting myself in this public forum. Gradually, though, I have become more at ease when I sit down to tap, tap, tap a blog. I know I am a writer, mother, reader, teacher, student and I write from that perspective.

So now I will write from that perspective more regularly. Greg committed to two days a week with a caveat that he might sneak in a few more. So I will do the same.

Tuesday and Friday, dear readers of my blog. You may expect a blog from me on Tuesday and Friday, with a perhaps a few sprinkled in between.

There. Committed. Gulp.