Category Archives: Misc

Timeless lessons from Dr. Seuss

Earlier this week, my toddler came home from school with a copy of Horton Hears a Who. She had borrowed it from her class lending library, which the students stock with their favorite books twice a year.

My first thought when I saw the bright orange cover and grinning elephant was, “Oh, she’s not going to like that.” For even though my younger brother was a Dr. Seuss fanatic … and even though I have marvelous childhood memories of Go, Dog, Go! … and even though The Lorax holds a place of honor in this house … I don’t remember liking Horton very much as a child. Perhaps the kangaroo and her minions were just too cruel. Perhaps the thought of boiling an entire civilization in oil was too disturbing.

Or perhaps I disliked Horton simply because it wasn’t the “fun” side Dr. Seuss. There was no dog party, no hopping on pop, no goo-goo goggles, and not one single hat-donning cat. It was serious. It was Shakespeare’s Othello for someone expecting A Midsummer Night’s Dream. And I wasn’t old enough to make the wider world connections at that point.

But as I read it to my daughter over a breakfast of eggs and gluten-free pancakes, something unexpected happened. After a week of anger and fear and depression over yet another school shooting, I felt my spirit begin to rise. After a flurry of futile cries for change over social media, a dozen conversations with other anxious moms, and several moments of frustration doubting I could ever make a difference, I began to have some hope. Here was a book written almost 64 years ago, telling me that EVERY voice counts … telling me that you don’t have to be the mouthpiece to make a difference. You don’t have to be the mayor or the marching band beating kettles and pans.

In this case, all Who-vile needed to finally make itself heard, to convince the headstrong kangaroo and her toadies that they were real, was a tiny boy with a yo-yo … who at the last moment added a “Yopp!” to the other Who’s cries.

And that Yopp…
That one, small, extra Yopp put it over!
Finally, at last! From that speck on that clover.
Their voices were heard! They rang out clear and clean,
And the elephant smiled. “Do you see what I mean?…
They’ve proved they ARE persons, no matter how small.
And their whole world was saved by the Smallest of All!”

It’s the sort of message I think we all need to hear right now. Right now … and the next time an issue grabs us by the heartstrings and won’t let go. Because, you know, there’s always something. Even if we somehow eradicate these current storm clouds, there are always more.

My little girl liked the story too. She really seemed to care about the people on the dust speck. I could see the concern in her eyes when the vulture carried it away, and her dismay at everyone else’s cruelty. It’s probably a good thing that she, like me at that age, didn’t truly understand the larger meaning. But I’ll continue reading it to her over the years. Maybe someday her spirit will need lifting too, and this story will help.

I’ve learned a lot about parenthood over the past almost-four years. One is that children understand a heck of a lot more than we give them credit for at even the youngest age. Another is that while there are thousands of books out there that teach our kids about letters, numbers, colors, etc., there are very few that teach them how to be good people — at least not in a way that engages them.

(I’ve been working on a future post about the children’s books that have stood out for me and my girls. You can check back for that later or follow this blog for upload alerts. There are also some great recommendations at Filling Baby’s Bookshelf, run by a fabulous friend and mother of two.)

Little Jo-Jo’s “Yopp!” is just one of the countless wonderful, engaging messages in Dr. Seuss’s books — maybe not Hop on Pop and Mr. Brown Can Moo, but can you think of a better way to prime children to care for our planet than by reading The Lorax?

So today, on what would have been Theodor Seuss Geisel’s 114th birthday, I want to thank Dr. Seuss for teaching us how to laugh, how to imagine, and how to stand up for what really matters in this world.

 

“Unless someone like you cares a whole awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It’s not.”
~ The Lorax

.

“A person’s a person, no matter how small.”

“I’ve got to protect them. I’m bigger than they.”

“So, open your mouth, lad. For every voice counts!” 

~ Horton Hears a Who

 

“I know, up on top you are seeing great sights, but down here at the bottom we, too, should have rights.”
~ Yertle the Turtle

.

“If things start happening, don’t worry, don’t stew, just go right along and you’ll start happening too.” 

“Step with care and great tact, and remember that life’s a great balancing act.”

“Today you are you, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is youer than you.” 

~ Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

 

“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.”
~ I Can Read With My Eyes Shut!

 

“Think left and think right and think low and think high. Oh, the things you can think up if only you try!”
~ Oh, the Thinks You Can Think!

 

“I know it is wet and the sun is not sunny, but we can have lots of good fun that is funny.”
~ The Cat in the Hat
(a lesson I’d love my kids to learn)

 

Photo copyright: http://www.123rf.com/profile_evgenyatamanenko

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under Misc

One little way we can help

Screen Shot 2015-10-01 at 12.32.39 PM

A very good friend of mine stumbled upon this campaign, through Facebook, to donate baby carriers to Syrian refugees landing in Greece.

We’ve all seen the horrible pictures, and many of us (myself included) have lost sleep wondering what in the world we can do to help. I can only imagine how terrified and alone these parents must feel trekking across Europe, clutching the ONLY things that matter in their arms, desperate for a miracle. If not for themselves, then for their children.

As the mother of a fiercely independent toddler, I see these people as super heroes — both from a physical standpoint (the last time I had a limber back was in 2013) and an emotional one. (Just try explaining to a cranky toddler why she can’t get down … or cuddle in her bed … or eat …) Continue reading

2 Comments

Filed under Misc

How Quickly the World Can Change

News on book 3 and a diary entry

I’ve never been the queen of social media. Not as a teenager. Not as a mother. Not even as an author, though I understand its importance and make an adequate effort to do my part. But even for me, my online presence over the past few months has been horrible. I only wish I had a happier reason why.

I WISH I could say that I was busy celebrating my 32nd birthday. Or getting lost in my third book. Or enjoying my first Christmas with my beautiful baby girl. But the truth is that I spent the holidays half blind (literally) and terrified.

It started with what seemed to be a tiny smudge on my contact lens — only when the contact lens came out, the smudge didn’t leave along with it. I didn’t think much of it at first. I was just tired … or had run into a very persistent speck of dust. Surely, it would disappear in a day or two, just as mysteriously as it had come.

Over those next few days, however, the smudge ballooned into a thick gray curtain that blocked out half my world. Through the afflicted eye, I couldn’t see my husband’s hand one centimeter in front of my face. I couldn’t see the bright red numbers on my bedside clock, even with my nosed pressed up against the glass. I clung to my daughter every second, terrified that the loss of sight would become permanent … or spread to my other eye as well … ending my life just when it was truly beginning. Continue reading

17 Comments

Filed under Desperately Ever After, Home & Family, Misc, Writing Process

Holiday e-books and an autographed postcard to announce your gift

With Thanksgiving on Thursday and the infamous Black Friday coming right on its heels, it’s almost time to start assembling our holiday gift lists. What’ll it be this year? New slippers for mom? Golf gloves for dad? Three dozen ping pong balls for your college-age brother? (No paddles needed.)

Or how about a thoughtful selection of books you’ve chosen specifically for them? A selection you just know would replace their iPhone during the morning commute or fly to the top of the list on their Kindles.

Since you’re reading this, I’m probably preaching to the choir. But the right book isn’t just a pile of pages with an interesting graphic on the front. The right book can give someone an unforgettable adventure, make them fall in love, introduce them to lifelong friends, or change everything they thought they knew about, well, everything. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Desperately Ever After, Misc

Best Halloween films for wussies (like me!)

Image courtesy of Danilo Rizzuti / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

I have a confession to make. I’m a wuss. Not when it comes to roller coasters, thrill rides, or soaring around Hawaii in a doorless helicopter, mind you. But put me in a haunted house and I might clock some poor 15-year-old “zombie” in the jaw … while screaming at the top of my lungs and flinging metal props to aid in my escape.

Yet despite all that, I love Halloween. I love the colors, the fanfare, and the ability to embrace some inner wild side for a day and not care what anyone thinks. (So yes, the same reason your nice muffin-baking neighbor is reading 50 Shades of Grey … again.) That said, I could do without the psychopaths in hockey masks. And the pea soup vomit. And the creepy  children with long black hair who move like spiders and climb out from abandoned wells.

That’s why my top Halloween movies* are the fun-creepy kind. The kind you watch with friends, quote at random times, and follow with a good night’s sleep. They aren’t necessarily for kids — just kids at heart. So grab a bowl of candy corn, pick a number, and enjoy:

1. HOCUS POCUS

Why: I’ve never forgotten that sizzling rendition of “I Put a Spell on You.” The bully situation is SO early ’90s (he calls the hero “Hollywood” and is somewhat obsessed with his sneakers). It has the only CAT I’ve ever actually liked. I still want dress up as part of the Sanderson trio someday (any volunteers?). And Bette Midler’s lips in this are just, like, Wow.

.

2. THE NIGHTMARE BEFORE CHRISTMAS

Why: It’s a musical for people who detest musicals. It’s extremely clever. It takes two polar opposite holidays and fits them together perfectly. There’s something about Tim Burton. And the animation is entertaining on its own.


.

3. THE ROCKY HORROR PICTURE SHOW

Why: Tim Curry in fishnet stockings and a bustier. Plus, the Time Warp is extremely catchy; you’ve been warned.

Continue reading

4 Comments

Filed under Distractions, Hollywood, Misc

What’s Your Patronus?

There’s never a bad time for Harry Potter, in my opinion, but October has got to be the best. With neighborhood lawns already filling up with witches, ghosts, goblins, and all sorts of spooky … what better time for a Patronus Charm?

Thanks to M’s Bookshelf and  Sky’s Book Corner for finding this neat little quiz that predicts what your unique magical guardian would look like. A cat? A horse? A phoenix? I apparently share the latter with Dumbledore. Can’t go wrong with that!

Click here to find out yours!

2 Comments

Filed under Distractions, Hollywood, Misc

Once Upon a Time returns!

once-upon-a-time-season-4

(Warning: This post may contain spoilers from season 3!)

Summer may be the season of leisure, but there’s something truly magical about autumn. The kaleidoscopic carpet of red and yellow leaves. The smell of stripped earth. The early sunsets. The brisk nights. And the return of our favorite TV shows.

This year, however, winter descends early as the fourth season of Once Upon a Time returns with a new face in tow: Elsa from Disney’s hit film, Frozen. Will the cursed Snow Queen play a villain? A hero? A romantic rival to the long-awaited and much-celebrated “Captain Swan?”

What’s more, will the Evil Queen slide right back into her old ways now that her flame’s wife is back? Now that yet another “happily ever after” has been yanked from her grasp?

Many questions hung in the air as season 3 ended in May. Thankfully, the answers will finally start coming tonight!

Reminder: The drawing for a Once Upon a Time DVD (season 1) and a signed copy of Damsels in Distress (Book 2 in the Desperately Ever After series) ends at midnight (EST) Sunday, September 28. Click here to enter

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Distractions, Hollywood, Misc

Yes, there is good in the world

Despite my résumé, I’m not a huge fan of today’s media. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not saying there aren’t loads of wonderful, ethical, idealistic journalists out there who want to make a real difference in people’s lives. In truth, this is probably the case more often than not, but they’re usually not the people who hold the purse strings. And those who do, unfortunately, seem to believe that sensationalized violence sells better. That evil should be slapped under a microscope and analyzed and theorized and replayed and dissected to the point where it’s absurd. That the monsters deserve more attention than the martyrs … because human beings are innately fearful … and that is an easy quality to exploit.

But I could go on about this forever and get nowhere. (As many, many others have done.) So instead, I’d like to share some of the sites I found last weekend, after I wiped CNN from my bookmarks and went on a search for “positive” news. They might just help you remember that for every horrible thing that happens in the world, there are a million other reasons to smile.

1. The Good News Network: This site gathers stories from around the globe. In addition to categorizing its stories by region, the Good News Network also makes it easy to find whatever your aura needs at the moment–be it cute pets, a good laugh, or a hero. Continue reading

Leave a comment

Filed under Distractions, Misc

Do you believe in 398.2?

Do you still believe in fairy tale? Even when life and the world have told you not to? Well, screw them. Maybe they just need to put those stories in a different light.

To introduce myself, I’m a mother, journalist, and author of the Amazon bestselling DESPERATELY EVER AFTER series. My books swirl Desperate Housewives with Sex and the City, cross them both with the Brothers Grimm, and then ask what happened to our most beloved fairy tale princesses after true love’s kiss. What if Cinderella had a midlife crisis, for example? What if Beast’s redemption didn’t last? What if Sleeping Beauty had another lover before she pricked her finger … and they met again in the present day? Like us, the characters struggle with family, kids, career, regret, magical watch lists (okay, maybe not 100% like us), friendships, and … especially … men. It’s a little bit fantasy, a little bit chick lit, and a whole heck of a lot of fun.

If you’re here, chances are the Award-winning, Amazon #1 bestselling series is right up your alley.

Now available in print, e-book, and AUDIO!!

 

—–

 

While browsing around Etsy the other day, I stumbled upon a necklace that bore these words: “I still believe in 398.2.” Naturally, having no idea what this meant, I immediately opened up a new tab and Googled it.

Now, “I still believe in 398.2” is one of my favorite sayings. It ranks just under “Live like there’s no midnight,” a Cinderella reference that I partially credit for both the name of this blog and a key scene in Desperately Ever After. The number 398.2 corresponds to the folktales, fairytales, and fables section of the library. Thank you, Dewey Decimal.*

The pendant above, offered by Newartpendants, is just one of many iterations of this saying. Check out more offerings here. Perhaps you deserve an end-of-summer treat?

*Yes, I know the founder of this system was Melvil Dewey, not Dewey Decimal. But the latter sounds so much more fun 😉

 

—–

 

HAVE YOU SEEN THESE?

Check out this new line of Disney Toms, so far featuring Sleeping Beauty, Cinderella, and now Snow White.

I wonder who’s next. Penelopea perhaps? 😉

Use this link to save $20 off a $75 order

 

—–

 

“Laura Kenyon makes happily ever after desperately delicious!”
New York Times bestselling author Stephanie Evanovich

“If you are looking for a fun and gossipy story to satisfy the holes left when Sex and the City and Desperate Housewives had their series finales (or even if you’re going through Once Upon a Time withdrawal come season finale time) look no further than Desperately Ever After.
~ Chick Lit Central

“At times laugh-out-loud funny, and at times very touching, Desperately Ever After is the debut of a real talent.”
~ Elizabeth Blackwell, author of While Beauty Slept

“An explosive cocktail that will have you laughing out loud and wanting more and more!”
~ Lost in Chick Lit

Have you ever wondered how Cinderella would feel 10 years down the road, when her iconic ball gown no longer fit and she had four kids, a billion royal duties, and a husband who was never ever around? Or how long it would take “Beast” to return to his old, wolfish ways after Belle broke his curse? Or what kind of man finds a comatose woman in the woods and decides to kiss her?

Set in a fictional realm based on New York City, the Desperately Ever After series takes a whimsical look at our most beloved fairy tale princesses several years after true love’s kiss. With laughter, wine, and a new take on old-fashioned chivalry, these friends see each other through life’s trials one secret at a time.

From infidelity to aging. From deferred dreams, lost loves, and the pressures of family life. The books are about a group of ordinary women coming to terms with how their lives have turned out. They just happen to live in castles.

 

—–

TRY STITCH FIX FOR FREE!!!

Leave a comment

Filed under Distractions, Misc

The Giver hits Hollywood

Watch this for thirty seconds and tell me what immediately comes to mind.

.
Can you say “Katniss?” Just trade Meryl Streep for Donald Sutherland and throw in a few mockingjays. The guy who plays Jonas even looks like his last name should be Hutcherson-Hemsworth!

When I heard Hollywood was making a film adaptation of The Giver, my reaction was part excitement but far more fear. Why? Because as I explain on The Love of a Good Book this week, The Giver is sacred.

giverI’ve read Lois Lowry’s masterpiece three times so far and worn my copy to the bone. (The picture at right can attest to this, though I blame the torn cover on my brothers!) The first time, I was probably about twelve years old. And while I enjoyed the story about the colorless, dystopian world that assigned marriages and careers like theatre seats, I only understood a fraction of what I would five years down the road … and again four years after that.

Assigned to read it once in middle school, once in high school, and once in college, you might think I’d be bored of the story by now. But that couldn’t be further from the truth. Instead, I’ve always reached “the end” amazed that I missed so much in the past. The story seems to be constantly evolving–revealing new connections and emotions and “ah” moments depending on my current state of mind or stage in life. To me, that is the sign of a really phenomenal book. Continue reading

1 Comment

Filed under Hollywood, Misc