We've been running so hard the past few days that I hadn't checked for mail. Chris brought in a UPS package that I didn't see until my Publisher called to ask if I'd gotten my proof copy yet. Opening my newly discovered package I found a proof copy of Skinnydipping. I have to say, I was pretty impressed to be holding my finished book in my hands. For your viewing pleasure... my proof copy:
Once I send my approval on the proof copy, the Printer begins to run the books I've ordered; I will have a limited number available for purchase from me, all autographed of course! Drop me a line if you want to reserve a copy. The Ebook is being formatted for the different Ereaders, and Amazon is working on adding Skinnydipping to their online inventory. Your favorite bookseller will also have access to order Skinnydipping for you as well. So exciting!
If you haven't had a chance to read the excerpt yet, here's the link.
Been awhile since I had a chance to write... lots going on. One of the biggest time commitments has been writing my first novel. You can read all about it and follow the whole process at DaniJo Avia. - DaniJo Avia is my pen name.
The book, titled Skinnydipping, should be available at your favorite online or local bookstore by the end of Summer. An Ebook version will also be available.
If you're on Facebook, "like" the DaniJo Avia page and you will receive updates directly to your wall.
How do I know you may ask? I know not because the pear, flowering plum or cherry blossom trees are all blooming, or that the Hyacinth's, Daffodils or Tulips are all pushing out of the ground and turning their faces upwards. I know not because of the buds on the trees or the rains that are turning everything a lovely shade of green. It's not even because of the variety of birds visiting the bird feeder. I know it's Spring because our alarm clock is back.
Every year, like clock work, the Flickers begin to peck the down spouts on the house, at 7am. That may seem late to those that rise earlier, but working from home has changed my bedtime, and my getty up time. And being woken by a jackhammer at 7am is not my idea of the best sound to wake up to. So why is he pecking on the down spouts? He's looking for a mate. Apparently, the louder the sound he makes, the more appealing he is as a mate. Go figure. Before we got the new tractor he liked the exhaust pipe on the old tractor. Woke up the whole neighborhood with that that amplifier!
So, I know Spring is here because of the Flicker. Punxsutawney Phil has nothing on the Flickers announcement of Spring!!
Over the weekend we attended a conference. While the speakers were doing their thing, there were several people painting their interpretations of what was being said. One of the artists really caught my eye and I watched as his painting unfolded. Saturday afternoon I asked him to tell me what the painting meant to him. It brought on an interesting discussion that we picked up on and off the rest of the day. As we were walking out the door Saturday eve, he came up to me and asked me if I would like the painting. I jumped at the invitation and said yes. Thought I'd share my good fortune with all of you.
Friends of ours have been active in Haiti for many years. They had a regularly scheduled trip planned prior to the earthquake. They financially and physically support an orphanage in the Haiti that is normally a 12 hour hike up the mountains. Because of the earthquake, the trip was delayed by the airlines until Feb. 20th, and when they arrive, they will not be able to go into the mountains to the orphanage but will instead be about an hour North of Port au Prince helping to rebuild the facility of a church they partner with and usually stay at when they arrive and depart from Haiti. Here is their description form their Facebook page:
HOPE in Haiti is dedicated to serving the children of Haiti, the poorest country in the Western Hemisphere. This non-profit organization based in Monroe, Washington planted its roots in 1987 with a desire in the hearts of Dick and Dixie Montgomery to share the love of Christ by taking their family to work with children in Haiti. After two years in an orphanage helping the poorest of the poor, the Montgomery family came back to the States ever changed, and carrying memories that would drive the creation of the child sponsorship program nearly two decades later. This group is dedicated to spreading the awareness of what the Montgomery family has started. Please feel free to join this Facebook Group, and to learn more about HOPE in Haiti on their website at http://www.hopeinhaiti.com
So I'm posting this blog so that you will be aware of everyday, normal people who are making a big difference in a very quiet way, to a people group the World has just been exposed to. And they were there before the World saw a need. Feel free to friend them on Facebook. Follow their journey and get involved in whatever way touches your heart.
Sorry I've been absent from blogland lately. Chris and I have added a new business to our repertoire. It's a technology company that produces a live beverage that you blast when you are ready to drink. The first beverage is called Truth, because they believe in no pasteurization, no artificial anything and all natural products freeze dried so that you get maximum potency of everything in the beverage. The second beverage being previewed right now is called Fun. It is a sports recovery beverage and is being endorsed by Bryan Clay and Carl Lewis because they are seeing such great results with it. Oh, by the way, neither athlete is being paid to endorse the beverage or the company. If you are interested, you can find out more here: www.Thirst.GoYoli.com. There is one video on the landing page, if it captures your interest, register to watch the other videos. Don't worry about being spammed, your info will only come to us.
So on Thursday we picked up the mail. And in the mail was a letter from one of the Founders and President of the company, congratulating us on the new level we have reached: 5 star bronze. Also included was the 5 Star bronze pin. Both Chris and I were shocked, and surprised. I even called to make sure there was no mistake. There wasn't. In just a few short weeks we have moved up 10 ranks. Blows us away. And the fun part of it, we've been having fun doing something we love to do - talk to people and help them to live their dreams. Very cool. So, I'm sharing our joy with all you in blogland. Couldn't find a picture of the Bronze pin so I'm posting a picture of the Diamond level pin - we haven't reached that level, yet. It's only a matter of time!
I enjoyed lunch with a good friend on Friday who told me she and her family are celebrating the Chinese New Year this weekend. Because I didn't know all that much about the Chinese New Year, I went and did some reading on the festivities.
In honor of the celebration today I will wear red and gold . And to you and those you love - may this year be filled with joy, prosperity and blessings in every area of your life.
The above photo was found on Bag_Lady's photo stream. You can see more of her beautiful photography here.
I was listening to the sound track for Surf's Up today. It got me thinking about the plot line, that a guy doesn't believe he can do great things till someone else believes he can. Which got me thinking about the amazing people Chris and I have in our lives who encourage us and help us believe we can do all the amazing things that we dream of, and the things that we don't think that we can do. Which lead me to thinking about mentors. Yes, I know I wrote about this concept a few weeks back (here, here and here), but it's popping up again so I guess there's more to learn, more to share.
One of the concepts that I learned when I took The Art of Hearing God was that your floor is the ceiling of those who teach you. That the decision who will lead the herd in the next year is determined by where the Alaskan Elk eats in the Spring time. Preparation and input are everything. They will determine your results. So, the question is, when you are preparing, when you are learning something new, when you are sitting under a mentor, are you gonna settle for less than the absolute best, or are you gonna find the very best, learn all you can and then again look for the best to teach you?
We've decided, we're going for the best. And then we'll find the best and go for it again.
"That is not big enough. Whatever you think you want, it is too small. And what He (God) wants you to do is to offer up what you think you want from Him so that He can re-write it.... because there's more. More than you could ever imagine." Mike Mesneck.
I caught up with a friend over a cup of coffee the other day.
Pretty amazing guy really. He was the youngest person to reach store manager at the company he works for. He was considered to "Goldenboy" and was given many challenging stores and assignments. He met and conquered each challenge quickly, and ruthlessly. He trained many of the companies current store managers. As I said, he was considered the Goldenboy.
All that success didn't come without a price. He was blindsided when his first marriage ended. He had to have stomach surgery because most of his stomach was gone. His knees are shot because his competitiveness extended into martial arts.
So, with that as a background, you'll understand my surprise, and my joy, when he commented that everything he had done wasn't as important as the life he now leads and the choices he makes. The pride he takes in his relationship with his two teenage sons. The peace that he now walks in. The ability to say no, and not to chase after the brass ring simply because his identity was so tied to work or being there first. He's learned that who his is is much more than his achievements. And that he wished that he could share the fruit of those lessons with some of the men that he trained up.
And that's what it's all about. That we can share the things that we have learned with those who are following in our footsteps. They don't have to be younger than we are, simply on the path we've gone down.
Those are the people I am trying to surround myself with - people who are willing to invest in me, and people who are willing to allow me to invest in them. Some are younger, some are older, but the desire is the same - to learn from someone else's successes and mistakes, and go further.
May you be lucky enough to travel with people who are willing to invest in you and allow you to invest in them.
A few days ago a friend shared a dream he has for our community; To help people, to encourage them and to bring about personal growth. Later in the day we were having a discussion and I realized that the greatest hindrance to his achieving this dream is... him. He is so fixed on being right, that he doesn't make room for anyone else's opinion or input.
A few days later I was listening in on a conversation where the three parties involved were discussing the same concept, but each one of them was so adamant that they were right they weren't able to hear the others. The conversation dissolved into a "I know more than you know" pissing match.
Monday, Chris and I saw Avatar. The Na'vi Chief makes the statement that other Dreamwalkers had come but they were so full that the Na'vi were prevented from pouring into them. He was saying that the scientist that came thought they had it all figured out. That they had all the answers and that the "savages" couldn't teach them anything.
The common thread I saw in all of these was that we tend to think we know best/all. I am guilty of it myself. I constantly have to remind myself that it's not all about me, that I have freely given up the right to be right. Because if I push to be right all the time, then I push away the very people I want to be around. The very people I want to help form and shape me. That's too high of a price tag for me.
I choose to not have to be right, to not have to know everything so that I can be in relationship with others. So that they can help form and shape me, and hopefully honor me by allowing me to add to who they are.
Earlier I was talking to a friend. He'd been slimed by a good friend, who, at that moment didn't see him for who he is and had to tell him how rotten of a human being he was. While they resolved the issue, my friend was still feeling the effects and chose to fight back by calling several people that he trusts, and asking them to "speak into the atmosphere" how they saw him. Wow. Love that idea and that way of fighting. Totally made my day.
Yesterday, Chris and I saw Avatar. Great movie. On many levels. Like The Matrix and the Lord of the Rings Trilogy, it impacted me deeply. A concept that is spoken about several times is the concept of "I see you." It's not just words, it's not just a description of what's going on, but rather a short hand way of saying "I know who You are. I see who you are with my heart. I accept you as you are, with all your strengths and shortcomings, and I choose to be in relationship with you." It's a powerful concept.
So back to my friend. What he was calling for was to have someone he trusts to "see" him, and to remind him, and the world around us, who he really is.
What about you? Are you feeling the need to be reminded who you are? Allow me to remind you of a few of the basics:
You are you. You are special. There is no one else on this earth, past, present or future who can fill your shoes.
You are important. Important to your family, your friends, co-workers and the person you happened to smile at today.
Your unique mix of gifts, talents and abilities are essential. Not just to your family, friends and co-workers, but to our world. It wouldn't be the same without you.
The world needs to hear your laughter, marvel at the wisdom you contain and feel the embrace only you can offer.
So, pass it on. Make your day, by making someone else's day.
This week I read a quote by Steven Covey that got me thinking. He said:
Live out of your imagination, not your history.
This simple concept sent my thoughts dominioning, with the final thought being my future isn't defined by my past successes or mistakes. I can do something more than all the previous good stuff and the bad stuff that I have done or thought. Yes, both my previous successes and failures will influence my future, but they do not define my future.
Later in the week a friend sent me a message on Facebook that reminded to that God desires to bless us all BEYOND all that we ask or imagine. I've always liked that verse, not just because it reminds us that God desires to bless us BEYOND all that we can think or imagine, not just because I have the ability to imagine a lot, but because it is an invitation. We are being invited to dream big. To present before our Heavenly Father things that there is no way that we could possibly do without His help, without His unlimited resources. I love the story of David desiring to build a place on earth for the Glory of the Lord to rest. That hadn't been God's plan. But, it was David's deepest desire. And God, desiring to show His friend David how much he loved him, how much he valued his opinion, input and desires, said yes.
So what happens to the man that God says yes to? He co-labors with God to design the House of the Lord. He amasses all the materials needed to build the house. He forms relationships with those that have the resources needed. His son is chosen to carry on his work and to follow in his footsteps. And he makes history. Regardless of his past mistakes.
Are you living out of your imagination? Are you accepting God's challenge to challenge Him to do BEYOND all that you can think or dream of? I am.
We watched My life in Ruins New Years eve. Cute movie and a great way to leave 2009. A line in the movie caught my ear: You are looking for obstacles rather than looking for magic.
That made me wonder "What am I looking at? Am I focused on why I can't do something or do I focus on the reality that I have the power to engage in something magical?" One of the great truths Chris and I learned in the first decade of the 21st Century is that what you focus on you attract. It could also be said that what you focus on is all that you see. And that's what was happening in the movie, Georgia was looking only at the superficial, focusing only on her life not being what she wanted it to be. She's blinded from seeing what she really wants because she's focused on what she thinks she wants. By the end of the movie, she realizes that being in Greece with the people and the history she loves, is what she really wants. She shed's the expectations she has picked up along the way, recognizes and embraces what is really important to her. In 2010 may you shed the expectations you have placed on yourself, and those others have placed on you and begin to live the "magical" life that you desire. And enjoy a little ice cream along the way....
I have previously written about a very prolific spider plant that I have, and the other plants that have come out of it. At Thanksgiving I gave away about 24 starts. A few days later we visited one of the recipients in their new home and I saw how her starts had taken. She'd placed then in a deep glass of water which had allowed nice long roots to form and grow. As I looked at them, I realized that the starts I had at home were in jelly jars that caused the roots to form in tight shallow knots. Looking at them I understood that I needed to move my starts to deeper glasses before I planted them. The picture above shows them in their new, temporary, homes. While they are ready to be planted in soil, I realized they need a longer root structure. Which got me thinking about my life... what areas have I crammed myself into too small of a place to allow deep and healthy growth. Growth that will sustain me when I move from my places of training.
This has been around for awhile, but I'm posting today as an inspiration to reach for your dreams this year. May you amaze people with your talents and abilities and amaze yourself with what you can achieve when you chase your dreams... Go for it!
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