Yes, No or Not Yet

Last week was quite the week in our household. Well, maybe a lot of households with that whole presidential election thing going on. We, and apparently a whole bunch of other Americans, had no idea how it would turn out, but there was one thing I did know. Regardless of who won the presidential election, several hours after it was finally called, the sun was still going to rise and we’d get back to our regularly scheduled lives.

I called that one right. How nice was it to finally stop obsessing over the polls, YouTube videos, WikiLeaks, the nightly news, and the never-ending arguing on Facebook. Lucky for me, I have a huge project I’m working on to occupy those vacant hours now that I won’t be perusing the Internet day in and day out.

One thought before I go onto the next topic, there were undoubtedly a lot of prayers going up to the heavens the week before the presidential election. Now that it is done and over with, half the people in the United States are filled with gratitude for prayers answered and the other half are probably wondering why their prayers weren’t answered.

From my perspective — no matter what the outcome of the election was, all the prayers were answered. God either answered yes, no or not yet. He sees the big picture — we’re not privy to that. Through the years I’ve read a lot of books on spirituality and religion ranging from Conversations with God by Neale Donald Walsch to the works of Dynamic Catholic founder Matthew Kelly.

We’re here on the Earth at this place and this time for a reason. The words of Roy Smith sum up it up one way — “We come to earth school to have physical experiences, and from these experiences we learn valuable lessons that enable us to evolve spiritually.”

Matthew Kelly talks about the importance of having the goal while we’re alive to “become the best versions of ourselves.”

As hard as it can be to accept, we grow more from the challenges we face in life than from the times when life was smooth sailing. So no matter how things turned out, this could be the ideal opportunity for us to grow, put our differences aside, and to do what we can to make the best with the hand we’ve been dealt. Everything is happening for a reason, and as they say, it’s not what happens to you, it’s how you handle it that makes the difference.

I’m vowing to disengage somewhat from social media and to turn towards other things. One of those things happens to be NANOWRIMO (National Novel Writing Month), the project I referenced earlier. This is a challenge to aspiring authors worldwide to write a 50,000-word novel in the month of November. That breaks down to writing at least 1,667 words every day for 30 days. This is the third year in a row that I’ve signed on. It’s an arduous task, I’ve been spending up to six hours each day writing so that I stay on pace and hit my personal goal of producing one chapter per day.

Since this book is a sequel to my novel A World Such as Heaven Intended, the plan is to have it published by our same publishing team and released in the first or second quarter of 2017. This writing challenge has been exactly what I needed to get moving forward on this project — otherwise it could have sat on the back burner for months.

To add to the busyness of this month we spent the first two weeks helping our son, daughter-in-law and 11-month-old grandson move from our house, where they’ve been living the last four months, to their new house. It’s been quite the process because there were a number of projects that needed to be done before the actual moving process could happen. We’re going to miss having that sweet little baby around but the good news is they have a beautiful home that’s only 4.9 miles from our house.

We’re looking forward to hosting our first Thanksgiving in several years. It will be a small crowd so it shouldn’t be too overwhelming. There’s nothing like smelling the turkey roasting while we watch the Thanksgiving Day Parade and look at all the ads for Black Friday. By then I will be all done Christmas shopping but it’s always fun to see what the specials are. We’ll be sleeping in when folks are lining up at 4:00 in the morning for the door busters.

The plan is to complete my novel before November 24 so I can really relax and enjoy the holiday. We have so much to be thankful for this year, it will be great to set aside a day to reflect on all of our blessings.

Happy Thanksgiving to all of you! Have fun and safe travels!

 

Things are going great and they’re only getting better

July 28, 2016 turned out to be quite the momentous day for me. There were two events going on that week where I potentially would be recognized for my work. One was in Las Vegas and the other in Chicago.

 

John and I ended up taking our three youngest children (all over the age of 21, thanks casino security by being so vigilant and checking in with us every single time we walked into a casino) with us to Las Vegas for the Global Convention celebrating Enagic Corp’s 42nd anniversary. We were privileged to have five other members of our Kangen Wisconsin team travel with us as well. We got there Monday night and the week at Mandalay Bay was jam-packed with meetings, training, recognition, and connecting with our friends from the Kangen Water community who were there from all over the world.

 

We’ve always had a strong conviction that Kangen Water is the healthiest water any human or animal can drink but after a week being with like-minded people and being educated on true health and wellness, we all came back more inspired by the mission of Kangen Water than ever before.

 

The highlight of the week for me was Thursday when John and our son Nick were each honored for achieving the rank of 6A in Enagic. John and I are so proud of Nick because he and his wife Emily were the very first people to embrace the message of True Health that Enagic espouses and invest in a water ionizer through us. When John joined the business in 2013 that promoted me to 6A and now that two people under me are 6A, I officially earned the rank of 6A2. According to someone I spoke with at Enagic Corp, there are only 287 people at that rank in the entire United States and only three others who’ve ever hit that rank in the state of Wisconsin, so it is quite the privilege to have achieved this.

Enagic Awards 2016

It’s been an interesting road I have to say. When we got our machine in April of 2009, it was solely to help our youngest daughter who was a Make-A-Wish child that year. Even though this represented an incredible business opportunity, I had no intention of doing this as a business because I had a career as a journalist and didn’t want to be in “sales.” But after what we experienced within weeks of investing in our machine, I felt an obligation to share the message and this water with anyone who would be open to it. We wanted to make everything that our daughter went through mean something and to pay it forward for the blessings we received from this water and this company.

 

When I think of this journey we’ve been on, many times the parable of the sower comes to mind: “A farmer went out to sow his seed. As he was scattering the seed, some fell along the path, and the birds came and ate it up. Some fell on rocky places, where it did not have much soil. It sprang up quickly, because the soil was shallow. But when the sun came up, the plants were scorched, and they withered because they had no root. Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants. Still other seed fell on good soil, where it produced a crop—a hundred, sixty or thirty times what was sown. Whoever has ears, let them hear.”

 

We’ve sown thousands of seeds in the last seven years. Some fell along the path and the birds came and ate it up (people heard about the water, read or heard one negative thing and were scared away — of course we all know that everything you read on the Internet is true, right?).

 

Some fell on rocky places where it did not have much soil, it sprang up quickly and withered because they had no root. Those were the people who were initially excited about this concept and for whatever reason, lost their enthusiasm for this amazing product. It could have been the spouse that didn’t attend a presentation but did five minutes of research on water ionizers and decided it wasn’t a valid product or did no research at all but was adamant against spending money on healthcare technology, regardless of how beneficial it would be for their family.

 

“Other seed fell among thorns, which grew up and choked the plants.” This was like the people who were lured away from the one true medical-grade water ionizer by the knock-offs who offered empty promises of a lifetime guarantee, incredible sales and other offers that were too good to be true.

 

Then of course there were the seeds that fell on good soil. Those were the people who listened to our message, took it to heart, and then invested in the health of their families by getting an Enagic water ionizer. We have been so blessed to have welcomed these people into our Enagic/Kangen Wisconsin family. Kangen Water folks are some of the nicest, most compassionate, most motivated people we’ve ever met — many of them are our friends for life. We look forward to years of working together, traveling together and strengthening our friendships.

 

Meanwhile, back to that incredible week, on the other side of the country, the Catholic Marketing Network was hosting its annual trade show in Chicago. A couple of months ago I had received notification that my novel, A World Such as Heaven Intended, had been nominated for the CALA award and was actually one of the top three Catholic fiction young adult novels for 2016. Since I wasn’t able to attend the awards ceremony hosted by the Catholic Writers Guild, my publisher asked me to write an acceptance speech, “just in case.”

 

That morning, I got a text from Full Quiver Publishing and it said, “Check your e-mail!” Immediately I grabbed my phone and saw an e-mail from them with the subject line, You Won!!! When I opened up the e-mail there was a picture of the 2016 Catholic Arts and Letters Award for Young Adult Fiction with my name and the name of the book inscribed on it.

 

I feel so incredibly honored to have received top recognition for both my mission and my profession. There are no plans to rest on my laurels, however! I’m back to work now helping John and Nick advance to the rank of 6A2 so that I can advance to the rank of 6A2-2. My goal is get there by December 31, 2016. If anyone reading this wants to check into this amazing water and potentially join our team and our mission, go to my web site www.KangenWisconsin.com and you can learn about the water by ordering an e-book or signing up for the Health Awareness Newsletter.

 

A World Such as Heaven Intended is the first book in a trilogy. The second book is outlined and the first two chapters are written. Now it’s up to me to carve out the time to work on finishing book two. The goal date for that is December 31 as well.

 

I want to thank every person who has been instrumental in helping me achieve these honors. Whether you offered words of encouragement, accepted my friend request on Facebook, purchased the book, invested in an Enagic water ionizer, Anespa shower unit or Ukon turmeric supplement through our group,  kept me in your prayers, or even discouraged me to help strengthen my resolve, I appreciate each and every one of you.

 

I’m looking forward to seeing what lies ahead. “The future’s so bright I gotta wear shades!”

It’s getting exciting now

Wow, a lot has happened since A World Such as Heaven Intended was published in October. There have been book signings (that was somewhat surreal), virtual interviews, a story in The Post-Crescent newspaper, a blurb in The Compass newspaper, a free Kindle version giveaway (2,100 books distributed in 72 hours, wow!), the book has hit the #1 spot on Amazon Kindle several times in the last two months, and one day it was #1 on Amazon for Kindle and #3 on Amazon in paperbacks in its genre.

I’m so glad I have an amazing publisher, Full Quiver Publishing, headed up by Ellen Gable Hrkach, guiding me through this process. I thought writing the book was the hard part, that’s nothing compared to marketing it!

My next book signing is scheduled for Saturday, February 7 from 11:00 a.m. until 1:00 p.m. at the Christian bookstore On This Rock, 216 W. South Park Avenue, Oshkosh, Wisconsin. Stop in and say hi if you’re in the area!

Recently I read something that the most big-time goals you should set for the year is three, that’s about the most any person can focus on in one year’s time. My big three for 2015 are 1) achieving the next rank advancement in my company (KangenWisconsin.com) by welcoming a lot more people to our Kangen Water family, 2) getting contracts on the sequel to A World Such as Heaven Intended and the novel I’m working on now, a young adult story set in the 1970s on the topic of bullying, and 3) having a family vacation with all of our children, their significant others/spouses and our grandson.

It’s going to take a lot of dedication and organization/time management to complete all of these, but I’m committed to the cause!

Hope everyone reading this has a blessed 2015 and you achieve all your goals! Feel free to share here if you’d like, I’ll root you on!

Beginning a Second Novel Today!

It’s super exciting to watch the process as my novel is being rolled out to the mass market. First came the launch on Kindle via Amazon. Every step of the way this book has been looked over with a fine-toothed comb. Consequently, there have been more tweaks than I ever could have imagined are possible. Of course, the more eyes that look at this, the more things are caught. Last Friday I received the proof copy in the mail. It’s really hard to describe the feeling holding the book in your hands that you’ve been working on for six years and seeing your name on the cover and the spine of the book. Yowza!

I was instructed to read the book over the weekend and see if there were any last fixes that needed to be made. I live for deadlines so consequently I scheduled the reading session starting late Sunday afternoon. In the meantime, I got a private message on Facebook from a gentleman who read the book and really enjoyed it. He had one question about the final page of the story. Without looking at the copy, I explained how things turned out and could set up the book for a possible sequel.

It took about seven hours to go through the book and find those minute details that needed addressing. Around midnight Sunday I got to the last page and stopped dead in my tracks. There was one word wrong that completely would change how the story was wrapped up. No wonder that gentleman was confused! I sent a panicked e-mail to my publisher and she assured me if it was just a typo, they’d let it slide until the next round of printing. This was much more than a typo! Talk about throwing a monkey wrench in the works! “Stop the presses” was no longer an expression you hear in the movies, it was literally what we had to do.

That threw the timing of everything off because we weren’t able to order copies of the book that day for the book launches in November. Thankfully everything was able to be fixed and the book went to press on October 29. This turned out to be the perfect day for printing to be begin. This is the note I got from my publisher late that day: “I spent a long time today going through this final proof and approved it this evening on the Feast of Blessed Maria Restituta (rather than waiting until Saturday). Blessed Maria was a martyr and beheaded by the Nazis, but her feisty spirit reminds me of Amara and…we can ask for Blessed Maria’s intercession for the success of your book!” Wow! To top it off, Blessed Maria was a nurse just like our heroine. Talk about divine intervention!

A World Such as Heaven Intended has been in the hands of beta readers and other folks for the last month or so with the hope that people will like it enough to write positive reviews on Amazon. So far, so good. After 10 reviews, we’re still at 5 stars! Even better news is the book is moving up in rank on Amazon as more people are purchasing copies for their Kindles. Heading to the topper-most of the popper-most. (Beatles fans should get this…)

Anyhow, someone read the book earlier this month and sent me a message asking when the sequel would be available. The picture below shows the expression on my face when I read her note…

Jinlge all the way

 

Apparently I need to get writing. Once again, providence has stepped in. Today is November 1, or as my fellow writing friends know, it’s the first day of Nanowrimo or National Novel Writing Month. Writers around the world are encouraged to write a 50,000-word novel between today and November 30. That’s 1,667 words per day in case anyone’s counting. In my estimation that’s a good 2 hours of writing per day. Seeing as I have so much free time on my hands, I signed up. Here’s the deal… I have two sequels on the drawing board for A World Such as Heaven Intended but both are quite labor-intensive in the research department. So I’m starting a completely different project, a young adult novel set in 1974 that centers on the topic of bullying and a young girl’s experience as the victim of a bully and how the issue is resolved in an unexpected way.

Guess it’s time to get writing! I’ll keep you in the loop and let you know how the manuscript is progressing!

Welcome to my world!

Wife, mother, author, marketer, grandmother, journalist, proofreader, water girl, photographer — a lot of titles for one gal! That gives you a glimpse into my busy but rewarding life. I’m self employed so no two days are ever the same so I’m never bored.

I’ve been considering writing a blog for a long time because I love to connect with people and this is a great way to document this exciting time in my life. Every day just gets better and better!

Being a journalist, I live by deadlines — not sure how much I’d get done in a week without them. If it wasn’t for deadlines this blog would still be filed away in the action folder in the back of my head. But I’ve written a novel, which by chance has the same title as this blog — A World Such as Heaven Intended — and having a blog is a great way to get the word out about this amazing story. It’s coming out in print and on Kindle October 1. If you’re a fan of reading fiction that includes any of the following subject matters: the Civil War, romance, humor or suspense, get in line to get your copy. It’ll make you laugh, it’ll make you cry, it’ll move you Larry.” (Gotta love those Veggie Tales.)

Here’s a more detailed picture of my life. I’ve been married for 32 ½ years, we have four children, our oldest daughter is married and has a 1-year-old son, our son is married, and then we have our middle daughter and our youngest daughter, who is graduating from college in nine weeks (but who’s counting). Age range is 29 down to 22.

I’m self-employed in two different fields — so the phone calls and e-mails never end. Besides being a published author, I’m a journalist, a photographer and professional proofreader (trust me, my kids have tapped into that skill through the years). My other career, or my mission as I like to call it, is sales and marketing. I am an independent distributor for an outstanding company, Enagic Corp., based in Okinawa, Japan, that produces medical grade technology that is bringing hope, health and healing to all corners of the world. Now who couldn’t get excited about that!

Life isn’t all about work though. My husband and I love to exercise together, bike, compete in 5K running races, golf and travel. One of my favorite things to do when I have time during the cold weather months (which there are a lot of here, living in the Upper Midwest) is traditional paper scrapbooking (which is best done rocking out to my favorite tunes — 60s and 70s classic rock).

Every day my husband and I say to each other, “We’re living the dream!” That’s so true! My life gets a bit hectic at times but I wouldn’t trade my life for anyone else’s. Do you feel the same way about yours? Do we have anything in common? If so, post a comment in the comment box below!