Since 1967, on or around Hans Christian Andersen’s birthday of April 2nd, International Children’s Book Day (ICBD) has been celebrated to inspire a love of reading and to call attention to children’s books.
I remember my sister, Judy, reading books to me when I was a very young girl. To this day, I have a love of reading and am so grateful she took the time to do that. When my son was 3 weeks old, I started propping him on my lap, with a book in front of him, and introduced him to the wonderful world of reading. Jake is in the third grade and is reading at a 5th grade level (or higher… that is the highest grade tested by his school). He LOVES to read and there is nothing quite like the joy I feel when I hear him laughing while enjoying a good book!
In honor of ICBD, I invite you to order your copy of  Artsy Ant Alphabet Art Adventures, which features wonderful illustrations by Scott Howard, the Creator of Artsy Ant, and inspiring stories written by me.
Although it’s a children’s book, Artsy Ant appeals to people of all ages… the stories are filled with positive life-lessons; the amazing illustrations of each letter of the alphabet are designed to bring hours of coloring fun to adults and children alike; and the seek-and-find feature adds an educational element.
To order your copy (autographed by me), go to the BOOK: Artsy Ant’s Adventure tab on this site.
Now… go read to a child today, if you can!
ArtsyAnt

Artsy Ant BOOK

MeWithAAbook In 2009, I made the decision to pursue my life-long dream of becoming a writer. While attending a conference on getting your work published, I met Scott Howard. He showed me his wonderfully unique style of drawing and shared his idea for an alphabet book he was creating.

Shortly thereafter, we came up with the idea of turning his alphabet book into a story book, by combining his talent for drawing and my passion for writing. He had created a character named Artsy Ant and we decided to base the stories on Artsy’s adventures.

It was such a joy for me to come up with a story line that took Artsy on an incredible journey, where he would befriend colorful characters and inspire them to be and do their best.

Because of the intricate details of the illustrations in this one-of-a-kind book, the stories had to wait for 3 years to be told. Finally, the time has come for Artsy and his friends to meet the world! I can hardly explain how excited I am to finally be holding an advanced copy of the book in my hands! You can read more and order your copy of Artsy Ant Alphabet Art Adventure at http://SandySpeaks.com/ArtsyAnt.

After making my decision to write 4 years ago, I also started this blog and 2 more books. Well, everything got put on hold at the end of 2011, as the crash in the real estate market forced me to make some major changes (including moving back to my hometown after living in Celebration for 12 years). I stopped blogging and put my other two books on the back burner.

After seeing my stories come to life in Artsy Ant Alphabet Art Adventure, I have, once again, become energized and excited about writing. I found my blog, which had not been touched in over 2 years. Strangely, most of the articles I wrote have disappeared, with only 5 remaining from 2009. I did locate 7 more articles I’d written in 2010 & 2011 on my Author Page at http://EzineArticles.com. The rest are gone. So, I’m basically starting anew here on my site.

I’ve also dusted off my keyboard and have started working on finishing my book, Gratitude Habit. And, as soon as Scott finishes illustrating The Gratitubes, I’ll be introducing my 2nd children’s book to the world!

I could feel sad, embarrassed, or disappointed in myself for letting these projects fall behind for a while. Instead, I’m choosing to focus on what I have accomplished over the past 4 years and hope that, by never giving up on my dreams, I can inspire someone else to pick back up (or get started) on theirs!

Lately, I have really been working on my own personal self-development.  I’ve been blessed with the responsibility of raising a child and I am on a new journey of coaching others, so I have to hold myself to a higher standard.

One very important attribute I’ve been concentrating on is the act of forgiveness.  One of the hardest things to do is to forgive someone who has caused you pain.  However, as I’ve recently discovered, it is extremely liberating to “get over it.” When you do, the hurt no longer dominates your mind.  When someone hurts me, I generally become consumed with thinking about it over and over and over.  Therefore, I would never forget the incident! How exhausting!

Recently, I was feeling very hurt by someone who I am close to.  As the incident started playing over and over again in my head, I realized I had to stop and forgive … truly forgive.  That decision allowed me to stop and look at things from their perspective.  It was amazing how I could physically feel the hurt going out of me and how I was crystal clear on the fact that I did not want to lose or mess up this valuable friendship.  I shudder to think of what might have happened if I were not in this period of working on myself!  Things are back to normal and, when we discussed the topic again, it was in a really casual & relaxing way. And, I’ve not thought of it since. This forgiveness stuff really works!

Sadly, there are sometimes instances where someone hurts you to the point where you know the relationship has to be over.  But, you still must practice forgiveness of that person. Otherwise, the incident/action continues to cause you pain and discomfort — even after the person is out of your life.

Even if you do not contact that person, because you simply cannot invite them back into your life, it is still crucial that you forgive them. That’s the only way you’ll be able to move on from the negative thoughts.  And, it actually makes you feel at peace whenever you ask God to bless the person who was hurtful.  It also helps to realize that some people are put into your life for a reason, but were not meant to stay in it forever.  As you reflect back on your relationship with that person, in a relaxed state, you will find there were lessons to be learned. You may even find yourself feeling gratitude towards that person for giving you those lessons.

It’s also important to forgive yourself.  That has been a bit of a struggle for me lately.  My whole life I have lived with the motto that “regret is a wasted emotion.” But, this year, I have been kicking myself for some of the mistakes I have made.  I finally realized that the time & energy I’m spending on beating myself up could be spent on taking positive steps toward a bright, new future.

Now, if something hurtful happens or I make a mistake, I strive to work on the forgiveness aspect of it as quickly as possible.  That way, I can move on toward my bright future.  And, I always stop to count my blessings, which helps me truly forgive so I can finally forget!

Gratitude Peace Marble

Gratitude Peace Marble

I am always amazed whenever The Universe brings people together at the precise moment when they are on the same exact path!  I recently had this wonderful phenomenon happen to me and, I not only acquired an amazing new friend, it solidified that my new business/mission is meant to be!

While attending Mega Book ’09, I was very fortunate to meet some remarkable people, including a gorgeous lady with a beautiful soul named Elizabeth Zachariah.  Elizabeth, along with her friends Cherie Duncan, Kim Roman Corle, and Jan Avant, made me feel completely welcome and I knew they were women that I wanted to get to know better.  After the event, we all connected on, and have stayed in touch through, Facebook.

During the week I decided to create Gratitude Boot Camp, I received a message from Elizabeth — the founder of Blue Marble 4 Life, Inc.  She wanted to ask me a question.  At that point, I had not shared my thoughts about Gratitude Boot Camp with anyone.  When I returned her call, she informed me that she was putting together a project that would send four Gratitude Marbles (to represent the four corners of the earth), along with a Peace Marble (inscribed with the word Peace in 37 languages), on a world-wide mission for peace.  Her plan was to appoint Blue Angel Ambassadors, throughout the world, which would host The Marbles and help spread a message of Gratitude, Peace, and Love.  She said that she immediately thought of me (even though she had no idea that I had just decided to devote my life to promoting the power of Gratitude) when she was thinking of Ambassadors.  It was serendipitous and I felt very honored!

As a Blue Angel Ambassador, it is my duty to host a Gratitude Gathering. This gathering will bring people together — to count their blessings and to take part in this special Global Celebration of Peace —  as we send The Marbles to the next destination on their incredible journey.

So, it is with great pleasure that I am hosting an event named “Walk in Gratitue — Live in Peace” in my hometown – Celebration, Florida.  At 4:00 p.m. on 9/26/09, we will gather on the front lawn of Celebration’s Heritage Hall at Spring Park. I encourage everyone to wear blue and to carry or wear a peace sign.

We will view The Marbles (which are arriving in Celebration after their trip to Hale Barns, Cheshire in The United Kingdom), sign the Gratitude Journal (which is accompanying The Marbles throughout their worldy journey), and record their visit to our great community.  Then, we will bid The Marbles a fond farewell as they leave Celebration and travel to Australia. Afterwards, we will continue our celebration of peace with a “Happiness Hour” at The Mona Lisa in Celebration.

You can visit www.BlueMarble4Life.com to watch the inspirational kick-off video, track The Marbles’ travels, and to register/join The Blue Marble Tribe, if you choose.  If you join, you will receive your very own Gratitude Blue Marble and The Gratitude Pledge.

If you cannot attend the Gratitude Gathering in Celebration, visit http://BlueMarble4Life.com to see if The Marbles are coming to your area!

You can also follow this exciting Global Celebration of Peace at www.YouTube.com/BlueMarble4Life, at www.Twitter.com/BlueMarble4Life, and at The Blue Marble 4 Life Fan Page on Facebook (http://bit.ly/pLPf3).

I believe that living a gratitude-filled life can change the world and promote peace amongst all of God’s children.

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GreenGWith my 50th birthday fast-approaching (wow – that does not even sound possible, even as I put it in writing for all the world to see – yikes) and ever since I unexpectedly & miracoulosly gave birth at the age of 46.5, I’ve been feeling the need for a change in my life.  I’ve always felt there was something more I should be doing. And, over the past 3 years, that need has turned into a burning desire.

Through the wondrous power of social media, I was invited to attend an event that changed my life forever — by starting me upon the path of my new beginning.  The event was held the first weekend of June and was called Mega Book ’09.  It was hosted by a man that I’ve long admired — Mark Victor Hansen.  He is a best-selling author (co-creating “The Chicken Soup for the Soul” series), the founder of MEGA Book University, and is a great leader, speaker, and philanthropist.

After attending what turned out to be a spiritual awakening for me, I decided it was time to fulfill my life-long dream of becoming a writer, coach, and speaker.  Every night for several weeks after Mega Book, I would lie in bed and, as I was drifting off to sleep, ask God to reveal to me what I should be doing, right now, to inspire and help others.  One night, I awoke at 2:00 a.m. with the words “Gratitude Boot Camp” practically screaming in my mind.  I ran downstairs, jumped on my computer, and was ecstatic to discover that the domain names for Gratitude Boot Camp were available (and not even for a premium price…yay)!  I didn’t even know what Gratitude Boot Camp meant but I felt that I needed to go for it!

For the past several weeks, I have been creating and am now launching “Gratitude Boot Camp” ~ a self-development program that guides attendees through positive and productive steps in order to Give, Grow, and Prosper!

It is the Mission of Gratitude Boot Camp to empower and inspire people to be aware of and focus on their current blessings and to take positive steps — based on gratitude — that will help them achieve a life of joy, peace, and prosperity.

I invite you to become a part of the growing gratitude community at http://Facebook.com/GratitudeBootCamp.

I’m in the process of writing two books (one for children) that will teach the 12 gratitude habits and how to incorporate them into your life.

Thank you for taking this exciting journey with me!

 

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This blog is a part of my new beginning.  I have reached the point in my life where I am ready to make a change — not only in my life, but in the life of everyone I meet, know, and love.

I’ve always felt (and have been told by others) that I was supposed to take a leadership role and help others to overcome obstacles and hardships & to guide them to live a life filled with happiness, peace, and success … no matter what circumstances come along.  I learned first-hand, at a very young age, about staying positive in the midst of crisis.  Yet — somehow — a half-century has gone by (almost) and I have not stepped up to the plate.

Well, I am now being driven by a powerful force to finally become what I am destined to be and to live a life of purpose … something I know we can all achieve.  I have a responsibility to my precious child, and to everyone around me, to finally reach for the stars and leave a lasting legacy.

Life is too short to hold back, to struggle, and to feel guilty about the mistakes we inevitably make during our lifetime.  So, I am committed to going forth with faith, confidence, and courage to fulfill my life-long dreams (of writing and coaching) & to guide others to a life of purpose, growth, and prosperity.

I am exceedingly grateful for those who have been by my side through some very challenging times; for those who have encouraged me to “go for it;”  for those who will love me and support me as I take this leap of faith on my new journey; and for those who will not laugh at my dreams but will applaud my successes.  May God shine on you and bring you peace, joy, and abundance.

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