Quote for the SUMMER

"Books are about change. No, really, they are." ~Brian Farrey

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Merry Christmas, Poinsettia!

Merry Christmas! If you received a poinsettia this year, please don't throw it away in a week or two, or even in a month or two. This article came from SheKnows.com and I am sharing it to help preserve the poinsettia's life span. I received a beautiful poinsettia last year, and this year it is still alive, but not thriving. So I did a Google search and found this article. Next year, I hope to have less leggy stalks, bigger blooms, and lots of big red leaves. Enjoy, and good luck!

Simply continue to water the poinsettia as you would any plant, never allowing the soil to completely dry.

Now it needs to hibernate a little. So to help it go dormant, beginning April 1, gradually decrease water, allowing the soil to get dry between watering. Be careful the stem does not begin to wither. Should this happen your plant is rejecting your efforts, thus declining fast. After a couple of weeks, the plant will have got use to this drying process, so you can move it to a nice coldish place that stays around 60 degrees F (best bet may be against an outside wall, and definitely out of direct sunlight.) Water very little, never soaking or allowing it to sit in water.

About mid-May, cut all stems back to finger length (about 4 inches.) To be ready for the plant's eventual growth spurt, take this time to repot the poinsettia in a somewhat bigger container. If it is still in the plastic pot, I switch it into something more decorative, too. Take your time and water well to wake it up. Now you can bring back to the sunniest spot you have in your home, this will keep it at a temperature up to 75 degrees F throughout the summer and into September. Continue watering on a regular schedule. You should soon begin to notice some regeneration — stalks, sprouts or leaves.

You can now move your poinsettia outside for a summer blast of sunshine and temperatures. Keep it in a partially shaded location (never direct sunlight). Water regularly.

Right after July 4, take a moment and cut back each stem the length of your thumb tip. It's tempting to leave the growth, but if left uncut now, the poinsettia will grow rather leggy and lanky.

By mid-August, each branch will have new growth. Once again, pinch or cut them back to a small handful of leaves on each shoot. Now's the time to bring the plant back inside (so the temperature remains regular) and place in your sunny window. Water regularly.

To get poinsettias to re-bloom, at this point they must be limited to 12 hours or less of sunlight per day. This might sound tricky, but all you have to remember is that starting October 1 until almost the end of November, keep your plant in complete darkness from 5 pm to 8 am.

The last week in Nov. you can keep the poinsettia in the window full time. You should see several flower buds now.

Continue to water it the way you did when it was new — and enjoy as it continues to bloom throughout the season!

QUESTION: Did YOU give or receive a poinsettia this year? (Or even last year?) Say, "Me!" if you will join my mission to keep your poinsettia alive all year and see if you can "bring it back" next year!

This article was originally published as "Poinsettias: How to keep them thriving year-round" at SheKnows.com on Nov 27, 2012 by Mar Jennings. You can read the full article, which includes fertilizer information, a little history about the plant, and a blurb to make you WANT to keep the plant all year.

Sunday, November 2, 2014

How to Conjure Up Some Courage

This is a special blog post written by Barbara Wade, a business coach and mentor. She gave special permission to reprint her blog in its entirety. I thought you might enjoy reading about these 4 basic fears. I think mine falls under the "financial insecurity" block. Don't be afraid to chime in.


My kids are afraid of creaky sounds late at night, shadows on the wall, ghosts, goblins, and ghoulies. I laugh and think their silly fears are “cute.”  

The fears I have as a business owner, on the other hand, are completely rational, accurate, and grounded in reality.  
Yes, building a successful business can be tough. And keeping it profitable is a challenge. But I have found that the biggest obstacles to being prosperous are the often-irrational opinions we have about ourselves. It is the sabotaging self-talk and limiting beliefs that hold us back, not the difficulty of any particular task.  
Or as entrepreneur Jen Groover (author of What If? & Why Not?) says, Until you can jump over your inner roadblocks, the outer ones will stay firmly in place.”  
So…. What are you afraid of?  
Fear of Failure
You are going to fail. I mean it. At some point, something you try will not work the way you want it to. Failure is not is not a sign of defeat, but instead an indication of progress. The only way to not fail is to not try. Use your setbacks as learning opportunities. Consider failure as just new, valuable information about how not to do something. Then course correct and move on.  
Fear of Inadequacy
“She’s got so much potential!” Some people continuously bask in the glory of what “could be” rather than take action and maybe prove that all the implied possibility was misplaced. They fear that they are not smart enough, creative enough, talented enough, or lucky enough to succeed. If you find yourself constantly doubting your own abilities, make a list of all the business skills you know you have and you don’t have. Then get help with the latter ones by learning or delegating.  
Fear of Financial Insecurity
It used to be that having a corporate career meant job security, a regular paycheck, health benefits, and a retirement package. Those were the perks of workin’ for the man (or the woman). But these days, owning your own business can actually offer better security. I mean, it’s unlikely that you’ll lay yourself off! Cash flow is probably the biggest challenge to new businesses. So keep your outflows done in the beginning and learn to budget. Always get paid up front and if you offer a payment plan, take a deposit before you start your work.  
Fear of Success
It’s surprising how many people suffer from this (and often they don’t even know it!) They unconsciously undermine their own growth because they are afraid of “getting too big.” While it’s true that a million dollar business brings million dollar headaches, it’s usually not those challenges that create the biggest fears. What if I can’t keep up my success? What will my family and friends think? What if prosperity makes me a self-centered jerk?  You must get real about this kind of fear because it can be so insidious. Plan ahead for future expansion, and remember that as the boss of your business, you get to set the pace of growth. And as far as becoming a jerk, I think money is like a magnifying glass. It accentuates whatever is already there. I’ll let you make of that what you will.  
So don’t let fear stall you and stop you. Use it as a tool to motivate you to action.   

Business Coach & Mentor Barb Wade specializes in teaching entrepreneurs how to make more money more easily while enjoying a business and lifestyle that reflects their priorities. Download Barb's "Word-for-Word Scripts To Overcome Objections" and book more high-paying clients now at www.BarbWade.com.

So what are YOU afraid of...? 

Keep on keepin' on... 

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

So, I am finally making the time to actually write a blog post...AND announce the long-awaited winner of the Lucky Clover Picture Book WINTER Contest.

Congratulations goes out to...

Kimberly Cowger for Sprinkles Goes to School! 

Kimberly, you will receive your long-awaited critique in your e-mail shortly. And if you have perchance already made these edits, I will even take a SECOND look at your story since I made you wait so long.

Congratulations, Kimberly! Keep on keepin' on...

Friday, August 8, 2014

The Zombies Are Coming

Actually, the zombies already came and went and now I'm retaliating. I escaped, and I'm still...

 A - L - I - V - E!!!

I've been up to a LOT these last, let's count them, um...FOUR months!!!

  • the race, of course, you've only read about that for the last four months...
  • working on a website for my first client, Kristi Holl, going live next week! (I'll post the date here so any clicks onto her site AFTER that date, will be my design - currently it's hers... Go ahead and peek and be sure to come back in a week to see the difference.)
  • attended a Week of Writing (W.O.W.) Retreat with the great Kristen Fulton in Georgia (AWESOME!!!)
  • training my assistant at work (I got a promotion)
  • WRITING on a few of my manuscripts, polishing them to get ready for submission
  • enjoying the summer with my family
  • took son to his 1st karate tournament in which he won TWO 2nd place trophies!
  • Judging all the entries for the Lucky Clover Picture Book Contest (winner announced SOON, I promise!!!)
  • planting and harvesting a garden (heard of Salad in a Jar?) 
Enough about me, here's a fun gift for you. A video I just stumbled on in YouTube. If you haven't read The Day the Crayons Quit, then you're in for a treat as a librarian reads the book aloud to a 2nd grade class.

What fun! Enjoy!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Writers Who Run: Push Yourself to the Finish Line

Last Saturday, I ran the 4th largest foot race in the U.S., the Cooper River Bridge Run in Charleston, SC. It's a 10k (6.2 miles). Nearly 40,000 runners show up to run the race and "Get Over It." Lots of fun costumes and great music. They even had watermelon cups at the finish line this year. YUM! Yep, I'll be going back next year. Can't wait. Did it in 1:21:19, which is slower than last year's time, but I was recovering from two separate injuries, too!

Anyway, onto the writing lesson and running analogy for the day. Motivation station, here we come! So, what do writing and running have to do with each other? Lots, if you love to do both! Pushing yourself through to the end comes to mind this week.

As writers, we must push ourselves to read more, write more, get the words down, revise, revise, revise. Submit, revise again, submit again. Perseverance is what it's all about, after craft, of course. If we don't push ourselves, no one else will. We must first write the story. Including the ending. Then, we can celebrate, revise, get published, whatever. And we start planning the next book. The characters. The plot. The theme. The format. We must write the next book!

As runners, we must push ourselves to get out and run. To take it easy to get through injuries. To bundle up on those cold days and just get it done. And at races, to make it to the finish line. When we're at the start line, the end is already in sight. It's like writing through the last chapter of your novel. You can hear the crowd cheering for you, and you simply have to finish it. Once we cross the finish line, we celebrate. We plan for the next race. When. Where. What distance. Who will go with us. Who will run with us. What the next training plan looks like. We must run the next race!

To the finish line and beyond!!! Because is there ever really truly a finish line? They just keep coming, and we must continually push ourselves to cross them. Others can't do it for us, they can only cheer us on.

What's YOUR next book about? What's YOUR next race coming up?

Keep on keepin' on...