Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Free Books - 100 Book Give Away

The response to the 100 Book Give Away has been amazing. There are so many wonderful people out there helping our most needy children. Homeless children, refuge children from the toughest places on earth who have found safety in the US, children with cancer, children suffering depression and other mental challenges, and endless other situations. I am deeply touched by the kind and caring people who have written and requested books. The books are flying out the door and I feel very grateful for this opportunity to make a difference in a child's life.

At the same time sales in bookstores and gift stores are picking up as well, with many wonderful consequences, like book signings at fancy private schools and newspaper articles that help to get the word out. The more the books sell the more I can keep giving them away - which is my greatest joy.

I have asked everyone to send stories relating to Here You Are and its impact on children. In a few weeks there will be much to write about as many have already promised to send their most inspiring observations.

It is sad to contemplate how much suffering there is for children on our planet. As a matter of fact, it is best not to think about it too much in order to keep one's spirits and energy up to reach out to every single child in one's own path. That way we make a difference where we can, which is the only place where we can ever really do anything. Sometimes that just means to be kind and attentive to our very own children. This alone is not the easiest task at all times.

My heart goes out to all who are working hard to help the children in our world, be it patiently making cookies and Valentine cards with your own, or taking on the healing of the broken hearts of refuge children from Somalia.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Here You Are Images

Amazon's "Search Inside" feature on the Here You Are listing has a problem for the moment. Since I just had a computer lesson on how to get images loaded into my blog pages last weekend from my daughter, I was able to do this tonight. Just in time - as emails are pouring in for my 100 Book Give-Away.

My kids always show up with help - just when I need it. It is how this whole book went from spiral bound Kinko copies to the beautiful hardcover it is today.

These images look a bit smudgy, with squiggly lines and dirty colors - don't know why and don't know how to fix it. In the book the colors are bright and clear, and the lines are smooth, of course.

Free Books For Early Readers

This is an offer I made on Amazon today, which I extend to my readers here as well -

I love giving "Here You Are" to children I run into in my daily life, at airports, hospitals, schools and doctor's offices. Maybe I can do this here as well.

I have set aside 100 copies of "Here You Are" to give away to children facing difficulties, or people who work with children in those circumstances, like nurses, doctors, teachers and counselors. These are not print on demand books, so they will be shipped out immediately (both here on Amazon), and for the Give-Away for which you have to send an email to me at

I wrote this book to ease the suffering in life a little bit, especially for children who face bigger challenges than most, by reconnecting my young reader to their own innermost treasure of wisdom.

Several nurses and doctors have told me children in hospitals, or children who have lost a loved one, really benefit from having a book like this.

I have seen the effect of the book, and write about it on my blog "Here You Are" at where you can find out more. Just let me know why you are requesting the free book(s), who I should make the book out to, if applicable, or anything else you would like me to know. Send any heartwarming stories to the above email address and I will edit them for future blog posts.

"Here You Are" is a sturdy, hardcover book, with black canvas covers with gold leaf lettering on the front, under a thick shiny dust jacket. The brightly colored, and solid quality of the book, unfortunately doesn’t come across in the listing. Every child I give a copy to instantly treats it like a treasure and very proudly walks off with it. Some children are barely bigger than the book, just managing to get their little arms around it. It's one of my favorite images. You'll have fun giving it away, too.

This offer is valid for one month only, until February 28th, 2008.

Well, that's my fun idea for the day. You don't even have to do this with my book. Just order a bunch of nice little books and start passing them out to children wherever you go. When I started doing this with my book I couldn't believe I hadn't thought of it much earlier. Oh - and always ask the parents first whether you may talk to the child.


Enthusiasm is a gift. It can be natural, or it can be brought to the party with a little effort. Well, there is nothing like the enthusiasm of my kid when he has a no-homework pass, and we get to go to a science fair after dinner. The Lawrence Hall of Science - Science Fair came to his school for family night, with almost every physics gadget you can find at the Emporium - which we know well. That was already exciting enough, with our favorite being a tornado water bottle. But then, to really get everyone's attention, all of a sudden, there was enough voltage and liquid nitrogen to blow up the school and electrocute everyone in it. Who says the insurance companies aren't letting us have any fun anymore?

Balloons disappeared into beacons filled with liquid nitrogen only to create liquid oxygen and ice inside of them "out of thin air" - literally! The liquid oxygen, released from the balloon, then rolled over the floor in little balls, in a levitating manner that looked quite alien. Liquid oxygen - and nitrogen - expand by about a thousand times into their gaseous state once you let them out of the genie bottle - which is why the kids were told that you couldn't drink it or you would explode. Nicely demonstrated by trying to keep the liquid nitrogen inside a bottle with a cork that flew half way to China after only a few seconds. Lots of shrieking from the huddling little lady scientists.

Then an extinguished match burst into flame while being submerged into a freezing liquid. Many bets were lost, because it happened to be liquid oxygen - a royal feast for the match. When a boy's hair was given the volume we all crave, by loading him up with electrons from a big silver ball, and he then proceeded to light a light bulb with his bare hands - the excitement was complete. Even I became enthusiastic, although it had been a very, very long day. All it took was was 12000 volts and several deadly, steaming fluids, completely alien to our planet. I don't ask much.

Well, all it really took was the enthusiastic little scientist I followed around for two hours.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Buddha Belly Laugh(s)

Nothing like a Buddha Belly Laugh.

Blueberries for Breakfast

This is the first of my new series of posts called "A Post For Instant Happiness". This one is from one of my favorite Blogs. For the full post go to Obscure Observations.

When was the last time you took a good look at your blueberries before breakfast?


Today I am torn between writing about dark matter ( as in the Universe), or about the other night when Lucas had nightmares after starting his book for his book report - Herbie Jones and the Dark Attic, by Suzy Kline. It is a story about a boy who moves into his house's attic for two weeks while his grandfather is visiting. The book is about overcoming fears - but, since we are not at the end of it yet - at the moment, it is all about being afraid.

So he went to bed afraid to close his eyes. The only remedy he could think of was for me to turn the light back on, and read Here You Are to him, which I did. I hadn't read the book to a child in a while. Here You Are works as a story for children 3-7, and as a picture book for even younger children. Lucas had often enough announced that he was now too old for Here You Are after it had been published. But, to my delight, nowadays, when he feels sad, afraid or lonely - he asks for it, and uses it like medicine for himself.

Whatever is closest to a child's heart - or adult's for that matter - usually surfaces by the time I get to the end of the book, and I always look forward to finding our what that is, at that moment, for each individual one. He had opted out of looking at the illustrations this time, listening to my reading with his eyes closed. At the end, I thought he had fallen asleep. I put the book away, turned off the lights, and tucked him in. Sleepily he announced: "I love playing offense, Mom." Sweet dreams, little man.

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Joy is a little girl I met in the Los Angeles airport the other day. She was on her way to Dallas and we were all stuck waiting for delayed flights. Since I never go anywhere without copies of Here You Are in my bag, I had just the solution to make her wait a little more fun.

Her parents asked me to autograph the book, which I did while she was watching. She then asked for the pen to offer her own autograph since she had just learned to write her name. I was quick enough to whip out my little notebook and asked her to sign her name in there instead. I now have the most artistic little, curly "Joy" signature in my notebook from a child I may never see again in my life. It is a little treasure and very pretty the way she did it. I will post it as soon as I learn how to post pictures and scans on my blog.

Her name fit her. Joy comes from giving, and she was determined to give something in return. Even though she may just have been wanting to show off her newly learned writing skill- a child's heart is so pure it is always a gift.

Dr Laura Schlessinger

Dr Laura Schlessinger, for those of you who don't know, is a radio talk show host who gives advice to parents, couples and other odd ducks, on the air from noon until three in the afternoon - where I live. She is what you would call an ultra conservative, fighting for the life of unborn children, or any other scenario that would be best for children. She tells adults to shut up and grow up, get with the program, and do what it takes to raise those kids they have put on the planet. Even if you aren't an ultra conservative - you find yourself agreeing with her advice most of the time. It is practical, and often helps to confirm to the callers "what the right thing" to do is. They often just call to get the proverbial kick in the butt they know they need. Even when you don't agree with her advice, her take is often an intelligent challenge to your own thinking to help you sharpen your own reasoning on any issue.

I have listened to her for over 13 years now during my daily half hour trip of picking up my children from school. I have "watched" her grow through her irritable pre-menopause years to the more grounded days we are blessed with in our fifties and sixties. She gives me hope :-). Her patience with some of the callers is impressive. Her authenticity alone is inspiring, regardless of your own political, moral or religious views. She lives her talk and is open and frank about her own challenges which include an estranged mother now dead, and a son serving in Iraq, which required her to grow up before her listeners eyes - or better - ears. To give him, her only child, the freedom to live this level of a dangerous life, by mastering her worry, being proud of him and cheering him on with her daily "hoohaaa" - which can break your heart and quickly send a prayer upstairs to keep her son safe - did not come easy or overnight for her - or her listeners. She does not ask any level of growing up from her callers she isn't willing to do herself, which ultimately is the power of her program, or any human being for that matter, who wants to inspire people.

As far as ultra conservative, moral people go, what makes her so likable even to people on the other side of the isle, is her lack of self-righteousness, her flexibility in her advice without giving up her core principles - quite an art - and her "what's best for the kids is what's right" approach. We can't ever have enough people to remind us of that.

What makes her unlikable or annoying to many is her certainty of her world view, which is of course the very same reason people who like her, call her for advice.

Since she has such a large audience of especially mothers, there are a lot of interesting, useful, funny, or deeply touching posts on her blog you might enjoy.

Mommy Blogs

Something we never had - back then - when we were "alone" at home with our kids and our laundry all day- were "Mommy Blogs". My daughter-in-law, on the other hand, while at home all day, tending with utmost devotion to her child (my wonderful, super cute, and super smart grandson) - can, whenever she wants to, converse with other adults any time of day without having to change out of her Mommy clothes, or leaving the house - about her favorite subject, no less - the whole Mommy thing - or any other subject she is interested in. For me "back then", there was only Phil Donahue, who never asked me once what I thought.

So, in the spirit of supporting this whole thing called Mommy Blogging, I will - whenever I come across a good Mommy Blog, provide the links here. The worst feeling when living as a stay-at-home Mom is the feeling of being cut off from the adult world most of the day, especially the adults who inspire us, who we used to work or study with. All this contact is available now to the Mom at home. And "the Mom at home" is the baby's greatest joy.

I'll search to see whether I can find Daddy Blogs, too. Maybe even Grandma, Grandpa, or Nanny Blogs. After all, it is not just Mom's doing this great work of raising children.