an unintentional summer hiatus

Hello, everyone! I hope you are savoring these final days of summer. I did not intend to disappear from the blog for three months… but sometimes life gets in the way and I’ve learned to roll with it!

However, I have missed this writing space and time with all of you each week{ish}. I’ve found that taking some time each week to reflect on my life and memories through blogging is a really special way to connect with myself, too. And I’ve missed it! I’m hoping to get back into the swing of things over these next few weeks. BUT I hope you’ll give me grace if I disappear again, because right now my schedule feels very up-and-down day-to-day… because, as you might have seen on Instagram, I’m pregnant!!

We are expecting our rainbow baby girl on November 30, just in time for the holidays! We are both so incredibly excited, and I have to pinch myself all the time that this is REALLY happening. I am overflowing with gratitude that we get to be the parents of this special little one who is growing bigger and stronger every day inside me. I have dealt with a fair share of anxiety throughout this pregnancy, which I am planning to do a whole separate post about. But suffice to say, everything is going well and I am feeling good as I prepare to enter my third trimester.

Time has stretched and compressed in such weird ways during pregnancy. In many aspects, it feels like I have been pregnant FOR.EV.ER — so much has happened since I took that positive test back in March! — but at the same time, it is absolutely crazy to think that we will be parents to newborn baby in a mere 13 weeks.

Parenthood by far is the largest change on the horizon, but 2018 has been filled with many other changes and areas of growth too — which is one reason I took an unintentional hiatus from blogging these past few months! Professionally, I am really excited about the direction my career is going. I still love teaching kids, but when I began thinking about balancing my career with motherhood, I realized that driving all around the Bay Area for hour-long in-person lessons was not going to be feasible if I wanted to stay at home with my baby. I wanted something I could do online, from my home office, without having to commute. I also felt a yearning to try something new, to stretch, to push myself out of my comfort zone.

So, back in April, I took a leap. Allyn was incredibly supportive of making an investment in my learning and career, and so I enrolled in a 10-week online “business boot camp” program called Permission to Charge. {I would highly recommend it to anyone who is looking to start or grow their own coaching-style business!} I learned all about creating a viable online business where I can serve others from my place of passion and expertise. I have been unofficially serving as a writing coach, editor and mentor for years… now it is extremely energizing to turn this into a structured program. In June, I officially launched my 90-Day Book Breakthrough Program to help people give birth to the books that are burning inside them… in just 90 days! You can learn all about it here, and you can also watch a free 45-minute webinar I created here that delves into my 5 steps to stop procrastinating and FINALLY write your book!

Currently, I am working with a handful of clients who are making such amazing progress on their book projects. It lights up my soul to be part of their journeys to becoming authors. I only take on clients whose projects I resonate with and who have a powerful message they are inspired to share with the world. Getting to help them do so is incredibly rewarding. I love watching them shine, and I am learning so much from reading their marvelous books-in-progress!

The timing was also serendipitous with this new business venture because I have a few risk factors in this pregnancy — namely, preeclampsia & preterm labor — so I have been required to really s l o w  d o w n  and cut back on my work a lot. This definitely goes against my natural instincts and was difficult at first, but I keep reminding myself that taking care of this baby is the most important thing, and to do that I need to have the healthiest pregnancy possible. So I take naps, rest throughout the day, and listen to my body above all else.

While starting a new business might seem like piling extra onto my plate, actually the number of hours I work has decreased drastically. I have stopped all of my in-person teaching {no long commuting and rushing all around town for appointments takes a huge load of stress off my daily routine!} and I only work with a handful of my best online students. I am also getting better at delegating and saying no with grace, and I am learning how to automate different systems so I am better able to plan ahead.

What else have I been up to these past few months?

  • In June we traveled to San Diego for my cousin’s wedding, which was a blast; and in July we headed to Santa Barbara for another cousin’s wedding, which was beautiful.
  • I spent about two weeks home with my parents in Ventura, where my mom and honorary aunt Alicia threw me an amazing baby shower, and I also taught my eleventh annual {!!!} Summer Writing Camp for kids and teens.
  • I had a book signing event at my favorite indie bookstore, Mrs. Figs’ Bookworm, to celebrate Woman, Running Late, in a Dress — it is so wonderful to hear from people who have read and enjoyed the book.
  • Allyn and I took a relaxing trip to Lake Tahoe with his family, and we’re heading off on another local getaway this weekend to celebrate our two-year wedding anniversary — which is doubling as a “babymoon”! I can’t wait.
  • My mother-in-law and sister-in-law threw us an incredible co-ed baby shower last weekend up here in the Bay Area. Baby Mac is already so loved, and I feel so grateful for the community of support we have surrounding us.
  • The rest of the summer has been spent soaking up time with friends, soaking up time as a couple, and preparing to become parents as best we can!

I think that about brings us up to date, and hopefully explains why I’ve been MIA the past three months. I’d love to hear the highlights of your summer, and what you’re looking forward to the rest of this year!

 

Your turn {if you want}:

Grab your journal or open a new document on your computer and “free-write” on the following questions:

  • What have been your favorite parts of this summer? Make a list of everything you have done — you might be surprised how long it is!
  • Have you ever taken a leap into a new venture, even if it scared you a little? Write about the experience, what you learned, and how you grew from it.
  • How do you slow down and take a step back from work commitments and obligations? What are your favorite ways to de-stress and center yourself?

a year of Wooden: week 23

a year of wooden

Hi friends! It’s been a long time since my last year of Wooden post… Now, on the first day of July, it’s time to recap the month of June! Our theme was gratitude. This month’s challenge was to start a gratitude jar or gratitude journal, and every night before you go to bed, write down at least one good thing that happened that day, something or someone you are grateful for. {Here’s a post I wrote earlier this year about starting a gratitude jar.}

How did it go for you? I was amazed at how much there was to be grateful for … even tough/exhausting/emotionally draining days were full-to-the-brim of things to be grateful for. Keeping a gratitude journal helped me recognize and be thankful for the many blessings in my life — from big things like my family, friends, health, job, food and shelter, to smaller things like the smile from a stranger I pass by on the street, the warmth of my chai tea on a chilly June morning, or the hug goodnight from my grandma. Often the days that I was most tired and least felt like writing in my gratitude journal were the days I needed it the most!

I also made a list of 27 gratitudes for my 27th birthday … embarking on the list, I was a bit worried that I would have to stretch to find 27 birthday-specific gratitudes {27 is kind of a lot!} but I ended up having to consolidate some things into one number on the list because I had so much to be grateful for! That’s the thing about gratitude: the more you find, the more and more finds you. Gratitude grows exponentially once you learn to recognize it in your life!

All in all, at the end of this month focused on gratitude, I feel not only more grateful but also more centered, calm and at peace. I’m definitely going to continue keeping my gratitude journal for the rest of the year and beyond!

Now, moving on to July…

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.
  • March: Help others.
  • April: Build a shelter against a rainy day (financially).
  • May: Be true to yourself.
  • June: Give thanks for your blessings every day.
  • July: Love.

love quote

Coach Wooden said, “The two most important words in the English language are LOVE and BALANCE.” This month, we’ll be focusing on the first of those: cultivating and nurturing more love in our lives. Next month, we’ll strive to create better balance in our lives.

For this week’s challenge, write a love letter to someone special in your life. What do you admire about them? What qualities and details do you love about them? What is something special they do that makes you feel loved?

I’ll end with this photo that my friend Holly sent me — a sign posted in her gym:

wooden quote gym

Questions for the day:

  • What are you grateful for in your life?
  • What was it like keeping a gratitude journal?
  • Who makes you feel loved?

a year of Wooden: week 8

Happy Wednesday! I’m off to Seattle for the AWP conference — so excited to be surrounded by tons of writers and reunite with some dear friends. But before I leave, it’s time for final February “year of Wooden” challenge!

a year of wooden

This year I am doing “a year of Wooden” following the teachings of Coach John Wooden, and in particular his 7-Point Creed.

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.
  • February: Make friendship a fine art.

Last week, the challenge was to reach out and do a favor for a friend. I brought a chai latte to my friend Michelle who is recuperating from surgery. We usually have a Starbucks date every Wednesday, but she was in too much pain to leave her apartment, so I thought I would bring the Starbucks to her! She was so surprised and happy, and we had a wonderful long visit. I’m so grateful to have met her!

starbucks

This week, the challenge is to send a thank-you note to a friend. Tell them what specific things you are grateful for about them and their friendship. What details do you love most about them? What special traits do they bring into your life?

I’ll leave you with wise words from Coach Wooden on making friendship a fine art:

wooden friendship quote

Questions of the day:

  • Have you done a favor for a friend lately? What was your experience?
  • What are you most grateful for in your friendships?

a year of Wooden

I gained so much from doing my year of kindness challenge this past year, that I decided I wanted to take on a new year-long project in 2014. When I was brainstorming ideas I kept coming back to my blog’s title, Day-by-Day Masterpiece. It was inspired by one of my favorite sayings, “Make each day your masterpiece” from the late great basketball coach John Wooden. The saying is part of Coach Wooden’s 7 Point Creed, which was given to him by his father Joshua Wooden upon his graduation from high school.

My dad gave my brother and me copies of the 7 Point Creed, which we both carry around in our wallets. As I was reading over the creed an idea began to form. The more I thought about it, the more excited I became. The past couple days I have been on the edge of my seat to share this with you!

This year {and perfect timing, in honor of the fiftieth anniversary of Coach Wooden’s first NCAA basketball championship title} I present to you …

a year of wooden

This year I am going to focus month-by-month on a different item from Coach Wooden’s 7 Point creed, rounding out the other months with his “two sets of three.” The goal will be to add on a new trait each month while continuing to do the items from the previous months … so that by December 2014, I’ll be doing all the items, bringing everything together to “make each day a masterpiece”! I’m going to start off with the first item on Wooden’s 7 Point Creed:

  • January: Drink deeply from good books.

This month, I’m going to focus on reading books by Wooden and about him, a new one each week. I’m kicking things off this week by rereading my dad’s wonderful new book Wooden & Me: Life Lessons from My Two-Decade Friendship with the Legendary Coach & Humanitarian to Help “Make Each Day Your Masterpiece.”

If you’d like to follow along with me, you can pick up a copy of Wooden & Me here or on Amazon — both print and ebooks are available!

Have a masterful week!