The Heart of the Matter

Be Brave Little One Activity Kit! August 31, 2017 14:59

In prep for my upcoming book tour (schedule on my home page), Sourcebooks and I put together a Be Brave Little One activity kit to “start a conversation about bravery in your  classroom, library or home.”

You can download it here

And if you want to pick up a copy of the book, you will can find it right now in store at Barnes and Noble as well as www.bn.com.  It's also available at many independent bookstore — find yours here —  as well as through amazon.com

I was featured this month in Sourcebook’s Wonderland newsletter, answering Three Impossible Questions Before Breakfast. The topic? Bravery of course!  

 So looking forward to getting on the road! Hoping some of my stops are close to YOU! 

xo, M. 

 


Be Brave Little One -- my NEW BOOk is born! August 01, 2017 11:54

Happy Book Birthday to my newest book -- Be Brave Little One!

TODAY, August 1, is the “official” publication date, the day when it is AVAILABLE here and here and here

Sounds like a big deal, yes??  

It is. This book is the culmination of hours and hours of thinking, writing, concepting, drawing, painting, designing, printing.  

And for me, finally figuring out how to give voice to the journey of courage we all walk. It’s the message I’ve been wanting to put into the world for such a long time but didn't quite know how until a conversation last year with my youngest son, Will, who is 13.

I was asking him what it meant to be brave, pointing out how courageous he had been starting a new school in California.

“I guess,” he said, “but it's not like I had a choice about starting school. I think brave is when you have a CHOICE and you do the thing you want to do no matter what anyone else says.”

WHOA.

This conversation broke it open for me and had me writing this:

How far can I go?

What things can I be

When I get to choose

What brave is to me?

Brave means listening to the “truthful and wise” voice of your heart and doing what it says, no matter what everyone else thinks you should do.  
Brave looks all kinds of ways -- from the big, out-loud choices to the small, quiet decisions. 
Brave is accepting and welcoming ALL your feelings — from excitement and happiness to fear and doubt and being okay with the spectrum of feelings that makes us HUMAN and REAL. 
Brave is an everyday, start-over-if-you-need-to practice that leads to the truest version of you. 

It is my journey and yours. And because of that, I dedicated it to both of us.

Can I tell you one more thing? This book birthday — the PUB DATE —  actually feels very quiet and ordinary. There are no balloons attached to my front door or people lining up on my front step for a copy or e-mails flooding my mail box with congratulatory sentiments.

What a fitting metaphor for bravery. Our biggest acts of courage are often the quiet moments no one may know about but us. The decision to keep going or to try something new. The deep-down commitment to welcome another day and do your best.

Be Brave to be You

on your journey begun.

Let your heart lead the way.

Be brave little one!  (and grownups, too!) 

Much love!

Marianne

 


The Gifts of Instead May 08, 2017 11:46 2 Comments

I was scheduled for a pre-mother's day book event at The Book Passage, an amazing and popular bookstore just over the Golden Gate Bridge. This beautiful and vibrant bookstore did everything right. They made flyers. Promoted me on their website.  Shared me online. Readied the room with chairs and a microphone and a book display.  

I did everything right, too. I gathered my supplies. Set aside the time. Drove the 90 minutes from my house, ready to read and create and connect.

Then, no one showed up.

Not one person. Not one mother, dad or cute kid.

Johanna, the event host, and I waited in the big empty room for 20 minutes.  

At 1:25pm, I asked her, “Does this happen to other authors?”

“All the time,” she replied unfazed, and told me how a nationally-known author had ten people sign up for a recent event.

There was a time when Sunday’s reality would have wrecked me. The embarrassment, the internal messaging that said, “You suck at this. No one cares about your books. Find a different gig” before slinking out to my car to drive 80mph toward home where I would belabor it for days. 

Yesterday was different.  

Instead of hosting a pity party, I thought, “Makes total sense. It's a gorgeous Sunday. Families are out and about.”

Instead, Johanna and I talked for 45-minutes about family balance, mom guilt and how women find the time to pursue their passions in the midst of raising kids. I’m a decade further on the parenting journey and had some wisdom to pass along.  Her tears showed her gratitude.  She told me I was an angel for her that day?! And she suggested I connect with moms groups in Marin County.  She walked me to the cafe, bought me an amazing sandwich, and gifted me with beautiful personalized stationery as a thank-you for coming. I've never had personalized stationery! 

Instead, I sat in the cute cafe for three hours, working on other writing projects. I perused the new memoir from Dani Shapiro and dreamed of someday publishing my own.

Johanna passed by again with a stack of my books.  “I'm going to set up a Mother’s Day display in our kids section with your titles.”  Fabulous — a display with my titles!

Then, “Are you an artist?” a voice asked me.  I looked up and into the face of a woman who had sat down with tea and an oatmeal cookie. Her yoga mat rested at her feet. She had noticed my suitcase of rocks and paint. Part of my book event was to paint rocks for The Kindness Rocks Project.

“I am,” I explained and told her about my event that wasn't.  “I’d like to paint one,” she offered.  

“Please do” I said, making space so she could join me at my table.

Instead, for the next hour, Karen and I painted rocks and traded life stories, she an attorney and activist who had recently started her own soap making business called 13 Foxes Designs. “Some people don’t want to use the pretty soaps,” she laughed. “but I believe art is meant to be used and shared and replenished.”

She painted a fox on her rock. It was clearly an important symbol to her. 

I painted a rock for Johanna, my event host, that said Caring for yourself is time well spent. Karen suggested the words. 

The cafe slowly cleared out. Karen left, and it was time for me to go home, too. It’d be 8:00pm by the time I got back to San Jose. 

My ride home once would have included feelings of failure.

Instead, my heart felt full and grateful for all the unexpected gifts of the day.  

The Heart of the Matter:  I had come for one thing that didn't happen.  I left, however, with the gifts of instead.

 


Giveaway Happening — April 24, 2017 April 17, 2017 17:13

Hello friends! It’s been 20 years since I self-published my first book, The Gift of an Angel for parents welcoming a new child. To honor this milestone, I’m hosting a giveaway — cards, signed books, jewelry ... and I’d love for you to join in!

 

Check back here on April 24, 2017 for all the details!