Sharon's Blog

A Gem from Japan: IKIGAI

A Gem from Japan: IKIGAI

A Gem from Japan: Ikigai

World travel includes many different adventures and experiences but learning new cultural practices and traditions is my favorite.

With Covid still an issue, I am hesitant to travel to far corners of the world, but yesterday in Grapevine, Texas, I realized I do not need to travel far to have a new cultural experience. Just 130 miles from my home, while doing a book signing, I met a Japanese woman who taught me a practice called "ikigai" (ee-kee-gahy).

She told me that each morning, she had to state her ikigai for the day when she was a child. This statement was her reason for being and direction or purpose for the day. It could be as simple as "to be a better person than I was yesterday" or as complex as a small step toward a lifetime goal. It has to do with passion and happiness. "Iki" means life, and "gai" means value or worth. After stating her intentions, the family adults would offer to help her reach her day's ikigai.

This valuable tradition teaches the control one has over the fate of their day. And that stating one's intentions and asking for support only adds to the day's happiness, value, and success.

Today, talking about living purposefully and with intention is popular, but this is not new. Whatever you call it, think about bringing this practice into your daily family routine for you, your partner, and especially your children or grandchildren. Imagine the difference it will make to everyone's life: focus, direction, purpose, passion, sharing the load, and especially happiness.

My ikigai today is to share this wonderful Japanese tradition with others. Please help me by sharing it with your friends and family.

What is your ikigai today? And how can I help you?

                                                             Never stop believing!

                                                                                  Ms. Sharon

A Celebration of the Leaves!

A Celebration of the Leaves!

Jumping into a big pile of fall leaves isn't an activity I do at my age. Still, I almost feel like I'm there as I tap into my memories of crisp days raking leaves into a pile to jump into or to bury myself for a quiet moment feeling the solitude, smelling the rich scent, and listening for the rustling of the leaves as someone comes close enough so I can jump out and scare them.

But, throughout my life, my favorite fall activity has been to search for the prettiest leaf to press between waxed paper or the pages of a book, where I could cherish its colors into the winter days.

I never question why I played in the leaves or saved the best ones, but it's obvious to me now. As I hike along, searching for a colorful leaf, run my fingers over its veins, and touch its smooth surface to my cheek, I realize that I have been performing rituals to honor the life purpose of the leaves and the trees since childhood.

In the spring, the bright green leaves bring the promise of new beginnings, their cool summer shade brings relaxing moments and perhaps an apple, pear, or juicy peach, and in the fall, the final celebration of trees life's purpose paints the landscape in every direction.

This fall, I hope you have the chance to watch children performing the fall ritual of gratitude. Without a conscience awareness, they express their celebration and appreciation perfectly.

As you search for the most beautiful leaf this season, think about your life's purpose. Is it clear in your mind? What colors will you leave behind? Mindfully, take steps to assure you are moving in the direction that will paint the landscape of your life.

Never stop believing,

Ms. Sharon

In Honor of our Veterans

In Honor of our Veterans

Twenty years ago, on a crisp fall morning I was driving to the airport along the same route I’ve always gone, with the same morning sun setting the front range mountain aglow, and the same small talk that takes place between a parent and child before a trip. Did you remember this? What about that? Remember to call me when you arrive. I’ll pick you up next… But there was no pick-up date. And that made everything different. Strangely different.

As a parent we teach our children ethics, values, and responsibility not knowing quite how it will shape their lives. I imagined many things for my son’s life, but not this.

A few short weeks after 9-11 shook our world, at age 18, he stepped up to do his duty for his country. Standing at the gate that October morning we said good-bye and I hugged my son like I had never hugged him before. Then watched as he walked away with the weight of the world on his young shoulders.

The drive home, still after all these years, is a moment frozen in time. The mountain view blurred by my tears had lost its magical glow. My planner sat in the seat next to me with no reminder of a date to pick him up. Everything was different.

As Veteran’s Day approaches, I wish I could thank every man and woman who, with pride, anticipation, and fear, stood up to defend our freedom. And I wish I could thank all the parents throughout our history who have kissed their children good-bye not knowing…

And I wish I could thank everyone today, who is working diligently toward a world with no war. Someday, I hope we can look back to see that our past sacrifices build a sturdy foundation for peace and a world where our children will never leave home without a return flight.

Never stop believing!

Ms. Sharon

Who will you be this Halloween?

Who will you be this Halloween?

On Halloween morning, children everywhere will wake up knowing they can be anything they dream of being. A princess, a superhero, a ghost from the past, someone powerful, scary, beautiful, or funny. Or even someone from another world.

As adults, we know we can't wake up tomorrow and be the person of our fantasy. Or can we?

When you get up tomorrow and look in the mirror, ask yourself if you are the person you dreamed of being?

Is there a superhero with powers unique only to you just below the surface, waiting to come out and make our world a better place? Or a princess who's ready to escape the tower and use her gentle powers to change lives. Or maybe, there is a creature with many arms yearning to reach out to others and heal broken hearts.

Or perhaps, there is a clown inside who suddenly realizes the box he's been in is only imaginary, and he is now free to express antics and hilarity that will bring much-needed smiles to a stressed-out world.

When you wake up tomorrow and look in the mirror, even if it's not Halloween, ask yourself, if you could be anyone, who would you be? You have the right mask. Are you being the right character?

This morning, I looked in the mirror and realized I wanting to be an author who spends more time planting seeds with words.

Who do you want to be?

Start today.

                  Never stop believing!  Ms. Sharon

Periods or Commas?

Periods or Commas?

Periods or Commas?

Not too long ago I decided I could do some of my own editing and save a little in the budget. I started by researching rules about periods and didn’t find much I didn’t know. Periods are easy.

Next, I googled commas and discovered there are lots of rules for commas. The more I googled the more rules I found. Commas are hard.

Then, I started to wonder how many times in my life I had used a period because it was easy?

I quit.
I’m finished.
I can’t do it.
I’m not good enough.
It wasn’t meant to be.
It’s too hard.

That’s a lot of periods. What if I had used commas even though they may have been harder?

I quit for today, but tomorrow I’ll try again.
I’m finished trying to do it myself, I’ll get some help.
I can’t do it with the knowledge I have, but I can get more information.
I’m not good enough, yet.
It wasn’t meant to be right now, but with time I’ll succeed.
It’s too hard to do all at once, perhaps I will succeed by breaking it into smaller projects.

Where would I be now? How different would my life be now if I had used more commas and fewer periods?

Are you using periods in your life where you could be using commas?

Never stop believing in yourself!

                                 Ms. Sharon

Picture Books about SUCCESS


           

Mort, the tooth fairy, has chosen some great Picture Books about Success!


        

  • If You Tell Me, I Can Fly! by Sharon Thayer  This inspirational book uses flying as a metaphor for success to convey the message, "I believe you can do anything!" It's a reminder that your goals are reachable with encouragement and a belief in yourself.
  • The Little Engine that Could by Watty Piper  Everyone loves The Little Engine That Could, that classic tale of the determined little engine that, despite its size, triumphantly pulls a train full of toys to the waiting children on the other side of a mountain.

  • Whistle for Willie by Ezre Jack Keats  WHISTLE FOR WILLIE is about a boy named Peter who tries and tries to whistle. Peter wants to whistle so badly that he practices and practices until it finally hap- pens. In fact, just as Peter suspected, when he whistles his dog Willie stops and looks around to see who is calling him. 

  • What do You do with an Idea? by Kobi Yamada  This is the story of one brilliant idea and the child who helps to bring it into the world. As the child's confidence grows, so does the idea itself. And then, one day, something amazing happens.
  • How to Catch a Star by Oliver Jeffers  This story tells the tale of the boy as he goes on a quest to catch a star of his very own exploring the boys plots to seize his star – ranging from using a lifebelt as a lasso to jumping up and grabbing it. The detail Jeffers goes into in the boys quest to get his prize is reminiscent of any child who longs to fulfill their dream – they’ll try anything to succeed.
  • The Little Red Hen   Like most folktales, the story teaches a lesson: this story is used to teach kids the value of working hard and the consequences of laziness. 
  • Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss  Everyone laughs when Horton the Elephant offers to sit on Mayzie bird's egg while she goes on holiday. Horton's kindness and faithfulness are sorely tested when he, and the egg, are kidnapped and sold to a circus - but his reward for being faithful is more wonderful than he could ever have dreamed!

Monthly Special: FREE inspirational static cling with each copy of "If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!" purchased from www.carousel-publishing.com As always, FREE shipping and signed by the author.

Monthly Contest: Share your unique ways of setting goals, observing, or celebrating success in the comment section below and I will choose one, at the end of June, to win a FREE signed book: If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!

Contact info: sharon@carousel-publishing.com 903-871-9872

Nature Projects: Exploring SUCCESS in plants and animals.

Nature Projects: Exploring SUCCESS in plants and animals.

Head out into nature to see beautiful examples of success.

  1. Nature Scavenger Hunt (Click link to print your list and directions) Fun for a fun activity for the whole family!
  2. Plant some flower or vegetable seeds. Help the seeds be successful. Give them water, sunshine, encouragement (yes, plants like to be talked to), and celebrate when they bloom or produce food that you can enjoy.
  3. Take a nature walk and look for signs of plants and animals being successful. Baby birds, a fat caterpillar ready to make a chrysalis, a butterfly who has recently emerged, new plants blooming…
  4. Purchase a butterfly kit. It comes with caterpillars and everything you need to watch them go through metamorphosis: https://www.nature-gifts.com/shop/grow-butterflies/caterpillar-butterfly-kit

For other nature projects (like the butterfly feeder above) check out Nature Watch: https://www.nature-watch.com/advanced-search-result.php?keywords=life+cycle

Monthly Special: FREE inspirational static cling with each copy of "If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!" purchased from www.carousel-publishing.com As always, FREE shipping and signed by the author.

Monthly Contest: Share your unique ways of setting goals, observing, and celebrating success in the comment section below and I will choose one, at the end of June, to win a FREE signed book: If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!

Contact info: sharon@carousel-publishing.com or 903-871-9872

Make SETTING GOALS a Family Tradition!

 Make SUCCESS a Family Tradition! 

 

Start a new tradition of setting goals monthly, weekly, or even daily. A family meeting is a good place to do this, around the dinner table, or perhaps one-on-one at bedtime. Find what works for your family. Grandparents, aunts, and uncles can do this by phone, FaceTime, or other methods.

The process: (Download your Goal Action-Plan Worksheet here.)

  1. Who: anyone/everyone
  2. What: commit to a goal and write it down.
  3. Why: explain the drive behind the goal.
  4. When: set start and end times/dates .
  5. How to succeed: asks for support or help from family or others.
  6. The reward: define the reward or celebration ahead of time.

Monthly Contest: Share your unique ways of setting goals, observing, or celebrating success in the comment section below and I will choose one, at the end of June, to win a FREE signed book: If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!

Monthly Special: FREE inspirational static cling with each copy of "If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!" purchased from www.carousel-publishing.com As always, FREE shipping and signed by the author.

Contact info: sharon@carousel-publishing.com or 903-871-9872

May: Success and Celebration!

May: Success and Celebration!

Notes from a Scribbling Sage

May: Success and Celebration!

We celebrate success throughout the year, but May holds an abundance of opportunities to honor the successful: graduations, continuations, marriages, anniversaries, Mother’s Day...

This year Covid19 has set the stage to celebrate success in very different ways. But, no matter what the situation is, celebrations must take place. Just as the dream, the goals, the hard work, and the failures along the way are essential parts of the process, so is the celebration at the end. Dive into your imagination and you will find the perfect way to celebrate.

Monthly Contest: Share your unique ways of setting goals, observing, and celebrating success in the comment section below and I will choose one, at the end of June, to win a FREE signed book: If You Tell Me, I Can Fly!

3 Easy Ways to Raise Goal-focused Children

1. Lead by example. Your actions always speak louder than your words. Share your dreams, the goals you set to reach them, and the steps along the way with your children. Let them see you work hard, make progress, get discouraged, and yet keep going. And at the end, include them in your joy of celebration!

2. Make goal setting a family activity. Start helping your children set goals when they are young and make it a regular habit throughout their childhood. Here is a Goal Action-Plan Worksheet to download.  

3. Encourage children to surround themselves with positive influences. From motivational pictures on their bathroom mirror to friends and family who will encourage and support them. Be sure you are one of those positive influences. Tell them often, because if you tell them, they will fly! 

Monthly Website Special! FREE inspirational static cling with each purchase of If You Tell Me, I Can Fly! Enter “Success” in the discount box at check-out. As always, FREE Shipping and signed by the author. Carousel-Publishing.com

Contact info: Sharon@Carousel-Publishing or 903-871-9872

NEW BLOG: Notes from a Scribbling Sage

Notes from a Scribbling Sage

Welcome to my new blog!

As a children’s book author, past owner of a nature-based childcare center, and fairy whisperer, my goal is to inspire children and their loved ones to go outdoors and discover the wonders of nature, to explore their creativity and imagination, and to bond with each other through new and age-old traditions.

I will share stories, activities, and sage advice as we work together to help our children build foundations that will support their wildest dreams.

Be sure to look for:

  • Monthly website specials for blog readers only!
  • FREE give-aways
  • Activity ideas
  • FREE downloads

I hope to see you every month. If you can't visit because you are too busy, I hope that business includes hiking, biking, kayaking, walking in the rain, or watching the birds at your bird feeder. 

                                           Dream big and never stop believing!

                                                                         Ms. Sharon

Bio: Sharon’s journey from dyslexic, non-reading child to national award-winning author has been an adventure filled with all the dramatic twists and turns of a great story. During her years as owner of a nature-based childcare center, in the Colorado Rocky Mountains, she discovered the importance of teaching beyond the basics. Immersed in the magic of nature children easily learn respect, values, tolerance, and passion. It was there, in the mountains with the children, where she discovered her passion and creativity for children’s stories that bring awareness, inspiration, and joy to children as the develop into who they are meant to be.

Contact info: Sharon@Carousel-Publishing or 903-871-9872