Exploring colors through interactive children's picture books!

Imperfect Action

Today was a massive FIRST for me and the My Color Friends Series! I dropped off 8 MCF sample books at a national NZ early childhood education company.

 I watched her face as she opened Graceful Grey, and she seemed pleasantly surprised.  She had slight smile while she was looking at the pictures, trying to quickly read the text.

Still letting it sink in.  It’s an amazing opportunity.

This past month I have been selling a NZ special edition of Graceful Grey to fundraise for a new building for our friends at the Hope and Joy Children’s Home in Nepal. We have had great responses! And we have about $500 USD to give towards their new building project! We will do another fundraiser in Oct and we hope to double our giving amount! Graceful Grey is doing her part and I am doing mine.

All printed book sales through us, the profit will go straight to the Hope and Joy Children’s Home! 

Hope and Joy Children's Home in Nepal

At our first fundraiser, a friend approached me and said she loved the idea of the books, she loved the look of the books and she asked if she could pass it along to her early childhood education boss. Her boss was open to the idea and today I briefly popped in and handed her a bundle of books. I was unprepared when she asked for a flier, but I got her email address and promised her one in the morning.

I have been learning about IMPERFECT ACTION–just do something, take action, move forward. I don’t necessarily need to wait til it’s perfect or “right”. Today was a good example, I took action. I fell my books still have a long way to go before the are ready to be marketed mainstream in NZ or anywhere! But I swallowed and called the boss once, texted twice and charged in when I got a 5 minute meeting.

When I met her, I asked what she knew about the books, and she said, “Oh that a friend had made a book with some travel pictures, is that right?”

I rambled through living in Nepal and then handed her a book. I watched her face as she opened Graceful Grey, and she seemed pleasantly surprised.  She had slight smile while she was looking at the pictures, trying to quickly read the text. Her smile encouraged me, and I continued babbling about something…I left 8 books in her hand, promised a flier tomorrow and got her business card with her email address.

She is going to offer them to her educators and put in an order.

I am blown away by this opportunity!  And I hope and pray that it can make a real difference for our friends in Nepal!  This is also a small (or maybe large!) launch of the MCF books in NZ.  Wow.

I am thankful. 

I am in the middle of an online certificate course on Social Media with Shaw Academy.  I paid a fraction of the cost on the local GrabOne site (like Groupon) and I just jumped in.  What I am learning is foundational for anyone marketing on Social Media.

Lesson 2 has stood out to me more than anything else, because it motivated me to actually look at my books as a real business and to set goals, be strategic and to actually engage with readers on social media daily.  The following lessons have been the How-To for different Social Media sites like FB, Linkedin, Youtube, etc.  IT has all been very useful.  I am hopeful for the rewards that come in building relationships on social media.

I feel I had a good run at self publishing the children’s book series, but then in the international move, change of time zones and business of life, I lost the ground I had already covered.

Time to get going again!

I am also becoming a Jamberry Independent Consultant in New Zealand, so I have been immersed in webinars and business training.  It’s incredible and every morsel learned is knowledge gained towards the marketing and business side of the My Color Friends book series too.

Thanks Shaw Academy for some much need motivation and for the right tools to begin again!

I hope you’ll see me on Facebook and Twitter with new ebook FREEBIES! and more! Come check out the new and improved My Color Friends and let’s start a conversation about giving kids a great start on reading!

Using What’s In My Hands

We want to help our friends at Hope and Joy Home in Nepal rebuild their care and training centre after the tragic earthquakes this past April.  First they lived in a giant tent with family and friends until it was safe to go back home.  Their home was damaged, cracked and unsafe so they are now in temporary housing.  But they have just received land to be able to build an earthquake safe home for the children and ministry.

What do I have in my hands to help? I have the My Color Friends Children’s Book Series!  Using what’s in my hand, means bring Graceful Grey to New Zealand!  I just completed the final draft, uploaded it on CreateSpace and have ordered a few dozen.  Once they arrive, I hope to sell them to raise money for the kids and our friends at Hope and Joy Home. It’s not much, but it’s what I have.  We hope that a few kids books will transform into a new children’s home in Nepal!  We will need your help!

Graceful Grey, Asian Elephants at Work and Play in Chitwan, Nepal

Elephants in Nepal!

They have Hope.

They have Joy.

Now they need a home!

There will be more to come about our NZ Special Edition of Graceful Grey, Asian Elephants at Work and Play and our fundraiser this month, but for now if you’d like to give to Hope and Joy Home, please contact us!  And we will donate all the profit from buying a copy of Graceful Grey or a Book Bundle directly from us!

We are getting ready to launch our fundraiser and to invest in precious lives in Nepal!

Transition is tough.  Our transition as a family of 5 moving from Nepal to New Zealand has been tough.  But it has also been refreshing.

Two months on the family farm out in the wop wops (some NZ lingo for the middle of nowhere!) was fantastic.  Reconnecting with Ben’s family– his mother celebrated her 81st birthday!, the kids rode ponies and motorbikes with their cousins–was full on family fun.  Three years is a long time to be away from family, but oh how we appreciate these days living ‘next door’!

We were emotionally struggling when we first came home.  The transition, the earthquake that devastated Nepal, re-adapting to NZ, etc.  We just need rest, a full stop.  And we received it in the beautiful rolling hills of the family sheep farm.

NZ Sheep Farm

Our Home on the Farm

We also went to a special week of debriefing.  It was incredible just to let the words bundled up in our hearts spill out.  It was safe, it was freeing, it was restoring. We were ready to move on from Nepal and establish ourselves in NZ.

About three weeks ago we moved to “town”.  Living with family was terrific, but we needed something to call our own, something to ground us here in NZ. A nest!  Finding the perfect house for the perfect price in the right neighborhood was  miracle–we feel loved!

The kids have started school.  It was harder for the homeschooling mom than them, I think! They are sick at home this week so I am catching up all the cuddles and quality time, while blowing noses and rubbing vicks on everyone.

And here we are, in New Zealand.

After three months, I finally feel settled.  Our nest is home.  We have a daily routine, we each have our roles and responsibilities and we are moving forward.  So the question is…

Is it time for the My Color Friends children’s book series to live again…?

I was shocked when my son’s preschool teacher asked me if I was still writing books.  I just stammered, “Maybe when we get settled…”

And then she added, “You should keep writing them, they are good.”

I blew off her comments then, ducked my head and ducked out of the class…but later it really did hit me.  Someone actually has read my books! Some one I didn’t know til just now.  Someone in NZ.  A professional in early childhood education and SHE values my early learning ebooks!  Wow.  Encouragement has filled my heart.

I just said I am settled, didn’t I?  So, maybe it’s time to start writing again.  I do have some ideas, I do have the time, I always have my family’s support.  Deep breath, I might be able to do it!  I am struggling with the idea of reinventing myself for a NZ audience or not…One step at a time.

Catch up with the blog, CHECK!

Update my author photo on a million sites, CHECK!

Update Graceful Grey for a Special New Zealand Edition and get it ready to print, CHECK!

It seems the My Color Friends book series is moving forward too!

Thanks for  journeying with me!

Rebuilding Nepal

I am so thankful for everyone who has given to our Sheltering Nepal rebuilding fund!  #HopeinHumanity

$1,000 has been raised which equals about 20 shelters built!  Each shelter can hold up to 5 families, that means at least 100 people have been helped through this giving!

I know many families are still suffering without shelter or food, but I am HOPEFUL that international neighbors and friends of Nepal are sharing their burden and doing more good than I will never know. Because we have seen such generosity, all the thousands of other people who are working hard to help Nepal, they must be making strides to.

Even though the rebuilding process will take time, the little moves we make forward together are life changing for those individuals involved.

I wish I had testimonies and stories to share, names and places of families being helped, but I don’t. And you know why? Because our friends are hard at work traveling and visiting those in need in villages.  They are tired, they are suffering through the heat of the monsoon and they honestly don’t have time to sit and communicate long stories to me…but I trust that lives are being changed! And when the time is right, I will hear those stories and pass it along!

Thanks for being a part of Nepal!  You can give or share our Sheltering Nepal fundraiser by checking it out on YouCaring.com. Click here to see the Sheltering Nepal fundraiser!

Please remember anytime you buy a My Color Friends paperback book, $5 will also go to this fundraiser for Nepali families!

Read more here: My Color Friends Book Titles

Let me begin by saying the BIGGEST THANKS to everyone who had read our stories, prayed for Nepal and has given so far! We are only able to move forward with YOU by our side!

Our Nepali friends (the ones that we have been bragging about!) in Hetauda, Nepal are now mobilized to build metal or tin shelters. Imagine a big piece of sheet metal wrapping around a frame to protect families from the monsoon rains. I hope to have pics soon!

1 shelter can house up to 5 families.

1 shelter costs about $60-100 for supplies

They ave a goal to build at least 60 shelters to house hundreds of people!

60 X $60 = $3600 USD + transportation costs = $4,000

Will you donate to shelter Nepali families?

The Monsoon is coming quickly in Nepal–sheets of rain for hours every day, until Sept…the focused building area is the hardest hit villages near the original epi-center, Gorhka, Nepal.

it is URGENT that shelters are built today!

please GIVE and SHARE. You can give through our online fundraiser here : Sheltering Nepal

100% of the donations will go to our Nepali friends who are organizing this project. They are all voluteers!

I am also Giving $5 from every one of our paperback books sold through us or the Shades of Grace Art Studio to thei sheltering project in Nepal!

After Yesterday's Aftershock in Kathmandu, Nepal May 13, 2015

After Yesterday’s Aftershock, May 13, 2015

 

Nepal is on always our hearts.  We eagerly open Facebook to see how our friends are doing– are they still sleeping outside in tents?  Are they still afraid?  I decided the best way I could be of any help to Nepal is to try to encourage our friends there.  I have meager messages to send.  It’s not enough. But I want to give something.

All 400 of our friends in our shared NGO have been safe since day 1, but I am afraid they will experience burnout.  They are giving 100%.  They are also feeling the fear 100%.  Are they emotionally safe?  Can I say anything to encourage them, or are my words trivial?

I am hearing GREAT reports

“We distributed 300 insulated mats and 300 tarps in 5 locations around Chiraudi. (Then) 1,176 tarps arrived in Gorkha from India and other places in Nepal. Distributed them yesterday (along with bags of rice, insulated sleeping mats and blankets) in several places in the mountains surrounding Gorka…” M.E.

“Five families will be able move from tarps to portable shelter (out of corrugated iron)
By tonight..and we are training others at the hospital on how to make the shelters…” P.P

“Today reached 123 people without house(s).” K.M.

“Distributed for 85 houses…”  P.D.

Our friends are giving themselves! They are in the best position to be able to give as they speak the language and they already have many connections in the villages most hit by the earthquake and land slides.  They are giving food, building temporary shelters for families, helping other bigger NGOs hand out supplies and donations, translating and coordinating within Kathmandu and the epicenter villages.  They are phenomenal.  I am so proud of our friends in Nepal!

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From a friend in Nepal

I know the Kathmandu we once knew is now gone.  I am hopeful that once the rebuilding begins Nepal will think to the future, not just try to sort out the past.  The future is bright for Nepal as the global neighbors lend their helping hands.

We are trying to move forward with our life in NZ, renting a house, adjusting, connecting with friends here.  I’m not sure how to move forward.  I feel emotionally stuck in Nepal, and completely out of my depth in “normal” NZ life.  Somehow we have to keep moving forward.

NZ has always had a great tie to Nepal, mostly because of the New Zealander, Sir Edmund Hillary and the Nepalese Sherpa mountaineer Tenzing Norgay conquering Mt. Everest in 1953.   Nepal is still highlighted daily in the New Zealand’s 6 o’clock news.  Yesterday a Kiwi guy being interviewed via Skype from Nepal, said it perfectly, ‘Nepal has plenty of local people who can help and speak the language, they are the greatest asset now, we just need more donations to keep the supplies flowing…’

You can give a tax-deductible gift to our friends doing relief work in Nepal by clicking here:  GIVE TO NEPAL

Or give to your favorite NGO,

~We are hearing that the funds are no longer bottle-necked in the Nepali government, but going straight through to all the organizations.

 All I can pray is there will be triumph in Nepal.  This crisis will continue and continue and continue…but may there be triumph of the human spirit in the midst of destruction and uncertainty.  May the world keep looking to Nepal, keep giving, keep praying and keep hope alive for the nation!

 

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