Friday, May 31, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness--A Gift in a Graveyard

We decided to visit Zeke's grave on Memorial Day. Cade had a talk with the Zombie Elf about the flag and freedom.  It was beautiful, really.
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Just before we left to drive the hour it takes to see Zeke's grave, the Zombie Elf insisted, "I need my dream catcher!"
    "Why?" I asked.  "We need to leave."  He couldn't possibly be scared in the day too, could he? 
    The Zombie Elf started having nightmares earlier this year.  Maybe it was my fault.  He'd asked what happened to Zeke.  And not knowing what to say, I'd answered, "He went to sleep and never woke up."
    After that bedtime became terrible.  "I don't wanna go to sleep!  I might NEVER wake up!" he'd say.  So the Zombie Elf's grandma wisely sent him a dream catcher in the mail.  The nightmares slowly stopped, all because of his dream catcher which he often held tightly in his arms while he slept.  
    "Can I bring it?" he pleaded, bringing me back to the moment.  "Tomorrow's my birthday.  Please let me. Please."  
    He'd used the birthday excuse!  I glanced at the dilapidated dream catcher.  It had lost all of its feathers and beauty from long nights of being snuggled in the Zombie's arms.  "Fine."  I couldn't help smiling.
    So we drove and drove, until finally turning into the graveyard.  I played my violin and the notes drifted into the wind, just like Zeke's ashes had so many years ago.  
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    The amazing woman, whose sister is buried next to Zeke, had left beautiful flowers on both Zeke's grave and her sister's too.  (You can read about her here: An Angel at My Son's Grave.)  Some toys we'd left for Zeke--way back in November--were still on his grave as well.  That was strange since they're normally removed after a few weeks.  I brushed the thought away though and, after playing, I sat on Zeke's grave and thought about life.  I know only some of Zeke's ashes are at his grave, and he's been gone for nearly a decade, but visiting his grave still helps me feel close to him.  This year I thought of my blessing.  Yes, Zeke died, but I have four healthy kids.  A boy even born on Cade's birthday--which sometimes falls ironically on Memorial Day--and one of our girls who was born 30 minutes before my birthday.
    The Zombie Elf, sensing my seriousness, came up and put his little four-year-old hand on my shoulder.  "That was nice of Zeke."  He bent down and picked up the toys we'd left months before.
    I shook my head.  "What was nice, honey?"
    "That he bought me some presents!  Remember, Mom, my birthday is tomorrow.  Looks like at least Zeke remembered."
    I nearly snorted.  It was so cute he'd forgotten that we'd left those toys.  We smiled at each other, and then the Zombie did something I never expected.  He pulled an object from behind his back, hugged it, then gingerly propped his precious dream catcher on Zeke's grave.  I stared at the treasured belonging. As the light illuminated the sinewy edging and the unraveling leather circle, it didn't seem quite as used and old as it had before.  The details gleamed beautifully unique, just the way they were meant to be.
    "But you love that," I said.
    "I'll be big tomorrow, Mama," the Zombie said, holding up all five of the fingers on his left hand.  "Now I need to be tough 'cause Zeke's the one who never woke up.  He needs it more than I do."
    And my brave little boy, strutted into a dandelion field near the graves.
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    He played with his three sisters, all of them giggling and smiling.  The whole time I kept staring at the dream catcher my son had so selflessly given to honor Zeke, the brother he's always dreamed of.

    I posted this story today because you'll never believe what the Zombie just got in the mail from Fran (visit her blog HERE)!  
Addressed to the Zombie himself was a package...
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...with a dream catcher inside!  I'd told Fran about the Zombie's selfless act and she did something amazing for my little boy. He's absolutely thrilled by this random act of kindness!  
    "This one is staying on my wall," he said.  "I'll keep it to remind me of how great I am because I gave one of these to Zeke! That was super nice."
    "You are nice!" I said.
    "You wanna know something else about me?" he asked and I nodded.  "I love my dream catcher. And people who give dream catchers are sooooo great too!"
Other posts about kindness:

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Goodreads Book Giveaway

Laughing into the Fourth Dimension by Larry Lefkowitz

Laughing into the Fourth Dimension

by Larry Lefkowitz

Giveaway ends June 17, 2013.
See the giveaway details at Goodreads.
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Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness--How Author Stephen Covey Changed My Life

Cade and I performed as homeless street musicians. We'd play the guitar and violin for hours each night, hoping to draw a crowd. Days went by and we only made a few dollars. I stopped wearing belly shirts because my ribs stuck out. Starving and not being able to afford food made me feel desperate. 
     “God,” I prayed, “please help us make some money so we won’t starve. I came to Hawaii trying to find myself. Instead I’m realizing how much I hate starvation.” 
    We finally played another song, a fast one we called “Famous for a Moment” because it pulled people in. That’s when a fancy car drove up behind us.  
    “Hey, you two musicians,” a man said from the driver’s seat.
    “Us?” Cade asked. 

    “Yeah. Would the two of you like to play at a party? I’ll pay you well. Food and drinks will be there. You can help yourselves and eat as much as you like.”
     That was all I needed to hear, because food was my weakness. “Absolutely. I’m in if you are,” I said to Cade.     
     After a second of studying the man’s fancy car, Cade nodded. “It sounds legit.” With that, we grabbed our packs and our instruments and got into the back seat.     
     “You two are talented,” the man said.    
      “Thank you,” I replied. “We’ve had a lot of fun in Hawaii.”
We drove for a while, and I thought how fun it felt being inside a car. When we got to the house, gorgeous plants grew everywhere. The place was very fancy in a tasteful sort of way. It made me wish I’d done my makeup or at least been able to afford the good kind.

     “Wow,” Cade gasped. 
     “This is somethin’ else.”     
     We walked in and the nicest people greeted us. But before we talked too much, the man who’d hired us insisted that we eat. And then perform. Just looking at the food seemed like being in Heaven. I tried acting sophisticated, as if I wasn’t starving and I actually lived in a home and not on the street. I felt so low-class, but those people remained kind, visiting with us as we slowly ate the elegant food that I wanted to wolf down.    
    I met one photographer who’d written a book about Hawaii. He’d taken all of the pictures for it and as I looked at his work, it amazed me. “How beautiful!” He gave me a copy of his book and I put it in my pack. I’d always wanted to be an author, so meeting a real live photographer and writer was a dream come true.     
     I wrote a ninety-page book when I was in elementary school. Then in junior high I was on the school newspaper. It wasn’t until high school that I gave up my dream of being a writer. I’d applied to be in the Honors Writing Program. The program’s teacher just required some poetry, short stories, and outlines. I got everything together and gave them to her. She called me in after school. I couldn’t wait to talk with her because she held all of my hopes in her hands.     
      “Elisa,” she said slowly. “Some people aren’t meant to write. They’ll never be good at it. Even if they try, it just isn’t a gift they have. You . . . I’m sorry to say that you are one of those people. Keep pursuing music. You have real talent with that.”      
     I gave up writing and promised myself I’d never get rejected again. But just looking at that book in Hawaii made me want to try writing again. 
    We played on and off for a couple of hours. The whole time I thought about writing and how someone knew I wasn’t good at it.     
     After we finished playing, the host visited with us for a long time and I wonder now if he knew how much his words would change my life. “Both of you are very unique, special people,” he said. “I’d like to give you something.” He handed me a book. “My son wrote this. I think I was supposed to meet you, to give you this book. It’s about becoming the person you’re meant to be.”      
     I traced the book’s cover and read aloud. “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective Teens.”    
    “We met another author here too,” Cade said. “So unreal.”     
    “This is one of the most amazing nights of my life. Good food. Wonderful people. I feel like royalty. Really,” I said.    
      Our host chuckled. “I’m glad I followed my instincts and asked both of you to come here.”    
      “Me, too. It’s inspiring talking with all of you. It was always one of my biggest dreams to be an author.”    
      “Then maybe you’ll write a book someday,” the host said. “Believe in yourself and you’ll accomplish great things.”     
     “Thank you.” All through the rest of the night I kept thinking about how much love shone in his eyes when he talked about his son. That was one lucky kid.     
     The host paid us five hundred dollars! Then he ended up asking us to stay the night in his son’s room—which was practically a whole house. We stayed, cleaned up, and sneaked away the next morning. Sleeping in a real bed just once felt so good. That money had made us rich. But more than anything, the kindness from the previous night stayed with me.      
     When we got to the strip, a fellow street performer sat next to us. “Both of you seem pretty happy. What happened when that man picked you up last night?”     
     “We played at the most wonderful party,” I said. “It felt like a dream. Oh—and we got two books. One is from a photographer and then this one was written by the host’s son.” I opened my pack and showed the books to him.    
    “Do you know who Sean Covey is?” he asked.    
    “No, why?”    
    “This author is very well known, but his father—the man who picked you up—he’s also an author. Stephen Covey!”     
     “No way. I wonder why he didn’t say anything?”      
     “I don’t know. If I were him I’d be telling everyone. His book alone has sold millions of copies.”    
      “What’s it about?” I asked.    
      “Becoming the person you’re meant to be. Pursuing your dreams. He was really nice to you?”    
      “So nice, I almost swore God sent him our way.”    
      “Now there’s one author who practices what he preaches.”    
      I smiled broadly and sat on the sidewalk. Not only did we get a good meal, but I felt as if another part of my journey had been fulfilled. I was discovering myself. Maybe I would take Stephen Covey’s advice. I didn’t think I’d ever write again since other people told me I wasn’t meant to be a writer, but I could do other things. I just needed to believe in myself, develop necessary skills, and hopefully my destiny would follow. 
-Excerpt from "Homeless in Hawaii"

It makes me cry because I never got to tell Stephen Covey thank you.  I always planned on finishing my book Homeless in Hawaii and then sending it to him.  For a kid who had NOTHING--to be treated with such kindness and generosity is astounding . . . So today I decided to write this and say, "Thank you, Stephen.  From a girl who had a small chance of accomplishing anything.  I grew up, and because of kind people like you, I became a published author . . .  Thank you for taking a chance on a homeless kid--you inspired me to accomplish great things.  You inspired me to try." 


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"Homeless in Hawaii" has been marked down to 99 cents for the Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest HERE.  

Also, don't forget to check out the FREE eBooks from Wayman Publishing and the amazing posts below.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Remember that song Lodi from Creedence Clearwater Revivial?

This is a guest post for the Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest.

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Remember that song Lodi from Creedence Clearwater Revivial? 

By Thomas M. Sullivan

“Oh Lord!, Stuck in Lodi again.”

Well, it seems that John Fogerty just didn’t run into the right stranger. If he did, things might’ve turned out differently.

An online news magazine recently wrote a story about a kid from Lodi, California who was raising money for a ski trip with friends. He was going door-to-door selling newspaper subscriptions to raise money for a ski trip with his friends. So he knocked on a door and a woman answered.

The woman he encountered was a pharmacy tech who was out of work. She was close to becoming homeless. She described her situation to the kid to explain why she couldn’t afford to help fund his trip.

Did the kid just leave and knock on the next door? Nope, he offered to give the lady the money he had raised so far.

This kid is fourteen. Maybe it’s time to skip the elders and start learning from our juniors.

The woman declined the offer, but had this to say: 'Seeing on the news how badly people treat one another, my faith in humanity was restored. If kids like this are still around, it gives me hope.”

And that’s why I think we need more acts like this. We all need hope, especially when we’re feeling down.

For more about Thomas M. Sullivan, please visit his site HERE.

Also, please check out his most recent book:

Monday, May 27, 2013

Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest--An Angel at My Son's Grave

This is my first post for  
The Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest
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(Also--at the bottom of this post--there's a list of other bloggers who are writing inspirational stories as well!)
In November of 2011, The Golden Sky was released. It was the most memorable year I've ever had--maybe even more so than when Cade and I were homeless street musicians in Hawaii.  From skydiving to visiting the Bahamas; from blogging each day to getting a book published.       
    Many tiny miracles happened so my book could be in print.  On Zeke's birthday, November 18th, I went to his grave and left a published copy of his book there.  It was my final way of saying good-bye.  I can't describe how that felt.  It was so bittersweet.  At the time I had a romantic notion that God and Zeke were guiding me.  I'd somehow leave the book and then the right person would find it and read it.  Silly idea, I know, but that's still what I hoped for.
    After returning from his grave, I wrote a Metaphorical Story about it on my blog.  That one tribute took so much out of me.  I cried and cried at the computer because I was finally saying good-bye--after years.
    Anyway, November moved into December.  Cade and I started fighting really bad.  My blog didn't see any of that because I cope with laughter.  Then the washer broke; my laptop died; one of my best friends found out she needed to leave the state.  Then to top all of that off, Doctor Jones put fish tank chemicals in her eyes and we worried she'd go blind!
    I sat on my bed and thought about how bad life sucks sometimes.  Seriously.  I remember when Zeke was dying.  The whole experience was terrible, but somehow I got through.  I prayed after remembering, because God had been the one who helped me the entire time.
    "God," I prayed.  "I'm worried about everything.  My life is falling apart.  I don't know what I'm doing anymore."
    The Scribe knocked on my bedroom door.  "Mom?  Are you okay?"
    "Fine," I said.  "I'm fine."  I cleared my throat, then wiped the tears from my eyes.  "I can be strong," my voice came out as a whisper.  After all, it wasn't like Zeke was dying again. 
    I swear I can be such a pansy at times.  Once my Aunt told me I'm her hero.  I nearly laughed.  Can you imagine me being someone's hero, yet I crumple when a washing machine breaks?  What's my power, acidic tears?
    Anyway, I went downstairs and hopped on the repaired laptop--that cost more than my life is worth, practically.
    That's when the tides changed.  I read a message on my Facebook Author Page--it was a random act of kindness! 

    This is what the message said:
     I loved your book and I left you a message here on facebook when you get a chance, you are a very busy woman!!! Thank You so much for sharing. May your family have a very Merry Christmas and may the New Year bring you a lot of Joy. :)

    I ended up giving the woman my e-mail address and you'll never believe this next part.
    I'm crying again as I write this.  Sometimes God's goodness is so amazing, so overwhelming it's hard to process.  We don't think He sees each of us and our needs, but He does.
    Here's the e-mail she sent to me (which she generously said I could share with you):

    Hi, I am sure you do not know me. You see Zeke's grave is right next to my sister's grave.
    I did go out to put some Christmas decorations on my sister's grave and Zeke's, I have been putting a little something on his when I go out there as well, and I came across a copy of your book. I did take the copy and I will pass it on to my sister and my mom as well. It touched me in ways that you will not know. I am so glad you let us share in it. I cried when I read the part when Zeke passed as well as many other times. You are a very strong lady, and I am glad you wrote the book. I am sure you will help many moms and dads that have walked in your shoes.
     I hope my sister is up there enjoying Zeke as well as a lot of your family members are. She loved children too.
     I just wanted you to know how I felt and to let you know that I will continue to leave things on Zeke's grave if that is OK. I feel even closer to him now that I know his story.
     We lost my sister to Breast Cancer at the age of 45, and I was very close to her.
    Once again, I just wanted to say thanks. You are very talented. God bless you and your family. Take Care

    She didn't have to read the book.  She didn't have to send me a message, but she did and her words have blessed my life for years now!  
    Not only had she read the book, but she'd been leaving things on Zeke's grave.  We live a good distance from him and just the thought that someone visited him when I can't--that was a blessing!  

    Here's part of my response:

    The fact that you got the book and read it seems like a miracle to me.  It's just amazing how things work :)  I'm so thankful that your sister's grave is next to my little boy's.

    Here's her last response:

    I felt the same way when I saw the book there. It was like it was there for a reason and I am so glad I was the lucky one to have picked it up. I am so glad you will let me leave things on Zeke's grave, I feel like he is part of us now too. What a great little boy and mom to have touched so many people and you still have a long way to go.

    Reading that e-mail, I realized something important.  There's a difference between letting go and saying good-bye.  After all, when you say good-bye, you know you'll see each other again.

    This Memorial Day, I'm heading over to Zeke's grave with my four living children.  I hope we'll meet this wonderful women in person.  Wouldn't that be neat--to tell her how much she blessed my life.

    Also, as a gift for the blogfest, I'm giving the eBook of The Golden Sky away through Amazon. If interested, you can download your free copy (from today until 5/31) HERE

The Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest is HERE!

As a Random Act of Kindness, Wayman Publishing is offering these eBooks for FREE download during the Blogfest (May 27th - 31st).


The Sword of Senack--FREE Download

Honk of Zagonk--FREE Download

Middle Damned--FREE Download 

A Cat's Legacy--FREE Download

How to Lose a Tooth--FREE Download

Bible Girl & the Bad Boy--FREE Download

The Golden Sky--FREE Download 

Zombie Man--FREE DOwnload

Open Doors: Fractured Fairy Tales--FREE Download

Open Doors 1--FREE Download

Buy any of Wayman Publishing's books/eBooks—the FREE eBooks (above) included—and be entered into our iPad Mini Sweepstakes! Visit this link for more info:  

Feel free to join up anytime from May 27th-31st.  Just sign up at the bottom of this post, then write a blogpost about a random act of kindness that you've experienced in your life. 
    For the blogfest, you can write something for any/all days

Here's the button for the blogfest:
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    After the blogfest (if participating authors are interested and posts are approved) Wayman Publishing would like to publish an anthology from the posts written during this blogfest.  ALL profit for this (through 2013) will be donated to charity!  The kindness will spread even more.

Please leave a comment or sign up here:


Grab this code (above) if you'd like to share this entire post.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Calling ALL Bloggers and Authors: REMINDER for the Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest!

Random Acts of Kindness Blogfest

   May 27th-31st I'm having a huge blogfest where people can share love and joy, by writing about random acts of kindness that have been bestowed upon them in their lives.  Imagine, visiting the blogosphere and reading about so much hope!
   If you have a blog, would you sign up and write something for this?  If you don't have a blog, would you refer people to this link, so the word will spread?
    For the blogfest, you can write something for any/all days, just make sure your main post is up on May 27th--that's the post I'll link to the blogfest :)

Here's the button for the blogfest:
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Please leave a comment or sign up at the bottom of this post!

Random Acts of Kindness Anthology

    After the blogfest (if participating authors are interested and posts are approved) Wayman Publishing would like to publish an anthology from the posts written during this blogfest.  ALL profit for this (through 2013) will be donated to charity!  The kindness will spread even more.

This is the donation Wayman made from the last anthology,  


If you add the following info in your blog post, then you can email your blog post link to waymansweepstakes(at) and you'll get five entries, for a chance to win the iPad Mini!

Info to add (listed in italics)

Buy any of Wayman Publishing's books—some only 99 cents—and automatically be entered into our iPad Mini Sweepstakes! Visit this link for more info: 
Want to join the blogfest? Go HERE to sign up! 

Will you join me?

I can't do this without you.  Will you help me make this event an amazing experience for everyone involved?  You've all been so kind to me.  The iPad Mini was an AMAZING act of kindness.  I want the kindness and joy to spread.

If you'd like to be part of this blogfest,  May 27th-31st,

Please leave a comment or sign up here: