Super Cool Writer’s Group–Gratitude Day 18

Yes I know what you are saying, asking, pondering. Is she saying that this writer’s group is super cool or is the name really SCWG–Super Cool Writer’s Group? It would be both, hence the name. And no, I didn’t make it up. Our youngest member, MacKenzie, named it when she was 18!

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But these aren’t all of them! We are an eclectic group from varying lifestyles, interests, and ages. Our common interest is creating the best writing possible. This group came together a couple years ago when I started teaching fiction writing classes at The Clifton Park-Halfmoon Public Library.

Many of us connected and wanted to motivate one another to write and finish our stories and novels. We now meet twice a month and, in addition to supporting one another in our writing, we have become friends.

I have never been with a more open minded and creative group of people, and it’s not because they love my classes or buy my books! We truly enjoy being around each other, and I think improve one another’s writing. I am incredibly grateful for this group of man and women who believe in that the written word can entertain, heal, inspire, make a difference in our lives.

Thank you all in the picture and those who couldn’t make it tonight for supporting over these last couple years in getting Shimmer’s Eggs ready for publication!

My Dishwasher—Gratitude Day 17

I don’t know how many times I complain about cleaning out my dishwasher. It’s so time consuming! I have a dinner party and have to clear out the dishwasher before we can load up 20 dishes. It’s a joke with me and my sisters.

Or I forget to turn it on and have to pull out the knife I need and wash it.

My dishwasher broke this week full of dishes. No more complaints.

So my dishwasher is now me. You wouldn’t think that two people could use so many dishes, but with both of us working from home, we use a lot of dishes.


I had hoped my hubby could fix it, but it was beyond his magic.


Not having a dishwasher makes me frugal with how many utensils, pots and plates I actually need, so that is positive!

I am grateful that I have a dishwasher and the ability to get it fixed. I also appreciate my husband taking on getting it fixed.

Local Bookstores–Gratitude Day 16

Next to libraries, bookstores are one of my favorite and most sacred places. There is a sense of mystery, intrigue, and suspense about what I’ll find in every bookstore I enter. I like to see what is on the best seller’s list, who are the debut authors, and what displays are the most eye catching.

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Shimmer’s Eggs at Market Block Books in Troy

But the best part are the gems that you find in a local bookstore that you may not necessarily find in the larger bookstores. The local color of artists who put their heart in their works are splashed throughout and displayed in special places.

Then there are the little gifts perfect for book lovers. Journals, bookmarks, statues, pencils and pens, notecards, cozy socks. The only thing that would make a local bookstore even better was a fireplace and some hot tea! I’d cozy right up and read all day. Maybe that’s why they don’t have them!

Independent bookstores are few and far in between. I miss Robin Ringler’s little bookstore right on Route 9. Even though Borders was a big chain, it had a small town feel to in and was directly in the middle of town. It was a place to connect and meet with friends.

Market Block Books in Troy and The Book House in Stuyvesant Plaza are owned by the same people, and they work hard to get an author’s work out to the public. Plus they provide an avenue to print authors’ books and into the public’s hands.

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Nothing like seeing my book on the bookshelves!

Used bookstores are fun to visit and I can find out of print books from my favorite authors.

I am grateful for every business person whose love of books inspires them to open a bookstore. Their personality and joy of the written words shine through. Please support your local bookstores. They are a rare breed that we need to protect.

Baptiste Sisters—Gratitude Day 15

Sometimes we all need a little kick in the butt to get back on our path. Some days we need to be dragged. 

Karen, far right, did that almost three years ago to get me to a yoga class. I wish she had brought me sooner.

I have been struggling with a sinus infection for three weeks and haven’t made it to yoga. Once that happens it’s so hard to get back. 

Cara, pictured in the middle, is our Baptiste sister who trained with us. She came up for the weekend. She and Karen went to a 90 minute class yesterday. I wasn’t up for it and was bummed. 

This morning we planned to go. I woke up and told myself all the reasons of why I couldn’t go. But I knew since my sisters would be there, I needed to go. For the support, Community, and get me back on my path. 

They have been where I am, understand the hesitation, and know how to push me past my barriers. 

So thank you Cara and Karen. I am grateful to have you both in my life on and off the mat!

Books—Gratitude Day 14


Books. I love them so much, I had to write my own. 

I am incredibly grateful to the women who inspired my love for books. A family friend, Marge Porter, always gave me books to read like How to Eat Fried Worms and Anne of Green Gables. I was hooked. 

Then my mom introduced me to gothic novels by Victoria Holt and Phyllis A. Whitney.  I loved the intrigue and suspense. Agatha Christie, Nancy Drew and The Hardy Boys. I scoured the library reading whatever I could get my hands on. 


I am also grateful to my Medieval literature teacher, Debra Young, who encouraged me to write novels. She saw something in me that I might never have thought about. You never know the positive influence you can have on another person. That goes for books as well. They have been life-changing!

My Big Sister—Gratitude Day 13

My sister, Stephanie, is two years older than me. She mothered me as much as she messed with me. 

In Long Island, she always walked me home and fought off the kids who wanted to beat me up. On the first day of second grade, Stephanie brought me to my homeroom. I cried and clung to her like I was being kidnapped. I was not a very outgoing child. She gave me a hug and led me into the room. Knowing that she would be there after was comfort. 

When she entered high school, she didn’t really want her kid sister around, but I remember sitting outside her bedroom door listening to her practice the flute. 

It wasn’t until I was in high school that we started to hang out more, and I had a hand in connecting her with Ray, her high school sweetheart! 

Stephanie has a quick and sharp sense of humor. She can come back with a funny line before I even take in what was said. She is a source of laughter in our family. 

Today I am grateful for my big sister. I don’t think I tell her enough. 

Recognizing what I am grateful for definitely makes me think about how much I let people know what they mean to me. 

I’ll make sure she knows. 

Millennials—Gratitude Day 12

I am surrounded by millenials, whether they are my nieces or nephews, my son, teens who volunteer, others battling cancer, in my workshops, you get the picture. 

I am grateful for this circle of young adults who has taught me lessons, supported me in my mission, shown bravery beyond amazing, and are in the heyday of their youth. 

Millennials like Alyssia who has been helping me market and launch my new book. Not knowing anything about book promotion, she researched and through trial and error has done a fabulous job. Q


Or Tyler who while looking for a job, same as Alyssia, volunteered for the foundation and did all our accounting. Luckily he found a job, but continues to support. 

Then there’s Kendra, a cancer survivor who despite being in college, has started a Nick’s Fight @UAlbany. More to come. 

Stephen, who gets technology and is always updating me on the latest apps or sites and makes sure I know the current lingo. 

There are so many positive Millennials around me, I could write a book. Hmmm. 

For every Millennial in my life thank you. I am grateful for you!

Community–Gratitude Day 11

Today I am grateful for the amazing communities I have connected with over the years. They have transformed me, supported me, helped me grow, and become stronger.

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The library and community of writers that I get to work and create with are the most encouraging and open-minded people I know. I am grateful to have an amazing group of writers who critique my writing and make me a better writer.

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My yoga community has kicked my butt, twisted my insides out, and flipped me upside down all while teaching me how to breathe and love myself. I have never seen such an accepting group of people. I can walk into any yoga studio anywhere and feel like I have been there for years. It’s transforming and empowering.

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My karate community challenges me every time I’m on the mat. The life lessons I have gained, the family that has become my own, and the foundation that we have built has sustained me through some of my hardest moments in life. They accept my goofiness, push me beyond what I think I can do, and literally kick my butt so that I’m safe on the street.

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The childhood cancer community is a balance of devastation vs. compassion and love. I would have never thought that losing a child to cancer would expand my family in such an incredible way. Cancer is absolutely horrible and if I could I would find a cure tomorrow and wish my boy back. But in the midst of horror, sadness, and pain, we as a community choose to find joy and have hope. That is the strongest definition of community.

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Family. It’s an old photo, but a damn good one. So much has changed in 12 years, but my family is my heart and has taught me the power of community.

Community: come bring unity to all. For all my communities, I am grateful

Momma–Gratitude Day 10

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Happy Birthday, Mom! Today I am grateful for my momma. She has spent a lifetime taking care of others and being there for us.
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She is a yes for going to plays and movies.

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My partner for book signings.

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The matriarch of the family.

I visited her this morning for her special day, brought her favorite Panera soup, and gave her a copy of my new book. She is very excited to read it and probably will have it done in an hour. She inspired me to start reading and my love of books took off from there.

She mentioned that her kids give and do so much for her. She tends to feel like she doesn’t do enough back.

Well, sometimes we forget what we have done in the past and need to be reminded!

My mom stayed home with us until she went to nursing school at age 40. She was the reason I stayed home with my boys.

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Mom and her 8th grandchild, Stephen

Even working outside of the home, she was always there for us. Here are some ways:

  1. Protecting our home with a butcher knife from a crazy invader.
  2. Defending me as I sprinted down the sidewalk in Long Island from bullies.
  3. Carrying me out of the nurse’s office (after a few choice words to the nurse) when she said I was faking and didn’t break my leg. I did in fact.
  4. Being an advocate when we couldn’t do so for ourselves.

She taught by example:

  1. Teaching us the power of a meal prepared with love and that you can never have too much food.
  2. The importance of a strong and high quality work ethic and that you can do a good job and be a compassionate person.
  3. Giving your all as a caregiver and being brave when your heart is breaking.
  4. Fighting for our dreams takes grit and tenacity.
  5. How to make meatballs and a mean sauce.
  6. The strength of family.

Growing Family–Gratitude Day 9

cousinsI am grateful for our growing family. I often wonder what my son’s wife (if he plans to marry) will be like and get excited about how our family will build and change. When Kyle, (wearing suspenders) married my niece, Samantha (next to him), he became an instant member of the family. He is a wonderful person and brings laughter and his great personality to our crazy group. He gets and I hope appreciates the craziness.

This past weekend, my nephew, Sal, married his college sweetheart, Mishelle. Besides the fact that it was a wonderful and special day, I now have another niece!

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Mishelle is joyful, has a beautiful singing voice, and it’s like she was always a part of us. I love big family gatherings, loud get togethers, every flat area filled with food, kids running around, and everyone reluctant to leave. Now that all the ‘kids’ are older (the youngest three are 18), everyone is doing their thing, living their lives, and that’s damn good. But how I love when we get together and you have to go outside to give your eardrums a break from the high voltage of conversation.

We need more happiness and joyful tidings to celebrate. So I am especially grateful that on my Nick’s birthday, we added a new member to our family. Nick voiced his approval by shining his light on us.

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