Sunday, September 9, 2012

Inspiration Trumps Hate forn Election 2012: Choose Kindness

Have you heard?  It's election season.  Unless you've been living in a cave, you've heard a little something about the candidates running for President of the United States, to be decided November 6, 2012. 

Over the last two weeks, folks for either side of the aisle have had their rock star moments during the respective Republican and Democratic Conventions.  I know I did!  There is something fantastic about standing in your living room three nights in a row, talking to your television, cheering in unison with the crowd on the screen, posting your reactions on your favorite social networks, crying during all of the emotional, heart-tugging moments, high-fiving your spouse, and feeling like you play a real part in deciding who will be the next Commander In Chief.

Wouldn't it be amazing if we could ride this wave of optimism and skip all of the negative ads, hate-speech, and devisiveness?  If we all took the euphoric feelings of optimism and directed it toward one goal?  Sound too much like hearts, flowers, puppies and unicorns?

Yeah, I know. 

The point I'm trying to make is that like everything else in our lives, we get to choose.  We choose how we are going to behave over the next couple of months.  Do we want to choose optimism or pessimism?  Do we want to engage in civil discussion, or close our ears and call eachother names? Do we want to cheer for our side or tear down the other?  Do we want to make people feel lousy, or inspire them? 

So here is a call for Mass Euphoria!  Feed the positive energy that steers you toward your candidate.  Shout from the rooftops about all of the good to come. Deny the negative.

For political junkies like me, this is fun stuff!  Enjoy the process, we are sooooo lucky to have it.  Celebrate the little victories along the way and the rise in the polls.  But do it in a way that is right.  Set a good example.  Be respectful. Choose kindness.  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

USA For Africa: Nostalgic sentiment and motherly pride

I grew up in the eighties. Unlike some, I really loved that decade, especially the music.  I still love it.  One song in particular takes me waaaayyy back, and makes me happy...moves me even.

"We Are The World" was a compilation of all the great singers/songwriters of the time.  It was written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie and produced by Quincy Jones.  The idea was to bring together a huge number of incredibly talented and famous artists, and create a record that would sell across all demographics to raise money for humanitarian aid in Africa.  It worked.  That single raised over 63 million dollars in 1984.

There was a video of the song, taped during the recording session, that played on MTV over and over (back when MTV played strictly videos and was hosted by V-jays), now you can see it here on YouTube.  Stevie Wonder, Bob Dylan, Hall and Oates, Duran Duran, Bono, Michael Jackson, Bruce Springsteen,Paul Simon,Kenny Rogers,Billy Joel, Tina Turner, Willie Nelson...and on and on and on...

The trend to help Africa continued in the summer of 1985 with Live Aid...a completely different scene, a global effort to have live performances coincide all over the world to help end hunger in Ethiopia.  That was the first time I cried watching Bono and U2 onstage (wouldn't be the last) this day my favorite band of all time.

There was just something about growing up with all of that music on a mission. Not only were we in love with our rock stars, but they made us care about more than big hair and leg warmers.  They opened up our eyes to the rest of the world.

So imagine 25 years later, in a darkened auditorium, 100 student performers close their summer show with a rendition of "We Are The World".  Leading a kids cast of 2nd-5th graders, my son sauntered slowly down the aisle toward the stage.  At the top of the steps, he entered into the pool of stage light just as the chorus began to boom, "We are the world, we are the children".  My son's voice bellowed out the song, joining in with the older cast...heartfelt for him too, just in a different way.

I didn't expect to be emotional.  I knew the song was coming, had heard bits of it during rehearsal.  This was the first time, though, I had ever heard Sam sing it, seen him sing it, especially while wearing his USA for Africa tee shirt. I get misty just thinking about it.

The mixture of nostalgic sentiment and motherly pride is powerful stuff.  I am so happy my son had the opportunity to learn about the song, learn what it meant to so many. More than that, it was so nice to have this very special moment with him, a musical and emotional connection from my past to his present.

(Cheap Plug:  Sam is a member of Saline Varsity Blues.  Go to for more info.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Do What is You For the New Year

So I was trying to figure out what has been holding me back with a novel I am writing.  I really like my characters, it flows well, and I think it is a story that people will like.  Why have I been picking at it for five years and never really been excited by it?  Why am I so unenthused with it?  Why do I look at it and say, "What the heck is missing?" 

Guess what is missing?  Me.

It is a good story....but not one that I would pick up off the shelf and read.  WHAT?!!  I finally figured it out.  I've been writing a story in a genre that doesn't thrill me.  It is a contemporary fiction piece, some would call it chick-lit, and it isn't really a romance novel....though there is romance in it. It's got a strong leading woman character, suspense, drama, twists and turns and unexpected surprises, hot men, money and so on. So why don't I like it?

I decided to take a look at my own bookshelf and see what the general themes were of things I like to read.

I like dark, supernatural stories that are rich in history, or I guess you could say historical fiction with a supernatural twist.  Long before the Twilight series I was crazy about Dracula.  As long as I can remember I've been fascinated by vampires and ghosts. I love to read anything and everything that involves old Europe, especially England, and I love to think about how similar themes have evolved from ancient history to current day. 

That being said, I decided I needed to write more about what I love to read.  I know these types of books are trendy right now, so I don't want to write anything cliche. I also think, for a long time I was worried about what people would think of my darker sided interests.  Since making this self-discovery, I've thought of nothing else other than how to shift the focus of my characters in my novel to bring in my passion for history and a bit of the super-natural.  Guess what?  I am now super excited and am writing much more enthusiastically, because I decided to do what was "me".

That is what I'm wishing for you in every aspect of your life for 2012.  Don't afraid to "do what is you".  By making decisions in your life that reflect your true self, you are exercising serious self-acceptance, which is at the root of all success.  Whether it is in the relationship you choose to be in, the way you perform your job, how you parent your kids, or the way you plan out the steps to your "next great thing", do it in away that is true to who you are.

Wishing you the absolute best in 2012! Happy New Year everyone!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Sparkly People

It’s funny, if we take a moment to step back and look at our lives, where we have been and where we are now, we start to see certain people that touch us, that create a spark, again and again.  They stand out from the rest. These people light up. They sparkle. When we are around them, connected to them, we light up too.

The easy ones to spot are the loves of our lives.  Our mates, if with the right ones, certainly light us up in every way, but this isn’t what I’m talking about here.

There are others.  There are a few, maybe even only one or two sparkling people, who bring us energy, strike our chord, create instant flows of creativity, and make us laugh.  They have the power to make us feel wide awake when we thought we were dead tired, to bring a smile when we thought we were bummed out.  They are our sparkly people.

The cool thing about these people is that it doesn’t matter how long we go between seeing them, talking to them, or hearing from them.  It could be ten days, eighteen months, or even twenty-two years, and the minute we connect the sparkles fly just as if they never dimmed.  It doesn’t matter how far away they are, or where they’ve been.  When they reappear it is as if they never left.

I strongly believe in timing.  There is a time and a place for everything that happens in our lives, even though we often don’t know the reason.  Think about one of your sparkly people.  There is a reason they were in your life at a certain time, a reason they are absent, and a reason they are, or will be, back again.

It is not about going on a social network and looking up an old pal, or a favorite teammate, or an old girlfriend.  Even if we thought they were good people in our lives at the time, finding people from our histories doesn’t mean we will instantly click once we’ve found them again.  People change.  Chemistry changes.

But not our sparkly people.

They are lightening bolts that just appear when they are supposed to, like they were never gone at all.


Friday, April 29, 2011

It is okay to relish in the Royal Wedding / Romance

I didn't think I'd be so wrapped up in it.  The royal wedding of Prince William and Kate Middleton has been in the works for months, and I was kind of getting tired of it instead of building anticipation.  That changed however, the beginning of this week, when all of the media outlets headed to England.

So, like many others, I found myself setting my clock to rise early enough to see Kate being picked up from the hotel.  With family asleep, I snuggled up on my couch with a fresh cup of coffee to watch ALL of it. 

I know there are terrible things going on in the world. I know there is important work to be done in all aspects of our lives.  I also know we all deserve a chance to be inspired, to be touched by a real life fairy tale coming together in our midst.

Today we got to see a Prince, who really loves his princess. And he was in uniform, and she was dazzlingly lovely, and there were red carpets and carriages and balconies and kisses.  The readings were touching. The music was spirtiual and uplifting.  The pure passion and enormity of unity among thousands at this one event was energizing.  It was a feast for the eyes, ears and hearts.

And for those of us who remember and appreciated Diana...well, we thought of her today too.  For those of us who are parents, I think we felt her absence even more, wishing she could see her boys up there so grown, sharing a private laugh as they waited for the bride to make the long walk up the aisle.

Today was a day to celebrate romance, to believe in love, to rejoice with people all over the globe who, if even for just one day, let themselves believe in fairytales.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Ready For The Stage! Can you believe it?!

Hi Everyone,

Oh my dear blog....I've missed you so. As a matter of fact, I've missed ALL of my blogs!!! Ladies and gents, the book manuscript is in final editing...and just when I thought I was going to take a breather (yeah, like I take breathers)...


Okay, I totally auditioned for a national public speaking contest called "Ready For the Stage". It's taking place in Washington D.C. this week at an event called SEVEN. I am so lucky to be here learning from the best in entrepreneurial everything, and how to use speaking and events to launch more of what I love to do best: help women, write about women, make women superstars! Just think of how I will be able to promote my book "Off the Couch, Back to Business"-- A Woman's Guide to Success After Setback, as well as all of the awesome and important topics I love to write about, like cool mom stuff, women's rights, bringing positive energy and optimism into your life, orgaizations doing right by women and children and exposing the ones who aren't, and totally hot sports for chicks!


I am one of the semi-finalists! If I make it to the top four, I'll be competing on stage Thursday night from 7:30-9:30 PM Eastern. can watch if you like! Here is the link to opt in, or just "like" Ready For The Stage on Facebook.

And finally, if you are so can place a pre-order for my book. Just click and order a "ticket", as soon as it becomes available you"ll get it right off the press! Planned release is for first quarter 2011.

I've missed blogging so much! I'll be back in Michigan before I know it and will be sure to get my bloggin' on! Until then, I hope you'll tune in Thursday night and vote!

Thanks readers! You are all awesome!

april S.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

What a Night! A meeting with Congressman Mark Schauer

I realize I am supposed to be on hiatus to meet my book deadline, and I am so thankful for your patience in doing so, but some things are too good to skip out on writing about.  What a night I've had!  I'd like to tell you about it...

I attended the 2010 Saline Area Chamber of Commerce Business of the Year Awards.  This is always a great event, but tonight was fantastic.  Of course, I was thrilled to be there to support award honoree Jill Hartman, of Hartman Insurance, who is a smart and savvy business woman and super involved member of our community.  I was also pleased to see Leibherr Aerospace and Gear Technology win the award for a larger business.  Saline really is fortunate to have both of these businesses in our city.  Kudos also to A2YP.TV for filming this event.

I was so happy to be there tonight, you'd think I was the one receiving the award. I may not have brought home a plaque or trophy, but I brought home a memory of an evening I won't soon forget.  The company at my table couldn't be beat.  Let me introduce you to my table-mates.

I was so pleased to dine with Congressman Mark Schauer, Saline City Councilman Brian Marl, Senior District Representative Fran Brennan, Mayor of Saline Gretchen Driskell, City Manager Todd Campbell and savvy business owner of DesignHub in Saline, Karen Ragland.  I couldn't have dreamed this up any better!

An evening like tonight is a perfect way for me to remind all of my readers to vote this November.  Now it's obvious from this post who I am voting for, and I've got some great reasons for doing so. (The only other candidate I wish had been there was David Rhoads, Saline City Council).I hope you'll consider doing the same.

It is so important to exercise your right to vote, especially YOU, ladies.  The reason I say that is we must remember how many women in so many other countries will never have the freedom to fill out a ballot and have a voice.  We are so fortunate here in the U. S.  We may not have a woman in the Oval Office yet, but she's coming...ahem...Hillary.  

Thanks to all for such a wonderful evening, to Mayor Driskell, Todd Campbell and Brian Marl (and David Rhoads who we missed) for taking such good care of our Saline citizens.  Thank you Congressman Mark Schauer and your camp for looking out for so many people.  I wish you all nothing but success this November!

(photos top right, me and Congressman Schauer, bottom left me and City Councilman Brian Marl)