I’m not sure where December went, or 2017 for that matter. But I find myself already in the throes of January. How in the ever-living crap did that happen? Sigh. Anyway, let me catch you up, internets.

The Christmas Fix came out last month and was quite the Christmas hit! Here’s a few things that readers are saying about Cat and Noah and their enemies-to-lovers holiday rom-com…

“I laughed, cried, really ugly cried and smiled all the way through this loving Christmas tale.” – Thatmom

“The banter between the main characters is funny, sexy, angsty, and hot all in one.” – Xandy85

“So freaking cute! Ahhhhhh…..I love Enemies to lovers and this book hit me in all the feels!!!!!” – Andrea Danielle

And none of those reviews were from my mother! I know! Right? Mr. Lucy and I were thrilled with the reception that The Christmas Fix got. And, being a giant sucker for all things Christmas, I’m already plotting my 2018 Christmas novel.

Anyway, if you haven’t picked up The Christmas Fix, get those grabby hands on it. It’s in Kindle Unlimited!

What else have I been up to? For Christmas, Mr. Lucy and I visited six houses and something like 32 people! It was magnificent! We were still worn out by New Year’s Eve, so we went to an early dinner with friends and then were in comfy pants on the couch to watch the ball drop.

How about you? What did you do for the holidays? Did you make any resolutions? My main New Year’s resolution is to find more time in my day. I want to remember more things, not just wake up to a blur of writing all the words and zoning out in front of the TV to unwind every night. I want to finish 2018 with more amazing memories than 2017.

I’ll be checking in again soon with a new reader profile! I can’t wait!

xoxo,

Lucy

It’s Father’s Day in the U.S. and what better time to give all the dads and stepdads and stand-in dads out there a shout out?

You are our non-fiction heroes. Whether you’re coaching disastrous kid sports teams or working overtime or answering the seventeenth “Hey, daddy?” in five minutes, you and your big hearts are my inspiration.

Special thanks to my dad for—among many other things—

  • coaching our soccer teams
  • making our stuffed animals steer the truck
  • chasing us up the basement stairs until we all developed fears of stairs
  • pay day hoagies every Friday
  • introducing me to John Wayne movies
  • cooking dinner every night
  • reading every single one of my books
  • shooting that mean turkey with your slingshot when it was chasing me
  • enjoying excellent novelty t-shirts

And for all you readers out there who are missing a father or a father figure today, I hope warm memories brighten your day ????

xoxo,

Lucy

I don’t know if I’m a complete weirdo, or if everyone envisions their perfect day of just the right amounts of family quality time, productivity, health consciousness, and relaxing. When I took complete control of all the hours in my day (24 to be precise), I failed miserably in all arenas. I thought not being at work for nine hours a day would magically turn me into the productivity fairy, sprinkling creative writing dust around my home office while laundry and dishes and dinner took care of themselves.

Yeah, that was total crap. Apparently, if I don’t have a plan and deadlines and a list and alarms on my phone, I get zilch done. I don’t even know what I do with my time! I have a feeling vast amounts of hours were being sucked up by social media and articles on how to be productive and opening my fridge 37 times to see if anyone had put anything new in there in the last 15 minutes.

Finally, when I realized that having the time didn’t mean I would use it effectively, I had to get tough with myself like a parent of a teenager with self-destructive tendencies (aren’t they all self-destructive?).

My perfect day now looks something like this.

9 a.m. Get ass out of bed.

9:10 a.m. Cheerfully scamper down to the home gym and workout for 45-mins to an hour. Feel human.

10 a.m. Enjoy a protein shake full of delicious fruits and veggies would be ingested as well as 10 to 15 minutes of meditation practiced

11 a.m. Answer emails, hang out with the readers on social media, catch up on whatever non-writing stuff needs addressed.

Noon. EAT! Best part of the day. Also, remember to take my a.m. vitamins.

12:30 Start writing in one-hour increments and hit 1,000 words an hour. My word count goal is 3,000 every day so on my PERFECT days I can be done in three hours of writing.

Afternoon between hour-long sprints. Prep dinner, throw in a load of laundry, respond to texts, put away clothes, yell at the cat, go outside and smell flowers.

5 p.m. Triumphantly save my work in progress in three places, slam down the lid of my laptop, and cockily announce to Mr. Lucy that I’m done for the day.

5:05 p.m. Walk back in my office, open the laptop and tackle anything that came up since my morning perusal of the world. Return phone calls. Drink a martini. Shop online for things I’d resent if I had to leave the house for. Hone my craft by reading blogs and books and articles. Take care of normal human being things like yelling at my insurance company, calling my parents, activating credit cards. Really at this point in my perfect day, the world is my oyster.

7:00 p.m. Either make dinner or go out to dinner. Remember to take the rest of those vitamins that give me nice fingernails and regular heart beats.

9 p.m. Hit the couch (or bed) with a book and Mr. Lucy (just Mr. Lucy) and entertain ourselves (do “research”).

Midnight: Wind down before official bedtime. More meditation and the satisfaction of a day not wasted.

Perfect day, right? OK, so here’s how my day actually goes (which should be noted is a VAST improvement over 2016). What can I say? I’m a work in progress.

9 a.m. Ignore alarm.

9:30 a.m. Check texts, email, and social media through the one eye that deigns to open in the morning.

10 a.m. Drag ass out of bed. Trip over cat on the way to the bathroom. Then make the fatal mistake of sitting down at my computer before working out. Get distracted.

11 a.m. Drag ass downstairs to work out.

Noon Feel marginally better. At least I accomplished something. Even if I did have to skip meditation. Maybe I should give it five minutes… Nope! Now I’m starving. Stuff face or say “Yes, please” when Mr. Lucy suggests going out to lunch. (That’s also a fatal mistake because we tend to procrastinate really well together so a lunch out can last up to four hours depending on how many tasks and errands we can come up with to keep us from our actual work.

2 p.m. Start writing. Battle for the first hour. Feel dejected. Wonder why I don’t know what I’m doing yet. Whine to Mr. Lucy about everything. Then remember that I left load of laundry in the washer three days ago.

3 p.m. The washer is running again. And it’s time to write. It goes much better because my self-loathing tells me I can’t possibly be a writer with the way I use my time. “Oh, yeah?” says my rebellious streak (the only thing stronger than that obnoxious self-loathing). “Watch this!” I write like it’s a job that I’m really good at. Take a few breaks to wink suggestively at Mr. Lucy.

7 p.m. Wrap it up. Immediately wonder if I wrote anything decent or if it’s all a steaming pile of crap. Who cares? That’s what the second draft is for! Celebration ends when I realize I forgot to schedule my oil change, put the clothes in the dryer, figure out why I can’t log into my credit card, and water the plants AGAIN. OMG, dinner.

9 p.m. Pretend I’m super cool and urbane for eating so late. Hope I don’t get heart burn when I go to bed.

10 p.m. Collapse on couch. Remember that I forgot all my vitamins. Eat a frozen Snickers and take half of the vitamins. Plan to do better tomorrow.

To the mamas, the mothers, the moms, and mommies,

To the moms who have experienced heart-breaking loss and still get out of bed in the morning.

To the moms who wanted to but couldn’t.

To the moms who just need one good night’s sleep or a week… or a month…

To the moms who birthed or adopted or aunted or mentored.

To the moms who just can’t get it together.

To the moms who are breaking on the inside.

To the moms who go it alone or have help.

To the moms who make mistakes.

To the moms who are too scared to let go.

To the moms who love and give until it hurts.

To the moms of cats and dogs and goats and fish and every other kind of non-human kid.

To the moms who spend six months planning the perfect birthday party.

To the moms who Google math homework and prom hairstyles.

To the moms who teach hard lessons.

To the moms who work in or out of the home.

To the moms who need a damn break.

To the moms who don’t think they’ll survive the terrible 2s, the threenagers, or the teenage years.

To the moms who think they’re doing it wrong.

To the moms who let their kids make mistakes.

To the moms just barely getting by.

To the moms who just can’t any more.

To the moms who slaved for hours on the perfect meal… that your kids refused to eat.

To the moms who went through the drive-thru or reheated dinosaur chicken nuggets.

To the moms who drove to Target just so they could sit and read in the quiet.

To the moms who trust their kids.

To the moms who can’t trust their kids.

To the moms who carve out a sliver of time to give themselves what they need.

To the moms who just don’t get their kids.

To the moms who still make time to text a friend.

To the moms who can’t remember the last time they saw their friends.

To the moms who just need a “thank you.”

To the moms who are amazed at the people their children are turning out to be.

To the moms who haven’t showered in four days.

To the moms running businesses and committees and fundraisers.

To the moms who don’t remember what it’s like to pee alone.

To the moms who try so damn hard every damn day.

To the moms who were terrified their teenage daughter would never really get it.

To the moms whose only escape is a good book.

To the moms who are scared what the future holds for your kids.

To the moms who count down to college.

To the moms who don’t want their baby to grow up.

To my mom and my grandmothers, aunts, cousins, sisters, and friends.

To the beautiful, smart, skilled, interesting, amazing women who run this world…

I see you. You’re doing a great job. You’re beautiful. You’re fucking incredible. I think you’re amazing. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you out there.

xoxo,

Lucy

 

Happy day after Valentine’s Day, everyone! I hope you had a beautiful day!

Mr. Lucy made me look like a jerk and got me presents (Victoria’s Secret, the sexy AND the comfy kind) even though we said no presents and all I got him was a card. I made up for it by taking him out to a really romantic lunch… at a Chinese buffet.

We romance novelists know how it’s done!

That’s total crap. Out of the two of us, Mr. Lucy is the romantic one. Guys, he gets me a mid-month present every month. FOR NO REASON! They range from computer equipment to books to the perfect hoodie to olive brine for my dirty martinis. Each one is thoughtful, sweet, and has me waking up on the 15th like it’s Christmas morning.

You may be wondering what I give him. That’s a fair question. Beyond tension headaches and too much work, I have devised the ultimate gift that keeps on giving. Every time he leaves the house, I go to the window and flash him.

Keepin’ that romance alive all year-round!

xoxo,

Lucy

 

Mondays for nearly everyone suck. It really doesn’t matter if you work in the house or outside the house. Mondays are rough. So let’s talk good stuff to get the week kicked off right…

My top three Positively Monday Things:

  1. Not only did Mr. Lucy take me to Taco Bell for lunch, he also gifted me with a sexy bottle of olive brine for my dirty martinis. Not only does the man know me well, he also gives me a mid-month present EVERY MONTH. This one just happened to come a little early. #LuckiestWomanAlive
  2. Writing awesomeness: I finished my basic outline of Blue Moon #4 this weekend and I’m so in love with these two characters already. Word of Caution: totally teared up on the plotting of a continuation of Jax and Joey. Oh, speaking of tears, Heart of Hope comes out this week (1/12). And while it’s a novella, I packed the hell out of the feels into 50k words. #ReadWithKleenex
  3. It may be cold outside, but I’m lucky enough to have a warm home, fleece-lined slippers, and a feta-spinach turkey burger from the farmer’s market to make for lunch today.

It’s going to be a good day. Go out there (or stay in) and be awesome! What are your happies? #PositivelyMonday

I love New Years in the same way that I love makeover movies. It’s a NEW BEGINNING, GUYS! We can be anyone we want to be this year, do anything we want to do, smell any way we want to smell in 2017, because we’re metaphorically shaking off the shackles of 2016 and taking stock of our lives.

I took the last two weeks off of writing—and anything else that resembles working or providing a positive contribution to society—and started to think about how far off the rails I went in 2016. My little train car not only went off the rails, it rolled end over end, spontaneously combusting into a fiery pyre on top of a bunch of poorly placed gas cans. But I digress… and exaggerate.

Don’t get me wrong, 2016 was a beautiful year with many good things in it. It also left most of us feeling mentally violated at least four times a day. Combine a world gone mad with three ridiculously optimistic deadlines and I was a disorganized, crazy person by the end of it.

Which brings me to my New Year Makeover, or what I like to call “I Swear I’ll Do Better This Year.”

Morning routine

I’ve spent the last year luxuriating in the fact that I no longer have an office job to get up and put on pants and leave the house for. It’s great. It’s fabulous. I haven’t been this well-rested EVER in my life. What’s the problem? I putz around like a sloth under the guise of “checking my email” and “catching up on Facebook.” That putzing usually carries me right up until 3 p.m. when I haven’t written a word or taken a shower or accomplished anything else that is a socially acceptable form of adulthood.

 

I had planned to learn to meditate. I had wanted to get up every morning and work out. And the mornings that I did do those two things, I felt GOOD. Centered. Awake. Productive. But it’s so easy to talk myself into grabbing a cup of coffee and sitting down with my laptop for “just a few minutes” first. That ends now.

I will establish a morning routine that gets me out of bed at a not embarrassing hour AND starts my day in line with my priorities (the health and kick-ass writing priorities, not the coffee and putzing ones).

Be more present

Or present at all. Seriously any amount of presence is going to be a huge improvement over my current state of “Huh?” I’m going to put my damn phone down. I’m going to stare deeply into Mr. Lucy’s eyes when he talks to me. I’m going to give distractions the finger. I’m going to see, hear, smell, taste, and touch my way through 2017 instead of bumping around in a digital fog.

I’m going to pay attention to the person in front of me rather than the dozen on social media or text.

I’m going to murder anxiety

I waste a quantifiably huge amount of time regretting any number of things I’ve done/haven’t done and worrying about the million things that haven’t happened YET, but might at any moment.

Me: OMG! What if everyone just stops buying my books? What happens if my books start sucking and people stop telling their friends to read them? What if my income just evaporates and I HAVE TO MOVE INTO A CARDBOARD BOX IN MY FRIEND LORI’S DRIVEWAY? SHE LIVES ON A HILL!

I’ve failed a lot, or as Mr. Lucy prefers to call it “falling down.” And falling down still scares me, but what’s important is that every time I’ve fallen down, I’ve gotten back up. There’s no reason to think that in 2017 I’ll just take the next tumble and decide to curl into the fetal position forever. That would be the ultimate stupidness.

Every time that shitty little doubt-filled voice starts running its dirty (and not in the good way) mouth I’m going to do whatever’s necessary to stop it.

Not-So-Lofty Plans for 2017

  • Lose the back fat that’s escaping my sports bras
  • Buy less disgusting kitchen towels
  • Eat more sushi
  • Pet more dogs
  • Run a 27-minute 5k
  • Stop slouching like a vulture
  • Stop leaving loads of laundry in the washer for three days

That’s my I Swear I’ll Do Better plan for 2017. What are your plans for this year?

 

Merry Christmas and happy holidays, my friends! I hope your weekend is full of peaceful, sweet hours. And if it’s not, may I suggest hiding in a closet with one of my new releases?

“Where’s Mommy?”

“Locked in the closet with Lucy.”

I feel like this year was a tough one on all of us. At times it felt like there was a giant black hole of negativity and doom that was trying to swallow the entire world. Hey, I’m a writer, I’m supposed to be dramatic! My biggest source of comfort this year—besides Mr. Lucy being all handsome and bearded—was you. I’m convinced that if romance readers ran the world, it would be a happier, safer, kinder place. In my humble opinion, when you love love and spend your time absorbing stories of love, family, and happily ever after, it makes you great people.

You, my lovely readers, are beautiful, tolerant, and loving. You say wonderful things about your spouses and significant others, you’re enamored with your kids without being blinded to how freaking hard and hilarious and sometimes futile parenting is. You share books and hope and support. You get mushy at the viral videos of homecomings and surprise gifts I share. And most importantly, you view this world with hope.

That is a beautiful thing.

Every time I felt like 2016 was beating me down, I turned to you and you never let me down. Your comments, posts, reviews, and emails have been the brilliant, sparkling highlight of my year. And I thank you from the bottom of my fiction-filled heart.

So this wouldn’t be a Christmas letter without some obnoxious bragging. Let’s get to it!

In 2016, I published five books this year! FIVE. It was insane. I haven’t answered my phone since the end of July and I think some of my friends and family think I was abducted. But this year the funny, sweet, steamy, small town Blue Moon Series was born and the world also got their romantic suspense fix from Waverly Sinner and Xavier Saint in two intense, hot-as-hell novels (my laptop started smoking).

Also this year, Mr. Lucy and I ventured to Belize and Barbados—both of which appear in Sinner & Saint: Breaking the Rules. I can’t imagine a happier ending than Barbados! We drank tropical drinks, swam, and met some great people. And then drank some more.

 

The other most proudest accomplishment ever for me (did I mention I’m a writer?) was learning the basics of sailing and going out on our sailboat with Mr. Lucy and NOT capsizing. Sure, we fell off the boat ramp and there was that time I couldn’t climb back up the ladder to get out of the water and into the boat. But other than that, I actually did okay! There are few things as freaking cool as feeling the wind fill your sails and push you forward! And I’m hoping for lots more smooth sailing in 2017.

So on this Christmas Day, I just wanted to let you know how deeply I appreciate you and your rabid readership, your mood-boosting comments, and the way you browbeat your friends until they pick up one of my books. You have made my year and I love the crap out of you. I’m really looking forward to our 2017 together.

xoxo,

Lucy

This weekend marked a huge milestone of sorts for me. On October 22, 2015, Pretend You’re Mine was published on Amazon. The timing was incredibly fortuitous as I had just gotten canned from my job the day before.

Let me back up a bit, I worked for a conservative accounting firm. And, guessing that the news wouldn’t be well-received, I kept my hobby of romance writing TOP SECRET. During my annual review when one of the bosses showed concern that I didn’t share any personal goals with them, I kept my mouth shut and didn’t say, “My goal is to write bestselling romance novels so I can quit this job.”

I wrote and released Undercover Love earlier that year and, while secretly thrilled by its modest success, I didn’t tell a soul at work that my dreams of being a published author came true. But I was so proud of the work I’d done with Pretend You’re Mine that when the book was getting formatted for its debut on Amazon, I finally confessed to some of my co-workers.

It felt sooooo good to tell them!

As the launch day neared, I got nervous and felt like it was something I should share with the bosses. I didn’t want them to find out from someone else and feel like I had betrayed them or disappointed them by keeping it a secret.

So the Monday before Pretend You’re Mine came out, I nervously hovered in the doorway of one of the bosses (I had several). I made my confession and considered it a success when she didn’t seem upset.

On Wednesday I was called into the conference room and told that my services at the company would no longer be needed and that I could have until the end of the year to find a new job.

I was devastated.

I’d struggled with the job from the beginning, but felt so invested in the people and my efforts. I felt like I was a failure, as if there was something wrong with me that I just couldn’t fit into the professional world. I’d been laid off three years prior from what I thought was my dream job at a newspaper that canned seventy people in one day the same year they won the Pulitzer. I’d also spent years working for a university’s alumni magazine in a sweet work from home deal that ended abruptly when my supervisor needed to shore up the department’s budget.

I took all of these “departures” personally, spending half the time feeling like a big, fat failure and the other half of the time indignant that no one recognized my value to their organization. (OK, it was probably more like 20/80.)

So I went home, freshly fired, and the next morning Pretend You’re Mine went live on Amazon.

I can’t even tell you how proud I am of that book and all of the amazing accolades it earned. It changed my life and gave me a new start as the author I always dreamed I would be. Thanks to book sales, I was able to quit before the end of the year. Which, I’ll admit, felt so damn good.

It’s been a year since then. And I never could have imagined where this year would take me. I’ve been writing full time and, by the end of December, I’ll have six published books to my name. I’ve slept late, taken vacations, learned to sail, and written almost every single day. I make my own schedule and worship the flexibility that I now have.

Of course, it hasn’t been all Champagne and sandy beaches. This is the hardest freaking job I’ve ever had in my life. Sometimes I sit at my computer for twelve hours a day trying to make the story perfect for you (and for me). Sometimes I hit a wall, a thirty-story brick wall that seems insurmountable. I don’t have stubborn or short-sighted or “this is the way we’ve always done it” bosses to blame mistakes on. I worry about running out of ideas. I worry about having too many ideas. I worry about disappointing readers. I worry about embarrassing family members when they read the sexy parts. I worry that the next book won’t sell. I worry about dumping all of the household stuff on Mr. Lucy because I’m glued to my keyboard. I worry about not being there for friends and family when a deadline looms. I worry about suddenly sucking at writing.

But I keep doing it. Because I love it. Because this is what I’m supposed to do.

So thank you to Mr. Lucy for supporting my dreams and telling me that the best thing that could happen to me would be to get fired, to my family who isn’t remotely surprised that this is where I am today,to the indie publisher who took a chance on me, to the people who believed in me, and even the people who didn’t believe in me. Because of all of you, I pushed hard to make this happen and I’m so proud to be here today!

xoxo

 

I’m a romance novelist. I deal with love on a full-time basis and because of that I usually end up avoiding the news and certain people in my social media news feeds. Those parties aren’t usually conducive to writing about the beauty of family and community, of acceptance and respect and love…also hot steamy sex scenes.

As a romance novelist, I’m the last person who would be an expert on the tragedies we’ve been facing or to give advice on how we need to change the infrastructure of society to stop these events from recurring. I can’t even put a timeline on when things “got bad,” because I’m pretty sure we can trace all this crap back thousands of years. Possibly even millions if that asteroid hit the earth on purpose.

What I can do is tell you what this mushy-hearted human being, who still trusts in happily ever after, believes to be true about the current state of “us.”

I believe we have a problem, but I believe we can improve the outcomes in situations by changing our own behavior. We aren’t the ones posting hate-fueled tirades on social media. We aren’t the committers of crimes against humanity.

We are in the middle and we are the majority. This is my love letter to you—and me—the beautiful bystander.

The problem doesn’t lie within the police or the government. And the problem sure as hell doesn’t lie in what color skin you were born with.

The problem lies within the guy on my Facebook page who goes on anti-black, anti-Muslim, anti-woman, anti-government, anti-police, anti-refugee children, anti-freaking cute kitten video rants. “Oh, yeah. It’s real cute until it murders that toddler with the rabies. Those parents should be in jail for getting the kid a pet.”

The problem lies within the person who, regardless of the job they hold—teacher, nurse, cop, retail sales associate, full-time internet commenter living in their parents’ basement “I said no crusts, Mom!”—uses their prejudices and fear to make the lives of others worse. They use the valuable seconds of their own life to devalue those of others.

The problem is when I don’t recognize you as me. When I ignore your desire to be seen and heard and loved and respected as an equal to me. When your need and human right for security and stability aren’t as important because you weren’t lucky enough to be born here or your skin is a different color or your god goes by a different name or your eye color is wrong or your feet are too big. The problem is when I choose to be anti-you and pro-someone else.

We’re doing this life wrong. For those of us lucky enough to be born in America, who don’t have to worry about where our next meal is coming from, or whether or not our loved ones will make it home in one piece today, we’re doing this wrong. We pick fights and point fingers and choose sides.

We talk about walls and us vs. them. We talk about protecting what we have from others we don’t think deserve it. Everyone’s looking for a team, a side. And as Trevor Noah from The Daily Show points out, just because you’re pro-something doesn’t mean you have to be anti-something else.

“…in reality, you can be pro-cop and pro-black, which is what we should all be! That is what we should be aiming for.” — Trevor Noah, The Daily Show

Every tragedy becomes the Super Bowl of opinion. We’re very eager to place blame and point fingers, establish “good guys” and “bad guys,” but there aren’t many people who want to talk about solutions.

The problem lies with me, the bystander, who doesn’t shut down the racist joke. Who doesn’t speak up when I know someone is doing something very wrong. And we the bystanders are the solution. When the people who stand between the offender and the victim speak up and demand change, that is the sustainable solution.

When you see something, say something.

Be the squeaky wheel of justice, of equality, of love. Speak up. It may not be the most comfortable thing we’ve done all day, but it’s going to be better than going home and thinking about all the things we should have said. (Note: I spend most of my showers constructing perfect comebacks whose time has long since passed.)

Squeak respectfully.

When speaking up, do it in a way that you’d use when speaking to your grandmother or your son or your friend’s five-year-old. If ever in doubt, ask yourself, would I want someone talking to my child like this? If the answer is no, revise that response until it’s something you can be proud of. Until it’s something that builds a bridge, rather than burns it.

Progress is made when we come out from behind the safety of our digital walls and say “I hear you, I understand what you’re saying, and I disagree” rather than “Why don’t you go kill yourself?”

It was never meant to be me against you. It’s always been us for us. And there’s no geographical, racial, ethnic, gender identification, or sexual orientation boundary around us. You and I share a heart. I stand for you. I stand for us. Here’s what we can do to make it a little better.

A Romance Novelist’s Advice on How to Stand for Us

  1. Unfollow individuals or organizations that promote inciting hate and fear. Your day will automatically get better when you’re not bombarded by loud assholes with shitty opinions.
  2. Don’t laugh at the racist, biased, prejudiced, misogynistic, dickish joke. We’ve all faced the “Wow, that really wasn’t funny” face when telling a joke. I got that a lot with my knock knock jokes as a five-year-old. Here’s the perfect reason to use it.
  3. Ask them, “Do you really believe that all INSERT GROUP IDENTIFIER here are that way?” Then listen. Some folks are lost causes and listening will let you know which ones they are. Don’t engage lost causes, it’s a waste of your energy that can be better used doing beautiful things like eating cookies, hugging kids and dogs, cleaning out your gutters, etc.
  4. Shut down the finger pointing. Whether it’s a gorilla, an alligator, or a violent situation, until your family has gone through it you can’t say, “You suck because that would never happen to me.” In fact, please for the love of all that is cute and furry, don’t say those words. It’s like a jinx and I don’t want you to have to face a situation like that just so you can see what it’s like being on the receiving end. If you’re dealing with a loud finger pointer, respectfully disagree and walk away. Heated attention feeds the beast and sometimes it’s best to let it starve…alone…in its musty cave of fear and hate that smells like old sweat socks and hardboiled eggs.
  5. If you see something, say something. As a bystander, this is the single most important thing we can do to protect life. School shootings have been thwarted by vigilant individuals who spoke up when they knew something wasn’t right. Domestic terrorist attacks have been avoided when neighbors and family and acquaintances spoke up and identified questionable behavior. This can work in so many other situations, office HR problems, family dinners, grocery store express lane squabbles. I don’t want any of us to carry the guilt of having noticed something questionable and not saying anything until it was too late.
  6. Instead of devaluing the seconds of someone’s day, be awesome instead. Add value. Buy the coffee for the person behind you in the drive-thru. Look that homeless person in the eyes and say “Good morning.” Give Gladys in accounting a hug—but only if she wants one. Post something positive and beautiful on social media today. Compliment someone, even a stranger. Subscribe to the Good News Network’s Newsletter and share the crap out of those stories. Take your kid to the park and laugh until you can’t breathe.

This life is so beautiful and so short and I want us to remember it every moment of every precious day, because when that’s where our awareness starts everything gets better. Be better. Stand for us. I believe in you. I believe in us.