Want to be “Simply Happy?” Start by reading this book.

From the editor-in-chief of the Chicken Soup for the Soul series comes a first book called Simply Happy. It’s out tomorrow, but I was blessed with a splendid sneak peek of Amy Newmark’s debut book.

Even if you only  read the chapter descriptions, you’d get plenty out of this book, such as:

Chapter 2 A smile is a boomerang

“They’re free, they’re easy, and they change your whole day”

For those of you who have ever worked with your spouse (and I have!), you’ll be tickled by Amy and her husband’s “Declare Voldemort” time periods. Since she and Bill work together, sometimes they need a break. When one of them says “Voldemort” (from the Harry Potter series, Lord Voldemort is he-who-must-not-be-named) neither of them is allowed to discuss or text one another about Chicken Soup or their other businesses. They may email one another and if it’s a weekend, the spouse has the right not to answer  until Monday if they so choose.

This tells me that Amy not only advocates keeping life in perspective and balance, but that she lives the lifestyle as best she can.

Spoiler alert: a story of mine is mentioned on page 88, one that makes me gulp even as I read about it. That would be the one where I was being a spoiled princess, thinking more about myself than my marriage. A dream (mostly) snapped me out of it. While I’m not perfect, the wonderful weekend I just had with my husband reminds me how that dream changed everything.

I’m proud, thrilled, to have my story mentioned in Amy’s book. And even prouder because Amy points out that my name is pronounced “Dream-uh,” and my story was about a dream. My father, who we lost nearly two years ago, named me, so I love my name.

Amy’s book is full of stories and experiences she’s had editing these books and how they have not only changed others, but her as well. Some stories have lingered with her for years.

Then there are tips in the book such as paying attention to the time we have been squandering. “If you regain only two percent of the minutes in your day by being mindful and not wasting them, you’ll actually get back half an hour a day,” she says. That’s time that could be used to write or work towards a goal you “never” have the time for.

This crash course in advice and wisdom can be taken one chapter at a time, or devoured (my style) in one sitting. Whatever your style, I recommend this sanity-saving read.

Let’s hope this is only the first of many quick-tip-with-meat-included books by the bubbly and savvy Amy Newmark.

Chicken Soup and Popcorn!

Chicken-soup-for-the-soul-the-power-of-gratitude-9781611599589_hr

 

Exciting news! My personal essay “Uno, Popcorn, and Laughter” has been chosen for the Chicken Soup for the Soul: The Power of Gratitude collection. I’m honored, especially as it features my hubby and my beloved kids. (Maybe I should make them sign the books too??!)

Who knew when we went through such tough times that our story would help others? I always believed there must be a reason for the difficulties, and the book’s subtitle says it all: “Being thankful can change your life.” I agree!

As always, I can’t give too much away about the story until it’s released this August. I can say that it features a treasured family pastime. (Clearly playing Uno is one of those. Oh, and feasting on popcorn. Then there’s laughter.)

Barry says these stories are my sneaky way of writing my memoirs. I don’t know about that, but I do know I am incredibly honored to be a part of this series. It gives me the chance to take a look back at events that might have been stressful at the time, but that on reflection helped strengthen our family.

While I am in no hurry to have grandchildren, if we are ever blessed with any I would love to play Uno and eat popcorn with them. And laugh. There will always be laughter.

 

Featured on Chicken Soup for the Soul’s Podcast!

I’m so excited! First of all, I adore podcasts and Chicken Soup for the Soul is now podcasting. Did you know that? I’ve been enjoying them from day one.

Imagine my delight, then, when I recently received word that one of my stories will be featured on Chicken Soup for the Soul’s podcast tomorrow, March 10, 2016. They had a teaser for it on today’s podcast, and I found myself dancing around the house in happiness already.

It’s my story from “Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions” that I’ve blogged about before, based on a wake up call I had in the form of a dream a few years ago that transformed my marriage.

If you’re a podcast listener, please head over to ITunes tomorrow and take a listen to not just the broadcast featuring my story, but all of the other fabulous Chicken Soup podcasts for an uplifting moment in your day.

And if you happen to miss it tomorrow, don’t worry: it will be available in their archives to hear whenever you’re ready.

I’m taking my mom shopping tomorrow, and I can’t wait to put on this “radio show” when I have her in the car to surprise her. Shhh…don’t tell!

 

A Virtual Book Launch Party/Live Twitter Chat Today for Chicken Soup for the Soul: Dreams and Premonitions

Dreams Twitter Chat Twitter

Join us this afternoon over on Twitter at 3 pm for a virtual book launch party. If I understand correctly, this is a Chicken Soup first. Be a part of history in the making (and ask some questions as well) as we discuss our stories and dreams and premonitions in general.

As you know, I’m a proud contributor to the latest Chicken Soup anthology, Dreams and Premonitions. One of my proudest moments so far concerning this collection was receiving a text from my son saying he loves my essay. (My dear son is in the hospital with a nasty infection. If you are someone who prays, please lift Zack up.)

Another proud moment was when my husband Barry (the subject of my essay) read the piece in its printed form just after I opened the box of books. (He’d already approved the essay of course.) We won’t talk about the tears on both sides. 😉

This collection as whole will inspire, heal, and if you’ve ever succumbed to cynicism, may even transform your thinking. That sounds like something we could all use.

Here’s hoping to “see” you over on Twitter this afternoon. Heads up — I’m taking my mother shopping today, so I may be popping in and out if I don’t make it home before then. Still, early or late, I’ll be sure to reply if you’re one of “mine” who stops by.

The book is available today in stores and online at Amazon,  Barnes and Noble, and elsewhere. A quick Internet search will point you in the right direction.

Another Helping of Chicken Soup!

I’m pleased to announce that Chicken Soup for the Soul has chosen one of my essays, “Wake-Up Call” for their newest collection, Dreams and Premonitions. The book will be released on September 22, 2015 and is available for preorder now over at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

Since my name is Drema, (pronounced “Dream uh”) you might not be surprised to learn that I often have vivid dreams. My essay in the book centers around a bad dream I had at a time when I was taking my husband for granted and my response. I don’t want to spoil it, so that’s enough for now.  But whether you choose to buy the book or not I hope you’ll never take a loved one for granted, and I hope I will remember that every day as well.

I enjoy writing for Chicken Soup. As a matter of fact, just this weekend I bought a copy of a Chicken Soup book I have a story in at a garage sale. The woman behind the sale table, a mother of one, said that her son bought her the book to console her when he left for college.  I whipped out my license, showed her my name and opened the book to page 97. We were both delighted to share a moment and reminisce about the newly emptied nest.

Living in a small town means sometimes people come up to me and say they saw my name in print somewhere, and I love it. Once I was at the bank and a teller said “I know who you are. What’s it like to write?” I had never met her before, but suddenly we had a common reference point. As a matter of fact, she had me at an advantage, because she knew more about me than I did her.

But I don’t just do it for how good it feels to be recognized for your writing. (I’m not going to lie, it feels great, of course.) I do it because Chicken Soup only publishes feel-good, it-will-be-alright pieces, and though there is much at odds in this world, I choose to believe there is much that is going just fine.

One night I was at a concert with my husband and one of his fans came up to say hello to him. When he introduced me he said that I am a writer, and that I’ve written for Chicken Soup. “I’ve read your work,” she said, tears in her eyes. “You’ve saved my life!”

While I think she probably meant the books as a series and not my own humble contribution, this reflects perfectly why I sometimes choose to share those most vulnerable, scary things. I want to share my story to help others, not to shame or put anyone down (except myself when I deserve it) but to shine a light on the human condition and how we can, mistakes and all, make it through it together. Through communicating privately, honestly, and open mindedly, there’s not much we can’t sort out. Chicken Soup reminds us of that in every edition. Bless them.

chicken soup dreams cover_art_58268

My Biggest Writing News Yet!

I know, I’ve been totally obnoxious on Facebook and Twitter by hinting and not spilling my news, and I (sort of ) want to apologize for that.  But not entirely.  Don’t you sometimes just want to bask in the joy of the moment, just take it in?

For me, it was more the incredulity I was feeling than trying to be a tease, I promise.

Did you notice I haven’t told you the news yet? 🙂 Read on!

Back story required here:

I have written for the Chicken Soup for the Soul anthology series for several years now, as some of you know.  Recently I wrote a story for an upcoming CS — the Readers Choice 20th Anniversary Edition — the Chicken Soup for the Soul Stories that Changed Your Lives.  

Wednesday night while at work I received an email from CS, and by the subject line  I assumed I was being informed that my story was being accepted.  I wasn’t.

I read the email, grabbed my phone, ran down two flights of steps and out the door to try to find a private spot to call my husband where I quickly sobbed out my news and headed back upstairs to teach, not saying a thing to anyone else.

I LOVE getting stories accepted by CS, so when I tell you my news is even better than getting a story accepted, believe me.

What?  You’ve already figured out my news?  Yes, detectives, one of MY STORIES was chosen as one of the best in the past twenty years! My original story coupled with a story from a reader who was affected by it will be published in the collection! (I know, I have totally run out of my allowed use of exclamation points in this post, but I don’t care!)

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Reader's Choice 20th Anniversary Edition: The Chicken Soup for the Soul Stories that Changed Your Lives

My story originally appeared in Count Your Blessings and it was called “Never So Poor That You Have Nothing to Give.”  I was at a new job and was more than a little enamored of it when I wrote the story.  (Don’t get me wrong — I still love my job!)  I have always admired how generous my students are when I know many of them do not have the money to give.  A few months ago a student brought me a CD he had made himself, and I have often received Christmas gifts from students I knew couldn’t afford it. One student worked at a second hand store and she would bring in clothes she thought I might like.  I have had birthday cakes baked for me, candy given me, and cards made just for me.  Every gift touches me deeply and causes me to ask myself if I have more to give, but not just monetary gifts.  Can I be just a bit more patient, a bit more present?  Can I spend just a little more time on lessons geared towards not only the students’ need but their interests?

That spills out into the rest of my life as well.  Is it possible to give more of my time to my family, my community?

To think that perhaps I have helped someone else become a bit more generous makes me glow.  I am humbled.  I am honored.  I am thrilled.  Yes, it truly took me a couple of days to process this, and while I wouldn’t say I feel worthy, I am feeling deeply satisfied.  This is why I write.  And I cannot WAIT to read the story by the reader who wrote in about my story.

Note: I don’t get any money from this whatsoever, so please don’t think I am trying to sell you something, but if you are interested in pre-ordering the book, you may do so here: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/chicken-soup-for-the-soul-jack-canfield/1113830084

Chicken Soup for the Soul: Parenthood, Update

Have you ever had a moment when you knew something was meant to be, but all evidence pointed against its ever happening?

You might recall that I recently mentioned that I have another essay coming out in Chicken Soup for the Soul, the Parenthood edition.  I just received word that it will be in bookstores March 12, 2013, so look for it then.

My story is called “Our Sunshine,” and it features (with his approval) a story about the first day I met our son, Zackery.  Even as I write this I am welling up a bit — I knew from the moment I met him that he was meant to be our son.  The problem?  He was with another foster family.  It looked like my wish would never happen.  Would I ever have a son?  My son?

Well, you can read the essay for yourself, if you like, in March.  The books will be available at all of the major purchase points, both brick and mortar and virtual — Barnes and Noble, Amazon, and more.

As much as I adore writing fiction, I also like making people feel good and sharing the joys and struggles of my own life.  Chicken Soup “feeds” that writerly side of myself.

Have you ever had a moment when you knew something was meant to be, but you had lost faith in its ever happening, until unexpected events caused things to sway in your favor? Please share your thoughts with me here — I know many of you are readers of the series, and I’d like to hear your comments.