About 8 years ago I stood on a beach at sunrise after a run. I watched the ocean. I listened. This is the place on earth where I most hear God, The Universe, the voice deep in my heart that tells me what I am supposed to be doing. I made a promise that day and said I would follow my heart with everything I had if the universe would help me – no matter how hard it got. I knew children were my calling. I knew that I wanted to help them see their value, feel their worth and to know how much they MATTER. We all matter so much and we all deserve to hear that – to hear that our dream, no matter what it is, matters.
I have always felt a particular need to talk to and help sick children. I have visited children’s hospitals to share my art and volunteered at Ronald McDonald House helping sick children and their parents create art for an hour or so to forget about what they are going through – even if just for a bit. My husband and I donate money every month to St. Jude’s Research Hospital. Every month or so we get a picture of a sick child and I put them up on the fridge. Everyday I look at each child, say their name and tell them I am thinking of them that day and to stay strong and fight so that they can follow their dreams. I really do this. The dogs can verify. Here is my fridge. 😉
Aren’t they the cutest? I call them ‘my kids.’
When I came up with the idea of the Whatif Monster, I immediately knew that I wanted to have a special edition monster one day that I could create and children’s hospitals and charities could use to sell and keep all proceeds. (I also have a Jimmy Buffett Whatif Monster and a Bon Jovi Whatif Monster, but that is a blog for another day – but Jimmy and Jon if you are reading this? Call me! I got big ideas!) Of course in order to have a limited edition, I needed ANY edition! So I created the green Whatif Monster that stars in Jonathan James and The Whatif Monster. No matter the book had not been bought, or my editor OR agent had not seen it yet. When I decide on something I DECIDE. I think BIG y’all. And I had the universe on my side, right?
I even decided to manufacture 1200 of the green little dudes because the handmade ones are so labor intensive and people kept ordering them. So of course, I started the $6000 process with not a dime in my pocket. (yes, my husband had to pretend he did not know what was going on – he is NOT the risk-taker I am and I am sure I have him heart palpitations that past 3 months) But pre-orders came in, generous donations arrived, school visits began. And I am happy to report I will have every dime I need to pay the rest of the deposit in January! (and my marriage is intact! Bonus!) The production samples are on the way! Now I just have to make sure I can sell about 1000 more of the little dudes or it’s gonna get all kindsa Tribble and Gremlins up in here. heh.
But sometimes you just have to go for it – just go with your gut and see what happens. Sometimes you fail HUGE, and trust me, I have – but like I tell every child at every school visit, you cannot fail if you don’t give up, you just may change some things along the way.
Yesterday I got an email that I have an OFFER from a publisher, for my book, Jonathan James and The Whatif Monster. It is still surreal to me. I mean, I thought it would happen, hoped it would happen, NEEDED it to happen (1200 monsters on the way y’all!!!) but then when it does? I kept asking my husband if I was dreaming. Because now? Think about how MUCH CLOSER I am to that special edition monster??? Crazy, right? I know! (Srsly Bon Jovi, Rock Star Whatif Monster!! GOLDEN.)
ARE Y’ALL READY FOR THIS NEXT PART? The SERENDIPITY, the UNIVERSE IS TALKING you best pay attention PART??
Because the universe wants to MAKE SURE you are paying attention and that it remembers your promise so many years ago on the beach, I was contacted by the lovely people at Ruckus Media Group. They make amazing apps for children. They work with some awesome people in the children’s publishing industry that I know personally and adore. They are GOOD people. They asked me if I would promote a partnership they just formed and it helps – are you ready? St. Jude’s Research Hospital. ARE YOU KIDDING ME???? I KNOW! I of course said YES! YES! YES! (See I told you they were lovely people!)
This week Ruckus Media Group, is partnering with St. Jude’s Research Hospital for the annual Thanks and Giving campaign, a holiday program that asks shoppers to Give thanks for the healthy kids in your life, and give to those who are not,” while shopping this holiday season. When customers purchase any of our interactive storybooks on the App store (now until November 28th), we will donate 100% of the net proceeds ($1.39) to saving children with cancer and other deadly illnesses. That’s every app!
You can read about their campaign here: http://www.pitchengine.com/ruckusmediagroup/black-friday-customers-can-support-st-jude-childrens-research-hospital-with-every-purchase-from-ruckus-media-group .
So? You buy an app, you help a child? Win, win, right? How amazingly cool is the universe?
So very thankful for my life and for all of you, lovely readers. Happy Thanksgiving – and don’t forget to begin following YOUR dream if you haven’t yet.