Random Act of Kindness – Whatif Monster WINNER!!!

Thank you all who entered this contest. Reading all the entries brought me to tears several times. The goodness and kindness of human beings overwhelms me sometimes – especially when for some reason, human beings love to focus on the negatives and telling each other how come they are wrong about so many things. If we all focus a little bit more on how we all can be pretty awesome and nice to each other, oh my, how the world would change.

Thank YOU ALL for making my world even more beautiful. You guys rock and I love you all!

And now, without further meandering ramblings….THE WINNER:

Whatif Monster GIVEAWAY!! (But, I make you work for it – gotta read my whole meandering post. Hee!)

Okay, PHEW! I am FINALLY ready to get this giveaway written down! Today was a little crazy, I had a lot on my plate. I had to get a dog to the vet, pick up my kids from their dad’s house, mail off 4 packages at the post office, look for some very specific art I want for my dining room at some antique stores (I have a BIG party on Saturday at the house, so yes, HAVE to), go to the grocery store and get a run on the treadmill in (to keep my sanity). And I did it ALL! PLUS I got the art done for the temporary tattoos I want made in order to have them in time for my Whatif Monster Party on Saturday. And I ordered them! Yippee!! I am so excited for those! And I know lots of you are too, and want to know how to get those so I will let you know as soon as I get that worked out. I am getting my REAL tattoo on Thursday!!! The husband is a bit unsure about that whole business, but I have loved this little green dude since the moment I created him in my mind and I will love him forever and ever. Plus when people see my tattoo and ask me about him, I can tell them about the book, and then SELL THE BOOK. Marketing, people always have to be marketing! And therefore the tattoo is a write-off – clever, yes? I think so. (I have a meeting with my bookkeeper tomorrow, I will let you know what she says. We’ll see if the government is on the same page as my brain.) Prolly not. Go figure. Ahem.

Someone asked me what I am ‘on’ to get so much done in a day today on Facebook. Well, I will be honest – B12 is REALLY something else! And if you are not taking B vitamins, I think you are missing out. B12 and coffee and BAM! You are off and running. But I know it is not just that. I just hate to waste a minute of my day. Somewhere in my brain, I am always thinking that I never know when this ride is going to end. I never know when all of a sudden it’s “Game Over.” Yes, morbidly, I mean death. I mean, sure I also think about losing my right hand, going blind, having some accident that will cause me to not be able to paint ever again, but I truly am terrified of taking a moment of my life for granted. I do think about how fragile life is and how one minute you can be running around doing whatever, not thinking about anything and then the next minute some random, crazy event happens and you are, just like that, no more. Yes, maybe morbid, but it drives me. Drives me with a passion to do as much with my life as I possibly can and to make a difference with my life with an almost frenzied energy. I work really hard every day, but if you follow me on Facebook, you know I play hard and relax hard too. After a crazy day, you will find me on my back deck lounging with my family and breathing in the relaxation. So, I do have balance. Promise. And girlfriend LOVES herself a vacation! With cocktails. I do, I do. But I do abhor laziness and it is a pet peeve of mine. So if I am not doing something, I feel lazy and then I get disgusted and then I find something else to do. I simply cannot stand laziness. I can’t stand excuses and I think the answer to just about anything in life is hard work and action. So… that is how I get so much done in a day.

Oh lordee, look at me meandering on and on. You are not here for the incoherent ramblings of a crazy lady, you are here for a GIVEAWAY, right? Get on with it already lady, will ya? I can hear you thinking. Sorry. Onwards.

Here is the thing. I did a giveaway once before and I got burned. So while I was running on the treadmill I began to think of how else I could do it. As much as people seem to have good intentions, life gets in the way and people don’t do what they promise. (In my last giveaway I gave a Whatif Monster to some winners if they promised to take pictures of them with a handmade monster for a full week and to post them or email them to me. I got a couple pictures from one of the winners and the other one got the monster and then didn’t take one picture at all and wouldn’t even email me back. Rude.) So, because of that, I wanted to make some rules that I PROMISE you, even if you don’t win, you WILL WIN. Trust me on this, if you enter this contest, because of the rules, you will experience some AMAZINGNESS. I can promise this cross my heart and hope to…well, you know.;) So, if you want to enter to win a signed hardcover copy of Jonathan James and the Whatif Monster AND a numbered plushie version of my monster I had made with a certificate of authenticity, please read the rules:

Whatif Monster Giveaway Rules:
1. Perform a Random Act of Kindness. Anonymous or not. Send someone a card for no reason. Take your neighbors garbage can back up to their house from the curb. Go say hello to your elderly neighbor. Write a post it note love note to your partner and leave it on their steering wheel to find when they leave for work in the morning. Bake a cake for someone. Offer free babysitting for a date night to someone. Pay someone’s parking meter. Buy the person behind you’s cup if coffee in a drive-thru in the morning or standing in line. It can be small and simple or big and giant.

2. Once you have done it, tell me in the comment of this blog entry what you did. People will LOVE hearing what other people did and it will give all of us GREAT ideas!

3. You can enter as many times as Random Acts of Kindness you perform by the end of the contest. The more wonderfulness you put into the world, the more chances you get to win.

That’s it! Simple right? And trust me, just wait until all that kindness comes back to you a hundred fold – you win even if you don’t win.

EDIT: Someone asked if kids can do this or it was just open to adults. NOT ONLY CAN KIDS DO IT, PLEASE ENCOURAGE THEM TO DO IT!!! YES!!!!

I mentioned this to someone who shall be nameless, but was the person who is responsible for this monster being created (*cough* husband *cough*) in the first place and said, “What if people lie? It would be really easy to cheat in your contest.” And yes, yes it would. Although I think the people that know me and know about this contest would NOT lie or cheat because you all are super awesome, wonderful, lovely people, BUT if someone does? Well, then they do. I can’t stop cheaters. BUT. Let me tell you, someone that would lie about performing Random Acts of Kindness to win a contest to win a children’s book and plushie? Wow. I cannot imagine the amount of icky, negative, mojo that person would bring into their lives. Good luck with that, yo. And you might as well walk under a ladder right into a room of precariously balanced mirrors filled with black cats walking around. Just sayin’.

Contest ends Friday, July 27 at 12pm. At which time I will use a random number generator or pull a number out of a hat to pick the winner. The number picked that coordinates with the numbered comment wins. I will video record it so everyone can see.

Okay, Off with you! Go be kind and make people smile! I can’t wait to hear what you do this week! This week will be AMAZING! Just wait and see! 😀

Whatif Monster Ears Video Tutorial

I am going to make this a page on both my michellepaints.com website and on my whatifmonsters.com website as well, so you won’t have to come back and try to find this post later if you need it. Cause I’m awesome like that. Actually it’s because I am so super disorganized I know that I personally would never be able to find the post again, so I am just making it easier on myself when people ask for the link to it. Clever huh? I know, right?

So here is the video that explains how to do it.

Now here are the supplies you will need to make each version:

If you are making the giant pipe cleaner version, you will need:
– Giant, chenille lime green (stems) pipe cleaners, available at Hobby Lobby for $2.99
– Piece of Yellow Felt at any craft store for 20 cents a piece
– One headband – any kind, preferable cheap and already in your house!
– Hot Glue Gun
If you are making the felt version, you will need:
– Piece of Yellow Felt at any craft store for 20 cents a piece
– Piece of Green Felt at any craft store for 20 cents a piece
– Elmers Glue or Tacky Fabric Glue
– Hot Glue Gun
If you are making the paper version, you will need:
– Large sheet of white paper cut into thin stips
– Piece of yellow construction paper
– Piece of green construction paper
– Glue stick
– Stapler
– Crayons or markers

Follow the directions in the video and this is what it should look like!

Now, don’t forget to upload a photo of you in your ears to Facebook and tag me in it so I can see!! 😀

So much good. So much gratefulness.

Well, I have about a million and one things to do and SHOULD do, but my entire house is in a massive state of upheaval. We are having all the trim in our house repainted from wood to white and having hardwood floors installed on the entire bottom floor. SO I have no studio and I am writing this from my bedroom. And since I am caught up on emails and invitations to send out for my big Whatif Monster Book Launch Party (Yes, I scheduled a party that I invited over 100 people to during all all of this – but don’t worry, the contractor ASSURES me this will all be done in a week. Projects like this never go over, right?)

So I am sitting here and trying to slow down and think. And reflect. And be still. And be grateful. So many amazing things have happened so fast. I don’t want forget a moment of any of it.

I finished my first year of school visits this past year. And I replay so many of those moments again and again, trying not to forget each child’s smile and delight and cheer when I turned around my art. I don’t want to forget the feel of little arms around my waist and the whispers of “I love you, Miss Michelle.” I don’t want to forget the absolute intensity of their little faces when they needed to tell me something and NEEDED to be heard – even if it was just, “I have a black dog. His name is Skipper and I love him.” I don’t want to forget the sound of hundreds of children promising me in unison out loud that they promise to follow their dreams with everything they’ve got. And especially I don’t want to forget the children too shy to say it out loud but I could see them hiding their pinky and silently mouthing along. I never will forget the little girl that was absolutely sobbing at the end of my presentation in New Jersey, she was crying so much that er teacher let her come to me. Once I calmed her down she managed to squeak out, “I am going to miss you so much when you leave, please don’t go, Miss Michelle.” That just about ripped my heart out and and I gave her the biggest, longest hug I could and asked her best friend to please take care of her for me – and I watcedh two first grade girls walk away, one with her arm around the other comforting her.

I don’t want to forget going to my publisher’s national sales convention in Tulsa and meeting hundreds and hundreds of people so passionate and friendly and each all so amazing. I don’t want to forget meeting my incredible editor, and owner of Kane Miller, Kira Lynn for the first time in person and being absolutely delighted to find we are amazingly similar people with the exact same sense of humor. Within moments of meeting we could just look at each other and know we were finding humor in the exact same moment we had just observed. I don’t want to forget when I asked where I should sit at the big dinner gala and Kira said, “The front table Michelle – you will always be at the front table here – follow me.” I don’t want to forget how misplaced I felt at that table, yet also giddy with excitement, at sitting at those front tables. I don’t want to forget how I felt the first night, sitting next to the CEO of Usborne Publishing, Randall White, listening to to him tell me jokes and call me a liberal commie for the rest of convention – because he knew I understood his humor and could handle it. I want to remember how I felt the next morning sitting at breakfast and not believing this was my life because I was talking for hours with brilliantly talented Susanne Gervay and Kira. And I don’t want to forget singing karaoke with Randall – belting out Margaritaville and changing a few lyrics to represent our differing political views. I have pictures of that!

I want to remember forever the feeling of standing in front of 500 people at that convention and being more nervous than I ever have been in my entire life, but calming down as I told story after story of my silly life. And the feel of an entire room giving me a standing ovation when I was done. I got goosebumps just writing that – the feel on stage? Surreal.

I don’t want to forget getting home and having so many emails and messages and texts from so many people telling me how my book, Jonathan James and the Whatif Mosnter, my little book that came out of my heart and soul, is affecting hundreds of people. A message that is so universal and somehow I created it in a way that is so accessible to so many. I have heard so many stories of hardships, of triumphs of people so low but ready to pick themselves back up and begin again – and telling me my little book is helping them do that.

I don’t want to forget my school visit calendar for the entire next getting completely booked for out of state visits, in about 5 days. I wish I had more weeks to give, more time for more children. But I will get to them, I promise!

I often say I don’t know how this gets to be my life all the time. But I guess that is not exactly true. I know I have had years and years of working so hard towards creating this life. Of wanting so desperately to show my children that actions speak louder than words, that they can do anything they want by watching their mom do it. I have kept focus on wanting this life and never forgetting my goals even when times got hard – sometimes harder than I thought I could endure. The hard work part? It got rewarded. The part that was out of my hands? The luck part. But I was so very ready when my lucky moment came and boy did I grab on to it with both hands and I have yet to loosen my grip – and I never will. I have so much I want to do with this life I have been given. I want to encourage children and adults that they can have their dream life too – that this is possible for all of us. I am proof of that. There is nothing about me that is more special than any other person in this world. We all deserve a magic life.

And finally, I don’t want to forget the feeling I had when I read an email from Kira the first day of convention that said she was in love with my newest picture book and wanted to make an offer on ‘Bob is a Unicorn’ the week after convention. Do you have ANY idea how hard that secret was to keep??? If you know me, you do. And right now you are SHOCKED I did it. I can’t wait for y’all to meet my newest love, Bob. Y’all are gonna adore him. Soon I will begin painting his story for the world, but right now it is Jonathan James’ and the Whatif Monster’s time to shine. And besides, I can’t get in my studio right now anyways. 😉

I am so very grateful to every single person who has helped me in one way or another on this journey of mine so far. I can say with certainty, that I did not do any of this alone, nor could I have done it alone. And people are amazing, so I would not want to do it alone. This ride is so much more fun with y’all. I love you all so very much.