Tuesday, November 1

Blogging in 2012...

I shall return to blogging here after the holidays...


Tuesday, September 27

Pushing Forward...

The leaves are changing colors and my favorite season is finally here. I'm happy for the arrival of fall even more than usual. With summer over, I hope to start to push forward with my life. The changing season reminds me that all of us have to face changes we can't control in our lives. 

I can't help but look at the transition of the trees and think of how my own life has changed since losing my mom. I keep replaying the last conversations, moments, laughs...everything shared between us before she died. I keep wondering if she really, really, REALLY knew how much I loved her, how much she grounded me, encouraged me to be the wife and mother that I am...that I strive to be. 

My mom was my best friend. We talked everyday...sometimes several times a day and that's gone now. I told her I loved her whenever we said goodbye, but it still doesn't seem like I said it enough. Experiencing this kind of loss has reshaped my thinking about what's important. 

I believe living life to the fullest and loving the ones in your life by being present, emotionally engaged is what matters most. Dealing with loss...choosing to change and adapt to life's heartaches takes time and healing. It's a journey I haven't traveled before, but I'm not walking it alone.


Thursday, August 25

Going On...

Losing my mom came as a shock even though I thought I'd prepared myself for losing her. How foolish to think one could prepare for such a loss. It still doesn't seem real. I wake up in the morning and the realization hits me all over again. 

She'd been battling a life threatening illness for so long...I knew she was getting tired of it all, but I still thought there would be more time. I told her I loved her all the time, but I wished I'd gotten one more time to tell her...to hold her hand...to feel her arms around me.

My mom was also my friend. I talked to her daily and it's so hard not hearing her voice. I know she's gone on to a better place. She's free of pain and free of that body that had become so ravaged by her illness and the medicines she took. I'm selfish. I want her back, even though I know she's finally free...finally whole.

I know she'd want my sister and me to go on with our lives. She'd want us to find joy in the things we love. She'd want us to live life abundantly. Somehow, I have to go on. My mom would demand that...if I listen hard enough I almost hear her soft voice encouraging me to do so.

~Angela Nichelle

Friday, August 12

In Loving Memory...

In loving memory of my mom...

You were the best mother a daughter could ever hope for 
and I love you so much.

Your strength and your grace will forever guide my footsteps...

Sunday, July 17

Summer Fun!

I can't believe how fast this summer is going! Mother Nature has turned up the heat and been a fun challenge trying to think of ways to beat the heat and keep the kiddos outta my hair!

These are my favorite three summertime-get-'em-outta-your-hair projects:

1) Freeze their toys! My kids love it when I take a random small toy and freeze them in some kid friendly container filled with water. We take the frozen toys outside and they have a blast waiting for the favorite toy to thaw from the ice!

2) Fishing for Ice! Take a pitcher and fill it with water. Add a few drops of food coloring. Pour the water into your ice tray and freeze. Take the ice cubes outside and fill up the kids sand pails with water, then toss in  the colored ice cubes. My kids love to fish them out with their hands or you can buy the little fish wands at the pet store!

3) Body paint! Well, not quite. Let me explain. My kids put on their bathing suits and then I let them take Crayola washable markers and draw on their bodies. Once their body art is finished they get to wash it off through the sprinklers! The marker comes up easily and I finish up the job at bath time.

(I only trust Crayola for this, not all washable markers wash off as promised!)

Do any three of these summertime activities with your kids and I guarantee they'll have some fun and stay cool while their doing it!

Happy Summer!


Saturday, June 18

Kid Frenzy!

So, I survived the first week with my kids out of school! It wasn't even a full week...well, I guess one hour of class on Monday doesn't really count as a full day of school. We've had a blast keeping busy by heading to the movies, the park and library.

I just need to figure out how to balance my writing with summer because by the end of the day I'm done. Kaput! Nothing creative left in me. I hardly wrote over 500 words this week and that's so not me. *sigh*

Hopefully, I'll work out a balance next week!

Summer + kids = sweet chaos!


Tuesday, May 31

Summer Temps & Summer Colds!

Whew! The long weekend is over and although we had some serious rain, it ended up being a really warm and sunny Memorial Day. It was actually warmer than I like, but after all the cool temps we've been having, I was so happy to see the sun!

There's nothing like relaxing in the shade with the wind ruffling your hair and clothes. I was so thankful for the time spent with my family this weekend and mindful of families who've lost loved ones in the service.

Every day and each moment we get to spend with our loved ones is a gift!

I wonder what it is about this time of year that causes those summer colds. I'm looking forward to a nice long sniffle-free stretch, but for now, I'm keeping the Kleenex handy!


Saturday, May 28

Red, White & Blue...

I salute the brave men and women who serve our country 
and their families this Memorial Day. 
A special shout out to my cousin serving over seas! I'm proud of you!

Tuesday, May 17

Ahhhhh! Summer Break Is Almost Here!!

Summer break is almost here! Although, it hardly felt like it today with temps in the fifties. Brrr!! Still, we're approaching the middle of May and there are only so many weeks left of school. Where did the school year go?? How will I ever survive both of my kids in my hair full-time all summer long? Will I have time to write a single word during the day?

*Hyperventilating* (Taking a few deep breaths...)

I can do this...I have done this. I've just gotta plan activities and keep 'em busy. There's the library, the zoo, the park, the movies...arts and crafts, music lessons and playdates. It'll be fine. The summer will fly by just as fast as the school year did...right?

Right. And in the meantime, I've gotta cherish each and every one of those days leading back to school in August...my babies are growing up fast!


Tuesday, May 3

Bigger Dreams...

I just finished watching President Obama and his wife, Michelle on Oprah. No matter what you think about his policies or how he's handling the job of presidency, there's no denying his commitment to this country or his family.
How wonderful it is to see the President with his wife. The two of them obviously connected by their love and commitment to one another. When they look at one another you can feel the undercurrents of love. You can't fake that kind of stuff..well, I guess you can, but it doesn't usually come across as genuine. These two seem to have the real deal relationship.

I appreciated Michelle's candor about how tough marriage came be. I can't imagine the stress of being the first family heaped on top of all the day to day rigors a husband and wife face. Both of them are so devoted to their children. As a parent, I admire them both. I'm thankful for two extraordinary role models for my children and for our youth all over America.

Michelle mentioned she's so proud her husband becoming president has been and will be instrumental in getting little boys and girls of color all over the world to believe anything truly is possible in this country. Indeed, young children like my own will never know anything else. Their dreams will be bigger because another barrier was shattered when Barack Obama became president.

When a child hears, but also sees any dream is possible with hard work and perseverance the possibilities for their future are brighter, bigger...endless!


Wednesday, April 13

Writing is Like...

Writing is like...

An old friend. You have great days together. You have not so great days together and there are times you don't speak at all, but your bond can never be broken.

Writing is like...

A beautiful sculpture. Every curve of stone that makes up an entire masterpiece reminds me of the words, sentences, paragraphs grouped together to create a finished work.

Writing is like...

Your life...a journey that requires growth, change, courage and tenacity to raise above the bumps in the road.

Writing is my touchstone, my own personal playland where anything is possible!

How cool is that?


Tuesday, March 29

Three New Fabulous Children Programs!

We all know television isn't good for kids all the time, but I haven't met a parent yet who hasn't allowed their children some time in front of the tube. I don't think television is harmful to kids as long as they aren't sitting in front of it all day and watching shows like CSI or something just as inappropriate.

There are so many quality choices for children on television I think every parent can find a great show that they approve of and that their kids will also in enjoy. With two young kids, deciding on what to watch when it's TV time can be a challenge. Thank goodness for the following new shows that are a treat for the kids and mommy approved:
1) The Bubble Guppies~ I love this show! The cartoon is so colorful and the story lines are fun and educational. The show is filled with catchy tunes and my kids like to get up and dance to the music.
2) The Cat In The Hat Knows A lot About That! ~ Martin Short's the perfect quirky guide in this imaginative children's show. Toe-tapping songs and amazing voice talent bring this cartoon to life. I love the animation and the lessons within each episode for my kids.
3) The Wild Kratts ~ There are a couple of shows geared towards introducing kids to animals, but The Wild Kratts bring fresh energy to the concept. These two brothers are fun and it's obvious they love their work. The animated portion of the show really brings the brothers and the animal of the day they're discussing to life. Both of my kids enjoy this show!
It's nice to know there are shows that hit the entertainment and educational mark perfectly!


Wednesday, March 16

Take Nothing For Granted...

I'm so happy the weather is finally warming up. There's nothing like warmer temps and a little sunshine to brighten one's mood! The beautiful weather here is like a gift, but I can't help but think of the people in Japan battling the aftermath of Mother Nature at her fiercest. My heart and prayers go out to that nation.

It's hard for me to concentrate or be creative when such terrible things happen. I feel guilty for enjoying even the simplest pleasures when so many are barely making it through the day. Writing has always been an escape, a wonderful escape that makes me happy...no fulfills me in ways I never expected. Tragedies like the one unfolding in Japan make me pause even more frequently to appreciate the good things in my life.

My family is whole, safe and happy...nuts some days, but there's a lot of love to get us over the bumps. We are not suffering for the basics: Shelter, water, food, medicine and love. I wish that were true for every single person on this planet.

We all deserve the basics and so much more. More than anything, I'm realizing to take nothing for granted...cherish the people in your life and appreciate even the tiniest conveniences.


Thursday, February 17

Spring is Coming!

I know it's only middle of February, but today it got up to almost 60 degrees! Do you have any idea how warm that is compared to the frigid temps we've had here in the Windy City? I've got Spring Fever bad. I can't wait to drop the boots in the back of the closet and don a lighter coat. Autumn is my favorite season, but Spring is a very close second.

I love seeing the stark barren look of winter melt away as Mother Nature awakens once more, turning the Earth green. The colors of spring truly renew one's spirit and I for one can't wait for pleasant weather, sunny days and beautiful butterflies. ;-)


Saturday, February 12

To My Valentine...

I love you more now than when we first met.

How could we have know what challenges we would face?

The hardships we'd endure...

We've faced them together and I love you for that and for so much more but especially for always making me laugh.

I love you for supporting my dreams...
for encouraging me to spread my wings and fly.

I love you for listening...
for caring and sharing your heart.

You are my Valentine on this special day...
every day
I love you...


Monday, January 31


Well, the Windy City is bracing for blizzard like conditions. The snow is suspected to hit in full force tomorrow afternoon, but I just came back from looking out the window and it looks like Mother Nature is getting the party started early.


I said in another post that I don't mind winter and I don't...well, not for the first few weeks anyway. It's okay, I can deal with more snow, especially with so many other crazy things happening all over this planet. But, I'd still like to whine about snow days to look forward to with my kids and the fact that I'm still trying to get rid of this unimaginably tenacious cold which my son now has. Booooo!

What's a girl to do? Vacationing now is not in the plans so, I'm listening to ChillOut on the Beach and imagining I'm somewhere warm...not super hot...just warm and sunny. With a Mai Tai in my hand and my lap top on my lap. I so want a vacation.

Take a listen and I promise you feel like your on the beach somewhere fabulous too!


Tuesday, January 18

Love Is...

I'm still trying to get over my cold and my winter blahs. The best way to do that for me besides writing is music. Today's pick, Chrisette Michelle's ballad, Love Is You. This song is so beautiful with the piano and moving harmonies. Her voice is perfect, unique and heartfelt and the lyrics melt my heart every time I listen to the song.

Yesterday was Martin Luther King, Jr. Day and I spent the day with my kids thinking the answer to so many of our problems in this world is LOVE. Loving one another is the key to true peace and harmony in all aspects of our lives. When we get to the place when we can appreciate, disagree and still love our fellow man, we will finally have grown as a human race.

The greatest lesson I can share with my children is that...to love themselves and those around them even if it's never reciprocated. Not an easy thing to do, but Martin Luther King, Jr., and many others have shown it's not an impossible feat.

Here are the lyrics to Christette Michelle's ballad, Love Is You:

What's your definition of it?
How does it make you feel?
Tell me what you say that truly makes it real
Kings and Queens, Philosophers have tried so hard to find
Tell me what it means to you dear, nevermind

Love is kind when the world is cold
Love stays strong when the fight gets old
Love's a shoulder to lean on
Love is you
Love's like the water when the well runs dry
Quench my thirst, keep me alive
Just need once too baby
Love is you
Love is you, love is you,
Love is you, love is you

Is it possible, there is a kiss that's so divine
Or am I just a fool, is it all in my mind?
Is there something chemical
A scientist might say
Well love must be a drug
To make me feel this way

Cause love's my permission to be who I am
No inhibitions cause you understand
Freedom to breathe oh baby
Love is you
Love's like a kiss when the sun goes down
Holds me tight when no one's around
Love's what I want to hold on to
Love is you

Love is you, Love is you, Love is you,
Love is you, Love is you,
Love is you, Love is you,

Love is kind, it makes me stronger
I don't have to look no longer
You're the one I cling to
Love is you
When the chips are down
Love will stick around
I'm so glad I found
Love is you

As much as I've tried to clarify
Love's quite simple, he's just my guy
Perfect definition
Love is you
Love is you, love is you
Love is you... is you...

Tuesday, January 11

Winter Blues

It's snowing again and it looks so beautiful. I don't really have anything against winter, but this season just makes me feel like pulling up the covers and hibernating until spring. The bears have the right idea.

Snow makes it easy to procrastinate about EVERYTHING with my favorite excuses:
"It's too cold..."
"The roads are bad..."
"It's too cold..." ;-)

lol. It just seems easier to stay indoors with a hot toddy and veg. Writing comes easy for me in the winter. At least the cold seems to heat up my creative side. I've got lots of story ideas...maybe too many. I'm currently in between writing projects because I can't decide which one to focus on.

The one thing I don't like about winter is the propensity for colds. I'm pushing the multivitamins and vitamin C, but I'm still sneezing and coughing because those cold germies have already taken hold of my baby girl. *sigh* Where is that hot toddy?

(click the pic for an awesome hot toddy recipe!)


Tuesday, January 4

Resolutions for 2011!!

The holidays are over! I enjoyed them, but I wasn't sad to pack up the Christmas tree. I'm embracing 2011 with open arms. January is a special month. Most of us make resolutions for the year and look forward to a fresh start to reach or surpass goals made the following year.

Here are my top five resolutions for the New Year:

5. Commit to working out. (This one never changes.) Winter makes it tough, but I've got workout tapes just waiting for me to push play. Why is it so hard to want to exercise???

4. I've never been a big meat eater. Shaved turkey sandwiches are pretty much the extent of my carnivore tendencies...maybe baked chicken breasts. After watching Food Inc. I don't know if I can even eat that. Great film by the way, I think I'll do a post on that soon. Anyway, my resolution is to buy and serve foods with ingredients I recognize and can pronounce. Not and easy feat, just look in your cabinet or freezer. I know fruits and veggies fit the bill, but I can't stay sane with just those foods. It's going to take some work to do this, but I'm determined!

3. Be more patient with my kids, husband and myself. I going to channel my inner Ruby (from Max & Ruby) and let things that drive me crazy, well, not drive me crazy.

2. Submit to two new publishers.

1. Continue to build body of work for my pen name which is going really well, but somehow I've got to find time to finish the WIP's I'm working on as Angela Nichelle. There's gotta be a better balance.

There are more resolutions, but these five are the most important. I'm not going to stress myself with these goals (refer to picture above), but I am going to make every effort to achieve them. If I succeed, 2011 will be a great year indeed!