Janet Sumner Johnson
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Inspiration

Inspiring Women

Mar

09, 2020 |

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Inspiration

Happy International Women’s Day! I wanted to mention three inspiring women who have influenced me over the years. Today I’m focusing on public historical figures, because otherwise I would just post pictures of my mom, grandmother, sisters, aunts, well . . . you get the idea. So here we go!

#1: Marie Curie

Image result for images marie curie

The first woman to win a Nobel Prize, the first person ever to win a second Nobel Prize, and the ONLY person to have won two Nobel Prizes in two different sciences (Linus Pauling won one for Chemistry and one for Peace). She is one of the very few women I remember learning about in school. She knew what she loved, and she worked tirelessly to make the world a better place through her work. I could go on for quite a while about her accomplishments, because they are many, but you can read more about here HERE. Marie Curie told me that a woman could do anything they put their mind to.

#2: Mother Teresa

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Her life was so filled with love for others, that you can’t help but be inspired to work harder to be a little better. If you look up quotes by Mother Teresa, you will find a plethora of inspiring words. Here is just one that I love: “If you can’t feed a hundred people, then feed just one.” The reminder that if we all did the little that we were able to do, the world would be a better place.

 #3: Harriet Tubman

Image result for Harriet Tubman Images

Harriet Tubman is one of the other few women I remember learning about in grade school. What impresses me most about Harriet Tubman is that she didn’t hesitate to brave danger after danger–knowing what it could mean for herself if she were caught–to help other slaves experience the freedom that she had gotten. If only we were all so fearless, and so concerned about others.

So many inspiring women have helped change this world for the better, and it was tough to only highlight three. I think of Pocahontas, Amelia Earhart, Clara Barton, Florence Nightengale, Anne Frank, Rosa Parks, Sojourner Truth, Jane Austen, Ada Lovelace, and that is just to name a very few (and not even considering those who are still alive!). I thank them all for standing strong in their beliefs. For working hard in the face of doubt. For changing the world for the better.

Which women are you honoring today?

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My First Podcast

Apr

10, 2017 |

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Books,Inspiration,Interview,Podcast

Hi all! I haven’t been around much with all the fun stuff I’ve been doing lately (conference presentations, school visits, family fun, etc.), but in all of that, I had a chance to visit with Mindy McGinnis for her podcast series, Writer Writer Pants on Fire. It is out today!

So while I collect myself and work on getting a better post written, you can enjoy listening to a conversation between Mindy McGinnis and I on querying, agents, books, writing middle grade, and humor HERE.

Writer Writer Pants on Fire Podcast

Have a fabulous day, and I hope you enjoy it!

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Pineapple Watching and Standing Alone

Feb

16, 2017 |

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Inspiration

Pineapple watchingThe other day I cut some pineapple while Girlie watched with her binoculars. After a few minutes she put her binoculars down.

“You know, it’s actually kindof boring to watch pineapple. . . . But somebody’s gotta do it.”

And with a big sigh that carried the weight of the world, she put those puppy’s back up and dutifully watched the pineapple.

Outwardly I simply thanked her for being so dutiful in her job. Inside I was laughing hysterically, and the first thing I did was snap this picture so I could post about it on Facebook. (Oh yeah, I’m totally that mom). And lots of people smiled at the picture, and laughed at her totally made up job.

But here is the thing. It wasn’t long after this that she looked away for a second. And guess what happened??! Big Brother sneaked in AND STOLE SOME PINEAPPLE!! Turns out that Pineapple Watching really WAS important! And nobody knew it but Girlie.

So of course I’m going to turn this into an analogy, because analogies make me happy. Ready? Here we go:

Sometimes, when we do things that aren’t the norm, people are quick to laugh. And to be honest, that doesn’t feel very good. Actually, it feels downright crappy. And sometimes, we let other people’s laughter or criticism decide what we will or won’t do.  It can be hard to stand alone and follow our convictions . . . whether it is about watching pineapple or sticking up for a friend (or a not-yet friend). But you know what? Life is better when you stay true to you.

You watch that pineapple! You wear those socks! You try out for the juggling team if that’s what you love! You be you. And just remember that when others laugh, it’s only because they don’t understand.

But you do.

And that’s all that matters.

 

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Fairness and Elephant Poop

Feb

01, 2016 |

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Inspiration

Sometimes, life just isn’t fair.

My kids tell me this all the time, and I’m pretty sure as a kid I reported this fact to my parents at least weekly.

 

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The list goes on and on and on. From stupid things that don’t really matter, to big things that make us want to curl up in bed with a tub of cookie dough and watch nonstop episodes of [insert favorite show here].

Life isn’t fair. It isn’t. And though I wish otherwise, it probably never will be.

Which is precisely why we can’t let that bother us. We can’t let the mundane unfairness of life control us.

This past month, my family and I have been going through an unfairness. A life situation that is crazy! Unexpected. Silly. And utterly, completely unfair. And it’s not been a little thing. It will uproot our lives, and make things much more complicated in the months to come (lest you all worry overmuch, it’s about a failed house purchase for a reason that even the lender admitted to never having seen before).

There are all kinds of ways to react to this unfairness. Anger that it is happening to us. Stress and anxiety for all the changes to come and the added unexpected workload, not to mention expense. Sorrow for losing what could have been. Bitterness at the unfairness of it all!

Or.

Or, or, or, we can chose to be ducks. Face it head on, then let it flow off our backs like water. Trust me, I know that is easier to write than it is to live. I KNOW. But the situation is happening. It will happen no matter how we react. And though we can’t control the situation, we can control how we react.

And we can choose to be happy. We can choose to move past the unfairness, and focus on the good things that still fill our lives. Because there are good things. Lots of them. Sometimes it’s hard to notice those small happinesses when a big elephant of frustration is filling our vision. But a change of perspective, a shift of stance, and there they are. All those good things just waiting to be noticed.

Yes, it will take work. Yes, it will be hard. I know we’ll have moments where we stumble, or slip in the elephant’s poop (gross!). But I hope they will just be moments.

Here’s to moving on. Here’s to focusing on the sunny side of life and finding joy despite it all!

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