Making a lifestyle change

Achievement Fitness, San Jose, CA

Achievement Fitness, San Jose, CA

In my last blog, I told you about a fitness and diet routine that I’ve been following for the last 5 months. It started with a 6 week challenge at Achievement Fitness in San Jose. Truly, this gym and the people I’ve met there have changed my life. Anyone who has ever attempted to lose weight has probably heard “It’s not about dieting, it’s about making a lifestyle change.” I don’t think I truly understood those words until now.

Let’s play catch-up!

The photo on the left was taken in Maui a little over 2 years ago.  The photo on the right is what I look like now.

The photo on the left was taken in Maui a little over 2 years ago. The photo on the right is what I look like now.

It’s a brand new day, a brand new life and it’s time to catch you up on what’s been happening. It’s been well over 9 months since I wrote my last blog post. I wish I had a fabulous excuse like I decided to drop out of life to live in Tahiti for the last 9 months; but alas, I do not. Life happens and sometimes it’s necessary to prioritize the things that are most important and allow other things to sit quietly in the corner until you are able to pick them up.

When something annoys or frustrates you, change your perspective. – Dr. Wayne Dyer

Dr. Wayne Dyer: Divine Love Workshop on Maui

Dr. Wayne Dyer: Divine Love Workshop on Maui

A little over a week ago, the world lost a beautiful soul and an amazing human being. Author of numerous self-help books, an international motivational speaker, Dr. Wayne Dyer touched so many lives in his time on this earth.

I am but one of many people around the world who has been moved and motivated by Dr. Dyer’s teachings. Like most people who followed him, I have read his books, watched his PBS specials and listened to his motivational CDs. I’ve also had the great fortune to attend one of his workshops in Maui.

The Children’s Book Academy

Image courtesy of Mira Reisberg at the Children's Book Academy

Image courtesy of Mira Reisberg at the Children’s Book Academy

Six weeks ago, I told you about an online class that I was taking to hone my skills as a picture book writer. I thought the class was fantastic!

For those of you who are interested in improving your writing/editing skills or learning more about how to get published, I highly recommend taking a class with Mira Reisberg and her team at the Children’s Book Academy. The information she covered was extensive, and the material was well thought out. I think the biggest draw is Mira herself. She is incredibly kind and generous with her time and her knowledge. She loves teaching, and it truly shows in the interaction with her students.

Seeking that adrenaline rush

Skydiving

Skydiving

All too often, I think people get mired down by the responsibilities of life: kids (or in my case pets), family, finances, career etc …. We end up in a routine that becomes comfortable and familiar. There’s a sense of security that comes with that. However, every once in a while, I think it’s a good thing to step outside of that routine and do something that really shakes things up; something that gets the adrenaline going and makes you feel truly alive.

Caregiver Archetype

Caring for Bryce

Caring for Bryce

I’ve noticed as I’ve grown older, probably more so in the last decade, that I am becoming more and more like my Mom. The things that used to drive me crazy about her have now become my own idiosyncrasies.

  • Mom never sat still. There was always something that had to be done or had to be started. It was exhausting to watch her constantly moving and constantly doing.
  • Mom was never a procrastinator. She got things done and expected everyone else to tow the line as well.
  • Lastly, she made everything and everyone a priority, except herself.

I’m finding right now, that the latter trait pretty much defines my life.

Learning through online classes

Image courtesy of canstockphoto.com/MariuszPrusaczyk

Image courtesy of canstockphoto.com/MariuszPrusaczyk

Last week I started an online class for writing children’s picture books. It’s a mentored 5 week class that teaches you how to write, edit and revise your books. Not only does it help you hone your writing skills but it also promises to teach you how to craft a query letter to send to literary agents and publishers.

Originally, I was going to use my existing manuscript for this course, but at the last minute, I decided to use a story that I had started but never finished. It’s tentatively named “Charlie” and is about a little dog who can’t find his pal. So, he ventures out to find him. My goal over the next 5 weeks is not only to create a first draft of this story, but also to revise/edit it to the point where I can submit it to an agent or publisher. It’s a fairly lofty goal considering I’ve spent many months on my 2 other books.

I hate buying cars

Image courtesy of canstockphoto.com/hayatikayhan

Image courtesy of canstockphoto.com/hayatikayhan

For the 2nd time in a row, I am late with getting my blog post out. My excuse is that I’ve been to hell and back trying to buy a car.

Let me explain. I have a 1999 Honda with just over 157,000 miles on it that I had planned on driving to the 200,000 mile point. Since it’s a Honda, I thought my expectations were reasonable. However, 10 days ago, as my husband and I were driving back from dinner, going about 40mph, the engine stopped. The dashboard lights and the phone charger light were lit, but the engine was not running. Fortunately, my husband was driving and was able to move into the left hand turning lane. The car could actually start up, but if Gary didn’t get it into drive and move quickly, it would stall again. After 3 stops/starts and 1 “let the engine cool and jiggle some wires,” Gary got us home. Yes, he totally rocks!

Bonds of friendship

Director-G​eneral Lai presents citation to WWII veteran William Seam Wong, U.S. Army, 14th Air Force (aka "Flying Tigers"), 407th Air Service Squadron

Director-G​eneral Lai presents citation to WWII veteran William Seam Wong, U.S. Army, 14th Air Force (aka “Flying Tigers”), 407th Air Service Squadron

Last Friday, in Boston, MA, my father, William S. Wong and 2 of his fellow servicemen were honored for their service in World War II. My father was part of an all-Chinese American unit called the 407th Air Service Squadron.

The 407th Air Service Squadron was activated in November 1942 to support aerial operations in China. Army Air Force support personnel who were fluent in both the English and Chinese languages were needed to communicate easily with both Chinese soldiers and civilians. This service unit served a special mission: to assist American Flying Tigers pilots and to train Chinese Air Force ground crews to defend against Japanese invasion.

My first SCBWI conference

SCBWI Spring Spirit Conference

SCBWI Spring Spirit Conference

Back when I was mulling over a career in writing, I had been advised to join the SCBWI, Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators. I joined because I trusted the person who gave me that tip. Unfortunately at that time, all I did was read the newsletter they sent out. Though the cost to join was not high, I didn’t get anything out of it. After a year, I dropped it. I had not taken the time to seek out what value SCBWI could bring to me.

Now that I have entrenched myself in this endeavor, I have rejoined and am making a concerted effort to make use of the networking advantages as well as workshops and conferences. A few weekends back, I attended my first SCBWI conference. The conference, “2015 Spring Spirit,” was put on by the California North/Central region of SCBWI. It was fantastic!

Being that this was my first SCBWI conference, I had no idea what to expect. I went into it with my “growth mindset” and sought to learn as much as I could and hoped to make some new friends who also wrote children’s books.