Live Big Blog
“Let’s Live Our Best Life Together”
A new school year marks the thrill of beginning a great new adventure! We have the chance to reevaluate, redefine who we are, what we want, and how we plan to live our best life.
One of my favorite ways to start a new year is to update my DREAM BOARD which I gave the nickname, “My Life’s Treasure Map”.
For me, A DREAM BOARD is a visual reminder and motivator for the hopes, dreams, and goals I set for my life. My life is filled with potential, I call buried treasure, that I want to find, explore, and share with the world!
But I do have to seek it out! I am the only one who can, and as I do I have learned if “I SEE IT! BELIEVE IT! I CAN ACHIEVE IT!”—
1. What is the first IT – “I SEE IT” is knowing who I am, what I like, what my God-given talents are, what areas I need to develop and examine honestly to be able to show up authentically and completely as I pursue the goals I set for my life!
2. What is the second IT— “BELIEVE IT” is to believe in THE MIRACLE OF ME that I have come to know and see. Also, it’s to believe so deeply in my God-given talents, ideas, and dreams that I feel them as if they have already happened!
3. What is the third IT—“I CAN ACHIEVE IT” is my best life! A life filled with achieved-dreams beyond my wildest imagination!
As Walt Disney, one of my heroes said, “If you can dream it! You can do it!… All our dreams can come true if we have the courage to pursue them.”
My DREAM BOARD has been a great tool to help me see my dreams and stay courageous. The incredible, mysterious wonder and thrill of IT has been to never give up the pursuit!
In the above photo, I am at my desk with my DREAM BOARD so that I am reminded daily of all that I can do, be, and contribute in my lifetime! And YES! The majority of the dreams on my board for 2017 have come true!
My boys and their friends that are about to graduate from High School made their own DREAM BOARDS, so that they can begin to SEE IT and BELIEVE IT!
And I have no doubt that they will all ACHIEVE IT—A well-lived life beyond their wildest imaginations!
This past year, one of my highlights was sharing my book Dream Big with the incredible High School and Middle School students from Harmony School of Political Science in Austin.
The students spent weeks before I got there, building their own Dream Boards. I could have spent hours with these students hearing about their vision for their lives. They were amazing! They were inspiring! They will, no doubt, become some of the great leaders we need for our country!
Thank you HARMONY for your courage!
Now, go to the DREAM BOARD PAGE on my website to learn more about this activity.
Videos are another great tool I like to use. As Teddy Roosevelt said, “The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face marred by dust, and sweat, and blood, who strives valiantly…” Here is one of my favorite videos by Denzel Washington that will hopefully encourage you to stay in the arena too. I love to watch it while I work on my DREAM BOARD.
IN 2018, LET’S ALL DARE TO STRIVE VALIANTLY IN THE ARENA OF LIFE AS WE EACH CELEBRATE THE THRILL OF PURSUING OUR DREAMS TOGETHER!
My “Holiday Hope” this season is that people see and experience just how incredible they really are! We are all heroes full of possibility, made of something so powerful, so magical that we really can be, do, or have anything!
During Thanksgiving break, my “Holiday Hope” was ignited! We went to the beautiful island of Hawaii for my son to see the University and for me to do a reading at the incredible, Waikiki Elementary School. While we were on the island, I had the honor to meet a stranger who will forever be A HERO in my heart.
We took our kid’s zip lining through The North Shore of Oahu. We were making small talk with the other tourist, and a woman from California with her twin boys said, “Your book DREAM BIG is one of our favorites.” I was elated!
There is no greater gift to receive as an author, but the truly thrilling part for me was hearing her story. She has truly lived the embodiment of what DREAM BIG means:
She was born in Nigeria. Her father died when she was five, so her mom moved her to the United States. In elementary school when a teacher asked her what she wanted to be when she grew up, her response was a doctor. The teacher told her she might come up with a more realistic ambition. The next day the woman’s mother set up a meeting for them to sit down with her teacher, and her mom explained very kindly that “MY DAUGHTER CAN DO ANYTHING SHE PUTS HER MIND, HEART, AND BELIEVE TO!”
The woman’s mother died when she was fifteen. The woman was alone, left to raise herself. But the woman said, “The belief that I CAN DO ANYTHING was a seed my mom nourished deep within me. I put myself through college, Stanford, and Medical School. I am now a doctor with a thriving private practice in spite of all the naysayers along the way that said I could never do these things.” Hearing her story, then seeing the fantastic life she built for herself full of love, fun, friends, and family; it will always be a heroic inspiration for me. When I start to think I can’t, or someone tells me I can’t, I know the “I CAN DO ANYTHING” stardust seed is also planted deep within me.
So let’s have some fun making memories this holiday by taking the time to nourish the stardust seed of “I CAN DO ANYTHING” in others. The Termites in DREAM BIG chose to encourage us by writing “U K-N” on their backs—To say what? They also wrote on the side of their castle “B E U — To say “Smile and be you!”
There are more codes and riddles on my website.
Or come up with your own to help encourage a fantastic life that nourishes the possibility in all of our lives, filling it with love, fun, friends, and family! My granddaughters and I had a blast creating one for the inside flap of my book. We may have taken it to an extreme, but it is a priceless memory that I will always hold dear. Our message to you in the photo is, “BELIEVE ‘YOU CAN’! SMILE, ‘BE YOU’ & JUMP FOR JOY AS YOU DO!”
The stardust seed in each of our hearts is just waiting to be lit! So this holiday lets have fun living a life that radiates what it means to DREAM BIG and encourage others too. The woman I met in Hawaii will forever motivate me to continue to believe in myself and my dreams.
Summer time fun with your kids! CREATE MEMORIES AND OPPORTUNITY FOR CONNECTION!
YES! On my website, you can find all kinds of activities that will capture their imagination, inspire their dreams, and enrich them to raise their ambitions as you spend priceless time together.
Here are two of our favorites below:
Make “You Can Drums” fill them with the “You Can Download” from mywebsite, where they can declare the dream they hope to achieve, write or draw ideas on how they can make it come true, people they can meet or books they can read to learn more, quotes to keep them encouraged on their quest, etc..
Once you complete your “You Can Drum” have some fun! Make Drum Circles and create your own group beat and rhythm as you all get excited about pursuing your dreams. Or play “A-BUN-DANCE GAME” where everyone pulls out tutus, pompoms, headbands, anything grand. Then rock, shake, swing, “A Big Booty Dance” while singing someone’s “Boom Shake Song” and end the performance with the shout out, “MY LIFE IS FULL OF ABUNDANCE!”
Anywhere you go, with or without supplies, except maybe a pen or crayon, you can have fun with this activity—Create Your CATCH-M—”Your very own Magical, Mystical, Miraculous Smile that comes all the way up from your belly, through your chest, and shines so bright that it is your ‘Rainbow Bridge’ to all that is—To yourself, to others, and to Something Bigger which in Dream Big is your wished-upon star that is always watching over you.
You can even come up with fun ways to make someone smile. You can use the “Surprise Smile Download” or come up with your own ideas. But whatever you do, take the time to make memories, and share in your dreams.
After reading the book Dream Big, you can hopefully see the importance of finding the treasure in your own chest. We are all made of a priceless, timeless treasure called stardust, even animals, and the animals discovered a long time ago that we can light the gift of stardust in our chest to give us the extra bit of courage, strength, and guidance we need to be able to achieve our dreams. It is how the first caterpillar turned into a butterfly, the first tadpole into a frog, and it is how I turned into a writer. I felt led to write a book about the power of a smile to help us live our best life, and for more than 10 years, I chased this dream. At times especially when the naysayers were around, I would cocoon, swim around in a pool of negative thoughts, consider running away I’d get so afraid, but like the animals in Dream Big, I chose to SMILE big and believe in myself and my dream instead.
And YES! My dream came true. My book Dream Big is a #1 New Release on Amazon and has sold out of its first printing within 2 months.
Now I am an official TREASURE HUNTER 🙂 I have had a blast learning to find the treasure in my own chest and watching my dream come true. So I want to practice, learn, and have as much fun as possible Treasure Hunting. That is how I found GEOCACHING!
For you guys who don’t know, Geocaching is a worldwide treasure hunt for hidden caches/ treasures throughout the world using A Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or mobile device to play. To learn more you can go to the Geocaching page of my website.
I have had so much fun with my family and friends Geocaching that we decided to partner with The Geocaching Team to create our own special Dream Big Treasure Hunt using CATCH-M Trackables (CATCH-M is The Magical, Mystical, Wished-Upon Star in Dream Big that lights the treasured stardust in our chest):
Here is the link to The Dream Big Adventure. We created 1400 CATCH-M Trackables to go out into the Geocaching World, and I have to say I am absolutely blown away by this incredible community! Nearly 5000 people signed up to play. WOW! I could not be more excited that I found such an amazing group of Treasure Seekers!
For The Dream Big Treasure Hunt, we also created A CONTEST where you can win $1000 and an autographed 1st Edition of my book Dream Big. To play all you need to do is take a photo with A CATCH-M Trackable and A BIG SMILE and post it on social media with #GeoCachersDreamBig #Contest. We will pick the best 3 each month, and enter them into the pool of winners to select the Grand Prize Winner of $1000 and 3 more autographed books on WORLD SMILE DAY, October 6, 2017.
Our hope is that together people will have a blast hunting treasure, making memories, and even encouraging one another along the way to chase their dreams.
WHAT IF WE ALL EXPERIENCE THE THRILL OF LIGHTING THE TREASURED GIFT OF STARDUST IN OUR CHESTS TOO AND WATCH EACH OTHER’S WILDEST DREAMS COME TRUE!
Wow, Africa! What an extraordinary adventure. Where to even begin?
I could not compile a list long enough, or even begin to measure the incredible impact the last 16 years has had on the Maasai and Kispigis communities in Kenya since We Charity partnered with them. But I can share photos and the thrill of what I got to see first hand in the 5 areas WE uses to help break the cycle of poverty.
First, We Charity has effected EDUCATION by building 20 new schools, accommodations for their teachers, and my favorite, libraries that are filling up fast with books. They also provide educational programming, teacher training, agricultural education, and the creation of math, reading, and other clubs of interest for the students.
Second, they have effected HEALTH CARE by constructing the first hospital in the area with fantastic doctors, pharmaceuticals, and an ambulance to help insure the safe delivery of babies. According to the United Nations, the risk of death for pregnant women is about 1 in 38, and Red Cross statistics state that nearly 1 out of every 100 children dies before the age of five.
Third, WE has provided CLEAN WATER by drilling holes for fresh water wells and creating rain catchment systems which frees families from only having dirty river water that they must carry sometimes for miles on their heads.
Fourth, they have built a large farm for FOOD to provide free school lunches along with independent school farms to help educate students on how to cultivate their own food.
Fifth, WE created OPPORTUNITY with Women Empowerment Centers where hundreds of women come together to make goods such as bracelets, belts, necklaces for The Me to We Store. Most of these women are the first in generations to be able to contribute financially to their families. A majority of Kenyans in the area live on less than $1.25 a day, which the World Bank classifies as extreme poverty. As a result, these women take great pride in their work and the knowledge that they can help keep their children in school, away from the statistic that twenty-six percent of Kenyan children between the ages of 5 and 14 are forced into child labor.
The children in this area are full of energy and their vitality in the face of adversity, as well as, opportunity is contagious. I learned way more from them, than they could ever learn from me. And all this was happening because one 12 year old boy, over 20 years ago dared to dream. Craig Kielburger dared to get in the arena of life and fight for people he hadn’t even met yet, but he knew had limited means to change their realities.
Any one of us, at any phase in life, can also create a ripple effect for hope and for good. We Charity offers many incredible opportunities to travel with your families, your schools, or your offices, so that you too, can leave your own legacy, your own positive impact.
You can also be a part of this global community in your own backyard. WE provides tools, resources, and ideas on how to serve your own communities. WE even hosts global events called WE DAY that brings people from all walks of life together to celebrate the impact the youth are making in the world today. It is “The Celebration of WE”, “The Super Bowl of Doing Good”, “The Academy Awards of Changing The World” with events in stadiums through out our world filled with powerful performances, star studded speakers, stories that will move your heart, and tens of thousands of students who cannot buy tickets for the event. They must earn their tickets by serving their community or abroad. Check out their website to learn more https://www.we.org
Now download the “You Can Page” from my website. Fill it out on your own, with your children, students, neighbors, or friends and decide The Global Legacy “you can” leave on the world.
Together, if we decide to make a difference, our world will become an amazing place beyond all of our wildest dreams so lets DREAM BIG together 🙂
P.S. Know when you buy Dream Big for your family, school, neighbors, friends, or a stranger on the street, YES! A portion of the proceeds will go to support We Charity, and all they are doing to make our world a better place.
AFRICA, a wondrous place that holds a deep fascination for me, is where I’ve always envisioned life began and the first Big Dreams were born.
It is where, I think, that first Caterpillar dared to fly through a vast open sky, and that first tadpole enjoyed the thrill of hopping, dancing, and singing.
I am excited to say I am traveling there this fall to see it all for myself. I am going with the organization, We Charity, www.we.org. (It used to be called Free The Children.)
I have read all their books and find what they have accomplished since 1995 incredible. The group was started by a 12 year old boy, Craig Kielburger, which I think is beyond inspiring, and they continue to grow their vision to empower youth to become socially engaged with service learning opportunities, active citizenship, and an incredible platform to all come together called We Day. I am planning to donate a percentage of the proceeds from my book, Dream Big, to the organization, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity to see and learn first-hand more about what they are doing.
So please join me on this great adventure to see what can happen in a community when one person, especially a twelve year old boy, dares to dream.
Click here for an awesome Discussion and Project Guide on Africa, Butterflies, and Tadpoles to also prepare for our shared adventure to learn more about where The Fabulous Five come from, The Heroes in my book, Dream Big. These animals, if we pay close attention, show us all how we can achieve our dreams.
“Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them…And why worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor and spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these.” Matthew 6:25-34.
I am excited to slow down, watch, learn and share with you all the magnificent creations I get to see and all their different dreams that they too have achieved 🙂
YES! Finally, after ten years, two weddings, two grand babies, the loss of both parents, a high school graduation and one quickly approaching, my dream has become a reality! Here is the ARC (…) of my first picture book, DREAM BIG, that launches January 10, 2017.
At a concert with my husband ten years ago, my dream was born. The idea to write a book about a smile that would encourage people to live their best life filled with connection and kindness, hit me over the head like a 2 x 4 and after a lot of trail and error, wise advise, overwhelming moments where I wanted to quit I am actually holding the very first printed version in my hand! So BELIEVE in your dreams and never ever give up no matter how long or how hard it can be!!!
“You can live your dream!”
Now explore my website.
Start to see and believe in your dream by building your own Dream Board. It’s “Your Life’s Treasure Map”. A place you can start to know when, where, and how to live your best life.
My Dream Board sits at my desk to continually remind me to keep striving and believing in my dreams.
My son and his friends, who are about to start their first year of college, are also building their Boards so that they know what their goals and dreams are for their next chapter of life.
Another great way my grandmother encouraged me to chase my dreams was she’d say, “Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths. Envision your dream.” She would then point to my forehead and command, “See it clearly here!” She would then hold my little hands, palms up, and command, “Now, envision your dream down through your chest, into your hands, and out into the world!” She would then lift my arms out to my side, then reach them up to the stars, SMILE big, and whisper, “Soon my dear, it will be out there for you and all the world to enjoy!” MAGIC!
So believe in your dreams and keep striving. It is worth it!
The thrill of seeing my grand babies holding, DREAM BIG, in their little hands is all the proof I need 🙂