We will give away three e-books to three winners today. Best of luck!
I have been working with Christa Hines for going on four years now. And that’s how I know that she is a delightful colleague and friend, and an exceptional communicator.
Please help me welcome, Christa!
Introducing Christa Hines
Christa Melnyk Hines is a freelance journalist and communication specialist. Her articles have appeared in dozens of parenting publications around the U.S. and Canada. Between a childhood spent moving from base-to-base as a military brat, several moves as an adult and her transition from working full-time to staying home with her two young boys, Christa knows first-hand what it’s like to be the new kid/mom on the block. Christa is passionate about empowering moms to build and sustain healthy connections to better manage life’s inevitable upheavals. She resides with her family in Olathe, Kansas.
Learn about Confidently Connected: A Mom’s Guide to a Satisfying Social Life, February, 2013
Research shows that strong social networks and family connections can help us live longer, healthier and happier lives. Social bonding among women boosts oxytocin levels, a natural hormone that combats stress, anxiety and depression. Even a couple of hours spent with friends can provide emotional nourishment, reducing your stress and lifting your spirits. As a result, you’ll return home a happier, more effective parent with increased energy and enthusiasm.
If you feel alone and isolated, Confidently Connected will gently guide you back out into the world. You’ll learn how to breathe new life into your network and regain your footing with a sense of purpose and support. This book will also help you prioritize, develop boundaries and create a social network that complements rather than controls your life. Whether you are a new or seasoned mom–-working, staying home or somewhere in between–-this book will show you how to:
- Find a parenting group that matches your needs, parenting philosophy and personality.
- Connect and converse with confidence.
- Empower yourself to contend with draining relationships and mommy cliques.
- Use social media to tap new friendships and enhance old ones.
- Learn creative, practical ways to form a group of fun, supportive mom friends.
I asked Christa three questions about our giveaway’s theme topic, self-expression:
Is self-expression an important part of your life today, why or why not?
Self-expression is integrated into my daily life as a writer. Writing has brought me comfort and healing through family crises, personal devastation, heated exchanges, difficult work environments and challenging individuals. I love to keepsake and re-read my children’s funny quotes and record the humorous, and sometimes troubling, events of family life.
Ever since I received a pocket-sized red diary for Christmas one year when I was nine, I’ve kept records of my thoughts, dreams, triumphs, and frustrations. I remember that diary came with a small pair of gold keys. One day I accidentally dropped the keys down the vent in my bedroom. I tearfully asked my dad to fish them out for me. He never blew me off or told me to just tape the book shut or not to worry about it. Instead, he attached a magnet to a string and was able to rescue the keys.
The idea of safekeeping the harbor of my thoughts was so necessary to me and he honored that, even if my only journal entries were “it snowed again today. Nothing else happened.” These days, I find energy in sharing information with others that might resonate with them. There’s something inspiring about reading and writing about shared experiences.
What does self-expression mean to you and how do you do it in the world?
Self-expression is a way I can feel more connected with friends, family and other parents, particularly moms. Transition and crisis can leave a person feeling very isolated. A powerful piece of writing or an enlightening conversation can provide a renewed sense of hope and create a bond. Connecting with others through writing makes me feel more alive and more fulfilled.
The writing life invites me to become an integral part of the world rather than a loner peering through a window wishing I was on the other side wrapped in the warmth of the party. The truth is, we are all inter-connected and when we can tap each others’ shoulders and share our struggles in a meaningful, productive way, we feel less isolated. This sharing is energizing. Through writing, speaking and inviting others to share their perspectives, I hope to build a stronger community of mothers who feel more united through common experience.
How does self-expression impact the world–your family, your friends, your readers and everyone else.
I personally draw courage from and am inspired by writers who have the ability to beautifully weave their experiences into a story that shakes me to the core. Those experiences that have me nodding my head “uh-huh, yes. I know. I’ve been there.” And, I’m always a little relieved someone else has “been there,” too. Writing personal experiences, opinions and perspectives can often feel like a leap of faith. I guess you could say I’ve finally agreed to unlock the book and put aside the little gold keys. Even on days when you think no one is paying attention, you just never know when what you have to say offers a beacon of light for someone who is struggling. Self-expression can make a positive difference in so many lives.
And Now, Your Turn…
You remember how this works right?
Please read the complete rules at least once!
I ask you a question.
You answer in the comments for your chance to win a book each day.
Please just respond once, even if you make a typo.
Answer in the comments in 50-200 words (no less and no more to qualify to win one of today’s books).
Which qualities about yourself do you treasure most? How do you personally enjoy these qualities? How do you share these qualities with others and with the world?
Ready, set, comment! I will hold the drawing tomorrow and post the results here in my blog.
Thanks for participating in the Writer Mama Every-Day-In-May Book Giveaway!
And thanks for spreading the word. We will be giving away great books by wonderful women authors all month.
View the complete list of authors and books.
View the giveaway Pinterest board.
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I’ m empathetic and try to be honest with myself which helps to keep me humble. I have causes which compel me to write and at times to speak about. I appreciate the wisdom of the elders around me. In our community there are several couples who have been together over 50 years, one couple for 71 years. I love the fact that they live life to the fullest-golfing, dancing, swimming weekly. Just seeing them is uplifting, they are my role models and I often seek out their opinions. The unnecessary harshness and pain around us such
as gun violence often bring me to tears. I love being with my sons and their families, the sound of their voices can make my day. My greatest treasure is my husband who supports me in all my efforts, helps me when I need help, even when he doesn’t quite agree.
I am usually able to keep my sense of humor even when times are dark. When I can find the oddness or quirky take on a situation it makes me feel better and this is a gift I share with friends. That sometimes tearful laugh can pull you through obstacles instead of letting them bury you.
I like that I genuinely like and care about people. It’s a quality that gives both to myself and to others. I love nothing more than making someone feel welcome and to listen to their story. Most of the time it’s a good quality, but other times it’s easy for me to feel stalker-like because I remember details of things others tell me, even if I’ve only met them once. “Good memory!” they tell me. But it’s really because I just listened well the first time. 🙂
I am grateful that I was born with the “happy” gene. Most mornings I wake up in a good mood ready to face the day’s challenges. I also appreciate my “social” gene. I often start up conversations with complete strangers. That doesn’t, however,translate to social media. I rarely update my Facebook page or tweet, as I prefer face-to-face encounters. I like that I have a positive self-image, as it makes it easier to be confident about my writing, and that I enjoy
expressing my creativity in many artistic endeavors. Most of all, I feel blessed that I have raised my three children to treasure these same qualities in themselves, so that now as adults, we enjoy spending time together.
I now most treasure the qualities that used to bring me unhappiness – introverted, introspective, sensitive. It’s been a long road to get to this place, but I enjoy how beautiful alone time is now that I’ve learned not to see my need for it as a a fault. I incorporate activities into my life that feed my introverted side, like meditation, writing, reading, yoga and running (alone, of course), and these things allow me to enjoy inhabiting my own skin. When I allow myself to go inward, I find I am recharged and have more to offer as a mom, wife, friend, citizen of the world, etc.
Wow, this is a hard one! I think one of the qualities I love most about myself is my inquisitiveness. It has served me well in a number of ways. First of all, it helps me in my personal life because it enables me to constantly be aware of my surroundings and notice when something or something is off kilter, including
the feelings and emotions of my children. In my career, being inquisitive is a great quality to have, and I think that because I possess it, it makes me a much better interviewer capable of producing factual and compelling profiles.
The qualities I treasure
most in myself are ability to cut through the “layers” and connect, and to be
open. These efforts happen easily when I’m comfortable and need some
cheerleading when I’m not, or when I’m feeling tiered or snarky. I share theses
qualities on a daily basis in everything I do, however I’m working on not
letting others drain me because I am so open. It’s a fine line.
I recently giggled the other day in a meeting when I had just said my piece about something important and a and another board member/friend said to me “You are so glass half full!” One of the best compliments I have ever received. My optimistic enthusiasm is one of my treasured qualities. It helps me to be a respected leader, overcome obstacles more easily and go through life smiling. When people see someone smiling, they smile too.