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Self-discovery and self-actualization through exploration and reflection

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A new cover, refreshed content, and a larger page size greet you in Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal.

First edition

Several years ago, I was spending too many hours in front of a computer, writing manuals for clients and managing a technical writing business. Working from a home-based office, I missed being with people. I remembered my teaching days and the exchanges that take place in group settings. I wanted to get out more to talk and listen and learn, and created a plan to transition from computer time plying my craft to sharing my work with others. Thus, the motivation for Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal was born.

Authoring, publishing, and marketing the first edition of my first book had its rewards.

Others enjoyed journaling their way to career success as evidenced in reviewers’ comments:

“Using it as it’s meant to be used, as a journal, you’ll be amazed at what you reveal to yourself.”

“The magic of this work-book is that it can be used by people at any stage in their career to help focus on what they want to be doing—a key ingredient to being successful.”

“It’s an unassuming little book that will not intimidate young people preparing to go forward with more confidence. It’s a good way for experienced adults to mentor them without preaching!”

“Quite unique to this book were a fill-in-the-word story at the end of each chapter and a complete story at the end of the book. These are not just silly Mad-Lib stories! Each section asks you to own your own dreams, successes, skills, etc. I feel like my story of career success has been written, and it is now up to me to live it and make it a reality!”

“The question ‘What are you wearing?’ led me to my ah-ha moment. I pictured myself in casual sporty clothes, holding a patient chart. Combining this with other pieces of the puzzle I had put together with the help of this book, I have found my new passion.”

Second edition

Over the past several months, I have worked on a second edition of Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal. Like the first edition, this new, improved edition is intended for those in transition from school to work, from one work experience to another, or from work to other meaningful pursuits. The scenarios and guided journaling activities offer readers time and space to think, explore, doodle, draw, dream, and create success stories. Parents, teachers, and other growth coaches might just find this book the perfect tool to support those who are journeying toward a productive, fruitful life.

This second edition of Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal has refreshed content, a new cover, and a larger page size, allowing readers to journal away. Go ahead. Take a Look Inside. I hope you like what you see.

Living well

Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal offers a path for living well at work. The living well theme finds its way into each of my books.

Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud, through Froggy and his critter friends, explores living well in nature.

A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way has recipes and stories for living well with food, family, and friends.

Heres to happy reading and happy living.

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Many years ago, as a young employee, I thought that at the end of each day, I should have a clean desk. To me, that meant my work was done, I could go home, and the next day I would start anew. What I eventually learned is that work at any job is rarely, if ever, done. The best one can do is stop work at a place in which continuing is possible—the next day, the next month, the next year.

I have come to feel the same way about authoring and publishing my books. There is always more work to do. Over the past few months, I have revisited my three published books, tweaked them, and refreshed the content and covers. The second edition of Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud is now live! It’s up and ready for you to read.

Reviewers of the first edition commented on the messages that this book about Froggy and his critter friends conveys.

Each chapter, a self-contained story, teaches positive virtues: caring, respect, and honesty, through the characters’ observations, musings, and actions.

It easily lends itself to talking about diversity, kindness, acceptance, sharing and protecting nature, and valuing and honoring friendships.

The collection of stories focuses on the central themes of working together, focusing on the positive, and living in the present.

They commented, too, on the mood the book brings forth.

You’ll walk away feeling uplifted, with a spring in your walk and a smile on your face.

It’ll brighten your day, even if you didn’t think you needed it.

Take a Look Inside Amazon for this new edition of Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud. I hope you like what you see—slices of life intended to entertain and inspire families, both the adults and youth.

Now, on to my next job—finalizing second editions of Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: A Journal and A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way. This author’s work is never done.

Rudolph

Tis the season of lights. Whether a flame that miraculously flickers long past the expected time, an antidote that casts out darkness, or a beacon that guides, lights glow—just like Rudolph’s shiny nose. When our own light shines, we, too, sparkle. We radiate. We wear an aura that makes our world a bit brighter.

During this season, let your light shine by dwelling in a happy place. Bask in memories of moments that put a smile on your face, pep in your step, and warmth in your heart.

I will do the same, right here, right now.

Recipient

One morning, I stopped, as I often do, for breakfast. I read a little, collect my thoughts, and scribble a few to-do notes. I eat, I drink, I pay, and I leave. On this day, the check for my breakfast did not arrive. When I asked the waitress for it, she said, “You’re all set.” While placing a tip on the table, she added, “You’re all set with that, too.” A patron at the restaurant gave the waitress money to pay for someone’s breakfast. “I chose you,” the waitress said. That was one delicious start to my day.

On another morning, at a different venue, I purchased coffee to go and later discovered a surprise treat in the bag, something yummy to enjoy with my coffee. I stopped in the next day to say thank-you and pay for this item when I learned that this treat was a freebie. Why? “Because I like your face!” How sweet is that.

“Thank you for coming here today.” That’s the greeting I regularly heard at a client site whenever I arrived to do some work. Before I settled in to tackle a writing project, I was in a happy mood. How nice to hear words of appreciation said with sincerity.

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I am a published author! In 2011, I published my first book, Career Success in 12 Easy Steps: a Journal. In 2014, I published my second book, A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That: Eating Our Way. In 2017, I published my latest book, Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read. At this rate, book four should be ready in 2020. Yikes! It’s almost time to consider a topic.

In the meantime, I’m going to write a talk that I can deliver to audiences, sharing my experiences authoring, publishing, and promoting my books. What will I say?

That depends on what audiences want to know. For now, I’ll put my imagination to work and think about one member of my audience—you.

Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty

You might like to know that before I started writing about Froggy and his critter friends, I could feel a book percolating. Then on Leap Year day, February 29, 2016, the bubbles surfaced. Froggy has a wart that one day is gone, gone, gone. He wasn’t sure how this happened. Froggy, Flutter By, Orchid, Sweetie B, Bobalong Bird, and their other critter friends would help me to explore and discover healing and wellness.

You might like to know that while writing about Froggy, I was ensconced in a happy place. I sat at the beautiful cherry writer’s desk that my woodworker brother built especially for me. Using a new laptop computer, I wrote in brief stints of maybe an hour or so before starting my workday. From the window at my left, I looked at the changing seasons and let the stories—30 or so slices of life—write themselves.

You might like to know that while writing about Froggy, it occurred to me that, if Mom were still alive, she would be 100 on May 28, 2017. That gave me a goal. Books would be in hand to distribute to family and friends who would gather on that day. I am happy to say, “Mission accomplished.”

A Bisl of This, A Bisl of That

You might like to know about the origins for this book—a combination cookbook, inspiration, and memoir. I called my cousin to wish her well on upcoming surgery. The worrying tone changed when I asked for one of Grandma’s famous recipes. “Let’s start a cookbook,” she suggested. “You send an email to all the cousins, with a copy to me, requesting favorite recipes,” I responded. And so it began.

You might like to know that a few recipes trickled in. Then a few more arrived. I forwarded all arriving emails so that the cousins and others could see how this project was taking shape. More recipes arrived as well as requests to include Larry’s Potato Latkes (pancakes), Aunt Jeanette’s Stuffed Cabbage, Mom’s Chocolate Sponge Cake, Grandma’s special Mile-High Lemon Meringue Pie. Stories accompanied the recipes and the requests—heartwarming remembrances of cooks and kitchens that continue to nourish and sustain.

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An excerpt from Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud by Judith Ellison Shenouda

When all is well and good in Froggy’s world, there’s a sense of light—light weight, light load, light mood, light head, and light heart.

Froggy stretches and straightens all fours and jumps higher and higher. As if on a springboard and becoming weightless, up, up, up Froggy goes and then gently lands, this time on the lanky, long, lush, green grass growing from terra firma, swaying to and fro, right next to Froggy’s watering hole.

With all the leaps and bounds, Froggy seeks nourishment. A teeny, tiny bug and a wayward ant are just enough to satisfy his hunger and yet maintain a lithe Froggy physique.

During this particular day, Froggy feels especially playful. After all, today is the summer solstice and the sun rises early and sets late. This is a day of light, more light, and more light still. On this day, the hot sun with a powerful, strong beam feels so, so good drying Froggy’s damp, soggy back.

Venturing from the pond, the thick, silky grass tickles Froggy’s toes and legs and tummy, making Froggy laugh and laugh and laugh again. “Croak, croak, croak. Ha, ha, ha.”

“How my critter friends amuse me, day in and day out. Let me explain.”

For Froggy’s explanation and more slices of life well lived, read Living Well in Froggy’s World of Plenty: Sweet Talk to Read Aloud, available at Create Space, Amazon, and other online stores. There’s fun, inspiration, and wisdom on every page.

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Image is courtesy of Open Clipart

You may recall that Froggy imagines the day when his wart will be gone, gone, gone! On this particular day, Froggy has not a care in the world. Along with his many friends, Froggy is simply awestruck.

The critters gathered to witness a new birth. The shell wiggled, then crackled, and then broke as Fuzzy, the chick-chick, came into view. It was a miracle.

With a crack-crack here and a cluck-cluck there, Fuzzy’s family and friends rejoiced. The yard filled with papa chick, mama chick, and many other chick-chicks. All were in awe of this new creation.

Froggy, Orchid, Rosie, Squirrely, Belle Birdie, Woody, and Wiggly, too, all simply stopped. On the ground, in the trees, in the air, and near the pond, the many critter friends watched the birth and the antics of the other chickens, along with their feathered kin. Froggy and his critter friends heard the cluck-clucks, the quack-quacks, and even the moo-moos, bah-bahs, and nay-nays of neighboring creatures.

In time, Froggy and friends gathered ‘round. In awe of the new birth and the joy of those who welcomed baby Fuzzy to the yard, they were quieter than usual. Froggy and friends felt close to the cluckers and the surrounding quackers, mooers, bahers, and nayers, and to each other. Squirrely remained still just long enough to give Froggy a knowing wink that conveyed the awe that both experienced that moment.

Woody paused from his usual chipping on a favorite tree trunk and looked down to witness the earth’s critters below. Woody then looked back up, did a little two-step, and turned to see Belle Birdie dancing a pirouette. Woody nodded to Belle. Belle nodded back. Like Froggy and Squirrely, they experienced the wonder of this awe-filled day.

© 2016 Judith Ellison Shenouda

Now, tell Froggy and friends (and me, too) about your awe-filled day.

Remember I wrote about Froggy who wonders what made that annoying wart wander away? Well, every now and then, I think about Froggy and his human friends who experience wellness, somewhat mystified as to how the healing really occurred.
I committed to writing Froggy’s story and I’ve made some progress. I’ve dipped into my own well, my reservoir, my creative source for exploring wellness. I needed a place to hold what pokes through the gray matter and created a template for my new book. I simply took the file for my earlier book, stripped away the content, and had place savers for a book title, subtitle, front matter, chapters, and end matter. I had styles for headings, paragraphs, lists, and quotes. With a container all set to go, I pasted my start to Froggy’s story into a chapter. With the momentum building, I was on a roll.
About This Book started to take shape.

Wellness is all encompassing. It touches all aspects of one’s being. Wellness permeates—and transcends—the person. When one is well, there’s a sense of wholeness, a sense that all is right with the world.
Annoyances, irritations, aches, and pain subside, fade away, dissipate, and disappear. One becomes open to the light. One is free to attend to the good, the sacred, even the holy.
Experts in various disciplines know something about wellness. The doctor… The nutritionist… The athlete… The naturalist… The musician… The entertainer… All have their take on the subject.
Yet, the composite from the many disciplines is not the whole story. A mystical ingredient exists. In the process of writing this book, I am hopeful that the known ingredients of wellness and the mystical might just meet.

The Dedication helped me to establish a timeline.
With my late mother’s 100th birthday one year from now, I have a goal—to honor the occasion with a book in hand, one that serves as an expression of a daughter’s love and admiration.
Progress is sweet.
What I have, thus far, accomplished are little steps toward turning an idea into a book. Yet, little steps are steps nevertheless. Progress is sweet. I feel good.