family, kindness, reflection

Three Weeks of Joy

Three weeks ago, my life changed forever.

On February 14, 2019 – Valentine’s Day – I became a published author. It was a bucket-list, milestone moment that ranked almost as high as my goals to become a wife, a mom, and a teacher.

It fulfilled a promise I made to my mom on the last day she was alive.

Three weeks. Twenty-one days. Six months of editing, six months of writing, and a lifetime of living all wrapped up in one 270 page novel.

WOW. Sometimes, there just aren’t enough words to adequately express the impact of such a moment in your world.

Several times in the past three weeks I have sat down to update this little website of mine, to share my joy moments with you, to shine a light on the unbelievable kindness of others, and each time I have been overwhelmed to the point of tears in trying to express my gratitude to you all.

How does one begin a thank you note to the world?

How does one send a hug to each person they’ve never met?

How does one reciprocate the vast depth of love and joy received?

They sit in a cute little coffee shop on a rainy Friday afternoon with a perfectly crafted Dulce de Leche and simply let the words pour out on the page.

The past three weeks have been a complete whirlwind in my world. I have quickly discovered that life doesn’t stop just because you published a book; if anything, the pace ramps from 0 to 60 overnight! My days continue as before, filled with lessons and collaborations, and my evenings are still rocking on with mom-mode as I help with homework and take-home projects, do laundry, and try to figure out what on earth happened to the entire package of cheese sticks I bought just days before.

But now there are new adventures and opportunities woven in the mix. I was a Keynote speaker for the CKI Capital District Convention, speaking to 75 college students about the importance of community-based service-learning projects. I met friends and family (and a few new friends, too!) during my first book signing event at my favorite little coffeeshop, The Local Cup. I even got to meet Jason Mraz’s mom for the first time which was quite the fangirl moment for me!

Keynote Presentation for the CKI Capital District Convention
Book Signing at The Local Cup
Signing books for June, Jason Mraz’s mom (His story is on p. 200-201 in my book!)

I moderated Twitter chats for #tlap and #122edchat and scheduled more for the coming weeks. I prepared for a poster session and an Ignite presentation which I shared at our local EdTechRVA conference this week.

Poster Session at #EdTechRVA2019
Ignite Presentation at #EdTechRVA2019

I packaged and mailed books and ordered more when I ran out. I took selfies with coworkers, signed books for students, and answered emails about my passion and my purpose.

Signing and packaging books for my Kindness Cultivators
Celebrating my book with my coworker and friend of 25+ years, Brian Capaldo
Have you met my Zumba instructor, Toni? SHE IS FAMOUS, Y’ALL! Check her out!
Even our retired custodian, Carter, came back to school to get my new book!

I became a real author in every meaning of the word.

I also learned that real authors are not immune from getting sick either, so in the midst of it all I’ve lost my voice, coughed up a lung, and gained appreciation for medical insurance to cover the cost of prescription medications.

But even in the hardest of moments and toughest of times, I am reminded of the power of A Passion for Kindness.

I am receiving countless stories of how this book has impacted your world. On Twitter. On Facebook. On Instagram. Face-to-face conversations, handwritten notes, and reflective blog posts. I’ve even had my very first sketchnote completed about A Passion for Kindness!

A Twitter tweet from my school district’s superintendent – Honored!
A quote from my book created by Alicia Ray, who also shared her reflections about A Passion for Kindness in her #DBCBookBlogs post.
A Twitter tweet shared by Christine Bemis, with her mom and my book in the hospital.
“High Expectations” – No pressure, right?
A Twitter response from Renee’s cousin. Renee’s story is the heart of Chapter 6.
An incredible sketchnote about A Passion for Kindness drawn by Julie Porter
A special blog post from Dave Burgess with his reflections about A Passion for Kindness, with watercolor artwork created by 10 year old Rowan Weston, daughter of DBC author, Amanda Fox.

I stopped in the grocery store to pick up a few things and the cashier congratulated me on my book. I sat in the pharmacy drive-through and the person behind me was waving her book out the side of her car window.

When the grocery store cashier at Kroger congratulates you on your new book, you feel like a local rockstar! Thanks, Sandy! Lovely to meet you, too!
“I even have your book in my car!!”

That’s the power of kindness. My joy is your joy; your joy is mine. My cheeks are nearly sore from all the smiling I’ve done recently.

The past three weeks would have been NOTHING without your support and encouragement. You have celebrated each and every moment of this accomplishment, and you continue to pour into my heart with each post you share.

In the coming weeks I hope to write more details of all the amazing events happening in my author life, so you, too, can join the fun. For those of you who are budding writers and aspiring authors, perhaps my stories may bolster your confidence and give you ideas for the future. For those of you who are educators, perhaps my stories will show you the power of your voice, too. And for those of you who are family and friends, well… it’s just fun to share my life with you, so thanks for staying on the train and enjoying the ride!

Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the many ways you have uplifted me and my book these past three weeks. Each of you is a thread woven in my life’s tapestry and my goodness, what a beautiful piece of artwork we are creating together!

You bring joy to my soul!

For more information on A Passion for Kindness, visit or click on the “Book – A Passion for Kindness” tab on this website!


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