Tuesday, April 15, 2014


My theme for A to Z this year is a wildly different, but very exciting, HERE'S TO YOU all month long. 26 posts to be precise. The most difficult part was narrowing down the 26. All of you deserve your own post. What you will find here is a post by the featured blogger, with traveling music chosen by me that complements said post, and two links. One will link back to the original post and the other to the main page. This year's A to Z is all about making new friends!

I met Michael at ...Michael Di Gesu... ... ... In Time.... over a cup of coffee. Well, not exactly "met," but coffee did bring us together. Did you know that coffee is actually the tie that binds? It's not? Hmm. Maybe I heard that wrong. Anyway, Michael made a trip to Colombia and brought back Grade-A Colombian coffee and then gave some of it away to blogger buddies. And I won some coffee. Yeah, I know that is old news, but it still warms my... tongue.

Moving on... Michael and I began emailing and I discovered what a warm, generous, and caring person he truly is. I feel very blessed that we connected through coffee. He is spending his A to Z time this year helping authors get the word out about their novels. Like I said... very thoughtful.

Cue the traveling music:

Now that we have all survived the past few months, we may feel like the air has been let out of our tires.

From Halloween we gear up for the holidays. Those of us with children begin to weave tales of witches, ghosts, pumpkins, goblins, and such. Sugary sweets in all forms enter the house but usually leave in only one way ... through our mouths.

Our weather chills and bulky clothes are added to cover any bumps and bulges we may have attained. This, my friends, is just the beginning ... as we all know.

Thankfully we still manage to get a run in or go to the gym, but time is fleeting. Thanksgiving is just around the corner. We begin shopping and planning menus. So exercise takes a back seat. For some, baking comes into full blast. But as the holidays approach, more stress is added, and Christmas is just a blink away.

You see where I'm heading with this, so I will spare you the fattening details.

The bottom line ... A new year.

But with it, we drag in last's years' baggage. How many of you are sad, depressed, anxious? Feel out of sorts? Not yourself?

You are NOT ALONE! MANY, MANY, people experience a major let down after the holidays. It usually starts when the credit card bills come rolling in. By this point the happiness buying gifts for loved ones has long worn off, especially when your kids are no longer playing with their new X-box or other high end toys.

SO, what do we do to pull ourselves out of this mess? Keep beating ourselves up? Lock ourselves in and not resurface until spring? Plan unrealistic and totally unattainable resolutions?


First, BREATHE. That's right. Stand up. Roll your shoulders. Inhale. LONG and deep. Hold it for a few seconds, and let it out SLOWLY. Do this at least five times and several times a day. It's a great stress reliever.

Next. Try NOT TO LOOK at all of your situations at once. FOCUS only on ONE thing at a time. Choose the easiest. Tackle something that will give you the confidence to move on to a more difficult challenge.

Let's start with your health. Yes, this is hardly an easy one, but, believe it or not, it doesn't take much to get on the right track to feel better. Once you feel physically better, you will feel mentally better, too. Then the rest should fall into place.

I know there are still holiday goodies lurking around your house. They can be anywhere. Not just in the kitchen. It's time to CLEAN HOUSE.

Believe it or not, I am still baking... LOL. Yesterday I was a day late baking King's Cake. An amazing confection to celebrate the arrival of the THREE KINGS. The official end of the Christmas season. I had never made it before and wanted to try. I found a wonderful recipe. After several steps and hours, out pops two HUGE danish-like cakes, filled with caramelized pecans, fresh pears, raisins, and figs. Now I usually have amazing resistance when it comes to my baking. I have baked TONS, during these past few weeks and just nibbled a bit here and there. Well... after breathing in the intoxicating perfume all afternoon, I attacked. BAD MICHAEL!!!!!

I literally inhaled two pieces. Not just slivers either.... What did I do? Well, I Yelled at myself for about thirty seconds and then planned my counter attack.  Quickly I wrapped them up in plastic. Stuffed them into freezer bags. Then hid them in the freezer along with about a dozen other things I had baked. LOL. Out of sight ... out of mind.

Then I went to the gym. Yes, even in sub below temps, I trekked through a foot of snow for a half mile. Okay. You may say I'm insane. But there are certainly warmer alternatives. Many of us have treadmills, workout cds, or even stairs. MOVEMENT is the key. Do something for at least a half an hour and you will not feel guilty and you body will thank you.

As for the other goodies. GET RID OF THEM. And, I don't mean by eating them. Seriously. So many of us have no will power and while we are in this fragile state, it's even harder.

Finally I'd like to touch on resolutions. DON'T torture yourself this way. Goals are a much smarter way to approach the new year. Again, start small. Then build from there. Whose to say you can't add more goals throughout the year. Give yourself a break.

And never forget this last bit of advise ...


Do you feel inspired? I do. Michael is gifted with his ability to bring us all back down to earth and remind us just to breathe. And, seriously, be kind to yourself.... go visit his blog!


  1. Michael is a very giving soul. He's all about generosity. Did you ever catch his Angel series? Been a few years. And his book intros rock.

  2. Michael is awesome. A very talented man and very creative too. His good heart speaks through each of his posts, including those he write for others as thw book intros. I really admire this man's ability to create. Dwarves, a loud cheer for Michael! :)

  3. you are doing such an awesome job highlighting people! michael is fabulous, and also a giver with his stupendous book extended blurbs, so creative. and you captured him perfectly!
    thanks for stopping by so much! i'm trying to visit back and looking at previous letters (Gary is hilarious!!)
    way to master the challenge!
    happy m day!

  4. Oh my goodness, that cake looks delicious! I love, love, LOVE to bake, but I don't have enough family in the house anymore to help me eat it. Your posts are so fun! Off to visit Michael...

  5. I'm certain that Michael is just as nice in person as he comes across on his blog posts and comments. He seems like such a talented guy too. An appropriate blogger for you to showcase on your series.

    An A to Z Co-Host
    Tossing It Out

  6. Michael is one of the nicest people I've met online. I seldom miss his posts. Great choice for your "M"

  7. I was just there! You couldn't have chosen a better blogger for today. :)

  8. I know Michael from the IWSG family. I don't get to his blog often enough. I'm glad you highlighted him.

  9. Yes, already follow Michael, and I know what you mean about the coffee. I got a small amount too, because he's such a generous guy. Wrote a silly poem but it got me a taste of the Colombian brew. So, I understand the memory. . .ah, coffee, coffee, coffee. Loved that too.

  10. Ah yes. Holiday goodies. They can really pack on the pounds!

  11. Couldn't have picked a nicer guy to highlight!

  12. Hi Robin,

    Michael, an excellent choice. This kind gentleman and his ethos of finding the positives out of what may seem to be only negatives, is the type of ideal I truly embrace. I know he is most creative in his book summaries.

    It's always a pleasure to read his blogs and interact with him. And always a pleasure to visit your altruistic blog, dear Robin.

    In kindness and goodwill,

    Gary :)

  13. Michael is a generous, kind soul. How lovely to feature him in this way.

  14. Lots of smart tips in here too. Tackling big goals, one small step at a time, works perfectly wonderful for me!

  15. Michael is such a sweetheart, as you describe. He's a burst of fresh air that the world needs, the kinda person you can't help but adore.

    You poured so much into this challenge, Robin. Thank you for it all. I'm meeting great people are being reminded of all the great people I've already met.

    Finally, (chocolate) coffee IS the tie that binds. Smiles.


  16. Michael is a very talented, and giving person.


  17. This is lovely advice! I met Michael (through you Robin) through his coffee blog hop. I'm glad I did!

  18. Yay! This A to Z has been pure pleasure for me. I love your comments and enthusiasm. It's so nice to make new friends!!!!

  19. Michael is the best. I actually got to meet him in person in Florida a few years ago :)

  20. I'm a fan of warm, generous, and caring people. Can't know enough of those :)


    YOU are ALL TOO kind!

    Thank you so much, Robin! You are truly too sweet. I am most appreciative and happy.

    This means so much!

  22. His is on my list of blogs to check out when I can. And because of Michael, I found your blog, when you beat me out for the coffee, so I'm doubly grateful to him.

  23. Big fan of Michael's blog too, although I don't often comment. I'm usually too lost in thought to comment!

  24. >>... Next. Try NOT TO LOOK at all of your situations at once. FOCUS only on ONE thing at a time. Choose the easiest. Tackle something that will give you the confidence to move on to a more difficult challenge.

    Actually, that's pretty DARNED GOOD advice. Because I am one of those folks who tends to view "The Big Picture", and "The Big Picture" can oftentimes seem REALLY... depressing, and... IMPOSSIBLE to handle.

    I like that advice, and I think I'm REALLY going to try it, because... this "BIG PICTURE" right now has really got me...

    ~ D-FensDogg
    'Loyal American Underground'

  25. Sounds like good advice from Mike. I should have gotten used to the exercise waggon again by now, but alas!

  26. January and February I was on fire, but March and most of this month, I've fallen off the wagon and am having a horribly difficult time getting back on track. I love reading inspiring blogs. Michael's is one I will definitely visit from now on.

  27. This post reminds me why I shouldn't have stopped going to the gym many months ago. I say that all in fun. Definitely hopping on over to visit! Thanks for sharing.


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