Tag Archives: Elena Aitken

Pushing Through, a Lesson Learned by Elena Aitken

Click on the teacher lady's nose to find links to other people who posted in this series.

Click on the teacher lady’s nose to find links to other people who posted in the #LessonLearned Series.

I’ve been thinking about how grateful I am to all the writers who wrote posts as part of my Lessons Learned series this year. Each post has been beautiful; each lesson, unique.

Isn't she purty-ful? Yeah, well she's a great writer, too.

Isn’t she purty-ful? Yeah, well she’s a great writer, too.

Author Elena Aitken is the last writer in this series. And her piece arrived at precisely the right time for me. Because I am struggling with some serious writer’s block. Elena’s words are the greatest gift I could have ever asked for this holiday season.

If you don’t know Elena, you should. A busy mom, Elena is also a wonderful blogging friend and a prolific writer. I was fortunate to interview her when her book Sugar Crash was hot off the press, and she’s written a new book since then!

After you read her piece below, you will want to follow Elena on Facebook or on Twitter. Take a peek at her website if you’d like to subscribe to her blog. Her newest book, Hidden Gifts, would make a great present. Just like your words were to me today, Elena.

• • •
Pushing Through by Elena Aitken
When Renée asked me to write a piece for her Lessons Learned series, I said yes without hesitation because sure, I’ve learned a thing or two over the years. I mean, I must have something to offer. No problem, right?
Then it came to write it.And nothing.

A gentle nudge from Renée, “Don’t forget. You promised. Um, can I get that soon?”

“Oh, don’t worry,” I said. “I’m on it. No problem.”

But…it was a problem. The thing is, ever since Renée asked me months ago, I’ve been thinking about what I would write about. I read all the other posts, and…I worried. I mean, what on earth was I going to say? What could I offer that this talented list of writers and bloggers hasn’t already said with more skill and grace then I could hope for?

I made notes. I stared at my computer screen. I started writing five different posts. I deleted five different posts.

And then, I worried some more.

I couldn’t think of a thing. Was it possible that I haven’t learned any lessons at all?

I was moments away from emailing Renée to tell her I’d changed my mind, and I couldn’t do it after all.

And then, there it was.

That voice in my head.

“Trust yourself,” the voice said.

Hearing voices in my head isn’t unusual for me. After all, I’m a writer. I hear voices all the time.

But, I’ve heard those two words before.

A lot.

• My dad said them when I was learning how to ride a bike.

• Ms. Montgomery, my junior high drama teacher, said them before I went on stage to perform my monologue.

• My mother said them when my twins were newborns, and I didn’t know the first thing about being a mom.

• My writing partners scribble them in the margins of my work when I’m wrestling with a scene, or a character that just won’t cooperate.

• My friend and training partner will say them to me when I’m nervous about a race and doubting my training.

• My husband says them to me when I’m struggling with a tough decision.

That voice in my head is a beautiful medley of all the voices from my life and its tune is constantly changing. But the message remains the same. And every time I hear those words, “Trust yourself.” Whether they are spoken aloud or quietly in my mind—I do.

Because I might not have the right answer, I could make the wrong decision, say something stupid, trip and fall, or make a mistake. But I might not. And when I shut out all the noise telling me what I should say/do/believe, and actually trust myself; it turns out that I know myself a whole lot better than I thought I did.

So, maybe I’m a slow learner, or maybe it’s a lesson worth learning over and over again, but it’s the most important lesson that I continue to learn.

What helps you push through to complete a project?

tweet us at @elenaaitken and @rasjacobson

Blogoversary Winners Announced

Click on picture to see original photo by alibree at flickr.com

Whew! It’s been one heckuva month!

There are now 21 days until my son’s bar mitzvah.

Can you hear me sing, “Awwwww. Freak out?”

Anyway, thank you all for playing with me in May and allowing me to give back some of the good stuff that you give me!


You just want me to tell you the winners?


The winner of The Write-Brain Book is: Cupcake @VivaAmaRisastall

The winner of Kasey MathewsPreemie is: BaseKamp

The winner of Elena Aitken’s Sugar Crash is: Annie from Six Ring Circus

The winner of Tyler Tarver’s Letters To Famous People is: Brown Road Chronicles

The winner of HotDog Yoga’s Rollpack is: JM Randolph

The winner of Tingo & Other Extraordinary Words is: Astrea Baldwin

The winners of handwritten cards from me are: Julie Davidoski, Kimberly Moore & Amber West.

I need your addresses. Please send them to me here.

Congratulations to all the winners.

{But, of course, you are all winners in my book.}

{But then again, I haven’t finished writing my book, so what does that really mean?}

Seriously though, winners should contact me via email, so I can collect the information necessary to stalk you forever deliver these goods to you.

*collapses on the floor*

And now, back to your regularly scheduled program.

Interview with Author Elena Aitken & Giveaway to Win SUGAR CRASH

Click here to read reviews!

My blogging friend, author Elena Aitken, is offering an e-book copy of her new book Sugar Crash.

The book features Darci, a single mother working hard to raise her daughter after her husband dies. Everything is rolling along pretty well until Taylor is hospitalized and receives a diagnosis of diabetes, which rocks their world. And because Darci doesn’t like to ask for help, she finds her job in jeopardy. Even though the book is about diabetes, it is truly a survivor story – and a story about learning to lean on others in a time of need.

I read Sugar Crash while I was on vacation, and I couldn’t put it down.

Read Elena’s blog, LIKE her on Facebook and follow her @ElenaAitken.

Check out my interview with Elena about her new book & answer the question at the end for a chance to win a copy!

• • •

rasj: Hey Elena, readers know from your Prologue that writing this book was deeply personal for you because you have a friend who went through something like this.  How is that child doing now?

Elena: Well, that ‘child’ will be celebrating her fortieth birthday this fall and has lived with Type 1 diabetes for thirty years.

rasj: Shut the front door! That is soooo cool!

Elena: I am proud to call Deb my friend. She is an amazing role model for not only those with diabetes, but everyone. She’s a busy mother of 8-year-old twins and has run a few full marathons, more half-marathons than I can count and is also a triathlete, having recently completed her first Olympic distance tri. Deb wears an insulin pump now and has actually represented the company that manufactures the pump in an international running event and she is always raising money for The Canadian Diabetes Association. Diabetes doesn’t slow her down even a little!

rasj: She sounds like an incredible person! I like how you show Darci trying to trust her 12-year old daughter to make the right decisions about her health and manage her own sugar readings. I think that is one of the best parts of the book – and probably one of the most confusing things in real life for parents with kids with diabetes. Are you able to speak to how parents of children with diabetes ever feel safe enough to let their children participate in sports (like Darci does) or go to overnight camps — especially when the consequences of mismanaging one’s blood sugar can result in seizures or death?

Look how cute she is? Don’t you want to read her book?

Elena: I think, as parents, we all struggle with letting go when it comes to our kids, but it would be much harder in Darci’s situation. Ultimately, I think it would depend on the family dynamic, but in my personal opinion, I believe it would be crucial to let your child resume their normal activities as much as possible. With the right education and awareness of course. Something like diabetes, while most definitely a huge lifestyle consideration, shouldn’t define a child. They still have to be kids.

rasj: What was the hardest thing you had to do while researching to write this book?

Elena: Because so much of this book is based on the actual experiences of my good friend, I was very fortunate in that she was so open and willing to share with me. She set me straight on more than one detail. But that was also the hardest part. Because she is so close to the story I was terrified of what she would think of it. It is obviously a fictionalized version, but it still struck pretty close to home for her and I held my breath the entire time she was reading the first draft.

 rasj: I adore the romance that you slowly create between Coach Cam and Taylor’s very hesitant mom, Darci. What part of this book do you love the best?

Elena: I have two favorite parts. The first was when Darci and Taylor were in the hospital and Darci realized she couldn’t make Taylor’s ‘owie’ go away. That would be an incredibly difficult moment for a mother. The second was the very end, when Darci and Cam were standing in the race corral getting ready to run. I think it’s very symbolic and it gave me chills when I wrote it.

rasj: What is one question no one has asked you but you wish they would?

Elena: No one has asked me who my favorite character in this book is.

rasj: Really? I was going to ask that but I figured you’ve been asked a skillion times. So?

Elena: I loved Darci and Taylor of course. BUT, Barb was spunky and fun and — her best quality – she stood up for her friend, defending her in front of a crowd. And THAT is one of the best qualities you can hope for in a friend.

• • •

For a chance to win a copy:

Leave a comment about a fear you have had to face.

Tweet for another chance.

Facebook share for a third.

Leave a separate comment for each thing you do so I know you did these things.

Tweet and share as many times as you’d like for extra chances to win.

This contest closes on May 14 when I open a new contest. All blogoversary winners will be determined via Random Number Generator, and all winners will be announced on June 2nd — once I figure everything out.

Tweet this Twit @rasjacobson

February Mashup Of Awesomeness

Love was in the air this month and lots of people wrote lots of posts about Valentine’s Day. And chocolate-covered love. And wine-coma love. And 13 things they love most about their lovers. And love is awesome. Don’t get me wrong. These posts are slightly less lovey-dovey.

From the English Department

Trish Loye has 10 Ways to Know You’re A Writer.

From the Math Department

Annie from Six Ring Circus writes “I Need To Learn To Count to Four.”

From the Science Department

Jenny Hansen gives us the down and dirty on having babies later in life in her piece “When the Conception Journey is a Rock Filled Canyon.”

From the History Department

I find the situation in the Middle East very confusing. Piper Bayard’s partner Holmes has been writing a multi-part piece on Iran that is a must read. There are several parts. Start at the beginning and don’t stop.

From the Language Department

From The Home Economics Department

August McLaughlin gives us “Foods For a Beautiful Brain.” Good to know I eat most of these. Except flaxseed. I’ll have to get on that.

From The Technology Department

Leanne Shirtliffe tells us about The Best iPhone App for Writers.

From the Art & Health Departments

When Elena Aitken wrote 8,000 words in a 2 day period, she posted “Writers Wrist and Other Afflictions.” To go along with it, she posted a must-watch Elmo video. Everyone will love “I Make Art.”

From the Music & Psychology Departments

Rivki Silver does a Cool Music Experiment that shows what happens when you take the same piece of film and pair it with 3 different types of music. Really neat way to understand the power of music!

Christian Emmett wrote a lovely tribute to his band teacher in From Music to Life.

From the Physical Education Department

I’ve got nothing. If you have a post about somebody shaking his or her groove thing. Share it. Otherwise, you can watch this video of me dancing.

Whaaat? I got excited when it finally snowed!

From the Awesome Sauce Department

Elizabeth from The Writer Revived wrote a great piece called “Lessons From Barbie.” Y’all know I’m big on lessons, and I think that Elizabeth is spot on here.

From the Snark Department

25 Things I Want To Say To “Aspiring” Writers by Chuck Wendig.

From the Faculty Lounge

Math teacher Tyler Tarver makes me laugh out loud. I watched his hilarious video “St*$ff High School Students Say” at least 4.7 times. I was really mad when my son interrupted me that last time.