Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Celebrating A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL with Random Acts of Kindness

Today is the release date of Suzanne Young's gorgeous YA novel, A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL. I've read this book and it's amazing.

To help celebrate the release, I'm participating in a special event around the blogosphere where a bunch of us are sharing how someone's act of kindness or self-sacrifice has changed our lives.

One thing I know about Suzanne - she loved her grandma. And I'm sure on special days like this one, she wishes her grandma was here to be a part of the celebration. I know, however, her grandma is looking down and smiling, so proud of all that Suzanne has accomplished.

So today, in honor of my friend Suzanne and her lovely book, I'm going to talk about my grandma Ellamae, one of the kindest people I've ever known. Like Suzanne, my grandma helped shape the person I am today.

My grandma was down-to-earth, practical, and showed love to the people close to her in small but meaningful ways. They didn't have a lot of money. At Christmas time, I usually got a little gift of some kind along with a jar of her homemade strawberry jam. When I was a teen, I probably didn't think much of that strawberry jam. But oh how I miss it now.

However, there is one thing my grandma gave me over and over again that meant more to me than anything. Her time.

She took me camping, fishing, skiing, and hiking. In the summer, we'd go strawberry picking and bike riding where we'd pick up cans along the side of the road.

When I was about ten, she told me she wanted to take me on a hike around Silver Creek Falls. It was something like a 12-mile hike, that would take just about all day. I was a surprised that she thought I could do it. And I think I worried about whether I could do it. But she never doubted for a second whether or not I could do it, and she was SO excited about it.

It was a wonderful day. We had such a great time. I can still remember moments on that hike, walking along with her on the beautiful trail. She taught me this saying then, that I still remember today. "When you're out in nature, taking nothing but photos and leave nothing but footprints."

When I went away to college and for years after, when I didn't see her as much, she continued to be a part of my life by writing me letters. Let me tell you, my grandma loved her typewriter. She spent hours at her typewriter, writing letters to the editor of the newspaper and letters to people in congress about issues that mattered to her. And she wrote letters to keep in touch with people she cared about. In college, she was so faithful in  her letter writing to me, and it meant the world to me. She remembered what it was like to be away at college. And in fact, recently, my mom found a box of letters she had saved between her and her parents during her college years. Those letters are so fun to read!

My grandma's kindness to me throughout the years made a difference in my life more than words can even describe. And here's my takeaway that we can all remember - the most important thing we can give to the people we care about is our TIME. Children, especially, want and I'd argue *need* that time with people they love. So as summer time stretches out before us, make the most of it. Go on a hike with your family. Or a bike ride. Or go fishing - a funny hat like my grandma liked to wear is optional. :)

Thanks for stopping by and reading about my grandma and the kindness she gave to me throughout my life. Here's a list of people celebrating the release and some of the prizes you can win:

First 3 chapter critique (Jessica at Confessions of a Bookaholic: http://www.totalbookaholic.com/)
YA Lit Swag Bag (Sara at Novel Novice: www.novelnovice.com)
Hourglass Order from TBD – Int (Corrine at Lost for Words: http://lostforwords-corrine.blogspot.com)
Random Books (Jessi at The Elliott Review: http://elliottreview.blogspot.com)
2 Header/Button Packs (Jessica at Hopelessly Devoted Bibliophile: http://www.hopelessbibliophile.com/)
First 3 chapters Critique (Cindy at Books Complete Me: http://www.bookscompleteme.com/)
First 15 pages Critique (Kari at A Good Addiction: http://agoodaddiction.blogspot.com/)
Signed ARC of Hereafter (Kari at A Good Addiction: http://agoodaddiction.blogspot.com/)
Query Letter Critique (Shannon Messenger: http://ramblingsofawannabescribe.blogspot.com/)
Signed copy of Invincible Summer – US/Can (Hannah Moskowitz: hannahmosk.blogspot.com)
First Chapter Critique and a Skype Chat (Keri Mikulski: http://kerimikulski.com/books/pay-it-forward-the-author-edition/)
Signed copy of Tell Me a Secret with signed TMAS art print - US (Holly Cupala: http://www.hollycupala.com/search/label/blog)
Signed copy of Chasing Brooklyn – US (Lisa Schroeder: www.lisaschroederbooks.com)
The Pledge Swag Pack including ARC (Kimberly Derting: http://kimberlyderting.blogspot.com/)
Daisy Whitney's Blog: http://daisywhitney.com/blog/

How can you enter to win?

Click on this FORM LINK which will take you to a form to fill out. This link is the same no matter what blog you click from. Multiple entries will be deleted, so PLEASE make sure you have ALL of your entries/links before you enter.

There will be 1 winner per item, and then three people will also be chosen to win a signed copy of ANsB in addition to their other prize. The signed ANsB copies will be US only. 

Earn one extra entry for each of the following:
Take a picture of an author's book in the wild and tweet it to us and the author
Post a positive Amazon review for a book you loved
Donate a book to a library or classroom
Tweet a good deed you plan to do this week, using the #ANeedSoBeautiful hashtag
Earn 10 extra entries for each of the following:
Take a picture of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL in the wild and tweet it to us and Suzanne Young
Post an Amazon review for A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL
Donate a copy of A NEED SO BEAUTIFUL to a library or classroom

Happy release day, Suzanne!! I love you and I'm so glad you are my friend!

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