Flame-thrower Video Interview with author Mary Marks on “Living Fearlessly”

Mary Marks is an author, community activist, grandmother and mentor. She’s the author of 5-books in the cozy mystery genre and an inspiration to me. See my video interview with her on “Living Fearlessly” with her here.

Read my 2013 interview with her here.

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Fourth of July: Pie, Pool Toys and the Pursuit of Happiness

This post is the epitome of Ember Living: a bit of food, a bit of fun and a bit of thoughtfulness!

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For the food: look at this amazing pie! A fellow Toastmaster friend of mine, Elizabeth Gilbert, photographed it. I will definitely be making one or two of these this weekend! Clearly it was baked with love…yum!

Courtesy of Elizabeth Gilbert Photography

Courtesy of Elizabeth Gilbert Photography

For the fun: cellulose sponges, these are the ones I purchase, are the BEST water toy ever. If you are at a pool, or in a lake, or even on dry land (just grab a couple of big buckets or kiddie pools), these sponges make a fun way to get wet on a hot day. We use them for “sponge fights” where we toss them around at each other in the pool. Anyone in the pool is fair game, and since the sponges are super soft, it doesn’t hurt when you get beaned with one. And they are easy to “reload” unlike a water pistol or a water balloon. Plus, the sponges made with cellulose (aka: plant fiber) are biodegradable so you can throw them in your garden or in your yard waste/green bin (if your city has these.)

For the thoughtfulness: I’ve been thinking a lot about the Declaration of Independence lately. I’m a big fan of mission statements (see our family’s mission statement here), and I was thinking about how the Declaration of Independence is kind of like a mission statement for the USA. I haven’t read the Declaration in a LONG TIME, and I’ve decided that it will be a new Fourth of July tradition in our family to read it. It’s never too early to explain to my little the sacrifice and courageousness that our country was founded on. To think that every person who signed that document put their life on the line when they did so. If things had turned out differently, they would have lost their lives! Of course the most famous passage is part of our collective memory:

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

What beautiful words! I am so grateful for the founders courage in creating the country of my birth, and I work everyday to be a force of good in it. Be a spark in the world!

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Flamethrower: Laird Hamilton

Laird Hamilton might not know it, but he’s one of my mentors. I always love reading what he’s up to, and his book FORCE OF NATURE is on my coffee table and is one of the tomes I am modeling my own book after. In fact, if I had to describe the editorial voice of Ember Living I would say it is equal parts Laird Hamilton, Martha Stewart and Oprah Winfrey (in alphabetical order) filtered  through the lens of sustainability and parenting.

Here is a recent LA TIMES article on Laird with his 10-tips for staying active and vital at 51, but applicable at ANY age!