Hello 40. I am here.

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I'll spend this day with my face pointed to the sun, feeling grateful for every person and every experience, every love and loss and success and failure that has led me here, to this place. And, I'm especially thankful for the community who reads this blog. I've learned so much from you and am honored to share this milestone with you.

Having "Lemongrass Hope", and the power of choosing "now".

The last time I cried through the ending of a book was when I read Kelly Corrigan’s memoir, Glitter and Glue. 

That is until recently, as I immersed myself in the final scenes of Amy Impellizzeri’s debut novel, Lemongrass Hope. 

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As soon as I flipped the page to begin Part 3, tears. The kind of tears that surface from the swelling in your chest. You know that feeling. When the author has hit on something so deep and universal, you have to look away from the page for a moment to breathe and collect yourself. Or is that just me?

Lemongrass Hope is about love, and loss.

And time travel. 

And how making the choice between living in the past, and living in the now, can make all the difference. 

And, it’s about Hope. And how having hope can make all the difference, too. 

Amy Impellizzeri and her debut novel, Lemongrass Hope.

Amy Impellizzeri and her debut novel, Lemongrass Hope.

Amy holding Kelly Corrigan's Glitter and Glue, and Kelly holding Amy's Lemongrass Hope. OMG.

Amy holding Kelly Corrigan's Glitter and Glue, and Kelly holding Amy's Lemongrass Hope. OMG.

When Amy sent me the advance reader copy of her book, I had to know: How did you do it? Finish your novel? And, get it published

Here’s what she said:


“The novel idea (and the title, Lemongrass Hope) overtook me when I first left corporate law in 2009-2010.  I had always written non-fiction so I just wasn't sure.  But. I worked on it off and on for 2 years and every time I'd come back to it, I just knew there was something there.  Even when I wasn't actively writing, I was living with it always.  Finally last year, I committed to finishing it.  Up all night.  Writing in my car.  In the coffee drive-thru line.  I just kept at it and after I finished the manuscript, I worked with a wonderful editor, Caroline Leavitt, (Pictures of You).  The manuscript made the rounds, ended up in several "right" hands, and here we are.  I really can't believe it but I am so proud and excited about it.”


If you know me personally, or have been reading my blog for any length of time, you know that Amy's response inspired the heck out of me. Which is why I couldn’t wait to read Lemongrass Hope, and interview Amy for my blog. 


In the clip below, I ask her how she came up with idea for the story. And, I confess my own emotional response. Do other people cry? Do other people think about the book in the shower?

In the next part, we talk about the universal question in the book: If you could go back and live something all over again, what would you do differently? If given the choice, would you really make a different choice?

Here we talk about how part one of the book is in third person, and parts two and three are written in first person. When you read the book, you'll understand why it worked:

And finally, for all of you aspiring authors out there, here's how a novel grows from an idea... to done:

Lemongrass Hope is available now on Amazon. On October 8, you can get it from online bookseller's everywhere. 

Visit Amy Impellizzeri on the web at AmyImpellizzeri.com and on Facebook.

Update: Congratulations Jan! You won a signed copy of Lemongrass Hope AND a Lemongrass Hope candle—hand poured with real Marula oil, straight from the story. Thanks to everyone who entered the contest by leaving a comment. I chose the winner using Random.org.

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A blogger looks at 40.

I'll be 40 in two weeks. 

I typically approach my birthdays in a thoughtful and celebratory way, and this year is no different. But there is something different about birthdays that have a "0" on the end. 

I remember turning 10, and how that meant saying goodbye to single digits. 

I remember turning 20, and how I felt melancholy about losing the “teen” at the end of my number. 

And 30. Maybe that’s when I finally felt like an adult? It's definitely when I began to shed a whole bunch of internal weights that had determined a lot of my steps in my 20s. 

My 30s have not been as much about reinventing myself as it has been about becoming more like my actual self.

Now, two weeks away from 40, I’m at a place where I’m ready to apply what I know. I mean really apply it. In this season, it feels vital to live it out. 

What does that even mean? That’s what I’ve been thinking about and moving towards during the past couple of months as this blog sat silent.

This summer, I saw new things. I visited Chicago for the first time.

The fabulous Melisa Wells gave me the grand tour. Love her. 

The fabulous Melisa Wells gave me the grand tour. Love her. 

Where am I?

Where am I?

The Bean totally tripped me out. And everywhere I went, I felt myself being drawn into all of Chicago's curves and lines. 

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And, I spent a lot of time staring out my hotel window. It doesn’t matter where I go, this kind of view—up high, looking out—always lifts me up and settles me. 

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Later, my family and I spent a week at the lake. And I soaked in the images, as I do. 

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And the entire time, my eye was on the calendar. That date in August, circled in my mind. The day when my middle child went to kindergarten. The day he walked into a big school, alongside his brother, my oldest child, my first baby. I imagined this scene for years, before it ever happened.

Then, in early September, I sent my daughter off to preschool. Three days a week, for only three hours. Just like last year. But still, her walking away signaled the shift. 

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It’s time to embrace the new season, and everything I hope it will be. 

All along, behind the scenes, I’ve been writing, and sketching, and brainstorming and planning. I’ve been moving, living, doing all of the things the day requires. 

But internally, I’ve been pausing. I made myself do it, even though I was ready to launch back into this blogging space with all my refreshed ideas. I knew that it was important to simmer down and breathe through this transition. 

Yesterday, I was driving and listening to Oprah and Iyanla Vanzant talk about something that felt perfect for where I am right now. I went home, found the segment online and wrote down what Iyanla said, word for word:

It doesn’t matter what it is, here’s the lesson:

When you find yourself in a new situation, everything that requires healing is going to rush to the surface.

And if you don’t a take a minute to breathe, to gather yourself, to pray, you will do what you’ve always done. So you gotta be clear enough, grounded enough, centered enough to say, ‘How am I going to handle it this time?’

So the lesson is, Pause. Okay?

We go from being 20 to 30 without a pause. 30 to 40 without a pause…

Pause, Boo. Take a breath.
— Iyanla Vanzant

And that makes so much sense to me. Because here, at 40, I know the parts of me that are weak, and insecure. I know my traps and the places I get stuck. I’m intimate with the things that drag me down. Even though I’ve done a lot of inner work over the past decade—a lot of inner work—the work has also made me clear about what trips me up mentally and emotionally. 

So I'm approaching 40 like this: Grounded. Centered. Breathing. I’m in a good place. 

Because y’all! I’m about to turn 40! 

What an amazing gift it is. 

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