Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Living My Five - Tera Saves a Cow

Like Alyson, I've been finding it hard to find time to dedicate to my Five during the busy holiday season. Between trying to finish up my book, going out of town for the holidays, dealing with a record snowstorm, and redesigning my website, it seems like all my time is full.

So, I decided to get creative. I integrated one of my Five into regular daily life, into an automatic routine. My family is full of meat lovers. Steak, burgers, hot dogs, pork chops, roasted chicken... you name it and we eat it. But meat is heavy on the environment, the raising and feeding and packaging and transporting and on and on. (It's also not the healthiest diet, but that's another issue.)



In order to reduce our meat consumption I've instigated vegetarian day in the Childs household. Once a week we forgo meat of any kind for an entire day. It's turning out great. For our first dinner I made an amazing vegetarian chili that even my chili-loving dad loved. (Find the recipe on allrecipes.com.)

It's easy, healthy, cheap, and, oh yeah, lighter on the environment.

How about you? Do you have any easy ways to work your Five into everyday life? Because if you do, I'd love to hear them!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Living My Five - Becca

Hi, Fivers!

Sorry this is late! We've had an even busier Christmas season than I anticipated :)

That said, I've also had a very active and service-oriented Christmas season - all part of striving and remembering to Live my Five. Here's a brief recap of what I've been doing:

First, a woman in my neighborhood decided, this year, she wanted to teach her children the true meaning of Christmas, and invited my family to participate. This particular friend recently volunteered at the County Food Bank, and decided she wanted to help stock the kitchens. She asked the families in our neighborhood to join her on a food-drive parade. When I told my kids, they were very excited to select cans of tuna, chicken, soup and vegetables from our pantry to donate to the Food Bank. It ended up being a great way to work together as a family, and neighborhood, to think beyond ourselves and pay it forward to others in our community.

Second, this past week, the Fitzpatricks cleaned out the basement. We filled several boxes with baby and maternity clothes, Christmas decorations, coats, toys and housewares to take to Goodwill.

Finally, I had the opportunity to share a random act of kindness with a friend who was in need of a babysitter. As soon as I discovered her need, I jumped on the opportunity to volunteer before she had to ask. Service truly does rejuvenate the soul!

What about you? How have you been Living Your Five?





P.S. Here's to wishing you a happy and safe New Year!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Living Your Five presents... Snow Angels - The Book Kind

We talk a lot on Living Your Five about gratitude and paying it forward. When I saw this blog post earlier in the month, I knew it was perfectly in line with our mission!

Josie Leavitt of The Flying Pig Bookstore in Shelburne, VT shared a wonderful program on PW's Shelftalker blog this month. The bookstore creates a snowflake tree with the age and gender of kids in the community who are in need of holiday gifts ala books. Customers come in, choose a snowflake, and the staff helps them select books (at a discount - very thoughtful!) which the store gift wraps and delivers to over 150 kids.

Isn't that a wonderful idea? I love it!

Here's the full blog post with all of the details. Cheers to Josie, Elizabeth, and the entire Flying Pig team for going above and beyond during the holidays!

http://www.publishersweekly.com/blog/660000266/post/1400051340.html


Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Living My Five- Alyson's Holiday Five!


Okay, I'm not gonna lie--the last two weeks have been tough and not at all productive. Mostly due to the fact that I had braces put on, underwent major mouth surgery, and have pretty much spent every day since lying on the couch, sleeping, reading books, watching HGTV, popping pain meds, and applying warm compresses to my face--all of which it makes it a little tough to get very active where my Five is concerned.

And yet, when I stop to think about it, being far less active also means I used far less energy than I usually do--(and not just physically!)--so score one for the environment there!

And while a mouth full of sutures pretty much precludes me from taking part in the usual holiday festivities, I still feel incredibly lucky to have had such a great year, and so, wanting to give back in some way, my husband and I have decided to forego our usual gift exchange by donating the money we would've spent to both Heifer International (an annual tradition, and one of our fave charities) and The City of Hope, who not only provides top-notch care for cancer patients, but who also saved my husband's life--so yeah, I'm incredibly grateful for them!

And really, that's what Living Your Five is all about--doing whatever you can from wherever you're at!

I wish you all a warm and wonderful holiday and all good things in the New Year!!

Alyson





Monday, December 21, 2009

Living My Five - Kay's holiday tips for going green!

It's holiday time for many of us, and that means (at least for my family) holiday cards and gift wrapping time! I've always felt like these were a double-edged sword. On the one hand, sending holiday cards to let people know we care and having presents cheerfully wrapped under our Christmas tree are two of my favorite things about Christmas. On the other hand, both of these traditions are woefully wasteful of our limited resources. What's a girl to do?

This year, I made changes on both of these fronts that I'm super excited about!

Holiday cards gone green

In 2009, we started sending more and more birthday e-cards to family and friends instead of traditional cards. There are lots of e-cards that are every bit as fun as paper cards, especially the animated ones! (I'm a huge fan of Hoops and YoYo myself.) Now I'm a big fan of sending impromptu hand-written notes. And thank you cards? Hand-written is always classier. But birthday cards, it always seemed to me, were fairly generic anyway. Why not do the earth a favor and write my personal note on an e-card instead?

But the idea of sending a generic holiday card? I just couldn't do it, especially since we traditionally include a family holiday photo in our cards. Fortunately, I have a very creative husband who stumbled upon Hallmark's Smilebox software that allows you to upload your own pictures into your e-cards. He came up with a darling e-card that has half a dozen photos in it and I was thrilled! I explained when I sent them that this was part of our family commitment to going green, and the response from our family and friends has been wonderful. Mission accomplished! (Thanks, honey!)

Holiday wrapping the green way

Several years ago, I saw some fabric holiday gift bags in a craft store that I thought were a fabulous idea. The prints were gorgeous and they were reusable too! For the last five years, I have made it a goal to create my own fabric gift bags to use for our gifts for under the tree.

And every year, for the last five years, this goal has gone unfulfilled. Until now!

Introducing... my holiday bags!




I found three darling prints and, I have to tell you, they look prettier under the tree than our gifts have ever looked before. (I'm not a stellar gift wrapper, just so you know.) I used Stitch Witchery to bind the edges since I don't own a sewing machine, and it took me about 5 hours to create 15 or so bags in varying sizes. For someone who definitely did not inherit her mother's Martha Stewart gene, I couldn't be happier with the result!

So those are the two ways I'm going green this holiday season. What about you? Are any of you doing fun things to make the holidays more eco-friendly?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... Mystery Couple Pay It Forward!

This week, my friend Adrienne emailed me a link to a news story from Philadelphia that reminded her of Living Your Five. I clicked through the link and was completely in awe of this random act of kindness that snowballed like a giant snowman of goodwill!

While eating at a local diner, a couple quietly asked to pay for their meal and the meal of another table of diners. They didn't make a big deal out of it, they didn't leave their names. They just offered a simple act of kindness.

What they didn't realize was that their single act of kindness would spur others on to continue their gesture and pay it forward themselves... for five more hours! Here's a link to the full news story with all the lovely details:

http://www.nbcphiladelphia.com/news/local-beat/Mystery-Couple-Pay-It-Forward-79179347.html?yhp=1

Now that's the power of paying it forward!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Tera -- Living My Five



Most of my Five progress in the last two weeks has been eco-related. When my mom and I went shopping for new cleaning supplies--always a must during the guest-heavy holiday season--we chose the eco-friendly Clorox GreenWorks wipes and dish soap. It's such an easy (and affordable) way to change out chemical-laden cleaning products for ones with 95% natural plant and mineral-based biodegradable ingredients.

In addition to providing eco-friendly products, GreenWorks also works with Clothing Swap (an organization that brings fashionable swappers together to swap clothes and shop--their mission is "Be good. Be green. Be GLAM!") and one of my favorite environmental groups, the Sierra Club.

The Clorox Company, too, is working on going green. They have committed to reducing their electricity and water use, to disclose carbon data, and is a member of the EPA's Climate Leaders Program. Plus they own one of my favorite natural beauty products line, Burt's Bees.

In other green steps, after using up our aluminum foil on holiday baking we picked up recycled Reynolds Wrap, and when we packed up our treats to mail to family we used biodegradable, water-soluble packing peanuts from Staples.

All in all it's been a pretty green fortnight in the Childs household.

How about you guys? Are you going the extra distance to make your holidays and your household easier on the environment?

Monday, December 14, 2009

Becca - Living My Five

Hey, Fivers!

I feel like the past couple weeks I've been finding some great ways to live my five, despite all the (fun) chaos that surrounds the holiday season. I thought I'd share a couple quick things I've been up to.

1. Our long-time washing machine broke this past week, so I was in the market for a new machine. I decided it was a wise and earth-friendly investment to put a little extra money into buying a high-efficiency machine. It feels good to know I'm using less energy and water every time I launder my clothes!

2. Friday, December 11 was Lights Out Lunch day here in Ft. Collins, and I wholeheartedly supported it! From noon until 1p.m., individuals, businesses and local schools turned off the lights and ate lunch using natural light. What a great way to save energy! My kitchen is south-facing and welcomes quite a bit of natural light through the windows, and I've committed to eat lunch using natural light every day. If you'd like more information about Lights Out Lunch, go to their website at lightsoutlunch.com

3. Finally, I'm participating in Leave a Mark this week! I thought it was a great way to pay it forward and say thanks to all the teachers, librarians and people in my life who helped foster a life-long love of reading. Thank you!

What about you? Are you living your Five?



Friday, December 11, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... Three Things ala Tera

Happy Friday!

It's week three in our continuing series about the simple but important question we asked ourselves when we first got Living Your Five rolling.

If you could encourage everyone on the planet to do three specific things, what would they be?

Here's what Tera had to say:

Little things can make such a big difference. If I could encourage everyone on the planet to do three specific things to make the world a better place, they would be:

1. Replace regular bulbs with compact fluorescent, they use a fraction of the energy and last up to ten years. With the advances in fluorescent technology, you can choose from a variety of shapes, sizes, wattages, and even warm or cool light. They may be pricier up front, but they'll save you money in bulbs and electricity in the long run.

2. Turn off the water while you're brushing your teeth or scrubbing a pot. You don't need the water until you're done, and over the course of a year you'll save gallons of water. Growing up in California, water conservation was ingrained in me as a natural way of living. Once you get in the habit of shutting off water, just like you'd shut off the light when you leave the room, you won't even have to think about it to save water.

3. Take a hike, stroll through a park, find a connection with the natural world and feel why it's worth protecting. Living in an urban or suburban environment it's so easy to isolate yourself from nature, to live exclusively within the man-made world. That might be a more convenient way of life, but it's not healthy. Getting outside always makes me feel more relaxed, as if the stresses of the human world don't matter anymore. Nature can be your recharge, but only if you seek her out.



What do you think, blog readers? If you could encourage everyone in the world to do something positive, what would yours be?


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Alyson-- LIVING MY FIVE

Lately I feel like I start just about every blog post by saying:

“It’s been a crazy/busy week . . .”

To the point where I feel like it’s become my very own personal:

“It was a dark and stormy night . . .”


And yet, just because something veers toward the cliché doesn’t make it any less true, and this week has already proved to be both crazy/busy and dark and stormy, so, there you go!


But even in the midst of all that activity, I’ve still managed to carve out some time for my Five. In fact, the more I live this Five lifestyle, the more ingrained it becomes, to where I’m constantly on the lookout for new opportunities, as well as new things to write about.


And so, while I was enjoying a really nice b-day dinner last week, our extremely entertaining waiter mentioned something about a book drive he was involved in, and as soon as I returned home, I packed up signed copies of the first three books in The Immortals series and sent them off.


And then just two days before, while reading Kay’s Five, I decided to make my own donation toward clean drinking water in honor of Alyssa Milano’s b-day (such a great idea—wish I’d known about it last week when it was my b-day, but I’m totally doing that some day!).





Both of which, were easy and spontaneous, and totally covered my random acts of charity vow!


And to aid me in my no snark/no ranting vow, I recently downloaded a gratitude journal App onto my iPhone and I make sure to write in it on a regular basis—especially on the days that aren’t going quite as well as I’d like, since it forces me to list all the wonderful things I have to be thankful for, (which makes all the not-so-great stuff totally fade in comparison!)!


So, that’s it for me—how about you?



Are you Living Your Five?


Monday, December 7, 2009

Living My Five - Kay

Commit to a life of gratitude

Last time, I talked about trying to find a new Thanksgiving tradition for my family. I'm delighted to say that we chose to create a Gratitude Tree. In fact, it turned out so wonderful that I had it laminated so we can display it again next year and put our new one right next to it. Here it is in all its glory. (Please keep in mind that I did not inherit my mom's craft gene.)


We each wrote out our leaves in advance and then took turns pasting them onto the tree and talking about why we were grateful for that thing. Some of them made us laugh, some of them made us sigh... it was really lovely. I highly recommend giving it a whirl with your own family or creating one just for yourself as a reminder of what really matters.


Live a greener life ~and~ Pay it forward

It's two, two, two Fives in one! :-)

Today, I saw something that really resonated with me. (And is also a great example of how you can use social networking sites like Twitter to change the world!) Actor Nathan Fillion tweeted about it being actress Alyssa Milano's birthday and all she wanted was to help raise money for mycharity: water. Did you know 1 in 6 people on the planet don't have access to clean water? This great organization has an ambition goal of ensuring safe, clean drinking water for everyone on the planet by creating clean water systems one community at a time.

Is that Five-ish or what?

To make it fun, the campaign was set up with an easy selection of buttons to choose the amount, with the first button being $37 for Alyssa's 37th birthday. (I loved that part too - even the suggested amount has meaning!). So I donated and then created a page of my own so I can host a future campaign myself. Hmm... maybe when I turn 40? Here's a link to Alyssa's page:

http://www.mycharitywater.org/p/campaign?campaign_id=2414

So that's what I've been doing to live my Five. What about you? And for those of you who celebrated Thanksgiving, what were you thankful for?

Friday, December 4, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... Honorary Fiver Day!


Welcome to Honorary Fiver Day!


We'll be hosting this event on the first Friday of every month. Honorary Fiver Day is your chance to become a bonafide Honorary Fiver member of the Living Your Five community.

To become an Honorary Fiver, all you have to do is share your Five in the comments on this special Honorary Fiver post. Let us know the five areas you want to make a difference in!

Once you've shared your Five on this post, you are officially an Honorary Fiver and have our permission to nab this cute logo (designed by our own fab Tera!) to place on your blog or web site. Cool, right?


What does being an Honorary Fiver mean?

Being an Honorary Fiver means you're ready to join us in our quest to change our world... one person and one Five at a time. But posting your Five in the comments area of an official Honorary Fiver Day post is just the beginning. We want you to keep us posted on how you're doing on your Five! Any time one of us posts about our progress, please chime in and share your Five news too. Tell us what great things you're up to. All Fiver progress is worth celebrating, big steps and baby steps alike!

The more action we take, the more excitement we spread, the more momentum we build... the more impact we make as a Fiver community!

And yes, we encourage you to post about your Five progress on your own blogs too if you wish. Blog your Honorary Fiver hearts out, we say! Just remember to post your progress on Living Your Five too so you can inspire the rest of our community. :-)


An important note to keep in mind...

One of the tricky things about creating your Five is distinguishing between something that's beneficial to you vs. something that's immediately beneficial to others. Even we had to stop ourselves on occasion and ask "Who is really benefitting from this?"

Your Five must be things that directly impact others in a positive way, not something that is primarily for your own personal benefit.

In addition to our Fives, Alyson, Tera, Becca and I are all actively pursuing our own kinds of personal development. That's just part of being the best we can be. But that's a personal endeavor, not a Fiver endeavor.

Here's an example of what I mean:

Things like regular meditation and spiritual development are for your own personal growth. They're lovely goals, to be sure. And they may very well improve your ability to carry out your Five. But those goals would not be part of your Five themselves because the person who benefits most is you.

Stick to things that directly and obviously impact others first and foremost, whether those others are people, animals, the Earth, or whatever you happen to care about. Don't worry... if you're like us, there will be way more than just five things in your "Impacting Others" column.

NOTE: You must post your Five here to become an Honorary Fiver, even if you've already shared it in the comments of a non-Honorary Fiver Day post. (Having all of the Fives together on these special Honorary Fiver Day posts is the only way we can keep track of our growing Honorary Fivers membership.)


And now, without further ado, I introduce... YOU!

So there you go, dear readers! If you're ready to step up to the plate--Welcome! We're thrilled to have you aboard!--now is your time to shine. Share your Five in the comments below, nab the Honorary Fiver logo for your blog or web site, and go change your world!

Are you ready to Live Your Five?

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Tera -- Living My Five

Now that Thanksgiving has passed, the holiday season is officially here. (In my family we have a hard and fast rule of absolutely nothing Christmas-related until after turkey day!) This means I've started thinking about gift giving. I'm also trying to keep my Five in mind as I decide what kind of gifts to give. I've done some research, and a couple of my favorite blogs have terrific posts on "alternative" gifts.



Unclutterer has a 2009 Gift Giving Guide series. So far they've talked about small things (like gift cards and chocolates), gifts that reflect what matter most to you (perfect for Fivers), education (like online classes and language CDs), and uncluttering (aka their book). There are sure to be more great tips coming soon, but these are already giving me some great ideas.

The frugalistas at the Simple Dollar suggest giving experiences rather than things. This can be anything from a coupon for babysitting to planning an outing to do something the recipient loves. Simple, cheap, and meaningful.

Now, I can't exactly share how I plan to implement these ideas (there's still a lot to be said for the element of surprise) but you can bet that this holiday season my nearest and dearest will be getting gifts from the heart.

What about you? Do you have any unique and meaningful gift suggestions for the holidays? I'd love to hear them.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Becca - Living My Five

Hey, Fivers!

For those of you living in the US, I hope you had a fantastic Thanksgiving and were able to take a few minutes out of your holiday to reflect on all the blessings in your life! I am so thankful for wonderful, charitable friends and a healthy, happy family. I don't think I could ask for better blessings this holiday season!

For my Living My Five post this week, I wanted to share one Five in particular that has been keeping me busy (in the very best of ways).

Pay it Forward

One of my New Years Resolutions for 2010 is to clean out my house, working through it room by room, and donate anything that I no longer need, or never really needed in the first place. I got a jump-start on this resolution during the month of November, have been busy going through my personal belongings and finding items to donate. This past weekend, my family and I made a trip to Goodwill and donated handbags, toys, clothes, coats and bedding. My youngest son had a hard time saying goodbye to a few of his long lost baby toys, but all in all, my family and I felt good about knowing we're doing our part to help our community, especially as winter approaches. I really do live in a wonderful community, a place I feel safe and happy raising my kids, and it feels wonderful to give back.

Charity, gratitude and the spirit of giving are things I've worked hard to instill in my children, but I often wonder if they hear me, or even notice the example I'm trying to set. Today in my son's Sunday School class, his teacher was teaching the children about the power of giving. In her object lesson, she gave each child the choice between using a pretend dollar bill to buy candy, or to buy food to give to needy families. Some of the children in the class said, "But it's only a dollar. It's better to buy the candy, because the amount of food we could buy with a dollar wouldn't be enough to make a difference."

How many times have I said those same words to myself - I'm only one person. How can I make a difference? Or - It's better to buy something now that will instantly reward my family, since I can't change the world. When I found out that my son was the one boy in the class who opted to donate food and forgo candy, I can't tell you how my heart sang. I know the example we're setting can motivate people all over the globe to make our world a better place.

I'm so thankful to be a part of Living Your Five. I'm grateful I'm changing who I am and how I think. Small and simple acts can have extraordinary results.

What about you? Are you Living Your Five?


Happy World Changing!


Friday, November 27, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... Three Things ala Becca

Happy Friday!

We're continuing our series this week about the simple but important question we asked ourselves when we first got Living Your Five rolling.


If you could encourage everyone on the planet to do three specific things, what would they be?

Here's what Becca had to say:

1. Love your neighbors

2. Take time every day for self-evaluation and make goals where improvement is needed

3. Find your purpose



Short, sweet and definitely food for thought! Now, what about you? If you could encourage everyone in the world to do something positive, what would yours be?


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Alyson -- Living My Five

The days between my last post and this one have been crazy/busy to say the least. Amongst all the usual day to day stuff, I released a new book (Shadowland), and was just about to add the final finishing touches to the nearly completed, manuscript in the Riley series when my computer died . . .

Just heaved its last breath and . . .

died.

A recipe for a major case of high anxiety for sure, but instead of a melt down, I decided to take a deep breath (okay, maybe a whole series of deep breaths!) and remind myself of all the things I had to be grateful for--among them that I had a generous husband who gladly loaned me his computer to work on, and the fact that I'd recently gotten serious about backing up my work, which enabled me to get right back to it without missing a beat.

But of course there's far more than that to be grateful for, and with tomorrow being Thanksgiving and all, giving thanks is pretty much at the forefront of my mind. So, in addition to all the usual things that make my gratitude list, this Thanksgiving I'd like to add YOU.

Yep, YOU.

Thank YOU for taking the time out of your busy days to stop by this blog, read about our Fives, share your own Fives, and make the commitment to leave the world a better place--your participation is greatly appreciated!

And, as it turn out, gratitude really is a gift that just keeps on giving, as research shows that giving thanks promotes health and happiness in both the giver and receiver (and it works even better when practiced more than once a year!)

So, Thank YOU for taking the Five journey along with us-- I wish you all a Very Happy Thanksgiving!!

Alyson

Monday, November 23, 2009

Kay - Living My Five

Happy Monday!

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, I've been giving a lot of thought to gratitude lately. This year, I want to create a family tradition for Thanksgiving that makes sharing our gratitude fun and really helps us focus on what we are thankful for.

I have a wonderful book called The Book of New Family Traditions: How to Create Great Rituals for Holidays and Everydays by Meg Cox. She gives so many great ideas for creating special family traditions that it's a wonderful thing just to browse through when you want a neat new way for your family to refocus and reconnect.

Here are a few of the ideas I'm considering:

1) The Gratitude Tree - You create a large tree on a sheet of paper and put it up on the wall. Each person gets a bunch of construction paper leaves and writes down things that they are thankful for. Then, taking turns, each person gets to share their leaves and explain why they are thankful for that thing before attaching it to the tree. I love how this focuses everyone on a single activity so our gratitude sharing isn't overwhelmed by food (or football). :-)

2) The Thankful Box - This one takes place during the meal, but it sounds like such fun! Each person writes the things they're thankful for on a sheet of paper and puts them into a shoebox. During the meal, the papers are read aloud and everyone tries to guess who wrote what.

These are just two possible ideas, so I would love to hear about other Thanksgiving traditions! How do you show gratitude on Thanksgiving in your family? And for those of you abroad who don't celebrate the US Thanksgiving holiday, what traditions do you have for showing gratitude in your family?


Friday, November 20, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... "Three Things" ala Alyson

Happy Friday and congratulations to our fair Alyson on the release of Shadowland, the third book in her Immortals YA series that has taken the world by storm!

For the next few Fridays (except for Honorary Fiver Friday, of course!), I'm going to be posting each of our answers to the simple but important question we asked ourselves when we first got Living Your Five rolling.

If you could encourage everyone on the planet to do three specific things, what would they be?

Here's what Alyson had to say:

1. If you have a choice to be either right or kind, choose kind. We waste so much time defending our egos at the expense of each other, and if we put that energy into getting along, treating each other with a little more kindness and compassion and respect, the world would be a much friendlier place to live in.

2. Cut the snark. Seriously. The Internet is not anonymous—it just feels that way—and your words have the power to either harm or heal. Why waste your time going negative when you could be positive instead? Whenever I’m tempted to fall into this trap, I remember this quote by Deepak Chopra: “The cheapest way to feel good about yourself is by feeling superior to others,” and it always stops me right in my tracks. Rise above the tide and choose to be a positive force in the world, not a negative one.

3. When in doubt, follow the Golden Rule—you can never go wrong!



And now, our question for you! If you could encourage everyone in the world to do something positive, what would yours be?


Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Tera -- Living My Five

This has crazy couple of weeks in TLCville. I'm under deadline (still) and have been swamped with family business stuff. (Also, I got a little distracted by some news that I can't quite share yet, but I'm back now.)

Anyway, the point is that I haven't had much time to think about anything related to my Five, let alone actually do anything about them. Other than carrying my eco-friendly reusable cup to Starbucks every day I've been pretty singularly focused on ... stuff. So, last night, as I was pre-posting this blog and decided what to report I decided to do something free and easy about one of my more neglected Five. What did I do?

Writing Mentorship

I posted a blog. Two, actually, but the second part won't post until tomorrow. I thought about what kind of advice I would like to give to aspiring writers out in the world and decided that it would be best to start at the beginning.

Before You Write a Word

The first part talks about the importance of reading in the development of your writing skills, about how reading opens your mind to ways of expressing yourself. The second part will talk about research--the how-to-write-a-book kind, not the what-brand-of-sneaks-does-my-character-wear kind--and how to educate yourself in both the craft and the career of writing.

I hope these two articles are helpful to aspiring writers out there and I promise to answer any commented questions in a follow-up blog.

Are you ready to Live Your Five?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Becca - Living My Five

Hi, Fivers!

Wow - it's November already. I have to admit, November is one of my favorite months. It's a good time to reflect on all the things I have to be thankful for. I remember being a teen, probably around fourteen years old, and every night during the month of November, I listed fifteen things in my journal that I had to be thankful for. It's a tradition I've carried on every year since then. I have so many blessings in my life, and this month, I've been working hard to pay those blessings forward.

A couple weeks ago, I made the commitment to not pass up a single opportunity to give back to my community. In fact, I made a commitment to double my efforts. As a few examples, I've gone to Barnes & Noble a couple times this month, and every time the cashier asks if I'd like to buy and donate a book to needy children in the community, I offer to buy two. And when the woman at the grocery store asked if I'd donate a dollar to St. Jude, I offered two. This past week, I found myself able to donate two turkeys to our local food bank during the annual school drive. As the Christmas season approaches, I've already made up my mind to be as generous as I possibly can. I truly believe there's nothing love and generosity can't overcome. I'm thankful I have the opportunity to Pay It Forward.

What about you?

Are you Living Your Five?


Friday, November 13, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... education wins!

Happy Friday, Fivers!

I'm always on the lookout for inspiring stories and, since education is a particular passion of mine, this story really captured my attention. It's about Tohatchi Elementary School in New Mexico, a school where 83% of its students qualify as poor by state standards. Determined not to be held back by economic status, Tohatchi went from one of the worst academically performing schools in the state to one of the best in just three short years. If this doesn't inspire you to believe in the power of caring teachers and administrators--and the power of kids to rise to any challenge--then I'll eat my hat.

(Disclaimer: This is a figure of speech. I won't actually eat my hat unless said hat is made of chocolate. But I still think this is a fabulous story.)

Enjoy!

http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/10/12/ap/national/main5378670.shtml


Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Alyson --Living My Five

Well, the last two weeks have been crazy/busy, what with preparing for the Shadowland release next week, and wrapping up the first book in the new, Immortals series spin-off, I've been seriously home bound and pretty much chained to my computer (figuratively speaking).

But, since I knew when I committed to my Five that that would pretty much be the case, that a lot of my Five would take place right here at home, I wasn't daunted, and I soon found a way to commit a random act of charity right from my desk.

And it just so happens to involve, appropriately enough, Thanksgiving. A holiday, which, I'm going to be completely honest here and say, has never been one of my faves.

And it's not the giving thanks part--because I love that.

It's also not the getting together part either--because I love that too.

It's more, well, the food part.

I'm just not a fan of the bird. And pumpkin pie has never been my desert of choice. And please, don't even get me started on stuffing and gravy. (And no, this has absolutely nothing to do with my mom's cooking, because if anyone can make a tasty meal it's her!)

It's just me.

And as far as I can remember, that's just the way it's always been. In fact, it actually stems back even farther than I can remember, all the way back to my due date, which, all those eons ago was set for Thanksgiving Day. But nope, I was so not having that. So I dug in my heels (so to speak), and hung in there for an extra week, til I was sure the last traces of leftover turkey sandwiches would be gone, and it was safe to come out and greet the world within the warm confines of December.

That said, I am very well aware that my choosing to not particularly care for certain meals, is an absolute luxury when so many people are going hungry. And so, this Thanksgiving, I've donated enough money to provide 50 meals to those who would otherwise go without.

And you know what? It not only made me feel thankful that I was in a position to do it, but it also made me vow to revisit my position on pumpkin pie . . .

I'll let you know how that goes!

What about YOU?

Are you Living Your Five?





Monday, November 9, 2009

Kay - Living My Five

Wow, these last two weeks have gone by FAST! I've been under the weather, but here's what I've been doing to live my Five:

Commit to a life of gratitude

Like many people, I've been sick the last week. And since part of that has meant not having a voice (literally), I've spent more time online catching up in places like Facebook. It made me remember how many wonderful people are in my life and how unfortunate it is that many of them don't live nearby. Such is the life of transient America, I know.

So I've taken some time this week to connect with old friends... finding out how they're doing, trying to set up a chance to get together, and just generally letting them know I'm thinking about them. My friend, Dawn, has a lovely expression she uses when she's been thinking about you. "You were on my heart," she'll say, "so I thought I'd call to see how you were doing." A lot of people have been on my heart lately, and I'm glad I've taken the time to let them know. I want to do that more often.

I also spent a lot of time on the phone with my agent last week (prior to the voice problem), which reminded me how incredibly lucky I am to have her for a business partner. She really is the perfect compliment to me, personality-wise and business-wise. We're a good match, and I'm very grateful for that. I also got a wonderful bit of help from my editor--quite unexpectedly--which gave me even more to be thankful for. They're both getting a little special something from me today as my way of saying thanks. (Shhh... don't tell!) :-)


So that's what I've been up to. What about you? What have you been doing to make a difference in your world? How have you been Living Your Five?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... Honorary Fiver Day!


Welcome to Honorary Fiver Day!


We'll be hosting this event on the first Friday of every month. Honorary Fiver Day is your chance to become a bonafide Honorary Fiver member of the Living Your Five community.

To become an Honorary Fiver, all you have to do is share your Five in the comments on this special Honorary Fiver post. Let us know the five areas you want to make a difference in!

Once you've shared your Five on this post, you are officially an Honorary Fiver and have our permission to nab this cute logo (designed by our own fab Tera!) to place on your blog or web site. Cool, right?


What does being an Honorary Fiver mean?

Being an Honorary Fiver means you're ready to join us in our quest to change our world... one person and one Five at a time. But posting your Five in the comments area of an official Honorary Fiver Day post is just the beginning. We want you to keep us posted on how you're doing on your Five! Any time one of us posts about our progress, please chime in and share your Five news too. Tell us what great things you're up to. All Fiver progress is worth celebrating, big steps and baby steps alike!

The more action we take, the more excitement we spread, the more momentum we build... the more impact we make as a Fiver community!

And yes, we encourage you to post about your Five progress on your own blogs too if you wish. Blog your Honorary Fiver hearts out, we say! Just remember to post your progress on Living Your Five too so you can inspire the rest of our community. :-)


An important note to keep in mind...

One of the tricky things about creating your Five is distinguishing between something that's beneficial to you vs. something that's immediately beneficial to others. Even we had to stop ourselves on occasion and ask "Who is really benefitting from this?"

Your Five must be things that directly impact others in a positive way, not something that is primarily for your own personal benefit.

In addition to our Fives, Alyson, Tera, Becca and I are all actively pursuing our own kinds of personal development. That's just part of being the best we can be. But that's a personal endeavor, not a Fiver endeavor.

Here's an example of what I mean:

Things like regular meditation and spiritual development are for your own personal growth. They're lovely goals, to be sure. And they may very well improve your ability to carry out your Five. But those goals would not be part of your Five themselves because the person who benefits most is you.

Stick to things that directly and obviously impact others first and foremost, whether those others are people, animals, the Earth, or whatever you happen to care about. Don't worry... if you're like us, there will be way more than just five things in your "Impacting Others" column.

NOTE: You must post your Five here to become an Honorary Fiver, even if you've already shared it in the comments of a non-Honorary Fiver Day post. (Having all of the Fives together on these special Honorary Fiver Day posts is the only way we can keep track of our growing Honorary Fivers membership.)


And now, without further ado, I introduce... YOU!

So there you go, dear readers! If you're ready to step up to the plate--Welcome! We're thrilled to have you aboard!--now is your time to shine. Share your Five in the comments below, nab the Honorary Fiver logo for your blog or web site, and go change your world!

Are you ready to Live Your Five?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Tera -- Living My Five

It's been a crazy few weeks for me. You know from my last post that I made it through my move with some decent progress on my Five. Now I'm buckling under the weight of a looming deadline. Let's see if I'm still pulling my weight.

Going Green

Two simple things, which hopefully have a big cumulative impact, that I've been doing are taking my own mug to Starbucks and taking reusable bags to the grocery store. Since, as I said, I'm under deadline, I'm spending a lot of time writing in my favorite office--aka Starbucks. Every time I hand over my mug I feel like I'm making a tiny impact on the environment. (Plus, saving ten cents.)

Now that I'm (temporarily) back home with my parents I'm playing personal chef, which means I'm also playing grocery shopper. My mom has a bazillion reusable grocery bags which are wonderful because, not only do they save oil (we use 12 million gallons of oil every year to make 30 billion plastic bags in the USA*) and money (five cents a bag), they are also way easier to carry when loaded down with stuff.

Writing Mentorship

What I didn't mention in my last post is that I was, maybe even as you read it, speaking at a high school north of Austin, Texas, on my way to Oklahoma. I gave four sessions to a total of nine classes, including the school's creative writing class, about how I became a writer, my writing process, and answering any questions they could come up with. This combined two of my favorite parts of the job: talking to teens and talking about writing. I would like to think I inspired at least one or two of the kids to think about writing as a career.

By the time I write my next post I should be done with the first draft of my next book ... and hopefully I'll soon have time to make some more significant progress to report.

Are you ready to Live Your Five?






PS -- Today is my mom's birthday so HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!!!

* source: ABC News

Monday, November 2, 2009

Becca - Living My Five

Hi, Fivers!



My oldest son had a birthday this week, and while we'd originally planned on taking him to a haunted corn maze to celebrate, we ended up going sledding instead - blame all the snow Colorado's been getting! Typically, when it comes to my kids' birthdays, I go all out and buy them presents just for the sake of having more things for them to open. I think in our society, it sometimes feels like the number of presents we give our children is an expression of our love. Well, I'm here to say that's not true! :)




This year, to keep with my goal of reducing personal consumption, I decided to give my son one birthday present - the one gift he'd been begging for all summer. At first I was worried he'd ask where all the rest of his presents had gone, but he was so excited to get this particular present, that the dreaded question never came up. Besides, with all the other presents flowing in from aunts, uncles and grandparents, he didn't notice that Mom and Dad gave him only one present. Since I've noticed most of the toys I give him end up going straight into the closet, and later, the garage-sale pile, I feel really good about this decision. It feels great not to be wasteful. And to top things off, I wrapped the birthday present in recycled paper.

How about you? Are you living your Five?


Friday, October 30, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... more favorite green tips!

Last week, Tera and Becca shared their favorite tips for going green. This week, it's Alyson and my turn to share our green-happy favorites. (And then we want more ideas from you!)

What are your favorite Living Green tips? Are there any cool Living Green gadgets or techniques that you've discovered in your quest to live greener?

Alyson

Green gadgets?!! If anyone knows of a cool “green gadget” bring it on!! I love anything gadgety that promises to make those little life chores easier!

But so far, in my gadget free existence, I do all the usual things like:

-- Turn off the water while I brush my teeth

-- Recycle, Recycle, Recycle

-- Wash only full loads of laundry with environmentally correct soap

-- Change all my light bulbs to the energy efficient kind

-- Turn off said lights when I’m not using them

-- Open a window before turning on a fan to see if nature alone will cool down the house

-- Oh, and this is a big one for me as a writer, but whenever I have to print something, like a manuscript or whatever, as soon as I’m done with it I cut it into scrap paper, that I use for notes, grocery lists, to do lists, you name it. It’s not much, but it makes me feel far less wasteful.

Kay

My favorite green tips are very similar to Alyson, Becca and Tera's. Since they've covered a lot of mine, here are some of my all-time water-saving favorites (including some gadgets).

-- We're not big fans of watering our outdoor plants or lawn, but there have been occasions when it's been necessary. We grew our backyard grass from seed rather than buying sod and needed to keep it moist during germination and the early growth stage. Here's a secret: water only in the early morning before the sun comes up. The temperature is cooler so there's less evaporation (less waste) and it has time to soak in down to the roots before the heat of the day kicks in. (You could do this after the sun goes down as well, but it can increase the risk of fungal growth on your plants. The experts I've talked to unanimously recommend early AM watering.)

-- If you must water, make it easy to do an eco-friendly AM watering by buying a programmable water timer from your local garden store. You attach it to the faucet and plug your hose into it. Then you set it for the day(s) of the week and time you want it to turn on and how long you want it to water before shutting itself off. It's a fabulous way to get the most of your watering when you absolutely must water while keeping an eye on the earth. It's also a great tool for keeping your garden healthy while you're on vacation.

-- If you're watering a garden, use a soaker hose rather than a sprinkler. Soaker hoses are available at most home and garden stores and have tiny holes along the hose that allow the water to seep out directly onto the ground. It can be woven in between your vegetable rows so that it targets every plant evenly. There's much less evaporation than a traditional sprinkler and it delivers water directly to the root area where it's needed most. Using a soaker hose in the early AM is the best of both worlds - a terrific, eco-friendly way to keep your vegetable garden flourishing (and supporting a healthy eating lifestyle!).

-- Install low flow toilets, faucets and showerheads. Not only are they inexpensive, but I've never yet noticed a different in the water flow from the faucets and showerheads. And they can save a significant amount of water.

-- This is a simple one, but that half glass of water you didn't drink before bed? Don't pour it down the drain. Use it to water your indoor houseplants. Every little bit counts.


So there you go, more green tips to kick off the weekend. What about you? Let's hear some more of your favorite green tips!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Alyson --Living My Five


So, I feel I should say, right from the start, that my husband & I aren't exactly what you'd call "car people."

Sure we admire a nice sexy, sleek, and shiny model, but we don't really feel the need to claim one of our own. And when a good friend recently got a Bentley, I couldn't wait to go for a spin around the block (I'd never been in one before and they are truly beautiful, a real work of art, with every detail attended to!), but when the ride was over, I was just as happy to climb behind the wheel of my, er, non-Bentley.

So when we found ourselves in the market for a new car recently (mine's really getting up there in years), we were immediately faced with a sea of seemingly unlimited options. But, as we nailed down our criteria, which basically amounted to a combination of comfort, value, good gas mileage, and as minimal environmental impact as possible (keeping in spirit with my pledge to live greener), the list of potentials became a lot shorter, and we ended up choosing a new hybrid model that not only gets 35 mpg, but is made of 80% recyclable, plant based materials--how cool is that?!

Oh, and, on a side note, it just so happens to be sexy, shiny, and sleek too--so a total win/win!

Now we just have to wait for it to be delivered . . .

How about you? Are you Living Your Five??




Monday, October 26, 2009

Kay - Living My Five

After a much-needed long weekend, it's back to the real world. Time to report in on my Five!

Pay it forward in ways that are meaningful to me

I have been on a MAJOR buying spree this year when it comes to books. At last count, I was nearing 100 books purchased in 2009 alone! The interesting thing about buying books is that, to me, I'm paying it forward in two ways. First, I'm supporting the publishing industry (and my fellow authors) by purchasing their lovely books. With the first annual National Bookstore Day rapidly approaching, I'm already making my list of books that I still want to buy.

You know about National Bookstore Day, right? It's a national event sponsored by Publishers Weekly to encourage people to support their local bookstores. What's not to love? If you're starting to think about holiday gift giving (if that's something you do), think books. Mysteries, romance, thrillers, cookbooks, biographies, health books, picture books, and SO much more. There's truly something for everyone!

As for me? On Saturday, November 7th, I'll be heading out to my local bookstores to support this great event and getting a jump on my holiday shopping. Last year I bought more than 20 books for people on my list. Do you think I can outdo that this year? I'm going to try!

The second part of paying it forward with my book buying is that every time I bring a new book in, I'm reminded that there is no more room on my bookshelves. So I've begun to cull my book collection, looking for interesting ways to let those books bless other people. Some of them will go to my local library so other people can enjoy them for free. Some of them will go to Goodwill so people can add to their collections even if they're on a tight budget (or they can purchase them for the kids in their lives--I take care of my books, so they're all in excellent condition).

And some of the books will go to a lovely middle school teacher in an impoverished inner-city school district in Texas. She is trying so hard to expose her kids to books. Many of her students are told regularly that they should leave school and get a job instead of finishing middle school. Once I finish pulling out all the books I have, I'm going to select the best of the best and send them off to Texas. I can't wait to ship them off.

So that's how I've been living my Five. What about you? What kinds of neat things have you been doing to Live Your Five?


Friday, October 23, 2009

Friday FiveSpot presents... our favorite green tips!

First... a quick note of Fiver cheer to wrap up the week!

HUGE congratulations to Founding Fiver (and debut YA author) Becca Fitzpatrick for becoming a New York Times bestselling author this week! We are completely thrilled that Becca's novel, Hush, Hush, has debuted at #10 on the Children's list!!! Becca joins Founding Fiver, and fellow New York Times bestselling author, Alyson Noel on this prestigious list where Alyson's Evermore and Blue Moon (the first two books in her Immortals series) have taken the world by storm.

I LOVE when good things happen to good people, don't you??? Way to go, Becca and Alyson! We're so proud of you!!!

As you all know, Becca, Alyson, Tera, and I are all huge advocates of living a greener life. So we thought it would be fun to share our favorite strategies and solutions for going green.

What are your favorite Living Green tips? Are there any cool Living Green gadgets or techniques that you've discovered in your quest to live greener?

Becca

My favorite tips are:

  • Turning off the sprinklers on days when it rains
  • Washing clothes in cold water as often as possible
  • Finding natural ways to eliminate garden pests rather than opting for harsh chemical pesticides
  • Choosing the bike over the car

    Tera

    Living in a sunny, southern climate, one of my favorite green (and money-saving) tips is to keep my blinds shut all day in the summer to keep the sun's heat out. I've even taken it to the extreme of making sure my blinds are turned up so no beams can sneak in between them. By keeping out as much sunlight as possible, it keeps my apartment a little cooler, which in turn keeps my energy usage (and my bill) down. (Though I don't have much call to do the reverse in winter, keeping your blinds open during the day will let in warmth and keep your heating to a minimum.)

    Another thing I do to save energy and keep my electric bill down is cut down on passive energy drain by my electronics. I keep my computer, tv, and accessories plugged into surge protectors. When I'm not using them or when I'm out of town, I turn off the plug bar so they don't keep sucking energy. With my phone and laptop charges, I only plug them in when I'm using them. As long as they're plugged in, they're pulling energy. It takes a while to get used to plugging and unplugging chargers, but it's a minor change with a major cumulative result.


    Next week, Alyson and I will be sharing our favorite green tips, but first... it's your turn! What are your favorite ways to go green?

  • Wednesday, October 21, 2009

    Tera -- Living My Five

    Like I said in my last post, I'm moving this week. My stuff is actually already in Oklahoma City and I'm on my way there via Austin and Dallas. It's been a hectic two weeks, to say the least.

    But I am happy to report some moving-related progress on my Five.

    Going Green

    With every move there is a lot of waste. (A lot of waste.) I diligently collected all recyclables, like plastic bottles and extra cardboard boxes, and toted them down my three flights of stairs and across the complex to the recycle bins.

    Disaster Relief

    I also ended up with a bag full of non-perishable pantry items that could have easy been tossed into the trash. Instead, I looked up places to donate food in Houston and found the West Side Social Services organization not far from my (now former) apartment. When I took them my seemingly paltry bag of food they were so thankful and pleased to have it. That was definitely a spirit boost on a stressful day.

    (I'm not sure this services only victims of natural disasters, but probably anyone in need of donated food has suffered some kind of disaster in their life.)

    Writing Mentorship

    After culling through my (excessive) collection of books, I wound up with one box and three tote bags fulls of books to pass on. In the past I've taken these books to a local used bookstore to sell back for store credit. I've hardly ever used the credit I've accumulated while living in Houston, and now that I was moving away it seemed silly to build up even more. So, instead, I donated these books to the Houston Public Library. My dad delivered them to my neighborhood branch and he said the librarian was thrilled to receive the books. Score two for spirit boost. Maybe one of those books will inspire a future writer to bestsellerdom!

    I also shipped whatever young adult books I was donating to the wonderful make-shift library Becca wrote about two weeks ago. Goodness knows those kids need all the opportunities for escape they can get.

    See, even something as stressful and overwhelming as moving can turn into an opportunity to further your Five. So how have you done since my last update? Any unexpected progress or spirit-boosting moments to share?

    Are you ready to Live Your Five?

    Tera

    Monday, October 19, 2009

    Becca - Living My Five

    Hey, Fivers!

    Hope everyone had a fantastic week! My post today is a combo of paying it forward, and volunteering in local schools. I'm friends with a principal in town whose school is known for being one of the poorest in our community. This week she told me about a service project she and her students did last year for an orphanage in Nicaragua, and it was so successful, she's decided to do it again this year. Her hope for the service project was that it would show her students that no matter what their circumstances are, there are always people less fortunate. That no matter where we all are in life, we can always help someone else out. Always. Right now, she and her students are in the process of collecting clothes, shoes and toys for approximately 60 orphaned children in Nicaragua. I offered to volunteer in any way I could. She gave me two backpacks, one for a boy and one for a girl, and told me to fill them with clothes, toothpaste, Legos, airplane kits, Spanish books, journals and colored pencils. She explained that shortly before Christmas, she and her students will be flying to Nicaragua with the backpacks. Talk about exciting!! Not only am I helping students from my very own community fulfill their goals, but I'm hoping I can help make this one of the merriest Christmases ever for two children in Nicaragua!

    That's what I've been up to. What about you? Are you living your Five?



    Friday, October 16, 2009

    Friday FiveSpot presents... another must-see music video

    Last month, I shared a Nickelback video for the song If Everyone Cared. Based on the feedback we heard, the video was a big hit with our blog readers. So I wanted to follow up with the other Nickelback video that I think is a great Living Your Five piece of inspiration.

    If Today Was Your Last Day



    (For copyright purposes, I'm linking to the AOL version of the video because I was unable to find an official copyrighted version on Nickelback's site to link to. If the link doesn't work in your country/zone, just search for "If Today Was Your Last Day video".)

    Are you ready to Live Your Five?


    Wednesday, October 14, 2009

    Alyson --Living My Five



    So, over the last two weeks since my last post, I’ve been a busy, little Fiver.

    But it was actually the kind of Fiving (yes, it’s a verb!) that I didn’t really have to put a lot of thought into, it just sort of flowed naturally from one day to the next, which was kind of cool because it feels like it’s really starting to take effect and become less of a mantra and more of a lifestyle now.


    Like last week when I got my car washed (as illustrated above & below), which, on the surface doesn’t seem all that related to Fiving, but did you know that do it yourself car washing is one of the most environmentally un-friendly chores we can do?




    Unlike household waste water that enters the sewers and undergoes treatment before it’s discharged into the environment, that sudsy water that runs off your car goes right into storm drains—and eventually into rivers, streams, creeks and wetlands where it poisons aquatic life and wreaks havoc on the ecosystem. But the water at the commercial carwash is treated before it gets discharged back into the environment—there are federal laws that require this kind of thing. They also use computer-controlled systems and high-pressure nozzles and pumps that minimize water usage. Many also recycle and re-use the rinse water.

    So yeah, score one for the environment and I got a clean, shiny car to go with it!




    Orlando Bloom in Nepal, recently appointed Unicef Goodwill Ambassador!

    And even though I’m not really one to plan for the holidays this far ahead—my usual method being to let it creep up with seemingly no warning whatsoever—yesterday when I received my Unicef catalog in the mail, I wasted no time in ordering my holiday greeting cards, which are not only pretty, but also help raise money to deliver nutrition, clean water, health care, and basically save and nurture children all over the world—a total win/win right? To check out all the awesome cards and gifts available that can help make a difference in a child’s life, click HERE!


    And last but not least, my husband recently had his own Fiver moment I just have to share. The other day he was standing by for a flight when he and another passenger were bumped and put on another flight with a destination that was over a two and a half hour drive from where they wanted to be (one of the perils of using those airline employee benefits!). Well, the other guy was frustrated and about to give up entirely, when my husband arranged for a rental car and offered the guy a ride. And while I’m not advocating for anyone to invite a stranger into their car, as there were extenuating circumstances, like the guy worked for the airline I used to work for, etc, I was still so touched that he offered to help out a stranger without giving a second thought to his own comfort. But then, this is a guy that used to trick-or-treat for Unicef, so he's been a Fiver from way back . . .


    Anyway, that’s it for me this week—how about YOU?


    Are you Living Your Five?