Thursday, August 27, 2009

Introducing our Five...with YA author Becca Fitzpatrick

When Kay invited me to be a part of Living Your Five, I felt a spark of fire in my heart that immediately told me this was something I wanted to be involved with. I've always believed in the power of one, and I've tried to shape my life around that simple yet profound idea. The awesome thing about Living Your Five is it's about the power of one uniting to become the power of hundreds, even thousands. Each of us alone can make a big impact, but together we can change the world. And that's something to get excited about!

I'll admit, I didn't do a lot of soul-searching to come up with my Five. I didn't need to. The following Five jumped out at me right away, and I'm going to go with my intuition on this one and say my Five and I are meant to be. After all, Living Your Five shouldn't be complex – it's about making small and simple changes that reap big rewards. So here you go – my Five!

1. Bike it!

My family is fortunate to live within one mile of all of the following: my husband's workplace, my kids' schools, a grocery store, the library, restaurants, parks, my bank and Target. The city I live in has 250 days of sun each year. The roads in my neighborhood have bike lanes. I own a bike. And yet, more often than not, I find myself hopping behind the wheel to make a quick drive to the store, library or to school. With my Five, I'm challenging myself to drive only when necessary.

2. Random acts of kindness

My personality tends to be spontaneous, so I'm especially excited to see how I pursue my goal of spreading a little sunshine in the world around me. It could be anything from paying the toll for the driver behind me, to sending flowers to a stranger, to helping a child with their homework. I think random acts of kindness are small yet powerful acts that, with practice, can become habits in our lives – things we do without thinking twice. A habit of kindness – that's my goal.

3. Pay it forward

Pay it forward is about two things: gratitude and love. I want to show my gratitude to the marvelous people who've impacted my life over the years, and to the many more who will do so in the future, and I think the best way to do this is by being the kind of person who motivates others to be their best self. Mother Teresa said it best: “Spread your love everywhere you go.”

4. Reduce personal consumption

Did you know that Americans account for only five percent of the world's population, and yet we produce 50 percent of the world's waste? When I read this statistic, I felt motivated to make some changes in my life. Am I guilty of being wasteful? Yes. It's not like I wake up each morning and consciously decide I'm going to produce as much trash as I possibly can, but I do buy things I don't need. And when I buy things I don't need or even really have use for, it's inevitable that I will eventually have to throw it out. Which is why I'm committing right now to consume less, therefore using less of the world's natural resources and producing less waste.

5. Volunteer in local schools

I think one of the biggest ways to make an impact in the world is to help others achieve their goals, especially the rising generation. Education is such a vital part of reaching goals, and volunteering in local schools is a great way for me to start here in my community and help children realize they're in charge of their futures – a place where anything is possible.

So there you have it. My Five. What about you – are you ready to Live Your Five? Comment below for your chance to win a signed copy of my debut novel, HUSH, HUSH! The winner will be announced on Saturday along with the launch week grand prize winner. And stay tuned for Tera's Five tomorrow...

Happy world changing!


  1. I never knew that about the statistics of American's producing 50% of the world's waste! That's insane! I definately am going to start to try to cut down on my waste and getting things I don't need.

  2. Yikes! I need to work on cutting down on my personal consumption as well.. Although I already recycle as much as I can too. I like your five! Thanks for sharing :D


  3. I'm going to try to buy some environmentally friendly products because I know alot of what I buy doesn't break down well in the environment. Water bottles are being replaced with cardboard boxes I saw in a magazine. It sounds very awkward and I've never seen them in the store before, but it breaks down better then a bottle. I guess if I was faced with the option, I would try out the cardboard ones to reduce waste.

    Hush, Hush sounds really good and I'd love to read it! I LOVE the cover! GORGEOUS!

  4. I plan to use your top 4 in my freshman year in college. I will definately be biking it! But I will show acts of kindness and "pay it forward" to those important people in my life. The less consumption will be a work in progress but I will try my best.

  5. It's such a shame that I don't even know how to bike. But I think biking is really cool - you can protect the environment, be healthier and be able to enjoy the nature as well. Reducing personal consumption is something I have to work on too. Whenever I go shopping I always tell myself not to leave empty-handed and very often buy things that I never ever use.

    Thanks for sharing your five : D

  6. Great Fives! I especially agree with 1, 3, and 5. We can save so much more if we do all these things. The possibilities are endless! I will definitely add these to my own 'Living with your Five'! It's so inspirational!

    Reggie :-)

  7. Everyone in my family owns a bike and we love to go riding. We live just a few miles from many parks and trails. But, we also live many miles from the nearest town. I try not to go to town any more than I have to, waiting to combine errands to save gas.

  8. Well done, Becca!

    It's interesting to note many of us are gearing up to Pay It Forward and produce Random Acts of Kindness.

    Can you imagine the fabulous impact we'll make if each of us does one or both of these loving kind-style acts each day?!

    Wow...together, we're going to change this world in a huge, huge way!

    Sexy, Sassy, Smart Pay It Forward Wishes --- D. D. Scott

  9. I think your first one is sending me a message! I'm 18 but have yet to get my drivers license, I have no real desire to do so because I'm not very fond of cars and their effect on the environment. I really want to start biking to get to wherever I need to be but shamefully - I've never learnt to ride a bike! I think it's sending me a signal to jump on, scrape a few knees and kick off the training wheels :)

    Love your five!

  10. Hi, Becca!

    I'd love to be to "bike it" but unfortunately, I live in a town where everything is so far away from each other, the neighborhood isn't the best and I'm slightly afraid I'll get run over. So there goes that idea! :(

    I'm planning on volunteering in the local public library, I think that would be very cool. I could help them with anything they need a few hours a week. I just feel like everything gets in the way.

  11. Oh! And like Alyson's five, I'm totally in with doing random acts of kindness. I agree that they can totally small things that can make a huge difference. :)

  12. You definitely should bike more!! When you live that close to everything, it probably takes just as long to go by bike compared to driving...Plus you get fresh air and motion!


  13. My family has been very aware of our personal consumption lately. We started by not buying water in bottles. I bought the kids their own personalized water bottle, they love them and we are reducing waste. Small steps.
    I am so anxious to read your new release, I love the cover!

  14. I like this idea very much! I think that I'm going to start with the bike, it's summer and the weather is great!
    And in my family everything that we don't use anymore, like toys, go to my younger cousins or to the benefical acts that my school sponsor.

  15. I wasn't sure when to start Living My Five, or if there's even a start date, so I just went about making stars with an encouraging note hidden inside for my classmates. :) They went "Awwwwww" and I'm like all mushy thinking about it. :3

  16. Once again, those are some really good ideas! I don't find myself thinking about how much waste I produce very often. It'll have to be something I work on as well.

  17. Great ideas! I"m all for the biking.

  18. I think we all need to cut down on consumer waste! And I really like the idea of biking. I actually can't drive yet, but if I can, I get my parents to drive me to the mall which is only a 15 minute walk away! I must stop being so lazy and help the environment. :)

    - Alex

  19. I really like the first one, there are a lot of places we can go without a car, we can use the bike or even walk if its not that far. And about the consumption, I think is really important for us to reduce it, we have to take care of our home!!!


  20. Hey =)
    I totally agree with riding your bike action. I,ve had my lisence for 6 years but I always took the bus instead of buying a car. I just moved last month and I am now within walking range of my work place, so I walk there everyday!
    It's not much but hey, if everyone takes there cars less it's gonna make a difference!
    I heard a lot of great things about your book and I would truly love to win a copy =)

  21. I have wanted to try the biking thing for a long time. My dream bike is one with a banana seat and a basket! I never got one of those growing up, and I think it would be great for trips to the library. I also think it's a great idea because it not only makes the earth healthier, it makes you healthier too. I don't have the bike but I do try to walk whenever possible.

    shouldbewritingnow at gmail dot com

  22. Down in college station we pretty much bike for everything because the campus is so big! So i really like that! Wow! I've never actually heard the statistic on consumer waste before! That is totally insane!

    leslie-lv at hotmail dot com

  23. your first one, bike it, made me laugh.

    I'm 17 and a half, and I just got my drivers license yesterday. And what did I do the day of getting my drivers license? I called shot gun in a giant carpool that went to our tennis dinner and a going away party for a friend.
    I walk to school (which is a no brainer, since it's only across the street - though my neighbors choose to drive), and even though I'm not a huge fan of biking, I am a huge fan of carpooling/walking. So I definately agree with number one - my biggest pet peeve is when there are a bunch of people who live by one another that plan on going to the same place, and they all drive separate. I mean, really?

    And I had heard the waste thing before. It's alarming. I know for a fact I'm guilty, but I've been trying to do better on the whole 'not wasting' thing...


  24. Great five, Becca. I completely agree with you.
    The waste produce statistics were freaky. 50%? Whoa!
    I wish we had volunteering opportunities in our country:(

  25. I really like your 1 and 4. There are a few places I could go without a car. Everyone cutting down on car use will really make a difference.
    I was especially shocked at how much waste the USA produces, though! 50%...that's insane! I'm definately only going to buy what I need, and also recycle everything I can.
    I'm really excited to read your debut novel, Hush, Hush! The cover is great!


  26. I bike since i was 6, but it's been a long time since i biked the last time. The same with riding horses, oh, how i miss it, even though the last time i got my ass on the floor, the horse wasn't in the mood that day i think!
    And, well, with my money short i kind of have to reduce my consumption, and what i learned it's that sometimes when you think you REALLY have to have something, after a while it doesn't matter anymore. I hope it'll last when i have cash on my pocket available.
    And hey, i already work at the kids section on a bookstore, could this count as volunteer in a school, cuz' man, those kids need some education...and the place is still on its feet!

  27. I need to work on "Pay it Forward" and not be so self-centered.

  28. Great 5! Your #1 is inspiring me to recommit to walking and using DC public transportation instead of of our car. And the stats on #4 are crazy...I could definitely be better about recycling at home!

  29. #2 is something I as well strive for. I always try to work in some act at least once a week, if not everyday. Some days are harder than others, but those typically the days when the acts make me feel the best.


  30. I enjoyed reading your five! Even though you didn't have to soul search to find your five you can tell you put a lot of thought into!

    Hush Hush sounds amazing and even if I don't win i'll still be purchasing when it's released in October!

    Sherry S.

  31. A very well-articulated five, Becca! I don't know that I could come up with my five that quickly... must ponder...

    Looking forward to Hush, Hush! I read up on the background story at your website... love it! Now I need to read the first 2 chapters to learn more!

  32. Great five! I particularly like Reduce Personal Consumption. I agree that when I buy things I don't use I usually end up throwing it away. I'm going to make an effort to recycle more often (and encouraging my family to do so). I'm trying to convince them to make a compost pile...we'll see how that goes. Thanks for sharing your five!


  33. Hi Becca,

    I love your Five because they are living the action of "spreading your love everywhere you go." Caring for the earth and caring for each other are all acts of love.

    Thanks for the inspirational pick-me-up, and helping me to better define my FIVE. Can't wait to read HUSH, HUSH!

    All the best always,
    Elizabeth Fais

  34. Thanks to Elizabeth Fais for sharing this with me!! I have passed it on, and will be adding your blog to my recommends on my blog site. How inspiring! Thank you all for this wonderful call to action!

  35. Thanks for sharing Becca. I love 2, 3, and 4. Very inspirational


  36. I love your idea of volunteering in local schools. Children are so important, they are our future, so it makes sense to help them out.

    Good luck with your five!

  37. Reducing your personal consumption is something that everyone can do to try to make a difference. Simple but effective, I like it!

  38. I did know about Americans and their wastes. It's too much. And I'm a green person, so I have to say that that's my favourite Five.


  39. Ooh, I love the biking one. I've been trying to drive less, but I just don't live quite close enough to my library :) And I also don't have a bike. Hm...

  40. I like your five! I wish I could commit biking more, but I don't even think I have a bike anymore. I think I'll try walking more once it cools down, but there aren't many places I go to regularly within walking distance.

    Thanks for sharing!

  41. For some reason, I'm not one bit surprised that we produce 50% of the waste. However I do think it a shame. I'm glad you are going to try to reduce personal consumption. :D


  42. Man everyone's five so far has been amazing...So many brilliant ideas. It really gets you thinking on how much one person can succeed in creating a better world...

    Hope everyone has a good week :)

  43. i so didn't know that US had 50%! Wow!!
    i really liked your five!

    hope i win your noval Hush,Hush!!

    -- suzette

  44. Me me! I know that stat and it's horrific to think about--we do our part recycling everything and trying to live Green.

  45. Awesome Five, Bec! That statistic is definitely eye-popping. Really puts reduce-reuse-recycle in perspective, doesn't it? Cheers to you for all that biking! The earth and your body getting happy all at once. Now that's good karma. :-)

  46. 5% of the world making 50% of its trash? EEK!
    Yay for random acts of kindness! That is an awesome idea for your five :)


  47. I agree. These five things are so easy to do and you feel better about yourself doing them and people notice you doing them feel better. It are the simply things in life that make things better.

  48. Those are five wonderful things, Becca! I may not be the most enviromentally concerned person, but I think limiting our personal consumption is wonderful. It's such a small thing we can all do, but it makes a huge impact.

  49. I'm totally gonna start biking places. That way, my parents don't have to drive me. Plus, it's great cardio!

  50. This is a great idea! I think the easiest thing for a lot of people to do is random acts of kindness. Being kind takes so little from us. In fact, it lifts my spirit when I do something kind for someone. You're proving that determination is the best remedy for a lot of small problems. Thanks for sharing! I'd love to enter to win a signed copy of Hush, Hush! :)

  51. "A habit of kindness" - that's so beautiful. It has to be on my list. I just keep thinking about it.

    Also, volunteering in schools - without my volunteers I could not do HALF the things I do with kids and teachers. My volunteers ROCK! And they do it with heart. I love them. I hate when their children graduate and they have to leave the middle school. They are necessary and they practice "a habit of kindness"!

  52. I'm so excited about Living Your Five!

    Here's the scoop on my Five:

    1. Pay It Forward

    2. Engage in Random Acts of Kindness

    3. Continue to eat well and learn tons about our food supply w/my new vegan lifestyle

    4. Continue my spiritual exploration w/the help of yoga and Deepak Chopra

    5. Find ways to use art and education to feed and heal the world's children and give them the opportunity to make their dreams come true

    --- D. D. Scott

  53. Those are great Becca! I especially love #5 - I just started working in a school that has a population that really need more from school than we have enough hours to give. Having that extra set of hands is always great.


  54. Awesome 5! I wish I could bike to commute, but I live in the sticks and everything is really, really far away. Good luck!
    Let's see...
    1. Be more understanding.
    2. Engage in Random Acts of Kindness.
    3. Cut down personal water usage. Shorter showers, etc.
    4. Be kind, rewind. JK! Interact with people in real life as enthusiastically as I do online.
    5. Respect my elders.

  55. Awesome webiste/blog. Its a great idea.
    Great five Becca. Im gonna make a five poster and hang it on my wall so i can always remeber it.
    and i cant wait for ur book to come out. looks awesome!

  56. I think this is a wonderful all of you are doing. I think we live in a world too commonly filled with looking out for ones self and rarely do we do anything for one another. I am behind you ladies 100% in this and am a strong believer in Christs teachings..."Love one another as I have loved you." I wish you all much success in this. Alohaz, Sandy

  57. Hey, guys! Just wanted to say thank you for stopping by and leaving comments - it's been fantastic hearing what you think, and what you guys are planning to do to make our world better.

    I know the night's not over yet, so I'll stop back a few more times :)

  58. I think that you, Becca, have such a balanced five things. I'm glad that you're thinking about yourself as well as others! I wouldn't mind having a friend like you! (:

    We should all use your five. We can enjoy life doing all of those things - doing the same amount of activity for ourselves as well as involving everyone else.


  59. Great five Becca!

    Unfortunately biking it doesn't work for me - I live in a small community on the top of a hill and my nearest supermarket etc is "down the hill" (a windy road on which there are often accidents - not bike friendly!). I travel up and down "the hill" at least once a day - often more.


  60. I agree with you on 'biking it'! I live by a couple of fast food places, library, grocery store, cvs, two gas stations, coffee shop, chinese food place, ymca, and a couple of other stores.

    I mean, of course my mother is really overprotective but I'd definitely would rather bike to these places than get in a car!

  61. That's a great list of 5!


  62. I love your fives Becca. Living in Utah biking is tons of fun in the Spring and Summer, but not at all during Winter, long Winter. I volunteer at my kids' school every week though. Even when I don't work directly with my kids, when I'm helping another child, I know I'm making an impact in the future of a person, and as a consequence, my future too.

  63. Thanks for this! I'm going to work on my own five. The library and my daughter's preschool are within biking distance for me too, so that will be one. And I want to consume less too, and remember to use my reuseable grocery bags.

  64. Wow, the fact about the united states waste is mindblowing! My college recently decided to become more green, and put many eco friendly plans into action such as: every time you don't use a plastic bag at the co-op you get a coin worth five cents to be donated to one of four charities, "save the last drop" which encourages students to use less water, and puts water saving practices into use at the dining halls such as no more trays (so there are less things to be washed and less water being used). I myself try to walk everywhere possible, because not only does it help the environment, but it also allows you to get fresh air, and exercise too!

    What a great list of 5, after reading yours, I'm going to construct a list of 5 of my own :)

  65. You guys rock! Seriously, I'm so overwhelmed by your responses!

  66. Bike it is a wonderful idea and I can do that one too! ARK (Acts of random Kindness) is something we have done through our church for a couple years now and I love it! Thank you for the wonderful 5 and the reminders of what we can do on a daily basis to make the world a better place.

  67. Oh! I love Random Acts of Kindness! I try to do those as much as possible! I love helping others out whenever I can. Love your list!

    Reduce personal consumption is something that I need to work on. I'm an impulse buyer and then I never use what I buy. I'll start working on that now.

  68. I didn't know about that scary statistic! dang. I agree with using your bike to get to places; we're just so used to hopping into our cars since it's a lot more comfortable pushing a gas pedal than using your muscles. I love the idea of random kindess; I believe that whatever good vibes you send out into the world come back three-fold.

  69. I need to volunteer more (that would mean at all). It's something I've always intended to do "when I had time", but I've never gotten there. There are a lot of places I could be useful, I just have to do it!
    neohippy10 hotmail

  70. I volunteered all summer this year, I guess random acts of kindness is also on my list.

    cindyc725 at gmail dot com

  71. Great 5 Becca!

    I wish I lived within a mile of all that! I have a bike and I NEVER use it. :( I should do that more. Just for fun.

  72. That's amazing and pathetic about america producing 50% of the world's waste. Thanks for your five!

  73. Your 5 is great, Becca!

    I love biking, but unfortunetly my job is soooo far from my home, I wouldn't be able to make it in time. But since I can't do that, I always use public transportation, so I like to think I'm contributing too.

    juiceb0xx at hotmail dot com