Thursday, June 5, 2014

Liebster Award

I am over the moon to announce fellow friend and author, Chrys Fey, has nominated me for the Liebster Award.  I can’t tell you how excited I was to hear she chose me and ten other bloggers.  My blogging journey started in the summer of 2013 when my mother almost died from alcoholism.  From her mistakes, conquests and my own battles and struggles with this disease, I started to regain confidence and take back what were rightfully mine; my irreplaceable talent and passion for writing which was sacrificed for years of self-pity and not knowing how to love my own soul.  I can’t begin to express the gratitude and appreciation my heart feels at this time and it is all thanks to my family, friends, readers and admirable people like Chrys.  I am blessed in more ways than I could ever imagine so I want to thank each and every one of you for taking the time to pass by my cozy little sanctuary, “Dawning on a New Day.”  And thank you Chrys for this incredible honor!

The Liebster Award is given to bloggers with less than 200 followers.  The goal of this grand gesture is to help find blogs which are worthy of a bigger following... sort of like finding diamonds scattered amongst tiny grains of sparkling, white, distant sands.  You imagine they are there but you have to look hard enough to pick up their beauty and inspiration against the decadence of a jealous sun. 

In German, Liebster means kindest, beloved, valued and welcome.

The rules for accepting this award are as follows:

1)      List 11 random facts about myself.

2)      Answer 11 questions from the blogger who nominated me.

3)      Nominate 11 other blogs who have less than 200 followers and let them know they have been nominated.

4)      Post 11 new questions for those bloggers to answer (If they wish to accept the award, it’s completely optional).

11 Random Facts About Myself

1)      I have a tattoo of the Chinese symbol for “Love” because I believe in its power.   Love can help mold us into the leaders we wish to be once we learn to become infatuated with our inner-selves.  It also has the power to find its counterpart in another soul, create children and make this world a better place.  I won’t tell you where my tattoo is located because some things are meant to be a mystery=)

2)      I have a children’s book published under a pen name and I visit many schools throughout New Jersey for author visits.  I have two presentations next week=)

3)      In high school, I graduated in the top 10 of my class among 365 other students.  I was then awarded the Rutgers Pell Grant which afforded me half of a scholarship to attend Rutgers University where I received a degree in English.  I almost checked out with a degree in Business before my heart finally took over my dreams of becoming rich from working within the Finance industry.  After two years studying business, I quickly brought my minor (which was English) up to my major and graduated with a minor in Criminology instead.

4)      When I was 17, my father was murdered and his murdered never went to jail for this crime.  There is an even bigger twist to this story which I will someday reveal in a memoir. 

5)      I love historical fiction and romance.  Some of my favorite novels are Little Women, Dangerous Liaisons, Pride and Prejudice, Jane Eyre, The Notebook, and Memoirs of a Geisha.  When I was a little girl, I was obsessed with Anne of Avonlea and Anne of Green Gables.  I also enjoy a good mystery or suspense.    

6)      I am obsessed with cheese, olives and nuts; yes all three must be served together!  And on some occasions, I love a nice hard cheese (mostly manchego) with honey spread on baguette slices.  I also love a soft buttery brie or goat and if I’m feeling really spontaneous, a mild bleu.

7)      I love 80s movies.  Some of my favorites are Coming to America, Breakfast Club, Heathers, Trading Places, Can’t Buy Me Love, Beverly Hills Cop, Legend, Labyrinth, Cocktail, Top Gun, Pretty in Pink, Sixteen Candles, and Ghost.

8)      I was a “trekkie” when I was a child and watched all episodes of Star Treck with my grandfather before he passed away.

9)      I have one more payment before I finally pay off my student loan.  You can imagine how much of a relief this will be after paying for my education for the last 12 years.   

10)   I love traveling and some of my favorite destinations are Cabo San Lucas, Puerto Rico, Playa del Carmen, and Las Vegas.  I am going to Cozumel and Costa Rica within the next year.

11)   I thought I knew everything there is to know about love before I met my companion on a dating website three years ago.  We have been living together ever since and he has helped me strive to be a better person not only for him, but for the woman I wish to always learn from and become.

11 Questions from the blogger who nominated me

1)      What are your favorite pizza toppings? 

a.       Normally, grandma pizza is my favorite but if I had to choose toppings, they would be mushrooms, black olives and maybe some type of chicken vodka, buffalo or alfredo.

2)      Who is your favorite superhero?

a.       Superman is my favorite superhero.  I fell in love with this character back in the 80s when Christopher Reeve played Clark Kent.  My 2nd children’s book has a new superhero=)  But this will be kept a secret!

3)      If your house were burning down, what would you take and why?

a.       I would take my children, if I had any, my husband and our two dogs.  If I had any other time left, I would grab all of the expensive jewelry and photo albums.  We would need the money from the jewels and memories to get us through such a devastating time. 

4)      If you had a time machine, what year would you travel to and why?

a.       I would travel to 1997 and save my father from his murderer.  I would warn him the day before to leave his house and his then, drug-addict and monstrous wife.  I would also warn my cousin Tee to not ride motorcycles and prevent his death only a few years later after my father’s death.

5)      What are you afraid of?

a.       Not succeeding.  I am so afraid that all of my hard work will never reach its ultimate destination.  I’ve had such incredible milestones along the way; however, we all dream of becoming a best-seller and well-known author.  I used to be afraid to die but after I watched a friend of mine suffer and pass away in the hospital, I am no longer fearful of it.  I know I have many angels waiting for me when I pass on into the afterlife.

6)      What’s the best book you’ve read this year?

a.       “Walk Me Home” and “Pay it Forward:  A Novel ” both by Catherine Ryan Hyde and “Walk Two Moons” by Sharon Creech which my niece recommended for me=)

7)      What is the best vacation you ever had?

a.       The best vacations I've had were to be Cabo San Lucas three years ago and a Bahama Cruise about five years ago.  On both vacations, I met some really great people who I still keep in touch with and even visit from time to time.  There was something about the cruise, though, that I have really great memories when I need to venture toward the back of my mind.

8)      What’s your biggest pet peeve?

a.       Cigarette smoke.

9)      What’s your favorite love story?

a.       I have so many.  But I would have to go four stories… House of Flying Daggers, Slumdog Millionaire, The Vow, and Far and Away.

10)   What is the best thing you have done in your life?

a.       Sobriety.  I wish I could shake the demons out of those who are struggling with this ugly and destructive disease known as alcoholism.  For me, I was only able to start living when I gave up the one thing which almost killed me and sadly, numbed me for a long period of my life. 

11)   List five adjective to describe yourself.

a.       Giving, Dedicated, Spontaneous, Grateful, and Hopeful.

My 11 Nominees

1)      Claudine from Carry Us Off Books.  It is always such a delight to stop by her extensive little nook of children’s books and thoughts.  If you are ever looking for really sweet and endearing recommendations, I highly suggest you visit her website.

2)      Charli Mills from Elmira Pond Spotter.  Charli’s writing always manages to give me something to take home.  Her stories are delightful and her thoughts are sincere.

3)      Sandra from Sandra’s Blog.  Sandra has over 200 followers but less than 300 and I wanted to give her blog some recognition because she always puts a smile on my face whenever I stop by there. 

4)      Christina from Turbulence in the Veins.  Her story is one of the most inspiring stories I know.  So many people can learn from her and truly be touched.

5)      Quanie Miller from Quanie Talks Writing.  She is always giving great reviews, giveaways and most recently, author critiques on her blog!  Such a great place for valuable information and advice.

6)      Chrys Fey from Write With Fey.  I know Chrys nominated me but I had to return this honor to her.  Ever since I’ve started this blogging journey, Chrys has supported me and been an incredibly kind friend.  Her blog is one of the best blogs out there and any author or writer could benefit from reading her weekly posts. 

7)      Christian from Lessons Learned From Living at Rock Bottom.  Christian’s words come straight from the heart.  If you haven’t had a chance to visit his blog, I suggest taking a peek and living through his eyes even for just a few moments.

8)      Sarah Elizabeth Boucher at Bringing Twisted Fairy Tales to Life.  Sarah is a beloved teacher adored by her students and an astounding author.  I love how she uses storytelling and her experiences to express such intriguing thoughts about the beauty of this world and life in general.

9)      Dawn from Funny Girl’s Memoirs.  Dawn is like a sister to me and has been blogging for quite some time now.  You can see how she is beginning to open up more and flourish with her thoughts and pen when reading her posts.  Dawn’s mother lost her battle with cancer last year at a very young age and Dawn has been embarking on and sharing the downs of such a loss.  Visit her blog to laugh, cry and cope through the toughest of times together.  P.S. She is probably one of the funniest and kindest people I know!  I literally pee my pants whenever I am around her!

10)   Anthony Otten from Anthony Otten.  Anthony’s writing is quite special and always manages to uplift my spirit whenever I need a reminder of how powerful our Creator is and most importantly; how important our relationship with Him really is.  I highly recommend reading his writing, even if you aren’t religious.  Anthony’s writing is going to take him places and I can’t wait to see what life has in store for this talented author.

11)   Christina Rowell at Devil Slaying Amongst Other Things.  I really adore Christina’s sense of style and creativity with her writing.  You can see how unique she is by the posts she chooses to share and for this reason, I nominate her for this award.

11 Questions for My Nominees

1)      What is one thing most of us do not know about you?

2)      What are your top 10 favorite movies of all time?

3)      What is one of your favorite things about each of the four seasons?

4)      Do you believe you can love more than one person at different times of your life?

5)      What do you love most about your writing?

6)      What are some of your favorite novels?

7)      Do you like cheese?  If so, what is your favorite type?

8)      If you could go back in time and change one thing, what would it be?

9)      If you had three wishes, what would they be?

10)   What was the best vacation you ever had and why?
11)  Do you believe in soul mates?  Why or why not?
Thank you, everyone, for visiting and I look forward to sharing this award with the nominees mentioned above!


  1. Thanks for the nom, Gina! Loved reading your answers. Coming to America is one of my favorite movies and Superman is my favorite superhero, so we definitely have that in common!

    1. Quanie, I think I've watched Coming to America over a thousand times! Whenever they play it on television, I just can't seem to change the channel=) "What is this...? Velvet?" Ha!

  2. Congrats! Much deserved award.

    I love the 80s too, even though I was very young during them. I just watched The Breakfast Club the other night on TV. Such a good movie. :)

    1. Thank you, Kelly. The Breakfast Club is such a great movie. And I loved how Pitch Perfect performed it's signature song at the very end of the movie.. "Don't You Forget About Me." Loved it!

  3. Gina, I learned a few things about you, through this blog entry. All of which I liked. I am so happy for you and this nomination. You so deserve to be recognized. Belief in yourself is a very powerful tool. So keep on BELIEVING !!!!!!!

    1. Thank you, mom=) I'm surprised you actually didn't know some of the things I mentioned! I will always believe in myself, no matter what. And I have you to thank for leading with such an incredible and strong belief system.

  4. Congratulations on your nomination! Just as you feel grateful to be nominated by someone you look up to, so do I. Your blog is infused with both your passion and talent. I always appreciate comments from you when you visit Elmira Pond. My blog is off the beaten path so I appreciate the acknowledgement. Thank you, Gina! It is interesting to learn more about you through your responses. I'm with you on love and cheese! :-)

    1. Charli, how sweet of you to say this. I am obliged to visit your blog whenever I can because I truly to enjoy reading your writing. You deserve some recognition so I'm happy I could help to get more readers over there. You deserve it=)

  5. Gina, thank you so much for the nomination and congrats on receiving the award from Chrys! I hear you on your fear of not succeeding. That might be one many of us share. Sometimes I wake up in the quietest part of the night and worry that I honestly haven't accomplished enough. But we'll take it step by step. One post at a time. One story at a time, eh? I'm happy and proud for you for how things have come together. I hope you get to that memoir by and by, and tell us about your father.

    I'll answer some of your questions here: 1) I have big teeth. 5) What I love most about my writing is how honest and down-to-earth yet unsuspectingly brave my characters are. 6) Favourite novels: Lonesome Dove, We Were the Mulvaneys, Winter's Tale (Oh, by the way, I'm glad you enjoyed Walk Two Moons. That is one special story, isn't it?) 8) If I could go back in time, I would drop my insecurities which were masked by haughtiness, and treat people (including myself) more sincerely and kindly. I'd treat my sisters better as well. 10) So far, the best vacation I had was in Sydney and Melbourne, where I sat at a glorious park in the former and read under grand trees till the sky turned pink and orange in the wintry evenings. I was reading Great Expectations ~ how Pip got his heart cracked by Estella.

    Thanks again for the mention and nomination, Gina. I hardly participate in blogging awards anymore but was thrilled to hear about this from you this morning! Quite a coincidence, I mentioned you on my blog just last week:

    Off to check out your friends' blogs!

    1. Claudine, I love your children's blog so I had to nominate you. Whenever I read your reviews and writing, I feel like I am taken back to my younger days when I would get lost in Reading Rainbow or the picture book my mother would read to us before bed. It's not often we find people who can do this and I believe this universe is going to bring many readers your way!
      Melbourne is on my bucket list! A good friend of mine is a teacher at an elementary prep school there where my book was used as their writing stimulus for their 2nd term. I was ecstatic when I received this news and would love to visit them to read my children's book in person someday.

  6. Thank you for such such sweet things, Gina! You made me smile like a fool. ;) I'm so happy I could bring you happiness by nominating you for this award, which I wholeheartedly believe you deserve. You're doing great things with your blog. And I appreciate the re-nomination. Knowing you (and others) love my blog makes these past three years, and my struggle to get my blog out there, all worth it.

    I enjoyed reading your answers to the questions and your random facts. Yay for one more student loan payment! I'm sure once it's done, a huge weight will be lifted off your shoulders.

    Now I am craving cheese, olives, and nuts. ;) Lunch time! haha

    1. You deserve this award, Chrys! You are always giving your readers such valuable and much needed advice when it comes to the writing and blogging world. I can only imagine how much your blog has grown over the past three years and am looking forward to where it goes over the next few chapters of your own growth and writing=)
      Thank you again for the nomination. I can only hope my writing continue to touch the lives of others which allows me to continue to get lost in the passion and musings of my pen.

  7. Thank you, Gina:) I appreciate you thinking of me.
    I can't think of anyone more deserving of a Liebster Award than you.

    1. Sandra... you just put a BIG smile on my face=) Thank you!!

  8. Feel free to nominate a poor Indiana farm teacher!

    1. Thanks for stopping by Mark! If I would have known about your blog before, I quite possibly could have nominated you. I will now be following and reading your work. Glad we've connected!

  9. One of the best things about the Liebster award is getting a chance to know each blogger a little better. You answered these questions so honestly - I was moved, and also laughing, as I read each answer in turn. Congratulations :)

  10. Congrats on this, my friend!! Fantastic!

    I always enjoy those little tidbit question / answer things.

    Manchego?? I love that stuff...and with honey on a baguette - I am THERE.

    What a great honour - and well deserved. You need to have a wider base to read your awesome and wonderful words. You have a moving and fabulous way of putting things and making us think. You started your journey with your mom's illness with the backdrop of your own struggles with alcoholism, but it's gotten so much bigger than that - and that is the great thing. What a joy to read you and to "know" you :)

    Blessings, hugs and further congrats!


    1. It's amazing how our journey changes and begins to create a new path as we grow more comfortably within our "new" skin, Paul. You're right; this project began with great devastation but slowly unraveled the real beauty and talent hidden beneath this whole time. I'm grateful and blessed to have readers and friends, like you, to continue to walk a few steps with me as we all continue to flourish from our own creativity and awareness. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and you already know how much they mean to me:)

  11. I need to have a long talk with you if I ever get up the courage to do a school visit. The mere idea of them terrifies me! So far I've just lined up library visits and bookstore events.

    1. Stephanie, please feel free to reach out to me anytime! I'd love to share my experience and advice with you.

  12. Thank you for your kind thoughts, Liz. I'm so happy you stopped by & I could give you a few laughs:)

  13. Hi Gina! What a great way to get to know you, by reading your random facts! I organized an intervention for my mother in 1998 and I think she's still mad at me for doing it. I look forward to perusing your blog and finding out more about your experiences. Congrats on your award!

    1. Thank you, Lisa! I would love to hear more about the intervention you organized sometime. I hope it turned out for the better.
      I, too, look forward to getting to know more about you and your writing=)

  14. I think school visits would be the entire reason I'd write literature for children. Can't imagine a more rewarding thing to do with your talents.

    Manchego FTW! :D

    Really enjoyed getting to know you a little, Gina. And thanks for stopping by my blog today! Looking forward to reading more of your posts. :)

    1. E.J., I can't even begin to tell you how rewarding spending time with the children has been over these past couple of years. When I see their faces light up with excitement, enthusiasm and wonder, my heart flutters with gratitude. Before I began this journey, I imagined I would be nervous speaking in front of an audience.. but to be honest, those kids make my entire day so there is no room for those little butterflies in my stomach=)
      I'm glad we were both nominated and I look forward to reading more of your work!

  15. Replies
    1. Thank you, Sandra! A happy Monday and Tuesday morning it has been!

  16. Congratulations on the nomination. I hope you win. You are really dedicated to your blog.

    1. Awe, thanks Lady Lilith.. You are so sweet!

  17. Hi Gina, I'm just returning your visit to my blog :). Congrats on the award and what a lovely post.
    I hope your school visits go well.
    Wow at number 4 - how on earth do you deal with something like that?
    *makes a warding sign at the mention of Little Women* ;) I know it's a great book, but when I was young, one Christmas everyone seemed to think I needed a copy of it. My sister was given all different books - I got four copies of Little Women and have never quite been able to forgive it ::g::
    Oh cheese - a woman after my own heart. I love cheese. My favs are the really strong, squidgy ones that tend to smell like old socks or cabbages.
    80s movies rock - best era for fun vampire movies IMHO and also, The Breakfast Club - there is no doubt that is a true classic. I once tried to introduce my inlaws to it - I'm not sure they really got it :).

    1. I keep trying to introduce The Breakfast Club to some people I know and they just won't have it! I think the young ones nowadays are so anti-80s or anti-anything before the year 2000=)
      Dealing with number 4 was really tough at the time. I coped with it the only way I knew how for years after which left my life in such a disarray that I hardly knew who I was during most of my 20s. It's still hard when I think about him then and who he might be today if he was here with us. But at least I know he is walking beside me at times.. especially when I need strength and encouragement the most... like when I'm speaking in front of hundreds of children, teachers, principals, etc.
      Thank you so much for stopping by! I love a fellow cheesey! Ha!

  18. Congratulations on the award. And thank you for visiting IWSG's site. I'm so terribly sorry about your dad.

    1. Your welcome, Joylene! It was my pleasure. I love getting to know other authors and writers and making new connections.
      Thank you for your thoughts regarding my father. He will always be remembered for the unconditional love and affection he had for my sisters and mother. And his energy will always surround my heart... especially when I call on him the most=)

  19. Yay! Cheese, olives and nuts for you. I mean, it's cheese, how can I have any objections? =)

    Goodness, it sounds like you have an amazing story to tell, and I can't wait to read all about it.

  20. I'm actually heading to the cheese shop in our little downtown to grab some pieces for a dinner we are hosting this weekend. Though I will probably buy enough to last me for the next couple of weeks!
    When the time is right, I'm going to put some of these events into a story. And when that time comes, I look forward to sharing with you.
    My niece's birthday is next week so I'm going to order Moonless for her Kindle. Hopefully, we can get a review up for you when she reads it after school is out=)

  21. Congrats! Wow, you have been through some tough times but it's clear that you're moving forward with full force. I agree that cruises make for some of the best holidays, probably because you get to see a lot of different places and can make good friends. We're also still in touch with people we met on our last one!

  22. That's great, Nick! How cool is it to make new friends while on vacation? Sometimes, we need experiences like these to remind us about how big the world really is... and how many incredible people there are to meet and relationships to build out there=)