Archive for May, 2012

The End Of An Internship – The Beginning Of A Friendship

Tuesday, May 29th, 2012

A blog from our Liz Lezama.

This is the hardest blog I’ve ever had to write. Not because the experience was bad, in contrary, because it was too good.

I have been a part of 4 Sunflowers Media for about seven months now. It doesn’t feel that long; actually it feels like I just began working with the company. It’s scary how fast time moves, especially when you enjoy what you’re doing.

My time with 4 Sunflowers Media, although it felt short, was very rewarding. I joined 4 Sunflowers Media with a few expectations, mostly that I would be able to do some sort of writing and editing. The experience I received surpassed my expectations by far. I’ve written blogs, my own children’s story and various other publishing related documents. I got to read pre-published material and assist in editing various things. I also got to see the behind the scenes of an emerging publishing company. I will cherish these experiences for the rest of my life.

As 4 Sunflowers Media has grown from its beginning stages and the establishment of its name to the launch of its first children’s book, I have grown as well. The knowledge I have acquired as well as the friendships I have formed will never be matched by any other experience.

I was confronted with tasks I never thought I would be able to complete, especially the personal challenge of completing my first screenplay. My writing skills have improved tremendously since working with 4 Sunflowers Media and I have gained skills sets that will help me through many of life’s obstacles.

Now that my internship is technically over, I find that I don’t know what to do with myself. I hope to continue on and be part of the 4 Sunflowers Media family as long as I can but with outside obstacles such as school and work it will be a little more difficult to continue on as I have since October.

One specific thing that 4 Sunflowers Media has helped me realize is that I now know what I want to do for the rest of my life. So, starting in the fall I will be focusing all of attention on school and my prospective graduation next May so that I may reach my dream job as soon as I can.


Thursday, May 24th, 2012

4 Sunflowers Media is thrilled to announce its first title, HELLO, WE’RE THE FUZZWIPPERS is now available and I couldn’t be more proud of our team, or more delighted with this inaugural edition. Our Illustrator, Jeremy Provost, is a remarkable artist and we remain grateful to him for his time and for his talent.

David Rust, our advisor, mentor, consultant and resident genius is a true friend to Fuzzwippers everywhere and to our family, especially. His energy and enthusiasm are the sunshine and needed rain that help our sunflowers continue to grow. Add to that, our precious inspirations, my four kids, and it’s easy to see why the 4 Sunflowers garden is such a happy place to be. Lastly, I need to thank our co-founder, my sweet husband, Stephen. He believed these magic sunflower seeds deserved the chance to see the light of day and he has faithfully tended this garden. Without him, there would be no 4 Sunflowers Media.

Fuzzwippers are wonderful little creatures that do more that entertain; Fuzzwippers empower children. Once your child has a Fuzzwipper friend, he or she is never alone again. More than that, your child becomes the ambassador and spokesperson for their own Fuzzwipper.

The message of Fuzzwippers is simple. Fuzzwippers are here to say that You are loved, no matter what. Knowing that helps a child feel comfortable and secure and that is when the real miracle can take place. A child that feels secure can pay it forward and reach out to another child. That is how we can build compassionate communities, one Fuzzwipper friend at a time.
Lots of toys and books entertain, but only Fuzzwippers empower. These imagination engines help our kids navigate the tight spots in this world. By having their little buddy with them, they become the caregiver, first to their Fuzzwipper and then to their community.

Check our online store and order your own Fuzzwipper first edition. Hello, We’re The Fuzzwippers, available now!

Don’t forget to check out our new Fuzzwipper Videos and free offer


Monday, May 21st, 2012

It’s easy to look at a newborn baby and smile. Whether we know that baby or not, most of us feel a warm glow inside and feel a bit protective over a little bundle of soft, sweetness and unmitigated innocence. Many of us also feel the nostalgia of our own little bundles now beyond that stage and smile to ourselves in the happy knowledge that we will sleep tonight. Whatever we may feel, the baby is probably feeling pretty good. Clean, warm and maybe even enjoying the affects of a milk buzz, there is nothing quite like the first few months of life when everything is awash with rose colored potential and the abject certainty that we are loved.

I know of no baby that feels the least compunction to earn love. In fact, most of the babies that I have known have no problem pushing that love to the limits. Late night feedings, endless diaper changes and midnight renditions of any and every song you ever knew, make those first few months a little reminiscent of vaudeville; you know, three shows a night and no cover charge.

It seems like we come into this world expecting to be loved and for most of us; that is exactly what happens: at first. For many of us though, something happens somewhere between knitted bonnets and hoodies worn to middle school. Something happens that many people spend the rest of their lives trying to deal with, whether they know it or not. It might be a careless remark or a momentary lapse; or it might be abject heartache or even abuse, but somewhere along the way, many of us wonder if it is still true. We wonder if we are still loved.

Moms and Dads are experts at giving. We give time, money and most of all love. We love without condition and without an end, but how many of us can accept love in the same way we offer it to others? When I gave birth to my first child there was a poem framed in my hospital room. I have spent many years wishing I had written it down, but for some reason, childbirth distracted me. The poem was poignant. It was called something like “When were you still precious?”

The poem asked a really interesting question. Everyone was born helpless and the fact that we survive today tells me that someone must have been there to care for us and love us. At some point, everyone was precious. Loved. When did we stop allowing ourselves to feel that way? The poem asks was it when we took our first steps? The first day of school? Our first bad grade? When we left home? When?

The end of the poem asked an even more important question. “When will the child you love so much stop feeling precious?” Naturally, the answer is NEVER. The trouble is, we are not always with that little bundle. At some point, our bundle is at daycare, or on the school bus or in a dorm room. So how do we do it? How do we show our children how to feel loved and cherished all their lives? The same way we teach them everything else, by example.

When was the last time you got a compliment that you actually let yourself enjoy? Relaxed enough to remember that love is a gift, not wages to be earned? Most of us understand that children need love to thrive and so do adults. To feel loved is to feel safe and relevant. It is as necessary for our spirit as food and water is for our bodies. It is a gift from God.

Feeling loved empowers all of us; accepting love is a reflex we are born with, but one that can go dormant without constant use. So let’s make developing that reflex as important as developing any other part of our children and ourselves. Being loved is a gift; accepting love is a skill. A skill that all of us need no matter how old we are.

So let’s do more than just keep our faces to the sun; let’s actually absorb the light.


For Our Teenagers

Monday, May 14th, 2012

It is my great pleasure to introduce our own Liz Lezama as our guest blogger for this week. As many of you know, Liz is our intern extraordinaire and one of my favorite writers. I asked her to think about what it was like to be a teenager. After all, she was a teenager not too long ago. I wanted her to think about some of the things that used to worry her and what she wished she might have known. Here is the result. It may be a letter to herself at around 17, but it is a letter that might help all of us; teenagers and all who love teenagers. So, whether this letter gives you insights as an adult, or hope as a teenager yourself, spend a minute with my friend Liz. I guarantee you will be glad you did.

Dear teenage self,

As I move forward with my life and think back to my teenage years, which now seem so far away even though they ended a mere two years ago, I become aware of how fast life passes by. I think back to your reckless, free flowing behavior: days spent caring about absolutely nothing except for enjoying yourself—I regret nothing. I don’t regret the heartbreaks you felt, the friends you lost, or even the fights with family that made you feel like no one cared. I just want you to know that everything has a purpose and all of those things that you wish you didn’t have to go through will lead you to something much, much better.

A. You are not alone. No matter how much you think that no one else in the world feels as alone as you whether it be because you have a small group of friends, you don’t have a boyfriend or you think your family doesn’t understand you, you are not alone. Almost every other teenager feels the way you are feeling. That small group of friends that you wish were larger will remain your group of friends for a very long time. They will be the best group of people you have ever encountered and your closeness to them will only grow throughout the years. That boyfriend that you wanted but never got throughout high school will not cause you to grow old by yourself. You will meet a wonderful guy who will make all those torturous years of waiting more than worth it. As for your family, they will always be there for you. No matter how many fights you get into and how serious they may seem, they will never break the bond you have with your family.

B. Don’t be in a hurry. I know you want to grow up and reach twenty-one, the age that seems perfect. Well, I’m twenty-one and let me tell you, it’s a lot easier at your age. There are not as many responsibilities and not as much stress. Although I am appreciative of everything that twenty-one has brought me, enjoy your time of freedom while you can because when you blink it will al be gone.

C. You are perfect the way you are. I know you’re in high school and with all the cliques around and the appearances of perfection floating around it’s hard to believe that you are good enough, but being just like everyone else is not all it’s cracked up to be. Originality and uniqueness are hard to find in this world, you have it, don’t give it up.

I know that it will be hard for you to believe this because every little bad thing that happens feels like your world is ending, but to be blunt; you have not even begun to experience true pain, regret or unhappiness, just as you have only begun to experience the level of happiness, self fulfillment and love that comes with growing up. So keep on being a teenager—make bad decisions that will lead to better ones in the future, enjoy the free time because it will only grow shorter as time moves along and treasure each moment because those memories you are making are the foundations of your conversion into adulthood.

Speed Bumps and Stop Signs

Monday, May 7th, 2012

One of the most enjoyable parts of being a parent is when we get to say YES. Most of us relish those moments when what our child asks for lines up with what we know is best for them. Sometimes it’s an ice cream at the park or an extra five minutes before bed to finish their game, but either way, it’s a treat for us moms and dads to get to treat our kids.

Like all good things, treating and saying yes are best enjoyed in moderation. If we had ice cream everyday, we would have the teeth and weight issues that go along with it. If we added an extra five minutes every night, bedtime would become a joke and tired, unfocused kids would be all around us.

What makes it a treat, after all, is that it is different from the norm. So how do we figure out when enough is enough or when everyone needs a little treat and what the heck does any of this have to do with speed bumps and stop signs?

Years ago, my friend, Jill and I were talking about parenting our toddlers and we began to describe it in a very similar way. As much as we might wish to skip that part of parenthood, the reality is that sometimes, moms and dads need to be like stop signs. Certain rules of the road exist for the health and safety of everyone and now matter how often or creatively a child asks to get around them; just like a stop sign, they are non-negotiable.

You have to hold hands crossing the street. You have to have a check-up. You have to do your homework. These are things that are non-negotiable for many of us. Teaching your child that you are willing and even able to set limits for them does a lot more than just keep them physically safe. It keeps them mentally safe too. A young child counts on his or her parents to keep them safe, even from themselves. A child who knows that mom or dad is looking out for them can be bolder and more willing to take a risk because that child feels secure.

It is a much more peaceful home when a child understands what is expected and has a predictable routine. Your child learns to respect you as you show him or her that you believe in them, even in their capability to exercise self-control. Okay, so sometimes we have to be stop signs, but speed bumps?
Speed bumps are about the maybe moments. When a child asks for something you don’t usually allow, but you might consider, at that moment, you are a speed bump. Everyone has to slow down and proceed with a little extra caution. If you agree, full steam ahead. If not, stop sign. Showing your kids both means they appreciate the treat because they know you aren’t a speed bump all the time.

Showing your kids that you have a full range of responses, sometimes yes, sometimes no, sometimes just this once, teaches them how to respond to choices in their own lives. How to make good choices is a necessary life skill, in fact, it’s a major point of parenthood.

I believe in gentle, but firm stop signs. I remember a night when my calls to get ready for bed were met with sleepy heads insisting that they weren’t tired. No need for a big deal. I just explained to them that being tired was not required; it was still time for bed. They just smiled and off to bed. I guess they are used to their mom’s sense of humor.

I believe in regular and worthwhile speed bumps. I remember a day when everyone came home from work and school feeling overwhelmed and so we decided to make it a backwards day and have pancakes for dinner. No vegetables, no protein, just hot pancakes with melted butter and maple syrup. It was the perfect slow down for everyone.

So remember, speed bumps and stop signs can be great ways to keep our faces to the sun and let the shadows fall behind.