Living in the Here and Now
Some of you may know the story of how I came to write a book about Sunshine Blake—she knew she was dying and asked me to tell her incredible life story—which I did in the form of a novel. What you may not know—and what I would like to share is—how much our meetings meant and changed my life.
Sunshine was the eternal optimist. She believed that no matter you wanted, the universe wanted you to have it, and would provide for you if you went for it. She also lived without worry because she felt that no matter what happened to you (short of killing you) was supposed to happen, and would make you stronger and better because of it.
Even though I watched her whittle away from week to week due to her illness, she never complained, never asked for anything, and never let me feel bad for her. Instead, she uplifted me each time we met (Wednesdays at her favorite bistro). I learned so much from our time together, but one thing stands out as the most valuable lesson.
Sunshine taught me to not blame anyone else (or anything else) for whatever wasn’t working in my life. Instead, she said to go out there and do something about it. Trust that things will work out, but do the work–control the things you can control. Blaming others for our failures is easy. Owning it, and fixing it is harder, but doable.
“You miss 100% of the shots you never take,” said hockey great Wayne Gretzky. For each of my novels I always imagine who would play the characters if the book were made into a movie. For “Sunshine” I imagined it would be Kate Hudson and her mom, Goldie Hawn.
Helen Gray, a reader of this blog (and good friend) suggested I send Goldie Hawn a copy of my book. I tracked down her manager and sent a copy with a long letter. What have I got to lose, right? At least there’s a chance now that something could happen with the book.
Sunshine Blake was abandoned by her parents, widowed three times, and her home burned to the ground—and that’s not even half of what happened to her. Somehow through it all she was able to remain positive, hopeful, and happy. How did she do it?
Bounce Back Slowly
Sunshine often said it was easier to make one small improvement a week instead of a dozen all at once. She believed action was better than inaction and would stack one positive improvement on top of another—like compound interest—to move forward one small step at a time.
Complaining is a Waste of Time
Sunshine loved the quote, “If you have time to complain about something then you have the time to do something about it.” She would try to find the silver lining in situations and turn a negative into a positive. When faced with a problem she focused on finding solutions instead of complaining or coming up with excuses.
Never Eat Alone
Sunshine was a people person. First and foremost she preferred to cheer others on and help those who were less fortunate. Many of the good things that happened for Sunshine happened as a result of her helping others—or others wanting to help her. She surrounded herself with positive people who were as encouraging and supportive as she was and when she needed help, she didn’t even have to ask.
Live Your Life
Sunshine was so busy getting everything out of life she possibly could she didn’t have time to watch and worry about what others others were doing with their seemingly perfect lives on Facebook. It’s unhealthy to compare ourselves to others who seem to have more. Everyone has problems and nobody has a perfect life—despite what they post.
Sunshine was a big believer that good things were about to happen, and that we are unable to control how or when they will happen. Most things are beyond our control and when we try to control them we fail and end up frustrated. Sunshine accepted things the way they were which allowed her to move on and move forward with the belief that something wonderful was right around the corner.
There is an ebb and flow to our lives and not everything is going to be wonderful all the time, but when we are down we must believe that we’ll be up again. When we’re going through tough times, it helps to know it’s only temporary.
Think about giving the gift of “Sunshine” this holiday season. This inspiring book makes a great gift.
You’ve Got a Friend
Many readers of my new novel have written me to say what a good friend I was to Sunshine. In a way, they’re right. It’s not every day a friend asks another to meet once a week, listen to all of the stories from their past, and then promise to write a book based on their life–but that’s what I did. So yes, in many ways I was a good friend to Sunshine.
However, before Sunshine got sick and we began working on her book, I think I could have been a better friend to her. At the end of the new novel I included an open letter I wrote to Sunshine. It was very emotional and difficult to write because I admit my failings as a friend. Looking back I realize I could have been better at calling her back faster, thanking her more, and doing more things with her when she asked.
After much reflection I put together a list of things that a good friend does. It’s a kind of checklist to test how you rate as a friend and how others stack up, too. I can’t go back and change things with my late friend, Sunshine, but I can be a better friend to those around me now. That’s my pledge.
If you would like to read the open letter to Sunshine featured at the end of the book, just send me an e-mail and I’ll send it to you. email@example.com
WHAT MAKES A GOOD FRIEND?
__ They are good listeners and easy to talk to.
__ They return your calls and reply to your texts quickly and nicely.
__ They are fun to be around and time flies when you’re together.
__ They remember your birthday and other important dates.
__ They cheer you on and celebrate your success. They are not jealous.
__ They are supportive and make you feel good about yourself.
__ They are not judgemental and your friendship is unconditional.
__ They have a lot in common with you, or you both have a passion for the same things.
__ They don’t have to live nearby, and when you don’t see them often, it feels like you have.
__ They don’t bad mouth you behind your back. Instead, they sing your praises to others.
__ They find ways to show they care . . . about you.
__ They’re always there when you need them.
__ They have your back and stick up for you.
__ They are honest and can be trusted.
__ They’re there in good times and bad.
__ They respect you and your time.
__ They give more than they take.
__ They understand you.
I’ve always told people who have a problem promoting and selling their work to choose projects they are passionate about, focus on ideas that bring out their best, and find things that serve others so that it would be hard NOT to talk about what they are working on.
With that, I want to tell you about my new novel, “Sunshine”. My passion for the project came from my good friend entrusting me to tell her amazing and fascinating life story. She did it all and overcame so many obstacles along the way I knew it would make a great book.
When Sunshine came to me with the idea of a book about her life she knew she only had a few months left to live and she said she chose me because she’d read all 21 of my other books and loved them. That gave me the confidence to take on and tackle such a big project.
Although this is a novel that includes Sunshine’s time hanging out with celebrities in Hollywood, working and living in the Caribbean, traveling through Europe in a van, and escaping from Morocco, underneath all the adventures is a very powerful message that Sunshine wanted to get out.
I guess what I am saying is, I am so proud of this book, I know it’s a very entertaining read that is appropriate for all ages, and reading it will make people see things a little differently. So when I ask you to buy the book (or write a review on Amazon) I do it confidently and without any hesitation. You’ll love it.
Here’s How You Can Help With “Sunshine”
Buy the Book on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/hp6mbj7
Write a review on Amazon: http://tinyurl.com/hp6mbj7
Tell a Friend About The Book: http://tinyurl.com/hp6mbj7
Visit Sunshine’s Pinterest Page: https://www.pinterest.com/leesilber/sunshine/
Request a Free Sample Chapter: firstname.lastname@example.org
The next worst thing to being told you have cancer is to have a close friend or relative tell you they have it.
When Sunshine called me to tell me she was diagnosed with Stage 4 lung cancer I couldn’t believe it. She never smoked and was the most health conscious person I knew. Although she didn’t let on how serious her situation was, she did ask me to come and see her right away.
In our first meeting she asked me if I would finish the book she had started about her life. From that day until she died less than a year later we met nearly every Wednesday and she shared her life story with me.
I am proud to announce that “Sunshine” is completed and will be released later this summer. It’s a novel based on her true story and it is by far my best book yet (and I’ve written 21 others.)
For a limited time I am sending out a sample chapter of the book for anyone who is interested.