Showing posts from November, 2012

Hope, Comfort and My First Print Credit!

Wow, oh wow. What a week!

One of my very best friends, Sara McClellan, published a beautiful, inspiring book called The World Needs Hope (available on

And as excited as I am for Sara, I'm equally excited for me because...

I know her. She's an amazing person and I am so proud of her for accomplishing a dream.
I am credited in print. Yes, sirree! "S.M. Hutchins" appears as Copyeditor and Contributor within the book. It is my first ever print credit!
I am on Amazon?!?! Sara was gracious enough to name me as editor on the book entry, so my name is right there on Amazon. (Hint: If you followed my Facebook page, you got the scoop on this a few days ago. If you don't, run on over and "Like" it now for future scoops!) I had to scramble to set up an Author Central page which you can find at

About The World Needs Hope
This book is filled with carefully chosen words to remind readers where hope is present in our lives. It shows …

Interview: Prudence MacLeod

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

Today's interviewee is Prudence MacLeod, a spiritual seeker, dog trainer, official Reiki Master and Interior designer, and personal trainer who has turned her hand to writing.

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

Actually, I am often wonderstruck by the very machine I am using to answer these questions. As a child I learned to write with pen and paper. Over the long years I advanced to a manual typewriter, to an electric typewriter, etc. until I arrived at the current computer. Through this machine I can write ten times faster than I could with pen and paper although I am now in my sixties. Pretty darn cool, isn’t it? I think it is amazing.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

First thing. As soon as I stir the dogs start to poke at me with their muzzles. I try to rise, but my par…

Cherry Pie Poppers: a Pinterest recipe review

Oh, Pinterest. A place where I get tons of ideas and put very few to use. Not anymore!

In recent weeks I've tried out some recipes I previously pinned and I've decided that from now until Christmas I will review one recipe per week, in case you're looking for ideas for the holidays.

Please know as you read this review that I am by no means a culinary expert. Most recipes take me at least twice as long to prepare as the time it says it will take. I haven't spent my whole life in a kitchen. I am, however, pretty good at following instructions on the sides of packages and will make my own judgment call on ingredients lists (which may or may not turn out good).

All that to say, if I can do it, you probably can, too.

Okay, on with the recipe review...
Cherry Pie Poppers
Here is the Pinterest pin: Cherry Pie Poppers

...which leads to this recipe: Hershey Kiss Cutie Pies and Cherry Pie Poppers (I didn't try the Hershey Kiss pies, but they sound good, too!)

I'm not going to re…

That Thanksgiving Feeling

Yesterday we celebrated Thanksgiving. My in-laws joined us for a feast and we went around the table saying what we were thankful for.

Now Thanksgiving is over, it's Black Friday, and people are gearing up for Christmas. It's important, though, to remember to give thanks even after the holiday is over. Being thankful isn't a once a year thing. It should be an everyday thing.

Here's a little inspiration to help us all remember to be thankful:

From Henry David Thoreau...
"I am grateful for what I am and have. My thanksgiving is perpetual…O how I laugh when I think of my vague indefinite riches. No run on my bank can drain it, for my wealth is not possession but enjoyment."
From Kiggundu Wilson...
“Promise yourself to wake up every morning with a thankful,
heart as though each day was thanksgiving day.”
From W.T. Purkiser...
"Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our thanksgiving."
From Ann Voskamp in One Thousand Gifts…


My home perpetually feels like it's in shambles. There are always projects partway done, items left out on every flat surface, and even if I just swept the floor, it will have debris on it when I come back from putting the broom away. Is it procreating or something?

Sometimes the level of chaos is tolerable. Sometimes it isn't.

This weekend it wasn't. And so began some work: fixing the leaky toilet, putting the wall trim back on (which we hadn't done since finishing the wood floors a few months ago), making room in the kitchen cabinets to take stuff off the counters, throwing out random crap. You know, the lingering kind of projects.

It's just that when enough things get out of control, home starts to feel stifling, hostile even. It's hard to live harmoniously and peacefully in a house that is in disarray.

Today I still feel tense and unfocused.

There is still so much to be fixed, cleaned, and cleared. I just wish I could walk around the house crossing my arms and b…

End of Week Inspiration Plus How You Can Help Hurricane Victims

You may have noticed some changes this week here at Live Wonderstruck. A new design has taken over. What do you think? Can you feel the energy?

You'll notice changes in many of my online hangouts including Facebook (you have liked the page, right?) and Twitter.

You may see some more tweaks here and there in the coming weeks. Please bear with me as I work to make this space match my vision.

Let me know what you think by commenting here or on my Facebook page.
What else is going on this week?
Mother Nature is still messing with us it seems. Two weeks ago: hurricane. Last week: snow. Last weekend: warm, sunny, 68 degrees. This week: cold, rainy, 46 degrees. I never know how to dress myself or the toddler each morning.

None of that has stopped me from making another trip out to the shore this week, this time to load up the minivan with donations that needed to move from one mission to another. Who knew that simply having a minivan would be helpful to hurricane relief? Awesome. I'm so ex…

Interview: Laird Sapir

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

Today's interviewee is website designer and writer Laird Sapir.

[caption id="attachment_692" align="alignleft" width="225"] Laird's Little Man[/caption]What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

A couple of weeks ago I was at a family dinner with my kids, my parents, and miscellaneous other relatives. My dad asked my four year old if he would like to say grace and my little guy nodded and we all joined hands. When little man was done reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, my entire family said "Amen."

I thought it was really funny that little man said the Pledge in place of a prayer, but I was totally wonderstruck by the fact that he knew the entire Pledge of Allegiance. Wowsa. (Also, kind of awesome that my entire family went with it and no one correcte…

Helping After the Hurricane

Sometimes you just want to help. Many times you don't know how. At least that's how it is for me.

We see these big, life changing natural disasters on the news and think, "wow." We want to help, but it's far away. We aren't sure what to do, so we go about living our own lives.

Except this time the natural disaster was here. This time the hurricane devastated towns that are a 30 minute drive from me.

I had the same thoughts of, "oh, I want to do something," but no excuses this time because it was here.

I kept my eye on Jersey Shore Hurricane News' Facebook page as people posted what was needed (or not needed) where. The need for clothes was fulfilled quickly. I didn't feel I could appropriately help with gutting homes because I have a toddler in tow at all times.

Then a friend posted on Facebook some needs for her local township: baby supplies, cleaning supplies, new socks and underwear.

A specific need with a specific location and I could follow u…

Basic Comforts

What a week. Ever since our power came back on Sunday (along with running water), I've been taking advantage: laundry, washing dishes, baths, showers, cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Sleeping with heat. Such luxuries.

Just as things were beginning to feel normal again we were slammed with a snow storm on Wednesday.

The power flickered. It went out. It came back. Flickered a few times, went out. I sat in a bathtub in pitch black nothingness. Breathe.

The lights popped on. Power again. Thankfully.

The next morning I woke to power still on and about 8 inches of snow on the ground. Wasn't it just last week we had a hurricane? Now snow? What is going on here? Well played, Mother Nature. Well played.

No worries. At least we still had power which was more than some people in our town could say.

Until we didn't. Because that morning it went out. Again.

We spent the day with temperatures dropping indoors. We pulled out my in-laws' generator which we hadn't yet returned. I thought…

Kid Interview: Samantha

Each Wednesday is Wonderstruck Interview day. Hearing other people’s stories is a great way to see things from a different perspective and perhaps find something new to apply to our own lives.

Today is going to be fun because this is a Wonderstruck Interview: Kid Edition. Yay! Samantha is 10 years old and in the 5th grade in Virginia. She is a competitive gymnast and refers to me as her Fairy Godmother. (Yes, that is the best title I could ever, ever hold. Ever!)

What have you been wonderstruck by recently?

There is a new girl on my gymnastics team and the first time I saw her vault, I was amazed at how perfect it was. It makes me wish I could vault like her. I love watching her.

What part of your day are you grateful for?

The part of the day I am grateful for is when I'm in school and I get to learn so much from my teacher and I love her lessons and when she teaches me.

What part of the day is tough? How do you move through it?

The toughest part of my day is when this kid in my class is…

Facebook Updates

As you may have heard already, Facebook has made some changes to their site that mean you may not be seeing updates from pages you have "liked" in your newsfeed.

To be sure you see updates from me, please go to my Facebook page and click on the "Like" button. A drop-down menu will come up. Click "Add to Interests list... ." This should get you back in the wonderstruck goodness loop.

And if you weren't already following me on Facebook, why not start today? :)

See you around the interwebs!

Hurricane Sandy Aftermath

Happy Halloween! What? It’s not Halloween where you are? Well... this is awkward.

You see, here in New Jersey, it’s Halloween. Because everyone was (and is) still trying to recover from Hurricane Sandy (with most everyone out of power at that point), the Governor postponed Halloween celebrations.

So, tonight while you and your loved ones talk about the day’s work and shuffle kids through homework, we will be shuffling our kids through the neighborhood to trick-or-treat. No sense for sweet tooths to suffer (or is it sweet teeth?).

When Sandy sees all the merriment, maybe her heart will grow two sizes and she’ll return the Christmas trees. Wait... I think I’m getting confused. I’m also pretty sure we’re not getting any of our trees back.

Anyhow, let’s talk about the hurricane a little.

My town was affected most by power outages, downed trees and, therefore, road closures. So many trees fell on my street that the neighborhood actually looks like a whole new place. We lost 4 trees in my yard. …