Monday, December 3, 2012

Behind the Scenes - Coping Article

I will confess, while the idea for my second article for came quickly to me, it turned out to be a little harder to write. I think I know why...I wanted to include some of the personal experiences I've had when my children have been diagnosed with various conditions or illnesses, but I also wanted to be sensitive to their needs for privacy. When I began having my children, facebook and blogs didn't exist. Maybe my concern for their privacy is an outdated one in our culture of post-every-picture-as-soon-as-you-snap-it. Outdated or not, I hope I was able share helpful information for anyone facing similar situations. 

What do you think? 

Friday, October 26, 2012

Friends, Winners and What's Pain Got to do With It?

A facebook (and writer) friend Kari shared this link: 10 Things Winners Do Differently.

All ten suggestions are great - here is # 9:

"Work through the pain. – One day this pain will make sense to you.  Sometimes it takes the worst pain to bring about the best change.  The strongest people you know became strong because of the pain they once faced, and conquered.  So in spite of all the put-downs and negativity you’ve heard from others in your life, stay focused on your goals, and remember that how you rise up is no one else’s business but your own. "

I think I'm still pondering that line "One day this pain will  make sense to you." Of all the things I've tried to make sense of in life, pain has not been one of them. I think up until now I've categorized it into to kinds: A.) productive and B.) non-productive (or in other words - useless, miserable, wretched, etc.) For type A, think of labor pains and childbirth. For type B, think of a pulled ligament in the knee. Reading that article today reminded me that even the type B pain in my life doesn't have to be senseless or useless.

Then this quote bubbled up in my mind. (And because of the magical internet, I can quote it here with accuracy.)

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God . . . and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven.”  ― Orson F. Whitney

Sobering, but comforting and true. I believe this is possible when we turn our hearts and lives over to Heavenly Father. He is the only one that can "consecrate our affliction for our gain." 

Here's to getting through the pain, not quitting and great friends that help us along the way!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Marriage Article - Behind the Scenes

Thursday on the blog is usually Potpourri Thursday which is helpful since this post is a lovely combination of my Marriage Monday news and my Work-In-Progress Wednesday update. Phew. (Do not try to say that five-times-fast!)

First - some writing news: I'm a contributor to the new website offering practical family solutions. I'm thrilled to be a part of such a great community of writers.

Next - a little about my article: if you know me or my blog, you know I love all things marriage. So  hopefully it doesn't come as a surprise that I would jump at the opportunity to write about how to keep a marriage strong! (Okay, I don't know if I jumped, maybe squealed :)

I will say even with all my excitement, when I read this title "assignment" that I "volunteered" for (how's that for clarity?) - I thought "Wow. 15 Things?" I later mentioned it to a friend who said, "If I have to do 15 things a day for my marriage, I feel like I'm working too hard!" That's when I was sure I wanted to highlight so many of the ordinary things we already do each day that can strengthen our marriage!

Add in some research, some hours for the rough draft, a round of edits before submitting and voila, my first published on-line marriage article!


Thanks for stopping by & as always, I love your comments!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Triumph - It's Never Just Mopping

Today's Triumph = I mopped the floors.

Why does mopping earn the triumph award? It's never just mopping at my house.

You see, my mop doesn't have a home. Neither does my bucket. Our lovely house doesn't have a basement and so storage space is at a premium. That means I have to be creative when it comes to storing all our stuff. I like to follow the organizational rule of storing items as close as possible to where they are used. The practicality of this rule is obvious when you think of keeping utensils in a drawer in the kitchen so you don't have to go traipsing through the house three times a day for cutlery. It works for towels in a bathroom closet, laundry soap near the washer and dryer. It's all great, until there isn't space where there should be space. Like what I was saying about my mop. Homeless. I don't have a broom closet either, but at least there is a just-wide-enough space next to my fridge for that. My mop, on the other hand, has been relegated to the garage for half the year and the back patio for the other half. I don't even have a good reason for one place or the other. Both places have their pitfalls, neither are ideal. ( What does my homeless mop have to do with a Tuesday Triumph? -- I'm getting there, I promise.)

The mop bucket stored on the patio collects a fair amount of dust, sand and debris. In order to mop with clean water, I rinse out the mop bucket with the hose. As long as I have the hose out, I think, I might as well spray down the kitchen trash container. And once I've done that, the kitchen mat gets a good rinsing. This same tag-team cleaning happens once I'm back inside. I vacuum the floor before I mop it and while I have the small vacuum out, I can clean the laundry room and oh, look, this bathroom floor could use some attention! You see where this is going. When I say I've mopped the floors, rest assured half the house gets cleaned, too. It's a good feeling, if I ignore the fact that I had no intention of spending that much time on housework in one little afternoon.

Does anyone else tag team when they clean? Please tell me I'm not the only one.
And if I am, at least tell me your triumph!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Thursday Potpourri - Possibly Political

Are you watching the debates? President, Vice-President, liberals, conservatives, Big Bird?

Even Big Bird has been dragged into it, and consequently asked, in polite way, to be left out of it. After all, he is only a puppet. 

In the run up to the first debate of the season, I started feeling a little sorry for the candidates. Given past debate debacles, there's a lot of pressure on these people. Don't check your watch - remember Bush Senior. Don't roll your eyes - remember Gore. Don't add inappropriate suffixes to your words - Bush W. Don't sigh - More from Gore. The list goes on. Is it better to look in the camera or your opponent in the eye? What about the moderator? If you cut him off are you too aggressive or demonstrating assertiveness? Imagine the pressure! These are human beings we're talking about here. Is it fair for Obama to lose the debate because he looked down at the podium so much? (Where is the list of acceptable focal points again?) How can you stand in one place, monitor every bodily function, manage body language messages and speak articulately about every issue facing the country?

Hmm. The country. Then I remember something. These people are asking to be President of the United States. If the debate is too much pressure what about holding the office? If you want one of the most powerful jobs in the world, shouldn't you be able to stand on your feet, look people in the eye and make your point--as a minimum requirement?

I don't know. Just a thought. 

In other news, did you know they invented cinnamon chips? Yes, you probably did as it has been at least a few years that I've known about them and I'm always behind the trends. But now that the temps have dropped and I'm pretending it's cold enough to be sweater weather, I'm toying with the idea of pulling out the Bosch and baking. Stay tuned.


A bit of inspiration on the blog. What Would You Tell Your 15-year-old Self?
I can't say I've always liked the concept of this- because your old self can't really make use of the advice, you know? But now that I have teenagers, it helps me think in ways of how to better teach my kids. So, what would you tell your 15-year-old-self?

Me? "Ease up on the hairspray, Tam, big hair won't be big forever!"

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Tuesday Triumph - Trumped by the Milk Carton

Walking again. 
The cooler weather might have something to do with my motivation. 

However, my six-year-old mentioned to me this morning that she learned how to open her own milk carton at school and doesn't need the Lunch Aide* to help her anymore. I think her triumph totally trumps my triumph, don't you?

And despite my dinosaur age, I remember sitting at the crowded cafeteria table, struggling with that cardboard mystery, hoping I'd get it open without decorating my school clothes, or the person next to me, with chocolate milk.
*Yes, my daughter did say 'Aide,' and not 'Lady.' Maybe that's a triumph for Lunch ladies and gentlemen everywhere.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Marriage Monday - Conference Quote

More book reviews are on the way, but I wanted to share this from General Conference. It is a serious and sobering reminder of the importance of the marriage relationship. As you've heard me say before, it is worth the effort!

Elder Dallin H. Oaks, of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles, General Conference October 6,2012, said this about marriage in his talk about protecting children (emphasis added): 

"There are few examples of physical or emotional threats to children as important as those arising out of their relationships with their parents or guardians. Of utmost importance to the well-being of children is whether their parents were married, the nature and duration of the marriage, and, more broadly, the culture and expectations of marriage and child care where they live.
The most powerful teaching of children is by the example of their parents. Divorcing parents inevitably teach a negative lesson. There are surely cases when a divorce is necessary for the good of the children, but those circumstances are exceptional. In most marital contests the contending parents should give much greater weight to the interests of the children. With the help of the Lord, they can do so.
Children are also victimized by marriages that do not occur. Few measures of the welfare of our rising generation are more disturbing than the recent report that 41 percent of all births in the United States were to women who were not married. Most of the children born to unmarried mothers—58 percent—were born to couples who were cohabitating. Whatever we may say about these couples’ foregoing marriage, studies show that their children suffer significant comparative disadvantages. For children, the relative stability of marriage matters.
We should assume the same disadvantages for children raised by couples of the same gender. The social science literature is controversial and politically charged on the long-term effect of this on children, principally because, as a New York Times writer observed, “[s]ame-sex marriage is a social experiment, and like most experiments it will take time to understand its consequences.”
We are speaking of the children of God, and with His powerful help we can do more to help them. In this plea I address not only Latter-day Saints, but also all persons of religious faith and others who have a value system that causes them to subordinate their own needs to those of others, especially to the welfare of children.
Religious persons are also conscious of the Savior’s New Testament teaching that pure little children are our role models of humility and teachableness.
“Verily I say unto you, Except ye be converted, and become as little children, ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven.
“Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:3-4)."

You can watch the entire talk at the 1 hr 34 min mark 
Elder Oaks General Conference October 2012

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Conference Cookies, and Breakfast Too

Most Requested Breakfast Dish at My House

German Pancakes

topped with peach jam and powdered sugar

Ready to Eat - German Pancake 

6 eggs
1 cup of flour
1 cup of milk
1/2 tsp salt
5 TBL butter (or margarine)

Preheat oven to 425. Cut up butter and place in two 9x13 dishes, put in oven to melt while mixing other ingredients. 

Beat eggs till lemon colored. Add flour, mix well. Add milk gradually. Add salt. Pour evenly into both dishes. Bake for 10 to 12 minutes. Pancakes will puff up and sometimes sink or flatten once out of the oven. Yum.

While I was making the pancakes, my little helper made these. She called them Lemon Dollops. I asked her what the blue and red colors were and she said, 'blueberry and strawberry dollops, of course.'
Of Course!

Shortest Life-Span Snack

Disappearing Black & White Chocolate Chunk Cookies

(I mentioned them once here: Cookie Post)

One box of Krusteaz Chocolate Chunk Cookies
One Egg
1/2 cup of butter

Follow directions on the box.
I add half a bag of Nestle Toll House White Chocolate chips. Maybe it's my attachment to Toll House, or maybe the cookies just taste awesome!

Why I love General Conference weekend: Listening to the prophet and apostles with family and good food=happiness.

Friday, October 5, 2012

How Do You Make Friends? - Friday

This is Miss Manners in reverse.

Do you ask people what they are reading? When they are sitting near you in a doctor's waiting area, or the subway or wherever? Or do you steal glances at the cover and try to read the part of the title that isn't covered by their hands?

And have you ever had someone ask you? Do you rattle off the title without taking your eyes from the page? Or do you offer a full synopsis of what you've read thus far?

What do you think? What do you do? 
Thanks for stopping by the blog and helping me satisfy my social-reading-etiquette curiosity!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Tuesday Triumph - Cake

Drum roll please...
I did not eat any leftover birthday cake for breakfast.

Anyone who knows me, knows that is a triumph!
Be impressed. Very impressed.

Hmm, what will I have for lunch?

Monday, October 1, 2012

Marriage Book Review - Strangling Your Husband is NOT an Option

Reading this book is like having a conversation with your big sister, who happens to have a fantastic sense of humor and a strong handle on marriage relationships. Her approach is bold, direct and refreshing. Especially in a world where there is little support for one of a woman's most fulfilling roles.

The Visual Aid:

TitleStrangling Your Husband is NOT an Option
AuthorMerrilee Boyack
Publisher: Deseret Book
Year: 2006
How I found it: Saw it on the shelf and laughed out loud!
Available on Amazon - Here
Audience: This book is written for women, specifically wives. 
Paperback, 184 pages
Book Description:
"Things can get pretty crazy in marital relationships. As one reviewer has said, “What wife hasn’t felt like strangling her husband at least once during their marriage?” With her lighthearted personality and humor, author Merrilee Boyack shares twenty-five years’ worth of marital perspective in this practical guide to improve any marriage. As an estate-planning attorney, Merrilee has dealt with many struggling couples going through divorce. (Seven-year marriages seem to have the greatest challenges.) She offers practical tips for women who want to better understand men (particularly their husbands) and build happier marriages. She invites women to dump the guilt, be open enough to learn about areas they’d like to improve, and then take the steps to make those changes. Readers will also find a wealth of fun and practical advice in chapters like “The Five ‘Don’ts’ and Five ‘Do’s’ of Wifehood,” “But How Do I Change My Husband?” and “No, Really, How Can I Change Him?”

The Gist & What I appreciate:
This is how to be a wife 101, 202 and 303 combined. Don't roll your eyes. It's not what you think. In fact, Merrilee makes you think about how you treat your husband. What I appreciate is that she is anti husband-bashing! I think our culture has developed a sad tolerance of the mistreatment of men by various kinds of unhappy women. She holds wives to the standard of treatment we expect from our husbands.
Quote from page 18:
                "A great gift we can give our husbands is to be content and not make stuff more important than them. We can focus on living modestly and being appreciative of the life they provide for us." Later on page 19 she says, "Walk through your house with the eyes of an orphan. We live in opulence."

Quote from page 27:
              ". . . Start meeting your own emotional needs."

Quote from page 46:
             "Get out a piece of paper and a pen. Write at the top "Great Things about My Husband. Now start to write a list. Write down the way he holds your hand. . . Write down that he took care of the whole house when you came down with the stomach flu.Write down how he looked across the altar when you were married." Later on page 47, "Value your husband. Value him deeply. In fact, get a "Why I Love My Husband" book and write down every day some little thing that's wonderful about him or something nice he did. It will transform your marriage. It will transform you."

My two cents:
            I enjoy the humor she applies to everyday life. Don't be fooled, though. One minute you're chuckling and the next you may be squirming as she calls you out on socially acceptable behavior that you know isn't good for your marriage. (See page 9, "Well, if I was your husband, I wouldn't talk to you either.")
           This is easy to read, maybe harder to absorb, but well worth the effort. It's not all do's and don'ts - she has chapters for self-development and being a 'fun-living wife,' with lots of great ideas and practical, usable advice.
Up Next:
           Side by Side: Supporting a Spouse in Church Service by Jeanette Goates Smith (unless I feel like re-reading something else this week :)

( Dear FTC, I bought the book. I know I buy a lot of books. At least this one was on sale, but I'd buy it again even if it wasn't. )

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Thursday Potpourri - Funny

In the mix:

Humor, Sarcasm and Satire
No, not everything you needed to know about these topics. Just tidbits of each. That's why I call it Potpourri.

On Humor:

Honest Jon Blog

Joking about serious, even sacred, things is a tough gig. Kudos to "Honest Jon" for tackling it. Here's a sample. Visit his blog for more fun.

Here is the driest definition of humor I have ever read. Please ignore unless you don't want to laugh!

"Humor is the tendency of particular cognitive experiences to provoke laughter and provide amusement. The term derives from the humoral medicine of the ancient Greeks, which taught that the balance of fluids in the human body, known as humors (Latinhumor, "body fluid"), control human health and emotion."

On Sarcasm:

The Science of Sarcasm - Not That You Care

I try to avoid sarcasm, which can be hard to do when conversing with teenagers, or anyone who would still like to be one. But who knew that not being able to detect it says a lot about the health of our brain!

"The word comes from the Greek σαρκασμός (sarkasmos) which is taken from the word σαρκάζειν meaning "to tear flesh, gnash the teeth, speak bitterly".

On Satire:

How To Fool A Nobel Prize-Winning New York Times Columnist

I also avoid satire. Probably because I'm not good at it. And it can backfire, as is demonstrated by this article. Not that it isn't fun to say 'gotcha- just kidding' but something about playing in the dirt, it's hard to get rid of the smell.

"Satire is primarily a literary genre or form, although in practice it can also be found in the graphic and performing arts. In satire, vices, follies, abuses, and shortcomings are held up to ridicule, ideally with the intent of shaming individuals, and society itself, into improvement. Although satire is usually meant to be funny, its greater purpose is often constructive social criticism, using wit as a weapon."

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Work In Progress Wednesday

Most (99 %) of the time when I say Work In Progress - you know I'm talking about the book, my book, that I've written, rewritten and am now revising. Again.

Today I will try to address my other Work In Progress. Oh, 'And which one would that be,' you ask? Another novel? No. I'm referring to the WIP that is my life. I admit it is much harder to quantify my progress at anything (especially since I'm really not sure I'm making any). Whereas I can tally the number of pages written or words revised in a manuscript, I don't have a way to measure if I'm smarter, more loving or more patient in my day to day life. Then there is the matter of growing up, the concept of not simply gaining years but maturity, not only getting older but getting wiser. And does getting wiser have to be the goal? Of course not, but I ask, does old and foolish sound like a winning combination?

Which brings me to where I am today. Looking after my mom.
Stay with me here and lets see if I can say this...

I've reached that certain age where I feel like I know some things. Not a lot, but some. I've been married long enough to be able to measure in double digits, not the years but the decades. I've been a practicing mother for almost as long. I lived in a few different places and had my share of tests and challenges. And I've paid attention.

It was in that seductively secure place I found myself at the hospital accompanying my cute 80 year-old mom for (minor) surgery. I've been around a few hospitals. Even delivered my daughters in the very one where I was taking her. I was not intimidated, just anxious for it to all go well for her.

I didn't see it coming. The moment I held her hand in recovery, looked at her peaceful face and curled white hair and felt the freight train of mystery and wonder hit me full force. I could have been 10 years old sitting there for all the understanding I didn't have. How did we get here? She used to hold my hand as we crossed the street. She was the one to brush my hair and curl it for picture day. When did she get old and when did I grow up? And I thought I was paying attention. What did I know?

I knew by the time I left my mom resting comfortably in her room and drove home, I wanted to hug every person in my house a lot tighter, which is saying something since I'm already the resident hugger. And l knew I wanted to follow my mom's example, at least in one way, and stay focused on being there for the people I love.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Tuesday Triumph - The Family

Triumph # 1 = figuring out how to add a new button to my blog without a needle mishap.

Okay, the real triumph is The Family Proclamation (click to read the whole text.)

I'm sharing one of my favorite parts:

"THE FAMILY is ordained of God. Marriage between man and woman is essential to His eternal plan. Children are entitled to birth within the bonds of matrimony, and to be reared by a father and a mother who honor marital vows with complete fidelity. Happiness in family life is most likely to be achieved when founded upon the teachings of the Lord Jesus Christ. Successful marriages and families are established and maintained on principles of faith, prayer, repentance, forgiveness, respect, love, compassion, work, and wholesome recreational activities. By divine design, fathers are to preside over their families in love and righteousness and are responsible to provide the necessities of life and protection for their families. Mothers are primarily responsible for the nurture of their children. In these sacred responsibilities, fathers and mothers are obligated to help one another as equal partners. Disability, death, or other circumstances may necessitate individual adaptation. Extended families should lend support when needed."

I love the description of the responsibilities that fathers and mothers have as SACRED.  And that they are obligated to help one another as EQUAL partners. Keep in mind that this was shared in 1995, years before the media began feasting on the intricacies of our faith and asking the same question in 501 different ways, "are women of the church oppressed-mistreated- or insert 
variation on the worn-out theme here?!"

Love the proclamation! What's your favorite part?

Want to read more blog celebration posts? Head on over to this cool blog (that you may already know about!)

Monday, September 24, 2012

Love Languages on Marriage Monday

Have you read this book? As a New York Times Bestseller, chances are you have. Or you've at least heard about it. Sometimes when a book has been around for awhile and gotten lots of recognition, some of what makes it great gets lost in the hype. That's one of the reasons I enjoyed re-reading it for this review. Another reason I enjoyed it is because in the sea of marriage-advice books, this one is like a lighthouse that can guide a couple to less rocky shores. Of course, no one book is a 'cure-all' but this one has my endorsement as a worthwhile read.

If you want to know what love language you speak, take the online test without the book here :
(This post also appears at Making Marriage Merry - an awesome marriage blog! Check it out!)

The Visual Aid:

TitleThe Five Love Languages
Author: Gary Chapman
Publisher: Northfield Publishing
Year: 1992
How I found it: Heard about it from a friend.
Available on Amazon - Click on title link above
Audience: Married Couples (of course it has application for pre-married, post-married folks, too.)
Paperback, 191 pages
      "WARNING: Understanding the five love languages and learning to speak the primary love language of your spouse may radically affect his or her behavior. People behave differently when their emotional love tank is full." p.24

Book Description:
"Marriage should be based on love, right? But does it seem as though you and your spouse are speaking two different languages? New York Times bestselling author Dr. Gary Chapman guides couples in identifying, understanding, and speaking their spouse’s primary love language—quality time, words of affirmation, gifts, acts of service, or physical touch.

By learning the five love languages, you and your spouse will discover your unique love languages and learn practical steps in truly loving each other. Chapters are categorized by love language for easy reference, and each one ends with specific, simple steps to express a specific language to your spouse and guide your marriage in the right direction. A newly designed love languages assessment will help you understand and strengthen your relationship. You can build a lasting, loving marriage together."

The Gist & What I appreciate:
We all have a primary love language (one of five). We need to learn our spouse's language and choose to speak it--if we want to 'keep the love alive.' Those five languages are: Words of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service, Physical Touch.

Gary Chapman speaks from years of research and practical experience. He distills this into easily digestible chapters that have direct application to everyday married life. I appreciate the concept that we learn and speak a love language and that we can't assume everyone 'speaks' as we do.
This takes some of the mystery, and exasperation, out of a relationship and replaces it with a satisfying, efficient way to show love.
Quote from Chapter Three, page 37:
                "Where are the shooting stars, the balloons, the deep emotions? What about the spirit of anticipation, the twinkle in the eye, the electricity of a kiss, the excitement of --x? What about the emotional security of knowing that I am number one in his/her mind" That is what this book is all about. How do we meet each other's deep, emotional need to feel loved? If we can learn that and choose to do it, then the love we share will be exciting beyond anything we ever felt when we were infatuated."

 Quote from Chapter Ten, page 181:
               "Love is a choice. And either partner can start the process today.

My two cents:
                What else can I say? READ the book! 

               Okay, maybe to add that I vote for a "Marriage Language Training Center" where husbands and wives can enroll in multi-language courses. I know we have a primary love language, but I can't help thinking that the more love languages we speak, the more fun and variety there is in a relationship!

                I've also wondered if we have differing love language needs over the course of years, or if we can be shaped by different relationships?

Up Next:
           Strangling Your Husband Is NOT an Option/Merrilee Boyack

( Dear FTC, because I know you care, I bough the book all by myself. )

Friday, September 21, 2012

Friends Friday, Not Really

We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming . . .

Well, I don't have breaking news, but my regular schedule has had a few interruptions.
I think the Moms out there can relate, maybe some Dads can too, to what a little fever can do--throw in a sore throat and cough and you've got a child home for a few days, lots of soup and watching movies on the sofa. Hmm, doesn't lend itself to high productivity or even staying on top of everything. But it does come with the territory. That territory of being the Mom, and loving it, even on sick days. Even if it means I haven't written posts that match my catchy day-of-the-week titles. I know the awesome readers of my blog will forgive me. That's what friends do, right? And besides, this is only a blog--it's not like I'm messing with anyone's daily lunch specials right?

Monday, September 17, 2012

Marriage Monday

I'm still working on my next marriage book review. In the meantime, enjoy this blog post by Dr. Karl A. Pillemer, Ph.D.

According to his research, if we plan to stay married for a lot of years (as in all of them), we need to throw out the scorecard! I couldn't agree more.

If you take the time to read his article, please tell me what you think.

"For long-term success, couples have to orient themselves to giving more than they get. Both individuals are contributing to a relationship, the benefits of which transcend immediate interests on a given day. What couples must avoid -- if they wish to remain together as long as the elders we interviewed -- is keeping score about who is getting more and who is getting less. This kind of economic attitude works with a vending machine: If I put in my dollar, I will get a candy bar of equal value. According to the oldest Americans, this definitely does not work in marriage."  (emphasis added)

50/50 Marriage Myth

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sneak Peek

WIP Wednesday

For a limited time . . . 

My pitch for The Keeper is up on Deana Barnhart's Blog and getting some attention. If you want a sneak 
peek at my query letter and the first 150 words of the book - head on over!!! You don't even have to be sneaky about it.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Marriage Book Review Monday - With a little help from my friends!

Another Monday - so you know what that means? Another marriage book review!

For today I have links. This first is to Bloggin' 'Bout Books. (If you haven't checked out and this blog - hop on over. Great reviews of lots of books.) This link is for her review of a new LDS book:

(I haven't read the book yet, but I really appreciate Susan's review of this book that tackles more serious/sensitive marital issues.)

This link is not a book review, but an article from Meridian Magazine that I came across (because you know, if it is about marriage . . . I'm gonna read it :)

Hmm...this article made me think. In fact I'm still thinking. (Don't want to scare anyone!) I may post a response/discussion to it. But for now, enjoy. 
And tell me what you think.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Playing Tag

I love making new friends! Especially when they include me in a fun game of Tag . . .

called The Next Best Thing

Thanks to Kelley Lynn - she has a fabulous blog and a book Fraction of Stone, to be released by Sapphire Star Publishing.

My book isn't hitting the shelves yet, but I can still tell you all about it . . .

What is the working title of your book?  
The Keeper
Where did the idea come from for the book? 
I'll resist the urge to wax philosophical and discuss the origin of all ideas and just say that I was thinking about one of my favorite Christmas activities and before I knew it I had a novel on my hands!
What genre is it?
Christmas (Inspirational) Romance
Which actors would you choose to play your main characters in a movie?

Do I have to have reasons for who I choose? They are who came to mind when I read this question...

What is the one-sentence synopsis of your book?
Mark Shafer inherits the family Christmas Tree farm, only he wants to sell it to pursue his career in music, until he learns the trees might be miracle trees.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?
I don't have a crystal ball, so I don't have an answer to this one yet!

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?
6 months, but I only wrote during my daughter's preschool hours!

What else about your book might pique the reader's interest?
Escape to a cozy New England town for Christmas, meet The Keeper and discover the secret and miracle of the trees.

And Tag! You're It! 

Thanks for stopping by the blog today!!

Friday, August 31, 2012

Follow You, Follow Me

Meet and Greet on the blog today!

In case you haven't heard, I'd love to find a home for my novel

The Keeper, a Christmas Romance
48,400 words
Full manuscript available upon request

These are my 'Getting-to-Know-Me' questions for GUTTAA.
However,  What I'd really like to do is get to know you better.
You meaning anyone reading my blog, ah, that is anyone besides my Mom, (hi Mom ;)
So just for fun, pick a question and answer it in the comments. And for my non-writing friends--I think (hope) I still have some left--tell me about your hobby!

And as an added Friends Friday bonus - if you follow me I will follow you. I mean your blog, I will follow your blog. You knew that right? That sort of explains the purpose of the you tube video at the end of this post. (Did Phil know he was singing a blogger's theme song) Enjoy!

-Where do you write? Wherever my lap top is. Usually my desk. Occasionally someplace as exotic as the library. If I am in a place more exotic than the library, I can assure you, I am writing there. (okay, maybe a little.)

-Quick. Go to your writing space, sit down and look to your left. What is the first thing you see? A binder. Hmm. The door to the laundry room. Or the door to the bathroom. I'm stopping there because it doesn't really get any more interesting.

-Favorite time to write? Any time I get to write is my favorite time!

-Drink of choice while writing? Do you really want to know? Water. Let's see if the next question will lend itself to revealing some personality...

-When writing , do you listen to music or do you need complete silence? Silence. Mostly. There are some instrumentals I can play but not for very long.

-What was your inspiration for your latest manuscript and where did you find it? Can I say that my last inspiration found me? I don't feel like I went looking for it. One day, not sure why, I was thinking of some of my favorite Christmas memories and next thing I know, I'm writing a novel. Go figure.

-What's your most valuable writing tip? This last question is a curve ball. This has been all 'lets play nice and ask some warm up questions' and now wham! pressure. I need to come up with a writing tip!! No, make that a valuable writing tip. Okay, drum roll... "Don't. Stop. Writing." 

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Comfort Zone in the Rear View Mirror

Potpourri Thursday = Different Things To Share That Smell Great! 
Ok, not exactly. But I don't have to really explain potpourri, do I?

Just thought I'd let you know I've kissed my comfort zone goodbye.
A good friend told me about this awesome blog/contest/get-an-agent fest and suggested I join. And so what do you think I did? Nothing! (Really, I sat there looking at the email thinking, 'no, no, no, not gonna do it!) Until the aforementioned friend, in subtle-good-friend fashion asked, "what could it hurt?" Which I took to mean: "get off facebook and do something with your writing!!"  Ugh. So before I could leave my chair to stock up on the day's supply of chocolate - I signed up.Wish me luck, or a teddy bear, or lots more chocolate! 

And in other news: I am now sporting bangs. For the first time in maybe ten years. Maybe I'll post a picture sometime after I get around to doing my hair. . .

What else? I would like to disconnect my phone until the election is over. Am I the only one getting a zillion political calls?

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

WIP Wednesday

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

Okay class, how do you spell revisions?


Sums it up for me, how about you?

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Tuesday Triumph

You might notice my new blog schedule. Yesterday was Marriage Book Review Monday. And if that wasn't too much excitement, today is Tuesday Triumph. I promise not all days will be full of (slightly overused) blog title alliterations. Potpourri Thursday has no poetic effort! Friday will have something to do with Friends and Wednesday will be dedicated to the Work In Progress. But as for Tuesdays, I thought I'd share some triumph, large or small or somewhere in between. And I'd love to hear about yours too!

So here goes. Drum roll please. . . I am learning Yoga. 
You can stop laughing now. Okay, now? 

Why is this my triumph? Let's just say I bought some very comfortable exercise "yoga" pants, I don't know how many months (ahem, years) ago with the intention of signing right up and getting all stretched out. Never happened, until now. I'm learning slowly, but it feels good to do something I've been wanting to do for a while. How about you?

Monday, August 27, 2012

Marriage Book Review Monday

Have you ever noticed there are a lot of marriage books out there?
It took me a while to figure out I loved reading books on the subject. (Someone may have pointed out to me I might be a marriage book junkie :) I've decided to dedicate Mondays on the blog to marriage book reviews. Why? For the fun of it, or maybe I think happy marriages are important, possible and worth the work! Or maybe I miss doing book reports in school. . .

(This post also appears at Making Marriage Merry - an awesome marriage blog! Check it out!)

For Starters:

Title: Teens, Temple Marriage & Eternity
Author: Allan K. Burgess
Publisher: Deseret Book
Year: 1988
How I found it: Christmas Gift
Available on Amazon: Here
Audience: LDS teens and their parents, great for youth leaders, too.
Hardcover, 105 pages
This little gem of a book is an easy read. The writing is straightforward and organized into concise chapters with summaries. Burgess draws on experience as a Seminary teacher and counselor, as well as teachings of latter day prophets and general authorities.

I received this as a Christmas gift as a teenager. I think it was the first "marriage" book I’d ever read. I was 14 and of course, I hadn’t met my future husband and though I wouldn’t be married for years to come, I read the book within a day. What can I say? I’ve been fascinated by marriage for a long time. Time and experience has only increased my interest in, as well as my deep appreciation for, the gift of marriage.
From the front flap:
“Why should I get married in the temple?” “What happens when I go to the temple for the first time?” “Why are the covenants made there so important?” . . . Allan K. Burgess, a seminary teacher with considerable experience in counseling teenagers and young adults, answers these questions and puts to rest some of the myths and concerns you may have about the temple. Besides learning how to prepare for your first visit to the temple and what to expect from it, you will also learn the importance of the covenants you make and the rich blessings in store for you if you honor those covenants.”

What I appreciate:
The concept he teaches about the difference between a temple wedding and a celestial marriage. The wedding is an event that takes place during one day and ends. The marriage can last a lifetime and for eternity if it is celestial. It is a process that requires two people motivated to keep their covenants.
        This idea might have been the most beneficial for me to learn as a young woman. Our youth are taught much about planning to marry in the temple, and rightly so, but sometimes the focus can be on the event of the wedding instead of the covenants or the quality of the marriage relationship after the wedding day.
Quote from Chapter Two, page 25:
                “Many young people labor and live under false notions, feeling that a marriage contract , and especially if it is a temple marriage, solves all the problems; and many people further think that marriage is a sort of perpetual motion program. Once set in motion by a marriage ceremony, it will never run down. I want to tell you that there are no marriages that can ever be happy ones unless two people work at it.” (The Teachings of Spencer W. Kimball, ed. Edward L. Kimball [Salt Lake City: Bookcraft, 1982], p. 307.)

 Quote from Chapter Six, page 60:
                “He helped her kneel at the altar, and then he walked around to the other side of the altar where he knelt across from her. As their eyes met, I noticed tears. . . .  You could both see and feel the joy that they felt at that moment.”

My two cents:
                Great read for teens and their parents.  Keep in mind the book was published before the digital revolution – so no advice regarding the internet, facebook, etc. Also, he discusses temple worthiness and uses a number of real life stories (names changed, of course) that include serious topics-therefore probably best suited for mature teens.

Up Next Week:
           The Five Love Languages/Gary Chapman

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Work-In-Progress Wednesday

The day wherein I think of my manuscript as a sculpture and I know exactly how much clay to remove and where it needs to be added. And I know precisely how to smooth the rough spots and I get to watch it take shape. Beautiful, breath-taking shape. Yeah, that kind of day. A girl can hope, can't she?

Friday, June 8, 2012

Come On Forty, Let's Do This

Come On Forty, Let's Do This
Birthday Thing

I've been waiting for you for how many years now?
For the record, it wasn't easy getting here.
Remember Horse Neck Beach when I was seven and tried to swim out to my brother, who was six-foot-four, I'm sure. Those waves and that water were way over my head. Somehow he heard me call his name and I got to see my eighth birthday. A few close calls like that are reasons why I appreciate you.

And I like that you've arrived to grant admission to the shores of the land known as the second half of my life. If you were a jersey, I'd wear your numbers like a badge of honor. I suppose when it comes down to it, I owe the lofty world of academia for the prestige I can now carry with me. Wasn't it there that you, the lovely 4.0, were deemed perfect?

And last, but not least, I'm glad you bring a reason to celebrate life. 
Which is code for eat cake, take time to notice the tallest trees and the smallest butterflies, and dance the electric slide as only a proud new forty-year-old can--but probably not all at the same time.

Come On Forty, Let's Do This

I didn't know I was going to make a habit out of posting on my birthday, but it looks like that's what I've done!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Last Day of School, Anyone?

Some mothers get soo sentimental about the first day of school. There is no shortage of pictures and posts about babies growing up too fast and 'how did we get here' and a few confessionals that include how free a mother feels when her youngest is in school for a full day.

I'm not going to pretend that I don't experience a handful of those emotions. But you know what really gets me? The last day of school. As in a son's last day of high school. Wham! Or my daughter's last day of kindergarten. Double-wham!

I said 'I love you' and before she jumped out of the van, she turned and smiled at me with the slant of her head and the squint of her eyes that said, in a sweet way, "Aw, mom!" I watched her walk fast and focused through the criss-cross of playing children. She knew exactly where she was going. She didn't look back, she didn't look lost. Gone were the 'What-am-I-in-for?' expressions of Day One. See? It's the last day. She's doing exactly what she is supposed to do--learning and gaining confidence and preparing for what comes next. I sit in the van with parents behind me waiting for me to move and I wonder, am I?

And then there is the son. If I can feel the swell of motherly love from witnessing a ten month transformation of my kindergartner, then what is it I'm feeling as I watch my son don his cap and gown? I try to reconcile it with pictures in my mind of the superman PJs he loved to wear as a two-year-old, so much that he wanted them as his Halloween costume. This cap and gown is no costume. It's the authentic rite-of-passage uniform he gets to wear, declaring to the universe, what? That's he's grown up, that's what. And that's what gets me in the back of my throat, in the pit of my stomach, and what sends tears cascading down my cheeks, as he walks, accepts the diploma and the passport to the rest of his life. Swells of love combine with bursts of pride and form waves that pick up pangs of hope. I wonder if anything I've done in the last 18+ years will make any bit of difference for good in his life. 

The graduates march, and like hands on the clock, there is no turning them back. Forward, always forward. 

I feel marvel and wonder, some sadness for mistakes every mother can't help making, mostly gratitude for all the sweet memories swirling.

If it's freedom a mother feels when she sends that young one off to school and returns home to her life, and whatever fills it, what does she feel when that child graduates from school. More freedom?

Not exactly, for me. By the time I take my seat in the bleachers, I realize--I'm the mother. He may leave and live his future any where and any way he wants, but I will always be his mother and I won't be 'freed' from that. That's what gets me. And I'm glad. Happy glad. Wait, I think it's joy. Yes, pinewood derby, first church dance, last piano recital, one-hundredth silly pun, --and one unsolicited 'thanks, mom' hug in his cap and gown, and I feel it. Joy.


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