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Showing posts from January, 2014

The Groundhog is Coming!

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I know it's foolish, but I still put a little hope in the groundhog. Goundhog day is coming up and I have to admit that I wait in anticipation every year. I long for Spring! Naturally this day interests me because it gives me a little glimpse of the excitement that comes with the changing of seasons, particularly the shaking off of snowflakes and the slipping on of flip-flops change. Will he see his shadow? Will he? Will Spring come early? Fingers crossed, eyes closed, I hope, I hope, I hope. And then sometimes I watch this movie, which is never as good as the first time I saw it.




Game Review--Coloretto

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Recently we had some family in town which meant lots of game playing. I love playing games. I am known as the cheater in the family, which I'm sure used to have some merit but which now annoys me. And I can be a little too competitive, which probably sparked the cheating. I'm trying to overcome it, really I am. My sister's in-laws brought this game and it was a lot of fun. It is such a creative way to play with colors and have a good time trying to win while making things difficult for your opponents.

Goal of the game: get lots of points by collecting colors (hopefully only 3 colors because more counts against you).

How to guarantee a win: didn't figure that out yet, but I'll let you know if I do.

Fun ranking: 5/5 chocolate chip cookies. It really is a fun game. Check it out the next time you're at your local game shop, or here it is on Amazon.

Oh, and ignore the drawbridge. Or make up your own rule for it because nobody knows what it is supposed to do.

Playing Catch-Up

It seems like all I've done the last two days is laundry, errands, dishes, and wait on hold with various incompetent health care entities. But it's all good. Every once in a while we just need a few days to catch up.

Oh, and it's lonely on my blog. Like it's just me and nobody else. I remember it used to feel lonely when nobody would leave a comment. It's a different kind of lonely now that nobody CAN leave a comment. It's sort of like if someone took away your sidewalk, porch steps, doorbell, etc. Before, I used to hope that someone would leave a comment so it didn't feel so lonely. Now it's just lonely without the hope. Hmmm. What do you think? Would you like to leave a comment? If only you could answer that. :) Maybe I'll bring comments back to my blog.

Playing Again

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It's hard to believe I almost sold this beauty. Not that it's the best cello in the world, but it IS gorgeous, has a decent sound, and came with a coveted real wooden bow. When I decided to sell it, my daughter stepped in and saved the day, offering to take orchestra in school and begin to learn it. I told her that if she wanted to learn it I would keep it. And she is doing so well. I love watching her play it.
Lately I've been playing it also, preparing for a couple of upcoming selections I'll be performing. And I'm grateful. I'm grateful my mom encouraged us to be musicians. I'm grateful that my elementary school had an orchestra program that came with a wonderful teacher (who happened to be a cellist). I'm grateful that even though I wasn't very good, I kept playing because two of my best friends played the cello too. I'm grateful for the musical foundation it gave me, opening the door to learn other instruments. I'm grateful my daughter…

Guilt Theory

I've learned a lot about guilt and shame the last few years. Like too much. One of the popular theories out there is that guilt = "I did something bad" and shame = "I am something bad"

I've been thinking about this, letting it ruminate in my overused brain. It never really clicked for me, the idea of this. I feel a lot of guilt. Some days it is constantly there and no matter what I do I feel guilty.

"I was so lazy today! I didn't even finish the laundry."
"I probably said the wrong thing to my kids. They're going to be so messed up."
"I forgot to . . ."
"I didn't . . ."
"I said . . ."
"When am I ever going to get it right?"

And from what I've heard and experienced, this guilt trend is a problem for a lot of people, particularly the women I associate with.

Here's the thing. I know I am a good person. How do I know? I am in touch with my heart. I know what my desires, wishes and i…

Overcoming Depression

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I'm writing this post because it is now January 23rd. It's cold outside, and wet, and icy. The sun is shining today, but I hadn't really noticed until now. Actually, as I drove to the dentist it was a little blinding. Why does all of this matter? Because for the last several years, I have hated January. Hated it. Maybe I could get through the rest of the months okay: December has Christmas, February is oh so close to March and Spring. It's tolerable at least. But January? It used to be the bane of my existence, and one of the biggest triggers for my depression.

What changed? Me.

I love the saying "Choose to be happy."


I keep this reminder in my home, thanks to a good friend who made me this adorable framed version. But there were times when I couldn't choose even if I wanted to. I remember sitting in my therapist's office one day and her saying the most comforting words: "You can't fix this with a positive mental attitude." I love her fo…

Writer Frustrations

I sent a query letter this week for the first time in almost a year. I'm fully expecting a rejection. I hope my pessimism isn't too upsetting. I guess I think of it as realism. Based on my experience, sending query letters to agents ultimately results in rejection. Honestly, there are times I seriously consider quitting this thing that I love so much. Why? Because I have other marketable skills that seem to work out much better for me. Like teaching piano lessons.

I've told myself so many times, this is the last one. If I get a rejection on this one, I'm done. And I can't seem to stop writing. It just makes me happy. Mostly. Because the business side of this business is a little frustrating. I'm not giving up yet. I still have some great stories to write. I just had to vent to the great unknown because my letter is out there, sitting in someone's slush pile, probably lonely and wanting to come back home.

The Pointlessness of Finger Pointing

I've been feeling a little . . . frustrated. Just a bit. Like such a small amount that it really wasn't bothering me that much. But as I thought about what I was frustrated about, and who I was frustrated with, I realized I was doing the exact. same. thing. I needed that little reminder, that when something out of my control is bothering me, it's time to take a look inside and see what I need to fix myself.

This is a concept I've been practicing for the last couple of years. It's something I'm trying desperately to teach my children (hence the no tattle-telling policy in my house). If you've got a problem with someone, take it up with them, not me. Better yet, look inside yourself and see what YOU can fix, rather than focusing on someone else and what you think they're not doing perfectly.

Finger pointing really is the world's biggest waste of time. Imagine if everyone just focused on how they could make the world a better place. Hmmm.

Word Poems

Maybe it's the word nerd in me, but I love writing these.


Satan
Hollering
Ample
Misleading
Earfuls

Benevolent Enduring Attentive Understanding Truthful Yearning

Overalls
Pigtails
Tongue twisters
Insights
Muscle
Investment
Seashells
Memories

Benign Engaging Accepting Unique Tender Young at heart

You Want Evidence of God? Look in the Mirror.

I have been reading and studying the scriptures since I was ten years old. While I don't profess to be a great scriptorian (which sadly isn't a word known by Google), I have given a lot of time to the study of God's word. While I operate in faith much of the time, I am also scientifically minded, and have seen through the years evidence of the truthfulness of the scriptures, of the reality of the spiritual, of the existence of God.
And some people still deny it. Well, not to worry. You, too, are evidence of these things. I find it so interesting that those who oppose God's word, or who even deny his existence, fail to see what is so obviously there.
Let me give you an example. 1 Corinthians 12:3 3 "Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost."
Do you see it in there? You don't believe in God? Well, that's because you aren…

Reassuring Self Talk

I am a big believer that people need reassurance. As I've thought a lot about depression over the last few years, I have come to believe that often depression stems from a lack of reassurance.

I had the opportunity last night to practice on my daughter. I planned to drop my two daughters off at gymnastics and then run some books back to the library. As I was saying goodbye, I noticed my youngest daughter was sincerely upset. She didn't want to stay at gymnastics, probably especially because I was leaving. I tried to reassure her that she would be all right. Her sister would be with her and I would be back before her class got out. But it wasn't enough. Knowing that my daughter's feelings and comfort are more important than a trip to the library, I asked her if she would like me to stay. She nodded. So I reassured her that it was all right. I was not leaving. I told her I would stay and sit and watch her in her class. I walked over to a table and got out a chair and plo…

POV Does Not Stand for Pushing Out Volumes

I thought I'd post a little about writing craft today and visit POV, which stands for Point of View. A story's point of view is extremely important, and I believe that every novel out there should have a point of view that is best for its individuality, plot, characters, style, etc. So, when I have a book idea, I spend some time thinking about POV. Would this story be better in first person? Third person close? Third person distant? Narrative? Recently I began a novel where I had decided to write every other chapter from first person present tense. After writing the beginning, I second guessed that decision and re-wrote what I already had in third person close and HATED IT. Discovering the best POV for your story is important from the beginning because it isn't fun to do a full POV rewrite of several hundred pages.

So, here are some things to consider as you make the best possible choice for the POV of your story.


Who is the story written for?Can you do everything you want …

Anger in the Morning

I was really struggling with some anger this morning. There are a lot of different ways I deal with this emotion. Again, poetry is just something that works for me. When other methods failed today, poetry calmed me down.


YELLOW

The box is heavy
He is waiting

Ugly, the contents ooze and spill out
Dark, twisted, bloody

This used to be inside of me
He is waiting

For me,
He waits in a field of yellow

Hands shaking
I hold the box out to Him

He takes it
Unflinching, without hesitation

The weight is gone
We smile
He turns to leave

I watch
Because I know what's coming

He lifts the box
Out bursts a swarm of butterflies

Every color
A fluttering, joyful rainbow

He looks back at me

In Unison we call
"See you next time."

Looking down I see
Pollen-dusted pants


Movie Review, Ephraim's Rescue

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This is one of the many movies we watched over the holidays. It was pretty good. Not as good as 17 Miracles. (I love that movie.) But Ephraim Hanks is every bit as awesome as Levi Savage. I found myself connecting with him even more than I did with Levi. This story is character driven, and even though it involves other pioneers and the rescue of the Willie and Martin handcart companies, it really centers around Ephraim Hanks. What did I like about how he was portrayed? He was human. And he knew it. I loved that about Ephraim. Oh, and did I mention? I'm glad I wasn't a pioneer. And I'm grateful that whenever my children complain about the cold I can say, "At least you're not walking across the country in knee-deep snow bare foot just to have your feet chopped off." Yes, I actually say that to my children. I think of the pioneers whenever I'm outside and feeling a little too cold. I am grateful for their sacrifices. Always.





The Book of Mormon Saved My Marriage

I realized the truth of this a while ago as I was preparing for my Sunday School lesson. As I pondered the scriptures and the influence they have in my life, I knew I had to share this with my class. About a year and a half ago, I reached a crossroads. My husband and I had separated, and the evening he left, I felt an outpouring of love. I received comfort from a source outside of myself, one that I could not see. I also had the impression that getting a divorce was my call, that it would be okay if that was what I needed. Over the next few days, I turned to where I always turn when things are really bad, the one place I know provides solace and direction, often instantly: the scriptures. I don't remember if I just opened the Book of Mormon to where I had already been reading, or if I simply said a prayer and parted the pages with a hope in my heart that I would open on the spot I needed right in that moment. (This actually works sometimes by the way. Not always, but sometimes.)

E…

Emotion Poems

The last two years have been nothing short of an emotional roller coaster. And do you know what I learned from that? That is what life is supposed to be. Many years of my life went by where I wasn't really in tune with what I was feeling. It is refreshing to have that back. Being aware of my emotions helps me work through them quickly. On to the next. When I'm feeling strong emotions, sometimes it helps me to write about it in the form of a poem. I thought I would share a few from last year.

Sorrow

"Is it a dull pain, or a sharp one?" the doctor asks.
But why he asks I cannot understand.
Dull and sharp can hardly matter now
For reaping never ends where sorrow is sown.


Faith

Like the moon you wax and wane,
A flower to blossom and wither.
You come and go like the unscheduled train,
But one thing you don't do is slither.


Peace Wash

Cloth and soap and water warm
Bathing rain, gentle storm
Calming flood and, "Peace, be still."
Sweet immersion; basin filled.

Fighting Those Winter Blues

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I am determined. I am on a mission. I will get through this January without hating all of existence. It may help that I'm not around Salt Lake in time for the inversion, but just in case that's not enough, I have a plan.

1. Get up early and exercise. Yeah, I decided against the get up early part.

2. Visit the tropics. My kids and I discovered this fun botanical garden over the break and I'm so glad we did. Why haven't I thought of this before? Visiting botanical gardens, breathing the artificial summer air, seeing and smelling the flowers. It's brilliant.

3. Do Yoga. Yoga specifically designed to help with mood improvement. I'm so glad that someone from my church is offering to teach this class. Sweet.


4. Have a writing goal to work on. Easy. Amazon's break through novel contest begins this month and I'm entering it. Should be fun. I just need to read through my manuscript and fix as many typos, plot holes, and oopsies as possible.

5. Smile. Smile. Smi…