Wednesday, December 28, 2011


I'm going to back off blogging here, as I hardly get any comments I don't think you'll miss much, because I've discovered something about myself. Writing blog posts every week satisfies that instant urge to write that I should be using to write my books.

I'll still be around, though you won't hear from me every week anymore. It will probably be for the best, since you're more likely to get thoughtful, poignant posts if I wait for the inspiration to strike.

I'll still keep you posted on what the kids are doing, and stuff like that. NO worries.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011


Yesterday and today I'm baking gifts for friends and loved ones. I'm out of money to mail things, but I've got lots of love to spread out here, so it's all good. Yesterday I made batches and batches of cookies. Today, it's breadsticks. I'm going to put a little Christmas poem in with each package and deliver them tonight. Fun, fun. You can click HERE for the Christmas poem. I posted it on my author blog.

I have some news, but I'm going to wait to share it next week. Let's get through Christmas first, for goodness sake!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011


The shopping frenzy is done. Now it's time to remember what this holiday is really about.

I'd love to say I purposely saved my baking and gift mailing for next week because the kids will be home and they can help me share the spirit of Christmas with our faraway friends and loved ones. I'd really be feeling like an amazing mom if I could say that. But let's be real. I'm me. And the truth is I am making secret presents this week and have no time for baking and mailing. The kids will be able to help and share in all that by default.

I take no credit for it. But, I still think it will be fun.

We do make an effort every year to remind the kids what the gifts actually represent. I'm fortunate enough to have kids who don't put a lot of emphasis on what they WANT for Christmas. So many times I'm the one asking them because I'm not sure what to buy, or what to suggest to family. Sometimes I feel like I'm raising kids too tender for this world. They understand the spiritual nature of our roles here so well.

For the record, I don't take credit for that either. They are simply amazing, even though they have the ability to completely frazzle my nerves and dance on my last shred of patience. I mean, they are children. Let's be fair.

I hope all of you can take a bit of time this crazy season to let a little truth into your hearts. That sweet manger scene isn't just a prop after all.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

December 7

It's December 7, and all my Christmas shopping is done. Yes, I'm bragging--but only a little. I mean, last year I had book signings all month and only had time to do my Christmas shopping in the few days before the actual holiday. It. was. madness. SO glad to be done!

Of course, December 7 has a different significance. This is the day in 1941 that the Japanese attacked Pearl Harbor, and our response as a nation drew us into WWII. My grandfather served in WWII. He was always a man I loved and admired--and not just because of that. He was a most remarkable man. He passed away around Christmas time, so I always have a tender spot for him this time of year.

My grandfather, Walter Charles Rohan, lived a full life. He met my grandmother--a divorced woman with three young children--while she worked as a waitress in a cafe. They began a cautious relationship until her son--my father--looked up at Walt and asked, "When are you going to marry my mother?" He was ten years old.

Walt not only married Ella, but he legally adopted all three children. They went on to have two children of their own, and built a house up on SLC's East Bench (which grandma sold for a tidy sum just before the housing market crashed).

Grandpa never distinguished his "real" children from his adopted children. They were all his. In fact, I didn't even know my dad was adopted until I was 16, at which time the family consensus was, "I thought you knew." It was one of those things the family didn't discuss, not because it was meant to be a secret but simply because it didn't matter.

Walt was a quiet man in his older years--when I knew him. As a young child, I remember he could drive, but he became legally blind and could no longer operate a car. Grandma never learned to drive. Grandpa survived cancer. Eventually his body gave in. It had become too tired to carry on. I remember when my brother called me to tell me Grandpa had passed. He cried. I cried because he cried. We knew it was for the best, that he was no longer in pain and now Grandma didn't have to care for him round the clock--but we would miss his quiet, gentle ways. His constant presence on the couch at so many family gatherings. His calming influence on those around him.

He outlived my father by twenty years. It had to have been hard to lose a son, but it wasn't something he talked about. Grandpa came from that generation that doesn't talk about those things. I miss him. I miss them both, sometimes.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

All I Want for Christmas

Guess what the kids all want for Christmas. Yep, Legos. Yep, even the girls. I never considered Lego to be gender-specific. As a kid, I had the Castle system sets complete with horses, knights in armor and a princess in a stupid hat. They're a bit more advanced now, with better little people and more interesting designs.

Lego is one of those toys I don't mind buying my kids, even when the sets can be stupid expensive. They LAST. My boys are playing with my old Lego sets right now. Lego encourages the imagination, which I consider vital to childhood.

Case in point:

Yesterday, hubby and I drove by a sign that said "Do not block gate." I imagined, just for kicks, setting up literal blocks in front of the gate. Obviously not to provide a barrier, but more of a play on words. Hubby took it farther than that. "I could have Brandon build a padlock out of Lego."

I laughed. Until I realized my son actually COULD build a padlock out of Lego blocks. He's gotten to the point where, if he can visualize it in his head, he can build it with his hands.

That's pretty awesome to me.

I envision a Christmas morning full of that distinct plastic-brick-on-plastic-brick clanging. And that's okay with me.

Because then I get to sit back and see what they all create. :)

Friday, November 25, 2011


You're getting an After-Thanksgiving-I-didn't-post-Wednesday-making-up-for-it-now sorta post today.

Gratitude. It's part of a healthy lifestyle. I had 19 people at my house yesterday, and, though I love them, let's start there.

I'm glad they're not still here. :) Imagine the food consumption, the mess. No, yesterday was good. lol

I snuggled with my daughters this morning before getting out of bed and having cinnamon rolls. Yep, another gratitude moment.

I'm really glad my husband made the turkey yesterday. It was PERFECT.

A writer friend recently asked, as part of a contest, where/what would you be if you could have anything or be anything you wanted? I pondered this, probably more than I should, until I realized I'm LIVING it already.

I'm not saying my life is perfect. But perfect is boring. Challenge is growth and, please don't take this as an open invitation for challenges, but I know their value.

This is actually what I mean:

I wanted to be a schoolteacher for years. That was my goal, until I discovered writing. I'd always loved to write, but didn't think I could actually do anything with it--until I wrote my first book in high school.

My goals changed. I wanted to raise children and write books.

Then I got married. And we struggled. A lot. For a long time. When my twins were babies, I tried to get a job. Didn't work. I tried working at home. Didn't work. We moved from OK to UT in that time, and when my daughter was a baby I got an opportunity to work for my brother's new company. At home. In my jammies. It was a good job financially but, ultimately soul-sucking (at least for my creativity). So I tried day care. Fun and rewarding in its way; hard and challenging too. But between that and my own family, it left me almost no time to write. At least if I wanted to sleep. Ever.

Something had to give. After the first book came out in 2010, I struggled with time to write and money to live. We never seemed to be able to find the balance. In July, we visited OK again and chose to move back here.

Now, after so much (much of which I have not gone into here), I have a home for my family. I'm writing. I have time with my kids. And my husband. It's an amazing place to be in. That's what I've wanted since I was 14. Sure, there's room for growth and improvement. Furniture, at the moment, would be a great improvement.

But that's the fun of it. I wouldn't want to have everything I wanted right now. Where would the growth be then? ;)

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Cinnamon Rolls! And More

Or, I should say, the BEST EVER Cinnamon Rolls!

You know how it is when you take two things you absolutely love and combine them, and it comes out better than you could have imagined? Oh, ya. And I'm going to do my best to see you can recreate the magic for yourselves.

**Disclaimer! If you're looking for heart-healthy, low fat, gluten-free or anything nutritionally redeemable in these rolls, you won't find it. I'm talking real sugar, margarine (or butter if that's your preference), white flour goodness. You have been warned.**

I've got a killer breadstick recipe. It's a family recipe, and it's the kind of thing we eagerly anticipate every year for holidays or get-togethers. I can talk ANYONE into eating these delightful breadsticks. Even when they shouldn't. Light, fluffy goodness.

After 15 yrs of marriage, my hubby finally says, "I wonder how it would work to make cinnamon rolls using the breadstick recipe." That's right--I did NOT come up with this brilliant idea myself.

Here's what we did:

I put 2 cups of warm--not hot but very warm--water into my largest mixing bowl. Most times a yeast bread doesn't come out is because we either use too hot or too cool water. Warm is relative, which is why you'll find the actual temperature your water needs to be in certain recipes, and, sometimes, on the yeast package itself. I've been doing this enough that I simply do the pinkie test: dip my pinkie into the water to test the temp. I also factor in how much the water will cool when it gets into the bowl, so that the water I heat is slightly warmer than the water I use.

Add 2 envelopes of yeast to the water and let it activate. **Sugar** helps yeast activate, so I like to add the sugar next. For breadsticks, the recipe calls for 1/2 cup. I added 3/4 of a cup to sweeten the dough for cinnamon rolls.

Now we get to the fun part. This recipe calls for a 1/2 cup (1 stick) of butter or margarine. I prefer to bake with margarine and top with butter, but that's just me. Do what you want, but I don't suggest those buttery spreads. Not for this. The recipe also calls for 1 egg, slightly beaten.

(Once, and only once, I forgot to beat the egg before adding it to the bowl. And got tougher than normal breadsticks. I don't know why, but it is CRUCIAL to beat the egg first to obtain the desired effect.)

For the cinnamon rolls, I beat the egg in the 1/2 cup of melted butter. The recipe calls for softened butter, but I melt mine and then COOL it slightly so that I don't kill my yeast when I add it to the bowl.

Where was I? Oh, right. Mix all those ingredients together and you get a sloshy goo. Now, here's where I almost always mess up. Salt. Most of you know salt is supposed to add savory without masking the flavor. If you tastes salt in your food, then you've over salted. I'm notorious for under-salting my baked goods, though no one has ever complained. For years I didn't add salt to any recipe that was supposed to turn out sweet--seemed counter-productive to me. But I'm learning.

For this recipe, I added about 2/3 to 3/4 of a teaspoon of salt.

The recipe calls for 5 cups (or more) of flour. I always do the *or more* and I believe this is partly because I never sift my flour. It all breaks up in the kneading process, which I particularly enjoy, so I don't bother. But I probably end up using more flour than I actually need. Oddly, the bread NEVER comes out heavy.

Basically you add flour until you can knead the dough smooth and it's not sticky. But, again, if you pre-sift or buy the pre-sifted flour, you will probably be happier with the results.

Then you put the dough back into the bowl, cover it with a towel and ignore it. For 3-4 hours, or until the dough is doubled in size. You can probably do this the night before and refrigerate the dough for fresh cinnamon rolls in the morning, but I never have. Try it at your own risk.

My family's favorite part is punching the dough down. Oh, my.

So after the yeast has done its thing, and you punch the dough down, you can roll it out on a floured surface until you have as even a rectangle as you can make it. I don't stress this, as I'm just going to roll and cut it anyway, but my husband insisted on an almost ruler perfect rectangle.

Here's where it gets tricky. I don't measure ingredients for half of what I do. Which means, I can't tell you how much softened butter to smooth over the rolled out dough. I can guess we used about 1/4 cup. You really want it to be able to melt and be gooey, because that's part of what makes the cinnamon/sugar mixture inside the roll so wonderful. But, you don't want to put in too much because it really just falls or oozes out during the rolling and slicing process, leaving most of your work on your floured surface and not in the rolls. Sad.

My cinnamon/sugar mix: I literally poured a little of this and little of that into a bowl, mixed it with a fork, and spread it out across the buttered dough. I can guess that I used about 1/3 cup brown sugar and 1/4 cup white sugar. I use a blend. Brown sugar makes the inner mixture of a cinnamon roll particularly yummy. You can use all brown sugar if you want. It's a matter of taste. Then I added about 2 teaspoons (or a little more) of cinnamon. Mix that all together, spread it on the dough, and get ready to roll it up.

Here's where you'd add raisins if you like them, before the rolling up process. I don't. It's a texture thing for me--feels like eating baked bugs.

When you roll the dough, you start at one edge and roll as small as possible. When you get to the other end, you sort of pinch the dough together so that it doesn't unravel after you cut it into rolls. I always use the strand of thread method because using a knife tends to flatten the cinnamon rolls, making them silly-looking. Remember, we eat with our eyes first. :)

The strand of thread method is easy to understand. I cut a long strand from a spool of sewing thread and work it under the roll of dough, then bring the ends up and cross them to slice the thread through the entire dough. Repeat until you've done all of the dough, trying to be as even as possible. We got 23 rolls, but some ended up bigger than others. I'd say the recipe yields 24 (2 dozen) healthy sized rolls.

Always pan spray or grease your baking pans before placing the cut cinnamon rolls into or onto them. I prefer my 9x13 glass cake dish (fits 12 rolls), but that's me. Cover and let the rolls rise about another hour. Meanwhile, you can preheat your oven (350 degrees) so it's ready to go when the rolls are.

I baked them about 20-25 minutes, until they were a light golden brown and I could be reasonably certain the rolls baked all the way through.

Note: If you're wanting to just do the breadsticks, omit the extra 1/4 cup of sugar and the butter and cinnamon/sugar filling. You simply roll the dough out, cut and shape the breadsticks, let them rise and then bake them at 350 for about 10-12 min.

I let the cinnamon rolls cool about 10 min in the pan after they cooked before drizzling on the glaze. You don't want them too hot (been there) or the glaze simply pours off and pools at the bottom of your baking dish. Patience really does pay off, even though they smell amazing and you can't wait to bite into one.

Glaze: Really depends on whether you want a drizzling glaze or a spreadable frosting. Regardless, you start with 2 cups of powdered sugar. Add 1-2 teaspoons of vanilla extract. Then add enough milk to obtain your desired consistency. It doesn't take much, so I'd recommend adding slowly, like a Tablespoon at a time. Stir it with a spoon until smooth, spread or pour on your rolls.

And prepare to have your socks knocked right off!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Isn't it Great?

Isn't it great when a mother can leave town for 5 days and come home to find everyone has survived?

Survived being home unsupervised with their siblings for 5 hours, 2 days in a row?

Survived getting on and off the bus without incident?

Survived Dad's cooking? (kidding--he actually is really good in the kitchen) earthquake?

I find it ironic that we move from UT, where there's that lovely Wasatch fault line that could potentially decimate the civilization out there, to an area literally nicknamed "Tornado Alley" and we feel an earthquake.

Just so you know, we live almost 2 hrs south of Oklahoma City, where the quake hit hardest. In fact, my family didn't feel it at all. My father in law did, only because he got up to use the bathroom about the same time it hit. If he'd been asleep, like my kids, he'd probably have slept right through it.

My son thinks he may have felt an aftershock early this morning. I'm not holding my breath as his evidence is a little shaky (terrible pun, I know), but if you hear about it you can say I told you first. :)

As much as I loved my time away, I'm glad to be home. I'm even more glad to not have any plans to go anywhere for at least the next 6 months. I've spent the last 2 days helping my in laws spoil the kids to pieces. Now I'm going to work on getting this house in order. We have a table and chairs and a microwave (yay!!), but I have no bookshelves to place my beloved books and only one little love seat. This house is completely devoid of dressers (and that is just weird) and the boys are still sleeping on air mattresses. They've been great about it, but I'm starting to feel like a bad parent.

All that being said, what am I still doing here? :)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

City of Light Preview, Continued

If you missed the beginning, you can go to my AUTHOR BLOG for a recap.

Chapter 1, continued

People packed the streets, as though they had all come from their houses to trace the source of the voice. Genna led Aisilyn through the throngs, anxious until she saw the high walls of their home. She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw her mother standing at the doorway. Her mother would have a solution.

Her mother wrapped both daughters in her embrace. “Come inside.”

Genna stepped into the house, her childhood home. Never before had she appreciated how safe she felt there. As they entered the main living area, her father, who had been sitting on a well padded chair, rose to his feet. He took Aisilyn by the arm and led her to the gilded chair by the fireplace. Her mother sat on the thick cushion at the foot of the chair. She put a hand on Aisilyn’s knee.

“You look pale, child,” she said. “I’ll have Sorai bring you water.”

“No, thank you.” Aisilyn put a hand on her arm.

Genna looked at her father. His deep frown was at odds with his trembling hands. He was nervous, she knew, but he would approach the problem with logic.

He didn’t disappoint. “The Council will check the birth records. I expect they will summon Aisilyn soon, along with any other women named Aisilyn.”

“How many can there be?” her mother asked.

“In a city this size?” He stroked his beard. “A dozen, perhaps, but I can’t be certain.”

Genna’s mother breathed a sigh of relief. “Then it may not be our Aisilyn.”

Aisilyn’s eyes found Genna’s. They didn’t realize, Genna thought. They don’t know.
Her father continued. “Exactly. I propose we not panic until we are given a reason.”

“What if it is her?”

Both her parents looked at Genna as though she’d grown a spare head. She regretted the words, but couldn’t keep them inside. She knew with a certainty that shook her that the chosen bride was her sister. She also knew Aisilyn felt that, too. How could she make them understand?

“Genna, child, you mustn’t worry your sister,” her mother said. “Your father is right. We don’t know yet who is the chosen Aisilyn. Besides, this isn’t the first time the City of Light has been threatened. We don’t know what is going to happen.”

“The Barrier of Light has protected our people from the demon’s agents for centuries,” said her father. “Even if he has a servant who can breach the Barrier, our soldiers could easily stop one, lone enemy.”

Genna thought of the soldiers, the peacekeepers of the City, who patrol in their shining armor but have not fought for generations. They have no trouble apprehending the odd cutpurse, but how would they fare against an enemy who could fight back?

She held her tongue; it did no good to argue with her parents, and she didn’t want to say anything that might further worry her sister. “Aisilyn and I made some purchases this afternoon. I’ll go help Sorai put them away.”

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Home Alone (Again)

So, last week, right? What a rush. How crazy was that? :)

Hubby showed up super late Tuesday night. Woke up the kids Wednesday morning. Had a birthday Thursday, got a call for a job interview. Got the job Friday. Started yesterday.

Not bad.

But it does mean I'm home alone again during the day. Not all the time. His new job has a weird schedule, where he's off various days and working other days. I still haven't figured it out, but the days he's home one week aren't going to be the days he's home the next week. At least the sleep schedule is the same, right?

What it does mean, for me, is that I need to take full advantage of the time alone that I DO have to get that all-important writing done. Because on the days he's home I don't get any writing done. It's an established fact. We'll just go with it. Some day next year (probably) I'll have an actual office, but, until then, I have to work at actually being productive when I'm alone and--most importantly--NOT going back to bed after everyone leaves in the mornings. :)

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm SO Glad when Daddy Comes Home!

I'm not going to spend a lot of time here--haven't seen the hubby in 6 weeks, people--but I did want to say how awesome it was this morning when he went in to each kid's rooms and woke them up for school. The reactions were pure joy and utterly priceless. It was better than when we surprised them with a trip to Disneyland. Loved it.

Also, with him coming home earlier than we'd initially thought, I scrambled to get my BofM reading done, and finished Monday. Awesome. I'm starting over. It has helped me so much!

Have a fantastic day. I'm going to.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Being the Best Me

There have been a lot of personal affirmations floating around Facebook. Some are pretty good, and I like to pass those along. Others are trite, obvious or downright stupid. But everyone is different, and just because I don't like one doesn't mean it's not doing someone some good.

Just to keep you updated, today I start Alma. I've read 8 books in the B of M in the last week. Alma is where I always bog down, but if I read about 50 pages a day I'll be done by the end of the week. I knew it would help me, but I didn't realize all the ways it would help.

For one, I'm more patient. I don't get as frustrated as QUICKLY when the kids are acting up, bickering or being sassy.

Two, my vision is so much clearer. I'm not talking about my physical vision. When I look at my daughter, the one who's caused me so much angst over the last several weeks, I see the Daughter of God she is and not the stubborn, willful child. Being able to see her true worth has made me so much better for her.

It's been a really rough couple of months, but it's almost over. Bryan is coming HOME and will be here Wednesday, so I'm stepping up my goal. I'm going to finish the B of M before he gets here. Shouldn't be that hard. After Alma, which will be done this week, there are only 6 books left, and a couple of them are super short. I know reading scripture like I read novels isn't getting me all the book has to offer, but it's brought a marked improvement to my life.

And, when I'm done, I can just start over again. :)

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

In the Trenches

There are some days I can't believe I signed up for this. Being a mom is hard.

Yesterday was one of those days. I cried off and on all day. I couldn't write. Finally, that afternoon I sat down and read an entire section of The Book of Mormon. Did you know 1st Nephi is 53 pages long? You do now. I finished the last three chapters in Moroni and just flipped back to the beginning.

The Book of Mormon shall be your textbook. That's from my Patriarchal Blessing. Yesterday was a day I really needed it.

You know those movies, particularly old WWII movies, where the kid too young to enlist fakes his age and signs up anyway? You know, deep in the trenches in the middle of a firefight, at some point this kid has to be thinking, "I can't believe I signed up for this!"

Yes, I'm likening motherhood to WWII. Because some days there are victories and glory, but most days it's just trench warfare. And marching. Lots of tedious, repetitive marching. (For me, "marching" is the repetitive chores like dishes, laundry, grocery shopping, getting kids to do homework, etc)

You don't have to agree with me. It's okay. I won't be offended.

I have a new goal, though. I'm going to read The Book of Mormon in October. Because I need it.

See you on the other side. Maybe next week I'll have a "victory" day.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

It's Important

About ten days or so ago I decided I wanted to unpack all my wall pictures. Most had been packed for over a year and a half since we lost our house. As I pulled out picture after picture of my kids and nieces and nephews at varying stages of development, I quickly caught on to the theme.

My family.

This is what really matters to me. The truly important things are brought into sharp focus at different times of our lives. Say a house fire. Or even the less traumatic cross country move. In a fire, you're only concerned that everyone is safe. With a cross country move, you whittle down your belongings to the most important.

I've had this picture for decades. It's rather large, and difficult to pack, and has no glass to protect it. Rather than packing it this time, my son took a picture of it--an improvement, to my estimation--and plan to get an enlarged print to frame down the road.

When he took the picture, he didn't notice the clouds reflected on the plastic, which to me makes the picture. Don't you agree?

Wednesday, September 21, 2011


I had a whole post all set to go about my stubborn daughter and how she purposely threw a test she didn't want to take, but I decided you all really don't need to listen to me rant about someone I love so much. You get it--if I didn't love her I wouldn't care and get so bent out of shape. You're smart.

I really miss Bryan. Parents work best in teams. And this isn't just my opinion, I do have some facts to support it. Remember, I grew up in a single parent household. And, in different stages of my kids' development, Bryan has had jobs where he's gone large chunks of time. Most of that was driving trucks, but he has spent months at a time at different airports on assignment with TSA.

And each time I've noticed a distinct shift in my kids' behavior.

When they were little, they were simply more unruly. Less quick to obey, more willing to get into trouble. Stressed, I guess you'd say. And it's harder when we're broke and I don't have ways to distract them. I don't mean going to the movies every night, but with gas prices as they are I can't even justify going for a nice drive out to the lake.

As they've gotten older, and Bryan's been away less and less, their angst manifests itself in physical ways. Primarily, little arguments get blown WAY out of proportion and escalate into stupid fights. The boys are really bad about this right now. It's all the hormone fluctuations and the testosterone. Two Saturdays running, I've woken up to fighting. And, with the oldest, he will keep repeating himself until you acknowledge him--even if he has to be louder and angrier each time.

In short, I'm done with this stupid separation and I'm more than ready for his transfer to come through.

That's not to say life is perfect because Daddy's home. The kids still bicker and such, and chores get neglected, etc., but--and this is what I don't understand--the kids seem to respect me more when Bryan's around than when he's gone. I'm still me. I'm here the same as always. But I don't get the same level of recognition and respect when he's away. Weird, huh? I'm sure it has something to do with the little changes I experience having him away. I'm different, so they treat me different. Sometimes I feel like a psychiatric study in progress.

And I'm tired of being experimented on.

Friday, September 16, 2011

We're Never Done

I learned something amazing about my son yesterday.

He. Is. Incredible.

To be fair, I thought I knew that already. Really. This kid has survived 2 near-death experiences, he's zany, tender, and can draw like no other kid you've ever seen. He's just as incredible as my other kids, who are all incredible in their own ways.

But this kid showed me something. He showed me the depth of his heart. And it rocked me to my core.

This is how my journal would read, if I kept a journal:

He entered her hospital room, and nothing in the world mattered except her. He sat down next to her bed, took her hands, and asked her how she was doing. Then he asked her how she was feeling, which are two different things. He held her hands the whole time. Talked about his day. Talked about school. Told some stories. LISTENED to her stories. They laughed together, and they also sat in silence. I had to end it, because I have 4 other kids to tend to--but I promise you I wish I could have left him there a couple hours more. I witnessed something miraculous: A 12 yr old boy's love for his grandmother.

I take no credit for this child. He is the personification of the love Heavenly Father and Jesus has for each one of us. He is an angel walking among us, masquerading as a lively--and occasionally irritating--preteen boy. His capacity for love and compassion are astonishing.

This is the boy the school wants to evaluate and test to see if they can find something "wrong" with. I promise you I will not let him be labeled. I will protect his heart with everything I have. He sees the world differently, but that does NOT make him wrong.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Which Way is Up(hill)?

I promise I will post pictures of the house when I get it in some sort of order--and when I find that sweet little cable that connects my phone to the computer to download pics. It's in a box...I hope...

So far, I've only managed to go for a couple of walks. I timed how long it takes to walk up to the high school at the other end of town (to prove to the boys it can be done), and I had an appointment Monday that I walked to rather than using my lovable, but gas hungry, Durango.

Couple of things I noticed. One, dogs are funny. If they are barking their heads off at you and you conversationally talk to them--it really confuses them. Two, I know I can expect OK to be a lot flatter than UT but, really, the difference between uphill and downhill is really minimal. For instance, it's uphill to the school. At least, that's what my poor, underused leg muscles tell me. And my meeting Monday was downhill, but, oddly, coming home wasn't uphill. Why? I basically returned in the opposite direction that I left. Still working on that one.

I'm starting to feel that near-psychopathic need to stop living out of boxes. Thing is, I don't have enough furniture yet to justify the change. It's starting to bug me, though, that there are a few things I can't find. The camera cable, for instance, that I mentioned earlier, was not in any of the computer desk related boxes I unpacked. And I can't find the dang pencil sharpener, which I only think about when the kids' pencils break while doing homework and we have to scramble to find something else for them to use. At this rate, the boys may have to take up whittling just to perfect that sharpened pencil. On the up side, I did find the power cord for the sharpener, so I may be on the right track. Maybe.

I am loving the quiet life. Things are hectic, mainly because we're still settling in and Bryan is still living in UT, but it doesn't diminish how wonderful I feel being here. The best part? A couple of the airports out here opened up positions for screeners last week, so he may be joining us soon.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

I'm Not Going to Whine

We're here, in Oklahoma! We made it. I've chosen to focus on that aspect, and not the things that went wrong. First of all, let's go over what went right.

The truck didn't break down.

The kids didn't kill each other.

We didn't get into an accident.

We didn't get charged extra for the trailer.

We made it.

I'm focusing on all of that for two reasons. One, the trip ended up being more expensive than we'd anticipated, and that has caused some issues that may be problematic. And two, people went to our apartment in Tooele mere hours after we left and looted the area, despite the fact my husband was going back to finish up later that week. Even that had a silver lining.

Our neighbor was paying attention, got a license plate number, and we were able to retrieve our camping gear and my husband's tools. What bothers me about the whole incident, and continues to bother me, is the mind set behind it.

Point one: It's impossible to hide from anyone driving by that we were moving, since it was a chaotic mess for three days and we had a U-haul trailer parked in the driveway.

Point two: We were sure to put out anything we didn't want at the curb, so that people would know it was being discarded should they care to take anything.

Point three: We weren't done moving yet!!! People not only scavenged the curb, but also went ONTO the property, i.e. trespassed, to claim things IN THE SHED and IN THE YARD. Did they go up the stairs and check to see if the apartment was locked, too?

There are some of you asking why I'm making an issue of this. It's the mind set behind the actions. I personally wouldn't dream of going onto someone's property, whether abandoned or not, to take things that I may be able to use or that I need. When did this become okay in our society? That disturbs me immensely. These strangers had no way of knowing we'd payed rent through Sept 5th and drove away believing the things we'd put away would still be there when my husband returned. They didn't bother to approach and ask. They just went in and took. Not because they are evil, horrible people, but because they felt they understood the situation enough to believe we had gone for good.

Thing is, people, you can't just assume. As the guy who had our camping stuff now (hopefully) understands. The police explained things to him, and he returned it all. We opted not to press charges, as it was a misunderstanding, but at the same time I have to shake my head and wonder when looting became okay. Because even if the people are gone, you don't own the property, and are, if nothing else, trespassing. Last I checked, that was still illegal. Not to mention rude.

Okay, pretty sure I'm done venting about this now. I've been processing this for a week and still had some fairly strong opinions that needed an out. Being robbed, even by people who don't understand what they're doing, is a violation, and it takes some time to get over.

Next post: The joys (and other things) of small town living!

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

T-Minus 5 and Counting

My girl got her stitches out today. They had to use a scalpel on one because it was so tiny, but she's healing up great and is now wearing a cute heart bandage on her forehead.

I'm still recovering from the wisdom teeth removal Monday. All 4 gone now, but I'm definitely not feeling tops today. Hope I feel better tomorrow. I have to get back on the packing wagon tomorrow. 5 days and counting.

This seems to be the blog that suffers most when stuff is going on. Shorter posts, info dumps, etc. But, I'm taking another break from Mommy blog posts for a while until I get moved and settled in OK. Real life tends to do that to you. That--and I'm not sure when we'll have internet out there.

So, hang in there. I'll be sure and post all our moving adventures when I can.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

You Should See the Other Guy!

I had such plans for Monday. I was all set to wash all the girls' clothes and get in and pack up their room, leaving out ONLY the essentials for the next two weeks.

Then I didn't have to work, so I slept in.

Then the kids got up and wanted to go play.

Then I had a lady coming to look at/take my computer desk.

I broke down and let my 10 yr old daughter go out to play, since she'd asked me about a dozen times that morning. The other kids I assigned various chores while I cleaned off the desk and thought about doing some laundry.

Then I heard people on the stairs. Trust me, where I live, you can hear people come up your stairs to the front door. Knock, knock. I thought I heard sobbing.

I opened the door. Supported by a friend so young she only comes up to her chest, was my daughter. She was crying, and no wonder. She had a large gash in her forehead about an inch above her left eye, and blood seeping down her face. She'd already gotten blood on her pants and shirt. She was hysterical.

Fortunately, I'm not a panicky type of person. I tend to deal with what's going on and react later. It happened when I pulled a dog out of the drainage canal in Phoenix. It was the same when I was robbed at gunpoint. It was the same Monday.

I took her inside, yelled for my husband (still in bed--his day off). Had her sit on the couch. Grabbed some baby wipes to wipe off her face so I could see the damage for myself. Hubby comes out, and by then I was able to relay to him what my daughter said happened to her.

"She got hit in the head with a golf club."

There's something you don't say every day.

The cut was not long, but was deep and would require stitches. My daughter had calmed down enough that she could speak coherently, and as my hubby got dressed I got her ready to take down to the ER. Then I had a thought. Maybe the Dr could just do it in his office? So I called. Yes, he can. Great. I just knocked our $125 ER visit copay down to a $20 office visit copay. Looking back, that was incredibly logical and detached to even have that thought. Weird.

We took her down together, leaving the other kids at home with the 14 yr old in charge. Usually we leave a phone, but didn't. On the way to the Dr's office, we took pics of her wound with our phones and let her call her big sister--who had survived her own share of head wounds and could commiserate.

When the Dr saw my husband, he called us back immediately (particularly after we told him why we were there) and put us in a room. I think he didn't want my daughter scaring the other patients. It is a pediatric practice, after all. It took some time to get it all taken care of, but my little girl was a champ through the whole thing.

Then my dear hubby said, "I'm just glad he didn't hit her an inch lower and slightly to the left."

Her eye. A fraction of a difference in what happened, and she'd have lost her eye.

I glared at him a little. "Gee, thanks." That lovely thought hadn't even occurred to me. Other would hit me later.

Had the hit been any harder, she could have cracked her skull. The blow could have killed her (though likely not by a 10 yr old boy).

She was just playing outside. They weren't even fighting; they were getting along. Playing golf. She'd hit the ball the farthest, and he wanted to match her hit, so he swung hard--and she leaned in for a better view at just the wrong moment. Wham.

Four stitches and hours later, she's okay. Her head is tender, especially now that all the lidocain has worn off, so I gave her some Tylenol and sent her to bed. It's her 2nd dose. She has shown absolutely no ill effects from her ordeal, other than some lingering pain. She never lost consciousness; she never got dizzy or showed any kind of impairment.

(But, of course, everyone has a story of someone who was perfectly fine just after an accident and dropped dead a few days later. And of course I'm thinking about that, and watching her, and not looking forward to a great deal of sleep.)

The thing is, it was an accident. I KNOW it was an accident, and I'm not angry, really. But I'm having a hard time processing this. And it's really bothering me. I just want to hold her, and hold her, and hold her. I'm so grateful she's okay, but I'm still kind of tense and freaked out. It's taking me a long time to come down from everything that happened.

She is going to have a sweet scar, though. It probably won't show much in a year or two, but for a while it will look really cool. And, if it ever bothers her, she can just grow her bangs out again.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

This is Why

Now that we've made the decision to move, I started asking myself some hard questions. One--why didn't we do this years ago? I know most of the why is me. Moving back has always been somewhere on the table, but hasn't been at the "center" of the table. I've resisted the move for lots of reasons, the largest of which is the sheer cost of moving vs. just plugging along where we are.

I mean, when we moved to Tooele it was with the intent to find a house big enough for all of us because we thought Bryan's daughter was going to spend a school year with us. In retrospect, we never should have moved before things were certain, but she seemed so resolved to do it, and, I admit, we got excited. So we made that choice, and pushed our way into a house before we were really financially ready.

When we lost the house, and had to move, we had the choice then to simply return to OK. But--me again--it felt like slinking back in defeat with our tail between our legs. I didn't want to feel like we'd been beaten. We had, but I didn't want to go back on those terms.

So why didn't we move back to OK sooner? It didn't take me as long to figure this out as it has taken to explain it, so here goes:

If we'd moved back to OK before now, I'd never have met KAREN. She's one of the most awesome moms I've ever known, and one of the people I'm going to miss the most. I wanted to move onto her street before we chose to move to OK. She totally rocks.

I wouldn't have known REBECCA, or been inspired by her incredible courage in the face of having her life turned upside down by a cancer diagnosis. Or been inspired to write some incredible stuff, not to mention develop my own inner desire to help, to serve, and to uplift.

I wouldn't have known Heidi, who has opened up her heart to four more children so that they will know the love and stability of a family--not to mention some crazy dad antics thanks to her husband. :)

I'd never have met Dani, who has been such a sweet, welcoming soul despite her own problems and health issues.

Or Kathy, who has always been warm and friendly. She hugged me when we met--not everyone does that. And her smile is completely infectious.

There's more, but I'm running out of room. The point is, by lingering in UT I've made friendships and formed bonds I wouldn't have otherwise. And I'm so very grateful for every single one.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


It seems I use my blogs to confess a lot. What does that mean, exactly?

I'm not going to hold you in suspense. Here it is. We have every intention to move out of state at the end of this month.

What? Are you crazy? What brought this on? Why? Help!

Whew. Now, to explain.

As you know, if you've read the blog, I took some family time in July to go to OK to visit Bryan's family. It's supposed to be a vacation, but you can't really call it a vacation when you take all your work with you, as I did. I had the kids, and book signings, and the pressure of writer deadlines (that I did nothing about--but that's another blog lol). When it was time to actually go, I was so stressed out I told Bryan to just leave me here and he can take the kids to OK and back. Of course, I went because I had obligations. But the magic of going had gone.

Out there, we became part of the extreme drought and super high temps that the area has suffered with this year. Couple 110 degree temps with high humidity (but no rain, how wrong is that?) and you literally are sweaty before you get into your car. I had a bout of insomnia while I was there, got up and took a drive at 7 am and it was already almost 90 degrees. Aside from the visiting family part, it wasn't exactly a dream trip.

Except something happened while we were there. First, the truth that Bryan's dad needs family close hit us full force. Sure, Mom is in the home now, and they take care of her daily needs, but Dad still feels a great desire and responsibility to spend time with her, and his age is starting to show. He can't keep up with the house's needs as much as I'm sure he would like, and he's not getting sleep like he should. Bryan's sister, who lives out there now, has been trying to move for the last few years. They've been there for about 7 yrs, and feel it's time for them to move on.

Bryan was the first to broach the topic--again--of moving back. Mind you, by the time we got there I didn't even want to be there, but I was overcome with the desire to be back there. Despite the drought. Despite the extreme temps. Despite the upheaval of the family and cross-country move. Despite my author network here, and my responsibilities. Despite everything.

Then the kids fell like dominoes. "I don't want to go home." "Why did we ever move away in the first place?" (my boys were all born out there but we moved when the twins were a year and a half old) "Why can't we live here?" When a family the size of mine all agrees on something this big, you have to sit up and pay attention.

So, why at the end of August? Well--I have 5 kids in school. School starts out there Aug 11, but I can't pack up this apt in a week and get them out there. It's stupid to enroll them in school out here for a month or two and then move them. And, there's really nothing cementing me to UT.

This is a move we feel, I feel, is best for the family. We'll be close enough to help out Papa, I'll be able to write without having to work on the side, the kids will be where they feel they belong. We'll have a house with a big yard. We'll finally be able to put our household in order, instead of the constant struggle to get by that we have out here.

It's good. It's right. It's still hard. I don't look forward to the goodbyes. But it has to be done.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Working Vacation

So, we took the kids to OK to visit grandparents and all, and I also scheduled some book signings for while we were there. I guess I'm still trying to perfect the working vacation.

It's a myth, really.

Like I told the hubby, this is not a vacation. I took my work with me. While everyone else got to play and sit around, I was finishing up last minute details, shmoozing, and all that other fun stuff. I'm not saying I didn't have a good time, but you can't really call it a vacation.

I really need one of those. :)

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Blog Break!

Just thought I'd take a second to warn you all that I'm giving this blog a two-week break. I'm going to use that time to have a little summer fun--at least I think that's what it's called. And I hope it ends up being fun. I'm going to do what I can to focus on the kids, rather than telling all of you about them. :)

But, never fear! I'll be back July 27th with some fun stories about their antics!

In the mean time, here's a poem:


This day is your special day,
wonderful in every way.
Today you will be baptized.
Not every little girl and boy
gets to share in this precious joy.
Not every little child of God
gets to be where they belong.
But, my dearest, hopefully,
there you will always be.
From this day on, listen close
to the Spirit's still small voice.
The Holy Ghost will be with you
telling you what you should do.
But it is up to your own might
to always do that which is right.
So treasure this most precious gift;
a token of God's love for you,
and when from the waters you are 'lift,
remember that I love you, too.

May 27, 1994

Wednesday, June 29, 2011


I've been having some fun with cookie recipes lately--Mint Ravioli cookies, Inside-Out chocolate chip cookies, and these little babies: Giant Toffee-Chocolate Chip Cookies.

Here's the recipe (you know you want it!):
makes about 1 1/2 dozen cookies

1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
1/4 cup honey
1 egg
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 package (12 ounces) miniature semisweet chocolate chips
1 package (6 ounces) almond brickle chips

Heat oven to 350 degrees. Mix brown sugar, margarine, shortening, honey and egg in large bowl. Stir in flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and brickle chips.

Drop dough by level 1/4 cupfuls about 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 12-14 minutes or until edges are golden brown (Centers will be soft. Cool 3-4 minutes; remove from cookie sheet.

Variation: Drop dough by rounded tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. About 4 dozen cookies.

Now, here's what I did: First of all, I like toffee with MILK chocolate, not semisweet, so I went for regular size milk chocolate chips rather than semisweet minis. I went for the regular size cookies, for quantity, rather than worrying about making giant cookies. Finally, I don't know why they say ungreased cookie sheet. Toffee is like caramel--when it is warmed, it gets soft and sticky. I never would have been able to get them off the cookie sheet once they started to cool (and stick to the sheet).

Don't they look yummy? Well, they taste even better! This may well be my family's new favorite cookie.

This is my test: I love making cookies, but I don't really care to eat them once they cool down. I love warm cookies, but once I'm done baking I don't really eat any. This recipe is in great danger of changing all that. The cookies are so good, I almost made myself sick having *just a few* more. :)


Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Unexpected Enjoyment

I wanted to share these with you because I think they're awesome. My friend, between her chemo treatments, makes them to help keep her busy. She's a lot like me in that she has to have something to keep her mind occupied or she may go crazy. I may also ask her if she'd like to read some of my unpublished stuff and give me feedback--but only if she feels up to it.

Today, I took my youngest daughter and the two toddlers I tend out to visit some horses. My question to you: What do you get when you mix a 3 yr old, a 2 yr old, and 5 Arabian horses? The answer? A really, really cute video. The problem? It's on my husband's phone because I'm a genius and forgot my camera, and I can't share it.

The 3 yr old has been out there to visit horses before, and cried when she had to leave. Today, rather than holding her, I let her hold my hand and walk. She went right up to one of the stallions chanting, "I wanna pet the horsey" and he turned that great head and offered his nose to her and she got a really good look at how big he really is.

To her credit, she did NOT scream and run away. :) But she was much more comfy in my arms petting horses.

We got some video of my nephew's boy petting one of the mares and sent it to his dad's phone. That was pretty awesome. He's a bit more reserved than the 3 yr old, but was still just as excited to pet the horse's nose. And Miraya, the darling, just held her head still and let him.

Mind you, Miraya is my husband's girl friend. No, I do not harbor any jealousy toward her, even if she is in phenomenal shape for a girl her age and has the biggest brown eyes ever. And the longest eyelashes. She's a beautiful horse, and seems to like me as well. One time I was in her paddock area and she just followed me around like I had carrots in my back pockets or something. She's the greatest, and has a real motherly manner to her. She loves kids.

Next time we go, I'll remember my camera so I can share video because it was a great experience. It's exhausting because I'm hyper-vigilant so we don't have any problems, but it's still loads of fun.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

When They're Helping...

I have an uber-helpful 7 yr old.

I mean, if it's there to be done she'll do it--whether she's physically capable or not. And it totally ruins her day if you say no. I mean, seriously. Her emotions are all or nothing. For the record, I have yet to SEE the "nothing" stage. She's seriously awesome, if a little intense. :)

Conversely, my 9 yr old daughter behaves as though helping out is a teeth pulling exercise. She'd rather be doing ANYTHING else, which is why--in large part--I want to be sure she's part of this new project I'm working on. I want her to realize the joys of having a charitable heart, so that she can grow up to be a compassionate person.

I know a lot of these stages are age related, but my older daughter has always been a touch more self-absorbed than the other kids. So I realize teaching her charity will require more effort on my part than reinforcing the behavior of her sister. It's just further proof that children, even when raised in the same environment, are individuals who will process the same bits of information differently.

Kids are cool. And they are worth the effort. I love both my girls, but there's no way I'm going to say they are the same. :)

Wednesday, May 25, 2011


This past weekend, big sister came out to visit. Of course, the kids were thrilled. They don't get to see her much since she started college. Little sister, in particular, got to spend some quality time with her. They made cookies. Yummy ones. :)
Last night my oldest son graduated 8th grade. Yeah, I know. But, it had to happen eventually. We stayed up and watched a late movie after the ceremony, so he's still in bed. I'm such a pushover.

Don't worry--I'm pulling him out of bed in a bit to help with dishes. :)

Ah, my little graduate. Not so little anymore. I'm pretty sure he has no idea what's in store for him. Should be interesting to watch.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Change--In an Instant

Last week, I posted about the house that has really been calling to me, the one I thought I wanted more than any other house for my family.

This week it hardly seems important.

Wednesday night, my friend Rebecca White told her friends and family she has breast cancer. She's 35, like me. She has a young family, like I do. She does these awesome crafts and home schools her kids. She even beads necklaces.

Friday she had a mastectomy. Yesterday, they removed the bandages.

I'm bleeding inside. I feel like I've dodged a cosmic bullet. This could just as easily have been me. I've had grandparents with cancer, but nothing has hit me so hard as this. Becky's young, she has her whole life ahead of her, and I want to do everything I possibly can to help ensure she can enjoy it.

Click HERE to find out what I'm doing and how you can help. It's just my other blog, but there's a lot of information there I want to share with you.

It's not logical or practical to just install myself in her house so I can hug her all the time. But I want to be there for her any way I can. Becky is a generous, loving, caring person, but at this time in her life she needs all the angels she can get.

You can help. Be one of her angels.
Thanks for listening.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011


I really love our ward book club. I mean, I really, really do. Maybe I'm putting too much emphasis on it, but it is so nice to get out and sit around and talk to women about things that are not necessarily child related--though they sometimes are. :) It's a recurring event on my phone, so I'm always reminded to go.

Last night, after coming home, I was completely exhausted. I mean, utterly. But I had to search for 45 minutest to try to find my iPod because it's part of my ritual to fall asleep. (insomnia, how I loathe thee) I never found it. So, today, I'm still ridiculously tired.

But, as I lay there trying to shut off my brain long enough to fall asleep, I had a mini-epiphany. I realized, in my quest to find the perfect time to incorporate physical activity into my day, I've had the perfect time all along.

And now I know what time I can walk every day. And it's perfect.

Sure, it's a small victory, but sometimes you just have to take what you can get.

But I still have to find my iPod. Grr.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


My brother sent me an email yesterday. He's speaking about mothers and motherhood in church for Mother's Day, and wants to know the good side of being a mother.

I haven't answered him, yet.

It's not that I don't know what the good things about being a mother are, it's just that I struggle to express them properly.

This is what he wants: Can you each email me with a description of the benefits of
motherhood? What are the good things you, personally, have enjoyed
from being a mom?

His goal is to get his mom, grandma and sister (me) to weigh in on this, so he has a multi-generational picture to share with the congregation.

I feel a responsibility to show motherhood in it's proper light, but he only wants the good stuff (kidding, lol). How do I properly portray how I've always wanted to be a mommy, but how I didn't want to have as many kids as my mom because she never seemed to have time for us all? And then, how it ended up not mattering anyway because God has his own ideas about things like that. :)

What about how it feels to feel the first flutterings of life inside you? Or the bond that forms when you hold your child close, whether you can nurse them or not? Or the amazing feeling of giving birth (or at least the aftermath), when they put that squalling, wriggly baby on your belly and you've never seen anything so beautiful in your entire life (even though it's a gooey mess lol)? Or the heart-stopping moments after they take the baby out and before you hear his or her first sounds?

How about the ways you find to relate to each child individually, because they are each so unique? And yet, you still subject them to the same house rules and guidelines, because everyone has to learn to get along in this world.

Sigh. I'd better get started. Mother's Day is only 2 Sundays away.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Child-Inspired Poetry

So last week I bragged about my brilliant son who writes cool stories and poems for school assignments. This is a poem I wrote about him, in honor of his birthday tomorrow. Mind you, it's his birthday, his twin's birthday, and his little sister's birthday--kind of a busy day tomorrow. :) If you want to read the poem I wrote about his twin brother, you can find it HERE.


If it weren’t for walls,
and the occasional door,
nothing would stop
this boy not yet four.
He sleeps with a blanket
flung over his head.
He runs with pure joy
and, yes, jumps on his bed.
He plays with his daddy,
his uncles and brothers.
He’d play with the baby
if she weren’t such a bother.
His eyes are so glorious
and full of sweet love.
His smile lights the room
as can no star from above.
I live for his hugs;
his kissies make my day.
His sweetness has saved his life
more times than I’d care to say.
I love my Danno, I’m worth more today
because he loves me--
that I’m proud to say.

April 23, 2002

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Bragging Rights

I have this awesome overachiever son. He's the kind of kid who's ahead of his grade in math, has papers he writes get read aloud in class by the teacher, and scores A's on science projects. Ya--I have no idea how he got to be this way, either. But I'm loving it.

Today I'm sharing a fun poem he wrote:
What do Scholars do When the Teacher Isn’t Looking?
By Daniel Chesley

When teachers don’t look,
We make funny faces.
What else do we do?
Leave books in bad places!

We get out some paper,
Then fold it a lot,
Out comes the airplane,
Oh, yeah! Evil plot!

So then get it ready,
As the clock goes tick,
Pull your arm backward,
Then give it a flick!

It flies around the room,
The teacher doesn’t look,
She is way too busy,
She’s reading a book.

Down it’s descending,
The small paper craft.
Then, something’s just blowing;
A little wind shaft.

It blows the plane up,
High up to the sky,
Then down it descends,
To hit the teacher’s eye.

“Who threw that airplane?”
She cried in a rage,
She was nearly blind,
Not to turn a page.

The room is so timid,
No one says a word,
And so not a sound
By the class had been heard.

The teacher says, “Fine!”
Goes back to her book,
I yearn to get up,
‘Cause I need a look.

I creep off my seat,
Then crawl on the floor.
I am very careful,
When I dart out the door.

I sneak up on teacher,
Then take a little peek,
I see a little bird,
With a very long beak.

It is called a Toucan,
It said in the book.
I lean in closer,
Just for a better look.

That was a mistake,
For then I was caught!
The teacher was angry,
I had a dumb thought.

Was sent to the office,
Right on the double,
The principal was mad,
For I was in trouble!

So now, my dear children,
As I read to you,
Do not be naughty,
Or you’re in deep doo-doo!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How Big is your Box?

(image courtesy of
My husband and I have been talking quite a bit about the growth and change I've gone through the last few years. And, subsequently, the growth and change my changes have put the family through. Don't get me wrong; he's nothing but supportive. Sometimes I think he wants this more than I do.

Because I asked him, "When do I get to crawl back into my box?"

And he said, "You don't." Gotta love him.

Before I accepted my other role in life, that of being an author, I was a mostly-contented wife and mother. The discontent came in the form of work. I hated my job, and always felt there was something "more" I should be doing. Don't get me wrong--I had a dream job, but it didn't satisfy me. If fact, over the years, it drained me of creativity and left me frustrated and angry. Mostly the frustration stemmed from why I couldn't just be satisfied by this dream job. I mean, I got to work in my pj's, didn't have to interact with customers, was highly respected and earned an incredible wage for a person with no college education.

Looking back, so much makes sense. The times I'd spend in the shower imagining what I'd say in front of large groups of people. I didn't dream of the public life--the part of my life I most enjoyed was being anonymous. But, in direct contrast with that, I'd practice what to say in front of crowds.

Then someone said to me (and the rest of the congregation), "Life's too short to not do what you love."

The timing was perfect. I'd just begun my journey of self-discovery. And this really hit me, hard. I knew what I loved--my family and writing. But, it was another year or so before I sighed, looked heavenward and said, "Okay. If this is what You want me to do, then I'll do the very best I can. You've got me."

The learning curve is sharp. Sometimes I feel overwhelmed. Sometimes I feel like I should be doing so much more, working so much harder, moving so much faster.

And, sometimes, I just want to crawl back into my box and be the invisible one again.

The problem? I think I outgrew my box.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Once Upon a Time...

Morgan was bothering me, blah, blah, blah...

Direct quote from my then 2 yr old niece. Priceless stuff.

I really love kids. Don't misunderstand; I'm not always a fan of all the work involved in raising kids, but I do really enjoy having them in my life. My own kids, kids I tend, nieces, nephews--it's like having my own, personal "Kids Say the Darndest Things."

My son, coming to me with tears in his eyes, "Brandon can't fly."
Stepdaughter, when learning she was not flying from AZ to OK, but traveling by car. "All the way?!" (they were in NM at the time lol)
Son, all alone in his room playing. "Jeffrey? What?"

And then there are the fun ways they choose to pronounce words:

Farmady (Pharmacy)
Feedeere (Theater)
Dutch (Brandon--no idea, my daughter started calling her big brother Dutch and we never learned why)

Limitless. Charming. Troublesome. Endearing. Children.

And, no, Brandon still hasn't master the art of flight. :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Glorious, Elusive Sleep

Doesn't this baby look blissful?

I'd love to be asleep right now.

I admit it; I love sleeping. It's honestly my favorite thing to do, ever. And lately I feel like I've been trying to make up a lost decade of insomnia. It's not that bad, really, but, sometimes....

We were without internet last week, so I missed all my regularly scheduled blog posts. Never fear--I made good use of my time. Not only did I finish my book, I also now have 2 girls with 2 Easter dresses ready to go for next month. I read 4 books. I made dinners. And, I didn't really miss the internet.

Let's get real. I missed it. I honestly felt like I'd lost a limb or was in a cast or something. Part of my regular schedule had been interrupted. And my son thinks he doesn't deal well with change...

The hardest part was feeling like I let people down. My blogs didn't get done. Emails didn't get answered. My poor writer group showed up at my house Thursday expecting to hear a bunch of info on ebooks, and all my info was online still. Sigh.

But we survived. And, I do get a lot more done without the internet. :)

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

The Worst Feeling

I worked my tail off yesterday (I wish, but that's a different story). When I sent my hubby off to work (as usual) and climbed into bed around 11 last night, I was more tired than anyone has a right to be. Without my usual nighttime ritual of listening to music and playing games on my iPod until my eyes wouldn't stay open, I started to drift to sleep almost right away.

In that peaceful, sleepy state when you can feel yourself drifting away, my thoughts wandered to my husband. And then a voice came to me, clear as anything, and said, "He's dead."

Sleep evaporated. I got that horrible, sinking feeling like my entire life had changed--and for a second I believed it.

Fortunately, reason set in quickly and I realized it was just my subconscious being incredibly cruel to me. Incredibly. Cruel.

I did convince myself I was being stupid and went to sleep, but I will admit to breathing a sigh of relief when I heard his voice this morning from the living room.

Sometimes, having an overactive imagination is simply not fun.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Humbling Moments

My son wrote this poem at school yesterday. He shared it with his class, and then read it in the van on the way home. Then he read it to me. He's had a lot of his classmates request a copy of it. I'm stunned. Utterly stunned. And humbled. So I'm sharing it with all of you.

"You're My Friend"
by Daniel Chesley

When I was doing my math test,
and wanted to cheat off your paper,
you told me it was wrong.
When I was about to spray-paint the walls,
you stopped me.
When I tried to start smoking,
you threw away my cigarette. (which he misspelled, love that boy)
You did those things for my own good.
That's why you are my friend.
I didn't know that then, so
I'm sorry I got so mad,
and did something so bad.
I wish I didn't have to tell you this,
standing at your grave.

Did I mention he's 11?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Focus, Focus!

What do you do when you know you need professional medical attention in order to get better, but your bank account doesn't cover the cost?

You probably suffer, like I do.

I did get over the sinus thing, finally. I think fighting the virus has awakened my mono virus, because I've been absurdly exhausted. But now, just as I feel mostly on the mend, I've started experiencing some intense pains. After a few days of analysis, I've determined it's probably more of a muscle ache issue than an internal organ issue, which is something. So that means I either need a chiropractor or a massage--which, ironically, cost about the same.

The short story is I have a hard time sitting for long periods, which has put me even farther behind in the edits I'd hoped to have done by now. The long story is I am having a hard time doing anything, and I can feel the other muscles in my back tensing and tightening in their effort to compensate for the sore muscles I've been favoring.

I may have a rib or two out. Coughing can do that, and I've been coughing a lot. Been there, done that. Hate repeating the act.

I'm really tired of being all messed up. At this rate, there's no way I can wait until all my edits are done before I work on repairing my body--the original plan. It's funny how some things just make themselves a priority, no matter how you personally feel about them. :)

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Sick Season

This week, I can count on one hand (barely) the members of my family who are sick. In fact--only 2 of us aren't sick, and one of those was really sick a little over a week ago. We're a mess of coughs, runny noses, etc. I've been sick for almost 2 weeks, been to the doctor, and am ready to be better now.

I'm not telling you all of this for sympathy. I'm not even griping. :)

This just happens to be what we're dealing with right now. We go through this almost every January. The kids bring home all sorts of fun viruses and bugs from their interactions at school, and we--being the loving family we are--share copiously.

The one thing that bothers me about being sick is my energy level. I can handle the symptoms with medicines and all that, but I can't do anything about being tired all the time. Really, really tired. My limbs feel heavier, like they take more energy to make work, and--being the mom--it's not like I can just stop.

My editing has fallen about a week behind, which makes me mad. But, I don't feel like making dinner, baking or playing with the kids. It kinda stinks.

But, here in a week or so, we'll all start to feel better. And we'll be able to enjoy those days during the UT winter where it warms up to about 40 degrees or so, and the sun shines.

That will be lovely.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Why Does my Daughter Not Look 6 Anymore?

How exactly does this happen? You find yourself looking at your child in the months before their birthday, and think, "You are looking older now."

I find myself curious if this is a physiological change in them, or a psychological change in me.

I mean, she's still 6. Until April 21st, she's still 6. But she doesn't LOOK like a 6-yr-old anymore. Especially after her 9-yr-old sister did her hair today.

Sometimes, I miss my baby. Particularly over the last two years, she's morphed into this amazing, adorable, caring little girl. She's no baby, anymore.

It's moments like this where I remind myself, "They don't stay young forever. Capture it while you can!"

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Coming Down

My family does this every time. And you'd think I'd get used to it. Or at least know to prepare for it.

Well, I do know that last one. Sort of.

My stepdaughter, now that she's 19 and in college, doesn't come visit as often as she used to. But, every time, the kids yearn to spend as much time with her as possible. To that end, they try to squeeze a year's worth of time into a week or so. It's pretty crazy.

Now that we're on the winding-down side of her visit this time, tempers are getting short, separation anxiety is building, and we're all talking about the next time she will come.

This is the hardest part about living away from a part of your family. If she lived here, it would take years for the kids to get used to her being here--and of course, now that she's an adult, that isn't going to happen.

This is the part of love that hurts. And we're going to be aching come Sunday.

But I'd do it all over again. She's worth it.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Hey There!

We're really excited over here this week. Today I'll run up to the airport and pick up my stepdaughter for a visit. I have serious doubts my kids will be able to focus on anything at school today. Their little brains will be too busy reciting, "Sissy's coming! Sissy's coming! Sissy's coming!" Good thing they don't have cell phones-they'd be calling me. "Is she on the plane yet? Has the plane taken off?"

I don't think I can grin big enough. Still too tired.

Last night, I started wearing a mouth guard because I grind my teeth in my sleep. It's a stress thing--I grind my teeth even when I think I'm having a relaxing night. Lately, it's been really troubling my husband and I finally decided to listen to him. I carry a lot of tension through my jaw even when I'm awake, and sometimes have to consciously check and see if I need to relax it.

There's a lot going on that stresses me. Money issues are always high on the list. We'd been waiting for a while for a substantial check, only to learn just before Christmas it won't be coming at all. I'm also struggling with time issues. It's been hard for me these last few months to set up and stick to a writing schedule that fits into everything else I need to do in the day.

The conclusion I've come to is something has to go. I have to lighten my load. And I'm not happy about the decisions I have to make, but I know in my heart it's for the best. That's not going to make it easy, though. And most of the issues I'm having is that it's going to hurt people I care about, and cause them extra work.

But, as a mother, I have a primary responsibility to my family. My children. And I need to keep that in focus. As a Child of God, I have a responsibility to fulfill my roll in God's plan on this earth. That's the writing and publishing books. And in these latter days, I feel time is of the essence. People I care about will question the practicality and logic of my decisions--some of them anyway--but I have to do what I know is right for me and mine.

There's also the serious health issues going on in my extended family. We are at a loss how we can adequately provide support to those giving the care, while extending our love and thoughts to those who are ill. Distance and money are the handicaps there.

So, when I lay me down to sleep every night, my mind fills with all the things that need to happen, that aren't happening, and that should happen. It's little wonder I grind my teeth, isn't it?