Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Tag . . . . Again

Wow, I haven't played this much tag since I was a kid. Thanks, to Candace Salima, who happens to be the cousin of my brother-in-law and lived in my stake, for tagging me.

Four jobs I've had:
1. Movie Theater grunt worker in Santa Barbara, CA.
2. Day Camp Counselor in Santa Barbara, CA.
3. Concession worker at BYU during football games.
4. Wife and mom to 10 kids (best job of all!).

Four places I have lived:
1. Santa Barbara, CA
2. Provo, UT
3. Farmington, NM
4. Redmesa, CO

Four favorite T.V. shows:
1. Smallville
2. Stargate SG-1
3. Stargate Atlantis
4. Supernatural

(Hmmm, they all start with an "S" and they're all sci-fi type shows. I really don't like sci-fi, or do I?)

Four favorite foods:
1. Ice Cream
2. Chocolate
3. Corned Beef with cabbage and new potatoes
4. Anything at Olive Garden

Four favorite websites:
1. Amazon.com
2. Latterdayauthors.com
4. Write4kids.com

Four places I'd rather be right now:
1. At the beach.
2. In a pool.
3. On a date with my husband.
4. In Italy.

Four movies I love:
1. Sabrina
2. While You Were Sleeping
3. First Knight
4. Gone With The Wind

Four Bloggers I tag next:
1. C.L Beck
2. Sariah Wilson
3. Josi Kilpack
4. Michele Holmes

Friday, July 27, 2007

Energizer Bunnies

I've decided that my daughters are shop-a-holics. I've spent the last 2 days in town, all day long, shopping for school clothes. By the end of the day, I couldn't get home fast enough. My daughters, on the other hand, were still anxious to, "go to just one more store," "buy one more thing," or "compare one more price." They still had all the energy and resolve to keep shopping until I dropped.

Wouldn't it be wonderful to capture that youthful energy and spray it on like perfume when we needed it most? Department store employees could spray bedraggled moms as they chased behind their teenage daughters in the mall. Then, instead of smelling like we fell into a perfume vat, we could actually have the energy to tell our daughters, "It's time to go home," for the hundreth time.

Doesn't it seem ironic that as we age our energy decreases? After all, isn't it when we're older and have to keep up with teenagers that we'd need the most energy? It's hard staying up until the wee hours waiting for a teenager to come home from work or waiting until a son or daughter returns from a date.

It continues to amaze me that my kids can run from one end of the day to the other and never bat an eye. I have a house full of Energizer Bunnies--that keep going and going and going.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Tagged Again

Tristi Pinkston tagged me for this one. I wonder if it's because when we met at the Storymaker conference she could just sense I'm a moaner or if she did it innocently? Hmmmm. I asked my kids about these questions and they were more than willing to give answers. Hmmmm again.

5 people who will be annoyed you tagged them: Darvell Hunt, Jeff Savage, Shanna Blythe, Nichole Giles, Gaynell Parker.

4 things that should go into room 101 and be removed from the face of the earth: Every "news" story (or any story) about Paris Hilton, black lipstick, dirty laundry, weeds.

3 things people do that make you want to shake them violently: Ask me if I'm done having kids, pull into the parking space right next to me when I'm obviously trying to get multiple kids out of or in to car seats, give me lectures on overpopulation.

2 things you find yourself moaning about: My kids not cleaning/doing chores, never being able to find a parking space when I have to go to town.

1 thing the above answers tell you about yourself: I don't like chaos.

RULES: Link to the original meme at freelancecynic.com so people know what it's all about! Be as honest as possible, This is about letting people get to know the real you! Try not to insult anyone - unless they really deserve it or are very, very ugly!Post these rules at the end of every meme!

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Selective Memories

I was born and raised in Santa Barbara, CA so I spent summer days at the beach. I loved to chase the waves and see if they could catch me as they lapped their way back to the shore. I'd collect shells, investigate the tide pools left between the big boulders, and build sandcastles. One of my favorite things to do was ride my pony along the sand with the ocean spraying my feet and the breeze sifting through my hair. I spent countless hours at the beach.

As a teenager, I attempted to surf. My teacher, who was also one of my closest friends, patiently tried to help me find my balance so I could ride a wave. All we ever accomplished was a good laugh. I could body surf, but on a board, no way.

I always loved the scent of dried sea water on my skin and the salty taste on my lips.

I'm sure many of my memories suffer from a bit of selective amnesia. After all, I used to collect plenty of sand in my swimsuit, find my feet covered in tar, and experience more than one sunburn each summer. I can also remember opening my eyes underwater and feeling the sting of the salt water. But, as I recount my childhood at the beach, those less pleasant memories are replaced by the idyllic world I've created for myself.

Isn't that what's so great about writing? We can create whatever world we want. We can dream it and make it whatever we want it to be because it's our own. We aren't shackled by what actually is, only by what we can dream.

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

The Importance of Reading

The countdown to school has begun. The summer has whizzed by and now we're planning our school shopping. We'll start school in a month and we all know how fast a month will pass--in the blink of an eye.

My son (#8) will enter first grade. I don't send my children to kindergarten because I want to make sure they learn to read and do simple math (and I'm a big baby and want to keep my kids home as long as I can). I use a phonics-based program. I've used the Spalding program because that's what our elementary school once used. Now, however, each grade in our elementary school uses a different phonics program. This past year I used Hooked on Phonics and that seemed to help my son grasp reading. (He loved to read all the books included with the program). I've found that while I liked aspects of the Hooked on Phonics program, I also felt it was missing some pieces so I added parts from the Spalding program.

Even with all of the practice with these programs, I truly believe the most important factor in helping a child learn to read is to read with that child. Reading with a child not only helps that child in his/her reading skills, it also communicates a love for that child as well as a love for reading. Lets' face it, children rarely do what we say, they do what we do. If they see that we enjoy reading and that we'll take time out to read with them, we set a powerful example.

It's appalling to me that we have so many children that get pushed through the school system without the fundamental reading skills they need to succeed. Once a child can read, he/she can do anything. Reading unlocks the imagination and stimulates creativity. Reading can take us to fantastical worlds and to real life situations. We can live vicariously through, and learn from, a character or situation without ever leaving the safety of our own home. We can experience embarrassment, fear, anger, euphoria, love, jealousy, envy, hate, pride, humility, and the list goes on. We can learn about the world around us and the people who populate it. No wonder we are counseled to read good books. Literacy is vital to our very existence.

Let's do our part and take a few minutes to read with a child today!

(Just as I finished this post, my 3 year old ran in with her favorite, tattered book in her hand and asked me to read it to her, so I took my own advice).

Thursday, July 12, 2007

I've Been Tagged?

Hmm . . .I just started understanding this blogging thing and now I've been tagged by Nichole over at LDS Writers Blogck. I'm not sure I totally get how to do this, but I'll do my best.

What were you doing ten years ago: I was probably insane. My husband was serving as Bishop, I had a newborn baby (#6), and I was trying to keep up with my other kids. I wasn't doing much writing, gardening, canning, washing, ironing or anything else.

What were you doing one year ago: Most likely insane. I had a five month old baby (#10), was trying to get my oldest son ready to serve his mission in Rome, and was feverishly trying to get the house in order for all the company that my son invited to see him before his mission. I was also trying really hard not to strangle my son before he left on his mission.

Five snacks you enjoy: chocolate, popcorn, ice cream, Sunchips, sunflower seeds.

Five songs you know all the lyrics to: I served as the Primary Chorister for years so I know Primary songs. I know the choruses to a lot of popular songs--does that count?

Things you would do if you were a millionaire: I'd buy a small shack in Santa Barbara, CA and that'd take care of the whole wad. If I were more prudent and didn't buy that shack where I grew up, I'd pay off my house, buy a Suburban to replace my huge 15 passenger diesel van that gels up in the winter and has a rusted roof which my son was supposed to paint before his mission (but, I digress), I'd buy fence for our property and pay someone to build it so my husband could hang out with me instead of building fence, and I'd buy lots of animals to use the new fence. I might put in a pool with a big, sturdy fence, so I didn't have to drive my kids to town (30 miles) to swim. I think I might buy some chocolate, too.

Five bad habits: worrying too much, procrastinating the ironing, eating too much chocolate, saying the first thing that pops into my head, letting the laundry obey the commandment to "multiply and replenish the earth."

Five things you like to do: write, knit, ride horses, swim in the ocean, go on dates with my husband.

Things you will never wear again: all the clothes I owned before baby #9, big hair, blue eye shadow.

Five favorite toys: my baby boy, my kids, internet, laptop, cell phone.

Where will you be in ten years: Definitely insane, but with 5 published books so people won't think I'm insane, they'll just think I'm eccentric!

Five people to tag: this is hard. I'm not sure who's been tagged. I'll tag David Woolley, C.S. Bezas, LDSPublisher (I was once her new best friend), Patricia Wiles, and Candace Salima.

I hope I did this right!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

What I've Learned from JK Rowling

My oldest daugher is absolutely obsessed with Harry Potter. She bought her ticket to the midnight showing (tonight) last week. She's planning to attend a midnight party at a local bookstore when the final book is released next weekend. She talks about the books and movies contstantly. She has grown up with the characters and I'm afraid she'll sink into a deep depression if Harry dies in this last book.

Whether you like the Harry Potter books or not, you have to admit that JK Rowling has ignited a love of reading in a generation of TV-computer-XBox kids. What an amazing impact one author has had on so many children. I'm sure she never imagined, especially after 28 rejections, that her book would inspire so many kids to rediscover reading. Her imagination is incredible and it's contagious. Her characters have become real, her settings have become real, her story has become real to so many. Basically, her story is about a kid who just wants to find his place and fit in. Of course, she's added a fantastical world filled with creatures and magic, but the story is essentially about a boy who wants to be loved. It has that universal appeal.

Rowling believed in her story. Rejection after rejection, she refused to give up. She persevered even when it seemed that no one else believed in her and that's what I've learned from JK Rowling--never give up. Believe in yourself, believe in your story. Because, when you believe, miracles happen.

Thursday, July 5, 2007


I hope everyone enjoyed the 4th of July. We celebrated by taking our kids swimming and then watching fireworks on Tuesday in a town south of us and then headed north on the 4th to watch another fireworks display. It was a nice family celebration.

I wonder, though, if I truly understand the cost that was paid for my freedom. I'm so thankful I can live in a country that allows me so many freedoms, many of which I'm sure, I take for granted. How many people have given up their lives so I can continue to worship as I choose, or say what's on my mind, or write what's in my heart? Do I view freedom the same way as those who watched their comrades die in a distant land or lost an arm, a leg, or eyesight? Do I honor and protect my freedom and the freedom of others with the same vigilance and determination as those who put their lives on the line? And, have I taught my children to respect our freedom and the people who've fought and died for it?

I hope we can all ponder on what freedom truly means, not only as Americans, but also as children of God.

Monday, July 2, 2007

Weeding Our Lives

The other day I was weeding my garden. Keep in mind, I live on almost 40 acres surrounded by farmers who raise much of their own food. My little, tiny speck of a garden is barely noticeable compared to my neighbors' gardens. Many women in my ward raise gardens big enough to feed our community. They raise all sorts of vegetables, melons, and herbs. Some even raise carrots into the late fall. And, of course they can and store all of it (but that's a different subject).

Me? Well, I'm happy if I get a couple of tomatoes by the end of the summer. I grew up in the middle of a city. My grandfather grew tomatoes, citrus trees, and a few fruit trees. His mandarin oranges ripened in December and I can still smell them. But, I didn't inherit any of those tendencies. In fact, I have a "black thumb." Don't believe me? Just check out my houseplants or what used to be houseplants.

As I was dutifully weeding my garden (I do determine every year that this will be the year I actually accomplish growing a real garden), I let my mind wander. It takes so much work and effort to keep a garden weeded. Even letting it go for a few days will allow weeds to reproduce at an astronomical rate. You don't have to do anything to encourage the weeds, you just have to do nothing.

In order to encourage the desirable plants to grow, you have to be diligent in making sure the plants receive nourishment on a regular basis. It can't be hit and miss or the plant will suffer and, in turn, so will the harvest. If you want to harvest a bountiful garden, you have to dedicate time and energy and never give in to the weeds, no matter how daunting the weeding task seems to be or how attractive the idea is of doing something, anything, other than weeding.

And so it is with our lives. If we do nothing, weeds will grow. Satan will wrap himself around us and gently guide us down his path. He doesn't necessarily require that we do anything, he usually requires us to do nothing, and in doing nothing, we lose our harvest. He makes the job seem so huge and impossible to accomplish and he tempts us with other, easier things to do. He's a master at what he does because he's been doing it for so long.

If we want to harvest a bountiful life, we have to diligently work hard to remove those weeds that choke us and take away our nutrients. We have to keep at it, day after day, week after week, year after year. It will take us a lifetime to see our harvest, but what a harvest it will be if we've invested the time and energy into making it what the Lord wants it to be.

Now get out there and weed your gardens!