Monday, November 30, 2009

Oh That I Were Like Nephi

While studying the Book of Mormon, I was struck with the example of Nephi. Yes, I've always admired him and his faith in doing whatever the Lord commanded him, but this time I was struck even more by his lack of complaining. See, I'm a complainer. I have to voice my opinions about everything (just ask my kids) and I usually have to understand something before I'm willing to do it. I need an explanation because it has to make sense to me.

Laman and Lemuel wanted to know why they needed to leave Jerusalem, they wanted a rational explanation, not just that their dad had a vision. They wanted to understand the why of it. They wanted to know why they had to return for the brass plates and how they would retrieve them from Laban who was so much more powerful. They didn't understand how they could possibly defeat him. They wanted an explanation. They wanted it to make sense. They voiced their opinions about it. Yep, just like me.

Nephi didn't need an explanation. It didn't need to make sense to his mortal, finite mind. It was enough that God commanded it. He was willing to do whatever the Lord commanded, no explanation necessary.

Oh that I were like Nephi.

While I can and do put my faith in God, I like it so much better when things make sense to me. Like, why did my sister-in-law have to pass away before she could raise all of her children? She had a righteous desire to raise her family in the gospel. Why couldn't she? Just doesn't make sense to me.

As I've been reading and thinking about Nephi and his reaction to commandments versus Laman's and Lemuel's reactions, I've decided that I need to stop complaining so much and stop demanding explanations. I need to go and do. I need to exercise more faith and trust that it will all make sense someday.

I need to be like Nephi. I need to follow his example. I need to shake off Laman and Lemuel. I need to view things with my spiritual mind instead of my mortal, finite mind so that someday I can go and do just like Nephi.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Haunts Haven by Joan Sowards

When Callie Wilford inherits a century-old inn in southern Arizona, locals tell her of a ghost who "guards" the inn. But Callie doesn't believe in ghosts, and she plans to turn the inn into a bed and breakfast.

Then things start to happen - strange, spooky things - and she begins to wonder if there is some truth to the ghost stories.

If that weren't bad enough, Callie discovers a mysterious grave in the cellar. As she confronts the inn's tragic secrets, she also faces her lonely past and learns to embrace her heritage.

But it takes a handsome cowboy and a charming rancher to prove that Callie's long-guarded heart can love again.

If you like ghost stories and mysteries mixed with romance, you might enjoy this book. You can buy it from Amazon.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Making Memories

When my older kids get together they sit around and play the "Remember When . . ." game. They remember things I've totally forgotten. They all feel a connection to our home and to the memories we've made here, which is a wonderful thing.

We've tried hard to create memories with our kids. Yesterday we decided it was just one of those occasions. We loaded everyone up into our ghetto van (peeling paint, rusted top, dents from where I ran into the fence post in the snow last winter) and traveled to town to go bowling. Some of our kids had never been bowling (which was quite obvious as we started to bowl). I've decided that bowling is the only sport (is it a sport?) in which you can participate even if you are old, fat, and completely out of shape. However, I also learned that you do need some small portion of coordination.

My 8-year-old almost had a perfect game of gutter balls. He didn't care, though. Each time he threw a ball and it hit the gutter he'd turn around with his sparkly blue eyes and a big smile. We clapped and cheered for him when the ball actually traveled down the entire lane and hit a few pins--you'd have thought he'd bowled a strike.

My 10-year-old was intent on learning the proper technique and kept practicing. She bowled a few spares, but also sent down her fair share of gutter balls. My 12-year-old bowled a little better and was proud of herself for hitting so many pins. My 14-year-old was thrilled when he bowled quite a few spares. His smile covered his face as he strutted back to the table. Scores after the second game were between 18 and 94. I don't think anyone will be inviting them to be on their bowling league, but they all enjoyed themselves immensely and we had quite a few laughs.

My older daughters bowled a little better than my younger kids, 123-135. I loved watching the dance after one of their balls hit a few pins or how they contorted their bodies in hopes of influencing the balls that had already left their hands. We yelled and clapped the loudest when they bowled gutter balls. They returned the favor for me when my silly ball went down the gutter even though I'd sent it down the lane perfectly set for a strike.

After bowling, we found a local pizzeria that brews its own rootbeer. I'm not a fan of soda drinks, but their rootbeer, and cream soda, is excellent. We stuffed ourselves with pizza.

Then we went in search of Christmas lights. Unfortunately, we were too early. Weird for us because we're always late for everything. I guess we'll have to return next week to admire all the lights.

We certainly weren't amazing bowlers, but we had so much fun. Most importantly, we made memories.

Friday, November 20, 2009


A few weeks ago, we decided to upgrade our satellite receiver to a DVR so we could more easily record shows we miss (we can never watch any TV shows when they air, we always have watch them later). This really applies to Smallville because now it airs on Fridays (Thursdays were so much better) and this season finally has Clark and Lois . . . well, I don't want to spoil anything. I would've been excited about this feature for American Idol but now that they have Ellen DeGeneres as a judge (since when is she at all qualified to judge musical talent? Oh, yeah I forgot about her album . . . what was the name again?) I'm not planning to watch it anymore. But, I digress.

I've been a DISH Network customer for over 12 years so I called DISH to set up an upgrade. They scheduled a technician to come between the hours of 12:00 and 5:00 (why can't they actually set appointments? After all, I have a life, too). So I completely arranged everything around the appointment window. At 5:00 no one had showed up nor had anyone called. Since we'd also scheduled a dinner date with our son for his birthday and planned to do some Christmas shopping, I was quite unhappy that at 5:00 nothing had been done to set up the new system. Long story short, I ended up cancelling the installation. Worried that DISH would not keep a second appointment, I started to shop around for other options.

I found DirectTV. I was pleased to see special pricing packages and especially excited to se they offer PBS Sprouts, a channel dedicated to preschoolers. DISH doesn't even offer Sprouts.

I set up an appointment, which DirectTV kept, and we now have DirectTV service. I was even more thrilled to find FitTV as one of the channels because it hosts workouts around the clock. No matter what time I need to workout, there's a show I can workout with. Even better, I found Gilad whose show Bodies in Motion was my favorite workout show over 15 years ago. He's from Israel so he has a fun accent and I love how he pronounces some words. I've been happily working out with him each day and I love it. I'm sore, but I love it.

DISH lost a 12 year customer for refusing to accommodate us after they stood us up. But, I'm happy about it because I love the programming on DirectTV. I've even found that the Hallmark channel plays my favorite show, Murder, She Wrote--can't imagine why I love that show :).

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Do You Like Westerns?

One of the nicest and most helpful women I know is Marsha Ward. She founded ANWA--American Night Writers Association--many years ago and has put her heart and soul into helping aspiring writers reach their goal of publication. She works tirelessly to help others. She has been very kind and gracious to me as I've learned the ropes of writing, publishing, and moderating Yahoo Groups. She's also a whiz at all things technical.

Besides all of this, she's an excellent author. I was amazed at her ability to pull me into the story and to paint such a vivid and realistic picture of the civil war era. Her books ooze authenticity and her characters are well-developed. She is the author of Ride to Raton, The Man from Shenandoah, and her newest novel Trail of Storms.

If you enjoy reading western novels, you'll want to check out Marsha's books. She's a master storyteller and you'll be sucked into her world from the first page.

To learn more about Marsha Ward visit her website.

If you are interested in joining ANWA, a fantastic group of writers (women only, sorry men) you can learn more here.

To buy Trail of Storms at Amazon go here.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Of One Heart by Valerie Steimle

From the back cover:
In the LDS world (or the world of The Church Of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints) most adults are married with children. It has only been in the last ten years that being single in the church has become much more common. Unfortunately, marriages are failing everywhere and there are now one third of the adults at church who are single.

This book was written to help all those who are single, all those who have single friends and all those priesthood leaders with single members under their jurisdiction. I have written this book to help others understand what it is like to be single and included writings from other singles on how they feel about being single.

When I got married, my mother-in-law was single. My father-in-law had passed away 4 years earlier from an extended illness. She would remark how much she enjoyed being with her kids, but she was still lonely. Nothing could fill the void left by my father-in-law. Though she was encouraged to attend single adult activities, she didn't feel comfortable.

In the Church, it is difficult to be single when so much emphasis is placed on being married and having a family. Many sisters, and brothers, are single for various reasons. If you know any single LDS members this book would be a great gift.

We should all seek to help our single bothers and sisters feel the love of the Savior and realize they are just as important to this great work as those who are married.

You can find Valerie's wonderful book at Amazon.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Contest and New Website

If you're interested in winning a $20.00 gift certificate to Amazon visit the Writing Fortress blog for rules on a simple contest that, of course, involves my book. Wouldn't a $20 gift certificate be nice? And helping me spread the word about my book (maybe then DB will carry it)? Thanks for checking it out!

I've been busy working on my website. It was static with no new information so I've set it up as a blog format to make it more interactive. I'll be posting articles on writing that, hopefully, will be useful to readers. I also have links to my books, a bio, and other pages. If you get a chance, I'd love to hear your feedback on I want it to be a user-friendly site that also provides helpful information for aspiring writers. I'd love to interact with readers and make my site useful as well as informational.