Monday, June 28, 2010

Optimistic Mondays – Laugh So You Don't Cry

Lately, I've been surrounded on all sides by things I "Need To Do". I acknowledge the fact that many of them are self imposed, but that doesn't diminish the importance of getting them done. At least not for me.

I've divided my life into four quarters.
  1. Home/Family
  2. Church Responsibilites
  3. Work
  4. Writing
Each of those sections has many subsections within it. They swirl around me, each begging for proper attention, none able to get it.

It's very overwhelming, but I've chosen it. I choose to clean my home
. I choose to interact with my children. They demand to be fed, and I choose to quite them by listening.

I've chosen to accept my church calling. It takes more time/thought then I imagined it would.

My work is less of a choice than a necessity, but nonetheless I still choose to do it. Like I said above, my kids like to eat. Who am I kidding, I like to eat.

I don't always choose the story lines that pop into my head and talk to me, but I do choose to write them down. Writing is so much bigger than non-writers think. There's the actual writing. Then the rewriting/editing multiple times. I have to continually learn the craft. I have a critique group that I submit to, and critique for.

Blogging is pretty much a necessity for writers now. This means not only do I need to have my own blog, but I need to read other blogs. To network. To learn from others.

These four main sections of my life each try to take over as "the most important". It's a battle every day. Sometimes I just want to sit down and cry.

So what's a girl to do?

Sometimes, I cry. But the rest of the time I've adopted a new attitude.

When something goes wrong, instead of crying, I try to laugh it off. It doesn't always work, but most of the time it eases the tension just enough to where I can deal with it.

So, my advice to you on this Optimistic Monday?

Laugh, so you don't cry.

Happy Monday.

Friday, June 25, 2010

My Tale of Two Shoes

Random Tidbit About Me: Week 8

I can’t stand loosing things. It makes me crazy.

And I don’t like to buy shoes. I have bigger feet, and they just don’t look as cute in the bigger sizes then the cute little size 6. So I only have a limited supply of shoes. And why would I want to spend money on shoes when I could spend it on something important. Like books. Or chocolate.

Today’s post is a re-post from my other blog’s archives.

It’s a Tale of Two (lost) Shoes.

I hope you enjoy.

It began like any other Sunday morning. I was being lazy. I knew I needed to get moving so I wouldn't be running late when it was time to go to church. But knowing I should be doing something, and actually doing it, are two separate things.

After a couple hours of laziness, I hurried to get ready. I went to put my shoes on, so I could head out the door. It was then that I noticed something was missing from my closet.

My shoes!

Well, that's not entirely true. I was missing two shoes, but they were two different shoes.

I'm not like so many women out there that have seven pairs of the same black shoes. I don't really like to buy shoes, and therefore only have a bare minimum of them. I have one pair of dress shoes, and I wear them every week to church. (I need to fix that!)

Because I had spent the morning milling around I found myself rushing to get out the door. So I wasn't happy about finding only a single church shoe.

My daughter Emily has this game, where she puts anything she can find in a cupboard, or a drawer, or anywhere "hidden". She tells me it's "baking." (Thanks to the toy kitchen set at the church nursery.) Because of her game, I've found myself searching the house many-a-times for something I was missing. It always turns up, eventually.

I spent 10 minutes going through every hiding place I could think of. I was getting more frustrated by the second. I tried asking her where she had put them, but she didn't have an answer for me. (She usually does.) By this time I was late and realized I had to give up. I went back to the closet to consider my options.

The two shoes that looked back at me didn’t match…but maybe…hmmmm… No, even if I were desperate enough to try that (which, I wasn't), they were both left shoes. I've heard of people having two left feet, but come on now!

So I resorted to wearing a pair of black boots that looked ridiculous, and hoped no one would look at my feet.

After I got home my husband helped search the house again. Nothing. Nada.

I pride myself on keeping a fairly clean and organized house, and it drives me crazy to have things go missing. I finally had to give up again, because I was so annoyed about it.

Maybe the shoes decided to divorce their matching shoe companions, and run away together? I thought.

But no, it was nothing quite so exciting and scandalous. I found them both the next day, in the bottom of the dirty clothes basket, as I did the laundry.

Turns out I have to blame my son Ryan for this one, and somehow make it up to Emily for blaming her. Ryan loves to put things in the laundry. The best part is, I probably covered the shoes up myself, when I put my towel in the basket after my shower.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Book Review - Alma the Younger, by H.B. Moore

Alma the Younger is the third book in H.B. Moore's current series about Book of Mormon prophets. (Abinadi and Alma are books one and two.)

If you like Book of Mormon fiction, you'll love this book. If you've never tried it before - this is a great place to start. Alma the Younger takes place about 20 years after the second book, Alma, and the story lines are not closely tied together. So if you haven't read the first two yet, you can just dive right in to Alma the Younger. (Although you'll probably want to get a hold of the others soon, because you'll love them too.)

I've read the story directly from the Book of Mormon (several times, in fact), but I've never connected with it the way I did in Moore's telling. Immediately after finishing Alma the Younger I opened my own Book of Mormon and read the account again. This time it really meant something to me.

While Alma the Younger is a work of fiction, H.B. Moore's knowledge of the Book of Mormon and the people's culture brings the story to life in a way that connects with the reader. She takes facts from the Book of Mormon and weaves them together with fictional characters, powerful emotion, and a well written storyline.

Before I even got started on the novel, I was impressed with the message H.B. Moore delivered in the Preface:
...The question is whether Alma the Younger knew that what he was doing was wrong. Or had he been so carefully led by Satan down the path of idolatry, and an anti-Christ pattern of belief, that he truly believed he was in the right?
Another question we might entertain is how Alma the Younger could exert so much influence over people as to lead them astray from the church. The record tells us that he did "speak much flattery to the people" (Mosiah 27:8). He must have been a natural leader, charismatic and easily loved by people, with the power to persuade. His influence nearly toppled the Church in Zarahemla as he stole "away the hearts of the people; causing much dissension" (v9), so his preaching was no small thing.
In studying Mosiah 26-28, I was struck with the idea that Alma the Younger was no rebellious teenager, playing pranks or skipping Sabbath meetings to go fishing or hunting...
A final question we might ask is why the Lord saw fit to send an angel to intervene in Alma the Younger's behalf. Yes, his father and many others had been praying and fasting for him to have a change of heart. But there are many parents who pray for their errant children and angels aren't sent. This led me to believe that what Alma the Younger was doing had such grave consequences and the potential to devastate an entire nation - thus thwarting the Lord's plan - that extreme action was needed.

Alma the Younger is a great reminder of Heavenly Father's promise that through sincere repentance, all men can be forgiven, and with that forgiveness they will find a peace and joy they never knew they were missing.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Happy Birthday Blog!

Today is this blog's birthday. She is officially 1 year old!

It feels like I've been blogging for longer than a year. Actually I have, but not on my "own" blog. I've met so many new people over the last year. I've built friendships that will last a lifetime. I'm so grateful for all my readers. Yes, both of you. Thank you!

I started this blog out as a personal/family blog. A couple months in, I decided to split and do a separate family blog. That one contains mostly pictures of my kids. And darn cute ones too! The kids, not the pictures. Okay, both.

This is the blog I use for my writing. I meet writers. I share my progress, or lack of it. I share bits of myself, and hopefully some encouraging words too.

Thank you for making me feel like a successful blogger. I look forward to many years ahead.

Picture found here.

Friday, June 11, 2010

You've Got Mail

Remember the movie "You've Got Mail", with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks? Of course you do! Then you probably remember the part where Meg Ryan describes the feeling of getting a new email.

"What will NY152 say today, I wonder. I turn on my computer. I wait impatiently as it connects. I go online, and my breath catches in my chest until I hear three little words: You've got mail. I hear nothing. Not even a sound on the streets of New York, just the beating of my own heart. I have mail. From you."

I'm so glad I don't have to deal with the dial-up noise, while the computer works to get a connection, but my anticipation of opening my browser is about the same as Meg's.

My heart races, and I'm filled with hope. Hope that someone will have responded to my email. Hope that an old friend will have sent well wishes my way.

With modern technology, I am one of many who has email capabilities on my cell phone. That means I am connected, no matter where I am. And with that capability, my phone chimes whenever something new is dropped into my inbox. That sound makes me drop whatever I'm doing, and race to see who emailed me. It's an addiction, and I'm not ashamed to admit it. I LOVE EMAIL!

The most disappointing feeling is when I open my account, only to find junk mail, or a long list of forwards. I want PERSONAL mail. I want to feel important and loved. If only my phone would know how to sort emails, according to my mood. I want to hear from this person, but not that store advertising the latest sale. (Yes, I know about filters, but some still sneak through the cracks.) I want to hear news that applies to me. Perhaps I'm being selfish. But I can't be the only one to feel this way, can I?

I am an email junkie. Most of the time, I'd rather correspond through email then in person or by phone. The idea of web-cam conversations terrify me. There is so much pressure to keep up a constant dialogue. I'm not a great conversationalist. For some people that comes naturally, but I struggle. With email, I can think, write, then rewrite my thoughts until they make sense.

What type of communication do you prefer?

Gotta go now! I just heard the oh-so wonderful chime from my phone, announcing the arrival of a new email! I hope it's a good one.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Crunch Time

While driving across town last week, I was stopped at a stop light. I watched as two rather strange men used the cross walk in front of me. I was trying not be be obvious as I stared rather rudely, and I hope they didn't notice me. Though I'm sure they must have been used to it. EVERYONE was staring.

Lucky for me, I had a distraction. It wasn't the kind of thing that would have distracted most people. It was a small twist of irony, in fact. Another - much more normal - man was crossing the same street, in the opposite direction. In his hand, he held a copy of a book. (One of these days, I hope to be able to write a post about how it was MY book he held, but no - not today.) But it was the book that caught my attention.

It was a copy of the book Nauvoo, Kingdom on the Mississippi. I've had a copy of that very book on my desk for the last couple months. I was supposed to be reading it, researching for my novel that takes place in modern day as well as old Nauvoo. Supposed to being the key word. It's a library book, and every time it comes close to being due, I just click on the renew button, and I'm good to go.

When I saw this guy with my book, it made me curious. What was he doing with it? Why was he reading it? How did he like it? Was he reading for work or for pleasure? I'm technically supposed to be reading for pleasure. I've chosen to be a writer. I've chosen to write this particular book. I even like to learn about history. So why can't I make myself read it!

A couple of days ago, I got an all too familiar email from the library, once again telling me the book was approaching it's due date. I once again went to the website and clicked on the renew button, promising myself I really would read it this time. If some random man walking down the street is reading it, surely I can too.

The problem was, I'd renewed it one too many times. It's due this Friday, and I have to take it back to the library, or I'll start building a fine. I know I could take it back, and then re-check it out again. Maybe that's what I'll end up doing. But I'm hoping that the pending due date will be motivation enough to bare down and do the stink'n research! (Honestly, you'd think someone was twisting my arm to get me to write this book!)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Don't Give Up.......On Me

It became obvious to me that my son did not read last week's post. What's a mother to do? :)

I've been a slacker when it comes to my blog lately. I've had so many things going on, I just haven't kept up with it.

Please don't give up on me. I'm trying.

I hope to be back to regular posting, as well as regular reading of all your wonderful blogs soon.