Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Book Review – Band of Sisters by Annette Lyon

Band of Sisters is an LDS Women's Fiction about 5 military wives who come together for support, while their husbands serve a one-year deployment in Afghanistan.
As I read, I quickly made a deep emotional connection with these women. They suffered from feelings of self-doubt, unworthiness, and depression. They found joy in motherhood, and in living the Gospel.
They were realistic characters, that each of us can relate to on more than one level. Each had their own set of problems, but still, they took the time to look out for one another.
Through the course of serving each other, they grew to truly love each other as sisters.
This is Annette Lyon’s 7th novel. For more information about Annette and her books, visit her website at There you can also read the first three chapters of Band of Sisters.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Optimistic Mondays – New Diet Plan

I'm stealing this from a signature line I saw on an email. It makes me laugh every time I read it, and I hope it brings a smile to your face too.

Wheat for man. D&C 89:17

Chocolate for woman. M&M 24:7

Words to live by!

Happy Monday.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Beyond the Introductions...

We all know what it's like to meet someone new. Whether you are introduced by someone else, or you are required to introduce yourself, there is a basic formula.

"Hi, I'm Kim. What's your name?"
"I'm Katelyn. It's nice to meet you."
"Nice to meet you too."

*Slightly awkward silence follow*

"So... what are your interests?"
"I'm an aspiring author."
"Really? Me too! What do you write?"

And so on. We may or may not remember that person's name afterward, no matter how badly we try. But we've officially met. Now what?

It's fun to dig a little deeper, and really get to know them. What makes them tick. Why do they do things the way they do? What unusual things do you both have in common? This type of getting-to-know-you takes time. We don't usually learn a person's cousin's friend's dog's name during our first conversation.

I thought it would be fun to start a weekly series, where I will explain one of my person characteristics. Maybe expose a little more of what makes me who I am. Maybe I can get to know some of you a little deeper in the process.

Random tidbit about me - Week 1:

I love notebooks. I don't think love is a strong enough word. I practically worship them. (I said practically!) I think it's kind of like a foot fetish, only I can't be sure, because I don't actually like feet.

Notebooks make me happy. Especially brand new ones. They're so crisp and clean. All those blank pieces of paper, just waiting for me to cover them with ink.

I have them in all sizes. I have side-bound, top-bound, spiral, and non-spiral. Some have cute covers. Some have plain covers.

I can usually find at least one notebook in every room of my house. There is almost always one in my bag. Or two.

I can't think without a notebook in my hands. Oh, and a pen usually helps too. Even if I only make one note, or write down one item on my To-do list, I've learned that I can relax, as soon as I've written it in a handy-dandy notebook.

And then life can go on, until I need to reach for that beloved notebook, once again.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Book Review – Women of the Book of Mormon, by Heather B. Moore

When I first heard about this book, I thought it sounded interesting. We know very little about the women in the Book of Mormon, and I was curious. I will admit, I am a fiction junkie, so I was a little nervous about reading and reviewing a non-fiction book. But I’m glad I took the opportunity.
In Women of the Book of Mormon, Heather B. Moore dives into what life must have been like for the women we hear so little about. She uses the small amount of information given in the scriptural text, and combines it with her knowledge of the ancient culture, to bring these women to life.
From the book’s preface:
These women were by no means perfect, as we are not. They doubted, they complained, they criticized, and they were tempted. But as we read about them and their children, husbands, brothers, and fathers, we can begin to liken ourselves to them. And suddenly, the lives of the women in the book of Mormon seem remarkably similar to ours.
The women of the book of Mormon are our sisters, and their stories lie within those sacred pages. Not only can we learn from the messages of their husbands and sons, we can discover how much the Savior loves us through the experiences and enduring faith of these women.
Before now, I never took the time to consider what life may have been like, for a wife and mother during the events of Book of Mormon history. As I read, I could feel their pain, sorrow, and trials. I could also feel their determination and faith.
Just like today, these women were the center of their home. They had a profound influence on their husbands and their sons, who were called as prophets of God. I feel more connected to the stories in the Book of Mormon, now that I have a better understanding of such strong and faithful women.
Women of the Book of Mormon is insightful and inspirational. Not only is the text well written and informative, the book also includes beautiful artwork, representing the women discussed. It will be available in April, and will make a great Mother’s Day gift.
It can be pre-ordered at Deseret Book
and Barnes and Noble
For more information about Heather B. Moore’s books, check out her website.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Optimistic Mondays – Do More Then Endure

By my front door I have a quote by Gordon B. Hinckley that says,
“Life is to be enjoyed, not just endured.”
It acts as a constant reminder for me to not forget to enjoy myself a little. Sometimes (okay, most of the time) it’s hard, because I have so many responsibilities. Most of them, however, I place upon my own shoulders.
When I remember those simple words by my door, I take a minute, and think. Am I enjoying my kids today, or just enduring them? Am I enjoying the wonderful gift that is my body, or only focusing on what other women look like? Am I enjoying the writing process, or wishing I were wearing someone else’s shoes, who is already established in the writing world?
If the answer I get is anything less than enjoyment, I know I must be doing something wrong. It becomes time to re-evaluate what I’m doing, and make a change! After all, what is the point of doing anything, if your not enjoying the journey?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Too Good to Last?

You know the feeling where everything is going so well, that you worry about what tragedy awaits you just around the corner? I'm experiencing that right now. And it's spider related. Allow me to explain.

I am deathly afraid of spiders. Not the "scream like a girl" kind of scared, but more like the "paralyzed with fear, creepy crawly for the rest of the day" kind of scared. I can't handle them. Okay, so the small ones aren't so bad. I can handle them. But the big ones with long hairy legs and bodies the size of small coins, I just can't deal with. (Don't even get me started on the time I found one crawling on me in my own bed!)

And every now and then, I walk down to my basement, and discover just such a disgusting creature. It's enough to make me vow never to walk down there shoeless again, lest I should actually step on one with my bare feet (shudder).

So for the last couple of months, I've almost been expecting to find one (or two, don't they come in pairs?) waiting to greet me. And it hasn't happened. Yet.

Now, every time I head downstairs, I'm on the lookout. I just know it will happen soon. It's bound to. And I'm trying to mentally prepare myself for it. Maybe I should start carrying around a can of mace, just in case.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

I Love Blog-Land

You know what? This whole Blog-Land sure is amazing. It gives us the opportunity to meet people that we may never have met otherwise. It offers support, and allows us to try to help others who may be struggling with something.

It's a great way to share recipes, knowledge, and memories. It's also a great place for contests.

Everywhere I turn these days (maybe I should use the word "click"), there is a great contest. The ones I usually enter involve reading/writing and free books. I've been incredibly lucky over the past couple of months, as I've won several blog contests. I want to express my gratitude to all the bloggers out there, who offer such wonderful prizes.

In the last two months, I've won the following items:
  • Book - Altered State, by Gregg Luke (Cami Checkett's blog)
  • Book - Missing, by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen (Marilyn Bunderson's blog )
  • Book - Love Your Body, by Brooke Parker R.D. (Walnut Springs Press)
  • Book - Abinadi, by H.B. Moore (Heather Moore's blog)
  • Pair of Pajamas (Kimberly Job's Blog)
I've also agreed to do book reviews for three authors, and will be getting copies of their books as well. I will blog about them in the coming weeks.

All of these great things would not be possible without Blog-Land.

And speaking of meeting people through Blog-land, I had a great opportunity last night. I went to Valor Publishing's 5-author book launch, and it was great. I got the chance to meet SO MANY people I've been acquainted with through blogs, but never met in person. I also got to meet the authors, which is always fun.

It was so great to be able to look around a room full of people, and recognize so many faces. Some people even recognized me too, and that was doubly cool.

To all of you who I finally "met" in real life last night, thanks for making my evening great. I look forward to getting to know you all even better in the future, and seeing more of you as we journey down this writing path together.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Optimistic Mondays – Give It Back!

I don’t know who it was, but someone stole my motivation, and I’m demanding it back! (Pretty please… I’m lost without it.)
I’ve come up with a plan, just in case my motivation doesn’t show up at the door this morning. (If opportunity knocks, what does motivation do, ring the bell?)
If you know me very well, you know I like to make lists. I love to set goals. And I really love to accomplish my goals. When I have success in my life, I feel positive. It makes me want to keep going.
I have a list of things I want to do each day. Each item has been carefully chosen by a panel of judges (me). They are tasks that, when accomplished, will help me feel motivated.
I call it the list of "Motivating Moments".
  1. Make Bed. It amazes me at how much better I feel, when I walk into my bedroom and the bed is made. And it only takes about a minute to do.
  2. Do my makeup/Get ready. I usually do this. But I've noticed that when I don't, I feel lazy, negative, and washed out. I'm not talking about full blown makeup/dressy clothes each day. Just enough to make me feel comfortable, if a neighbor should drop by.
  3. Clean Something. This does not count the daily cleanup around the house, like dishes or picking up toys. It's for things like scrubbing toilets (because, no - I don't do that everyday), organizing my desk, or tackling an item from the Spring Cleaning list.
  4. Eat at least 1 fruit and 1 vegetable per day. This one sounds ridiculously easy, but I'm surprised at how often I don't have any at all. Eating healthy food always motivates me to eat more healthy food. I really do like fruit and veggies. But I also really like chocolate.
  5. Read to/Teach my kids something. I'm really good about reading to my 3 year old. I'm not as good about reading to my 1-1/2 year old. I would feel so much better, as a mom, if I knew I had spent time each day teaching my children something.
  6. Write 500 words. I hope this number will be higher most days, but this is a goal for my minimum. It includes any type of writing, whether it be on a book, blog, in my journal, or any other misc. writing. As long as I'm writing, I feel motivated.
  7. Read my scriptures. This is a habit I already have, but I'd like to change, just a little. I currently read them just before going to bed. That's the time of day when my mind is so tired from a long day, and my eyelids are so heavy they don't want to stay open. Perhaps there is a better time of day, when my mind will register what I'm reading. I'll see if I can find it.
  8. Plan ahead for dinner. I usually make a menu for the week, when I do my grocery shopping. I couldn't survive dinner-time without it. But dinner is still a little too hectic. The kids always want my attention, and it creates an unpleasant environment. This goal is to plan and prepare as much of the meal as possible ahead of time, leaving me less frazzled when dinner-time actually comes.
  9. Get rid of 2 things. It feels so good to get rid of things I no longer need. This can be anything from a pair of shoes that make my feet hurt like crazy (today's example), or cleaning out the fridge. Broken toys, clothes that don't fit, expired coupons: be prepared to say goodbye.
  10. Exercise. I always feel more motivated when I've exercised for the day. I am so excited that Spring is just around the corner. It's amazing how much work it is to push 2 kids up and down the neighborhood hills, in a double stroller.
There you have it. My hope is that my productivity will increase as I work on accomplishing these daily tasks.

Are there certain things in your life, that make you feel motivated?

Happy Monday Everyone!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

I Envy Bella Swan

It's true, I'm jealous of Bella. But not for the same reason hundreds of thousands (millions?) of teenage girls do all around the world. I don't actually want to have a boyfriend that wants to kill me and drink my blood. I don't want to fight the Volturi, or have to pick between Edward and Jacob. And I certainly don't want to have my baby try to kill me from the inside. (If you are one of the three people who haven't read the last book, sorry for the spoiler.)

What I envy about Bella, is her ability to make a decision, and stick to it. She doesn't turn back, change her mind, or rethink it a thousand times. That's what I do.

And it's SO frustrating.

I recently came to a crossroads, with my writing, and I don't know which direction to take. I'm playing around with a few different genres. I can't decide which one to pursue. I can't decide if I want to write for adults, or young adults. Serious? Funny? Real world or Fantasy? I know I can dabble around a bit in several, but ultimately, I feel like I should have a general focus. But it keeps changing.

And it's driving me crazy.

Just when I think I know, I think "What if I try..."

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Triple Book Launch Party

Not sure what to do this Friday night? I've got the solution!

Gather up the girls for a night out.

I'm excited about this one.

It's three different authors.
It's three different genres.
And it's three new books.

THIS FRIDAY, March 12th
6:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Deseret Book at University Village
(East of University Mall, in Orem, Utah)

I'll bet you are wondering which authors will be there, right? Well, let me tell you.

Annette Lyon, with her new women's fiction, Band of Sisters.

Sarah M. Eden, with her new Regency Romance, Courting Miss Lancaster.

Julie Coulter Bellon, with her new thriller, Dangerous Connections.

Whether you love Regency Romance, Thrillers with lots of suspense (and a little romance thrown in!), or Women's Fiction (or know someone who does), you'll want to be at this event.

They will even have a bunch of great door prizes!

I'll be there, and I hope to see you there!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Optimistic Mondays – Do Over

Considering how motivated I felt last week at this time, I sure don't have a lot to show for it. Except for the 2 pounds I gained, the pile of laundry I didn't do, the 160 unread blog posts in my google reader, and the feeling of being a headless chicken dancing around in my kitchen.

Can I have a do-over? Please? Fine, then can I at least go pout in the corner for a while? Thanks.

Okay, I feel a little better. Try it, it just might help you get ready to tackle the week in front of you.

I'll leave you with this thought:

Whether you think you can, or you think you can't, you're right. - Henry Ford

Lets all go out and accomplish something great this week.

Happy Monday.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Optimistic Mondays – March and Monday

It’s my favorite day of the week – Monday! And to top that off, it’s also the beginning of a new month. Both on the same day! What more could anyone ask for? Seriously. It’s like a perfect alignment of the stars. I’m ready to take charge of the week. I’m ready to have a productive month of March. And it’s a good thing too, since I have so much to do!

I’ve been writing the Optimistic Mondays posts for six months now, and I have many new readers since I started. I’ve copied the original Optimistic Monday Post, to explain my purpose:

When I was a teenage, I worked at the Hogle Zoo. I was a manager of a concession stand, and I had a set schedule. I worked Tuesdays and Thursday-Sunday. I always had Mondays and Wednesdays off. We always had the radio on in the back part of the building, and I remember one song in particular. The words to it were "It's just another manic Monday. I wish it were Sunday, cause that's my fun day...." I had made up my own little version, and sang, "It's just another manic Sunday, I wish it were Monday..." Monday's were a welcome relief after a busy weekend at the zoo.

Most people look forward to Fridays, and dread Mondays. There was a time in my life when I was the same way. When I worked in an office from 9-5, Monday - Friday, I loved Fridays. Don't get me wrong, I loved my job. But I still welcomed the weekend. Now that I'm a stay at home mom, the weekend doesn't mean quite the same thing. Yes, Todd is home, and it's nice to spend time with him. But my job doesn't stop just because it's the weekend. I still have to feed and dress the kids. I still have to wash dishes and do the laundry.

But there is something special for me about Mondays now. It's a fresh start. A new beginning. If I didn't do as well as I wanted to with something during the week, I decide that on Monday, I'll do better. Did I over eat this week? Did I not exercise as much as I wanted? Did I not get the house cleaned? It's okay, on Monday I will start fresh. I will do better. And there's even more refreshing news. If I slip up half way through the week, and don't keep up with my new found determination to succeed at whatever I had decided to do: It's only 3 or 4 more days until another Monday! A new fresh start. It's a wonderful cycle.

So as March begins, I’m ready to challenge myself, and exceed my own expectations. February may as well be written off completely. What did I even accomplish? Next month, I plan to have a long list of accomplishments!

What are your goals for the week? How about the month?

Happy Monday Everyone!