Friday, December 2, 2011

The True Meaning of Christmas

The True Meaning of Christmas
By Kimberly Coates

‘Twas the Eve of First Christmas and all through the land
There was not one room open neither simple, nor grand

Dread filled Joseph’s heart, at the last place they tried
As the innkeeper’s head shook from side to side

Then, filled with compassion, he thought of a way
He told of a stable, a place they could stay

Having no other option, each door closed up tight
A simple old stable, became a delight

They thanked the kind man, while the door he was closing
The day nearly gone, soon the dark was enclosing

When fine’ly they found it, Joseph took tender care
Made a bed out of straw, with no time to spare

The pain soon began, God’s own son nearly here
Mary prayed to have courage to replace her fear

And when she looked at His face, sent from above
She knew in an instant of a mother’s pure love

She wrapped Him in swaddling clothes for the night
Laid Him in a manger, then noticed a light

A new star above them, up high in the East
Shining brighter then others by two times, at least

Nearby there were shepherds with their flocks in the field
Looking up to the sky, saw the star unconcealed

When an angel appeared bringing news of Christ’s birth
They set forth to visit the One of Great Worth

For God so loved the world that He sent us his son
And because of his precious gift, Christmas begun

When the wise men arrived, they knelt down in praise
And starting tradition, their gifts did they raise

But it didn’t take long to fill hearts with greed
Instead of all giving; we get, want, and need

So many distractions, ways to go into debt
The true meaning of Christmas, we must not forget

If we look at what’s changed since that first Christmas night
We’ll find the answers to things the world has lost sight

If we’d have been there, seen the star in the sky
There is one thing for certain: no reindeer flew by!

Now our stockings are filled to the brim with fun treats
Each year they get bigger, they were once for our feet

And under the tree where once there were presents
The crumpled up paper now covers the floor vents

The Christmas we know just would not feel complete
Without treats from our neighbors to fatten our seat

And by Christmas night, you bid your visitors bye
The toys are half broken, you vow that “Next year you’ll try”

To teach the true purpose of the gift of God’s love
The kind of giving and caring the scriptures talk of

No need to wonder if it’s big or too small
Cuz unlike a sweater, love is one size fits all

Christ was not wealthy in treasures of this earth
But he loved everyone, he knew of their worth

It doesn’t take money to make Christmas great
Just think about Christ, it is never too late

You don’t need to wait or hold off for good reason
To practice what you’ll do for the next Christmas season

So starting this moment to give others a lift
Love them with all your heart, for love is the best gift!

Thursday, March 31, 2011

All Moved In

I moved into a new home last weekend. Because I was in the middle of a move, I've been offline for a few days. Before that I was packing. It's been busy. What can I say, Moving is "Sometimes Hard, But Oh-So Worth It!"

I'm in the Syracuse Utah area now (about 30 miles north of where I was before). I have a lot to learn about the area.

It will come with time. And practice.

Kind of like writing.

Lillian Hellman says it well,

"Nothing you write, if you hope to be good, will ever come out as you first hoped."

Practice, Practice, Practice!

* * * * *

Today's writing quote was taken from The Write Planner, my day planner designed for writers. To learn more about The Write Planner, click here

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Love of...Colin Firth

You've probably heard about this author named Jane Austin. Well, I'd heard of her too. But unlike so many readers and writers out there, I never had the "I love anything Jane Austin, especially Pride and Prejudice" bug bit me. 

I think I know why I never really connected with Miss Elizabeth Bennett and Mr. Darcy before now.

You see, I'm an audio book fan. It all began with the narrator for the Harry Potter series. That guy was amazing. And because I am able to listen to books while I work (they actually help me stay focused on that work!), I usually opt for the audio version of books if they are available.

Therein lies the problem.  I listened to Pride and Prejudice instead of actually reading it, and it didn't work for me. There are some stories that must be read. I would be willing to bet that the older the actual book itself is, the better.

So I listened to the story, but didn't fall in love.

Until now.

I present: 

Seriously, if you haven't seen this movie, you need to. This is the 6 hour version. And yes, it's totally worth the 6 hours spend. (Though I think you'd have a hard time convincing my husband it was worth the 12 hours it took me to watch it twice. In 3 days.) I saw the Keira Knightley version from 2005 a few years ago. But this one is So Much Better!

Now, I can't wait to get my own copy of the original book and actually read it. Too bad it will probably have to be a newly printed version instead of one so old the pages are nearly falling away from the binding.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Love of Learning

I love to learn new things. So bad, in fact, that I take too many new things on and cannot stay focused on any of them long enough to actually learn something. It's a problem I've always had, but never really been able to change.

I love to learn new things!

(To be perfectly clear, I consider this different from loving change. That, I'm not so good at. Like when your computer system gets upgraded and you have no idea how to do the same thing you were good at yesterday.)

But, back to learning...

Things I want to learn:

  • Great storytelling
  • Public speaking
  • Will power (when it comes to food)
  • Spanish
  • Sign language
  • Cake decorating (thanks to you - Laura!)
  • First aide
  • How to fast forward through potty training
  • Patience (though I am NOT praying for this, as I do not want to learn it that way!)
  • Better time management (all my friends think I'm an expert at this. I have them all fooled!)
That's to name a few. I'd bore you if I continued.

It's a pretty good list. I want to do those things. But how?

The best way would probably be to pick one at a time and focus. Focus. FOCUS!!!

Or  you could go with this method:

"The best way to become acquainted with a subject is to write a book about it."
-Benjamin Disaeli

What do you want to learn?

* * * * *

Today's writing quote was taken from The Write Planner, my day planner designed for writers. To learn more about The Write Planner, click here

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blog Tour - Dearly Departed by Tristi Pinkston

Ida Mae
Babbitt rides again!

Ida Mae Babbitt may be a reformed woman, but trouble just can't stay away.
Follow the blog tour for Dearly Departed by Tristi Pinkston and learn
about Ida Mae's latest adventure.

This is the second book in Tristi Pinkston's Secret Sisters Series, and if you loved the first you'll love this one too. If you haven't read the first you can just pick up on the story with Dearly Departed. One of my favorite things about Dearly Departed was that Tristi gave Eden, Ida Mae's friend's granddaughter, a more essential role. I spoke to Tristi about that last weekend and she told me she was surprised by Eden as well. While Ida Mae works the inside of the Care Center, Eden investigates the crime from the outside. They made a great team. Not to mention having Kevin's help. I do love a little romance!

One thing's for sure. If, when I'm a little elderly woman, I ever break a leg and arm and am left completely helpless, I wouldn't mind checking into a place like Shady Aspen Retirement Center. Well, except for the whole murdering of residents thing.

Check out Dearly Departed for a fun light read that will give you ideas for how to spend your retirement years!

Walnut Springs Press will be giving away THREE copies of
Dearly Departed . One
GRAND PRIZE winner will win this fun
scrap booking pack.

It's easy to enter.
1. Visit the fabulous reviews and leave a comment letting us know why
you're excited to read Dearly
. Remember to include your email address.
2. For an additional entry become a follower of Walnut Springs Press blog,
Tristi's blog, or any of the fabulous reviews blog. Leave a comment letting
us know who's blog you now follow.
3. If you tweet about the blog tour, or post about it on your blog or
facebook, leave the link in the comments section and you'll receive an
additional entry for each post.

Good Luck! Entries close at midnight (MST) on March 6th.

Ida Mae Babbitt has done her community service and is a reformed
woman - no more law-breaking for her. But when Arlette's granddaughter
Eden discovers a mystery in a fancy nursing home, Ida Mae - with the
perfect excuse of a broken wrist and a broken ankle - checks herself into
the place. After all, it is for the greater good. Soon she's buzzing
around in her motorized wheelchair, questioning the residents and swiping
files from the office. She's bound and determined to get to the bottom of
this case. But can she solve the mystery before she becomes the next

February 16th
Starcrossed book
(Nichole Giles)

Febraury 17
(Karlene Browning)

February 18
Heather Justensen

February 21
Elizabeth Mueller

February 22
LDS Women's Book Review (Shanda

February 23
Rachelle Writes
(Rachelle Christensen)
Hard But Oh So Worth It
(Kimberly Coates)

February 24
Fire and Ice (Heather

February 28
Cheryl's Book Nook
(Cheryl Koch)

March 1
JDP News (Joyce DiPastena)

March 2
Teri Rodeman

March 3
Why Not? Because I Said
(Sheila Stayley)

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Off to LTUE!

Tomorrow morning I'm headed to the BYU Conference Center in Provo for the annual writer's workshop:

Life, the Universe and Everything

But I won't see you in any of the workshops. 


Because I'll be there as a vendor!

That's right, I bought a vendors table.

And I'll be there selling (hopefully selling) my writing planners.

You've heard about them...

You've wanted one...

You've put it off ordering one for unknown reasons...

Now's your chance! 

If you're going to be at LTUE, come find me in the vendors hall. 
You can see them in person. Touch them. Smell them. Drool on them. Buy them...

Who doesn't love a little organization?

Who doesn't love to have one place to write down all your writing goals?

Who doesn't love motivating writing quotes to keep you going?

And now, here's the writing quote pulled directly from this week's page:

"Without leaps of imagination, or dreaming, 
we lose the excitement of possibilities. 
Dreaming, after all, is a form of planning."
-Gloria Steinem

If you have any questions, send me an email or check out my website!

I'll be there Thursday, Friday and Saturday!

I hope to see you soon...

Monday, February 7, 2011

Seamless Storytelling

My dad is a storyteller. He can entertain with his words and make otherwise average stories funny. When I listen to him tell a story, my mind does not drift away to my To-do list or what I'm going to eat next.  Okay, sometimes I still think about food (chocolate), but you know what I mean.

He also likes to tell jokes. Only he tells them as stories, and you never know until he's done if he's building up to a story ending or a punch line. Most of the time it's a punch line.

Me, on the other hand? I'm not so good with the jokes. Never have been. Usually I can't keep a straight face. They usually go something like this:

"Wanna hear a joke? (no subtlety there!) Okay, there were three guys that walked into a bar. Or was is two guys and a girl? Um, I can't remember. Anyway, three people walk into a bar. I don't think it matters if they're guys or girls. One says to another... Oh, I can't remember how he said it. Maybe the girl said something first. Crap! I can't remember. But it was funny! You'll just have to trust me."

I know.  Lame.

Lucky for me, I'm the writing kind of storyteller, not the sit-around-the-table-chatting kind of storyteller. I can revise and change my story until it actually makes sense. At least that's the idea. I haven't actually got there yet...  :)

And now for my weekly writing quote:

"Storytelling reveals meaning without committing the error of defining it."
-Hannah Arendt

* * * * *

Today's writing quote was taken from The Write Planner, my day planner designed for writers. To learn more about The Write Planner, click here

Friday, February 4, 2011

Book Launch and Give-a-way

It's a book launch and give-a-way!


Sarah M. Eden's newest book, The Kiss of a Stranger, has just been released. I'm currently reading it, and I love it! I'm going back to it as soon as I'm done with this post.

Sarah is joining two other authors, Jennifer K. Clark and Stephonie K. Williams, who co-wrote the book Mark of Royalty, for a book launch.

Saturday, February 12th
11am - 1pm
Provo Deseret Book
989 South University Ave

There are going to be lots of door prizes, including one of my very own writing planners: 

Check out Sarah's website for more information, and to see the other prizes.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Happy Groundhog Day

It's Groundhog Day! That means it's also

And Mr. Punxsutawney Phil has given me the best birthday present ever. He predicted an 
Early Spring!

I don't think I've been warm for the last three months. But there may be an end in sight.

Of course, not today. It's 8 degrees outside right now.

I'm ready for Spring. I'm ready to Spring Clean. I'm ready to do yard work. I'm ready to send the kids out in the back yard to play.

Of course all of those things will be happening in a new house. As long as everything goes smoothly anyway. Our house is under contract, and we're house hunting. I've even found a house I'm very interested in. The next month will bring lots of changes.

Bring them on!

And since I've been behind on everything this week, my weekly writers quote is late. But without further delay I present:

"The difference between the right word and the almost right word is the difference between lightning and a lightning bug."
-Mark Twain

Can you use that for houses to? The difference between the right house and the almost right house is the difference between...what? Your entire future? There's a lot of pressure in that, isn't there. Where you live will have major impacts on your life. Not to mention on the lives of your children.

I hope I will choose the right words, as well as the right house!

* * * * *

Today's writing quote was taken from The Write Planner, my day planner designed for writers. To learn more about The Write Planner, click here

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Thief of Time

I was going to write this post last night.

Then, I was going to write it first thing this morning.

It's now just after lunch, and I'm finally getting around to it.

Where does all the time go?

The answer to that question leads us to this week's writing quote:

"Procrastination is the thief of time."
- Joseph Heller

Oh, that's it. Procrastination took my time away. The thief!

I never used to be good at procrastination, but I'm learning!

And I hate it.

I hate how I feel when it's the night before a big event, and I'm scrambling.

I hate the sleepless nights, or even worse - the nightmares of being unprepared if I do actually manage to sleep.

Each time I promise myself that I'll be more on top of it next time.

Like I always used to be.

What happened to me?


Church service?






General laziness?


Okay, so it's probably all of the above. Plus a few other things.  Like trying to find a picture for this:

Today's writing quote was taken from The Write Planner, my day planner designed for writers. To learn more about The Write Planner, click here

Friday, January 21, 2011

That Explains It!

A couple of years ago I began feeling nauseous.  You know, pregnancy-type queazy.  The problem was, I had an almost two year old, a not quite six month old, and nearly panicked with the idea of having another one added on to that.

It just couldn't be possible! Could it?

After a week or so of serious anxiety, an idea occurred to me. I had started taking a new multivitamin about the same time I began feeling "sick".

Could it really be that easy?

To my great relief, it was.

I stopped with the vitamins an voila!

They made a two-point shot, strait into the garbage!

Fast forward to two weeks ago.

Once again I decided to start taking a multivitamin. I chose a different brand, and hoped for the best.

The queasiness came back the first day!

Ugh! Could it really be so hard to add extra vitamins to my diet?

I had a new idea. I had been taking the vitamins in the morning, with breakfast. I changed to taking them at dinner. Maybe if I took them with more food I would be okay.

Guess what? It worked! No more pregnancy-like sick feeling. Hooray!

About a week into my new routine I was up late, unable to fall asleep - again! I needed to sleep. I needed to get up early. I had barely been able to stay away during the mid afternoon. Why couldn't I sleep now?

On a whim I headed toward the pantry. (Okay, it was probably more of a "search for a late night snack", but...)

While staring at the shelves, wishing for some zero-calorie chocolate to magically appear, I saw my vitamin bottle. Picking it up I read the following:

This product contains about as much caffeine as a cup of coffee.


No wonder I couldn't sleep at night. I'd just taken a caffeine pill with dinner!

Now I've moved onto option number three, taking it with lunch. If this doesn't work I'm swearing off vitamins forever!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Lasterday: Made-up Words

My daughter, who is almost four, has her own little collection of made up words. Most of the time she's speaks the same dialect as the rest of us, but every now and then the Made-Up-Words come out.

Member - This one's just short for Remember, but it's still cute.

  • "You said I could have a treat after I ate all my lunch, member?"

Yabecause - This is said all as one word. She uses it when she's looking for an excuse to get out of something. Not only that, but it's usually used in the completely wrong way. (Is there actually a wrong way to use made-up words?)

  • me: "It's time for bed."
  • her: "Yabecause, I want to watch a movie."
  • me: "You already watched one. Now it's time for bed."
  • her: "Yabecause..... (thinking really hard, looking around her room for something, anything, to ask for...) I want another drink."
  • me: "Okay, one more drink.... (gets another drink, tucks her in - again) Go to sleep!"
  • her: (two minutes later) "Mom!"
  • me: "Go to sleep!" (trying to maintain the sweet voice, despite my desire to duck tape her to the bed)
  • her: "Yabecause, I can't fall asleep..."

Begot - It's amazing how many times she can use this one.

  • "Mom, we begot to have a vitamin."
  • "Mom, we begot to have a treat."
  • "Mom, we begot to play the game."
           Then, of course, I like to point out how she "begot" to say "forgot".

Lasterday - This is her most recent word, and one I thought was pretty unique. Until I looked it up on the good old web. It's not actually a word, but it's used a lot. Urban Dictionary has several:

  • A word used to describe an indefinite time in the past (e.g. last week, last month, last year)
         Remember lasterday when we went to the beach?
  • The time peroid that falls between yesterday and last week. Excelent for college students who don't have the capacity to remember what day it is. 
         Jess: Yell lost her phone lasterday.
  • The day or days before today, any day before the current day with no exact date in mind.
                I did that at school lasterday.

Hmmm... I wonder if I can use them all in a sentence...

"Yabecause you begot to paint my fingernails lasterday, member?"

Whether in real life or in the world of fiction - I'd love to hear about the made-up words in your world.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Best Fruit

This week's writing quote is,

"The trees that are slow to grow bear the best fruit."
- Moliere

Okay, so you can really apply that to any aspect of your life. But I find particular comfort in applying it to my writing. Because let me tell you - it is extremely slow growing!

My first book was easy. I wrote most of it in a three month block. It was exciting to see it all show up on the screen. It was a learning experience. It was Terrible!

Really. But it's okay.

I moved on to my second book. The idea was fun. I dove right in. And nearly drowned in the tide.

It proved to hold many more challenges than the first book I wrote.

Historical fiction's kind of like that.

I loved doing the research, but it was still hard to get myself to do it.

Then I put it aside so I could focus on my writing planners.

Now I'm in limbo. I think the slowest thing to develop in my writing is actually deciding what genre to write! I feel like that just comes naturally to most writers. But I'm really struggling with it. The more I read, and the more I learn about what I actually like, the more I wonder.

I'm not giving up on my current historical fiction, but it may take a vacation on my bookshelf while I explore a new idea I've got, in a new genre.

* * * * *

Today's writing quote was taken from The Write Planner, my day planner designed for writers. To learn more about The Write Planner, click here

Monday, January 10, 2011

I Can Relate...Sometimes!

This week's writing quote is:

"I have made this [letter] longer, because I have not had the time to make it shorter."
- Blaise Pascal

Sometimes it's so easy to get carried away with our writing, that we've written three chapters that have nothing to do with the plot. Sometimes our characters take a detour, and we want to see where it leads so we follow, only to get lost down a dead-end street.

But that's okay. That's what drafting is for. We experiment. We explore.

Eventually we have to go back. Edit. Revise. Thus begins the process of shortening. Taking out all the unnecessary stuff. Oh yeah, and adding those most important details that somehow we missed! It takes time. But the end result is so much better.

Thank goodness we have computers. Thank goodness we're not dealing with typewriters or worse, hand writing. (Although I know a few writers who still prefer that method!)

* * * * *

If you (or anyone you know) could benefit from a day planner that's geared toward writers, my sale price is still available for The Write Planner. Right now it's only $12, which come to $1 per month!! Check out my website for more details.

* * * * *

Today's writing quote was taken from The Write Planner, a day planner designed for writers. To learn more about The Write Planner, click here

Monday, January 3, 2011

The Parts To Leave Out

This week's writing quote is:

"I try to leave out the parts that people skip."
- Elmore Leonard

Such simple words. Well Duh! Right? But most of us are guilty of skipping over passages, even when we really love the book. As a writer, that's one of my biggest fears. Will I bore the reader? Will they skip this part?

So ask yourself: Is this really necessary? Does it move the plot along? Does it create conflict? Does it develop the character? Would the reader miss anything if you took it out?


Then get rid of it!

(Is anyone still reading this post?)

Have I bored you yet?

Well, if you're still with me, go check out my website. I've got a special offer for The Write Planner going on now.

For the next two weeks they are on sale for just $12. 

That's only $1 per month to keep you focused on your writing!

Happy New Year Everyone!

Today's writing quote was taken from The Write Planner, a day planner designed for writers. To learn more about The Write Planner, click here.